Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"No Thank You, We Don't Believe In Socialization!"

Home Educator's Family Times - No Thank You, We Don't Believe In Socialization!

couldn't resist posting the link to this truly excellent article on the socialization "issue" that homeschoolers are often questioned about.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dura Mater

Dura Mater

I can't find a way to link to a perma-link, but I thought this post entitled "Yikes" was worth putting up. (And, hey, I haven't written anything for the blog. Too busy playing with my profile over at MySpace. Yeah. It's addictive.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

I have taken the MySpace Plunge!

And the water is just fine.

Come visit me and be my friend :)


http://www.myspace.com/juliekenner

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Goofy Girl!

When we were in China, I discovered that Chenchen does "silly eyes." Rolling them up in the top of her head when she's in a goofy mood. It took a while, but soon she revealed "the eyes" to Catherine. Then, finally, later to Don. And now, she'll show them off to anyone when we ask. It's too cute!

here she is doing the silly eyes (the marks on her face are left-over kitty-face marks). Isn't she precious?









The mourning of the tube ...

Well, we're giving up TV for Lent.

Yikes.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Silly kitty!

Chenchen ADORES cats. She has approximately 7 million, two hundred and seventy-three stuffed cats (okay, maybe 8) and she adores each and every one.

But what she **really** loves is to be a kitty. Doesn't she make a great one?

Too Cool For School!

Catherine got her yellow belt today!!

The Joy Luck Club meets Sex and the City in this fresh, exhilarating Asian-American novel -- GCC Tour!


This week, I'm hosting CHINA DOLLS By Michelle Yu & Blossom Kan on the GCC Tour!

This book sounds fabulous, and I don't think I'm biased since I just got back from China with our little girl. Seriously, check this one out.

Here's some info about the book: With the traditions and family closeness of The Joy Luck Club and the sass, girl friendships and humor of Sex and the City, comes a novel about three Asian-American women balancing life, love and one another in New York City.

CHINA DOLLS [Thomas Dunne Books/ Pub date: FEB 8th, 2007] by Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan is based on personal experience and introduces three remarkable characters named M.J, Alex and Lin.

➢ M.J is a tomboyish sportswriter struggling to fit into her family’s traditional Chinese culture and the predominantly Caucasian male world of sports.
➢ Alex is a confident no-nonsense attorney fighting the submissive Asian woman stereotype and the fear of taking risks after a heartbreaking romance.
➢ Lin is the risk-taking stockbroker trying not to relive her mother's mistakes— that is until she falls for the office playboy.

Authentic, intelligent and funny, CHINA DOLLS explores how culture can affect one’s personal and professional lives. As if dating isn’t hard enough in New York City, these women have to balance the expectations of family and exceed expectations in the workplace, all while looking for Mr. Right. CHINA DOLLS embraces the fusion of these two cultures – a phenomenon that will grasp both
commercial and young Asian-American readers today.

Check out what others are saying:
“A fun tale that weaves together the journeys of three very different, yet deeply bonded, women in their search for love and professional fulfillment in the big city.”
—Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus, authors of The Nanny Diaries

“A smart, sassy saga that explores the bonds of female friendship and the
cultural ties between generations.”
—Emily Giffin, author of Baby Proof

“A resoundingly upbeat and fun read, following three great friends in New York City. The insights into Asian culture are simultaneously amusing and illuminating. A highly promising debut.”
—Kavita Daswani, author of For Matrimonial Purposes

“The Joy Luck Club meets Sex and the City—a fresh, dazzling debut
from two exciting new voices.”
—Beth Kendrick, author of Fashionably Late

“Yu and Kan's heroines are eminently likable, and their adventures in love
and on the job ring true.”
---Booklist

And read what the girls had to say in response to my questions:

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL „WRITING DAY‰?

I'm a night owl, so after I get home from the day job, I'll have dinner and
write until midnight. Michelle is an early bird though, so she usually wakes
up at 7 and writes before work.

DO YOU RECALL THE KERNEL OF INSPIRATION FOR THIS BOOK?

