Typos and second chances

No matter how many people read through the galley proofs of a book before it goes to press, some errors manage to sneak through. We just found a few new typos (as opposed to the old typos, which we had already found and-or corrected) in an upcoming edition of American Sniper. And we just did a substantial overhaul on Silver Bullet, which is now available as a Kindle download.

Why and how do these things get through?

Authors are notoriously bad at proofreading their own work; the eyes see what they want to see, and anyone already familiar with the book - writers especially - will miss even the most egregious errors because of this. There are also glitches that get in due to problems in different versions of files used; I've had uncorrected files substituted for correct ones (don't ask), which can be really frustrating.

Perhaps the most pernicious, though, are the ones that occur when something is corrected, creating a different mistake. If you see a wrong verb tense or a number agreement problem, you've probably found evidence of that.

Of course, writers making changes on the proofs - tweaking as we call it - cause a great deal of those sorts of problems, whether we're doing it on hard copy ("can't read his @#$!! handwriting") or electronically. So it comes back to us in the end.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying thank you not only to the copy editors and proofreaders employed along the way, but to readers for helping rake up the ones that get through. (And please accept my apologies in advance.) But as a teacher once told me: The only thing we truly own in this world are our mistakes.
Liaoning commissioned

Item: China commissions its "first" aircraft carrier.

While most analysts and news stories trumpet the fact that the carrier itself is not exactly the match of anything in the West (forget U.S. ships; the Garibaldi* could sink it), that really is not the significance of the ship at all.

This, though, buried deep in a NY Times story, is:

In contrast to some of the skepticism expressed by military experts outside China, Li Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute, said in an interview in the state-run People’s Daily that the carrier would change the Chinese Navy’s traditional mind-set and bring qualitative changes to its operational style and structure, he said.
Although the Chinese military does not publish a breakdown of its military spending, foreign military experts say the navy is less well financed than the army and air force.
The Chinese have been very clear that this is intended only as a training vessel, one that will help prepare the way for better vessels in the future.
* The Italian Navy's light aircraft carrier. It's actually intended for anti-submarine warfare, though it can (and does) operate with Harrier aircraft.
If you can't get a hold of me . . .

. . . here's why:

Obama copying Reagan . . .

. . . in counter-terror strategy?

So says a provocative article in Foreign Policy:

In the weeks and months after the October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 242 Americans, Reagan and his team became deeply concerned about the terrorism problem. But it was the abduction and torture of the CIA's Beirut station chief, William Buckley, in March 1984 that truly brought matters to a head. Secretary of State George Shultz called a Saturday meeting of terrorism experts, led by Brian Jenkins of the RAND Corporation, and the team brainstormed until a strategy emerged, one that called for something that strongly resembles the kind of campaign that Obama is now pursuing. Rather, the resemblance is in reverse, as Reagan's plan came first.
Soon after that weekend conclave of experts, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 138 -- most of which is still highly classified. Christopher Martin's declassified history of political and military policy during this period points out that the directive called for "secret FBI and CIA paramilitary squads and use of existing Pentagon military units -- such as Green Berets and the Navy SEALs -- for conducting what amounted to guerrilla war against guerrillas...a de factodeclaration of war."
The signal success of this first war on terror came in a campaign against the Abu Nidal Organization -- the al Qaeda of the ‘80s -- which was conducting terrorist hits for hire on behalf of Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Some of the network's hidden finances were detected and, instead of freezing or seizing these funds, they were covertly moved about in ways that convinced Abu Nidal that many of his operatives were embezzling. He had about a hundred of his agents bumped off, which did little good for the morale of the others. Soon the organization was all but defunct.

Full article here.
Guilty pleasures dept.: A Touch of Frost . . .

If Andy Fisher were British, and older, and worked for CID, he would be Jack Frost. (Full series available on Netflix.)
The future of civil air

The concept of formation flying isn't half as interesting as the future planes in the video, but who knows . . .
And even more amazing . . .

Real human organs, custom-made from your own cells:

So far, only a few organs have been made and transplanted, and they are relatively simple, hollow ones — like bladders and Mr. Beyene’s windpipe, which was implanted in June 2011. But scientists around the world are using similar techniques with the goal of building more complex organs. 

Monkey brains . . .


Scientists have designed a brain implant that sharpened decision making and restored lost mental capacity in monkeys, providing the first demonstration in primates of the sort of brain prosthesis that could eventually help people . . .


Negotiate with anyone . . .

. . . except your wife.

Frank A. Bolz, the legendary hostage negotiator and retired NYPD captain, recently answered questions about negotiating. My favorite:

Have you ever applied your hostage negotiation techniques with your wife, and what was the success rate? =)—Paul, Brooklyn
Are you kidding me!!!! She has been a cop’s wife for over 60 years. Just as a doctor can’t or shouldn’t operate on his wife, a negotiator will probably not be successful with his wife. =(

More Q&A with Bolz.
My favorite Rogue . . .

People are always asking, which Rogue Warrior book I like best. It's not one of the ones I wrote with Dick. It's book one, a great job by Dick and his co-writer, John Weisman, a great writer in his own right.

Still available, and a bargain.
What I'm drinking now . . .

