It’s true. My xbox has succumbed to the red ring of death. No more lunchtime drum breaks until it’s fixed. Of course, it might be a good thing, as repeated Run To The Hills fails have given me an inferiority complex, but still — we’re all very sad.

Packing it up to send it for service excited the cats to no end, however. In order to catch the UPS guy, I had to pack it up in about half an hour, with not a single suitable box in the house and no bubble wrap.

I solved that problem easily enough, but have you ever tried to pack something in a hurry with the help of three bored and lonely cats? I’d get one out of the box and stop the other from shredding the foam just in time to stop Booger from getting his whiskers stuck to the packing tape.

(No one — and I repeat, no one — must ever tell el Jeffe what happened to his roll of stuff that goes under laminate flooring.)

Wake Me When School Starts

You can always tell how busy I am by how often I blog. Obviously, things have been a bit crazed around here, juggling work with family. We’re sticking with the theory that things will settle down once the kids are back in school.

Yeah, I know better.

We’ve also got a huge end of summer event  coming up the last week of August on the LPI blog. Next there’s a new promotion model workshop to contend with, now that consumers have steered ebook distribution into oddly familiar waters.

In other news, I’m so not enjoying my preliminary heart attack over the Microsoft Word custom xml schema meshigas. Did I mention our entire, revolutionary and custom-made production system runs (in part) on said schema?

There’s also a burgeoning conspiracy theory in this house that if federally or state funded universities a/o government entities commit seriously to etextbook technology, digital publishing could become the next industry facing government regulation. National ebook care, anyone?

Somehow, the highly capitalistic Tower of eBabel doesn’t make me cry so much at night anymore.

I’ll leave you with that troubling thought. Enjoy. drama

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Well, vacation’s a bit of a misnomer, I have to say, but I’ve been so quietly lately I figured I should explain myself.

I’m in rather a holding pattern, it seems, quietly watching the industry we all knew and loved change utterly from one minute to the next. Even something so basic as the ISBN is in flux, new markets are emerging, old ones are collapsing. What’s been standard business practice for years is being warped and twisted and wrung for its last penny by whichever enterprise has the biggest, most shameless vise, all wrapped up in shiny red “groundbreaking” packages.

I seem to go from excitement to outrage to apathy and all points in between, worrying about how to protect our authors, worrying which risks are viable and which will turn out to be mistakes. And of course there’s always “how to make buying a digital book a better experience than torrenting it” and “was Netflix on to something” debates to really keep the graymatter spinning.

I do take the occasional step back far enough to realize this is the turning point digital publishing has been waiting for. Of course, that brings with it the hope that someone will come to their senses and preserve the best parts of tradition and quality control for the readers taking their first steps into what’s sometimes an insanely complicated process that used to be as simple as buying a book, finding somewhere quiet to read it, and opening the cover.

In a nutshell, I think I’ve spent my summer vacation thinking too much. Boring of me, but it’s certainly an interesting time.


If you’ve ever worried what long-term effect text-messaging, LOL or 733+ speak might have on literature, I have good news.

Child #1, who is fourteen now, has reported that one of her friends on the internet told her the following:

“However many exclamations you leave in your manuscript is how many cats you’ll have when you get old.”

Fear not. The future is in sarcastic, but good, hands.

…an den?

Brian just showed me one more reason to love the internet.

Adventures in Computing

Here’s a little tip from the newly educated…

If you’re running Vista, and especially if you’re using Windows Live One Care, and your hard drive’s getting full? Run, do not walk, to the nearest Clean Disk utility. Let it run, then click the More tab.

Delete your old restore points.

150 GB (yes, that’s GIGABYTES, not megabytes) gone, just like that.

I’m so annoyed right now, I could scream.


Only three days of school left, which makes this extra funny.

What Break?

The kids are off school for Easter break. “Chaos” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

In other news, we’ve changed the submissions email address to lyricalsubs (at) gmail (dot) com, thus freeing us all from one seriously clunky inbox interface. (Have I mentioned my addiction to gmail?)

The old email address will still work, of course, just don’t be surprised if any replies should come from the new one.

We’ll also continue to respond in person to verify receipt of submissions for as long as humanly possible.  We couldn’t easily set up a reliable auto response in the old email system, and don’t like the practice anyway. But there could easily come a time when we’d have to employ one person just to send in-person replies alone, so we’ll see how long we can make it without having to go that route.

Meanwhile, things are busy as ever around here. Lines up to here, copies up to there, and admin at all points in between. But the good news is that the production overhaul is mostly done, thanks to a behind-the-scenes hero. Only one format remains — .lit — and we’ve decided not to tell Renee that five separate images could be necessary for cover art alone. (She’s shorter than me and I think I could probably outrun her if the need arose, especially with a thousand mile head start.)

Otherwise, I continue to stink on RockBand drums. We’ve ventured into the wonderful world of download content (More Earth Wind and Fire, plzkthxbai). There was a brief lapse in playing this week when I broke the kick pedal. Apparently, curling one’s toes over the end of the pedal is a bad idea, despite the thick, fuzzy protective layer of cat hair.

Also, I did notice Queensryche got an xbox spotlight. Dare I hope this means they will finally cough up the rights to Operation: Mindcrime? In my opinion, that would be the single greatest DLC of all time. Gold-starring those vocals would be a true badge of…something.

They’re playing up here in May or June, and if they don’t cough up the rights, I may be the first person in history to attend a concert for the sole purpose of whining for DLC. I’m sure they’ll be persuaded by my story about how I somehow broke my right index fingernail on Ace of Spades, and my theory that Taylor Hawkins secretly has three feet.

Back to the cave with me. Happy Easter, everybody.

Smoke (and cake) Inhalation

It’s birthday week, here. Child #1 turned 14 Monday, and Child #2 turns 11 today. Needless to say, time has been in much shorter supply than sugar and open flames.

So happy birthday, munchkins. You’re my red m&ms. Just candy to some people, but my favorite — beautiful and bright, and filled with life’s good stuff.

eBook Format Survey

eBook readers, your voices need to be heard.

Whether you buy from Amazon, Sony, Fictionwise, Once Upon A Bookstore, ARe, eBook Mall, My Bookstore and More, Ellora’s Cave or any other etailer, please take a moment today to fill out this survey on ebook file type preferences.

If you’re on reader loops or have a blog, please pass the link along:

Results of this survey will help set the record straight on what ebook readers need vs. what the e-reader industry is trying to sell.