Monday, March 31, 2008
Hey, guess what. Bet you can't guess.
I actually witnessed an orgy, long ago.
I sat and read a magazine in the room with the orgy-participants. It had started as a small party and ended up something more. I didn't want to join in but I didn't want to be thought a rude prude and leave the small apartment. So I really did sit, drinking rum with a magazine on my nearly naked lap (I'd gotten to the point of nearly undressing) and tried to pretend that magazine (I have no idea what it was but I suspect it was some Art Monthly thing) was the most fascinating bit of literature, ever.
I wonder how I managed to survive those years when I didn't want to have anyone think badly of me. What a lot of work and what nice people I met back then because if I'd met anyone horrible? I'd have been sheeple enough to go along. Baaaa.
Reading: Just listened to Topper which had some great moments of snark, but was more outdated than any book I've read in .... forever. It was set during prohibition and is almost all about drink and hussies (must be pronounced "huzziez" to get it right.) It's generally silly and I found it difficult to sort out the moments when the silliness was intentional and when it was Thorne Smith trying to be profound. Was it supposed to be racy or make fun of something that pretended to be racy? I don't know. The ghosts were inconsistent and that was annoying, too. Thorne was like a not particularly successful imitation of Booth Tarkington who's also outdated but still fun.
Oh and, say,** the dialogue, which was advertised as witty, is often mind-numbingly Dumb. The battling Kerbys were dull.
I forgave it enough to listen to the whole thing because of little gems--like the character whom no one particularly thinks about because he plays a clarinet not badly enough to be mocked and not well enough to be interesting. And I liked Topper's obsession with his cat, Scallops.
I must say that the movie with Cary Grant as George Kerby was way better, like a thousand gazillion trillion times better. Anything with Cary Grant would be.
I have to listen to books these days because if I sit down for more than a few minutes, I get hit with the damned panic. Hoo boy am I sick of the damned panic. Even knowing all the Great Secrets of Dealing With Panic (basic big secret: don't worry, be happy--rejoice in the panic cuz panic's not going anywhere, babee.) I can't seem to get cozy with it. It's even more tiresome than the bickering Kerbys and that's saying something.
** the characters are always throwing in the word "say." It's the "like" of the 1920s
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
But honestly, poor Summer can't remember to maintain tension. My current story is about 60K in and I realize no one's had a single thought of sex or bodies for twenty pages. Twenty whole pages--ten of those without sensuality, even! Even the non-Summer stuff doesn't go that long without a wink or a nudge or a pant or something.
I can only do so much with the layering (larding, one might call it). Someone better get turned on or this will never get the Summer Seal. And since Kate doesn't seem able to sell, Summer's carrying the water around here.
No, this isn't going to be yet another tired and tiresome whine about the escalation of sexxx in boookkks. Today isn't a day to kvetch about menages/mandatory butt sex/shackles for fun etc again. I'll save it for another occasion.
Right now I have to write an orgy. A subdued event--and only brought on by the terrapin soup.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Message from Debra Durham of Dark Eden Press
I don't often share much personal stuff about myself or what is going on with me, so I never thought I would be coming to any of you with this but sometimes life comes at you and you have to deal with it, and this is one of those times for me.
I could beat around the bush here but that's not me. You deserve the truth even if it is painful for me to talk about.
I have found out recently, very recently, that my cancer has returned. For those of you who do not know, this is my 6th time around with this in a little over 10 years. It started as cervical cancer 10 years ago and each time has gotten worse and spread to other places. I will be starting chemotherapy and radiation treatments shortly and as I have been through these same treatments twice already, I can honestly say it isn't pretty.
After discussing the issues and options with Susan and Billi, and then Gretchen and Brenda, it was decided for a few reasons that I will discuss below, that the only option was to close Dark Eden as of April 1st. I have to devote my energies and my time to getting better, and
to my daughter.
One reason for closing is the treatment plan itself. I will be in no shape to run a company, much less take care of anything else. Another reason is with Brenda having gone back to work fulltime, that would leave just Gretchen to do it all and as great as she is, she can't do it by herself. Billi works fulltime and does her business part in the evenings and weekends. Susan has health problems that she didn't have when we started this company and wouldn't be able to do what the things that I do. It was hard enough after the house fire keeping things running smoothly and even then they were getting some help from me. They pitched in and ran things beautifully after the fire but that was only for a few months, this would be for the next 6 months at
the very least.
