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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas 2011

Every so often, someone wants me to define what editors do. I got this link from Paul [below]. What's a lot niftier is when an avid reader says to me, "Well, of course an editor edits!"

I love that. It restores my faith in people.

Paul Cornell did a grand post about writing. Please, go read it! There's lots of excellent advice; it's worth several reads.

Merry Christmas!

Santa will be here soon, whether you're awaiting the Santa Thing (from "A Study in Red and White" by David Tallerman) or happily anticipating old Saint Nick.

ETA: New Angry Robot sampler chapters. Snitched from Dave's blog, in fact. You even get presents! ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Links: December 2011

This is a grab bag about contracts and publishing and divers other things. If you do nothing else, read about the contracts and pricing. But you should keep yourself updated on Amazon's Lending Library too -- and how that will affect how ebook authors get paid -- along with other publishing issues.

Not to mention how readers will buy ebooks.

Interviewing Marc Gascoigne: Angry Robot and Marco.

Absolutely awesome. I want to frame this... and also paste it up on the foreheads of various people: Reasons Not to Self-Publish in 2011-2012: A List.

Thanks to the great terribleminds, who also brings unto us this gem of wisdom about self-publishing's perils.

Agency pricing & law breaking: or is it?

Bill Shunn explains why you won't go to hell for using two spaces. Really.

Passive Guy goes into great detail -- which, trust me, you should do yourself the favor of reading -- about how to read a book contract. Give yourself plenty of time. Take notes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2012: cons...

I've been thinking about the 2012 cons for some time. I registered for Toronto's WFC way back -- in February 2011? I loved WFC 2010.

I also got a supporting membership for WorldCon -- Chicon 7 -- a month ago. I crunched numbers; I can make it to Chicago, so I upgraded to a full membership.

Which John Scalzi is hustling people for, as of today:

  • My promise: If @Chicon_7 gets to 6,000 attending memberships, I'll wear a white Mr. Rourke suit for at least one day of the con. 5 hours ago
  • To be fair, I AM the Toastmaster of Chicon 7. Which makes me Mr. Rourke of this particular Nerd Fantasy Island. 5 hours ago

Can't you help him with his goal? :D It'd be fantastic! And c'mon, Chicago Worldcon, it's sooooo close to Detroit!! =bounce bounce=

Here in the Metro Detroit area, there's ConFusion, Penguicon, and ConClave.

I've just registered for Fusion. We usually get a blizzard that weekend -- I swear it's to stymie every visitor into thinking Michigan is full of snow. But Fusion seems to get this snow no matter what, so be prepared.

Cons I'd like to attend, but cannot manage in 2012: Readercon and Fourth Street Fantasy.

Psst. Electric Velocipede plans to have at least part of the staff at either Chicon and/or WFC... =pleased= Now that our staff's grown to five from two, that's pretty spiffy. Also a little crazier wrt meeting up in person, since we're in four states and one province!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A loss... and a win.

My dad, much to my delight, discovered Lois McMaster Bujold. He read the first Chalion book and then the entire Sharing Knife series.

Last month I bought him a Nook as an early Xmas gift [since he'd had hand surgery].

Dad read The Warrior's Apprentice [and also The Mountains of Mourning] and wants to read all the Miles books. :D

So I'm re-reading a few myself. And Jo Walton's posts about Miles, of course.

Anne McCaffrey died Monday. I keep weeping. Or sniffling... and then weeping again.

My first sf/f worlds were Pern and WitchWorld. My science teacher in 7th grade made us all choose books to read... and I chose Dragonsinger because it was thicker than Dragonsong. I loved the Bantam covers.

Charles A. Tan, bless him, has collected Anne McCaffrey tributes.

Goodbye, lady. You'll always be in my heart. Thank you so much for getting me through a really awful patch in my life, with your worlds.

I remember how I wept the first time Robinton almost died. The sky should have been dark -- not the cheery blue that lacked clouds, seen through my tears.

The sky should be dark now everywhere, no matter how melodramatic it sounds. Zair took you home, Annie.

(It is a sad comment on my feelings that although it began raining here at nightfall, and still was last I looked, that does not feel like half enough.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Given up on yourself?

I've been trying to catch up on Kris' The Business Rusch. Having a new computer makes it somewhat easier.

But today -- tonight -- I used Goodreads as my blog reader. I've also had problems, unfortunately, getting her website to load. Right now Kris is updating the Freelancer's Survival Guide. I bought it, and I can't rave enough about the Guide. Go buy it!!

I stopped reading Giving Up On Yourself tonight because Kris was talking about how she gave up editing. And -- a friend asked me lately if I went to cons as a writer.

Those are tied together for me. I am not a writer, nor do I think of myself as a writer. I can write to communicate because I happen to be pretty good at communicating.

