Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

There Arose Such a Clatter

I woke up last night, around 4 am, to what sounded like the beat of "speakers on a stereo that's worth more than the piece of shit car." The sound would start--thump, thump, thump--and then stop for a few seconds, then start again. Eventually, because I had to pee anyway, I got up and headed for the bathroom.

All was quiet until I was about to go to bed and then there it was again. Now it started to sound more like somebody hammering. So...I went to the back door, opened it, and listened. Yep, it sounded like a construction project. It had just rained, so maybe somebody was doing emergency room repairs?

I wandered out into the backyard. Although initially, it sounded like it was coming from the northwest, as I approached the gate, it seemed to originate from the southwest. I didn't want to wake Justin with the squeeky gate, so I headed around to the other gate.

As I headed around the house and up the driveway, it was more apparent that the racket originated from the barn. "Oh, shit," I thought. "Nikolaij's got himself caught up in something."

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Nope. He was still upright and apparently well. "Nikolaij, what are you doing?" made him jump and skitter out of his little porch area. As far as I can tell, the damn animal was banging on the feeder with his hooves.

At four in the bloody morning!

I think he must have been cheesed because he didn't get enough attention yesterday.

The neighbors must love us. Oh, well, call it payback for their stupid barking dogs.

It rained off and on all day. As it did the day before.

Despite that the J-man and clan finally poured the foundation for the little shed. I made myself scarce by attending the writers' conference. I got back to a nicely poured foundation, no involvement on my part.

The conference was a lot of fun. Got to hear some interesting insight from the two editors. Steve Saffel made the interesting point that writers today are not simply competing with other writers, but all the other mediums--movies, the Internet, television, and cell phones. A point I wholeheartedly agree with.

He also noted that the thick, chewy conceptual SF wasn't selling all the well. Well, duh. While I agree that writing on the denser, more literary end of the spectrum is good for fiction overall--by setting a higher standard, etc.--it seems that some segments of the Spec Fic community are so obsessed with legitimacy, so focused on chasing Nebula's and Hugo's, that they forget that the stuff that brings readers to the media isn't necessarily the heavy stuff.

Sure, there are readers who cut their teeth on Azimov at six, but the rest of mere mortals often started with something far simpler and much more accessible. The lighter stuff has its place in the market and in fact, without it, publishers probably wouldn't have the money to publish some of the deeper stuff. Also, although a reader may start with a Dan Brown novel--lambasted for poor characterization, but fast paced--they may eventually turn to to something more challenging.

Sniping about more accessible fiction is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

When I got home I found a "sorry, not interested" letter from one agent and another who wanted to see a partial. Liz Scheier had an interesting point. She noted that since agents work on commission, they are actually losing money when they ask to see a manuscript. As opposed to selling their existing authors. So that made the request all the sweeter.


P. Kirby


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