Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Always Trust Your Gut....

I've suspected for several weeks now my daughter wasn't being honest with me, and keeping tabs on her cycle has had me praying for two weeks.  Now, a conversation yesterday and a confrontation this morning has confirmed my worst fears:  My 17 year old daughter may have just encountered a huge life choice.

Her boyfriend is a narcissistic know it all; bi-polar; and schitzophrenic.  He was expelled from high school last year at this time.  When they began dating in late November, I wasn't thrilled with him, but he was polite and liked 80's music.  The spouse, however, hated him on sight and after New Year's, refused to have him in the house.  Super Bowl Sunday arrived, and a huge blowup between the spouse, the daughter, and E.  Daughter followed E out the door.  And a huge family war erupted.  We almost had to declare her a runaway (she returned home and agreed to cooperate); E put in jail (for trespassing and for threatening Face Book messages); and feared for our safety.

Eventually, I did get her into counseling, which seemed to work.  They broke up/got back together/broke up again every month.  E ruined a family dinner at Applebee's b/c of texting her constantly throughout the meal.  When we returned home, she jumped out of the car and ran into his arms, begging him to take her back.

Recently, he's gotten upset over her stomach illness.  And she broke up with him (returned his class ring) for 3 days before taking him back.

This morning she admitted they are sexually active.  And using condoms.

My daughter's last period was the week of Sept. 5th.  Do the math; she's 2-3 weeks late.

I really don't want her to have a child with his half of the DNA code.  So I'm hoping fervently this is a false alarm, and we can go get her tubes tied  get her on the Pill.

I'm admittedly pro-choice; I believe in the woman's right to choose.  I had a scare once and went to the free clinic and saw the films.  Decided right then and there I'd never do it, but would rather have it safe and legal than illegal and have women die for their choices.

I'm also pro-adoption.  I have a good friend whose son is adopted, and I love him like one of my own.

For my daughter, I'd push for Option #1.  But during a conversation about options, she declared she's against it.  Okay; there's Option #2 and wonder about it the rest of my life....but at the same time, my daughter is in NO WAY ready for this kind of responsibility.  She wants to go to college and be a Vet Tech.  Or a dog trainer.

My youngest was born when she was 10.  Did that teach her NOTHING about what babies are like?  She always said she wasn't going to have one after seeing what her brother was like.  I'd hoped she remembered it.

Yes, my daughter is good with other people's kids.  And animals adore her.  But is she ready for this consequence?  I don't think so.

Next step is to get her to the clinic for the test.

After that I'll know if I'll need the strength to tell her father.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

If It Walks Like A Duck, Quacks Like A Duck, then YES, It's A DUCK!

A friend and I were discussing publishers/author forums/agents etc...when she piped up about a forum thread she'd recently visited, and suggested I check it out.  And the following rant popped up on one of my loop digests:

"I think I'm a fair person, and a good publisher. I have never said we're the best or no.1. My goal with XYZ Publishing  is to slowly grow as a team and make headway in the publishing world. We'll be turning two years old soon.......
 People will talk, to try and make themselves look and feel important. Often they just make themselves look ignorant.  I have learned from past mistakes, I move on and I hope become stronger and smarter. I will likely make mistakes again, being a human being with normal frailties. 
XYZ Publishing has undergone  a massive reconstruction project internally.  At this point in time  we are brimming  with new loyal staff that will only make us  a more effective publishing house. We have exciting, new projects and new series....
Remember this is your publishing company; we work for you. You are the ones that make XYZ Publishing move forward; without you we are nothing. Without a good team of exceptional authors, we cannot continue to grow. My promise to you is that I will do my utmost to keep everyone satisfied. Regardless of what has been said or posted on line, we are moving forward. Many of these postings are by the same people. Some are former staff members who have moved on to start their own publishing houses based on our model, based on our guidelines and publishing contracts. Upon leaving, they had nearly destroyed XYZ Publishing by deleting and destroying all of our business files and emails. A handful of authors followed them  because they didn't have the patience to wait during our first year and now have actually stopped writing altogether or have moved on. And honestly many have asked to return to us, but I have turned them down. We don't need people who do not return our loyalty. We want professional authors, high quality fiction and non-fiction manuscripts on our desk, something that is original not just typed for the sake of becoming published. If you want that, go ahead and self- publish. You will have all of the control but one word of warning: Read over your contract and make sure YOU understand what you are signing because you can't terminate easily, nor will they let you just walk away without  your books in hand. You'll will end by buying the stock and more. We have never stated we're POD. We have never said we don't promote, nor have we ever accepted a manuscript without being considered first,  this is in reference to a Yahoo Answer posting. 
Furthermore, we have always abided by your publishing contracts which is a worldwide legal and binding document. If you don't like how we run our business and promote, then please let us know up front. Suggestions and ideas are always welcome you all have my email address and each of our staff  so email us. It may take a while to get back to you. 

