Oh, you poor, poor fools that have the misfortune of living outside driving range of the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and North Carolina. Why do I pity you? Well, for so many reasons, honestly, but mostly because you will be missing out on a GREAT event this Saturday.

Pshaw, you say! I have a lot of things going for me outside the Norfolk / Chesapeake / Virginia Beach area. Why, I have the life of the European bon vivant, you say. I’ve got the excitement of the Big Apple — I’ve got the coolness of the West Coast — I’ve got the great vistas of the Rocky Mountains!

Pitiful, pitiful, pitiful, pitiful. Your protestations are but the last desperate gasp of the uninformed. You cry foul, but I know better, because I know about Authorfest.

Hampton Roads Authorfest, a kick-ass collection of 25 local-area authors with well over 100 books between them, books that excite, books that inform, books that stir the soul and the imagination. Books by authors who have both succeeded in the traditional publishing industry, and books by those who have struck out on their own and gone indie. Books of every genre from my own favorite (SCIENCE FICTION and all its varied sub-genres), to horror, thrillers, romance, mysteries, fantasy, young adult, crime, true crime, memoirs, humor, children’s books, travel books, and philosophy, etc. Books by such local luminaries as Chris Kennedy, Vanessa Barger, Lara Nance, Nancy Naigle, Tracy March, Malcom Massey, Dave Poyer, and Lynn Yvonne Moon. Books by authors you’ve loved for years, and books by authors you have yet to discover.

And what an event it’ll be! There’s the authors, of course, whom you’ll be able to stroll around, talk to, and connect with from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. And there will be books to browse, books to buy (for yourself or as a gift for the holidays), and prizes to win. And there will be seminars throughout the day, full of priceless guidance if you’d like to one day be a selling author yourself. They’ll cover the Children’s Book biz, Small Press Publishing, Indie Publishing, Book Trailers and Advertising, Writing for Young Adults, Steampunk Basics, and The Game of Love in Romance Writing. I myself don’t know if I’ll be able to resist the seminars, even though I’ll be sitting a table and trying to sell my own humble pair of books.

Should you happen to have the fortune of residing within the greater Hampton Roads area (and by this I mean if you left RIGHT NOW, you could legally and safely hit the Authorfest from a range of 4000 miles), you can totally attend the event — AND YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD. We’ll be kicking things off at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library in Virginia Beach, at the 4100 block of Virginia Beach Boulevard, from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. It’ll be a blast and you owe yourself the opportunity to meet these authors and try out their wares.

Plus, BONUS!!!, I will be there in all my humble glory.

Honestly, how could you NOT show up now?

Lost in Translation?

That probably could have gone better.

As you may have gleaned from a prior post, I’m starting the networking and marketing and politicking I’m told will be needed for me to ever reach out beyond a close group of friends who’ll perhaps feel obligated to buy A Sword Into Darkness when it finally does go on sale.  Part of that is joining up with the pro and semi-pro writers’ organizations in the local area.  Today I met with Milt, a very nice older gentlemen who’s a fixture among the Hampton Roads Writers circles.  He tried to find out what I was looking for and tried to relay what he and the wider organization could provide.  As part of that, he asked me to send him a sub-assembly of the novel:  First 10 pages, then various pages from three major plot points, pages from the climax, a two-page summary, a logline, and a description of the book in terms of other major books already out there.  Today, we met and he gave his impression.

Yeah.  Not a new fan apparently.

He was very nice and professional about it.  He told me up front that he doesn’t read SF, his forte is more in the John Le Carre spy thriller realm, but he could give general advice and generally his advice is that I halt everything and do a full rewrite.

He liked the plot and thought the writing samples I gave him were great.  He just really didn’t like the flow as related by the synopsis.  He thought it was too jumpy, either accelerating too fast  between scenes or skipping big chunks of time (it’s the latter, which is not apparent from the synopsis, granted).  He loved the scene in Chapter 2 where Nathan’s ship is sunk, he just thought that it didn’t have a need to be in the plot and should probably go in a completely separate book.  He thought Kris coming up with her enhanced photonic reaction drive, the device that drives the latter 2/3’s of the plot, was way too convenient.  And he took issue with the character of Sykes, the SECDEF who is both venal and noble in his interactions with Gordon and Lydia in developing the destroyer, USS SWORD OF LIBERTY.  (Apologies for the unexplained references, you’ll just have to buy the book to find out!)

Me, I think the issues were one (or two) of four possible things:  My synopsis lacked the details that would have assuaged many of his questions–which is my fault–but the book itself is fundamentally sound.  Or, my version of military SF / hard SF / space opera is just not his cup of tea (he, for one, did not know what a wormhole was or why it should mean anything to the plot).  Or, he’s partly right and I’ve got some problems to fix, and I’m not so full of myself to believe otherwise.  Or, I’m a complete hack and editors and agents were right to run from me screaming.

So, tough meeting.  As for me, ASID is what it is at this point.  I’m not of a mind to trash it and try again.  I will take anyone’s edits and tweak the manuscript, especially if you’re a pro-editor and your buy decision rests upon those edits.  And I know not everyone is going to love my work, nor that I’m the greatest writer with the greatest book that ever existed.  But, at this place in the book’s existence, it’s time for it to sink or swim on its own.  If Baen does not revise it or buy it, it’s coming out before the end of the year.  I explained this to Milt and he agreed.  I appreciated the look he gave it.  We shook hands as we parted and I look forward to making use of his insight on future projects, but I wish we had come together closer on our opinion of ASID.

The day approaches soon and the market beckons.  I only hope there’s more readers like me out there than like Milt.

What do YOU think?