Category Archives: curent events

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.

 

 

 

Buried news

http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/world-economy/bury-them-alive-white-south-africans-fear-for-their-future-as-horrific-farm-attacks-escalate/news-story/3a63389a1b0066b6b0b77522c06d6476

Why is this under the economics section of the news? This shouldn’t be buried in the back, but should be in the front page section!  But given how it is extremely racially charged crimes – black against whites, no less – it does not surprise me that it was buried.

I’m more surprised that the news was reported at all.

All that fake news

I was looking for recipe posts to tag and came across the first ‘proper’ post I did here.

And laughed, cynically, because for all the screeching that alternative news sites are nothing but fake news…

the ‘proper’ news channels are sure good about faking up their news.

Post US Election 2016 Post UPDATED

I’m in Australia. So really, the elections in the US, and the circus that’s been going around it, have been an occasional source of entertainment for me. I’ve really been too busy to keep track. But as I said over in Monster Hunter Nation: I’m ecstatic that Trump won because that means Hillary lost. And I was someone who was reading Clinton and the media’s behavior as “They’ve rigged the election, they know something’s been done.” Nobody’s happier than I am to be wrong on that score.

At any rate, I had delicious popcorn, and one of the local news channels was doing a ‘live, as it happens’ show of the elections called America Decides. As far as commentators go, it was actually fairly even-handed, which surprised me, so I stuck with that show. Rhys came home, and laughed when he saw me watching the elections with popcorn.

2016electionsusThat popcorn’s yummy.

The moment that he decides to get serious about running:

Because, really, that’s just asking for it.

Before I get the usual screaming, I didn’t like Hillary because Benghazi and all the other shit she’s recently done, and all her history from before, and her aiding and abetting her husband in escaping rape accusations. Frankly, I think we escaped getting into a World War for certain with her losing the Presidency. Trump? We have a maybe on that score now.

Why did Trump win?

And the above, because woah.

Continue reading

Canaries in the Coal Mines

I popped over to Larry Correia’s site today; having had a little time for a change, and ran into this blogpost, which talked about how a conservative science fiction writer has found his career effectively threatened for advancing a concept in a book.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/02/10/left-wing-bias-in-publishing-your-wrongthink-will-be-punished/

The blogpost by the author himself, Nick Cole, is found here.

I won’t write about the freedom of speech issues and the effective censoring being done, nor the reasons that Harper Collins’ has shut down a writer under contract here, as Larry and Nick have done excellent jobs of that; Larry in his inimitable way as usual. No, I’m going to write about something that Nick said in his post, that resulted in a realization.

I am a writer.
A writer is often the last defense in a society collapsing into a one-mind totalitarian state where the rights of people are trodden upon by the ruling elite in the name of the “greater good.” Where freedom of speech and independent thinking are also curtailed in the name of the “greater good.” Where writers and other artists disappear either by blacklisting or “disappearing” because they say, or write, something that the intellectual elite hates. I am a writer. It is my job to stand up and say what cannot be said. It is my job to play with unpopular ideas. I would not deny anyone from doing so, and I expect not to be denied. I expect the same courtesy others are being extended. I expect not to be discriminated against merely because I am different. Better people than myself have written the truth at the cost of their lives. Many dead writers have paid for the freedom of others with the truth, and their lives. Writers are often the last flame of freedom on the flickering candle of civilization in the darkness of a world going mad.

There is often a vocal defense that Science Fiction editors do not have a liberal bias. Well, here’s your proof. They do. So you may not agree with me on the idea I advanced. But what happens the next time when some potentate decides they don’t like your idea? There is no place in publishing for this kind of Censorship. This is an issue, regardless of the idea, that affects all of us and our freedom.

It is quite de rigeur these days to encounter the disease called Social Justice bullies and CHORFs everywhere one turns. The majority of people seem to think that they’re a fad that will go away, the latest version of ‘teenage rebellion’ – if it weren’t for the fact that the folks engaging in such shrill, rabid denunciations range from their teens to their late sixties.

