Selling signed copies:
I've been approached by an indy bookseller who wants to set up a deal where I sign my books, ship them to his shop, and he sells them for slightly higher-than-cover price and we split the profits. Apparently there is some demand as I rarely if ever do booksignings, don't go to SF cons etc.
My reply was a polite but firm "no, thanks."
Why not go for the bucks? I've heard some authors do this, but I find it frankly distasteful. Sure, I'm as mercenary as the next novelist, but to boost an already ridiculous cover price just to sell your own autograph? Sounds like you're ripping off the reader to me, and I'm pretty protective of my readers.
So, here's my solution: If any reader wants my signature that badly, contact
me directly, and we'll work something out.
Quote for the Day:
"The world is its own magic." Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, 1904 -- 1971
So walk softly and carry a big wand.
Medical Fact for the Day:The Heimlich Manuever
is a life-saving technique used to dislodge foreign matter from the windpipe when someone is choking. It is administered to the patient while he/she is sitting or standing. Here are the steps:
1. Grasp the patient from behind around the waist. Make a fist with one hand and position the thumb side on the patient's abdomen, halfway between the navel and the rib cage.
2. Grab your fist with your other hand and thrust forcefully inward and upward. Do this repeatedly, using separate, distinct thrusts each time.
3. If the patient is unconscious, place him/her face-up on the floor and straddle the patient on your knees.
4. Place the heel of one hand against the abdomen halfway between the navel and the rib cage, lock your elbow (as with CPR) and thrust upward and inward to try to dislodge the obstruction. Use your fingers to clear the patient's mouth.
Choking is a life and death situation, so don't hesitate or worry about hurting the patient -- follow the steps. A few bruises are better than dying of suffocation.
A mostly awful day followed by an energizing session at Holly's. In novelist shorthand, it went something like this: woke everybody up/made breakfast and lunches/Kathy forgot her spelling/back to the house/back to school/hit the grocery store/flat due to nail in rear tire/put air in tire to get me to Sears/ "Forty-five minutes lady is all it will take" really = three and a half hours/ fuming over lost time/got tire and truck back/home in time to miss UPS/realized copyedit will now be a day late/wrote editor apology/received second hate mail from jerk I forced myself to be polite to/What a pinhead/wrote email to friend with worse week happening/couldn't access community calendar/what the heck am I teaching tonight?/stubbed foot on bathroom door/opened almost-healed gash/swearing silently/long hot shower/cut my knee with razor/more swearing/dressed in black to match mood/took kids to restaurant/hot meal on nervous stomach = acid reflux/decided I should have stayed in bed ALL day/came home/found the Pepto/wrote fight scene so I could kill someone/chamomile lots of chamomile/settled down/went online/had session/decided all is not lost with the world/now ignoring the blog to get back to work on the book.
According to this e-mail that just came in from someone obviously more net savvy than me, blogging is not
simply the act of keeping an online journal or diary linked up to stuff you like/don't like. It is Internet "A"rt. It is Brave New Journalism. It is a Moral Platform. Right. Whatever oils your linkage, pal.
I'm working on the copy-edited manuscript for Eternity Row, and for once I am not having to write STET on every other page. I don't know who the copy editor is, but he/she knows the series and isn't obsessed with ellipses. Can I keep this one? Please?
Quote for the Day:
"Money plus success equals happiness." Pamela York Klainer
Money and success are great, but they're not a formula for happiness.
Medical Fact for the Day: Cleft Hand
is a rare, congenital deformity (aka lobster hand) in which a child is born with missing fingers and a deep central cleft that divides the hand in two. Cleft hand usually accompanies other, similar abnormalities, such as cleft foot, lip, and palate; absence of fingernails and/or permanent teeth, and defects of the eye.
In researching the latest compu-stuff to beef up Raven's repetoire, I came across what is apparently the latest thing to wow the tech heads out there: Soldam's Pandora S,
what tech-report.com calls "the true PC cube." I read through the report, studied the apparent dissection of said cube (is this what you guys do when you get a new piece of equipment? You take it apart?
) and tried to grasp at least some of the material being presented. I think I got it. You've got to remember, the first computer I worked on was a TI that didn't come with a monitor. We had to count off commas and parentheses from a simultaneous printout to make sure payroll was transmitted correctly, and the dinner-plate sized floppy disks were really
floppy. There were no Windows, no Microsoft -- CDs hadn't even been invented yet. Then I retired, forgot about computers and raised kids while the computer age expanded, rolled on and whizzed by me. I'm still not straight on what the heck happened to Apple. Or is it MacIntosh now?
Reader mail bag offerings:
Some rather heated comments today; how can I write SF if I don't read The Masters? (easy, same way I drive a car but I don't take lessons from Thelma and Louise); I'm scum (oh, go chew on a bar of soap); again with the Tolkien misspelling, Lord of the Rings rules (whatever); a nice compliment on the partial post on Infusion (thanks, Deb) and I must be brain damaged if I don't recognize Phillip Pullman as the next C.S. Lewis (I'll go get an EEG and an eye exam.)
I read about 50% of Pullman's first book in that trilogy, btw. Did nothing for me, sorry. I will agree with one point from The Guardian article; it did read like something some grumpy old guy wrote in a dark shed. Is that the baseline qualification to become the next C.S. Lewis?
Quote for the Day:
"As light as a gentle breeze (it weighs about half an ounce), the pen rests so comfortably in your hand that you may not be aware of how long you've been piloting it across the paper." -- Levenger's ad for the 2001 Pen of the Year, the Sailor Magellan
This is cruel. This is inhuman. Stop sending me these catalogs, I beg you.
Medical Fact for the Day: Referred Pain
is a term used to describe pain that originates in one part of the body but is felt in another, i.e. pain from the abdomen being felt in the shoulder. Doctors believe referred pain occurs because both sites involved develop from similar embryological tissue and share common pain pathways in the central nervous system.
If you're a parent with two kids and one video game unit, you'll appreciate the 01/20/02 weblog entry
by Bob Owen.
In Your Dreams, Pal:
Phil Pullman has won the Whitbread Prize
(is that like, whitebread? the author wonders) with his novel "The Amber Spyglass." Yay Phil. Whoever penned the article seems to think is a huge victory for Phil over his "great rival" J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books. Uh-huh. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but until Pullman sells like a ga-zillion
more books, no way can he touch Rowling. As for J.K., I'm sure she was all broken up about not getting the prize -- probably cried all the way to the realtor's office this morning right before she bought
Sting Would Love This:
Miles Hochstein's Documented Life
chronicles his time on the planet in a very powerful way, using images and observations on life that span four decades. I stumbled across this project a few hours after I wrote my mini-essay on blogging, so you can imagine how I felt reading one of the last paragraphs on his welcome page -- the one about the message in a bottle. One of those strange moments when you mutter "whoa" under your breath a lot.
This is why me and the Amish held out on getting on the Internet for so long. sigh
I give up.
And now it's gone again. Gee, we could play hide the weblog entry all night like this.
And now it's reappeared, and I didn't do anything. (Twilight Zone music starts to play softly in the background . . . )
Now, for some reason, the entire bottom part of the weblog has vanished into thin air.
Was it something I said?
This is very weird. Testing to see what else Blogger devours via Post & Publish.
Words to Live By:
Like me, all my characters have at least one personal motto. It helps me get down to the core of the character, know what's really the bottom line for them. This is a good exercise if you're not sure who your characters are at that level. Here are a couple of mine:
Cherijo Torin (My Arrogant StarDoc): "Do No Harm" and "Don't Mess With Me"
Duncan Reever (Cherijo's Relentless Boyfriend): "What is Mine, I Keep"
Joseph Grey Veil (Cherijo's Mad Scientist Dad): "Perfection At Any Cost"
Neala Delaney (Torch Singer Stuck on Cattle Ranch): "Live and Let Neala Have Her Own Way"
Raven (AWOL Agent Turned SuperModel): "Flirt With Danger, Sleep Alone"
T'ang Jian-Shan (Tong Leader's Prodigal Son): "No Yesterdays, No Tomorrows"
Sajora Raska (Intergalactic Ninja): "Like My Blade?"
Samantha Farrell (Stalked Homicide Detective): "The Badge Isn't A Shield"
Okay, but the guy's got two "R"'s as middle initials. That's what messed me up. I knew there was double something . . .
Tolkien only has one
"k." Right. Got it. Thank you. You can stop sending me e-mail now. :)
How Much for that Blue Light? KMart
has filed for chapter 11 in order to save more than 2,100 stores and outlets here in the U.S. This isn't much of a surprise, considering how badly they've been getting whomped by Wal-Mart all these years, but now I'm wondering, who's next?
