I intended to fill this space with a lengthy discussion on irresponsibility and if a writer needs to be irresponsible from time-to-time so they can have the adventures that make for good fiction. I would evoke Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds, talk about dangerous hobbies and drug use, finally bringing it all around to a very irresponsible proposition I’ve recently received.

If that proved too difficult, my backup topic was the way October always leaves me feeling as scattered as the golden and red foliage on the sidewalk, with my energy going to a dozen different places and making almost no difference in any of them. A few paragraphs devoted to how October always feels like New Year’s Eve to me, a time to make resolutions, to assess the damage of the year before and to promise never to do any of it again. October is my time for cutting back and saying no.

Those were my plans. They were good ones even, and maybe some week I’ll get back to them, but something arrived in my inbox that pushed everything else out of my mind: the Art department at Tor books requested cover concepts for my first novel.

Like most would-be authors, I’ve imagined my name on the cover of a book, specifically a paperback book, at least a million times. I’ve picked fonts, auditioned characters for the front space, and decided on colors. It would be a lie to say I’ve stuck with any of those for very long. I posses only a tiny bit of artistic talent, and I doubt myself often. Deep inside I can’t wait to see what a real artist will do.

I collect vintage noir mysteries. The easiest ones to find come from famous authors, Rex Stout, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Raymond Chandler. I love the evolution of the images, in the 1930s a woman has long flowing hair, in the 1970s the same character wears her tresses shellacked into submission. Up until now my characters lived solely in my imagination. I’m excited to see how they look in someone else’s.