The One About… Love in the Time of Covid-19

Random observations on the events of the last few days:

– As a writer working from home most times, I was already already a seasoned veteran of social distancing. This is nothing.

– For a zombie apocalypse, people remain surprisingly upbeat and creative.

– It turns out that to time washing your hands, you can sing the chorus to Toto’s “Africa” in tempo. Singing it in tune is optional. And it did draw some interesting looks in public washrooms early on in this adventure.

– Stay-at-home is its own sort of adventure. My wife has been sent to work from home, and after a little bit of kerfluffle getting her a workstation set up, it’s gone much more smoothly. One downside, I’ve reserved the 5G signal on the wifi for her use, changing all the smart devices as well as my PC to 2G. The speed lag is noticeable. Still, she’s happier than she’s been in quite some time – and the lunch dates are awesome.

– The runs on products continue to surprise me. Hand sanitizer, I get. But paper products sound like panic buying (why you need 800 roles of TP, who knows). But some products just seem odd. Why there was a run on acetone-based nail polish remover and Nutter Butter sandwich cookies at the same store defies imagination.

– Each evening on Facebook I am posting numbers from the John Hopkins tracking website. More importantly, I’m also posting the rate of increase in the number of cases domestically. Where we’ll start to see the “flattening of the curve” is here. But how long we need to see that is a case. The rate of increase may slow, but if we still see between 9 to 10 thousand new cases a day, it’s not the best thing. Not doubling every three days might be good… but steadily climbing case loads still mean we’re going to strain the health care infrastructure.

– It’s been an effort trying to both convey the serious side of this without descending into panic. Part of it was simply numbers – I’ve relied on the percentages of seriously ill, and logarithmic expansion (powers of ten) to show how, as this increases, it threatens to overwhelm the health system. That’s why the measures are necessary. Others have tried to say it’s not going to be bad. They might be right, but only if the measures put into place work.

– It was surprising how short a time it took for certain parties to be ready to offer the idea that sectors of our population should be sacrificed for the good of the whole. Once the stuff of science fiction (Soylent Green and Logan’s Run, for example), it’s a lot less fun living inside one of those stories, especially as a member of the target population designated for sacrifice.

– The nearest comparison I have for the event is the Y2K preps at the end of the last century. It became evident that as we approached the millennium, there was an issue with computers. People throughout the industry, myself included, worked to implement fixes and ensure they were delivered in time to prevent a catastrophe. On the day itself, our efforts worked – there were very few scattered issues, and none that seriously threatened infrastructure around the world. Yet when that happened, the general reaction was since nothing went wrong, we shouldn’t have applied resources to the problem. That misses the point – the reason nothing went wrong is that actions were taken. Such is the case now.

– This is as apolitical a story as there could be, yet there are idiots on both sides of the aisle trying to take advantage of it. I cannot help but wonder where their compassion lies. Of course, those stockpiling products to sell at a very high price ($12 for a half-dozen rolls of TP, $80 for 70 ml of hand sanitizer) are the modern day equivalent of war profiteers. There will be some repercussions, but in the end, most will get away with it.

All I can do is hope, like me, you’re staying safe out there. Just remember one thing – this is not permanent. We’ll get past it. How soon, and how well remains to be seen.

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The One About… Smashwords

Now available on Smashwords!

The news is simple enough. The Agency is now available on Smashwords.

Why is this special? My history with Snashwords isn’t that great. My novella, Triangle: Rescue was hijacked off their, translated to Russian, and posted for free. Thousands of copies were downloaded. Even worse, Amazon’s price matching algoritm found the free listing for the book and reduced the price on their site to match. Again, thousands of copies were downloaded from there as well. It took nine months and lots of correspondence to get the book unpublished and price corrected.

But all of that happened more than a half-decade ago. Smashwords has upgraded their platform and security. By now, they understand that those lost sales for me were lost revenue for them as well. I doubt I was the only title that happened to.

The advantage of going to Smashwords now is the sheer number of sales locations available. Instead of being Amazon (and Kindle) exclusive, The Agency will be available through dozens of ebook distribution channels around the world. Add to that the possibility of creating an audiobook version, and it makes sense to include them.

So fingers crossed. You can find the book here on Smashwords. Of course, if you simply refer Amazon, it’ll be available there as well.

On to the next project – on deadline, too.

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The One About… The Agency

It all started with a tag line: “Harry Potter meets Mission:Impossible.”

I met Ruben Romero in 2014 at their Think Alike Productions group during a comic-con in Tampa in Spetember, 2014. I became a huge fan of the property, yet I always wondered – what went on behind the scenes at the IAM?

In 2016 I attended another convention. This time, Kevin Anderson was a speaker, giving a talk on adapting other materials, and an idea formed. Checking all the booths with various indie comics, I realized none of them had been developed into the printed word. Well, if a picture tells a thousand words, could a thousand words paint the picture?

I approached Ruben with my idea, and a partnership was formed. He gave me access to background material his team had developed on characters and situations, and about future plans for the IP, and I was off to the races.

More like the marathon. Almost three years and nine drafts later, it’s finished. Today is publication date for the book. It’s now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. Other platforms will be coming soon.

I’m grateful that I was allowed to play with this IP in the way that authors like Anderson and Alan Dean Foster have done in the past, going beyond the scop of the original comic to fill in little details. Call it paint-by-word, if you will, but I believe I’ve given the project a bit more tapestry to play with going forward.

About that going forward… This is an indie book, which means it is as much a labor of love as anything else. The original comic is available on Comixology, and in the coming days a Kickstarter for the next volume starts. My book in both ebook and signed paperback formats will be among the gifts for those who donate. I hope you will, because I’d love to have a second chance to play on this playground in the future.

Thanks for the love and support.

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