Living on the Edge…which is more interesting than titling this as "My Week"

Angry Owl.
Hello, you beautiful people. How’s shit? Good? Good. Me? Well, you know. Meh.
This weekend I’ve had work plagiarized and I made cookies. Here, try one. They’re Granny’s recipe. My favorite. Chocolate macaroons. Mmmm. Clive’s made some margaritas too. Oh, you must take one. He pouts when you don’t. Now, let’s talk about my week.
Ever seen those article directories that advertise “read articles for free”? Yeah, don’t read the articles there. In most cases, these directories steal articles from sites where authors rely on people going to the original site for income. They work like adsense, where their income depends on how many times someone reads their articles. I’m one of those authors. A site called Swebit, which I really hope is removed from existence soon (we’ve contacted Google and many of the plagiarized authors have taken further steps) appears to be using some type of feed to upload articles from sites like Suite101 and other content sites. If the site doesn’t direct you to the site that actually owns the article, it’s a fucking asshole site that is stealing the hard work of others.
With Panda being a giant pain in a freelancer’s ass, this is particularly annoying. Google now rates content sites as “low quality” so these articles rarely float to the top of a Google search. Yet, this site, which contains only “content mill” articles, shows before the original sites (which actually own the content and published it first) in a Google search. Explain this to me you big fat annoying Panda people.
Anyway, that was only one annoyance. Four of my articles (that I know of) swiped by people who don’t seem to have even a basic grasp of how to write anything. Lovely.
Plagiarism, I’m told, should be seen as a form of flattery. No. It’s not flattery. They aren’t stealing my work because it’s super awesome (Although it is I tell you, it is!). They’re stealing it because they’re too damn lazy to write something themselves. Period. Just leave my shit alone. I don’t’ need flattery. Thanks.
In other, more interesting and not so angry news, I’ve submitted Dirty Truths to Harlequin’s “So you think you can write” contest. No, it’ll never win because it’s not the typical romance. I know not all romance is formulaic. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. But as a Harlequin reader of old (my mom still reads them and I take a gander now and then to see if anything’s changed—it hasn’t) I know that they like their stories to fit a certain formula. My idea of romance doesn’t fit that. I’m not sure why I submitted it. Just seemed like I should. I had one of those “feelings” and when I ignore those, I always regret it. I’m sure they’ll be like “Well, sure she can write, but this is horrifying and wrong. It hurts our romantic hearts! This character divorces her husband, sleeps with a married man (and oh, that scene in the bar is downright…) and then she tries to help a murderer get off (in more ways than one)? And this Thomas is really a dangerous man. He needs to be locked up, but she makes him…likeable. The rules of happily ever after have been broken left and right here.”
True, but it’s all in the name of love. If Harlequin had any balls, they’d totally publish it because this is the romance we all wish we could live…except for the psycho ex-husband part…and maybe the severed finger would make me reconsider. I’d totally buy it.
While I wait for Harlequin to say “no thanks” I’m editing False Prophet—okay, I’m thinking about editing it. I keep pulling it up, reading where I left off and then I set it aside to do other work. But I will edit. Then, I’ll send it on to beta readers. Really. I must. Then there’s this paranormal-erotic-weird-humor-thing WIP that I’ve almost finished. The ending is not sitting right with me. I haven’t written it entirely because I feel like it’s…blech. And you know what? I think this for every damn novel I’ve written. I always hate the ending. It takes me twice as long to write the final two chapters as it does to write the entire novel. Why is that? I don’t know.
Last, I’m toying with a new outline. Yes, I’ve got a file full of shit I’ve outlined and should start working on, but this idea is just nagging at me relentlessly. Time travel. I know it’s been done but I think I could write something awesome. (Don’t we all?)
I’ve always secretly loved time-travel stories in any genre. The idea that one could go back in time, knowing what we know now is just…awesome. Also, I’d love a hero from another time period. I don’t care that showers, toilet paper, and good soap might not have been invented. I like the dirty boys…unless they have lice. Did they have lice? Was that a common problem? Did people even realize that those bugs were a bad thing? Ew. No lice.
Anyway, the question is how do I do it? No time machine. That makes me cringe. I’m thinking magic. But what kind of magic? Research. I know. I hate research but it seems to like me very much. If any of you has an idea…
In case you’re wondering, yes I’m out of my funk. Screw the querying. I’m done with it. I’ll submit to small publishers that feel are right, but I’m quite disheartened by agents at the moment. I’ve discovered another one that has opted to go with the “agents as publishers” model, only this one has opted to forget the royalty and just charge fees for everything. Makes me nauseous and pissed off. Whatever. They must do what they must do to survive in this insane industry and I guess some feel that jumping on the self-publishing bandwagon and milking it for all it’s worth is the way to go. Me? I think there are other options, but what do I know.
I’m moving on. Bigger and better.
The Writer’s Companion is chugging along and we’ve gotten great reviews so far. I no longer feel nauseous mentioning it to people because I finally believe it is good. (I had this crazy oh-my-god-who-do-we-think-we-are-people-will-hate-it moment in time but that’s over now) Carlos and I worked damn hard to produce a book that would be useful and that would help improve any writer’s skills and I’m proud of that work. Now, if you could get this crazy Spaniard to stop with the damn ideas that I can’t resist agreeing to, that would be great. Thanks.
I have other projects keeping me firmly in Loony Land for the foreseeable future, so I’m sure opportunity will show up soon enough. What kind of opportunity? The fun is in not knowing.
And you all? What’s your week been like?

7 thoughts on “Living on the Edge…which is more interesting than titling this as "My Week"

  1. Sometimes it feels like we're spinning our wheels between thieves who steal our work, and agents who pose as publishers. I guess what bugs me most about agents turned publishers is that they create a false sense of validation to the author. I don't want authors to attach value to a publisher simply because that person is/was an agent. Agents are SALESPEOPLE. They sell. Sadly, some of them are selling nothing more than a bill of goods.***I've had back-to-back company. And more expected next week. Becoming a hermit becomes more and more inviting every year. 🙂

  2. Exactly, Maria and this irks me too. Writers are going to be all "Well, so and so is publishing me and they're a literary agent from whocaresville" (insert self-important lipsmack thing here) and the writer will really believe that they've got something worth publishing. But do they? Do they really? As you said, agents are salespeople, so how can you really know that they're publishing because you're good or because they see a fast buck? I'd rather do it all myself and keep that fast buck, thank you very much. If you can't give me more than what I can do on my own, piss off.And, I'm a pseudo-hermit. If these damn people around me would just allow it, I'd be full-on hermit, hairy legs, nasty humor and all.

  3. Too much for me to think about here, Renee. Hairy legs were the final hairy straw. My lates wip has a time travel element involving a necromancer, a late C19th Sioux ghost dance, and a consequent kink in history that takes us back to an alternative colonial America circa 1720. I'll say no more in case those plagiarising lurkers extend their tentacles

  4. 🙂 Wow, Mike that sounds awesome. I'd totally read something like that. *jealous of your big creative brain* Mine will probably be something really simple like drinking tainted whiskey and getting sucked into a vortex hidden in a urinal in the Tweedsmuir, waking in 18th Century Tweed…only to find it's exactly the same as it is now. That'd suck, eh?

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