Sterilized the kitchen and bathrooms, even got down on the knees with a scrub brush and attacked the floors. I love the way I feel after marathon housework, it's this strange Top Gun rush (probably from the chemicals) and I'm tired but Immensely Smug. Smug on the level of Og the Trog when he went out and killed a sabre-toothed possum for dinner. I wanted to drag my kitchen into a cave, sling it in front of the fire and bellow or something. Maybe something like I Am HouseWoman, I Have Cleaned!
Okay, a little over the top, but I do love intense housework. When my home is clean and sparkling, I look around and feel proud, even if no one else notices. I love how clean floors feel under my bare feet -- and you could eat off these floors, as long as you don't mind sharing with the felines. Some tribal cultures believe you can sweep the bad spirits in your home out with a broom. I say, slather them with PineSol and scrub them to death.
You Too Can Be a Published Author:
Now this is something I haven't gotten hit with yet: direct vanity press publishing solicitation. Jess forwarded me an e-mail from a Megan Gallagher at Xlibiris,
which invited me to their web site to check out how I could become a published author. They claimed they got my e-mail from another site
(and I am listed twice on that one under different names) and encouraged me to follow the example of another Xlbiris author who sold over 2,200 books last year and join their happy little self-pubbed family.
Xlibris's basic start-up package is $500, not bad, but I imagine you don't get any books out of it. You can do better by doing all the ISBN registration and design legwork yourself and taking your proofs to a book printer. What bothers me is the slick presentation, dangling fame and fortune under the noses of the aspiring writers. Xlibris claims to offer a service, but they make their money off desperate writers, the majority of whom think it will result in their big break and who are doomed for disappointment.
Oh, and as for me? I wrote back a polite no thanks -- a publisher is still a publisher, and Xlibris still has ties to Random (and they broadcast that loudly, too.) I just didn't have the heart to tell them I usually sell 2,200 books every two weeks.
My web designer Willa
has worked her usual magic and created some new web site pages
with excerpts from all three of my mysterious alter-ego's books. Very classy look, and perfect for the trilogy.
To combat an unusual case of Friday blahs, and stop thinking about all things Iraqi, I went through my ART (already read these) pile and sorted out what to donate to the Friends of the Library Sale and what to pass on to friends.
I tend to give first edition fiction hardcovers away to friends and other writers because they're so expensive, and the library sells more in paperbacks. Unless its truly lame, nonfiction does not leave the house, but I have been known to go out and buy extra copies of a nonfic book I love to hand out to other writers. Shelf space is at an all-time premium these days, so I have to soon figure out a new storage strategy. Or move into the Library of Congress. No, you guys would never see me again.
To Rant, or Not:
A certain blogsnob has started spouting judgements again online (never mind who, I'm not providing a welcome-back link) and duct tape and handcuffs may be required to prevent me from ranting. It's the same old same old story -- lots of false authority, passive-aggressive loftiness, and zero substance to back any of it up. I'm actually doing you guys a favor by not linking; reading this blog is like being slowly smothered with a beige polyester guest towel. Or having one shoved down your throat one loop at a time.
Yet smacking down the oblivious isn't a nice thing to do, is it? And I promised myself I'd stop. After all, the world is filled with beige polyester guest towels.
But the temptation . . . oh, the temptation . . .
Latest Godoff Ripple:
Ann Godoff, who was bounced from her position at Random, has landed at one of my publishers, Penguin, and has brought along thirteen authors
with her. Random's official comments make it clear they're not worried about the defections, and hint that maybe she's done them a favor unloading some ballist.
Blogger (or is it Bloogler now?) consumed two of my attempts to post. Hopefully it's done munching.
Little known fact: thirty years ago, Ann Maxwell (aka Elizabeth Lowell) was writing straight science fiction novels all set in the same universe. This is known as writing a series without getting the credit for it. Over the years I've been tracking down first editions of these novels and I finally acquired the last three this week. This is known as being a pain in the ass series book collector.
