Saturday, November 29, 2008


By this morning, the world has likely heard about the tragic death of the 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death after a mob who'd lined up since before dawn crashed down the doors to get into the store.

As today is Buy Nothing Day--a day I don't normally observe but would like to apply permanently to Wal-Mart--I feel the need to express my utter disgust at the behavior of the people who callously continued to shop and irately refused to leave the store after officials announced they'd be closing the Wal-Mart.

Excerpts from the AP story via Yahoo News:

Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries.

Police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the Wal-Mart doors before its 5 a.m. opening at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

"This crowd was out of control," Fleming said. He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security.

Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."

"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."

Items on sale at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9.

Well, enjoy your $9 Incredible Hulk DVD and your 67-cent tubes of toothpaste. It only cost the blood of someone's son and the happiness of a whole family this holiday season.

I mean, seriously! It's frickin' WAL-MART! I've never really understood lining up to shop anywhere for anything, but it completely boggles the mind when something like this happens at Wal-Mart, of all places. Are we so obsessed with needing possessions that we will, in fact, kill for them?

There's a places for overzealousness and tragic fatal stampedes: religious gatherings like Mecca, soccer games, and political protests. Wal-Mart gives mobs a bad name. I am sick to my stomach of the human race today.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gone postal, part II


A trip to the post office brought about no results.

The Canada Post Web site still lists my package as having been received on Nov. 19. But I've been informed by a number of people that sometimes you don't get another update until the package arrives at its destination, even though the track-a-package feature says it should list when the package crosses the border when going to the U.S. The CP guy on the phone told me that *might* mean it hasn't crossed the border yet, but isn't convinced that's the case since delivery is slated for 7 to 8 business days. It's been seven days.

Worse yet, I completely forgot about Thanksgiving in the States. USPS is probably on holiday. The RWA office is closed, so I won't know until it's way too late whether my MS will be exempt from the deadline since it went out so many days ago. Probably not, considering how many entries they get and the hard deadlines listed on the site.

On top of all this, it just wouldn't be worth making up a new entry and FedExing it out--it would cost more than $100 to send out for arrival by Monday.

So my Golden Heart entry is somewhere out there, floating around. The weekend ahead is going to be full of pacing, cursing, and regretting, muttering "if onlys" and "I should'ves", and dimly hoping that my entry will appear at the RWA office unscathed before the Dec. 2nd 3 p.m. deadline.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gone postal

So. I'm having a bit of a freak out.

The Golden Heart's Dec. 2 deadline is looming...and my manuscript still hasn't left the post office.

I dropped it off for Expedited Parcel service to the U.S. on Nov. 19, and according to the Canada Post Web site, the thing hasn't been shipped off yet. Whether this is due to the strike or not I can't say--the telephone customer service line is minimal to zilch because of the strike.

I probably should have listened to my inner pessimist--who is always hanging around but was on a smoke break the day I went to drop the thing in the mail--and FedEx'd my entry. But no. It's lost somewhere in the postal ether.

I'm going to the office tonight to see if I can retrieve it and send it via courier instead...I can't take the chance that it'll arrive too late. Grr.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Best. Romance Covers. Ever.

Covers reimagined. So damned hilarious.

More here and here.

*Note to TRW memebers: brace yourself, some of YOUR covers are on here!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Romance! Scandal! PRON!!!

Hey! I was writing that!


Earlier this month, Germany's richest woman, and one of its most private, shocked the world when she came forward with a torrid tale of a love affair gone terribly wrong.

Susanne Klatten, who owns of 12.5 per cent of BMW, the automaker her late father ran, admitted to having been blackmailed by her lover, Helg Sgarbi. Authorities say Sgarbi and an accomplice secretly videotaped intimate moments of the affair and, beginning in the fall of 2007, threatened to make videos public if she didn't give them millions of euros.

In January, rather than let herself be extorted, the married mother of three filed a criminal complaint with the Munich prosecutor's office alleging fraud and blackmail. The investigation, which is ongoing, led to the arrest of the two men, who are now in jail, Sgarbi in Munich and his alleged accomplice in his native Italy. No trial dates have yet been set.

Klatten recently went public with the details, despite the unpleasant public consequences for her. A respected BMW board member, she is a trained economist with an M.B.A. who has ranked among Forbes' most powerful women in the past. She is also a member of the supervisory board of Altana, a chemicals company she controls and is now trying to take private in a US$1.2 billion deal. Yet she was duped by a man whose intentions were allegedly criminal from the outset.

Affairs always have the potential to damage people's reputations, not to mention their marriages. But for the rich and powerful like Klatten, the stakes are much higher--putting careers, companies and fortunes at risk.

One of the world's most eligible bachelors, Russian metals billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, was detained in the French ski resort of Courchevel in January 2007 after police raided his hotel on suspicion of prostitution. Prokhorov, who said the women were models and his guests, was held for four days and released without being charged.