Rogue, of course. the Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout to be specific . . .
Publisher's Weekly likes Rogue Warrior


Publishers Weekly
Marcinko’s fast and funny 15th in his Rogue Warrior series, his sixth with coauthor DeFelice (after 2011’s Rogue Warrior: Domino Theory), takes Dick Marcinko south of the border with his gang of shooters: Shotgun, Mongoose, Trace Dahlgren, and Tex Reeves. An assistant to the U.S. secretary of state wants Dick’s company, Red Cell International, to find evidence that Hezbollah is not setting up training camps in Mexico. At the same time, Dick agrees to look into the kidnapping of Melissa Reynolds, the gorgeous daughter of a fellow Navy SEAL. Dick calls in the rest of the Red Cell regulars, and they go to work, which means they institute a scorched earth program of killing and/or maiming every variety of Mexican bad guy, from the head of the country’s largest cartel to the lowliest corrupt cop. As always, Dick supplies the running commentary and all the gags. For everyone—readers, authors, characters—the usual good time.

American Sniper - 16th Printing

From the publisher Monday:

Great news: we have gone back to press for 15th and 16th printings, bringing the total in print over 465k

And of course that doesn't count ebooks.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Thank you, everyone.
Whose islands?


In a show of strength, China dispatched two maritime law enforcement ships to the islands, which are known as the Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan.The ships, belonging to the China Marine Surveillance, are commonly deployed in the South China Sea, where China and its neighbors have other territorial disputes over islands.
Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, said Tuesday that the marine agency had drafted an “action plan” for asserting China’s claim to the Diaoyu.
The Japanese government’s purchase of the islands from a Japanese family was intended to prevent the conservative governor of Tokyo buying them, a step that would have heightened the clash with China, Japanese officials said. The Tokyo governor, Shintaro Ishihara, had said he would develop the islands, something the national government does not plan to do.

NYT story.

We're back . . .

The main website, jimdefelice.com, went down for a while yesterday after our host had some security issues. We're back live, last time we checked.

No, it wasn't a deliberate stunt related to the newest Rogue Warrior, though it was a(n) (un)timely coincidence . . .

Web security has been a continuing "theme" both in Richard Marcinko's fiction and in his real-life work over the past decade or so. Roguishness aside, it's a continuing and deepening problem that still isn't taken seriously enough. If a mischievous or otherwise hacker can take down a few hundred thousand websites for a day, think of what a government-sponsored cyber attack unit could do.
Call it "Liaoning"

An official state media source reports that China will name its first aircraft “Liaoning” after the province that contains Dalian Naval Shipyard, where it has been refitted.An authorized government portal site, China Internet Information Center (China.org.cn) is published under the auspices of the State Council Information Office and the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) in Beijing.


The reference is to a province in China where the ship was outfitted. Perhaps not coincidentally, one of the characters in the name  遼寧 can be read as "peace."

Now available

The latest takes us south of the border . . . on sale this week.
Nuns and sentences . . .

I sort of picked on one of my parochial school teachers the other day, mentioning her "critique" of my early story efforts. (Said critique consisted of her application of the business end of a Bic pen to the hard side of my head. One of the more pointed notes on my work I've ever received.) So in fairness, I should note that she - and all of the nuns and lay teachers I had in formative years taught me quite a bit about grammar and the ins and outs of the English language. (They'd hate that cliche, I should add.)

One of their best tools was diagramming sentences. I'm guessing that's out of fashion now, but learning how to breakdown and schematically represent how different types of sentences work gave me an invaluable foundation for writing. I had to know the rules before learning how to abuse them.

I really loved the diagonal and dotted lines of conditional clauses and phrases . . . though not enough, I guess, to do that now. And parallel constructions always reminded me of seesaws and train tracks.

I'm sure a few of them would be pounding the rosary beads pretty heavy these days to read some of what I write. Still, I am grateful for the Sisters, pointed pens, metal-edged rulers, and all.
The "suit"

The lastest:

A federal judge on Thursday approved a settlement with three major publishers in a civil antitrust case brought by the Department of Justice over collusion in e-book pricing, paving the way for a war over the cost of digital books in the coming months.

Here's something I would never do . . .

. . . Let people watch me write a book:

UK author Silvia Hartmann is aiming to achieve a worlds-first by offering her readers the chance to see her latest novel being typed live online. . . .
This project, known as “Hartmann Book Live” aims to go one step further and give fans the chance to not only see the manuscript being typed, but to also comment on the storyline and provide feedback as the novel develops.
Silvia Hartmann said, “This is an amazing opportunity for me as an author to push the boundaries of the author/reader relationship. It will be amazing to write knowing that people will be viewing each word, paragraph and chapter, each backspace as I go along! Some authors plan their manuscripts in advance, but my stories tend to have a life of their own and I look forward to seeing what unfolds with everybody else!”

Full press release. With a hat-tip to GalleyCat.

In my case, I'm sure it would be the most boring thing anyone has ever watched.

Beyond that, I'm seriously paranoid about having people watching - or reading - over my shoulder. The last person who did that was Sister Mary Elephant, my sixth-grade teacher, God bless her, who caught me drawing a comic strip in class and gave me my first critical review - a Bic pen in the side of my skull. I still have the indentation.

Iran, Iraq & Syria

Item, from a story showing that Iraq is allowing Iranian flights to cross its borders to Syria:

As part of Iran’s assistance to the Assad government, it has provided the Syrian authorities with the training and technology to intercept communications and monitor the Internet, according to American officials. Iranian Quds Force personnel, they say, have been involved in training the heavily Alawite paramilitary forces the government has increasingly relied on, as well as Syrian forces that secure the nation’s air bases.
The Iranians have even provided a cargo plane that the Syrian military can use to ferry men and supplies around the country, according to two American officials.
In a new twist, according to one American official, there have been reliable reports that Iraqi Shiite militia fighters, long backed by Iran during its efforts to shape events inside Iraq, are now making their way to Syria to help the Assad government.

Iran's aid to Syria is by far the best argument for intervention by the rest of the world.