Archive for February, 2010

Nothing Like the First Time

February 28, 2010

Though the book release party for my new book might be considered my first public event, my reading at the Community Library in Ketchum, Idaho was the first time I hadn’t packed the house with my own friends and family. I was naturally nervous, reading in front of a room full of strangers, but they quickly became friends.

The audience was attentive and even applauded when I finished. Everyone stayed through the questions and answers period, and then roughly a quarter of the forty people there lined up for books offered by The Chapter One Bookstore.

I’ll probably never get rich doing book signings, but getting out there to meet people who become excited about reading my book makes it all worthwhile.

I’m looking forward to the next one.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged
http://www.prison-earth.com

Ketchum book signing with my sister Susan

A Child’s Dream

February 20, 2010

Since childhood I’ve had one overarching dream: to return to space.

I know that sounds odd. How can I return to a place I’d never been? Even so, each time I looked into the jet-black night skies of the Oregon Coast, the densely-packed stars of the Milky Way called to me.

I was six when Sputnik launched, and though I didn’t understand much about the adult world, the furor that simple device caused made one thing perfectly clear: I wasn’t the only one longing to return.

But growing up comes with its own share of accomplishments and disappointments. Weak eyes and poor circulation kept me out of the Vietnam War, but it also meant I’d never be a pilot. At that time, only pilots made it into space. Even today, considering NASA’s funding problems, many who qualify won’t be going either.

My return to space, at least in this lifetime, will only be in my imagination…and in the stories I create. According to what my readers tell me, that’s not such a bad thing.

Clifford M. Scovell
Author of the Prison Earth series
www.prison-earth.com

The wonders of space. Wouldn't it be great to view them first hand.

Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2010

I’ve seen a lot of advertisements promoting this day, and people deriding it as a cultural insult. I say, why knock something that promotes love? Yes, I agree. Love should be expressed every day of the year, but sometimes, in our frantic need to meet our many everyday demands, we forget to tell those we love how much they mean to us. If that is so, having a day set aside to remind us is a good thing. Right?

I believe love is infinite, and no amount of division will make it less valuable, or special to those you share it with. Please keep in mind, I’m not talking about lust, which leads to more intimate contact between two people. Love is an entirely separate thing. One does not require the other, but of the two, love is the more permanent, and magical.

In some cases, as with family members and childhood friends, the people I love have been with me so long I don’t know when I started loving them. With more recent relationships, however, I felt the magic the moment we met. It’s like I knew them in some past life, and in that astounding moment we found each other again.

Unlike lust, love cannot be bought, faked, or forced. It happens or it doesn’t. And in the end, that is what makes it so special…and miraculous.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

The Nightmare

February 7, 2010

I simply didn’t like it!

I’ve only had one real nightmare in my life. By “nightmare”, I don’t mean those disturbing dreams that leave you puzzled as to where that idea came from, or what it means. My dreams can be truly bizarre, but with this one exception, they’re never scary, because I know I can wake up at any time.

This particular dream happened when I was thirteen, and had all the makings of a real-life horror movie. In retrospect, I’m sure it was part of the process that created the Prison Earth series this blog is promoting. Prison Earth is a work of fiction, but the nightmare is as vivid a reality today as it was all those years ago.

I woke up in a dark place, my gut clenching with the uncomfortable certainty that I didn’t want to be there.

A blazing light suddenly appeared ahead of me, revealing a small room at the end of a long corridor. Someone I couldn’t see was pushing me toward what looked like an operating room. Though most of the room was fuzzy in my recollection, a single operating table in the middle riveted my attention. Bright lights made the table glow, and at various points around its head were cone-like objects on support stands. The cones were long and tapered to a needle-sharp point.

I felt my eyes bulge, and struggled as strong hands gripped my arms and heaved me onto the table. I don’t remember being strapped down, but I couldn’t move as a figure, dressed like a physician preparing to operate, loomed over me. A mask hid his face, but in the glaring light, his hands were as white as sunlit snow.

I fought against the unseen bonds as the individual began adjusting one of the cones, moving it closer to my head. I desperately wanted to push his hand away, but my own muscles would not respond, forcing me to watch in shivering terror as the cone drew nearer, and nearer, and…

Just as it touched me, I woke up, covered in sweat and breathing harder than if I’d just run a marathon. I jumped out of bed, searched for any sign of what I’d just seen. It seemed far too real to be a dream, and yet, here I was in my own room with no unexpected holes in my head.

With time, the effects of the dream faded, and I tried to tell myself it was just a stupid nightmare. Everybody has them. Obviously, I didn’t completely succeed. If I had, my novel, Prison Earth, might never have been written. But I still had to wonder why I felt so humiliated by that dream, and was certain the world would brand me a lunatic for even mentioning what I had experienced.

Was it real or imagined? I’ve heard of alien abductions, and like most other people, I find them hard to believe. Maybe they are fakes, or…maybe we’re just programmed to dismiss them out of hand.

What do you think? Has something like this ever happened to you? Could another race of people be controlling our lives?

Most of the time I’m sure they aren’t, but…then I remember the dream.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged
http://www.prison-earth.com

Change comes…

February 2, 2010

The anticipation (and angst) is over. The first copies of my new book finally arrived. The cover art came out beautifully, and they even spelled my name correctly. Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (www.bn.com) not only have it listed, but now have the book cover and description posted. My web site (www.prison-earth.com) has morphed into something I feel happy sending people to.

Now the second phase of the work starts: getting the word out. I’m looking forward to meeting people, doing readings, and seeing sales rise. It’s going to be a lot of work, and my social life will switch from quiet time with intimate friends to public gatherings with strangers who I hope will become die-hard fans of my work. For a quiet, somewhat reclusive guy like me, it will be a life-changing transition. As with all such transitions in my life, I look upon it with excitement and dread.

Bring it on!

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged
http://www.prison-earth.com