I am an editor. I've wanted to be an editor since I was in high school. I wouldn't give editing up for anything. I can't imagine being anything else.

And despite people who have tried to helpfully suggest that I do something else over the past few years -- well, see Roger Zelazny's answer about hardware stores.

I wonder how many people do give up on themselves. :/ I gave up for some while, about a decade ago, and kept on doing temp work. It was easier.

And I was afraid for a while that I wouldn't manage to break into editing. That changed in 2005, and now I'm doing what I dreamed about.

Don't give up. Please, don't give up. Dream for yourself and keep going.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Geek toys: tablets.

Or, as this blogger says, Cool New Device Ownership Hunger. Well, c'mon, you know that's what it is. :D

Mostly, I can resist cellphones. I used to have Motorola's lovely email pager, the Talkabout. It had a real keyboard. I still miss that.

But tablets that can have a real keyb... Funny, I loathe laptops [and the feeling's mutual], yet the idea of a tablet that's got a real keyb just hits my geek-toy devicery exactly right.

I was in love with the Asus eee Transformer, and still am somewhat. Then I saw two slates: There's T-Mobile's Springboard; what's far better is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It has Quickoffice HD.

Oh, yeah.

;) And you thought I just wanted a shiny toy to play with; well, naturally, but what's the point in a toy that you can't work on? Or in my case, meaning: type on actual real buttons.

Maybe that's the thing, that to me a Real Computer has to have buttons for I/O for my fingers.

You notice I didn't mention a mouse, right? I remember before we had computer mice. (I think the Commodore PET was the first mouse-using PC I ever used.) I don't spurn mice, certainly, but I also do not like the sliding panels on laptops either. Mice of the computer, they ought to have tails [i.e., wires]. Otherwise the farmer's wife has been at 'em.

So this is me trying to resist the urge to go shopping and get me a Galaxy Tab...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CE: Handy work aids.

Adjective order.

Grammar index. I have barely dipped into this yet. I was hunting something on Grammar Girl, and then tried the next thing Google found, which was the Grammar site. Wow!

Definitions: Creator., bless them -- and I mean that! -- for making a bunch of helpful things. Like debunking Hollywood myths on guns and a host of other tidbits. This is especially helpful when you ask the Interweb an important question and can't get good answers.

Because why should the treats only be candy? ;D

Friday, October 14, 2011

How CAN they...

How can legislators attack the teachers? Where would Abe Lincoln have been had he not learned to read? Heck, where would WE be?

I've always loved Lincoln. What would he have thought of his party now??

How can they attack the post office? Yes, the good ol' USPS. Congress forced the post office to pay 75 years worth of pensions -- yes, seventy-five! -- in ten years' time. Thus reducing their finances even further.

Ben Franklin was our first postmaster general. He also [says Wiki] set up our first lending library. I wouldn't be me without the library -- all of them. What about you?

It's all about the money. I bet you can feel where this is all going.

Yep. Shut down every institution that is for the common good -- the education, the postal service, the libraries, the health systems, everything. Because if you cannot pay, say the conservatives, then these should be sold at the highest price to the profit of someone else.


This so feels like a very frightening book instead of real life. I wouldn't read Animal Farm in my teens. I hated Brave New World, but had to read it twice. [Funny, I love apocalyptic fiction, though.] I managed to squeak out of reading 1984.

How can we stop this? Speak out. Don't hide. Spread the word about the laws you can't stand, about the things happening where you live. Tell people all over what you think.

The world is changing, everywhere. I'm advocating speech, so don't be shy.

The greedy bastards doing all this act like they have no shame. Maybe they don't. Doesn't matter. Society has a lot of tools for social change, and shame is not the least of them.

But pressure, now, pressure is a lovely tool.

And for the ones now in office who pretend that it's time to push their personal moral beliefs into law -- time to fire their misbegotten selves. This ain't what they were hired for.

This is my world too. I'm proud of all of the people in it. It doesn't matter if we never meet, if we don't eat the same things or speak the same languages. A lot doesn't matter. But this matters; to make things change, we all have to step up and speak.

I feel no need to return to the pre-industrial era, thanks. What about you?

But if you heard me cuss half the time lately, you'd think I wished I was violent like certain relatives... two of my favorite board games in the 80s were Family Business and Tom Wham's Gangsters.

I was good at those games. :D

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011: Snippets for Oct.

Absence of 9-11 from SF.

Interesting. I hadn't researched it as Andrew Fox does, but I certainly had wondered last month why it was that I didn't see hardly any SF based on 9/11.

I read a lot of dark fiction, since I like gritty urban fantasy, so it made me wonder if perhaps non-Americans might be more prone to writing about the Towers. Perhaps.

Bookmonkey interviews Jo Fletcher on her new imprint.

