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Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.
Subjects this month:
Dream Realm Finalist, Armadillocon, Bain Blunders, Free Books, Medical Funny, Book Report, Tonto Tale, Sexual Equality, Quantum Theory, Progress Report, Elderly Isolation, Special Section on Wounded Vets, Final Notes
Dream Realm Finalist
Savage Survival has just appeared at Barnes & Noble and should soon be up at Amazon.com as available for pre-order. I am really happy to see that copies are already being sold for delivery when available, September 28th. Remember, only 500 copies of this special edition will be printed!
There will be other print editions of course but they won't be collector's items.
I will have a number of my other books as well as Savage Survival available. If any of you who are reading this plan to attend the Armadillocon this year, be sure to drop by my dealer's table and chat with me, even if you're not interested in buying.
The great egg explosion! Egg explosion? Yup. This one is all Betty's. It started when we left the house together to run some errands. Well over an hour later when we were on the way home, Betty suddenly shouted "Oh my God! I left those eggs on the stove! The burner was turned on high, too!"
Uh oh. I set the kitchen on fire once when I was being a farmer and househusband and left some bacon frying while I went outside to see what the plumbers were doing about our septic system. That story is described in one of the Life On Santa Claus Lane Books so I won't go into it here, but I immediately remembered the damage I had done by leaving something on the stove. About $15,000 dollars worth.
We were about ten minutes from home when Betty remembered. I had vivid images in my mind of pulling into our road and seeing smoke rising from beyond the tree line, then as the house came into sight, watching flames shooting into the air.
No smoke. Both of us breathed a sigh of relief. No flames. We thought we had dodged that bullet--until we opened the door and the smell assaulted us. The smell we could put up with. It was the remains of the eggs that were the problem. Betty swears she only had two eggs in the pan, but from the looks of the kitchen you'd have thought she left two dozen boiling. There were egg shells and congealed pieces of egg white and bits of yellow yoke stuck to every wall in the kitchen. They were adhered to the ceiling, spattered over the light fixtures, on the floor, all over the stove, and on into the den. Obviously they had exploded. And even more obviously, it hadn't been a small explosion! I still wonder what kind of sound they made when they burst. It must have been a dilly, judging by the remains of those two little eggs.
Needless to say, Betty turned the burner off and threw away the pan once it had cooled. We got the ventilator fan going to rid the house of the smell, then proceeded with the cleanup. That was no small job. You couldn't just reach up with a broom and sweep the bits of egg off the ceiling and walls. Every place they'd hit had to be scrubbed clean. It took about an hour and then we sat down and laughed at our follies.
Bain Blunders. That's an apt title for this segment of my newsletter but I sure as heck hope I don't have a new entry every month!!
Anyway, Medics Wild! was only the prequel. Postwar Dinosaur Blues begins the real series. To qualify for a free copy, simply email me from my web site (or from your mailbox) with the title, Postwar Dinosaur Blues in the subject line (or you can shorten it to PWDB and I'll know what you mean). The first five people to send it will receive an autographed, very nice looking trade paperback copy of the book, free of charge, postage included. All I ask is that if you like it, please tell at least five other people. Simple, huh? Overseas winners must pay the postage, which runs about eight dollars, but for all others I pay it. One exception is active duty personnel with APO addresses. I pay postage for them.
Remember, to qualify, send me an email message (from my web site or your address book, doesn't matter) with the subject line Postwar Dinosaur Blues or simply PWDB. If you're one of the people who get a book, all I ask in return is that you tell five other people if you like it.
Remember a few months ago when I reported on memory foam and TempurPedic mattresses and how much they helped mine and Betty's back when sleeping? I happened to think: the sore nipples began shortly after getting that four inch memory foam overlay for our bed. That night I gave conscious thought to the way I was sleeping on either side (I can't sleep on my back or front because of spinal problems). Sure enough, I noticed I turned forward a bit regardless of which side I slept on, but more so when I slept on my left side. And my left nipple was the sorer than my right. Each night, I was sinking into the memory foam just far enough to rub my nipples and cause them to become sore! Solution? I just stuck a pillow in front of me regardless of which side I lay on to keep me from leaning forward. Problem solved. No more sore nipples. But man, the tax payers sure spend a lot of money for nothing! I thought it was hilarious and so did the doc. (Not costing the taxpayers money, but trying to track down a causative disease when it was a simple mechanical problem). I think the doc learned a little bit more about thinking outside the box from the incident, and I did, too!
