Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

The continuing Audrey II saga

I am so angry I am shaking.

Carlile

You are more than welcome to file a claim, however, it will be denied. Your nine months and one day expired on December 28, 2006. In the eyes of freight carriers and court cases that is ample time for a claimant to gather all the evidence they need to gather and to submit a claim. It was almost 13 months later when you first contacted Carlile that you were missing this crate. Ideally missing freight should be alerted to the carrier immediately when it’s known ample time has passed for delivery so that the carrier may act upon the missing freight immediately. Thirteen months later, employees that were involved may have left the company, the freight might have been disposed of or it’s so far beyond the expectation of anyone to remember one particular shipment. This information regarding time limits for filing a claim is stated on the bill of lading which unfortunately isn’t necessarily read by shippers or consignees. Kim is very diligent in researching missing shipments as are the entire warehouse and terminal staff, but unfortunately if you were to file a claim now it would be 13 months later, well beyond freight carrier standards of reasonable allowance for filing a claim which as stated before is 9 months and 1 day. Thank you.

Me

Let me explain. I was out of the country while my puppets were being rented. I did not know that they had not been returned to the storage facility until I returned in December. While it is unfortunate that I was not aware of the missing crate until then, this incident was brought to your company’s attention as soon as I was. It was within the nine months and one days that you cited.

That it did not go immediately to claims is not my fault, nor should I be penalized for it. I have been extremely patient while Kim has searched for the crate, knowing that the eight months that had passed since it went missing would make things more difficult. Had I, at any point, been informed of a deadline for filing a claim then I would have done so. This is complicated by the fact that the school which rented my puppets was responsible for returning them, so I have never seen your contract. Still, the original contact was made within the nine months and one days you cited.

Since your company was contacted within the time frame you specified, I would like to know how we continue with the claims process.

Carlile

While I sympathize with your situation understand that I’m bound by contractual regulations. While I understand that you were out of the country and unable to contact us regarding your missing shipment, that does not negate the contractual requirements or put the fault on Carlile for not being notified. When you contacted Kim regarding your lost shipment you were already well beyond the time limits for filing a claim. Yes, claims should have been notified immediately but even in March you were beyond the nine months and 1 day. As stated you are more than welcome to file a claim but as stated the claim will be denied.

Me

Let me be succinct. I would like to file a claim, since Carlile was notified that the puppets were missing within the nine months and one day stipulated. Please tell me how to do this.

Carlile

Unfortunately phone calls are not considered a notification of a claim or pending claim. Notification of a claim must be in writing, usually in the form of a claim form accompanied by an invoice, that is not just Carlile’s rules those are the rules set forth by all carriers per federal regulations.

What I can do is if you have some sort of proof emails etc that you contacted Carlile prior to December 28, 2006 regarding this lost shipment I can see what I can do for you. However that is NOT a guarantee Carlile will pay the claim. If you don’t have some sort of proof that you attempted to contact us prior to December 28, 2006 then I cannot offer much more on the
situation. Kim has stated that she has tried to help you for at least a month or month and a half. Thank you.

Me

Please send me a copy of the contract and the necessary forms to file a claim. You may send them either to my email or physical address.

Carlile

Here is the claims form. I will need the invoice for the puppets as well as any proof you contacted a Carlile employee prior to December of 2006. As you are well aware, this will be denied due to the time limits. Thank you.

Me

Thank you for the claims forms. Please send me a copy of the contract as well.

I am now contacting a lawyer.

Must be blood. Must be fresh.

Oh, I am about to bite someone. I just got this from Carlile Transportation’s claim department.

I have researched our claims database, which goes back to 2003, and see no record of ever receiving notification this was missing or that a claim was submitted for this. Time limits for filing a claim for missing freight states that a claimant has 9 months and 1 day after a reasonable time to file a claim with a carrier in writing. Being this was coming from Kodiak and received in our Kodiak terminal on 03/13/06 I would think a reasonable time for delivery to the original consignee of Forward Air in Portland would be 14 days, putting that at 03/27/06. Nine months and 1 day would mean that a claim would have had to be filed by 03/28/07. As I do not have any record of any notification in the claims department for this shipment a claim would be denied if submitted.

