Grow up and quit whining

Warning here — and I hate trigger warnings — but I’m coming off of a bout of food poisoning so I’m tired, sore and out of sorts. But that’s my problem. The trigger warning (and, gah, I hate that term) is simple: if you are one of those whining about the outcome of the Hugo nominations, then you probably don’t want to read this. Why? Because I’m tired of your whining. I’m tired of you accusing Larry Correia of gaming the system. Hell, I’m tired of you claiming he bought and then fraudulently voted multiple memberships. Most of all, I’m tired of you whining and gnashing your teeth and crying foul over something your side has been doing for years.

Funny, no one had any problem with Larry’s Sad Puppy posts last year — when he didn’t make the short list for the Hugos. In fact, there were some of you who danced gleefully, pointing fingers and tossing confetti in the air because his efforts didn’t work. None of you batted an eyelash when others with eligible titles panned the internet waters for votes. Why? Because they were the right sort of folks.

That changed this year when Larry made it onto the ballot. I don’t know what is worse in your eyes — the fact that someone who is proud to be male, happy as a husband and father and (gasp) non-liberal, gun owning writer was nominated or that he used your own tactics against you. Sure, he reminded folks to buy their memberships if they hadn’t already. He reminded them that they could vote once they did. Golly, how many of your side did the same thing? If you’re honest, you’ll see that more than a few did.

But what Larry did was make it fun. He did not, as Cora of the “did you read the same thing I did” said, threaten to kill puppies if he didn’t win. Nor has he, as some of your kind have said, desired to tie gays to the back of his truck and go speeding down the street. How come your side gets to make these outrageous — and slanderous — statements about the man and yet you cringe if he quotes you, accurately, in his posts? Oh, I know. He’s a cismale (another term I hate) who isn’t afraid of expressing his opinions and pointing out the fallacies in your own. Funny, I thought that was part of our rights as Americans. Guess you have a different interpretation of the First Amendment than I do — and than the Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court.

What finally set me off was reading a series of posts — including some by TOR editors — extolling their followers to vote a slate that doesn’t include Larry or any of those authors and editors he supported. Golly, isn’t that sort the pot calling the kettle black? Looks like it to me but then I’m not one of the cool kids.

Then there are the posts saying that they have every right to tell people not to vote for works written by people like Larry because he’s evil and they don’t agree with his politics. They admit that what they are advocating is voting for the author and not the work. They admit they haven’t read the titles in question and have no desire to do so because, duh, written by evil white men.

This is where it gets really funny. Of those nominated for Best Novel, Larry is the only one that I know of who comes close to qualifying as a “minority”. Why? Because he is technically Hispanic thanks to being Portuguese. But he doesn’t fit the mold the other side has painted and he doesn’t embrace his victimhood. So, he is nothing more than a white, cismale who loves his guns and wants to keep his wife pregnant and in the kitchen.

As an aside, I dare anyone to say that to Mrs. Correia’s face. From what I hear, she makes her husband look like the teddy bear he really is.

If all that isn’t enough, now there is a call to change how the Hugos are nominated and winners determined. The poor GHHers and their SJW counterparts are no longer satisfied with the Hugo being a popularity contest. Why? Because they weren’t the most popular in this vote. Sooooo sorry. So now they want to change the rules. Add professional critics and professors and folks who know what “real literature” is all about. Funny, I thought we already had enough awards like that.

And how many of those award winning titles have actually been read by the people who put money into the pockets of authors by buying their books? And how much did winning the award increase the print run of the author’s next book?

I know there will be more people out there crying and whining about the sad state of the Hugos because the wrong sort of people were nominated. I have two things to say to them in closing: before condemning the books, read them. Do it with as much of an open mind as you’re capable of having (and I know that very well might be an oxymoron). Then take a good, hard look at what your own side has done for years and quit applying a double standard to things just because you don’t like the outcome.

In other words, grow up and quit whining. Instead, sit your butt back down in your chair and write a better book.

Posted in Musings, publishing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Why a pen name?

Yesterday was my day to blog over at Mad Genius Club and I discussed the Road to Indie. I discussed the thought process in taking Vengeance from Ashes indie instead of submitting it to NRP or another publisher. I talked about the actual process of writing, editing, converting, getting cover art, etc. Then I came to the decision to use a pen name.

