Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Spatial Subjectiveness

May 10, 2010

This is such a subjective business! I’m afraid that the voice just didn’t capture me as much as I had hoped. I’m sure another agent will be a better fit for the style. Thanks and all the best of luck, Andrea. That came in at 9:17 this past Friday night. So, that’s that. Andrea doesn’t want me. I just can’t wait to hear some one farted and wrote a book about it; I’m gonna throw something at someone.

No disrespect to those who were injured, but Ferry by Toyota was the first thought that came to my mind when I heard about the Staten Island Ferry crash on Saturday.

So, we had our weigh ins this weekend. How curious this reading is. Ariel’s weight increased by one pound (up to 202) and mine, even though I weighed in just after we got home from our trip (remember I was down another pound at 209?) I was up at 214. So, I figured there were two possible explanations.

One of them was possibly I was still on Central Time and whatever weight I put on while on vacation hadn’t caught up with me yet; it was still an hour behind. Or… it was strictly a matter of gravity. You see, here where I live, the elevation is, on average, 120.28 feet above sea level. Springfield, Illinois, where I spent some of my time is 600 feet above sea level and Girard, where I spent the other part of my time and where I pigged out the most, is even higher at 670. You wouldn’t think it, what with Illinois being such a flat state, but it is. So, obviously, in a higher elevation, I weighed less, kind of like an astronaut in space.

Bathroom pic update: I tore apart every conceivable area where I thought that video would be to no avail other than to reorganize several spaces including one closet. Now if I can convince myself to look for it in my other closets, they’ll all get straightened up. It’s probably sitting on some shelf watching me and laughing like that one elusive fly that refuses to allow itself to get swatted on a hot sticky summer afternoon all the while eyeing my ham and cheese sandwich. But I still have time before the bathroom is completed to keep on looking.

JL has a special message for all his readers this week on McGinty Chronicles.

PS. I got three points for Lena Horne in the dead celebrity game!

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Hittin’ The Comeback Trail

May 3, 2010

The trip to Illinois was a success. Everyone is fine. And we proved once again that fresh country air really does magnify one’s appetite. That, and a non-stop supply of food. To that end, much as I know it will pain me, I am going to weigh myself tomorrow morning to see how much damage I did over the last 5 days. I tried to behave, food-wise…. no, I didn’t, who am I kidding? It was all out for the taking and so I took advantage.

So, by the time you’re reading this, we just left from having breakfast at Bob Evans next door to our hotel in Cambridge, Ohio, and of course I had to cap off my vacation with biscuits and gravy and I don’t know what’s in store for lunch, but rest assured it won’t be a salad. It’s Ariel’s day to drive. I actually got to drive all the way from Springfield, Illinois to Cambridge, Ohio yesterday, to try to help him get over his fear of letting go of the wheel and being a passenger. Of course, toward the end of the trip, far into the increasinly monsoonal day, he almost ended up in my lap because I was trying to pass a tractor trailer truck (or semi, for those of you so inclined) that was spraying up waves of water and swaying back and forth in his lane, trapping me between him and the grassy median. I was nervous enough about it but in spite of the added anxiety, I got us out of there.

“Truth be told, these pages didn’t draw me in as much as I had hoped” was part of what that agent lady I recently submitted the first five pages of my manuscript to replied this past Friday while I unsuspectingly decided to clean out my email inbox. “I’m pressed for time these days,” continued Andrea, “and, what with my reservations about the project, I suspect I wouldn’t be the best fit.” That must be first things agents learn in How To Stomp On Someone’s Dream 101.

But that didn’t stop my streak of Einsteinian moves. Before we left for the weekend, I went to get some chocolate malt balls out of the container in my fridge at home only to find what I was pouring into my hand was half and half. Then, in Illinois, when Ariel and I drove to the store to pick up the chicken we were having at the big family shindig on Saturday, I reached up to put the truck in park, but with the windshield wiper handle, thinking it was the gear shift. True, I was driving a borrowed vehicle, but it’s been years, over 30 in fact, that I’ve been in a car with a gearshift on the column and that was my ‘65 Tempest I bought from my uncle when I first got my license in 1979.

So, anyway, tomorrow it’s back to real life and we both decided that Wednesday we’d start our morning walks again, so stay tuned for how that works out.

Until then, there’s a brand new McGinty today.

Fifteen Minutes

February 18, 2010

This is probably going to come off like a major bitch-fest, but I’ve heard a particular argument one too many times recently and now I’m going to weigh in.

Some people criticize American Idol because of it’s potential to give what they call instant fame to someone, as opposed to “real” musicians who work and sweat and bleed for their craft to make a name for themselves. And that staying in a popularity contest for a number of weeks and being crowned the American Idol is a slap in the face to all those who have graduated from the school of hard knocks. Well, there is a slight amount of credence to that claim, I suppose, but honestly, when you break it down, a singer’s popularity is only as strong as the effort he or she puts into staying in the spotlight. And just because someone wins that contest, doesn’t necessarily guarantee everlasting fame. When is the last time you heard of Taylor Hicks?

But I’m not lambasting American Idol, it’s a fun show and it’s fun to root for someone going after his or her dream. Actually, the intent of my rant today is to compare it to book publishing. As a matter of fact, though, when I first started watching American Idol, I felt kind of guilty, in a way, laughing at some people from the comfort of my living room because I silently and miserably compared their rejections to my own and would, at times have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Maybe I’m not the greatest writer in the world, and won’t ever win any Pulitzer Prize, but I’d like to think I’m a better writer than some of the Idol hopefuls are singers. (At least during the auditions–don’t these people have friends to stop them, really?) I may never have the fame or recognition of Stephen King or Dan Brown and that’s fine, really. But I would like the chance for a little recognition, or even a response from a query? Next month will be 5 years since my book was completed and that I’ve been searching for an agent or a publisher to represent me, to help me realize my dream. I’ve received rejections too numerous to count, in every possible manner, from form letters to downright handwritten insults–We have no use for you or your book.

I recently heard of yet another prospective book deal for someone and it got me thinking how lately, all these deals seem to be the same thing as winning 15 minutes of fame on American Idol. Everyday, I hear of some book deal given to somebody because of a story in the news; this airplane pilot, that Senator’s wife, not to mention the sports figures on drugs–compelling stories, I’m sure, but we hear about them everyday in the news, played out like soap operas ad nauseum. But the tabloid appeal of them is what publishers bank on to sell books, to put cash in their coffers, to see them through until their next blockbuster gets published.

I’m whining, I know, but what about those of us who love and want to write, to have a story told? We just get told “no”, time after time just because the book might not sell. How can one person make such a cavalier decision like that, whether someone’s work, someone’s dream, sits buried in a slush pile in some back office somewhere, while newspaper articles are turned into money makers?

So, from where I’m sitting, American Idol isn’t such a bad spot to be in and established musicians can yell only so loud. Fame, or psuedo-fame isn’t being dished out only on television talent shows.  For good or bad, there are at least 15 minutes of fame waiting for most who dare.

Nothing Ventured, NOTHING Gained

January 20, 2010

I went to that “how to get published” seminar thing last night. I shouldn’t say it was a complete waste of my time, but all in all, it pretty much was. The event was hosted by 3 published authors, one of whom is the author of 24 books. The other two women are newly published authors and all three were pleasant enough. The audience was made up of about 30 or people, most of whom came in just prior to the beginning of the meeting, and some close to an hour in. They quickly touched on several topics such as self publishing (don’t do it), e-books as opposed to regular books and the profit differential between each, that one should have an agent and submitting queries to same. Several useful websites and books were mentioned that range in topics from helping to find what markets are selling to how to approach agents/publishers. But none of the topics was discussed in any great detail.

One certain audience member kept insisting on asking questions about how to get poetry published, even though he was told more than once, and rather politely to be sure,  the main topic for the meeting was fiction. I raised my hand finally, tiring of hearing the same questions in his broken (read: slaughtered) English hoping to get back to the topic of submissions, by asking first, of all three hostesses, what the time frame was between submission to publication. 3 months was the general consensus. Really? When I told them I was there to hopefully find some helpful hints on how I could possibly tweak my query yet one more time on top of however many incarnations it has taken over the last five years, I was told “tweak” was a good word and it was on to another question.

I really think this group was geared more for people who have little or no prior knowledge of just how tough it is to get published. Quite a few of the publishers they mentioned have already rejected me. Most of the websites that were mentioned, I already have saved in my favorites in my computer. And I could wallpaper my house with the pages from the books and magazines I’ve gone through they suggested reading. I really didn’t come away with any new useful information that I haven’t already encountered these past years, but it was worth a shot. They really should have had someone speaking who was in a similar predicament like me, someone who can’t get the time of day from an agent or publisher to exemplify the bumps in the otherwise smooth road they were talking about; do this, this and this and you’ll get published. Well, all I got out of it was that they were trying to paint a more flowery picture of the world of publishing than it really is, although they did admit to one caveat; that it’s very competitive.

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, they say, and that was true last night. Nothing gained. But how would I know if I didn’t go?

Here’s  last night’s American Idol.

 

Remember Baby Picture Monday?

