Letting Bureaucrats Run With Codes

For everyone who has ever thought “this would be best done by a centralized bureaucracy” let me remind you that when you let things be done by “the government” what you’re doing is giving power to people who have sat behind desks so long they’ve turned into Terry Pratchet’s auditors and think reality is classifiable into codes and numbers.

Perhaps it is because I’m one of those people who whenever she runs into a carefully coded system that I feel leery of such systems.  Though with National Health Care to give them credit (it’s credit, right?) they’re trying to cover every possible instance…  Except I bet I still fall between the cracks.

They’re also classifying as pathologies things that… you’ll see.

So, this started because son shouted from his room “WT ACTUAL F People?”

In such circumstances I run to see what he’s looking at.

It was this!

We’ll start with the codes that most affect our people, shall we?

​1. R46.1: Bizarre personal appearance.

The Funny Take: We call this a Science fiction convention!

The Serious Take: Bizarre according to WHOM?  Perhaps I don’t like your mustache, doc!

From the other side:  We call this a Science fiction convention!

W5609XA: Other contact with dolphin, initial encounter

Funny Take: Don’t do it, Lady!  Make him buy you dinner first!

Serious Take: Well done, you.  Now all the employees of Sea World are covered when a dolphin gets amorous.

The other take: What happens at the convention pool stays in the convention pool.

2014 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code W53.21 Bitten by squirrel W53.21 is not a billable ICD-10-CM diagnosis code and cannot be used to indicate a medical diagnosis as there are 3 codes below W53.21 that describe this diagnosis in greater detail. ICD-10-CM codes become active beginning October 1, 2015, therefore, this and all ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes should only be used for training or planning purposes until then

Funny take: Bitten?  Bitten?  The bastards had lances!

Serious take: seriously wouldn’t “animal bite” do?  What is it with the weird specificity?  Is this how you justify your sucking at the tax-payer teat?  And really, really, THREE more specific codes?  And guys, no one get bitten by a squirrel for another year, okay?

The other take: Were you at one of those Science Fiction cons?

5. Y93.D: V91.07XD: Burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter​.

Funny Take: Yes, I know you discovered the formula for Greek Fire.  Don’t use it to make water skis

Serious Take: Someone turn off the Merry Melodies cartoons in this bureaucrat’s office.

Take from the other side: Was this Sunday morning, at worldcon?

16. V97.33XD: Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter.

Note for those not speaking the lingo — subsequent encounter means the patient came to the doctor who wasn’t on the scene of the accident.

Funny take: Does the code cover that much superglue?

Serious take: Dude!  Dude.  A jet engine is a blender.  A really large blender.  With fire in it.  If you get sucked into it, you’re not going to need a code.  You’re going to need a coffin.

Other side take: Well, we call it a jet engine, but it was really Mike down in the Klingon party after, you know–  Ahem, anyway, you get him a couple of drinks, and he can get a little rough.

W22.02XD: V95.43XS: Spacecraft collision injuring occupant, sequela.

Funny Take: Was this a Star Trek “sequela”?

Serious Take: Another code that affects millions, no, mayhap billions of people a year, and so totally warrants its own code, right?

Take from the other side: It's all true

S1087XA: Other superficial bite of other specified part of neck, initial encounter.

Funny take: I don’t think it’s billable.  Do you know a chick named Buffy?

Serious take: How serious was this bite?  How often does this happen?  Or do people go to the doctor for a hickey

Other side take: What do you mean those fangs weren’t fake.  Kate Paulk SAYS she writes FICTION.

Z63.1: Problems in relationship with in-laws.

Funny take: Wait, what?  You go to the doctor for that?

Serious Take: No, seriously?

From the other side: They found out you go to science fiction cons????

Y34 Y34 Unspecified event, undetermined intent

The funny take: At last.  A code to end all codes.

The serious take: W the actual F people?  REALLY?

From the other side: It’s okay.  You can admit to us you go to science fiction conventions.  It was Mike, wasn’t it?

And that is a small sample.  If you search ICD-10 codes and are willing to part with a good portion of your time, you’ll find many, many more instances where you’ll laugh out loud.  Mostly because, paraphrasing  what Heinlein said in Stranger in a Strange Land, laughing is what you do when the situation is too sad to cry about.And perhaps the most laughter/crying worthy of all is this comment on this site after an article about the codes:

#Cassie Kiehl commented on September 25, 2011:While the Wall Street Journal may think it’s a laugh, with over 300 million citizens, macaw mishaps are going to happen. The specificity of the codes helps to track public health hazards that could occur in pockets due to particular services, vendors, products, or even the pet de la mode. Interestingly, the US pioneered injury coding , changing our ICD-9 version to include causes of injury. Clearly the WHO ran with it in ICD-10. Fortunately, there are software solutions to speed iCD-10 coding like SpeedECoder, http://www.speedecoder.com. There’s no difference in time typing macaw than dog when someone comes in for an animal bite.

Yes, indeed.  But the specificity in codes betrays the type of mind where EVERYTHING must be classified.  What this person doesn’t seem to understand is that once the code exists, you become the code, and if you fall outside the code, you stop existing.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is the evil of letting bureaucrats run with codes.  They poke their moral sight out, and start seeing people as things: Classifiable, measurable widgets easily pluggable into the system, each intrinsically valueless.

I hope laughter is the best medicine, because a lot of us are going to die laughing.

Good Art Cheeeeep – Dorothy Grant

*Yeah, I know I owe you a chapter, but the thing is I’m finishing for reals stories that are overdue, (Novella delivered, yay) and haven’t had time to go through the backlog, which we agreed must happen, right?  Hopefully next week.
I was going to tease you with a chapter of the interim book, but I’m sitting here, half dead.  Those of you who are younger than I remember that stupid crap like jumping from walls, climbing cliffs and hopping from trains that are not quite stopped will come to haunt you in your old age.  Yeah, when you’re twenty you just grow past all of this, but at fifty one the bill comes due.  Or at least for the last week my left shoulder has been giving me issues, as in can’t sleep without advil.  Yesterday was stupid enough to go to bed without, and finally woke up enough at three am to take some.  Which brought pain level to bearable and allowed me to sort of sleep.  Anyway, I was whining to our very own Dorothy and she said, “hey, want a guest post?”  So, here it is.*

Good Art Cheeeeep – Dorothy Grant
Where do you find good art cheap?

Ahem, would all the authors look at me? Ignore the howling mob of artists and illustrators bearing down on us with torches and pitchforks after that question was asked; I’ve got the gates close and the drawbridge up.

Thank you. Now, the first answer is another question: what is good art? You with the pretentious air, you sit down. This is not your moment to pontificate. You over there giggling and quoting Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech… sigh. You’re actually closer than you know. Let’s try a simple working definition. Good art for authors is an image that will catch a browsing reader’s attention, communicate genre, tone, and theme, and lead them to click on the little icon and investigate your blurb to see what the book’s about.

