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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The best way to figure out bloffles

Here's what you do: go way back, way back, waaaaaaaaaaaay back, as in distance, not time.

There are so many trees in those bloffle forests! To understand the most popular points, skim the 500 plus comments, vaguely keep score of what's being said, dump the outrageous posts on either side ("She's a whore!" "She's being unfairly attacked by demon-monster-posters!") as well as any posts that go Godwin. By the end you should have a fair view of what most people actually think.

And here's the part I like: Except for the blogs that are full of the crazy or that dump any opposing POVs (Redstate, for instance) you end up with something that's usually basically pretty sound. People aren't so bad. We're all a bunch of hyper, scampering gerbils that squeak a lot as we run on our wheels but as fictional character JD** says, at the end of the day, it's not bad.


_________
**I was really looking for another fictional character, named Martin, a British PR arsehole who always uses the phrase "at the end of the day" but I can't recall the name of his novel. The book is a series of notes and emails from him. Five points and my eternal gratitude if you can give me the name of that book.


kind of like oscar the cat

The dog knows we're going away though we haven't begun to pack. Heck, I'm not even thinking about packing.

She follows me everywhere, which is normal, but now she tries to get into the bathroom when I'm in there and when I pick up my bag, she whines and runs to block the door. Those are not normal activities or she'd be living somewhere else. **


Speaking of Oscar, here's a picture I stole borrowed from a blog named sue


______
**this is such a lie. My dog and I are an Item.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

how're you?

Me? I'm boring because the stomach has been hideous the last few days. That second brain needs some therapy. I suspect my kids will need therapy eventually, too. BUT I am only remarking on this now because I have found the perfect book for captivity.

Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. It's a blog from the 1920s, I swear. I love this book. I got it from a library yard sale so it smells slightly mildewy which matches the story set in drizzily England. Still, once I'm released from current confinement, I'm putting it out in the sun with lots of baking soda. See? It's inspired me to talk about household matters.

* * *

Big plan for the day: Chop down the peach tree I planted four years ago. The tree is happy, healthy and terrific. Every summer it ends up loaded with peaches. Just about the time the fruit gets to the right size and starts to ripen, the squirrels eat every last peach. AND just to add injury to insult, the buggers break open the pits and leave jagged bits of peach pits all over the deck.

No way I'll be able to outsmart the local squirrels. These guys are ruthless and aggressive. Every plastic garbage can in the neighborhood has squirrel-sized holes in its lid. I'd leave the tree in place because the flowers are pretty and I don't actually hate the squirrels, but the yard is small and the tree takes up a lot of the sunny space.

* * *

Are you still here? I haven't bored you YET?

Oh, okay, so here's another household story. After all, he's expecting me to. . . I don't want to disappoint the husband who said, in a snide, gloomy voice, you'll put it in your blog, of course.

The ongoing saga in our house..... "sponges, and how to kill the off bacteria that stink them up."
I put wet sponges in the microwave, hit the setting for small popcorn (three minutes) and push start. I like to do this partly because the microwave display blinks "ENJOY!" when that setting's done. Nothing like opening up and finding a foamy sponge. (Popcorn's the only setting that gives any kind of advice at the end the cycle.)

The husband hates this. Not the ENJOY! part, the whole microwave issue. He has clipped bits from the newspaper to show me how inflammable sponges are. They're made of cellulose which is WOOD! which is fuel! He's reminded me of the time the microwave caught on fire when I was melting crayons.

He's lectured me, even said in a particulary unpleasant tone, don't do this in my house. He has badgered me about this every time he's caught me, which is often because I nuke the sponges every few days. I try to do it when he's not around. But because we've been together more than 25 years, I tend not to pay as close attention to the lectures as I once might have. To get him off my case, I did finally promised never to leave the kitchen when cooking the sponges.

This morning I woke up to a beeping smoke alarm and a bluish haze. My husband came upstairs, turned off the alarm and gave me a present--one of the best in all our years together. He admitted that he'd been decontaminating sponges. The thing that caught on fire and filled the house with smoke was a pan that had been full of water and sponges. He'd put the pan on the stove and forgotten about it. The reeking smoke was pure bliss and so is the sight of the charred ex-sponges.

The only disappointment from the incident: my call from K. She works with Mike, so naturally I had to tell her every detail of the story. Her response: You two deserve each other. Why the fuck don't you throw smelly sponges away?

Friday, July 27, 2007

glaring

okay look, if you owe me an email--and you know who you are--send it along or I will sulk. I mean it. I'm not planning a tiny snit, either. I'm talking heavy duty sulking with so many passive aggression overtones, even the dog will notice the sighs and snorts.

I'm off to eat the chocolate goop I made yesterday. (Heavy cream, egg yolks, bittersweet chocolate. Heated until perfect) The mousse-y goop is going to instantly add four pounds to my body and it's all your fault. Hope you can live with yourself.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--things about Flo Fitzpatrick

Kate says: soon after I got The Call from Kensington, someone told me about Flo, who sold on the same day--both of us sold because of the NJRWA conference. No wonder I have pleasant associations with the woman. I'm going to feature authors on Thursday and it makes sense I'd start with Flo since we started together.

1. Flo Fitzpatrick was born in Washington DC (just like me!) and is tired of officious DMV type people who see her birth certificate and want to know which state the District of Columbia is in. (just like me!) . . . She doesn't update her webpage often enough.

2. Her Kensington books are Ghost of a Chance and Hot Stuff, a book she wrote in a couple of months. (About the same time I was writing my book in a month, only she was smart enough to read her contract so she got started earlier.) Hot Stuff got a 4.5 GOLD star review at RT and was nominated for best 2005 Romantic Suspense. She has another book, Sweet Dreams, with Harris and Hilliard.

3. She's trying to decide if she should call herself a romantic mystery writer of comedy or a comic mystery romance writer. Or something. Some combo of those words.

