Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Story Sale

Cool beans for Halloween! My flash piece (very short story) was accepted by Every Day Fiction, to go up soon.

This is my first non-genre, mainstream story. See, I'm versatile!

Happy halloween everybody. Stay safe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Great fake ad

I've never been a fan of stupid, or of ignorance. However, it seems that they're more popular than ever, especially in the media, which feeds on stupidity and ignorance.

So here's a great fake ad, which sums up the political climate today:

As Charles Dickens said, in A Christmas Carol:
"This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."

And as Thomas Jefferson said:
"People get the government they deserve."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Victims Must Apologize

In the world of modern-day neoconservatism (which has nothing to do with fiscal sense for the public), victims should now apologize to the ones who victimize them. We have two stellar example recently.

The first example of arrogant self-entitlement is when the wife of Clarence Thomas called Anita Hill after 20 years and asked her for an apology.

This folks, is the definition of “unmitigated gall.” For those fuzzy on history, about 20 years ago Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court, despite a lack of sense or jurisprudence acumen. He was an ultra-conservative party hack, who never strayed from the party line, and so was up for his reward.

One brave, lone woman stood up to testify that maybe this wasn't such a good idea, as Clarence was a sexually harassing creep and bully in the workplace. She gave examples, dates, documentation. She exposed this toad for what he was and is. Not one deserving of a seat on the highest court in the land.

Clarence acted with the usual fake outrage, and claimed that anyone against him was a racist, due to his African-American ancestry. Even though the one exposing him also had African-American ancestry.

And in the usual modern-day upside-down bizarro world, Anita Hill was reviled by the right wing pundits and apologizers. She was the one who endured slander, smears, and character assassination. She suffered greatly for having the courage to stand up to this asshole and his counterparts. And she suffered for it, while Clarence went to his reward, and later betrayed the country.

And now, two decades after the fact, his wife wants Anita Hill to apologize-- for telling the truth.
What kind of parallel universe do these people come from?

But oh, this is even topped by another example. A few years back, Dick Cheney was serving as Vice President after five Supreme Court judges (Clarence Thomas among them- see how it works?) overturned the will of the voters and instead gave office to the people they wanted. So Dick was out with his buddies on a private enclave, drinking and whooping it up, and fired a shotgun load into someone else in the party. Coming very close to killing him.

According to the laws of the United States, a shooting must be investigated, and the shooter questioned. But Cheney ignored the law, as usual, and blew off the police until he could sober up and get his story straight, which took him and his cronies until the next day. They also claimed that Dick and his victim were close friends, because in their world, it's better to shoot your friends. This was another blatant lie which went unchallenged by our stalwart press.

Though his victim almost died, this gang of criminals later made HIM apologize in public!
'So sorry, sir, for getting my face in the way of your muzzle blast. I'll try to be more careful.'

And to this day, the victim has not received any official apology. Because these damn criminals have no decency, no honor, and no respect for anything but money and power.

Two shining examples of what is wrong in this country. It's not the immigrants, or religious groups, or poor people, or the boogeyman of the moment, it's the rich, entitled plutocrats who crush everything in their path and then demand we apologize for getting our blood on their shoes.

And you wonder at the fury of the mob in the French Revolution.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Annoying pop-up ads

Here's a note to website developers: don't be stupid!

I regret to say, many are being so. The new fad is putting links on their page that pop up to a wasteful, totally annoying ad when you roll over it. Lots of them. Probably because some clown told them they'd make tons of money if they did.

Here's a tip, dimbulbs-- the quickest way to get me (and many others) to leave your website and never return is to scatter these stupid pop-ups all over your page. You think you'll make money? You'll LOSE money, because NO ONE wants to see these things! What in the hell is wrong with you? When people get annoyed at a website, they DON'T RETURN!!! You'd better get that quick, before the site owner wonders why they're not getting traffic anymore. And if it's the owner telling you to put them in, tell them it's the quick way to website suicide. People click links to see cool things, not ads. When you put these in, you're insulting your viewers, and we do not like it.

Greed makes people stupid, and stupid people get greedy. They go hand in hand. Here's a trend that needs to stop-- NOW.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A revolution, but books will not die

Another end-of-the-worlder talking about how ebooks are killing print books:

My response...

Yes, it's a revolution, and things have already changed. Good or bad, it's here, and one can get swept under by the tsunami, or grab a surfboard and give it a good ride.

First of all, books are not going away. They'll still be around, with people who like them. While fewer books may be printed and sold because of ebooks, it may not necessarily mean fewer readers or less profit for a writer.

Old Model- I hear of a writer, walk into a bookstore (and assuming I've got the stomach to wade through the steaming dung piles of ghostwritten celebrity “books” foisted on us by big publishers), pay $25 for a book. The writer gets $1-$2 of that, paid 6-12 months (or more) afterward.

New Model- I hear of a writer, go to their website, read a sample they've put up, and buy the ebook for $3. That's right, $3, not the overcharging for ebooks the publishers are currently doing. And the writer still gets $1-$2, but gets it far sooner than a publishing house is going to give it up. And if I like it, I'll buy more (and recommend it to others), because the price is good. And if it's really good, I'll pick up print copies anyway.

I'm middle class, and can't afford the $25 each for the hundred or so books a year that I read. So I'm already getting them from the library or the discount bins, for which the writer gets zilch. The only time I'll fork over big bucks for a new book is at a signing, or for writers I'm keen to collect (established brands).

So with ebooks, the writer has a much better chance of being read and getting direct profit from me, because I'll take a chance for $3, and if the book sucks, I'm not outraged at being ripped off.
This revolution is a reverse of the Industrial Revolution. There, the cottage industries, such as home weavers, were put out of work by economies of scale and machines that could produce more goods cheaper and faster. Now we have behemoth, bloated publishing houses getting put out of work because the little cottage industry can produce a book, printed or electronically, cheaper and faster. How ironic.

Latest Story Out

Today my story "Carnival of Pain" is out at Dark Valentine:

With a very cool illustration by Pamela Jaworska.

A little something for the Halloween season, and an homage to Ray Bradbury. Happy reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beware of modern medicine

At the dentist recently, I was prescribed clindamycin, an antibiotic, to see if it would clear up a minor oral issue. Since penicillin is not for me, this was the stuff to do it. I had the prescription filled, and noticed on the label some of the side effects. They included diarrhea and vomiting. Holy Cow! I thought, that's worse than what it's going to help. This is supposed to make me better, not make my inner fluids pour forth from both ends.

So I went online, and in less than five minutes, got the rundown on this drug. I found personal stories from dozens and dozens of people of how this drug had screwed up their health, causing many severe and long-term issues. People had been in the emergency room, the ICU, or just went through misery and thousands of dollars in medical bills stemming from the prescribed use of this drug.

There are those who dismiss it when you bring up something like this, and say that every drug will cause a reaction in somebody. This drug, however, messed people up badly. A lot of people. Frequently. The more I read, the more I wondered how this dangerous drug got approved and on the market, and gets so blithely prescribed so often and for such minor issues, when so often it causes major harm.

I became convinced that it did more harm than good, and refused to take it. I'm glad I found out the information before I started, because I'm sure it would have adversely affected me, and I'm a healthy person with a strong constitution. I think I'm not the only one to have dodged a bullet here, because had my health been so compromised, I'd have been suing these bastards for poisoning me.

The kicker was, when I called the dentist to voice my concern, the receptionist at the medical practice heard my story and confessed that she had suffered bad side effects from this very drug! Good grief! And yet my concerns were pretty much brushed aside by the dentist prescribing. Didn't want to hear about it. Modern medical practitioners do not accept critiques from somebody without medical training. They've got their desk reference and their training, and the drug companies say that not too many suffered in the limited clinical trials, so they're good to go.

Folks, we've got NO ONE looking out for our health. The Food and Drug Administration, which is supposed to be a watchdog agency looking out for our interests, is in the pocket of the big pharmaceutical drug companies. The FDA represents the industry, not the people. And because of that, dangerous shit like this goes out and hurts people. And the ones who are hurt think it's just their tough luck, when it's a big company pushing dangerous chemicals on us so they can make a profit. But doctors take their word as gospel, and do no checking on their own.

Kind of scary when you think about it. There are thousands of people dying in this country every year from reactions to their prescription medicines. But very little is changing. People simply don't matter to companies as much as money.

So do your own research before taking ANY drug, even from the kindly doc who you've seen for years. Because they make dangerous assumptions. Those assumptions can cause you a great deal of harm.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Great blogger, JA Konrath, on how the big publishing houses are killing themselves by ignoring the proper pricing and distribution of ebooks, and how they're screwing the writers:

So now I've got another avenue to think about. Apart from self-publishing, one can sell $3 ebooks and make the same profit as going with a big publisher who charges people $25 to buy your book. Sure, not everyone wants an ebook, but now there's another option for those who do. The big publishers are pricing themselves out of the game, and they don't like the new frontier very much. It's cutting into their domination of the market, and their profits.

If a print book doesn't sell well, it dies a horrible, ignoble death, and the publisher will needlessly tie up the rights for years. So a writer can't get their backlist available to people, which pretty much means they can't make a living. With the new models, a writer can control their books, and keep them in print, which means they keeps selling.

The cost model is going out of book producing, which is how they've held writers over a barrel for so long. With POD, that model is blown apart as well.

No more returned books, no dumping thousands of unsold books in discount bins (for which the writer gets nothing), no waiting for meager checks months or years afterward from tardy or dishonest "creative accounting" publishers, none of the hassle of dealing with the greedy gatekeepers. Wow- and one gets to pick their own cover. And not have to wait years to get each book out.

For a writer with a lot of work to get out, this is looking better and better.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another sale!

Wow- Happy October! Got news today that the story I finished and sent off Sunday night was just accepted by Dark Valentine for their Fall Fiction Frenzy! (Never let it be said that hard work and productivity don't pay off!)

They're now my new favorite market- because this is another milestone, my first multiple sale to the same market. Also because their editor, Katherine Tomlinson, is nice, responsive, and obviously has great taste in writing!

So "Carnival of Pain" is scheduled for sometime this month. Which is fitting, because it pays homage to Ray Bradbury, author of "October Country" and most notably, "Something Wicked This Way Comes," one of my favorite books (set at Halloween).

To illustrate the rollercoaster of life, also got a painful cortisone injection deep into my shoulder joint, and later tonight will go to a new dentist. Pain and joy, so closely mingled...