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Happy Chocolate Chip Day!

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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.
I'm feeling:
calm calm
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On May 16th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC), aimeempayne commented:
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. ;-)

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On May 16th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
I'll have to remember that next time. The cookies turned out quite tasty, but they no longer resemble anything that one would normally call "cookie-shaped."
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On May 16th, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC), aimeempayne replied:
You should also know that the first batch out of the oven must be eaten immediately, without giving it a chance to cool. It's a cookie baking rule. : )
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On May 16th, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Oh, I like that rule! There's so many things I have yet to learn about the fine art of cookie-baking. *bows down to the master*
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On May 16th, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC), nmsunbear commented:
I have two words: Parchment paper. Line your cookie sheets with it and your cookies will never stick. (Plus, cleanup is instant.)
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On May 17th, 2005 11:52 am (UTC), eugie replied:
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?
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On May 17th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC), nmsunbear replied:
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.
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On May 16th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC), mtreiten commented:
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?
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On May 17th, 2005 11:57 am (UTC), eugie replied:
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.
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On May 17th, 2005 03:49 pm (UTC), terracinque replied:
Polyphony? Isn't that when people date more than one other person?
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On May 17th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Ah haa haa. Very funny.

Main Entry: po·lyph·o·ny
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek polyphonia variety of tones, from polyphonos having many tones or voices, from poly- + phonE voice
: a style of musical composition in which two or more independent melodies are juxtaposed in harmony
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On May 17th, 2005 04:11 pm (UTC), terracinque replied:
Ah haa haa. Very funny.

Wasn't it? Aren't I just the most adorable thing?
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On May 17th, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Yes you are! Yes you are! Awww! *scratches Glenn behind the ears*
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On May 17th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC), terracinque replied:
*thump thump thump thump*
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On May 16th, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC), terracinque commented:
This post made my mouth water.
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On May 17th, 2005 11:59 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Coookies. Yummy yummy coooookies! Hee. Next time you come over, remind me and I'll bake a fresh batch.
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On May 17th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC), terracinque replied:
Indeed?

How about Friday?
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On May 17th, 2005 12:32 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Not this Friday, as Matthew has a networking luncheon with a movie guy and he's decided to stay awake the whole night and morning (normally he goes to bed at around 6AM) instead of waking up in the middle of his sleep cycle. So I expect he'll be pretty crashed out for the rest of the day when he gets back. But how 'bout next Friday?
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On May 17th, 2005 03:49 pm (UTC), terracinque replied:
Pooh on not-this-Friday! But, next Friday should work for me!
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On May 17th, 2005 03:56 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Coolness. Send Matthew and me an email so we can hammer out whatever details need hammering!
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On May 16th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC), dean13 commented:
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.
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On May 17th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
According to my nifty skunk calendar, it was Sunday. You will have to debate the true date with the calendar's maker, fosteronfilm. But actually, I'm all for celebrating the luscious goodness which are chocolate chips in August as well. Yummm.
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On May 17th, 2005 07:17 am (UTC), dionycheaus commented:
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!
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On May 17th, 2005 12:03 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
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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