Does anyone remember the old miniseries V from back in the 80’s? The one where aliens quietly invade the planet, pretending to want to make the planet “great,” starting with promises and slowly changing the promises to demonizing scientists, controlling the media, putting out all kinds of “alternative facts” to keep Earth’s population satisfied and subdued under a Nazi-like totalitarian regime that kept the citizens blind to the growing danger?

Yeah, me too. In fact lately, for some COMPLETELY MYSTERIOUS reason, I’ve been obsessed with it. So obsessed I actually have almost finished an old fan fiction piece I started years ago. (Don’t laugh so hard. Fan fiction is good practice for writers. Not only that, it’s a good place to play with different ideas, characters, and plot points to see if they work.)

Amid researching pistols, knives, and jeeps from the 70s and 80s (yup, I go that far, even just for fan fiction published anonymously on line with no real benefit to me other than that listed above), I realized something. I realized that I am truly, honestly frightened. The staff picks, the executive orders being fired like bullets from a machine gun, some dangerous, some heartbreaking, some that sound good on the surface (and those I want to study much, much deeper), and some that seemed to be done just because.

Staff picks that seemed designed to interfere with civil rights were all over the place. Look them up; minorities, the LGBTQ community, women, there are people on that staff against everyone but upper class white—very white, or sometimes more pumpkin-hued—males.

There are several issues I could mention that make me nervous. Personal attacks on Twitter (um, really? Yeah, that’s so encouraging in someone who’s supposed to be leading the country.) Abortion (not a black and white issue people, no matter how hard you try). Walls (don’t get me started on the stupidity of that mess).

But I want to keep this short, or I will be writing this post for the next year.

So what has me scared?

I thought it was horrifying when the media block on the EPA was announced. Controlling the information available to the United States population? That is something done by a totalitarian regime, a dictator. He shouts about “fake news,” but what he attacks are scientific facts. Yup, makes a lot of sense to me. Sure. Not.

Yeah, that one made me nervous. Putting a block on scientific information because you don’t like it, that’s exactly what the Visitors did. Controlling the media, that’s exactly what the Visitors did. I won’t even go into the Hitler/Nazi parallels, because that just makes me want to cry. Or scream and throw things, which isn’t good when the only things around me are my desk, my chair, and my computer. Guess which one I can lift?

But now. The immigration ban. I cannot. I just cannot. I don’t even know what I cannot, I’m so struck numb. To stop refugees who risked their lives staying where they were, risked their lives trying to leave, to come to our shores, OUR shores, AMERICA, where we actually SAY “give me your huddled masses,” in a simple attempt to LIVE . . . unconscionable. Ugly, Disgusting.

It’s supposedly not “technically” a ban on Muslims. Uh-huh. Well, it’s not a ban on ALL Muslims. If he (come on, don’t make me say his name) has a business interest in your country (I won’t even TOUCH the fact that he ISN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE ANY), you’re good, predominantly Muslim or not.

Vetting immigrants? Okay, I can work with that. But it has to be ALL immigrants, because NOT ALL TERRORISTS ARE MUSLIM AND NOT ALL MUSLIMS (strike those last three words) NO REAL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS. And there has to be an emergency rush, or waiver. People shouldn’t have to die because we’re afraid of them. They just shouldn’t.

Families should also not be kept apart, people held in airports when they were already approved entry. This isn’t my America anymore. I had hope that we were learning, growing up, maturing into the ideals this country was founded on but has never managed to reach. Race inequality, gender inequality, sexual orientation inequality . . . for a while we seemed to be moving forward, leaving the hate behind and showing at least hints that we could work together and let this country reach it’s potential.

I shudder to think how far backwards we’ve come in a few months.

This country was founded on religious freedom, not religious oppression. It was founded on the very idea of the separation of church and state. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an Atheist. Yet to me the Bible (oh so heavily censored over the years, if it were re-translated more faithfully, most or all the references to homosexuality would be replaced by things that actually do harm, like pedophilia. But the Bible isn’t really where you get your bigoted ideas from, is it, now? Be honest. Funny how not a single person has been able to present a compelling argument showing me how someone else being gay, bi, trans, etc. hurts me. I have quite a few friends and a few family members who are, and it hasn’t hurt me, or converted me, or whatever it’s supposed to magically do, yet. But that’s an entirely different post.) the Quran, the Torah, or any of the assorted religious texts are the end-all-be-all of right and wrong. If those are our only guides to right and wrong, if our minds aren’t strong enough to accept the concept without the fear of some kind of Hell to keep us from evil, the whole world is screwed. As long as your religious practices do no harm to others (I’m staring hard at you, radical Christians), the laws of this country allow you to practice it, not abuse it. (You again, Christians.)

