Wednesday, August 31, 2005

doing something in blogland

From the big effort: blog relief day raising money for Katrina victims.

To the small: Alison Kent and other raising money for Larissa (I've donated a critique.)

yeah, I lied about that last one being the last post. . . sue me.

I'm gonna be in Dutch

Last post today. I promise. No, really, I mean it this time.

From my former agent:

Dear Kate:

Perhaps you'd already heard that a Dutch sale of Somebody Wonderful was in the works. [nope, had no idea] Terrific news indeed. . . I've asked the editor for some information on the sale [and I doubt she'll get answers. The editor is headless-chicken busy, I hear from other sources.]

I hope you've enjoyed the summer and all is well.

Kate's ex-agent.
[who is extremely good at her job. Just way intimidating. The check is in the mail, she says.]

and since I'm being vaguely political

Kate thinks: Hey, look at all those looters. Where's the national guard? During the riots, the national guard guys were in place within hours. . . . they stood on every street corner in the city.

some clicks later, This is from a site with a clear agenda. I kind of blanked out the more Outraged Bits. Why? Because it's my blog and I can. You can read the whole thing here.

With many experts calling Hurricane Katrina "the worst natural disaster in US history," millions of residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are in desperate need as the catastrophe deepens. Where is the National Guard, historically the shock troops who respond overnight to natural disasters and provide the backbone of relief efforts until recovery is underway? . . .
. . .Do a Google search for "National Guard" and "Katrina" and you will find dozens of stories with headlines like "National Guard: Enough GIs for Storm Duty."

The real deal is very different.

In early June, well before the hurricane season began, Guard officials knew they were in trouble. The Washington Post** reported then:

In Mississippi, the unit designated as "first responders" to repair hurricane damage, the 223rd Engineer Battalion, was deployed for the past year to Iraq. It has come home, said Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross. But, he added, "they left the equipment in Iraq." He has been told that by hurricane season he will be given the gear belonging to another unit being deployed. He also noted that he has sent 21 helicopters to Iraq, leaving just five for post-storm rescues and transport of cargo and troops.

Today, 40% of the Mississippi Guard, 3,500 troops, are stationed in Baghdad. Over a quarter of the Alabama and Louisiana Guard are "in country" as well., These percentages are fudged already--the Alabama Army National Guard's roster of 11,000 is already 22% below what it is supposed to be. This is simply the local reflection of a nationwide recruitment and retention crisis in the Guard highlighted by the failure of recruiters to meet their goals for at least the last nine months running.

Furthermore the units most likely to be deployed in Iraq are exactly the ones trained in the skills most needed in the stricken areas right now, like military police, engineers, transport crews and heavy equipment operators and mechanics . . .

Gulf Coast shortages are being hastily filled in by Guard units from around the country, who don't have the same local knowledge. A local news story from Normal, IL, reports on an Illinois State student who was told to report--with rain gear--for what may be a months-long deployment. Galen Parks says he's somewhat surprised a Guard unit from Illinois was being called up for the damage primarily in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

[I guess I'll leave in this last biased bit.]

More information about how badly the occupation has hurt the National Guard's ability to respond to the Katrina crisis will doubtless start coming out in the next few days, as the extent of the disaster becomes clearer. Guard troops in Iraq helplessly watching their hometowns savaged and flooded by the storm half a world away will speak up.
And articles like this one will be accused of "politicizing a national tragedy." But it is the politicians responsible for the occupation of Iraq who have compounded the disaster, not us. It is Bush and company who sent troops and equipment now desperately needed in Katrina's wake into harm's way on the other side of he globe..We say: Bring Them Home Now!

from the website called...drumroll....

It's interesting to see the odd mix of flaming liberals and army families coming together at sites like that.

MEANWHILE over at the Romance Unleashed blog, Terry has posted some links for taking action. They're all over the net, of course, but you know Terry won't post anything except the best.

Iraq War Surpasses Vietnam in Number of Reporters Killed

More broadcast and print journalists have been killed during the Iraq war than during the entire 20 years of the Vietnam War, according to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. The latest casualty, it said, was a soundman for Reuters TV News, who was shot by U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, bringing to 66 the number of journalists and their assistants who have been killed since 2003. (A Reuters cameraman accompanying the soundman was wounded in the incident.) Sixty-three journalists were killed in Vietnam between 1955 and 1975.

from here.


I met my new main character today.

No, strike that--I've known variations of him for six years. But I finally figured out the basic background of my new hero in the book I'm writing. He'll contain a big shot of Mehudin and other refugee kids I've met.

Mehudin is 8 years old and the only one in his rather large family who speaks English. It's had an interesting effect on him--sort of typical from what I've seen.

