Friday, February 29, 2008

What do you mean someone else invented that?

I'm writing a scene for the new project that takes place in a music room in a fantasy world. I wanted a musical instrument that is somewhat like the harpsichord but doesn't actually exist. I thought the name euphonium would be good because it sounds like something that makes attractive noise. Sadly the thing already exists and is a wind instrument, not a percussion instrument.

I suppose that shows I was on the right track and it is a good name.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things you don't expect

Several years ago I was at a Project Greenlight party with Ben Affleck, who was extremely nice, discussing screenplays and such. Today a friend sent me this shocking expose...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rent a mule

I was thinking about how many people aren't supposed to carry anything heavy for weeks after a surgery but just day to day life can require heavy lifting. For instance Cullen's backpack for college is quite heavy, what with his science textbooks and his laptop and all.

So he should get a nice little miniature donkey to help him out until he's clear to lug heavy stuff around.

New mothers, especially if they've had a c section would also benefit from this program. Just think how much gear the average baby requires these days. And if Mom has a full sized mule she can ride when she gets tired.

It's a win-win situation.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Something else I'm not good at

Colleen Lindsay, brand new agent with FinePrint Literary Management posted telling queryers (is that a word?) not to make her try and guess the intended audience for our books. She said if we don't know this basic information nobody does.

I fail at this. The YA and the skiffy books are right next to each other at my library and I'm never sure which I'm grabbing. If I'm talking about a book for my weekly column I have to go online to figure out the intended audience.

I also can't figure out why some books published by Harlequin are in the skiffy section or why some thrillers are in the romance.

I'm no better with my own work.

Just one more panic-making thing to fret about when trying to put together a decent query letter.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Finished - in theory anyway

I wrote the magical words "the end" today. The first draft of The Stork Situation is finished. I started it November 1st as a NaNoWriMo project so it took about four months. It's right at 95,000 words and I reckon I'll be removing about 20,000 of them. It's got so many false starts and like three endings so a considerable amount of paring is in store. Then I have to change quite a bit as the book took off in an unexpected direction and continuity is a nonexistent at this point.

I started my next project but idk if it's the one I really want to work on next. I'll try it for a week and see if it comes to life.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Perfect Stranger = Perfect Crap

Cullen and I watched Perfect Stranger tonight, starring Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi. Sadly the script was a terrible mess, turning what could have been an interesting thriller into a cliched, ridiculous film filled with bad science. The computer scenes, which take up a fair amount of the movie, are particularly laughable. Bizarrely characters get IOL accounts so they can email and chat. IOL? Why even bother "making up" that name?

When Halle tries to put spyware on someone's computer and is stopped by his anti-spyware another character tells her that's proof he's up to no good. Because we all know everyone who uses anti-spyware software is a murderer. The rest of the film is just as retarded. A sad waste of talented actors.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Home with a little less kidney

Cullen had his biopsy today. It went pretty well except for one incident when he got up to go the bathroom and fainted, leading to me trying to hold him up while calling for help.

His nurse had taken his stretcher away and gone to get a reclining chair but never returned with it. Another nurse brought a broken chair for him to sit in, which he did for an hour but he didn't recover until she finally brought him a bed so the bloodflow could go back into his head. His blood pressure was 87 over 31 after the worst of the episode was over. I shudder to think what it was when it bottomed out.

Now he's home, resting and chugging cranberry juice. Hopefully he'll be feeling back to normal by tomorrow. Two weeks to get the results of the test.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Excellent point

Victoria Strauss has posted the Top 12 Things Writer Beware Can't Do. It's just what it says it is, which might make non-writers think there isn't any advice in there for them but she makes a terrific point, which dovetails nicely with the XKCD comic from yesterday.

I do still get irritated when someone with no publishing experience thinks they know more about the business than I do--but I don't argue as hard as I used to. Some people have a deep need to believe that their problems come from outside themselves, and I've learned to accept that mere argument is not enough to change that.

Once you realize that facts don't matter when you're dealing with some people you can cut them off and get so much more done without them slowing you down. Of course sometimes you have to cut yourself off. You have to know your limits and if you're going to have a hard time walking away from an argument then you probably shouldn't start it at all. Or to quote Uncle Ghastly, don't let the douchebaggery of others push your don't fuck with me buttons.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh man - XKCD

I know so many people like this.

Years ago I posted that it wasn't my job to fix everything wrong on the internet. Thank goodness that's still true.

Total Lunar Eclipse tonight

Details can be found here, at the NASA site.

Hopefully the clouds will bugger off before eight pm...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is this food or "food"?

From an audition notice I got:

BRAINBOX ENTERTAINTMENT, LLC is looking for bright, energetic, expressive actors (male & female) in their mid-twenties to serve as "human guinea pigs" for a new food science pilot for a top cable network! This is a great opportunity to get tape of yourself and work with seasoned industry professionals. Candidates must have acting experience. Shooting will take place over three days, tentatively scheduled for the last week of February and/or the first week of March in Baltimore. A small stipend will be provided. Please email head shots and links to any online media to Additionally, please email snapshots of your reactions to the following: smelling something rotten, tasting something really spicy, feeling nauseated. Auditions will be held the week of 2/18, exact date TBD.

Doesn't that sound fabulous?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Scrapping yet another ending to the Stork Situation

I've decided the ending isn't working again and I'm going back another twenty pages or so, to the spot where my adventurers cross back into our world. The problem is I'm not quite sure how to handle their time away. In some books, some very famous, this is neatly solved by no time at all passing while the protagonists were elsewhere. In others hundreds of years have passed, which also kind of solves the problem because there's nobody left to ground you. But if you've gone maybe a week, all hell will have broken loose.

