Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Naming Names and Namers—Book Titles

A title no one else had thought of!
We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but damned if we don’t.  There’s a whole industry of book cover artists and marketing experts who are doing their damnedest to get you to pick up a book off the shelf (or click on the digital link) based solely on the cover.

If that’s bad, think about the book’s title.  A really good title, or a really bad one, can be as important as the cover itself.

I made a mistake with my first published book, Tears of Heaven.  It’s not a bad title, per se.  In fact, it’s reasonably memorable—as the song by Eric Clapton “Tears In Heaven”.  Amazon keeps asking if I’m interested in that, rather than my own book.  It certainly is a great song, very moving, especially if you know the history—it’s just not what I’m looking for.  On top of Mr. Clapton’s classic, there’s a five book “Tears of Heaven” series, which, like my book, also has some religious themes, and there’s also a stand-alone romance book by the exact same name.

If ever there was a time to sigh, this would be that time.

Trying to sell any book in today’s market is hard enough, but when readers have any difficulty in finding the title you’re aiming them toward, it’s an order of magnitude harder.  Any obstacle to finding your book should be eliminated as quickly as possible, and with titles this incredibly easy. lists almost every book every written (even if they’re having a feud with a publishing house).  So, a quick search of the title you’re writing under should turn up any exact or near hits, and let you make an educated decision from there.  A single source, even one as comprehensive as Amazon, may still miss a title here or there, so there’s Google’s Advanced Book Search.  Finally, there are any number of alternate book finding sites, mostly for used, out-of-print, or rare books who can tell you if a title already exists.

Should your perfect title already be attached to another author’s book, DO NOT PANIC!  Definitely DO NOT track that author down and threaten them, or attempt to discredit their work just because they published your title before you did.  That’s not only silly, it’s pretty rude.  Titles aren’t the end-all be-all of the book marketing process.  Chew over the concept of your book, the ideas you’re trying to get across, and the cleverness of your own mind will most likely come up with an alternate, even better title in no time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

In Memory of Richard Hatch and Captain Apollo

It's no feldercarb—Hatch will be missed!
Years and years ago, my parents set me down a path that would forever dominate my destiny.  Consume me, it has, for nearly 40 years.

They took me to see Star Wars.

In the theater.

At four years old, I was sold.

Fantasy!  Science Fiction!  TOGETHER!

A year later, riding high on the wave of Star Wars Mania (yes, that was a thing), NBC launched Battlestar Galactica.  Everything was coming up Rob!  I wanted a Colonial warrior jacket more than anything, and to strap on a blaster.  Starbuck was the coolest thing ever, and I wanted to Pyramid and drink ambrosia—which at that age, I thought would taste like sarsaparilla.  For Halloween, I wore a brown sweater and a hand-made wooden gun that I’d used a black marker to make look like a BSG prop.

Bromance before bromances were cool.
But more than that, though, I wanted a friendship like that between Apollo and Starbuck.

Apollo, as embodied by Richard Hatch, was great—dutiful, capable, passionate.  But he was made awesome by his association with Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck.  Yet, for all that, Starbuck really wouldn’t have been who he was without Apollo, and neither would have been anything without Hatch.

Hatch had an amazing passion for any project that he undertook.  BSG was no different.  Hatch loved the concept, he loved the characters, and he became a very strong advocate for a sequel of the series.  He wrote seven novels for the BSG universe, and wrote, directed and produced (out of his own pocket) a trailer to try to win support for a new series—The Second Coming.  His passion brought together some of the original cast members, including John Colicos’ Baltar, and Terry Carter’s Colonel Tigh, and some other faces you might recognize.

In a documentary on Battlestar Galactica Dirk Benedict commented on Hatch and some of the animosity his attempts sparked by BSG creator Glen Larson.  Benedict said something along the lines of, “They both have such passion . . . if they could just get together . . .”

Who could say no to that smile?
Although initially, Hatch opposed the reimaging of Battlestar Galactica in 2004, he eventually came to respect and admire the effort.  He came on board with another stellar character, Tom Zarek, written specifically for him.  As a firebrand, Zarek was charismatic, popular and driven toward his goals.

It was very much how Hatch had lived his own life.

Hatch, of course, was more than just Battlestar Galactica, but that’s where I was first introduced to him, and it’s how I always knew him.  The little boy in me will always think of Captain Apollo whenever I see Hatch, no matter what he’s in.

I think that’s the kind of legacy he would have liked.

May the Lords of Kobol bless you and keep you, Captain Apollo.  You’re cleared for launch.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sick of Being Sick

The most comfortable ever.
Pneumonia isn’t fun.

That’s pretty much all I can come up with.

I’ve been living my life in four hour increments, because that’s when I have to, or get to, take the various medications I’ve been prescribed.  I’m pretty certain this is as sick as I’ve ever been.  I did that year with Crohn’s before they realized it was Crohn’s and had to have surgery, but at least with that I didn’t have chest pains, and congestion and morning coughing jags that lasted fifteen to twenty minutes.

I don't know if honey is a miracle cure, but everyone has counseled honey, including my doctors.  I was already using it ease my cough and sore throat, but it was fascinating to have doctors and nurses suggesting it.

I’m pretty tired.  I’m also tired of being tired.