Monday, September 25, 2006

Inconsistency--Writers and Publishers Both

Today is an odd sort of day. I feel like ranting. Seriously ranting.....

*considers options*

Fair enough. This is my blog, after all, and I can rant if I want to. RANT WARNING! RANT WARNING! THERE IS A HUGE POSSIBILITY THAT SOME OF WHAT I WILL SAY WILL OFFEND YOU.

Another e-publisher folded today. *sigh* Naturally, this is one that I have had stories accepted by. So, this morning, out those stories went in the fruitless endeavor of trying to find a new home. I'll sit here and wait the inevitable rejections, while my laptop grows fuller and fuller....

Oh well. At least I'm positive about it.


Inconsistencies abound everywhere. Prime example? The anthology project. Yesterday, It occurred to me that the people who have posted their rewrites are (a) the first ones to post their original stories (b) the ones who critiqued EVERY story in the first drafts and (c) the people who seem to have had the most input. It occurred to me today that since that group included the world-builders and that at this moment we are sitting at over 60k, the anthology is neither dead or gasping out its last breath. I mean, jesus h. christ! If you're going to commit to a project, just FUCKING DO IT. Five thousand words--how freaking hard is it to do?

*pauses for breath*

But, what am I thinking? It's not like I have anything to COMPLAIN about. *bats eyes innocently* After all, there aren't a lot of commitments upon MY time so it was easier for me to complete my obligation to the group. I mean, no one in their right mind would think that meeting my writing schedule, running my antiques business, going on buying trips, xapnding my antiques shop, meeting deadlines, doing rewrites for deadlines, promoting released books, buying a new house, packing the old house, recreating from memory not ONLY said anthology piece but ALSO the second book of a contracted three-book series, dealing with an angst-ridden daughter and settling my mother's estate would BE TIME CONSUMING, WOULD THEY??????

Life intrudes. That's part and parcel of being a writer. Deal with it. If you have a deadline, meet it. If you have an obligation, fulfill it. In short, if you agree to participate in something, be mature enough and respectful enough to pull your weight. Otherwise, all you're doing is holding the rest of us back. *shrugs*

It boils down to your choices, in the long run. Do you choose to follow through on what looks to be a good opporunity to get your work published? Or, do you choose to allow your own lack of discipline to hinder you in that? Do you choose to sit down for a specified time every day to write, or you do choose to allow the must to 'just come to you'? Face it: writing is hard work, and it comes with a series of hard decisions to make as well. You don't think my writing interferes with my day to day activities? Of course it does. I choose to keep to my schedule. Ten years ago, I chose to keep to my social life. Ten years of productive writing life lost to sheer laziness and a predilection for nightclubs.

That's the major inconsistency that is the theme of this rant/blog. Pick a course and stick to it. Otherwise, you're really nothing more than a dilettante, pretending to be something you're not. If you're a writer then by god WRITE. I've said before in this blog that all artists have a selfish streak, a loner streak that causes us to withdraw from the world around us while we wrestle with a problem. And....yes: even actors have it; trust me. It's not easy trying to get into Ophelia's head, let me tell you. A writer, just as much as a painter or a composer, is a solitary beast. Our creativity may be sparked from without, but it derives from within. We require solitude to pull it out of us. Along with that solitude, however, must come discipline. Once, I was compelled to write an idea down. Now I compel the idea to be written---a fine distinction, yes, but a distinction nonetheless.

My work is up and down. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it sucks. There is inconsistency within what I do.

But, at least I do it.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Man, have I been busy. I've been too damn busy to blog. That's scary. Let's get you guys updated on my latest work---should be good for a laugh if nothing else.

The anthology story is going through a final polish and I expect to post it tonight at the Dragon's Den. It's much tighter now (at least, I think so) and the story has a better flow to it. I think I've managed to solidify Quodas and Mneston as characters and I am enjoying a new dynamic between them.

Book Two of the Shequanti is having to undergo a new revision. Somehow, after I lost 15,000 words of a 30k manuscript I replaced them with 22k. Yep....WAY over sized now. *sigh* only me.

Killed off a new Elf today. I let him hand around for half a chapter before I impaled him a la Vlad Dracula and had an arthroscorpio devour him....while still alive. MWahahahahahaha!

I'm so mean.

Hmmm.....actually wrote 3k on Darkshifters today. As soon as I get my pressing projects done, I'll have to jump into that with both feet. Unfortunately, my time may be pressed ever more than usual between now and the holidays.

