Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Podcast, anyone?

I've been thinking of making some podcasts. My initial thought was to podcast a couple of my radio interviews, but I haven't had a chance editing the audio files yet. Lately, though, I've also been thinking of doing a periodic radio podcast in concordance with this blog. Perhaps a few readings, some thoughts and observations -- that sort of things. Maybe some of my musical recordings.

I welcome any suggestions. Leave me a comment.

~Ray

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Absolute Write Debacle

Absolute Write, the premium writers' site, was shut down earlier this week with only one hour's notice from the hosting company. The reason? According to Making Light, a scam agent complained that her email address was posted on the site (even though the same address is prominently displayed on her own website) and she started to get spams and THUS, her conclusion is that Absolute Write is a community of spammers.

Whut?

I can understand the ridiculous claims from this person -- after all, a scam artist would hate to have his or her name and email mentioned on a PROMINENT writers' site. But the action by the hosting company is simply beyond ridiculous. They are a business. There is a code of business ethics here. A hosting company simply can't shut down a paying client's site (without any legal reasons) without advance notice, and without allowing them access to the database to move the site. That's just deplorable. I believe their reckless action will have tremendous consequence for their business. They won't be in business for long, I predict -- because if they could do that to this particular client, they could do the same to other clients, and no one should settle for that kind of abuse by any hosting companies.

Let's hope Absolute Write come back soon. Boy, do we have a lot to talk about when that happens!

To help Jenna get Absolute Write back, please consider to offer your help. Details here.

UPDATE: The story has been boing-boinged!

tags: barbara bauer, boing boing, hosting scam, jc hosting, jenna glatzer, scam

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Validation?

As much as I don't like to admit it, fan mail is nice. I know I don't need external sources of validation, but in a way, it's not about validation. It's about reaching out and fulfilling the goal of being a storyteller. We write for readers, and when our readers appreciate our work, it's a great feeling.

I just received this email, and it made my day:

I started to read your book. And guess what...I couldn't put it down!!! I stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m. reading it (taking breaks along the way of course so as not to strain my eyes.)

Let me just say, it was magnificent! It definitely was a lot better than I thought that it would be. It will truly appeal to readers who find characters fascinating and who prefer character development, dialogue, and internal conflict over action, franatic movement and gratuitous violence, sex or sensationalism.

Anyway...I also found the book to be very edifying... After reading your book, though, I think I know what I need to do. I am going to focus on reality and not the fantasy that I've been concocting in my mind.

So...thanks so much for writing your book!!! I really got a lot out of the experience of reading it!!

Please press on with your next novel!!! I can't wait to read it!

~ Regina

Monday, May 22, 2006

20 Worst Agents

Writer Beware has posted their list of 20 worst agents in the US based on the number of advisories and complaints they have received in recent years.

None of these agents has a significant track record of sales to commercial (advance-paying) publishers, and most have virtually no documented and verified sales at all (many sales claimed by these agents turn out to be vanity publishers). All charge clients before a sale is made, whether directly, by charging fees such as reading or administrative fees, or indirectly, for "editing services."


Here's the list:

* The Abacus Group Literary Agency
* Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
* Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
* Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
* Benedict & Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
* Sherwood Broome, Inc.
* Desert Rose Literary Agency
* Arthur Fleming Associates
* Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
* Brock Gannon Literary Agency
* Harris Literary Agency
* The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:
Children's Literary Agency
Christian Literary Agency
New York Literary Agency
Poets Literary Agency
The Screenplay Agency
Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency)
Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)

* Martin-McLean Literary Associates
* Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
* B.K. Nelson, Inc.
* The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
* Michele Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency and Simply Nonfiction)
* Southeast Literary Agency
* Mark Sullivan Associates
* West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Updates

I just came back from Washington, D.C. It wasn't so much that I went there to "accept" my 2006 IPPY award. It was more like I went there for a party. It was a good party, actually: the food was excellent (sushi, thai noodles, delicious fish cakes, etc.) and the live band was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn't know anyone there and my publisher and I missed each other. There were probably, at one time or another, over 300 people there.

Was it worth the long drive? Probably not. But hey, at least I went and now I could say, hey, I went. It was a fun trip. And even though life goes on before and after the "award," it's still nice to be recognized, and I should be proud. The good thing is, I realize I didn't and I won't let it get to my head. I think being my age really grounds me. Sure, it's a validation, but I am not going to let it define who I am and what I write in the future.

I'm also done with the first series of book signings. Whew! What a relief. It's not that I don't like signings. But I really would love to get this marketing stuff over with (for now) so I can focus on my writing again. I have stories to tell, darnit.

I'll probably have more signings in the summer and fall, but for now, I need a rest.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Poison

Resentment is poison. The longer you are doing something (or in a relationship, etc.) that you resent, the more poison you take in for your soul. The sooner you can get out of that situation the better. We might think that the "angst" and "anger" is good for our writing. I disagree. I find my writing so much better when I am content and fulfilled. I don't need to be angry to write about anger. I don't need to be despaired to write about despair. In fact, the happier I am, the better I am as a writer because I free myself from all that unnecessary emotional baggage. I can focus on creating. Then again, I write about love. I assume if you write horror, it might be different.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Akeelah and the Bee

I really enjoyed the movie. I think it's a wonderful, affirming story for all ages, even adults. Yeah, it's predictable, but it holds your interest through and through, and it's a good story. It's certainly better than a lot of tripe out there.

I particular love this essay by Marianne Williamson, which conveys the basic theme of the movie, and by which I'd like to abide:


Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson

Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

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