A Working Lunch With David Tatum

The Kitsune Strategy by David A. TatumI’m meeting with David Tatum tomorrow. He’s a local writer from the Washington DC metropolitan area who happens to live near me. We first “met” online when he commented on a blog entry of mine that had been highlighted on The Passive Voice, a heavily trafficked clearinghouse for online content related to indie publishing.

Since then, our conversation, if you will, has continued on Facebook, plus we both continue to participate (him more than me) on The Passive Voice. I’ve also been priviliged to observe as he’s launched his indie publishing career, something at which he has been quite successful.

We have similar strategies when it comes to indie publishing, although Tatum’s a good bit further down the path than me. He’s published two novels and a novella within the past year, all with very nice, professional-looking covers.

For myself, I have one novelette just about ready to go to my beta readers and another one wending its way past my Sunday writing group, which means that it’ll be heading to my beta readers within the next month. I’ve got a third story, a novella, that’s going through my Saturday writing group, and will probably make it to my beta readers in December.

In Treachery Forged by David A. TatumMy pipeline of stories is going full-steam; I’m up to about 4000 words of polished writing every week. So I’m really at the stage where I need to worry about covers and formatting ebooks. With a guy like David Tatum living near me, someone who’s done both very successfully, it seemed natural to ask him for advice.

Not being shy, I invited him to lunch (or dinner), and offered to pay. So we’re meeting at a local sushi restaurant tomorrow. I’m looking forward to a good meal and a fun discussion with someone who’s working as hard as I am to make indie publishing work for him.

As a bonus, it turns out that he has some print copies of his latest novel, The Kitsune Stratagem, with slightly misaligned covers. So he’s giving me (as well as some other online volunteers) one of the copies in exchange for a fair and honest review on Amazon.

A free book, some good conversation between writers, a little advice on indie publishing and a fine meal. Sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon to me.

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Finest Legacy Link Working Again

The Finest Legacy One of my beta readers pointed out that the Media section of my site had a bad link. Specifically, the link to the video, “The Finest Legacy,” on YouTube was broken. While the sound quality on this video isn’t the best, it’s one of my favorites. It’s about my Dad and the love of science fiction that he instilled in me. It was recorded at AOL in 2012.

I’m not sure what happened. But it looks like the YouTube links changed underneath me. I’ve corrected them, and they’re working again. So, go check out the video. Failing that, the transcript is also online.

Many thanks to Frances Holland for pointing out the problem to me.

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The Defense of Duffer’s Drift

The Defense of Duffer's DriftDuring one of the recent meetings of the Loudoun County Writers Group, a local group to which I belong, I recommended a famous book about military tactics to the attendees. The reason is simple. One of the things that I’m seeing regularly (and I’m not picking on anyone in particular – I keep seeing it from multiple writers) is a lack of understanding when it comes to military activities. By which, I mean the use, or potential use, of force, to achieve an objective or to defend yourself from somebody else who is using force.

The book I recommended is called The Defense of Duffer’s Drift, by Major General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton, and was written in 1904 shortly after the Boer War in Africa. It’s a classic of small unit tactics…and it’s a fun book.

Yes, fun. That’s not a typo.

Swinton, by the way, was a famous, forward-thinking British military officer who is credited with 1) inventing (or at least promoting) the concept of the tank, 2) writing one of the seminal books on small unit tactics (this book), which is still required reading in many military curriculums, and 3) anticipating the potential impact of aerial warfare back in 1914. Yeah, so he’s got some serious military cred.

The hero of the book is Lt. Backsight Forethought (arguably one of the best names ever for a character), who has been given command of a 50-man reinforced platoon and assigned to protect Duffer’s Drift, a small valley where there is a militarily strategic river ford. While wondering how he’s going to accomplish his task, he has six dreams wherein he “tries” different tactics.

In essence, the book leads the reader through a series of possible solutions to the hapless lieutenant’s military problem by showing the tactics used in each dream…and the ensuing results. With each successive dream, the hero refines his tactics until his final solution is utterly brilliant and, yet, far different than even I would have expected. It’s fascinating stuff, and logically explained even for a military layman. It’s also illustrated, with detailed maps to ensure that it’s easy to visualize the terrain, the tactics and the disposition of forces.

Finally, it’s short, only 72 pages. And cheap. 99 cents on Kindle and around $5 for a paperback. It’s in the public domain, so there are numerous editions available, both in print and electronic form. I’ve linked to this edition because it looks like Praetorian Press did a solid Kindle edition of the book.

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Quadruple Booked!

Quadruple Booked for Four EventsWell, this has never happened before. It appears that I’m sort of quadruple booked for events on the November 7 – 9 weekend. Specifically, I’m supposed to go to the following events in the Washington DC area:

Sigh. Still not sure what I’m going to do. Barring cloning or time travel, there’s just not enough Dave to go around.

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