So. Getting off track, about writing, about this post, about everything. So I’m getting back on. America, I pray someday you can do the same.

At the moment, I’m expecting someone to pull his mask off and reveal the reptile beneath.


Another Excerpt and a Bit of Preaching

Hello again my few but faithful followers. Followers, ha, it makes me sound like some cultish priestess in a B-rated fantasy. Bwahahaha hack hack cough wheeze.


Well, after my last rather snarky post, it’s time to get back to the writing. It seems it no longer costs money to create an author page on Amazon, so I have been actually engaged in pursuits beyond my rather slow typing. I only wish I could find a way to make me seem more exciting.

Which is why this blog is not about me. It is another scene from the sequel to Magic’s Guardian, The Hunt, though it features some familiar characters. It’s a sequel after all, with an overarching story arc that will involve all, so they had to make an appearance. Besides, I missed Puck.

Court life was slow, stuck in a season of late spring blooming with flowers and fruit and honey. Days consisted of gathering food, the few chores not accomplished by magic, and practicing to control her powers. After—how long had she been here now? She couldn’t remember, not that time was always a sensible thing here—even with Maclyn at her side, Terra was growing a little restless.
In a moment she was wishing for the quiet peace. She winced when the Circle crackled, flashes sparking across the shifting colors. A rumble too rhythmic for thunder made her stiffen. The bear stirred and a low growl whispered from between her lips.
Puck grabbed her arm and shook his head, his eyes on the Circle where a massive black horse and an equally massive rider materialized.
Terra wasn’t happy to see the helmeted, leather-clad figure who dismounted, but she was held back from her instinct to attack not by Puck’s hand or Maclyn’s murmured warning, but by the tattered bundle the big man cradled so tenderly in one tree-sized arm.
“Please,” he said as Oberon and Titania joined them. “Please, I request the services of your Healer. I will pay whatever price she sets.”
Rosebud turned to leave but Thistledown and Lomas were already hurrying towards them.
“Please, she’s badly hurt,” the huntsman said, sounding breathless.
Even confronted with the sight of the limp woman he held, the words prickled Terra’s anger to life. “Why would we help a bloodthirsty barbarian like you?” she hissed. She ignored Titania’s raised eyebrow and Maclyn’s hasty nudge. “After what you did to the gryphon and her family . . .”
“Family?” The hunter’s brow wrinkled. “We never saw her family. We trapped her after finding her alone.”
“But she showed us her memories. They were slaughtered.”
“Not by us, I swear it. Even at his worst the Huntmaster wouldn’t do such a thing.” He frowned. “The other Court assured us they had no intention of harming the beast.”
“That may have been true, by your definition of harm, but she fought with us. They killed her,” Maclyn told him, deathly cold.
“Things get worse,” the hunter muttered. “You have no reason to believe me, but I am truly sorry. She was a worthy opponent and a magnificent creature who did nothing to bring about her fate. But please,” he said, holding his bundle tighter. “She had no part of what happened. She fell and her leg was crushed by a boulder. She lay there alone for . . .” he shuddered and shook himself. “She’ll die without help.”
Oberon and Titania stayed silent. Terra’s eyes kept falling to the sad figure hanging limp in his arms. “Maybe, Your Majesties, just once . . .” She withdrew under their glare.
Hooves pounded the ground so hard they all felt the impacts. Flyght skidded to a halt beside Terra, Tempest and Puck’s usual partner Desert Willow flanking her. /She must not die!/ Flyght said, rearing and squealing.
Oberon crossed his arms. “The Hunt is not welcome here,” he said, growling almost as darkly as Terra.
“May I speak to your Healer?” the hunter asked, bowing to Thistledown.
Titania glanced in the Healer’s direction. Thistledown nodded.
“Speak,” Titania said.
“I offer an Obligation,” he said. “An unnamed Obligation.”
“That could be a high price. I could ask anything,” Thistledown whispered.
“I know. I will pay it, anything in my power.”
“It’s up to you. If you want to accept his payment, you may,” Titania told her.
We need to hurry,” Thistledown said decisively, looking relieved.