The last reason is all of you. All of you deserve an owner who is going to be here, who is able to get the things done that need to be done. I don't want my authors trying to figure out why I haven't answered emails for a couple of days, or why royalties are late, or wondering when the things that need to be taken care of are going to get done, when the reality is that I will be too sick to do it.
I will spend the next two weeks preparing letters to release your book rights to you, doing March royalties, and closing the readers group. I will then begin shutting down all the DEP email addresses except for my own and forwarding all mail from that to my personal email address.
By May 1st, I would hope all payments have cleared the bank, and on that date I will also close the author group.
On a personal level, I feel horrible that this has to be done to all of you. I have come to know almost every one of you personally and I feel as if I have let you all down when you trusted me with your stories, and I am so sorry for that. You trusted in the fact that DEP would be around for a long while and now we are `one of those publishers'.
If you have any questions or problems, please don't hesitate to email me as I will be working to get last minute things tied up over the next several weeks.
Please feel free to post this on your blogs or websites as you see fit. I would rather have the truth out about why we are closing, even if part of it is a personal issue, than to have DEP's name trashed across the blog universe. Lord knows some of those people do not have enough to do but sit around and pick their next victim. I do not want it to be this company.
If I have not told all of you lately, it is and has been, a pleasure working with all of you gifted writers and DEP's fantastic staff.
Too bad I'm in a whiney mood so I'll probably end up going on and on about what I didn't like. Yeah, well.
It's in first person, and as Linda I always says that can be like being stuck in a car with someone talking on and on about herself. This was definitely a clueless narrator. Emily was supposed to be naive, though, and that helps the integrity of the book.
We get other, more balanced people talking at her, like her nurse, so, duh, it's not like we're supposed to believe our unreliable narrator. But because Emily sees people through a lens that's sort of flat, the people end up being ....not very complicated. Yo, stick-ish figures are okay if there's an emotional pull, but I didn't get it. Oh, except for her dad. I grew very fond of him and felt that emotional awwwww that romance is supposed to give the reader.
Her charming, horrible husband just turns horrible (at least he gets to keep his energy). The man she truly loves is pure good. That's fine if it was regular romance---escapism deluxe doesn't have to plumb depths, that's not always its job. But this was supposed to be more, maybe?
This is supposed to be more literary than formulaic, I think? Naw, it's one of those books that promises entertainment for the masses and yet offer more for the people who want to Something Worthwhile from their reading. A book-club book. In the end, it sort of fails, but only slightly, to fit the ticket for All of The Above. Hey, that's a big-ass ticket to fill and I can't think of anything I've read lately that fits those requirements. Lately being in the last year or so. (okay, so I think Terry Pratchett is stealth literature. But I don't see his stuff being discussed in book clubs.)
The character is passive through most of the book, but at last she grows. I think actually I was most annoyed by her emotional breakthrough which, as per usual, was all about Her. (Her past connects with her current situation and she suddenly gains the gift of empathy.)
But I'm glad I read it. The descriptions were lovely, the laboratory stuff, a hoot. Not the word I want, but I loved all the flogiston stuff. My first exposure to that theory. (I'm sure I'd be PO'd if I knew or cared anything about it and went looking for it because it ends up being window dressing.)
And despite my whining, I liked the main character's peculiar viewpoint and was glad to spend time with her. And here's a big-deal point: sometimes I had that oh my lordy lord she's good about the writer. That envy's important--it's always worth reading a book in which the writer puts words together better than I do. These days, I'm more of a reader though, so I can see past the words and want more, more, more all the time. Us picky-pants readers are like that.
UPDATED: And if I want depth and complex love and words put together almost too beautifully, I can read Beth's Easter reminiscences. I went over to brag about my finally doing a real (if half-hearted) SBD, and she blew me away. Never Mind.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
We were divided into three groups: all running, running and walking and all walking. I picked the middle bunch, running and walking, but it turned out I was exactly between the big group of runners and big group of runner/walkers. Not in a group after all. Ah well, it was exercise and I didn't trip on anyone else's heels.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
But then one of my dream agents wrote back at last and said, oops, yeah, I'm interested in representing you. Sorry I took so long to respond.
Dream agent. A woman I've admired for years.
Friends have said dump the newbie! Go with the dream agent! Nope, not gonna. I signed a contract. But I'm going to say waily waily waily a bit and crivens. And if this newbie doesn't sell in a few months.....then.... then....
