This is a total weaseling on a post

And there’s a reason for that.

Yes, I have guest posts from ya’ll.  Yes, you were even kind enough to resend them.  The problem is I haven’t had time to read them.  Well, except one, but that one, first got stripped of attachment and THEN the email thought it would be fun to put a bunch of symbols when he pasted it in the body of the email.  I can’t deal with that on this computer and on five hours sleep.

So, why five hours of sleep.  I don’t know.  I don’t even have that many panels (though I tried — and often failed — to make it to friends’ and relatives’ panels.

The thing is that there are so many huns at this con.  I haven’t even — yet — met Barbara Beck, so I’m going to guess she’s been spinning in a different direction from the rest of us.

I’ve tried to get time to talk to each of you guys, but I know some I haven’t SEEN.  I haven’t spent any time with Speaker, for instance.

I did get to hold practice-grandbaby, aka wee Dave… a lot.  Cedar posted pictures on FB.  And I got to spend time with the Grants, Cedar, Vanessa and I had a panel with the inestimable Sabrina Chase.  I also got to see Stephanie Souders and her parents, and we’ve sort of talked, though not for long.

I forgot to set a breakfast for the huns.  (If I only had a brain) but WE’re having breakfast at the nearer city cafe at nine, so if any of you are out here and awake (WHY?) come along.

We’ll be leaving after my last panel, the inexplicable panel on Through Fire.  Heaven knows what one does on a whole panel on a book.  I don’t.

I have various posts I need/want to do, including on changing mores and also on a strategy for world peace called “Let’s you and him fight.”

I’ll probably pre-empt Monday’s raiding party post and switch it to Tuesday for one of those.  Maybe.  Depending on how eventful the trip back is.

I got to read from And Not To Yield at my reading but I don’t say that to make you jealous.  Now there are a dozen people out there who will forever read my books and hear my accent, poor things.

Okay.  Be good.  I’ll be back tomorrow.

78 thoughts on “This is a total weaseling on a post

  1. Have fun, stay safe and don’t text while driving. And ignore the needles – it drives the witch doctors crazy when they don’t get a reaction to a jab.

  2. We’ll be leaving after my last panel, the inexplicable panel on Through Fire. Heaven knows what one does on a whole panel on a book. I don’t.

    Pretend it’s a post from here and free-form it. I suggest punning on the name….

  3. No one who has ever met you in person can help but recall your charming accent. Always puts me in mind of my grandfather who came here in 1910 at 16 and never entirely lost his Bavarian twist on english.

    Since it is a slow day I’ll take advantage and pose a question to you and the group. I spent a quarter century in government service, and one of my “other duties as assigned” was the production of government documents, all with extremely precise rules and requirements. I was also the newsletter editor for our local Mensa group for several years. So I have some small experience dealing with the written word and accompanying graphics. So a recent exchange with Jerry Lawson that Sarah commented to got me thinking.
    Question: is there a market for someone offering a service to build covers for new authors, primarily targeted on indie?
    Of course it’s better if they do it themselves as Sarah does, more personal, but it does detract from writing time and some simply do not have or want to develop the necessary skill with somewhat complex software tools.
    Not really looking for a new career. Quite happy in retirement actually. But if it brought in the occasional nickel and helped promote the indie movement I wouldn’t be adverse to brushing off my somewhat rusty skills and taking on an occasional commission.

    1. YES.

      My husband was looking for someone to design a cover (and other graphics) for an RPG source book, and the utter lack of response from anybody supposedly offering such services is part of why he lost interest in doing the rest of the work.

    2. Yes. If Sarah hadn’t saved me from my own covers I have no idea what I would have done. Nobody else wanted to talk to me. They must have heard I was cheap, er… frugal. Having a second source for when she gets really tired of me would be wonderful.

    3. yes, there are more than a handful of people doing that. Let me sleep first – I am unpacked from the con, but not coherent (Calmer Half drove; I slept). Then if the reply gets too long, it’ll be a mad genius club or ATH guest post, maybe?

    4. Actually, that’s exactly what I went to LibertyCon to try to learn how to do (marketing cover art). From what I gathered, RELIABILITY in a cover artist is of equal or greater merit than skill. Dorothy Grant and Cedar Sanderson were both of incredible help. It was a productive weekend.

        1. Heck, before I met you I didn’t even know the text and pic were separate areas! I just did them both because that is what I thought I was supposed to do.

          1. The thing is, what I do – laying out the text on the art, and arranging the art to fit and look good – costs about $250 to my client. Original art? can be astronomical. Finding someone who is affordable and has a clue, not to mention delivering on time, is a difficult task.

