Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

The kiddies are starting to show up - there was a great vampire kid - real retro, Bela Lugosi makeup that someone obviously took time to do for him. One toddler thought he should just come right inside and make himself at home and the grandkitties are completely freaked out.

For all of you and yours, Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Surprise!!I An ILAA Update - This Desert Rose Doesn't Smell So Good

The IILAA site had a interim page up (very briefly, I hear) before the current brown stain appeared there. The Truth About Writing site managed to capture the eloquently stated position of the IILAA before it disappeared - it's not quite exactly what you'd expect to see on a professional literary agent's association's webpage.

Also, the IILAA sockpuppet has arrived! You knew it would show up sooner or later. An anonymous new member of Absolute Write has sent a PM to Victoria Strauss (and others). Victoria has reproduced her PM on her blog. It appears that Desert Rose Literary Agency has a defender - a "client" (certainly not the primary agent for Desert Rose Literary Agency, Leann Murphy, really, someone else completely different, really) has selflessly stepped into the fray on Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency's behalf, completely unsolicited by Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency to chastise and decry the terrible things the CABAL is doing to Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency.

But, what does the Desert Rose Literary Agency have to do with IILAA? Because IILAA is the target, not Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency.

Because, other than being on the top ten list of Independent Agencies on the (now a blank brown stain) IILAA site, why would one of Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency's "clients" feel they have to defend her with vague threats about connections and knowing how to code because the IILAA site is being made the laughingstock of the blogosphere?

Surely not because Leann Murphy of the Desert Rose Literary Agency made up the IILAA or created the website for it, just so she could say she was part of a real live literary agent's association (does it make you wonder why she's not with the AAR? It wouldn't be that sticky Canon of Ethics or maybe having to actually sell to real publishers, would it?) to lend some legitimacy and credibility to her own agency...I'll leave it to better sleuths than me to figure it out.

However, I do believe stock in Alcoa recently went up considering the amount of tinfoil being converted to chapeaux.

One other thing, did you wonder what the "International" in International Independent Literary Agents Association means? Perhaps the 10th of the top ten was Hill & Hill of the UK? People are making a connection but with the IILAA site down and Mr. Hill incommunicado, it's difficult to really link these two. However, this post from via Miss Snark does merit review as it discloses Mr. Hill's underhanded tactics and will arm folk against falling for the tricks of others like him.

Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Oh NO! The IILAA Site is Down! Also, Babs Has A Podcast

A visit to the IILAA website reveals a brown page with the words "Hello there! I am currently working on the site....... Thanks for visiting!" Nothing more. I wonder why it's down?

Perhaps for a well deserved proof-reading to edit out the numerous typos and grammar/punctuation errors (IILAA stands for "International Independent Literary Agents Association" - missing an apostrophe, maybe)?

Perhaps to update the "IILAA top 10 agents" list to a more accurate "top 9" (unless it's to add a 10th member)

Maybe they couldn't handle all the web traffic coming their way from people who read blogs like Writer Beware's AC Crispin and Victoria Strauss' blog, Miss Snark's, Agent Kristin, or folk who frequent Absolute Write or Preditors & Editors...

On the off chance that you, dear reader, aren't one of my usual 3 or 4 buddies from Absolute Write who already know this stuff and you are also novice writer who has been Googling along doing some research into the getting of an agent - PLEASE READ the info on these next links:

  • SFWA's Writer Beware info on Agents and Agencies (and you don't have to write SF for this stuff to apply to you)
  • Absolute Write Bewares and Background Checks forum - there are some general interest threads and then many, many specific inquiry threads. Oh, just because you see an agency or agent's name as a thread topic doesn't mean they're bad or scams - just that someone had a question - you need to read the thread and even then, go do more research!
  • Preditors and Editors
  • AAR
  • Google (or your other fav. search engine) - and don't stop with the first page! Drill down and see what the real history of (or lack thereof) this agent/agency is.
Ok. 'Nuff of that. What about Bab's Podcast?? Apparently Barbara Bauer hasn't had enough grief in her life. She has put out a podcast "What's Wrong With Publishing" or maybe it's "The Crisis in Publishing" anyway, it's Babs and a couple of like minded folk (Thomas Wahl, David Hiatt and Josh Dinnerman [sorry Matt Dinniman for the earlier typo] ).

