James DePreist and Fourth Place

In Memoriam, James DePreist

Who was James DePreist and what does he have to do with science fiction or romance? The second question is easier, so I’ll answer it first.


Nothing.  (Although as a writer, I find the ‘e before i’ in his name fascinating.)

James DePreist was one of the first Black conductors of a major symphony orchestra, and Mr. Valentine is an orchestral musician as well as a writer. Even though DePreist made his musical reputation in Portland, at the end he lived here in Arizona, up north in Scottsdale. Put  this together, and he’s close enough to my heart to warrant a fond farewell.

Conducting an orchestra made up of 50 to 100 huge egos is no easy task. The intelligence required to keep all the musical threads in exactly the proper balance is … well, simply prodigious. It’s quite hard enough, thank  you, to perform my oboe parts, count rests so I come in at the right place, and handle rhythms that can be quite tricky. But that’s just one instrument in a large orchestra, and conductors like DePreist have to know what ALL the instruments are doing. It requires more than a touch of genius.

Go with God, Jimmy; you touched a lot of us.  (You can read about Mr. DePreist’s illustrious career in The Washington Post’s obituary.)

Did any of you have the honor of seeing him conduct in person, or hear any of his many recordings?

Alien Contact for Idiots  Wins Fourth

What the heck color ribbon do you get for finishing fourth?

GoldenGateway Pub4Place

Transparent, I think. As in none.

However, fourth place is still an honor, considering that umpteen paranormal romances (which SFR is lumped into) were submitted to the Golden Gateway writing contest sponsored by the From the Heart Romance Writers. Only five manuscripts were chosen as finalists, including Mr. Valentine’s Alien Contact for Idiots.

Note that this book isn’t yet available, despite the logo at right saying ‘Published Division.’  That refers to the fact that Mr. Valentine has published several other books.

I think we need a better color for fourth place ribbons.  Any suggestions?

Read more about Alien Contact for Idiots, and about the  upcoming release, The Midas Rush.



  1. henhousepublishing · · Reply

    Where I come from, there’s first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention which usually doesn’t get a ribbon.

    1. Which is one reason this goes on a post called ‘a bit of this, bit of that’ rather than its own page.

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