If you need me for anything else, please let me know. Thank you.

I emailed back as follows:

Since Kim has been working on locating the crate, I have not placed a claim, trusting that it would be found. She informed me, verbally by phone, that she was giving up the search on 4-18-07 and that she would pass me to claims then. Had I known of the time limit on placing a claim, I would certainly have done so within the time limit required.

Now that this misunderstanding has been cleared up, please let me know how we can proceed with my claim.

I have been very patient, but my wrath has just been unleashed. If I don’t get a satisfactory response to that email, I’m going to make some people unhappy.

The coffee shop

Rob and I biked down down to the coffee shop. Jay Lake was there for all of five minutes after we got there. Karen recounted a little of her Vegas adventures before I settled in to write. David Levine and Kate came in about half an hour before Rob and I headed for home. It was good to see both of them. I really like meeting other folks for writing; the accountability involved just in showing up with the intent to write feels good.

I got about 900 words done with lots and lots of brackets. What’s the name of the neighboring planet? I dunno, haven’t thought about it yet, so I called it [planet]. Now I’m going through and doing a find-replace to turn it into Dahaida.

A friend of mine, Mr. Fisher, turned me on to a program called the Everchanging Book of Names, which really rocks for alien cultures. You can set up your own parameters and rules for naming systems and then the machine will generate them for you. It’s really helped me with consistency of naming rules on this project.

Here is a snippet from this evening’s work. This is my first effort to write an alien story with no human as an entry lens for the reader.

Duurir clasped his hands together in childlike glee. He uncovered the bowl of kamjipp melon that had so teased her with its sweet scent. “I remember you said that you didn’t like to mix food, so I only brought fruit..”

Pimi accepted a piece of melon and wrinkled her nose at the memory. “True. We were all dreadfully ill after your mother’s party.”

The ground slammed up against her. Duurir shouted, dropping the bowl of melon. A low rumble echoed through the dormitory, which pitched and yawed like the deck of a Tep-Tep’s ship. Pimi clutched the edge of the nest, gathering breath to scream.

And then it was over.

Duurir, on his hands and knees, drew in a shuddering breath. The bowl of melon had shattered into crockery shards on the floor. Pimi put her feet over the edge of the nest, but Duurir looked up. “Wait! There will be–”

The room shook again. Furniture creaked. Toppled. Pimi held on. She kept the urge to scream trapped in her throat.

When the shaking stopped, tremors continued in her arms and knees. If she had held any food, she would have vomited it in her desperation to flee.

International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Day

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant DayBefore I unveil my contribution to International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Day, I’d like to make an important and relevant announcement. I’ve been posting my novel, Shades of Milk and Honey as I’ve been writing it. Among the people reading it, was an agent. I’m pleased to report that as a direct result of posting my fiction online, I have now signed with Jenny Rae Rappaport of the L. Perkins Agency.

And now, some more free fiction. In addition to the novel, I have a short fiction offering for you in two forms. You may read “Beauty Will Come” or you may watch and listen to it. By combining the old puppetry form of toy theater with my nifty new digital webcam, I’ve made a Pixel-Stained Technopeasant short film.

Happy International Pixel-stained Day!

Complications and Norwescon

So, Iceland is back on the table again. Potentially, Rob would be going there on May 1, I would be moving to NYC on the 7th, arriving about the 17th, partially unpacking and then joining him in Iceland for six months.

Or not. It’s also possible that we won’t go to Iceland at all.

Or that he’ll go and I will stay in NYC the whole time.

Or that we’ll both go on the May 1 and someone else will move us into the apartment.

