“Mark Red” is now in paperback!

Well, I’m as happy as a pig in…well, in a loving and caring home, I guess, to be able to inform you all that “Mark Red” is now available in paperback as well as in the Kindle edition!  You can buy it from Amazon here:

Mark Red Cover

(Please note, if you use this link, a percentage of the sale will go to RIF, Reading is Fundamental.  This is in addition to my ongoing commitment to donate half my royalties to that or similar literacy charities.)

Now that “Mark Red” is out there in paperback, we are in the process of re-formatting “Welcome to Paradox City” as well, and it should be the next title available in physical print form, followed shortly thereafter by “Son of Man.”  After that, all attention will be given to the completion of the rewriting and editing of “The Chasm and the Collision,” followed by its publication both in Kindle and Paperback editions.

This is obviously a great milestone for me simply on a personal level, but I’m also happy to be able to provide good stories for people to read.  (Of course, I would think they’re good…I wrote them after all.)

Continuing that trend of blatant egotism – and no one has ever accused me of having a diminutive ego – I wanted to let you know that anyone who has purchased any of my paperbacks, and who is going to be in South Florida, should feel free to seek me out, and I would be delighted to autograph your copy.  Who knows, it might be worth a lot of money, someday.

Even though this is all quite invigorating – and it is – I must say that it will be wonderful when I can finally get fully back to work on “Unanimity,” which is my newest work.  Watch for its coming, and be warned; it’s a very dark story.  I like dark stories.

I shall be posting further updates as events warrant, and I’ll also try to throw in the occasional posting of my thoughts on various political, social, and scientific matters as well, just to keep things from being dull.  Do be on the lookout.  In the meantime, as Stephen Fry might say, be wonderful to one another.

And leave the lights on.

TTFN!

Some (Minor) Publication Updates

Hello all!

This is just a little FYI posting.  First of all, the formatting of “Mark Red” continues, and once that’s done, it will be available in paperback.  After that will follow “Son of Man” and “Welcome to Paradox City.”

In the meantime, the rewrite of “The Chasm and the Collision” can now continue…and so it will.  With that in mind, I will shortly un-publish the serialized early chapters of that book, so if you want to get those, now is the time.  If you want to wait for the full novel, though, I don’t blame you, and I give you my personal promise that you won’t be disappointed.  Seriously.  I’m very excited, it’s one of my favorite stories ever (and there’s not a single instance of profanity in the whole thing, so it’s safe for the whole family).

I’ll let you all know as everything becomes available.

TTFN!

“Mark Red” is now available on Kindle!

Okay, everyone, good news!  At long last, “Mark Red” – the complete novel – is available for purchase through Amazon Kindle, here.

In addition, we are currently formatting “Mark Red” for the paperback edition, which will soon be available as well.  It will probably be somewhat more expensive in paperback, but you will also have the option of buying both formats together for a discount, so keep you eyes open.  (You’ll also, in principle, be able to get it autographed by the author, so that’s something to keep in mind!)

In addition, we will soon be formatting both “Son of Man” and “Welcome to Paradox City” for paperback as well, and these too will be available for purchase, with the same deal as listed above.

Keep your eyes open.  If you like modern vampire stories, check out “Mark Red.”  And remember, 50% of royalties go to literacy charities!

TTFN

“Mark Red” is Complete

Okay, just a brief announcement:  I have, at long last, finished the editing of “Mark Red.”  Now, I think it’s a true statement that no work of fiction – be it film, script, novel, short story, poem, or song – is ever completed and perfect.  Its creator simply reaches the point where he or she is satisfied with releasing it to the public, warts and all.  Many cringes undoubtedly follow for nearly every creator…or perhaps I’m just projecting.

Anyway, since “Mark Red” was written more or less entirely while I was an invited guest of the Florida State DOC, and the first novel I’d written in a very long time – and was, of necessity, handwritten – there was a great deal of work to be done to get it ready.  This is part of the reason why “Son of Man” and “Welcome to Paradox City,” as well as my two short stories on this blog, though written after, were released before “Mark Red.”  I’m sure it’s still far from perfect, but I do like it a lot…and I especially love the character Morgan.  I’m very proud of her!

If you want to find out who Morgan is, and who Mark is, and who all the rest of the characters are…well, the book will be available shortly.  I hope to take advantage of Kindle’s new “paperback” option and make it available in hard copy for people who prefer that format, but it will almost certainly be more expensive that way.  On the other hand, if you were so inclined, you could get a paperback autographed by the author (me).  Some day that might even be worth something.

In any case, I’ll let you know when the book is available.  Even if none of you are excited about it, I am, and that’s good enough for the moment.

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Mark Red

TTFN!

The Idolatry of the American Flag

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The picture seen here is an edited Facebook posting by someone I know, and as you can see, it supposedly shows the face of a man who was brutally beaten – by a Marine, apparently – in response to having stepped on the American flag.  This would be bad enough in and of itself if it were an isolated incident or sentiment.  It isn’t.  It’s one of many expressions of desire by Americans (including, apparently the current President) that those who “disrespect” the flag should face consequences ranging from prosecution to out and out violence.

This is an obscenity, and an affront to the ideals upon which this nation was founded. Continue reading

Genocide by Mumps

I’ve been thinking of an amusing plot idea, possibly for a pseudo-apocalyptic thriller of the sort that I wouldn’t ever be likely to write.  I’ll give you a little background information to set the stage, and if any of you ever want to use it, please be my guest.  (It would be nice if you’d let me know, so that I can keep my eyes out for the story, but it’s by no means required.)

We’re all reasonably familiar with the disease The Mumps, caused by a viral infection, and much rarer for people to get in the modern, developed world thanks to vaccination.  What some people don’t know is that, in addition to causing inflammation of the parotid glands, leading to the familiar, puffy-cheeked look of its sufferers, it can also, on occasion, cause orchiitis – an inflammation of the testicles.  In some victims, this can lead to decreased fertility and even to full-fledged sterility.

