And now a brief pause . . .

. . . for a commercial announcement. Don’t Look Down will be on sale April 4.

Yes, I know we said May, but St. Martin’s moved it to April. That may seem like a long time to you, but trust me, it’s going to be here in a flash. We now have a cover and a cover photo, and national print and TV advertising, and by the time we were finished scheduling the conferences we were going to be doing in 2006 and talking about the book tour with the fabulous publicity team at SMP, we ended up with over forty cities on the schedule. As Bob said, “We get lives in 2007.” Some of those cities are duplicates—Madison, Wisconsin gets stuck with us twice—but most aren’t, so Bob and I will be sparkling and shining all over the country. Well, I’ll be sparkling and shining. Bob will be taciturn and intriguing. Or something.

In other news, the Crusie-Mayer website goes live on January 1, with contests and excerpts from the book and dossiers on all the characters and photographs of locations in the book and the Crusie-Mayer Blog. Yes, Bob and I are doing a dueling blog for 2006, or at least for the part of it where we’re flogging DLD. This was Bob’s idea, so there’s a good chance he’ll actually blog there, especially if I keep jabbing him. And yes, I’ll keep Argh Ink going, too, because this is MINE MINE MINE and I can talk about anything I want here. Over there, I’ll have to talk about the tour and what’s going on and how I didn’t kill Bob even though the temptation was great and he’ll have to talk about the tour and how he didn’t kill me although he wanted to and knew how to make it look like a natural death. We haven’t discussed what to call it yet—The Gator Blog, maybe?—but we’ll think of something.

In the meantime, here’s the cover:

Why, yes, it is kind of chick lit looking, isn’t it? But when you take the book jacket off, the book itself is printed in camouflage. How cool is that? It was Bob’s idea, and I love it, the whole subliminal message, the hero undercover, romance wrapped around a military thriller. And our incredible editor Jen says that it can be a running motif, so we’re hoping that Agnes and the Hitman will have a cheerful Italian cooking and wedding cover, not quite so chick-litty, over a black book printed with bullet holes. I love this stuff.

Oh, and here’s the author photo SMP picked:

Doesn’t Bob look relaxed and cheerful and cute with his chin on his hands? That would be the beer. About eight hours of it. And I did so hand it to him. Not every one of them, but I handed some of it to him, as did many others. Everybody was sedating the puppy.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled, not quite so exploitive, blog.