Archive | October 2012

This magic moment . . . started out totally shitty.

Writing isn’t always an easy disease to cope with. There are times, as with any other profession, writers want to quit. And then something happens, which I have to confess is usually a totally out of the blue event, that’s completely horrible, that you realize much later you totally needed and may even become the springboard of your greatest work. (Note: I never said your work itself was great, just that for you, it might be the best you’ll ever be capable of producing — I’m a realist. )

All writers have these moments. Usually, even in that moment they realize this is “that” type of moment. They start looking at it as a scene or part of a story, even as they’re living it in real time. Writers carry this sort of fractaled world inside their heads. Things are always bubbling to the surface, at weird times — even rather inappropriate ones. I’m not sure if this is a coping mechanism or not. For myself, I rather think it totally is and I often consider stopping writing just to see what the real world is really like. (I mean, beyond my constantly updating, multi-story line, pretty dysfunctional, writing addict version of it.)

But, back to the magic shit. Because shit is magic. It makes things grow. (You learn these things when you grow up among people who grew up and remained close to the land. Suburban farmers. Sigh. But one up on survivalists. I think.) I had some Shitty moments over the weekend. I woke up to excited barking and someone screaming my dog’s name (never good, when the dog is 50lbs). My fear was the dog had knocked over someone frail and elderly. I sprang naked from my bed and burst into the hall. The dog was running around the house — she had gone completely insane. Teeth + Insane = Not Good.

The house was totalled. Don’t even ask about the porcelain. But an antique family heirloom statue of The Infant of Prague is now headless (well, I stuck a pencil up his . . . and now he’s sort of a bobble head, temporarily). The dog attempted to run through corners of the house — up a fax machine, an oak captain’s chair, a file cabinet . . . . Eventually I got her to run outside. Things got worse. She ran around the yard barking and quite out of her mind. I know this because she ran through rose bushes that caught on her fur and scratched her face, and into wire mesh, and into the corner of the potting shed, and howled and crapped.

Of course I had to help her, best I could. So I ran after her, naked (we have only 5′ fences — ah, the neighbors!). I yanked her out of bushes and lumber piles and gates of iron. She ran, and ran, and ran and barked. Eventually I was able to throw a blanket over her and a lasso. She continued to run. We wrestled her into the car and drove her to the vet where she was sedated (and given fluids and a blood panel). The vet said it was as if she had heat stroke but it’s been cold. He suggested poison, but nothing had changed with her diet. It was weird; there was no explanation.

I’ll probably have to put her to sleep tomorrow morning. Her condition 72 hours on is ok, but she seems unable to see her food bowl (though she will eat from my hand) and when she does eat, she becomes severely anxious and can’t stop panting. I just don’t see her getting better or having any quality of life. I’m not so lacking in compassion that I would condemn her to life simply to keep me from grief and sorrow. Perhaps what all this means, taken in toto, is that I’m not so distanced from the realities of the world. Maybe it’s because I write, that I am able to see the world as is, and live a real life, in real time, with real emotions.

Maybe I’m just full of shit.

Rebels are not always visible to the naked eye.

At first glance the fellow above, reading The Complete Poetical Works James Whitcomb Riley, is probably someone you’d  immediately label a Poindexter.

You’d be wrong.

He’s actually a rebel. In fact, he’s notoriously rebellious. He lived fast and hard, burned like a meteor bright, and died young at only 24.

Much of his life is still debated. A bit of a mystery. Most people’s lives are though. It’s what makes them so infinitely fascinating.

It’s what makes you so infinitely fascinating.

Really.

So many facets, so little time. Don’t waste a second. Get out there and shine!

It’s James Dean.

For everyone in “Processing” on Barnes & Noble Pubit!

As you may recall, my publisher ran into some issues with Barnes & Noble selling the Nook version of Lily Does Sweden. Notably the stated “24-72 hour” processing time extended to . . . one week, two weeks, three weeks . . .  and counting.

After a bit of a research, turns out a lot of people are having their books stuck in processing limbo for weeks on end.  Not something B&N really wants the world to know, so not something they post prominently.

The recommendation from B&N on the support boards was simply to go in and redo the setup and upload of the title as if it were a brand new book.  According to a few people who have had success with redoing the title, the redo seem to make the B&N system kick the first version out for sale.

I know. So weird!

Lily Does Sweden was “redone” on Saturday so, with any luck, it will be up for sale as a Nook later this coming week.

