Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bel's Lemon Barcellos

A couple people have requested this recipe from Not Low Maintenance.  So here you have it.

Bel’s Lemon Barcellos

4 eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice plus enough Limoncello or any lemon liqueur to equal 1/2 cup
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour
1 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter (preferably from Brittany but even Bel makes do with what’s in the      supermarket)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and butter together.
Press into 8X8 inch pan.  Bake 15 minutes or until nicely light golden brown.
Beat eggs, sugar, Limoncello, lemon juice and zest together.
Pour onto partially baked crust.  Bake until set about 20 minutes but Bel says you should use your own judgment as all ovens vary in temperature.  Cool.  Cut into small squares.
Bel suggests a light dusting with powdered sugar, and to decorate with fresh mint.  Few people will actually eat the mint but Viva is correct when she says presentation is everything.
Yield: 8 servings

Agents As Facilitators

The big non-news of the week.  Some agents have decided to jump up on the fence and semi-embrace ebooks.  They are going to help *their* clients negotiate the treacherous waters of epublishing and assist in getting cover art, formatting and whatever whatever.  While assuring everyone they are not unembracing legacy publishing where they will still work to get the best deals possible for *their* clients.

Well, all this is very nice, isn't it, and doesn't change a thing for the rest of us.  It's still about the elitist club of agents and authors deigned by legacy publishing to be good enough for paper.  But now they see that paper tower collapsing so they want in on what they weren't able embrace earlier.  For 15% in perpetuity.

Where are the legitimate and honest and experienced people who want to help digital writers?  No no I know there are plenty of people out there willing to take noobies to the cleaners.  And there are even some legitimate artists and editors trying to get work.  I don't know who those people are and I don't know how to find them besides the normal slog thru google method of finding anything.

Digital is a free-for-all at the moment.  It's like the California Gold Rush.

I feel stupid repeating the same thing.  Write the best book you can.  Produce the best book you can.  It will matter.  Eventually.  Maybe not today or even this year.  Do your best work even if it winds up only being for you.

I decided to do another cookbook since I am doing so many photos for NLM2.  Even though I have done 2 (possibly 3) cookbooks for legacy publishing, they don't want me now.  I don't have a restaurant or a TV show.
This is true.  You need a platform of some kind.  You need to already be famous in some way.  I'm not.  Okay fine.  I got to do it twice (possibly 3) and that was a life accomplishment.

Wow.  I just had a very bizarre idea for NLM2.  Sheesh.  Okay.

I can only speak for me but it took about 5 years to come up with that idea.  I'm not saying every book needs to take 5 years but what I'm suggesting is that you give yourself time to think about your story.  Rushing to finish for the sake for finishing will not serve anyone well.

Monday, June 27, 2011

First Ever Contest!

You are so lucky!  If you can correctly identify what this image is, I will send you a copy of NLM2 when it's published.  Such a deal.

Good Luck!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Illustrations In Ebooks

As I've been saying for weeks, I'm working on photography for the NLM2 book.  Why?  Who illustrates novels?

I do, if I can.  If it's appropriate.  What's the rationale?  Added content.

I'm reading Annie Jacobsen's nonfiction Area 51 now (very much recommend it as a window into the world of espionage).  I was struck by the vast number of links in the text.

I tried to read Do The Noises In My Head Bother You (yes, Steven, they do to the point where I won't finish the book) but the number of good color photos is surprising.  Well done.

I read Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends.  Quite well written.  Bravo!  He grew upand instead of becoming a star, became an adult.  But it seems plain, devoid of photos.  I needed more.

I want the technology to come to the point, and it's not there yet, where a book like Witch by Michal Towber (highly recommended) would make it possible for the reader to listen to the soundtrack at the same time.  And trust me, I've heard the soundtrack to this book and it's fantastic.

But with my Nook Color you can have your own music loaded onto it.  You can access Pandora and listen to music.  How big a step is it for the book to come with its own music?  It doesn't seem that complicated to me to listen and read at the same time.

If your book could have illustrations, put them in.

I was contacted circuitously this week by a woman doing a nonfiction book who wanted help in formatting it.  She was doubtful it would work because of all the graphs and charts.  A jpg is a jpg.  If you get the html right, you will be fine.  The only issue is size.

