Monthly Archives: November 2011

So the Official, Verified Final Count

FOR NANOWRIMO is 30,000 words. (The difference due to stuff I wasn’t counting, but which 1) was written during the month and 2) is and will be part of the story, it’s just not polished, in-place, and locked down. Color me surprised that there was so much of it.

So, still a loss, but — in the words of the old shaggy dog joke from the ’60s — not so damned shaggy.

This Persecutor Should Be Disbarred

AS A START and then be brought up on civil rights charges. Idiot prosecutor in New York persecuting a man for disseminating information about the truth and the law and the ADA wants to shut him up. Not too bright. The New York Times.

Those Guys Suing Playboy

FOR SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION aren’t men. They’re Rush Limbaugh’s New Castrati personified.


ARE GREAT FOR SORTING letters, but as boxes to categorize fiction, they suck.

I dread the day I have to check boxes to pub a Dolly story.

Fantasy: check. Trolls: check? (Well, Neanderthals who’re called trolls as a matter of folklore and species prejudice.) Elves: check. (Well… they resemble more the Chinese communists of a Tom Clancy novel, but… OK. We’ll give you the Elves.) Magic: um… Nanotechnology wielded by unassuming techno-mages, only allowed to be called magic for lack of a better label. Doesn’t count. No check. Gods: … now wait just a minute, here! Yes, Gods. Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, Hindu, Taoist, Native American, Celtic, Norse… Now THAT’s fantasy!

Well, OK. Myth.

Brownies. Hobs.

Oh, bother…

How about a little hot girl-girl action between the Norse goddess Freya and a daughter of the Atreides?

Hell, I bet you didn’t even know the Atreides were a real dynasty!

And This Man Was In Charge Of

THE MOST POWERFUL ARMED FORCE in the history of the world! Sort of does in your faith in humanity, dunnit? Colin Powell, talking with Christiane Amanpour (there’s a suspect pairing right off), trying to blame the Right’s unwillingness to compromise on principle with the Left, which is actively seeking the ruin of America, and by extension, Western Civilization.

Bit over the top, Alger?

Think so? Riddle me this, Batgirl. If they WERE trying to ruin America, and by extension, Western Civilization, how — exactly — would their actions differ from what they have been?


I’m thinking! I’m thinking!

While you’re at it, think about this: why is it that malice is assumed right off to be … well … right off the table?

The Fundamental Question of CAGW Is


Ask these questions of the science (for the scientists will not answer you):

How do you know? What instruments have you used to determine temperatures? What is their precision, their accuracy? (There is a difference.) Where and when have temperature readings been taken? What attention has been paid to the siting of recording instruments? What biasing affect has that siting had on readings? What length of timeline do you have? How accurate are the records (how diligent the record keeping, gathering, and collating)? What methods have been used to determine trends? What steps have been taken to deal with outliers — apparently aberrant data points, missing blocks of data, sudden changes in trends?

Follow the answers to those questions until the threads unravel in your hands. Do not stop until you get reliable and accurate answers.

Now. From your “primary school science,” recall what you know — or should know — about temperature and the atmosphere?

Ask yourself these questions:

In the day-night cycle, when do the highest and lowest temperatures occur? What bearing does a daily average have on those data points? What meaning can be derived from an average?

Over a metropolitan area, what is the delta (the value of change) between high and low minimums and maximums on a daily basis? How does this vary seasonally?

For example: the temperature at 10AM at the international airport is X. What would you expect the temperature to be in the city center? In a residential suburban neighborhood? On a college campus? In a rural setting — say a wheatfield? At a sewage treatment plant? Repeat for 5PM, 10PM, and 5AM. What variation do you see? Do the various temperature trends (per location) change at different rates? What do you think might be the probable cause?

How far apart would these various sites be?

Compare the resolution (expressed as, say, the number of datapoints per square mile) of your thought experiment to the actual recording network. Then ask yourself:

Is the resolution of the “network” you used for your local temperatures sufficient to give you a clear and accurate picture of “the” temperature of your town or city? How does it compare in density and coverage with the real-world climatological network?

Over the course of a year, what meaning could you derive from daily “averages” of your temperature observing and recording network?

Does this value scale to a global network?

What does a global average temperature mean?

What does a change of less than a degree (any scale) in global average temperature mean?

It’s Funny That

SO-CALLED CLIMATE SCIENTISTS use derogatorily the term “primary school science” to downplay criticism of their work which won’t pass muster — even at the level of understanding evidenced by “primary school science.”

That is to say, it only takes the most elementary, the most rudimentary understanding of weather and atmospheric physics to debunk their conjecture. (I will not call it a theory — or even a hypothesis, as there is not the slightest underpinning of real, observational data to support even their smallest initial premise — that warming has occurred, let alone that it is global, anthropogenic, or/and catastrophic.)

And that’s just in the first paragraph of the above-linked story. RTWT.

Is It My Imagination

OR IS THE ROBOTIC VOICE that pipes up when I answer the phone, saying, “This is an important call…” [click] sounding a tad impatient?

Do other people just … hang up when they hear a robot voice on the line? Or is it just me?

(Clue for businesses: public complaint about offshoring of phoneroom operations, phone-menu trees from Hell, and, yes, robot callouts should give you pause. SHOULD. It apparently hasn’t. Just feature this: unrelenting hostility is what you reap when you insult potential customers. Claiming a call is important in a robot out-call does not make it so. And that it is a robot call engenders way more opportunity cost due to hostility than you save in not having a human being making that call.)

Remember: you called me. More often than not, uninvited. (Trust me, I’m a curmudgeonly hermit. I DO NOT invite incoming phone calls.) You owe me thereby common courtesy. Do me the favor of — you know — being on the line when you call me.

Oh, and that “Please hold for…” is so 1979. There are very few people in this world whose time is billed per-hour higher than mine. Your boss’s time is NOT worth more than mine, and “please hold for” had BETTER be followed by the name of someone I know and want to talk to. Otherwise, when he comes on the line, he’s getting a dialtone. Do not fuck with me. You’ll get nowhere wasting my time.

Only Three Days Left

IN NANOWRIMO and it looks, barring a miracle, as though my final tally will fall short even of 20,000 words. If I get on a real hot streak, I might be able to pull out another 5,000 words. That counts as a loss. Not that it’s a write-off. Just that I didn’t make the goal of 50,000 words minimum, let alone the idea of finishing off a 75,000 word novel. I’m not quitting, (obviously), but regrouping.

A bunch of us are going to keep rolling the cameras, so to speak, and move on to a December and a January version and so-forth. Never say die.

It also calls into doubt my ability to get It’s Dolly’s Birthday out by Christmas. That doesn’t change my promise to new members of BTB, just push back the date I’ll be able to deliver on it.

So it stands: all new members who sign up before December 20, and remain members in good standing (don’t get into spamming comments or link phishing, the way some already have) will receive free copies of the ebook of It’s Dolly’s Birthday when I publish it. The first publication will probably be Kindle Direct or CreateSpace, but that’s a ways off, still, so we’ll see.