According to Babs these things are wrong with publishing:
  • Google (which they think is getting an "exemption" from just about every law "because they are an internet service provider")
  • Anonymous people posting mis-information that "harm" a "number" of independent literary agents (whom Babs feels must be getting paid to do this by the benefactors of all the anonymous posting)
  • Googlebombing - "done by experts paid to program and, er, write that blog" ("that" blog?)
  • Disparagement on the internet - "some have called for Congressional hearings" but dear Thomas doesn't think anything will come of it
  • "Bloody", "bloodsport sites" that have Google ads that people click on taking advantage of people's names being disparaged and the government should look into it!! I agree that the government should look into what's being said on these sites. The FBI should be looking into every agent and agency these sites are talking about. And maybe the IRS.
Then she starts on the Miss Snark "column" - claiming it's a 'dragoon' of writers disparaging their competition, i.e., the Babs and her colleagues. Do read what Miss Snark (and folks in the comments) says about that.

Well, I've had enough entertainment this evening. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Is "Any Publicity" Good Publicity? More Blogging on the IILAA

More good blogging about the IILAA! (or this IILAA search)

has a nice line up posted.

Thomma Lyn has links to the AAR site and AAR's Canon of Ethics - go hit her site for the links and say hi in her comments when you visit.

Agent Kristin gives us her opinion at Pub Rants.

C. E. Petit weighs in at Scrivener's Error with some great links of his own - for example he provides a link to an Agent Research and Evaluation site that can't verify that 8 of the 9 "Top Ten" [sic] IILAA agents HAS EVER MADE A SALE to a commercial publisher.

Yes, we should give them some huge chunk of our hard earned money to represent our books (well, we in the sense of "if I had one" I'd be part of the we...oh, whatever - I'm doing NaNo this year, maybe by Dec. 1 I'll have a book, ok?) based on that track record of success. You betcha, I wanna "be a retainer" with one of those winners.

It's only fitting that Fahim on Solipsistic Meanderings has posted about this news from halfway around the world, after all, the IILAA claim to be international even though they're all in the US. I guess it really doesn't matter - they're doing just as well overseas as they are around these parts, huh?

Snarkling Kim has contributed to the conversation, too. She's another blogger to whom you should go and drop a nice "hiya" in comments.

Well, the Google Blogs search goes on for quite a few pages and even in the back pages there are a few that are actually about the IILAA - for example Jean at Storycrafters' post.

Keep spreading the news!

Go "Digg" Victoria's Post on IILAA!


Friday, October 27, 2006

IILAA and the Great Writer Advocates' Cabal Conspiracy Secret Master Plan and Stuff

I'm excited. I think I finally have my chance at being part of a cabal! A minor, flunky-type part, but hey, it's better than nothing! How do I plan to gain admittance to the Evil HQ? By helping get the cabal's insidious message out into the blogosphere.

And here's the best part: You can be a flunky, too!! Here's the linkage you should peruse and re-use at your blog (and don't forget the technorati tag, DIGG-ing it, del.ici.ous, whatever else you can think of!):

Miss Snark discusses IILAA

"It pisses me off that people use OUR profession to prey on people. You can bet your bottom dollar that if some flim flam scam sham artist went around to writing conferences advertising him/herself as an editor at Fontosaurus Publishing Company that there be fecal matter hitting the cooling device faster than you can say 'clean up your euphemisms for the RSS feed'." Miss Snark on 10/27's post

"The problem with these guys is they charge up front fees, tell people it's the norm (it's not) and don't have ANY SALES LISTED."
from Miss Snark (in comments on her 10/26 blog post)

P. N. Elrod discusses IILAA

"Apparently this bunch of qualified nouns have wearied of people like A.C. Crispin & Victoria Strauss working their butts off with others in an effort to shine a light in the slime pit world of publishing preditors.

Instead of earning an honest buck by actually SELLING a book, it's easier for the miserable leeches to attack defenders of integrity." from p_n_elrod's post

Writer Beware discusses IILAA

"Cue scary music. And just to enable you, the writer, to identify this Axis of Evil, this HYDRA, this SMERSH of the Internet, there's a helpful page entitled: How to spot hate sites who [sic] prey on the insecurities of writers. There, the terrible truth is once again revealed: "There are numerous websites trashing agents. Because of the number of these websites, the average writer who is simply browsing the internet is not aware that most of these websites, forums, chatrooms, etc., are operated by the same group of people who claim to serve the interest of you, the writer. But honestly, do you believe that the operators of these websites spend so much of their time, effort, and money because they truly care about you? Or do they have an agenda."

