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sfwa_admin posted to sfwa July 10 2014, 23:12

Support the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund with a Great Deal on Awesome SF!

humble

Pay what you want. Support charity. Get exceptional titles. Last year, the Humble Book Bundle raised over $55,000 for the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund. Offering pay-what-you-want pricing, you could receive the following titles:

 

The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
The Reluctant Swordsman by Dave Duncan
Freehold by William Dietz
The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly
Wingman by Mack Maloney.

Beat the average price and you’ll receive all of the above as well as:
Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster
I Have No Mouth and I Must Screamby Harlan Ellison
The Forge of God by Greg Bear
and 
Song of Kali by Dan Simmons.

Pay $12 or more to receive everything previously mentioned as well as:
Encounter with Tiber by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes
and Blackcollar by Timothy Zahn.

Separately, this instant eBook library would typically cost you more than $86, but you can set the price!

The books are available in multiple formats including PDF, MOBI, and ePub. Instructions can be found here.

“If you like this bundle, a tip to Humble Bundle would be greatly appreciated!”

For more information or to get great books and help support the SFWA EMF, head to Humble Bundle.  This is a limited time offer!

Thank you for your support.

Mirrored from SFWA | Comment at SFWA

dsmoen July 10 2014, 22:09

False Assumptions About Names

I loved this article about names four years ago, and it continues to be relevant.

There are entire novels in the comments.

As someone whose name is frequently misparsed (my name is “Saoirse Moen, Deirdre” not “Moen,Deirdre,Saoirse”), I feel their pain.

Yes, the article is written for programmers, but it’s still useful for writers. We all carry assumptions about names.

Offhand, I can’t remember what language it was that someone filed a bug about where they had to use a non-Unicode font. Even Dhivehi/Thaana was added to Unicode in 1999, and that’s a pretty obscure script. (pic) I just remember being pretty impressed that there were still living languages where that was the case.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

redheadedfemme July 10 2014, 19:02

My tweets

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sfwa_admin posted to sfwa July 10 2014, 17:48

Overcoming Self-Doubt as a Writer

by Matthew Kressel

mattIt’s become a cliché, the tortured writer beset by periods of crippling self-doubt. But things become clichés simply because they have been true for so many. Writing, for most people I know, is an experience of few victories and many small defeats. The little victories can make all those defeats worthwhile, but when you’re in the writing mode, staring at the screen or paper, slogging away day after day, without feedback, you can often feel like you’ve wandered deep into the woods without a guide and now you’re lost and it’s getting dark and there are strange sounds coming from that grove of trees, and at this far out no one can hear you scream.

Eventually, though, you’ll find your way back to civilization. You send out that story that you worked on for months, only to get rejection after rejection. You submit your magnum opus to agents and editors expecting high praise only to be met with…crushing silence. The waiting sometimes can be the worst of all.

And it’s in these interstitial periods that the most crippling feelings of self-doubt can occur. We ask ourselves, Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Did they like what I wrote? Does it suck? Am I a hack? What the hell am I doing all this for? All those things we do to escape our uncomfortable feelings become super tempting: binge television watching, drinking, drugs, sex, anything to escape the Great Uncertainty.

And then your story sells, maybe even to a pro market, and the reviews come in, and everyone loves it, and praises it. And people talk about how it moved them, some cried and read it to their grandmothers, and maybe your story even gets nominated for an award. Maybe you even win that award. And you feel like a million dollars, and you’ll never doubt yourself again.

Yeah right.

A few weeks go by, maybe a few months, and the doubts creep back. We say to ourselves, Maybe I was lucky. Maybe the awards system is rigged. Maybe it was only a popularity contest. Maybe that’s the best I’ll ever do.

It’s a vicious cycle, this self-doubt, and it’s been my experience that most writers experience these crippling neuroses in one form or another. A few lucky people I know seem to lack all such self-doubts, but I suspect they’re well hidden, that under their confident exterior they too doubt themselves from time to time. Hell, even Stephen King has been known to express doubts about his work.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from SFWA | Comment at SFWA

tate_hallaway July 10 2014, 16:44

Hella History

http://tatehallaway.blogspot.com/2014/07/hella-history.html

So, I think I posted here that I got an e-mail inviting me to try out "Blogging for Books," which, when I went to check it out, appears to be a Random House thing where you get free books if you post a review about them somewhere.  Free books is never a bad deal and they had a graphic novel check-box, so I thought, okay, what the heck, and had them send me "The Harlem Hellfighters" Max Brooks/Caanan White.




