Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: Larry Correia

Life has been interesting

The blog has been silent for the last several weeks and I apologize for that. I won’t bore you with all the details but life has been interesting and there are just some times when it is best not to say anything. No, nothing is wrong with me or mine — well, nothing that dropping temps below triple digits won’t cure. The simple truth is that I had to pull back from social media for a bit or I was going to do or say something I would regret. This political season seems to have brought out the worst in everyone. Making matters even worse is that it doesn’t seem limited to just politics. It is as if some cosmic force hit most of humanity with a stupid bat. Or maybe a contrary bat. I’m not sure which but I swear almost every ounce of common sense seems to have gone down the drain. So has common courtesy.

So, instead of going ballistic here or on FB or elsewhere, I stepped back. Yes, I’ve been busy. I have to start out by giving kudos to everyone who helped with the Bedford (TX) Library Friends book sale this weekend. The sale was a roaring success and well worth all the hard work everyone put in on it. For those of you who live in the DFW area, if you haven’t discovered the Bedford Public Library, take a few minutes to do so. I think it is the best library around and the staff is the friendliest and most helpful there is.

I’ve also been busy on the writing front. The draft for Dagger of Elanna the sequel to Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), is finished. I am working on the second draft — which is usually what goes out to beta readers. I hope to have it done by then end of next week. I have also finished the outline (something I rarely do to the detail it happened this time) for a novel that will sort of bridge Slay Bells Ring and Skeletons in the Closet. This novel uses characters from both and brings in some of the supernatural/paranormal elements from Skeletons. I know. I know. My muse is strange but this is the book it demanded I take time out to get the details down before I could go back to Dagger. I also have Victory from Ashes, the final book in the current story arc for Honor and Duty (3 Book Series), plotted out. So there has been writing going on — plus I have been editing a wonderful first novel by a friend of mine. More on that after I send back the edits (hopefully this weekend).

Oh, I have also done a lot of reading. I highly recommend the latest in the Monster Hunter International series. Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge. I had been looking forward to this for quite awhile, ever since John Ringo started posting snippets on FB. Yes, my friends, this is what we have all been looking forward to — and what a certain group of folks have dreaded. John Ringo and Larry Correia have joined forced to product Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge. It is a great read, lots of fun and, while it is definitely Ringo, it is also Correia. I cannot wait for the next book to come out. Fair warning. I am not responsible for any lost sleep you experience because you can’t put the book down, nor am I responsible for any ruined keyboards, etc., caused during the reading of this book. Ringo. Correia. ‘Nuff said.

I also read a series of books by a well-known, non-Baen author. While most were enjoyable, I noticed something that really bothered me as the series progressed. The women in the books, each book featured a different member of a close group of women as one of the two main characters, started out being competent, strong and still women. They weren’t “men with boobs”. Initially, they didn’t need a man to “save” them. But, as the series went on, even the strongest of the women turned into something I kept expecting to have the vapors and faint dead away in an oh-so-ladylike swoon. As this happened, their male counterparts became more alpha — to the point where they weren’t particularly likable.

In some ways, reading this series was like watching a train wreck. You know it isn’t going to get any better but you keep hoping. Then you get to the point where you don’t want to look away. You want to see just how bad it will get. Then, that part of your brain that reminds you that you can learn even from badly crafted writing, you keep reading and making notes so this doesn’t happen to your books.

What I did like was the way the author made the setting and the town itself something close to characters by the end of the series. But I found myself not cheering the leads in the last few books. That’s a hard thing for me to excuse, especially in books where you are supposed to identify with the characters, when you are supposed to hope everything works out for them in the end. Instead, I was really hoping for a precision missile strike.