I'll hang around a few more months. This is publishing for god's sake. No one moves fast until everything moves all at once.
And then I'll remind myself that not so long ago I was in despair of ever selling a manuscript or getting another agent and I say STFU, Rothwell. If I read this very blog entry by some other writer a few months ago, make that last month-- all "oh, dearie me! I have too many people longing for me!" -- I'd want to draw up a contract all right, but it wouldn't be anything legal.
***The boys are listening to a Terry Pratchett/Tiffany Aching book and Stephen Briggs does a fantastic nac mac feegle.
The hair? Who thought of the hair? And the wowza silly shoes? The Soviet RED ARMY CHOIR? Seriously, someone passed out after a long night (consisting of too much vodka and some kinda capitalist food--say KFC) and dreamed up this band combination.
When I was a kid, the Soviet Army Choir came to the Kennedy Center. The schmaltzy harmonies and songs like Meadowland [performed here by the Spotnicks, another seriously important group I missed] would get any ten-year-old, right? It made me want to turn commie. Just like the Beach Boys and the US Army and/or Navy band got me all choked up every 4th of July.
Their rendition of Delilah is ... it's just...wow. But I can only paste Sweet Home Alabama here.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Mmmm, salad out at a restaurant! Crunch crunch....pituoee--hey what's that weird bone-like thing?
First thought: Omigod, is that....that a tooth?
Second thought: How gross! I sure hope it's not someone else's tooth in MY salad.
Third thought: Wait, maybe I actually do hope it's someone else's tooth in my salad.
Fourth thought: Please let it be someone else's tooth in my salad.
It wasn't. Hey, at least it doesn't hurt.
Although selfishly speaking I'm glad to find out anything I can about every publisher out there, it's actually sort of reassuring that even in yahoo or other closed groups, privacy rules hold some power, after all.
Update: Okay now three people have told me that Karen's server does the "suspended" notice now and then. This might be yet another instance of me jumping to conclusions. All this jumping, my legs're getting tired. At least today the entry wasn't composed of Snit and Huffy Breaths.
This time I'm not putting in a picture of Gilda Radner. Close your eyes and see the face of
Another Update: Yeah, I think I found proof that maybe I was channeling Chicken Little again. Because the letter in question showed up here first and is still posted.
Yet another Update: And then there's this from Karen. Oh. Ah.
(kitty chicken little from icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com)
* * * *
What are you doing to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion?
Monday, March 17, 2008
But honestly. Thrilled to offer me a contract. Jeepers.
* * * *
Today's green for the obvious reason. Alas, this is the first year I didn't have a kid running around frantically looking for a bit 'o green to wear to school. They're all grown up, practically.
I get to go unashamedly green in here because my granny was Anna Morrison McCann. (We'll just pass lightly over the fact that she was actually Orange Irish.) Never met the woman. She died when my da was a wee laddie of four.
Okay how about this--I earned the green font because I worked at an Irish owned bar in Boston (Donny Hammond was the owner. And an Irish bar in Boston is more Irish than any in Ireland. Maybe even than some in New York). That's where I learned how to clean up green beer vomit so it doesn't stain the linoleum.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
If I had any gumption, I'd go nominate you all (okay, maybe I won't nominate you, CD, after the comment, though I do think you should get some kind of this is a Great Blog award).
2. Today I'm over at Hitting the Hotspot, inventing love holidays. I was inspired by today, which, as you know, is Steak and Blowjob day
Oh, 3.14...it's also Pi day! Happy pi day!
I'm rather smitten with my November 14 idea and might make up some cards for it. The October plan has the potential for even sicker and sadder results than Festivus.
3. Yes, the evidence is in. After getting a BOB nomination and a really nice letter from an editor, Kate is now strutting around like a rooster. Cocky, confident, and able to ignore the sore throat.
4. Only one boy is home today, btw. He's still asleep. Shhhhh. Fever-free and relatively perky for more than 24 hours, the other two were shoved off into the world to spread germs.
5. Megan, my kids say there's less violence in Supersmash Bros than in a roadrunner cartoon and it's even more abstract. I watched it for a while and the music got on my last nerve after a few minutes and it gave me a headache....but everything did yesterday. Otherwise, it looked like a pretty cool game. Seemed complex, though.
