NaNoWriMo, I have defeated thee yet again!

Image by dargie via Flickr

Yeah. I finished NaNoWriMo around midnight last night, and then stared blankly into space for a while. The MS is just a hair over 50,000 words, and probably a mess,  but that can be taken care of later. What counts is that I found the discipline and stamina to do it again this year, and that means a lot.  I don’t know if I can ever explain how much that means to me because it would require a long story about how I never finish anything, blahblahblah.

I didn’t even vege today either, though I didn’t accomplish a lot.  Glinda and I talked about the next novel in the series for a while (Nick and Davy meet Dracula and Jack the Ripper.)  I get ideas, she asks questions, I think “Oh, I hadn’t thought about that.” and then go on to think about it. Then we put some Christmas lights up in the front and discovered that we don’t have nearly enough, so it’s back to Home Despot over the weekend.  And I made myself an author page. I did think — briefly — that it was too early, but I actually have two titles up there, so I saw no reason why I shouldn’t promote myself a bit. Cherry On Top and Waiting for the Moon are both up there, and I hope to have more soon. Why not get started early?

Thanksgiving weekend was pretty terrific. Glinda’s sister, Laurie was here for Thanksgiving dinner. On Friday the Salvation Army came and took a load of stuff from my garage, and I’m way less broken up about it than I thought I would be considering that I hadn’t even really gone through all the boxes.  They’d been out there for 2.5 years and I didn’t care enough to bother so why should I have kept them? On Saturday Jim came in and we went shopping at Dom ITP, a Polish store that is irresistible around the holidays, and an Eastern European market that was right around the corner.  Jim and Dawn went to see “The Deathly Hallows” but I stayed home because my knee and back were killing me and I knew I’d be fidgeting through the whole thing. Besides, I’m not as enamored of the Harry Potter franchise as I used to be so waiting to see it isn’t a hardship. Then we went to a new restaurant for supper, a Bohemian-Polish place where we got platters of food for almost no money.  I don’t know why they weren’t jammed; they should be turning people away at the door the way Edelweiss is, and honestly, the only difference I can see is that the ambiance at this place is almost non-existent. It’s a lot unlike some restaurants my folks loved when I was a kid (any Chicagoans out there remember Pavelka’s in Irving Park?) nothing to look at but good food at incredibly reasonable prices. Reviews were written for Yelp.

And now I’m kind of wiped in spite of having done next to nothing all day, and I really would like to read for a while.  I’m in the middle of The Girl Who Played with Fire and loving it even more than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Mostly I thought I’d catch up since I’ve been kind of quiet since NaNo started. Maybe sometime before Christmas I’ll stop feeling as if someone has stewed my brain like a big prune.

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Today’s Moment of Strange.

Me and my Dimpie-girlSomeone just labeled two of my photos on Flicker as Favorites.  Well that happens all the time; I don’t think much about it, except that this time they were pics of me when I was in my thirties.  Just me sitting on the floor with my cat, or opening birthday gifts.  My mother took them and while the spirit was willing, the photographic talent was a bit weak, so they’re nothing special. So I got curious about why this person, who doesn’t even have a profile pic of his/her own, wanted to add photos of me to Favorites. I checked his other favorites and lo… the ones which weren’t blacked out were photos of women. Now at this point I have NO idea why some are blacked out so my brain is in overdrive over this thinking “Oh sweet Jesus, have I attracted a creepy stalker?” Though clearly this person is into my younger self and she’s never coming back so that’s a bit less disturbing. But only a bit.

So now I check his profile and I see groups like “The Secret Life of our Parents” and at this point I’m really feeling weirded out. I click through to some of the groups and lo, most of them turn out to be Fat Woman Worship. At that point I begin to think that the blackouts in his favorites is more to do with my Flickr settings than anything he’s done, so I go turn Safe Search off and back to his favorites and yeah, quite a few fat ladies there; fat ladies in stockings.  Bingo!  I was wearing pantyhose under my slacks (Hey, it was the 70s, I was still trying!) and he likes stockings a REALLY REALLY lot, though given some of the pics in his collection, my very modest hose-clad feet must have been mild titillation by comparison.  Or maybe that’s it, maybe my feet were the Victorian Lady version of stocking fetish porn.

