Why What I Think About SFWA Matters [and why I embrace being an insect]

First, the words that set off the insect army, as quoted by John Scalzi. Just for reference.

insect army color“The problem is that the ‘vocal minority’ of insects who make up the new generation of writers don’t scramble for the shadows when outside lights shines on them—they bare their pincers and go for the jugular. Maybe it is a good thing that SFWA keeps them locked up. The newer members who Scalzi et al. brought in are an embarrassment to the genre.” — (name withheld*) on SFF.net, during the recent unpleasantness.

Second, if you want the big picture of what is going on, read this.

But for me, for now, it’s simply about the insect army.

I’m not a member of SFWA. I want to be, but I haven’t sold work to any SFWA-recognized publications. I care, because long before I ever planned to write in this genre, SFWA provided me and other writers with Writer Beware. I want to be a member of the pro organization that reflects my current writing.

It has been on my ‘someday’ list of priorities, as in, ‘When I am able to focus on it, I will start writing short stories and submitting to the markets that will gain my SFWA cred.’

And then all this bullshit blew up and I made an offhand remark to a friend, it’s time like these that I wonder if going through the motions of joining the SFWA matters.

The SFWA is experiencing growing pains but is on the downside of the slope, embracing the rights of all people to be represented by their professional organization with the respect and dignity that the genre deserves. This is a genre of that embraces fiction about and by all people, regardless of their race or gender-identification. And there is an effort to make sure the professional organization that purports to represent this fiction also shows respect for all people. Wow, what a concept.

Some people are confusing this with a freedom of speech issue [which it isn't--nobody is saying you can't write or say whatever you want, but they are saying that a professional organization has to hold to a different standard].

So my casual dismissal wasn’t fair. John Scalzi and the ‘insects’ he encouraged to get active in the SFWA are proof to me that it’s worth joining.

Still, it’s easy to shrug this off as ‘not my problem’ because I’m not a member of the SFWA.

John Scalzi, former president of the SFWA, and Mary Robinette Kowal, former Vice President and current target of the nastiness, both addressed this problem and set me straight. It’s important because it’s about how all women are viewed and treated everywhere. This is just a single example.

First Mary’s take on it:

Then I replied to the messages saying, “Honestly, I’m fine. Four years in office inured me to this so mostly I’m just laughing.”

And this is the part that I feel I should draw attention to — I was “mostly” laughing. I was also having mild stress reactions. Dry sweats, elevated heart rate. I was ready to shrug them off as, “Meh, doesn’t materially affect me. I’ve seen worse.”

Until someone pointed it out that I was basically saying, “I’m inured to being abused, because I was abused for years.” See… the things those folks are saying in that public forum? When I was in office, they would email that bile directly to me and because I was an officer, I could not chose to ignore it. I had to read every single one. And I had to reply politely to them. Strangely, sometimes I had trouble doing that, but a polite response was the one that was expected. Now? Being out of office for two years, I can say whatever the fuck I want, but most beautifully, I don’t have to read the emails.

So this is why I feel weird about writing about this. My impulse is to tell you all that I’m fine and that this has no material affect on my life. And that is true. But I also know that I am a useful representative sample of the abuse that happens to other women.

Scalzi simply voiced his own opinion at first, in defense of Mary.

Likewise, anyone who would publicly characterize a woman who has reached the highest levels of two separate creative fields (puppeteering and speculative fiction), winning awards and acclaim in both, and who has offered up a significant amount of her personal time and effort to work on behalf of others in her fields as “no one you should have heard of, and no one you should concern yourself with” is so deeply and profoundly wrong that the only thing they should feel at such an appallingly ridiculous dismissal is shame.

But then he came up with a better idea, and Mary joined him. They have created an insect army!

insect army b&wMary and I are no longer officers of SFWA, but I think our commissions at the head of the Insect Army are still in effect: After all, not every “insect” is in SFWA (yet). And so I say to you: Join John and Mary’s Insect Army! You must write! You must be fearless! You must stand your ground in the face of deeply silly insults, clacking your pincers derisively at them! And, if you believe that every person — writer, “insect” and otherwise — should be treated with the same dignity and honor that you would accord yourself, so much the better. Together we can swarm to make science fiction and fantasy awesome!

I write. I am fearless. I will stand my ground.

I believe that every person–writer, insect and otherwise, should be treated with dignity and honor.

I joined the ranks. I am a proud member of the insect army.