You over there, complaining that definition is marketing, not art? Just. Shut. Up. Or I’ll throw you to the angry mob of commercial artists and illustrators who make such images for a living. Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel out of some wild whim of artistic vandalism, he did it because he was paid to produce work to spec on theme.

Now, how do you find good art?

There are three ways to approach this.

1. Start with books you like, in the genre you’re writing. You don’t even have to buy them, just click the “look inside” feature and check out the copyright page in the front matter. Many indie publishers list their cover artists, illustrators, and cover designers there. (If they’re not wearing all those hats by themselves, anyway.) Quite a few trad publishers put in the artist, too, though rarely the designer. (That’s likely to be an employee.) This one is likely to be moderately expensive in terms of time and money – after all, you already know that the listed artists do sell their art for commercial use, and you just have to backtrack where and how much. On the other hand, you’ll also end up having to sigh and filter out artists like Michael Whelan and Kurt Miller, because they do this for a living and charge prices that put them well out of our reach. Someday… Anyway, the artists run from $6 USD on a royalty-free site to $12,000 USD for custom oil painting.

2. Start by browsing the places that have art for sale, looking for things that’ll fit. This is very expensive in time, but cheap in money. Where are these places? In person, check the artist’s alley at your local conventions; you can browse portfolios (look at the art for sale) and ask artists about commissioning a custom cover, or buying the rights to use a piece they’ve already done as your cover.

Online, you can look at royalty-free stock sites. This is far cheaper than commissioning, as you pay one flat fee to download the art and use it as you wish in accordance with the terms of the rights agreement. This includes places like dreamstime, fotalia, photo morgue, istockphoto, etc. This option starts at free (morguefile), and then goes to around $6 – $20 USD.

Beware! For royalty-free sites, if you’re wildly successful and sell more than a set amount of books, you are legally obligated to return and purchase a higher circulation license. Also, you are not buying the right to put the image on things for sale – so selling posters, t-shirts, or mugs with your book cover is right out, legally! If you try to make money on an image in ways you did not purchase the rights for, especially that that you are not compensating the artist for, don’t be surprised if they come after you legally like you’d come down on a pirate site selling your books!

That said, it is by far the least expensive in money option.

3. Buy a pre-made cover from a designer. This already has the art purchased and the design work done, and costs less than custom because the designer did it on spec, hoping to catch a customer. All you have to do is tell them your author name, book title, and any minor tweaks if you want them, and it’s all done. This’ll take the time to skim designers, but starts at $50 USD.

Caveat! The designer got their work from somewhere, and all the restrictions on the rights they purchased still apply to you, when you buy from the designer! Also, make sure you’re buying the right to use, modify, and possess (there’s some more legal language, too, here) the cover design; If you hit bestseller, there should be no legal way for the designer to come back and demand more money, or assert legally that you don’t own the finished product and they can yank it. (It’s happened.)

Whatever you do, pay attention to which rights you buy or license. Not all artists, especially ones starting out, are savvy about this, just as not all authors are savvy about copyright, rights licensing, sub-rights, and territorial rights. The more rights you buy, the more expensive it’s likely to be – for example, artists will often retain the right to sell the image (and often retain the original painting, if it’s a physical painting, and sell it separately.) If you want exclusive use – nobody else can use this image – it’s going to cost more than if they retain the right to put it up on a royalty-free site and earn more money from other folks downloading it. If you want the right to merchandise – to sell posters, keychains, mugs, whatever with the image as part of your cover design, that’s going to be a fair chunk more, because now you’re directly competing with the artist’s main ways of earning income – namely, selling their image. And if you want to be able to sell the unaltered image – that is, to take their painting or design, and sell it yourself as though you were the artist – that’s going to cost you as much as the artist thinks they could make from that image over the lifetime of copyright. Protect yourself, protect the artist, and protect your ability to do friendly business in the future by learning about rights and making sure both parties are clear on who’s getting what before money changes hands.

Fiscally Conservative, Socially… Uh… by BILL READER

Fiscally Conservative, Socially… Uh…



Like every small-L libertarian everywhere, I am perpetually required to explain my beliefs to people who have me confused with one of the wide range of big-L Libertarian ideologies. And it was in one of these endless, unread letters to the internet about the difference between Anarcho-Syndicatilist-Voluntarist-Mocha-Grande-Double-Thunder-Signature-Homestyle-Extra-Crispy Libertarianism and libertarianism as practiced by sane people that I realized the classic representation of a generic libertarian to a person new to the term has changed. Or rather, it should change.

Now, doubtlessly many of you will have been quicker on the uptake on this point, but here is how the average layperson (who even knows what libertarianism is) hears about libertarianism: fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s heard that. Following the new Reason study on millennials, which found a profile somewhat matching that definition, there are tons of people concluding millennials are libertarians (Someone ought to study the effects of being endlessly over-examined and studied on a generation’s behavior. It didn’t do good things for boomers, I know that.).

Here’s the problem. As I was writing my rebuttal it suddenly fell on me that “Socially liberal” doesn’t mean what it used to. It used to mean well, in any case, it used to be plausibly interpretable as wanting the government to be uninvolved in social matters. But to the extent that the Democrats represent social liberalism anymore, here’s what it means now.

It means that I can force you to buy contraception, abortions, vasectomies, hysterectomies, sex-change operations and, really, anything else I deem even marginally related to sex, regardless of your personal moral beliefs. Out goes keeping the government away from the bedroom, in comes getting three government lobbyists and a tax inspector in on the action. Hope you bought a sturdy boxspring! Why do you have to buy these things? Because if it’s not subsidized it’s illegal. So why can’t I make you buy me guns, which I remind you I have an actual constitutional right to (I assure you the founders DID have prophylactics, even if they were made of leather, so we must assume the right to have them provided by the state was forgotten, not excluded)? But guns ought to be illegal, because why would you want guns anyway? It’s to kill black people, isn’t it? Shut up, racist.

It means that I can force churches, in even more blatant contravention of the first amendment, to marry gay couples. Never mind that the federal government, an institution whose only role should be mediation of interactions between states and representation of the states as a whole to the world, has no business in a wedding unless Maryland and Ohio get hitched. Marriage is all wrapped up in federal tax law, so in a parody of droit du segnoir, the government gets to participate in the entire life of both members in a married couple, forever. If you want to turn marriage over to contract law, which already has a country-wide body of legal precedent and which does not give a fig what the genders of the parties are, you’re homophobic and probably also sexist.

Speaking of which, it also means that you accept without question the claims of feminists, who of all the constituent parties of the left have gone the furthest off the deep end. Women’s rights is a pretty easy social issue. I believe women should have equal rights, the way I believe people of different races should have equal rights. Hell, it’s so basic I practically don’t even think about it. It’s like asking whether people have a right to breathe. But if you’re “socially liberal” then you see actual equal rights for women and minorities as sexist and racist. When a Democrat says equal rights for women, they mean throwing out sixth amendment rights for males, massive settlements in favor of women, believing that writing lengthy dissertations about the inherent evils of PIV is empowering and intellectual as opposed to jaw-droppingly insane (If you don’t know what that is, I wish I could see your expression when you Google it), and believing that rape culture is everywhere even as the definition of “rape” is reduced to feeling that someone has done something sexually inappropriate in your vicinity.

