Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

Published by: Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books (

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Life Following Art

Today when I was retyping the next-to-last chapter of BUILDING PASSION, my first novel to be published (1983--Harlequin American #15) so it can be republished as an ebook, I ran across something that still makes me laugh.

I wrote a scene where the heroine is incapacitated (run-in with a badguy) and her younger sister sets out to make a macaroni salad. The sister's boyfriend-du-jour is pretty helpful, showing some modest capabilites in the kitchen, but he criticises the sister's method of cutting the carrots for the salad.

Now, At the end of my daughter's junior, I had already (just!) sold the book. Daughter comes home with her b.f.-du-jour and decides to make -- you guessed it! -- macaroni salad. B.f.-du-jour is semi-helpful but more in the way. His major contribution to the process is -- you guessed it again -- criticizing the way she cut the carrots!

And they wondered why I was laughing my head off!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Relief Is on the Way

It looks like we will be getting relief from this hot, muggy weather in the next few hours. It's about time. The Dog Days came early this year.

We have ceiling fans in almost all the rooms, so they help some, but most of the windows are painted shut, and in this old house, you tackle projects at your own risk. We have huge maple and walnut trees in the front yard that act as our air conditioners. They are pretty good at it, but after each strong gust of wind, there is another twig or switch or branch on the ground. Everything comes with its price.

Now, if there was just a way to skip over August completely, I think I'd have it made.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Am I Working Too Hard?

I'm in the process of retyping my book BUILDING PASSION, the first book of mine that was published, back in 1983. It was never on computer, so in order for it to come out again as an ebook, I need to retype it...all those words...a huge number of words.

One day last week, I typed for a long time. It felt good. But the next day, I could barely stand to read the book, let alone copy it. I did a lot of typing today, because the month is coming to an end, and I want to get it to the publisher. Otherwise there will be a hole in my royalty checks, as if there isn't already a big enough hole.

Now, I might be able to do another four pages tonight, but I've about decided to give it a rest -- and watch Tiger Woods and John Daly play golf. I think I need to pace myself.

It's not as though I can just put the book beside me and copy from it. It has to be magnified, and the magnifier has to be adjusted every few paragraphs. I have to decide if I'm going to contract words or leave them long, update or not update.

It's work.

I think I'll watch Tiger work for a while. Tomorrow is another day, even if my grandson is coming to stay....

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I Gotta Crow!

If you don't know it already, I'm the president of an organization called EPIC -- Electronically Published Internet Connection. (See -- read my T-shirt!)

The figures from an organization that keeps track of such things has reported that the sales of ebooks increased from $2,500,000+ in 3Q/2003 to $3,225,000+ in 3Q/2004 --and increase of roughly 25%.

A short time ago, I read a statement from someone who said that the e-book craze is over. I don't think so! I don't think it has even started.

The Undergraduate Library at U Texas Austin is going ebook this fall, with 90,000 titles. Imagine! There won't have to be waiting lists to get books...students will have access to books in the middle of the night, even when 50 other people are looking at the same book.

There is a small high school in Arizona that is going e. The $850 price of a laptop in just about a wash when a set of textbook is $600 a year, and there are inconveniences of storage, obsolescence, backstrain on students and teachers alike. It will actually increase students' curiousity about subjects and free them to go off in directions they might not otherwise have access to.

But if you see an ebook of Harry Potter avertised -- it's a scam.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sweating It Out

It's hot -- 91 F when we passed a sign at Rusty Wallace's car dealership this afternoon. And I'm stuck here at the computer, copying the text of my first published book, Building Passion, into Word, so I can send it off to an e-publisher -- in hopes yet again.

My glasses steamed up -- and it wasn't because I was copying a love scene.

As I do this, I question my sanity. Why write for electronic publishing? At this point, it isn't paying all that much unless one writes erotica. I don't.

Why don't I wrote for print? Because print publishing is driven by marketing departments, rather than editorial departments. Books come out like sausage, rather than the fillet mignon the writer envisioned.

Why write at all? Good question.

I write because I have stories in my head, and if I don't let them out, I get headaches.

I write because when I talk, no one listens.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Just Let Me Write the Sweet Stuff!

There is a heated discussion on some blogs -- here and elsewhere -- about Romance and Erotica. There are strong feelings about how hot is hot, and if lines should be drawn so far as Romance Writers of America is concerned, and a lot of other issues that range from important to trivial.

I was a very early member of RWA -- my membership number was 1969, almost a charter member. And I credit RWA with putting me on the path to getting my first book published back in 1983. I started for the door in November of 1999, when RWA summarily revoked membership in the Published Authors Network to those authors who were published only in electronic format. You see, I am Member # 2 of the Electronically Published Internet Connection, the Voice of Electronic Publishing, and incidentally -- current President.

There's a ton of misinformation out there. Electronically published authors did not "try to take over" RWA. A handful of our members ran for Board positions, and some of them were elected. That does not amount to anything near to "taking over."

The knock on e-only published authors was that "they hadn't paid their dues." And how could the upstart publishers produce books as good as those coming out of NYC?

Well, let's look at what has happened since 1997, when Kate Douglas did her workshop at RWA National. We've gone from three e-publishers to a wide range, a lot -- too many to keep up with. Those manuscripts that experimentally combined genres, that pushed the envelope, are to be found all over the place--instead on the bottom of the desk drawer, or on the hard drive of the computer that was obsolete years ago.

