I don’t believe in woo woo stuff. Woo woo stuff tends to follow me around like a cat you fed once, and who keeps returning.
Given that and despite the fact that none of the Odds are “very good x” where x means religion, because our minds and emotions tend to work at right angles to normal humans, and heaven only knows (literally) how our minds work, I choose to stick to the religion I was (mainly) raised in.
It’s sort of like when you venture out on a foggy night, across a shallow brook, you stick to the stepping stones someone put there centuries ago. They might not be the only way. They might not be the best way. They are there, however, and they’ll allow you to deal with the uncertainty and the fog semi-dry shod. Even if you’re not going to drown if you just go whichever way — maybe. What if you get tripped up and fall and hit your head? — you’ll likely cross more or less dry and functional and with fewer chances of incidents.
Here is where my atheist and “only physical reality exists” readers are shaking their heads and deciding I lost my mind.
Yeah. Okay. Look, I am convinced there’s about 1/3 of humanity who are “blind” to whatever it is the rest of us perceive, but trust me, there is something there, just like I can assure blind people that there are colors.
For one, think about it: primitive people’s living extremely close to the bone believed in this stuff. In situations in which you shed everything that didn’t work. So, it works. At least most of the time.
What works? Well, any number of things, really: foreknowledge, telepathy, coincidences that can’t be coincidences, all the way up to and including seeing and talking to “entities.” (I wouldn’t recommend. Contains live bobcat. Not that I’ve done it, but I’ve read things. If you’re inclined to play in those waters, go and read “Hungry Ghosts.”)
The problem is that while on balance the woo woo works, it is …. slippery. And …. inconsistent.
The US as well as Russia had programs studying this stuff. The Russians supposedly were far more advanced, because of course they were. I mean, they could just make up stuff wholesale. And yes, sure, I have heard the US used the program — called Stargate, weirdly — to hide the fact they had spies in the USSR. Waggles hand. Well, that’s what they say now, because that stuff went out of fashion with stunning rapidity.
It kind of tends to, because it’s inconsistent, slippery, and…. well… mostly filled with lies. Like, whatever entities are in charge of this stuff? They’re tricksters… Kind of like our mainstream news, who I sometimes think are following this kind of thing, somehow. Well, maybe not somehow. A lot of Marxism seems to be in tune with the type of thing these entities (?) say.
Again, read Hungry Ghosts for that sense of “there is something there, and it’s malicious.” Read it with the light on, and maybe sleep with the light on while reading it, okay?
So, why am I talking about this?
Mostly because, as I’m cleaning and painting and refinishing I’m tired and therefore in a highly susceptible state. No, not to woo woo. To things my mind interprets as “suggestions.”
Someone mentioned John Keel in the comments, and I remembered that when I was in between houses, after #1 son was born, I went through his ouvre and also that of Jean Vallee (sp?) and came to the conclusion that UFOs (at least most of them. I’m not excluding real aliens. Not in 2021) and fairies and spirit guides and the like were all the same entities and they didn’t mean us well.
Wondering if I had come to that conclusion on air, and realizing (the now late) John Keel’s books were on prime, I read through two. At night. Before going to bed.
He himself came to the same conclusions, actually.
But while he lumped religious experiences in with the “paranormal” wilderness, he at the same time believed that some of these were “good” and “guiding us to a superior consciousness.”
Since most of the things he was convinced this superior consciousness was guiding people towards was the mistakes of the age: free love (couldn’t they settle for reasonably priced), anti-capitalism, and all the insanity that USSR agit prop planted among us, I don’t think he was right. (Yes, I do hope he found his way to the right place after death anyway.)
Anyway…. One of the things he did was collect a lot of incidents that are absolutely unexplained and possibly unexplainable. (Not all of them. My dad has opinions about the Marie Celeste, for instance. wind him up and watch him go.)
So…. something is out there. Something exists that is not really clear to our senses. And mostly, it doesn’t mean us well.
Not here, I’m not speaking of Himself.
Yes, there are ways to tell if something is coming from Himself or these…. “Tricksters” to put it no lower.
For one, and this leaked out in Keel’s perspective, the tricksters tend to put humanity down. Like at one time he says that after we die, our personalities, memories and history would obviously dissipate, because anyway “what would humans have in that sense that’s worth preserving.”
It can get worse than that, but in general the tricksters really really really hate humans and strive to make us feel bad and worthless.
Himself…. not so much. Sure, you might be corrected, but He seems to find worth even in the most severely flawed of us. (Like any good author.)
Anyway, mostly I advise not believing in these things even if they exist.
It’s part of the reason that I prefer science fiction to fantasy. If you think the “miracles” obey laws of science we just never figured out, it’s safer than if you think you can alter reality with a few words. Because the people and things invested in the later aren’t… right.
Oh, and part of the problem with staying away from this altogether is that it seems to partake of a nature with “gateway writing” which has effects. As in, if you have 3 “gateway” writers working in the same house, the house will be haunted. No, I don’t know why. And it’s a little scary. (Of course, if an unsolved murder happened in the house… well.) Even 2 gateway writers, at times, my having heard anedacta.
No, I have absolutely no idea what to do with that point of data, except I try not to write evil.
The other part of this was that after I put the last Keel book down, I started thinking: the left currently wants to humiliate and destroy and hurt humanity. And they despise humans as humans. Um…..
Anyway: if you have to go walking across that river, stick to the stepping stones. (Why the churches being shut down for a year and a half, effectively, probably are going to come back to bite us, honestly.) But if you can stick to the foggy shore, and ignore the voices that come from the fog. Particularly the ones who pretend to be enlightened and your friends, but obviously don’t like you much.