UPDATE: Nov 1, 2012.  It turns out, the entire epub had to be redone from scratch. As soon as that was done, the third upload — yes, the third time really is a charm — went right away on sale.

Red Pill, Blue Pill? Pit or Pendulum?

Autumn is my favorite time of year. The glorious colors, the wet streets, and (yes) fall clothing. It’s also a season of reflection, of cuddling up with a cocoa by the fire and pondering roads — taken, not taken, or yet to be taken.

I have always believed the real world was a really magical place. In that respect, I assume I took the purple pill. (Dualism is so passe, yawn.) Too, like Poe, I’m an optimist.

Oh, you doubt Poe’s optimism? Au contraire. At the end of the Pit and the Pendulum, the prisoner is rescued by LaSalle. I should also say I believe in fabulous rescues by outrageous men like Lasalle . . . .

Shhh . . . I’m fantasizing.

Yes, right . . . optimism.

I’m not sure why the dying of the world always fills me with me hope and joy. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that every year though the world lets all things go, every year the world is reborn more beautiful and full of life.

If that be so, then my little letting go beside my little fire is truly the only way to ensure a better more effulgent life will appear. (And perhaps a descendent of LaSalle?)

The black tie pendulum clock is by Leonie Lacouette, c’est belle!

It was a complete coincidence, I swear!

Apparently, though I did not realize this, it’s Banned Books Week. How’s that for a serendipitous my already challenged release?

Below, from the American Library Association, are the Top Ten most challenged books of 2011.

It’s rather interesting that of 326 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom 8 of the top 10 were by female authors and 7 of the 10 centered on female characters.

Apparently being a female author writing about female characters (particularly strong, independent, real females) is a big problem for some people.

Sorry, no statistics about the gender of the persons challenging the books was available, though they were overwhelmingly parents complaining to schools/school libraries/public libraries.

A cursory look at reasons reveals a rather sad situation given we’re in 2012. It seems young females are not to be told anything about sex, not to be exposed to bad language, and never be challenged to deepen their religious outlook by questioning it. Really, one has to laugh.

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

Is this cover really so bad it should be banned from display?

ePUB Cover

So, this is the cover, for the ePUB version.

I believe a cover and title should tell the reader what to expect from my book, and this cover and title do just that. If you read Lily Does Sweden, you will definitely agree I was 100% what you see is what you got.

Of course, what you see depends on you, just as what culture you come from slants how you see another culture you may visit.* That’s why, on the cover of the hard copy, I had the publisher add “A cross-cultural (mis-)adventure.” (See below.)

Trade Paperback Cover

As for the book’s content, I am totally honest about that too. It’s a departure for the publisher, in that it does have mature themes, a couple erotic escapades, and some frank language. But that being said, the 314-page book (in 6 x 9 format) is primarily a travel adventure mystery/romantic comedy set in Sweden about the perils of thinking you understand something you really don’t — such as another person’s culture. A fact I make pretty clear on the back cover!

Trade Paperback Back Cover

For those of you who have never been to Sweden, it’s very different from other first-world Western countries. This book draws on American vs Swedish cross-cultural disconnects to produce a story that’s both a darn good read and yet humorously informative.

Yes, it’s got erotic escapades. But if you find non-violent, non-sadomasochistic intimacy between two unattached, unmarried, non-religious people of the same race so bad or so controversial you want to ban this book or its cover, you may want to move to a totalitarian theocracy in the Middle East.

Lily Does Sweden is already up for sale digitally ($1.99) through Amazon (click here for Kindle), although Amazon doesn’t yet have a spot for the physical book.

Although Lily Does Sweden was uploaded to Barnes and Noble for a Nook edition, Sept 24th, they are still processing it. I’m not sure why. However, Barnes and Noble has a place holder for the physical book as a pre-order, ($14.99 retail, but about $10.11 through B&N), so . . . apparently they’re willing to sell it.

Lily Does Sweden is also available through third-party ePUB retailers that sell Adobe Digital Editions ePUBs. I have to work on that this week.

The print version went to LSI (the printer) on the 18th of Sept and is also taking an unusually long time to set up. Again, I’m not sure why; however, an email was sent asking for an update. Lighting Source International recently upgraded their computer system and perhaps lost some files or got behind as a result. I’ll keep you posted.

For more details, such as ISBNs, etc. hit the Page dedicated to the book. To voice your opinion . . .

*{When you look at the cover, what do you see? Two naked people? Or two people in bathing suits (which you can’t discern)? Two friends just horsing around? Or two lovers having sex?}