Friday, May 30, 2008

Letter to the convention

Dear BEA,

I miss you. I enjoyed you last year, even though the Jacob Javits Center had no discernible air conditioning and I was exhausted by the end of each day. I enjoyed meeting the out-of-town publishers, the foreign agents, and getting all the free books. I think I'm missing the free books most this year.

But BEA isn't just about the books, it's about the people that come to you. This year I could have gotten a chance to meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, to see my friend Ken Scholes, and to stand on line for authors whose work I liked (inbetween meetings, that is). I would have been able to spend almost a full week with my intern (unnamed for his privacy), as well as our junior agent, Spencer Ellsworth, and my colleague Lori Perkins. I would have gotten to bathe in your book-y goodness.

So although you're a giant convention and you don't miss me at all, I thought I'd let you know how I feel in this public letter. We won't discuss my health, except to say that I'm still sick, and even if I lived in LA, I wouldn't have been able to come and attend. But please pass on my fond regards to everyone else who's getting the chance to attend--and save me a badge for next year, ok?

Loff,
Jenny

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My suitcase took a vacation

I'm supposed to be in LA right now, for BEA, except I'm not. The story goes like this:

I got to the airport yesterday afternoon. I went through security. I lugged my heavy laptop through the terminal with me; I was a little bit late, so I got on the plane immediately. I kept thinking that perhaps Newark airport didn't have the air conditioning on high enough, since I was very warm, and it was an exceptionally humid and hot day in NJ.

So I sat on the plane, squished in, but happy that it was a 757. I got my own little TV screen! This was getting better and better. I could deal with being hot, if I had my own TV to watch on the plane ride to the west coast. And then they closed the cabin door, and I was promptly, violently ill.

So ill, in fact, that the Continental employees removed me from the aircraft, and called a paramedic.

In hindsight, this was an exceptionally intelligent decision on their part, because a half hour later, I proceeded to be even more violently ill, and they probably would have had to turn the plane around. (And wouldn't that have been fun, having 300 passengers pissed off at me?)

Anyway, my suitcase took a nice vacation to LAX, and I went home with Chris. I'm up at the moment because my dear, wonderful husband, who I am so happy I married, is putting clean sheets on the bed. And then I'm going to be resting. In fact, he's done now. So I'm off to sleep, and I'm sure the suitcase had a lovely trip without me. It's back in NJ now, and scheduled to arrive at my house later this evening. I shall sadly wave at the convention I won't be attending.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Big Idea post

One last post before I rush off to the airport to catch my plane:

David J. Williams has a Big Idea post over on John Scalzi's blog. It's worth a read.

Off to BEA

I'm off to BEA tomorrow afternoon, where I shall be hiding away in the boonies, past the forest, and over the river to to my secret (and free!) accommodations. Yes, I have to ride the train back and forth from the convention center, but it saves so much money, it's not even funny.

So I'm packed, but still running around, and missing a couple of essential items, like, shampoo. That would be a useful thing to bring with me, except all the stores that sell it are closed right now, so I'm going to have to wait until the mall opens tomorrow and then dash out to buy some. Oh joy.

Expect sparse blog posts for the next few days, as I'll be in transit A LOT. And to anyone who will be at the convention itself, I'll see you there!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Aimee, crafter extraordinaire

Every now and then, I feel like I'm justified in using this blog to introduce you to things that I love. One of them is my friend Aimee, who not only runs www.newroticgirl.com, which makes the most delicious body lotions and bath stuff imaginable, but who also makes her own jewelry.

She's currently having a bit of a legal snafu right now, and is short of funds. I'm not asking you to donate money to her, but if you wouldn't mind hopping over to her Etsy store, and seeing if anything strikes your fancy, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks, loyal blog readers. =)

Plus, I wholeheartedly endorse her products. Her bath stuff is great, and I have a beautiful beaded blue necklace which I got the chance to wear to the Nebulas banquet in 2007.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy Belated Release Day!