Simply put, for those of us who actually recognize them for what they are, they are people who would have been the Useful Idiots of the Cold War era (which, I submit, never really ended – the battlefield simply shifted.)

The people who advance that a totalitarian regime, that the suppression of freedom of speech, human rights, etc are the pampered children who have never lived under such a regime. This is especially true of modern day Europeans, and especially true of Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians.

Take note, this is not a sneer at the abovementioned nations’ people – you are all incredibly lucky to not remember what it was like. Americans especially have had a freedom that is, in my opinion, very unlike the experience of any other group of people on this planet. On one hand, for hundreds of years, you have refused to bow down and stayed guarded against overt attempts at conquest. On the other, it makes for a great emotional and intellectual cultural vulnerability – because such oppression has never been experienced, to some extent that same precious freedom and opportunity is taken for granted. Too easily do people think “surely, that can never happen here / they couldn’t possibly be that stupid/gullible etc.”

I’ve lived on the other side of the Berlin Wall, and one of the more common frustrations that the people whose homes we were invited to voiced discreetly to my parents (in the safety of their sprawling gardens, away from potential bugs in their homes) was that they were unhappy with how their government treated them like children, incapable of making up their own minds. They missed their relatives from whom they were separated by the Wall, and simply wanted to meet with them again, visit them on occasion. “After all,” our hosts would tell our parents, “we are so much better off than they are in the Capitalist world. Why wouldn’t we want to return?”

Looking back on the differences, with an adult’s eyes, I understand now that the Socialist government could not have maintained the illusion that they’d hoodwinked their people with if those people had been free to travel to the West, instead of only select groups being allowed to pay short visits. As it was, such was the shock to the psyche of a number of people after the Wall fell, that they wished it had never happened, that they could return to the comfortable illusions they had, comfortable, old and worn, like familiar habits and old woolen sweaters.

A great number of the most vicious and fanatic social justice attack hounds come from the countries that have not experienced being under a totalitarian ruler. The immature belief that ‘if we did it, then we’d do it better, in a non-evil way’ of good-intentions backed magic thinking echoes one of the favorite sins to damn a person to hell employed by the Devil in old folk tales: Pride. Pride that ‘we know better’ and the certainty that ‘it’s not evil when we do it,’ or, the ever so insidious ‘for the greater good’ without ever checking if it actually results in good things. I’ve even seen the illogical concept that ‘good intentions are enough reason for us to employ horrible methods.’ That’s just a more complicated way of saying “The ends justify the means.”

The useful idiots and the quislings are useful exactly because they secure in the belief that when this dreadful, nightmarish regime that they work for comes, they are spared, or rewarded, or benefit in some way.

They don’t remember that they could just as easily be rewarded as a traitor deserves.

I sometimes wish my father were still alive, so I could ask him for stories about what it was like to be a journalist under the Marcos regime. (On the other hand, I am glad he is not around to see that a Marcos is one of two possibly only GOOD candidates running for the Philippine Presidency! And on the third hand, I wonder what other good Dad might have accomplished. Apparently they’re still talking about the good things he did while he was the Philippine Ambassador to Israel; that my youngest brother was asked how he was related to ‘the Honorable Ambassador Antonio Modena.’ cackle! His turn now!)

My mom remembers some of the things my father was willing to share with her. Or there’d be a wife of one of his colleagues trying to find her husband. If they were lucky, they got the man in question back alive; or had something to bury.

I sometimes wonder, “Are they so desperate to experience this, that they import something that would do exactly this to everyone, if they got the chance?” Then, I shake my head and remember the SJWs think that they’ll be the ones in control, in power, instead of the ones who’ll first be up against the wall. By what means do they think they’ll cling to control? It is only through the trappings of civilization that they’re able to get away with what they do, but if they erode enough of it away, those fetters they rely on will be too weak to hold back the horrors they’ll experience.

Oh, and I got a copy of Alt Ctrl Revolt too. I wanted to know what happened beyond the ‘offensive’ concept – which really, was not offensive, and the logic-process tree is completely sound. I think Nick Cole succeeded in giving a reason that a reader who isn’t a mental eunuch can understand – and similarly, those readers can go from there and want to find out ‘what happened next?’