My friend, Chris Westphal, did a marvelous book  Inhuman (highly recommended) and created 150 images of newspaper clippings, reports, interviews, letters and notes.  Initially it was too large a file for Amazon to accept and he had to cut it down but got it to the point where everything worked.

Great and creative things can be done with ebooks.  We're just starting out.  So after you've written the best book you can, make it the best book you can.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Formatting Made Simple

Comma, I guess.

For one of the lists I'm on, I put together a couple pages as an overview of how to format a book in doc format for BN or Amazon.  If you want a PDF copy, email me and I'll send it to you.

Remember that BN takes uploads in doc, docx or epub.  It does not accept zip files.  It doesn't need to.  It's fine with images in your document as it is.  (How about getting with the modern era, Amazon?)

Amazon takes doc (not docx) but it's happiest with html.  IF you have any images (like the cover) you will need to convert your doc into html.  Then you will have to create a zip file making sure you have all the image files and the document in html format in the zip file.

It's good if you have an html editor program to check everything one last pass.  I had trouble with the images linking this past week and had to go in and manually change every one of them in Fling this week.  Make sure the document is looking for the image with its correct appellation.  It'll probably be renamed to something like image001.jpg.  The document is probably going to be looking for mrsawiggins.jpg so your image won't show up.

I use Expression Web for all things html/web work and I'm very happy happy happy with it.  I used Dreamweaver for a while and it made me nuts but maybe you'll be better with it.  I don't know what Sigil does.  It seems confusing to me so I never keep it open long enough to find out.  Expression Web is not confusing.

I have no experience uploading a mobi file to Amazon--sorry.

Here's a chocolate tart I made yesterday for the NLM2 book.

I'm discovering something about me and food photography.  It's a still life.  I'm not there to sell the food.  In this image, I'm more attracted to the verticality of it than I am intrigued by the chocolate tart.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Breaking My Own Rules

Maybe.  Maybe not.

I have an old Makinon Macro lens for my 35mm Nikon.  Useless.  But Nikon was smart and made everything backwards compatible to a degree so you can use old lenses on new bodies (no this isn't another post about cameras) they are just totally manual.

Yesterday while I was attempting to get the Makinon sorted out (never happened) I took a photo with my current go-to lens.  The image was so wonderful I played around with it most of the afternoon (no the trial was cancelled so I'm not on jury duty) and this morning I wondered if I could replace the old Fling cover.

I think it's worth a shot.

What are the rules I am potentially breaking?  I would always advise against using a script font.  So how do I figure it works for me and few others.  Fling is a really short title.  White letters on a dark background.  Heck, with my bad eyes, I can read it.  The font is so gorgeous with its long sweeping curves, it echoes the petals.  The image is organic.  The font is organic.  It works for me.

My name is questionable.  It's so long.  It's always too much text.  But this morning I don't care very much.  I can always go back and change it anyway.  Are readers going to see the cover and make a decision based on my name?  Konrath yes.  Morgenroth no.  Your eye goes to the top of the image because of the large white lettering.  They'll see Fling.  They'll see the flower.  They click or not.  My name is insignificant to this design.

Why didn't I change the font to something simpler for my name?  Because it's visually disruptive.  We're into a curvilinear mode, anything block is discordant.  That's the explanation.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Legacy Pricing on Ebooks

This is obscene!

Dessert University: More Than 300 Spectacular Recipes and Essential Lessons from White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier


$40.00 List Price
(Save 31%)

NOOK Book (eBook)


Okay so it's a large book.  I guess we're paying for the paper.  Wait.  The hardcover is less expensive.

There is no way I'm paying $30 for a book that doesn't exist outside my Nook.

I could go into a longish discussion about movie prices.  A hundred years ago filmmakers produced movies and for 5 cents you were given THE EXPERIENCE of seeing this very unusual moving picture thing.  Hollywood got very very rich on providing only the experience.  You go see a movie.  You don't take it home with you.  You barely remember it.  You're paying for the experience.

And it used to be a glorious experience because you were seeing the movie shown in a marvelous theater on the huge screen it was designed to be seen on.

Now you see movies made to be seen on your TV.  They're smaller in actual visual field.  Because they won't fit on the TV.  So you don't care if you pay $10 for a DVD of the damn thing.  It's crap anyway.  It's not art.

