gb_lindsey: (Hats off)
I just bought this: How to Write a Book Proposal

The story of how I got my agent is pretty unusual. I was straight out of my Masters degree, and feeling for the first time that actually selling what I wanted to write was possible.

(I went abroad and into some niiiiice debt for my degree. I love ya, America, but sometimes your educational system gets really snobby about what is acceptable reading fodder. The Great American Novel is not actually what everyone wants to read, ye ken? It's not actually the highest selling genre either, and it doesn't make you an amazing writer just because you wrote it. Thanks for brainwashing and demoralizing writer-hopefuls for years, but it's time to end that shit. You know how people always go, "But what are you going to DO with your writing degree?" It's time we all start answering, "Well, I am going to WRITE." /rocketscience)

ANYWAY. I first spoke to my agent because I was suddenly optimistic! OMG, you mean people will actually buy my romance and horror? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. I turned to a friend and writing buddy, [livejournal.com profile] diana_copland, and with much apology and profuse promises that I wouldn't poach her agent, I asked Diana if she could get me in touch with said agent so I could grill her about the publishing industry.

Saritza Hernandez, kind soul that she is, let me yammer at her for a good hour with all my "HOW" and "WHATSIT" and "WHEN" and "WHEREFORE" and "I LIKE WRITING SLASH" and "AND SOMETIMES ALSO THE HORROR KIND". She answered everything in great detail, thereby making me even more optimistic. She put it within reach, which for years I had been taught to believe was a pipe dream.

She asked what I was working on.

I said I had a second-person POV male/male romance short story.

She said, "Diana highly recommends your writing."

I blubbered around a bit and probably made little sense but I know I said thank you.

She said, "I'm not accepting submissions right now, but why don't you send me the story anyway?"

Look, I get it. I get that I did not match up with my agent in the usual way. And I REALLY get it now, when I find that I have no experience writing a pitch. Point in fact, I'm about to start pitching my next project as a thriller series, and I'm like, shitshitshit, synopsis, is this a good synopsis? What the hell do you mean, 1-2 pages? Effing log lines, IT'S ONLY ONE LINE HOW CAN IT BE STOMPING ON MY HEAD LIKE GODZILLA? But I like all my characters, I can't just describe two! How does this make no sense to you?? It makes perfect sense, you just have to read the novel!!

Hence, the purchase.

My match with my agent was primarily through networking. A very important part of marketing, that, and one that I still have to practice. But I unknowingly sidestepped so many horror stories: authors who went through four agents, authors whose book deals folded right at publishing, authors who got scammed out of their burgeoning baby manuscripts. Looking back, it's frightening: I never saw what I was being spared. Complete fool's luck. I count myself extremely lucky and privileged to have found Saritza the way I did.

Now I have to pick up the slack of my good fortune. Buckle down. Learn a thing or sixty.

But hey, maybe this research will balance out the file the NSA has, documenting all my inquiries into scalpels, landmines, plagues, psychoses, handguns, the FDA, and the city of San Francisco. >_>
gb_lindsey: (tree)
I am posting to apologize for a comment I made during Leviosa's Sunday panel on Adversarial Relationships. In response to the topic of canon HP characters currently being re-imagined as people of color and/or marginalized sexual and gender identities, I attempted, poorly, to discuss the ways this might make fandom experience difficult for individuals who use fandom as a way to set aside the weighty societal issues they face every day. I don't remember the exact wording of what I said and won't attempt to recreate it here, but after extensive soul searching and discussion with a close friend, I realize to my shame that my comments were entitled, naive, insensitive, and inappropriate.

The comment was supposed to be about the fans who don't want to view their fandom activities through the lens of social or political justice, who want to leave all of it outside when they go in, for whatever reason. But it definitely didn't come out that way. Instead it sounded as though I think issues of race, identity, and under-representation don't belong in fandom at all. Issues of discrimination in any form belong in the fandom, full stop. They are already there. People's discomfort with such topics is unimportant because discomfort doesn't dictate what must be acknowledged, and also very important because it is this inherent discomfort that must be addressed. It was not my intention to insult anyone, but that doesn't really matter either: as a white cis woman, I had no place making such a point in this way.