Hit the Motherload

IN MY DOLLY folder, the subfolders are named so they sort in a desired order. The stories are listed as to whether they are a novel, a short, or a special category (such as the Genesis Trilogy, or the Omega Trilogy). But the first three are numbered: 1. Characters, 2. Background, and 9. Chronology.

For some time, now, Number 1 has been missing. And missed. That is to say I’ve not seen it in the listing and been unsure what might have happened to it, and I have also wanted its contents and not been able to find it.

Its contents are literally the crown jewels of the Dolly saga — they are the character descriptions, the design sheets, if you will, as well as sketches, defining fragments of narration, and images I have gathered here and there around the interwebs and that impressed me as having some characteristic or other of one of the people in my stories. Such as this one that reminded me somehow of Witchlet (whom very few readers have met).

I had forgotten it, but immediately I saw it again, it hit me exactly the same as it had all those years ago.

Needless to say, I found it today.

And herein hangs a lesson. I’ve said this many times over the years, but it bears repeating, I think. BACK UP YOUR WORK. I have always had the habit, when ever I was actively working on a story — even if I only changed a couple of words in a week — I always made sure there were at LEAST two copies of my work. And, preferably, one is burned to glass — a CD. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s polycarbonate. Don’t let’s get all pedantic and stuff. M’Kay?)

So, when I purposed to go looking for this treasure trove of material that I had not had in so long I’d forgotten a little that it had existed, and certainly don’t remember what could have happened to it, I went back to the last time I could remember knowing it was there (seven years ago), and pulled out the backup CD, et — voila! — there it was.

It’s not always a disaster you know is happening at the time it’s happening that can lose or destroy your work. It could be your own bad memory. ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR WORK.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much else done Saturday, and certainly no NaNoWriMo wordage.

The Caturday Post

THERE’S A WAR GOING ON at Casa d’Alger. Not really sure of all the causes of it. But then, whoever is when it comes to war? It appears — and I have to insist on maintaining that this is only the appearance of the thing — that Karma, on the one side, and the Triplets (Sky, Aqua, and Jazz) on the other — have entered into a mutual hostility compact.

At least, on alternate Tuesdays. On Thursdays and some Saturdays (of indeterminate interval), it appears that the Triplets only want to play and Karma is playing the sociopath, unwilling to have anything to do with anyone else feline. Except she gets along with everybody but the Triplets. Sort of. I mean, she’ll allow them passage and occasionally even catpile with them. But no grooming or other intimacies, such as the others engage in.

She is, in a sense, the Cat Who Walks By Herself. Which, pace Kipling, is a pretty rare type, as most cats I’ve known have been very social animals.

Sometimes it seems as though Jazz is the principle shit-stirrer, and sometimes like she only wants to approach Karma for some possible socialization. Hard to tell. Her expression seems to be frozen into one of worry and bafflement, so she could have the most evil intent and you’d always have this niggle of doubt — did she really mean to jump on Karma, or was it just an accidental collision and Karma over-reacted?

So, every once in awhile, the peace of the house is broken by hissing, spitting, the thunder of running feet, claws on carpet, and the screaming of a banshee seeking lost souls on Samhain.

A question of Karma.

Although some can ignore it all.

Chester and Earnie on the living room couch, last August.

We’re unsure as to what to do. When we can, we break it up. But, if somebody is stirring shit, he/she is very subtle about it and makes sure to obscure his/her motives. Which, in a sense, mitigates against that, because, frankly, cats aren’t generally smart enough to be that sneaky. They’re more … direct about things.

Earnie, for example, will get up on the counter to investigate what I’m up to during meal prep, no matter how many times I jump him, yelling and flicking his hip with a fingertip. My aim is not so much to train the cats to stay off the countertops as to stay off the countertops when I’m around — to be sneaky about it. I figure I can control what’s on the counters, keeping dangerous stuff out of reach, and preventing their fouling food, while I’m around. If they get up on the counters and get into shit when I’m not around, that’s my fault. I haven’t cat-proofed the kitchen well enough. That illustrates the limits of cat intelligence to me. You can’t make an up a forbidden zone. The concept is beyond them. You can associate noise and unpleasantness with being up while The Big Ones are around and accomplish the same thing.

And, trust me, it is necessary to cat-proof the house. We’ve lived here 25+ years, have had somewhere around 30 cats at one time or another, and never lost one yet to poison or other injury from household goods. But that doesn’t mean one won’t find a nice, chewy something that will kill him if the hoomans aren’t vigilant enough.

Had a bit of a scare on that score the last week or so. Chester, Jane, and (to a lesser degree) Karma were all acting punk and down on their chins, and puking bile on the carpet. And we didn’t know what was causing it, couldn’t find what was causing it.

The more cats you’ve had in your life, the more ways you’ve found to lose them. The more diseases, the more dangers, the more … everything. And every one of them comes calling in the dark hours when a cat you love is sick. And you just. Don’t. Know.

You hear about and joke about people who spend fortunes on their pets in exigency. Until it happens to you, and suddenly the money’s not that important.

Our three came out of it OK. A little tincture of time and tender loving neglect (and some medicines administered though various routes), and they were right as rain again.


In and amongst all the diagnostics was some bloodwork. Which revealed that all three (and probably all our ten) have a virus which is, it seems, pandemic in the feline population of the world — 70 or 80%, if memory serves. It’s a coronavirus that, given the wrong incentive, will morph into FIP. It’s what took Rommie from us. So everybody else may be on borrowed time. Makes the victory bittersweet.

Boombox Mix

BACK IN THE ’80S some rap or hip-hop act, might have been the Beastie Boys — could have been anybody — put out a story that they always did a gut check on a track by doing what they called a Boom Box Mix. That is, they would optimize the track to be played on your ordinary ghetto blaster. And they would take the tape outside and play it on any random boombox they had while they played ping pong and drank beer. It was, as explained, a quality-control measure, to ensure that their music was suited to the environment in which their audience would listen to it.

Today, I got a boombox mix on It’s Dolly’s Birthday.

I finally figured out all the magic words and incantations to get the manuscript from Scrivener to Open Office Writer, through Calibre, and into a format that would “play” on a Kindle and look right. Not thrilled with Kindle’s default font. And there are apparently ways to change it, but it’s really too much of a hassle if you can’t make Kindle deliver your book in your font, which you can’t do — you can only display your ebooks on your Kindle with your hacked font (and at that, your font will be selected from a small universe of available typefaces), so there would seem to be little point.

And, I do want to say that that band — whoever they are — got it right. Checking your work on the preferred platform is important. In ebooks, you want to be certain that your pages start right, that your inter-paragraph spacing is right, that you don’t have and odd mix of “Normal” text and — for example — Courier (which will display on a Kindle, if you’re not careful), that you have page breaks before chapters, and all that.

It also helps A LOT to be able to read the thing on the eventual device your readers will use, to make sure that it sounds the way you mean it to.

No wordage today, but learned a lot. Worth the lost time.

Quote of the Day

Utopianism attracts goofballs as light attracts moths.

–Matthew Continetti, at The Weekly Standard

Breda’s Other Half

THE REDOUBTABLE Mike does not post often, but when he does, it’s a worthy read. Check out the latest.