So I'm one day late to the party, but better late than never! =)

I'm very proud and pleased to announce that THE MIRRORED HEAVENS by David J. Williams is finally live and in bookstores! It is truly a kick-ass book, and I am so incredibly proud of Dave for having written it. Dave, for those of you not privileged to know him, is one of the most intelligent and interesting people I know--I consider it an honor to have him as my client. And people, he's going to be big, so get in while the going is good. You can say that *you* read him first.

To whet your appetite for the book, here's the review of it from the May 15th issue of Library Journal:

Williams, David J. The Mirrored Heavens. Spectra: Bantam. May 2008. c.409p. ISBN 978-0-553-38541-0. pap. $12. SF

In the 22nd century, Earth enjoys a tentative peace thanks to a treaty between the United States and the Eurasian Coalition. The hallmark of this new world is the Phoenix Space Elevator, enabling quicker transport from Earth to near-Earth orbit. When saboteurs destroy the Elevator, the authorities activate their top counterintelligence agents, Claire Haskell and Jason Marlowe, to unravel the mystery of who has broken the peace. Williams's first novel delivers a powerful, rapid-fire sf adventure/intrigue story with echoes of cyberpunk. This stellar hard sf debut with hopes of sequels belongs in most sf collections.

And here's a picture of the book "live and in the wild", courtesy of a Borders in the DC area. Go forth and read! I'm eagerly waiting for Dave to e-mail me the manuscript for the sequel!



And the winner is...

... David Cook, which just makes me so exceptionally happy. I think I deafened Chris when they announced it because I was in utter shock and disbelief that chose to express itself at an earsplitting volume.

So yeah, for the first time in SEVEN SEASONS of watching, someone I LIKE THE BEST has won American Idol. I'm a satisfied girl. Thank you, voting public. =)

(Also, why has no one ever mentioned that Carrie Underwood has the best pair of legs since Tina Turner? So odd... )

(And now, I'm going to post my belated book post!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

American Idol Finale

I normally just watch and don't vote, but I will proudly admit I speed-dialed tonight for David Cook. I like him *better* than David Archuleta. Sure, Archuleta is a nice kid, and he'll probably win, which irks me to no end..... but he's a KID. He sings goody-two-shoes songs, he has no edge to him, and he seriously acts like he's twelve.

And granted, Archuleta does sing well--I give him that totally.

But if I had my druthers, David Cook would be the American Idol winner.

Just saying.

Random House rumblings

There's been small rumblings emanating from Random House, on and off, that they were going to change up the head management people, due to some profit loss. And now they are.

I have no analysis about this, at the moment, but I'm interested to see what the eventual fallout will be. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the divisions I deal with aren't grossly affected by job loss and/or decreased output of books, etc. Publishing is a business, after all, and there's a bottom line.

Inside the Mailbag, Installment #5

I've decided to name these installments, instead of weeks, because if they're weeks they defy the known laws of physics...

Anyway, I'm up waiting for my bookcases to be delivered from Ikea in seven packages of fiberboard goodness!

And I'm forwarding queries on to my intern, so he can go through them. And I came across one of them that merited an entry all its own.

Queries:
  1. To properly explain this query, I must tell you all the story of SIR NAGA SOLVES A MYSTERY. That was a novel query letter that I got the opportunity to read, when I was an intern at Creative Media Agency, almost three years ago. Now, Sir Naga, you see, was the protagonist's penis. And he solved mysteries by sleeping with all the suspects, who coincidentally were all women. Oh, and this is the kicker: the novel was narrated from Sir Naga's point of view. That's pretty much been my baseline for "weird, very weird". But I'm forwarding queries now to my intern, and I come across yet another mystery novel. Which doesn't rate quite as badly on the weirdness factor because you see, the protagonist is merely an insect detective, and it's title is merely a terrible pun on a famous mystery novel (falcons, anyone?). I'll leave the rest to your imagination because I don't want to reveal more details, for fear of singling out the author of the book. But never fear, it's getting passed on to my intern, along with a note to use his best judgment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Night Shade Books Sale!

