September 7th, 2007


[process] Reviews, rejections and the dynamics of the high school

Someone on my f-list recently commented that they'd received an angry email from the author of a book they'd published a poor-but-honest review of. I have to say as a former reviewer, and a frequent reviewee, that's nuts. (On the part of the author, I mean.) The most response I've ever given to a review is a polite thank you note.

Working with mme_publisher, we've seen some strange responses to rejections. (nihilistic_kid talks about that a lot with Clarkesworld as well.) When a writer posted to a chat board that Polyphony had rejected his story because it was too ployglot and European in its sensibility, and we obviously didn't understand it, she and I knew about that right away. It was obviously ridiculous defensiveness, and we had a good laugh over it, but if the writer had been a bit nastier about it, their name would have been noted. I had another writer go ballistic on a mailing list when my rejection to them suggested they might not want to use the editor's name as a character name, simply because it's very distracting to read and subtracts from the editor's chances to be submerged in the story. Again, I found out about it in fairly short order.

It's a small Internet, people, and very well indexed. People know when you bust out the insecurity. If you're nasty enough, people remember it. Every editor has a kill file, usually reserved for the sorts who write threatening cover letters (and yes, that really happens). Right now mine is one name long, the gentleman who made a threatening comment on this LJ last year. And believe me, you don't want your name featured in a kill file story told in a bar at a Con.

My recent high school metaphor received a very mixed reception. Here's another place it applies. Not tribalism or cliquishness, but the fact that just about everybody working professionally in the field knows each other, or are at most one degree of separation apart. If your temper gets the better of you on receiving a rejection or reading a bad review, for the love of Piet, don't blather about it on the Internet. At best you'll look like an idiot. It goes downhill from there.

[food] Mmm...lunch

After the week I've had, I decided I was in need of comfort food for lunch, so I perpetrated a delicious nutritional disaster here at Nuevo Rancho Lake.

First I thick sliced some spicy salami I had around, and set that to frying in a medium-hot cast iron skillet with a bit of bacon grease and black pepper. (This works well with pepperoni as well, if you ever want to try it.)

I cut off six hunks of a two-day old baguette, wrapped them in a damp bar towel, and microwaved them on half power for thirty seconds. I then laid them in the toaster oven, and topped with slices of Bonrus, an Italian mixed-milk cheese that is close cousin to a firm Brie. Off they went to get warm.

I laid out a few salt-and-pepper kettle chips with some ranch dip, pulled the salami out of the skillet (after flipping it once) and rescued the cheese from the toaster oven.

Finish the whole business off with a few Kraft carmel squares for dessert, and mmm...instant, vein-clogging comfort.

[writing] Let me tell you a story, about a big chief with a golden crown

rosefox asked in comments how I would make the Yokahama Sid idea into a story. After a bit of discussion, I popped an opening paragraph, like so:

Nothing groans like a Ferris wheel in the wind. I never did understand why anyone would want to ride one of the damned things. You can practically hear the rivets pop, if the drivetrain's been properly lubed. Thrown in some gusts and a little rain and it's enough to make you contemplate your sins. We got twelve on the lot right new, latest one just shipped in from Taichung. That bastard Sid made me assemble the whole damned thing. He likes the look, iron mandalas blocking the horizon in all directions from his shack. When they spin, they're the biggest prayer wheels on Earth. In the wind, it's a death prayer.

jeffsoesbe added a description of Yokahama Sid his own self:

Sid was a short man with long red hair and a flaming temper. Sid's pride and joy was his mustache, thick and fluid, combed and waxed into points that stuck out a foot from his face. Sid dreamed of being a member of the World Mustache Team but he never quite made it. He'd pissed too many people off along the way. Sid was never a team player.

I hereby invite you to contribute here in comments to the story of Yokohama Sid's Used Ferris Wheel Lot, taking off from the above or the concept in general as it pleases you. Start your group story telling engines.

[links] Link Salad, lunch break edition redux

Since I'm eating in a lot this week, you all get another bonus link salad. I was not diligent about tracking sources here, so my apologies to anyone I should credit. Please claim your token in comments and see the meerkat at the door.

The essence of nearly everything — A new cooking technique which I find fascinating but strange. Also, I'd have thought cooking to be one of those arts where all the fundamentals had been laid down generations ago. Shows you what I know.

DM of the Rings — You weren't doing anything this afternoon, were you? I thought not. Lord of the Rings as a D&D adventure. Literally.

Thought-guided wheelchair — Now this technology has ample applications in the military and pornography industries, sans doute, avec peur.

More Craig family bungling — Wow. Just wow. Family values really rocks! If these people were liberals, they'd be depraved criminals.

Bush has bad day at Sydney Opera House — Just read it. This kind of story gives me heart, because it proves that anyone can overcome their profound natural limitations and become president of the United States.

[poll] Customer satisfaction survey

Thank you for dining at this blog. My name is Jay, I've been your waiter tonight. The yutzes in the front office have decided they're curious as to why you come poking around here, so they're forcing me to pimp this survey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Poll #1051861 Customer Satisfaction Survey

You come here for the pickle trays, you stay for the content. You especially like:

Writing process stuff.
Fiction snippets and sales reports.
Link salad.
Weird crap.
Your political rants.
The photos.
Tales of the_child.
Clowns — need more clowns!

You never comment, you never call. Why?

What do you mean I never comment? I have a frequent flyer card on this blog.
I speak my mind from time to time.
I might comment if you were more interesting.
Not my style, sorry.
What are these comments you speak of?
Clowns — need more clowns

I am considering posting some of my short fiction backlist, perhaps biweekly or once a month.

Hot puppies! Where do I sign?
Might be ok...
Are you nuts? Those rights are valuable!
You write fiction?
Clowns — need more clowns!