FAQ

A Quick Note...

These comments are substantially comprised of my opinion, and in many cases were jotted hastily without regard to your personal views, phobias, or roommate's drunken ramblings. If you disagree (or agree!) strongly enough, feel free to comment on the discussion board. That is what it's for.

Reporters & Report-Doers:
I hereby grant you permission to quote from this page in your article, essay, story, or school homework. My requirements: you must let me know where the quote is to be published (if applicable) and you must quote accurately, not out of context, and not in a defamatory manner. Thanks!

Questions & Answers

What is your favorite...?

Food

Unquestionably chocolate. That's a food, isn't it? Grows on trees; must be a fruit. [Top]

Music

Meat Loaf, J.S. Bach, Melissa Etheridge, Pat Benatar, Simon and Garfunkel, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Vienna Teng, Nickelback, Adele... pretty much anything without cop-killing lyrics, random industrial noises, or an unbearable nasal twang. [Top]

Actor

Tough one. I would have to pick Alan Rickman (mostly for his voice and presence). [Top]

Writer

That's nearly impossible to answer. There are so many talented voices out there, and so many new ones all the time. Instead, I'll try to list those who have influenced me the most. Topping the list is Piers Anthony, for almost every aspect of writing including humor, hard work, and standing up for yourself. (I read Split Infinity when I was eight, and haven't put him down since.) Other influences include Barbara Hambly, for characterization and style; David Eddings, for plot, characterization, and world-development; and Lynn Flewelling, for characterization, world-development, and being honest enough with yourself to include potentially controversial ideas. [Top]

Subject in School

*suppresses a groan* Have they made Creative Writing a subject yet? That's my favorite. Other than that, I'm not sure. I did equally well in all subjects, but that doesn't mean I necessarily enjoyed them, just worked very hard for each. I suppose Chemistry, Spanish, and Chorus were the most fun. [Top]

Television

I enjoy watching Science shows. I'm a nerd and proud of it. :) "Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman" is one of my favorites. [Top]

Color

Green. No, Blue! Aaaaaaaaagh.... (My apologies to the cast of Monty Python.) [Top]

How do you...?

Write

I've heard that some authors may be able to chug along on a novel like a freight train, starting at a given station and proceeding in an orderly line to a given destination within a given period of time. Sorry to say, I've never had that experience, although I try.

When I start on a novel, it usually comes as some vague flash when I'm doing something else. For instance, I may be watching a movie and ask myself, "Hey, what if there were a man who could fly?" That, right there, is the knell of doom. Little do I know it, but I have thus innocently thrust myself onto a tortuous path of obsessive note-taking, scratching out potential scenes, and typing into the wee hours of the night.

This process may last anywhere from 32 days (my record) to 30+ years (my unhappy, other record). If the actual writing begins within ten days, those scribblings will most likely form into a book.

The "survival" page--the length that determines whether the book will actually be finished--is somewhere between 60 and 120. By that point, I've either become disgusted and abandoned the project, or become genuinely involved. (Or I've put too much time in to abandon it.)

After passing the "survival" page, I try to keep up a steady ten pages per twenty-four hour period. I say "twenty-four hours" instead of "day" because the hours I work are subject to my other businesses, home life, inspiration, random factors, or sometimes just sleeplessness.

The worst part, surprisingly enough, is the ending. I have spent up to two weeks brooding on the last ten pages before writing them down. It's not precisely that I don't know what I want to say. It's that I either don't know how to say it, or I don't want to say it. Finishing a novel is rather like losing a friend. You can go back and hear recordings of what the friend said, but he or she will never say anything new. [Top]

Get Published

I'm rather wondering that myself. I've been published before, and I can relate how that worked-- see Writer's Info page. But in this world of fast money and bestseller-or-bust publishing, I'm beginning to think the question may truly be, "how does one stay published?"

The best answer I've found--and some would call it "cheating"--is to print your own books. Today there are several services which offer "print on demand" (P.O.D.) books. That is, you order it, they print it up and send it to you right away.

The biggest pitfalls in this are, of course, lack of editorial oversight and the need to promote yourself. Traditional publishers pay big bucks buying ad space and getting their authors' names "out there." A P.O.D. publisher will not do that. You have to. (But, on the other hand, the author has a lot more control over every aspect of his/her book.) [Top]

Maintain Sanity

Oh, I don't. Anyone who claims to be sane is simply clinging to the illusion that they agree with what everyone else says reality should be. Sorry. I don't subscribe to that publication. (I used to, but the cover price became too high so I bought Reader's Digest instead.)

Reality is as variable as the human mind; it is necessarily different for each individual, because it is shaped by the perceptions, abilities and cognizance of each individual human being.

--Er, I mean... what? My sanity? What have you heard?? Who have you been talking to?! [Top]

Create

Each website is dictated to me word-for-word by my friends, the black polka-dot Irish Jew space aliens who live in my mailbox. (Boy, that ought to trigger some search engines.) And if you believe that, I've a novel to sell you....

