lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
This is a joke-free zone today. Not that I don't enjoy a well-designed prank (you know who you are) but too much of what goes on today seems to rely on a harmful or hurtful 'snap' for the prank to work, and that's not my thing.

Also, I've hit the 4th quarter of the book-draft and there's a convention bearing down on me, plus a houseguest incoming, and I don't have time or energy to spare....
lagilman: coffee or die (editor kitteh)

"How do I do this? How do YOU do this? How does it get done, this book-writing, storytelling thing? I keep starting and stopping, getting distracted, getting bored, getting broken.... what's the secret?"

The following paragraph has long resided in the sidebar of my Livejournal blog. Some days (weeks, months, years) it's useful to shake it out and look at it again.

You sit down. You tell a story. You do it any damn way it comes out that works consistently for you. You hope people like it. You hope people pay you for it. You do it again. And again. That's all I got. Zen and the Art of Writer Maintenance. You can cheer me on and I can cheer you on, but in the end? In the end it's down to how you get your getting done, done. So get it done.

You still need specifics? Ass in chair (or feet planted on the ground). Fingers on the letters (or wrapped around a pen). Small goals over and over again until you're done. Everything else is personal, and subject to change as the writer changes. Stop looking at me. Write.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Today's World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the stats, every 18 minutes, someone dies from a suicide. Every 43 seconds, someone attempts one. In memory of Katherine, and others, who are still sore-missed, learn the facts. Learn to talk about it.

I respect everyone's right to choose their path...but nobody should ever feel it's their ONLY choice.


In other news, the fact that there are stupid, willfully misinformed, emotionally stunted and otherwise oblivious people out there should not be a surprise to anyone over the age of 8. Can we please stop pointing at them and howling? They're not going to change, and the howling doesn't get anything fixed.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Oh Friday. You came too soon, and yet I am so very glad to see you. Not huge gains in the writing front, but steady progress, and a lot of pending freelance work finally wrapped up. And the laundry was done. You know you've been putting off the laundry for a while when you start loading the fifth machine....

Interestingly, this has been a week of Cooking Dinner, which was a nice change from last week, when I seemed to be grabbing whatever could be eaten straight out of the pantry (almonds should not qualify as dinner, mmmjustsaying). Nothing fancy or complicated, but actual soothing-to-the-brain cooking.

Tonight: oven-"fried" chicken with a paprika-panko coating, and garlic-sauteed haricot vert, and a green salad with grana padano dressing. And a glass of Côtes du Rhône red. Not the best match for the meal, but an inexpensive bottle I didn't mind opening for a glass or two.

EtA: and Boomer seemed convinced he wanted some green salad, to the point of trying to put his paw down on it. I finally gave him a leaf and he was all "wait, what? No, I don't want this!"

Meanwhile, I feel I should issue a PSA (not that most of you need it, but...)

If you disagree with me, fine. I hold my opinions strongly, and know that other people do, too. But for the love of whatever you hold holy, do not then come in and request that I provide you with publicly-available data (like, of, the full text of a recent Senate bill) because you don't agree with my conclusions.

I am not your PA, your paralegal, nor your secretary. Do your own damn research.

[in today's instance, I had already given one link to directly support the numbers I quoted. That link led to a site that had links to the info requested. But that would have required HIM doing the work, so...]
lagilman: coffee or die (bye-bye)
EtA: Apparently, Dropbox, seeing the swell of WTF rising through the netverse, amended their new TOS to say "This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services." I'm still not reassured, considering the other potential legal problems with the wording, and how easily they can change that wording again, but it's a Mileage Varies scenario. Be aware, and make your decision.

For those of us who use DropBox: They've just changed their TOS. You might want to check out paragraph 5, and reconsider your patronage...

"By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare
derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service."

Do I need to explain why these terms are utterly unacceptable to writers, photographers, artists, and anyone else who creates content for sale/license?
lagilman: coffee or die (crunchy)
I get a lot of e-mail. I get a lot of e-mail Asking For Things. And so when I get a letter asking me for help, be it as a private citizen or in my guise as Somewhat Known Author, I do three things:

1. I read it, to see if it sets off any of my "scam" alerts. That includes a misspelled or inaccurate use of my name, content that is utterly unconnected with me ("As you are a major supporter of Organization I've Never Heard Of" or mention of Christ Our Lord), or glaringly obvious misuses of the English language (yes, I know not everyone is a writer. But if you're going to write a Beg Letter, it behooves you to come across as a professional).

If it checks out, I go on to #2:

I determine if this is an organization or individual I have heard of, or have some connection that would indicate why they reached out to me (We follow your blog, and know that you share our interest in..."). Or, similarly, they are referred to me by a known third party.

