30 Years to Publication

It took two months to write, thirty years to get published. And you know what? It was worth the wait.

I am so proud. I wrote The Augmented Man in April of 1990. Now I’m holding copies in my hands.

 
And the delay wasn’t because of slow mail.

I wrote the novel side-by-side with the novella, The Goatmen of Aguirra (to give you an idea of what my mind was working on at the time).

I’d workshopped The Augmented Man and received high praise. I shopped it around, no publisher was interested. I asked AJ Budrys, my mentor and an accomplished author and editor, if he’d be willing to read it and let me know if I was kidding myself, did it just need work, should I give up my dreams of being a published author…?

What you need to know is I was an accomplished trade technical author in the late 1980s through the early 1990s, at the height of the PC Boom (I discuss this in my interview) and my work was in high demand. I knew the publishing industry at that time.

AJ read it and was so blown away he offered to agent it for me. He’d published some of my short fiction in his Tomorrow magazine and he knew my work from workshops hence was familiar with my work, my style, my weaknesses and my strengths. But The Augmented Man caught him by surprise.

I was flattered, honored. I almost fainted when I read his letter offering to represent the novel (1990, remember? We didn’t do lots of emailing back then).

For reasons that had nothing to do with the book, AJ couldn’t land it. We met at a con and he explained the situation to me. Someday, should we meet at a con, ask me and I’ll share the story.

AJ passed and I got another agent. She loved the book. Could I add 30,000 words to it?

Sure, why?

Because it was too short. Thirty-k words longer and she was sure she could land it. I added 30k words, edited, proofed, and sent the rewrite to her in under a month.

Didn’t hear from her. Called and got “Oh, on second thought, no, I don’t think this is a good enough novel. Besides, there’s too much out there already like it.”

Really? Did you read the novel?

Yeah, sure. It’s about a guy lost in a jungle, right?

On to agent #3. Who was a joke. I finally asked point blank, “How many projects have you placed?” and she responded that she couldn’t work with someone who asked such questions. This was after the head of the agency phoned and talked with me for an hour to let me know how impressed he was by my work.

So I put it on the shelf. I went on with life.

Because I’m patient.

And now I’m holding the novel in my hands.

I’m so proud.


Would you like a personally autographed copy?

(and feel free to pass this on to every one)

Help Me Celebrate – The Augmented Man Is Available for PreOrder from Black Rose Writing

They all laughed when I said I wanted to be an author, but then when I sat down and wrote a sentence…

A few years back I switched careers and set out to be a published author.

Today (3 June 2019) my goal is reached; Black Rose Writing is publishing my first novel, The Augmented Man (many more novels to follow).

The Augmented Man Bookcover

 
I would like you to help me celebrate and am offering three suggestions:

  1. Preorder a signed copy from me
  2. Preorder a copy directly from Black Rose (use promo code PREORDER2019 for a 15% discount)
  3. Donate something to a charity.

Susan and I celebrated with donations to Catie’s Closet and the Manchester Animal Shelter.

So please help me celebrate however your heart leads, and thanks.

Thanks to the folks who’ve already congratulated me in phone calls, emails and online.

The Augmented Man – Opening Quotes, Surface, In

The horrors of war never stay on the battlefield. They always come home.

The ideal experimental animal is man. Whenever it is possible, man should be selected as the test animal. The clinical researcher must bear in mind the fact that, if he wishes to understand human ills, he must study man. No researches are more interesting, more satisfying and more lucrative than those performed on man. Hence, it is up to us to forge ahead in our research on the most developed of animals: man.
— Mèdecine et Hygiéne, #637, April 1964

In all events, a healthy man does not have the right to be a volunteer for an operation which will certainly lead to a mutilation of the human body, or a serious and lasting deterioration of health. The patient cannot abandon to the doctor all rights to his body, over which he himself has only the right of usufruct.
— Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, Pope Pius XII

This experimentation can only be applied to informed volunteers who are completely free to accept or to refuse it, and can only be performed by a highly qualified person capable of reducing the risks incurred to a minimum.
— Acadèmie de Mèdecine

It is known that free consent is relatively rare. An atmosphere of suggestion, of persuasion, can easily be created, which will succeed in influencing the personality. Naturally, more effective means of pressure can be applied to subjects who are prisoners…This mentality appears to us to be rooted in a regression and a return to the mentality of human sacrifice characteristic of ancient paganism, of those human sacrifices made for a new idol…
— Psychopathologie expèrimentale, Professor Henri Paruk, P.U.F.

Senator Martha Astin (R.MA): “It sounds like you’re making nightmare monsters.”
Captain James Donaldson, ONI COS: “Yes, Senator. I am.”
Senator Martha Astin (R.MA): “And where do you get these monsters, Captain?”
Captain James Donaldson, ONI COS: “Well, ma’am, you start with those who are afraid of monsters.”
— transcript, Gang of Eight Advisory Committee, 310815-1437FF, ONI 17901

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Trailer, Bear, and Jaguar

When wildlife respects you, you’re someone to be feared

My writing coach suggested I add a scene to The Augmented Man that demonstrates Trailer’s “alpha-ness” in the woods, basically that he’s the uberpredator and even top predators fear him.

Good assignment.

But Trailer, in the woods among wildlife, isn’t feared in the way my coach wanted me to depict him. Animals in the wild acknowledge each other and little more. They do not threaten unless they are threatened, they do not attack unless there is no other choice. They won’t attack you unless you’re stupid and they are ravenously hungry or diseased.

So I wrote the following because it 1) depicts Trailer’s status in the wild, 2) shows relatively early on that he’s not the monster everybody assumes he is.

And then I pulled it because – even though I like it a lot – it didn’t fit. It added a scene that is demonstrated elsewhere in the book and at a better place in the narrative.

So what to do with it? As I wrote in Ripping Out the Pattern, I’m saving it for a sequel to The Augmented Man.

Meanwhile, here it is. Let me know what you think.
Continue reading “Trailer, Bear, and Jaguar”

The Augmented Man -Synopsis

The ultimate battlefield is the human heart

The US government is engaged in a South American war and losing badly. After years of standard and non-standard strategies and tactics failing, the government entertains an often-made suggestion: create supersoldiers. The suggestion is about to be dismissed when (then) Captain James Donaldson adds an outrageous modification: use horribly abused and already traumatized children as the source material. These individuals, Donaldson argues, are already hardened against anything they’ll experience on the battlefield and anything we’ll ask them to do.
Continue reading “The Augmented Man -Synopsis”