Promo Post and Musings

The promo is by Free Range Oyster, the resident ambulatory mollusc.  The musings are mine.  And since this is my blog and I muse if I want to: musings first.

My main musing is on the subject of work. Yesterday on Facebook someone told me I do two daily blogs and all the rest.  This is, of course, not true.  I barely do this blog daily, if I can con one or two of you into doing guest posts a week.  (Actually I’ve found the ideal number of weekly posts is three.  After that it starts eating into the fiction brain.  Yes, I could cut down to posting on designated days, or I can let some of my friends talk too.  I like the second better.  Now that younger son is taking (only) a couple/three summer classes — needed when you’re taking two and three half degrees in six years — he has also promised me a weekly post.  After all, he’s a Hoyt and this is According to Hoyt.  Of course you guys will accuse me of making him up, because of the three guys, he’s the one who sounds most like me.  Okay, without the occasional naughty snark.  He’s an embryonic engineer.  Someone left the naughty out of him.)

However, this musing is on the subject of work, backbreaking work and joy.

I’m not going to say writing isn’t work, or hasn’t been work more times than I can say.  For instance, as I’m editing a collection to put up (usually editing it at night, when I’m almost asleep, but never mind.  Oh, yeah, remind me I need to make an eyeglass appointment on Monday, because right now I can see clearly up to the tip of my nose, and the rest is an educated guess.  Which gets tiring when editing. It’s not all absent mindedness, I was waiting for the hormones to settle after surgery.  When you’re astigmatic, hormonal confusion affects your eyesight) and one of the stories I put in which I remembered as being pretty decent is Oh, My Lord.  As in, you can feel me pushing every word into place with a crow bar.  Which is exactly what it felt like at the time.  It felt like I was locked in a walled-in, silent room and could only pass words out, one at a time, through a crack only big enough to admit a fortune-cookie sized paper.

More importantly, I couldn’t “feel” the worlds I was writing (okay, okay, see them and hear them, at least mentally.  Before you call the men in white coats, I suggest you remember that if they cure me you get no more books.  Yeah, that’s right, put down that phone.) This meant that every development in plotting, every new character had to be thought out carefully.

This is, btw, why the serialized novels came to a halt, because otherwise I’d have had to spend the whole week working on a chapter (I suddenly feel empathy for those of my colleagues who write very slowly) and I have other work.  Yes, they will resume, just let me figure out the mash I made of those plots.  My goal right now is to finish them at the end of Summer, and bring them out around September.

It’s been like that, but increasingly worse for the last three years, or if you want to get technical, it’s been like that for 20 years slowly worsening, until it reached critical mass 8 years or so ago (the Nebulas in Arizona) and since then it’s been a race to shut down my brain and it’s weird that it no longer is.  I talked to friends back then and they diagnosed burnout. It seemed right.  I read books on burnout, but the prescriptions were either impossible or didn’t help.

Well, it wasn’t burnout, though it behaved like it.  It was the multiple complications of a relatively simple but messy internal problem.  So.

So, what now?  Where do I — and more importantly for you guys — my writing go from here.  D*mned if I know.

Let’s take it as written that when I broke in 15 years ago the effects of the cr*p going on in my organs were minor.  I was writing four novels a year (one sold.  Eh.  I was learning) reading six books a week and writing a short story every weekend.  Then again I was also thirty and change, not fifty two.

Let’s take it as written too that I am not fully up to strength yet.  H*ll the doctor hasn’t given me the all-clear yet.  Appointment on Wednesday.  Keep your fingers crossed, because I think she’ll have a nervous breakdown if I’m not healed.  She was halfway there last time.

Also, brain-curious (he’s been reading articles on brain science since he was 10.  What the heck would you call him?) #1 son-san tells me that the brain recovers from the bottom up.  I mean, whatever my body was doing (beyond trying to die) shut my brain down from the top down, meaning that story (not, thank heavens for a Baen anthology) that offended me was written with the brain stem, which sounds about right. It is recovering from the bottom up, which means my dinkum thinkum (eh) feels perfectly normal now, and all back, but I doubt it is.  (OTOH I can read books I haven’t read before without forgetting what I read ten minutes ago.  On the third hand, I’m only reading two a week.  Oh, and if you were waiting for me to mail you something and it’s late (derp) that’s not the brain, it’s my notorious aversion to the post office, which usually has a three hour line.  I swear to you next time I take the clip board and edit in line. Or take the eee and write.  For maximum spookiness, I should take the recorder and dictate a chapter.)