Strong Men Armed by Robert Leckie is the story of the U.S. Marines in combat in the Pacific during WWII. It is detailed but still compelling, fascinating reading, written by a man who was there in the thick of the fighting. It's the best non-fictional narration of combat in the Pacific during WWII I've found. I spent two years in a combat zone, and certainly heard enough bullets zinging around, but I was never involved with infantry type fighting. It is almost unbelievable to me how men can face situations such as described in this book and continue day after day to go forward into the face of heavy gunfire and artillery and repel banzai charges in near-overwhelming numbers, yet stay in the lines, knowing very well that many of them will be killed and wounded. I've read a lot of very good fiction concerning combat in Europe in WWII but nothing in the way of non-fiction nearly as good as this book. I might also mention This Kind of War by T. R Fehrenbach as the most definitive non-fiction account of combat at the squad and company levels for the Korean War. In fact, This Kind of War ought to be required reading by every politician who even thinks about sending our troops into combat, and made required reading for our NCOS and Officers as well. Anyway, I'd really like to see a good history of the combat in Europe during WWII. If you know of one, please mail me.
I just finished John Ringo's Through The Looking Glass, where an accident results in a plethora of two way openings to alien worlds. One of them opens into a very bad world and earth is immediately invaded by well-nigh irresistible alien forces bent on conquest. I won't go into a lot of detail, but I will say that the last 50 or 60 pages had me on the edge of my chair, oblivious to everything around me. The book kept me up well past my usual bed time. I didn't even stop to eat supper. I was absolutely mesmerized. Once I think I'm fully recovered, I'll be ready to start the sequel to it, written in collaboration with Travis S. "doc travis" Taylor.
Okay, I recovered and am pleased to report that the sequel, Vorpal Blade by Ringo and Taylor was equally as good. Some parts were so nerve-wracking I could hardly bear to read them, a good indication that I was totally involved with the characters. Those two guys are extremely good authors alone and even better (if possible) when writing together.
With the books I reported on last month by these two authors and this month's books by them, I can honestly say I haven't enjoyed such a good old science fiction binge like that in many years. A great mix of science, adventure, military action and extrapolation of present trends into the future, as well done as anything I've ever read, which says a lot since I read a great deal of science fiction.
I might add that military science fiction is a rather popular subgenre right now and it doesn't get much better when handled properly, like they have, or like David Weber does.
A little note here: don't let the term "Military Science Fiction" deter you from reading books of that nature. Most of them are extremely well done and if they do contain military figures and equipment, extrapolated into the future, they also are usually character driven and contain many other subplots, enough so that the military action is simply an overtone to the great stories within.
And another note: I do hope my readers don't mind me putting in reviews for books written some time ago, such as Uller Uprising, above, or some other great titles, many having nothing to do with science fiction, although a lot of them are. I'm simply trying to introduce my younger readers (and probably older ones, too) to some really good reads they may have missed in the past. There are so many good books being published these days that you simply can't read them all, no matter how hard you try. I haven't been able to keep up since the sixties.
And finally, as I've said before, many times, reading is a subjective experience. That's why I do not report on books I don't like or that are only so-so. It wouldn't be fair to the authors because other readers might very well enjoy them. Besides, I'm not a professional critic. Every book I mention is one I think is an exceptionally good read and I'm hoping to pass on my enjoyment to others.
Okay, on with the reviews. After the great binge, I read After Dark by Phillip Margolin. It's a real thriller of the legal and courtroom type that I enjoyed a lot. I didn't figure out the real culprit until right at the end. After that I relaxed with one of my favorite books by Robert A. Heinlein, The door Into Summer. It's still in print, of course. All of his are, I believe. But this is the book that gave me the idea for the FTL propulsion method used in my science fiction novel, Crazy Ships.
On our last trip to the bookstore I picked up a copy of Spider Robinson's Telempath. Wow, what a great book. The first version came out twenty years ago, but this is a later edition, I think. I don't know why I haven't read more of his work. He's a very good author.
