Darrell Bain's Monthly Blog - March 2011
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Bainstorming: Darrell's Bain's Monthly Blog.
Responses to subjects brought up by this blog are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.
Subjects this month: Free eBooks, Galactic Frontiers update, Political Correctness help needed!, To my fans and readers: Future plans covering the next two years, Radio Interview report Re: The Melanin Apocalypse, Book reviews, Progress report, Deficit Reduction Committee comment, Bain Blunder, Movie Contracts, Weird Event –True Story!, Prisoner Scam, Pundits and the Budget Crisis, Bain Quote, Best-Selling Science Fiction, Excerpt from Apertures.
In recognition of “Read and Ebook Week, March 6-12, Twilight Times will be offering my autobiography, Darrell Bain’s World of Books absolutely free that week! Don’t miss this interesting book of how I grew up in the segregated South, served in the military including two years in Vietnam and all the rest of my rather unorthodox life while it’s free. The url to download this and other free books at Twilight Times during the week of March 6th through March 12th is http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ttb_free_ebooks2011.html
Also, Omni Lit is offering a 50% discount on some of my titles as follows:
And finally, all of my ebook titles with Twilight Times are currently being offered at a 20% discount at www.barnesandnoble.com
Galactic Frontiers update
From American Consumer News:
Galactic Frontiers is also available in Print from Amazon and B&N and can be ordered from bookstores.
Political Correctness help needed!
I was skimming through the sports page a few days ago and happened to notice references to college sports teams as “Lady Bears” and “Lady Longhorns”. I immediately wondered, why are the men’s teams not called the “Gentlemen Bears” or Gentlemen Longhorns”? The P.C. Police need to get busy quick and jump on this, before someone’s feelings get hurt!
To my fans: Future plans for the next two years
1. I want to see Savage Survival revisedand expanded, with Lyda beginning at age 12 rather than eleven and a new book added to the present one, carrying Lyda into her twenties. It will involve problems in uniting earth, contact with inimical aliens and etc. Savage Survival is one of my favorite books and I want to do it right and carry the story much further into Lyda’s life.
2. Finish the second book of Apertures (my latest offering which is still in ebook only) and write a third in the series, depending on how many so far unresolved questions can be answered in it.
3. Write the final book in the Medics Wild (also known as The Williard Brothers) series, making a total of six.
4. Complete the non-fiction book I’m working on which involves political commentary/analysis of the State of the Nation and what actions I believe should be taken to assure our future as a powerful and financially stable country.
5. Continue to produce my monthly Blog, Bainstorming, which appears on my web site each month. It might have to go to a bi-monthly Blog, though. I put a lot of time into it that could be used for writing fiction but my readers seem to enjoy it so I’ll keep it monthly as long as I can.
6. Working with Tony Teora on a sequel to Alien Enigma if I can work it in somehow, and I believe I can.
Those are definite plans. Following are some other things I’d like to do if I live long enough and my health continues to allow it. A bad back is my only real bar to writing now, other than so many good books I want to read and re-read.
1. Write a young adult novel based on my short story, Samantha. This may take the form of a number of short stories featuring Samantha and her ability to talk to animals and understand their response and then either making it into a novel or just a single character anthology. The original Samantha story has been expanded, doubling its length and encompassing a new adventure. The expanded story is available in my latest collection of short stories, Oops! Available in both print and ebook.
2. One of the most common requests I get from fans is that I do sequels for quite a number of my novels. There are several which I would indeed like to write, given the time and completion of my primary agenda. I’m not going to name them, but a few possibilities for sequels are Warp Point, Starship Down, Galactic Frontiers.
3. Write another new novel if an idea comes which hangs up in my mind and can’t be ignored. That may even happen during the period when I’m working on my primary objectives.
4. Find someone to collaborate on a novel I’m stuck on and get it finished.
Radio Interview, Re: The Melanin Apocalypse
Following are my thoughts on a two hour radio interview I did regarding my novel, The Melanin Apocalypse.
Frankly, I think the host was purposely looking for stereotypes of blacks (and did indeed find a couple), which is fine because I learned something. However, I believe the host completely misinterpreted two other scenes, one of them drawn from true life. I think the host was so intent on finding stereotypes that he missed simply enjoying what I believe is a very well written novel. Also, he took exception to the romance between the protagonist and a CDC nurse for some reason. I can’t say why because while we talked about it we couldn’t seem to agree. I believe that since I began the interview with stating that the book was written partly as a warning of what terrible things genetic technology can do in the near future, he thought that was all it was about and shouldn’t have had a white couple’s romance helping the story along. That’s my reasoning, anyway but I could be taking him too much to task. Anyway, I almost always use romance in my novels. It is a tried and true method of creating interest and helping to drive a story, even when the story may have other meanings.
