In honor of “Weed Appreciation Day,” I’d like to talk about clover. As a child, I loved the patches of clover that grew in my parents’ front yard. I taught myself to make chains of the long-stemmed clover flowers and spent many hours searching the patches in hopes of finding a lucky four-lobed leaf. (Though I never did spot one.) The clover leaves felt soft and cool underfoot in the heat of summer, and the blossoms had no fragrance but they bobbed like little white puffballs in the breeze. Never once did I realize people considered clover a weed andRead more
Month: March 2013
Author Estate Planning: Who Will You Trust?
Last week’s post talked a little about wills in the author estate plan. Today, we’ll look at the second common estate planning device: the trust. In many places, having a trust allows your estate to bypass probate. This, in turn, usually means a shorter administration period and lower costs. Trusts also allow for greater flexibility in distribution of the author’s assets, including intellectual property rights like copyright. Unlike a will, which can often be written without the assistance of counsel, trusts generally require an attorney’s aid. However, the extra cost of drafting a trust is usually more than offset byRead more
Little Fish, Big Fish ….
Every little fish…. Grows up to become a big fish …. And sometimes a younger fish has to help an older fish out for a little while. Such is the situation with me this week. Try not to be crabby that I’m gone.Read more
An Interview with Tracy Grant
Please welcome Tracy Grant, author of the new historical mystery THE PARIS AFFAIR (Kensington, March 26, 2013) Teresa (Tracy) Grant studied British history at Stanford University and received the Firestone Award for Excellence in Research for her honors thesis on shifting conceptions of honor in late fifteenth century England. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with her young daughter and three cats, and is on the board of the Merola Opera Program, a professional training program for opera singers, pianists, and stage directors. Her real life heroine is her daughter Mélanie, who is very cooperative about Mummy’s writing. Tracy is currentlyRead more
Have You Ever Worn Hakama?
Hakama are traditional Japanese pleated pants worn over kimono or under a tunic or surcoat. Traditionally, only men wore hakama, though in the modern era people of either gender can wear them. Hakama aren’t exactly “pants,” because only one of the two varieties of hakama has divided legs (the other essentially resembles a pleated skirt). Still, “pants” provides the closest accurate analogue in terms of Western styles and sensibilities. In medieval Japan, hakama were made of silk or cotton, usually solid-colored though sometimes with a pattern (often stripes). Striped hakama were usually worn with more formal kimono, though hakama could alsoRead more
Will you? Or Will you Not?
Our series on estate planning continues today with a brief discussion of wills. As we mentioned last week, authors who have no written estate plan will find their estates (and their copyrighted works) subjected to the laws of the state (or country) where the author resided at the time of his or her death. Generally speaking, the government is not the best candidate to design your estate plan. Which means you need to do it yourself. In most states (and countries), the estate planning choices are wills and trusts. (We’ll look trusts next week.) A will (or a “testament”) is aRead more
These Aren’t the Fish You’re Looking for….(Part 1)
I set up my aquarium for seahorses, but it isn’t Cygnus, or Ceti, or even Ghillie, who ended up hogging the spotlight. Instead, the tank’s biggest star is a fish I almost didn’t acquire at all, and who nearly forced me take him back to the fish store. Our watchman goby, Emperor Maximus Angryfish, has easily as much personality as anything else in the tank. His constant glare never fails to make me smile. His photos garner the most attention – on Twitter, on Facebook, and on this blog – despite the fact that I’m sure he would thoroughly disapproveRead more
That was awkward … but this doesn’t have to be.
In honor of “Awkward Moments Day” (March 18, 2013) I thought I’d mention an awkward moment all authors should strive to avoid: The moment when a prospective publisher looks at your Internet presence and asks “What on earth was (s)he thinking?” Because they look. Before they sign you. And while I can’t guarantee that an author’s awkward, offensive, or overly whiny presence will make the difference between an absolute yes and a maybe, it can absolutely transform a maybe into a no. So … how to avoid turning off a publisher (or a reader)? 1. Talk about other subjects moreRead more
Mempo: Mask of the Samurai
Medieval Japanese armor featured a number of masks and face guards, each of which had a different name and style. To a certain extent, all Japanese armored masks were designed for two purposes: first, to protect the wearer’s face in combat and, second, to terrify or intimidate the viewer. The mempo (or menpo) -style mask covered teh wearer’s face from nose to chin, and often featured a scowling mouth and a mustache (with or without a beard, and frequently made from real hair or bristles). The second mask from the top is menpo or mempo style. Samurai wore masks madeRead more
An Open Letter for You … and also for Me
This letter is for everyone who likes my book – and also for those who might not. Thank you for reading it. Thank you for spending hours of your life with a ninja detective, a Jesuit priest, a weapons dealer, a crotchety maid, and a kitten whose name I won’t tell you for most of the novel. I wanted to thank you here because I won’t be responding to any reviews in public. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I do. In fact – and this may surprise you – if you read my book, I appreciate you, whetherRead more