He's cocky as hell and thinks he's the smartest one in his family. Yet he's pretty sensitive to what other people say because he has to listen to both sides of every conversation carefully and make sure he has the words right in both languages. He gets dragged to many boring places and only gets to act like a kid now and then. The rest of the time he has to work at making sure everyone around them understands his parents and grandparents. His family's survival depends on it and he resents the job at the same time he's proud of his ability to do it. He's got an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. You wonder if he'll break free and be a JD later on, or if he'll turn into a brilliant scholar. He's a mix of funny, brash, sophisticated and insecure. In other words, he's an interesting character.

Okay, now I have to go again. I cut refugee time early because it's the last day of the kids' vacation. We'll celebrate today and then tomorrow I have to go take some more pathetic photos of some gorgeous rugs and drink gut-melting coffee.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The stories are stuck, so I'm playing with posting junk. Here's a place with a photos of the boys and me and the dog. Maybe?

I've been up since four thirty

I suppose it's because I slept for a few days. Hell, when you lose chunks of your life to drugs, the substances you take are supposed to be fun and illegal or at least interesting. Hunter S Thompson varieties, not your aunt Sadie's drugs. Bah.

Speaking of addiction, Miss Snark is fantastic the last couple of days. She reads a page of a submission and makes comments. Lots of cutting to the point. Nothing particularly revolutionary...Start with action, dump the backstory blah blah blah... it's just that the examples she gives in her blog are beautifully clear. I don't always agree with her but she sure is good at communicating her preferences. I wish she were my agent or critique partner. On top of everything else? Get this: She actually answered an email the same day I sent it. Unbelievable.

I have an agent. She's been with Writer's House for six years and is striking out on her own. The woman just had a baby and is now starting a new business? Hmmmm. Walks like a duck, sounds like a duck--yup, she's a maniac.

HEY this getting up early has some major advantages. No one is talking at me; the television is silent. Even the dog is asleep. If my brain were fully functioning, I'd actually be able to think. I tried to edit a story earlier but the segue parts of the mind are still on vacation. I'm supposed to start a new blood pressure medication, but those keepers of the strappy white coats are going to have to come after me before I do. I just got most of the mind back yesterday. I want to use it for a week or so before letting some other chemicals step in and call the shots. Who knew bpm's were such psycho-tyrants?

Bugger, here comes a kid. He's already turned on the television. What is it with people who want noise the moment they wake up.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

It's publicity, eh?

Lordy Lord, I have seen the future and it's scarier than those computer generated book covers.

Click on the cover and see the story of Bride Most Begrudging. I'm sorry, but I lost it at the "sold as a bride" frame. The gawping dudes at the auction were too much for me. And the plucked brown eyebrows with the red hair. Oh. Gah. I overloaded.

The friend who sent it to me said "It does have a certain charm . . . Like watching the neighborhood kids put on a play."

The book has a pretty cover, though, eh? And I do like historicals that have a sense of humor. But would you buy the book based on the slide show? Hmmmmmm. I did put it on my blog so that's something. Both of my readers will have heard of the book now.

added a bit later: it's a Bethany House book and there's no mention of faith in the description. Interesting.

Speaking of covers, here's Ann's newest!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

it's a free country but . . .

How do you ask people not to make an appearance? I mean Cindy Sheehan was being taken seriously by many middle Americans and now look. Al Sharpton is going to show up to "lend support".

I don't mind Al myself--the man's a hoot and he knows it. But when he comes galloping up to your side, you can say goodbye to a big chunk of your party right there. The nearly-convinced get nervous. They check their watches and remember how early they have to get up tomorrow.

Poof, there goes your guest list.

You're left with the diehards like who will go skittering off as soon as some other, better party is announced. You have to clean up the mess on your own.

I'm trying to come up with the right wing equivalent. Pat "Jihad" Robertson? Ralph Reed? Randall Terry? Who don't the right of center want showing up at their events? (Not that Cindy S. is only slightly left of center. I agree with her too often--I know that means she's a raving lefty looney.)

Friday, August 26, 2005


As soon as I figure out how this page actually works, I'm putting your link on the side. really.

And douglas hoffman and miss snark, the agent.

no, can't read

zzzzzzzzzz reduxe

Good news = the doctor says stop taking that evil bad sleepytime crap, Missy Kate.
Bad news = it hasn't worn off yet.

Regular books are putting me to sleep and since one must have books, it's books on tape time. And that means we heard the instructions about "slap the tape smartly on a hard flat surface." I love that line.

Slapping smartly.

When all books are on CD or MP3 or the next big thing, I will miss hearing the reader reciting the line (when he or she is British, it sounds perfectly correct)


No, the ennui is not the kids' fault or even mine. It's the new medication for the blood pressure and I'm in lala land. My betas are too blocked. I'm dozing off at traffic lights.

