I’m Not A Widget

I almost titled this post “I’m not a woman” but the speculation would be insane. For the record I’m not “a woman”. I’m not “A man” either or “A mammal” for that matter.

I’m me.

I’m getting somewhat sick and tired of being lumped all in a group, and having things said about me that go something like “Women think” or “Women want” or heaven forbid “Women hurt most.”

Yeah, I know I often refer to women or men as a group. Sure. What I mean by that, in that instance is “A statistically average woman” which is a bit of a mathematical fiction. (Though not as much as a perfectly spherical cow, of uniform density, in a frictionless vacuum.)

Which is why I tend to talk about groups. The social mode of women comes out when there’s a majority of women in a work place or an industry for instance. It doesn’t tell us anything about a particular woman in that industry or that place.

So, why have I got that bee under that particular bonnet now?

Well, it’s not a bee. It’s probably a cicada, because it’s really noisy, but–

It’s the whole “drive to make everyone equal.” It drives me a little insane. I’m starting to suspect for some people — at least those who aren’t just stupid and insane — the drive is because of some perceived, (and perhaps real) injustice and mistreatment in their childhood from which they never recovered. At least I’m puzzled at “feed them and exercise them alike” in the comments on “two by two” referring to males and females, and that’s the only explanation I can find.

For those who’ve never raised kids, even in Portugal, which is a for-real sexist country, and was more so when I was little, sure, you might send your daughters to the village school, and your boys to the private school, for reasons of the boys making contacts that would help them in later life, mostly, but you didn’t refuse to feed the women/feed them less, or exercise the boys more than the girls. Heck, till I went to the all-girl school, we had gym with the boys. Also, until puberty, I could beat them all at rugby. Then testosterone gave them an unfair advantage.

Boys and women eat and exercise differently (boys tend to prefer more violent sports. Not all boys, of course.) because the hormones pumping through their veins and dictating their development are different since before they’re born. It’s not how we treat them, it’s what they are.

Which then brings us to making all women alike.

Recently I got yelled at (which is why my posts are going to be at weird times, until things stabilize) for my bizarre sleep-hygiene. Apparently — clears throat embarrassedly — while you can learn to sleep just under 5 hours a night and function fine for years, it’s like the joke my mom told about the Spaniard’s donkey “Just when she learned not to eat, she died.”

So I’m under strict orders to get off the net two hours before going to bed (backlit screens in general) and…. other stuff.

Why does this have anything to do with making women equal to men, or women equal to all other women?

Because the reason I got into this predicament was that I really, really — REALLY — wanted to write stories. And that meant that I had to steal sleep somewhere, so I could raise the kids, refinish the furniture, cook the food, and break into publishing, then keep up a more-active than normal writing life.

Look, would you impose that on any other woman? Even another woman who wanted to be a writer? I wouldn’t and I did it. I just really, really, really wanted to be a professional writer. And a mother. And the lack of enough hours in the day (or night) had to be overcome somehow.

On the other hand, I know women who spend two hours every morning (or evening) on their “beauty routine.” I never had patience. I don’t even remember to slap on moisturizer most of the time.

To force all of us to behave according to one or the other pattern would be painful, and probably stupid, not to mean lethal, if you mean my routine, because it is, as I’ve been assured “Killing yourself on the installment plan.” (I’m trying to fix it, okay?)

So.

“Women want!”

I don’t know about you, but I want a lot of things, and very few have anything to do with the equipment between my legs, or the hormones in my veins.

Yes, I wanted to have and raise kids, but so did my husband, which is why we went through infertility. That I was the one who’d bear them, was just the situation. I mean, no, he couldn’t do it.

I wanted to stay home with the kids, but it also was more convenient, because it was easier to steal sleep from that than from a conventional job, and I go a little bit loopy when not writing. But also Dan had better prospects, period. So I was the one who stayed home.

But I wanted a career, so I broke myself working for it.

Look — I’m me. I’m not “a woman”. I am physically weaker than most males, true. But for most of what I want to do that doesn’t count.

And intellectually I have more in common with Dave Freer than with most women, even my female friends. Because we both know what it’s like to want people to write our stories. And we’ve both worked crazy stupid hours to do it. And we both have the experience of trad pub. And–

Why is it that the promoters of equality are literally that. They not only want to make men and women EQUAL and believe that’s possible to a level it biologically isn’t, but they want to make everyone equal.

Poor sleep and crazy work times for everyone!

Only, of course, I wouldn’t be allowed to write. To strike a blow for equality, I should absolutely be an engineer, or at doctor, or at least a high powered lawyer.

Because …. women aren’t allowed to want to do things that don’t prove they’re as good as or better than men.

All animals must be made alike. Particularly if they don’t want to.

Meh.

I’m not a widget. I’m not part of any lumpen group. I’m not following any group I’m forced into.

I’ll be over there, doing my thing.

And the equalizers can learn to leave me and those like me the heck alone.

Perchance To Dream

There is a reason that when I sat down to create a “future history” (I thought it was needed. Look, also shuddup. I was green as leeks and twice and dumb) I had it start with people going hog wild for bio improvements. (Also for having kids created in factory style batch lots, including by gestating them in animals, particularly in China and Russia, because, well…. Population crashing. Let me tell you how many times i got stories rejected in the 80s and nineties for that assumption. (Laughs in looking at the facts not the fads.))

Why? Because given a chance, humans would absolutely do all this.

Like pimply teenagers, we look in the mirror and think “If only.”

