Let Your Freak Flag Fly

It will tell you something about how I’m feeling this morning (I think it’s allergies again, honest) that I spent considerable time looking at that title and trying to figure out how to make it more alliterative. Which can’t be done, or or at least not politely and without inventing new possessive pronouns, alas.

And yes, I do have far more weighty topics to write about. And a project that must be finished by Friday, and a load of “but I don’t wanna” that I don’t even want to talk about.

However I do feel this needed to be discussed. It really needed to be discussed. Because if not now, then when?

As you guys know I grew up in a society having a nervous breakdown. I estimate the nervous breakdown started when the king was deposed by people who were at best and kindest interpretation left-anarchists. This landed the country in bankruptcy and eventually ushered in national-socialism (note without a racial component. I’m getting tired of the left assuming any national socialism was the German variant. Look, the thing is despicable enough, like all socialism, without making it more so. In Portugal a racial component to any philosophy makes as much sense as in America. Or less. After all Hitler is said to have referred to Portugal as a mongrel nation. (Now that I’m American I far prefer mutt, but my 23andme seems to confirm I’m in no danger of racial or even ethnic purity.)) And when that fell in 74…. well. Yes, I know what the history books say. I also believe my lying eyes. It wavered back and forth at speed, various flavors of Marxism, which of course hated and excommunicated each other.

To survive, let alone thrive and do well in school, one had to be very alert to the social undercurrents of the movement that had the upper hand, or at least that had the upper hand in your group/school/region/at the moment.

Which helped when I came to the States, because I could read the…. substratum of social situations. I understood that though the President and SUPPOSEDLY the establishment were republican, the way to signal high social class, the way to be accepted in intellectual and arts circles, the way up in general was to signal left as hard as you could.

And it worked, even if felt awful.

In the same way, the way to signal “I want to write SF/F” was to signal left and “intellectual.”
I am for my sins capable of doing that, because I’m naturally interested in strange and geeky things, and I’m …. well….a geek. Always was. In saner times, and had I grown up in a saner country, I’d probably be an engineer.

BUT the signaling for “intellectual” was different, and heck, I knew enough about the left’s obsessions to do it too.

And then something broke. It started around 2003. Though it might have been a late-echo of 9/11 which had a profound effect on my ideas of the world.

2003, I’d written my Shakespeare trilogy and it had “failed” for values of fail that involve earning out a 10k advance a piece (keep in mind normal first timer advance back then was 5k, and is lower now) and getting taken out of print the day it earned out. And I didn’t want to write anymore of those. I had trilogy proposal out from before 9/11 which was in the same vein. “Literary” fantasy, if you wish.

But I wanted to write about– unexplored planets, strange species, daring men — and women — who are occasionally complete morons, but in believable ways. (More on this later.)

I can write literary. I enjoy reading (and writing) historical. But I couldn’t JUST do that, nothing else, forever.

I couldn’t get any agent to understand this. Most of them wanted me to do the prestige thing. They couldn’t understand why I wanted to write this weird stuff. Sure, it might sell, but there was no signaling (virtue or otherwise, in it — it was all “popular” shudder–.) In retrospect, the agent who took me then just lied, and decided to manage me by not submitting the “low” stuff and claiming she had. I mean, I sold DST on my own, and she tried to talk me out of it.

And then the proposal put out before 9/11 which not only required me to be literary but also to do a dance distorting my politics enough to pass (and it was totally cultural appropriation and couldn’t be published now, which tells you how far we’ve come.)

I think writing that broke me (part of the reason I haven’t reissued it.) It eventually led to my coming out of the political closet.

But there are more closets than one, and it’s not just politics.

The way to get ahead in the arts and writing, since forever is to sound erudite, to say the right things…..

Only that’s not who I am. I honestly doubt that’s what any of us are. We’re the odds, the goats, the people who stick out. Yes, our weirdness in general probably leads to our political weirdness, but we can’t just take things from on high and believe them. We have to go and LOOK with our lying eyes, and then…. believe those.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of what I LIKE in science fiction. And I got all excited. Yes, Heinlein, of course, but more than that, I want to write….
A lot of you guys have read the Prince Roger series by Ringo and Weber. (If you haven’t, go look it, I’ll wait.)

The military aspects aren’t essential. The regency in space isn’t essential (though I have a few of those in the Schrodinger worlds) BUT the adventure, the exotic locales, the strange aliens, the…. adventure. I was telling her I wanted more books like that, and I was becoming convinced I’d have to write them, but it’s a bit like letting my freak flag fly.

And then it hit me: Why not?

Look, I’m 58. I don’t know how much longer we have, particularly with turmoil ahead and tech under attack. I’m fully indie. (In novels and shorts at least.) WHY shouldn’t I write what I want. Sure, it might not sell, but right now we don’t need that much. And weird things sell, anyway, like Austen fanfic.

So, why not just be who I am, drop the masks, live unapologetically?

And yes, I realize that’s not possible for a lot of you with your main job. I DO get that. I know how many of you are pseudonymous, under cover, and HAVE to be or starve.

But I bet there’s freak flags you can let fly besides politics.

You know how they say “Life is short, eat desert first?”

Well, life is in turmoil, and I’m battling a heck of a black elephant (I think it ate the black dog.) When it sits on me, nothing happens, either writing or anything else.

And I’m thinking: eating desert first is silly. I can’t risk the health issues. But…. you know what? I can write what I want, enjoy what I want, and not apologize if my tastes aren’t respectable or what “smart” people like.

<turns baneful eye on what “the best men/women” are up to.

You know what? I’ll be me. As hard as I can. I’ve run out of reasons not to do so.

And I know from when I came out of the political closet that deception twists the soul. So,forget it. I’m going to be me.

Hoists freak flag — it probably looks like several lol cats saluting the American flag, to be honest — grins and walks away to get work done.

409 thoughts on “Let Your Freak Flag Fly

  1. I don’t have a freak flag to hoist…

    Oh who the heck am I kidding? My idea of fun is going out in public dressed in plastic spaceman armor. I’m a freak and I’m proud!!!!

    1. I was about to say I wish I was that confident, then remembered I’ve gone to a (my one and only, sadly) ComiCon dressed as one of my Disciples of the Hand classes–a Weaver. With my FC’s custom logo (by one of the members, not the in game logo) as the cloth on the embroidery hoop.
      Two of our kids were also dressed as Final Fantasy 14 characters, and *all* of us were in costume.
      I got to reassure “Zuko’s” I-think-girlfriend that there were perfectly normal people in there, we were just in silly costumes. (Husband was waiting for his signature on a Rufio picture, for his sister, and I think she basically went “K…hugely pregnant….cute kids are being polite… husband is dressed like some sort of soldier….should be safe enough….?” Sweet lady, wish them well. Also, “Riker” was awesome, especially when he didn’t realize anybody was paying attention to him being awesome, he seems to actually like having fans.)

      1. I chickened out on my first try at a cosplay…
        And it’s not even one that would be that “outre,” or at least as far as “norms” would consider outre.
        Spike from Cowboy Bebop…
        Was going to be a “closet cosplay,” yellow dress shirt, blue sport coat, blue slacks, and a toy corgi.

        Maybe this year, the wife and I will finish our Monster Hunter (ILOH version, not the game) cosplays before Dragon gets here.

        As for someone who seems to LOVE his fans? John Barrowman.
        Saw him up-close at FanExpo Toronto several years back, that man has more energy than anyone has a right to, was out on the line side of his autograph table, selfies with folks in cosplay (especially the lady dressed as the Queen from one of the “Dr Who” episodes I think,) getting down on kids level to talk to them, he was just…
        Enjoying himself immensely.

        1. I desperately want to cosplay as Mamma Gkika from Girl Genius. Haven’t had the money and the venue at the same time, alas.

      2. You talk about being confident…

        My freak flag is that I get weird ideas and then follow through on them. Like the time my mom picked me up from the airport one Christmas break when I was in college, and mentioned that a friend of hers had joked about needing a Russian mail-order bride for a corporate party he had to go to, and she’d suggested me, and I looked at her and said “Why not?”

        So yes, I went to a corporate party with a friend of my mom’s, no accent, just a dressed up college student, but if anyone asked me who I was or how I’d met him, I’d reply “I’m his Russian mail-order bride.”

        Apparently his coworkers thought I was nice. 😀

    2. Somewhere there is a pic of me and my girlfriend at the time dressed up to go to the Voodoo Club in the mid ’80s. Standard issue Friday night of dancing.

      Yeah. We were kinda, different.

  2. *hugs* Excellent! I look forward to reading what you write.

    And at some point you’re going to realize there are a bunch of people behind you, and you’re going to start running with your freak flag, thinking they’re after you, only to be passed by some fit young muscled guy yelling “Woot! I thought it was a parade, but when I realized it was a marathon, I can join in!”

    1. Don’t forget those of us on roughly the same path but who seem to disappear into the underbrush for a while only to reappear on the path, shout “Hi folks!” and disappear into the underbrush again, just on the other side of the path…

      1. While giggling madly about scaring the living-daylights out of some of the other runners . . . SIGH. I know my tribe.

  3. turns baneful eye on what “the best men/women” are up to.

    Don’t you mean “Good Men/Women”? [Crazy Grin]

  4. Another Mutt chiming in.. couldn’t agree with you more.
    Don’t hold your breath or walk around on eggshells.
    Make our aspiring” betters” get oxygen starved and anxious wondering what form our next non-compliant act or posture will take.
    After all-echo chambers are a form of vaccum and no one is breathing that very long.

  5. Mongrel. Mutt. (I admit I *like* mutts.) Whatever happened to that wonderful concept, ‘hybrid vigor’? (Damn right I am biased on that one.)

    1. *raises finger* Ah, hybrid vigor is a thing, but so is hybrid breakdown– I don’t think humans are actually very suited to that, our extremes just aren’t that extreme, but there may be edge cases– basically if you cross two “pure” streams, you get a much better result, but you then have to cross with one or the other “pure” stream, rather than another hybrid, to keep that vigor.

      Adding in a third “pure” stream makes it more complicated, and adding in a cross of two other “pure” streams makes it even more complicated.

      The cool thing with humans is that we’re not pure enough that any of our streams is all that pure, it’s normal for “pure” streams to have tall guy short son tall grandson– so the main result of crossing two different crosses is that they have a way lower chance of recessives. If the original four “pure” streams were different enough.

        1. Don’t ever cross the streams. Imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light!

      1. Heh. My grandmother was 5’10”. My mother was 5’8″. I am a disappointingly normal 5’6″.

        …my daughter is 6’1″ and not necessarily done growing.

        She wants to visit Japan. I want to go with her just so I can film her getting around. 😀

            1. At 6’1″, to REALLY hammer the Japanese, she needs to learn to walk / dance / be graceful in heels.

        1. A friend of mine is six and a half feet tall and lifts weights. His employer sent him to Japan for three months to iron out some engineering problems.

