Free Drink Friday; Google-fu.

So this morning I happened to be checking the stats on the blog, and I just love looking at the search terms people have used that brought them to our site. Sometimes it’s understandable, like people searching for information bout that nasty Netti Pot thingie. They’ll hit on Castle Debacle because there were several mentions of that thing in a few posts. And zombies – occasionally our conversations lean toward the zombie issue and how Lori and I will be saving Pete from their evil munching clutches.

And, judging by the search terms so far today, and yesterday, zombies are on a lot of people’s minds lately. Here’s the collection:

resident evil gun holster – firefly wash zoe – best weapons for zombie – water wont come out of nostril with nett –
yvette mimeaux – sexy resident evil – zombie movie with a castle – theories which oppose alien life – terms for conversations – running shoes – cervantes author – women zombies

I see I’m not the only one who believes the best defense against zombies is a good pair of running shoes!

Nike – saving lives, kickin’ zombie ass. Addidas – Zombies on your tail? Powerwalk away in style and comfort. Reebok – Arch support that holds up against the Hoards.

The Inner Light

I’m not here, I’m neck-deep in writing work. So in place of me babbling, you get this:

This is one of my favorite pieces of music, of all time, set to a montage of scenes from one of my favorite Star Trek — and indeed, anywhere else — stories of all time, the TNG episode The Inner Light.

The bit you see at the beginning of the video, when he holds the flute to his chest for a moment…Heartbreaking.

There were a few TV episodes I can point to and say “These made me want to be a writer.” Time Enough to Last on the Twilight Zone is one of ’em. The Inner Light on Star Trek: TNG is another one.

There you go. Enjoy the music.

Free Drink Friday; What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Diesel this morning, where I get diesel, is $4.72/gallon. That’s up .30 cents from Monday afternoon.

I’m paying more for groceries, although it’s hard to put my finger on specifics, since they’ve just raised everything a bit here and a bit there. My usual grocery shopping for a week has gone up $50.00 in general. My sister and I are talking about car pooling, even though it’ll put her at work an hour early and make me late going home.

It’s clear to everyone willing to admit, we’re in a Recession. So, what do you suppose that’s doing to your chances as a new, unpublished writer when it comes to finding an agent?

Will we survive? Most say yes, because recessions have happened before and we’ve recovered before. Although there’s always a first time, isn’t there? Still, survive or not, things have to change in order for change to occur. That may sound redundant, but it’s true. If the Status Quo is causing a Recession – Change is necessary to fix it.

What about Publishing? Will it change? Is it changing? As a very old establishment, set in its ways and happy to wallow there, is it able to change? Will a fix come in a different way of operating, or will it simply ride out this wave of uncertainty until it can right the ship and paddle along, refusing to change with the times?

I can hear the auto-responses now: “Publishing isn’t broken.” “Only failing wannabe’s think there’s something that needs to change” “Publishing has been working for generations the same way it is now, and it will continue to do so because it works.” “People are still buying books, it doesn’t matter if they can’t afford food or gas, they’ll still buy books.” “We’re sorry, the number you have dialed is disconnected or is out of service.”

Whatever your feelings on the topic, let’s play a What If. What If publishing was about to vanish off the face of the Earth. How would YOU reinvent it? What would YOU suggest as an alternative to the Way Things Are Done in Publishing? How would YOU get your novels or short stories out to the world, to be read and enjoyed?

High Horses and Soap Boxes

Every now and then, I decide that it really is time to vent my spleen a little. Mostly, I try not to, but every now and then, I do. Mostly, I think it does me more good than anyone else, but that’s fine. The internet just makes it slightly more elegant than writing myself a cardboard sign and standing in the subway station, shouting at people walking by.

Fortunately, I can keep this short, because as luck would have it, I read an article by someone far wiser and more articulate than I am, and I can present it to you. Via the wonderful Salon.com, here’s an article on Lists, Snobbishness, and prejudices.

Go read. I’m going to have a cup of tea until you get back.

Back? Read it? Read both pages? Good.