Quote for the Day:
"You May Have Already Won Ten
Million Dollars!" -- headliner from junk mail letter, 2001
(looking in wallet) I may have already spent it, too.
Medical Fact for the Day: Phalanx
is the name given to the small bones found in the fingers and toes. There are fourteen phalanges in each hand and foot: thumbs and big toes have two, while all the others have three.
To Blog, or not to Blog:
Ran through some interesting links to articles on the PC of blogging, what inherent responsibilities are/are not involved in blogging, can and should one be sued for blog content, are bloggers fierce pioneers breaking new ground or is it all just a big joke, etc. I had no idea there were so many politics and opinions involved; I thought blogging = keeping an online journal/diary/whatever and hooking it up to stuff you like or don't like. And, last time I checked, they hadn't thrown out the First Ammendment.
So, what's my take? On responsibilities: it's pretty obvious I try to watch my language or at least warn people when I'm going to use swear words. This is for any youngsters who might wander by here; I'd like to keep it clean for their sake. I'm a Mom first, writer second.
Can and should one be sued for blog content? That's a tough one. If you're publishing kiddie porn or making statements about assassinating the President of the U.S. and posting diagrams of the White House Security System, I think someone large and in charge should have at least a serious talk with you. But free speech covers a lot of nonsense, and since I'm not in charge of who gets to say what in this country, I can't call this one. I think you should remember that a blog is public, and lawyers make millions every year off suing people for defamation of character.
Are bloggers the Next Big Thing or nothing but a Big Chuckle? I cruise through a lot of weblogs, and 80% of them seem to be written by very upset/troubled/ticked off teenagers who just broke up with That Jerk or That Witch and are thoroughly miserable. Hey, guys, I feel for you. You couldn't get me to be a teenager again if you paid me a million up front in cash. Another 10% are apparently authored by the compu-obsessed and are basically Greek to me. No, actually, I understand Greek better than Linux or Unix or whatever the heck they're talking about. So based on 90% of the weblogs out there, uh, no, I don't think blogging will change the face of civilization as we know it.
But then . . . there's that last 10%. These are folks who write about what matters to them, what they really worry about, the little victories and defeats of each day. They're from all walks of life, working all kinds of jobs, well-off, poor, struggling, settled, alone, happy, in love, searching, etc. What they do is spill a little of their lives into a brief or lengthy weblog entry and send it out into the world. It's like a thousand copies of one letter thrown out into the ocean in as many bottles. Free to whoever picks it up and wants to read it. And that ten percent is why I cruise weblogs every day. To make that connection, to read the words, to hear what they have to say.
I'm not sure what, but that ten percent might just change something.
Note to dumb self: purchase waterproof mattress protector.
Wow. The vet was right, that really works. And if feline looks could kill, I'd be on the floor, coughing out my last breath . . .
The boys are wrestling on the bed in a three-for-all, despite many stern warnings from yours truly. Last time they got this rough, Rush ended up with a nick on the throat and Jericho stayed under the bed all day. I'm going to get the plant mister.
Don't Cry For My Shrubs, Argentina:
Petunias grow wild in the Americas and Argentina. Betcha didn't know that, huh? We purchased a large pot of pink petunias to go along with Mike's science project presentation, and I forgot to grab them on the way out this morning. After I came back, realized that and kicked myself for it, I got interested in them, pulled out my watercolors and tried to paint them. Up close, the petals aren't just pink, they're about twenty shades of pink and have all sorts of interesting, nearly transparent veins in them. If you've never studied a flower up close for two hours, you won't understand this, but there are whole worlds of texture and line and color inside a single bloom. My artistic skills will never do justice to even a tiny fraction of that perfection, but I see why O'Keeffe
was addicted to them.
Turn in your SF membership card:
Okay, I confess, I haven't seen Lord of the Rings. And I'll probably wait for it to come out on video and then . . . not see it. And I've never read the book either. I did read the Hobbit in high school, yawned, wrote my paper and promptly forgot the entire story. I remember a short guy with hairy feet, that's about it. When people start obsessing about Tolkkien, I try to discreetly leave the room.
Do I feel a moral imperative to read Lord of the Rings? No. It's like the Harry Potter books. I think it's nice the authors have got so many people reading, especially kids. Rowling and Tolkkien did a good thing, hooray for them. My good opinion doesn't require me to be a fan of their books.
