Saturday, 25 May 2013

Spring has sprung, and with it weirdness

   Sorry or the slowness of the update, but I'm stumbling through an interesting spring involving exploded hard drives, new full-time jobs and graduating children. On the plus side I've got the tickle of a really exciting and probably over-involved project. I'll just blame Mervyn Peake for it and not expand past that. Some of you will know what I'm on about, as it's his thematic concerns that attract me the most.
   That little, cowardly portion of my brain is nagging at me that this is an unsalable novel idea, but screw that noise. This is the book I really want to write, despite the time and anguish it will inflict, despite the fact that the form is one rarely used any more, and despite the fact that it's likely to be ridiculously involved.
   Writing has to be love, and I love what I'm thinking about.

Friday, 10 May 2013

I hate technology

   Not really, but bad news. My laptop's hard drive is now a briquette, so we're going to suffer a hiatus while I get another computer and reclaim my work from the cloud and the bad drive. On the plus side I very recently did full backups, both to the cloud and DVD.
    DO THIS OFTEN. That is all.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Glassholes ahoy

       Google Glass. No. Seriously, no. Please don't. Sergey Brin looks like crap in them, and so will you.    
       We don't need or want yet another unnecessary piece of hardware that does what a cell phone does, and makes us look like a moron at the same time. Besides, why pay $1500 for something that begs for a mugging? Something that will be outlawed in cars before you can say "distracted driving"? Something that sits on your face like a lopsided tumor?
       It doesn't make you a cyborg. It makes you a dork, and hat's coming from a self-admitted nerd and geek of the old school. Think of the children. Just say "no" to Google Glass.
     (And, by the way, the first Glass wearer at a neighboring urinal who turns their head to televise my junk will, shortly thereafter, be broadcasting the view from inside their own rectum. Caveat emptor.) 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Free Book Dude editorial

       Observations on publishing avenues, and what they have to offer for both authors and readers over at Free Book Dude. Stop in.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

The experiment, she is launched

   That post headline should be read in a bad Mandy Patinkin Princess Bride-style voice. But yes, Side Effects is up and running. Now I'll just have to adhere to my weekly chapter updates and hope you, the reader, like what you see and tell others.
   It's a bit nerve-wracking to release content free and hope the little "donate" button does something, but I know how often I've clicked them on things I liked, so we'll see.
    There will be an edited final version of the book after the serial wraps. I may have to figure out a way to track major backers. I think they'll all deserve a final edition.

    Cheers, and keep smiling!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Side Effects: Sex, drugs and espionage

    Side Effects is up at Oh-dark-thirty. So check just after midnight over at and, assuming the auto update doesn't blow up, you will be able to read the first exciting chapter of many.
   Enjoy, comment, Tweet and all that.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Queer eye for the writer guy

    I have a lot of queer friends. Lots. That just occurred to me today. I started wondering why while watching a neat panel on non-binary sexuality (this thing).
    It's not a conscious decision. I didn't sit up one day and declare that I would "have more queer friends" like I was collecting pogs. I don't introduce people as "my gay friend" in a failed effort to be topical and cool. So why? I'm boringly heterosexual, so it's not out of a hope of getting additional action.
    That means it has something to do with the queer personality. Something about self-defined people syncs with some portion of my psyche.
    (As a brief aside, I think I prefer queer as a term, as it includes the often ignored people in the middle who are bisexual, or who switch from one fascination to another throughout their lives.)
    So what is it about the queer mindset that resonates with me? It's probably just the fact that many labelled by one of the alphabet-soup LGBTTSPDQXYZ letters have learnt to take people for what they are. They're less judgemental, in most cases. More open to discussion and debate. Those are people I prefer to hang around with.
    Don't take that as a rule in all cases, though. People, regardless of sexuality, can be morons. I've met gays as homophobic as any evangelical preacher where bisexuals were concerned; "They're just fake gay, they need to choose a side" and other such high-hat bullshit. I've heard gay men damn another for "not being gay enough". There are always idiots.
   It may be that queer life experience forces most people to examine themselves, their beliefs and their drives with attention and effort. There's no cultural matrix for them, so they have to work it out on their own. That may be the real secret - that I best relate with people who actively examine their own persona. People who ask "why do I" and "why am I" rather than just taking the stock explanations provided by their peers.
    Also, there's the general contempt I feel for anyone who tries to dehumanize another person for something as silly as who they are in bed with, or what clothes they wear, or what music they listen to. That's a common failing among the ignorant herdbeasts that wander the world; hating a person rather than hating their music/dress/sexuality/politics/religion. I'm perfectly capable of hating your choice in music but still liking you. I may think that your partner, of whatever sex, is an absolute asshat, but that you're okay. I probably think your religious beliefs are a laughable set of self-delusions, but you are a nice person.
    Part of being a well-rounded human being is the ability to understand that the world is complex, with things you like and things you don't. Part of being an adult is to realize that your opinions don't matter to anyone but yourself, so investing your very being in them is a stupid move. Another, often ignored part, is to be able to shrug off the ridiculous opinions of others.
     Especially reviewers and militant evangelists of whatever faith.

