The Night of the Comet

Letter from a Reader

I don’t get fan mail often, but when I do it’s always a treat. Thanks, Matthew, wherever you are.

“I have never felt compelled to contact an author of any of the many books I’ve read. Night of the Comet was one of the greatest books I’ve ever read in my life and I felt that I had to email you and let you know. The moment when Alan and his father were spending time at Alan’s friend’s house, about to have a meal of hamburger meat and onion soup spice…it really hit me. I felt their doom and desperation while looking at what their lives might become… The entire story was so amazing and hit home on so many levels.. I am looking forward to your next book, whatever that may be.

“Take care,


Visit to Loyola’s Intensive English Program, No. 3

I’m looking forward to visiting international students at Loyola University’s Intensive English Program again this week. This semseter they’ve been reading THE NIGHT OF THE COMET:

LIEP Comet

Rosetta Makes Unexpected Discovery About Comets

Last month I posted again about the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission. The spacecraft, after chasing Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko for ten years, finally caught up with it.

Here’s the comet:


Now scientist have announced this finding from Rosetta:

European Scientists Conclude That Distant Comet Smells Terrible

A European spacecraft orbiting a distant comet has finally answered a question we’ve all been wondering: What does a comet smell like?

“It stinks,” says Kathrin Altwegg, a researcher at the University of Bern in Switzerland who runs an instrument called ROSINA that picked up the odor.

The European Space Agency has posted a full rundown of the comet’s BO on its website. The mix includes ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), formaldehyde (CH2O) and methanol (CH3OH).

Of course, anyone visiting the comet would be wearing a spacesuit (on top of that, the sense of smell is notoriously numb in space). Nevertheless, taking a whiff of this comet would be like sharing a horse barn with a drunk and a dozen rotten eggs.

“It’s quite a smelly mixture,” she says.

The Rosetta mission has gotten to within just a few miles of the comet. Close enough to whiff its coma, or atmosphere, and conclude that it really stinks.

Why didn’t we know comets smelled so bad before?

“That’s mostly because we’ve never been that close to a comet,” says Altwegg. The Rosetta mission is now just 5 miles from the comet’s surface.

It’s just like a person: You can’t really get a good sense of a person’s body odor until you’re right up next to him.

These chemicals are also clues to how the comet — and maybe how our solar system — formed. And for that reason, Altwegg doesn’t really mind the stench.

“It’s a little smelly, but at the moment it’s a lot of fun to go to work every morning,” she says.

Fun for now. But that could change. The comet is currently getting closer and closer to the sun. And like anything you leave out in the sun too long, it will soon start to smell even worse.

Goodreads Giveaway

There’s a Goodreads promo on for THE NIGHT OF THE COMET that somehow slipped my notice until now. Enter before Aug. 25 to win one of 15 free copies of the book.

More here at Goodreads.

THE NIGHT OF THE COMET One-Year Anniversary Promotion, Continued

Check out the nifty new animated ad that Random House made for the one-year anniversary promotion of THE NIGHT OF THE COMET.


The promo continues through August 18, with the e-book available for just $1.99, anywhere e-books are sold:




Barnes & Noble



In light of the incredible one-year anniversary promotion for THE NIGHT OF THE COMET, it’s only fair to ask: What else can you buy for $1.99?

Here are just a few things you could buy instead of this book:

Shock Gum



One-Year Anniversary Promotion for THE NIGHT OF THE COMET



THE NIGHT OF THE COMET is available on e-book for just $1.99, now through August 18.

Available at:




Barnes & Noble


(Thanks to Ballantine Books for arranging this promotion.)


Random House is planning a promo soon for “The Night of the Comet,” to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its release. More later . . .


Romance in New Orleans, Pt. 2

I enjoyed meeting with members of the Southern Louisiana Romance Writers of America chapter here in New Orleans last weekend. Thanks especially to Chris Smith, super librarian, for arranging the space and etc.

I was surprised to learn that not all the writers there were romance writers; there were also writers of thrillers, horrors, paranormals, detective stories, and young adult fiction.

Here’s a view of them at work:

SOLA Romance 1

And here’s me talking about something:

SOLA Romance 2

And signing a book for author Pamela Kopfler:

SOLA Romance 3

Comet Cocktail No. 7 at Oxalis in the Bywater

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been hankering for a good comet cocktail lately. The last one we had was, what, five months ago, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Feeling that it was high time for another high time, the indefatigable Nicola Wolf and I set out last night to visit Oxalis Restaurant and Bar, in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans.

Here’s a picture of the place:


Nicola pointed out that before it opened as Oxalis half a year ago, the location was used as the restaurant setting in the HBO show Treme. Now it’s a real restaurant, with real good food.

(Oxalis, Nicola also told me, is a plant that grows like crazy in New Orleans. Also known as wood sorrel, it was used by the Algonquin Indians as an aphrodisiac. See how much you can learn by drinking?)

I cornered the bartender and showed her a postcard image of my famous novel, THE NIGHT OF THE COMET:

The Night of the Comet Cover Final

“See here,” I said, following my usual routine. “Can you make a drink like this?”

“Let me think about it for a minute,” said the bartender, whose name was Jesi.

She turned around and peered at the wall of bottles, a finger on her lips. Then, inspired, she nabbed a barback and told him to go get some blueberries, quick.

Here she is at work:

Oxalis 2

She’s a little blurry because she moves so fast.

Oxalis 1

Jesi Goodwin, by the way, is a local gal who comes to New Orleans from Madisonville, near Mandeville. She’s been tending bar at Oxalis since it opened.

Oxalis 3

When she’s not working, she enjoys table tennis, roller skating, and bridge.

Oxalis 4

Her favorite music is classic rock of the 70s, and her favorite actor is Edward G. Robinson. Ah! Thank god, the drink’s ready:

Oxalis 5

It was an excellent comet cocktail. And look at the color! On top of a mash of fresh blueberries, she poured Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey, lemon juice, chocolate mole bitters, and egg white. It’s a variation of “your basic blueberry scotch sour,” Jesi explained. Who even knew there was such a thing?

She said to be sure to take a picture of the whiskey, because that was the key to the whole drink.

Oxalis 6

When we finished that, she gave us, as a present, two frothy shots of nitrogen-infused Ramos Gin Fizz. Those were super good. If you never ate or drank anything else for the rest of your life but nitrogen-infused Ramos Gin Fizz, you’d be one very happy drunk.

Oxalis 7

And here, finally, is a picture of what the bar looks like when your face is on it:

Oxalis 8

Merci beaucoup, Jesi at Oxalis! See you again!