Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dog Bite continued

Well, I'm now on my second course of antibiotics after my thumb (the injured member) swelled up and throbbed last night. I don't think I care to admit how I managed to have our own dog bite me. Do I have to? I meant well, but was very stupid. His lovely little tooth went pretty deep into my thumb.

Then, how do you avoid your right thumb when you're right handed and have a house full of guests and cards to send out and baking and, and....

It was doing great till I overdid. My tetanus shot arm is nearly back to normal, too. Well, wasn't that a lot of TMI? And I promised not to blog about my pets. Not much happening with the writing since it hurts to do so at the moment. I will be sending out the ill-fated "Immunity Project" today. I managed to give it a once over one-handed late last week.

Finally, a very Merry SECOND DAY of Christmas to one and all. My First Day was glorious, in spite of the throbbing thumb at the end of it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dog Bite!

Our charming, untrained beagle bit me. More later...when I can type two-handed. He bit my thumb.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Awesome Lavratt Galleys

I received five galleys in the mail today. Now to send them out to my lovely friends who are willing to find my mistakes. There's a signed copy of the real thing in it for them. :) It's hard to find your own typos. We see what we expect to see or what we intended when we wrote it.

I just requested that my story, "Immunity Project," be pulled from Wayfarer (see previous posts). I'm putting that behind me. I found a new potential home for "Immunity Project". I'm giving it a spit and polish before I send it out. That is, between framing my husband's landscape prints for his Christmas presents, printing, addressing and signing Christmas cards, getting ready for my mother-in-law's visit and picking her up at the airport. Cross your fingers with me that it gets picked up by this market. :)

I just found a couple of magazines which I had saved to do an article later. "Later" never came. These major magazines have big shiny full-page ads on the backs which originated in a foreign country. They both made no sense. For all the money they spend on these ads, you'd think that email the copy to someone in the States to proofread. It definitely got lost in translation. Is proofreading a lost art? Are those of us who care whether something is riddled with typos or obvious errors a dying breed?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Story!

What's better than sleeping in on a Saturday morning? Waking up with a complete story in your head. At least it is if you're a writer. I think I dreamed the first part. The rest followed easily. I had to get up and get it on paper --or at least on the computer-- before I forgot it. It feels great to work on new material again. Rewriting can be such a chore, sometimes.

Shall I tell you what it's about? Actually, it's not even SF--or even speculative. It's an interesting twist on a mafia-like family from the perspective of a teenage boy growing up in it. Well, that's the setting, anyhow. I can't say more or it will give too much away. I wrote out the general plot, the characters and the first couple of pages. I think this one will write itself.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Wayfarer Saga Continues & Terry Pratchett

Well, I guess there is justice in the world. The magazine's website is suspended. I ratted them out to Speculations' Rumor Mill, Absolute Write and Ralan. I don't know who's responsible, but at least they won't be extolled as this great magazine on the Christian SF/F blog tour and trapping more unsuspecting writers. Could be another (yes there's probably more than 2 of us) stiffed writer who reported her to her webhost. Ralan suggests this is one thing writers who are victims of piracy or non-payment can do in response. The hosts don't want to be in the soup along with the editors. Or maybe she stiffed the host, too.

I just read about Terry Pratchett on Neil Gaiman's blog. Pratchett has early onset Alzheimers. Let's all hope that its progression is slow. Better yet, that they find a cure. He has a platform (his mighty pen that we count on for our next fantasy fix) to draw attention to the disease and to finding a cure.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Immunity Project"

I just found out today that I'm not the only one who wasn't paid for my story at Wayfarer Journal. Not only were we not been paid, but the stories were rejected, then published. I found "Immunity Project" on the web after it had been there for a month. That makes it a reprint, whether I like it or not. Not all magazines accept reprints. It just cut my chances of getting it published elsewhere drastically. It was, as it happens, sitting in another magazine's slush pile when this happened.

