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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I blame bush

For Amy's morning head. Yeah, I suggested the drinking game, but she didn't really have to play it. And drinking every time he said terror? Bad idea.

Sorry, Aimless.

SOTU? Will you watch?

I may force myself to watch the president at 9 pm. The good news is that it's on after bedtime for my bonzo #3 so I can play:

1. This drinking game

2. or maybe the Delay version of the drinking game.

(games mentioned on www.mydd.com)

I know there's a pool somewhere online for how many seconds into the speech the words 9/11 will be uttered. Right, found it here. Heh. Funny.

I wonder if there's one about how many times the phrase will be mentioned. Or how many times the word "terrorist" will be used.

If anyone knows any Democratic Rebuttal games, feel free to post them. I expect to be toasted, disgusted and/or bored by then. (note: if there isn't a Rebuttal Game, and you devise one, I don't think the words "Abramoff" or "scandal" uttered by any Democrat should rate a full glass of anything. You'd chug the whole bottle of whatever's in front of you within a couple of minutes.)

the blog makes my heart hurt

no, it's not acid you wiseacres. It's mother fear--heartache for other mothers.

I couldn't figure out why until I realized that this person writing about the war (he's also on my "blogs I read" list) sounded a hell of a lot like my 15-year-old boy and his friends. I'm not exactly sure what I mean--the words they choose? The things they notice? My kid and this guy share that voice of the young. I know, I know. The Morris guy's got to be in his 20s at least. But still. . .
I look at my kid who isn't shaving yet but has that shadow happening. Those people fighting and dying are just about his age. Only a couple of years difference. Jeeebus. Far too easy to see the kids I know there now.

And then I look at the refugees I work with. And the babies with that blank look on their faces. . .Oh Lordy Lord. I do wish some mother would be able to back George Bush into a corner and let go. Not Cindy Sheehan. Her anger has turned into something else. I keep envisioning the betrayed anger Oprah let loose on James Frey**. Only more so.

_____________

**For anyone who missed The Daily Show take on the contrast between the media going after Frey and going after Bush--go watch it once it's available. I woke my husband up last night to force him to watch.I'd link to it, but it's not up yet.
Best First Lines of Books. How many of these books have you read? I'm going to go back and count. But first . . . lines. . .

kate scurries to open latest document.


It was the traveler's first long-term assignment and he hated nearly every moment of it.
Hmmm. Could be improved.

Here's the first line of Lori Devoti's current WIP:
It was the fear he smelled first, a pheromone-laden scent almost irresistible to the hell hound within him. She was here--somewhere.

Her two published books are contemporaries set in Missouri--clearly she can write a variety of genres. . .

Monday, January 30, 2006

SBD at least they don't envision the queen

I'm loathing heroines just now. I've read two books with the most hapless women as heroines. Well-meaning, loving and as damp as a sponge left in a bucket of lukewarm spit. Things happen to them. They are not catalysts in their world. Sure, they talk big. But when it comes to taking unpleasant action, they hesitate and hem and haw until they are rescued. God forbid they soil their feminine spirit by actually taking action.** It reminds me of the Disney movies where the bad guys always fall off buildings or trampled by elephants rather than get done in by the hero.

Here's my guess: the writers tried to hard to envision an imaginary Southern or Midwestern Reader.

I've gone to a couple of talks by a couple of authors who talked about writing with Their Audience In Mind as if they wrote for a bunch of people who exist in another world. Could be true, too. These writers are successful women. They said they deliberately model their heroines after their vision of their Reader--who is apparently leading a life of upright womanhood in the US South or Midwest. Trouble is, the writers themselves aren't traditional quiet sedate housewifely women. You really can't be--not if you're going to be successful. It takes Ego to send out those books over and over. It takes Ego to sign up to give talks at big conferences (where I've seen the authors in question).

Show too much ego and at once you're not going to fit the mold of the women in these books. Downtrodden is okay. Spunky up to a point is okay, at least until push comes to shove. But loving yourself to the point where you actually express impolite anger to someone who bugs you? Walking away from a family that harms you? Nuh uh.

At least one of the writers seemed to pity and even fear her own readers. After the talk, I went out with one of the writers (okay, no, I didn't. I went to a dinner where one of the writers was talking in a loud-ish sort of voice. And I eavesdropped. Okay?) and she was still talking about all the issues she never addresses in public, the kinds of work she'll never write--because she doesn't want to offend her Reader. From what she said during her talk and during that dinner, she lives with the constant shadow of The Reader and from what she said during the dinner, she didn't particularly want to spend any time with the Reader. Certainly not go out drinking with the Reader. Why on earth would she want to spend any time with an imaginary version of the Reader--i.e. the heroine?

Anyway, it's moot, because the two books I read (and am currently frothing on about) are not by those two authors that talked about their Audience . I am just guessing that could be the reason the heroines are so unlifelike. Maybe these other writers heard the successful ones speak and decided to aim their books for an Audience of unpleasant, spineless Stepford wives who will cut their own throats rather than be direct about their needs or--god forbid-- take action against any family members who torment them.

