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Thursday, November 29, 2007

grrr, standard edition

I wish someone would come pick a fight with me.

I'm in the mood and I could use the blog traffic to prove I can do PR. No one sez the attention has to be positive, dammit.

Hey, look at me, I'm an ASSHOLE works.

THURSDAY THIRTEEN--Jackie Ivie


Jackie has more energy in her pinky than I do in my entire bod. She is what my high school pal would call "a craaaaazy woman!"--you have to say that in a voice filled with awe and envy. Things happen to Jackie Ivie. She is a grandmother but probably the hottest one on the planet. Handsome men she's never met walk up to her and suggest she spend the rest of her life with them She's what a romance writer is supposed to be: bubbly, gorgeous, exuberant and slightly intimidating. Or maybe that's just cause she's tall? Also, she's a really good artist.

Thirteen Things about Jackie Ivie by Jackie Ivie:


1 - I live in Alaska. All that sunshine in the summer and all that that warmth, and the scenery - and I'm telling you Alaska has no equal. Here're a few truisms.

This time of year...:

The break of dawn is something like...11:30 a.m.

If a tree starts moving, it's connected to a VERY large moose.

Studded tires are legal in mid-September until mid-May! ...because you just never know when it might snow. Or not.

And get this - Anchorage Alaska is in the Top ten cities with the most gorgeous men. That's right, ladies. And heck, I didn't even vote in that poll!

2 - I'm sort of a busy sort. I usually have something with me to do. And so many things going, that I call myself the Queen of Unfinished Projects. It's a curse...and it's fun. I crochet, research, knit, write, draw, write, play piano, classical cello, read, write, do cross-stitch, play with and walk dogs, and did I mention that I write? And this is in my free time.

3 - I work full time. As a manager. Of a postal station. It's a fairly large postal station. I consider it more of a coaching job, and I have a complex, wonderful team. They make me look like the wizard of management most days. And the rest of the time, somebody is messing with the scoreboard or something.

4 - I am a grandma! My oldest son, Josh, and his wife have blessed me with two lovely grand-daughters and a grand-son, (and they're Texans! Isn't that rad?)

5 - I'm extremely near-sighted. That's right. Without my contacs I have a range of about 2 inches that I can see clearly. OK. I exaggerated. it's really only about 3/4 of an inch. I've been in corrective lenses since the first grade. (I was 6). Now, THAT'S near-sighted! I wear reading glasses atop my contacs when I sew, read, write, do computer work etc. etc. When I'm wearing my "real" glasses and my reading glasses, I look like something out of a science movie. which does bring me to #6

6 - My son, Ben. He's cute. He calls me "super geek" in my double glasses. He's a 6 foot, 6 paramedic up here, and I'm biased, but he's definitely one of the afore-mentioned Anchorage Alaskan males. Single still, too, ladies.

7 - I have four children. Two sons and then two daughters. I had them four years apart. I thought it would make it harder for them to fight. (It didn't. All that happened was the winner was decided from the outset. They were bigger), I also had this idea that having each child in their separate time would make each phase longer-lasting and enjoyable (which was true - and yes. even the teenage years. Add that up. 4 kids, four years apart. That's 22 years of teenage parenting)

8 - (this is starting to be about kids, but hey, I have 13 items). Kim is my oldest daughter. She's in college, studying all kinds of things that would never appeal to her mother. Biology, science, stuff like that. She's very talkative. When her little sister was born, she once complained to me (she was about 5) that her little sister was always trailing her and following her and listening. And I asked her if having her own personal fan to hang on every word was a bad thing. She thought about it, brightened, and I don't think she's ceased talking to her sister since.

9 - and the baby is Jolene. (yes. We have the Dolly Parton song "Jolene" on CD. Her friend even put it on her IPOD). I instructed that kid to cease growing up and stay exactly like she was, but she just couldn't do it. She's priceless - but all of them are.

10 - I have the entire Barbara Cartland collection - the numerical ones published by Bantam. They have their own cabinet! I loved those romances when I first found them as a teen, and I didn't stop collecting them until I had them all. I still read them sometimes (in order). They take about 60-90 minutes to read. Each. Great quick escapes and they're still chock-full of of what I call "historical tone".

11 - I was the editor of my Middle School newspaper. (I was the shy geek). I got the highest position in our journalism class by silent vote. We'd write daily observations as an assignment and then get them critiqued. Kind-a like romance writer groups do now. Hmm.....

12 - I never quit believing. Ever. I knew my books would be out there. I just had to close my eyes to see myself walking into a bookstore (incognito) to just smile and walk the aisles and there I'd be! That was my vision. For 22 years. It rarely dimmed (although it did waver), but I knew I'd be there. I believed it so strongly that it was a surprise to receive a rejection. (and I got a lot of surprises, believe me.)

13 - My husband is NOTHING like my romance heros. (although he is 6 foot 7 inches tall. There the resemblance ends) Every single hero I dream up comes to life from what the heroine needs/wants/desires. My heroes have to be the "larger-than-life", "alpha", "always wins no matter what the odds" type, and that takes rippling muscle (lots and lots of that!), great legs (I write kilt-clad Highlanders, you know) eyes so soulful, they'll melt hearts, and a visage handsome enough it gets them sighed over, and often embarrasses them. And then I'm putting them in breath-stealing scenes with a heroine strong enough to tame them. Until these two, who are so perfect for each other, reach their HEA.

Oh yeah. When that happens, Jackie Ivie is a very happy woman!

updated with link to Jackie The Goddess of Steam article and a random picture of Jackie I stole from her flickr account.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Speaking of Sharpe

Check out this cool charity auction she's doing for Ember. It'll help people and you'll get to do that read-through thing versus the drip....drip....
Own a whole copy today!

What I Want Doesn't Change from Year to Year

ring ring
caller id: The Overlords of Publishing
me: I've been waiting for you to call back. Good job on Lofty and Sharpe, but you haven't done anything about the other requests I made.

OOP: We have misplaced the list.

Me: Yeah? Like those two publishers that have lost my manuscripts? Three manuscripts gone. Do you know in four years, two have gone astray at the large place that shall not be named but has had two names in during the years they've--

OOP: Look we don't have a lot of time and we are so very tired of whiney writers, so unless you have--

Me: Okay, here's my list. You'll get these people fresh contracts asap. Got a pencil ready? Okay. Nancy Butler, Megan Frampton, Myretta Robens, Nonnie St. George--

OOP: Wait. They write quiet books with practically no violence or sex and absolutely not a vampire in sight.

