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Saturday, December 30, 2006

more better promo

If snark isn't your bag, check out this amazing video Michelle Pillow made for the book. Oooo. Those bodies! OOOoooo
She sent me the html but it seemed to hate my blog, so sorry, link only.

Win a Copy of Taming Him!


Kylie inspired me, so she gets the first entry to this
FABULOUS CONTEST

I love the cover but I love snark just as much.

Tell me what those people on that cover are saying (with no reflection of actual content of book)

The best entrant wins his or her own copy of this great Ellora's Cave/Pocket anthology!

an example: "listen, you keep those spike heels outta my groin, honey, and I won't dislocate your kneecap with my super-strong fingers."

Kylie's entry: "You know,... a dab of clear polish will stop that run, baby."


Contest ends ummmmmmm Tuesday, January 9th, which I think is the official release day of the book (it's already available). You have to be 18 or older to enter. Enter in the comments below!

UPDATE: no limit to the number of entries per person. Since I don't have a warning on this site, better make it PG13.
Heh. So far I think we're safe. . . some are mighty hot but safe!

UPDATE TWO: I'm getting some great hot, not-really-snark answers as well, so I think I have to have two categories. Snarkalicious and just Delicious. If you want to designate your entry, go ahead. Otherwise the Wise and Powerful judges will decide where your entry belongs. So that's two winners, one book each! And if you don't want the anthology--or already own it--you can pick any Summer Devon ebook or Kate Rothwell print book you want.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Oh boy!

I just got a notice from Amazon -- Taming Him is shipping. (I wonder if we'll get any author copies?) No way the cover fits "Perfection," the story I wrote. I can't wait to read Kimberly Dean and Michelle Pillow's stories to see which story it illustrates.

lissen, you keep those spike heels outta my groin, honey, and I won't dislocate your kneecap with my super-strong fingers.

Hey, I love the cover. It's entirely unapologetic.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

enough with the dream gunk

this is post 666! mwhahahaha. Appropriate number because the adults in this house caved to the dark side this year.

After years of resistance, we surrendered. . .






We bought a gaming console--a Wii for the offspring. (yo, I've only played that one game.)

Boy two, on my left, tallest offspring points out that boy one (on far right) only looks taller because he's standing on one of those mini-trampoline things.

To continue our tour of this photo, if you look at the tree, you'll see the duct tape of decor (grey circle) and the 1983 bagel. I'm wearing my father's Christmas vest. He got it from a friend and hated it and gave it to me. Or I stole it? I can't remember. It's the cheesiest, happiest vest ever with real shiny pearly things sewn onto it for snow flakes.

Also for the first time in recorded history, the boys and I made a gingerbread house that did not fall down. I get kits and the goddamn houses never stand up for more than a few seconds. This Trader Joe's kit not only remained upright, it'll never fall down, even though it's tilting far forward, the roof is sliding down and we posed grandma looking up at the leaning tower in fear. You can't see it but she even has a chocolate chip next to her to signify her shitting herself in fear. Oh, those wacky boys.

Added bonus: The house is even uglier in the flesh, what with white icing fingerprints all over the thing (and the table and the counter and . . .)

A grand Christmas all around.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Personal blessings--long, dull Moment Of Truth

Listen, you might want to skip this one. It's dull, but I promised Margaret I'd get the details down--she's one of the rare people in the world who likes to read about dreams. But this dream was one of those gifts (from the subconscious, I suppose?) of existence. Won't translate into the real world as so why bother trying? Because it's always good to recall the fact that these are part of one's life.

Actually my favorite life's gift wasn't a dream; it was a moment when I was about 13 years old. Spring in Washington, DC which is a blessing in itself. No city I know does spring better.

Anyway, I sat by an open window and a dog barked and a bird's wings rustled and a phone rang --okay, okay, things liked this happened, I can't remember exactly what they were--and for a moment or maybe even several moments, I was part of the whole thing, a piece of the whole, the whole was a piece of me. I read the same thing in that damn Herman Hesse book a few years later and thought "hey, I've been there!" Nirvana. Wow. So I've had my 1-15 seconds of it and it hasn't happened again. Astoundingly commonplace, astoundingly amazing. I don't even mind that I found that sublime moment a gazillion years ago. Just the echo of it makes me happy, sometimes.

Okay, so the dream last night (Merry Christmas) itself sounds like nonsense. But I woke up with the sensation of having gotten a fine Christmas gift. I thought, by gum, I've seen the solution. I almost feel guilty that I can't somehow get one o' they ford vans and preach the answer to the world, but I see it.

