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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.

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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.

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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.

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Net Neutrality is STILL one of the most important things on the agenda right now. The FCC said yes to the internet fast lane idea. Even libraries have stepped into the fray. In their words, the death of net neutrality could KILL Libraries. Here are some ways you can still fight against it.

And also, a video that shows what Net Neutrality vrs the FCC’s “Open Internet” plan is.

Now… on to our regularly scheduled web news.

Author Earnings will have another report up in 25 hours.

Publishing is more then books.

The ISS gets and HD cam directed at earth.

Reddit answers the best way to start a new hobby, from fencing to glass blowing, and much much more.

Jim Butcher does and AMA.

Time to Reform Copyright. While he has a point, copyright is a little messed up, I might not agree with everything he says. Google books did start uploading out of print books for free on google books a long time ago. Some of them are still under copyright, but they aren’t available ANYWHERE else, so they’ve made a case for adding them to their library (as long as they don’t sell them.) The Internet Archive started adding loads of video to their archive, saving things that might otherwise disappear forever. Copyright isn’t always good. It causes things to be forgotten over time. Ignored. Lost. And what good does that do anyone?

Internet “fast lanes”?

The FCC just announced new rules that will make “internet fast lanes” a reality.

What is an internet fast lane? Imagine all you favorite web content is still out there, but unless that website pays the web services extra they get slowed down. Netflix is already seeing this. They are paying Comcast and Verizon blackmail money so that their subscribers don’t get their content slowed way down. Netflix had to raise the prices of new members because of this, and while $10 isn’t a huge raise the point is they never should have had to do this in the first place. Black mail is ILLEGAL!

What about Youtube, iTunes, or your favorite streaming site? What happens when they start throttling downloadable content like games, and music? A lot of these places are free. What happens when they aren’t anymore because ISP’s are double charging everyone?

The marvelous thing about the internet was that it leveled the playing field. People who created finally had a way to sell their creations without growing through middle men. We could design our own books, games, movies, and music, upload and sell it directly to the people who wanted to view it. Or put it up for free and let it spread via word of mouth.

Now picture that road barricaded unless you spend a lot of money to get that same content put out.

Net neutrality has already been killed. But we still have some options. The FCC is going to be voting on weather or not they should be letting this through, and not all of the chairmen agree. Let your voice be heard. Let them know what you think they should do.

Write an email to tom.wheeler@fcc.gov and tell him how you really feel about him doing this. He’s the guy directly behind this, and he’s getting paid a lot by Comcast and other ISP’s to do this.

Even better, copy your email and send it to ALL of the leaders of the FCC. Let them know how you really feel about it all.

At this point I’m worried that Google and the fibre they bring will be the only chance for us to get out from under the foot of the ISP’s who refuse to upgrade their systems. But Google can’t spread the fiber fast enough, and many cities that want to install it themselves can’t. Seattle tried and Comcast bought the mayoral election to kill that plan. They are doing it in other cities too.

Everyone benefits from a free and open internet. It should be classified as a common utility, not a luxury. Tell the FCC to do that. Too many of us make our living by using the internet. Stand up for your rights to make that living without barricades.

The petition to stop this:

More information:

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/23t7qj/why_comcast_will_be_allowed_to_kill_net/

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/comcast-twc-chart

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html

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Some interesting things going on around the web this week.

authorearnings.com released a new report. Look for a “Indie News Bites” video tonight or tomorrow for my take on what this means. (Oh, and Hugh Howey already replied to some of the articles written refuting his newest report.)

Amazon changes royalties on ACX audio books. 

When It Comes To Women’s Writing, How Do Publications Stack Up? (hint, not well)

Book Bub most popular title trends in various genres.

Some of you might be interested in this man who did an AMA on Reddit, and because of his AMA he went to #300 in Amazon ranking. His cover is odd, to say the least, but people were interested and asked him questions, then bought the book.

Bitter writer suggests Rowling should hang up her typewriter… seriously? Because her books “suck up the oxygen from other writers”? How do you feel about Stephen King, Dean Kootz, or any other best selling author? Some of which died years ago, btw. /rant OH! And Anne Rice Responds