Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System Part VI: The Effects and Aftermath By Stephanie Osborn

Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System Part VI: The Effects and Aftermath By Stephanie Osborn

Excerpted from Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System, ©2017

By Stephanie Osborn

Images in this article are public domain, unless otherwise specified.


This whole collection of writings started off with an email exchange, months ago. Our illustrious hostess was part of the discussion, and expressed interest in my converting the info to one or more blog articles. Then, when the LibertyCon programmers heard about it, they asked me to give a presentation on same, which I did.

The presentation was a full house, and at the end, there was a request for me to convert it to blogs and/or an ebook. I asked how many would like to see an ebook of the material; virtually every hand in the lecture hall went up.

A little over a month later, with additional research under my belt and factored into the manuscript, the book has gone live. And as promised, I am providing Sarah a series of blog articles on the subject. This series of blog articles is only a small fraction of the material contained in the ebook; it may be considered in the nature of a series of informative abstracts of the information contained therein. For additional information, may I recommend that you check out Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System.


Part VI: The Effects and Aftermath As Told By Eyewitnesses

Eyewitness accounts—John Bradbury

“After supper, we went to sleep as usual: about ten o’clock, and in the night I was awakened by the most tremendous noise, accompanied by an agitation of the boat so violent, that it appeared in danger of upsetting…I could distinctly see the river as if agitated by a storm; and although the noise was inconceivably loud and terrific, I could distinctly hear the crash of falling trees, and the screaming of the wild fowl on the river, but found that the boat was still safe at her moorings.

“By the time we could get to our fire, which was on a large flag in the stern of the boat, the shock had ceased; but immediately the perpendicular banks, both above and below us, began to fall into the river in such vast masses, as nearly to sink our boat by the swell they occasioned…At day-light we had counted twenty-seven shocks.”

~John Bradbury, Travels in the Interior of America in the Years 1809, 1810 and 1811, (pub. 1817)


[A woodcut of the disaster wreaked on the river.

From the West Tennessee Seismic Safety Commission website: ]


Eyewitness Accounts—Eliza Bryan

“On the 16th of December, 1811, about two o’clock, a.m., we were visited by a violent shock of an earthquake, accompanied by a very awful noise resembling loud but distant thunder, but more hoarse and vibrating, which was followed in a few minutes by the complete saturation of the atmosphere, with sulphurious [sic] vapor, causing total darkness. The screams of the affrighted inhabitants running to and fro, not knowing where to go, or what to do—the cries of the fowls and beasts of every species—the cracking of trees falling, and the roaring of the Mississippi— the current of which was retrograde for a few minutes, owing as is supposed, to an irruption in its bed— formed a scene truly horrible.”

~Eliza Bryan, New Madrid, Territory of Missouri


[Forest debris left by the quake series]


[The terminuses of landslides caused by the quakes.

Photos taken 1904; the damage was long-lasting.]


Immediate and Short-Term Effects

Immediate area:

  • A seismic seiche (“SAYtch,” a standing wave, a variant on a tsunami) propagated upriver.
  • Temporary waterfalls were created on the Mississippi River.
  • Many houses were severely damaged and their chimneys were toppled in St. Louis, MO.
  • New Madrid, MO was destroyed by shaking.
  • Little Prairie, MO was destroyed by liquefaction.


[Liquifaction from a modern quake damages a railroad track]

[A 7.2 quake in California generates a seiche in a swimming pool]


Lesser effects included:

  • Earthquake Lights
  • Warm Water
  • Sand Boils or Blows
  • Seismic Tar Balls
  • Earthquake Smog
  • Loud Thunder
  • Animal Warnings
  • Ground fissures

[Photograph capturing earthquake lights — USA Today; ]

sand blow

[Cross-section of a sand blow]


[A field filled with New Madrid sand blows — the light patches are the sand ejected by the blows]



[Ground fissures under a road in Baja California after a 7.2 quake. ]


[Clouds of dust raised by the 7.2 quake in Baja California.

