Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More Cool Than ...

That Gaiman fellow is a nice guy. In his journal entry for October 24th (sorry, I can't quite link directly to it) he gives props to NaNoWriMo.

In the sidebar of this blog is a NaNo word count widget (at least, it was there at the time of this post. If you're reading this in January, 2015: apologies.) I had been haunting the NaNo forums waiting for the widgeteer to announce they were active. The widgeteer said once live they would be hosted by a high profile site, I'm assuming to take the bandwidth hit.

And what is the high profile site hosting the widgets?


Can that dude get any cooler?

Monday, October 29, 2007

2007 World Series Champions

The Boston Red Sox






Friday, October 26, 2007

Go Time ...

I meant to get the small/indie publishers list up by now, but time has been lacking to do proper research. Plus, National Novel Writing Month is five days away. Extraneous tasks need to be dropped. Time wasting activities need to be eliminated.

Last May I went through a process to become more productive. Let's take a look at the list.

1. No Red Sox Games.
Well, that was just for the month of May. The World Series will be over by November 2nd. There is college hockey, however. So I'll refrain from checking scores in November.

2. Check e-mail once a day.
I failed miserably before. It's addictive. And really, even though I just checked it, someone might have sent a message several seconds ago!

I'll try to commit to no e-mail between 9 - 5.

3. Stop checking the stat counter.
I gave that up cold turkey. Well, reduced it to once a month as part of overall web maintenance.

4. No Library Books.
All the books have been returned. No distractions. No magazines. No quick reads.

5. No games.
This time it's quite silly. The game 'Hearts' is installed on my computer. I know, it's only a step away from solitaire. But I'm up to a winning stat of 32%. I've got it on the run.

No more games.

6. Reduce the guilt pile.
I don't have many other books waiting to be read. The only book I'll open in November is that damn Pynchon novel which requires a kind of marathon reading effort.

7. Reduce blog browsing.
I had moved most of my blog bookmarks to the blog page. I'll go a step further. No web surfing until 11 pm. Er, 10 pm. No, no, 11. Definitely 11 pm.


8. Hiatus from critiquing.
I haven't done any critiquing in a while so no danger there.

Okay, looking good. Five more days to get the house in order, stock up on microwaveable meals, and dive in.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Party In My Mind ...

Last Book Read: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

There's a party in my mind. Just remains to make it real.

As earlier reported, one of my stories was selected for the anthology Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic. Since I could not attend the west coast launch, I offered to organize the east coast launch.

If you happen to be in the Boston area on December 2nd, please stop by Pandemonium Books in Cambridge between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. It'll be a grand time!

If you forget, no worries. I'm sure I'll be mentioning it again (and again and again) as the date approaches.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Those In Big Houses ...

It would be interesting to know how publishers came to use the term 'House'. It is hard to refer to the companies below as houses. Or even McMansions. Much better would be Industrial Entertainment Distribution Centers.

I've been doing some research. According to the February, 2007 issue of Locus Magazine, the six uber-corps below published 60% of all SF/F/H in the United States in 2006. This surprised me. I thought it would be a higher percentage by fewer multinationals.

The list below is not comprehensive. It does focus on adult trade science fiction publishers. Links, names, and ownerships are subject to immediate change (half of what I read in the 2008 Writer's Market was already obsolete). The corporate trees may reflect distributors, subsidiaries, imprints, or brands. So, take it all with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tasty Goodness ...

Some time ago, I decided to try out the bookmark site del.icio.us. Or, is it a social bookmarking network? A social network of bookmarks? Web 2.0 is beginning to confuse me.

My bookmark list at the time was growing like mildew in a humid basement (don't ask how I know about such things). I tried del.icio.us (which is hell to type over and over) and found it lacking. At least for some purposes.

Call it an overly hierarchical mindset. Call it a Windows zombification. I make no apologies. I want my bookmarks in nested folders. del.icio.us just doesn't cut it for my bookmarking needs.

This is not to say I stopped using it.

Over at del.... over there I've got dozens of bookmarks for research on stories and novels. I don't need to refer to them often, but when I do it's relatively painless. And they don't clutter up the more important bookmarks in Firefox.