Anyone read Franny and Zooey? I read it a gazillion years ago, but I remember how the fat lady, the Audience, is actually Christ. It made perfect sense at the time. If they must have an Audience, I sort of wish those writers would let go of the scarily perfect and sweet Reader and imagine a version of some interesting fat lady once in a while, especially when she was in a bad mood and cussing at her family.

* * * *

For Whom do I write when I'm working on a book? Absolutely no one. And the one time I tried to write for an audience I failed miserably. It's Second Book Syndrome, a common occurence in which the writer turns into an author and suddenly realises people are going to actually read her dreck--and suddenly there are too many scary people between the writing and the author. The author becomes self conscious and grows hysterical and drinks a lot of wine. Eventually the writer loses interest and moves on to a new neurosis called Omigod Second Book Due In One Month Syndrome.

These days I write the book and then maybe later edit it with some audience in mind. But by then the characters are strong enough so I'll know when I'm lying about their actions.

________

** Sometimes the heroines eventually do what needs to be done--or more often they turn into happy sluts--but only under the guiding influence of the heroes. Once he fully enters her life, she doesn't need to worry about losing that precious feminine spirit. He holds her feminine worthiness in his large powerfully built hands. Or somewhere.

Political thing

I called the Hartford office of Joe Lieberman at 9:30 this morning.

My kid's the one who convinced me to call again. "My God, it won't be a democracy if he [Alito] gets in, it'll be an oligarchy. And he thinks it's okay to give the president more power?"

I pointed out that there are elections this year and that the Republican party might lose its hold on at least one branch of government--but I called anyway.

I've called Lieberman's office during working hours about six times over our years in CT and for the first time ever, I got recording asking me to leave a message, then another message that the mailbox was full.

When I got an operator I asked her why the mailbox was still full. She said no, it's full again. They're trying but they can't keep up with the calls. She didn't ask for my name or address, just my zip code. We wondered if she should drink coffee or lay off the stuff for the rest of the day. She said she didn't have time for coffee but she'd love some, thanks. (If anyone's in the area, they might bring her a cup. I'm going to go work now.)


****


For Doug -- Pwnd. It's the phrase that pays around here. Or that annoys the heck out of the parents, which amounts to the same thing.

__________________

**and here's a sad truth. I like Joe Lieberman. I'm not sure I'd vote for him, and I find his voice as grating as nails on a chalkboard, but I just like the guy.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Today's Fab Web Find

Small Ads from the UK. I don't know-- is it a site or a blog? Scroll down and read them all .

Thought someone ought to know

The shooting pain in the diodes up and down my left side. . .

The head is still on strike. Ears, nose currently not on speaking terms with me. Members of my immediate family think that maybe I should go upstairs now or maybe try out the not-speaking-terms-plan with them. Apparently they are not interested in hearing another word about how rotten I feel.

* * * *

I did manage to post the thursday 13 addresses in the thursday 13 post.

* * * *

Also I signed a petition and I called Joe Lieberman to stop the man who would make Bush king.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Work!

I'm behind on my deadlines so I'll add my Thursday 13-er visitors later. That TT thing is a blast. It's fun to see little bits of people's lives.

Hey, do you need a pup fix? Go look at my dawg here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

late, sort of

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about KATE

1. I went to Camp Rim Rock for three years. Oh, how I loathed that third year. I still remember the Cherokee Unit song "We're the unit on the mountain, you can always hear us shoutin' " and I sing it to annoy my kids.

2. I enjoy annoying my kids.

3. I shoplifted once and it was by accident. I told a lot of lies but never stole anything--on purpose.

4. I love wasting time with this sort of thing.

5. The only two movies I ever walked out on: Grease and some movie staring the happy hooker, Xaviera Hollander. I think I left the happy hooker movie because my boyfriend wanted to. Or maybe I really was disgusted? I'm not sure. We were waaay young.

6. I spent four years working as an artist's model (part-time). It was okay work, but I made more money working in a bar.

7. I wouldn't model nude any more. Not even for my artist friends. Especially for them. Ewk.

8. I have many recurrent dreams about two houses. It's been more than a decade since I've seen either house. In the dreams I always think or say, "Hey, this time it isn't a dream."

9. I owe all sorts of people letters, but I don't think I owe anyone money. The bank, yes. People, no. I hope?

10. I traveled a lot when I was young. I went to Denmark when I was 14, Germany and Checkoslovakia when I was 16, Russia when I was 17 (that time I went with my mother) I don't remember thanking my parents for footing all those trips' bills. Too late now!

11. Every Christmas for six years, my family would go somewhere warm, often to visit Cousin Benjy who lived on St. Barts before St. Barts became Entirely Trendy--it was definitely starting to creep into TrendLand that last year. One year, we landed next to a plane that had crunched, nose first, into the hill. When we left, the plane was still there. I loved that place but wouldn't go back, even if I had the funds.

12. My parents took us somewhere warm to avoid Christmas because my aunt was killed by a drunk driver just before Christmas and, after that, my mother wanted to run away from the holiday every year.

13. I haven't left the USA in more than 20 years. The last time I went overseas, it was to take care of a sick friend in England. I was too young and clueless to know I had no idea how to help. Other than getting into a minor traffic accident, I did an okay job. That damn hedge jumped out at the car, really.