4. She has two dogs, Huckleberry and Lucy. She calls them border collie wannabes. Because of Lucy, Flo has to buy extra shower curtain liners. Lucy shreds them during thunderstorms or fireworks.

5. Flo has a Masters in Theatre, a Bachelors in Dance and wants to get into the cabaret scene. She often sets her books in the theatre because she knows that world.

6. She's currently living in New York half a block from a great park for the dogs.

7. Well, damn. I was cleaning this stuff up but then hit publish by accident, so now I'm going to just use the funky note form she sent me. Lazy Kate.

8. Flo is working on: My agent is contacting publishers for what we plan to be the first in a mystery series, so I'm working on book two of that series, but also have a few chapters of a time-travel, plus a women's fiction featuring a "mid-life" heroine. The series will be fun. My heroine, Pepper Ryan, "hears" ghosts - through music.

The first book is set in Prague, where Pepper bonds with the ghost of a flute player who created a truly magic flute for Mozart' s opera, The Magic Flute. Naturally, the musician was murdered 200 years ago, and the flute - poof! Vanished. I've created a sidekick for Pepper named Bambi, who looks like a 6'2" version of Cher, and the sense of humor of Shrek mixed with Jack Sparrow and the smarts of a Mensa president. I'm excited about this - ready to get to book two!

9. Favorite movies: Too many to list, although I can't go wrong with anything with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire. And I love Galaxy Quest and Kate and Leopold (except for Meg Ryan's hair) and Shrek 1 and 2 (haven't seen 3) and Pirates of Caribbean 1 (haven't seen 3 and 2 needed more Johnny Depp!)

10. Favorite actors: Kevin Costner KLINE (see comments) is right up there on my OH YEA! List with Mr. Depp, Hugh Jackman, Colin Firth and Ryan Gosling.

11. Favorite authors: All the 'oldies' like Mary Stewart and Helen MacInnes and Daphne DuMaurier. All-time favorite though is Elizabeth Peters aka Barbara Michaels. I re-read all of these ladies all the time, but when I'm really down, I grab Elizabeth Peters's Jackie Kirby or Vicky Bliss series and sack out with a bag of chips and ignore the rest of the world. I can't seem to just read one of the series when I do that though. Have to go all the way through both.

12. Hot Stuff is optioned for film (so is an unpubbed manuscript, Cold as Ice.) Kate says: We're not sure what that means, but we do like the way that sounds.

13. Flo's current new release, Haunting Melody is an ebook at Cerridwen

here's a blurb:

2007: A week ago Melody was designing costumes for an off-Broadway show, wlking her dog in the rain and dealing with a ghost in her apartment. She never imagined she'd travel through time and land in the New Amsterdam Theatre, circa 1919. She never thought she'd be labeled a spy for a tabloid newspaper by a handsome, arrogant stagehand.

1919: A week ago Briley MacIntyre was painting set pieces for the latest Ziegfeld Follies production. He never expected to find a spunky red-haired beauty lurking in the wings of the New Amsterdam Theatre. He never believed he could fall for a girl he's convinced works for Broadway Brevities, the local scandal rag specializing in nasty gossip about theatre folk. Melody and Briley never anticipated they'd be thrown together to track down missing Follies company members. Or that they'd uncover a mysterious and deadly cult dedicated to the Egyptian god Ptah. Neither Melody nor Briley ever dreamed they could fall so deeply in love with someone out of their own time. Someone who would chase away the ghosts of their pasts. They never thought they were in danger of losing their lives.

Go on, read an excerpt. You know you want to.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

interesting

I'm researching British trials (for a book) and ran across this website. It's got all the fun stuff, sex, scandal, another appearance by Oscar Wilde's nasty tattling lover. . .

Those Victorians did enjoy salaciousness.

From the late 18th Century until the early 20th Century, according to the Shanmonster website, "one of the most consistent medical characterizations of the anatomy of the lesbian was the claim of an unusually large clitoris. Not only was the clitoris associated with female sexual pleasure separate from reproductive potential, but lesbians were assumed to be masculinized, and the supposed enlarged clitoris was one signifier of this masculinity. In presenting lesbians' bodies as less sexually differentiated than the norm more masculine - it was inferred that they were atavists - throwbacks to an earlier evolutionary stage and thereby 'degenerates'..."

It was held that progressive differentiation of the sexes was one of the hallmarks of evolutionary progress. An enlarged clitoris or the inference of deviant genitalia was also given as the signifier of black women's sexuality and of nymphomania. Lesbians, black women and nymphomaniacs were all grouped together as possessors of a 'primitive' sexuality. By the late nineteenth century, a number of sexologists were questioning some of these assumptions.... Many doctors, however, still held to the older belief.'

....

'But she [the woman on trial] was discredited still further through being deemed to have inappropriate sexological knowledge. Pemberton-Billing asked her if she was acquainted with the term "clitoris". She answered: "Yes, but not particularly"' He then informed the court that out of twenty-four people to whom he had shown the libel, only one, a barrister, knew what it meant. Dr Cooke said that he had shown it to fifty or sixty friends of his and none of them had known what it meant. (One hopes they were not doctors.) When Pemberton Billing called Captain Spencer as a witness, he was asked about the "Cult of the Clitoris" title. He replied that he had tried to find a title "that would only be understood by those whom it should be understood by". Spencer had telephoned a village doctor and was given the term "clitoris' and told that it 'was a superficial organ that, when unduly excited or overdeveloped, possessed the most dreadful influence on any woman, that she would do the most extraordinary things". He added 'An exaggerated clitoris might drive a woman to an elephant.".... "Of course, clitoris is a Greek word", announced Dr Cooke, "it is a medical term [...] nobody but a medical man or people interested in that kind of thing, would understand the term."'

Hey. I thought Victorians didn't like talking about lesbians, or was that just Victoria? I'll have to go do more research on this cult of the clitoris....

No, wait, I just wanted to find out the typical time between arrest and trial in the 188os! I wanted a better understanding of how barristers/solicitors worked (Rumpole isn't enough).