I think I've finally figured out how things work and I may actually be able to finish this thing, or the first draft anyway, which is far more first drafty than my usual work.

It's possible that I'm having trouble with it because I'm not sure what to tackle next. For the last five or six projects I knew exactly what to work on next, sometimes even starting overlapping projects, and began the new project the day after I finished the old, but now, I'm just not sure.

Maybe I need, I don't know, a vacation??

Friday, February 15, 2008

What I did during the strike

From an article in the LA Times

I began the strike with lofty plans to write a novel, which soon turned into a novella, which then turned into 13 solid weeks of playing "Guitar Hero III" in my underpants.

Oddly I actually managed to write most of a novel during the strike. I'm at about 84,000 words of what will be a billion if I'm not careful. I already realized I'd written more than forty pages of a completely new storyline, including a brand new character who is part fish/part girl with shark teeth. I had to go back and start again but it's still going on longer than it should. I still have all this aftermath to talk about. Maybe I'll finish it by my birthday at the end of March. I'm writing 500 words a day these days, about half of my goal for most of last year but I'm also trying to concentrate on getting caught up on a bunch of stuff I've let slide, like getting the car through emissions testing. Blah. Maybe I'll pick up the pace again later, although with my column and a few other things I'm still writing about a thousand words a day.

Then maybe I'll learn Guitar Hero III.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kidneys and tires

I've spent the last three days working on a big project, which is finally almost finished. Whew.

Cullen is scheduled for his kidney biopsy. The surgery will take about an hour and then he'll have to stay lying down for four hours before I shuttle him home. He's got a chem test that day and was hoping to be able to take it maybe after the surgery but since he's supposed to be lying down all day and he's going to get an iv full of pain killers and relaxants I'm guessing maybe the chem test isn't the best idea ever. It will take about two weeks to get the results. It's not fast like some tests. And of course he's still got more than a week before the surgery. We still need to get his nose cleared up because sneezing while someone is stabbing you with a highpowered biopsy tool is suboptimal.

In other news I have to get four new tires for the car because the ones I bought in September are lumpy and bumpy. I stopped by Sears today and I'm going to get four for what I just paid for two. The ones I need were out of stock so someone is going to go and fetch them for me, which is pretty sweet.

I know there was something else I was going to say but I'm suddenly very tired so it will have to wait.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Scalzi offers excellent financial advice

Ostensibly for writers but would work for anyone who is self-employed. Read, take notes and apply.

In completely unrelated news I wrote a short piece for Mortgage Servicing News about David Simon's proposed new TV series, which had a deadline of tomorrow so I'm guessing it will run in next week's edition.

And I found this awesome image of a gingerbread house with chicken feet while researching Baba Yaga today.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Laura Lippman is a brave lady

Laura Lippman, who writes these really terrific mysteries, (I read three in one weekend a couple of weeks ago) is going to be touring in support of her book Another Thing to Fall, and will be doing a signing at five am at the Spoons coffeehouse in Baltimore on March 11th. Five am!! That's dedication.

The entire list of dates can be found here.

Interesting review of a local gym

I'm hoping this review was translated into another language then back to English, although that doesn't really explain everything.

We again and again take citizens in and force on the equipment. There's been no complaints, bagatelle love that, about a deprivation of staff." Mr. They're item of cranny mart specializing in marketing gyms that cause a natives that doesn't get the criterion 9 a.m.

That's the newest thing in gyms I guess, taking citizens in and forcing them on the equipment...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The rattie girls have taken over Google...


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Big storm tonight

We're getting hit by very heavy rains and hail. I'm hoping the power doesn't go out and I'm glad we're all in for the night.

Here's an interesting article about Samit Basu, an Indian science fiction/fantasy writer who is going to turn some of Terry Gilliam's projects into comics. Here's my favorite part:

What is the most annoying question journalists ask you?

"What's your book's USP?" I mostly just splutter in reply. It's also amusing when people challenge me to say something that will convince them to read SFF. It's done in the campus-interview style -- "Sell yourself (and your genre) to me". The only answer I can possibly give is, "If you don't want to read fantasy, don't read it. I have no problem with that."


Monday, February 04, 2008

Why do the Camerons furiously sing?

Cameron is going to sing this for, well I'm not sure. Something Vocal Ensemble does. Maybe a county competition? IDK. Should be interesting. I think this song scores maximum difficulty on the how hard is this to sing scale.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Some plays you should go see

A group of 16 striking TV writers have come together to craft a lineup of short plays featuring TV-series actors that will run for five performances in Los Angeles.

The profits from the playlets, under the umbrella title "TV Takes the Stage," will be funneled to the Motion Picture and TV Fund to help non-writers who have suffered since the strike began on Nov. 5. The event takes place at the Macha Theater in West Hollywood from Jan. 31 through Feb. 3, and talks are under way to bring the performance to New York. The tickets cost between $20 and $30 each.

From this Variety article.

The one acts run for 8 to 15 minutes and one of them is about the first night that King Louis and Marie Antoinette spend together, which should be interesting, albeit awkward. I didn't realize how many years it took those poor kids to figure out how things worked until a month or so ago.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Do you really mean that?

You know how in fiction, whether TV, film or novel, when the bad guy gets arrested for some awful crime and the good guy says "I hope you have a good lawyer?" Why say that? Don't they really mean "I hope you have a shitty lawyer?"