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. ;)*
Almira Hartington was heir to the largest fortune in the galaxy, amassed by her father during his time as a director of the Andromeda Company. But when Sir Josiah commits suicide, Almira discovers that she and her siblings are penniless. All three of them must learn to work if they wish to eat, and are quickly scattered to the far reaches of the universe. Almira stubbornly remains on-planet, determined to remain respectable despite the sneers of her former friends.
Sir Percy Wallingham pities the new Lady Hartington. But the lady’s family will take care of her, surely? It’s only after he encounters Almira in her new circumstances that he realizes the extent of her troubles and is determined to help her if he can. He doesn’t know that a scandal is brewing around Sir Josiah’s death and Almira’s exile from society. But it could cost him his life, and the lady he has come to love.
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.
Lord Axel Ivan Vinogradov Is a Mentalist with the Fast Reaction Teams that protect the small population of the Sanctioned Research World of Siberia Max from acquisitive Cross dimensional Worlds.
As the Three Part Alliance crumbles, Axel–code name Igor–finds himself overstretched between his duty, and his family. Especially after he is accused of murdering his corrupt and very much not-loved uncle.
As the conflict between primeval supernatural enemies heats up, her choice will tip the balance.
Six months ago Anastasia Fiore, an intelligence officer in Italy’s foreign security service, led an even more secret life on the side. She ran off-the-books missions with her friends Olivia and Beta, American and Czech foreign intelligence officers. The three women shared the same goal: take down predators.
And then Stasia’s life got way more interesting.
After a complicated, surreal mission that went sideways, Stasia learned that she has angel blood, making her an Elioud. She’s seen what Elioud warriors are called to do, and she’s not interested. Stasia can handle herself with a traditional surujin, a British WWII combat knife, or a 9mm handgun. But she prefers crafting a cover identity so compelling she can charm what she needs from her target instead. In fact, she’s so skilled that the Carabinieri’s Art Squad requests her help tracking down a stolen Rembrandt painting.
That’s what she was doing when Miró Kos, a Croatian Elioud she’s already chained, slashed, and drugged, showed up. He was there tracking the buyer, and whether Stasia likes it or not, she’s now inside another surreal mission. One that will make her question what her Elioud blood means. And what the quiet, intense warrior means to her. For his part, Miró cannot let another woman come before his duty. Or near his heart.
As Stasia sets out to recover the Rembrandt, she and Miró discover that there is more than a stolen painting at stake. And more than one Dark Irim stalking Stasia.
Can Tam successfully pose as a servant and discover which of the lords is a traitor? If she fails, not only will her family die, but their world will be thrown into chaos.
Amidst grief, she must undertake a dangerous rescue mission, aided by a mysterious alien relic. Can this young lass succeed or will the assassins at her heels cost her all?
You’ll love this Epic Fantasy, because it’s science fiction with a twist.
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.
*I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to resist these King Harv enormously fun posts. In fact, as we enter the hopefully final week of getting this house ready to sell, and moving our stuff, I have asked friends to design a little logo that will be on the side bar of this blog in future times… because it’s true I mean, I am still hoping to have Bowl of Red, the fourth Shifter out in October, as well as the reissues of Darkships. Oh, an The Long Purr Goodbye, which is the first of the uplifted cat books (Don’t panic. That will be followed by the second of Deep Pink: Deep Water. Because the “short novel” series will all alternate. Yes, Rhodes #2 probably in December.)
In fact under my own dictum for promoting those who support us, I’m talking to King Harv about possibilities of mutual promotion. A friend has suggested a King Harv Coffee Writing Contest (coffee being the prize, of course) and perhaps in future King Harv Coffee anthologies, in which the stories mention or revolve around or take place in their extensive coffee plantations in every known universe and some unknown ones. Anyway… I’ll get out of the way of the caffeinated tale. And go paint cabinets. Oh, joy! – SAH*
Camel Spider Coffee- a guest post by King Harv’s Imperial Coffees
Camel Spider Coffee
The True Tale of King Harv’s Most Unusual Coffee
Everybody loves Camel Spiders. At least that’s what I read at the university. So with no consideration at all for my personal safety I flew deep into the unforgiving desert, looking to meet these delightful creatures.
Now we all buy those plush Camel Spider toys for our children. And who doesn’t hang those comforting black velvet paintings in our tea rooms? Outside of the desert however, it is little known that Camel Spiders absolutely adore coffee, which they sadly have to steal from anywhere they can. Few are the natives who don’t have a story to tell of dark noises in the night, burlap bags being torn open, webs spraying about, and then the pitter patter of 8 legs dragging something heavy out the door. Editors Note: They usually only use 6 legs for walking, but coffee is heavy…
My job as principal coffee explorer for King Harv’s Imperial Coffees was to get to the bottom of all this. Were the spiders consuming the coffee? Drinking it? Changing it? To track them down, I first headed to see the village elder, a Mister Jirezinko, and asked for his assistance. Jerizenko eyed me closely, never blinking, with one bloodshot eye as black as the soul of a used car warranty salesman. The other eye was not an eye at all. It was the largest single coffee bean I’d ever seen, and from the looks of it it had been roasted recently. A clue indeed!
Elder Jirezinko led me to the house of a Spanish explorer named Habanero, who had last seen the camel spiders. Habanero had marked out the trail where the spiders had last traveled with their loot. And for a small fee, he agreed to lead me on a treacherous voyage into the unknown realm of the camel spiders.
5 Days and 5 nights we trudged through the sands. 5 Days and 5 nights without food and water. Habanero refused to bring both. It was fortunate that I had a few large Charleston Grey watermelons in my backpack, or things might have gotten grim. On the sixth day, amazingly, my cell phone rang. I picked it up immediately, pressed answer, and started to hear the long drawn out sales pitch that my 20 year old car warranty was about to expire, and I really should take them up on their offer. I quickly hung up and put it out of my mind. I would contemplate the warranty on a different day.
The seventh day was when I saw it. A distant oasis, protected by a wall of cemented predigested coffee beans. Just the tops of some trees were visible. And the noise of thousands of camel spiders.
I reached into my backpack, past the melted dark chocolate Kit Kat bars, beyond the stack of automobile warranty books, and there, just to the right of the last watermelon, was my portable espresso maker. So I began making espresso using some wonderful Malaysian Liberica beans from King Harv’s Imperial Coffees, www.kingharv.com, one of many many great and exotic coffees from King Harv’s with always free shipping. Such a selection! But I digress…
The aroma of the espresso was incredible, and as I predicted, slowly, cautiously, the leader of the camel spiders crawled out of a hidden break in the wall, and clicked its chelicerae in a welcoming pattern. I motioned Habanero to proceed, but he refused. No matter. This was my investigation. A private investigation. I would go alone.
I walked slowly and carefully towards the wall of chewed coffee beans, and saw the slanted entrance that the spider had used to lure me in. Once inside the walls, I beheld a sight never seen by a non-solifugae, the secret Camel Spider Coffee Plantation! They had not been stealing coffee to eat or drink after all, but to build these walls to hide and protect their sacred coffee plants. Thousands of eyes stared at me, seeming to bore into my soul. An annoying clicking sound was heard in the back, but it was quickly subdued by the other spiders. I turned towards the aging arachnid leader, where I saw she had scratched out some words in the sand, and gestured me to read them. “Hi Bill” it said. Flattered, I corrected her that my name is David, and after the equivalent of an arachnid muttering fit and a look of exasperation, she rewrote the message, this time correctly.
She then quickly wrote a longer, more detailed message. “All these coffee trees are yours, except for your mocha. Attempt no harvesting there.”
This sounded more than fair to me, and a deal was made. In exchange for harvesting rights, King Harv’s Imperial Coffees granted the arachnids perpetual rights to our roaster coffee bean chaff and residue, which they considered a delicacy. Hot dang they were happy. I was even invited to do the Spider Coffee dance with a few of the females, but remembering Adam West, I politely held off.
And now my tale has been told, and you too know the origin of the incredibly unique Camel Spider coffee from King Harv’s. High in caffeine, earthy in taste, with notes of tobacco in the finish, you’d definitely walk a mile for a Camel Spider Coffee.
Creepy Con and Herd Mentality a guest post by Amie Gibbons
Hey y’all. This isn’t really a legal post, so I don’t think I need to do my usual disclaimer, but I’m throwing out some theories here, so don’t take those as legal advice 😊
I went to Creepy Con in Knoxville last weekend, and it turned into a complete shit show. Now, there are parts of this story I don’t want to tell, because I let myself be bullied and I’m humiliated, especially since I consider myself a strong person most of the time, but I think it’s important for people to know how easily it can happen, because then maybe you’ll be prepared and better able to fight back.
It sounded like a great Con to promote my Scorpions series at, because that’s a paranormal thriller/horror series, and Creepy Con’s a horror con. When I applied as a vendor and paid for it near the beginning of July, I asked about the mask thing because they said on their site from the con in 2020 that masks were required. The vendor director, Jennifer, said that was a rule from last year, they’d revise the site for this year, and not to worry about it. So I bought a table.
A few weeks ago, Jennifer emailed all the vendors, stating the city of Knoxville imposed mask requirements inside their city buildings, and that the venue was a city building. So, of course I emailed, asking if there were still medical exemptions, or if I needed to cancel. She said nope, they would allow medical exemptions and not to worry about it. To send anyone who hassled me about it to her since I had a medical exemption.
Day before the con, another hiccup (I know, at this point, I should’ve just called it and stayed with the decision not to go). Amazon was supposed to deliver my author copies of my new books by Friday, but they said they were barely leaving and wouldn’t be in until Sunday. I was upset and gave up, just said I wasn’t going, I’ll do it next year, because there’s not much point without the new paperbacks for the Scorpions series. (I’d had the covers redone for the series so it matched the supernatural thriller/horror genre more, and those weren’t in yet.)
Friday morning, Amazon updated to say the books would be delivered Saturday morning. Okay, not ideal, but workable. I checked with Jennifer again about the masks, was asked if I could try a face shield because Knoxville was really cracking down. I said if I tried and it didn’t work for me, would I be okay without using it, or should I not come? She said if I tried and it didn’t work, I’d be fine.
I left BF at home for the night so he could get the books on Saturday and come out for the afternoon, and I figured I’d just sell the old cover ones for 1 and 2, and the 3rd ones had already come in, so I could sell the new one too.
At the con, I didn’t wear a mask. People helped me set up. It was great. Con opened to public at 6 pm. First staff person, the shrieking harpy who was the Mask Nazi of our story (I wish I could remember her name because I want to track her down and scream at her to get back for her screaming at me, but I’ll just call her Karen) to bug me about a mask, I said, “Talk to Jennifer. She said she’d bring me a face shield I can try because I have asthma and can’t wear a mask.”
“Oh, you’re that one.”
Red flag. I was that one. When someone says that about you, you are already other in their heads. I was the 1 person who wasn’t falling into line and wasn’t worried about fitting in or following the crowd, so I had just signaled to Karen that I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t part of the herd.
This is where all the theories of society, tribalism, and otherness come into play. We’ve all probably gotten a good idea of that over the past year and a half, if we didn’t just by watching politics since 2012. I’m guessing most of the people reading this blog are on a certain side, and are others in comparison to media. We’re used to being the other side, the thems, to most people in news, movies, TV, books, and so on. A lot of us indie authors are indie (well, because the contracts trad pub moved to are borderline abusive, but that’s for another post where I get into legal shit) but also because we’d never get through the gatekeepers without virtue signaling, if we’d even be considered, since we’re not the “nongendered, bisexual, mix of a bunch of ancestors with whatever color of skin is cool now” authors that they want now.
