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Darrell Bain's Newsletter

November 2005

  My Brother Gary, Short Stories, Mindwar, Time Displacement/Alternate Worlds, Sex in Science Fiction, Love vs Lust

As always, I enjoy corresponding with readers. You can write me with comments about my books, this newsletter or anything else on your mind by going to my web site at www.darrellbain.com and clicking on the mail link at the bottom of the home page. I try my best to answer mail promptly, although sometimes my replies have to be briefer than I'd really like them to be when I'm in the midst of wrapping up a novel or doing a lot of editing prior to publication and so on.

My Brother Gary
I can already hear the comments: why does he think anyone would be interested in his brother? Just go to www.videoexplorers.com if you're in a hurry to find out. Otherwise, I'll tell you why he's featured this month. There are a number of reasons. First off, he belongs to a very exclusive club. He's one of the few men who have ever ejected from a jet fighter three times and lived to tell about it. It happened twice in Vietnam from F-4 fighters and once flying a Harrier jet off the east coast of the Carolinas. He's a true warrior, a rarer breed than you might think considering how many people have served in the military and are still serving. By a true warrior I mean he is an extremely brave individual, able to face combat and other dangerous situations without flinching, no matter how scared he might be.

Warriors like adventure, and he's had his share of it. He was a dive boat captain in the Caymans where he survived the monster hurricane Gilbert by taking refuge in a cave, and again was a dive captain when the rudder fell off a new boat he was ferrying to Truk Island in the Pacific. That time, he survived a typhoon in the open ocean on a little boat with no rudder. Hell, he even took videos of it you can see at his web site. He's been stranded on an ice covered mountain in British Columbia (see "the vacation from hell" on his web site) and discovered ancient Olmec ruins in Mexico. He works with animals and all kinds of critters (who else have you heard of who would stoop to rescue and tame a buzzard?). Gary has a persuasive, congenial personality, so much so that he almost convinced me to go along with him and look for a purported dinosaur in the Congo. After doing the research for Postwar Dinosaur Blues, a book in the Williard Brothers series, I'm damned glad now that we couldn't find the financing for the trip. The idea did made a good book, though. I could go on, but suppose you're reading this and aren't interested in physical adventure? Okay, then I'll refer you to The Williard Brothers series of books I've written (also known as the Medics Wild Series) where Gary is the avatar for the character Jumpin' Jase Williard. You can read the books and go along on really wild and wooly adventures vicariously.

I'm planning on doing a non-fiction book about Gary next year if finances are stable enough for me to write about him rather than the science fiction/ thriller/suspense books that sell so well. I like to write humor, too, and some of the book will include hilarious letters from Gary about escapades that took place on his forty acres after he settled down. Well, relatively speaking. He still goes gold prospecting, flies now and then and goes into combat daily in the penny stocks markets, raises Great Pyrenees dogs and Purple Martins (his tale of rescuing and feeding some baby birds is heart warming. He got out every morning and caught grasshoppers for them, then took them to work with him and fed them during the day). Try his web site at www.videoexplorers.com and give him a visit. I told him to be expecting you. Besides, maybe this will induce him to update his page about me.

Short Stories
Short stories are usually a more difficult type of fiction to write than a novel. You really have to condense everything way down and yet develop your characters, theme and plot just as if you were writing a novel. I've done some short stories in the past (see my anthology, Around The Bend) and a couple here lately. I have to go over them innumerable times and still find myself wanting to change and edit and tinker, but eventually you have to call a halt and send it off and see if it sells. The latest one Cure For The Morning After is already up at www.fictionwise.com and the other, untitled as yet, in December. I will say that short stories are fun to do. In the meantime, The Pet Plague trilogy is also up at www.fictionwise.com so that interested readers can have all three books in one volume. I've edited and updated some, and added a 2,000 word introduction.

My latest novel, Mindwar is also up. The title may be a bit misleading. It's not a tale of warring minds, but rather a localized attempt by various groups to control newly changed minds of youngsters who are now different from the rest of us. That's one of the books where young teenagers have sex, but I promise, it's justifiable under the particular circumstances they find themselves in.

Sex in Science Fiction
And that brings up another subject, sex in science fiction (or any other genre for that matter). Authors have much more leeway to deal with sex now than back in the fifties and sixties and still have it accepted by mainstream publishers. My readers may have noticed that some of my books contain quite a lot of fairly graphic sex and some hardly any sex at all. I feel strongly that sex shouldn't be added to a book just for the titillating effect. It should contribute to the theme of the story and/or the plot and character development. In a couple of books I've even included consensual teenage sex, but never unless I have developed characters mature enough to handle it. There's one book where I think I had too much sex, Monitors. I really wish now I could have that one back and do it over. On the other hand, The Original Sex Gates has a lot of sex but no one has taken me to task for it, like several fans have for Monitors. "My bad", isn't an expression I use in either writing or conversation, but it might be applicable for Monitors.

Odd diseases
Everyone has heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. How many of you have heard of Tarpal

Tunnel Syndrome? I know I sure hadn't until I was diagnosed with it. Tarpal Tunnel Syndrome is the Same as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome except it occurs in the ankles instead of the wrists. I saw in the comic section of the newspaper the other day where Ziggy, that perennial downtrodden little fellow, also astounded his doctor by getting it. Nice to know I'm not alone. I can assure you, tarpal tunnel syndrome is no less aggravating than the more usual type, though. The syndrome occurring in the wrists has a lot of treatment options, including surgery, but I haven't found much information for treatment of the condition in ankles. Betty and I do seem to have a knack for coming down with weird diseases, Betty more so than me. Back in the eighties she had a "frozen shoulder" which took almost a dozen doctors to finally diagnose and cure, among other weird stuff she's had. It seems to rub off on the furry people who live in the house too. Biscuit, the dachshund who is the subject of a book, Doggie Biscuit! contracted "puppy strangles" soon after we brought him home. In case you're wondering, that's a disease normally seen in horses and almost never in dogs. And of course Tonto—well, I'll keep some of his illnesses in reserve. I'm planning a book about him, too.

