Step by step, The Eternity Plague gets closer to becoming a published reality. Earlier this week I finished reviewing the work of a local copy editor. That’s an important step.
There’s still important work to do, however. When I began writing the book, lo those many years ago (2004!), I chose to set parts of the story at a medical research center I visited early in my research: the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center near downtown Dallas. Why? Well, it was–and still is–a highly regarded research center and a cousin of mine who works there was able to arrange for me to spend some time in the lab of one of its scientists. Very cool! AND, it wasn’t in Oklahoma, which was where I was living at the time.
Now, don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with Oklahoma. OK, OK, there are tornadoes. But the point is, all of my fellow students were placing their stories in Oklahoma and I didn’t want to do that. So that’s how UT-Southwestern, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Portland, Oregon, ended up as settings instead.
BUT! Until just recently, I never really thought about whether UT-Southwestern, and several other real institutions, would be happy to be featured in a science fiction novel, even if favorably. So now I’ve got to get that sorted out. I’ve got a plan if they say no, or want some cut of the profits. So we’ll see.
Then there’s this matter of “fair use.” You see, a couple of my characters quote song lyrics a few times. Copyrighted lyrics, of course. Not a lot of them, and the characters identify who wrote or recorded the songs, but do those snippets fall within the legal concept of “fair use?” That’s a tough one, and it’s probably going to take an intellectual property lawyer to give me an assessment. Or I could just take them out. Or replace them with made-up ones. But I’d rather not.
And then there’s cover art to get done. And text formatting to do. And publicity.
I’m not complaining, mind you, just looking ahead. Looking forward too! After all, as each of those steps gets done, I’m one more step closer to that magic day when the book goes up for sale.