I wanted to discuss the importance of fandom as a safe and enjoyable space, which it is for me, but that really is the kicker, isn't it? As long as discrimination and under-representation are ignored in fandom, it isn't a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. The weighty social discussions keep getting shunted aside. We keep fostering ignorance of the problem.

I love fandom and I want it to be a place people want to be a part of. The re-imagining of canon characters is exciting, and the added bonus is that it brings societal discussion easily into the "safe space" fandom has created, rather than allowing it to continue to be viewed as a threat to the fandom experience. The more fans are exposed to something they fear or distrust, the faster they learn that they don't need to fear it, and the faster we bring it back home into everyone's safe space. Which is where it has always belonged anyway.

I made a mistake, and I'm very sorry for my comments. I'm trying not to shy away from these discussions because avoidance is currently the norm, and I don't think it's a good idea to avoid these topics. This dialogue needs to occur so that a lasting and constructive understanding can also occur.

But obviously I need more practice in how I approach the discussion. So I will continue to work at it. Thank you for your patience with me.
gb_lindsey: (Hats off)
Silliest stuff I've heard so far regarding ‪#‎GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend‬:


Concerned Citizen: Why do you have to change the comics?

Me: Uh, all those comics you used to read? Are staying the same. As in, not changing. As in, No Difference. As in, THERE WILL BE NO EDITS PERFORMED BY ANY EDITORS ANYWHERE.


Concerned Citizen: How could you do this? Think of the children!

Me: We are. You're the one who's making them think Captain America with a boyfriend is a bad thing.


Concerned Citizen: You can't just negate his relationship with Peggy Carter by making him gay!

Me: So your current relationship has officially wiped all your previous relationships from existence? That's impressive, I can think of a few friends who'd like to learn that trick...


Concerned Citizen:
I said, YOU CAN'T JUST NEGATE HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH PEGGY CARTER BY MAKING HIM GAY.

Me: Who said he was gay? Going with girls AND guys, who may or may not be cisgendered themselves, that's not gay. Get a dictionary and stop thinking in binaries.


So basically...

Concerned Citizen: I have logged onto social media and thus will now cease to think critically. Boop boop beep boop byooooop.

Me: Yeah, same o'l, same ol'.
gb_lindsey: (tree)
The other day, Goodreads poked me in the email and said, "HEY. HEY, YOU. Wanna make a reading goal?"

I of course said yes, having a very specific goal in mind. But then I clicked the helpful link and saw that I couldn't do anything more detailed than pick a number of books! How devastating, as my Very Sekrit Goal involves a grand total of...

Two books. Ooh, Grete, there's a finish line to strive for.

But I'm going to do it, in light of last year's successful accomplishment of another specific goal - I walked the length of Hadrian's Wall in Northern England, a longtime bucket list item for me (and who even cares if I'm "too young to have a bucket list"? I say the earlier you start, the more you get done!). This goal was only half realized in one respect, however, as it initially included 12 hikes in 12 weeks, complete with bloggy coverage. On Hike #2, I very ignobly fell coming down the steps from my apartment, overextended some tendon somewhere, and promptly bid goodbye to the 12 weeks part of the goal. I kept to my 12 hikes, but then lost the blogging part as well due to laziness uploading my photos.

Clearly I need to work on some aspects of my goal-setting.

HOWEVER. I did in fact meet the Ultimate Goal by hiking the Wall, a scary, gorgeous, mind-blowing, enriching, and utterly satisfying experience, despite the lack of blogging about it afterward. Ergo, this year I have decided to tackle another very different bucket list item.