Then there’s the question of where to put our cats if Iceland happens.

At NorwesconThe short form of this is that although I’ve got plenty of material to write about, it almost all makes me feel stressed and reminds me that I should be packing instead of writing about packing. Sigh.

I did have a lovely, lovely time at Norwescon. I loved hanging out with Stephen Segal, Lisa Mantchev, Cat Rambo, Jennifer, Gordon Gross, Spencer and Chrissy Ellsworth, Patrick Swenson, Cherie Priest, M.K. Hobson, John Pitts, Ken and Jen Scholes (though not enough), Jay Lake…. the list goes on and on. I’d link to you all, but I should be packing.

Highlights of the convention: the Sesame Street monsters, meeting Kathy Watts, the Liars’ Panel, breakfast with Cherie Priest, Talebones Live, seeing the Earthling mockup, everyday at the Ellsworths’ and Easter dinner at the Pitts’ residence.

Last antibiotic

Whew. I took the last of the antibiotics this morning and I’m so relieved. I mean, I’m planning on going to Norwescon and would have been severely handicapped when hanging out in the bar. Not that there aren’t other reasons to go to the con, but that’s prime social time. It’s not like I’m a heavy drinker, but I do enjoy a social cocktail or glass of wine–my husband is in the wine business, y’know? The funny thing is, that it’s not unusual for me to go weeks without drinking anything stronger than ginger ale and not even notice. But to have it suddenly become forbidden territory made it strangely desirable all the time.

I met a lovely group of writers tonight for writing (which at 1496 words was great) but did I join them for dinner and a drink afterwards? No. Though it was tempting, especially when Jay Lake passed me in his genre car. And why didn’t I? Because there is nothing quite like biking while intoxicated, even a little bit, to let you know exactly how much alcohol plays havoc with ones balance. Thank you, I’ve had that experience once and it was the most frightening ride of my life.

So. Norwescon will be a dandy place in which to rediscover the delights of an aperitif. Or a whiskey Tom Collins. Mmmm…

7, Dadaism, Lake and Men

Rob and I recorded Chapter 7 today. We started into Chapter 8, but I realized that because of travel I hadn’t spent enough time with the text and was stripping the meaning from the narrative. Nice. So, Rob trotted off to get us some lunch and I read the chapter aloud to get it more settled. We’ll record 8 and 9 on Saturday.

I got some work done at home and my nephew came online and wanted to chat again. I’m not quite sure what to make of this. He’s writing what I can only describe as Dadaist Science-Fiction.

Then it was off to have dinner with the witty Mr. Lake. He has a shiny red convertible and the weather was perfect.

Rob and I saw Children of Men tonight. Oh, that’s a good film. While I had a very nice date, I can’t recommend this as a date film. It’s very moving, but pretty bleak.

Family scanning

The last of the extended family left today. I should explain that my family is like something out of Norman Rockwell. I’m talking reunions, Christmas Talent Shows, and being close to people who are third cousins. I mean, Walter is actually my 1st cousin twice-removed, which means that he’s my grandmother’s first cousin. I grew up thinking this was normal, because it’s that way on Mom’s side too. I realize now that my family is very unusual.

My parents own the conjoining property that two of the family homes live on. Woodthrush Woods, which is the house that my grandfather built, and Robin’s Roost, which was Walter’s House and moved down to a plot next to Woodthrush. Confusing? Just roll with it, the important thing to know is that it means that when everyone convenes they come here and there’s plenty of room for all. (Some day I’ll have a writing retreat here. Thirteen acres, nine bedrooms, five baths, wi-fi and a creek.)

Mary Robinette Harrison and Stephen Kennedy HarrisonWhere was I going with this? I got distracted by visions of writer’s retreats… Oh yes. So, there are lots of family photos stored here, going back to the 1800s. We even have a couple of tintypes. In among these are the comparatively recent photos of my childhood. Here I am as a blonde with my brother. His hair is dark brown now.

