Saturday Morning This And That

Yesterday I spent a considerable amount of time fighting software which meant that I didn’t do much productive.  This was rendered more “fun” by the fact that thunder kept cutting our internet out.  Unfortunately that means as soon as I’m done here I need to go do litter boxes and general dusting.  I cleaned the kitchen while making coffee, which is probably against the Geneva conventions, but we had too many dishes from dinner to actually fit in one load, so it had to be done.

Speaking of which, have dishwashers gotten smaller, or is it my imagination?  The external size takes about the same, but I swear fewer dishes fit in dishwashers today than did thirty years ago.  Is this a memory caused by my getting older (In my day, sonny, we had DISHWASHERS.  Now you have shoeboxes!) or what?  The only way I can figure for them to have shrunk would be better insulation so that it reaches higher temps with lower electricity.  But in that case, like the low flush toilets, it’s misguided because you have to run it twice, which makes it worse.  End of digression – well this digression.

So, once I’m done here, there’s the boxes, and the dusting and the vacuuming and I need to go out and spray weed killer out there – my life is that exciting, yes.

After that, I will do some hours of editing Witchfinder and maybe actually finish it so editor can get it.

Which brings us to…

I’ve got back No Will But His edited, have gone over it and am in the process of getting it ready to put up.  It’s very easy with Atlantis and Sigil, although being html er…  — can I say retarded, in reference to myself?  Because that’s the only thing that describes my relationship with html.  My kids look at me when I say “I can’t edit html” as if I’d just confessed to being unable to feed myself.  (Ah, well, think how much fun it will be in another thirty years.  “What do you mean you can’t zoom, mom?  Everybody can zoom.  My five year old can zoom.  You just warble the govars, and you’re zooming.”) – if I find an error in Sigil I have to take it back to Atlantis to fix, but it’s not a big deal.  (Anyone making Atlantis – if you figure out how to make it open the ebooks/mobi you just created, you have a winner. It can take you from minor to major leagues, and heck, Microsoft will probably buy you.)

Anyway, we’re now trying to figure out if we need to buy ISBNs (yes) and under which identity to buy it – it’s complicated – because we need to get the 1k ISBNs and even I can’t exhaust those in ten years.  (Dan thinks I can.  I’m not sure that’s cute or scary.)  Then I’ll need to contract out typesetting due to a ban totale (imagine that with a Spanish accent) on Adobe products on our machines instituted by the man who says they’re dirty software that can’t be removed.  (Adobe, you’re a dirty, dirty girl – never mind.  The exciting lives of programmers.)

That’s on the slate later tonight, as well as working on the publicity workshop I’m taking.

The Human Wave Garage sale had interesting results.  I had fewer free downloads than previously, and fewer sales than most of the participants, but since then I’ve sold ten of Wings at full price.  (!)

Now keep in mind all the books I put up I had either had for free before, or had been in the free library.  Curiously I had free downloads in every country BUT Spain.  (Go figure.)

Anyway, another uptick since the collection was advertised in Book Plug Friday, so clearly that helps.

Other than that I’m all at sea about how to publicize, which is why I’m taking Dean Smith’s workshop.

My sales overall are very weird this first week of the month.  Normally I have half a dozen short stories, but this week ALL I have is two of the Marlowe short stories, one in England and one here.  The rest is the novel or collections – none of which makes any sense.  Perhaps the price point for short stories has changed again, though I can’t believe it’s up from 2.99.

Further on the slate today is actually getting some stuff up on Kobo and doing an All Romance account for Goldport Press.  I’m still not sure on that one, since now the only nominal romance I have is No Will but His.  People who think that Draw One In The Dark is a paranormal romance are misleading both themselves and potential readers.  People who read PNR would throw Draw against the wall because PNR is the most sex-soaked of the romance genres.  But more than that, the structure is adventure not romance, although because I’m establishing the couple who will carry the series, there is romance.  And because they’re both young and broken, it’s DORKY romance.  (Yes, I know someone in comments will mention a dork is a whale penis.  Yes, yes, let the games begin.)

So, I’m not sure that I’ll ever write much else that can be classed as romance, even at a stretch, but the madman I live with tells me I can do the rest of the Queens and my distaff side war of the roses and – yeah, let the games begin.

Anyone have a spare head and a couple of hands?  I need to double my production.

UPDATE: Oh, yeah, and the musing I didn’t put in.  Are writers emotional vampires?  Was talking to friend last night about how I now want to write the Red Baron as dragon story and I explained that what attracts me is the emotional pain caused by the contradiction about how dignified and well buttoned-up the man is, and the situations the dragon ends up in or puts him in — as well as the inherent fact that the dragon is considered a repulsive (and illegal) shape for a human to assume.  (All shapes are other than human, but you know what I mean.)  This generates such an amount of pain and fracturing that it makes the character irresistible.  And then it hit me “Oh my heavens, we’re emotional vampires, torturing the characters for our fodder.”  I’m adding this to my “Creepy facts about writers.”  Because you know, me, Sarah Hoyt, not the writer, I’m a rather compassionate being who will go out of her way not to hurt people and who will even try to avoid striking back at enemies unless in self-defense.  (If you REALLY p*ss me off, I won’t help you when you’re in desperate in.  But I feel guilty NOT helping.  — and to be honest most of the time the help I DON’T give is help I can’t give to people I don’t trust.  Like, I can’t recommend you to my editor.  BUT I will give you bread if you’re starving, of course. Yes, even if I want to beat you with hammers.  Because I repressed the beating people with hammers thing early, and humans as humans still deserve my compassion.)  But the writer?  Sarah A. Hoyt — THE WRITER — is a stone cold bitch.  Particularly for characters.

My feeling seems to accord with a post on FB by Michael Grant this morning, dealing with his own uneasiness at being a writer — uneasiness I’ve also described as well:

I don’t write, you know. Some guy who lives in my head writes. I just set the table for him. I feed him. Sometimes he does what I ask, and sometimes he goes away. So I show him pictures and hope to get his attention. And then, like today, he appears and says, Here you go, Michael, here’s your book. This is the story. See how it makes sense now? See how fucking easy that was?

This is exactly why for so long I resisted becoming a writer. I knew that was the deal, that I would be a step out of phase, not be part of but apart from. Like I was ever part of. Like I wasn’t always this person, this lurker. Yeah.

I’m a fucking alien, an anthropologist. None of these people becomes a character in my books, they just feed data to the algorithm. I drink and watch and steal an expression here, a clothing choice there, a strong tanned leg, a pale face, a sigh, a too-loud laugh. I think of a funny line. I whip out my laptop. Idea: tattoos that reveal souls. Idea: The old feasting on the memories of the young.

And if you’re dying for a less scattered post, Peter Grant is up at MGC with Sam The Sex God.

245 responses to “Saturday Morning This And That

  1. I think the current term of art is “HTML-Impaired” — often referred to as HTML-I. You may have received telemarketing calls from folks raising funds to fight the horrors of HTML-I; now you know what that is about.

