Explain This to The Dentist:
Back from the ortho doc, who is not very happy with the affects of me ditching all the meds. My BP is too low, my white count is too high, my potassium is all wacked out; I'm being irresponsible, nutritional treatment is bullshit, etc. etc. However, my MRI came back okay, and according to the radiologist's report, there has been a little positive progress. Which I blamed on the diet, and which made the doc mostly shut up. Until I got on the treadmill.
Now, I don't have to do the treadmill often (being a gimp gets me out of lots of stuff) so I forgot about what a nasty evil machine it is. This, combined with the nurse and doc being called out of the room, led to a minor accident. As in, I wasn't paying attention, got tangled in the leads, tripped and fell, face first, into the heartrate monitor. Bounce, bounce, bam -- the machine threw me off onto my backside. Hitting the monitor sheered off half of two teeth, the jagged ends of which lacerated the inside of my lip.
As I'm rubbing my bruised butt and spitting blood and broken tooth stuff in the sink, the doc walks back in. I don't think he looked that horrified since the first time I showed him my really
Anyway, aside from the terrific things this has done to my smile, I have three stitches and lips that match Angelina Jolie's -- and just in time for Easter, hooray. But the knee is okay, and that's all that matters. I have lots of ice packs and few mirrors. I just wonder if the dentist will believe that I got beaten up by a treadmill.
I have no formal education as a writer. One teacher in high school worked with me on poetry but that was it. I was studied by the professors who created the first gifted child program for Broward County public schools (I was one of the original seven test monkeys) but none of them took my writing seriously. They were more interested in finding out how I'd whupped the IQ test when I was supposed to be the Girl Most Likely to Ask "You Want Fries With That?"
The only educators who ever helped me along the way were librarians, who listened to my questions and put certain books in my hands. One in particular made a joke about me checking out twenty and thirty books every couple of days, and asked if I intended to read every book in the place. I thought it was a cool idea, and that year, I read the entire fiction section from A to Z (it was a small library, about 2000 novels). Librarians, the real ones who weren't just there for the city benefits, were my favorite people. Still are. You go in and say to one of them, "I need something good to read" and they turn into book genies.
That's why it kills me to read articles like this.
Libraries are the universities of the poor, where you're welcome no matter who you are. They're the best kind, too, because you learn freely as you choose, instead of being programmed by people who think academic degrees equal intelligence. Shutting them down means denying the only solid education kids like me ever get.
Just in Time for Mothers Day:
In response to popular demand (and in some cases, blunt threats) I'm writing "Abbadon", the third installment in my surgeon/vampire story series. Vanessa and Cyprien will make cameo appearances, but I'm mainly focusing on two completely new characters. Luiza Lopez's story "Outrage" is also in progress and will likely show up in a few months, once I get the nerve to finish it. "Abbadon" will be available at my author web site story in May.
The synopsis for my next Christian book, done and sent, and the series pitches, likewise finished and outta here. I think I'm plotted out for a few days. :)
Crank It Up:
Catching the attention of a major publisher is hard enough; pitching to an interested editor is probably the most pressure a writer endures. The pressure increases when the editor shoots down your proposal and asks for another -- that can rock the steadiest confidence, and it's when a lot of writers choke. I've proposed six books to the same editor, struck out with each one, and now I'm heading into my seventh -- which will be a series pitch, because the editor is looking for a series, likes my style and thinks I can write what she wants. It's all in the presentation now.
The pressure for a writer doesn't get anymore cranked up than this; you can't freeze, you have to think on your feet, and you have to be better than dazzling. Self-doubt has to be locked in a dark closet and ignored. Creativity is important but marketability is everything. A single word or phrase can mean the difference between a major contract and a final, "No, thanks."
I've been pursuing this contract for more than a year now, and getting this close is tantalizing. Home stretch, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth adrenalin rush tantalizing. I don't doubt myself -- I've been here too many times before -- and choking is out of the question. It's a threshold; I cross it or the door gets slammed in my face. I've had a thousand doors slammed in my face. I'll probably get a thousand more before I'm through.
But stepping inside, moving into a new genre, taking another chunk of the publishing world and making it mine, that I can do. That I want. So crank it up.
No, Sheila, You Can't. . .
. . . but boy, would I love to place a bid on this.
Roc has accepted an offer from Science Fiction Book Club
for my novel "Blade Dancer" to be a featured alternate selection in their 8/27/03 mailing. This is my first sale to SFBC, so we're pretty happy.
Here Be Dragons:
Scientists have completed
the genetic map for humans, claiming 99.9% accuracy and finishing two years ahead of schedule. The fact that they finished so fast has me a little worried; I admire the effort but this kind of research shouldn't be a rabbit race.
The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium are sharing their research and findings via the internet, which is a nice contrast to the private companies who have been closely guarding their own genome projects and filing for patents to keep other scientists from using their work. May that continue to be standard operating procedure with this project.
In terms of medical science, having the completed genetic map will change and improve many treatments for diseases and defects. I hope cancer, AIDs and heart disease top the list; that trio needs attention. How scientists otherwise use this wealth of information will be the biggest challenge. In the not-too-distance future, it will likely be possible to program human beings, and that's where the danger is. One man's ideal of human perfection can result in genocide, as was proven by the Nazis. Let's not go there again.
Agents of the Round Table: SF Crowsnest
has a very long but excellent round table article
in which eight of the top SF&F agents in publishing (including Donald Maass) are grilled about the market, submissions, and how they do business. For anyone who is submitting SF&F or just curious about how agents handle it, this is a good one to check out.
Into the Frey:
AOL is pushing hot new former addict writer James Frey,
who disdains punctuation and views rock star treatment as a big plus -- the latter a grand publishing tradition lavished on such notable auto-bio authors as Dennis Rodman and The Rock. His debut book is apparently part of his quest to "throw it down" with the literary world, and although bad reviews really bum him out, he is quite earnest about being a great writer. And, evidently, great writers use the eff word in every sentence during interviews. I should make note of that, I guess.
I read the AOL excerpt from his novel (and what is with all this AOL-exclusive stuff, anyway?) and found his prose to be a lot like the lousy blank verse poetry I wrote when I was eleven. Still write, when I get angsty enough -- say thank you for not publishing it, Sheila.
As for his ordeal, I can't read about addicts without thinking of what they do to their bodies, their families, and their victims, so my sympathy well pretty much runs instantly dry. Still, bon chance, James -- you survived addiction, maybe you'll survive Random House.
Prayer & Penance:
Back from my sojourn with my friend. I believe she'll be okay; as okay as one can be after losing both parents in three years. It was good to pay respect to a loving and decent man and to just physically be there. Funerals are those times when you want, more than anything, to be a good friend, but you still grope for words and feel utterly inadequate. Nothing can dent death.
I came home Saturday night thinking of other deaths and other funerals. I've seen too many, attended too many. I wrote a little and then I quilted until dawn. The current QIP is an amazing log cabin; the top was made sometime during WWII with heavy satins and silks in tiny 1/2" strips and 4" blocks:
After eight hours I finished tying and binding the quilt and took it off the frame. And nearly tore my hair out -- I made a stupid half-inch error that offset the center, rippled the top, bunched the batting, and basically wrecked the entire piece. Yesterday I took it apart (ripping out all those hours of stitching was true penance for my idiocy) and I'll have to go a little slower now as my fingertips are raw from needle-jams and I don't want to bleed all over it. So much for the master quilter.
Quick reminder: It's the last day to file your tax return. You procrastinators, get your butts to the post office and mail it off in before the IRS comes hunting you down.