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marthawells July 23 2014, 13:36

No subject

New books:

* Doghouse by L.A. Kornetsky
Even though she’s unlicensed as an investigator, the infamously nosy Ginny Mallard has begun to make a name for herself as an unofficial champion of the tongue-tied. When a mysterious stranger comes to her with landlord trouble, she convinces her bartender friend Teddy Tonica to help her once more.

* Dust and Light by Carol Berg is up for preorder
How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her....After that one mistake, Lucian’s grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries—beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets.

* Shattering the Ley by Joshua Palmatier
Erenthrall—sprawling city of light and magic, whose streets are packed with traders from a dozen lands and whose buildings and towers are grown and shaped in the space of a day. At the heart of the city is the Nexus, the hub of a magical ley line system that powers Erenthrall. This ley line also links the city and the Baronial plains to rest of the continent and the world beyond. The Prime Wielders control the Nexus with secrecy and lies, but it is the Baron who controls the Wielders. The Baron also controls the rest of the Baronies through a web of brutal intimidation enforced by his bloodthirsty guardsmen and unnatural assassins.

* A Plunder of Souls by D.B. Jackson
Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villains and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious.

* The Seat of Magic by J. Kathleen Cheney
agical beings have been banned from the Golden City for decades, though many live there in secret. Now humans and nonhumans alike are in danger as evil stalks the streets, growing more powerful with every kill. It’s been two weeks since Oriana Paredes was banished from the Golden City. Police consultant Duilio Ferreira, who himself has a talent he must keep secret, can’t escape the feeling that, though she’s supposedly returned home to her people, Oriana is in danger. Adding to Duilio’s concerns is a string of recent murders in the city. Three victims have already been found, each without a mark upon her body. When a selkie under his brother’s protection goes missing, Duilio fears the killer is also targeting nonhuman prey.


* And there's a half-price ebook sale at Book View Cafe. The books on sale are here.
the_gneech July 23 2014, 11:11

Strangley Philosophical

Feeling strangely philosophical this morning, thinking about permanence and impermanence. In particular, I'm remembering a little ritual of sorts that Waarhorse and Kerry used to go through at the convention table. Kerry and I used to always have a bowl of candy at the table to get customers' attention, and Waarhorse would come along and make some kind of joke about "Oh, free candy!" and taking either heaping handfuls or occasionally the whole bowl, in response to which Kerry would shriek and order him to put it back, threatening to poke him with crochet hooks. Good times were had by all. :)

Then, of course, Waarhorse passed away. A year later, Kerry stopped going to conventions, and two years after that, she also passed away. Waarhorse is gone, Kerry's gone, even that particular candy bowl is gone; the conventions remain, and I, who bore witness to it all, still have it in my head. But there will be some time (hopefully in the still distant future) when I'm not at conventions any more either, and that small running game will have evaporated from history.

I don't know where (if anywhere) my thoughts are going on this topic. It's just something I found myself thinking on when I woke up.

That said, hug somebody you love today. :) While you can.

-The Gneech
suricattus July 23 2014, 11:08

The day after the new book comes out...

You start to haunt your google ego-search and Goodreads, hoping to hear nice things and cringing against the thought of bad things...

(this stage, for me, lasts about two-three days. But it's a painful few days...)

Fortunately, the first review I saw of DOGHOUSE was here

"The witty banter between characters Tonica and Ginny and the interaction between Penny and Georgie keep the reader engaged as they proceed to solve the case of the evicted boxer. Kornetsky spotlights the cruelty of animal abuse and those that profit from it in this thought-provoking mystery. Love it!" (4 stars)
- Single Title Reviews


*melts in puddle of relief*


(there will eventually be less-happy reviews, because there always are - you can't write the book EVERYONE wants.  But every happy reader or reviewer rebuilds the confidence that waiting burns out of you...  So, yanno...if you read it and liked it, dropping a line on Goodreads or Amazon would be a lovely gift in return.  For me, and for every writer you like.)
al_zorra July 22 2014, 20:59

Border Patrol Checkpoints.

Liberals, libertarians, retirees, and activists protest against immigration patrols far from the border.By Amy Lieberman
Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion
Liberals, libertarians, retirees, and activists protest against immigration patrols far from the border.
By Amy Lieberman
at salondotcom here.

it's probably way too long for most people to read, particularly since most people think this doesn't apply to them. I can say from personal experience however, as someone who doesn't live in these states, who is not of Spanish language location heritage, that these points do indeed affect you, the moment you are in these states. These states also, by and large, permit open carry. This latter may explain why certain sorts of generally older, white men get away with non-cooperation, while any of the others of us who don't cooperate will be detained and likely incarcerated.



QUOTE
"Checkpoints deep inside the United States are inconceivable for most Americans who live far from the southwest. They are unknown even to some prominent immigration activists like Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant who was briefly detained at an interior checkpoint in Texas.

The Arizona checkpoints started springing up suddenly in early 2007 when Congress funded them after years of resistance from an Arizona politician. The checkpoints seem incongruous with a Western frontier ethos that equates open roads and fast cars with personal freedom.

“We are not accustomed to having a military checkpoint. It is common in other countries, but Americans have never had to live with that as a permanent way of life before,” says Leesa Jacobson, a co-founder of an anti-checkpoint community movement People Helping People in the Border Zone, based in Arivaca (population 700).