    Only thirty-five cents a day, less than the price of a tall coffee at Starbucks, can help save young mothers from the stigma of HTML-I, please, please give all you can afford.

    • Dorothy Grant

      Sarah, I’m hearing RES saying this to a Caro Emerald soundtrack. … It’s trippy. And all your fault. hey, it makes the day far more interesting. Thanks!

  2. Anyone have a spare head and a couple of hands? I need to double my production.

    I promised Beloved Spouse I would resist slaying the wounded, and the jokes that line provokes would violate most civilized accords, employing techniques perfected by Alfred Hitchcock and Groucho Marx.

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I thought you had three dishwashers, Dan and the boys. [Wink]

    I don’t know about the dishwashing machines as the last one we had broke and my parents went with the human (or semi-human) dishwashers. [Smile]

    Now if the dishes need to be washed, I’m the only dishwasher. (Don’t trust Mom to do them correctly).

    • Rob Crawford

      I bet the internal volume of dishwashers has shrunk as they’ve gotten quieter and “greener”. More insulation to hold in heat and noise.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I know that the dishwasher in my kitchen holds less than the portable one I rented when I lived in the previous house, but that’s because the rented one had the silverware rack on the door, and this one has it taking up space in the bottom rack. Also, the bowl holding pins in the top rack are too close together, so I can’t set them in there properly.

  4. The excess ISBNs shouldn’t be a problem. You have fledgelings to sell them to at a small markup which is still much cheaper than they can get them on their own

    • Alternatively, you can hawk them (excess ISBNs, not fledglings) at cons. (Imagines Sarah in a trenchcoat, lurking around the edges of a con, calling out hoarsely “Hey kid, you wanna buy an ISBN?”)

    • They can’t be sold. They can be revoked if you sell them.

      • Can you rent them out? Donate them to charity?

        Obviously this is all part of the manipulation of the regulatory climate by Big Publishing, seeking to control what we are able to read!

        If you only use 250 of them and the cost of the lot of 1K is still cheaper than it would cost to buy the 250 you need, buy the 1K and let the excess rot.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          IMO no need to “have them rot”. If (as I assume) Sarah purchases them for “Goldport Press”, then if she has too many then she could offer to publish other people’s stories via “Goldport Press” and use them for other people’s stories via Goldport.

          • Sarah, I bought my batch as “Pamela Uphoff” and six months later, changed that to “Iron Ax Press” with a simple email. No hassle.

            I don’t know, however, if you can swap just some of them to a new romance imprint, or if it’s all or nothing. Perhaps you need an over arching “I can _too_ be a major publishing house with with several imprints” name to buy the ISBNs.

            I suppose Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt and Hoyt would sound like lawyers. So perhaps something amusingly rude in Portugese.

            • We have to incorporate anyway — are sort of in the middle of rearranging to do that properly.

            • “I suppose Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt and Hoyt would sound like lawyers.”

              On the other hand, the corporate anthem writes itself.

              • you forgot a Hungadunga? The most important one too!

                (Now Groucho is stuck in my head)

              • Hoyt Stuff.

                Too Hoyt to Handle. (Find someone named “Handel” for bonus points.)

                I like it Hoyt.

                Some like it Hoyt.

                Peas Porridge Hoyt.

                Four Alarm Fire.

                • Hoyt to Trot. (bonus if horse or unicorn books are published under this)

                  Hoyty-toity.

                  Hoyt Bites.

                  Hoyter-n-Hell.

                  Of course if you marry off one of the boys you can grow to a Five Alarm Fire.

                  • Sarah thinks horses are carnivorous. I really don’t think Hoyt to Trot would turn out well.

                    • Sarah THOUGHT horses were carnivorous when she was little.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Well, there ARE legends of some sort of horselike creatures that are carnivorous, aren’t there?

                    • There are legends of horses who feed on human flesh — I’m trying to remember the myths, specifically — from both Greece and and Ireland, but it’s not a widespread one. Not to say it might not have been part of grandma’s background and passed on to me before three or so, which would explain why I refused to go out when there was a horse on the street (a lot. It was still a form of transportation in the village. Probably on a par with cars, of which there were very few.) WEIRDLY this didn’t extend to donkeys. I loved the donkey of the oil-and-olives seller, who wore a hat. I sometimes got to feed him carrots, and I loved that.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Took a while for me to remember it well enough to find this one – Stasheff put it in The Warlock Unlocked, when they were in the alternate universe.

                    • Kelpies.

                      I find the idea of considering horses to be meat eaters totally understandable– especially if you’ve seen a nasty one that bites.

                      There’s a reason my godfather, and parents, refuse to have a mean horse around. You don’t have even a casually violent thing that weighs the same as a small car around.

                    • Well, the jaw length is rather crocodilian.

                    • CJ Cherryh had some books with carnivorous horses, they were also two-way empaths if I recall.

                • Too Hoyt to Handel sounds like they’ve teamed up to form a baroque quartet.

                • Then there is the discount shop, where they sell flawed, seconds quality stories: Hoyt Dogs.

            • Pam Uphoff | August 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm
              > I suppose Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt and Hoyt would sound like lawyers.

              Sounds more like a quarterback to me…. 😉

              (Worldcon’s “Strolling with the Stars” featuring Sarah, Dan, and Robert — the “Hoyt Hoyt Hoyt Hike”…. >;) )

            • I suppose Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt and Hoyt would sound like lawyers.

              I think you may have gotten them in the wrong order. Shouldn’t it have been Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt and Hoyt?

      • 1. Two words: rent seeking.

        2. An acquaintance in the financial services industry had a similar experience, even sneakier than yours, with the CUSIP numbers that are used to identify North American stocks and bonds.

        His company bought a database. After a few months, they got a call from Standard and Poors saying, “Hey, you have our valuable intellectual property. Pay up!” The database vendor (with the connivance of S&P?) had not informed them about this (except maybe in the fine print). The only S&P product in the database was the CUSIPs, which my acquaintance’s firm never used.

        3. I strongly suspect that publishing and finance are not the only industries in which this kind of thing goes on.

    • Here’s an explanation of the ISBN stuff:
      http://bondwine.com/2013/03/11/hysterical-raisins-the-isbn/

  5. Dishwashers have indeed gotten smaller interiors. Dinner for four is difficult to fit in; dinner for six impossible. I believe all records of earlier, larger capacity dishwashers have been destroyed.

    • Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

      Hey, kid. Yeah, you. Get off my lawn.

    • masgramondou

      When we got our house in Japan I found it fascinating how we could not (even for ready money) get a Euro/US sized dish washer. On the other hand it’s amazing how much you pack into it if you try and it is amazingly economical (I call it stingy) on power consumption.

