Monthly Archives: July 2010

Writing: Vanity Press, Vanity Review

In the world of writing there are presses we call vanity presses. A Google search of my name is a vanity search, and a vanity press lets you publish your work. Vanity is all about you but is it the best for you? Publishing with a vanity press means that there is no editorial review, and therefore no standards for quality, consistency or proper grammar. Anyone who writes a book, regardless of plot, description, comprehension, setting or character development can publish a book…if you have the money. In most cases a vanity press is a press that will take your money to print copies. Some have varying packages dependent on whether they lay out the copy, do the graphics, add extra details or just print and bind the book. Some such presses also offer editorial services for a fee.

Another form of vanity press is that which offers a contest of some sort. This is most common in the world of poetry. Inevitably, no matter what drek you send in, you’ll receive a note that you have won or placed in the competition. The catch comes in that you get no prize except for a bound edition of all the winning entries, being pretty much every poem entered by anyone. But to receive your prize edition it will just cost you $49.95 plus $10 shipping (or something similar), which means that the company probably makes $40 on each book and in the long run you’ve paid to have your work published.

Vanity published works are never considered for any awards or even reviews. Vanity publishing satisfies the writer’s need to be published, but the books are looked at askance. (I should mention that in the world of Print on Demand {POD} and the internet some very good books have come out of self-publishing and even been picked up by a publishing house but it is rare. This doesn’t mean POD is bad at all as many publishers use it.) Some of the works I’ve copyedited would never be picked up by a publisher. New writers are often unwilling to take criticism, or rewrite to a standard that would even be considered by most publishers. So they self-publish.

Small presses should not be mixed up with vanity publishing. A small press may use POD because they do not have a big budget and can do smaller print runs, and very little marketing. But quality work can come from them and marketing will consist of sending out some review copies, word of mouth and selling at every fair or convention. To that end, a review is a great thing to get.

So now we have vanity reviews. A few “reviewers” have decided that if you want a review, well you can pay for it and then we’ll give you your review. One such company is ForeWord Reviews Foreword Reviews Guidelines. It seems that they are partially legit with their print magazine but now offer a digital review for a small fee of $99. Then they have their full fee for review service called Clarion, for only $305. For half that price I’ll do a review.

What’s the problem with a paid for review? This: you cannot trust that the review is giving an honest and informed opinion but just that the company is a mill for making money and that the review will be in favor since you paid and they want you to pay again for your next book. Sad. Don’t go there. In fact, this vanity review service from ForeWord Reviews has been their response not only to self-published authors but also to small presses. For more information, you can go to the following links.

http://www.mobylives.com/ForeWords_vanity.html

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/jimcox/jul_01.htm (check out #2)

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Innocence on the Job

I’ve worked a variety of jobs over the years; some that people would never expect if they didn’t know my past. I started young, very young, selling Regal Christmas cards from door to door. Somehow my mother got me started on it and I guess in the shyness of my youth, this did not bother me. I made some spending money and I think I was about nine or ten when I started this entrepreneurship. Now, I wouldn’t have the guts to bang on people’s doors and bother them. But as a little innocent with my cute cherubic face I could sell the cards and people weren’t suspicious of a child.

Innocence probably accompanied me through most of my jobs as a teen and young adult. When I was in college I had a job one summer surveying city lots for construction. I had worked in a store before that but the money was better surveying. I didn’t know how to survey but only one person on the team needs to know how to use the instrument.

The surveying teams were often two or three people; one (the actual surveyor) would set the instrument. Another would possibly hold the meter stick and another, the plumb bob, the weighted piece that gives a perpendicular line to the earth’s surface, important for accurate readings on uneven terrain. We were a team of three, consisting of the surveyor, me and another guy who was large, sweaty, unkempt and smelly. The three of us would ride around in the cab of the truck from lot to lot, me and the surveyor often saying disparaging things to the guy who never seemed to bathe.

I also was the more intelligent of the two workers and overtime the surveyor was teaching me how to read the equipment. The other guy wasn’t interested. This helped the day go faster because I was doing more than just holding a giant ruler. And there wasn’t a lot else to do when in a big flat space full of dirt.

