Monday, July 18, 2011

"Respectfully Deny"

I've been checking my email just about every hour since Friday. My team at Createspace has been working on my first digital proof for Where to Belong. They said it would be seven to ten business days before they would have it ready. They also said they have been able to prepare proofs in three days, and that they were already working on mine. Yes, I know I shouldn't be looking for it as of yet, but I can't help it. I'm getting super excited about this. I did the whole, "This is a mistake. No one is going to read this. No one should read it! It's terrible!" for a few days in a row last week. That might have been why I've been failing on my word count goal for Row80 ... Anyway, after talking with my team, I'm excited again. They said they remembered it from the first submission and cover art. Now I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Hoping for good.

Another reason I've been hovering over the email is because of a little something I was working on for by count down to releasing Where to Belong. I've been planning blog posts with little bits and pieces of different things I researched and found interesting or entertaining while preparing for writing the novel. Mostly about Chicago, train stations, the Great Loop, North Caicos, and a certain SUV that one of the characters drives. One thing I find irritating about reading fiction set in the real world is when the facts could have been better presented. So I did my best to cover my scenes and props from every angle. There were times when I spent nearly an entire day on one subject so I wouldn't misrepresent. While it was exhausting and borderline maddening, I did manage to dig up some fascinating and memorable pointers.

One of those long and unproductive searches was on the SUV I mentioned earlier. It is an SUV I knew of, but never really looked seriously at. It is one I know I most likely will never possess. Not because I don't want one. But because there is no way I could ever afford one. I remember the first time I saw one. I remember the first time I got to goof off in one, thanks to some random guy in Dallas who was oh so happy to let a bunch of high-schoolers crawl all over the beast of a truck. Rock on random guy. The SUV is a Mercedes Benz G-Class, aka G-Wagon.

I found plenty of info about it on-line and speaking with dealerships. Of course, there was not one available for a test drive while I was researching it. I don't blame them. I started each conversation with, "I can't buy this truck, but I am writing about it, kind of..." So no, I still haven't gotten behind the wheel of one. It wasn't just the features and options on the truck I was interested in, but its capabilities and performance when under certain conditions (gonna have to read the book to find out). In this area, the dealers were unable to answer my questions. Forums offered little to nothing. I needed to speak with an actual owner. Couldn't corner anyone. Trust me, I tried. I ended up getting the details I needed from an auto body tech who had recently worked on one. Go figure. I tweaked my writing to go along with his answers and hope I'm not too far off.

One thing I did come across while searching for information was a commercial for the G-Wagon. It was of a mock crash test where the truck drives through the collision wall and on through offices and work areas before plowing through the outer wall of the facility. It was not at all what I was looking for, but I thought it was funny. I wanted to post it on here for everyone to see and maybe entertain. So I checked with Mercedes. After several emails back and forth, I received the verdict. They said no. But they were nice about it. "Respectfully deny permission." They even thanked me for giving them the opportunity to respond. It wasn't the answer I was hoping for, but I tried. Sorry, no video. I'm still a little bummed over it, but oh well. I still love the G-Wagon.

The majority of the other topics I want to post are not so copyrighted. So in the coming weeks while Where to Belong is inching through the final stages I will do my best to keep the info enjoyable. I had fun learning the different sides of these places and subjects and I think it adds some color to the story. Little extras, that's all.

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