O, damn you, sex and salaciousness! You're eternally distracting and not just to those clit-deprived Victorians.

When do you post anon?

Do you post anon? Why?

This is kind of funny. I got a comment on this ancient post about the gay romance bloffle--kerfuffle, too, since it was also was in print. (Oh, look at the date! Apparently I have to be controversial once a year.)

So here's the note:
Yes, I'm posting Anon. Coward? Yes.

The entire issue is just too hot, and it involves way too much politics and religion for my taste. However, as I see it (in my very simplified manner) there is a huge difference in the following two statements.

1) I prefer not to live on the same street with gays...therefore I will either not buy a house there or (sticking to my guns) move out of my current home.

2) I prefer not to live on the same street with gays...therefore I will go to my local zoning board, city council, etc., and get an ordinance passed so they CANNOT live on the street I choose.Over simplified? Yes. Not covering all the different combinations of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, nationality, political bent, etc.? Yes.

But for me it's just a "fill in the blanks" type situation.Which of those two options would you choose? And upon choosing, which one item, or combination of items would be your trigger?Me, I choose option 3.

3) I may have nothing in common with you, other than being a human being, and therefore I shall not judge based on these factors lest I be judged. If you choose to live on this street, I will do you no harm.

Good note, but my question for anon and anons everywhere is why wouldn't you want to be associated with tolerance and maturity? I can see posting anon if you're being an evil dickweed or if you're still scarred from a bloffle (ahem) but why if you're basically sounding like a decent human being?

Actually I don't think this particular topic is still hot or controversial, thank goodness. I thought most of the romance community and much of society firmly voted on the side of tolerance. In other words, these days it's when you post about hating the gay that you're risking serious intolerance from others. (Part of why I sort of, kind of admired Jan Butler is that she wasn't scared of being narrow-minded in public using her own name.)

Mind you, I'm mostly curious, anon76, not trying to be a beyotch. I'd rather hear from an anon than no one. I especially appreciate anons who make sense and aren't trying to be mean. My other question: How'd you find such an ancient controversy?

And why can't you people find the rave reviews of my fantastic writing and post all about that?

bleeding hell.

I was trying to add Bettie and others but now my links are gone and my headline is gone. I hate html. If the whole blog disappears...I'll miss you guys.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Garth Nix, I hate you

So still in the mood for kiddie magic after finishing HP7, I've been listening to Lirial. Took a while to figure it out the rules of the world because I hadn't read Sabriel.

About the time I decided I liked it, the Damn thing ended with a cliffhanger. Absolutely a cliff HANGER. And we don't have the next book.

Grrr.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No more, I promise. Well, maybe one more.

Okay, made the peace, whatever. No more nastiness.

I've thought about it and wondered would I do it again? I'm probably going to be known in some circles as the misguided old biddy who couldn't take a pair of knee socks. What's more is that this whole thing has taken days of my energy. Stupid, but true. I haven't written a useful sentence since Thursday when I got my first email. My internal response to a not-as-bad-on-third-reading email was stronger more than warranted. Oh, and the house is a mess! (okay, that's always true.)

I have to say I'd change a phrase of what I wrote here or there--that's always true of everything I write--but no way am I going to stop blathering about potentially controversial things because other people might take offense. As long as you're not trying to deliberately hurt people's feelings, I don't get why anyone would expect you to hold back on that sort of conversation. As long as it's a conversation it's very, very cool.

I get why it's a tough call to make, though. Is this where I want to put my energy? And it's not like I'm great at the staying above the fray. I'm just as guilty of flying off stupidly as anyone else. I mean back when Karen had her AA book series, I was startled to learn about myself that it only took a word or phrase to send me off like a bottle rocket. I had no idea I had such a huge blind spot about being grouped as "white folks" until then.

But I do believe I know how to get past something that sets me off and learn from my response as well as learn from other people, even when they are upset to the point of lashing out. I think people who are scared of these conversations are so frightened of their own (or other people's) anger or resentment they can't see the value of any topic that contains seeds of strong emotion which is a shame, because the most important topics usually do contain those seeds.

No, I don't think those particular costumes at RWA were important--well, they were to the people wearing them, naturally, and I wish I'd initially found a picture of the wet and wild whatever the hell that is--it was more about image. Perhaps, ultimately, it'll be whether powerful people in an industry (Nora, Jenny, Chris) are allowed to express their opinion without getting misinterpreted as petty tyrants or as trying to hand down some sort of law. . . and well, okay, never mind. I'm not doing this any more.

Enough with the meta, too. I'm going to go read Harry Potter. I already know I'm getting a dinner (Tristan) and a breakfast in bed (my boys) out of bets I made on this book.

Friday, July 20, 2007

give Liz, Marianne a break...but give me one, too.

Now I'm in for it. The axe is going the other way, old biddy! eeeiiiiiieeee I'm doomed because I am old and horrible! My opinions are worth shit because I don't know readers! Why am I so stupid that I get so worked up about a pair of tights? Why do I feel I have the right to put my horrible interpretation on the costumes? WHY did god let me be born so terribly conservative I shouldn't be allowed to live (Okay that last? Sheer exaggeration.)

My main whine: Why do I get Teh Hate like Marianne and Liz and not the sales like Marianne and Liz?

Yah well, everyone gets worked up and now everything I ever wrote about this will haunt me until I'm dead, dead, dead rotting in the grave or I turn off the computer for a couple of days. From now until Monday, I'll only open emails from Emily or Debs.

(UPDATE: Don't send me any emails unless you've actually read what I've written on the subject -- and not what someone else has apparently written about me. Did you get my name from that line Gail K wrote at SBTB? Because if it was, Gail K....You so owe me a drink. Two drinks, woman. Top shelf with little umbrellas in them. If it wasn't Gail K then never mind. GK and I will split the costs of the drinks.)