My solutions to ennui include:

- Not taking the damned beta blocker

- Reading John Gardner's Nickel Mountain and Flo Fitzpatrick's Hot Stuff.

- Making plans to go to the conference in New Jersey in October.

- Singing U2 songs [uno! dos! tres! catorce!**... hello, hello / I'm in a place called Vertigo] at the boys until they promise to get off the computer. They're now playing Dungeons and Dragons.
boy 1: Will you use the whip or a long imprisonment.
boy 2: Nah, let me kill more people. About twenty. And then I'll go down the shaft if it no longer contains the gnolls.

I hear that Gnolls like to torture intelligent life forms because they scream louder.

Wholesome entertainment.

**why do they go from three to fourteen?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

gimme outside influences....NOW

Honest to god, it's just me and the boys. They refuse to come up with any kind of plans for their own entertainment/edification. If I allowed them, they'd watch tv and do computer the whole day and most of the night.

I want someone to march into our lives and say BOYS, YOU WILL GO OUTSIDE and ENJOY IT. And say to me KATE, YOU WILL WORK and NOT BLOG.

Problem is that's what the husband attempts to do and we all snarl at him. I remind him that I am a grown up and capable of running my own life, thank you. The boys just roll their eyes until he goes away.

Obviously we need some major deity to perform this stirring up function. Heck, more than just the god, we need the whole set up--chariot, winged horses, thunderbolts and artificially amplified voice. Cue deus ex machina.

Failing that, maybe school will do the trick.

And maybe I should send off the money to go to a conference. Vacuumland is not doing it for me. I've been reading a lot of not-great erotica and feel as if I've eaten too many cheap chocolates.

I wonder if the cure is to find some great erotica or read something that engages a different part of the brain?

yes, I'm still whining. What about it? You have anything to suggest? Don't bother unless you have some impressive props.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Plaintive Housewife

After years of eating too much food, I am too fat. My mirror tells me this, my kids say so, my doctor confirms it--even the newspaper has announced it Obesity Continues to Expand, [har har har, goddamn sports headline writers at work.]

And yet I just made a peach blueberry pie (with a bit of lime peel and blueberries I picked and froze last month). There is something wrong with this picture. Perhaps I will take it to Mirza when I go visit her later.

No, I won't.

The boys are busy, so I came to my own computer to do a spot of writing.

A soft night breeze tugged at the bottom of her dressing gown. The French doors had been flung open and . . .

"MOM. It's my turn and he won't get off the computer. It's my turn . . . Hey, what are you writing? Ew, is that a sex one? Yuck. "

Good point. I better switch to a non-sex one.

. . . He lowered himself carefully onto the chair. "A thoroughly dull existence, slavery. So tell me. What brings you to this godforsaken backwater?"
She ignored the question. “Good God. How on earth did you allow yourself to be captured by traders?”
“A bad bet.”
“I can only imagine.” She wrapped her black professional’s robe tight around her to block the draft seeping under the door. “Well. No point in pushing you two out, is there. Tomorrow you’ll leave.”

"Mommmmmm, I'm HUNGRY. I don't want noodles. NOT PEANUT BUTTER AGAIN. Do we have any bagels? Mom? Huh? When's lunch? It's past lunchtime."

Right. That's it. I'm leaving the characters and their drafty doorways. I'll finish this entry and then make lunch. The house smells like fresh pie but it's too hot. Idiot idea, baking in August. The weather man promised it wouldn't head higher than 75 but he lied again.

Later I'll eat pie and then slap my butt and mutter about fatness.

Here're some more sox.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Last Word on the Subject...?

From Wendy Burbank of Medallion with permission to forward:"Medallion Press has received a letter from the Executive Director of RWA stating that our status as a publisher was revoked in error."

My question du jour: is "backpedaling" one word or two?

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Smart Bitches Day Link

This is a smart bitches sort of entry because I'm linking to Wendy's blog in which she asks what's the essence of a romance. I rolled my eyes a bit--yah duh? it's, like, a relaaaationship, dude? But I liked the answers she got. Give more answers.

Now I'm going to GET The HELL away from the Internet.

We have to do haircuts, part of the Back To School mental prep. I'll start cutting-cutting-cutting with the scissors until the remaining boys see what I've done to my first victim's head and convince their father to take them to barbershop. It's tradition.

more photos of sox

yeah the sox pix sux and make the page loading absolutely stoneaged slow, so let's get MORE!

The boy is not fat.
He's big though--his feet are about size five. . . here's another picture of those sox.

and more sox and stuff. Aren't you glad you asked, Beth?

like those funny striped ones? I love them things.

