My Weinerific Take on “Please Don’t Pirate My Book Day”.

 

I want my money.

No, let me rephrase: I NEED my money.

That said, I completely grok that this isn’t always possible. Distribution & availability are very real barriers in some locations of planet Earth. National law can also be a barrier. In some countries (where I know my books are read anyway, yay!), it’s illegal to own a copy of my work, because reading material of a homosexual nature is forbidden and often punishable. In those cases, I’d like to air-lift an emergency payload of gay romance novels for the populace to wallpaper the sidewalks with.

Sigh. Oh Humans, why you so dumb and mean?

In some countries, the exchange rate for my books makes their pricing laughably out of reach. And yet, people still want to read them. I know, because I’ve heard from those people. So what to do?

First off, I try not to be a hoo-hoo. If you can’t afford my book, then you just can’t afford it and that’s that. I believe you. Given the choices of you never reading it and never giving me any money, or simply lifting it and reading it, I’d rather you lifted it and read your little heart out. The math says that I was never making any $$ in that scenario anyway, so really, it’s a win for me.

Speaking of winning, my real problem with e-piracy is when people try to win the Wiener of Coolness award among their peers by zipping ALL of my books into a file and uploading to a huge, popular sharing site accessible by, well, the whole world, thereby making my very own sweat-of-my-knuckles work free to the world. Their reward? Favorable comments and thanks you’s from the sharing masses.

I once pressured a particular wiener to take the file down and the comments started to swing my way, but they weren’t exactly favorable. “Xxx went to all that work to upload and poof! Just like that, that work was wasted by the selfish author!”

And then my brains leaked out through my nose like the raspberry jelly of stupid, because WHAT?

I don’t argue ebook piracy in real-time any more. I just don’t. There’s no point, because any way you slice that stinky cheese, the person you’re arguing with believes that their POV is the correct one and nothing you say will sway them. You hear me? NOTHING! You’re a toadying, stingy jerkface sell-out to the mega-corp Man and you probably spend your days in bed rolling on all the money you’ve made, so poopy on you, greedy author bastard blaaaarghhhh!

 

omg I'm never going to be  able to afford the next issue of Teahouse!

omg I’m never going to be able to afford the next issue of Teahouse!

 

Yeaaaaah. No. That’s not my life. I wish that was my life.

I don’t mind friends sharing my books among each other or a small circle, or even a largish circle. That’s what friends do. That’s what books do. But if you’re a friend of mine, what you won’t do is upload my books to a public mega-sharing/torrent site, because wieners-in-waiting also fondly dreaming of the Wiener of Coolness will absolutely swipe that file and upload it to their own account, which in turn gets swiped and uploaded by another wiener, and so on and so on.

That’s when it starts to matter to me financially: when I Google myself and Google suggests you get a free illegal download of my work along with visiting my website. I mean, thanks for the fucking web-hit and all, but sheesh!

Lemme sum up: I’m not against file sharing. I’ve never been against file-sharing. What I’m against is being broke and not getting paid for doing my job, and yet, like a thousand other jobs that we do for free in our lifetimes, I realize I can’t always be compensated.

And I’m good with that. Just… remember I’m a person, too, ok?

 

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Review thoughts on “The Following”

 

Image property of FOX TV

Image Credit: property of FOX Broadcasting

I would have enjoyed this show more if it contained a plot I could suspend disbelief for. I’m a big fan of James Purefoy, so I’ve been looking forward to this show for months.

Complicated back-stories reaching back several years works for fictional fantasy worlds like Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings. It often doesn’t work so well for urban crime fiction. Can you imagine visiting the childhood of Patrick Bateman in flashbacks of American Psycho?  It’s unnecessary and it muddies the storytelling with an effort to make the tale seem larger than it is or to add depth to an overly-simplistic plot. An exception to that is the  Hannibal series by Thomas Harris, but those are in a category of their own anyway.

The Following would have worked much better as a supernatural thriller. Kevin Bacon simply informing the audience in reminiscent dialogue that Joe Carroll (the serial killer villain, played by James Purefoy) is a gifted, mesmerizing teacher and cult figurehead was careless writing. I understand that the writing has to conform to a strictly-timed format and the segments are limited, but I saw no evidence of Joe Carroll’s great charisma in either the writing or the portrayal. Aside from the facts that (1) it would be very unlikely that Joe Carroll could find a single follower willing to kill for him and that  (2) psychopaths generally do not function that way;  Carroll finding a group of followers willing and societally able to dedicate years of their lives perpetuating lifestyle facades to get close to his “unfinished masterpiece” and help him murder her would be… astronomical.

Not like finding a needle in a haystack astronomical, but like finding a single specific needle in a stack of needles the size of Oregon.

That’s not to say you can’t write a show about a conspiracy of murderers colluding for a single purpose and make it work, because you can. Look at The Omen. Look at The Wicker Man, or Rosemary’s Baby. See a pattern yet?

As soon as it became apparent that there were conspirators working with Joe Carroll and the whole cult framework reared its head, I began to think of Lord of Illusions. More than a few themes of The Following closely mirror Lord of Illusions, but without the supernatural element. To be honest, I’m a little puzzled as to why they decided to leave that element out. It would have explained so much and also neatly dispensed with the faulty psychology holding the large-scale cult plot together. Why does a cult of aspiring serial killers pull together to follow this man? He’s a demon. See? That makes sense now.

But Joe Carroll is no Nix and The Following is too far-fetched to be labeled serious or gritty, though it certainly qualifies as a thriller. Sadly, since I was not feeling any of the characters, the first episode succeeded neither as a relationship-driven story or a horror story for me, but I always give new shows 3 episodes to prove out.  Here’s hoping.

Another thing: I laid bets with a friend a few weeks ago that the chosen victims of The Following were going to be attractive young women. Corpses of the week, basically, picked for no other logical reason than being pretty. I know that conforms to the Poe connection the killer has, but it’s careless and it’s creepy and smacks of deliberate construction to serve an unpalatable purpose, like killing pretty women onscreen is more liable to garner an audience than offing truckdrivers or something. I was let down to win that bet. I hope I don’t win it next week.

If you watch TV crime shows for the actors, urban settings, and mature writing without being too critical, then watch The Following, because there’s some nifty camera work, hues, and music choices in there. Otherwise, it’s a lot of shock value for not enough payoff. Only you can decide if that works for you.

But I’m going to watch it next week, because I still have hope for it and, hello, James Purefoy. 🙂

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Review: That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote, by K.J. Bishop

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of corresponding with author K.J. Bishop and was fortunate enough to read the manuscript of her new anthology, That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote, prior to publication. She was kind enough to mention me in her acknowledgements, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to write this review and hopefully steer you to Amazon (it’s available in Kindle format in the US and UK, and soon in paperback) to immediately purchase it.

That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote
Because I care about you guys like that. Seriously, don’t miss out on this one. It’s genius.

It’s no secret how fond I am of the writing of K.J. Bishop, or of Kirsten herself, who is a pretty nifty human. It seems almost inadequate to dub her an author. She’s more like an artist of prose, but nothing so mundane or harmless as painting with letters. More like carving with an alphabet sword. There’s a quality about her writing that feels like wandering through a green garden overgrown with curious plants and bizarre structures:  Here’s a bush trimmed in the shape of a lion with the head of a goose. Here’s a stone well full of stars instead of water. And here, strangest of all, is a misty path that endlessly leads back onto itself like a Mobius strip, bringing back versions of the same you, all slightly changed and speaking a different language.

Yes, that’s exactly how it is.

Fans of Bishop’s The Etched City (nominated for the World Fantasy Award in 2004) will be excited to read more about Gwynn in his full, black-hearted glory in The Art of Dying, and a somewhat toothier version of him in She Mirrors, both stories touching on the past and future of one of the most interesting not-villains of Bishop’s worlds.

One of my favorite stories of the collection is a very short one titled Last Drink Bird Head.

“Last Drink Bird Head didn’t fit in at school. When the others were candles, she was lemons. When doors closed she was on the wrong side. She hated the flavour of milk and cellophane. When she jumped rope she was a merry-go-round horse with an orange face. She couldn’t sit down anywhere, not even on the toilet, without saying ‘Last Drink Bird Head’ three times. When it was her turn to feed the goldfish she fed them glitter and they died.”

It’s all a bit insane, isn’t it? Beautifully, dreadfully so. While some of the stories – like the delightful cyberpunk Beach Rubble, or the upside-down apocalyptic The Heart of a Mouse – are fully-realized tales, others are like snatches of nightmare or the conversations of a fever dream. Mother’s Curtains  is one such fragment, and packs a big punch for being so brief. There must be some kind of magic to that.

I believe I’ve begun to think of Bishop’s writing as a gleeful vacation from reading the way you’ve been taught you’re supposed to read. Rules here are about as necessary as pitchforks for soup. Here’s a temptation to take the analytical shades off and walk barefoot through alleyways and prisons, velvet-curtained brothels and the edges of black cliffs. Take the invitation, but watch your back when a citizen of her world passes by, because they’re all a little touched.

Website: K. J. Bishop

 

 

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The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

How do you follow a subject line like that? Just don’t. Save yourself the embarrassment and get on with the show. The proof is in the pudding, the Borg is in the nanoprobe tubule, and all that.

Big, BIG thanks to the fabulous Alekzander Voinov for tagging me, and to Liesel Schwarz for tagging him first!

1) What is the working title of your next book?

“Hammer and Bone”

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Most of the stories came from dreams, or nightmares, as the case may be. I had this one very vivid dream that serves as the jumping-off point for “Hounds”, one of the longer tales in the book.

In my dream, I was hiding. The sky was black and starless, but it wasn’t a night sky, and I was beneath an invisible net. The net wasn’t magic. There was a technology to it. I was trying to shield myself and two others from fanged, armored creatures manning a great wall not far away. If they found us, I knew they’d kill us, and I also knew that we were completely outmatched. They had projectile weapons and beams on the towers, we had only knives. We were about to be discovered, and suddenly one of the women began to sing, and I knew -I just knew- that the song would save us. I knew the song, I knew the name of the singer, I knew everything.

It’s hard to encapsulate a vision, to shrink one blazing moment of understanding into the kinds of words that will translate a nascent (and imaginary) experience to a reader, but I attempted it in “Hammer and Bone”. Borg, nanoprobe, pudding.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

The stories are steampunk, speculative, dark fantasy, and horror.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh wow. Well, if I could pick anyone, I’d choose Angela Basset for the sharp, smart, and deadly Notch, but Loretta Devine would be equally amazing. Simon Woods for Roben, because there’s something strong but breakable in that character, and also because he just looks like Roben to me. Logan Lerman for the disillusioned and abandoned Prince Arin. Kevin McKidd for proud Veron and Djimon Hounsou for the eminently practical Nulf Asoka.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

13 dark, cross-genre tales with a queer slant.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s under contract with Riptide, presently in development.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

All in all, about a year.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I feel ridiculous and arrogant comparing my writing to the novels of authors I admire, but others have compared it to books like “Wormwood” or “Are You Loathsome Tonight?” by Poppy Z Brite (Billy Martin), or works by Caitlin R. Kiernan or Clive Barker.

The problem with comparison here is that not many authors publish whole anthologies of their shorter works, so there’s a limited pool of examples. I’m going with what editors have told me about my writing style and the manuscript.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

They were the dreams that never went away, so…thank you nuerotransmitters? Just kidding. I credit K. J. Bishop’s work as inspiration. I dream the way she writes, I think; lush colors, stark images, detail, and sudden bursts of insight. Bishop’s “The Etched City” is like a stolen spyglass into a lucid dreamworld, and although “Hammer and Bone” is nothing at all like TEC, I hope to capture the same reaction in my readers that she snared me with.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s got zombies, but they’re not your usual shamblers. Werewolves, but not the shaggy kind. Heroes who don’t fit the hero model and victims who are anything but. It’s like waking up to living someone else’s life: you wouldn’t know where you were or recognize the people around you. You’d have to work to get your bearings, and the curveballs would be vicious.

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Sexy Bastards: Do female gamers demand more of their heroes? (Assassin’s Creed 3)

Quite often, when you boot up that new game in your Xbox or PlayStation or Wii, it all begins with character customization. The ones that don’t have customization have premade characters or single heroes that you play as they are, as the game designers meant them to be. In other words, there’s no “Make Him Sexy” option. Unless of course the main character is a heroine, as those tend to be created sexy by default. There’s no such button to sexualize the persona of your male hero, and if he isn’t created that way, you use your imagination or you’re just out of luck.

Or you write fanfiction, but that’s another story.

Anyway… when a guy (a straight guy, mind you) is playing a male character in-game, he doesn’t necessarily need the character to be sexy. I’m sure most men think it would be a nice bonus, but it isn’t required. As long as the game rocks and the hero slays, it’s a hit.  That isn’t always true of female gamers, and a hero who doesn’t show sentiment and/or have a love interest often fails to resonate with women.

