Star Lines
Saturday, August 23, 2003
  Will Anyone Ever List My Book Correctly?:  Just as B& and Amazon (finally) corrected the listings for Blade Dancer, SFBC comes out with their listing.  Now, I don't mean to complain, because the title is right, I'm listed as the author instead of the editor, and the blurb is clear and all, but where the heck did that cover come from?  
  Franken Wins Round One:  All you fair and balanced folks can breathe a little easier, as Manhattan Federal Judge Denny Chin has denied a preliminary injunction filed by FOX News to prevent the release of Al Franken's book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

"I'd like to thank Fox's lawyers for filing one of the stupidest briefs I've ever seen in my life," Franken is quoted as saying in the article.  Given that all the attention from the suit has made him a demi-god of bloggers plus has boosted his pre-release numbers through the roof, I imagine he is pretty grateful.

I'm cautiously relieved (it ain't over yet, Jessie just reminded me.)  Words are my tools, and there are enough of them I'm not allowed to use. 
  Not Even if You Drugged Me:  Aside from the many displaced members of African ruling parties who wish to entrust me with their millions, I occasionally get nefarious propositions from individuals and groups closer to home.  These range anywhere from marriage proposals (11 so far; I'm keeping count) to downright weird stuff ("Let me use your name on my book so I can get it published and I'll give you half the money.")

This latest one comes from a soul eager to have access to all the irresistable charms of SFWA, but who alas does not qualify under the professional membership requirements.  Here's the pitch: "If you will join SFWA and send me the passwords and the Bulletin I will pay your dues and tell you how to vote."  This ended with an utterly charming little bit of advice: "Your SF books will never be nominated for Hugos until you're a member so it is to your advantage to do this."

[William Tell Overture begins]

[The Widow Kelly exits the Little House on the Literary Prairie, picks up her calico skirts and runs to The Lone SFWAnnabee Ranger, who is mounting his white horse.  Two skinny but very clean children peek around the edge of the door.  The bodies of dead Scalp-Hunting Reviewers are scattered everywhere:]

Widow Kelly (teary-eyed, steps over body of reviewer to clutch at Ranger's leather-clad thigh):  The homestead is saved, my children are saved, I'm saved!  How can I ever repay you, Masked Man?

Ranger (looking through steely eyes and mask toward the horizon):  Just send me those passwords, ma'am.  (gives author distant but kindly smile) I reckon by this time next year you'll have your very own Hugo nomination.

Widow Kelly (presses shaking hand to throat):  Oh, God, a real chance to have my very own HUGO????  It's too much, too, too much.

Ranger (squares shoulders):  It's the least I can do, ma'am.  (picks up reins)  Hi Ho Silverberg, away! (rides off into sunset)

Widow Kelly (weeping, waving lace handkerchief):  God Bless You, Masked Man!  Thank you for saving me and my career from certain DOOM!

Ahem.  Anyway.  I printed it out and sent a polite no thanks.  I'm sure I could stir up some trouble by sending a copy to SFWA, but that seems mean.  Somehow I'll muddle through the long winter alone with the children . . . we'll butcher the cow if we have to . . .  
Friday, August 22, 2003
  E-mail Situation:  I've been bombarded with the same virus-laden spam/reroute garbage everyone else has been experiencing, some originating from some editors and colleagues who are infected.  If you are and you've sent me an e-mail, I've already informed you.  To everyone else, I recommend you check out what your ISP and software providers can do to keep your system bug-free, and do it now, because this stuff is spreading like wildfire through the net. 
  Deadline Week:  I've got seven days to finish my novel, write the proposals for six more and talk new contracts.  The kids are starting school Monday, so we went uniform shopping yesterday and discovered how much they've grown.  Which is a lot, yikes, is someone putting Miracle Gro in Captain Crunch?  Kath shot up two inches over the summer, and Mike is in Adult medium shirts, having totally skipped Adult Small.

Industry News -- Whoever he is, Otto Penzler is 2.8 million dollars richer after successfully fending off a publisher breach of contract suit over some big name mystery anthologies.

The 15th edition of the much-venerated Chicago Manual of Style is now available. The website is calling it the "essential reference for authors, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers in any field."  Does this mean I have to buy one?  
Thursday, August 21, 2003
  The Announcement:  I've decided to resign as Assistant Site Host for Forward Motion.  The official adieu can be read here.  When time permits, I will continue to do what I can to help other writers, but as a regular member of the site.  I have absolute faith that Lazette Gifford will continue doing a superb job as site host, and I will support her in any way that I can.

This will doubtless cause great joy in some quarters.  Try not to guzzle too much champagne, though, it gives you a whomping headache.  I'll keep you in my prayers.

For the good people who have worked with me to pursue their dreams, and share our love of the craft, all I can say is thanks for letting me be a part of it, and I hope we'll always be able to find time to get together and talk shop. 
  Directional Changes:  Large announcement imminent.  I know you'll wait, breathless with anticipation. :)  
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
  Technical Difficulties:  I'm having sporadic trouble with my dedicated computer line, so I may be absent for a bit until BellSouth figures out what the deal is.  See you all when the equipment is back up and running. :) 
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Congratulations Holly!

She did it again. :) 
  What Else?  I've added a sidebar pic link for the quilt I'm currently working on, and I thought it would be neat to update that as I finish something and move on to the next project.  Yeah, I know, the fast and furious world of quilting has you riveted, but it's this or the watercolors I paint.  Think of your retinas.