Live by the Appeal to Authority

DIE BY THE APPEAL TO AUTHORITY when the authority figure is shown to be a naked emperor, practicing to deceive.

Eric S. Raymond extracts this from the archive rapidly coming to be known as Climategate II.

What we’re seeing in these emails is exactly the phenomenon I described; the “team” launched an error cascade that is now hooked into green-shirt political agendas. Peter Thorne: “The science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run”.

Thorne also confirmed what I’ve written about several times on this blog: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous.”

That is, the CRU team itself understands that empirical confirmation for greenhouse warming is lacking. The atmosphere is not doing what the AGW models predict. “Basic problem is that all models are wrong”, writes Phil Jones, bluntly, “not got enough middle and low level clouds.”

That’s a fitting epitaph for anthropogenic global warming.

While none of this is any surprise to anyone who has actually — you know — done the homework, (as opposed to accepting what Algore blathers on about “the scientific consensus”), I still have a couple-few questions.

And, while I agree we should be gracious in victory — with the aim of making converts away from the watermelon agenda and toward something more consonant with good stewardship of natural resources and our environment — I still want to know when the fraud trials will begin.

These people have taken public monies under false pretenses for positively decades, all the while (as in the case of the odious James Hansen) flaunting their disregard for law in their zeal to put over their human-hating agenda.

They have lied to everybody on the planet but each other, and done irreparable damage to the commercial ecology of the world with their witless insistence on useless and feckless action to remediate the non-problem of global warming. Already, dislocations in food supply and disaster remediation (DDT, anyone?) have cost countless lives — Warmists Lied, People Died.

And it’s not as though the falsity of their claims has not been known and exposited all along. No one (except the willfully ignorant) can claim they didn’t know. We. Warned. You. From the first time I heard the phrase”Global Warming” I knew it was a crock. Nothing I’ve learned since has dissuaded me. And, unlike a LOT of people, I’ve actually gotten down into the raw data and the metadata. Wassamattawitchoo, bunkie?

So when do Mann and Jones, et al, get perpwalked out by the men in dark suits in stuffed into nondescript vans with black logos on the sides? Hmmm? What’s the fine Algore’s gonna face when his trial starts, and how breathlessly is the CNN bubbleheadedbleachblonde going to tell you about it?

And, then, there’s the matter of: what do we get to call the odious smarms who’ve taken such delight in calling skeptics deniers? What name for the credulous?

Update: Jeebus Cripes on a Rhebus! They’re trying it already and anyway! Some people are trying to defend CAGW.

“I have yet to see anything in these e-mails that disproves, or even seriously undermines, the basic claim that human emissions of greenhouse gases have contributed to a gradual warming of the climate and will continue to do so in the future.”

–Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy

Aitch. Eff. See! How frigging stupid do you have to be? How wedded to a disproven notion? It’s just fucking stunning!

Look! The data doesn’t show it. The models are bunk — freely admitted by the principal proponents of the thing. Why would you even TRY to defend it past that point? Are you that embedded in the relentless drive to slavery and death that you MUST support the socialist cause at any cost, including your own public credibility? Whether that’s your intent or not, that’s the end result of continuing to support this failed, falsified conjecture.

Shorter Adler: It’s all a fraud, as the fraudsters have now admitted, but there’s nothing here to convince me that they’re wrong.


Quote of the Day

AND ENTIRELY APPOSITE for this Thanksgiving Day, which rises out of the tradition of religious Pilgrims, seeking liberty in a new world.

The Liberty Movement, and all its more specific and specialized branches, represents a resurgence of the immovable ideal. We refuse to set aside the truth. We refuse to relinquish our freedoms. We refuse to be silent. We refuse to negotiate. Regardless of the consequences, and despite contrary impositions of so called “national security,” we simply will not go away. This kind of philosophy is a serious obstacle for any establishment system which seeks to maintain or even expand its base of power. If you cannot buy off a person, if you cannot co-opt a person, and if you cannot frighten him into compliance, then all that is left to do is to demonize his public character, lock him up, or kill him. Men of conscience force the agents of centralization to expose their inherent tyranny before they are ready for the citizenry to know who they really are. Frankly, the Liberty Movement is a considerable pain in the neck for those who would see the American dynamic distorted to the benefit of a select few.

Brandon Smith

(Hat tip: Mike Vanderboegh)

Well, Ann (the other Ann)

I DON’T USUALLY DISAGREE with St. Ann, (but this thing she has for Northeastern Establishment Liberal types — first Chris Christie and now Mittens Romney — has got to end), but seriously, folks:

Where were you conservative purists when Republicans were nominating Waterboarding-Is-Torture-Jerry-Falwell-Is-an-Agent-of-Intolerance-My-Good-Fr
iend-Teddy-Kennedy-Amnesty-for-Illegals John McCain-Feingold for president?

I don’t know about you, Ann, but I was being disenfranchised because, two days before the Ohio primary, McCain made a backroom deal with Huckabee. What’s that got to do with it?

Romney is the face of socialized medicine, every bit as much as Obama himself. Not a winning vehicle for a liberty agenda. We don’t need statists.
Not any more.

Or, are we incapable of learning any lessons?

Anne McCaffrey Died Monday

I’M SURE Y’ALL HAVE heard by now. Just… Not sure you can have too many memorials to great minds.

And, reading the Wikipedia entry, in the I. Did. Not. Know. That. category… I didn’t realize that I’ve read all her novels from the beginning — Restoree being the first. Of course, there were the Talents stories and the Ship Who Sang long before that, but…

I was pretty young when I first started reading her, and I guess I’d always assumed she’d always been around.

And, perhaps my favorite, the Crystal Singer, Killashandra. I realized that the opening was informed by Ms McCaffrey’s operatic training. Just didn’t know it was so closely autobiographical.

Not to mention her practice of mentoring younger writers, which is how I discovered the incomparable Elizabeth Moon and her Paksennarrion.

THERE’s Your Problem

I KEEP HEARING THIS nonsense that Obamacare is unconstitutional and should be repealed, the edifices knocked down until no stone stands atop another, and the earth plowed and sown with salt. BUT…

It’s OK for the states to enact their versions of Romneycare if they want to.


As I said the other day this is what comes of trying to be politically ecumenical — you end up, in effect, surrendering your principles to no good end. It’s not a compromise: we lose, they win. That’s surrender. But that’s what they demand of us.

To quote Tony Hendra: Get this; fuck that.

Here’s the what: The Constitution requires of the States that they guarantee their citizens a republican form of government, not a nanny state*. Plus: constitutional jurisprudence since the Civil War holds that the Federal Constitution is supreme over the laws and constitutions of the States. Inherent to that must be that the rights of the individual citizen are supreme over all.

Finally, as also mentioned here, the Constitution affirms the right to Liberty in the IXth Amendment. And, as Obamacare is an affront to liberty, so should a similar provision in law be at the state or even local level. Sauce for the goose, so to speak.

