Sunday, February 20, 2005

This is My Day

I'm sitting in my office, trying to work on a manuscript. It's raining outside - it seems it's been raining forever in East Tennessee, not one weekend goes by that it isn't pouring. The day is dreary and cold. My office is in ruins. Our new pup, Aussie, an Australian Blue Heeler who's more hyper than the Tasmanian Devil, has pulled everything out, keeps trying to chew on electrical cords, and loves to rip covers off books. My cat, Nikki, is curled up in front of my keyboard, and I have to keep swatting her tail away. My daughter's cat, Felix, is in my chair, behind my back, hissing at Aussie, who is bouncing all around the chair, yapping at the top of his lungs, trying to get to the cat.


Monday, February 07, 2005

I'm wondering...

If everything has a beginning and an end, where does the universe begin and end?And how in the world can it have an end? Wouldn't it have to be infinite? What would be beyond?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Our Dog's Escape from the Vet

We have a black lab named Black Dog. Okay, I know that name's cheesy, but this is how he came by that name. My daughter Meghann had a shepherd/chow mix named Buster. One day, Buster disappeared for a couple of hours and came home with a black lab in tow. Black Dog looked terrible. His ribs were showing, his fur was matted and unhealthy looking. But even worse, he would not let anyone come hear him. If you reached out a hand to him, he bolted. But he loved Buster and stuck right by him, as if he had adopted Buster, or maybe it was the other way around.

Anyway, it took a month before Black Dog would let us touch him, and only then, if Buster was nearby letting us pet him. We would leave food out for Black Dog, along with Buster's, and talk gently to him. Between our neighbor, Sean, and us, we tried everything we knew to get the dog to accept us. And somehow the name Black Dog evolved - I guess, because we didn't know what else to call him.

Black Dog is now a loving, affectionate dog. However, he will not go into a dark place (such as our garage) and goes nuts when he sees anyone wearing a toboggan. We finally got him used to riding in a car and took him to the vet this past Thursday to be neutered and to have a pellet removed from his leg (which was there when we got him - no telling what's been done to this poor dog).

I was supposed to pick him up Friday morning, and when I called the vet, the receptionist told me she'd have to have the vet call me back. Three hours later, she finally did with the news that when they took Black Dog out that morning to walk him, he balked when they tried to get him to go back inside the building, wrestled out of his leash and collar, and took off. This with stitches on his leg and just recently neutered. I was furious they waited three hours to call. She said he had been last spotted on Callahan Road, running down the middle of the road. This is a four-lane road, very heavily traveled. So, Sean and I hopped in his truck, my husband Steve came home and got in his truck, and we started searching for Black Dog. We took the trucks because they are both diesel, and Black Dog recognizes the pitch of their engines.

After searching for hours, Sean and I decided it was hopeless and were taking a back road to Callahan, and here comes Black Dog hobbling down the middle of the road. He stopped when he saw the truck and the expression on his face was pricless. He ran and hopped in the truck, and I was so happy to see him, I cried like a baby.

We figure he had to have traveled at least five miles to get to where we found him - over two ridges and a deep creek. Of course, we had to take him back to the vet to have his leg rebandaged, but I refused to leave him. I feel it's a miracle we found him.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about this is that the vet waited three hours to call and the office never once apologized this had happened. Their attitude was very nonchalant. This was our baby, one we had worked with for so long and loved very much. It's a wonder he wasn't killed by a car or hurt by another dog.

And that's Black Dog's (I hope last) adventure.

Ramblings of a Relatively Unknown Author

Hi. I'm author of four books to date: Chasing Horses (2001), Wayne's Dead (2002), Chasing Demons (2003) and The Bodyguard (2004). You can easily call me a POD (print/publish on demand) author, since all four books have been published in this format. Although I hope eventually to be published by a traditional (i.e., major New York publishing house) publisher, so far, this method has worked for me. Chasing Demons will be internationally published in Japan this year by Futami Shobo Publishers, and Wayne's Dead is published in South Korea by Yacom Publishing. My publisher recently emailed they had been contacted by a producer, inquiring about the movie rights for Wayne's Dead. Another producer has indicated an interest in Chasing Demons. But so far, that's all that's been accomplished: interest shown. All my books have been chosen by book clubs across America to read, and I'm slowly building a fan base.

To POD or not to POD ... There are pros and cons.

Pros: The author retains artistic control (which can also be a con); the author retains all subsidiary rights, meaning they pocket any money to be made from foreign sales or sales of movie rights and don't have to split it with a publisher; with some POD publishers, the royalty rates are much higher; the publishing process is much shorter (i.e., at iUniverse, as short as 30 days); the author has final say-so over the cover art.

Cons: In most cases, little or no editing is done, which can be harmful to an author; there is no to very little advance; most have a no-return policy, thus, it's very hard to get your books stocked by brick-and-mortar bookstores (then again, I've read that only 1% of published books are actually placed in bookstores - I'm not sure if this is true or not); elitist authors look upon POD authors as substandard or have the mistaken impression the author has gone this route because he/she could not get published any other way.

In both cases, unless you are a national bestselling author, little or no promotion is done for the author. But with POD publishing, it doesn't matter what the status of the author is, the promotion is not there.

It is my belief that each author makes the decision to publish in whatever format they choose for their own personal reasons. Each should choose the method that they feel will work best for them.

As a reviewer, I review books written by POD authors, self-published authors, and bestselling authors. There is a tremendous pool of talent in America, reflected across all avenues of publishing. It is my hope that the American public will realize this, as I see POD as a way of the future.