Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Game

Patience, patience... it's a virtue a writer can't have enough of. I bet you're thinking, if I could only get published then it will be smooth sailing. No more rejections, no more...WAITING. Ha, think again. Having been published several times in many different forms--novels, short stories, articles, even poetry (legitimately)--I can tell you with absolute certainty that the game never changes. There is still the wait. The anxiety. The stress... and yeah, even the rejections.

You do begin to have more connections though, as time, and experience in different companies take place in your career. I have a novel in submissions now with a publisher that I know an editor in. The submission has been in there since early November, and, well, patience not being one of my strong points I finally broke down and asked her what was up? Not asking about my particular submission, it was in a different division than she works in, just a general how are things moving over there. She was kind enough to let me know it was simply a matter of backlog and they had just hired some extra folks to speed things up a bit. She even asked me if I wanted her to nudge those in that department a bit. I declined while thanking her for the offer. I hadn't meant to push anyone, but I'm telling you, writing is a game of hurry up and wait. It's a process you either learn to deal with, or it will drive you insane, and there's no end to it. Never. It just doesn't get easier. It's wonderful to be able to go crazy over a job you love than one you hate though. So it's definately worth the pain.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Once In A Lifetime MEME

Oh, I just thought of a brand new 'meme' and it isn't even a hard one. One simple question.

Pick one thing you'd LIKE to do before you die, BUT know you won't for whatever reason.



That always looks like it would be such a thrill. Something beyond measure. The feeling of power, and the rush of adreneline. I just know if I could muster up the courage to learn and do it, it would be something I'd never forget.

I know I won't do it either because I'm a chicken and I just know it would be the very last thing I'd ever do because it would kill me. I've considered bungee jumping but the same fear stopped that. It just doesn't seem to compare anyway though. Thrilling perhaps, but not quite an equal to sky-diving.

I tag: Jose, Geekmom, Bernita (yeah you, it's only one question), Kay, Cupnjava, Jules, and Robyn

This Day in History--December 30th

I've always thought these kinds of things were kind of fun. It's good to remember the past so we don't doom ourselves to a future of repitition.

December 30th in History
1916: In Russia, Rasputin 'the mad monk' is murdered
1922: Russia becomes the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics
1947: King Michael of Romania abdicates, allowing a communist republic to be formed
1965: Ferdinand Marcos becomes president of the Philippines
1988: The Yugoslavian government resigns over problems in Serbia

December 30th birthdays
1865: Rudyard Kipling, British writer
1959: Tracey Ullman, British comedienne

James Gadsden, U.S. Minister to Mexico, and General Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico, signed the Gadsden Purchase in Mexico City on December 30, 1853. The treaty settled the dispute over the exact location of the Mexican border west of El Paso, Texas, giving the U.S. claim to approximately 29,000 square miles of land in what is now southern New Mexico and Arizona, for the price of $10,000,000.

Fun Facts For Chicagoans:

George M. Pullman, founder of the profitable Pullman Palace Car Company, believed individuals worked best when given a decent salary and fine surroundings. Thus, in the early 1880s he had built a model town and workshops, 14 miles south of Chicago. In the words of Jane Addams, "The president of the Pullman company…had power with which to build this town, but he did not appeal to nor obtain the consent of the men who were living in it." Saddled with regulations, salary cuts, and a recession, employees brought their grievances to Pullman who, believing himself more than generous, turned a deaf ear. What followed was the first national strike in U.S. history, a prototypical confrontation of labor vs. management—the antithesis of Pullman's original vision. Again in the words of Addams the situation paralleled that of Shakespeare's King Lear "…unique…in the magnitude of…indulgence, and in the magnitude of the disaster which followed it."

A Funny New Year

I wish this were how it really worked. If you need a laugh, (and aren't offended by a little strong language) I think THIS is the real error page that should show up when a url is broke or doesn't load.

Come on now, be honest, wouldn't that at least be more fun than the real thing?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Robyn's House

A lot of my cruising lately has led me to some interesting blogs of new friends met through the postie forum. One such wonderful lady is from right here in my home state. She is the lovely woman with I love HP scrawled across her forehead in the postie patrol post below, and the lucky winner of all that HP gear. LOL Way to go Robyn. (really you guys have to watch that video to see her going through all kinds of crazy stuff to win the prize.) Visiting her blog is like walking into her home. Pictures of her children, posts on the joys of raising them that make me smile as they bring back memories of my own child-rearing days. I especially loved the recent Friday post where she mentions a book "So You Want To Raise A Boy", and that it tells us--the ODD years are the hardest! Wow, wish I had known that back when my boy was growing up. Actually it kind of comes in handy knowing that now. As I look back over the last few years, even though he's in his 20's it still seems to hold true. Now I know to be prepared on the 'odd' years (or maybe for him, being that he's just 'odd' it always applies. Heavens). So thanks Robyn for the lovely memories your blog brings. You're a wonderful new friend, and I'm happy to have found you.

What is A GAN?

In regards to one of my posts yesterday I've been giving a lot of thought as to what Great American Novels are out there. In my mind books like Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights, The Grapes of Wrath are amongst those titles to hold such a distinction, but on some of the 'lists' I've found I've only seen a couple of those listed. Moby Dick and Wuthering Heights are always on them, and Grapes of Wrath turned up on a couple. I was surprised not to see Huckleberry Finn listed on any I found. To Kill a Mockingbird was on two such lists.

What makes it so subjective? Is there really any such thing as a Great American Novel? Or is it purely up to each individual what is, and what isn't a GAN?

What books do you consider Great American Novels, and which ones have you read?

I've read Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, The Grapes Of Wrath, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

In my post about resolutions I've determined to read well too many I think my goal was too high, but for sure I'd like to read a book a month... I'd like some more suggestions as to GAN's and think I'll shoot for reading more of those types to start with. So give me some titles to choose from.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Tami Parrington

Being that the New Year is right around the corner I thought it fitting to make my very first 'Thursday Thirteen' post be a thirteen resolutions post.