Parallel anti-checkpoint movements are drawing an odd collection of bedfellows—conservative ranchers, comfortable retirees, reclusive libertarians, and liberal activists—who are linked by one basic contention. Because American citizens can be randomly detained and searched at interior checkpoints deep inside the United States, the checkpoints undermine the tenets of a free, democratic society.



The exact number of interior checkpoints across the southwest isn’t easy to estimate. Some pop up and disappear on short notice. The Department of Homeland Security stopped releasing official numbers in 2008. The total number of interior checkpoints on the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border areas may exceed 100, according to the Arizona Republic. In southern Arizona, there are at least 11, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and they’re all positioned about 25 miles to 50 miles north of Mexico. The checkpoints operate round-the-clock, year-round as part of a border security strategy to apprehend undocumented migrants, stop illicit drugs and arms, and catch terrorists.

There is no uniform protocol or agreed law about what Border Patrol agents may do when they stop a motorist at an interior checkpoint."



The checkpoints screw with local real estate values -- and, as we were informed while in Texas, with tourism too:

QUOTE
"Retirees once flocked to Tubac for the year-round good weather, affordable adobe-style homes, and quaint outdoor shopping pavilions. But the checkpoint on I-19, a five-minute drive from town, has harmed real estate prices, according to a February 2013 study. Business owners also reported a decline following the construction of the checkpoint.

The Santa Cruz Valley Citizens Council is bringing a petition to close the checkpoint to Tubac’s chamber of commerce this summer. It plans to push the letter forward to lobby state representatives. So far, the council has received signatures of about 600 of the town’s population of 1,000."

The checkpoints also interfere greatly with women's health. But of course the powerful white male makers of laws, rules and regulations for eveyone but themselves have decided that women's health is only about selfish wanting abortions, and abortions are EviLe, UnHoly and Criminal, by Gawd! Women never get cancer or other illnesses, every MAN knows that. The only health issues selfish women have come from their icky girl parts, with which Manly MEN have not been cursed by GAWD.


QUOTE
"Lopez is one of the patients who took a chance and accepted a ride from family friends to Phoenix. She cried throughout the one-hour drive until they approached an Army green–clad Border Patrol agent under the checkpoint’s white arch. He asked where they were going and where they were coming from. Lopez, in the backseat, quietly listened to the conversation. It played out in Spanish, the only language she speaks.

“They spoke to him like family, my friends. They said ‘Hijo, we are coming from Douglas and we are going to Tucson.’ He said ‘OK’ and then we passed,” she says, exhaling deeply. “Thank God it was easy. Because of my health, my children and everything, my husband.”

Lopez’s cancer is in remission. She worries that it will return or complications from diabetes will require another journey to Phoenix. For now, Lopez is stuck in her house, measuring out pills that prevent her blood sugar from spiking."

Just one more way the selfish 1% have profited from making the lives of the rest of us miserable. Their corps get the contracts for building, maintaining and creating ever more of these useless check points. Their corps have the contracts to hire ever more numbers to staff and maintain (while paying most of the labor often less than minimum wage). They get to helicopter over the checkpoints, and point down at the rest of us, laughing, all the while justifying their exploitation as securing the frackin' homeland.

Aye up, they are indeed securing the homeland for fracking. And then the earthquakes take out your house and the water you drink is poisoned and your land is worthless for anything.
al_zorra July 22 2014, 20:46

Arizona Like Texas Is Sick of Checkpoints

 Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion
Liberals, libertarians, retirees, and activists protest against immigration patrols far from the border.
By Amy Lieberman

at salondotcom here.
  it's probably way too long for most people to read, particularly since most people think this doesn't apply to them. I can say from personal experience however, as someone who doesn't live in these states, who is not of Spanish language location heritage, that these points do indeed affect you, the moment you are in these states.  These states also, by and large, permit open carry. This latter may explain why certain sorts of generally older, white men get away with non-cooperation, while any of the others of us who don't cooperate will be detained and likely incarcerated.


 
Checkpoints deep inside the United States are inconceivable for most Americans who live far from the southwest. They are unknown even to some prominent immigration activists like Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant who was briefly detained at an interior checkpoint in Texas.
 
The Arizona checkpoints started springing up suddenly in early 2007 when Congress funded them after years of resistance from an Arizona politician. The checkpoints seem incongruous with a Western frontier ethos that equates open roads and fast cars with personal freedom.
 
“We are not accustomed to having a military checkpoint. It is common in other countries, but Americans have never had to live with that as a permanent way of life before,” says Leesa Jacobson, a co-founder of an anti-checkpoint community movement People Helping People in the Border Zone, based in Arivaca (population 700).
 
Parallel anti-checkpoint movements are drawing an odd collection of bedfellows—conservative ranchers, comfortable retirees, reclusive libertarians, and liberal activists—who are linked by one basic contention. Because American citizens can be randomly detained and searched at interior checkpoints deep inside the United States, the checkpoints undermine the tenets of a free, democratic society. 


 
The exact number of interior checkpoints across the southwest isn’t easy to estimate. Some pop up and disappear on short notice. The Department of Homeland Security stopped releasing official numbers in 2008. The total number of interior checkpoints on the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border areas may exceed 100, according to the Arizona Republic. In southern Arizona, there are at least 11, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and they’re all positioned about 25 miles to 50 miles north of Mexico. The checkpoints operate round-the-clock, year-round as part of a border security strategy to apprehend undocumented migrants, stop illicit drugs and arms, and catch terrorists.
 