      It was weird how only some things were different: washing machines, fridge freezers are of similar dimensions to Euro/US (they have compact versions but you don’t have to buy ’em). But you can’t get a built in over/microwave for love, money or your firstborn child. OTOH they sell you a stand alone comination oven/micowave which does pretty much everything you could possibly imagine and has a zillion preset options for stuff you’d not thought of…. And you pretty much can’t buy a toilet seat without the heater and bidet attachment (we did pass on the bluethooth controlled option).

      In France thse days the rage is for coffee machines that make 1 or two cups at a time from a single capusle/coffee bag (Nespresso being the high end version). Apart from Nespresso I haven’t seen this in either the US or Japan (and certainly in neither country can you buy the refills at the local super market).

      In France you have to hunt high and low for things like toaster ovens. In Japan (and the US?) it seems like a regular 2 slice toaster is practically unavailable. Und so weiter, und so weiter.

      • You made a good choice on the commode. The hackers already have a way to override the blue-tooth commands on the toilets, so they can be taken over by, oh, say, the obnoxious kid next door.

        • Yes I can see this being absolutely hilarious to a thirteen year old boy.

          • William O. B'Livion

            I can see it being hilarious to a certain percentage of 40 and 50 year old males.

            • I’ve known a number of ladies likely to piss themselves laughing when the hacker causes the razor edged lid to iris shut on a guy.

        • masgramondou

          Well the “hackers” didn’t have to do anything. The manufactuer did it for them. Classic embedded systems error – hard encode the password

  6. They put the tray slots further apart, which is great if you have HUGE DISHES OF DOOM, but not so great for the rest of the dishes. Of course, if we had standard sizes of things, you could put an old tray into a new dishwasher, but mostly we don’t.

  7. Dorothy Grant

    1K ISBNs in ten years works out to 100 per year. If following the rules of one per format per story, given one per print, epub, and mobi… that’s 33 stories a year, or less than 3 per month. ( or 2 per month, if I missed a format.)

    That’s a fair stretch, even if you streamline getting your backlog up. However, the price differential between purchasing tiers allows a fair amount of unused slots before it becomes an unwise decision. .. and if Dan, Robert, or Marshall use any for future projects, it makes even more sense.

    • Actually, if I continue putting up the shorts individually as well as in collections, I have about 120 left to go up, not counting collections, and this doesn’t include the fact I CAN write a short a week while doing other stuff. Have had to do so the last two months due to requests. So… uh. Okay, Dan isn’t crazy.

      • Okay, Dan isn’t crazy.

        Can we quote you on that? *evil grin*

      • Dorothy Grant

        Yep, it’s not a scary amount, it’s just math.

        I can do the basic math, but this morning, when a teenager asked me about trig, I had to direct her to the Khan academy website instead.

        I really would like to take your time and ask you on your impression of Atlantis, and if you think it’s a viable replacement for microsoft word. (Peter’s working on open office right now, and it has a few conversion issues to ebook. If Atlantis is a good word processor, and a clean converter to ebook, I shall be highly interested.)

        • Not, not a replacement, because it’s not good for WRITING in — I actually don’t know this for sure, haven’t tried. I mean, there would be new buttons to learn and things. BUT the reviews on it qua word processor aren’t great. OTOH for preparing ebooks for publication they seem wonderful, so I cut and paste.
          They let you use it for free for thirty days, though, so it’s worth maybe Peter trying.

        • Dorothy, have you talked to Marko Kloss about Scrivener? He loves it. I looked at it, but having one program for non-fic writing (Word is mandatory) and one for fiction didn’t seem justifiable.

          • Word is *not* mandatory. I produce e-books using Emacs as a text editor, LaTeX for PDFs, and Calibre for ebooks.

            • Fred, in my discipline, LaTeX and Caliber are not acceptable for manuscripts and journal submissions. I can use anything I want for fiction, but my day-job requires Word, so I that’s why I said having multiple writing programs doesn’t make sense in my situation.

          • Dorothy Grant

            I have a copy of Scrivener – I moved Take The Star Road from Open Office to Scrivener in order to publish it. Marko is right, it’s an awesome program for writing and exporting. It is unfortunately a fairly cumbersome program for copy-pasting from open office and exporting (ended up reformatting the entire thing.)

            The prison chaplain memoir has extensive footnotes (statistics, studies, laws, tables, etc.), and I’m failing to get that working in Scrivener. The options are 1.) get smarter with Scrivener, 2.) try a different program like Atlantis, 3.) buy a copy of Word and accept the lots of hassles that come with its formating, 4.) pay someone to format this thing.

            Given I don’t know what kind of ROI I’d be looking at for a non-fiction memoir (How big is the audience for reading about a chaplain’s take on the prison system and the prisoners, a South African’s look at the cultures of America, and the day-to-day life when working with the souls of murderers, rapists, drug dealers, and the mob?) I’m hesitant to spend the money to get someone else to format it, and even more hesitant to spend good money to get Word and have to learn to work around all its formatting quirks. (The learning curve there will set publication back.)

            • Ah. I wasn’t aware of the footnote problems with Scrivener. I do everything in Word and hire the formatting/conversion out. I tried playing with conversions in Caliber but between the file merges and banging my head against problems with the MOBI conversion, it’s worth the investment for me to have someone else format and convert. Learning how to really use Caliber and GIMP are on my “to do” list, but a fair ways down that list.

            • Atlantis has been excellent with endnotes/footnotes in my experience (my nonfiction has gazooks of endnotes). However, it gets balky when you add many illustrations, and it doesn’t have the capability to produce an index (I understand that indexing has long been promised in a future edition of the program).

              I write in Atlantis, but I’m doing nonfiction only at present. So, I can’t speak on how well it would work for fiction. I tried to use either LyX or LaTeX (or maybe both) a few years ago and found that it was headbangingly frustrating, but that may just be me. (I did learn a lot about trying to write to an outline and deciding on the form of the project at the outset, but it was like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.)

              I haven’t kept up with the program, but at one point SoftMaker Office from Germany (I think) claimed that it was better than Word and WordPerfect and handled footnotes and endnotes well.

              I use Serif PagePlus as more of a graphics program (I have X4), but it can handle bookmaking, indexing, and endnotes. (In X4, you can import documents from Atlantis, but the endnotes get lost and have to be reentered, which is a major bummer. I understand that later versions, like X7, may work better.) There is a free version of PagePlus available for download, but I don’t know what capabilities are turned off in that version.

              The X7 version reportedly can produce eBooks, but I’ve read some reviews that said the physical book functionality was diminished compared to the earlier versions.

              • I tried to use either LyX or LaTeX (or maybe both) a few years ago and found that it was headbangingly frustrating, but that may just be me.

                It’s not just you; the TeX family of programs have ridiculously steep learning curves. Still, if you use prepackaged solutions you get a tool that handles footnote, endnotes, indexing, cross-referencing, bibliographies, etc., etc., for almost no additional effort.

                It’s overkill for fiction (unless you’re the one that needs to supply camera-ready files to the printers, in which case you’re probably Doing it Wrong), but for any work that needs the features I mentioned above, you want LaTeX. I’ve had to use MS Word for this at work—it was miserable.