It was summer in Calgary, hot and sunny, and dusty from all the grading trucks in the empty lots. So there were other workers there from those grading the land, to any operators of the heavy machinery and those pouring foundations for homes. I often worked with my hair braided, to keep it out of my face, and wearing this white, stretchy and therefore form-fitting halter top. With no bra of course. I actually had no clue that perhaps this got me more attention than I needed, often being the only woman on the site.

Yet I don’t really remember guys coming on to me, wolf-whistling or ogling me. Perhaps they were but if so they were surreptitious about it. However, I tend to think that it was because most of them were barely above the bar that would have them rated as intelligent. I actually don’t remember much about this job, except for the lunch hours. The lunch truck would come around and blare its horn. Everyone gathered there to eat, even if they brought their own food. Often they’d buy something else; a milk or juice, chocolate bar, or sandwich. The fodder was fairly pedestrian and there was little that resembled a vegetable that these guys probably wouldn’t have eaten anyways.

But the most astounding thing was to watch these construction workers eat, which makes me think that most of them had to be single. They shoveled, literally shoveled food into their mouths, chewing as pieces fell out. Others chewed open mouth and ate like ravenous hyenas. And others drank their milk or juice, pouring it into their mouths so that it spilled out and across their faces or down the corners over their chin and onto their shirts. In essence they ate like pigs.

Me sitting there in my white halter top, naively unaware that I was the only woman on site, gaped and was astounded at the animal ferocity of the men. These guys were barely human. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I’d been working on my own without a team. The other helper guy fit into the piggy category and was pretty stupid but the surveyor was a decent guy, educated and with manners. I think in a way that he probably was a shield to the other men. That and the fact that we were usually away from the construction crews, working where it was devoid of nearly inhuman men.

Still, I think back to that job and shake my head at what I wore, and I’m thankful that for all the animalness of the men in eating, they remained decent enough to leave me alone.

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Cornucopia List: July 26

I’m running out of time these days to write here. Which means I don’t seem to have time to write my fiction and I really really have to finish a story soon. So with the five things (since my last list) for which I am grateful, I will start with:

  1. Time–I am grateful that I have time, perhaps never enough but time is a great thing. I would love if time were timeless but although it isn’t it is endless. Time to breathe, time to sleep, time to love, time to think, time to have fun. Sometimes these times are not equal or in the amounts we wish but I’m glad I have time and I’ve had the time I’ve had. I also look forward to having way more time.
  2. Old Friends–I have lately reconnected with Kathy, who I was best friends with in high school. It’s been decades since we saw each other and a lot of life has happened. She reconnected via email a few years ago but we got to see each other in person for the first time this weekend. Sometimes such reunions can be odd or uncomfortable because the only things that people have in common may have passed on. And sometimes in a long interim it’s possible for what pushed people apart to resolve and for people to find they still have things in common. If it’s one thing I’ve learned, you can have good friends you don’t see frequently and when you do, it’s almost like picking up where you left off.
  3. Cherries–They are not my all time favorite fruit but the are one of them. And oddly I still haven’t had many this year. Cherries are like little flavor and sugar bombs, not too sweet and fairly thirst quenching. They have a nice little pit that you can easily chew around unlike grapes with all their little seeds.
  4. Water–Of course without it we would die. I have had people tell me they don’t like drinking water. I love drinking water, if it’s cold. It’s light and tasteless and quenching. Water is also an amazing medium that can be liquid or solid (ice, snow). It’s almost always moving and flowing in some way or another, carries vibrations, supports or submerges and is one of the great mysterious elements of life. Watch a pond, a pool or an ocean over a few seasons and you will see the mutability and changing temperament of water. I could watch it for hours looking at the patterns and colors.
  5. Heat–Yeah I will repeat some themes because I am constantly grateful for the sun and the heat it gives. I love being warm and tend to get cold easily. We’ve finally immersed ourselves in summer hitting the third week of hot. Now hot for Vancouver, is 25 degrees Celsius and 22 is comfortable. It means not needing a jacket and sleeping in a light sheet and wanting to drink cool drinks in the shade. Hooray for summer and the heat.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Superhero Fashion

Marvel, X-Men, heroes, capes

Could Mystique’s outfit even be called a costume? Or is it just skin?