I was at some forum and there was a post about Sourcecode (huh?) being the best movie evah!  Wow.  Better than Citizen Kane?  Better than Gone With the Wind?  Better than The Crowd?  I could name 50 movies from every decade in film history that have to be better than Sourcecode.  Which I never freaking heard of until that post.

I digress.

I don't want to pay for the experience of a book.  I want the book or I want the experience at a HUGE discount.
$30?  They're nuts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Solstice

Yes it's summer.  I can't tell by the weather.  I can't tell by the garden.

A number of people have told me I should get into designing ebook covers but frankly I don't want to do that.
I am entertaining the idea of doing the art, though, which could be purchased and people would put their own title on it.  Or I could for an added fee.  (Like it's not going to make me rich either way since I'd never be brazen enough to ask $200.)  What I don't want to do is...

My BFF Allen was an illustrator.  He was wonderful, so talented.  We were at the same points in our careers at the same time so that was a lot of fun.  I remember him coming back from a NYC publisher/art director with his huge piece of art that must have taken him a hundred hours to paint, if not more.  He said to me "They want more purple."

I don't want to do that.  You can take the piece as is or not.  But I'm not adding more purple.  It will be 1000 px X 1500 px though and if anyone wants to go to and "fix" it, they are welcome to do so.

This is what I've been playing around with for the last couple days.  I've learned an important lesson since I got the D7000.  When I was a photography major you were expected to do everything in the camera/on the film because there wasn't the technology to do much in the darkroom.  Now it's the exact opposite.  If you can just bring back an image that's in "focus" then you do everything with software.  I admit to ambivalence.  It's cool and it's a different way of doing "photography" but I don't know that it's photography.  If photography is going out and getting an image of something in the real world so people can know what that is, then this new thing isn't really that.

Yes, this is a photograph I actually took that was of something organic and you would recognize if you saw it.  Using the computer, it was transformed into something unrecognizable yet totally cool.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

What's Failure Between Friends?

Don't confuse me with Bel.  I'm not a pastry chef.

Everything was fine until I cut it.  Then it turned out the pastry cream never really set.  The thing with pastry cream for me is I'm always pretty nervous about it breaking.  If you cook it too long, the eggs curdle/scramble.
If you don't cook it long enough, it's too thin.  So it looks like just for me I need to practice more on that part.

I exaggerate.  Everything was not fine.  I didn't have a tart pan.  Or a ring.  Yesterday nothing to do with online finances worked.  I tried to order the rings about 3 times before it went through.  Tip:  Sur La Table had the best prices and lowest shipping.  It's nonsensical to charge $12 to ship a 4" ring and a 6" ring that could not possibly weigh more than 8 oz. so the chef's/pastry outlet whatever it was lost my business.  You could stick these in a padded envelope.  Let's be practical in these tough times.

Speaking of tough times, I won't.

Oh.  I started to read Steve Tyler's bio, what's it called???  Um Do The Noises In My Head Bother You.  Something like that.  Yes, Steven, they do.  Did drugs do this to him?  Was he ever sober?  

I know this isn't a popular viewpoint, but Dr. Pat Santy, a psychiatrist speaks about the damage marijuana and drugs can do to a young brain.  That means an unmatured, not fully developed person.  Like under 21 or 81.  I'm not sure when drugs are good for you/approved for unlimited use.  So apparently he started blazing up when he was about 12 and I haven't read far enough to know when he stopped but I'm at the point where he's 22 now and he's like a chimney in the middle of winter.  Even if you stop, the damage is done.  Organically.  No going back.

While researching about the music business, I'm reading about Gram Parsons who sounds like he wasn't sober very often for the last 15 years of his life (he died at 26), about Mary Forsberg or something, ditto, and now Steven Tyler.  Gram Parsons and Mary Whatever, I get to some degree.  Self-medicating.  Get it.  I get why my friend M. got into heroin--there was a good/understandable reason for that.  Some of these other people, I don't get so much.

There are 2 choices writers can make.  They can skim the surface of everything and use sex and violence as shock techniques to pretend there's some content to their work.  The other choice is to actually spend the time thinking, researching and attempting to understand people so characters can have depth.

