Some news-worthy items to browse this weekend:
When it came to girlfriends
, apparently actor Richard Burton was a lousy judge of age.
The recall election for governor of California is getting really weird.
The Star Wars franchise is looking
at moving into television cartoons.
for Japanese men who like to dress up as Michael Jackson.
Armani is getting bored
with life-size women.
A woman refused all aid and gave birth
while standing on a train. (via KCramer's blog
Versus the Whining:
After being in a perpetual snit all day (like you couldn't tell, right?) I played hooky for few hours, saw some friends and ran my own
errands for a change. Did me a world of good; I came back, sat down and wrote like mad dogs froth. Now that I've had my tea/blog break, back to work.
If you're an author and you're posting fake reviews about your own book on an online bookseller site, don't put exclamation points at the end of every one of the subject lines. You might want to mix up the wording a little, too. Also, please resist the urge to call it Book of the Year. If you have to write phony reviews for it, it's pretty much not, okay?
Don't play this will-it-post, won't-it-post game with me, I am not
in the mood.
Click on image to see larger version
Blogger is acting weird again.
Updated for August:
New stuff over at my author site
this month; the story "A Diversity of Houses" I've been talking about plus a fifteen book giveaway
with drawings for three sets of all three Jessica Hall books, three copies of Blade Dancer and (surprise) three copies Going to the Chapel. This time I've divided them up into three different drawings for those of you who have genre preferences. Thanks to Willa
for getting everything posted for me.
I have one more (possibly two) Christian novels to be released this year, and five books on the schedule for 2004. Among 2004's releases are "Into the Fire" (JH) in March and "BioRescue" (SLV) in August or September. Not sure when or if Roc will do a mass market release for Blade, but 2004's release numbers are probably going to increase to seven or eight once we finalize some deals this month.
Finally, if all goes well, I plan to post the second StarDoc novella "Deimos" on the web site in September and hopefully have a better schedule of 2004's release dates.
I think I've earned a cookie. :)
So that thing
that washed ashore in Chile really was a giant squid? Somehow I missed the confirmation. Looking now to see if DNA tests were performed or is the media just guessing again. Would make one hell of a story if it's true.
FYI, the colossal squid, which is supposed to weigh up to 2K lbs. when fully grown, is detailed in this article.
The one our friends in NZ caught was only half grown, though, and weighed a mere 330 lbs.
Looks like the media was jumping the gun; the Chilean blob is not a squid
but the remains of a sperm whale. (Thanks to Cris for relating the real story.)
Here Be Dragons:
All three of my boys were perched by the window watching something intently, so I had to take a peek. Usually the subject of their fascination is the noisy blue jay who has set up house in one of my pines, but this time it turned out to be a three foot long iguana basking on my balcony. I'm not kidding, from nose to tail tip this guy was half the length
of my balcony. As soon as I opened the door he disappeared over the side and I couldn't see where he went. After that I was subjected to the usual disgusted looks from the felines, who think I should at least try
to catch something for them to play with once
It's weird, though -- I know iguanas have to be pretty good climbers, but I'm several stories up and not connected to any other neighbor's balcony, so the only avenue here is straight vertical. If he didn't come up that way, then the only other way is if he jumped from one of the trees or the blue jay dropped him off.
Who wrote the book that inspired this movie and how can I smack him upside the head? No, that's okay, I know it's that guy who rhymes with coleslaw and he's probably dead so he's safe. But this movie, Christ. The only reason I made it to through that formalin-soaked storyline was the performances by the black lady and Gorgeous George (who continues to tick me off with most of his role choices.) I should never watch movies like this; they mess with my chakrahs or something -- and four words, George: No More Downer Films.
DareDevil made up for Solaris, barely. Ben was as Adorable and Tragic as necessary, and I get such a kick out of Colin Farrel. I never read DD comics but I cut my teeth on the whole SuperHeroes Must Not Fall in Love philosophy so I'm not mega-upset about the [censored, extreme spoiler] in this one. Too much time spent on the kid portion of the story, though, and most of the film was rushed and/or over the top. Also, why oh why did they waste this marvelous actor who played Kingpin by flashing him in, what, three
little bitty nothing scenes? Sigh. I'll see the sequel if there is one, watching Ben Bounce Around the Bronx was okay.
I still have to shake this post-Solaris depression, so I'll probably watch Mumford and my Pride & Prejudice mini-series videos sometime this week. They're my salt-circle to drive away the demons.
Ignorance is Law?:
(PG-13 for language, kids, go eat your dinner) I see our beloved President is jumping
into the front seat of Justice Scalia's little homophobic red wagon and working feverishly on behalf of the terrified right to make heterosexual marriage the only form legal in the U.S. I wonder if his nose grew two feet longer when he used the word "sin" so righteously. I wonder if he's subscribed to the Hooked on Platonics
flash card set from the Vatican.
Okay, so gay marriage becomes illegal in the U.S. to keep homosexuals from sin. No big deal, right? Of course that means abortions will be outlawed next, because everyone knows reproductive women are just as sinful as those icky gay people -- even more so, 'cause they're carrying the proof in the oven, nudge nudge wink wink. Can't have any of that
pre-marital sex, either, seeing as that's a sin, so cohabitation and birth control are out, and maybe we can set up little check points in schools and colleges to make sure our young women remain wholesome and undefiled until some big strong Republican young men pop the question (no other popping permitted until after the wedding, thank you very much.)
