26 March, 2006

It took three weeks for my copy of The Etymology of Fire to show up. Three weeks? Oh, man, that is what I get for paying that extra buck fifty for two-day processing and five-day delivery. It took two weeks to process my order and something just a hair over five days for the delivery to happen. I think it was six or seven days for delivery. I guess I shouldn't complain, or at least, it was a good thing I didn't have time to write a journal entry complaining about this any earlier. I actually got my copy of the book something like a week or so ago. In that time, I discovered that the next volume of the Babylon-5 script books had been released right about the same time as I had made The Etymology of Fire available. Okay, that just might possibly explain the delay. Cafe Press probably had thousands and thousands of Babylon-5 script books to process, which I am sure they considered far more important than my stupid little book. Hey, what can I say? As near as I can figure, I'm the only person who has ordered a copy. Oh, well. But, seriously, I don't mind that there were some delays caused by other things such as books with far more demand, which I don't actually know to be the case here. I'm kind of guessing at the reason for the delay. What I do mind is that Cafe Press hasn't done one single solitary thing about the fact they took my money for two-day processing and didn't deliver two-day processing; even though, I complained to them about it. Not one oops. Not one sorry. Not one vaguely apologetic email about the delay. In fact, they didn't even speed up the delivery of the book when the processing was delayed. Now, the only reason I mention all of this is because when I had purchased a Babylon-5 script book, they had done all of those above-mentioned things. They had sent me an email mentioning the delay. They did bump the book up to overnight delivery. But not this time. Not for my piss-ass little book that nobody in the universe cares about. Oh, well.

Actually, I don't mean to sound so much like I'm complaining. I really just mean this by way of warning to anybody who might take an interest in purchasing a copy of The Etymology of Fire from Cafe Press that processing and delivery might just take a slight little bit longer than Cafe Press might otherwise say is going to be the case. So, don't sweat it. The stupid little book will show up eventually. Not that anybody is interested in a copy, but that is completely and utterly beside the point.

Oh, and by the way, the book kicks ass. It looks so cool. Cafe Press did a really good job printing the fucker. Oh, yeah, it just looks great. It's a good size. It feels solid in the hand. It doesn't feel like it is about to fall apart like so many books from actual publishers have been know to put out. I understand that some just published books from major publishers just fall apart in the hand. Okay, I really only heard that about the most recent Harry Potter book, and I seriously doubt I could find the article in the San Francisco Chronicle to back up that statement. But, I'm standing by my somewhat vague and hazy memory of what I read in the newspaper round about the time the last one of those books was published. Not that I've got anything against Harry Potter. Each book has actually proven to be better than the one that proceeded it. Oh, except the second book was much worse than the first, in my opinion. But, after that, they just got better. Not great. Just better. I mean those last two I read just required the bad guys to be complete and utter morons. Who comes up with plans like those, huh? Just stupid. That's what I think, anyway.

So, The Etymology of Fire looks great, and I'm getting read to put The Faire Folk of Gideon up at Cafe Press. I've been reading through it and editing it, which appears to be something that I've never bothered to do before. Oh, my god, the problems and mistakes in the text are just bad. I've been reading through it, and I've just been embarrassed as all hell. Just thinking about people taking a look at it, reading all the typos and shit, and giving up. This guy is just a hack writer. He can't do shit. Can't even write a sentence. What is with all of those hyphenated words, anyway?

So, yeah, I've been reading my way through The Faire Folk of Gideon in anticipation of putting it up at Cafe Press, but first, I went through The Magic Flute. I'm not entirely sure why I decided to do that first. I think it had something to do with the idea of putting the review of The Magic Flute close to the edit of The Etymology of Fire. The two books do involve most of the same characters, after all. Then, there was the idea that I would go from finishing my read of The Faire Folk of Gideon straight into working on book two. Yeah, it's a thought. Don't know exactly if I'll follow through on that thought. I mean I just haven't gotten any work done with music, and that is just seriously starting to piss me off. I've really got to find time for music.