And every time we have attempted — every single time throughout history — it ends in tears.

From the early Christians trying to live in perfect communitarian religious communities, to the weird experiments of the puritans, to the kibutzim, and before that, and undoubtedly after, time out of mind either way, humans have engaged in the equivalent of body modification, only often what we’re trying to modify is the spirit.

And what is difficult about that is that we’re not spirits, floating mid-air. (This, honestly is very annoying to me, as half the time I forget I have a body, even when it’s having a massive skin eruption) but spirits tied in to the body. You can’t just change the mind, without taking in account the body and where it comes from, and what it wants.

One of the most brilliant illustrations of this, btw, was PTerry’s when he has the auditors take human bodies. Form dictates function, so they start becoming human despite themselves.

Because again, humans aren’t pure spirit.

No matter how much humans want to make us to order, we keep beating our heads against the ape body.

My position, of course, was that remaking the body would be even worse, but that’s something else again. (I do know, thank you so much, the curse of what many people think is desirable like high intelligence, or other abilities that are out of the ordinary. If we really had naturally occurring super powers we wouldn’t because people would kill themselves in the first generation.)

Yes, humans are social apes, but we are not infinitely plastic.

The little thing we ran into in the “Two by Two” comments (no, not the incredibly chauvinistic one, where women don’t know what turns them on, but the other one, where humans are infinitely malleable) is part of the whole “Teach men not to rape.” and what the #metoo project was really all about. (It wasn’t about rape, because it was supposed to be something all women have experienced, so either the organizers are even more delusional than they sound — possible, granted — or it was about causal sexism which kind of like “structural” racism is supposed to be everywhere and invisible. What it accidentally revealed is that fields infested by leftists are rape-town, because most of these are seventies leftists, which means they were taught on Freud pap, and to refuse sex at any time and with anything — male, female, floor lamp — meant you were repressed and would eventually go on a mass-murdering spree.)

You can teach men not to rape. In fact we do. With an astonishing rate of success, if you look back on the rather sketch history of the human race and how many rapes of opportunity occurred almost casually even in historical times, so how many must have occurred in pre-history. And how many occur in our animal cousins close to us.

What we can’t do is make sure NO MAN commits rapes, ever. (Any theory that begins and ends with “if only everyone” is evil.) Because the poor dears are sperm delivery systems on legs, and if they aren’t taught and socialized to be mindful of what women want, they’ll be like dolphins (and bonobos. BTW you might want to read up on what bonobos REALLY are from rape to casual killing. Which, to be fair, is fairly representative from the — thank heavens very short lived — female lead cults and society-lets we know about.) I.e. they’ll screw anything that lives or even waves in the wind. Any hole in a storm and never mind consent.

It’s time to lay to rest now and forever the stupid idea of Rousseau’s that unschooled humans are “noble savages.” We have plenty of examples of modern primitives and regressed societies. We even have examples — waves at China, not to mention every communist “utopia” ever — of erasing and making it illegal to teach the past, down to fairy tales. They are horror stories, by and large, not utopias.

Humans are made or built by evolution — I don’t really care which you believe — from the clay of the Earth, meaning on the frame of an Earth animal. Our closest relatives seem to be chimps (though not that close, TBF) and someone recently came up with some study about how we actually more resemble gorillas, but I didn’t do a deep dive, and now I don’t remember where it was, so I can’t swear it makes any sense. Most of these social science things are irreproducible anyway.

Probably what has affected us most is our size dimorphism. Men are much larger than women, but more importantly they’re ridiculously strong compared to women. In a time and place where survival wasn’t guaranteed and everything wanted to kill you, men had a huge advantage over females. The females also had a huge advantage over men. You see, we have a super power. We can produce babies. INSIDE OUR BODIES. The creatures that make the present worthwhile — the future of us — are just mysteriously grown inside women. Men wanted that, but they also wanted to make sure the babies were theirs. Every variation of marriage, rape, conquest, our entire complex society comes from these two facts. As do the different — INSTINCTIVE — responses of males and females.

Look let’s be real. We now know there were humans on the Earth a quarter of a million years ago, and there’s suspicions of much, much older. That’s…. a very long time, in terms of human generations.

Humans were selected according to the different pressures on the sexes.

And yes, we know — heck, every animal breeder knows — character and basic traits are inherited.

Men were selected for being protectors, for being dominant, for being good at passing on their genes (the rapists you shall always have with you. It’s an unorthodox form of reproduction, that obviously worked) and women were selected for being able to attach to the man who would keep her kids safe, and bullying the other women enough that her kids were looked after preferentially.

Spare me the great matriarchies, which even some libertarians believe in. That’s bullshit on stilts, a feminist retelling of the Garden of Eden projected back on a time when no one can say for sure if it existed. But we can. Everyone of the “great matriarchies” as we find out more end up not only not being that, but being horrifically, bizarrely bad for women. Like… yes, Sparta. (Who in heck thought that was a great Matriarchy. I guess people older than I, because by the time I got to school no one even tried to sell me that one.) Or Crete. Or any of those.

Also we know — WE KNOW — that none of the modern primitives are matriarchal. Some are matrilineal but if you think the Zulus are a great matriarchy because the male in the household is your oldest uncle, I recommend you go and have your head examined. There are others, where the women are agricultural while the men are still hunters which moderns try to interpret as “the women own the land, the women rule.” This might be more stupid than men thinking women are more visual in regard to sex, or that we’re always ready to have sex with anything: men, women, small reptilian creatures.

There have been societies that worshiped goddesses, yes. If you think the Phoenicians were better for women, you haven’t read much about it.

But, Sarah, you’ll say, nowadays we don’t need to have strict marriage arrangements to know the paternity of the child. And we have guns, so women being smaller and weaker is not a big deal.

Sure. But go look at at least a quarter million years of evolutionary and breeding pressures shaping humanity’s deep drives.

Call them instinct, call them what the heck you will, inate drives cannot be overwritten in a generation or two. There’s some idea that they can’t be overwritten in a millenium or two.

We are what we are. Jumped up great apes.

Sure, you can raise women and men to think they’re absolutely equal. Dress them the same, give them the same haircuts, enforce the same rules on them.

Believe it or not it’s been tried, again and again, including with sects that tried to suppress the very idea of sex by not showing la difference. (No, I don’t have references to hand, because my fargin library is still packed, and I am over fifty and can’t remember titles and names off the top of my head.)

It works “great” every time, until the kids hit puberty, utterly unprepared for it.

I know of these experiments, because LEFTIST anthropologists used to point to them as the reason Freud was right and the worst thing possible was the repression of the sexual drive. (Even when that wasn’t exactly what was being repressed.)

And yes, experiments have been tried, particularly in the seventies, where you just slept with everything in sight. That also ended in tears.

Humans are humans, formed from deep evolutionary pressures.

To raise kids as though they were angels, just leaves them defenseless as they become adults.

To raise girls to be boys “You shall have all the sex. The most important thing is open competition and career” gives you deeply unhappy women.

It is better to raise kids as though they were individuals. You do of course teach them what you believe, but you don’t make them live it from the earliest age, which is why religious orders no longer take oblates.

Will some people be perfectly happy living in completely equal circumstances? Well, we have religious orders.

Will some people like living in free for all sexual communities? Some people do. Fewer successfully than in religious orders, because when sex rears its interesting head, it’s much harder to share and share alike.

Does either of these work for the majority of people? Oh, for the love of Bob. No. And attempts to enforce it always become horrors.

We can’t remake humanity overnight.

We are remaking ourselves, in a way, with stuff like guns, the contraceptive pill, antibiotics.

But the result will take ten thousand years to work through.

Attempts to force it early will only destroy humanity.

Keep the dreams in science fiction. When they get lose in real life, they suck real life dry.

Humans are not play things or widgets. Each of us carries the impulses and temperamental tendencies of ancestors long turned to dust. Different for everyone, of course. It is from our differences that society is born, and achievements too.

Forget grand plans. Let individuals be individual.

Vive la difference!

How to Add More LGBTQ characters to your fiction – a guest post by frank fleming

This Parrot is so gay Disney would melt.

I think the biggest complaints people get about their fiction these days is, “Why aren’t there more LGBTQ characters in it?”

And you’re probably trying your best. Maybe you’ve made every main character and every secondary character LGBTQ and the only straight character left is the villain (who is closeted gay), but it still just doesn’t feel inclusive enough.

Well, I’m here to help with tips to cram even more LGBTQ characters into your story. I mean, the last thing you want to hear is some reader say, “There are only eight gay people in this story? What is this? Victorian England?” before chucking your book into the fire. But you won’t have to worry about that if you follow my advice.

HOW TO ADD MORE LGBTQ CHARACTERS TO YOUR FICTION

Fill any empty space. The easiest way to add more LGBTQ characters to your story is to simply add more characters. You might say, “But my story can’t really use any more characters.” Well, if you’re putting your story above inclusivity, you’re part of the problem.

For instance, maybe you have the protagonist being chased through an empty warehouse by the killer. Sorry, but that’s just not going to do; that’s a wasted opportunity. Instead, fill that warehouse full of people who are all LGBTQ. That will change the mood of the scene a bit, but it’s what’s needed.

Now, the challenge is quickly establishing all the people in the background are LGBTQ. If you just write, “He ran through a crowd of people in the warehouse,” for all your readers know, those could be straight people. No one wants that. So you’re going to have to go through and describe each person and make it quickly clear they’re LGBTQ. And you’re going to have to be careful here not to rely on stereotypes. And you probably can’t just have everyone making out; maybe some could be wearing various flag shirts to make it clear what they are. Also, a character or two could shout something out like, “I love being a bisexual!” (this was similar to the method used in the 1990 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to make it clear the main characters were turtles).

Other things than people can be LGBTQ. So you’ve got every scene in your story chock full of LGBTQ people, but it still feels you can do better. Well, what about any animals mentioned in the story? Can’t they be LGBTQ as well? Like if you mentioned a squirrel running through a park or fly buzzing by — you can make them LGBTQ as well. It’s a bit harder to quickly establish an animal is LGBTQ, though, since they can’t shout out, “I love being bisexual!” — except for parrots. Actually, that’s probably the best solution there: Have lots of talking parrots flying around.

And what if you have a chapter where you describe a tree, can the tree be trans? I’m not sure how that would work, but it’s worth considering. There are usually lots of plants around everywhere, and if it can all be LGBTQ, the better.

And what about inanimate objects? Can buildings, rocks, and fire hydrants be LGBTQ? I’m not sure how, but if you can crack that you’ll have great fiction.

Make your words LGBTQ. Okay, so now you’ve made absolutely everything mentioned in your story LGBTQ. It starts with a dark and stormy night, and you made it clear the dark is a lesbian, the night is bisexual, and the storm is non-binary. Still, it feels you can do more. Well, how about making the words you write be LGBTQ.