From there the government only has to take a few more small leaps to insure the general population stays pure and sin-free. We could have federal morals marshals patrol the streets to keep an eye out for any unnecessary personal contact or inappropriate behavior. They wouldn't need guns, just a couple of cattle prods to zap the offenders as needed (think of the jail and courtroom space on-site punishment would save.) And you know, we women really are a big temptation, so dress standards would have to change -- no more flaunting our nubile young bodies around to tease Men of the Faith. Imagine how useful some government-issue surplus WWII ponchos would be in covering up our sinful physiques. As for those pesky gay people, well, a few public executions and you know they'll play hide the salami the way they're supposed to.
And then, well, maybe the Iraqis will come and rescue our
The Universe that Seduces You:
Finished the web site story and sent it off to Willa
for posting. At 12.5K it's more a novelette than a story, but I let me and the characters have some room to play. This one was pure fun to write; I didn't realize how long it was until I did the final edit yesterday.
I'm not finished, either. The two protagonists, Natala and Tavo, are excellent sequel material and they've assured me that their story is far from over. There are support character (Sorel, Qedalea) stories simmering on the back burner, a possible tie-in with the protagonists from Back to Back (Gnat and Jalka) and the pick-up of a very subtle ongoing thread about HouseClan Zamlon (Ktarka, Nalek) from the StarDoc books and Blade. I suspect the Ruling Council will want to jump in on things, too -- all from an idea that didn't exist until a few days ago.
Some writers prefer the one-book-pony deal but I love to keep playing in the same universe. If you build it the right way, you don't get tired of it. Even if you get distracted or busy doing other things, it will come and get you, and lure you back.
The hard part is managing the details. I've been keeping a StarDoc encyclopedia to keep track of series stuff since I wrote Endurance, and I've started one for K-2, which is the setting for the two BioRescue books. I have a database for my GH and JH books, a huge series bible for the Grace Chapel Inn series (which I maintain with six other authors and editors) and now I think I've gotten to the point where I need to start one just for the Jorenian HouseClans.
As expected, I slept through most of Johnny English, sorry I can't give a report. The progeny went through a vat of popcorn and tell me that the movie was hysterical and that I talk in my sleep. I'm still headache-y from napping slouched. To reward myself for being a good mother, I rented the just-released video versions of Solaris and Daredevil on the way home. You can keep Mr. Bean, just gimme George and Ben.
My long-suffering children and I are taking the day off to do Mom-and-kid stuff. I've also made the Ultimate Parental Sacrifice and agreed to take them to see the movie Johnny English, as they are both fans of the lead actor whose name escapes me but I think of as Mr. Bean. I am not, hence the sacrifice part. Maybe I'll catch a nap in the interim.
Some side notes:
I've never read Harlan Ellison's work. After reading his latest contribution
to the Gene Wolfe muddle, I don't think I'm inclined to, either. (Is he off his meds, or what?)
For those of you who wanted to read it but didn't feel like investing in the mag, the PW review for Blade Dancer has been posted in its entirety over at B&N.com here.
My editor felt they revealed a bit more of the plot than she felt comfortable with, so beware, there be the spoilers. The book page info is all screwed up, though, so be advised that I am the author, not the editor, and it is a hardcover edition, not a paperback (sigh.)
Now I'm off to gather my partners in crime and rev up the BatMobile. :)
Can't have a decent grumble about Monday now that Kath has shaken this thing and seems totally back to normal (knocking on the desk.)
My daughter looks good with long hair, so we've been letting it grow out since she hacked it up in the first grade. Last night I trimmed, conditioned and unsnarled her hair -- the kid is a perpetual walking rat's nest even when she's not sick -- and discovered she can almost sit in the ends. She doesn't want to cut it and, remembering those painfully hideous pixie haircuts my mother insisted I have, I encourage her to keep thinking that way.
In other local news, the story that smacked me in the head Friday is nearly finished and is making me very happy. The challenge with writing a completely Jorenian story is the dialogue, because their language is so formal and in this one I don't have any humans hanging around to deliver the punchlines. The characters are helping a lot, though, and I suspect it will turn out to be one of the better stories I've written this year.
Way to Go Lance!
Lance Armstrong has won
the Tour de France for the fifth consecutive time.
Since I can't fly over to France to hug him, I'm making a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation
which helps cancer patients and their families through difficult times.
Input Versus No Input:
There are a lot of people who talk about writing via the Internet -- reviewers, critics, the aspiring, the promising, wannabees, has-beens, midlisters, and the occasional bestselling celeb. I didn't get access to the internet until after I was published, so observing their interactions and antics is still a big novelty for me. Hey, if appalled fascination was an airline, I'd have racked up a million frequent flier miles.
This Gene Wolfe controversy has brought up some interesting points about what aspiring writers should and should not expect from critiques via the workshop experience.
The whole deal puzzles me, but then I don't employ beta readers or solicit critiques. I didn't learn to write with help, for one thing, and I don't need the input to continue to write. After you sell 21 books in four years, self confidence is not a problem. Anyone who wants to venture an opinion as to what I should write now has to offer me a cash incentive for the privilege, which is ideal -- it makes it into a business decision. Though we'll all agree that I am one of those one-off, odd writers who should (and does) thank her higher power for her extremely good fortune.
I never tut-tut over what other writers do differently, because thanks to the Internet, I've learned that the process of writing is highly individual. Workshops like Odyssey would be wasted on a lone wolf type like me (and Jaquandor's
philosophy is nearly identical to mine) but I've read praise for them from other writers who attribute their success to their workshop experience. I can't say that I've seen any of them on the NYT BSL, but I may have missed some names.
Bottom line, whatever works and doesn't hurt anyone else or gets you booked on criminal charges, do it. Just remember that when you offer an opinion, you should be prepared to have it thrown back in your face, and when you solicit an opinion, you generally don't get to tailor it to accomodate your ego first.