When books have stupendous sales and are as shallow as a puddle, it's impossible for me to argue for greater depth.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Are Readers The Ultimate Judge

I've read a number of wildly successful indie ebooks that I found disappointing.  Sales figures say I'm wrong.

If a book goes through the process of traditional publishing, you hope that having an experienced eye look at the project will give the writer another point of view.  Sometimes you really are just too close to see issues.  Sometimes you can defend your choices too vehemently.  Sometimes you just need a dialogue instead of a monologue.  Feedback.  But it's not enough to be judged by your friends and peers, you need someone who knows more than you do.  

That's what traditional publishing is supposed to offer.  And this is what indie publishing can't offer.  It's indie.

You can try to hire an editor and hope they know more than you do.

Or you just publish and let the reader decide.  If the sales are strong, you done good.  If not, you failed.

You can stop there if you are satisfied with mass opinion.  Is there a reason to try for anything greater than great sales?  What is quality?  Is quality measured in numbers or is it more nebulous than that?

Should we dig deeper or try harder? 

Are these just foolish questions?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


"Shoot him in the head."
"Shoot him in the other head."

I never saw that movie even if I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is gorgeous.  Drug dealers, Mafiosi, all that doesn't appeal to me.  Cheap thrills.  Lazy writing.

What's with everyone revealing their medical issues though?  Does it really help anyone who might be bipolar to know that Mrs. Douglas is bipolar?  I've known 2 (possibly 3) bipolar people and part of the problem is not seeing you have a problem even if you are staying up all night with a rifle out the window waiting for the bad guys to come steal your last gunny sack.  So there's something creepy about letting the world into your life like that.  But apparently privacy doesn't have the cachet it once had.  What's a little bipolar issue compared to recording your every bedroom move and uploading it to youtube?

Carrie Fisher is proudly bipolar, too.  And she can tap dance thanks to her mother. 

Let's have a contest and name a Hollywood celebrity who doesn't act out because of a medical condition!
Let's have a contest and caption all Anthony Weiner images!  What's his "disease" that rehab is going to cure?  Did you see the pic of him in tights and a bra?  Oiled up may I add. 

This is what happens when kids are mean to the geek in grade school.  It really screws up their heads bigtime.  Then we all pay for the fun you had in 3rd grade. 

Decide for yourself how serious I am.

The traffic I'm referring to is blog traffic and an awful lot of people are suddenly showing up and I don't know where and I don't know why.  Yes, I looked at the stats.  Even with my math skills it doesn't add up.

So I spent all morning on  photography and now I have to shift gears and get to NLM2.  I'm still trying to figure out how to use the flash as fill.  Why can't you make the flash go off even if the camera doesn't think you need it?  Oh wait.  You can.  Never mind.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Legacy Publishing Nails It Again!


I won't go into the whole story of it, the why (not my idea, the point is that there's interest in this book as a film property) and all like that.  Ugh.  And I won't name names.  I'll just say I got a pass today from a Big 6 editor for Not Low Maintenance.  She said it just didn't have the twists and turns of a suspense novel to compete in a very bloated category.

Okey Dokey.  What didn't she understand about the novel being a ROMANTIC COMEDY?
Who said anything about suspense or legal thriller (except of course Amazon).  All you have to do is read the book and see all the humor, the screwball comedy of it, to know it's not a serious book.

Class.  What did we learn from this?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Either she didn't read the book or her ability to comprehend what she's reading--I can't even call it nuance, the thing is flat out light women's fiction whatever the term we don't have for it is--is minimal.  The book is full of illustrations.  When was the last time a suspense novel had a watercolor of a hen, mixing bowls, or Stern's Wharf in it?

This is so bizarre.  I despair of these people.

So I'm turning back to the test photography for the NLM2 book which is probably a historic ghost story provided your eyes are in backwards.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Covers 101

And Blogger is down again.  Whee! 
I won't even bother trying to post a photo.

I was somewhere--nevermind where, it's not my intention to hurt anyone's feelings--and saw a cover that committed 2 of the main sins.

1) Don't use sunsets.  (or sunrises for that matter). 
2) Let's at least be able to READ the title and the author's name.  

I don't know what else to say.