There is no uniform protocol or agreed law about what Border Patrol agents may do when they stop a motorist at an interior checkpoint.


 
The checkpoints screw with local real estate values -- and, as we were informed while in Texas, with tourism too:
 
Retirees once flocked to Tubac for the year-round good weather, affordable adobe-style homes, and quaint outdoor shopping pavilions. But the checkpoint on I-19, a five-minute drive from town, has harmed real estate prices, according to a February 2013 study. Business owners also reported a decline following the construction of the checkpoint.
 
The Santa Cruz Valley Citizens Council is bringing a petition to close the checkpoint to Tubac’s chamber of commerce this summer. It plans to push the letter forward to lobby state representatives. So far, the council has received signatures of about 600 of the town’s population of 1,000.
 
The checkpoints also interfere greatly with women's health.  But of course the powerful white male makers of laws, rules and regulations for eveyone but themselves have decided that women's health is only about selfish wanting abortions, and abortions are EviLe, UnHoly and Criminal, by Gawd!  Women never get cancer or other illnesses, every MAN knows that.  The only health issues selfish women have come from their icky girl parts, with which Manly MEN have not been cursed by GAWD.
 
Lopez is one of the patients who took a chance and accepted a ride from family friends to Phoenix. She cried throughout the one-hour drive until they approached an Army green–clad Border Patrol agent under the checkpoint’s white arch. He asked where they were going and where they were coming from. Lopez, in the backseat, quietly listened to the conversation. It played out in Spanish, the only language she speaks.
 
“They spoke to him like family, my friends. They said ‘Hijo, we are coming from Douglas and we are going to Tucson.’ He said ‘OK’ and then we passed,” she says, exhaling deeply. “Thank God it was easy. Because of my health, my children and everything, my husband.”
 
Lopez’s cancer is in remission. She worries that it will return or complications from diabetes will require another journey to Phoenix. For now, Lopez is stuck in her house, measuring out pills that prevent her blood sugar from spiking.
 
Just one more way the selfish 1% have profited from making the lives of the rest of us miserable.  Their corps get the contracts for building, maintaining and creating ever more of these useless check points.  Their corps have the contracts to hire ever more numbers to staff and maintain (while paying most of the labor often less than minimum wage).  They get to helicopter over the checkpoints, and point down at the rest of us, laughing, all the while justifying their exploitation as securing the frackin' homeland.  
 
Aye up, they are indeed securing the homeland for fracking.  And then the earthquakes take out your house and the water you drink is poisoned and your land is worthless for anything.

 
 
al_zorra July 22 2014, 20:41

No subject

Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion
Liberals, libertarians, retirees, and activists protest against immigration patrols far from the border.
By Amy Lieberman

at salondotcom here.
it's probably way too long for most people to read, particularly since most people think this doesn't apply to them. I can say from personal experience however, as someone who doesn't live in these states, who is not of Spanish language location heritage, that these points do indeed affect you, the moment you are in these states.  These states also, by and large, permit open carry. This latter may explain why certain sorts of generally older, white men get away with non-cooperation, while any of the others of us who don't cooperate will be detained and likely incarcerated.



Checkpoints deep inside the United States are inconceivable for most Americans who live far from the southwest. They are unknown even to some prominent immigration activists like Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant who was briefly detained at an interior checkpoint in Texas.

The Arizona checkpoints started springing up suddenly in early 2007 when Congress funded them after years of resistance from an Arizona politician. The checkpoints seem incongruous with a Western frontier ethos that equates open roads and fast cars with personal freedom.

“We are not accustomed to having a military checkpoint. It is common in other countries, but Americans have never had to live with that as a permanent way of life before,” says Leesa Jacobson, a co-founder of an anti-checkpoint community movement People Helping People in the Border Zone, based in Arivaca (population 700).

Parallel anti-checkpoint movements are drawing an odd collection of bedfellows—conservative ranchers, comfortable retirees, reclusive libertarians, and liberal activists—who are linked by one basic contention. Because American citizens can be randomly detained and searched at interior checkpoints deep inside the United States, the checkpoints undermine the tenets of a free, democratic society.



The exact number of interior checkpoints across the southwest isn’t easy to estimate. Some pop up and disappear on short notice. The Department of Homeland Security stopped releasing official numbers in 2008. The total number of interior checkpoints on the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border areas may exceed 100, according to the Arizona Republic. In southern Arizona, there are at least 11, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and they’re all positioned about 25 miles to 50 miles north of Mexico. The checkpoints operate round-the-clock, year-round as part of a border security strategy to apprehend undocumented migrants, stop illicit drugs and arms, and catch terrorists.

There is no uniform protocol or agreed law about what Border Patrol agents may do when they stop a motorist at an interior checkpoint.



The checkpoints screw with local real estate values -- and, as we were informed while in Texas, with tourism too:

Retirees once flocked to Tubac for the year-round good weather, affordable adobe-style homes, and quaint outdoor shopping pavilions. But the checkpoint on I-19, a five-minute drive from town, has harmed real estate prices, according to a February 2013 study. Business owners also reported a decline following the construction of the checkpoint.