If you haven't seen BoingBoing's farewell to Steve Jobs -- you should really go look. Perfect.

Last but never least, the artists for Angry Robot create awesome covers! Introducing Chris F. Holm's Collector series -

I also love the covers for Giant Thief and Debris and Empire State and Edge and...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Snippets: new book recs & libraries.

Angry Robot titles through to June 2012

Recommendations: My top picks from these new books are Dead Harvest, Debris, and Empire State, plus Blackthorne favorites Edge and Point. Runners-up: Damage Time and Nekropolis:Dark War.

My wish list is The Alchemist of Souls and Giant Thief; also Blackbirds.

@EV_Mag: are you an author? like libraries? go here and consider being an advocate
Also, librarians can go here to get some info on cultivating your local notable writers

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not changing rates yet.

I may update them to match EFA for Christmas. Right now I've got work in my queue, and various technology issues to overcome.

My old desktop died. I am not a fan of laptops. (Not a fan is that handy euphemism since cussing is no help.) The solution to whether I end up having to get one or replacing my desktop will come presently. Still, having my desktop die at last did answer my question of what it was doing [dying the true death].

This month is my fourth anniversary as a freelancer.

It's not what I expected. My job still suits me down to the ground.

Thank you to all the fine folks -- editors, authors, copy editors, librarians, family and friends -- who are there for me all the time. Without you, I wouldn't be here.

I'm so glad that I am. This really is the best job in the world for me. The world is good.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Some of the coolest things about my job are the side trips. What I find while doing research, or even while proofreading. Books I'd never heard of -- maps of London (I love maps) -- you name it. :D Stuff (she says with joy).

Being an Editor by Michael Kandel

Thanks to Ursula K. Le Guin and to Michael Kandel. Wow.

Book Promotion Tips for Hardcore Introverts... Interesting.

Cory Doctorow on publishing, on being a writer first into the field, and marketing books, and the whole [complicated messy] process.

Waterstone's planning an e-reader.

"A seamless amalgam of alternate history, epic fantasy adventure, apocalyptic horror, and heartrending romance..." with vampires. Yep, you can tell I was scoping through Twitter for the later links, eh?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Snippets, end of August.

Interesting things learned while doing research lately:

Shazam is a word from the 1960s.

A fascinating journalism article: Handling race/ethnicity in descriptions.

Studebaker made buses... and a car called the Dictator. Which last didn't sell too well in Europe!
A really cool site about how blimps work. :D

I'm really thankful Hurricane Irene was not as bad as people feared -- I'm grateful that the folks I know are alive. No one has mentioned injuries yet, so I hope (and pray) for the best.

From the Midwest, Irene sounded horrific. I still have friends suffering the aftereffects on the East Coast. May rebuilding and fixing things move quickly and well!

Hope you are well, wherever you are, and that you stay safe. Mother Nature really IS batting 1000.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A step closer...

Okay... technical support has provided a solution. I'll see tomorrow about implementing it.

Particularly as IE, despite being updated, is even crankier than Firefox. I would not have thought it possible. =shrug=

One would think that updating the browser would be a step in the right direction. Alas, not.

Hope wherever you are that you are safe, away from the oncoming hurricane, or getting away from't promptly.

If you haven't heard Ron Reagan lately, he's been guest hosting on MSNBC's Hardball this week. Two samples of Ron when he wraps up the show here: August 24 and August 25. I hadn't heard the first -- wow! Go, Ron!

But the second wrap-up is what caught my attention.

With the exception of Jon Huntsman, who seems driven either by vestigial
self-respect or a keen urge to commit political suicide, today's ambitious
Republicans tend to see facts as annoying obstacles blocking the view of their
more colorful fantasies. We don't need any stinking science! Take your
"reality-based community" and shove it!

Brilliant. So pithy, so clever, and exactly hitting it. Kudos!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Late night update.

Sorry to have vanished. I began some new projects this month; some things didn't happen as expected; and the 'Net has been very peculiar in this area lately.

I thought our ISP and cable were from the same company -- and we've had increasing problems with cable lately -- but I was mistaken.

Fall is coming, to my delight. September is a lovely month. I had meant to update my rates, but I'll work that out next month... just in time for my work anniversary.

Be well.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

PSA on rates.

I just tapped the EFA website, and saw that their rates have risen for copyediting.

Starting in September 2011, I'm considering raising my hourly rates to match the EFA's current rates, which are now at $30/hour. I'll post my decision around the time EV #23 goes live in mid-August.

Note that I still accept flat-rate projects.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Without stars.

I was telling my mom earlier about Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man. The first time I read it, I was absolutely chilled by That Scene at the end. You know the one -- where Ben Reich cannot see the stars anymore. All the stars are gone.

