Another Deadline

By Mark Alpert

Me to Editor: I’m writing the book’s epilogue right now. As we speak.

Editor: Really?

Me: Yes! I’m, like, three paragraphs from the end. And I’m pushing aside everything else to get it done. No phone calls, no emails, no social media, no blog posts. I’m not even reading the newspaper.

Editor: So you didn’t hear what happened with Paul Manafort?

Me: Okay, I read that story. I mean, I had to. But nothing else, I swear.

Editor: All right, all right. Just send me the manuscript as soon as you can.


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About Mark Alpert

Contributing editor at Scientific American and author of science thrillers: Final Theory (2008), The Omega Theory (2011), Extinction (2013), The Furies (2014), The Six (2015), The Orion Plan (2016), The Siege (2016), and The Silence (2017). His latest thriller, The Coming Storm (St. Martin's Press, 2019), is a cautionary tale about climate change, genetic engineering, and Donald Trump. His website:

8 thoughts on “Another Deadline

  1. TKZ suggestion –
    Perhaps on days when there is no post TKZ followers might post and share something about themselves and their work (Not sure if Amazon or other links could be posted but that would be neat).
    Does that sound like a reasonable default on days when an abbreviated or no formal post is available?
    A stop at TKZ is part of my daily habit and feels “off” when empty.
    I’d be interested in learning more about followers and their work and would like to have others learn of my books.
    Does that idea interest anyone as an opportunity on days when there is a void? Okay with the TKZ author team?
    Just a notion from a long time TKZer…

  2. “A stop at TKZ is part of my daily habit and feels “off” when empty.” – you raise a valid point and it’s brave of you to express it. I feel the same way. Perhaps TKZ might look to add a couple of other bloggers so that there is always something of substance for us regular subscribers? A weekly posting may be too much for writers if they’re in the middle of a crunch time or a hard deadline. I’m not sure if the suggestion to have subscribers blog is viable but many columns I read have guest bloggers they can call on (I’m sure they are somehow “juried” by the regular crew because they always offer substantive advice.)

    Mark-wish you all good luck on finishing that epilogue!

    • 🙂 I’ve thought the same thing.
      Since these posts (I assume) are scheduled well in advance, one would think the posters might ask to switch with someone if things come up, or find a guest (vetted) to stand in. I agree, getting a “sorry, no post today” puts a droop in my morning.
      Not sure I’d want the BSP approach, but I don’t see a reason for a void unless it’s a scheduled vacation/holiday for the whole blog.

  3. Tom, thanks for stating your thoughts. I’ve thought the same, many times, but have not been brave enough to write it.

    Maggie, I agree. Your ideas make sense.

    To be totally honest, I often don’t even check in when I don’t expect to find anything. TKZ is one of the best blogs out there, but this is a recurring problem. I hope these thoughts are taken as constructive criticism.

  4. I understand everyone’s disappointment. Even on the days I don’t comment, I always read the posts. If anyone ever needs a sub, just yelp. My thoughts and fifty cents might even get you a cup of coffee.

    Meanwhile, how about a little “flash fiction” exercise? I’ll give you five words, and you have to write a story in 100 words or less. Here are the words:


    (Don’t ask me how I came up with this list.)

    • I’ll raise the stakes! Best flash fiction (according to reader comments and me) gets an honest review from me on Amazon for one of their books.

  5. Tom and Maggie both had great suggestions. This is such a great site that a few more bloggers to cover the “dead” spots would be a treat.

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