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Darrell Bain's Newsletter

October 2006

  From the disorganized office that's long overdue for a going over.

Note: Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.

Memoirs, Changing Times, Pictures, Book Sale, Interview, Current Projects, Book Report and more.

Memoirs
I'm up to telling about my tours in Vietnam with my Memoirs now. They are available here at my web site by clicking memoirs in the menu.

I used my experiences in Vietnam writing my first published book, Medics Wild. It is fiction, but most of the events in it actually took place in one way or another. Medics Wild was recently reissued in trade paperback format and is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and at bookstores. It is also available as an e-book at Fictionwise.com and eReader.com. If reading about my experiences during that war stimulates you into buying the book, thank you.

Changing Times
Wow, how times have changed since I was a young man. Just recently Betty and I went to a beauty parlor to get our hair cut. This was my first trip to a beauty parlor. In my younger days, the very idea of a man going inside one of those places would have automatically caused him to be labeled a homosexual, with all the negative connotations that entailed back then. When I was a boy and a young man, barber shops were male bastions; beauty parlors were the abode of women, and never the twain did meet. Now it simply doesn't matter. You go to a place to get your hair cut and no one cares about your sex.

One thing I do miss though: shaves. I used to indulge myself once or twice a year by going to a barber shop and getting a shave. I loved the feeling of laying back and having my face wrapped with those hot towels, then having the barber's artistry with a straight razor give me a far closer shave than I could ever do myself. Unfortunately, very few places give shaves any more. I miss that luxury, just like I still miss having a cigarette with my morning coffee or that big bowl of French Vanilla ice cream I used to have almost every evening.

Pictures
Betty and I had our pictures taken a couple of weeks ago, something Betty has resisted having done for years. For some reason she thought it would make her look old, despite me telling her she is just as beautiful now as she's ever been. Finally she agreed to it and I think they came out great. If we get them back in time, and with her permission, I'll post them here.

Sorry. Betty refused permission. Oh well, here's a photo of us that's on the back cover of Life on Santa Claus Lane. Of course it's almost 25 years old, but I think it depicts pretty much how we still feel about each other. Betty's daughter Pat took the picture. It was not posed. She caught us laughing at something one or the other of us had just said. We didn't even realize she had taken it until a month later when she presented it to us, nicely framed.

Darrell and Betty

 

Space Trails
I'm pleased to announce that my newest e-book, Space Trails, made both the Fictionwise.com and the eReader.com best seller list the first week it was published. Fictionwise was kind enough to allow me to reproduce the following segment of their featured books.

Fictionwise released nearly 140 new eBooks this week, including a new Science Fiction novel from Fictionwise Author of the Year Darrell Bain, plus new titles from Marilyn Clay, Scott Sigler, Laurell K. Hamilton (with a new Anita Blake Vampire novel!), H. Beam Piper, L. L. Whitaker, Ken Rand, Andre Norton, and Diana Laurence! For all the new eBooks, including their first week discount, click here.

It's nice to be recognized among those other popular authors.

Interview
I was recently interviewed by The Literary World webmaster (Mistress? I still have problems with some of the new terms. It's hard to remember when you've been writing and talking a certain way for years, then it all changes!). I just received the following note from her.

***

Hi Darrell,

I have been interviewing Authors since 2002 and I must say, your interview IS THE best I have had so far.

Thank you for the great interview.

You may now view your interview at The Literary World
http://www.literaryworld.org" site listed under Interviews.

For October you have a choice.  You may be featured as:

The Author of the Month
Who's Who in The Literary Society or
Book of The Month

Please let me know as soon as possible which you choose.  Your interview will be mentioned in The Literary World September 2006 newsletter.

I also have you listed here
http://www.lbp-enterprises.com/GBC.2006list.html

I look forward to reading more of your work.

Lauretta

***

Now wasn't that nice of her to write back? Just for the record, I picked Book of the Month to be featured, The Melanin Apocalypse. It is still available only as an e-book but will be coming out in hard cover next Spring.

Politeness and Love
I remarked to Betty the other day how polite we always are to each other, rarely failing to say please, thank you, and to offer compliments on cooking, accomplishments and so forth. After thinking about it, I firmly believe that the degree of politeness you show your spouse is an indication of how much you love him/her and of how stable your marriage is. When you love someone you want to be polite. You want to offer compliments and endearments. Think about your own marriage or your relationship with your significant other and then think about how polite you are to each other. I sincerely hope you remember bunches of polite times. And a little something you might remember if you have children: they will notice and imitate you, whether you think they will or not.

Alien Infection and Doggie Biscuit
These are the two books with the best print sales last month. When I went to the doctor the other day for a check-up, the young lady who usually takes care of me remarked that she had loaned Doggie Biscuit to one of my former co-workers there (yes, I used to run the lab at the same place I go to see my doctor now, and it's the same doctor, too) in order to try cheering her up from medical problems which forced her to retire. That was a nice compliment, I thought, and I hope Doggie Biscuit does give her a little boost.

Visit from My Son
My oldest boy, Allan, is in the area and came up for a visit. It was good to see him; it's been a long time. His work is in bullet proof armor products. He sold his previous company and is now in the process of patenting several new products he's developed since selling the company he founded.

While he owned his business, he advertised by showing pictures of him being shot in the chest with real bullets while wearing one of his vests. The caption read: "We Stand Behind Our Products!" I thought that was one of the greatest advertising ideas I'd ever seen. He did it several times, and told me once that the only problem he had was that he just couldn't keep from closing his eyes before being shot.