And Newt Gingrich, with his, “You ought to have to demonstrate the ability to pay, or to have coverage for medical care.” He sounds so reasonable, dun’t he? (Statist fuck!) Lemme axe ya dis? Why does medicine get a carve-out? Why don’t we, for example, have to post a financial responsibility bond for our grocery bill (lest we become a burden on the resources of the state).

I mean… I mean:

I can go on pretty long ignoring a medical problem. But if I don’t eat today, I’m going to be hungry tomorrow. Which is the more urgent? Why is it more important a matter of life and death to cover the doctor but not the greengrocer? Is it, perhaps, because the former has a more — Shall we say… persuasive? — lobby?

And there you go back with the whole government corruption thing. Does anybody besides me think this is a systemic problem, no matter who the new/old boss may be?

(Get it? “Who?” “New/old boss?” Heh. I crack me up.)

(*Under the principle of: if it isn’t mandatory, it’s forbidden.)

Newt Gingrich Blows it on Invasion

IMMIGRATION IS WHAT HAPPENS when you queue up and do your due diligence at the — you know — Immigration office. What’s coming over the border from Mexico is not “immigration.” It is an invasion. The dispossessed of a semi-hostile state are herded over our border, in effect made “our” problem in what really ought to be considered an act of war.

Saying that we need to face up to the facts and be compassionate because the enemy policy has been successful so far is witless.

When compassion seeks to overrule laws of nature, death is the result. Read The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin. The economics of the alien invasion from Mexico are ruthless. The solutions of the cold equations will only exact a portion of the cost, but exact they will, and the final result will be the end of our Republic. And the invaders from the South will not be the better for it.

Plus: I wanna know how the people of Spanish or Indian descent, whose ancestors have lived in the Southwest for 400 or 500 years, who have never broken a law in their lives, who work hard, go to church, and try to raise their children right… How do they feel being knee-jerkily lumped together with people who broke the law on Day 1 and have never stopped in all the time they’ve been here, who want to turn the Southwestern United States into yet another Third World hellhole? How do they feel about having their attitudes assumed and co-opted to push an agenda that they may not agree with — may, in fact, find odious, despicable, and just plain awful? How do they feel about being used as pawns by Washington ruling-class types at election time, then abandoned when invaders and other criminals trespass on their land, steal their property, and threaten their lives?

How dishonest is it to assume they agree with you in a monolithic bloc and will vote a certain way based on your disrespect for the rule of law and the fundamental ideals of the country?

Me, I’d say, “Pretty damned…

And Speaking of Which

WHICH I WAS if you read bottom-to-top like they do in … wherever it is they do that. In the note about emphasis on the customer in the market. It used to be a truism in business, but with the creep of — er — creeping socialism these latter days, people tend to forget it. And you get these odd discontinuities like the #OccupyFail people ranting that capitalists are a bunch of greedy bastards, (they say, whilst manifesting a greed of their own for other people’s goods that simply … well … takes the breath away). But. No. Except inasmuch as they’re human, capitalists and other merchants aren’t so much greedy as a class as they are greedy as human beings. We’re all greedy — not least of whom, the socialists who are greedy without the willingness to get it the Old. Fashioned. Way. — by. Earning. It.

Which I think was where I was headed, so I guess I’d better stop.


THIS IS ANOTHER TRADITION of mine. In fact, at one time, in the mid-oughts, it was my default post style. Kind of an Instapundit links-fest crossed with Tam’s tab clearing. I call it Ellipses for the fact that the context is elliptical, and the content is often elided.

Free eBook

Check this out.

SO IF YOU GET REALLY bored, just tune me out for a minute.

Sarah Hoyt managed to help me through a major thorny thicket in this blog post Tuesday. I need to work through this myself, and the easiest way is to pass the lesson on. You know, the old Med-school thing — see one, do one, teach one. If you get it wrong, you can unpack it and see where. If you get it right, the process helps reinforce the lesson.

APPARENTLY some good advice at the link that I could never find the time or attention to devote to a full-bore blog post.

Still in all, please to note the emphasis on the reader. A lot of the rhetoric being tossed around with such gay abandon here of late is focused on the writers and the agents and the publishers — oh, my! — and allows slip the mind the basic fact of ANY market. And that is that the market exists for the benefit of the buyer. The customer. The trade. In our case, the reader. As Heinlein said, you’re competing for beer money. If you don’t satisfy a need, you will go hungry. Pretty simple, really.

WHAT WAS THE PRESENT that Drummond tried to give Dolly in Chapter One of It’s Dolly’s Birthday?

I’m thinking engagement ring. That’s fraught.

Typefaces I like. Because.

Della Robbia
Goudy Old Style
Venetian 301

Yes, I am a career graphics nerd. Thirty years, man and boy. Why do you ask?

Read this blog post.

Maybe this weekend.

Quote of the Day

Never take someone’s feelings for granted, because you never know how much courage it took to show it to you.

–Dunno who

New Stuff

NEWCOMERS WILL IMMEDIATELY spot the new decorations and go, “Neat!” (At least, I hope so.) Old-timers will also spot them and go, “Cool! He’s doing that again.” (At least, I hope that so also.)

The changes are the images at the top and the bottom of today’s entries.

First what, then why.

The image at the top is one of approximately 10,000 images I have taken of skies and clouds in and around Cincinnati and between here and neighboring cities. Most of them have been taken on the fly through the windshield of my Jeep with a (by now) crappy old, beat up Nikon Coolpix. 3Mpx, if memory serves. I take considerable liberties with them, including Photoshopping them without shame or scruple. I make no representations as to accuracy or authenticity. I’m after making images that please me. That only.

The name of the feature comes from a fragment I wrote about Dolly and intend to use in a story, if I ever get the chance.

Dolly maintained fervently that “all this” was not her natural calling. She knew, bone deep, that she had something greater to do. Which is why, in moments of great stress, she would escape to a field somewhere, preferably on a high hillside, with a long view, and work assiduously on her cloudwatching chops. She knew that, if you worked at something, and got really, really good at it, sooner or later, somebody would pay you to do it. She’d also heard that it took — like — 9,000 or 10,000 times at doing something before you got world-class good at it. But she figured, if she really worked at it, sooner or later, she could get a job running a cloud observatory, and then she’d have it made.

In an eastern near-suburb of Cincinnati, there is a city park — Alms Park — where one of our great families has put up a pavilion in the Elvish style as a memorial to one of their lost children. It is ideally situated on the breast of a high hill, overlooking the Ohio River valley, with an excellent prospect of Ft. Thomas on the Kentucky shore. Turn your head to the right, and you can see the city core, rising from a turn in the river like the Emerald City. Turn to the left, and there is a vertiginous drop to the floor of the Little Miami valley, and a couple of miles of clear air between this hill (Mt. Lookout) and Mt. Washington to the East.

I call it the Cloud Observatory. Og’s been there. He can tell you I don’t lie.

The image at the foot of today’s entries is a panorama taken from another of Cincinnati’s hillsides — this time, Mt. Auburn, looking toward downtown from the north. It was one of the first images I took with my little Coolpix, and one that still excites my love of rainy days and romantic scenery. For geographical geeks, I was standing on Boal Street and the row of houses in the foreground is on Milton Street. It was taken on Easter Sunday, 2005.

