A letter-writer in today's paper is convinced that the reason the gas prices have come down lately (around here they were at about 3.25 a gallon and are now 2.75 . . . UPDATE: make that 2.62. Time to fill up.) is that George Bush has asked his oil buddies to lower the prices in time for the election season. What do you think? Or better still, what do you know? Don't prices usually go down some right after summer/vacation driving time?

* * * *

A couple of people have put out calls for beta readers and I barged in, ready to do my part. And now I'm remembering what editors have told me: Don't let too many people screw with your story. Hilary Sares said something like she can tell when writers have asked for advice from a lot of people because the writing goes flat. Perfect grammar but less life. Kind of like the before and after pictures in those makeup do-overs. The before pictures are almost always more intriguing and the afters are flawless, but meh.

That worries me because I lurve these stories. And I can't seem to shut up. At least I'm not nibbling at the details ("change this wording!") and am looking at the big picture.

I judge contests all the time and I don't usually get this wrapped up in stories. When I have in the past, the stories have all ended up published. The last time I can recall was with an unpubbed Kelly St. John's contest entry and look at her--that talented beyotch is getting published everywhere.

* * * * *

Standard yearly conversation:

Boy one: what are you getting me for my birthday?
me: what are you getting me for my birthday?
Boy one: Everything. I'm giving it all to you. Every.Thing. And since encompassed in the definition of everything is also nothing, that's what you're getting.
me: How about a homemade card?
Boy one: Maybe. So. What are you getting me for my birthday?
me: Keep on asking, boyo. I'll never tell. Of course, if you annoy me by asking me too often, I'll send it back.
Boy one: It? What is this it of which you speak? You bought it online right? Where'd you buy it? Come onnnn. Tell me where you bought it and maybe I can guess what it is. Come ON. What did you get me?

I [heart] my Boy one, almost sixteen going on six.


  1. Beta readers rock! But you start playing with my -- HYPHEN THINGIES -- and I will destroy your world ;)

  2. are we speaking of em dashes, dear? I don't recall many of those but that might be because I have a gazillion myself.

    EC and Samhain and so on doesn't think much of semi-colons so em dashes become vital.

    And parenthetical comments that are enclosed in actual parentheses? Apparently no one likes them. Kensington had me go through and dump 'em all.

    I'd moan about the dumbing down of writing, but I think snobbery about writing is worse than the death of parentheses in commercial fiction.

  3. Hilary Sares said something like she can tell when writers have asked for advice from a lot of people because the stories go flat.

    ...which was the point in one of my recent reads: Katie MacAlister's Improper English. Cute book.

    Geez, now you've got me worrying. I love to beta-read, so much so that I've been known to bite off more than I can chew.

    I think I can tell when to rein in my inner grammar-geek, and I've mostly given up on correcting punctuation unless it's really glaring, but mostly I'm trusting the authors to ignore anything I say that screws with the story.

    As for Bush & gas prices? By this time, nothing would surprise me. *sigh*

  4. I figured it was because the summer travel season was over (bastards) but it could very well be a combonation of both.

    As to beta readers...I've had that same problem judging contests too. I'm sorry but your writing doesn't excite me as much as watching grass grow *sigh*

    At first I thought Lovely was Raine...but she loves elipses. I'm the one with the em dash problem. Parentheses rock!


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