Famous Quote for the Day:
"Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save." Will Rogers, 1879 -- 1935
Time and money are more fun when they're well spent.
Medical Fact for the Day: Cataplexy
refers to a sudden loss of muscle tone and control, which causes a patient to collapse but not lose consciousness. The rare condition usually lasts a few seconds and is triggered by emotions, particularly laughter. Cataplexy, which can cause any number of injuries depending on how the patient falls, occurs most often as a symptom of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. One study of individuals with sleep disorders revealed a very few insomniacs can trigger cataplexic episodes at will.
Finished chapter eight tonight, but I'm not happy with Raven, or Zhihan, or Gangi's Dad, for that matter. Dad keeps wanting to flip on me, and Zhihan needs more, I don't know -- something. He's too plastic. As for Raven, the witch, she's got to back off Kalen before they pre-empt the Lear Jet scene. Lots of heat. I feel like I should be spraying the two of them with a garden hose.
Cherijo whispered in my ear around nine pm, but I ignored her. She's just going to have to wait for this and Sean's book to be done. In the meantime, I'm now an expert on petunias (go ahead. Ask me anything) and Mike's presentation looks like it'll get him an A+. We both agreed petunias are wimpy flowers and we want to do a project on Venus Fly Traps next time. Can they really eat an entire cheeseburger . . . ?
Fear of Frying:
A couple of things came up this weekend that disturbed me (one to the point of grabbing the Kleenex) and gave me plenty to think about. One was death (hence the top ten earlier) and the other is loyalty. Death offends me on so many levels we'll just skip right over that. My ambient temperature is already into the red ranges.
Loyalty is on the opposite end of the spectrum. We're all loyal to something, whether it's watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer or listening to Staind or eating Thai food only at that place next to the Regal Cinema. Loyal friends, on the other hand, are rare commodities. Most people aren't interested in being loyal to anyone but themselves -- but then, no one else is going to look out for them, because they're busy taking care of their own problems. And who's really worth loyalty these days? If you're lucky, you might find a handful of people in a lifetime that inspire that kind of committment. Assuming you're even looking for friends like that.
But let's say you have a friend worth your loyalty. There's still no profit involved. Loyalty doesn't come with a paycheck, no one gives you a plaque for it, and you can't list it on your resume. It's no fun, either -- being loyal to this friend means occasionally you have to stand up for them when it would be so
much easier, more convenient, and sometimes even profitable to say, "It's been fun, see you around" and go with the majority, the accepted, the safe. What's the point?
Avoiding loyalty means no problems, no migraines, no stress. Sounds good, right? But it also means you have no spine. No personal honor. No integrity. If you're not loyal to a good friend, then you're the worst kind of coward.
And you know what? No one is loyal to a coward. Ever.
-- today the kids and I went to see Snow Dogs,
Cuba Gooding Jr.'s new movie. Nice flick, great for the family, and the lead sled dog Demon is just gorgeous. The trailers are a bit misleading -- we were expecting the dogs to "talk" throughout the movie, which they don't -- and Mike was disappointed the Baja Men's song "Who Let the Dogs Out?" didn't play once during the film. Otherwise, the kids loved it. I haven't seen Nichelle Nichols on the screen for awhile and she's just as beautiful and fun and elegant as ever (she plays Cuba's mom.) This one is definitely okay for kids of all ages.
Popcorn and $oda:
In case you're thinking of taking the kids to see a movie in the theatre, better take out a second mortgage. Matinee tickets are $5 for adults, $4.50 for kids, which for us =$19.00. Add drinks and popcorn for four people ($17.00) and it empties out your wallet pretty fast. Two moms and I standing in line for twenty minutes at the concession stand were recalling what our Saturday matinees used to cost. I'm so old I used to pay $1.00 matinee admission and $1.25 for a coke and popcorn (this awed the other ladies, who are only in their late twenties.) It's a shame it costs so much to go to the theater, we really enjoy it. But the $36.00 we paid today buys us 7 video tape rentals plus coke and popcorn, plus we don't have to stand in line for the bathroom.
