Past, present and future

Because everyone else is doing it, my take on the past-present-future meme follows after the cut…

20 years ago, I…
… was a clueless freshman at NYU film school, struggling to overcome the culture shock of moving from the small town where I’d lived my whole life with my own bedroom, to a dorm room I shared with two other guys in the middle of Manhattan. And, little did I know at the time, I had just met my pal Glenn, who in years to come would become my best friend and the conduit for almost all the good things in my life.

10 years ago, I…
… started teaching myself HTML from a book so that I could make a lateral transfer at my job in a trade-magazine company to work on a new Web site with my favorite boss of all time, who was like a sister to me. This move into Internet-based editorial work made it possible for me to make a jump a few years later into a much better-paying job.

5 years ago, I…
… had just introduced to my family the woman who would become my wife, and I had just finished writing Wildfire, my first solo novel, which opened the door for me to start writing paperback novels a year later.

2 years ago, I…
… was writing Warpath, my Deep Space Nine novel.

1 year ago, I…
… was putting the finishing touches on the manuscript of Reap the Whirlwind, the third novel in the Star Trek Vanguard series — my longest single work to date; and I was kvelling about my first non-Star Trek novel, Wolverine: Road of Bones.

So far this year, I…
… have written Gods of Night, the first book of my Star Trek Destiny trilogy; have said farewell to my beloved friend and rabbi, David Honigsberg, who passed away in March at the maddeningly too-young age of 48; celebrated my third wedding anniversary; and met my longtime rock idols Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Yesterday, I…
… confirmed with my agent that I’ve just sold my first original novel, The Calling, to Simon & Schuster; and wrote the first scene of Mere Mortals, the second book in the Star Trek Destiny trilogy.

Today, I…
… will write the second scene of Mere Mortals.

Tomorrow, I’ll…
… write the third scene of Mere Mortals. And so on, and so on….

Houston, we have a manuscript

I am pleased to post that, as of 2:30 a.m. today, I have finished the first-draft manuscript for Gods of Night, the first book in the Star Trek Destiny trilogy.

As a reward, I will now have ice cream. Then I will sleep.

Tomorrow, I will watch some DVDs and read a bit, just for pleasure.

On Monday I will start my read-through of the ms., to make certain that it’s internally consistent, and to polish it up as I go along. If all goes well, I will turn it in to my editors by the end of the week, and move on to book two, Mere Mortals next weekend.

One down, two to go. Yee. And, might I add, Haw.

Don’t know when I’ll ever get to use this…

…sometimes a phrase comes to me at a time when I have absolutely no use for it. This is one of those times, and the following is one of those phrases:

“It’s the literary/musical/dramatic/cinematic equivalent of a fart — it’s insubstantial and it stinks.”

If you steal it, remember to give me credit. Unless someone somewhere already used this exact phrase, in which case give them credit and remind me to slap my Muse for sleeping around again.

Jobs the computer says I should have

Snurched this from kradical‘s LJ…

The Career Matchmaker.

I followed the instructions he provided, and went a step further. I answered an additional round of 44 questions and added my educational level to the mix. That whittled my list to a more accurate but shorter total of 26. Similar to what Keith did, I’ve bolded the things I’ve actually done and italicized those in which I have some training but have not done professionally.

1. Writer

2. Actor

3. Special Effects Technician (wanted to be this when I was a kid)

4. Comedian (tried doing standup a few times back in the ’90s)

5. Artist

6. Critic (sure, I reviewed porn videos, but I used phrases like “mise en scene”)

7. Translator (I’d have to actually speak a foreign language first)

8. Musician (noodled with the guitar, just like every other guy in film school)

9. Director of Photography (cinemtography and videography training were mandatory at NYU Film)

10. Announcer (I’ve done V.O. work at my day job and co-hosted Internet radio shows)

11. Website Designer

12. Photographer (learning to use still cameras is a prerequisite for cinematography classes at NYU)
13. Interpreter (see note for #7, Translator)

