Here's a round up of stuff from the past couple of weeks. I clearly had a shitty night, though huge thanks to Dina, Jaime, Judy, and my mum for being there and caring last night/today. And to anyone else who doesn't give a rat's ass or thinks I'm whining, well, you know, whatever. I'm tired.
* Colleen Lindsay's feline friend, Buddy-Cat, needed help with his vet bill. Donations have covered it already but I'm linking because it's wonderful to see the literary community reach out and help someone's fourlegged companion.
* Jessica Valenti on what activism work is worth. Again, sticking it under the literature heading 'cause I think it applies to the arts, too. Like somehow we have a great calling and owe it to the world to do stuff free. Well, fuck that.
Other Stuff (non literary):
* A woman in Iran is facing execution (originally by stoning, now likely hanging). Visit this site to see the petition and latest news. The whole situation is just so ugly and makes my stomach hurt.
Well, I’m settling back into work and am nearly caught up. Redid the schedule (kept it mostly the same, but cleaned everything up), am double checking all edit statuses, and other really boring sounding stuff. I have a whack of email to answer all over the place, and I might tackle that tonight before writing time.
The swirling black hole of depression has been creeping up, mostly because—I believe—I feel so disconnected sometimes. I know three people in town, one of whom is my mother, and it’s kinda hard to get out and “do” stuff outside of the apartment when I don’t actually have any hobbies or things I want to do. I don’t even really dig shopping. Woe is me. But then this time, I didn’t really bother with the CBT...I think sometimes it’s good to be kinda depressed. To leap into the abyss and float for awhile. It’s useful. And I know I have resources available to me to pull myself out again—like CBT and strawberry daiquiris—so it’s a little less scary and feels just a little less permanent.
I will have some book related news to share with you perhaps in a few weeks. Or perhaps not. BUT I’m doing some other writing which is awesome, even if the words suck and there aren’t many of them. Baby steps, bunnies. Baby steps.
Also, today is my grandpa’s birthday. He’s 96 and lives on his own still. I think that’s pretty awesome.
* Sarah-Jane Lehoux in the newspaper! Go SJ! BTW, Ms. Lehoux is visiting the blog tomorrow and there will be interview questions, cat pictures, and ZOMG PRIZES! So drop by tomorrow for more.
* Horror author Owl Goingback isn’t allowed on Facebook without showing proof of his identity because they think his real name (First Nations) is fake. I think Facebook fucking sucks. Here’s the group.
* Of course there have been lots of awesome Lili Saintcrow posts in my absence. I’m still catching up. Most recently, on how we need our alone time as writers. I always worry, though, that I have TOO much alone time and I’m too disconnected. But the people in my head are just so much preferable to real ones...
* via Lili, a post on sick systems (part one, part two, and part three that really spoke to me. The author’s blog might be hard to read because the articles were so popular, she exceeded her bandwidth for images. BUT...highly worth the read.
Well, it's been a busy month. I wasn't around for a chunk of it--physically, as in I wasn't home and away from my PC, and mentally/emotionally as in I retreated from everything.
Yesterday I watched Amelie. It would likely surprise no one that it's one of my favourite movies, however it probably would surprise people to know that of all the movie characters that ever were, I probably identify with her the most. Not that I do good deeds for people (eww, no--I'm evil), but her inability to relate to others and build relationships. My social circles consist of people who are friends with each other, and then there's me, off to the side, stuck in her own head and not really a part of things.
Which is probably why I'm okay with uprooting my life and moving in a few months to a place where waitresses stare at me funny when I request a meal that doesn't include meat. I'm going to be a distant hermit no matter where I go.
And you know, I don't really have a point in saying this; it was just on my mind and I've been silent for weeks, so I thought I'd ponder it 'aloud' on the blog. I feel Amelie-ish a lot of the time. Only with less awesome hair and sans the cute, quirky guy to borderline stalk.
