Archive for the ‘Conference’ Category

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Excuses, excuses … what’s yours?

May 26, 2010

If I have, in recent days, been remiss about my duties to this blog, I can only beg the kind indulgence of our readers. These are interesting times, though not so proverbially as to cause concern. Indeed, the news is largely good. As I approach my thirty-seventh birthday, I look forward to moving to a better home in the near future, and, Friday morning, depart for two weeks overseas in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is intended that the journey should be blogged at Skipping Across the Pond, but we’ll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, as far as the important things are concerned … um … let me clear my throat.

(Ahem.)

Less than a week remains to save $75 on your registration fee for SCWC LA8. Be sure to check the latest updates, including writers, editors, agents, and specialists signed on for the show in Newport Beach, September 24-26, 2010.

I missed you all in February, to my deep regret, but rumors are flying even in my own little corner of the Universe that I might make the September conference, and thus can genuinely say I hope to see you all there. And if fate should keep me trapped up here in the Pacific northwest, fear not, I will live with the wound. Still, I think it fair to say that MSG, Wes, Edwin, and everyone else at SCWC would hope to see you in Newport Beach, as well. Or, perhaps I should correct myself: They expect to see you there. So what are you waiting for? Save yourself some money and sign up today. It’s, like, you know, a 19% discount, if I recall correctly, and June 1 is the deadline.

Don’t be pathetic and make excuses like I do. And don’t go making MSG sad. We anxiously await to hear from you, and I’ll send Decker to your house if we don’t.

-bd

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Another new agent aboard

May 18, 2010

Just added to the expanding schedule for September’s event in Newport Beach, from the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency agent Taylor Martindale will be making her SCWC debut. Beyond commercial, women’s, and multi-cultural fiction, Taylor’s looking for YA — specifically contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, and “any …story with a captivating voice.” Details at WritersConference.com

–msg

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Google Editions: The giant looms larger, starting this summer

May 6, 2010

Google LogoDespite some legal questions remaining to shape the final outcome, Google plans to open its own online bookstore over the summer. Details come from CNet’s Tom Krazit:

Google announced plans last year to offer public-domain books for free in the Epub format, and the report did not specify what format it will use for the first-run in-print books it sells through Google Editions.

A Google representative confirmed that the company plans to launch Google Editions in the middle of this year, but declined to be more specific on the timing.

One key difference between Google’s approach to digital-book sales and the approaches used by Amazon and Apple is that Google customers will not be able to download books sold through the store: they’ll be accessible exclusively through a Web browser. That has some advantages for Google, in that it side-steps messy DRM (digital rights management) questions and allows it to offer the service for any device, rather than having to negotiate deals.

However, it means Google will have to create a mobile version of Google Editions that can support offline reading. It might also change the pricing equation, given that customers wouldn’t actually have their own copy of the books they purchase. Google declined to comment on the pricing structure for Google Editions, although Google’s Dan Clancy told The New Yorker in April that it would let publishers set the prices for their books.

The Stranger‘s Paul Constant notes an important question about the Google model:

This is a weird approach. Part of the whole tablet/e-book explosion of the last year has been about making sure that books are available to their purchasers around the clock, and that the devices have the battery power to sustain long periods of reading. Internet access consumes a lot of power in mobile devices, and it’s still not available everywhere. Will people be willing to buy online-only e-books? And how much will they be willing to pay for them?

Meanwhile, Google’s settlement offer with various industry groups may also revive a large number of copyright-protected books that are out of print. Presiding Judge Denny Chin has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is expected to issue a ruling before his departure to a new bench.

Stay tuned. The times, they are a’changing, so there is plenty more drama to come. What will the publishing industry look like this time next year? Or five years on? As e-reader services evolve, will the battery warmth of a pocket reader ever come to properly replace the feel of a worn, comfortable book? Can you make an e-reader smell like an old, comfortable, favorite book? Would it be creepy if someone actually managed to pull that off?

-bd

(Paper or electronic, we’ve got agents, editors, and publishers all working to adapt their own lives to the new technology, and that means they should be on the forefront for their writers, too. If you’re ready to dive into the untold adventure of writing and publishing in the twenty-first century, it will help to have some smart and friendly people on your side. And there’s no better time or place to meet them than September 24-26 in Newport Beach, the Eighth Annual Los Angeles gathering of the Southern California Writers’ Conference. And just to prove how smart and friendly we are, we’ll knock $75 off your registration fee if you sign up before June 1, 2010. Hey, it’s better than breaking your kneecaps, right?)

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Green reading

May 2, 2010

Jenny Mörtsell, via New York TimesEarlier this month, in the New York Times, Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris asked the important question for readers who can’t settle their minds until they have an answer: Am I being green by saving trees and using an e-reader?

And the answer apparently seems to be, “No.”

So, how many volumes do you need to read on your e-reader to break even?

With respect to fossil fuels, water use and mineral consumption, the impact of one e-reader payback equals roughly 40 to 50 books. When it comes to global warming, though, it’s 100 books; with human health consequences, it’s somewhere in between.

All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library.

-bd

Illustration by Jenny Mörtsell for The New York Times.

(Also, something goes here about Newport Beach in September, and a $75 discount through June 1.)

