When you’re unemployed, every day is a Saturday

At this point, I figure the company I interviewed with doesn’t want me. Pook. I’ll send them a query tomorrow to verify, but as I haven’t heard from them in the prescribed time, I think it’s safe to assume they were underwhelmed by me. Damn. On the positive side, it means I’m still footloose and fancy free, living the life of leisure. At least until my unemployment runs out . . . and my COBRA coverage. Gleep.

Writing Stuff

Okay. On the quest of researching some non-Asian folk tale/myths to tempt my muse, I trooped upstairs to the library and broke out the source material: Edith Hamilton and Thomas Bulfinch for the Greek (and Roman) myths, and E.A. Wallis Budge for the Egyptian.

I really love Greek myths–I’m a purist, I much prefer the Greek ones to the Roman. But every re-telling/re-imagining concept I come up with is for an adult audience, not a younger one. I’ve done a couple Greek stories in the past, and they’re dark. Very, very dark. Not saying that kids can’t handle dark, after all, I read Oedipus Rex when I was twelve, but still . . .

So I closed the Bulfinch’s and started in on the Budge’s. The Egyptian myths just aren’t gelling. They don’t suck me in the way a story needs to in order for it to tempt me to recreate it, to give it my own voice and spin. It could be Budge’s tone, which is very true to the translation and extremely dry. On one side of the text are the actual hieroglyphics, and on the other is the literal English translation. Not the best storytelling format, although can’t fault his rigid adherence to academic accuracy.

So I went back to the Asian myths. Yup. Within moments, I found myself snagged by the concept of the Kitchen God and his story. That sent me off on another research branch, and my imagination started fizzing.

I’m also starting to itch to get back to the novel. Hope that bodes good things for this week.

Wrestling technology into submission

Since I got my laptop, I’ve been putting this off, wholly intimidated by the prospect of dealing with the complexities of hookup. But I did it! (With only a little help from fosteronfilm.) I got my laptop to talk to our wireless home network, and installed a printer driver and configured my laptop for wireless printing. Until now I’ve been manually transferring files using my USB flash drive and printing from our desktop as a workaround. But now, now I’ve got full functionality! Mwa ha haahaaaa!

Yes, I know. I’m such a geek. But I remain inordinately proud of myself. And while I was at it, I made complete backups of all the data on my laptop via the network.

Also got a call from a previous head hunter wanting to set me up with an interview for a mainframe BA position this week. I said yes, of course. Still haven’t heard anything from the interview folks from last week. The rejectomany guru vibes have me suspecting the worst. Foo.

Writing Stuff

Somewhat overwhelmed at all the crits I’ve gotten on the current folktale at Critters. I lost count after twenty-five. Going to start trying to run stats today. Comments were all across the board, although generally positive. From my read-through of the feedback there was a definite pinpointing of some trouble areas that I’m going to focus on in my rewrite.

I also think my brains are leaking from my ears. I sent a query to an editor of an anthology, because I hadn’t received payment yet for a “pay on acceptance” story, to make sure they’d received my signed contract. They sent a note back going “wha?” because according to their records, they hadn’t sent out contracts yet, so obviously couldn’t have received my signed one back. Most confused, I went to check my spreadsheet logs. The contract column was unchecked. Ooops, that couldn’t be right, could it? So I went to my paper files. No contract on file there. Doy! Yep, I’m officially losing it. Emailed the editor my abject apologies and now I shall go stick my head under a pillow and stay there until 2007.

Interview interview interview. Eee!

I’m cautiously optimistic at how the job interview went. The initial design analysis test was actually somewhat fun, although I had expected to have a computer to type my answers out on, and instead I had to write them out longhand. I felt sorry for the panel of system analysts that had to review my work. Ever since elementary school, my handwriting has been the bane of my English teachers and penmanship instructors. The panel part was light and chatty, with some laughter–laughter is always a good thing–and one of the analysts in the panel had been to Dragon*Con a couple times, which made me happy. I like the idea of working with fellow fan-types.

The senior analyst I was supposed to meet with was out sick, so I may need to go back in to interview with her, but it could be a phone interview (ugh) instead. I’d much rather go in again. I like face-to-face so much better than voice-to-voice.

Overall, I found it to be a solid, stable company, very pleasant environment, with an excellent future. It’s a good size, not so small that it could fold at the whimsy of the markets, but not so big (unlike my previous company) that it’s mired in red tape and flaming hoops. And they’re quite close. The travel time is about the same as the one I had previously, dependent, of course, on traffic.

