Almost Famous

Yeah, I do have posts from Cedar and (I think) from Amanda waiting, but I woke up late, and so everything went by the way side and as you know I don’t like to put their posts up late.

For those who would worry about the slip ups in posting, the problem has been that for two weeks I’ve had all three guys at home.  An unaccustomed delight, but everything slips sideways and upside down.

Today I’m late because everyone returned to work/school, which included waking up at five am with younger son rummaging in the kitchen, looking for SOMETHING.  D*mned if I know what.  I remember waking up, coming down, and he said “I wanted to make sure I had–”  And then I think I just sleep-walked my way back to bed.

Now note above, I’m telling you a lot about my family.  I don’t mind that.  but believe it or not, I’m also very careful to make sure I never give out information that can lead to tracking us down/stopping us on the street or at a public event, or even coming to see us…

Let me explain that I don’t fear/despise my fans.  In fact, every time I met you lot, from conventions to just accidental bumping into each other, you’re by and large a pleasure.

And then let me explain that I never wanted fame.  I wanted fortune (sigh, don’t we all) but I’m by nature an introvert.  I am one of those few who handle themselves okay in person, but I still don’t LIKE to be out in public.

To finish let me add that while I love my fans, I really hate stalkers.  And before any of you who corresponds with me floods my pm or email saying “have I stalked?” No, you haven’t.  When I say stalkers, I MEAN stalkers.  As in, people who trace me, in real life, who follow me around, who camp in front of my house, and who would get a restraining order if we couldn’t get them to go away by any other means.

I seem to attract those, and did so BEFORE I had enough fans to fill a large room.  This is weird, as it’s been so long since I was young and beautiful that Ray Bradbury’s dictum that the old were never children seems about right to me.  (Even though I’m more middle-middle aged, but whatevs.)

What I say even on my blog is carefully contrived to make sure you don’t actually know where myself and the family are going to go/be at any given time because of those few (VERY FEW, to date about 7 people have been a problem) insane people.  For instance, if we’re going to go up to Denver and to Pete’s, I’m certainly not announcing it here.  If I have do say I’m doing something (i.e. why post is late) I’ll say something else.

Look, sure, if you haunt Pete’s, sooner or later you’ll see a gaggle of Hoyts come in.  In the same way if you haunt the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Sooner or later, you’ll see two, or three or even all four of us come in.  (In the later case you can recognize us by the semi-permanent rolling argument.)

However, if I’m out with the family it’s family time and not fan time.  It’s a different head space.  So, unless I make arrangements to meet one or the other of you (I must meet the one of you in Aurora next time I’m up there) it’s probably not a good time.  The normal etiquette for that is to approach, introduce yourself, and if the family says “No, come on, sit down” then it’s fine.

I LIKE and even trust most of you.

But I’ve had to deal with insulating various circles of acquaintance.  Until I know you decently enough, you’re not allowed to the inner circle, where you could probably trace me, the kids and the pets without any trouble.  In between that and the polite smile and autograph there’s layers of circles.

(BTW part of the reason I have no pictures of Greebo is that he used to be an outdoor cat, which means he was vulnerable.  Okay, being basically a chainsaw who purrs not that vulnerable, but still.)

I hate the necessity of this, and it makes me vulnerable, in a way, too.  Because what happens is that if anyone reports anything to me, something going on in fandom at large I’m likely to believe that person, particularly if it’s a fellow writer.  (For the idiots making hay of RAH believing MZB about her no good, very bad, craptastic second husband.  I can see this happening more easily than you can imagine.)

Part of this, too, is that people have started treating me like I’m someone special.  This is bizarre to me, as I’m just a chick who writes some stuff.  But the number of people who approach me on bended knee and are careful of what they say about me completely baffles me.

So–

Things you should realize: if I don’t give you my home address it doesn’t mean I think you’re a stalker.  It means that in the past people have naively given my address out to people who turned out to be stalkers.  (I understood, as the idea I HAD stalkers was completely bizarre.  So they gave it out without thinking.  However, I don’t want it to happen again.)

Actually if I don’t give you my home address right now, it might not mean anything more than that I don’t want you to get confused as we’re changing addresses probably within a couple of months.  (House under contract, now, but it’s complicated.)

If I DO brush you off at a convention (rare and unlikely) it’s not because you offended me/I’m too full of myself/whatever.  The only time I brush people off at cons is when I have been on panels through one meal already and am dying to get somewhere and eat something or at least have caffeine.  That, and, if it’s a local con, we’re headed home on a tight schedule.  So, don’t take it badly and approach me again later.

If you happen to recognize us in public and want to talk to us, approach anyway.  We are friendly people.  And if we’re on a family thing and don’t want to be interrupted, we’ll tell you.

If it seems to you I’m skirting the real truth in terms of where we’ll be, etc, on this blog, I probably am, because it’s either one of those family things I don’t want interrupted, or it’s something the guys don’t want to deal with.

When approaching my kids, remember they’re not me.  My career is not their responsibility/duty.  They might or might not wish to talk, but be mindful of where they are and who is with them.  They don’t usually broadcast that their mother is almost famous.

And if it seems to you that in the beginning of an acquaintance I’m very cautious, don’t take it wrongly.  I just don’t want to wake up to someone standing on my front lawn.  I’m not that special, and it’s bizarre, so they must be mentally ill, and that scares me. I learned that the hard way.

But most of all, stop fawning around me (no, seriously.)  I’m just a chick who writes stuff.  And if you do it in person and/or at a con, I’ll throw a small plastic fish at you.  And then you’ll be deep in the carp.

 

 

 

 

 

233 responses to “Almost Famous

  1. (response to title) West Virgina.

    • Heh. It is important to remember that John Denver’s verse — Almost Heaven, West Virginia — was inspired while driving through the state. For those of us who grew up in it the phrase is an exercise in stating the opposite, like calling a skinny guy “Fatso.”

      It is even worse now that Obama’s EPA has cut coal use so much that the state now has over 50% adult unemployment*. Along with Kentucky, Wyoming and the other coal producing states, this is putting quite a hit on the budgets and reducing funds available for important services, such as education, medical care and environmental protection.

      “State data compiled by the Labor Department show that West Virginia’s employment-to-population rate has fallen to 49.1% in January [2015].

      [SNIP]

      “At 5.9%, West Virginia doesn’t have close to the worst state unemployment rate. But it’s a state where many have given up trying to find a job. At 17.6%, West Virginia has the highest percentage of working-age people on disability benefits, above the national average of 10.4%, according to 2012 data.

      “West Virginia also has the worst rates of obesity, cancer and diabetes.”
      — CNN Market Watch
      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-the-only-state-where-less-than-half-its-citizens-work-2015-01-13

      • The Other Sean

        West Virginia is a nice place to visit, but I’d never want to live there. It’s got good hiking, good white water rafting, wonderful views at the New River Gorge, and some impressive mountains. OTOH, it lacks jobs. The old manufacturing jobs have largely left, and as you note coal is on the decline due to Obama. There’s still the chemical plants and refineries, but with the Dow-Dupont merger looming and the low price of oil one wonders how much of that will be left in the long run.

        • It might come into its own in the next fifty years, as more telecommuting jobs open up. At least in the beginning it will be very cheap.

          • Which, although potentially a good thing especially for natives, will be a problem at first. Telecommuters who move there for the beauty and separation from coast-urban nonsense will probably expect levels of infrastructure that WV’s current economics will have trouble supporting.

            • The Other Sean

              Roads with sane grades and curves, without entire lanes slumping off down the hillside, might be a good starting point, thought perhaps prohibitively expensive. Good telecomm infrastructure’s actually probably cheaper. 🙂

              • Good telecomm, yes. Gigabit internet, less so. Gigabit internet with fairly local server farms – to serve the next rapidly-growing highly-telecommutable business (e.g. a virtual-reality streaming service, anyone?) – maybe a bit harder & more expensive.
                But a lovely place to live while working on apps and content for such, I’d think. There are similar places in the Cascades in Washington state,..

                • sabrinachase

                  No! No there aren’t! Full of vicious tree octopi and thundering herds of Sasquatches! And…and slugs the size of small poodles! Nope nope nope…

                  • The Other Sean

                    Trying to keep out the riff-raff? 🙂

                    • sabrinachase

                      riff-raff aren’t the problem. It’s the *shudder* Californians we have to watch out for…. They keep asking “where’s the sun?” and “does it always rain?” and other nonsense.

                    • Free-range Oyster

                      Heh. Washington politics are keeping this California refugee at bay just fine…

                    • Then emphasize the rain, the rain, the rain…

                      Not quite applicable, perhaps, but a bit from a Nebraska historian/comedian comes to mind:
                      Nebraska-land, sweet Nebraska-land,
                      On your sodden soil I stand,
                      And gaze out across the plains,
                      And pray to God to stop the rains!

                      Of course, given variable weather conditions, there is also a drought year version of that.

                    • As opposed to Texans who look around and say, “My G-d, it’s so green!” and “The rain is coming down, not sideways. That’s cool.” And “It looks as dry as back home” (the eastern end of the state.)

                    • The Other Sean

                      “Californians and riff-raff: Is There a Difference?”

                      A thought-provoking article coming soon to a (nothing, likely) near you.

                      🙂

                    • Yeah, there was a group called “lesser Seattle” years ago that did reverse PR to keep out the Californians. Lost that battle.

                    • Where is this?

                    • Good Lord, yes. The Californians who pissed all over their own state, immigrated to Washington, and then proceeded to do everything in their power to re-create the Motherland.

                      Although as a sorta-kinda sometime Californian, I decided that I was going to live here when I was 13. Because The Bobs’ “I hate the beach boys” is my theme song (the only excuse for a baking hot sunny day is if you can go body surfing. Otherwise… blech.)

                      That said: If you want to live at the sweet spot; the intersection of cool green woodland halls and and berry-browned, sweet blossomed gardens; where ent and ent-wife hearts may sweetly rest, drop me a line.

                      What?

                      Huns and hoydens are an asset.

                  • slugs? time for NaCl and maybe (if it’s to your taste) Escargot.

        • Wheeling is not a bad place to stay.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            And if I remember correctly, it’s rather scenic all by itself, with a bunch of beautiful old churches all over.

    • c4c

  2. Not somebody special, you? My Lord makes everybody* special, so watch what you say about his work!

    To date I know of no research into the pathology of stalkers, although I admit having never looked for any such, but the general sense I’ve gotten of the phenomenon is that the fame of the object of such attention has more to do with the notoriety of the stalking than its incidence — we simply are more likely to hear about it when the target is newsworthy.

    In today’s ultra-mediated world the spheres of public and private become ever more confused, and we all — public figures, such as authors, and private, such as fans — need to make an effort to preserve some distinctions. I have on several post-Con occasions found myself meditating on the effects of celebrity and charisma, with consideration about how to maintain integrity in the presence of its charisma.

    *Some He makes specially annoying, I acknowledge, but that is so I can develop patience now that my old & arthritic fingers no longer enable sufficient grip strength to tear their heads off.

  3. The trouble is, Sarah, you’re becoming the general social equivalent of the folks I used to term “peer leaders” in the Army–The young men and women who everyone naturally gravitates towards and watches for cues about how to behave and what to do.

    It is a curse, I know, but get used to it. As long as your ideas resonate, this will be your life. And, like all leading lights in American public life, you’re going to have to deal with the egalitarian “crab bucket”, where the other crabs in the bucket reach up to pull you down as you try to climb out of the bucket under your own power. The saving grace is that you have the ability to reach out to the other crabs that aren’t trying to pull you back, and get them to help lift you up, as well…

    • “Peer leader” sounds about right; you have the ability to say clearly, things that resonate with and improve the thinking of, numerous others. And you do it, again and again … for which we thank you, in this new year.

      Do what you must to stay safe – there are those to whom your proclamation of obvious truths make you an enemy, some of them are more than a bit unbalanced, and some of them are skilled at doxxing. OTOH, if I were one such, I wouldn’t want to meet and challenge a gaggle of Hoyts – it would too-likely be a one-off experience, I’m thinking.

  4. Yes, you must. And I promise not to fangirl for more than a minute.

    • LOL. 🙂
      If house under contract comes true, we’ll be pretty close, anyway, though not in the hood.

    • Anybody who gains the slightest modicum of fame gets stalkers in surprising numbers. I know a woman here in my town who is nuts for Bryan Adams of all people. She is not well, and when she is as good as she ever is, she believes that she wrote all his song lyrics. She goes to any of his concerts she can, and I would bet money that she has camped out as close to his house as she can get.

      • Sorry, Ihave no idea how I attached my comment here instead of at the end where it belonged!

      • The sister of one of my (former) friends spent several years determined that she was going to marry Taylor Hanson. I haven’t talked to her in years, so I don’t know how that developed after I stopped talking with her brother.

      • I’ve only called one SciFi author (or anyone for that matter) who I had never met out of the blue, and only because he happened to have a listed number. And the sub I was on was visiting Halifax. And I offered him a tour of the boat- an offer he took. I don’t think that counts as stalking….

        I don’t try to hide; a search for me can find me pretty easily. Still, I rarely use my name when I post anywhere. Who knows what random post might upset an HR department. But with 20 years in the Navy, and people I’ve long since forgotten who I’ve written a bad evaluation on or sent to NJP or in one case GCM, I wonder if I should try to hide.

  5. James Schardt

    I recognized this when I met you at LibertyCon a couple years ago. Dan is VERY protective while being polite. It was impressive.

  6. The Other Sean

    Good luck on getting the house. I hope the real estate market has settled down enough that everybody involved can do an efficient job. Hopefully your experiences shall be better than some I’ve had a little experience with.

    About eight years ago, I made an offer on a foreclosed house just before the market crashed. And when I saw just before, I mean the foreclosures started picking up steam as my offer went in, and the bank (or its agent) got overwhelmed. It took five or six months from when I made the offer to when I could actually close, and I had to actually reapply for the loan because it took so bloody long for the bank (or its agent) to get its act together. And then I showed up to what was supposed to be the closing, waited around for over an hour, and then received a call that it wasn’t happening that day, maybe would happen the next day, because of paperwork. Then the next day they called to say it was on that afternoon at 3 PM. I was en-route to the real estate office when I got another call to inform me they’d screwed up calculations for some fee, and I needed to get another $500 certified check when I showed up. Ugh. Total nightmare.

    About three years back some friends were buying a new-to-them home and were similarly stuck in limbo for about 2 months. It wasn’t a foreclosure, but some of the paperwork was SNAFU’d somehow, and clearing up the mess took a while.

    More recently, a cousin was house shopping for her very first house. Somebody outbid her on her first offer, but on the second offer she made she got a call back from the realtor to inform her that the house was actually being sold by a bank, but the bank technically didn’t own it yet, so wasn’t able to take offers yet.

    • I’ll express a wish that they don’t screw up your paperwork. When signing checks and legal documents, I use my complete name with middle initial (example, because I’m not really anonymous, but don’t care to be explicit: First M. Last). Otherwise, I sign with a shortened first name (Fir Last) and actually use a different style capital on the F.

      When buying my first house, back in the 1980s, my name showed up as Fir M. Last on the paperwork, and it’s been that way on paperwork for both houses I’ve purchased since, even after explaining the problem well prior to the closing and requesting correction.

  7. I had … experience with stalkers, back in the day when I was on-air for various AFRTS outlets (as a TV newscaster and as a radio DJ. Personally, I preferred radio, because unless you opened your mouth, people didn’t recognize you, day to day.) Just that small experience was enough to scare the ever-living cr*p out of me.

    I might have been young enough once to let small-world fame go to my head — but about that time, an actress named Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered on her own doorstep by an obsessed stalker/fan … in the aftermath of that, someone remarked that if you are a public personality in any way, then you have a million best friends … and six vicious enemies … and you will never have met any of them.

    It is absolutely true. And you have to take proper precautions.

  8. I really appreciated the advice you and Dan gave me about this, and haven’t forgotten it. I tend to put events on my blog days (or even weeks) after they have happened, for confusion of sorts. I didn’t think it was really necessary until recently, when someone I thought I knew suddenly turned ugly and in the process tried to hurt not only me but my husband. It’s an unpleasant and eye-opening experience.

  9. Hells bells Portagee!
    You’ve been unwell like forever, hopefully now on the mend. Did the house thing, did your part in getting the boys situated, I’m sure you spent the occasional moment on Dan’s needs, and we won’t even delve into those attention whore felines.
    Last time we were in close proximity was LC where you were still sick, criminally overbooked, engaged in any number of personal issues too numerous to list. Yet you were still outgoing and gracious to any and all who approached.
    As a writer you are by nature an introvert, and as such need your personal space to recharge. Fandom does attract the socially inept, and unfortunately some few with no clue as to appropriate social boundaries. And as we see every day the world is not a particularly safe place with the rare yet ever present crazies.
    Of course you need to take a few common sense steps to keep yourself and the family safe. And I mean that seriously, not the bullcrap der leader tries to shovel as “common sense.” Doofus wouldn’t know common sense if it smacked him in the face. You OTOH are eminently sensible (OK, crazy Portuguese cat lady, but practical about day to day things.) Do what you must to feel safe and here’s hoping you continue to be successful in your efforts.
    I personally shall make my one New Year’s resolution to strive to never fawn over Sarah Hoyt. Do keep that in mind when you send me the next manuscript for review. Just call me minion the merciless.

    • Minion The Merciless! Emperor of Mongo! BadAss Of The Month at (somewhere)! Do you look anything like Ming? Do you want to?

  10. Ahem. You are not ‘just some chick who writes stuff.’

    You are the Beautiful but Evil Space Princess Of The Evil League Of Evil.

    And many other things besides.

    • In her civilian identity she is “just some chick who writes stuff”, online she transforms into the “Beautiful but Evil Space Princess Of The Evil League Of Evil”, using her blog to incite the masses into reading stuff they enjoy. Moreover, the Beautiful but Evil Space Princess Of The Evil League Of Evil encourages tolerance of the intolerable and promotes homophobia by writing stories with sympathetic characters who engage in same-sex relationships while defending Truth, Justice and the American Way. Further, she encourages sexism by writing stories with smart, strong, independent and resourceful characters who happen to be female.

      If allowed to continue her incitement of bad phen and bad phun, the reign of terror induced by the “Beautiful but Evil Space Princess Of The Evil League Of Evil” threatens to destroy the establishment’s grip on the culture, exposing the small but enlightened clique’s efforts to filter out the pollution engendered by the benighted masses, impeding establishment of a brave new world in which Social Justice prevails, ensuring that each contributes according to their abilities, each receives according to their needs, and privilege is prevented from privileging the privileged beneficiaries of privilege and all culture is authentic.

    • Yeah, at base this is the whole ‘secret identity’ thing that has bedeviled superheroes all the way back to Odysseus coming home under assumed identity.

      So Sarah’s just another superhero that has to wear glasses and act non-superheroish.

      Actually in a serious aside, the internet is basically forcing everyone to have their secret identity all backstoried and fleshed out so they can have a real life without concern – so we’re all superheroes now.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        (Thinking of Paul’s comment below, which was to be heard in Syndrome’s voice): Now that we’re all supers, no one is!

        • On pondering this I realized there’s another current-reality group of individuals that have secret identities with fully fleshed out provenanced backstories to protect what they are actually up to.

          I guess we’re all spies now.

      • Free-range Oyster

        I kept the Oyster separate from my “real” name* for many years, and was fairly meticulous in keeping my identity a secret. I stopped making much effort a couple of years ago. Part was going freelance and needing to leverage my online contacts into business. Part of it was realizing that the people I was most worried about connecting the two people I was probably already knew, and the rest I wasn’t worried about. Part of it was realizing that I’m just not that big a deal; there are much bigger fish for any ideological or political predator to go after.

        * Funny thing: there are probably more people who know me as the Oyster than know me by my given name, promo post signature notwithstanding. That’s why it goes on my con badges.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          I started posting here under my own name without really thinking about it. I reconsidered during Sad Puppies, but I’m glad now that I’m out here as myself.

          • I started commenting here under a pseudonym, then realized that with so many SF readers who knew who that name belonged to (a book character), that it sounded pretentious, so I changed to first name last initial. Later, Sarah made a comment about “wannabes” of some sort, and then I realized that my new moniker sounded too much like “wannabe”, and just changed to my full name.

            • LOL. I don’t even remember your early moniker.

              • Eh… The only person I would expect might remember it would be RES, since he appears to be as big a Doc Smith fan as I am.

                Oh, and if commenter Tregonsee was here before I changed it, he might, too.

                • Mmmmmm, no, I don’t think so, but I have a terrible memory for online names. I would likely recognize it if I saw it, but I tend to disregard cyber-identities as fungible. An argument should stand on its own, regardless of who makes it (which is not to reject the importance of the rhetorical component ethos — a defense of integrity by Hillary or of humility by The Donald tends to evoke snickers if not outright guffaws.)

                  As folk are being open about the secret identities, I s’pose I ought admit that RES is how I have identified myself not simply since discovering the internet some twenty years back, but since my time in Grade School over fifty years back.

                  The fact that few know what my initials represent does not eviscerate the fact they have been and remain my initials. Because some folks suffer the ID-10-T fallacy of thinking there are certain arguments that may only be made by a woman while others can only be made by a man, and others still permitted only certain ethnicities … I feel no compulsion to furnish opponents additional cause for dismissing what I say; my being a pompous git ought be sufficient for their purpose.

                  • Ah, well, I figured that identifying as an Arisian, even a young Watcher such as Eukonidor, was setting a standard that I couldn’t keep.

                    • Ah – dat vas you? Who nu!

                      Yes, I recall the identity but as my interest has always been in what is said rather than who is saying it, I made no connection. Pleased to meet you, again.

                      BTW – for what it is worth, I sign my checks RES … or something that maybe sorta kinda might look like RES, given that I have labored mightily over the years to attain a signature that is simultaneously illegible and identifiably mine. One advantage is that if I forget how to spell my name while signing* a document, nobody can tell!

                      *It hasn’t happened more than once or twice or at any rate a very few times.

                    • I don’t use my real name online much, apart from work and online purchasing. I don’t really try to hide my identity, though, because “wheels” is a nickname I’ve had since summer 1971. I doubt it would be hard to figure out who I am.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Heh. Given that the only real nickname that has ever stuck with me for any length of time (during Jr. High and High School) was “Weiner Wayne”, you can imagine that I wouldn’t want to go by that. 🙂

                    • So far as any nicknames used to my face, there would only be the one I acquired in 7th Grade, based on my tendency to sign all schoolwork First Initial, Last Name so that for a time I was referred to as “R.”

                      The possibility probability exists that friends found humour in this because there was at the time a dog food commercial featuring a large shaggy beast whose name was coincidentally the same as my surname, introduced in the ad by the lady of the house describing of the household and, upon reaching the dog, declaring, “And then there’s our [Dog’s Name].” Given my puppyish demeanor and odd euberances at that stage of youth, I suspect associates found the implicit simile compelling.

          • I’ve been using Mauser online since 1990, because Unix usernames at the time had to be 8 characters or less.

            It’s not REALLY a secret identity, as those boys at Vile 770 took the time once to find my book to get my real name, and concluded I wasn’t REALLY hiding behind a fake name (as so many of them are). That’s the closest I’ve ever come to being “Doxed.” (And none of them realized that’s what I was referring to in a recent thread over there.)

            Facebook was accidental, I was trying to set up a page for promoting Dr. Mauser, and they wouldn’t take Doctor as the first name. But at least it helps me figure out who knows me by who doesn’t call me Paul. Although I was tickled silly when Cedar introduced me to the crowd at a late-night LibertyCon panel as “Doctor Mauser” which I am totally cool with as a fan name and encourage.

            As for fans, I was once at a loss for what to do when one of the subscribers to my Art ‘Zine Gallery came up to me and asked me to autograph his copies.

            Alas, I lost my little plastic fish at LC.

            • Mine comes from AOL – again the 8 character limit. It is related to my given name – somehow – but I have been going by it on the web for over 20 years now – back to JunkScience.Com days. 🙂

            • I’ve done the same. I have two internet names Carbonel and The Overgrown Hobbit (vagaries of the ‘net tech, not my choice) but it’s not a Sekrit Identity. Just, as I tell the kids, don’t be the low-hanging fruit for trolls, thieves and random thugs.

              Of course, I live in the kind of place where folks have signs on the fence reading “Dog bites, owner shoots. Do you feel lucky?” and all the neighbors know each other, so I might be more cavalier about internet anonymity than is reasonable.

        • I’ve used my real name on badges, and the first name I used most visibly online (Vakkotaur is older than Orvan) but after a while, realized that people knew Orvan more than others, so… Orvan it is. As for my given name, it’s not terribly hard to discover, but I see no point in waving it around either.

        • I’ve been Jasini online for probably close to 18 years now. But there are enough people who know my real name now that it isn’t much of an alibi any more.

        • Heck, I’m in the phone book, and I may very well be the only person with my name in the world (if there is another John Van Stry, I’d be surprised, it’s a very rare last name, like 60 people in the entire world).

          Now, when I was raising big cats I hid my address, cause I was worried about kooks and peta terrorists, and I did have a ‘secret’ online identity that used to be fully bulletproof, but I really don’t bother to hide it anymore.

          Of the two crazies who did ‘stalk’ me, but only online really. One I sent my address to, cause I was getting tired of his BS and he freaked out, the other thought I was a fictional character* (they actually wrote slash fiction about me! I don’t know if I should feel honored or dirty!) and when I asked them what the hell were they doing, they freaked and were never seen around again.

          I think when we move to the next house (sometime this year, hopefully) I’ll get a PO box and hide the addy again, just in case.

          *I have a friend who is a best selling author and she put me in a few of her books, along with a lot of her friends.

          • I think when we move to the next house (sometime this year, hopefully) I’ll get a PO box and hide the addy again, just in case.

            When you can reasonably anticipate a move, I recommend acquiring a PO Box and transitioning all mail service to that. Upon finding a new home address you can take your time notifying those whose mail you desire to continue receiving of the change. Thus, for a minor expense you can eliminate significant agita.

          • Well, if you’re the John Van Stry who lives in California, you really are the only JVS in the U.S. (or at any rate, the only JVS who is listed in ReferenceUSA) There are only 3 other Van Strys listed. And I thought my maiden name was rare (~45 listed, 1/3 my relatives)

            Side note: if you want to be unlisted on the national phone database so I (and anyone else with a library card) can’t pull up your address & phone number, contact contentfeedback@infogroup.com)

            Your welcome.

      • Hmm… since not all of us are equally good at creating these backstories, but (nearly) all of us are on the internet, perhaps writing and “publishing” anonymity-protecting backstories could be a profitable sideline for authors who may be otherwise between-inspirations, as it were.

        Naah… most of the authors on here and MGC seem to have a surfeit of story inspirations; we’d probably end up with everybody’s backstory sounding like a character from some literary/SocialJustice novel.

  11. Not fawn, so what about lamb, calf, or piglet?

    I have been stalked and it is no fun at all. Thus my absence from the Book of Face, especially now that you can’t sue your pen name unless you are willing to jump through 7 flaming hoops of decreasing size, while brandishing paperwork, in order to prove that it is a legal business entity and not you being anonymous.

    The Aztec thing was mine. I probably forgot to put my name on the top again (five points off, I know.)

  12. sabrinachase

    She is not joking about the small plastic fish. I was violently attacked by same. I still have it, stuck on the corkboard above my writing computer to remind me how dangerous writers are 😀

    More seriously, this is unfortunately common sense for *everybody* these days. Do Not Put Private Info Online. You may think you are boring and nobody cares about you because you are not a published writer, but thieves like you. Or, more accurately, they like your bank account, or your friends bank account, or your small children, or…other things. Someone hacked my website once, the website that *maybe* gets 5 viewers a month, to serve as a pass-through to hide spam URLs. I thought nobody would want to bother–but they have automated scripts to do the heavy lifting, unfortunately.

    Don’t put your real birthdate online. I lie to Facebook like a cheap rug from a seedy souk. Don’t take part in those “quizzes” that make up your porn name from your street name, mother’s maiden name, pet name, whatever. Be vague about your exact age (The New York Times thinks I am 90 years old and live in Albania). The less the bad guys know, the better off you are.

    • “More seriously, this is unfortunately common sense for *everybody* these days. Do Not Put Private Info Online. … Don’t put your real birthdate online.”
      Yes. Exactly. And at one time, Facebook made it possible to change your birthdate in your profile–though only once as I recall.

      • It used to be worse, though – in the military, you used to have to have your SSAN printed on the checks for your checking account. When I retired on 1996. about the first thing that I did was to order a new set of checks, without my SSAN on them.

        • The Other Sean

          I saw a photo of an ancient Airstream trailer that had a plate on the exterior with the long-deceased original owner’s name and SSN on it.

    • Ayup. Make random stuff up.

      When it comes to online crime bears, be the guy with the sneakers.

  13. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    But Sarah! I’m your Number One Fan!

    I think a lot of fans forget that no matter much they love an author/actor/etc, in most cases the author/actor/etc don’t know who they are.

    While I’ve met David Weber in person, he likely knows me more from on-line encounters which doesn’t mean much if he’s in a hurry going from one panel to another (or going to somewhere else important).

    Of course, even if David Weber or Sarah “had a moment to talk with me”, God Only Knows how many people would expect them to “take a moment to talk with them” after Mr. Weber or Sarah talked with me.

    If one of my favorite authors gets “peopled out” and doesn’t want to deal with anybody, I completely understand that. [Smile]

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Grumble Grumble

      Please imagine “But Sarah! I’m your Number One Fan!” to be in the voice of Syndrome (from The Incredibles).

      • The Other Sean

        “No capes.”

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          ::Imagined response from Andrews (in Wearing The Cape)::

          A properly designed Cape is easy to remove and easily breaks away from the wearer.

          Especially when said cape is grabbed by machinery or a villainous individual.

          This Edna Mode apparently does not know how to design capes that are not a danger to the wearers.

          ::End Imagined response::

          Very Very Big Grin

          • Fashion trumps survivability every time. Otherwise no hero would wear a mask or hood that could be pulled down over their eyes.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Nonsense.

              A properly designed mask/hood wouldn’t do that.

              Of course, if your opponent was close enough to be able to do that, you’ve made a big mistake in allowing them to be that close for other reasons than that. [Very Big Grin]

              Oh, in the Wearing The Cape universe prominent “capes” often have several version of their “uniforms”.

              One for more formal affairs (although you could fight wearing it), one designed for more casual affairs, and one for when you know you’re heading into trouble.

              Of course, in the Wearing The Cape universe, the civilian identity of many capes is known (there are good reasons for the bad guys not attacking them off-duty or not attacking their families) so the uniform is mainly for showing that the capes are “on duty”.

              Oh, in the Wearing The Cape universe, it’s been established that attacking the families of the capes or attacking a cape “off-duty” will result in Bad Things happening to the criminals.

              Basically, the capes operate under “ROE” similar to civilian police and criminals are “free” to fight them when the capes attempt to arrest them.

              However, there was a cape and his family that were murdered by one of the criminal organizations.

              An unknown cape completely destroyed that criminal organization leaving no survivors.

              The New Media “named” that cape the Hammer.

              Nobody wants the Hammer to return.

              • “the uniform is mainly for showing that the capes are “on duty”.”

                No, the uniform is mainly for inducing the public to slot this person in the role “superhero.” After the Event, there was widespread panic and confusion. By slapping on a silly costume, a mask, and a code name, Atlas helped calm matters by assimilating the things to a known and predictable genre. Others have emulated him.

                The “on duty” stuff helps.

              • Batman v. Joker, “The Killing Joke”
                Captain America in both Avengers movies (boy can’t keep his hat on).

              • Kind of a similar thing in operation in Adam Warren’s “Empowered”. Even though she gets captured time and time again thanks to her delicate as glass supersuit, nobody ever molests helpless heroines because of the “Unwritten rules”

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  That sounds more like “scriptwriter on her side”. [Wink]

                  In the Wearing The Cape series, the “Deal” (as it is called) is well known even if there aren’t “signers” to the “Deal”.

                  Heroes can be killed in Heroes vs Villains fights but you don’t attack the families of the Heroes and that’s well known.

                  Now the MC of the Wearing The Cape series is captured once but the Big Bad has his own reasons for not killing her. Note, she was accidently captured when she tried to catch a teleporter who teleported her when he attempted to escape. IE it wasn’t planned and the Big Bad didn’t expect to have to hold her prisoner.

                  • In the Dr. Mauser series, there’s a treaty between Good, Evil and the Government, called “The Code” for short, that tries to keep the Battle JUST between Good and Evil, leaving the government and the civilians out of it as much as possible. Yes, Mads are expected to do the odd “Act Of Infamy” every now and again (It’s how they gain status and money) but things like blowing up Washington DC are off the table. Likewise, the Army and Police are expected to not interfere, lest they be considered agents of Good, and thus vulnerable to Evil attack. Everyone is registered under the treaty. The few madmen who won’t go along can be sanctioned by anyone.

                    The point being, Mads invent technology, Good comes in, smashes up the place, turns technology over to the Government, Evil starts over again after escaping, unless they’ve gone too far. Also, you DO NOT mess with the female agents in the leather catsuits, or else you have to answer to The Sisterhood.

                    The conspiracy behind this was set up by a time traveling cyborg from a future where Earth lost to aliens who is trying to get Earth to a technological point where they could win the fight, and she’s still around, pulling the strings.

                    • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: That needs to be your next published book, especially as the hard work is all done already.

                    • The big problem I’m hitting in each book is I start off with a bang, and then there’s some necessary wrap-up around chapter 4, and I get bogged down. In Dr. Mauser, it’s when he escapes to Professor Gunn’s compound and finally gets some explanations, in Necessary Evil, it’s the aftermath of the failed deal with the Demon Lord. Hell, I even started a chapter titled “We Need a Montage” to try to blow through some of that, but it didn’t work.

                    • So skip it. Is it really all that important?

                    • Yes. It sets the course for the rest of the story.

                    • So, write down on a piece of paper the parts that need to be said, and skip it and move on to the rest of the story. Come back and write it when you need to. This way you keep making progress, and when that scene works itself out in your head, you can go back and do it.
                      Also, you may be having problems because it’s too much exposition, so by moving on to the other scenes you can figure out better ways to deal with it, maybe even break it up in flashbacks.

                    • Ouch. I had problems like that when starting out. The first time I sat down with a stack of manuscripts and re-read them all, it leapt out at me what I couldn’t do yet: transition to the second scene.

                      sigh

                      And the only cure I had for it was to force myself to write it. . . . .

                    • Write it. Get the events down on paper where you think they need to be, and drive on. Then come back, gaze in self-indulgent horror for a moment, and put them in the book where they need to go.

                      You even have my permission to use the dreaded phrase, “As you know, Mr. Exposition…”

          • Even our badge lanyards had to be breakaway when I was working space program…

            • I personally saw a guy get his necktie in the office shredder and it damn near strangled him….

              • Many years ago, when printed circuits were done from large negatives exposed on large cameras, I managed to get a new necktie caught in the paper-cutter we were using to size the negative film. Close enough a call to cure me.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Little known fact.

                  Neck-ties were invented by a man-hating woman. [Evil Grin]

                  Note, if this isn’t a “fact”, it should be. [Wink]

    • Paul, you might very well be my number one fan chronologically. Which reminds me I should send you something.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I suspect that “peopled out” is a symptom many of us here can understand.

      • Free-range Oyster

        *shudder* Yup. Flashing back to working with the Oyster Wife years ago as the event planners and coordinators for a community Christmas dinner put on by a congregation in CA. There were about 200 regular congregants, another hundred sporadic, plus many of those people’s friends and relations. Full dinner, entertainment, and short sermon from the pastor, all in a large hall with very resonant acoustics. I had to go find an unused room in the church to hide for a while at least three times during that evening. The event was a smashing success, but boy howdy did it cost me in energy.

        • Reality Observer

          Not to denigrate your experience – but try doing several college football games in the concession stand. Five years of that for my daughter’s Catholic school fund raising.

          One time I was just about asked to leave – I was yelling at the stand next door to get more jalapenos out here! Pronto! (No, I am not the greatest of managers under stress…)

        • I helped with my high schools after prom for 3 years. The movie room and the nap room were my idea so I could have places to hide from the noise. I didn’t expect people to actually USE them! Fortunately, I also had a key to the nurses office so I could hide there when my mom’s idea of fun, aka NOISE EVERYWHERE got to be too much.

    • I got to talk to David Weber once, many years ago at a very small con. We were talking and I realized that I used to drive by his house on my commute at least once a week (he lived on the alternate route I took to work).
      Small world.

  14. Drat. I guess we’ll have to cancel the all night 100 fan candlelight vigil in front of her new house. But don’t worry! We’ll come up with some other, more suitable housewarming gift.

    • LOL. Do it before the sale closes. It will confuse current owners. 😀

      • What you really need is a cult event to show up, in order to sanctify the new dwelling-place of the prophet Sarah…

        Say, a few hundred people, all wearing hooded robes, and chanting, whilst depositing offerings on the lawn? Perhaps miniature US flags, aesthetically arranged?

        What sort of thing would a secret cult of USians do, for such a hallowing, I wonder?

        Perhaps a bonfire event, where we burn politicians and SJW types at the stake? While it would be somewhat satisfying to do it in effigy, I think it might be more efficacious to do it with real ones, just a time or two. After that, they might get the hint with just an effigy in their honor, and shut the hell up…

        You know, I’m suddenly seeing some advantages to this whole “Let us make being a traditional American citizen a religion…” thing, after all. I mean, if we turn it into a religion, they can’t really question us for following the dictates of it, now can they? Making the Constitution and Declaration objects of religious veneration would pretty much be a case of making them live up to their own standards, a al Alinsky… What could they say, after they’ve made Islam an unquestionable issue? All we need to do is make the Federalist Papers religious doctrine, and hey, presto… They can’t question shit.

        • Why can’t they? They do it with Christianity often enough. Also… when have they ever lived up to their own standards?

        • You clearly don’t know how to run a USAian cult event.

          All the menfolk show up early to put up the tents, trestle tables, and dig the BBQ pit on her front lawn. Then the gals show up with the covered dishes and marinated meats. Once the cookfires are going strong, the kids set up the sprinklers and the free-form LARPs (“Let’s play that we’re cybernetic Asgardians…”)

          And then there’s fireworks.

          Sheesh.

      • Hmmm, what if a bunch of us turned up in hooded bathrobes or parkas and did the monks’ scene from _Holy Grail_, the one with the bonking of own head with book bit, perhaps chanting Latin translations of Heinlein? And light lots of candles, of course, just because. And jangle keys, like they did in the Velvet Revolution.

        • Seems like a thing to do for a con panel Sarah’s on…

          • Robes gotta have US flags * ** sewn on to the appropriate shoulder, though…

            * (Flag patches in the appropriate handedness)
            ** (One of the low contrast tactical color scheme US flag patches, since we’re being discretely USAian)

          • Free-range Oyster

            Ooh, ooh, MidAmericaCon anyone? Dunno if Our Beloved Hostess will be on any panels, but I’d totally get in on something like that. “WorldCon tormented by savage USAian cultists! Dark heralds of wrongfun terrify benevolent trufen and invade their safe spaces! Dozens microagressed!” *sigh and smile* We could make the papers! *King of New York starts playing*

        • ROFLMAO! You know, even the socially backward feline might do this. 😀

        • There was the time that Mad Mike got a few folks together and had us sing/chant ‘Ooooominous hummmmmmm’ to/at/in the presence of Howard Tayler.

        • I think we need to go the uniform hooded robe route, with ritual Sons of Liberty printer’s aprons. Something darkly mysterious and threatening to the unholy heretics who think that the Constitution is a living document…

          We could do something like a Passion Play, and portray the heretics being whipped out of Congress and the Supreme Court buildings, complete with formal tar and feathering. With minor transgressions, you get a daub of tar and a few feathers–Major ones? Dip the bastard in a vat of boiling tar, and then roll the resultant mess in a bushel or so of feathers. Medical care optional–And, I’d reserve that for anyone advocating modifications to the Bill of Rights, or ignoring it.

          You can get away with murder, if you just couch it in religious terms. And, once the inherent madness is made plain, well… Maybe people would come to their senses about things like Sharia and creeping Islamic entryism. I mean, if an honor killing is sorta excusable/understandable, how about we make it a point of religious doctrine to murder heretics to our faith? Won’t that be the same sort of thing, for the idiots at large running the nation, these days?

          My tongue is only about half-way into my cheek, here. I’m thinking that this is funny, and obviously humor, but… Maybe it would work, out in the real world?

          • The Other Sean

            Maybe the hoods should be left out. There’s too many bad connotations to hoods here in the USA, and some folks might (on purpose) go drawing all the wrong conclusions.

            • I’m thinking more “monk” than “Grand Dragon of the KKK” hood, here–Face only hidden by shadow, y’know? The whole Father Time, or Death “thing”…

              More for the mystery of the image than hiding identities, although that might become necessary.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                Assassin’s Creed style hoods?

                • All right for hiding the face, not so great for actual peripheral vision…

                  Honestly, though, the Assassin’s outfits make me grin. They are *extremely* cool…but low profile they are not. I giggled most of the way through the Ezio games because HOW DID THEY NOT NOTICE HIM?

                  • I read the first portion of a fanfiction that crossed with the Assassin’s Creed games. My belief became unsuspended very quickly because of the inherent contradictions in an unknown, secret order of assassins whose successes nobody knows about but the clients, and who flamboyantly attack people in public.

        • I did just score a *free* copy of the Book of Job by Heinlein in HARDCOVER from the “take one” rack at my local library. We could use that to bonk our heads on.

        • Non ulla prandium gratis.Perhaps obscuratis vestri therbligs.

          • I really need to learn latin around here. And I have the form 1 books to work with my kids already – just no time yet…

            • Google Translate is my friend. Unless it’s merely biding its time by lulling me into a false sense of security.

              • Oh, I figured it was a variation on TANSTAAFL – but I still would like to rely on my head to do it and not google. And, yes, I know my taxes pay for the library – but it still feels like ‘free’. 🙂 And Hardcover Heinlein! I have been trolling used book stores for years and never saw one. 🙂

                • The first sentence corresponds to TANSTAAFL. The second one involves “minimize your therbligs,” which is actually shortened from the actual quote.

                  As for hardcover Heinlein, I have a few, mostly book club editions that I found at used book stores. My prize is a dust-jacketed non-book-club copy of Citizen of the Galaxy, also found at a used book store.

        • Well, I don’t feel penitent over being an American, so I ain’t no Penitente. Besides, if I need to get hit in the face with a book or plank, I got a wife…

      • Candlelight vigil, or pitchforks and torches (NOT to be used for other than illumination, of course.) vigil?

        • Free-range Oyster

          Ye’re an ox after me own heart, brother.

        • And singing (off any and all keys) The Natives are restless, tonight, tonight, The Natives are restless tonight! (Screaming) Those Drums! They’re Driving Me Mad, MAD I say! (Stage Direction) Then each slaps his/her own face, saying Thanks; I needed that. (Stage Direction) Repeat until tired.

      • Reality Observer

        Might convince neighbors to leave you alone, too!

        • Reality Observer

          Oh my. Posted that before I read the rest of the ideas. Might convince the neighbors to move

          (Hey, if I get to be almost famous too, everyone is invited to my place!)

    • How about a really big gift certificate from Amazon or Home Depot or Lowe’s?

    • Oh, candles… Well I still have the receipt for the highway flares….

  15. Kirk, great idea. Count me as your first convert!

    • I’m seeing some interesting possibilities, here.

      So, the Powers That Be want to make things like the religious doctrine of Islam paramount in the land? So be it… I suggest we simply set up a quasi-religious structure venerating the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and whatever else we deem worthwhile for inclusion, and turn the whole thing into a religion. I mean, if it works for the Flying Spaghetti God people, why not us? They’ve gotten their religious headgear on the books as being objects of veneration (chick made the DMV in her state allow her to wear a colander…), why can’t we do the same thing for our objects of veneration?

      I can just see the whole lot of them having their heads explode, as our high priests overrule the Supreme Court on religious grounds, for their misinterpretation of the Holy Writ, as expressed by our venerable and holy Constitution… Complete with burning them alive in pyres of their own obtuse “penumbra of the Constitution” rulings.

      Sometimes, insanity needs to be answered with insanity. Act crazy enough, and positively everyone will leave you the hell alone.

      Problem is, after a few years of this, I’d be willing to bet that the whole movement would morph into a genuine religion, and out of our control. (sigh) It is ever thus, however, and this might serve as a useful ploy on our parts to get them to take the damn Constitution seriously… Or, at the least, fear it and the people who believe in it.

      • Considering how seriously most religious faiths take their own texts, I am … not sanguine about the efficacy of such a path.

      • I admit a certain amusement at the idea of “…according to our prime religious text, as amended.”

        • I’ve always thought someone needs to do a fantasy world where the gods are real, and are brought into being by being worshiped. You would have the existing lot of elder gods that just sort of happened, and who were a bunch of right bastards, and then one or two who were younger and somewhat consciously “brought about” by their worshipers, who also make a outright deal with them: Act right, support us against the other gods and their worshipers, and we’ll continue to venerate you. Don’t? Bubba, you and your cult are history. Capiche?

          Put the whole thing on a transactional basis, in other words, with the god having to deal with what amounts to a labor union of his/her adherents, instead of a priesthood…

          That line about “…according to our prime religious text, as amended.” would fit right into that world.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        There are two houses in this world; the house of submission to the constitution, and the house at war with the constitution.

        Alternative. Get some Unitarian ministers. Have them declare Islam and Unitarianism the same. Start issuing fatwas.

      • Hahahahahahahahaha

        “So, the Powers That Be want to make things like the religious doctrine of Islam paramount in the land? So be it… I suggest we simply set up a quasi-religious structure venerating the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and whatever else we deem worthwhile for inclusion, ”

        Oh, that’s too funny. When was the last time a Mormon got away with running for public office, or Evangelical with not working at a same-sex marriage?

        That’s hilaroius. An ideological cult of grievance-based identity politics is going to be cowed by a competing faith based on the tenents of the hated oppessor class group?

        wipes tears of laughter You slay me.

    • HIS first convert? Why do you think I created the thing d*mn it? Oh, wait. Hubbard you say? Yeah, I don’t want to go that way.

      • You don’t want to be known as Old Mother Hubbard?

        • I’ve long wanted someone to do a takeoff of a specific one of the Brothers Hildebrandt Lord of the Rings paintings, showing Hubbard at the head of the table, with the caption being, The Council of L. Ron.

      • Don’t worry, Sarah… We’ll always keep you as our venerable founding prophet.

        I’m just trying to think of what we’ll name our version of the church militant. Perhaps the Little Sisters of the Right Venerable Sarah A. Hoyt? We don’t want to step on the Catholic Church’s toes, with this, and commit sacrilege by calling you a Saint, but we need the equivalent title. Something sonorous, that rolls off the tongue with a faint degree of menace, in the hearing of the un-Constitutionally sound…

        “In the name of the Right Venerable Sarah, you have been judged, and found wanting… Get ye hence, and do penance!”.

        Penance to be defined as “read the f*****g manual, asshole…”.

        I’m thinking we need some sort of ritualistic set of arms, as well… Pitchforks and torches? We can have them set up drill teams, and practice the motions of heaving the manure out of the chambers of Congress and the Supreme Court…

      • And the crowd chants in unison, “Yeah, we don’t want to go that way!”

  16. A few decades ago an acquaintance was telling about his flight back from England up in first class. He wound up sitting next to George Harrison.

    He said, “Hey, aren’t you…” and Harrison gave him such a long-suffering look he shut up and let the man have his privacy.

    When they were deplaning, he told Harrison in an excited voice, “Man, I can’t wait until I can get to a phone and tell my friends I just sat next to one of the members of Aerosmith!”

    He said Harrison’s expression was impossible to describe…

    • Reality Observer

      Ran into Paul McCartney once myself. IIRC, it was at Waldenbooks (obviously many, many years ago), we were both picking through magazines.

      Now, I have one of those “face” memories – I never forget one. Unfortunately, that is in no way connected to anything like a name, where I know you from, or anything at all useful. (Yes, this includes people that I used to work with for years, with them in just the cubicle across the way.)

      He was polite – said “Hello” and turned back to what he was looking at. I kept on trying to figure out why I should know him; eventually a vague memory about insects surfaced. I thanked him very sincerely for the job he did on my house the previous year, I hadn’t seen a single bug running around ever since.

      When I got home and described him to the wife (the actual Beatles fan in the family), I just barely avoided being drawn and quartered.

      Sarah is obviously safe from me, at least…

      • Oh, to have heard what he was thinking when he realized you thought he was the exterminator…

  17. *leaves a case of tuna on the porch for the cats*

    *slowly backs away*

    Hope all is well with you today, Evil Space Mistress.

  18. Nice try. }:o)
    You are still apt to get the odd (what other kind is there, really?) delivery from ACME.

  19. I remember hearing about some Hollywood types showing up in a small community in south-central Nebraska during the Depression, to do some filming. No idea what the film was about, but the actors and actresses were so happy to have locals giving them a smile and hello while continuing on by, with no gushing, that they stayed there a few extra days just for the relaxation.
    I suspect that the glamour cult would make that unlikely today.

  20. Maybe it is the subroutine in charge of puns, but I keep looking at this post’s title and thinking, “Almost Fatuous”?

  21. who camp in front of my house, and who would get a restraining order if we couldn’t get them to go away by any other means.

    I’m guessing this would be a bad time to ask for the new WiFi password?

  22. You’ll never be able to keep a determined stalker from finding you. With the rise of the internet it’s become so much easier to dig up information on someone. Things that are public record, that in the past you’d have to go down to the city/county/state offices to look up, can now be done with a few clicks of a mouse. Over a decade ago my mother was complaining about the invasion of privacy from websites that would list people’s information online. I had to remind her that the only thing that changed was the ease of access, because all that information was collated from already publicly available sources.

    Keeping a public persona separate from your private one has become much more difficult, but still can be done. For those that really want to make it more difficult (certainly not impossible) for someone to connect their private lives with a particular place or thing it might behoove them to look into creating an LLC. While not perfect, it can add an extra layer of insulation. Were I ever to end up living in someplace like CA that is overzealous in it’s use of red light cameras I would certainly do it just to keep them honest on their issuance of traffic citations. Another good option is to not have your telephone number listed. With the ubiquity of cell phones these days many people have already dropped their land line. Personally, I use a trac-phone (more for the cost rather than the anonymity).

    • Catticus Finch

      “Another good option is to not have your telephone number listed. ”

      As a follow-up, google your name and your phone number every three months or so. Many times numbers which are unlisted can still be found in online white pages. Also, google your address to make sure that there is not information (phone numbers, etc) floating about cyberspace readily accessible.

      This also goes for cell phones, although they are less likely to end up listed than landlines.

      • Texas has it’s own do not call list…. but I can’t add my cell phone to it because I got it in AL with an AL area code and I don’t want to change it because of all the contacts I’ve given it out to.

  23. Stalking is just so weird. I mean you could spend all that time reading a book or watching a movie or napping in the sun instead. Anyway, I hope all goes well for you and yours, Mrs. Hoyt.

    Also, for the most part, I think interactions between authors and fans should be restricted to a simple “Thank you for signing my book” at scheduled events.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Well… Yes And No.

      IMO it’s up to the author to “expand” interactions beyond that.

      I enjoy the interactions with Sarah both here and in her FP Diner.

      It’s better to say that the fans should not attempt to increase interactions beyond what the author wants.

  24. Catticus Finch

    ” if I don’t give you my home address it doesn’t mean I think you’re a stalker.”

    Wait . . . people actually ask for your home address? And, furthermore, expect to receive it? Maybe that shouldn’t strike me as weird, but it just seems to me that a natural response from a writer/almost famous personage would be “oh hells no” in response to a request for a home address.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nod.

      About the only “reason” that I’d want an author’s *address* is if I wanted to send them something via the mail.

      Some authors have P.O. Boxes for such things.

      Note, one of the things that authors have allowed fans to send them are “Book Plates” to be signed (allow with stamped return envelopes).

      • I have a PO box for such things, also. And yes, I use it for people to send me things. Some of my fans had my last address. I need to post somewhere public this has changed.
        Seriously, some of the stuff I got, while fun and related to my peculiar form of insanity (dinosaurs, foreign cultures) would FREAK the new owners.

        • Yep. I send Christmas presents to a couple ofvFamous AuthorsTM every year. I have the home addys of a few other authos who wanted me to send them art. The trick is knowing who ought to get that info, and that generally takes time.

          No harm in asking (politely) for (expressed) good reason, so long as everyone’s copacetic with polite refusal.

      • I have a PO Box for such things. And for receiving packages my neighbors would find tempting. But mostly so my legions of fans can send me things.

  25. I’ve been involved with conferences that featured speakers who are internationally known names in their fields, including folks who have had cross-over fame via movies made from books.
    You know what they talk about? Whether or not the plane is going to get them back home in time for them to make cupcakes for their little girl’s birthday party.
    Here’s what that means to me: except from those rare few who are so ultra that their fame consumes them, they are just people, and they don’t really want fans. They might enjoy talking with strangers about riding motorcycles, or shooting guns, or why coconut oil makes cakes taste so good, but they are like the rest of us in that want a relationship before they get deep.
    Now, unfortunately for Sarah & the other authors and artists who provide a decent product, there are those who confuse the hours they spend reading with hours spent conversing. No, you did NOT just have a six hour conversation with Amanda Green; you just spent six hours reading Nocturnal.* books. She doesn’t know squat about you, and you REALLY don’t know squat about her. You just know about Mackenzie Santos, and she isn’t a real person. The fact that I bought a book by her late husband does not make me an approved personage to Toni Weisskopf, and if I expect Jodi Taylor to greet me at the door with tea and biscuits, I’m living in a fantasy world.
    HOWEVER: sometimes I have wanted to be wearing a T-shirt that said “I loved your book, it changed my life, can we just go about our business with that understood?” when circulating among authors and other personages I greatly respect.

  26. I remember Kim DT commenting about blog posters showing up at his place when they happen to be in that city, and expecting sleeping arrangements and a local tourist guide/entertainer. I can’t imagine the brain-free, clueless selfishness required for that type of behavior.
    That’s not the way I was raised.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      What a bunch of maroons.

      • Especially since Kim and the Mrs are some of the few people I know with more firepower than I have.

    • Reality Observer

      See RAH “Grumbles” – not a new thing (except their being blog posters instead of letter writers).

      Myself, I don’t even expect an author to bother replying to me on their own blog. Looking at my own production rate, even a “quick” reply is the equivalent of one less sentence on their new book. (Assuming it is not at all distracting and actually wasting much more than just one minute.)

  27. Even though I had been commenting on Mad Mike’s wall for half a year, and he was “Liking” my stuff, I totally didn’t expect him to recognize me (or my avatar badge) when I met him at LC. I hung back, and winced inwardly as I saw one overeager fellow fanboying the crap out of him as he was trying to set up his booth. Eventually I was able to ply him with Beef Jerky, but I still don’t think I’m on his radar. And I didn’t expect it to be any different than that. I’ve been on the other side of the tables, I know how it is.

  28. Reading this yesterday, I was reminded of the time a few of us we hanging out in the hall at good old [redacted] U. I saw the center of the basketball team–we were not aquatinted–with (as it turned out) his future wife come by the enclosed alley to the dorm next door. (The back door of our hall must have been open.) I called out “Hey, [redacted].” A buddy turned to me and said, “Not cool, man.” He was right, and I think I said so.

  29. Much depends on the nature and narrowness of your specialty. Twenty years ago I was editor of a glossy magazine and a household word within a programming interest group about thirty-five centimeters wide and several klicks deep. I got some attention that was occasionally peculiar but never malevolent or even annoying. Circa 1993 I was in the buffet line in Sweet Tomatoes, when a guy I’d never seen before came up to me, said “Linux never crashes, Jeff,” and quickly went back to his table without even making eye contact. (I had been complaining about Windows crashing in my editorials.) My name and address were in the phone book back then. Nothing bad came of it, and I got calls from some interesting people. Another guy called in the midlate 90s, identified as a reader, and asked me if I’d like some of his test equipment. I said sure, and gave him my street address. Seven boxes arrived over the next several weeks, containing a small fortune in electronics. I never would have bought a semiconductor curve tracer on my own, but it’s been very useful now and then.

    SFF is a far broader specialty, and not nearly as deep. Because it’s less cerebral it’s more likely to attract the unbalanced. This goes double if you write in what I call “disputed territory,” which is anywhere The Powers don’t want you to go. You not only go there; you more or less rule that particular kingdom. The occasional torch and pitchfork are an occupational hazard, and the woods are absolutely lousy with trolls.

    Your precautions are sound. I follow them most of the time too, so it’s never quite clear when I’m home and when I’m traveling. If I ever become famous in SFF, I may have to rethink my long-time strategy of just being out there and available, which never hurt and was often fun back when I was a tech publisher. I’m more concerned about writing in different genres under the same name, but that’s another topic entirely.

    • I’ve been considering different names for different genres.

      • If I were starting from scratch, and if there were little or no crossover name recognition from SFF into the new genre, I probably would too. I have 37,000 words of an Andrew Greeley-style Catholic novel on disk, and I doubt that many of Fr. Greeley’s fans read hard SF. The hard part in my imagination would be attending a genre conference or similar gathering and having people refer to me as Eric or Tony or Mr. Novilio.

        • Use a name that you’ll answer to. Most of us have childhood nicknames. (Would you believe Nikita?)?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Not a “nick name”, but I got called “Paul Stephen Howard” from time to time by Mom.

            Somehow, I suspect you know *why* Mom called me that. [Wink]

            • When flustered, my mother would often hurriedly name all of my siblings in order, then the dog, then me (and I’m the oldest).

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Just about everyone calls me by my brother’s name. Now, I get this when it’s a friend of the family who knew him growing up. Most people say I resemble him (even though I can’t see it), and given that, it’s understandable for them to think I’m him when they haven’t seen him in a long time, since we’re 17 years apart. So it never bothered me when my mother did it, except for the times she called me by my sister’s name, considering there’s only three of us.

                The freaky thing is how many people who don’t know either of us call me by his name.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Before Dad’s death, there were people who heard my voice on the phone line and called me Ralph (Dad’s name). [Smile]

                • No, same thing with Dan. His brother and his father were/are David. People who don’t know them and never knew him growing up will call him Dave. It’s weird.

  30. Need some technical feedback here if anyone is so inclined:

    I’m just starting a new novel, space adventure set in a fairly distant future. I’m thinking about naming conventions.

    Right now, my two lead characters are named Lucas Standforth and Sebastian Ragges, a promising young officer and a humble weaver of stars. (Also Standforth’s two sisters, Purity and Charity, who suspect Mom did them no favors.)

    Con: The problem is that this story is set so far in the future that linguistic drift would make those names, or names from any contemporary language, impossible to exist. David Weber plays with this in the Freehold series, but I’m torn as to whether this is a legitimate expression of historical continuity or an irritation while you sound out the funky-for-the-hell-of-it spellings. By the same token, utterly made up names, at least for humans, are simply a distraction.

    Pro: This series will be set in a broad and often turbulent empire, so dramatic and larger-than-life names seem to fit in terms of color and character. Also, I have a fondness for the older, evocative English names, like my first sergeant (Drinkwine), that can still be found up in the Virginia hills, for example, like “Clinchpenny.” MIchael Flynn has done this wonderfully in his series starting with “The January Dancer.”

    Which of those approaches do you folks prefer? I mean, these characters have already introduced themselves pretty clearly.

    • By that rule, you shouldn’t show them speaking standard English either — linguistic drift would have done that in, too. Call it translation.

      • One of the things Jerry P. has been drilling into me is a kind of rule: Do nothing that is going to throw the reader out of the flow of the story. NOTHING. That includes overly-weird or nonsensical (to our ears) words and names. Yes, James Joyce could get away with restructuring grammar/punctuation, but it takes considerable effort to “get into” the books where he did that.

        Keep in mind that essentially what you’re setting down is a kind of translation for the reader. Most modern American readers would want a Russian novel translated into English; consider your book a translation from the futuristic “drift” version of the language.

        Having said that, rules are meant to be broken. But realize that in doing so, you might pay a price in lost sales.

        • Amen, and Amen, and Amen.

          I loved the movie Thirteenth Warrior…. so I bought the Crichton book “Eaters of the Dead” it was made from. He wrote the whole thing in some kind of pidgin and I didn’t make it through the first chapter.

        • A compromise that may actually earn appreciation from the reader: IF your future-drifted language is based on some current culture (e.g. a planet settled mostly by the Irish) AND you have a feel for it, adopt the style and rhythm into your mostly-modern English “translation”.

      • One of the things that amused me from the appendices of “The Lord of the Rings” was how Tolkien specifically discussed the languages of the world he created; in the appendices, Tolkien gave the actual names of the hobbits. I do not remember the names, except that “Meriadoc”, shortened to “Merry”, was a translation of the name from the language of the Men of Gondor; he chose to call “Merry” that, because in the original language of Gondor, Merriadoc’s name was something that would translate to “Merry” for us.

        To be sure, Tolkien did this because he was a linguist, but in doing so, he demonstrated the path that we could take, for similar effect!

    • DW can get away with those hideous names. I highly advise against it. The old fashioned names, meh. Not specifically my thing, but if you have a cultural reason for it, it could be useful for identifying group membership. As in “Drinkwine? With a name like that you must be from . . . “

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        David Weber had been quoted as saying that if he could change anything in the Safehold series, he’d change the personal names. [Smile]

    • richardmcenroe

      Given the way these people hold their empire together, a certain bravura quotient is needed. Standforth, for instance, is very much a “Gates of Hell? Bucket of water? We’re good!” sort of fellow.

  31. I’m late to the party, but FWIW I have stalkers too, and have for some few years, even before becoming an author. It’s a little scary and stuff but I learned long ago to keep my private stuff private. Before I became a writer — or rather, before I published any books (I was writing for a website in my spare time), a member of the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade (TM) decided he didn’t like me much for being a scientist who accurately and consistently shot down his pet “theories.”

    And so he began cyber-stalking me. It was…unpleasant. He was also a hacker, of a particularly efficient and malicious bent, and I had to protect all my stuff from him. I never even websurfed without going through several layers of aliasing and redirecting software, so that I left nothing to point back to me without ensuring he had to dig deeper than he had time to do.

    Later, when I had my first book published, an older writer gave me excellent direction to develop an autograph that was distinctive and DIFFERENT from my legal signature. This was to ensure that no one had tons of examples from which to learn to forge my signature. This I have done, and more, I have ensured my bank has seen examples of the difference.

    • …What amazes me is when I see the spouses of well-known authors casually posting all kinds of info and photos of the children all over social media…I’ve warned a couple, and they completely pooh-pooh the notion that there’s anything remotely dangerous about it…

    • … but I learned long ago to keep my private stuff private.

      Would that more would. I’m old enough to remember when People as a two-page spread in Time magazine — now Time is on the verge of becoming a two-page spread in People magazine.

      I’m not saying Congress ought ban selfies, Instagram, Twitter and such rot, but I wouldn’t complain about the impairment of my First Amendment rights, either.

      If I ever sink so low as to go Twitter i think my feed would generally consist of only four characters, and they wouldn’t stand for Secret Task Force Unicorn.

  32. I’m in the interesting position of having a very dear friend who is also someone I fangirl.

    There’s this happy dance that children’s librarians do; they jump up and down, clap their hands and squeal excitedly. It’s not quite as bad as the genuflecting prostration: “I’m not worthy. I am not worthy!” But it’s certainly within shouting distance of it. I did it at the Dave Kellet booth at Sasquan, because I want to be him when I grow up (or Trina Shart Hyman, but I don’t really think I’ll make two centuries) Embarassing, but there you are.

    So: Part of my brain is doing the Happy Dance, and part is rolling its eyes, contradicting, getting the next interesting discussion going, or wanting to know what we’re going to do for lunch.

    It’s … really odd. Keeping the two straight. I’m not sure it’s possible with a stranger. All the things that make the Hun or Hoyden thrill won’t be mitigated by the mere disclaimer of shared humanity. If one needs THAT reminder, there’s a level of loony-tunes that a friendly blog post isn’t likely to mitigate.

    Perhaps the best bet to expect good manners – and, as you’ve done – to remind folks in this parlous age, that good fences make good neighbors and courtesy is a sign of mutual respect, and the necessary ground for any possible future friendly acquaintance.

  33. As someone who’s much more on the fan side than on the fame one, but also happens to be highly introverted and more than a bit shy, I find myself in the weird position of having a vague desire to meet famous people, but having no idea what I would do when I’m in the presence of such people.

    Several months ago I attended a talk at an Open Source Conference, because the person who gave the talk wrote a couple of influential blog posts to help understand the Common Lisp programming mindset. All I wanted to do was walk up to him, and say “Hello! I really appreciated your blog posts on Common Lisp. They helped me a lot!” but couldn’t work up the courage to do so.

    On the other hand, I once slipped into a circle where Larry Correia was a prominent member, and listened to the conversation for a few minutes. If there had been more time for the circle to exist (it was between panels at a Convention) I’m sure I would have comfortably joined the conversation…

    Come to think of it, I think this is how I am in general, even when I already have an established relationship with the “famous” person (where “famous” may be simply defined as “I once worked with that person!”)…