Now, what if some “mad scientist” – perhaps an eco-terrorist – carefully selected for just those strains of the virus most frequently causing orchiitis, then genetically engineered that to engender peak virulence, increased transmissibility, and so on, before releasing it into the general population?  The goal would be a form of preemptive population control, a genocide that wouldn’t require the murder of already-living people (except, of course, for that small percentage of Mumps sufferers who do die from even the ordinary illness).

One could write a story about the discovery of such a plot and the brave and dangerous attempt to head it off, or about living in a world that had already succumbed to its effects, a la “The Stand.”  The specifics, of course, would be up to the individual writer, but it could be a good story.  One (amusing?) side-effect (or benefit, depending upon one’s point of view) would be that, in the West, at least, anti-vaccers would disproportionately fall victim to the nefarious plot.

This, however, is not a good enough reason for those readers who are scientifically inclined and have the resources to choose actually to carry out such a plot in real life.  No indeed!  I would never endorse such a dreadful course of action, no matter how darkly amusing the side-effects would be, or how beneficial it might be to the beleaguered other species of plants and animals on the Earth.

(Wink, wink)

I’m kidding.  I honestly would NOT want to see such a thing happen.  I do have children, and I hope they have long, rewarding lives in a healthy world that’s achieved peace and prosperity without the mass-sterilization of the human population, if such a thing is possible.  Still, I would like to read a story about it, and it’s not my kind of story to write, so to my fellow authors a out there:  Have at it, if you’re interested.  I eagerly await any fruits of your labors.

And, to any of the other sort, as I said above:  I already HAVE kids.

An Update on Editing, Writing, and Florida (with a bit about contagious illnesses and mass transit)

Hello, all!

I haven’t written any blog entries for some time now, so I thought that I’d take a moment today, as a break from daily editing on “Mark Red,” to give those who are interested an update.  I apologize for the delay; I’ve been sick as a dog for a surprisingly long time recently, and as a consequence my motivation has been lagging.  It seems that, after catching one respiratory infection, and being on the tail end of it, nearly recovered, I caught another one.  These are the hazards of riding mass transit, I’m afraid.  With so many people using the train every day, touching the poles and the hand-rails, the petri dish for contagious diseases is prodigious.  I’ve resolved to minimize my contact with said surfaces as much as I can, since I’m still coughing up nasty phlegm after almost a month of illness, waxing and waning.  It’s frustrating, but I’m nevertheless a big fan of mass transit, not the least reason for that fandom being that I can do my writing and editing while on my way to and from work, dreaming of the day when I will no longer have to do so because I’ll be able to make a living solely from my writing.

With respect to the editing of “Mark Red,” it’s proceeding well, but there’s much work still to be done.  I think one of the very best guidelines for editing that I have found is the one an editor gave to Stephen King back when he was starting out (as detailed in his wonderful book “On Writing”), namely, to make your final draft ten percent shorter than your first draft.  This is a terrific rule for me, because I tend to digress a bit in my fiction as well as in my non-fiction.  It’s not such a crime in non-fiction—digressions can be fun and can keep things interesting.  However, when writing fiction, digression tends to slow the story down.  Also, I get too much into my characters’ thought processes, which is particularly bad when they repeat those same thoughts many times.  This isn’t necessarily unrealistic.  After all, people do tend to ruminate a great deal in their daily lives, and if the voices in our heads were all played aloud, every human would no doubt sound hopelessly neurotic.  It does, however, tend to get boring pretty quickly in a novel, or even a short story.

So my goal, among others, is to make “Mark Red” only ninety percent as long as it was when I first started editing, by trimming off the stray bits that don’t add anything to the flow of the story.  This may seem elementary, and I suppose it is, but it’s crucial.

Regarding other matters:  I’ve been getting more exercise lately, despite being ill, because I’ve been walking from my train stop to my new office location instead of taking the bus, and sometimes walking back to the train at the end of the day.  It’s about 2.4 miles each way, so it’s a nice, healthy stroll, and can be very pleasant in what passes for winter in south Florida.

On that note, a few weeks ago while walking, I came upon a sad but interesting sight:  the beheaded corpse of a coral snake on the park path which I take from the train:

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This is, of course, the most venomous snake in the western hemisphere, but it is also not particularly dangerous, since coral snakes tend to be mild-mannered.  I think it must have come out onto the pavement to sun itself during the relatively chilly weather, and someone saw and recognized it for what it was and overreacted.  It’s a shame, but an interesting example of the sorts of amazing wildlife that we have here in south Florida.  I recently read Dave Barry’s “Best. State. Ever.” and I couldn’t agree with him more in that conclusion.  The politics of Florida may be insane—an insanity that has apparently spread to the national level—but it is an amazing environment.  Also, the national weather service reported about a week ago that 49 out of 50 states had snow on the ground.  You should know which state was the exception (Hint:  It wasn’t Hawaii).

Well, I think that’s enough meandering for today.  I considered writing my own semi-deliberate digression about the curious phrase “sick as a dog,” since in my experience dogs don’t tend to get sick as often as humans, but I’ll leave that at the immediately preceding comment and spare you any further speculation.  I hope you’re all well, and enduring the ongoing winter in the northern hemisphere with as much equanimity as you can muster.  The days are now getting steadily longer, and that’s good news for those of us who get moody when the nights predominate.  For those in the southern hemisphere, enjoy the summer!  For those who live in the tropics…well, you don’t need any boosting from me, I would imagine.

Stay healthy, everyone.  Watch those doorknobs, hand-rails, and standing poles, and wash your hands regularly!

TTFN