Post Meeting Write-up
The September SFSNNJ Face the Fiction meeting, and a very
full house with several new faces, welcomed guest speaker
Clayton McNally, author of such titles as To The Stars,
Surviving Behind Enemy Lines, Liberty and Freedom -
To Die For from the Galactic Force series.
Steve S arrived early to make sure the microphone and other
equipment was set up, the calendars were ready to go,
chairs were set up and that we were good to go.
Announcements were made - especially one very noteworthy
announcement to congratulate Paul Dellachaie for his
amazing accomplishment. Paul very graciously allowed me to
take pictures of him for the website - with the cover of the
magazine, with the article showing, smiling, looking serious -
he never once complained and very nicely humored me.
Thanks to both Steve and Paul. At 8:00, Steve introduced our
guest and we were ready to roll.
Clayton McNally came ready to entertain. He had his
books, he had samples of artwork, storyboards, background
stories and more. He not only discussed his books, but also
the ins and outs of publishing - he even went as far as
talking about how much things can and do cost new writers
out-of-pocket. Mr. McNally was very thorough, with an easy
manner and a keen sense of humor. The audience
particularly liked his stories involving his wife, as she
patiently sat in the back allowing him his moment. We think
there will be many "red pen moments" after this
presentation! You see, one of the stories was how editors
don't edit any more. Many publishing companies now use
Word or similar programs with spell check - if the program
doesn't find the error - it goes uncorrected. Clayton told us
a warning bell went off when he sent his draft in for
"editing" and it came back with only 400 errors. He told us
flat out that grammar was NOT his thing, so he knew there
were way more errors. He gave his wife the draft, she took
it with red pen in hand, read it, returned it - with over 1,400
errors! She thought it was funny, not so much for Mr.
McNally. His face was too funny to watch. He then said,
"she bought a whole pack of those red pens!"
Mr. McNally discussed his current series of books, the
Galactic Star Force series, and explained not only the
story/characters, but how the characters are developed,
drawn and put to page. He explained how he works with his
artist on both the character's look and the look of the ships -
they must have wings - he likes wings! Big long ships with
imposing wings. While discussing the design aspects of the
books, we were also told how he found his artist and gave
us a never-before-heard sneak preview of the design of his
next ships - awesome sounding motorcycle-like ships with a
force field around them that can not only fly (complete with
lasers) but can hover on land. I think Brian K is going to
pester Ana for one of those. **we also got a heads-up
about his next series, coming not-soon-enough for many of
us, about two vampiric races, from another galaxy, that
discover we make great snacks.
From there, he moved on to explain that the stories are very
much human survival stories that go beyond SF but have
much SF for the hardcore SF fan. In fact, his books are
currently some of the top selling SF books on amazon.com.
There is also a lot of hand-to-hand combat and martial arts
for fans of those two things. These elements combine with
technology and unconventional ingenuity for a fast paced
read. He also throws in romance - in the truest sense of the
word. No erotica here - which led to a couple of very funny
stories: the first was about Clayton McNally being asked to
be on a panel with a writer of erotica (his re-enactment of
his response was a visual I couldn't possibly do justice with
the written word) and the second story involved an
on-going dispute with his two daughters that the two
characters involved in the romance should finally get to kiss.
He continues to drive his daughters nuts by not allowing this
- they get sooooo close and wham - they get called into
battle or some other distraction.
The galaxies used in the stories were discussed, and we
were advised to never go to Pegasus. He's not sure why,
but he always puts the "baddies' on Pegasus. Other
galaxies used are Sol and Alpha Centauri - both deemed
OK. We learned how he came to writing from a circuitous
route and a teacher who saw talent and fostered it. We
took a brief break for purchasing and signing. When we
reconvened, Mr. McNally opened the floor to questions.
Questions were varied, interesting and we were rewarded
with thorough and amusing answers. Todd asked how Mr.
McNally likes to write, with or without music or other
distraction. We learned that Clayton McNally loves noise
and can't work without chaos - not only the radio but the TV
on at the same time. He also mentioned that he and his
wife share an office and she does not work as well amidst
chaos - I predict more "red pen moments" - lol. Authors of
interest, inspirations for characters and/or concepts, and
how he got his television commercial aired on SciFi channel
were also talked about. We very begrudgingly ended the
meeting, much applause for our very engaging guest, put
the store back to order, and headed out for the diner with
Mr. & Mrs. McNally.
The fun continued at the diner. I couldn't keep track of all of
the conversations around the table, in fact, I couldn't even
hear the conversation at either end of the table because
people were too far away at either end. Too many people
were crammed around the table making for a buzz of
conversation. Suffice it to say there was conversation. I left
about 12:00ish and the dirty stay outs harangued me for
leaving so early and stayed. They might still be there - dirty
stay outs - lol. That Taras, he was probably the ringleader ;)
Join us next month when we have a unique first - a
Paranormal/Mystery Panel. Our guests will discuss their
books, answer questions and read some of their work. Sure
to be interesting and fun.
Clayton McNally writes in a story-telling manner that is
fast-paced and exciting. His stories grab your interest from
beginning to end, To The Stars, will engage the imagination
of Science Fiction enthusiasts. This action-packed novel
includes hand-to-hand combat using Kenpo Karate and
major space battles utilizing unconventional ingenuity.
Follow mankind across Galaxies in search of peace. Forced
to fight for survival, his battles display unconventional
ingenuity against overwhelming forces.
The second in the Galactic Star Force series Surviving
Behind Enemy Lines will grab you from the first page and
hold you until the end. It is a compelling story of battles and
human survival when the odds are overwhelming.
The third in the Galactic Star Force series Liberty and
Freedom - To Die For set the Commonwealth and Galactic
Star Force into battle on three fronts; Sol, Pegasus and
Alpha Centauri. Can humanity win one or even two fronts?
Will a third front be too much?
Already a screenplay is being written for To The Stars, read
it and Surviving Behind Enemy Lines and see what has
captured the attention of readers and the media.