Take Ezio Auditore da Firenze, the character who is credited with drawing female gamers en masse into the Assassin’s Creed universe. First and foremost, Ezio has very strong emotions. We see those feelings in his youthful street brawling, in the pursuit of his first love, and in his reactions to the devastating losses he incurs. Ezio’s emotions are tempered by his strength, but he’s also charming, funny, crafty, sentimental, sarcastic, and, yes, a womanizer.  He’s the James Bond of the Italian Renaissance, and we love him. Female gamers showed that love in a thousand different ways: in fanfiction, artwork, cosplay, online communities, and with cold, hard cash.

So why, when it came time for a new assassin to take the helm -or hood. Whatever-  did they offer us someone as mundane as Connor Kenway?  Connor has strong emotions, but they’re mostly negative. While his loyalty to his cause and his determination to protect his people from the Templars does him credit, because he shows few other emotions beyond those (annoyance and impatience don’t count), he’s about as fun to be around as a sack of wet cardboard.

While it feels like the gaming world is skewing toward more female-inclusive themes, I’m not sure it really is, because designers forget or ignore the fact that female gamers aren’t just different on the outside.  For a male hero to garner more universal appeal to a female audience, he has to be complex. He must display more than two emotions and he has to be a man in full, not just muscle and good looks. That means love, that means humor, that means sensuality.

Connor Kenway is a lot of things, but no one could ever accuse him of being funny or sexy. One thing he does have going for him – his saving grace in my opinion – is his endearing gentleness toward weaker creatures or those in need. It gives me hope that we’ll see Connor evolve to a more full-fleshed personality in the AC renditions to come.

 

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Lengthen night and shorten day

Daylight Savings Time feels like a good day for an unveiling , so here’s my new website & blog design. What do you think? I waffled for a long time on background, color, theme, etc., but what really stymied me was getting the blog and website to mesh seamlessly without paying a web designer to tackle the code. In the end, I settled for modifying an established WordPress theme that most closely resembled my website.

Of course, I’d love to be able to pay a designer, which is just not going to happen 2 months before Christmas.  I’m sure a veteran pro could have done a better job, but my monkey-wrench css efforts will have to hold me over until 2013.  I still have a few more tweaks to make, font colors and such, but for the most part, this is it. Premiere time!

Writing continues at a steady pace, and I finished two other full-length novels. For more news, visit here. The page will be updated as soon as I have anything to tell you about publication dates, and of course I’ll mention it here, too.

Here’s hoping my shiny new overhaul will poke me to keep in touch with my readers and be more active here. I’ve finally been swallowed up by the great and benevolent Twitter Whale and am comfortable there, and Tumblr is cute as a button. Facebook just isn’t my cuppa (I lack the necessary time and dedication to make FB work for me) and as much as I love Livejournal, I think that particular equine beast is all but expired.I’ve decided to use LJ only for fandom squeeing about Michael Fassbender and Copper on BBCA.

Comment away. A story is calling me.

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The King of Rshan, being an ass

 

My brain on Liall

 

Okay, maybe he’s not behaving badly. Maybe there is some *koff koff* validity to his complaint. I’m working on making him happy. <3

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I’ve got a new novella for sale, blog tour coming up

Circuit Theory, co-written with Reya Starck.

Dante and Byron are avatars. Driven by human beings, yet still only
digital representations of their ideal selves. In reality, they live far
apart, but share most of their waking and working hours together in a
virtual world called Synth.


In Synth, like in most code, the laws are infinitely more simple and
infinitely more complex. Navigating the system rules of virtual lovers
is like steering through a minefield of deceit, suspicion, heartbreak,
and half-truths.


Under pressure, Dante makes a friendship that trips Byron’s warning
bells, disrupting their carefully-ordered lives and calling into
question the wisdom of trusting your heart to a man you can never touch
in the flesh.


Circuit Theory  is
a futuristic, occasionally quirky bit of fiction about people choosing to use their online avatars for either emotional fulfillment or as an extension of their everyday selves. There  have been stories told on this theme before, but those narratives are usually a cautionary tale meant to warn humans of the spiritual danger of relying on technology for what they should be getting from other humans, a sort of Aesop’s fable for Web 2.0.  We were incredibly bored by the idea of shaking our fingers at technology, so instead we took a look at how digital romance could – for lovers like Dante and Byron – solve at least as many problems as it creates.
Reya and I will be over at Amara’s Place for an interview on the 30th, and there will be a drawing and prizes at the end of the day, so please drop by and chat with us.
*cover art by LC Chase
Posted in Writing | 1 Comment

Hop Against Homophobia Winners!