The recruiter person said I’d probably hear back one way or another in a couple weeks.

It’d be nice to have the security of being a cubicle-monkey again.

Writing Stuff

Received my contrib. copy of Here & Now #5/6 with “When the Lights Go Out” in it. It’s a monster double-issue, full sized with a glossy cover. And mine is the very last story. It’s been a long time coming. And I’ve still got accepted stories awaiting publication in issues #7 and #8. Haven’t been paid yet, though.

Also got an email from my agent. HarperCollins passed on my novel, but the editor had some incredibly nice things to say:

“I surprised myself by liking very much Eugie Foster’s Shao Huan: The Soul of a Badger. She writes well, which of course drew me in, but more than that, the development of the relationship between Yeye and Shao Huan was handled with real skill and never became unbelievable . . . Alas, this isn’t quite what I’m looking for here at HarperCollins. It’s excellent, but a tad too quiet for my tastes . . . But I did like this very much, and I am grateful you let me have a look at it.”

As rejections go, it’s an extremely encouraging one. My agent is sending my manuscript off to Viking next. Onward.

Interview twitches

So it seems that the corporate recruiter and associated company folks approved of my writing sample. Just got a call. They want me to come in for an interview tomorrow. Gleep.

And yep, there go my anxiety and nervousness levels, right through the ceiling. I think this would be a place I’d like to work at, cubicle-monkey status notwithstanding, which makes the prospect of the interview process even more nerve-wracking.

The first part of the interview will be a design analysis test, which I’m actually relieved about. An analytical challenge will help to soothe my early jitters. Plus, I tend to test well, and I like having the opportunity to prove my ability straight off the bat. But I’m still a bundle of twitches.

Calmblueocean. Calmblueocean.

Happy Chocolate Chip Day!

Yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Day. To celebrate, I made cookies from scratch. Not being an experienced baker, there was a certain mess factor. The cookies came out pretty yummy, if I do so say so myself. But I didn’t know you need to remove them from the sheet as soon as they come out of the oven or they stick. So getting them off–after giving them several minutes to cool–was an exercise in mangled cookies. And our resident fuzzy chocolate chip did not make things any easier. We’ve never given Hobkin chocolate chip cookies because, of course, chocolate is as toxic for skunks as it is for dogs and other animals, but somehow the smell of baking cookies was enough to get him in full beg mode. So while I tried to transfer torn and crumbled cookie bits from the cookie sheet to the plate, Hobkin was dancing around at my feet, ready to snap up any crumbs that fell. I managed to keep him from ingesting any chocolate, but at the cost of a greater mess on the counters. And because he had such a hopeful look on his little face, when we had our choco-chip cookies, he got his own treat–safe, non-chocolate chip, veggie biscuits. I know, I’m such a sucker.

fosteronfilm and I gorged ourselves sick. And there’s plenty more cookie-blob for dessert tonight. Mmm.

Watched Cat People on DVD a la Netflix, which I’d only seen on television before. The TV version is apparently VERY cut. The whole ending is edited out, as are some rather key scenes. It was as though I’d never seen it before. Unsurprisingly, it’s a much better movie uncut.

Got an email from the corporate recruiter, checking up on me. I can’t get a requirements document that isn’t jam-packed full of proprietary information. If I try to clean that information up, it makes it nonsensical. Grumph. I explained the situation to the recruiter and he’s letting me send in a writing sample instead. I hope the substitution doesn’t knock me out of the running.

Writing Stuff

Heard that a previous sale I’d made to an anthology is dead in the water. I can’t say I’m actually disappointed. When I submitted to the antho, it hadn’t found a publisher yet (not a project situation I usually trust, but I’m on friendly terms with the editor). Then he sold his anthology to Cyberpulp, leaving me ambivalent overall about the project. I’ve heard some questionable first-hand things from reputable writers about them. I didn’t want to pull the story from the project and leave the editor high and dry, but at the same time I knew I would need a pretty solid contract in writing from Cyberpulp before I allowed them to print anything of mine. And my alarm lights flashed big time when the editor asked for a short email sentence to give permission for Cyberpulp to publish my story in lieu of a contract, to the effect of “I give permission for Cyberpulp to publish my story in XXX anthology.” No discussion of rights transferred, payment, or royalty statements. So I emailed the editor back and told him I’d need something more substantive than that, and I wanted it in writing. But it appears I wasn’t the only writer with reservations. In the end, only eight of the accepted authors responded (perhaps the others, like me, were concerned about the absence of a contract), and the editor killed the anthology. While I’m bummed at having a story newly orphaned, I’m a bit relieved.