Yes, this is basically a rant, and tangents happen, it’s just how my brain works. Then I go chase it down and yank it back like the bunch of cats hopping around my office right now. (By the way, BF and I got 2 new kittens! We introduced them slowly so Merlin didn’t freak out, but now he’s just cranky because 2 mini mes are following him around, and getting attention from the humans. Pics below.) 😊
Back to the con. Jennifer brought me the face shield to try, stressing that the city made this rule, not them. I asked if I tried it and couldn’t do it, would it be okay if I didn’t wear one. She said yes, as long as I gave it a try. I pressed some more, asking if I’d be kicked out if I didn’t. She said no. So I tried the face shield. It squeezed my head, and I took it off.
I held the shield over my face whenever I was talking to a customer. Karen came back after I sat down, and scolded me like I was a child that I had to have the mask on when talking to customers. I said I had a medical exemption and had tried a mask and a face shield, and couldn’t, but was holding the face shield in front of my face when talking to people.
She got huffy, scolded me some more about how I was supposed to have it on all the time either way (funny since she’d just said I needed it when talking to customers) and went away when I held it up in front of my face like I was going to put it back around my head. I also had another staff guy come by and nicely remind me that I was supposed to have a mask on. I said medical exemption, and he left me alone.
Then Jennifer came up to me, saying I’d agreed to try the face shield, and we’d talked about this in emails. I said, we did, and she’d said I’d have to try, but it wouldn’t be a problem if I couldn’t use it after trying it. She gave me a look like she was furious and wanted to kick me out, or shove a mask down my throat, and said through clenched teeth that I had to have something up when talking to customers, that the city made these rules, not the Con. I said I was putting up the face shield to talk to people and she was like fine.
By this point, between the face shield starting a headache by putting pressure on my head (after only a few minutes, I’m not kidding) and people bugging me about the mask, my head really hurt and my anxiety was sky high. Turns out, even if you normally don’t give a shit about what others think and don’t even notice half the time that you’re being “the weird one,” you’ll feel the pressure to conform when people keep popping up out of nowhere to berate you about it. It got exhausting trying to defend myself against something I shouldn’t have had to in the first place, because I did my due diligence beforehand to make sure it wouldn’t be a problem.
This is where the wolves pushing the sheep are beating us. They turned the mask thing into a ‘You must do this or you kill people’ thing (don’t get me started on that bullshit), those in power who want to keep it shove that fear down people’s throats 24/7, and those people react to the fear. One reaction to fear is circling the wagons, which with this kind of manipulative fear turns into herd mentality. The sheep have to do something to protect from scary thing, but also have to make others do that, because if they don’t, the others not following will get the sheep into trouble/get them killed. Even if a rational person could look at the masks and figure out the masks aren’t doing anything to stop a virus, or that the scary virus isn’t more deadly than a flu.
I’ve had mild OCD all my life, so I get the response to the fear. It’s what I call magic thinking. You’re terrified of A, and have to control it so it doesn’t get you/the bad thing won’t happen. You are told (by others in this case, usually by your own brain when it’s OCD) that doing B will protect you from A, no questions asked. So you feel the compulsion to do B, because of the fear of A. Even when B would have to be a magic spell to actually protect you from A, you still do it, because of the fear. My example is when I was a kid, I felt I had to repeat a mantra every night 6 times before I went to sleep, because that would protect me overnight. It took me months to wean myself off of it by slowly scaling back how much I said each night.
That’s the mask thing. It’s basically an OCD response. But it’s created and implanted from the outside, instead of coming from your own brain. It’s anxiety over the fear of something that you can’t control, and the feeling you get when you are told you can control it if only you do this, and make others do it.
Back to the Con story. After getting out of there, I went to my friends (Brena Bock and Helen Werns, who are wonderful people that saved at least part of the weekend) where I was staying for the weekend, we hung, and I got to relax.
Saturday morning, went back to the con, had my silky scarf around me, and I pulled it up in front of my face as needed, like to talk to people, or just held up the face shield in front of me when I was talking to people. Made some more sales and handed out QR cards. I sat down and back away from my table between people wandering by. I was sitting there, head hurting again but not terrible, and BF was on his way with the books that came in, so things were looking up, like this wouldn’t be a waste. I was on edge because of the night before, and had to use my inhaler because stress can trigger asthma issues. (It also makes my body temp drop and I was chilly, hence the scarf over my arms.)
Karen popped up out of nowhere and full on harpy shrieked at me to put on my mask. That I had to have one on at all times. It shocked me, my anxiety immediately spiked to the ‘can’t handle this area,’ and my headache went from ‘ehhh, it’s there,’ to killing me, and my body temp dropped. I was in pain and freezing in a few seconds.
I said I was putting up the shield to talk to customers and I was back away from them when sitting. She shrieked again that I had to wear it at all times. And if I didn’t, then how was she supposed to make that vendor and that vendor wear theirs.
Ah ha. This is where they show the real power of the fear. The sheep are terrified if 1 doesn’t conform that others will follow, because they know they can’t control that many at once. And if that happened, then bad thing A would happen and/or they’d get in trouble with the wolf, who was the one really imposing the rules anyway. (Nice way a lot of places are coping out, by the way. It would’ve made more sense if they’d said in the, I think 4 times I asked about the mask thing if it was required, that it was required and I should just roll over my table to next year; AND if every customer was required to wear a mask because of the wolf’s rules, which they weren’t. I’d say about 10% of customers weren’t wearing masks.)
