Thursday, February 16, 2017

His 30-Day Guarantee


Back in the mid-1980s, I got a freelance gig, copy editing manuscripts for a famous romance publisher. I was interested, because I’d read romances and I was curious about how the genre was put together and because I’d worked in a couple of male-dominated industries by then, I was also curious about how it had to feel being in a female-dominated one. Afterward, I was inspired, and so I wrote a romance. That was in 1986.

Soon after I finished and sent it in (paper and everything; it was an earlier time), I got a revise and resubmit letter the following year. I didn’t realize that was a good thing (because networking with other like authors was far, far in the future), so I had to think about how to make good on those suggested revisions. Time passed and I had to set that aside—because that was 1987 and Wall Street, where I worked, collapsed (famous stock market crash; you can look it up) and my company collapsed and in one day let go thousands of employees, of which I was one. More time passed—I found a temporary job and then another temporary job and my mother got sick and died and by then, it was 1989 and we moved across the country. By the time I actually revised and resubmitted, several years had gone by and the romance publisher wasn’t interested anymore.

Life went on. I joined Romance Writers of America, wrote other things, and then, a few years ago, I was asked by a digital publisher if I were interested in pitching a story for a graphic novella. I said sure, and trotted out the story I was just telling you about. They said sure, I wrote the script, and it was accepted. A few years passed (yes, more years. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the point sooner or later) and the publisher asked if I were interested in basing a novella on the graphic novella, which was based on the original manuscript. I said sure, I trotted out the original work once again, cut and rewrote (because I’ve been editing, cutting, and revising work for a long time, I can do this without much problem).

The publisher accepted it—but this time, we couldn’t come to terms, and so the newly updated work was back in my hands again—and I knew it was time. So, at LONG, LONG last, the novel, now a novella, is published. It’s titled His 30-Day Guarantee (original title 30-Day Guarantee), and at the moment, it’s only available in digital for Kindle (coming up) and print now from CreateSpace. But I have it in my hands; it’s real; and only THIRTY YEARS after I wrote it!

What’s the moral of this (long-winded) story? Never throw anything away. You just never know. 
Digital (Kindle only at this time):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1BPL89/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487267769&sr=1-3&keywords=Eilis+Flynn

Print:
https://www.amazon.com/His-30-Day-Guarantee-Eilis-Flynn/dp/1542486947/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487267880&sr=1-1&keywords=Eilis+Flynn

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

BOOKLOG 62: IF I HAD YOU


by Heather Hiestand
Recently—very, very recently, even though I should have read it months ago, but then I got very, very busy—I read Heather Hiestand’s If I Had You, her introduction to the Jazz Age, with vague threads to her Redcakes series. It’s a fun book (with the sequel coming up in February 2017), so I won’t spoil it for you, but I can tell you that the subplot deals with the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, when the disenfranchised Russians poured into Europe, running from the savage revolutionists and those who glommed on and began gleefully pillaging whatever they could. What happened to those fleeing Russians, trying to forget the horrific murders and executions, all too often having occurred because someone coveted a piece of jewelry or a plot of land and decided that informing on someone was the way to get it? That there was blood spilled of the innocent wasn’t their concern.

Because historical romances so often pay short shrift to anything other than the romance (don’t get me wrong; it’s the heart of the story, but there has to be something other than heart to keep the entire thing alive), this subplot with ousted Russians seeking revenge is both fascinating and insightful into the Britain of the 1920s. Of Europe in the 1920s, come to think of it. Our hero and heroine meet in London, both fish out of water—she’s from the countryside, and he’s from out of the country (yes, Russia! How did you guess?)—and they’re both running from their past. The Great War scrubbed both of their past (her parents perished on the sinking of the Lusitania; his parents were executed because they had property a cousin wanted, and his older sister executed because she was a conspirator) and now, they have to create their own future. When better than the Roaring Twenties? (Because of my many years working on Wall Street, I’ve long had an interest in the end of the 1920s, so what led up to 1929 always interested me too.)

Anyway, the themes that Hiestand used here are universal, so as I was reading away, hoping for more and more details about 1920s Britain (the details she used for her Redcakes series, about the well-to-do Victorians, really described the rise of the society), it occurred to me that the parallels to modern-day society were pretty clear, and it also occurred to me you could build another society in the far-flung future, using the same themes of loss and revenge and rebuilding.