This is trickier. You could just say, “Well, could I use a gayer word than this one?” — though I won’t go into specifics there. But here’s another option: When I was a kid, we often used the word “bad” to actually mean “good.” That’s basically a trans-word — a negative word identifying as a positive word. Use lots of words like that; it might make your prose confusing, but again, think of what you gain in inclusivity.

And there you have it. Follow all that advice, and your story will be so inclusive that people’s eyes will melt and progressives will cancel themselves in shame compared to your glory. You might have to jettison some plot and coherency for all this, but that isn’t what today’s audiences want anyway.


Sarah here: You guys might want to check out Frank’s Superego Betrayal, now in audio!

Superego: Betrayal

Terrorists. A ruthless criminal syndicate. A warmongering dictatorship. And those are just Rico’s allies.

With the civilized universe conquered, it’s up to the uncivilized to fight back. Rico prefers working alone, but this time, he’s leading an army against his two greatest enemies, who both have one thing in common: Rico’s own DNA.

Fighting a personal battle on a galactic scale, Rico enlists thieves, murderers, and malcontents (plus one space princess) to help him save the universe from tyranny.

And considering Rico’s new associates, it’s not a question of whether he’ll be betrayed, but when, and by whom.

STILL SARAH SPEAKING: Also, I want to thank Frank for finally making me understand why the left hated my book A Few Good Men (the title is a nod to the world building. Never mind) and kept claiming it wasn’t gay. Before I reissue it, I shall add lots of gay parrots. Will need to be lots of them, because Nat Remy will shoot them down as soon as they open beak. you know it, and I know it.

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

Book promo

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. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.

*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH*

FROM DALE R. COZORT: All Timelines Lead to Rome

A dead woman’s cell phone chip leads to a mystery spanning the U.S. rustbelt, a surviving Roman empire and a North America without Europeans.

FROM NATHAN C. BRINDLE: The Lion of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM C. CHANCY: Oni the Lonely (NOW IN PAPERBACK, TOO)

A grieving mountain cove doctor. A pair of wayward oni. A curse borne on the black wings of crows.

The Rivertown Shopping Village has seen a lot of strange proprietors. An oni painter on the run from a bad breakup is a new one. Maple Leaf Studio opened with blazing color, but will a haunting end Kyosai Momoji’s dream before it begins?

At the south end of Rivertown, Rain McKee delivers soap and perfume with a hint of mountain blessings, picking up her life in the wake of her grandparents’ deaths. Deaths that may have been from a firstborn curse….

Kyosai’s a firstborn, and oni attract trouble like lightning strikes. If either of them want to survive, they’ll have to face haunts, monsters, and a curse so ancient no living mortal knows its name.

The Appalachians are old; the evils lurking there, older still….

(If you want ancient folklore, modern magic, and a love story that prioritizes friendship first, this is the slow burn for you!)

First in the Hidden Coves series!

FROM CLAYTON BARNETT: Princess’ Crusade

After nearly a generation the city-state of Knoxville is beginning to thrive following the collapse of the United States. However, its closest outlet to the sea, the port of Savannah, over the mountains and downriver, is occupied by the Chinese Army who impose crushing tariffs. The city fathers have only one person to turn to for help.Growing up trained by her military father and with a nervous system vastly modified by the Thinking Machines, Faustina Hartmann builds a private army of two brigades – called legions – to march on the Savannah garrison and liberate it, for her city and herself. But the Chinese have many technological advantages, not the least of which is their orbital bombardment battle station.Calling herself demi-human, Faustina’s ambition far outstrips the liberation of one port city. As the interior of America comes back to life it will need a strong guiding hand and she sees that hand as her own.

FROM D LAWDOG AND CEDAR SANDERSON: The Ratel Saga

All they wanted was to dig a pit trap and get a pet. The local African wildlife didn’t agree to either part of this plan…

A riotously funny activity book, field guide to (some)African fauna, and a story of growing up.
We strongly recommend that you do NOT try any of these things at home. However, you should definitely read where you can laugh out loud, as you should color outside the lines.

From the team that brought you Taskforce Chiweenie: The Poultry Liberation Front, The Ratel Saga is a (mostly) true story illustrated by a certified natural history illustrator who wants you to know this is moderately child friendly, even if the events depicted were a little hard on the adults involved .

Parental Supervision Advised

FROM SAM SCHALL: Destiny from Ashes (Honor & Duty Book 8)

Colonel Ashlyn Shaw is on a collision course with an enemy determined to destroy her and all she holds dear. Honor demands she not turn away from the upcoming battle. Duty requires her to do whatever is necessary to protect her command and her home system. The Corps and her family stand with her, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to finally bring this war to an end.

But when the enemy turns out to be closer than she thinks, how will Ashlyn react? Will this finally be what breaks her or will it see the might of the Fuerconese Marine Corps raining death and destruction down on all who would stand against Fuercon and her enemies?

Honor and duty. Corps and family. These are the hills upon which Ash and every Marine in her command will live and possibly die as they fight to protect Fuercon and her allies.

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Relief Afar: A Martha’s Sons Short Story

Even on a lost colony world, secret enclaves have something to offer—but not when an insider sees a newcomer as the enemy.