                • Yeah, there is a learning curve. But once you’re past it, your productivity is much higher than with click-and-drool tools. It’s a matter of deciding: Are you going to use Word and bitch, or do something about it? If you pick the latter, you will find that time invested in learning good tools has a high ROI.

                • I’m pretty sure I tried LaTeX AND LyX, but the program I’m finding now on my (Windows) computer LyX 1.6.4, which I’m sure is quite out of date.

                  When I tried to learn the program(s), I decided I’d try to produce a small magazine (20 pages) for a local organization, and see if I could get a feel for how the TeX system worked. I had a deadline, and the result had to be camera-ready to go to a printer . . . and I think I ended up abandoning the efforts and using with another program at the eleventh hour, and probably ended up with permanent emotional scars from the experience!

                  I do have to produce documents that are PDFs and are ready to print — I’d be willing to give LaTeX another try if they could produce PDFs that would be compliant with Create Space and Lightening Source’s standards. Any ideas on whether they are compatible?

                  I’ve heard that Note Bene is good for scholarly works.

                  By the way, if one is using Atlantis, the code for adding endnotes/footnotes is Ctrl Alt D. It only took me about 3 years to learn this, and, oh, the time I could have saved! And Atlantis can convert documents to html that looks pretty good in Firefox, although some family members were not too thrilled when they looked at the underlying code.

                  • Oh, I think part of the problem with Atlantis as a writing tool is figuring out all the weird code keys — but I’m shameless… I put what I want in search engine and find other people’s shortcuts.

                    • If you go to “Tools” then “Hot Keys” you can see their list of code keys. You can change and add to them, so I guess one could switch all the Atlantis pre-sets to the codes you are used to from Word or other programs.

                      I have had to change the Auto Correct functions to make them fit my needs, and add exceptions to the automatic capitalization rules.

                      It’s a constant learning experience. By the way, did you know that you can make Atlantis run sound effects so that it is like typing on an old typewriter? I think it would be most annoying, but whatever floats peoples’ boats . . . .

                    • For years I had a program that made a typewriter sound — Dan wrote it for me. The lack of sound when I typed freaked me out.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      This was a common complaint for early computer users. Shortly after computers became popular in offices, the majority of keyboards had a little speaker in them to make a click sound when you pressed a key. It even had an on/off switch. Nowadays, the ClickKey-style keyboards have gone out of fashion.

                      But I have a couple here – old IBM keyboards built like tanks.

                  • I meant to write either “going with” or “using” — not using with. Aargh!

                    I just looked briefly at the websites for both LyX and LaTeX. Now I remember two of the problems I had with the little quarterly I tried to put together — I had never built a structure before for a magazine-ette that had event announcements, and letters, and articles, and a lot of other stuff kind of thrown together. I don’t think that’s exactly what the TeX programs were meant to produce, and probably my project was just not a good fit. On the other hand, that experience helped me become more structured in both my own writing and in other projects I edited.

                    The other challenge I had was that there are times when one is producing a project for print that it is absolutely necessary to be able to insert half lines or in some other way jiggle around the spacing in order to have things fit and not have widowed lines at the top of the next page. And I never figured out a way to do that in the TeX family of programs.

                  • See https://github.com/aginiewicz/createspace for a LaTeX package that can help format things for CreateSpace, and https://gist.github.com/jcsalomon/6203489 for a quick example of using that package.

                  • LaTeX can format things for CreateSpace; see https://gist.github.com/jcsalomon/6203489 for a quick example. It uses a package to deal with margins etc.; the singe line \usepackage[size=pocket]{createspace} handles that, and PDF metadata, and all sorts of other things.

                    The package is from GitHub (aginiewicz/createspace). I’d link to it directly, but WordPress seems to eat my comments if I include more than one URL—even if the comment gets approved.

                    • I’ll go ahead and paste in that GitHub link as an actual link, to save others some time:

                      https://github.com/aginiewicz/createspace

                    • Very interesting. I know someone who has two projects about half done (one typed in Open Office and saved as a text file, the other is saved as an Atlantis .rtf file) — would it be somehow possible to import the files into LaTeX and complete them? Or would everything have to be retyped?

                      I’m pondering whether a relative who is a former electrical engineer could learn LaTeX and then teach it to me. If I think of more questions, would it be OK to email you?

                    • LaTeX source is plain text with some mark-up; and the mark-up is (IMO) less obtrusive than HTML’s. Take another look at the “gist” I linked to, for example.

                      On the other hand, most editors are not familiar with LaTeX, and prefer to work with electronic formats MS Word can deal with: Word’s native .doc and .docx, HTML, RTF—but not LaTeX. (Conversion is possible, but those tools have their own learning curves. I also don’t know how clean the resulting HTML is, which might be a problem for generating the ebook editions.)

                      Feel free to email me with questions.

            • masgramondou

              I’ve found Word’s footnotes/endnotes to be a damn pain too. at least they are if you want lots of both in the same document. When my father was doing hsi translation of St Symeon he had footnotes on the Greek pages, different footnotes on the English pages plus endnotes. The word nightmare does not even begin to describe the situation.

          • I’ll second Marko on Scrivener. It’s little short of amazing how well it does what it does. I’m still having to export to Open Office Writer to properly format the book, but for WRITING, it’s the bees knees.

            M

            • If you write in compartmentalized units. As usual I work differently from everyone else, and found it more trouble than it’s worth. Eh.

              • Oh. See, I was fighting with Word et al to try to get them to let me handle units the way I knew I should be able to. Then Scrivener came along. Different strokes.

                M

                • Yeah. I wrote in chapters until I got a computer that could hold the whole thing, and I like that better — my writing is very… organic.

                  • … my writing is very… organic

                    PLEASE tell me you did not just say it is liberally spread with manure!!!!!

                  • Yeah, I tend to write in chapters per file, and I was getting curious about how to manage that for e-Book conversion. Especially since I use OpenOffice and don’t have access to a copy of Word. Thus there’s no guarantee that saving the files as Word will be glitch-free.

                    It feels weird to manage a chunk the size of an entire book, even risky. Although I imagine it would make search and replace easier.

                    • For me it’s easier, because sometimes the chapter breaks move. I used to write to strict outline, but even then it wasn’t outlined by chapters. Now it just dictates itself FAST.

                  • I write from the beginning to end… then first draft I look for holes… I don’t know if my stories are any good, but I had to write them. Plus I don’t plot (for some reason… it just doesn’t work for me to outline too far ahead). I like plots I just seem to do the plotting in my head if that makes sense.

                    • Totally. Although sometimes I wonder if being able to keep the whole story in my head makes it a bit too simplistic. And then there are the annoying parts that I forget before I get a chance to write them.

                    • You would think, but no– and if you think it is too simple then add a character to the fire. 😉

                    • No. You just need to write fast — it’s what I do.

                    • Blog needs wider columns and deeper nesting….