As I wandered through my morning, sitting on the couch, slurping coffee, watching kids open presents, I decided the dream meant that God is a mother and our instructions aren't found in some long book of rules. The rules are quite simple: We're supposed to clean up after ourselves (and do it within a certain time . . . or else!) and we're supposed to be nice to each other and be responsible for other people's happiness.

Enough interpretation. The dream, Margaret. Bits and pieces, mostly stupid.

I was on a boat that was under attack by a force that used tornadoes. That part was scary. I had to put a mattress over my head so the timber wouldn't land on my head. But then I knew how to thwart the bad force. Everyone, and I mean everyone (except the ones who weren't enlightened, silly twits, whoever they were) had to get out and clean up. Yep, by the time the moon set we had to get every bit of trash into bins. All the streams had to be cleaned up, all around the bars and woods and stores. Hundreds of people out cleaning in the dark. Some of us were wearing those big yellow gloves because they were going into really horrible muck to clean. Beer cans out of streams--that kind of cleaning. Scrubbing foundations of buildings, picking up old bottles and cigarette butts from the edge of the tide.

We must have hit our deadline, because at daylight we had some power of our own.
We went to work on the living. We could influence moods with small gestures of kindness, playing it forward, only with more power than usual and with each gesture the power grew stronger. Heck we were walking around making people fall in love with their lives and each other. . . We were watching unpleasant humans slowly turn into someone interesting. A woman who talked too much turned out to play the piano beautifully.

We could eventually play some kind of role of justice too. We could uncover secrets and called up some dead bodies who could silently point out their murderer--they'd been buried in his back yard and now they came out of the dirt, slowly breaking the surface of gray-ish dirt, mostly bones (M wants details). The bodies weren't scary, just a relief to know where they'd disappeared to and who'd killed them.

* * *
And then it was about 6:30 am and the kids were jumping on the bed because they wanted to open their presents. I got a teapot with a nice tone (I melted the last one that didn't whistle), a good keyboard and a lovely card from one boy and other things. My favorite gift was my dream. I bet the card will be my favorite tomorrow after the effect has worn off.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

and congratulations to Summer

Bronwyn said congrats to Summer for being nominated for a CAPA and I said, "silly Bron, I wasn't nominated." I knew I hadn't been nominated because I checked the list a couple of times.

I did see a lot of friends who had been: Alexis Fleming, Sandy Blair, Laura Hamby, Bobbie Cole, Shannon Stacey, Arianna Hart (twice) and other people I bet I missed.

Apparently the brain fog is dense** because there's a Summer Book after all, Invisible Touch. Ha!

Congratulations to me and everyone else, too.

_________________

** although in my own defense, it is a long list!

ho ho ho SBD cartoon edition and dreams

Boy3 and I are lying around in bed watching our cartoons and thank goodness Dexter is coming on because we've seen two treacly and absolutely Bizarre Christmas cartoon short movies in a row. These shows are kind of like the two singing Christmas trees my good friend L has given me (and I've lent back to her). They were designed by space aliens who've been exposed to years of Christmas from afar and think they know the props and characters but not really. And omigod, these shows that feature dogs and bad guys and elves are musicals, too.

No, I'm sorry. Mr. Magoo as Scrooge is totally wierd.

Back to Dexter vs. Santa Claus. And yes, it is even farther removed. It's written by space aliens who only watched the space aliens' productions. But that's what we like about Dexter. He's shaving Santa! And there's Dad! And we learned that Christmas is all about The Presents. Now that's a space alien production that works.

And now Jimmy Neutron is saving Christmas with Santa who I think is voiced by Mel Brooks. They're talking Quantum Physics. And Santa gives Jimmy a cooled dwarf star. Oh crap. They're singing now. One of those full cast ensemble things.

Maybe boy3 will switch back to the baboon butt cartoon that is also apparently about Christmas. I'm going to go find coffee and recover from life at this time of year. Panic attacks are me.

I wonder why a 9 year old would have three nightmares just before Christmas. Here're his descriptions:
1. everyone died in a train crash 2. someone dumped gasoline all over every member of the family and held a box of matches and 3. We went to MacDonalds

I dreamed that I got a snake for a pet and it got way, way huge. I couldn't hide it when I went to school every day. Heh.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

speaking of which, did you know

This week or last was some kind of International Delurker Week. Megan asked people for their favorite numbers and colors. I'll ask what's your least favorite number or color? My answers:

9 because I stank at the 9s timestable and everyone insisted it was the easiest
and
puce because the word is ewww and it is actually the color of flea's blood.
Or maybe that means it's my favorite color. Sometimes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

and another thing. . .