As soon as I was scheduled for the talk radio show with The Melanin Apocalypse as the subject of the two hour show, I re-read it. I still think it is one of my best books even though a few readers have somehow misinterpreted what I was trying to say in the form of a fiction novel, enjoyable for the story, and aside of my other intents. As one reviewer says, it is a precautionary novel in many ways.
The host was perfectly correct in telling me I stereotyped Blacks, but I think he went a bit beyond what I actually wrote. The instance of the gold tooth and diamonds in the teeth were indeed stereotypes, and I’m guilty, but the nickname “Fridge” for Doug’s friend and the recounting of Doug’s memory of his first awareness of black and white people being different were definitely not. Perhaps you would have to have been in the military to appreciate nicknames we frequently gave each other, especially during war time. Sometimes they stick for life and were almost always terms of affection for fellow soldiers. The teeth? Do you know I wrote both scenes without even thinking of stereotypes? Or any scene in the book for that matter. I guess that illustrates how the same thing is portrayed so often in fiction because that’s probably where I drew them from. I’ve certainly never personally seen anyone, black or white, with diamond studs in their front teeth. And curiously, I’ve had blacks as characters in some of my other books but don’t recall any instance of such blatant stereotyping.
During the interview I tried giving the best, most honest answer to questions during the that I could, but you know yourself that many times you would have worded things differently had you had time to think about it more. One question I believe I goofed on is the one where I was asked if I thought the media was contributing to white supremacy feelings and I said I didn’t think so. Upon reflection I’d have to say that’s not completely accurate and it does occur at times, but not nearly, not even close to how the media at one time did it. Another book I mentioned several times on the program re-printed some headlines from the past that are out and out, arrogantly supremacist in nature with no apology at all.
I might not have answered other questions to the Host or the audience’s satisfaction but I make no apology. I answer my fan mail the same way I answered questions during the interview. I was as honest and forthright as I could be throughout and I freely admitted I had indeed stereotyped when I was pinned on it. Otherwise, I believe the message in the book about genetic technology gone awry far outweighs any blunders I may have made.
Oh yes, one more thing. Betty and I talked about the interview afterward and we both agree: readers can very often draw conclusions about an author’s intent that are way, way off base.
As always, I only report on books that I’ve enjoyed and think other readers would, too.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson is a historical rendition of the great Black migration from the Old South to the north and west during the years 1915- 1970. It is a non-fiction, and follows three families on their treks and describes their troubles and triumphs. While Jim crow segregation was legal in the South, it wasn’t in the North and West, yet was nevertheless present.
I grew up in the deep south during the era of segregation but I still never realized just how badly blacks were treated back then. This book provides a lesson for all of us and I urge people to read it. While it is extremely interesting in and of itself, it also provides a much needed description of events during those year which affected blacks and whites alike.
Warning: parts of it describe horrible events. Betty had to put it down after about 70 pages. She couldn’t finish it at the time but she still has it to read.
I read Beyond Suspicion by James Grippando. I had read one of his novels featuring John Swytek, a criminal lawyer, but apparently had forgotten what a good writer he is. Lots of twists and turns beginning with a swindle on the practice of buying life insurance at a cut rate from persons suffering an incurable disease so they can spend some of the insurance money before they die. From there it only gets better, adding some characters and complications until it becomes hard to predict what will happen next, the mark of a good book.
In Fury Born by David Weber is among the best books I’ve ever read, of any genre. I think I’ve read it five times now and still wind up bawling during the last 75 or so pages. Anyone who likes science fiction will love it and any one else should, too. It is that good.
I also re-read the Mutineer’s Moon trilogy by David Weber again, which I’ve reported on before. Just as good this time around, the fourth, I think. Weber is a fantastically good writer.
In anticipation of it being the subject of a radio interview, I re-read my own book, White Odyssey. It is a novel of a future where people of color run the world and Caucasians are treated as little more than slaves. The theme has been done before, of course, most notably by Robert A. Heinlein in Farnham’s Freehold. I don’t know if my treatment is better or worse than others but I tried, writing it in first person to give more feeling to the protagonist and how he feels about the way his people and family are treated.
I’m currently reading and enjoying a birthday present from my brother Gary, a great big book of the Pogo cartoons with commentary by the cartoonist. They are incredibly enjoyable, especially the later ones for the humorous satire.
I’m mostly busy writing the second book of the Apertures series. This is one of the few times I’ve written a book knowing in advance I would do at least a sequel. There is just too much involved in the theme to get all the plot questions resolved in one book without making it longer than I really like to write a book. I like to keep them around a hundred thousand words, more or less. The first fan review was very nice. Any time a science fiction author is compared to Heinlein it should be regarded as an accomplishment.