          I suggested proper robes, sash, tabi, and an appropriate haircut, but for some reason he chose to bring only variations of a suit and tie.

          “Samurai Dan” would have been awesome. They’d *still* be talking about the giant gaijin in traditional Japanese dress…

          1. I’m 6′ 5″, 240 lb, shaved head (I’m not bald, merely hirsutely challenged) and was sent to Yasathon (Thailand) as an (cough, cough) advisor/trainer.

            It was, for someone who intensely dislikes being noticed (both personally since childhood insecurities, and professionally) quite … challenging. I ended up, only partly pretence, walking around with two krabi and telling anyone who asked I was a student of krabi krabong. (I spent some time empathising with Dorothy, Oz, and Charlie, chocolate factory is all I can say).

            I suspect I was more seen as the farang clown but I’m (intimately) familiar with being laughed at so that was OK (surprisingly most places it tends to be women, and usually after I ask them for a date/dance. Go figure. But since I’m known, even renowned, for my sense of humour that’s OK too. No really, hardly a day goes by that someone, often complete strangers, approaches me a tells me how full of wit I am … at least I think it was wit they said).

            1. I knew a (cough, cough) visitor to said area. He was 6’2″ and elite forces.

              He attracted Thais like white to rice. They couldn’t believe he was real, even after they knew him.

              1. I met/worked/socialised with a few of yours there I admit. We overlapped but covered different ‘aspects’ (I do RW, most do CRW, which always leads to some ‘interesting’ rivalry).

                My AO was usually northern Europe (I spent most of the mid to late eighties wandering around in such garden spots as Gryazovets and Nizhnly Novgorod).

                Thailand is beautiful, the people, culture, food are great (away from the typical Bangkok city types) and the rocket festival is something to behold. I’d have settled there if it wasn’t illegal for foreigners to buy property.

                Argus/Not by Strength

    2. Flogging a really good breakdown on stuff from REALLY different “pure” strains– from a gal who comments here as Crossover– is this:

      Do a ctrl-f for:
      A lot of people are familiar with hybrid vigor. Cross two very different pure strains, and the offspring can be more successful than either parent. There are various reasons for this, ranging from a lucky genetic outcome (not all hybrids do well) to the extreme that some genes (or gene complexes, bunches of related genes) are over-expressed because the other half of the hybrid’s DNA doesn’t have a “match” to them. (See mules and ligers.)

      You don’t have to read the fic or know anything about The Last Airbender to follow the explanation, either.

      1. Given I’m certain some of Ace of Spades’ Horde are over here, I think that’s already been accomplished!

  6. But I don’t want to raise the Jolly Roger.

    Both because it is too ordinary and lawful, and because I am not yet willing the pay the price for actions that are in line with my feelings.

    Frankly, my feelings are just disordered, and will probably settle down if I cna get out from under the stress, and get more sleep. Okay, settle down by my standards, which only means flags bearing mottos like ‘cartago delenda est’ and ‘caedete eos…’, and hanging the management of apple, alphabet, twitter, and facebook, etc…

    1. The standard practice was to fly false flags to avoid undue attention until just before opening fire. Note this was standard practice for ships of official state navies and for letters-of-marque legal-grey-area ships as well as the out and out pirates, being agreed by all to be an okeydokey ruse de guerre.

      The relevant question for which flag to fetch out of the flag locker is, with whom is one en guerre?

      1. And you’ve made me think of this…
        Article I, Section 8, Clause 11:
        [The Congress shall have Power . . . ] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; . . .

        In Brown v. United States,1 Chief Justice Marshall dealt definitively with the legal position of enemy property during wartime. He held that the mere declaration of war by Congress does not effect a confiscation of enemy property situated within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, but the right of Congress by further action to subject such property to confiscation was asserted in the most positive terms. As an exercise of the war power, such confiscation was held not subject to the restrictions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Since such confiscation is unrelated to the personal guilt of the owner, it is immaterial whether the property belongs to an alien, a neutral, or even to a citizen. The whole doctrine of confiscation is built upon the foundation that it is an instrument of coercion, which, by depriving an enemy of property within his reach, whether within his territory or outside it, impairs his ability to resist the confiscating government and at the same furnishes to that government means for carrying on the war.2

        It occurs to me that declaring domestic Wrongthinkers enemy combatants would make it very convenient to redistribute their property.

          1. They’ve been doing that for a while with the civil forfeiture stuff – and you don’t even have to convict anyone first!

            “We can show that this pair of pants stuffed with weed is drug crime item. It’d be awesome if we could get proof of the owner. Is it yours?”
            “No no, these are not my pants!”
            “…Riiight….well, we can’t prove they ARE your pants. Unless you’re going to say, under oath, that they are, and you lawyer there is unlikely to say OK to that. Are you willing to sigh over, under oath, that they are not your pants, so we don’t have to try to prove it?”
            “Sure!” *signs, “these are not my pants.”*

            *pants become a civil asset forfeiture item, without anyone being found guilty*

            1. The problem with that argument is that neither do the pants (or the Cigarette boat, or the Ferrari, or the suitcase full of cash, or whatever) belong to the police. They don’t get to just play “finder’s keepers.” any more than the person declaring it’s not theirs, certainly not without a good-faith effort to find the legitimate owner and return to him his property.

              After all, if they’re going to declare “finders keepers” then it would apply just as well to the person found with the property in the first place.

              1. > They don’t get to just play “finder’s keepers.”

                Unfortunately, in too many jurisdictions, they *do* get to do it that way.

                1. Most states have laws about what to do with abandoned property.

                  If the guy who was wearing the pants swears that they are totally not his, they kick in.

                  A lot of states have down right predatory behavior for things like “abandoned” accounts, but— they’re not malicious. Taking care of someone else’s stuff, especially when they are legally liable if someone who isn’t the owner gets ahold of it, is not without cost.

                  Kind of like the folks who talk about how suicide is a victimless crime, while ignoring the folks who have to clean up the biohazard mess.

                2. Okay, let me rephrase, it is not legitimate for them to play “finders keepers” and is still a violation of “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

                  “It wasn’t nailed down (and if I can pry it up it’s not nailed down)” does not count as due process.

              2. They don’t get to just play “finder’s keepers.” any more than the person declaring it’s not theirs, certainly not without a good-faith effort to find the legitimate owner and return to him his property.

                Which would be a great argument, if they did that, when following the law.

                But they don’t.

                The argument stops dead after going “how dare they take property from the guy who swore under oath that it wasn’t his (because saying it WAS his would mean we can charge him, and HE thinks he’s guilty) but we won’t mention that!”

                What, are they supposed to go “here, we have proof that this item is Crime Item. You swear it’s not yours. But hey, we don’t know who it belongs to, so sure you can take it home and act like it’s yours!”

                1. The argument stops dead after going

                  Even if we grant every word you say as gospel truth and described every single case* then the fact remains.

                  It’s. Still. Not. The. Police’s. Property.

                  *And even if we allowed that argument, and it described every single case but one, that one case would still be wrong and would still be a violation of the 5th.

                  1. Even if we grant every word you say as gospel truth and described every single case* then the fact remains.
                    It’s. Still. Not. The. Police’s. Property.

                    Ah, so YOU volunteer to force everyone else to care for abandoned property– property where every effort has been made to find the owners– in perpetuity?

                    Or you just object to “the police”, who were stuck with holding the abandoned property, and looking for the people that own it, and followed every legal step to find the owner not being forced to care for abandoned property forever?

                    1. where every effort has been made to find the owners

                      Assumes facts not in evidence.

                      in perpetuity?

                      I believe the words “good faith effort to find the owners” came from my keyboard.

                      And, BTW, in places I’ve looked into the laws, the actual policy for “found, abandoned/lost property” was that on failure of a good-faith effort to find the lawful owner it reverts to the finder, i.e. the person the police confiscated it from.

                      It doesn’t go to the police.

                      But we’re not talking about pants, now are we? Unless there’s a specific case you have in mind that involves pants. And we’re not talking about actual contraband–illegal drugs, illegal weapons, counterfeit currency, that sort of thing. We’re talking about things like expensive cars–cars that generally have a title and registration, both of which would link to the legal owner. Or we’re talking about expensive boats. Now, maybe different states vary but the State I live in requires watercraft used on public waterways to be registered and, again, that links back to the legal owner.

                      The claiming “it’s not mine” simply doesn’t work in most of the high-profile cases of high-value property “forfeited” because legal ownership is pretty easy to determine. About the only case where one might try it is cash but…why? It’s not illegal to have cash. The only legal issue with having cash is that the police might “suspect” it’s “drug money” and confiscate it. But, as you just so adroitly argued, claiming that it’s not yours certainly does not help the matter.

                    2. Assumes facts not in evidence.

                      No, actually, it’s basic familiarity with the laws, and what actually happens. And first hand experience, which I already mentioned.

                      As you make it clear that you will refuse any evidence that does not match your conclusion, I will not waste more of my time.

                    3. and what actually happens

                      That “every effort has been made to find the owners” is “what actually happens” in most or even many cases of Civil Asset Forfeiture has not been established. That’s the assumed fact not in evidence.

                      you will refuse any evidence

                      You have presented exactly one anecdote as evidence, that of a stolen tire. That’s the sum total of evidence you’ve presented (and more than you gave on my blog when we first went around on this). Beyond that, you’ve made a lot of assertions. That I do not find it compelling regarding cases of Civil Asset Forfeiture on high ticket items like fancy cars, boats, and large sums of cash should come as no surprise to the peanut gallery.

                      In at least two of the examples of high ticket items I list, finding the legal owner shouldn’t be a problem (titles and registration). In the third, the policy I’ve seen for “found” large sums of money is “hold it to see if anyone inquires and if no one does, then it becomes the property of the finder.” So in none of those cases does the person its found with declaiming ownership justify the police taking ownership themselves.

                      And, finally, even if every case but one was of the kind you described, and there was some kind of law involved that made lost property the property of the State (said law would still be wrong, but, let’s go with it for now)–every case but one–that one case would still be wrong.

                    4. “In the third, the policy I’ve seen for “found” large sums of money is “hold it to see if anyone inquires and if no one does, then it becomes the property of the finder.””

                      Furthermore, the established legal standard means cases get filed as “Collin County DA vs $6000 (or other description of the property).” The name of the person actually seized from is never mentioned. The person must locate his $6000 unaided, file a motion with the court to intervene and then the judge (whose offices also get a share of the loot) has to grant it. And $6000 dollars cash can’t ask for an attorney. Neither can the person actually seized from; they have to hire their own.

                      Yep, sounds like due process to me. /sarc

                2. “the guy who swore under oath that it wasn’t his (because saying it WAS his would mean we can charge him, and HE thinks he’s guilty) ”

                  But we can’t prove he’s guilty unless he “confesses” to get back what we had no right to seize. That’s how it works, Fox.