We move on, and with the authors who are dissatisfied, what can I say?  You have your own reasons, however being demanding is not very professional of you. It will reflect badly on you as an author. 

All of our authors have been with us since day one. 
You're all doing a super job! 

Thanks to all of the new authors and to all of our authors for putting your trust in us as a publisher, as we have put our trust and invested in you." 

First of all, I've NEVER seen this much griping on loops/chat forums about any specific publisher unless it involved unfair practices (given the recent upheaval over at AMP, which I'm not a part of, this company may soon go the way of...) or suddenly closing its doors and leaving authors hanging.  I've been watching this company (labeled XYZ to protect myself and their identity) and am not thrilled about certain aspects.  Sometimes it's like dealing with children; they need to be led through directions or told over and over when details don't seem to be sinking in to the brain cells.  Or, maybe they don't have a good grasp of the English Language?  Then why are you promoting here?  I don't speak Cantonese, so I don't dare open my mouth on a Chinese chat loop and try to promote my work!

Secondly, I'm mentioned as one of the authors 'who have been with us since Day 1'....ummm, no, I wasn't.  And I don't appreciate my name being used to 'tout' your 'professionalism'.

I've had to repeatedly scream to get emails answered.  I was not happy with the editing on my book.  But it's out, and for that I thank them.  I was NOT happy with being offered a contract on a book which I'd sent as a 'so is this the kind you're looking for' feeler.  The MS was NOT 'clean', and even the attached contract wasn't for ME.  How did they mess THAT up?

And then another author spoke up in defense.  Again, names have been changed.  And if the 'confidentiality clause' has been breached, remember; this was NO private email.  I lifted it from the loop where no one had snipped it in their responses.  This was NOT a 'private' email.


I did not read the original post to which (the author) replied, nor her reply,
but I have been made aware of what happened.

When I discovered XYZ, my gut instinct told me I had found a home for my
writing. I am not a newbie--far from it--I have 54 print books to my credit
and have had over 50 e-books published

But two years later she's still in business, so unlike this other fellow,
she must be doing a lot RIGHT, too.

One thing right she does--unlike the guy who went under, (owner) is ALWAYS
available to us writers. She's reachable. She's responsive. Got a question,
a complaint, a suggestion, a request? Contact her. She'll talk to you.

*Yeah....right.  Only if you're one of her 'pets', apparently...*

And then there's (another employee). What can I say about her that doesn't sound
wildly prejudiced in her favor? And I admit it--in the relatively short time
I have known her she has become truly one of my dearest friends. Simply, I love her--she is that close a friend to me. So of course I'm prejudiced in her favor. But, figure it: She wouldn't
have gotten to be my dear friend if she had exhibited other than honest and
fair dealings, helpfulness, and a raft of other marvelous attributes. 

I've met other helpful, talented, and NICE people among the XYZ staffers,
too. So what was the beef with the gal who pulled the nasty yesterday?

I'm told part of her issue was that her books weren't selling. Well, guess
what--mine aren't exactly setting sales records either. But you know what?
I'm in it for the long haul and I believe that as XYZ slowly grows (and I do believe that it will), more and more people will discover XYZ, and more and more people will buy my
XYZ-published books.

Four other e-publishers have at least one book of mine each. One puts her
sales figures up for all the authors to see. NONE of her books--by ANY of
her authors--is selling worth a damn. With another of my publishers, I am
aware of the sales figures for four other authors besides myself. The most
copies any of their books has sold was 11. Eleven copies! Hardly a sales

My point? There are damn few e-publishers making large sales. (I am aware of
one that is--but only on a few of their books. They are the EXCEPTION, NOT
THE RULE.) So if this person who started all this ruckus thinks she's going
to do better by jumping ship, she is in for a rude awakening.

Yet I do believe that e-publishing is the future. There will always be a
place for print books too, but in five or 10 years, most books will be read
on Kindles and Nooks and iPads and the like. And if we all hang in and wait
as patiently as we can, readers will discover us. "Us" meaning both each of
us individual writers and XYZ overall.

