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Well, the ol’ day job just earned the qualifier “from hell” added to the end. Thanks to a shift change, coming in an hour earlier yesterday for some mandatory overtime, and callers who suffer from the delusion that the customer is always right—such as the guy who blamed us for his check bouncing, I’m finding that the only way I’m going to be able to finish up any writing projects that could potentially get me out of this insanity is if I find a way to rev myself up to Planck speed.

So between jury duty last week, and spending what little downtime I have on working on my online marketing venture, and dealing with calls from people who either don’t own calculators or have the brains for cypherin’, I just haven’t had time for anything that can’t at least potentially make me some money, including blogging. This is just a warning for the two or three people who happen upon this blog from time to time that this might be the last post for a while. But I promise I’ll have more news of my adventures helping people with their take aways and goes intas while hatching my own harebrained schemes very soon.

In other news, the job search has been called off. I’ve learned enough about how to really job hunt that it’s just going to be too time-consuming. Nowadays, you not only have to target your resume to each employer you’re contacting, you also have to research said employers to somehow uncover a problem they have that you and you alone can solve. Meanwhile, our director brags about how she’s glad she got her four-year degree, while I wish I could go to my college and demand my money back, while commenting to anyone within earshot how all those DeVry and University of Phoenix commercials have all the credibility of a Nigerian email scam.

Yes, it's been a rough couple of weeks. How did you know?
  • Current Mood
    cynical cynical
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More Publishing News

Got a little surprise in my email inbox yesterday, a belated reply from The Hub about writing for them. The good news, they want me to write reviews and features for them. The bad news: they are moving to an online format and no longer pay as much. But I'm still going to do it, of course. Should be fun, and I've been wanting to get in this magazine for some time. Go, me!

I'm also embarking on an online infoproduct creative venture with someone else, in hopes that if it doesn't fill my list with copywriting clients, I can at least make a few bucks showing others how to do it, whether they hire me or not. Things are looking pretty sweet in that arena, especially since thoughts of the ol' day job conjures the escape scene from The Shawshank Redemption. I think it's time to tunnel under the yard.

And, if that wasn't enough on my plate, I may be adding "anthology editor" to my admittedly ersatz resume. Stay tuned.


There have been some changes around here. First, my hours at the 'ol day job have shifted yet again to 12 to 9. The good news is that now I finally have Saturdays off. Now I can sleep in two days in a row, spend some quality time with my sweetheart, do projects around the house, get a little writing done, and still be rested enough to face the next week's onslaught of people calling in to say, "Ah cain't raid mah beeul. Whut dew ah owe?" Not to mention coworkers who think that evolution is "just a theory" and George W. Bush can chew through metal.

In other news, I will probably be going to Dragon*Con after all, though just on Saturday. I'm still heading out to Sci-Fi Summer in a couple of months as well. I'm doing a panel on nonfiction writing, which is kind of like letting Jeffrey Dahmer teach a vegetarian cooking class, but we'll see how it goes.

And tomorrow I'm heading into town for a Chamber of Commerce Business and Healthcare Expo, trying to make some contacts for my extant but still nascent and barely solvent copywriting business. I've realized that the day job, while keeping us from living under an overpass, won't help with clearing up all of our debt, and the company is more interested in promoting good old boys with MBAs who know more about cornering raccoons than they are in me and my measley BA in English. So if I ever want to get off the phones, I'm going to have to do it through unusual channels. With extreme prejudice. Wish me luck.

On Writing

Well, thanks to the assemblage of chewing gum and bailing wire that is our server at work having another bout with electronic Alzheimer's, I was able to do something I haven't been able to do at the day job in a while: check out Livejournal! To wit:
sclerotic_rings passed on news from nihilistic_kid's blog about how DNA Publications is being investigated by the Virginia State Police and Paypal for fraud.

Just last week I had received a handwritten "Not for me, thanks" from editor Warren Lapine for an article I submitted last summer. Now I have fond memories of reading Chronicle and a couple of the other magazines, and while I was never able to sell an article to Chronicle I think what Warren was trying to do was a Good Idea, and seemed to be a fairly sound business model, at least in the beginning, and I hope what has happened is due to the problems in the publishing industry and not any wrong doing on DNA's part. Genre short fiction publishing has enough problems as it is, just from the crappy stories and a subscriber base made up solely of wannabe writers trying to figure out what the editor wants so they can sell them their stories.

But Chronicle's apparent demise doesn't bode well for nonfiction genre publishing either, and there's one less market in a field where all the article work is assigned in house to people who already write fiction.

