29 October 2006

Raising Children

Now, I've never had children, and my parents died long long ago, but I've observed other people raising children for a while. In that way, I've learned a few things about parenting skills, what works and what doesn't.

Is it possible to see (not witness, thankfully) a baby be born and think that it's going to be all screwed up in life, based solely on the parenting skills (or lack thereof) of the parent(s?) involved??

Personally, I hold great pity for the child, because she didn't choose the life she was born into.

Let's just hope she can overcome her circumstances...

23 October 2006

Translating Machine on OT

(Reposted from the Midwestern Writer Wannabe blog)

As previously mentioned, I found a nifty little program that translates into author-ese. I recently received word back from another of the agencies I submitted to (this, after having to prompt them about my submission...which was the instruction given in their submission criteria):

The original message (edited for privacy):


We greatly appreciate your submission, and have given [it] careful consideration. Unfortunately, your project is not a good fit for us at this time.

We wish you the best of luck in finding an enthusiastic agent and in your writing career. Again, thank you for thinking of [us]."

After carefully crunching it through the software:

Translated Quote:

We didn't actually notice your submission for two months, until you sent the follow-up e-mail. Then we scrambled to go find it in our files.

Unfortunately, we read about two or three paragraphs and thought it sucked. Maybe it gets better later in the story, but that was all we could stomach. Sorry about that.

(But come on, space pirates? What the hell are you thinking?)

If there's anyone out there who will take on your manuscript, then you've got to be the luckiest bastard on Earth. But odds are, you'd really be wasting your time in continuing to propagate this garbage. But thanks for taking up our bandwidth anyway."

Is it any wonder I contemplate self-publication so often?

More from the Author-ese Translator

(Reposted from the Midwestern Writer Wannabe blog)

This is a lot more fun than actually getting accepted, by the way...

The original text (edited for privacy) appears, followed by the translated version in double parentheses...

"Dear Author:"
((Forgive us, but our automated response software isn't capable of pulling your name out of your query, so.........))

"Thank you so much for sending [us] your query."

((We really need to find a way to get our agency off those lists out there. Any schmuck off the street can find us.))
"We’d like to apologize in advance for this standard rejection letter."
((It's your own fault for querying us in the first place.))
"The volume of queries as of late has been too overwhelming to personalize our response anymore."
((Man, we LOVE this automated response software. It picks keywords out of your e-mail query, and instantly does most of the guesswork in sweeping slush out of our files. Every agency should have this stuff. Oh, who are we kidding? They already do.))
"Rest assured, we do read every query letter carefully and although your work sounds intriguing, we’re sorry to say that we don't believe we are the right agency for you."
((We almost got that out with a straight face. Read your work? Where in the world would we find the time?))
"You deserve an enthusiastic representative, so we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one "yes" and with so many different opinions out there, you could easily find the right match."
((If there's anyone out there who will take on your manuscript, then you've got to be the luckiest bastard on Earth. But odds are, you'd really be wasting your time in continuing to propagate this garbage. But thanks for taking up our bandwidth anyway.
Did we mention that "space pirate" is one of those sequences of keywords that gets instantly tagged by our slushkiller software))

[No, you're not seeing things...that IS word-for-word from the last rejection letter. The Translator(TM) does not lie.]
"Good luck with all your publishing endeavors."
((You're going to need it.))

Submission Guidelines, Translated

(Reposted from the Midwestern Writer Wannabe blog)

So, as you may have guessed, my WIP is still on the submission train to nowhere.

I do find many of the submission guidelines interesting, though, and have found a nifty little program that translates them into author-ese.

1. Do not submit work electronically or on any kind of electronic media. In fact, don't submit it at all. That makes our slush readers' jobs a lot easier all around.

2. Address your submissions to XXXX. This won't be the person who reads your submission, but it makes you feel better. If you knew who was really reading your submission, it would only depress you, and the last thing we want to deal with is a depressed author.

3. No simultaneous submissions. No, we don't know what it really means either. But it gives us another good reason to reject your piece.