This is why you have to stand up, and, get others to. Because they can’t control us all. But I was on my own, and beaten down. I didn’t stand up. I was on empty. In that moment, I gave up.
It felt like an attack, and I wasn’t prepared to fight back. That’s the best excuse I have, because I should have. I should have screamed back at her. Fuck that, I should’ve punched her for screaming at me like that. Okay, fine, really I should have just lawyered her, argued her into submission because what are lawyers good at if not beating down the enemy with one argument after another. That’s what I should have done. I don’t take being screamed at very well. My system goes nuts. And I hate myself for not fighting back in that moment. I was so humiliated and upset. But, like an abused spouse, I pulled the scarf up just to get her to go away.
I went outside because my head was killing me and I was freezing. I called BF because I was upset and didn’t know what to do. I wanted to make money because after ordering paperbacks, the new covers, and my laptop crashing last month, plus the cost of the con, I needed to make it worth it, and sell. I was determined to stick it out and make it work after all that’d happened. And BF was on the way with the books, about 3 hours out, so I’d have the new covers soon. I called and told him what was going on. The more I talked about it, the more upset I got. And he was upset he wasn’t there with me to be backup.
The stupid thing is, if BF had come with me and just not stayed to get the books, he would’ve been there to fight with me, especially when I was getting worn down, but then I wouldn’t have had the books to sell, which was the point of going. But I didn’t even need the new covers books because I was so beat down, I ended up leaving. Yeah, the whole thing was stupid.
When I went back in, I didn’t put back on my mask. Told myself next staff member to bug me about it was gonna get it. I was going to tell them I had a medical exemption and to back the fuck off or kick me out.
This lasted about 10 minutes. Every time someone walked by wearing a staff shirt, my adrenaline spiked, the headache got worse, I was shaky, and having a hard time breathing. I couldn’t take being on edge and ready for a showdown like that for long.
So I wrote a note on my table explaining I was leaving because they lied to me about the masks, and I couldn’t wear one, but to please check me out online. And I left bookmarks and QR code cards there.
While I was packing up, 2 staff guys came over, said the note was unfair, and could they work with me. I told them everything that went down with Jennifer, how I was lied to, and the shrieking harpy that screamed at me, and that my head was killing me, so I had to leave then either way, and if they weren’t going to drop the mask thing, I couldn’t come back. They said the city was making them, it was the city’s rule, and they couldn’t do anything about it. I maintained the note was fair then because Jennifer lied to me. She could have told me when I asked right before the con that it would be a problem, and I would’ve said roll me over to next year, and left then. They were very nice (but still took my sign) and helped me pack and haul stuff to my car.
I drove back to my friends’ house, and nursed a headache for about 5 hours until it calmed down. They we hung out, BF was there by then, and we had a great time. On Sunday we did photoshoots for our paper books to do an online paperback sale because now I have a lot of paper copies and noooooo money. Yeah, I didn’t plan this well/was counting on at least a few hundred from the con. Never think you’ll make money at a con. Even without mask bullshit, you don’t know what’ll happen, no matter how many people who like what you make are there.
After that shit show known as Creepy Con, I still have a ton of paperbacks that aren’t going anywhere because all the other cons near here I was looking into are doing mask mandates now (at least they told the truth before I bought a table).
So, I’m having a “Creepy Con Lied, but my Zombie Tree Versions are Live, Paperback Sale,” AKA “Labor Day Sale,” for a week! 😊
Books are $10 each. The Supernatural Streets Anthology is $12. And the Evie Jones Compilation is $8.
Bullet bookmarks are $4 each, 3 for $10, OR, you get one free for every 3 books you buy.
Book sale: Buy 2 get 1 half off, buy 5 get 1 free, buy all 12 for the price of 10, which knocks it down to $100 total since you get the extra bonus of chopping down the cost of the Anthology. (Plus shipping and handling.)
Ariana’s a cute, spunky FBI agent who only has the job because she’s psychic, and she’s desperate to prove to her coworkers and herself that she’s more than just a pretty face on a too young psychic when a serial killer strikes.
Sarah is shattered after the man she loved dumped her, throwing away their life plans, and ran back home after college. But the refuge of home isn’t when strange things start happening. She’s not religious, but there are more things in Hell and Earth than are dreamt of in her philosophy. She’s going to have to face her fears and find her strength again before one of those dark things she doesn’t believe in uses her broken soul against her, and all of humankind.
Email Brena at Brena.Bock @ yahoo dot com to order your signed anthologies directly!
And, because I promised, kittens!!!
We got Elijah and Klaus last week, got Merlin acclimated to them, and now we have 3 monsters running around. 1 of which is really missing being an only child because his little brothers already love to follow him around and want to do everything he’s doing.
To contribute to my feed the kitties fund, go order your signed copies of my books, and your really cool author shot, author made bullet bookmarks. 😉
*Apologies to Amie, because I think I’m missing two kitty pics, but WordPress is being a pain and I’m tired of fighting it. Also, that kitty looking into the camera looks so much like Greebo as a baby that it hurts… SAH*
I don’t want to cast aspersions. After all, this is the only universe I’ve ever lived in. But this is the stupidest plot ever. And it’s becoming absolutely clear.
Look, it’s not that The Author hasn’t used idiot devices before. In fact lots of the major bestsellers do. Take Gavrilo Princip. He only managed to commit his fell deed and plunge Europe into the long war of the 20th century because the archduke’s driver got lost.
That’s not a plausible coincidence, though of course we’re advised that the coincidences can happen if they make things worse. And boy, howdy, did they make things worse.
This one is a plot in the fullest sense of the word.
I mean, the country has been taken over by conspirators who plotted with the aid, material and otherwise of China, to take over and “defeat” the US without physical war, which they’d lose.