Most people settle for one resolution to start the new year off with, but I figured I have some areas I need work on, and what better way to make them 'real' than to cement them here in a written 'promise' to myself?

My Thirteen Resolutions

1) I will have more patience. That may seem like a 'pat' resolution. Something everyone says, but seriously that is one of the things I need to work really hard on. I have never been a patient person.

2) I will lose at least 10 pounds. I need to lose a lot more, but I figured I'd give myself an actually attainable goal. Nothing kills the desire to work hard at something than a goal you can't seem to reach. If I make 10, maybe I'll be inspired to do another...and another...and maybe next year I won't have to make this a resolution at all. (One can dream)

3) I will exercise at least twice a week. I HATE exercising, but I know it's important so I am going to make Tuesday and Friday my official exercise days and do a 20-minute workout on each of those days. Maybe next year I can step it up to three days?

4) I will finish two novels. That one really is kind of 'pat' since it's pretty much a given, but still, worthy of mention just in case things go haywire and I forget who I really am.

5) I will take up a new language. Really, I've always wanted to learn French. I did this 'resolution' 20 years ago and learned Russian. At the time I was becoming quite fluent...I've forgotten the majority of it now, but still recognize some words. Maybe it's useless since I really don't plan on ever going to France, but I've always believed nothing learned is useless knowledge, and it's such a pretty language.

6) I will donate more to charity.

7) I will get up at 7 am each day. That used to go without saying, lately I've been sleeping in a little longer, and a little longer each day... 10 seems kind of early anymore, and that's not really a good thing on a farm. Ever see a horse at 10 am when it's supposed to get fed at 7? -- Yeah, this was a necessary resolution.

8) I will be more understanding of others beliefs. I try, and always considered myself to be very compassionate in that regards, but I find myself ever more cynical nowadays, and that's not a good thing either.

9) I will try to see the 'good' in people. See #8 for cynicism.

10) I will take more time just for me. I tend to spend so much time working even though it's here at home, and often here in front of the computer, I tend to forget just to take some time off and relax. I see lots of nice warm baths in 2007.

11) I will pay off my two credit cards. The interest is killing me.

12) I will cut up the above mentioned cards.

13) I will read more. Should be a given, but lately I find myself doing so much writing I forget that I love to read. I've only read 6 books this year. I want to read at least a book a week in 2007.

So there you have it. My 13 resolutions for the New Year. I'll keep you posted on how things are going throughout the year.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

What Is The Great American Novel?

What is the Great American Novel? Bernita had post today on who is, and who isn't writing the GAN, but what really is that? How can you know? Can you know if you are writing something destined to be a definitive hallmark of our time?

What do you think a book written in today's era would need to have to be considered a book of the ages? Do you think it's still possible in these more cynical times to have a book that defines us, or a social problem/injustice to the degree that it would speak to world's yet to come?

Let me know what you think. I think this is going to be a subject for me over several days.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Favorite Room

One would think my favorite room is my office. I spend most of my time there. Truth be known my favorite room in my house is my kitchen. In the summer it smells of fresh herbs and spices from the garden. In the winter it is warmed by the oven that holds fresh bread.

When I first stepped into this house eleven years ago, the kitchen was painted a shocking lime green and had tin tiles of pasty olive that came up to about waist height on its walls. A border of -- get this -- orange and copper pictures depicting kitchen utensils encirled the room in its shocking contrast that would make P. T. Barnum proud of its display.

The border was the first to go, followed quickly by the olive tiles and green paint. Now the room is a soothing warm yellow that welcomes me each time I enter my home and sets the mood for the rest of the house as a place of comfort and peace.

While I'm not much for repair work, and the kitchen could now use a little, I love to paint and decorate. I love finding little odds and ends that complete a room. Farm animals grace my home in little nooks and crannies to complete the rustic feel of a rural home. On my kitchen table is a duck filled with flowers that makes me smile everytime I look at it. On my counter top is a piggy-tea-pot that is more for decoration than use, and a long-ago won 'Snoopy' cookie jar that was 1st prize in some contest I can't even remember, but I cherish the jar.

What is your favorite room in your house?

A Writer's Work Is Never Done

Besides the distraction of the Internet, once a writer is published there are other things that get in the way of actual 'work'. It should be a writer's job to just write. That's rarely the case, however. Once a book is out there is so much to do, no matter who published the novel that time gets stretched so thin you wonder if you'll ever be able to actually just write again.

Marketing, and promotion take up hours upon hours of valuable time that could have been spent on your next manuscript. Necessary evils that consume a writer's mind once that beloved child has seen print. If no one knows about it, no one will read it. Publishers often take out print ads in big name journals and papers, and make sure your book gets into the hands of reviewers. The reviewers can help, but I really have my doubts about the print ads except for the little bit of euphoria it gives the writer to see them, and giving the ads a small nod for their name imprinting, unless your name is one of the mega-stars it probably won't mean too much in the sales of any particular book.

Hands on marketing in the form of web-surfing, bookstore cruising, public appearances do much more, in my opinion to sell books than the above mentioned means. Those efforts take up huge amounts of time, however.

Why can't a writer, just write?

Past and Present

I often cheer about the advantages writers have nowadays with the Internet at their beck-and-call to help them navigate the publishing sea. It is a sea filled with dangers to be sure. Sharks lurk around every corner. Shallow waters, and sand traps, deep waters and tidal waves threaten... but we have the information super-highway as our recourse to fight off the beasts that would destroy us.

Yes, we are lucky.

I remember 20 some odd years ago when I wrote on my old selectric typewriter. It was simpler then. A writer wrote, printed page upon page (we will not go into how hard it was to get those error free pages without the benefit of backspace delete) and ship them off with fondest wishes to the next address in the Writer's Digest. Once that beloved child was on its way, we simply fired up the typewriter, inserted a fresh sheet, and started a new story.

Some things are similar to those days. Of course it's all about the writing, and instead of a typewriter we fire up our trusty word programs. When completed we ship them off (often via email--how wonderful is that) but there's a slightly unassuming hazzard in the waters that is as much our enemy as our savior.

You see, for all the wonderful things the Internet offers us in the form of knowledge of the beast, and protection from its dangers... it also provides a pitfall that goes almost un-noticed.

It sucks up time.

Instead of slipping a bright new page into the roller of our typewriter, after our baby is shipped off we are free to go galavanting through the world via the Internet express.

In fact often during the creation of our babies we take our little 'holidays' to websites, blogs, forums, oh, all in the name of research of course. It does occassionally get out of hand though, doesn't it? Yes, I think the Internet is our greatest friend, and often our biggest enemy... but it sure is more fun than the lonely writer alone with a typewriter of the past.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Toy Of The Year

I just wanted to take some time here to post about one of my all-time favorite 'gadgets'. Every year brings new gadgets into my home. Toys for writers if-you-will. Well toys for anyone with computers, but for me it's a means to make writing easier. My HP 3-in-one printer. It's a scanner, a copier, and a printer. It makes the most fantastic copies, prints beautifully, and scans right outside information right into my computer! That was the HUGE bonus. The copier has come in plenty handy, but the scanner is such a delightful tool. A long time ago I had a plain old home desktop copier. It worked fairly well for making copies and gave me fair use for my money before biting the big one two years ago. It didn't help, however, with getting a page of work into my computer. Or a picture. I can't tell you what a fantastic piece of work this copier/scanner/printer is. And the cartridges are the least expensive ones out there! Another bonus for sure. Last year my 'toy of the year' was my Alphasmart (which I still love and use constantly). This year it's my HP three-in-one. Thanks HP!

When is Enough--Enough?

When does it happen, as a writer, that we know when to just say, ‘I quit’? Is there a time when we should know that enough is enough? How many rejections does it take before we throw in the towel?

Hopefully you’re on the same page as I am as you read the above and are thinking right now, never.

That’s the only answer any writer can come up with when faced with yet another rejection.

To be sure, every writer who submits a manuscript believes it’s the next best thing to Rowling’s latest effort. A sure winner. We know equally well it usually isn’t. In fact, the vast majority of submissions are pure, unadulterated … well, the equivalent of the great ‘ca-ca’.

The hardest thing to decide is whether a rejection actually means your work is trash, or a gem yet to be discovered by someone with the necessary amount of taste and discretion to realize it. I won’t even bemoan the fact that if it’s rejected several times by noteworthy sources it probably does require at least revision, if not a major overhaul. The true nature of this article isn’t to decipher the quality of work, rather, to combat the other negative effect of rejection.

Rejection depression. It will almost always hit you like a solid wall, no matter if it’s the first, or fifty-first one. They all hurt in about equal amounts. (Although as the recipient of many, I can tell the beginner that eventually you learn to deal with it, and the depression doesn’t last quite as long, or create the feeling of bone crushing death after a while)

This is the writer’s most vulnerable time, however. The time where he, or she, is most likely to chuck it all in favor of a less painful pastime like sword swallowing or self-inflicted tattooing.

For those who desire to eventually become professional writers it’s vital to learn to get past the feeling of complete despair created by rejections. Some manage by believing that once they sell that first spec, they’ll never have to deal with it again.

Dream on.

Rejections are a part of a writer’s life. From beginning to end, you will always have someone telling you it’s not quite good enough. Lots of someones in fact.

What does work, however, is knowing that for every 100 rejections, there is usually a yes, at least if you’re smart enough to continue honing your skills throughout the many no’s. Those are probably close to the odds throughout a writer’s career. 100 to 1-not the greatest of odds, but not insurmountable either.

So when is it time to say enough is enough? If you’re ever going to be a pro, the answer is, NEVER.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas to all

Hey friends, fellow writers, fellow posties, happy wanders who stumble through looking at the sights (sites). It's been a grand year and I've made so many new friends. It's a joy to log in and see you each day. You make it that much brighter as you pass through and wave and I love you all.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a happy holiday to all regardless of your faith and belief. You are all very special to me.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

All Books Everywhere.

This has been coming for quite some time, and like many other techno advances it is a slow, laborious process that may, or may not pay off in the end. Thanks to 'In For Questioning' for bringing this blurb to my attention:

“An ATM For Books” - Buying a book could become as easy as buying a pack of gum. After several years in development, the Espresso - a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library - is nearly consumer-ready and will debut in ten to 25 libraries and bookstores in 2007. The New York Public Library is scheduled to receive its machine in February…. The machine can print, align, mill, glue and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers. It prints in any language and will even accommodate right-to-left texts by putting the spine on the right. The upper page limit is 550 pages… "

This will mean a huge, tremendous, un-equaled earthquake in the publishing industry, for while all fancy, big, New York publishers will be printable via this machine... so will EVERY book in the 'books in print' database.

Yep, small publishers, pod, on-line publishers... EQUAL FOOTING in the what was (or will be) once traditional brick and mortar sources. Every outlet that has these machines in them (and I definately foresee a spread from the initial insertion to all the big chain stores aka: Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc...) will become the brick and mortar paperback sources that are so impenetrable to small, or indi pubs now.

There will come a time...and it's coming soon.

What will They Think Of Next?

Well here's one you wouldn't think of normally. At least I wouldn't. According to YahooTech pages, one source at Website Digital Camera University says to take better pictures of people, TURN THE CAMERA UPSIDE DOWN. Supposedly the flash location makes age lines more noticable and having the camera upside down will reduce the appearance of the wrinkles.