                      I’d write faster if I could. Often it’s those open areas in the plot that stop me. Although once those points resolve themselves, the floodgates are open.

                      Damned muse is not very cooperative though. This story I just posted I had to finish because it was blocking me on the book. As soon as I posted it, Chapter 3 started to occupy my brain again. Only took 14,000 words to unjam myself. And even though the human character is bad, I can’t imagine where I could possibly sell the thing.

                    • Well, if it makes you feel better, You’re perfectly normal. I want to finish the book for Baen, but need to get Witchfinder out to betas first.

                    • Lucky you have betas. I do have a small number of fans on DA, and I’ve had a surprising response from another site I put it on, but feedback is very, very slim.

                      (BTW, the only e-mail I’ve got for you is the one you set up for the blog tour. I was going to offer to send it to you.)

  8. “Other than that I’m all at sea about how to publicize, which is why I’m taking Dean Smith’s workshop.”

    If you haven’t done so yet, you might find it worthwhile to submit a request to the Sunday Morning Book Thread at Ace of Spades HQ (ace.mu.nu). They’re a friendly, clever bunch, if you don’t mind consorting with vodka-swilling hobo-murderers.

    • That’s “sustainable hobo harvesting” to YOU, s’il vous plait. I whole-heartedly recommend the Ace Book Thread (early Sunday morning, check a previous Book Thread for the email to send book mentions to.) Fair warning, they will be blunt about perceived flaws but there is a diverse readership and for every “meh, didn’t care for it” there will be “coolest thing since sliced bread!”

      • Sabrina, you magnificent bastard, I READ YOUR BOOK! [/patton] Well, the first story at least, of BSAR. I’m the kind of guy who has 5 books going at once, but the opening story bodes well for further reading.

        • Sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar 😉 Would you believe I have already had “helpful” comments that I should add more post WWII stories because “clearly more stuff happened then”? Readers are just like cats. You keep saying “didn’t I just FEED YOU?” and then they purr and look cute and you forget what you were yelling about 😉

          • The more you feed them, the more they want! At least, though until now, readers don’t sit on my face early morning, clawing into my hair and screaming “MOOOOOOOOOORE.” (And if any of you gets ideas, I’m warning you, my family is armed and, it goes without saying, dangerous.)

            • Or bump and lick you awake at 0415 just because they want their ears scritched “and I can’t reach them myself and I’m soooo cute wuv me.”

              • Dorothy Grant

                Or shoot under the bed when you get up at 1am to go to the bathroom, and from there, just as you finally are getting back into sleep, stage a ninja attack on your toes… or come and sit on your chest and throat, purring like a two-stroke english motor.

                • OR — this is Havey’s trick — follow you to the bathroom meowing in a concerned tone because he’s convinced your feet are up to no good while you’re asleep. Then get kicked in the head when you trip in the dark (you know this because his little head makes a hollow ‘thunk’ when you accidentally hit it while flailing around to get your balance) and then hide under the bed meowing piteously.

                  • Mine waits when I get up in middle of night, until I am comfortably … uh, “seated” and then sneaks up on my big toe and bites it.

                  • Ah, that was a constant problem with Grey, the Dim, who couldn’t ever grasp that his people didn’t see in the dark, and thus was constantly getting punted (although in his favour, he would apologise.)

                    Koshka, OTOH, would come in to keep company while you were on the commode, stretching himself out between your ankles across your trou, making it impossible to pull them up without his cooperation. He was not above pulling them down if you anticipated his plot and merely lowered them sufficiently to sit.

                    His Magnificent Sableness was also wont to lie quietly at your bare feet, unnoticed until he started licking between your toes.

                    • Ah yes, the cat hammock. Mine do it too. When they were kittens, they’d BOTH climb in there.

                    • Pixel — best cat EVAH but not for that — I swear used to deep throat my big toe, if I didn’t feed him first thing in the morning. I think it was a “I eat you” threat, but it was creepy in a way I can’t explain.
                      He TRAINED me into wearing slippers.

    • er… mind consorting with? I IZ one of the vodka-swilling hobo-murderers.

      • Excellent! I generally read the comments only on posts that really intrigue me, so maybe I’ve missed you — or maybe you’re using one of those wily noms de plume. (Mine’s Frank Underwood, subject to change without notice.) Carry on!

        • Well, I used to have a nom de blog, but she acquired a life of her own and when we started having religious/political arguments (WHAT?) I killed her. I killed her dayd.
          So now I’m reduced to my own name. But I rarely comment.

  9. Not emotional vampires. True emotional vampires prey on real people. We all know one or two–the sort of person who isn’t happy unless everyone around them is miserable.
    Maybe, at worst, you could say that writers have the potential to be emotional vampires if they don’t write, but since they do write, they’re handling things without messing other folks up. Kinda puts them on the side of the angels, doesn’t it?

  10. Sales have been very low for me the last two months. This first week no sales at all and I usually have a few by now (more than two less than three) 😉

    • I’m calling it a summer lull. I’m in the process of re-writing some things before the next release (October), to try and catch the fall sales rise.

      My gosh, I had no idea how bad some of my earliest stories were. Found a major anachronism that my beta reader also missed. (Bad beta, no fish flakes for you.)

      • I agree– I remember that it dropped around this time and didn’t pick up until mid September or October.

      • “I had no idea how bad some of my earliest stories were. ”

        *grin* I think all writers run into this, as they grow in the craft. I may not be one, but I can recognize it.

        The thing is, for every “ohmygod this can never see the light of day!” there’s probably someone out there who sees it and wants to hug it and squeeze it and call it George. Then they read your next work and it’s even *better.*

        I’m convinced this is how cults are formed. Or at least scientology.

        • I’d like to point out that this happens throughout your career. As I’m picking up on revived series, I have to read my five and ten year old stuff, and I’m horrified. However, judging by fan emails, people weren’t, so I figure it’s like in crochet where I see every mistake I made and people just go “ooh.”

          • I think this applies to most artistic practices. (specifically for me cross stitch and -very- amateur clarinet playing). The person doing it, or someone else who also does that particular thing, can see/hear the flaws instantly. Everyone else just goes “ooh, pretty”

      • Oh, yeah, Summer always seems to be a down dip. Wonder if that’s true for paper too, or if people just don’t want to take their readers to the beach.

  11. Sarah, what are your typesetting needs? I create camera-ready PDFs using TeX and other non-adobe tool chains. The system is very flexible. Drop me a line if you want to discuss it.

    • Oh, this is just for create space which is different (and I think easier) and we have people lined up. But thank you!

      • Those other people are probably using Eeeevil Adobe tools, y’know—but that’s their problem. 🙂

        (At least I hope they’re using Adobe tools, or one of the TeX variants; otherwise things like hyphenation are going to be done poorly.)

        • I know. Adobe IS necessary. Dan just doesn’t like what they do to our computers and says it’s easier to pay someone to typeset. And probably comes to about the same price overall what with updates and all.