For that matter, believing that people of different races should have equal rights isn’t socially liberal any more. “Socially liberal” is believing people of different races are interchangeable widgets who can be hired according to quotas rather than competence, believing that disliking the president with arguably the worst economic and foreign policy record in living memory is purely because he tans well (to which I respond that Kerry, I’m sure, would have done just as badly, and I recall that he tans very poorly), and believing that wanting to protect our southern border is an act of racism rather than a defense of our cultural values (For that matter, it means throwing out the idea that a country even can have cultural values. And here I fear many of my fellow libertarians often wander into the weeds, especially the one-world, no-conflict crowd. It’s sad when even libertarians fail to understand the tragedy of the commons. But I could write an entire post about that, and if Sarah lets me, I may just.).

Even the little things don’t hold anymore. I want federal laws on marijuana taken off the books. As with marriage, it’s out of the government’s jurisdiction. And in all jurisdictions I believe it’s a silly thing to regulate, just as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are silly to regulate, but I at least respect the rights of citizens in individual states to say differently. Utah may well decide it wants to regulate alcohol and caffeine. Could it fairly be called a misrepresentation of the constituency in, say, Salt Lake City? Besides unless the government coerces states, as it does with the highway money to hold the drinking age where it is, there will always be a few states that allow marijuana. Democrats, to the extent they even do want action on marijuana legalization (the Obama administration, as in all things, talks a good game, but walks like it’s lame), would see it done through a federal amendment and the usual Washington pushing and pulling for general compliance. “Socially liberal” that may be, but a libertarian who turns around and asks for a centralized, top-down solution to a problem needs to examine the meaning of their terms.

I could go on forever, because the corruption of the Democratic party and, by extension, the public’s understanding of what “socially liberal” means has extended so deep an entire shelf of books could easily be written on the subject. Many of you will say it doesn’t matter. “Socially liberal” still means what it means regardless of how it’s used. I have a hunch you might also call yourself a “classical liberal”. I am forced to remind you again that you are misunderstanding how languages work. How words are used is primary and absolute in a language. Their technical definitions, as written in the dictionary, might as well be scribed in sand for all they mean beyond those pages. This is why languages known only through their written form are classified dead. Just as people who argue that “irony” should only be used in the strict theatrical sense are wrong, you too are wrong. You are dooming yourself to perpetually confusing those you communicate with and weakening your own ability to argue points over semantic disagreements. We both have an idea what “socially liberal” ought to mean, but I promise you that when we’re done hammering out the perfect definition between ourselves it will still mean the things I have said above to thousands of people out there. That, and many, many worse things, besides.

What am I, therefore? I am fiscally conservative and socially… well, socially libertarian. I believe in reserving to the states and to the people those rights and duties not clearly associated with mediating interactions between states and representing the United States as a whole to the world. I believe that, wherever possible, the individuals closest to an issue or, at worst, the state in which groups of individuals closest to an issue reside, should be allowed to decide on social issues. As a lodestar in that discussion I believe the best solutions will be the ones that involve the least paperwork, the least government interference, and the least litigation, but I also believe that groups and citizens alike are happiest, and find the best solutions fastest, when they are allowed to do things which I consider stupid. Because, ultimately, I am willing to admit that I am not omniscient, and suspect from history and from established patterns what the answers are, rather than knowing them absolutely. I am willing to let the laboratory of states take my hypotheses and test them. I do not demand 50 uncontested replicates of every idea, followed by endless press releases explaining the experiment was a success regardless of the actual results. I am many things. But I am no longer what we call a “social liberal”.

Writing Day

Which means I’m having trouble blogging.

Yesterday I ran all the way to the end of the novella, but then spent the night re-writing the climax in my head.  Which is something I do.

Discuss among yourselves?  Do women normally balk the ending fight/confrontation/climax?

This is something I do consistently — so consistently I know I need to “just finish anyway, then fix it.”  It seems to me a lot of the other female writers (some males too, but mostly females) don’t do this, so you have the big bad and then he vanishes and the creatures of the forest dance, or something.  Is it my imagination?  Is it only my sense this happens mostly among women?

Of course, for me, this is my peculiar form of ADHD.  I know the character is going to win and how, so I rush. I’ve come to realize the readers enjoy their slugging match, though.  I do when reading other people’s work.  So, I go back in and add another five thousand words.

Anyway, that’s where my head is right now and it makes it hard to blog.

Also today my computer is slow as molasses.  I might have to reboot, as it’s not keeping up with my typing.

And this morning, one of our Social Justice Warriors (not ours, mind you.  If they were ours as such, we’d trade them for bottles of cheap liquor and break every one) was whining about the Patriarchal society.  This from a woman who is a college professor of upper middle class background to whom everything has been given due to her gender, vestigial minority status (she’s lighter than I) and never ending whining.

Future historians are going to look at our society where the privileged and easy-living screamed they were discriminated against and think we’re crazier than we are.  And that’s saying a lot.

Has there ever been a society in which reality and the mental map to that society were so divorced?  And can we survive this?  I know they can’t survive if there’s a collapse, but can we if there isn’t?  At some point our elites and “intelligensia” are going to be legislating a unicorn in every pot and refusing to believe there are no unicorns.  What then?  They’re close enough to it now.

(Of course we say we take our technology and destroy their echo chamber strongholds in media and education and entertainment. We must do it.  It’s for survival.  It’s for the children.)

And so, this a non post that’s an excuse for a post.  Excuse me while I torture Lucius some more.  (Now with more broom-borne battles.)

If I become more compus mentis (AH!) as the day goes on, I’ll post again.  Meanwhile go over and show Kate some love at MGC.  She’s in her magnificent rant mode.

UPDATE: Two things I forgot.  Our very own Dorothy Grant pinged me this morning with an interesting thought — sinus infections and sinus meds seem to turn off the “writing thing” in most writers, which I suppose helps (to an extent) exonerate my not writing for a year or so, or at least not finishing much of anything, because the sinus she’s been terrible.

Speaker to Lab Animals and I have discussed for years this extra organ that compels us to create.  Something in the writers brain.  Apparently we were looking in the wrong place and we shall nose it out.

Second thing, while having breakfast I was reading an article about old phrase books with ancient phrases like “Help, my postillion was struck by lightning”

Two thoughts hit at once: first, wouldn’t it be hilarious to have a time traveler come back to our time with a weird phrase book that mixes 19th century tech and things not yet invented?  It’s so hard after all to know EXACTLY what the tech was at a certain place in time.  You’d think there would be time travelers just doing phrase collection for other, less learned, travelers, with things they might need to say.