#1 is a matter of personal preference.  You like the sunset, you want the sunset, you haven't looked at 1200 other covers on wherever also using a sunset and if you did see them you don't care because you want the sunset even if it has nothing to do with the theme or plot or any peripheral information that may possibly be contained in your book.  Oh well then go for it.  Use it as your desktop image, too.

#2.  The color of the text is the same color as the sky in the sunset except with a thin outline (to make it stand out from the background undoubtedly).  I don't understand this choice.  I know people think things look good when I don't.  I've been to enough auctions and craft fairs to know that.  I can't explain it. 

Be objective.  I know it's very exciting to write your book and be able to publish it on your own.  Don't be so excited you're in a rush.  Go look at the covers of books in that category.  Read the descriptions.  Read the samples.  Compare everything to yours being unemotional and professional.

Is there anything you can do more efficiently?  Does your book stand out from the million other books on Amazon?  Is the cover eye-catching and readable?  Is the description entertaining, interesting and to the point?
Are the pages of your sample likely to make the reader want to buy the book?  Be objective.

If someone is scrolling through the Top 100 Books in whatever category it is, is there ANYTHING about your cover that would make a reader slow down?  Because at some point, all your friends and relatives will have bought the book and you have to rely on strangers who don't know you and don't care about your feelings and only want a 2 hour mini-vacation from the hard reality of the world to spend their money on your work.

How are you going to convince them to do this?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Nikon D7000

We can just say I'm in love.  The only aspect I have an issue with at this point is that it's more like a tablet computer with a big lens on it than a camera.  I'm not sure what I'm here for except of course my marvelous eye for composition.

I just bought strawberries because I have an idea for the cover of NLM2 and without going to any particular trouble and put them in a jar.  In shade, I took about 10 shots.

Here is a completely unprocessed image, directly from the camera.

I looked at it on on the monitor and said "Holy Moly."  I don't think you can see how extremely sharp this is, but in Photoshop it's obvious.

Then I decided let's run it thru the sharpening action and see what happens.

Yes it's sharper.  Wow it's sharper.  But at this level of sharp, I don't know if that's better for me and I love being able to say that.

I had another idea for the cover and I'm working/waiting on the prep work right now.  If it works, it will be striking, even if not pastry.  It does harken back to something that happened in the book even if not exactly.

I guess the bottom line of this post is that if you're going to go to a semi-pro camera, the Nikon D7000 will be a very pleasant tool.

I thought it was reasonably priced.  Yes, I did have a lens for it so I could get away with just buying the body.
And a memory card.  But I spent essentially the same for the Nikon D70 kit 6 (whatever) years ago.  It's far less camera for the money.  And according to the reviews you'll get the same images with the D5100 and for several hundred dollars less.  I didn't go with the 7000 for the bells and whistles, I went for issues related to my eyesight; the same set-up isn't offered with the D5100.  So if your eyesight is terrific, you can save some $.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Free Books

Does the availability of free books hurt writers now or in the future?

Konrath says no.  That's out of the way.

Writers can't indefinitely write for free.  Sad but true all you people out there who think 99 cents is too much to spend.  Hobbyists can, though.  Let me quote that reader again "I never read a book priced under $3 that was worth it" or whatever she said.

At some point it will become, or already is, obvious you have to pay people for their labor.  Otherwise they stop working and then where are you?  Sure you can have 600 free books on your reader.  All the classics have been written and Charles Dickens isn't going to spring to life because digital needs more content.  You ravenously, greedily, accumulate all these free books and somehow manage to read them.  Then what.  You need free books.  They could be lousy they could be great.  All that's important is that they cost nothing.  A consumer decision made by someone who probably has an expensive cellphone plan thing whatever they're called.  No clue, I don't have a cellphone, iPod, blender, set of knives in an adorable Ukamebeki wood block, closet full of shoes I won't wear out or a fancy car.
I understand that some people are worried about this but I'm not.  If someone wants free more than the thought and life I put into my work, I don't want them to download my book.  The world is made up of all types of people.  Even a niche audience can be large if you're talking about reaching the world.  There is truth to the saying "you get what you pay for".

Morning for test photography, afternoon for skyhigh temps and schvitzing around the house going Oy Oy Oy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ready For Arrival

I read an article yesterday that said ebooks aren't ready yet.
By what standard?
Let's try for some *reality* based reality instead of just congratulating ourselves on how reality-based we are.
Ebooks are ready, they're here, they're not going away.