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Commies, Canucks, Colleen and … er … yeah

May 2, 2010

May DayWell, May Day has passed, and all I did was sit around, drink, and watch the Canucks smack down the Blackhawks. Well, that and stare, frustrated, at the screen; I’m trying to launch a new blog, and I thought the idea was really cool and all, but now that it’s time to go forward, I’m drawing the proverbial blank page. Of course, I was probably high at the time; I had a tooth extracted early last week, and spent the next several days popping generic Vicodin. And, you know, it’s not the 7.5 mg of hydrocodone that worries or puzzles me, but the 750 mg of acetaminophen. Think of it this way: the maximum advisable dose of acetaminophen is four thousand milligrams. Or, to simplify, four grams. But if I took the maximum dose advised on the label, I would be hitting nine grams daily. Even the minimum prescribed regimen suggested three grams a day. Truth told, that’s more than I took in all of 2009, and probably 2008 as well. Combined.

Anyway, yeah. Enough of that. What else is new?

Oh, right. Our friend Michael Thompkins recently invited guest bloggers to his website, one of which is yours truly, covering the recent story about fake interviews. Definitely more interesting than me rehashing a story I’ve posted here is Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick, a forensic genealogist who once remarked, “We’re in the wrong business. The real money is in creating the frauds, not debunking them.

Not only does it make for fascinating reading, you can also harangue Michael for some analysis of fake interviews and the like. It’s always fun to chide him into waxing philosophical about narcissism.

-bd

(The passing of May Day also means you have less than one month remaining to get a $75 discount on your conference fees for SCWC LA 8 scheduled for September 24-26 in Newport Beach. Register before June 1 to get your discount!.)

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Radio slam

April 25, 2010

Because it’s National Poetry Month, Steve Scher and the team at KUOW’s Weekday brought us last week a radio poetry slam.

Learn why there is no “slam poetry”, and marvel at the fact that there is a Seattle National Poetry Slam Team.

I should mention that the 2010 Seattle Grand Slam is tonight, at Town Hall. Not like that means much to y’all down south, but, you know, it would be pretty silly if I didn’t say anything.

But, yeah. Cliff Mass is featured in a later segment, but that means even less to you than a Seattle poetry slam that I won’t be covering in any first-person context because it’s just not going to work out.

But I’ll see what I can come up with for results. Later. You know. Because it hasn’t happened yet.

Right. Yeah. You know. Later. We down? Cool, we down. A’ight.

-bd

(Are you a poet? Want everyone to know it? Need a place to show it? Come on, poets … Newport Beach … September 24-26, 2010. Eighth Annual Los Angeles conference. Save $75 by registering before June 1! Right. Decker, sad, all that, too. Come on … stand up and represent!)

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Something about bad writing ….

April 23, 2010

Okay, okay, I know it involves politics, but who and what Solicitor General Elena Kagan actually does is beyond my purpose here.

Rather, grab your red pencil. No, don’t actually write on your monitor, but you know what I mean, right?

The Huffington Post explains:

In a post for CBS written by Ben Domenech, who is also editor of The New Ledger, Kagan is described as President Barack Obama’s most likely choice. She’s also described as potentially the “first openly gay justice.”

Domenech later added an addendum stating, “I have to correct my text here to say that Kagan is apparently still closeted—odd, because her female partner is rather well known in Harvard circles.”

Bob Englehart - Hartford Courant - April 13, 2010Anyone? Anyone?

I’m not surprised that the post is unsigned.

Anyway, I had a composition teacher in high school who forbade us the phrase, “due to”. I still have a hard time writing it. She wasn’t the worst, either. Apparently, my friend’s teacher would not let her students start two sentences in the same paper with the same word. Not consecutive. Throughout. I think it was her way of making sure nobody got the perfect mark for a paper.

The late Jack Cady once explained that he told his writing students at Pacific Lutheran University to ignore everything their writing teachers ever taught them. Yes, there’s a paradox in there, but, nothing can destroy a good young writer like an ambitious writing teacher. I had a band teacher once who pretty much did that for me and music. Not that I don’t like music. I do. Just, not performing it. Then again, I’m a coward, anyway, so we cannot actually convict the bald guy with the ugly mustache and the breath that reeked of coffee and menthol cigarettes. Nor can I say he was particularly ambitious. At least he didn’t seem that way. And in later years, a friend described him as a “bad” teacher, which made a certain amount of sense.

Oh, right. Where as I? Sorry.

Yeah, I don’t think you need to be a fascist composition teacher to forbid certain basic, obvious notions in writing. One should be able to show their own internal restraint. Speak nothing of the editing at Huffington Post.

I’m just sayin’ ….

Alright, so … as long as we’re at it, can we strike the word “robust”, unless we’re referring to a quality of food? And banish forever the use of “transition” as a verb? I’m pretty sure I’ve complained about it before, but everyone has certain peeves. I will not “transition” that box to the other office. I will transfer it. I will send it. I will even transport it if I must. But I will not “transition” the bleepin’, blankety-blank, (expletive) box!

Right. Sorry.

-bd

Cartoon by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, April 13, 2010.

(Are you afraid of bad writing? That is, are you afraid of your own … er … damn it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know where this goes. Newport Beach, September 26, SCWC LA 8 … all that. Register before June 1, and save $75 as we help you to suck less. Oh, God! Did I just …. Oh, no, not like that. I didn’t mean to imply you actually suck, or anything. Damn it. I’m sorry. Really. Please. I’m sorry. It’s … I don’t know, it’s just something about this thing MSG says from time to time. About sucking less. It’s supposed to be funny, I guess. I’m not sure; I don’t remember. I mean … yeah. Er … or maybe it’s Wes. Ffff— …. That’s what I get for ignoring them. How freakin’ embarrassing.)