Seriously though, if you're still following it at all, the comment on SBTB from Chris Keesler has an especially good last line. I think that makes the whole thing worth it even though for god's sake, it's too damn much. Please stop. I don't want to hear how I'm a throwback and a loozer. My kids tell me that often enough, thank you.

See you on Monday, maybe, if I don't fall over dead from virtual vitriol.

UPDATE TWO: Oh. Dr. Computer Boy's figured out that it's just one person. Amazing what one person can do with a couple of email addresses. Heck, amazing what she can do with just one.

wow.

I really did think that was mostly a good time. If only we'd all been in a bar, would have been better. But boy howdy, the swan is dead by now. And in the end, in just about every world I currently occupy, I loved the swan. Unfortunately, I'm not alone in the world and so ....the swan should go. Costumes don't work.

Right. Enough.

Swan or horse = dead.

It's my day to post over at Passionate Prose. More of the usual

Whatever you do, don't skip the contest Sara's holding. Here's your chance to touch the future. "Ginormous" is in the dictionary now, perhaps whatever word you pick or invent will show up in future reference books. And you get a chance to win a prize.

Oh that reference book thing reminds me--my friend Flo Fitzpatrick found that one of her characters' names, Tempe Walsh, ended up in a baby naming book, with a note about its source (Flo). How cool is it to imagine that a child some day will ask her mama, how'd you pick that name?

And maybe she--mom or kid--will have to track down Flo's book. Very future sales, Flo!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I must be missing a sensibility gene

Here I am happily following all the Bluffufle and weighing in and whatnot and I get not one, but TWO angry emails saying how dare I post that stuff about Marianne and Liz. I attacked them and they don't deserve this sort of negative pedophilia image for their happy costumes.

And there are notes at SBTB about the horrible tone of the conversation. (I've already bellowed across the swamps with Gail K. whose commment "although Deborah Smith and Kate Rothwell’s pedophile-bait innuendos were*completely* out of line, IMO" is friendly compared to one of my notes.)

Well, um, now a couple of days later, I can see where the squick comments at SBTB were probably not my best but I still don't get how what I wrote was an attack.

If anything, I've probably gotten Liz and Marianne lotsa new readers. Heck, after I went and read the section over at shomi, I'm one of the new readers.

N'cabulary expansion

I think the word "buzz" for getting the word out on the internet** is stupid, so I'm hoping Sara Dennis, who invented bloffle, (a kerfuffle on the blogs) would come up with one.

She wrote:



I'm on word duty again?At the moment, I'm leaning toward N'type. You know, like N'sync? Only N'type, when pronounced, sounds like net-hype. Neh-type.
No? Okay, maybe no.

*back to the drawing board*

Hmm. N'type. Maybe. Works with typing, net, hype. Could be. Anyone care to contribute? She's still polishing up opinionating.

HEY AND NOW SARA' S GOT A CONTEST GOING
she writes: I got so excited about coming up with a new word for this that I decided to actually turn it into a contest. . . if people want to participate and maybe win a gift certificate, they should go over and see Sara.
___
**I don't much like it anywhere, but it does make sense. Bees. Buzzing. Yeah, okay.

Thursday Thirteen--things I like about Vermont

Even I'm tired of talk, talk, talk and I'm addicted to that stuff. But I want a black swan hat. I won't wear it, I promise.

So.
I figure if I whined about having to go to Vermont last week, I should talk about what was cool this week.

1. Rain storms meandering over a field. Always fun to watch, even if you know you left the umbrella 300 miles away.

2. All the stereotypes fit: white churches, cows, green rolling hills. All there. Cows! Across the street! We took pictures.

3. Noticing how little the state has changed in 10 years (last visit) except the rest stop was cleaner.

4. Country stores have lots of Ben and Jerry's. Sure it's for the tourists, but who wants to complain about ice cream?

5. Exchanging Unitarian jokes with the Unitarians set up and giving away sandwiches (for donations) at the Tourism Center.
Can you imagine? a minister (or whatever the clergy are) didn't know the "what happens when you annoy a Unitarian?"/"He'll burn a question mark on your lawn" joke

6. Finding Kant, Marx, Terry Pratchett, and "Diary of A Provincial Lady" at a booksale.

7. Mmmm. Blackberries outside the cottage.

8. Hey, where are the mosquitoes? Last time, there were swarms of them. Not this time.

9. Family! Scathes of mine were in Vermont. Flocks of family. At least 20 members squawking and carrying on. I like my brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews etc. If there's horrible tension in the air among any of the members, I don't notice.

10. All the stores carry wine and beer and it's cheap, comparatively speaking.

11. "Take Back Vermont" from what? Who's got it? What are their plans for it? Discuss for at least 20 miles. **

12. Hippies! Yay! Hippies are still there. Thank goodness. Do we still call them hippies? That word seems more than quaint. Discuss for about five miles.

13. Feeling so relaxed about getting home again (because no matter how nice the place is, "relaxation, trip, vacation, Kate" aren't words that go together) I don't give a shit about parallel construction on any of my blog entries. Want carefully crafted writing? Pay me. Hardy har har. Visit Vermont and see how little the cows care about parallel construction or any writing, for that matter.

_________

**update: I got curious and looked it up. Teh gays took it! They took Vermont! And they have evil plans to keep it for ummm their own purposes! Apparently, according to the link, there's an ice cream conspiracy, too. Vermont's had enough with the gays trying to steal rights from, uh, the rest of us, I guess, so Vermont wants it back. And Vermont's apparently tired of the cutesy names on the ice cream and they want to take that all back, too. And probably hide it or something! All I have to say is don't blame the hippies or the gays if Vermont gets fat from taking back all the Cherry Garcia. Vermont shouldn't have eaten the whole of it at once.

You have to feel sort of sorry for the guy who wrote the article (in 2000) predicting that Take Back Vermont conservatives would prevail because people hate the idea of Civil Unions and those leftists wouldn't know what hit them. Isn't VT the only state that's voted for impeachment?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I think the discussion is fun

Considering how much people have at stake (money and careers and whatnot) the whole discussion around the blogs is pretty civil.

