The Lord of Opium is moving through the publishing machine.  It has been proof read, a galley printed and checked, and we aren't too far from having Advanced Reader's Copies printed.  These are sent to newspapers and reviewers.  They get to read the book long before the rest of you see it.  Of course if you ARE someone who writes book reviews, you can ask for an advanced reader's copy from Atheneum.  You might have to prove it.  The cover will, I think, be a shadowy picture of Matt with his hand in light.  He will be wearing a scorpion ring.  This is still being discussed.

Harold and I were in Tucson for a doctor's visit when our hotel room caught fire in the middle of the night.  An explosion woke us up.  The lights in the bathroom had blown out and the extractor fan over the stove was in flames.  Burning plastic dripped onto the floor.  Our smoke alarm did not work and the telephones were partially disabled.  Harold managed to call the night desk and the girl in charge asked whether we wanted the fire department.  Harold said, "Yes, since your hotel is on fire."

The police and firefighters asked us whether there was suspicious activity and at the time we didn't know of any. Later we learned that there were three men in the room next to us.  (A room with only one bed)  A patron told us they had been there 42 days and that people came and went all night long.  She asked to be moved because she thought they were dealing drugs.  We heard them fighting and shouting at one point.  During the fire, although there were two fire engines, two police cars and flashing lights they didn't come out to see what was going on.  I suspect the men weren't sleeping in that room, they were COOKING in it. The manager of the hotel also acted strangely.  He refused to come out of his room even though there was a fire and left the inexperienced young woman on night shift to deal with the problem.  And he hid from us the next day.

Unfortunately, plastic smoke is extremely toxic and Harold didn't get out before damaging his lungs, so we have been back and forth to Tucson to deal with that.  I thought there might have been a meth lab in the room next door and left a tip with the police.  In case you want to know, the fire happened at the Best Western Hotel at 6201 N. Oracle Rd. in Tucson.

A gray fox, a beautiful animal, lay down in front of my kitchen window yesterday and gazed out at the valley beyond.  We were very quiet all day, so as not to frighten him.  It was only at dusk that Harold suggested that the fox was not sleeping, but dead.  And he was!  I had found a dead bat outside the kitchen door recently and disposed of it carefully because I thought it might have rabies.  Bats are the only mammal that has some immunity to the disease, so they can spread it around.  Now I feared that the fox had rabies -- some animals get paralytic and don't go mad.  I couldn't leave the body out all night because the coyotes, of which we have many, would eat it.  If the coyotes crunched into bone and cut themselves they, too, could get rabies.  It was a long shot, but one I didn't want to take.  A biologist friend took the fox away and will have it tested.  Gloom.  I include a picture of a healthy, young fox (as ours seemed to be) and the one that perished in our yard.

Some of you have asked for my address, want to correspond with me directly, or want a picture.  I can't publish my private address on this website because I no longer have the energy to answer more than a few letters.  I haven't had a picture taken for years because age has not improved my looks and I'm sensitive about it.  If you have something urgent and important that you don't want to put on a public website, please add your email address.  If you don't, I can't get back to you.

11/12/2012 11:19:29 am

Thanks for the update. I really look forward to the next book. That's terrible that those guys started a fire in the hotel! I hope Harold gets better. And that's a good idea, taking precautions over the fox in case of rabies. I think rabies is considered not dangerous to carcasses after 1-3 days.... or is that only squirrels? Anyways, I wish you luck with the publishers, health and overall your eventful life. (nothing like this ever happens near me!) Cannot wait for the next book!

11/13/2012 07:29:45 am

im very excited for the next book! The first one was amazing! When is it going to be published?

11/15/2012 03:47:22 am

I hope Harold gets better, and those are beautiful foxes. I love you and I can't wait for the sequel <3 And Alex -- I believe fall of 2013.

11/20/2012 01:25:06 pm

Hello. I would love to get my hands on this book! I've read the first one and I was amazed. I love your work. I'd like to see another book in the Trolls Trilogy, it's my favorite of your books (as I enjoy fantasy more than science fiction). By any chance, are you ever going to write another book in this? I would appreciate an e-mail if you can. If you can't, that is fine, but I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you, Ben.

11/24/2012 05:41:44 am

That fire is so bizarre! I searched up the hotel and it was proclaimed as 'fire-proof' and no news of the fire was found. The manager's strange actions may be explained by the bad reputation the hotel chain may receive due to the -accident-. It's good to know you're safe and I look forward to the release of your second book.

Natali :)
11/30/2012 08:58:44 am

That's so unfortunate...I can't believe they started that fire. I hope harlold gets better :).
Thanks for the update about the book, I've been checking your blog frequently for a while, eagerly awaiting for an update. Thank judo much nancy I love you <3!!!!!!

12/30/2012 10:40:37 am

I'm looking forward to the sequel. I read House of the Scorpion to my son Joshua, now 11, and he loved it. We miss having you at the writer's group! It's fun to know what you're up to in Arizona. Contact us if you visit the Bay area.

1/22/2013 11:56:47 am

Helloooo! I'm a huge fan of your writing. My favorite books of yours are the Trolls trilogy, because those were the first books I ever really fell in love with, and I believe they played a huge role in sparking my love for reading. Like many others, I'm wondering if there's going to be another Trolls book? I'm sure it would make many people vey happy. :D

Also, are there other ways to contact you besides this blog? Email, facebook, or anything?

THANK YOU for writing :3 <3

2/9/2013 05:57:52 am

Her e-mail is online if you look it up.
I was wondering the same. I wish there would be like a second series of the Trolls Trilogy.

Liz Anderson
1/24/2013 07:04:45 am

I hope you come to Seattle on a book tour! Perhaps you would speak at the Elliot Bay Bookstore or UW Bookstore. I first read your House of the Scorpion to my daughter when she was in second grade. We both loved it. I recommended it to the school librarian and was shocked when she acted as if she might call Child Protective Services for me, since Amelia was too young for that. ( I got in trouble again when she was in Junior High and I allowed her to read Sherman Alexie's Real Life of a Part-time Indian) I don't underestimate children and your books don't either. We are huge fans.good luck with your latest book!

1/26/2013 12:08:27 pm

Mrs. Farmer, I would love the chance to write you an email about my experience with House of the Scorpion. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate very much you getting in touch with me. It would be my sincerest honor.

Paula Sabato, 7th Grade Science/LA Teacher, Gililland MS, Phoenix AZ
2/13/2013 04:54:24 am

My 7th grade honors LA/Reading class just finished reading The House of the Scorpion and were hooked from the first page. They hung on every word and are eager to get a look at the sequel. I happened to pick this book on a whim in a book store and found myself sitting up until 3:00 that morning to finish reading it. I was captivated by the ingenious ideas which are eerily relevant 10 years after publication. I knew I had to include this book when I was asked to teach a LA section this year.

We are writing a business letter and my students would like to write you. I assume we will send them in care of your publisher. Please let me know if there is somewhere else they should go. Thank you so much for sharing your engaging story telling and for crafting a thoughtful story with issues that many of my students have personal experience with.

7/14/2013 09:47:30 pm

I am so angry to hear that those guys started a fire in the hotel. I hope Harold is fine now. I have been there at the Best Western Hotel few times and the experience was quite satisfying. I don't know what happened to them!


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