Instead of the usual daily quotes, I thought I'd pay deference to Monday with
The Top Ten Reasons You Should Not Commit Suicide
1. It hurts. Most of the ways there are to do it, it really effing hurts.
2. Do you know how hard it is to get bloodstains out of that carpeting?
3. Your mother didn't go through thirty-six hours of labor for this. Have a little respect.
4. Next year, you could discover the cure for cancer. Or male pattern baldness. Or cell phone addiction.
5. It really ticks off God.
6. You know who's going to get your CD collection. That tone deaf, dork brain cousin of yours with the pocket protector and the lisp.
7. Someone else will end up collecting all that Social Security you've been paying since 1979.
8. That girl who had a crush on you in the second grade and swore when her folks moved to San Diego that she'd come back to find you someday? She grew up to be Britney Spears, and her tour arrives in your town next month.
9. You'll never have sex again. I mean, never. Think about it.
10. Read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. If that
guy kept going, so can you.
Why take an online typing test at 4:44 am, you ask? It's better for you than cruising through all those porn sites. :)
When You Can't Sleep . . .
Why not take an online typing test?
Here are the results from mine:
You have today completed TypingMaster's On-line Typing Test with the following results:
Test Time: 1 min.
Typing Speed: 81 WPM
Accuracy: 100 %
NET SPEED: 81 WPM
Last time I tested, I was at 91 WPM with 98% accuracy, so while I'm more accurate, I'm slowing down quite a bit.
Classic Catherine Coulter:
Anyone who has been following the Sherbrooke books is in for a treat with Ms. C's latest release, "Pendragon." This one tells the story of Tysen's daughter Meggie, and features one of her infamous cat races as an opener. After all the hints about the racing cats in the previous books, it was great fun to read about the actual competition, as well as follow another terrific romance. Best time I've had all week.
I've mentioned my love affair
with my Platinum Koi pen before, but there are other, less expensive fountain pens I use for everyday, carry in my purse, etc. The best of them is Waterman's Phileas, a great heavy-duty pen, and also their Laureat, which is a bit slimmer and more lightweight (I like to use this one when my hands are tired.) I started using fountain pens a few years back when my arthritis flared up, and there really is a big difference between them and regular gel or ink pens. I haven't graduated to bottled ink yet (cartridges are still more convenient) but as soon as I can trust the kids not to paint each other with the ink, I'll probably invest in a vat of dark blue or black.
Famous Quote for the Day:
"A book is a mirror: if an ass peers into it, you can't expect an apostle to look out." Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1742 -- 1799
I don't agree with Georg, but I love him for the quote anyway.
Medical Fact for the Day:Phagocytes
are "janitorial" cells in the body which surround, engulf, and digest microorganisms (i.e. bacteria and viruses), foreign particles and cellular debris. These cells are part of the immune system, and are found chiefly in the lymph nodes, spleen, lungs, and blood stream. Some granulocytes and monocytes (types of white blood cells) are phagocytes, and freely wander throughout the body to clean up invaders.
Reader mail bag offerings:
I am criminally behind on e-mail again, but spent two hours catching up on questions about Eternity Row (really, guys, they don't let me pick release dates. Or cover art. Or cover copy. Basically, I write the books, send them the manuscripts, they do everything else.); where did I go to college (the University of Life); am I a doctor (nope); will I be at WorldCon (only if someone drugs and kidnaps me); what do I know about gay writers of science fiction (about as much as I know about the straight ones, very little); congrats on the successful link installation (gracias, amigo) and what do I like to read besides those icky romances (surgical manuals, poetry, linguistic studies, anything about biology and genetics. And lots more icky romances.)
On my desk tonight is a good sampler stack of what I read when time allows -- "Let Down Your Hair" by Linda Jones, Carpenter's "Human Neuroanatomy", and "The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde" by Collins. A couple of prize, two-digit LoveSwept Iris Johansens are on the nightstand, along with my English-Norwegian dictionary. Last night I re-read a chapter in Biotech Century. It's sort of you never know what the heck I'll be reading, and I admit, what's stacked around here is a pretty bizarre assortment. My mind wanders between building a viable procedure to produce cloned humans with accelerated growth hormone systems to finding out if Brenna and Michael are ever going to trust each other enough to make a go of it. Sometimes a beautiful romance is more important than dissecting the human genome. Other nights, figuring out how to say "Take a hike, pal" ten different ways in Swedish preoccupies me totally. Curiosity should be endless, without agendas or dictated sources or any boundaries, don't you think?