Characters are supposed to grow. They are supposed to meet challenges and sometimes make mistakes. They have to stumble and even fall on occasion. But you don’t take strong characters and, without explanation or warning, turn them into wilting flowers who need someone to protect them and stand up for them. If, in book one, the main lead is a strong, capable woman — be she a cop or computer nerd or whatever — who doesn’t hesitate to do whatever is needed to protect herself or her family/friends, don’t have her waiting behind like a “good little girl” while the men go off to deal with the bad guy in later books. At least don’t do it without explaining why she suddenly not only lives with a bunch of macho chauvinists but accepts and likes being “put in her place”. If you have a character who is a medical professional and who is willing to risk her life for a stranger, don’t have her agreeing not to do everything she can to save her sister a few books later because it might put her in danger — at least not without a valid explanation of why.

In other words, this particular author set up a world and expectations for their characters and then broke the rules without foreshadowing or explanation. I hate that. But it did serve as a reminder that it is easy to do — especially if you are feeling deadline pressures and decide that taking the easy way out will be okay just this once.

And now I am back — back to writing, back to blogging and back to being a pain in the backside of my muse.

Beginnings

The opening sequence of a novel has always been the hardest part for me. Oh, I know what I want to say — or at least I think I do — but somehow when I sit down at the keyboard, it just doesn’t come. There will be fits and starts before I finally get it. That may take days or, in some cases, even weeks before I have an opening I’m satisfied with and, once that happens, the rest of the novel usually flows easily.

I’m not sure why that opening scene or chapter is so difficult. Sarah Hoyt told me early into our friendship that the problem a lot of new writers have is starting a novel either a chapter too soon or too late. Then she went on to tell me to simply write the first chapter as it comes and not obsess about it. After all, material can be added or deleted during edits. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple for me.

And that has been part of the problem with Victory from Ashes. I have the very rough — and I do mean very rough — draft completed. But I knew I had an issue with the opening. When putting that first draft together, I really didn’t even bother writing a first chapter. It was a series of notes and that’s about it. While that helped with the first pass, it did nothing to help with the current draft version.

So I have struggled for the past couple of weeks, trying to get that first chapter written. It simply wasn’t coming. Instead of beating my head against the wall, I drafted out three short stories and did other work. All the while, the opening of Victory continued to percolate in the back of my mind. Yesterday, I’d finally had enough. I needed to sit down and write, whether the chapter came or not.

With that in mind, I did what I suggest to my critique group: I moved to a different work area and I wrote in a different manner. In this case, I used pencil and paper. With my notes in hand, I sat at the kitchen table and gave my muse free rein. Thankfully for my muse’s continued existence, she decided to cooperate and the words started flowing and, with them, the realization of what had been blocking me.

I’d made a wrong turn at the end of Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3). No, nothing serious and nothing that impacts that book. It was just a decision made by a character about something that was supposed to happen in Victory from Ashes. Fixable, in fact, easily fixable, but I had to recognize the problem first. Then I had to figure out how to deal with the decision and change that character’s mind. Until my subconscious did all that, I was at a standstill.

Fortunately, my subconscious did just that and, over the next hour or two, 2,700 words flowed. No, not all by hand. What happened was I wrote a page or two longhand and that jogged the brain and I was then able to return to the keyboard. With coffee at hand, I pounded out a chapter that feels right and that got the problematic decision corrected. Even better, it allowed me to show a new facet of growth for Ashlyn. Best of all, it means the rest of the work of wrestling the very rough draft into a workable draft will flow easily.

Not that I won’t take time out this week to finish the first short story in the Honor and Duty universe. My plan is to have it up by Friday. If everything goes according to plan, there will be one short story every two weeks. Of course, life being what it is, I know there may be bumps along the way. That is one reason I’ve already done the rough drafts for all three stories.

What this also means is, if the muse continues to cooperate, I will begin snippeting Victory later this week. Most likely, Wednesday. In the meantime, here are some books I recommend as well as a shout out to a game being released later today.

Through Fire (Darkship Book 4)

Sarah A. Hoyt

A new chapter in Hoyt’s celebrated Darkship series dawns with revolution on Earth as the Good Men fall.

DOWN WITH THE TYRANNY OF THE GOOD MEN!

