Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are We There Yet?

Hope this one's a keeper.

It's one thing to be creative, but it's another thing altogether when that creativity butts up against the foreign language that is a computer program.

Are we on track with our publication date of March 17, 2012?

Damned if I know.

At any rate, if there's no more technical problems and glitches, Newcastlewest Books will put together a lovely pre-publication ARC give-away and let's not forget sending ARCs to reviewers and book bloggers and anyone else who's interested in historical fiction arising from the Irish diaspora.

Lace Curtain Irish is set in Chicago and takes place in the area near the Union Stockyards. It's the home of the Chicago Way, of Irish politics and influence and a lingering scent of power arising from money. It is a story that takes place in the past, but could just as easily be told in the present tense.

Monday, January 30, 2012

We All Could Use A Room Of Our Own

It was Virginia Woolf who famously noted that female authors need their own space in which to work.

We writers need the peace and quiet...and the NOT GETTING INTERUPTED...in order to create. Not only the women, but all writers need to focus their thoughts on the words bouncing around inside their heads.

Her adage about having money applies to all equally well. To write is to not earn a living, and if you have bills to pay, you know you have to be doing something with your time that brings in an income.

I tried to fix the cover of Lace Curtain Irish today, and for someone not accustomed to using Adobe's fabulous software, it takes every brain cell to figure it out. I'm not to be allowed to focus any brain cells on the project that needs to be finished, and very soon.

Maybe later? Maybe after the family's gone to sleep, and assuming I'm not nodding off myself?

A room of my own, and money. What an impossible dream.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

From Deserter To Hero In Sixty-Five Years

Perhaps Eamonn de Valera's greatest legacy is one of incomprehensible idiocy, as evidenced by the sympathy he extended to Germany's ambassador to Ireland following the death of Adolph Hitler.

When World War II broke out, he loudly proclaimed that Ireland was neutral while the rest of the world fought to put an end to fascism and wholesale murder, although there are those who don't think Dev was sincere in his declarations.

But he was adamant about the appearance of the whole "neutral" business. Any Irish member of the Defense Forces who took it upon himself to join the fight, making a mockery of Dev's decree, was labeled a deserter.

When all those men came back at war's end, they were treated like what Dev had labeled them: deserters.

Those who dared to defy the neutrality stance that he ordered were made to pay for many long years. Who'd want to hire a deserter, after all? Such men were blacklisted, to be denied employment for the very grave sin of showing up Eamonn de Valera.

The Irish State is finally getting around to pardoning those whom the rest of the world considers heroic. Sixty-five years on, however, it's rather late in the game.

It's nothing more than a gesture for the few still alive and the families of those who paid the price for taking action, contravening the man who crowned himself king of Ireland.

No one can repay those who lived in poverty because they couldn't find work, and there's no mention of re-instating Defense Force pensions that were denied because the recipients were considered deserters.

That's the problem with correcting a wrong long after such a correction could repair the damages. It never comes out right.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Get Out Of Bed, Get Dressed

You're only going to the social welfare office.

They know you're not working. What do they expect you to be doing, so, beyond sitting around indoors? What's the point in getting dressed?

In future, those arriving for interviews at the office will be expected to make a slight effort at appearing presentable.

Pyjamas, in spite of all the hype by fashionistas, are out.

At the Damastown office in West Dublin, they've posted a sign that bans the wearing of jammies. If you're meeting with a counselor, you have to turn up in real clothes.

Looking like you've just climbed out of bed isn't sending the right signal, especially when the counselor wants to know how you're progressing on your job search. Sitting there in P.J.'s, it's pretty clear that you're not searching and you're quite content to pocket your allowance and remain on the dole into infinity.

Then again, you might be signalling severe depression and before you know it, someone from the mental health services is clucking over you as they bundle you off to the psychiatric ward. You'll be free to wear jim jams all day long, but it will hospital-issued apparel and there's no fashion sense to those items whatsoever. And the barred windows tend to be rather confining.

Who would have envisioned a dress code at the welfare office? How times have changed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Increased Price, Reduced Content

We're all still reeling from sticker shock, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Of course we know that prices go up, just as the cost of producing products goes up. In the case of the newspaper, however, the jump in a home delivery subscription was more than anticipated.

