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.

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24 Responses to Happy Chocolate Chip Day!

  1. aimeempayne says:

    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.

    That’s not necessarily true. If you take them off right away, they tend to moosh and break. My grandmother taught me to take cookies out of the oven when they still looked a little raw, then leave them on the sheet a bit to finish baking. It’s the secret for crisp on the outside, soft on the inside cookies. I’m not much of a cook, but I have powerful juju when it comes to baking cookies. 😉

  2. nmsunbear says:

    I have two words: Parchment paper. Line your cookie sheets with it and your cookies will never stick. (Plus, cleanup is instant.)

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Hmm. I guess as long as I set the oven below Fahrenheit 451, having paper in there isn’t a problem. Cool. Does one need to buy parchment paper at a stationary store, or do they sell them next to the Teflon cookie sheets?

      • nmsunbear says:

        Parchment paper is designed for cooking. It’s sold in two ways: folded flat in little plastic bags (like small amounts of wrapping paper) or on a roll in a box (like aluminum foil). Good grocery stores should carry it near plastic wrap or paper products.

  3. mtreiten says:

    You might have seen my reservations regarding Cyberpulp if you’ve read my intermittent blog. There are some strange things regarding editors contracting to Cyberpulp and then having e-mailed responses from the individual contributors as binding (according to Cyberpulp’s legal consultant). Bob Gunner apparently has gotten some of the kinks bashed out of his process, such as Lulu.com handling all POD royalties automatically and boilerplate agreements, but I’m still a little leery. Not to mention under-awed by the pain required to get to this point.

    Unfortunately the response of the authors seems to support the negative attitude toward anthologies as money losing projects that are more hassle than they are worth. (Not that you all didn’t have valid unaddressed concerns…) Do you think the issues with working with multiple authors will hurt the anthology market? No one (aside from Mike Resnick and the “Best of…” books) seems willing to go that route anymore. Will it all turn to invitation only and highly themed collections?

    • Eugie Foster says:

      You’re not the only writer I know who has reservations about Cyberpulp. Their business model does not strike me as being overly writer friendly. Or profitable for that matter.

      As far as the state of the anthology market goes, some publishing houses like Wheatland Press and Pitch-Black books continue to produce anthologies that pay their writers very nicely. There is a trend to theme them, but it’s not a hard and fast, at least that I’ve seen. Wheatland’s highly successful and critically acclaimed Polyphony series remains unthemed, although it is a venue exclusively for slipstream works.

  4. terracinque says:

    This post made my mouth water.

  5. dean13 says:

    I thought August 4th was National Chocolate Chip Day! Argh. I hate to miss important national holidays!

    Tonight I will have to make TWO batches of Chocolate Chip cookies to atone for my sin. Fortunetly my local furry overlords, the cats of the house, couldn’t care less about chocolate chip cookies. All the more cookies for the humans.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      According to my nifty skunk calendar, it was Sunday. You will have to debate the true date with the calendar’s maker, . But actually, I’m all for celebrating the luscious goodness which are chocolate chips in August as well. Yummm.

  6. dionycheaus says:

    could hobkin be gotten a batch of chocolate chip cookies sans chocolate? I hate to think of the wee fuznick never getting to taste the cookie-goodness!

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I’m sure you’ve become his new bestest friend!

      Cookies are a bit on the rich side for Hobkin. What he doesn’t need is more sugar in his diet! But rest assured, he still gets his sweet fix periodically. He’s quite good a nicking the odd sugar cookie or graham cracker square when we’re not looking, and then inhaling it before I can retrieve it from him!

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