My friend Diane Pharaoh Francis has blogged about why it matters.

Juliette McKenna has blogged about  why it matters.

Many people have. And now I have, a little.

Join the ranks.

Be fearless.

Matter.

* There was no reason to withhold the name, as the guy was stupid enough to post his insidious comments on a public bulletin board on the internet and assume nobody would see it but the troglodytes who agreed with him, and despite his threats to sue everyone, has only himself to blame.

Artwork by Ursula Vernon.

What They’re Saying About Fanfic-for-Profit

So I wrote a fanfic that has, to date, way over two million hits.

fan fiction

The Guardian* used this image without attribution to the fan artist. Irony intended or not?

I like fanfic. But the whole “Amazon is going to publish fanfic for a profit” news last week was at first glance, gobsmacking. It won’t impact me or anything I wrote, because I did not write in a fandom that has a deal with Amazon, nor will it likely ever have a deal with Amazon, and in the unlikely situation where something like that panned out, my own flights of fancy went in directions unlikely to ever get the copyright-owners public seal of approval, so I don’t have a dog in this hunt.

But as it was quickly noted, so far the only participants are television shows. They have a vested interest in building viewership and encouraging fan participation, and making money from the licensing thereof. They already do this. The arena–fanfic–is new. Licensing the use of their universes and characters for a profit is not.

It will be interesting to see if any authors join in.

If this is all new to you and you wonder, what is this thing, fanfic? As we know it, it started with Star Trek. Once the show was cancelled, fans couldn’t let go. They started writing their own stories and sharing them through the mail. And almost immediately those stories included things that didn’t make it onto a television screen, whether it was sexual content or non-canon relationships or “What if Captain Kirk was Kirk Douglas’s illegitimate son?” or … wherever the imagination took the writers. Fanfic is not always about sex or about non-canon relationships, but it often is. But most importantly, it’s people who love a universe and characters they need to tell and read more stories about it than are already told, people who want to keep telling and reading stories about it long after the official story is told. It’s legality is, if you’ll excuse me, 50 shades of grey. But it exists. And that’s why we are where we are today.

For those of you who are interested, here are some links to various discussions about the subject. Don’t forget to read comments.

John Scalzi

Another red flag:


“Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.”


Which is to say, once Amazon has it, they have the right to do
anything they want with it, including possibly using it in anthologies
or selling it other languages, etc, without paying the author anything
else for it, ever. Again, an excellent deal for Amazon; a less than excellent deal for the actual writer.

Laura Anne Gilman

6. This will hopefully finally teach people to HOLD ONTO THE DERIVATIVE RIGHTS ON EVERYTHING THEY SELL, FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

Matt Forbeck

As a writer, it feels like splitting the royalty on the book with the
owners, which seems fair. Standard royalties on work-for-hire tie-in
novels range from 8% all the way down to nada. Of course, those
contracts come with an advance, which Kindle Worlds (like all
self-published Kindle books) doesn’t offer.


There are some catches…

Steven Harper Piziks

 Don’t like the way it works? Then write your own stuff. It’s that simple.

And finally…

*The Guardian

Amazon selling fanfic may sound a great idea, but the whole point of these stories is they go where the powers that be won’t. [See image above.]

 

WWW Wednesday 5-15-2013 Guest Post from Steven Piziks

WWW Wednesday. As always, this meme is from shouldbereading.

 

piziks

Steven Harper Piziks

Put your hands together and give a WWW Welcome (do I sound like a demented camp counselor, yet?) to Stephen Harper Piziks! Yesterday, Roc Penguin released the fourth in his steampunk series. Read more about it (and see its wonderful cover) after he shares his current WWW with us.

 

To play along, Stephen, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

marvelcomicsI’m alternating between two books, actually.  On my nightstand is Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, by Sean Howe.  I love behind-the-scenes stuff about how things get made.  The other is a book on everyday life among the Vikings.  It’s research for IRON AXE, my current novel.  Oh!  And I’m reading one of my own books, Dreamer, on audio just because I can. [So, Stephen, does this mean we can get an audio of it, too? I didn't find one. How big a tease are you, anyway? Harrumph. ~ pooks]

 

 

• What did you recently finish reading?

bryson short historyBill Bryson’sA Short History of Nearly Everything, which lives up to the  title.  Do you get the feeling that I read a lot of non-fiction these days? [I adore Bill Bryson and have listened to most of his books in audio. Not this one, though. Must amend that pronto. ~ pooks again]

