Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Expect to be edited

Hello, patient blog readers.  Thank you for sticking around.

Over the last two days I've begun a binge of trying to get my stories resubbed.  It's so frustrating when they all come back at once but I'm finally getting them back into the world.  In looking for appropriate markets for one of my longer pieces, I came upon a newer pro-paying market that lists, right at the beginning of their submission guidelines, "Expect to be edited."

I can't decide whether I'm turned off by this statement--or rather, if I'm turned off enough to avoid the market.  The publishing world is full of editing, of course.  Some places are open about it and work closely with authors to make sure the finished product is mutually acceptable.  On the other hand, we've all heard horror stories from authors who, after first being excited about a new sale, are ultimately disappointed because their "baby" was editing without their permission or knowledge, sometimes drastically.  These submission guidelines give no overt indication as to which category the market falls into.  However, "expect to be edited" has a dictatorial feeling to it, whereas, "be prepared to edit" would imply a collaborative effort.  Based on the wording, I get the impression that they plan and expect to edit most stories, without necessarily making sure the author is okay with the changes.  From an artistic standpoint, that bothers me.

But on the other hand, nowhere does it say "by submitting, you are bound to sell us your story should we accept it."  I suppose if I'm really concerned and I receive an acceptance, I could always ask my questions and, if necessary, say "thank you but no thank you."  Or I could be proactive and ask these questions before submitting a story, and make my submission decision based on their response.  (Provided I get one.  In the next decade.  Market correspondence can be glacial.)

This is all hypothetical anyway.  In order for this to be an issue, they would first have to accept my story, which is no sure thing.  And at this very early point in my career, is it wise to reject a pro-paying market for a hypothetical concern?

The story and market in question have been shelved until at least tomorrow, but I'm curious:  What impression does the statement "expect to be edited" make on you?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kiddie Crafts - Easter

...and St. Patrick's Day too.

Zaxxon and I only did one craft for St. Patrick's Day this year:  he made a leprechaun hat.  This year, he cut the outline and the hat band himself.

He liked wearing it around the house for a while.  A leprechaun came to our house while we were at the museum on this day.  He knocked over some furniture and left some plastic and chocolate coins.  Zaxxon enjoyed playing leprechaun once he'd finished his hat (we had to remind him that it wasn't okay to bang the furniture though--bad example, Leprechaun!)

We had a few birthdays to celebrate at the beginning of April, so I had Zaxxon make cards.  I asked him to trace the names of the people they were to, but he decided he wanted to circle each letter instead.

Then we decorated the fronts with glitter glue, confetti, and crinkle paper.

We had a surprise birthday party for hubby's mom at our house.  Hubby's sister brought a storebought cake, but since Zaxxon can't have eggs, we made some of our own cupcakes to have at the party too.  This was the first time Zaxxon got to use his new apron.  I wore my new one too, which has a picture of the two of us baking together last year.

We only did a few crafts for Easter this year.  The first was handprint sheep with popcorn wool.  Zaxxon loved this, and loved gorging himself on popcorn while doing it.

Next, we made a garland of bunnies and eggs.  I saved the shapes from last year, so this one was easy to put together.

Then we broke out the hard-boiled eggs and used them as paint brushes to paint large paper eggs.  This served the dual purpose of making a piece of artwork and decorating some eggs.  We had to be careful, though.  Zaxxon is allergic to eggs, so if an egg broke, I had to remove it from his reach.  Still, we had fun.

Zaxxon's hands got pretty coated too.

And I do like the way these turned out.

Lastly, we made a bunny-shaped basked out of a paper plate.

Our last craft of the week was for Zaxxon to decorate his new apron with fabric paint.

Tot School

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spam, spam, spam, spam (hums Monty Python)

Wow.  A little while back, I took the word verification off my blog to make it a little easier to make comments, based on advice I'd read somewhere on the internet.  The premise was that people are a little more likely to comment if they have fewer hoops to jump through.  The same person said spam comments aren't much of an issue unless your blog is huge, and if you get one, just delete it.  "Sure," I thought.  "Why not?"

Well, thank goodness Blogger has a spam filter.  I don't look to see whether comments need moderating very often (I don't require moderation unless the post is older, and that's just to make sure I know it's there) so I didn't notice that my spam folder was filling up.  In just under a month, I got 15 spam comments in my spam folder.  I can only assume they began after I took off the word verification (I don't remember what day that was.)

It's pretty amazing that my blog is big enough to generate spam.  I don't get all that many visitors.  But at least the filters seem to be holding for now.  Whether or not I'll keep the word verification off remains to be seen, based on whether the spam becomes a nuisance.

Do you ever get spam on your blog?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The lines between copycat and new

Nearly every time I read a book or watch a movie that really grips my imagination, I often relive it in my head numerous times.  This can go on for hours or even weeks after the movie or book makes its first impression.  Sometimes I'll include myself as one of the existing characters, but often I'll create an entirely new character to be me, and incorporate my "character" into the plot.

Does anyone else do this?  I've done it my whole life, and this is one of the things that attracted me to Mercedes Lackey when I was a teenager.  I was reading one of her novels, Arrows of the Queen, which is part of the larger Heralds of Valdemar series.  I'd already read a few novels from the series, out of order, before reading this one.  As the book opens, the main character is reading a story and imagining that she is part of the story.  I recognized this right away because the history tale the character was reading came directly from one of the other novels I'd read.  My immediate reaction was "I do that!!!" and I was hooked. 