And no one knows what he's talking about. Stars and starlight don't exist. There are no lights in the sky.

(Speaking of which, Deanna Hoak mentioned this on Twitter, and oh! has it ever got lovely pictures of the Milky Way...)

What would it be like? To be in a world where you remembered something that had always existed, something that no one else could remember, something that was inexplicably gone.

I love Bester's short fiction; he was a marvel. But his novels... well, The Demolished Man is a brilliant classic, pure and simple. But a creepy story. I was foolish enough to re-read it, and it's a once-read only.

Jo Walton is right on the money when she says "It’s a great idea book, but it’s also tense all the way through and none of the characters are people I care to spend time with."

Admittedly, I am a huge fan of Babylon 5 (and their Alfred Bester), so I really had to read this book. :D

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Source: London Daily Mirror; image from

Remember this headline?

I want to know if somewhere, someone's written something like this:

Are These the 60 Stupidest People in America?

What did they mistake about their job description as part of the United States Congress? About it being a government job, that is. A job that entails governing.

And who elected them? Was it just everyday people, Americans fed up with the way their lives and the recession's been going? Or was it, interesting enough, "health professionals... and oil and gas interests" * by any chance?

My mother suggested otherwise. It got me to thinking...

A Conspiracy of Stupid?

They said it couldn't happen again. Not on American soil. Yet it has. A conspiracy set within the Congress itself -- the strangest ever plot of al-Qaida -- to destroy America. And if they have their way, the economy of the world!

Because everyone knows that Americans will do anything, they're fanatics... and especially their newest politicians.

Where will it end???

* Source, Wikipedia article on the Tea Party Caucus

Yes, I'm upset about the debt ceiling ----. I don't even have a word I can use for it, crisis has been done to death, and nothing suits... not even brouhaha.

Maybe this made you laugh. Maybe not. I'm glad I never wanted to be a journalist, I think I would have been far better with penny dreadfuls. :D

Before I start on about people who can't do math oughtn't hold office, we'll move on. Thursday's been a historic day. I mean, not only in American politics -- today I found out Lawrence O'Donnell wrote episodes of West Wing, including one about the debt ceiling. That is surreal.

=grin= It's easier to think in terms of things that aren't apocalypses, particularly when about to goto bed.

Maybe tomorrow will prove to be the second time the Fourteenth Amendment is invoked.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The lovely Wayback Machine had this interview of Sean Wallace by The Fix.

Lots of good stuff. One bit is where Stephen Segal defines the three audiences for Fantasy Magazine, H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror, and Weird Tales.

Whenever anyone wants me to explain what I like about dark fiction, I must send them hence!

But I love what Sean says when asked about writing fiction himself. :D

Monday, July 4, 2011

2011: July links

Tweets from Marc Gascoigne:

RT @DonnaMHanson : RT @pyroriffic : Apex Publications has opened to unsolicited novel submissions!

RT @jwikert : Study: Over Half Of E-Book Shoppers Buy Directly From Author Or Publisher via @zite #toccon
RT @Liz_Hand : Mike Dirda on ditching the bestseller lists for — OMG, actually READING NEW WRITERS???? Tweet from John Ottinger III: GW: SFFWRTCHT: A Chat With Editor Michael Ray of RedstoneSF magazine #scifi #fantasy
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chats

Friday, July 1, 2011

End of June links.

As I mostly do link collections, and haven't for a bit -- and as I was ranting recently, links would be calmer, eh? :]

Writer’s Conferences—Are They Relevant in the Internet Age?

I don't know. Lately I've been thinking not, but then I don't write; I helped moderate annual workshops, sometimes twice a year.

The one time I attended a local writer's conference, I won the door prize. (Talk about irony.) Why was I there? To talk with editors... It was an interesting day.

Showing (not telling!) how to pitch!

Wow, this is amazing. All the errors, and then -- the good!

Thanks for the above to Anne R. Allen, Janet Reid, and the BookViewCafe, which is how I was led therein.

And remember the immortal words of Chuck Wendig: The Internet is 55% porn, and 45% writers.

Because he wouldn't say that if it wasn't true, would he? =twinkle=

(If you want the other immortal words, you need to go read his blog.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I miss ELM.

I must be the only person in the universe who does. Or so it feels. :C

Tonight Gmail decided that y'know, panel email clients weren't bad enough. I've been happily avoiding email served up via panel for a long time. Eudora, Outlook, Pegasus, and Thunderbird are all that style. Gmail implements some of their worst features in a new way.

So now Gmail compresses the screen when you move down the email-list or open emails -- even though their top and bottom menu bars are clones, and don't need to BE compressed -- thus shrinking what you can see. How futile is that?