Of course I did make the mistake over at SBTB of assuming that Marianne and Liz were talking about me when they accused someone of accusing THEM .....and naturally, after deploring how people get defensive, I got defensive.

Of course I'd missed the earlier comment someone else made that really did accuse them of being deliberately provocative. Oh, whoops.

Sorry, M and L. Although the buzz? It's good to have so much of the buzz. There has to be a better word for that, though. Something internetish. Sara Dennis can make one up.

Bluzz?

Ugh.


UPDATED: It took me a while to figure out that cosplay really is part of this culture now and that the kind of costumes M and L are wearing are basically mainstream. They're going to occasionally get responses like mine and even stronger responses, like Deb Smith's over at SBTB, but we're not their audience, so that's fine. Good even, because there's nothing better than the gasps of old biddies to make M and L's real audience appreciate them even more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I take it back. I've looked at some of the Shomi stuff now? (I got some in a promo packet) and I am too their audience. I love it. Oh no. Crap, another TBR pile.

PS

I read what I'm willing to bet real money is the epilogue of Harry Potter: DH.

Tristan? You are so going to owe us dinner. You say you can only make stir-fry--that's fine. We'll take key lime pie for dessert, please.

RWA: yes, but...

I still want to know what the "slippery when wet" get-up looked like.

I absolutely agree that if you're a professional writer, you should look like a professional, but...
Do you want the romance writers to appear more professional?
or
Do you want the world's professional attire to be more fun?

Fashion does change, after all. Bring back the bustle, day-glo colors and maybe white wigs. Someone over at SBTB said she'd love to go to a convention of lawyers where everyone showed up with a swan on the head.

I dress to not show up in a crowd, always. What would happen if everyone wore something outrageous? I'd stay home, probably.

* * * *
Unrelated: About Shelfari: (I'm not putting in a link, but you'll know what I mean if you got this email a few thousand times yesterday and today: I just joined Shelfari to connect with other book lovers. Come see the books I love and see if we have any in common. Then pick my next book so I can keep on reading. Click below to join my group of friends on Shelfari!)
So what do you think? Should the person who came up with the idea should get an award for sheer genius or a kick in the pants and six months in jail?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

yep

I got an email from someone who said, among other nicer things (like she liked my last book), it sounds as if I or maybe my friends are threatened by writers who are "willing to go that extra mile to get the word out about their books."

I don't think my friends are threatened (having a contract keeps you secure). I suppose I am, to a degree. I purposefully ignore the fact that this publishing thing is a zero sum game and I don't like to be reminded of it. Ugh.

I've done the extra mile thing--rarely to the point where I'm uncomfortable-- and I've discovered that even if promo can be fun, it can get in the way of actually writing and I'm back to wanting to be a writer. The answer is, I'm not giving up the extra mile, just not trying to beat my time or keeping careful track of anyone else's. I'm willing to go an 11 minute extra mile, say. Long distance extra miles.

Hey! Also? If a writer gets energized by getting dressed up or doing fun stunts or holding creative contests--I'll be cheering with the crowds. I love looking at pictures of RT and hearing about the fun. I'm rarely one to snark about that kind of stuff, well, okay sometimes maybe, but it's friendly, happy snark. Buddy snark.

What I'm really threatened by is the same thing everyone always fears--losing a job because you can't compete. Duh. And if the official job description changes too much, I'll be left behind. Kind of first wife syndrome.

Monday, July 16, 2007

more on the RWA--who's it for?

That's the question some friends have raised. RT and Celebrate Romance have been the places where you meet the fans. But RWA has been about and for the writers.

I've only been to two RWAs and I was intimidated enough not to notice fans except at the booksigning. I think I was too busy being a fan myself. I mean, omiGAWD, a lot of my favorite writers were there.

The presence of actual reviewers bugged a couple of people. That's not why ferfe put up the pix at her blog, that was just for entertainment sake. But her blog entry did remind me of the emailed conversations I've had with other writers who've been around longer than I have, and are RWA conference regulars.

Here's their take: (and I asked if I could put this up. I got a yes, but only if it's clear they wrote to me as a kind of venting, okay? Not trying to fan flames in public. ...No, that's what I'm doing)

Oh, wait--one last thing from Kate. It wasn't just that there were reviewers present. Apparently publishers asked writers to dress up to fit a line or some book characters. Or maybe it was the writers' idea? I heard about a couple of instances, but only have managed to track down a picture of one. The writers I know who were asked were fine with it, but others who heard about it said, whattehhheffuck? Let me hide behind my computer again, please. It's the words, not the writer. Heck, did Dr. Suess have to dress up like the Lorax?

Okay, I'd be one of the hiding authors. I mean, let's face it, how many of us would look good with the thigh-enhancing stocking/mini-skirt combo look of these Shomi writers
.**

Picture borrowed from Marianne's blog. She's into it and having fun.

Obviously if the writer says, okay! let's have fun, it's one thing.

But the promo thing...the bar is creeping up, ya know?
Show us what you can do and be for your books, publishers ask. Not just show us what you can write. Heck, what if something like those thigh-highs were your personal nightmare? That mean you couldn't write for the line? No, no, I don't mean Shomi, says Kate, nervous about getting herself banned from Dorchester. I'm just talking about some vague Future Publisher who starts to take it corporate instead of just individual fun.
/end of my own mini-rant
updated: It wasn't a publisher thing, okay? See Marianne's post in the comments section. (But some day it might be a publisher thing, right? Huh? Skeered yet? boo!!!! No?BOO!!! Now?)

Okay, back to what the writers said:

...that kind of bothered me at this conference. Stuff like [the costumed writers] and all the blog reviewers being there. It just started to feel like it was maybe turning into a fan conference rather than a professional organizations’ annual meeting.