I'm a Sherlock Holmes nut. I like just about every version I've come across for one reason or another, but for the average Holmesian, this last decade has been an absolute smorgasbord. We've got the Guy Ritchie films (for the first time, I see an actual VictorianDruggieBumHolmes, and I can't get over the RIGHTNESS of it, plus a kick-ass Watson)... Elementary (if the cases aren't always super clever, the relationship building is top-notch, and of course the gender-play, OH, the gender-play, plus a kick-ass Watson)... and BBC's Sherlock (near-perfect transposition into a modern setting, with hilarious scripting from a few of the most unapologetic Holmes geeks in the world and wonderful acting, plus, you guessed it, a kick-ass Watson).

(Finally, Watson! You are no longer being crammed into the Bumbling Idiot Box! Where you never should have been in the first place! Don't get me started!)

That's not even mentioning the Russian television series, the genderswitch sHERlock series, or the myriad other versions that have been bubbling up. Succinctly put, it's a great time to be a Holmes fan.

Hence, the goal: I intend to read the entire Sherlock Holmes repertoire by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the year 2016. And I intend to blog about it. I have recently gotten my hands on these two beauties,

which include, among other things, a spreadsheet running the lives of Holmes, Watson, and Doyle side by side from year to year (!!!).

But mainly I will be indulging in this compilation:

the books of which house every novel, short story and essay in order of (generally) chronological occurrence, are very pretty, and are much easier to pack into my shoulder bag than those other two.

Being a Holmes fan, thanks to my even crazier Holmes-fan of a mother, I have read a lot of these stories already, but I have woefully under-represented the novels and I intend to remedy that.

So! Two books. Twelve months. 1392 pages. The game, as they say, is afoot.
gb_lindsey: (whop)
Due to recent experience, I have decided there is nothing more insipid than a voice automated telephone answering service.

"You have chosen to speak to a live person. This is incorrect. Surely I can help you. Please say clearly the name of the person you are trying to reach. Did you say Dwight Eisenhower? You didn't say Dwight Eisenhower? You must be incorrect. Please say clearly what you would like to do. You have selected 'playing pinochle with a hamster'. Is this correct? You have chosen to speak to a live person. Invalid entry. Are you sure you do not wish to play pinochle with a hamster?"

**

Random Writing Exercise: Write the phone call that drove you insane. Write the character that got back at the smarmy telescam artist. Write the answer you wish you could have given.
gb_lindsey: (blue penguins)
The project this month is… moving.

Moving house, uprooting, disorganizing, reorganizing, categorizing, packing, oh god, the packing. All of it is stressful in a very physical way. I just hauled my cement block of a television up a flight of narrow wooden stairs to get it to my apartment door. Two steps from the top and you’re still miles away. Believe me, that’s the stress that keeps on giving.

However. It is also, I suspect, the most difficult part of the physical furniture moving. And it’s done.

Other things, not so much. There’s my cat, 16 years old and the feline equivalent of a cockroach: he will live forever and one day conspire with the Heart of Darkness (aka Sophie, my sister’s bunny) to take over the world. That said, he is still 16, still arthritic, and recently recovering from what may have been a small stroke. It swells the brain. He’s been treated, he’s doing well. But moving him… Ouch, in so many ways. On the one hand, do I want to relocate him, make him learn another haunt, meet new younger cats? On the other, he’s my cat, we snuggle every single night, he has a thing for ample-chested women because they are squashy and comfortable; how in the world am I going to get used to not having him there? On a third hand, because everyone should have a third hand: giant raccoons living in trees by my complex + consummate outdoor geriatric cat = oh no oh no oh god no.

But either way, I’m moving.

So, packing. Unpacking. Redistributing. Ripping up the home I know and hoping like hell that it’ll still hold the power to house me once I reassemble it in, let’s face it, a totally alien place. Yes, it’s a nice apartment, but it won’t be my home for a while. Maybe never, because I’ve lived in places that never became my home. I’m whiplashing back and forth between euphoria at finally having my own space and a terrible sense of misery and loss.

