Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Where the heck is Fafnir?

While I'm hardly qualified to criticize - look at my own spotty posting history - I can be concerned, and neither Fafnir nor Giblets nor even the Lobster have posted at FafBlog since April 4. This is alarming, since according to experts both at FafBlog and at Making Light, FafBlog is the best blog:

"This is a good blog. This is the best blog. It is about god and the universe and those horrible screaming monkeys and that time I made a pizza out of an old tire and a can of whip cream. It is the Fafblog."

- Fafnir on Fafblog
I would post something there to express my concern: after all, I was Fafnir all along; we all were, of course:

I'm Fafnir! Are you Fafnir? No? Look closer. There! You were Fafnir all along.
but I lack the necessary passwords, connection info, mojo, etc.

So on behalf of a FafBlog-free world: Whassup?

Absolute Write is Down (for now)

Absolute Write (mentioned below) was taken down by their hosting services last night on an hour's notice due to intimidation from Barbara Bauer, whom you will notice on the list below.

They are deep in damage control now, looking for a new host.

In the meantime: the twenty worst agents list lives on here and, of course, here, quoted from Writer Beware:
Below is a list of the 20 agents about which Writer Beware has received the greatest number of advisories/complaints during the past several 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.”

Writer Beware suggests that writers searching for agents avoid questionable agents, and instead query agents who have actual track records of sales to commercial publishing houses.

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)
Remember: in the publishing industry, money flows towards the writer. If you're spending money for anything other than postage to submit your writing, be careful.

Friday, May 19, 2006

West Wing RIP

My growing immersion in an alternate universe isn't particularly unusual. After all, I am a fan. The problem is not unusual either. My favorite science fiction show of all time has been canceled. I feel very vulnerable and fragile and I am having a difficult time transitioning back to the real world, which is a miserable substitute for the wonderful alternate universe that soothes, reassures and uplifts.

In my alternate universe, the United States of America is run by people who share my values. They aren't perfect, indeed as a group they are flawed and human, but they are also heroic and loyal. They are witty and their conversations are literate, skewed to the left, and their compassion for the little guy is woven into every word they utter. In my alternate universe, the President of the United States can use the word nuclear without making me ashamed. He agonizes over policy that goes against his religious beliefs but would never force those beliefs down the throats of others. In this wonderful universe the president is surrounded by people who worry about the quality of our schools and the environment. They have fought to improve healthcare and raise the standard of living for every American. They don't serve the interests of big business or betray the trust of the people who put them in office. They haven't pissed off overy other country on the planet and I am not ashamed to have them represent me or speak on my behalf to the rest of the world. When I think of them my heart swells with pride. In my universe when the president disagrees with the almighty he takes him to task in Latin. The president of the real United States hasn't even mastered English. This TV show bears only a glancing resemblance to reality and is obviously science fiction, or fantasy and it has sadly come to an end.

Josiah Bartlet is a fictional character and West Wing has been canceled. Those are the cold hard facts. I've got to face the reality of what is really going on as opposed to what should be going on. I will. It will be harsh and painful and difficult, but maybe there are others out there who will also miss this alternate universe. Maybe someday enough of us will miss it enough that we will put somone in the White House we can be proud of, somone like Jed Bartlet, or Matt Santos, or even Arnold Vinick. God, what I would give for just one man or woman in the West Wing who I thought would lose a little sleep over the cares of this country. I'm not holding my breath, though. I guess when reality intrudes too much I can always pull out the DVDs. Real life kinda sucks.

Da Vinci Code Secrets Revealed!!!

For those of you wondering "What the hell was going on with Tom Hanks' hair at the Oscars?", well, the secret's out today at your local multiplex.

Scott Kurtz explains why the Church is freaking out in this PVP strip.

Also, a certain Mr. Ebert from Chicago enjoyed the ride without taking any of it seriously:
I know there are people who believe Brown's fantasies about the Holy Grail, the descendants of Jesus, the Knights Templar, Opus Dei and the true story of Mary Magdalene. This has the advantage of distracting them from the theory that the Pentagon was not hit by an airplane.
Me, I just want to eat popcorn in a dark air-conditioned room till I bloat. This could be a reasonable excuse.

Monday, May 15, 2006

12 Steps for a Better America

And also a better world.
Proposed 12-step plan for the United States and its Power Addiction. Before beginning, we must understand that the addiction to power is an illness, not merely a bad habit or a set of maladaptive behaviors. Seen this way, illegal invasions, secret overseas prisons, bullying treaties which work against the interests of our allies, runaway arms trading, and all the other dangerous acts which our country does every day are understandable as symptoms and signs of that illness.
Read.

- via a comment at Making Light

Monday, May 08, 2006

As you know, Bob...

Some commentary on exposition in fiction. They call them "infodumps" here, which as you might know, are long expository lump paragraphs in fiction. As an author, your job is to give the reader all the information necessary, and keep their interest. This post at More Like This (one of my regular reads) had the following delightful quote from this thread at Lorem Ipsum:

As you know, Jed, David Marusek's novel Counting Heads is an astonishing collection of magnificent infodumps. I don't know if he deliberately did it as a textbook, but I lost track of the number of ways in which a Bob was created who needed to be told, for one reason or another, the background information. There’s the elderly guy whose memory is going. There’s the increasing reliance on subvocal conversations with mentars or whatever they’re called, sentient computers that provide elaborate logistical assistance and exposition. There’s the use of proxies and sims, that allow characters to interact and still have to have stuff explained to them later. There’s the training video. There’s the sales pitch. There’s the nostalgia effect. There’s the going-over-the-orders-to-make-sure-everybody-knows-them. There’s the prove-you-are-who-you-pretend-to-be. There’s the this-is-all-on-TV. If I’m remembering correctly, there’s even the interpolated news story. It's marvelous, and terribly instructive.
And that was one of the comments. Go read the whole thing.