Interstitial Moment:

Time for a small rant.

As part of publishing’s attempt to make-things-easier-or-at-least-faster, some misbeguided and misbegotten techie invented something called “track changes” a couple of years ago. The editor sends a manuscript as a attachment and on that online attachment are purple/green/blue sticky-like notes with queries or copyeditor changes on them. Dotted lines point to the place where said changes or queries come from.

In theory, possibly fine.

In practice, a bloody mess.

The print is tiny and if one tries to put it in a larger font, everything goes whacky. If more than one person is working on the mss. (ie a co-author, a copy editor, and the editor) things are incredibly hard to read.

I hate it. It makes me crazy. And I act like some elderly diva (well, maybe that’s an accurate description) who simply can’t move forward with the times. But I am of the if-it-ain’t broke school of writing. And I don’t want to be constantly at war with the machinery while I am trying to put final touches on a manuscript.

Last night I began one of two manuscripts that came to me that way. The easier one, I thought,  (a small book of poetry) I began at once. I left the novel for the next day. Along the way, the computer ate my changes and crashed five separate times. I finally had to save after each tiny change just in case. I managed to finish it up and send it out first thing this morning. And then I tackled the novel. Amazingly, there were so few copyedits, that things went pretty smoothly. Oh, not entirely. I only hated it slightly less than the poetry TC.

So, let me state in no uncertain terms in case you have missed the point of this rant. “Track Changes” slows things down on the writer’s end and makes the writer (or at least me) miss major things. In the end, it will be more costly because I will be making changes on the page proofs.

In essence, even though copyeditors and techies love this new toy, I think it is counter-intuitive for the creating artist.

Or at least it is for this one. I am opting out, thank you. Give me my manuscript pages back. I can track the changes that way, computers be damned.


Addendum or Oops Look What I Missed:

My wonderful editor at Midsummer’s Night Press tasked me to tell folk that at the Boskone SF Convention he handed me my first copies of my fantasy poetry book, The Last Selchie’s Child. It’s gorgeous to look at and to hold and I think some of the poems are great, too. More than that I am embarrassed to say. But I am proud as punch (not the kind who is mean to Judy but probably the drinking kind) that the book is out. Or at least will be officially so in May. Still, you can order at Midsummer’s Night Press now.

February 17-March 9, 2012:

A frustrating journal three weeks as I couldn’t add anything because of the hacker. Adam and his friend Corwin Brust worked long hours cleaning up the website. It was a mess. Way to go hacker, you messed up a site for kids and teachers! Hope you are proud of yourselves.

So what have I been doing since February 16?Here’s a fast look. Will try to in-depth reporting another time.

Went to Boskone, the science fiction convention, where I was on five panels, one signing, one reading, and one koffeeklatch. I may be exaggerating by one panel, but it was a lot. I bought a painting in the art show, the cover for my Sister Bear, and had meals with friends Bruce Coville, and Patrick and Theresa Nielsen Hayden.

I had several late birthday dinners, one with the DiTerlizzis, one with a children’s book group of friends up in Plainfield, went folk dancing with a new friend, went to the Suzanne Farrell Dance Concert, a Celtic Music concert, lunches and dinners with friends, a farewell dinner to friends Wayne and Leslie who are off for four months to Burma (Myamar), spoke at Ellen Wittlinger’s class at the Eric Carle Museum, watched a college classmate win the Smith Medal, had lunch with cousin Malerie at the Lord Jeff, etc.

Equally (or more) important, I did a lot of writing on both novels–The Hostage Prince and Centaur Field. Heidi and I are working on a proposal called Monster K about kindergarten for monsters for Dan Yaccarino. I have written lyrics to three songs for Donna Hébert of the Celtic music group I heard earlier in the month. (See one below.) Been doing a poem a day since Jan 1 2011! Some work on an essay for the Folio Society.

Also sold 3-5 poems to Horn Book (depends on how much room they have) for the May issue, got first copies of Bug Off, and the ARC for Curse of the Thirteenth Fey, got my presentation for Michigan put together.



Here’s the lyrics to one of the three songs:


Come to Me, My Darling

The North Sea moans, the seal folk rise,

Moon in their hearts, night in their eyes.

And every single selchie cries,

“Come to me, my darling.”


The waves fall down, the selchies ride,

And hunger for men deep inside.

They call for me to choose a bride:

“Come to me, my darling.”



They’ve tiny seashells in their hair,

Their skins are grey, as sea, as air,

But well I know I must beware,

Or I will be their darling.


The water’s wide and dark and deep,

Far down below the sailors sleep.

But I have wife and weans to keep

So do not task me, do not heap,

For I’ll not be your darling.


An Apology

For any who tried to visit the website in the past few days, you will have noted that I’d been hacked. But my intrepid webmeister (hi, Adam!) has gotten things up and running again. And we hope the creeps who crept into this site will have gone on to protest some major company and leave the place alone so children and teachers and storytellers and writers can peruse it to their hearts’ content.

Thanks for understanding.




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