YES, Beth or anyone else, you can buy them

I'm talking about the Bosnian rugs, socks etc. Got them all. Do I have recent photos of the actual items? No, because I can't seem to get anyone to take good pictures and my pictures make them look majorly ugly. Maybe after the kids start school, I'll borrow a good camera to take pictures of the rugs because those puppies cost bucks. (About $45-100) I think the rug Fatima's holding is about $70. I'm going to take a picture of her loom, too. ANNNnnnny day now.

The lace takes FOREVER to make and I'm no expert so it looks like much cheaper versions, especially my pictures of it. Sad, eh? Remiza** made the fish. It took about a month and is made with tiny needles and thin stringlike yarn. It's only about two feet long and she charges $40 for it. I think she has a couple of smaller pieces for $25. The big piece of lace Fikreta's holding costs about $100. Her sister, who still lives in Bosnia, made it. Fikreta says she has no patience for that kind of fiddly work.

**Remiza got a job this month!!!! So she's no longer as desperate for money.

The socks are still $12 a pair, but I think this year we're upping the cost to $14.

The purses are small. Maybe seven-ten inches square? I've lost my tape measure and the dog ate the ruler. They're about $12 apiece. Fatima makes all of them. She and Ajisa do most of the weaving.

A lot of women (about 8 just now) make the socks. The socks in the picture are slightly different from most of the ones I've now got. (I have about 3 doz pairs) in that the ones in the photos have cuffs. Most of my socks don't. They do have that sort of geometic pattern happening.

I've got all sizes from kids--all the baby sizes are gone but it takes no time to make them--to size huge. Well, maybe they fit men's size 11? You don't really get to pick colors but you can tell me what you loathe. and I'll avoid it.

If you want to know what they're made of, etc, you can learn more at this spot (there aren't any good photos there, either) or if you want to buy some, you can email me directly at katerothwell @

I charge only shipping. The ladies get all the money from the sale.

Christmas is coming. No, really. Don't get caught without sox. I have some really nice mittens too. I'll have to find a camera or a photographer. Anyone interested?

look, there's my toe

Sunday, August 21, 2005

low Sunday standards

I get from Doonesbury to Zits without incident

I recognise the rerun Peanuts strip and have a flashback to my childhood.

I have the Peanuts flashback, I understand Zippy AND I accidentally read Family Circus.

I understand Zippy and think it's funny, I accidentally read Family Circus (extra horrible points if it's about a dead grandpa looking down from heaven) . . . AND I don't catch the Christian theme to BD (damn, I mean BC) before it's too late--and I read the whole strip.


**BONUS for the GOOD DAY
Something actually happens in Mary Worth or Rex Morgan, MD.

this is my 50th post on this blog

Spiffy (Bet you forgot that word existed. I say it's even more due for a resurgence than groovy. It could be argued that both words should be buried deep in a landfill.) anyway, spiffy article about blogging by Joel Achenbach. Yes, you have to sign in. Suck it up--this is the Washington Post. They won't sell your name to any bankers in Nigeria.

* * *
Beth is worrying about setting a date for her manuscript. She thinks she's got one now. Well, ha on that, Kate says bitterly. I changed my first book's date about ten times. Photography, a presidential assassination, famous weather events and other dopey details kept getting in the way of my plot. And then that stupid Grand Central Depot was a problem. . .

I think I like Candy's philosophy. If it ain't in Wikipedia or Google ignore it.

Unfortunately the editor, Hilary Sares ##, knows too much about the subject of photography. I think we exchanged about 15 emails about it, and then I had to go out and find more books and experts. Now I have random facts floating around my brain. Alas for the poor contest entrant who sent in a chapter of a book set in 1870 and in a photo studio. She mentioned film, the poor fish. I soon set her straight.

* * * *

I want to run a contest again--I have too many Bosnian socks. I can give away a book I didn't write--my friend Lori Devoti sent me an "contest copy" of her book. I have that to give away. Should it be here or at the old blog? Should it be write the ad copy? write the cover copy? fifty five words? random crap? do you care?


## I would trade my first-born child to work with the vague, mellow, sharp and witty HS again. I love the woman. . . .Of course I'm thinking of trading the first-born for other reasons.

Friday, August 19, 2005

dream analysis wanted

I have two recurring dreams.

I am at the beach house I went to as a kid. In the dream I am always saying or thinking, oh wow, I haven't been here for years.

Futhermore, in the dream I say or think hey, I dream about this place all the time. I know that this isn't a dream now because [fill in blank. I taste salt --or-- I hear waves --or-- I can see that museum and remember where the whaling exhibit was --or-- it's been twenty years (and it really has been.)]

