Saturday, October 13, 2007

On Googling and Gratitude

The saguaro in the cactus garden of a local church is blooming again. More detail is in the large view.

I Googled myself Friday morning.

I found out that Lisa Mantchev and I are roomies in the upcoming issue of Electric Velocipede, which recently made the final ballot for the World Fantasy Awards. Also on the ballot for next month's awards is Jeff Ford's story, "The Way He Does It," from issue #10. (Click the EV link above for more detail. And click on the link to Jeff's story there. It's an evocative tour de force.)

I've had the good fortune to get to know Lisa through the blogosphere and to get a preview of her story, "Perfect Tense." It's a terrific and gut-wrenching read. You can check out the Table of Contents here -- scroll down to "Issue Fourteen, Spring 2008," close to the bottom. I start the Short Stories lineup (in a list alphabetical by author) with "Hermit Crabs."

And some Thank Yous are in order....

First, to Scott A. Kelly, who gave Covenant a plug last month (I just discovered it Friday morning) on his blog Vacuum Genesis, at the bottom of this entry.

And to Kristy Tallman, who on Thursday posted a summary of Necronomicon and the dark poetry panel in which we both participated here. In addition to great poetry by the other panelists, it includes my prose poem "Getting the Last Laugh," which was chosen and read at the panel by Bruce Boston. If you click on the link to Bruce's novel The Guardener's Tale (nominated for a Prometheus Award), you'll find my praise alongside that of many others.

I also realized I forgot to mention in my last entry the terrific job Chris Ambrose did in putting that panel together -- making sure that our poems were all accessible to each other so that we could choose which we wanted to read, having the makings of additional rounds available should we need to use them (we didn't), and making sure each poet got airtime.

And thus I discover a third reason why Googling oneself regularly is a good idea.

One reason is, you want to make sure the stuff you produce isn't being inappropriately appropriated (try saying "inappropriately appropriated" five times fast). As poet and sijo expert Larry Gross says (quoted in my article on copyright, "Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave!"), "It's a good idea to Google yourself occasionally. Over the years I've seen many of my Asian-patterned verses turn up hither and yon, frequently with no acknowledgement of author or previous publication." Gross decides on a case-by-case basis which appropriations to track down. You can read the full article in the Summer 2007 Poets' Forum Magazine by going here and clicking on the "large view" link. (I also discovered Friday morning that Scott's interview with me had itself been appropriated, as he reports in his entry "More Internet Caution.")

Second, Googling oneself is egoboo. No apologies, no excuses, no need for modesty. You've earned the recognition. Enjoy! :-)

Third -- and this is the new reason I'm learning -- you get a chance to say Thank You! -- belated though in some cases that may be. Especially since I'm fairly bare bones over here, still use dial-up (which means I don't surf all that much), and don't have any trackback, pingback, boing boing blam blam wallawalla ding dong whatevertheheck the lingo is that sends me an e-mail saying Your Name Here.

I also learned that a comment of mine was helpful -- which is always a great thing to hear -- in Bernadette Geyer's June 30, 2007, entry, Define Previously Published.

I'm still getting the hang of blogging etiquette, made all the more interesting with its mixture of aliases and handles versus real names. I've tended to lean toward respecting people's privacy (which is probably a generational/upbringing thing), but there's a fine line between that and conveying public recognition for a job well done. One former coworker was so adept at dropping names that whenever he held forth the rest of us in the office gathered around him and held our cupped hands out to "catch" them.

But that was in the days before the Internet caught on, and I'm learning that Oh! Exposure is a good thing! when done reasonably. I need to get more into practice there.

More good news came in Friday morning's e-mail -- my story "Arachne," originally published in Aboriginal Science Fiction (November-December 1988), has been accepted for reprinting in the String Theory Anthology forthcoming from Scriblerus Press, the publishing arm of the Banyan Institute. Wrote editor Sean Miller:

"I'd love to discuss with you what it is about your piece that we appreciate so much, and I'm hoping that as we approach publication, we'll have the chance to do so. But for now, due to time constraints, we can only offer you this somewhat generic approbation and welcome."


The anthology is scheduled to go to press in May 2008. My entry "Weaving Without a Loom" describes my process of writing that story (the photo of the spider up top in that post is before my "good camera" days).

In addition to writing on the spot, the Writers' Circle I founded and facilitated at the Art Center of Citrus County has a weekly take-home prompt (this entry describes the group). I took the prompt for Thursday's meeting from James Ensor's Logolepsy on Open Diary. I've also added his site to the Writing, Editing, and Research Resources page on my website. The prompt for this week was wommacky.

From James Ensor's entry:
Wommacky is an adjective, meaning "shaking and weak".
Wommacky specifically describes weakness that occurs while recovering from illness or surgery.

One need not use the actual word in a piece -- just let the prompt inspire. In fact, I tell the people in the group that they don't have to stick to the prompt -- they can write about anything, just so long as they write something. Since we're all composing on the spot, I designed this group strictly as one that facilitates rather than critiques. (I also belong to a critique group, where I send people if they want more in-depth analysis of their writing.) As a result, sometimes someone in the Writers' Circle will say, "I can't write about this!"

They end up doing it anyway.


I had a piece written for "wommacky," but then I realized that Covenant has a couple of "wommacky" scenes in it. So I read an excerpt from the book.

That's when it finally hit me.

People have told me, "That must be so satisfying to have a book out!" and they ask me how it felt when I first saw a copy.

I did not first see a copy. I first saw 24 copies laid out on a dealer table with a 20x30-inch framed poster of the cover behind them, thanks to Bo Savino at Aisling Press. I was still numb from a severe sleep deficit after driving down to Tampa late the night before. I launched immediately into Sales Mode, which continued after my return here. In fact, I realized that until I get the case of 36 books that I have on order, I need to hold off on selling to interested people, so that I have books available for the three events I'm doing later this month. (I admit, this is a rather nice "problem" to have!) I've been handing out flyers with promo and ordering info in the meantime.

What with Sales Mode and my To Do list on the marketing end, the full impact of having a book in print didn't register until I actually took the physical copy in my hands, flipped it to Chapter 31 on page 163, and read aloud the scene that fit the wommacky prompt. And in the back of my mind I thought, I am reading out of a book -- and it happens to be mine! Holy [expletive of wonder deleted].

And -- just to sweeten the day a little more -- I also discovered that the Moth Photographers Group of the Mississippi Entomological Museum at Mississippi State University has picked up my photo of a Rascal Dart Moth from my series of shots posted at Bugguide.Net.

Deviations: Covenant can be pre-ordered from Aisling Press and from Barnes and Noble. The Deviations page has additional details.


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