Kissing the Hand

May 24, 2013

The rush, stress, and practicalities of modern life have cost us more than we know. Many of the polite acts of chivalry have been abandoned. I know that a strong, modern woman is fully capable of opening their own restaurant door, but I feel it is my duty as a gentleman to graciously hold it for her. Perhaps she will reward me with a soft smile?

As recently as WWII, it was common among polite society for a gentleman to kiss the back of a lady’s hand when introduced. This fell into disrepute for several reasons. It is way too easy to trade nasty germs when lips meet hands, it requires an extra second or two from a busy day, and too many boorish men used it as an excuse to slobber over pretty ladies.

A knight and fine gentleman in the SCA taught me there is a polite and politically-correct manner with which to bring back this reminder of bygone manners. I would share this technique, now.

Step One: The gentleman takes her proffered hand and turns it slightly so that the back is facing up.

Step Two: He places his thumb over her fingers and bows slightly from the waist.

Step Three: Keeping his eyes on hers (not her breasts), he then lets his lips touch just his thumb.

Step Four: Don’t hold it over long. Just take a second or two at the most.

This simple technique provides the proper intent without drooling and smearing germs on her hand.

Keeping your eyes on hers, serves to hold her attention and let her know that you appreciate her as a person.

As the gentleman straightens up and releases her hand, the lady, in turn, should reward his chivalric display with a smile and a small curtsey.

I have used this technique at SCA events as well as at various conventions.  The only down side is that the gentleman might get a jealous glower from the lady’s companion.

Gentlemen, give it a try the next time you find yourself among polite society. If nothing else, it will start a discussion.


Dyslexia Information

December 16, 2012

If you or someone you love suffers from dyslexia, I would suggest you drop by Fiona Phelan’s informative website.

Be sure to check out the free OpenDyslexic typeface set that can be used in many applications.

A few years back a good friend patiently explained something to me. “There are two parts to becoming a published author. One is the craft of writing and the other is the business of writing. They are two entirely different skillsets.” He was quite right.

These days, the business of self publishing not only includes reading the fine print, but also preparing your book so that it can be easily read on multiple devices. The problem is that authors are the unwilling pawns in a war between the media distribution giants. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and other companies require totally different formats for their books. The reasoning is simple. They want to be your only source for new reading matter on their proprietary devices.

If you are going to self publish, then you will need to convert your original document into four or five totally different formats. While this can seem intimidating, it’s really not that difficult.

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Selenaphiles is the second book in the Multiplarity Trilogy and it focuses on the problems of building a permanent human colony on the moon. The tagline for Selenaphiles is: “Even with the perfect health and longevity of Omniphage, the moon will not be settled easily.”

Although the storyline and direction of the tale was in my head, I did a tremendous amount of research before actually starting the tale. Much of the research was accomplished on various NASA, JPL, and USGS websites. I understood from recent news articles that water had been found in the bottom of lunar craters. This has been an incredible stroke of good fortune since water, coupled with an unlimited amount of electricity via solar cells, will provide most of the raw materials needed.

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Space Travel

Fair Warning: This segment and the next one of An Author’s Journey are going to wax a bit technical.
Robert A. Heinlein stated that “Once you reach Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO), you are halfway to any place else in our solar system.

Jerry Pournelle goes into much more detail on why this is a truism with his page on Getting to Space.

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Olde City, New Blood!

June 17, 2012

I just found out about an upcoming event that should be a lot of fun.

There is going to be a gathering of Urban Fantasy and Romance authors and readers in St. Augustine, Florida this coming February eighth to the tenth.

Details are a bit sparce at this point, but I’ll post updates on my plans as soon as possible.

Hope y’all can join us for the party.

Autograph vs Signature

April 30, 2012

The majority of people assume an autograph is the same as a signature. There are some very important differences.

A legal signature can be anything at all and does not have to be legible. As long as you sign all your legal documents in the same general manner, it is binding in a court of law.

An autograph on the other hand, must be legible enough to satisfy your fans and it should not be confused with your signature.

As a case in point, a fan may hand you a pretty document and in your rush to get to an appointment, you might just scribble your name. If you autograph it as if it were a book jacket, that shows you were there in your celebrity persona. If that document happens to be an agent agreement or power-of-attorney contract, it can easily be argued that you did not legally sign it.

On the other hand, if you use the same signature for both legal documents and fan collectibles, you may one day find yourself in a tight spot.

Consider as well, that an autograph should be fairly quick and easy to create. That is why an aspiring author should practice it regularly. After all, once you’re famous, you’ll find yourself facing a horde of adoring fans at the next convention and won’t have time to think about it.

Good luck and be sure to pace yourself to avoid writer’s cramp.

On Friday, May 27th and Saturday, May 28th, I’ll be at BaltiCon, in Maryland.

I’m going to be sitting in on some panel discussions as well as giving a presentation on Free and Open Source Software for the Creative Mind.

I’ll have trade paperback copies of Crazy Taylor and New Ickford Manor available to autograph. Please note that New Icford Manor is currently out of print and I have VERY few copies left.

If you see me in the hallway, feel free to say “hi”. If you have one of my works, I’d be happy to autograph it.

Only In Japan!

May 13, 2011

My good friend Den, shared this image on FaceBook…

Like most authors, I occasionally get asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Many, if not all, of my characters are gestalt figures based on real people I’ve known. As for the situations they find themselves in, there are plenty of historical elements to help the tale. For example, here are a few very interesting links.

The Gentleman’s Directory was sold in New York, back in the 1870s. It cost a buck (a lot of money back then) and was a guide to the brothels around town.

One can even tour the area with a map of some of the famous dens of inequity.

Much more information in a similar vein can be found in this well-researched report:

Now, I would think anyone should be able to glean a story or two from these links.