* Facebook has changed their "Become a Fan of" button to "Like." So while initially I kind of ignored my FB page and never really invited anyone (as the number of invites I get to things often drives me batty) because I didn't want to force them to be a "fan" of me...now I'm kinda insulted that more of my friends' list doesn't "like" me. Is it because I'm distant and Amelie-ish? http://www.facebook.com/pages/Skyla-Dawn-Cameron/9912704791
This story did have a somewhat happy ending, which has gone to show that it IS possible for authors to reach the people illegally uploading their work and, in some cases, nip this problem in the bud. (Of course, a few months ago Jaime also spoke to one Sarah Sandford from Australia--specifically, from the Wangaratta area, I believe--who had requested illegal copies of her work...Sarah assured Jaime she wouldn't do it again, and then just last week tried to steal one of my books. She had no excuses or apologies for ME when I asked about it.)
Stuff I Tangentially Contributed To:
* Well, I acquired and edited the book, so...that's where my contribution begins and ends in this case. But I love the book so much that I want you to purchase it and love it too, so behold Sarah-Jane's fabulous trailer for Thief!
Stuff I In No Way Contributed To But Dig:
* Lili Saintcrow talks about how she's not the enemy in ebook pricing (and how neither is her publisher). Besides the fact that her post is AWESOME and very right, something interesting comes up in the comments that I think about a lot.
Sometimes it seems, as writers, that we can't say anything without readers perceiving us as insulting them. What I don't think people understand is that...you haven't seen an author's inbox. Most people wouldn't BELIEVE some of the stuff "fans" say to writers. I'm a nobody, and I get everything from backhanded compliments to hatemail. Saying "Please don't complain to me about something out of my control" isn't being disrespectful to readers; it's a request for respect and a showing of transparency about the business.
(Tangent: I'm also sympathetic because in my job I *constantly* get yelled at for Shit Out of My Control. And then I explain how and why it's out of my control and *still* get yelled at.)
* In a similar vein, Jaime pondered how to respond to negative reader letters. (My opinion? If it's angry/insulting/provoking, I don't answer it. Sometimes I try, but if an email ticks me off, it gets starred for a later reply and then I tend to forget about it. Moral of the story: expressing your displeasure with a book is fine, but try to be nice if you're writing to an author personally. We are actually people.)
I haven't been jogging since December; I'm asthmatic and can't breathe well in the cold, and I jog at night so I'm paranoid about hitting ice. But I've started up again...and determined that I'm horribly out of shape. If zombies were to invade tomorrow, I wouldn't be able to run from them. This is a sad thing indeed.
Here's this week's wrap up, kids...wherein I go through my Twitter and Facebook feeds to see what the hell I linked to that was nifty.
* A letter to those writers who, upon rejection, say "You will regret this!" And this is totally true. Even if a book goes on to be a best seller, that doesn't mean the agent (or editor) who rejected it will regret their decision. If you're going to be spending hundreds of hours of your time to represent a book (or thousands of dollars, if you're a publisher), you must love it. Rejecting a book doesn't necessarily mean the book is bad or won't sell elsewhere--it often means that the people just didn't love it enough. But your goal as a writer is to find people who will love your work, and if you put the time and effort into honing your craft--and do your research--eventually you'll find someone who loves it.
* No link, but we hired my minion to be official company minion at Mundania Press. Well, okay, so she's the "Executive Assistant." But I still call her the minion. She'll be taking care of all correspondence. I trained her for a few hours Friday, got her email set up, boss made the announcement...and everyone promptly welcomed her by sending a few dozen questions within hours. Poor, poor minion.
* I have a confession to make: I have a weakness for hidden object games. I can't help myself--every so often, I must play them. But I don't like a plain HOG, I like ones with mini-games and logic. Which is why I really enjoyed Natalie Brooks: Mystery at Hillcrest High. Now, this isn't high art. It's a silly game. But it was fun, so I'm rec'ing it.
We've all been having a vampire issue
This one can cause some damage even if he doesn't bite you
But it appears that Bella, once again, needs to be rescued
'Cause Edward Cullen
Gives me the wiggins
So Buffy, can you please just slay him?
* Saturday, I saw New Moon. I'm trying to think of a worse movie, but I can't. Even Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter was better (because it had a) bad kung fu, b) a Mexican wrestler, and c) vampires that killed people rather than sparkled, which all makes it better). The LOLCat version was totally apt and if you read it, you don't need to see that dreadful film ever.