So, right now, on the hopper and of concern to you: I’m editing a collection of the short stories published since 07, a couple of them published in very limited venues.  It will be near 90k words of collection, and I’ll be putting out [pardon the Freudian slip.  Only if the doctor gives me the all clear.  CORRECTION:] putting it out at the end of the week.  I’m going to put it up for 2.99 introductory price for a week, shall we say starting memorial day weekend, so people have a chance to buy something to read during their time off.  It will be called Here There Be Dragons.

Also nearing completion (it was sort of written, only a dog’s breakfast, because I wasn’t functioning) is the Yaish (shut up, totally a designation) novel coming between Witchfinder and Rogue Magic.  It’s getting fixed up between breakfast and whatever time we haul *ss to go to the other house and paint.  (Family are not early risers, and I’m usually up at six.)  It changed names, because The Haunted Air never fit, and it’s now Witch’s Daughter for the kid that Michael Ainsling, youngest son of the *sort of* late Duke of Darkwater falls for.  Kid is a manner of speaking, as she’s 16 and he’s 17, but you know…  He shows his family’s propensity to fall for the most innapropriate woman  person critter available.

In the afternoon, after painting the other house and before I deal with dinner, I’m trying to finish Darkship Revenge.  Which would be way easier if Bowl of Red weren’t trying to come out at the same time.  I’ve informed Bowl of Red it’s not under contract and it can wait.  It’s not listening.

Thing is, and this is the weird part, this is not a weird brag about how hard I work.  Because, listen to this, work is not supposed to be this much fun.  So “hard worker” is relative.  This is why I took so much time/effort to make sure the boys really want to do what they say they want to do.  It is important to do the sort of work where you’re having fun, to the point you go “A trip to the amusement park?  But I was writing!”

Mind you, I still love trips to the zoo and the natural history museum with my kids (and Dan) but those tend to turn into plotting trips anyway.

So, those are the good news.  At least I hope they’re good, though I’m starting to have a sneaky suspicion I’m going to be very hard for my guys to live with.

Maybe.  They’re not all there, either.

Oh, yeah, and before I give the floor to the mollusc (1500 words, really?  I’m just blathering!) Ill Met By Moonlight, the first novel I sold, which came out Oct. 2001, (yeah, I have ALL the luck!  Not.  Well, more than the poor people who died, so…) is up for sale at 2.99 till Monday some time.  (Will get changed Monday morning, but it takes a little while to take effect.)  So if you, your friend or your distant cousin needs an e-copy this is a good time.

Next up on sale is either No Will But His or Death of a Musketeer, and I take votes.

Remember the book promo Friday Saturday is the books you send us to promote, and not personal endorsements.  Download the sample and read it and if it interests you buy the book!  Oh, and send oyster your upcoming masterpieces.  Void or limited where prohibited by law.  No coupon, no excuse.  You’re responsible for all the taxes including mine (what?  No?  Sigh.  The IRS done looted our bank account again this year and I was hoping.)

Have a fun Saturday.  I have stuff to write.

And now, without further ado, Here’s Oyster or at least Oyster’s promo post! Put your hands together for the hun that’s got none, and give him a warm ATH welcome, butter optional.

Amanda S. Green

Sword of Arelion

Sword of the Gods Book 1

War is coming. The peace and security of the Ardean Imperium is threatened from within and without. The members of the Order of Arelion are sworn to protect the Imperium and enforce the Codes. But the enemy operates in the shadows, corrupting where it can and killing when that fails.

Fallon Mevarel, knight of the Order of Arelion, carried information vital to prevent civil war from breaking out. Cait was nothing, or so she had been told. She was property, to be used and abused until her owner tired of her. What neither Cait nor Fallon knew was that the gods had plans for her, plans that required Fallon to delay his mission.