At the very least it will make for some VERY interesting pictures.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Free Publicity--Join the Carnival

Okay, no I didn't just tell you to run off and join the circus. I stopped considering that as an occupation back about fouth grade, although I do like all the animals. However, amongst all the options for promoting your blog, a very good way to get extra traffic through your site is to join in on a 'blog carnival' when you find one happening.

Jessie at Hunna's Happenings is going to be holding a postie blog carnival on January 1st. She got massive traffic through her site the last time she held a carnival (about 400 extra hits that day alone) and it benefited not only her, but all the link entries on it. Movement is the key on marketing blogs.

To join Jessie's Blog Carnival here's what you have to do:

Email Jessie here with the link to your blog, and the link to your favorite post.

Submissions must be entered no later than 11:59 p.m. on December 27th.

Place a post on your blog directing other Posties to enter the carnival and then another post the day of the carnival directing readers to check the carnival out.

So see: it's easy. Get in on the fun, and get your traffic moving along. Join the carnival today.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What Not To Do When Making A Video

The new love of my life... well, one of them anyway is making videos. I've learned a few things along the way. What to do. What not to do. I'm no where near finished learning, but I'm having fun while I do it.

I have, however, learned a couple very important things NOT to do while making a video.

Editing is very important in making videos, just like writing, we put a lot of extra stuff in when creating that in the end really isn't necessary. So proper cutting to get rid of extraneous content is necessary.

What you don't do, is render the finished video without clearing off all the cut pieces that you've shoved off to the side of the editor. I sat here tonight rendering a video that I'll tell you about in my next post, and couldn't for the life of me figure out why a one minute video was taking 20 minutes to render and had ALL that black frame in it. There wasn't any black frame in any of the finished video. Where was that coming from?

Stop the render and look... aaaahhhh there it is, three minutes off at the end was an additional five minutes of footage that had been cut into bits and pieces and left there with a big black void between the finished video and the cuts.

Sigh...clear off the cuts and resave the video. Render again, wow it only took 2 minutes that time. Surprise, surprise.

Oh... the final lesson I learned about making videos... it's probably not smart to do them at 10 pm when you should be in bed instead.

Unless you have a really good reason.

I'll tell you about that good reason in the next post. :)

Beware---Be Aware

No this isn't about some scam artist. This isn't about things to watch out for when dealing with others. This is about watching out what YOU are doing.

This morning (well really late last night, but it was after midnight, so that qualifies as this morning) I pulled a real bonafied boner. I just plain wasn't thinking. I submitted something to someone that the submission doesn't belong going to. Oh, not the end of the world in many cases, but it sure looks stupid. Sometimes however, and in this particular case it will mean loosing out on an opportunity. It was time sensitive, and I DID have the right one for the circumstance... I just clicked the wrong one instead because... well any excuse will do, my mind was tired, I was moving on auto-pilot... the bottom line is: I wasn't thinking!

In this case it also means loosing out on potential (and certain) income. SUCKS bigger time, so I'm whining a bit here, but let my whining be your lesson (and mine in the future as well). Beware--BE AWARE. Think, don't just 'think you know something, or remember something.' Be SURE you do.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Five Things You Don't Know About Me

Wow, I didn't even know this was going around! Genki Girl got me this morning and now I have to think of 5 things about me that nobody knows. It’s very difficult because I’m pretty transparent for the most part. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing.

1-Twisting Genki’s post—My DAUGHTER is a mommy’s girl. She calls me ‘at least’ everyday, usually 5 or 6 times a day unless there is some unusual circumstance that does not allow it. She is always asking me my opinion, or how to do something… now if only she’d actually TAKE that advice most times.

2- I can twist Genki’s post because I’m 44 years old and have tried almost everything in those 44 years – I smoke ( know, I know, bad thing), I used to drink hard when I went out (do I get brownie points for not drinking hardly ever now?) and I have done non-prescription illegal drugs (IN THE PAST can’t emphasis that enough. LOL Although unlike a certain president, I can’t say I didn’t inhale—take the ‘inhale’ for whatever you wish, it would apply in almost any case.)

3- I’ve never lived on my own.

4- I have a CRAZY sense of humor. Not everyone gets my humor, and at times I may offend—can I borrow this one too? It does apply. However, it may not count because many people know that about me already. LOL

5- I’ve owned/bred/ and shown most species of domestic animal including birds, dogs, cats, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits, and chickens (yes, they do have chicken and rabbit shows. Rabbit shows are actually huge and have lots of occurrences in nearly every state, although most folks outside of the rabbit industry really don’t know about them.)

Ok--5 people!! Cupnjava, Jose, Geekmom, DonnaLeigh, and Angie

The Celestine Prophesy

I LOVED the book years ago when I read it, so when I saw the movie out, and I hadn't even known they'd been making it--I just had to have it. I watched it tonight, well last night, and OMG it is just fantastic. If you love religious thrillers along the order of the DiVinci Code, or, what was the name of that old Shirley McLain movie? Walking In The Light, I think. You will love this movie.

It's based on the principles I very much believe myself spiritually so that made it even that much more exciting for me to watch. Overall it was pretty well made and had quite a few well-known actors that I'd seen many times. I can't remember their names off-hand. I'm really bad at that unless it's Keanu Reeves. LOL It was a really well-worth watching movie though.

Also, don't forget to check out Chapter One of Shakedown 2 posts down that I finally managed to get up here last night. The problem WAS in beta, not me. LOL

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Well, my little gift will have to wait.

I'm not gonna lie to you. I'm a little ticked off. I was going to start something new here today. I have a story I'm writing. It's out of my normal genre, but I really like it. I have quite a few chapters done and I was going to begin posting chapter a day excerpts on my blogs as a sort of Christmas present to my readers and friends, rotating the start up chapter between each blog.