          • I work with InDesign for my pdf ready manuscripts for CreateSpace. Because I was a typesetter in a previous incarnation, I love using it. Of course, the first time I tried to use it, I had to figure out how they made the template first. (I would have to go back and relearn again though, now that I have one set up how I want it…pfui)

    • Sarah might not need your services, but I have customers who might. Shoot me a line with your contact info and rates, would you?

  12. Birthday girl

    ” I cleaned the kitchen while making coffee, which is probably against the Geneva conventions, ”

    I’m sorry, there’s something wrong with this? I’m a tea drinker and make several cups through the morning and that’s the only time I do dishes, other than right after dinner … you can get so much done in the time it takes to boil water … am I a monster?

    • Not a monster, just super-human. I’m a tea drinker too, today I’m on coffee for extra umph.

    • I too am a tea drinker. My favorite is St. Dalfour Golden Peach. Favorite herbal is the tart Numi Desert Lime, which is juuust this side of needing sweetener.

      • ew. ew. ew. Why put fruit on your tea? Earl Grey drinker, even though my British friends assure me it’s not REAL tea. (Eh.) We use Davidson brand, which appears to be Australian. The wonders of Amazon.

        • You’re young. 😉

          Despite the excellence of St. Dalfour Peach, my overall criterion for tea is that the unused portion be good for, e.g., loosening rusted bolts or unclogging drains. So I like teas like Assam or Yunnan. The South African Ntingwe Kwazulu merits special mention: great for cleaning crusted blood off your spearhead after a hunting trek in the desert.

          Earl Grey? Numi (among others). I was dubious combining the bergamot with the robustness of Assam, but they made it work.

          • We used to buy Earl Grey loose, by the pound, until our dealer switched to a blend that had apparently been adulterated with raspberry (shudder.) A long time spent trying various unsatisfactory alternatives finally ended when we discovered our local ubiquitous grocery chain had a house brand that was amazingly acceptable, even if they only sell it in bags.

            Ever stop to count the number of “improvements” that not only make a product worse, but make it unacceptable?

            • I cringe when a product or service is “improved” to make it “green”. With groceries, “improved” too often means higher price, lower quality, and reduced quantity: out of concern for your health, of course. I picture the corporate marketing types gloating when they pull that stuff.

              The shining counterexample has been Moore’s Law, but I gather that it may be running out, slowing down or at least pausing.

              • Moore’s Law is running into the speed limit: specifically, the speed of light. Seriously. Have you ever noticed that processor speed ratings used to get faster and faster, and people kept comparing processors by speed rating alone (ignoring all the other, harder-to-quantify stuff), but now the speed ratings are capping out at around 2.5 to 3.2 GHz? That’s because of the speed-of-light limit. Let me illustrate.

                A processor that runs at 3.0 GHz is doing 3,000,000,000 operation cycles per second. That means that each cycle takes one-third of a nanosecond to complete. That’s such a small amount of time that it’s hard to comprehend, so let’s have a visual illustration. Hold out your thumb and index finger, stretched about as far as you can comfortably stretch them apart. There’s probably about four inches between your thumb and index finger, if your hand is roughly normal-sized. Now look at that gap, and think about the fact that that’s how far light travels in one-third of a nanosecond. At modern processor speeds of 3.0 GHz or so, you literally cannot get information from one side of the chip to the other if the path it would travel would be longer than four inches. This is a hard limit on the physical size of chips, and therefore on how many transistors can be packed into them. (And on the “making transistors smaller” front, we’re starting to hit transistor sizes small enough that quantum tunneling has significant effects that have to be compensated for.)

                That’s why modern processor design isn’t about increasing the number of transistors packed into a single chip, or doubling chip speed, any longer. Instead, you have chips with multiple “cores” — basically, independent processors packed together on a single physical chip. So instead of one processor running at 3 GHz, you essentially have two, or four, or eight, or sixteen processors packed in a grid formation on your chip, all of them running calculations in parallel. Which poses its own challenges for software writers — parallelism is not easy to get right, and these days most hard-to-reproduce bugs are due to getting parallelism wrong — but that’s a tale for another day. (And another venue, as its gets into the arcane mysteries* of software programming.)

                * Let’s just say there’s a reason why the term “computer wizards” came into existence…

                • Birthday girl

                  For some reason, this reminds me of the story about Grace Hopper, in which she wanted every programmer to have a preferably noose-shaped length of copper wire 1000 feet long displayed prominently in his cubicle — because that’s the distance an electron travels in a microsecond.
                  http://www.jamesshuggins.com/h/tek1/grace_hopper_micro.htm

                  • Indeed. 1000 feet are 12000 inches, and a nanosecond is 1/1000 of a microsecond, so, using Hopper’s numbers, light would travel 12 inches in a nanosecond; in 1/3 nanosecond, it would travel 4 inches like RM said and like the ‘NB’ in your link says.

                    • Heh, my dad used to remark that the speed of light was 1 foot per nanosecond. And a nanosecond was the amount of time between the time the light turns green and the guy behind you honks.

                      Although based on the speed of light, I think the latter point is impossible.

                  • My husband met Grace Hopper (Admiral btw) when she taught some of his electronic classes. She made sure every student got to see and feel the copper length. She was a great believer in good teaching tools, too.

                    • Hey, baby, feel my copper length!

                      1- I’m going to burn in hell.
                      2- I haven’t had enough caffeine.

                    • *snort… When my hubby met her she was a little little old lady… so I need Brain Bleach…..

                    • Re: the “Hey, baby, feel my copper length!” line —

                      Two responses come to mind, depending on who said the above.

                      Girl said the copper length line, guy responds: I don’t know, are you sure you can handle it? A thousand feet seems like it might be a bit too much for you…

                      Guy said the copper length line, girl responds: I don’t know, I’d prefer it to last longer than a microsecond…

              • Iirc Instapundit says that we have the worst governing elite in our history. If he exaggerates, it’s not by much.

                IMHO innovation enabled by Moore’s Law has been offsetting the depredations of corrupt politicians, empire-building bureaucrats, and rent-seeking corporatists. They’ll never say so, but they want a static, zero-sum economy. An end to Moore’s Law would bring them a giant step closer.

            • “Ever stop to count the number of “improvements” that not only make a product worse, but make it unacceptable”

              Yes, I have come to cringe whenever I hear something has a ‘new and improved’ version. I have come to the conclusion that when I find something I like, if it is at all susceptible to wear, whether it be a pair of boots or electronics or motorized vehicles* I buy in bulk if I can at all afford it. Because they are sure to improve it and remove all of the features I like, while adding a bunch that to replace them that I completely despise.

              *This is more wishful thinking on motorized vehicles, in actuality I may try and buy a good used vehicle of the model I like a couple years before the one I currently own is completely wore out, but I find buying multiple vehicles at the same time a tad hard on my pocketbook.

            • You mean like pretty much every fandom where non-geeks control it and decide to “update” it for the “modern audience”?