And now here's a funny about Tonto:
Then it came to me. I read Exodus by Leon Uris soon after it was published. I read the hardcover so it must have been about 1960 or thereabouts. I was fascinated with reading how the Jewish women fought beside their men in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 and later on when the state of Israel was in the process of formation. It struck me then that women must be able to do just about anything men could, allowing for differences in physical strength. I believe I must have done enough reading before then of strong female characters to lay the groundwork because I wasn't a big macho type even then. Changing my attitudes was relatively easy, but reading Exodus was the real turning point.
Since then there's been loads of research on the human brain and how it works, how men and women differ in their attitudes and behavior and so on. Many of the differences can be attributed to culture. In fact, at one time it was thought that cultural influence was the sole reason governing the behavior and attitudes of men and women--the way they were raised as children, with boys given guns and trucks to play with and girls given dolls and toy dishes and all the other little divisions between the sexes that occur as kids grow up. I know Mother would never have thought of asking any of us boys to wash dishes, for instance--that was a girl job. But further research proved cultural upbringing can account for only so much of behavior. Some of it is ingrained. Our brains have evolved to think a certain way depending on our gender, if you will. So in the final analysis, it is my belief that the sexes are and should be treated as equals, while recognizing that we are different in many aspects and all the preaching in the world isn't going to change that fact.
And personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love it that our species has two sexes. I love the differences in us and I do my best to respect and understand them while recognizing that the sexes are and should be treated as equals. I'm sure I'm not always successful because some attitudes are so ingrained by the environment that you're not even aware of them. I do try, though, a continuing conscious effort to treat women with the equality and respect they're due. I guess I'll never break some habits, such as opening doors for the woman, holding the chair as they're seated at a restaurant, and so forth, nor do I want to. Regardless of what some say, I think those little courtesies are still appreciated by the majority of women and they emphasize that while we may be equal, there are still differences. Shucks, when you get right down to it, it's almost like men and women belong to different species.
By the way (and I think this is a much overlooked facet pertaining to the liberation of women in our country), science fiction authors are the most accurate prognosticators of future trends (although even they usually underestimate the speed of technological and sociological advances). In their role as writers about what the future might hold, science fiction authors were among the very first authors who began routinely inserting really strong female characters into their stories, fully the equal of their male characters in every respect. They didn't make a big thing of it; they simply wrote as if that's the way it would be in the future. Their predictions have mostly come true, in America at least, in most parts of the country, even though there's still a ways to go. We're getting there, but I doubt that many American women really know how much science fiction authors contributed to their liberation, simply by writing novels and stories of the future when their time had arrived.
For all my female readers, stop for a moment and thank the science fiction authors of previous years. They had a tremendous, though little recognized, influence on your place in our society today. And I'm not taking anything away from such authors as Margaret Mitchell's heroine Scarlett O'Hara, as strong a female character as you're likely to see in literature from that era. Still, Scarlett was bound by the attitudes of the day and Mitchell was forced to instill them in her character simply for verisimilitude. It was science fiction authors who could go into the future and create female characters who served as commanding officers on ships, were chief scientists and political leaders and who held all the jobs mostly reserved for men at the time of their writing.
Here's a little story I don't think I've even told Betty about, although it's not a secret of any kind. I just happened to think about that day. I think I have mentioned it to her, but not in this particular aspect. It was in the seventies, just when women were entering a lot of professions that had been almost exclusively male until that time. I was between marriages and had just moved into a new apartment. This was in the days when telephone people actually came to your house to connect up your new phones when you moved! I was surprised as all get out when a very attractive young lady in her twenties showed up in all the regalia of the telephone installer/repairer. I showed her where the connections were and left her to it. I had noticed she wasn't wearing a wedding or engagement ring and wanted very badly to ask her for her phone number, but as I sat there, I thought about how she must get hit on a dozen times a day in the course of her work. So instead, I read a book while she worked and tried to think of an acceptable way to approach her. I've never been very fast on my feet in situations like that and I never did come up with a good solution for letting her know that if she were free to date, I'd like to see her off duty. She finished her work. I thanked her politely, and she left. I never saw her again, but I've never forgotten the event, either. I don't suppose there's a moral here, other than women should be respected as they go about their work, the same as men are. But, dadgummit--I sure did want to ask that pretty young lady out or ask for her number or anything to meet her later!