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Mama B

Doug

Jennifer

http://www.dcroe.com/blog.html

Jona who's NOT in Australia

Uisce

Ivy Tied up

Sam who doesn't have 13, but might some day (and is worth visiting anyway)



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Sometimes googling yourself is FUN

I made a vow last year to:
1. stop googling myself
2. not check my Amazon numbers
3. never, ever call Ingrams again

I've done a good job too. The result is an increase of time and sanity.

Just now I thought it wouldn't hurt to google good old Summer. I hadn't done it before and just once wouldn't hurt.

I found a review of a Summer's Futurelove that's sAHweeeet**.


"I like so many things about this story that I don't know where to start. Futurelove features one of my favorite kinds of heros--one with less sexual experience than the heroine. Collins struggles to stay aloof as he has been trained to do, but he finds Candy very tempting. His inexperience was realistically depicted; at least, it seemed that way to me. And he learns quickly, hoo boy!

Candy ends up experiencing a roller-coaster ride in this story as she tries to figure out where Collins is from. She's a delightful heroine with a great sense of humor. In fact, I smiled all through the story. Futurelove is a wonderful combination of comedy and romance.

I enjoy futuristics, and while this one has a primarily contemporary setting, I thought the futuristic elements were well explained and incorporated into the story. I also enjoyed Devon's first story, Perfection, so I'm adding her to my auto-buy list."



Alyssa is now my favorite person.



____________

**Boy 2's current favorite word. Coming out of a 12-year-old's mouth it's an interesting combination of annoying and cute.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

care . . . managed

Parents later.
First we get Whine Part Deux.

I'm on antibiotics and was told "if you don't feel better in 3 days, call."
Day's the third day and I don't feel better. I called and left a message.
Several hours later:

Dr's office: Hello Kathy? This is Doc M's office. We can call in a prescription for ceftin if you're not allergic to it.
Kate: Nope, I'm not allergic so that's okay. Wait a sec. [picks up bottle stares at the cerfuroxime--the label has tiny print that says "generic for ceftin"] No, wait--I'm on ceftin.
Office: We can call it in to any pharmacy in town.
Kate: No, I'm already on ceftin. I don't need more.
Office: Then what's this note saying you needed an antibiotic? It says ceftin.
Kate: I'm on ceftin. It doesn't seem to be working.
Office: You haven't given it enough time.
Kate: I've been taking it enough time to contract a raging yeast infection.
Office: It doesn't happen that fast. One day isn't enough time.
Kate: It's been three days. I can wait longer but I was told to call back in three and--
Office:I have to have Doc M call you.

Several hours later:
The office is now closed.

Actually I'm not sure this should go in the self-pity category--this is mostly for eyerolling purposes. Advil and Kleenex take care of the worst symptoms.

burp

I swear at least ten of my extra pounds comes from Borek and baklava.

I like giving the ladies rides. I don't mind visiting...but they practically stand over me as they feed me and shove cups of really scary coffee into my hands. The message must have gone out: Kate likes this stuff. They make plates of it for me and insist on forcing it into me while they're watching (Fatima literally pushes the fork at me over and over) And then they give me a package to take home.

It would feel like I had a bunch of mommas but we're all about the same age, the ladies and I. Plus my mother couldn't boil water. The woman could put together a mean questionaire though. And she once wrote a book about my aunt's psychiatric half-way house. Oh, I got a great note about my parents. I'm off to find it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

speaking of effluvium

If you're not into politics, then consider it comedy. The Onion couldn't do better, except the guy is serious. This new word he invents, homosexualization, is pure genius. The gist (not jist, dammit)? Ya can't fight Islam when you have gay cowboys as part of your culture. The manly men are weakened. My comment to the admiring general: Best manly men line of thinking since the "precious bodily fluid" schtick in Dr. Strangelove.

I think I should one should ease into Longman's (snicker. Longman. snicker) article. Start with The General's link.

You go ahead. I'm going to the store to buy milk, more Kleenex and fancy-pants "he" soap for today's new washing maching. The workday is shot for me anyway--midterms at school mean I've got a boy around.

Monday, January 23, 2006

memo to self

when you feel rotten, do not read or post on political sites.

Cough Sniffle. Warning: MORE self pity

The cold turned into an ear and sinus infection. I have the horse pill antibiotics but they haven't kicked in yet.

The unexpected-snow-day boys are still deliriously happy and whooping and hollering and inciting the dogs to bark. There's a wrestling match taking place--a king of the mountain game involving the big exercise ball. As usual, it'll All End In Tears. In the meantime, I'm off to lock myself into the bathroom because it's the only room in the house with a working lock.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Destined To Be A Writer****

According to every single cover bio I've read lately--and for some reason I've read quite a few--authors declare they've always known that they were Fated to be writers. The moment they understood that such a vocation existed, writing became their goal. In the bios, they skip mentioning their current life and look back through the mists of time to That Moment They Knew.

"Patsy Writer knew she was a writer before she knew she could talk. She clutched a crayon and pretended to 'make books'."
"Imogene Author decided to become a writer when she experienced a triumphant moment in her second grade classroom. Her first story made her teacher and classmates rise to their feet and break into applause."