Night Shade Books is having it's semi-regular 50% off sale, and if you'd like to pick up some books by my clients (and by some other really great authors), this is your chance to do it.

As a reminder, you can buy:
WASTELANDS edited by John Joseph Adams
THE LIVING DEAD edited by John Joseph Adams
THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE by Nathalie Mallet
THE KING'S DAUGHTERS by Nathalie Mallet

And those are just by people I represent! I personally plan on picking up a Jonathan Strahan anthology or two, as well as Paolo Bacigalupi's debut story collection. The sale lasts until May 25th!

Surfaced

Expect more blog postage to come shortly. I'm awake, my healing burn is currently not being annoying and itching badly enough that I want to gnaw my left wrist off, and I have a semi-operational computer again! =)

Turns out the hard drive was overheating, shooting up to 51 degrees Celsius, which is um, really bad for hard drives. Not the RAM at all, which I guess is a good thing because I like my 2GB of RAM. They're pretty. =)

So now I have a clean windows xp install on my secondary drive (only 40 gb, the horror of it being so small!), have removed and backed up almost all my files that I could possibly want, and the hard drive will be traveling back to Seagate. I'm told to expect it to have a vacation of several weeks there, before a new one is sent to me. Joy. But at least I've got an operational computer, I get to install Microsoft Office in a bit, and I can start getting more work done again. Let the rejoicing begin.

A couple of questions that it's easier to answer here than in the comments.

Several people wanted to know my status on e-queries; as of now, as I've stated before, most of my e-queries go to my intern to read. If you haven't gotten a response yet, keep on waiting, as he's a graduate student with a family (not Spencer, different person), and he's been doing a great job for me so far. As concerns the snail mail queries and partials, I have a box, about 12"x18"x9", which is full of queries. Every available piece of space in that box is full of queries. I am slowly going through them on my own, as I don't have an intern that comes into the office. Snail mail partials-wise, I'm about halfway through my backlog. If you haven't heard back yet, don't worry, a response will be forthcoming. Once again, I'm reading these all on my own.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Inside the Mailbag, Week #4

Today is the day of reading slush because I'm not supposed to be using my left wrist that much, in order to avoid popping the wonderful blister from the burn. So lots of slush, little typing. But I can type in increments, so you get another mailbag post.

Queries:
  1. This query is normally something I would turn down. It's not got the most compelling hook, and it has character names that are rife with accents, which drives me bonkers. But it's got an interesting take on fairies as secret agents, the author was recently a contender in the ABNA, and the author is 16. That's good enough for me to take a look at it. I'm asking for a partial.
  2. This query is for a cliched-sounding paranormal romance. It's not ringing my bells. I'm passing on it.
  3. Another query about fairies, spelled as "faery" this time. Not that I mind, since it's not only a sassy take on the subject using YA themes, but it sounds like just the type of light happy novel that would sell well now. Plus, it's by a friend of a friend. I'm asking for a partial. (As a note of clarification, if I hadn't liked the query, even though it's by a friend of a friend, I would have politely turned it down.)
  4. A YA novel query, which bills itself as an adventure novel. It doesn't seem very adventurous or interesting to me, so I'm passing on it.
  5. A query for a generic fantasy novel, with a megalomaniac trying to take over the world. Explain to me how this is different than the norm? I'm passing on it.
And thus ends my typing of this post. =)

The 2nd LIT SOUP Birthday Contest Winners!

And so I'm back, typing a bit slowly with the burnt wrist, but ready to announce who's won! =)

These were the original entries.

And these are the winners!

In THIRD PLACE, we have natalie with:

Half the audience sat flabbergasted as Kira took her place on stage. It had been rumored for months that the pregnant teen would be playing Mary in the church Christmas pageant. The kerfuffle over its blasphemous nature caused most to assume that Reverend Spinner, who controlled every whit of the parish’s dealings, would never allow such a thing. But there Kira sat in the makeshift stable, shawl squaring her face off like a wimple, in all her lenticular glory.