So, here are my thoughts:

The Harlem Hellfighters follows an all-black regiment in WWI and showcases the racism they dealt with and their astounding bravery in spite of it.  This is typically the kind of tale that I never get tired of, the against-all-odds heroes who go above and beyond duty—all while being spit on (and worse) by their fellow soldiers.  This story gets an extra boost because the regiment is real and many of the characters that appear in the pages come straight out of history.

The author, Max Brooks, is best known for his World War Z comic book, which, admittedly, I haven’t read yet.  And, while I enjoyed The Harlem Hellfighters, I’m not sure that this book would make me seek out his other work.  I feel that maybe because Brooks was trying to hit all the history, he missed out on a stronger narrative opportunity or two.  The Harlem Hellfighters would make a great addition to a junior high/high school library because it’s really more a ‘fun’ way to read about history than a graphic novel for comic book fans, you know?  I didn’t leave this graphic novel thinking, “Wow, this was a great story! I loved Edge’s character!” so much as, “Wow, I learned a lot.”

Which surprised me, because there are some amazingly moving scenes and we, for the most part, follow a single character.  I can’t quite put my finger on why I was never able to sink my teeth into this.  It might be the skipping through history; it might also be the art.

Like a lot of graphic novel/comic book fans, I need to have both working for me to get the ultimate experience.  I can enjoy a book where the art is better than the story, and visa versa, but it’s a far better ride for me when both are hitting the same notes.  I wonder if I’d have felt differently if it were an affordable option to print all the pages in color.  Regardless, at this point it comes down to preference and stylistic bents… and, thus, to each their own.  My experience with the Caanan White's art might be completely different than yours.

So, I guess, ultimately, I’d give The Harlem Hellfighters a recommendation to anyone interested in World War 1 history, African American experiences, or the history of racism in America (and Europe.)  For comic book/graphic novel fans, it could be hit and miss.  I would still say check it out if this sounds like your kind of thing. (I should note, the cover price is $16.95, not too steep for a graphic novel, many Marvel collections for instance are much higher, though you do often get full-color pages in those.)
lyda222 July 10 2014, 16:13

Blogging for Books (Part 1)

So, I think I posted here that I got an e-mail inviting me to try out "Blogging for Books," which, when I went to check it out, appears to be a Random House thing where you get free books if you post a review about them somewhere. Free books is never a bad deal for me and they had a graphic novel check-box, so I thought, okay, what the heck, and had them send me "The Harlem Hellfighters" Max Brooks/Caanan White.

So, here are my thoughts:

The Harlem Hellfighters follows an all-black regiment in WWI and showcases the racism they dealt with and their astounding bravery in spite of it. This is typically the kind of tale that I never get tired of, the against-all-odds heroes who go above and beyond duty—all while being spit on (and worse) by their fellow soldiers. This story gets an extra boost because the regiment is real and many of the characters that appear in the pages come straight out of history.

The author, Max Brooks, is best known for his World War Z comic book, which, admittedly, I haven’t read yet. And, while I enjoyed The Harlem Hellfighters, I’m not sure that this book would make me seek out his other work. I feel that maybe because Brooks was trying to hit all the history, he missed out on a stronger narrative opportunity or two. The Harlem Hellfighters would make a great addition to a junior high/high school library because it’s really more a ‘fun’ way to read about history than a graphic novel for comic book fans, you know? I didn’t leave this graphic novel thinking, “Wow, this was a great story! I loved Edge’s character!” so much as, “Wow, I learned a lot.”

Which surprised me, because there are some amazingly moving scenes and we, for the most part, follow a single character. I can’t quite put my finger on why I was never able to sink my teeth into this. It might be the skipping through history; it might also be the art.

Like a lot of graphic novel/comic book fans, I need to have both working for me to get the ultimate experience. I can enjoy a book where the art is better than the story, and visa versa, but it’s a far better ride for me when both are hitting the same notes. I wonder if I’d have felt differently if it were an affordable option to print all the pages in color. Regardless, at this point it comes down to preference and stylistic bents… and, thus, to each their own. My experience with the art might be completely different than yours.

So, I guess, ultimately, I’d give The Harlem Hellfighters a recommendation to anyone interested in World War 1 history, African American experiences, or the history of racism in America (and Europe.) For comic book/graphic novel fans, it could be hit and miss. I would still say check it out if this sounds like your kind of thing.
lwe July 10 2014, 16:04

My tweets

  • Wed, 13:53: We ordered some ribbons to hand out to Ethshar fans at Worldcon.
  • Thu, 00:44: I have now watched all of Matt Smith's first two seasons on "Doctor Who."
  • Thu, 04:07: Wrote two pages of Swordsmen of the Fallen Empire tonight -- one from where I'd stopped, and the very last page. Now to connect 'em.
jducoeur July 10 2014, 15:21

What happens when rigorous engineering thought runs head-on into Law?

In a lovely new twist, Aereo has decided to make lemonade out of their lemons -- having had the Supreme Court declare that their operation is illegal because it is, effectively, a cable service that isn't paying licensing fees, they've said that, fine, in that case they would like to actually be treated *as* a cable service, paying the statutory royalties.

I think they've caught the broadcasters flat-footed, and I'll be very curious to see how it plays out. It's probably a desperation move, and I *suspect* that they will fail, but more because of the incoherence of the legal precedents than due to any logic. Rationally speaking, I think they've made a clever argument, but it's very much an engineer's point of view: saying essentially that one medium of transmission is much like another, and since the law is already a bit vague on the topic, there is no sensible reason why the Internet shouldn't be considered to be equivalent to the others.

I hope they win it, and even more, I hope they force the question back to the Supreme Court and get some precedents that make sense. IMO, the Supremes' decision to rule Aereo as a cable system *does* make sense -- but only if you're willing to follow the logic all the way through...
malkingrey July 10 2014, 15:18

Alas

I've been checking out -- in a desultory manner -- the offerings at this years SPN/J2 Big Bang, and I have to report a certain let-down. Entirely too many of the fics (for my taste! only for my taste!) are J2 fics, a subgenre in which I have next to no interest; and entirely too many of the remaining fics are Dean/Cas fics, a subgenre which I was more interested in back in season five or so, before SPN transitioned from being about hunting the things that go bump in the night into being about intra-angelic and intra-demonic warfare and a theology that was cracked-out even by Hollywood standards. (Hollywood theology is possibly the only subject further detached from its real-world counterpart than Hollywood police and legal procedure and Hollywood EMS.)

So far as I can tell, most of the fanwriters from the first wave of the fandom have moved on to other shows. And it's been years since I've run across a new SPN fanwriter who can do John Winchester right.

Grumble.
dorktowerfeed July 10 2014, 15:09

MUNCHKIN PANIC!

http://www.dorktower.com/2014/07/10/munchkin-panic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=munchkin-panic

http://dorktower.kovalic.com/?p=10165

JohnRamblings

As some of you kids may have heard, I had an eight-month-ish period where my wonderful business manager moved on to greener pastures, and I kinda went crazy, taking on far more work than any sane cartoonist should have.

Yes, I used the words “sane” and “cartoonist” together. SHUT UP!

The end result of this ridiculously overworked period? By my estimation, between GenCon-time and very-early-Autumn, I could have six or seven new games on the shelves that I worked on, in one way or another (including, of course, the obligatory unannounced Munchkin release or two. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW EASY I HAVE JUST MADE YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING?)

I’d like to spotlight some of these games, over the course of a few blogs, to give you fair warning of what’s about to hit you like an oncoming semi driven by a drunken dwarf who can’t see over the dashboard  show off some of my work. And there’s no better place to start off with than MUNCHKIN PANIC.

Don't Panic! No...wait...I mean "PANIC!! Yes, most definitely PANIC!"

Don’t Panic! No…wait…I mean “PANIC!! Yes, most definitely PANIC!”

Munchkin Panic, published by Fireside Games,in collaboration with Steve Jackson Games, is based on Castle Panic - a game I’ve been obsessed with for a few years, now. It’s a tremendous, cooperative “Castle Defense” game (literally, in this case), where you and your pals try desperately to save your tower from the oncoming hoards of goblins, orcs and ogres. As the swarms get closer, a true, palpable sense of panic  sets in amongst the players, and it is a HOOT!

This is just SOME of what's coming at you. NO SERIOUSLY YOU MAY PANIC NOW!

This is just SOME of what will be coming at you. NO SERIOUSLY YOU MAY PANIC NOW!

Munchkin Panic will have a few differences, and they are door-kicking awesome! To quote the press release:

In this hybrid game, the Munchkin Monsters have found the Castle Panic towers and are on the rampage!

Players must balance their self-interest with the cooperation necessary to survive. If players get too greedy, the Monsters will stomp the Castle flat while the players are too busy fighting amongst themselves.

Munchkin Panic merges what you love about both Munchkin and Castle Panic. The game will include a More Munchkin Mini-Expansion for even more panic and more ways to infuse your experience with the maximum Munchkin possible!

