Category Archives: Creator Chatter

Writer Emptor

Every one of us has the dream of becoming popular enough with our readers that we will be able to set aside our day job and simply work at writing – be the next Larry Correia or Andrew Weir. That we will be able to pay attention to only the work of crafting our story, and someone else would handle the nitty gritty details of financial remuneration and accounting, the contracts and such – the ‘icky’ business side of writing.

I’ll be honest and say that the mindset – especially when it comes to financial matters – gives me the heebie-jeebies. Granted, I’m not the best person when it comes to finances; but I do know the basics and how to prioritise them; so I can understand why the mindset has appeal.

But that mindset is where predators can swoop in. And have. Dear God, they have.

I’ll spare the gruesome details here because you can read about them written by people far more able than I to write about these abuses. Mario Puzo can’t write about it any more, but the guy who wrote Fight Club was a victim, and he did.

Mad Genius Club has a post about it. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been writing about this kind of thing for years, and finally she has the smoking gun. And the effects. Which is being hushed up – the reaction to this is frankly, stunning… but unsurprising. It’s a bit akin to people who were at a terrorist attack, except that they’ve been victimised for years. You don’t want to admit when you’ve been a victim in circumstances like these, and the predators and abusers don’t want their cover blown. And in fairness, there are likely to be honest literary agents out there who see this as a big threat to their jobs when they’ve done nothing wrong. There are new writers who w

Everyone has a very good reason to be scared, and not want to see the reality.

Me, I just feel sad for the people who are victims of this. I mean, nobody can tell me that Mario Puzo’s estate for his books, the licensing of the movies, etc, isn’t in the multimillions. It also makes me angry that it seems that the other clients of Donadio & Olson seem to be unaware of this happening.

 

Some writers represented by the agency told The Post they had not been contacted about the theft, and did not know if it affected their royalties.

“This is the first I heard of it,” said McKay Jenkins, a nonfiction author.

Bert Fields, a lawyer representing the Puzo estate, said he learned of the arrest from The Post.

The alleged theft was first discovered last fall when an unidentified author who was expecting to receive a $200,000 advance from his publisher asked Webb why he had not received the payment.

According to the complaint, Webb put the author off for months.

“The author did not receive the payment because Webb had converted the funds to Webb’s own use,” says the complaint.

“The agency’s singular focus at this time is ensuring that all of its impacted clients are made whole to the greatest extent possible, and the agency is cooperating in every possible way with the government’s efforts,” said Matthew Adams, a lawyer for Donadio & Olson.

Calls and an e-mail to Webb’s attorneys were not returned.

 

That’s insane. It’s unthinkable. It’s the kind of ‘don’t tell the passengers we’re sinking’ cover-your-ass. Why weren’t the clients told – they have every right to be. But as Kristine has pointed out, there are no oversights for literary agents, and no enforcement. So it’s no surprise.

Good luck to the authors and creators who have been hurt by this crime. I wish you the best, and hope you get the earnings you were due.

 

 

 

A Visit Back To The Mother Country

Wedding couple at the San Augustin Church

The wedding had all the ceremonies observed; we did our parts too!

 

The family all visited the Philippines for the first time in 6 years; for my youngest brother’s wedding. It was a short visit, hectic – but ultimately fun and wonderful. I sadly didn’t have time to interview my Mom for stories as I would have liked (so I can start writing those family stories), but she had fun being Lola to her (currently only) grandchildren, and ‘spoiling her baby daughter’ – so I have a load of daster dresses (yay!) and having Rhys and I eat with her at her new favourite food places. I went home with the intention of being able to eat some of the foods I seriously missed while overseas, and while that ambition was partly fulfilled, I feel rather sad that I didn’t get to sample more of the smorgasbord that is Filipino food and restaurant variety.

The Tombstone Hamburger Stack challenge

We didn’t have the time (it was late at night) to try this challenge, alas.

(To our amusement, the kids simply adored Jolibee, though Vincent found the burgers ‘too small’, and Rhys could eat three Filipino-sized servings of food by himself.) I didn’t get a chance to eat fishballs, or Goldilock’s Cathedral Windows, but I did manage to have some Red Ribbon (and introduced Vincent to the joys of mamon, that fluffy Filipino angel food-sponge.)