I miss Wenlock.
What is it with writers who decide to have lives and careers? I mean it--people like Stephen and Nonnie St. George (sob) should be given grants to write whatever they want and whenever they're in the mood.

snivel redux

huh.

I don't usually interpret silence**, but for some reason, I wanna know what it means that no one's left messages under the pictures of me and the dog. I was expecting something along the lines of . . .
"Kate, what's with the bags under the eyes? Get some rest, woman."

"Dude, have you considered getting a manicure, and get one of those workout hand thingies guys use in B movies to look tough?"

"Where's your dog's face?"

In other news, I got a great present for the kids but I won't say what it is because they might still check this blog.

And Samhain is having a sale until December 24. You can buy ebooks at ummm [runs over to check] fifteen percent off the regular price!

No reviews of my latest book yet. No notes to Summer about how it isn't up to the standards of [previous title] or how it could have used [interesting plot twist]. Usually by now I have a couple of nice and/or peculiar emails.

My first theory: it wasn't bad enough to snark about or good enough to rave over.

My next theory: No one's bought it.

The theory after that: People love me but hate the book so much they can't comment because it might hurt my feelings. (That one makes me laugh. I like it.)

My latest theory: that I've been cut off from the internet and haven't noticed yet. Someone out there--I'd guess my husband--is taking bets about how long it will be before I notice.

The least paranoid, most boring theory: The ebook world is so full of releases that no one has time to read even a quarter of them, even from Well-Established, Respected and Beloved Authors such as Summer Devon.
_____

**update. who the fuck do I think I'm kidding? Of course I interpret silence. Hell, I interpret the dog's silence. Admit it, you interpret a lack of any response too-- when we notice it, that is. Otherwise the passive aggressives of the world would just give up, right?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

faster'n the pony express, maybe



Wow. Telecommunications in the 21st century! I got a cell phone with a camera a few weeks back. I started messing around, taking and sending pictures to my email address. I figured I didn't know what I was doing because I didn't get the pictures.

They arrived this morning.

The only ones that aren't blurry messes feature me with dog. I was trying to show:
1. How much shinier dog fur is than my hair. (we both got the shine treatment)
2. The spot where my wedding ring left a dent (extra bonus feature--dog nose upper left)

Friday, December 15, 2006

I think I missed an important notice about life and writing. I got left behind. I'm feeling like one of those people who walk up to nearly every conversation and interrupt with "huh? what?" and everyone waits for her to go away so they can talk again. And to complete the self-pity portrait, I have to go microwave my version of Beth's wilson.

The good news is we all survived last night's concert. Only three more to go. Oh and I did get saag paneer for supper so life can't be all that bad.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen FAQ

These really are the most frequently asked-of-me questions.

1. Where do you get your ideas? (Jodi just asked me this yesterday!)
I get most of my ideas about three blocks south and west of my house. When I'm having trouble with a plot, I go for a walk and something usually comes to me.

2. Who's your agent?
Emily Sylvan Kim. I love her. I hope some day to make us both lots of money. (aw, jeez, I hope I didn't jinx anything by writing that.)

3. What does Hilary Sares like?
Nice heroes. If I knew more details than that, I'd probably write the book she absolutely had to buy.

4. I have an idea for a book. It's a great idea but I don't want to write it myself. Can you? Or do you know anyone who will write it for me?
No, thank you for thinking of me though. Check these people out.

5. What kind of money to you make?
Not much and I never know from month to month. Sometimes I get surprised by a check for a foreign sale. Not any more and never often enough. Oh, Lordy, don't get me started on the money. It's a good thing I've got a husband who makes nearly enough money to support us. He's great, but it's worrisome. And the kids. They're getting more and more expensive. There's this field trip and that lost text book. Oh damn, and we've barely put aside any money for college. Maybe one semester per kid. I guess it'll be scholarships and state schools? And it's just next year! I've got an 11th grader! God! I guess we got to get our head out of the sand, but where will the money come from? As it is we never get to go out and I mean some months I don't make enough to buy one meal of pizzas for the whole family and--
hey! Where are you going?

6. Do you have some kind of career plan?
See question two and five. It has to do with money. Of course that's not what I think about when I'm writing. Unfortunately.

7. Do you use special novelists' software?
I use Word and no charts or notes other than a few scribbled things.
7a Can I just show you this great new system I've developed for only $25 limited offer. Right'Rs WeighTM will develop your characters, plot and weigh your manuscript--
No, thanks.

8. Can you introduce me to [editor] or [famous writer's name]?
Sure, if we're ever in the same room and the person you want to meet remembers who I am. I know Hilary, but I don't think I've met my other editors. Oh, I did meet Angie from Samhain back in Baltimore, but I don't much remember much about her because she had her daughter with her.

9. What do you suggest I do about promoting my latest book.
You're asking ME? Good God, ME? Oh, whoops, I get it. You've mixed me up with another Kate. Try Kate Allan. She's a British author who specializes in promo. You could also try MJ Rose. I did write a promo article, but that's more than a year old.

10. Where's the toilet plunger?
I think it's in the downstairs bathroom.

11. Why are we having noodles for dinner again?
Because you guys refuse to eat food with actual flavor.

12. Do I have to?
No, I just said you had to because I like messing with your mind. Of course you don't. This was a free country last time I checked. Every citizen can control his own destiny except for you. You must obey me or be chucked in jail. Or, wait, let's just say you're doing it because you wanted to, not because I told you to.

13. What kind of dog is that?
A dog pound mutt. Rottweiler, german shepherd and chow, maybe.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

more blog hopping

I've been visiting writing blogs and found the latest kerfuffle described over at Sybil's. I'd never heard of Godwin's law and I like it.

I also read a bunch of FAQs at authors' blogs and I can't help noticing that none of the FAQs are questions I'd want to ask (I probably would anyway). Here's a sample of a few standard questions:
Where were you born?
What inspired you to become a writer?
Who are your favorite authors?
That kind of thing. My questions would probably be . . .well, if anything were fair game I might ask:
Have you ever been involved in an online discussion in which you compared your opponent to terrorists or nazis?

House in 12 seconds

disclaimer: I love Hugh Laurie and the show is great fun even if it did give boy 3 nightmares for weeks.

A link to House, every episode. Really.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

advertorial


Ta Da!
It's RELEASE DAY for a SUMMER DEVON e-book, Revealing Skills!


Go! buy! read!
Enter the contest at end of e-book! Get another book! And good chocolate!



So, over at Bam's a while back there was a discussion about the cover. Do you think the cover model looks like Natalie Imbruglia, Anna Paquin, Tori Amos or Geena Davis?

Monday, December 11, 2006

window shrink wrapping 101


motivation:
80-year-old drafty house with bad windows. Outside temps below 20 F
with high winds seem to be oozing into the house. Why look! The curtains are moving.

ingredients:
special sheets of plastic (clear)
double-sided sticky tape, approx 1/2" wide, endless length, with white plastic paper on one side so it's usuable.

action:
Put sticky tape down so that it runs along all four sides of window pane with no gaps. The trick is to make sure the whole window, including as much of the ledge as possible, is covered. The sheet of plastic will prove to not be large enough and you'll have to reapply the tape.

Pull off protective white top layer on tape, accidentally detaching the tape from window. Try to reattach tape to wood and not your fingers, then pick out dog hair that gets caught on now-exposed, twisted sticky tape.

Take big sheet of plastic and try to attach it to sticky tape. Fail. Pull it off and try again, only this time using a new, unripped piece of plastic. Settle for crooked, badly wrinkled, big sheet of plastic covering entire window. Leave white plastic tape cover trash lying around so that everyone appreciates how much work you've been doing.

Turn hair dryer onto high. Aim it at big sheet which soon looks worse and gets even wrinklier. Stay patient. Continue to aim hair dryer at plastic. After about 20 minutes, the plastic is taut and almost clear over the window. Magic! Really.

Drafts are considerably reduced, but the little edges of plastic extending beyond the sticky tape continue to flutter, and will do so for the rest of the winter. You hope it's heat rising from the radiator, but suspect it's a draft where the window meets the wall. (Sheets of plastic aren't big enough to attach to wall as you learned in first step.)

solution:
Get a few good book contracts so you can buy new windows that consist of more than a single sheet of glass, wood and caulk.

reality:
oops, it's concert time....

Kvetching and Moaning

Two concerts down, four more to go. GODDDDamn, I hate concert season.

The sweet voices? Love them. My kids? Love them too.

The rest? I hate concert season. The parking-three-blocks-away-on-a-cold-night, the orchestra's endless pieces, the band's endless pieces, the singers (not endless, because those voices are so lovely, even doing horrible holiday medleys and singalong Rudolph), the national anthem (wtf?) and occasionally, the Fruited Plain song. Wartime made this township particularly patriotic.