In SECOND PLACE, we have kaz augustin with:

The kerfuffle began soon after I renewed my acquaintance with Larry the Rat. I had dressed in the brushed titanium wimple of the Sisters of the Eternal Black Hole, and moved up to his unsuspecting form steadily, under the guise of collecting alms. The sneak never knew what hit him, although I did. Luckily some other group at the bar had just finished their Relativity Shears, and their lenticular intoxicant chamber was empty. The cylinder slipped easily into my passing hand, although it wouldn't have mattered a whit whether they noticed that piece of pilfering or not -- I was in no mood to be my usual subtle self. Larry, after he recovered from the blow, was beyond flabbergasted, his mind punched into a space at least two parallel universes away. I wasn't too surprised. After all, he thought I was dead, roasted into carbon fragments too small to detect. And all because of a little piece of advice he'd let slip from those unrestrained yet knowledgeable lips of his.

And finally, in FIRST PLACE, we have beki with:

To be perfect honest, she was a bit flabbergasted. Who uses a word like “lenticular” anyway? What in the hell does “lenticular” even mean? She looked it up, and she still wasn’t sure. She was sure, however, that it wasn’t something you called somebody. It would be like calling them “wide.” Or “bumpy.” Or … “lenticular.” Lentil-like? Seriously? She looked that one up, too. Legumes of some sort, the dictionary said. Weren’t legumes beans? He thought she looked bean-like? Where did he get off saying something like that to her? And hiding behind a world like “lenticular” … what a puss. Her grandmother wore a wimple, for God’s sake; and she’d had more balls than to lob her insults from behind a thesaurus. Heavy. Big-boned. Chunky. Fat. Her brother called her “rotund” once. He’d also called her “fluffy.” That was her personal, all-time favorite: fluffy. But she’d lost forty-three pounds since then, so where in the hell did he get off saying something like, “That dress makes you look a bit lenticular, Judith.” Well, screw him and his highfalutin insults. He didn’t have a whit of taste anyway, and he wasn’t any smarter than she was, either. She’d used the word “kerfuffle” just last week. And she could use it in a sentence, too: “It will cause quite a kerfuffle when they find his body in the freezer for calling her lenticular.”

Thank you to everyone that entered!!! Next year, I think we do poetry again. Poetry involving cats... =)

If you're one of the three winners, please e-mail me your mailing address and choices of books, ranked from first to third. That would be for THE MIRRORED HEAVENS by David J. Williams, WASTELANDS edited by John Joseph Adams, and THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE by Nathalie Mallet. All three winners will receive a copy of the ARC for THE JOURNAL OF CURIOUS LETTERS by James Dashner and a copy of OFF LIMITS by Jordan Summers. Remember, beki gets first choice, then kaz augustin, and finally, natalie.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One step forward, five steps backwards

Yeah, so this is a great week.

The computer is dead again. It looks like it's definitely the RAM that's gone and died, which is incredibly annoying. Happily, we think it's under warranty.

Also, in another example of "Jenny has talent", I managed to give myself a second-degree burn on my wrist from an unfortunate encounter with a cookie sheet. The potholder slipped and my left wrist went slamming into the burning hot metal. It's, um, not pretty, but at least it's not hurting quite as bad as it was a few hours ago.

But, in the spirit of good will and cheer, birthday contest winners coming up shortly! And, my files are all backed up, with the one exception of "Prisoner of Love" by Utada Hikaru, which I would have had to go buy last night on iTunes, before the computer died again today. But work can be accomplished!

Good Jay Lake News

His cancer tests came back clean!

Woo-hoo!

Keep on writing, Jay. =)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mothers

I've said before that my mother reads my blog, which is always something that makes me happy. What you guys never see is that she always has comments to make about what I write, but always tells them to me over the phone or in person.

