Saturday, February 23, 2013

The New Book

Scholastic Canada's summer catalogue has the new Canadian Disasters book already listed and has an early version of the cover on display. Here it is.

It will change slightly, I am told, but I like the look of it just the way it is. Already the Chapters/Indigo book database has it listed, but without the cover design. It will not be for sale until June.
I've posted some teasers for the new stories at my website .  Technology is wonderful (when it works and when I can use it).  This book was a lot of fun to work on.  I read a tonne (metric only please) of books for research, especially about the Titanic and the Franklin Expedition. Those stories have more odd theories than O.I.S.E., and it's worth reading the more commonplace ones to stay ahead of the critics.  

I'm about a decade or two behind the times when it comes to recent developments in software and hardware for computers. The time lag seems pretty consistent for me.  Lately I'm trying to buy a flight control joystick and some software for such a function for my iMac. Why such a program?  The need comes from my 'new' manuscript called Dan, Time Boy. I'm hoping some well-known Canadian publishing company whose name rhymes with 'fantastic' publishes it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Something Funny at Winterlude & Disastrous Writing

Last week Shirley and I drove to Ottawa to see our son Dan compete in an improvisation comedy competition at Ottawa's Winterlude. Never having done the Winterlude thing before we had to 'do it right' skating on the Rideau Canal, admiring ice and snow sculptures and letting the weather remind us we live in Canada after all. I didn't buy a beaver tail. That's us holding hands, about the seventeenth speck from the redhead beside the girl with the scarf in the shot below...
Dan and five others of the improvisation team at Ottawa U. competed with six of the best from Carleton   U.  This was a great experience; the improv competition was the only amateur event, the others were comedy nights by professionals.  It was called Cracking Up The Capital.  Dan's team and Carleton were hosted & led by comedian Colin Mochrie, who also joined in with the students in a couple of the improv sketches. 
The Ottawa U. team won the event and the trophy (a dubious-looking statue of a beaver abusing the Peace Tower) for earning the top score as judged by professional comedians including Patrick McKenna.  Shirley and I were pleased that finally Dan's sound effects and funny voices have led to some measure of success, though we are still looking for the big monetary payoff.  Dan says he enjoyed Colin Mochrie's professionalism and guidance, at least that's what we think he said after the 'after party' which lasted until 3:00am. Dan is at the left, learning the occupation of the murderer in a team sketch.
I've been busy going back and forth with this version's editor, Nicole, at Scholastic.  Proud of my spanking-new Imac computer and the butter smooth keyboard, I was sure there'd be no problems with the final edit.
The version of Word I bought and paid for and loaded on to the Imac was not up to the task of editing hundreds of pages with Review (Track Changes) up and running. The huge number of little comment boxes, all colour coded and looking like Christmas, competed to slow everything down and the document crashed repeatedly.  My computer claimed the program was using more than a gigabyte of data, which is like, impossible... I rebooted, reloaded, saved to different file names and all that about sixteen times every day. Calls to Apple and to Microsoft occurred so often I had them on speed-dial; and each time I was told to try something different. Delete and reload the program, reboot the computer, rename this and delete that. Finally a technogeek admitted microsoft had a problem with Word 2011 on an Imac when it came to use Track Changes.  "A definite fix is certainly on the way, sir"  "Any day now you will be receiving the upgrade, sir" I appreciated the honesty, I guess, when it finally came.  The good news is nothing serious or lengthy got lost in the process.  That edit is done.  A lot easier than typewriting manuscript pages and using white-out papers...
 Just one more look-over and the book should be ready.  I still have no idea what the cover will look like, or even the title, or the photos inside.  I hope to see them soon.
Speaking about photos, Nicole shared this one with me; say hello to Andromeda, a very high resolution photo from an observatory in Southern Ontario.