Anyway, this has been an excellent trip home, even if the reasons for coming were sad. At one point yesterday, my dad said, “I love funerals!” I gaped and he continued, “It’s the only time you get to see people.”

Crazy, but yeah, I know what he means. So, being a geek, I decided to put together a website for my extended family and have been busily scanning in photos from the boxes that Robby, my dad’s mom, had stored here. My grieving process often involves making something. When Robby died, I sorted all these photos and labled them. Now I’m scanning and uploading.

Grandma Grandma, by the way, is looking quite spry at 102. I’m going to see her tomorrow, but I’m waiting for the antibiotics to kick in. Oh, did I mention that I came down with strep on the flight from Hawaii? Dad didn’t want me to talk about it because, “No one likes to hear you complain,” but it’s just so funny. And, because I’ve worked in the schools and have had it enough as an adult to recognize it, I went to the Doctor almost as soon as I hit the ground. I feel great, but just don’t want to take any chances around Grandma.

On hold

I’m writing this as a way to process. I’m on hold with the airline right now trying to get a bereavement fare because my uncle died this morning.

Walter is not technically my uncle, but emotionally that’s what it feels like. He’s my grandmother’s first cousin, which makes him my first cousin twice removed. In today’s world that’s practically not related, but NWA, lord bless them, knows the practical truth and is willing to deal with the emotional truth and pretend that he is my uncle. Or was. Crap.

Ah. They’ve got me booked, so I’m leaving Hawaii this afternoon. My dad doesn’t understand why I want to spend all that money and leave Hawaii. It’s hard to explain, except that I need to go home. I need to be there.

In some ways Walter has been gone longer than this morning; he’s had dementia and hasn’t been himself for a while, but because I’ve been out of town so much, I still have the memory of the strong, vibrant man that he was meant to be. That’s who I’m grieving today.

Oh, hey. Talk about stupid bonuses–to get me home, they have to put me in first class. Bully for me.

Submitting to non-paying venues

While I’m posting free fiction, I’d also like to say why I generally don’t. I’ve been a puppeteer, professionally, since 1989. When I first started out, I did some freebies for exposure and you know what? I didn’t get a single gig from any of those. I have yet to see a venue that offered exposure as its only form of compensation, which has had any impact on my career.Where I got gigs, was from referrals from people who paid me, even a little.

So, let’s take fiction, which for me, is just one more of my freelance jobs. We all know that advice to start from the top market down, when submitting, right? Now, why do that instead of submitting to a non-paying market while building up your chops?

For me, the bottom line is that one should not be sending out stories unless one thinks they are good enough to appear in a paying magazine. Consider this, if it’s not good enough to appear in a paying magazine but one gets it into a non-paying venue for the exposure, what is being exposed? Work that is not one’s best.

That’s not how one pays dues as a writer. Those get paid by working with critique groups, studying, going to conventions and most importantly, by writing.

So, what if it’s a good story? Then send it to the highest paying magazine that takes that style of story. Otherwise, you’ve given up your First Serial Rights, and there aren’t that many publications that will take a reprint. Basically, what you’ve got now is a good story that’s been used. Imagine trying to sell a used car at new car prices. The moment a story has been published, it loses its value to most other publishers. The publishers of magazines and journals maintain their audiences by presenting material that the audiences can’t get anywhere else, i.e. unpublished stories.

Now, there are cases where a non-paying market is worthwhile. Take the Elemental anthology. That would have been worthwhile because the proceeds went to charity and the authors in the magazine were very high profile, so if you got in, your own stature would rise. But that’s an anthology and a rare exception.

So why did I post my first sale here? Because I think it’s a good story, but it’s a used car now. You know, it’s been around the block and there’s not really a resale market for its model. But I like it, and given a choice between sending it to the landfill and recycling it here, I’ll put it up here. But I thought about it a long time before I did. If I thought there were a resale market, I would have done that first.

