Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

Book Promo

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

FROM BLAKE SMITH: The Road to Stonberg (The Mercenary Series Book 1).

Gavril thought defeating a giant was the most interesting thing he’d do all week. But when a merchant caravan needs guards for the treacherous journey over the mountains to Stonberg, he can’t resist signing on, and learns that even peaceful men don’t always have peaceful lives.

FROM JULIE PASCAL: Too Late For Vengeance

Very few humans survive the Obsidian transformation that grants them the ability to pilot between the stars, the ability to slip between. Now both star pilots and humans are trapped on the surface of a primitive world, abandoned to an eternal quarantine. Human refugees and their descendants struggle to build a new civilization and a new life. The immortal star pilots become known as Obsidian Witches.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Learnedly Familiar: Familiar Tales Book Seventeen

Where do you file a Missing Meister Report?

Something is moving. Arthur Saldovado, Lelia, and André defeated ancient evil, but mysteries remain. And worse – Arthur’s name-sake is learning how to drive! Who needs abyssal creatures when you have teenagers, school-yard spats, and retail woes to worry about? Certainly not Lelia Chan Lestrang.

When André’s mentor disappears, Lelia braces for the worst. Trouble’s coming, as bad perhaps as the evil that drew her and André together. But she has a few surprises of her own now, including allies in very strange places. With very strange senses of humor.

Return to a Familiar world, full of adventure, bad puns, dark music, magic, shedding lemurs, and domestic chaos.

FROM P. L. KENNY: Havisham’s Collection: A Short Story.

It started with a mermaid.
When a very ordinary family finds a mermaid in the street, their lives take a turn for the extraordinary. A humorous fantasy.

Also includes an excerpt from the supernatural thriller The Demon Ring of Lilitu.

FROM SCOTT SLACK: Closing Time, Last Call

When Corporal Frandsen’s marine battalion was tasked with retaking a space station from enemy forces, he expected a hard fight. What he got was a fight for his life with a time-limit that could kill his entire battalion. What is an enemy willing to risk to win a battle at any cost? Everything.

This is a short story that is currently stand-alone.

FROM D. SCOTT JOHNSON: Death’s Harvest (Gemini Gambit Book 4).

He ran from her, and was never seen again.

Will disappeared through the portal, and they have no way to get him back.

That was not how the story would end.

Kim has to find him, but the portal is destroyed and nobody knows how to build a new one. They have to go back to basics by experimenting with dimensions, with physics…

With her.

Because, somehow, Kim’s special abilities are tied into the technology that created the portal. Mike has theories she doesn’t trust. Tonya has ideas she doesn’t understand. Spencer has tech that’s held together with bailing wire and duct tape. But Kim doesn’t have a choice. They have to get Will back.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy, a brand-new D-ship pilot is waiting anxiously for her captain to return.

FROM HOLLY LEROY: Hostile Earth.

Terra Vonn is fighting to survive in a destroyed world, surrounded by unspeakable horror . . . and things are about to get much worse. After witnessing the vicious murder of her mother, Terra has a singular focus—exacting revenge on the killers. But before she can complete her plans, savagery intervenes and she is cast alone into a brutal post-apocalyptic world. As she trails the men south through a land filled with cannibalistic criminals, slave traders, and lunatics, the hunter becomes the hunted. Terra quickly learns that she is neither as tough nor as brave as she thinks she is. Worse, she may be the only one who stands between what little remains of civilization and destruction

FROM BILL PESCHELL: Career Indie Author: Tell Your Stories and Build a Business That Will Last a Lifetime.

As a storyteller, you know a lot about developing your plot, creating characters, and editing your work. But do you know how to protect your copyright, record your income and expenses, the risks and rewards between “going wide” and sticking with Kindle Unlimited, and how to market your work? Have you thought about what tasks you should outsource and what you can do in-house?

Running your own business successfully means understanding the business mindset, where cash flow is the life blood and decisions you make at the start of your career will affect everything that follows.

“Career Indie Author” charts the landscape of indie publishing in the 21st century, where you set the rules and choose your path to publishing.

FROM ASIAPAC AND DANNY JALIL: Lieutenant Adnan and The Last Regiment.

Lieutenant Adnan and The Last Regiment / Illustrated by Zaki Ragman / Written by Danny Jalil / History of Singapore 1942 Japanese Invasion The Battle of Bukit Chandu Paperback ISBN 9789812297020 / 978-9812297020 Publisher: Asiapac Printed in Singapore 118 Pages Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi was a man who fought valiantly to defend Singapore during the Japanese invasion in February 1942. He, along with the rest of the Malay Regiment, battled the Japanese soldiers on Bukit Chandu. These great men were Singapore’s last defense and fought bravely to the end, despite being captured, and even tortured. Narrated by the son of Lieutenant Adnan’s son, Mokhtar, this comic book tells the story of Lieutenant Adnan’s life – not only depicting the infamous Battle of Bukit Chandu, but also the events before the critical battle and its repercussions thereafter. Through this book, readers would gain a deeper insight into Lieutenant Adnan’s admirable character, as they will be given a glimpse of who he was, beyond his role as a soldier: a husband and father.

FROM ODESSA MOON: The Bride from Dairapaska (The Steppes of Mars Book 1).

On a terraformed Mars, young Debbie Miller was sent far from her rural village as part of a marriage compact between the rulers of two demesnes. A peasant who knew only obedience, she accepted her duty to bear her husband’s children and work alongside him. But when they were sent to build a village in a barren patch of nowhere, her abusive husband forces her to take action. She flees with her children and their dog into the vast open steppes where dying was preferable to life with him.

Debbie only wanted to escape, but her encounter with the Steppes Riders, and especially Yannick of Kenyatta, unwittingly ignites changes that attract the attention of Mars’ ruling families. Left to her own resources, Debbie must adapt to her new life and figure out how to defend her adopted people.

The Steppes of Mars series imagines a transformed world where a disaster on Earth decades ago cut off all contact with its wealth and resources. Experience a Mars where its genetically modified inhabitants have developed their own cultures, beliefs, and religions. A semi-feudal world where ruling families control vast demesnes under a central government at Barsoom. A world of limited resources where train travel is possible but cars and planes are not. A world of free-cities — open and domed — villages, vast fields and steppes, and people banding together to survive and thrive in this harsh new world.

FROM C.V. WALTER: The Alien’s Accidental Bride (Alien Brides Book 1).

Molly was no stranger to life’s little detours. After the last upheaval, she left her family’s law firm to become a maintenance technician on the Space Station Bradbury 12. When an accident knocks her off her feet, she’s going to have to draw on all her resilience to get back up. First, though, she’s going to have to figure out how to talk to the big, blue alien trying to help her.

There wasn’t supposed to be a space station where Mintonar’s ship emerged from the galactic bridge. As far as they knew, there wasn’t supposed to be intelligent life on the planet, either. Proof of how wrong they were is laying in his Medical Bay and it’s his job to save her. When he touches her, his life turns upside down and his mission suddenly includes figuring out why everything inside him insists she’s his mate. And convincing her of the same thing, especially when they don’t even speak the same language.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

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

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

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: NARROW

Oh, Please!

I always find myself a little weirded when someone links me for something like a comment I made on facebook, or a blog post, and someone else comes along and says “Oh, I’ve read one or two books of Sarah’s, I think, and she writes the kind of thing she writes very well, but it’s just so girly and not my cup of tea.”

I swear I’ve started like… 20 answers to those, and stopped, staring at the screen. And then I remember the number one maxim: Never argue with readers or potential readers.

I am, however sorely disappointed in all of you who read my fiction, because I’ve yet to see anyone answer as they should. “The kind of thing? You mean books, with words and everything? Because dude, the only thing she hasn’t written is picture books and that is changing, for a given definition of picture books.”

Look, it’s a problem, okay. I can’t imagine anyone who is a massive fan of the Shakespeare trilogy going insane for Darkship Thieves (no link for now. Coming next week for sure. Well, the first one, as reissue.) Or someone who loves Darkship Thieves adoring Dyce Dare. And that’s just in the stuff I was allowed to publish, which yes, is a little girlie because traditional publishing (truly guys when is the last time you saw a newly launched action hero that was male and trad pub?) Though I don’t think DST is girly, not even — particularly not, perhaps — the ones featuring Athena.

And yet, there are a few people who do like all of them, and frankly, so do I, or I’d not have written them. Though I’ll confess that to write the Shakespeare trilogy now would take me a lot of effort to get back into that mind set, and my obsession with Shakespeare. Which is a pity, as I’d planned on 5 books, but barring my becoming fabulously wealthy (I’m okay with that) I can’t see taking the three to six months needed to get back into the mind set and finish the series. Heck, even the musketeers which are easier because they don’t require language stuff are languishing because I don’t feel like doing ALL the research again. (It doesn’t help that I’ve somehow lost — I think in a computer crash) the book I had started.