Twenty-year-old Peter Dawe’s exile gets worse. Not only is he forbidden the lost colony’s city and his family’s freehold, but even his brother’s isolated farm no longer offers refuge. Of necessity, he heads north, away from humanity’s terraformed valley towards the hidden enclave where pioneers push back the forbidding flora and fauna of the planet’s native terrain. They call it Kentucky

Young volunteers from First Landing’s northern families work to terraform the plains beyond the mountains. They’ve known each other all their lives and spent the summer working together. Peter’s presence should be a welcome addition to the small group.

After what he did to protect his brother’s family, Peter has resolved not to fight again—at least not for a good long time. When another man seeks to test himself against Peter and Peter’s past violence, Peter faces a choice. Does he confront what he’s tried to leave behind, or does he show he understands the hard lessons life insists on teaching him?

Relief Afar offers another window into the lost colony world of Not What We Were Looking For. If you wonder what it’s like to build a new life on an unwelcoming planet, and if you want to see what lies in store next for this son of Martha, you’ll want to jump right into the newest tale.

Buy Relief Afar to transcend exile today!

FROM DAVE FREER: Cloud-Castles

Augustus Thistlewood was an idealist. The youngest scion of a vastly wealthy family, he’d come to help the poor, deprived people of the strange world of Sybill III – a gas-dwarf world with no habitable land. The human population, descendants of a crashed convict transport, lived on a tiny, crowded, alien antigravity plate they called ‘the Big Syd’, drifting through the clouds in the upper atmosphere. It was a few square miles of squalor, in a vast sea of sky, ruled by the degenerate relics of two alien empires.
The problem was that the people of the Big Syd wanted to help themselves, first – to his money, his liberty, and even his life.
Only two things stood between them and this: the first was his ‘assistant’ Briz, – a ragged urchin he’d picked up as a guide. She reckoned if anyone was going to steal from Augustus, it was going to be her, even if she had to keep him alive so that she could do it. And the second thing was Augustus himself. He didn’t know what ‘giving up’ meant. Actually, he didn’t know what most things meant. As a naïve, wide-eyed innocent blundering through the cess-pit of Sybill III, he was going to have to learn, mostly the hard way. Some of that learning was going to be out in the strange society that existed on the endless drifting clumps of airborne vegetation, and the Cloud-Castles of the aliens who hunted across them. Most of it was learning that philanthropy wasn’t quite what they’d taught him in college.

FROM ANNA FERREIRA: A Capital Whip: A Pride and Prejudice Sequel

An invalid for much of her life, Miss Anne de Bourgh has precisely one accomplishment: carriage driving. She is proud of her skill with reins and whip, and justifiably so.

But when another young lady moves into the neighborhood, and challenges Anne’s place as the most accomplished driver in Hunsford, Anne must prove to herself, to her beloved horses, and to her family that she is worthy of the name de Bourgh, and she does not shrink away from a challenge.

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: geese

ALL RIGHT FIXED FREE PIC.

Sorry, guys. I emailed myself the wrong one, and that’s the one that went up because it was the only one on the travel computer.

This Picture was created by Sarah A. Hoyt and is released under

This Picture was created by Sarah A. Hoyt and is released under CC BY

And now I’ll put up promo post.

TANSTAAFL, DAY 16 — THE LAST DAY — ALL STRESSFUL THINGS MUST COME TO AN END. FREE PICTURE AND MY FAVORITE BATS.

A note about the fundraiser: our mailbox service has told us we have…. 14 to 15 checks waiting. I will report on the full amount of the fundraiser in a couple of weeks.

Also, for those who have asked me if they can contribute later: I’m not leaving the fundraiser up. Sufficient onto the day the evil thereof and all that. Besides we start fulfilling the pledges next week. However, any funds received or (snail) mailed before the end of the month will get the reward. Also, if you’re one of my subscribers and have subscribed for a year at the tier amount, and WANT a reward, email me at the bookpimping address, and we’ll do our best to send it.

THE GOAL IS $50,000

the counter stands at: $40,293.86 USD* (Updated at least every 8 hours, more often if i happen to be here.)

IT ENDS today!

The reason I’m doing this:

I have worked for …. 15? 16 years at this blog, providing new content ALMOST every day (A bit less through the crazy move, though that was a lesson in what not to do, I guess) for…. very little. Even after you guys got me to put up a donation button, the most I ever got in a year was 4k, and lately it’s been around 2k, counting the commission from Amazon.

Now, I know times are tough (here too) but since the reason I started the blog didn’t work out, (the intersection between those who read my fiction and those who read my blog is sliver-thin) and since I’ve put my family through contortions, on weekends and vacations and all because “I have to put up a post.” I figured I owed it to them, more than to myself, to get something back for my effort.

Also, I’m trying to do too much in too little time.

I’m trying to get a fund that will allow me to hire (mostly friends) to do some of it for me, so I can both write more and make more money, which in turn will (maybe) allow me to get through what’s staring us in the face. (And it ain’t pretty.)

THE INCENTIVES AND TIERS:

Tier 1– $10 or more – A shout out on my blog, all with all other the supporters, by name, in one massive “Thank you” post. [Jokey or offensive names will not be included at author’s discretion.]

Tier 2– $25 or more – Email jpg of certificate with funny fish saying “I Was Carped at according to hoyt.com” and a Certificate of being a member of Hoyt’s Huns, cultural wars sapper battalion, in good standing.

Tier 3– $60 or more – Exclusive ebook collection of USAian SHORT stories. (Including a new, original, never published story.) Estimated delivery August 2023

Tier 4– $100 or more – Your name will appear in a mass death/other mass event/list in one of Sarah’s books. [estimated delivery up through July 2023. All indie books, as no others are guaranteed.]