Gmail and Yahoo used to be like ELM -- you had a list of your emails, you selected the message, you read it. Panel readers break up your screen into compartments: the folder menu, the email-list, and the email you're reading.

I absolutely hate the panel format. Without reservation. Whoever invented panel-style email clients ought to be in a special place in hell (and I am not kidding).

The old way -- the list format -- was more like having an uncrumpled page. I can move up and down on that freely. I get the whole piece of paper as my screen when I open my message...

Well, mostly, but Gmail and Yahoo et al have been putting stuff in the sidebars, shrinking the screen where you read your email. Still, it was far better than the alternative:

Using panels is like having a scroll; my viewing options are limited, I have to do a lot of clicking and sliding to get anywhere, and each choice gets me a smaller area. [Gotta pin that thing open, but it keeps slipping!] It doesn't matter if I'm scanning the email-list or trying to read a message, I've gone from a full piece of flat paper to a 3x5 card.

I've used Outlook, and T-Bird, so this isn't guessing; I know what they're like, and I loathe them all.

What possessed Gmail? I don't know. I'd think that a bunch of clever geeks wouldn't do this.

After using Web email since 2000, of course I don't want 300 baud back. But why would I want a scroll flapping closed every time I read email??!!?!? Fighting email to read it -> counterproductive!

SquirrelMail, bless 'em, looks like the only email client who didn't go with panels, so... if I'm still frothing tomorrow, I may have a viable option. Thanks, folks!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The TV wall & agents...

From Jun 10, 2011's Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rules: "Pretty soon, all of television will be one long show called CSI: Vampire Idol." What's that? It's "where forensics experts solve murders committed by sexy vampires singing show tunes in front of Steven Tyler."

Remember the TV walls? I wonder if this is anything like what Ray Bradbury had in mind? :D

Bill's description of said show thanks to blogger Toe in the Water.

AAA will not expel agents turned publishers

In a separate statement released to The Bookseller, Cox said: "The code of conduct specifically excludes those involved in publishing from becoming a member, and it is only common sense that any member who subsequently becomes a publisher is no longer eligible for membership."

Wow. And yet, per that article, the agents involved feel there's no conflict of interest.

Kris Rusch talks about surviving the transition into the new publishing world we're in now -- and taking the time to get your sea legs. This is part of her Thursday blog series. I plan on catching up on these, since I know Kris has blogged before about the agent-as-publisher.

Here's Agents: Transition Part 3. (Yes, I know I skipped 2, but I have to go back and read that.)

Why do I care? Well, I work for editors, who have the authors whose books I work on. As a reader, I want to read books; as a copy editor, I want to work on books for readers to read.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have a theory.

Remember, way back in the day, when you'd get spam -- how you could hit Unsubscribe and it was accepted. Then you weren't bothered anymore. Nowadays you can't, because instead it means "Human at other end" and the sender[s] never stop.

An attitude shift, sure, but it's also something else.

I think skip tracers [collectors] have bought into that new system too. That a human answering means it doesn't matter if it's the human sought, it's human, and that's all that matters. The reason I think so is that my parents have been hassled by collectors for someone else. People who've never lived here; the previous owners of their current phone number.

When did half a loaf start to be more important? It's dehumanizing.

More, it's scary.

This is a little like a fairly chilling part of a Patricia McKillip book that I happen to love. One character tells another that being alive is the only criteria required.

So is it?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Style curiosity?

I've been reading through Ngaio Marsh's mysteries steadily.

Last Ditch has a style variation that appears to be the author's; I don't think it was a house style choice, but I could be wrong, of course. :]

On pages 206-207, there are two styles used:

  • "Doctor Carey" when beginning a paragraph of narrative;
  • but "Dr. Carey" when otherwise used in narrative
I don't have any examples marked from my own reading for dialog.

Why does this matter? Well, I didn't notice it myself until it was in two pages facing each other. This may have been a house style choice, it may not have, it's hard to say.

But I wonder. If this had been a job, I would have queried this.

Style choices matter. They'll be invisible to some readers, and not to others. Certainly this style question didn't wreck my interest in the mystery, but when confronted by the difference, I marked it. :D

In case you're curious, I read the hardcover edition from Little, Brown (1977).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Past curiouser.

A Minnesotan Republican called Neil Gaiman a thief. No, really. And then this man's mother made him apologize to Neil. (Well, sort of.)

How weird is that?

I think what Neil says in his interview is pretty neat. You can see why anyone would initially think this was some sort of prank, not real life. I mean, c'mon!

I love that Neil's Twitter followers crashed the Republican's website. :D

I realize I'm late to all this -- it happened over a fortnight ago. But... it's still staggering. Abnormally so. Too like Dave Barry's refrain: "I am not making this up!"

When I thought I'd look around a bit online last night, I didn't expect a bizarre clash of politics with an author -- particularly Neil.

