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BY OTHER MEANS book launch and cake
B/W headshot

       By Other Means, a the third collection of military science fiction in the Defending the Future series, edited by Mike McPhail is out and available now and I'm damn proud to be in it.  In fact I'm damn lucky to be where I am in it, being the "new guy" here.  With names like Jack Campbell, James Chambers, Bud Sparhawk and Andy Remic there's no shortage of talent of the contents page.  Of course, none of this would have happened for me if my friend the editor, Mike McPhail hadn't offered me the opportunity to submit a proposal.  It certainly didn't hurt either that his wife, editorial wiz Danielle Ackley-McPhail went over the submission and helped punch it into shape.  <you can find out more about the whole series here - http://www.defendingthefuture.com/index.html > 
      So Dani, Mike and I took advantage of an opportunity and put together a launch for the book with the SF&F reading group that I started awhile ago called Watch The Skies.  So after a good deal of preparation on February 19th we set up center stage on the Midtown Scholar bookstore and got the party started.  Also in attendance were contributors Robert Waters and Peter Prellwitz who added not only to the prestige but the snack table as well.  We took turns doing readings from our stories and gave away several door prizes.  My reading from the nook ereader I'd borrowed from work went off without a hitch and Dani and Peter even went back to read a second time.  Afterwards we retired to one of the group members homes for an evening of games, fun and fantastic fettucine alfredo.  It felt really good to have Dani assure me that she felt things went very well.
     By then there's the cake.  I made a point of saying that I wanted to make sure that we had food for folks, but it was never my intention to feed Harrisburg- I think I ignored that comment when it came to the cake.  Now I've been to at least 4 book launches that Dani & Mike have done and besides helping as "minion" to get things set up, I've been trying to pay attention to the "do's and don'ts".  Somewhere along the line in ordering the cake I didn't call to mind the size of other event cakes I've seen.  I looked at the board and was more concerned about getting the book's image on the cake and in the correct orientation than with the size.  "Full" apparently came out of me in the discussion and I ended up with a full sheet cake.  Now that Saturday central PA was experiencing 30-45 mph winds.  I was lucky to get the cake into the car, into the bookstore and yes, the cake followed us everywhere- then it followed me home.  With about half a cake left, I'd like to believe I'm learning my lesson.  But no matter, signing books again - that was pretty sweet too.