Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kowsit Lats

Another of the many, many reasons I love the western Upper Peninsula and set my Steve Martinez mysteries here is the distinct flavor given to the Yooper version of English by Finnish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.

There is, according to Doug Karttunen, my friend and resident expert on all things Finnish, a high byway near Hancock, Michigan, called Kowsit Lats Road.

Finlanders gave the name  to a broad meadow at the top of a hill where local farmers grazed their cattle. They had trouble pronouncing the English combinations "sh" and "fl," so in their "Finnglish" argot they called the place Kowsit Lats.

There's even a local craft ale called Kowsit Lats.

This gem will, of course, appear in a future Porcupine County whodunit. I can see it now: Steve and his deputy Chad cool themselves off after work on a hot day with a couple of Kowsit Lats, and Steve (a comparative latecomer to Porcupine County) wonders aloud what the name means. Chad, being a native, fills him in.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It never ends

Yesterday I read through the final, copy-edited and copy-edited-checked "final" version of Hang Fire, looking for typos and the like, and discovered this sentence:

They hated the woman’s second husband and, mindful of his weak heart, persuaded the grandmother who lived with the family to use lard in the molasses cookies their stepfather loved instead of margarine.

The stepfather loved molasses cookies instead of margarine? "There's an antecedent problem with that last phrase," I wrote the boss editor at Five Star. "Please make it read this way:"

They hated the woman's second husband and, mindful of his weak heart, persuaded the grandmother who lived with the family to use lard instead of margarine in the molasses cookies their stepfather loved.

Obvious clunker. Simple fix.

Probably more of those little prose bombs are hiding in that manuscript, ready to pop up and frag me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pub date: April 19.

April 19, 2013: That's the new publication date for Hang Fire, my fourth Steve Martinez mystery.

The final edited manuscript arrived in my emailbox today, with a memo from the editor at Five Star saying that "bound galleys," as veteran editors call what are known today as "ARCs," or advance reading copies, will be ready to go out to review media in November.

So things are moving apace.

Don't, however, look for Hang Fire in bricks-and-mortar bookstores next year, for Five Star publishes chiefly for the library market. The novel, however, will be available online, from Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com in particular. You should be able to get it next April 19, and well before then it will be available for pre-order.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lake Superior Rail Museum

Of course a rail buff couldn't miss the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, Minnesota, on his way around the aforementioned lake. Those with a suitable reverence for rail travel may now click here for a ticket to my dispatch on the subject at TrainWeb.org.