Tonight, she called me up to tell me that she thought I had yelled at everyone in the post before last. I don't view it as yelling; I don't view it as "obnoxious", which is what she called it. That said, she was concerned that I had written it. I won't take the post down because I stand by my words, and I don't honestly think it was that offensive. I don't think I was being obnoxious or that I was yelling at people.

But I respect my mother's opinion, so if I did inadvertently offend anyone, I apologize.

Happy Belated Mother's Day, Mom.

(comments closed in this post)

THE MIRRORED HEAVENS book trailer

We're gearing up around here for the release of THE MIRRORED HEAVENS by David J. Williams, which pubs on May 20, 2008. While you can't get your hands on the book quite yet (although feel free to pre-order), you can watch the book trailer for it. Which is seriously made of awesome. Go, watch, click on the Youtube video below. I adore it. =)

Popular posts, apparently

So people have asked, "Why don't you talk about publishing more?".

And I've thought about this lately, and I could do what Nathan Bransford or Kristen Nelson do. I could talk about happy query letters or the things people do wrong when submitting to agents or the current "news" in the industry. But the thing is, and here's the honest-to-god truth, people...

... we're in a recession. There are very few books being bought. It's a VERY TIGHT market for ANYTHING. I send books out, I get rejections back. Other agents I know are having the same thing happen to them. Every so often, I sell a book or two. I rejoice! I can eat for another day. =)

In all seriousness, things are very slow. So what do agents do in slow times?

We keep sending books out; we keep getting rejections. We work on trying to sell film and foreign rights, because that's extra money on books we've already sold. We read client manuscripts and write lengthy revision letters. We read slush. We get ready to go to BEA in two weeks, and watch the publishing industry hype its newest published books, and we know that those books sold about two years ago. And then we hope that perhaps we'll be able to get some more of our clients' books to sell, sometime soon. And that the price of oil won't keep going up. And that the economy will improve.

So I could be all happy and hunky-dory about publishing, except that publishing isn't a very happy place right now. It's not all bad, by any means. Books will still keep getting published. But it's not a joyous time at the second, and books aren't being snatched up by editors every two seconds. When money is tight, things don't get bought.

And this, my dear blog readers, is why you get a series of posts about pets and broken computers and whatever else I feel like writing about, because to *me* that's a far happier subject to talk about than the current state of publishing. I can encourage you to write happy query letters up the wazoo, but I don't believe in raising false hopes.

Just telling you all. =)

(~Jenny, your local harbinger of gloom and doom)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Waiting for Windows

Files backed up; at least the important ones in My Documents, so no work data is lost. We copied over all my foreign entertainment into a different directory, since it was living on the desktop, and we worried that the reinstall would nuke it. It may still. I have all my mp3s on a secondary drive, at least.

And now, Windows XP is trying to "repair" itself. It's currently stuck. Oh joy.

I have nothing against Macs, but I really like my windows box; it's a year old, custom-built, and it's PRETTY. Really, I think I posted a picture of the case about a year ago. Plus, I can't play the majority of the games I like on a Mac. Biggest argument against getting one as a laptop, honestly. (And I do need a new laptop at some point.)

In other fascinating news, we seem to have reached a detente in dog/cat relations. They are both asleep on the study floor.

Oh, and we finally bit the bullet and bought massive bookcases from Ikea. They won't last a ton of years, but for what we can afford right now, and the storage I need for 1500+ books, they'll do. =)

Status update

I've discovered that I'm terribly attached to my poor desktop, especially since I can't use it at the moment. =(

(On the husband's computer; he'll soon be home and kicking me off of it. Yay computer, boo, no files, therefore, little work gets done. Yes, I admit it; I don't backup enough.)

Basically, I'm looking at a corrupt install of Windows XP. I've spent a good five hours today trying to fix the computer. Now Chris is home and we're going to physically remove my hard drive, backup my, oh, 200 gb of files, and then attempt to resuscitate it with a repair install of XP. If that fails, then I need to do a clean install, which will suck.

Bear with me. This is not a good day on the technology front.

(I'm thankful I haven't lost power yet. My mom has been having hers go on and off all day.)

