Santa Lucia’s Day

Today was Santa Lucia’s Day. I didn’t walk down a staircase wearing a crown of candles, though. I hope someone did, because it sounds so cool. (Especially if the candles are the battery-powered kind. Real ones would be too scary. One drip, and ouch!)

My mystery novel didn’t go on in the Gather contest, just as I predicted. The Gather site is down right now for some kind of maintenance, so I couldn’t pop over to congratulate a couple of the writers who did make the cut (or they should have–they were in the top five as far as user ratings.) It would have been fun to continue to compete in that one, but I’m not much for sending people those “please vote for me” e-mails that are pretty much required to get anywhere. Their site is all about networking. Well, actually, their site is all about making money from hosting ads, and the more traffic they can show they get, the more they can get for the ads . . . but we’re not supposed to realize that. *grin* I did invite anyone who wanted to continue to communicate about writing with me to come over here or e-mail me so as to get on the Writing mailing list, so we’ll see if anyone takes the bait.

I need to get off of many of the writing-related mailing lists (Yahoo groups, mail loops, and such like) that I’m currently on. There used to be a lot of content that was worth reading on a few of them, but that has fallen off. I spend too much time going through and reading messages that turn out to be either just chat or thinly veiled self-promotion. Even when someone does say something that could help someone else as far as the craft of writing or a technique, all too often it’s leavened with a “That’s why you should buy and read my book, THE GREATEST BOOK EVAH, because I do that in chapter three and you’re going to love it!” For some reason, that rankles some of us. Wonder why?

“In the olden days,” grumps the old-timer, “the ‘net had great mailing lists/groups/rings/fields or whatever you want to call them.” Yeah, yeah, take a nap, dear.

Here’s a typical “helpful” post as an example, rephrased and with the serial numbers filed off to protect ME from the various nefarious stuff they’d like to do to me. It is faithful to the spirit of the original post, though.

Example of inane self-promotional message on a mailing list, in response to someone’s mentioning that they’d like to hear recommendations for more books like the ones put out by Dime Novelist A and Pulp Fictioneer B:

Hi! I see that you asked for recommendations because you are buying books as Christmas gifts. I naturally want to encourage you to read my book, _I CAN HAS BIG EGO_. I know exactly what you mean about the high caliber of the authors you mention, and I’ve worked hard to put myself in that category. That’s why I call my book “literature for the thinking chick.”
It’s funny but insightful, with all kinds of hidden “easter eggs” (“easter eggs” are commonly found in movies, and refer to hidden messages or codes within the film), and you’re going to love it if you like romance, I guarantee. Happy reading!

*sigh* Is it just me, really? Maybe it is. Maybe my bitterness and BFF status has finally made me unable to see why this is a perfectly good message to send out on just about any occasion. Why are other people put here on earth? To buy our work, of course! Why else would we want to talk to them?

I get dejected because I so seldom see anyone trying to pay it forward. I know that everyone’s busy, but I’ve always tried to critique or advise people when I have been asked to do it. It seems that so many people feel they deserve their own success because it was coming to them, and that they don’t owe the Universe any kind of payback at all. I guess I was just taught the old way, and those ways are long gone. Maybe that’s good.

Gosh, I keep forgetting that blogs are supposed to be all about self-promotion! Guess what, though? Two of the LiveJournals that I always read are NOT about self-promotion, but are often helpful as far as writing advice . . . and are interesting as far as being about the diarist’s life and pursuits. I’m thinking of Shanna Swendson, whose LJ addresses specific areas of writing and is very helpful very often, and Robin McKinley, whose LJ is simply fall-off-the-chair hilarious and/or touchingly personal (and I simply cannot resist someone who uses footnotes! Footnotes!) Hey . . . isn’t it odd that I run out and buy their books because I love their journals, but not because their journals tell me how much I will like their books? Or is there not really a distinction here? I could be making a distinction that doesn’t exist. But I don’t think I am.

Wish I could turn off the irony or sarcasm, but the switch seems to be broken tonight. I’ll try again tomorrow with one of my typical light-hearted, breezy posts. *GRIN*


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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