I think you just have to push through it, though. Can’t go around it, can’t wait for it to dissipate because then it just looms larger and larger in the corner of your eye. Wade firmly into the upheaval, hurt for a while, but shove through because eventually, things turn, dust settles. You hang that picture on the wall and step back and go, “Oh, there you are.”

And there it is.
gb_lindsey: (celtic cross)
In my everyday life, I work in living donor kidney transplant. That means that someone donates one of their two healthy kidneys to another person who is suffering from some form of kidney disease or failure. Living Donor kidneys tend to last longer than cadaveric kidneys (those donated from a deceased individual). The surgery itself is healthier for both donor and recipient: it's planned ahead of time, and no one has to jump up and rush to the hospital on a moment's notice.

And then, of course, there's this little gem: The Kidney Chain.

Last month, my center organized a chain of its own.

Today I got to watch four donors, one of whom was an altruistic donor (i.e., he had no recipient in mind; he just wanted to donate a kidney to someone in need) and four recipients meet each other for the first time after surgery. These are four pairs of donor/recipients who did not match each other as originally planned, but instead matched other people in other pairs.

This means that four people who might not have received a transplant got a healthy kidney. This means that four other people moved closer to transplant on the kidney transplant list, because these other four recipients moved off of it. This means that four people gave the gift of life to four other people they didn't know. This means that the last recipient on the list got a transplant far sooner than he probably would have while waiting on the list. This means that today, amidst cool, breezy weather, I got to meet eight healthy individuals and their families.

I honestly love that I can pause at the end of the day and say, "Hot damn, I love what I do."
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
Check out the first ten minutes of One Door Closes, read aloud!

One Door Closes (sample reading)
gb_lindsey: (whop)
Ladies and gents, it's official: My novella is titled One Door Closes, the first book in the Secrets of Neverwood series.

It's very nice indeed to have this aspect settled! Naturally, the only thing to do now is to post the list of reject titles for the three books in the series.

Ahem.


(This first list taken from textual samples of Book One)

"Intermittent Groaning"

"Some Inroad Somewhere"

"Geese Passing Overhead"

"Rebalanced and Replaced"

"Frank Lloyd Wright It Up!"

"Nameless Male Coworker"

"Experimenting"

"Feeding the Horde"

"Plumbing Upgrades"

"An Electrician Upstairs and a Carpenter Out Back" (you know, I'd really like to offer an innuendo here. Really.)

"Baby's First Loan"

"The Bitter Mouthful" (Oh my GOD.)

"Small Town Mentality"

"All the Dirty Laundry"

"Just a Boy on a Porch"

"This Stupid Town"

"A Giant Hole" (Yes. We went there. Of course.)

"The Spurs of his Pelvis" (No, seriously. I think this one will work.)

"A Steady Knocking"

"Bags of Carrots"



(and because I am just crammed full of BS on a good day...)

"The House on Audrey Corner"

"When Calvin Met Danny"

"Naming Glenna" (WOW, this is so inappropriate...)

"Getting to Know You"

"The Lost Finger" (I might have just spit my drink all over my computer)

"The Cosigners"

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Financial Institution"

"House on Haunted Hill: Mama's Revenge" (starring Jessica Chastain, obviously)

"The House That Was (Re)Possessed"

"American Horror Story: By Blood or By Right" (Season 4)

"Eric Files a Lawsuit"

"Unhappy Teenagers (and Other Tragedies)"

"How Danny Got His Yoo-Hoo Back"

...and of course...

"Calvin Honestly Doesn't Know What to Do With That"
gb_lindsey: (celtic cross)
Korean War Memorial

This is Sacramento's Korean War memorial obelisk, in Capitol Park.

I really like the look of it.

It has sharp, clean lines that make it soar upward and seem taller than it is. It is also broken down the center on all four sides, an imperfect and ragged edge that draws the attention immediately. The top is sheared off as if torn. Every surface is covered with photographic images. There's something warm about it, but I'm not sure what. Maybe the color. At the base is a circle of lush grass, surrounded by concentric circles of pale gray paving stones. There are stone benches along the edge, and on one side, stone placards dedicated to different military units.