Anyway. I have to add that I’ve known Heather for many years, but I always make a point of buying her books. Interested in relatively modern history? Interested in how the past always, always informs the present and the future? You’ll like If I Had You.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

BOOKLOG 61: AN OBVIOUS FACT


AN OBVIOUS FACT
A Longmire Mystery
by Craig Johnson

Yes, it’s Walt Longmire again, but this time he’s out of the Absaroka County element, this time visiting Hulett, Wyoming, at the request of a friend, where a famous annual race means that there’s a flood of biker gangs in temporary residence, not unlike Sturgiss, center of motorcyclists, except much, much more menacing. At least to me; for the good sheriff, it’s just one more factor to keep in mind as he investigates an odd hit-and-run, and then a murder of a biker, and then the appearance of a…oh, you don’t need me to tell you all the things that happen. Here’s the thing I found funny as I was reading this (as usual intricate and well worth reading): by day I’m an editor, and I edit most anything (I have yet to edit anything mechanically oriented, so Popular Mechanics will not be contacting me anytime soon to take care of its articles). My amusement stems from the fact that as I was reading this book, which takes place in northeastern Wyoming but also touches on southwestern South Dakota, I was editing a South Dakota–based work (not a mystery, though) with another South Dakota–based work scheduled in the next few months. After decades of little or no consideration given to those states, I find it funny that all of a sudden, I have to think about them.

Happy holidays to one and all, and may you have a coming year NOT filled with horrible calamity!

Coming up: Well, it was going to be The Pigeon Tunnel by John LeCarre, but I can't find the book right now. So in any case, Season's Greetings!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's the Thanksgiving Day Song!

The result of a very short commute to a job a number of years ago, I present to you once again:
Turkey Day Song
by Elizabeth MS Flynn

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO
LOVE MY YAMS, MARSHMALLOWS TOO

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO
LOVE MY MASHED POTATO TOO

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO
LOVE MY GREEN BEAN CASSEROO

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO
LOVE THOSE TASTY BISCUITS TOO

Or

LOVE MY PARKER ROLLS I DO
SOFT AND FLUFFY, CHEWY TOO

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO
LOVE MY DRESSING CHESTNUTS TOO

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

LOVE MY PUMPKIN PIE I DO
LOVE MY APPLE CHERRY TOO

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY

LOVE MY TURKEY YES I DO
BUT MOSTLY THANKFUL FOR YOU AND YOU

TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
TURKEY TURKEY TURKEY DAY
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

BOOK LOG 60: LEAGUE OF REGRETTABLE SUPERHEROES


BOOKLOG 60: LEAGUE OF REGRETTABLE SUPERHEROES
Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History
by Jon Morris

Everyone knows about Superman, the granddaddy of them all, and Wonder Woman, the grandmommy. But what about the super-heroes who didn’t make the headlines, the ones who slipped away from the game, the ones who were (in many cases) not well-conceived or well-executed or just plain terrible? Well, you’re going to get a taste of some of them here. In cartoonist/graphic designer Jon Morris’s book—the title might have suggested a rollicking novel. It is not; it is rollickingly funny, however—the reader is introduced and even charmed by these comic evolution leftovers, most of which were (logically) forgotten. A quick look at the heroes and heroines in question when I first picked up this book made me laugh and then protest (some of them were familiar from when I was a kid, and I remember liking them!), and then ask where certain others, some of whom always showed up in lists like these, were. (Matter-Eater Lad, I mean. But he’s a great character! Even evolutionarily. Because if your planet suddenly changed, the residents would h…well, never mind. Not the point today.)

The book is divided into comic ages—Golden Age, Silver Age, Modern Age (because Bronze Age sounded not precious metally enough? Or the concept of lessening metals alarmed someone?)—and familiar and nonfamiliar names abound. What’s amusing is that in the constant search for new twists on an old trick, some of the least likely names have been resurrected for the comics, here and now. But the ones not likely to be resurrected are the ones I found most memorable, with names like “Bozo the Iron Man.” That name alone made me laugh out loud. Or that might have been the baseball game in the background. All I know is that I had tears falling down my cheeks after I read a few of these entries.

