Thursday, July 30, 2009

silver lining shit

So I noticed on another blog that someone was talking about how hard it was to see an ailing grandparent who didn't recognize her any more. Here's a note I started for her but decided to post here:

I don't know if it helps to know this, but it did help me: At this point, your pain for your grandmother is way more severe or at least more of a continuous weight than hers is for herself. Both my parents went through dementia (my father's wasn't as bad as mom's) and it was horrible to watch, no doubt about it. But someone--actually several someones--pointed out that in the situation the suffering was way harder for me because I couldn't make the memory of it go away.

For instance my dad was in a wheelchair and a few times when I was visiting him, he'd ask me to "help me out of this chair." I'd have to point out to him that he couldn't stand up. And the look of horror on his face--I'll never forget it, unless of course I end up in the same condition. Point is, though I won't forget it, that horror came and went for him in a matter of a minute or two at most.

By the time my mother was going gaga, I'd usually learned to escape the horror by evasion. I couldn't pretend he could still get up and walk but I could say something like "why don't you rest here a minute or two longer." And hope he would forget he wanted to stand up.

Evasion keeps it easier. Soon after he'd died, my mother asked me where my dad was. You'd think I'd know by then to just shut up but I said without thinking, he's dead. Fresh huge grief on her face.

After that whenever she asked about him or someone else who was dead, I'd say stuff like "I'm not sure." And "I'm not sure, but I'm certain we'll know soon. I'm sure they're safe." Hey, it wasn't entirely a lie.

There's also that other part, them forgetting who you are. That's pretty horrendous. Not as bad as watching the complete loss of their personalities, but it's not a lot of fun. I think now that my own pain at that particular kind of dementia was, again, all about me. It was mourning. I got to see their loss in my life before they died and I was sorry to see that huge hole before it happened. When intact people die, the mourning is fierce and much stronger, almost frightening. When someone with dementia finally dies, it feels as if you're further along in the process--because you are. Kind of odd but I think it was the only advantage. I could function (sort of) more easily after their deaths than I could with other deaths just because it had happened by degrees.

Hey, might as well have some sort of silver lining to dementia.

At one point when I was ranting to Andrew (the BIL not son) about how hard it was to watch them slip away piece by piece he said something I'd heard before but the way he said it made me feel better. Something along the lines of dementia isn't an unnatural process if you think of them as going out the way they came in, helpless and minus the experience and the life. At least I think that's what he said.

That whole slipping out of life the way you enter it was something I'd heard before ...heck Shakespeare was on the case (in Lear? maybe?). But the entire lose of a personality in a living person had felt unnatural until he said those words. Then it felt cruel and horrible but not unnatural. Something about what constituted the soul fit into that discussion but damned if I know what it was. My memory's failing.

* * *

PS. The Alzheimer's Association. Learn to love them, use them, worship them. They are wonderful. Their reading material helps anyone who has to deal with dementia patients because ugh, the patterns are pretty much the same for most people.

Neither of my parents had real Alzheimers and only my mom (who likely had TIAs) had the nastier symptoms like sun-downing, but I still got a lot of information from them. I wasn't a primary caregiver--to be truthful, I wasn't even a frequent-enough visitor--but everything I read by them was wonderful. (I found them when I was researching an article)

Monday, July 27, 2009

two Amnesia books in a row! SBD

I didn't even know they were memory loss stories. I think maybe I wouldn't have read them if I'd known. I don't like amnesiac titles and there are two? And I read 'em both?

The interesting thing is in each book, someone lies for a big chunk of the book. There's a Mary Jo Putney historical up as a freebie on Amazon, and I found a Brockmann I hadn't read--so of course I had to load 'em up right away.

In the Brockmann, the hero lies by not telling the heroine that he's got no idea who he is. I get why he does that--he's got a lot of hints that he wasn't Not a Nice Guy in his past. Of course just like the actual memory loss, the lie goes on too long. I didn't mind so much though. I liked the characters.

In the Putney, the heroine lies by telling the hero he's her husband. Her lie helps her keep her house (kinda) After that she spends pages agonizing about the fact that he probably has a family somewhere and they'll be frantically looking for him but really, she's keeping him safe because he seems so secure about her.. I couldn't get past that lie. Once she finally gets around to telling the hero--right after they finally do the deed--he forgives her almost at once. Not me. I thought it was pretty unforgivably selfish.

So now I'm trying to figure out if I don't like her lie because I've got the romance reader Standard Double Standard: the hero can get away with schmuck behavior I don't forgive in the heroine. Although come to think of it, I didn't like the hero in that movie Overboard for the same schtick.