Me: You're right. No vampires. Plenty of tension, though. Tension should be enough for some books. Not every book has to move at the same breakneck pace and not every book has to have loads of action or sex. Stop ignoring the quiet ones, dammit. And give them better covers, print runs, distribution and store placement for God's sake.

OOP: Is that all?

Me: Go find Emma Jensen and beg her to write again. Same with MacAvoy. You KNOW my list. I keep giving it to you over and over.

OOP: Sigh. Are we doing anything right?

Me: You were right about Pratchett and I'm sorry I sneered all those years.

OOP: So pleased you're not totally snotty this round. But we must say we're surprised you're not on and on about yourself.

Me: Oh, I'm not done. I want a multibook contract for me, natch. Something like Sally's would be nice. Print books, I think, with ebooks coming after that. And I want gorgeous covers that have something to do with the inside copy. Pay attention to this bit: I want real publicity I don't have to pay for OR organize. Don't get all huffy. I promise to take part. I'll brush my hair and teeth and show up if someone points me in the right direction. But hells bells, I'm a writer, not a PR expert, Jim.

OOP: What you are, Rothwell, is a dreamer, or idiot. You pick the label you want.

Me: Pish tosh, as Evan says. Only a couple more and I'll let you go. The form letters to Doug have to stop. And I wonder if you can get readers blog to write positive posts about historical writers who get the facts absolutely right or--

--Click--

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

several things

Huh. Blogger keeps sending me my old posts via email. Maybe it's trying to spit them out.

Vote in the contest. Now.

***
Yesterday I screwed up. I left a comment meant for a particular post not only at the wrong post but the wrong blog. But this made me wonder... could one guess what blog a comment comes from? I can think of a few places that invite a very particular sort of response:

1. That's way more than I want to know about snot or viruses. Get back to butts, okay?

2. LOLOLOL, oh you're so wonderful when you're horrible. {{{grovelling}}}}

3. But once you've got that mousetrap attached to the nipple, is it possible to add a little electricity?

4. No, don't hold back. Why don't you tell us what you really think about South Florida drivers?

5. 1980s mantitty again? You're too good to us.

can you match the (pretend) comments to the blogs? Mistress Matisse, SBTB, ferfelabat, Miss Snark, Doug-----but jumbled. Which goes where?

***

Also an update from someone who has a clearer memory for family lore, a better version of the original greyhound bus gift story, as described in the footnote of this blog post:

"David, pick up your goddamn greyhound bus"
"Oh no, Mommy, it's not my goddamn greyhound bus, it's your goddamn greyhound bus."

The wrong family member blogs, I think.

Monday, November 26, 2007

some more pimping for free events

Have you read more of Bettie's story or are you waiting for the whole thing? I suppose either way works, as long as you do eventually read it.

If you're getting into this creative writing shtick, go check out Petunia Happenstance's Reboot contest. It's funky, it's interesting. You can Win a pretty book.

You are aware that PBW features the best free advice / news / John and Marcia snark but it's nice to be reminded that she's out there.

Any more fun contests and events out in the world? Authors wanna pimp your contests? Go ahead.

Vote in MY contest (below) so some lucky talented winner will get a fine array of valuable prizes.

The contest is over

Did I say when I was going to JUDGE the puppies by the 24th? Huh? Did I? It's tough! You guys are too good. And it's come to a eenie meanie minnee mo thing. So I'll post the four and you pick the winner. Remember, the contest was A Big Secret and points for 400 words or less and for not SAYING exactly what the secret is. Bonus for babies.

I found it hard to resist Doug's entry, but it came in at 419 words. And I rooted for Jesus Mary and Joseph but I figure one per author. I know I said as many entries as you wanted, but that's because I want to read them.

I love how perverse you people are.


#1
James looked at me and, his deep blue eyes never wavering, and said, "I have a secret."
My mouth went dry. James had always been the one for me. My heart mate. My destiny. Searching for him after he left town had taken all my time, money, and energy. Now that I found him, I wasn't about to let him go.
"You're married. Is that it?" I managed to keep my voice level.
He said nothing. Reached into his pocket. Pulled out a silver tube. Opened it. Put slick red lipstick on



#2
"So, it's been a while. Whatcha been doing?" He scuffs the pavement with a Converse All-Star.

"Nothing much." Her arms are crossed. He glances at the phone in his hands. Where is the bus? He wants the bus to come and rescue him from this. When it comes, they will get on and he will mumble 'nicetaseeya' and sit far away from her.

"Where are you going to school?" There is a textbook clasped against her breasts. "Modern Busin..." is all he can read.

"Night school," she says. Her tone closes that particular subject. In her senior year, she had been planning for pre-law.

He remembers her pale face lifted to his in the half-light of the television the last time he saw her. He remembers her whispered goodbye, the hollow ache of unresolved lust in his balls. He remembers her bare shoulders. Her naked breasts. Her white, smooth belly, so promising above the line of white cotton underwear.

"You disappeared," he said. The blood of year-old anger pulses in his face. "Said no because you were a virgin and then you just disappeared. Nobody knows where you went."

He looks up. She is wearing a short black leather jacket. Her face is mask above the textbook.

"I left for a while."

"Where?"

"None of your business."

"I loved you." He makes sure the past tense is emphasized, trying to dig the words into her.

"You're eighteen fucking years old. You were just horny." Her voice echoes from the plastic walls. Beyond her, over her shoulder, he sees the bus coming. But he doesn't want it now. He wants an answer.

"I loved you." He says it again, and this time he is pleading. "I just need to know why."

"You have no idea what love is." She gets to her feet and walks onto the bus. He follows. His bus pass will not come out of his pocket. He pulls at it, and then when it finally comes free he holds it out with trembling fingers to the driver, who nods permission.

He turns down the aisle. She raises her arms, lifting the book to put it on the overhead rack. There is rush of ice through his chest, choking him: across her exposed belly, white and pristine below the black leather jacket, there are red and purple radiating lines, marks as old as motherhood.


#3
Rogue Tok-hunting conventions were usually a drudge. But this was different. He was different, leaning against the stone wall, apart from the crowd gathered around the banquet table, all six foot-XXXL of him, wavy blonde hair carelessly tied back, feral gleam in his eyes, leathers from old century Earth.

