Learned

Posted By on September 1, 2014

Two things I’ve been reminded of lately (or two realities I’ve been slapped in the face with recently); A person who constantly has to defend his/her words and actions with “I was just joking”, is never just joking. And a person who uses God in defense of his/her bigotry is never going to see things any other way.

Which is why fiction is so much better than real life. In a book, a character can make a giant arc and change. Real people are not so accommodating.

Orientation

Posted By on August 25, 2014

I really don’t understand the mindset of folks who care about anyone’s sexual orientation.

So, regarding your sexual orientation…I don’t care if you’re a man who loves a man or a woman who loves a woman. I don’t care if you feel you need to explore and experience to be certain of who you are. Infinitely more important to me is that you are kind, compassionate and good–if you are mindful of others and their feelings, if you are a worthwhile human being.

What gender you choose to get naked with is none of my business or concern.

Spam

Posted By on August 12, 2014

My favorite spam of today;

Use your own gravy motoboat and jetpack your sun flight into the day…

Now that right there is golden.

Amazon And Hachette Go To War

Posted By on August 9, 2014

Things seem to be heating up in the battle between Amazon and Hachette.

In a nutshell, Amazon wants to be able to price ebooks at a lower (and I think more reasonable) price than Hachette wants to allow it's books to be sold at.

These two huge entities in the publishing world have been locked in war long enough for things to start getting ugly. With no give on either side, Amazon is using what might be deemed as dubious practices. Many Hachette titles are no longer available on Amazon. Titles that are available are on a delayed shipping pattern, not available for pre-order and not available as one-click purchase. Word is out that Amazon has even suggested to customers that they buy Hachette books used.

In reference to Amazon's current handling of Hachette books, a pro-Hachette petition making the rounds (and being signed by some very big name Hachette authors) makes a statement about how no entity should be able to choose to keep books from the hands of the people that want to buy them. Really? I  have a  hard time even forming words to express how dumb that argument is. In much the same way Hachette group can pick and choose who they want to publish, Amazon has the right to choose who and what they want to sell. Hachette wants to sell their ebooks at a higher rate, they can sell them somewhere else. And everyone loses a little bit, probably. Which is why the battle continues.

Hachette, meanwhile, is making themselves very likable by not saying much publicly. But reports are they are cutting jobs from the inside, and making it clear the cuts are because of Amazon.

Seems just as backhanded as Amazon tactics. Yet the sentiment out there right now it anti-Amazon.

That's nothing new folks. The big presses, the New York of publishing has always been anti-Amazon. At any major publishing expo, Amazon is the table in the corner that is supposed to be ignored or forgotten as if in time-out.

The truth in that is that Amazon scares them. Amazon and independent on-line publishers and the ebook are frightening. They will change the way books are done. They will change the publishing industry forever. And those at the top are going to have to adapt. Or not. Change is hard. Especially if the status quo works just fine for you.

And the status quo does work. For a few. The big literary houses make lots of money. The big name authors of these houses make lots of money.

For anyone else, we're bottom feeders hoping for a scrap. Waiting for one of these big houses to throw us a bone.

I've read that this war is really about Amazon wanting a bigger cut from selling Hachette books. That makes no sense to me. If Amazon sells the book at a lower price, their cut is also going to be lower. I honestly do believe it's more about the volume. Paying the same (or nearly the same) price for an ebook as a paper book is insane. With an ebook, there's no paper cost, no print cost, no storage or delivery cost, no massive buy backs if the book doesn't sell. You just don't have the same risk or cost. On average, nn ebook that costs $12 is not going to sell as many copies as an ebook that sells for $5.99. Lower price point means more sold, more sold means more money in the long run. And that's just fact.

Personally, I love my paper books. I also love my ebooks. I will take chances on authors I haven't read before in ebook format. I will gladly part with five or six dollars to see if they can tell a story. I am very, very reticent to spend twelve to fifteen dollars on an ebook. In fact, I really just don't do it. My spending money has to go as far as possible. Only my steady and true favorite authors or books are going to have big money shelled out for them and in that case, they are always going to be print.