What's stopping me? Something is screwy with beta. My post column is all scrunched up. It was fine this morning, so I don't know if 1) it's a beta problem and it will fix on its own. 2) I screwed something up somehow and need to work on my templates (all my beta blogs are the same way) or 3) someone hacked into my blog. Pretty much I think 3 is not the issue, but I'm still left with do I try to fix something that may not be something "I" should be fixing and screw it up worse when it is fixed on their end, or not?

Either way, I'm not going to be posting a story excerpt until it's straightened out.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Niche Crime?

I was just reading Victoria's column on At Last! Writer Beware about why scammers aimed at writers are so hard to convict. It's an excellent article, but it kind of made me laugh (just for a moment mind you, because the subject is not funny at all) when she claimed one of the reasons those scammers are so hard to prosecute is the system sees it as a niche crime--writer's are such a small portion of the population. Why is that funny, you might ask. Well it just is. It sure seems like we're a huge portion of the population judging by the sheer number of websites, blogs, and print magazines devoted to us, either by us or aimed at us.

Looking at our submission piles at LAP and Chip it would seem a large number of people are writing with specific aim at getting published. Man, if we charged even $10.00 a pop reading fee we'd be in pretty good shape. NOT that we'd ever even dream of such a thing. Not in a million years. What I'm saying is that it really doesn't seem like a small crime, or a low-dollar crime to me at all.

Buggy Beta

Is there something going goofy again with blogger this morning? It ate part of my post on the last post, and when I went in to edit it the system sent me to the post before it for editing.

I love the new blogger beta version. It's been great, but it still has it's buggy days I suppose. Have you guys tried the new layout on beta for formatting your blogs? I was skeptical at first when I read about click and drag movable templates, but they really ARE. Plus, you don't even have to go into the layout to change a particular area of the sidebars anymore once you've established it. For instance the links on my sidebar. If I want to add one, no more going into the template, finding the links section, adding the code, saving the template, then resaving the entire blog. No siree... now I just click on the little hammer and wrench on the sidebar right on the blog. It pops up my link box. It has insert boxes for the name of the link and the url. I save... done. If I want to move the links to another area, I do have to go into the layout, but it's just click on the link section and drag it to where I want it... done. Pretty cool stuff really.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wow Rock My World

Harper-Collins has fired Judith Regan. Now I'm glad I didn't win that CourtTV contest. The big prize in that contest was the chance to be published by Regan's HC imprint Regan books. Lots of issues about the 'firing' are up in the air. They say the imprint will stay open but just in their general pub catagory. It's a scary thing for an author when this type of shakeup occurs though, and I truly feel for them. I know what it's like to have a line wobble beneath your feet, and then go down on you.

A Little About Me

In the past week or so there has been a tremendous explosion of hits on this site. That's WONDERFUL and I welcome each and every one of you with open arms. What that means though, is that the demographics is changing here, and the focus is shifting a bit. That's not a bad thing at all however. What it does mean is that so will the tone of the posts on the blog here. Of course, I AM a writer, and I AM an editor--therefore, those things will not change. The good thing is that I am now going to be delving deeper into my own thoughts on everything that has an influence in my life, and all aspects of entertainment along with the writing and publishing industry.

It also means many folks here don't know a whole lot about me. For that reason I am posting two of my favorite videos made not too long ago that give an insight into what my life is both at my desk, and away. I hope you enjoy them. The first is a promo video I did for our ranch here where we raise miniature horses. The second is a humorous look into the daily grind of an erotica editor. Have fun, and thank you all for stopping by.



Coke Doesn't Do A Body Good

Oh man, I found this yesterday while cruising around. Check out what Coke (and any other soda type product) does to you as it enters your body and sits there. I like pop as much as the next person, but this post gave me serious reason to reconsider my desire to drink it.

I like the one where at 40 minutes your pupils dilate. That wasn't the whole thing for 40 mintues, but just that alone is enough to make you sit back and go 'whoa'. And don't forget to check out 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way. Um... yeah, that was what I was thinking with the dilating pupils thing... sounds like drugs.

Of course, you do know how Coke got its name, right? LOL Way back when it was a youngin' before we all knew what cocaine was for the most part. Coke had small quanitites of cocaine in it.

Now I don't know for sure if that's true, or just an urban myth, but I'd lean toward believeing it.

Part of what happens at 60 mintues post consumption: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. -- Yep, sounds like most drugs to me.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Quick Movie Review

I watched the new 'Miami Vice' last night. I liked the old TV show but what I loved most about it was it's sort of music video feel. That was new back then in the 80's. Now it's nothing unusual. The new movie was good, and after you got past the new characters playing the roles it was decent and I enjoyed it... what I missed was the BIG MUSIC in the intro. They did still play a remixed version of In The Air during the suspense part of the movie... but it's just not 'Miami Vice' without the da-da-da-da-dada-dada, and big flashy Miami scenes video clips in the beginning.

Overall, I liked it though. If you liked the series you'll probably like the movie--if you don't mind the missing intro music.

Seeing Double?

Sidebars that is.

If you're at all wondering how I got these nifty double side-bars (left and right side) wonder no more.

Thanks to a friend who pointed out a fantastic new web-page for techno-goofs like me. Here is Beautiful Beta's webpage on second side-bars. The blog is full of fantastic tips, but the side-bar page is my favorite. Warning... this is what worked on HIS template. It works basically the same on most, but some thought is necesssary to get some of the templates to work -- and SOME do NOT work with this. All three of my blogspot blogs have it now though, and while one of them worked exactly the way the post reads, the two others took some extra tweaking. It was well worth the effort though, and without the guideline I would NEVER in a million years figured it out myself.

Technology Today

My meandering mind is wandering this morning.

Entering the 'way-back' machine to the 80's.

So much is going on in the blog world today. v-blogs, music blogs, technoblogs, and paid blogging. It blows the mind.