I already knew there might be some comments about using a different pen name for VfA. But it was a decision I didn’t make lightly. Since I write several different genres, I wanted to make sure that those who read my urban fantasy or paranormal romance didn’t come to VfA thinking they’d be getting shapeshifters and/or romance. So I talked with some folks I trust and thought and decided that it would be best if the book came out under a new pen name.

Now, what I hadn’t anticipated was the confusion some folks who had been following the snippets would have finding the book — because I had posted it here under my name and hadn’t given them advance notice of the change. Fortunately, that was an easily corrected hurdle.

What I hadn’t expected was someone basically condemning the choice to go with a pen name that could be read as male. It was a conscious decision on my part to do so. The reason is simple — there are still people, male and female, who feel that a woman can’t write military science fiction. Then there are those who have been burned by science fiction that has been been so heavily “messaged” by the SJWs and GHHers that they will shy away from anything in the genre written by a woman. So, I chose a nickname and a family surname and didn’t give it another thought.

Until yesterday.

The truth of the matter is, my decision has nothing to do with the “fanboys” we read so much about right now. I’ve never been hassled or harried or harassed by a guy in fandom. I know some have, but I also know men how have been harassed — sexually and otherwise — by women in fandom. So, my choice of Sam Schall as a pen name had nothing to do with that.

Nor am I particularly afraid that folks will realize a woman wrote VfA. If I were, I’d have filed a DBA and the copyright page would have Sam Schall on it instead of Amanda S. Green.

It all comes down to this: I’m in the business to make money. So I have to look at factors that will help me make the most money per book. If that means having a pen name for my science fiction that some might feel is a male name, so be it. That pen name keeps the readers from becoming confused about what sort of book they are getting.

Besides, the pen names help me. I know it sounds crazy, but each pen name has a certain feel to it when it comes to writing. Ellie Ferguson, the pen name I use for the paranormal romances and romantic suspense novels, is a bit of a ditz. That really comes out in the romsus books. She listens to foofoo music (if I never hear ABBA and the Mama Mia soundtrack again, it will be too soon) when writing.

When writing under my real name, the music is more techno and the prose more detail oriented because I have to remember police procedure. As Nocturnal Interlude showed, there’s a darker side to what I write. In my mind, at least, there are more layers to the characters and their motivations than there are in Ellie’s.

Sam (which as my childhood nickname was short for Samantha. Don’t ask) is more of a natural extension of me than of Ellie. The detail is there as is the procedure. But the military aspect of the novel and the drive of the characters, especially Ashlyn Shaw, goes beyond even what we see with Mac Santos in the Nocturnal Lives series. There is a dark side to Ash that the reader gets glimpses of in Vengeance from Ashes that will come more to the forefront in the next book. She’s been damaged by what happened to her and her people. Even though she’s fighting through it, determined to do her duty even as she is equally determined to find out why they were betrayed. There is going to come a point when she discovers the truth and how that plays out I’ve not yet determined.

So, yes, I have pen names. They are like hats I put on depending on what my current project happens to be. There’s no magical reason why I chose each name, other than the fact they are all based in my family somehow. I’m not trying to hide the fact I’m female. All I am trying to do is maximize my income. I’m a writer with cats and a dog that like to eat. ;-)

 

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Monday Morning Thoughts

Vengeance From Ashes (new)Normally, I’d be blogging about my response to the Hugo nominations today. Well, to be honest, I’d be blogging about my response to the response to the Hugo nominations. There have been enough heads exploding and teeth gnashing and fear mongering going on that it almost feels like a bad take-off of a John Carpenter slasher movie. Unfortunately, I ate all my popcorn yesterday watching the show and now I need to run to the store for more.  ;-)

I’m not going to go into detail about the nominations here because I did a guest post about them over at According to Hoyt today. There are several other really good takes on what’s happening. One is from Dave Freer at Mad Genius Club. Another is by Cedar Sanderson at Cedar Writes. Then you have Larry Correia’s initial response at Monster Hunter Nation. My basic reaction to the whole thing is that the “cool kids” are upset because someone dared use their own tactics and more successfully. Worse, that someone — or someones — have proven to have more fans and sell more books. But they are the wrong color, sex and definitely the wrong social/political mirror. So, they had to have cheated to get onto the ballot and they are evil and there must be a conspiracy.