If the letter clears that hurdle, or at least has reasonable justification, I go on to #3:

I enter their name and/or organization into a search browser, and see what comes up.

If, on doing #3, there is no mention in the first two pages of results, or -- on finding a website that connects to your organization but there is no mention of your name or campaign on it -- then the odds are high I'm not going to respond. And I am sure as hell not going to open any attachments you send with your email.

So if you sent me a legitimate request in the past 6 months but haven't heard might want to reconsider your approach.
lagilman: coffee or die (truth to power)
More intelligent people saying useful things: Jim Hines talking about the "gray area" of sexual consent.

He makes two distinct and important points that, even if you're not able or willing to read the entire post, you need to take away with you.

1. "the phrase “mixed signals” means the signals are mixed. There’s no clear message as to what the person wants … meaning you have to find out. With as much miscommunication as you get in most relationships, don’t you think it’s a good idea to make sure you’re both on the same page?" (emphasis mine)

2. if you don't stop and clarify the situation, "You’re worried they’ll say no. Meaning you’re not sure they want this, and you’d rather risk committing rape than risk asking and being told no." (emphasis mine and Jim's)

Masturbation only takes into consideration the needs of one person. Sex involves two (or more). It takes ten seconds to say "are you okay with this?" Drunk or sober, no matter how hot under the waistband you are, it takes ten seconds. If your partner is okay with this, they will let you know, clearly and enthusiastically (often with pleasurable results for all concerned).

If they're not....

If they're not, you have a choice: force the issue, or respect their hesitation. What choice you make determines what kind of a human being you are. And there's nothing gray about that.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Gentlemen, consider this a PSA. While women might not have the direct eyes-to-groin brain bypass guys claim, we DO in fact notice your bodies. And you might be a great guy, but if you treat your body like crap, that's what we're going to see. Dress appropriately*.

The day has been evenly split between work and the new Laurie King, with a pitcher of iced tea as accompaniment. A nap may have been taken at some point. My one foray to run an errand reminded my why I particularly love my tree-shaded section of the city.

I have spent much of the day, in fact, trying not to get upset at the crap of the world, but focusing on the good things. Tree-lined streets and the people who care for them. Ice cream trucks that play non-annoying music. Good books. Iced skinny vanilla lattes. Buses and trains that are air conditioned. Old tech that still works. Fountain pens, and good paper. Thoughtful people. Floor fans that cool the apartment at half the cost of a/c. Goofy penguin-styled ice buckets. Sleeping cats who don't fully wake up when you move them, because they trust you that much.

Tonight is just calling out for gin & tonics. Anyone want to join me?

*I have another rant about people, mostly female, who think wearing something a size too small makes them that size, but nobody triggered that one today
lagilman: coffee or die (MEDIC)
As anyone who's glanced at the news in the last 24 hours knows, there was a terrible (7.0) earthquake in Haiti yesterday. Conditions are bad, and help is desperately needed -- not when a relief organization can send a team, but Right Now, if not yesterday.

[ profile] kateelliott has given out a link to one organization that's already on the ground, with the infrastructure in place, and is already working to help the victims: Partners in Health. Give them a look and, if you can, give 'em a donation.

It's a mitzvah, a good act, to help those in need get back on their feet.
lagilman: coffee or die (s.u.r.i.)
For many years I lived with someone who could not stand even the hint of fish (raw or cooked). I've been making up for lost time since then, and have discovered a great range of piscine dining choices -- healthy and delish!

However, the fishing industry is... not always kind to this planet. The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a list of sustainable fish, and alternatives to overfished species here:

If you eat fish, or buy it for your household, this is a really useful quick-check list to help you eat sustainably, for now, and for the future.

[aside: oh hey look at that! It went up to 13 degrees! Heat wave!]


Jan. 8th, 2010 04:41 pm
lagilman: coffee or die (research books)
If you requested (and paid for) books in the Great Closet Clear-out and have not rec'd them yet, please let me know! If you requested and haven't paid, please let me know if you still want 'em.

[Lisa, yours went out late 'cause I added an Extra to the box. :-) ]

EtA: and of course, I no sooner clear out the closet (or half of it, anyway) than I get three boxes of new mass editions for BURNING BRIDGES, FREE FALL, and BLOOD FROM STONE. Plus surprise copies of the UK 2-in-1 edition of THE NIGHT SERPENT (who knew they were doing that? Not me. Or my editor, for that matter). So we're, um...full up again. It's a plot to keep me from buying more wine, I know it...
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
In case one or two of you were wondering, the varietal of choice while writing THE WEIGHT OF STONE seems to have been zinfandel, with occasional forays this summer into sauvignon blanc. That surprised me, as I thought it would be shiraz or tannat blend. Live and learn...