 

 

 

 

• What do you think you’ll read next?

carpe jugulum kirbyProbably yet more non-fiction.  I have to do some research about trolls in folklore.  And I just got Carpe Jugulum, my favorite Terry Pratchett book, on audio, so that’s coming up when I’m in the car. [You do this, too? I have read and reread Martha Grimes' Inspector Jury series, but now have turned to listening on audio. So much fun. As for Sir Terry, yes, his books were absolutely made for audio. So clever. So veddy British. ~ pooks, who can't shut her gob]

 

 

 

Hey, it’s me again. Pooks. Didja miss me? Okay then. Finally, as promised, more about The Havoc Machine, the fourth novel in the Clockwork Empire series that began with The Doomsday Vault.

havoc machineIn a world riddled with the destruction of men and machines alike, Thaddeus Sharpe takes to the streets of St. Petersburg, geared toward the hunt of his life….

Thaddeus Sharpe’s life is dedicated to the hunting and killing of clockworkers. When a mysterious young woman named Sofiya Ekk approaches him with a proposition from a powerful employer, he cannot refuse. A man who calls himself Mr. Griffin seeks Thad’s help with mad clockwork scientist Lord Havoc, who has molded a dangerous machine. Mr. Griffin cares little if the evil Lord lives or dies; all he desires is Havoc’s invention.

Upon Thad’s arrival at Havoc’s laboratory, he is met with a chilling discovery. Havoc is not only concealing his precious machine; he has been using a young child by the name of Nikolai for cruel experiments. Locked into a clockwork web of intrigue, Thad must decipher the dangerous truth surrounding Nikolai and the chaos contraption before havoc reigns….

 

Paisely Vandermeir requests the pleasure of your presence.

 

What about you? What have you been reading lately? Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell me!

I’m keeping a running total of my reading challenges–the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (see banner at the bottom of the right sidebar) and my own challenge, the Embarrassment of Riches Challenge. The January wrap-up is here and here is the February Wrap-Up! And if you missed it, the March Wrap-Up is here and April here. (I haven’t posted mine yet, either!)

 

 

Blog Hop and WWW Wednesday (12-12-12)

My WWW Wednesday entry is at the bottom of this post, for those who are more interested in what I’m reading than what I’m writing.

I was invited to join in this blog hop by WP Admirer, whose post is here.  Thanks, Sarah! This is my first-ever blog hop!

The questions:

1) What is the title of your book?

Scandalous

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

My muse had madcap heroines from the 20s/30s on her mind, I’m afraid, even though I was writing about a world firmly set in the (then) contemporary 90s. Before I knew it, speakeasies and flappers and romances of Christmases past were occupying my mind and the life of Paisley Vandermeir.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Louise Brooks

Romance. It was meant to be a romantic comedy, and it definitely has those elements, but it ended up having a bittersweet poignancy as well, as Paisley deals with the death, bequests and scandals of her great-aunt.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Louise Brooks is the obvious choice, but alas, she is dead.

Jennifer Lawrence

So I’d go for Jennifer Lawrence, whose spin in Silver Linings Playbook is spot on perfect and has the kind of tough vulnerability (compounded by being downright weird) that I see in Paisley, even though the characters are very different from one another.

Also, even though she’s much too young, I definitely can see Susan Sarandon as the fiercely independent Aunt Isadora [aka Auntie Mame on acid]. I wrote a screen adaptation of this book in which Aunt Izzy comes back as a ghost and haunts Paisley in an attempt to make her do things she wants done. That was more fun than a bag of monkeys.

As for Chris–I don’t know. He just needs to be able to look charmingly befuddled, as if he doesn’t know what just hit him, splendid in a tux, and also be willing to fight like hell for love when he finds it.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“All she needed was a safe little scandal, and he seemed as safe as they come. Oops.”

6) Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Represented by an agent in its print format. The digital edition available now was published by Book View Café. I’m currently looking for an agent who specializes in my current areas of writing interest, science fiction and fantasy.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Probably three months, though that was once I sold the proposal. Creating the idea, characters, proposal–that all takes more time than I can usually calculate because some of these things live in my head for years before I actually put them down on paper.

8) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The fashion! Aunt Izzy left a magnificent couture wardrobe behind, and Paisley is having to let go of it one memory at a time.  I am not a fashionista, but I had so much fun researching this book!

And I had fun with this blog hop. Thanks, Sarah/WP Admirer for inviting me!