The second was a phrase book to help when you travel magic and sf worlds.  Stuff like “I am a friend of Adam Selene.”  “Lazarus Long will not be happy with you.”  “The pig is wearing a dress.”  “Chrestomanci”  etc.

If I lie down and close my eyes, the ideas will go away, right?

Ow, my nose!

Future Awe

Let’s talk technology.

I’m generally technology optimistic, but the problem about tech is that pessimistic or optimistic, there’s so much we don’t and can’t know about how it will affect us/the future/what comes.

Take for instance the vast hand wringing and cringing that took place all over science fiction, after WWII and the atomic bomb. We were going to turn the planet into a wasteland. The consequences would be everything boiling/freezing to death. It was the end of the world as we knew it, and no one felt fine.

Granted, most of these writers were activists, pushing the blithering point of unilateral disarmament because they thought they were better red than dead and couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t agree. (Lack of fortitude is apparently one of those things that impairs your empathy.)

Now, in a way science fiction is supposed to be a way to think through the possible consequences of technology.

Okay, no, I’m not as delusional as the Social Justice Warriors. I don’t think that science fiction is some form of social work. Science fiction is first and foremost about stories and fun.


But as far as it as a separate genre has a function for the reading public at large it is to train us to think through the consequences of the introduction of a new tech. This will only be frontlined in hard sf, but it’s there in all sf. It might be in the background, about how environment-cleaning bacteria ate the world, or about how making artificial humans who are better than humans and raising them as slaves is a bad idea, but it will be there. Even if the story is about one of those humans learning to play the violin. (Looks surprised. Oh, I didn’t tell you I was working on that?)

But there are other built in assumptions and extrapolating of current trends, and while, in aggregate 90% of these will be incomplete and the rest plain wrong, there’s a chance that putting it all together you can get a good picture of what the future brings. Which is why so many people who read (used to read, maybe again) golden age SF were prepared to examine the future when it came at them fast and confusing, and therefore rose to various tops of several professions.

Then something went wrong and those people who’d rather be red than dead took over, and the field devolved into a bunch of people getting in the feeble position [intentional. I found it on a list of malapropisms and think it’s appropriate here] and screaming over and over how every new tech/advance was going to kill us all/destroy everything good in us, and it’s all the fault of western society/capitalism.

I’m not saying this is universal, mind you. There are of course, still some good stories out there. But the field as a whole has fallen off a cliff, which is too bad. It’s too bad because it leads to my running into people who tell me “I used to read science fiction, but then it got boring.”

Which means (other than “they’re right”) that we aren’t thinking through the consequences of this future which is not quite like any future that was predicted. We’re not imagining all the ripples that that rock, dropped in the pond, will have, down to the furthest edges.

Take something simple – Ah! – like personal computers and the internet. How much difference can it make? Think of your life 20 years ago. Think of everything you use the net for now, from finding a phone number to this humble blog, to the community that has developed around it. See the difference? Our favorite ritual in a new city (get lost, then find your back, several times) is gone, as is trying to figure out where to buy this or that while in a town for a weekend for a con. Thank heavens for GPS. And there’s of course making dead tree books pretty close to obsolete.

And it’s just started. I’m not the only one who works mostly from home. A lot of professions are moving that way, slowed only by the inevitable inertia that’s part of human habit and custom.

So, suppose many people (if not most) work remote – how will that affect society?

Just off the top of my head, people will move where real estate is cheapest, causing massive economic dislocation. People will also be more free to change jobs because you can get a job ANYWHERE and it doesn’t involve moving. Job competition just went global.

Then there are office buildings. What happens to those? Will they be left to rot? Turned into some kind of custom community? Both?

As someone who works mostly from home and has for almost twenty years, there are other things. For instance I tend to live in walking neighborhoods because it’s the only way I see people, and I do need to see people.

What effect will a change to many people telecommuting do to the social mores and customs?

If you think through it, just that, has a never-end of options to explore.

Of course if your default position is “all this is bad, and I’m going to sit in the corner rocking and crying and lamenting how tech has destroyed the world” you’re not contributing a lot that’s useful to the discourse.

Thank heavens there’s indies for that.

The future might (ah!) or might not be queer (and brief) but it is certainly infinite and incalculable. Let your mind run free and play in it.

Just Something In The Morning

I’ll post in an hour or so.  Some family stuff has come up that unexpectedly ate my morning.

BUT in the meantime, I came across this cover, from Random House:

Sell to the Majors!  You’ll get appealing and commercial covers…. Guys, his tail is square from bad clipping.  a piece of the mountain is in the middle of his back… Oh, wait, it’s not a tail, it’s a river tilted at  a completely different angle from the rest of the picture.

Way to go, Random Penguin!

Which brings us to this:

Fisking Hugh Howey

And this from it is the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a long time.  I read it aloud, and the tears ran down my face, because it’s out in the open, and I don’t have to keep it in anymore:

When in the Course of publishing events, it becomes necessary for writers to sever their ties with the industry that is supposed to have “nurtured” them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel those writers to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all writers should have an equal chance to find readers.
That their successes or failures should be dependent upon their own actions and their own choices. That they should be paid fairly for their work. That they should have control over the works they produce.
That they should have immediate and accurate access to their sales data. That they should be paid promptly. That they should not be restricted from reaching those who may enjoy their work. That whenever a publisher or retailer becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of Authors to abolish all connections with the offending parties.
The history of the legacy publishing industry is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over writers. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
They have given us take-it-or-leave-it, one-sided, unconscionable contracts.
They have failed to adequately market works they have acquired.
They have artificially inflated the price of ebooks.
They have refused to negotiate better ebook royalties for authors.
They have forced unnecessary editing changes on authors.
They have forced unnecessary title changes on authors.
They have forced crappy covers on authors.
They have refused to exploit rights they own.
They have refused to return rights they aren’t properly exploiting.
They take far too long to bring acquired works to market.
They take far too long to pay writers advances and royalties.
Their royalty statements are opaque, out-of-date, and inaccurate.
They orphan authors.
They orphan books.
They refuse to treat authors as equals, let alone with a reasonable measure of fairness.
They make mistakes and take no responsibility for those mistakes.
For every hope they nurture, they unnecessarily neglect and destroy countless others.
They have made accessories of the authors’ ostensible representative organization, the quisling Authors Guild, and are served, too, by the misleadingly named Association of Authors’ Representatives.
They have failed to honor promises made.
They have failed to honor their own onerous contract terms.
They’ve failed the vast majority of authors, period.
This blog has documented nearly every stage of these Oppressions, and in many cases offered solutions to publishers, and has been answered with only silence and derision.
But that’s okay. Because now authors have a choice.
I’ll sign it big and legible, so fat king Putnam can read it without his glasses!

The Wrecking Crew

I’m writing this post because I’m tired. As in “I’m sick and tired” and you know what that means in the mouth of a woman my age.