The camera body is on the truck for arrival so if it comes early enough and I can charge the battery before the sun goes down, I will do some test shots and add them to the end of this post.  Otherwise, tomorrow.

Yesterday I had occasion to speak with someone who spent many years in the publishing industry then became an agent.  She confirmed everything I've been saying about the business--the poor treatment of writers, the unwise business decisions, the motivated intent to ignore the technology bearing down upon them.  One could say she's just spouting off (one should say I do that) because she's jumping ship and moving into ebooks herself. 

There are always reasons you are unwilling to be forthcoming when things are terribly wrong.  I don't remember ever going to NBC and telling them about the production problems we were having on The Doctors.  It was a team, you have to work with these people and you want to keep your job.  I expect the same thing is true in publishing.  People don't burn bridges the way I do but the truth starts to leak out and we're seeing that.

That's not to say there aren't fine and decent people in publishing and that everything is wrong.  That wouldn't be fair or true.  But there are problems.  We know that.  If paper publishing is to compete with ebooks in the future, they'll have to change the way they do things.

One of the most important things this person said to me as we were talking on the phone and she was perusing this blog is that the covers for Rise and Burning Daylight are spectacular.

Yes, I'm still glowing with that praise but beyond the personal, it's again confirmation that we can do it as well as the professionals in legacy publishing.

If you want to compete with traditional publishing, you have to put in as much effort to turn out an equivalent product as they would put in.  They have a team.  You only have you.  It's a major investment in time, effort and thought.

Write the best book you can and then make it the best book you can.

Okay.  Nikon D7000.  I haven't had that much time with it.  It's similar to the D70 but better thought out.  The manual was written by someone who was *not* stoned.  Way to go, Nikon!  If I have to say something about it I will hedge my statement like crazy and say it seems like the autofocus mode works amazingly, shockingly, well.  I won't say anything else because I'm not sure and I've lost much of my light outside.  Maybe it can see but I really can't.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Fat Lady Sings a Song of Nikons

I decided that the weekend photo shoot would push me to make the choice of holding what I've got or
getting a new body.  And the results were really just so disappointing that I sent for the D7000 body.
It shouldn't be that hard to get a somewhat decent shot of a couple mangos and the D70 even with the tripod
and Vibration Reduction lens couldn't manage it.  The conditions here were not ideal and I had better results last week but I'm tired/bored of trying so hard.  And because all my attention is on this, it's not on NLM2.  If time is money, I'm throwing money away trying to get this thing to work.

I got the body for a good enough deal that if I am not happier with it, I can sell it on Amazon for the same money.  For all the praising reviews, it should be great.

Why don't I just pay the $150 for the marvelous pastry shot from Helen McSweeney and be done with it?  I guess because I started my adult life as a photographer and having a good camera is the norm.  And I want to take the bloody cover shot myself!

Wow.  I just found out there is someone giving classes in blogging.  And marketing yourself through your blog.
Hang on.  Let me try to be serious about a response to this because my first reaction is "You're kidding, right?"

Let me see if I can find a jailable offense embed.  Be right back.

That's what I think.  We've been marketed to the brink of death already.  I don't want anyone selling anything, including themselves to me.  I don't care if you come here and don't buy my books or don't read my books.  I'm here to talk about ebooks, digital and legacy publishing.  If you want to listen, that's fine.  If you're not coming here, that's fine too.

I'll say it again.  People ask me about marketing.  I don't do it.  I don't like doing it.  I never have.  The way it's always worked for me is that I tell other people about a great story with all the passion I can muster.  I don't worry about making sense, having a thru-line, or being professional/tamped down.  The passion and belief I have in any project is real, it existed before the project and exists after the project because it was worthy of my time (and the audience's).  I believe in it because it's important. 

When I was on the phone with the agent this week, and God bless her for being able to follow my incoherence, she asked "What's this book about?"  I said "Too many Jews and not enough shoes."  "Is it about the brash kind of Jews?"  "NO!"  And that's when the torrent was unleashed.  Everything I believe was fit into the next two minutes and none of it had to do with writing but it is all in the book.