And dear Lord, it’s stupid. In fact, it’s mentally deffective.
Though it works quite well from the point of view of narcissists trying to keep themselves safe and living high off the hog, and horse-laughing ‘apres moi le deluge.’
It works very badly for everyone else, though, including the whole human race.
This whole Afghanistan mess reeks of Chinese touches. Such as abandoning trained dogs, and making our troops clean the latrines in the airport. Not to mention turning away American citizens and leaving them stranded on foreign and hostile soil.
Our government is in effect treating us as though we were the defeated, who have to be humiliated and felt to know their humiliation so they don’t rise again.
Zhou Bai-den, vice roi to Winnie the Xi is in fact treating the US as a conquered power, because they believe we are. Having taken the institutions they now believe they own us body and soul. I don’t believe that is true, partly because I don’t believe Himself writes dystopian fiction, partly because I know the people of America have started ignoring orders en masse. Like the orders to re-mask. I believe that’s a leading indicator of our resistance to this entire insanity. (You don’t see that anywhere else. Or not yet.)
Of course Xi either hasn’t been told of that, or doesn’t believe it. And why should he? His contacts are with compliant leftists, and after all, our news makes us all sound like zombie slaves.
But our leftists should be getting the cold grue. If they’re not they’re dumber than even I think they are.
So, where does the stupid plot come in?
Well, see, it’s a Chinese plot. They’re a smart, capable people afflicted throughout history with the most bizarrely stupid forms of government. and they have a long history. History like that is like an iceberg, doing its own thing moved by really deep currents we don’t see.
China planned all this to get access to the rare Earths in Afghanistan. And to make America cower and fear them. The first worked, of course. And honestly — eyes Afghanistan, which is the land in which the evil fairytales and Greek legends still happen every day — those two cultures deserve each other. I want them both to lose, and then maybe te people oppressed by the fricking stupid cultures can finally be free and prosperous.
The second… They don’t realize mostly they’re making us really, really mad. We’re not Chinese. We won’t take our symbolic humiliation as the truth forever. But they don’t get that. They don’t get that this country is stuffed with the rebellious dregs that other places couldn’t hold. Oh, not all. In breeding there’s regression to mean, but I suspect most of us.
The other thing they don’t realize, and what makes THEIR plot particularly stupid is that they think of themselves as the only real people. It’s not even racism, so much as this neolithic tribal thing where “We are human, those over aren’t.”
This means they think of themselves as the hub and spoke of the universe. And they don’t understand that in doing all this shit, they’re going to wreck the American economy, or at least put us through turmoil for a while. And if America isn’t buying, all their rare Earths mastery is useless, because they never bothered having a consumer economy.
In fact, if America falls, China will fall also as will most of the world because we’re the largest consumer. We’re also, technically, the largest inovator. We drive the future. Without us, the future falls.
And that’s the stupid plot. When your bad guy’s entire plot consists of chopping down his own tower.
On the other hand, the Author knows what He’s doing. The plot works and is necessary for those who created it. Xi, because of his prejudices, and because of his despair to stay on top, had to bring us down. He could not allow things to go on. So, for him, this is a necessary plot. He has to do it, though it’s stupid.
And our idiots, including I’d bet you military brass and secret agencies, have been getting paid by China (in fiat currency, which the chinese claim is worth x and everyone believes. Dear LORD.)
And they can’t have that coming out, so they are willing to commit treason to keep themselves safe and prosperous at the expense of their country.
This too is an idiot plot. Because they can’t believe they’ll get away with it. Well, maybe for the rest of Biden’s life, but the others? Yeah, no. Do they think — supposing their plot worked and they destroyed us — they’ll have an honored place in China? If so, we need their craniums scanned for evidence of a BRAIN. I don’t know much Chinese history (Well, there’s o much of it) but I know enough to tell you they should hope the furious Americans get to them FIRST before that “honorable retirement.”
But they feel compelled to do it, and imagine that they’ll always be protected.
In a world of fiat currencies and make-believe knowledge (since the sixties, all humanities learning has been bullshit (except languages. Those are just badly taught, so that you’re better off teaching yourself.) when this crashes, and I estimate less than a year till we do something like a crash with what amount of violence I can’t tell you, but my sense of the future is fire and blood, we’re all going to be adrift. My family can’t be the only one going “how will we survive this?”
The one thing I can tell you is that we will. We’ll figure it out. We have to. Because if the US doesn’t survive humanity is lost. We have to survive and then light that torch of freedom and walk ahead showing them the way.
Of course, all I have is this blunt pencil and a bunch of stories. But I’ll get them to you in any way I can, and maybe that will be enough to live.
Be not afraid. We can figure it out. We’re the odds, who save the flock when things go inky. Or if you prefer: when the going gets weird, the weird go pro.
Start thinking ahead to the measure of the possible. when things are unstable, that’s sometimes days ahead. Lay in what you can. Plan what you can. Acquire all the abilities you can.
And remember you’re Americans. In the world, Americans are weirdors, anyway.
We were made for this sh*t.
Sursum corda. Plan, provision, look out for yours.
And keep your weapons and clothing where you can find them in the dark.
Government for the people by the people will not perish from this Earth. The plot will get difficult, but it will come about.
The quick summary: the new house (well, it’s my age, but it’s new to us) had some issues that home inspection failed to reveal. Or IOW we came in and turned a tap on and acquired a pet wall geyser.
We’re still mostly in Colorado, but had to be here for the plumbers, today. (Note this is not our first rodeo, and the seller bought us a home warranty at our request.)
So Friday and Saturday we were loading a second truck while I nailed down painting in the Colorado house (done) and then yesterday we spent 12 hours on the road. (LONG story.) Most of it without net access.