Now we live in dispiriting times – all times are dispiriting which is why religious people hold out for a transformational miracle that will make humanity get over its most trying faults – and sometimes it seems like the enemies of freedom are on the ascendant everywhere, and you should just lie down and give up the fight.

Which is exactly what they want you to do, and why they first took care to take over all the means of communication and even of entertainment, from the symbolic and visual to that involving story and ideas. Which is why they’re so terrified of parade floats out in the middle of nowhere.

They want you to feel isolated, hopeless, and like they’re geniuses bringing all their plans to fruition with perfect brilliance.

And people buy this. Most of you, judging by the comments on this Andrew Klavan piece.

I don’t often agree with Klavan. Or, no, that’s not precisely true. I don’t often agree with his approach or tone to things we at least in general agree on. However, that article was absolutely spot on, and perfectly right and it was a relief to hear it aloud outside my head.

If you need me to explain it, geniuses of planning and legislation aren’t in dire need of controlling every bit of their public image. This is why the US in the past was not very good at it, and why people in Europe thought life in the USSR must be better, because both countries were putting their best foot forward, right?

We didn’t care that much, because when people dealt with us up close, the truth became quite obvious. BUT the USSR had to control every bit of their propaganda so people wouldn’t guess at the rotting carcass of horrible that their system really was, and how bad they really were at planning.

In fact, taking over every form of mass media of any image-making stuff is always the first priority of leftist governments because they’re really fanatical putzes selling themselves as geniuses and because reality – that meany – inevitably fails to conform to their expectations.

Yes, I know, the vultures of doom will swoop into my comments like they swooped onto Klavan’s. There will be Alinsky this and rules for radicals that. And how it’s all working perfectly. PERFECTLY.

I’m not going to deny that this wrecking crew is running a job on our country. What I’m going to deny is that they’re geniuses or even that as much of a wrecking job as they’re doing is necessarily because they want it so.

(Sighs) Look guys, we’re dealing with red diaper babies, mostly. Red diaper babies are people who were brought up in communism as though it were a religion.

The problem with taking communism and putting it in the box marked religion is that it has all the characteristics of religion save for the redemptive factors. It stole the narrative of religion (and before the usual idiots yell at me that the people in the administration are socialists, not communists, bah. In Europe everyone who wasn’t a member of the two parties knew perfectly well the difference between them. “ Socialist is what communists say they are before they have absolute power.” They’re a Marxism of the same color) but without the transformational event (the return/arrival of the Messiah, the transformation of the world by divine power) what we get is a desperate attempt to try to fit their theological frame work to reality-as-it-is.

This is important to remember. Religious people fit their religious narrative to the world-plus-divine-grace or to an after life in which we’re all redeemed and beyond our worst dinosaurian tendencies.

The communists don’t. They just tell themselves that once evil – capitalism and profit – is removed from the world, humans will be different. (If you don’t think this is true, then you never read their tiresome nattering about Homo Sovieticus back when they still tried to justify their nonsense.) But capitalism (as in barter, trade and self interest) are intrinsic parts of being human and can’t be removed without killing society (and the humans that compose it.) And even then, capitalism and the humans that remain only go underground.

In this way Communism is akin to a religion that decided the human brain was the offending organ, without which we’d all live in unending bliss. The truth is that once you remove the brain the human no longer offends, because it no longer does anything but decompose.

So all of communism’s narrative: once there was a society of perfect sharing, without trade or self interest.>Capitalism somehow entered the world>Capitalism gets removed from the world >paradise ensues is a-priori and a-posteriori too, for that matter (they do a lot of pulling stuff out of their posteriori) a system of beliefs that denies reality. And the more the system fails in the real world, the more it denies reality. It has to, because the alternative is to stop believing in the system. And while people who “converted” as adults might be able to do this, or at least to come to a cynical position vis-à-vis communism, where they acknowledge its failures but still think it’s the best, or at least the best for them, people who have been raised in it CAN’T. They either walked away in adolescence or, if they stayed, if they’re the good kids who bought the whole thing hook line and sinker, walking away in mid-life would destroy them. It would break apart their entire ability to see an interpret things.

And that’s what we’re dealing with in the current administration. Sure, of course they’re destroying things on purpose. They’re convinced America is the embodiment of capitalism, and once it’s removed from the world equality and flowers will ensue. Everything they were taught (yeah, the progressives took over education LONG ago) tells them so. So, yeah, they’re taking Alinsky’s methods and destroying everything with remarkable success.

In fact, they’re succeeding beyond their wildest dreams.

You see, they didn’t want to destroy EVERYTHING. They want to make sure they and the other “good people” remain in control, which means they want to discredit capitalism, while making people believe in the benevolent hand of (their) government and the caring of people like them for “the little people.”

And at that they’re failing spectacularly. Because they’re not geniuses. They’re poor, foolish deluded fanatics, who have been sold a line of bull.

Look, guys, their first attempt at the proletarian revolution was Occupy Wall Street. They are so out of touch with reality that they thought once the economy started pinching we’d all join goons who poop on police cars and camp in parks, to put the hurt on the 1%. Because the economy is a closed system, and if they have that much, they stole it from us, and we know it, and for years, we’ve been seething and wanting to take it back. So once someone pointed the inequity to us, we’d just jump on it, right?

Their attempt at gun control involved flooding Mexico with American guns, so that Americans would give up their guns, so that Mexicans wouldn’t kill each other with the guns. (Like the guns are some form of totemistic animal that kills on its own.)

They really, really, really expected their foreign policy to work, too. Because of course, other countries are less capitalist and therefore “peace loving.” They expected that raising Muslim self-esteem would stop Muslim aggression, too. Because they think of the world as sort of a really large kindergarten and they believe bullies bully because they lack self esteem.

There is no contact between their beliefs and reality. If what they believed were true, then they’d get the results they want, but they don’t get those results and can’t figure out what’s wrong, because they can’t question their foundational beliefs.

The current attempt to flood the country with the very young and very poor of Southern parts of the Americas is an exceedingly gifted clusterf*ck that tells you they’ve completely lost their grip on reality. They gained it long enough to figure out that the poor of Latin America were no longer coming in like they used to and are in fact leaving, thanks to their craptastic handling of the economy. This could not be allowed, because, well, you know, the proletarians of the third world are supposed to come in and take over America and make it VIBRANT because that’s what’s supposed to happen. The brown people are supposed to inherit the Earth because exploited. (There isn’t much sense in any of it. They’re religious beliefs, meant to be taken on faith.)

So they’ve engineered it to bring in waves of “children” because they know Americans like children and have trouble turning them away.

I’m not sure what they expect to happen, but if I had to guess, as far as vote fraud goes they might have a point. They’re bringing in that many warm bodies with no right to vote, but the ability to vote anyway, unless we get serious about voter fraud.

