04 December 2009

Philadelphia crowds

Saw Jonathan Coulton and Paul and Storm tonight at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. JoCO and the boys put on a good show, as usual, but there was an annoyingly high number of people in the audience who thought this was some kind of interactive performance, who kept derailing the show by shouting "hilarious" comments and demands for specific songs. It's intensely fucking annoying, as you might imagine--I didn't pay for the tickets and then drop another forty bucks on food and drink in order to hear some drunk douchebag slurring bad jokes at high volume. I live in a college town; I can experience that for the cost of a pint of Yuengling any weekend of the year.

The thing is, I've been to two other shows with these guys (yeah, I know; five more years at this rate and I'll probably be LARPing), one in Alexandria, VA and one in Annapolis, and at neither one, was the audience this disruptive. Meanwhile, at a Lewis Black show I saw in Philadelphia last year, there was the same fucking thing--dipshits in the audience disrupting the show. Not even by heckling, which you at least understand is a possibility at a comedy show. Just trying to participate, like the other three thousand people in the theater paid to hear you and Lewis Black have a fucking conversation.  

For that matter, I remember it happening when John Stewart performed at the Tower Theater, in Upper Darby (just over the city line).  Though Stewart just talked right over them; in a big venue, the guy with the microphone owns the show (I was a bit annoyed, actually, that Lewis Black responded to the jerkoffs in the audience rather than bulling right over them).  So I'm wondering, is this a common thing in Philadelphia?  Or am I just unlucky?  And if it's common here, is it only common here, or did I just happen to run into unusually well-behaved crowds in Alexandria and Annapolis?

26 November 2009

One more, and then I promise I'm done

As it turns out, Harlequin is not the first publisher to create a vanity imprint with Author Solutions.  Thomas Nelson, which is to the Christian market as Harlequin is to romance, had the idea first, with their West Bow Press imprint.  It's exactly the same deal as Harlequin Horizons DelleArte Press, except for one little thing:

DelleArte Press's base package costs $599. West Bow's? $999.

Attention, Real True Christians: this is the price you pay for having your own special subculture with your own special "Christian" everything. It's an open invitation to get ripped off...or ripped off more, in this case.

22 November 2009

Follow up on Author Solutions

This is basically a repost from SDN, but I had to add this.

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I went to Author Solutions's website to find out exactly what Harlequin Horizons will be charging the poor schmucks Harlequin refers to them.  It was...well, astonishing, frankly.  A sampling after the jump:

20 November 2009

Why I love the SFWA

I love the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Not only do they have one of the best online collections of advice for writers anywhere on the Internet, and not only do they run the indispensable Writer Beware site, but they stick up for authors, even ones outside their genre.

03 November 2009

Astronomy is awesome

Saw Jupiter and Uranus through my girlfriend's father's telescope tonight. Jupiter was a disk, with faintly visible cloud bands and three of the four Galilean moons visible. Uranus was just barely a disk--more of a dot--but very blue-green.

Yeah. Awesome.

02 November 2009

Publishing scam

Right after I sent an e-query to an agent, an ad for the Whitmore Publishing Company appeared in my Gmail courtesy of Google adsense's witchcraft. Whitmore, it turns out, was soliciting submissions (in all genres, no less). I took a quick look at SFWA's Writer Beware Blog, and lo, my suspicions were correct: Whitmore shows up. A little poking around and it turns out Whitmore is an imprint of Dorrance, a big vanity house.

Just something to keep in mind if anyone who's reading this is a writer: publishers and agents are absolutely swamped, all of the time, and between the Writer's Market and Google, they'll never run out of potential clients. Anyone who's actively soliciting manuscripts is running a business model where they get paid the more books they publish, rather than the more books they sell. This runs the gamut from print-on-demand publishers (who don't generally try to hide what they are) to vanity presses (which from what I've seen, are usually pretty shady operators--they provide services paid for, but they're real cagey about the fact that no bookstore will ever carry a book from a vanity press) to outright scams.

26 October 2009

Active again

The blog is active again.

And the peasants rejoiced.