So my old friends haven’t been abandoned yet. I’m sure this, and every other scene, will have some heavy editing before it sees the public eye, but it gives you an idea about the depth of feeling Aidyn is only starting to see from the big guy. I know, I know, awww how romantic. I have been told in no uncertain terms that my stuff is “chick lit,” and I’m okay with that. I’m a chick after all, even if not a very girly one most of the time.

So keep writing, keep looking for that publishing deal, and never stop, and above all don’t let anyone tell you, especially another author, to stop writing. Yes, that still bothers me. Rude, unethical, and stupidly self limiting since practically every professional author will tell you one of the best ways to learn to write is to READ, READ, READ. Which has never been a problem for me, or any of the writers I personally know. I think it’s natural for a writer to start as a reader.

All right, enough of the soap box today. Have a good night my readers, writers, publishers, agents, whatever part you play in the world of books is important. Remember that.

As usual, I almost forgot my links.
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All Kinds of Stuff

Hello my fellow writers and readers. I am terribly guilty of ignoring my own blog and am almost embarrassed to post anything new (hanging head and scuffing toes), but there are a few topics that I’ve wanted to touch on for a while now. They are older and I would never have decided to touch on them in my blog, except for the fact that I STILL find blog entries and articles being published regarding the said topics, so I will beat the apparently not-quite-dead horses a bit myself. Sorry, poor horses. Perhaps I will in some tiny way hasten the end of your misery.

First: Twerking is not new, people. Just because the word hasn’t existed for, like, ever, doesn’t mean the move hasn’t.

‘Kay, that’s all I have to say about that.

Next: Since apparently I was the only person in the entire civilized world (Civilized. Ha.) who realized it was not meant to be taken as fact, I wanted to put in my ha’penny regarding Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives. I knew it was a mocumentary, docu-fiction, or whatever fancy name you want to give a fictional documentary, from the preview. Is it still called a preview when it’s for a TV show? Do I care? Point is, if I could figure out that the show wasn’t real, the Discover Channel most definitely did not deliberately mislead anybody. Perhaps I had a bit of an edge over the average viewer because of a more than passing interest in paleontology and a familiarity with shows like The Lost Tapes, Dragon’s World, The Future is Wild, Prehistoric Park, and Alien Planet. Sadly I have not managed to catch either Mermaid show. People, Megalodon was fake. It was meant to be fake. You were meant to know it was fake. They used obviously augmented photos. It is not Discover’s fault that you didn’t realize it at the time.

Third: JK Rowling, please, please, please do NOT stop writing. I very much enjoy your work, at least what of it I’ve read. I admit I am not a mystery fan so I have not read your non-Harry books, though at some point I might out of pure curiosity. I feel absolutely no threat over an author finding success. I do not blame anyone else for the fact that I am an as-yet-failed author. Am I frustrated and bitter? Yes. All I want out of life is an actual career as a writer, and as long as the new Health Care Law is on the books I wouldn’t have to rely on an employer to be eligible for health insurance, it would be a possibility, if I could actually sell enough books to survive on the profits. But so far that isn’t possible, I need an employer’s health benefits to survive, I’m very close to losing my job for taking too long with each customer, and I feel like I’m going crazy. I haven’t yet found a reliable way to get my book promoted without spending money I don’t have. I sincerely hope it’s not the book itself that’s the problem. I know it’s not a complete dog, though I realize I am not the best judge of my own work. I probably would say I was an awful writer, except I know a number of people who have read my published book and quite liked it. One even told me she had trouble putting it down. Another said . . . never mind, that’s not what this was about. I don’t know a single reader who limits their collection to a single author, or two, or three. All the bookworms I know have books by dozens, sometimes hundreds, and in a few cases thousands of different authors. For one author to say another needs to stop writing to give other authors a chance is unconscionable, unethical, disgusting, and more than a bit ridiculous. And to make fun of adults for the reading material they choose is not a great message, either. Yes, I have read the Harry Potter series more than once. Or twice. Or a dozen times. I enjoy it. I enjoy Shakespeare. I enjoy Terry Pratchett. I enjoy many, many writers, some considered adult and some not. No other writer has anything to do with the success or failure of my career.