Today, first time I connected to the internet in the new house, I found out that L. Neil Smith had died.
This is not how I wanted to start the week… Or– Well, I knew he was having health issues, but I assumed he was as immortal as the Republic. (Yeah, I know, I know….)
I can’t remember when I met Neil. I’ve been cudgeling my noggin, and I just can’t remember. I know it was sometime before I won the Prometheus for Darkship Thieves.
But in my mind, it’s as if I’d always known him. (Probably because I’d read him before we met, and we emailed back and forth before we met in person.)
We didn’t agree on everything (I don’t agree on everything with myself, frankly. There are issues on which I have at least four opinions.)
I know we were exchanging emails encouraging the other on by … 2010?
The one thing we both agreed on is that we had each other’s back. That we agreed on, always. And after that we agreed pretty consistently on individual Liberty. There was a fight for individual liberty going on, and we were comrades at arms, even if mostly we fought with words.
I think everyone here knows that my decision to vote for Trump in 2016 was the joint work of L. Neil Smith and Jerry Pournelle in the week leading up to the election. For one thing if those two could agree that hard on something, and work that hard to change my mind, I had to examine their arguments and consider them.
Jerry, alas, left us shortly after.
And this year, since November, L. Neil Smith and his optimism “well, then we’ll work for Liberty harder” were one of my touch points to remain sane.
I won’t insult his disbelief by positing an afterlife for him. (Yeah, maybe he’s already found out differently, and if so, G-d is probably being asked some pointed questions… And is probably highly amused.)
But if he has one, I hope it’s something like the last time we met in person: when he received the Prometheus for lifetime work. Afterwards we were “kidnapped” for a party thrown by his fans, in which he got to speak at length and receive admiration for his work. And where the rest of us could bask in not feeling out of place for once and being able to bandy intellectual arguments without crying or denounciations.
I know this isn’t particularly coherent.
All I can say is I feel as though the guy next to me in the trenches had just been shot.
I’m going to miss his encouragement and his optimism, but most of all I’m going to miss him.
Rest in peace, old friend. Even indefatigable warriors get their rest in time.
Those of us who remain must fight on. But you won’t be forgotten.
Er… posting will be more erratic than normal through the 15th. We’re packing/driving between houses and trying to get floors done (though we hired painters. At husband’s insistence. Something about not letting me work myself into the ground.)
One disastrous side effect of this is that Dan and I will rarely be in the same house at the same time, and I can’t sleep without him, which means my ADD is through the roof. I’m continuously losing and forgetting things. Yesterday for instance, I plain FORGOT to post.
But more distracting is that internet access in Colorado is bizarre and nettus interruptus, which might or might not (but feels like) be enemy action.
So during the periods in CO I might not post at all, and while traveling it’s not likely.
I will try to post two or three times a week at a minimum, but bear with me please.
By the 15th I should be on full time except for unpacking and setting up rooms in the house, and redoing the room that will be my office. (it has plastic paneling on the walls, a popcorn ceiling, and a weird light fixture.)
But I’ll have a makeshift office in our bedroom, or at least a chair to sit on, as opposed to right now, when I’m working from my bed, either end of this, because it’s the bed or the floor.
I have stuff I need to write to you about, but not right now, since my head is keeping tabs of about ten things that need to be done. So, I thought I’d post a snapshot of my day, so you get an idea, and also so maybe (if I survive this) in ten years I can look back and go: “wow that was effed up.”
We have carpet installers doing the hallway and stairs, right now. I’m sending out final questions before deciding on a painter. We just had faucets installed, which means I have a dishwasher again. (yay) So, there’s a load of wash going.
I have some stuff to do for my comics publisher. After which we’re going to move the glass table top from the van.
Meanwhile, I’m washing my painting clothes, because I managed to run out. After which I get to put bathroom #2 back together.
Then two donation runs in the van, which means son and I need to fill it. Then a storage unit run. And a post awful run.
And then if I’m still standing, I get to seal the shower stand.
I’d really like to post at instapundit tonight, but heaven only knows if I’ll be awake enough to do it.
Oh, yeah, also all my joints hurt right now, because going up and down in altitude drives the automimmune bonkers.
Tomorrow is about the same. I’ll try to find time for a real post!
*Jonathan says this was inspired by my post on unschooling oneself. I have to say that there was one signal occasion in which we all pooled our ignorance: my very first writers group. we really had not a clue. But fumbling together, we all became markedly better writers and eventually all were published. No, I don’t know how it works, but it works. -SAH*
Pooling Ignorance- A Guest Post By Jonathan R. Lightfoot
I don’t precisely remember when I first used my off-the-cuff catch-phrase at work over 10 years ago, nor whether I had seen it somewhere and adopted it or just created it myself. Original or not, it is the truth of it that is important. As long as it stays true it matters not whether I borrowed it or not (though I like to give attribution when due and known).
“Let’s Pool our Ignorance” It is a Paradox. When I first used it It was a seeming self-deprecation that was also a form of arrogance. No, I don’t know the answer, but yes I can get a good result, answer the question, find out what we need to know and do what we need to do — Without another set of credentials or series of classes.
It was also my way of giving the questioner buy-in to the situation. You are asking me a question, but you may already know more of the answer than you think you do. Let’s take what we both don’t know and come up with a working solution.
The deep dark secret within pooling of ignorance is that most of the time we know hardly anything about the subjects and issues we deal with on a daily basis, but this doesn’t prevent us from living successful and well-ordered lives where our ignorance always highly exceeds what we know.
So how does one Pool Ignorance successfully? It starts by taking a personal inventory of what you think you already know. Don’t be surprised if you know a lot more than you thought you did, and don’t be disappointed if you know a lot less than you hoped. Sometimes the big holes tell you more than the well-ordered facts.
