God bless Harlan Ellison

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Harlan Ellison is my hero!

How refreshing to hear a writer tell it exactly the way it is. If you haven't seen this on You Tube, follow the link. If you're easily offended, overlook some of the language.

Harlan is so right. Especially about people who want your writing for free, or the nearest thing to free.

As someone who freelances, I see this "compensated by recognition" as an escalating problem. Every day I see jobs posted where clients want 50 articles for a buck a pop. You've got to be kidding me! The amateurs who eagerly land those jobs don't realize they're getting screwed, and, in the process, they're screwing every pro out there by creating a low-paying environment for writers.

Sure, it exists in the book publishing industry too for those without agents. Get a good agent and then what you get depends on the negotiating power of your agent.

I guess it's just a surprise that someone of Harlan's stature is subjected to the same thing.

I won't take penny-ante jobs as my dad would call them. In fact, I turn down about three jobs offered to me every day. Why? I won't work for peanuts though due to my own perfectionism, I sometimes feel like that's what I end up with, but that's another story.

I produce quality writing, and I expect to be compensated justly for that. Every writer should do the same.

Rant on, Harlan. Rant on.

Are we not fat enough

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Who are these evil people who design menu items? You won't believe this. I thought the deep-fried Mac and Cheese Bites advertised the other night had to be the most nutritionally obscene food item in the market place.

Then in the junk mail blizzard today there was an ad for DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE BITES served with Cinnamon Caramel Dipping Sauce.

Why don't they just call them Heart Attack Nuggets?

Why do we have to bother chewing them? Couldn't we just drive in to Sonic and have a reverse lipo and get all that fat pumped directly into our thighs, bellies, and butts? It'll all end up there anyway.

Come on, Sonic! The rest of the fast food world seem to be making an effort to offer healthier items. Why not you?

Long Road Out Of Eden

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I want to tell you about two new albums I bought. I'll save the Paul Potts album for another day because today I want to rave about the Eagles' new album LONG ROAD OUT OF EDEN. (If you follow the link, you can hear the album.)

In fact, I want to thank Glenn, Don, Joe, and Timothy B. for this new album. Guys, I know that sometimes you don't get along, or so the celeb rumors go, but when it counts, you gather together and create great music. I told my husband just yesterday that this album is on the same level as HOTEL CALIFORNIA, one of our all-time favorites.

You don't have to be an Eagles fan to like this album. Let me tell you why I think the music and the lyrics make it great. I'm no music critic, but this is how I see it as someone who listens to a LOT of music of every variety.

The strength of the music is in the layering of instrumentation, the melody, the counter melody, and the foot-tapping beat.

The lyrics? The specific words chosen, the ideas they represent, the internal rhythm, the poetic meter, the expressed emotion, the emotional response evoked in the listener.

The arrangements? Eagles to the max. The same elements that make HOTEL CALIFORNIA songs recognizable as an Eagles product are present in these songs too. I'm so glad they know what their strengths are and haven't tried to "modernize" or suddenly incorporate hip hop as certain others have. I'm glad they realize their style or "sound" is as good today as it was when they first joined forces.

Put all that together, and you get songs that make you think as you're listening and think about their ideas even when the song isn't playing.

Another thing you get? Singable songs. These are the kinds of songs that you can sing, and that is a rarity in today's music world. Oh, they're also songs you can dance too. That's important, at least to me.

This album is a WalMart exclusive (very smart marketing). The Eagles have acquired a business savvy over the years that other creative artists should probably emulate. For example, after their famous lawsuits, they are now their own producers and their own recording company.

EDEN sold 711,000 copies the first week out. Number 1 on Billboard, thank you very much. It's a 2-CD album for the paltry Wally World price of eleven bucks and change.

EDEN is so good that I'm hard pressed to pick one or two favorite songs. But I'll try.

How Long - nice rocking song -- love the line, "How long, how long, woman will you weep? Rock yourself to sleep." Also love, "wish I lived in the land of fools and no one knew my name." (Sometimes I think I do live in the land of fools.)

Busy Being Fabulous - "You were just too busy being fabulous, too busy to think about us." This song makes me think of too many men and women I know who got enthralled by the whole fame/power/money thing. They didn't have time for their children's school activities, for their kids' problems and needs. I guess they just didn't have time for kids period. Hard to think about PTA meetings, Little League, or Sunday school class in the climb up the corporate ladder or the rush to write a bigger book for a bigger contract. Now these people who "made it" can't understand why their kids are such problems or why their kids are too busy to visit during the holidays. Too many self-absorbed people bewildered by their adult children's indifference.

What Do I Do With My Heart - Oh! The ultimate breakup song question. Its lyrics say what we've all wondered at some point in our lives.

Fast Company - Everyone wishes their kids heeded them when they warned of this.

Do Something - Utterly love it and the meaning behind it!

Don, Glenn, Timothy B. and Joe, I'm a fan and have been for a couple of decades. I've seen you in concerts - solo and collectively. My husband and I raised all our kids to be fans. When you had your first concert tour after years of being apart, we spent nearly a thousand bucks to take all the kids to see you.

We own all your music, your albums as Eagles and each of your solo albums. You're great as solo artists, but you're breathtaking shattering as Eagles.

Congratulations on a wonderful album. Hope it sells and sells and sells! And thanks. Long Road Out of Eden was worth waiting for.

Show me the money

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My friend Brenda Hiatt has updated her annual survey of what writers are actually getting. This is valuable info (and a reality check) for those of us in the writing biz.

Check out Show Me The Money on Brenda's website. She goes to a lot of trouble to do this so while you're there, email her a nice thank you, and tell her Joan sent you!

Sling Words out to gaze out the window at the cold, drizzly rain while she awaits a visit from the freelance muse.

Wait for it

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Okay, I've been AWOL for over a month. Chalk it up to sickness, writing deadlines, houseguests, and holidays.

The drought is coming to an end though. I hope. Should have 2 delayed contracts put to bed within the next few days. So I'll return to the blogging world by then.

Hopefully, I'll have time to focus on a book publishing project I'm doing for someone and will get the finished manuscript to the publisher by the first of December. Then it's back to putting contracts to bed. Hope to be free of those obligations by the middle of the month.

I keep trying to cut back my work load, but somehow it just keeps building. I've really got to learn to say no - and mean it in the New Year. Or I'll never get my latest book manuscript finished, submitted, and sold.

The day is just too short. Life is just too short.