I’m tagging these terrific writers, all of whom have tales to tell!

Jeffrey A. Carver
Katharine Eliska “Cat” Kimbriel
Pati Nagle
Steven Harper Piziks
Deborah J. Ross

Now for WWW Wednesday. Again, this meme is from shouldbereading:

 

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

I’m listening to The Twelve Clues of Christmas (A Royal Spyness Mystery) by Rhys Bowen. Yes, it’s set in the 30s. Do you detect a trend? It’s the newest book in a series of mysteries set between the wars in England. “Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As the thirty-fourth in line for the throne, she has been taught only a few things, among them, the perfect curtsey…” Lots and lots of fun.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Khepera Rising, by Nerine Dorman. Horror… fantasy… not sure which it’s considered but it’s graphic, brutal, compelling, and I liked it a lot. Set in South Africa, and the first book I’ve read about that nation that wasn’t political. Nerine says, “Khepera Rising is my first novel, a tale following the doings of Cape Town-based black magician James Edward Guillaume. Themes in this work include drug abuse, religious intolerance, violence, magic, alternative cultures and sexuality.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up!

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I can never answer this question!

What about you? What have you been reading lately?  Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell me!

 

Count me in…

Amongst the ranks of the certifiably insane.

 

Because, dear reader, I’m in.

What is it? National Novel Writing Month, where I and around 300,000 of my closest friends will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days!

I will be posting a daily word count, and I hope to have cheerleaders. Get ready to say “yay!” and “you go, girl!” and “wake up and write, ya loser!” (Wait. That last was not exactly cheering.)

Are you in?