This is followed by interviewing the other people you are pooling ignorance with, to see how much you have in common, what is different, and variations in what was presumed to be the same pieces of data.
I base my pooling on a world view gained through a liberal arts education and a liberal arts mode of thinking. Almost any thought, idea or fact I can find I can place it somewhere within the framework of the things I already know. This means that the great gaps of ignorance are a part of the great matrix of knowledge and learning that I have begun and will continue, for the rest of my life. I may look at sections of it in hindsight with a completely different perspective and conclusion than when I began, but I am able to build upon it filling up some holes, replacing some spans with new data, and make sense of what would otherwise be an often senseless world.
They say that one of the hardest things for anyone to say is “I don’t know”. But when you pool ignorance, you say this, freely, and without shame, all the time. When you pool ignorance you find other people fascinating as you gather what they know, and often help them understand better what they already knew as you discover great new answers, avenues and vistas.
Covid has turned may of our lives upside down. I have been unemployed for over a year, and during that time I have faced several unexpected projects at home. It has pushed me into the position of a general contractor on projects related to plumbing, masonry, carpentry, electrical, landscaping. I was told first off by a good friend that just one of those projects was too big to do, I should give it up. But I cycled through him and others, who helped and walked off, and I picked the brains of many others on what to do. Some of the most emphatic “you can never do it that way” type people were the greatest help, as I blazed forward after doing it the way they said it couldn’t be done.
I didn’t do all the work myself. My hands didn’t have the skill the physically do it all, but I was able to understand what had to be done in those cases, and find the people with the skills, not the ones who could say the right words, but the ones who could actually do the work.
And I had my failures here and there. But they were the greatest successes of all. What I learned from them was invaluable.
Pooling ignorance is liberating. There isn’t only just one right answer or way to do most things. There are many ways and opportunities, and you can try many of them. Now, when something is wrong it is wrong, but more often there is a multitude of right options to choose from.
School may not make us memorize lists by rote, but practically it does make us learn the one way, the right way. Get out of that mentality, and find the freedom in an ignorance that knows more when it knows less and takes advantage of what it does not know to leverage a better future.
There has been an image in my mind which I unfortunately can’t find to illustrate this (well, not free) of a line of refugees by the road side, with all their possessions in a wheelbarrow.
This might be because it seems like 80% of my friends are moving or trying to move in the next few months, usually across states. It might be because on a recent trip to Home Depot for varnish, I found that only about 3 in ten cars even have Colorado plates. And a lot of those are temporary tags.
Or it could be a deranged conviction is growing in me that if we don’t get out by mid-September, we’re not getting out. And as the list of tasks multiplies, this gets very depressing.
Perhaps it is simply that I haven’t been able to write, and am going slightly mad.
It probably helps not at all that I’ve been listening to Amity Schlaes The Forgotten Man and slowly realizing that all the crap we’re going through has the sticky fingerprints of FDR and his “brain trust” (mostly commies, to be honest) all over it.
Like, take how fucked my field is…. Well, they paid writers to write what amounted to propaganda pieces some of them supposed fiction.
In fact, other than prolonging the misery and the great depression, al the New Deal did — and did well — was propaganda to sell themselves as saviors.
Of course that gadget is broken. If Obama had had mass media and total control, we’d think of him as many still think of FDR.
This brings to mind what is creating this big movement — the so called elites who would plan our lives have no clue, by the way. They are actually trying to ignore all the moves because it confuses them — which is the fact that if you take control of even a state’s government by crooked means (Colorado, if the elections were fair, the asshats would be eager to have them examined, not try to hide them. Also, I’m sorry, there’s no way the elections are fair) you can control people’s lives with dictator-like powers and make the state unlivable, in pursuit of the little twinkling sounds in your brain, or something.
You can for instance decide that you’re resettling refugees, when you’re turning the state into a vast illegal camp; or you can decide that the expensive convention center in the capital is now a homeless shelter; or you can allow homeless to camp all over Denver after the people defeat that in the polls; or you can make it impossible to earn a living in a state; or–
The possibilities are endless.
However, when a state, a region or a country become a source of refugees, the reason is always the same “too much power in too few hands.”
When people arrogate to themselves the right to decide everything for everyone else, because they believe they know how everyone should live, the result is always refugees. There is no reprieve.
And don’t get me started on allowing a stolen election to stand, and a traitor (lending aid and comfort to a declared enemy IS the definition of treason) to destroy the country on his say so and the say so of his merry band of crazies.
And if you’re going to dispute that traitor thing, here is the list of equipment and other stuff left behind for the Taliban (not to mention tens of thousands of potential American victims and hostages):
Here is a more complete list (Forbes) of US-supplied and left behind equipment list now controlled by Taliban. Makes our efforts look almost minuscule. At least the guys we supported knew SOMEBODY here … gave a shit.
-2,000 Armored Vehicles Including Humvees and MRAP’s
-75,989 Total Vehicles: FMTV, M35, Ford Rangers, Ford F350, Ford Vans, Toyota Pickups, Armored Security Vehicles etc…
-45 UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters
-50 MD530G Scout Attack Choppers
-ScanEagle Military Drones
-30 Military Version Cessnas
-29 Brazilian made A-29 Super Tucano Ground Attack Aircraft
=208+ Aircraft Total!!
-At least 600,000+ Small arms M16, M249 SAWs, M24 Sniper Systems, 50 Calibers, 1,394 M203 Grenade Launchers, M134 Mini Gun, 20mm Gatling Guns and Ammunition
-61,000 M203 Rounds
-Mortars +1,000’s of Rounds
-162,000 pieces of Encrypted Military Communications Gear