Bah!

On the writing front, I think I mentioned in an earlier post — I know I did on Facebook — that I’m trying out Draft2Digital as a way to get into Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes. I did this because I hate Smashwords’ meatgrinder. Then, when three different tries at uploading Vengeance from Ashes to B&N, with three different major conversion errors — like the entire book suddenly being italicized — I gave up. Since I’d already decided I didn’t want to mess with the meatgrinder, I went to D2D. So far, I like what I’m seeing. Conversion was easy. You don’t have to follow any arcane formatting requirements like you do with Smashwords. You don’t have to add any legal language at the front of your work. More importantly, so far, D2D is getting me into the other stores much quicker than Smashwords has in the past. We’ll see what happens as time goes on.

Final edits will be going out tomorrow morning on a couple of NRP projects. I’m spending today finishing them up and finishing up the rough outlines for the next two books in the Ashes series. I have the basic plot planned but want to make sure I tie in all the different threads I laid out in Vengeance from Ashes. The easiest way to do that is to make sure I write them down now.

I want to thank everyone who has read VfA so far and commented on it. Now, here’s the part I’m really bad at. Sigh. Promotion is not my strong suit. If you’ve read it, or any of my other books for that matter, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a review on Amazon or B&N or wherever you bought it. Reviews to help. Also, if you know of someone who likes science fiction, especially mil sf or space opera, ask them to give VfA a try. I really do appreciate it.

Here are the links where you can find it:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Smashwords

Posted in Musings, publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Dance and more

Vengeance From Ashes (new)I promise I’m not going to keep flooding the blog — and my Facebook feed — with news about Vengeance from Ashes. But I have to do a happy dance this morning. Like so many authors, one of the things I do on an all-too-frequent basis is check my sales and Amazon standing. Doing so with this book, however, has been more than a bit traumatic, mainly because the book is different from anything I’ve written to date. So, imagine me doing a happy dance right now to wake to the news that Vengeance broke into the top 100 paid books on Amazon in three different categories.

Screenshot (1)

 

So far, the process has been a little less painless than I’d have liked. I had a brain fart when uploading the original files and put up a previous cover version. That’s been fixed and hopefully the new cover will be showing up on all the product pages soon. Then there was Smashwords. Oh, Smashwords, how I loathe thee — and that’s without even dealing with the meatgrinder. With all the other sites making it easier and easier to set up account pages, Smashwords has yet to really do so. It has taken three edits of the account page to get 1) the pen name to show, 2) the “publisher” name correct and 3) something else I can’t think of right now.

The reason I haven’t done the meatgrinder bit for Vengeance is because I’m trying a different aggregator for  Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. Yes, I could publish direct to each of them but, frankly, B&N pissed me off. I tried uploading an ePub that passed all the checks before submitting it. B&N borked it. Odd formatting — as in the entire book was suddenly in italics — happened. And it happened not once, not twice, but three times. So I tried the base DOC file. Oops. Problems there, too. So….I could either go in and redo the DOC file so I had the Smashwords legal language at the front of the book (and be ready for quarterly payments) or I could look elsewhere.

I looked elsewhere and chose to try Draft2Digital. So far, I’m pleased but it is very early days. I liked how easy it was to upload my files. No worrying about the meatgrinder and no need to add language pointing folks to Smashwords. In fact, there is no formatting requirements. I uploaded an ePub file (iirc) and everything went smoothly. Hurdle one cleared.

The next thing I like is that D2D pays monthly. Going hand-in-hand with that is the fact it has as close to real-time reporting as an aggregator can and their dashboard is much easier to figure out than Smashwords’ is. Add to that the fact that D2D sends an email to let you know when your work is available on the channels you’ve selected and, well, color me a happy camper.

So far.

Yes, I know there have been concerns about D2D. I’ve heard how they’ve borked submissions to iTunes enough that authors have been unable to get work published there. So I’m waiting and withholding final judgment. But, so far, with fingers and toes crossed, I’m kind of, sort of impressed.

What’s next on my plate? The weekend is going to be spent finishing getting caught up on editing duties for NRP. I am almost done with the re-edits of one novel (as in just a chapter or two from the end) and then I will make an author a happy camper — I hope. But, over the last few weeks I’ve found a good working rhythm again. The better part of the day is spent on NRP and things I need to do around the house/appointments/etc. and writing happens in the afternoons and evenings. So, as long as that works, that’s the schedule I’m going to try to keep.