Everyone who left a comment  in the last 2 entries. 🙂  Hey, this means I give away 22 ebooks, but I figure that anyone who took the time to browse here (and I’m #218 on the list!) and comment is already dedicated to the cause of ending homophobia. That means something to me.

I do believe that WordPress sent me most of the emails of the commenters, but if for some reason it didn’t or you would like an ebook other than Book 1 of Scarlet and the White Wolf, please drop me a line at my email (see below) and I’ll get to it. I’ll begin sending them out on Friday, so you have until then. Thank you ALL for participating in such a worthy cause. <3

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Hop Against Homophobia

 

Hi there!

I think I’m something like #225-ish on the Blog-hop list, so here goes: I decided to make 2 posts about homophobia. I had a little trouble making a segue from my previous post, so I double-dipped. Also, whoever gets this far will have to have read more than 200 blogs before getting to me, so I needed to keep it short!

I doubt there’s a gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or transgendered person alive who hasn’t experienced homophobia in some form, or had to hide who they are to keep themselves safe from it. Homophobia isn’t a single malady: it is countless symptoms all throughout our society, at every level. I don’t see an end to homophobia in my lifetime, but I do hope to see a shift toward that inevitable end. I hope for that very, very much.

I have a very special Scarlet and the White Wolf prize for a commenter I’ll pick at random, so please just leave a note to be entered. The Hop Against Homophobia ends May 20th, and I’ll announce the winner here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Don’t Let Them Waste Your Time

 

“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.”

-Rene Descartes

 

 

 

When I was little, my mother told me that love is strongest of all, but hate is “a whole lot louder.”

That’s why, contrary to wisdom and justice both, hate so often wins.

When you know someone hates you without reason, the natural impulse is just to hate ’em right back. It’s hard not to answer a shout with a shout, a curse with a curse, wrong for wrong.

Kindness is not an abstract. Anyone can be kind to friends and family. Being loving towards those that we love is not difficult, and it isn’t a sacrifice. Being pleasant and making efforts on behalf of others is also not a huge chore. But being kind towards people whom we know don’t actively love us (which is a nice way of saying they hate our guts), well… that’s a hard row to hoe. Why do we even have to do that? What do we owe to the hateful homophobes in the world?

Nothing. We don’t owe them a single damn thing, not even kindness. But we don’t owe them hate, either, and they want us to believe that we do.

When you return hate, in some ways you’re giving that hateful person exactly what they want from you. You’re affirming their desire to be your desire, too. You’re interacting with that desire and allowing them to feed off it, from your source.

Because hate is often a long-lasting thing, many psychologists today don’t believe hatred to be a temporary state of emotion in human beings, but often a disposition toward hating, period.

In other words, haters gonna hate. There isn’t much you can do about that. The only action you’re left with that’s entirely your own is to take charge of the fight. Refuse to feed the negative desires of others, because every ounce of energy you put into hating them back is one less ounce you could be putting toward ending homophobia.

Don’t let them distract you and waste your time, because you, your friends, your family, and everyone reading this who believes that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer folk are entitled to the same rights, privileges, and protections under the law as everyone else, have much, much better things to do with your lives.

Here are some of those better things.

The Trevor Project
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

It Gets Better
http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

GLAAD
“http://www.glaad.org/

Lambda Legal
http://lambdalegal.org/

The Matthew Shepard Foundation
http://www.matthewshepard.org/

The Point Foundation
http://www.pointfoundation.org/

International Day Against Homophobia
http://www.homophobiaday.org/

 

 

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It’s Earth Day. Let’s Make Some!

If you’ve got a flash drive, you can make a world

I’ve recommended this before to friends who wanted to know where/how to get started in 3D Creation (known just as Building to those of us addicted to it), but in case I haven’t mentioned it here, SOAS (Sim on a Stick) is about the niftiest thing ever. Basically you plug in your USB flash drive, install a few programs onto the drive (all zipped together conveniently and ready for download on the SOAS website) and boom, your own private virtual world is ready for your commands, with endless modifications and customizations available. The only limits are your imagination and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to hone your Building skills.

The reason that SOAS is the coolest nerd thing since pop rocks is because you can take it with you. The compactness itself, the very idea of slinging an entire virtual world into your pocket, is what appeals. I know there are comparisons – for instance, just about any Xbox game will fit into your purse – but unlike other online MMO’s that must have an internet connection or a dedicated gaming console, you can take Sim on a Stick anywhere with you, plug it into any relatively recent computer USB drive, and it should run. By recent, I mean within the last 4 or 5 years. My workhorse desktop is that old (I’ve made a few mods, mainly video card and RAM), and SOAS runs just fine.