Okaaaay. Now I get it. It's a CONSPIRACY. Me and Ann and Dave and Jenna and Jim and Snark and Teresa aren't the autonomous individuals we pretend to be: we're a covert cabal with a Master Plan. What, you thought I was going to tell you more? Uh uh, my friend. Like any good Master Plan, ours depends on absolute secrecy." from Victoria Strauss' post

The Road Less Traveled discusses IILAA

"Their web site explains why authors should pay their agent upfront fees, and claims that Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors and other watchdog groups are really part of a conspiracy. It would be funny if novice writers weren't so vulnerable to such claims. That's how the scammers make their money, by convincing authors they should pay and pay and pay, even if they never sell a book to a publisher." from the blogger's post

Absolute Write Members discuss IILAA

I won't quote posts here - read the thread - but if you want my opinion Uncle Jim and Xhouseboy and veinglory have the best posts...

Oh, one more little thing...Anyone remember how we helped Barbara Bauer become (in)famous - briefly - earlier this year? Guess who's a member of IILAA?


Digg Victoria's blog post on this

Friday, October 20, 2006

I'm Giving This Flash Fiction Thing A Try

99 words of horror (I hope) for the 99 Words of Horror Contest courtesy of Fireflies in the Cloud and the Flash Fiction Friday sponsored by Peregrinas. This is my first attempt at 1)flash fiction 2)joining something like the FFF 3)horror.
Feel free to comment about whether or not it's actually horror. *I'm* deathly afraid of moths, btw.

Under a rock might be a scorpion, in the rafters, a black widow spider. Miss Jenson talked about poison bugs in our science circle today. She didn’t talk about moths, ones with wings big as a bird's. I hit one with my hand; it scared me flying close to my face. One flew past Jeremy, leaving powder on his shirt. Kimmie had to duck when she went inside; she got moth dust in her hair.

I see them from my window, out in the desert, under the moon. Fighting over the limp bunny between them. I feel hungry, too.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Posted Everywhere But Here Last Night

I'm not quite sure how that happened. I posted all over the place last night and wrote a 700 word personal essay (very non-uplifting and grim). Some how NVNC got the short shrift. Warning: this post is going to wander all over the place.

What does shrift mean? I know what the phrase 'short shrift' means. But the word shrift, itself, I'm not so sure. I've used it (even had someone say to me, you mean 'shift' right? like I was an idiot. These are the same folks who talk about a mute point. No, I wasn't talking about some kind of mini-dress or perhaps a gear engagement device in a poorly designed car, one that sits too low to the floor? No, I *meant* SHRIFT. sigh)

I think I knew this once...
::looking it up::

short shrift
  1. Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss.
  2. Quick work.
    1. A short respite, as from death.
    2. The brief time before execution granted a condemned prisoner for confession and absolution.
Word History: To be given short shrift is not the blessing it once was. The source of our verb shrive (shrove, shriven) and noun shrift, which have technical meanings from ecclesiastical Latin, is Classical Latin scrībere, “to write.” Shrive comes from the Old English verb scrīfan, “to decree, decree after judgment, impose a penance upon (a penitent), hear the confession of.” The past participle of scrīfan is scrifen, our shriven. The noun shrift, “penance; absolution,” comes from Old English scrift with the same meaning, which comes from scrīptus, the perfect passive participle of scrībere, and means “what is written,” or, to use the Latin word, “what is prescribed.” Theologians and confessors viewed the sacrament of penance as a prescription that cured a moral illness. In early medieval times penances were long and arduous—lengthy pilgrimages and even lifelong exile were not uncommon—and had to be performed before absolution, not after as today. However, less demanding penances could be given in extreme situations; short shrift was a brief penance given to a person condemned to death so that absolution could be granted before execution.

I love words. It saddens me that there's an attitude out there that using certain words (long ones, mostly) means you're elitist or being condescending.

How about using them because you just love the sound of the word, the way it rolls off the tongue? Or for the specificity of meaning - the exactitude. Why say "sorta blue" when you mean perriwinkle?

You'd think more programmers and other techie folk, whose lives revolve around their codes and applications doing and meaning exactly the things they are meant to do or mean, would have sympathy for a large and exact vocabulary - outside of technospeak, that is. I don't necessarily find that to be true. And I know LOTS of these people where I work and live. I've probably lost more words that I knew once (as a result of raging CRS* syndrome) than most of them will ever know. I find that sad.

