Monday, September 29, 2008

The End Game

Galley. This can be a number of things, but in the publisher world it is your book, typeset, awaiting your careful scrutiny. In the Big Apple they often send their galleys out in printed form. For my publisher, who does use technology based in the 21st century, the galley is a PDF. Jana then goes through said galley, line by line, page by page, making notes if something is amiss.

Every now and then I catch a sentence that just doesn't make sense. Annoying that it made it this far in all the editing process, but it happens. So I ask my publisher to change it along with a contrite "author boo-boo" notation.

The end result is that after I've proofed this puppy one last time, it goes back, the errors are corrected, I take another quick look at it and then Madman's Dance is ON PRESS. Which is a good thing as new story ideas are already starting to pester me.

I will, however, take Thursday night off to listen the VP's debate. Note to self: buy more popcorn.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And There Was Much Rejoicing

The third book in the Time Rovers Series has winged its electronic way to Canada and my publisher's "In Box." There is much rejoicing here as Madman's Dance is a big mother, some 152.5K words. For comparison, Sojourn was about 123K. This is Sojourn on steroids. All total, the three books in the series add up to almost 400K words. Them be a lot of words.

It's my hope that some of those words will resonate with the readers. I'm taking a much deserved sabbatical as I muck out the house (dynamite and a scoop shovel seem to work very nicely) and then it's back to work. As Madman's Dance is my last contractual agreement with Dragon Moon Press, I'm turning my eyes toward a paranormal romance I've been screwing around with for over a decade and then to a quick polish of the fantasy series I self-pubbed in 2001 & 2002. Yes, those lovers of the DragonFire Fantasy Series may yet see Book #3 and the resolution of Morwyn & Belywn's saga. In the short term, however, it's up to me and my agent to get these in shape and in front of (hopefully) interested editorial type people in The Big Apple. Then, as they say, the rest is history.

Thanks for joining me on the ride. There will be more Rover books down the line, just not in the short term. And now where are those matches? I think the living room is ripe for detonation.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What the Future May Hold

Should you have any doubt that Ms. Palin's potential turn in DC government would be any different than Mr. Bush & Mr. Cheney, check out this excellent NY Times article.

She muzzled city employees while mayor. Now the McCain/Palin campaign are trying to do the same on a bigger scale:

"At a recent lunch gathering, an official with the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce asked its members to refer all calls from reporters to the governor’s office. Dianne Woodruff, a city councilwoman, shook her head.

“I was thinking, I don’t remember giving up my First Amendment rights,” Ms. Woodruff said. “Just because you’re not going gaga over Sarah doesn’t mean you can’t speak your mind.”

Using private email addresses to avoid subpoenas, hiring cronies with little relevant experience to run state offices, firing critics.

Come on people, do we need another 4-8 years of this crap? Is this the best we can do?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Madman's Dance

The end is near. MADMAN'S DANCE is almost done. Like so close I can taste it. The proofreader has trudged through the first 3/4's of the tome, making her dainty comments, adding commas, removing commas and pointing out when I've changed point of view more often than necessary. My editor is busily thumping the last half of the fourth quarter of the book into shape. Once that's done, I fix what she found, get it proofed, hubby does one last read through for inconsistencies and PONG! it's over the border to my publisher.

For those of you attending the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary, the book will debut there. Seems appropriate. Calgary is the home of my publisher (Dragon Moon Press) and the parent publisher (Hades Publications) whose other imprints are Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy & Tesseract).

Amazon has the drop date as Oct. 1st. They lie and I can't seem to change the date not matter how many times I submit the information on their little form. It's Oct. 30th, folks.

This is a complex book. If you haven't read the first two, you're pretty much screwed as the plot is multi-layered and intricate. I'm recommending that you take the time to re-read the first two, or at least VIRTUAL EVIL, before you tackle MMD (as it's called in our household). The story is chock full of goodies: bad guys, good guys, explosions, double crosses, romance, Victorian prisons, asylums and angels.

Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Background Check? Ah, Not So Much.

Frank Rich wrote an excellent article on the Palin-McCain Shotgun Wedding today in the NY Times. I was especially intrigued by statement that Ms. Palin hadn't undergone a FBI background check, though (according the link Rich posted) the campaign said she had.

This hits home on a personal level. I had to undergo a complete background check, including fingerprinting, to obtain my GFL (Georgia Firearms License). Though I winced having the Feds winnow through my personal life, I accepted that as part of the requirement needed to obtain that license as I would be in charge of a potentially lethal weapon.

So why isn't Ms. Palin, who may be as little as one Code Blue away from our nuclear arsenal, given the same work over? Or any candidate for that matter? Just how do they vet these people? Should there be a standard vetting procedure, including full security and background checks? If that were in place, would some of our most excellent presidents (Kennedy, Roosevelt) ever have made it into office?

Interesting question and one I suspect we might not see answered on the national stage. So what do you folks think?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ms. Palin Part Deux

You know, I suspected this was coming. Alaska may be its own little world, a fiefdom if you will, but respect is the basis for every human interaction. Sarah don't got it. In reading her bio I found a woman who is driven to succeed, willing to cut others off at the knees (her mother-in-law for instance) and willing to punish those who don't give her what she wants. It's that vindictive streak that worries me.

Which leads to the latest revelation, overheard in a restaurant after Obama bested Clinton:

"So Sambo beat the bitch."

Oy! If the info in this article can be verified, Ms. P has some serious problems. You don't call some of your constituents "Arctic Arabs". You don't conjure up old black stereotypes. It's preferable you don't call one of the most experienced female politicians in the country "bitch" and you definitely don't hold grudges. Alaskans need to speak out and tell us what we might be getting as a VP. Now is not the time to worry about reprisals down the line. The whole country will pay if this woman is what the rumors suggest.

And the question for the week (courtesy of the husband): How did we get here?

I swear, somewhere the Dark Lord (Dick Cheney) is rubbing his hands in glee.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Give Us Women A Break, Will Ya?

For decades I have been waiting for the chance to see a female in the Oval Office. In all fairness, we should have equal chance to screw things up just as badly as you guys. Where I am not a supporter of Hillary Clinton, she's certainly qualified to be there. So are a number of other women from both parties. Women who have spent decades in public service, who know how things work and have been seasoned in the fire, as it were.

So Mr. McCain's choice of Gov. Palin as his running mate makes no sense to me. Unlike Obama's team, which methodically winnowed through potential VP choices with incredible depth, it appears the Maverick said, "Find me a chick who's got pull with the Right Wingers." So at the last minute (see link below) he chooses Palin. WHY? There are a number of other Republican women who HAVE experience on the national stage and would fit the bill. Why her?

His main objective was to pander to the Religious Right. I understand political expediency, but while you're pandering, make sure you get the right person. McCain's people (and McCain himself) didn't spend much time on this decision. That says a great deal about this man's judgment. The Vice President is the second most important person in this country. When POTUS ceases to be able to function for any reason (surgery, death, etc). it's the VP who picks up the reins. Why in G*d's name would you pick someone who has had no experience? Yes, she might be Commander of the Alaska National Guard. Big whoop. And her state is near Russia (this is a selling point according to Cindy McCain). Has she stood toe-to-toe with Putin recently? I doubt it.

Obama, to his credit, picked a man with an incredible resume. No matter what you think of Mr. Biden, he could step into the Oval Office without a moment's hesitation. But not Gov. Palin. Eighteen months in a tiny state's governorship and former mayor of a town of about 5K (back when she was in office) doesn't qualify you for the Big Leagues.

Why did she agree to do this? Hubris? Guts? Didn't she realize this would have a massive impact on her family? Why would you put your pregnant, unmarried daughter into the klieg lights of a campaign? Why would you take on such a job when you have an young infant with Down Syndrome? Where some might see her choices as courageous, I see them as self serving. The teen and the infant have priority here. Period. That's the contract you take on when you become a mother. She has decades ahead of her to pursue her political career. Right now her family needs her more.

The role of VP, even if it is just attending state funerals and such, is a FULL TIME JOB. So is being a mother. Twice over with what's going in on Ms. Palin's family. She's got her priorities wrong IMHO. Women cannot have it all. Taking on the governorship of Alaska was enough of a challenge, she doesn't need to take on Washington. It's not like Ms. Palin is the last Republican woman who is available for office. She should have said, "No thanks, John. Get back to me in a few years."

So, Mr. Maverick, if you thought tossing a "chick" into the mix would get my vote, you're right. I was uncommitted when it came to this race. I wasn't going to vote for you, but I was on the fence about Obama. Now I'm committed -- for Obama. If you think so little of me, my fellow sisters and my country to not do your homework, then you're not fit for office.

Postscript: There has been a lot of talk in the media about a "double standard". How women are chastised for taking on jobs and family but men are not. Maybe that's where I'm a bit old-fashioned. I know women are capable of almost anything they set their minds to. With that ability comes responsibility: sometimes it best NOT to take on that job if your family has a situation that needs your attention. Yes, it would be good if guys were held to the same standard, but women have always been the nurturers. Obama's situation is significantly different than the Repub VP nominee.

Ms. Palin has three things going on in her family: her son is deploying to Iraq, she has a pregnant teen and her wee one has Down Syndrome. Talk about a load to carry. Any one of those is a tough burden. To add a national campaign and potential stint in the White House to the mix is too much in my opinion. But who knows, I may be eating these words in a year or so.

And one final thought. Gail Collins, in the NY Times made an excellent point:
For all her great skills at presentation, many people, including some Republicans who think the microphone is off, believe that Sarah Palin is a terrible choice for running mate. But you have to remember who the other options were.