There’s also Treasure! Of course there’s treasure – this is MUNCHKIN, after all, so there has to be treasure! When you slay a Monster you get Treasure cards you can use against the Monsters…or each other. (Look, I said this was MUNCHKIN, right?)

Walls

That’s OK because you have some very sturdy walls to protect you WAIT WHAT?

One of the many upsides to working in the gaming industry is you get to hang out with cool, creative people. And I just love everything I’ve seen so far from Fireside Games team for Munchkin Panic.

The Monster Token Bag for Munchkin Panic. MOVE OVER, Crown Royale!

The Monster Token Bag for Munchkin Panic. MOVE OVER, Crown Royale!

Another upside is you get to work on games that you can’t wait to play – and Munchkin Panic is absolutely one of those. Creating its cover was a blast, and seeing all the pieces for the game come together has been a delight. The folks at Fireside Games are terrific to work with - heck, I’ve been a fan of theirs for years – and I can’t help but hope we do it again, some day.

– John

PS: WHAT? You’ve never played Castle Panic? What are you waiting for? It’s an absolute favorite of mine, and it’s just sitting out there, waiting to be bought! Plus, it’s a great “gateway game,” which your non-gaming friends can easily pick up and enjoy. You know. As you die horribly, being overrun by goblins, orcs and trolls…

PPS: I’ve got a new and again wonderful business manager at last, now, so life is sane once more.

 

 

jducoeur July 10 2014, 14:12

Should Querki Spaces default to public or private?

This is related to a topic I tossed out in the Querki Dev Journal yesterday. The more I think about it, the more important it seems to be -- it's a subtle detail, but likely to affect the contours of Querki's overall social structure.  So I'll ask the larger crowd here.

The issue is privacy settings. To summarize the above article, Querki allows users a lot of fine-grained control over security, but to make it usable we're going to need to sum that up into a few easy-to-use options: you pick one of these, and then tweak the details if you care.  I expect relatively few people to do much tweaking.

The question at hand is what the *default* option is when you're creating a Space, Public or Private. For reasons I describe in this comment, I don't think we can entirely duck this decision -- at the least, we're going to wind up subtly influencing user choice, so I'd rather do that deliberately instead of by accident.

So the main question is, when you create a Space, which of these options is the default (or at least, on top of the list):

  • Public: The Space is (mostly) publicly-readable and commentable, a la a typical LiveJournal.

  • Private: The Space is (mostly) not readable by non-Members, a la a typical private Facebook group.

(There will also be "Hidden" -- you can't even tell this Space *exists* unless you are invited in -- but I do not believe that should be the default.)

Closely related and still important: should we be explicit about this default, or should we require that the user creating the Space make a decision? (That is, should one of the radio buttons be checked initially or not?)

Opinions solicited, at least in this quick poll. I'm very much on the fence here -- it's a less easy issue than it looks at first glance.  Comments and thoughts also welcomed...

Poll #1974791
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 14

Should Querki Spaces favor Public or Private?

View Answers
Public
4 (36.4%)
Private
7 (63.6%)

Should users be forced to choose explicitly, or should there be a default?

View Answers
Require explicit choice
9 (64.3%)
Have a default
5 (35.7%)
K McDowell posted to vaginapagina July 10 2014, 12:48

Taking Junel Fe 1/20 on time?

So, I've been on Junel Fe for a couple of months now and everything has been relatively okay. I was taking my pill at 6PM or just a little later for a while, but now that I've started working nights at my job, it became very hard to take it until as late as midnight. My question is - How important is it to take the pill at the same time every day and could I just start taking it in the morning?

I am rather sexually active so I'm kind of panicking.
bogwitch64 July 10 2014, 12:48

Lies? Or Stories?

I just finished reading A Land More Kind Than Home by Wylie Cash, and in his note from the author*, he said this:

"...I wish I knew then what I know now: As a six-year-old, you're called a liar when you tell a story that you know isn't true. But if you can keep telling stories and wait just a few more years, people will eventually call you a writer. Even when they know your stories aren't true."
Wylie Cash
(A Land More Kind Than Home)

I just thought that was really faboo, so I'm sharing it with you. And this too, because my daughter is hilarious, and I am a proud mama.
Mommy Lies




*The part that came before that in his author's note--as a six-year-old, he embellished a story about the family trip to the beach, because he thought "swimming and playing in the sand" was way too boring. Instead, he told a friend his dad had buried him up to his neck and a sandcrab got hold of his big toe and nearly snapped it off before his dad dug him out.
dsmoen July 10 2014, 05:40

Birthday Reflections: Favorites from the Last Year

I thought I’d go over some of the things I’ve discovered or loved in the last year, in no particular order.