The last topic doesn’t fall under the category of dead horse, though I sincerely hope that someday soon it will. The Arizona law, that terrible law they called religious freedom, was vetoed by an intelligent woman. I have read many takes on the veto on both sides of the issue, and I sort of agree with several who have stated that a privately-owned business should have the right to deny service to anyone they choose, were a business out to limit its own . . . er, business. I say sort of because there are certainly cases I have observed where a business should have been able to throw out a customer. Too many times I’ve seen customers abuse employees and even other customers, but it usually takes something major for a business owner to dare such a thing as kicking them out. In some cases I suppose it’s because they want the abuser’s money, but I suspect in others it’s because they fear a lawsuit. But the Arizona law legalized discrimination against one particular group of people. That is wrong, sick, ugly, and against the very ideas America was founded on. I have too many gay friends and family members for such a law not to affect me personally, but even if I had no such ties and did not agree with the lifestyle (which is none of my business since not a single person who has claimed that gays will destroy our very society have been able to explain how or why someone else being gay should hurt me in any way), I would not agree with it. What could be next? Will we go back to the days of black segregation? Force those of Jewish faith to wear Stars of David? Illegalize left-handedness? Shave the heads of all redheads? Legally discriminate against fat people? The last kind of scares me, since I have more than once experienced the way so many see my kind as second, third, or even lower class citizens. No, making hate and discrimination legal is a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea. That kind of thinking is what will destroy, and has come too close to destroying, our society. Picking one old testament idea (I won’t even get into the evidence that most if not all of those passages are mistranslations because shock upon shock the Bible was not originally in English and some words in other languages are hard to translate) out of dozens to base a chuck of our legal system on is nothing but stupid. Let’s illegalize tattoos, piercings, wearing more than one type of fabric at once, eating meat and milk together, eating any seafood other than fish . . . No, we need to come together as a species to save ourselves, and that incudes gay, straight, black, white, red, yellow, albino, blue, green, spotted (I’ve seen all three don’t laugh) Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Pagan, Muslim, Voodoo, Atheist, blonde, brunette, bald, clean shaven, bearded, everyone except hatemongers, the just plain evil, and perhaps the Church of Satan wouldn’t be exactly reliable, although I’ve never met a member so I can only base that judgment on what I’ve read about the group and wouldn’t make any final statements without more information.

So those are my little thoughts on several subjects. I won’t presume to encourage anybody to see things my way because I was never in debate and have actually had people try to argue with me when I was agreeing with them. (But listen, you have to see it this way. Yeah, I do. No, but you have to think about it this way. Yeah, I hear exactly what you’re saying, you’re right. No, no listen, you have to consider this . . .) Obviously I am not the best person to try and persuade anyone to anything, just letting you know this is what I think.

So, not much about writing this time. Sorry about that. Maybe next time. We’ll see. Yeah, we’ll see how long my poor, not-exactly-top-of-the-line-when-I-bought-it computer lasts. Probably not good that it crashed right in the middle of writing this. At least it didn’t explode. I didn’t just say that, not giving Fate any more grand ideas. Shutting up now.

Good night, sweet readers and writers, and good luck to those of you that need it.

The Hazards of Being an Indie Author

No excerpts today, I’m going to pause in my cheating and write on an actual subject. Yay! (Aw, c’m on guys, I can hear the boos.)

Well, it’s been over a year since I self-published. The people who’ve read the book have given me good responses, at least so far. One actually said she had trouble putting it down, another told me there was a point where the story exploded for him. No better feeling than getting responses like that. 

But the readers are so far very few. I simply cannot afford actual advertising so focus on social media, which might work better if I’d started with the hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends some have and tens of thousands of Twitter followers, but I simply don’t. I have found a number of free sources of promotion, but every one of them requires you to have a minimum rating of 4 stars on Amazon and a minimum of 10 total ratings. So, essentially, to find a format through which to sell books, I need to  . . . sell books. I suppose I could ask friends and family to read it and leave reviews, but there are two issues with that. One, it is frowned on in all of the forums I have encountered on the subject, seen as chintzy if not outright cheating. Two, I don’t think I actually know enough people to find ten that would be willing to do it. Narrowing the list of possibilities down to the readers, then narrowing it further to the fantasy fans, then even more to the female fantasy fans (yes, my male reader did admit that, exploding plot or no, it was a bit girly and best suited to being promoted as chick lit. Which I am fine with, as I am a chick and had asked him to read it to find out his opinion on just that subject.)