Meanwhile I know (owner) is working her little tushy off to keep XYZ running
as well as it can, with a HUGE amount of help and input and HARD WORK. And I mean to still be here for the third anniversary, and the fifth, and the tenth, and.... I hope all of you hang in there too.

As I said earlier, when I first discovered XYZ, my gut told me I had found
a home. I still believe that.

Do the rest of you stand with me?

*Ummm....if I ever have another MS which no one wants to touch, then I MIGHT come back.  In the meantime, I continue to promote this work, because I DO love the story I wrote, but other than that, Publisher XYZ is getting minimal loyalty from me.  I refuse to sing their praises, and if someone asks me about them, I politely send them elsewhere, where I am MUCH happier, and my emails are answered in a MUCH timelier manner.  Plus, everyone's on the same page as far as promotion dates and times, and no one screaming about time zones.*

And I went to the author forum my friend recommended and had a good laugh at the 'damage control/spin' which took place as they scrambled to defend themselves.

If this had been an isolated event, I might not have felt the need to vent.  But this is roughly the 4th letter in the last year where the owner has pleaded with people to 'disregard the nastiness being spread' or other authors/employees coming to her defense on loops, or from what I  saw in the forum, EIGHT PAGES of conversations dating back to 2006, with the most recent one being last month.  All replies have been with typos, wrong wordage (all called on the carpet by those who felt the need to point it out), and I suspect, the same person using different user names. 

And now even the owner's brother and Significant Other (SO) have leaped to her defense...

(And I didn't know he was her BROTHER!)I'm an author with XOXO Publishing have been since day one.  I love my sister dearly, sometimes she still drives me insane even at her age. I don't have much to say except that (she) is very hardworking and her determiination to succeed not only as a best selling author, but also as  publisher. I'm very happy that she has a team working with her.  To all of the authors hang on cause (she) has a few projects up her sleeves that no other publisher has and it will shock and shake....

And I happen to know this is the owner's SO, who also runs her legal dept.  Isn't this a conflict of interest?  "I was one of XYZ's first employee, along with (two others). I saw this company being built from scratch. With the same determination and  drive she went out and tried to make a name for herself. She also saw that there was a need and demand for ebooks here published in different languages beside English and French. 
(She) took it upon herself to try and change this which she is succeeding. She went out to get the best staff to achieve her goals unfortunately along the way some former staff members, I'm not naming names
here decided to take advantage of the situation by taking company property, and following our own business plan. However, this was only a small set back she brushed herself off and took a step back and asked herself was this worth it. In spite of all of these problems plus her own cancer issues, and family crises, she has endured and is continuing today. I will say something on the day of her surgery, that former employee called her repeatedly and (she) still responded to her and to the authors demand even in the recovery room and after that. Furthermore, through this very hard time trying to recuperate from her operation there are still authors and former staff members still doubting if this was true. I say to all of you, do not doubts or have any type of disbelief of this woman does not work every day 110% to ensure that XYZ Publishing succeed and the authors book sell. 

So I say to all of you authors out there who are not promoting yourself or giving 110% just like this woman is and all of our staff promoting your books. Do not blame us that your sales are so low. (We) have been posting dates, locations and time of all Promotional groups and event for all of our published books that are suitable for your genres. We have repeated stated this in our groups, and even on Facebook and other types of means including personal emails. Yet a few of you still demanding for reasons. It is true that our website is not ready and it is being revamped. It is again unfortunate that the old webmaster did not fulfill his obligations. This includes the automated sales report. We have and I have stated this a few times to please bare with us until it is completed*.
However having our website revamped does not mean, that the promotions stops or it cannot be done on your part or if you hire someone to do it for you they cannot promote. A word of warning make sure that you investigate these people prior to paying them anything. Remember they work for you, you do not work for them and this includes literary and other agents! I have been notified many times by different parties crying to us they have paid  for agencies to promote them, agents to represent them and they got nothing at all. Also another point which Gina warned you and bought up again regarding self publishing. Make sure that you read your contact completely. 
Because once you sign you are obligated legal and binding. Not only will they ask you for money upfront to publish your book there maybe hidden fees such as shipping, handling, taxes, distributions, editing and book cover designing. This depends on whom you are self publishing with.
I want to say that in the next few months we are re-evaluating all authors contracts, all old will renewed with higher royalties and authors benefits.

