Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Literary Underworld

The story of my crazed consortium is today's guest blog on Apex.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Relay for LIfe

Today a friend of mine got some bad news. She's been fighting her third bout with breast cancer for years now, and the latest scans came back not so good. It's on the bone again, and there's small growth in the existing tumors. It's back to radiation for her.

She's just one of my friends battling cancer. You know who else?

The kind and funny man who sings next to me in choir.
Macie's partner, Gail.
The taciturn alto in the next row.
My stepfather.

That's just this year. THIS YEAR. Know who else is fighting or has fought cancer?

Kiddo's Sunday School teacher.
The mother of Kiddo's friend.
Kiddo's former babysitter.
The wife of a dear friend.
More friends than I can name.
My stepmother.

And we won't even talk about the fathers, sisters, mothers, cousins, grandparents, brothers, children, friends and others whom we've lost. Without even looking at my address book, I can name three people who've lost their fathers in the past ten years to cancer. One of my team members lost both parents, her brother and her son, all to cancer.

I look at the calendar, and I see my team has less than a month to go and we've barely raised one-third of our goal. I personally have raised only $70, not including team money. This is not good.

And I've temporarily lost four team members - Macie and Gail are traveling to see Gail's family that weekend, and Rudy and LaVernn have a family reunion. I can't blame any of them for their priorities. Gail had a brain tumor removed three months ago and Rudy underwent prostate surgery last month. LaVernn just finished treatment for breast cancer. Right now, time with family is at a premium. Bless their hearts, Macie and Gail are raising money anyway. I am walking their shifts for them.

But that still leaves me with a hell of a lot of work to do in the next three weeks. And that's where you come in. I've put this button in the Morning Random every day for months, but clearly I need to be more obvious.

If you have the means to donate, please consider throwing a little cash toward Relay for Life. It goes to support services, prevention efforts and research via the American Cancer Society, real efforts that help real people right now. This year they're kicking off the largest national cancer study that's ever taken place, following tens of thousands of people from all walks of life for years. I'm participating in it. But it needs support.

Stop and think for a moment. Who do you know who fought cancer? Who do you know who's died of it? If you can't name someone, I'd send YOU money, if I had any. It touches every one of us. Think of that person, and consider if you have even $10 to spare for cancer research.





Thank you for your time and attention. Know that I deeply value both, and remain ever grateful for my blessings of such wonderful friends.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Less Than A-Muse-ing

ME: Stupid characters!
ISABEL: I really think that's the wrong attitude. If you say mean things about your characters on Twitter, they'll never do what you want them to do.
ME: They won't do what I want them to do anyway. They don't talk to me.
ISABEL: I'm doing the best I can.
ME: It's not your fault. You just aren't a guns-and-smartass type.
ISABEL: See, if you would just let those two fall in love...
ME: No.
ISABEL: Please?
ME: No.
ISABEL: *pouts* I never get to have fun anymore.
ME: Neither do I.
SUPERMOM: Would you stop glaring at me?
ME: I am not glaring at you. I'm aware that it's May.
SUPERMOM: May is my month. We have things to do. This is why we don't do conventions in May.
ME: I'm aware.
SUPERMOM: End of school. Planning summer break. Field Day. Spring cleaning. Orchestra concerts. Cub Scouts graduation. Ramp-up to Relay.
LOIS: To say nothing of actual work.
ME: Certainly saying nothing of it.
LOIS: You're aware that we work this Saturday?
SUPERMOM: Working on the child care.
LOIS: And you're cross-scheduled for a professional meet-and-greet the same time as the boy's guitar lesson on Thursday?
SUPERMOM: Oh no!
ME: We're blowing off the meet-and-greet.
ISABEL: But not the cocktail party on Friday.
SUPERMOM: What about the Great River Rendezvous on Saturday? We were going to take a canoe-paddle lesson with the boy!
LOIS: Work!
SUPERMOM: And don't forget the graduation is the same time as the church picnic on Sunday. After the boy's solo at church.
ME: You see? This is it. This right here. This is why I can't write a fucking thing. You all argue in my head more than my characters do.
ISABEL: It's not our responsibility to make the characters talk.
ME: I know.
ISABEL: So it's really not appropriate to yell at us either.
ME: I'm sorry.
SUPERMOM: It's okay.
LOIS: You would say that.
ME: Has anyone heard from the Muse?
LOIS: My sources tell me nothing.
SUPERMOM: She's not talking to us. I really think she's being childish.
ME: Tell me about it.
ISABEL: You see? You're as bad as she is. You have no people skills.
ME: You're not people.
SUPERMOM: Well, that's un-called for.
ME: You're not people! You're the voices in my head!
SUPERMOM: You need a serious attitude adjustment, young lady.
ME: Your impression of my mother improves daily.
SUPERMOM: Your mother would kick your ass more heartily than I do.
ME: I can hear her laughing now.
ISABEL: If you'd rather be alone in here...
ME: No! I'm sorry.
ISABEL: I'm just saying, this argument is more realistic than the one you wrote for your characters.
ME: Sure. Now if only my demon-fighting posse would argue about when we're going to bake a cake for the Cub Scout picnic.
ISABEL: I really think sarcasm is unnecessary.
SUPERMOM: Especially in May.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Censors in Utah... not against us this time.

Utah strikes again. Some journalism seniors hid words for male and female genitalia in their final issue of the Daily Chronicle at the University of Utah. Now the university is threatening to withhold their diplomas.

I'm torn. They finished their degree work, they earned their diplomas, they have a right to graduate and the university should not try to censor them. However, this is the sort of crap I'd expect of high schoolers, not college students about to graduate.

Yes, we've all done the parody issue; I was even involved in one, peripherally. But that's what you do for your April 1 edition, and it should be labeled as such. Our story that aliens kidnapped the rodeo team was clearly satire. This was in a legitimate issue, and of utterly puerile "humor."

 The Student Press Law Center is taking up their cause, along with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. And rightly so. Under no circumstances should these students be denied diplomas and the university can go... reread the First Amendment.

But the students will have a harsh awakening in the real world. Personally, I wouldn't hire anyone who participated in this stunt. It shows a lack of maturity and respect for the news product that I don't want in my newsroom.


Note: My opinions are, of course, my own and not those of the News-Democrat, the Society of Professional Journalists or the National Ethics Commission. Duh.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I resemble that remark.






Do not.

Zombie Awareness Month!

In the lovely month of May, a woman's fancy turns to thoughts of ravenous rotting reanimated corpses.

What?

It's really and truly Zombie Awareness Month, not something I just made up to amuse myself. This link is from last year, but the gray ribbon amuses me. Sponsored by the Zombie Research Society (slogan: What You Don't Know Can Eat You), they explain here.

Celebrate by buying THE COLD ONES! Because you know the sequel is on its way... and I'm currently writing it. Which means I need victims. LOTS of victims. And your names are so nice and juicy...

Happy Zombie Awareness Month!

Monday, May 03, 2010

LitUnd Spotlight: GLBT Fiction

Because we can. Thank you, First Amendment.

Because GLBT doesn't just mean sex scenes; but the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters in genre fiction.

Because the definition of pornography in Miller vs. California states that the work as a whole must be offensive under the community's standards AND of no redeeming cultural value, which has never fit anything we sell, so those that choose to redefine the word can categorically bite me.

Because fiction with GLBT characters and fiction by GLBT authors deserves an equal place in the literary world.

Please visit the site this week and check out our books. Some of them have GLBT characters; some are by GLBT authors; and some do, in fact, have same-gender sex scenes. Gasp!

Enjoy, folks.