Some of us cancelled, unable to bear another expense on an item that is becoming increasingly a luxury.

I admit I swallowed hard and wrote the check, not yet ready to confine my news gathering to the Internet and the Tribune's free website. I'd miss the crossword puzzle too much.

The price boost isn't enough for the Tribune Company, however. While I'm paying more for my daily paper, the suits in the corner offices are going to extract the book section and expect me to pay even more if I want to continue reading it.

How's that for a sound business model? Raise prices, reduce content, and expect the readers to keep right on dipping into wallets that are depressingly thin.

There are loads of other places to get free book reviews if I'm interested in new releases.

I already know what's coming out before it's released, thanks to Publishers Marketplace and their weekly round-up of publishing news. The New York Times has some free content yet, and their site holds plenty of book-related info that I don't have to pay extra for.

So, as much as I love books and reading, I'm not going to sign on. There's a limit to how much I can spend and still keep a roof over my head.

Besides, there's always the public library if I absolutely have to find out what Julia Keller thinks about all things literary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Saved For Future Re-Gifting

Grandparents across the world are sending thank you notes to their offspring, adhering forever to the notion of good manners.

Those Kindles that they received for Christmas? Still in the box, in spite of the warm words of gratitude for such a lovely and expensive gift, you shouldn't have, really, it's too much...


You shouldn't have.

Nearly a quarter of the Kindles purchased for the holidays have yet to be turned on.

Why turn it on, when there's no books downloaded on it? Granted, it has to be turned on to start the download process, but do you honestly expect those without technological experience to even consider tackling something as complex-sounding as a download?

Our frugal relations won't let those expensive gifts go to waste, however. Somewhere down the days, after a suitable cooling off period, the offending Kindle will be passed along to someone else. It could be a wedding or a bridal shower. It could be a birthday of someone not directly in contact with the original gift giver. But someone else will end up with the Kindle, and no one will be any the wiser.

If you're one of those donors, however, you might want to look around in Gran's box room to see if she's really as grateful for your prezzie as she made out to be on Christmas morning. Especially if she has various hard copies of books scattered about the place. There's no converting some people.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Multi-tasking In The Digital Age

Besides the above-average press of work, there's some formatting that needs correcting on Lace Curtain Irish that desperately needs to be done yesterday.

A French publisher is interested in taking a look at the manuscript, but that means putting together a summary and manuscript into a downloadable file. And, of course, sending it along.

Bills are due in a matter of days, however, and it's up to me to make the payments. Must be that stack of things to do over there at the far right corner of the desk.

Can't keep clients waiting much longer for the return call, either. Those tasks are represented by the call log book, which is in danger of being buried under the collection of paperwork that I must get to the acountant immediately.

How I envy you, Kali, with your physique designed for multi-tasking. Even in this digital age, in which I have a smart phone and a computer and Wi-Fi access throughout my home, two hands just isn't enough to manage it all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Vacation From Writing

Not only was I cut off from the Internet (cheap lodgings will stretch the vacation euro, but there's always a down side), but I never had a free moment to gather some literary thoughts and write something.

Overwhelmed with the need to recall the cupla focal of French that I learned in the age of the dinosaur, my brain didn't even spin yarns as I waited in a long, long queue to visit the Tour Eiffel.

This unintended vacation from writing has left me disoriented as I sit down to return to an edit barely begun before my departure, and a short story that's little more than a hazy outline.

Where can I find some incentive to fix the formatting errors on Lace Curtain Irish so that publication can proceed on time?

The vacation is over.

The memories are stacked up in my mind, waiting to be filed away for some future use.

Like jet lag, this return to a writing routine will take a bit of time, but it won't be long before I'll be right back where I left off.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It's Official

As featured on Publishersmarketplace.com:
P. L. O'Sullivan's LACE CURTAIN IRISH, a family saga set in Chicago that encompasses the conflict between Irish immigrant parents and the first American born generation, to Cian O hAnnrachainn at Newcastlewest Books, in a nice deal, for publication in March 2012.
That makes it official. I'll have ARCs to hand around as I like, and Newcastlewest Books will no doubt have more info at the website when the time comes.

But for now, it's a fine start to a new year. My words are on paper....eventually appearing on e-reading screens everywhere. Can't wait until I'm holding a copy in my hands.