Her heart raced as his gaze slid over her. She was a plain woman and this wasn’t a look you gave a plain woman. It wasn’t a proper look you gave any woman.

She held a kibbymorsel in one hand, and with the other she felt for her weapon, holstered above the slit in her gown. This unconscious action should’ve been a cue. One of the ancient philosophers—Plato? Freud? —had said something about the unconscious. Like listen to it. But as he approached, all she listened to was her heart, whooshing in her ears.

With an evil smile he took her kibby from her hand and ate it. His careless confidence was like an intoxicating scent and she had this crazy urge to press herself to him, breath him in, dig for bare skin under all those outworld weapons and leathers and give herself to him right there.

She’d never experienced a man acting so entitled; it felt dangerous, erotic. She even asked him at one point: Do I know you? She’d let him isolate her by then—along with two steaming glasses of Veek—in one of the dark nookbooths of the cavernous arena.

Yes, he whispered, warm in her ear, as he undid the complicated ties, trembling with hunger. She was hungry, too—it had been so long. Vaguely she wondered, as she traced the coy line of hair from his belly button to his leather pants, if he was one of those one-true-mate guys her girlfriends had warned her about, but it was too late. She’d always loved the point of no return because decisions got easy after that. You went forward. If he was trouble, she’d handle it later.

He yanked off her gown, upsetting a glass of Veek, splashing his old-century leathers.

“Shikes!” He stood. “Veek! All over my leathers. And this is a designer shirt!”

She grabbed his collar. “It’ll come out.”

“What if it doesn’t?” He exclaimed tearfully. “And now the moment’s ruined!” He stormed off.

Yeah, she knew him all right: roguish fun on the outside, but on the inside…she whispered the words…


#4

No one must ever know,” Erick said.

“But we have a chance. Really we do. Things are changing.”

“Not that fast. Not yet. Someday maybe. But not now.”

“You have to give us a chance. I love you.”

Erick’s smile was sad. His face pale above his black shirt. His dark hair a bit longer than it probably should be. He worked at his cuffs. Checked his buttons. “I love you, too, darling. But you have your place. And I have mine.”

“Are we over?” she asked. Her heart hurt. A painful beat in her chest. Her throat closed and she swallowed the sob that threatened to rise.

Erick took her hand. Kissed it. Even in her sadness, Mary felt her body respond. The quickening in her belly. The urge to clamp her thighs together. Her thoughts turned to their private times together. The tangled sheets. The murmuring. She shook her head to clear her thoughts. “Not unless you give me an ultimatum. I don’t want to lose you,” he said.

She bowed her head and her vision blurred with tears. She would take him any way she could have him. She would stay in her place and he would stay in his. They would remain each other’s secret.

There was a knock and she blotted her eyes. “Come in!” Erick called, releasing her hand. He was fastening his collar as Don stuck his head in.

“Did you get lost?” he asked Mary.

“No, no,” she laughed. She watched Erick put on his vestments. Made sure not to stare too openly. “I’m coming. Just discussing the upcoming Christmas Bazaar.”

“Come on, sweetheart,” Don said to Mary. “Let’s not hold up service by talking his ear off.”

Mary started toward the door.

“Women,” Don said to Erick. “You have to deal with them all the time. Especially this one,” he joked, putting his arm around his wife. “I don’t envy you.”

“Oh, I don’t mind at all,” Erick said.


HEY YOU READERS! PICK THE WINNER BY DECEMBER 1!!!!! cast your vote below or email me. If I see multiple votes coming for the same story from the same computer....tsk, tsk

Saturday, November 24, 2007

shhh, it's okay

On Thanksgiving day I had to go buy last minute cheese. There I was standing in line at the Overpriced Fancy Grocery store, when a woman walked into the store. As she passed the flowers and the checkout line at least three other women in the line (they knew each other.) began to vent.

Omilordyinheaven, you'd have thought the newcomer had come in the store naked. Or maybe holding a bloodstained knife. No one over the age of ten should wear them was the nicest thing the group had to say. **

The woman walking past wore Crocs.

This isn't the first instance of Croc-hatred I've witnessed. I don't have a pair, but here's what I know about them. They're shoes. That's it, just shoes. But for people who care, they are a crime that should carry a large penalty. And those who insist on wearing them shall be cast out of society and scorned. Maybe be forced to sport a big lime green C on their chests?

I save my vitriol for important things, like the shoes at the bottom of the stairs when I trip over them. Or the dog when she loudly slurps her butt for more than five minutes. Or people who slag off on other people about goddamn clothes. What I'm saying is I'm not immune to UAS (useless anger syndrome).

But honestly, I do want to avoid causing others to have apoplectic fits and therefore don't want to wear dreadfully inappropriate items in public. I know I'm too old for jeans but tough, I'm not giving them up. And I know those thick fleece-lined suede boots are scorned but I'm not buying new boots until these wear out, which should be soon because they are cheap rip-offs and not real Uggs.

Anything else I should never be caught dead in? Low slung jeans were never part of my life so don't worry about that, fashionistas. I need to know what item of clothing causes you to grow faint with horror or loathing.
_____
**now that I've thought about it for more than five minutes, I recognize the intense croc-hatred had to be an aid for these women. I mean last-minute shopping on Thanksgiving? Tension, anyone? They needed a common enemy. This allowed them to relieve built-up tension with zaps of hatred aimed out instead of inside the family. That croc-wearing woman might have prevented a family feud that would have lasted generations.

When auntie Matilda spilled the gravy on the best tablecloth, again, because she was drunk, again, Mother didn't explode and throw the potatoes at her. She hefted the dish but then . . . "No! Honey! At least she doesn't wear crocs like that lady in Whole Foods," aunt Julia whispered.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen Reviewer Mel Gallopavo

Meleagris Gallopavo specializes in book reviews.

MEL SPEAKS:

You'll note that many of my favorite books are vegetarian cook books. Seriously, with all the stories you hear about corporate poultry farming, who wouldn't want to try a little tofu?

Anyway, I'm not much of a writer myself, but I know what I like. Here are thirteen books I've encountered lately These works range from the inspired to the obscene.

First a note about books for young people: There are many, many children's books devoted to saving the turkeys this time of year. I love these stories. Let me just make it clear: Mel. Loves. These. Books. Too bad the spirit of the oatmeal or soap turkey, as illustrated in A Plump and Perky Turkey, doesn't linger past grade school.