I remember not too long in the past. (Okay for some of you it's a lifetime) Back when I got my first Internet capable computer. It was the mid-80's or so, and the Internet was a BABY. Mostly it was chat rooms that were server specific, and there were very, very few servers. MSN and AOL were the big two. If you had chats on AOL that was the limit, who was on AOL. Etc. I remember talk back then that if you knew HTML coding you could 'break into' the WORLD WIDE WEB. That was such a mysterious place back then.

LOL wow, to think of it now is funny. It was scary though. Secret. Hidden in coded language. Now, it's a click of a button and instant connection to the vast ethernet of EVERYWHERE.

Talk to anybody, on any server. Post blogs, websites, forums, chatrooms--anything your heart desires, and you rarely need to know a thing about coding.

What really cooks the mind is to wonder what technology will be like in another 20 years?

Making Videos

Man I love doing that. But I wonder how many folks out there still don't know how easy it really is. At least the most simple functions. Or that they probably already have a free media creator right on their own desk top. If you have Windows XP you probably already have their Movie Maker right on your hard-drive already. I started out using that, and still like it a lot. I use Sony Vegas now and adore it, but that one is much more complicated and not nearly as easy to use.

If you like the videos you see on-line, give making one a try. You may just get hooked. I know I did.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Coming Soon--Don't forget.

Don't forget to check out the upcoming issue of Erotic Dreams on January 1st to get my very first published erotic m/m short LOVE SUCKS.

Here's the video trailer to give you a little taste of the atmosphere in this dark fantasy romance.


Um, I don't think so. Not in this case. What exactly is with kids when they will go so far as to put their semen in the salad dressing bottles in their school cafeteria?

Are kids today THAT bored? I used to say it was a product of their upbringing, but I'm not sure that's true anymore. The influences spread wide and far beyond the home anymore. Besides peers, there's movies, tv, and the internet, all of which have a vast span and way more influence over the opinions of young people nowadays than their own parents once they reach their teens.

I'm not sure there's an answer, but I know that it is enough to turn your stomach. True this isn't the most vile thing a teen could do... although it is potentially lethal considering the spread of STD possibility. Even without that it's just plain gross.

Mid-Air Mouse

Big thanks to Jules for leaving the link to this YouTube video in the comment box here. This is the video I was telling you about below in the new cushion hand-held mouse that you can make yourself and is easy on the hands! I'm checking it out now but it takes forever for my dial up to load the video so I'm posting it as I wait so you can see it too. Let me know what you think after you watch it, and I will too in the comment section here.

Okay, I can't seem to get the embed code to work so I'm just going to have to post the direct link to YouTube, sorry guys:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Complete Curiosity

Have any of you hear of something called a 'soap mouse'? I have to look into it more. Apparently there's a video on You Tube (haven't found it yet) on how to make a wireless mouse that has some sort of sponge-like soft shell over it that you just have to hold in your hand and the pressure you apply tells it where to go. You don't even need a desk to lay it on or anything. Apparently it's accurate, and comfortable to use. If you've heard of this type of thing, or use one let me know. I've very interested. I get 'pointer' finger on occassion and I'm always interested in anything that might help that, or carpel tunnel.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Brand Names And You--The Author

I had a chat with one of my authors yesterday. He knows who he is, and this is in no way condemning him, or putting him down in any way. He knows I love him. He just couldn't get his mind around all the edits of his brand names in his novel. He said that after I first brought it up he talked to a lady lawyer who told him basically: Mentioning a brand that is publicly sold in a manner that does not defame or otherwise cast that product in a bad light is pretty much entirely fine

Please note the words 'pretty much'. In essence probably.

The confusion here is not something that is his sole providence. It's a common problem for a writers first experiencing edits. I thought perhaps what I told him might help others see what the position is, and why publishers feel it necessary to eliminate if possible Trademarked names. Something I didn't even bring up in my return response to the author was that the lawyer is not 'wrong'. Her stance was 'probably' fine. LOL However, just like with publishing contracts, not any old lawyer will do. You really need to speak with a lawyer well versed in publishing law. Same with this issue. A local defense attorney probably doesn't deal with much publishing law. The knowledge they have on the subject is general. When you're dealing with the real issue, you need someone with in depth knowledge of the subject.

What I told him was basically this:

Let me just state what the real position is here.

It's up to you.

You know why? Cause guess who they're comin after if they don't like it? Our disclaimer states it's your book, and you are responsible for the contents in it... now... here's why I advise never to use brand names of any type (by the way, this is not just me, it's common advise in publishing that editors give to writers... don't use Kleenex use tissue, don't use Coke use soda... etc...) because you might slip under the radar... the trademark owner may not even care... so yes, your lawyer lady is right... you're probably safe.

Probably is an awfully touchy word... what that comes right down to is you're at the whimsy of the company holding the trademark. Some don't really care much as long as, like she said, it's not negative... some are downright vehement (Coke for one).

How much is it worth to you to take the chance?

Is it REALLY necessary to the story?

And if your answer to the last question is yes, then why not play it completely by the 'book' pardon the pun, and get the written permission? (Every trademark seal anywhere is shown with the disclaimer somewhere on its official site that use is allowed ONLY with written permission of said trademark holder.)

So... love ya... that's the skinny on brand names though. If ya feel lucky like Mr. Eastwood, just put them all back in and I'll close a blind eye and make a note that you were told about the issues surrounding such possibilities and you can play it by ear. Quite possibly no one will ever say a word... possibly.

And that's the deal with Brand names... do you feel lucky, Punk? Well do ya?

New Will Smith Movie Coming Soon

On a couple of the recent movies I've bought there's a preview for a new Will Smith (hottie alert, I love Will). I was anxious to see The Pursuit of Happyness (no not a typo, that's how the title is spelled), but after reading about Mr. Gardner (the main character of the movie) I'm even more anxious to see it. A self-made millionaire who fought to raise his son as a single father in spite of being stone cold broke and living on the streets he made his way into a financial company's training program and then into the company itself, working his way up until he left to form his own and make his fortune.