But I don’t think that’s their plan. I think their plan is fuzzy and strange and hinges on “they’re brown, so socialism will work with them.”

As someone who tans and who when tanned can give our president a run for the money on the “brown” stakes: You are mistaken. This is as crazy as all your other beliefs.

What I see coming of this ranges from the truly epic blow up at the polls and a serious determination to police voter IDs, to a financial crash and actual civil conflagration. (Why conflagration, nor war? Because I think it will be very, very short. It’s entirely possible Obama thinks bringing in Latin teenagers means he has shock troops, but the fact is that untrained, undisciplined teenagers will melt if people get serious about defending themselves. And people will if it comes to blows.)

In any case, most of these children, I suspect, will end up leaving again, voluntarily, particularly as the economy gets worse (and if you think it’s getting better, there’s this bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. It’s cheap. We’re only getting rid of it because we don’t like the paint job. We only used it to go to church on Sundays.)

Which is how progressives are not, nor have ever been geniuses. I don’t doubt some of them have high IQs (though not certain people who carefully hide all such information) but they are unable to see reality because of their ideology. And when you can’t see reality, what you’re employing your reasoning skills on is a dream that makes a mockery of your logic.

To buy into the narrative that they’re destroying everything because they’re geniuses and everything is going according to plan is to be as delusional as they are.

Things aren’t going according to their plan, and they’re destroying everything because given their beliefs they can’t HELP destroying everything. When their beliefs meet reality, poverty and misery ensue. It’s what they do.

But that doesn’t mean that after that they can build their thousand year progressive reich. The ultimate far-off longevity of these systems seems to be seventy years, give or take, after which they devolve into either crony capitalism or hereditary monarchies. And even those probably wouldn’t subsist without the existence of the United States as an engine of prosperity keeping some stability and enough material goods that even broke ass countries stay afloat.

Making the leap from “They’re destroying everything” to “they’ll win” is sort of like saying “the wrecking crew has demolished the hovel. They’ll now build a skyscraper.” It’s two very different sets of skills and mind sets needed for each phase.

Our daft rulers don’t care about it, because they “know” the result of their actions. You destroy capitalism, perfect communism ensues, world without end.

But that has never worked anywhere except in their religious tracts. In fact, it is the remnants of capitalism (as in black market etc) that keep communism afloat to the extent it floats. Oh, and help from capitalist countries.

So, yeah, the current wrecking crew are going to leave us standing in the middle of the rubble. And it’s going to hurt like h*ll. That’s what happens when you give leftist-theocrats the run of the real world.

But they’re destroying EVERYTHING, even the things they care for. And their importing of young people won’t save them because most of these young people aren’t the destitute peasants of their imagination. Frankly, most young people come here for the goodness of Capitalist America and the benes of the unrestrained welfare state (they don’t know the two are antithetical.)

Once the later crashes the first, they leave.

And then? And then we rebuild. We have to.

Because that’s what we do. They wreck. We rebuild.

We’re the building crew. Can we build from this? Oh, sure. We’ll find a way. Once they’re done, their solutions will be discredited for at least a generation. (It’s too much to hope they’ll be discredited forever, though it could happen.) And then we can clear away the mess and work. Some of us are working already and build under.

They’re not geniuses. And to be fair, neither are most of us. But we have experience living in reality, not in some Marxist fairytale. And so we can see cause and consequence.

Which is not a bad foundation for a society.

Be not afraid!

In the end, we win, they lose.


A Call to Action – Amanda Green

A Call to Action – Amanda Green


There’s been a joke running around the members of Mad Genius Club that some of have been upset not to be named among the “world’s worst” or the “world’s most evil” by those folks who not only seem to bow down and worship at the feet of traditional publishing but also those who are so quick to condemn anyone who is a white male of a certain age or, basically, anyone who doesn’t agree with them. We’ve had some fun in posts where we’ve challenged the SJW and GHH sets over their demands that we all cling to their visions of what is politically and socially correct. The problem is, they have completely missed not only the point but the boat to the point.


To start, those of us in the United States still live in a country where we can express our opinions – within certain guidelines – without fear of recrimination. They want to stop this. If we aren’t sensitive to their victimhood, we need to be silenced. We are a danger to them, it seems, and so we must be muzzled and re-educated. What they don’t get is that the harder they try to silence us, the louder we will become. Further, they will find that there are a lot more who believe as we do than they ever expected. Why? Because we’ve been polite and patient for much too long. We’ve let them talk over us and step on us. Instead of fighting back, we’ve kept our heads down and done our jobs. We haven’t claimed our victimhood and proclaimed it to the skies.


Things started changing for so many of us in the publishing industry when there was finally a viable alternative to traditional publishing available to us. No longer did we have to keep our mouths shut about how we felt for fear of having our options dropped or of being blackballed in the industry. Still, it was a slow journey into the light. We’d hidden our political beliefs for so long and had been so indoctrinated with the belief that admitting we were libertarian or – gasp – conservative would lose us readers.


But then events started happening that pushed us to the point where we could no longer hold our tongues. Looking around, authors who had been hiding in the political closet for so long saw the new indie authors saying what they thought in social media and on their blogs. Looking at the best seller lists on Amazon, hearts beat a little faster and a spark of hope flared to see authors who shared the same libertarian values these long-silent authors held not only selling their books but selling well.


The breaking point for many came when SFWA declared war on Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg and suspended the operation of the Bulletin when some of the more vocal of the SJWs and GHHers cried foul over some columns written by Resnick and Malzberg and a chicks in chainmail cover. The oh-so-delicate GHHers were insulted by Resnick and Malzberg reminiscing on how, years ago, they thought a female editor was attractive in her swimsuit. You see, that was sexist. They’d never say that about a man. Victimhood in action!


What is so funny about all this is that the vast majority of authors at Mad Genius Club are female and proud of it. Yet all of us, and Sarah in particular, have been attacked for not being true to our sex. I guess we are supposed to embrace our victimhood and wear it like a badge of honor. Sorry but not only no but hell no. I am not a victim because I choose not to be one. I know how to handle a man who treats me disrespectfully, just as I know how to deal with a woman who does the same thing. I don’t want a hand up – or a hand out – just because of my sex.


But that isn’t the way the game is played, at least not by the other side, and not just when it comes to what gender we happen to be. The latest salvo by them comes not because we have tried to silence them – we haven’t. We’ve been too busy pointing out the lack of logic in their arguments and laughing at them. No, the latest salvo comes because, gasp, someone dared publish a list of “21 Conservative Writers to Read at the Beach”. Included in that list are authors like Larry Correia, Col. Tom Kratman, John Ringo, and our own Kate Paulk and, of course, Sarah.