It used to be my tradtion to open every day’s posts with a Cloud Observation and close them with what I call a “pix” entry. Just… decoration, but, like a spoonful of flavored ice, something to clear the palate. I’m intending to start these traditions up again.

Now, as to why. I’ve really kind of neglected this blog for the past several years. I’ve posted desultorily, mostly bilious political posts, without much joy and without the fun, aesthetic stuff I used to post. Part of that has to do with the focus of my life, and the general malaise of the times. After all, Democrats have been in charge or fucking things up since 2006. Not cause for good cheer.

I think the general murk has affected my traffic, too, although I haven’t really looked lately. I’m not even sure my Google Analytics are working on this site.

But, I figures, the shit storm that is the Obama Adminstration doesn’t mean I have to be a Gloomy Gustavus. SO. I intend to spread out, to post a wider variety of items, to share images of what’s going on around me, to discuss something other than politics, and maybe LIGHTEN THIS PLACE UP A LITTLE. Whattaya say!?

Yes, that does mean I’ll be attempting more Caturday Posts. OK?

Oh! And I also remember, years ago, when Sean Kinsell was still in Japan, he complained that you couldn’t permalink the Cloud Observations. I’ve fixed that. You can, now. There’s no little linky icon, but you can right-click on the post title and copy the permalink URL from there.

Hannity Blows It

ONCE AGAIN in the ideological war against the Left, this time on the #DebtSupercommitteeFail.

When a thing works as designed, can it really be said to have failed? What? You think it wasn’t designed for this outcome? Why? Because the people designing it said so? Are you really that gullible?

Over the weekend, Democrats tried to blame the failure of the thing on the Republicans, saying that the Republicans were/are rigid and ideological and unwilling to compromise.

(And what have we learned over the years about Democrat projections and transferrance? Class? Right! They always attack you on the points where they are weakest.)

But, really, folks. If you’re right and they’re wrong, why should you have to compromise? Because they’re exercising naked power to obstruct progress and block the proper outcome? Hell no! Call them on it!

And Hannity’s engaging in the same-old, “Is so/Is not!” argument, which is pointless, and cedes to the enemy a win that should be ours by default.

So what if we’re rigid and ideological? Raising taxes in a recession is barking-at-the-moon insane. So, if we’re rigid in refusing to do so, we’re right, why SHOULD we compromise?

Hannity’s relentless drive for comity and ecumenism has led him down the same old primrose path yet again.

So Precious

WHEN POSEURS whinge about how bored they are with social media — on social media.

Isn’t that cute!?


NONONONONONONO They weren’t booing. They were shouting, “Bru-u-uce!”

Oh. So that’s it, eh?

RT: +1 Me2, And All That

BIZZY BLOG thanks Ann Barnhardt for her courage. Add me to that.

@AnnBarnhardt: I don’t normally urge people to run for President. But you I would.

Miguel Cervantes

CHOSE WINDMILLS as standins for giants in the mind of his protagonist, Don Quixote de la Mancha, because — well, there were a lot of them around the Spanish landscape. They were a familiar fixture to his readers.

Around 250 years later, the clipper ships on the China run were the pinnacle of achievement in wind power. They wrung the greatest return out of investments in wind power the earth had ever seen. They even offered serious competition — in certain conditions, over certain routes — to steam-powered vessels, which is why they were the preferred means of transporting — for example — tea until long after other routes were switched to powered shipping.

But that was it. Wind power as played out. The Dutch converted their famous windmills to steam and even electric power. More reliable for pumping out the polders behind the dykes. In a situation where dry ground meant the difference between life and death, it was a no-brainer. The actual mill structures became kitsch houses — those that survived.

The world over — with certain, limited exceptions — left wind power behind with a vast, collective sigh of relief.

And then came the brain-dead enviro-wackos. Not conservationists — dedicated to the best use of resources. No. The watermelons on the Left who witter on about “ecology” like they had a clue want no use of any resources. They want the entire world to live in some romanticized notion they have of a bucolic, medieval village existence (complete with kings and a hereditary aristocracy, one presumes). Or worse. For, eventually, their programs would have all of us scratching for subsistence in a pre-agricultural, stone-age condition.

And, when they say that “we” need to reduce the human population on the earth, they mean “they” are going to “kill” “you.” They may not get your blood on their hands — they’re really good at that: avoiding taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions and policies — but make no mistake; they mean for them to live and you to die.

So, while this little bit of news should come with some small degree of schadenfreude, still in all, it’s wise to keep a weather eye open. Faced with bare facts as to the failure of one of their pet nostrums, rest assured they will not quit. In the words of that great man of steel — They’ll be ba-a-ack.


HAVING WEATHERED SOME IRL drama, back at work on IDB. Only 1,000 new words (current count ca 19,000 words in final), but have worked out a scene-by-scene outline for the rest of the novel. With any luck and somepeace and quiet, I should be able to breeze through the rest. Knock on formica. Famous last words and all that.

I Keep Thinking This

AND WONDERING WHY if it’s so obvious to me, why somebody with more throw weight hasn’t advanced the argument forcefully. It seems dispositive to me, and would be a slam dunk in nuking Obamacare — among other odious policies.

Follow the argument.

We have a right to liberty. Capital “L” Liberty. Statists and other unsavory creatures will no doubt carp and cavil that this is not so, and advance pettifogging arguments to advance that position, but, in truth, it’s undeniable. Self-Evident, if you will. It has even been enshrined in our national Holy Writ.

The Declaration of Independence lays it out:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.

–Thomas Jefferson et al, 1776

And, while the committee which authored the Declaration did not comprise the same individuals as the Constitution, it is risible to assert that there is not, nonetheless, a certain philosophical continuity between the two bodies. When it comes to Original Intent, the intent to enshrine and defend capital “L” Liberty in our national charter must be taken as the prime mover. It is the raison d’etre of the whole edifice. It says so right there on the side of the box.

So, when the authors of the Constitution were moved to Amend that document with the Bill of Rights, it seemed only sensible to include the Ninth and Tenth

IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

“Shall not be construed to deny or disparage…” clearly ought to include those Rights specifically enumerated in the Declaration — which also clearly ought to imply (or even exply*) that the contention that the Declaration has never been enacted into Law is… well… ridiculous.

And, when drawing a straight line from Point A to Point C, one also intersects Point B, one must conclude that there is some congruence in play.
That the Declaration states we have a Right to Liberty, and that Governments are [in|con]stituted among Men to defend the Right to Liberty, we have a small “c” constitutional Right to Liberty. And the Ninth Amendment recognizes that fact. Which makes the right large-“C” Constitutional.

So. If we have a Constitutional right to liberty, and an act of Congress is a plain affront to that liberty, then that act must be, as day follows night, un-Constitutional.

And, if Obamacare is not an affront to liberty on so many fronts, then there can be no such thing as liberty. It is, as the saying goes, self-evident.

Kyew. Ee. Dee.

*Exply: to make explicit, just as to imply is to make implicit.