Mostly what I have to add is how very much I agree with that article. Snobbery on any level makes me very, very uncomfortable. It mentally unbalances me. There was a guy who used to stop in — and then loiter — in the used bookstore I worked in. He would toss off quotes from Saki and Chaucer and all dem high-falutin’ books — always done in the tone of voice to indicate that if I had not read them, poor fellow me, I should see to it immediately good chap. And I could smile and tolerate that okay, because that just made him a twit. Plus, I had a sneaking suspicion that I had read a great deal more Saki, Chaucer, Cervantes, and anyone else you cared to name than he had. I never said it, because fear of snobbery leaves me also deeply uncomfortable of bragging (and, on some level, afraid of accomplishment, but that’s another matter).

What bothered me, though, was that he would sneer at the customers coming in. He would spend ten minutes in long and winding sentences denouncing that poor woman who, by buying a Nora Roberts book, had clearly indicated herself to be a white trash illiterate. Nora Roberts? Poo poo. Nicholas Sparks? Heavens, no. Stephen King? Oh my, his older stuff, so brash and uncouth, but he’s quite literary now, a wonderful up-and-coming in the world.

Oh Christ.

Eventually we had it out. I didn’t scream, but I didn’t stay silent and I stopped taking it. My argument was, who cares, damn it? If a woman buys Nora Roberts, then the only thing that says about her is she likes Nora Roberts. And while I, personally, don’t enjoy Nora Roberts, that’s just a matter of taste (differences in, not lack thereof). I don’t like Nicholas Sparks either. I like Stephen King, when he makes me flinch and when he makes me feel.

And the big thing…at least they’re reading.

So snobs really bother me. Any snob you care to name. It bugs me. There’s a huge world of music out there, some of which I don’t like. I don’t like most rap, I don’t like country. But that’s just me.

Why I don’t keep company with very many writers anymore, aside from being Creepy Hermit Guy, is that on some level, so many wannabe writers are snobs about something. Outlines? Poo poo. Romance? Good gracious, no. Self-publishing? Only for the unwashed, good fellow.

My theory is…it’s all up for grabs. All the music and reading and movies and ideas and business theories and everything else is pretty much all up for grabs, and I think that’s terrific. Frankie says relax. Have fun.

So, my confessions:

– I think that In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner is just one of the best books ever.

– I really like Will Smith, as an actor yes, but also as a rapper.

– I think self-publishing is only a bad idea if you can’t think of a way to make it work for you.

– I am watching Gilmore Girls with my wife. It was her idea…but I am watching voraciously. We are nearly done with Season 3 (which we started LAST monday) and will immediately start season 4.

There. Does that make me less? I don’t think so. I think a range of experiences and interests and things you’re willing to try are far, far better than a knowledge and proficiency at just a couple of things.

(I wouldn’t say no if you wanted to share your cheap and tawdry secrets in the commentary, after this post. Come on. I will hardly laugh.)

Free Drink Friday: Recess!

Do you feel guilty if you find yourself relaxing?
Whenever you do manage some free time in your busy day, or life, and you’re just sitting down, listening to the quiet, watching television, or reading a magazine – do you start feeling like you should be doing something? Do all life’s little projects, your novels, the household chores scream at you while you’re taking a minute for yourself?

I was sitting on the couch the other day. My new novel is started, there was a bit of laundry that could have been ironed, I have some yard work waiting – there’s always yard work waiting – and there are projects piling up that I need to make the time for. But there I sat, on the couch, remote in hand.

I felt a twinge of guilt when my sister suggested “We shouldn’t be just sitting here.” But then I thought – Why not? I was relaxed, I felt good, I had a cat curled up against my leg purring himself to sleep. My novel would be there. The yard work will wait. Those projects have waited this long. I owed myself some down time. Some time spent doing absolutely nothing productive. And once I got passed the guilt – once I decided no one was standing around waiting for me to do something – I relaxed even more.

And I watched TV.

When’s the last time you rolled up your sleeves, did all the prep work, and got down to the business of Nothing?

Free Drink Friday; Wazzuup?

So, what’s new?
What’s up?
What’cha doin’?

I’ll go first, if you like. I finished Ether a couple of weeks ago, wrote a query and synopsis, and started sending it out. And to keep myself from going mad from that process, I’ve started gathering my thoughts for the next novel Anomaly, which I’ll start writing on Monday.

So, what’s up with you? What are you doing? How’ve you been? What’s going on in your life?