Life is Wonderful, Day 145: Wumsy’s Cabbage Patch Party, Part One

February 21st, 2011

I’m afraid that Wumsy has been postponed.  This is saddening, because the story of  Wumsy — a bunny who broke all the rules by starting  life as a caterpillar — has a great deal to teach each and every one of us.

But I need to do some self-promotion.  Knowing how many of you have been coming back here day after day just hoping for Wumsy, though, I’ve decided to illustrate this piece with some of the pictures from the story, enough (I hope) to give you an idea of what you’re missing.

First piece of self-promotion:  I started writing THE GROWING YOUNGER MAN, Poke Rafferty Number Five, yesterday and am now almost 3000 words in.  Barring anything totally unforeseen, we’re set with a publisher for that and the sixth, THE FEAR ARTIST.  And I have to say that it’s remarkably pleasant to be writing Poke and Rose and Miaow again.

Wumsy waits for his friends to begin arriving for his party.  Will they all be dressed in costumes, and what will they be?

On another front, I got my first-ever review from a romance site. I received a note a week or so back from Virginia Nelson, who reviews books for Coffee Time Romance and More, telling me she’d posted a review of QUEEN there, and it’s a dilly.  Here it is:

Rose Rafferty has changed her name, her life, and what defines her three times so far in her life. When the past reawakens and threatens all that she has become, she must revisit even that farthest of identities, the one she was born to. Long ago there was a girl named Kwan, called Stork because of her ungainly height, who didn’t believe she was beautiful or strong… From Kwan was born the Queen of Patpong Road, dancer in Bangkok bars, Rose. Rose has morphed into a mother of a precocious daughter and wife to Poke. But will the dancer persona threaten her family, her security, her life?

Poke Rafferty, writer, has his family and is thinking of starting a business, when , at dinner, everything changes. When his sweet and brave little wife, former Patpong dancer, stabs a man in the hand over dinner, his happiness is suddenly precarious. He is sure he can help Rose and protect their daughter, Miaow, but he has to find out what is going on first, from Rose.

As Rose reveals to her family the secrets she thought she had escaped, the strength of the bonds of family is tested. Not only is there the outside threat of Horner but the internal struggle of a family to stay strong when faced with adversity.

A thriller and suspense with the strength of a family unit at its core, The Queen of Patpong is as rich as the culture and people that make up its multiflavored cast. From the bright lights and seedy streets of Bangkok’s dangerous Patpong Road to the quiet country life of a young girl, this story takes the reader on a journey to a far off place to find out that love is the same regardless of how far from home you may roam.

How nice is that?  Thank you, Virginia.

When he sees that everyone has come costumed as a caterpillar, Wumsy hides in a nearby cabbage while his friends eat his cake and open his presents.

And then yesterday, on the influential listserv, DorothyL, a wonderful novelist named Donna Fletcher Crow, who’s written both mysteries and historical novels that are quite a bit different than mine, reviewed QUEEN with the kind of generosity one always hopes a writer will demonstrate to another.  You can’t got to DorothyL unless you subscribe, so here’s what Donna had to say:

Right.  Everyone who has already written about this book–which must  be everyone on the list–can say a great collective, “I told you so!”  But  now it’s my turn to say, “This is a great book!”

And I suppose many of the reviewers have already pointed out the  beautiful structure built around “The Tempest” and the subtle theme of  forgiveness and restoration–again based on the bard, but I’m glad I missed  it in the earlier posts because that way I could have the delight of discovering  it for myself.

And, of course, the fascination of learning about a totally different culture.  And meeting Tim’s exceptionally well-developed characters.   This book, although a thriller, is about 90 per cent characterization in that  the motivation, plot, action all grow out of the characters–which is exactly as it should be.

And, finally, there’s the issue of sex–so appropriate to the discussions we’ve been having of late.  This is a book about sex–and yet there’s no sex in it.  Amazing.

All I can say, is, “Wow, Tim!”

And all I can say is, “Thank you, Donna.”

His lesson learned, Wumsy pours tea for all his friends while they cheer him as a good sport.

These reviews are especially timely as I re-enter Poke’s and Rose’s world.  They’ve really boosted my morale.

11 Responses to “Life is Wonderful, Day 145: Wumsy’s Cabbage Patch Party, Part One”

  1. Laren Bright Says:

    What the hell kind of name is Wumsy? But then, what the hell kind of name is Poke? Or Simeon Grist, for that matter.

    I think Wumsy reminds me a little of Holden Caulfield, but smaller and more rodent-like. But other than that…

  2. EverettK Says:

    Wumsy for President! Wumsy for President! (Oh, wait. Was Wumsy born in the Hew Hess Hay?)

    And I’m impressed. Not only are you starting Poke #5 and have a title for it, you already have a title for #6! Did you have to write a proposal for both of them, and that’s why you have a title already for #6?

  3. micael hallinan Says:

    I agree with Laren.I dont know about Mumsy. Warren would be a good name for a rabbit. Anyway CONGRATULATIONS on yet two more great reviews for Queen. Is the man growing younger the barfly from The Fourth Watcher? I felt he was too good a character to be put on the shelf. I hope I have this right. Glad you are focused and working again.

  4. Crenna Aesegas Says:

    Oh, Lawsie Me (to quote my mother)… I feel as though I fell through a rabbit hole, and landed in the Land of Lovely Language! Media Media everywhere, and not a thought in sight, most of the time. But THIS! This is bracing and ADDICTIVE! (Yeah, baby, that’s right, I ply my punctuation with a mean hand.)

    So feeling intimidated, cowering at my keys in inadequacy to add thought, phrase or content, I’ll just smile and thanks to all you flash speed riposters. What a hoot!

  5. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Congratulations on Poke 5 & 6. I regret that Wumsy has to take a back seat, but such is life. Enjoy the accolades, Tim. Queen is really a remarkable book.

  6. Suzanna Says:

    Well, okay, this is how I see it. You are multi-tasking, multi-plotting, and just plain old multi-talented in general. Great new titles for the Poke series and great reviews of Queen.

    I want that bunny/on cabbage tea pot. Very cute!

  7. Gary Says:

    I’m confused. Where exactly does Wumsy fit in the latest Poke story?

    (You’d better not expect any more of those great reviews with Wumsy in there.)

  8. Donna Says:

    Tell Wumsy to pour a cuppa for me, Tim. I’m honoured to be quoted–in full–on your blog. But the thank you’s are all for you–for the great pleasure reading your book gave me.

  9. Jaden Says:

    Tim, those reviews are well-deserved and spot on. In my opinion, you just keep getting better and better.

    I am looking forward to reading about Wumsy, though. (I agree that Warren is a good name for a rabbit.)

  10. greg smith Says:

    Good on Ya, Tim. Great news about the next 2 books and the continuing raves for Queen.

    As for Mumsy, I think I’m getting diabetes from the sheer saccharine sweetness of it all. The pictures are priceless. Meaning, I wouldn’t pay a dime but I’ll swap you for my Keanne paintings.

  11. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi Gang!!! Once again, apologies for chiming in late. Yesterday three-quarters of the Pleasure Fair, my old band, reunited, and it took until almost 4 for us to say goodbye, and I still had fo do the daily words on THE GROWING YOUNGER MAN.

    SO — Laren, Wumsy is Wumsy’s name, and it’s an ancient and honorable name among rabbits. I’m really surprised to have to answer this question from you, who once had a ferret as a pet. Ferrets know ALL about rabbits.

    Everett, Wumsy declines to serve. He likes living in a cabbage. And yes, I wrote two proposals for HarperCollins and then gave them, with some revision and improvement, to my new publishers. I really like both stories, although of course, that’s no guarantee that I’ll actually write them as described.

    Micael, a rabbit named Warren would be a laughingstock. Pfui on Warren. Yes, The Growing Younger Man is the same guy we met sort of glancingly in WATCHER. I think he’s in NAIL, too. I always meant to bring him front and center eventually. One of the great things about writing a series is that you have this cloud of characters who have been on the page at some time or other, and you can turn back to them whenever they seem, ummmm, appropriate.

    Crenna, nice to meet you and thanks for coming all the way from Ancient Rome. Hope you come back and become part of the Official Flash Speed Riposters Sister/Brotherhood. (TM)

    Lil, thank you for saying even MORE nice things about Queen. I don’t suppose you’re an Edgar voter. Wumsy is being reviewed by the committee, who have not yet issued a ruling. There’s some concern about animals in costumes — whether it’s inappropriately anthropomorphic. A complaint was filed by a household finch.

    Suzanney, you and Munyin both want that pot. I may eventually have to overrule the committee if they come down against Wumsy because I have so MANY unused images and some of them are world-changers.

    Gary, Wumsy is not in the new Poke. If you’d actually read the series, rather than claiming to have read it, you’d realize he had an indelible scene in BREATHING WATER, as the pocket bunny of one of the street kids. “Wumsey made me weep,” — Janet Maslin, New York Times.

    Donna, thanks for coming by, and Wumsy will pout as soon as he frees his little paw, which is stuck in the spout. Your review really did give me a lift. Insecurity is a constant companion during the first 65% of a new book and in the weeks after it’s finished.

    Jaden, you’re a writer I admire, so double thanks for our concerns about Wumsy. My brother micael thanks you for the Warren remark.

    Hey, Greg — You missed the free insulin offer. What can I say. And do you have any idea what a Keane painting is worth these days? Recent asking prices (these are legit) range from $15,000 on to $32.99 on eBay. Both are listed as unsold.

    I’m actually tempted to buy the $32.99 one. That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

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