I suppose some of you are going to think it’s weird that I was reassured by seeing his other favorites and realizing that he’s just a fat-women-in-stockings fan, but all things considered, that’s a pretty mild kink, and reassuring to me that I’m not going to have some weird guy show up on my doorstep one day with a camera in one hand and handcuffs in the other, y’know?  Not that I’m not fairly careful with my identity, but still.

And see, the thing is I don’t mind.  I don’t show the world anything I don’t want to show.  My stocking’d feet were nothing special; I wasn’t posing provocatively, showing my hoo-hah or anything. They’re just feet and we all have ’em. So now that I figure I’m just another in one big objectified lump of nylon-encased flesh, I’ve got no problem with him.  Why?  Because I don’t worry about being objectified by strangers.  I know who I am, and I’m not that girl in the stockings any more.  So live it up, dude.  I’m glad my photos gave you a happy if you needed one.

An open letter to ebook pirates from a published author

François l'Olonnais was nicknamed "Flail ...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m glad you’re a reader.  Really.  I’m glad you’re a voracious reader.  I am and I always have been.  I love words and that’s one reason why I’m writing professionally.

So I hear you’ve been pirating my work.  Wow, y’know that gives me pause, I must say. You see, I have borrowed books from the library and I have borrowed them from friends, and I get that, I really do.  There’s not enough money to read everything I want to read.  But I still buy books, too. Even if I’ve read it, when I like a book, I’ll buy it to have in my collection. If I like an author, I’ll just automatically buy his or her work.  Why?  Well I could say it’s the right thing to do but you guys are pirates so you’d just laugh because the concept of the right thing to do seems to strike you as quaint and outdated. You’ve sure said as much over and over again in your pirate forums. Yes, authors do monitor them. It’s just one more thing that we have to do when we should be writing.

Y’know what published authors do when a newbie says “I want to earn my living by writing?” We laugh.  We laugh so we don’t cry because that newbie is in for a rude awakening. We laugh so we don’t cry because what we want more than anything else is to do that very thing.  We want to spend our lives telling you stories, but we can’t.  Most of us have at least one other job — if we’re lucky, it’s only one.  Unless your name is Stephen King or Anne Rice or Jackie Collins, you probably don’t earn your living by writing. My last royalty check was less than $12 for the quarter.  That doesn’t even buy me a nice dinner much less pay the rent, the utilities, or any of those other things we don’t have a whole lot of choice about. Health insurance?  Oh man, we get fucked right and left on health insurance. If you’re not lucky enough to have a job with good bennies — and who does these days? Or a spouse with great partnership benefits, you have to buy private insurance.  And the minute they find out you’re a writer, your costs skyrocket.  And y’know what?  I still buy books because I know that what I’m dealing with is what every damn writer on the planet has dealt with at some time or other.  We’re poor.

We’re probably poorer than you are, you with your different ebook readers and loads of free books that you’ve gotten from other pirates.  And I suspect we’re probably a whole lot less smug about how poor we are since we don’t use it as a rationale for why we somehow deserve to steal.  If you said you had no money for food and stealing was your only option, I’d look the other way.  But I’m gonna guess that you don’t steal food. I’m gonna guess that you don’t steal your clothes or your furniture.

I’ve seen people write things like: I bought an ebook reader so I can take whatever books I want. I’m sure you’ve bought a saucepan, too, but I’m guessing you don’t steal your Kraft dinners.  I’ve seen people write that they’re taxpayers and imply that this somehow entitles them to steal ebooks.  All I can say to that is that I’d check the tax code if I were you, bunky. I’ve seen people say that they’re actually proud to be ebook thieves, and I can’t help but wonder what sort of person is proud to stand up and say that they’re taking my work and denying me the money that should go to my kids, my prescriptions, repairing my computer or paying for my internet connection which I need so I can work with my editors.

In the end, we can only answer for ourselves. We all make choices and have to live with them.  But sometimes other people’s choices affect the ones we have to make.  Every time I find one of my ebooks pirated, I wonder why I bother to write at all.  And one of these days I will probably just stop.  I’ll turn my attention to something that will be less soul-crushing, like office work.  Because you kind of expect to be screwed in places like that.  Where you don’t expect it is from those who say they love what you do.

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