Mentors (a great example), drug laws, Joe Sixpack, more Tonto, Mind of a Writer, those great little flash drives, good books, Christmas and more.
As always, I enjoy letters from fans and interested correspondents. I can be e-mailed from my web site, www.darrellbain.com
This month I'd like to start off with the brief biography of a man who could serve as a model for all of us who try to set a good example for the younger generation. Your efforts now will pay untold dividends in the future. Don't believe me? Just remember: it's those kids you can set a good example for now who are going to be running the country when you reach retirement age! Think about that one for a while.
Mentors (a great example)
I wish you could have met Tex Allen Fisher. He was one of my "old men". He played electric harmonica with Hank Williams, made about a dozen records in the 50's with his own band. He was a tiny guy, wasn't supposed to live at birth, LOTS of med probs. Then they said he wouldn't make 3, wouldn't make 5, wouldn't make 10...finally he hit 12 and the docs said "fuck it, he's gonna live forever." He died last year at 78. Allen had severe asthma- yet worked for years as an underwater welder offshore in the 60's. He had a terrible fear of heights- yet got his pilots license and became an accomplished pilot. He designed the very first working helicopter on FAA (Then CAA) record and flew it- they bought it from him and flew it for years, many people think his homemade design was what Bell studied to come up with the Bell 47. He built about a dozen airplanes in his life, every one straight out of his head, no plans, no pre-tested airfoils- he used his own 'foils. He left me his favorite, an all-metal low wing he called the "Wild Turkey"- I'll show you pics of me flying it when I visit. It looks like a 1/3 scale Spitfire...he got the idea for the design by watching wild turkeys fly off the end of his little runway.
He used colloquialisms...SUCH colloquialisms, and metaphors and similes, country style. Everything was funny, and amazingly descriptive...
He met every fear he had head-on, if something frightened him, by god that was his next hobby! You wouldn't believe the things this uneducated, unhealthy Hillbilly accomplished. He only went to school through the 7th grade, never had formal training in ANYTHING- even taught himself to scuba dive and weld, and of course to read and write music, play the electric harmonica, you name it. He built a ranch house for himself and his family out of foam and beer cans and stucco. It turned out gorgeous, and stayed 68 degrees year round- probably the first use of recycled materials as high tech insulation.
I often say Tesla* is my personal hero, but only because few people have heard of Tex Allen Fisher...he's the guy who I think about when I'm making a life decision. What would Allen do? He taught me so much, let me test fly several of his airplanes- he was ecstatic when I chose aviation as a career. I took him for his first (and only) ride in a military jet- I snuck him onto Randolph and into a T-38, which was...a HUGE no-no...and then took him for a supersonic ride over the gulf, another huge no-no. Couldn't give him egress training, which would have gotten my butt...god, who knows? Shot? But he meant that much to me. He knew the risks, and couldn't have cared less- he was much more worried about my career, but by then I knew my days were numbered flying Uncle Sam's toys.
I miss him. Allen, not Uncle Sam.
If I live long enough, I hope I can be the "old man" for some kid. Besides my own, that is. Hopefully a kid who wants to be a pilot, and has good hands.
*Note by DB: Tesla was a pioneering Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer and scientist and a genius in matters of electrical phenomena. He was responsible for many of the developments in electricity we take for granted today, yet was overshadowed by Edison. He was one of those tragic men who were far ahead of their time, yet even so he held over 700 patents and was responsible for alternating current, the induction motor, florescent lights, and too many other things to mention. DB.
Those Great Little Flash Drives
Once I tried my first flash drive (thumb drive, keychain drive, whatever) my fears disappeared. Now when we leave the house Betty asks "Have you got your computer in your pocket?" That's my only fear now, that I'll forget to remove the flash drive and stick it in my pocket. Not only can I carry my latest work with me, I can bring along dern near everything of importance on the computer, all in a little gadget smaller than my thumb. Remarkable! If you've never tried one, do so. They're handy, cheap and give you peace of mind. All the time I was working on my latest book, Mindwar, I carried it (and about a hundred MB of other data) in my pocket when I left home. Maybe all that travel helped it to become an E-book best seller? If so, I've got another one in the works because the book I'm writing now is in my pocket every time we leave the house unattended!
