Things to Do and Jubilee

I’ve got the first edit draft back from the editor for Finding Gaia and I’m about 1/4 through.  The way it works (at least between Karen Babcock and I) is that she makes edits/marks/suggestions/comments throughout the piece I give her, all highlighted as her edits, then I go through and finalize them, clarify, fix, or whatever’s needed.

Other things to do this week include upgrading the main website, including posting the cover art I just got on the weekend from Charles Dowd:

Finding Gaia cover

Isn’t it awesome? I already posted it on G+ here. If you want to be informed of stuff early (including some seeeeekrit super special pre-release info), go tell me you want to be in the notification circle for that.

I also need to set up a Facebook page for the book (yes, I personally loathe the site and won’t ever be on there as me, but I’d be a fool not to market the book there, at least).

So there’s a bunch of online and offline stuff going on this week for the novel, all aimed at an early July release. Still waiting for final confirmation from the second music company for the permission for the John Denver lyrics (they’ve already given permission and taken payment but I need the final contract with the specified Acknowledgements information), but that should arrive any day now, so if all goes well, I’ll plan to release on Monday, July 2. Maybe it’ll be good post-Canada-Day, pre-Fourth-of-July reading material for some!

Other thoughts for today:

I was just at the gym on the treadmill (there’s something about a looming 40th birthday coupled with writing about immortal people that makes one take stock and decide to get some exercise), and the TV in front of me was covering the last day of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

Since the fake people who live in my head my characters are omnipresent, I found myself wondering how Jason would react to the Jubilee. How would a man born in 1620, who fought his first war under Cromwell’s wing, served as a Redcoat for many generations, but then became dedicated to peace and environmentalism and moved to the New York area in the early 1900s feel about the British monarchy today? I had conflicting thoughts about it for some time and realized that, in and of itself is the answer: he’d be conflicted.

One one hand, he has no love for authority taken by force. He came to despise both Cromwell and the monarchy equally, seeing them as puffed-up blowhards casually sending “lesser” men to their deaths. And his addiction to killing Frenchmen was less about service to the British King and much more about his own personal nefarious needs. But even the most begrudging soldier, over time, can come to see his colours as an important symbol, even with dying for. That’s part of the psychology of war. He never would have even contemplated turning sides to fight for the French.

After his despicable downfall, he rebuilt himself under Victoria’s reign and became a proper gentleman in that context. That would have included all due deference to Queen and country, and he most certainly appreciated – and still does – the finer qualities of Victorian culture. When he left England, it was not out of any disregard for his mother nation, but to advance his causes and avoid the temptation of the massive war on the horizon. He will always consider himself an Englishman at heart, even when he worked to adopt the accents and mannerisms of those around him in New York to better blend in.

Given all that, how would he regard the Jubilee? Going by the timeline, Trish and Don are around now, and Trish would consider it a gigantic waste of money for a bunch of rich, spoiled, living anachronisms. Don wouldn’t care, as there’s not a great deal of interest in royal watching for a man consumed by the harder sciences. It wouldn’t specifically be on Jason’s radar to pay attention, but what if he, like me today, happened across a television showing the Queen on a balcony, flanked by Charles and William, with WWII planes going overhead and the crowd singing, “God Save The Queen”?

That much I know: he’d stop and look, compelled to. He’d feel a tugging in his heart at every scene showing portions of London, the city where he was born. He’d sigh once again at how much it’s all changed in nearly 400 years. He’d want to look away and tell himself that it’s a bunch of useless posturing, and possibly even use Trish’s sneering to bolster that, but then the flags would wave and the anthem would ring in his ears, forcing him to stand there, transfixed, likely with his arms crossed defensively against his chest. He’d ache for his old estate and remember how the cold, rough stone of the outside corner felt on his hand when last he touched it and the servant behind him had said the words that echo in his mind every time he feels perpetually alone and adrift: “We none of us can live in the past, sir.” A lump would come to his throat, and he’d want to hide that, especially from Trish, lest she notice and tease him. It would be too painful to be teased about. If she was in the room, he’d turn to keep his face unseen, but not so much as to make her notice him hiding.

But at the same time, he’d feel pride in the people of his homeland. He’d see the crowd on television and wish to be anonymously among them. He’d smile at the ladies dabbing their eyes, and ache to be one of the stalwart men doing likewise. He’d likely tell himself that his bevy of emotions were about the people, the land, and the history, not about Elizabeth and most certainly not about Charles. His brow would furrow when Charles next came on the screen, and that, coupled with the coverage turning to an ad break, would break the spell. He’d take a deep breath, walk away, and try to forget about the whole rotten business.

Only later that night, as he stared at his white ceiling in his bedroom, would it occur to him that it might have been worth scanning the crowd for Gaia’s face. At this point in the timeline, he’s reasonably sure she’s in North America, but it would occur to him that it’s not unthinkable that she too may have felt the pull of an historic event and gone back to England. Only by contemplating the enormity of the cost and hassle for her would he be able to shake the feeling that he ought to have at least looked. Then he’d fall into a troubled sleep, replete with nightmares of ancient battles.

Fortunately for him, Gaia is nowhere near the Jubilee, and doesn’t even know it’s happening. But it’s quite unfortunate for her, because she knows little of anything happening up on the surface…

4 comments on “Things to Do and Jubilee

  1. Dede Craig says:

    I love the cover, already a little in love with Jason and found your exploration into his psyche surrounding the Jubillee entertaining :)

    PS. I used song names, lyrics and poetry in a previous story and the publisher simply added the copyright into the relevant section. I had no idea there were fees involved.

    • Glad you liked. A lot of the book is dealing with his messed-up psyche.

      And yes, there's a whole huge process to using in-copyright material. I'm going to post a page on how I did it for these particular ones once the book is released, so other independent authors know. Some publishers do indeed take care of that, but most don't want to deal with it, especially for current popular music, which can cost thousands of dollars. I paid just over $100 for the lyrics in this case, and that's limited to an ebook run of 1000 copies sold. I can renew it for more copies, but if I do a physical version, the cost may be different.

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