That’s good writing.

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.

Surprising responses

Note for people using wordpress: please remember to select ‘Log In with WordPress’ before using your WordPress login, if you wish to comment, thank you!

My essay, Nazi is not a term you throw around lightly got Instalanched, re-linked, and mentioned in lots of other places – a response I honestly did not expect. Larry Correia linked it, Sarah Hoyt linked it, Peter Grant linked it, Cedar Sanderson did as well… it’s been retweeted a lot as well.

I’ve read comments from other places, including at Instapundit and getting responses directly to email.

I honestly only expected to be mocked by the Anti Sad Puppies (ASPs), and some supporting comments from my friends and fellow Mad Geniuses. Larry’s busy writing (yessss) and Brad is in the Middle East now, if not in Iraq (stay safe, my friend!)

I’ve just run across your post here:

Nazi is not a term you throw around lightly

I’m having a particularly rough day after being accused of associating with a hate group by a potential customer.

Our sin? We advertise with focus on the family.

Your post bolstered me up. Thank you and God bless.

h.

That letter made me ridiculously happy. To cheer someone who was depressed by being falsely accused of hate, because of conducting their business in a way that meshes with their values and their faith, I am glad for. As a mother of two wonderful children, and two angels in Heaven, I know the importance of family, the value of family. To work with support and focus on the family is an expression of love, not hate. Families cannot be built or kept if there is no love.

Hello, Mrs. Modena.

Good post on your father and on Tor. I’m glad you combined them–mainly just because the story of your father is very interesting in itself, rather than because it’s needed for the Tor part. He’d be proud to be remembered that way.
I write now so I can become a small part of your post. Change “by the dictatorship and it’s cronies” to “by the dictatorship and its cronies”.

IHS

I grinned, leaned over and told Rhys that he’s Mr Modena now.

I write with my maiden name for security reasons. The first has to do with Rhys’ job as a fitter armorer for the ADF; the second has to do with the fact that I have a longtime stalker online who has been known to instigate others into doing his dirty work for him, so that if something happens to someone he is targeting, he isn’t ‘directly responsible’, and it would be difficult to prove.

I’ve been told that it would be a good thing to collect the stories of my experiences into a book, so that my family’s glimpse into history will not be lost. As it is, with my father already gone, a good chunk of that is lost! Fortunately, my mother now has working Skype and I will use it extensively, as long distance phone calls are very expensive. Thank goodness for technology!

I should also grill her for anecdotes of her childhood and youth, and the ones she remembers of my father. They were both fascinating characters, and their lives show a glimpse into a way of living that frankly would be quite alien to most of us now.

Speaking of stories, I saw this wonderful comment at Peter’s blog:

Shadowdancer Duskstar,

I not only found your essay on your father moving, but I found that it inspired me to write a short story. I have the outline down but I wanted to ask your permission to do so, since it’s obviously a very personal thing for you and I wouldn’t want to offend you.

I already gave permission that he continue with the story, and told my Mom about it. Then we joked that if Dad had been around he’d be all fluffed with pride and that we’d need to puncture his ego again.

I responded with this comment:

*grin!* You have no idea how pleased I am to hear that my little essay moved you to write. You’ve become the first to fulfil one of my dreams as a writer: to inspire others to write as well. Thank you so much.

I don’t aspire to award-winning writing, of the pseudo-intellectual elite. I want to write stories that people enjoy, and hopefully become comfort reads, the way I read and reread David Eddings’, Jim Butcher’s, Larry Correia’s, Anne Bishop’s, Tom Clancy’s, Matthew Reilly’s books to pieces and require new copies. I want my stories to be the sort where the prose doesn’t get in the way and instead, you’re ‘in’ the adventure with the character, in a mental cinematic experience of your own. I want the reader to start reading, and be surprised that they reach the end of the book, run out of pages, surface some hours later and blink at the clock, wondering where time went. I want them to think ‘and then what happened?’ and keep turning the pages.