Flashback to September 28, 2007

I didn’t realize that the entire history of planetpooks is not here on planetpooks.com.  Several years still live at planetpooks.wordpress.com.  I had no idea, and need to decide what to do about that.  In the meantime I’m reposting this for Billie Sue Mosiman, thriller and horror writer, and old friend from the magical world of GEnie, who is contemplating a cruise. She mentioned curling up with a book, and I remembered, oh yes, I remembered…

~~~~~~~~~

September 28, 2007

As we leave our last island, my view from my wing chair in the library:

 

library-view.jpg

 

And my chair by the window:

 

library-chair.jpg

~~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry for the whiplash, but I’m yanking you back to 2012 now.  Almost five years have passed since that cruise.  I am not a cruise person.  That’s the only one I’ve ever taken.

I sat in that chair for more hours than I can count, and wrote thousands of words. The views were amazing and the atmosphere quiet.  I only recall one other passenger entering the library while I was there.  Who goes on a cruise to sit in the library?  I guess I did, and believe me, I’d love to spend a writing week there again.  It was a beautiful library, and I propped my feet on the window sill with my laptop in my lap and wrote a new world.  I had to rearrange furniture a bit to do so, mind you.  The chair usually faced into the library, not out.

We were on the Pride of America, the Norwegian Cruise Line.

Just for the record, it is the only cruise in the world that is governed by American (in this case, Hawaiian) law. It departs from and returns to Honolulu, and in the meantime visits four islands.  With the exception of the last day, all travel is done at night.  You wake up already docked, ready to take off and explore the island.

Unlike other cruise lines that were docked where we were, we were allowed to stay on the island hours longer than they were.  It seems like there might have been one night where passengers weren’t required to come back at all, but my memory may be bad on that. We were told it is because the other cruise lines originate in Canada, the US or Mexico and thus don’t have to follow Hawaiian laws unless they are in American waters.  Thus they grab their passengers early enough to get back out into international waters for the nightly gambling.  There is also an issue of port fees.  Our cruise paid to stay longer than the others did.

Because this cruise has to follow Hawaiian laws, its crew is 90% American (that percentage may not be exact, but it was a high number).  This also makes it different from other cruises.  Some passengers liked the fact that all the crew wore name tags with their hometown listed and the general atmosphere was casual and friendly.  I also heard complaints from seasoned cruise folks who preferred the less casual atmosphere of their previous cruises. The dress code is also different and more casual from most cruises.

There were some restaurants that required reservations and were not part of the package. The main dining room had an upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs was for those who wanted the more upscale experience and had a dress code. Downstairs was more casual.  I think they served the same menu. The food on the cruise was plentiful and good.  We hit most of the restaurants at one time or another, including the sports bar where I watched the Cowboys win (and was the only Cowboys fan present, which was fun).

Those are just a few of my memories of that trip which may be of interest if you’re considering a Hawaiian cruise. I personally like the fact that the boat is under American/Hawaiian jurisdiction, since there are a lot of scary things that happen in international waters and the US hasn’t been that successful in getting justice of our citizens. That wouldn’t stop me from taking another cruise if I wanted to, mind you. But it was definitely something I liked.

Now, the other part of looking back.  That state room held the week-long slumber party where the four of us–my mother, sister, niece and I–were crammed into too small a space all together due to various confusions prior to boarding. We often laughed until tears rolled down our cheeks, I said a few words that made my niece laugh hysterically, my sister gasp and my mom pretend she hadn’t heard them. It’s where we gave my mom the time of her life.

It’s also where we saw my mother’s back covered with unexplained bruises and discovered that her doc would start running tests when she got home.  That was the beginning of the end, though like my mother, there was no tragedy involved, just a lot more love and laughter as her body finally let go.

I’ve just returned from Hawaii again. This time, we were there for my youngest son to get married to my beautiful new Hawaiian daughter-in-law.  Once again, I return filled with memories of laughter and love and beauty, and the constant presence just over my shoulder of my mother’s memory.

Damn, she would have loved that trip.

In fact, I’m pretty sure she did.

Aloha.

 

 

 

 

 

The Page 77 Meme

So, Gwenda is doing this and Steph Burgis is doing this and evidently a lot of others, and I thought it looked like fun.

The Meme:
1. Go to page 77 (or 7th) of your current ms
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.

 

So, here is it, from my W-I-P:

 

Soft, cool dustings of crystalline snow shimmered in the air.

What have I done? she asked in wonder. What have I done?

It was beautiful, reflecting lamplight and candlelight. The air danced with magic, and could such magic truly be Shadows? Could anything so shimmering and bright be Dark?

Music swelled in her, music like she’d never heard, music that vibrated through her veins.

So… who is next? Leave a link!

PS I will reply to everybody, but you may not get a notification so check back!

Freakout City, or, They asked for my picture!

You sell your first book and the publisher asks for a head shot.

You have a webpage and you need a photo on it.

One way or the other, you will eventually need one.

Wait.

What is a head shot?

Because I’m all about cheating whenever possible, I went to wikipedia to nab their definition (with a link, of course) and–well, how to put this delicately?

I learned something new.

Yes, when giving advice, making sure you know what you’re talking about is a good idea. Who knew?

A head shot is a photographic technique where the focus of the photograph is a person’s face. A head shot is a specific type of portrait. A head shot is an image that portrays a person as he is, however simple or stylized the image might be. In contrast to the head shot, an environmental portrait would portray a person with elements of his life such as his work, interests, etc.

You see, I thought of it as focusing on the person’s face, but without knowing the broader term “environmental portrait” I was missing a bit of the picture.  So, these are head shots (and as an aside, I find it amusing that you would not be able to judge the creative output of these two by their head shots):