This phenomenon, mixed with humid air, can form quake smog.



The Mississippi Ran Backwards

[The following quotation was taken from the historical pages of the New Madrid, MO website.]

“After the February 7 earthquake, boatmen reported that the Mississippi actually ran backwards for several hours. The force of the land upheaval 15 miles south of New Madrid:

  • created Reelfoot Lake,
  • drowned the inhabitants of an Indian village;
  • turned the river against itself to flow backwards;
  • devastated thousands of acres of virgin forest; and
  • created two temporary waterfalls in the Mississippi.

[Some] Boatmen on flatboats actually survived this experience and lived to tell the tale.”

This is provided they did not tie up under the river bluffs at night to rest. Many of the bluffs collapsed, and landslides were common. Some boats are known to have gone missing, and many people that set out in rafts of timber intended for sale in New Orleans were simply never heard from again. It is because of situations like these that the actual death toll is not known…and likely will never be truly known, or even accurately estimated.


Long-Term Effects

The Reelfoot Fault, a reverse fault that crosses the Mississippi River in three places, up-thrust its hanging wall, resulting in a temporary dam across the river. It backed up into and around the extant Reelfoot River, which had a marshy area near its mouth anyway. The area flooded, then the land shifted again as the upthrust block subsided, and the Mississippi River flowed on, but the land in between the Mississippi and the flooded area rose, which kept the water from flowing back out again. The result was a permanent, extensive but shallow lake with considerable surrounding marshland. Today it is known as Reelfoot Lake, purportedly after a Native American legend.

[Reelfoot Lake, modern day]


The Mississippi River and immediate-area tributaries rerouted: Oxbow meanders were cut off, becoming lakes and ponds; peninsulas were cut off from the mainland to form islands; numerous existing islands sank into the river; and new islands formed from the uplifts and cut-offs.

Little Prairie, MO was wiped off the map, and never rebuilt. Reportedly several Indian villages were also wiped out, including Tuckhabatchee in Alabama.


Subsequent Quakes

  • 31 October 1895, Charleston, MO, magnitude 6.6, New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).
  • 9 November 1968, Dale, IL, magnitude 5.4, NMSZ.
  • 18 June 2002, Evansville, IN, magnitude 4.6, Wabash Valley Seismic Zone (WVSZ).
  • 18 April 2008, Evansville, IN, magnitude 5.4, WVSZ—This one had two moderate aftershocks within 3 days, 4.6 and 4.0.

Per Wikipedia: “Instruments were installed in and around the area in 1974 to closely monitor seismic activity. Since then, more than 4,000 earthquakes have been recorded, most of which were too small to be felt. On average, one earthquake per year is large enough to be felt in the area.”


To obtain a copy of Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System by Stephanie Osborn, go to:

132 thoughts on “Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System Part VI: The Effects and Aftermath By Stephanie Osborn

      1. There’s also the strange matter of, the bigger the file size, the bigger the cut that Amazon and other ebook sellers take of the price. I’m not sure what that’s about. I think maybe they just want you to keep file sizes small or something. But yes, I’m not charging for the blog articles; I’m asking for compensation for the ebook. So there are slightly different rules in play.

        1. Not writing non-fiction, I didn’t remember that one. Yep, that is a poorly thought out thing at Amazon – unless you are, say, an art book, the extra storage and bandwidth cost can probably be measured in fractions of a cent, not what they take out of the author.

          1. Well, according to what I was able to find, it’s measured in percentages removed from the royalty, and varies depending on file size. The bigger the file, the bigger the percentage. I’ve heard of authors that ended up not getting any royalty because they added “too many” images and stuff. I dunno if the latter is true or not, but I decided I didn’t want to be the experimental case to prove the concept. I’m working hard enough to get by as it is.

  1. This just plain continues to be impressive. Original sources, check. First-hand accounts, check. Photographs of long-term effects, check. (*Everything* we could’ve asked for.)
    Easy to understand that “full house” thing…

    The sand blow cross-section is fascinating. I never realized how much they’re a sort of poor, non-volcanic cousin to a kimberlite pipe before, bringing up material from way deeper than the surface size of the feature.