Briefly offline

Something is being very screwy with the computer today, so I'll be offline for a bit, trying to fix it.

Birthday contest winners posted when I get back! =)

Progress

Minimal dog-cat peace interactions has been accomplished.

Less hissing.

More intimidation by Zoe, of Gully, by sheer force of her mighty ten pounds.

Gully has also decided that he's madly, deeply in love with Chris. They have bonded greatly--Chris is his bestest, newest, most wonderfulest buddy. (Totally grammatically incorrect. =) I keep trying to get a picture of them cuddling on the couch, since Gully basically flops half his body into Chris' lap and starts giving him doggie kisses. I'm loved too, but Chris is the preferred person in Gully's book.

None of this pleases Her Royal Furrypaws, but she's calming down somewhat. Zoe and Gully bonded a bit the other day when they were both simultaneously given tiny bits of hot dog as treats. Oh, the power of kosher frankfurters! =)

And I don't know about the rest of you, but right now, it sounds like the wind is going to blow my house down. Time for bed, I think. =)

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Adventures of Zoe and Gully

or The Second Cold War or Why No E-mail Has Been Really Answered or Jenny is Very Sleep-Deprived And Will Write A Blog Post Anyway

So, as I mentioned a few days ago, I'm dog-sitting for John Joseph Adam's dog, Gully. John is on vacation for the next week or so, and Gully is staying at my house. This is Gully.


Gully is an extremely polite, well-mannered dog. In fact, he's downright submissive. He walks around with his tail between his legs, and doesn't even really bark that much. He's very pleasant to hang out with, and doesn't mind Zoe at all.

Zoe, on the other hand, is very, very, very pissed off that there is a dog in her house. (This is the second time we've had a dog come, and Zoe is much braver this time with Gully than she was with Dusty--also, different dog, different behavior.) This is how Zoe looked Wednesday night, when she realized that John had gone and really left Gully with us.


Since Zoe is so much braver this time around, she has decided that she will happily see if the dog is not going to kill her. She assessed the risk on Wednesday night. (The glowing eyes in the very back of the picture is Gully lying down on his rug/bed thing.)


Zoe decided that perhaps Gully wasn't that big a risk to be around. This is both good and bad. The good thing is that she feels free to be near him, even as much as a few inches away. This is extraordinarily brave of her. The bad thing is that she feels the need to hiss at Gully, every ten minutes or so, since good lord, she does not want a dog in her house. Gully, for his part, has been SO patient and happy and really just wants to be friends with her.

Zoe wants to be antagonistic. In fact, we've started calling her a little tyrant, since she is bent on terrorizing poor Gully, and is doing a very good Fidel-Castro-as-a-cat imitation. Gully just wants to be free to eat from his food bowl and hang out with Chris and I and go on the occasional walk (more on that later). Zoe feels the need to STALK him. Have you ever seen a 10 lb. cat stalk a 70 lb. dog? It would be funny, if I just wasn't so tired, and trying to keep her away from him.

She is JEALOUS. She does not want Gully to be near Chris and I. She does not want Gully in her house. She does not want Gully to have his own food and water dishes; she has been deliberately eating and drinking out of them, in the most spiteful manner possible. This is the cat that has freaking stomach problems and she's eating dog food! Perhaps I seem a bit excitable. Really, I'm just very tired.

My sweet little cat has become a raging monster. We've started spraying her with a spray bottle whenever she hisses at Gully. She's hissed in the poor dog's face, being only a few inches from him. At times, the two are at peace. Or at least, Zoe is at peace. But we can't really leave them alone because Zoe is bent on being annoying, and dear god, if Gully moves and she doesn't want him to move, she breaks into a hissing fit.

Like I said, Castro as a cat.

So occasionally we've had a slight detente. Occasionally poor Gully has not been terrorized and can hang out with us and get petted. Occasionally Zoe calms down. Occasionally. And this has been happening since Wednesday night, and you all totally missed my moment of hysteria on Thursday afternoon, when I thought Gully was going to snap and really go at Zoe. He didn't snap. I took a nap. I felt better.

But it's now Friday morning, and I'm dead tired, so I think this will be the end of the post for now.

Other small details about life with Gully, just to tide you over.
  1. He does not like walking on a leash and then relieving himself. After a fifty minute long walk this evening, Chris persuaded him to urinate in the forty-ninth minute. The dog has not pooped yet, in the entire time we've had him. I don't know how he's doing it.
  2. We think Gully was meant to be a cat. He is fascinated by my knitting yarn, as well as Zoe's jingle ball on a string. Zoe is NOT HAPPY that he liked her toy, and we had to put it away.
  3. He's a good dog, he really is. I just wish Zoe would calm down. And yes, we have been keeping them separated at times, and it's NOT HELPING. Zoe keeps trying to get Gully through closed doors. Help.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Jay Lake

I like Jay Lake. He's one of the nicest people I know who's working in science fiction these days, and I'm lucky that I've gotten the chance to hang out with him at cons, since he's friends with one of my good friends, Ken Scholes (soon to be the next big thing at Tor).

And Jay is currently sick with colon cancer, and kindly offers up this public service announcement. Please get checked. It can save your life.

And if you think cancer can't affect you, let me throw some personal things your way.

My mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 39. She was then diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 47. Early diagnosis and surgery saved her life both times. My mother's best friend died of breast cancer and a brain tumor when she was 40.

Chris' mother was diagnosed with melanoma last year. Treatment at Sloan-Kettering and a lot of lymph node removal has probably saved her life, although she'll always have to go for checkups.

My maternal grandfather continually gets cancerous lesions on his face, due to overexposure to the sun as a child and in the Navy during WWII. Without constant vigilance, screening, and surgery, he could die too.

And these are just three people in my immediate life. If you think about it, you've probably got three people you know who've had cancer. And three more people that those three people know. It's one of the biggest killers in America, but early screening and vigilance can help cut the death rate.

And if nothing else, please remember Randy Pausch. He's still living and fighting his pancreatic cancer, and is truly one of the most incredible stories out there right now. (I'll put in the disclaimer that I'm pretty sure he's still alive, as I haven't heard anything differently. I check once a week or so.)

Odds and ends

So that people know I'm alive... =)

  1. I popped over to the Asimov's message board tonight, on the recommendation of one of my clients who wanted me to see something there. I read the relevant thread, and then I couldn't help clicking on one that was titled something along the lines of "Confession: I Hate Agents". Glad you hate us, griping people. I stopped reading when the dates on the posts were still January 4, 2008 because there was so much hatred and spewing vitriol that I couldn't take it.
  2. Today was one of those days that was all about me. I'm allowed to take one of them, every now and then, and I indulged. Got prettified, basically. Nails, etc. With good justification because I'm going to a fancy wedding tomorrow. And my nails are bright red. They make me happy. =)
  3. No winner for the birthday contest yet. I'm still debating about which entries get which places. I have it narrowed down to about five.
  4. I need to answer a bunch of e-mails; taking the day off makes me slower than usual.
  5. I'm still trudging through the slush. It's slowly going down in size.
  6. Tonight, I watched my ten pound cat manage to fit herself in the bottom shelf of a stacking file folder thing on my desk. Then, she slithered through it and onto the phone. It boggles the mind how she fit at all.
  7. Next week, I get to dogsit for Gully, beloved canine of John Joseph Adams. He and Zoe tolerate each other, although when John left after Gully's trial visit on Sunday, she was still softly hissing at him. And poor Gully just sat there with a big goofy dog grin on his face, trying to convey, "Can we be friends?!" I promise to take lots of pictures of the two of them, especially as Gully will be with us for a week and a half. Chris and I have vague hopes that the two of them will eventually socialize with each other.
  8. And eight things make a post tonight. I'm going to get some ice cream and drag the husband off to watch tonight's episode of Battlestar Galactica.