From the old computer and new desks of Darrell Bain
Note: Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.
Political Story, Betty's Christmas, Car Trouble, Bureaucratic Blundering, Progress Report and more.
Betty's Christmas Book Gifts
Speaking of Betty, she has some new material up at Fictionwise.com and eReader.com. The title is Nurses In Your Home. This is a truly heart-warming combination of two articles she's written. The first has been widely read and is included in my anthology Around The Bend. The other is a complementary article to the first and was written years ago but just recently discovered while we were remodeling the office. I'm extremely pleased to present these two pieces together for the first time. Fair warning: Have a hanky handy before you start reading. You'll need it!
Eyelid Surgery Results
Finally I just filled out a form for them to have it withheld from our checking account to be sure it's paid, but now SS will probably suddenly start withholding it, too, and really cause a hassle. By the way, do you all know where the phrase Catch-22 came from? It's the title of a novel of WWII by Joseph Heller, a very satirical look at the military mind. I thought of him while I was writing Medics Wild. And I sure thought of him while the above was going on. I'm still ticked off about it. What ever happened to polite, helpful service? There sure seems to be a dearth of it nowadays.
The Original Sex Gates Novel
It has a completely different ending than the original, and it contains one more major character and several more supporting ones. In this original version, all questions are answered and all issues resolved in this one book. It is being published now in response to all the fan mail and interest the trilogy written with Jeanine Berry generated and continues to generate. "The Sex Gates" has already become a science fiction cult classic and this book should be a significant addition to the sex gates universe.
Other than that, I've just barely started several stories and novels, none of them yet far enough along to say much about. The latest Williard Brothers novel is still languishing while I try to think of a way to get them out of the trouble they're in and the book about Tonto the wonder dog saving humanity from alien invaders is at the same point. I'll wake up one morning with an idea of how to finish them but I don't know when it will be.
Also, as noted above, I have a nifty new short story out, a political piece in a way, but it's pure science fiction. But oh how I wish the system depicted in the story could be put into practice! The title, as noted above is A Simple Idea.
And finally, (the newsletter is written intermittently) I've gotten back to the Williard Brothers, taking them out of the frying pan but putting them right back into the fire. Maybe I'll get that book finished this year. It's at about 40,000 words right now.
Note: Warp Point is really off and running. It had over two hundred downloads at Fictionwise just the first ten days it was out and continues to sell briskly. That makes me happy and my publisher happy.
I re-read The Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour. It's a fascinating account of this great western writer's wanderings from the age of fifteen to thirty and the books he read along the way. It's mixed in with some fascinating bits of history from all over the world. I recommend it highly, as well as any of his other books. Please don't dismiss this great writer just because he wrote mostly westerns. For one thing, you can be almost guaranteed that everything in the background of one of his stories is absolutely factual, from the description of the area to the fauna and flora he might mention to the kinds of food the characters eat and the way they cooked it. He was quite a man. Try that Wandering Man book first if you've never read any of his works and you'll see why.
I delved back into David Brin's Uplift Series with Startide Rising and the last of the second uplift trilogy, Heaven's Reach. The second trilogy isn't quite as enjoyable as the first because the multiple viewpoint is a distraction, but if you've read the first trilogy, you just about have to read the second. Brin is an amazingly versatile writer.
For the first time in ages, I re-read Slan by A.E. Van Vogt. The SF classic is still just as good even though it has some flaws, but the writing is so good you don't really notice them until the third or fourth reading. It's on the list as one of the all time great SF novels, just as Startide Rising is.
Also, I just finished reading the biography of a fighter pilot who did little actual fighting but did change the whole outlook of the military for both air and land warfare. His name was John Boyd. The name of the book is Boyd by Robert Coram. Boyd was an amazing man. More people need to know of his contributions. His theories even carried over into business. If you want proof of how good he was, more Marines than anyone else showed up for his funeral--and he was an Air Force Pilot!