**or at least I think I did. Wasn't there a cute lil button with a rectangle head? I'm not seeing it over that page, but I'm not going to look too hard. I do have a life, after all.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The trouble is that after the Advil kicks in, they can move around far too easily. And they believed they're entitled to get to Do Things. Having a fever, they explain, means they're truly sick, not just staying home from school to be lazy. If they're capable of moving, they should be allowed to play on the wii all day.
Since there were three of them home from school and only one of me (feverish, snarling, sore throaty and headachy), they win. The wii is on.
And the rumors are true, I hear. Super Smash brothers is teh boss. The boys have been waiting for it since 2003, seriously, that's what they told me.
It's a brand new game and if we had those old fashioned thermometers, I'd be suspicious. . . As it was, when I took temps, I stood over them and watched and waited and grabbed the thermometer and . . .well. Okay. A day off for all. I sure wouldn't want to go to work feeling like this bucket of shite.
But, next time? Tomorrow? I hide the Advil and we'll all stay in bed and sleep.
We all got Real Flu once when they were little (today's featured disease is more like a bad cold). Mike was out of town. It wasn't a lot of work for me because they were too sick to play and none of us wanted to eat much. The four of us lay in the king sized bed together for a couple of days. A vague memory, friendly, despite the discomfort. We listened to books on tape because it hurt our eyes to watch television. Four lumps of mutual misery. If I'd been awake and alert, I think I'd have been worried about them but at the time I was just grateful they didn't want to move.
We tried some in bed togetherness at one point today. Umm. No, they're too big so we don't fit and no one agreed on what to watch on the tube. And the perkiest one drove the rest of us nutz as usual.
Back to the wii, then.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
If not life-altering, then for sure I'd want to get more than a couple of hot-babe induced cums. At those prices she should at least be cleaning his clocks and his house and maybe balancing his checkbook and ....
oops.... wife shit.
and also, come to think of it, hard to manage in a single hour by even the best professional.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I wrote this:
I'm taken aback by this public slap down by an editor. I think if the editor addressed it to writer wannabes, then sure, the snark tone works. But the people who work for her? In public? Did I mention in public?
The one time I did mention a particular publisher in this very not-very-widely-read blog, and slightly whined, I think I did a good job of disguising who I was talking about. I still got in trouble. I think that the hand slap I got in response was probably justified.
What about me, now, writing about this? I sure as hell wouldn't if I worked for them.
Yet now I'm suddenly feeling meta and looking in mirrors: What's ruder? Being rude or pointing out a rude act?
Aha! aka, the UPDATE: you can discover--along with Sam--Kate is a MAJOR GOOBER.
Yes, the editor is making fun of herself.
And you know what? This is such an example of bad, bad Kate that I'm so tempted to delete. The thing is I didn't read it right the first time and saw the snark directed at the people she was addressing. Plus I got this from a friend who will ne'er be named, who does write for them, and who was offended.
And now I'm remembering how this use of second person is an example STRAIGHT OUT OF PR classes (yeah, I took them in college and I did very well, thank you. Yet another example of how college and real life are not even remotely related.):::: Second person is powerful.
People see YOU and they get all skittish.
By "people," I mean me. And by "skittish," I mean stupid.
I got caught just like this
So the lessons we learned today:
1. Don't trust Kate to read things carefully even if she's a writer. No, do not listen to Kate.
2. If you want emotionally affect readers to such a degree that they might not actually be able to read what you actually wrote, use second person.
So today's snarky list is for the standard erotic romance. Yes, I've done a list like this before but I forgot a few elements. And I can only hope the boys are bored with the blog and won't read this entry.
I've read a lot of erotic romance for a contest lately (I KNOW, I know...I did swear off those babies, but this one is almost it, really) and so I'm writing this with some authority. The up-and-coming [snicker, she said coming] rioters prove I'm right--To Write this Erotic Stuff, there must to be at least six of these elements present:
1. Size matters--golly, yes it does. He must be the Very Largest, beyond her experience, and she must quake before the mighty maleness and wonder if it will fit.
2. There will be electrical charges between them when they first touch. Jolting. Surging. Zapping.
3. She will produce cream, or juice or slick feminine fluids and we will read about them. Sometimes the wetness'll be dribbling down the inside of her thighs because her juiciness is that awesome.
4. She will purr. Men don't, unless they're evil, wannabe rapists. (who also will laugh because there's nothing jollier than a rapist.)
5. Butt secks, especially if there's a threesome. I mean, yuh, duh. No one's going to wait his turn, right? And the threesome will be m/f/m. Always and always.