                  1. Sound like the guy who was complaining when the cops took what he stole from me.

                    He got found guilty, by the way– because he wouldn’t say that the stuff he stole from me wasn’t his.

                    So they were able to go to the court and say “this guy says this is his stuff.”

                    Then they were able to look at the evidence, and say no, no, that’s not his stuff. That’s her stuff.

                    Imagine if you had someone going to jail because they said “this is not my stuff,” then the cops took them to court, they were found guilty, and they went to jail AND lost their stuff– would you prefer that?

                    Or they say “this is not my stuff,” it goes to court, and after all the time and expense they go “hey! Yeah, we can’t prove this is your stuff, we’ll look for the owner”?

                    Or are you demanding that they go “oh, OK, this isn’t your stuff. Here, you take it, even though you don’t know who it belongs to, either, and it’s crime evidence”?

                  2. Other guy:
                    freaking STOLE MY TIRE OFF MY CAR.

                    I came back from Japan to a three-wheeled car.

                    When caught, weeks later, he said…. “it’s not my tire.” (this is part of the “suspended community service” sentence I’ve mentioned before.)

                    The detective basically went over their stolen property listing for months, found it based off of tire and my rim, and first I knew about it was when this guy came knocking on my door to check my tires and then return this tire. (I bought tires as a set, and the rim was part of the custom set I got with the vehicle.)

                    Because that is step one of what they do when someone swears, in writing, “this isn’t mine.”

          2. Yes, but the difference is that under the Constitutional phrase, one must be first recognized as an enemy of the state. Which is different from assigning guilt to the property. And, methinks, rather more dangerous once it’s applied to Citizen Wrongthink, as that, once in motion, has no brakes at all.

            1. OK, the US is very much not Rome, but one thing I noted reading about the transition from late Republic to Augustus as Imperator is he basically preserved Republican forms and pretended in public statements that Rome was still a Republic, just with a permanent top guy in charge above the Senate.

              So I would not be surprised to see the forms being preserved, and the existing proven methods like civil forfeiture and “oh, look what we found on his phone” to be used before new things like Pelosi’s extremely stupid “domestic terror due to opposing political views” being actually implemented.

              And as I’ve said here before, I actually expect a pendulum swing is likely, and the man on the horse and “air tours half off” to come in as a reaction to these leftist idiots overreach – and they will preserve the forms of the Old Republic.

              1. When Julius Caesar was running for office or in it, he was immune to prosecution and therefore he had to stay in.

                They’ve done one better: Hillary Clinton could not be prosecute because she lost and that was enough.

          3. The cases I’ve seen that raise the blood pressure is where someone is traveling with a lot of cash ($50K in one, if I’m recalling it right). That was a guy moving a small business to the West (and why it was cash, and not something more secure, is unknown). Guy has a clean record, and the original business was also clean (said the article–Reason, maybe), but the guy was stopped for a traffic violation in transit, and during a search (grounds for search not revealed in article), and the cash was revealed, and confiscated as it MUST have been for a drug deal.

            OK, sounds like the guy was incredibly stupid at best (on a solo longish road trip, I’d take cards and $500 cash), and the purity of the man’s thoughts leaves grounds for disbelief, but he a) wasn’t convicted, nor b) charged, nor c) arrested, nor d) doing anything illegal, at all. I’ve read (same article?) that some places will do a search ‘n seize for anything they can assert is used for nefarious purposes, thus getting a whacking great haul for the local PD and the town.

            That’s not even a “not my pants” issue, but pushing to piracy.

            If I’m full of shit I’ll blame it on the Norco. I hate opioids, but there are times when they’re the best post-op deal.

            1. Without names, I can’t look it up, but usually Reason’s story for that has one source– the defense attorney. And they’ll leave out things like there being multiple people in the car, and the one they’re talking about is the only one not charged– because he declared that the money, which they could prove was dirty, wasn’t his.

              Their cute habit of changing names just enough to not be able to find news reports, and court records, is one of the many reasons I went from considering Reason biased to realizing they are deliberately lying, just with a slightly different focus than most mainstream media.

              Usually the “legitimate business” is a Cartel laundering business that got busted.

              1. Agreed, I should have remembered it was from Reason and raised the red flags. Can I still blame the Norco? 🙂

              2. I’ve heard a very similar story to that one, from sources not at all connected to Reason, where the guy carrying cash was 100% legit (can’t remember enough details to give you, unfortunately), and had to fight hard to get his cash back (as I recall, he did eventually get it back, but no thanks to the police department that confiscated it: if it had been up to them, he would never have gotten the money back).

                I’ll ask my wife tomorrow if she remembers the enough details of the story that you’d be able to look it up.

                On a closely-related subject, would you know anything about whether police departments are allowed to keep cash & other assets seized in civil forfeiture, and use those assets to fund the department? (Obviously that would vary from state to state and probably county to county, but is that a common situation, or rare?) And if that’s a correct characterization of what happens in some or most states, would you consider that that’s a temptation to abuse civil asset forfeiture, or not?

                1. Of course not! Well, no more than the Inquisition abused their power to seize the property of convicted heretics, anyway.

                  1. *toothy smile*

                    I do not object to that comparison.

                    Because I’m familiar with the reality of the Spanish Inquisition, rather than the mythology.

                    Short version is, the Spanish officials playing those games hated the Inquisition. It screwed with the bottom line.

                    1. Plus, there were Several Inquisitions.

                      Since the Spanish one was only active in Spain and Spanish controlled territories, accusations of heresy would handled by the local version of the Inquisition.

                      Oh, Foxfier knows this but the various Inquisitions were created by the Catholic Church because Secular Rulers were charging their enemies with heresy and executing their enemies.

                      The Catholic Church rightly decided that “matters of heresy” had to dealt with by them not by secular rulers as the Church was the “experts” best able to decide what was heresy and what wasn’t heresy.

                      It was interesting that people charged with heresy were safer when judged by the various Inquisitions than when judged by secular authorities.

                      IE They were often found innocent of heresy. Often found to be “just in error” which was countered by teaching them the correct beliefs. Sometimes, they were found guilty of heresy but received punishment less than death. There apparently some cases where they were found guilty of heresy and the Inquisition decided that they did deserve death so the Inquisition turned them over to the secular authorities for execution.

                      Oh, when the Witch Hunts were spreading across Europe, the Spanish Inquisition briefly got involved but quickly got out of that business.

                    2. The thing I love?

                      There’s still an Inquisition. Sort of.

                      It’s the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

                      Papa Ratzi (Cardinal Ratzinger) was the head of it for some time…..

                      IE They were often found innocent of heresy. Often found to be “just in error” which was countered by teaching them the correct beliefs.


                      If you were willing to say “oh, yes, I agree with this Good Teaching,” you were not a heretic.
                      For that matter, if you were not Catholic, you weren’t a heretic.
                      Only saying you were Catholic while professing counter-Catholic ideas is heresy.

                      *glances at current White House and congress*

                    3. Of course, what’s very sad is that the Left appears to be in the process of creating a new (less just) version of the Inquisition.

                    4. And the major evidence used in that Documentary was “top secret” (ie in house only) documents of the Spanish Inquisition.

                      IE Documents that the Spanish Inquisition held in their own files. IE Not written to “impress” secular authorities.

                      Of course, the Spanish Inquisition (unlike some other versions of the Inquisition) reported directly to the Spanish Crown not to Religious Authorities.

                    5. They were in that business a lot. Chiefly by saying things, “If you say you saw her at the sabbat, and she says she was sleeping at home, that shows that ONE of those was an illusionary appearance, but since we can’t tell WHICH one, it’s not evidence.”

                      Witchcraft was an “excepted crime” — ordinary standards of evidence did not apply to it — but the Inquisition refused to grant that. (And indeed, the end of the witch trials was generally driven by people insisting that standards of evidence applied.)

                    6. >> “This is…wears pants on head strange and amazing.”

                      NOBODY expects a fair documentary on the Spanish Inquisition!

                2. Thank you, I need to make a folder for this stuff….

                  There have to be cases where folks are wrongly accused — heck, there have to be cases where they were wrong and the property was wrongly kept. (I have heard of two where they did so, because the police involved got caught and went to jail, my counter-terrorism geek mentioned them and if he finds the time he’ll give me more info. It was in one of the bulletins he gets.)

                  That doesn’t change that there is a legal process which is followed, nor make the violations the norm, nor make me any less suspicious about who is trying to whip up outrage. Like the Innocence Project, basically– there has to be actual situations that match what they sell….so where are they, why aren’t they pushed?

                  How the money aspect works goes by jurisdiction- with the added complication that there are federal versions, has been a juggling of interest thing since the first time they didn’t hand a smuggler back his cargo. One of the groups I’ve seen trying to whip up steam for reform are regional police groups or politicians that want the funds in their pockets, although again you have to search for the quoted spokesman’s name to find out that they are part of the group they want to have control of the funds.

                  Findlaw dot com has an article with links to the specific state codes as-of-their-writing; obvious bias given who their customer base is but primary source is good and I haven’t caught them actually lying. End of the address for that site is dot com/criminal/criminal-rights/asset-forfeiture-laws-by-state dot html (trying not to trigger the spam filter)

                  Short primer on the variations here:
                  with the accurate names for the things that are usually called “civil asset forfeiture,” although they don’t mention being taken as evidence. (Those show up in the outrage lists, too– and I just realized CAFRA probably cut down on their examples that aren’t old enough to vote.)
                  Also cites the document that can give you even more information, A Guide to Equitable Sharing of Federally Forfeited Property for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, U.S. Department of Justice, although it’s citing a very old version rather than the 2018 version. Justice dot Gov’s PDF version show up in one of the top searches for mine, and it’s 2018 and hyperlinked for ease of use.

                3. know anything about whether police departments are allowed to keep cash & other assets seized in civil forfeiture, and use those assets to fund the department?

                  Don’t know how it works locally or even state (Oregon). Heard about it happening “other places”, otherwise. IDK.

                  What I do know is there used to be one heck of a speed trap where I-5 leaves Eugene/Springfield northern border (hey Eugene/Springfield had their longer stretch of I-5 speed trap too, not as many patrols), crosses the Willamette and as soon as it hits Coburg border. Boom at 66 MPH, lights came out of your trunk (Old Crosby reference for those of us old enough to remember). Enough patrols were out that to not get nailed they had all cars fully engaged in the middle of issuing moving violations. You could count on a patrol car sitting at a specific locations; not hidden, but definitely not visible from a distance. Coburg was funding their PD with moving violation infractions. AND (gasp) refused to share with County, or State 🙂 Used to be. This all came to an immediate halt when the State put in policies (law?) that law enforcement couldn’t fund more than a specific percentage of the LEO PD budget. Still occasionally see state patrol cars present. No one slows down in these stretches, not anymore.

