Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hey, Why Don't We All Try This?

For just $95, these Bookblaster will spam every agent and editor in the business. That'll get you noticed, all right. But you have to write the letter. Here's a better idea. Sell me your list, and I'll query the agents and editors that might actually care. Or, I can find their names for myself for free by putting in a little research time. And I get to maybe have a reputation as somebody with a lick of sense.

Those False Gods Can Be A Real Pain In The Ass

Ran into a post to this article on MetaFilter -- Monk arrested over 'magic' turtle fraud

My favorite part of the article:

Secretary of State for the Ministry of Cults and Religions, Chhorn Iem, said he had lost count of the number of fraudulent monks and gods that came to his ministry's attention, but that it lacked legal experts to intervene and ensure these religious frauds felt the full weight of the law.

Yeah, old Yahweh had the same problem. He even made it his First Commandment. He figured out how to solve the problem, though. Rercruit the right people to work for you.


"Tuez-les tous; Dieu reconnaitra les siens."("Kill them all; for the Lord knoweth them that are His."
Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux, 1209, when asked by the Crusaders what to do with the citizens of Beziers who were a mixture of Catholics and Cathars. Source

Thinking and Stuff

Spent most of the last two days updating the Vision index and correcting typos, bad links, etc. Got Issue 27 articles entered, but no subjects for them yet. Still have a ways to go on the Subect Index, but it's moving forward.

While I've been drudging along on that project, I've been doing some thinking. Getting article ideas, expanding on the ones I already have in queue, etc. I need to get my libraryresources article into shape and submit it to Byline. I'm also investigating Web-based text analysis applications for review potential.

I've also spent some time thinking about Washed in the Blood and "What Dreams May Come". For WITB, I'm thinking about doing some pruning. I think I can cut about half of the first two chapters and combine them into one. That will get rid of a lot of unnecessary clutter and gt the action moving, while allowing me to salvage some of my favorite parts. I can lose a couple of thousand words and tighten things up considerably. I'll probably work on that this weekend. After I cut, I'll read through what I have so far and see if I can move forward some. I think I need to quit stressing about "getting it right" and just get it. I've come too far on this and love the story too much top just let it mold.

WDMC is also nagging at me a little. I'm at a crossroads, and I need to decide which way I'm going to go. That means figuring out whether the threat is coming from outside or from inside. Is there some malevolent force subjecting Dave to this torture? If so, why? On the other hand, he might be going psychotic.

In prctical terms, the next scene is pretty predictable. Dave tries to run Leah off, but she refuses to go. She loves him as much as he loves her, and she won't leave without an explanation, which he can't give, because he doesn't know what's going on himself. He'll have to tell about Gloria, which only makes her more determined to stay and help him through this crisis.

Whether Dave tries to explain or not, Leah is concerned for his stability. He's acting irrational, and she's afraid he's going to get violent. She will need somebody on stand-by in case things get out of hand. Who? Friend, relative, or doctor? Hm. For Dave's part, he is increasingly frantic and frazzled. He manages to stay up all night the next night, but he's fast getting too tired to function. He has to sleep, but when he does, he'll dream.

Off to fiddle with article outlines while this simmers a little bit more.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Sent off queries on two flash stories that I submitted long ago. I submitted "For Better or For Worse" to Pif Magazine back in August, 2004, and "Where the Heart Is" went to C/OASIS in November.

This is yet another "Shit Happens" aspect of the writer's life that helps weed out the uncommitted. Hey, if you can't be committed, you can't be part of this club. Pun definitely intended. You don't have to be crazy to work here...Well, yes, you do.

You spend hours hallucinating onto a piece of paper or a computer monitor, polish your monument to coherence until it glows in the dark, package it tastefully, and entrust it with all your hope and faith to the mail, whether snail or e. And then what?

Silence. Dead, deep, dark silence. The silence of the lambs. The silence of the grave. Did they lose it? "They" who? Are they passing it around the office, posting it on bulletin boards for everyone's jocular enjoyment? Damn! You mean it's only been 2 weeks? You've got to be shitting me. It's been at least 6 months. No? Damn! I'll never make it. I can't concentrate, can't sleep, can hardly breathe. My baby's in the hands of the Phillistines! What vile tortures are they inflicting on him/her/it?

Ahhhh. The writer's life. Can't live with it, can't live without it.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Last Girl Dancing -- Why Should I Care?

  1. It's a damn good novel (at least the first 2 chapters, and that's a very good sign) and it deserves to succeed in a big way.
  2. Holly is a very good writer that also deserves a lot better than she's gotten.
  3. I owe Holly. I owe her a lot. Anyone who is a member of Forward Motion owes her. She has spent her entire career giving of herself to those of us less fortunate. Now it's time to give a little back.

Writers are victims. It's built into the vocation. If there is anyone who is not in control of their fate, it's writers. Editors, readers, peers, the price of paper, we are at the mercy of forces far beyond our control most of the time. We sweat and bleed and cry and toil through dark days and cold nights to get our vision into a form that is accessible to the world. Then we send it out and watch as it lives or dies, often seemingly at random.

Here's the victim part. Whatever happens -- a tornado destroys a printing plant in Kansas, the publisher allots too little money for publicity, the cover art is atrocious, Stephen King's latest is published the same day as our little offering -- whatever happens, we have to take the blame.

Book publishing is all about the numbers. Sales numbers and return numbers. When contract time come around, the only thing that matters is how many copies of our last book sold and how many were returned. Did we earn out our advance? Did we sell enough of the first printing for the publisher to make a profit? What percentage of pre-sales were returned for credit by the sellers? Reasons don't matter, only numbers.

