Friday, November 30, 2007


I subscribe to four magazines: Newsweek, National Geographic, Shape, and Self. When I'm going to be on an airplane, I treat myself to an airport-purchased copy of Lucky and/or Allure. Magazines are my guilty pleasure--their bite-size columns give me the ability to stop and start without losing my train of thought, as sometimes happens when I'm reading a book.

I hit the magazine jackpot at Thanksgiving, though--my sister-in-law handed me a stack of magazines she'd read on the flight from Minnesota to Colorado so I could read them on my flight home to Boston. I devoured Entertainment Weekly and US Weekly (which made me glad not to have paparazzi following me, hoping to get a shot of me tripping over a curb or with something stuck in my teeth.) But the most guilty pleasure of all was the "Sexiest Man" issue of People. Matt Damon was this year's winner. Kudos to the mag for making an out-of-the-box choice!

I was also glad to see Peter Krause and Seth Gabel from my newest fave TV show, Dirty Sexy Money. I'd be tempted to subscribe and feed my addiction, but I doubt that with all those magazines floating around my house, I'd ever get my writing done.

Normally I recycle my magazines, but when I finished this batch, I left them scattered in different seat backs so people on the next flight could do some guilty pleasure reading while airborne.

So what about you? What magazines are your guilty pleasures? And what do you do with them when you're done reading?

*** And a P.S. to today's blog, for those of you who do your guilty pleasure reading on the web: I'm featured today in author Cynthia Leitich Smith's popular blog, Cynsations. Thanks to Cyn for giving me the chance to chat about the creation of Goddess Games! ***

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Harlan Ellison Gets It

There's a fantastic short interview with author Harlan Ellison on YouTube. You can watch it by clicking here. Harlan explains--as only he can--why good writers need to be well-compensated.

I get frequent requests to write "for the exposure." As in, without being paid to write. And my answer is always no. I'm not quite as colorful in my "no" as Harlan, but people are shocked--shocked!--when I decline. It's not that I'm a Scrooge--I do plenty of things for charity--but no way will I ever write for free for any for-profit entity. And I don't think any writer should.

Think about Michelangelo. Leonardo da Vinci. Were they doing their work for free? Heck no. Not even at the beginning of their careers. They had patrons who paid for their housing, food, etc. If they gave away their work for the "exposure" or the "publicity," would it be so highly valued today? I don't think so. They knew what I wish every artist, writer, or creative person knew: You must value your own work before anyone else will.

I'm not saying I'm Michelangelo. Wouldn't want to be (I can't imagine he found the Sistine Chapel worth the backache in the end.) But I value what I do, and others must, too, or they wouldn't be asking me to do it for them. For PAY.

If someone finds what you do--no matter what it is--to be of value, make sure they give you something of equal value in return. If you do your job well, they'll be more than happy to do so.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday Three-fer

Three random things for which I am thankful this Thursday:

1) Ramen noodles. I would have been very, very hungry in college if not for Ramen. Money was pretty tight for me. I stayed in the dorm or my apartment during Thanksgiving and spring break, flying home only during Christmas. I shared textbooks with roommates, skipped cable, tutored athletes and did work-study. Anything to keep a positive balance in my bank account. Ramen tastes good (c'mon, admit it), fills you up, and--best of all--it's dirt cheap.

2) Tomato soup. Cheap, tasty, and a good source of vitamin A. The grocery store near my apartment used to have occasional 5 for a dollar sales on Campbell's Tomato. I'd get a ride to the store and pick up (gasp!) ten bucks' worth. It meant lunch for a month and a half!

3) Frozen veggies. Again, I was pretty darned poor in college, but I didn't want to live on an all-sodium, all the time diet. (Eating nothing but tomato soup and ramen probably had me slowly turning to salt.) But frozen veggies were cheap, frequently on sale, and meant I could get some variety in my diet. I could toss them into the soup or the ramen, eat 'em on their own, or spice them up.

Today, I made myself some tomato soup with frozen okra for lunch. Just because.