YAY! I'm buying a new house!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll have pics for you guys soon. In case you couldn't tell, I'm VERY excited.

Went to a three day auction this week. I spent a grand on antiques and couldn't tell you a single damn thing I bought. Okay, that's a fib: I bought two dining room sets for 70 bucks.


I also bought a toy brass bed. The kitten has appropriated it in the misguided belief that (A) anything new is hers (B) I would ever allow anything remotely looking like a toy in my home and (C) that I won't notice. The other cats get slapped if THEY try to nap on the brass bed.

Oh! And a news flash---I've outlined a new Mythos story. Looks like Pan will have his say after all. *grin* Anyone waiting for the Queen of the Hive? It's outlined too. Hehehehehe.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Revenge of the Plagiarist

You all know that plagiarism is my biggest pet peeve as a writer--it ranks just about up there with googling my pen name and discovering that someone is selling unauthorized downloads of my book. It's thievery--plain and simple. Today I cruise into my writers' critique group and discover that one of my compatriots in the Dragon's Den has been moved up from third to second place due to the fact the the WINNER of the contest stole someone else's work and posted it as her own.

And took off with 1500 bucks I might add.

Give me a fucking break. How dishonest do you have to be to realize that plagiarism is STEALING? Holy hell! It makes my ears steam to see something like that. Not an attractive look, by the way, red hair and steamy ears.

In a related topic, more e-books are showing up on Ebay. How freaking wrong is that? About two weeks ago, I googled my pen name and discovered that someone was offering FREE reads of my book. FREE READS? Ha! Wasn't free when my attorney got ahold of him. As writers, all we have is the copyright and good faith. If we're lucky, we have a publisher or agent who looks after that stuff for us---but that's all! Once again, let me just say this: if you consider yourself a *writer* because your purloined material brings you benefits or either glory or money, cut it out. If you plagiarize, youre not a writer; you're a thief. If you purchase an e-book download and then sell copies of that download for personal gain, you are also a thief. A HUGE thief. As such, you should be prosecuted (and will be by this author) to the fullest extent of the law. Unlike most people, I have a passing fancy for attorneys. Trust me; you DON'T want to go there. Really.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Strange Days

Ah, yes, things are definitely odd these days.

First off, Bibsy---reserve me room in the boat. I'll bring the special potion, you bring musical cds and jpgs, and we'll get drunk and argue Mozart. This rain is driving me bonkers. The sun?!? Please???

Secondly, despite the computer snafus of yesterday, I'm managing to get some good work done. I've replaced 7k of the lost book (still crying over that) and begun my anthology rewrite again. Maybe I'll catch up in a day or two.

Thirdly, I have fans!!!! FANS!!!! Can you believe that? It's totally insidious but funny too. I never thought I'd be in the position to have fans, although there was that stalked when I did theatre in Key West....

Fourthly, I finally figured out how to finish Darkshifters. I've discarded what now? Ten or eleven outlined endings for the second half of the book. But now.....*evil grin* ..... I know exactly what to do. I'm blocking out two hours a day for Darkshifters despite my time constraints. All I have to say about it is......(Dan, fill in the blank)

Fifthly, the kitten has gone to the vet. :( Poor little Asphodel gets all of her feline maintenance today. She cried so hard when I left her. Poor kitty. (runs to remove all the tiny-claw-marked curtains)

Finally, I'm actually in a ....good mood. Huh? How is THAT possible? *scratches head* not a clue. But--it's true! I might actually be accidentally nice to someone. Funny, funny, funny.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not in the mood to play today

This is such BULLSHIT. I just lost almost 15k from the second book of the Shequanti and I have no damn idea why! How is it possible? I wasn't online--hadn't been online for hours. I ran a virus scan -- nothing. No spyware, no viruses, no Trojan horses--my laptop is pristine (as well it should be for the money I fork out on security) but the ENTIRE document vanished while I was working on it. Now I have a ghost copy of 20kb written in squares and circles, and another version of it that has two words on it.

Page 1.


Naturally, I have most of it backed up. But, I've written 15k in two days that are NOT on the flash memory stick and it's gone, gone, gone. I was writing the CONCLUSION of the damn book when it disappeared.

*kicks coffee table and yells an obscenity*

You know, SOMEBODY up there could give me a freaking break! My time constraints this week are so heinous I don't really have the ability to dismantle my laptop looking for 15,000 invisible words. Granted, some of those words aren't necessarily nice ones but they're still MINE. Give them back!