14. Composer (ahem…no)

15. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator (studied art in high school and college, drew cartoons for the college humor magazine, and had a one-panel cartoon published in a trade paperback in ’91)

16. Animator (skipped those classes at NYU)

17. Homemaker (hoping to do this once my wife is out of grad school and working again)

18. ESL Teacher (I’d consider this if we moved abroad to Europe)

19. Zoologist (me and wild animals? no thank you)

20. Illustrator (see #15)

21. Inventor (anybody want to lend me some tools?)

22. Activist (I gave up on my damned fool crusades a few years ago)

23. Public Relations Specialist (I believe the phrase that applies here is, “Ha!”)

24. Art Director (not unless I want to go back to school for six years)

25. Corporate Trainer (they must’ve tossed in this one as a joke)

26. Appraiser (not even close)

My Book Persona

Saw this on Dayton Ward’s blog, and I had to know…

You’re Les Miserables!
by Victor Hugo
One of the best known people in your community, you have become something of a phenomenon. People have sung about you, danced in your honor, created all manner of art in your name. And yet your story is one of failure and despair, with a few brief exceptions. A hopeless romantic, you’ll never stop hoping that more good will come from your failings than is ever possible. Beware detectives and prison guards bearing vendettas.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

The Best Day Ever

I’ve been holding this news for a couple of weeks now, for a few reasons. First, I wanted to surprise fellow Rush fan Dayton Ward with this news when I saw him last weekend at Shore Leave in Hunt Valley, Md. Second, I wanted to be sure it was okay to post these images before I made them semi-public.

Now let me tell you about the best day ever.

On Sunday, July 8, 2007, I met up with my friends Randy Giudice and Alex Terapane, and Randy’s brother Chris. We had a cool afternoon eating cheese steaks and cheese-fries, then we went to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. There we took part in the pre-show “Meet & Greet” with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush:

From left: David Mack (me), Alex Lifeson, Randy Giudice, Geddy Lee, Chris Giudice, and Alex Terapane.

I was able to give Alex and Geddy copies of my novel Wolverine: Road of Bones, which includes characters named in their honor. And although Rush percussionist extraordinaire Neil Peart does not attend Meet & Greet sessions or meet strangers, they had one of their “Praetorians” bring to Neil my Star Trek novels A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal, which feature the character Jim Peart, named in his honor.

After the Meet & Greet, we went to our seats: second row, dead center. Absolutely perfect seats. The set list was awesome, a great mix of classic tunes they haven’t played in years and a lot of songs off of the new (and mind-blowingly great) album “Snakes & Arrows”.

During the encore, the band tosses special “you can’t just buy these” T-shirts from the stage. A few years ago, on the Vapor Trails tour, I caught one that Alex had pitched into my hand like a fastball. On this occasion, he all but lobbed a shirt right to me in the second row. Frickin’ amazing! (I came home with a beaming grin and said to my wife, “I caught a shirt!”)

Wait, it gets better.

After the show, we got to hang around for a backstage visit. While we waited for the band to be ready to see us, we watched the roadies break down the stage gear while Praetorians brought us tasty, ice-cold beers. Then we were led backstage to our hang-out with Geddy and Alex. (Neil, being Neil, was already a dozen miles away on his motorcycle, a ghost rider in the night.)

We spent an hour hanging out with Alex and Geddy. I chatted with Geddy about wine, his travels in Europe, and restaurants. Talked with Alex about comic books, his work, that night’s set.

Basically, this was an experience I have imagined and dreamed of since my first time at a Rush concert, on the Signals tour in 1982. After 25 years it came true…and it didn’t cost me a thing, because the whole evening was a gift from Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns). He bought the tickets, arranged the backstage passes, everything, for his friend Randy, and I got to tag along. Bryan is a god among men, and I can only hope that one day I have the means and the opportunity to repay this once-in-a-lifetime beau geste in kind.

Now if only there was a way that I could meet Neil… Well, it’s good to have something left to shoot for. 🙂

(Post edited to steal the starman icon from Dayton.)