The editor apologized. But she's apparently not sorry enough to pay me, or put the correct name and put the blurb and link back up on the "Stories" page. I had asked her to take the story down for "repairs" as it had formatting problems. Most of the formatting issues were fixed eventually, but the links and blurb didn't go back up as they were. I feel like my story has been sent to the corner. Or is being treated as an afterthought.

I hesitated to name the magazine. Finding out that I'm not the only one they did this to changed my mind. Writer beware!

The blurb, if there was one, would go something like this: A far future space faring civilization experiments on the unsuspecting survivors of the wartorn planet of Kradon. Will Donard let the Krads know they're being kept in an intentionally radiated zone? Will it help them, in the end?

Let me know what you think of my story. Writers love strokes. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Greetings from Napa

Hubby and I are spending a few days in a timeshare in Napa. It's been great. Today's a bit on the gloomy side, but I won't be bothered by that while I'm having my massage in the "cave". I think I'll taste some wines in the wine cellar before I go to the spa. Hubby, unfortunately, had to go into work today. We'll meet up later for dinner.

Meantime, I finished the Paul Park book, A Princess of Roumania. I enjoyed it. I do have a beef, though. Not enough of the loose ends were tied up in the end for my taste. I know that there's a book that comes after it, The Tourmaline, but I would have liked more closure with this one first. But, alas, he didn't ask me. ;)

I also brought the galley with me. I think I'll work on that a bit this afternoon. Either that, or get in some Christmas shopping. Of course, both of these ideas sound too much like work to me. Maybe I'll drag out one of my short story rough drafts instead. Or write a new one.

I also read some good stories in Asimov's. I especially enjoyed "Strangers on a Bus" by Jack Skillingstead. It's his 13th story for Asimov. He must be doing something right. It's in the December 2007 issue. In the January issue, there's a good article by James Patrick Kelly about SFWA. The stories by Mike Resnick and Deborah Coates were worth a look, too. I'm trying to catch up on my reading. I decided to read one story per day in addition to reading novels. More grist for the mill.

The sun's starting to peek through the clouds. Perhaps I'll take a walk in the vineyard this afternoon. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Writer's and Reader's Resources

Everyone needs a hand up to succeed in the arts. Well, unless you have some kind of magic you're not telling us about. I'm inviting speculative fiction writers to check out one of the places where I'm still getting a hand up. Other World's Writers' Workshop. I've been in lots of critique groups. They come and go. They help, they don't. This one is the one that I have consistently benefited from over the years. They have lots of helpful resources on the main page and the workshop is great. The rules are tough, but that's why it works and it's still around after at least five years.

Now, if you write ANYTHING (minus grocery lists, letters, emails and to-do lists) and live in California, here's the place to be: California Writers' Club. They have about 17 branches throughout the state. Tons of help and resources. I highly recommend checking them out. Go to their website to find a branch near you.

Not to forget you readers out there, if you haven't discover Fantastic Fiction, today's the day. Don't you hate it when you pick up a used paperback or a book in the library that's part of series, and it doesn't tell you the order of them on the flap? Problem solved.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Going Green and Awesome Lavratt

This year my husband and I are doing something different. We toyed with the idea of drawing names for Christmas since the family is increasing all the time. That didn't go over very well. And I LIKE finding something thoughtful for each of my five kids and their wives/girlfriends/boyfriend. It just adds up really fast. And it's very hard to go backwards on spending from the year before. It seems we end up spending more every year. I don't want it to be ABOUT the gifts this year, but don't want to appear cheap, either.

Unlike most of my gender, I HATE shopping. Most of my thoughtful purchases are done online. I was sick of the barrage of Christmas shopping ads before Thanksgiving.

So, our solution? We go green. We're making some of our gifts this year. My husband is not a bad photographer. He has a number of great shots that we're framing to send to family and friends. I just heard on the radio that we are also doing our part by using a digital rather than a 35 m camera. Some or all of the solutions used in processing the rolls are toxic. Yeah, us. I just like not having to deal with the hassle of getting the rolls developed and love the erasability factor of digital. I'm NOT a good photographer.

