Pneumonia and Cabbages and Awards

Codeine is an awful drug. I mean it. I’m not the narcotics-type, and the bizarre opium-eater dreams I have when I finally do fall asleep–after imbibing but two teaspoons of codeine cough syrup–are enough to give Salvador Dali and Hieronymous Bosch nightmares.

Why the codeine? Because right before Thanksgiving, I contracted the Big P. Cough Central. The Last Wheeze. Otherwise known as pneumonia.

I’ve been laid up, unable to work (bad), unable to write (worse), unable to think clearly (worst). I finally emerged from this cherry-flavored haze to go on line this morning, and found an email from a friend and fellow writer (and fellow nominee, Declan Burke) congratulating me on my nomination for a Spinetingler Award.

I was about to call the doctor and report my hallucination when I found other reports announcing the same thing. Surely not everyone was on codeine … wow.

Convivium is the first short story I’ve written since I was 16, and while it’s not been an eon yet, let’s just say I can measure the span in dog years. So it’s my first short work as an adult, it’s got a Latin title, Latin words, it features a character who will be making his debut next July in my first novel, Nox Dormienda, and it’s got cabbage in it. Not exactly an orthodox combination even in hardboiled, noir or historical, the genres I commingle and flirt with.

I’ve been happy as a clam at having it published in Dave Zeltserman’s wonderful Hardluck Stories, especially among such esteemed company. The fact that anyone actually read it … liked it … and then voted for it … well, I’m still half-suspecting the world drank from my cough syrup bottle.

If you feel so inclined and haven’t read Convivium yet, I’d be delighted if you did. And please exercise your reader’s constitutional right and vote in the Spinetingler Awards. There are many creative categories (best editor; best cover design), and plenty of great nominees to vote for. The deadline is December 30. Details can be found on the Crime Zine Report.

I am truly humbled, exceedingly surprised, and very, very grateful to those who nominated me. And I feel a lot better. I think I’ve discovered a new weapon against pneumonia.