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Archive for April 2013

Calvado_Front.jpgI've been supposedly working on my novel Calvado to get it ready to print, bind, sell on Smashwords, and enjoy. Supposedly. Odd, isn't it, how something can always be found to put the real work off? Today I found yet another timeline error: Person A is supposed to be 17 but she's in the part of the book where she's 27. Or vice versa. It just means more time on the computer adding, subtracting, editing, and enjoying my life. A short excerpt:

"Now, as you gentlemen and ladies can easily observe, I have a naked body on a metal slab behind me. The police, bless their hearts, found him very early this morning, I had the privilege of doing the site analysis at about 3:00 AM so my middle name is Cranky today. Since our patient had absolutely no identification on him what-so-ever, we cannot contact his next of kin. The police then hauled his ass in here. Now, this John Doe is dead. Am I right?"

Twenty-five medical students nodded their heads.

Dr. Henrietta 'Hank' Slovensky shook hers.

"No, you morons, John Doe is Not dead. And do you know why he is Not dead? Because you haven't checked to make sure he's dead. You can Not look at a patient from across the room and tell if said patient has croaked or not. For crying out loud, if you saw the chief of staff asleep in his office would you immediately assume he was Dead? My goodness, the hilarious consequence of that error are immense. Okay," Hank surveyed the group searching for the one she knew would faint at the sight of a blade inserted into the dead man's sternum. "You," she pointed at a pale-looking female with her long brown hair smashed under a surgical cap. "Get your over-educated butt over here and tell me what you see."

The long-haired medical student looked around to see if, by hope and chance, the medical examiner meant someone else, someone other than her.


No, she didn't. The med student shuffled slowly to the cadaver.

"What's your name?"


"Well, J, J, Jennifer, educate the rest of us over-achievers what you see on the slab this morning."

"Well, ah, er. I see a man." Jennifer said. She glanced at the man's face but couldn't look at him for long.

"Very good. So, we have a John Doe who, as Jennifer has aptly pointed out by examining his genitalia in detail, a man. What else?"

"Hmm, his chest seems to be, uh, damaged."

"Ah, yes," Hank agreed. "The old damaged chest ploy. J, J, Jennifer, honey, if you ever want to get through this autopsy, and by ever I mean sometime in the next, oh, 28 minutes, you're going to have to speed up your examination. Gather round, my little ducklings, gather round. Now, as Jennifer as ascertained, our John Doe has a penis and a crushed chest cavity. What does that indicate? You," Hank pointed at a male student.

"He got hit by something heavy?"

"He did?" Hank questioned.

"I mean, uh, he might have gotten hit by something, like, heavy?"

"Is that a question? Jennifer, was that a question? It sounded like a question. Voice raised at the end of a sentence, like, you know? Clear precise speech, ducklings, clear and precise speech, if you don't mind. As it turns out, our Mr. Doe met the steering wheel of his car."

"Excuse me, Dr. Slovensky?"

Hank turned to the questioner: a tall, dark-haired woman with the looks of a fashion model. She held a clipboard to her ample breasts; her hair was tied back in a severe bun. Probably, Hank thought, to suggest studiousness instead of slutishness.

"Yes?" Hank asked.

"I, uh, I think I know this, uh, John Doe."

And thus, we meet the main character: Model/Medical student Calvado who will embark on a model love affair with the John Doe and attempt to learn who he is.


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When it comes to putting a book together there are quite a few things that perplex me. The one that constantly perplexes me is the width of the book boards for the front and back covers. I've run across a few formulas and they, of course, all differ.

background_image_MistyLook.jpgFormula One: The width of the textblock plus the square of the book minus the thickness of the book board times two. Whew. So, a textblock that is 12 cm wide and a square of the book at 2mm with 2mm-thick book boards would result in: 120 + 2 - 4 = 118.

Formula Two: The textblock - 2mm. In the example above the 120 - 2 = 118. Same answer as above, eh?

Formula Three: The textblock + the square of the book - the hinge. The hinge is either 3.5 times the thickness of the book board or 2 times the thickness of the book board, depending on who you ask. So, in our example:

(Hinge = 3.5 x) 120 + 2 - 7 = 115. Or, (Hinge = 2 x) 120 + 2 - 4 = 118. Hmm. There seems to be a consensus of 118, if you follow the 2 times the board thickness.

Personally, I'm not sure which is best but I always go for the simplest to remember. In this case that would be the textblock - 2 mm. (If the board is 2 mm thick.) I hope if there is a simpler or more accepted formula, someone can teach me but so far I think I'll have to stick with the minus 2 mm for my width measurements.



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FrankDrac.jpgYes, I know. Two episodes ago I said I'd talk about measuring covers for the book. But, but, something exciting came along! Again. This time it is two classic horror stories - well, three if you count them all. The first one is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Not so much a horror story as a philosophical novel about what it means to be human. The movie is a bit different from the novel, as you might expect.

The second is the TwitterBlog-entry-like epistle novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Lots of letters flung back and forth, some of which sound like Twitter entries. Like the opening sentence  - which is too long for Twitter (and with proper vocabulary - should have, not should of) , but you might get the point.

FranUpClose.jpgLeft Munich at 8:35 PM on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.

The third novelette - literally written simultaneously with Frankenstein - is The Vampyre by John Polidori. This is considered the first vampire story and is only about 25 pages long. (Polidori, Shelley, Mr. Shelley, and Lord Byron were shacked up in Geneva one dark and stormy night and decided to write horror stories; Mary's has lasted the longest while Polidori's generated a new genre which, unfortunately, has culminated in the current vampire-that-twinkles genre.)


I slapped all three on InDesign, manipulated the text, added a few pictures, imposed them on CheapImposter, printed out the pages, and will now cheerfully sew them together. There are 27 signatures: Frank printed out an even eleven; Dracula snaked out 16, probably because of the added Vampyre novelette. This is going to take a couple of hours of sewing*, at least. The paper is from etranger di costarica, brown, and made in Japan.

Soon I will attempt to round their backs. This will be my third and fourth attempts at roundback books. Frankenstein in one book; Dracula and The Vampyre in another volume.

*I was right. The thicker book took 75 minutes and Frankenstein took an hour. Cords can be fussy little characters, can't they?

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