Each section punctuated by the announcements from administrators about how wonderful the teachers are. Teachers announcing how wonderful the school system is, how supportive the school administration is, how wonderful our kids are, how wonderful we are for driving our kids in to practice. We are to give ourselves a round of applause for being so wonderful. The concerts last, no kidding, a few hours.

Yes, the teachers, the school, the kids are wonderful. It's just the concerts and crowds that make me want to gnaw my leg off to escape the overheated auditorium.

That David Sedaris piece featuring a theater critic snarling about school Christmas productions? That's me.

And speaking of snarling criticism and WTF. What was the theme song from Shindler's List doing at that last special concert--the big old Holidays On Ice event two days ago? If they hadn't told us the title of the piece, I wouldn't have noticed. A professional orchestra playing some kinda classical subdued music = Fine. (better than fine. We only went for middleschool boy's singing and the rest was a bonus, especially compared to the usual concert.) The ice skaters were gracefully sliding around looking subdued, even mournful = Good.

But some things are just not meant to go together. Holidays on Ice = Santa, gingerbread men, Rudolph, Holiday Song Medleys, Carol of the Bells and . . . Schindler's List. No, I don't think so. (Ice skating to Schindler's List, for that matter. No.)

Just to be inconsistent, my favorite song from the big event was Dry your tears, Afrika. Turns out that's from the movie Amistad. But, see, I didn't know that. I just thought it was pretty.

Holidays! Christmas, slavery and the holocaust.

/stupid criticism part

Here's the section where I'm supposed to put in some qualifier about how much I'll eventually long for those school concerts, and how touching they actually are, but I won't miss them, not a moment. The sweet voices and the kids--them, I'll miss.

I have a less boring thing over at Romance Unleashed. Now I have to go pick up boy 2 from concert practice and find his good shoes and a clean button down white tuxedo shirt. Concert tonight!

Good thing the kids got bored with reading my blog, huh.......

EDITED: Six more concerts, not four. Elementaryschool boy only has one concert, but I forgot middleschool boy's and highschool boy's specials groups (jazz band! elite singers!) which mean extra concerts. Not repeats. More, more, more. We so love our music around here.

EDITED AGAIN: That was okay. No National Anthem tonight and the violins screetched less dying-cattish than usual and it was over in less than 2 hours. Tomorrow's concert is short. Thursday's should take approximately a week and a half. Hey, don't you worry--I'll be sure to bore on and on about the rest.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Stuff

Here's one way to tell the difference between me and Nora Roberts. I'll bet you a dollar that when cold weather comes around, she doesn't shrink wrap her windows. Actually I find it a relaxing process, and the hair dryer scares the bejeebers out of the dog. heh. Damn, my great graphic won't load.



* * * *

Remember the pedophile? And the letters sent home to every elementary and middle school family in town?

That didn't take long. On December 5th, outraged residents assemble with tar and feathers. . .nah. It's the 21st century. We just shove guys like that out of town. Somebody Else's Problem. Kind of a relief it wasn't worse--I imagine it's exactly the outcome the police and the superintendent hoped for (in the article the super said he "felt a moral mandate" to send out the letter).

We don't truck to none o' that particularly nasty criminal kind 'round here. We got Wild Oats and Whole Foods in this town! And boutiques! And a bakery just for dogs! We don't have to figure out what to do with the dregs of humanity.**

Residents Alarmed by Pedophile.
In a surprise announcement to the residents attending the Public Safety Committee meeting, the landlord. . .stood up and apologized for not doing a complete background check on Walker. He said he has spoken with him and Walker has agreed to move out after he finds a new place to live. The landlord, who asked not to be identified, said that if Walker doesn't move, he will begin eviction proceedings and he should be able to evict Walker within three months.


Walker ought to look into senior housing.

____________________________

** Almost done with self-righteousness: I wonder if Walker is an example of what religious types refer to the as "the least among us".

Okay, no more soapbox because actually I don't have a leg to stand on [and if you're legless, it's always best not to climb boxes] i.e. you will note that I have yet to offer the man a room in my home. No goddamn way. My moral mandate isn't as big as all that.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lyvvie's meme

another meme and it's another list. They're good things, lists, and memes keep me from having to think about what to write.
This one is tough: Six Weird Things about Me is hard because I know I'm utterly normal. Does that count as number one? But I am, dammit.