I discovered Ms. Maxwell through her excellent romance novels, so when I found out she'd written serious SF I thought, Aha, someone with the same brain disorder I've got
and initiated the search. Actually she's ten times better than I will ever be, and the only question mark now is, why isn't she still writing SF? Her science fiction universe is lush and intelligent and inventive, and the books are consistently plotted with elegant skill. I can even see the roots of some of her romance elements in these novels.
I know sometimes with writers it simply comes down to writing what pays more -- I may be looking at that decision not too far off in the future myself. I love my SF, but I make three times the money writing romance. If it ever comes down to a choice between contracts, I either have to go with the better money or find myself a rich boyfriend. Guess which one I'll pick.
It is nice to have finished out this collection, though, and I'm glad I'll have the chance to read all her pre-romance work. Even if I never know why she gave it up.
Classifying and quantifying dreams and nightmares helps establish understanding and some amount of control over them. With some, you can sort them out, pin down their meanings and discover what your brain is trying to tell you and move on. Some just defy explanation or fade so quickly they elude you forever. A few backlash on you physically (everyone who has thrown up immediately after waking and was not pregnant at the time, raise your hand.) Writing them down, my therapist told me twenty years ago, diminishes them and puts them in their proper perspective. Control your dreams and your nightmares, and you will be a happy camper.
I'm not a happy camper this morning.
The nightmare I had last night was so detailed that it was like a news report. I knew two of the victims by their full names. I could read the license plate number on the school bus that I watched flip three times and crash. I can tell you how many children were on it, and how many of the dead I carried out through that back exit door. I can describe the make and model of the car that caused the crash, the name of the school the children attended, the street I ran down to get to them. It was as real as any accident I've ever worked, so when I woke up shrieking I went immediately to the computer and tried to track down the names of the victims and the school.
It wasn't real. Intellectually, I know that; the computer confirmed it. I know I'm not any kind of psychic, but looking made me feel better. If I'm going to be psychic one time in my life, I don't want it to be via a nightmare.
Now all I have to do is rid myself of the guilt of not reaching them, those non-existent dream children who were not mine, who have never lived and who will never die the way they did in my nightmare. And while I'm a pretty smart, well-adjusted person who knows there's a perfectly rational psychological reason for every subconscious manifestation, I will be sick to my stomach for the rest of the day, because my stomach -- and my heart -- don't care that it wasn't real.
Guiness Might Call:
I believe I now hold the title for having the shortest author bio
of all time. I like it. :)
FYI for FM Community:
I had scheduled a repeat of Part Three of the Novel Series workshop tonight for those folks who couldn't make it into the backup chat where it was held last month, and as it happens Phoenix chat is on the fritz again and all we have is -- yep -- backup chat. Is this class cursed, or what? Anyway, if Phoenix remains down by 9pm EST tonight, the class will be postponed. Tentative reschedule date will be 4/9/03, same time.
Phoenix seems to be back online, so the class is back on, too. Keep your fingers crossed. :)
Authors Behaving Badly:
To round out my collection of foolish things for the day, I offer you the Boskone Coke Dousing of author David Brin (see the fur start flying here
at the ninth comment down) by author Jo Walton (her account
of how it flew.)
Although I find it hard to believe two professional authors would resort to this kind of playground behavior, I am assured that the dousing with the coke actually occurred. All related actions and remarks are subject to the respective individuals' levels of indignation and imagination.
Since I wasn't there, I won't try to judge. Dave and Jo simply make two more very good reasons why I will never attend SF conventions.
audblog audio post
Text: My friend Holly did something pretty incredible
today, so this song is for her. [music] Congratulations, Holly -- we are really proud of you.
Misanthropic? Oh, No, Not Me:
Jonathan Rauch has this
to say about introverts (yep, I'm definitely one of those.)