              • There’s also genre blending. Some publishers and some seem to knowingly alienate some of their readers from genre A in order to acquire a bigger number from genre B.

                It’s their prerogative of course and it works sometimes. However, there’s a copybook heading that if you try to please too many people, you’ll end up pleasing nobody.

                • Some publishers and some authors, sorry.

                  I do proofread my comments before posting but overlook some typos until they’re online. 😦

                  • So I take it you don’t approve of Elf Blood?

                    • 1. I hadn’t heard of it till you mentioned it. I presume you mean the web comic. If I’m not aware of one of your works with that title, I apologize.

                      The drawing style of that comic leaves me cold. I don’t know why, it just does. Afaic it’s only compatible with quick, probably humorous, messages. For extended plots, it doesn’t work for me. I’m not interested enough to read Elf Blood to determine whether I approve or not.

                      That said, back in the day I enjoyed some of Lackey’s urban-elves books. Of course I like Retief. Etc.

                      2. I guess the question is When does cross-fertilization of genres work, and when does it fail?

                      3. Maybe I take the successes for granted and am chagrined by the loss of my time and money on the failures.

                    • See last line in today’s post under “Update”

                    • 1. Sam the Sex God? I don’t get it.

                      If you mean the Michael Grant material, agreed. Somehow I thought that stuff had been posted previously (which similar material has).

                      2. Running this up the flogpole:

                      The writer who is a half-mad instrument of the Muses has a fighting chance of successfully blending genres. A soulless MBA, whether he be in the writer’s head or at the publisher, less so. If he meets with initial commercial success, the SMBA likely will press on until he creates a desolation.

                      3. This is meant to denigrate SMBAs, not the MBAs who are essential in their place when they know their limitations. Rare are the Jim Baen’s who combine business talent with artistic sensibility.

                    • The end of TODAY’s post about Elf Blood, the first chapter I posted over at MGC today?

                    • 1. Okay, now I understand.

                      2. It’s solid, readable prose; you’re establishing a foundation for the person who will write the next chapter. Since the novel is free, I will check to see what happens next, but on the sole basis of the first chapter I wouldn’t pay to. At this point I neither approve nor disapprove.

                      3. I skipped to the chapter without reading the introductory fine print and for a time was perplexed about what was going on.

                      The ‘elf blood’ theme is well used; ‘risen Atlantis’ less so, afaik. IMHO the title would be more effective as Risen Atlantis Book 1: Elf Blood. (I suspect there’s a more effective term than ‘Elf Blood’ though one doesn’t come to mind.) Coming back to my #2, I am much more interested in eventually learning how and why Atlantis rose than about the protagoniste’s elf blood.

                      (4. Very minor point: you mention NYC and London. Perhaps, also, a fleeting allusion to a non-North Atlantic civilization?)

                    • 4. Very minor point: you mention NYC and London. Perhaps, also, a fleeting allusion to a non-North Atlantic civilization?)

                      If you’re from Seattle and are talking about possible places to move, are you going to talk about Portland and NCY, or Mumbai?

                    • Afaik you didn’t specify the species, singular or plural, of Kassia’s mother.

                      I approve.

                • What bugs me is going for possible numbers while ignoring existing value.

                  Example: Star Trek. “Gee, let’s piss off our most extreme fans, the ones that will actually pay a thousand bucks for a ‘working’ tricorder, to try to get a general audience in to the theater for one evening!”

                  It would be so stupidly easy to cash in on the existing Star Trek fandom, feed it and let them recruit more fanboys, but nooooo…..

                  • They value control more than growth. Rent seekers, not risk takers.

                    • Hollywood is run by accountants, not creatives. Lately they are SO risk-averse that they will pretty much only produce proven properties, thus the spate of TV-show movies, and comic book movies.

                      The sad thing is, the audience supports that. I saw Pacific Rim and loved it for all it’s scenery-chewing glory. It was the perfect embodiment of the genre, but it wasn’t a known entity, and didn’t do well.

                    • I know an accountant I would like to see produce movies, or at least write scripts. Think we can convince Larry he doesn’t have enough on his plate?

        • Dorothy Grant

          I personally rotate between any hot black pekoe in the morning, no sugar or milk, then in the evenings alternating mint or chamomile to hydrate and relax without caffeine. Sometimes I get decaf constant comment for a change.

          Earl Grey is sometimes nice, thought I prefer Assam special blend (lower oil of bergamot content.) However, that cannot be drunk without milk and sweetener (ez-sweetz is good), so I only have it now and then as a weekend treat, or a nice chai.

          I do clean the catbox (one cat, one box) before tea in the morning – I’m too asleep to care, but just awake enough to do it. Multiple cats would probably require a cup of brown fortification.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Oh, fruit in tea is good. At work, we have a selection of herbal teas, most of which have some kind of fruit in them. Of course, those are all caffeine free, so they don’t do anything to get you going. Usually my choice, when I’m at work and not drinking coffee, is to make a styrofoam cup of Earl Grey and one of Mint flavored tea (don’t know what the base is in it is), and mix them together in my coffee mug (it holds 20 ounces).

      • Birthday girl

        Darjeeling.

    • One of the upsides of working the back shifts is that you can have beer with breakfast. Far superior to coffee.

      • Yes, most employers tend to frown on drinking beer on your way to work in the morning. And those that don’t tend to not be ideal work environments.

        • They way I see it, if they didn’t want me to drink they shouldn’t make me feel like drinking.

          • Europeans spent a long time drinking beer as their breakfast drink. So did the pilgrims. But yeah, people are prejudiced against day drinking these days.

            • Well it used to be that beer and other alcoholic beverages were the only safe way to drink water. I’ve heard there are accounts from then mentioning how things got fuzzy through the day.

              The advent of modern sanitation ended the necessity, but now we’ve conflated drinking with drunkenness.

  13. I drink and watch and steal an expression here, a clothing choice there, a strong tanned leg, a pale face, a sigh, a too-loud laugh. I think of a funny line.

    Remember how your son reminds you of your dad? And the post you had about what part of you is just yours?

    People are a collection of parts– it’s more like baking, though, since you mix up very similar things and get a lot of different ones.

  14. Oh, herself has a new article up at PJM, the latest in the organizational series.

    Regarding emotional vampirism, I’m not sure that’s legit. I suspect it’s more about the godlike power we have to mess with the worlds in our heads. I can’t say I exactly get off on the pain involved, so much as I recognize that human who are (probably) not me want to read about someone who has issues, be it the curse of a long-dead priest-king or an interstellar criminal syndicate putting a price on their head. It could be some as prosaic as a phobia or a relationship they’ve put awry (though where’s the fun in that? relationship awry, as well as attempted possession by a folkloric hero, that’s the ticket). Conflict is necessary for a story for which people will fork over hard-earned lucre, which means the conflicts need to be that much more problematic, and consequently the characters are in that much more pain.