                  Does Washington State still have roving moving violation patrol working major freeways and highways, including I-5? When we were in Longview, occasionally the news would report on someone who got 3 tickets in relatively short period of time. One ticket … well you were the unlucky one who got caught. But with this special patrol, take off once the ticketing vehicle is out of sight, only to hit another one. Could hit as many as six depending on where the squad were in rotation on the North/South section that was being targeted. Highest I remember was three tickets. There were at least two of these roving patrols. Big area they monitored was the section where one could really open up after the frustration of I-5 from south of Terwilliger up across the Willamette through Vancouver, north of where 205 merged back in with I-5. OTOH that is money that goes to the State, plus “Safety”.

                  1. My data on Washington is about five years old, now, but I know it use to be standard when you pulled someone over to have a second car not far out of sight down the road, because “everyone knows” that you can floor it, the only cop is way back there writing a ticket.

                    Most I’ve heard is three in an hour, too.

        1. Research what happened the property of the American citizens with Japan origins in WWII. Plenty of folks made fortunes taking advantage of the situation. Also I think one future federal judge too…

            1. Someone with more graphical ability than me needs to create the Grumpy Roger, Mooning Roger, and Flipping Roger flags. Just for purely academic interest, of course…

              1. I managed a flipping roger:

                I think mooning and definitely grumpy would probably need more than just photoshoppery – likely a 3d posing thingee and skeleton model, and of course mad skillz.

                    1. Squee! *claps her hands in delight* Sir, I do believe this shall be…. pirated!

                1. Yes, radius and ulna are foreshortened – source had arm posed at an angle and I didn’t have the time to stretch everything out to get them to cross.

                2. That got a chuckle–4:30AM, Must. Not. Awaken. $SPOUSE. We all crashed exhausted.

              2. At times such as these I regret my acquaintance with British Slang, as what has come to my mind is a Rogering Roger.

                The problem, of course, is what would he be rogering? A donkey? A warship?

                1. Other pirates. I mean, it is also the British Navy that gave us “rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

    2. I don’t want the Jolly Roger, I want my OWN flag.
      But I need a crew,
      And I need a venue, be it a ship, or a region.
      Need resources.
      Oh yeah, need a goal or a dozen too.
      Bah. Or I could take a nap.
      Let me see how this selectman this works out. If I like it, then I’ll set my sights higher.

  7. Damn the torpid-edoes! Write whatever you damn well please!
    Your muse (if such things be) is a better judge than a Big Publisher.

    1. With all due respect, engage more closely, fight her till she sinks.

    2. Are torpid-edoes what a submarine crewed by cats would fire? I’ll be heading for the Carp proff shelter now…

    1. Speaking as a native rat from the great Sonoran wasteland, I’d rather eat dessert than desert. Although cactus candy or mesquite barbecue will do in a pinch.

  8. Wonderful! “Writing to please yourself” sounds corny, but it’s actually good advice. And if being Indie allows us to do this, what are we waiting for?

  9. YES!!! More weird stories about aliens and adventure! Heroes who are actual people, not perfect statues with no personality! Ideas that don’t come out of a Leftist can. Stories that don’t push Marxist ideals so hard that the story itself is lost!

    I have a feeling that I’m going to like this Flag Flying Sarah.

      1. I read every book of E.E. Doc Smith when I was a teenager. I think I had an addiction. But this lady loaned them to me and I had a specific amount of time to read them all. It was a good summer.

          1. The Patrol vs. the Boskonians always seemed like six of one vs. half a dozen of the other. Once the Boskonians got their own Lenses, it came down to “Civilization” being a military dictatorship and Boskone being an ugly but functional meritocracy, with the Arisians and Eddorians sitting back and watching the show.

            The Patrol may not have been the “bad” guys… but they certainly weren’t the “good” guys. All you have to do is look at what they *did* vs. Smith’s praise of them. Smith spent a whole book just on how they misused their power to take over all the governments of Earth and set themselves up as the final arbiters of, basically, everything.

            1. On the other hand, they appear to have been very lassiz-fair with planetary governments; see “The Vortex Blaster,” for examples.

              1. In one of the Lensmen Books, the Council (made up of Lensmen) was apparently concerned that they had too big of surplus in their accounts. So they intended to reduce taxes. 😉

                Seriously, the Lensmen had a large degree of Power in Civilization but the average citizen did not suffer under said power.

                The Lensmen were tightly focused on external threats to Civilization and the people of Civilization.

                Of course, thanks to the Lens every Lensman could be trusted to not abuse their power.

                1. Also remember that humanity has a problem with candidates for Lensmen because they are required to be incorruptible. Most other alien races (all the rest?) have difficulty with other issues, not that one.

                  1. Nod.

                    Of course, possessing a Lens showed his fellow humans that he was incorruptible.

                  1. Not necessarily. Their foundation was “restricting governments to their proper sphere”, and we saw what killing government regulations did for the economy under President Trump.

                    1. The “that’s how we know it was fiction” refers to the incorruptible nature of the Lensmen not the system of government.

                  2. An observation of one of the characters in Niven and Pournelle’s “The Mote in God’s Eye.” Even the most absolute despot is limited in what he or she can do so long as they alone wield power. It’s when they can delegate that power to others that you get real trouble. The king, after all, is only one man. Most folk will never encounter him. But create a horde of functionaries with kinglike power and they can park in your pocket if they so desire.

                    And they do so desire (or will before too long). The Iron Law requires it.

                  3. Well yes, of course it was fiction. 😉

                    More seriously, this “sub-thread” was more AGAINST the idea that the Lensmen were Fascists.

                    There is no evidence in the books that the citizens of Civilization suffered under the Iron Boot of the Lensmen.

          2. Having a Lens embedded in the flesh of ones tentacle is useful.However, consider the Lensman’s Burden, it is a VERY high cost.

            Signing Off,
            Tregonsee L2

              1. A Lensman ALWAYS goes in. Unless of course you’re Nadreck that lazy ass Palainian L2 who cowers in the corner emfoozling until the idiot Boskonians are hoist on their own petard. No really I like Palainians, as long as I can stay in a nice warm spaceship…

                1. Yeah, Nadreck was a character, all right. In a human, he would have been considered a psychopath, manipulating others against each other until they all killed each other.

                  1. Yeah that was Nadreck’s story. To be honest Worsel and I figured he was making it up. Kimball Kinnison of Tellus gave him the benefit of the doubt. Mentor never would say one way or the other just that what had happened was in accord with his visualization of the Cosmic All… Never thought to ask Clarissa or the children of the lens.

                    1. Well, I’m not going to call Nadreck a liar. 😈

                      On the other hand, when reading the Lensmen novels, I’m reminded of John Campbell’s definition of an alien.

                      IE “a being that thinks as well as a human but not like a human”.

                      Many of Doc Smith’s characters fit the Campbell definition. 😀

        1. Yes! Every single one; I grabbed them all on my way to summer camp, so time in woods and on lakes was with E.E. Doc Smith ( and lots of Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom and C. S. Lewis Perelandra trilogy). Found She and other H Rider Haggard soon after.

          Early teenage years were fun!

  10. “Shiny…Let’s be bad guys”.

    After all, the powers that be already think we are and will continue to think so even if we try to convince them otherwise.

    1. they think we’re shamable into compliance like the woke wannabes
      this will not end well for them
      our going from the two normal boxes to the third box, is a switch . . one of those spring loaded breaker style switches, and they are very very close to the point it goes from just over half way closed to snapping closed in a millisecond
      beware of arc-flash

      1. It shouldn’t arc on a close (assuming a well-made switch). My solar breakers note that if one tries to *open* one under power (light plus load), you *Will* have a fire at your finger tips. The emergency shutdown module is fairly complicated to avoid the flaming disaster.

        1. Yep. Lovely thing, that high-voltage DC circuit breaker. And firemen must just love all of the home solar installations…especially when responding to a fire during the day.

          1. Fire fighters need not worry–not more than usual, anyway.

            HV DC breakers don’t work in an emergency shutdown (at least not simple ones), so it makes sense that they’re not used that way. I don’t know grid-tie systems, but larger off-grid ones run strings of a few panels to the shutoff/combiner box, with each string having a breaker or a fuse. In a screwed off compartment. If you need emergency power down, the shutoff shorts each of the strings, dropping array voltage to 0. Big cutoff switch, designed to take the currents.

            Roof mounted systems require a remote activator for the Big Red Switch. Mine is a ground mount, but I have have a remote anyway. A side benefit is that it tells the invertor to shut off. So no DC into the pumphouse, and no AC. Batteries are still hooked up, but that’s not going to be an issue most times. (those breakers are inside; remote breakers are available, but usually not necessary.)

            *Legal* solar systems are fine for fire people.

          2. WP ate my reply. DC breakers aren’t used in an emergency; the Big Red Switch shorts out strings in te array. Remote activation handles rooftop installs.

            Legal systems are safe. Mostly. 🙂

      1. Jayne was untrustworthy, not-nice, and probably outright insane, but he had a pretty good grip on reality-as-we-know-it.

  11. At usual, the sloganeering outpromised even the initial implementation, and the implementation shifted further away over time thanks to bureaucracy, but the promise was the attractive part right at the beginning:

    To explore strange new worlds, to reach out to new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before…

      1. You are of course correct. I blame… um… a temporal anomaly, yeah; I should have run a tachyon burst through the main deflector array… yeah, that’s the ticket…

  12. When possible, I’m wearing more tastefully Odd shirts at work, on those days when we can. You know, sci-fi, history-metal band shirts, that sort of thing.

    1. And there are *so many* really good ones– husband now wears superhero shirts half the time. There are very tasteful yet geeky options.

      1. Took me a few moments, but I think I got it. Square root of negative number is imaginary, but squaring and imaginary number results in a real, right?

        1. Yep. I want one that goes:

          And the Lord Said,

          (the four Maxwell’s equations describing electromagnetic radiation–can’t find them in one image and I don’t have the skilz to insert them here)

          And there was Light

          1. At some point, that shirt was available. I remember seeing it some decades ago.

    2. Sorry, trying to post some Bad Idea T-shirts. But the images don’t post well and the website alone doesn’t get posted automatically.

    3. Since all Hawaiian shirts are now politically incorrect symbols of the supremacy of Hawaiian shirts over all other shirts, I am wearing one right now.

      Plus, by doing so I’m in solidarity with these astronauts and cosmonauts:

    4. Mr. BTEG has worked from home since last March, and complained jokingly last week because he had to wear a shirt that day, as he was interviewing someone and he had to have his camera on. Still wore his baggy knit shorts though.