Though I applaud these stories, most of the books ignore the underlying tragedy of the turkeys' plight.

Sure, go ahead and mock their battle for survival. Run, run, run, terrified turkeys. ha. ha. ha. Nice illustrations, though.

1. Ten Fat Turkeys: Fun time with ten turkeys who really enjoy life.

2. A Plump and Perky Turkey. What is it with the obsession about turkey's weight? Look to yourselves, readers.

3. Dav Pilkey can't go wrong with him, except with that underpants thing he had going.

4. Ancient Turkey. A big disappointment. Nothing to do with the plight of aging poultry. We hope someone addresses this serious subject eventually, viz, there are no ancient turkeys. I know what I'm talking about.

5. At $192 (only $174 used), it's pricey, but well worth studying. This sort of book should be a bigger seller. As one reviewer said, "This book is hugely impressive. Anybody at all who is involved in poultry health, in the widest sense, should have this book at hand." Avian Pathology

Just be glad I didn't list any of the books about avian flu. That stuff is Hot Zone scary--only guess who the bad guys are in these books? Hint: Not the idjit farmers.

6. An Abomination! What kind of literature is this? Ten issues of a magazine devoted to hunting one species? Ridiculous. One has to wonder what sort of new material the editors can find ten times a year, year after year. Find a turkey. Lure it to its death. Over and over. But I'm not curious or sick enough to crack the pages of this obscene publication.

7. 103 Uses for a Turkey Fryer. I am delighted how few of them involve turkeys. Jam, lobster, all sorts of good things. Mmm. Lobsters are just like big bugs and as any cognoscenti knows, bugs are mighty tasty. But at the moment. Oh, you won't find jam in one of these fryers today. Oh, heavens. Today, I have but one wish for you people using one of these things: May the flimsy legs of the device crack and break and spill hot oil all over your new deck.

8. Thanksgiving Mice. I haven't actually read this one. But a search inside uncovers the truth: the word "turkey" does not appear. I have to applaud the fact that in this story, at least, "Thanksgiving" and "turkey" are divorced.

9. Over the River: A Turkey's Tale. A poignant fantasy of the perfect sort of Thanksgiving. If the two words must appear together, allow it to be in the spirit of this book.

10. Mollie Katzen is one of my favorite writers. Here's a collection anyone can love. I'm still so stunned of some of the books out there [kate adds, very quietly: check out his blog on Amazon. Good advice in there. I'm following it today. Alton Brown may suggest brining but this guy says skip it and since Jim, our turkey, is 22 lbs, there's not enough salt in the house.] The last three I'll review can only be soothing to the spirit.

11. The Almost No Fat Holiday Cookbook: Festive Vegetarian Recipes. Plump turkeys? Ha. Not here, baby.

12. Vegetarian Celebrations.

13. My very favorite! Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook. Buy it, treasure it and above all, use it.


Thank you,
Mel

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Contest Etc.

Thanks for the book recommendations! I know they're great reads because I've read just about everything you suggested except the Tiffany Aching books. Yay! Something new to pick up. Uh oh, this time of year, it can't be for me. I do hope the boys don't mind yet another a Greyhound bus** Christmas present.

I resented the hell out of To Say Nothing of the Dog because I'd just finished writing a manuscript about a time travel bureaucracy when I read it. And Willis's book is so good, and funny and Wodehousian--so much better--I had to hate it. (It did make me go back and try to read JKJ's Three Men in a Boat again. Nope. Still can't stay awake for that book)

Speaking of good reading, go look at the entries. THE CONTEST IS STILL OPEN. And pity the poor fool who has to pick the best three. Make it more difficult by adding more great entries, eh? Contest ends in a few days! Work on it! Do it! Write it! Four more, three more, two more....

Then you guys have to pick the best of the three.

Rachel or Alan: if you guys are reading this, and your family hasn't gotten an effusive, happy thank you note from my kids, let me know. The Gift will be put on hold. Tough love. Also please tell your mother I want a lottery held because I want a goddamn present and I don't want no stinking greyhound bus neither.
_________

**family saying meaning "gift bought for self and disguised as gift for another." Based on incident that took place 55+ years. Boy bought mother toy greyhound bus for birthday present. Later, Father stepped on bus, said "boy, pick up your damned bus." Boy's response, "it's not mine, it's mom's." We have long memories for small matters in our family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Since Summer Still Sells

Summer has to think this Kindle thing is good. Look, a couple more of her books are up at Amazon again. Good! Yay! Bring them all on!

Kate isn't selling at the moment, and she is aiming at NYC. That market is getting scarier by the minute, so she's terrified by the Kindle thing. Eeeiiii, says Kate. Yet another reason for them to say no to me. There're always more reasons to say no! So many changes and a general shaking up and publishers scurrying around in fear. They'd want to avoid printing more books by mid-listers.

This is when I'm glad I'm two different people in the writing world. I only wish I was real enough to be marching--not scurrying--with the giant rat.

I hope Eddie, a stagehand striker in NYC, doesn't mind if I use his rat photo.

But listen, this important: Did you know there is some guy who rents rats? Yes, a man makes his living renting out inflatable rats to striking workers. The rat represents management, see. (Mike was appalled. I guess he is horrified by the fact that there're enough strikers at any given time to support a rat rental man. Or maybe he thinks the rat is inflammatory? Or maybe he doesn't like giant rats?)

I love it. I can't decide if that rat makes me proud or prouder to be an American.

Not my fault. I blame my mother--my wobbly roots are showing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

SBD--end of the Ankh Morpork road

uh oh.

I'm nearly done with Terry Pratchett, as in I'm running out of his books. Astoundingly, I am NOT done loving those books. Even though, duh, he's got repetitive character types (Cynical, corrupt, weary sergeant with the uncorrupted heart, naive but powerful young male, all-knowing, mysterious, cynical puppetmaster, petty stupid gods, etc.) I am not annoyed by any of them.

I can't remember ever managing more than five books by an author and not getting fed up with him or her. Either style or repetition got to me. Not the author's fault, for heaven's sake. Books aren't supposed to be read like that. Total Glomming is unnatural! It's like hearing one person's voice droning on for days and days and days. I think I did manage a Total Glom with Heyer but petered out when I got to her mysteries.

