Around the Web

The internet donated over 800 copies of banned books to teens in South Carolina.

Judging books by their cover just got a little more scientific.

3D printing glass? 

15 scifi books you should definitely read.

‘Guilty pleasures’ and ‘the Kindle closet’: ‘The real book versus ebook list’

Top 100 Sci-fi list filled with books “shockingly offensive”…. As a note, I don’t agree with this woman’s article, but thought others might find it interesting, or worth discussing.

Garbageman rescues books to create a community library.

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Remember that “Witch’s Sacrifice” is on sale for $0.99 for the rest of the weekend. If you haven’t checked it out yet now is your chance. It won’t be on sale again until the third book comes out sometime around the end of the year.

Have a wonderful day ya’ll.

Around the Web

Some interesting links that I’ve found around the web:

17 brilliant stories you can read in one sitting.

Public domain superheroes

Interesting AMA with Nichelle Nichols (who played Uhura in Star Trek)

how to change the default text settings on scrivener for Windows. (I’ve been looking for this for a while.)

Book store offering refunds for new Harper Lee book due to false advertising.

All the amazing things learned from Philae’s Comet.

90% cheaper moon colonies?

University of Iowa receives 18k volume SF library

Be offended… Nothing happens. (a funny video).

What is it daddy?

Just saw this fantastic explanation of net neutrality by a nine year old:

My 9-year old son spends a lot of time online and recently came to me asking what Net Neutrality meant. I explained it the best I could. I just okay with current political events and he had a lot of questions. Had to actually look up some answers.

I recently overheard him explaining it to one of his friends, much better than I could, like this:

Pretend ice cream stores gave away free milkshakes. But you had to buy a straw to drink them. But that’s okay, because you still get free milkshakes.
One day you’re drinking a free milkshake and you look down and the guy that sold you the straw is pinching it almost shut. You can still get your milkshake, but it’s really hard and takes a lot longer.

So you say, “Hey! Stop that!” And the straw guy says, “NO! Not until the ice cream store pays me money.” And you say, “But I already paid you money for the straw.” And the straw guy says, “I don’t care. I just want more money.”

Source

Now if only we could get the GOP to understand this, of should I say to care more about this than the money Comcast is giving them.

Min wage for min work

I just had to share this comment from reddit because it was so well said.

The American economy is becoming less friendly to skilled workers. Look at many autoplants and other industrial factories. What 40 years ago was a workforce with many specialists, led by foremen who had risen from the ranks of those specialist workers, is being replaced by a workforce of generalists who work jobs further simplified to smaller individual tasks, are lower paid, not encouraged to specialize, and led on the shop floor by college graduate managers who never worked in the factory a day in their lives. Job training isn’t enough without the economic demand.

If you believe everyone should work a skilled job for a living, you have to either ensure that there are skilled jobs for everyone, or recognize that what you’re saying is “some people should starve despite their best efforts.”

These people are doing productive labor in a majorly profitable industry, yet are paid starvation wages. And that’s not just a problem for them. Taxpayers are effectively paying massive subsidies to keep these businesses functioning in this way. The largest private employer in the United States, Wal-Mart, costs taxpayers $6.2 billion per year in public assistance designed to keep its low-wage workers alive, according to one estimate. Wal-Mart also has a huge share of the food stamp market ($13.5 billion in sales in 2013), so they’re paying such shit wages, we have to give their workers benefits to stay alive, which they’ll likely need to turn around and spend at Wal-Mart for groceries, essentially allowing the company to double-dip in their massive taxpayer subsidies.

For McDonald’s, $1.2 billion of taxpayer money goes to supporting their underpaid workers, part of the fast food industry’s $7 billion annually. And they can afford better. The ten largest corporations were responsible for $3.8 billion in 2012, while making $7.4 billion in profits AFTER paying out $7.7 billion in dividends and buybacks to shareholders.

If we raise wages to a livable level, however, they won’t take it out of their profits and dividends. They’ll raise prices. That’s partially the greed of the executives, but largely the greed of the stockholders. Why park your capital in a company making 2% growth when you can move it to one making 6%? That’s just self-interest, and it’s the motivating factor for companies to squeeze costs, including labor. That’s capitalism.

Every time universal free-at-point-of-need medical care comes up, people bring up that it’s not *really* free because it’s being paid for in your taxes. Well, when you think about how cheap fast food is, remember, it’s not *really* that cheap, you’re paying for it in your taxes.

We’re spending billions of dollars of our money to prop up bloated corporations paying their workers shit wages so they can pump out shit food that is killing our people.

From http://www.reddit.com/r/AdviceAnimals/comments/2uotqv/scumbag_mcdonalds/coal181

Explaining the world

I was watching a news piece about the shootings in France on youtube last night and my son wandered over and asked me “Why did they do it?”

