Thursday, December 31, 2009

not for the nervous

I finished reading Alfred Hitchcock's Stories Not for the Nervous yesterday. It was a very, very good book of short stories. I picked it up at the library, thinking that they would be stories written by the master himself. The books was actually a compilation of short stories by other authors. Hitchcock only wrote the introduction.

Anyway, the stories were great fun to read. A couple were mysteries and most of them would probably fall into the horror-ish genre (is that a genre? horror-ish?). The book started out with a story by Ray Bradbury. That was a good sign. I'd never heard of most of the other authors. However, judging by the quality of the writing, they were (are?) very talented.

I love how old school the stories were. Some of the dialog sounded almost a bit too formal to be realistic. But you know, I wasn't there so maybe people really all spoke like English professors back in the 60's.

Best story in the book - The Dune Roller. Intelligent characters, good plot, excellent descriptions, exciting to read. very, very good. A+!!!!!

The only part of the book that I really didn't enjoy reading was the last story - Sorry, Wrong Number. I think there was a movie based on that one, so you might have heard of it before. It was about an 'invalid' hypochondriac whose husband has disappeared. Throughout the story, she is in her bedroom making phone calls to determine what happened to her husband. She also overhears a conversation on a crossed phone line about some woman getting murdered, which freaks her out too. The story was too long, the protagonist was annoying, and the story was a little dull. There was some cliché mobster talk too, see? so that got a little chuckle.

That's all I have for now. Have a Happy New Years Eve. Be safe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

insofar as to freeze my bum off

soundtrack of the day - Wait For Me, Moby

Golly gosh darn and fiddlesticks, is it just me or is it a little horrifically cold?
[checks temperature]
Nope, it's ten degrees. That means it's only bitterly cold. Horrifically cold usually comes in the January-February months. Looking forward to it! NOT!

People of my generation probably remember NOT. You use it thus - first you say something with the utmost sincerity (that you don't really mean), then, at the end, you shout NOT! to discount everything you just said. Doing so is quite obnoxious, which makes it sort of fun. We trained the children in this practice the other day so expect it to return to the mainstream soon. You're welcome.

yes, I have the sense of humor of a child.

Off that subject, below is a link to a totally awesome article about indie publishing. I found it really inspiring and validating. The last two sentences are my favorite.

Quote - "With each trend that threatens to rob us of our culture, a counter-trend emerges that fosters it. So begins the heyday of independent publishing."

YES! [applauds]

Also, I am thinking of changing the name of my blog soon. I grow weary of this self encouragement. I need something funny, maybe even witty. Suggestions? Comments or e-mail if you're shy.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I saw a picture of Megan Fox in a Star Wars t-shirt and it irked me a little. No, I'm not being a hater. She's beautiful and can wear whatever the heck she wants to wear.


today she is queen of the posers. Why do I say that? I would venture a guess that she is most likely not a fan of Star Wars. I would say that she probably wouldn't know a Jawa from the Rancor. She is most likely wearing that shirt for geek cred. That irritates me.

I know I'm being weird. I don't care.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

christmas pirate

This time of year always makes me think of Kiefer Sutherland tackling a Christmas tree. The video came out a couple of years ago and never fails to crack me up.

Be sure to turn up your volume so you can hear the bit of dialogue beforehand.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Ok, so when I was trying to get published the "traditional" way, I queried four agents. I received rejections from two of the four and the other two never answered me. No big deal. Rejection is a BIG part of the business. Before I even started trying to get published, I knew I was going to have a short attention span for that effort. When you have the escape that is self publishing, there is less incentive than ever to fight that good fight.

Today, one of the agents that rejected me posted her statistics for the year in her blog. She said that this year, she received 38,000 queries. 38,000. That baffles the mind. Can you even imagine? Even if that agent worked every single day this year, that would be over 100 queries a day. How do you even begin to handle that work load? I never felt bad about being rejected; I still don't. But I feel even better about it after reading that.

Of those 38,000 queries, she sold 15 books. That being said, how the hell does anyone get published in the traditional way? An agent would have to wade through thousands of amateur query letters (like mine), probably from many people who have no business writing in the first place, to find your one little letter and actually read it.

I am very happy that she posted these statistics. They just confirmed that I made the right decision in publishing my own book. A person could die of old age waiting for an agent's approval. I worked four years on my book and I refuse to let it fade into oblivion because I couldn't get someone to notice me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

artistic endeavors

I am currently undecided on cover art. I keep changing my mind on what I want it to look like. I've posted a previous version of part of the cover art below for your viewing enjoyment.