But anyway. You'd think Pratchett--especially Pratchett with his winking, obvious author's intrusions and his footnotes that require me to find my glasses--would be on the list of writers who'd be annoying after three or so books. How about forty something books and I want more?

I don't want to go back to romance for a while, maybe next week.

So what should someone who's done all of diskworld in a couple of months move on to next?

Actually I have a bio of Boss Tweed lined up. That might be nice. My kid bought it and he's almost done with. Some people like to go to games with their kids or to art galleries or malls together. My oldest kid and I share a joy in corrupt politics. I'd bet he's all for reading about Nixon, but that's too real for me. Ugh.

Friday, November 16, 2007

happy goddamn friday

I broke a record today. FOUR REJECTIONS in one day. Now that's a record I hope remains unbroken. For me and for any of you, too.

Do you know what I did in response to those rejections? I have a system and I followed my system. I stopped work, ate chocolate and sent out four more queries/manuscripts.

Today even the choccies were bad. They were almost worse'n the rejections. It was crap left over from nutrisystem box.

This writing life is no fun today. I think I'll go to the library and suck in some words instead of spitting them out.

two more random alerts

both of these are old biddy sorts of info. Doesn't mean it isn't valuable, okay? One doesn't sneer at the wisdom of Mrs. Cosmopilite.

ALERT ONE: Freecycle is great. I just got a month's worth of nutrisystem diet stuff from someone who'd ordered it and decided she didn't like it. **

this leads to:

ALERT TWO: Nutrisystem food, at least the batch I picked up the other day, is Horrible. Thank you, Sue! I'd wondered for a long time about one of these diet plan thingies. I'm too cheap to buy and this was free so why not?

This stuff tastes worse than cardboard and I should know because I eat cardboard every morning (13 grams of fiber!) and rather like it.

I'm probably going to freecycle (ahhh, new verbs. always a fun way to torture language purists) this big old honking box of meals. Maybe it'll make its way slowly around the Hartford area, down a dinner here and there, until everyone who ever thought about ordering this crap is . . . satisfied. No wasted money, no wasted "food."

________
**Her husband suggested they save it in case of some kind of emergency. The stuff doesn't need refrigeration, after all. She pointed out to him that he'd eat the dog before he'd touch the Nutrisystem boxes. Apparently he agreed because that stuff went out of their lives and into mine. (It's not a large dog so they'll only last a day or two.)

I missed thursday and here it is, Friday?

My Thursday Thirteen author files died with the reformatting. The gap between how organized I thought I was and the actual truth is deep, wide and scary.

I knew I'd have to reformat the damned new computer. I thought I'd gotten everything off. I'm down a couple of synopses and a lot of emails and I suspect the latest draft of at least two books. Not really that bad because nothing is close to finished at the moment.

So authors! Kathy Love and a few more of you out there. Write to me. And other authors, you, too.
Why do you want us to write? asks Selah.
Oh. Right.
I like featuring authors every Thursday. I've had
Leigh Wyndfield
Shirley Jump
Charlene Teglia
Bonnie Dee
Jackie Kessler
Flo Fitzpatrick
Julie Cohen
Rob Preece
Sandy Blair
not in that order (and maybe more)

Here's what I want: Writers who have more than one or two books out there. I like having a mix of print and ebook authors, well known and Relatively Fresh New Voices.

Why do I want authors with more than one or two books out there? Because. For those first couple of books it's new and interesting being an Author. After that, you might burn out on pimping yourself unless:
1. you've got professionals helping you or

2. you're really good, like Bianca D'Arc or Alison Kent, or Beth Williamson or Mandy and Michelle all of whom, I swear, are not only good at promoting their books but seem to enjoy the process--which is part of being good at it, I suppose. They're professionals. Hey, if one of them wanted to be a Thursday Thirteen writer, I'd be glad to have them just to see if some of that mojo rubbed off.

The mojo hasn't stuck yet, but at least I don't wake up on promo mornings feeling slightly nauseated.

The one thing I still kind of like, on occasion, are the chats. They can be the business, especially when they're not mine. Lots of fun to go to a chat of a friend, unless she's a popular writer and there's that moderator thing going. Then it's all,
"I'm your number one fan! Thanks for letting me ask a question? who's your favorite hero/writer/color."
"where do you get your ideas"
"Yo! Fishface! What's with that TSTL heroine in that last book?"
"kate_r if you don't stop interrupting you'll be banned from the chat."

Bah.
For some reason, I don't get chat alerts from my friends any more.

RANDOM but REAL CHAT ETIQUETTE ALERT:
A writer should never, ever, never promote another writer who isn't the one featured. Maybe the author of the evening will ask another writer about her book (it's the polite thing). Even then, after you type a couple of lines, you direct the attention back to the author who's waited a couple of months for the damn promo event.

I wandered into a chat where someone said, hey the book you're promoting tonight sounds just like one I wrote. and then WHOOOPS she went off on the book SHE wrote. And on another night someone went off about her favorite writer's work--just happened to also be her crit partner's stuff.

I might be guilty of bad manners at chats but at least I don't do guerrilla marketing on someone else's time. Sheesh.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2.5 things

one about you
one point five about me.

1. yes, please enter the contest as often as you like, within reason, whatever that is.

2. my current favorite song is Ruby because the lyrics are about empty headed love and it's got that catchy refrain. Also it's short and anything on Guitar Hero III that's short wins my vote.
2a. This fave provides more confirmation that great depth isn't part of my personality package. My first confirmation came when I went to art museums with my mother and looked forward to the cake in the cafeteria more than the art. I enjoyed the art and sometimes (like during a big Gauguin show) I forgot about the cake. But not for long.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

why haven't you entered the contest?

What's your excuse?
Well?
You might write 400 words about WHY you WON'T enter the Contest. Or you could enter the contest.
Any minute now I'll design a button that'll knock your sox off. Hey, and I will give away Bosnian Sox. Even Bam doesn't do that. Heaven knows I have enough pairs of 'em.

so LOOK!
You'd win:
* a pair of Bosnian Sox
* a book with a Big Secret in it (I have one all picked out) or one of mine.
* $20 to spend on more books with or without big secrets.
* A gorgeous e-button declaring you are a champion pro writer.

cleared to do lite exercise

I am celebrating. Note to self: never again whine about exercise. At least not for a week or so. Plus the month-long headache is gone. I am standing down from code red. (The doctor said, "Call 911 if you get a headache. Call 911 if your chest hurts. Call 911 if someone looks at you funny...Okay, now let's check that bp again. Huh. It's gone even higher. I wonder why that is?" My bp was at 200/113 at one point. Generally lower than that, but not enough)

I think I'll do one better than Homeland Security and step all the way down to code chartreuse, a sort of yellow green. Mostly yellow and not green. My green days are over. Ahhhhh, salad days behind me, days of nothing but salad ahead....