Time-share tycoon David Siegel, whose net worth briefly touched US$1 billion at the peak of the real estate market, was recently ordered to pay US$610,000 in damages to ex-employee Dawn Myers over battery charges. Myers sued Siegel, claiming constant advances and groping and alleging that Siegel offered her US$1 million for sex. He didn't apparently get any, but he could still have quite a bill to pay. Siegel is appealing the verdict.

Perhaps the most astonishing story of all involves Henry T. Nicholas, former chief executive of semiconductor firm Broadcom (nasdaq: BRCM). A colourful civil suit claimed Nicholas built a secret "sex cave" under his California home to host drug- and prostitution-fuelled parties.

A subsequent 2008 indictment from the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., charges Nicholas with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, ecstasy and speed, and alleges that Nicholas had hired prostitutes for himself and clients and supplied the prostitutes with drugs. The trial begins in 2009.
Damn you, reality!!! Stop playing out my ideas!!! *shakes fist at the heavens*

Meanwhile, my life is like this.
(Thank you, Dangard Ace, aka Alex, for sending it along.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Calling All Good-Looking True-Life Heroes

Harlequin is looking for authentic heroes for its covers.

On November 29, 2008, we will be holding a casting call at Powerhouse Casting in Toronto for real firefighters, police officers and paramedics to become cover models.

We regularly feature models posing as heroes—firefighters, police officers, paramedics and other emergency personnel—now we want to celebrate the authentic heroes who put their lives on the line every day, by featuring them on the covers of our novels. If you know someone in any of these professions that you think would make a good Harlequin cover model, please forward this email on to them.

The casting call is for good looking males between 25 – 48 years old. No acting or modeling experience is required.

Casting will be held at Powerhouse Casting, 93 Berkeley Street, Toronto, Ontario, on November 29, 2008 between 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


As an ongoing feature of my blog, I'd like to start some fun times for everyone to chime in on!

Fill in the blanks! Best entry gets bragging rights!

She needed his touch like a [blank] needs a [blank].

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writer Update

Lookit mah fancy new Photoshop banner to ID this post! Shweeeeet.

Finally shipped off my entry to the Golden Heart today. No more thinking about Star Attraction for a while--I'm going back to my first romance book, All in the Details, and reworking it for Silhouette Desire.

My young adult book is on hold--I haven't had the juice to work on it. But that'll change, since I'm finally going back to reading stuff I like--namely Maria V. Snyder's Fire Study, the third in the Study series. I met Maria a couple of weeks ago when she came to Harlequin, and had a bit more time to chat with her at a talk she gave to the Toronto Romance Writers. She's awesome.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a new urban mythology book about an agent of retribution living on earth. No title yet. I'm trying to move into writing "books of my heart"--which is to say, books I want to write. But I've been so drained lately, I'm mostly just trying to get a few words out now and again just to ensure I still can write.

On my To Be Read shelf:
--Gone With the Wind (which I bought in the summer when it was reissued in MMPB)
--Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things (I would like to try doing more short stories, but I'm apparently not good at keeping things short)
--Pride and Prejudice (I think I've started reading this, like, four times, all while in the bathroom. Obviously not the best place to do my reading.)
--Kool-aid-crazy vampire phenomenon Twilight (Because all the cool kids are doing it...though I still think I'll wait to see the movie first so my "expectations" aren't destroyed.)

Enough for now. Must get to work....

Friday, November 14, 2008


I don't have a prostate, but I know someone who does.

November is Men's Health month, also known lovingly as Movember.

Check out their fundraising site here. A friend of mine is growing a 'stach all month as part of the campaign.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poor math may have killed her....

WARNING: Slight grossness ahead. Having warned you, you're going to read on anyhow.

I was in the E.R. at Mount Sinai Hospital in the fracture room last night (not to worry, it was just a UTI, fairly common for me, I was in and out in about 3 hours during which I got some writing done) when I overheard the nurses giving medication to the patient in the cubicle next to mine:

Nurse: "So, you need 240 mg of (insert drug name here). We don't have the 240-mg pill, but we do have the 80-mg ones, so you'll have to take four."
Patient: "Wait...what?"
Nurse (more slowly, as if the patient doesn't understand): "We have the 80 mg pills. We don't have the big 240-mg pills. You need to take FOUR of these to make up for the big one."

I'm in the next cubicle, wondering whether I should pipe up and ask them to redo that math. But I'm not a nurse, I don't have a degree in medicine or health studies. I haven't taken a math class since high school. The most expertise I can lay claim to is that I avidly watch Grey's Anatomy and once enjoyed the days of PBS's Square One. Something told me at that point that it wasn't my place to speak up and tell them they only needed THREE 80 mg pills to make up for the dosage required (unless drugs have some weird overlap property that I'm unaware of? Anyone?)

Now I'm worried that my silence might have given an elderly woman a fatal overdose of her prescription meds.

As Mathman aptly preaches, you do, in fact, need math in many jobs...nursing included.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam

The awesomest quiz about whether your fantasy novel sucks.

So far, I think my novels haven't quite hit any of these yet....