If that's not enough, I don't have any more to give.

You have to be sincere.  This is not life by the numbers.  You can't follow the rules someone else came up with.
What works for Konrath isn't going to work for me.  What works for Amanda Hocking isn't for everyone.  What works for me is the most authentic me I can be.

It's not about shoes.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sing A Song of Nikons--Part 2

The question for the weekend is do I get a new camera body.
If money was no object I might go to a Canon EOS5 Mark2.  But if I buy the body and the lens I want which is equivalent to the Nikkor lens I have now, I'm looking at over $3000.  I just don't shoot enough to warrant that.

From what I've read in the reviews, the Nikon D5100 and the D7000 are way up there.  Just tell me about the quality of the image.  I don't care about all the silly bells and whistles.  What's the end result.  One reviewer insists you can get the same quality with the 5100 as the 7000 with less frills.  But going into the specs it seems that the focal reference points are many times greater in the 7000.  I just want to take the picture and be happy.  The 7000 is also partly metal and I think I may feel more at home with that after my two former Nikons that weighed a ton.  Then I can just use the lenses I have if I get a Nikon body.  If I go with the Canon I start from scratch.

That's the conundrum.  For anyone interested it looks like Abe's of Maine has the best prices.  I might not do anything.  I have a very hard time making my mind up on issues that don't have much impact.

I don't know what's happening with NLM.  Could be something, might not be anything.  And that's beside the movie option interest.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Embedding Youtube Vids To Be A Felony

Techdirt reports that Senate bill 978 – a bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes – may be used to prosecute people for embedding YouTube videos.
According to Mark Masnick, if a website embeds a YouTube video that is determined to have infringed on copyright and more than 10 people view it on that website, the owner or others associated with the website could face up to five years in prison.

What can I say?  This is the government "we" voted for.  Apparently the whole notion of freedom is a lot less attractive than it used to be.  The TSA groped a woman in Texas and as she screamed and begged for a policeman, the TSA goons blocked the video shoot.  (I would post the vid from youtube but I don't have time to go to jail.)  This is what we want.  Government intrusion into every corner of our lives.

Here's a judge ruling that a prayer is illegal at a high school graduation
Judge Biery’s ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”
He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program.
“These terms shall be replaced with ‘opening remarks’ and ‘closing remarks,'” the judge’s order stated. His ruling also prohibits anyone from saying, “in [a deity’s name] we pray.”
Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents.”

This country was founded on the idea of freedom of religion.  Now if one person complains, you can be thrown into jail.  In New Jersey a cross had to be covered and people enter the building from a side door just so one person wouldn't be offended.

I would write a book about this but I already did.  So...I thought I would live to see a nuclear war but I never thought we would just give up our freedom like this without a whimper without a protest, instead embracing the government as our new masters.  Truly, 1984 has arrived.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

HUGE Surprise

No, not that Blogger is down yet again.

I have been contacted by a film producer out in Los Angeles, yes, a real person with a real resume.
She's interested in the film rights to Not Low Maintenance.


According to this article Kindle owns 67% of the ebook market.  BN 20% and everyone else gets to divy up the slaughterhouse sweepings.  Amazon created its own publishing arm and stuck Larry Kirshbaum at the helm so they're very serious about being a player in the publishing world.

Okay class.  What's my reaction?
a) This is horrible.  Amazon is a retailer.  What do they know about finding great literature, squiring it through the publication process and bringing a terrific product to the reader?
b) This is neither horrible nor terrific.  Bezos has an oversized ego, let him lose his shirt on this gambit.  Why expect will he do any better than the Sick Six who are struggling to stay afloat now? 
c) Bravo!  Kick 'em where it hurts!

I fully expect this publishing venture to work.  I would love to see it work.  We need a new model for publishing now although I am not convinced...what's that song, is it The Who "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"?  

The point for us, as writers, as creators of this content these bigwigs diddle with like commodities in a game of Monopoly, is that the way we're treated changes.  We want greater input, greater control and a greater share of the income.  We would also prefer to be treated with courtesy rather than as cash cows.
So while people are either wringing their hands over this next new thing to hit the publishing industry or applauding the brash move of Jeff Bezos, let's just try to remember one freaking thing--there's no publishing "industry" without writers.