This was my first attempt at writing in the alternate earth format, even though I've always enjoyed reading that type of story. Barbara was a great help in keeping our story line from foundering on inconsistencies, an easy thing to do with this kind of book. I've since written a very successful novel that used the concept in a limited way, and one of my first novels was a "back in time" story that The Science Fiction Chronicle reviewed back in the nineties, Circles Of Displacement. Used copies are still for sale at Amazon and I intend to have it reissued by a different publisher and will update it a bit to make it more relevant to today. Really, there's not much work to be done on it, mostly a matter of car styles now outdated and simple things like that. I've learned since to avoid those little things that can date a story and lessen the enjoyment of someone reading it years later.
My autobiography, greatly expanded from the memoirs I posted on my web site, is now available as an e-book (and later will be out in print) at Fictionwise.com under the title Darrell Bain's World Of Books. The title comes from the general theme, how the love of reading kept me going many times when I might otherwise have despaired.
I also took my first venture into the horror genre with the publication a short story at Fictionwise.com and eReader.com, titled Coyote Scare. Betty read it and remarked, "A la Stephen King." I like to experiment with writing in different genres, but I don't think I'll do any more horror for a while. I have enough nightmares as it is!
I'm presently working on a new short story to be titled Robyn's Rock and anxiously awaiting the hard cover edition of Savage Survival. It is one of my best books, I believe, and was one of those rarities, a novel that simply popped into my head, already fully plotted. I didn't even have an internal debate over the title like I usually do. I sat down the same day and began writing. Actually, the story was already so firmly embedded in my mind that it practically wrote itself, and it only took a little over a month to complete the first draft, even though it's a little longer than most of my novels.
Special Section on Wounded Vets
Posted to a publisher's email list by Rick Gelinas:
I am looking for a top notch public relations & marketing firm with global reach to help a nonprofit program for wounded soldiers in hospitals. I'm hoping one or more of you can recommend our program to someone you know who is tops in that field and make the introduction.
What follows is a news story, in part written more like literature than news. I was going to send it myself to a few major newspapers, but it would be far more effective, of course, for a top PR firm to send it out to many media. It always looks best to have a story come from a recognized PR house, I know.
I'm the volunteer director (we are all volunteers here) of a 501(c)(3) corporation I created 24 years ago, though this program I´m telling you about now is just aborning. Our board of directors would like to have media & marketing work donated on an ongoing basis. Until now, I´ve always done the PR & marketing work myself, but this is too big a job for me-and much too important for my amateur skills. I'll stick to administration.
In the email I had prepared to send major newspapers, but am now withholding until I can enroll a PR/marketing firm, the subject line reads as you see it above in the subject line of this email to you. Then the body of that email reads as you see it below:
. . . and he was crying softly, trying to hide it with his only hand.
*Books for Boots (B4B) has planned two functions:
1. Participating authors donate their royalties from at least one book. An agency yet to be selected will give that money to poor families so they can make a bedside visit.
2. Participating publishers pledge that, for at least one book, for every copy they sell they will give a book for free to a soldier in hospital-again, working through an agency to be selected.
B4B, which will focus mainly on new works of fiction, is the creation of Rick & Linda Gelinas of Winter Haven, Florida. A new program, the B4B launch was held as a gala party at the law offices of Peterson Myersof that city, on June 21, 2007, with the city's Mayor Nat Birdsong on deck to make the Keynote address and with more than 150 leading citizens of central Florida in attendance. Eight top name restaurants had donated gourmet finger food for the event, six local florists donated door prizes, a big name caterer had donated the food setups, and a new wine shop in town was there with elegant wines for sipping. Fat Frank & The Plank Spankers played New Orleans blues softly in the background.
The Gelinas husband/wife co-author team of an award-winning adventure/thriller novel was there to sign books. They sold 71 copies that evening, in hardcover-and the entire royalties are now set aside in a B4B bank account. The promised 71 large-size trade paperback copies will go out to vets in hospital as soon as those books are printed later this summer.