When looking at superhero fashion, there are several things we must remember:

  1. The heroes have perfect or godly physiques. Even if slim, or buxom, superheroes are muscular and perfect. (There are exceptions like the Blob.)
  2. They have powers or abilities beyond the normal human.
  3. They are superbly fit and agile, as well as being able to withstand physical abuse that would disfigure, cripple or kill most other people (they never lose teeth for instance).
  4. They’re exhibitionists. This goes for the evil fellows too. Everyone wears flamboyant clothing, even if it’s subdued, flamboyant clothing. That type of style doesn’t make you invisible and suggests a certain level of arrogance.
  5. They rarely get paid unless it’s by the government or supported by benefactors, or they’re millionaires (Batman, Iron Man).

With these suppositions it’s obvious that superheros might not have their wits about them, evidenced by outfits both form-fitting and often more provocative than the sane person would wear. But if in fact there were people who fit the above paradigms in our world today, what would these costumes do for them?

First, capes. I mean, seriously, they were once great for the people of the middle ages, before coats came along, because they could keep a person warm or wrapped up for the night. And okay, vampires. The Bela Lugosis out there need a nice big cape to wrap their victims, and just in case they can’t turn into a bat, well it gives the impression that they can. And speaking of bats; let’s look at one of the more famous superheroes.

Batman, superheroes, hero, supervillains, costumes, fashion, leotards

DC’s Batman by Neal Adams. That’s a lotta muscle to see through a suit.

Some would call him vigilante, some would call him hero, all would call him dark. Batman. The dude is caped and hooded, unlike the caped but barefaced Superman who somehow naively believes that glasses and dashing his hair to the other side will confuse everyone as to his identity. But let’s look at the capes. Whether long and voluminous, or short and sparse, they are not used in most every day criminal or do-gooder capers (get it?). The capes flow behind the hero, denoting movement or speed, but should you have to battle someone or whip around the corner you risk the criminal element grabbing your cape or getting choked, or worse, tripping over your costume and looking stupid. How bad would it be if the bad guys laughed at Batman? Pretty bad for them I guess.

The picture above of different DC superheroes shows Batman, the Martian Manhunter (guy in green, doncha know) and Shazam in capes. Oh and Robin in a little demi cape. But really, if your cape is flowy, it’s only good for show but not for battle. And if your cape, like some of the versions in the Batman movies, is stiff and ribbed, well, you won’t trip over it or have it flap in your face but you’re as likely to have trouble going through doorways and windows as getting into a car. Unless every caped hero is stupid, even the most arrogant wouldn’t want to limit the chances of just taking down the bad guys. And these guys do it for truth and justice and because it makes them look good.

Now we can leave some aspects up to artistic expression, but you have those old pre-60s costumes and the morality codes that once ruled the comic world bringing out those shorts over the tights look. If some guy dressed like that and yes, I’ve seen some women do this, it’s a bit of a geekathon fashion nightmare. But you will notice that these guys to a one have great tailors and their clothes are form-fitting, so tight in fact that I wonder that their butt cracks never show nor underwear lines.  And we have to hope that, like dancers, these guys are wearing a dancer’s cup or codpiece underneath, or you’ll know whether they’re circumcised or not. Flash, in the background, is superfast and his costume is okay because it won’t get in his way.

Hawkman wears a harness of wings and can fly so his costume makes sense, unless he’s in the Arctic. Actually most of these guys would freeze in inclement conditions but that’s part of their powers. They can wear barely nothing and still survive. Hulk wears an abomination of torn purple pants, always. Bruce Banner is certainly a science geek with a limited wardrobe. Utility belts and other paraphernalia make sense if you’re scaling walls and swinging from rooftops. Gadgets are especially the guys’ domain, as is the real world.