Today I'm washing clothes and packing my bags for a week long business trip - my flight leaves tomorrow morning. I'm going to try and pack light. I've never accomplished that but I'll try.

Now that you can't take any liquid items onboard in your carry-on luggage, my old way of packing one bag with all the toiletries I need, doesn't fly anymore. (Yeah, dreadful pun) So I put things in plastic containers with lids, like Tupperware but the disposables, (Ziploc makes an assortment of these) and stack them in my larger suitcase. I also discovered if you use the large freezer storage zipper bags (and I mean the ones with the plastic zipper slide) for small stuff like undies, you can squeeze all the air out of the bag when you close it and the stuff takes up less room. The only loose stuff in my suitcase anymore are power cords and a book or two.

My suitcase, since I started doing this, has been searched in 3 out of 4 recent trips by TSA. I know because they leave a note - most of the time. Once they didn't but it was obvious they'd rummaged. Everything was in a different place than I'd originally packed it. So far nobody at TSA has sticky fingers.

I put my outfits in a garment bag (a luggage one, not the light plastic things) and check them through with the suitcase. All I carry on the plane any more is my tote with my computer, purse, reading materials, iPod and dry snacks. I'm always concerned that they'll lose my luggage some day and I'll have to wear the same clothes for a week. I dress nicely when I fly, just in case.

My son and DIL will be flying out tomorrow as well. Off to the adventure that is military life. We don't know yet how long he'll be Stateside before they ship him off. I suppose we'll find out pretty soon.

My daughter's SailorBoy deploys with his squadron (he's in Naval aviation) this month as well. Keep praying (if you do that) for peace and for our boys in harm's way.

Ooh - I've just discovered a blog by a sailor deployed to Kuwait - "Sand Sailor" as I was checking for Technorati Tags and I'm going to add it to my blogroll. I hope you'll take a look and give him encouragement.



*Can't Remember Sh**

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I May Have to Post This at "Cats In Sinks"

That's Jello, the grandkittie - she's been here before. My son and DIL (gulp) think her name is Kiki. Update: I've uploaded this pic to The Cats in Sinks site. Could be months before they post it according to their sidebar: "September 2006 We've just uploaded a couple more hundred images, but we've still got thousands to process... so if you've uploaded a picture, don't worry, we'll get there eventually."

She's about a year old now and still quite petite. She hisses at Yogurt and my husband. She's not much (yet) for petting or letting you carry her. Her most annoying habit is jumping on my lap - when I'm using the bathroom. And I don't mean to brush my hair... She digs in her little claws and stares at me like "ha! you can't get up can you! I'm going to leave little puncture wounds all over your thighs!"

We've also been having fun with the cats and our laser pointers. Yeah, we have them. I got a laser pointer pen from a vendor - pen/stylus option at one end, pointer at the other. Hubby has one from years ago when they first got popular. So we can send them after two red dots at once. Ah, the joys of geeky fun.

We have that faux wood flooring in our dining room and it's slippery, so when the cats chase the "bug" they slide a lot - we shouldn't laugh at them when they crash into the walls, should we? Oh, well.

Today is my blogiversary - I've been blogging for 3 years if you go back to my original blog at ohdawno.org. I'm celebrating by posting something in all my blogs today - and something different at each one.

I've signed up for NaNoWriMo and I'll be using my other blogger blog "Drive by Booking" as my NaNo blog. I'll get that kicked off tonight and post to my OhDawno blog as well, meaning I will have posts in 4 blogs - tonite is quantity not quality night for sure.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dawno Ponders Food - Art - Discworld Fandom - Other Stuff

I'm a huge Discworld fan. Huge. Love it, love Pterry. Read each book as soon as it's available. Want to go to England so I can see the BBC TV movie production of Hogfather. (BTW, great cast - David Warner is Lord Downey of the Assassins Guild, Terry himself plays The Toymaker) Took a vacation day to sit in a local bookstore all day so I could be in the front row for Terry Pratchett's reading and signing of Thud! (You can go back to my original posts from last September, starting here, if you want to read the play by play).

But this mom baked a Discworld cake for her daughter's wedding. I realized when I clicked the link (thanks to TNH's Particles sidebar on Making Light) that I'm way, way, WAY down slope in terms of the Discworld fan hierarchy, looking up at the pinnacle of fandom.