The defining moment for me concerning the Korean War was the fact that until my junior year of high school, I didn't know it existed. This shocks me, still. I grew up watching MASH with my parents, but at the time, I thought the war in question was Viet Nam, and the person in charge of setting was just really bad at approximating the tropics.

It's chillingly sad that in my case, the nicknames for the Korean War were so accurate.

Today there was a veteran sitting on one of the stone benches, talking. Whether anyone was around didn't seem to make a difference in his tone or the content of his speech. He said something that struck, and stuck:

"People keep wishing me a Happy Veteran's Day. Happy Veteran's Day, they say. Veteran's Day is not happy."

I don't want to philosophize about my visit today, or try to force it into some cosmic uber-meaning. Just that he's right. Why in god's name would you ever wish someone a "happy" Veteran's Day? It does not roll off the tongue. It does not evoke grins. It's not a celebration at all as much as a meditation on experiences that, hopefully, most of us cannot understand. It's recognition of people like him, who understand now whether they want to or not, and of other people who never came home.

He said more. "When I had to wipe Steve's lips off my eyebrows, that was not happy."

We often glorify war. We trivialize things and try to give them cosmic meaning. We make it about warriors and honorable death. It's hard, maybe impossible, to handle otherwise.

I'm honestly not sure what I'm trying to say here about my visit to the memorial today. Every time I try to analyze, the result is unsatisfying and vaguely insulting. I want to celebrate the people who fought and sacrificed, but true "celebration" seems inappropriate. I'd want to wish happiness, but I don't feel it's my place today. I guess I'd like to not analyze it, not try to find any higher meaning. Instead I want to acknowledge that it HAPPENED, that people fought, that it brought out the best in some and the worst in others, that I cannot understand what any of them went through, and I'm very grateful that I can't.

No war should be forgotten.

Korean War Memorial 2
gb_lindsey: (polar express)
Recently I headed back to Minnesota to visit my dad's family in the immediate wake of my grandmother's death. It was, as these things are, a last minute purchase of plane tickets and an abrupt change in plans, and we arrived to pristine but extremely cold weather: the lakes in the Twin Cities area and much of the St. Croix River had frozen over and were covered in snow, like glistering meadows of white sand. Fishing huts with Christmas lights and cars parked out on the lakes will tell you just how thick that ice was and how firmly below freezing the temperature remained.

It was not only a trip back to the reality of dressing in layers daily and taking that five minutes to peel all one's outerwear off when sitting down in a restaurant for lunch. It was also getting to see my dad and all his siblings under the same roof with their father for the first time in a while. We're a bit spread out: Texas, Oregon, California, Minnesota, and sometimes Florida. (Much like my mother's side, which ranges through Michigan, Ohio, California, and the south.) It's a ways to travel and though we do see each other, it isn't terribly often.

It's the reality I grew up with. I have friends with extended family a block away from their childhood homes, and it's always been a blink-worthy moment for me, imagining being able to ride my bike around the corner or over to the next neighborhood to see my cousins. And while this particular meeting was for a sad reason, it was very good to see my uncles and aunts, my step-uncles and step-aunts, great uncle and aunt, cousin and step-cousins, and a whole side of my grandmother's extended family that I'd never met before. (My grandmother is technically my step-grandmother, but as a child, there was no distinction for me.) It was especially good to see my grandfather, who is spry and anxious to get back to tennis again after a car accident a little while back.

One night, we sat in my aunt and uncle's kitchen and were regaled for over an hour by the story of how they got together, a story I'd never heard. My cousin was clearly a veteran of this story, but save for my grandfather who had gone to bed, we were all in one room—at the kitchen table, the island, the computer desk, the cushioned chairs by the window—and we were listening to a history of the people in my family. It’s a history that never directly affected me, but it shaped them, and my two cousins, my father and his siblings. It dealt with how their careers brought them in contact, and it was entwined with stories I already knew, about my dad’s mother (who passed away years ago), and my dad’s grandparents, uncles and aunts. It made me think about how my own parents got together, and how everyone with these different lives had been drawn back home to be together again.