I did bring home lots of powdered juice mixes and Mom, upon finding out that Nescafe Berry Coffee was something Rhys – the consumate tea drinker – deeply enjoyed, made it a point to ensure that her only son-in-law had a package of single-serves to bring back to Australia. Note to self: next time, bring even LESS clothes, and bigger suitcases for the children, because while I sent home two balikbayan (return to homeland) boxes full of pasalubong (‘welcoming’ gifts) we got given so much there’s a huge plastic chest of stuff we couldn’t fit on our baggage allowance (30kg per person) that Mom says she’ll send in parcels – with more food things that we liked, but didn’t get a chance to bring home more of. (Waah, I realised just now I left behind my little cookies with the little drop of hard icing on top. I wanted to nibble on those while on the plane ride home!) The pasalubong will mostly go to folks my Mom knows; as they’re mostly ‘thank you for taking care of my Mom for me’ appreciation gifts.

I will have to learn to make taho myself though. =/

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New Book Release! Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope

 

Nestled deep in the forest, all is as it should be in the village of Blessed Hope – and that’s how chief hunter Dari Finbarr likes it. Then one stormy night the embodiment of death for Humans stumbles into their home: a Szari girl.

The Szari! A race of powerful beings who sought the extinction of Humankind, and were only stopped by the Tzaro people in a brutal war that is still whispered about in hushed voices. A sole Szari warrior is capable of wiping out entire Human settlements by themselves.

The strange, silent Szari is nothing like how the tales describe however; and though it risks his life, Dari is given the task of guarding her until the wise Tzaro are brought to decide her fate. Until then many questions arise, but no answers can be found in the girl’s sad green eyes.

Without knowing it, the Humans of Blessed Hope have found themselves on a path that will change the future of all the races on their world…

After much blood, sweat and tears, and delays brought about by multiple truly life-altering circumstances, we have finally – FINALLY! – got Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope published! Available from Lulu in paperback and ebook (epub). Distribution will have it available through other retailers in a few weeks, and when it happens I’ll write about it!

Despite the preview image on the paperback’s page, the actual cover image on print looks very good – here’s the proof copy:

This series is set before the Seda’s Diary series of books. Blessed Hope is our thickest book to date at 427 pages (plus supplementary content). I hope everyone who reads this book enjoys the story!

 

BIG thank you to the beta readers who have stuck with us through the hard work in getting this story out!

On Intelligence – seeing the world a little sideways

So, recently on Twitter, there was a link to a story about a dolphin that had learned to bring back trash for fish. This is not new; a dolphin named Mr. Spock did much the same (the link also has other detailed examples of dolphin intelligence.) Riffing off the Star Trek bit, this article opines that the only reason that dolphins haven’t destroyed us is because of the lack of opposable thumbs.

Mate, Australian raptor birds are waaaay ahead of the dolphins. Okay, granted, they’re flushing out prey but apparently this is not new behaviour. Continue reading

Art Posts

Updated my deviantart for the first time in a very long time. Paid commission work done while giving eyes a rest from other work. I expect to work through the holidays, personally, but this is a good thing, in my opinion.

 

Manager Sophie An updated commission of the previous Sophie image. Photoshop.

Elf Warrior Kate  Done almost completley using Clip Studio Pro.

Jennifer is Shopping  Done in Photoshop.

 

Working with Clip Studio is FUN. Like, woah, once you get it set up the way you want, and figure out some things, it’s really neat to play around with. The brushes are admittedly kinda scary to create and are not as easy to make new brushes with but at the same time, there’s stuff on Clip Studio that is unique to it. It’s really good with lineart work too. I got the more expensive version as a Christmas/Birthday present to myself some years back but it’s only now that I’ve been able to run it.

Thank goodness that Clip Studio is being managed by the Japanese again and doesn’t have that near constant ‘no, I’m a legit copy’ callback that needed to happen with MangaStudio that was STUPID, ate up resources AND  bandwidth and pretty much assumed nobody else lived where you were or shared the Net.

I am looking forward to see what I can create with this.