Last night I had the dream and the fill-in-the-blank part was: I was talking to my aunt--the woman who owns the house--and telling her Hey, Henriette, I'm so glad to be here at last. You know, I dream about this place all the time.

She picked up her coffee and a section of The New York Times and started to read. I thought, Wow! Now I know this time it really isn't a dream. Not only can I hear the waves on the beach, but someone's ignoring me as I talk.

I was even more convinced than usual that I'd at last made it back to that house.

Absolutely true and absolutely pathetic.

I'll save my other recurring dream for another night. I don't want to expose you to too much excitement. That dream's also about a place.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

customer complaint stories at sexyland.

omigod....dolly, jeffy and pj on the dildo....oh damn, I'm gonna start laughing again and it hurrrrts.

It's not for the kids.

And since I'm probably already doomed to at least an outer circle of hell, there's this Onion article. Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity with New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory.

Look, Maili-- nothing but links!

bugger THAT plan

I was raving about a romance to a romance-writing friend and she said it --> that line I hear all the damn time. "I can't read romances because I write them."

She told me she won't read any kind of popular fiction any more. (Apparently literary stuff isn't a problem. Or maybe she only reads non-fiction?) I've heard about this fear before--the dreaded contagion of voice.* Taking on another author's writing style . . .like you turn into a big old ventriloquist's dummy or your soul is taken over by a stronger, fiercer Power.

Okay, I'm going to be less catty now because she visits my blog and I don't want to give her a raft because I know her ROS-delivery skills are far better than mine.



Dumping all genres of fun reading? Sounds too much like giving up desserts forever because you worry about tiramisu. Or maybe only writing recipes and never letting yourself taste other people's concoctions***

And I don't see how voice contagion can hit once you know your characters and your scene and your story. Anything that isn't true to their world or voices will stand out, right?

All right, all right. Okay. I see the point. You spend too much time with Valley girls? And you start? You know? Talking kinda like that? And the times I've gone to Wisconsin or Kansas I've had to work at not slipping into the flat nasal voice imitation. Yes. I admit it. When I'm writing hystericals, I tend to read contempts and so I must buy into this thinking. But not enough to actually stop reading just so I can write. Sheesh.

Okay, rioters, tell me what you think.


* Like we're so pure to begin with? I'm sure all the plots and characters I've read and met exist in a big jumble in my brain. I don't pick out bits on purpose (and I sure don't do the exercise I know one writer has done: examined a best-selling writer's writing, analysing what gives her work popular appeal and trying to copy it) But I don't refuse to access the pile.

***note to me: stop blogging when you're hungry. ****

****me to note: but I'm always hungry. Losing weight does that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

dobra times

Yeehaw! Sedika's son had a baby and we celebrated by getting high on honey drenched nutcakes and thick coffee that dissolves the lining of the stomach. Hurija brought in one of those music tapes that sounds like yowling to the uninitiated and I learned a couple of dance steps.

I felt guilty about not doing any English so we reviewed the names of sexual parts in English and Bosnian. Vagina is basically the same in both languages. Hey, look! My visitor counter is probably going to go wild now....The word for "breast" in Bosnian sounds a lot like "sister" to me.

My other highlight today: sorting the worm bin. I'm gonna make worm tea** and I don't like drowning the little guys.

Yes, it's true. I do know how to have a good time.


** for the plants.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

a glimpse at my work-day: One down, two to go

Okay, the first edits of Futurelover (I didn't name it--but I never do. I'm rotten at titles.) are off to the editor. These are actually PRE-edits. This story has been accepted and will show up at Ellora's Cave eventually. You'll be the first to know.

Now I'm going to pre-pre-edit another erotica submission, per the editor's request. Hey, whatever makes the thing easier to read is good, yes? Still, I might have to reinsert a bunch of commas if it gets the "no thank you, best of luck placing your work elsewhere". <--And that period outside the quotation mark thing? That's something that'll probably be different in another publisher's style guide.

Every publisher has different standards. Ellora's Cave does not like commas. They don't think much of semi-colons and colons are right out, thank you. Everyone hates parentheses. (I ask you, what the heck is wrong with parentheses?) Actually, I'm not a punctuation fanatic. Good thing, too, because I make too many mistakes to be satisfyingly righteous about it. I do care about consistency. That's fine because editors do, too.

Once I finish that pre-pre-edit, I've got the first chapter of the historical (NYC, 1880s. Same-old, same-old). I shall rewrite it one last time. Even though the first draft is done and the manuscript contains about 100,000 words, I swear upon the soul of Inigo's father, Domingo Montoya,** that if the agent hates this version of the first chapter--the chapter that's been rewritten about ten times yet hardly changes because I like the damn pornographic library and the tipsy heroine--if she hates it then I give up on the entire book. For now. I trust my agent's assessment.