  13. Wonderfully pertinent! Yesterday I opened Scrivener for the first time in a couple of years and opened a bunch of files to remind myself what the heck I was calling those stories. And now I’m going through the exercise of asking myself what I like most about my favorite stories. Which is probably on the girly side, because I do prefer some romance in my space opera. But oh well. My freak flag might end up being pink and blue and all frilly girly looking, but at least it will be mine 🙂

    1. Hit me up if you want: trufox at the mail of the positive charge. I’m good at analysis/brainstorming/batting the tropes around until they scream for mercy.

      1. That sort of beating stuff with a stick is what actively makes me write. Wise Reader gripes: I don’t understand, why’d they do that, I wanna seeeeEEeeeeEEeee!! and this triggers my Node of Pedantry, causing explanations, which becomes framework, and pretty soon there’s another segment of Story.

        1. Lord. I thought I’d make a quick buck by filing the serial numbers off an old fanfic I wrote and turning it into a paranormal romance. Five pages in and I realized the amount of worldbuilding I’d have to do to cover my tracks necessitated a prequel. TEN pages in and I had the basic outline for a five-book series plus a possible spinoff. I HATE MY BRAIN.

          1. LOL… I understand this problem perfectly. What started as filing the serious, er, serial numbers off became its own universe, with 13,000 years of history and about a dozen books (so far)… see, my brain operates by the Stargate theory of causality: every offhand remark or loose end WILL come back to bite you. I don’t have Chekhov’s Gun; I have Chekhov’s Whole Bloody Armory!!

            However, I LOVE MY BRAIN, and its hypertrophied Node of Extrapolation. It invents nothing, but give it an acorn, and it’ll spit back a whole forest, with woodcutters and a pulp mill and the royal library and the war with the next kingdom and the enemy who wrote the histories, and…

            … all from just a nail!

    2. Which is probably on the girly side

      You mean, like Kim Kinnison getting tortured nearly to death and Clarissa MacDougall (not yet the Red Lensman) nursing him back? That kind of girly stuff?

  14. I already hoisted my freak flag on yesterday’s Book Promo and Vignettes post, so I’m good. For certain values of “good”.

  15. “I can write what I want, enjoy what I want, and not apologize if my tastes aren’t respectable or what “smart” people like.”

    But Sarah, you have to. I mean, how else are the fragile literary elitists going to feel safe and secure if they don’t hear their own dogma echoed back at them from from every side? Think of the elitists! Oh, won’t someone think of the elitists?

    1. You already know this, but we sometimes do think of the elitists. Then we snort, chuckle, and say to ourselves, “Yeah right, like I’m gonna try to please those clowns!”

      1. When their unwelcome presence is thrust upon me, I’ve personally gotten to the point of imagining pyramids of roundish objects.
        You must be much nicer than I am.

        1. Oh, their presence wasn’t mentioned. When their presence is forced upon us, I try to rely on another couple of Bad Idea T-shirt aphorisms:

          “Underestimate me. That’ll be fun.”


          “I don’t like making plans for the day. Because, then the word ‘premeditated’ gets thrown around in the courtroom.”

        2. Not pyramids. Squares, 144 x 144, like what Conrad Stargard’s army did with the Mongols.

      2. I ignore those elitists, having realized that the great American artforms – jazz, blues, comics, movies, etc. – originated with the masses, the lowest denomination of commoners, in need of ways to express themselves.

    2. The less time they spend stealing my attention away from things I care about, the less danger they are in

    3. Almost every time I use that term “elite” my husband starts arguing with me about how they’re nothing of the sort. Which is true, but you have to call them *something* 🙂

        1. Please do :). Wanna-be elites is more accurate, I guess but doesn’t feel punchy enough.

          1. There was a link on Insty to an opinion piece I liked about what to call the three-letter-media advising calling them “upper class media” to intentionally turn the class war thing right around on them.

            That should work for any of the other red factions wherever they are found, plus it’ll verbally put them in direct existential conflict with their little marxian class-warfare inevitable arrow cult beliefs.

          2. How about “nomenklatura?” You probably have to know a bit about Soviet history to get it, so a bunch of them won’t even know they’re being insulted.

      1. I’m rather partial to AWFULs, which I stole.

        Affluent White Feminist Urban Liberals.

        1. A favorite Monty Python sketch. “Upper Class twit of the year” Not up to finding it right now.

  16. “Mutts”. I immediately think of Bill Murray’s motivational speech to his training platoon in Stripes

  17. When I started writing it was all science fiction all the time. But as I’ve gotten older I find myself, writing wise, gravitating more and more to Fantasy. I don’t really know why. I still do the Science Fiction, and I still love to read it, but what comes out of my fingertips onto the page just seems to be more fantasy. Some contemporary/urban. Some pseudo-medieval heroic or even epic fantasy. My muse just doesn’t seem to strike so much on the SF side. Go figure.

    So, I guess I’ll just have to wallow in it.

    1. *musing*

      Very roughly, Fantasy seems to be internal based philosophy change, and scifi is external based philosophy change.

      You look at technology/meeting aliens/SCIENCE STUFF and it changes what you’re thinking.
      You look at the world around you, and some bits aren’t fitting in what you already knew, and THAT changes what you’re thinking.

  18. Freak flag?

    Not me.

    Like everyone else I had black bear sausage for breakfast, have a sailboat sitting in my yard under the snow and a woodchuck hibernating ‘neath my wood pile.

    Same as most folks, I’m sure, I spend days painting pictures, with oil and acrylics, on scraps of cardboard boxes and then throw then away.

    Last summer I drove 120 miles to buy a loaf of bread in a mask free store, as any other average American would do.

    Certainly I’ve gone outside at -50°F., just wearing pants and a tee shirt, to check on the Aurora Borealis, like everyone else.

    Of course I’ve a target in my living room, for my air pistol, just to keep my skills up during the winter.

    OK, OK, I gotta confess to at least a little freakyness. I did turn the TV on once, 3 or 4 months ago and watched 15 seconds of Jimmy Kimmel, -but I swear I turned it right off and haven’t turned it on since!

    Oh, and I pass along Sarah’s books, when I finish reading them, to my savage teenage granddaughter, to civilize her a we bit.

    1. Horrified voice “Jimmy Kimmel? How could you?!”

      Personl coldest is -28F. I’ve been doing the medical trips in +20F in shorts, but, hey, we’re *Southern Oregon”

  19. I’ve been flying my flag since June (it was very small before that and only came out around good friends). It’s been a blast. I feel better about the whole life direction thing than I have in forever. Whoo-hoo! Let’s go!

    I have a good friend from college who is, in public at least, the opposite of me politically. We get along great and have very good conversations in person. In person, she exhibits a much more moderate to right-of-center view than she does on social media (and that she’s willing to admit to in public) or when there are certain others in a group with us. She definitely says “all the right things” because she perceives that she does indeed benefit from them.

    She’s also writing a book. And she really really really wants the book to be accepted by the “literary” crowd. I mentioned indie publishing to her and the response was, well, you’re writing genre, That’s much easier to do via indie. She feels she must go trad. I said but…then gave up. The sad thing is she’s a very good story teller and has a huge number of stories that she could write based on her adventures alone (evac’d out of Jakarta during riots/political upheaval there by Marines. Flew out on a China Air flight used for that purpose. Wound up in first class, which was still operating as first class. The surrealness of that is hysterical when she tells the story). But she feels she has to put “meaning” and “feeling” into her words and everything written winds up stilted.

    Oh, well. I’m pretty sure that one of these days she’ll come around. I’m going to keep flying my flag and we’ll see if she starts to believe her lying eyes.

  20. Truly smart people have wide-ranging interests. And refuse to be pigeonholed. I care way more about the quality of the writing, than the politics. I don’t want to read a mystery with liberal politics, where the author says bitter almond smell is arsenic, or horrific gastrointestinal upset is cyanide. I will happily read a conservative, right-leaning work, if it gets provable technical facts correct and is well written, which is why I enjoy reading yours.

  21. Off-topic, but publishing-relevant: So I was going to install the Barnes & Noble app to have a source for book-downloading other than Amazon. Here’s the access that the app (for Android) is demanding:

    –Device and app history
    –WiFi connection information

    None of these are optional; you can’t install it unless you accept the whole lot.

    Camera? Microphone? Hard to think of any good reason why these would be *required* for a book-reading application.

    1. There are a number of ebook reading apps available for free. I particularity like caliber on my computer as I can use it to change many ebook formats to .epub. I’ve Aldiko on my tablet and find it quite satisfactory. I’ve Kobo Books on my Kobo and understand it’s supported on other devices as well, it includes a book store.

      1. I recently dusted off my copy of Calibre and started saving backup copies of my Amazon books, since who knows what the Fahrenheit 451 censors will attack next. And it does have all those features for downloading metadata and tagging series and getting nice cover images 🙂 So if you’re into that sort of ocd-ish librarianship, it’s good clean fun. Kindles and Kindle apps do suck at ways to organize book collections.

        There don’t seem to be as many places to acquire backup ebook copies of legitimately purchased hard copy books though.

    2. Take this with a grain of salt (maybe one of those salt blocks deer hunters use,) but I seem to recall reading once a while ago, that in order to access the file system on Android, apps also get (whether needed or not) access to the camera / microphone.

      Hang on, let me do a quick search…

      Hmm, I might be on the right track, but I’m not finding anything definitive.

      1. OK, bit of an update, because I do have the Nook app on my phone.

        I’ve denied it access to the microphone and camera, and it still seems to work fine, so there’s that. I’m suspecting a lot of app developers take the lazy solution when developing their apps and pushing them out, the “I’ve got full rights on my dev and it works fine and trying to restrict the permissions needed is too much work so I’ll just have it request everything.”

        1. You are making the unjustified assumption that any app on your phone is paying any attention to those settings.

        2. You want to download the PC app too. Don’t know how Apple version works, but the Windows App you can download the files to drive. The App on the Android device hides the files … because Android allows them to hide downloaded files. Used to be visible whether downloaded to internal or SD drive.

          Location of files on the Windows drive will be:


          Where \dport\ is how your Windows username is defined by the Users section. even part of that is going to be hidden from user boring through directories to get to location.

          Filenames are NOT intuitive. Nothing of the title or author comes through in the filename. It is just a “random number” (probably a lie but I don’t know how to translate). The .epub files import just fine into Calibre. Make sure to get the “B&N epub strip DRM” plugin. Keep it updated.

    3. The app is probably built with tools that automatically link spyware into the executable. Either the programmers didn’t care, or their employers required it.

      The whole “handheld device”, from the chips to the operating system to the apps to the cellular network to the internet backbone, is designed to watch everything you do in the vicinity of the device, package it up, and sell it to anyone willing to buy it. Which, amazingly, is a whole bunch of companies and the Feds.

