I had successfully avoided the media coverage of the war until this morning, when I went to the local Firestone dealer. One of my tires* had developed a bubble on the sidewall and had to be replaced. While they did that, I had to sit in this tiny customer waiting room with three other people and a television. The television was set to CNN, and everyone was glued to it.
They have 24/7 cameras in Bagdad -- cameras with green night vision, so we don't miss any of the bombings. There are reporters travelling with the ground forces, filming what they do. Interactive maps, retired generals acting as battle consultants, computer-generated "scenarios." They have body counts for coalition forces, but evidently no one is bothering to count how many of the enemy we kill -- or maybe that's tallied at the top of the hour. I didn't stay to watch.
It's not like Desert Storm, it's a thousand times worse. It's truly become the ultimate in round the clock, sick entertainment. I left the building when the anchor lady and one of the on-site guys in Kuwait were congratulating each other on what a historic and wonderful job they were doing. Their faces, their voices -- that eager greed for more -- it made me want to throw up.
This is not wonderful, or historic. This is war. It's death and destruction -- and yes, I know we're very good at it. We always have been. But real people, not "ground forces" or "pockets of resistance" are dying, every hour. They are burning, they are being blown up, they are being crushed and stabbed and shot. Do you know what that looks like -- what that really looks like? I do. CNN won't show you that, I suspect -- or maybe they will. God, I have no idea how far they will go now.
This is not pretend. It's real. I believe it's necessary, and I support our troops. But war is not something you watch with a coke and a bowl of popcorn.
I sat outside on the sidewalk and watched traffic until they were done with my car. It took two hours; Firestone service sucks almost as much as their tires. I thought about my kids and how much I love them and how much they need me. Thank God for them.
*all four came with the car, I did not buy them. I hate Firestone; my ex has had two blowouts on the highway with them.
All Things Considered: Publishers Weekly online
has some good articles this week: one here
on the reasons for the nice overall paperback sales increase; another here
on the reason folks at Harlequin romance are smiling; and a little intel here
on the status of Time Warner/AOL's book group sale, which should be interesting to follow. The articles with optimistic spins are quite plentiful and quite un-Publishers Weeklyish; one has to wonder if the editors all got together and said "Writers are twitchy enough; let's not add to the crap going on about the war."
Rammed my foot into a toy someone I gave birth to left in a sneaky spot on the ground and jammed my second toe. It's swelling and turning a lovely shade of violet now, so I guess I'll be hobbling for a few days. Better a toe than the knee, but still -- argh.
I am not watching TV, listening to the radio or reading the news. I did that during Desert Storm and it wrecked me emotionally. Instead, I got up super early, finished the new material quota, and started a new meditation journal. I also dug out my beading supplies so Kath and I can make some bracelets and stuff this afternoon when she gets out of school. Right now I'm off to proof galleys for TKB.
Titles from Poems:
Still hunting for the third Fire book title, but I found a slammer of one for a short story I'm working on -- courtesy of e.e.cummings:
no man,if men are gods;but if gods must
be men,the sometimes only man is this
(most common,for each anguish is his grief;
and,for his joy is more than joy,most rare)
a fiend,if fiends speak truth;if angels burn
by their own generous compeletely light,
an angel;or(as various worlds he'll spurn
rather than fail immeasurable fate)
such was a poet and shall be and is
-who'll solve the depths of horror to defend
a sunbeam's architecture with his life:
and carve immortal jungles of despair
to hold a mountain's heartbeat in his hand
I've never understood why this guy was so anti-capital letters and spacing and stuff -- I'm sure there's some big important literary reason for it -- but I like his poems anyway. The title I got out of it? If Angels Burn.
Hey, I Just Write 'Em:
An indignant soul posting on my author site guest book (the first disgruntled one I've ever gotten, in fact) joins the long line of those wanting to know why I'm writing romance under a new pseudonym. Evidently my silence (?) on the subject is bugging a lot of people, I have a stack of similar e-mails from reviewers and readers. I guess no one reads the weblog.
So let's review: I tried to avert this Gena Hale/Jessica Hall situation last year, but was told it was for the best. I shut up about the change and let the publisher handle it. I'm told some press releases went out but to my knowledge, they have pretty much handled it by not
handling it. Whether it's been for the best remains to be seen, and won't be showing up until my final numbers for the trilogy are in, probably some time next year. I can already see some promises have been broken, but that's nothing new -- welcome to the exciting and ethical world of professional publication.
As far as the first three JH books go, I think the cover art is vastly improved, and the new name is okay. The titles were not my idea but I've seen worse. I'm not inclined to defend or attack my publisher for their decisions. I've been told (repeatedly) that this is their side of the business, not mine. They pay me to write books, and I do my job. Otherwise, they call the shots. Is this good or bad for my career? I was getting an ulcer over stuff like this, so now the agent handles my career. Her stomach is much tougher than mine.