January 19, 2010

This was day two of being back out on the street for our four mile walk. Don’t worry, I won’t be reporting that every day, just a weekly progress report of how much weight we shed. I have a personal goal of 30 lbs by May, most likely by Memorial Day weekend, our first camping trip. I’d like to be able to navigate the hills without crying from the pain in my feet. I’d also like to work the zipper on my tent without getting short of breath. When I dropped those 35 pounds 2 years ago, I began in January with a waist measurement of busting out of 36. By April, I had space for two fingers in size 34. I’d be happy with 34. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

Quote of this past weekend: “Do you think there could still be snow?” Let me explain. Saturday, while we were each busy with our own tasks (fighting with the computer, taking down Christmas), I saw that the mail had come and being that I had a piece of mail from the day before that belonged to my next door neighbor, I’d take it with me and walk it over to their box while I was out there. Since it was obvious they already brought in the mail, I ventured down the driveway to leave it on the car in the garage. Off to the side of the driveway, was a fairly large bank of snow. Now, that “blizzard” we had was before Christmas and we really didn’t get as much as other areas, so I thought it odd that this snowbank was there, and rather sizeable. I came back in the house, after picking up a fresh batch of garbage (a beer can, cardboard, newspaper, pizza parlor fliers, plastic bottles, an orange) off my lawn and then my own mail that fell onto the garage floor when I came in to get my garbage poker. I’m not touching that crap on the lawn. I said to Ariel, “There’s a huge snowbank on the side of Barbara’s driveway.” And, after describing how big it was and how stunned I was at seeing it, I immediately followed that up with “Do you think there could still be snow?” to which he replied, “You just saw it, there must be.”

So, look at this, I had a leftover baby picture I completely forgot about. I came across it the other day while looking for something else and since it’s Baby Picture Monday (on Tuesday) I thought I’d show it to you.

Tonight is that long awaited “How To Get Published” meeting and you can bet I’ll be reviewing that. Who knows, maybe there will be that one thing that gets talked about that will make all the difference. And, no, I haven’t begun working on the book again, even though I said I was going to after the holidays were over, but I haven’t been able to work out a schedule yet. But, on the positive side, we did say we were going to get back to walking and generally taking better care of ourselves and that finally got off the ground, so there’s hope for me yet.

The Balloon That Cried Reality TV!

October 19, 2009

I haven’t written in a few days. My well had run dry, I didn’t even have enough ammo to be even mildly sarcastic about anything. But, it’s a new week and I have a few things to get me through.

Okay, so, by now, we all know the saga of Balloon Boy was a hoax–the six year old Falcon hid in the attic as the flying saucer shaped balloon soared across the Colorado sky while all the world watched in horror, praying for a safe outcome to this so called tragedy. It was done as a means to hopefully create a sort or reality television show centered around the Heene family. The family is expected to turn themselves into authorities by later today or tomorrow at the latest. Call me a cynic, but this whole thing smacks of a book deal. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. 

Maybe I should try something like that. Obviously being mild-mannered and going through proper channels of querying prospective agents and publishers isn’t working. Maybe I will  go soaring through the air, hanging on for dear life and…nah, it’s been done. I need to be original. Maybe I should outfit retired carrier pigeons with pages of my novel with a note attached saying “publish me” and by radio control instruct the birds to release them so the pages rain down for all the public to see. People would clamor and claw their way into finding the source of those timeless words and demand my book gets published.

I had quite a busy weekend. Among the things I took care of this weekend I spoke to a few family members over the phone, gathering more information for McGinty Chronicles which is still in the working stages before it relaunches. I still don’t have a date in mind, but I will announce it here when the time comes. So, for now, JL and Elsie’s honeymoon is still on.

I also tried to connect a digital converter box to my mother’s television set because a lot of her cable channels were disappearing before her very eyes. It was a successful installation and while we had to wait the 45 minutes until the cable company remotely programmed and activated the box, we went for a late lunch ate One South, not too far from her. Not a bad menu and not badly decorated, but it was Sunday and each of the television screens had a different football game going and so there wasn’t a moment where someone wasn’t a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ about some play or other. Man, it was loud, but surprisingly, we were able to hold a conversation without much strain. The food was pretty good and when mushrooms came with a dish, they were plenty.

We returned to the house and yes, the converter box was working and she  had all the channels her particular package would allow. Apparently they moved some of the channels she likes to a more premium level and if she wants those back she’ll have to pay for them. Such a monopoly this cable thing is, really, but that’s not news. I know I pay way too much to watch the few channels I do watch, but it would be that one day when something is on I want to see is on a channel I would have just given up. It’s how my luck runs. But the greater issue was, even though I wired up this new system to include her VCR ( I know, but we’re taking steps to upgrade) we couldn’t get anything to record on the tape. I tried every conceivable wiring combination until it looked like a cat’s cradle of wires back there. Finally, we ended up hooking her back up to just the VCR, for now, and she’ll be calling to have a DVR installed rather than use the VCR. Hopefully they’ll take back the converter box in a trade-off. And while it’s still a digital box, she’ll still have to see about ordering those missing channels that aren’t included in her price plan.

And sadly, we brought her cat home with us to bury in the backyard. Crazy Cat, better known as CC, died over the weekend and she asked if we could bury him here and so after the television fiasco, in the dark, but thankfully in a pre-dug hole which we had done earlier in the day, we put him in his final resting place.