Thursday, October 29, 2009

There is Superstition...

Bailey here, I've commandeered the blog for my own purposes. As Halloween approaches, I want to remind blog readers that this time of year hyper pigmented felines (Black Cats)are often maligned by humans. This rather unfortunate situation is brought about by a misguided fear some humans have that Black cats are the devil's minions. This, I assure you, is not true. Incidentally, we don't associate with witches, we cannot transfigure into witches- nor would we care to. We also don't bring about bad luck to those humans whose paths we cross. I like the concept, but we just don't have the means to accomplish such a feat.

Consequently, some cultures believe that Black Cats actually bring good luck. There is a Celtic legend that suggests that if a Black Cat appears on your doorstep and you treat him with kindness, prosperity will surely follow. Also, fishermen's wives often kept a Black Cat as a companion to ensure that their husbands would return safely from the sea. In some areas of England, a Black Cat is believed to bring luck to a new marriage.

So as Halloween approaches, I ask that you show kindness to the cats you see- especially the hyper pigmented ones, like myself. It's good karma, no matter how superstitious you are.

Bailey out,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Every writer should read this..

Last week on the Editorial Ass blog, moonrat posted a great article written by Anthony Chee, author of Edinburgh, about the time he spent studying under the tuteledge of Annie Dillard. She sounds like a tough teacher but she also gave her students some amazing tools to improve their writing. The link to the editorial ass blog is here.

Go now and read it!



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Query Letters Revisited

Last tuesday night at the Cincy SCBWI meeting, the talk was all about query letters. We're going to continue the discussion at the next meeting- so bring those revisions! The sites that I talked about I'm listing below. - Includes an archived post on writing queries Step into the shark tank if you dare...(insert Jaws theme song here). - Agent, Kristen Nelson includes pitches that worked on her blogroll to the right. Great information. : Chuck Sambuchino includes a popular series entitled, Query Letters that Worked, which includes the actual query letter that assisted the writer in landing an agent. Chuck includes the color commentary from the agent on why the letter worked.



Monday, October 12, 2009

There Will Be Prizes!

Agent Nathan Bransford today announced the 3rd Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Contest.

The winner receives their choice of a partial critique, a query critique or a phone consultation. A few of the past winners of Nathan's contests have gone on to receive representation by him. Other finalists have gone on to get published! So go on get your first paragraph out there.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Setting Goals

I swam competitively for 15 years. I started when I was seven years old and stopped when I completed my last year of eligibility in college. During that time, I spent many early mornings crawling out of bed at the crack of daylight - sometimes before, to head off to the pool for morning practice. All this in the months of December, January and February. The water seems colder that early in the morning. I doubt I could have gotten myself up to the pool on those cold mornings if I hadn't set goals for myself.

At the beginning of every season, I'd figure out what I wanted to achieve for that season and what it would take to get me there. I'd plaster my goal times all over my bedroom and doodle my times in the margins of my notebooks in class. No doubt it was a commitment to those goals that got me out of bed and to the pool when I'd rather be fast asleep dreaming of sandy beaches and young men with margaritas in their hands.

With writing, I now do the same thing. While it's a bit harder to determine the timeline of my goals these days, I still write down my goals and focus my attention on achieving them. Sometimes this means working on the craft of writing; other times it means improving my research techniques. Whatever form they may come in, my goals are still important to my success. They keep me going when I'd rather be doing something else. I know one day they will pay off in the ultimate goal of landing a publishing contract.


Picture from Wittenberg Tigers website

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Flu Epidemic, Past

On the local news tonight they announced that the H1N1 virus had arrived in the Tristate area. This wasn't exactly news, the whole Swine Flu epidemic thing has been on the news throughout most of the summer. We hear announcements about schools closing and precautionary measures, it can be pretty daunting.

This flu epidemic may pale in comparison with the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. It's been reported that more people died from the flu that year than in the war (World War I). The death total was so high, that the life expectancy at the beginning of 1918 was 52 years of age, by the end of 1918, it was 39 years of age.

My grandfather was a chaplain in the Army in 1918. He was on a ship on his way over to France when the flu epidemic took hold. Luckily, he had a lesser strain of the virus earlier that year, a fact that we believe saved him from contracting it on the ship to France. He wrote in his journal about this particular time in his life.

On Thursday, October 3, 1918 he wrote:

How can one describe the situation adequately? A calm sea, save for a few white caps, a troop ship with circular camouflage near a cruiser off to the rear, two destroyers off ahead. The sun shining as if the world were a palace of love. Slowly the coffin shutes draped in Old Glory and burdened with once inhabited clay brought by six pall bearers. One after another until twelve were in line. With a low subdued voice I read, "until the deep shall give up her dead", etc. Then Chaplin X "the holy martyrs receive them, the angels in heaven take them to the holy city of Jerusalem." Amen. Then one after another, a dismal splish, a dull splash- twelve souls have departed this earth.

Of the illness itself, he wrote on Saturday, October 5, 1918:

Thank the Lord these days are soon over. Yesterdays two procedures repeated. I'm seeing men die at night. I see their eyes bulge in the death struggle, I hear their groans and delirium ravings, I know their desire to hold onto life, but in vain use that cough has nailed them into death's cold sweat. Men are glad for me to speak of religion- many are Christian in spirit.

About 118 men died on that ship. Each one on their way to France to serve their country; they never got the chance.

Stay healthy!



Friday, October 2, 2009

Adopt a Dog Month

The month of October is apparently Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month. You can read a great post at the bookends blog here,

We at The Sound and Furry would be remiss if we didn't encourage you to also consider adopting a Shelter cat. Both Lucky and Bailey were rescued from a fine animal shelter and I don't think I'm overstepping when I say we're all better for it! There's nothing like a shelter cat.

Bailey and her siblings were left in a dumpster of all places. They were brought to the shelter and a very nice veterinarian fostered them until they were old enough to be adopted. I can't speak for Bailey, but for me it was love at first sight.

I met Lucky at the shelter. As the shelter employee was opening his cage to get him out, she told me that he was almost adopted the day before but the lady changed her mind. When they put the ID chip in his neck- she thought it was the mark of the beast and refused to take him home. He came home with me instead. He's named Lucky because it was luck that saved him from living with that other lady.

Adopt a Cat Month is June. But it's never too soon to adopt a new furry friend...