Tier 5– $150 or more – A sound file of Sarah saying “Moose and Squirrel.”

Tier 6 – $250 or more – Will send a signed copy of trade paperback Gentleman takes a chance and one large postcard with book covers, also signed. (USPS- continental US only. All others, let’s talk.) [estimated delivery Sept 2022]

Tier 7 – $350 or more – Three signed books (of our choice), plus two extra items from “Sarah’s Garage”, (also of our choice) which might very well be a small rubber fish. (You’ve been warned.) USPS only. Continental U.S. only [estimated delivery Sept 2022]

Tier 8 – $500 or more – Personalized tuckerization. You will become your very own zany character, with at least a line or two of dialogue, and physical description. Physical safety and life of character not guaranteed. If you perish, it will NOT (repeat not) be in a mass death event or a list of other kinds.  [estimated delivery up through July 2023. All indie books, as no others are guaranteed.] [Jokey or offensive names, descriptions and personalities will not be included at author’s discretion.]

Tier 9 – $1000 or more – A CHOICE OF:

Option 1 -Will read the first 10 pages and outline of your novel and provide timely critique, with the understanding that I am not infallible. (A skype, zoom or other video call to discuss the work for an hour or so.) [estimated delivery Winter 2022 – Spring 2023]

Option 2 – Large box of ten signed books, plus items ranging from a con badge, to a mini dinosaur skeleton or a print of Sarah’s original art, or other items from Sarah’s garage. USPS only. Continental U.S. only [estimated delivery Sept 2022]

Option 3 – Signed copy of Sarah’s old copyedited or page-proof manuscripts. [estimated delivery Fall 2022] (5 limit.)

Tier 10 $5000 or more – You will become a major character on one of my books, and I’ll try to reflect your appearance, and chosen personality.  [estimated delivery up through July 2023. All indie books, as no others are guaranteed.] [Jokey or offensive names, descriptions and personalities will not be included at author’s discretion. You don’t get to have someone else be an offensive character. (Sorry!) Your actions will be altered to serve the plot if needed.] – Limit 5. (You’ll be informed if this has been claimed, and given a chance for a refund or of a comparable reward.)

Tier Insane – $25000 or more – My husband and I will travel to a city in the continental US and have dinner with you and your plus one.  (Continental US only.) – Limit ONE. [Delivery up to July 2023.] (You’ll be informed if this has been claimed, and given a chance for a refund or of a comparable reward.)

ALL TIERS INCLUDE ALL PREVIOUS TIERS EXCEPT FOR THOSE THAT ARE NUMBER LIMITED.

If you want to be thanked/mentioned by a name different from your regular one, please email to: bookpimping at outlook dot com.

TO DONATE:

DONATE TO ACCORDING TO HOYT TAANSTAFL DAYS (The previous words are a link!)

FOR CHECK DONATIONS:

Sarah A. Hoyt

Goldport Press

304 S Jones Blvd #6771

Las Vegas, NV  89107

THIS IS PINNED TO THE TOP OF THE BLOG. THE DAILY POST APPEARS BELOW THIS. (WELL, TODAY IT APPEARS BELOW THE LIBERTY CON ANNOUNCEMENT.)

This being the last day, dancing seemed appropriate!

This Picture was created by Sarah A. Hoyt and is released under CC BY

And now… RELEASE THE BATS!

And my very favorite bat meme!

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT BEFORE IAN BRUENE KILLS ME

LibertyCon 2023 tickets go on sale TODAY AT NOON EASTERN.

The site is https://www.libertycon.org/ and it typically sells out in half an hour, so you have to be ready, set, go.

According to Chris mouse: They’re doing it through a third-party, so make sure you have an account setup with that third party vendor in advance. This is the vendor: https://www.eventeny.com. Registration is quick and easy.

I will be there in 2023, barring disaster.

Be Yourself

Be yourself. First, because who else are you going to be? Second, because it’s easier.

Note this is not an encouragement to give in to your own worst impulses, or to do things that hurt you and others. All of us, given the opportunity, have the ability to destroy ourselves and the entire world. That’s not necessarily your “true self.” That’s just…. your own worst impulses. The darker self that Jordan Peterson goes on about. The monster within. Weirdly, it’s not easier to give in to that. It’s seductive, sometimes, but it always takes a piece of you.

This is more about….

We’re all social apes, right? Know where the dividing line is between “making it easier to live with others” and “going along with trends that bring me no enjoyment or I despise.” “Embracing new things that make my life easier” and “embracing new things because they’re new things.”

And sometimes, be yourself just because you’re yourself.

Terry Pratchett said that you find success when you’re “yourself as hard as you can.” And to an extent he’s correct.

Partly because of the fundraiser, partly because I’m away from home but was intending to wake up early and feed the blog, yesterday I was thinking about this blog: how it started, how it went on, and its surprising success (Yes, I do realize it probably won’t fund completely this year. Given the rescue last year, a lot of people probably feel they more than funded me for a year from November. And that’s fine. I’ll fundraise again next year. (Does it have to have bats?) At least if we’re all still here, as grandma used to say. It is still success in influence and levels of engagement.)

When I started the blog, besides its being supposed to be a vehicle to promote my blog, it was widely known “blogs are done” and the time to start a blog was ten years previously. But, required to do it every day, I was forced to become more myself.

There is no possible way — none — you can have an idea and post at least a page of it every morning, unless it’s something that speaks to you. So I started stretching a toe into being opinionated — or often simply mulling on — on culture and social trends, and of course, politics. And the more I dipped, the more I realized I wasn’t alone. And….