I really liked this graphic, which is why I decided to share it. I can't just have it cluttering my desktop for no reason. After looking at this graphic for a couple of weeks, I decided that I need more drama. I'm taking some elements of this design and using them on the new cover.

Monday, December 21, 2009

random thoughts for Monday

1. best cappuccino flavoring ever - 2 tablespoons mocha kahlua and 1 tablespoon raspberry flavoring for coffee. tastes like - raspberry cordial.

2. why can't I spell cappuccino correctly without using spell-check?

3. I am sad about Brittany Murphy. She was my age. To me she always looked a little...overly alert, shall we say? God, love her though. She was cute as a button. I loved her song Faster Kill Pussycat (remake?) that came out a few years ago.

4. I may have to check into gamer rehab due to my Little Big Planet addiction. Sometimes I think about it when I'm not even playing it. argh. I should be spending time on my finishing the book instead. I = child.

5. I need some Arby's jalapeno bites.

6. Is it too late to add to my Christmas list? I really want some antique looking aviator goggles. Why? hmmm. They would be cool for pictures? I want to be prepared in the likely event that modern technology fails us and we are forced to live a steampunk existence?

that's all I have for now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

loving friday

soundtrack for a glorious Friday - Horehound, The Dead Weather

I am so ready for Friday this week.

I finished another read through for the book yesterday. They are going much faster and I change less each time. I did decide to read it one more time. How many times have I said that? I need to read through it once with leaving 98% of it alone. I think I can do that now.

It's going to be weird when I finally let the book go. Working on it is a habit or like a tick, maybe even some weird kind of addiction. I carry it around with me on a daily basis. When I have quiet moments, it's there. When real life is driving me nuts, I have the book.

I have another book that I finished last Spring that is being neglected. I need to move on to those editing duties if I'm to release that next year as well.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

adorable I be

This is a picture of me at the age of 5! My dad found it at his house. I love this facial expression. I think it's somewhere between snarling and smiling. Apparently, I loved having my picture taken as much then as I do now.

As for the hair, it wasn't my fault! My mother says it was a perm given to me by my grandmother and my aunt without permission. She dropped me off with normal hair and after work when she picked me up, I had morphed into one of Charlie's Angels.

I recently heard that if you want to find your perfect hair color, you should look at a childhood photo of yourself. I am totally feeling this shade. There must be something to that logic. I recently went glam rock blond, so I'll probably have to wait a while but I plan give it a go in the future.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

hello world

The publishing industry is wildly entertaining to me. I started reading about it a few months ago and found that I really like to keep up with the happenings. It's like one big soap opera. The book business is in a state of transition so I guess a few bumps in the road are inevitable.

Self published books are gaining popularity. I read the other day that more than half of the books published today are self published. That sends the old school into a tailspin. I've written about that before so I'm not going to take up much room in this post for that subject.

We have ebooks. Discussion. Every one is discussing digital formats, where they're going, where they are or will be sold, if they will replace our beloved tree killers of old. Random House just marked their digital territory with a letter to agents and authors claiming digital rights to old titles. People are cheesed off about that.

Then there is the debacle that is Google books. If you don't know, Google books decided they could scan public domain and out of print works and slap them up on the internet for every one to see-read-download. That one has been in court for a while.

My new hobby is watching this whirlwind from a distance. It seems like any change puts the pros in a tizzy. The key word for book business in the future is ADAPTABILITY. Say it with me, now. These people getting bent out of shape are stuck in the old way of doing things. They will change only begrudgingly and then they will find that they have been left in the dust.

Ahem. Now for something that will probably only amuse computer geeks like me. When one begins to study a new programming language, educators frequently first teach you how to do a hello world program. This is a simple - look I can make it go program that spits out the words - Hello World. Upon reading about the name switch for the e-book store Shortcovers to Kobo, I clicked a link to Kobo's website and this is what I found.

Um, you forgot something, namely the entire website. But hey, newbie, at least you know that you have the power to greet the world!

Monday, December 14, 2009

random monday updates

I got my drink for new years. It's a bottle of Lucid Absinthe that came with a pair of fancy pants absinthe glasses and a spoon. Last year it was Absente 'refined' absinthe, which is missing the traditional wormwood ingredient. The Lucid absinthe has the wormwood in it. It will be interesting to see how the wormwood affects the flavor. And no, absinthe does not give you hallucinations like in the movie Eurotrip. I do not plan to see any green fairies. Well, I guess if you overdo any alcohol, it can probably give you hallucinations. I have never and do not plan to ever reach that point, thankyouverymuch.

