A Vast Echo Of Empty
Most of the time my posts get no response. That's fine -- most aren't intended to troll for comments. Nor is my ego deficient in a way that craves attention.
Still, one wonders if anyone is reading my blog posts. If that's all I cared about, I would wonder why I am doing this and wonder if I should continue.
But that's not why I blog.I Am Not A Big Name
I don't have carreer or fan base of a John Scalzi or a Patrick Rothfuss or a Jim Wright. And why should I? This is still early in my SF writing career and I minimize the number of political rants to go off on. Hell, we don't even have any cats right now. It's all I can do to keep from being thrown off the Internet without cat updates and pictures.
I don't even do a lot of reposting of material.
So I know my reader base is limited. Geesh, since the Presto Printing Mailbox died, even my mother isn't reading my blog!The Game Is Changed
Social media is not only the newfangled buzzword we use today, the system is in constant flux. "Nobody" blogs anymore when you can Facebook. Why Facebook when you can Twitter. In five years it may be that no one is using Facebook -- the MySpace of the 10s. Eight years ago I jumped directly from blog to blog that I wanted to read. Now I've got feeds on LiveJournal and Blogger, and links on Facebook, plus Twitter rehashed on LJ and FB.
So times have changed.
Plus, there's the simple fact that you never get 100% response in anything online. So while I may not see the responses to my posts on LiveJournal or especially Dreamwidth, I know there are people reading me. Other than spammers, I mean. And putting links on Facebook -- same thing. A few Likes or comments here or there should equal a larger small audience.
And anyway, there are flaws in the system. The Dreamwidth user base is smaller, LiveJournal isn't what it used to be and anyway, since LiveJournal Release 88 the other Christmas season, many have found the Friends page feeds ugly, unusable or annoying. And Facebook. You hit a link in FB and jump to my blog and when you go back to Facebook, it reloads from the top. You may never scroll down far enough to make a Like or comment to my post -- or it never shows up again because FB knows better than you do what you want to see. (snort)
So it's not a problem. I am aware that no response doesn't by itself mean anything.I Say I Don't Care...
That even if no one reads my blog I'd still do it. And that's true. Since I have been feeling better and gotten the Kindle Fire HD in hospital, I've been going through all my blog posts. On the one hand, that only takes me back to April 2005. On the other, that's a good chunk of my modern life. It includes the acquisition of the current 4WD fleet, the upgrades to the house inside and out, the rebirth of my Nikon photography and most certainly most of my writing career and cons. And on the third hand, a slim documentation of This Year Without A Summer.
You see, there's good therapy in reliving my life to get my life back. When you've been stuck in a bed for two months, hospitalized for 5½ months and restricted at home for nearly two months, you need to be reminded of what you need to do to go back to work. To remind yourself of the good and the bad. And plan for things in the future.
Sure, I missed Windycon this year and will miss ConFusion in January. But I am not retired and homebound forever and I will be getting out of town, including Detcon 1 in Detroit in July -- no way am I missing a NASFiC in Michigan. But rather than sit and veg, my old blog entries rekindle the old fires. Gives me directions to look for future plans.
Because I am not sick and depressed. Wounded, perhaps. Gimpy in a new way which has required serious thought in what I need to do and what obstacles there are left to conquer. But in the immortal words of song...
I shall survive...
And rest assured my blog will continue. You can't get rid of me that easy. (grin)
PS -- Don't forget about the Dr. Phil "Under Suspicion" Giveaway
Blind Eye Books is having a sale.
End of the Year Sale – Backlist Titles $7.00!!
The Bellingham Blind Eye Books warehouse is getting pretty crowded. In order to make room for our 2014 releases we are having an end-of-the-year sale! Select print titles are only $7.00 (plus shipping). That’s right, you can now own print copies of Blind Eye Books backlist titles for less than the cost of an ebook. Stock is limited to what is available in our Bellingham warehouse so get them while they’re hot! Sale ends on December 31, 2013, or when we run out of stock, whichever comes first.
And just to save you the trouble, here’s a list of what’s on sale:
Tangle, Nicole Kimberling, editor
Tangle Girls, Nicole Kimberling, editor
Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon
Lord of the White Hell Book One by Ginn Hale
Lord of the White Hell Book Two by Ginn Hale
Turnskin by Nicole Kimberling
Irregulars by Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Astrid Amara and Ginn Hale
Why do I care? Because one of my favorite stories, "Under Suspicion", is in the anthology Tangled Girls
. Editor Nichole Kimberling was at the 2004 Clarion, and when she made a call for a lesbian themed anthology, I told her I was threatening to send her a military SF story -- and she replied that if I included my armored marines, to bring it on. Challenge accepted on both sides. I'd been considering a story idea for years about how one might ask first a first date on a starship. But it needed conflict. Problem solved.
Under Suspicion: Ensign Lily Branoch can’t keep her mind off of Marine Daniella Cruz-Ortega. But are the other woman’s flirtations real or a ploy to hide her involvement in the disappearance of a dangerous arms shipment?
So, you can order a copy of Tangled Girls
or any of the SALE books for just $7+shipping at the Tangled Girls webpage
. There's a convenient shipping calculator and a link direct to PayPal.But Wait -- Didn't You Say Giveaway?
Since a lot of you wouldn't ordinarily cruise for LBGT fiction, despite some of the cool material out there, I decided to help Nikki and two of my five readers. (grin)
So... I've already ordered two copies of Tangled Girls
and I'll be giving them away. Since this post is being crossposted between Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, as well as linked on Facebook, you can enter by:
• Commenting on this entry on LiveJournal (Anonymous comments do get moderated, don't worry) or Dreamwidth (I'm not sure if my Dreamwidth setting takes Anonymous comments).
• Comment on the Facebook entry.
• Or email me if you have one of my email addresses.
• By 11:59pm EST Friday 13 December 2013.
Winners will be selected by a random number generator. Books will be mailed out as soon as I get them and turn them around. Losers can still take advantage of the SALE price until Tuesday 31 December 2013 or the warehouse runs dry.
Winter Is Coming, especially as it's still officially Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. As is Christmas. Just sayin'.
2007 Tiptree Award honoree Nnedi Okorafor
has a piece on the WOTF blog about The Sport of Writing
. The things you don't know about authors -- Nnedi was involved with junior tennis for a while. (grin) I mean, I knew of her through her writing, and that she had a Ph.D. from UIC and teaches creative writing at Chicago State University. Stuff like that. Possibly more than I know of many SFF authors. But still.
Go ahead and click the link to read the essay. I won't mind. It's not what you think from the title.
. . .
. . .
. . .
The reason to read the essay isn't because of tennis -- or track and field -- but of the act of writing. From staring at the blank page*** through the blacking out in the middle of writing to the high of completing a story, you may find some or all of these familiar. So if it's so damn obvious, why talk about?
Because new writers often feel like they are reinventing the wheel and the silicon PNP transistor all at the same time. There are plenty of creative writing classes and books on writing which aren't much help, especially to genre writers. I suspect Ms. Okorafor's creative writing classes at Chicago State might be different. Being actually published in non-literary journals isn't a requirement for most creative writing instructors, as I understand it.
Reading widely, meeting other authors, blogs, websites and high valued targets like Clarion and WOTF. It surely helped me as a writer to get out of my secret hiding place and just talk to people. To get some idea how markets worked, etc. But the Big Thing was realizing that writing was a lot like any other endeavour -- you don't have to work in a vacuum and you won't find that all of your writing quirks are unique in the history of mankind, or at least SF/F/H. But that doesn't make you some cookie cutter drone on some assembly line. We only care about the stories on this end. (evil-grin)
Anyway, it's a nice essay by a terrific author.
*** Or the not so blank screen of the modern word processor for many of us. Which brings me to another point, regarding how much blank screen you get. Back in the MS-DOS days, I knew a lot of people who preferred WordPerfect because you got more screen real estate to work with. As opposed to WordStar whose default menu took up a third of the screen if you didn't turn it off. Windows made us get used to multiple menu bars intruding on our space. The problem these days is that applied on tiny devices, my Kindle Fire HD for one, the usable writing area gets smaller and smaller.
But I digress...
UPDATE: 12/11/2013 -- In today's email, "Nnedi Okorafor was originally a published finalist in Writers of the Future Volume 18 in 2002 and has since gone on to a very successful writing career and is now a contest judge." And this essay first appeared in the current WOTF XXIX. No wonder I felt like I had seen it, but not read it -- in hospital I read all the stories but saved the essays for later... And like me, she was a published finalist, not a winner. (In doing a quick pre-lab for this piece, I glanced at the list of WOTF winners.)