Stephen King (How innocent he looks!)
Mark Twain (What a dour gent.)

And here is one we’re going to look at several ways:

Naomi Novik (Does she look like a dragon?)

 

 

 

Even though your photographer may want to do a tight head shot, if you’re sending this out to multiple places–newspapers, magazines, websites, publishers–it’s best to have a picture that allows cropping to suit the page layout needs of the recipient.

 

 

 

 

What I didn’t know is the term, “environmental portrait.”  You’ve seen those. The writer at work. Or more probably, the writer pretending to be at work while somebody just happens to be there to snap their photograph.

Dorothy Parker (“at work”)
Ernest Hemingway (possibly really at work in Africa)

I like environmental portraits a lot, and in fact, have always liked head shots that include the writer’s world.  Head shots with the writer sitting at their desk (which it hopefully took two days to clear for the occasion, or else I don’t want to hear about it).  Head shots with writers in front of books.  Their books.  Old books.  Fake books that just look pretty for the purpose. I don’t care.

But those can be very busy pictures, and once it comes to cropping for layout they may be more difficult to work with.  I’d never really considered that before.  In surfing through images online I didn’t find many, and this may be why.

There’s also the broader environment.  An outdoor shot of an author in her beloved hometown, in his garden, on a research trip to the current novel’s setting.

So many things to consider.

But let’s just stick to the basic head shot and move on.  Do you need a professional photographer?  Well, it’s always best. But if you can’t manage that yet, the fact is in this day of digital cameras and instant gratification, you can get a friend who is a good amateur photographer to take one hundred pictures of you.

Seriously.

Now if you’re naturally photogenic that might not be necessary.  But if you–like most of us–are uneasy in front of a camera, the one hundred pictures is a good idea.  You might want to change clothes a few times to have various looks, or once you see pics wearing one shirt you may immediately ditch it for another.  Avoid busy patterns and prints.  Try formal and informal.

Most of all, wear something you feel comfortable in, and that makes you feel good. If you feel awkward in your clothes, it will show.

And the most important tip of all, relax. If that means having a margarita or box of chocolates on hand, go for it. Or music that makes you smile and want to move. A friend on hand to keep you calm or loose.

Expect to get 60 horrible pictures, 30 that are okay but you sincerely don’t like them, and if you’re lucky, one or two that simply say: THIS. THIS is the one.  In my experience, that one will usually come late in the process when you’ve  stopped worrying about how you look and just want to get it finished. Odd how that works.

Try smiling.  Try not smiling. Try various angles.

While you’re at it, google things like this.

One of my mentors early on said, “Don’t try to look like a Serious Author unless you don’t mind looking pretentious. Look like somebody with a wicked story to tell.  Look like someone a reader wants to sit down and spend time with, have coffee with, and listen to.”

I don’t think that’s half bad advice.

The best advice I stumbled across on my own is a bit devious, if you’re a woman. Or, okay, a certain kind of guy.

Wear beautiful makeup.  I’m not talking about 80s “Glamour Shots” but whatever you would wear to a very nice event, do that.  Then let your hair be more casual, and your clothes even more casual.  It’s a matter of not looking like you’re trying too hard, of possibly even making people think you look like this all the time.

See? I told you it was devious.

And if you do look that great all the time, I don’t want to hear about that, either.

Finally, my mentor said, “Update your photo annually.  Age with your head shot.  You do not want to be the writer who meets people in person and watches them react in horror to the fact that she looks nothing like her twenty-year-old head shot.”

I have to admit to letting that one slide lately.

Which is why I decided to share these tips.  I am thinking about my new head shots.

In the meantime, an environmental portrait from a few years ago:

Patricia Burroughs (on cell phone in front of Hollywood Hills)

Whatever else you do, have fun!

What’s your experience with head shots? What’s your advice? Share!

We have winners!

Thanks to all of your support, we have winners in the “Reward the Reviewers!” contest. Believe me, I’m going to do this one again!

First prize: A $20 gift certificate to the online book source of her choice goes to:

Tara, the Book Babe!

Second place, her choice of any book in Book View Cafe goes to:

Annie Talbot!

And I also have a winner from the new subscribers to this blog who will receive the book of her choice from Book View Cafe:

Marina!

This has been so much fun, and by coincidence, it has also let me highlight three terrific blogs.  We have everything we need here for a beautiful salon of the un-hairy persuasion. Great books, fascinating conversation, and delicious food. Check them out.

And thanks to all for making this such a success!

 

The Tidbit Friday’s Daughter

I hereby decree this day Tidbit Friday on planetpooks.

Cause that’s all I got.

 

Tidbit One: I’m thinking of cooking lamb for Easter. My family has never eaten lamb. I’ve never cooked it. This is the recipe. Tell me what you think, and possibly, save me from disaster.

If that means nothing to you, save my family. They’re the innocents in this plot.  Well, if you don’t count the lamb.

 

 

Tidbit Two: A week before she was due to bring me out, I overheard Mrs. Maynard saying I was “not quite…”

First sentence of Half a Crown by Jo Walton. As first sentences go, it’s not the strongest, since this book is about much more than a young woman “coming out” as a debutante and being presented to young Queen Elizabeth in an alternate 1960 England. It took me a bit to figure out who she was, and once I did, I was much more vested in the story–though truth to tell I was already very vested since this is the third and final book in the England-negotiates-truce-with-Hitler series I’ve been reading: Farthing, Ha’penny and now Half a Crown. From the Book Beginnings meme. Go join in, live a little.

Tidbit Three: It seems that The _______ Daughter is an extremely popular titling device. Emily St. John Mandel got to 531 before she gave up and stopped counting. However, she also made spreadsheets and pie charts, she did.

 

Tidbit Four:  Posting these links on facebook is having an interesting result, if you call deleting 47 spam comments interesting.

 

 

 

Tidbit Five:  I’m still pondering the lamb thing. Oh and the chicken thing. The spammers loved that one a lot.