Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Story Sale

Wow- the fastest turnaround EVER on a story. I submitted "Bootleggers" to Short-Story.Me last night, and it was read and accepted by 4 today! Makes me pretty happy, and I needed the boost. Still kind of stunned at the speed in which it happened.

This was a story I rewrote several times, from different points of view. I finally got it to where I was pleased and proud of it, and am happy it has found a home. Within a few weeks you'll be able to read it.

So this goes to show that those many magazines which take months to decide on a story, are just plain lazy. This place is certainly unusually fast, but it shouldn't take more than 3 months for some editor to read a short story!

Well, I'd like to write more, but my daughter has a school band concert tonight. I'll keep you posted on further developments.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Henry James

So I'm reading another book by Henry James, The Golden Bowl, and I dislike this one as well. Call me a Philistine if you want. I only read them out of a sense of duty, because critics of the last hundred years have praised his work, and found much of value in it. Me, I'm uninterested in his characters, who seem to me to be boring, tightass snobs of another time and place, who seek meaning in little glances and exchanges that I find tedious. I just don't care about them, so the little things they do don't matter.

There are many writers I like, even of the era of James. I'm at a loss to explain the fascination people have with his work. His paragraphs are lengthy and put together like a stone pyramid, but the filigree decorations are repetitious and arcane. His characters live in an artificial world that needs to be swept away, and none of them seem like they ever have any real fun. They are so constrained it's a wonder why they bother to live and reproduce.

Goodness kows, I've given him a fair shake, but he's like one of those boors at a party who tries to impress you with his detailed knowledge of something so uninteresting that you seek the exit. Yeah, you capture that world, fella, but who wants to live in it, and why should we bother with it? There are many other writers with better lessons of life, and who don't put one to sleep when reading the work.

Friday, April 23, 2010

No Real News

Well, haven't posted this week due to busy life. We've had a relative in, so having to constantly entertain and be civil takes its toll.

Some weeks, like this one, it gets hard to keep submitting stories that have been sent back. A lot of small print or online magazines want the writer to jump through weird formatting hoops to submit. You can go through an hour of reformatting a particular style for a place that pays five whole bucks. But they'll say they only want the best. Hey, let me know when I can score the best writing for five bucks.

So three stories have been resubmitted to new places, plus a poem, and had to query on another place that hasn't responded in months to a submission. Ah, the glamor of publishing!

Friday, April 16, 2010

One for the Little Guy

Cheers all around for writer Paul Harding, who had a hard time putting out his first novel, "Tinkers". A number of publishers wouldn't bother with it. He finally got it done by a small press.

Well, without the big budget of a major house, and without any dumb, pumped-up controversy, and without any gimmicks, the book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Wow. Simple word-of-mouth recommendations for good writing, and the first time in almost thirty years that a book from a small press has won this prestigious prize.

Great for him, and it's what I've been saying-- a lot of big publishers wouldn't know a good book if it came up and bit them in the ass.

I'll be giving this a read. The man's my hero.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Twilight of Journalism

Last Sunday, The Boston Globe published a large piece on their Op-Ed page. It was a load of company crap from an industry hack, telling us how wonderful genetically modified food is, and how it's so much better than organic food, which according to this wonk, is bad for us and the planet.

Wow. And they wonder why it's the twilight of journalism, where newspapers are dying off. Gee, maybe it has something to do with the fact that they keep acting like big-industry newsletters, rather than responsible journalists, pushing out every piece of spin mouthed by self-serving agents of those corporations, at the expense and detriment of the public.

The piece is full of lies and distortions, and is a long advertisement for an industry that has been exposed time and again for its bad practices and potential for disaster. The piece totally misrepresents the opposing view, and is an obvious piece of spin by someone who gets paid to shovel this crap at us.

For an example of what this piece is like, read the book "Toxic Sludge is good For You" by Stauber and Rampton. You'll find many similar examples by corporate mouthpieces.

It is truly shameful that one of the few good newspapers left would put this out to the public. It is a disservice to the readers, and not worth the space. It is indicative of why newspapers are in trouble and losing readership. Printing lies is bad journalism, and makes people mistrust the venue that prints them. So the Globe is digging its own grave. Sad, sad, sad.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Writing Quote

Here's an insightful quote from author Holly Lisle ( who has a terrific and unbelievably busy writing life, full of advice and help, even while she maintains her career writing fiction. We all should be so prolific and helpful.

"People write for different reasons---they have different goals in mind. And I can't say that the writer who has made 'make a million dollars per book' his primary goal has anything to be ashamed of, or that the one who wants to touch the lives of each of his readers and leave them with something more when they finish the book than they had when they started should be nominated for sainthood. Personally, I wouldn't mind doing both, and I'm neither saint nor villain. I do know that the thing that keeps me happy as I write is not the hope of a big payoff but the hope that somehow I will someday manage to reach inside the hearts of my readers, as Ted Sturgeon reached inside of my heart, and twist. And that those readers will say, as I said, 'Oh. I understand more now. I'm more complete now. And I want to give back.'"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Showers

I guess April showers us with heat! It's supposed to be 85 degrees tomorrow, a new record for this time of year.

Can't say I've been sorry to see the nice warm weather, mostly bug-free. I get to sit on my deck without being slathered in bug spray or getting eaten by mosquitoes.

Here's a fun commentary from a great website by Sean Lindsay:

"So, now we’re on the second generation of kids who are getting a free pass through the school system while barely learning to read and write at a functional level. The frightening thing is that some of them still think they can be writers — while the saddening thing is that if the education system was designed to develop intelligent and capable citizens instead of consumers and soldiers, they could have been writers."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to you all. It was a wonderful day, perfect weather, and full of good things. I was able to spend time with my family, and we were safe and healthy and had a good time. We had enough to eat and were comfortable, and we appreciate the good things we have.

How few people in the world have it so fortunate. We are blessed and grateful to be so. We know how hard it is for so many others, and we try to do what we can to help. If most people had it this good, there wouldn't be any war. What a concept.

So here's hoping your Easter is a good one, with whatever meaning you choose to give it. May you be blessed and know that you are, and work to help those less fortunate.