Amazon knows this. Amazon knows this is how it works for at least half the population. It's not for nothing they sell 50% of the US books. Fifty percent, people! You don't get fifty percent share if you aren't doing what your customers want.

Still, detractors will say this tug of war is all about the money for Amazon. Of course it's about money. It's all about money for Hachette as well. Getting it and keeping it. Of course, they're both just thinking about business. That's their job. That's why they exist. Authors want to be paid, publishers want to be paid, and so does the mainframe employed to sell their work.

It's really very simple.

Now go shake hands and let's all get back to our part of the job.

WHERE BOOKS GO TO DIE

Posted By on July 28, 2014

One of the biggest things driving me crazy right now is clutter. The longer you live in one place, the more crap you collect. It's sneaky, this stuff, until one day you take the time to wonder what all this negative energy is about. And you sit contemplating your little house and your little life, and realize it all the stuff that's dragging you down.

Today I cleaned out bookshelves. It hurt to think about. A lot. But an interesting thing happened. The more titles I read, the more I realized that a good number of books on my shelf were books purchased, read, and totally not enjoyed. Running With Scissors? Kinda wish I hadn't read that one. Easy pull. An Abundance of Katherines? Didn't even get through it. Pull. Raising Your Chinchilla? Haven't had one in years. Pull. And so on and so on.

When I finally was done and looked at the huge pile of discards I'd created, I felt like a traitor. I wanted to beg the books to forgive me. Then I thought of all the books out there in the same position. Unwanted. Unloved. About to be sold for trade-in or donated to the library. Or put on the curb with a FREE sign.

What a waste. I mean, books. That's what went through my mind next. All this unwanted paper and effort and money. What a waste.

That's when I knew I had come down with some evil, dastardly illness. One I desperately felt I needed to apologize for.

Just for contrast, I checked how many titles are on my Nook versus how many were in my discard pile and the amount of shelf space I'd just opened up. Kind of startling to realize I could have a hundred times the number of books on my Nook than my packed bookshelves held. Would take no space at all. Nor would they end up in a landfill. Or have killed trees.

On days my eyes are bothering me, the Nook lets me change font size. A print book with tiny print will always have tiny print.

The Nook allows me to travel with a hundred books but no extra luggage.

When I hear someone raving about a book, 90% of the time an ereader can give it to me in minutes.

That's pretty cool.

If only ereaders could get around that pesky battery situation. You know, the one where you're so engrossed in reading you don't realize the battery is about to die until it's too late. Ouch.

So, I had a moment this afternoon. But don't worry, folks. My love for paper pages and hard covers, the smell of new print and glue, will always remain. My favorite author's will always be purchased and read in printed hard cover and kept on a shelf to admire. But dang, this ereader gadget is awesome.


Dissing On The King

Posted By on July 22, 2014

Tonight I spent hours researching writing dialogue and doing legwork for a presentation I'll be giving. Somewhere along the process, I opened On Writing by Stephen King and began skimming through the pages for the hundredth time. I laughed and made a comment about how SK barely remembers writing Cujo, since that was during his high drinking days (this info rather came as a relief to me because I was so mad at the end of that book I threw it across the room).

So, I comment on this information. My co-worker, it turns out, has some very intense ideas about SK. After a strange snort, she relays her opinion that The Stand was the worst book ever written. That SK wrote about nothing he knew anything about, that he didn't understand the moral, biological or technical ramifications of anything in that book.

Now, I like The Stand. I read the edited and unedited version and that is no short feat. And then there's the fact that SK is my hero. I told her as much.

She didn't seem to hear me. Because the old lady in The Stand? Total throw away character, she had nothing to do with anything. In fact, all the characters were throw away. She challenges me to name any of the characters in the book other than the one that was obsessed with anal sex (I don't recall that tidbit and I find it a little strange that she does). The problem for her, is that I can name a lot of the characters.

But she doesn't hear that either. I reiterate that I adore SK's work.

Deafness has taken over. Let's talk about Pet Semetary

Oh God, let's not. Please, let's not. Because that is one of my very favorites and I think I might lose my shit if we have to 'talk' about that.