Monday, November 12, 2007

unforgivably bad writing

warning, a political thingy. Also, it will make your jaw drop. I'm serious.

The poem that showed up in Pakistani school books spells it out.

Officials claim it was just an amazing coincidence.

Here's the start. See if you can figure out allllll the first letters of the poem's first lines. If you can't guess the secret behind the rest of the excrescence, and you want to, go ahead--read the whole poem at the BBC link above. Be prepared to feel ill, laugh yer ass off (or perhaps applaud?) I guess it's a success as a work of art because it's guaranteed to have an effect on most peeps.
THE LEADER by anonymous
Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to meet every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.
Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn't conform to the usual mould,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do,
Never backs down when he sees what is true,
Tells it all straight, and means it all too.

Winning the war on terror, one hellacious poem at a time. Ah, propaganda! Their hearts and minds are ours!

**UPDATED: I finally read the actual date of the article. December 2005...Okay so you get the news late at Kate's place, but it's still news of a sort, eh? I found it on some librul site somewhere (huffpost) and now that the blogs are playing with it, I hope there will be some fine poetry produced in response. Oh, boy! That will be fun and probably just as excruciating and forced as the original Work.

Yo, the fact that many people still respond to it with fear, loathing, amusement etc is yet another sign that this poem is Real W of A. It stands up to the test of time.

sbd--as usual, a whine

Dear Publisher,

If you're going to publish historicals, for God's sake hire someone who knows the time period to look at the manuscripts. Seriously. I'm not a member of the Historical Know It Like the Back of My Hand** Force but I've been reading your books and finding mistakes that even someone who's read a couple of non-fiction history books years ago can pick up.

No, I'm not asking this for me. Potatoes in the wrong era never turns a book into a wall banger for me. But you must know Those People Are Out there and They Care Deeply, especially about those Regency set books. Take the time to appease them, for there are many members of this Force and they will buy books from the good publishers and trash the inaccurate ones all over loops.

Look at it from their point of view. If that world is real to them, then when the mistakes are jarring, they'll be pulled out of the place and they'll resent paying for something they consider shoddy. A person who cares about that sort of thing-and there are many out there--is going to Never Ever buy another historical from you again when things like this slip by:

--a character travel from London to Yorkshire in less than two days
--a character in Scotland talk about eloping to Gretna Green.
--marriages in England take place in less than three weeks with no possibility of a special license.
--a stodgy old noblewoman says "bloody hell" and no one raises an eyebrow. (Imagine your prim old granny saying "fucking sonofabitch". See?)
--characters casually addressing one another with Christian names on first meeting.
--No excuse for messing up this one: all those damn Lord and Lady and Your Grace blahblahblah things. There are online resources for who calls whom what. (this from a writer who's screwed it up more than once. But how about this--I'm embarrassed when I do that, and I thank my lucky stars I show my ms to people who know that sort of thing.)
Of course a few mistakes are going to get past even the best of the person you hire to proof these things. But you'd have made the effort and that's worth something. It's showing respect for that picky, devoted band of readers who seem to care more about the book's setting than the author or editor does.

PLUS there is nothing more satisfying than being able to write a "thank you for your interesting note, and I can see that you love details too. That's why I think you'll appreciate this link to the source that states that in fact that sort of device came into use six months earlier. True, very few people had them! However as you can see. . ."****

Okay publisher...can you see I'm asking you to hire the picky proofer for those readers but mostly for YOU? If you want a reputation as a great publisher who cares about the quality of your product, don't keep getting the potatoes wrong.
_____
**yes, I wrote Historical Police Force, a common name for the people who read historicals and write notes to the authors. ("on page 55 you use the word "cosh" which isn't listed in the OED as in use for another decade. And then on page 104...") But then I realized for once I was being sympathetic to their cause so I should be nicer.

****That's almost, but not quite, as marvelous an experience as writing to contest judge who gave you a 69 out of 150 [also known as THE WORST SCORE IN THE WHOLE CONTEST] and who told you your book was unpublishable: "thank you for the time and considerable effort you devoted to my entry. I thought I'd let you know that before the results came back, this book was accepted for publication and will be out in mass-market paperback next year."

One of the sweetest moments, ever.


Ah, memories.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

headline news

Loyalty is Considered Key in Heroism.

now there's a fluff veteran's day piece. But it explains why the heroic cynical loner is the more intriguing character. Someone who works against his natural instinct is more interesting than someone who jumps in like the family dog. Not that I think pack animals are no fun, but there's less thought involved.

On the other hand, for hero, you can't beat that Tom Hanks character. So never mind.

Which sort of character do you prefer?

And do you find yourself a sexist about it? In other words, is the concept of a loner, damaged male more interesting appealing than a loner female? I think I used to be wary of those damaged women, long, long ago, but then the Gratton** Grafton's character came along and so did all those other tough female cynics. And what works in mysteries trickles down to romance. It goes both ways, of course. (As soon as one mass-market trend successfully hits a particular subgenre, it'll work its way over to another. Seriously, look at all the chick-lit mysteries.)

_____
**sorry, Vivian!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

forget Curmudgeon

and even Baroness pales
when compared to my new title**--the one I'm stealing from Beth:

Foul-Mooded Generic Citizen
_______
**or maybe she pales when she realizes she's lost her knickers and has been impaled.

aha, news alert

I should have known from the tone of the NPR thing that Mailer was dead. I didn't listen long enough to figure that out. Bye, Norman Mailer. Thanks for the Village Voice. Other than that? Dunno.

two minutes in the car with a curmudgeon (in training)

Radio announcer: our guest is mumbledyIveforgotten noted expert on Norman Mailer . . .Mailer was really the very first literary celebrity. I suppose it could be argued that Ernest Hemingway was, he became famous and learned to use the limelight.