I've done some re-evaluation of the direction my life has been taking lately and I've decided to make some changes. After all, I'm not getting any younger, and there comes a time when everyone has to face their mortality and ask themselves those hard questions. So here is what I've decided to do, effective immediately:
1. I'm going to legally change my name to Antigone. No last name, just the one. I feel having a single name will allow me to elevate myself spiritually and professionally, the same way it has Prince, Jewel, and Selena. Plus my books will get shelved with the "A"s in every bookstore.
2. I really need to get over my obsession with my hair, so I shaved my head tonight, and I'm going to keep it shaved. I've already designed some lovely head bands which will set off the nice pink color of my scalp, and cover those nasty scars from the head wounds I received in that terrible car accident back in '74.
3. I've applied to a parenting clinic in Fort Lauderdale to be artificially inseminated with semen from a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. Now, I can't say who the father is, of course, but think really long, literary novels about the south with at least one closet gay character in them, and you'll be on the right track. As to why, well, I'd like to have one child I don't have to timeshare with an ex-husband.
4. I'm getting a tattoo of China Mieville on my back. I had thought a little lower at first, but really the symbolism of having his portrait etched into my back is much more personally meaningful to me than sitting on China's face for the rest of my life. Photos will be made available as soon as the tattoo heals.
5. I've applied to work at the Kennedy Space Center as a tour guide. It's not a big job, but I have my eye on a future slot in the Jet Propulsion Lab. Of course my intimate knowledge of all of NASA's important budget allocations and mission statements will come in quite handy, and I hear the bennies are fabulous.
6. I'm adopting a 19 year old college student from Sweden. His name is Lars, he has a rowing scholarship to the U of M and he's really very sweet. I'm sure I'll find something for him to do around the house.
7. I'm auctioning off my entire collection of 18th and 19th century quilts. It was a fun hobby while it lasted, but I'm getting into collecting restraints from all ages. Lars has promised to help me with the selecting and testing.
8. I'm becoming a Jehovah Witness. Sundays have been really boring lately and I need the exercise. By the way, have you let Jesus Christ into your life?
9. I'm buying a Ferrari. I can get one used for a good price, and it's time I blew the doors off these idiots talking on cell phones. I can also cut my travel time to the kids' school in the morning from fifteen minutes to a minute and eight seconds, if no one gets in my way.
10. I'm going to write a book about all the lovely individuals I've met in the publishing business, and every detail I know about their lives. This includes the story of the married mystery writer and the lesbian romance writer who have propositioned me at conferences. There will be a special section on editors. I'm calling it, "What The Hell Is Wrong With You People?"
And if you believe any or all of the above, you haven't considered what day it is. Gotcha.
You Know It's Monday When:
You try to edit a post on FM and blow up the whole damn thing (the post, not FM). Yes, it's definitely time I did some tutorials on the new PHP boards....
Everyone who is getting into war protests here in America should read what Holly wrote
Got four consecutive hours of sleep for the first time in two weeks, so I'll repeat the bath & herbs treatment tonight (no way am I getting my back beat up again, though.) I've also modified the diet to uber-bland until my stomach settles. More veggie soup and brown rice, hooray.
This morning I have to finish up work on the web site stuff for April, and I'm wavering on the story. I finished two since I got Drefan back on line -- "Red Branch" and "Fire & Ice" -- but I'm not happy with either of them at the moment. I have no idea why; they just feel not-right-yet. If I can't work it out I may flip a coin or write something else. I usually don't quibble over the finished products but I've been distracted by a number of things and my focus may be a little skewed.
I do have a movie to recommend to everyone -- 8 Mile
, which just came out on DVD and VHS. I am not a fan of rap -- I'd rather listen to garbage disposals run -- but a friend told me to watch it and I'm glad I did. Excellent movie, well written and acted, and very moving. I get the whole Eminem thing, now, too. On an eerie side note, Eminem also looks exactly like my oldest kid (my son doesn't have a cleft chin, and he's taller, wider and has more tattoos, but otherwise, they're practically twins.) It was like watching my kid in a movie; I kept wanting to slap Kim Basinger.