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spring 2005

Howdy folks,

You may recall that the last newsletter ended with news of my shoulder surgery, and Shirl's happy prognostication that I would be ready to pull lawn mower starters by spring. Not happening. The shoulder still feels like there's an outraged mouse sewn in the joint trying to chew its way out. Jeez! I even have to be careful when I pick up our cat Panther. He starts licking the incision.

I should have known something was wrong right from the start when the doctor told me that a Veg-O-Matic and Ginsu Chef's knives were the newest surgical innovations. But fool that I was, I believed Dr. Frankenshlash. I wasn't overly concerned when I read the rehab prescription that he sent with me to the physical therapy center. Given "physician's scrawl," I couldn't read much, but I recognized a word here and there. Words like "inflict" or "infect" and I could make out "screech" or maybe it was "scream." One line really puzzled me. It said something like "much a goony" was good. What did goony birds have to do with my shoulder?

I learned what "a goony" was at the physical therapy center. As I sat in the waiting area, I heard this pathetic shrieking from an old woman. "O god! O please, miss, please stop! No more pain! I promise I'll never get sick again, if you just stop!" I put down the magazine I was reading. Then I heard this screech from someone else…a guy I think. "Nooo. Don't pull like that. Ahhhh! I'll confess." Another gruff voice said, "We don't want any confessions." The screecher offered, "Then I'll convert!" Then, there was just the sound of gibbering sobs.

I suddenly recalled that I'd parked my car not near a fire hydrant, but on top of one. I almost made it to the door when my therapist caught up with me. She beckoned, "Walk this way." Her name was Igora and as she stretched me out on a rac…ah…table she told me that her brother was a supporting actor in a lot of 1930s horror movies. In fact, Igora told me that she had her own thespian aspirations. As she took my arm, she told me that she was auditioning for a role in an upcoming remake of Ben Hur starring Danny DeVito. Igora wanted to be one of the galley slaves. For practice she worked my arm like an oar. Oh my shoulder, popping, scrapping, snapping! When she reached ramming speed, I was shrieking, "I'll confess…I'll convert."

So, three days a week I go in for physical torture, only to come home to the psychological variety. Shirl the romance writer is now also Alexa Hunt the thriller writer, but I suppose she's already told you this. The gulf between the two genres is messing with her head. When she is working on one of her comic contemporary romances, she is laughing and bubbly (sometimes nauseatingly so, but safe). However, when she is Alexa working on a thriller, I hide the kitchen knives, and Panther hides behind the couch. He's old but not stupid.

Even the research is different. I like to help her do research for her romances, especially the historicals—although even the contemporaries have proven to be fun. Did you know that there really is an outfit, Leather and Lace, into bondage gear? Samatha, the heroine of Finders, Keepers, claims she buys her custom-made straitjackets from that outfit. Wellllllll…Its called poetic license.

But at least Leather and Lace didn't give me any flack. I can't say about the subjects I've been researching for the thrillers. One day I was on the web researching a harmless enough topic, the kilo-tonnage of a satchel-sized nuke and its kill radius. Listen, that stuff is all over the net. Anyway, suddenly the computer screen went black, and then it started to glow. Oh my lord! The monitor abruptly showed a picture of John Ashcroft. His finger was pointed at me. I put up my hands. "I'll confess…I'll convert!"


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