6. Send a cover letter. There's no standard for this cover letter, but we know everyone out there will have their own opinions on what should be in it. This is one of the few joys we have in this business, watching people fall all over themselves telling each other how it should be done.

(You'll notice that we skipped requirements #4 and #5. These are our super-secret requirements that would assure your publication, which is why we can't show you.)

7. We can't be held responsible for any lost manuscripts. We'll blame the Post Office, because we can. If we can't, then we'll blame it on the fact you didn't put your personal information on every page of the manuscript, cover letter, query, and any other assorted documents. If we can't do that, then we'll blame it on an intern and ask you to send us your query again.

8. Allow at least six months to hear back from us. This gives us a better rationalization for any excuses we may come up with per requirement #7.

9. Print your manuscript on an actual printer. Crayon, magic marker, and other assorted writing utensils will be accepted, but only so we can hang it on the bathroom walls for folks to laugh at.

10. Don't use any fancy formatting, even if you really want it or think it needs to be there. We're going to have the whole thing re-edited anyway, even if we do accept your work. The same holds true for the title - don't stress about it, because we're going to completely change it.

Politics in all its Wisdom

Politics amuse me.
On my home planet, we still exist under a monarchy of sorts, so this entire voting process is foreign to me. As such, it boggles my mind how nasty and vile the various candidates can become.

Case in point, the race for Attorney General in Kansas between the Republican incumbent and the Democratic challenger.

As with the earlier race, this one has included some vicious claims about each other.

This race has even gotten national attention, mainly from the fact that the incumbent ran into opposition over his desire to review medical records to prosecute child rape cases...

To make matters even more interesting, apparently the Democratic challenger used to be a Republican, and switched parties to run against the incumbent. And then, a former Republican Attorney General endorsed him.

And then, to make an exciting race even more exciting, if the Republican incumbent loses the race, he could end up taking the job left vacant by his Democratic challenger.

As I said before, this whole politics thing amuses me.

20 October 2006

Shacking Up

Aston suggested I should shack up in his blog, since I don't seem to post all that often. So, over the next few days (weeks?), I'll attempt to port some posts over from my old digs...

I see Aston already put up a few reminders of what I really should be doing (working on my novels), so I guess I'd better do that too.

09 October 2006


And in case it wasn't blatantly obvious from that last post, I'm all for making homeowners' associations illegal...so write your local and national government officials, let's make it happen!

07 October 2006

Homeowners' Associations: The Series

So, with the political climate in full swing for fall elections, what better time is there to start spreading a lot of rumor, gossip, and innuendo? Yes, happy bloggers, I'm referring to homeowners' associations.

I'm certain, much like labor unions, these relics once had a purpose. But also like the former, they've mutated into something far more sinister and deviant.

The local association here in my current neighborhood has seen fit to begin their annual crackdown on all those nasty individuals who haven't yet put in the required number of trees and bushes. Infidels, the whole lot of them!

Lucky me, I have an inside source on the board, and get a lot of good gossip.

So, get this: The board wants to implement a $150/month (No, that's not a typo...really, one hundred and fifty dollars PER MONTH) fine for anyone who isn't in compliance with the "trees and bushes" clause of covenants that were put in place by the original builder. This builder hasn't even been in the picture for years, but by golly, those rules must be important, or else why would they exist?

And that's not even the best part...the rules state that two 2-inch (diameter) trees must be planted. Now, a number of homes around the area have trees, but apparently the board is going to go around and measure everyone's trees, because some people only have (newly planted) trees that don't meet the minimum diameter.

My source tells me there's a lot of dissention on the board, though, because not everyone thinks the fine is fair (um, duh?) nor is the board playing fair, since many other rules and regulations aren't being enforced (some of which by board members themselves).

My source has also gotten many nasty-grams from others on the board, since he's at the forefront of said dissention.

It's like watching a soap opera, except without as many love triangles to try and weave through.

As far as we know...

More to come...