My next project will be Monday Morning Blues — or at least I think it will be — something under the Ellie Ferguson pen name. I’m halfway done with that novel and it shouldn’t take too long to finish. Then will be the second book in the Duty and Honor Series, Duty from Ashes. After that will be the follow-up to Nocturnal Interlude. If my schedule holds, that puts Monday Morning Blues coming out next month some time. Duty from Ashes (working title, of course) will come out by August and the next Nocturnal Lives book by the end of the year.

Of course, as with everything, that’s only if Real Life cooperates ;-)

Anyway, here are the links for Vengeance from Ashes:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords — coming soon since they are in the “review” process again after I re-uploaded the cover.

Posted in Annoucenments, Musings, publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Vengeance From Ashes is live

Vengeance From Ashes (new)At least it is on Amazon. Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes are all in the process. Of course, I have to put the “new” cover up — which I will do late tonight. I used an earlier version when I set the files up last night. This is what I get when I try to work when I’m exhausted. Sigh.

But I am proud of the book, even if I am scared to death. Any way, I wanted to share Cedar Sanderson’s review of it, as posted at Cedar Writes.

REVIEW: VENGEANCE FROM ASHES

Ever have a book you were reading, even though you had no business making time to read, and you resented life for intruding and making you have to stop every few pages? Yeah, Vengeance From Ashes is like that.

I have missed this kind of mil-SF since I stopped reading the Honor Harrington series, which had gotten bloated almost beyond recognition. Here, the hero has been pushed beyond human endurance, broken, discarded, and then her world has the gall to come asking her for more. Ashlyn Shaw will have none of it, unless her fellow prisoners, unfairly locked up along with her for crimes they did not commit, are also released.

But dire plots are afoot, a war is heating up, and things are happening faster than she can keep track of…

I really enjoyed the snippets I had been reading of this, and was tickled to be given an advance copy for review. Now, I’m strongly suggesting to you that you read it as well. It’s good stuff, solid story, tight plot, action that keeps you reading when you really ought to stop, and characters I can’t wait to see more of. I hear it’s the beginning of a series and I’m delighted. Now, if only there were a way to make the author write faster…

Many thanks to Cedar for the kind words.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

I’m still alive

Or at least I think I am. This week has been one where butt has been firmly planted in chair, hands on keyboard — or on the metaphorical red pen — as I play editor during the day and writer in the evening. The result is that I’ve finished the edits on one book and am almost finished with them on another book, both for NRP (and man do I have to remember to never edit when I’m sick or stressed or both like I have been the last month and a half. My edits are horrible which is why I’ve had to do them all over again.) But a lot of work has gotten done and, by the end of the weekend, I should be caught up.

huntershomecoverIn other news, NRP will be releasing the third book in the Hunter’s Moon Series, Hunter’s Home, this Friday. The print version is in the works and should be available very soon. I’m really excited, of course, but I’m also a little worried because this book is a bit different from the other books in the series. Instead of focusing on the alphas, I introduce a new class of shifter, one that relies less on strength and more on brains, if that makes sense. Sure, there’s still sex — how can you have a paranormal romance without it — and the alphas do make themselves known in the plot.

This book focuses on CJ, who has made appearances in each of the previous books in the series, and it eventually takes her home to the Montana clan she grew up in. During the course of what happens, she discovers things about her past, and her family, she never knew. More importantly, she learns that she is much stronger than she ever expected.

VFA coverI am also about to release Vengeance from Ashes, the science fiction (mil. sf/space opera) that I’ve snippeted here. If everything goes as planned, it should be available on Amazon some time tomorrow. Before that happens, I have one scene to put back into the manuscript and there is a minor tweak to be done to the cover – and many thanks to Sarah A. Hoyt for a great cover design. As soon as the book goes live, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, here is the cover, sans the tweaks.

Yes, I am using yet another pen name. Part of it is because there are still those who will not read science fiction written by a woman. Part is so those searching for my name don’t buy the book and expect it to be urban fantasy. Anyway, there it is. Now, to find food and take something for the sinus headache so I can get to work. Back later.

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Real life.