I don't know if other authors re-read their own books, but I do. I just finished Crazy Ships, my novel of a very unique and dangerous method of faster than light travel in a future where the world is ruled by giant corporations. I wrote the first part of the book fifteen years ago and finished it up five years ago--and it looks as if my world of giant corporations running things might become true. When I started the book, no one had ever heard the word "Globalization!"
And I bit the bullet and ordered Ten Percent of Nothing by Jim Fisher, describing the agents from hell, Dorothy Deering and her kin, the ones who scammed me out of so much money, along with thousands of others. I urge every writer and would be writer to read this book. It might save you some trouble later on and if nothing else, it's a very interesting book on how easy a scam can be worked on unsuspecting dupes like me.
We debated for a moment then decided to try somewhere else, then if we couldn't find the frozen tails, we'd come back and get the live lobster. So next we went to Brookshire Brothers. They didn't have lobster of any kind. The only other grocery store anywhere close (remember, we live way out in the country) was H.E.B. Neither of us thought they would carry them. We started not to even stop, but to go on back to Wal-Mart, but ultimately thought, what the heck, may as well try. We were so certain that H.E.B. wouldn't have them that Betty simply let me out in front of the store so I could run inside and ask. And so I did.
"No, we don't have any frozen lobster tails," the cashier told me. "You're sure?" I asked. "Positive," she said. I turned to go, then something, I don't know what, impelled me to go look for myself. I went back to the frozen meat section and sure enough, there were no frozen lobster tails there. Again I turned to go, but again, something made me hesitate. I saw an employee near the meat section and went over to her and asked. "No," she said. "No lobster." I started to leave, but once again, as if someone or something was guiding me, I turned back. I walked along the meat bins until suddenly I saw the little bell with the sign Ring Bell For Service. I rang the bell. Eventually a gentleman appeared.
"Do you have any lobster tails?" I asked. He started to say no and I started to turn around, search ended. Perhaps it was something in my expression, or perhaps it was that guiding spirit still active and by my side.
"Wait," the man said. "I think we may have just gotten some in, but they haven't been entered into the inventory yet, nor had a price assigned to them. Just in case, how many do you want?"
"Two," I said, "price no object."
"It'll take me a few minutes," the man said. "I'll have to create a label for them so you can check out."
Sure enough, a few minutes later he came back out and handed me a package of two frozen lobster tails, about a pound each. I thanked him and hurried back up to the cashier, knowing that Betty would be wondering what had happened to me. It was then that I noticed the label he had created. Marked for quick sale. $9.99.
I handed the package to the same cashier who had adamantly claimed they had no lobster tails. She looked at them unbelievably for a moment then shook her head and rang them up.
Betty knew my quest had been successful the moment she saw the spring in my step and the expression on my face. But I'm still wondering. What impelled me to persist in the face of denials that the store even had the lobster tails? Was it just dumb stubbornness? I don't think so, since I certainly hadn't done that at Brookshire Brothers. I tend to think it was a psychic phenomena, borne on the mental waves of wanting to satisfy our desire for lobster tails for our anniversary.
Betty broiled them to perfection that night, with twice baked potatoes with cheese and bacon bits and sliced tomatoes on the side. With the champagne, they were delicious, and there was even enough left for a lobster salad the next morning for brunch.
Along with some other events, and our presents to each other, it's an anniversary I think we'll both remember for a long while.
Now, is there anyone out there who's heard the expression "pluperfect?" Betty hasn't. No one else I've asked has, but I distinctly remember it from my youth.
One of my anniversary presents from Betty was a new wedding ring. We couldn't match the old one exactly, but it's really nice anyway and I'll feel much better once it arrives and I start wearing a ring again.
This has gone on long enough. What say we break off and pick it up again next month. I've still got to get the Williard Brothers and their girl friends out of another jam.
Thanks for reading. Comments on subjects brought up in the newsletter are always welcome.
Places to find my books
You are visitor number
Web site content Copyright © 2005-2011 Darrell Bain. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Lida E. Quillen and maintained by Ardy M. Scott.
This page last updated 01-23-07.