I just think the two should be kept separate. You want to have a time for authors to meet the press (or reviewers)—like the librarians thing or the booksellers thing, great. But being a part of everything just didn’t seem appropriate to me. Like a conflict of interest. It’s our conference and a time for us to discuss our industry. Just made me kind of uncomfortable. Of course, maybe those people were just there—not really attending the conference. In which case they can do whatever they want. They were just SO visible.


Apparently they have changed things so writers who are also acquiring editors can only be associate members. I see this as the same kind of thing. But again, if those fan/reviewers were just at the hotel at the same time—they have every right to do that.


And everyone else seemed to be lapping their presence up—so, it is probably just me.

. . . .

I think this is why PAN is important. It assures at least one place where everyone has to really be a writer with a vested interest in the actual business of writing. And I looked—anyone can attend our conference, including all the sessions. They just have to pay a higher fee.

I don’t know—it was a “feel” thing. A tiny slide toward RT. I just don’t want to have to worry about that at the conference—it’s stressful enough worrying about the other authors and editors.



Huh. Final word from Kate:

A writer quoted above described herself as a bitch for feeling this way and expressing these feelings, so I think we can see she needs to be properly educated about what bitchiness means.

Another Update (sort of lifted from a comment I made at ferfe's place): Actually the whole bitchiness factor is what makes a lot of writers avoid the online world and avoid the websites, particularly ones that celebrate plainspeaking. I like Teh Bitch, but I can get why, if it makes you uncomfortable, you would be unnerved to find it at your favorite conference.

I seriously doubt that these ladies (and I use the word in the truest sense, not as snark) would ever try to ban anyone from RWA due to their own discomfort. (I love Teh Bitch like nobody's business, but I also love people who are scrupulously polite and not duplicitious. Yo, romancelandia has lots of different sorts of heroines.)

______________

**funny thing is I would have looked better when I was fatter. Now the thigh is flab-o-la. See? Horrible enough to read about, just imagine if I was prancing around looking like that.

So does that mean some lines are only going to hire young fit writers? All part of the Frey syndrome. Books aren't enough, we need persona behind the words that'll fit the tour.

my real SBD blog loving

This sort of story by corn dog and EAP's stories and Aunt B's stories and Beth's stories..... Their posts are why I don't need The New Yorker any more. My parents got The New Yorker when I was a kid and naturally I got addicted to the cartoons. I subscribed for a while, but I don't have time for those good slices of life in talk of the town. I'd rather catch up with people I sort of know.

I used to love those short pieces, too, not usually pompous (like some of the fiction) and with clear imagery, the kind of simple, effective prose I would sacrifice chickens at the new moon to be able to write.

But damn, there are only so many hours in the day and I can't be asked to give up things like the pig book story for a piece about some poodle groomer off Central Park.

and other things

Bronwyn won!

Now dammit, someone should finally give her a contract so you can read her books.

I'm just a finalist--an honorable mention in the Passionate Plume contest. One of the boys asked how many people entered? Oh, lots and lots.

It's SBD but the only books I've read lately are unpublished. I did snag a copy of a Piers Anthony book, The Color of Her Underwear. The cover is to die for.

And the boys are reading Skullduggery Pleasant which my inside-the-publisher contact says was very controversial with the people working there. Some people loved it, a lot of people there disliked it. I'll have to read it and see if I can figure out why.

still alive

Now we're almost all of us home again, except boy1, whom we foisted on relatives (that'll teach them to just say no). He only had enough clothing for two days, but it's summer, so he'd stink anyway.

I only had to take a couple of doggy downers on that trip, so I barely ever drooled. Not bad. Oh, and I had a Bonnie Dee to read that NONE OF YOU HAVE READ. Hah! Neener, neener.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

okay I think I understand RWA

**PAN (published authors) will be open to any writer who's made 1K on a book. Publisher doesn't matter. Us already joined types don't have to prove our income.

**All of PAN writers' print books will be eligible for the RITA

**The new standards for publishers will toss out EC and Samhain and anyone else who doesn't pay advances: 500 for a novella and 1000 for a novella. "Tossed out" means that they won't get appointments or spotlights at the conference for free.

It's fair, seems to be as inclusive as possible, and I think the board deserves a bottle of wine, dammit. I bet they're deep in some of those blue cowboy drinks I've been hearing about.

I also bet this means the number of entries to the RITA (it's limited to the first thou? 500?) will be reached within the first day the contest opens.

Did I get any of this wrong? Tell me! Or don't bother, after tomorrow morning [cue jaws or maybe psycho music] I'll be on the road. Whinging. Did I mention we're back on Sunday? That this isn't a big deal? Not to you, maybe.

UPDATE: Carrie at RWA explains it all. GO see her at Bam's place.

who won the passionate ink thing?

I was a finalist in the best novella category! Did I already post about that? I bet I did but yay, again. (I never got a cute lil button like last year, so you'll just have to take my word for it.)

I've heard bits and pieces about RWA's decisions about epublishers and lots of sad people ranting...but I don't feel so much as a twinge about it.

I did rant this morning on a loop. Oh, did you drop a hat? did someone in the background clear her throat? is that a small nod? no? It's just the light? Too bad, I'll post the rant anyway.

I read about the whole RWA thing and about how some people wearing pink ribbons get treated like second class citizens and I'm reminded once again that no matter how hard you try, chances are, validation ain't ever going to come from the outside world.

If you write to be an Author, then you'll probably get some fun lifts now and then--the first glimpse of a new cover, contest wins, a letter from a fan--but those lifts are not going to come very often. Most of the time you're going to get the usual: rejection, snotty letters about missed commas or "they didn't say okay in 1910" that you can't even answer because then YOU look snotty, more rejection, the realization that you spend way too much time alone, stuff like RWA nonsense or the line "when are you going to write a real book" to a romance writer.

RWA's current shit is about Authors, not writers. [actually I think it's about publishers, not individuals] It's just another one of those "not again" things. Too bad, since the organization is supposed to be supportive, but I imagine once this settles down, no matter what, there will still be the great parts like the local chapters, the online chapters and the access to good resources. All the real reasons to join an organization like that to begin with. Some of the frosting will be gone, but the cake is still there. (ugh)

Anyway. The point to my rant, other than the fact that I don't operate without coffee, is that in the long run, this is just another reminder that if you go into the business of writing books to be an Author, you're going to be buffeted and knocked over all the time. I think there's only one way to survive and that is to concentrate on the writing. If you go into it keeping your eye on the main prize--which is always the story and your characters--you can stand this sort of crap for years and years and years. Write the books, fall in love with the stories. Skip the rest when you can--unless you think you have what it takes to spend a lot of time dealing with people and can be a politician then by God, go run for RWA's board, please.

where's the damn coffee?
Kate

* * * * *
And I get that this "don't go looking elsewhere for satisfaction" applies to all sorts of things. Not just when it comes to writing or the RWA.



Although definitely when it comes to coffee because my coffee-making ability is sometimes piss-poor. Hit or miss with the coffee

To be truthful, I appreciate this board of the RWA because I know and like some of them, and because the more I know the more I think thank god someone's willing to deal with this stuff.

Although my advice to them would be Study The Brits! The RNA seems to know what it's doing when it comes to membership.

And the Brits rock because they voted Nell Dixon Winner of the Romance Prize 2007. Yay Nell DIXON!

Thursday thirteen--things I hate about our upcoming car trip

1. our 11 year old van is cranky and due to blow up someday. Isn't tomorrow Friday the 13th?

2. kids won't agree on what tape to listen to, ever. Never. Ever. Even when they all want to hear the same thing, they won't agree on principle.

3. someone stole our portable TV/VHS tape player a few years back.

4. someone usually gets carsick.

5. that someone is usually me.

6. and a kid.

7. and, if he makes any gross sounds, the kid next to him.

8. Poor Mike has to fight his instinct to be like Mitt Romney. Not with the dog jammed up on the roof, but with the "we're not stopping except for gas, no matter what, hold it in" thing.

9. we don't have Uncle Andrew coming along this time. We hope he'll be there next time, the lucky, lucky man.

10. no dog this time, so no excuse to stop and go for a walk. (attention burglars. The big nasty dog is going to have a big nasty dog sitter staying with her. They will both be eating all the Eggo waffles from the freezer downstairs so your best bet is to lock 'em down there)

11. I can't leave my maze, don't make me leave my maze, I don't want to go, you can't make me go, stop it, I wanna go home, get me out of this car/strange place. message from my brain/body to me 24/7 which makes me a less than effective parental unit but a fairly efficient whine dispenser. This one might be more appropriate heading the list labeled "Thursday Thirteen Reasons Why Mike Hates Traveling with Me"

12. who's going to protect the nearly ripe peaches from the squirrels? (oh. the dog, as usual. But still... what if it all needs to be watered? the dog and the dog sitter aren't going to water the garden)

13 chocolate melts and gets on the steering wheel

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

another Summer book

LOOK! It's up so I can point to it. Heck, I think I'll lift the cover and put it here. Pretty cool, eh?

It'll be out in September in an ebook. I haven't gotten my edits on it yet and now I'm nervous. The Infamously Evil Angie's the editor on this one. Maybe all the partying at RWA will make her mellow.

Of course now there's a lot of hyperventilating going on about the latest shifts in RWA's publisher recognition, so who knows what Dallas is like. Wait, I do. It's hot and humid.

everyone's off at RWA

and I'm left behind with a bunch of story and novel starts that are just a little off. Not quite there yet. Probably, due to some plotting issues, will never be there. No point in finishing any of them, even the one that's 50K.

I think I'll go stare at some peeling paint (there's a lot in the bathroom) and feel sorry for myself.

oh, and it's too damned hot.

Monday, July 09, 2007

stolen from jmc

My Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom is:
Lord Voldemort discovers Jesus and becomes a Bishop by clever use of the Goblet of Fire
Get your Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom

Sunday, July 08, 2007

You know what I love most about wikipedia? The solemn pendantic tone people employ when discussing subjects like Hard Gay.

It is now common knowledge that Hard Gay is not in fact homosexual nor particularly outrageous, but a rather ordinary male comedian portraying a character. Television programs in which he has appeared have increasingly made reference to this, and he himself has significantly reduced his comic gay mannerisms in live appearances on variety and other types of programs.

Sumitani’s supposed
homosexuality was exposed as a gimmick when he was caught in the midst of a date, with Japanese actress and swimsuit model Anna Suzuki, whom he has since married. He has been criticised for his stereotypical depiction of gay men and for building a career on parodying a social minority with bizarre and extreme antics.

Also the fact that of course they have an article about the guy. Duh.

fooo!

TJ over at dynamic trio has discovered the pitchman of the century.
The bit where Hard Gay plays red light/green light? Yowza. This is been on the web for a year and I'm only just discovering him. I feel so rooked.

OOo I just realized that I can embed him here! From Keith Olbermann to Hard Gay Ramen. Wow. (warning: perhaps not work safe depending on where you work.)


More updates: HOoo There are all sorts of Hard Gay videos. Hard Gay cooking with kids. Hard Gay on fathers day. Wow. The man is Big in Japan. (isn't that the Tom Waits song?) My son says that's so disgusting, turn it off, for the love of God.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

the end of the world is here

ESPN2 is featuring Rock, Paper, Scissors championship. No, I shit you not.

mike: this makes my eyes hurt.
boy1: it makes my brain hurt.
mike: Instant replay? Who the fuck are all those people?
boy1: They must be drunk?
boy3 wanders into room: What's that they--
boy1: shh shh, I'm trying to hear this. That guy's a longshot? Wow.
mike: You're right. Look at all those beer bottles all--
boy1: shh, shh. Fifty grand is at stake tonight? Go Landshark! Won it with a scissors.
me: For god's sake, turn it off, Mike, he's starting to pay attention.

