Thursday, June 28, 2007

Is It Over Yet?

It's reached the point of absurdity. I'm actually past being angry at the mess in Washington. Now I'm numb. I just keeping shaking my head at the stupidity. I suspect that's exactly what they were hoping.

The Vice President really isn't in the Executive Office so he doesn't have to comply with the rules re: secret documents. See, he gets his paycheck from the Senate. Word is that the reason they don't want the folks responsible for checking up on the secrets docs snooping around is that Vice's office (and even the Oval Office) have a dismal track record for keeping docs under wraps, like the guy who left a secret doc IN A HOTEL ROOM. But at the same time, Cheney is having "talking points" marked to be treated as if they are Secret. Huh?

The more the Dept of Justice probe continues, the further we see inside the rotting corpse. Hirings based on faith and political leanings? According to Justice Dept. Official Bradley Schlozman you only want those "True Americans" at the DOJ. Those True Americans do not include African-Americans, Jews or Asians. Think I'm making that up? Lord, I wish I was. Monica Goodling, a lawyer with only six months' prosecutorial experience, is given the reins to vet new attorneys for the DOJ. She checked candidates voting records (!) and their party affliation. Firing excellent Attorneys General because they didn't play ball? Ditto. Just how much has this political pogram cost us in terms of prosecutorial talent and ongoing investigations?

If I had my way, there would be a lot of heads rolling right now. If we don't draw the line NOW, future administrations will see the Constitution as irrelevant. Don't think a wily Democrat wouldn't pull the same shenanigans. Our democratic system is being riddled with a pervasive and self-serving cancer. All I can hope is that when this is all over, there's enough left to rebuild and that the cancer can be eliminated. If not, our nation is sliding into an abyss from which there is no return.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Virtual Evil Nears Completion

What, you say, it isn't done yet???? Not quite. We're getting there, though.

The editor has sent me the changes she'd like and I've made them. Lots of rewriting on this one. The end result looks to be very promising. This one's been harder than most for a number of reasons. I've been pondering on those reasons so as not have face them in the future.

One of the reasons is that I rewrote this book five times. Now Bill Fawcett, author/editor, made the comment at A-Kon that if you do more than three rewrites on a book it grows stale. I disagreed. I am beginning to see where Bill lives on this subject.

Not to say that VE is stale. Actually, the characters just started doing odd things that didn't fit their personalities. It was like they were tired of being futzed with and decided to get even with the author. That's where Ms. Editor comes into the picture. She raps my knuckles with a computer-generated ruler and reminds that so-and-so would NOT do such a thing. And if they would, I've better explain WHY and make it a very plausible explanation.

The characters are now back on track and a lot less erratic. At this point my housebound editor (the hubby) is going through the book page by page, making notes if something doesn't work for him. He's an engineer so things have to track or he gets cranky. This sort of review does put a strain on our relationship at times ("Whadda mean that scene doesn't work for you, bub?") but in the end it makes for a much tighter book.

The end nears. I'm really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A-Kon 18

Not every weekend do you get together with 14.5K plus folks who are seriously addicted to anime. Now I admit not knowing much about that fine art, other than an unfortunate encounter with Hentai (think lots of tentacles and young women) at a different convention a few years back. So when I finally got to know there were other types of anime except the aforementioned, I was a happy camper.

As always, there are LOTS of cool costumes, very neat young folks and a dynamite writer's track at A-Kon. This is the second year I've coordinated the Writers' Workshop. Last year we had 6 entries. This year we had 37. Next year we'll be capping the entires so the pubbed authors who donate their time to this project don't need medical assistance by the time they get done line editing the entries.

Like every workshop, there are those just new to the craft all the way to those who can tell a compelling story with only a few changes needed. I was impressed. Everyone was serious about their work and that's awesome. One of those new writers could be a Hugo or a Nebula winner in a few years. I was assisted by the great team of Melanie Fletcher, Tom Knowles and Shanna Swendson. Paying it forward, as we say.

Besides the workshop, Friday evening I retired to the Chapparal Restaurant at the top of the Adams Mark which gives you a fabulous view of Dallas by night. I ate dinner with Tom, his son Jamie and Melanie. We celebrated my ForeWord win with a fine bottle of wine and some of the best food I've had in years.

I also got to hang with Lee & George Martindale this weekend (who plied me with single malt!) along with Bill Fawcett and Teresa Patterson. I'm on the slate for next year at A-Kon and I'm already looking forward to it. They treat me right fine courtesy of the LAB (Little Aussie Bastard) as we lovingly call him. Here's hoping next year he's bipedal again and at his usual rip-roaring best.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Editor's Choice Award (Fiction)

Yesterday afternoon SOJOURN won the top Editor's Choice Award for Fiction through ForeWord Magazine. Here's their press release:

Two books were named the Editor's Choice Prize winners, a distinction that comes with a $1,500 cash prize. The Editor's Choice Prize for Fiction was awarded to Sojourn by Jana Oliver (Dragon Moon Press, 978-1-896944-30-2), the first Science Fiction book to be chosen for this honor.

"This fascinating book is an intricate time travel tale involving journeys between 1888 Victorian England and the year 2057," publisher Victoria Sutherland said. "The book is lavishly researched, with over six dozen sources listed in the author's bibliography. It has already received recognition from other sources, and it is our pleasure to name it as this year's Editor's Choice Prize Winner for Fiction."

As I was in Dallas at A-Kon and my publisher was unable to attend the awards ceremony, Brian Hades of Hades Publications did the honors. He called me with the astounding news during one of the panels. It still hasn't fully hit home. While Brian was at it, he attended the Independent Publisher Book Award Ceremony last night and collected my Gold Medal. I certainly owe him as he has to haul all the loot back to Canada (grin).

And to add icing to the cake, Connie Ward's GRYPHON HIGHLORD, from Dragon Moon, won the Gold in Science Fiction. There was a lot of celebration all around.

Awards like these are a testament to the input of a lot of very good people. Sure, we authors pen the books, but if we aren't held to a higher standard by a critique group (you know who you are!), given excellent editorial input (in my case by Adrienne deNoyelles) graced with awesome covers (artists L.W. Perkins & Christina Yoder), vetted by great beta readers (Tyra Mitchell, Tina Rak, Ally Reineke and Judy Stock), proofed by Nanette Littlestone (an editor in her own right) and given full support by their publisher (Gwen Gades), you just got another book. Everything came to together on this one.

Thanks folks. This one is for all of you.