I Have Not Forgotten

NOW THAT YOU’RE SIGNING up in droves, it’s time to reiterate — I have not forgotten my promise that all of you who sign up for membership in BTB in November will receive, on publication, a free copy of my e-novel, It’s Dolly’s Birthday, the 14th story of the Dolly Apocrypha. (Sometimes you just have to go to war in the underwear you have on.)

And, since, through no fault of yours, the ability to register was compromised for a good portion of the month, I’m re-setting the clock. Anybody who signs up between now and the 20th of December will receive, on publication, a free copy of It’s Dolly’s Birthday.

I would advise you to order your Kindle or Kindle Fire soon. I’m betting that, as we get closer to Christmas, there will be supply issues. That happens a lot to desirable gift items.

And, as I’m sure you’ve heard, if you click through to Amazon using the BTB Text Link, you’ll be benefitting this starving artist at no additional cost to yourself.


EICHMANN’S ISRAELI PROSECUTOR relates this tale, and how it becomes personal through symbols.

A survivor of Auschwitz tells — in preparation to testify against Eichmann during his trial for crimes against humanity — of the moment in time when he and his family arrived at the camp. There were four of them: the man, his wife, their preteen son and their toddler daughter. When prisoners arrived at the camp, they were parsed, segregated, and dispatched according to criteria that suited the purposes of the Reich. There was always a need for slave labor, and so men with skills were sometimes sent to that task, rather than merely being warehoused in the camps until they were killed. So there was a kind of triage performed at the gates. Camp survivors’ stories tell of this myriad times over.

This particular man was an engineer. His wife was sent off in one direction, their daughter in tow, while the man was sent in another. The son, in temporary limbo was finally sent to run after his mother.

That was the last time he saw any of them, he said. As they receded in the distance, he could no longer pick them out from among the multitude. But their daughter — the precious little girl — was wearing a red coat. That he could see for a very long time after all else of them was lost in the distance.

The prosecutor relates how that detail hit home for him, because he had a daughter that age at the time of the trial, and had just bought her a red coat.

Someone telling a story should properly stop right there. The point of this kind of symbolism is to bury the image in the reader’s mind and let it linger there — seemingly forever — and have a continuing effect. I’m writing about this storytelling technique, so I go on to point this out. And then I stop.

Cross-posted at Musings of an Indie Writer.

As Far As I Know

THIS IS WORKING NOW You can register for membership in BTB at the comment entry page. Membership is not YET required to comment, and comments are, for the moment, not moderated. However, spam, link trolling, and comments I don’t like will continue to be deleted without comment. As the disclaimer says, I don’t mind a substantive challenge or correction, but I won’t brook rudeness or agitprop for the enemy. And by substantive, I mean your comment should make it clear you’ve done your homework, or I’ll assume you’re trolling. If the spamming and link trolling get too bad, I will first require membership for commenting, then moderate comments. Don’t want to do either, as they’re both a hassle for me. But fuckwits in the world — you know who you are — just HAVE to ruin it for everybody else, and this is why we can’t have nice things.

Meantime, allayouse who’ve been hanging around, shyly waiting to sign up (don’t THINK I don’t see you out there), please feel free.

Update: (all ready)… Those of you who have already signed up, (I forgot this myself), you can edit the details of your account through the links that appear at the top of the right column. If you’re NOT already registered, there is a link in the same place that lets you register without clicking through to the comments. Sorry for the confusion.


IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN people trade freely between and amongst themselves. When freedom is allowed to flourish — and many times when it is not — capitalism rises: from the cracks in the pavement, from the dry earth, from the sere and arid desert of oppression and the overreach of states, people — simply… people. Governments call it black markets or Systeme D. They wrinkle their noses at it. They tut-tut that it is unregulated and pays no taxes. Political poseurs may thumb their noses at authority and proclaim the end of the state. But the people. We… the people. Simply go about our business, minding our own, and leaving our neighbor to his.

Hell, I Thought Casual Sex

ENDED IN THE early ’80s, with the onset of AIDS. At least, that’s what we were told at the time.

Boomers don’t get the idea of casual sex? I laugh up my sleeve at the notion.

This really is an indictment of the government schools in this country. They are NOT teaching history any more. They can’t be.

The #OccupyFail Crowd

IS IN EFFECT COMMITTING acts of war in American cities. Why are they not treated like enemy combatants? They are, in effect, illegal combatants, subject to the Geneva Conventions, and thus summary execution. Just because they’re not under mass arms? Isn’t that a … “technicality?”

Rush asked something similar on his show on Thursday — how come these aren’t acts of terrorism?

Of course you know the answer (or should I say the A.N.S.W.E.R.): the #OWS is a sanctioned and subsidized arm of the Democratic party.

Which should tell you patriotic Americans who nevertheless consider yourselves liberals something you might rather not hear — but really, really need to.

The Walker Recall

MAKES ME RECALL how Democrats whinged — however many times, on however many occasions — that Republicans were trying to “overturn the results of an election.” Twice now — actually, almost nonstop, now — in Wisconsin and Ohio being the most clearcut cases, Democrats have been in a positive frenzy to overturn the results of elections. Throwing absolute temper tantrums about it.



BECOMES fappy-wanky.

Becomes…? BECOMES!

Well, it always was. But it’s becoming clearer and more undeniable for those who chose not to see it back when.

California’s “toxic” business climate.

What if middle-class jobs disappear?

Occupy movement deteriorates

Youth less willing to support Obama this time.

So Bored

WITH THE Boomer bashing. The latest one starts with Walter Russell Mead, who uses as his metynomic lead some maunderings about the Who’s “My Generation.” Nice try, but the Who — like most of the British Invasion — were/are not Boomers, but are war babies. And, if you don’t think there’s a difference, you haven’t been paying attention.

And, mentonymy may take a part to symbolize the whole, but to take the part — inspired and led by war and depression babies, as well as foreign agitprops, the parents of red diaper babies — is mistaken. If you’re going to use a symbol, you should make sure it accurately — you know — syombolizes what you’re attempting to metonymize. Otherwise, all you’re committing is a category error.

Which turns into a straw man argument. Such as…

The Boomers? Have invented nothing. Have discovered nothing.Have generated wealth only in bubbles based on intenet (also invented by their parents as ARPANet) fantasy.

…from the comments.

To which I have two names: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. Who ARE Baby Boomers.

Suck it, dickface.

Frigging Oxygen Thieves

WATERMELON GREENS I mean. Apparently, Robert at SDA does, too.

It’s the only reasonable conclusion, because what they want to do is based on false data and won’t yield the results they state they’re aiming for, so the intended end must be what would really eventuate were they allowed to bring their uptopia about. Or even an attenuated version of it.

And, like zombies, they just keep coming. Impervious to facts, or withering sarcasm. The discussion comes down to: what calibre for greens?


I HAVEN’T BEEN BLOGGING about NaNoWriMo, because — frankly — I’ve been too busy actually doing it to write about it. And I really still am, but I figured as we’re close to halfway, I should say something.

My present word count is 18,690 words — new and final draft. As the goal is 50,000 words in 30 days, (1,667 words per day), I am a good ways off the pace. In that sense, I am not satisfied with my production.