Mike switches to Red Sox.

boy1: Actually I saw that in a Far Side. No really, I'm not kidding. A Far Side comic about competitive rock paper scissors. My brain hurts.
mike: Why were those people there? Why were they clapping?
boy1: My brain hurts. (whimpering) You know what's even worse? I really want to go back to that to see who wins.
me: I knew it.
boy1: I hurt on the inside. (more whimpering) Turn back. I want to see the interview with The Landshark.

red sox goes to ads, channel are switched.

mike: Go Landshark. I'm rooting for the Landshark himself.
me: stop watching it. Stop it. No!
boy1: He balked.
me: STOP IT! stop WATCHING IT.
boy1: shh shh. Apparently this guy has a trademark thumbs up with the scissors.
me: No, this is too horrible. I'm going.
boy1: You're not going. You're watching this.
me: Why?
boy1: Just be quiet. We have to decide if watching this or poker is worse. . . . Look, he so did NOT win that round.
mike: Sorry, Kate. It's like a car accident. We have to look.

On the other hand



I made a special award for myself. See?
If you made the list, feel free to steal the award for yourself.

Heck, steal it if you feel like you deserve it or if you just want it. It's not like the award says which Karen I'm talking about. If you have a friend named Karen you might want to get her to make a list of "Authors Not.... " and put you on it.

Happy Emily Litella Day!

That has to be it. Someone forgot to notify me to be on the alert for EL moments. Damn them!

Question: how many times in one day can a woman mouth off on the internet and then figure out she got her facts wrong? Or didn't read that which she mouthed off about well enough?
Answer: many more times than you'd think. At least three, which makes three feet jammed into my mouth. Next time I won't revisit the scenes. I'd rather not know I'm a fool, thank you.

I don't lose sleep over my fucktardiness moments at least. Used to be I'd wake up at 2 am and remember something that happened ten years earlier and get embarrassed all over again. Hot nauseating embarrassment or guilt. Talk about a useless exercise. I'm having a major ELD today and I won't do gerbil wheel brain about it. No, I'll rant out in public instead.

Fine. Okay. Now that I'm through bashing my head against the wall, the immediate end of pain will be good. Boy three and I (poor lad also has that self-loathing gene tripped in his make-up) will go to Sears and buy a stand for our new hammock! yay!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

screw politics

Linda wrote a nice review of Revealing Skills here.

If I get my act together, maybe my thursday thirteen will be thirteen nice things people have said about my books. It would definitely be an entry designed for me--something to look at it when I get rejections or almost worse, the prolonged silence.

This July equals three years? Four years? Since I sent a partial off to Time Warner. Last time I checked (back when they were still Time Warner) they said no, they hadn't lost it.

anyway, the writer's mantra:
Remember, a rejection or a bad review is just one person's response to your work.

And all good reviews reflect the response of thousands of readers. Don't ask me how that works--it just does, okay?

Linda said she liked the climax of the story which other reviewers have said sucked doo doo, or words to that effect. **

So there. Neener, neener.

_________________

** enough reviewers said it that I started fret mode. My rule of thumb: One person says somthing sux, you shrug it off. Two, you wonder. Three you start to fret. Four, you stop reading anything that could be a review.

Thursdayness and a touch o' politics

Maybe I'll do 13 later.

I'm being besieged by boys and dogs and hiding isn't working today.
It's all because my dog has an overactive anal gland. Whoowee, now that's a cause for lots of turmoil and the need for mom to get over here and smell this eeeewwwwww ....

Have you seen Olberman's response to the non-pardon of Libby? The man's articulate when he gets all self-righteous. Honestly though, he's a dreamer to think the commutation of Libby's sentence is going to matter to most people. If the draft is reinstated or if gas prices go up again--then we'll see some major public outrage.

Speaking of high horses, I wrote a long rant, posted it at a political site and it got deleted. I have no idea why it's gone...Guess the author (Lanny Davis) isn't fond of bloggers mouthing off. I wasn't mean or anything, though I did say that Tony Snow has to lie for a living. (And what a horrible job Snow has.)

Hey, there's a thing to embed videos in blogs. Maybe I'll try that.

did it work??? IT DID!

Oh boy! A whole new world has opened up for me. A world that will allow me to lose the few readers I have because who has time for this video shit?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

yay, fireworks


boom!
teeny tiny irony alert: I just noticed that I lifted that image from the South Ayrshire Council in the UK.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I know why the President chose this week

I mean why now to commute the sentence of Libby?

Easy.

1. It's a holiday week so everyone's more interested in fireworks and brews than news
More important:
2. Colbert and Stewart have the week off. He knew he wouldn't get any real heat.

Monday, July 02, 2007

SBD UGH

Why do I do this to myself? I knew I'd sit down and read the damn book cover to cover. Why did I have to start it at six pm?

That means, now, as I compose myself for sleep, I have vivid descriptions of maggot-infested bodies in my head. The science and sleuthing and fascinating descriptions of both are all gone. Poof. Nope, the murder, decay and empty eye sockets remain at this time of night. Putrifying, stinking flesh.

And let me tell you something else. Romance just doesn't work immediately after reading Death's Acres: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab The Body Farm.

Damn you, corn dog and your niece, too. Oh, she actually took a tour of the place didn't she? Well, then.

Also? Images of Patricia Cornwell's fame and wealth haunt me. She should give me a bit, too. Just because she has a ridiculous amount. (Sounds like she's a superb researcher though. Wow.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

yooo hooo, oopsie daisy

Did you know you won the pimping the contest part of my contest?

It was a while ago--I think you were on vacation.

So writers and others, tell me: When you run a contest how much trouble do you go through to track down the winners?

I have to admit that a couple of winners never notified me after I notified them, and I let it drop. I suppose if they ever contact me and demand I hand over the loot, I'll give them what they won. Even the woman who won a copy of Somebody Wonderful when the book came out. Practically an antique by now.