Popped my “edits are a-okay” letter into the mail to my Cricket editor.

And I got another piece of fan mail today on “The Storyteller’s Wife.” I’m so very delighted that it’s being so well received.

Mid-week update

fosteronfilm and I went to a volunteer meeting for the Atlanta Film Festival (hosted by Image) yesterday. Matthew wants to network and get more involved with the local movie scene. I figure volunteering would be preferable to sitting at home and watching maudlin chick flicks, which is what I did last year. Unlike with Dragon*Con, nothing really leaped out at me which seemed a good fit for my skills and interests, so I volunteered to help staff a party. I figure I can play hostess and party grunt without any special training or movie know-how. Matthew, of course, signed up to help with the panels.

Also got a call from the corporate recruiter person. He wants me to send along a sample projects requirements document that I’ve authored, and then wants to set me up for the interview process. Which, as is usual for these sorts of positions, would be pretty extensive, involving a test, a grilling session by other senior analysts, and then a meeting of the VP. Unfortunately, all the projects requirements docs that I’ve authored are proprietary information belonging to the company I used to work for. So now I’m trying to come up with a sanitized version, one that doesn’t contain confidential company and project information, that I can send along to these guys.

Also got an email from ghostgrrl asking me to be a guest at Frolicon. Of course I said I would. So it’s official, we’ll be at Frolicon at it’s debut. Looking forward to it already!

10 min/day
Yoga and ballet. Ballet and yoga. I remain out of shape. Ugh.

Writing Stuff

Rejections make Eugie sad:
12-day complimentary one from Futurismic with invite to submit again.
64-day personalized reject from Ellen Datlow from SCI FICTION, again with invite to submit more.
1-day whiplash-inducing reject from Surreal letting me know I’m welcome to submit again.

Oof. It’s an ice cream and chocolate sort of day. A sale would be nice right about now.

New words: Editing
Did a couple passes on the folktale and have handed it off to Matthew. Now it’s back to work on the novel.

Club 100 For Writers

Friday ups and downs

Started out with a nice, relaxing Friday evening. Brewed some Harry & David coffee and mixed in the drinking chocolate teflaime gave us. Mmm, nummy mocha. Then watched trashy horror movies (The Craft and Jeepers Creepers II) with Hobkin curled up at my side. An excellent setting for much writing.

Got an email from a recruiter for a company in Dunwoody looking for a systems analyst. Went out to their website, and I liked what I saw. Nice benefits, and the commute wouldn’t be bad. Emailed him my resume. Waiting to hear back (I suspect not until Monday at the earliest). Hoping if they want an interview it’ll be a face-to-face one instead of a phone one.

But now the DVD burner (on our desktop) appears to be on the fritz. The computer refuses to acknowledge that it even exists. Bios is totally unresponsive. fosteronfilm can’t even get the tray to open, which is particularly bothersome because there’s a DVD in it. I’m at a loss at what to do about hardware. It leaves me feeling helpless and frustrated.

Writing Stuff

I did indeed come up with something to editorialize about for Tangent: the new Macmillan UK “New Writer” imprint, and The Guardian article about it. What did I have to say? Read the editorial!

New words: 544
On the folktale. Past the climax and starting into the denouement. Another good writing session and I’ll be at zero draft. Rah.

Club 100 For Writers


Interview, meh

So the interview . . . went. I really, really hate phone interviews. I just can’t gauge anything with just a voice to work with. And I don’t make the best impression over the phone. I work best with body language and eye contact. Generally, I think it went okay. Probably closer to the “meh” side of okay than the “!!” side. We’ll see.

Writing Stuff

Finished the rewrite on the folktale after several more passes, packaged it up to go to Cricket, and then received six more Critters critiques, including a couple that make me want to go back in and do another several passes. Urg. Tear into the submission envelope, or just let it go as is? I hate second guessing myself.

