Yes, Officer, I’m An Author.

Here at PDMI Publishing, LLC, our Authors are a most diverse lot, covering a wide social spectrum within the diverse halls of our company. Our Authors create oil paintings, host Civil War re-enactments, work with film producers, roleplay at Science Fiction conventions, host educational events for children, caregive for the homebound, and cruise around in loud musclecars.

Wait a minute, did I just say “cruise around in loud musclecars?” Yes, I did. For, you see, I, PDMI Publishing, LLC Author Daven Anderson, am a lifelong “gearhead”, as devoted to the piston as I am to the keyboard.

Many outside our supercharged world of cruising machines view us “gearheads” as being barely above the status of motorcycle gangs, and cast many churlish presumptions our way. Least not of which is a predisposition that our social circle can barely read books, let alone write them.

Earlier today, I joined a few dozen of my “tribe” for a cruise. Two of the cruisers found themselves subject to some heated discussions and even group ridicule for their actions. One unfortunate petrol soul admitted to filling his vintage musclecar with regular-grade gasoline, and then asked for help with his car’s resultant degraded performance.

Another car owner had placed a most indefatigable brand of braggart lettering on his trunklid, advising cars behind him that they could not defeat his “unbeatable” street machine. His car did indeed look the part, with a fiberglass hood and racing tires usually found only on the very fastest of street cars. Alas, under the mighty hood rested a tired engine that would not be able to beat the average Joe’s V6 Honda Accord.

These two car owners were forced to endure some harsh critiques of their rolling stock. These most animated discussions soon reached the point where some “innocent bystanders” decided to summon the local gendarmes to ascertain the true nature of these dialogue exchanges.

One such official representative of the community offered an informed critique regarding the modifications of my car. I agreed with Mister Officer’s opinion that my car’s flat black hood and A-pillar gauge cluster did, in fact, contradict the “sleeper” customizations on the rest of the car. I further clarified that I was “a man of contradictions,” stating that I was not just a “gearhead”, but a published Author as well.

Mister Officer read the back cover of Vampire Syndrome, as I read its book blurb aloud, stating “Daven’s love of musclecars and the open road led to the Vampires’ high-octane adventures all across the beautiful state of Colorado.”

Much to my delight, I overheard Mister Officer explaining to some of the “innocent bystanders” that one of the ransacking Vandal Visigoths before them was, in fact, a published Author.

One of the main missions of my Vampire Syndrome saga is to combat prejudice. My protagonist Jack Wendell, a Vampire with Down Syndrome, helps others to overcome their prejudices against his kind. Jack would be proud that today, I did my part to vanquish some negative assumptions people make about my “tribe.”

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The Car Thing: Words of Wisdom from a Gearhead

The Car Thing: Words of Wisdom from a Gearhead
©May 17, 2011 by Daven Anderson

I’ve noticed some readers think my stories have excess detail when I refer to cars by their specific model, even sub-model. The specific references are there to help the clarify the readers’ mental pictures of the character’s cars.

Example: How descriptive are you when you say that your character drives a “Dodge Charger?” Do you mean the muscle car two-door coupe made from 1966 to 1978, the subcompact hatchback made from 1983 to 1987, or the current four-door sports sedan made since 2006? This is a perfect example of where specifying the car’s sub-model is of great help to assist the reader in knowing which Dodge Charger you’re writing about.

By specifying that my character drives an “SRT8″ (sub-model name), not just a “Charger” (model name), I give my readers the important clue they need to know exactly what kind of car he’s driving. Some readers will recognize what an “SRT8″ is immediately, and the rest can Google it.

I ran into the car-model problem myself one evening at our critique group. When I wrote about my character’s “Shelby GT-500″, one person at the table wrote that he loved my reference to the “classic 1960′s muscle-car.” The only problem was, I meant for the car to be the current 2011 model year Shelby GT-500. The next day, I made sure to add “2011″ to my chapter.

It’s true some readers don’t care about cars. The reverse is also true. When Stephen King’s novel Christine was released in 1983, he made numerous factual errors when describing various attributes of a 1958 Plymouth Fury. His errors were even more notorious than usual because the novel’s central character, Christine, is a (supernaturally sentient) 1958 Plymouth Fury.

Even in 1983, error after error leapt out at me from the pages of Christine, yanking me out of the story. Christine was painted “Autumn Red” color, even though the 1958 Fury was only offered in Buckskin Beige. King himself had to explain (after the book was released!) that Christine was special-ordered in red. But he never explained the “Hydramatic transmission lever” (push buttons shift the 1958 Plymouth’s Torqueflite transmission), the “Rocket V8″ air cleaner (did Christine eat an Oldsmobile?), Arnie replacing the “rear door” on a car that had no rear doors, or the non-existent door lock button clamping down as Leigh Cabot eats her burger in the drive-in. The movie’s car builders had to install fake door lock buttons in a 1958 Plymouth to replicate this scene.

The final insult was when I noticed the rear cover’s picture of Stephen King, sitting on the hood of a 1957 (not a 1958) Plymouth. A world-famous author, who could have bought a 1958 Plymouth Fury just for research purposes, or at least borrowed one. What did it say about his “research” when even a teenage reader (before the modern Internet existed!) was laughing at all his mistakes? This is why I swore back in 1983 that if I ever wrote a book, the car details would be correct. My younger self would be proud to see I kept that promise.