I’ve been rather lax about blogging of late and I apologize. Life has not been cooperating, to put it mildly. As I’ve commented before, the last quarter has been filled with too many fires to put out, including some oral surgery yesterday. Nothing major but, as those of you who know me are aware, I have a near phobia about dentists. So, just knowing I have to have someone poking around in my mouth – with needles and worse — sends me into a bad mind space for a day or two before it happens.

It wasn’t always like that this. Growing up, I did my usual two visits a year without more than the usual kid-like grousing. I did the whole braces thing as a teen. But, in my late teens the form of Novocain being used at the time didn’t work on me. The first time we realized it was when I needed a small cavity repaired. What should have taken a single shot to numb took three. Not fun.

Things went downhill from there. I needed some more work done. Already anxious because of the problems the last time I was in, I told the dentist. He assured me he understood and then he lowered the chair so he could get to work.

And I was faced with a poster on the ceiling — one that hadn’t been there the last time I’d been to the office — proclaiming that we would all be “Saved” when we die.

Now, think about it. I’m already anxious about the treatment and now I’m being told that I’ll be “Saved” when I die. Not exactly the way I wanted to start a long session in the dentist’s chair. Nor did it help that it took four or five shots and I still wasn’t numb. Add in the fact the dentist told me it was all in my mind and then started drilling. Yes, I tore holes in the chair arms where I was holding onto them. Yes, I probably scared everyone else in the office when he hit the nerve and I let out a yelp. And, yes, that was the last time I went to that dentist.

But, needless to say, even after as many years as have passed, the dentist still holds a place of fear in my heart and, in my mind at least, a special place in Hell. So, that’s why there was no post yesterday.

So, with  sore mouth and coffee at hand — oops, I need another mug of that wondrous brew. Be right back — Okay, now I have a mug of coffee at hand and, as I was saying, here’s the rest of the post.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about work lately. Mainly, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do to get Vengeance from Ashes ready for publication. I’ve also been getting Hunter’s Home, the next book in the Hunter’s Moon series (written as Ellie Ferguson) ready to go up in both print and digital. Then there’s the editing work for NRP to be done as well as one freelance gig. As I said earlier in the week, I hope to be caught up by the first of next week. It’s meant some long days, but it is worth it to finally see the end of the backlog.

As for Vengeance, when I snippeted the opening chapters, I said that there would more than likely be changes before the book was published. Boy was that an understatement. I’ve been stalled on the book, partly because of life but mainly because I realized I’d taken a misstep somewhere. I’ve talked with my editor about it and I’ve reread what I’ve written and realized that I was trying to show too much too soon. Scenes were initially put in that, instead of explaining what happened — both as the events in the book unfolded but also to explain events that happened before the book opens — muddied the water. There were also scenes, or at least parts of scenes, that needed to be in the book that weren’t. So now I’m going through and figuring out how to make those changes.

I also realized that I had also been planning to end the book later than it needed to. There is a natural ending point already there. One that means the book won’t turn into a goat-gagger. One that will make the sequel easier to plan and to write. The end result won’t come in as long as some science fiction novels out there — mainly those coming from mainstream publishers. But it won’t be priced at their levels either. Nor should it. No, in terms of size, this will be more like On Basilisk Station by David Weber and not his later works  like Mission of Honor in terms of word count.

I hope to have Vengeance finished in a week to ten days. Then it will go off to my editor. In the meantime, I’m still waiting to hear from my first readers. In the meantime, I’ll continue to dig out from under the backlog. But, for now, I need to go out and try to find the cause for two stations of my sprinkler system not going off this morning.

Ah life, sometimes it is just too real.

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Revisions, edits and OMG, what was I thinking?

(Before I get too far into this post, I’m also blogging over at Mad Genius Club this morning. I wanted to be nice. I really did. But it is hard not to get snarky when reading how a so-called “pricing consultant” thinks we pay much too little for our e-books. Of course, he also thinks e-books are a service, a convenience, and not a product and publishers should charge much more for this convenience than they do for actual print books. GAH!)

After having suffered through a quarter of family issues, health issues, and just issues in general, I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. The stack of work needed to be done for NRP is slowly getting back down to a manageable size and the edits are going out over the course of this week and all should be out by the start of next week. The writing has also started flowing again even though the current project is whipping my butt, enough so that I asked my own editor to take some time yesterday so we could discuss what was bothering me about the project.