But I write everything because I read everything. Everything that came into the house got read, partly because I read really fast (concussion and stupid eye tricks resulting from has slowed me down some) and couldn’t buy enough books. So I read the books dad bought, which went all the way from WWII memoirs to high literary, with a heavy deep into mystery. And the books my brother bought: adventure, anthropological research and engineering, tech speculation, westerns, mystery and science fiction. Also a lot of comics. And the books my cousin who is 14 years older than I and was raised with us read: westerns and romance. Including PORTUGUESE romance. Look, the guy is a bullfighter. He and the girl have a fight. He goes out mad and dies. She mourns him ever after. Happy ending. Don’t ask. Took me years to realize that was ONLY a Portuguese thing. Yes, I ran away with science fiction at 11. But I still loved EVERYTHING. So, you know. I still read everything. From which comes writing everything.

Now, I have something like 40 novels started, not counting the “idea jotted down.” A lot of those are probably as dead as the Dodo because they were from the “heavily researched historical novel” phase. And because I’m not sure I have the patience anymore. Or the time. Memento mori and all that.

What was published was a confluence of what I wanted to write and what trad pub would accept. The overlap is not amazing, and I’ll confess for some things they probably have the right idea. Yeah, wait till I finish No Man’s Land. I expect half of you will sit there, jaw dropped, going “I guess Sarah’s gone insane.” The thing is that I’ve gone sane, since that book has been with me since I was 14, and has been written five times in different ways. However publisher bias is a definitely influence. To give you an example of the influence trad pub has/had on what gets published, though, you kind of have to look at the workshop in which I sold the Shakespeare Trilogy (in idea and first page only) you have to know that I had a time travel, mil sf story featuring the red baron ALMOST finished. That was rejected, because the Red Baron fought Snoopy, so people wouldn’t buy it. Also, Shakespeare in Love had just made a big splash, so… there must be a market. Or take the musketeer’s mysteries: they sold at the same time the DaVinci Mysteries were rejected (Yes, I know, but research, so it’s being pushed back till we move and … well, the way things are going maybe hiding in my library with books isn’t a totally bad idea. NM.) because “This is not at all like the DaVinci code.” (Well, no. Because, you know, that would be plagiarism.)

Which brings us, round about and sideways to the subject of our amazingly awkward weekly promo: the Shifter Series.

I had published the Shakespeare series and it had “tanked” by the special definition of tanking that means “it sold enough to pay off an advance that was double the normal first book advance, and they took it out of print the week it earned out, because it wasn’t slated to sell well, duh.”

Unfortunately no matter the reason your series is declared a failure, you learn early that it’s always the author’s fault. But what if the publishing house picked something that was obviously niche market, brought it out hard cover with no publicity, and didn’t even put fiction on the cover, much less fantasy, so 90% of the book stores had a memgrim and never unpacked it from the closet, and/or shelved it in art or theater or history. (I will forever cherish the anti-fan letter from the academic whom I picture turning so purple while typing it that he had a stroke shortly after. He asked if I was out of my mind to think Shakespeare really had met fairies. He seemed to be under the impression I’d written an history book. Even with all the bushwa in Shakespearean biography, I’m amazed he could think so.) If the book fails, or is deemed to fail (as discussed earlier, they actually don’t have a very clear idea how many books they sold) it’s always the author’s fault. Even though the author has absolutely no control over anything, once the manuscript is turned in.

More importantly, it is deemed that if the author failed with one book, the author will fail with all books, not matter how different, or in what genres. This is the most complete and utter bilge to anyone who reads the older authors. Look, Agatha Christie can’t be topped for cozy mysteries, but her thrillers make me cry inside. Georgette Heyer’s regencies spawned an entire genre, but her mysteries…. ah, no.

And as a new writer, you sell what you sell. You can’t ACTUALLY choose what you sell. It’s kind of like applying to all sorts of universities and then having someone judge you because you went to some small, boutique college. “Well, I applied to all of them, that’s the one that accepted me.” (Keep in mind I’m talking of being a new writer in the 90s. Newbies now have so much MORE control.)

In fact, traditional publishers know it too. I mean that it’s bullshit to blame the writer or to assume the writer will never sell in anything else. Why? Because sometime in the oughts they wrote things saying that if any agent submitted a writer under a pen name and didn’t tell the publisher what the real name was, the agent would be banned forever. This was because someone had failed big in “women’s fiction” and then submitted a cozy under a closed pen name, and went bestseller. And her agent kept her secret. Makes no sense for the publisher to be mad at this, except they didn’t want the myth exploded.

Anyway, because trad pub was the only reality back then, what they said was the law. And they said I had failed. To complete the mess I was in, my agent dumped me. (Or I dumped him. I actually don’t remember. Doesn’t mater anyway.) And no one would touch me.

In the middle of this, of course, I was doing what I do: leaning into it. Lots of people were “fired” as writers in 2002 and 2003, when the “worst quarter in American publishing” (then, I bet the covidiocy was WAY worse for trad pub) came home to roost. I had friends far more talented than I that just walked away. I feel a little weird some of them think I stayed on because I had some kind of edge on them. Though I suppose I did. It’s called: stubborn as a mule.

That summer I wrote seventeen proposals and started shopping them to agents first. I was also interviewing agents and forcefully punting all that said “Well, I see you doing a book maybe every two years, and getting a teaching post on the side.” (If I wanted to teach, I’d do that.)

In the middle of it, I was doing a deep dive in “what is selling.” And what was selling at the time was Urban fantasy. Um…. when Urban Fantasy was less sexy time and more action with fantasy.

I’d written fantasy with Shakespeare. And I can write magic and spells and stuff. I just don’t…. like it? My mind doesn’t really bend that way. This has a lot to do — probably — with a fictional tradition scoured clean of the myths of the little people, and where most supernatural is malevolent.

The fantasy author I prefer is Pratchett, and he’s…. not standard.

I got the formula for Urban Fantasy down easily. Kind of like Buffy, with the forever flirting with the monster, thing, etc. And the brave and beautiful girl.

But dear Lord, I can’t do anything the way I’m supposed to. It’s like I came into life spinning sideways and upside down, and I’m likely to remain that way.

Which brings us to Shifters. They came out of a dream. I actually describe the dream in the afterword of the first book, so I won’t repeat it here.

It’s not unusual for me to have these dreams. I will be reading a book I wrote, only I didn’t write it. Normally in the morning I can’t remember the book or story.

This one I made a point of reading two pages and the back and I remembered it. I woke up in the morning — at the time my office was half of the bedroom — ambled over to the computer, and wrote a chapter.

I was up to three chapters later that week, when Jim Baen called and asked if I wanted to sell him a book. I sent him three chapters and a cover page, and went for a walk with my husband. When I came back, I’d made my first sale to Baen.

Of course the book was completely wrong for the house, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m not sure it’s right for any house. In fact, I’m not sure it’s Urban Fantasy as such. For one, it’s not the brave and beautiful girl (though there are three of those to date) it’s an ensemble cast of misfits. The romance is very incidental. The sex is definitely and decisively OFF SCREEN. And there’s jokes like the shifter couple adopting a cat and naming him “Not Dinner.”

But my fans seem to like it. And it think it has legs, and what the heck am going to try. There are 20 books planned, and I really AM hard at work on Bowl of Red and All Hot, as well as on a short novel (space opera) that should be done today.

Right now what I can write and earn is limited by my time and energy, and part of our plan is to make sure I have more of both.

Anyway, that’s your incredibly awkward promo of the week. I think. For a given definition of promo. And now I need to go write (more directly) paying words.

I’ll just say “if you’ve read one or two things by Sarah Hoyt” and you think it’s very good for that sort of thing, but you don’t read that sort of thing, maybe you should download samples of the other things by Sarah A. Hoyt. Heck, I have it on good authority that some people who don’t read cozies like Dyce… And after all, that’s what samples are for.

And now I’ll go work.

The Thing And The Whole Of The Thing

We all talk about what happens to an institution, an industry, or for that matter a city when the left seizes control of it. At this point it has happened often enough that we have a term and a meme for it. “Skinsuited” is the theme and this twitter has become a meme.

But what is lost on most people, and in the meme, is this: They don’t mean to kill the thing they seize.

Seriously, trust me on this. They really have no clue what they’re doing will destroy this prized possession they just got by hook and — most often — by crook.

There is something you must understand about the left as it stands right now (the left of the early twentieth century was a different thing, as they hadn’t yet taken over the institutions, so they were largely the outsiders. Though not for long.)): they are the good boys and girls. They are the ones who went to school and listened, the ones who never questioned the revelations handed down by the teachers, the ones who wanted to dress well — for whatever the values of the time were — and be good. Some of them along the way became bizarre perverted horrors, but in the beginning they were attentive, caring and wanted to do good in the world. Oh, and be admired for it. Definitely be admired for it.

Behind that might lurk unclean lusts for power, wealth and sinful levels of pride, but let’s face it, anyone who is fairly intelligent wants to be rewarded for that intelligence, wants to have the power to order their space and their career, and wants to “do well by doing good.” Yes, all of that has gone astray.