I would think though, should these heroes walk/fly down the street in broad daylight, no one will miss them. And they will have

capes, heroes, superheroes, Storm, X-Men, costumes, fashion, skin tight

One version of Marvel’s X-Man Storm, with cape. By Greg Land.

to have something of steel to withstand the catcalls, wolf whistles and propositions they’ll receive for such outfits. Hell, they’d be noticeable in a total eclipse. I’ve only mentioned the guys so far but the women have costumes painted on in a much more provocative way. Not all artists go to this extreme but the pic to the right shows navels and nipples through their incredibly thin and skin-tight suits, what there is of them. High cuts, bare asses, low-cut bustiers; really every female superhero is a wet dream or perhaps just a call girl gone wild.

I already talked about capes and how they’re a bigger problem than not. Some exceptions are the X-Men’s Storm. She’s a weather witch and her cape buoys her on the elements she stirs up. Banshee has a sonic power which buoys his wings on the power of sound. But on top of capes some of these gals wear skirts, short short skirts. Of course they all have matching pants underneath, like tennis players, but it’s just something else for your supervillian to hang onto. Perhaps distraction is a diversionary tactic.

superheroes, female costumes, Wonder Woman, Zatanna

Female superheroes show a lot of butt and cleavage and wear high heels.

The gals above have been modernized a bit but Wonder Woman (far right) and Zatanna (right) are wearing fairly tight corsetlike tops. Corsets restrict breathing and movement and should they be made of more supple material, the adequate to the amply endowed gals would pop out of their tops, especially doing acrobatics or hanging upside down. Some accessories, like Wonder Woman’s, serve a functional purpose. Her armbands deflect bullets, her head band is a boomerang (long before Xena’s) and her lariat binds and forces truthful answers (not just for bondage). Very few of these heroes worry about armor or weather with their outfits.

I’ve already touched on the overtly sexual nature of the women’s costumes. They are as sexual, maybe a bit moreso than the men’s, but when you define every indentation and muscle, well, the costumes are just like paint over nekkid bodies. And perhaps their beauty is one way to stun perpetrators. If archvillian Doctor Doom gets mesmerized wondering if Power Girl is going to pop out of her top, that does give her an advantage. I won’t bother going into the high heel boots and the fishnets. We know what it’s like to run and kick in those. (For more on this see The Problem With Supervillains )

Suffice to say, superheroes really aren’t dressed for action, unless in the bedroom. Send Prince Namor or the Angel my way and I’ll find out if their costumes are painted on. I’ve looked at the functional aspects of the costumes but if you want another take on the style, check out the links below for Tim Gunn of Project Runway’s opinion, on Crazy Sexy Geeks.

Part 1 with Tim Gunn

Part 2 with Tim Gunn

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The Difference Between Little Y Words

With the many forms of electronic communication, millions of people write notes, letters, emails, text messages, but not many spell well. Of course frequent written conversations have given way to slang (teh from common finger slip-ups…and one that I hate), and shortenings (thru for through, u for you), and acronyms (OMG=oh my god, TTYL=talk to you later, ROFL=rolling on the floor laughing). It has also increased many misspellings of words because we hear phonetically but the written word has some silent letters in it.

One set that is often easily confused are the little “Y” words: Yeah, Yay, Yea. When you are agree with someone but don’t use the more formal “I agree” or “yes” you might say instead, “Yeah.” The phonetic version, which has also crept into the written language as a slang vernacular is “yah.” Like the Beatles once sang, “I love you, yah yah yah (or yeah yeah yeah).

But I often see this written word used for a form of jubilation and cheer, which should be “Yay!” Pronounced like “hooray” yay is much the same in meaning. Yay for me and yay for you. But try and spellcheck this and it might come up as not a real word. English slang it is then but pretty common in our spoken language.

Yea is an older form of yes, and can also be seen as “aye,” (pronounced eye) which makes us think of sailors. Yea verily, yea is most often seen now in voting. All those who oppose voted nay and those for, voted yea. Yea is pronounced yay, but the meaning is very different. Yet yea’s meaning is the same as yeah and yes.