That’s a big question, with a bigger answer. I tried to explain it: They drew cartoons criticizing their religion and they didn’t like it. Then my son asked what the cartoons said, and then he had extra questions.

questionmasterMy son is the Question Master. When he focuses on a subject he starts asking about every little thing, and if you let him he will have  you there for a couple hours just answering more questions about the same original subject. He doesn’t understand that it’s frustrating for other people to have to answer 15 MILLION questions about the operation of a stick shift Subaru. (Except for Gregg, he loves Subaru.) Usually once he gets to a certain point I will point him toward Google and say “have at it.”

But this time he wasn’t asking about aerodynamics, or cakes, or tensile strength of a bridge (yes he’s really asked those things. My kids WAY smarter then I am.) This time he was asking about religion, extremism, cultural differences and censorship. Things that are a little tougher to understand. Things that you can’t simply say “this is right and this is wrong.” No, these subjects are more nuanced.

We take for granted this “freedom of speech”, except that it is our right, and then rally against those who would try to silence or control it. At least sometimes.

But not everyone believes in freedom of speech. Not everyone thinks “everything” should be allowed. And I’m not talking about just certain religions or certain cultures. EVERY culture has issues. Even the USA that prides itself on this freedom has groups that ban books, like Harry Potter, or Christian groups that try silencing other groups because they aren’t christian.

When you feel that you belong to a specific group you tend to want to help that group. You might show it by wearing your teams colors on Sunday, or singing a hymn in church. You might wave a banner, or spend a month camping out near Wall Street. And some people take that idea that their group is right and yours is wrong to new heights. Just ask the parents at the last game who started a brawl in the bleachers of their kids school.

How do you explain the world and all its intricacies? Why did they shoot a cartoonist?

We can say it was fear, or pride, or anger… but I think there are some people in this world who hold the idea of being “right” over the idea of life. When a human life is less important then being right then things start happening. Things that sometimes end in deaths.

And I’m not talking about just this incident. Look at any mass shooting, every war, every violent act. Someone believed that they were right, and it was more important then the life they took.

Wikileaks_cantstopsignalI’m not a religious person, and I have anything against anyone who wants to practice a religion. But I do have a problem when your religion infringes on my right to a happy, and healthy life. That includes information. You can’t stop the signal! You can never stop the signal!

Knowledge, science, and progress aren’t going to stop just because someone, or some group are afraid of it. It didn’t stop Galeleo, or Rhazes, or Domagk. If the KGP and Gestapo couldn’t stop it then neither can the NSA or ISIS leaders. We will endure. Knowledge will prevail.

And life will find a way.

Around the Web

Welcome to the world wide web. Pull up a chair, view a few pictures, and enjoy the view. I’ve got articles, photos, videos, and more. Enjoy.

Penguin to publish the “lost” Schönwerth fairy tales.

Rowling release 12 new short stories for Christmas. Sign up for Pottermore to find them.

Thousands of Einstein documents now open source, and just one click away.

Beautiful redesign of the Harry Potter books.

Books made into beautiful art

Scientists translate monkey language

DC’s comics parody famous old film art.

First underground park. (Inspiration for you Sci-fi authors.)

Also, my boyfriend Gregg and I started doing a new project. We’re calling it Nano-Files, and it is us telling some crazy stories using a deck of cards. You can check out it out here. You can also catch up on my semi daily vlog here.

Around the Web

pumpkinThis week has been a mad dash to finish book 1 of the Mermaid’s Curse trilogy, and come up with names for each of the three parts of the book. I’m tossing around the idea of “Curse Maker” and “Curse Breaker” for the first two. No idea about the third. “Curse Taker” maybe? I have to think about it. I’ve got one chapter that I am doing the final edit for on book 1, and five chapters left on book two.

I’ve also been working on my NaNoWriMo plots. Like usual, I will be working on two story linesskull. One main project, and one to switch to when I get stuck on the first. That seems to be the easiest way to write for me. This year it will be book 3 of the Mermaid’s curse trilogy (which I have totally plotted out, and it’s going to be AWESOME!) and book 1 of the Eternal Tapestry series. A sort of prequel to Forgotten Ones. I just haven’t decided which will be the main project, and I would love to get them both finished. But that will come about as I start writing come next month.

I’ve also been a bit busy on Instagram and Pinterest with sketches and what not to stay busy. It’s Halloween, and I enjoy drawing pumpkins and skulls, so there you go.

And now for some interesting videos/articles/etc that you might find amusing and/or informative.

The latest Authors Earnings report is live, and it’s all about KU!

Two important publishing facts EVERYONE gets wrong, by Hugh Howey

LeVar Burton reads “Go the F*ck to Sleep” at a charity live stream.

Neil Gaiman on scary stories and little children.

Japanese SF writing contest open to AI and aliens.

From Reddit: What is a science/history mystery that has been solved, but no one seems to know?

 

And just a reminder, Small Bites 1 and Prophecy by Barlight are still free. And I will be having a couple more promo’s going on next month. And you can always sign up for my newsletter here.