Got the new Snoop Dogg CD and it ROCKS! We haven't purchased any rap CDs in a while because well, most of them suck. This one does not suck. Once again Snoop D-o-double G sets the standard. All you youngin's betta recognize. woo woo! Also it's called Malice N Wonderland. Best...rap...CD...title...ever.

Spent way too much time on video games. Was stuck on Little Big Planet spinning wheel of vomity death for like three days. Conquered the monster. If you are stuck in a similar situation, I will not play through the spinning wheel of vomity death for you. Also reached chapter 6 of Resident Evil 5, which is the last chapter.

There was book working too. I decided that if I ever go full time, I will probably need a good manager. I am terrible with my own deadlines. I need someone with the good sense to take the manuscript away from me. I also need someone who can edit faster than I can. If you're too close or attached to the novel, you can't just make the NEEDED changes and move on with life. There are always ways to tweak it or connect something in the story to something else.

And hence...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

how times have changed

Let us go travel back in time to when I was in the third grade, roundabouts 1985 or 1986. I fell from the top of a jungle gym in the shape of a rocket ship to land on the concrete and astroturf below. I cracked my poor little skull on the ground. I told a teacher what I'd done and in character with his usually unsympathetic attitude, his solution was for me to go and put my head down on the picnic table, which I did.

Recess passed. I returned to my classroom where my teacher proceeded to read us a book with pictures. After a while of not being able to see the book through the colored blotchies (red, blue, green, I remember them well, surprisingly enough), I requested to go to the nurse. She called my mother. My mother took me to the doctor. He looked me over, told her to not let me go to sleep and sent us on our merry way.

This brings me to the how the times change part of my post. First, the dangerous playground equipment. A tall structure for climbing over concrete and some thin carpet painted green. Someone thought that was a good idea? These days, kids have squishy mats to land on under their playground equipment.

Second, the uncaring teacher. That is so deliciously retro. I mean, what the heck did a girl have to do to get some medical attention? Cut off an arm? I couldn't see, for the love of God. Third, no emergency room? If my child had suffered a head injury and couldn't see through the colored blotchies, there would have been some emergency room action. But those were different times and I am not blaming my mom for anything. Fourth, there was no talk of lawsuit as far as I know. If that had happened nowadays, there would have been some litigation. Kids are going to fall no matter what you do. What they land on is the responsibility of the school.

Evaluating this situation 23 years later, I have determined that I am lucky to be alive. And I'm glad that my kids play on equipment with squishy mats under it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

why so serious?

It cracks me up how defensive people get over self publishing. Agents, some publishers, many writers, I swear it's like riffraff busting into an exclusive club. They think because someone is self publishing that their work is devalued.

Harlequin has introduced a vanity press. Given the uproar, you would think they are out in the town square burning some adorable babies.

Here is a link to a blog post about it that really got some people going -

There is a war in the publishing world. People on both sides of the self publishing argument are quite impassioned in their responses to news like this. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America went so far as to issue a statement indicating that they would feature no Harlequin titles on their all. I pasted the link to the statement below. There are also comments at the bottom debating the issue.

Obviously, they are a tad peeved. But why punish writers who were published traditionally through Harlequin? They are taking money out of author's pockets, and if those authors are trying to live on royalties, that decision will hurt them more than it will hurt rich and powerful Harlequin.

I think that people in the traditional world are intimidated by self published authors. Aside from giving them some additional (and according to them, unworthy) competition, how does it really affect them? Self publishing probably won't change what they write.

On a side note, the self published author should be wary of the rip off operations. If it costs you thousands of dollars and you do not receive any services that substantially improve the quality of your novel, I would venture to guess that you are getting ripped off.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

argh on a Tuesday

soundtrack of the day - Beastie Boys, Sounds of Science

I am seriously considering pushing out the deadline for the novel. I had hoped to be finished before the start of November. Then I hoped to be finished by the start of December. I guess that's the advantage of publishing on your own, you can change your deadlines at will.

Pushing out the deadline is not something I really want to do, but I feel like there is too much to do yet. I'm still smoothing out the manuscript and the cover art isn't quite finished. I don't have my ISBN, so that's another factor to consider. I would like to try to get some reviews in library journals too. I've read that you have to submit those requests months before publication. Maybe I could push out to April and get everything done. Getting a book ready is a time consuming process.

I guess I just want to make sure that I get everything in perfect order before I set it free. The bad thing is, I will probably still find a way to fall flat on my face. I'm really, really good at falling on my face.