Monday, April 30, 2007
"But Frank," you protest, "you are classy and erudite. I've seen you lower your head when picking your nose in a restaurant. And when your eyebrows needs smoothing, you barely lick your fingers first!"
Yes, it's true. It's kinda like leading a double life. By day, I am a suave sophisticate. By night, I holler at my tv, spraying bits of popcorn, gesticulating with the remote-wielding hand while the other is jammed into the waistband of my pants. (Don't ask what it's doing there. It's a sports-guy thing and you wouldn't understand. But it has nothing to do with feelings of inadequacy. Really.)
This time of year, May-June, and then again in October, is nuts for this particular AJ. Baseball is well under way and basketball and hockey are into their playoffs. There's something, usually an important something, and often several important somethings, on tv every single night from about 7pm - 2am. It'll get a little less hectic as the playoffs wind down and fewer teams are left to compete for their championships (and my time).
In the summer, there's only baseball, maybe a smidge of soccer and a cursory peek or two at Canadian football. But come October, the baseball playoffs are on while hockey and basketball begin their seasons anew.
I'm not much of an NFL fan, so I check on my sons' wellbeing on Sunday afternoons from November through April.
Unless, of course, it's a good day for fishing.
Monday, April 23, 2007
This scenario is all too common:
W-B Writer opens his email one morning. There is a message there from someone he's never heard of. OMG! It's a publisher! It says so right there in the email! It's Marie and she represents Lee Chew Publishing of Fleece Street! And she's interested in W-B's deathless prose which she heard is brilliant!
All W-B has to do to start his literary ascension is send his first three chapters and a small processing/reading/editorial/gullibility-testing fee and he'll be on his way!
I read about this scenario, or one very much like it, on a near-daily basis. I read about it on writing-related message boards which abound on the net.
Guess what W-B?
That's where Lee Chew Publishing "heard" about you too. You posted about your ambitions and your email is in your profile.
If someone you've never heard of approaches you with promises in exchange for money, do what you'd do if some seedy-looking guy offered you a Gen-U-Wine Rolex for 10 bucks. Walk away. Keep your wallet in your pocket.
Real publishers and agents don't go trolling for talent on bulletin boards. They're far too busy fielding queries and reading manuscripts from writers who realize how the game is played.
It's played without shortcuts. It's played by a fairly well-established set of rules (that can occasionally be bent but rarely broken).
Those rules are:
1- Write something other people will want to read.
2- Research legitimate agents/publishers. Legitimate agents will provide a client list and be happy to talk up their deals. Legitimate publishers have books in bookstores and libraries. Neither will ask you for money to read and assess your book's merits. If accepted, agents (at least 90% of them) won't ask for money until they've sold your book. Then they'll take a percentage. If you deal directly with a publisher, the only money talked about will be your advance and royalties.
3- Draft a dynamic query letter and/or proposal and send it to those agents and/or publishers in batches of five or so. (Doing it in batches allows you to fine-tune the query if the initial one fails to spark interest. That way, you haven't already had a hundred doors closed to you.)
4- As author and writing guru James D. Macdonald wisely recommends - while waiting to hear back, start working on another, better book.
If you simply MUST give someone your money, stuff some in a nearby church's poor box. Don't feed the sharks.
Monday, April 16, 2007
He was uncomfortable with the notion and said he would only eat it if he had to, to keep from starving. He does not feel the same way about fish, only mammals.
I suspect he has quite a bit of company. I think it’s an example of the Disneyfication of wildlife. Nobody wants to eat something that has done cute things on a movie or tv screen. Even if that something is a cartoon. Organizations like PETA, for all their stridency and media-grabbing stunts, can’t hold a candle to Bambi when it comes to turning people off from hunting and/or eating game.
My friend didn’t want to eat domesticated game either. A farm-raised duck was just as unpalatable to him as the ones he tossed bits of bread to at a nearby pond. I think he, like a large segment of the population, prefers to think that last night’s supper mysteriously appeared on a Styrofoam tray in the meat department of the grocery after an Immaculate Dissection.
I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t like to think about living cows and pigs being turned into hamburgers and chops. They’d druther not know about abbatoirs and killing floors. I can’t really blame them. They’re very unpleasant places.
Although I no longer hunt game, I am certainly not opposed to the process. And I wouldn’t turn down an offer of some venison or a brace of ducks. And if I had a choice between dying suddenly, while grazing in a field, or in a slaughterhouse, after hours of horrible stress, it would be a no-brainer.
What do you think? Do you eat meat? Do you, would you, eat game? Is fish okay but not venison? I’d love to know your thoughts.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Edited to add: Q sent me a link which is cute and relates to this post - sorta. Click the end of this sentence, wait a minute or two and you'll see the fish's revenge.
HYDERABAD, India (Reuters) - Unable to come to terms with the death of their pet dog, an elderly couple in southern India committed suicide by hanging themselves, police said on Monday.
The bodies of 67-year-old retired soldier C.N. Madanraj and his wife, Tarabai, 63, were found on Sunday in their home in a suburb of Hyderabad.
Police said the childless couple had held a burial ceremony for their dog of 13 years, called "Puppy," and hosted a feast for friends before hanging themselves in their bedroom.
"The couple described the grief over their pet dog in the suicide note they left on March 29," said police inspector V. Anantaiah.
Discuss. (Whilst I work on a real blog post....)