The Santa Cruz Valley Citizens Council is bringing a petition to close the checkpoint to Tubac’s chamber of commerce this summer. It plans to push the letter forward to lobby state representatives. So far, the council has received signatures of about 600 of the town’s population of 1,000.

The checkpoints also interfere greatly with women's health.  But of course the powerful white male makers of laws, rules and regulations for eveyone but themselves have decided that women's health is only about selfish wanting abortions, and abortions are EviLe, UnHoly and Criminal, by Gawd!  Women never get cancer or other illnesses, every MAN knows that.  The only health issues selfish women have come from their icky girl parts, with which Manly MEN have not been cursed by GAWD.

Lopez is one of the patients who took a chance and accepted a ride from family friends to Phoenix. She cried throughout the one-hour drive until they approached an Army green–clad Border Patrol agent under the checkpoint’s white arch. He asked where they were going and where they were coming from. Lopez, in the backseat, quietly listened to the conversation. It played out in Spanish, the only language she speaks.

“They spoke to him like family, my friends. They said ‘Hijo, we are coming from Douglas and we are going to Tucson.’ He said ‘OK’ and then we passed,” she says, exhaling deeply. “Thank God it was easy. Because of my health, my children and everything, my husband.”

Lopez’s cancer is in remission. She worries that it will return or complications from diabetes will require another journey to Phoenix. For now, Lopez is stuck in her house, measuring out pills that prevent her blood sugar from spiking.

Just one more way the selfish 1% have profited from making the lives of the rest of us miserable.  Their corps get the contracts for building, maintaining and creating ever more of these useless check points.  Their corps have the contracts to hire ever more numbers to staff and maintain (while paying most of the labor often less than minimum wage).  They get to helicopter over the checkpoints, and point down at the rest of us, laughing, all the while justifying their exploitation as securing the frackin' homeland.

Aye up, they are indeed securing the homeland for fracking.  And then the earthquakes take out your house and the water you drink is poisoned and your land is worthless for anything.


 
al_zorra July 22 2014, 20:27

Arizona, Like Texas: People Are Sick of Checkpoints.

Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion
By Amy Lieberman

at salondotcom here.
  it's probably way too long for most people to read, particularly since most people think this doesn't apply to them.  I can say from personal experience however, as someone who doesn't live in these states, who is not of Spanish language location heritage, that these points do indeed affect you, the moment you are in these states.  These states also, by and large, permit open carry.  This latter may explain why certain sorts of generally older, white men get away with non-cooperation, while any of the others of us who don't cooperate will be detained and likely incarcerated.



Checkpoints deep inside the United States are inconceivable for most Americans who live far from the southwest. They are unknown even to some prominent immigration activists like Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant who was briefly detained at an interior checkpoint in Texas.

The Arizona checkpoints started springing up suddenly in early 2007 when Congress funded them after years of resistance from an Arizona politician. The checkpoints seem incongruous with a Western frontier ethos that equates open roads and fast cars with personal freedom.

“We are not accustomed to having a military checkpoint. It is common in other countries, but Americans have never had to live with that as a permanent way of life before,” says Leesa Jacobson, a co-founder of an anti-checkpoint community movement People Helping People in the Border Zone, based in Arivaca (population 700).

Parallel anti-checkpoint movements are drawing an odd collection of bedfellows—conservative ranchers, comfortable retirees, reclusive libertarians, and liberal activists—who are linked by one basic contention. Because American citizens can be randomly detained and searched at interior checkpoints deep inside the United States, the checkpoints undermine the tenets of a free, democratic society. 

The exact number of interior checkpoints across the southwest isn’t easy to estimate. Some pop up and disappear on short notice. The Department of Homeland Security stopped releasing official numbers in 2008. The total number of interior checkpoints on the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border areas may exceed 100, according to the Arizona Republic. In southern Arizona, there are at least 11, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and they’re all positioned about 25 miles to 50 miles north of Mexico. The checkpoints operate round-the-clock, year-round as part of a border security strategy to apprehend undocumented migrants, stop illicit drugs and arms, and catch terrorists.

There is no uniform protocol or agreed law about what Border Patrol agents may do when they stop a motorist at an interior checkpoint.



The checkpoints screw with local real estate values -- and, as we were informed while in Texas, with tourism too:

Retirees once flocked to Tubac for the year-round good weather, affordable adobe-style homes, and quaint outdoor shopping pavilions. But the checkpoint on I-19, a five-minute drive from town, has harmed real estate prices, according to a February 2013 study. Business owners also reported a decline following the construction of the checkpoint.

The Santa Cruz Valley Citizens Council is bringing a petition to close the checkpoint to Tubac’s chamber of commerce this summer. It plans to push the letter forward to lobby state representatives. So far, the council has received signatures of about 600 of the town’s population of 1,000.

The checkpoints also interfere greatly with women's health.  But of course the powerful white male makers of laws, rules and regulations for eveyone but themselves have decided that women's health is only about selfish wanting abortions, and abortions are EviLe, UnHoly and Criminal, by Gawd!  Women never get cancer or other illnesses, every MAN knows that.  They only health issues selfish women have come from their icky girl parts, with which Manly MEN have not been cursed by GAWD.

