Happy Friday, everybody! I’m back from a research trip to New York, scouting locations for the followup to Ghosts of Gotham. Oh, did I mention my publisher put up a pre-order page? It’s not out until April, but you can check it out (and its snazzy new cover) over here.

I also had the pleasure of attending a showing of a new immersive theatre piece, Through the Wren, which I hugely enjoyed. Many of you know that I’m a big theatre fan, especially immersive shows, and this one didn’t disappoint. For those unfamiliar, immersive theatre is a medium where there is no stage/audience separation. You’re on the set, actually integrated into the show to one degree or another, and the story unfolds all around you at point-blank range. When done right, it’s stunningly intimate and often transgressive, and Through the Wren is done right.

It’s a small show, with only four main characters, following the course of one tragic night in a Gothic manor. I’ll say no more about the plot, but the crew of actors is absolutely top-notch and every one of them impressed the heck out of me. I believe the first, short run of the show is already sold out, but if you happen to be in NYC when it comes back again, check it out. I will be. (Disclosure: I don’t have any financial stake in the show, but if you happen to go and check out the manor’s hall of portraits, you might spot a familiar face among the cursed Galloway family’s ancestors…)

Soon it was time to return home, with fresh inspiration and a notebook crammed with new ideas. That’s when things got a little sideways. I was flying south, and the remnants of Hurricane Michael were flying north. We spent three hours on the runway at La Guardia, waiting for clearance to take off, wondering if the flight was going to be canceled. Eventually, we got the green light. The course took the long way around, doubling the one-hour flight, bouncing on turbulence all the way. Then we finally arrived at Raleigh-Durham and made what was supposed to be the landing approach.

If you’ve never been on a plane that’s slipping out of control, it’s hard to describe the sensation. It’s not just turbulence. There’s bouncing and chop, but it’s more than that — you feel the plane list like a boat in high waves, slashing to one side and then the other, wind roaring off the hull. You’re suddenly weightless, helpless. The plane tilted, dropped, then rose hard, as the engines screamed, banking upwards until we broke above the clouds once more.

“We can’t land here,” the captain said. I can’t say if he sounded shaken; we all were.

I’ll make the rest of a long story short. We made an emergency landing at Norfolk, medical personnel were on site waiting for us (no serious injuries, thankfully!), hours of waiting were followed by more hours of waiting, and then a late-night cross-state bus ride straight through the storm to finally make it back home again.

(Also, top praise to the flight crew, who were the absolute best — especially the flight attendants, who went way above and beyond the call of duty, trying to make sure everybody was okay. That’s one heck of a long and thankless job, and they deserve more appreciation than they get.)

As for today…well, today I’m freakin’ exhausted, but I’m home, safe, thinking a lot about mortality. I don’t know how much danger we were actually in, in that ten-second span of terror, but I know what it felt like. And I kept thinking about all the books I haven’t written yet, the stories untold, the art unmade. A moment like that definitely puts things in perspective. For me it’s a reminder to work hard, to stay healthy, to stick around as long as I can and give you all that I have. There’s a lot to be done.

Speaking of lots to be done, I’m still hoping for a Halloween release for Bring the Fire, the conclusion of the Wisdom’s Grave trilogy. We’re still in editing, so no guarantees, but we’re gonna try. You can look for a cover reveal soon. As for me, I’m going to crack open a bottle of wine and toast to the future.

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