IDW, the publisher of Zombies vs. Robots: Women on War, commissioned art for each of the stories. I hadn’t known, so it was a surprise, and I was well chuffed with the art for mine. I think it perfectly captures the moment, and the relationship between the young woman and the robot. My thanks to the illustrator, Ericka Lugo, and everyone else who helped make this book.
I play guitar, have done so off and on since I was a teenager. I’ve started writing some originals, and decided to share this instrumental.
I was at Cafe del Soul the other day and loved their new signs, and wanted to share them. I find the photo of the staff and their families quite moving.
If you like organic food and want to support honest businesses, stop on by. They’re at 247 Shoreline Highway Mill Valley, CA 94941.
We will re-open tomorrow after being closed for the weekend to treat and monitor our premises to ensure that there is no roach activity and that the space we operate in presents a safe environment to run a food facility.
After meeting with all involved parties we feel we can offer that but will continue to monitor the situation closely and will let you know if anything changes.
Now we need to re-build. We are a small business and this elective closure almost cost us the business and 26 employees their jobs. And we are still very close to having to close our doors for good. We have received so much support from our customers and have been asked what they can do to help.
It’s a simple question to answer..
Eat here tomorrow and everyday after that and invite your friends to do the same!!
Other than that, please feel free ask questions, we are happy to answer your questions honestly and transparently. Speak to our manager Sandro or our Assistant Managers Aldo or Eliseo, or email us at email@example.com
And please visit our facebook page and for more updates and to post comments..
From the Staff and Supporters of Café del Soul
Cafe del Soul, an organic cafe in Marin, might go out of business because they are honest. They have a problem with German cockroaches (which are small but still gross), and rather than hide the problem they are talking about it.
Last week they wrote an open letter to customers detailing the problem and everything they had done and were doing to fight it. The whole building, it turns out, is infested, so however many times they treat their space, they still have problems. Cafe del Soul reported themselves to the health department, which closed them for treatment and inspection. When the health department later gave them the all clear, they reopened, only to find more bugs. So they voluntarily closed themselves. They’ve been closed all weekend.
Restaurants run on a tight margin. Labor and food are expensive, and there just isn’t room in the budget to be closed for days on end. This is a small, family-owned business, with no reserves. Twenty six families depend on it.
I go to Cafe del Soul sometimes to write. I like their organic juices and wraps and salads. I like the people who work there, I’m getting to know them more, and I admire the way they are handling this problem, with total integrity and honesty.
Tomorrow I will drive by and see if they are open. If they are I will buy something. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and like organic fresh food, I hope you will too.
For more information, including information on when they will be open, see the Cafe del Soul Facebook page.
I gave a three hour writing workshop recently for the City of Rockingham, called “Need a Little Inspiration?” I had about 40 participants, both published and unpublished, people who wanted to publish and people who just wanted to write for fun or to record their family histories. I tried hard to balance between encouraging them and giving them a bit of reality about the publishing industry and how much work goes into a writing career, so that they could make realistic goals about their writing and, hopefully, have a better chance of achieving their goals. Most of the feedback was good to enthusiastic, and I feel quite pleased with how it went.
I got an email from one of the participants today saying she’s been thinking a lot about the workshop, and she notices things more: when she meets people she has the urge to sketch them and tell their stories. Ordinary events for her are now story fodder, which was my hope and the goal of the writing exercises I’d made up for the workshop participants. She is thinking like a writer now, and enjoying it.
She said that she could accept what I’d said, that most of the people attending the workshop probably would not have careers as writers (most, I said, probably wouldn’t want to if they knew what it was really like), but she rather thought I could have been a bit more encouraging about that. Perhaps I didn’t really need to tell these people that most of them probably wouldn’t succeed beyond getting a few things published locally or in small venues. In my defense, I agonized about how to balance between being encouraging and being realistic. I told these writers that I agonized about what to tell them, and I told them I hoped that they would beat the odds.
I believe that there is a vast gray space between the urge to write and the reality of publication. There are dragons in that space, and one of those dragons is the dream of being a published writer. The dream alone might make a writer happy, but it’s made of mist. I wanted to help those who want to publish professionally to have a sense of how to do it, and to help those who just write to be happy to actually be happy about their writing. What I fear is that people will spend their whole lives haunted by dragons: feeling guilty about not writing, feeling unsure about how to get published, feeling discouraged from rejection letters, being taken advantage of by self publication deals that lead writers to believe they can make a career from self publishing as an unknown author (sure a few will, but that is the exception). People can suffocate from a lack of information.
Perhaps the real issue I am trying to reconcile myself with is the responsibility inherent in being an authority figure: even just saying that makes me feel like my head is too big. Writing requires hope and faith in yourself, but it also requires hard work and knowledge. I will be encouraging and flattering when I see talent and potential, but if I am not tempering that encouragement with the reality I’ve picked up from my ten years in the industry, I am not sure how much I am helping people. Some of the people who came to my workshop might be happier walking away from the word processor and picking up the tuba. But from the email I got, I know that at least one person is thinking more like a writer, and that I find encouraging.
This morning I was privy to a conversation where people were sharing electronic copies of books and music. Files were being transfered between computers, and the conversation went along the lines of, “My mum would like that book, and I’ll send that one to Keyron, and…”
As a writer and a reader, I feel really conflicted about piracy. My feelings stem from a desire to pay people for their work and a desire to be paid for my work, but I also very much want my work to be noticed and paid attention to, even if I am not getting paid in this instance. Perhaps, in the above example, Mum or Keyron would go on to buy a copy of the book, or something else by that writer, or they would recommend the writer’s work to a friend who would then buy it, and so the content creators benefit from that good energy and the possibility of money down the line. But I wish there was a system by which I could pay a bit of money to the content creator, because I don’t feel right about owning e-books unless I have paid for them or they were given to me by their creators.
