Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Scattershot Wednesday

Warning: I'm not feeling very focused today, so this will be a scattered post.

Another note to self: Tuesday morning is a bad time to shop. That seems to be when stores re-stock, and there were more shopping carts full of stuff being taken off or put on shelves than there were shopping carts of actual shoppers. Plus, most of the things I wanted were out of stock.

On the up side, I don't recall a single screaming toddler. Meanwhile, Target's book selection continues to baffle me. They seem to have the "Bookmarked" rack, where books are only there for a month, and half that time they're out of stock because they only put out a few copies of each book at a time, then when those sell, the shelf sits empty for a week, and then at the end of the month, those books are gone forever. And then there's the regular book shelf, where they've had the same books for years. I was planning to buy a book to take for my trip to Houston this weekend, and the one I wanted was a "Bookmarked" book and was gone, and then I'd read everything that looked even remotely interesting on the regular shelves. I'm somewhat tempted to stick a colored Post-It to the inside back cover of the back book on the shelf for some of those books and keep checking to see if those books they keep in stock really are continuously selling or if the same books have been sitting there all this time. I did find that the library has just got the book I wanted to buy and now I'm on the waiting list (it's still "under staff review"), and I have plenty of books in the To Be Read mountain to take with me.

Speaking of which, since I've had some questions about it, I am going to ApolloCon in Houston this weekend (the con where you don't dare say that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do something in the running of the con, since it's very likely a rocket scientist doing it, and where half the cars in the con hotel parking lot seem to have "My other car is a space shuttle" bumper stickers). I'm treating this weekend as a kind of mini mid-summer vacation. I'm not too heavily programmed, and my programming doesn't start until Saturday afternoon, so I'm arriving on Friday and will be able to relax, enjoy myself and attend parties that day, and then since I really like that hotel, I'm staying over until Monday so I don't have to worry about being alert enough to drive home on Sunday. That means I can stay up late Saturday night, do my Sunday panels, and then kick back Sunday evening with a good book before making a leisurely departure on Monday. On Saturday, I have a reading, an autographing and a "kaffeeklatsch," though in my case it will have to be a "teeklatsch" (if I remember my German correctly) as I don't do coffee. The extra night is a bit of a splurge, since it also means I can't carpool with any of the other folk coming from Dallas, but since I never manage to take any of those vacations I keep talking about, this is the next best thing, and I'd like to come home from a con without being dead tired. Not to mention being able to stay up late without that nagging sense that I really should be getting some rest because I have a long drive ahead of me.

There must have been a "realities of the publishing industry" current in the air yesterday, as not only did I post on why publishers do (or don't) want subsequent books in a series, but Jeaniene Frost also posted about how authors get paid. No, we're not all rich. And, yes, those few cents per copy do make a difference because not only does it eventually add up to maybe earning out the advance, but that's also part of how publishers calculate whether or not they'll buy another book. I'm lucky in that, so far, I've been able to make a living as an author, but that's mostly because I had a big nest-egg cushion from careful savings over the years before I was kicked out of the rat race, because I still have a steady freelance project so I have some monthly income, and because I've had a lot of foreign sales on my books (I couldn't live on my US sales alone). Plus, I'm extremely frugal, live a very low-key lifestyle and don't have any debts other than my mortgage. I still don't earn as much money as an author as I did even when I was working 3/4 time at my old job, but I'm much, much happier. I'd rather eat lots of dried beans, get my books from the library and buy my clothes at Target than have a regular office job.

My summer dance class is now half over, but the fall session class will be on a night I can go (though it will require VCR programming), so I think I may continue it. I can feel a difference in my legs, and I think the muscles around my bad knee are getting stronger so the knee is more stable, There are some things in ballet I can't do, but after doing the ballet, I can now go down stairs without holding onto the hand rail, and I couldn't before because the knee wasn't strong enough to control that motion. They're also doing a musical theater program for the fall for kids, and when I said something about how that's something I would have loved as a kid, the teacher said I should do it, and I could go in the oldest class, which is 13 and up. But I'm not sure I want to be the weirdo grown-up in a class of teens with pushy stage moms. And I suspect that with the dance class and choir, one more class might make me feel over-programmed, and I'll have a freak-out. I have thought about taking the acting class at the community college, as that relates a lot to writing, and I do use some acting techniques for character development, so I kind of want to explore that a little more.

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