   That's too much thinking for a Friday. Cheers all, see you this weekend.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Writer bread and recipe

Yes, sometimes it's better to bake than edit. At the end of an hour your accomplishment is far easier to weigh and, more importantly, smell and taste. So here's some bread. It's good bread. The recipe is below. Do yourself a favour and don't use a bread maker. There's a reason bakers use ovens.

Writer Bread*

2 cups hot water
add 1 tablespoon yeast and a spoon of brown sugar
stir. Watch for a second, make sure the yeast is working (it'll make bubbles). Add a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of olive oil, stir.
Stir in 3 cups flour for about 2 minutes.
Add 2 more cups of flour, knead the mess for 10 minutes until it's a smooth, rubbery dough.
Oil the lump, stick it in a covered bowl in a warm place until it doubles.
Punch the dough down, then halve it and make 2 loaves. Lightly brush with oil. Drop them on a floured baking sheet, slit the tops, dust with rosemary and garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Let it rise again.
Bake in a 375f oven for 20-30 minutes, pull them when they reach the desired brown-ness.
Let them rest an hour.
Be a pig and eat them.

*Okay, it's really just french bread.

If you thought Stalingrad was bad

    American forefathers (or more accurately -mothers) had a rough time at Jamestown in 1609. The Smithsonian just dug up solid forensic evidence that the settlers ate a 14-year-old English girl to survive.
    The winter of 1609 was a bad one and the settlers were on the verge of disaster. It's generally known as the Starving Time. Cannibalism has long been suspected, but the bones recently found are the first irrefutable evidence. Of 500 colonists, 440 starved to death. Imagining the horrified survivors watching the spring thaw finally arrive is almost beyond imagination. Almost, I say, because the evil writer portion of my brain is busily pondering a short story even as I write this.
   The story is a stunningly impressive one, with Captain John Smith forging a ceasefire with the aggressive Powhatan Confederacy of tribes, and managing to organize a trading agreement that allowed the colony to purchase the food it needed to survive. Then fate intervened, with Smith being evacuated to England following a serious injury and the tribes deciding that, without Smith, the treaty was off. The settlers were left starving, at war, and six months from the possibility of rescue in the midst of an unusually brutal winter. Most of the men were dead, killed by the tribes as they foraged, leaving the elderly, women and children to struggle to survive.
   If you pitched it as a movie plot people would accuse you of being unrealistically grim. All the greatest dramas exist in history. I wish we taught more of that particular subject to our young. Or did it better.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

KDP Select? Naw

   Yes, definitely dropping Behind the Ruins from KDP Select as of June 24. It's too limiting to be beholden to Amazon, with no access to Nook, Kobo, or other platforms like Screwpulp and Smashwords. The only bit of KDP that really annoys me horribly is that I have to let the 90-day enrollment run out. I suppose I could be a dick and just ignore Amazon's ToS, which would get it out quicker.
    Hmmm. I think I'll go examine that option. I'll update what I discover.

    Update: Well, on looking, it's unclear what repercussions that would have, other than Amazon deciding not to carry it in the main lists. Probably best left alone.

   Oh! If you have a book in KDP Select be damn sure to go in and click off auto-renew or it'll be there forever. They've made sure it defaults to "we have your book in perpetuity" unless you pay attention.

  It feels a bit greasy to me. I think Tokyo Pizza will opt out as well. Exclusivity isn't a good thing.