June 12th, 2008


[links] Link salad for a Thursday

A reader reacts to Mainspring Powell's | Amazon thb | Audible ]

Bloggasm reports on my cancer, erm, reportage — A thoughtul interview with me by nomissnewo. kenscholes says a bit more about it here.

the_flea_king visits the Oregon Coast — Check his photos of Ecola State Park. If they don’t make you want to visit here, your aesthetic sense is dead.

madwriter asks an important political question — I’m curious what my conservative friends think of this.

The Social Gospel — A different Christian approach to politics and public life.

Why Is Bush Helping Saudi Arabia Build Nukes? — Right. Because the Saudis never did anything bad for us. It was all those Iraqi hijackers on 9/11, and that devilish Iraqi bin Laden.

Republicans will “win” if they hold on to 41 Senate seats this fall — O Permanent Majority, where hast thou fled to? Good thing those dastardly Democrats didn’t succeed in their evil “nuclear option” plan to derail Senate minority powers by eliminating the filibuster!

Health insurance falling short — Mmm, market forces come through once again! What a shock. Also, this just in, liberals say sun rises in east, GOP suspects Communist plot. It would be so cute, what conservatives believe, if conservative policies weren’t killing people by the tens of thousands.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 259.6
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[process] Contracts

suricattus with a post on literary contracts. Go read it. I’ll still be here when you get back.

Got that? Good.

I accidentally got involved in a mailing list argument a couple of years ago when a fan made a mournful comment about how a certain writer had been screwed by a bad contract. Their point was that if not for the perfidy of the publisher, this writer’s books would still be available for readerly enjoyment.

Being the special kind of idiot that I am, I replied that a writer is always responsible for the contracts they sign. If they don’t understand something in the contract, they should seek reliable advice until they do understand. The point is that we as authors are responsible for our own careers.

(For my troubles, I received a scathing critique of my email .sig, as an example of how I was a fool who didn’t know what I was talking about.)

But we are responsible. Editorial ninjas don’t break into my house, place a pen in my hand and force me to sign a contract. Nothing is non-negotiable. That doesn’t mean the other party is required to negotiate, it simply means that a statement that a contract is non-negotiable is itself a negotiating position. Part of the trick is in knowing what’s reasonable to negotiate, and part of the trick is in knowing what your no-gos are.

In my case, I often have to alter contracts to protect my by-line, since my copyright name is not the same. I have only ever twice signed contracts releasing all my rights to a story, and in both cases it was work for hire short fiction with someone else’s intellectual property. I have asked for things I did not get, and I have occasionally gotten things I did not ask for.

The point is that your contract is yours. No one else understands your interests as well as you do, not your agent, your editor, your publisher, your mom, or your best friend. If you don’t understand your interests as represented in the contract, fix that before you sign.

Now go read suricattus‘ post again. She said all this much more elegantly than I could.

ETA: C.E.P. with an interesting legal comment on literary contracts here.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[politics] Everybody’s crazy

Conservatives are nuts. Has anyone demanded to see John McCain’s birth certificate? The recipe appears to be a) start crazy rumor, b) treat crazy rumor like it was true, c) manufacture outrage concerning crazy rumor to force denials, d) use denials as evidence crazy rumor was true all along. It’s worked since the Clinton years, why should conservatives give up now? ETA: As ericjamesstone points out quite appropriately in comments, the post I linked to is an attempt to deal with teh crazy, not an example of teh crazy. I submit that the fact that the NRO felt a need to make such an attempt is still an example of teh crazy, however.

Conservatives Fair-and-balanced FOX News even more nuts. Obama’s baby mama? Could they be even more patently offensive? Well, yes, probably they could. Also note the deeply inaccurate understanding of urban slang.

Don’t worry, I’ve decided liberal-progressives are crazy too. There’s a lot of snark in the leftie blogosphere right now about how unsuited McCain is to running the country since he can’t use a computer. This is a bogus issue. Relatively few senior leaders past their mid-40s are adept at using personal computers. It simply wasn’t an important business skill when they were younger. I’m pretty sure McCain knows how to a file an original-and-five-copies-forward report on carbons, keeping the canary yellow sheet, because that’s how they did things back when he was commanding a Navy training squadron. So what? Does he need to do either of those things to be president? His qualifications as a commander-in-chief and chief-of-state deserve to be debated on their merits, not on something as silly as a widespread generational difference.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[personal] Greatest hits?

Stealing a page from arcaedia, I have a question primarily directed at long-time readers of this blog. (Or anyone who understands my tagging system, I suppose.)

It’s almost the fourth anniversary of this blog in its current form (ignoring my recent switch to WordPress with an LJ echo). First post is here, from July 14th, 2004. I’ve made 5,810 posts since then, offered 12,093 comments and had 41,476 made to me.

In all that time, what are your favorite posts? I’m mostly thinking about writing process, but it might be polls, travelogs, kid-related, whatever? If I were to put together a list of 15-20 “greatest hits” links, what would it look like?

Bonus question: who should I be reading that I’m not?

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[writing|personal] Miscellaneous updatery

More work on Green tonight. I’m through all of casacorona’s comments, and starting into feedback from other readers. Also did some copy edits for my reprint in The Lone Star Stories Reader. That story, “The Hangman Isn’t Hanging”, is excerpted from Original Destiny, Manifest Sin.

On the cancer front, I am out and about more. That included lunch with kenscholes, and a doctor’s appointment later. Some good healthcare news from elsewhere in my family, which while not mine to tell here, was intensely relieving.

The fact that I haven’t been complaining lately is probably a good sign. The surgical wound in my abdomen itches and feels weird, but I can bend, sit, even cough, without more than moderate discomfort. The internal sutures still ache when I use my edited colon, but likewise only moderate discomfort. With luck, I’ll make it to the Locus Awards in Seattle at the end of next week. That would be my first big trip.

the_flea_king and Mrs. the_flea_king are in town this weekend, so I will probably see them (again) on Saturday. Likewise garyomaha and elusivem will be here Sunday. Father’s Day luncheon that day as well, followed by the Guerilla Surrealism Circus Featuring Barth Anderson and the Pips, at which I may be a pip.

With luck Green edits will wrap this weekend, and I can go into a final read next weekend.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.