By David J. Parker

Additional Material By Samuel Stoddard

Ever since J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis created the worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia, it seems like every windbag off the street thinks he can write great, original fantasy, too. The problem is that most of this "great, original fantasy" is actually poor, derivative fantasy. Frankly, we're sick of it, so we've compiled a list of rip-off tip-offs in the form of an exam. We think anybody considering writing a fantasy novel should be required to take this exam first. Answering "yes" to any one question results in failure and means that the prospective novel should be abandoned at once.

  1. Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
  2. Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
  3. Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it?
  4. Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
  5. Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
  6. How about one that will destroy it?
  7. Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about "The One" who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
  8. Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?
  9. Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
  10. Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
  11. Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician?
  12. Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel?
  13. How about "a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior"?
  14. How about "a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons"?
  15. Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around?
  16. Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
  17. Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals?
  18. Would "a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword" aptly describe any of your female characters?
  19. Would "a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan" aptly describe any of your female characters?
  20. Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"?
  21. How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"?
  22. Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different?
  23. Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief?
  24. Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?
  25. Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?
  26. Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"?
  27. Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then?
  28. Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
  29. How about a quintet or a decalogue?
  30. Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
  31. Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"?
  32. Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?
  33. Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far?
  34. Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?
  35. Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm?
  36. Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?
  37. Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?
  38. Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
  39. Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?
  40. How about "orken" or "dwerrows"?
  41. Do you have a race prefixed by "half-"?
  42. At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines?
  43. Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG?
  44. Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG?
  45. Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast?
  46. Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls?
  47. Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't?
  48. Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
  49. Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot?
  50. Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as "fireball" or "lightning bolt"?
  51. Do you ever use the term "mana" in your novel?
  52. Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel?
  53. Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel?
  54. Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs?
  55. Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest?
  56. Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
  57. Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it?
  58. Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?
  59. Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?
  60. Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more? [info]
  61. Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?
  62. Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns?
  63. Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?
  64. Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?
  65. Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal?
  66. Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead?
  67. Do you think that "mead" is just a fancy name for "beer"?
  68. Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
  69. Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves' guild?
  70. Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?
  71. Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute?
  72. Is "common" the official language of your world?
  73. Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before?
  74. Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings?
  75. Read that question again and answer truthfully.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

No props to Prop 8

Gee, thanks, California, for harshing the buzz. WTF?

You just elected a black president. But God forbid you let the personal lives of loving couples who happen to be of the same gender ruin your ultra-heterosexual, straight-edge lifestyle. I mean, since when did you insist on looking into your neighbors' bedrooms and insisting your rights as someone who isn't as happy are being infringed upon?

Oh, sure, marriage is a sacred union between blah blah blah. You wanna explain the high divorce rate, then? I'm sure God won't have any problem with you defying your own rules.

Forget that you are directly challenging the rights of human beings. Forget that at one point in history it is likely that you, too, were or would have been discriminated against based on your heritage, your color, your gender, your religion, your identity. Forget that you are setting a dangerous precedent for retracting the basic civil liberties of an identifiable group.

You know, since we're already at it, why don't we suggest a proposition to, hmm, say, take away the voting rights of those uppity womenfolk? Or maybe we should amend the rules to make sure blacks are only counted as 3/5 a person and legalize slavery again. And let's get rid of those pesky child labor laws, because we all know our kids are all fat, lazy slobs. Oh, and let's make sure those uppity Jews, Irishmen, and Orientals aren't allowed into the country. Because God knows we have too many of them around.

Give me a break, people. If someone's lifestyle bothers you that much, don't be their friend. In fact, be loud about it so the rest of us can make sure not to sit with you in the lunchroom, because heaven knows we don't want to infringe on your cloistered, phobic, personal breathing space--it reeks of desperation, fear, and utter self-worthlessness.

I, personally, am putting together a proposition to ensure stupid people wear signs that declare their status as morons. And maybe we should make them wear armbands and ship them off to concentration camps, too....


Fun with Photoshop!

Defying gravity, Nazis and Republicans since 2008.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

History made.

Hottie now president of the United States.

Hot old men

I have an admission: I like older men. (But I still love you John!)

For my enjoyment, I present attractive older men (what do I call them? Cured beefcake? Meat jerky?)

CNN's Anderson Cooper:

41 years old, prematurely gray, steely-eyed, looks great in a fitted T-shirt, and he's drawn to action and danger...what's not to like? (Yes, I am aware he's gay, but I still *heart* him).

This is what I imagine Anderson Cooper doing for fun.

Let me tell you, when you spend your days staring at covers of starry-eyed men holding babies, looking dapper in tuxedos or beckoning you to bed in next to nothing, a fully-clothed, hard-eyed vigilante with a gun is a refreshing thing to see. (Not that he's not showing up without a shirt more frequently now. And not that I mind *fans self*.)

Actor Tim Daly (Private Practice, Wings):

52 years young and still hot. Best of all, he played Superman in the animated series (before Justice League).

I'll post more, but the elections are over, and the States has just elected the first black president. So I'm kinda distracted....