General Blog

General Blog

July 3, 2011

Early ReTyrement – the working cover

So here is the final working cover art for Early ReTyrement. Michael Metcalf, who I commission off Elance, did a stellar job through all my little changes. He actually researched Persian dress and foot ware for the time, to get the illustration right. This has been the cover I’ve envisioned since 2002, when I was ready to go to print (the publishing industry, it seemed, wasn’t quite as ready as I). I’d long dreaded that they would muck this cover up, perhaps with something silly or stupid or simplistic. No, I wanted nice-guy Mason, the ranks of soldiers, the crowding […]
June 30, 2011

Early ReTyrement – take 1

I got the first cut from my artist at work today. The email came in, I gulped, I gasped. What if it was a cock-up? What if it was horrible? Then I clicked on the attachment. Magnificent! And here it is…                                           I couldn’t believe how much I liked it. I’ve been thinking of this book for years, how the cover would look, what it would show. I wanted Mason in the middle of ranks of Persians and Greeks, with […]
June 24, 2011

The quest conitnues…

Been digging about on Elance for the last few weeks, searching for a cover artist for Early ReTyrement. Originally picked out a perfect set of guys in India but they never responded. Another group turned me down flat. So I fired a reworked version of the request into the general pool and now I’ve got ten responses. Most of those I know I won’t go with, but there are two that are pretty good. I’ve queried both artists further, making sure they are quoting for what I want. Many of them have wildly differing styles, so I want to make […]
June 21, 2011

Load Night

The sun is only hinting across the 5am sky. The world is pretty peaceful on a Sunday. I’ve been up since, oh, 2:30am. It’s load night. Three times a year, my corporation shuts everything down and loads a new release. Thirty times over my career here, I’ve been up to work it. Years ago, we’d actually go down to the ops center and watch the data flow in (like water into freshly cut irrigation canals). Now its all done from our desks. And of course, it’s for free. I don’t get a dime. It used to be (back in the […]
June 7, 2011

That’s my girl!

Yesterday we attended niece Kirstin’s graduation. We got to their house early and lounged around with family for a bit (I think I snoozed). Went to UCF for the ceremony (I’d gotten a degree from that joint but not much else). If anything, it’s sprawled out since I was there. How sad to see little on-campus rows of fake shops, Subway and Dominoes and the like – I remember Blacksburg and the dingy (yet real) downtown street. At least I didn’t ever go to this… Stepford. Anyway, this isn’t about me, its about her. Kirstin graduated Summa Cum Laude from […]
June 5, 2011


So this isn’t only once or twice. Every time I go to the bathroom at work (not the touch and go numbah one, but the big brown effort), one of the two stalls is closed. I’ll sit on my own little seat and there will be a set of shoes under the wall, as motionless as an Afghan rifleman in the rocks. Worse, bathrooms are tiled, perfect for magnifying sounds. Knowing there will always be a certain… um… outburst… (in the words of HG Wells, “He compared it to a colossal puff of flame suddenly and violently squirted out of […]
May 29, 2011

Posting for art

Well, I’ve taken the first big step in getting Early ReTyrement ready for publication – I’ve contacted an Indian firm named “Animation Saints” to do my cover. It’s not the price so much as their animation style that caught me. It’s just what I was looking for (well, what I was really looking for was a well-known comic/historical artist to do it, be he declined after the pitch). So we’ll see. This is the first cash outlay to get this thing to market – big step. I’ll post our progress. I’m really hoping I’ll get these guys. (oh, and I’m […]
May 22, 2011

Birthing agonies

I’m really getting tired of this POD (print on demand) world. The first time around, when I did the agent-publisher deal, it was so easy. I signed a contract, the publishers changed the cover without telling me, they gave me a single day to review the final cut, and then the publisher died as it hit the shelf, the company went into chapter seven and I didn’t get a dime. Nice and straightforward. This POD stuff is supposed to be easy. I signed onto CreateSpace and then got a book about it. Found out well into the book that CS […]
May 21, 2011


From the silly radio dramma of Captain Kemmen of Star Core. A bomb is about to detonate, one that cannot be stopped and will destroy the entire universe. Three… Two… One… (long pause) Carla: “Well, isn’t that amazing… Heaven is just like that room we were just in.” Happy Rapture Day, you silly holy-rollers.
May 15, 2011


Before 2004, our side yard was shaded by twin oaks and lush with ferns. In the evenings, it was nice to sit on the deck and watch Prince (our huge black-and-white Persian) blast upwards like Shamu in pursuit of geckos. With 2004 came Hurricane Charlie, a killer storm that missed us by 2 miles. The oaks were toppled. The ferns that were not crushed directly by the trees or their subsequent removal burned off in the sun. Weeds began to take over the lot. We tried everything. We whacked and cut. I planted rows of corn but the bugs ate […]