Unfortunately by the time the current left came of age, the institutions had been well saturated with Marxism. All of us, I’m sorry to say, were taught by Marxism, our world view, no matter how much we try to clear it, will retain bits of Marxism, and our idea of history is full of Marxism. So is economics and…. well, everything.

Even more unfortunately the type of person who tends to buy into Marxism wholesale, never question any bit of it, and become enthusiastic foot soldiers in the campaign for Marxist utopia are “people of the system.” There is a post by that name, if you want to look it up, but what it boils down to is this: They like theories that are completely explanatory of everything…. provided you never look outside the theory. I.e. if you just stay with the theory and its explanations, everything works great.

This is characteristic, a form of thinking, a type of human brain. In former times people like leftists were monks who became completely enamored of the theological system and started going down the rabbits nest, till the most important thing was how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, having completely missed the non-corporeal nature of angels, or indeed asking of what importance this was to the outside world.

A lot of academicians and philosophers in the pre-scientific era were this type too. They took what the ancients had said, and elaborated on it, without ever in fact testing the system outside of itself. “Okay, so it is said that things fall faster the closer to the ground they are, like a horse sensing the stable. Let’s test the rate of fall of this hammer. For that matter, if the hammer is sensing its usual resting place, it should fall faster near the toolbox.”

In fact, this type of mind might be the antithesis of scientific. “Everyone says this is so, so it must be so” isn’t just “not science”, it prevents science from happening. Going by history, if you’ve been taught, and everyone says that “when things get bad enough, the people, as one will rise up” and you’re presented with data showing that it’s when repression lifts, and people start having a little more (money, time, health) that revolutions happens, you ignore it. Which is why you do thinks like wreck the American economy, be baffled as to why the people as one aren’t rising up to take out the 1% and, in frustration, create Occupy Wall Street to show the people how to rise up, and they still won’t rise up.

You can count revolution as another of those things that the left has wrecked. And they really wanted a revolution. (Wrecking the economy and the US and the Western world in general is the one exception to “they don’t do it on purpose.” And even that is iffy. Sure, they wreck everything, but that’s because their revealed Theory of Everything tells them if they do that, wealth will become evenly distributed, all over the world, and paradise will ensue. They want what’s best for you, America. You just don’t know what it is, but they’re going to show you (good and hard.)

And the problem is exactly this. They are bounded by a system that doesn’t allow them to see reality. Because reality would be different, and they can’t process that. They live and die by their system.

So when they take over an institution, at first they think they really are going to improve it and make it great. Take education. They have all these studies (and they don’t understand that studies involving humans are iffy, because humans aren’t widgets) that show that people learn best if they’re having fun; that all children hate memorization; that reading is much faster and better if you learn the word as a word, instead of trying to sound it out. So they went into education full of energy, determined to put all this into practice. The fact that this hadn’t been done like that for centuries didn’t matter. They were going to show the world…

We all know the disaster. The left knows the disaster too. That’s why they keep coming up with the world’s stupidest defenses, “But if you sound out the word, you just know what it sounds like, not what it means!” (Well, yes, that’s why there are these things called dictionaries, though a lot of us who went into reading all thumbs and head first often deduced the meaning from the surrounding words we did know. That works too. With occasionally hilarious exceptions.) And “But we don’t teach them that stuff because there’s so much other stuff to learn.”

And then what they end up doing, in “education” is bizarre cathecization. I.e. they end up teaching the system, in shibboleths to kids who are very bad readers, can’t do math, and are in general messes. But anyone can teach and learn a simplistic system. The Catholic Church for years taught a simplified version of its cathecism to people who could barely speak. I watched it being done. It can be done. (And it helped, honestly, since a lot of it had to do with how to live a decent and moral life, which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Giving them internal principles helped them and their care takers, even if the individual didn’t fully get it.) Unfortunately Marxism is not nearly as congruent with reality as Christianity. So when the system isn’t making their pupils better people and healing all the ills in the world, the teachers (themselves already cathecized, not taught in any sense of the word) go searching for more extreme things. Non-gender-pronouns for every boy girl penguin or perhaps “let’s make every white kid feel guilty for being born white and inculcate in them hatred of themselves and their whole families.” Because you see, the system doesn’t explain every individual is different. And it pretty much emphasizes that “classes” (now including races, thanks to Gramsci) have collective guilt. So even though you, yourself, never owned a slave, nor did anyone of your country in living memory, you share the guilt of ancestors who looked like you (almost everyone has ancestors of other races. Trust me on this.) Because you’re a class. And if your class is reviled and made to pay for its crimes, voila, instant paradise.

It goes like this with everything. They take over cities, and they implement all the policies that they were told will make it wonderful and flourish. They believe the theories and the system. So they do it. When hell ensues, they’re baffled and can’t understand why it went all wrong. It never occurs to them the system might be wrong. That would be kind of like telling you that you don’t have a body. I mean, you know you have a body. And they know the system is right, and nothing exists outside the system.

Or take publishing. They didn’t set out to wreck salability. They knew that if they told the great Marxist stories people would be enthralled. Why, the proletariat is naturally Marxist. They were going to give them a voice. They were going to tell them they could rise up. They’d lift the shackles of the moralistic Judeo Christian system and FREE people. They would — They would fall flat on their faces, because no one wants to read about horrible people doing horrible things for no reason, and the proletariat in America back when it read a lot, mostly wanted to have fun adventures and maybe fall in love while reading their books.

So the left did what it always does. “Preach louder.” And when that failed harder, they conceived a hatred for people, out there, that they can’t understand, or predict, or force to fit into the system.

Those words that come out of their mouths? “Deplorable” and “Bitter Clingers” and all the rest of it? They really think we’re stupid. I mean, the system is so easy to grasp, and yet we refuse to believe and make it work.

Of course the system can’t work. The system, when it collides with reality is disproved hard. Reality is a bitch, she always wins. And the system takes revenge by making it hell on Earth and sending all those kulaks who refuse to play along to mass graves.

So, why do you need to know they don’t do it on purpose, if in the end they all become bitter, horrible people who hate those around them and want to hurt them?

Well, because it explains a lot of things. Their fury and paranoia (and why DC is now an occupied zone) is the result of the fact they don’t do it on purpose. They’re true believers, and they don’t understand why we don’t play along. They hate us and are terrified of us, because the system has no place for individuals. And yet here we are. And they can’t understand why we refuse to follow the promulgation of truth from on high. I mean, they would.

This is why the more they seize control of, the more things fall apart in their hands. The system can’t encompass complex systems or individual decisions. So things are constantly surprising them, and giving them the impression that the world is out to get them. Mostly because it is. Because reality always wins.

The reason I say the left is like the dog who has caught the car, has its teeth clamped on the bumper and can’t figure out why it’s not winning, is because it’s the most apt metaphor. Having captured government with a potemkin campaign and the most fraudulent election in the history of the US, they can’t understand why we’re not all falling into line, and transporting seamlessly into a socialist republic. In fact the car is accelerating, the dog is getting dragged to its death: which is the best metaphor for how the covidiocy that was part of their grand plan has accelerated the death of the institutions/cities/regions/fields they’ve captured. And they’re baffled, confused and terrified because the system must be true, and the system says this should have worked.

And so we’ve come to this uniquely perilous moment. They can’t see outside the system. They don’t know how they look to us. They feel our resentment, our refusal to believe and do as they say, and they can’t understand why or where it’s coming from.

At some point, like a toddler with a wind up doll that won’t work right, they’re going to try to smash us in a grand fit of rage.

Be prepared. I predict it will go about as well as everything else they try to do. They will distort the economy for maybe a generation, but in the end all they’re doing by ramping up what the system says should work is commit suicide.

And for us, it’s important to remember after. A lot of people, particularly the rebellious young, just turn what the left says they want (which has nothing to do with what they do) on its head and think this makes it all right. But it’s still a system, and systems like that don’t account for individuals, chaos or the unexpected.

And then there’s what the left has done for three generations “hire for ideology” not competence. If you do that, you get people who care more about the system — the ideology — than the thing they’re supposed to be doing.

Industries, sciences, engineering, medicine, writing, selling books, all of them can work very well if the people working on them are MOST interested in the case, the people, the bridge in front of them, and not in how they fall into the ideology and the system.

One thing I noticed in every industry the left takes over, is that it becomes flooded with people who care passionately about Marxism and raising consciousness and fighting for racial or gender justice, and– And not writing/selling a marketable book. Or building an energy plant that will furnish power (real power) to the people to cook with and heat their houses. Or teach the kids the alphabet. Or pave the road. Or build a bridge that doesn’t fall down.

The occupying Junta is a good example of this. Time and again, they hire someone who has no experience for the job and who wouldn’t be competent enough to organize and run a teddy bear tea. BUT when challenged they gush about how this is the first person of x ethnicity/sex/orientation to hold the position. And can’t understand why that doesn’t make it better.