I received a free download copy of an issue of Apex Magazine today. It was a thank you gift for entering the A Merry Little Apex Christmas Flash Fiction Contest
Whether we’re ready to admit it or not – and I’m definitely not ready to admit it yet – Christmas is right around the corner. This means all the lights, the music, the festivities, and the cheer. To help brighten up the holiday Apex style, we’ve decided to run a flash fiction contest.
How to enter:
• All entries must have to do with Christmas, but have a distinctly Apex slant – dark science fiction, fantasy, or horror
• You can submit anytime between now until December 16th
• 250 word limit
• Email entries to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title and author name in the subject line
• Limit 3 entries per person
• Story should be in the body of the email
• Submissions will be read by Jason Sizemore and me (Lesley Conner) with the winning story being published on the Apex blog on December 23rd. Besides getting their flash fiction published on the Apex blog, the winner also receives the following fantastic prize pack: a short story (up to 5,000 words long) critiqued by Apex owner/publisher Jason Sizemore, payment of 5 cents a word, and a one year subscription to Apex Magazine.
• To make sure that everyone has a merry Christmas, all entrants will receive a free issue of Apex Magazine. All you have to do is let us know in your submission email which issue of Apex Magazine you would like and we will send it out to you.
They didn't quite make it clear whether they wanted the stories in one or separate emails, so since I had three stories, I put them in separate emails, noting which ones were (1 of 3), etc. And I included my one back issue request in each email, noting I was assuming it was one per author, not one per sub.
Now I'm not noted for writing short, but I do on occasion write a Christmas themed short for the blog
. Sometimes I don't get around to it, so any stories which don't get picked, will grace these pages instead. Merwy Cripsmess, Dammit.
And you can spread your own holiday cheer to them as well, if you hop onto this quick. Deadline is the 16th and I believe they'll be posting the winners on the 23rd -- I'll let you know either way where my three stories will go. (grin)
Mon, Dec. 9th, 2013, 11:54 pm
was born in Carnegie PA in 1939, and raised in Aliquippa, which for a small steel town near Pittsburgh had had a number of notable persons
Why care about Mike Ditka and Aliquippa? Well, they retired his #89 Chicago Bears jersey during halftime of the Dallas-Bears Monday Night Football game on ESPN tonight. And Aliquippa is where my father -- and a whole passel of Kaldons are from -- though my father was born more than twenty years before Sitka.
Mike has been a colorful character, both as player and coach, and on and off the field. I understand that his Ditkas restaurants are excellent steak houses, and one of the cooking competition shows, The Next Food Network Star or Top Chef?, used his new line of sausages during one event. (grin)
But most of us know Mike as the charismatic coach who took the Bears to the 26 January 1986 Super Bowl XX. New Orleans Superdome. Chicago Bears-46 New England Patriots-10. "Ditka has stated that one of his biggest regrets in life was not letting Walter Payton score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, instead opting for Jim McMahon to run it in twice and rookie defensive tackle William "The Refrigerator" Perry to run it in once."As For Monday Night Football...
Chicago Bears-45 Dallas Cowboys-28. Bears are 7-6, tied for first in their division.
It was cold at Soldier Field, 7°F -- the fourth coldest home game in Chicago Bears history. And it technically isn't even winter yet.
No doubt Iron Mike was thrilled all the way around.
We were going to go out to see Philomena
over at Celebration North, but during lunch we turned on the TV to check out the NFL games. CBS had Indy and the Bungles, but FOX had the most awesome game I've seen in years.
Detroit Lions at the Philadelphia Eagles. In a RAGING snow storm. Big fluffy stuff. Only ten minutes into the first quarter and the field is covered. And visibility is near zero.
Ankle deep and kicked balls land thud in the snow and just stop. Guys make a reception, tackled and stand up with a faceful of snow jammed in their helmets.
Usually you see players getting on and off the field in random moves -- today you have columns of players trotting along the lines, which have been push shoveled. Detroit gets a TD and then goes for two -- and gets it -- rather than try a point after kick. Then on the kickoff, has the reserve offensive line in to push a path for the kicker's run up to the ball, using their feet.
We've seen games with snow before. And the Fog Bowl between the Bears and Green Bay in an invisible Lambeau Field. And one of the first New Year's outdoors NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo in full lake effect snow.
But this is spectacular.