I just signed a contract to have all my books and short stories considered for possible movie production by a partnership Double Dragon, my main publisher has formed. I have no idea whether anything good will come of it but it is nice to be at least considered!
Deficit Reduction Committee comment,
The finance Reduction Committee received a majority vote but not the two thirds vote that would have sent it to congress. I thought it was dead but I’ve learned that a number of senators from both sides of the aisle are working together to try to get the report submitted to congress anyway. I think it’s a fine idea. I thoroughly agreed with most of its ideas and believe all of congress should seriously consider the report and pass legislation supporting it but I suspect it won’t happen. Too many of our congress critters are too afraid of losing their job or of seeing their Party lose members in congress that they won’t do what they know in their hearts they should. When the interest on our National debt will approach and pas one trillion dollars a year before too much longer, by golly something is going to have to be done or we’re going to become a bankrupt nation, no lie. I’m getting old but that could still occur within my lifetime, probably. It’s scary!
I use two separate flash drives to back up my work. Whenever I leave the house I remove one of them so in case our house gets get robbed while we’re away, I’ll still have all my files. Note to self: Remove flash drive from pocket and replace on computer before depositing shirt in the laundry basket. Flash drives don’t work well after going through a complete cycle in the washing machine.
Weird Event – True Story
One night in January after it was dark, we had one of the worst hail storms we’ve seen since moving here. The hail was about marble sized and within the short period that it fell, it covered the ground to a depth of between one and two inches. I had just lay back down when Betty shouted that there was a fire somewhere close. Naturally, I got up and ran to the back door where she was to see. Sure enough, in the light of our outside security lights I could see what certainly looked like smoke billowing across the yard, blown by the wind. Before long it died down and we concluded it couldn’t hadn’t been a fire from anywhere, but was a phenomenon resulting from the hail still on the ground. We have certainly never seen anything like it and no one we’ve talked to has ever heard of such a thing. As I said, it was weird! We’d appreciate an explanation if anyone knows.
I read recently that prisoners have bilked the IRS out of 300 million dollars! Now that tells me two things: One, the government has become too big and cumbersome with too many departments, and two, our tax laws are so incredibly complex that prisoners behind bars can easily file fake returns—and get the money! Of course this is only one example. Every day I pick up the newspaper I read of Medicare scams, corrupt politicians, uncollected fines and on and on. Does anyone care or wouldn’t you rather see some reforms? I won’t even comment on waste or unsustainable spending or stuff like that. I’m just pleading with our congress critters and state and county governments to please put some common sense into how our taxes are spent. Is that too much to ask or are there no honest politicians left? And quit talking about deficit reduction unless you’re also going to mention tax reform and increasing revenues. You ain’t going anywhere playing around the sidelines and pretending like you’re really serious.
Pundits and the Budget Crisis
I rarely agree with Paul Krugman, a political columnist but I do read his columns. Finally he said something realistic. We can’t end deficit spending until we get serious with entitlements and revenue. He also claims President Obama is serious. I might have believed him if the President had insisted on letting all the Bush era tax decreases expire. They weren’t needed then and sure aren’t needed now. Instead of using his veto power he let them be extended another two years. Bleh!
I believe everyone should be allowed to go to hell in his or her own way so long as it doesn’t hurt other people. That’s probably not original but I believe it.
Best selling Science Fiction
During the months of January and February a number of my books appeared several times on the Amazon best-selling list of Science Fiction Adventure. The books are Alien Enigma, Starship Down, Savage Survival, Human By Choice and Warp Point. Thank you, readers, for buying and reading my books. I truly appreciate it.
At the same time at the www.fictionwise.com ebook store where almost a million titles are offered, Alien Enigma is one of the books listed on the best-selling list of all genres for the past six months and Apertures made the list for best-selling books of all genres for the past 20 days. Again, thank you all for buying and reading my books. I might mention that these science fiction novels sort of stand out among all the romance novels that constitute better than 90% of those all genre best selling lists.
Excerpt From Apertures
Apertures is the first novel I’ve written when I realized only about halfway into it that it would almost have to constitute part of a series or perhaps a trilogy in order to get all the questions resolved. The first novel, simply titled Apertures is a new twist (so far as I know) in the alternate earths theme. At the end of this first novel, I’ve included the first two chapters of the next book in the series.
Apertures is out only as an ebook at present, at Kindle and all the ebook stores except Nook and it should appear there very shortly. It is being shopped around for possible mass market paperback issue but one way or another it and the rest of the series will eventually also be available in print.
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