Monday, December 15, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
LOVE ACTUALLY (2003): Love, London and Christmas! What isn't there to love about this Richard Curtis movie? Well, there maybe quite a bit not to love. I know there's a large slice of people don't like this movie but I do. I have to say it makes me a little homesick for home, so this movie is very special to me. Call it my Christmas guilty pleasure.
Monday, December 8, 2014
- I wish I’d gone with a pen name. There were several other writers called Simon Wood already published before my first book came out. I really should have done my homework to avoid confusion. And eliminating my namesakes has proved costly and time consuming.
- I wish I’d been more confident in my own work at the beginning. I didn’t always believe in my writing in the early days. This led me to aim low and work up. The reverse would have been smarter.
- I should have never given my work away for free and/or low offers. This falls back to #2. My work is worth paying for and I now hold fast to that rule. Some of the stories I gave away to magazines and anthologies, while they might have given me “exposure,” actually cost me further down the road. There’s nothing worse than when a big time editor wants to make an offer on your work and you’ve given your story and rights away to someone for free.
- I wish I’d been pickier about contracts. I’m no push over when it comes to contracts now, but the rights I signed away on some of my earlier contracts cost me (and not just financially). In my eagerness to get published, I missed out on some big opportunities because I wasn’t the rights holder on some options.
- I wish I’d remembered business is business. I like my working relationships to be friendly, open and low key but I should have been more professional when it came to my contracts. I once felt bad for my editor during my contract negotiations and gave him all rights when I signed the paperwork. It was a mistake that could have cost me a small fortune if I hadn’t been able to break the contract years later.
- I should have associated with good people only. Publishing, from bookstores to editors to publishers is filled with a lot of different “personalities”. That means there are going to be difficult and abrasive people you have to work with. I spent a lot of time bending over backwards for people who were rude, selfish and acted as a detriment to my reaching new readers. I don’t tolerate someone’s poor behavior, regardless of who they are.
- I wish I’d gotten into eBooks about a year or two before I did because I could have really established myself in the industry. I had a good writing friend tell me to work my backlist as eBooks and I didn’t because a couple of publishers asked me not to because they didn’t want the competition. Again, it was one of those things where doing publishers a favor came at my personal expense. I missed the chance of establishing myself in the emerging industry which could have sent me on my way.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Now don’t get me wrong, I like my dad well enough. There are no rifts or anything between us, but who wants to be a facsimile of their parents? We all want to be an individual making our own unique mark on the world, don’t we? I know I do—or I think I do. Maybe that’s my dad’s DNA talking? Goddamn it. Who am I? Am I me or am I Memorex?
As I think about this, that’s the interesting point here. If I am following in my dad’s footsteps, is it because of the way he raised me—or is it because of his DNA? Do I do the thing I do because I watched him do them—or because we share the same genetic programming? I think I just blew your mind, didn’t I? Far out, man!
All I can say is that I don’t know whether my dad’s parental influence has had its effect or whether it’s in the blood. I do know it’s not a conscious decision. I never think to myself, oh how would dad do this and I should do likewise. I do things that I believe that reflect me but they have an uncanny way of aping my dear moo-pah. Here’s what I’ve got:
My dad is a marathon runner.
I am an endurance cyclist.
My dad has an allotment where he grows fruit and vegetables.
I have a fruit and vegetable plot in my garden.
My dad loves dates.
I used to hate the fruit growing up, but now I love them.
My dad has served on the board of his running club.
I have been a chapter president of both Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
My dad has a wife who indulges his whims.
I have a wife who indulges my whims.
My dad went grey haired by his mid forties.
I am forty-five next year and my hair will be grey.
My dad was a maintenance foreman at factory.
I became an engineer.
My dad has been served as a school governor, currently serves on police/civilian committee as well as a number of other civic boards.
I worked for city government for seven years and in the last couple of years, I’ve decided that will probably run for city council at some point.
Finally, we both share the same last name!!!
There you have it ladies and gents—my dad and me—or should I say my dad and his carbon copy. Now, I accept I could be paranoid, so I’m going to throw it out to you—do you think I’m turning into my dad?