Wednesday, 30 March 2011

So what exactly is a Chick Dick?

Glad you asked. A chick dick is a female sleuth, a woman detective, a girl gumshoe - you get the picture. She's a modern day Nancy Drew, and like Nancy, a Chick Dick is:

1) An amateur (i.e. she doesn't accept payment for solving mysteries)
2) Smart (when it comes to solving mysteries, at least. Not so much when it comes to men or relationships)
3) Brave (she'll usually go where angels fear to tread, since her heart rules her head)

Unlike Nancy, a Chick Dick is:

1) Not rich (she must work for a living, like most of us)
2) Not footloose and fancy free (she has a ton of baggage)
3) Not blessed with a normal family (they are either not around or she wishes they weren't)

Nancy Drew is great role model, but let's face it. How many eighteen year olds drive around in a convertible, have a rich Daddy, a great housekeeper, a wonderful boyfriend and no personal problems? I'd venture to say very few. So the Chick Dick characters are more realistically portrayed for the benefit of today's reader.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Things that bug me

In no particular order:

1. Coffee lids with the little tab that won't stay down.
2. People who don't signal a turn. 
3. People who stand at my cash and act surprised when I tell them they owe me money for the things they want. News flash - stuff in a store isn't free. Get your wallet out, get out your damn debit card, and hand it to me when it's your turn.
4. People who park right next to me in an otherwise completely empty parking lot. 
5. The pizza from Pizza Pizza - not enough cheese.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Chapter Four - The Velveteen Author

The Velveteen Author decided maybe the Fairy GodWriter was right after all. Getting an agent didn’t matter. Getting published didn’t matter. Those things gave her a big headache. The only thing that mattered was the writing, since it brought her joy.

She also believed that writing was what she was born to do. If she kept doing it, something good would happen. She wasn’t sure what yet, but someday she would find out. Patience wasn’t her strong suit, but maybe the Publishing Gods were testing her.

So she cleared her calendar of all the things that weren’t a priority and focused on the writing.

But she was getting very tired of all the power resting in the hands of editors and agents who didn't understand her vision, and didn't get her writing style, even though she knew in her heart that she was a talented writer, more talented than many authors she'd read in the bookstores. It made her wonder if editors even knew what readers wanted. Maybe they were too afraid to lose their jobs, and weren't in a position to take a chance on anything new (despite their claims).

The buzz on the street was that the publishing industry, in its current form, was in trouble, not unlike many industries in these tough financial times. A case in point: the giant American bookstore, Borders, had gone bankrupt. In fact, many people believed that the publishing industry was going through a complete transformation. Although the Velveteen Author didn't usually pay any attention to all of that stuff, she did some research and discovered that a quiet revolution was happening in the book industry. An e-book revolution.

Now some people said that self-publishing an e-book was for wannabe amateur writers only, that it was a career killer, blah blah. But the Velveteen Author believed, like many others, that the end of traditional publishing was coming, and that e-book sales were on the rise, thanks to state-of-the-art e-readers like Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader and iPad. Book technology was now cheaper, and maybe traditional publishers would have to reinvent themselves.

The Velveteen Author decided to self-publish her novels as e-books, putting all the power back where it belonged - with the author. She could be the master of her own destiny.

And she could finally call herself a Real Author.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Chapter Three - The Velveteen Author

The Velveteen Author went in search of an agent. She soon discovered that getting an agent was harder than getting an editor.
Agents weren’t interested in her work unless she had a publisher. The big publishers in New York only wanted submissions from agents.
“This is called a paradox,” the Author said.
She entered the first few chapters of her manuscript in a writing contest, and then attended the conference, held in Vancouver. At the meet and greet on Friday night, she tried to mingle with a few agents, but they totally snubbed her. It was clear they thought she wasn’t much better than the stuff on the bottom of their shoes.
At luncheon the next day, the contest winner was announced. The Velveteen Author won! She was very happy that someone finally recognized her work.
Later in the evening, at dinner, the same agents who had ignored her the night before smiled at her, sniffing around like vultures to fresh meat.  They suddenly wanted to talk to her.
The Velveteen Author realized that these agents were two-faced hypocrites who didn’t know good writing from bad writing, and could only make a judgment when somebody else thought she was good.
She wished she could find an agent who wasn’t an incompetent suck-up.

Chapter Two - The Velveteen Author

The Velveteen Author thought the FairyGodWriter’s attitude was pessimistic and not very helpful. Easy for her to say ‘write for yourself’ and don’t worry about getting published, the Author thought. The Fairy had been out of the writing game a long time. Too long, obviously.
So the Author kept submitting, because she thought her manuscript was the best she had ever written, and it was hell of a lot more interesting that anything she picked up at Chapters.
The editors still said ‘no’. They said it in different ways.
“This book is a mystery,” Editor One said. “We don’t do mysteries.”
“But it’s so much more than a simple mystery,” said the Author.
“We don’t do mysteries,” Editor One repeated.
Editor Two made a face. “It’s neither fish nor fowl.”
“What does that mean?” asked the Author.
“It means I wouldn’t know how to categorize it. It should fit into what we already publish.”
“But your website says your publishing company is looking for fresh, new, creative voices.”
“That fit into the stuff we already publish,” insisted Editor Two.
Editor Three thought the pace of the book was too slow. Editor Four thought the pace was too fast, there was too much dialogue. Editor Five thought the ending was too ‘chick lit’. Editor Six said she was way too busy to take new authors, even though her website insisted she was actively lo0king for ‘fresh, new, creative voices.’
The Velveteen Author grew more and more discouraged, and finally decided what she must do.
“I need an agent,” she decided.