1. I'm the absolute most normal person on this planet. On a scale of 1-10, I'm 5. On "yes, maybe, no," I'm maybe. On "strongly approve, somewhat approve, no opinion, somewhat disapprove, strongly disapprove" I'm somewhat approve to somewhat disapprove on bad days. On the color wheel, I'm between cerulean blue and cobalt, sky blue but not at sunset or sunrise and not on a cloudless day. Not a blue that anyone would remark upon unless there've been days of rain. The kind of sky that takes up a lot of space. (I still need to lose weight)

2. I used to have rituals that made no sense. I'd walk around a particular building twice before going in, and if the door I used was locked, I'd have a moment of utter fear...but then I'd use another door, because I wasn't that far gone, yet.

I don't do that any more. I wasn't going crazy, I had panic disorder. Some people might argue that's the same thing as crazy. (I won't argue back.)

3. I lied like a rug when I was much younger. No one at school liked me much right through Jr. High and a lot of High school and I decided it was because I lied so much. So I stopped lying. That didn't work, so I went back to lying, plus I started complimenting people--sometimes both at the same time..

That worked a treat. People like being told nice things about themselves and tend to be pleasant to the person saying them. And in fact, I grew addicted to complimenting people. I'd even say nice things to strangers and I meant it, too. It's like smiling. After a while, you start to believe you really are happy. With my system, after a while, you begin to believe the world is full of glorious humans.

Of course one person saying what the fuck are you talking about, you creepazoid can rain on that parade and you wonder what exactly the fuck you are talking about. But it's a long time habit. The lying only crops up now and then. I can usually keep it in check by writing fiction.

4. I don't believe in a personal God. God knows I want to, I've tried, but it isn't going to happen. The one time I almost got it was when I read Franny and Zoe in high school and a book about buddhism that wasn't by Herman Hesse (I'm absolutely normal but I'm not a complete stereotype, okay?).

And, listen, so what Douglas Adams thought of agnostics as cringing nincompoops? I'm perfectly willing to believe in some huge Higher Power[s]blahblahblah that has a huge influence over a bunch of existence. I'm even willing to buy the idea that it/they might have a form of consciousness, etc.

I just don't think the incomprehendable HP, if there is any, believes in me.

5. I didn't like Plath's Bell Jar and I agree with my kid who said, Catcher in the Rye isn't all it's cracked up to be. But I did own that tan Joni Mitchell album., and I could sing along with most of those songs. I think those sets of facts cancel each other out on the weird scale. Tough, I'm not coming up with something else.

6. I often write short cranky letters ("To Whom It May Concern: What makes you think waxy tasteless chocolate should be labeled gourmet and overpriced?") and rarely mail them, even though I do like the Lazlo Toth letters.

Oh, I did email one about a school bus driver the other day and got a response! Someone in the school system wrote back!** A principal! Of course lately our local school system is all in a tizzy about the buses. They've discovered a few ex-cons are driving the buses! Hideous! I say as long as they aren't crimes about kids or driving, who cares? But that wasn't the gist of my letter. . .I've decided to spare you that.

_______

**No, really I am not a crank. In the twelve years we've been dealing with public schools, I've only written four [read: kvetching] unsolicited letters. Two were in the past month.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