Also received the contract from benpayne for “The Life and Times of Penguin” that’s scheduled for issue #18 of Andromeda Spaceways. Signed and sending it out to Aussie-land today. And I saw on their website that they’ve posted the cover art for #18. Pretty:

Club 100 For Writers

xXx, interview prep

fosteronfilm and I went to an advance screening of xXx: State of the Union last night. I thought the first xXx was pretty fun. Vacuous, but fun. I was hoping the sequel would be similarly enjoyable. Unfortunately, it was pretty sucky. The dialog was beyond sucky, though, it was really terrible. As in embarrassingly awful. There were a few amusing one-liners, but basically, it left me wondering who the screenwriter slept with in order to land such a cushy gig, ’cause it certainly wasn’t through their writing abilities. The storyline was simplistic and contrived, and the urban stereotypes were second in badness (not the good badness, the bad kind) only in comparison to the dialog. There were fun elements, but . . . ah, just read fosteronfilm‘s review of it. He does a better job of picking it apart and analyzing all the pieces than I could.

arkhamrefugee was going to try to snag us advance screening tix to Serenity for the May 5th showing in Atlanta which I have much more faith in. Unfortunately, they’re only selling tickets in pairs, so he wasn’t able to get the requisite number. Damn. (Yes, I’ve seen the trailer. How could I miss it? Every other person on my FL seems to have linked to it. Hey, wouldn’t want to buck the trend: Serenity Trailer.) I’m a total Firefly fangirl. Joss Whedon, squee! Must. See. Serenity.

Got my phone interview this afternoon. So far, nervous, but not of the twitching, shivering variety. I also got a call from a different head hunter for a business analyst position for, again, a similar salary range as my previous position, and again, they’re local so I wouldn’t have to commute downtown. That helps mitigate some of the anxiety as it seems there are multiple job opportunities for the sort of work I do in the area. If I screw this interview up, I’ll have other options. It gives me the luxury of being able to evaluate the company this afternoon as well as being evaluated by them.

It does appear that the head hunters have found me. Yay? Again, pleased to be getting calls, but ambivalent about returning to a 9-5 cubicle-monkey position. But if that’s what it takes to put food on the table (or more to the point, keep my health benefits), then I better suck it up and resign myself to being a corporate drone. Again. Being a responsible grown-up has its downers.

Writing Stuff

Words: Rewrite of folktale going well. Pair of passes and I’m pretty pleased with it. Going to give it another spit shine, and then package it up to Cricket. I’ve received so many critiques from Critters on this one that it blows my stats figuring to hell. Generally the story was quite well received. It made one reviewer cry, which surprised me because I didn’t think it was as emotionally wrenching as some of my other works, but I’m always delighted when I evoke such a heartfelt response.

And I’m very excited that jinzi‘s new erotica publication, Anaisdotmfk, is taking shape nicely. Having a story in the premier issue (“Only Springtime When She’s Gone”), I’ve gotten to see the site pre-unveiling, and it’s really gorgeous. It’s going live on May 1st. Keep your clicking fingers poised!

Club 100 For Writers

Thanks to everyone who wished fosteronfilm and me a Happy Anniversary!

Had a “Resume Building” workshop at the unemployment office this morning. Why is it everytime I go there, it’s raining? My class consisted of folks like me who’ve been out of work going on two months now. I noticed a large drop in business suits (none), and a huge increase in jeans and sweat suits. Also, an increased level of desperation in people’s eyes.

The class taught me that my resume needed punching up, so as soon as I got home, I spent the next several hours updating the damn thing. It’s all shiny and trendy now.

Interview tomorrow. Stress happening.

Writing Stuff

Received my contract from the Cricket Magazine Group for “The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake.” Signed and mailed it back. It puzzled me greatly when I got the envelope because it was one of my SASEs, and I always indicate on them what story is being responded to (very helpful when I send more than one story to a market, which I routinely do to the Cricket folks). But I knew I’d already had “Moon Lake” accepted, so couldn’t figure out what could be in it. Were they retracting their offer of publication? Eee! Of course, after an anxious rip or two, I realized they must have sent me the acceptance using their own stationary. Silly Eugie.

Also received word from my agent that Candlewick and Penguin-Putnam have passed on my novel and that he’s sent it to HarperCollins and Roaring Brook Press next. Got the feedback from the editors. My story made the Putnam editor cry, but she still didn’t buy it. Fooie.

Words: Beginning my rewrite of the folktale going through Critters. Running stats on the crits and making notes about tweaks and tunings. Got some excellent nit-picky feedback. Two passes so far. I hope to have it out the door by Thursday.

Club 100 For Writers