Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Upward Toward the Summit

Hobbits... that's where my mind is. Hobbits trudging up a steep shale-covered mountain in an quest to reach the top of Mt. Doom and throw the One Ring into its fiery depths. In many ways, finishing a book is much like that climb. You get some flat ground for a time and things are going good and then you hit some gorge or chasm or something large and furry with teeth with an appetite for Hobbits (or writers if none of the others are available). You vanquish the furry thing and move on. And on. Up and up. Eventually you reach the top with your finished manuscript in hand and toss it into the air where it is snatched up by your publisher. Task complete, you collapse into a weary heap, wondering how you'll ever get back down.

Overly dramatic? Not really. I often think of Halflings and great quests when I'm nearing the end of a book. Currently this one is in Revision #2 wherein I clean up the grammar, smooth out plot holes and try to determine why the hell some character waltzed in and then vanished forever. There's also those of vagaries of Victorian society, like which police station was located in Mayfair and where HRH the Prince of Wales was on the 11th of October.

All the while Gollum is whispering in my ear that my precccioussss is not going to be good enough, that my readers will reject it, that my editor will run off to join the French Foreign Legion because the thing is so bad. Gollum is very good at what he does.

The nice thing about getting to the top is that the manuscript goes heavenward (in this case Canada) and Gollum goes into the fiery depths. He always shows back up again for the next book, but at least for a few months the little weasel is quiet.

Now where was I? Ah, yeah, cue LOTR soundtrack, cue Hobbits... trudge.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gee Thanks, Guys.

"We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude. That's the problem here in America: They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq." -- Geo. Bush interview

We liberated their country. We made their tyrant a martyr, destroyed what remained of their shaky infrastructure and killed thousands of their citizens. We unleased a civil war.

Gee, some folks would bitch if they were hung with a new rope, you know?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

How Many More?

Regular readers of this blog know that I've never been in favor of our incursion into Iraq. Now our leaders are ignoring the sage advice of their betters (and elders) and investing even more American soldiers into the middle of brutal cival war to become IED fodder. It's not what the Iraqis want and they have to be onboard with this plan or it's doomed from the start. And now, just to add to the pain, the Pentagon has abandoned the active duty time limit, making our citizen-soldiers' personal lives a quagmire.

Though I sincerely regret the loss of life in all quarters, we cannot build a nation for the Iraqis. Only they have the ability to put aside their religious differences and stop slaughtering each other over a 1400+ year vendetta. I value all life equally, but I hold American lives in especially high regard.

If I trusted our leaders more, I'd be willing to give this "Surge" a chance. I don't. They'd bungled this from the first moment.

Bring 'em home. Now. The sacrifice has been too dear. There will be no winners in this battle.

Learn the lesson this time, will you?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Needed Dose of Konrath

December sort of slid right by me. A combination of a lot of work, two bouts of the same illness and lots of distractions seem to make the month whiz by. I'm just now posting a new podcast for The Curious Mind. I had the joy of interviewing J.A. (Joe) Konrath. Now if you don't know Joe, he's truly one of a kind. Few authors are willing to trek all over the country to visit hundreds of bookstores in an effort to build name recognition and boost booksales. Joe's Rusty Nail 500 book tour was one for the record books. 608 bookstores in only a couple of months. His blog, The Newbie's Guide to Publishing, is always worth a visit. No smoke blowing there. You want to know what it's like to be an author, read Joe's blog.

I'll try to stay on top of the podcasts from this point on, though it will be touch and go. I'm on "deadline" for Virtual Evil, the second book in the Time Rovers series. Due March 1st. I'm still in the middle of the first rewrite. Lots of plot weaving going on, along with late nights.

Welcome to 2007. Hope it's a great year. Do remember to keep an eye on the political types. If they think we're not watching, heavens knows what they'll do.