I didn't know I was going to write for fun until I was a grown up and it turned out that I was a pretty rotten painter (that took more than my four years of art school to figure out). Writing short stories was more fun than bowling or watching tv, and cheaper than knitting. **

I didn't know I was going to try to write for money until I was 26, had moved to a new town and was hunting through the paper for a job. Here were the two ads that interested me:
1. a freelance writer for a local magazine.
2. a veterinarian assistant.

The vet assistant job was taken.


________________

** and to be fair to Patty and Imogene, it turns out I had always enjoyed creating fiction, only when I was a kid my "writing" took the form of telling spectacular lies.

****Do I sound sarcastic? Maybe. A bit. But not about you, [name of writer who's visiting my blog]. Nuh uh. And maybe I'm bitter because it took me too long to figure out and I'm jealous.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I HATE washing machines, ALL of them

hate hate hate hate hate. Worse'n my opinion of Bill O'Reilly, more'n I dislike the dog next door (the one that bit my son and my dog), greater than my loathing for early rising, stronger than my aversion to flavored coffee . . . is my hatred of washing machines.

The pie is piled higher and at the top are the broken washers. . .WHEEEEE! CRASH.

New machine needs a new control panel. Good byeeeee, new machine! Hello, laundromat.

Way Too Much Fun.


Oy, Merry, you've done it again. You've found another great time waster on the internet. Stinking work and numerous broken washing machines will have to wait. (Did I tell you that our brand new washing machine is flooking BROKEN?? DID I??)

Use your photo to make your own Romance Novel Cover--and other time wasters, like the Wanted Poster.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Okay, how about a birthday AND christmas present?

$70 million = $35 million per event. See? I'll even do the budgeting for you. Not so bad, eh?

Actually Andrew Tobias was talking about yatchs yesterday. What I really want is a combo yatch and one of these

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Endangered Satire

Uh oh. Mel's in trouble. Our man Mel Gibson is being threatened by some dude with the same name:

I am litigation counsel to Mel Gibson. It has come to our attention that you are operating a purported "Mel Gibson Blog" at http://www.melgibsonsblog.blogspot.com. On behalf of Mr. Gibson, I demand that you immediately cease and desist any further use of Mr. Gibson's name, likeness, or persona[...] Under California Law, the appropriation of any persons name, voice, likeness, etc., commercially or otherwise, is actionable in a suit for damages[...]To avoid litigation over this clear violation of Mr. Gibson's rights, please cease the operation of this blog immediately and confirm the same to me no later than 5 p.m. tomorrow, PST.

Clearly Mel touched a nerve.

UPDATE: Hey, look--we're all Mel on this boat. I'd mess with my blog and turn into Melvina, I suppose, but Bec would have to rescue me.


spookyass weather

====wind

Hey SUISAN! Thank you for the yarn. I'm taking it into work this morning and I know it'll be a huge hit. Do you want anything made just for you?

UPDATE: Things I saw in the street today whilst driving through Hartford.
garbage cans
recyling bins
christmas trees, at least five
newspaper distribution box
hubcaps
garbage--lots and lots of garbage and paper
branches
part of an awning
mysterious metal objects

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What Do You Say, Dear?

Anyone else remember those books? Illustrated by Maurice Sendak--I loved those etiquette books when I was a kid. The bears, the princess, the bears eating the princess. Politely, of course.

On one of my loops, authors are relating Horror Stories about strangers, friends, family members and strangers backing them into a corner and reading their book aloud. The author's book, not the reader's.

Here's how I avoid it: I don't go to parties and I don't see much of my other-than-immediate-family. . . (unfortunately.)

But even so, a couple of times people have whipped out one of my books and started reading a section--usually a badly written one, or one allllll about sex--aloud. Oh, man, I'm hoping that Susan R. gets published some day just because I can't wait to pull that on her, the goober.

In blogs and on the loops, I've run across a lot of different ways to politely tell people that no, a writer doesn't have to have continous orgies to get the erotic bits in a novel right. And no, I don't base any of my characters on you.

But how do you tell someone to shut up with the reading? The problem is that this sort of offence occurs when there's been some drinking so "Please don't do that" goes right over the head of the idjit reader.

What can you say--other than "if you don't stop reading my book aloud I'm going to pull out my tommy gun and let you have it"? Running from the room with my hands over my ears worked once, but that seems a trifle extreme.**

Heck, even when I didn't write sex I couldn't stand hearing my stuff. I belonged to a critique group and that was the worst part--the guy leading the group read the short stories aloud. (C. Michael Curtis, and I don't think his name was Curtis Michael Curtis, but I never asked) I can't imagine actually doing a reading of my own work. And if I could manage to get up the nerve, I'd probably edit as I read. I'd read a sentence aloud, then reread it using a stronger verb or skipping that dreary adverb.

Anyone? Anyone? Or do you love your own work so much it doesn't bother you to hear it read aloud?


