Friday, September 29, 2006

The Gift Horse

In the two plus years it has been available, I have had quite a bit of feedback from The Gift Horse, far more than I’ve gotten from Trinity on Tylos, and much of it has been positive, but not all, of course. At the end of each calendar year, I think about canceling my contract with Booklocker. Oh, it isn’t really expensive to keep it up— less than the price of a meal at a good restaurant— but having my “self-published” title still in print sometimes makes me feel like a lesser author. While I believe that there are some really good self-published books out there, the stigma does exist.

However, the business person in me insists that as long as there are people interested in buying it, I should go on another year. A fellow writer suggested that I get the rights back to The Gift Horse and market it in tandem with another suspense story, a Work in Progress, but one fairly close to being finished, to an epublisher. Since it only sold two copies in eBook form (and one of those was to me) that would be a new audience, I suppose.

I’ve been fortunate, in that the owner of a gift shop here in town bought twenty five copies of The Gift Horse early this year, and Living Jackson Magazine chose to review it recently. For whatever reason, this somewhat outlandish but very suspenseful tale continues to be read, enjoyed, and occasionally spark controversy.

More than once, I’ve been asked what these books have in common, since they do reflect differing genres of literature. Both of these books have heroines who are willing to sacrifice something of themselves to be what someone else wants them to be. In our society, people profess to be liberated and self-motivated, but that is a fallacy. If you don’t believe me, go to any place where young people gather and watch them act like the folks they see portrayed in various media. Some will play sluts, some act and dress like rappers and pimps. Oh, the gods of our age come to us via small rectangular boxes— television, computer screens, and the like. But they are perhaps more demanding than those who dwelt on Mount Olympus in the days gone by, who only wanted an occasional sacrifice. Nowadays, bowing to the god of media is a 24/7 duty.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Eating my Royalties

I seldom eat fast food. That’s not to say that I don’t eat out— I sometimes do, but I don’t usually eat at fast food restaurants. Typically, the only reason I choose one is if I am by myself, and then I almost always choose Chick-Fil-A.

This past week, however, my Epson CX6400 printer laid down and died. It was only a couple of years old, but it was good and dead, so I went shopping for another printer, and by gosh, I didn’t want an Epson. I bought an HP, because we still have a couple of those which function, but they are so old that they have serial connections, and I only have one Mac old enough to have that, and it is a computer that I don’t really use. However, this entry isn’t really about printers.

After having bought the fancy HP all-in-one at an office store near the Mall of Georgia, I looked around for something to eat, and there was a Burger King right on the corner. I went in and let someone else go ahead so I could read the menu. Wow, are there a lot of new things since I ate there last. That guy didn’t take long, so I had to decide on something, so I picked a Whopper combo. I’d heard of that. And it only cost $4.23 (taxes included), which is about what I got in my last royalty check.

"Want cheese?" The clerk asked.

"No, that has a lot of fat."

"What size fries did you want?"

"What’s the smallest?" I asked, knowing that they are filled with fat, too.

"Medium." The clerk replied, bored.

I got medium fries and a medium diet drink, which I had to get for myself from a machine along the wall. The sandwich was huge, and the fries were okay. I thought I had managed pretty well until I went into a bookstore. When I picked up my wallet at the checkout counter, it was wet. It seems I managed to get some ice in my purse when I was getting my own drink.

That wasn’t such a big deal, as I threw the ice into the trash outside of the bookstore and laid my things out on the car seat to dry while I drove home. No, the worst part was learning via an internet site called CalorieKing that my fast food lunch had a thousand calories in it. What a bargain!

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Good Writer You’ve (Probably) Never Read

Approximately three decades ago, I discovered motorcycle magazines. Until then, I learned most of what I knew about two wheel transportation from my dad, who had ridden since he was a child, and from standing around in showrooms and shops, bothering the folks who worked there.

My cousin, who was seriously into motorcycles at the time as well as the proud owner of a “water buffalo” (or a Suzuki GT750 to youngsters or the uninitiated) had a large stack of such magazines in his living room. After having read them, sometimes more than once, I took the plunge and took out a subscription. The first issue that arrived had a feature article by Peter Egan, a narrative of his finding and restoring an old Triumph Bonneville. The rest of the magazine was okay, but this article, complete with a double page spread photo of the restored bike hooked me on the writer and on Cycle World magazine.

Fortunately for me, Egan took a job as a writer and later columnist for that magazine, and I eagerly read everything he wrote, even the technical “how to” articles, until he jumped ship to write for a car magazine. Time passed, and I quit reading motorcycle magazines or riding motorcycles, mostly due to the ongoing interruption known as motherhood.

Hubby still rides motorcycles for recreation, and he takes several magazines, including Cycle World, where Egan is once again a columnist. Like many modern periodicals, current motorcycle magazines often suffer from a lack of writers who can write or editors who know enough grammar and/or spelling to edit properly, but Egan still produces quality columns and articles. I've included a link to another Triumph Bonneville story, albeit a modern one, on the CW website.

Even if you’ve never read about two wheeled transportation, you might find something to like in Egan’s prose. His current article bears the subtitle “Engine by Shakespeare, Chassis by Michelangelo” which lets readers know that his education and interests go far beyond technical manuals.

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