In fact, the whole diversity thing is part of how the left fails to understand… well, anything. There is a weak (note weak) correlation between a group with diverse points of view and better results in a project. Sometimes these points of view even correlate to say sex. I’m tired of being given the example of an airplane seat that was designed for both men and women and they had only men on the team. Then the woman came in and showed them what they’d been overlooking, and why it wouldn’t work for a female. That’s dandy, but that speaks incompetence of the original team. If they were designing it for both, they should have got a woman there to test it on, early on. In the end they were building the seat wrong because they weren’t very bright, not because they were all men.

In the same way, apparently a chip company made a mint from allowing the Janitor to talk to the board and explain there were no chips being sold that appealed to a Latin taste. Great. It was an overlooked market, and it paid off big. But arguably, again, it was incompetence of the board. Why weren’t they test marketing to various sub-cultures?

However, diversity of thought and opinion has some uses (the current drive for crazy “unity” doesn’t. It’s the scream of the dying system.) Diversity of skin color, reproductive organs, or whom you like to sleep with, doesn’t.

The system however says that people that share a large and obvious characteristic, like skin color or orientation, are basically all the same. So the left is enthralled with this faux-diversity and expects it to render magical results, even though it makes no sense whatsoever. Because they’re people of the system.

Which, as much as malice, insanity and a large amount of laughable self-pride explains the Junta. And why they think it’s perfectly ethical to steal an election. After all they’re “the good people” and they’ll bring us paradise. Unless we don’t let them…. Or reality, that bitch, trips them up again.

Stay aware, stay alert. It’s going to get very very rough before it smooths out. People who are interested in the system aren’t interested in whatever the thing is they’re supposed to be doing: feeding people, teaching kids to read, writing readable books, etc. etc.

Some of the industries they’ve taken over are actual science and there their insanity is going to hurt us all.

In the reorganization, remember. Hire people who want to do the thing, and who are passionate about the thing. Not people who want to posture, preen and feel like they’re saints of the system.

Teach science again. Teach that it’s not decided by majority opinion, but by hypothesis, testing and results. Teach art again: all the techniques that have been forgotten. And the same for crafts, like writing.

And teach that there’s no overarching system that explains everything. There just isn’t. And there is no way to control people to play under any given system, because systems aren’t part of reality. And you’re not made smarter and better because you believe in a system: you’re made smarter and better by learning and practicing and not giving up.

There’s nothing inherently wrong to the individuals caught in the system. If they can be brought to believe the system doesn’t work, and care about whatever the “thing” is, be it writing or selling, or teaching, or reporting news or building machines, with the passionate intensity they’ve devoted to the system, they’ll be fine.

Of course, the experience will be akin to dying and rebuilding themselves after. And few will do it.

But we must remember this, so we don’t fall into the same trap.

A civilization can’t survive if people don’t care about the thing they’re supposed to be doing, but only about the overarching system. It just can’t.

So forget the system, and do the thing. Build over, build under, build around, because the left is wrecking society as a hole, and someone will need to take the weight and lift it up again, when it falls.

Freedom of Speech by LawDog

Freedom of Speech by LawDog

One of the things that has been sticking in my craw recently is the tendency of folks busy deplatforming people for Wrongthink to solemnly intone:  “Freedom of Speech in America has always been restricted.”

Before I get off on a roll, let me first state that I Am Not A Lawyer. I am, at best, a dilettante in the Law — but I can read. Which means that a whole bunch of other folks need to start reading, too.

They are somewhat correct. Some speech has no protection from restriction: Obscenity, child pornography, false statements, and to a lesser extent speech that is owned by others, and commercial speech.

This, however, isn’t where the deplatformers come from (I’m looking at you folks taking a thunder run at Baen’s Bar in particular), they’ve decided that “Incitement to Violence” isn’t Free Speech, as they clutch their pearls.

Fortunately, we have established Supreme Court case law on this very subject!

Let us turn our eyes, or browsers in most cases, to Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969); a fascinating case involving a Ku Klux Klan leader who invited a reporter to attend a rally he was throwing.

As one would probably expect, at said rally Brandenburg got het up and made speeches of the type you would from that bunch of numpties. Lots of threats of violence against people with differing melanin levels, some exhorting of violence towards folks of different religious ideas; and topped it off with a demand that his bunch of cockwombles march on Washington DC, and do violence upon various personages and institutions up there.

As one might expect, the law in Ohio frowned upon this and promptly hooked Mr Brandenburg up. He, of course, sued; which leads us to Brandenburg v. Ohio.

When the dust settled, the Supreme Court established a simple, three-part (two in some definitions) test called, “The Imminent Lawless Action” test. These parts are:

1)  Intent to speak;

2)  Imminence of Lawlessness; and

3)  Likelihood of Lawlessness.

Anyone who’s unclear about the definition of “Imminent” or “Immediate” should probably pause to peruse a dictionary. We’ll wait.

So. If Sumdood gets all up in a tizzy and starts running his mush demanding that a crowd do violence now to the US Government/ Mongolian Gerbils/ Insert Your Favourite Group Here AND the crowd thinks that’s a splendiferous idea, takes up their torches, pitchforks, and gerbil sticks; and starts actively looking for the nearest Mongolian Embassy and Gerbil Ranch … well, Sumdood has a problem, because that little speech wasn’t protected free speech.

However if nobody does anything imminently or immediately in response to that speech … it’s protected speech.

And don’t yammer at me about “You can’t yell ‘Fire’ in crowded theater” — that’s Schenck v. United States (1919) which was clarified by Brandenburg, and you’re misquoting Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr anyway (the actual quote is: “[F]alsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”)

This is generally when a lot of folks trying to debate this will crawfish back to:  “But, but ‘Fighting Words!”

Sigh. Don’t. Just … don’t.

Under Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire (1942) “fighting words” requires that the words uttered “tend to incite an immediate [there’s that word again] breach of the peace”; be “directed towards the person of the hearer”; and “likely to be seen as a ‘direct personal insult'”, so unless the people being threatened was: a) present; 

b) personally and directly insulted; and 

c) The words [tended] incited an immediate breach of the peace …

You can’t use “fighting words” to restrict the speech.

“How,” I hear you ask, “Does this pertain to Baen’s Bar?”

Simple. If someone has been yacking about doing violence unto the for ten or fifteen years … it’s pretty safe to say that lawlessness is not “imminent”, and thus fails the Brandenburg test. That speech, distasteful though you may find it, is protected Free Speech.

If someone is discussing how long the Mongolian Embassies and Gerbil Ranches will last after they’re cut-off from civilization, and nobody is tooling up to cut the local ME&GR off from civilization … well, it fails Brandenburg, and is protected speech.

You may not like it, but we’re not guaranteed Freedom Of Speech We Like And Approve Of. That speech requires no guaranteed freedom.

We have Freedom of Speech for those things you don’t like or approve of.

Deal with it.


Sunk Costs

Our national moment is mired in sunk costs.

And our sunk costs are much worse than normal because humans live longer than they used to, and, thanks to technology (and the technology that started this was poking a stick into the ground and dropping a seed in it. It’s been building up ever since) history moves faster than it ever has.

Oh, add to that some interesting things, like the fact that we’re drowning in story telling of all kinds (which was bound to happen as soon as we had the tech for it, since we’re wired to like story) and that a lot of stories we’re being told and have been told for 100 years not only have nothing to do with reality, but have actual counter-value for survival.

Yeah, it’s a fine mess we got ourselves into.

People living longer is a problem because people are designed to be fairly flexible and knowledge sponges when young, and then we’re supposed to settle in — around our late 20s or so — and run on what we learned then. Not just our profession, but our general picture of the world are pretty much set.

Now, of course, not all our ancestors lived in times of peace. Even Portugal, which was a relative backwater got to be… er…. the reservoir tip at the end of Europe not just because of regular visitors, tourists, sailors doing business, but because it got invaded or had some scuffle going on on the regular. On the regular being oh, once every few centuries.

Thing is most people’s lives were about 40 years or so. Which means that even if you had the really bad luck of living in one of those times, there was 50/50 chance that you’d get hit when you were young enough to adapt. And if you didn’t, well… in a disruption you had a good chance of dying anyway, and if you didn’t, you didn’t live all that long either.

Look, I’m mildly panicked at the birth dearth and have been for 20 years. Other people are starting to get where I am and I no longer get shouted down when I point out most of the figures we get from the third world fall under the highly technical term or “inventive bullshit.” And that what leaks out around the edges shows they’re really, really, really bad at feeding their population or allowing it to thrive, but the birth rate is shrinking along with everyone else’s, and sometimes harder. (And heck, in their case the population might be shrinking too, though they’re also experiencing a substantial rate of increase in longevity.)

But in historical terms our population isn’t just aging, or past its prime. Our population is geriatric.