Lopez is one of the patients who took a chance and accepted a ride from family friends to Phoenix. She cried throughout the one-hour drive until they approached an Army green–clad Border Patrol agent under the checkpoint’s white arch. He asked where they were going and where they were coming from. Lopez, in the backseat, quietly listened to the conversation. It played out in Spanish, the only language she speaks.

“They spoke to him like family, my friends. They said ‘Hijo, we are coming from Douglas and we are going to Tucson.’ He said ‘OK’ and then we passed,” she says, exhaling deeply. “Thank God it was easy. Because of my health, my children and everything, my husband.”

Lopez’s cancer is in remission. She worries that it will return or complications from diabetes will require another journey to Phoenix. For now, Lopez is stuck in her house, measuring out pills that prevent her blood sugar from spiking.

Just one more way the selfish 1% have profited from making the lives of the rest of us miserable.  Their corps get the contracts for building, maintaining and creating ever more of these useless check points.  Their corps have the contracts to hire ever more numbers to staff and maintain (while paying most of the labor often less than minimum wage).  They get to helicopter over the checkpoints, and point down at the rest of us, laughing, all the while justifying their exploitation as securing the frackin' homeland.  

Aye up, they are indeed securing the homeland for fracking.  And then the earthquakes take out your house and the water you drink is poisoned and your land is worthless for anything.

burger_eater July 22 2014, 17:44

Why I’ll Be Skipping Kindle Unlimited

Amazon has unveiled its Kindle Unlimited program, which allows readers to pay a ten dollar monthly fee to have access to a huge catalog of books. The major publishers have not signed on yet, so you’re unlikely to find many big new releases, but I’m led to understand that Amazon is paying a wholesale price to authors with best-selling books while most indie writers will be paid a “share” of $2 mil.

Amazon tried offering shares out of a fund before, and I experimented with that. The amount of money I received was negligible. Seriously negligible. Frankly, I’m not excited to Spotify my writing career.

I’m also less than thrilled to know that I would have to enroll in KDP Select to take part, which means that, in order to place a book in KU, I’d have to pull it from every other vendor. Guess what? I’m not doing that. Certain other indie authors have been enrolled without being forced into exclusivity (for now, at least). I’m sure this is Amazon’s need to include a few bestsellers in the KU library, but since I’ll never sell as many books as Hugh Howey, I won’t be getting the same lovely treatment he receives.

And yeah, this is a library you pay $120 a year for. That’s not a great deal for me, since I have a local library system with a great selection of ebooks, but I certainly understand that some people don’t have that kind of access or, if they do, they don’t want to put a hold on a title and wait their turn to read it. That’s especially true for people who want to read a book but don’t feel the need to own it.

Anyway, I’ve tried a lot of different things over the last few years. I’ve published traditionally. I’ve tried KDP Select. I’ve sold fiction directly from my website. I’ve offered fiction on a donation basis. I’ve signed on for the Kindle Lending Library. My books are on Oyster and Scribd, which are other subscription-based services. The one thing I *didn’t* try was selling a story for a bitcoin (just too busy at the time bitcoins first became a thing, and now they’re too expensive). But I won’t be trying KU; exclusivity in return for a “share” seems like a really bad deal.

What’s more, I don’t intend to experiment with tactics like putting the first book of a series (or a piece of short fiction) in KU to prompt sales of other books. Hey, if a reader is already paying $10/month and has access to over half-a-million books, are they really going off the preserve to hunt down (and pay for) book 2? Some would, obviously, but many wouldn’t, and it seems to me that the purpose of a subscription service like this is a pool of captured customers who have no desire to go elsewhere.

Finally, I have to wonder what Amazon sees as the long-term plan for KU. Are they hoping to get people to sign up like gym memberships? Because the most profitable members of any gym are the ones who never actually go to the gym but who continue to pay their dues because they know they should. I’m hoping that KU doesn’t create an ecosystem of readers who never venture outside the KU offerings (I wonder if there’s any research demonstrating this problem with Oyster or Scribd?) along with people who never get around to reading books.

UPDATES: Thoughts by John Scalzi and further consideration over on The Bookseller

UPDATE REDUX: Kindle Unlimited from a reader’s POV.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

al_zorra July 22 2014, 16:09

Arizona, Like Texas: People Are Sick of Checkpoints.

Checkpoints deep inside the United States are inconceivable for most Americans who live far from the southwest. They are unknown even to some prominent immigration activists like Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant who was briefly detained at an interior checkpoint in Texas.

The Arizona checkpoints started springing up suddenly in early 2007 when Congress funded them after years of resistance from an Arizona politician. The checkpoints seem incongruous with a Western frontier ethos that equates open roads and fast cars with personal freedom.

“We are not accustomed to having a military checkpoint. It is common in other countries, but Americans have never had to live with that as a permanent way of life before,” says Leesa Jacobson, a co-founder of an anti-checkpoint community movement People Helping People in the Border Zone, based in Arivaca (population 700).

Parallel anti-checkpoint movements are drawing an odd collection of bedfellows—conservative ranchers, comfortable retirees, reclusive libertarians, and liberal activists—who are linked by one basic contention. Because American citizens can be randomly detained and searched at interior checkpoints deep inside the United States, the checkpoints undermine the tenets of a free, democratic society. 