    And is a seiche like a solitary wave / soliton wave? I seem to remember descriptions of solitary waves on canals, maybe even from earth movements. (And yes that’s a pretty obscure question, but unless you ask the people who know or might..?)

    Otherwise, I find my reaction to be pretty much,
    Scared yet?
    And if not — why not?

    (Also hoping your corner of N. Alabama isn’t too very weatherbeaten.)

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying the series! I tried hard to make sure everything was well explained and whatnot. I was kinda surprised when someone left a review on Amazon (it was a 4-star, so not complaining) indicating that the book was unfairly scaremongering. Heck, I’m just telling what happened in 1811-12, and pointing out the potential of the system, I’m not making anything up!

      There are certain similarities between a sand blow and a volcano. In fact some people in the field refer to them as sand volcanoes. The differences lie in the material ejected, and the cause behind the pressure on what we’ll call the fluid chamber.

      A seiche is a more generic term for tsunami, but it can also be due to other factors than seismic disturbances. If I understood correctly, the recent departure/return of water from Tampa Bay might be considered a seiche. Seiches can be standing waves, solitons, or trains. Gonna depend in part on the geometry of the bottom of the water body, and the nature of the disturbance.

      My area came out pretty well when Irma’s remnants came through; they’re still meandering by. We do have some small branches, twigs and leaves plastering the sidewalk and junk, and it has rained mostly continuously for 24 hrs, though it’s now becoming intermittent. I got some howling in the eaves, moaning in the chimney, and rattling of outer doors and windows. Nothing especially damaging here, and it didn’t spin off any tornadoes that I’m aware of in the area.

      My biggest problem is that my joints have, from childhood, been extremely sensitive to pressure gradients (as in, I can’t remember a time they weren’t), so I’ve been in a lot of pain. One shoulder that tends to get the rotator cuff impinged (due to using my arms to compensate for two bad knees) has been pitching unholy fits, and yesterday was about 75% useless, since I couldn’t raise it past shoulder level, if that. But in the past (like in my 20s/30s!) I’ve ended up invalided by strong hurricanes coming through, and I wasn’t, so there’s that.

      1. Ugh. No wonder I’m hurting a lot today, and the barometer is way down. The center of what used to be Irma is only a few tens of miles SW of me.

        Oh, and when I say hurts, I mean not only are the various old injuries pitching fits, the shoulder not wanting to work, but I feel like I have fever aches all over, because everything hurts. Only I’m not sick.

        It sucks.

            1. Y’know, I don’t actually remember when I started suffering those. I remember having them at least as far back as when I was early 20s…

              (My husband informs me as an aside that we’re expected to have 31+ degrees C weather our area of Oz. From yesterday’s 15. Rawr.)

              1. Well, the Harvey and Irma remnants are pretty much the first times I can ever remember having hurricane remnants come through with airmasses that were NOT warm/hot. I don’t think we hit 65F here today. I’m wearing a thermal-weave shirt with 3/4 sleeves today, just trying to stay comfortable.

                As for the aches, I know I had an arthritic-type condition in early elementary school. I don’t really ever remember NOT having it. The aging comment was mostly a joke, though it does seem to get worse as I get older.

      2. Glad the weather effects were, ah, more underwhelming than overwhelming. We’ve been similarly lucky here, with even less effect. And since one of my friends has recurring headaches that manifest as migraines *every time* lightning storms are near (here in the Border South), I have at least her secondhand experience of being somewhat at the mercy of the atmosphere — glad yours is subsiding with time.

        The whole “scaremongering” thing seems to turn, as best I can tell, on different personal and cultural attitudes to risk and threat. If one’s basic attitude is that bad things like a potential New Madrid II (or however it’d be) are either going to happen or not, and that (fundamentally) we can do *little or nothing* to prepare for them or mitigate them, there really *is* a strong logical argument not to know, for some temperaments. The “if all I can do is worry…” logic.
        But I’m guessing that’s not entirely the case here, and I’m even going to go out on a limb and guess Part Whatever coming up might have a bit to say about that.