One family line, all in one room. It’s a little amazing, if you sit back and think about it, as I did.

The morning of the day we left, my father and I got in the car and drove over to the neighborhoods where he’d grown up. There were multiple houses to see. My dad took me down the paper route he’d had with his brother, past the homes of kids they’d played with, the schools they’d all attended. He told me about how people viewed the second neighborhood in general, the stereotypes they had for the individuals who hailed from there. He showed me dead ends that were no longer dead ends, schools that had come and gone, and reminisced about being kids out at recess, all dressed in ski pants and sliding down icy slopes without sleds. We pondered the existence of new streets, new schools, new houses. I pondered what it would be like taking my future children to the neighborhoods where I grew up.

There’s such a backstory here, a thousand details little and big, faces remembered and lives lived heartily. Older people who were young and young people who will one day be old with their own stories. Hell, we’ve already got stories, some that many don’t hear about due to mere circumstance. It’s a rich, undiscovered world well worthy of exploration.

~~

Not So Random Writing Exercise: Explore a character’s family tree. Who are the people who came before? The people that came along at the same time? The people they married or didn’t marry, and the people who interacted with them? If there aren’t any people, why? Did they never exist or have they already gone? Sit them all around a kitchen table and tell them the stories of their lives.
gb_lindsey: (tree)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!!!! ^___^
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
Congrats to my little sis, who voted in her very first election tonight!!! *claps*
gb_lindsey: (tree)
Just a quick update to say that I am now represented by the Corvisiero Literary Agency. My agent remains the delightful and amazing Saritza Hernandez, aka [livejournal.com profile] epubagent. ^__^

Here is my Profile Page at the Agency's website.

Update soon on my current project, a short story anthology I'm working on with two fantastic writers!
gb_lindsey: (ring the bell)
Don't ever let someone make you feel like you don't have something to offer. The reverse of this is called "respect".

Another thing: If you ever feel completely out of your depth in terms of something you really want to do, RESEARCH. The more you know, the less frightening and unattainable it is.
gb_lindsey: (loki)
Dingo went in for surgery two days ago and came back yesterday minus one left front limb. As it was the limb that sported a particularly heinous bone cancer, this is a good, good thing... though also a bad thing.

Bad because it's so strange to see him like this, and to see those big ugly sutures (no bandages, not deemed necessary in vet world, better to air it out apparently, which I'm fine with). Good because now the extremely painful bone growth is GONE.

*cheers with low energy*

He's extremely tripped out on all his meds and therefore very loopy, but doing well. He got up on his own last night and stood there with assistance, looking thoroughly weirded out about the whole thing, and eventually sat down again. But it was lovely. According to the vet, he's ahead of the curve (was already trying to get up the same day as his operation), and the surgery itself went perfectly.

They are going to take a closer look at the growth now that it's off him and hopefully get us some more detailed information about the type of cancer and how advanced it is. It could be a completely different type of cancer than first suspected, a less aggressive form, so that's what we're hoping for. But even if it's not... at this point it's good to know we've done this for him, even though it is simultaneously distressing.

Recovery-to-bounciness time seems to be about 2-3 weeks.

Right now, he's wearing a white tank top a la this (minus the grubby) and sacked out on his giant memory foam cushion. ^__^
gb_lindsey: (whop)
Yeah, so I MIGHT be a huge Batman fan. >.>

Just posted pics from my The Dark Knight Rises party on Sunday. On the menu were The Creped Crusader (with Ra's al Ghulberry filling if desired) and these lurvely cupcakes created by me and my sis.

My favorite cupcakes, you ask?

Wanna see a magic trick? TADAAAAAAA!!!
gb_lindsey: (blue penguins)
Aw, [livejournal.com profile] nenne! Thank you for brightening up my livejournal with the pile of gifts! *monster hugs*
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