Ooooo Child!

I’m glad my first book didn’t land on the New York Times bestseller list for 216 weeks like John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I wouldn’t know how to answer the question, “What are you doing to do next?”

The answer probably would have been “nothing.” I couldn’t live up to my debut any more than an actor or actress winning an Oscar for their first movie. Well, I guess Marlee Matlin did that in 1987, but that would be too much pressure for me.

Museum Shop » Telfair Museums » Savannah, GAI placed the following quote on Facebook yesterday and nobody knew who said it or where it came from: “Tell me something honey, how come a white boy like you is drivin’ a old, broken-down, jiveass bruthuh’s heap like this?” Okay, even with 216 weeks on the bestseller list, fame is fleeting even if you’re a saucy drag queen named “Chablis”

This comes to mind since I’m re-reading the novel and it’s just as funny as it was 27 years ago. Berendt wrote The City of Falling Angels ten years later. One reviewer said the book was pretty good but didn’t have a compelling core story. See, this is what I’m talking about. His first book was too good.

Okay, but I think I’ve turned out enough novels to say that I wasn’t ruined by the response to my first book,–or my second, &c. So I’ve escaped the curse of a fantastic successful first novel. Now that I’m safe, I’m ready for the big time, and by golly, I’m going to work toward that without a character who walks an invisible dog or a drag queen who often exclaims, “Ooooo child!”


While Malcolm R. Campbell doesn’t include invisible dogs in his novels, he’s okay with a cat as a narrator. After all, his three cats talk all the time.

Potpourri, lightly scented

Some folks prefer their potpourri to carry a factory-fresh scent out of a lab rather than the actual smell of dried weeds. This post is for you.

  • Last night, all hell broke loose in Georgia as we got hit for the second time in the last week or so by a night of noisy thunderstorms, flash floods, and random tornados. So far, the Atlanta suburb of Newnan appears to have been the hardest-hit populated area outside of Alabama. We had enough lightning and thunder to tick off the cats, but nothing worse other than flooding in low-lying areas. Our house is on a hill.
  • After fighting some writer’s block, I am finally back at work on my Montana novel Weeping Wall. So, today I can feel somewhat virtuous at making some progress.
  • A good friend of mine watched the promo trailer for the upcoming audiobook edition of Fate’s Arrows and was so hypnotized by the narrator that she’s thinking of buying her first audiobook. And she’s already read the novel in paperback. You can see the promo here: (It might take a few weeks for Audible to publish it.)
  • Today’s quote: “We’re not at all like the rest of Georgia. We have a saying: If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, ‘What’s your business?’ In Macon, they ask, ‘Where do you go to church?’ In Augusta, they ask your grandmother’s maiden name. But in Savannah, the first question people ask you is ‘What would you like to drink?” – John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • In my in-basket: “We’re happy to announce that we’re back for another year of the Cow Creek Chapbook Prize. The contest is sponsored by Emerald City and Pittsburg State University. ” Looks like an interesting competition for fiction and non-fiction. I’m tempted.

I hope last night’s bad weather missed your neighborhood.


‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’

In the hoodoo tradition, good magic is best performed between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, and evil magic is best performed between midnight and 12:30 a.m. Hence we have the rationale behind the title of John Berendt’s 1994 bestseller, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and the inspiration behind the 1997 feature film.

When the book came out, I refused to read it. The odd thing now is that I no longer remember why. Perhaps it was the hype. Perhaps it was the mix of fiction and nonfiction. Or perhaps it was because I was always more of a Charleston person than a Savannah person. The film didn’t do well, a surprise since Eastwood generally does fine work. Had it been a success, I might have seen it. But it wasn’t so I didn’t.

Here’s what seems to have happened. Somebody or something has put a hex on me forcing me to read the book. Okay, that’s enough of an incentive. Makes no sense, though, but who am I to question the origins of hexes or even to ask my Tarot cards about which side of midnight the hex was cast. So, the book is now on order.

If lightning strikes one of the two ancient trees in the front yard on the day the book arrives, I’ll destroy the book.

The same if crows or raven gather in nearby pine trees and raise one hell of a ruckus.

If you read the book and suddenly went over to the dark side, please warn me.

Since this may be a bumpy ride, I’ll need a volunteer to hold my beer.


Maybe after writing four hoodoo novels, I can safely read the book I have a notebook filled with spells including protection spells.