The yard marker numbers are superimposed gray on the snow, along with the usual line of scrimmage and first down visual lines.
Detroit up 8-0 at the half. Another TD in the third quarter, on a 40 yard punt return, but two point conversion fails. 14-0. Then 14-6 as Eagles also fail at two point conversion.
Snow nearly 8" deep on the field at start of the fourth quarter. Eagles break free, score, and tie, 14-14. So what do the Lions do? 99 yard kickoff return. 20-14. Two pointer stopped by penalty. PAT blocked -- first points kick tried in game. 14:20 to go. Eagles break free, 22-20. Then 28-20.
On the return... To go all the way, you must first go half the way. To go half the way, you must first go a quarter of the way. That was the kickoff and first down for the Lions. The next play is NOT to drop the ball and let the Eagles collect your fumble.
And the Eagles score, 34-20. Maybe we should've gone to the movies, though it's been snowing here, too. And that's the final score. Sorry, Lions. You played three good quarters.
BTW -- the field in Philly was clear 90 minutes before the game. Not nearly as much snow in Baltimore, more in Green Bay, I think.
So... next Saturday the GVSU Lakers head to the Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats. They last met in the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship, which the Bearcats won.
This week they unexpectedly got one more home game -- cold and snowing and with only a small crowd. Finals coming, you know. Enthusiastic, though. There was a group of Honors College students without shirts.
We were able to see some of the game on streaming video on our Kindles. Grand Valley in trouble in the first half, running "21 unanswered points in the third quarter for a 35-28 victory and a trip to the semifinals." The 12-2 Lakers have won eight in a row.
Last week Grand Valley headed west to play Colorado State-Pueblo and pulled off a 34-30 Second Round victory.
Two weeks ago it was the Repeat Battle of the Valleys in Allendale, where after losing in the last regular season game, Saginaw Valley State University had to return to Lubbers Stadium, only to be trounced again by the Lakers 40-7 in the First Round playoffs.
Early on this season the Lakers suffered two bad losses. There was talk that in their competitive conference that their playoff hopes were probably gone. Now they are but one game away from another trip to Florence AL and the D-II championship game.
At least this year, as they have for many years, there WILL be a Division II National Champion. Division I can only wait until next year to dump the BCS idiocy. Whether they still ruin the New Year's Day bowl games will have to be seen.
Enjoy your final exams this week, Lakers. Then Saturday 14 December, 3:30pm EST, D-II Semifinals, Bearcat Stadium, Maryville, Mo.
Sat, Dec. 7th, 2013, 10:49 pm
It's 16°F at 10:50 at night. The temperature has been dropping all day.
IT'S PRACTICALLY SINGLE DIGITS!
IT'S ALMOST ZERO!
IT'S NEARLY NEGATIVE NUMBERS!
IT'S AN ICE AGE!
GLOBAL WARMING IS FOR CRAP!
Thinking warm thoughts for those iced over by Winter Storm Dion -- which has tracked south of us and sprayed ice and freezing rain from Dallas to Little Rock, Kentucky and beyond -- especially those without power -- or in one case we know of, without natural gas for their heat.
And nasty thoughts to those who confuse weather and climate, and fail at science.
Fri, Dec. 6th, 2013, 02:00 pm
A Facebook meme...
>>>>10 Books in no particular order that have stayed with you in some way. Books that still resonate, regardless of quality or author. Don't take more than few minutes and don't try to list the "right" or "great" works. No more than one book by any given author, and nothing too recent.<<<<<
I chose just SF works -- I could make a million lists -- and all of these I read repeatedly. The edict of no duplicates by author is tough. Clarke, Heinlein, Crichton, Verne -- all have bibliographies of Best Ten works. (grin) Still, I've done these before, so I'll play nice. Though I did move anthologies to a separate short list. (double-grin)
1. Dune / Frank Herbert
2. Star Surgeon / James White
3. Childhood's End / Arthur C. Clarke
4. Ender's Game / Orson Scott Card
5. Marooned / Martin Caidin
6. Gateway / Frederick Pohl
7. Janissaries / Jerry Pournelle
8. Andromeda Strain / Michael Crichton
9. Ringworld / Larry Niven
10. Grass / Shari Tepper
A. The Green Hills of Earth / Robert Heinlein
B. Where Do We Go From Here / ed. Isaac Asimov
C. Best Science Fiction of 1972 / ed. Terri Carr