Usually I blithely cut and reshape. I can shift lots of stuff around. This, I can tone down but I can't eliminate. (A lot of the plot harkens back to it)

I mean, honestly, though. This thing has been cluttering up my hard-drive for almost a year. heckfaar...I hear no one's buying non-hyper-erotic historicals anyway.

I want to finish all of this rewriting by Friday. I won't, but I have to give myself deadlines or I spend all my time looking at blogs and playing Uno. Tomorrow is Bosnian day so I'll only have two days. We'll see.

Once the kids start school again, ten pages a day. I swear upon my own dead father's soul this, wait. Maybe I shouldn't risk that. Poor guy doesn't deserve that.


**we've watched that movie a couple of times lately

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sort of SBD

I'm editing a story and my instructions are to insert more emotion, more inner life.

I'm finding it hard to do at the moment because I just read Great Maria by Cecelia Holland. The book is not a romance. It's a story of an ambitious 11th century woman and it's freaking great. Maria is entirely believable and there are no whiffs of 21st century mores. She kills a man and has others killed and though she occasionally thinks about it, she doesn't obsess. And she knows doing penance will take care of any fear of being kept out of heaven.

The book is almost completely devoid of interior descriptions of inner turmoil (we get the exterior shots though). It's practically third person objective. Everything is shown, nothing told--hardly a scrap of emotional reflection. Maybe a sinple line here and there.

"What he said caught her imagination." That's the entire description of the moment Maria decides to go with her father's plans and marry a knight she hadn't noticed before. And her would-be lover is not telling her about how her hair looks in the moonlight. He's saying there's a lot of loot out there and I'm going for it. Or something along those lines.

Her husband has no way with women and no interest in learning what makes her tick. He's pure ambition. Their conversations tend to be about the latest plot or the kids. When a child or two dies (as they did back then) she grieves, but he refuses to discuss it. At all. And that's that. She has been half in love with another man through the whole story and the final actions she decides to take is thoroughly in character.

They're not just thoughtless animals and the subtle emotional life they lead (occasionally her husband covers her hand with his, or they laugh together) accumulates. It has plenty of time--the book is 920 pages. And we grow to care about him and about her as much as any people whose minds you see wide open on every page.

The style fits the times and the people. As Westly says "We are men of action, you and I." Men of action don't sit around fretting, mooning or examining their emotions. Planning maybe but when they worry about taking out an enemy they worry about getting killed or caught, not how their lover is going to be repelled.

The stuff I'm writing looks 21st century to me.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

what I hate

My local bookstores no longer have my books in stock. I've checked. I feel as if I've dropped off the face of the earth.

Pity party starts at 11.

Could be worse--I was going to rant about travel and panic stuff but decided it was TMI. (here's a sample-- I'm driving on the highway and I'm Only. Five. Miles. From. Home. Me to passenger: "open that pill bottle and give me a white one. No, not a red one. I already took one of those. And I can't drive if I do the orange. Hell. I'm hyperventilating. The white one, yeah. And water. Do you mind if I sing? Tough. It helps me breathe.")

more fun and hi-jinks at RWA.

To the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America:

It has been brought to our attention, by several of our romance authors, that your organization no longer considers Medallion Press, Inc. a legitimate publisher according to your guidelines. We were surprised we did not receive official notification directly, but instead discovered it was posted on several RWA internet loops. Accordingly, we request this letter be published in its entirety in the RWR Report so all members may understand the nature of the process that eliminated Medallion as an RWA approved publisher. We will also send copies of this letter to all our own RWA member authors.

We are dismayed you declared Medallion Press no longer a legitimate publisher. In July of 2004 we met all of your qualifications without incident by showing sales of 5000+ copies of USA Today Bestselling author Nan Ryan's The Last Dance.

Several months prior to Book Expo America 2005, we received a call from your office alerting us to the fact that you would be sending out a letter asking us to re-qualify for RWA approval. We were also told at that time that we had done nothing to warrant the re-qualification, but that your organization was having trouble with a particular publisher and chose not to single them out. Therefore, we would have to go through the laborious process of re-qualifying.

We object strongly to this action for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the rules you use for qualification seem arbitrary. How does selling 5000 copies of a single title justify a publishing house's legitimacy? While in theory it may indicate the publisher has standing in the industry, showing orders and proof of payment means nothing at the end of the day when within a few months many or possibly all copies of said title could be returned to the publisher, meaning the author does not then receive royalties on those returns. The average return rate for fictionbooks is now at 40%.