Around the Web

This month has been busy, busy, busy. My car broke down, I’ve writen another few thousand words and edited a few chapters, I overwrote some of my files, and did a couple more episodes of Story Telling podcast.  I’ve also found some really interesting things for you guys.

Books are EXACTLY like razors! a message from Hugh Howey

Neil Gaiman: ‘Terry Pratchett isn’t jolly. He’s angry’

Fiction Lag: Becoming the characters you read about. (video)

Gif of North America, and who controlled the land over time. Watch the territories move across the land.

11 sequels you probably didn’t know existed. (Hint, there was one for 101 Dalmatians.)

Mathematician and comedian, Matt Parker, asks the nine publishers participating in the auction for his book to submit bids in prime numbers and derivatives of pi.

Stephen King offers up some of his stories to film students to make films, for $1.

Stephen King interview about teaching children the art of writing.

Millions of historical (and copyright free) images posted to flicker by academics. And another collection from the British Library, also copyright free. (There are some great pictures in here. Hopefully people help tag them.)

Important life lessons learned from children’s books.

 

Can being an author get you arrested?

Last night I was reading reddit and a new article came through. This time it stopped me in my tracks. A story about a fellow author who wrote a book and was then placed on leave for being “suspicious.” Others have mentioned he may have been arrested. They are definitely looking at charging him with something.

The facts, according to the article: He was a teacher at a middle school. He wrote two books under pen names. He published them on Amazon. The books were about “the largest school shooting in history.” Both works of fiction.

After reading it I posted the article to G+ and we had an interesting conversation that made me want to write a more in-depth blog post… so fair warning. It’s going to get deep around here.

Ever since 9/11, just 13 years ago, there have been many articles hitting the news about the over zealous “no tolerance” policies in our schools. Now, I will say that not all of it is due to 9/11. There was also Columbine, the Aurora theater shooting, and the recent school shootings in a few other states. We have had a lot more mass shootings, it seems, in the last decade then ever before.

Because of the no tolerance act we have now had:
A boy suspended for accidentally making his pop tart look like a gun.
A boy suspended for twirling a pencil.
7 year old yelled at for paper ‘gun’, then harassed and called a murderer by students.
A boy was suspended for having a PAPERCLIP in his pocket.

And there are TONS of examples where that came from.

What’s more interesting: The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) outlines “no tolerance polices” and has gone on record as saying: “Zero tolerance policies are complex, costly and generally ineffective.” They also say they cause racial discrimination, negative impact on education, high rate of repeat suspensions, and increase the drop out rate.

So… why not start suspending, or even arresting people who write books about school shootings. Never mind that you would need to arrest a lot of people who wrote similar books. Goodreads has a list of 39 books, all with school shootings in them.

It’s actually gotten a little scary here. With NSA watching everything we do, and news reporters suggesting police use water cannons on protesters, and everything else going on over in Ferguson at the moment, it’s feels like it is dangerous to be a citizen.

I spoke to a friend who lives in Europe and his view point of America at the moment is that it is one of the most dangerous places to live. That… that makes me sad, honestly. This use to be “the home of the free.” Is it now? I’m no longer sure.

I write what I write because it is what effects me. If I write about a school shooting it’s probably because I’m afraid one might happen to my children, not that I want to perpetrate one. If I write about a child that was abused it is because I was abused and I want others to know the signs of abuse so they can avoid it, not because I want to do it. If I write about murder, or nuclear bombs, or ghosts popping out of the grave to rip a persons head off.. it’s entertainment, it’s examination of things that effect society. The man who wrote Lolita wasn’t a child molester. VC Andrews didn’t have sex with her siblings. It’s writing.

1984, the thought police. Are we there yet? I hope not. But I don’t know anymore. I’m not proud of my country like I use to be either.

Around the web

 

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, but I just had a few links I wanted to share.

The Reading Rainbow kickstarter. They are getting a match up to $1 million for everything over 4mil, so if you haven’t donated now is your chance.

Fiction Unboxed is done with, and they have finished “Dream Engine”. I’ve been listening to it, and it’s a fantastic story so far. Hopefully it will be available on Amazon soon.

US publishers sold more ebooks then print books last year. (Though they made about the same from those ebooks as they did last year.)

Authors dressing up as their favorite characters from a book.

If we talked to other professions like we talk to artists. (FANTASTIC video by Garrett Robinson. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should!)

Star Trek and Economics (It’s an interesting read, and kind of relevant to our point in history.)(Also, what Reddit had to say was interesting)

 

On a personal note:

“Mermaid’s Curse” is coming along nicely. I’ve hit the 80k mark and I’m still going on it. I’m expecting that it will be about 82k once I’m finished. Right now I’m working on edits, and the edits are about half way finished. Then off to a real editor who knows what they are doing 😉

If you would like to see some scenes from “Mermaid’s Curse” then check here, here, and here.