At the top of my goals in writing, is to inspire others to write.

To have achieved that with my essay is the most surprising and most uplifting thing of all.

The nicest part is, it’s going to be a Sci-Fi story! I’m looking forward to this!

My mother’s response to all the reactions I’ve been getting was to be proud, congratulate me, then promptly go, “So, the next thing you write will have to top that.”

That’s the same thing she always told my Dad.

Over at Sarah’s I gave a little more background to how I found out about the erasure of World War II.

I didn’t include it in the essay, because it felt clunky, but the reason why I found out about World War II not being in the books was because of well, my being known in the whole school. I was literally the only ‘colored person’ there. EVERYONE knew my name.

The fourth graders were doing one of those class project presentation displays in the main school hall; and I was still new enough that while I could communicate in German, and read in German, some words eluded me, so I was often in the company of a teacher who spoke English. One day, a bunch of boys ran past, pointing at me and yelled “It’s the Panzerkreuzer Aurora!!!”

I was puzzled, so after scolding them and sending them off, the teacher decided to show me the class exhibits, saying I was too young for this part of education to be included in my lessons, and started talking about the Great War at the start of the century.

“Oh, World War I,” I said. “I’ve only started reading about World War II.”

“Excuse me?”

“World War I. The one that came before World War II.”

The teacher looked at me kindly. “Ah, I forget that the Philippines has been tainted by American lies. There was only ever the Great War, and they lost, so they have to make up that there was a Second World War where they won against an imaginary evil person.”

“Hitler?”

“That one. No German could ever be that evil. Don’t worry, you’ll learn the truth when you’re old enough.”

I, being 7 years old, said: “But I saw pictures.”

“Americans are clever at faking things. Its’ time for your class now.”

And I remember it that well only because I made a particular effort to remember it so I could ask my Dad about it. It REALLY stuck in my head.

The following comments are also worth a read. “Chilling,” Sarah said, and she should know as she lived in a very Socialist Portugal before coming over to the US.

For those looking to find out more about the Sad Puppies/Hugo/Tor controversy, I refer you to these links, randomly copied from open tabs.

http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/well-well-well.html

This, That, The Other, Now With More Robots

The latest Sad Puppies related stuff

http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.ca/2015/06/anger-doubt-and-confusion-at-tor.html

http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.ca/2015/06/most-interesting.html

http://tlknighton.com/?p=7197

http://tlknighton.com/?p=7190

Sad Puppies Summary and Wrapup

Rant: You Can’t Shame a Puppy

Odd Lots

http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/tor-books-stands-by-gallo.html

Sheepdog staring at the horizon

www.scifiwright.com/2015/06/irene-gallo/

For now, I’m off. Dinner calls, and I have a nice beef and Portobello mushroom rice porridge waiting for me.

Starting to read the packet

I’ve decided to go after the short stuff first. That means short stories, novellettes, and novellas, fan writers, related works.

I could probably do the artist ones easily. I’m familiar with Julie Dillon’s work; she’s a regular contributor to ImagineFX magazine.

What I’ll probably do is print out a copy of the ballot to use as a scratch paper/list and tick them off as I go.

I think it’s super awesome to get two full anthologies (Thanks, Baen, Castalia House for your generosity) and Kevin J. Anderson’s book and The Goblin Emperor. I’ll also get  a chance to read The Three Body Problem since I’ve been hearing a lot about that. I’ve got Skin Game, and Rat Queens, as we’ve bought those books previously.

I did get to read the Samurai short story and thought it a fantastic read!

More when I’ve gotten properly caffeinated.

These were heroes.

In the wake of the Sydney hostage ‘siege‘, and in the wake of several schools being attacked by Islamic extremists/Taliban in Pakistan, there are ordinary people who will step up.

These are the people I choose to believe in.

This was a man, not a boy, who stopped a suicide bomber from killing more people at his school.

These were ordinary people, with ordinary lives, with extraordinary hearts and spirits.

Your families grieve for your passing and having lost you. I salute your bravery and sacrifice, and mourn that such wonderful human beings were taken from this earth.