Reminds me a bit of Amazonfail 2010, with someone [Scalzi?] pointing out that writers, well, write. Anyone who presumes otherwise, especially when attacking a writer, is not paying attention. Such words nowadays do not softly vanish, unnoticed; if nothing else, the Interweb has made people hyperaware.

I love reading sf/f. But some parts of it, well, I didn't expect to really happen. To live. And the people who haven't recognized yet that we're living in that unplanned and very sf future? They are, perhaps, the most frightening to me.

Bill Shunn wrote a brilliant story called "From Our Point of View, We Had Moved to the Left" (which is just amazing). I've been thinking a lot about that story lately.

This would be a good spot for a leading question or conclusion, but I'm going to dodge that.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Penguicon 2011

I've been at every Penguicon since it first debuted in Warren, MI.

The usual suspects -- Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Tobias Buckell, Jim C. Hines, Merrie Haskell, and many more -- will be there. Our GoH's Brandon Sanderson.

I'm trying to think of something that poor Brandon hasn't been asked a thousand times. I stymied Steve Jackson of SJG one year with a question; I swear it wasn't intentional. Steve's a good sport, though.

But I think Brandon might like getting a good unusual question. Or... maybe not. :]

If you've never been to P-con, here's his schedule and Jim Hines' schedule. To give you a tiny taste -- tiny indeed, since this doesn't include the music, such Tom Smith and the Great Luke Ski! nor the liquid nitrogen ice cream... or the Chaos Machine...

I realized I hadn't posted about the con earlier -- sorry! I'd truly meant to.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Help from Inkpunks.

I check into Inkpunks every so often. Here's some gems from Christie Yant, which Erika Holt brought to my notice through her own Standing Out in the Slushpile: Some Basic Tips:

Lessons From the Slushpile: Good vs. Great, and What editors owe us and also Your Cover Letters.

I highly recommend these. Of course I'm biased. :D We're all Tribe, sure, but I know [read "work with"] an Inkpunk friend.

But I'm biased because hey, people who write clearly and are extremely helpful are my kind of people. Even when we aren't one degree apart.

One screen that I've had my browser load automatically is "Learning to say no" and there's reason for this. We all run out of spoons -- we have limits. Know your own.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Recent links.

Here's some bits and pieces, garnered through Tweets on L-In.

@jackschofield : Sign in window of soon-to-close Borders store in Chicago. Someone's a little bitter

Another bit of joy from Borders: Jason Erik Lundberg RT @nkjemisin: RAGE. Are you kidding? Borders can't pay publishers and authors, but they can pay execs $8.3 million in bonuses??

Profits for the largest five publishers in 2010.

Two slants on rejection:

He's Just Not That Into You (Publishing Edition)

Marc Gascoigne RT @RachelleGardner: Why does it take agents and editors longer to say yes than no? (Think Nordstrom. )

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh is incredible. I can't quite put my finger on why I can't stop reading her writing, or how she sucks me in so hard. But she does.

When I told Dad how hard I found to stop reading, he nodded and said it was her pacing. It's excellent. Even her subchapters -- sometimes only a page long -- don't let me stop reading.

I really get impatient near the end, because that's when she very deftly muddles you. I have never read anyone who glued me to the page like this. I think I know who did it, but--!

I'm also curious, if you have read Ngaio Marsh, whether you notice that she sometimes shifts POV very briefly and without warning. Like Elizabeth Bear, it works.

It oughtn't. But she's so good that I notice it, and merely continue on.

Here's a bit from her:

The coroner summed up at considerable length and with commendable simplicity. His manner suggested that the jury as a whole was certifiable as mentally unsound, but that he knew his duty and would perform it in the teeth of stupidity.

I crack up every time I get partway through this. I can't say that Ngaio does this all the time -- if so, I haven't noticed. But when I read the previous page, it's even funnier. That'd spoil the scene, so I can't post that. :D You'd dislike me intensely.

I began with her final novel, Light Thickens. I've read five more within a week's time. I'll be sorry when I've got through all thirty-two... except that wow, what incredible writing.

The quote is from Death at the Bar.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March: Open call submissions.

Lee over at Angry Robot Books is interviewed about their open call for submissions -- just for March 2011! Hurry if you have a book that fits, but make sure you read the guidelines, eh?

There's a really nice bonus section after the Open Call section about research and the importance of being pitch perfect. Please read it!

Because you know something? Those dozen tips are really there to help you. This is not a competition against The Enemy.

And check and the Black Hole on publishers' wait times. Do your research on any publisher you approach -- just like any agent. That's why Preditors & Editors exists, and Writer Beware, and the Absolute Write water cooler.

All of which are in my sidebar.