 

Aff’s Opinion Part 2

Shadow’s Note: I occasionally tell Aff he should write something on the blog, because he’s an entertaining and hilarious opinion writer. He keeps saying that he’s likely to piss off everyone, including my friends. I know my friends. They’ll probably be laughing right along with me. If it helps, imagine this in the voice of a very sarcastic Lawrence Fishburne crossed with Dr. House.

 

So, the last time I wrote anything for Shadow to post was about gun control, which probably  irritated some people. Not to worry, for I have learned my lesson and I will now write about far less controversial things.

Item One: Racism & Why I hate the Internet

This might sound odd from somebody who uses a computer on a near 24/7 basis to browse said Internet, but it’s done a world of harm. It would have been far better if it was just that weird place which Hatsune Miku came from, but we’ve got no such luck.
For a very long time, Australia absorbed the better part of foreign cultures and concepts via an elegant process which took time.

Turns out, most of this happened in the late ninety/early 2000s period. A lot of different cultures were moving into various areas of Australia – Adelaide, South Australia being no exception.

As I was growing up, I was thrown into a Preschool class with a bunch of other kids. Some of them were Asian. Some were African. Some were Aboriginal. I realise this now, of course. But at the time I didn’t know. Nor did I care. Nor did anyone else. We were all just kids.

No attempts were made to classify any of them as different, or disadvantaged, or people we should work harder to include or people we should exclude. When I got into a punch up with one of the kids, it was because I hated the little bastard for the day because he stole my Banana or something. If we were kicking a ball around, it was because it was some other kid to kick a ball around with. This happened indiscriminately, without any concern for what race that kid was. Because it didn’t matter.

Adelaide remained like this for the entire duration of my school life. I went through Primary and High School without ever noticing or caring what race any of the kids were. It didn’t matter. Nobody else cared, either. If there was racism present at my school, it must have been buried so deeply that nobody would have said anything – and the groups of kids that turned up for events, LAN parties, or social trips to Salisbury were always mixed completely at random.

Not because we were told to. It just happened naturally. And my friends weren’t the only ones – this was a common occurrence. Nobody cared.

Then came the Internet, and problems from other countries started being communicated to Australians in real time. People felt strongly about these issues, and wanted to do something about them. Issues in other places.

So they began to campaign against issues that didn’t exist here. Loudly. Angrily. And their righteous campaigns to prevent racism only served to make some people feel different when they hadn’t before!

The very attempt to right a wrong (which hadn’t existed in that location – at least not on any major scale) caused the problem!

Fantastic work. Brilliant. Top notch.

Fortunately, it didn’t work that well. As someone who has lived extensively in three states of Australia, I can tell you it’s still pretty kick back. I don’t believe racism has a huge hold here, and I’m hoping it stays that way.

I’m sure the Internet is also guilty of damaging other countries in the same way. My guess is that cities globally vary enough that problems in one area can spread to another via the Internet even if the problem wasn’t even remotely possible in the other location previously.
Want to treat everyone equally? Just do nothing different. Don’t force ‘awareness’ or ‘educational programs’ on people to highlight the differences. That’s how you amplify something into a problem, instead of avoiding it becoming a problem.

 

Item Two: Religion

As most of you have likely figured out, Shadow has a religion. She believes in spirits and what not. I don’t. You might be asking how we co-exist given the fact that most Atheists can’t enter a public place without telling everyone within earshot while wearing a smugly superior look that resembles the kind of leer you would see on the face of a convicted paedophile.

I don’t believe in a God. I also don’t believe in spirits. I do however, believe in History. There’s these things we have called records, which document stuff that happened previously. It’s really quite neat – and some of it you can even find on the previously-mentioned awful Internet.

What we now loosely and somewhat inaccurately refer to as Free Western Culture stems from the family values and concepts that arose from Christian Faiths. In fact, the very fact that Atheists can exist without prosecution is because of Christianity. Don’t believe it? Go look up how well Atheists did in the presence of many other belief systems, you may find it some fiery reading.

Here’s a great thing from Christianity you can enjoy as an Atheist today; the concept of education for the common-folk was one born out of the necessity of being able to teach people what was inside the Bible. Granted, you may not see this as being particularly cool as it is promoting a belief system – however, giving people literacy led towards other great gifts and a more general education. Do you know how to read this post? Do you know how to write something slandering Christians? Congratulations, you can probably thank them for it.