Oh the howls of outrage. How dare anyone publish a list of – gasp – conservative authors. Why, that sort of list ought to be hidden from view for fear the impressionable minds of our young might be contaminated by their evil values. Independent thought, capitalism, individuality, tenacity, patriotism are all, apparently, values that we shouldn’t be proclaiming. Or maybe it’s just the fear that there might be heterosexual males of the anglo persuasion and women who love them that scares the other side. Frankly, if it wasn’t so sad to know that there are folks who are actually worried by lists like this, it would be funny. Next thing you know, they’ll be suggesting books written by these authors be burned.


Oh, wait, they have already basically done that when they “suggested” that Toni Weisskopf rein in Larry Correia and his attempt to “stuff” the Hugo ballot box. Of course, Larry did no such thing. All he did was what others, including darlings of the SJW ilk, have done for years. He published his list of authors/works he was going to vote for and encouraged others to consider doing the same. But, you see, that’s wrong when you aren’t of the “right way of thinking”.


So now we have the list of 21 conservative authors and the howls of outrage have gone out. The first I saw of it was on the internet where there were collective vapors being suffered by the delicate flowers of the GHH crowd. I could almost picture them in their hoop skirts sitting in the shade, fanning themselves. The only problem with that is it is an insult to all the true Southern ladies. Those ladies have spines of steel. They may speak softly but they make the big stick carried by Teddy Roosevelt look like a twig.


Then my attention was directed to Twitter. Now, I hate Twitter. It is a time sink I just don’t want to get involved with. However, this time, I read with a mix of disbelief and amusement as two of the GHH/SJW crowd decided it was time to teach us the error of our ways, or at least to warn the rest of humanity away from us.


It began with a tweet from Damien Walter, he of the Guardian infamy, tweeted that he might just do a column on “scifis [sic] most crazy, fascist authors” and he asked for nominations. Cora Buhlert responded with “Kratman, Wright, VD, Correia, the entire Mad Genius Club, prepper fic authors, anybody in that Buzzfeed article.”


Those of you who follow Mad Genius Club probably remember Ms. Buhlert. She came to my attention back in February when she misconstrued something Kate had written and ran with it, condemning Kate and anyone who agreed with her because, you know, Vox Day is evil, SFWA is wonderful and GHHers ought to rule the world. Well, to be fair, she didn’t say the last but pretty much implied it. Needless to say, both Kate and I responded. You can see my post here and Kate’s here.


Obviously, we must have hurt her feelings because now, according to her, we are fascist. At least that is the inference based on the Twitter conversation between her and Damien. Now, I find it rather amusing in a sad sort of way that someone living in Germany, someone who I would expect has some knowledge of history, doesn’t know the definition of fascist. But, in case she happens to wander over here and sees this post, let me help her out.


From Miriam-Webster Online, fascism is defined as:

a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government


Funny, I don’t remember a time when Sarah or any of the other authors listed have said their way of belief is the only right way. They haven’t said the SJWs and GHHers shouldn’t be allowed to write their message fiction. What they, and the rest of us, have said is that they are tired of being told what to write by the powers that be in New York. They are tired of being told by a vocal minority that they should write only about certain types of people and that having male heroes who are white and heterosexual is wrong.


But they, and we, are the fascists because we won’t silence ourselves. We speak out against those who condemn us. We refuse to accept our victimhood, much less proclaim it and demand concessions because of it. We would rather forge our own way in the world, teaching our children how to stand strong and proud.


In my darkest times, I have visions of a country where the SJWs and the GHHers rule. Writers of uplifting fiction, those who tell stories readers want to read, will have to go underground. Our stories will be whispered in the dark of night because the PC police will come to confiscate our manuscripts and take away our keyboards. We’ll find ways to smuggle our stories to hackers who will put them online in parts of the internet most folks don’t want to know about. But those who don’t want to give in to tyranny will find a way. Just as the Soviet dissident authors found ways to smuggle their works out of the then Soviet Union, we, too, will find ways to get our stories out.


Then reality hits and I hope things won’t get that bad. I look at the best seller lists on Amazon and elsewhere and see more and more of the stories I want to read making those lists and fewer and fewer of the message fiction there. Then I look at outlets like Liberty Island – which has also come under attack from the other side for, gasp, being conservative – and I have hope.


Besides, when the other side has such a poor grasp on reality, we really can’t accept their claims of supremacy and let them win. I don’t know about you but when I was growing up, my parents taught me not to bow down to bullies. I didn’t do it then and I have no plans to do it now. I might be battered and bruised some as a result, but I’m willing to pay that price to write – and to read – what I want. Can you say the same?




The State of the Writer’s State

So, in case you wonder why there wasn’t a chapter yesterday and there isn’t one at MGC now — I’ve been fighting something since Liberty con.  I very much hope it’s JUST allergies, but if so they’re bad ones.  I really need to figure out a more airtight closure to that vent in the basement.  Reason for thinking it’s allergies is that it actually gets better if I go for a walk.

Also, I haven’t had the time to go over the previous chapters of either Rogue Magic or Elf Blood, and without it I”m going to make a mush of the thing.

I am however going to go back and make Rogue Magic 3rd person.  It will be third person close-in as Witchfinder is, so the personalities still come through but we’re not bouncing head to head.  With unreliable narrators that can get downright dizzying, which is why I think I’ve only had about $40 in donations for RM compared to about that multiplied by 100 from Witchfinder at this similar point in the game.

I purely hate skipping chapters but I MUST concentrate on the overdue novella and novels and I’m starting to have serious doubts about my sanity, or what passes for it in a writer, as I never had so much trouble finishing anything — and I mean anything, as nothing but a few shorts have been finished since February last year — in my life.

I keep being afraid I’m broken, but I think it was last year’s illnesses, overwork and now stress.  The illness meant that I did finish Thorugh Fire, but it was … vacated of emotion.  I’m fixing that now, hopefully.

Overwork — well, now you know why I’m not writing for PJM except the joint column with Charlie once a week.  I would much prefer to have kept that job, because it was regular money, but it wasn’t enough money when rewrites and recastings were eating most of the week.

Then there’s stress.  We need to move out of this house, which, because I can’t stage a house I’m living in means renting something else — something that has proven impossible in Denver and Col Springs.  (the requirements are different for each city mind.)

I’m about 1/10th packed and trying to weed out books, the current criteria for them being that I keep the signed ones, the ones I hope get signed (i.e. most Baen books) and the research books (I have no clue why, but I can’t research on electronic books.  Possibly the fact that by the time I’m ready to write a book my research books look like little porcupines with all those stick-on tags.)  The rest is either being donated, dispersed to friends or sold used.

This will hopefully allow us to move to a smaller house, and one with less household dust.  Though it’s looking like the house can’t go on sale till around Spring next year.  (Shrug.)  This will probably cost us money, but I simply don’t see the way around it, particularly since the hail storm caused damage we didn’t see, and which will have to be fixed.

Most of this — except some painting within reach — is going to mean hiring professionals, but the problem is that process takes time, as does supervising them.

Which brings me to the trip to Portugal this summer, which of course mom has been agitating for for a year, and which I’m not sure I can take at all.