An Update to the December 5th Signing in Binghamton, NY:

Yes, you can order a signed copy of ANY BOOK OF MINE IN PRINT, even if you are not in the area.

As per the store manager:
"If folks need it shipped to another Waldens, they just need to let me know which one (mall it is in, city, something. Store number if they are feeling super helpful and want to ask the folks at the store for me so I don't have to hunt it down). If they don't have a Waldens, I will ship it to them directly."

Remember, folk, the holidays are coming up! A signed, personalized hardcover makes a fabulous gift -- and so easy to gift-wrap! (and if you ask, we'll even wrap it for you! But be warned, [ profile] pbray is picking the paper...)
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Back in comments somewhere, someone kindly asked if Lynn and I would be available for coffee/foodage post-signing @ Mysterious Galaxy, and I said I'd check with her, and now I can't find the damn comment.

So, yes. Lynn and I would be delighted. :-)
lagilman: coffee or die (madness toll)
For those who've been saying "oh, I meant to join the Word War group...." we're at it again. [or will be, once the caffeine kicks in]

For those who missed the memo and are intrigued, Word War is simple: one chatroom. As many people as show up. 30 minute bursts of dedicated writing, followed by a ten minute stretch-and-chat session, then another burst of writing. Whoever accomplishes the most in each burst gets bragging rights for ten minutes. It's not for everyone, but a lot of us find it suits the "must work"/"need socialization breaks" needs of a day.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Outbreaks are not pandemics, pandemics are not all OMG Everyone's Going to Die! and this is not 1918.

That said, and speaking as someone who is recovering from a thankfully mild bout of flu, I'm going to remind you of four really important, really basic steps to remember:

1. Wash your hands. Seriously. With soap and hot water and everything, especially if you're using mass transit or shared bathrooms. That's the most common way germs are transmitted, and the easiest to prevent. Wash your hands, cough into the corner of your elbow, not your hands (to prevents transferring germs that way), and wash, wash, wash. Especially if you think you've already got a bug -- even if you think it's 'just' a cold or bad allergies.

2. Sleep. How hard is that? [yeah. I know, I know.] If you're not feeling well, or you're a little tired, or maybe think your body is stressed... cancel something, and take a nap instead. Your body will be stronger and less open to infection for it.

3. If you're sick? Stay home. Don't infect your co-workers or classmates. Also, if you stay home you can sleep and recover faster. Win/win.

4. Don't panic, but don't be stupid, either. So far every case reported in the USA has been mild, but if your symptoms seem more severe than the usual, see your doctor.

Is it a cold, or the flu?

And if you don't already have a flu kit -- put one together this week. An ounce of prevention, as they say...
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
My blog entry at SF Novelists (delayed by 24 hours due to technical SNAFUs) is up, talking about authorial grist for the mill, and why it's important to dive into things, rather than sitting on the sidelines.

Hopefully, I was coherent, interesting, and useful. Or at least amusing.

And now, a full day of work is tapping impatiently on the door, muttering about "vacations" and "deadlines" and such scary things...
lagilman: coffee or die (bye-bye)
Estimated 4th Q taxes are due on the 15th. Happy Happy Joy Joy....
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
This morning I spent a few minutes paying all the bills that will be due while I'm away at World Fantasy next week. Among the envelopes there was a small one that paid for no utilities, no already-consumed consumer goodie.

It was from my local food bank.

Long-time readers know that, along with blood donations, food banks are an ongoing concern to me. Nobody should go to bed hungry. Especially, no child should go to bed hungry. Ever.

In good times it's easier to peel off $25 for a donation. But it's in tough times that those donations are most needed.

If you can, give. If you need, go. We can't cure cancer yet. But we can cure hunger. or enter "food bank" in your search engine of choice.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
I'm late to the watch-this party, so I'll just say that if you haven't already viewed/heard Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama (and his rather beautiful takedown of McCain' attempted smear campaign and scolding of the GOP (of which Powell is a respected member), why not? Forget about your own vote -- it's a lesson in putting together a coherent argument and making it stick, without getting shrill (and yes guys, you get shrill too) or whiny.

Meanwhile the post-Giants throat has come to haunt me. I sound like a bad parody of Marlene Dietrich *cough wince* despite application of cough drops and tea during the game. Kids, if you're going to be shouting and yelling and letting out stadium-appropriate noise, don't schedule a phone interview for the next morning. I'm jut sayin'...

But there is News coming in the next post...


lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Laura Anne Gilman

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