The exact number of interior checkpoints across the southwest isn’t easy to estimate. Some pop up and disappear on short notice. The Department of Homeland Security stopped releasing official numbers in 2008. The total number of interior checkpoints on the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border areas may exceed 100, according to the Arizona Republic. In southern Arizona, there are at least 11, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and they’re all positioned about 25 miles to 50 miles north of Mexico. The checkpoints operate round-the-clock, year-round as part of a border security strategy to apprehend undocumented migrants, stop illicit drugs and arms, and catch terrorists.

There is no uniform protocol or agreed law about what Border Patrol agents may do when they stop a motorist at an interior checkpoint.

The checkpoints screw with local real estate values (and, as we were informed while in Texas, with tourism too):



Retirees once flocked to Tubac for the year-round good weather, affordable adobe-style homes, and quaint outdoor shopping pavilions. But the checkpoint on I-19, a five-minute drive from town, has harmed real estate prices, according to a February 2013 study. Business owners also reported a decline following the construction of the checkpoint.

The Santa Cruz Valley Citizens Council is bringing a petition to close the checkpoint to Tubac’s chamber of commerce this summer. It plans to push the letter forward to lobby state representatives. So far, the council has received signatures of about 600 of the town’s population of 1,000.

The checkpoints also interfere greatly with women's health.  But of course the powerful white male makers of laws, rules and regulations for eveyone but themselves have decided that women's health is only about selfish wanting abortions, and abortions are EviLe, UnHoly and Criminal, by Gawd!  Women never get cancer or other illnesses, every MAN knows that.  They only health issues selfish women have come from their icky girl parts, with which Manly MEN have not been cursed by GAWD.

Lopez is one of the patients who took a chance and accepted a ride from family friends to Phoenix. She cried throughout the one-hour drive until they approached an Army green–clad Border Patrol agent under the checkpoint’s white arch. He asked where they were going and where they were coming from. Lopez, in the backseat, quietly listened to the conversation. It played out in Spanish, the only language she speaks.

“They spoke to him like family, my friends. They said ‘Hijo, we are coming from Douglas and we are going to Tucson.’ He said ‘OK’ and then we passed,” she says, exhaling deeply. “Thank God it was easy. Because of my health, my children and everything, my husband.”

Lopez’s cancer is in remission. She worries that it will return or complications from diabetes will require another journey to Phoenix. For now, Lopez is stuck in her house, measuring out pills that prevent her blood sugar from spiking.

Just one more way the selfish 1% have profited from making the lives of the rest of us miserable.  Their corps get the contracts for building, maintaining and creating ever more of these useless check points.  Their corps have the contracts to hire ever more numbers to staff and maintain (while paying most of the labor often less than minimum wage).  They get to helicopter over the checkpoints, and point down at the rest of us, laughing, all the while justifying their exploitation as securing the frackin' homeland.
 

Aye up, they are indeed securing the homeland for fracking.  And then the earthquakes take out your house and the water you drink is poisoned and your land is worthless for anything.

 

 
the_gneech July 22 2014, 16:01

My tweets

marthawells July 22 2014, 12:55

Audiobook News

Some great news! The audiobook narrator for Stories of the Raksura Vol I will be Christopher Kipiniak, who did the first three Books of the Raksura.

If you like audiobooks and are new here, all my fantasy novels plus the Star Wars novel are available in audiobook at Audible.com, Tantor Audio, Audible UK, iTunes, and other audiobook retailers.

A note about conventions, because this comes up occasionally: authors and artists (who are not in the top 4-5 or so headlining guests) do not get paid to go to SF/F conventions, to do panels or workshops, even all day long workshops. We pay our own travel, hotel, food, etc, and usually all we get is a free membership (the same thing volunteers who work on the convention get). For large conventions like World Fantasy and WorldCon, we have to buy our own membership. (Often, if a WorldCon makes enough money to pay its expenses and has money left over, it will reimburse panelists for their memberships. But that's never guaranteed.)

Couple of links:

Kickstarter: Imagined Realms: Book 1 - New Fantasy Art by Julie Dillon

Aliette de Bodard: Some thoughts on the Hugo nominees
suricattus July 22 2014, 03:29

Pour yourself some Gin & Tonic and settle down with DOGHOUSE!

And lo, after much waiting... okay, it's been eight months since FIXED, I'm hoping you've been waiting! It's here!

doghouse

When Ginny Mallard and her sometimes-partner Teddy Tonica are asked to look into the situation of an old man about to be evicted, the part-time investigators think it’s just a matter of sorting out misunderstandings.  But this is no simple landlord-tenant spat, bringing them headfirst – and nose-deep in trouble – into the world of back-room fights and animal rights…

And this time, Ginny’s shar-pei, Georgie, and the bar cat Penny are the only ones who can get the truth out of their sole witness: a puppy named Parsifal!

Normally, I don't mind much if you buy a book the day-of-release, or if you buy it a week later, or even a month later, when it comes up in your budget rotation.  But right now, with this book?  Really good week-of-release sales could be important.  So, yanno, if you're planning to pick it up, you might want to do it now.

The kittens and the time-share puppy would really appreciate it.

IMG_61282011-06-22 14.22.37

writercat2

Here're some places you can buy it.


B&N * Simon & Schuster * iTunes * Mysterious Galaxy * Seattle Mystery Bookshop * Amazon * S&S Australia * Chapters/Indigo * Foyles * Powells * Better Read Than Dead (AUS)


And here.  Have an excerpt.

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csecooney July 22 2014, 01:51

The Witch's Garden Series

Two Erotic Fairy Tales from The Witch's Garden...
ON THE SAME DAY!


WITCH, BEAST, SAINT

"I could’ve changed him back. The transformation spell would take research, focus, a not inconsiderable outpouring of stored magic, but in the end, it was entirely doable. Thing was, I rather liked my monster as a monster."

Read it for free on Strange Horizons.


groomingcropped

THE WITCH IN THE ALMOND TREE


In this sensational debut novella of The Witch’s Garden Series, C. S. E. Cooney introduces Mar, a Witch of Doornwald, who goes to her mother’s country home in order to relax from the demands of city life, but finds danger and passion instead. Faced with a haunted grove, a secretive stepfather, a mother who may be sharing her body with an ancient demon, and a mysterious young man named Wraith, what’s a Witch to do?

Save the day. Rescue her mother. Win fair gentleman.

Just perhaps, Mar will also learn that a beguiling stranger’s innocence may be more tempting by far than the attentions of her jaded city lover, that the magic her touch awakens in him might more powerful than any she has seen, and that in seducing his virtue and tutoring him in the erotic arts, she herself may be seduced, body and soul.

Intoxicatingly sensual and deliciously dark, The Witch in the Almond Tree propels you into a world of witches and ghosts, prophecy and carnality that you’ll want to return to again and again.


Now available for sale on Amazon.com

IMG_0935


PREVIOUS PRAISE FOR C. S. E. COONEY

"A headlong romp. . .Sublime, sublime-o." - Sharon Shinn, author of The Shape-Changer's Wife

"Stunningly delicious! Cruel, beautiful and irresistible. . ." - Ellen Kushner, author of Thomas the Rhymer

"Funny and horrifying and moving by turns." - James Enge, author of The Blood of Ambrose

"...A lively and engaging narrative voice." - Lois Tilton, The Internet Review of Science Fiction

"Cooney's imagery and invention is as fevered as always. . .and her control of tone is perfect." - Rich Horton, Locus Magazine


***
al_zorra July 21 2014, 17:00

Not Goin' Back to Texas, No More, No More

Texas SUCKS! 


Keep Your Documents With You At ALL Times Everywhere and Be VERY VERY Submissive

It's a frackin' police state that nobody except the wealthy and powerful can escape. 

Por ejemplo (sorry, I've the repeated words and phrases of Las Vidas dominating my language centers at the moment): 

Trying to get to the El Paso airport from Marfa, we got stopped three times by varieties of militarized cops, and then ran right into the military. 

 First a random stop by the border guardia, demanding our "documentation." Many intrusive personal questions about our identities, our frackin' RELATIONSHIPS with each other, where we've been, why we've been there, where are we going, do we really live at these addresses, how long have we known each other, how do we know each other.  Then they come back and ask all the same questions all over again.

Second, the official Homeland Security Border Patrol truck weigh station point that I described previously on our way TO Marfa from El Paso. Except again, this time they held us up for a long time with all the same questions, and took our 'identity documents' and ran them through whatever databases, while our (rental) vehicle's plates got run too ... also proving this was a rental that had been RENTED (at the frackin' El Paso airport, for frack's sake), and rented by the driver. 

Third, we got popped in a speed trap by a highway patrol cop, who did all the same goddamned things detailed above, including taking our passports and drivers licenses and asking all these same questions. And I do mean speed trap. Approaching El Paso and the route to the airport, there's a dip in the highway, which about half way down the speed limit changes from 80 to 75 ..... So supposedly P's got a big fine to pay.  He's going to protest it.  Coincidently, right there by the turn-off to the airport, is a huge sign for a law firm whose business is to help the bustee protest his speeding ticket and sizeable fine ....

 We did hear some mutterings from the locals in the other communities around Marfa such as Alpine (the Big Town!), Valentin and Van Horne, that it's gotten so bad in this stretch it's hurting the tourist economy: people as they hear more and more what it's like in Presidio and aptly named for you-know-who Jefferson Davis county, aren't doing the Big Bend National Park as much as in previous years. 

 It's amazing how quickly this policing gets under your skin, and how you become so aware of it ready to clobber you any old time it feels like, and how anxious this makes you. 

So imagine, our friends in another car, driven by a now-naturalized Cuban (with very dark skin tone), with one of the passengers a very Out gay naturalized citizen of Mexico, with very long hair, with a propensity for enormous amounts of flashy jewelry -- and not in the gangster bling mode, and what are considered women's clothes. We kept sending texts back to them, warning them to be VERY VERY VERY careful. E could always claim that he's run from the commies and their police state, and he'd probably be believed.  Also, his enormous, lengthy dreds make him look even more masculine now (though when he was younger he was also very pretty; he's now a handsome man in the prime of life, but o babies, he was lovely when a youth!). But R -- the Border Patrol a$$hole$ really harassed him just walking back into El Paso from Juárez for his hair and the rest of it.  Fortunately he was with a group of o so respectable (and politically connected) white people, so they finally relented.