This is the brand new world inside my flash drive using the latest build of SOAS. It doesn’t have any homes or structures yet, just a name (I’ve called it The Riverlands. Hello, Game of Thrones). It has mountains and water, and an avatar that I’ve dedicated zero time to customizing. I did quite a lot of work on my last world (Horus), but it was a little buggy (user error, not program) and I managed to mess it up. I wanted to start again with a clean slate.

In case you’re thinking this all looks too complicated for your tech level, it’s not. Building in 3D can certainly get complicated, but compiling the world itself has been streamlined to idiot-proof levels, which is quite handy for us idiots. If you can unzip a folder, you can do this.

I should mention that the latest build of SOAS has the option of not having a viewer compiled with the zip folder. In order to enter a virtual world, you not only have to have the world available, you need a viewer capable of interfacing with it. If you follow the help link into the SOAS website, you can download the Custom SOAS Imprudence viewer that will not only teleport you into your own world (localhost), but many other virtual MMO’s.

Happy Nerding!

PS: Okay, I missed Earth Day. Because I spent it planting tomatoes, I think I should get a pass to make my Earth Day post today instead. Yes, I do.

Posted in Hypergrid Adventures | Comments Off on It’s Earth Day. Let’s Make Some!

Author-Type Swag (DIY)

Previously posted to my LJ, but I’m trying to get back into the swing of posting at my blog here after the Big Health Scare, so here ya go.

So, we all know what a QR Code generator is. If you have a business card or any print publicity materials, you should have your QR code somewhere on it, and it would be totally awesome if I could convince publishers to start adding them to my print books from now on. While they’re really cool and recognizable just the way they are, it’s even MORE COOL if you have a custom QRC.

Hackaday tells you how to put one together using Photoshop and the QR generator, but the how-to is really long and – IMHO- unnecessary. I just got my code, read through the Hackaday guide to quickly find out where the “don’t touch” boundaries are on the image, and then just pasted a few images inside the “okay” zone.

Here’s the result.

If you have a smartphone with a QR reader app like RedLaser, just put it up to the screen there and let it read the code. Yep. The little crow takes you right to my website.

Now isn’t that neat? 🙂

PS: re Big Health Scare has been given the negative by specialists (the problematic and in-a-weird-place lump in my throat has been diagnosed as a benign cyst), so I can stop going to doctors for the time being and head back to writing. Thanks for being patient with  me.

Posted in Code Monkey Say What? | 1 Comment

Dead Space

 

No, not the game. I’m talking about temporary spaces inside the virtual landscapes of MMORPG’s, spaces that are only open for certain periods of time – such as special events – but closed off to the rest of the game ‘verse when the event is over. After the event is over, I like to imagine that those spaces enter a kind of paradox where they patiently await the return of the players, biding time until the space is reenergized by the act of observation, a sort of Schrödinger’s Cat of RPG. The NPC’s are still running through their animation files, particles still emit, the wav files still play, but there are no players to hear them.

If a wav file plays in the mesh forest and there is no level 65 tank to hear it, does it still make a sound? (continued)

Read the rest at Livejournal.com

 

Comment here, there, anywhere. 🙂

Posted in Code Monkey Say What? | 3 Comments

“The Rite”

 

Roy Batty

I’ve been thinking about Roy Batty lately, probably because I watched The Rite on HBO Monday and Ruger Hauer had a supporting role as the young priest’s father. As usual, RH did a fine job and it was fun watching him. The only other movies I have of him not speaking English are Turkish Delight and Soldier of Orange. A friend sent me this gif file. Don’t know where it came from (other than Bladerunner), but it’s lovely, yeah? You can almost hear him talking about seeing things we wouldn’t believe. 

I really don’t know what to say about The Rite, other than it’s like a horror movie for people who don’t like horror. There isn’t a lot of gore, blood, or shocking things (barring a few obscene phrases that really did make the horror grade),and the Exorcist aura is a bit underwhelming, maybe because the acting is a little too good. Honestly, Anthony Hopkins never made a bad movie, because he brings the good to anything he participates in. No matter how bad it started out, it automatically becomes a lot better when Sir Anthony arrives. The man is gold, okay?