I first became aware of this when the USSR fell, and communists, after a tiny little moment of surprise, went back to peddling the same rotten communist fish, with the addition of telling us that the “good guys lost” the cold war. And honestly, are now back to publishing articles about how communism was great and sexually empowering for women. (So, in the late eighties, just before the whole thing crashed, a charity of some sort came to talk to a group we were in. I can’t remember details. BUT one of the stories they presented — from people who had lived and grown in the USSR — was of the group of guy who shared a condom. I don’t remember exactly how many there were. It was either six or ten. Because the USSR had caught on population was falling and therefore was making contraceptives hard to come by. So these guys shared a condom, and washed it in between, and when it tore, the guy who worked in a plant that made rubber stuff would repair it. Great for women’s sex lives my poor sore feet.)

At the time I was reading a psychology book about how cognitive function changes and declines, and how after 45 most people have the hardest time changing their minds, and will follow what they heard in childhood.

And frankly, what most people 45 and older learned in childhood was through various kinds of movies and entertainment which were … wrong and slanted. As someone pointed out here, how the world say in the fifties is portrayed in current movies is completely different from what movies made at the time portrayed. And not in the way you’d expect. And this goes all the way down, including, you know, if you read Mark Twain, you find that no, the 19th century wasn’t uniformly racist. Yes, sure, Mark Twain was an oddity, but you know what, he neither died a pauper nor was run out of town. So, no, the nineteenth century was not the wasteland of racism and sexism you would expect.

I honestly think this is the reasons the SJWs and the older idiots who think they’re stunningbrave try so hard to discover problems in and cancel the past. Because if you read older authors, yes, you’re going to find things that rub you wrong (and not always the ones you expect) but you’re also going to find the uberstory you’ve been sold is …. false. And that’s a gentle way to put it. A complete, outrageous and self serving lie would be more accurate.

The problem is that as their control over media and entertainment breaks, these people are being bombarded with information that makes them uncomfortable and — if they were honest, which most aren’t — would make them question everything they’ve ever thought and did.

Heck, guys, just these four years as the masks came off, had enough “what now?” to make me question a lot of the things I believed in and supported. Including most of the GOP candidates. And on the war on terror…. Well, I never supported it the way it was fought. But now? Now I wonder if we really should just have bombed hard from the air, and then let them do whatever they did.

But imagine you’re in your late sixties, and suddenly you’re going “Maybe everything I knew about Vietnam is wrong?” “Maybe people aren’t against communism because they’re racists” maybe….

Even if you’re determined not to pay attention, some things will break through. And they have to hurt and make you uncomfortable.

Add to that that most of our professional lives were in turmoil even before the covidiocy. Being a person of her words, and working mostly in writing, I had no clue until a friend told her that retail was (already) being hit with the same “rapid technological change” stick as writing. Teaching, of course, is on the same train. But so is stuff like…. dentistry. And probably a ton more things where no one pulled me aside to say “Hey, my field–“

And most people in these fields are older than 45. I’ve gone through a heck of a time to figure out how to start again in writing, as the field turned upside down and sideways. And I’m RELATIVELY flexible. Most writers who had as long a career in trad pub would probably retire. (Heck, I considered it.)

Middle-aged-unemployed-man syndrome is a thing. (And it’s man, because most women don’t put their entire worth into a career.) You basically sit and do nothing and can’t adapt.

Well, we were on our way to a bunch of that, already. And it’s only going to get worse. Massively, exponentially worse.

Why? Mostly because the left has the most sunk costs. They’re the ones who still think the world would be a better place if the USSR had won. (And no, they don’t understand without the US being so productive we could FEED the USSR, it would have imploded in a decade or less. Or that most of the USSR achievements were imaginary and existed only on paper. Much less what a bizarre complex horror the place was.) To think otherwise would mean they not only wasted most of their lives, but were on the wrong side for a vast portion of it.

It is human to throw the good after the bad. And not just money. It’s human to try to justify a posteriori our mistakes, so they weren’t mistakes after all.

And the left is trying so hard to do this, they have their fingers stuck in their ears and are repeating soothing mantras to themselves.

Which is why they’ve managed to invent a vast menace of white supremacy where none exists or to make a president that was a little left of center “worse than Hitler.”

Unfortunately it’s getting harder and harder for them to avoid a cognitive reckoning. And because things keep accelerating, everything they do actually breaks the reality — unified media, entertainment, opinion, unified everything — they want a little further apart.

Covidiocy has put a fork into most of the fields they control completely. As in, they’re done. They might still be shambling on their feet, but it’s like a turkey running with the head cut off. They’re done. They had maybe one more generation — 10 or 20 more years — to shamble gently into irrelevancy, but now if they — trad pub, Hollywood, the news, etc. — have five years remaining to them, I’d be shocked.

And it’s strong odds their political shenanigans, obvious “occupation Junta”, attempted purge of the armed services and ridiculous war on largely imaginary “white supremacy” is only going to accelerate things.

A violent convulsion was always on the books. There’s a reason that the industrial revolution (the fastest tech change before today) was accompanied by “the age of revolutions.” (And world wars, as idiots — mostly kings, later well, various “leaders” — tried to create multinational polities. Which is what we should have taken out of the world wars “cultures are different, and shouldn’t be shoved together for no reason”– instead of “nationalism is bad, which was so stupid only communists could have invented it.)

But there was a chance with our geriatric population, and relative abundance, it wouldn’t happen. That the process in place since the mid-seventies would continue, and eventually, sometime in the late 21st century we’d have gone around to a sane-ish society again.

Alas, humans will fight to preserve sunk costs. And the humans who had carefully insulated themselves from reality and who believe fairytales about perfect communist utopias are the ones in the greatest panic and trying to make things go back to a place where they felt comfortable.

Since they couldn’t find reality with two hands, a seeing eye dog, and sonar, what they’re doing is actually destroying the remnants of the things they like

And increasing — almost to certainty — the possibility of violent convulsions.

All the lock downs, covidiocies, green new deals, and great resets are just them covering their ears and screaming “make the past come back.”

It ain’t gonna happen. And they’re not going to win, for one because their ideas have no basis in anything real, including and up to “what humans eat.”

There will be a great reset. Not the one they want.

But on the way there? Things are going to get crazier and crazier.

Be prepared. Don’t panic. Yes, some of us will end up caught in the mess. It’s inevitable.

But over all, I expect only a small proportion of us will get in any real, final trouble.

In the end, we win, they lose.

On the way there? Oh, you haven’t seen interesting times yet. Look to yourself and those you love. And be not afraid.

A badger among kittens by Denton Salle

A badger among kittens by Denton Salle

Certain stories make the rounds about wild animals that get mistaken for pets.  It can be someone from another country trying to pick up a skunk because it looks like a cat, a coyote or bear cub thought to be a stray dog, or a feral dog left alone with a house cat.  The stories never end well.  Once of the worse I heard (and some of these are true) was a young woman who found a badger cub and thought it a lost kitten so she took it home and put it in the basket with her kittens.  Whether true or not, it makes a good model for a multicultural society that has scrapped the idea of a common culture, particularly when that culture ignores the differences between classes and ethnic groups for the simplistic broad groupings of race and sex.  Whether you realize it or not, there are badgers in the basket.

All the above work off the idea that something you think you understand from your world doesn’t extrapolate to an outsider.  It works both ways. If you read any of Rudy Payne’s work on poverty, many of the traits associated with generational poverty do not help one escape from it. Similarly many of the traits that make a middle class city dweller successful do not help them break into the upper class, survive in the lower class, or even be accepted in a rural middle class environment. Stories from the cities in the South with a large Yankee population during the aftermath of storms and hurricanes really highlighted this. One coworker commented that while his Yankee neighbors did their share during recovery from the storm, they did no more.  They didn’t act as part of the community, they didn’t socialize, and they  will be wondering for years why they don’t fit in.  Similarly, despite the belief of most people, the signals aren’t money.  I know one fellow who was told he’s got to be at least middle class because he “makes more coin than I do.”  It’s not true – he’s pure working class who just got lucky in his skill set.  His home life isn’t close but he’s smart enough to hide it. What do matter are the traits and patterns developed in your raising and, to a large extend, in college.  The danger comes when these are misread: it can cost a promotion, a job, or your life depending on how and where you misread things. We see the social cost of misreading how people’s worldviews differ with the failure rates of certain groups at elite universities, in the government programs to extend home ownership, and in the inability of our political elite to understand the whole Middle East mess.  Whether it’s not seeing the lack of certain skills you assume everyone has, the misunderstanding of a result for the traits that cause that result, or assuming all people really want to be liberal bobos, this mistake can be fatal.

