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Mandy DeGeit Punches Back

May 14th was an interesting day for authors new and old.  An aspiring writer from Canada named Mandy DeGeit snared a spot in an anthology.  Getting one of your works published in an anthology is a big deal.  It’s a bigger deal when it’s your first published work.  It’s akin to having a kid; you beam, you’re proud and you feel ten feet tall and bulletproof. 

How terrifying then, to discover that the ‘editor’ not only spelled the name of your story incorrectly, but changed it.  (Note: editing doesn’t involve that ever.)  Disfigured it somehow, pissed on it like a drunken yard cat and essentially abused your kid.  What do you do?

Mandy wrote to the publisher head of Undead Press (I won’t link to those pricks) with a very legitimate gripe, to which she was effectively told “too bad” and was even lightly threatened with legal action.  The following is taken from Mandy’s blog.  Keep in mind when you read this is that this isa response from the fucking publisher…it has not, according to Mandy been edited in any way except that it is in italics.

“wow, i truly cant believe that e,mail. you go girl. this one one hell of a story about dealing with unstable writers

lets see.
on the contract, it clearly says publisher has the right to EDIT work. you signed it. are you saying you are a dishonest and immoral person and will now try to deny you signed the contract? well i have a copy right here
and as for the story. the editor had a hard time with it, it was very rough and he did alot to make it readable. despite what you think, your writing has a long way to go before its worthy of being printed professionally.
we did what we had to do to make the story printable. you should be thankful, not complaining. ah, the ungrateful writer, gotta love it
the contract also says any disagreements you have about the contract must be filed legally in Massachusetts and when you lose, you must pay all court costs.
so, we are done here. any more correspondences from you must be from your lawyer. i will then send any of those letters to my lawyer and they can hash it out as i dont waste my time arguing with writers over legalities. thats what lawyers are for.
you are so funny. thanks for this email, it truly made my day.” 

Wow.  What a tremendous douche bag

So, what to do next?  Your publisher insults you and because they were nice enough to publish your story, tell you to go fuck yourself effectively punching you where you live, what could you do?

What Mandy did was to write about it rather eloquently on her web site.

POW!

In a span of no time, Mandy DeGeit went from disgruntled author to a poster author in the relatively small universe of writers trying to carve out a name and a career for themselves. 

And yay to that says this writer.

I read her blog after it had been ‘shared’ on Facebook by author friends of mine and by none other than F Paul Wilson, I did the same thing and shared it as well.  One of my publishers sent it out and if you look carefully at the comments section of her blog, you’ll see that it was spread around by the likes of Neil Gaiman and Warren Murphy.  (Trust me, if Warren Murphy thinks you’re a tool, you indeed are a tool.)

I’ve been fortunate in having worked with great publishers in my writing career and I can only imagine that Mandy will be able to say that as well on her next published works.  Still, if you’re going to have a bad experience, you could do a lot worse than get universal support from authors both big and small from all over the place.

Big thumbs up to you, Mandy.  That took a lot of spine to do and frankly, some other writers might have actually taken that shit from a lousy publisher.

On a side note and this is directed at Mandy if she reads this; there is potential for a Café Press T-shirt.  It’s wordy, but I think it works.

On the front, a picture of you, grinning wildly.

On the back, it says “More People Have Read My Blog than the Entire Undead Press Library of Books.”

You can have that one-that’s yours. 

Just send me a shirt.

NWP

 

The Greatest Moment in Film. Ever…

(This is a reposting of one of the essays from the old version of the site.  I believed in it then, and I still do.  If you’ve seen the movie in question, you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t…get to it!  You can watch it streaming on Netflix.)

          I’m going to tell you about the greatest moment in film.  Ever.

I’m not kidding.  I’m actually writing about what can only be considered as perhaps the singular greatest visual piece of flat out art ever put to film.  It wasn’t scripted and I’m pretty sure it was an accident, but it is sheer genius.

            It is an Italian film of some minor note, directed by the late Lucio Fulci.  It has gone through several title changes; “The City of the Living Dead,” and “The Gates of Hell” being two of them that you may have the most luck should you chose to seek this film out (and you god damn should.)

            It is a zombie film.  That’s first in my set up here.  You must be very aware of that before watching this.  The big clue will be when several people die and come back as odd kinky looking zombies.  The special effects tread between brilliant and 5th grade-sometimes in the very same scene.

            I will not divulge any of the details of the plot other than a suicidal priest has caused the dead to rise up and seriously fuck shit up somewhere in upstate New York.  A psychic faints and apparently dies when the aforementioned priest hangs himself, causing the Fracas of the Dead.  (Don’t steal that-it’s mine!)  Being New York City in the 70’s, of course they pop her in a coffin without even embalming her.  Before she can be buried, the clock strikes 5PM and of course, the two union gravediggers leave their shovels and stop lowering the coffin.  Because it’s time to go home and fuck overtime.

            A reporter hears the girl wake up, screaming inside of the casket.  He does what any chain smoking reporter would do and tries to break the coffin open with a pickaxe.  Repeatedly.  Right up by the girls screaming face.

She's so happy to be saved!

          That is not the scene.

          No, as awesome as that scene is, it’s got nothing on THE scene.

          About three quarters into the movie, another girl (read; future victim) is painting quietly in her studio.  It’s a nice looking studio with a bay window to the ocean.  It’s a really nice looking studio and the girl, vaguely pretty, is concentrating on her next masterpiece.  The phone rings and she answers it.  The dialogue is unimportant as the camera swivels and exposes her “work.”

          The “painting” is a pretty ocean beach scene, which of course makes sense as she can look out of the window and hey, there’s a beach!  Let’s ignore the fact that it’s night during the scene, and think “Well, maybe she’s been working on it since the afternoon.”

          Hovering over the beach however is something that made me stop the movie for about five minutes.  It’s a head.  No body, just a head.  The head of a fucking rhinoceros.    Seriously.  It looks like one of those things you had to draw to get into that correspondence school in the back of your TV guide in the mid 70’s.  You know, either a pirate, a happy frog or a fucking rhino head?

Yeah, just like these...

          At this point, I’m totally distracted for the rest of the scene and subsequently, the entire rest of the film.  Who the fuck has that running around their head, begging the artist to bring it to canvas?  Where does this come from?  Even better, as the scene progresses and the camera changes angle, you see for a fleeting moment, that right in front of the window facing the ocean, there is a rather large model of a fucking rhino head on a stand.

          It’s brilliant.  It’s a goddamn movie in a movie as far as I’m concerned.  It’s as if the art department and the set designer had an argument and this was the compromise.

          “But,  what am I supposed to do with this rhino head?”

          “It’s not going on my fucking set!”

          “Well, she has to be painting something for Christ’s sake!”

          “Hmmm…good point.”

          I no longer cared about anything else that happened in the movie, even when the girl painting dies in a really stupid way a few minutes later.  Who is going to finish this amazing rhino head floating on the beach?  What’s the painting called?  “Floating Rhino Head Over Beach” is too obvious.  These are Italian filmmakers for crying out loud!  It’s probably something like “Bella Cosa Rinoceronte Amore Galleggiante,” or, beautiful rhinocerous floating love thing.   At least, that’s what I would call it.

          I wish every movie had a scene like this.  It made up for the amount of sucking that the rest of the movie had shot all over it.

          It’s hypnotic.

          It’s avant.

          It’s sheer genius.

          And boom, the greatest moment in film.