In regards to promotions, for those of you that , are not following our marketing and promotional suggestions from (us) or on their own we will terminating your contract. Gina has taken it upon herself to teach marketing and promotions on line and chat once her book, The Art of Self Promotions is released next month. She is testing it now with a few authors, and our authors will be invited to attend once it's ready. 

With a few of you that have followed her guidelines Congratulations you are actually on the bestsellers list as we all know. d my views and news and I'm going to post something next week which is important.

Legal Division"

And another thing which infuriates me:  We have a promo chat day.  So I show up to chat.  I post my info and try to engage others in conversation.  Noooo.....since I'm not one of the 'pets', I'm ignored.  So F*** them.  I'll post and run, which I HATE doing, btw.  Have we forgotten chatting helps readers learn about authors and see their personality?  If an author won't 'chat' with me, then I probably will NOT buy their books.   Which is probably a good thing; my TBB list is full of much friendlier authors! 

And I plead with my two followers:  Please keep this confidential!  Even if you know which company is truly XYZ, please keep this to yourself.  This is just my place to rant in private; if you feel the need to defend them, by all means, do so in the comments.  I will let you vent; I will NOT engage you in a discussion.  That's why I'm posting this here, and not on my other blogs.  I do not promote this page; please do not promote it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Asinine Question At 3am....

"What day is it?"
"Huh?  What time is it....okay, it's Wednesday."
"No it's not; I just came to bed, so it's technically still Tuesday.  Did I take any of my meds today?"
"I don't know..."
"Why not?  That's your job; to keep track of my meds."  He gets out of bed.  "Apparently, I took Friday's on Monday, and didn't take any today."
Okay; so what's the problem?  Come back to bed and just skip a day....

"I've got a problem; come in here and help me, damn it!"

I get out of bed and go into the kitchen, where he is staring at his pill tray.

"You didn't fill....what day?"
"I filled it all but Saturday night; you griped at me the last time you forgot to take them on Saturday.  All you have to do is put today's meds into Friday's compartment, and you'll be back on track.  It's not going to hurt you to miss one day."  I go back to bed.
"Okay, but if I drop dead, it will be your fault."

Oh my freaking god.....I refuse to give in to this guilt trip and go back to sleep.  Four days later, when I have time to rant about this, he's still very much alive and kicking!

He's 57 years old...can't he keep track of his own damn meds?  Maybe he's in the early stages of dementia?  He's only been 'officially' retired since May, and 'unofficially' since October 2009, though we didn't realize it until March 2010.

I've made a point of putting his med tray beside the coffee pot in the mornings; so far he's on track.  And maybe it was momentary panic which caused him to lose his common sense; or maybe he hadn't put anyone on a guilt trip that week, so I was the 'lucky' recipient at 3am?


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trying Too Hard??

OMG...I actually saw this several months ago, but now our /priest and DRE are bringing it to our attention:  The Catholic Church has 'discovered' our current translation of the Latin Mass isn't 'exact'.  So now, rather than reprint the books (or maybe they are....), Fr. Dave is having cards printed and laminated so no one has to go 'leafing through' the books to find the correct spot.

My questions are, 1)  who cares if it's not an 'exact' translation?  and 2) why can't people find their way through the books?

Okay; I suppose if someone fluent in Latin was 'appalled' at the translation, this would make sense.  And if something in English were translated the wrong way is, say, Cantonese, and enough people were there to complain, yes, I think an uproar would call for a change.

And in defense of the books, we have a large elderly population in our church.  So I understand the cards....and most of the parish remembers when the entire service was in Latin.

But here's what I DON'T get:  It just seems to me this is another attempt to 'get it right'.  As if they don't make this change, every Catholic is doomed from Heaven, simply because they didn't 'do it' the 'right' way.   Let's revisit something:  In order to be saved/get into Heaven, the requirements are:

-Acknowledge Christ died for our sins

-Have faith in God above.

Where does that say anything about the language to use when praying/conducting the service?

And another thing which bugs me:  Before every meeting (at least for parents; no clue if this happens during Parish Council or Finance Committee), we open with a recitation of a printed prayer.  Why can't the leader or Fr. Dave pray spontaneously?  Even when my MIL passed, Fr. Dave led us in the Lord's Prayer (The 'Our Father', they call it).

I just think they're trying too hard.  Lighten up, people!