Yesterday, the writer liaison at our local public sent out a call for submissions from a brand new publisher. So what do I do as a recovering attorney? That's right. I check out their contract.
Holy shit, is it bad! Total rights grab for a whopping $10.
So, for the last twenty-four hours I've been debating what to do. I ran the situation by a fellow writer/recovering attorney. They had the same reaction I did.
Do I tell the publisher to contact a lawyer before they get themselves into deep shit? Do I contact the library liaison and warn her? Do I send it to Writer Beware? Hell, my friend Angie who does a monthly post on her blog of anthologies taking submissions wouldn't touch this one with a 100-ft pole.
Or do I do nothing? I've learned through a lot of bitter experience most writers are attempting to live a dream that doesn't exist. I've lost a lot of friends by opening my big mouth.
I stayed up until four a.m. working on A Twist of Love. I'm at the difficult state where it's done in my mind, but not on paper. At this point, I feel like it's old so I have to force myself to get the words down.
Therefore, I didn't wake up until after two this afternoon. And one of the first things I saw was that Susan Ellison had passed away. It unnerved me because she's only a couple of years older than me. But considering she passed a couple of years after Harlan's death, part of me is not surprised.
I love the pulp sword and sorcery stories. It was that feeling I tried to capture when I wrote "Justice" seven years ago. Flashing Swords #6 should have been an awesome revival.
But people read fantasy to escape from the real world and their real world problems just for a little while. Hell, I can see that just in the little uptick in my fantasy sales over the last couple of months.
The preaching hateful screed that was presented as the introduction would have been wrong no matter which side of the political divide it came from. And as a writer, you put your trust in your editor not to do something stupid when joining an anthology, just like the editor trusts you to deliver a story that fits their image for the collection.
What you don't want as a writer is an introduction that will alienate over half of your potential readership whether it clicks with your own sensibilities or not.
In my experience with Elisabeth Waters, I was sent the entire galley of the Sword and Sorceress volumes my stories appeared in. So I saw and read Lisa's introduction even though I was only require to proof my own story. And she always delivered a lovely ode to the genre.
From the chatter of those who withdrew their stories from Flashing Swords #6, none of them saw Price's introduction until the Look Inside feature went live on Amazon. The publisher has since withdrawn the book, but if you want to read the full introduction, it's out there on the interwebs.
So hopefully, both the writers and the publisher chalk this up to a learning experience on who to trust as an editor.
So what does this have to do with Harlan Ellison? He was a person who didn't tolerate stupidity from anyone: publishers, editors, fans or other writers. In the back of my head, I could hear him cussing up a storm over this kind of stupidity. It's one thing to make a stand on your own words. It's another thing to use other people's words as a launching pad for your beliefs.
This situation will make me be even more careful about which anthologies I submit to.
No, there's more to it than me submitting. It makes me want to start my own anthology because there's lots of awesome stories I want to read out there in the world, and I would guard and treasure those stories the way I would my own.
"You get what anybody gets. You get a lifetime." - Death, Neil Gaiman
Over 157,000 dead in the U.S. alone. The number staggers the mind. And we're back up to over 1,000 dying per day.
Our county followed the Ohio governor's guidelines and shut down on March 16th. We stayed at a stable 39 cases and 1 death for six weeks.
But the re-opening on May 1 triggered more cases. With the 4th of July parties, cases exploded. Hancock County is at 320 cases and 2 deaths.
What's even more terrible is at a time when Americans really need to be working together to stop the spread of this horrible disease, we are actively working to infect each other. At a time when we need solid national leadership, we have federal officials at each others throats.
Believe me, I get how much staying at home sucks. With my health issues, I've been trapped at home far longer than a lot of you. And I regularly talk with friends, who are as trapped at home as I am. Yes, it's awful. Yes, it's boring. But if my 88-year-old father-in-law can handle not leaving his apartment for five freaking months, then so can I.