Keep in mind that I'm not an author; I work with Angry Robot as a copy editor. I think they're fantastic, I do. My experience is gonna be totally different from yours because it's a different relationship.

Speaking of that, a freelance writer for thirty years describes The Hardest Kind of Job: Candy Moulton on Freelancing. Because it is.

In related news, the Google Book settlement... was rejected. In a post about submitting to publishers, that just seemed like the most apropos way to round off. :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Amy Einsohn.

I like to mention books I love here. Sometimes those are writing books, like E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel.

But today I wanted to mention Amy Einsohn. She wrote The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications. It's a brilliant book. Like my copy of Chicago, my TCH barely ever closes, and it's crammed with bookmarks.

Hence Amy Einsohn and the Making of The Copyeditor's Handbook.

And here's a list of distance courses in editing. :> Note that Amy teaches them for Editcetera.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Various March links.

A really brilliant essay by Tim Waggoner about writing -- getting time to write, budgeting time, getting the people around you to honor your commitment... And networking.

He also has an essay about theme anthologies. This includes advice from editors and other writers. :> If you haven't read up on good writing advice lately, I recommend going through Tim's Articles.

Last link from Tim: The Long Strange Journey...

Phil Athans on convention etiquette, wherein Phil also pings folks like Kris Rusch and Jim Minz. Thanks to John at Grasping for the Wind. :>

You don’t want to be a writer per terribleminds. [Warning, much cursing but very humorous!] From terribleminds, Jane Yolen writes a pointed letter to the Today show.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crippling libraries

I'm outraged about a particular publisher deciding to punish libraries who have e-books.

Full disclosure: I don't read e-books. I may someday, but I haven't tried 'em yet.

Imagine how you'd feel if you were the 27th person who lived somewhere rural, far away from a good bookstore, whatever -- and wanted to read something that you couldn't buy this month. And the library's only allowed to "rent"/lend the e-book 26 times.

Myself, I'm awaiting a status change on Charlie Stross's new Laundry book and Patricia McKillip's latest; they're both still new and can't be requested from other libraries.

With Lois Bujold's Cryoburn, I waited until the print book was off the new book shelf and could be requested. I have checked out hundreds of library books all my life, and that's a conservative guess. Last year alone I went through most of the Ellery Queen series [about 50 books] in 2-3 months.

More from a librarian about this madness. She provides lots of details, including contact info for HarperCollins and Overdrive.

The Analog Divide also has links for Trashy Bitches and Library Journal on this, along with Neilhimself's thoughts.

And another thing; what about the re-readers? I read my favorite books over and over. I honestly couldn't tell you how many times I've read the Miles Vorkosigan books. If I owned an e-book and it had a limit on how many times I could read it, and would expire out of my library...! What if I snagged a library e-book because it rocked and wasn't available in print format -- and that meant that someone else never got to read it?

Retiring or replacing a worn-out print book is NOT like limiting how many times an e-book is accessed!

Thanks to Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing and Lee Harris for tweeting the news. Also, there are a lot of great links and thoughts by commenters at BoingBoing.

I think that people who want the libraries to have more money ought to think about donating to them instead... because we moved away from the subscription-lending libraries quite some time ago.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Profit, Amazon, and publishing

Education. This is your business, if you're a writer -- or you aspire to be paid as a writer.

Sorry to sound pompous (I expect that I do!) but still.

So you should educate yourself. Find reputable people who talk about the business and listen to them. Check facts. Don't assume that everything that's on the 'Net is True. C'mon, you know better.

Cat Valente explains why publishing is important -- and if you ever thought that you could do everything single-handedly in some business, then her words will open your eyes.
"Because there's more to writing a book than typing."

After you read it, you'll understand why I want to keep repeating the bit about the cheese. Brilliant. Cat, you are a goddess.

I dipped into her comments too, and as a copy editor, I am not a gatekeeper. My job is to help the manuscript become book and get to the reader.

You don't know how happy I am that we have slush readers and acquisition editors in the world... because I sure don't want to be wading through every scrap of deathless prose hunting for good stories. I wouldn't make a good slush reader.

Thanks to Tobias Buckell; somehow I missed Cat's link last year. Toby also explains Amazon's subsidizing bestsellers on the Kindle.

And because I got this from thinking about the 2010 Amazon Fail ep, here's the highlights from Making Light. Especially as Scalzi, bless his heart, made me laugh again over the Zoloft. :D

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More links: Borders etc.

Borders is closing 200 stores -- here's the list. Three in MI alone, Dearborn, Grosse Pointe, and Ann Arbor. :< Another article mentions that the publishers want collateral; wouldn't you? Locus has more details in Borders Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.

Author Cat Rambo shares 3 Strategies for Snaring the Senses. (Make that cherry work!)

David Morrell's Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing points out that a good writer engages more than one sense. That's an excellent writing book... my copy's full of bookmarks. :>

Excerpts from a recent interview with the great Sharyn November, who created Firebird Books.

Neil Gaiman talks about why e-books are useful [excerpt here].

Cory Doctorow on copyright as leverage and Net Neutrality.

Links are thanks to people's Tweets carried on LinkedIn, and Locus.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Royalties, Borders & EV

Guess who paid lost royalties today? It's a good day to be an e-book author... at Macmillan and Amazon, where they're reaping the bounty from the Amazon Kindle Outage Adjustment.

And if you haven't been following the Borders news -- that they may file bankruptcy -- here's the synopsis from Locus. Kris has been covering details about it at The Business Rusch also, along with an explanation of the nitty-gritty.

We have A Rather Large Announcement over at EV today.

Check it out.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Links: February 2011

A hodgepodge of various links. :>

Gavin Grant and How to Start a Small Press (and get e-books from Weightless Books).

From Moses, Piers Anthony: "Get into electronic publishing. It’s the future."

Interestingly enough, Moses' previous post begins "I found out that Red Adept–who is THE Kindle indie book reviewer" -- it makes total sense for there to be such a person. But not being a reader of ebooks myself, I wouldn't have ever guessed that said reviewer would be a Piers Anthony fan.

Well, okay, maybe I would have. Since I was addicted to the Apprentice Adept books in my youth. :D

Amberdine asks Are you your own boss? because cathshaffer was considering Hard decisions... [and had made a list about being a tough enough boss].

From SF Signal: My Big, Fat, Name-Dropping WFC 2010 Report

Rose Fox of Genreville fame and the Secrets to Success as a Writer...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Links: January 2011

Moff's law. Mentioned by Jo Walton during her 500th post at

Time to feed the [ellided]. Isn't it? I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9' S, Longitude 126° 43' W)?

2011 Publishers Round Table -- found via comments at Kris Rusch's latest (Part 14). Yes, I am hooked on her explanations. :> I'm a publishing geek.

Last month Dean Wesley Smith covered The New World of Publishing: The Scams. Check 'em out.

And then... Readercon. Have you ever been? I've been fascinated by Readercon since I first heard about it in 2005. I think it was 2-3 days before the con itself, actually.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kris & the Changing Times.

I've been reading the Business Rusch, by Kristine Katherine Rusch. I first heard about her Freelancer's Survival Guide, thanks to John Ottinger -- then got diverted by her Changing Times series. I had added her Guide to my to-buy book list.

I can't recommend her series enough. If you want to understand publishing even a little, particularly if you happen to write, you'll be amazed by the Changing Times.

Angry Robot shows cover love -- their books between now and June 2011.

Matt Forbeck's WFC report.

Next week's ConFusion. I'm wondering if there's enough snow. ;D It seems to be a rule that Fusion has so much snow that even native Michiganders are flummoxed. Visitors must think our winter is like this the entire time... It's not, really, but how would they know?


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ereader use.

Maybe you heard all the ruckus back in February 2011 when the publishers all decided that library ebooks should be limited. It was a BIG ruckus. Or, as Literary Sluts put it: Congratulations HarperCollins – you just guaranteed Amazon and Kindle will win the eBook & eReader war

That's a good precis.

I bring it up because I bought Dad a Nook, and my sister-in-law got my brother a Kindle Fire. I won't use the Kindle app on my Galaxy Tab 10.1. I've added the Nook app instead. (More on this anon.)

I like Amazon's convenience, I do. But their business practices are horrible; just consider last month. Despite a long-held belief that the market is always right, it's really not. Businesses are not built to be kind, they are built to seek profit. Playing well with others is a social concept devised by humans. Corporations are not people, they are constructs made by people for a purpose.

Monopolies make for bad business practices: On eating your seed corn.

Part of why it all makes me angry is that libraries -- libraries! -- are suffering.

The economy worldwide is doing poorly, and the people who buy the most books read like the dickens. Of course we use library books. If I bought one new book a week, I still wouldn't have enough to read. I read far more than one book a week! I'm reading 2 nonfiction books [I finished The Gift of Fear a week ago], along with several fiction novels; before Christmas I'd wrapped up six novels. I finished three more by 4am yesterday.

I read a LOT.

I know I'm not the only one, since I got the seed corn link from this blogger. Except... I don't remember libraries ever limiting me to a few books (except my elementary school). I remember bringing home at least 10 or 12 in high school, which was just enough for about a week if I took it slow.

Literate people need books desperately. Publishers need new readers even more desperately. Thrusting readers back into the 1800s is the worst possible idea. We want to reach the future, our future, not fall backward into the past.

So think carefully about ebooks, oh corporations. Never eat your seed corn! How ever will it grow then??