Texas has always been an SOB to drivers of its highways, with speed traps and so one everywhere. Every time el V's driving in Texas, why yes, he got a speeding ticket. But never before have we gotten our personal lives and identities probed, checked and investigated. Just the driver's license run, to see if there are outstanding tix and an arrest record, presumably. None of this grilling as to where, what, why and who. 

However, this state has always been a heavily militarized and policed one.  The region where we were is probably one of the most militarized places on the planet.  Even the El Paso airport serves as a major egress and ingress for soldiers coming into and departing Fort Bliss (history of Fort Bliss, starting with the Mexican - American War here -- yes, another Buffalo Soldiers' station, after the Civil War), with their own gates, terminals and boarding service.  Checking into curbside or desk luggage check and boarding pass service includes servicing military personnel, many of them bringing as luggage weapons cases.  Very Big weapons cases.

The trains that run through Marfa nearly every hour carry enormous amounts of military weaponry. We were told by some long time residents that within hours of 9/11, the trains were running every few minutes, carrying all kinds of heavy military equipment, including missile launchers, and tanks, to NYC.

I'm not going back to Texas again, not for a very long time, and probably not ever, because this isn't going to change, certainly not in my lifetime.
marthawells July 21 2014, 12:52

ArmadilloCon and Not WorldCon

This weekend I'm going to be at ArmadilloCon 36 in Austin, Texas. Major guests are: Ian McDonald, Ted Chiang, Jacob Weisman, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Sigrid Close, Michael Walsh, and Mario Acevedo.


Here's my schedule. (I'm also one of the teachers for the all day writers' workshop on Friday.) For my reading I'll be doing a section of one of the upcoming Raksura novellas.

Fr1600E Tree Creatures
Fri 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Room E
Wells*, Clarke, Oliver, Stanley
Ents, nymphs dryads and more. Discussion regarding the various kinds of tree creatures from myth and legend.

Sa1000D Elemental Magic
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Room D
Kimbriel*, Pedersen, Wells, Wilson
What is elemental magic and which stories use it the best?

Sa1300DR Autographing
Sat 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Dealers' Room
Blaschke, Wells

Sa1400E Where Are They Now?
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Room E
Carl*, Antonelli, Wells
Authors read short snippets from their early, critique and discuss what they learned.

Sa1700SB Reading
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Southpark B
Wells


The WorldCon is in London in early August, and I really wish I could be there, but I won't, because I just couldn't afford it this year. If you want to angst along with me, you can look at my previous worldcon tag, where I have photos and reports from the WorldCons in San Antonio and Chicago etc. (In the Chicago one, there's a favorite moment where a physicist who insisted he wasn't there helped us fix a tea urn.)
suricattus July 21 2014, 10:27

Ah Monday, we meet again!

So yeah, the weekend was spent dealing with paperwork and filing (did you know that 8+ years of royalty statements =  a LOT of paper?  It does.  I probably should get that stuff scanned in at some point, and coldfile the paperwork....) and the aforementioned culling of the shelves.  So I woke this morning to a pile of books giving me betrayed looks. Sorry guys, but it's better this way. Maybe you'll find new readers who will love you better than I could....

Part of the "purge and declutter" program this weekend was making sure all my cds had been loaded onto my laptop/ipod.  Ahem.  Apparently, they hadn't been. OK, that explains why I always thought I had more music than was showing up....

All that done, it's back to the word mines today. Staying on schedule means the first novella needs to be drafted by 1 August. I can do that. Probably. Wait, wait, it's almost August already? *panics faintly*

Also:  I KNOW, I said the blooper reel #1 would be posted this week for relevant Kickstarter backers.  And I really thought it would happen.  But it WILL happen.  Soon.  Promise.

Meanwhile, have a snippet:

I’d filled (the thermos) with holy water before we left Manhattan.  I had no idea if it would be useful against anything we might encounter, but my mother raised me to consider the angles and cover my odds.  Then again, tossing holy water onto wild current might blow half the city up.  It’s uncertainty like that that makes my job fun.

douglascohen July 21 2014, 00:28

Realms of Fantasy: April 2011

RoF--April Cover

Part ninety-nine in my comprehensive retrospective as I read the fiction in Realms of Fantasy and offer my thoughts, right up to the final issue.  This time around I’ll be discussing the April 2011 issue.

The cover to this one is by Brom, which marks his fourth illustration in the magazine.  This was a previously unpublished piece that we included as part of the Artists Gallery (as a two-page spread that you could remove as a mini-poster if you were so inclined—credit the poster idea to our publisher/graphic designer, Kim Richards Gilchrist) that I also ended up selecting for our cover.  It ended up winning the Silver Award in the Editorial Section for Spectrum 18: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.  As you might imagine, this was a huge thrill for me.
The cover also notes this is a “Special Dark Fantasy Issue.”  This marks the magazine’s first themed issue.  We had plans for a Halloween issue back with Sovereign Media, but the magazine was canceled before this could take place and it was agreed by everyone that trying to make this issue happen while also transitioning a new publisher would be too much of a hassle, so we tabled this idea indefinitely (although the dark fantasy issue would probably have quite a bit in common with the Halloween issue).  Then under Tir Na Nog Press we once again had plans for a themed issue, this time a Woman in Fantasy issue.  But once again the magazine was canceled before this issue could take place, and we tabled this idea under the new publishers for the exact same reason …along with the fact that the dark fantasy issue had already been announced. 

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