Plans within plans, plots put in motion long ago, all converge on Cait. She may be destined for greatness, but only if she can stay alive long enough.

John Van Stry

Of Temples and Trials

Portals of Infinity: Book Three

With the first of what he suspects will be many favors completed, William finds himself busy with important tasks back at his home on Saladin. Queen Rachel has several jobs she needs him to do, and Feliogustus has similar tasks in mind for him as well. All in all, it seems easy enough to Will, it’s not like he’ll be fighting in any wars, or traveling across the infinite on a strange quest after all.

But things aren’t always as easy as they might seem, and both politics, as well as the other gods, aren’t going to ignore Will, or the tasks he’s been set to complete. And is if dealing with that isn’t problem enough, when the time comes to do some serious diplomacy between Hiland and a neighboring Kingdom, a deadly problem comes from a most unexpected quarter, forcing Will to take immediate action to payback both his, and his God’s foes.

James L. Cambias

Corsair: A Science Fiction Novel

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, Elizabeth Santiago and David Schwartz, meet at MIT, where Schwartz is sneaking into classes, and have a brief affair. David is amoral and out for himself, and soon disappears. Elizabeth dreams of technology and space travel and takes a military job after graduating. Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows under a multiplicity of names for international thieves, and Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth’s economy, shipments from space are dropped down the gravity well into the oceans. David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can’t prove it. And when Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players. And both Elizabeth and David end up in a world of trouble.

192 responses to “Promo Post and Musings

  1. Reblogged this on Cyn Bagley – Poet and Writer and commented:
    Some interesting writers and their work–

  2. Younger son will be doing a weekly post? You’re threatening to put a Hoyting on us?

    • Perhaps he can post something on the sub-genre: Erotic Sex?

      • um… mostly he wants to rant about science. It’s his thing.

        • Science and exotic sex, same thing, right?

          (Was just reading about bird gender genetics and copulation, in context of chickens.)

          • And I read ‘erotic’ as ‘exotic’. Oh, well, it’s just one little letter, right?

            • Professor Badness

              Faux pas or freudian slip?

              • See, the great thing about kids is they’re totally blamable for everything. Clearly it’s sleep deprivation. Also, I’m blond.

                Probably just faux pas, as there really isn’t much difference between the one and the other, after all. (And if there is, just let me stay in my bubble over here, okay? I’ll be with my eldest son who is attempting, despite the evidence of his own existance, to deny that his parents ever ‘did it.’)

        • Editorial note: Juxtaposing “Erotic sex” and “it’s his thing”? Not a good idea.

        • And they intersect in sex-bots!!!!

          • Indeed, SF novel placed in the exotic rings of Saturn. Hugo, is researching the strange electrical discharges on Titan. After a low altitude survey, imagine his surprise that his sex-bot Lillith has been transformed by the discharges and now contains the intelligent essence of one of Titan’s energy beings….

        • If he wants to rant about something, have him fix that damned inconvenient second law of thermodynamics, would you? Thanks in advance.

  3. I usually look at any posting on posting Saturday. I was sure that I already had Sarah’s and Amanda’s novels, and yes I do. John’s, being Book 3 of series, I fall back to book 1. On purchasing, amazon tells me I already have this book. It got lost in the paperwhite to voyager conversion, so it is now back on the top of the reading list. My bad, being denied a new author for 9 months after all y’alls first recommendation.
    Next comes James’ “Corsair: A Science Fiction Novel”. $12.99 for an unknown and un-reviewed novel? I am happier with the sub $4.99 price range. But finally, amazon provides me a public service announcement in the form of: Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.
    #2: Ancillary Something: Ann Leckie
    #5: Old Man #6: John Scalzi
    Now, this has me thinking: “… :A Science Fiction Novel”. OK, is this an indication that the author thinks I am so stupid that I might confuse it for a mystery novel?
    My take away: Publisher’s always lie, Amazon customers (usually) don’t. You are known by the company you keep.

    • Donald: the writer doesn’t do the cover. This is — I THINK — TOR books…

      • Jeff Duntemann

        Tor is indeed an imprint of Macmillan.

