Thursday, January 30, 2014

Beware the Ides

All is on track to release my newest novel, THE SHADOW OF ASAK, on the Ides of March. At least, March 15 is the official date, though it might show up on line a tad earlier.

Any serious rewriting is finished. This does not mean I will not make little changes in wording or such up until the last moment. There are always things one notices! But from here on, it is a matter of design and formatting, getting the ISBNs assigned, creating a book trailer to put up at YouTube.

I am into that project already. The music is written, recorded, and ready — not a song this time, but a shorter instrumental. The slide show needs be designed and put together, which is not difficult but somewhat time consuming (and a bit tedious, as is all the work at this point).

At any rate, SHADOW is definitely a finished novel. It came out only about 1200 words longer than THE SONG OF THE SWORD, my first installment of DONZALO’S DESTINY, so it is still a fairly short book. And again, it is really a group of novellas (or two novellas and one novelette this time) telling a continued story.

Or one could consider DONZALO to be one rather long novel — there should be at least two more books to it. Here is the back cover blurb/trailer text:

Young Donazalo has left his home and his familiar life in Lama, fleeing assassins and dark magic.

In the rugged hills of the Cuddon he finds love.

In the hidden land of the Fay he finds new purpose.

And on the road home, new dangers and new allies await him, in the Second Book of Donzalo’s Destiny, The Shadow of Asak.

ADDENDUM: I am moving the official release date up to March 1. There's no point in holding it longer!

Friday, January 24, 2014


I am, I hope, putting the finishing touches on the new novel. Rewriting, formatting, designing — with any luck, it should be out by April. This is THE SHADOW OF ASAK, the second book in the Donzalo’s Destiny series of fantasy novels. At this point, I would guess two more novels. Or three?

Although that might not be the end of the character and/or the world in which he exists. Of course, ‘Donzalo’s Destiny’ itself is actually a single long novel that I am breaking up into books.

Somewhere around the same time the new novel from my niece and sister, Mary and Jean James, should be appearing. That book is titled – at least for now – ‘Sea Red, Sea Blue’ and will be published by Harbourlight Press . That’s the adventure/suspense imprint of Pelican Books, a ‘Christian’ publisher.

Before I start in on the third Donzalo installment I should pay some attention to other projects. I have a lot of stuff on hold! There is a more-or-less mainstream novel in the works as well. If it comes along well, I may choose to shop it around rather than publishing it myself through Arachis Press. I would not hold it very long, though.

Okay, back to work, mustn’t shirk.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Conservative, Liberals, Beliefs

Although I would not be inclined to ever self-identify as ‘conservative,’ I must admit that I sometimes find myself sharing viewpoints with so-called ‘paleo-conservatives.’ I remain as disdainful of neo-cons and tea partiers and laissez-faire capitalists as ever.

So what is the difference between these latter and the paleo-cons? For one, the paleos are not against government. They are not libertarians. Although I dabbled with true libertarianism, i.e. anarchism, at one time, I no longer have enough faith in human nature to espouse that. There needs to be a balance between the individual’s freedom and authority.

I do believe in ownership – though it must be recognized as, ultimately, stewardship – but I also believe in limitations. Capitalism should be well-regulated so that it serves the needs of the many, so that wealth does not become concentrated. Economic power and political power are, after all, the same thing and too much of one leads to too much of the other. This is true both of capitalist societies and socialist ones, where economic and political power comes under the control of a ruling elite.

I remain somewhat informed by Catholic social teaching and a Distributist economic model. Although there has been a great deal of attention to what Pope Francis has been saying lately, none of it is new and very much follows the official church position of the last 120 years — and what has been implicit since at least the time of Thomas Aquinas.

Even the conservatives’ favorite, John Paul II, stood on the same ground and taught the same message. His encyclical Centesimus annus celebrates the teachings of Leo XIII a century earlier in Rerum novarum, the first of the papal encyclicals to directly address the economic and social failings of both socialism and rampant capitalism.

Such beliefs keep me from embracing conservatism in any of its current forms (It should be noted that paleo-conservatives actually consider neo-cons and libertarians to be liberals, in the 19th Century sense). Yes, I have some social-conservative tendencies, though, for the most part, I would rather not have government involved in those.

Does that, then, make me a liberal? I am not that sure about self-identifying as such, either. This is why I am a Green rather than a Democrat (not a Republican, of course — today’s Republicans are giving conservatism a bad name!). Even though the Green party sometimes attracts assorted far-left progressives, its ‘key values’ come close to reflecting my own. If it can remain true to its original vision, I will stay Green.

Of course, history will just meander on in whatever direction it chooses. Or whatever direction economics drives it, I should say, so I sometimes have difficulty taking any of this seriously. People live and die and search for meaning or for happiness and the world goes on.

There is no perfect way for humans are not perfect. That is the one thing I do believe completely!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Breaking Silence

It’s been a very long time since I blogged. It’s been a very long time since I had anything worth blogging. Still don’t, for that matter, but I’ll do it anyway.

I’ve been holed up in my ‘guest bedroom’ this month, moved in as much of my office as possible, and left the rest of the house cold, most of the time. It is still hibernation time. I’ll stick my head out around Groundhog Day and see if spring is coming.

Which it should be, here in the Florida Panhandle. It usually comes pretty quickly in February. If one forgets about the February four years ago when it snowed here!

I haven’t been very creative over the past month so I have used the time to work on organizing and rewriting and that sort of thing. Playing and singing more, too, even though my voice is not in good shape at this time of the year and my hands get swollen and stiff in cold weather.

Maybe I shall learn (or relearn) some songs and get out and about this year, see about performing or at least hit a few open mikes. Of course, my writing and all the other projects I have, uh, projected, will have to have my attention. I really need to get some illustrations done.

Even though I am not really an illustrator at heart. I do not paint or draw ‘things.’ I build my art from dabs and dots and so on, and the subject matter is not really much a part of it — I’m quite abstract, actually, even though my work may seem seem figurative. I rarely draw a line or a shape. So creating a scene to use in a book isn’t something that comes naturally to me.

I suppose, in a sense, I write that way as well. I’m not about the ‘story’ so much as I am about the words. They are my daubs of paint. That’s why I can’t create a rough draft of a story or novel, but get most of the words ‘right’ from the start.

Well, time to go bake a pizza.