* I got a lovely review for Wolfe from Bitten by Books - Five Tombstones. "Well written with very defined characters, the series is very compelling and captivating, so much so that I find myself somewhat curious about Ms. Cameron’s background and if she’s hiding any secrets about herself." read more
Yes, I'm secretly a werewolf. ;-)
No, you know what it is? Why I could get in River's head so easily? Because even if I'm not secretly a wolf-turned-human, I've always felt like an outsider looking at humanity. River is just that to the extreme.
* Lili on having a room of one's own, and the will to write. I was an only child, so I did become accustomed to writing in a space by myself, but throughout school as a teen, I did learn to write anywhere. I wrote on my old laptop while I was babysitting, I wrote in class during lessons (probably why I failed nearly everything). The room of my own had to be in my head--it was the only place others couldn't tread. So I would stick on headphones, go into that little room, and write regardless of the distractions around me.
Finally...I was at a friend's place working on Wednesday and I found (and scanned) an old photo of me 'cause, like, that's just the thing to do--post embarrassing old photos. So here's thirteen year old Skyla...clearly it's the mid-90's. I mean, THE HAT.
Hey folks. I was on holidays last week--a real, actual vacation away from home. I brought all kinds of work with me to do and only ended up doing a bit of it AND went like two days without checking my email. I'm sure that had people pulling their hair out waiting for me to reply, and I grant you I have a week's worth of work to catch up on, but...this is an important step for me, a workaholic.
Of course, I've been in hermit mode since I got back. I've found new and exciting things to do this weekend, including colour coordinating everything hanging in my closet. And my landlord is bringing a new fridge tomorrow, so I had to hide the meth lab. (KIDDING. If my landlord is reading this, hi, nice to see you, I swear I don't have a meth lab. Just pot plants. And I'm also kidding about that. Probably.)
We went to see Shutter Island, and although I was accidentally spoiled ahead of time for the twist, I thought it was a really well done film and quite enjoyed it. Then we saw Alice in Wonderland, and I adored it--as far as movies-that-aren't-intended-to-be-feminist-but-have-some-great-feminist-messages go, it was a great example.
Since I wasn't online for a week, I'm kinda short on things to link to today because my mum is on dial-up and so I don't bother trying to do much on her computer. But here are a couple of things:
* Lili Saintcrow on not knowing if your writing is good enough to submit. Because I work in slush so I see a whole lot of stuff that I can clearly see wasn't good enough for the author to submit (that's like 80% of what we see), but those writers thought their work was ready. How do you gain the objectivity to tell and keep yourself from being the writing equivalent of the tone-deaf people on American Idol? Well, if you keep working and writing, eventually you'll probably get some objectivity, but you'll likely always have those moments of "OMG, this book sucks." Welcome to being a writer! It never gets easier. Here, have a beer.
There's a pause button on life, right? Something I can press to just let me get caught up? How about "restart level"? That would be handy.
I think I play too many video games.
Last weekend was the slush pile survivor workshop, which I ran with a fellow editor. It was lots of fun and we got great feedback. Of course, that also meant we were busy prepping from mid last week straight until the day of the workshop. Then I got a headache Saturday night, which continued until yesterday (at which point I realized it was coffee withdrawal, and promptly pumped caffeine into my veins), so I spent Sunday in bed reading.
I had 330 emails to deal with Monday morning.
A bunch of them, as I scroll through, are from the same people asking the same questions because I haven't answered yet. I'm totally stuck with how to address this kind of thing. Am I supposed to have an auto-responder saying "I swear I got your email--just give me a few days to get you an answer"? Am I supposed to email everyone I know every time there's life stuff going on/illness/etc to say "If you send me something, I won't get back to you until next week"? Should I add a block to my blog that has a current Skyla update?
I have no answers, beyond "get a secretary" but that's not an option at this point. But stupid February was all sneaky again and ended without me finishing the stuff I had to get done for February. I don't even have the latest CotA chapter ready to go, so that'll likely have to wait until the end of the week. Ugh.
Now. Round up of links.
* Adrienne Jones talks about the inspiration behind her novel The Hoax. Mundania is re-releasing it shortly, revised and with a snazzy new cover. I'll tell you when it's available so that you can buy it because Adrienne is awesome.
* Mundania is closed to submissions still. Normally we re-open in March, but there's just too much going on right now and it wouldn't be fair to hold subs for a few months before we have time to evaluate them. This time, we're waiting until June. And yet I'm still getting subs and questions from people about it. Writers, it should go without saying, but: when the info on the submissions page of a publisher's site contradicts sub info from another website, go with what the submissions page says.
