I missed posting yesterday because I was busy helping out with my dad. Even with a professional caregiver on hand, one of the kids (I have an older brother and sister) has to be around much of the time, too. Ya gotta love my dad: he can't walk anymore, can barely talk, and yet there he was this morning doing his best to tell the nurse who was there all about how I was a writer. Being a tough old bird who grew up in the Depression, he's not the sort to toss compliments around directly (I think the only thing he ever said to me about one of my books was that it was hard to find a good place to stop reading -- which if you think about it is a pretty nice compliment), but he's always been a tireless promoter of my work. When he was still working as a TV repairman, he always carried around copies of my books in his truck and sold them to his customers. He had a regular circuit going. He also went with me to a couple of Western Writers of America conventions and had a great time hanging around with many of the writers whose work he had read. He never was quite sure about the writing business, but when he saw that Elmer Kelton and I were friends, he decided maybe it was okay after all.
Moving on, I got the following email this morning:
This is to notify you that my father Peter Ruber recently suffered a major stroke. Although he is now out of danger, the hospital neurologists are still in the process of evaluating him to see what brain/memory damage may have occurred.
Peter Ruber and I have become pretty good friends over the past few months. He's recommended quite a few excellent authors to me that I hadn't sampled before, and also sent me some of his novels. The ones I've read so far have been very good. I'll definitely be keeping him in my thoughts and prayers.
I've managed to work some the past couple of days and have kept the new novel rolling along, though not at what you'd call a blistering pace. I'm enjoying it so far, but it's still early on. I also read Max Brand's "Reata", the first short novel in a series of seven about the character of the same name. I think some of these were combined into a fix-up novel and published some time back by Dodd, Mead and then in paperback by Pocket Books, but they're now being reprinted in their original short novel versions in assorted Brand collections published in hardback and large print by Thorndike and in mass-market paperback by Leisure. "Reata" is an excellent story with some nice touches of self-mockery on Faust's part, and I'm looking forward to reading the others. I'll start reading something else tonight, but right now I have no idea what it'll be.