Most of these stories I play out in my head can never be written down (or rather, they aren't worth it) because they take place in somebody else's universe.  It doesn't matter how enthused I am about the idea, I can't sell it if it's somebody else's story rebranded with my character.  I don't even think about doing such a thing, because I don't want to spend my precious writing time penning something that's destined for the fan fiction boards, if even that.  Every now and then, though, a story mutates so much that it becomes something of its own.
This happened to me recently.  It's a story based on an old science fiction film, but its catalyst was really just one small moment of the film.  One scene stuck in my head, mutated and evolved, and has gone off in some very wild directions.  This story has actually been with me for several years, off and on, as something my imagination plays with when I get bored--especially while driving or doing dishes, or other times when I'm typically alone with my thoughts.  Each time I revisit it, it evolves some more.  It gripped my mind again recently, and I found it was interfering with editing my novel because I was having a hard time putting it aside.

Then it hit me:  this has changed so much, it really is a story of its own now.  So why not write it down?  This'll be a unique chance to harness the creative energy that normally just keeps me amused throughout the day.  I jumped into writing, or at least summarizing, and I haven't looked back.  And it's going quite fast.  I think it's probably going to be novel length, and it has the advantage that I'm very excited about it right now.

I don't want to write the new one completely right now, but I'm trying to get the plot and all the scenes I've already worked out in my head summarized before I lose any details or my enthusiasm.  It's very disorganized, but still rewarding.  The only difficulty is that this has made me put my first novel on hold.  I suppose it amounts to stalling.  I'm still a bit nervous about all the editing something as long as a novel entails, so it's easy for me to justify finding other things to do.

Well, it's good to know what the next project will be, at any rate.  And I really am curious--does anyone else write themselves into good books and movies?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Three ER trips in 3.5 Years. Oh, and March Stat Check

On Friday night, Zaxxon dropped his cat piano on his bare foot in the kitchen, which popped the toenail off his big toe.  Man, did the poor kid cry!  Of course, after calming him slightly and examining the injury, we knew we needed a doctor to look at it.  So off we went to the ER.

They removed the last piece of nail that was hanging on, did and x-ray to see if he had a fracture (he didn't,) dressed it, and sent us on our way.  The worst part was the lydocaine they administered to numb his toe before removing the rest of the nail.  Have you ever had that stuff?  I have, when I sliced my foot open when I was maybe 14.  I felt like somebody was taking a razor blade and cutting my wound deeper.  Zaxxon took that about as well as any three-year-old:  by shrieking at the top of his lungs.  Poor guy.  He's already feeling a good deal better, though he's limping around.  He's discovered that he can skip sideways, though, which means he can move at nearly the same speed with which he usually runs around the house.

This makes the third trip to the ER that Zaxxon has taken.  He aspirated a piece of carrot just over two months ago, and that earned him not only a trip to the ER but also an overnight stay, though thankfully no surgery--he managed to cough it up on his own, and only stayed for observation.  His first trip was when he was only twelve days old.  It was election day--his due date--and I awoke in a panic realizing that it had been nearly seven hours since he'd eaten, and why hadn't he woken up?  I woke him and started nursing him, and then he had a seizure.  Or at least, it sure looked like a seizure.  The best suggestion (made by the nurse I talked to before arriving) was that it could have been a seizure induced by low blood sugar because of how long it had been since he'd eaten.  But blood sugar levels had reached normal by the time they tested him.  Since they were unable to find any reason for him having a seizure at the ER, they made all sorts of suggestions as to what it could have been.  The doctor even had the audacity to suggest it might have been hiccups.  I mean c'mon, I know what hiccups look like!  This was jerking and eyes rolling up into his head.  The doctor was more concerned with his failure to gain weight, which turned out to be a vicious cycle of not eating enough, and therefore not having enough energy to eat, which was why he slept so long without waking me for a feeding.  Nothing like that kind of situation to welcome one into motherhood!

With so many ER visits, we're starting to wonder if Zaxxon is going to be accident-prone.  Kal'El has managed to stay out so far (except as a passenger when his brother goes.)  This certainly makes for hair-raising evenings--and he always seems to need to go at dinnertime.  At least this year.  Having kids sure keeps you on your toes.

The culprit.  Look at that mischievous grin

Anyway, it's the first, and that means Stat Check day:

During the month of March, I wrote/edited on all 31 days
I edited my novel and began planning another
I made no submissions
I received 5 rejections
I have 12 (well, 4) stories currently in slush pile circulation
I made 8 blog posts
I took no days off

This was a somewhat ho-hum writing month, with the only landmark being that a new idea gripped me by the brain and didn't let me loose until I started writing it down--which also means that I've paused editing the novel.  But I'll probably write more about that in a different post.

Submission wise, I feel like I'm falling flat.  I had five stories come back to me in six days (not to mention three that I never got resubbed from the end of February), and because there are a lot of things I've been trying to get done recently, I haven't been able to muster the energy to get them resubbed.  I'm hoping to get caught up on that again soon, sometime in April, but it's always disheartening when they pounce on me all at once like that.  Life should get a bit easier come mid-April, so hopefully I can get my head back above water.

Happy April Fool's Day everybody (and no, Zaxxon's ER trip wasn't a fool.  Wish it was.)