            1. Dorthy showed me a site where an artist was selling pre-made book covers (none of which were scifi or fantasy that I recall) and they were going for $195. I specifically asked Sam Flegal for advice on price ranges for indy covers and he suggested around $50-$100. Yes, the big publishers pay upwards of $1000 for a cover, but that is way out of the price range of most indy authors. It’s a know your market situation. Yeah, your cover may be worth $3000, but if no one can afford it you can’t trade your artwork for beer.

    5. I have two novels that are ready — they’ve been through several beta readers, and they’re all set to go up. I need covers for both of them. I used to be a halfway decent artist, but my nerves are shot — literally. Neuropathy is not a nice thing, and I have it in both arms. It hasn’t harmed my typing MUCH yet, but my artwork has gone strictly to pot.

      I queried on Facebook, and have two people talking to me. I’ll have to wait and see what they produce. My problem is a lack of money — I can’t hire anyone that charges much. One of the people has offered to do the covers for free, for the experience. If she works out, I might send her some more business, since covers are the bane of more than one of us here on Sarah’s site.

    6. I’ll repeat the yes.

      I’ll also suggest that perhaps, there be a page/post? devoted to people making such an offering and perhaps for resources that folks who’d like to try make their own / too poor to pay for one to be made?

    7. Followup:
      First off, thank y’all for your input and comments.
      I am encouraged to explore the idea further.
      I need to think a couple of things through before jumping in, but what I’m of a mind to do is offer to help budding authors construct a cover to their liking on a test basis. They can supply the image, or I’ll hunt one down per their requirements, then add appropriate text. If I’m going to find the artwork I would require at least an executive summary of the book, and the entire thing would be better. Am old enough to recall the “golden age” when cover artists rarely had any clue what the contents of the book they were illustrating were. Always been a pet peeve of mine.
      I checked around and the pros seem to be charging $500 and up for such a service. I can see how that would be a major concern for budding indie authors. My thought would be to work a cover up on spec, no charge unless you publish, and when you do a much more modest fee. Might have to reconsider that later, have to see how things go.
      I am not an artist. At one point in the distant past I was a fairly competent draftsman, long ago and far away. In fact I suffer from male pattern color blindness in the red/green spectrum, so fair warning there.
      Mostly thinking to do this because I thoroughly believe in the indie movement and wish to contribute my own gesture towards the main stream traditional publishers. Think thumb in the eye, though middle finger might be appropriate as well.
      If I decide to proceed I will post contact info, likely on one of the book hawking days.

      1. I look forward to seeing that.

        Since you were referring to layers in a previous post, would something like

        Background: Picture A
        Foreground: Picture B, w/marked areas transparent showing Picture A

        Be of a help in getting the cover shot established?

        1. Jerry,
          What I had in mind when I made my comment was a finished art background layer with the text on top. Layers make it dead simple to move the text around, change the font, change other aspects, all without disturbing the art.
          What you’re suggesting is using layers to develop the artwork which is perfectly valid in and of itself. Were I doing it I would get the art just where I wanted it then flatten the image before layering on assorted text.
          Was discussing all this over dinner last night with friends. They showed me a picture of a cover a mutual acquaintance had commissioned at considerable expense. Beautiful job, art was a posed picture with a young lady in the foreground in front of an iron railed fence with a motorcycle behind the fence. Then whoever did the pasteup put the title right over the top edge of this fence making the title all but unreadable. I could only shake my head and feel the strong urge to just fix it. Which would have been a snap if I’d had the source graphics to work with.
          Will note that the final finished cover should always be a flattened image. I need to research what Amazon and publishers want for graphic file format, am thinking jpeg, but could be proven wrong.

          1. “Layers make it dead simple to move the text around, change the font, change other aspects, all without disturbing the art.”

            For YOU, maybe. 😉

            I never can quite seem to get the hang of making just part of a layer transparent, and when I start putting text in it just makes things worse.

            Fortunately, I seem to be able to compose the couple of covers I’ve done pretty well – at least they’re clean-looking and you can read the text without resorting to cutting it out with scissors.

            1. Making part of a layer transparent starts with adding an Alpha channel… Your best bet is to find tutorials for the program you are working in (be it Adobe, Gimp, or PaintShop) and walk through it step by step a couple of times.

              1. And seven times never ever touch your source files. Always work from a copy. Electrons are cheap, but once you’ve changed a source file you’re stuck with it.
                It’s looking like Cedar and Sarah are both offering some level of professional cover development, and I do not want to step on their or anyone else’s toes. I would suggest that they be the best bet for a new indie writer developing an attractive cover. They are both already doing that on a regular basis.
                Give things a week or two and if anyone still wants some strictly amateur help with their covers I’ll put out my contact info and we’ll see what we can do.

