Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I'm still spending my spare hours cleaning up my Web site. I've been adding pages to it for years, thinking I was being consistent and careful, but apparently I was kidding myself. Many of the problems stem from the way I've changed my Web-creation style over the years. It'll be worth the trouble, I hope.

It's a useful break because I'm confronting a couple of plot problems in Time and the Soldier that I'd been putting off dealing with. Now I've reached the point where I have to deal with them. So I need to think about what to do rather than concentrate on producing words.

That sounds very convincing!

Today, in an online forum, I saw a NY editor refer to me as "a minor pro." Ouch.

I have no illusions that I'm a major pro. The description is accurate, and it's better than being referred to as "Who he?" or "Liberal Loon Toon Kook." Still, next year will mark 30 years since my first novel was published, and after 17 books, it's painful to be reminded that all that has added up to is being a minor pro.

But I must take away the lesson that I need to concentrate all the more on the current novel, the one that will take off like a rocket and bring me fame and fortune! Yes! And if it doesn't, then the next one will! Woo hoo!


Chris said...

Not to plug products on your website, but I understand that 1018 Press' new zombie-centric magazine is a little short on sales (particularly the brand-spanking issue 2.2, which, I'm told is chock-full of good content.) I notice from your short-story list you've got some love for zombies, so if you're interested in checking them out, or know anyone who is, head on over to their store:


Okay. Enough of the innappropriate sales-pitch. And, though they are the publishers of a magazine that accepted a story of mine, I've got no affiliation with them whatsoever. Nothing up my sleeve, as Bullwinkle might say. I just like me some zombies, and I thought I'd spread the joy.

Chris said...

And I read what the NYT had to say about "Time for Sherlock Holmes." If that kind of praise amounts to "minor pro", believe me, I'll take it.

David said...


Thanks for telling me about 1018press. I don't think I'd heard of them before, and a zombie market is always welcome. I have one story in a forthcoming zombie anthology, but I don't know what the status of that book is. I have another ready to write, just awaiting opportunity and a market. It's disturbingly easy to get hooked on zombies.

Ah, those were heady days, when Time for SH was coming out and getting good reviews and I had a Star Trek novel published the same month. I was on my way! I was sure of it.

But putting bitterness and self-pity aside, for all I know, "minor pro" is standard editor-speak. Perhaps they divide pros into major and minor without intending anything derogatory by it. I hope there's no such thing as a medium pro, because if there is, I'm two steps down instead of one. Perhaps the medium pros vanished along with the midlist.

gary sloan said...

To David and Chris,

"Time for Sherlock Holmes" was and remains a terrific piece of fiction.

Anyone interested in a great story that is brilliantly plotted, well written and uniquely conceived should pick up a copy by whatever means possible.

It is great fun!

Minor is to major as a flatted third is to a major third. It's not in how the interval is used in composition, but how well it is represented. The industry really dropped the ball by not recognizing great talent early-on. Shame on them!

David said...


I wish I could understand the musical metaphor, but I like the sound of what you said.

Some music-major college friend of mine told me that major keys have a bright, cheerful sound, and minor ones have a sad feel to them. Every time I said I liked a particular piece of classical music, he would point out triumphantly that it was in a minor key, which he insisted matched my personality and Russian ancestry.

So I'm not a minor pro. I'm a pro in a minor key! And for me, that's a majorly good thing!

I'm on my second beer, and this post makes sense to me.

gary said...


Essentially it's a tension and release kind of thing. Minor musical intervals evoke melancholy and major intervals, brightness, and to a degree, happiness. Good composers employ both moods to make their work more emotional and effective.

Accordingly, the metaphor was meant to say (which it might well have not) that minor and major are equally important to the compositional whole and it is the requirement of the listener (and by extension the booking agent) to educate themselves to the sophistications of higher compositional forms. If Carnegie Hall books Yanni, well Yanni fans it will surely attract. (I've always been suspicious of artists who are forever smiling.)

The inference is then that the publishing industry needs to up its' intellectual perceptions a notch or two for the sake of the reader and itself. And,in regard to your fine work "Time for Sherlock Holmes," they certainly did not, to the detriment of everyone.

Shame on them!

David said...

Thanks, that does explain things well.

I may be imagining a golden age that never really existed, but I think that in the past, when there were more important independent publishers and the midlist was thriving, there was more variety. Major and minor keys were both represented in genre fiction.

The way the industry has changed has not been good for literary diversity.