And I still don't like amnesiacs. Two DEM (deus ex machina) and while I seem able to believe people turn into werewolves and crash-test dummies, I have trouble with plots in which people with bad head injuries forget their past but behave perfectly normally for weeks and weeks (ie not have horrible fits and headaches and shifts in temperaments--like normal head injury vicitms). Maybe if it was a SuperDuperRayGun that sucked out their memory and not a bump on the head.

Yeah, yeah. I put an amnesiac in a book once, but her memory loss lasts a matter of hours and she only lost an hour or two of her life.

Anyone read an amnesia book they like and maybe even believe?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

almost time to raise money again

Actually I'm looking forward to the Unleash Your Story event because I really did push and get a bunch of chapters done during that month. I think. The sad thing is I believe I'm still not finished with that story. I don't blame UYS.

But come on, READERS and WRITERS!! you should sign on. It's hard to explain, easy to do.

Here's the part I should have been helping with and have been dragging my feet about. It's less than a month away!!!!

I need to find prizes for the readers and writers who raise the most money. Anyone have any books they can donate? Editors/agents? You guys have any time you can spare for critiques? Anyone want to send out some chocolate? Yum.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

excerpt from Taken Unaware

It's out in print so we're talking PROMO TIME!!!

So I posted a start to a hot alien sex encounter over at erotic muses, the first Mars Needs Women bit, soon after the vile in-breeding plan is disclosed. Only wait a sec, it would be ex-breeding because they want to bring in some new blood.

I actually skipped a little lot because Gack. Awk. Yikes. Who wrote that stuff?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

that time again

I think it's past time to post another pupper picture.

Did we ever see this arty portrait by cousin julia? It's one of my faves.

My once neurotic dog has turned far too mellow. When she's not biting her butt, she sleeps too much.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I THINK I managed to make The Rat Catcher a free Kindle book

I had put it up before but didn't like the idea of charging even ninety-nine cents for it. Then I noticed someone is selling a 30 dollar version of the lulu book (the one I made for a friend)


But maybe Amazon has changed its policy and I can put it up free. That's what I'm attempting even now. The little green dial is ticking around as I upload it.

Enough ancient history though. Rat Catcher is old. I need to write more better bigger brighter books. Huzzah!

Sorry I haven't been answering your emails, especially you, BD. I've spent today in a fog. Tomorrow real life begins again.

....and now I'm back!

I wish I could do a pithy review of RWA and give you scaths of wisdom that will help you and your writing career or at least tell you what was coming down the pike but I can only give impressions because most of my brain was shut down for the event. The good thing is that you can now go online and buy individual recorded workshops from the RWA site so you don't have to buy the whole thing. I know this because they announced it before all the recorded sessions. That bit of info sunk in.

1. The RWA bag this year rocked. It's so cool, a lady on the train asked where I bought it because she wanted one.

2. twitters really are a great way to get info. I sat in the rogue session about epublishing and the woman next to me was twittering. Her short synopses of the talkers' points were to the point and got rid of the superfluous (which I tend to latch onto Tangential Girl!). I didn't stop listening to the speakers but I did read over her shoulder.

3. that rogue session was good. I've gone to a fair number of epublishing events and there tends to be a defensive neglected step-child tone. Not at this one. It was professional and interesting. what did it say that was professional and interesting? Um. I bet someone like Dearauthor can answer that.

4. the PAN session about taking care of yourself and improving your work life was wonderful even though it was all stuff I'd heard before. Loudon? Louden? convinced me that she believed every word and I should too. So I did.

5. More people should have come to Kristi's thing. It was good. Except maybe I'm glad more people didn't because now I want to write a connected anthology and if it had been packed then thousands of people would be writing them.

6. I got invited to a couple of parties that I didn't go to and that felt very odd because most of me wanted to go. (I mean CANDY FREAKING TAN invited me. I love CANDY freaking TAN.) But the mom part of me knew that if I didn't do a better job of taking care of myself I was going to get sick and worn down. I usually leave that mom part of me behind when I go to these things. I wonder who the fuck invited her.

7. Speaking of Candy Tan, my 16-year-old found the Heaving Bosoms book and is reading it. He loves it. Now there's a demographic you probably didn't imagine would nab the book. He is seriously embarrassed by romance but this book is his idea of a good time. And he's a fairly typical nerdy boy--computer games, dnd, etc. I think maybe the publisher should be alerted.

8. I have no idea what the various houses are looking for. Sorry. My guess? Fresh new voices.

9. Oh, but sourcebooks looked pretty impressive to me. If they do even half of what they claim they do for their authors (promo data sheets etc), they're amazing.

10. the weather was gorgeous. DC in the summer? No problem.

Seriously....Let's dig up the information that will help you. Market trends, anyone? Maybe I'll go look at the rwa09 twitters. I bet the info will be there.