However, I have made good, solid progress on refining the ten-year-old, 25,000-word first draft of It’s Dolly’s Birthday into a solid, professional-quality novel. And in that, I am well pleased.

On Assignment

TIME TO INSTALL A “PASSIVE GUY posts” macro. The guy is just a one-man clearinghouse for the indie-author-publisher revolution.

Passive Guy posts on a contractual object called an Assignment Clause. This apparently makes your work, your future, and your career an asset of a corporation when it is sold. That your contract with Corporation A automatically becomes — willy nilly — a contract with Corporation B, when the latter purchases the former.

I have long been of the opinion that this ought to be unlawful. Or illegal, if you prefer. It ought not be allowed. When a corporation is sold, all of its contracts must be re-negotiated, and the parties thereto offered the option to walk away from the agreement.

I can hear the objections already — that you’d never be able to sell a corporation so encumbered, that this would make public financing virtually impossible, and blah-blah-blah. Sorry. Being an absolutist as to the supremacy of the rights of the human individual (and seeing no reason to alter that stance), I see that not as a bug, but as a feature. Deal.

The corporate shield should not protect the owners or the managers from their own incompetence or foul-dealing. If selling the company to save it means losing half its assets when creatives under contract jump ship, let that be an incentive to manage your assets better.

I’m Usually Down on Political Excumenism

AS BEING WEAK ON THE ISSUES and not having the courage of your convictions. Politics is war with different methods, and to win at war, you have to drive your enemies before you, hear the laminations of the women and all that bumpf.

But commerce isn’t war, which is something it has going for it, in my opinion, nor is it politics — except to the extent that some people just can’t keep politics out of every crack the sand gets into when you’re underdressed on the beach.

Bob Mayer posts a request for a little less rhetoric and a little more civility in the whole indie-vs-tradpub debate. I have to agree. There’s little point and a lot of idiocy in a policy that has Tobias Buckell blathering on as he did the other day. (Of course, it’s just Tobias blathering on as he does, so I pay it a little less heed than I might otherwise.) But still. Joe Konrath doesn’t come off much better in that regard. You start calling people potty-mouth names and some of it inevitably splashes back on you. Shit be like that.

The bottom line is you should just let people go their own way. Me, I’d urge anyone seeking publication to at least consider indie publishing (though, as a lot of people have pointed out lately, how much independence there’s going to remain anywhere is debatable). At the same time, I’m not going to kick over the rice bowl of an author who’s happy with her agent and her three-book contract with a perfectly reputable house. I’m just not. And I don’t think it’s very mensch-ly of you to do it, either.

Also posted at Musings of an Indie Writer.

I Will Not Stop Saying This

UNTIL THE WHOLE WORLD agrees with me as a matter of course. Coyote, who really ought to know better, goes all ecumenical on us on the subject of unions.

…[A] group or agency does initial good work (private unions in the early 20th century, civil rights groups in the 60′s and 70′s, the EPA in the early 70′s) but refuse to go away and declare victory, instead morphing into self-sustaining parasites whose only concern is their own survival.

Unions are, ab initio and fundamentally un-American institutions. They start out taking as their raison d’etre a violation of the right of free association, trample on the rights of private property, depend on violence physical as well as commercial and coercion for their power, and break the price signalling function of a freely operating marketplace in labor. Then, once they collude with statists in government to get their enabling legislation enacted, they pass from those basic crimes to adding the restriction on the freedom of employees to sell their labor when, where, and as they see fit, and the outright theft or extortion of dues. (As in the post at Coyote Blog.) From there, they widen the scope of their evil to corrupt the political system with their money and influence. No Democrat would ever win an election if it weren’t for the corruption of unions.

People in the Right or interested in true liberty need to stop granting unions the benefit of doubt they do not deserve. They are despicable tools of despicable people and deserve only the backs of our hand, and honest workmen should not permit them to steal their labor.

Happy Dance

A DEAR FRIEND, fellow OWW-er, and beloved step-mother to Dolly (practically my first reader, if only she’d make it official).

There’s a reason for that, Alger.

And what’s that?

You never asked.

Think so?

Whyn’ ya ask and see?


Terminal diffidence?

Uh… yeah?

God, you’re hopeless!”

Anyway. Jaime has sold her first novel to Tor. And it’s one of a series. (I have some of a WIP (the fourth book?) on my Kindle and hope to get to it later this week. I plan to enjoy it. And you don’t get to — yet. Nya-nya-nya.)

Her name is Jaime Lee Moyer. Note it down; you will be hearing a lot from her. The first book is titled Delia’s Shadow and is due from Tor in (if memory serves) February of 2013. It’s already getting notice, which I suspect is a sign of an agent doing her job.

Back when we were both little baby wannabes on OWW, (which I still am, I hasten to admit, albeit not so active on the ‘shop), I likened her voice to Zenna Henderson’s. By which I meant the sound of her narration in my head put me in mind of ZH’s. And I meant it as a compliment.

So should you.

Also posted at Musings of an Indie Writer.

On Pantsing and Lining

KAT PAULK HAS BEEN POSTING over at Mad Genius Club (that is Kate, right?) [Yes — GFD] an Extreme Pantser’s Guide — or How to Fly a Ficton by the Seat of Your Pants. Thursday’s episode, Kate advises pantsers (and this advice actually is even more important to ‘liners) to WRITE IT ALL DOWN. The best idea in the world won’t do you any good if it’s gone in the night. The trick is to A) know where to put it and 2) to remember you’ve got it when you need it.

So. Do I have anything to add?

A plug. For Scrivener.

Before I start, I’m not claiming this property is exclusive to Scrivener, but it’s there, and it works brilliantly for exactly this purpose (rather than it was designed for something else and you have to warp it into service for this purpose, like you’ll find in, e.g. word processors).

Lemme ‘splain how I see this. Say you have a collection of printed cards. Doesn’t matter what’s printed on them, except that they have to be sorted in some order — alphabetical or numerical would be two possibilities, but not the only ones. And say you have to get them into order. Somebody played 52 Pickup with them (or, if it’s Obama, 57 Pickup, but whatever), and you have to get them back in order for some urgent reason.

One method — and I think the easiest, but I could be wrong (Yes, it happens, albeit rarely.) — is to lay the cards out in grid pattern, rows and columns, to allow you to quickly sort them without having to sort the entire stack in your hands.

For example, if your stack were a deck of playing cards (and you knew it), you could lay it out in four rows for the suits and 13 columns for 2 through Ace.

But, if you didn’t know the limits (four suits of 13 cards each), such a matrix wouldn’t make so much sense, because you don’t know the dimensions So you might lay them out in a single row. Or start in one row and go until you run out of room and start another one. And you might have to guess at intermediate dimensions and keep sliding cards or stacks of cards around as you get into the problem and come to understand what you’re dealing with better.

For example, say you’re working in a foreign alphabet. And you have to figure out what order the letters come in from context. There’s enough there to tell you that, but it’s not immediately obvious as you turn the cards up seriatim — rather only once you get a large enough sample to see and guess at the pattern. And you have to reiterate your sort several times as you gain more context and understand the dimensions of the system better each time.