The creators of all these Regrettables (hey, it should be the name of a bad boy band, too!) were themselves of note, including Fletcher Hanks, creator of Fantomah (a heroine who debuted the year before Wonder Woman), who disappeared from comics after three years of creating odd characters. Then there was Bob Fujitani, a Japanese/Irish-American creator who was a prolific comics artist during the 1940s, who can’t have had an easy time of things during that period (who nonetheless had an interesting and lengthy career). The names that caught my eye, both good and bad, however, had to have been those of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman himself. While they gave birth to an entire industry (and didn’t get much else but fame out of that), they continued to create, both together and separately, for a very long time after their teenaged enthusiasm gave us the Man from Krypton.

Interested in comic history? Read this. If nothing else, read it and think about the drive to create a piece of history. And the Legion of Super-Pets.

Coming up: Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BOOK LOG 59: MORE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES


BOOK LOG 59: MORE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES
The Life and Death of Ferro Lad; Supergirl and the LSH: Dominator War; Enemy Rising; Enemy Manifest; Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes; Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds; Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th Century
Various authors and artists
DC Comics Entertainment

The problem with having a completist gene is that once you pick up a project, you feel the need to, you know, complete it. Unfortunately, in this case I’m hampered by only being able to read what the local library has available instead of the almost sixty years of Legion stories published (you can see the challenge and problem there; I know I could track down a lot of it, but a lot not), so I’m doing my best to read and reread everything that is available in the system. I know too many other Legion fans that if I have a question, there will be someone who can come up with an answer, so I’m not too worried about gaps in knowledge not covered in available narrative.

So in the latest batch, I tried to read them in chronological order—and the stories that made up the first compilation, The Life and Death of Ferro Lad, I actually read when the comics were originally published, written by a then-13-year-old Jim Shooter. After having not read them in many a year (even many a decade), I read them with a clear eye—and I have to say, they held up well. Seriously! Plotting good, dialogue sparse enough yet informative enough that I never frowned trying to get through murky writing and random art, too often the current case. The editor, a man named Mort Weisinger, had many flaws (many), but he did a good job of getting the best out of a kid writer, and the kid did a great job. Those of us who write stories in general should take notice (and notes).

What strikes me as interesting is that the villains in the DC pantheon over the years have been numerous and sundry, but over and over again the villains introduced in Legion stories, and by youngster Shooter, show up a lot even now, far far away from anything dealing with the Legion. We hadn’t realized how much until Mordru the Merciless, a longtime adversary of the Legion, made an appearance (without real reason, it turns out) in a Justice League cartoon. Out of nowhere and, as I said, for no good reason. But it was Mordru, and no mention of the Legion. Hey!

Then there was the Persuader of the Fatal Five, who made an appearance on the Smallville TV show. That made sense; Superboy (before the original Superboy was lawsuited out of existence) played a large part in the Legion’s adventures in the early days, so Smallville made sense (which was, after all, the adventures of Superman when he was a CW star, and the CW versions of the Legion’s founders showed up too). Those are the two that come to mind; other Legion enemies have popped up, one, the Khund, in a passing reference in the first season of Supergirl, and another, the Dominators (before BDSM was an everyday thing), are apparently the Big Bad Adversary that forces Supergirl to join forces with other CW DC super-heroes this season.

All this comes to mind because besides Lex Luthor and Brainiac (the original), Legion villains seem to come up with remarkable regularity. Seriously, there are THOUSANDS of villains. THOUSANDS. I’d say the current creators might want to come up with other old ones, or, heaven forfend, MIGHT WANT TO MAKE UP NEW ONES. Is that too much to ask?

Kidding. Well, I’m only kidding to some degree, because of course there have been many others who have been put to repeated use.

Why am I going on and on (and boring you to a comatose state)? Because even if you’re not writing comics, and if you’re writing something else, think of something NEW. I know we’re always told that there’s nothing new under the sun and to think of a new twist to something old, but come on. Is it too much to ask for a new twist on a twist?

Wait, what?

Coming up: West of Everything by Jane Tompkins

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pets in Space Anthology


Pets%20In%20Space.jpgPets in Space Anthology

Release Date: October 11 2016

ISBN:  978-1-942583-40-0


Even an alien needs a pet...

Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?

New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have nine original, never-released stories that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.


Loglines:
Nine incredible stories from today's leading SFR authors that will take you on action-packed adventures.

Nine of today's leading SFR authors combine their love of Science Fiction Romance and animals to show that sometimes even an alien needs a pet.

Join the adventure as 9 of today’s leading SFR authors combine their talents and deliver nine original action-adventures in space that you won’t forget.