6. No mention of poo or poo smell. Ew. No santorum neither.
7. Oral sex isn't optional. No way they can escape it. She must marvel at his size and her power over this powerful man. No mention of aching jaws. He will love her flavor. LOVE IT. CRAVE IT. NEED IT.
8. She will be swallowing, of course.
9. Tasting themselves on each other's lips also mandatory.
10. Words that must appear: Hot, heat, slick, wet, moan, groan, pant, soft, hard, gasp, heat, heat, heat.
11. There will be a fabric mentioned whilst describing skin. Silk or satin or velvet....Not so much the brocade or woolies.
Oh, yes. Summer usually pays attention to the list, too. In her defense (and everyone else's) how many ways can you describe action without getting too abstract because abstract is so very out? And you don't wanna look too florid because florid is out too.
Uh oh. Look at the time! I have to go bug kids. Maybe I'll make this more original/interesting later, but I doubt it. We're out of dog food and some things are more vital than writing sex or rather mocking writing sex.
Even minus papa smurf and occasional bizarre sound effect, this remains something other than else. I mean, totally hip, daddy-o.
It's true what they say: you haven't lived until you've watched Raymond Burr ask, What gives with the squares?
Lucky, lucky us. We own that Perry Mason dvd. Don't beg--you can't have it, and slobbery, desperate begging is unbecoming.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Dogs that are brushed shed less. People who drink too much coffee get the jitters. Heavy grey clouds often contain rain.
Here's real breaking headline news:
My boy who just took the driving test passed. Oh. Golly. Oh, my gosh. Oh. Heavens. Shit. Wow.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
2. So what do you think of the little signature tags writers put under their names? It's all the rage. I expect there must be many workshops held on how to write damn things.
Remember the big deal a couple o' years ago? Suddenly we all had to learn how to write high concept taglines for manuscripts? Now you have to do it for your whole self. Everything you write. Silly summing up if you ask me, which you didn't. I like the six lines defining us but that's fun. This is just advertising and that's always eye-rolling.
Except the first one I remember seeing was "Get in bed with [author's name here], everyone else does." I really like that one. It's funny and catchy and if I had half a brain, I'd remember who she was.
updated to add: of course. I mean DELILAH DEVLIN! See, that one doesn't make promises.
Fine. I admit I loathe author tagline signatures. They seem silly and overblown and put me into curmudgeon mode .... But then again, I don't even put my blog URL on my emails because I don't like advertising.
In these matters I'm from another stiffer, less fun, more censorious century. And now I'lll glare at you all and say so what about it?
I hated most author tag lines until my friend Sunny ("laughs & love in every book"**) insisted I should have one too. She made it for me. "Quirks, Comedy, & Compassionate Lovers with Summer Devon" Since I don't think of my self as consistently comedic, she changed it to "Quirky & Compassionate Lovers with Summer Devon" Hmmm. Still. It's the sort of thing I don't mind other people saying about me, I think. But I don't want me to announce what readers will take from my books. And okay, I'm not sure my lovers are all so terribly compassionate.
Anyway, I doubt I'll use it consistently but I'm touched that she's read enough of my work to have a clue and that she's all around a really good friend. . . . And it's sure better than the ones that promise readers worlds and worlds of lust or universes of hot shapeshifters or parallel dimensions of endless, limitless love. Also I'm not leaving readers sopping wet or sighing for more.
Bah. It's extremely hard to be a pill about these things when people I know and like indulge in them. But still. You go ahead and have fun. Tell me what your writerly signature tag line is, okay? We'll mock it.
**true--at least the stories of hers I've read.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Sum up your lives in six words — no more, no less.
Here's some of what Doug adds:
This could have been mine:
Too much hair, then not enough.
I want to kick this guy’s ass:
Found my path. Walked it fearlessly.
I love the honesty of this next one. And, yes, it works for me, too.
The ones I come up with reflect a puzzled life. I figure that's what happens when you grow up in a family of smarty-pants and/or overachievers and then marry a smarty-pants overachiever and raise three s-p/oas.
Frankly, it is all about me.
I'm always the last to know.at Doug's mine was:
Huh? What? You say something?more reflections of my life:
Urine by toilets, only I care.here's a cheery one for a change.
The dog and I need exercise.
I write smut; it's usually fun.Here's my boy2's
all in all, an okay lifeYour turn. Leave them below or at Doug's or anywhere. Everywhere tiny pictures of your whole life. Kind of cool.