I have another long entry inside me all about how cool it was to see people I'd never met and people I haven't seen for years. But I got inspired by Louden enough to stay on schedule and my blogging time is up for the day. Seeing the debs is always a highlight. I think they're the reason I go.

Also if I write about the women who came to see me and who are my bestest friends in the world and was a serious highlight of that trip and....I'll get all verklempt. Thank you, Leslie and Gretchen. I love you. And Nan. I can't forget Nan and Ack waaaaaaah....

Monday, July 13, 2009

sbd reading stuff

I've given up on listening to a J A Jance mystery because the reader was so terrible. She mispronounced words ("unflailingly"), sped up at odd places, and occasionally sounded like she was chewing on something. I could hear the book pages turning. Now that one is "so what?" but yeah, it annoyed me. I had no idea I'd gotten so fussy about who reads aloud to me.


I read Passion by Valdez and wish I had gotten the Chase book instead. It was better than I expected, but it annoyed me. Big dick worship wasn't the part that annoyed me most. The whole sacrificing yourself for someone without telling them what you're doing--that's the theme that bugged me. Plus lots of purple sex. With the big, big dick.


Also. I think I need to stop with the romance for a while. I keep sneering at the whole made for each other thing. Not a good sign.


After a bunch of Patricia Briggs I tried to read a Layton I'd just discovered and the Layton seemed to drag. It's a perfectly fine boook but ooOH NO! I've been converted into a high speed action reader. Nooooooooo!!!!

Now I'm going to finish the Sonambulist before we get on the train for DC (ugh ugh ugh. that's for the trip, not the book) And maybe I'll try Agent to the Stars. These are actual paper books and everything else is going to be on my Kindle or the mp3 player. No more dragging along bags of books and tapes. I approve of this brave new world which means less back ache.

My middle guy and I will be in DC on Wednesday unless I manage to come up with a last minute reason to stay home. BTW, I hear there is NO FREE WIFI ANYWHERE in THE HOTEL Not even the lobby. Why is it only the cut-rate places give free wifi? Stupid hotel.

Friday, July 10, 2009

talk about backfiring

so yesterday my book came out. The one based on Daddy Long Legs and so far it's gotten one response. A two out of five star rating and this comment:

I love the book "Daddy Long Legs." It's one of my favorites. It's a charming and delightful read. The description of this book sounds as if the author has ruined everything I love about DLL. I will not be purchasing it.

I don't rag on readers but in this case I can make an exception because honestly, she's not a reader. Naw, I won't rag on her because opinions really are fine. My opinion? I wish she'd read it before doing The Big Hate thing.

I get the idea that some books are sacred and now I wonder if I've done a disservice to my book and DDL by mentioning DDL.

I loved that story too, a lot, and hoped that would come through if you read my book. But only if you read it. Granted Ben is no Judy** But I did try to emulate Judy's spirit of persevering though rotten times, her thirst for knowledge and finally a sort of coming to a new sense of self. Plus there's the whole who's the benefactor thing.

Elizabeth, if you're out there, I'll send you a copy of it and if you still hate it, then I invite you to write a long screed here and anywhere else. Heck, I've already published your criticism! You can just make it more detailed next time.

** I like these footnote things better and I'm on hold with Virgin Mobile.

Judy is a wonderful character but yes, indeedy, my hero is different. I figured it would be extremely icky if I made them alike. It's an homage not a rewrite. No one should attempt a rewrite of that story.

* * * *
UPDATE because I'm still on FREAKING HOLD.

and what is the language of this stuff? I've looked but not seen any definitive answers. here's what I think:
rewrite: telling the exact same story but with different words.
retelling: sort of telling the same basic story, but with twists.
inspired by (or an homage to) : can be hard to recognize unless you're looking for similarities
plagiarism: we're talking just exactly the can't do it legitimately...well. Okay, you can if you're making movies and you trumpet it to the world and pay someone the big money. (See "Sabrina")

Thursday, July 09, 2009

selling sort of

the part about me (this is a blog after all):
I've spent years trying to be honest and disdaining bullshit about myself. Other people, if they have a myth built up about themselves, that's their business and I'll support them. As long as their tales aren't destructive to others, I figure they are the kind of people who'll make life more interesting-whether their lies are successful or not. More power to them, actually, if they can build and live up to an image that is a little better and cleaner than most actual humans can manage. Or if they're not very good at it or just tell random lies, too--I don't resent them. Their not-so-great lies make them more interesting characters, and make their personalities a little muddy, which is always a good thing in my world. Another reason I don't condemn or point fingers, there's the matter of glass houses.