I know I might be fighting against the crumbling of the English language and any living language will evolve, but I can still try. “Yea verily, I will say yay if people use yeah correctly. Yah yah yah.

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Cornucopia List: July 14

I’ve missed doing this list by a couple of weeks due to being far too busy to do much writing. So here is my latest installment of things for which I’m grateful.

  1. Faeries–or fairies, depending on your preference. Sure, they’re not real, but maybe they are, like ghosts and alien abductions. But I’m grateful for fairy art and tales of fairies and the wee folk. They’re winged, they’re small, they’re mysterious and of the other realms. Once upon a time they may have been larger and powerful but as people’s belief in them lessened so did their power over the imagination. I like the worlds they conjure, and places where flowers have tiny magical defenders.
  2. Turkey–Yeah okay, I’ve never actually seen a live one but I appreciate the taste of turkey and its low fat wonderfulness. I’m usually a white meat person when it comes to chicken but with turkey there is something just yummy about a drumstick. So thank you, all you turkeys who have been sacrificed for my plate. Now I’m not talking about two-legged turkeys here.
  3. Free Lunch–Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch though it’s rare. But it’s a nice gesture when it happens, from a buddy or a worker boss. In some cases it might be a small gesture and not that expensive, but in terms of workplace, it will show you’re appreciated and that’s important. The little things can count. And today, I get a free lunch. 😀
  4. Men–I’ve never been one of those people who paint all of a group with one brush, by race, gender, religion, education or any other rules. However by saying I appreciate men, I’m doing just that, and I do make jokes about some of these weird idiosyncrasies that many (not all) men exhibit. You know the ones: not asking for directions, unable to figure out where something goes, haphazard cleaning that would have hazmat teams shivering. That sort of thing. I mean, I do speak from some experience. But overall, without men, the world might be calmer and tamer and less dangerous, but it would also be less interesting and smaller. Yeah we kinda need them for procreation until we get that cloning thing down, but sex isn’t as much fun without them, for those of us who are heterosexuals or homosexuals. I’m sure the lesbians don’t miss this aspect. Men are different from women and add mix and perspective and I like all of my male friends and appreciate having them in my life.
  5. Sleep–This might be a repeat but I’m allowed. After all, this is my list of five things I appreciate each week, or longer than that, when I hit the busy periods. So sleep, I love and cherish, not only for its renewing abilities on the body but for all the realms it takes my mind to. I love to travel on the ship of sleep, that between stage of waking/sleep where images flit and yet words don’t match this world. I’ve done and said some bizarre things in that realm. I don’t get enough of sleep and studies support that not enough sleep can affect our health in many ways and so I say good night.

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HST: One Week In & How It Affects the Little Guy

The provincial government’s disregard for the overwhelming dissent over the HST is no surprise. After all, Campbell has disregard the public in many ways since he took office, arrogantly being above the law even in his drunk driving charge. Let’s not get into all the politics but his minions…I mean ministers, have touted the HST and are now trying to tell us how good it will be, how it will create jobs, how it won’t affect the common person very much at all. So, let’s take a look at how it has affected me in one week.

  • I bought a bottle of wine at the liquor store. The liquor tax is gone and that was 10% but the HST is on there with 12%
  • I went out for dinner with friends. Whereas that used to have the liquor tax of 10% on the alcohol and the GST of 5% on the food, there is now 12% tax overall. I’m not sure I can figure out all the math but that means there is now 7% more tax on food and 2% more tax on alcohol.
  • I worked out at the gym. Whereas that just had GST before, it now has HST, an increase of 7% in taxes.
  • I bought a chocolate bar. This used to have 5% on it but now has HST of 12%. I am firmly opposed to any tax on food, whether it’s a luxury item or junk food because it says only the rich get to eat cake. I guess we could call Harper’s government the Marie Antoinette of era. I just wonder when we can lop off the head.
  • I pay for parking at my job. Now this one is the killer. TransLink, an arm of the provincial government upped all parking taxes (whether monthly parking, part of your apartment, on the street or at your job) from 7% to 21%. They said they weren’t raising the PST because that didn’t stand for provincial sales tax; it stood for parking sales tax, but still an increase of 14% on January 1st. Well, guess what, there are other hidden taxes, plus HST and someone I know who works in the business says that taxes on parking anywhere are now 35.5%! How’s that for a hefty hidden extra tax. If you pay $5 for an hour of parking it will cost you $6.78. Now multiply that by your monthly rate. If you pay $100, with taxes you pay $135.50.