Let’s look at some real life examples as we jump the fence and walk outside of the normal world most readers probably live in. All the names are made up but the stories are true.  Some are amusing – others less so.  Sometimes the kitten ends up among the badgers: for example, a young upper middle class woman was dating a biker type.  They meet at a bar near college and ended up in the sack.  He, let’s call him Bob, starts letting her, say Sharon, come with him when he hangs out with his bros.  At one party, Bob is spending all his time talking to some old guy and Sharon is getting a little attention starved. First, she wanders over and tries to get his attention. She’s ignored. After trying a few things and being rebuffed, Sharon gets angry and tries to pick a verbal fight publically in front of the fellows he runs with. Bob first ignores her and then in no uncertain terms to, he tells her to act her age and shut up.  Sharon loses her temper and slaps him.  Without any hesitation, in fact you never even see his hand moved, Bob slaps her back hard enough she’s flipped over the back of the couch and lands on someone’s lap.  Bob returns to his conversation without comment and the rest of the room does the same.

Sharon is shocked – she was always told you don’t hit ladies – and looking at the guys she landed on,  says in shock “he hit me.”  One of the guys guzzled some beer and replied: “you hit him first.”  Sharon was horrified to find out not only did no one care, but they all thought she got what she deserved.

A few observations can be made: the old rule about striking a lady is very class specific and even there assumed certain conduct on both parts. If the whole concept of striking a woman is pushing your buttons, we have just defined your class.  In other classes, letting your woman act like that to you means you’re a weakling. Note the possessive: it is intentional. There is a youtube video that shows an assault that starts with the assailant asking “whose bitch is this?”  This is even stronger in other places where a woman’s value is a reflection of her man’s or her families.  Over reacting would be the same if opposite error. The negligent slap makes it a statement.  Negligent in that she’s just not that valuable. Striking with an open hand – how you discipline a dog or a child instead of a real opponents who require weapons – shows she’s not a serious problem.  It was a nuisance: nothing to get upset when serious matters are on the table.  Longer term implications depend on her response: accept of the correction or continuing to be a “problem” where her boyfriend washes his hands of her.

Another example of assuming your worldview is the only one can be seen with the “rape activists” on campus.  Despite the claims of rape culture and oppression on campus, most activists have no idea of what a society that considers women lesser beings is really like.  Most of them are smart enough not to go to Saudi to hold their “slut walks” or “take back the night.”  There is a very definite belief system at work –these women are sure no one is coming out to beat them or pick them off one by one. That’s not the case in societies with actual rape cultures or where rape is used as a means of educational beat-down instead of killing her.  Similarly a whole set of assumptions on rape and rapists can be seen in false rape narratives at Columbia and the University of Virginia.  The advocates and academics know why all this happens and why women never lie about rape because they know better than we and are better people. The implications of their worldview that women are such delicate flowers they can’t deal with men or with making a decision seems to be invisible to them.  This is inside their safe little yard.  Outside the picket fence, rape can be motivated by lots of reasons and some of them involve an attitude toward women these people don’t or can’t imagine.  In certain cultures, it is a survival trait to shut up and not tell anyone.  In others, it’s a death sentence to end up in that situation at all.  In many, rape can be a fact of life.  Supposedly that why Mark Twain’s last Huck Finn novel was never finished: what happened to women captured by the Comanche was well known.

Another young lady, say Alexis, was studying martial arts to learn to defend herself.  Having done the Woman’s Center self-defense class, she realized she enjoyed it and moved to a more traditional school – traditional as taught classically and not really neither a self-defense school nor a Mc Dojo. A petite and athletic woman, she soon enjoyed herself but was frustrated that often size and strength meant techniques didn’t always work.  So one day she addresses these concerns with her instructor. They had the normal discussion about the multiple reasons for practicing a marital art and the multiple dimension of the whole concept of self-defense. Alexis still had concerns and asked “How do I defend myself physically from a rape?”  This launched a discussion of rational preventive behavior and since Alexis wasn’t a feminist or a liberal art student, he was not accused of victim blaming.  She was, however, concerned about a physical assault.

Alexis: So, if I was going to fight back, what do I need to do

Instructor: Well, it depends…  How are you attacked?

Alexis:  I dunno.  How would you rape me?

Instructor: I don’t rape people. Sex with the unwilling would be boring

Alexis: Well, if you were going to rape me, what would you do?

Instructor: I guess I’d nail you across the back of the head with a sap, carry you off to wherever, and tell anyone we met you got drunk and passed out again.

Alexis: Couldn’t that kill me?

Instructor: “Maybe.  But why would I care?”

Alexis left the school shortly after that. As extreme as that might sound, one has to realize the assumption human life has value is a cultural value, both in the value it as and what the culture says is permissible.  Anyone following the news currently should be aware from both ISIS’s action with captured women and the actions of the refugees in German and Sweden that the Middle East is not a feminist place.   Another example is what a female reporter was told in Saudi when interviewing a bunch of young men about for an article on Saudi life.  A friend of hers brought her and while she didn’t realize it, she was considered “his” and under his protection.  So everyone was very friendly and shared the homemade hooch, and she finished her interview.  Somehow on the end the topic of women came up and she asked what would have happened if she came alone. She was told she would have been raped and probably murdered as there was lot of desert to hide the body in.  This probably explains why feminists don’t go and protest in Saudi. 

Consequently most people living within their own picket fence circumscribed by an agenda or social ideology don’t seem to understand is the myriad frameworks and social mores within their own country or with their carefully circumscribed world view.  This is seen today in the US in the disconnection between the cultural elite and political class and the folks living in fly-over country among others.  Comments about “NY City values” may get mocked but they reflect an understanding of different sets of rules in different places. (One could similarly draw from the other side of the political debate.)  Sadly this belief that everyone really thinks the same has international implications too.  Our policy in the Middle East has been seriously screwed up by the belief the people there think like we do. Some of this is being driven home in Europe with the crime problems caused by refugees – a situation to some degree predicted in “Camp of the Saints.”  Historically, people have realized the clash of cultures bring the potential for violence, assault and death.  We’ve lost that.  Even within our country, there is NOT one homogenized culture as is currently believed. Our grandparents knew better.  Similarly the world is not made of people who want to be little bobos or tolerant social justice warriors. It’s big outside the yard.

This essay is part of a book by Marc Mac Young: Beyond The Picket Fence: Life Outside the Middle-Class Bubble

Rules, traditions of the past, and assumptions… all have been swept away by rapid social change. Instead of freeing people this has left us stressed, confused, unprepared, and unable to navigate different environments and situations that can be more than just hostile. Environments outside suburbia can become dangerous — especially for teens and young adults.

“Beyond the Picket Fence” isn’t a self-defense book, but it is very much about what will get you into trouble with people.

Arrests, violence, and rapes often befall young people when they go ‘out to party.’ Originally this book was — literally — about how not to get killed while outside suburbia and in places where it is easy to cross unspoken lines. Yet the best meaning prohibitions usually fall on deaf ears. This book takes a different approach. We’re not telling young people, “Don’t go.” We know they’ll go. Instead we’ll them what they need to look out for when they wander outside their home’s picket fence. We’ll help them stay out of jail or the emergency room.

At the same time, this book is about a whole lot more…

Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

Book Promo

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


Charlotte Fisher lives under colliding skies.

It’s the second half of the twenty-first century, and mankind has reached Earth orbit but not much farther. Orbital debris is a by-product of the industrial activity, and it’s dangerous both to everyone up there and the bottom lines of the corporations offering a prize to get rid of it. Charlotte heads up a team chasing the Manx Prize for the first successful, controlled de-orbit of a dead satellite. To win, she and her team must out-think and out-engineer a cheating competitor, dodge a collusive regulator, and withstand the temptations offered by a large and powerful seastead.

The sky’s not the limit. It’s the challenge.

If you like hard science fiction, impossible odds, and a touch of romance, you’ll love Laura Montgomery’s Manx Prize.   Buy Manx Prize to join the race for space today!

FROM BLAKE SMITH: Lyddie Hartington: Galaxy Sleuth.

Facing poverty after a childhood among the wealthy and powerful, Lyddie Hartington decamps to Ceres, a newly colonized planet on the edges of the galaxy. Armed only with a change of clothes, a letter of introduction to the directors of the Andromeda Company, and a blaster, she is determined to make her fortune.

But Ceres is nothing like Orion-14, and before she knows it, Lyddie is witness to a murder- a murder that goes to the heart of the Andromeda Company and puts her life in danger. With the help of her new friend, an entirely too handsome captain of the Galaxy Watch, she must discover the murderer and solve the mystery of her family’s downfall.

If she can survive long enough to do it.

FROM HENRY VOGEL: Fortune’s Fool (The Fortune Chronicles Book 1)

He digs through the past to unearth his future. But will rocketing into the expanse blast him into deadly trouble?

Xenoarchaeologist Mark Fortune just needs one big find to be set for life. Roaming the post-apocalyptic galaxy in search of riches, the pragmatic loner believes he’s finally made the breakthrough of his career when he activates an ancient portal. But when he’s catapulted onto an unknown planet, he’s followed by a revenge-driven skybiker out for his blood.

For the sake of survival, Mark and the motorhead form an uneasy alliance until they can escape the strange and unforgiving world. But the only path back home pits them against a ruthless warlord in a flying space fortress armed with pre-holocaust tech and a horde of killer robots…

Can Mark tear down a dictator before his newest discovery is otherworldly death?

