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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Published Story Live!

Byzarium has published my short story, "Hunger," a dark fantasy. If you'd like a taste of my writing, this is a nice sample. Click here to go to the story. Let me know what you think...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Donating for Katrina Relief...And Free Publicity to Boot

I read about this on the fabulous blog of Firebrand Literary agent, Nadia Cornier. Check this out:

How you can send money to Hurricane Katrina relief without spending a dime

For those of you who read me casually (or less often than that), my name is Tony Hellmann. I'm a non-fiction writer with a day job and a finished novel I'm trying to get published. I'm not rich, but I'm not poor either.

I donated $20 to the American Red Cross the day after the levees broke. I didn't feel like it was enough, and I have coworkers that feel bad because they can't afford to send $10.

I've decided to do something about it, for those that feel bad that money in their wallets is outpaced by the sympathy in their hearts.

I've decided to send a dollar to the American Red Cross for every person that leaves a comment to this entry by next Sunday. I'll also send two dollars for every literary agent or person with a published novel who leaves a comment, because you folks have fans/large readerships, and fans like to participate with the objects of their attention. To the same effect, I'll donate $10 if your last name is Nielsen-Hayden or Scalzi. :)

Mention this on your blogs, drive the comment numbers up, and donate money without spending any. I'll post a PDF of the Red Cross receipt after I donate.


As of this morning, he has more than 3,000 comments. I already posted my comment. If you want to add your name to the list, click here. Tony's generous offer ends this Sunday, September 18. Spread the word.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Kill Me. Please.

So I'm home today with Tax Deduction the Younger, who's spiking a fever on and off. And we discovered that his favorite, proof-of-God television show has...say it with me, a spin off. That's right, folks: Dora the Explorer now has a spin off. Any guesses on the title? Ready?

Go Diego Go.

And here I thought that Dora was reason enough for me to loathe children's programming. Oh, no. Compared with Diego, Dora is bloody fabulous. Diego takes all the irritating pseudo-computer-game qualities from Dora and throws in wannabe cool tunes and characters and animal rescue operations. And, of course, Spanish. Now I'm all for teaching, and learning about animals and Spanish words. But this television show makes me want to introduce a straight-edge razor blade to my wrists.

So Go Diego Go officially tops my Kill-Me-Now Children's Show list.

Jackie's Submission Report
So my first attempt at writing dark erotica (think dark fantasy with sex as part of the plot) has resulted in a minor rewrite request. The editor wants me to include more sex. Um, okay. Say, Loving Husband...can you help me with my research? ((wink))

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Words Fail Me

I tried to write a post about remembering what happened four years ago, but the words won't come out right.

So please: remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

And Here I Thought It Was Vampires That Sucked...

Understand that I am a huge baby when it comes to pain. Well, not all pain. I used to get my legs waxes. Bikini area, too. And I was 15 minutes away from going the completely natural route for childbirth with Tax Deduction the Younger. (TDTY was born on a holiday, and the small hospital didn't have an anesthesiologist in residence. That'll teach me; if Loving Husband and I decide to have a third child, gimme the drugs. Immediately.)

But just mention the word "dentist" to me, and I start to cry.

I hate dentists. They terrify me. DDS = 666 in my book.

This doesn't mean that dentists aren't nice people. A long-time family friend is a dentist, and he's a cool guy, if somewhat wacky. Before we moved away from Queens, LH and I had a fabulous dentist in NYC. And the dentist I go to now is a sweetheart.

Doesn't change the fact that they scare the crap out of me. And I don't trust any of them.

That last comes from one sadist--er, dentist cheerfully ignoring me as I told him not to shave my gumline. Really. I was about fourteen, and the dentist is talking to me and my mother about "widening my smile" by exposing more teeth...by slicing away some of my gums. I said "No fuckiing way." My mother must have given him the nod, because as he's making sympathetic noises my way, his scapel does the slice and dice thing.

Since then, I've never trusted dentists.

Woese is that I've got sensitive teeth. And at least one tooth somewhere in my mouth doesn't take Novocain. Found that out the hard way, when one dentist was trying to drill out a cavity and I kept shrieking. After three shots, none of which took, he told me to brace myself. Then he finished the job.

I hate dentists.

So, when my dentist told me this past Thursday that the nerve in my top front left tooth was dead as a doornail (whatever that is) and that I needed a root canal ASAP, I freaked. I agreed that it had to be done, but I was far from happy about it. So I got penciled in...for the next afternoon.


Sheer terror enveloped me for the next 20 hours. I was a bitch on wheels to my family, and on Friday morning I terrorized the cats as I went on a rampage through the house, shrieking and throwing things.

Dumb, right? I mean, I knew that it wouldn't be bad. After a shot of Novocain, I'd be fine. Except, of course, I didn't trust my dentist about that. When she tested my tooth to see if the nerve was dead, she threw a few jolts of electrisity through my top four teeth, one at a time. "You'll feel a tingle," she said. Uh huh. We have VERY different definitions of "tingle." See if you can guess which one is mine and which is hers:

(A) Tingle: A buzzing sensation, sometimes a pleasant one
(B) Tingle: A curl-your-hair-and-hit-the-ceiling-screaming sensation

Anyway, I made it to the root canal appointment. And I bawled like a baby for a good chunk of it. I cried so hard that my body shook. The assistant and the dentist both tried to reassure me, but I still leaked tears during most of the procedure. The only reason why I didn't scream out of fright was due to the metal vice holding my mouth open.

No, it wasn't bad. I didn't die. And after the Novocain kicked in, I only felt pressure in the area. The worst part was waiting for the pain to start.

Er, no. The worst part was when the dentist, about to apply a disinfectant (because my nerve had been dead for so long that there was an infection), said to me: "This may burn."

Uh huh. And I may piss my pants while reclining in the chair.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Our House In the Middle of Our Street"

It's Madness, all right. We're officially on the market and looking to sell our house. The joy of selling has begun. Can't wait for the insanity known as "packing up all your crap and shlepping it with you."

Jackie's Submission Update
Got a lightning-fast personalized rejection from an agent on Book One. When I say "fast," I ain't kidding. He got the requested partial yesterday morning and emailed me yesterday afternoon. He was very complimentary, saying that it was "certainly well-written." (WOOT!) Unfortunately, it felt "too familiar," and he cited the book it reminded him of. Fair enough, although I, personally, hated the book he mentioned--couldn't bring myself to read more than a few chapters of it before I chucked it across the room. He closed the email by giving me an eye-opening suggestion. This was not only very helpful but also damned nice of him, especially given that he rejected the partial. Take it from me, Writers At Large: there are awesome agents out there.

Also got a short story (flash fiction, really) rejected after about a week. Off to find another flash-fiction market...

A huge GOOD LUCK to Nadia Cornier as she launces her new agency, Firebrand Literary!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Never Say Goodbye

So I was all set to put Book One in the virtual drawer. After sixteen years, too many iterations to count, and a truckload of agent rejections on the partial and full, I was finally ready to kiss Book One goodbye, perhaps to be revisited in a year or so.

Just as I made this decision, an agent requested the first fifty pages.

God is either testing me or rooting for me. I'll assume it's the latter. The partial goes out tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I'm 9,400 words into Book Three, a magical chick-lit novel. My laughable goal is to finish the first draft by October 31. Yeah, this year. Let's see, that gives me ((counts)) 60 days to crank out just over 70,000 words.

Bets, anyone?