I'm trying to crochet some stuff. Dismal failure so far. I write. I don't do crafts. I might be able to whip out a scarf or two, but will anyone wear them when they can buy nicer ones in the store?

Maybe I'll make bourbon balls. Beats fruitcake, right? I also make a mean Irish Cream. I did give some to friends last year. Last year I gave all the kids a tastefully bound family tree I worked on for two months. Several of the kids call me asking for recipes. Maybe a recipe book? I can type better than I can crochet.

We purchased LED lights for the tree, the picture window and the outside of the house. They'll pay for themselves in reduced energy costs eventually, right?

Would have been nice to have my book in print before Christmas. Oh, well. That isn't happening. It's a case of hurry up, wait. The private release of Awesome Lavratt may not happen until February or March now. :(

Meantime, with two great critique groups, I'm zipping through the rewrites of Under the Suns of Sarshan. I'm trying to get as much done as possible before my mother-in-law arrives for the holidays from Texas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Awesome Lavratt

Just received the galley today. And now I have to eat humble pie. I had one paragraph that contained the word "lake" four times! I can't wait for the real thing to come off the press. But on the other hand, some things can't be rushed. I'm on a mission to find every redundancy, typo, phraso and formatto that's there. Don't worry, I'm enlisting help. ;)

Monday, December 3, 2007

SF TV Characters

Having hoisted my stiff back out of bed after the latest virus, I'm back to blogging.

I got some reading done. The synapses weren't up to rewrites and writing just yet. I read some very good stories in Analog & Asimov and I'm nearly done with Paul Park's A Princess of Roumania. I'm finding it wonderfully entertaining, yet galling at times as he gets away with stuff that my work (and anyone else I know) would get red-lined for. He uses the same phrase three times on the same page. Twice within two sentences on another. I can't do that. I'm honestly not sure if it's his style or poor editing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the story very much. I wouldn't notice these things if I wasn't a born editor. I find all the typos. Probably because I'm, alas, a slow and literal reader. It's a double-edged sword.

On the plus side, Park can use a ton of different POVs without causing confusion or slowing the story down. He puts us in the shoes of each of the players. Even some of the minor ones. It all adds more depth to this intricate story that is a bit like an Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz adventure. All of his characters learn, grow and adapt. None is wholly good or evil.

When I wasn't reading, I was watching Firefly, Torchwood, Heroes, Bionic Woman, Dr. Who and Flash Gordon. My husband and I both had to wonder if the episodes on Friday night were written by the second string writers due to the WGA strike already. It seemed to be "make the characters unbelievably stupid" night. My plausibility meter doesn't go crazy with the worldbuilding and the riftblaster (I just enjoy the ride) on Flash.
SPOILER WARNING - skip the next sentence if you haven't watched yet.

But when Joe decides to go to Mongo for some photos, Dale opens the jar and they bring Joe back BEFORE they ask him about the upgraded riftblaster he took that would bring Ming down on them - ugh! My favorite character is the alien woman, Baylin. She's straightforward.

Then, we watched Bionic woman. That was on the DVR from earlier in the week. The stupid thing there was hopping into the guy's car who already stated his own people would kill him. How could she NOT see that coming? I was dissappointed. My plausibility meter was going nuts.

Even Stargate Atlantis had stupidity. Wait for back up already!!! This is one I've seen many times on movies and cop shows. But perhaps I'm meant to believe that the genius is lacking in common sense? I had a friend that was extremely academically intelligent yet lacked common sense. But how does that explain the FBI (or NSA?) guy that was with him? Ugh! I can forgive unrealistic science in my TV entertainment but I'd like the characters to be a little more believable. A little less stupid.

And now for something fun (I'm done ranting - must still not be feeling well). I found this essay by Firefly's Nathan Fillion. I don't like westerns but space westerns...well Firefly is the best blending of the two I've seen. Well rounded, entertaining characters. I, Malcom by Nathan Fillion from
Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon's Firefly Universe by Jane Espenson. It's reproduced with permission on USA Today.

Oh, and yes, we watched Tin Man. I'm reserving my opinion until I've seen it all.