    That said, there is something somewhat dark about the whole process. I think of the WiP, where the hero gets an eldritch horror draped about his shoulders, which then takes control of his body. Creepy scene to write, but it was a LOT of fun doing it. Yeah, this bears more pondering.

  15. > Dishwasher are small. Is this a memory caused by my getting older … ?

    I’ve got a modern dishwasher and it’s relatively huge. Sure, on Thanksgiving and Christmas I have to run it two or three times to finish everything, but on normal days, I can fit 20 or so plates, or maybe 12 plates and 10 bowls in the lower shelf, and a ton of mugs and glasses up top. The wall thickness seems thin – I don’t see a lot of wasted space there.

    > Are writers emotional vampires?

    God knows that I whine to all of my friends once a day about how hard writing is. So I sure am…although not in the sense that you meant!

    • William O. B'Livion

      Yeah, remember the last time a bunch of anarchists tried to build something in Catalonia?

  16. I just finished and put up on DeviantArt a story that has been haunting the back of my head since December, and which a month or two ago grabbed me by the muse and wouldn’t let me work on anything else until I finished it. It’s almost specifically ABOUT torturing the characters, since they’re two of the most horrible people I have ever come up with.

    It’s an “Elevator story”, where you stick two characters in a closed room with no way out (in this case a hotel room converted to an impromptu jail cell) and they have to interact. One’s a alien-hating space pilot candidate – actually, he hates pretty much everything, and the other is an alien female who is the worst monster of her species. It does not go well for them. (If you thought the “Atlas Field” story was dark… hoo boy!)

    When something like this comes out of my head, it makes me worry about having repressed misogyny, or at least being accused of it. Is that anything like the Vampirism you’re talking about?

    (The link requires a DeviantArt account, because of mature reader filters. Franky, I put it there because I can’t imagine any market to submit it to. I suppose I could e-mail the pdf to the curious.)

    http://mauser712.deviantart.com/art/Kiwi-392274814

  17. On the dishwasher thing: I would guess that it has to do with the trend for quieter machines, which means more sound insulation (you could go with more efficient insulation, but that costs money. When in doubt, add more batting). Since the outside dimensions are pretty much fixed the only thing to give is interior space.

  18. M’self, I have spent the last two or three days reading every post in Heartiste’s Ugly Truths archive, just to de-motivate myself. Heartiste explained exactly why I have mostly never gotten laid. When I took breaks from that, I read in one of my housemate’s books, “Why Air Forces Fail; the Anatomy of Defeat.”

    Right now, I wish I still had my copy of the Kindertotenlieder disk, a bottle of absinthe, and the most depressing book Dostoyevsky ever wrote lying open in front of me.

    All that was just to amuse myself with the Schadenfreude, y’all understand. The revolver is for use only against Other People, that is, Bad People.

    • Which reminds me, Sarah; Does Portugal have an Air Force? I mean, aside from C-130s. All God’s chillun got C-130s.

      • As a Georgia boy, I am happy to note that the Lockheed Hercules, aka C-130, built in Marietta, Ga., is the preferred transport aircraft of the air forces of just about every country in the world. This has nothing to do with the ferocity of Lockheed salesmen, of course.

        • It’s because of the awesome PT cadence.

          C-130 rollin’ down the strip
          (YOUR NAME HERE) gonna take a little trip

          • If I were stupid enough to buy a lottery ticket and lucky enough to win, I would not waste my money on some effete Gulfstream or something, but buy a Hercules. Lockheed certified a civil version, and actually built a few.

            Just think; you could pull your truck and boat trailer into there, and go fishing _anywhere_. You could bolt some lawn chairs and a beer cooler to the ramp and have yer pilot fly around at about 6,000 feet with the ramp down, tossing the empties out the back to annoy the peasants down there. (You all look like ants from up here.)

            • “Just think; you could pull your truck and boat trailer into there, and go fishing _anywhere_. ”

              If you got a big enough parachute you could launch from anywhere. Gives fishing the Gulfstream a whole new meaning.

              • Hmmm, me, I’m picturing a V-22 Osprey on Amphibious floats.

                (Failing that, there IS at least on DC-3 on floats out there.)

                • Nah, there _was_ one, in 1942. I saw the pics and article in a scholarly book on floatplanes of air forces, which book I used to own. Little square book about 6″ by 6″ it was. They were amphibious floats, too, with two nosewheels and two mainwheels. The reason they gave up on it was that the cargo door was just too high above any lighters which might approach to transfer cargo. Also, by this time the Seabees were demonstrating their ability to build airfields just about anywhere, dang near instantaneously. (compared to the Nips)

      • Portugal has an air force, but I have no clue what they fly. I didn’t even when I lived there and now … I’ve been away thirty years. It’s probably old, unreliable, and flown with the elan of Kamikaze. They select nutbars for the air force. I knew a few. They were too crazy for me to date — which… er…

        • Ah, yes, Mom dated mostly fighter pilots but married a steady guy. She specialized in the Dutch East Indies Air Force, they having a presence in Mississippi at that time. Curiously, my Dad was quite square-headed in appearance.

          • Mom did fall back on the U.S. Army officers from the POW camp from time to time, for the food. They’d take her out to their Officers’ Club and feed her well. Those German cooks and bakers were _good_!

        • F-16 fighters … and of course C130 transports. A few French-built trainers which I am sure the Portuguese find most embarrassing.

          • Please don’t tell me they’re still using Fouga Magisters.

          • You’d think wrong. The Portuguese are still 300 years behind the times and think the French are the cool kids.

            • Forgiven them for that whole Peninsular War thing, eh?

              • Eh. Half the Portuguese identified with the French, half with the English. My brother likes the French. (Sighs.)

                • Sooooo many retorts come to mind.

                • So many people to offend … so few days in the week.

                • One of the gigglicious things about the People’s Republic of Haven is that the bad guys tend to be Reds with French names. “Rob S. Pierre.” Giggle. Oh, there’s a Guillaume Rodham in there, too.

                  Weber loves slipping that kind of stuff in there. For instance, when the Steadholder’s kid is christened, the words are straight out of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, in a fictional universe with different physical laws, 2000 years in the future. Oh, sweet Tester!

                  • Having grown up in France, where the French Revolution formed a major part of the French History class in public school, I caught what Robert Stanton Pierre’s name was a reference to. But Guillaume Rodham slipped by me entirely. Ha!

                    I also knew where the plot thread with Esther McQueen (who was obviously Haven’s version of Napoleon) was going… so when Oscar St. Just pushed that button, suddenly I had no idea what was coming next, except that the plot train was no longer running smoothly along the French Revolution track.

  19. Am I banned? (This is a test. To see if I’m banned. Because my kinda-substantive comment keeps being rejected.)

    • You are NOT banned, but for some weird reason this was put in moderation.
      Wordpress is weird.
      For everyone having the jeebies — if you’re banned, you’ll KNOW it. It only happens if you’ve been a pain for a while and probably insulted me at least twice. It can’t happen by accident.