This is just one week’s worth of taxes going up. I’m really really waiting for the provincial government to convince me on how it won’t affect me much and actually bring in jobs. They say it but they don’t say how or where. I’d love to hear how other average people are being affected by this.

Update September: You’ll pay more for postage in BC because of the HST. That’s Canadian postage, which should be the same price across Canada but it isn’t. Candy and other food that hits some esoteric guideline; it’s now double taxed. Keys…need one cut, you’ll now pay more in GST. Did I mention that parking in Greater Vancouver is taxed with 35% taxes? Can’t figure it out; ask your government how PST and GST equals that rate.

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The Sucky World of Being Robbed

In my life I’ve been robbed a few times, too many in fact. My first robbery was in Mexico City, the first place I traveled to alone. Having only a week there, I did a whirlwind tour of three places, starting in la ciudad Mexico and ending there. Returning on a Sunday, I went to Chapultapec Park and the world famous anthropology museum, Museo Nacional de Antropologia where, speaking hardly any Spanish at all, I still managed to carry on a conversation with a Spanish speaking guard and understand most of the signs in the museum.

Mexico City is vast, with a population topping 2o million at that time (over 8 million in the city proper). The subway is extremely cheap and the only way to get around quickly. I had been warned to keep my bags close and where I could see them and I did that, but as I boarded the subway train I was pushed on. Now I know that the crowded cities do this to pack the people on but it was a Sunday and not that crowded. As I was putting my transfer into my bag I noticed the slash through it where the guys who had pushed me on the train had taken my wallet. Lucky for me I had less than $10 USD and one credit card with a very non-Mexican name that I canceled immediately. The rest of my traveler’s checks were in my room. Unlucky for me, it was a Sunday, with no banks open and no place that would take a traveler’s check so I couldn’t eat dinner.

When I was in India, backpacking around, I locked down every pocket I could on my giant backpack, leaving only two side pockets open, which carried shampoo and dirty underwear. At one point I got stuck on a train, which had four open beds to every partitioned but open area. I had asked for the women’s carriage but hadn’t been given it. I couldn’t sleep because I was on the top bunk and my backpack was shoved under the bottom one, way too heavy to have been lifted had it even fit up top. My face was about six inches away from the ceiling fan, which luckily was covered. I kept looking down to check on my pack but at one point I just had to go to the bathroom, the squat toilet on a moving train (and how fun was that). Eventually when I disembarked I found that my shampoo and dirty underwear were gone. I hope they enjoyed both.

I was robbed again in New York City. By now, I was quite aware of the sneaky way in which robbers try to get your goods. I’d had a small pack to carry around with me for the week. But I let my guard down at the airport, at the last minute. My friends had driven me to the airport and we were have a coffee when a man came up on my left and asked us the time. Of course we all looked at him, unaware of the person behind me and on my right who grabbed my purse. We realized it in minutes but it was too late. Off went my purse, $200, two plane tickets, my film, my glasses, my contact case and all my ID (I had only brought the ID I needed though). The airline said they would replace my ticket for free but I had to pay for it first. Of course I couldn’t because I had no money or ID. This was before 9-11 because I can’t imagine how screwed I would have been otherwise. Luckily my friends could cover the cost and I could pay them back later. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.

The most robberies I’ve experienced have actually been burglaries of my home or car. And they are the ones that have happened more recently. Several years ago I was home on a very hot night with my windows and doors open. My patio door faces the back yard and the other door does not face the street so not visible to anyone walking by. I was packing for a trip the next day and was in my den typing when I smelled cigarette smoke.