I've still got to hunt down some writing and top ten links from the archives (in my copious spare time) but otherwise I've run out of weblog improvement ideas.  Any suggestions on anything else you'd like to see here?  Please keep in mind that my html skills are equivalent to that of a moderately retarded five year old. 
  Ten Years Ago:  I was going through my 1993 journal tonight, trying to find a funny entry I wrote about a really horrendous rejection letter I got that year, and I found this proof shot tucked in the pages:

Me and Mike

That little baby in my arms is my son Michael, who is now is as tall as I am.   
Monday, August 18, 2003
  Not Sure About This One:  Library Journal has an article on the award of nearly half a million dollars in damages to 12 Minneapolis Public Library employees who felt "sexually harrassed" by being exposed to patrons who were surfing internet porn sites.

Frankly I have mixed feelings on this issue.  I believe strongly in nixing sexual harrassment in any workplace, but I don't think standing around watching someone check out porn qualifies (were their legs broken? Could they not walk away?)  I don't like looking at porn, and I don't want my kids exposed to it, but if protecting everyone from censorship means having it in the libraries, so be it.  Finally libraries all over America are cutting staff and closing doors, so staff suing their own library for money they already don't have over an issue that constitutes, what, offended feelings? seems cheesy as hell. 
  Oh, Come On:  You know how I feel about authors writing fake glowing reviews at online bookseller sites for their own books.  Of all the asinine things pros do, that ranks right up there with pouring soft drink on an unsuspecting colleague's skull.  You'd think a fiction writer could at least lie well enough not to get caught . . .

Okay, so I thought the practice were really tasteless and demented and sad, but this morning my partner in crime e-mails me two links.  One is for a book page over at AMAZingmorONs.  In the middle of this fake glowing review this author wrote is a shill for an industry award that said author is up for; not just a thinly-veiled BUY MY BOOK but VOTE FOR ME.

Here's the mistake: If the award had been a RITA or a Hugo, it might not have stuck out so bad, but this one is so obscure that generally only industry pros are aware of it, and only when they get nominated for it.

I still couldn't believe someone would be that much of a moron, so I went on to the second link, which was a forum post.  There, worded exactly the same as it is in the phony review, is the shill again.  Right smack in the middle of the author's sig line.

So, quick review: if you're going to write counterfeit dazzling reviews for your own books, 1) change the wording around, 2) don't use exclamation points at the end of the subject headers, 3) resist the urge to campaign for a trophy no one has ever heard of and 4) don't use your sig line, stupid. 
  Good Morning:  I'm getting a jump on deadline week by hauling my lazy self to the computer by 5 am a week early.  I also need to make up writing time from yesterday.  I only got about 2K done before I blew off work to be a Mom, bake cookies and whip up a real Italian dinner.  I don't feel guilty; I'm sick of nuking meals and so are the kids.  I also quilted half the night so I could think out some things.

Now the house is silent and the sky is dark; the kitchen still smells of chocolate chips and my fingertips are sore (needle jams).  It doesn't feel like Monday for once.  It feels like I've shed an invisible burden and I can skip instead of drag.  A good feeling to have at this particular moment. :) 
Sunday, August 17, 2003
  And More Weird E-mail:  Blade Dancer is being recommended by a national physical therapist's journal as preferred reading for [can't say, spoiler] patients.  I've been invited to comment and on this one, I will. 
  My Secrets, Revealed:  An indignant romance reader sent an e-mail notice that she intends expose me as a (gasp) SF and (extra gasp) Christian author on some twit discussion board.  I was invited to -- get this -- defend myself.

Is everyone not clear on this yet?  What, I have to take out an ad in the NYT?

Anyway. I sent a notice to Tanzey Cutter, a very nice, sane lady reviewer over at, and let her know the facts about my many aliases.  She promised to mention it in her October column, and maybe that will put this thing to rest. 
  Well, Whaddaya Know:  Bill Maher's got himself a weblog.  I don't watch his show but I'm sure some of you are fans.  I think the guy should eat more and get a girlfriend. :) 
  Stats:  The kids will be home with me today so setting goals will only frustrate me (because they will then something to keep me from reaching them.)  I'm doing okay, though; I've already edited 5071 words from yesterday, and I'm hoping to knock out at least another 5K in new material.

I have mixed feelings about the chapter I just wrote.  Scientifically it's accurate, but not what you'd call PC.  I'm pleased with it, but I'm sure I'm going to have to fight to keep it in the book.  If I do, boats will rock again.  The thing is, what's the point in writing if you can't make waves?  I want people to face reality, and I'm not inclined to hand them a lot of sanitized, sexless academic drivel masquerading as fiction.  I'm not sanitized, or sexless, or an acolyte of the academics.  Neither is life.

I'm going to resist the urge to get off on another rant, be a good girl and get back to work now. :) 
  Authors Behaving Badly, Part Deux:  I was wondering why FOX would want to sue someone for using the words "fair" and "balanced" as a subtitle.  I know lots of bloggers are pasting f&b on their weblogs in protest, which I hope doesn't get anyone sued.

Anyway, I found an article over at PW that explains the source, which I mentioned back in June.  I haven't found anything from Franken's side of the argument, but Bill O'Reilly's smug essay is a lot like what you'd expect (link via KCramer.)  I haven't seen this much ego-generated bullshit since the Coke started flying at a certain SF con. 
  Day Dos:  Headache, back ache & swollen hands, so I'm on the headset until things stop pounding.  Weird that my DNS interprets me saying a-n-d as &.  Must be a glitch in the software or my lousy southern accent.  
Adventures at the KeyBoard

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