I just read the Wikipedia Post for Christopher Gardner what I like most was during the time he was searching for a way to pull himself out of desparity... well the story goes like this: In a parking lot, he met a man driving a red Ferrari. "He was looking for a parking space. I said, 'You can have mine, but I gotta ask you two questions.' The two questions were: What do you do? And how do you do that? Turns out this guy was a stockbroker and he was making $80,000 a month."

So he started looking around until he managed to get into a training program, and the rest, as they say, is history... well, at least a movie.

What Can I Do While I WAIT?

The number one question from a writer’s lips to my ears. Let’s face it, anyone who’s been published knows it’s a game of hurry up and wait. Hurry up, get revision in by the deadline. Wait … maybe weeks … while I get the edits back to you. Hurry up, get the edits to me by the deadline. Wait … maybe weeks … for me to get the proofed copy back to you. Hurry up and make the proofer’s corrections by the deadline. Wait … as long as needs be … for the cover art. The list goes on like that, and the further into the process the longer the waits are likely to be. Once the editing and proofing and gallies are done and checked and double checked and initialed there’s a lot of waiting for the ARCs to come back from the reviewers, for the actual publication date to arrive.

During all those waits, that question comes up with predictable regularity. So what’s a writer to do?


Get your face, name, presence out there. Let people know who you are, and what you’ve done. Give out cards, pamphlets and flyers. Go to on-line chats. Go to e-loop chats. Plant your on-line card everywhere. Read other blogs. Comment on them. Join clubs like Blog Explosion to get your blog posts up.

Other than doing things like that… relax, the time will pass before you know it and your shiny new book will be out and about, making the rounds, and being read.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Public Perception Rears Its Ugly Head

It really never fails. When I go out (yes I do, sometimes) and happen to meet up with someone I haven't seen in awhile the invariable question is 'how's the writing coming?' I'm not talking about friends I see all the time, although those words come out of their mouths too often enough. The people I'm talking about I may see once a year, or even less, and usually just by chance.

I'm not really sure what they expect me to say to that. It's great, I just signed a million dollar deal? (yeah, I wish I COULD say that someday just to see the looks on their faces.)

You might think--well Tam, you know, they may just really be interested, and hope you're doing great. Somehow I don't get that feeling though. It's almost a snide remark, like--are you finished being a bum yet? When are you going to get a real job? That type of thing.

After several weeks of not seeing my son even he'll ask me (and he's a lot more direct--quite point blank in his questioning arts) are you getting rich yet?

Why do folks automatically assume that writers that are any good, are going to be rich? Hell the VAST majority of really good writers are not only NOT rich, they usually exist on a shoestring budget unless their significant other is independantly wealthy, and that's if they have a significant other.

I blame it on the media. Yeah, I like to blame everything on the powers of the media anyway, so why not this? Every once in a while a big name writer makes a frightfully huge sum of money on a book and it's all over the front page, so common folk think that's what a writer should be making--if they're any good at what they do.

Just once I'd like to run into an old aquiantance and have them ask-hey Tami how are YOU?

Give A Little Love

A friend of mine is involved in a really wonderful project. It's called 3-day and it sort of takes a page from the walk-a-thon venue and raises money by sponsoring teams of walkers. Colleen's team can be found here where you can read about the trials and tribulations of the team as they walk to help fight breast cancer. I donated yesterday. It's an issue I really feel strongly about, and I just think it's necessary to give back when I am able. The 3-day organization and the teams are doing a wonderful job, and a wonderful service for all women, and I salute them. Take a peek at their page and see if you don't agree.

I Need To Get Out More

At first I couldn't believe my eyes. I was strolling around the net yesterday and on Yahoo's front page there was a news flash. A record purchased at a garage sale for pennies sold on ebay for over 155 THOUSAND dollars! Every once in a while you hear about things like that, but somehow it all sounds like urban myth. Apparently not however. Why is it when I go to sell on ebay I can't even get a bid on my super-duper antique crap I pull out of my basement? Check out the link here.

Actually when you read the article you might start thinking to yourself, yep, just another urban myth. These guys actually played the record to find out it was a rare recording. I mean after all, who has an actual record player anymore?

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Key

Have you ever wondered what those elusive deal words in Publisher's Weekly really stand for? You know the ones: "NICE", "VERY NICE", "GOOD", "SIGNIFICANT", "MAJOR".

Ever wanted to know what those words stood for in cold hard cash, but weren't sure where to find the key?

Here it is, direct from Publisher's Weekly.

The Key
"nice deal" $1 - $49,000
"very nice deal" $50,000 - $99,000
"good deal" $100,000 - $250,000
"significant deal" $251,000 - $499,000
"major deal" $500,000 and up

You have to love that last one... and up. Yeah, as if. I'd settle for very nice.

The New Blogger

Not having received any responses to my question the other day on the new google blogger version I decided to jump on in and see what happened.

Well, low and behold it does now let you keep you current blogs at their same urls (which was my main concern).

What's more important is what they promise really is true. The templates are MUCH easier to modify in this version than in the old.

Okay, if you need something 'special' like the book ads on the side bar here you still need to use HTML code BUT you no longer have to hunt and peck for the placement of the code in the vast field of code on the template--thereby eliminating the need to pray your site doesn't crash from entering faulty code!

IT WORKS. And very nicely I might add. It's also faster in posting. There's no need to do the 'publish your entire blog' thing after a simple little template change like a new link or what-have-you.

The only thing I haven't figured out -- YET, is how to put up my custom headers. That looks like it's going to be a lot trickier because of the way these templates are laid out.

However, for those that I know of with adamant demands that they have such niceities--you CAN still use your own templates in the new system and deal with all the messy code that goes along with it. So you're not cut out of that option.

Three cheers for Google--yes they are a god, at least as much as any monster corp gobbling up pieces of the ether can be.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What's Kinky?