In other, even less rosy (for me, anyway) news, the horror magazine Surreal is apparently dead, so they won't be publishing my interview with Philip Nutman. I sent an email to Darryl Schweitzer at Weird Tales to see if he wanted it, only to get a reply back from George Scithers saying, "Er. Who is Philip Nutman?" And so it goes. I'm still waiting to hear back from Schweitzer, but why does this make me feel like some old guy trying to explain who H.P. Lovecraft or Captain Kangaroo or, heck, anyone of any importance from any field of human endeavor in the past were to a bunch of clueless teenagers for whom what Paris Hilton bought last week passes for actual news?

All of this makes me so glad I'm not relying on any of these markets for even an iota of my income. And while I would much rather be writing full time than taking credit card payments for people too stupid to pull the thing out of their wallets, I couldn't write for genre mags all day without going insane. Thankfully, now I know there are other ways to write full time without starving and putting up with this crap on a daily basis. With that, it's time to work on my next article for The Gwinnett Business Journal, then start back on another article I'm ghosting for a client.

Onward and upward!

Plans for 2007

Well, after a week off, I'm finally back in the swing of things, and plotting evil schemes for the rest of the year. To wit:

I won't be at Dragon*Con this year. The wife would like a vacation that doesn't involve inhaling patchouli, and I want to get away from thinking "Wait. Did I actually talk about Land of the Lost for an hour?" But I should be back in full force next year. This year it's Florida instead.

But I will be at Sci-Fi Summer June 9-10 in Atlanta. More info as the panels and events are finalized, and I come up with more ideas with what to do with my time down there. A smaller con will be a refreshing change from the unwieldiness that is often Dragon*Con, so we'll see how it goes.

I'm also starting on the pile of books I got for Christmas, by way of several Books-A-Million gift cards. The winners are:

Voyage by Stephen Baxter
Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow
The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross

And, getting my copywriting business fully and profitably off the ground. To that end I'll be doing a teleseminar in sales letter writing with an info marketer in a few weeks, and sending samples to direct mail ad agencies.

And finally but not leastly, my novel, which I'm still planning, writing, and researching, after a bit of a false start (I decided to go backward and start the book earlier in the chain of events).

So, that's my 2007. What's yours?
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful

Ahh, Vacation

Well, I'm on vacation this week, which for the wife and I means not going to work. We're not doing anything special, but we think sleeping late and sitting around the house all day is pretty wonderful just the same. I've been working on a little marketing for my nascent copywriting business and tinkering with the novel (which apparently means rewriting the first three chapters over and over again), and not thinking at all about work, which I try not to do when I'm there. I'm just waiting on a check from my last client so I can get another ink cartridge in order to print and send samples and lead generation letters, and renew my domain name and hosting.

And the day job isn't too terrible. The acting director actually acknowledged my writing skills the other day by asking me to look over a letter they're sending out to our consumers, so that was nice. (My company has always had a "grammar optional" policy regarding corporate communiques: I've seen emails from our CEO that make Bush's most imbecilic gibberings look like The Gettysburg Address).

Anyway, hope everyone is enjoying a healthy, happy 2007 and haven't flunked out on their resolutions yet.

News from the Front

The job front that is.

Don't you just love taking customer complaint calls, as if you actually had any power over their particular situation? "I'm sorry some aspect of how this company does business annoys you, Mr. Customer, but if I had the authority to change anything, sitting here at 8am on a Saturday to explain our bills to people who can't do basic arithmetic without either removing both shoes or having access to a government Cray would be the first on my list."

And it's always the ones who think a past due notice that reads in part "Your account is past due and is subject to disconnection by such and such date" means "Pay this NOW motherfucker! Or so help us GOD we'll hunt you down and apply a tire iron to your kneecaps, you worthless deadbeat."

Or "Mah baby's daddy's in jail. Cain't I have extrey tahm causa that?"

Yes, it's been that kind of week. Why do you ask?

In other news, it's official: I am a bitch.
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The Latest

Well, things have been quite busy around here, writing wise, and otherwise. But here's the skinny:

I've just completed my first post to Blood Blade and Thruster's blog, wherein I make a confession that will make those who know better about such activities question my very sanity. I've also been informed that the mag will go from quarterly to twice yearly, and will move up to a bigger, nicer format. I'm actually relieved at this last, as now I only have to come up with poorly-paying gibberish at the last minute two times a year instead of four, and I have more time to concentrate on other things, like copywriting, business articles, and a day job talking to morons for people who think that George W. Bush is our Lord and Savior.

On the copywriting front, I should soon have some paid contractor work, and I'll be doing a teleseminar which will hopefully bring a flood of clients my way, but I'm not getting my hopes up until the checks start showing up in the mail.