Good Books To Read (in my opinion)
This month I'm re-reading Rude Behavior by Dan Jenkins. Remember Semi-Tough? Same author. I highly recommend this book to anyone who, like me, detests so much of the political correctness that's prevalent today, where you hardly dare open your mouth for fear of offending some person, ethnic group, race, religion, ancestor, pet, sexual orientation proclivity, gender, life style, etc. Rude Behavior is hilariously funny if you take it the way it's meant to be read, i.e., making fun of the excessive political correctness in our society today. It doesn't necessarily mean that the author believes all the attitudes of his characters, nor that I do when I laugh out loud at some of the passages.

I've also read Manhattan South by John Mackie and The Hundredth Man by Jack Kerley this month, authors I haven't tried before. They're pretty good police detective/procedural thrillers. I'm getting ready to read An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer. This is one Betty ran across and recommended. It's a historical fiction woven around the battle of Waterloo, by an author who normally writes romance and mystery. I like historical fiction when it's done well, and Betty assures me this one is. It's had several printings since being published in 1963 so she's probably right. I look forward to it. Historical fiction is best done by those authors who do their research and get their facts straight and try to depict historical characters with accuracy. Harold Coyle is another author who does this well. In Savage Wilderness I learned a lot of things about the French and Indian wars I didn't know.

By the way, there are many books I read each month which won't get a mention here, either because of space limitations or because I didn't enjoy them. I don't think it's nice to disparage a particular author simply because of my dislike. Reading is a very subjective experience and tastes vary widely depending on a person's race, religion, education, profession and too many other attributes to mention. So rather than say something bad about a book or author I didn't care for, I'd rather just say nothing and mention only the ones I think would have a wide appeal, or that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Romance, Love and Marriage
What makes a good marriage? How do you know you're in love? Here's my own opinion, and bear in mind this is written from a male viewpoint. I believe all relationships begin with falling in lust, not falling in love. Lust frequently gets mistaken for love at first, and if it lasts a while, also frequently leads to marriage. If it isn't true love, there's going to be some rocks and shoals ahead, perhaps divorce, perhaps divorce with bad feelings on both sides.

Lust will almost always fade, and settle into attraction. From there it can go two ways. It can continue to fade until there's not much sexual attraction, and thus not much basis for a continuing relationship. Ah, but if lust turns to love, it will still fade, but then reach a plateau. From there, if it's true love, the attraction will start building again and feelings for the other person deepen. Over time, the sexual attraction gets better and better, though it's unlikely to ever reach the lust stage again. It gets better because you discover that you really care about the other person. You want to make them happy, and you're happy yourself. You get to the point where it's hard to imagine life without your partner. Their happiness, and the contentment of living together becomes a primary focus of your life. In other words, you're in love and if you're in love, it only gets better with time. You don't mind the little idiosyncrasies of the other person. You love the closeness and you never lose the urge for sex with your partner. Love is funny. Looks may fade with the years, but the attraction only grows. Your partner's desires and wishes in life become as important as your own, if not more so. You want to share all the triumphs and good things that happen in life with him or her. You're always ready to commiserate and comfort when things don't go exactly right. Being in love is really wonderful, and gets even more wonderful as you age. It took me a couple of bad marriages to realize all this. I mistook lust for love. I hope none of you readers ever do that, and I hope your current love life goes as well as mine has these last 28 years since I first saw Betty, then contrived to trap her under a mistletoe sprig.

Time Displacement
As of today, October 18th, Betty's sisters still don't have electricity. That's more than three weeks after the hurricane. A lot of areas in East Texas and Western Louisiana still don't have power. Some don't even have running water. Betty cooked up a massive meal of fried chicken, potato salad, pinto beans, homemade rolls, and Texas sheet cake. We took it to their little city and some other relatives came over. You really don't realize how much you miss hot meals until you're without them for a week or two, or even longer. The food was still warm when we got there and it was like tossing a load of meat to starving lions the way they ate. We got a good look at the devastation farther over in East Texas on the way to where they live. The thing that really amazed us was how many big trees went down around houses and still managed to miss most of them.

Seeing and hearing stories of living in the dark and without water reminded me of the book I wrote, Circles Of Displacement, about hundreds of areas of East Texas suddenly thrown back in time about 10,000 years. I went into living conditions under those circumstances a good bit, but I have a better appreciation now of what it would be like to go back to pioneer days. No pain killers? No antibiotics? Keeping fires going even in the middle of summer? Coping with lawlessness? All that's in the book. And all I can say now is that, for all the many irritations of modern society, we wouldn't want to go back to those days. Pioneer life is romanticized in fiction, but the books rarely mention the lack of toilet paper and refrigeration, just to mention a couple of modern necessities. Stop and think for a moment of how many conveniences we have that they didn't, and how lucky we are to be living today instead of a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand years ago!

And I think that will be all for this month. Just another reminder; you can email me from my web site, www.darrellbain.com I'll always answer, even if I have to be a bit brief on occasions when I'm pressed for time. "Retirement" keeps me busier than working.

Well, I thought that was all. One final note: One of our daughters & hubby had given us a four day vacation in Cozumel, Mexico, all expenses paid, scheduled for December. We had already bought new luggage, gotten our passports updated and so forth. Guess which resort got hit dead center by hurricane Wilma? Right. We hope they can get a refund, because I don't think Cozumel will be taking tourists again for a while.

And that really is all for this month.

Happy reading!

Darrell Bain
November 2005
Shepherd, Texas

 

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