This may seem like a strange question, and I'm not even asking from the erotica standpoint. I think we've all seen examples of how mainstream fiction is... oh say, widening its scope in regards to bedroom activity. The only real difference anymore between erotica, and regular mainstream romance, or any other genre is the actual words used to describe the 'pieces'. lol

So, borrowing a thread of conversation from a writer's board -- just not the specific question because it was worded in a rather 'x' rated fashion. What do you as a reader, and/or as a writer consider to be 'kinky'? Is your definition of kinky anything out of the normal ordinary positions or places for traditional sexual activity? Or do you figure if you've heard of it and know it is done, even if you or no one you know would do it, it's pretty much normal (and I'm using that term for definition, not as a reference to good or bad). Or is kinky to you something so outside the 'average' realm that you'd have to look up the definition of an act to know what it actually entails?

Do you consider sexual contact outside the bedroom anywhere to be kinky? Or is it generally normal as long as it's not being conducted in a crowded restaurant?

What say you... is there a kink in your programing?

Great Expectations

I know it’s true, I really do, but I just can’t do it.

I was just reading at Tess Gerritsen’s blog again. I love her blog. She’s made a great point about reader expectations after reading a post at fellow writer J. A. Konrath’s place about keeping your readers happy by giving them what they want… or rather, what they expect.

Now, I want to keep my readers happy. Really. How often can I write the same type of story though? Once… well, okay, maybe twice. I did have two similarly set stories published. You know what? It’s tempting to keep on writing about the same situations too. After all, I did a LOT of research to get myself into the world of those books. It would be nice and comfortable to stay in them.

Is that what readers want too? Nice and comfortable? After a while doesn’t that equate to nice and – boring? Yet Tess goes on to tell of the emails, and letters she received after each book that swayed a bit from the previous path.

Maybe that’s why category type romances do as well as they do. They’re tightly wound around the same types of plots, the same types of characters… only the names are changed. Okay, not really, but it’s darned close at times. That’s not to say I don’t like to read category romance. I do, and have. I can’t write them though. It takes a special ability I think to stay within such strict parameters in plot… I can’t. I’m wild. I’m free. I’m … well sometimes crazy, but I just can’t do the same thing over and over.

Why do readers expect their ‘favorite’ authors to write the same types of books over and over? If they like the style of writing, shouldn’t that be enough? If the plot is good does it matter if it isn’t ‘just like the last one’? If the last story was a mystery, does the second one have to be a mystery too? Or can it be a thriller, maybe a comedy… I’ve been known to switch gears quite consistently. See… I have my pattern—my category—I’m consistent in switching categories.

What do you think? Should a writer stick to what they’ve done in the past, especially if it’s been wildly successful? Or is it good to be bad and switch up the beat?

Friday, December 08, 2006

My New Video

I have a new video up at YouTube for my Feb 07 release from Chippewa "Dark Side Of The Moon". I love making these videos, and I hope you enjoy them too. I'm going to go ahead and embed the video and see if it looks okay on here. The last template I used didn't work well with the embeded screens. I'm hoping this one will. That way you don't have to go anywhere else to see it. May take a little while to show up while it's processing.

More New Cool Stuff

This one really is cool. I've found (thanks to Dusk on the Erotic Romance Writer's Forum) a cool new place for posting video trailers. It's called IMEEM. It appears that they also have areas for music, and still photos. I have a lot ot check out on that website, but it's one more venue for promotion, and we all know we can never get enough of those--plus it's just fun. :)

New Version? I have a question for you.

I was actually coming on here to post about something else. I'll make that post in a minute here, but when I went to my dashboard there was an announcement that the 'new version' of blogger (hosted by Google now) is ready and I can switch.

Has anyone who blogs here on blogger done this yet?

I know it was a Beta test for awhile, and I almost did that but it appeared that I would have had to start a completely different blog with a whole new address and then everyone who'd linked to my old one would either have to be notified of the new url (pain in the ass) or just have the wrong link (not great advertising there huh?).

So what's the deal with this new one? Is it the same deal, or did they improve that feature? I'm always skeptical of new versions of things that are working fine. Blogger may have it's bad days but for the most part it's the better of the blog connections that I've found since MySpace hates me, and I have a similar animosity toward it because I don't understand it. I have a Live Journal, and it does have some pretty interesting features, but overall I still like blogger better--I don't want to ruin that relationship.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ebay--friend or foe

Okay, slightly off-topic, and I admit for a first return post after a long absence, probably not the greatest thing to start off with, but I just felt the need to talk about this.

Most folks on-line have used, been to, or sold things on Ebay. Many of us use Paypal as well. Are these services really safe? We hope so. LOL Usually they are. They're not fool-proof though.

The big problem is all the scammers and hackers trying to get in to individual accounts and usurp money from them. I went to a friend's blog today and read of her recent ebay trials and tribulations (see Geekmom's ebay woe's post here). Many of us that do have accounts at places such as Ebay, and Paypal, are plenty aware of the scam emails that are associated with such places. My normal method of dealing with such emails is to immediately delete them and pay no further attention to such silliness.

No more.

Not after reading Geekmom's post. From now on, I will certainly still delete the emails. Do not EVER reply to such emails, or give out account information as they seek inside such emails. I've known folks who have done that and the results are disasterous. Even more disasterous than what Geekmom's trials are because THOSE types of transactions are not protected by the actual companies (ebay and paypal).

Anyway, from now on, instead of ignoring the emails altogether, from now on after deleting the email I will definately be going to said accounts and checking their status from inside the company structure to be sure no actual charges have taken place, or changes made to them. I'd never considered that possibility before.

Both Ebay, and Paypal are great services. Although I've never sold anything, I've purchased plenty of things from Ebay and been quite satisfied. I've used Paypal for years now for both on-lines payment, and receipt of income and always enjoyed the service... such things are not without peril however, as is now obvious beyond the past knowledge of being fooled by we have to watch out for the hackers too.