Thank You

As my book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, gets closer and closer to a public existence, I think this Thanksgiving is a prime time to give thanks to those who inspired me and those who have helped make the book a reality.

So here is the acknowledgments page, fresh from the book:

Writing this book has been the literary equivalent of cooking a batch of Stone Soup; I brought some rocks, but the meat and veggies and spice came from many sources.

For inspiration, I affectionately acknowledge the spinners of countless adventure stories I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid, folks like Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Alexandre Dumas, Paul Dini, Karl Edward Wagner, Rafael Sabatini, Walter Gibson, Ray Harryhausen, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, Norvell Page, Michael Chabon, and Robert B. Parker.

I owe a special debt to two writers from the pulp magazines of old, Lester Dent who, under the nom de plume “Kenneth Robeson,” brought the world the extravagant adventures of Doc Savage, the original superhero, and H.P. Lovecraft whose spooky stories warned of eldritch horrors lurking just outside our world waiting to devour it. Lovecraft’s work is always readily available, and as I write this, all the Doc Savage stories are finally being reprinted in beautiful editions by Anthony Tollin and Nostalgia Ventures (www.shadowsanctum.com).

For encouragement over the years, I’d like to thank the enchanting Carmen Agra Deedy, the sensational Shane Black, and especially my noble friend Ed Hall, who never falters.

Thanks to my wonderful agent, Laura Rennert, who daily dares the frightening jungles of publishing with greater fortitude than I’ll ever know.

A very big thank you to my editor Timothy Travaligni (and his right hand, Shauna Fay) for teaching me to use the scalpel and ignore the pain. Thank you for your patience; I’m a blockhead sometimes, and it can take me a while to realize when I’m wrong. This book is a much shinier diamond than it would have been without your help.

A very special thanks to comic book virtuoso Gary Chaloner, the first true friend of the Wildes. Gaz, you’ll always be welcome on our adventures as far as I’m concerned.

And the biggest thank you of all goes to my son, Nathaniel Byrd, who made me want to tell this tale in the first place.

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Visiting the Gods in Lilburn, GA

My son’s Sunday school class, at the local Unitarian-Universalist Church, is learning about other world religions this year, and visiting various places of worship. My son is an avowed atheist, as I was at his age (I ultimately became very spiritual in a non-church, agnostic, rationalistic sort of way), but his mother makes him go on the weekends he spends with her.

Yesterday, though, the group was going out to visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (temple), the largest Hindu temple outside of India, which is in, of all places, Lilburn, GA, not what you’d generally consider a main center of culture of any kind, except maybe the sort you get at Walmart. I’ve been wanting to see this place since it was built, and have a huge respect for the Hindu faith, so even though it was my weekend with Nathaniel, I accepted his mother’s invitation for us all to go see.

The place is simply astonishing. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Day 1: Doc Wilde Returns

As of today, Doctor Spartacus Wilde and his swashbuckling and brilliant offspring, Brian and Wren, returned to action, after resting a bit following their epic defeat of the Frogs of Doom. (Read about that adventure in the first book, coming out in May 2009!)

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, has commenced. My son and I, both participating, tossed our computers in packs, shouldered the packs, and hiked out on a journey of literaturing. We camped in a nice cafe’ with wifi and wrote the afternoon away.

His goal, decided upon based on other factors like school, martial arts classes, drum lessons, afternoon science club, and such, is 100 words a day, to result in a 3,000 word story at month’s end.

My goal, as an adult participant (not to mention full-time writer), is 1,500 words a day, toward an ultimate goal of 50,000 words.

I usually write 1,000 words a day, but today’s 1,500 came easily, and I’m very happy with the book’s beginning. I did decide that this project would be the next Doc Wilde adventure, Doc Wilde and The Daughter of Darkness.

I have some friends who are allegedly participating in the month’s writing, and we’ll see if they are. They, or anyone else who’s playing, can sign up to be my writing buddy over at NaNoWriMo.org, and we can watch our progress bars grow and stuff. My user name is outlawmoon.

As a special treat, here’s Chapter 1 of my new book, in its rough, first draft, fresh-from-the-oven form: Continue reading