Me:
First? Bullshit! What about Dickens, eh? His tours of America? Ha! Or Mark Twain and his white suits? You’re full of shit.

Radio:
...Mailer invented a new form of literature, combining the creativity of fiction with non-fiction.

Me:
Oh you are so full of it. It wouldn’t hurt to know some history of the trade, ya moron. Those Victorian papers could make a break-in sound like a death scene in an Opera. Why don’t you do some research, you—

Kid in back seat:
Can we please listen to music? It's too early for this.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--Leigh Wyndfield

Before we get started with this week's author, housekeeping.
1. ENTER THE CONTEST. I mean, honestly, just because the current entries rock doesn't mean you should give up. I'm counting on you--don't make my numbers look bad in comparison to that Bam.

2. Speaking of Bam, chapter two of Bettie's book is up. Go get hooked.

I've only read the first couple of chapters of one of Leigh's books--I've got another on my tbr pile and it's rising to the top. I know I like her style because I want to read more of that first story (tough shit for me, it' s not finished, yet) but that's not why I'm putting her in. I'm doing it because I flipping like her. I've even talked to her on the phone and she's got this glorious southern accent--and she's funny for other reasons, too. Here's why she's up today of all days: she had TWO BOOKS out last week.
Overachiever.

Two For the Money at Loose-Id
and
Desert Heat at Samhain [okay I like 99.9 percent of Sammy's covers but ...what is that guy looking at?]

UPDATED:I've started to read Desert Heat and HOLY JEEBUS, IT'S HOT, and what's particularly appealing is that she shows us two main characters who are strong people. No victims here. Okay...shhh. They're in the cave and about to get to work.



Thirteen things about Leigh Wyndfield by Leigh Wyndfield:
  1. I love my two cats more than I love most of my extended family. Even the dumb one, who is currently sitting with his tail in my ice cream.
  2. The second I’m alone in my house – I mean the millisecond the door shuts – I rush up the stairs, turn on the water in the tub, find a book, pour a drink of some sort and jump in. Then I carefully watch the clock while I take a bath for the whole time people are gone. Minutes before they return, I jump back out, drain the water and dress. After six years, I suspect my husband is on to me, but I’m not completely sure and he’s never outright asked.
  3. My sister is a wonderful artist. When we went on long trips in the car as children, she would spend hours drawing really life like versions of me with a pig nose or greasy hair or a million other variations which have left me with serious hang-ups to this day.
  4. When the phone rings, I often don’t pick up. It’s not personal, I just don’t like talking on it unless I’m in the mood.
  5. I have a fetish for purses and shoes that I must control ever since I quit my job to write full time. Let’s face it, no matter what size you are, your purses always fit! [editorial aside: Darla, Shirley, Beth and many others praise The Shoe. Makes me wonder what is it with footwear and writers? Perhaps my lack of shoe obsession is holding me back--kate.]
  6. I hurt my back so badly, I lost half an inch in height. I wasn’t all that concerned until I went to Weight Watchers and found out I have more weight to lose. What a bummer.
  7. My grandmother was a serious packrat and sadly, I’ve inherited her tendency to horde. Recently my best friend came over to help me do a clean sweep on my closet which still had skirts in it from high school. I ended up sneaking a couple of them back out of the bags for the Goodwill after she went home.
  8. I just had my website rebuilt by a professional! Check it out and let me know what you think! www.leighwyndfield.com
  9. When I get stressed out, I eat sweets. Lots of them. With whipped cream on top! I gained ten pounds recently when we moved. Don’t send me emails saying you can’t tell. The scale doesn’t lie.
  10. I have two step kids whom I adore. Except when they roll their eyes at me and give me smart-aleck answers, then I remember why I decided I didn’t have the patience to have children of my own.
  11. Every year, I complete my Christmas shopping by the first week of December, wrapping and all. That allows me to relax and enjoy the holidays. [editor's note: See? what did I say? Overachiever.]
  12. My story ideas always come to me when I’m laying in bed, half asleep. I see my stories like videos in my head and will jump up and run to my PC to write the story down before it fades away. When this happens and I’m not at home, I’ll spend hours in hotel bathrooms, writing on scraps of paper until the whole scene is recorded, then I can go back to sleep.
  13. After saying for years I would never write a ménage, I wrote a ménage, once again proving the old adage “never say never.” TWO FOR THE MONEY just came out on October 30th!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Signs You're Becoming Too Picky

You stop reading a book less than a chapter in when the author uses the words "tup" and "aye" several times on the same page. Maybe the next contest should be whiny nitpicks?

(Sign #2: You Give Up on a Book when a main character looks in the mirror so the author could jam in physical description. Whilst in heroine's POV there are words like "lovely, silken mane" "deep hazel orbs" etc. Maybe that one doesn't go under the heading of "You're Too Picky")

But no, it might be more fun to do a Early Signs That Indicate You Might Love a Book contest. (Sign #1: the author makes sly, tiny reference to a movie that lasted two weeks in the theaters and that you loved)

Go ahead and enter my other, real contest but seriously, can you think of anything that you know will be an instant turn off or turn on for you as a reader?

work, work, work.

Early Signs That Indicate You Might Hate a Blog -- sign #1: blogger makes obvious attempts to gather comments.

okay, we can stop holding our breath

She's back.

Monday, November 05, 2007

yeah, the end of the contest

It will end the end of November. So you have to enter by, ummmmmm November 24 so I can put up finalists and let you pick. By then I will have nabbed a judge, figured out a system, decided how to do it, I hope. Even if you don't enter, read them because there are good ones already. Yay!


. . .and I wasn't going to do the LWRanting thing, but this is too good, because anyone, right or left, might wake up at 2 am and try to figure out WTF? Is Reese being subtle? I think he or she is an Onion writer who got bored. Being gay has nothing to do with gay sex, dammit.
I'm currently straight out of Harriet the Spy. Remember the old lady who lounged all day in bed until her doctor told her she had to stay in bed all day? She was out of there like a shot. My doctor said I can't go running until my blood pressure's gone down, and now all I want to do is go running. I'm not out like a shot yet, though.

I read some essay a while ago.... hmm. Do we call blog posts essays? I think not. If you don't get paid or school credit for it, it's not an essay.

Okay I read this thing a while ago that said that Harriet was gay. The gist of the thing was because Harriet was sort of a slob and wore the same clothes over and over she had lesbian tendencies.

