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Three Writing, Two Life

First: A very nice review of Sword and Chant from Marissa Lingen. After our conversation on this post on the visibility of women writers and reviews of self-published works, I queried her about reviewing Chant. I'm beyond delighted she had nice things to say about it. Really, there's always that voice in the back of my head telling me I should be grateful if I get feedback more enthusiastic than, "Well, it doesn't completely suck." And that voice natters at me even when I love a story and am confident others will, too. So the fact her review includes the word "recommended" without the word "not" in front of it had me singing. (Yes, I truly sang. No, you wouldn't want to hear it.)

The publisher side of me is just as jazzed about her acknowledgement of the good production values. Reviews of traditionally published books wouldn't make mention of such as thing unless it was truly awful, but it's so important for reviewers to include at least a passing mention of good production in self-published works. We all know there is crap out there. Reviewers do all professional writers a service by acknowledging decent work.

(And if you haven't read that post of women and reviews I referenced above, I recommend taking a look if for no other reason than it'll link you to Marissa's comments on her own review policies.)

Second: Revisions of Sand of Bone are still progressing despite the distractions of spring fever. There is still one plotting issue I'm not certain how to fix. I'm letting it simmer in the background while working on other sections in the hope a solution will reveal itself. If a solution doesn't spring from my brow fully formed, I'm not certain what I'll do.

Third: It's official! I am curating a fantasy bundle for StoryBundle.  I had such a positive experience with them on the author side, I'm excited to be working on the curating side as well.  We've talked about tentatively slating the bundle for a fall release, and I've already begun to screen submissions. If you're interested in submitting something, cool! Later today I'll put up an overview of what I'm looking for and how to go about submitting.

And a couple personal things:
One: I booked Dev's flight to and transportation in Italy yesterday. I'm grateful EarthWatch provides solid briefing material on what to expect every step of the way since I haven't been overseas in the last twenty years, and have never been to Italy. The next step is to coordinate his travel from Indy to JFK. We might opt to drive out together, if I can pull the time away from the dojo, and have him fly back at the end of the trip. Yesterday was the first time I felt nervous about sending him off -- which I don't think is unreasonable, even though he'll be less than six months from eighteen. If anyone has any additional do this/not that advice, I'd love to hear it. And I'll likely beg for it again as the date creeps closer!

Two: And yesterday I wanted to call my friend Patricia just to tell her how much I miss her. It was one of those weird moments of the grieving process. I didn't forget I couldn't really call her; I wanted to call her specifically because I couldn't.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2014 05:50 pm (UTC)
My primary advice for a young person traveling alone is, dress well. The difference between how one is treated when wearing business attire vs. casual attire is remarkable, especially overseas. For a young man, this means tie and jacket, shined shoes, and the gentlemanly bearing that goes with them: it's a lot harder to dismiss someone as an insignificant kid when he's wearing a suit like one to the manner born.

*hugs* I hear ya about wanting to call your friend. I keep wanting to call my Mom the same way, and wishing I'd called her a lot more while I had the chance. *hugs* Hang in there, hon; I'm so sorry for your loss.
May. 5th, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC)
I'd disagree with this - dress smartly, yes, but dress appropriately to the occasion, which suit and tie is not always. Often, being overdressed just marks you as a tosser. (It also can drive up prices.)

(I've just come back from Paris. Strangely enough, more people started friendly conversations when I was wearing my fleece jacket and extremely battered Aussie hat than when I was wearing smart conference togs. Go figure.)

May. 5th, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, that is funny. When my friend and I traipsed through Scotland in warm leggings and sweaters, people were constantly asking us for directions as if we were the locals!
May. 5th, 2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the advice and the condolences.

Most of Dev's time will be spent on the dig site, where he's apparently required by Italian law to wear steel-toed shoes (he's probably one of the few kids who already owns a pair). But his evenings with the other teens will be free to wander the little town.

May. 5th, 2014 02:19 am (UTC)
Good things mostly. I am sorry about the last. Those do hurt.
May. 5th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
I just know how jazzed she'd be to know her godson is set to do some traveling.
May. 5th, 2014 04:51 pm (UTC)
Travel tips:

- Learn a few words of italian: it always helps for be able to ask how much something costs and where something is.

- make copies of travel documents: boarding pass, hotel instructions, passport. Keep a printout of everything you might want to look at in a safe place in your luggage and another copy in your pocket for easy consultation; keep a scan in a safe place in the cloud; anything you can access from any computer.

- find out how public transport works and how to buy tickets: in Paris, most ticket machines took coins or card; in Italy I've encountered the 'buy a bundle of tickets from a newsagent'; in London you're best off with an Oyster Card etc etc.

- Lonely Planet guides tend to be really really good. Not just because they've got details for all the sights, but they also contain a lot of extra knowledge and how-to-navigate-the-world info.

- look online whether you can get an offline map for your phone. The one I had in Paris made my life easier by a factor of ten, and that's with Parisians liberally plastering maps all over the place. Offline, because Wifi might be scarce (McDonalds tends to be reasonably reliable, other places - including Starbucks - les so), and you don't want roaming charges.

- get a good adapter and make sure that any electronic equipment you take will cope with 220-240 volts. Otherwise, buy battery chargers etc locally.
May. 5th, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC)
--He'll be doing a crash course in Italian courtesy of Rosetta Stone, beginning tomorrow. We'll see how far he gets. He already knows a few random words, but nothing that would really help him in a pinch. (All I remember is, "Where's the women's restroom?" :))

--Copies, check. He'll be traveling with a copy, I'll have a copy with me, and the agency heading the trip will have a copy, too.

--All his transportation will be included, thank goodness, but I'll take a look at the trains and such just in case something goes awry and he missed hooking up with folks at the airport.

--Ah, Lonely Planet! I hadn't even thought of them!

--Totally forgot he'll need an appropriate adapter for his phone. Yeesh, thank you for that!!!!

Thank you so much for the tips!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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