________

**My brother was the culprit. Everyone knows that only extreme measures work with brothers.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Seller Speaks

Hey all you writers, she's only one bookseller--and not a bookstore owner at that--nevertheless, go ahead take note: Bookseller Chick does not like bookmarks. She does like some things and if you're wondering what they are, go ahead and check out her cool post.

I've done a long-winded bit about publicity before. A terribly valuable post. Terribly. Maybe I'll add this link to BSC to it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Another Reason to Love the Internet

WARNING: another Body Parts Discussion, kids. Go Away Before You Get Grossed Out.

A while back I had a "name that body part for women" post. I complained that there were lots of slang terms for the penis, nada for the labia.

I guess I didn't look enough. For some reason I ran across this page today. What was I doing?early morning research? Oh no, I know. I read the phrase "panty hamster" and had to look it up--it's there, all right.

Anyway, that page has nick-names for womanly parts dressed, undressed, pre- and post-coital, on the rag, etc. It even has a list of nick-names for the part of the body between the genitalia and the anus. ("The perineum" for those who care about accuracy. The "taint" or "gruntle", for those who don't.)

here's a small selection from the infamous dirty slang page [their name, not mine]:
Labia visible through clothing
• Beetle's bonnet
• Camel's toe
• Monkey's chin
• Shark's fin (swimsuit display)
• Mumblers (When they can be seen moving through the clothing, but you can't understand a word they are saying.)

There's more of course. Breasts, men's parts and of course, references to other sites for futher exploration. From the page:

See Cameltoe.org for the pinnacle of this field of study.

Slang for Masturbation
• Check out this random wanking term generator for some automated humor.
• Tremble before this uber list of more than 1500 wankisms. Yes, 1500. No shit. They're even alphabetical.

oh, I love the internet and if the govmint messes around with my right to read 1500 wankisms, I'm gonna march in protest. Of course I protest at the drop of a hat, usually about less serious matters like war.

Friday, January 13, 2006

what was the subject again?

Who cares? Smart bitches and RTB and Karen and all are wading in with lots of great squawking and carrying on about Amazon reviews and each other and previous events.

It makes me all warm and happy and reminds me of the days when I used to have real conversations with actual people. That sort of thing gets me so nostalgic. I even drank a beer to get the full flavor of being in a bar, ferfe.

But on to a more serious subject: are you people really that ignorant? Yet another so called "educated" person claimed not to know about Archy and Mehitabel. Get yourselves to the bookstore because yeah, a lot of Don Marquis's stuff is on the web and yeah, the socio-political world of his era is long dead. . . but don't you want to have a copy around to impress your next date? I thought so. Nothing will impress him/her more than poems by a guy pretending to be a cockroach. Trust me on this one.

what I want in my obituary: (a verse from the song of mehitabel, the alley cat)

i know that i am bound
for a journey down the sound
in the midst of a refuse mound
but wotthehell wotthehell
oh i should worry and fret
death and i will coquette
there s a dance in the old dame yet
toujours gai toujours gai

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yet another "Kate is a Fraud" Day?

Yep, there're a lot of these days--way too many, if you ask me.
I'm going to go back to work, but first I have to stop for a quick whine about the fact that everyone on the goddamn planet writes better than I do and there's no point in my writing another sentence because it's all crap, crap, crap and I don't know how I managed to fool anyone for more than a minute that this useless shallow nonsense is worth wasting even a single sheet of cheap recycled paper.

Phew.

Now I'll go drink some coffee, eat another chunk of something yummy from my huge pile of Bajram goodies the ladies gave me** (bakalava, borek, smoked chewy mystery meat, pitak, and a few other mysterious sweet things) and then get back to work.

* * * *

later on: huh. Remember how I kvetched about Futurelove's first review which was on ecata? Daisy Dexter Dobb pointed out ecata's review of it --the book got 4.5. I don't think it's the same review, either. Weird. But this is me, not complaining, okay?

We are temporarily free of ice around here (in January!?!) I'll take psychodoggy for a walk this evening which is always good for shaking off the last of the stupid Fraud Day sensations.


________________________

**I have to keep that job -- I've grown addicted to Muslim holiday food.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mark Your Calendar


February 12 = Darwin Day!


UPDATE: and while we're waiting for D Day, you can watch this totally unrelated video. My kid is still laughing at it.

disillusioned.

Paperbackwriter has a few examples of writers as cheaters on her blog. My first thought? Sheesh, it's my day to learn about creative people and industries behaving badly.

You know about that scam where you pay $50 and your original "prize-winning" poem is published**? Okay, it's not entirely cheating or lying because you do get a nice leatherbound book of poetry. Turns out the borderline-scam of demanding pay for the prize is not just aimed at the wannabe creative types of the world.

I was walking home from school with my neighbor the musician who writes and plays scores for television and he casually mentioned that he's up for an Emmy.

Wow! Oh WOW. This is big time. This is The Pulitzer Prize for television. WOW!

I jumped around for a couple of minutes (and nearly busted my butt on the icey sidewalk) but then he said, "I've won a couple of times before but I've never sent in the money."

Huh?

Turns out that after you're nominated, you have to send $120 the Emmy people to be considered. Or something. He's never paid before and has won. Maybe other people paid for him?

He doesn't have any statuettes even though he's won. Those cost $500. He thinks this time he'll pay the $120 and, if he wins, see if they still charge him the $500. Maybe they catch the winners coming and going. As he said, "Makes you wonder how much those Oscars cost their winners."

I'm sorry but that's just really, really tacky. I've won a couple of small-time writing contests and no one ever made me pay for my little trinkets, certificates or scrolls. In fact a couple of times I've won money--enough for two pizzas, even.

Congratulations, J! You're an extremely impressive guy and I'm glad you're a winner. I hope you're not a wiener, though. $500? Pfah. (For $400 my kids and I will make you a great commemorative statue of the occasion. You like Sculpey, right?)


________

** This links to a great Dave Barry piece, btw.
and here's yet another fine International Poetry Winner:

My Cat Has Fleas

My cat is chewing on her butt;
It makes me think she is a nut.

I try to drown the fleas in spray;
They jump and shout and just yell "Hey!"

I try to drown the fleas in powder;
they eat it like it's fine clam chowder.

I try to drown the fleas in gas;
that really burned my kitty's ass.

Monday, January 09, 2006

SBD: chocolate works better

I was going to write about the reviewer who uses many!! exclamation marks, mixes your/you're, its/it's, their/they're and then expects her opinion on someone else's writing to be taken seriously. . .but really? Duh.

After that, I toyed with the idea of HEA vs the poignant and memorable tragic ending supplied by a bus and how that book is taken more seriously just because of the damn bus . . . but no, that was trite too.

What about the sprinkling of comedy in a mostly dark book? Why does it drive people nuts? I mean if Shakespeare can do it then why can't . . . oh, honestly. Yawn.

I have better luck with chocolate.



Simple but Effective Brownies

4 squares of baking chocolate (unsweetened)
1 1/2 sticks of butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 or 1.5 cups semisweet chips.

Melt baking choc and butter
Mix everything together.
Bake in a 13x9 pan for about 30-35 minutes


Checking for doneness via the toothpick method doesn't work well because of the melty chocolate chips, but try it anyway.

*****
oven temp=medium= 350 degrees Fahrenheit=
176.66666666666668 Celsius = 449.81667 Kelvin


Measurements Translated for Bron who is Upside-down.


1 square of chocolate= 1 oz = 28.349 gram
1 stick butter= 8 tablespoons= 1/2 cup= 4 ounces= 113.4 grams
TWO cups regular, granulated sugar= 16 ounces= 1 pound= 453.6 grams (this one I'm not sure of!! I think it's less than a pound because a five pound bag of sugar has more than ten cups in it. I think. But I am NOT going to open a bag and measure.)
3 eggs = 3 eggs, chicken= 3 ova from Gallus domesticus . Large.
1 cup flour [US] = 0.946 cup [metric]= 125 grams, I think.
1 - 1.5 cups chocolate chips = enough chips to make the brownies taste good but not so many they fall apart.

If your country doesn't sell chocolate chips:
1. organize a protest to make sure grocers know that's just plain wrong
2. chop up some bars of semi-sweet dark chocolate to use in the meantime

Sunday, January 08, 2006

doug steps into the twilight zone

Luminaries visit his blog and mm takes off her clothes. But I'm still waiting for a visit for some real names. Like what about Henry Kissinger? He's got time on his hands now he's retired. Or John Wayne--he's got nothing but time, not sure about the hands.

Ah blogs.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Could it be nepotism? 83!

Mrs. G gave me an 83!

Mrs. Giggles's review of Futurelove

For those who think 83 isn't great shakes: go to Mrs. G's site and you'll see how rare the higher numbers are--although she's been handing out more 80-90s lately. She's mellowing in her old age, perhaps?

I really didn't think Futurelover was her sort of story, and I wonder if she likes it in part because I announced far and wide (and to her) that she gave me the idea.

and damn straight--the story Futurelove was inspired by her virginal hero passage in this rant. How could anyone NOT read that passage about the sexually clueless hero and not get inspired? I get a fit of the giggles every time I read that selection from her Very Bad Romance Novel.

Anyway. It kills me that my story got a grade almost as good as Bone Deep, which is my favorite book of the last couple of months (and I've already read a lot of books lately. Boys' time off = Kate's reading time).

For what it's worth, Somebody Wonderful** got a 72 from Mrs. G, which again, is not bad. She gives a lot of my favorite writers--like Mary Balogh-- crummy numbers. Like any rabid fangirl who's touched by a story, I sometimes consider bitch-slapping people who are rude about it. (Or maybe give them The Cut Direct, since we're talking regency era stuff). But I don't foam at the mouth about Mrs. G. She's too damned funny when she really rips into a book or a genre or anything else.

____________

** notice I don't link to her review for that book? Here. Um. Look at these reviews instead.

Friday, January 06, 2006

My Christmas Present

I love having snotty adolescent and pre-adolescent boys. I mean it. Sometimes the eye-rolling is gets old but when they show their lack of respect in amazingly creative and funny ways, I have to applaud. And when they turn that smart alecky goodness into cards and projects for me? Oh, it just turns me into a puddle of happy Mother Goo. Boys one and two (15 and 12) got together and made me a gift. I wish I could add their lovely festive Christmas border. Heck I wish I could add the numbers.