Michelle and I love reading chick lit, but we thought that there weren't any
that spoke to our particular experiences. We thought we could add something
a little different (a certain multicultural twist) to the genre - and that's
how it all started.

PICK A CHARACTER IN THE BOOK AND TELL US WHAT TRAIT YOU SHARE (OR COME
CLOSEST TO SHARING) WITH THAT CHARACTER.

Michelle shares a lot of the M.J. character's drive to achieve her
sportscasting dream. As for me, I like to think I share the Alex's
character's loyalty (even when it hurts) to her friends.

IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND, WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A MAGICAL TRUNK
THAT GAVE YOU LIMITLESS BOOKS TO READ, OR A LIMITLESS SUPPLY OF PAPER ON
WHICH TO WRITE?

I would rather have limitless books to read, and Michelle would rather have
a limitless supply of paper.

BEER OR WINE?

Beer for Michelle, wine for me.

CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?

Michelle and I are both pralines n' cream gals.

WHAT‚S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOK?

Michelle's all-time favorite book is Catcher in the Rye. I love anything by
Tennessee Williams - there's nothing I like more than messed up, alcoholic
characters.

Learn more here: http://www.chinadollsnovel.com/


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Little Doctors and Golden Pigs

We were out of the house for almost 9 hours today! And the kids still managed to be on good behavior. Amazing!

The day started with daddy making waffles (yay!) and then mass, during which the kids behaved incredibly well (yay!). We hit lunch after and then headed on to The Children's Hospital for the Skippy Pre-Op program. Skippy is the kangaroo mascot of the children's hospital at Brackenridge in Austin, and I am incredibly impressed by the facility and by the care taken to make these kids comfortable. The tour started with the coordinator and assistants taking all the kids and parents into a room with a doll dressed in scrubs. We all got a tub of goodies -- stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, air mask, oxygen mask. The guide explained what everything did and the kids got to play with all the stuff. Then we are all given the scrubs, shoe covers, mask, and hair cover. Yes, even mom and dad! After that, the tour began.

Here we are all. Don't we look medical?



Chenchen's surgery is scheduled for March 2, and from what I could tell, we were the only family in the group with an overnight (possibly 2 night) procedure. So I had lots of questions (yes, there is a shower in her room! yay! I don't do well with grunge ... unless I'm on a book deadline).

The tour took us first to the Panda area where we'll meet with the nurses, docs and support staff for the checking of vitals, etc. There were all sorts of toys around and CC so wanted to play on them RIGHT THEN. After a bit of time there, they took us to The Doors -- the place at which the kiddo parts from the parents. This is the one part that I could have been happier with. I know some hospitals give kids "sleepy juice" so that it's not so brutal when mom and dad go away. Here, though, no. But the folks assured us that it usually goes well, with the kids riding a trike or something. Fingers crossed!!!! We leave a lovey so that as she's coming out of the anesthesia, she'll have her stuffed kitty with her. And they swear that the second she starts to wake, they come and get the parents.

We went into the surgical room, and they showed on a stuffed kid-sized doll how the mask goes on (they get to choose the "flavor" of the gas) and the kiddo falls asleep. They stressed that they don't wake until the doctors say so, so that the kids don't "feel anything." I think it was that part that concerned Catherine. She pulled daddy aside and told him that she was scared for Chenchen. She's so sweet, and loves her sister so much, and she's old enough to understand ... but not fully. We had a long talk tonight and I told her about my surgeries (5! Yeesh!) and that I even had one surgery when I was CC's age. I think that helped a little. She understands the why, but it's hard not to be scared. Goodness knows I'm a bit scared, too. But at least I've got years and experience to temper that against. Hard when you're 5. And CC, bless her, doesn't get it at all yet.

After the surgery room, we went to the "wake up" room, at which point we gave back the scrubs (but got to keep the rest). CC kept patting the gurneys, and was fascinated by the IV tube, so I'm hoping these are all good signs. I guess we'll know when we know.

Please keep the good thoughts coming!

Here's another pic of Doctor Catherine and Doctor Isabella



After the hospital, we finished up with Chinese New Year at a local asian market. I cannot believe I forgot to take pictures! The kids got their faces painted and got many balloons (I must remember to post yesterday's balloon story). And we ate good food and saw a really cool martial arts exhibit! Catherine was so excited because she's in the Black Belt Club now (which means she's working toward it, not that she has it.) Tomorrow, she tests for her yellow belt. I think I posted this pic already, but here she is right after she got her half-step up orange:



And then home, where don and I vegged with an episode from Buffy Season 6 (**not** a stellar season, at least not yet) once the kids were in bed.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR



It's the Year of the Pig, and we're off to celebrate at a local festival. Fun!

My Netflix Envelopes

Currently by my television from Netflix:


As Time Goes By (season 4),








and Stick It (which my husband refuses to watch with me, but I think looks like a hoot!)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wiki Wiki Me!

Julie Kenner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I am such a geek. I just found out that I have a wikipedia entry. Totally made my night!

Vote on this cool trailer!

A friend of mine entered this clip in The Lot, where they compete to win a deal. I just watched it and love it!

If you do, too, please rate it high (you have to log in, but it's painless) and pass this bulletin on to your friends!

Here's the link: http://films.thelot.com/films/2070

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Surgery Coming! Please send good thoughts!

We're scheduled for surgery for my 3yo on March 2 to repair her cleft palate. This week we learned from the ENT that she **won't** need tubes in her ears, which is rare with cleft kids. I'm happy! The less they do while she's under, the happier I am.

Obviously, she'll get bumped if she gets sick, so good wishes are most appreciated. For health and for patience after the surgery (hers and mine). She's still not fluent in English (it's not even been 4 months since we got back from China) and I'm certain that she will be a very unhappy camper with the soft food and arm restraings for two fricking weeks. And the skips and gulfs in communication won't help.

Monday is the pre-op appt with the plastic surgeon and the appointment to have her blood work done. THAT will be fun. (not)

Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

I have a conference call scheduled tomorrow about a project that would be So Much Fun! Can't say what it is yet, but keep your fingers crossed that all the Ts that need to be crossed and the Is that need to be dotted get the proper treatment. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Check out my new release!




Hard to believe it's been 7 years! My very first book hit shelves in February of 2000, and it's just been re-released, with a brand new cover (it's my current profile image).

If you missed it before, I hope you'll check it out now. Here's the back cover copy:

For author Paris Sommers, truth has become stranger than fiction. she's fallen in love with a man who exists only in her mind—a man she invented as a pseudonym for the fast-paced, testosterone-laden spy novels she writes. Now the man of her dreams is standing beside her, touching her, loving her.— But who is he?

Bar owner Devin O'Malley wanted Paris the first moment he saw her. And he was willing to do just about anything to get her—including becoming novelist Montgomery Alexander, but his deception worked too well. Before long, he'd stolen his way into Paris's bed and into her heart. Was she in love with Devin—or the fantasy he portrayed?


CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Trademarks & Defamation

Continuing from the Copyright Article posted a few days ago, here's a discussion of trademark and defamation as it applies to novelists. Again, note that I originally wrote this in the year 2000. It is not intended as legal advice, but is merely a very brief overview or certain issues.


TRADEMARKS

What Could This Have To Do With Writing Novels? Good question. And the answer is "not much." Unless you decide to turn yourself into your own publishing company, as a writer, you probably won't be dealing with a trademark. But where trademarks can enter your writing is when you have your heroine xeroxing the secret formula, or your hero rollerblading on the veloway. By using a trademark in that manner, you've just weakened the trademarks held by Xerox® and Rollerblade®. Those companies would prefer your heroine photocopy the documents, and your hero in-line skate.

Instinctively, you might think that the company would be flattered, but legally it's a huge problem for these companies. A mark can become so prevalent that it becomes "generic." And, once a mark is generic, it's no longer a trademark, and anyone can use it. "Aspirin," "murphy bed," and "cellophane" are all trademarks that became generic and are now freely available for use. So the mark owners want you to either use the descriptive work or the trade name with the descriptive word (i.e., photocopy or Kleenex tissue) or include the ® symbol after you use a trademark in your writing (the ® is for trademarks registered with the trademark office and the TM simply means that the mark is considered a trademark (but isn't registered). You probably want to write the way people talk. And your publisher will have a house style (often capitalization of a trademark). Ultimately, the publisher's style will resolve the "can I use this mark this way" question for the author.

DEFAMATION

What Is Defamation? Defamation generally means a false statement about someone (our plaintiff) that injures his or her reputation. It falls into two categories: libel (written defamation) and slander (spoken defamation). Because of free speech implications, there are various standards below which the defendant's conduct must fall in order for the defendant to be held liable. Which standard applies depends on the type of plaintiff, the topic, and the state (since most libel issues are determined by state law).

Huh? For example, the Supreme Court has said that if the plaintiff is a "public figure," then he must prove that the defendant made the statement with knowledge that it was false, or with a reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statement. That's a pretty high standard, and the reason goes back to the First Amendment. A person can be a general public figure, or a public figure for a limited purpose. Your average Joe, however, not involved in anything of pubic interest, only has to prove a minimal amount of fault before he can recover for defamation. Each state can set what that level of fault is (and could theoretically set it at the same high level as for public figures). Most states say mere negligence is a sufficient basis for liability.

But What If I'm Just Writing Fiction? For the most part, the law of defamation is something you should be aware of if you are writing non-fiction, since that is the most likely scenario under which you will be discussing real people in your written work. However, it is conceivable that you will use real people in works of fiction. Perhaps your characters appear on the Jerry Springer show. Don't defame Jerry, even if you don't refer to him by name. Or perhaps you attended a session with a psychologist who conducts group therapy in the nude, and decide to use that incident as a basis for your novel. If you only thinly disguise the psychologist, and include false information, you may be subjecting yourself to a defamation suit. That is what happened in a 1980 California case. The California court said that the issue wasn't whether the work was fiction, but whether a reasonable person reading the book would understand that the fictional character was, in fact, the plaintiff, acting as described. Because publication to only one person other than the plaintiff and defendant is sufficient to support a claim for libel, it wouldn't matter if only one reader clued in that the plaintiff formed the basis for the "character."

OVERVIEW

Obviously, there are a lot of scenarios involving legal issues that can arise while you're writing a book. In addition to the topics in this article, you may be faced with concerns about privacy or similar topics. This article is in no way comprehensive, nor is it intended as legal advice, either generally or with regard to specific works. If you think you may have a legal issue, the best thing you can do is consult a lawyer. If cost is your concern, contact the local or state bar association. It may be able to refer you to a lawyer who does low or no-fee work for artists and writers.

This article was written in the year 2000. Please note that it does not constitute legal advice.

Temptation's Child

I'm doing something new with my website ... moving a lot of the fun little extras to my blog. And although I'm not moving some things (old, out of date) this one just had to come, too.

This is a cover that my wonderful editor at Harlequin, Brenda Chin, had the art department make for me when I was pregnant with Catherine. She gave it to me in 2001 at the RWA conference just a few months before Catherine was born. She and several of the Temptresses (other Temptation authors) had thrown me a baby shower.

Note the author's name ... and the fact that the guy looks like my dh ... if my dh were a cover model!

Needless to say, with such a cool present, such cool friends, and my raging hormones, I was a blubbery mess!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my job and the writing community? Well, I do!

Ghouls ... and more Ghoul's!

Found another cover for THE GOOD GHOUL'S GUIDE TO GETTING EVEN online. How funny that I never saw this version!



Here's the true cover (I'm sure it's the right one because the style matches the cover for the sequel. Just in case, though, I'm double-checking with my editor!).



For the record! I like the "real" one the best!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Update on Hui!

I received this from the Love Without Boundaries Cleft Surgery Coordinator!

I have an update on the surgery with photos for Hui from Jiangsu Province. AFter his surgery on the 17th of January, he was dismissed from the hospital on February 3 and then we got the attached photos. He is so precious! I love the hairdo. His repair is looking very good and I'm sure will continue to improve. Thank you so much for helping this little boy have a transformation!


Here are the pics. Isn't he precious?


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

College Entrance Essay?

College Entrance Essay?

No idea if this was truly submitted as someone's entrance essay, but I ran across it before, and it's such a hoot I had to share.

Favorite line: "The laws of physics do not apply to me."

Not really a brush with fame, but ...

My wonderful friend and critique partner Dee Davis is on Letterman tonight ... well, she's in the audience, but, hey, it's the front row, and she and her husband were in a shot! Fun!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Me and Toby Keith ...

Okay, not really. But I'm trying to consolidate a lot of junk that's on my website onto this blog (I rarely update the website; it's such a pain with the FTP'ing and the, um, fact that the site is on the old, icky PC and not the shiny new Mac.) So I'm moving the links to some old interviews with me.

Thus, Toby. Or, as we say here, Chenchen's favorite song: Wanna Talk About Me:

Here's an old one from 2000, right after my first books came out! I didn't re-read it. Odds are good I sound dweebish!

RBL Romantica: SPOTLIGHT ON A JULIE KENNER

Ah, here's another early one from The Romance Reader.

Here's the bio from eHarlequin.com ... but don't send me mail at that addie. It's wrong! (I'm sending them a note!)

And, as if that weren't enough excitement for you, here is the last one I'm copying over from my website, from A Romance Review

Now, of course, I do sometimes fall prey to the evil that is "googling your own name," so I'll add more fascinatingly ego-centric tidbits as time goes by ...

Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

Wow. The problem of our graduates being less than competitive in math and science is not going to be solved by putting a calculator in their pockets, nor by avoiding the teaching of basic, solid algorithms. The TERC and Everyday Math methods are interesting, and any student who fully understands how numbers work should understand how to fashion those solutions. But first the student needs to understand -- math, that is. Not how to press buttons on a calculator. (And can I just say for the record how pleased I am that we're using Singapore ... even though even that method will require more drilling of math facts than is set out in the books.)

Just the coolest things ...

These sidewalk drawings by Julian Beever are the absolute ult, in my humble opinion.

I'm doing good if I can draw a line drawing of a kitty on a white board for my kids. He's out there making 3-D art on sidewalks.

Wow.

You can see a whole slew of sidewalk pics by Beever and Kurt Wenner at the Impact Lab site:

Here's my favorite, just as a preview:

Monday, February 5, 2007

Heard at our house

The husband to the eldest child: "Would you please stop smelling my eyeballs?"

Me and Angelina ... we're tight!

So, Isabella Chenchen has been doing great with her signs, and she's been using "Mama" and "Daddy" signs a lot, pointing to us, and using the sign.

This is all great stuff.

Today, I was on the couch reading the current issue of People, with Angelina Jolie on the cover. She points to AJ, then points to me. Then does it again. And then again for Don when he gets home (I should note that he did not jump immediately on the "my wife looks like angelina jolie bandwagon". harumph).

Nice to know the kid thinks so highly of me, but personally, I'm really not seeing it.


This is me (well, it IS me, even if it's a few years old):












And this is Angelina.













Judge for yourself, but personally, I'm wondering if we need to get the kid's eyes checked ...

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Another update on Nian!

I just received this from the Love Without Boundaries Medical Heart Coordinator:

Dear Sponsor:

We have checked on Nian, and the hospital has reported that he is doing well except that he is congested. They report that he requires extra care due to his unrepaired cleft so they are keeping him in ICU where they can keep a close watch on him.

I am attaching a photo of Nian taken in the hospital after surgery. What a sweet and tiny baby!

Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he recovers.

Thank YOU so much for helping Nian!


Here's his picture:




And thanks to everyone who participated in the fundraiser. I'm planning another one for later this year. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

First Seven Pages ...

The first seven pages of the new proposal just got the thumbs-up from the husband (and you can tell he's into the idea when he starts going over potential plot twists and threads). Yay!

Now fingers are crossed that the critique partners, agent, and editor love it, too!

(This is an exciting time in any story ... when you're just starting to get the idea on paper and the character is taking form and surprising you. Fun!)

Update on Nian!

I just received this update from the Medical Program Heart Coordinator forLove Without Boundaries:

Dear Sponsor:

We have received an update on Nian. He is still in ICU recovering. His breathing and circulation have now been stabilized. Although he can now breathe more steadily, he must still be watched carefully so they will keep him in ICU for one or two more days. He will probably remain in the hospital for 10-15 days once he moves to the regular ward to make sure that his recovery is successful.

We have asked if they can go ahead and do his cleft lip repair before he is discharged, but they have requested that we wait approximately 3 months before bringing him back to the hospital for this repair.

Please keep Nian in your thoughts and prayers as he recovers.

Thank YOU so much for helping him!

Pictures from Our Captivity

I really should have posted this days ago! As I blogged about back in January, we were socked in for quite a few days with ice. And even though I'm usually with the kids all day -- what with school and all -- the tenor of the house changes when it's forced capitivity (and, yes, when Daddy's here, too. Especially since Daddy's school was cancelled, so we cancelled school at home, too.)

At any rate, it gets wild and wacky in these here parts when we're iced in.

Here's some proof ...



And, of course, the ever popular Shove Stuffed Animals In Your Clothes game:











All in all, the girls did amazing trapped inside for about 5 days.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Booksigning next weekend!! "Mystery & Mayhem"

I'll be signing books next weekend at the Barnes & Noble (Arboretum) in Austin, Texas on Sunday, February 11, at 3:00 p.m.

Also signing will be Jo-Ann Power, Kit Frazier, and Jimmie Ruth Evans.

Join us for some mystery and mayhem!

Continually Updated List of Upcoming Appearances and Booksignings

Click Here to go to the "Julie's Appearances" section of the sidebar. All of my upcoming appearances, chats, booksignings and the like will be listed there!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Copyrights & Wrongs

This article isn't intended to be legal advice, but rather an intro to understanding the copyright laws you might trip over during your career. My goal, as both an author and a lawyer, is to prevent you from tripping altogether, or at least give you some info to help break the fall. (For serious questions, always consult an attorney.) {Note: At the time this article was written, I was working as an attorney full-time.}


Who Has a Copyright?

You do, so long as youve written something. Years ago, copyright protection required registration. That is no longer the case. Now, your work is immediately copyrighted the moment it comes into existence. While it is no longer necessary to include a copyright symbol (which I have no idea how to insert into a blog, but you know it: the circle with a c inside) there are a variety of reasons why it is still a good idea to include that symbol, your name and the date. For example, by doing so, you will be helping to refute a later claim by a copier that the infringement was innocent.


Why Bother Registering?
Why have you (or your publisher) been bothering with all those tedious copyright forms (and fees)? Because registration is a prerequisite to recovering certain damages if someone infringes your work. Without getting into too much detail, the general rule is that without registration, you can recover only actual damages (money that you can prove you lost because of the infringement). That can be hard to prove. But if youve promptly registered, and if you prove infringement, you are entitled to recover damages within certain limits set by statutewithout having to prove you actually lost a dime.


Do I Own the Copyright or Does My Publisher?
Copyrights are property and can be transferred just like your house or car. So its possible that someone else could own the copyright on something you wrote. Generally, however, you own the copyright, and you assign to a publisher a bundle of rights that fall under you copyright, such as North American rights, foreign rights, book club rights, etc. Also, if you are an employee and part of your job is to create written material, it is possible that your work falls within a particular category that makes it a work-for-hire, and your employer owns the copyright. Remember that you cannot orally transfer all of the bundle of rights that comprise copyright. Some of these rights may be transferred only in writing.


I Have This Idea about a Guy and a Girl
An idea is not copyrightable. So if you mention to your friend who works in Hollywood your idea about a girl who falls in love with the man of her dreams after hearing him on a radio talk show, and a year later Sleepless in Seattle hits the screen, you don't have a copyright claim. (You might have another type of claim, however.) While an idea isnt copyrightable, the tangible expression of that idea is. For writers, that means the specific words on the page that make up the way you tell your idea --in other words, your story, or even the plot line or character treatment, if sufficiently developed.

So a Million Monkeys Banging on a Million Typewriters ?
Copyright is different from trademarks and patents. Like the name suggests, copyright requires copying. If someone really does come up with an identical idea (and text) entirely on his own, there's no copyright infringement. In fact, in order to prove copyright infringement, you have to prove that the defendant had access to your material. This is different than the law of trademarks. If I've been living in a cave all my life, open a web-based business, and decide to use a logo that looks like two golden arches or to call my company Microsoft, I'll have problems even if I've never seen a McDonalds or heard of Bill Gates company. Similarly, if I invent a widget, but the widget has already been patented, the patent-holder can prevent me from manufacturing my widgeteven if I didn't copy his widget, and even if the patent holder has no desire to manufacture widgets himself. In copyright, it's different. So if our million monkeys coincidentally cranked out the latest John Grisham novel, there would be no copyright infringement (unless maybe the monkeys were reading Grisham during their lunch breaks).


This Is Just Fascinating. How Can I Learn More?
If you want basic information on copyright, you can call the U.S. copyright office at (202) 707-3000, or visit the website at http://lcweb.loc.gov /copyright. If you think you may have a legal issue, the best thing you can do is consult a lawyer. If cost is your concern, contact the local or state bar association. It may be able to refer you to a lawyer who does low or no-fee work for artists and writers.

(I wrote this article in 2001 ... please note that it hasn't been updated. Like the article says: hire a lawyer if you have concerns!)

Writing Articles - Tips, Thoughts, and Meanderings

I'm going to start something new on the blog -- writing tips and useful articles for pubbed and unpublished writers. My goal is once a week, but don't hold me to it! To find the posts, search for "writing articles" in the sidebar to the right.

The first one will go up later today. I'm posting an article I wrote in 2001 on copyright and trademark. Hope folks find the info useful!

Phone Call for Chenchen!

I said when we got Chenchen's referral photos that the kid was so my kid because she had multiple toy phones in her hands. Little did I know what a phone fetish this kid has! She LOVES toy phones. Loves to talk on them. Carry them with her. Stuff them in pockets. But what she really loves is talking on them. Real ones, that is.

Now, anyone who's been following our blog knows that Chenchen has a cleft palate that hasn't yet been repaired. But what you may not know (I confess, we didn't fully get it until she was with us!) is just how few intelligible sounds can be made by a child with a cleft palate. She can kinda sorta make the "m" sound, and although she should be able to do an N and a P and a B, she doesn't usually manage. That's pretty much it. The rest is gutteral vowel sounds. But boy oh boy can this kid communicate with her face. I don't think in the three months she's been with us (has it been that long? at the same time, it seems like she's been with us for always!) that I've ever felt like I truly don't understand her. (Well, when she tells long involved stories, I have no clue. But when she's interacting with you it's surprisingly easy.) She's got the most expressive face, and her intonations usually make clear what she wants. Plus, now we're learning sign language (she is soaking it up like a sponge!).

But on the phone ... well, no facial expressions or pointing to draw from!

Still, she loves it, and grandma loves her. So grandma will indulge her. (So, for that matter, have my dear friends and critique partners, Dee Davis and Kathleen O'Reilly -- both of whom have had several conversations with Chenchen, bless them!)

When she had her first speech appointment with the school system (story to come), I knew she'd be too shy to talk to them. So I made a video. The best way I could think to get her talking was to put her on the phone. I'm posting this now because I think she's just so dang cute. Also, though, I know there are several folks reading the blog who are in the process of adopting kids with a cleft palate. Certainly when I was that stage, I was hungry for any and all info I could get!

So here's my cutie, chatting up grandma!