Feeling much better

I spent yesterday huddled under the covers and alternated between idle, mindless surfing, and typesetting. Rob picked up some hot and sour soup for me, which is my favorite comfort food for when I’m feeling ill.

Toward bedtime, I thought I was probably starting to turn the corner, because I had the urge to write, and the writing didn’t suck (I double-checked this morning). The fever broke during the night. Hurrah.

I’m left with a sore throat and a mild cough. It means that I can do some housework, but going to the studio is out of the question. Hopefully tomorrow. I still have six chapters to record.

Rainforest Writers Village

I had wanted to attend the Rainforest Writers Village but was afraid to schedule it because of my utterly random travel plans. And now we’ve rescheduled our Hawaii trip to be smack dab on top of the RWV. HOWEVER, I happen to know that they still have some spots open, and just because I can’t attend doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go.

the Rainforest Writers Village
and its Retreat(s)

Initial planning for the first retreat and its host organization began in February 2006, but the need and potential for it lay within staff members years before this. The impetus was the staff’s desire to create at least one time and place in the year where all but writing was put aside. A retreat was the natural concept to arise. The objective was to create an annual writers’ gathering that focused on:

1. solitary writing…
2. in an isolated environment…
3. supported by a collective of contemporaries of like mind and pursuits.

Individuals involved would gather at a location of minimized outside interference or influence, ready to spend an intensive three days on their own work, with others involved in the same who were present for support and interactive development of written creative work as art, craft, and science. Balanced against this would be a schedule of events aimed at supporting this process, with the number of retreat guests and attendees kept to a limit. With all this in mind, a suitable location was sought as the first step.

“The Rain Forest Resort Village” is situated on Lake Quinault in the Pacific Northwest Pennisula. Local populations are small and centers of civilization are approximately 50 miles from the resort; close enough for those who wish to seek them out, and far enough for others not to have to seek escape from them. The resort has no phones in the rooms or cabins, and no cell phone service. It is its own little village, with a restaurant, general store, gift shop, lounge, post office, and laundromat on site. [By Spring 2007,there will be wireless service in certain areas of the resort.]

Participants will get writing time free of work and daily social life. They will get professional advice from, and interaction with, guests who have had success in the writing business.

Writing on the subway

I had forgotten how much I love writing on the subway. I use my PDA and write in graffiti while I’m waiting for the train, then on the train as well. Sometimes I only get a couple of sentences, other times, an entire scene. I think about the story when I’m walking to the station. It’s great.

I got four chapters of Shades of Milk and Honey rewritten while I was in NYC working on the monkeys. I was going to wait until I had a larger stockpile, but I think I’m going to go ahead and start posting them now.

Let me know if you want me to email you the first thirteen chapters, the plot changes start with Chapter Fourteen, which is what I’m going to post next.

Neat!

Paul Abbamondi posted a list of his favorite short stories EVAR back in November and I somehow missed it. Look! I’m number 31.

#31.Mary Robinette Kowal – “Cerbo en Vitra ujo” (Effing disturbing. That’s all I’ll say.)

This is the first time I’ve ever been on anyone’s favorites list and I’m just delighted.

Aimeecon

For some reason, writers can’t seem to get together without calling it a con. I guess so we can write it off. Tonight, Ken Scholes invited a slew of writers down to the Barley Mill Pub to meet Aimee Amodio, who is every bit as funny and delightful as Ken promised. So nice when a gentleman keeps his word like that.

Also paying court to Miss Amodio were Jay Lake, Damian Kilby, Kai Jones, Cat, Benjamin and… here is where my facility for names falls apart, because I can’t remember the name of the last lovely gentleman. Ken will correct me, I’m sure.

It’s so nice to shoot the breeze with other writers without the pressure of an actual convention. I think we were all in the same time zone, except Aimee. Poor sleep-deprived east coaster.