I don’t smoke but I looked up to see someone brazenly in my living room. Somewhat in a surreal state I ran into the room as the guy left and was gone by the time I could look out on the street. I called the police but to no avail of course. I believe it was my ex-drug addict neighbor, someone who knew where all the doors were. I searched the neighborhood that night, looking in every dumpster I could find, sure that he had taken what he needed, and dumped the rest.

The next day I had to get a driver’s licence before I could leave on my trip. All I had was an expired passport so I could get the license done but would not be allowed to pick it up until I had my birth certificate. Somehow a photo ID  like a passport isn’t good enough but anyone could walk in with my birth certificate and get my driver’s license picture shot and paid for. That makes a lot of sense. And of course I had to write back to my birth province for the birth certificate and ask my sister what hospital I was born in because I certainly didn’t know.

I made it through, canceling credit cards and paying for new ID. About two months later I received a call from a dumpster company where they had found my purse, complete with ID and even postage stamps. The purse and wallet were disgusting soaked with garbage juices but I reclaimed my ID and now have spares of a few things. But I was out the cost of the replacement ID, the purse and wallet and of course my cash. I’m even more cautious now but on a nice day at home, you’d think you could leave your door open. I have friends that live in a small town outside of Seattle and they never lock their doors.

Personally, I think I’ve done my time being robbed and burgled and that it’s now time to win the lottery. Hopefully I can write about that exciting change some day soon.

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Writing: Publishing News

I finally received my copy of Shroud #7, with my story “A Kind Hand.” However, though I just received it, it did come out last fall. Sometimes there are time lags and sometimes there is miscommunication. I’ve been paid for stories that were never published. I’ve had articles published for which I was never paid. I’ve signed contracts after the story came out and I’ve been paid and informed of a publication after  it happened as well. None of these things have been frequent but none are optimum.

Publishers and writers sign contracts, which are agreements as to publication, for how long, for which rights and for how much. The contract indicates a definitive agreement and set of rules by which both parties agree. The right order is to accept the piece, send and sign the contract, publish the story and/or send payment (some publishers pay first and publish later, and some publish first and pay later, but not too much later; usually on publication). The publisher should give the author a copy of the contract as well. To sign a contract after publication could very much screw up the publication should the author not agree to the terms. This leaves the publisher open to embarrassing circumstances at least and legal action at most.

Thus far, I have been paid for all of my stories though the order was sometimes a bit mixed up.

I have also just been paid for “A Taste for Treasure” coming out (on the shelves now) in Alison’s Wonderland. I’ve also just signed the contract for the poem “Of the Corn: Kore’s Innocence” in Witches and Pagans #21, which will be out soon.

“A Kind Hand” took me about eight years to write and is based on a tale about the Germanic hearth goddess Berchta. I had the idea and the plot, but for some reason I just moved it along very slowly. “A Taste for Treasure, based off of one of the many Grimm’s fairy tales (tales that they collected and wrote down) was written specifically for the anthology. The poem “Of the Corn” was part of a Greek revisioning series of poems. Some of the other poems are are about Athena, Persephone, Leda, Psyche. I don’t think I’m done with that series yet, which looks at the untold feelings of these mythic figures. The Persephone/Kore poems are a set of three and now two have seen publication.

And slowly slowly I’m working on my Mary Magdalene story. The scenes are now plotted and half of them are written. It’s taken a fair amount of research to place a story in ancient times during the time of Christ. That alone has slowed me down as I’ve read various gospels, the Dead Sea scrolls, books on Mary Magdalene and on Christ in my attempt to get a sense of the climate (both geographical and political, the flora and fauna, clothing, food and daily life of the characters. This is only a short story but the amount of research for certain historical times can be phenomenal. And of course about 70% of what I research doesn’t go into the story but helps me flesh out the characters and places.

I’ll need to finish it by August so I can get going on it. So it’s time to knuckle down again and see what I can get done in the next few weeks.

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