Funny, it never occurred to me that being shy and increasingly introverted would affect my writing career, unless I actually made it big enough to be invited to a con somewhere and froze during a speech, or threw up on stage out of nerves, or something even more humiliating.

Not that I thought it would be easy. Writing isn’t easy and despite what too many people think, it is work, and marketing is work on top of that. Without a big press behind you, it becomes even more work. You have to get people to pay attention to something completely unfamiliar. Sometimes I think it might be simpler to actually start a publishing company. It wouldn’t be the first I’d run into started for just that purpose. And I could help out some contacts that are also self published and also having problems getting the attention.

Part of the problem is that Indie authors still don’t have the respect that traditionally published authors do. We put just as much blood into our pages as the “real” writers do, sometimes more, but without the big names boosting us up, it is assumed that we are not worthy of that traditional contract. And sometimes that is true. I don’t have the distance to judge my own work as worthy or not so I’m not going to give an opinion one way or another. (It’s good read it if you like fantasy and faeries and elves and magic ahem sorry consider this a subliminal message. Did it work?) I have most certainly read Indie books that you could call dogs. Bad story elements, bad grammar, bad punctuation, I’ve seen every kind of woof on paper. Some would have been so easy to fix. If you’re not entirely familiar with the technical part of writing, either learn or get someone to edit it for you. The harder ones, the story elements, are for me just as hard to get past. I was reading the first book in an independently published series that was actually very good, until about halfway through the main character did something so completely stupid that, though I am curious about how the story turned out, I shall not read any further. The situation the character was thrown into was something so completely avoidable that it ruined it for me. And I have read real gems that did inspire me into buying that second book by the same author.

So, just like in traditional publishing there are good and bad authors. The worst dog I have ever read was traditionally published, and it was one that had the harder to fix kind of errors. I do notice a few more typos in self published works. (My favorite, which by the way was in one of the stories I loved, was during a scene where one of the characters is riding a horse in a hazardous area. Instead of worrying about his horse finding a pitfall, he is worried about his horse finding a pratfall. Of course the first picture in my head was of a giant war horse slipping on a banana peel in classic Vaudevillian over-the-top style. I laughed out loud. Then kept reading.) Since I’ve been taking writing seriously, I’ve noticed typos in every single book I’ve read, including ones written by the biggest names, published by the biggest houses, but the professional editors really do get rid of the majority, while an Indie author usually can’t afford the thousand or more dollars it takes to have it done without that magical contract. The best most of us can hope for is a friend or family member to borrow us a fresh pair of eyes. (I’ve actually got a volunteer for my next book, for which I am so incredibly grateful).

So, in my experience, you are slightly safer with a traditionally published work as far as readability, but only slightly. And the Indie books tend to be–I was going to say cheaper, but that’s only half true. Those published as ebooks are definitely cheaper, usually by a lot. The print books, not so much. I did find that I could have mine produced in print profitably for around a comparable price to a traditional novel. My plan was to sell that cheaper too, but to do that I would have had to pay people to buy my book. Yeah, not gonna work. I priced it at the smallest margin I could get to make a profit through any supplier, so I guarantee that my profit margin is tiny in comparison to one of those “real” writers. All the books I’ve sold have been in ebook format, but there really is something about pages between your fingers. Especially when those pages came from your own brain.

And I digress, as per usual. As I was saying, in my experience as a reader I haven’t noticed a huge amount of difference when it comes to quality. True I’m careful about what I purchase and skip over any with egregious errors in the descriptions, but I really haven’t been disappointed any more often than I have with books purchased at a bookstore.

So maybe if you run into one of us, you’ll be willing to give us a chance even if we can’t wave those comfortingly familiar logos at you. And maybe you’d be willing to go onto one of those merchant websites and leave one of the magical golden tickets known as a rating or a review. We are writers too! At least most of us are.

Thanks all, and pleasant reading, writing, editing, ect.

Links are below, including a free story.



Twitter:  Rassilon27


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