If There Ever Was a Time to be Apolitical, This Isn’t It

If There Ever Was a Time to be Apolitical, This Isn’t It

Anyone who has read a handful of my blog posts, or better yet, my fiction, probably has a pretty good handle on where I stand politically. I’ve been known to rail against the orange monster in the Oval Office from time to time. In fact, I wrote back in 1994 that someday working class people would likely use his name as a curse word. Little did I ever dream a clown like him would become the most powerful, and thus most dangerous, man in the world.

And with just over a week until what’s undoubtedly the most important US election ever, I find myself once again in the unenviable position of obsessing about the potential outcomes. As I did four years ago, I find myself on 270towin.com or 538.com, running the numbers, hoping for the best, fearing the worst.

So in the interest of just getting it off my chest, I guess, here are the top five scenarios I can envision—in order from worst to best. Full disclaimer here, of course, is that there are other possibilities.

 

The Big Five

1) Triumph the Insult President is reelected decisively. I don’t see this as likely because, after all, how much catastrophe can one country take? With the COVID-19 numbers skyrocketing again, and even the over-inflated markets teetering on the brink of a possibly historic collapse, it simply isn’t logical. Then again, I don’t ever count the guy out. Like a cockroach, he seems to have an ungodly, almost unfathomable resilience. If this scenario plays out, God help us all.

2) Biden loses by a small margin, and the US goes through a horrendous 2000-style court battle—leading all the way to the Supreme Court, which will conveniently have a new Justice in their chambers. Yay, democracy. I can see this playing out in frenetic fashion, and again, it’s not much better than the first scenario. I’m still trying to maintain some semblance of sanity, however, and hoping that this is also unlikely. But as we all learned in 2016, the polls don’t mean much; it’s the final Electoral College tally that matters.

3) Biden wins by a small margin. This is quite possibly the most likely scenario, and if it happens, we’re still in for at least a full six weeks of chaos, up to and including January 20th. It could play out like #2 in terms of court battles, but could go the other way as well. Still frightening, but at least a win on the books initially would give us the hope we so badly need right now.

4) Biden wins decisively. Now, this a best-case scenario, I will readily acknowledge. Everything goes right, and even a few court skirmishes in select states are not enough to overturn the will of “We the People.” No doubt it will still cause chaos—because of 45’s brain-dead supporters, not to mention the Sociopath-in-Chief himself—but maybe we can finally begin to recover from the most damaging, divisive, and flat-out exhausting administration ever.

5) It’s a tie! I’m kidding. It’s not at all funny that this can happen, though, right? We need to get rid of the Electoral College. Seriously.

 

And There You Have It

None of these are actual predictions, folks. Just running scenarios. But in all seriousness, I truly hope we can come out the other side of this a smarter, humbler, better-informed people. And beyond that, I hope the voters who put this monster into office take a good look at themselves and do some due diligence before they vote for anyone else in the future.

As for the folks who still support the guy, with 225K Americans dead, and counting—well, let’s just say they will make it much easier for me to be an expatriate someday. I really don’t want to know them at all.

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The Importance of Cover Design and Interior Design for Novels

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I think I could be forgiven for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I’ll be forgiven by anyone thinking I have expertise in these subjects.

Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads seeking a Copywriter/Graphic Designer, I should know at least a little. Although I’ve never used InDesign, I have seen it. And that should count for something, right?

In all seriousness, your book’s cover is absolutely critical. We’ve all heard the cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. And while I might not exactly agree with that sentiment, I acknowledge that everyone does—at least to some degree—judge a book by its cover.

 

Choosing A Cover Designer

So how do you choose a designer for that all-important cover? Well, you can take recommendations, you can do a random search…or you can combine those approaches by doing what I did. As a member in good standing of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI), I accessed their database of design professionals.

Of course, once you start researching cover designers, you find a wide range of both talent and prices. My designer for my first few novels was a guy who proved perfect for someone like myself looking to purchase in bulk. He was pretty good, and the price was reasonable.

When I prepared to launch Whizzers last year, I knew I wanted to take things to a whole other level. Whizzers really is the best thing I’ve ever done, and I needed my cover to reflect as much. The designer I chose for the cover was at the top end of my budget, but her portfolio is stellar. She surpassed my expectations: I was thrilled with the result, and many readers have commented on it.

 

But What About Interior Design?

If there’s one area where you can probably cheap out a bit, it’s interior design. I don’t know if I’d recommend doing it yourself—I certainly don’t have the skill set to do an excellent job on such a project—but choosing the most expensive option isn’t a necessity here.

There’s something to be said for having the old expectations surpassed, though. I gave my cover designer the assignment of designing the interior as well, and while she certainly charged more than what I’ve paid elsewhere, she again gave me a pleasant surprise: the “flying man” image from the cover serves as an intro to each chapter, which I neither requested nor imagined. The result, which you can see above, is both classy and highly appropriate. I love it.

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Curiouser And Curiouser

Chapter 2 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland begins with Alice crying out one of the more famous phrases in the book: “Curiouser and curiouser!” As we’ve all gone down the rabbit-hole, things really have gotten weirder and weirder. I would never have guessed that a phrase like “The President is gaslighting you again” would even make sense, much less become commonplace. And yet, here we are.

Way back in 2016, which seems like a hundred years ago—hell, this past March feels like a hundred years ago—I actively campaigned for the Democratic nominee. Not enthusiastically, mind you. I’d worked as a volunteer for Obama, but actually voted for Bernie in the 2016 primary. But okay—Hillary won the nomination, so she was the candidate. And like most of us, I believed the polls to be accurate, so the election’s result was a gut punch.

It wasn’t just any gut punch, though. I grew up in CT in the 1970s and 80s, and pretty much everyone I knew who grew up in CT, NY, or NJ back then knew what a turd this guy was. We knew it 30 years ago. Nothing had changed. If anything, he was worse: more of a blowhard, more of an opportunist, less sincere than ever. He was no reasonable Republican, nor even a lifelong Republican. Something was in the wind, and he saw a way to take advantage of it for his own personal gain.

 

It Tolls for Thee

In case any of my fellow Americans wonder how the world views the US government’s handling of the pandemic, a quick Google search reveals a host of appropriate adjectives: “botched,” “catastrophic,” “cavalier,” “self-inflicted.” Indeed, many of us here blame the President directly, and feel he has the blood of over 200K fellow citizens on his hands.

My wife, who is a permanent resident but not yet a citizen, pointed out a string of posts on social media where people were flat out laughing at the US, amused to see the superpower receiving such a large force-feeding of humble pie. And she reminded me of a couple things that should be obvious to us, but are certainly not apparent to many Americans: not everyone loves the US, and this horrendous President represents us to the world. Sad but true.

As the death toll rises, the number of positive diagnoses among those close to the President and his wife rises too: not only Hope Hicks, but Kayleigh McEnany, Chris Christie and Kellyanne Conway. No one knows where this is all going, but one thing is certaina lot of us Americans are way past that whole MAGA thing, and would be happy just to Make America Sane Again.

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