Friday, January 30, 2009

Hi, I used to be pseudonym, but you can call me....

I know this business is tough, but I always like to ask weird questions (it's okay, I know they're weird). There are so many writers out there giving fabulous advice--that I'm in no position to give--that I like to think in terms of what a reader or a pre-published writer might wonder about. This is especially true if it's something where I don't see much written about it elsewhere.

I have read/heard from several authors that, if their first work is promising but doesn't do well, a writer might be asked to change their name (adopt a pseudonym) if they are to try again. Now that could really suck if you used your own name the first time, and it might make a book tour awkward if someone bought your first book and knew it was you. Then again, if your first book didn't go well, probably didn't have many people stopping in on that book tour anyway, eh?

So yeah, I get where that can be awkward, even though you might be thankful just to get a second shot. But what if you had planned a series? Would that not completely suck?

See, we all have those moments of self-doubt. Even well-known bestsellers will tell you they have times where they feel likethey'll never have another good idea, or premise, or lead character again in their lives.

How much more pressure would there be, knowing your first one to actually get published, flops...and now you have to be someone new, and create someone new, because the character you had living in your head for so long wasn't dynamic enough in the marketplace?

Yeah, I know it's kind of a fringe thing to worry about, but every now and then when I'm editing or plotting my next book, a weird thought like this one pops in my head and takes up residence. What can I say?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Hurried, but New, Beginning

I find myself in an interesting position. Due to the snows, today was the last day of exams for the first semester. Tomorrow is the first day of the second semester. I'm also in the editing-the-first-and-fleshing-out-the-premise-for-the-second manuscript stage. Big goings-on, I tell ya. So yeah, we teachers are all a little freaked out because we have no break at all between the two, and I'm even more freaked out with my manuscripts, even though I have no real deadline for them. I just never wanted to be the "I spent five years writing this!" guy.

I imagine that freaked-out feeling must be what it's like when you have book deadlines, on top of editing deadlines, along with putting together a premise for the next book (series or no). Sounds pretty harrowing.

I'd still take it in a heartbeat, but that's not what has me concerned.

How will I handle it when I have those deadlines AND school?

See, here's the thing: most writers I know of, who are the primary family breadwinners, still have their day job. It's widely known that only a precious few have the sales to live on their writing alone. That said, you've got to burn a hell of a lot of midnight oil to essentially work two full-time careers like that.

I worry about whether or not I'll be able to cope, because it's not a matter of choosing what to sacrifice at night when you have stuff to grade. My writing can go at my own pace NOW, because I'm writing to land that first agent/editor/book deal. But once those wheels get rolling, I will still have papers to grade. I am completely in awe of authors who make that work, because I have no idea how I'll do it.

Don't get me wrong, I AM going to find out. I'm just wondering/worrying what it'll be like when I do.

So my question is this:
To published authors - Man, how do you guys and gals do it? (honest answers or pithy comments welcome...Shelby, Getze, I'm looking at you two here...)

To pre-published writers - Am I alone in this, or does anyone else worry about the same thing?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rescue of the Week

Well, we've got another cutie that needs a new home. Andi is a chocolate and white American Staff mix, and is full of energy at a little under 2 years old. She also is a little finnicky about pet friends, and would need to be in an Andi-only family (she wants all of your time to herself).

****EDIT: Andi has found her new home!!!****

Friday, January 16, 2009


Yes this blog is geared primarily toward writing and publishing, but I wanted to address something that is really bothering me in these tough economic times: Undeserved loyalty. I have seen too many people I know, in person or online, have to deal with bean counters and piss-poor executives, and I've about had my fill.

Hypothetical...see if this sounds like a situation someone you know has had to go through:
Person A has been working somewhere for a number of years. New management comes in a few years later, and Person A hits it off with the new supreme, the new company manager. Much of the workforce, in fact, feels that the new boss has a great management style. Not a micro manager, she/he claims to trusts employees and to see who really works hard, and who is just cashing a paycheck.

Many of the workers, like Person A, work hard for the new com--I mean, manager. They feel a sense of loyalty to her/him. They follow the new rules (even the ones they disagree with and grouse about a bit) to the letter. They stick up for and defend the manager when others poor mouth her/him behind her/his back. Person A is EXTREMELY diligent, moreso than many of Person A's colleagues, in following every rule to the best of Person A's ability.

Flash forward to now, a couple years later. In these rough economic times, is Person A rewarded, or at least spared the trouble that comes others' way?

Not a chance. Why? Because Comrade Manager never really saw anything.

See, Person A thought she/he was doing something over-and-above to improve the standing of the company. Many of Person A's veteran colleagues felt Person A showed outstanding initiative. Unfortunately, some of the consumers of the company's product didn't approve. Supreme Commissar doesn't like when consumers (even one, as in this hypothetical) are unhappy. Nevermind that Comrade Manager has numerous employees who are terrible at their jobs, but good at hiding their shortcomings from her/him. Do those lazy bas--uh, other workers have to deal with any retribution for their shortcomings?


Instead, Comrade Manager and Person A have a misunderstanding. Person A is later made to feel incompetent and disloyal, because no one gets the benefit of the doubt with the Supreme Commissar. Person A now feels the weight of the hanging axe above her/his proverbial neck, and it has been made clear, "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU." Perhaps they've even lost their job, like a few people I know of.

This reminds me specifically of people who kick their dogs. Dogs are loyal, period. When an owner kicks a dog, shows malice and cruelty to a creature that did nothing but try as best it could to do everything to make that owner happy, that owner deserves to be doused in gas and set ablaze.

So too with the smug little Napoleons that insulate themselves, even as you read this, while swinging that iron fist from the comfort of an impenetrable office where they know no fear of retribution. Why is it that, especially in tough economic times, the people who deserve most to be praised and sheltered end up getting hurt the most? Does crap really float to the top? Are we just blind to it until it's too late?

I'm sick and tired of seeing people I know and care about, like many of you out there, get stepped on by people who wouldn't know loyalty if it curled up at their feet and gazed adoringly up at them. Those people don't deserve loyalty. They deserve to be dragged in front of their families and humiliated, the way the people they hurt constantly are. Then they deserve to be thrown in the street and shot.


Well, I may be nobody (trust me, if you're not one of these managers, they probably see you that way too), but I would at least like to give comfort to those who have had to get raked over the coals or put out of work by these useless empty lying suits. Whoever you are out there, know that I'm praying for you.

And if you know someone who has had to go through this, feel free to send them a good word, here or on your own. Better yet, send them a good word and a gun, and let Big Brother know we can find out where she/he lives. (grin)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rescue of the Week

HeyGang! Sorry I was gone so long. The holidays were followed by the last week or two of the semester, and now it's time for exams. So yeah, I'm swamped. Still, life is great for me compared to all the little homeless critters out there, so I wanted to draw your attention to another sweet pup that needs a good home. She's ASTRID: