Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Have you ever noticed that small concerns in the publishing area do not know where to advertise for help?

I write of those employers who hire intermediaries such as Elance or similar chop shops that charge fees either to the buyer of services or to the provider. Sometimes these outlets charge a cut of the provider's wages.

The wretched innocents who patronize the scam artists get for what they pay. Elance, Guru.com et cetera are like the broom and mop markets of nineteenth century England. Those were the hires who applied without the written recommendations of a satisfied patron. In that era Mrs. Beeton, a Victorian Martha Stewart, wrote the proper manner in which to find service.

"IN OBTAINING A SERVANT’S CHARACTER, it is not well to be guided by a written one from some unknown quarter; but it is better to have an interview, if at all possible, with the former mistress. By this means you will be assisted in your decision of the suitableness of the servant for your place, from the appearance of the lady and the state of her house. Negligence and want of cleanliness in her and her household generally, will naturally lead you to the conclusion, that her servant has suffered from the influence of the bad example."

There are better sites for hiring employees such as MediaBistro. An insignificant publisher will not be more than it is unless the employer discards pay sites as mere carnival tricks.

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Monday, July 28, 2008


I received a copy of the magazine, Optical Prism, that contains the article that I wrote. It is a small but necessary contribution to my career as a writer.

I'm a published author! I am excited and very cogent of the fact that commercial work is more viable than fiction. Still, when I am not searching for writing or editing gigs, I manage to crank out about a chapter of fiction every two weeks. I think, without the push of what I love in writing fiction, that commercial work would be extremely dull.

However, this gives me the street cred to say to an agent or a publisher that I can sell material albeit only now this very fortunate request from the magazine's editor. Today eyewear, tomorrow a Red Cedar! Don't I wish.....

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Have you ever wondered why some companies bother to advertise for employees ? I refer to those who offer only internships with no salary. For example, here is a gem that I found on Craigslist. Yes, I know there is a rare treasure of quality listings on that site but tolerate my search there.

"Online parenting media company in search of savvy writer/researcher with an eagle eye and keen attention to detail to:
.. proofread, research and fact check locally-focused newsletter stories prior to publication
.. research story ideas and events for future publication.
.. update and maintain an internal calendar listing and database.
.. develop and update in-house style sheet.

Ideal candidate will have a firm grasp on the english ( English should be capitalized. How's that for AP style? TWH note) language, excellent
grammar and punctuation skills (knowledge of AP style a plus). (Parenthesis should be kept to a minimum. Yes, I know that I am commenting in passive voice.) Additionally,
he or she is naturally curious and in-the-know, willing to dig deep (both online and in the real world) to find off-the-beaten-path story ideas and insider tips for Bay Area parents.

This is a telecommuting position, with occasional team meetings. Candidate must be a self-starter, willing and able to work independently.

This is an unpaid internship. College credit available."

Er, if I have to correct the mistakes in this advertisement then there is something very wrong with those who publish the newsletter. I will not apply for employment with someone who requires AP style yet fails to capitalize proper nouns. Their offer of no salary and mere college credit has no incentive for the most desperate college student. Textbooks and tuition are expensive.

The advertisers for this employment can also write off those of us who provide content for cash.Who do they believe will answer this classified if there is not sufficient renumeration? I would not work for a newsletter pro bono unless there was prestige associated with the employer that could lead into more lucrative contacts. However, I would think twice before a decision on that matter. I attempted a gratis gig before and it led nowhere.

Time and so on, writers need to remind employers that we are not freebies. We are professionals that require payment on time to have decent lives that aren't wasted scrabbling after a publishers' dead end.

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Friday, July 18, 2008


In the last few weeks, I have applied for several editor and writer employments but have not heard from any companies. A bright spot was when I had a note from a prestigious financial website asking about my interest in being an editor about a week ago, but then no call back.

The slowdown in my life is very frustrating. I can churn out a thousand words or more in a chapter of fiction in about a week or two, yet there are no offers in the commercial sectors. I have an article published this month in a retail magazine for eyewear. After this, everything seems to have dried up.

I am sure mine is a common lament. I have good skills in editing, writing, and research. I know how to use photo editing software, word processing programs, and audio editing software. I am a blogger for five years and a web writer since 1997. If I am with this experience, how can I not get a gig?

However,I don't have it as tough as the staff of the trade periodical Publishing News in Britain that will soon close shop. Neither am I one of the 3,500 people who have lost their employment in the newspaper industry in two months. I don't know that hurt but I can guess. To have talent, proven work, and experience without the luck to snag a writing or editing job.

What to do in the meantime? At this point, I am brushing up on my web skills such as WordPress, HTML, and CSS among others. That is all one can accomplish in resolution during a sinking economy.

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Monday, July 14, 2008


Fans of Andrew Vachss' Burke will be sad to see the crusading lawyer bring the series to a close.

What can The Writer's Home say about the final novel? I have read Vachss' work since learning about him from the original Zero created by Greg Bueno. I have always admired the tenacity and life long commitment that Mr. Vachss has given to children.

You would think that I'm writing an obit for a real person. It sounds like a reviewer's parrot talk. Yet, the spirit of Burke and other children of the secret must be remembered and acted upon long after Vachss' novels have fallen out of copyright. The pain of child abuse does not end with the termination of one series.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008


Klean Sweep is a handy tool for Linux operating systems. Yes, dear readers, we are using Ubuntu after giving Vista its last meal and making it walk a very short plank.
The tool finds empty files and directories,broken symlinks or references to other files; backup files created in KleanSweep, orphaned files, dead menu entries, and duplicated files.

KleanSweep runs in administrative mode and is handy for getting rid of files that are no longer viable or are redundant.

There is a caveat to this handy software that is very important to understand. Klean Sweep works on simple heuristics which finds items by name. For example, if there is "alan_rickman.jpg" (yes, you knew that I would work that in somehow!) and "alan_rickman.mp3", KleanSweep might find and display both. You must carefully vet the files you discover with this utility by right-clicking a file and choosing Open Directory. The directory will take you to the folder where the file is located so that you may be certain this is the item you want to remove. A good measure of caution too is to not remove something if you do not know how the element will affect the computer's viability. Furthermore, if you are a wee bit on the paranoid side, the program gives you the option of creating a backup file. Kleansweep is a useful application but must be handled with care.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I gaze out
over the fields of Tadaka
and see the cranes that cry there
without interval,
without pause:
such is my longing for you.

Oh my child
who loved me helplessly
like a hovering bird
over quick river shallows!

Otomo no Sakanoue Iratsume

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