Part of it is because Vengeance from Ashes is a genre I read extensively but have never tried to write, at least professionally. So there are a lot of doubts about whether I’m doing it right. There’s also the worry about whether it is too much like some of the books I’ve read. So I’ve fought the plot more than usual, thinking probably a bit too hard about it instead of letting it just flow.

Then, while talking with my editor, something else dawned on me. It’s possible that I’m missing an opportunity that indie publishing/small press publishing and e-books have opened back up for authors. The serial novels are back. Novels that are published in sections. Not necessarily chapter by chapter as they once were in the genre magazines, but in self-contained sections that have full story arcs in them.

When I realized that, I looked at what I had written, taking into account the edits I already knew I needed to do. I basically have a shortish novel already — somewhere around 65,000 words. With a little work, it could be released as the first “installment” in the Ashes series. It could be priced a bit lower than my other work, mainly because it is shorter and isn’t the “entire” novel even though it can stand alone as the introduction to the series.

But is there enough of a story arc there? That’s the first question, and it’s one I asked my first readers when I sent them what I had — unedited and with apologies for that — yesterday. Now I’m waiting to hear what they have to say. Part of me is hoping they see where I’m going with the book and that they think I can, after edits, send the first section off to my editor for release.

But another part, the more traditional part, is screaming in protest. It’s not the complete book! How can I release anything but the complete book?

Yes, I’m weird and I often find my subconscious fighting with itself. That’s life as a writer ;-)

Now, as I wait to hear back from those poor souls who have been inflicted with the draft, I’m going back to editing for NRP. Be back later.

(shuffles off in search of coffee and food)

Posted in Musings, publishing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Real life really can be stranger — and less believable — than fiction

There are times — okay, a lot of times — when I see a news story and think to myself that if I wrote it, no one would believe it. The “characters” would be deemed “too stupid to live” or would simply be so far out of touch with reality that no one would connect with them. That’s exactly what I thought this morning when I checked the headlines. There really are times when I can only shake my head and be glad my parents were as grounded and caring as they were.

In this case, the parents of two children (ages one and three), decided it would be a good thing to take their kids on an around the world trip. Sounds exciting, right? Heck, I’d love to have a vacation like that. But this wasn’t on a nice cruise ship. Nope. This wasn’t even with other people. Oh no. This was mom, dad, and two very young kids on a sailboat.

Now, I remember my son at that age. He was a bundle of energy and into everything. No matter how carefully I watched, unless I had him in his playpen, he could slip away at the drop of a hat. Then he learned how to climb out of his playpen by stacking his toys — and the cat — and using them to get leverage so he could flip himself out. I lost him in the house and twice he managed to get out of the backyard — which was surrounded by a six foot wooden fence and the gate was locked. To this day, I still don’t know how he did it and I thank the neighbor who brought him and his dog home.

So the thought of raising not one but two young kids on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean frankly terrifies me. So many things could go wrong and, as these parents found out, did. First, the one year old fell ill. Then the sailboat lost navigation and comms ability. At least the parents had a sat phone or something similar because they were able to call for help. Help came in the form of a navy ship that rescued them hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast.

Now, think about how much worse the situation could have gotten very quickly. We are told every day how difficult the search for the missing Malaysian airliner has been because all they have to go on are general flight paths based on data taken before the jet went off radar. It is finally possible that searchers have picked up pings from the black box but that isn’t for sure yet.

Now consider that there is no “flight plan” for this family’s voyage. The one thing working in their favor was the fact they had the sat phone. So they weren’t completely out of their minds. But now, instead of saying that it might not have been the wisest thing to take two toddlers on a trip like this, they want everyone to understand this is the way they’ve lived for the last seven years.

Yep, seven years.

That means these adults — and I use the term loosely — chose this path before they were parents. After their first child was born, they didn’t look at one another, scratch their heads and think that maybe it might be wise to be close to medical treatments should something happen to their baby. They compounded the mistake when they had the second child. No, instead they thought it would be a great idea to undertake a major ocean voyage — around the world — because they wanted to.

That is the definition of selfish.