And this last is a pretty close analog to ordering random fragments in a story. You may not be able to tell from the fragment as it occurs to you — in a dream, or (as has happened to me twice in the past week) while you’re washing the dishes. But, once you line up several of these, a pattern will slowly emerge. And, eventually, there will be a whole story, with only a few bits and pieces missing, which you can then fill in “by hand” as it were, connecting your previously disconnected fragments.

And, just as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle can, with a change of orientation, or the filling in of a seemingly unrelated portion of the whole, suddenly reveal where they go — and surprise you doing so — so, too, can the pieces of your story reveal where they belong and how they connect to the larger story (if at all).

And as for why Scrivener aids in all of this, it is in two ways: first, that it is trivially easy to move parts around. You can either drag-and-drop any given fragment as though it were a discret object (which, to the program, it is), or you can follow menu options — either from the menu bar or from right-click context menus. (This is, obviously, the Windows version. Macs can be problematic with right-click operations and I really don’t know how Scrivener behaves in this wise on OS-X.) Second, there are a good many ways for you to identify a fragment. You can tag it according to its fundamental nature — note, scene, chapter — and you can include notes and descriptions at all levels of organizations.

All of which aid in making each fragment into a building block you can A) find and 2) manipulate to serve the needs of your story.

At another level of abstraction, Scrivener provides tools for building a “scaffold,” if you will, that lets you hang unconnected fragments on it and move them around as on a bulletin board. (In fact, there is a piece of the program’s UI that follows the cork board metaphor for just this purpose.) It makes it very easy to move story parts around and try their various arrangements, letting the author come to a conclusion on a story’s organization surprisingly quickly.

And, if you’re not sure whether this fragment goes in Chapter 13 or Chapter 19, then put a folder in between the two and call it a Part and give it an ordinal that puts it between the two. Then plunk your orphan fragment down there until you figure out the sequence and where it all goes.

Which is a rather roundabout way of saying, “Get this thing. It’ll make your life so much better in so many ways.”

Also posted at Musings of an Indie Writer.

In a Comment at Joe Konrath’s


I think what’s not been said succinctly is what this has all been pointing toward:

Taking a midlist deal from a traditional publisher is dumb-ass thing to do. The “average” advance for a first novel is about $6,000.

How sad to be a good enough writer to get a book deal, but with such poor business sense and such a potent need for a stamp of approval that you squander the money you could be making.

People say but taking that midlist deal is a career builder. Yes, it is. A career of being repeatedly fucked that culminates with getting dropped. The odds are overwhelmingly in favor of that scenario. I’ve been in this business since 2004, and the number of people who were first published when I was and still are being published is a fraction.

Do you think it’s easier now than it was then?

With the rarest of exceptions, publishers support books they pay lots and lots of $$ for. And only some of those are successful. If you get big money for a book up front, take it and run. No one’s saying that’s not a smart thing to do. I think Amanda Hocking was masterful in leveraging her ebook sales into a killer major print deal.

But midlist, for the most part, stays midlist. And considering the current royalty structure for ebooks, midlist is an even worse place to be now than it was a few years ago.

I haven’t heard anyone here say that all legacy-published authors are morons. Because no one believes that. Some are making fat bank. Good for them. Ride it out. But if you have a first novel, or are considering publishing again, and you’re taking less than $25,000, I think it’s safe to say that’s a stupid, stupid thing to do.

Some people would say that number should be way higher.

You want some numbers?

On my first novel, Desert Places, which was published in 2004, I have earned a total of $13,114 from my publisher. That took six years, and I was paid an advance of $6,000.

Since I re-published it myself one year ago, I have made $17,677, on Amazon US alone. That doesn’t include Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Amazon Fr.

And this isn’t my top seller. It’s only cracked the top 1000 once. This is a 7-year-old novel.

Now, there’s been a lot of talk about tone. So if this comment just hurt your feelings. I apologize. Go to this website, and have one on me:

I think that characterizing acceptance of a trad-pub contract as dumb is wrong. Ill-informed, perhaps, but, after all, it has been the prevailing model for near on a century. And self-publishing is a risk — a crap-shoot — and more especially for a new writer with a first novel. Nor is it a given that said author finds the terms of the contract amenable. More likely, I’d say, that she finds it a Hobson’s, and may seek another route to publication next time.

There’s been a lot of commentary on the subject of the abrasive tone of Konrath’s posts on the subject. I can’t say as I have an opinion either way on that. If you can’t see the plan facts in front of your nose, maybe it’s a “if the foo shits…” situation. But, at the same time, people can get their backs up if they perceive that they’re being insulted — whether with reason or not — and the emotion can cloud their judgement or their receptivity to the message. That is, however, not really the messenger’s problem, now, is it?

Also posted at Musings of an Indie Writer.

I’mRight and the Rest of the World is Stupid

OHIO VOTERS, TUESDAY overturned the results of the 2010 election. That they did so in a blind panic stirred up by the lies of public sector unions from SEIU to the NEA, and in the face of virtually NO countervailing press or advertisement really doesn’t matter. They did it.

The principle claim was that, if limits on collective bargaining and increased contributions (yes, more than zero is still an increase) to medical and retirement benefits for public employees were to have been kept in-place (as passed by a duly-elected Assembly and signed into law by a duly-elected governor, but these are minor details to Democrats bent on a tantrum to get what they want and to hell with the propriety or the consequences), public safety would suffer. In evidence, they ran a virtual clone of that stupid Brinks commercial that we here have so derided from time-to-time. You know, the one that claimed that response time changes due to budget cuts would have anything to do with citizen safety in the face of housebreaking or assault.

That’s right, the public fell for a Democrat lie. Who’d ha’ thunk it?

And, of course, the changes in the collective bargaining laws would not have resulted in service cuts. Au contraire, mon frere, the savings represented — as has been the case in Wisconsin and elsewhere — would have saved jobs. Now, faced with ballooning budgets, Ohio municipalities will be forced to cut staffing. They won’t have a choice. The ones who’re left will get their medical coverage and retirement paid for, but there’ll be fewer of them. You tell me which has a greater impact on public safety.

Or garbage collection.

Oh, and, here in Cincinnasty, the idiot voters defeated a measure intended to rein in a runaway city council, seemingly bent on bankrupting the city to give the Mayor his own private train set to play with.

What!? It for sure won’t do shit for public transportation. And it sure as shit won’t pay for itself. No “public mass transit” project ever does.
That’s why private companies got out of the business fifty years ago.

Like I said: idiots.

Parallelism in Series

BOB LEFZETZ might as well be talking about pop literature and the future of publishing when he writes We Live In An On-Demand World.

First and foremost, the window is forever. Used to be you were selling the product, now you’re selling yourself. What I mean by this is don’t organize your career around deadlines and marketing campaigns. Something great lies in wait for the listener to discover it online. You read in traditional media about new releases which come out and instantly tank. You want to drop land mines, that people will discover when ready. And not everything you have to do is great, as long as enough of it is, as long as you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

Sound like anybody we’ve been hearing lately?

Also posted at Musings of an Indie Writer.