By the way - isn't that simply a fabulous piece of art, no matter whether you know about or like Discworld or not - wow! The baker-mom is very, very talented.

Certainly a better looking comestible by a couple orders of magnitude than Fluffy Mackerel Pudding. Sorry. I often go back to that site when I need to laugh until I'm gasping for breath.

Oh, will I get back to posting more frequently, now? I hope so. Next week I'm on a business trip but I'll try to find time in the evenings. That reminds me, I missed my Blogger 'blogiversary' it was back in August. My first blog post ever, however, was on October 12, 2003 so wish me a happy blogiversary tomorrow, ok?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This Wouldn't Be Dawno's Blog Without a Rooma Post Now and Then, Would It?

Plucked From the Headlines: iRobot's Dirt Dog: Roomba gets a 'tude - Engadget

"This new $130 dog will be taking a bite out of some of your toughest cleaning chores starting on Friday, but you gotta make sure that it doesn't wander out of your workspace and into the rest of the house -- it probably won't pee on your couch, but those 1,000 RPM brushes will shred your shag carpets, scratch the hell out of your polished hardwood, and -- if you have a significant other -- get you confined to the garage for the rest of your natural life."

People name their Roombas (yeah, I'm guilty) and dress them up - something I've mentioned in other posts. Others have hooked up Roomba Cams (just do a Google search to see a number of sites. Several clips have been put up at YouTube). Engaget personifies it in their article as a "dog." Wonder what they think Scooba is...ah, here's the article from last December. A bit of a letdown, no personification at all.

I hope you know we're all being softened up for the eventual overthrow of humanity by the robot overlords...there's LEGO's Mindstorms("Build and Program Robots that Do What You Want!" ...until they become one with the Overmind and turn on us), BattleBots on TV. Even YouTube has clips of people who have turned their innocuous Roombas into fighting machines. These unwitting collaborators in the war against humanity need to be turned from their dangerous path!

I recommend we all go out and buy How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion by Daniel H. Wilson

Monday, October 09, 2006

Flashback to September 1, 2006

Time to post some of those pictures of my trip to Georgia that I mentioned a bit back. Since I had forgotten my digital camera I bought a disposable at the airport on my trip there to pick up my daughter and her boyfriend. I wish I could remember what type/brand that camera was - it took excellent pictures for a disposable - had a zoom lens and pretty fast speed.

I'll start with the "Turning Blue" picture - that's the ceremony where the trainees get a blue cord that signifies they are part of the infantry.

After a benediction and some speeches and a couple of awards we were shown how to put the infantry cord on to our soldier's uniform. Here I am doing just that.

The next morning was the graduation ceremony. It started off with a lot of noise and smoke -

Off to the side of the field the company waited for their turn to join the show.

As the smoke cleared, trainees in their ghillies came running up from the far side of the field

They lined up and the composition and equipment of the squad was explained to us.

After that they "covered" each other as they pulled back into their Bradley and drove off

Finally the company marched on to the field.

This group was Matt's platoon.

Afterwards there was a lot of hugging and mugging for the camera.

That's it - We hung out with the kids until Saturday night, drove up to Atlanta for an early flight home on Sunday. He completed his jump school recently and is all Airborne ready and reports to duty next week.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Dawno's Recommended Reading

Amazon.com: Offspring: Books: Liam Jackson

The people and places of Liam Jackson’s Offspring are recognizably from the here and now – and they aren’t sappy, two dimensional do-gooders who exist only to prevail against overdrawn, over-the-top, bad guys that one encounters in some books where the bad guys are supernatural beings. In this book, the bad guys are the Fallen Angels and their Leader has decided to turn up the intensity of his rebellion against God. On Earth, violent crime and an epidemic of child abductions are just two of the symptoms of this battle which is being fought in the human realm. Is it Armageddon? Perhaps book two or three of the trilogy will provide the answer.

There's nothing about the setting, or most of the characters, that isn't completely familiar - and this could be what makes Offspring so chilling, the story doesn't sound all that fictional after scanning the headlines in today's paper or watching CNN.

The good guys being drawn into the fight against these foes seem at first ill equipped and weak, a young boy, an ex-con, a police officer losing his grip on reality, an accountant. The story follows these characters as they are inexorably drawn to Abbotsville, Tennessee for a supernatural face-off. Watching them realize who they are in the eternal scheme of things and what they now face is a compelling adventure for the reader. I highly recommend this book – I couldn’t put it down.