(If you take offense at the above remark, you can buy a sense of humor for only 214 Martian pence. First read my entry on being different, then e-mail me at 'get-a-life@seriously.comm" for current exchange rates.) [Top]

Questions & Answers

Business Related Questions

Where can I get your books?

Check out the "Purchase" page for places to buy my books, along with other stuff I've made. [Top]

Have you written anything else?

I have written plenty of new stuff, including full-length fantasy, light science fiction, and young adult novels. I also filled out my tax return the other day. At the moment, however, very little of it is published. [Top]

Do you have an agent?

Nope. I'm still looking. They say that all you need to get an agent is a spiffy idea, a relevant background, and a publishing history. I like to think I have plenty of each, but it doesn't seem to convince anyone. [Top]

Do you have a pen-name? What is it?

Tsk, tsk. Yes, I have published works under different names. But it wouldn't be much of a secret if I just gave it out, now, would it? I'll give you a hint, though: it has letters in it. [Top]

What kind of a doctor are you?

The not-very-useful kind. I can't heal you if you get sick, but I can talk a great deal.

I have Ph.D. in Religion. I'm also a Doctor of Divinity, which means I can bless stuff and it sticks. Other than that, I have a Masters in Liberal Studies with a Writing Focus and a Bachelors in Creative Studies with a Writing Focus. . . . See my entry on having too much education. [Top]

What is your philosophy about...?

Philosophy

The term "philosophy" comes from two Greek words, philos and sophia, which mean love and knowledge. I love knowledge, but I find that the vast majority of philosophy out there is a love of hearing oneself speak, which is nonetheless enthralling to others. Take this entry, for instance. Complete nonsense. But I'm allowed to say that, for I have a Doctorate of Philosophy. Plus, I know the square root of green. So you see what I mean? I'm spouting pure nonsense, and you're still reading. :) [Top]

Being Different

Being different is inherent to the human condition. Every human being has a unique personality, appearance, background, brain-structure, and personal preference. In addition, everyone but for identical twins and clones has a unique set of fingerprints and DNA.

So how can the world expect any human, much less a group of humans, to conform to given norms? The task is nearly impossible, and yet we find, whether through legislation or social pressure, time and again individuals are compressed into given molds of "correct behavior."

I'm not talking about basic rules of decency, such as don't kill or don't steal. I'm talking about the more subtle rules: don't stand out, don't draw attention to yourself, don't be different.

To me, there is no crime more obscene than forcing conformity on an innocent being. Humans are intrinsically unique, in vastly different fashions and degrees. For the sake of creativity, of sanity, and of just plain, human decency, I say we should encourage being different above anything else.

There is nothing wrong about being smart, awkward, colorful, shy, slow, polka-dotted or any of the other adjectives people use to isolate one another. There is everything right about being yourself. [Top]

Education

I used to say that one could not acquire too much formal education. Then I learned myself out of a job. Now I have half the alphabet after my name, and people are afraid to hire me. They think I cost too much, in pay.

So, I will revise that statement: one cannot acquire too much knowledge. Always, always keep learning, no matter what you do. But after high school or the first university degree you can stop going to school. [Top]

Cheating in School

Having been one of those students who worked hard in high school (go figure), I find that cheaters generally fall into three categories: those who are simply too lazy to study, knowing that others will help them along; those who are behind, and use others to help them succeed; and those who mean well, but made a genuine mistake and have forgotten (or been unable) to study for tests. Of that list, the last category is the only one for which I feel sympathy. The second category needs assistance, not more tests. And the first category needs a good smack upside the brain. But that's my opinion, of course, and they don't allow me to run the schools, perhaps for that reason.... [Top]

Bigotry

Most bigots that I've met fall into the same categories that cheaters do: the lazy, the behind, and the mistaken. These fall out thus: those who are simply too ingrained in their own culture or philosophy to embrace or learn a different view, those who are behind the times or simply can't understand other cultures, and those who mean well but have thoughtlessly succumbed to a given opinion because they never considered the issue. The same actions apply for each as for cheaters.

The difference between cheaters and bigots is that cheaters don't stand up on soapboxes with pitchforks and torches, shouting about how great it is to cheat.

Everyone has a right to their opinion of course (see "being different," above) but I draw my personal line where they start toasting marshmallows. [Top]

Gays / Blacks / Jews / etc.

People love to ask this question. Controversy, hooray! *Pictures gossip-columnists rubbing newsprint-smudged hands together.* So here's my view. People are what they are, and so it should be. The world is a snack-bag of variety munchies, not homogenous nuts. We can go through and pick out each cheese crunchie and corn chip, or we can grab a handful and enjoy. That's the beauty of variety. (No, I'm not advocating human cannibalism. It's a met-a-phor.)

And by the way, if you're offended by variety? Chances are, you're one of the nuts.

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