  1. Johnny B. Truant’s essay, The universe doesn’t give a flying fuck about you. It’s an interesting head trip: by making everything you could possibly do look small, it help reduces fear for the consequences of what you do. Interesting NLP technique there.

    If you want to be awesome in this life, do awesome things.

  2. Bats hangin’ out on a tree. bats-on-tree-edited-sm</p>
  3. Milford. Northern Wales and an amazing workshop. 03-wales-sm

  4. My whirlwind round-the-world tour featuring a visit with friends in New Zealand, more friends in Australia, even more friends in South Africa, and a play with an actor I like in London. 10-table-mountain-sm

  5. Overwerk. Especially when used in the Air Tahiti Nui video.

  6. Tim Grahl and his tips on book and author marketing.

  7. Tiffany Reisz. Bookalicious Pam listed The Siren as one of her favorite novels of the past year. On her recommendation, I inhaled the first four books between Christmas and New Year’s. I think her new book, The Saint, is even better.

  8. James Mickens’s “The Slow Winter” is one of the few short stories ever where Rick and I have quoted random lines to each other. Most frequently, “This does not lead to rising property values in Tokyo!”

  9. Hard-hat behind-the-scenes tour of the newly-opened part of SFO’s Terminal 3. That was pretty sweet, especially the ability to go onto the roof and watch the planes land.

  10. The number of people who search my site for the mongoose joke. (two today!)

  11. All the fun I’ve been having with Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle. Thanks, everyone.

Here’s a Dihydrogen Monoxide Containment Shield shower curtain.

12441192_10636511-crtn_l

And, you know, related stuff….. (same link set as above)

12441662_12087789-mugs11_l

12441662_12087789-mugs11f_l

12441662_12087789-mugs11l_l

12441956_11063764-clkfkhw_l

12442188_7955223-rg23_l

12442198_12796713-tsrmw112_l

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

redheadedfemme July 9 2014, 21:12

Review: "Out of the Vinyl Deeps," by Ellen Willis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a helluva time getting through this book. If it had been fiction, it would have been bashed against the wall before page 80. But because it's an essay collection, subdivided into sections entitled "The World-Class Critic," "The Adoring Fan," "The Sixties Child," "The Feminist," "The Navigator," and "The Sociologist," with the essays grouped around those themes, I thought, well, I'll just go on. Surely it'll get better.

Sadly, it really didn't.

Ellen Willis was a pioneering female rock journalist, with the bulk of her musical work taking place in the sixties and early seventies. Her favorite subjects were Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and Janis Joplin. Speaking strictly from a technical point of view, she was a good writer--her essays are intelligent, thoughtful, and on point. Unfortunately, the very first essay in the book, "Before the Flood," (1967) about Bob Dylan, magnifies her biggest flaw: her complete lack of humor regarding her subjects. (To be fair, I think it should be MANDATORY that anyone who writes about Dylan approach him with a healthy sense of snark--otherwise, the writer inevitably starts to sound as ponderous and pretentious as his/her subject.) Her droning voice was well nigh impossible to wade through, and what little affection I have for Bob Dylan had all but vanished by the end of the piece.

This way-too-serious tone marred the rest of the book. To be sure, a music writer doesn't need to have the frantic, attention-deficit-disorder style of, say, a Lester Bangs, but a few cracks about the absurdity of stardom and/or the music business in general would have been appreciated. In fact, the best section of the book, by far, is when she brought feminism into the mix. (But there still had to be a downer essay about Bob Dylan in this section to nearly ruin it, dagnabbit.) She talks about bands/artists such as the Joy of Cooking and Ms. Clawdy that I've never heard of, and describes them so eloquently it makes me want to search for their music. Her voice is more focused and eloquent in "The Feminist," and a couple of observations even approach the wispy edges of humor!

I believe there are a few more collections of Ellen Willis's essays out there, and one focused on feminism might be worth picking up. I'm sure classic rock aficionados will appreciate this one. Unfortunately, for me it didn't cut it.

View all my reviews
_____
redheadedfemme July 9 2014, 19:02

My tweets

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lyda222 July 9 2014, 18:23

Podcast Wednesday

Today is Wednesday, and that means that the new chapters of various manga have come out. So Mason and I have done our thing. Feel free to check it out: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/sweet-sixteen/.

In this podcast, it's mostly me talking about SnK (Shingeki no Kyojin) and its various and sundry spin-offs. However, there was a very problematic section of Bleach today, which I'll discuss under the cut.

Read more...Collapse )

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