And the social networking thing is working as well.

I received an e-mail from Andreas Grunewald (who has an airship blog). He uses ... that site's subscription option to keep track of airship tags and bookmarks. Seeing mine he got in touch, pointing me to other links and websites. Useful.

In addition, I have a fan, at least as ... that site terms it. It goes without saying, I am her fan too.

And, despite all the work I put into my website, it comes up third in a Google search, behind this blog and ... that site.

No, not literally the third link on Google. But the third page isn't bad. Someone else seems to have a lock on the very first search result.

Maybe, someday, I'll run into Deb Todd Wheeler. Too bad she doesn't have an account on ... you know.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Martha Quest Triumphant ...

Please take a moment to celebrate. Doris Lessing, superb author, has been awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Ms. Lessing must be a trifle amused. I recently read an interview with her (sorry, can't find the link though I believe the interview was conducted not long ago). Lessing said at one point she had been told by a Nobel judge that Lessing would never be seriously considered for the prize because, simply, the judges didn't like her.

I guess someone changed their mind.

Lessing's short stories are wonderful, her novels thought provoking, her opinions delightfully controversial, and best of all, to quote from Wikipedia:

"Unlike some mainstream authors, she has never hesitated to admit that she writes science fiction."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Night Merde ...

The new novel is weighing on my mind, to the point of creating nightmares. Well, perhaps bad dream is more appropriate.

In the dream, I start reading a book in the midst of writing my own. I discover the book is very similar to my own. Same kind of story, only written better.

And funnier.

In the dream, I became frustrated and put down the book, fearful that I would unconsciously adapt and internalize (that's how we say plagiarize here in the U.S.) the work. But I kept picking it up and reading and getting frustrated again.

Right now in real life, I'm trying to get through Pynchon's Against the Day, which features airships. Different than the ones I'm imagining for my book, at a distance of 200+ years, but still, airships.

Not that I'm likely to unconsciously internalize big chunks of Pynchon. Will I?

Perhaps this is just a symptom of writerly anxiety, the generalized dread that what I'm planning on writing will be too similar to other works and pale in comparison. Or it will be bland and cliche. Or just plain suck.

I don't usually put much stock in dreams. Since I've yet to even write a word, I will conclude that this angst is just so much baloney.

Still, I wish I could remember some of those dream passages. I would have written them down.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Gol! Gol! Gol! ...

Time to dissect the goals for the quarter just past and set new ones.

-Edit, polish, agonize over, edit again, and submit TWO short stories.
Okay, I cheated a little on this one. I polished, agonized, and edited two short stories. I submitted one (which was bounced from the publication's e-mail box; nice going guys) and the other I 'published' on my web site. So, I'm counting it.

-Continue process for new novel, preparing for NaNoWriMo in November.
Yep! Completed a lot of research. Created an outline. Wrote character sketches. Just a few more steps left.

-Pull 'Chasing Midnight' (CM) out of the compost and see if it is nutritious humus or just worm food.
Looks good. Did an outline after the fact and I think I see some places where I can expand on it.

So, for Q2 of '08:

- Submit two short stories (the one above and another that was recently rejected by one of the big pro-paying print magazines).

- Write a novel! In a month!

- Edit and polish CM. Send queries to agents. Accept multi-million dollar advance.

Oh wait. How silly of me. I can't control how soon that multi-million dollar advance will happen. It could be in Q3.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Meme-a-rific ...

The quarterly report will have to wait. This was too tempting not to post. Glad that English degree was good for something.

From Merrie Haskell:

"These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users. Bold what you have read, italicize what you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. Add an asterisk to those you've read more than once. Underline those you own but haven't read yet."

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment*
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The historian : a novel
A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead*
Foucault's pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange*
Anansi Boys
The once and future king
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & demons
The Inferno
The satanic verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest*
To the lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver's Travels
Les Misérables
The corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
The Prince
The sound and the fury
Angela's ashes : a memoir
The god of small things
A People's History of the United States : 1492-Present
A confederacy of dunces
A short history of nearly everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being*
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye*
On the Road*
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an Inquiry into Values*
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity's Rainbow*
The Hobbit*
White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers