In other news

Book 3 needs a bloody title! 😩

So I’ve rather got back into writing of late! It’s crazy, I don’t have a lot of time for it because of work but I’ve been getting some squeezed in, even a little at work! (Thank you tiny quiet offices!)

Sadly little of it has been book 3. Three side project quirky … I don’t even know what they ares … have been eating at my attention instead.

One is a quirky telepathic girl from another galaxy meets a young space rat (think street urchin but on starships, in spaceports, and on space stations) orphan and … it’s a very weird pile of twists on the old princess falls for the poor street waif sort of story. Along with a sort of reverse Cinderella or Annie if you twist your brain into a tasty pretzel 🥨.

Another is a young half-human and half-not girl from Earth and her family fleeing the world and it’s social hostility to her existence, that of two other of their children, and none too kindly to the parents either … it’s poignant but it’s relatively happy and funny despite that.

And a young alien girl from an alien world joins a student exchange program by the Terran government to come to one of their worlds and attend school there for a term. I’m worried she’s going to try to start a revolution 🤭.

But my steam for those has waned so perhaps I can concentrate on Book 3 again soon.

I know how late it is. Exhaustion, Depression, and … Time … I work 6 days a week and at times am 13hrs or more a day spent working + commuting for said work.

But I have an interview Thursday coming for a promotion! That will mean MORE time. It’s also going to mean a chance to buy a big beautiful house (a specific one I have my eye on, to clarify), and other niceties.

And … bollox … how does one categorise and tag posts in the WordPress App these days?!

Oh found it … the the three dots, Post Settings. Makes sense.

Whoa … I’m …

So, there’s a Thing that’s a bit viral on Twitter.

Seems a young lady in a Minnesota school found herself assaulted by staff of said school.

Oh, yeah, see, there’s video evidence. One mo, and I’ll fetch that for you dears:

So … yeah, I mean I suppose that in some ways it could be argued it’s not assault … using a dictionary. Legally, however, there’s a few child sex crime kind of laws in violation by the adults seen. To say nothing of a little thing called psychological assault in violating her privacy like that and by misgendering her so thoroughly.

I kid you not, this has created an uproar. Twitter seems to actually be in consensus about it (only other time Twitter was in consensus about something Joffery had been poisoned). I mean never mind any trans rights debates, everyone is enraged about treating a child that way. Oh and maybe because they didn’t issue an apology, they issued a statement and were then suddenly worried about ‘privacy’.

So I had a little something to say to such a non-apology:

As did the amazing Amanda Jette Knox (this one a thread):

And hundreds more with thousands of reactions that basically come to ‘I’m with you, mate!’

Ready for my new career in sports journalism!

Last night I live tweeted a football game.

I think I did really well!

Someone start a letter writing campaign to ESPN, I’m totally ready for that journalism salary.

(Psst it’s a whole thread for those unfamiliar)

The wrongness is strong …

So much absurdity 😱[

Okay folks, this is a thing that was found on Pinterest. It has so many wonderful things so tremendously wrong with it I think I’m going to have to break things down and enumerate them.

I think, for starters, I should be literal and actually break that graphic up.

No. Just … no.

Look, I grok, some folks plan. Some people construct. But this is not the way to present writing to new writers. This is a method (frankly a completely mad looking one at that, but some folks juggle geese) but it’s presented with a tone of absolution.

No. In fact I can think of no successful writer I’ve encountered who has a process like that. So that’s a suggestion it might even actually be a bad method, but no method is good or bad if it works for you. All methods come to “write your story”. That’s the method that matters.

Whether you prepare by complex world building or by trying to wrest the pen from the kitten the only step that matters is “write your first draft”; prior to that is only so much extemporaneous detail.

Personally I shudder at these kinds of lists because, unless you build it through your own trial and error it merely represents a barrier to writing. It’s these things, often quite unpleasant or unfun (for most people) things. Things that, if you feel you must do them before you write likely means you will never write because you’ll be years or eternities at steps 1-8 and “unable” to proceed to 9. To say nothing of the likelihood that such chores would suck the joy out of the creation. I mean … if you’re someone who is glowing at the prospect of using these 9 steps (or any of their infinite variations available on Tumblr, Pinterest, et al) ask yourself “how many people have I met who would agree this sounds great?” Not many? Yeah. You do you, sure, but trust me … statistically this is like inverse Literature Class which has been studied to indicate likely impairs love of reading and of literature. Food for thought.

Surprisingly this part isn’t bad. But it isn’t good, either.

Again with absolutism. This works for an organised, scheduling person. This works for someone who, if they don’t make a literal to-do list that they mark things off of, do nothing without the external motivation of the check mark.

My wife is such a creature. Even she is wont to start cursing at this kind of list. Apparently it goes to far and makes her OCD (or maybe it’s the Anxiety) itch really bad.

Look. Trust me, you don’t have to do anything to be a writer but write.

To reiterate, if it works for you, that’s swell, but no one will revoke your literary license if you don’t.

This is the meat and gravy of the horror of this “infographic”.

Class, this is not a list of questions to ask you publisher. This is a list of questions to ask of a vanity press company that will print your book. In this scenario you, my sweet, are the publisher and the other guy is just someone you’re going to pay to produce (and possibly distribute) your book. How kind.

A publisher of whom you feel the need to ask these questions is a “publisher” you should collect name and url, run away from at full gallop, bolt the doors behind you, and report them to The Authorities.

This one stands apart. While it ignores the option of self-publishing, it is relatively accurate if a touch outdated. For example I can’t recall the last time I saw an agent or publisher for whom stamps and envelopes would come into play. True, the publishing industry is still trying to decide how it feels about the printing press, and a committee is being formed to assess this “moveable type” notion they seem to have discovered that there’s something in the universe called “email” and some more avant-garde ones even use website submission forms. It’s pretty wild.

Seriously, this sort of stuff steams me. It’s never made by a writer. Or if it is, they’re an example of why fanfic or self-publishing have bad names (well, they’re a writer … they wrote … they maybe need things like an editor and/or talent … but they put words on a page b’gum!).

If anyone says anything about writing other than “well, what I do is …” or “have you maybe tried …” preferring instead “you really should …” or “a write must …” just back away slowly and don’t make eye contact. They’re criminally insane or something, I’m sure.

That was fun

It looks like the amusement is wearing off but I seem to have attracted the attention of some sort of men’s … thingy. For want of a word, movement.

So that’s the Twit I made that got their attention.

Yeah, it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t made it a hashtag but I honestly didn’t really care. I think part of me held out hope it might spark conversation.

The first replies were pretty typical apemen on Twitter fodder so I sassed.

I will provide the context to my introduction to the term too because, frankly, Ursula Vernon has a remarkable way with words (Castle Hangnail is a favourite of mine)

Anyway … I’m probably going to mute the thread soon because I’m getting bored with it. But who knows 🤷‍♀️ maybe it’ll get fun again.

Make America … what?!

So I have a Twitter again, for now (possibly longer, the new character count limit makes it less annoying). Anyway I asked a question there and would sincerely love an answer.

The thing is, really, looking over history The United States has spent an awful lot of time being pretty self-righteous about how great it is, but how great was it ever … really?

Let’s start with the beginning:

During the colonial era there was how horribly the colonists and the colonisers themselves treated the natives. Not my definition of greatness, though I suppose at the time European attitudes were grotesquely barbarically and such things were deemed a demonstration on greatness. So, do we look back on what our ancestors called “greatness” and declare ourselves great for it? Or do we look back in shame at such things, vow never to repeat them, and trudge forward in hopes to become better? And if we choose the latter can we, until we’ve become better, call ourselves “great” any longer?

Forward to the Revolutionary War. Now, depends how you want to look at an act of high treason. Arguably it was for a good cause so we’ll let it go, never mind that Canada got its independence more peacefully about a generation later, and possibly losing the lower colonies had some influence on that; I haven’t delved deeply into that chapter of history. So noble origins! This is greatness! The birth of Democr—what? Oh, Athens? Hmmm … Rome?! Oh but … “All men are created eq—” well not slaves, of course not slaves they’re created only ⅗ of a … I said men not women … yes I know about Abigail Adams … okay … fine.

We’ve got freedoms, like “of the press, et al”. Okay, yes, some of those were taken from the Magna Carta. And I guess every other democ—wait even some of the monarchies… what about … oh, some of those too … is it only dictatorships that don’t … mostly? Okay, fine.

Every step of the way the only thing America has been a true societal leader in is: populous uprisings. We seem to have had a profound influence on the French Revolution, for example. That’s a pretty grisly thing to have on the old Collective Karma 😖🤢.

The scary thing is, if the greatness that is desired is being demonstrated by the GOP & Trump policies and actions then the America they want to recreate, the America that was so great in the first place … is Nazi Germany.

Look over a history of Hitler’s rise to power and the founding of the Third Reich. I’m sorry, but the past few years especially but even some of the past decades with regards to general Republican efforts (and more than a few Democratic Party items too, they’re hardly innocent … if nothing else guilty by complacency) all of it is checking off a bullet list of “How to form a fascist empire • By Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer. It’s horrifying.

But how is that Making America Great Again? I mean, I suppose, if you’re a fascist you would want to be punched in the … I mean shot … I’m sorry, to recreate the Germany of the 1930s and early 1940s but that wasn’t America. This would be your idea of Great In The First Place. True, it’s hardly catchy, but why “again”?

And why so shy about answering? I’m hardly the first to ask, though I tend to phrase the question a tad differently, but it’s been asked: Make it Great in what manner? Relative to what era and ideology? Why so reluctant to answer? If you want a return to slavery and a reversal of women’s suffrage just say so. If you’re anxious for fascism then own that.

Admittedly some do. The “alt-right” (henceforth spelled n-a-z-i-s or a-s-s-h-o-l-e-s or p-u-n-c-h-i-n-g-b-a-g-s) do, some directly and others by being opposed to anti-fascist groups. And sure the Republican party primaries are starting to contain a lot of open nazis and the establishment is often praising nazi actions. Trump seems to think that there’s some fine people in the nazi half of The Charlottesville Thing. So I suppose they’re being coyly open about it? Is that a thing?

Anyway, yeah, if there is some actual greatness we’re supposed to be returning to, I’d be interested in knowing it. And if the greatness in question, whether return or aspired, is fascism and it’s subsequent oppression then I’ll thank you to please fuck off to the nearest airless world and take a long walk without a spacesuit.

The end times are upon us …

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been two days and I still … well … I’d be lying if I say I can’t actually believe it, I don’t have the greatest opinion of the American populous with regards to sanity and intellect (sorry, but well, George Bush Jr was president for eight years and people actually voted for him; and let’s not get started on Nathan Deal‘s reelection to Georgia’s governorship in 2014) … but idiomatically speaking I can’t actually believe that Donald J Trump is president-elect of The United State of America.

I’ve never been so glad I live in New England; Massachusetts specifically.  I can’t imagine the terror that so many others in this country must feel right now.  Or more to the point I can’t imagine how they’re managing given the horror I feel and I’m relatively safe.

I can’t express how terrifying it is to know that a Republican lead congress is going to have that as their president and Mike Pence of Indiana for the vice presidency.  We just took a giant step back to the 1950s.  60+ years of progress are, largely, out the window.  If you’re not a heteronormative cisgender white male nor able to pass, you’re pretty frankly and thoroughly fucked.  heteronormative cisgender white women are slightly less bad off, especially if they’re both pretty and a decent housewife, but everyone else in this country are utterly fucked.

You say it can’t be that bad, he still has to contend with the constitution and blah, blah, blah.

  1. he gets to fill the missing slot on the supreme court
  2. who’s getting to make the laws next year, and who’s holding the pen to sign them?
  3. who’s going to be pulling the Department of Justice’s strings when hateful mobs are emboldened by his rhetoric and stances?

Yesterday I felt a level of depression I haven’t in ages.  It left me, for a large part of the day, feeling physically ill – like sick to my stomach.  Today I’m either in a better place, thankfully and slightly mysteriously, or I’m too emotionally exhausted and slipped into a sort of … neutrality … to recharge; I’m not actually sure which.

This planet is in too precarious a position with regards to the climate and pollution to survive four years with this setup selecting who’s running the EPA and deciding things like energy bills.

The economy isn’t ready for this.

We’re not touching what America calls a health care system – unfortunately congress and Trump are going to molest the hell out of it.

NOW I regret deleting my Twitter … though it hasn’t actually disappeared, I may log in.  I’ve a few choice quips to throw out there.

I mean, don’t come in with any more “protecting the women and children” crap when trying to ban transgender people from using the correct bathroom when we have a president-elect with how many rape accusations, who boasted about committing sexual assault, and who is going to trial soon for child rape.

No.  If I can I think I will leave the country.  I don’t think I’d be able to though; doubt I could talk any country into seeing a transgender lesbian in Trump’s USA as a refugee seeking asylum, at least not until after he’s rounding up people to wear little pink triangles …

If you follow me and you voted for him … why?  how?  What could he possibly have offered that was worth sacrificing the safety and rights of your neighbours, friends, and family?  Of the safety and rights, even simple human dignity of countless millions of this country’s people?  If you can answer that, with a straight face, and sincerely … please do.  Otherwise, please fucking piss off and go to Hell.

Yeah, normally I’m rather more inclined to be well spoken, polite, maybe a bit more … sweet?  I can’t.  I’m terrified, I’m depressed, I’m disgusted, I’m mortified, I’m not going to go find a thesaurus to continue this paragraph and I can’t think clearly enough to keep it going right now.

The world, and this country both need a lot of prayers … and a lot of outright protest, petitioning possibly open rebellion; you know, action, because the gods help us (please!) but I’m disinclined to reckon they’re going to do much good since they didn’t do anything to stop this in the first place.

Where’s Twitter?

English: George Takei at the 2011 Phoenix Comi...

English: George Takei at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gone.

I don’t use it.  I find it even more useless than Facebook … which is saying something since Facebook’s psychotic algorithms for deciding what to actually show you in your feed (because the things that you’ve followed can’t possibly be the answer to such a nuanced and complicated question) drive me insane usually.

I’ve got a private, personal Facebook.  It’s for cat pictures and the like.  Twitter wasn’t even that useful.  I don’t have a personal Twitter, and as of this morning I’ve quit having a professional one.  That’s that much less SPAM in my email, that many fewer notifications for which I give less than no damns about showing up on my phone, and that many fewer potential security holes in my personal data.

I’m not sorry to have got rid of it.  I’m sure none of you were all that ardently following me on social media, and it seemed silly to “keep a social media presence” when I don’t use social media, do not follow social media … noticing a pattern here?  Seriously, if the iOS News app thingy had an option for “funny things George Takei has shared”, I’d have virtually no excuse to have a private Facebook; the remaining reasons being that’s where my high school reunion is usually planned and some family event things tend to get announced.

Tumblr may be next on the list, but as it’s sort of a blogging platform more than it’s a social media platform I am more inclined to keep it – makes a somewhat handy mirror of my blog … until I recall that it only posts excerpts with a link back to here … okay Tumblr may go some time soon too.  Who knows, I usually forget I have it and am not 100% sure I even know the password anymore so it’s obviously far less intrusive and obnoxious so can stay just because it’s forgettable.

[Reblog] What I’ve Been Reading And How It Disproves Some Common Self-Pubbing Wisdom

I’ve commented on this quite a lot myself.
I don’t believe that a great many bits of “self-publishing wisdom” are anything but nonsense.

I’ll admit, I’ve a photographic memory, so I don’t have to hear of something multiple times to remember it.  And hearing about something multiple times doesn’t make me read it.  I’ve heard of Name of the Wind several times.  My wife has a copy and has informed me repeatedly that I really ought to read it.  I haven’t yet.  I intend to because aspects and quotes from it seem interesting, and I’ve found Pat Rothfuss to have a rather charming and engaging way with words that I hope translates into his fiction (not everyone’s does; I rather like John Scalzi‘s blogposts more than his fiction, for example).

I strongly suspect that, in reality, most people select a book because

A) Someone whose tastes in books they respect recommends it.  This is why I read about half of what my wife recommends to me: she has peculiar tastes that sometimes overlap mine.  I give her time to tell me enough about them first.  I don’t know why she so rarely reads what I recommend as she is wont to loving anything I finally convince her to.

B) They notice it because it’s interesting looking.  AKA: Browsing.  Neat cover art, catchy title, whatever.  It calls to them.  I suspect that, unless the person has disposable income to actually impulse by us$10+ that this works better in libraries, or bookstores conducive to sitting down and finding out if you like a book first (yay ebooks and the sample thing!!)

C) They saw the movie/tv series.  Hey, it’s why I read Game of Thrones.  Now, I need to get around to reading the second book … though it’s been a few years since I read the first or watched the first season … as in … did I ever watch series 4?  I know I haven’t 5 and 6 and what are they on now?  It was back then I read it.

D) They love the author.  I love Terry Pratchett and search for his books when I’m eager for something to read.  I have other authors with books I love that I approach with caution because they have books I do not love.  Spider Robinson, J R R Tolkien (I really don’t like LotR that much, except for Fellowship of the Ring), and others.

E) I forget.  I’ve been ill and my head aches so I’m going to just stop writing, format this, and go have some coffee.  Don’t forget to read Ms Haddock’s blogpost which inspired this, excerpt is below and there is linkage to the rest … which is about 3-5x the excerpt … no, seriously, it’s a little long.

What I’ve Been Reading And How It Disproves Some Common Self-Pubbing Wisdom

(Damn, am I good at short and pithy titles or what?)

Long story short, I live in a place that is not exactly conducive to either reading or writing. To somewhat mitigate the negative effect this has on my sanity, I’ve been spending a couple of afternoons a week at the library.

Now, was my OCD still completely out of control, I have no doubt what I’d be doing is working my way through my over 1400 book long “to read” list on Goodreads. Since my OCD is more-or-less managed right now though, instead I’ve been wandering pretty aimlessly through the library and reading whatever grabs my interest at the time.

So, here’s a list of books I’ve either read or at least read a significant portion of in the past few weeks (There’ve been others I’ve tossed aside after a chapter, usually non-fiction that was blatantly stupid or dry enough that the subject matter would have to be something I found very interesting for me to push past it to read the damned thing.) (Goodreads links included, in case any of my readers may wish to find out more about any of these.):

Source: What I’ve Been Reading And How It Disproves Some Common Self-Pubbing Wisdom

Book signing

So the book signing in Hadley, MA took place on Sunday as per schedule.

First off, I must say a huge thank you to the Hadley Barnes & Noble folks.  They were very friendly, wonderful, and I feel did their best in the face of whatever is going on in B&N’s HQ these days.

Which brings me to the full detailed version.  Again:  local store awesome; corporate to blame.

  1. Is 1 week prior to Father’s Day a good date to have a Teen Fest thing?  I don’t know, maybe something closer to July or closer to Memorial Day or nearer to an approximation of Spring Break?  Suffice to say the teens that were there were shopping for Daddy, not for themselves.
  2. Advertisement.  You’re Barnes & Noble for crying out loud.  Did you leave all the promo up to the individual stores?  I hope not.  Especially for something you were doing across all your stores.  This is a good time to get maximum bang for your advertising dollars by running national ad campaigns to draw attention to this thing.  Sure, local stores do a little on their social media and in-store, maybe local papers to highlight just who is going to be this store’s guests, but … come on.  Then again, B&N doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp on marketing.  I mean, have you ever seen them advertise much?  Never mind their stores, how about the Nook?  Their stores are their primary POS for the thing, and their website, but how many B&N banner ads have you seen on websites, or radio/tv/billboard/newspaper adverts have you seen for the Nook, the B&N website, or the physical stores?  Sorry guys, but you’re second or lower to Amazon (who is an evil evil bunch of people whose downfall I shall cheer greatly) … follow Avis car rentals’ example “We’re number 2, but we try harder” philosophy!
  3. A clearer vision and communication of what the Teen Fest would be.  Looking around online at what other stores were doing, it was rather mixed methods and mixed thinking.  Some stores had workshops that … well … someone explaining how to write a long line description – you know the dreaded Twitter Blurb!  Okay, first off, that’s hard for a lot of writers to do.  Come on, for crying out loud, we just took 400 pages and 500 000 words to say “boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, they date and fall in love and get married and have 65 kids, 8000 grandkids, and 14 goats, and the kingdom was saved!” we really aren’t going to squeeze it all down with ease.  I mean, a writers’ panel with Q&A for geeky fannish teens to come to, certainly, but traditional writers’ workshop kind of stuff doesn’t tend to be a crowd draw for any age demographic, targeting it to teens is going to get you maybe 3 people.

Honestly, I rather expected something like this.  I mean B&N was virtually the only bookstore around in the part of Georgia I moved from so it was the place that got people like Steve Harvey … and few people showed up because few people knew about it.  I now know why Terry Brooks‘ appearance that same day in South Hadley, was at a little place called Odyssey Bookshop.  Big name authors often are very expressive about wanting to support the small mom & pop sort of stores.  Which, I believe, is definitely a big part of it.  But it’s also that I believe the smaller stores have a better means of reaching people and bringing folks in.

A small bookshop actually is more likely to have regulars engaged both in face-to-face conversations as well as social media interactions.  Your smaller bookshop is more likely to have the customer walk in for a copy of Wintersmith and wind up staying to chit chat for 3 hours while browsing around for 2.  Watch folks at a big chain store, they walk in, pause at the display of the latest from Stephen King, then make a beeline for what they’re there for, spend a few minutes finding it on the shelf, a couple more minutes looking around that same few feet to see if there’s anything else by that author they want to grab, then back to the cash register.  If they stay, it’s to drink coffee and use the free wifi.  The small shoppe is almost always in a location with a lot of passerby foot traffic and so puts out a chalkboard sign that is colourful and attention getting so all those window shoppers and bankers-off-to-lunch pass and see it.  B&N is starting to trend itself into malls, but there’s no chalkboard signs.  B&N isn’t likely to take out an ad in the paper.  Small shoppe knows that most subscriptions doesn’t equal most readers, they know the little (usually free, so ads cost a little more, but it’s worth it) local indie paper (i.e. The Metro Spirit in the CSRA) is the way to go and put in a good sized ad there.  The little shoppe also knows that an investment in a few minutes with a desktop publishing software, a printer, and a few dozen sheets of paper taken around to the local coffee shops and other places with a bulletin board … or adhered to a few strategic lampposts …

Really; never blame the local personification of the chain store.  They’re following corporate dictates which nearly never make the slightest sense and trying to run on a very restricted and controlled budget.  It’s the folks in HQ who deserve a great big “Are you one drugs?” response.