While it is true that Atheists may suffer some discrimination in the modern era, it is completely out of proportion compared to the discrimination that Atheists appear to exclusively focus on Christianity. You can generally live in a Christian country without worrying about being persecuted because you don’t turn up to Church – in fact, most Christians seem pretty lazy on that score too, so who would know anyway? There are also laws – derived from the concept under the Bible that all Humans are created equal in the image of God (or some such) in most Christian countries that protect your rights to pretty much believe what you want.

So what’s up with Atheists attacking Christian/Catholic beliefs at every opportunity?
Now, some of you may be thinking – hey, okay so it was useful. But now it’s not. We should stop with this fairytale nonsense, right? Where’s the harm?

This is the part where the Atheist part of me – the one who isn’t worried about curse words – would like to call you a fucking idiot.

Let’s say you succeed, and Christianity is gone. Great success, celebrate with some alcohol.

Oh wait, you probably can’t. The removal of Christianity isn’t going to instantly turn everything over to a religion-free society. It’s more likely to remove the protections that Christianity and its influence on culture provides that allow you to reject religion – next thing you know you’re in an Islamic country… and uh, you don’t want to live there as an Atheist.

You think it’s obnoxious that someone wants to give blessing before they eat? In Islamic scripture, you cannot change religion or become atheist – denying Islam and becoming an apostate is punishable by death for males and imprisonment for women (and what happens to the women mean they are probably getting the worst part of the deal). If you’re an Atheist and think you can be as brutal with Islam as you are with Christianity, try taking a visit to Afghanistan, Malaysia, or Saudi Arabia. There, you can be executed for publicly advocating Atheism – something that will never happen to you in a Christian country.

But hey, it might be a nice trip for you. And at the very least, it will spare me from seeing another one of those blasted banner adverts advocating how we should kill of Christianity and shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot.

Don’t wanna believe in God? Fine, you don’t have to. I don’t either. And that’s my right – one protected by the laws of Australia and most (not all) other Christian-founded countries.

Don’t like others believing in God? Okay, explain why? Why does it matter to you in the slightest. Does it affect you? No. Will it affect your children? No. You can opt out of every religious study class available in Australian public schools. Christianity might be loud during Easter and Christmas, but if you’re offended by a few chocolate eggs and the idea that people will give each other gifts, perhaps you’re actually just a horrible bastard.

And hey, that’s cool too – but before you embark on your heroic campaign to spend thousands on billboards and drive Christianity out of the country, maybe you should think about what will replace it when that happens because it most likely won’t be the peaceful universal Atheism you seem to believe.

Because hey, it’s cool we’re not afraid of God. In fact, there’s nobody to judge our actions in this world but ourselves. And that’s also a solid point – we are responsible for our actions. Which means we are also responsible if we act like total dicks to one another, and ruin everyone else’s day. We’d also have nobody to blame but ourselves if the great plan backfired and we all ended up on some Islamic chopping block in the UAE. So cut this self-destructive shit out, you’ll destroy all of us right along with your intended target.

Don’t bite the hand that protects you.

Item Three: Abortion

I was going to stop above, but I figured I had one more group of people to quickly piss off.
I’m not really pro-life. I’m also not really pro-choice. I’m pro-personal responsibility.

Abortion is a medical procedure with some risk. You can avoid needing this if you either:
a) stop fucking everyone;
or b) use birth control;

As for the “it’s my body” stuff from some women; can you become pregnant via photosynthesis or mitosis? No? There was another person involved?

Sounds like it’s joint decision time!

But hey, abort away. I don’t intend to change anyone’s opinions because I don’t really care too much about this subject – but if you are going to do so, do it at a proper medical centre and not some half-baked clinic.

Otherwise it might not just be the foetus that dies, you might too.


Right, well that’s probably filled my quota for another six months… actually, no – wait. I have one more group I have a gripe with.

Item Four: WordPress

Alright, so I don’t post to Shadows Blog – at all, ever. She has the option of posting things from me on her Blog if she chooses to do so. Under no circumstances do I dictate things that must or must not appear on her web site.

I am the administrator that manages the behind-the-scenes stuff which keeps this site running. I installed the WordPress, and I apply updates or patches as needed to keep it running smoothly. In that effect, I am part of the platform that enables her speech.
WordPress are part of a platform that enable peoples speech as well. That’s what they claim to be, anyway. By forcing the rainbow banner on users via the reader bar, they are going beyond participating in the discussion but forcing their speech on top of the sites that they claim to support free speech on and thus telling them that any other view is wrong.

This is not the place of a speech provider to do. We’re looking at replacing WordPress soon, but until then this post can stand as some glorious irony when I officially state that WordPress gets added to my official list of companies that can get fucked.
If you are a platform or a host to debate, you cannot pick a side in the debate. Then you are no longer providing neutral discussion ground.


Alright, now that’s my quota filled for real. If you aren’t offended yet, let Shadow know and I’ll get right on fixing that.

Aff/Seda, signing off.

Voted for Dragon Awards!!!

SO HARD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN MOVIES.

Hard choice for movies

That was honestly my hardest choice on the ballot. Arrival or Doctor Strange? I eventually went with Arrival because it was more intriguing for me. (Sorry, Benedict. I love Dr. Strange, but… TToTT )

 

Authors Larry Correia and Benjamin Cheah have posts talking about it. ANYONE CAN VOTE.

http://awards.dragoncon.org/

Spaces

I’m not sure why this one’s been sticking in my head today, but it has. Perhaps it’s the wind, howling outside with the sun shining down through an unrelenting blue sky, that’s jogging my memory…

 

Some years ago, Rhys and I faced a dilemma – how to get his job to recognise that he had a family, and was supporting one, as opposed to being a single man with no financial responsibilities. After much research, Rhys found the answer: to be recognised as a de-facto relationship, a legal definition in Australia which is similar to ‘common-law spouse’, I guess. For this to happen, we had to live together, as a household, with shared finances and living arrangements, for more than six months. It just so happened that at the time, Rhys had been assigned a three-bedroom residence in Sydney. It took some time to decide on logistics, but the time period we finally worked out was bad for our eldest to come and stay with us as she was attending school (and she wouldn’t be able to attend school in Australia for that period of time.) So for a short while, I lived in Sydney with Rhys, and our then youngest, Vincent, who was three years old at the time.

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Quick post about LibreOffice – Write

I made my jump from MS Word to LibreOffice the same time I made a pretty huge jump from Windows to Linux (Mint, Debian edition) for security reasons. That was back in 2009, and while I’ve moved into ‘what works best’ mindset, I have to say I’m very happy about having moved to LibreOffice and away from Word.

LibreOffice can be used across most platforms and OS-es; I use a Mac, a Linux Debian box and a Windows box (the latter usually for gaming and entertainment) and they work, from my own personal usage, with no discernible differences for a simple end user like myself. So you do not have to move to a Linux OS just to use LibreOffice.

In fact, I have not used all of LibreOffice – the two which I use the most are LibreOffice Write and Calc, the latter being a spreadsheet program which I keep track of grocery shopping and house budget with.

I’m not here to convince people to make massive jumps away from unfamiliar OS but simply to illustrate that if you do decide to switch from MS Office to LibreOffice, you’ll find that there is very little to worry about in terms of learning curve – especially if you use it primarily for documents and writing – in which case, it’ll be LibreOffice Write you’ll care about the most.

I also use LibreOffice Write for the majority of formatting for both ebook and print books – that is, the formatting of inner book content. As I’ve thus far only made books with only text, as of this post I can probably comment only on that. But for now, this post is concerned with how LibreOffice Write looks and on the very basic, works.

This is a post done mostly in response to some comments in Mad Genius Club’s post  “Formatting for Print – Revisited.” I just found it easier to quickly snap off some screenshots and make this post.

Click on the image to see a bigger version. That said, the rest of this post will be behind a jump.

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Cake and work area

I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.

The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.

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Old Stories and Memories

I have to say, it’s not often I am met with pleasant surprises, and I daresay this counts as one of them.

review-long

Every now and again, I get a notification that someone has favorited one of my old fanfiction; added me to their list of authors that they wish to be notified with updates of. I have to say, I am pleased that there are still folk who stumble upon Slayers: Dragon’s Cycle and even happier when they leave a review like this. So, thank you, Girl, for leaving it, and I am happier than you can imagine, that you enjoyed it so!

Every now and again, I do think about this story, try to figure out how to solve some of the problems that the characters have. I think of the story with great fondness, as I associate it with good friends and good memories – as well as of loss. The person who use to help me the most with the story, who used to review it and help me tweak it, died in 2003. I still miss Za; and remember the happy days when I would write this story, excited and plotting ahead, cackling with her as we made mischief for the characters. It was all in fun; yet at the same time we wanted very much to make a doujinshi story that was well made and well written, to see a story done that people would read and enjoy in the way we wanted to enjoy the series, all anew.

That there are people still able to enjoy something I’d written for fun, mental breaks taken between homework and the tons of research I was doing in high school and college at the time, tells me that in that at least, I succeeded.

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Star Trek Bridge Crew and cheese eating Vulcans

I love how randomness can result in my finding out about something rather cool.
Such as Star Trek Bridge Crew.

I make no secret of the fact that I play Star Trek Online. I’ve got a toon I started I thiiiink around New Romulus arc, then I made a Delta Rising character, and an Agents of Yesterday toon. (When the next arc starts, I am likely to make another toon because of rumors that it’ll center around Section 31.) Anyway, the current event that’s ongoing is the Mirror Universe Invasion; and we finished it on most of our toons today. Continue reading

Getting Wired Wirelessly

My hubby got me a surprise – a smartwatch, with a pedometer and some other features. It was a prize or a free gift with something, and he knows I gleefully enjoy such things.

Early experiments trying to pair the damn thing with my phone resulted in vast irritation so I stopped that.

Sigh. Technology. Younger me would be shaking her head in disbelief at current me.

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Little finds

On occasion, we’ll go to the bottle shop to buy liquor – fruit or sweet wines, or vodka mixers are my thing, and sometimes a meal just isn’t complete without something that’s a little stronger than Coca Cola, especially if I’ve cooked up a heavy stew. I particularly enjoy Brown Brothers’ moscato, and they have a new low-alcohol content drink called Grape Tree, which is a fruit cider – grape cider- ‘inspired by apple cider.’ They have a variation that’s made of berries, which is quite yummy.

During our last trip out we spotted this interesting label, and I had to take a photo of it.

I don’t think Larry Correia drinks, and I don’t know if Jim Butcher or Jason Cordova do, but I figure this is something that might amuse them.

I also ran across this while sorting through books; this is one of the books my Dad bought, and from the date he scribbled in one of the pages, it was while we were in Europe. While we lived in Paris, I think.

My parents were voracious readers, and my habit of keeping a library comes from them. I wonder what my Dad would think, that I keep (virtual) company and call friends authors who are published by the house Jim Baen established, and that those authors, wonderful people all, are encouraging me to write? Certainly, I’m still get the awestruck ‘pinch me I’m dreaming,’ moment now and again, but nevertheless, I’m incredibly glad to know that these awesome authors are also wonderful, down to earth people who I can also get along with (and who don’t mind my brand of crazy, it seems!) I think Dad would have got along with them.

 

Dad’s death anniversary was on the 17th, and talking to Mom, the tenor of our missing him has changed. It’s not that painful “I wish he hadn’t died” but “I wish he were here to enjoy this too,” and “I wonder what he would say/think?” Mom and I are quite amused that his work as an Ambassador is still talked about, and praised, when he’s been dead for 9 years, and glad at the same time that his legacy of service to the Filipino people is not  yet forgotten.

 

Still swamped and sick

I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to work on commission art (11… or was it twelve?  Sexy Desktop ladies, a book cover and some other stuff.) Sold a computer that was sitting idle to someone who needed it in an instalment plan; and I’m hoping to get a battery for my little netbook soon. I wish I could afford to buy a portable Cintiq and a new computer for the bedroom so that while I’m too sick to sit up I can draw in bed and keep working. At least with the netbook I can write while in bed and it’s not bulky. (Ok, theoretically I could write with Ayumi the super tiny netbook but I need new glasses first.) However, writing with an objective as opposed to rambling requires the ability to concentrate and focus, so alas, no essay or story writing for me. I REALLY NEED TO GET NOT SICK. The only reason that I can still draw is because I don’t need to be coherent or make sense when drawing. I can draw without worrying about whether or not my grammar is being infected by German or French or did I just insert the Japanese borrowed term for something I just wrote…

We’ve been flat out this last few weeks. I’ve got commissions from people who want Sexy Desktop Lady backgrounds (and I’ve been told for most of them “whatever you wanna draw is fine! – as long as it’s a pretty girl) – most of them from people who are also asking Aff to do system builds for them.

One of the customers brings us Maccas whenever he drops by, enough that Aff says that he’s waiving the standard fee but the customer says it’s so he doesn’t feel bad that he’s eating all by himself.

On a happy note, I’ve a nice pile of manga, and artbooks and books that arrived today. I had a nice stack of Skip Beat omnibus volumes arrive the other day but I forgot to take a photo.

If this sight makes you itch for some new reads, I found out via some helpful Twitterfolk that the November 2015 Baen Book Bundle can be ordered. Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword is there, as well as Mike Kupari’s new book, and a bunch of what look like really good reads. I’m going to wait because I kinda smashed my book budget already so it’ll be sit and wait again.

Leaping off that tangent into another, ff you read science fiction and fantasy, you’ll need to read about one of the biggest scandals in the genre, which is “Breendoggle”, the thing that the anti-Sad Puppy people seem find LESS objectionable than Sad Puppies, simply by the dint of the NOISE that is made about Sad Puppies versus Breendoggle. The Story of Moira Greyland is heartbreaking to read, and she talks about how she was repeatedly raped and molested from the age of five by both her mother and father, both of whom are big names in science fiction and fantasy. One of the things I’m sure that lots of people will find objectionable despite what happened to Moira is the fact that Moira wonders if the lifestyle or the sexual identity of homosexuality has something to do with what happened to her, as she describes by her account that she was constantly being told that she was supposed to be a lesbian and pressured to be one, and that her parents were upset that she was born a girl. The comments only serve to prove this disappointing line of thought true.

In the vein, however, of that blog, she raises a point that shouldn’t be ignored, even if you support gay marriage in any way at all (like I support the concept, but not how it’s being executed or pushed for.) This is part of the whole ‘flip-side’ thinking that a lot of people don’t try to engage in any more – which is, contemplate the other side of a situation.

In this case, if the ideal situation of a child who identifies as gay is born to heterosexual parents, the parents accept their child’s homosexuality, then ideally the reverse is also true: that gay parents would accept their child’s (adopted, or partly biological/surrogate-born) heterosexuality. However, the question that is raised by what happened to Moira (aside from the rape) is whether or not this is happening, if heterosexual children are given the support they need, and whether any children at risk are actually given the protections they need (from both the ‘sides’ of homosexual and heterosexual parents). There are stories out there that give rise to doubt that equal treatment is given in this case; and it is clear that abuse happens to some children regardless of the orientation of the parents. However, my point is, is the discussion happening, and if it does, are those discussions being policed on whether they’d be perceived as ‘bigoted’ or ‘anti-gay’ or similar threats and fears?

For me, the core thing of being a parent is the ability to prioritize the child’s needs, safety, and future over the parent’s wants. This is true regardless of whether or not the parents in question are heterosexual or homosexual, or married or not. Parents need to ask themselves if their identity -whatever that may be- is more important than ‘parent.’ It tells the person what is their greatest priority – themselves, or their child? After all, having a child means you’re setting aside a massive chunk of one’s own time, needs and interests aside for the sake of the child. Simply put, if a person pondering parenthood puts being ‘gay’ or ‘heterosexual’ or anything else over ‘parent’, then perhaps they should rethink becoming parents. I do not think there should be a qualifier before the ‘parent’ part. It does not matter to me if the parents are gay or not; what is most important is whether the parents consider their children the most important thing to them.

The response on the Moira Grayland story makes me wonder indeed, if the honest and necessary discussions occur, as opposed to devolving to mere accusations of being hateful.

Can such discussions occur? I’d like to believe that they are, because I don’t know if they are.