I’ll be honest, I thought I was a lot more of an outlier than I am. without this blog, I might never have had the courage to come out of the political closet.

But the blog is more successful than others started before, after or at the same time. Massively more successful.

Part of it is because younger people (and there’s a good contingent of them here) really prize “authenticity” by which they mean honesty. Understandably so, because most of them have been forced to hide their entire school/work career. And they sense phony a mile away.

And in part of coming out of the political closet, I lost even more patience for doing “what everyone is doing.” Mind you, we were never very good at it, Dan and I.

For instance, we ping younger than most people our age online, because we both immediately adapt tech that makes our lives easier. However, we were late adapters of smart phones (until we needed some of their functions) and some parts of our lives are stuck in the nineties, because we bought down-stream tech, and it hasn’t broken yet (I only recently gave up my sansa mp3 player, and I still use it for audiobooks when walking, for instance.)

There is no rhyme or reason to it, beyond “we can use this” and “Not worth it.” And sometimes “No, that makes me uncomfortable.”

My kids grew up with the best gadgets when needed, but ten year old games. (And no game system.) Mostly because we bought games in thrift stores.

We were reading ebooks before it was cool, but we used repurposed old … gah, I only remember the Pratchett term! — disorganizers to do it. We just came across a throve of old Nokias we used for the purpose in the nineties. (Mostly we used them away from home, so I didn’t have to carry twenty books in my luggage. And so the kids had thier own libraries.) At the same time, our kids (and us) dressed from thrift stores, and I couldn’t tell you the fashionable brands/clothes if they bit me in the fleshy part of the back.

I’ll admit those kinds of decisions were always because we were either very stressed and needed to find a way to do things faster/better, or because we were broke. But still we did what we felt comfortable with. No more. No less.

So, why tell you that now?

In the comments, Steve and Bob C. were talking about people who just playact at being whatever the trendy thing is right now, including “woke” of course.

I don’t think most of you — never having lived through a revolution — realize how large a percentage of people that is, or how many will quite literally change their politics overnight.

Most humans are VERY social apes. Part of the reason the borderline incoherent ideas of the left have held such social sway for so long is because of the perception that they were “normal” and that to dissent was “weird.”

Most people don’t analyze their beliefs, and frankly couldn’t care less about such big things as ethics or economics or how things work. They’re too busy living day to day. They only adapt such “beliefs” to fit in with others. Because if “everyone thinks this” they probably aren’t wrong, right?

In fact, if things go on as they’re already going, with the sense of “left consensus” vanishing (which is confusing the heck out of the true believers of the left, who never understood their “dominance” was an illusion caused by the megaphone they held) and a sense of some sort of “right wing” consensus settling in (I’m hoping and there are signs that in America that will mostly be a sort of Constitutional Libertarian consensus, while in Europe it’s going to be the old “blood, G-d an soil” which to be fair it’s still better than what they have now.) most people will turn on a dime. I know that, because I’ve seen it before. And it’s going to be really hard for you to be sure of who your friends really are, who are right now making vague woke mouth noises. Because in two or three years, they could be telling you that no, they were always on the right, they just weren’t as brave as you are. And how can you be sure? Since in fact there are any number of people in hiding, and we know that for sure. (Some of you are, out of necessity.)

This is why it’s very important for you to know who you are. And what you believe in.

I still don’t know if this is all going to tip in the pot for a few years of maximum instability, or if we’re simply going to potter along, and then overnight everything changes. The only thing inclining me to the first, is that hunger looks likely this winter, and hungry people are unstable by definition.

But I do know that all our institutions will either be reformed or fall. So it’s going to feel like the whole world is falling apart.

In the middle of that it’s really easy to fall for fads, and social enforcement/ostracism. “Everyone says that people who play accordion are responsible for the corruption of legal institutions. Let’s get them.” (You only think I’m joking, but read about any kind of time when things are under deep stress.) Don’t do that. Not even if you always hated accordion players. (I’m meh on it. For some reason it was THE accomplishment of properly brought up young ladies my generation in Portugal. Thank heavens my parents didn’t follow fads.)

Know who you are, and what you believe. Your best friends, and even your family might do a couple of double reverses, and it might leave you feeling dizzy. But if you know who you are and what you believe, you’ll at least deal with them honestly, and you’ll have nothing to apologize for.

Even if you’re weird, even you’re eccentric (weird with money. I aspire.) Even if you think people will look at you askance…. Be yourself.

Being someone else is too much work, and takes away energy you’re going to need, as we build over, build under, build around.

And frankly, we need to hurry up. Because the sense things are shaking harder and harder is unavoidable.

Go be yourself and build. And get ready to take the weight when the collapse comes.

TANSTAAFL Day 15. The day Before the last day. Two (TWO) free sci fi pictures, and …. you can’t tell me you don’t like bats!

Okay, first I’m sorry this is so late. We’re getting ready for an unexpected trip. (No, nothing bad. And the trip is not unexpected. I just thought it was tonight, not this afternoon. Argh. Also we’re staying longer than expected. Younger son stays here to hold the fort, though. So cats okay, etc.)

Second, no, you can’t tell me you don’t like bats. Look at that total. LOOK AT IT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED!

THE GOAL IS $50,000

the counter stands at: $35,300.85 USD* (Updated at least every 8 hours, more often if i happen to be here.)

IT ENDS tomorrow!