      1. So, thoughts on the PinePhone, which runs Manjaro??


        [I prefer KDE to the usuals, so this at least is more attractive to me. I expect the hardware is no more secure than any other Chinese hardware, tho that would basically be all of ’em.]

          1. Yeah, tho the other ones I’ve looked at were way too expensive. (I can’t really justify a pinephone either, unless what else I’ve got dies… paid $12 for the current dimphone.) I dislike Neon, but could live with Manjaro, which I gather Pine has settled on as their primary.

      2. I was debugging why the desktop system couldn’t talk to the laptop a couple days ago, and discovered that the Kindle uses 2 IP addresses. Since the Kindle was in Airplane mode, the one identifying it as a Kindle was off, but there’s another Amazon one. I can shut it off by switching the Kindle’s wifi to “off”, but using airplane mode won’t do it.

        (Verdammt router won’t let me reserve wireless IP addresses, so getting SSH to behave again is a chore whenever the router is repowered. Every. Damned. Time. )

        1. Have you considered turning off the DHCP on the router and simply running your own DHCP on one of the boxes on your network, where you can hand out fixed DHCP assignments for certain MAC addresses? (Since you mention SSH I assume you don’t need an explanation of any of that.)

          1. Not as up to speed on networking as I would like, but a bit of research can get me going. Mycroft (desktop computer) FTW!


  22. I used to read a lot of sci-fi, but when I started writing it was fantasy all the time. Then I found someone who married fantasy with sci-fi. I think I’m in love. Anyway, I also really enjoy noir. I went back to Raymond Chandler to re-read my favorite noir… and I’m now writing a short story in it set in real time. When I finish that one, I think I may find myself writing a fantasy-space opera-noir. Gawd I’m getting excited again.

    1. I like fantasy-like sci-fi-ish. Feels like fantasy but doesn’t use “magic” as an explanation.

      On Mon, Mar 1, 2021 at 3:41 PM According To Hoyt wrote:

      > Cyn Bagley commented: “I used to read a lot of sci-fi, but when I started > writing it was fantasy all the time. Then I found someone who married > fantasy with sci-fi. I think I’m in love. Anyway, I also really enjoy noir. > I went back to Raymond Chandler to re-read my favorite noi” >

    2. Whenever I try to write fiction, it comes put as a mixture of science and fantasy. Perhaps it is fortunate I never finish the stories.

      Back on topic: I am not sure I have a freak flag to fly.

      1. Also … sci-fi was originally a part of fantasy… Sci-fi and fantasy.. Because until the pulp era (I may be wrong about my time periods) it was lumped in the same genre.

        1. Just look at Jack Vance! Is it scifi? Is it fantasy? Is it horror? Is it… Yes!

            1. My absolute most favorite author, for … about 40 years now. Have read the entire collection 7 times (if I haven’t lost track), and starting to feel the urge again…

            2. Vance can be a bit of an acquired taste. I recommend his short story The Moon Moth as a good entry point. or The Languages of Pao. His Dying Earth series is deemed a SF classic. Reportedly his influences include Lord Dunsany and James Branch Cabell and Clark Ashton Smith, so your tolerance for them might be a good guage of how deeply into Vance you wish to dive.

              1. Also note that there are now single-volume ebooks that consolidated the Dying Earth, or Demon Princes stories, so you have all of them together. And I have a real weakness for the fun in his stories about Magnus Ridolph, interstellar troubleshooter.

              2. While those are commonly given as entry points (agreed he’s a bit of an acquired taste) — they’d probably be the last ones I’d recommend for someone coming in totally unexposed, but already a reader of SF/F. I’d start with the Tschai series for straight-up adventure, or perhaps The Gray Prince if you want more political, or Maske: Thaery for somewhere between. Night Lamp is fundamentally a murder mystery (another genre he wrote in). Wyst is a dystopia expose. Cugel is basically a classical fairy tale. And so on…

            3. >> “I need to look up Jack Vance. It niggles at my mind, but I can’t place him.”

              I’ve never read anything by him, but I know his fiction inspired the magic system in D&D.

              Not that I’m saying that’s a good thing:

              1. Vance made it less mechanical and more magical. Anyone could commit to memory any spell, but it was dangerous.

            1. SF vs Fantasy — I don’t care. Were McCaffrey’s dragon stories Fantasy when she first wrote them (although they appeared in Analog), and became SF when she wrote a backstory to make them SF? Zelazny’s Lord of Light is clearly SF, despite the Hindu pantheon, and the Buddha Being characters. Etc. You can make an argument for half of the stories that appeared in Unknown (Campbell’s fantasy magazine counterpart to Astounding)as reading like SF, even if they were Fantasy.

              And don’t even try to guess a genre for Leiber’s Conjure Wife. It spent years coming out with another marketer trying a new genre – because it was a great book, but was it straight Fantasy, or Urban Fantasy, or Horror, or Romance, or …. My favorite cover for it shows the lady in white running away from the dark old house in the background — which has no relation to the plot, but is purely a genre marker. Read it anyhow — it’s a wonderful book, and Leiber was one of the best writers the field has ever seen.

            2. I left a reply a couple of days ago with links to half a dozen Vance stories on archive.org, but apparently WordPress ate it.

              Anyway, just go to archive.org and search on his name; look in the SF magazine archive.

          1. he was real eclectic . Sci Fi theme with fantasy flavor like his Alistor cluster books. Also pure fantasy like Nine Princes in Amber.
            As a tech type i like hard SF . also am highly verbal so fantasy as well so fantasy appeals to me .
            I like Your books and prefer your ones set on Earth and have read and liked ones written under Pseudonyms before finding out you wrote them.
            RAH influenced me massively , I delivered Western Union Telegrams by Bicycle in Colorado Springs in 69 and 70 summers and went to school in the springs and Boulder.

  23. Not to be petty, but I think you might well have sat on this post another three days, although March First is a good second date for it.

    As for freak flags, I don’t have one. Wallabies don’t get freaky – but we agree it is probably a good thing for you humans.

    OTOH, there are some among you monkeys – you know which you are, in your wardrobes from Hugo Boss (or worse, clad as Gaia made you) – who would do well to not fly any flags but to also stay indoors with your curtains drawn.

    1. >> “As for freak flags, I don’t have one. Wallabies don’t get freaky”

      Remember, kids: the sarcastic talking wallaby is the NORMAL one. Just ask him.

  24. I need to figure out what my flag is.

    But whatever it is, I know I’m never going to be able to pass in the “brave new world” they want.

  25. Here’s a good one:

    The Navy doesn’t fly theirs as they did from post-9/11 through 2018 because wimp CNO, but I can still fly mine.

  26. As I’ve been getting serious about writing again after spending most of 2020 just spinning my wheels, I’m going through my files and realizing just how much time and effort I used to spend trying to write what I thought editors would want to buy. I’ve got folder after folder full of stories that I started, then decided they just wouldn’t ever get past the editorial gate, so there was no use wasting any further time on them.

    Now that we have indie as a real option, I need to start dragging them out and getting them finished. Which means I need to figure out some way of prioritizing those projects so I won’t end up bouncing around from one to another and not getting any of them finished (another of my huge failings — when I was in high school, I had over a hundred beginnings for stories that excited me long enough to write about ten pages, and then fizzled out).

      1. Their definition of “insurrection” is expanding so fast, it is not too far off from essentially including anyone who does not clap loudly and long enough for Stalin.

      2. I know there was the one idiot who got smacked for listing it as a hate symbol– only other stories I can find are DOD groups (mostly Navy and Marines, of course) fighting to keep it, and winning.

          1. I’ve written briefing notes.

            As basically “too dumb to run away from work.”

            That was my grand total qualifications– and the CYA requirement was to have some sort of official sounding source.

            I’m guessing SPLC?

                  1. Yeah, they’re supposed to have the citation for a claim *right there*, although IIRC hyperlink is OK if it’s interactive.

  27. One of my favorite movie quotes is as follows: “My dear girl, when are you going to realize that being ‘normal’ is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

    I had a sign over my desk at work that labeled it: This land. A new co-worked walked by and saw it and exclaimed, ‘Shiny!’ (I love encountering fellow nerds in the wild!)

    We have a Cali/Covid refugee living with us who at dinner the other night burst out, “I’m so glad you guys are normal!” The table went silent as we all stared at her in confusion and shock. She clarified, ‘My kind of normal.’ We’d been having a conversation consisting mainly of sf/f movie quotes, preceded by a discussion of medieval siege engines, their development, and how best to re-create them with common household items.

    I’m grateful that it’s never occurred to anyone in my family to fly any flag but the one we felt like on any given day, and that my parents openly encouraged whatever strangeness we wanted to embrace as long as it didn’t endanger anyone.

    1. We have a Cali/Covid refugee living with us who at dinner the other night burst out, `I’m so glad you guys are normal!`

      I’ve long maintained that I am normal – it is everybody else who’s peculiar.

    2. >> “My dear girl, when are you going to realize that being ‘normal’ is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

      What movie is that from?

    3. “Then don’t wish to be normal,” said Miles passionately, rising to pace. “You’ll only waste your precious time in futile frustration. Wish to be great! That at least you have a fighting chance for. Great at whatever you are. A great trooper, a great sergeant. A great quartermaster, for God’s sake, if that’s what comes with ease. A great musician like Nicol—only think how horrible if she were wasting her talents trying to be merely normal.”

      From Labyrinth by Lois McMaster Bujold

    1. Oh, yay! Everytime I see your icon, I wonder if you’re on a skating rink, but I’ve never asked. I’m glad that I was right. When my female friend and I used to go ice skating, during our high school years, I was such an avid skater that I didn’t want to sit out the occasional “couple’s skate,” so I made my friend skate it with me. Didn’t care what anyone thought. I’d love to be on the ice again.

      1. On my blog and on my Youtube channel I’ve got a recurring feature “Goth on Ice” (originally “Ice Follies”, as self deprecating humor on the blog) in which I tell the tale of my getting involved in and learning to ice skate.

        1. I still think the legends of Thor are wrong. Every source I’ve read says that Mjölnir was a war hammer that wasn’t finished properly, hence the short handle. I think they’re all wrong. Mjölnir is handled just right for being a blacksmith’s hammer. And the sound of thunder and the bolts of lightning have their parallels with hammering and sparks from smithing. And oddly enough, that is exactly the kind of mistake I would expect from linguists, and not from tradesmen.

        1. I’m reminded of the guy who showed up at a Hocico concert in a Carhartt T-shirt…

  28. “Lolcats saluting the American Flag.” Dang it, now I want one!

    On the breaker, have you considered taking the basic plot and writing it like it really should have been done? Could be therapeutic. Might not be possible, of course. And realize that my particular brand of stubbornness tends rather towards the definition of insanity at times.

  29. “BUT the adventure, the exotic locales, the strange aliens, the…. adventure. I was telling her I wanted more books like that, and I was becoming convinced I’d have to write them, but it’s a bit like letting my freak flag fly.”