I blame work. Work has just been horribly stressful and downright scary since round about the first of the year. I really don't want to talk about it. It's just no fun and weird and let us leave it at that. My only point here is that the work environment has left me with very little by way of energy for working on more interesting and creative stuff in the evening. I'm just happy that I've been able to accomplish as much as I have with the editing and whatnot.

So, a typo and booger corrected version of The Magic Flute is just about ready to go on Cafe Press. I'm not really pushing to put that one up because it'll cost me money. No, really, once you have more than one kind of the same type of item up at Cafe Press, they start charging you something like five bucks a month for the privilege. So, if I'm going to have to start paying to have my stuff available, I'm going to wait until I can dump several all at once. Besides, if you want a copy of The Magic Flute right now, you can just haul your ass over to Amazon dot com and get one.

So, I'm working my way through The Faire Folk of Gideon, which will hopefully be ready to go up on Cafe Press soon, and I've been thinking about those little asides I sprinkled all through the book. All of those quotes from other books and movies and television shows. Well, really, there have only been about three. There's one from The Simpsons. There's one from Babylon-5. There is one from some book that escapes me just at this moment, which is vaguely annoying because I was just looking at the reference this morning. Oh, well, it's gone so it isn't exactly like it matters.

Anyway, I've been looking at these referential little quotes and thinking that I've really got to yank them. Well, actually, I don't need to do anything of the sort. Any quote of only one sentence long, especially if it is properly cited, is perfectly okay to do. But, it is the principle of the thing. One's work should really stand on its own. It shouldn't need little quips from other sources used for humors commentary and effect. It was all fun and good when I was writing the turkey and I knew nobody was listening. But, now, I don't know. I feel that the work should stand on its own two feet. I mean, sure, I'm leaving in the reference to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and the reference to Tropic of Cancer. Those are very well noted, and it isn't like I'm taking story or character or anything from them. They are referenced and compared. I think Drake says something like he doesn't know what is happening just like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern didn't know what was happening. Henry talked about his narrative being an extended rant, and Drake talks about his narrative as being an extended rant. Yeah, I think that kind of thing is fine. I'm sure I'll find out if I'm wrong, but I think this is in the realm of okay.

So, yeah, I'm working on that. The Etymology of Fire, The Magic Flute and The Faire Folk of Gideon are all going to be available at Cafe Press. That'll be cool. I'll be able to point and tell people that I've published three books. Yeah, that'll be cool.

So, I showed my copy of The Etymology of Fire to one of my coworkers, and he asked me if it was okay for kids to read. And, that just stopped me. I hadn't really thought about it. I think the first thing I mumbled out was my basic belief that parents should read or otherwise check out the item in question so that they can decided for themselves whether or not it is right for their kids. The only people qualified to know what is right for a kid is that kid's parents, but that is just my personal opinion. Lots and lots of people disagree with me on this point. So, I gave the question a whole couple of seconds of thought and finally mumbled out something about it probably being okay for a ten-year-old or older. It's got violence. It's got a swear word or two in it. Some of the ideas get complex. But, yeah, it might be okay to share with somebody about that age. Not that anybody should take this as absolute. Remember what I said above about that parental responsibility to sample and evaluate what one is going to share with one's kids.

But, really, my point is that this conversation with my coworker lead to a very amusing idea. While riding the bus home, I finally thought of a good way to compare my books for suitability for reading. Pick a couple of well-known movies and use those as a guidepost for the kind of content in the book. I'm not saying story or character or anything like that. I just mean that certain movies have certain tones and amounts of violence, nudity, swearing and whatnot. You've just got to pick movies that lots of people have seen so that you've got something of a basis for comparison.

With that in mind, I've come up with the following crazy kind of system for evaluating the suitability of my works for a youthful readership. The Etymology of Fire is probably comparable in the level of violence, ideas, language and general grossness with the movie The Fellowship of the Ring. The Magic Flute is comparable in the level of violence, language, naughtiness, and all around grossness with The Matrix movies. The Faire Folk of Gideon is around about the level of Saving Private Ryan for visceral grossness and general all around violence.

So, yeah, use that as your guide.

copyright © 2006 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
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