And you can, too.
But if you do have to go out, wash your hands and use your masks. Your family's and friends' lives may depend on it.
DH has the week off, but there's really no where to go or nothing he can without endangering lives, both others and his own. So far, he's managed to leave me to my work, which involves finishing A Twist of Love and a shit-ton of proofing.
Yesterday, we had to run a couple of errands, mailing GK's city tax return and pick up DH's drugs from the pharmacy. We also picked up a pizza on the way home because one of our menu delivery services never arrived.
Bella was quite put out that she had been left at home, but it was too hot for her to stay in the car during the errand running. Dogs love rides, and she is no exception.
DH had to back to the pharmacy this morning because one of his prescriptions didn't arrive until this morning. So I offered to buy breakfast if we could take Bella for a ride. The gal at the Starbucks drive-thru even gave Bella her own little cup of whipped cream, which Bella LOVED! But she still expected me to share my bacon, egg, and gouda sandwich because, well, BACON!
So, we're back home. DH is loading the dishwasher. Bella's found a relatively cool place for a nap. And I need to get some words in before proofing a few more chapters of a paperback.
I think I can handle more days like this even if I have to wear a facemask.
We're seeing the fallout of the Fourth of July partying in our county. One of the prime culprits was a party at the local Amvet post. 200 people, inside, no masks.
And as I typed the above paragraph, my father-in-law called DH. A COVID-19 case was documented at my father-in-law's assisted living facility. There goes the guys' carefully planned visit for this week.
So many people still believe this pandemic is a hoax. Or they do until someone they love catches it. Or they catch it themselves.
I have fucking cancer, and I still wouldn't wish COVID-19 on my worst enemy. I've seen friends who've survived it (via video calls). It ain't pretty in it's so-called flu form. Now, imagine if you or a loved ends up with holes in your lungs or blood clots that can and will cause heart attacks and strokes.
Yesterday, a good friend volunteered to go down to Texas with me to see GK. She's one of the smartest people I know, and I get that she's going stir crazy, but I'm not heading to Texas any time soon. Besides, GK's base is on lockdown. We couldn't see him if we wanted to, and I don't relish being shot by an MP while trying to enter the base in the middle of a lockdown. That's not even getting into the hotspot hell Texas is right now.
No one is invulnerable to this virus, people! We're probably going to top 150K dead by the end of the day. Yes, it sucks. It sucks for everyone. But it'll suck a lot worse if you don't use preventative measures.
So I'm sticking with my plan, hiding in my apartment, and doing the same writing and editing I've been doing for the last five months.
I overslept today. The alarm played P!nk's "Raise Your Glass". I turned it off and rolled on my back, contemplating everything I needed to do today and...
Next thing I know it's 11 a.m.
However, sleep is a necessary component of keeping your brain strong, especially when you've been doing a lot of editing lately.
Another component is eating right, which DH and I have tried really hard to do since January. He's lost some pounds. I did, too!
Until the pandemic. All my old bad habits regarding stress eating came right back, and I put all the weight back on. ARGH!
But one of the things I'm learning over the pandemic is how to properly cook seafood. It's brain food, right?
I can roast catfish, bluegills, and bass over an open fire, but I had a tendency to overcook seafood on an indoor stove. I've tried salmon, scallops, and tilapia so far, and everything's turned out pretty good.
Living on a farm as a kid, I was so used to cooking the shit out of everything, especially pork. If you were in 4-H, you learned about all the potential parasites in your animal. And even though Dad helped with the medicines and our pigs were pretty darn healthy, the worm thing kind of sticks in your head.
And the real trick in cooking scallops is three minutes per side, else you end up eating hockey pucks.
Unfortunately, the scallops I was looking forward to for tonight's dinner will not arrive today. So I'm cooking with what I have in the refrigerator: bruchetta chicken, roasted asparagus, and bacon mashed potatoes. Those should get me through the editing I need to finish today!
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