    Cool people, going to cool places, and doing amazing things there. That’s what I’m talking about. I want to read that.

    That is what Science Fiction is all about. What is the craziest, whackiest most out of control thing you can come up with? Then put some poor bastard in the middle of it and let him/her drive on to victory!

    Screw social message. I want to hear about the friggin’ FTL drive.

    That’s why my books don’t have a bunch of social message sh1t in them. I have giant tanks and FTL spacecraft instead. And robot girlfriends, and aliens, and so forth. And a werewolf.

    Turns out that’s a pretty freaky, and transgressive social message lately. Ignoring all the Big Issues and subverting the Frankenstein trope, we’re not allowed to do that, right?

    Too bad. Don’t care, its my story and I’ll write what I want. And get off my lawn.

    1. My books have exactly zero “social commentary” in them. My nonhumans think this virtue signalling crap is just weird. If they socially comment, it’s because one of ’em got wronged, or is just being a shithead, not to teach us all a lesson.

  30. “turns baneful eye on what “the best men/women” are up to”

    Here’s what Amazon is promoting with their Currencies compilation “a compounding collection of stories about wealth, class, competition, and collapse”.

    From the summaries:
    – A twenty-eight-year-old entry-level worker at a design firm navigates the microaggressive corporate landscape. (they used microaggressive in the promo email to me, but took it out of this page).
    – coming face-to-face with the maddening business of being a woman.
    – a story about a man without “the benefit of status … has never felt the target on his back so acutely”

      1. Oh. I thought it was just supposed to be blank. Some sort of SJW statement they were making.

  31. OK, I’ll let my freak flag fly here, as an Odd among the Odds.

    I don’t much like Heinlein.

    I respect what he’s done in the field, but there’s something about his stories that rub me the wrong way. They’re not on my read & re-read for pleasure list. H Beam Piper and Doc Smith, when I want SF of about the same mid-20th-century vintage, yes. Even Asimov in my misspent youth (although his works haven’t aged well at all.)

    But not Heinlein.

    1. ‘S all good. The nice thing about diversity of opinion and thought is you’re still a welcome member of the crowd.

    2. I liked Heinlein a lot when I was much younger. But most of his stuff after Stranger, I have no use for. I still like some of the “juveniles”, and “The Puppet Masters” is still one of my favorites, though.

      You mentioned Heinlein, Smith, Piper, and Asimov. Over the last couple of years I’ve re-read sizeable chunks of each one’s work. And what stands out to me now, more than the basic stories, is how totalitarian and regimented their societies tended to be. I don’t know if it was a reflection of the America of their time, or if it’s what they thought things would eventually evolve into, but most of them get my hackles up now.

      They created some deeply ugly worlds. They were what Harrison would have been reading before he started writing his own. I suspect that was the origin of this:

      “…that is almost the full extent of crime in our organized, dandified society. Ninety-nine per cent of it, let’s say. It is that last and vital one per cent that keeps the police departments in business. That one per cent is me, and a handful of men scattered around the galaxy. Theoretically we can’t exist, and if we do exist we can’t operate – but we do. We are the rats in the wainscoting of society – we operate outside of their barriers and outside of their rules. Society had more rats when the rules were looser; just as the old wooden buildings had more rats than the concrete buildings that came later. But they still had rats. Now that society is all ferroconcrete and stainless steel there are fewer gaps between the joints, and it takes a smart rat to find them. A stainless steel rat is right at home in this environment.

      It is a proud and lonely thing to be a stainless steel rat…”

      Harrison’s universe was just as ugly as Civilization or Paratime or the Galactic Empire, but not *everyone* was crushed under the jackboot.

      1. That is an interesting point. There were a lot of dystopias written in that era, but what Heinlein etc. did was different — it was more of an assumption that authoritarian was how things were properly going to be. And then they had improper people, but their… impropriety… led to a different topdown structure, not to what we’d call liberty.

        I do wonder if some of it was just shorthanding for “futuristic”.

        Me, I devoured Heinlein up to Stranger, did not like, and after that… NO. Stopped reading him.

        But someday I should reread the juveniles and adventures, Just Because.

        1. Heinlein never did “properly” going to be. He did “inevitably” going to be. I don’t see how that makes him different from most of the right now.
          And I’d have given him a good yelling at if we’d met on the blogs while he was being mopish.

    3. I used to be a RAH-boy, but his later incest novels and other revelations about his judgement curbed my adoration.

      Now if you wanted a Sci-Fi writer that can out Heinleins Heinlein as for future history and writing ability, John Barnes is your author. He can write a wicked anti-hero, so he pissed off most of the SJWs in the field.

      1. I figure the Brain tumor started messing up his fiction .Cat,Friday IWFNE all lost their plot along the way.

          1. Once I realized that the central story of Friday wasn’t the action/adventure/spy stuff but rather the titular character’s quest to belong, it all came together. She was, at core, looking for a home. She had several “try/fail” cycles on that theme before finally finding one.

            1. PRECISELY.
              I actually like the later Heinleins. Yes, even the “incest books.” Because the forbidden should be thought about (Also incest books? SERIOUSLY? The level of innocence on display, amazes me. The stuff that is being published now is a thousand times worse AND explicit.) And those are interesting both as extrapolation: if you’re 2k years old, do you even CONNECT with your mother? I mean is she “mother?” Because at 58 a lot of things in my childhood are cherished, but there’s no “continuity.” and the quasi Freudian symbology. The Lazarus Long arc over all the stories is a quest to learn how to be human, while cursed with immortality.
              I tend to get frothy at the virtue signaling from our side: “But them booksies have sex and perversion, and rreeeeee.”
              Oh, for the love of heaven. Don’t like it? put it on the side of the plate. But don’t assume the man wasn’t doing something valid, in which others might find value.

              1. The Following Applies to reading Heinlein as well as reading other Authors.


                Meaning “Your Mileage May Vary”.

                Each of us have different tastes in reading enjoyment and “factors beyond our control” can/will lessen or increase our enjoyment of a book.

                If I enjoy a book, that does not mean other people Have To Enjoy that book.

                If I dislike a book, that does not mean other people Have To Hate that book.

                As far as I’m concerned, it is the Height Of Arrogance for some body to think that their “taste in reading material” is superior to other people’s “taste in reading material”.

                Hey! Where did this soapbox come from? 😆

                1. sure. Hell, I don’t even demand people read ME.
                  BUT I object to DISSING Heinlein in my presence. That’s all.
                  Saying you don’t like him is one thing. The Reeeee is another.

                  1. Well, you won’t hear me giving my opinion of RAH’s Job. 😉

    4. Don’t feel bad. I like romance and I don’t like military scifi and they haven’t kicked me out yet.

      1. Can you point me at some romances? Either here, or drop them in Sarah’s Diner or something? Doing research to try to “see” the notes to hit, and I have terrible luck. (Last good one I found on my own was Restoree by McCaffery, and that was entirely luck.)

        1. I liked Restoree a lot. Have you read any of Linnea Sinclair’s? She’s not writing anymore, but 2 of my favorites are Accidental Goddess and Gabriel’s Ghost. Though the trad pub version of the latter insisted on unfortunate changes, it’s still good.

        2. I remember that a few(?) years ago seeing overs that were defiantly Romance. It seemed to be a theme for a time.
          Today on Amazon I look at the SF&F for the last 30 days and there appears a LOT of Romance Books of the Girl meets Boy Alien type and Girl meets Girl Alien and Boy meets Boy Alien. Not all that many Boy meets Girl Alien. I suppose that Boy meets Girl alien is just been done too much in past decades.

          1. Psychologically, the girl is usually the character the reader is to empathize with– so guy meets girl alien would be a harder sell.

            1. Robert Heinlein: Glory Road – Star, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel – Mother Thing (I am willing to argue Pee-Wee is an alien provided you are willing to pay for the beer.)

                    1. Women are aliens … or men are – Science has yet to determine which is Earth’s native species, although evidence indicates that Men were here first.

                      Your autoimmune issues doubtless stem from being a White Mormon Male (with a great rack) in a woman’s body.

                    2. Heinlein said men and women aren’t the same species. Just symbiotic. I laughed at the time (early twenties.)
                      Since then I’ve stopped laughing.

                    3. When you look at the percentage of DNA difference between close relatives like chimpanzees and humans, and the percentage of differences in DNA between human men and women… I’m not exactly sure how to do that calculation, but I’ve seen figures about 98% similarity between species, and there are 46 chromosomes, with one of them being, I think, pretty completely different between men and women, so it does seem like it’s kind of in the same ballpark as species differences.

                    4. … I’m not exactly sure how to do that calculation,

                      Step one, go “these are all the parts of Human I think I understand.”
                      Step two, go “hey, these are all the parts I’ve identified based on step one.”
                      Step three, compare them. In small chunks.
                      Step fore, go “this is how similar they are!”

                      In puzzle terms, this would declare that the puzzle piece from a pond and that from a sky are nearly identical.

                      And then that you are only comparing sky and pond bits. Not those confusing animal, plant or ground things.

                      Best writeup I’ve found is here:

                    5. >> “Since then I’ve stopped laughing.”

                      While it is an amusing thought, I don’t think it works that way. Past a certain point it seems like ALL the more complex species go dimorphic. If humans just got lucky enough to find a symbiote, where are all the advanced life forms that didn’t? Why don’t we see single-sexed species on the same order of complexity as cats and dogs?

              1. Is it? Or is John Carter actually a Martian who’d been transported to Earth?

                Is Hentai “boy meets girl alien”?

                Asking for a friend.

          2. Lots and LOTS of Boy Meets Girl Alien in anime. Even when the Girl turns out to be not so Alien after all — see VanDread.

            I’m working on chapter 15 of a FanFic about Boy Meets Girl Not-So-Alien.

        3. Are you looking specifically for SF romances, or will tradpub regencies and similar do? I can tell you the names of a couple of writing books specifically focusing on romance beats, or email you a couple of the ones I have.

          1. Scifi/fantasy would work best because I LIKE those, but short-of-Anita-Blake level paranormal would also work.

            I don’t know romance. I can’t get into Regency or whatever the old timey England stuff is– Marelon the Magician is as close as I’ve gotten.

            1. If you liked Mairelon the Magicians, there is also the sequel and Sorcery and Cecilia.

            2. Authors to try: W R Gingell, Linnea Sinclair, Lindsay Buroker, Rachel Aaron, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Lisa Shearin, Sharon Shinn, Patricia Briggs, Kate Stradling, Grace Draven, Ann Aguirre. Some of them have pretty big backlists and not every book will technically be a romance, since sometimes the romantic arc takes 6 books, and some of them have urban fantasy series that won’t necessarily have a romance, but they all have some romances, so you might read the descriptions and pick a few that appeal to you.