Fortune’s Fool is the first book in the edgy Fortune Chronicles science fiction adventure series. If you like throwback futurism, gritty action, and expansive worlds, then you’ll love Henry Vogel’s interstellar doorway.

Buy Fortune’s Fool to open the door to uncharted planets today!

FROM PETER GRANT: The Stones of Silence (Cochrane’s Company Book 1)

The secret is out – the Mycenae system is the hottest new mineral find in the spiral arm. Now it’s about to become ground zero in a gold rush by every crooked company and asteroid thief in the galaxy.

Andrew Cochrane, with his crew of the finest veterans and cunning rogues, have an even better scheme. They’ve conned the owner into hiring them as a mercenary security company to defend the system. With no oversight but their own, Cochrane’s Company plans to seize the richest pickings for themselves.

But nothing ever comes easy. If they want to keep their loot, they’re going to have to outwit and outfight every smuggler, bandit and renegade after the same prize – and their boss, too!

FROM J. L. CURTIS: The Morning The Earth Shook.

A year after Calexit, the last US bases in Southern California are under siege, with their power and water cut off. Their perimeters are under constant probes by a now hostile nation. There is intelligence the government of California is planning a final all-out action to overwhelm the last bases and claim the spoils of victory for their own…

But the men and women in uniform aren’t going to let their bases be overrun, especially after the murder of their dependents. This is their story, a novella of the last military withdrawal from California. And if there’s one thing the Sailors and Marines are not going to do, it’s go quietly!

FROM MARGARET BALL: An Opening in the Air (Applied Topology Book 2).

Any sufficiently advanced applied math is indistinguishable from magic…

Protest on campus are usually like grackles – annoying, in the way, and ignorable. But when Thalia Kostis invisibly crashes a meeting, she learns that outside money and organizers are planning for a full-out riot, complete with scapegoats and martyrs. Unfortunately, applied math isn’t magic, and she’s in danger when her cover’s blown . Now she and the rest of the misfits at Institute for Applied Topology must figure out who’s behind this and stop it, before more than just their own building goes up in flames!


People love easily. Look at most of your relatives or coworkers. How lovable are they? Really? Yet most have mates and children. The vast majority are still invited to family gatherings and their relatives will speak to them.

Many have pets to which they are devoted. Some even call them their fur-babies. Is your dog or cat or parakeet property or family? Not in law but in your heart? Can a pet really love you back? Or is it a different affection? Are you not kind to those who feed and shelter you? But what if your dog could talk back? Would your cat speak to you kindly?

How much more complicated might it be if we meet really intelligent species not human? How would we treat these ‘people’ in feathers or fur? Perhaps a more difficult question is: How would they treat us? Are we that lovable?

When society and the law decide these sort of questions must be answered it is usually because someone disapproves of your choices. Today it may be a cat named in a will or a contest for custody of a dog. People are usually happy living the way they want until conflict is forced upon them.

What if the furry fellow in question has his own law? And is quite articulate in explaining his choices. Can a Human adopt such an alien? Can such an intelligent alien adopt a human? Should they?

Of course if the furry alien in question is smart enough to fly spaceships, and happens to be similar in size and disposition to a mature Grizzly bear, wisdom calls for a certain delicacy in telling him no…

The “April” series of books works from an earlier time toward merging with the “Family Law” series.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Dipped Stripped and Dead. (Yes, working on sequel. I need to be three people.)

A Dyce Dare Mystery
When she was six, Dyce Dare wanted to be a ballerina, but she couldn’t stop tripping over her own feet. Then she wanted to be a lion tamer, but Fluffy, the cat, would not obey her. Which is why at the age of twenty nine she’s dumpster diving, kind of. She’s looking for furniture to keep her refinishing business going, because she would someday like to feed herself and her young son something better than pancakes.
Unfortunately, as has come to be her expectation, things go disastrously wrong. She finds a half melted corpse in a dumpster. This will force her to do what she never wanted to do: solve a crime.
Life is just about to get crazy… er… crazier. But at least at the end of the tunnel there might be a relationship with a very nice Police Officer.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

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

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

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: ELBOW

I’m Catching Up On Some Stuff

Alive and REALLY hope to do a chapter of Witch’s Daughter, but RL has ambushed me as it does.
So in the meantime, I’ll leave you with some stuff:

This was written by a friend. I don’t think it will be that bad, at least not for most of us, but when things go bad, they tend to be erratic, and some places this might very well happen. It’s a good response to your blithe leftist friends who think (still) that their side is all rainbows and unicorn farts.

And yesterday I got so pissed at a smug leftist (is there any other kind?) on the book of faces that I was tempted into poetry. Unlike my friend, I don’t have a gift for poetry in English. It’s completely different in Portuguese, of course. In fact, my accent is in part because I don’t “get” the right rhythm for the language.

You With The Fist Upraised

How dare you?
How dare you in the clear light of day
Display a symbol under which 100 million
Were sent into the dark of mass graves

But it’s a black power fist! you say
What black power?
Under the fist black people were killed
For being black by that murderous psycho, Che
Students were killed for being students
Poor farmers were killed because Che liked it
Under the fist black people in Africa
Were crucified and starved and raped
By communist guerillas
Under the fist Asian people were shot
For wearing glasses and knowing how to read

But it’s a gay power fist, you say
Under the fist gay people died
At the hands of the psychopath Che
And are still jailed in Cuba today
As for what happened to them
Under communist guerillas in Africa?
Don’t ask. You’ll sleep better.

But the fist is against capitalism
Socialism and communism are better for people of color
And women and gays
I hoist the fist because I meanTo provide for all of them

Oh, thank you, great white savior!
Because we people who tan
Just like people of different sexual orientations
Didn’t know

That our particular difference
From the white heterosexual males meant
We had no agency
Or rational, individual thought
And we’d never imagine
That the system of trading what we have
For what we want was evil for us specifically
Or that the system that raised more people
Out of famine and poverty than any other
Was uniquely forbidden to us

We’re glad you’re here
To tell us what we need

Without you we’d never guess
That we’re supposed to be killed in batch lots
Such as in China, Russia, Cambodia, Korea
We’d never have guessed we’re supposed
To be ruled by petty insane dictators
Such as in China, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea
And we certainly wouldn’t understand
That being brown or having off-beat sexual lives
We were meant to starve
Such as in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea

Without you, with the fist upraised
We’d never have guessed
Our rights and our abilities
Are less than those of other humans

Then there’s this, from Synova, of course:

And this, because we, Heinlein’s Heretics (think about it. Consider the woke cult) also have a proud history. And we must make our names to shine. The Lieutenant expects it.

Be not afraid. We have work to do.

Strangely Awkward Self Promo

Someone at MGC suggested I do a self-promo with a random book and/or series every week. But I feel like just telling you “oh, yeah, I wrote this, buy it” is probably…. well. Look, I think if I’m going to sell you something, I should at least make the commercial fun. Perhaps not as much fun as those commercials that you end up singing the jingle for apropos nothing years later (husband was doing that yesterday night and I thought he’d gone insane, since I recognized neither the brand nor the jingle. Turns out to be something from when he was very young.)

Anyway…. If all goes as it should — the internal, self-sabotaging periods of absolute silence seem to be …. shorter now — I should have something new soon, and then, you know, a lot of things that I can link as promo. We also haven’t dropped the promo site thing on the floor, we’re just working on around everything else, and the last week was a weird wasteland of “I don’t feel like doing THAT.” On the interesting and “This must stop now” side, I’ve now achieved the level that I’m so self-isolated so long that going to the grocery store and maybe talking to the cashier produces the same reaction as going to a large, loud party with strangers used to. Note this is not happy making. Note also I’m not NEARLY the most introverted person around. In my normal state, I need to see strangers everyday — note see, not interact with beyond perhaps ordering some food, and/or paying for something — which I understand is a fairly high level of engagement for an introvert. So, we’ll deal with the silence, but this is freaking me out, for the record.

So, now for the self-promo…. And today — gestures towards lovely, non-existent assistant for reveal — we’re going to promo my Austen fanfics. Since I only have two up right now, and one is a short story, I’ll do them together. Actually if the lovely ontologically challenged assistant can wait till the end of the post, that might be best.


When I put this out on FB as “I wrote this” a lot of people were shocked and confused, and my response was to link the meme above.

But of course it wasn’t true.

For one, most of Austen fanfic I’ve written, both the finished and almost finished, and that needing only a good scrubbing with the editor’s sponge, was written for free. Because at the time there was no indie publishing and self-publishing required an enormous investment of time, plus getting Dan to typeset it, because typesetting was way harder.

It wasn’t however done for no reason.