But The Rite left me feeling like I hadn’t watched a scary movie at all by today’s standards, and that’s sad, because this thing would have utterly terrified me at 15. It was interesting and entertaining, but not frightening. Not even as scary as The Mothman Prophecies. I blame movies like Saw personally, which seem to exist for no other reason than to rack up numbers of people who absolutely will not watch it (like me). The Rite had a lot going for it in terms of atmosphere, lighting, score, actors, and even the storyline didn’t suck. Despite that, I was a little surprised that it was rated PG-13 rather than R. Yeah, I know: make up your fracking mind, right?

Fine: The Rite was okay if you don’t expect too much. On scale of 1-10 for just getting a story told to you, it rated about a 5. Don’t expect to be terrified, although el mulo was really creepy. Do expect to be creeped out a few times and repulsed by some of the language and themes, and of course there’s Rutger Hauer angsting and Anthony Hopkins doing the best Pazuzu impression since, well, Pazuzu.

 

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My lil’ hater is working overtime

Well, I last posted here in August. My Lj is pretty active, along with recent addiction fo Twitter, but whenever I’m less than diligent about posting and more than a week or two passes, my lil hater starts talking to me: “You haven’t posted for 2 weeks. No one wants to see your post about your new virtual office in Second Life. It’s been TWO WEEKS! Now you have to post something INCREDIBLY AWESOME or nothing at all”

And of course, with that kind of internal pressure, sometimes it’s best to let the lil hater have his way. Because totally awesome on a Wednesday? Pish. I don’t think so. We all have that lil’ hater in our heads telling us that what we do just isn’t good enough and no one is listening, no one cares, you totally suck. Sometimes the only way to get past that runty jagoff is to stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la la la while taking a flying leap.

So this is me: leaping.

Whoo hoo.

The King of Forever

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And for Sunday, 3 Favorite Things

I have well and truly gone off the deep end with the word count, as I’m approaching 80k on SatWW 4. That in itself isn’t that big a deal, because most novels are that size, but it’s a big deal when the projected size of the book was around 50k.

This always happens to me. I don’t know the meaning of the word “quickie”. It’s a longie or nothing!

And so, because I really need to sit down tonight and get to the end of this novel while doing some judicious cutting from the beginning, I present you with 3 favorite things.

Favorite Video Game

 


 

It’s a series, really, and by series I mean (quite seriously) steampunk legacy. Myst (and the sequels: Riven, Exile, Uru, Revelation, End of Ages ) was a trailblazing game, the precursor and model for much to come. Many other franchises, everything from games (Schizm, Syberia) to social platforms (Second Life) to film (Lost) would succeed in imitating it – in elements, form, artistic style, theme – but nothing ever equalled it. Myst was a labor of love from Robyn and Rand Miller, two brothers who worked together on every single aspect of the first game, creating a fantastic universe where the written word could not only create worlds, but people, animals, and civilizations. But if books could create worlds, then books could also twist them. Contempt of nature resulting in perversion of spirit infuses a great deal of the themes of the Myst games and novels, making it (among other things) a truly Pagan game at heart. As Anna says to Atrus when he’s still a boy: “You must remember what you have learned here, Atrus. I have tried to teach you the mechanics of the earth and stars; the ways of science and the workings of nature. I have tried to teach you what is good and what is to be valued, those truths which cannot be shaken or changed. This knowledge is from the Maker.”

I have all the Myst novels, soundtracks, and games, and the worlds of Myst are some of my most favorite things ever. If you’re curious about the fabled music and graphics of this series, you can check out one of the Myst worlds by playing Myst Online: Uru Live. It’s not a big CPU drag to run on your computer, and the price is pretty good: Free.

Trivia: The main character of Atrus in the video above is played by Rand Miller.

Favorite Comic

Dude, this guy:

I’ve lost count of the series and their order. There was King Conan, Conan the King, The Savage Sword of Conan, and Conan the Cimmerian. I read them all. Or at least, every one I could get my hands on. Robert E. Howard’s Conan is still one of my most beloved fictional characters. He had the sword, the attitude, the destiny, and the muscles to back it up. He’s… just… so…. COOL! Conan will always be cool. If our planet is ever invaded by hostile aliens bent on our destruction, we can just show them Conan, Cimmerian, the unapologetic slayer and lover, born to tread the jeweled kingdoms of the earth beneath his sandaled feet. Then they will go: “Gnak froo mabalaks kliklkilk!” Which translates: “You know, Conan is just so cool. Maybe these Earthlings are really okay, after all…”

Hey, it could happen.