        My own “are you scared yet?” involved particular values of “scared” that turn out *not* to be the conventional or especially “mainstream” ones, I suppose. It’s very much a creative and practical fear I meant. Motivation to do what you reasonably can, little or much.
        Or if I might impose just a bit here on the redoubtable, inimitable Larry Correia and his characters…
        Julie S. (P.): “I’m scared!”
        whoever: “So which gun do you want first?”
        I’m with beautiful and dangerous. DPRK EMP over LA, asteroid/comet strikes a la “Lucifer’s Hammer”, Carrington 1859 The Sequel, whatever, if this is scaremongering, sign me up for more of the same!

        I’d heard of sand blows or sand boils, but thought them much like bursting bubbles in a mud pot, just filled with (well) more mud. Wrong! Sand “volcanoes” gets the point across without visual ads required; but that one picture is worth about 10,000 words, right down to the “caldera” at the top.

        And I think I see how, ah, nonspecific seiche really is now. I’d guess just about every possible category of water wave was excited somewhere during the New Madrid events.

        Keep up the good work, and as (I hear) they say on the water, one hand for the ship, one hand for yourrself.

        1. Agreed on the weather effects. If I can get through tonight, even the aches should start to diminish. I had been going to get out and run errands today, but just didn’t feel like it.

          And yes, the thing to do, for all of those big honkin’ wupsie sorts of events, is to prep to the best of your ability and knowledge, be as proactive as you can, and then sit back and go about your regular day to day business. Either it will, or it won’t, and you get no say over which.

          As for monster weapons, I guess it depends on the monster. I always preferred flamethrower for zombie apocalypses of the more classic variety. (Shambling animated corpses.)

          Re: the “scaremongering” review, eh, whatever. As I said, it was a 4-star out of 5, so not overmuch complaining. I just find it kind of annoyingly amusing that the reader came away with the notion that I’m metaphorically standing on a street corner screaming, “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIEEEEE!” when I said nothing of the sort.

          It is a matter of fact: it is gonna happen again, sooner or later. And I said as much. I also said that it was worth taking what measures one could to survive it, when it did. And I used FEMA numbers for that. So if I’m scaremongering, so is FEMA.

          So there!

            1. Never would have guessed. Types she who loves going through random cat pictures to use to represent teachers, administrators, et al.

            2. The only complaint I have about it is the need to caution Beloved Spouse to allocate extra time for reviewing said pictures.

        2. Re: ‘Carrington 1859 The Sequel’

          I was looking to watch some auroral effects from the CME we were given notice of last week (I know we were told it would *not* be a CII due to the lack of ‘one-two punch’, but I was hoping for some fireworks), and wer were overcast throughout the entire window. 😦

          Didn’t hear Word One about it in the mass media either, before or after. Was it a case of, ‘Nothing we can do about it so may as well not rile up the peasants’, or was it that with Harvey, Irma, Jose, etc. taking front page it kind of got lost in the storm?

          1. I expect it got lost in the shuffle. Since nobody in the media really thinks of something like that as having any real consequence, the hurricanes took center stage, stage left, stage right, upstage, downstage, and any other stage.

            Now, if you had been following me on Facebook, you’d have seen my updates and alerts about it, along with those for the hurricanes and the earthquake in Mexico.

              1. Oh, I even have an entire Facebook group, named after the weekly podcast I used to do, called the Osborn Cosmic Weather Report, where I keep the members of the group up to date on events as I can. I also occasionally post non-solar/space stuff there, like the links to these blog articles I’ve been doing.

            1. Feh. They’ve done the “OMG! We’re gonna die!” about it before. I suspect the big issue is they can’t blame it on Trump or Global Warming. No, I’m not joking.

              To my surprise, we only had about half of our customers out. We had approaching 90%, IIRC, that Saturday of the Storm of the Century. That was more limbs than trees, and the damage was easier to repair. We got back on a right smart today, and it will be interesting to look at AMR tomorrow to see how many are on.

              Should have outside help in tomorrow, and maybe that’ll boost restoration. I know of two circuits, what some call feeders, still out. OTOH, we got on several today. It was heartening to hear more radio stations on the air, and to have better cell service. A lot more debris were out of the road today, too.

  2. Scared yet?
    And if not — why not?

    The earth is a fascinating and dangerous place. We have done so much to tame our surroundings. Right now I am thankful sitting her under a roof out of the rain anticipating lunch with the refrigerator is filled with good things to eat.

    No, on thinking of it, I am not scared. What good would that do me? There is just too much that could happen and (thankfully) most of it probably won’t in my lifetime. I am all too aware that life is fragile. If I am around when one or another mess hits the fan? Then I will do what I have done in the past, I will just have to deal with it the best I can, because what other choice is there?

    1. I’m not as sanguine about the “probably not in my lifetime,” but yes. Fascinating and dangerous. And there’s no place you can live that doesn’t have some sort of natural danger about it: floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, the list goes on. You prep as best you can, and keep going. As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and take whatever G-d sends.”

      1. Hey, I’ve dealt with advanced stage four cancer, I’m not supposed to be having a lifetime.

        But as you reference, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and take whatever G-d sends.”

    2. I have little fear of the New Madrid Fault System. I don’t live in an area that’s going to be affected by it.

      Instead, I fear the Wasatch Fault System, which, as best as can be determined by geological records, is itself decades overdue for a Big One…

      1. Not so. Do you get any of your commodities from east of the Mississippi? Grain from the Midwest perhaps? When the roads and the rails go down, the only way to get anything from east to west and vice versa will be by air, which means smaller, more expensive.

        Folks, don’t think that because you can’t feel the ground shake, it’s nothing for you to worry about.

        1. Heh. This reminds me of those old Eighties arguments about deployment of Pershing(?) missiles and warnings from Brit politicians (Neil Kinnock, muse for Joe Biden as I recall) that housing such horrible devices would make Britain “Ground Zero” in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

          You dolt, I would mutter, if there’s a nuclear holocaust Ground Zero is probably the best place to be. What’s your preference: quick death before you know it or going Mad Max?

        2. Oh, and let’s not forget the pipelines carrying oil, gasoline (there will be no drinking from nor fishing in most of the Mississippi for quite a while)…. and power lines….

  3. Eyewitness accounts? I would expect (inner) Earwitness accounts to be more informative.

    Yet again this world has defied my expectations.

      1. Yeah, I have problems remembering that, too. And since I wrote the durn articles, I’m off writing on the current WIP and wondering why nobody has commented, wondering if nobody liked the article, did I do something wrong, yada yada…

            1. I am embarrassed to admit that most of the Yiddish I know was learned from Mad magazine. Most annoyingly, many words are only vaguely recalled and [searchengining] for clarification is not as effective as might be hooped.

              1. See if you can track down the book _The Oy of Yiddish_. Wonderful older dictionary/commentary, a bit like an OED of more common Yiddish terms.

                  1. I’ll have to grab both of those. I do have Naiman’s “Every Goy’s Guide to Yiddish”, though.

                    For a language that “experts” claim is nearly extinct, Yiddish seems to get around…

  4. We’ve been waiting on a big one in the Wasatch Front for quite some time. Liquifaction is a real possibility and all the homes in the foothills are likely going to slide down as they get shaken apart.

    1. The foothills are about to be toeheels…or something like that. “The hills are alive with the sounds of screaming…”

      No, I really am not on any pain meds, I swear. I just feel bad enough that my choices are to whine and cry, or go goofy. At least if I go goofy, I make myself laugh. (Hopefully I make one or two other people laugh, too, but I don’t hold my breath on that.)

    2. Seriously for a moment, I gather the Wasatch Fault (which is a normal fault, btw — pop quiz: who remembers what that is, and what it does?) is well overdue for a nice scratch-off?

  5. Woefully (and even Whoa-fully) Off-Topic:

    I’ve recently had a run-in with a decidedly less than honest site. There was the initial polite request to re-post something of mine, which I was agreeable with. And then I found myself signed up to something I was not informed of and had not agreed to beforehand (or beforehoof, either). And thus was a rant born:

    And lest anyone accuse me of being worse than merely off-topic, I did consult with Sarah as to linking that here. Permission was received.

    Thank you ALL for your time and indulgence.

      1. If it’s a simple, proper re-post/blog/whatever or even e-mail forward, or link back, I certainly have no issue with such. Anything more and I want fair warning of what I might be getting into. Not that you need to be told that, but now I’ve said it where anyone can see that I have said it.

  6. So what is a Seismic Tar Balls? That is the one quake effect I didn’t remember from my college natural disasters class (what a fun way to fulfill the geology requirement!)

    I hadn’t thought about it the boats/rafts tied up on shore getting buried by the bluff collapses before.

    1. I used to like tunneling into those as a kid. Until I realized how dangerous it was if you didn’t put up substantial shoring along the way.

      How do you keep a hobbit hole from collapsing? Use brick arches.

    2. Well, that was the one effect for which I was flatly unable to find illustrations. And believe me, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking, because I was so curious about it my own self. (I was, frankly, shocked to discover that the quake lights phenomenon was now so well documented.)

      Insofar as I’ve been able to understand it, evidently some of the underground sands in the area were tar sands. So whenever one of the sand blows was being fed by an area of tar sand, it would cough up tar balls (which for some reason makes me think of Elrond Half-Siamese blowing hair balls), a kind of natural asphalt — a blend of tar, petroleum or pitch with sandy material (no idea what proportions of sand to tar, but I’d expect that to vary anyway), which would then land and kinda splat out, and generally make a mess, I suppose.

      1. AAAAAAH, that makes a lot of sense!

        I bet you could get temporary artisanal spring like effects from ground water doing the same sort of thing as the sand boils and tar balls. The speed at which water can flow away or get absorbed into soil would make it less noticeable. Though it very well could be behind some soil liquefaction if the shaking went on long enough for the rising ground water to saturate the soil while there is still enough shaking going on…

        1. Well, the thing you have to realize is, the sand blows DID contain water. They were blowing liquified sand — the sand was in suspension in the water, and therefore flowed like a fluid. The tar balls would have been blobs of tar sands entrained in the stream.

  7. FYI for those who may not have seen the comment announcement on an earlier installment, Division One book 4 is now available for preorder in ebook and print on Amazon. (It’ll be available for Nook later; the BN Nook dashboard doesn’t handle future releases well at all. *grumble*gripe*fussfuss*)

    1. I am happily looking forward to it.

      I suggest that anyone who has not yet tried the prior installments should try them … a real treat, intelligent stories with excitement and seasoned with good humor.

      1. Oh! Thank you very kindly! I do work hard on my books, just as hard on the fiction as on the nonfiction, so if you like the diligence I put into things like this blog post, and the ebook it’s based on, combined with a goodly serving of humor and such, you’ll probably enjoy my fiction just as well.

        1. Book 2: A Small Medium At Large
          Book 3: A Very UnCONventional Christmas
          Book 4: Tour de Force

          Coming soon:
          Book 5: Trojan Horse
          Book 6: Texas Rangers
          with at least two more in the series, and possibly some shorts and spinoff related books.

  8. Oh, and FWIW, over the years I’ve done a lot of reading about the 1811-12 quake series. One story I remember (but could not find for the book or blogs) involved one poor guy not too far from New Madrid MO, who had a log cabin and a few associated outbuildings pretty much on the river, but well up the bank, out of normal flood zones. He managed to ride out the first major temblor, then got up a bit later and headed outside, aimed at the, ahem, outdoor facilities (aka the outhouse)…

    …Only to discover that a very large fissure had opened up between his cabin and his outhouse, and the entire Mississippi River flowed between him and his outhouse, which was now on the far bank…

            1. Yay! I like inducing laughter ^.^ (And that’s a peek into my head. I have arguments with my own brain, saying “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?!”)

              It’s amazing we get anything done around here, honestly… Housemate, the other day, was preparing himself a coffee, suddenly said “Why would anyone say ‘slow as shit’? What is the speed of shit?” and proceeds to go on that line of questioning, by which point I’m slumped over my keyboard, laughing myself into a coughing fit.

                1. Some medications can make it a very slow process indeed. I had to abandon one of my best friends (Ibuprofen, it wasn’t you, it was me) because of certain intestinal-slowing side effects.

                  I find aging mostly means choosing where, how and why I will hurt.

                2. As a 3 decade sufferer from Chron’s (on the nastier end of the IBS spectrum) I can confirm that remark…

                  Tonight I was on the toilet catching up on the comments and this thread had me LOLing. 🙂

                  1. I feel for you. I don’t have Chron’s, just IBS-D apparently from a too-sensitive nervous system in the digestive tract. But I inherited it from a long line on both sides, and it can get pretty severe.

                1. Welcome to life with Shadowdancer, who has two of these guys in the same house with her. The hubby is a punster, and the housemate is a sarcastic wit. Drinking is a hazardous risk, because the housemate will suddenly go expounding into those random musings.

    1. You know this thread on about the outhouse and what the guy needed to do made think about that mythical infrasonic frequency the Brown Note and wondering how it would relate to the sustained Earth tremors from these quakes… The poor guy might have REALLY had to use that outhouse!

      1. Lady Sarah, I find I must apologize. Had I realized just how far down this…stuff…would flow after I told the outhouse tale, I would have thought twice about posting the comment. (I probably still would have posted it, but I would have thought twice.)

              1. Ringo and Weber actually started writing the sequel to ‘the longest chapter ever’ ? Where can one find the snippets?

            1. I sat down and calculated that each child on average goes through approximately 10,000 diaper changes before being successfully potty trained.

              Whereupon my wife announced that we’d had our last child.

              1. *giggle giggle* One of the threads in Shikari 2 and 3 is Rigi vowing that if she ever has children, she will use disposable diapers, custom be darned.

    1. Mm. I’m just waiting to see what Jose actually does. They have it forecast to meander in the Atlantic and eventually shoot off north and dissipate. Hope they’re right. Gonna wait and see.

  9. I’m top posting this, as its only related to the comments about the images, and how they affect royalties. I had some time to research this evening (well, night…).

    Your royalty percentage isn’t reduced for the book size – or not exactly. What Amazon does is charge for delivery, based on its size. So, for Stephanie’s book as an example, the actual royalty per sale in the US is 70% times ($3.99 list – ($0.15 times 1.5 megabytes)) = $2.63. Or so I am working out from the KDP Pricing Page, and the files that are in my Kindle for PC folder. Could be wrong – the page doesn’t say whether they charge delivery again when the customer downloads to more than one device. I’m also assuming that this “Compiled Resource Script” file is the images that were included, as that file does not show up in the download for my own short story (which has no images other than the cover).

    Considering that one of the excluded images (“smog.jpg”) is only 27 KB, I’m making the WAG that those would have added another megabyte at most to the file if included – so the cost to Stephanie would have been somewhere around a dime per sale. However, note that she could not include them, so the question is rather moot in this case.

    (The above applies to US sales only, of course. Where there is a Value Added Tax, that is also deducted from the list price before royalty. And – very weird, it must be some law there, on Amazon Japan, the delivery charge is not applied – but only if the file is over 10 megabytes. A concession/incentive to manga? I don’t have a clue…)

    Did all this not for myself, but I have two working-on-becoming graphic artists in the house, so it would be of significance to them. If it is helpful to anyone else, so much the better.

    1. That’s more or less what I had found, yes. But had I been able to add all the graphics I WANTED to add, it would have increased the file size considerably. (I actually considered having my husband create illustrations for the book, but unfortunately he was snowed at work — regular stuff PLUS at least one proposal effort, PLUS his magic gigs — and he’s the heart patient. And he just wasn’t at home that much at that point in time. I didn’t want to add yet another brick to his load.) I can’t really tell how much it added to the mobi file, but just the illustrations I used added a substantial amount to the Word file.

      This was the first book for which I have ever added illustrations, and I plan to do a good bit more research on the concept and how it all works. Frankly, I was almost done with the text when it suddenly dawned on me by way of a fan’s comment, that it actually NEEDED illustrations to help it make sense to the non-scientist. So I came to it kind of late in the game, and didn’t have the time I would have liked to try to understand that aspect of the system better.

      If I can manage it in future (and I do mean FUTURE; it’ll be a couple years, probably, before I even have time to consider this, so nobody who’s just gotten the book should panic), I might create a second edition with original illustrations. Because there are also other aspects to ebook illustrations that I need to figure out, like the ability to resize the image to zoom in or out in the reader application.

      And then again, I might not. I might just take what I’ve learned and apply it to the next book. Depends what’s going down for me at the time, and how busy my in-house illustrator happens to be. 😉

      1. Things that I need to research in the long run, too. Another one is having the illustration rotate when the book is rotated. The two gripes I have with Baen is that their illustrations neither rotate, nor are they resizable…

        If you get this done before me, maybe you could sweet-talk Sarah into a guest post on MGC with your findings? (I’d say my blog, but my readership is minuscule. Biggest day so far was the post that I most didn’t want to write, the eulogy for Jerry.)

        1. I can try, I guess. I dunno how long it will take me to figure it all out. I don’t know how Baen does their setups, but I do know that when my file gets converted to mobi, certain properties get set in stone. I still need to upload my mobi conversion to my droid Kindle app and see how it behaves, so I can’t speak to turning it. I know some would resize and some would not, and I still don’t know what made the difference.

          I am NOT a graphics person. I literally cannot draw a straight line with a ruler: either the ruler slips, or I get a finger in the way, trying to keep the ruler from slipping. I tell people I paint with words, and I leave the line drawings and color artwork to the Dear Hubby — who is a legitimate and highly successful graphics artist in the day job. And not only does he do my indie cover art, he does the cover art for my main trad publisher, several other authors for that publisher, and several other publishers in addition to. ‘Cause he DOES know! He’s teaching me slowly — not how to do it; that’s a lost cause. But he’s teaching me what to look for in a good cover. And his work has been mistaken for one of the big artists that Baen sometimes uses.

          So what I will probably do is to dig up what info I can, show him, and get him to asplain to me what is going on. Then I can maybe come regurgitate what I learned.

          1. Wups, I misspoke – the problem with Baen is that their illustrations DO rotate – which, since they “print” most of them sideways, makes them difficult to deal with (why I normally have the Fire rotation turned OFF.)

            On yours – all of them do seem to rotate just fine on the Fire. The difference between scalable and not scalable appears to be the source file format – GIF does not scale, while JPEG does. Makes sense when I think of the encoding differences between the two. One thing that I’ll need to look at is what the compression ratio does to JPEG – a high compression can make the file much smaller, but I’ll have to see where it makes the zoomed in picture too poor of a quality.

            Sigh. I thought I was getting mostly away from the annoying little details of web development…

            1. Well, yes on the gif versus jpg, but I very carefully put them all in as jpg, even converting a couple to make sure, and some of them still didn’t want to work for me. So I dunno.

              And it’s 4am here and I’m about to go crash, ’cause I’m too tired to think anymore anyhow.

              Good night, Moon…see you tomorrow, Sun…

        1. He’s an award-winning professional magician who has been on TV.

          If you’ve ever been to any SF cons where I was appearing, and saw the guy in the lab coat and pith helmet, running around doing magic tricks and balloon sculptures, you’ve seen my husband.

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