The book I'm working on now (along with other stuff) that's on the flash drive will take place in only a few years. It's a rather ambitious attempt to describe and solve a lot of the country's problems through revolution. Note to Homeland Security: It's fiction, so don't get excited. Fiction, hear me? Please don't come arrest me. Anyway, I did something like it once before, a book titled A Parody of Clinton: Joe Sixpack, President. The title is a misnomer. Even though I did sort of parody Clinton a bit, and wrote the book in a humorous vein, it was meant to be taken seriously. It is available in E-book editions only at Fictionwise.com and eReader.com.
This new one, when it comes out will be titled The Focus Factor. Neat title, huh?
BTW, all of my E-books are also available for download at www.amazon.com . Just make sure you select the download rather than the print edition or vice versa.
Christmas is Coming, Christmas is Coming!!
Also available are a quirky romance, Hotline to Heaven, the best selling SF/Suspense/Thriller Strange Valley, and the prequel in another series, Medics Mild and first book in the Williard Brothers Series, Postwar Dinosaur Blues, for your action and adventure loving friends. The Williard Brothers books were recently featured attractions and are currently best sellers at eReader.com as I'm writing this. Heck, I'm the author and I'm a fan of those zany, outrageously macho-istic and politically incorrect characters who are always getting into trouble up to their necks while trying to make a fortune in wildly improbable ways, and never quite succeeding. Reminds me of myself in a way, which is maybe why I like writing (and yes, reading) those books so much. Okay, 'nuff said. Just remember, Christmas isn't far away and books always make great gifts, assuming the recipient is a reader, of course.
Other books I've read this last month are Pandora's Box by Christopher Anvil, an old favorite. I read the first volume of an alternate history by Harry Turtledove entitled In the Balance. Pretty good. Talking about how fun magnets are to play with reminded me of one of Fredrick Brown's old ones, The Lights in the Sky are Stars. That book, along with talk about autism with a friend who has a son afflicted with the disease, led to me writing a short story, "Unforseen Reward." It's available at Fictionwise.com and is already a best seller only a week after publication and very highly rated by the fans.
This also reminded me of another of Brown's books, The Mind Thing, which then led to my short story "The Egg," which should be available at by the time this newsletter is up, around the first of December. After writing "Unforeseen Reward" I got further into autism and it worked very well into the novel I'm doing now. I don't know how other writers minds work, but that's an example of the way mine rattles around in my skull.
I finally began the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. And I'm going to recommend a book you probably won't be able to find in books stores, although they would probably order it for you. I suggest you just go to Amazon or B&N on line and order it. The title is Cousin Feely. It doesn't have a wide distribution but it is an excellent and very unusual book. I can't tell you much more about it without revealing the plot, but do me a favor: at least go to Amazon.com and look at the blurb. Also note the very high ratings from the ebook version at Fictionwise.com.
This book deserves a much higher readership.
I've read some other books this past month, of course, but I'm running out of space. Come back again next month.
Time Notable Books
But what happens when Betty goes out to water? Unless Betty locks him in the house, he will spend the whole time she's watering trying to pull the hose back into the position where he left it. Of course Betty is stronger than him so he doesn't manage it, but as soon as she leaves, back into the original position it goes. And if she's attached the sprinkler, it will absolutely not remain where she put it. Betty will go back out and there's the sprinkler, still attached, but the hose is back where Tonto believes it belongs and the sprinkler is watering the side of the house or the TV satellite antenna or well, you get the idea. He finally got tired of the sprinkler hampering his work and chewed it up. And recently he decided to help Rob and Pat, our kids who live just 70 or 80 yards away. The other day Rob was washing his car. He would lay the hose down and then when he would try to pick it back up, it would be in a different place. He thought he was going crazy until finally he saw Tonto out of the corner of his eye, busily moving the hose back where he had decided it belonged. He thought it was so funny he had to come over and tell us about it and then we had to tell him such goings on were already an old story at our place. What a .strange?...doggie. We love him, though.
Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope Santa is good to every single one of you and that you have a very enjoyable Christmas and a happy and productive New Year, one that involves a lot of reading, preferably some that includes a few of my books.
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This page last updated 11-27-05.