Favorite Thing of the Week

Okay, that’s cheating a bit. 🙂 But the alternative was choosing my favorite fictional character of all time, and Roy Batty teamed up with Maximus and immediately tried to flush Conan out the airlock, which didn’t work, Conan having countered with a roundhouse camel-punch to the jaw until they were both shut down by Boromir and Cap’n Tightpants. With a wrench. In the landing bay.

And that was just off the top of my head. Don’t even ask about Picard.

Anyway… favorite thing. Pastel Portal. Just go. Check it all out. There’s some awesome stuff there, brought to you by author and artist Mateusz Skutnik.

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Art. Arty. Artiste? Nah!

I had some large canvases taking up space in my art cabinet, so I thought I’d give my paints a try again. (and how many of you just read “pants”?) I would love to work with oils but the smell has always put me off so badly, plus the cleanup and that horrible “wait til it’s dry” thing. Heh. I’m so impatient when it comes to that. It’s the internet-age Me expressing her displeasure and I want it all now. I think that’s why I like Photoshop and Painter so much: instant gratification Anyway, I’m so rusty with the old-fashioned hand & brush thing that I chose a simple theme to begin with, and focusing on a creature near and dear to my heart.

 

Crow Painting

 

By the way, if you’d like to see some cover art I’ve done, drop by Jourdan Lane’s page on Amazon and take a look at the cover of Clarity. Yeah, I know: again with the black paint! I’ve done other covers for Jourdan (colorful ones! honest!) and they’ll be available by and by.   

I greatly enjoyed Jourdan’s Soul Mates: Bound by Blood novel and you might, too. Check it out!

More writing on the end of Scarlet and the White Wolf #4 today (title to be announced soon). Have a great Sunday!

 

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Diēs Caniculārēs

 

More commonly known as the Dogs Days of summer, associated with the star Sirius, believed to be an evil time of year when “the seas boiled, wine turned sour, Quinto raged in anger, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies”. 

I had to look up phrensies, but I’m not arguing with the description. Plainly speaking, this summer sucked. It was hot. Then it was hot. Then it was hot some more. It was unreasonably hot (like “OMG Come ON!!!!” hot) and those aforementioned Dog Days arrived in June rather than July. And that dog, he stayed. He stayed like he could smell bacon in the house, sniffing around the porch, making my AC conk out, melting things in the attic, driving the wasps and yellow jackets crazy. 

For those of you who think stinging insects don’t go mad from heat and start chasing you and diving for your face, well. they do. Usually you can just leave a wasp alone and it will leave you alone, but at 105F, a wasp is likely to do anything, including becoming really aggressive just because you dared to walk by. It’s the vespidae form of road rage.

But Dog Days do have a couple of redeeming qualities. The light begins to slant again in August, painting your window shades with the same bokeh, dappled-leaf effect that occurs in early spring. The days finally become noticeably shorter, and you might even start to notice that the nights cool off faster when the sun sets, and the mornings are cool just a little longer. On the bad side, I didn’t see any fireflies last night.

Enough about the weather. I’m looking at overhauling my website today, and perusing the css file and wondering what I can do to change the look without putting too much work into it. I do want to make the site a little more interactive, but I don’t want it to be a time-suck either. I won’t be hanging out here all day talking about writing. I kind of need that time to actually be, um, writing.

I’m going to be digging up the old photo/poem posts I started making on this blog last year and reposting them soon. Sorry to spam you all with things you’ve already seen, but when WordPress ate my archive last year, I lost all of those posts, and I kind of miss them. I’d like to have them here. I’ll be making new ones, too, as time allows. 

 

 

 

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Scarlet and the White Wolf: Book 4

 

I actually do have a title for this novel (beyond #4), I’m just saving it to announce it with the cover art.

I’ve just passed 70k words, and writing the rather big ending of this novel has slowed down a bit. That’s because – contrary to all conventional wisdom – I’m reading back and editing previous chapters while writing. I would definitely be thwapped with a wet fish and called an amateur for this if it ever got out, but I know you won’t tell anyone. XD

This is how inspiration works sometimes. You have an idea and it seems like a solid one, then you actually start to execute that idea and realize there was an even bigger, better idea hiding behind that one. What else can you do but go with it?

I have a handful of chocolate-covered espresso beans and a coca-cola swimming with ice-crystals keep me company while writing. There’s hummus, pita, and feta cheese planned for later, which qualifies for summer food in that it is not hot and I don’t have to cook it.

 

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