          1. SF, fantasy, including modern fantasy (non-Anita Blake level urban fantasy).

            Not so good at historical, and contemporary anything usually makes my teeth itch.

        4. Well, there’s always Heyer but if you’re looking for science fiction romance that’s a bit trickier. I don’t read a lot of modern romance because it’s way too explicit for my tastes.

  32. I say go for it! speaking as a guy who wolfed down GM Frasier’s, Flashman books, I have no problem with you flying those colors.

  33. > I couldn’t get any agent to understand this.

    It wasn’t enough like the last fifty manuscripts they failed to sell…

  34. “It will tell you something about how I’m feeling this morning (I think it’s allergies again, honest) that I spent considerable time looking at that title and trying to figure out how to make it more alliterative.”

    Friends facilitate friends’ freak flags flying?

  35. All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer.
    — Robert Owen (1818)

    In that case… if we don’t fly flags each for our own little oddness… how could we tell??

    Also, I wish to read more of the “excessively weird” story, which seemed perfectly normal to me.

  36. I’m gonna let my Free flag fly, I’m gonna let it fly.

    I’m gonna let my Free flag fly, I’m gonna let it fly.

    I’m gonna let my Free flag fly, I’m gonna let it fly.

    Let it fly, let it fly, cause I’m free.

  37. You know what? I’ll be me. As hard as I can. I’ve run out of reasons not to do so.

    With these ears and these feet? Not to mention the tail – I’ve never had a chance of being anybody else. And I’m now old enough there is little point to it.

  38. Hi.

    Made it back post op. The doc said it “it was like tying up mop ends”, with damage to the quadriceps as well as to tendons. Pain medium high, and I’m not turning up my nose at the Norco (I think it has more hydocodone than Vicodin). The only snag is that the brace slid down,, dragging the wrappings, and exposed the incisions (still somewwhat protected with tape), but I applied Betadine and redid the outer dressings, complete with skin tape to help. Might be OK. We’ll see. Sounds like the brace will be on for a while.

    Thanks for all the prayers, everybody.

    I’m tired. And feathered.

    1. Ouch. Hugs.

      Prayers. Get better soon. Take care of yourself and that knee. Let yourself be pampered.

    2. Recover swiftly! Hopefully sleep will come and will aid healing.

      My prayers will be with you.

    3. Thanks for the update, and I’m glad it went well, or sounded like it.

      Please do take care of your body: great nutrition, water, rest rest rest.

  39. Sarah,

    I had never even heard of you before DST. God bless you! I have bought most of your writing – some of it I liked more than others. (I’m not really into Shakespeare.) I have been hoping for just this!

    Please, please, please – Write weird aliens, exotic locals, adventure, all the stuff like that you want! That’s exactly what I need.

  40. The Prince Roger series was AMAZING fun and I am frustrated that the last book seems to leave open a lot of questions that should have been wrapped up if they really meant to end the thing. >.>

    You should totally do Hoyt’s Take on the Feels You Get From Series Like Prince Roger. It would be fantastic. 😀

    1. As I recall, a lot of Ringo series have a similar problem, as John seems to get bored with them before everything gets nicely tied up in a bow.

      1. This is a good reason for me not to embark on a binge buy of Ringo’s catalog, then. Some unfinished series I’m fine with, but serial cliffhanging/wandering off without completion bothers me a lot as a reader. -_-

          1. I do, which is what makes me impatient with the whole business. But I accept that my perspective is going to necessarily sound warped to people. (Come to think of it, I probably sound to “normal” writers how the people who’ve stopped placating the woke sound to their peers who are begging them to be more ‘reasonable’ because they are ‘alienating those who could still be convinced.’ I just don’t care anymore.)

                  1. I am here for synergy!

                    (I actually mean that. Obviously not in an immediately actionable way because we’re both in bad places. But in retrospect ‘conservative Cuban Catholic indie sf/f writer mom thrown out by the elites’ and ‘conservative Portuguese Catholic Baen sf/f writer mom badmouthed by the elites’ was probably a harmonious arrangement. I should have listened to my fans who kept nudging me about it.)

                    1. Wait, Cuban?
                      Meh. You know it’s weird? Most Cubans resonate really deeply. Turns out when the isle was colonized Portugal was occupied and the Spaniards sent a bunch of trouble makers from my region….

                      Yeah, it was inevitable. I need to answer your email. Truly not avoiding it. Well, not more than avoiding everything. I get these weird emotional glitches recently.
                      Synergy would be good. And not Baen anymore, for me. Just indie now.

          2. There is another Prince Roger book under construction — or at least there was. John and David BOTH have to have space on their schedules for the collaboration and while John reported – geeze, must be something like six years ago – having done initial plotting with David and even posting, IIRC, some snippets on FB I don’t know what has become of it.

            In some instances it is less John got bored than readership drooped below levels that justified continuing the series. The “Queen of Wands” series is one such case, as is the “After the Fall” series.

            And sometimes the Muse says to him, “I don’t care what you want to write, I want to write zombie apocalypse”

    2. There’s talk about a sequel to “We Few” but nothing definite on when/if it will be published.

  41. Dr. Seuss’ estate has self-canceled six of his books, including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.”

    How they hate the freak flag, even when it pays their salaries. How satisfying to fly it still.

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    1. It is really sad that they are so Woke that they would do this. The reasons and examples are strange because of the time switching. He was using Stereotypes in the drawings that children AT THE TIME he wrote would RECOGNIZE. The Woke want to use “today’s Woke standards” to judge things from history and CANCEL them if they don’t live up to THEIR standards 100%. I really can’t think of anything that is adequate to do to them. I hope they get what they deserve.

      1. Well, yes, because the Woke know they are wiser than all that came before them and any who come after who disagree with them.

        With that certainty of moral perfection and absolute knowledge, you can justify doing anything.

  42. I’m 68. My first Sci-Fi was Luck Starr and the Rings of Saturn. Then all the Lucky Starr books I could find. I wish I still had those books. Can’t get them now for love and I certainly don’t have the money.
    Second favorite was The Hardy Boys series. Probably couldn’t write any of them now days.

    1. I should really spell check myself. I would have sworn I spelled it Lucky Starr both times. Oh well. Maybe they are both wrong, haha!

    2. “The Hardy Boys series”

      My understanding, they, as well as Nancy Drew, have been released reedited … Or they “aren’t the books we remember” or “we obviously remember them incorrectly”. Don’t know how true this is, or it is the more recent releases are more PC. YMMV Haven’t seen comments to the effect the Bobsey Twins original works have been messed with …

      1. Every ten years or so they’re updated and re-released, kind of like when folks go back to update their stuff from the 70s to account for everyone having cellphones now.

        ….it borked them about 2010.

        1. Yeah. and change the lingo. Enid Blyton was urked around 1980.
          I REALLY need to start looking for complete sets on line, particularly of famous five and adventure. They age well, my kids liked them, as did I despite their already being old when I was little.
          I probably should get the four towers boarding school set, for granddaughters, real and those I’ve claimed. They’re very girly, but I still love to revisit them.

    3. I’ve got those in Seventies-era paperbacks. Although I cannot currently locate them I’d be happy to send them to you when (if) I find where they’ve gotten to. Send shipping info to my email: RSamson105 at hotmail and they’re yours. I’m happy to see them in a welcoming home and obviously, since the box they’re i has wandered afield, I’ll not miss them.

      No promises beyond making an effort but an effort will be made.

  43. For those who aren’t aware of this yet:


    Yet they still sell Mein Kampf, so apparently they don’t think Hitler’s anti-Semitic screed which formed the basis of the Nazi Third Reich constitutes hate speech unlike the books challenging leftist orthodoxy which they intend to ban. This should be considered an endorsement by Amazon of Hitler and the Nazis

    Unfortunately for those who use Amazon to sell books, it looks like Amazon is the next up to purge anything which challenges leftist orthodoxy

    1. No one in the US actually reads _Mein Kampf_ so no worries. Like _Das Kapital_. Ugh, those two needed editors (or good mental health care, but anyway) . . . I’ve read it. Do not recommend, would not buy again. Badly written, boring, repeats himself, whines . . . I encourage people to read both. It seems to cure them of interest in the ideology.

      1. I expect them to cancel the Bible as it can be argued that it defends slavery.

        They might have to ban the Koran for the same reasons, so that might protect the Bible.

        OTOH, the Bible is a known favorite of White Supremacists …

        1. They’ll ban the one whose adherents don’t blow up schools in response to such things.

          They are teaching We the People lessons, although perhaps not the lessons they think they’re teaching.

  44. You know how they say “Life is short, eat dessert first?”

    Screw dessert.

    I have all-beef hot dogs and both new styles I’ve found I like (Boston style: with bacon and baked beans) and haven’t tried yet (Icelandic style: potato salad and sweet and spicy mustard).

    Unless the desert is that fried pie I had at Ford’s BBQ (The Best Thing to Come Out of 2020…their shirts say so) last night.

  45. You know what? I’ll be me. As hard as I can. I’ve run out of reasons not to do so.

    That’s how I wound up with a short story on Amazon and one on WattPad.

  46. Madame Hostess I have two initial statements for you on your plans. One of 4 words and one of 3

    First is:
    Write what you want

    Second is (referencing Meme)
    Take My Money!!!

    The first book of yours I read was Darkship Thieves. That ALWAYS had a Heinleinesque feel to it to me and Athena felt somewhat Friday like (this is a good thing!!!). Writing things that have been flavored with Heinlein, Weber, Doc Smith, Ringo, Burroughs, et alia is alright in my book :-). Fly that freak flag proudly. If there are those who find that manner of output Bad fun, I quote Mick Jagger to them, “Fsck them if they cant take a joke…”

  47. Seeing as how I am an inordinately proud Son of the South and proud former resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, my freak flag would probably be a Confederate First National. The nice thing about one of those is that it’s a true “Confederate flag”–in fact, it’s truer than using the stereotypical Southern cross, which is actually a Confederate Naval Jack–but most lefties think it’s just a wish.com version of a Betsy Ross flag (seven white stars on a blue field, and three red-white-red stripes instead of thirteen). Fly that under the ultimate freak flag nowadays, the Stars and Stripes, and above a North Carolina state flag since I live here now, and it’d be perfect. Can’t have a Virginia flag until they actually start taking “sic semper tyrannis” seriously up there again.

      1. What’s that old saying: Write the book you want to read?

        Speaking of the book I want to read: I see Kate Paulk’s Con Vampire Series is back i “print” and available from Amazon. I note it is Kindled; can you tell me whether this is “open” format or in Amazon’s Kindle-only format? Even when the source is supposedly DRM-Free I find Calibre often has problems accessing content in spite of my effort to find converting plug-ins.

          1. I reckon there’s but one way to know.

            Unless it can be bought direct, without Amazon raking off the vig?

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