*The total is probably at least somewhat higher (maybe all the way up if some billionaire donated ) because we’ve been informed there are several envelopes in the mailbox. We’ll try to get them before the end of this, but if not, I’ll report afterwards.

The reason I’m doing this:

I have worked for …. 15? 16 years at this blog, providing new content ALMOST every day (A bit less through the crazy move, though that was a lesson in what not to do, I guess) for…. very little. Even after you guys got me to put up a donation button, the most I ever got in a year was 4k, and lately it’s been around 2k, counting the commission from Amazon.

Now, I know times are tough (here too) but since the reason I started the blog didn’t work out, (the intersection between those who read my fiction and those who read my blog is sliver-thin) and since I’ve put my family through contortions, on weekends and vacations and all because “I have to put up a post.” I figured I owed it to them, more than to myself, to get something back for my effort.

Also, I’m trying to do too much in too little time.

I’m trying to get a fund that will allow me to hire (mostly friends) to do some of it for me, so I can both write more and make more money, which in turn will (maybe) allow me to get through what’s staring us in the face. (And it ain’t pretty.)

THE INCENTIVES AND TIERS:

Tier 1– $10 or more – A shout out on my blog, all with all other the supporters, by name, in one massive “Thank you” post. [Jokey or offensive names will not be included at author’s discretion.]

Tier 2– $25 or more – Email jpg of certificate with funny fish saying “I Was Carped at according to hoyt.com” and a Certificate of being a member of Hoyt’s Huns, cultural wars sapper battalion, in good standing.

Tier 3– $60 or more – Exclusive ebook collection of USAian SHORT stories. (Including a new, original, never published story.) Estimated delivery August 2023

Tier 4– $100 or more – Your name will appear in a mass death/other mass event/list in one of Sarah’s books. [estimated delivery up through July 2023. All indie books, as no others are guaranteed.]

Tier 5– $150 or more – A sound file of Sarah saying “Moose and Squirrel.”

Tier 6 – $250 or more – Will send a signed copy of trade paperback Gentleman takes a chance and one large postcard with book covers, also signed. (USPS- continental US only. All others, let’s talk.) [estimated delivery Sept 2022]

Tier 7 – $350 or more – Three signed books (of our choice), plus two extra items from “Sarah’s Garage”, (also of our choice) which might very well be a small rubber fish. (You’ve been warned.) USPS only. Continental U.S. only [estimated delivery Sept 2022]

Tier 8 – $500 or more – Personalized tuckerization. You will become your very own zany character, with at least a line or two of dialogue, and physical description. Physical safety and life of character not guaranteed. If you perish, it will NOT (repeat not) be in a mass death event or a list of other kinds.  [estimated delivery up through July 2023. All indie books, as no others are guaranteed.] [Jokey or offensive names, descriptions and personalities will not be included at author’s discretion.]

Tier 9 – $1000 or more – A CHOICE OF:

Option 1 -Will read the first 10 pages and outline of your novel and provide timely critique, with the understanding that I am not infallible. (A skype, zoom or other video call to discuss the work for an hour or so.) [estimated delivery Winter 2022 – Spring 2023]

Option 2 – Large box of ten signed books, plus items ranging from a con badge, to a mini dinosaur skeleton or a print of Sarah’s original art, or other items from Sarah’s garage. USPS only. Continental U.S. only [estimated delivery Sept 2022]

Option 3 – Signed copy of Sarah’s old copyedited or page-proof manuscripts. [estimated delivery Fall 2022] (5 limit.)

Tier 10 $5000 or more – You will become a major character on one of my books, and I’ll try to reflect your appearance, and chosen personality.  [estimated delivery up through July 2023. All indie books, as no others are guaranteed.] [Jokey or offensive names, descriptions and personalities will not be included at author’s discretion. You don’t get to have someone else be an offensive character. (Sorry!) Your actions will be altered to serve the plot if needed.] – Limit 5. (You’ll be informed if this has been claimed, and given a chance for a refund or of a comparable reward.)

Tier Insane – $25000 or more – My husband and I will travel to a city in the continental US and have dinner with you and your plus one.  (Continental US only.) – Limit ONE. [Delivery up to July 2023.] (You’ll be informed if this has been claimed, and given a chance for a refund or of a comparable reward.)

ALL TIERS INCLUDE ALL PREVIOUS TIERS EXCEPT FOR THOSE THAT ARE NUMBER LIMITED.

If you want to be thanked/mentioned by a name different from your regular one, please email to: bookpimping at outlook dot com.

TO DONATE:

DONATE TO ACCORDING TO HOYT TAANSTAFL DAYS (The previous words are a link!)

FOR CHECK DONATIONS:

Sarah A. Hoyt

Goldport Press

304 S Jones Blvd #6771

Las Vegas, NV  89107

THIS IS PINNED TO THE TOP OF THE BLOG. THE DAILY POST APPEARS BELOW THIS.

So, why are there two pictures, today? Well, I’ve been shorting those of us who like to look at guys. Also…. well, I wanted to.

I call this one Charlie Foxtrot. For obvious reasons, right?

This Picture was created by Sarah A. Hoyt and is released under CC BY

I call this one Charlie Foxtrot Duo, also for obvious reasons.

This Picture was created by Sarah A. Hoyt and is released under CC BY

Now, the important part:

I love you so much. (And you guys also need warmth and cuddles, I suspect.)

you’ve made me very happy.
Like this

Or like little bat burritos.

Now enjoy the bats while I fly off Back tomorrow.