Secondly, our small staff is devoted to running this company at top speed. We have come a long way in a relatively short time and we continue to keep our eye on the prize. It is extraordinarily time consuming to go through reams of orders to add up 5000 sold copies of a specific title; it is equally time consuming, and expensive, to have our accountants spend time locating copies of checks as proof of payment for those 5000 copies. We are an independent publisher and we do not sell 5000 copies of a single title to just one source, but to a wide variety of sources. We would not have to produce a single piece of paper, but mountains of it.

Instead of asking for confidential documentation showing 5000 mass marketbooks of a single title have been sold, you might be better off asking for proof that the publisher is a "vendor of record" at a traditional brick-and-mortar chain bookseller such as Barnes & Noble, Borders,Books-A-Million, or through national distributors such as Ingram or Baker &Taylor. This means far more to an author's career than selling 5000 books.

We are extremely proud of our authors and the books they have written. We have a diverse and dynamic talent pool at Medallion and we know every one of our authors, be they romance or horror writers, are well on their way to having successful writing careers. Their mass market novels can be found in bookstores across the country, and the world, and many of them are selling more than 5000 books prior to their book's date of publication.

To punish authors because of the way RWA views a publisher's legitimacy is an unfair practice. The burden of proof should be on the author, not the publisher. It is the author who receives the benefits of membership in RWA, not the publisher. Let the authors prove they were paid an advance. It should not matter how large or small the advance, and they should provideevidence of a contract that shows they will be paid royalties. At that point an author should be considered published. It should not matter that the publisher seeks membership with your organization or not.

In recent years publishing has exploded. There are many new publishers, small presses, e-book publishers, and independent publishers all holding their own. As long as they publish romance and do not charge their authorsto publish their books, it should be good enough for RWA.

Medallion Press will not re-apply for membership. However, we urge you to reconsider the penalties you impose on our authors simply because we choosenot to belong to ANY writers' organizations. RWA is an organization of itsmembers and we believe it is time to let your members determine how theyevaluate publishers. You know we are a legitimate publisher and know the lengths we go to for our authors. We respectfully request you evaluate your policies so they work for your membership and not against it.

Sincerely,Helen A. Rosburg - President/CEO & Editor-in-Chief
Leslie Burbank - Vice PresidentMedallion Press, Inc.

[any weirdo typos, spacing etc are my fault--kate]

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Still in Maine but . . .

If someone's house burns down, we can help by sending money and books. If someone needs emergency medical care, we can help defray medical costs. The online community frequently rocks.

But sometimes there is nothing we can do. Zip. Sharing Sheila/Lynn's burden is impossible. I can't even imagine the burden. okay, never mind... I'll skip the link. She doesn't need more publicity.

What constitutes a mother's worst nightmare shifted for me today. I used to think the worst possible thing would be the death of one of my kids. Being a mom, I get to think about crap like that all the time. But maybe there's something worse. What if one of my kids deliberately caused another's death?

Hell. Forget the race. It's a contest of pain with no winners.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

stealing wi fi

we're still here. Funny that you can wander the rocky tree-line coast of Maine and find ...wi fi. Dang it's slow though.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

See you in a week

Unless I sneak off to town and manage to find computer access, I'm offline for a week. We'll be in Maine (leaving behind our vicious dog and a 220 lb house-sitter in case you're thinking of breaking in to steal our Magic card collection). Four adults, six kids between ages 14-6, two cars and a kayak. No dog this time. She's staying behind to guard the cards.

I'd like to leave you with some profound words of wisdom. Instead, I'll leave you this link from Jed (he's my bro, and the only one in the family who has had a poem written about him).

Touched by his Noodly Appendage. Intelligent Design by pasta.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


I wasn't there . . .

But if I was? I bet I would have been so fascinated by the cars driving into a room, I wouldn't have noticed much else. (Stuff like that makes me gawk--my kids and I still get a kick out of glass elevators.)

I'd have been waiting to hear familiar names among the winners. I'd have been wondering it was possible to get a glass of wine. I'd have been looking through my bag for a pen and paper because I hate not fiddling with things. I must doodle. I'd have begged neighbors for gum--the really sharp flavored stuff so I'd stay awake and have nice breath at the same time.

Yeah, I might have noticed a right-wing edge, but since I'm yet another Ms. Softy Liberal-Pants (Megan's trademarked title) I tend to notice right-wing edges all over my country. Fox TV, anyone?

And my first response as we pushed out of the big room would have been, yeah, it's not my cup of tea, but I'm not gonna whine because I'm probably never going to volunteer at nationals to do more than stuff sacks.

I wasn't there so it's a lot easier to have a clear response: sounds like a majorly stupid production.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

lazy postage day

I'm doing an romanceunleashed entry today. Just some very basic links for procrastination that feels like research. I had a long entry written--lots of coolio links. The computer hiccupped and dumped it.

