Saturday, June 13, 2009

Commemorating The Pig War

After hearing about this story on The Bugle podcast, I had to share it with the history department from the high school where I teach. Then I realized more people should hear about it. It's just too good.

History Department,

Do you history folks know about The Pig War? This was a real conflict between the US and Britain almost 150 years ago to the day (June 15th, 1859) which started with a dispute over a pig. An American shot an Irishman's pig in the San Juan Islands, both called the authorities, and next thing you know some four hundred US soldiers were facing off with some 2000 British sailors on five warships. Instead of shooting at one another, they just hurled insults at each other for days before they reached a peace agreement. Casualties of the war: 1 pig.

Best line from the war: when the American (who shot the pig) told the Irishman he should have kept the pig off his land so as to not eat his potatoes, the Irishman shot back, "It is up to you to keep your potatoes out of my pig." Lady and gentlemen, that's just about as good as history gets, in my opinion.

Have a great summer, and don't start any international conflicts over bacon or pork chops.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Renewed Confidence...?

I have had two events in the last couple of days which have inspired me to start sending out query letters for the series of novels I'm writing:

First, I read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. The book is very enjoyable and well written. Also, it touches on some of the same themes as my series. It rekindles my belief that my book could be published and enjoyed just as much as I enjoyed hers, though expecting her sales is beyond my wildest dreams. Still, it made me feel better.

Second, I hung out with a colleague who has just received the advance copy of his forthcoming book (available for pre-order). I read it, and though we are writing completely different things (his is non-fiction for a different audience and purpose) I managed to stifle my jealousy and take some heart in his success.

So I shot off another four query letters to promising literary agencies. Last time I sent it to three I received one request for the first ten chapters and a request for the manuscript. Not a bad record, but the lack of success just crushed me. Well, now I'm seeking more abuse. Wish me luck!