To some extent, she has a point in that I normally go every three years and I’d promised to be there for her 80th birthday.  But the way things have gone, between paying our taxes and being left more or less flat broke; trying to catch up on the writing that didn’t happen last year, and now the storm… I have no idea how to fit that time into my already overloaded year.  All this not helped by mom’s demands that I come for a month or it’s not worth it, or her suggestion that Dan doesn’t need to come so I stay longer.  (The problem isn’t Dan, though he can only stay two weeks or so.  The problem is me.  Mom refuses to have internet in the house, and I can’t be away from the blog, let alone my other obligations for a month.  Also, I can’t write while I’m there.  Oh, okay, in theory I can.  I mean, she always tells me I can.  But in practicality she’s worse than my kids or my cats whom the keyboard clicking sends into some sort of emergency that needs my help.)  All this said, I might have to have a tough talk with her about the realities of time and money this year, and explain I HOPE we can make it next year, but even that is far from certain.  It’s “no emergency occurring” — which right now seems pretty impossible — and everything money going just right, which ditto.  OTOH if I don’t make it over and something happens to dad who is the sole survivor of his siblings, I’ll never forgive myself.

I buy lottery tickets (at least once every three months) but the idiots keep drawing the wrong numbers.  You’d think it was an easy task.

Okay — enough whining.  But that stress, combined with the stress of feeling like I need to be at least three people even to just do the weekly column, the daily blog, the publishing of old stuff and the writing of new one is driving me nuts.

For instance revenue on Witchfinder is falling, as I’m pushing the time to have a sequel out — and the next book, The Haunted Air — is writing itself in my head, starting with a crazy woman running away from her evil step mother by rapelling down the wall of a castle in the clouds (but not your usual castle in the clouds, since she’s on Earth) realizing that the rope is too short, making a quick spell and spilling into Michael’s boat… Which is aloft at the time, since he just figured out how to make small craft fly without carpets.  They’re both seventeen, so it will probably get classed as YA.

BUT I’m still catching up on Baen books which are overdue (And btw rewriting is way harder than writing) and I’m trying to pack a house and it means that when I’m not doing one of those things, I feel guilty.  Since I can’t do them all three at once…

Other things that I feel guilty about are not feeding the subscribers in their space and skipping chapters.

And now we’re back to the beginning.

I honestly don’t know how to stop having freakouts and channel the energy to writing.  Only I’m not a mistress of oriental (or even occidental) disciplines, so it doesn’t seem to happen.

Ah well.  Thank you for letting me blubber all over you.  I’m now going to pull my head out of… uh… and go finish the novella, then finish the novel, hopefully this week, so that I can do the other novel for Baen, so I can do the indie novel.

Who knows?  By December my life could be back on track.  It could happen.

And that’s the state of the writer.  For now.  Stupid, with hopes of improving.

UPDATE: the lovely Shadowdancer has made me two designs, one for Carpe Carp and one for “I was Carped” as well as one for “born to be Hun” and “born to be Hoyden” suitable for baby gifts for our ever exploding Hun tribe.  If I get time this weekend (could happen.  Dan would do it, but he’s working his secondary job this weekend) I’ll upload them to the zazzle shop, together with the Usaian one and the gods of the copybook headings one.  Fingers crossed I actually have time.

Look up in the sky! It’s a bunch of books!

Good day, one and all! We have some lovely books for you this weekend, both repeats and new releases. No other real news for the Hunnish Hordes at the moment, so go enjoy your weekend, read some good books, and stay out of the heat if you can! As always, future promo post entries can (and should!) be sent to my email. Happy reading!

Jason Dyck, AKA The Free Range Oyster

Dragons Rescued, Curses Polished, Evil Princesses Thwarted, and Pans Repaired While You Wait

Alma Boykin

Elizabeth of Vindobona

Book Three of the Colplatschki Chronicles

The fate of the Empire rests with Elizabeth von Sarmas.

In the ten years since she fled to the Eastern Empire, Countess Colonel Elizabeth von Sarmas has risen to be one of Emperor Rudolph’s most skilled commanders. Ably assisted by Lady Ann Starland and Lazlo Destefani, she’s fended off the amorous attentions of Archduke Lewis, thus far. But after losing a political battle, Elizabeth and her men find themselves at the wrong end of the Empire when disaster strikes. Court intrigue and surprise proposals fade into nothing when the Turkowi launch a do-or-die assault on the Empire.

And King Laurence has one last dagger in his sleeve, one that may accomplish what ten years of warfare could not.

Laura Montgomery

Manx Prize

In the second half of the twenty-first century, when Charlotte Fisher was just thirteen, orbital debris took its first large-scale human casualties from an orbiting tourist habitat. Haunted by visions of destruction and her father’s anguish, as a young engineer Charlotte follows in his footsteps and determines to win a prize offered by a consortium of satellite and orbitat operators for the first successful de-orbiting of space junk. Her employer backs these efforts until the reentry of a piece of debris kills two people, and she and her team are spun off to shield the parent company from liability. With limited resources, a finite budget and the unwanted gift of a lawyer who, regardless of his appeal, she doesn’t need, she must face a competitor who cheats, a collusive regulator, and the temptations dangled by the strange and alluring friends of a powerful seastead.

Currently on Kindle Countdown!

T.K. Naliaka

In Time of Peril

The Decaturs Book 1

Raised most of his life in the challenging expanses of West Africa, young Chris Decatur has returned to the United States for college, leaving behind dunes and nomads for the quiet halls of academia. Studying the American Revolution, Chris and his classmates embark on a reenactment trip to Upstate New York and New England. A week of hiking and learning, accompanied by a few reenactment volunteers and Chris’s knowledgeable father, Robert, should be an entertaining excursion.

But even the backwoods are no refuge from the dangers of the world. The group stumbles on a terrorist plot in the works and the students are taken hostage as the mysterious plan unfurls. As Chris faces an ordeal of brutal fighters, uncooperative classmates, deadly threats and a battle of wits against ruthless foes, Robert Decatur risks everything in a daring pursuit to rescue his son from the hands of evil.

Joseph Collins

Kill Code

A Former Assassin: Leo Marston is done with long-distance murder and he’ll do anything to keep it in his past even if he has to make one final kill shot.

A Dead Man: Nathan White seeks revenge from the grave—or so it seems when the computer program he wrote prior to his death begins a systemic killing of prominent government officials whom White has deemed enemies of the state.

A Woman in Trouble: Jackie Winn—White’s co-worker and former lover—unknowingly activates the Kill Code program… and then becomes a target herself.

A Fight to the Death: Leo and Jackie form an uneasy alliance in a dangerous attempt to disable the Kill Code program and stop the Black Hand—a group of cunning, professional assassins following the program’s directives—from murdering the government officials as dictated by White’s crazed plan.

The very fabric of society as we know it hangs in the balance as Leo and Jackie discover what they are made of and risk their lives to defeat the the seemingly undefeatable…