stolen from Shannon

A holiday meme.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? both, but not together. I think? Hmm. Maybe I'll try that. .
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Until last year he just shoved everything under the tree and then the husband asked boy aged 8 if he wanted to help. Oops. BA8 hadn't known the truth. Whoowee were the other two kids pissed off at us. They'd done a careful job maintaining the myth.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We have white and only on the tree. We like to see lights that are colored on everyone else's house. We love the huge blow up things in front of our neighbors' houses. Love. Them.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. Dog would eat the berries I bet.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Sometime nearish Christmas. When we are bored one day, usually on a weekend.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Mary's sweet potatoes, but that's for Thanksgiving. We don't do a big meal at Christmas. It used to be an extended family occasion when we lived in Maryland. Now it's just the five of us.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: When my parents decided to say f*** Christmas and dragged us all to warm places, a tradition that continues in my sister's family. I have a very vague memory of getting Hannukah gelt from my grandparents--real dimes I think--and liking the fact that I scored for TWO holidays.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Can't recall. But I will never forget last year, blowing it for my youngest son. Gag.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Kids usually pick one present and are disappointed by it--an important tradition.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Well. Um we have some American Airlines soap and 25 year old bagels (the raisin ones and the potato got moldy) and then a lot of homemade stuff, plus some pretty things like a light-up ceramic cheesecake and a glittery pickle.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Both. Love eventually turns to dread.
12. Can you ice skate? Not to save my life. I have cross country skis. Do I use them? Not recently.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Seashells my mother gathered on a beach of one of our warm places, along with an earnest note about how important it was not to attach material stuff to occasions blah blah blah. At the time I was 15 and ready to deck her, but I kept them and now I love them because they remind me of her.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Um. Er. Mostly seeing them back end of them, actually. I'm a pre-ghost Scrooge in too many ways. I do like how excited my kids get, or maybe got. They're getting old and cynical.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Yum. Whatever my husband makes.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The kids trying to wake us up. They usually resort to Christmas carols played on a trombone.
17. What tops your tree? A 28 year old plastic lobster. Cathy H. gave it to us. Lights up beautifully when we stick a bulb in its butt. Also we seem to have a tradition of picking trees with spider egg sacs on them. So the lobster and a lot of baby spiders.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving. Since I'm cheap, it's fun to to figure out what will work for whom with not much money. Kids aren't as much fun with that, but heh. Maybe I'll give them seashells.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? My kid does madrigal dinners and we all liked the Riu Rui Chiu (however that's spelled/pronounced)ancient Spanish song they sang there. We walk around singing it and making up lyrics. Very pretty song at least until we got it. True Fact: It was once covered by the Monkees. I like the high school version better--they belted out that baby. If you watch the Monkees version, click away right after the song.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Since most of the ones I've eaten were rejects covered with boy spit and handed to me (and that I absently ate) I'd say yuck. We get the fruit flavored ones now. The boys and the dog likes them better.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Helpful Hint

If you're going to listen to a book on CD on your computer, make sure you've turned off your audio player's music scramble.

It's pitiful how many tracks had played before I figured out there was a problem.

Monday, December 04, 2006

SBD, generic edition

Jeez. I'm in a bad mood--I'm not selling anything, and I want to sell books to publishers, dammit. So I feel like bitching, but other than that. . .hmmm. . . the whine isn't flowing freely as usual.

How about a sex kvetch? I read yet another book where sex was the only bond between the hero and heroine. Lots of hot, creamy (god, I hate the cream. The heroines all have flipping yeast infections. Goop shouldn't be pure cream all the time, y'all) sex. No shared humor, no knowing glances other than the "I want you NOW" kind. I'm frickkin sick of one track minds. Tension is fun, but it's not the only reason to exist.

Okay, that's an old, used up SBD. Everyone's talking about that.

How about Stephanie Plum? Have I moaned about her before?

That'll make a nice change of bitch pace.

Just as I was ready to call it a day on Evanovich's character, Evanovich got the message. Plum is no longer TSTL. She has matured. She's better at her job. The Wacky Cuteness is still there, but it's not running the show. Even Lulah has gotten less stupid. Gramma? She's about the same. The Ranger/Morelli thing has shifted a bit. I'm listening to "12 whatever it's called" on tape and I'm actually interested to know what she's going to do about them. That hasn't been true for the last six books or so. It's easier to find the books on CD for some reason, and even the reader has improved.

So this means I've regained interest in the series. I'm going to have to keep listening to the books. Luckily the library has a few copies of Evanovich CDs (still haven't seen any of the hardcopies), but I still have to act fast to get at them. Very popular series here in West Hartford.

Sigh.

Which brings me back to my original message to the world today, "Love me, ya morons!" Why can't I be popular? Huh? Why not? I'm going to stomp my feet and hold my breath until I get popular, dammit.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

remember my indignant carryings-on about the note sent home from school? I emailed the principal and every member of the school board. It turned out to be a letter sent to all the middle school parents, too, so the principal wasn't to blame.

I never got a single response from any of them. Not a word.

Every time I email someone inside the school system I don't get an answer. Teachers, administrators--doesn't matter. They never ever respond. And no, I know what you're thinking, I'm not a crank. My friend L, who is also not a crank, also doesn't get responses from them. Bah.

okay, so anyone tell me how to make a search within blogger?

I keep making reference to my promo post and then have to go back and back to find it.

Plus I mean, there are other posts I like. Recipes. The three pussies and a cock post. Those sorts of things. Anyone want to tell a noob like me what to do? I've looked and can't find it. Clueless one.

UPDATE:
Bad news--The comment from Beth confirms it's true; I can't find my ass with both hands.
Um, Kate? At the top of your blog - I'm looking at it right now - is a dark blue navigation bar. There's a little box to type in. Next to the little box, it says SEARCH THIS BLOG". If you type something into there and click the "search this blog" button, you get your results.