I was a liar for years and years and I wasn't particularly good at it because I didn't buy into my own lies and because early on, my mom, whom I respected to nth degree, called me on it ("we all know your teacher didn't really get married, dear") and said it was a bad idea. She did such a good job, by my late teens I got physical symptoms when I'd lie about myself. Exaggerate? Hell, yes. Every day in every way. But that's different.


the more interesting bit about an odd promo campaign:

I occasionally see instances where maybe a good lie would work. Or maybe I just mean staying silent is the best plan.

I'm talking about career, of course. Sometimes getting the truth out on the table is not such a good plan if selling books is your goal. Here's what promo people say and I'm beginning to believe: you want to let people think that everyone loves your books. You want to look successful because success sells itself. I don't mean all those people on twitter who say "I make 2000000 a day! You can too!" They're obnoxious. I mean just wearing success quietly, whether or not it's real.

I tend not to think in these terms, obviously.** But if I owned a marketing hat and I managed to put it on, I would think that using a lack of a new contract would be something to keep quiet, not make part of a marketing campaign. I could be wrong about it. I know from twitter that some people are buying her books out of pity. I know that editors and agents don't care about a writer's hopes and dreams so it's not a way to sell to them. But the direct public? Maybe they're more interested.As long as they actually get the books, then what's the problem? Why should I care?

I don't much. Or rather I don't feel indignant and I'm not rolling my eyes. I wish Marvelle luck. BTDT as have most of the writers I know, actually.

I'm just not sure I'd use a lack of contract as a way to push books into people's hands.

The real reason it gives me pause: You risk sort of badmouthing a publisher or making yourself look pathetic which isn't really an image you want to promote, unless you're Philip Roth or someone whose books fit that "I iz loser" mold. I don't think branding is as real as the experts do, but I must believe it to a degree because I'm thinking. Hmm. This is branding in a bad way.

I can see doing this campaign playfully, because that might be sort of funny line to that guy who did the "even my grandmother hates my book" video. Where's the link to that damn video? I loved that thing

The giving away fifty dollars? That's a standard sort of promo lure. Interesting combo of the usual and unusual promo procedure. I hope she lets us know how it goes.

** this is very useful. I can say to myself "that book didn't hit the bestseller list because I stink at the promo" and not blame the actual book. Which means I can keep on writing
. Otherwise I'd just wilt.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


This is mostly just Wendy and me sitting and writing at the Borders. But I'm messing around with the meet up page and found some widgetty things. This part isn't a whine because that meeting thing at Borders WORKS. Not so great today, but usually, it makes me work. BICHOK.

* * * *

I thought I had a book out today but it's actually out in TWO days. July 9th. And such fanfare we're having here! Yessireee! Contests and alerts and interviews and chats and. . . all sorts of things that I'm supposed to be doing to prove I'm good at my trade! Yes indeed! My ebook will rise through the ranks to become a surprise best-seller, just you wait and see.

Speaking of professionalism, I'm going to DC next week. Did I mention that about 30000000000000 times? Dee Cee.

My brother said I'm welcome to stay at his house. It's a nice house, too, but oy.

I think the last time I stayed there might have been the night my father died. I'd come in a separate car and spent way too much time alone in the room with my dad's corpse, waiting for the moment when I felt easy around him it, which never came. I'd read too many stories of strong women who washed the bodies of their dead--I did manage to kiss his forehead. After that long evening, I couldn't drive home. So Mike took the kids home to Frederick and left me there. I spent the night at my brothers throwing up and watching movies. I watched Dave about three times and Kevin Kline still gives me flashbacks.

The throwing up is SOP for me, not disgust. Some people to sorrow with tears, some produce great art. I barf. I'm the guy from the Sot-Weed Factor.

Naw, that can't have been the last time I spent the night at my brother's. Have I also mentioned that I'd rather get a root canal than leave my rat-maze? I hate to travel. Hate. Hate. Hate.

Also, I think my dog has fleas and now that musical phrase is stuck in my head.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

also my new cover

is over at erotic muses. Mike wants to know why the guy doesn't have his glistening chest on display (it's not that sort of book) and why his pants are on backwards (are they?). And what's with the motorcycle (it's in the book, but yeah.)

I like the title font--I don't think I've seen it before.

waaah don't make me go home again

Do you really want to go back to the scene of your childhood? I seriously don't. I'm going to in a couple of weeks. The RWA DC conference is across the street from my aunt's house (well, the place she founded, Woodley House, and where I used to hang out all the time) and it's about 2 miles from the house where I grew up.

I'm fully expecting the anti-George Bailey experience. I'll see places and houses that meant the entire world to me back when I was a spring chicken. Those places and houses will have changed--or not--but none of the changes or non-changes will have anything to do with me or my influence. No one I know will be there. I will have left no footprints in the place I lived for 18 years.

Who wants to be reminded how little they matter in the world?

I plan on staying in that comforting atmosphere of anonymous hotel-dom.