Cast your mind back to the fraught and perilous times of 1998. My husband had a traveling job that involved being away from home 5 days a week, and a day usually spent preparing to go out. I was at home with kids aged 7 and 4. Sure, I went out and did grocery shopping, and because younger son was a picky eater and cooking for two has never been one of my skills, I knew every single “kids eat free” diner and restaurant around, and which days they offered this. (It was a wash. Younger son didn’t eat at all. Older son, OTOH ate like a farmhand, so particularly in buffets I made out like a bandit.)

I had a friend, also a writer, whom I called as soon as the kids were safely at school and before I sat down to write. She figures prominently in my “9/11 experience” story, as she was the one called me screaming “Turn on your TV.”

Normally, one of us called the other, and we talked about ideas, plans, where the story on the drawing board would go today, etc, all while walking around the house and doing a bit of clear-up. Flushing toilets, picking up kids’ clothes. Making sure the dodos hadn’t forgotten their books/homework. You know, the usual. And then I’d make and drink my coffee, sometimes while finishing the conversation.

But I was still lonely. Friends lived across town, and anyway, they had their lives and their routines. And most of the time it was just me, or me and two kids in the house.

At the same time, 98 was the year that tried writers’ souls. It was the year I wrote Darkship Thieves. And a lot of other stuff, to be honest. BUT everything I sent out was either rejected or — for contests — ignored. This while people around me were selling who had been writing a lot briefer time.

Now, some of that stuff eventually sold exactly as was; other had minor tweaks. There’s started novels never finished, which I need to make decisions about. But for the record, sure, there was something missing from my writing at the time.

I had reached the point in my acculturation 10 years after naturalization where I was no longer getting all the wrong responses. Not even close. But I still didn’t fully understand the audience. And I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure that this has anything to do with acculturation. It has more to do with the fact I’m a very strange person (as you’ll see) and I didn’t know where to aim for what other people look for in stories.


More or less because I was bored, wasn’t sleeping much, needed time to unwind after the kids were in bed, I found fanfic boards. Which is weird, because as you guys know, I don’t watch enough TV/movies to really be a fan of visual stuff. And that’s what most fanfic is about.

At some point a lightbulb went on in the back of my head. You see, it goes something like this: part of the problem I’m having with writing is that I never get any feedback. “Thank you, this doesn’t fit our needs” is not feedback, as it might be true or not. And when I got feedback, it was often bizarre and made me go “arooo” like the one that accused me of stealing a TV show plot. Again, we had a TV (that thing I turned on on 9/11, but we were in a very small mountain town, and mostly the TV showed snow, with some vague images (it sort of did that on 9/11 which is why my visual memories are fuzzy.) Which meant while we bought tapes of movies and hows, occasionally, and the kids had a bunch of cartoons and stuff, we didn’t WATCH any series. I no longer remember what the series was but when I tracked it down I found that one of the characters had the same name as in the story and VAGUELY the same physical description. No commonality of idea or plot, but oh, well, editors.

Also I was pessimistic enough to think I might never get published, but writing isn’t complete if no one reads it, so fanfic would fulfill that.

I started actively looking around for a fanfic I COULD do. I briefly read a McCaffrey Pern fanfic site, but before I could write in it, it was shut down.

Which made me look for a fandom I a) understood the originals of. b) was not going to be shut down by the copyright owner.

Keep in mind at this time, I’d read no romance as such, save for Jane Austen, because grandma had Jane Austen and I read all of it, and then Dan gave me the leather-bound collection of her works when we were first married. (It would be five years before Dave Freer demand I read Heyer which was in a way the road to perdition. Okay, not really, I still don’t read a ton of romance, though I do revisit Heyer periodically.)

So, Austen wasn’t the first thing I thought of, and I don’t remember how I stumbled on it. When I did, though, I was perfectly happy to use it as my outlet. There were several sites, ranging from purist to erotica (I went to that one once, but never wrote in it, because — again — to me this stuff is not a spectator sport.)

What If He Were To Pick Me? Was my first work of fanfic. It got me thrown out of one of the more…. literary sites due to “unrully pillows” which frankly was not even a sexual allusion, just insanity that fed on itself.

In fact, the entire short novel is galloping and ever-ramping-up insanity. If you remember I was stuck at home with two genius-IQ kids, 4 and 7 and that most of my “professional” career consisted of getting rejections, some of them rude, I think you’ll get where this came from.

I’ll note that in reading over this before it went up, I found it was quite fun. Provided you leave sanity behind with no regret, of course. If you think about it as galloping madly down an increasingly silly path you’ll be fine.

He Turned Out Very Wild, OTOH was written four years later. And it was …. played for “serious.” There are others, including how Lizzy and Darcy’s son falls in love with Miss Collins, and a few others. But those are either not finished or lack internal consistency. As life opens up a little, I’ll try to get those up too.

Keep in mind, I’m not looking down on the fandom. I am the fandom. In fact, when stressed I default to reading Austen fanfic from KU, and get incensed if people change the characters completely, (kind of, on What If He Were To Pick Me, but it’s more like I made caricatures of the characters, which was necessary to fit the premise. Not like I just used the names.) I particularly get very upset when people take the characters and make them different for no Earthly reason. Particularly if they make everyone unpleasant.

The one where Jane becomes the villainess, they made some effort to explain it (amounting to “you can’t be that nice all the time without ending up resentful particularly when all people praise about you is your beauty.) and I read it in sick fascination. OTOH the ones where for no good reason people marry other people, and people behave quite differently from in the original work without explanation…. those bother me. And often get deleted. One which bothered me by having Jane marry the Colonel and not Bingley for what seemed like insufficient reason, I forgave when it became clear the author was a veteran who identified with the colonel. If you can’t Marty Stu a little in fanfic, and give yourself the prettiest wife, where can you do it?

I do think I’m somewhat askew to normal Austen fans, but it’s entirely possible I’m somewhat askew to the world in general.

Anyway, what fanfic taught me, that I could never have learned from a writing course was this:

1- Make your book easy to enjoy. No matter what your literature professors taught you, don’t make the reader work for the enjoyment. Sure, you can have little jokes, and fun stuff in the prose, but make sure it’s not something the reader needs to enjoy the work at its most basic level. This was much needed, because ABD in literature warps a woman.

2- People really don’t like to work hard. I.e. despite this being AUSTEN fanfic, the most popular stories were set in present day. Mind you, I don’t GET this. I still prefer regency Austen fanfic, but you know…. I’m not right n the head.

3- There’s surprises and surprises, and every fandom/subgenre has surprises they won’t tolerate. For the Austen fanfic, say you started with Fitzwilliam marrying Caroline. The cry would go up “Fix this now.” In the same way, making your hero the villain halfway through the book is not well received in any genre. Having the villain be impersonal forces also tends to p*ss off readers.

In fact, you could say what I learned was to respect and play fair with the reader. Which explains also why shortly thereafter I started getting published, and continued to this day.

Now, my beautiful non existent assistant will unveil the lovely fanfic books, to include the fantasy collaboration in the Witchfinder universe (but not world.)

Take it away, assistant.

What if He Were to Pick Me: A Pride And Prejudice Variation With A Dash of Insanity

Yeah I need to redo this cover. See, the computer was cr*pping out at the positioning stage, and I eventually gave up 😛 I have a new card, so…

What if Mr. Darcy, trying to avoid the appearance of being lofty and proud, so far mistook himself as to be charmed by Lydia Bennet?
How long could the fair strumpet lady hold his interest? How would Elizabeth Bennet feel about it?
As all the Bennet sisters fall into the strangest of relationships, you’ll fear you lost your mind. But you haven’t. Just grab your sweetie and a whip – in case of unruly pillows – and hire a Bennet coach to Gretna Green. They have the best carriages, and guarantee no one will catch you.
Then hold on to your hat. You’re in for the ride of your life.

But He Turned Out Very Wild: A Short Pride And Prejudice Variation

In the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen there was only enough good between Darcy and Wickham to make a “good sort of man.”
But what if this were not true? What if what we — and Darcy — think we know about Wickham was all wrong? What if sweet Jane Bennet were right all along, and there was some great misunderstanding?
In this short story of intrigue and crime, one might end up feeling sorry for George Wickham himself.

A Touch Of Night: Pride, Prejudice, Werewolves and Dragons, Oh, My!

A Pride and Prejudice Variation.
In a world that puts shape shifters to death, Mr. Darcy was unfortunate enough to be born as a were-dragon.
But the cruel laws don’t always find their victims. Mr. Darcy has survived and protected Mr. Bingley who is a werewolf.
Meanwhile, in Hertfordshire, Lizzy has been protecting her sister Jane who turns into a beautiful hunting dog.
When Mr. Bingley rents Netherfield, the Were-Laws and the shape shifting of three of them add extra complications to the flowering of romance between the well-loved couples. And Mr. Wickham. joining the Royal Were Hunters, lends additional danger to the situation.
Will they get together despite the danger, Lizzy’s active imagination and Mr. Darcy’s excessive nobility of character?

And that ladies and gentlemen is the extremely awkward self-promo of the week! 😀