Friday, March 20, 2009

More Interesting Links

Hmm, here it is Friday again and I haven't posted anything. Luckily, I've been collecting another group of interesting links and the list is getting pretty long.


A couple of the Twitter folks I follow linked to this. I usually go with pandora radio, but this is cool too.


From a friend of mine

Random House's version of Baen's Free Library


Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner on word counts:

Literary Agent Janet Reid on what to skip in fiction queries:

And another from Janet Reid regarding being prepared:

A breakdown of the important cues in #queryfail, a Twitter event where agents pointed out what made them reject queries

Linked by Literary Agent Colleen Lindsay (read a lot of agent blogs? Who me???) about the economics of beginning agents:

Amusing response to the #queryfail Twitter event:

Literary Agent Kate Schafer Testerman live blogging her query pile:

And a prime example of why it's important to do your research and know the proper way to do things:

And for a change of pace, Guy Gavriel Kay's thoughts on blogging for authors:


The Noble's pygmy frog is the tiniest frog species known in the Andes

This belonged somewhere between Writing and Science but...Paleopathology: Injuries & Abnormalities (images):

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


pedestrian \puh-DES-tree-uhn\, noun, adjective:

1. a person who gets about on foot; walker
2. going on foot; walking
3. without imagination; dull

I got the above in my email from's Word of the Day this morning, and the third entry struck me as odd. What does it say about our culture as reflected in our language that self-locomotion is something to be scorned?

When my boys were younger, we used to walk for exercise, to get out, to experience the world, and to talk without distraction. We had wonderful conversations about life, the universe, and everything; we played imagination games as we stalked the deadly Stopasaurus but failed to find anything but the occasional octagonal red prints; and the boys helped me brainstorm my stories, introducing interesting elements or just getting me to think things through.

Pedestrian? Well yes, except for when one of them was in a stroller.

But pedestrian? I can't imagine a description less adequate or more inappropriate than "without imagination; dull." To this day, I remember those times fondly and miss them.

Since moving to Nevada, I have taken up walking again, by myself or with my husband this time as my boys are too busy with their own lives.

As I walk, responsible for nothing but putting one foot in front of the other, I work out story problems, get past programming limitations, muse on my world, and sing along to my MP3 player. And that's not even considering the natural beauty all around me with ducks of more varieties than I knew existed, the ever-present (though migratory ;)) Canada Geese, the two herons who are never seen together, the swooping hawks, occasional eagles, and numerous smaller birds, including the laughable hat bob on the heads of quail.

So then I go to Online Etymology Dictionary ( and find this:

pedestrian (adj.)
1716, "prosaic, dull" (of writing), from L. pedester (gen. pedestris) "plain, prosaic" (sense contrasted with equester "on horseback"), from pedes "one who goes on foot," from pes (gen. pedis) "foot" (see foot). Meaning "going on foot" is first attested 1791 in Eng. (it was also a sense of L. pedester). The noun meaning "walker" is 1793, from the adj.

If I'm reading this correctly, the dull meaning, though contrasted with on horseback, predates the walking meaning by some 70+ years. I'd be willing to concede the physical act of walking, the putting one foot in front of the other, has little to recommend it compared to a wild charge across a desert valley on horseback, but I'd question whether a walking pace on a horse would be any more thrilling, any less...umm...pedestrian :).

And if all you're doing when walking is the physical act, might I suggest you're missing a grand opportunity. Now I would not go so far as to recommend my older sister's practice of crossing busy streets with her head in a book, but there's a lot of things you can do when walking that are not recommended for other modes of locomotion. No one is going to pass a "no walking on the cell phone" ban, nor is arguing with a friend (friendly discussion now! ;)) as likely to result in a potentially serious accident.

With all this talk of the pedestrian act, I think I'll leave you now to go out into the sunshine I can see through the window. Perhaps today I will actually catch the two herons at once. It hasn't happened in over two years, but I keep looking while committing a pedestrian act.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Interesting Links

Maybe I'll make this a Friday tradition, a once a month tradition, or maybe never again, but I started collecting some links I thought you all would find interesting. They cover writing, science and free books.


Peter Cox on why not to POD your submission manuscript.

Dame Kaz on finishing what you start.

Colleen Lindsay on book lengths.

Janet Reid on the fallability of rejections (or why not to give up when you're rejected).

Linnea Sinclair on Point of View.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity (Note: This is a video and it auto starts so check your volume)

Science and Tech
The gene for new teeth discovered (Imagine replacing damaged teeth with new real ones!)

Asteroid passed close to the Earth...close on a cosmic scale at least.

A chance for a free book each week: