Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo and Some Blather By Sarah

So, because you can’t have your pudding until you eat your meat, let’s start with BLATHER FIRST! (If you really don’t want to read The Blather page down to Book Promo)

Some Blather From Sarah

A lot of you are furious at Amazon for joining the unconscionable censorship of Parler, which btw is still relatively small and all innocuous, other than, you know, allowing Trump a platform (Because as invaders, the left can’t let the president of the US address the nation, of course.) Look, so am I. I’m even more furious because I have no way out of the trap.

Yes, a lot of you — yes, I’m looking at you — have raged at Amazon for years and told us it would come for us and that we should get out now. This was not only misguided (I’ll explain why) but also it’s kind of the equivalent of poking a chained prisoner and saying “run.” He really wants to, but all you’re actually doing is torturing and wounding him.

However, since last night, this has TRULY become an emergency, not because of what Amazon will do or won’t do to ebook fiction (more on that) but because a core of my readers will now refuse to buy from Amazon under any circumstances, which means that I’m going to lose a lot of my income (and Amazon won’t give a flying fig. But I get your outrage, I understand, and yet you’ll only hurt the writers, UNTIL WE HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE.)

In the mean time I really need one or more of you to find a Newsletter Subscription service (I sign up for it, people subscribe for $ and it gets mailed out, so I can implement my very own “pay for Sarah’s writing by the week” system to try to stem the bleeding that’s about to hit.
Some people turn their nose up at substack, because they say it’s lefty (is it? I do very little on line that doesn’t relate to blogs or writing. It hosts a bunch of right writers, but…) most of the others I’ve found are either video oriented or brain damaged (no formatting is an immediate no for me) and I don’t know what to do. So, if you have suggestions PLEASE email them to me or put it in interesting links page (tab at top.) Comments are annoyingly non-searchable, okay? Because WPDE.

Okay, so below I explain the bind we’re in. (And as a side note, yes, I remain wordpress hosted. Yes, plans of mirror/escape are being made, but we’re hampered by fact I’m technically declined, and the tech in the house is working 12/7 at his main job, and has a second one. Should I disappear, which I consider more likely — but not likely — than Amazon removing my fiction, give it a week, I’ll be back.)

For the record a few things:

1- Amazon data service is much bigger and not at all like ebook sales.  I know, yes, Amazon as a whole is touched by evil, or at least Bezos is a political idiot and we shouldn’t feed the beast.  But objectively the ebook business is maybe 2% of its income, if that much. It’s vital for us, but it doesn’t do that much for them or against them to stop it or curtail it. DATA OTOH is YUGE. I mean vast companies rent their data storage service, okay? It’s probably 50% of their money making. Which is why they can afford to ban relatively small players like Parler.

2- I don’t expect them to go after ebooks for a long while. Not because they don’t WANT to – they do – but because it’s too involved. They’re using Chinese and such censors, like everyone else, and nuance in fiction is hard. Consider someone read Darkship Thieves and thought it was communist feminist literature and gave me a good review along those lines. Even the more pedestrian level of “has a name of someone on the right on the cover” (and some of us have secret names)…. as those trying to find me on MeWe know, there are Sarah Hoyts everywhere. And, well, if they haven’t taken Glenn Reynolds down, I’m at NO risk.

3- All that, plus the fact that where we live with the lockdowns and stupid masks and how dangerous the streets are getting, we MUST buy stuff like…. Vacuums from Amazon means I agree with your outrage, but I can only hurt myself by giving in to it.

Do not tell me to go to the other ebook sales services, because going wide costs me KLL money, which is 90% of my pay (people are broke, so they’re borrowing, not buying.) And the other services, besides having almost no reach are part of the same tech-left all of us have problems with. (And Smashwords is more left than you can imagine. Also sucks at accounting/paying.)

If you can and know how to get around the obstacles and create an ebook service that doesn’t preclude those signing up for it from doing any business with Amazon — where most readers still are — I’ll be behind you 100% .

But right now, quoting from memory from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and probably wrong: “Everyone does business with Authority for the same reason everyone does business with air.”
Which is where we are.

Otherwise I’m going to ask you NOT to carry on this boycott. We right-leaning-indies are going to lose half our sales. That’ll hurt Amazon, sure. Kind of. PROBABLY honestly at the rounding error level. But it will KILL us indie writers who have a contingent of conservative fans.

So, until people come up with the solution, I beg you not to kill us indies on the right by boycotting Amazon on their least profitable service. It’s bad enough I feel the need to wash with Lye and a wire brush for not being able to get away. Doing it while also starving will really piss me off.

And meanwhile, to prevent other indies from starving, see promo below. – SAH

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM KAL SPRIGGS: In Death’s Shadow (Angel of Death Book 1),

Ari lives in the shadow of death.

Ari is a combat veteran who has chosen to leave the military behind and live a quiet, normal life. He’s got a few problems though. For one thing, the cops think he’s a serial killer. For another, a vengeful politician has put Ari in his crosshairs. To make matters worse, Ari has a guardian angel… and not just any angel, Ari’s protector is the Angel of Death. When his life is in danger, people start to die, and Ari’s guardian can sometimes be indiscriminate whose life he takes when protecting him.

That’s not even the worst problem. Death wasn’t assigned to him by mistake. An ancient werewolf wants Ari dead and even with death on his side, Ari might not survive.

Ari needs to find a way to stay alive, to clear his name, and most importantly to get out from under the shadow of death and live a normal life… even if it kills him.

FROM DAVID BURKHEAD: The Unmasking (Dhampyre the Hunter Book 1).

No sane person believes in vampires.

And that’s exactly the way the vampires want it. For centuries vampires have existed among us, hiding solitary in the shadows, preying on an unsuspecting humanity. Secrecy is their weapon and their security. In times past when humanity discovered them, vampires relied on their other weapon–fear–keeping humans too terrified to use their superior numbers and ability to walk the day to exterminate the vampires.

Dani Herzeg is a dhampyre, born to a vampire mother for the express purpose of serving as an aid and daytime guard. Instead, she hunts vampires. Only now some vampires are no longer hunting alone. Combining into gangs and going on bloody killing sprees, almost uncaring of keeping the secret of their existence from the larger world.

With Indianapolis police detective James Ware her only ally, Dani must try to stop the bloodshed before humanity learns the Secret and vampires launch a campaign of terror against the human world.

Or is it already too late?

FROM MARY CATELLI: Sorcery and Kings.

Tales of wonder and magic.A fire master must find a magical starter of fires.A mysterious queen holds a ball in a city filled with magic.Magic of roses and gold are needed to fight a dreadful war.An oath keeps a ghost captive.

FROM MICHAEL HOOTEN: We Are All Enlisted (Enlisted Book 1)

Peter Wright joined the Navy thinking that he could do his time in a nice, quiet billet somewhere on Earth. The Navy had other ideas. When the asteroid miners claimed their independence, Peter finds himself getting sent to space on a warship headed straight into the combat zone. He has to get used to everything: zero gravity, standing watch, and being the only Earth-born in his crew. And he has to be ready for the biggest battle the solar system has ever seen.

FROM PAM UPHOFF: Double Dragon

Lieutenant Scarlet Magana was trained as ship’s crew, but it’s a good thing she also had dirt-side scouting training . . .

A distant planet. A damaged hyperspace colony ship. Lieutenant Magana and the rest of the crew discover that not only are they not the first arrivals . . . they may well be the third.

And then there are the dragons . . . and a serial killer.

FROM NATHAN C. BRINDLE: The Lion of God (Timelines Book 1)

John Wolff has been handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Again.

He’s already saved the love of his life from an early death – thirty years after she died.

Now, a beautiful young woman, who is clearly his daughter, has appeared from the timeline branch where that same love of his life survived and married his counterpart.

She says they need his help fighting off invaders from the far future. Who, by the way, are looking for him. Why? Because they want the starship drive he and a friend invented, the precursor to their time machine. Problem is, in her timeline, it hasn’t been invented yet.

What man can resist a cry for help from his own daughter?

Particularly when the invaders think she’s a saint. Or possibly, a devil wearing saint’s clothing. And they’re looking for her, too.

Thus begins the Timelines Saga, and the story of the Lion of God.

FROM SAM SCHALL: Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1)

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

This new edition contains new material not included in the original release of this book.

FROM ANNA FERREIRA: A Summer in Scarborough: A Pride & Prejudice Sequel

Miss Anne de Bourgh was delighted to receive a letter from her cousin Georgiana, explaining that she would be spending the summer by the sea, and requesting the pleasure of her company. A glorious few months of balls, shopping, and walking by the sea awaits- a wonderfully diverting holiday for Anne, who has rarely left Rosings before.

But Anne is a de Bourgh, and life is never simple. Before long, she finds herself caught between the attentions of two very different men, and must choose if she will follow her heart or disoblige her family. One must be disappointed, and Anne has never been very practiced in the art of disobedience. Must she give up everything she has ever known, will she find the strength to search for happiness elsewhere?

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Outgoing.

132 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo and Some Blather By Sarah

  1. I’ll continue to purchase your work, Sarah, at whatever rates you charge, wherever I can find them.

    Living near Seattle, if I boycotted every business that was Maoist, I’d starve, cold, and in the dark.

    1. Agreed.

      Also, I’ve done a lot of professional work on the AWS platform, and my intuition and belief from interacting with technical reps and such is that Amazon is a server farm system that happens to sells some books and stuff on the side. Income from ebooks is probably more like a rounding error on the number that got cut off of when they made the top level rounding error.

      1. This is exactly the model that Elon is trying to use at SpaceX, with cashflow estimates for Starlink internet service yielding megatons of free cash flow, enough that the space launch development side expenses becomes a trivial side expense on the balance sheet.

        The ‘zon stuff is public – the Q3’20 (through September) quarterly report had 12.5% of trailing 12 month ‘zon sales from AWS, at $32.63 BILLION, which after expenses gave ‘zon $9.97 BILLION in AWS Operating Income.

        TEN BILLION DOLLARS of operating income from AWS after expenses EVERY YEAR.

        And AWS sales are increasing by 30% y/y.

        1. Several things here:
          – No, we shouldn’t penalize you for KU books; for now, I will exempt KU from my Boycott Amazon purchases.
          – There may be times, short-term, when we really can’t avoid an AMZ purchase – machine parts, NEEDS (not WANTS) that aren’t available in the USA at present, and when we absolutely HAVE to have something immediately that is critical to our survival. So, give yourself a pass on those.
          – I will, however, take people off my ‘Buy’ list, should they continue to place books in KU in the future. By doing so, you tie up your product for a LONG time, and put off getting other income streams going. There are other solutions:
          — Sales on your own site
          — Sales in collaboration with other authors
          — HumbleBundle/StoryBundle offers
          — Smashwords – I’ve sold through them, and they were prompter and more transparent about their accounts receivable than Amazon ever was.
          — Get together with other authors in the same genre, and work out a sales site – it doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional. Publicize it widely, and funnel sales through it.
          — Offer a once-a-week short story on this site – have a subscription deal for it.

          But, do not, do NOT just sit on your hands over the next 6 months. If you want us to work with you, you have to make a dedicated effort to get off the KU tit.

      2. Amazon is a server farm system that happens to sells some books and stuff on the side.

        Directly to this point, from that same Q3’20 quarterly earnings release for Amazon: In the three months ending SEP 2020 ‘zon operating income (net sales less op expenses) were $2.3 BILLION in North America which is 3.8% of North American net sales, $0.407 B everywhere else at 1.6% of international net sales, and from AWS $3.5 B at 30.5% of net sales.

        That’s for just three months.

        So in Q3’20 for every $1.00 of stuff ‘zon sold in North America, they kept $0.038; On the International side for every $1.00 of stuff they sold, they kept $0.016; and at AWS for every $1.00 of sales, they kept $0.305.

        Or to put it another way, every dollar of sales through AWS yields eight times as much operating income as each dollar of sales through the selling-actual-stuff side to North America.

  2. I was wondering how Amazon’s attitudes would affect their publishing even before this blew up. I’m sorry to hear it.

    1. Saw that. I use it to text with my brother in Ireland as he gets charged for both incoming and outgoing texts. BUT, the EU privacy laws prevent WhatsApp from implementing that removal so I THINK I’m covered at least in my conversations with my brother.

  3. Ko-fi seems to have remained relatively innocuous. They are like Patreon only they charge a $10 flat fee per month rather than a percentage and you can send stuff out through them. I see no easy answer, but I will continue to buy your work as I can afford to.

  4. I try and avoid products made by slave labor in the middle kingdom, don’t have a Twittler account anymore, avoid Zuckerbook for anything that does not service my cover identity, and don’t feed the data beast by searching using TehGoogIsEeeevil, but ‘zon is a chaotic neutral as far as I’m concerned – they do things in both directions based on their own view of the world, and they generally offer services and products and a marketplace that are all useful. Plus, Bezos is doing spaceflight dev, so some of the profits go towards that ultimate good.

    So no ‘zon boycott for me. Others can make other decisions.

    1. Plus…. I’ve heard enough cases where Amazon is reported as THE MOST EVILEST EVAR, and it turns out to be something either innocuous or good.

      The “employees in cages” was a good one.

      1. Or the “but they took 1984 right off people’s kindles.”
        Well, yes. Because the people who put it up LIED that it could be sold in the US.
        If they didn’t do stuff like that, all our books would be pirated by India and China, and we’d make NOT a cent.

  5. Just blue skying Sarah but a lot of workable plans come out of such after going through the yea buts, or instead let’s, and the maybe ifs.

    Don’t sell books. I suggested a yard sale before, elaborating; give away old, used thumb drives that, each of which, just happens to have a book on it. Just checked 10 USB sticks $20.99, roughly 2 bucks each ( quick search, far better bulk prices elsewhere; small enough to go 1st class mail, $1.20, so roughly $3.20 cost minus time etc. Give away free plus 5-6 bucks shipping and handling.

    Didn’t sell books, gave away old used (even loaded once is used) stuff, shouldn’t need to calculate, collect sent tax monies to other states, you didn’t sell anything, just shipping and handling charges.

          1. For his signed hardcovers and Honor Harington swag web store fulfillment and order management, David Weber has paid staff.

            His store has to produce and stock those challenge coins and t-shirts, manage and track who gets what inscriptions on the custom signed books, and deal with various web site weirdnesses inherent in running a web storefront, plus somehow at the same time he has to keep turning out his word count on all of his ongoing series to keep the ball rolling.

            I’d think in order to make a go of a direct sales web storefront you’d need sales volume sufficient to justify a dedicated paid minion.

  6. Sarah … I won’t sleep with the enemy. Not doin’ it. But I WILL buy bread at his market, ‘cause I gotta eat. And you are part of my “daily bread.” 😉

    1. Ditto. And I got my Boxing Day check written & stuffed in envelopes (and of course it is taking forever to drive down to the P.O. to drop it off, because their hours are weird now, and I have a solid steel forget-ery) which means my subscription to AtH will probably go out tomorrow (I actually have a reason to drive into town again.)

      I don’t always want every book you have out, but frankly, this place is more interesting than N.R. ever was and author *ought* to get paid.

  7. “Clem, why’d you turn the light out?”
    “Because I’m going out.”
    “But you’re not out”
    “But I will be.”
    “Will be what?”
    “Told you, out”
    “You do that a lot.”
    “Do what a lot?
    “Go out a lot.”
    “Of course I do!”
    “Obviously I’m a outgoing person.”

  8. Amazon thing isn’t necessarily the malice it first appears.

    Yeah, timing is probably malice, if Amazon was coerced it might’ve taken longer.

    However, a) remember SESTA? Feds have a tool that can be applied selectively to Amazon. Therefore, the deep state could have told Amazon that if it didn’t pull support for P, the feds would claim Amazon was hosting the forbidden content via P. b) Amazon is providing the feds a lot of cloud services.

    Plus, the speed of this, it isn’t clear which avenue it went through, so it maybe was devolved authority instead of something Bezos signed off on.

    So, yeah, I’m being a wild eyed optimist.

    I guess because it will be a few months before I am going to need to make a decision, so I have lots of time to think about it.

        1. <waggles hand.
          Depends. It's possible he isn't running his own email. In fact, I suspect he isn't.
          HOWEVER he blasted someone — supposedly HE did — for saying they were pushing BLM too hard.

  9. For the record, while books, unfortunately are indeed best found on Amazon, I have done very well with vacuums et al by looking at big A, then finding them cheaper, including shipping elsewhere. Remember that in the absence of force there is no real monopoly, there’s always a cheaper bid/alternate solution. Seriously, always take your SKU outside big A.

      1. Also check, and the European counterparts for both of them.
        There are books innprint, and for sale used, which are not directly serchable by name or author.
        The memory hole seems hungry.

  10. “Yes, a lot of you — yes, I’m looking at you — have raged at Amazon for years and told us it would come for us and that we should get out now.”

    I was one of those voices ‘O doom. I published on Amazon anyway, so if they come for you they’ll come for me.

    I’m quite clear that they would -like- to come for us, but presently lack the manpower. Eventually they’ll get around to it, just like they did in the Soviet Union and China etc. but it’ll take a couple of years, or so I presume. This is the security provided by obscurity.

    Boycotting Amazon is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Boycott Twitter and Farcebook instead, we have alternatives to those and they deserve bankruptcy immediately.

    In the event that Amazon goes full retard, I’ll be selling my book off my own website. I probably won’t make any money, but then I’m not making any money now so it’s pretty much a wash for me.

      1. I’m sure they’ll just do it by keywords and complaints. The Woke(TM) set will have a fun couple of months running around Karening and getting people de-platformed for CrimeThink. One complaint will be enough, if history is any guide.

        But if they do, there will be a competitor come along a couple of months later. Selling ebooks is a comparatively light-weight application in terms of server and software requirements, somebody will probably have a go at it pretty quick.

        In the meantime, selling thumbdrives in the mail isn’t the worst idea. By which I mean you find an order fulfillment company that does that, and let them do it for you. You don’t do it yourself, taking on the burden and financial risk of buying 10k cheap-ass thumb drives.

        You know who does that? Fine Woodworking. They sell their entire back-catalog on USB sticks and DVD, new edition every year. ~$75.00 US. Not a bad way to keep up with the magazine.

        I can see a Mad Genius Club Annual Compendium going out like that every year, if Amazon decides to play Joseph Goebbels. The trick is to find monkeys to do the scutwork while you write. There are plenty of companies that do exactly that. Maybe one of our fellow monkeys here knows of one?

        There should be a Mad Genius Club imprint too. (See how easily I give your time away? ~:D )

        1. This is what slave labor, I mean, children are for. Mrs. Hoyt’s are out of the “work for peanuts because I get a resume entry and reference” phase, but I bet other Huns & Hoydens aren’t. They’d be perfect to handle the fulfillment end after the online order site was launched.

      2. And every new author publishing on ‘zon adds to their problem.

        Yes, yes, back to writing then – I hear you, muse.

  11. > Consider someone read Darkship Thieves and thought it was communist feminist literature

    People tend to see what they expect to see.

    Some of the reviews of “Gran Torino” had me seriously wondering if there were two movies out there with the same

  12. I’m in much the same boat with respect to Amazon. K-Falls doesn’t have the stores to cover a lot of local needs. The mail drop we use gets filled with ‘zon boxes every day. Should they be liable for antitrust? Yep, as well as Walmart. Will it happen? Not counting on it.

    I have a hard time getting sympathetic for the people behind Parler. Placing all your infrastructure in an outfit that was heading wokeward seems like walking around Portland, alone, unarmed, in a MAGA hat. Yeah, it’s harder to roll your own, but it can be done.

    FWIW, when phase two of deplatforming happens (payment processors snub you), the two alternatives seem to be bitcoin (of which I know little) or echeck. That one seems pretty robust and until customers get banned, should be available. If banks start doing social credit stuff, I suspect the fourth box will be opened for business.

    1. Yeah, there are lots and lots of cloud service providers who are not ‘zon. Not spreading their cloud out among a couple others once they started getting publicity seem shortsighted.

      1. Aye. And Gab was an example what to expect: app store revoked, hosting revoked, payment process revoked, etc. Gab has already Been There and the history was not hidden.

        1. Anonymous Conservative noted that Parler had everybody in support (including their legal team) dump them yesterday. Speaking of collusion, either that or orders came out from on high.

          I wonder just what the left is so terrified of that they’ll deplatform Parler and go scorched earth. Makes you go hmmm.

          Meanwhile, Gab picked up something like 600,000 new members yesterday. Which explains the frequent outages they had all day.

  13. About that new “Amazon boycott” thing, from my own perspective…

    My ENTIRE direct patronage of Amazon IS e-books; mostly by Sarah and others who can be found ‘here’ one way or another; that I cannot find and buy from other sources outside “The walled garden that is Amazon / Kindle” (not my phrase) — and I do look elsewhere first, note examples like S. Osborn. Who might be a good source of pros / cons / tips on how to go multi-platform.

    The above is the only reason I own a $50 Amazon Device.

    And I most seriously doubt I’m alone in that, um, near -total boycott.

    My entire indirect patronage of Amazon is though a friend, who uses a third friend to buy hardcopy books from F-in-A with no registration or paper trail ever. I could hold all those in one hand, so far, and not get tired for awhile.

    If ever I do get into the book-selling not book-buying end, Big A will likely be a main channel and maybe even the only one. Reality is. (Until altered!)

    There’s a saying, “make sure of your target before you fire.” If your shots are aimed far more precisely at Indie Publishing than they are at Amazon in general (see statistics in comments / OP above)… make sure that’s what you wanted to hit, before you pull the trigger. No mulligans in marksmanship.

    For me, buying NOTHING BUT e-books from Amazon hits all the targets.

  14. I’m not abandoning the zon entirely. But I am adjusting. I quite my KULL subscription. Now I will read the 1 book a month for free, using it to test-drive new authors. The authors I know and love, I will be buying everything going forward. It may mean fewer book purchases vs. previous borrows, but we shall see.

    As for non-book items, I am researching non-zon sources for mail ordering things I buy predictably. Like my beloved teas, even if I have to pay a bit more. Again, we shall see how free the markets remain.

    This year will be a time of watching for sales and stocking up on non-perishables for the entire family, clothing and shoes, bedding, maybe a spare computer. And i’m sufficiently kicked in the butt to start my long-delayed remodeling project for my house.

    Should have done these things 5 years ago …. as usual.

  15. Our enemies have no problem with the idea of buying rope from capitalists. We shouldn’t attack our allies for buying rope from fascists. Or KLL revenue that will inspire future patriots.

    But… yes, If this isn’t nipped in the bud quick Amazon will eventually get around to cutting out right-thinking writers. Not sure how to fix that yet but repeat Steve Bannon’s observation that people are willing to go looking for good content, so if you produce great work the distribution problem is much easier.

    1. Andy Ngo’s Unmasked is currently #1 in books.

      Powell’s tried to split the difference by having it on its website and not in its store and is getting “I will never shop with you again!” from both sides. But — publicity!

      We’ll see how it copes with losing money makers.

  16. About the floor, other maidens were openly eyeing the young men. None of them were quite bold enough to approach them, when they did not know which ones were prudent choices for bridegrooms.
    Autumn looked about again, for her brothers. They had to have their eye on a young man.

  17. From my pov, look, lefties are gonna buy from amazon regardless. Conservative sellers might as well get a chance to earn that money. If it’s possible to sell at a conservative marketplace as well, then that would be great. A goal to work to.

  18. “I’d ask you if you had ants in your pants, but it wouldn’t likely mean a hill of beans to you.”

    And the teenager, who he’d barely avoided calling ‘kid’ in the middle of that senetence, rather predictably half-jumped, half-spun away from the foot and a half pressure window (once an auxilliary-telescope mirror polishing tool) onto the main dome floor, and said something cleverly like, “What?”

    Bill Sykes turned away from the control console for just a moment. “Relax, or at least try to. No cameras or mikes here we don’t control manually, you left your skinsuit and all its ‘onics back at the lodge. This is an observatory, not a Fed Pol cornerstation down in town.”

    “It’s just that there are supposed to be no outgoing channels anymore, that are not monitored anyway, since the martial law came down, and…” Her voice didn’t quite crack, but it was clear enough she was nervous about all this.

    “Look, Emily, I know you didn’t, but I grew up with parents all full of tales of the Burning Twenties. All the crazy, uh, stuff they got up to, then, from the Big Steal onward. So as new as this stuff is to me too, it’s not… foreign. At all.”

    And the tracking software was up, and the positional feed was live. The dome was open and the 48″ telescope was coarse-seeking — now.

    “Maybe I should go over this again, it might help. We’re not a registered signal station, so technically this isn’t even illegal, though that’s barely dust in the wind these days. We’re halfway up the mountain here, so dust storms are not gonna be very thick ever, and the dust scattering now would be almost nil. We are using polarization modulation, not amplitude, so any quick look at that very dim dust-scattered beam will either be very clever or very dull. And since we’re using a spread-spectrum modulation rate, if anyone did catch that the left-right polarization was a bit uneven, there would be no big Fourier peak in its time spectrum to give away that it was a meaningful signal.”

    “I think understood most of it, but still, you just made it up.”

    “Nope.” (Virtual position point lock. Passive optical tracking start.) “The idea of using a telescope for covert light-signal transmission goes back to Arthur Clarke from the nineteen-fifties, though that was the Moon not Mars. Some other guy used polarization modulation to cut optical background noise going from one Earthlike planet to another in 24-hour orbit, in another book just on our side of the milennium.” (Optical lock on vehicle. Feedback closed, system is tracking target.) “So all of this is really old hat, not some lame-brained notion I had because your parents asked me to brainstorm something.”

    “But if they found out…”

    “Found what? Random-looking Vernam-ciphered data, on a slushy spread spectrum polarization-modded carrier that’s hardly there? On a beam from a ‘scope that’s used to range the moons for geodesy and map the dust profile in the near atmosphere regularly? And there’s enough odd stuff for all that, even if they did find the laser and detector stuff, hardly anything amiss there.

    “And, OK, we have tracking. Not worth inviting them to transmit back to us, that would be pretty suspicious. But it’s an embargo on outgoing data, not incoming, so there.” And he looked at her like an adult, and put that into his voice too. “So, Miss Clayborne, permission to transmit packet?”

    “Yes. Go.” She sounded like she was about to jump off a cliff. Into the Valles Marineris or something. Without landing jets.

    “Sending.” (The beam didn’t waver. Except subtly, invisibly.)

    “Annd… we have that little flip from the solar panel on the visible-light sensor that says, we got your stuff. Good to go, Emily. Want some tea in a moment?”

    “Yes, Dr. Sykes. You don’t know what this means… and, I guess, never will.”

    “‘You can’t stop the signal, Mal.’ Not even on Fed-occupied Mars.”


    “Classical reference, kid. Classical literary reference.”

      1. “Where’s the rest?”

        See, this is the magic of the vignette and the annoyance of the vignette — for now this is all there is, because I once again just “looked through the key-hole” and described what I saw. (Which means my characters deserve much more credit for stuff like “The Burning 20s” than I do, but so what, I get to tag along for the ride…) Since there is interest maybe I can expand this.

        The Anna Reinlisch stories started out as “Cthulhu by the sea” from a picture cue by Sarah. And as a friend heard the other day, ths is how I discovered I can write fantasy not just SF, after all.

        Oh, and when do we get to read more “Edward Thomas” books, really loved the first one…

          1. (Since there was interest and by request, part 2 of the above…)

            “So did we get it?” Alea Macchechnie’s voice echoed into the somewhat-tense stillness of the command cabin much as anything ever did. From the closest thing to a video-drama ‘Captain’s chair’ any real deep-space ship like Uller’s Arrow had ever run to. Out into a compartment that was still very near to an airtight aluminum can.

            “Two and a half times over, and the CBC-ciphering and ECC-coding under the one-time encryption leaves no doubt. Stored five times in hard memory here, already sent livestreamed to cis-Jove on the free-electron laser too.” Pierre Raskolnikov’s voice had a quiet sort of satisfaction. “So you can signal down our receipt, the old-fashioned way.”

            “Moving the #3 backup solar panel, 90 degrees up… and back… and done.”

            “And incoming mod-pol gone to idle state… and, beam off. Or at least moved.
            While on the other end of things, message buffer also laser-echoed to Vesta.” He smiled a lazily contented sort of smile and looked over at the pilot.

            “Welcome to the spy game, Alea, there you go.”

            “So what does it say?” Keith March was the closest thing the Associated Belt Colonies had to a plenipotentiary diplomat on Things Like This; but given how the Fed basically wasn’t listening, his duties were now far more like an intel Station Chief than any real Ambassdor to the Global Federation.

            “Text, and formatted text and text-coded equations in three sub-files, typical stuff from the Doctors Clayborne. First is… better electromagnetic coupling to the GCR plasma, so you can run a torchship at higher fractional gee without the core ‘floating’ off-center. Second is… tweaks to making meta-americium for boosting the gas-core reactivity. Really good ones, if they prove out when we do the experiments. Third is… y’gotta be kidding, it says it’s the next thing to an inertialess drive. Not a star-drive, but it should be able to cut passages in the outer system by a factor of ten, if it’s workable. Over what we can get if the torch drive finally works out commercially, once we comb out the bugs.”

            “Come on, Pete, that’s hogwash and you know it.” Alea’s voice was a lot more animated now the ship was back doing nothing but coasting free in her little gravity-assist turn around Mars (all nice and flightplanned and boring).

            “Maybe not, Alea, I’ve seen some pretty hairy stuff over the years I’ve been at this — let’s just say, information-collection thing. Though not usually with all the cloak-and-dagger contingency frills sewed on the sleeves.”

            “Miss Maccechnie, perhaps I should tell you that, for instance, seven years ago Callisto Station synthesized exotic superdense matter, recipe by Angus and Colette Clayborne. Or that by now we’ve made whole milligrams of it, or how good it is at interconverting electromagnetic and, ah, fifth-force energy.” Keith was pretty near the classification authority for such things, if the Belters had ever gotten around to formalizing one. “Or that the existence of such a thing in the first place comes awfully close to proving the Claybornes’ unified but unpublished field theory, using Kaluza-Klein formalism in place of strings.”


            “He means, when you de-boffinate all that, they do really solid work with us.” Pierre’s voice grew rueful. “Handle enough of this weird stuff for long enough, and you start to halfway understand it out of sheer osmosis. Or self-defense.”

            “What are they asking for, in exchange for all this?” March’s voice was quiet.

            “Nothing. Or nothing said, but I’d personally guess it was bloody obvious.”

            “You mean,” said Alea, “help with Mars’ nasty little Fed infestation. Worse than bedbugs and more expensive to eradicate. Okay, sic semper tyrannis then.”

            “Well, then, you’re here too, Pete, what do you think?”

            He got that sort of calm, patient manner so many “real” Belters did, once they’d put their backs to the firelight for true and looked toward the woods and the night beyond. “The Fed can have their ‘Only One Earth’ for good and all, for all I care; they can even keep Mars for a little bit, if they must. Just so we can have the Big Black and all that shines and swims in it for ourselves, to live in and love and be our home; let ’em keep their bitty pebble in the sky.”

            Alea lifted one sepia-colored eyebrow. “Hard cheese for people like the family Clayborne, though, don’t’ya think? At least until the Fed gets tired of sitting on Mars and moves on, of its own. Not to mention kinda slighting Nor Am and Oz and a few other places on Earth that never, ah, got with their program.”

            Pierre “Pete” Raskolnikov let a slow, calm, stolid smile dawn on his face, cold and patient as a Callisto sunrise. “I only said they could keep Mars for a while if they had to, not anything about keeping any ships darkward of Earth. Or to sunward of Earth, either, given how Venus looks a mite rambunctious of late. But of course that depends on how far we’ve got with military torchships.”

            March’s answering smile was faster, and sharper. “Since we’ve got half an hour or so to periarion burn, if you check me on that, Alea, perhaps I ought to bring you two a little more up to speed on that. The keyword here, which for once has nothing much to do with Mars or the Claybornes, is ‘antimatter’…”

  19. Hi Sarah, I’m a huge fan of yours and want to support you. Have you considered joining locals? I would definitely pay to follow you on there. It looks like the only safe place out there right now.

  20. If it’s not possible for you personally or professionally to avoid Amazon completely, even cutting your spending there by 70-90% is a good thing. If 70 million of us do that, then they might really feel it. Maybe.

    Sarah, look at Locals, which was started by Dave Rubin, so you know it’s in good hands.

    1. Doesn’t do any good to stop spending on Amazon, my spouse will just spend more there. 😛

      Being trapped at home means no physical shopping, even though she wasn’t very outgoing before the Wu Flu.

      I’ll look at Sarah’s catalog there, but I haven’t been able to read fiction for the last few years. Feel like I’m trapping in a thriller written by an author on ‘shrooms. Something similar to Jack Williamson’s “Humanoid Touch”. That was the first book that I had a visceral reaction to..

  21. “How did this happen?” the ‘investor advocate’ exclaimed.

    The programmer shook his head miserably. “We don’t know. Probably never will.”

    “How bad is it? Our stock is down almost thirty percent already; we have to get some positive news out there NOW! When can you get Twitter back up?”

    “We can’t.”

    “What do you mean you can’t?” she demanded menacingly.

    “I mean we can’t. There’s just nothing left. You don’t understand the scope of—“

    “Then enlighten me.” Now her voice was low, almost seductive, and even more menacing.

    “Somebody hacked into our systems, and they wiped everything. All the user data. All the programs. All the source code, all the backups. They got into our GitHub repository and cleaned that out. Some of our developers had copies on their computers at home, against company policy, and those are gone too. They finished by erasing the BIOS chips in all the servers and workstations, and then shut them off.”

    “Well, then, recover the data! You nerds do that all the time, right?”

    “You’re still not getting it. They didn’t leave anything to recover. They didn’t just delete the files, somehow they got low-level access and overwrote every sector on every drive with a repeating sixteen-byte data pattern — 47 4F 20 46 55 43 4B 20 59 4F 55 52 53 45 4C 46. It spells out—“

    “You’re still not telling me how you’re going to fix Twitter!” She was showing signs of panic.

    “There’s no Twitter left to fix! It was never an actual, physical thing, it was all a virtual construct composed of computer data, and now the data is gone. We don’t even have computers any more, just expensive doorstops. Every single one has to be shipped back to the factory for a BIOS chip rewrite before we can even use them again.”

    Her expression grew horrified as the scale of the disaster started to sink in. “What can you do? What am I going to tell the Board?”

    “Tell everybody…it’s gone. It’s all gone. There is nothing left of Twitter but endless terabytes of GO FUCK YOURSELF.”

  22. But right now, quoting from memory from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and probably wrong: “Everyone does business with Authority for the same reason everyone does business with air.”
    Which is where we are.

    Then why fight?

    Why not just let it collapse of its own weight with minimal effort from myself?

    The reality is letting it collapse from its own weight:

    1. Spares me discomfort now.
    2. Does really spare my enemies discomfort, because I’m a gnat they don’t notice.
    3. Given me a small, but real, chance of being dead before the discomfort starts.

    If we can’t win and fighting is just self harm why fight?

    It’s like the thing I realized about “going Galt” last night, that even Rand kinda saw but glazed over in the book. Going Galt doesn’t hurt the Authorities nearly as much as it hurts the people doing it. For going Galt to matter the people who do it have to be the people whose art, discoveries, and inventions make a difference, but those are precisely the people who are driven to create by internal forces that make not creating the same as slow suicide. Meanwhile, until the all of a sudden collapse, the people who can’t create like that don’t even conceive of what they are missing out of…the actually do enjoy the decline, while the creatives are self-destructing.

      1. Aye. Kindle remains, and maybe some other things where there is no other (sane) option. Where there is another option? Well, I think Menards deserves my business more than Amazon does, as one example.

      2. Most of my Amazon purchases are hard or impossible elsewhere, but are a rounding error on a part of Amazon that is a rounding error for Amazon.

        So, how does stopping matter or not is the question?

      3. The more and more I think about this, I think this why we lose.

        What you are saying amounts to “stop the bad guys, but don’t gore my ox.”

        The problem is, now, they are in enough things that everyone has an ox that gets gored if we fight the left. So we all demand everyone fight, but in ways that spare us.

        So we can’t fight at all.

        I just placed a big Amazon order because, well, why not. It’s not data services and that’s all that matters, right.

        Of course, since we aren’t going to fight, we’ll have to go grey. My blog is going down and I’ll be deleting disqus. Since we’re all surrendering like were in the GOPe I might as well adopt “eaten last” strategies.

        1. No Herb, that’s not it.
          What I’m saying is let people know they’re not alone, and make the left fight STUPID.
          We ARE going to fight. But first we’re going to make it really obvious to everyone what these people are.
          I ABSOLUTELY get your frustration, but please go read The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and be aware that Heinlein RESEARCHED.

          1. Dear Humans,

            Normally you are NOT to “play God.” This is an exception.
            “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”
            Tease. Taunt. Torment. Ridicule. DO NOT STRIKE THEM.
            No bullets. No bombs. No clubs. Not even a whip.

            But drive mad. Thousands upon thousand of cuts (cutting remarks, posted hither and yon).
            And thereby let them come to strike themselves in the ensuing madness.

  23. Oh, BOTHER!

    This is Sunday – the day I was relying upon to get sorta kinda caught up on posts here (I’ve crawled up to Friday early morning) and this is not helping. When I submitted my requisition form for a new year this is not what I requested.

    Bad enough the world screwed up and put totalitarians in charge of everything, I can see this is going to end in blood and tears. As Beloved Spouse noted, “Have you noticed the disappearance of world news from our coverage?”

    China’s acting martial, Iran’s getting boisterous, Europe’s doing their brown pants and G-d Alone knows what is going on in Africa.

    I are NOT amused and wish to have a word with management.

      1. Yeah, nothing like soldiers on every street corner to make your inauguration* look legitimate.

          1. A deplorable white supremacist redneck patriarchal cishet domestic terrorist taking a shot at Biden just after the oath would kill basically every bird the enemy has with one stone.

            I’d say “too perfect to be true”. But this is the post-2020 world: causality doesn’t work anymore.

            1. I was anticipating a MAGA-hatted crowd singing “Hail to the Thief.”

              Hail to the Thief who was chosen for the nation,
              Hail to the Thief! We despise him, one and all.
              Hail to the Thief, as we reject cooperation
              In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

              His is the aim to bring this grand country lower,
              This you will do, that’s our strong, firm belief.
              Hail to the one they’ve selected as commander,
              Hail to the President! Hail to the Thief!

            2. Huh? that would be a treasure. Unless they took out a few more so that the next president is the Secretary of — State, I believe Even then things would not be that bad for them.

              1. I’m speaking from their perspective: Gets rid of Biden and turns him into a martyr, puts Kamala in position, provides casus belli against 2A and MAGA.

                1. Very plausible and fits with their fantasy narrative of conservatives have the capitol surrounded and preparing to attack.

  24. Geeze, I wonder: how secure is Amazon’s server farms’ power supplies?

    I imagine I’m not the only one. …

    Imagine there’s no Twitter
    It’s easy if you try
    No Amazon below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for liberty.

    1. They have more than just a few datacenters. You’d have to coordinate multiple strikes – and even then you’d just push them offshore.

      1. For purchasing eBooks, I’ve found that KoboBooks is OK.

        The main problem with KoboBooks is their system doesn’t allow for browsing anywhere as good as the Kindle Store.

        Of course, I have no idea about the problems that Indie publishers would have or not have with selling eBooks via KoboBooks.

        1. Yes, browsing is a huge problem.
          ALSO I can’t put books up at KOBO their system is so screwed up. IT’s for intensely visual people. I need Marshall’s help.
          BUT more importantly, I’d lose the Kindle Library Pay, which right now is what makes me most money AND KOBO sells NOTHING.

        1. Trust me, I had friends published by them. It’s not a great deal for a writer. Not that they’re worse than other small presses, but we don’t need small presses.

      1. Of course! I for one am glad to see our betters executing bold and decisive action against threats such as this.

        “The Boldest Measures are the Safest”

      2. Now that is a real darkness possibility. Kill any who don’t toe the line with right thinking and blame it on the deplorables.

  25. Ava could manage this so much more easily than he could, would find her tongue and something wise and persuasive to win her way.
    “I can not stay away,” he said. “She — ” Words clogged in his throat.
    “You chose her a politic bride,” said Millefleur.
    “Nonetheless,” said Julian.

  26. “What’s with Charity? She’s usually so bubbly and outgoing…”

    “Oh, teenage drama. She was cursed last week to fall helplessly in love with this handsome young vampire from Pennsylvania, so naturally she’s upset that it can’t work out because she’s not Jewish.”

    “…Is *that* all?”

    “Well, and her period’s starting…”

  27. The outgoing President looked bent and weary as he walked to the waiting helicopter. Not surprising, after having served two terms in a nation increasingly divided between those who believed in liberty for all included clones and people with biomods and those who believed that the products of Frankenstein science should not presume equality with proper human beings.

    Greg Horn watched until the helicopter took off and became a distant dot in the sky. Now we find out whether we did the right thing by electing the Senator from Wisconsin over the corrupt Governor of Illinois..

  28. I’m perfectly happy to boycott. I haven’t bought or reviewed a Tor Book in years and I’m not going to until and unless they repent.

    But you have to be kidding me-! Using Amazon’s infrastructure to purchase pure quill ++Ungood CrimeThink and send money to the merry rebels making it?

    What’s not to love?

    Just bought two more.

  29. When a new e-book solution or reader is created, make sure it can handle latex or equivalent. All the technical books I buy for kindle do not render equations properly; they are too small images and do not scale.

  30. Hi Sarah,
    I’d like to discuss this with you and your discussion group. I actually have built the platform for this; what I don’t have is the critical mass of content creators needed to launch it. Please email me.

    Long time reader of your books and blog, btb.

  31. Can we get a post about how to find good indie books? I want them as the newsstand books are lefty junk, I’d appreciate curated lists like “If you like classic Julia Quinn you might like…” but they are not hit and miss, but mostly miss. And I want to stab myself when it’s not just bad writing but I paid for leftist propaganda.

    There is so much indie junk and leftist crap. I just want a good story but can’t seem to find the needles in the haystack.

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