Now I can't find the damn thing. But here's what I know: If usually not giving much of a crap about clothing is the main indication of lesbianism, I don't have a straight bone in my body.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Combination post! Rioting AND LW Rant

Naw, I won't bother reprinting. I mean someone else has gone through all the work and I got nothing to add, so just go look at Lisabea's blog post about Suze Brockman.
okay, here:
Summary of Suzanne Brockman statement:
what part of love don't you understand?

Summary of the information in the post:
Suzanne Brockman is wonderful.

don't forget to enter the contest--link on the right. (Yeah, too lazy to even link the contest.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

PS Bettie Rocks

and while you're over looking at Bam's old contests, which really are fun (see my promise at the link on the right?) read the first chapter of Bettie Sharpe's story.

Actually if you were me, you'd wait the ten agonizing weeks for the whole thing to to be out because you'd hate that drip....drip....thing with serial stories that hook you. Instant gratification in necessary when it comes to a good book. If you were me, you'd have the attitude of screw you, Charles Dickens.

At the end of a single chapter, I keep hoping the rest of the book will magically appear. This book by Bettie hooked me good.

OR maybe you could email Bettie and beg her for the story? Offer her riches; offer her writing contracts (and feel free to throw in my first born child with your offer. He's stealing his brothers' halloween candy and causing much unhappiness.)

And has Carrie announced the title of her coming Kensington book yet? I'll go see if it's up at her blog. . . .

WRITING CONTEST FOR NOVEMBER

[standard writerly whining removed.]

I love writing contests. Over at my old blog, I used to run a fifty five word contests and "compose the back blurb" from photos and, yes, indeedy, it was much fun.

But I'm not going to reinvent a contest this time; I'm going to Steal One. Welcome to November's
UNTIL THE RETURN OF BAM
WRITING CONTEST

Here's the deal:
Go look at Bam's old contests.

You enter 400 words or less. If you put in 500 words I'll know and I'll leave you up but you probably won't be a finalist. We're not all about the rules, but there might as well be some way to eliminate the thousands of entries we'll get.

Heh. Once I ran a Best Reviews contest no one entered and I kept opening up the thing. First it was romance reviews. Then anyone could enter. Then it was fine, go lift something from Amazon. I don't give a f***.

Bam hated WIP things (um, oops. I didn't notice that rule once) I say if it stands alone without a sense of wtf?, and if it works, okay.

Here's November's topic: Revealing The Big Secret. You get points for never actually saying outright what it is. Show don't tell, baby. Speaking of which, there was some thought to making it a Secret Baby, but heck, you do your secret. Maybe you get points for making it a Secret Baby just because anyone who can write that well deserves points.

You win a twenty dollar gift certificate to Amazon or Samhain (I'm cheaper than Bam). AND you win a book. I have a beautiful pile of them and you get to pick one. And you win the glorious button that I'm going to make eventually to proclaim to the world that You Are A Professional Award Winning Writer. Hey, you won the contest and you'll paid for your writing, right?

I'll be back later to tidy up details but now I have to go do errands. Also put your entries in the comments below.

UPDATE: What is with this finickiness about a deadline? Sheesh. Submit all entries by November 24

Thursday, November 01, 2007

THURSDAY THIRTEEN....SHIRLEY JUMP, finally


HOW many weeks have I said I'd feature her? (Don't count, it's a rhetorical question.) Anyway, she's a gracious, funny best-selling author, and we like her. The word gracious sounds snotty. Friendly and warm--that's better. And the fact that she's attractive isn't relevant, but it's true. I'll have to go dig up a photo. In the meantime, here's a cover.

Her first book was one of the first romcoms I read and I thought, hey, this genre will take over the marketplace! I love fluff and this is fun--who can resist a heroine in a banana suit? The genre isn't taking off as I'd hoped (I finished writing my first Flipside the week the line closed) but Shirley is flying high. That's good.




13 Things About Shirley Jump by Shirley Jump

1. I cannot pass a shoe department without stopping to look. My children have taken to attaching me to a leash when we go to the mall. My husband has threatened to affix blinders to my head. But I’m JUST looking. Honest.

2. I have an acute radar for the location of women’s restrooms in any building in any city, at county fairs, at other people’s houses. You could drop me blindfolded in the middle of Uzbekistan and I would find the ladies’ room in five minutes or less.

3. I truly don’t weigh what people think I do. Tummy Tuck jeans, girls. They are my bestest friends.

4. I am a total weenie when it comes to roller coasters, water parks, basically anything that moves and goes up high. I have been known to stand on a platform ten feet off the ground and pray, “Please don’t let me wimp out in front of my nine-year-old.”

5. I love the ocean. LOVE anything aquatic. Sadly, I live in the Midwest. The closest I get to the ocean is going to Lobster Hut and putting my hand into the lobster tank.

6. My sole mission in life is to embarrass my kids. I have been known to sing Barney songs in the halls of their school, hug them in public and actually say “I love you” in front of their friends. I know, I know. I’d be horrified to have me as a mother, too.

7. I am more of a cat person than a dog person. My dogs have yet to realize that and keep on giving me more love than the cat, thinking they’ve got it made.

8. It took me ten books and eight years before I sold my first book. I was either a very slow learner or a serious glutton for punishment.

9. I cannot hold a tune to save my life. I have no natural rhythm at all. My stepmother, however, can sing like an angel and once sang backup for Michael Buble. I try to stand very close to her in church so she makes me sound good.

10. I’m the oldest child. Which means I’m always right. (And to my younger brother, if you argue with me…you’re wrong, plain and simple. Because I said so and because that research on CNN said so, too. :-).

11. My favorite food in the entire world is pasta. Any kind, as long as there’s cheese involved.

12. I am one of those shoppers who goes shopping at five in the morning the day after Thanksgiving. I LOVE the challenge. Love the bargains. And I LOVE Christmas. From that minute until December 26th, I am all-Christmas, all the time. I’d wear a Rudolph nose if the kids would let me.

13. I don’t believe in any superstitions, except, oddly, the one about spilling salt. I think it comes from reading Thomas B. Costain’s Below the Salt and realizing what a precious commodity salt once was--and how your entire life could depend on a simple salt shaker. Or maybe I’m just hedging my bets. Just in case. ;-).

is it sad or a relief or both

me: I'm sorry I've been such a drag for the last week.
kid: I didn't notice any thing different.