I’ve been like a magpie lately, with ideas all over the place.

I’ve got a project in mind, and have been working on it in bits and pieces all over the place.

A friend of mine has been pushing me to work on it, and she’s right; it’s a story that a LOT of fun to write, and I’m enjoying it.

But then I had another idea for a related story line. So I also started working on that.

And then another idea to continue to work on the current novel project, which is WAY fun to mess with, but I have some big plot questions to answer in my own head before I get too far on it.

And then I got an email from a friend, asking if I had any holiday-themed stories. (I don’t.) But I’m now more than 500 words into a new story, tentatively called “A Demon For Christmas.”

I’ve said it before. Ideas are not the problem. For me, right now, I have the attention span of a squirrel on Mountain Dew.

I just need to find a way to channel that magpie instinct in a positive, constructive, way, just like Hammy.


Curiouser and Curiouser…

Yesterday I saw a report that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books will be available for sale as ebooks through the new Pottermore website, which is scheduled to launch on July 31, 2011.

That’s news, because Rowling never sold the ebook rights to her books, and they’ve never been officially available as ebooks (though there were some illegal copies floating around, I’m sure).

What’s the big deal? Well, on its face, it appears that one of the biggest selling authors, well, ever, has decided to self electronically publish (epub as some call it in shorthand) her books.

Booksellers don’t seem too happy about the development. They were, after all, the ones who sold millions of copies of the print versions of the book. This means that they won’t get any of the profits in selling the ebooks, right or wrong.

It occurred to me, however, that books like the Harry Potter series could encourage more sales of ereader platforms, such as Kindle, Nook, iPad, or Sony Reader. After all, the sales of the Harry Potter books brought more people into bookstores and interested more new readers than many other books over the last decades. It stands to reason that their sudden availability could finally topple those sitting on the fence of whether or not to buy an ereader device squarely into the buying category. Booksellers like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, might actually make out okay; booksellers without their own device might not, because of the lost profits with regard to what they might have made online with traditionally published ebooks. That’s not an argument for a million and one new and different ereader devices to come out, by the way. It’s just something that I had thought of when I read the article I linked to above.

On the other hand, I’m intrigued. There’s been a lot out there about epub. I’ve been watching it all very closely, and I have friends, both published and not, also watching it closely.

Between the recent moves of Barry Eisler and J.A. Konrath into self epub, as well as the moves of Amanda Hocking moving from self epub into traditional publishing, the future of the industry is definitely changing.

I’m definitely watching, although I’ve made no decisions and no permanent choices with regard to when, if, or what, I might consider following down this rabbit hole. And if I did follow it…is it a wise choice to make, a major gamble, or is it blind trust…like Alice and the Drink Me bottle as she went to Wonderland? I don’t know. I’m pretty cautious by nature. I’m watching and waiting to see how some of this shakes out.


My Long Hiatus

Well, I kinda fell off the face of the earth lately.

Many of you probably already know…and I posted here a while ago…the news that I was being laid off from my job as an assistant prosecutor.

Most probably don’t know that I’ve landed a job as Champaign County, Ohio’s child support enforcement attorney.

I’m just past my first week at the new job, and I’m very much enjoying it. I’ve got a lot of friends at the new office, and am also enjoying the challenge of learning something new.

I didn’t post a lot about the layoff. Yes, I’ve got a lot of thoughts about how all of that happened. No, I’m not going to share much of that.

You see, there’s quite of few people out there who have stated, quite bluntly, that if anyone deserved to have an opinion on all of the state and local budget issues and what’s behind it all, that I deserved to have such an opinion. I don’t disagree with them. I deserve to have an opinion. And I have the right to share it, if I wish. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to do so.

Many of my close friends and family members have heard my thoughts about what happened, and I’ve been very careful about what I’ve said. Why?

Well, no matter what I thought, or felt, I was still looking for a new job. Showing my snarky side on the internet just isn’t a good idea when one is looking for a new position.

Second of all, my boss at the old job didn’t want to lay me off. He did everything he could to prevent it from hurting me, going so far as to tell me privately, explaining all of the budget numbers to me, as well as to the whole office, making it clear to the entire community that it had nothing to do with my job performance, and giving me a glowing recommendation during my job search. I can’t thank him enough for all of his support. My point? He doesn’t deserve to have me go off like a cracked out jackass on the internet about the issues. Those issues weren’t anything that he could change (and I think he actually tried everything he could). Obviously, no one was happy with the decision, but it’s hard to argue with the numbers…there was an Addie-shaped hole in his office budget…when you added up my salary and benefits (which don’t add up to much, but in a small office taking a big budget hit, it is a lot) and compared them to the budget cuts the office was facing. I also know the rationale behind me being the one cut. I can’t disagree, when looking at it dispassionately. That’s hard to do, but it is the truth.

I’ve had my ups, and my downs, and my stressed out moments in the last month or so in dealing with this. I’ve done very little writing as I tried to wind down the old job, gear up for the new job, pack up the office at the old place, and get the house ready for the already-planned office cookout at my place.

Oh…and my brother moved out of my house, I put in the garden I’d been planning for two years, and finally unpacked many of the boxes that I still hadn’t unpacked from moving two years ago.

In other words…my plate was a bit full. I made a comment to a friend a couple of weeks ago that I don’t ever remember being that stressed out. In fact, I said that hadn’t been that stressed when I took the bar exam…and that’s saying something because I was a walking stress-ball when I went through that.

I know that some people began worrying about me, because I became a little bit of a hermit. I also joked that I had gone from frugal to flat-out cheap. I wasn’t going anywhere on my free days because I was refusing to spend money on gas for my car. I downgraded the cat to cheaper food (not easy to do with her food allergies, but I think I found something that’s working). I negotiated changes on my cell phone bill, my cable bill, and slashed everything I felt that I could. I stopped going out to lunch, or eating out, well, ever. I also cut other things out of my budget wherever I could. I probably could have gotten out more, but I had to deal with what was going on, and I needed to be in control of the thing I was worried the most about…the ability to pay the bills and not lose my mind.

The good news is that I have landed a job with a similar salary and benefits. I’m going to be fine.

I had even dropped out of going to writer’s group meetings for a while, in the interest of saving money. Both groups I belong to involve driving out of the town I live in, and one of them meets over dinner at different restaurants every week. Yesterday I went back to a writer’s meeting, and got a lot of encouragement and support from the other writers in the group. It felt good, being back.

So, here I am. I’m getting back into the swing of things. I’m keeping my trap shut here about my feelings with regard to current policies setting budgets on a federal, state, or local level.

So why do I bring it up at all? As an example of both having the right to remain silent, and being blessed with the capacity to do so. There are quite a few people out there who lack that capacity, even in the face of discretion being the right way to go.

I’m under no delusions that this blog has a huge reach. It’s getting bigger all the time, but I have no pretensions to that effect. That being said, I do believe that a lot of people forget sometimes to be careful of themselves online. While I’m a big believer in the idea of freedom of speech, I’m also a believer in wisdom of silence. There are times that keeping one’s trap shut is a bad idea. There are times when discretion really is the right way to go. This is a time that falls in the latter category.

On another note, I have been spending some time doing research on some new writing projects. I’ve got some cool new ideas under my hat. Now that I’m firmly into the new job and a lot of the stress is draining away, I’ll be back on the internet and back into the writing routine more often than I have been lately.