So I wanted to propose a system in the hopes that someone might already be doing this, or be willing to do it. Something like Flattr, but set up for writers. I will limit it to books although perhaps a similar system could be put in place for music and other content.
There’s already been lots of talk about voluntary micropayments — see Are Voluntary Micropayments A Solution for Digital Content? for a recap of the story so far. As I have seen it in practice, individual authors can put themselves out there to take Paypal donations, but there is no real solution to the fact that people are sharing electronic files and feeling guilty about that, or not sharing electronic files because they would feel too guilty. The cat’s out of the bag as far as file sharing goes, and any attempts to coax or force it back in, or to put another bag around it (DRM, etc.), are not really working, as well as completely failing to take into account the power of word of mouth to build audiences.
What if there was an organization where readers could make micropayments that would be held for authors? Is there one and I just haven’t found it? It would take a critical mass of payees and money and authors, and watertight legal protection, but it could work. Perhaps it wouldn’t make a huge amount of money for anyone, especially at the beginning, but any payments that weren’t claimed could be donated to charity.
One immediate problem is that this solution rewards the content creator and not the many invisible people (the editor, publisher, copyeditor, cover artist, publicist) along the way that made the book a success in the first place. But those people got paid for their work when they did it, and I say this as a working freelance editor.
Another problem is that the market is upside down: why would anyone want to pay for something if they didn’t have to? I believe that people don’t prefer to steal, and that we feel at least a little bit bad about it, no matter how many other people are sharing files. I think that a system that allowed people to pay authors for pirated books would supplement traditional publishing, not threaten it.
The pay after use culture is in place in other realms, in software development, for example. It’s not new. There was a trend in science fiction fanzines in the middle of the 20th century, of PAR or Pay After Reading, meaning you would mail someone a quarter if you thought their ‘zine was good.
Could this work? Anyone wanna have a go?
So it’s been about a year since I posted here. In that time I split up with my husband, quit my job at Locus after realizing I’d hit the glass ceiling and wanted to do other things, and moved to the UK for a while, then to Australia. I’m writing and doing freelance editing. I got my health back after a dodgy time of many headaches. My divorce was finalized and my ex emailed me saying, “High five?” I cut off my dreadlocks and have not regretted it. I picked the guitar back up (I’ve played it off and on since I was a teenager) and I found some mates to jam with, mates who are really good and say I am also really good. I turned 30 and thought, thank fuck I am done with my 20s. People have told me that the 40s are even better. And the 50s.
I was born in suburban Detroit, Michigan. If you look at a globe, you’d find that where I live now, Perth, Australia, is very nearly the exact opposite end of the world. Like, I am upside down compared to my folks. I could have spent my whole life in Michigan. I am glad I did not.
It would be a bummer if the zombies came and nobody noticed.
To make sure this won’t happen, May has been declared Zombie Awareness Month. Wear a gray ribbon.
And if you just can’t wait for the zombies to come to you, check out John Skipp’s Rose.
Know how Snoop Dogg does his hair in braids like a four-year-old girl? When I was in the sixth grade I read a book where the girls styled their hair in side ponytails. It seemed cool, so one day I did my hair in a side ponytail. The kids in my math class made fun of me, saying I was missing a pigtail. It didn’t occur to me to re-do my hair. I just withered, and swore off being different. Not that I’d figured out conformity, either, but that trying to be different was just too risky.
Snoop, though. You don’t see anyone making fun of his hair. And if they did — shit-talking is part of the genre — I don’t think it would seriously change the way he felt about himself.
I’ve done a bit of growing since the sixth grade. But I still have that same capacity to be awkward and uncomfortable, unwilling to relax into being different. I’ve always been introverted. I read a lot as a kid. Like, my mother would tell me that seven hours of reading in one day is enough, and it was time to go outside and play. The thing about reading is that it exposes you to more ways of being than you can glean from the hawkish way that you watch the popular kids. (One time in high school, two girls, I’ll call them K and L, ate a rotten orange from a trash can because they thought it might get them drunk.) There are all sorts of examples of how to live.
When I was 12, I didn’t have a good sense of who I was. What’s more, I had a rather nonexistent sense of it being OK to be whatever I was. That sense, call it self-confidence, doesn’t come from supportive parents, or understanding teachers, although I had both. Well, some of the teachers were understanding.
The thing about now is that I’m not 12 anymore. At 28, I still don’t have a good sense of who I am, but I’m starting to let go of that fear of being different. And if you’d told my 12-year-old self that I’d have bleached-blond dreadlocks, I’d have thought you were high. (Actually I probably wouldn’t have understood what “high” was, although I would have pretended I did.)
Snoop Dogg, for the record, is almost 40. Check out his video “Kush” for the hairstyle if nothing else.
Amelia Beamer lives in Marin County, California. Her debut novel The Loving Dead (Night Shade Books) was called one of the top ten zombie novels of the past decade by Barnes and Noble, and is available at Google, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, IndieBound, and Amazon.
Her writing has been featured in venues including Gizmodo, Whatever, BoingBoing, Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Locus Magazine, The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, Uncanny Magazine, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Women on War: A Zombies vs Robots Anthology, Interfictions 2: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing, Understanding Reiki, and Healing for People. She works as an independent book editor, helping writers establish or grow their careers in popular fiction, at Beaming Enterprises, and is a former editor at Locus Magazine.
If Chuck Palahniuk and Christopher Moore had a zombie love child, it would look like THE LOVING DEAD.
Read the first four chapters of THE LOVING DEAD, or click on the cover for more info.