While I’m thrilled the family was found and the baby is recovering, I want to reach out and shake the parents for risking so much. We aren’t in the middle of John Ringo’s zombie apocalypse. (BTW, if you haven’t read his Black Tide Rising series, do. I’m not a big fan of zombies, but I love this series and can hardly wait for the next book to come out.) There is no overriding reason for the parents to take this sort of risk with the lives of their young children. They can’t even argue that this is a trip the kids will remember and cherish for the rest of their lives. Remember, the kids are one and three. Yeah, they’ll remember this — not.

Okay, maybe these parents could be main characters in a literary piece about dropping out. But most readers I know would react the same way I did to them as main characters. They’d be waiting for Moby Dick to show up and swallow the boat, hoping as that happened that some mermaid would save the kids. Now all we have to wait to see is if the parents will  be charged for having the naval ship come out to rescue them and if CPS will file to take the kids from them.

Edited to add:

I meant to include this earlier. My very good friend and mentor, Sarah A. Hoyt, has published her first indie novel, Witchfinder. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Witchfinder as Sarah wrote it “live” on her blog. She’s finished it, cleaned it up and has now put it out as an e-book with a print version to follow. This makes something like Sarah’s 25th (give or take a few) published novel but this is the first she wrote with the intent of self-publishing it. I highly recommend it. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and, if not already, will also be available through Kobo and, I think, Smashwords.

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Open mouth and insert both feet

The other day, I asked where have all the gentlemen gone. It’s one of those questions that has no right answer. Why? Because there are still gentlemen out there. Try as certain folks in our society might, gentlemen aren’t going away. Oh, we’re going to have a generation or so where they aren’t as prevalent as they once were. But people, on the whole, do still appreciate manners and courtesy and they tend to teach it to their kids. To those parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, thank you.

Unfortunately, for every ten gentlemen we never hear about we have a few who have a “name” or a “platform” who open mouth and their words go viral. The latest in a long line of “WTH was he thinking?” moments comes from Boomer Esiason. Former pro quarterback and now sports commentator, Boomer opened his mouth the other day and BOOM! went the internet. Specifically, Boomer came out condemning the choice of NY Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss Opening Day for — gasp — the birth of his first child.

Yep, you read that right, Boomer — and others — voiced the opinion that Murphy should have opted to miss the birth of his child — HIS CHILD — in order to play baseball. Sports before family and all that.

If that isn’t enough to make your head spin, here’s something that very well make it blow up. It seems Boomer wasn’t satisfied with dissing Murphy for putting his wife and child ahead of a GAME, he had this to say:

Quite frankly, I would have said C-section before the season starts. I need to be at Opening Day. I’m sorry. This is what makes our money. This is how we’re going to live our life. This is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life. I’ll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I’m a baseball player.

Wait a minute. So Boomer thinks Murphy should have told his wife to have a C-section so he, Murphy, wouldn’t miss Opening Day. He advocates major surgery — non-elective surgery — so Murphy could play. My first thought was, naturally, WTF?!? My second was to be glad I wasn’t married to Boomer who, obviously, would put a game ahead of the health of his wife and child.

But there is more to it than that. We aren’t talking about Murphy missing 1/8th of the games for the season (which he would have if he’d missed two pro football regular season games). No, the pro baseball season runs for, iirc, 162 games. Murphy missed two of those games. TWO. Sure, Opening Day is important but missing that game and the one after it sure won’t keep the Murphy kids out of college. Two games won’t give the baby “every opportunity to succeed in life.”

I applaud Murphy for wanting to put his family over baseball. In a day and age where more and more companies are starting to grant men paternity leave, Murphy’s decision wouldn’t have caused a ripple of attention if he worked anywhere but in pro sports. Murphy showed what is truly important to him — family. Two games away from the ballpark won’t keep that child from attending college or becoming the best that he can be. The example Murphy has set for the child, the care and concern he showed for his wife, is the example of what a “gentleman”, a caring man, should be.

So, kudos to Daniel Murphy for choosing to miss two games — that is less than a week off, folks — to be with his wife for the birth of their child. Boomer, shame on you and all those echoing your comments that Murphy should have put the game ahead of his the health of his wife and the birth of his son. You, sir, are part of the problem. Your priorities are screwed and you give all men a bad name because of it. Perhaps you should think before speaking from now on, especially if the mic is open and you are on the record.

 

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