Isn't anyone going to get outraged by my porn post? Jeez. You could at least roll your eyes. I'm lonely.

Cleaning time. We're getting a case of houseguests. On Friday we are dragging our houseguests (in-law types) up for a Vacation of counting and scratching mosquito bites and playing poker. Last time we stayed in this cabin, we didn't sleep because the mice played rugby football all night long in the rafters.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Thesis? You think I should have a thesis mebbe?

and stick to it?

This is a blog, dammit. Tangential and nonsequitor is what we're all about. . .that and posting results of some good quizzes--but only the ones with cool pix.

Smart Bitches Day--in which I think I figure out it's really porn

but wait, lemme look up the meaning first.

And I want an unbiased meaning of pornography:
1.Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.
2.The presentation or production of this material.
3. Lurid or sensational material: "Recent novels about the Holocaust have kept Hitler well offstage [so as] to avoid the ... pornography of the era" (Morris Dickstein).
French pornographie, from pornographe, pornographer, from Late Greek pornographos, writing about prostitutes : porn, prostitute; see per- 5 in Indo-European roots + graphein, to write ; see -graphy

Okay, well one and two fit a lot of what I read and write. Three fits a bunch of those covers. There's the brain and emotion involved in romance, you argue. Yup AND that's true for the very best sort of sex, eh? Not just the lizard brain in there for sex and arousal but the whole of the animal kingdom of your brain (not literally! No, please, not the family dog) including human.

So, skipping over the bit about prostitutes, which isn't really relevant, and assuming that sexual arousal doesn't always have to mean ready for bed action but could mean the small stirrings of that happy emotional warmth (rather than for the part of the brain that solves interesting problems, and plans dinner) just about every book I read or write could be defined as in the pornography family**. Fine. Or maybe a lot of porn could be defined as romance?

When did I decide this? Last night when I couldn't sleep and read a whole lot of stuff over at I mean A. Lot. Of. Stuff. And except for the stories in which the writing was so bad the work was about body parts coming together, I was suprised to discover that even the very basest, most despicable stories--the stories labeled "nonconsent/reluctance" were about...relationships.

The victims in the rape stories always orgasm and the rapists know it and there's a relationship there. Often a sick and twisted relationship by my standards, even my standards for pleasurable reading****, but a relationship between humans. So those rape stories are way, way closer to romance than rape reality. I should have been disgusted, and if the stories I read reflected any kind of reality, I would have been. But no flipping way. We're talking as much fantasy as trolls and elves dancing in the moonlight. Thank the Lord, or I really wouldn't have gotten to sleep. As it was, I was creeped out enough to get up and check the front door.

A real rape victim or anyone who knows a real rape victim (raises her hand--and if you don't, it's because you're not paying attention) would hate that these "nonconsent/reluctance" stories exist, celebrating the harming of unwilling fellow humans as sexual entertainment. I suppose I would, if I thought that delusional males who got hold of these fantasies became convinced that all women secretly get turned on by having their choices taken away from them (not to mention thinking everyone likes really rough sex). I know that some rapists have blamed violent pornography, but is that A Blame Someone Else for My Personal Choices thing?

The best way to know if the stories have affected rapists' behavior, I suppose is to see if the actual numbers of attacks on women have gone up since this stuff became easily available for the public. My guess is a guy who's wired to rape will do it no matter what anyone else has or hasn't written.

Other guys who are excited by this stuff, will find willing partners to play "unwilling" with. That's the good thing about making this more out in the open, eh? Let more people find their ideal partners and have fun in the sack.

The site does call itself literotica, not pornographica. I don't think I want to go any harsher than this. I'm done reading a slew of this stuff. I'm going to go read some Diane Wynn Jones now, thanks. Or better still, the New York Times Crossword puzzle book.

Here's the first chapter of a pretty good non-consent story. The interesting thing is that it seems to be about the ambivalence the author has for enjoying this sort of fantasy. I dunno, I'm probably getting too deep for this particular post.

There's an honest-to-goodness hero in that story (with his own over-the-top identity and experiences) who's as interesting than the "villain" which is a nice change. Usually I find villains in stories are more fun to read... As I read it I thought, hey--this is a romance. We'll see. I bet the HEA will not fit RWA standards, just like the villain is something like an emotional Patricia Highsmith dude.

**Yes, I am trying to rile you up. I'm trying to arouse an emotional response. . . lurid, too, I hope.

****I rarely finished those stories. I swear I didn't inhale... No, I really skimmed a whole lot of them to see if I was right. Yup. The women also received (unwilling, duh) pleasure even in the ugliest of the encounters.