The indignant reviewers? Can all go to hell. Whoops, maybe not, they'd probably take it over and then where would Satan live? Well, we're going to need someone to run Iraq soon . . .
All kidding aside, I do genuinely care about my readers, and I'm sorry they feel put out by what's happening with my books. As a reader I always love a good mystery, so when an author skulks around behind a bunch of different pseudonyms I actually like tracking down the books. Maybe that's one way to cope with these small unpleasantries of publishing.
The title for Terri and Cort's book just hit me while I was making the kid's school lunches -- Heat of the Moment.
Now just to find one for Caine and Moriah's book . . .
Marriage Doesn't Make You Happier:
Or at least that's what this marriage study article
claims. The people involved in the study bugged more than 24,000 people over ten years, asking participants every year to rate their overall life satisfaction.
"We found that people were no more satisfied after marriage than they were prior to marriage," the researchers said.
Uh-huh. I'm trying to figure out why they're so concerned with happiness in marriage. It's supposed to be a for better/worse, richer/poorer, in sickness/health thing, right? Oh, well. I've gotten over my good little Catholic girl you-must-be-married brainwashing, but I still think it's a wonderful thing to find a partner for life.
I was thinking of this passage from Walt Whitman tonight, so I thought I'd try another audblog post and read it for you.
audblog audio post
This is from "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.
I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-washed babe, and am not contained between my hat and boots,
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and everyone good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.
I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)
Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,
For me the sweetheart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children.
Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,
I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away.
Made my annual homage to St. Pat today by cooking up some cabbage and helping someone in need -- beats getting drunk on green beer, plus offers the advantages of a satisfied mind and no hangover. The cabbage was great, too.
I listened to the President on TV, then turned it off and spent some time watching the rain out on the balcony and writing in my journal. I felt a sense of my grandmother very keenly tonight, as I always do when I'm troubled or scared. She understood things like war much better than I ever will; she lived through four of them. She knew human nature too, and was never surprised by it, I guess. She didn't believe in Armageddon, she said we would never destroy the world because we're too greedy to blow ourselves up.
I hope you're right, Grandma.
New Cover Art:
Hot off the production presses.
And about the war:
There is enough arguing going on elsewhere; I don't feel a need to do that here. I support our military and our government as I always have and always will, and that is not open for debate, either.
I would ask that everyone, no matter what your politics are, keep the brave men and women serving in the Middle East in your thoughts and prayers. They deserve no less from any of us.
I've been following the stories about this mystery respiratory virus, now being pegged SARS for "severe acute respiratory syndrome." It sounds like a new strain of the flu, but is still under investigation, and is presently spreading through parts of Asia. Looks like the world health agencies are staying on top of it, which is always good. I do recommend anyone who travels to and from that part of the world read this article,
check into any cases in the regions where you're going/leaving, and plan accordingly.
Why I'm concerned: Not to scare anyone, but if this is a new strain of influenza, or the shifted version of an existing strain, we need to jump on it. In the last 100 years, there have been three major influenza pandemics: Spanish flu, or influenza A(H1N1), killed over 500,000 people in the U.S. in 1918-1919 and may have killed 20-50 million people worldwide; Asian flu, or influenza A(H2N2), killed 70,000 deaths in the U.S. and originated in China in 1957-1958, much like the third pandemic outbreak, Hong Kong flu, or influenza A(H3N2), which killed 34,000 in the U.S in 1968-1969.
Today our world health agencies, like the Center for Disease Control here in the U.S., are able to quickly isolate new or shifting influenza strains and develop vaccines to prevent them from running unchecked, thereby preventing global pandemics. Hopefully they'll always be able to do that.
The first draft of the proposal for book three is done, so I've got that and book two ready for final edit tomorrow. Have to mull over a few points on book three but seems pretty tight now, and I came up with a wham of an ending for the trilogy. As I expected, Jo and Gray developed on me and will have to have their own book, but not right away. I also still have Brooke and Kinsella from the third book of the JH White Tiger trilogy wanting their own book. Maybe a combo of the two might work.
I'd give myself a cookie but I'm too tired. Off to bed, perchance to not dream.
Outline and synopsis/proposal for book two of the Fire trilogy is finito, moving on now to book three. This is my third trilogy for Onyx and it looks like that whole three's-a-charm thing is true. No tallying of domestic fowl before they transverse the thoroughfare, though. Once book three is finished, I have a week to rough out the plot for my next Christian series novel, which promises to be fun, and to continue work on the next SF novel, which is progressing nicely. Somewhere in there I'll catch up on e- and snail mail.