The kitten is staring at me curiously. Her head is tilted to one side and she's looking at me as if I lost my mind. Maybe I have. Maybe if I restart my computer for the fifteenth time that document will reappear. The annoying thing about it is that every time she tilts her head, the bell on her little collar rings. (Yes, I broke down and got her a collar with rhinestones and a bell on it when her short story was accepted for publication. If nothing else, it serves as a cat alarm. I don't even have to leave my desk, I can just yell, "Asphodel! Get off my curtains!")

*takes a migraine pill*

Guess I'm off to rewrite two days' worth of work.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Of Graveyards, Trespassing, and Those Dreaded Zeroes

I'm thinking.

*Don't hurt yourself trying to get down to the comments section to tell me what you think of that opening.*

I've actually been thinking a lot lately. I have my eye on a house across town from where I'm at now. It's a Victorian bungalow, three bedrooms, exquisitely maintained and perfect for my antiques (yep, priorities, priorities). What I really love about it though is that it backs up to a graveyard.

I love graveyards. I love the expanse of history and human emotion that plays across them, and the older the graveyard the more I love it. There is a graveyard in Dayton, Ohio called Woodland Cemetary that is probably one of the loveliest places I have ever been. I used to go there on my afternoons off with a notebook and write--always sitting next to a pair of forlorn graves from the 1880s (the couple had died within days of each other, tragically young) because I fancied that they needed someone to come see them. Then, of course, when I was a youngster I used to break into the Bell Cemetary in Adams, Tennessee quite frequently. For those of you who don't know, Adams is the home of the Bell Witch. *grin* Breaking into that cemetary took balls of steel, because I'm not talking about the public, pristine, clinical cemetary on the main road. I'm talking about the old, overgrown, hidden family cemetary about a mile from the road.

Yep. Trespassing.

You had to climb an eight foot tall iron fence with pointy tops, drop to the other side, cut across several cornfields (quite icky in late summer when the stalk were tall and "Children of the Corn" suddenly didn't seem like quite as stupid a movie), then hike through the woods, following a dry stream bed, until you found the graves. The gravestones leaned precariously, gleaming under the moonlight that filtered through the trees, and once you pulled the weeds back you could read the weathered names carved into the stones.

That was the high point. The low point happened every two or three times and that's when the owners' dogs realized we were on the property. Ever fled in terror through a cornfield at 2 a.m.? I don't advise it.

At any rate, I love this house. For one thing, it has built in bookcases! That means I can take my books out of storage! Yay! The second story has that steeply gabled roof, and I found a room that will be perfect for my study.

(Of course there's a window overlooking the graveyard. Duh)

Add to that a big bay window for my cats and I'm in heaven! Of course, the downside of all this is that I also have to think numbers. Numbers SUCK. Particularly BIG numbers. I'm not very comfortable with zeroes before the decimal point, I might add. *shudders in horror* Oh well.

My goal is to be in the new house by the holidays. For some reason I have this Americana bullshit Happy Housekeeping image in my mind of having my whole family (except for my younger brother, of course) gathered around my table for one big, happy meal---before the fighting starts. *Grin*

Can't help being a realist. At least I cook a mean turkey.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ot Derad Saw I

*hint---I was dared to blog backwards. Let's see if it works*

Skcus adirolf. Llabtoof evol I wonk uoy. Etirovaf ym si raey fo emit siht. Esnepsus tub gnihton. *nirg*

Ysae t'nsi siht, yaw eht yb.

Ygolohtna eht rof yrots ym no gnikrow ev'I, noonretfa siht. nettirwer ti fo flah tuoba evah I. noisulcnoc tolp xif ot gnipoh m'I dna retcarahc eht yfidilos ot deen I. SadouQ ylralucitrap. Lanoisemed-owt eb ot reh tnaw t'nod I. walf retcarahc a sdeen ehs. pilerah a ekil gnihtemos ebyam.

Hguone s'taht eoph I. Od ot gnitirw laer evah I. *nirg*

Lost Cause

I'll never catch up. Never. There's no way. This last trip to Tennessee has knocked me smooth off-schedule on everything that I have backed up for the next few months.

Did I mention that I sued my brother?

I've had the absolute worst week, tortured with a migraine that so far has lasted six days. I got NO writing done save for jotting down notes for plot developments; I got NO edits done, NO contracts out, NO internet work, and NO emails.

I had 76 unanswered emails and all of them (well, except for my daily horoscope) have to do with business. I think I'd be a much happier writer if real life would just leave me the heck alone! I mean all I WANT to do is sit in my study and work!