But she's going to. All the gore, the ridiculousness of the plot.

Again, I like, and will always like, Stephen King.

To which she smiles and comments that I'm a lover of gore and blood and guts and foul stuff. Then she lets me know that literary fiction died died with Tom Wolfe.

Not five minutes later, I come across this Tom Wolfe quote (from Bonfire of the Vanities) in On Writing;

"Egggh, whaddaya? Whaddaya want from me?"

"Here come Hymie!"

"Chew my willie, Yo' Honor."

"Yeggghhh, fuck you, too, man!"


But I like the foul stuff. Hahaha.

Goes to show how books are so wonderfully subjective and that's the way it should be.

Just stop dissing on my Man.

Grow Some Hair Or Stay Gay

Posted By on July 20, 2014

A couple months ago, I cut my hair short. Super short.

Why I cut my hair super short:

Hot flashes, or as I call them Napalm Incidents. Hair kept the napalm from escaping out of my head, instead trapping it against my skull and exacerbating the issue. I was sick of it.

The hot, dry summer weather. It's hot and dry in the high desert, okay? And static hair drives me insane. I was sick of it.

I'm over it. I'm just over hair. The time and effort it takes to wash it, condition it, style it, restyle it, worry if it still looks okay. I'd rather not. Sick of it.

I'll be honest, the short hair probably doesn't fit my face or body, I look better with some hair. I'll also be honest about the fact that I don't care. I've cut my prep time in half. I don't have to carry hair ties, clips, pins or anything else. My brush can become misplaced, no freak out involved.

So… the problem? Since cutting my hair, I've been mistaken for or asked if I was gay more than once.

Is my sexual orientation really tied into my hair? Does heterosexual status fall to the floor with the snip of scissors, get swept up and thrown away? What the heck?

Interestingly, I've had my hair this short before, when Grave's disease was doing its best to kill me and my hair was falling out. As far as I can recall, no one questioned my orientation then.

I've been married half my life and have two kids. But I often don't wear a wedding ring, or makeup because my super sensitive skin screams at me about it. I don't run around in heels and sparkly, revealing clothing. Now my hair is short. Am I gay?

Why does a woman with short hair and sensible shoes automatically mean gay? Can't it just mean very practical?

For the record, I identify as straight. Not that it's anyone's business, nor should anyone care. And if I was gay, I'd be okay with that. The fact that cutting my hair off instantly raises eyebrows is what I'm not okay with. A woman has to have long hair? Really?

Not that I put any faith in those Facebook quizzes to find out what color you are, what kind of animal you are, etc. But for fun, I took one today to find out why my old person name would be. I got Murray. And a picture of an old guy.

I'm just going to go bleach my hair platinum, spike it, and be done with it. Talk amongst yourselves.

Missing You

Posted By on July 15, 2014

Day four of my return to the high desert. I miss the ocean so much.

 

Sock Does the Coast

Posted By on July 6, 2014

At the Oregon coast this week. The weather has been beautiful. It can be very windy, rainy and cold here this time of year, but with the exception of one afternoon, the weather has been on our side. I always wear long sleeves on the beach to avoid having to put sunblock on my arms, and I haven't missed the jacket that I forgot at home.

Last night was the perfect night for a beach bonfire. No wind, mild temperature and fog. Alas, I watched from the deck as someone else's bonfire glowed in the mist. I should've gone down to see if they'd adopt me for a few hours.

My daughter's friend routinely leaves things at our house. A few weeks ago she left a sock behind. Somehow, it got to the beach with us. So, the sock has been seeing the sights.

     

And meeting the peeps. (Aren't my mom and dad cute?)

And practicing moves on the dance floor.

It bears stating that my oldest nephew would NOT show me his dance moves (he's four), for fear I would steal them. hahahaha.

 

I have found it amazingly easy for the sock to make friends. All it really takes is asking someone to "hold this for a second".

Reality Check

Posted By on July 2, 2014

That moment when you realize you're living someone else's life. When you realize this is nothing what you envisioned. That you allowed things to creep along until you were going the opposite direction.

That's a lonely moment.