First off: as your gesture of support to independent authors please consider going here to look at this petition. I am …ing sick of giving my dear friends in the banking industry 25% of my Amazon checks (given the fast, vast cashflow – still welcome, Amazon tends to pay me just over 100 dollars when they do pay – which means yes, I get 75 and the bank takes 25) and an extra six weeks (so they have the money to play with – multiplied by hundreds of thousands of small transactions) for a service that costs them fractions of a cent, and takes a fraction of a minute. Yes, Amazon might not be prepared to do it via paypal, but perhaps they have a better system than the present one to offer. And it’s a good idea to let them know.
Secondly I’ve been reading with some degree of wry amusement about the ‘merger’ talks between Random House and Penguin – as a result of the new challenges of e-publishing (Like we no longer have a command economy in which we can sell left boots, and pay producers in old spittle. Is that the challenge?). Various authors have gloomily wondered what will happen to them, and editors they work with/know at Penguin or both. And then came the news that News Corp had entered the fray, and tragedy and outrage were suddenly out in force. Oh noooooo! What had been worry and sadness was now tragedy and disaster. The subtext was obvious. The evils of Fox News etc were about overtake publishing (Those promoting diversity think it a good thing, so long as it’s only their kind of diversity (ie. It’s not diverse, just those they like), I’ve noticed.) How could something awful like this be let into the wonderful world of publishing. It’s all quite hilarious as HarperCollins (considerably larger than Penguin) is owned by NewsCorp and has been for nearly 25 years. One cannot see much difference in editorial selection and business practice between HC and any of the others, really. NY publishing seems pretty homogenous, and very alike. They trade staff and all seem to draw from the same pool, and have little in common with the world outside their universe. Heh. As a real fear that one came in at halloween pumpkin. It’s just business.
Still, it is a thought for the folk at NewsCorp. As it is business Maybe what worked for news might also stop publishing quite so much red ink. It would actually do authors, (and if they had to stop selling left boots, and find out what customers wanted) publishers right across the political spectrum the world of good. Personally I am sad publishing is still doing mergers. I suspect digital revolution actually calls for splintering and providing niche products rather than the other way around.
And now onto something completely different. I am working on an Australian set story where a kid in trouble finds himself sent of to grandma in the remote country. Grandma is, for reasons of her own, a recluse with very little spare money. Her kitchen still has the wood-burning stove and linoleum floor. There are no appliances and it is not far removed from, well, 1930. I knew farm kitchens like that back in South Africa (very well) and it’s been fascinating seeing just what translated, was common, and what wasn’t. Of course this shared pool is a rich place for evoking memories and getting your readers to care. I asked on my self-sufficiency island blog for people’s memories and experiences of kitchens like that. It was wonderful, but I want more! So help me out: dig in your memory banks and tell me about your grandma / great Uncle Fred’s kitchen?