Yeah, that sucks. Unfortunately, there's nothing to be done about it at this time. It's pure and simply the way the business works. All it takes is one not-so-successful book, and our careers tanks. Over. Done. In Hollywood, they call it "box office poison".

Yeah, it sucks. It sucks that someone as talented as Holly might have to become someone else to continue her dream. It sucks that this other person may become fabulously successful, while "Holly Lisle" will be forever remembered as medioicre, or even as a "failure". Anyone who has read even one of her novels can attest to the fact that she is far from either of these. If a writer this good can face this kind of crisis, what hope is there for any of us? There just ain't no justice in the world of publishing.

If it hadn't been for Holly Lisle, I would not be writing today. I am only one of many who can say that. Without Mugging the Muse and Forward Motion, I would never have found the courage to put my words onto paper; I would never have found the courage to submit my work to strangers; I would never have had anything published or seen my dream slowly, painfully slowly, but surely coming to life. Holly has given me life, as least in my writing world. I must do whatever I can for her when she needs it.

This talent, this forward-giving patron saint of modern writers, must have our support. We cannot afford to lose her vision, lest we all stumble blindly into oblivion.

Scary

Heather posted this on Death By Absurdity. It looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a try. The results are a little scary. I put my comments in red italics.


Your Birthdate: December 3
Being born on the 3rd day of the month is likely to add a good bit of vitality to your life.
The energy of 3 allows you bounce back rapidly from setbacks, physical or mental.
There is a restlessness in your nature, but you seem to be able to portray an easygoing, "couldn't care less" attitude.

The "bounce back rapidly" is off the mark, as I tend to fall down and beat myself into a pulp whenever anything bad happens. The rest of this is dead on. I have frequently gotten flack for my "give a shit" attitude.

You have a natural ability to express yourself in public, and you always make a very good impression.
Good with words, you excel in writing, speaking, and possibly singing.
You are energetic and always a good conversationalist.

I was a very poor public speaker until I figured out the secret. Know what you're talking about better than your audience. That gives me the confidence now to be able to pull off a speech. I got a lot of practice when I taught introductory computer courses for a couple of years. Singing? Well, maybe enthusiasm makes up for quality. Good conversationalist? Not hardly. I don't say much. I don't believe in talking just for the sake of making noise.

You have a keen imagination, but you tend to scatter your energies and become involved with too may superficial matters.

Bingo.

You are affectionate and loving, but sometimes too sensitive.
You are subject to rapid ups and downs.

Double bingo. Has this program been spying on me?


A Rare Treat

Not everything I write is dark and disturbing. Readers of Noise in the Attic may get the wrong impression on the kind of person I am, because that seems to be my way of thought. Surprise! Just like every other human, I'm more complicated than that. To prove it, here's a little vignette I wrote a while back. Enjoy.




Baby Blues
By Carter Nipper

So here I am at 2am trying to plug a nipple into a slobbery little squirm with a diaper on one end and a siren on the other. How long has it been since either one of us actually slept? Seems like years. Sometimes I wonder what ever possessed me to have a baby.

How can Bill sleep with this fire drill going on? He didn't even roll over. Sleeping like a baby. Who thought that one up? Must have been a man. I can't blame him too much, though. Some things a man just can't do, and he does help when he can. He did help when we were making this little critter. I guess he's good for something.

OK, that's better. Just like a man, when he hollers, give him a tit and he shuts right up. Listen to him slurping like a greedy little Dust Buster. His head smells good.

He's finished; time for a burp. Come on, come on. I know there's one in there someplace. Good grief! How can something so small make a noise so big? That one'd make his Daddy proud!

Got him filled up just in time to change his diaper. Stuff goes through him like he's hollow. It's a wonder he gets any nourishment at all. Maybe we could just get a tube and connect his two ends together. Save everybody a lot of trouble.

I'll just sit for a while and rock. Look at those little fingers. They're so small, but so perfect, and those blue eyes, the way they almost cross when he tries to focus on something. When he smiles like that, it makes all the noise and trouble worthwhile.

He's asleep. I'll just sit here for a few more minutes. He feels so good in my arms, fits like he was made for them. Maybe he was.

It's so quiet. I can hear Granny's clock ticking in the living room, and this old rocking chair has just the right amount of creak in it.

Oh, well. I better put him down and try to get some sleep. He'll go off again in a couple of hours. I can't wait for him to grow up. I take that back! I take that back! God, what am I saying? I don't want him to ever grow up!

I just wish he would let me sleep sometimes.

END

Sunday, May 01, 2005

LGD Again

Chapter 2 now available.

Last Girl Dancing Update

Here's the review I posted at barnesandnoble.com:

5 stars
Get a Sneak Preview
Someone's killing strippers in Atlanta. When Detective Jess Brubaker is asked to go undercover on this case, she knows it will be a dirty and dangerous job. She soon finds out that she is putting her career on the line, not to mention her life, to solve a case in which she has no clues, no support from the Atlanta Police Department, and a partner she considers a bumbling fool. And that's just in the first chapter! The author has graciously posted a sneak preview of Chapter 1 on her Web log. Free registration is required. If you like suspense, this is a must read. Pre-order your copy today. You don't want to be left out in the cold when this one sells out!

Also recommended: Midnight Rain by Holly Lisle

If you haven't already read this chapter, please go by Silent Bounce and take a look. If you aren't a member and don't want to register for whatever reason (she doesn't gather any personal information), just email me and I'll send you a copy.