He will be leaving for Thailand again in a month or so and is talking of settling permanently there and marrying his Thailand girl friend. I can understand. It's a nice country and the people are very friendly and easy to get along with. Betty and I had a very enjoyable vacation there back in 1979 while we were working in Saudi Arabia.

Labor Day
Here's best wishes to you all for a happy and enjoyable Labor Day, even though you'll be reading this weeks after the holiday has passed.

Other than Allan coming to see us, we have nothing planned for the holiday weekend. I'll probably drink a few beers with him, something I do very rarely now. I have to be careful with alcohol now that I'm a diabetic, plus I haven't had much to drink at all for seven or eight years other than an occasional glass of wine with Betty.

Audio
For those of you who like audio books, I've just had an audio story ("reading" time 22 minutes) released at Fictionwise.com titled "Unforseen Reward." The story is about what happens when a father buys some magnets and toy electric motors for his autistic son to play with. The child's autistically focused mind comes up with an arrangement that changes the world!

The Little & Big Furry People
Both the dachshunds had gained weight since their last visit to the vet. They are going to be forced to go on a diet along with Betty and I. We love to watch Susie when we have visitors. She acts like she's never seen another human other than us. Her little tail could serve as an airplane propeller the way it wags so fast, and she gets so excited she turns in circles because she doesn't know which way to go next. Tonto, on the other hand, is very suspicious of strangers. He always seems to think they're going to try stealing something. He goes into hysterics when Rob, our son-in-law, borrows the lawn tractor. He's just certain that he didn't ask permission, and even if he did, Tonto thinks he won't bring it back. Dogs have different personalities, just like humans do.

My brother Gary just came back from a month long stay in Colorado to find that the caretaker for their place in Oklahoma had given Sugar, the Great Pyrenees, all the dog food she wanted. He said she looks like a butterball now. And since it had been raining and the pasture had grown out, he let the three horses out to graze. A while later he heard a noise outside and went to see. Instead of going for the grass, all three horses had come up on the porch where the sunflowers were growing and ate them, as well as pooping all over the porch where Gary and Barb like to sit and enjoy the scenery in good weather. I keep telling him, a horse is only good for taking up space that another horse might otherwise occupy, but his wife Barbara loves horses so I think he'll be having little contretemps with them the rest of his life.

Current Projects
Other than my memoirs and the newsletter, both of which I do every month, I'm working on two novels. One is another in the series about the zany Williard Brothers, tentatively titled "Space For Sale," and the other is a science fiction with the working title "Warp Point." I'm doing more writing on "Warp Point" at the moment. I like the way the story is developing even though I don't know yet what will happen after the mid point of the tale.

Prostate Cancer
I'm wondering why more publicity isn't being given to the fact that regular consumption of 200mg per day of selenium and 400 units of Vitamin E is very near an absolute preventative for Prostate cancer if started earlier in life, probably around the time a man turns forty. Most people don't get enough selenium in their regular diets anyway. Another newsworthy note is that the same two ingredients, especially the selenium, are undergoing tests now as both treatment for prostate cancer and as an adjunct for increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy. I'm also wondering how much publicity would be given if it were found that a couple of pills a day could prevent breast cancer. Comments anyone?

Book Report
Since Betty and I were the last persons in America who hadn't read "The Da Vinci Code," we decided it was time we bought a copy. I thought the book was very good, though no better than many other suspense/thrillers. Personally, I believe a good portion of the sales were simply because of he way he depicted the Catholic religion. I did check on some of his history and found that he did a good job of research. For instance, on the number of women executed as witches during the inquisition, he took 5 million as the middle figure, right between the lowest and highest estimates of historians. So, a good book. I enjoyed it.

"In the Shadow of The Arch" by Robert Randisi and "The Innocent" by Harlan Coben were a couple of other new reads in the suspense/thriller field, and both good books. I like suspense/thrillers with detecting elements to them and these had both. I read a number of other new books but they weren't worthy of mention and went into the discard pile.

As for re-reads, I still think John Grisham's "A Time To Kill," his first book, is his best—yet it sold only a few hundred copies when first released. It wasn't until "The Client" came out and was a best seller that the earlier work was given a little promotion and sold. Does this show the peculiarity of the publishing industry? I think it does, in a way.

Furthermore, reading is such a subjective experience that editors and marketing departments, I'm sure, have a hard time picking which books to devote a lot of time and money to. Anyway, I thought "A Time To Kill" was a really, really good book.

Betty and I re-read a couple of my own books a few days ago when we both got a little nostalgic and also wanted to laugh a bit. Those were Life on Santa Claus Lane and Laughing All The Way. We laughed and chuckled over old incidents I wrote about. Both books are still in print. Autographed copies are available for Christmas presents. See book sale in the menu. It's never too early to start your Christmas shopping. Mine is half done already, brag, brag.

I shed some tears when I re-read "The Cry and the Covenant" by Morton Thompson, the fictional history of Ignatz Semmelweis, the great Hungarian obstetrician. He discovered how to prevent Childbed Fever, a disease killing tens of thousands of new mothers every year—yet none of the other doctors would believe him. It is a great book. And if you think we're so modern as to be above that kind of denial today, think back a very few years to the doctor who discovered ulcers are caused by a bacteria and can be cured with an anti-biotic. It took him ten years to convince the rest of the medical profession. Closed minds still exist in quantity.

David Brin's books, "The Practice Effect" and "The Uplift War" are two really, really good science fiction novels that I always enjoy re-reading, even though I've read them at least a dozen times. And last, I re-read "Gladiator At Law" by Fredrick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth. I think Niven and Pournelle are the only two collaborators who come close to matching these two greats. And I think I've said that before so it must be time to quit for this month.

Thanks for reading.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
October 2006

 

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