Archive for June, 2007

Publishing Update: A new cover coming

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Well, even though I really love what Steve Palmer at 76design developed for the cover,  it seems I may not be the best judge of such things. The official iUniverse review of my submitted cover is in and it looks like we’re heading back to the drawing board, literally. The design experts at iUniverse made a few interesting observations including:

– the design I submitted was a little “flat;”
– the typography needed some work;
– the juxtaposition of the word “Plans” in the title and the line drawing of the hovercraft plans was too “literal;”
– the overall look and feel didn’t really convey that this is a satirical novel.

Interesting points and not without merit I suppose when their reasoning was clarified for me. So, their design team is going to take a stab at designing a cover that still uses the Parliament Hill photograph in some way. The line drawing of the hovercraft plans may move to the back cover.

I asked that they do their best to preserve the Allan Rock quotation on the front cover, as I think it really helps to add credibility and legitimacy to this self-published novel. As well, while this is a satirical novel, there are serious themes that underlie the fun. Satire yes, slapstick no.

So now we wait for a couple of weeks. I’ll post the result when I receive it.

Publishing Update: Cover copy polish

Monday, June 18th, 2007


It’s been very interesting to learn about the various steps in the publishing process.  I’ve just reviewed and tweaked the copy the team at iUniverse proposes to put on the front and back covers of the novel.  When it comes to the description of the book on the back, it’s a balancing act.  We need to provide enough description to entice the reader, without telling the whole story and spoiling the few surprises along the way.  Here’s the result after my very minor tweaking:

Thirty-something Daniel Addison is jaded and burned out from his Parliament Hill job as a speechwriter for the Liberal Leader of the Opposition. After a bad breakup with his girlfriend, Daniel is eager to escape the duplicitous world of Canadian politics, so he accepts a faculty position with the University of Ottawa’s English Department. He soon moves into a boathouse apartment in nearby Cumberland owned by Angus McLintock, a cranky engineering professor in his sixties who is mourning the recent loss of his wife.

Both Angus and Daniel intend to retreat from the world for a while, but fate won’t have it. Angus is desperate to avoid teaching English to first-year engineering students yet again.  Daniel, as penance for abandoning his party on the eve of an election, must find a local Liberal candidate to run against the incumbent Conservative MP, who just happens to be the most popular Finance Minister in Canadian history. In an unlikely alliance, Angus consents to stand as the in-name-only, certain-to-lose Liberal candidate, and in return, Daniel agrees to take Angus’s English class.

Everything is going according to plan until the voters are suddenly forced to take a closer look at Angus. The once guaranteed Liberal loss is now thrown into doubt. Scrambling to deal with this unexpected development, Angus and Daniel land in the middle of a hilarious political maelstrom that tests not only their friendship but their beliefs in government and democracy.

It seems a tad long to me, particularly if there’s to be space left for the complimentary quotations provided by Allan Rock, Paddy Torsney, and Mike Tanner.  We’ll see what unfolds.

While we’re polishing up the cover copy, the designers at iUniverse are considering whether they’re happy with the cover design I submitted or will propose a different approach.  Stay tuned…

So what about the hovercraft in TBLP?

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

I’ve had a number of listeners (well, one is a number!) ask me about Baddeck 1, the hovercraft Angus designs, builds, and ultimately flies in the novel. Regrettably, no such hovercraft yet exists in the real world. I’ve always had an interest in hovercaft. In my misspent youth, a classmate and I designed and built a full-sized hovercraft, dubbed GTH1. The rather official sounding moniker simply stood for Geoff and Terry Hovercraft 1. I know, very clever. Here’s a photo of GTH1 from 1976 on its maiden flight. I’m at the wheel at the tender age of 15 years.


I think my high school hovercraft experience propelled me into engineering at university. While I have no regrets, in the more than 20 years since I somehow persuaded McMaster University to grant me an engineering degree, I’ve never practiced engineering professionally, opting for politics and then communications consulting. The road not taken etc., etc.

Anyway, I like to think that Baddeck 1 is a rather innovative hovercraft design. It came to me and I sketched it out while in first year engineering, when I no doubt should have been taking notes in an Applied Math lecture. Not to get too technical about it, but moving to a single engine design and venting the thrust through the side thrust ports (see below), yields real dividends in weight, height, safety, noise, and control (in my humble opinion). Perhaps one day I’ll take a stab at building it, although I do push back the frontiers of ineptitude whenever tools of any kind are involved.


On paper, Baddeck 1 should work. All of the description and technical details provided in the novel, including those that were left on the cutting room floor through the editing process, are genuine and accurate (at least as far as my technical understanding extends). By the way, I cooked up the graphic above just by dabbling with PowerPoint. Just thought some of you might be interested… then again…