        The cover art on Corsair jumped off the page at me. Nicely done, and not the same old same old. (I also have two big telescopes and a bit of a galaxy fetish.) I would have picked it up like a shot. Mission accomplished.

        Authors don’t write cover copy because few know how. It’s a very specific sort of skill, and you can take classes in it. This doesn’t mean publishers are willing to send their people to the classes.

        • I’m still taking classes in it, and still suck. But yeah, unless you’re targeted “high list” your cover copy will be written by someone’s intern.

          • ” But yeah, unless you’re targeted “high list” your cover copy will be written by someone’s intern.”

            Which might be an improvement, depending on the intern. Of course if it is, they are likely to wash the intern out for it.

    • The description of Corsair is poorly written, as well. If that’s Tor’s work, then their promotional work isn’t up to indie standards. Not to be snarky, the book itself may be great — it’s just not promising enough to pay that price for.

      • Don’t fret it; when the book fails to find an audience Tor will blame the author, not their packaging, promotion and pricing.

        That’s a publisher for you: they “p” all over the book then blame the author for the way it smells up the marketplace.

      • Walter Jon Williams put one of his early novels (Knight Moves) on sale a while back. Here’s one of my comments on the thread:

        (hey, if OGHs can recycle her blog entries, I can recycle my comments!)

        TRX October 5, 2013 at 9:05 pm
        I think I bought my copy in the late ’80s. I’ve read it maybe three times.

        There are some things I could legitimately criticize as far as story flow and plotting, but the book has survived half a dozen cycles of brutal culling, which happens when books overflow the available floor space. (the shelves are, by default, full) Knight Moves has managed to stay on the shelf when other books, including some by WJW, have gone off to the used book store.

        So, whatever failings it might have, the writing is good enough. I vaguely remember seeing it around for quite a while before buying it.

        Generally, there are three main factors that influence my purchase of a book:

        A) whether I’ve read the author’s work before, and liked it.

        Selling point: since I don’t have enough money and/or time to buy all the books I want, I have a sort of virtual rating system based on the percentage of an author’s work that I liked. Some writers, all their stuff is pretty much the same. Some are very uneven. WJW is *very* uneven.

        B) the blurbs on the back and the front page. I’m kind of picky about that. If I flip the book over and there’s someone’s picture taking the whole cover instead of text trying to sell me the book, it goes back on the shelf. If I open the front cover and the first page only gushing reviews by newspapers I’ve never heard of, it goes back on the shelf.

        Selling point:
        There’s a lot of room for fail here, particularly with the author portrait and newspaper blither being so common nowadays. That sort of thing tells me “this book is so bad, nobody at the publishing house could be bothered to tell me what it was about.”

        Occasionally I’ll finish a book, look at the blurb again, and wonder if they put it on the wrong book, but since that’s both after the sale and after consumption, it’s a wash.

        C) cover art. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never bought a book due to its cover art, but I can think of many instances where I’ve put one back on the shelf after seeing it. Who was it, Signet? Used to use photographs of dolls and GI Joes back in the 1970s? At least *all* of their books looked like that, “paperback trash” to most people.

        Really bad cover art tells me the publisher cared so little for the title that they put forth the absolute minimum effort. Come on, people. Even a plain solid color and block letters are better than the editor’s niece’s crayon scribblings.

        From discussions elsewhere, I know that some people are influenced almost entirely by cover art, which means bad art has an even higher chance of losing a sale.

        I know an author usually has no control over “packaging”, ie cover art and blurbs, so a novel going into the usual sales chain is beyond his control. However, when he’s able to flog etexts on the web…

        To anyone who hasn’t read Knight Moves already, it might as well have been written last week. It’s brand new. If it’s not selling and others are, the problem is marketing, not the book.

        I can tell you one thing. I found the cover art hideous, and that delayed my purchased for a very long time.

    • Donald, his book _A Darkling Sea_ was pretty decent, the first half at least (as far as I got before life intervened). You’re right though, the PR copy reeks.

    • Amazon says Mcmillan is publisher. Cover art is fine, in fact the cover doesn’t contain ‘A Science Fiction Novel’.
      Amanda’s customers also purchase novels by Cedar Sanderson, Dave Freer, Jerry Pournelle.
      Since SJWs are spiking ratings with 1-star bogus reviews, this is my new filter for identifying quality from pablum. Since I like books from those 3 authors, I have higher confidence that I will like Amanda’s work (Confession: I have not yet read it. It seems that Larry Correia and Baen wisely decided if they gave me Monster Hunters #1 for free, I would be willing to pay $6.99 for #2 and beyond… It is going to take me a while to digest them all and get back on track).
      This works where reviews fail, because recomendations only come from books people buy, who have also bought this one.

      • Did you click the above link for Corsair? Because it says Tor Books is the publisher when I go to it.

        • Click the link above. Click Kindle box. See:
          Sold by: Macmillan
          This price was set by the publisher
          Books seem to have publishers and distributors… and publishing companies seem to have an incestuous relationship with one another. Probably a result of Government over-regulation and regulatory capture (bribes) by the big ones.

          • Macmillan owns Tor. Macmillan is also of the tendency to take their imprints’ names off of ebooks.

          • Is Tor an imprint of MacMillan?

          • Ah! I see – I don’t look over to that box unless I’m buying, which I’m not at this moment, so I scrolled down to see this:

            Product Details

            File Size: 1666 KB
            Print Length: 337 pages
            Publisher: Tor Books (May 5, 2015)
            Sold by: Macmillan
            Language: English
            ASIN: B00OFIO75W
            Text-to-Speech: Enabled
            X-Ray:
            Not Enabled
            Word Wise: Enabled
            Lending: Not Enabled
            Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,084 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

    • Eh, Corsair would make me think historical or (less likely) high fantasy. They may want to be clear.

      I have a work-in-progress tenatively titled, Through a Mirror Darkly. It may get the subtitle, A Superhero Story.

    • Bought it, by accident. (was trying to figure out what matchbooks was, and all of a sudden I was on the “Thank You” page) It’s good, not great, I’d say four out of five stars, but not thirteen dollars worth.

    • I didn’t do the cover, and the business of “A Science Fiction Novel” isn’t part of the title. Don’t know where that crept in. The book title is Corsair, period. It’s about SPACE PIRATES.

  4. Corsair looks like a good read, but not for $12.99 for a ebook. What does Tor think they are doing?

    • oh, tell me about it. Reason I put off reading Butcher this long is the ridiculous price Random Penguin charges for electrons. BUT d*mn it, I want to do a fair Hugo vote…

    • Tor: “$Money!$”

      . . .

      “What, you don’t want to pay the $13 that we dictate must be what you pay for our books now? And we worked so hard to force Amazon to stop its ebul practices, have you no gratitude!?” *SNIFF!*

      Or perhaps the engineer at Tor is Casey Jones, and doesn’t see that 50mph curve called “Economic Recession Approaching, Reduced Speed Ahead.”

      • I do, which is why I’m running the 2.99 sale!

      • There was a long discussion (and lots of pointing and giggling) at PG’s place over the Big 5 pricing their e-books so high, and then tutting about the “slow pace” of e-book sales. Ya think? I’ll shell out $12-25 for an e-book when the cheapest used edition is $65 (non-fic) and I need it for reference ASAP (can’t wait for ILL). NOT for fiction.

        I’ll also be running a special at the end of the month when _Blackbird_ comes out.

        • I think it is pretty clear, in spite of the email from Hatchett’s CEO when the big 5/amazon bru-haha started, that the big ones don’t care about readers or authors just their bottom line.
          The first part they are clueless about is that their ‘message SF’ is popular. The second is that all ‘good’ authors must have them as the ‘gatekeepers’. Next, their misunderstanding of popularity and of ebooks. Finally, the new ‘gatekeeper’ amazon has good algorithms for their recomendation filters that compare my purchase habits with those of like-minded people and are essentially crowdsourcing the recomendations to their customers.

          Academic books, I think they are gouging; however, I will cut them a little slack as the production costs per book are higher, as they sell so few compared to fiction.

          • Yup academic books gouge because they have a captive audience (university libraries) and creative chains of management and supply. But Oxford University Press has also told authors (who complained that “no one will buy my book and I want people to read it”) that the high price is a sign of quality. And to make it even more interesting, university presses also encourage authors to find grants and subventions to help cover the cost of editing and printing and so on (we also pay for all our own image and reprint rights, cartography, and in some cases indexing as well.)

    • You can omit “What” and “They are doing”…

  5. BTW – Sarah: please make an eyeglass appointment or grow a longer nose, at your earliest convenience.

    Alternatively, go to Walmart, B&N or the like and try on the selection of cheap reading glasses until you find a pair which a) permits you to see the chart adequately and b) attractively fits your face — in that order. Option b) may be disregarded if no sech critter exists.

    • If you don’t have a provider already, may I strongly recommend Rainbow Optics (if there is one in your area)?

  6. “For maximum spookiness, I should take the recorder and dictate a chapter.”
    I immediately envisioned you standing in line in the Post Office with a large suspicious box muttering select scenes from your latest death and destruction work in that charming Russian sounding accent of yours. Hey, I know better, but we’re talking untrained ears here. All perfectly innocent and I’m sure everyone involved will have a good laugh about it after they take the cuffs off and release you. But do consider, if you get placed on the no fly list it will really play Hob with your con attendance.

    • Death and destruction? But my books are about sweet butterflies.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        “Sweet Butterflies”?

        I’ve seen parts of a movie that starts out with a man “pulling” a butterfly from a book.

        The butterfly multiplies and turn deadly to the town. [Very Big Evil Grin]

        • Do you want me to send you Through Fire?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Yep, I’d love a copy of Through Fire. I’ll even send you comments on it. [Smile]

            Now, if you are wanting me to go through fire, I’m a dragon I can handle fire. [Smile]

      • Ah, of course. Then I’m sorry to have to inform you that some evil person is using your name to promulgate tales of revolution with brooms and burners and poison gas and heads on pikes.
        Sweet butterflies my rosy red …
        Those are long fanged vampire bats in camo.
        And I have not forgotten, I still owe you a second read, intend to do that this weekend.

        • No, no, the long-fanged bats in camo belong to Dave Freer! And if you think those are bad, you should see the rats!

          http://www.amazon.com/Rats-Bats-Vats-Book-ebook/dp/B00BEQP8YC/

          • I love that book. You laugh your butt off on each and every page. Actually, it is a good plot and story line too.

            • Eh, different strokes, only book* of Freer’s that I ever dropped a couple chapters in and never picked back up.

              *I never tried the sequel, if I didn’t like the original, I saw no need to try the second one.

              • If you dropped this one, I doubt you would do better with the sequel. Situation, tone, characters all pretty much the same as the first.

                • Yeah, nothing against the authors, I like both Dave and Eric’s other work, and a lot of people like those books. But I despise stupid humor and usually anything marketed as comedy (with the notable exception of Gordon Korman, Kate Paulk’s Con books, and anything by Patrick McManus) frankly from the marketing I never would have tried it, if it hadn’t been part of Baen’s Free Library.

                  I got about what I was expecting from the advertising, so no complaints there, I just figured it was worth a try, since I knew both authors were good, and it was free. Like Pratchett, there are plenty of fans that liked the books, so it is just a taste thing.

      • “Sweet butterflies” is a code word well-recognized in the Catastrophe Theory Community.

      • You mean like the death butterflies that were in one episode of “Earth: Final Conflict”?

        • Never was there a TV series that fell so far and so fast. I know, spend the first season getting viewers to understand your main character, and then, kill him off. Then once the viewers settle down, throw in some alternate earth scenarios just for confusion, and then kill off the aliens and bring them back in as a new ‘transformed’ and ‘ancient earth dwelling’ creatures.

    • Russian accent? GMTA — when I first HEARD an interview with our hostess (the one she gave to Vodkapundit) I was floored by how East Slavic her accent sounded — and believe me, where I live about every fifth person is an immigrant from Russia. I would have believed Sarah to be Russian or Polish without a second thought.

      • “Can you direct us to the naval base in Alameda? It’s where they keep the nuclear wessels.”

        • It sometimes scares me how much our minds follow the same twisted pathways.

          • At my old workplace, I was asked to listen to a Spanish answering machine message, because I knew Spanish. It turned out it was a Yiddish and Russian answering machine message.

            So there are some commonalities in sounds.

            • Portuguese does NOT sound like Spanish. Particularly not Portuguese from Portugal (as opposed to Brazil.)

              • I once bought an album of Shakira remixes, most of which were worthless hack-jobs by recording producers that added nothing worthwhile to the music, but three of them were alternate versions in Portugese, which sounded so different, but were beautiful. (Of course, I STILL didn’t understand a word).

              • Brazilian Portuguese does sound like Spanish. In fact back when I could almost understand Spanish, I could half comprehend Brazilian Portuguese. I’m not sure I have ever heard Portuguese Portuguese, (is that confusing?) but since Portugal is stuck to the hip, of Spain, I would have assumed they sounded familiar, they look familiar written.

                Of course what I actually could almost understand was Mexican, not Spanish, in fact Brazilian Portuguese sounded more familiar than Spanish from Spain.

                • Does Mexican sound like Puerto Rican? That’s what I grew up hearing as Spanish.

                  • I don’t know, as far as I can recall, the only Puerto Ricans I have heard were always speaking English, their accent in English is different than a Mexican accent in English, so probably not.

                • Brazilian Portuguese has a lot of Italian sound in it. Let me see…
                  This is the closest I can find, but I’ll find a more prosaic clip in a moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3zFH-YfJbU
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTGyeh8RQw0 The talking at the beginning.
                  It looks closer to Spanish written, but for instance J in Portuguese is read as the soft G. Hence Jorge, not the aspirated thing Spaniards do.
                  I tried to find someone reading Pessoa from Portugal, but that was the only one. All the staged ones are Brazil.

        • The Other Sean

          Now, they just keep the MythBusters there.

  7. I SOUNDS as if you are healing – so glad to hear it. And that the internal mess is behind you (you’re painting houses – that requires feeling at least moderately good). External messes – sigh.

    Alicia

  8. Professor Badness

    “Before you call the men in white coats, I suggest you remember that if they cure me you get no more books. Yeah, that’s right, put down that phone.”

    *Looks up from under table, quietly slipping cell phone back in the pocket from whence it came.*
    I wasn’t doing anything, honest. But, while you’re here, we’ve got this lovely white canvas jacket to get you fitted for?

  9. “There be Dragons?” I can’t wait.

  10. I will point out that fifteen years ago your sons were needy little attention sponges. That may make a difference to the positive in the comparison between now and then. (I am quite certain that they were. My boys are between six and twelve right now.)

    • Professor Badness

      “between six and twelve right now.”
      …You’re not sure how old they are?

      • If they’re behaving like civilized people and got their chores done – 12
        If Mom just had to rescue the cat/glass thing/antique/fishtank from a “project” – 6.

      • My boys are six years ten months, eight years seven months, eleven years two weeks, twelve years seven months.

        My girls are eight months and three years eight months.

        You may notice a certain clustering of birthdays. I give my husband a bad time about it whenever I get an opening.

    • Right now it’s hard to judge that, as I’m still painting/fixing the other house for sale, and trust me, it’s a greedy sponge for attention…

  11. Just on a side note, “Bowl of Red” sounds rather ominous…

    • scenes from an Italian restaurant.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      What’s ominous about a bowl of tomato soup? [Very Big Evil Grin]

      Note, “Bowl of Red” is old diner slang for a bowl of tomato soup. [Wink]

      • See, to me a “bowl of red” is a bowl of red beans OR a bowl of chili (depending on where in the US I am.)

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Argue with Sarah.

          Quote from Noah’s Boy

          His father looked at the menu. “Bowl of red,” he said, following his custom of ordering in old diner lingo.

          “Tomato soup? This early in the morning?”

          End Quote

          Very Big Grin

          • 🙂 I’m not saying that your and Sarah’s meaning is incorrect, just that the phrase has other meanings for other folks sometimes.

            And tomato soup is pointless without either grilled cheese sandwiches or . . . cheese fritters (batter-dipped, deep-fried, grilled cheese sandwiches.)

        • That’s the “mess of pottage” influence.

        • I thought chili.

          • Which, in turn, is an offense unto Nuggan without a peanut butter sandwich on the side, but I can’t seem to convince anyone around this house of that.

            • Nossir. Couple spoonfuls of peanut butter in the chili, mellows the flavor right out.

              • IN the chili, eh? I shall have to take this under advisement.

              • *shudder* I make carne con chili colorado. NO PB gets into it. Cubed steak/stew meat/cubed flank steak, powdered chili, garlic, beef or chicken broth, NM oregano (a different herb than the Italian kind). Boil meat quickly, skim off anything that rises. Drain most of the water. Add broth and powdered chilies (1-3 T depending on personal taste and amount of meat), dab of garlic (or dollop if you like garlic) and oregano. Simmer 3-6 hours depending on amount of chores to be done and stringyness of beef. Let sauce gook down the last few minutes. Serve with beans (if desired) quelitos (wild spinach greens, if desired), cheese (optional but I like it), tortillas, or in bowl plain as stew. I also add a few crumbs of chipotle powder about half way through cooking, but I’m mean that way.

                • NM oregano… Is that the stuff they just legalized in Colorado?

                • Ah, I know what to ask for when you invite me to dinner.

                  What did you just mutter about something freezing over?

                • Everybody has different taste, ya know? Dear wife doesn’t like it too hot, and the PB cuts the burn. You actually have a recipe? Some of the best chili I ever made was when I had to clean out the freezer after the ice storm.

                  • It’s one of the few things I don’t tinker with. The original comes from the book _The Good Life_ by F. Cabeza de Baca Gilbert. It’s a combination slice-of-life story and cookbook, based in northern NM. Most things I either use the instructions as a starting point or look at the pantry, check the ‘fridge, and go from there.

                    • Jerry Boyd

                      If it works, don’t mess with it. Truth be told, the PB usually winds up in the chili because I’ve seasoned it to suit myself, and suddenly realize I need to back off the heat for Donna. PB does that nicely. If I don’t get too freehearted, it doesn’t affect the flavor overmuch, but calms the heat.

                    • Really, I add a bit of Cincinnati Chili flavors to mine – cinnamon and brown sugar. Not supposed to add enough to really taste the cinnamon, it’s just supposed to shift the flavor a bit, and the brown sugar adds a fullness to the flavor while also lowering the heat just a bit.

                    • If you really need to lower the heat (which is almost sacrilege) a dollop or two of sour cream is a much more acceptable solution.

                    • snelson134

                      Heck, that’s what cheese is for.

            • Who’s Nuggan?

        • Sarah comes from a weird sub-culture of the US, one of us really needs to introduce her to a proper “bowl of red”. Although I admit if I am having chili for breakfast it is either in an omelet, or I am being lazy and just heating up last nights leftovers.

  12. the dandelion conspiracy.

  13. Sword of Arelion sounds ruddy amazing, but could I get it in print-on-demand format? I know this readership is very fond of e-books, but I find everything I read digitally to be somehow considerably less “real”, and if I buy a book, I want to remember it.

  14. lonejanitor

    Had to hold off on most of these for a long time because reading off a computer gave me a headache. Got Kindle yesterday though, so looking forward to them.

  15. snelson134

    Bought Sword of Arelion today; I may get to it this coming week.

  16. ” He’s an embryonic engineer. Someone left the naughty out of him.”

    He’s a teen/post teen boy, I suspect someone just doesn’t let the naughty show; particularly around his mother.

    • ONLY person ever who skips some songs on his CDs so as not to shock my virgin ears. 😛 It’s adorable. And incredibly stupid.

      • Our older son just listens to all his music on his headphones, so we don’t hear any of it. He HAS gotten to the point where he will insert curse words into his conversation, once in a while, but he doesn’t say the whole word, just the first letter, and if me or the wife mention anything related to sex, he’s out of the room.