A List of Five Hundred (Give or Take) Things we Like Less
Than Kate Rothwell


Che Guavera
Nouns
Adjectives
Pronouns
Adverbs
Lemon Custard
Flan
White Mice
The Mason-Dixon line
Gettysburg
Fredericksburg
Antietam
Shiloh
The Seven Days Battle
Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Campaign
Strength for now
Strength for later
Strength that you kinda put in the back of the fridge with the old Chinese food till it grows a fine layer of mold, and then you take it out and say “What the hell is this?”
Sasquatch
Solitaire
Crazy Bruce
Paper hats
Giraffes
Boogers
Mitochondria
Chloroplasts
Ribosomes
Golgi Apparati
Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum
Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum
Unintelligible Words
YATTA
Beanses
Penguins
Gollum
The Land of Mordor Where the Shadows lie.
Beowulf
Neo
Trinity
Borpheus
Agent Smith
Paris Hilton
Orpheus
Mornings
Cobblestones
A Pointad Stack
Bananas
Communists
Socialists
Nazis
Fascists
Monarchs
Apple
Pubic Hair
Constipation
Bad Wigs
The Whig Party
Annabelle the Sheep
The Homosexual Agenda
The homosexual Controversy
Spongebob Squarepants
Hambags
Inelligent Design vs. Darwinsism
Babies. The evil, evil babies
Chimpanzees
Diapers
Bucky Dent
The word “yogurt”
Yogurt
Bunnies
And their noses
And their fluffy widdle tails
Badd Speeling
Those annoying red lines that appear under misspelled words
Misshapen blobs of semi-hardened Earwax
Canon Ink Jet Printers
PRUNSES
Golden bells
Brazen bells
Iron bells
The bells, bells, bells, bells.
Mao Ze Dong
Mao Tse Tung
Mao Tze Dong
Jell-O
Farts
Bears
Bars
Lumberjacks
Norwegian Blues
People who Say that They will Help with a gift, but instead just Read the Onion, and Dance Retarded Dances with their Younger Brothers. Not That I’m Talking About Anyone Specific
S.A.D.D.
People who write about you behind your back, EVEN THOUGH they have helped you this whole time, and refuse to let you take a break or they will say it is only from THEM. Not That I’m Talking About Someone Specific.
People Who have no work ethic, and want to take too many breaks, and whose idea of helping is contributing A MERE 50 WORDS TO THE LIST, and then quit on word 465.
People Who needlessly Slander Their Younger Brothers, Who helped A Whole Lot More Than Fifty Words, You Jackass. GO TO HELL!
NO YOU GO TO HELL!
_ _ _ _ (the middle finger)
Hell
Splinters

There are plenty more and I know you want to read them.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Two Pathetic Things: One potentially Important

I read this article by a man who ended up on the no-fly list. He wrote a book critical of the Bush administration--could it be a matter of political payback? Who knows? Maybe he ended up there because his name is common. No matter how he ended on the list, he ought to be cleared once and for all. He's not out to blow up any planes, he should to be able to get the heck off the list and it's pathetic that he and the other Americans who've proved they're not enemies of the country can't get their names erased. They can't even find out how they got on the list to begin with.

Here's the second and more pathetic fact. As I read it, I wondered how I could get on the no-fly list too. I wanted a good excuse to not even be able to get on airplanes. (Turns out he's on the watch list, which means he has to get to the airport early and expect a fair amount of grief. Oh. I thought he could no longer fly the friendly skies.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

happy release day!


No, I'm not getting out of jail. This book is available today. I glanced at the text and at once picked out the dreaded Repeated Word. Ack! No! I thought I'd found it! I thought there was only One Per Book! But I'm hoping it's just nerves. Does this book make me look fat?

For a short time, until I can figure out how to change the page, the excerpt at Summerdevon.com is not PG-13. Let that be a warning to you. (Sorry, it's not particularly hot. Hardly seems fair, does it.)



blurb: Time-travel agent Collins is preparing for a routine assignment to the past when rebels kill his commander and force him back in time, unprepared. With no sex-suppression drugs and incomplete training, he’s stranded in a strange old world.

Candy was almost resigned to her humdrum life until a man in a strange black get-up dropped onto her park bench. If he wasn’t gorgeous, and wounded, she might listen to her common sense and run. But curiosity and kindness have always been her weaknesses, and the fact that this guy rouses her long-dormant libido doesn’t hurt, either.

Overwhelmed by the novel sensation of lust, Collins can’t resist Candy’s sensual sweetness. But every fevered joining of their bodies breaks the stringent laws to which he’s sworn allegiance. Being trapped in the past is bad enough. Committing carnal crimes with an irresistible 21st century indigenous could destroy his future—and hers.


I think someone else wrote the blurb. I really can't recall, which is a bad sign for my brain.

No, I wasn't thinking of smart bitches Candy when I named the heroine. I got the name from two sisters I knew in high school who were called Cookie and Candy. Really.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Amor Clandestino


This is interesting. . .I didn't know I'd been translated into Portugese.