Never works out that way. Today, I redid my antique shop (it was getting a little boring) and now I'm combining an internet publicity blitz (book comes out Thursday--doh! kind of crept up on me) and rewriting my anthology story and PRAYING that edits for something else don't come in anytime soon. It's hard to do rewrites after you slit your wrists.

*sigh* On a more positive note, my decision to remain a non-Buckeye fan was reinforced this weekend when the students at OSU promptly proved that their parents were wasting their money by setting couches on fire all over campus in celebration of the win over Texas. Over THREE HUNDRED fires.

Come on already, you idiots. Couches are for sitting, not for burning! What's wrong with celebrating a win the way we do in Tennessee? Get drunk and talk about the upcoming run of the table~don't torch furniture to prove a point! Holy hell---if you don't know how expensive COUCHES are then you obviously don't need to be in college.


Get away from my couch with that lighter. I don't hate your team; I just feel no need to root for them. *grin* After all: why associate myself with a group of fans whose collective IQ is about 20?

Go Vols. Oh, and by the way---for the record: Florida sucks. The only good Gator is a pair of shoes....or maybe a fritter.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Latest Elven Demise

I just had to share this one. As you know, I've been killing off Elves for about 1.5 million pages now, but I thought this Elf death was hellaciously funny.

Okay, so the Elf (one I REALLY don't like but haven't been able to kill in 7 books) trips and FALLS off of a tree branch and breaks his skinny little neck.

MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Remember--anyone who can sell a story about a cross-dressing dwarf can make the world buy into a clumsy Elf.

Liesen. RIP. September 1, 2006.

Good Days

Some days are just better than others. You wake up and think to yourself, before your eyes are even open, *Wow. Today's going to be a good day.*

I kind of felt that way when I woke up this morning. Granted, I didn't want to wake up. But, for a change, the cats were all quiet and contented, the beat of the rain against the window was soothing, and I basked in a feeling of warm contentment.

Then I realized why.

Football! Yep! College football is BACK! Today is the day when my team is still undefeated and the hopes for the season are high. We can beat anyone~~and will. *grin* (and for all you Florida fans, I'm listening to *Rocky Top* at the moment and just waiting for you guys to get to Neyland Station. mwahahahaha)

Of course, the downside is that I'm not in Knoxville, cheerfully boiling brats in beer to get ready for tailgating tomorrow. Noooooooo.....I'm in Ohio. One of my other personalities (the one that pays bills) tends bar for every Ohio State football (except the one I'm getting dragged to next month) so today is cook food for the party day.

But in Ohio.

Let me tell you a bit about the bar. It's an old school neighborhood bar, open since literally the day after Prohibition ended. It's got those old-fashioned glass-doored coolers set into polished oak doors and a clientele that's almost as old during the day. I love the old regulars. Some of them had their first beers in the bar when they were sixteen and we were still fighting WWII. Their stories are great--so great that I've been compiling them and working on a story about them called "The Sunday Morning Regulars." It is, make mo mistake, a dyed-in-the-wool Ohio State Buckeye bar.


Only now there's a bartender who's a single spot of orange behind the bar, the transplanted Tennessee Volunteer who argues football stats with fellows old enough to be her grandpa. That's about the only time I yell *Bullshit!* at an old codger waving a ceegar and talking about the good old days of Woody Hayes. Some of them probably went to school with Knute Rockne.

At any rate, there's also a younger, really hardcore crowd too. The owner is in his fifties, his son just turned 30, and of course there's me. *grin* I can find a football fan at the funeral parlor and they show up to squawk at me about my allegiances. The trick is to blend the two without a pair of dentures getting knocked across the room.

But get this: apparently the bar has been getting phone calls. *Hey! Is that chick from UT tending bar there during the Ohio State game?*

*Celina is tending bar for every Ohio State game.*

*Cool! Are you doing anything special for the game?*

*We're running drink specials and having a tailgating party.*

*Do I have to make reservations?*

Power. Aint't it grand?

So today I'm preparing food for 50 and tomorrow is the first Ohio State game. I hope it goes well. I even pass a sparing thought that maybe, just maybe, I might root for the Buckeyes tomorrow. But then, at 5:30, everything changes.

Tennessee versus California on ESPN--two top 25 teams knocking heads in Neyland Stadium.

Rocky Top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good old Rocky Top
Rocky Top Tennessee.
Rocky Top Tennessee.