Good news--We went to the library and they have every episode of "Firefly."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

peacock without much conviction

Another hair post! How boring--I am vain about my hair. It's not my fault, I tell you. When I wear it down and brush it, a rare event, people tell me how gorgeous it is. They ooh and ahh. . . Of course it's a nice, innocuous compliment about appearance. Can't exactly say to someone "Wow, your breasts look great today. Get a new bra?"

The hair doesn't just attract compliments. I've been told I'm too old to have long hair, which naturally made me rethink the haircut I'd been planning to get. If it's not exposing lots of skin, then any fashion labeled too old is just silly, thank you. (If it is exposing lots of skin, a fashion is probably too silly for most of the population, young and old.) If I wanted to, I'd even claim the right to wear Mary Hartman puffed sleeves--and that tells you how old I really am. PPPffth on any who say we can't, shouldn't, mustn't.

Back to the hair.

Since I'm into passing the buck, allow me to add that it's not my fault that I'm thinking--and therefore posting--about hair again. I blame the long-absent Bettie's post. She ranted about long hair as considered sexy and she forgot to mention the most important reality point: really long hair is sexiest during sex when tied up and out of the way. When it's loose, it tends to get in the way. You end up with mouthfuls of hair instead of kisses. It gets in your eyes and wraps itself unexpectedly around limbs.

Final note on this week's hair post: The standard pediculosis alert just came home from elementary school. If the nits at school make their way into our house, I'm shaving everyone of us. We'll all look like marine recruits together.

Friday, December 01, 2006

hey

We're watching a CD we got from the library--Firefly--and we're liking it. How come this didn't get big? Huh? It's very cool.


UPDATE: The boys are using their precious screen time to watch it AGAIN. And it's actually holding up. Love the little touches like the Chinese influence and the music. . .and the adaptation of all the old west stereotypes. I say it's a crime that shows like Trump's Apprentice thrive and this goes pppppppppfffff

I feel like I do when I discover a new author on par with Loretta Chase.

UPDATE 2: The tense lawman and hostage scene and Mal, walking onto the ship, ends it without breaking stride and then tosses the body overboard. Omigod. That is fantastic. It's better than that Indiana Jones and the pistol moment. And Wash with the Dinosaurs. "We shall call this land. . .'This Land'"

What were those Fox types thinking? Cancellation of this show is an even more egregious offence than the fact that they give Bill O'Reilly a platform. No, wait. Okay, I got hysterical for a moment. But canceling this was pretty bad.

Hmmmm

This gist of this post made me roll my eyes until I got a serious headache.

Why? Because I'm willing to bet my next huge contract that the writer would have the same response I would: If I wrote a book and two different publishers said they wanted it--an ebook publisher and a NYC publisher--I'd go for the print NYC publisher.

And this despite a lot of factors: I love the ebook people I deal with, the ebook process overall is more personal (they care about my input on covers! wow!), I think ebooks will be huge[r] soon, and I don't have a bee up my butt about the whole thing--that is, I don't have a need for the validation of being in print.

I'm willing to think about my career in long-term and I think publishers like Samhain are the future, but my family wants money and except in rare cases (some EC writers, I hear?), the NYC publisher gives an author more money and more recognition and that's a seriously important bottom line for people who want to be professional writers.

Heck, I think even Samhain knows that--for now--NYC is more desirable. They let one of their writer's books go, ripped up her contract, when a bigger publisher asked for the book. They were even excited about it for her.

And actually that kind of YIPPEE response for the writer is yet another reason I love Samhain -- oh, and Rob, too! (I don't want to forget booksforabuck. Yay Rob! And EC rocks! Hey, and check out Ari's new novella while you're there.)

Yup. I do like those epublishers for a lot of reasons, not just because they buy my stuff. They have definite advantages over many print publishers. New authors are more important in the process. They operate in a more flexible world, there's less bureaucracy, more risk taking, more loyalty to writers.**

But like I said, I'm not going to make those advantages my first or even second priorities when I'm trying to sell. I can't, yet.

* * * *
updated: looks like monica had more to say than the simple "ebook is better" message-- in her comments.

* * * *
When it comes to the process of getting published, Jackie Ivie said it best:

If you've got a writer's soul - then write. Get it published any way you can. . . Any venue. Any medium. Just write. If you get it published, then enjoy the ride while it lasts - because there's a lot of bumps along the way. And when you have to, stand in line for another ticket to ride.

_____________________

**No, I don't think that they're better people--it's possible to hold onto loyalty when there's less money at stake. (Print, that is non-POD, is way expensive).