Araminta sabia que não seria vista com bons olhos nos círculos sociais que Griffin freqüentava. Ela não sabia como nem onde buscaria forças para recuar... mas jamais aceitaria menos do que o amor incondicional do homem por quem se apaixonara perdidamente!

What are those two doing snogging in the country? I think they never leave NY.

Anyone know how to search these pages for authors?
http://www.sybook.co.kr/
http://www.ast.ru
http://www.raamatukoi.ee

Monday, January 02, 2006

you'll have to BEG me next time

Ta da!
Well, I thought it was a fun idea, she grumbles.

And the entries I did get were pretty great, every one of them for once. But the thing about the winner is that she managed to get a sense of the subject in her story. Fiction, yes, but like all good fiction, containing that essense of Truth.

It's no use bellowing like that, Doug. MM is the winner.

MM-- email me (use the link at the top of the page) and tell me what size shoe you wear so I can send socks. I'll need a snail mail address too, but it's worth letting me know where you live, MM. I recently got an email from a woman who wants to drive two hours just to look at these socks, so we're not talking your ordinary footwear. I still owe some to Sam, too. Drat, I'm bad, bad, bad.

Anyway, due to low turn out, y'all will have to beg me to run another contest. Sniff, pout. I'm gonna take my ball--and socks--and go sulk at home.

first, SBD

Smart bitch? No, not at the moment. I'm too fuzzy brained for that label. BUT I do know a lot of them and I'll yammer about a few, 'k?

First--a whinge. Summer's 2nd book has its first review: 3.5 stars at ecataromance. Excuse me. I get 5's there. Absolutely. I pay good money for those stars. That's a joke, okay? I don't bribe reviewers. (hey, I haven't figured out the appropriate sum yet.) The real complaint I'd have would be as a reader browsing the site. The reviewers there don't describe what put them off the book. The star rating might say pleh, but the review is always positive. (As a writer, my favorite aspect of the site is that the reviews are always positive.**)

Okay, back to smart bitches. Smart fan bitches. There are the originals, of course, Sarah and Candy.

I belong to reading lists devoted to specific authors and some of the people writing messages on those lists are funnier and more clever than the original author. Yes, Georgette Heyer is right up there, but seriously? Sherrie Holmes (you probably have never heard of her and she doesn't have a blog, curse her) or Stephen are just as good at playing with the English language. ****

Some Wodehousian fans who try to write like that author produce painful essays, but the ones who succeed are sublime. I read those notes and laugh. I read them, again, and laugh, again. Once, honest to God, I really did roll around on the floor gasping for breath. Really. Even the "pie-eyed Gussie Fink-Nottle handing out school awards at Market Snodsbury Grammar School" (Right Ho, Jeeves) scene isn't as good. Maybe the "Pat and Mike cross-talk act played as Russian tragedy" scene could compete (Mating Season).

There. Not a real essay or anything, just an observation. Those people should be in print, too. I want a collection of clever emails and posts written by authors' fans. It would be perfect bathroom reading.

TWO MORE HOURS TO ENTER THE DANG CONTEST.

____________

**the review consists of description of plot followed by: Futurelove is a good book. The characters are interesting and Collins is certainly unlike any man readers will ever read about. [maybe that's code for unbelievable?] Candy [uh oh. I forgot the heroine was named Candy.] is trusting and very helpful, and the readers will find themselves laughing out loud at some of her antics. The love scenes are passionate and full of tension. Summer Devon has created a futuristic tale readers are sure not to forget.


**** Edith Layton's messages on one Heyer list (back when she posted) were as sharp as anything Heyer wrote. Annie Gracie's are great too--but those two don't count because they have books in print.



Sunday, January 01, 2006

my new year's resolutions

Only one:
Don't make any New Year's Resolutions.

I always break them**. See? I've already done it again this year, and even faster than usual.

At least last year I waited a hour before breaking into the bag of chocolate chips after making the one about "Cut Back On The Chocolate."

Tomorrow, I'll announce the winner of the $*&$## contest. You still have time to enter, ya scaredy cats. That's the reason, isn't it--fear. Not because no one visits my blog. Nuh uh. I know you're out there.

You're not entering because you haven't broken free of your fear of rejection.

Well, listen -- start small! LET ME GUIDE YOU ONTO THE ROAD TO SUCCESS!!
Enter my contest by 4 pm tomorrow and, with that small step in presenting your writing to the world, you'll gain the confidence to collect your rejection letters from editors and agents.

And once you finally do get that best-seller published, you can send me a copy inscribed "for Kate. I would never have made it without your contest. Thank you for giving me my first rejection." I'll probably read your book. But then I think I'll sell that first edition autographed copy of your book on ebay and make at least ten dollars -- plus I think I'll gouge the buyer for extra shipping costs.

________

** My theory. It's always the mother's fault right? Okay here: I had permissive parents. I need to rebel against someone, so I sneak around and try to undermine my superego. As soon as I make rules for myself, I break them. This Parental Blame Theory can work either way. . . If my parents had been strict, then breaking resolutions would be a way to take control of my life--wrestling my life from the stern overseers. Oooo I love psychology.