      2. Since we’re talking somewhat about a cooperative effort, I’d be willing to exchange editing for cover art! I’m also willing to do editing and beta-reading for those interested.

          1. I’m more than willing to scan for the elusive typo and its kissing cousin the grammatical oopsie. No cover art required. Did just that for Dan a bit ago for Ninth Euclid. Kept me off the streets and out of cheap dives for a couple evenings and I got to wield an editor’s pen again.

  4. “Weasel On A Post”?

    Sounds like something served up from a portable brazier by Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler.

    1. Squirrel on a stick is a common food item in the Fallout video game series. Really sounds like something you’d expect to find hawked at a RenFaire.

      “Deep-fried Rat On a Stick! Now with a little bit of Squirrel in it!”

      “How much squirrel?”

      “Quite a lot, actually. Rats all died of the plague…”

      1. Sam and Max (in their comic incarnation) visited the Philippines where men in fezzes sold them “Flaming weasel on a stick”. The artist commented through Sam that this scene was obviously drawn with a complete lack of reference material.

            1. “Tastes like aardvark!”

              “Really, what does aardvark taste like?”

              “Chicken with armadillo seasoning.”

              “You realize that doesn’t help much, right?”

  5. Thoroughly enjoying “attending” LibertyCon vicariously through Cedar’s FB pictures and the various posts here and there, like this one (while simultaneously reading Kate Paulk’s Vampire Con series). Looking forward to making it there in person, someday.

    1. I thought your sort don’t photograph any better than you reflect? Or is that only in Ryk Spoor’s books? Never can keep my facts and fiction straight, suppose I must read too much fiction.

      1. Yep, that’s _exactly_ why Cedar got no photos of me at Libertycon. My image cannot be captured by your mortal technology.

  6. Maybe next year (when, perhaps, maybe, I can come) we should get the Hun and Hoyden tee-shirts or name tags we all keep talking about, so you can spot us more quickly.

    1. Maybe something in the way of a nice polo shirt with Chris Davis’ head shot of Sarah, surrounded by a heart forming the iris of an eye?

      Now, ought that be a human eye, a dragon eye, a cat’s eye …

      1. Chris Davis INSERT: Chris Muir, of Day by Day

        Too much ill-sorted info in brain sometimes causes data retrieval errors.

        I am not sure who Chris Davis is — I think he was a middle relief pitcher with the San Francisco Giants in the 1970s, or possibly the rhythm guitarist for a “California-sound” soft rock band of the same era.

        1. No. Go to fabric store, get an inch or two of a flag-patterned fabric (no desecration) and a pack of safety pins. Whole thing should run you $3 or so, and you should be able to equip other huns… I.e. cut the strip into one or two inch squares, so you have one for you, and one to hand out.

    1. I hate it when it does that. Hit — three times, and like as not it’ll shove in a full-width line that’s a pain to remove.

      Easy fix, highlight the area with the line, then go to Paragraph, then Borders, and set to ‘no borders’. Permanent fix, go to File, Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options, ‘AutoFormat As You Type’, and turn off ‘ ‘Apply As You Type’ Border lines.”

      Whoever thought it was smart to default that to ON for every blasted copy of Word I’ve ever used was a flippin’ moron who ought to be subject to death by squirrels.

      1. Oooh, you can also add “—” to the custom dictionary. *grin* I just tried it in windows livemail program in vague hope that it had that option and I’d missed it… but the dictionary was there, so I tried, and it worked, and YAY!!!!!

        1. grumble. I am still sulking over the MS “upgrade” from Word 97 and Excel 97 — I had those suckers configured with custom toolbars so that the items for which I didn’t have the hot-keys committed to reflex were right there on the toolbar. All program versions since those meet my operating definition of crap.

          1. Won’t disagree much there – but it’s what I’ve got at work and I’ve gotten used to it.

            I really wish they’d stop rearranging the blasted toolbars.

            1. That’s part of why I’m still with Mac Office 11. I’m afraid to “upgrade” and discover that they’ve effed up my favorite features—again.

          2. I’ve given up on Microslut. I use Open Office for everything nowadays. I even managed to convert all my Corel documents to OO. I’m not fully up on all the features yet, but I’m learning. I have a friend who is one of the Oracle programmers working on OO. They hope to attract people by being stable.

            1. I try to use Open Office as much as I can as well. Libre Office also exists, from the same code base, for those with an antipathy to Oracle.

              1. Since most of the (Open/Libre)Office developers were included in the “those with an antipathy to Oracle” category at the time of the split, LibreOffice ended up with more programmers. OpenOffice was then transferred out of Oracle’s hands into the management of the Apache project (most famous for their webserver that powers over half the websites on the whole Internet, but they do quite a lot of other software as well), and Oracle shut down their major involvement in OpenOffice development. So it’s not quite correct to say that OpenOffice is connected to Oracle, not any longer at least.

       has a good rundown of the differences, if you care. The real short version is: because of legal issues, any feature put into OpenOffice can also be included in LibreOffice, but it doesn’t work in reverse. So in the long run, LibreOffice is going to end up with more features.

  7. Well since there’s no topic, here’s a rather stunning rebuke to PC claims Golden Age SFF was institutionally dedicated to marginalizing and excluding women, gays and non-whites:

    Take only the five winners of this year’s Nebulas: Ann Leckie, Vylar Kaftan, Aliette de Bodard, Rachel Swirsky and Nalo Hopkinson. Each self-identifies as a QUILTBAG intersectional feminist. Each has routinely written non-fiction disparaging of whites and men from within their shared ideological framework and peculiar vocabulary.

    Now, expand out the Golden Age of SFF to 1912-62 and find me 5 authors with either fiction or non-fiction that is disparaging of women, gays and non-whites from within a similar shared ideological framework and vocabulary.

    You have the entirety of five decades with which to work. Surely a misogynist homophobic and racist ideology should have a massive presence to account for intersectional feminism’s BS about the Golden Age as well as their own existence.

    The truth is five entire decades don’t have as many ideological racist and sexist bigots as one celebratory night at the Nebulas in 2014. Yup, that’s a stunning gulf of perception. It’s also called “lying.”

    1. That’s what happens when you let the ‘Reality-Based’ community start making rules – and then enforcing them. You skew away from reality.

      I believe they realize their own works are iffy at best, and never would sell in the markets of the time, when there were a lot of people who bought the magazines. Word of mouth is more important than quality now when it comes to awards. (As we’ve seen.)

      As for me? I like the classic SF styles. The older SF made you feel good when you finished a story – and the really popular authors now (Larry Correia, John Ringo, etc) have learned to leave the reader feeling emotionally wrung out but exhilarated and waiting eagerly for the next book.

      The QUILTBAG writers leave you feeling wrung out and filthy and wanting to crawl away – if you even make it through their story. They’ve learned to write technically, and even technically well – but they’ve forgotten that uplifting the heart in fiction is just as important as being able to construct a sentence, a paragraph, or a story.

      And they don’t understand why those constructions of theirs aren’t hauling more and more people into the genre. After all, THEY like it! It’s GOOD! It’s INCLUSIVE! It got a NEBULA!

      Which – at one time – really meant something.

      Eh. Whatever. I’ll write to my taste, and put it up on Amazon. If someone thinks it’s appealing, it’ll sell. If it doesn’t, that’s life. I’ll never get a Nebula doing that – but that’s not why I write in the first place. Maybe in a few years I’ll try submitting to Analog or Asimov’s, if they’re still around.

      Or maybe not.

      I write – because in the end I want to write. To tell the stories in my head, to see what the characters do, to figure out how to get them out of the predicaments they’re stuck in – and have FUN and maybe learn something along the way. (US v Alcoa as a plot point? WTF? How did THAT get in there?)

      Because I can make worlds that are BETTER than what we have – something to strive for, to yearn for.

      The SJWs? The GHHs? Well, they’ve got their purposes in writing what they do. But message fiction doesn’t get many repeat readers. That’s reality for you – if you want sales, you’ve got to entertain. If you want an award, you’ve got to preach.

      I’ll go for entertaining, myself.

      1. The older SF made you feel good when you finished a story – and the really popular authors now (Larry Correia, John Ringo, etc) have learned to leave the reader feeling emotionally wrung out but exhilarated and waiting eagerly for the next book.

        Alive, and glad of it.

        1. The ending of ‘Islands of Rage and Hope’ left me wanting to cheer wildly, and brought tears of pride to my eyes at the same time. THAT is epic stuff. It’ll be around for years, if not decades.

    2. “Take only the five winners of this year’s Nebulas: Ann Leckie, Vylar Kaftan, Aliette de Bodard, Rachel Swirsky and Nalo Hopkinson.”


      1. Pre-zactly. I have yet to see any of their work in area bookstores, nor on the major regional chain’s “order-for-you” web-page.

      2. The reason you’re not seeing their work is because it’s the equivalent of a lesbian music festival. For some reason they keep shilling it as “women” and diversity for “women” but it’s not that at all. These are 2% of all women with a further tiny percentage who back it up like Mary Robinette Kowal, Ann Leckie, Aliette de Bodard and M.J. Locke.

        Everyone keeps scratching their heads and wondering what the big deal is, cuz we’ve had plenty of women’s authors for years. Well, that’s not it. This is gay, women’s SFF, and nothing else.

        The new Kickstarter out sarcastically called “Women Destroy SF” isn’t that at all. It’s queer culture intersectionalism 101. Combined with the boredom factor, where the other problem comes in is that this cult is endemically hostile to heterosexual men, white men for some reason.

        So the brains behind this con game portray any pushback to intersectionalism’s own bigotry and boring lesbian SF as: anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-diversity, anti-non-white.

        I have to admit it’s quite the clever con game but now they’ve been exposed. On the other hand, due to their goofy insulated worlds, there’s no reason to believe they don’t actually believe they represent all women, cuz these people are as crazy as loons.

        The real truth is that gay SF is boring, men don’t oppose women’s SF. Were it not for men there wouldn’t be any. No one is opposed to diversity. There’s been plenty inside SF for years. SF is innately xenophile. Authors haven’t been so diverse, but that’s just the weird currents of hobbies no one controls and rapidly changing. Anti-non-white is BS they made up in their head since there are no facts that would reflect that. The fact is that as long as they keep trying to push in calling us all racists the more they’ll be ignored, so all that rapid change is being marginalized by the new folks themselves and blamed on us. I’m not reading stuff by folks who attack me.

        Seen in this light, the idea you’re up against “liberalism” is absurd. Liberalism acts as useful idiots because they shed tears for anyone who screams “oppression,” no matter how much they subsequently act like neo-Nazi supremacists.

        This little war will go on forever because no matter how much QUILTBAGs wish it, mainstream audiences are not going to get on board with lesbian SF, no more than they would with music. It’s 2% of humankind and boring literature. The “Women Destroy SF” anthology has little to do with SF merely written by the opposite sex. A more apt description would be SF by fireman or mountain climbers that always shoe-horns in mountains and fire.

  8. At least your accent is far less impenetrable in person than it was on that recorded interview with Stephen Green. I could hardly understand you in that, but you’re very understandable in person.

    I won’t hear the book in your accent, anyway. I hear the voices of actors who i think should play the parts of characters if the books were made into movies, if I hear anything but the generic, internal version of my own voice, which I normally narrate books with.

        1. It still befuddles me that people ‘hear’ voices when they read. I understand the majority of people do, but it’s so weird! And slow–I can make myself do it but it slows down my reading speed so much. How do you stand it?

          1. You get used to it. And it doesn’t really slow you down until the voices start critiquing the work or arguing with the characters. 😉

            1. The “voice”is goimg at the speed of thought, not a normal speaking speed 😉 And if something throws you out of the narrative, it still can be quite a jolt.

            2. In fact, it makes it even more fun when reading Michael Z Williamson, because you can “hear” the narrative pause for the offbeat grin after the sly and subtle reference, or the sip of scotch…


          2. I once edited a set of PowerPoint slides to accompany a book by Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The whole time, I kept hearing her, um, rather distinctive voice in my head. I thought I would be in a straight jacket by the time that project was over. 🙂

          3. As others have said, it moves much faster than actual speaking, but from things I have read, it still slows a person down compared to the faster readers. I know there are people here who read 1500 or more words a minute, while I’m lucky to make 500, but except when I think about how convenient it would be to read faster, it doesn’t bother me.

            1. I have managed, long ago and with a great deal of practice, to hit about 4000 wpm. But in that style of reading it’s more taking a brief ‘snapshot’ of the page, and remembering it long enough to scan for the information I’m looking for.

              Now if I’m scanning for a particular detail I think I’m around 2-3000 wpm – for pleasurable reading it’s probably 1000 or slower. With a voice.

              A very fast voice, but there’s a voice.

              Oh, great. I’m hearing voices. Again… sigh… 😉

          4. How does it work for you?

            I don’t hear voices, either– it’s more like… a cross between remembering something that happened a while ago that you got additional information about (so it’s not all from your senses) and that second or two after experiencing it– more thought than impulse, but visceral enough that something really dumb trips the “alright, they made that up” impulse.

          5. I don’t usually hear voices when I read, but I do constantly when I write, or when I’m editing something (mine or other’s). Some of the voices are very distinct, even unusual, while others are more or less benign. One VERY distinct voice was Dolph, in Celia Hayes’ “Adelsverein Trilogy”, another was Athena’s voice in “Darkship Thieves”

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