Many authors feel differently than me and Jaime, and a host of others. Now, although I think writers should have a united front on this, I don't feel it's my place to tell others how to feel about their work being stolen.
Do you get that? It's not my place to tell others how to feel.
Some don't see piracy as a big deal. Maybe they don't have to rely on their writing income for bills (my royalties this month can cover groceries so I'm THRILLED) and they're happy just to be read. Maybe they see no problem with the work being shared around freely and they feel that a reader gained is a reader gained, even if it happens illegally.
Okay. Great. That's valid and fine for them. But that's the beauty of intellectual property rights: the creator can choose how and when the work is reproduced. The creator can say, "Sure--pirate away!" So while I won't tell others how *they* should feel about their work being freely shared, by the same token I'd prefer if they didn't tell Jaime and me how to feel either. You know what? If someone obtains my work via illegal mass downloads, I don't see the simple "oh well, I gained a reader--who cares if they didn't pay for my product?" view. Writing is part of my job. I'm well within my legal--and moral--rights to expect payment for the entertainment I provide. So if someone refuses to obtain my work legally, I don't *want* them as a reader. I don't want them as a fan. I'd rather not be read than have my work pirated. And I have every right to feel that way and express my opinion--without others trying to silence me--as the owner of the intellectual property rights of my work. So for those who would like to tell me and Jaime how to feel about piracy, you can go fuck yourself with a fucking loaf of bread.
I had another week from hell. And it *really* sucks to not be able to explain why--I'm such a loudmouth and it's killing me to only be able to bitch privately. Le sigh.
I gave my mum the book I just wrote (YA paranormal called Abandoned) to read 'cause I was really proud of it (a month later and I DON'T want to burn it). She just finished it and said it made her cry at the end. This is good because my mother never cries with books and occasionally jokes that she has no feelings. So yeah, that's probably the best thing a writer can hear--we love to make people cry. Er, yes, we're a little twisted. So?
I'm spending Valentine's Day with Alistair from Dragon Age. He hasn't bought me chocolate or anything, but I'm sure I can get him to put out one of these days... I've also decided that the only reliable men exist in fiction, so if you have a y chromosome, tread very carefully around me right now...
* Slush Pile Survival Workshop - A fellow editor and I are giving this workshop locally in two weeks and it's going to be loads of fun. There are still spots available, so if you're in the Durham Region, sign up!
* Kevin Smith was kicked off of an airplane for being too fat. Kate Harding has more over at Shapely Prose.
* Bitch Magazine posted their explanation of why it's not anti-feminist to use "douche bag" as an insult. And I love it--that's what I've been saying for ages.
* Clients from Hell - Designers post snippets of discussions with some horrible clients. It's funny 'cause it's true.
* Last year on the blog, I wrote about former TV crushes as an excuse to post pictures of hawt men. Once again, fictional boys FTW!
* I'm blonde again. It's easier to keep up than the red. This time it's dark blonde with light streaks (I have no pictures of the light streaks, though). Of course, I'm using a black and white pic 'cause all my faveevilladies on Twitter have classy b/w pictures.
I gotta get blogging more. I'm just really lazy and typically post links on Twitter to whatever I'm interested in, rather than do a proper blog post. But anyways, I'm going to try to do a round up post on Sundays of nifty, random stuff.
In Skyla News, I was on limited office hours this week due to really bad wrist pain, which flares up if I don't take enough breaks for several weeks. So...ouch. And in writing news, I've been suffering a whiny case of, "Writing is hard--waaaaah!" so I've pretty much kept to myself. I don't understand why staring blankly at the screen doesn't make words appear...
* I wrote on the MP blog about my author checklist. This is something I've heard a LOT of editors talk about--what type of writers do they want to work with...and who do they REALLY not want around? I came up with nine qualities I've encountered that make me twitchy. I also encourage writers to come up with their checklist for publishers. I think we all have to be clear about what our expectations are for one another to make the best match possible, because really, that's how a book is going to be successful--when both parties are on the same page. I expect someone's going to get bent out of shape over it but, you know, someone's gotta say these things.