Using the pen names Axel & Linda Hansen (he was her grandfather), the Gelinas team is co-author of The Vengeance Trap, winner of the Bronze Medal in the Independent Publisher Award's Romance Division. The Gelinases´ first novel, and the firstB4B book, this is the lead work of The Vengeance Trilogy. The Gelinas team has made the B4B pledges for all three books of the trilogy.
The story, set on a worldwide stage, is said by the Gelinas co-authors to carry the message deep between the lines that the Creator does not want us to be killing one another because we worship differently.
"Our work is first and foremost entertainment," Linda Gelinassays. "We hope the anti-violence message is buried so deep that no reader will ever feel preached at."
The couple also created Ophir Publishing to self-publish their award-winning book, which is praised by reviewers throughout the western world as "non-stop action" by "characters to care deeply about" in a family saga that one reviewer called "epic" in scope. A sampling of those reviews, with sources identified, along with a sample of the book may be seen at www.ophirpublishing.com.
Now the Gelinas couple, dubbed "that dynamic duo" by their hometown newspaper, is seeking help to further the aims of the B4B program they created.
"Authors, including unknowns like Linda and me," Rick Gelinas says, "are invited to donate at least one book´s royalties. Publishers are invited to get into the program, too. The hope is that the giving of royalties and books, which is tax-deductible, will promote author and book awareness; but, of course, building a book's success still takes a lot of marketing effort by the author or the publisher. Being in B4B can help create newsworthiness, but it doesn´t guarantee anything.
"Also, we urgently need someone to donate Internet and mass media marketing for B4B itself," he says. "Ophir has its own website, and soon B4B will have one too-created by a generous host, Jeff Latimer also of central Florida, whose name shall be prominently shown on the B4B site he is donating, and Jeff has already created the B4B logo. And it is stunning!
"Now we need all the bells and whistles that universal marketing and complete public relations can create; the website videos, the blogs, PSAs for TV and radio; you name it. By the way, a nationwide communications company, Brighthouse, has just promised us free air time as soon as we can get a 30-second public service announcement made up, so we're eagerly hunting for someone to donate that right now.
"And we need someone to manage the website for B4B, visiting it daily to tweak it for SEO and all the other things that make a website totally effective."
Persons interested in helping B4B in any way are encouraged to contact Rick Gelinas, a.s.a.p., at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the location shown below.
Rick Gelinas, Publisher, Ophir Publishing
And here is the reply from Lida Quillen, the publisher of my book, Medics Wild!
I will commit to the B4B program. Starting today, for each copy of Medics Wild! by Darrell Bain sold, I will donate a copy of Medics Wild! to your program (agency to be selected).
Cover art, ISBN, etc.
You might be interested to know the author, Darrell Bain, is a Vietnam veteran. The artist, Myron Leski, is a Vietnam veteran. The publisher, Lida E. Quillen, is a Vietnam-era veteran.
Lida E. Quillen, Publisher
Lida sent both the above to me and here is my reply to her:
Lida, that organization can certainly have any royalties I am due from Medics Wild!, if there's any left after your act of generosity.
I'll also be glad to provide a blurb in my newsletter for them and a permanent link to their web site under the links part of the menu at my web site, with a short blurb describing what it's for if they'll tell me what they want me to say (it can't be very long, say a hundred words). I can give them a little bit longer blurb in the newsletter. (as you see, I have) I also have some extra copies of Medics Wild! I could donate to them if they're interested.
I can also donate my royalties from the e-book. It's not that much but I'm sure every little bit will help.
I'm assuming you've made sure this is all legitimate. You really have to be careful these days. There are loads of low down scum who prey on veterans and their families.
By coincidence, I've been thinking of something I could do for vets now that I'm a little more able to afford it and this sounds like a fine way to do so.
Also, in conjunction with yours and my donations of books, you may be able to find a way to use the fan letter below (without identifying the person who wrote it) that I received several months ago.
The parts of the letter you can use follows:
I did 2 years in Nam as a reporter, spent too much time outside Saigon,
ln all those years I couldn't revisit Nam in any way until your "Medics
Thanks again for Medics Wild. (Name withheld by the author of Medics Wild!)
And that completes this special section of the newsletter. Thank you all very much for reading it.
Mike's Writing Workshop:
Mike comes highly recommended.
Happy reading to you all.
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