What really makes me mad is the myth that ebooks "make $25-$50 and that's it." Uh-uh. For one thing, they aren't pulled off the shelves after 25 days or three months, as the bulk of romances are. My book ONCE AGAIN A PRINCESS, was released in 1998 and is still available. I haven't made a ton of money on it, but I never expected to make a cent on that book because it broke all the NYC rules I could manage to break in one book.

That book didn't have a marketing department telling the editor not to buy it. It didn't have an editor telling me to change the setting, change the hero to another profession, do this, do that -- write what will sell, not what must be said.

No one in RWA should ever think I have my sights on being published again by a NYC publisher! I'd have to be given a much better contract than I have ever seen to go back and jump through hoops for print publication again.

For me it is not about the money. It's about the artistic freedom, the ability to tell the story that must be told. It's about electronic books being available now and for a long time to come, not falling apart, not having to be magnified, not taking up space in a landfill.

By 2020, 90% of all instructional books will be electronic. I haven't seen any figures for recreational reading, but I'd bet it will be in that range.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Life Went On

Dennis missed us. I've lived through hurricanes in Florida, so moving to Tennessee was a good thing, I my view. Some of the storms last year made us a little uncomfortable. At least I didn't have to go through the awful, non-stop winds that were so common in Florida.

I follow the weather pretty closely, and kept an eye on Dennis. I'm glad that he lost strength before hitting land.

This morning there was a funeral at our church, and it rained during the graveside part of the service. But it wasn't bad, not as bad as I was afraid it was going to be.

No matter what the weather is like, there are bits of human activity that go on without paying much attention to the inconveniences foisted on us.

Friday, July 08, 2005

This Will Curl Their Hair

I just took a survey about cosmetics -- what I have used in the last six months, the last three months, what I've bought, what brands I've used.

There was no place to mark "I could not care less!"

I had to search a drawer in the bathroom and get out the little bag I'd made to carry my cosmetics when I went to California last March, then find a magnifying glass to read the brand to enter.

Ha! I wear lipstick to church on Sunday if I remember it, but I usually don't. The last time I wore a full (by my standards) complement of makeup to church was our fortieth anniversary and we took cake to share with the congregation. I heard the woman behind me whisper to her grandmother, "She's wearing makeup!"

When everything has melted, or dried up, or separated, I'll try to remember to go back in the corner of the Dollar Store and look for a replacement. I can't remember a time I used something all up. I just don't care that much, and I never have. I've lived in places where wearing too much makeup branded you as a woman of loose morals -- and the standard of what was too much fluctuated.

So if you hear someone say that the cosmetics business is doing an El Foldo next season due to lack of interest, you'll know why!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Dull, Rainy Day

We got a lot a nice rain from the remains of Tropical Storm Cindy. There was a little wind, but the weather wasn't too bad.

We've been needing rain. There was a week there when it was hot and there was no rain. The earth cracked, the grass went brown. Plants drooped.

But everything had perked up now. Things are blooming that weren't blooming before.

Now if it would stop raining, I could go pull more weeds -- somethings we will always have with us.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

While I Was Out

It's summer and people are supposed to be out and about more. I think air conditioning has convinced people to stay inside more in the summertime, especially in the South.

But I was noticing today that there is still a lot of outdoor furniture around. We have a picnic table that we have used exactly once since my husband built it last year. And he didn't even use it -- one son, my daughter and a friend and I used it one Sunday when there was an overflow of eaters and not enough room at the dinner table.

Down the road there are groupings of resin chairs. At one of the horse-farms, there's an installation of Adirondack chairs and settee by the pond, but I've never seen anyone using them. There's evidence that the horses consider them delicious.

We went past another property where there was a table and fancy little iron chairs. Those chairs must be miserable to sit on.

We don't sit outside, and we don't even have air conditioning. We have huge maple and walnut trees that shade the house, but we never use the bench or porch swing anymore. Too busy, I guess.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Things Could Be Worse!

The gnawing noises from the house foundation (and I use that term loosely) seem to have stopped. Today, my husband secured all but one ground-hog sized exit from the basement (another term I use loosely), and after some really weird noises from that region, we were rewarded with the apparent exit of the captive g.h. I say apparent, 'cause those little guys can reach amazing speed when they want to -- and I think he wanted to!

Over the weekend, we were reminded that things could have been worse. We don't live beside the pasture where a herd of beef cattle graze. The woman who lives there came over to ask us how to get hold of the absentee owner of the herd as one of the animals had died disturbingly near them, and they had no way of contacting the man. With the long weekend, she was not looking forward to enjoying a holiday with a rotting carcass there.

Luckily, with some research and talking to the right people at church, we got the situation solved for her.

Whew! It could have been a lot worse!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Men's Day at the Dollar Store

We live a very limited (read: boring) social life, albeit, our daughter came over from Asheville for lunch yesterday and brought her kids over.

Friday is our day to go to the Dollar General store. Dandridge was a hard place to find anything before the Dollar Store came along -- now we have a Food City and a Family Dollar, too, but Dollar General is on our social calendar for Friday afternoons.

Today there were men all over the place! Most times when we go in there, my husband is the only man there. Oh, occasionally we'll run into the man next door when he's stocking the Doritos. (Living next door to him is not all that good for my diet, because I look out the window and see that billboard on the side of his truck and get cravings.)

Okay, so the men were mostly older, or a bit unkempt, but since there were women in the store who were of a certain age, too, I got to thinking: Is the Dollar Store taking over as the meeting place for singles. Has the Produce Department at Food City lost its allure?