A spaceship mechanic has no place in a fairytale. But now Zen Sienna finds herself in a beautiful palace being courted by the ruler of vast lands. Yet soon Zen is caught up in a revolution that comes a bit too close to imitating the original French revolution—complete with beheadings. Swept up in a turmoil of fire and blood, she must find her footing. Torn by divided loyalties, unexpectedly in charge of protecting the innocent while trying to stop the guilty, Zen discovers both her inner strength and discovers who will remain true friends and comrades, and who will be revealed as enemies in disguise waiting to strike!

Through the fire of revolution and war, Zen must earn her citizenship on Earth and find her place in a world that’s totally changed.

TOM

Dave Freer

Tom is a cat in trouble. The worst possible kind of trouble: he’s been turned into a human. Transformed by an irascible old magician in need of a famulus — a servant and an assistant, Tom is as good at being a servant as a cat ever is. The assistant part is more to Tom’s taste: he rather fancies impressing the girl cats and terrorizing the other toms by transforming himself into a tiger. But the world of magic, a vanished and cursed princess, and a haunted skull, and a demon in the chamber-pot, to say nothing of conspiring wizards and the wickedest witch in the west, all seem to be out to kill Tom. He is a cat coming to terms with being a boy, dealing with all this. He has a raven and a cheese as… sort of allies.

And of course there is the princess.

If you were looking for ‘War and Peace’ this is the wrong book for you. It’s a light-hearted and gently satirical fantasy, full of terrible puns and… cats.

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge

Larry Correia and John Ringo

TWO MULTIPLE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHORS TEAM UP TO EXPAND LARRY CORREIA’S MONSTER HUNTER UNIVERSE!

When Marine Private Oliver Chadwick Gardenier is killed in the Marine barrack bombing in Beirut, somebody who might be Saint Peter gives him a choice: Go to Heaven, which while nice might be a little boring, or return to Earth. The Boss has a mission for him and he’s to look for a sign. He’s a Marine: He’ll choose the mission.

Unfortunately, the sign he’s to look for is “57.” Which, given the food services contract in Bethesda Hospital, creates some difficulty. Eventually, it appears that God’s will is for Chad to join a group called “Monster Hunters International” and protect people from things that go bump in the night. From there, things trend downhill.

Monster Hunter Memoirs is the (mostly) true story of the life and times of one of MHI’s most effective—and flamboyant—hunters. Pro-tips for up and coming hunters range from how to dress appropriately for jogging (low-profile body armor and multiple weapons) to how to develop contacts among the Japanese yakuza, to why it’s not a good idea to make billy goat jokes to trolls.

Grunge harkens back to the Golden Days of Monster Hunting when Reagan was in office, Ray and Susan Shackleford were top hunters and Seattle sushi was authentic.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Available for PS4, XBox One and PC

  • First-Person Action – Get up close with your enemies. Use your freedom of movement and martial arts combat in conjunction with the environment to experience fluid first-person action unlike any other.
  • Explore the City of Glass – Roam the beautiful, high-tech city at your own pace, and unlock its many different districts. Run free and explore every corner from the highest, glass made skyscrapers to the hidden underground tunnels.
  • Witness the Rise of Faith – Brought up on her own on the margin of the totalitarian society, Faith found refuge amongst an outsider group called the Runners. Learn about her origin story, and take part in her journey as she stands up against oppression and becomes the catalyst that can change the City of Glass forever.

So, what is a troll?

According to Arthur Chu, a troll is someone who learns they have the right to vote for something and then — gasp — actually does so. Yes, that is a paraphrase but, if you read the article, you will see that is exactly what he is saying. This former Jeopardy champion is now trying to make a name for himself by drinking the kool-aid and regurgitating all the worst slurs being thrown about when it comes to Larry Correia, Brad Torgersen and others.

But let’s look at his post.

His first four paragraphs are pretty close to the truth. The Hugos are voted on by anyone willing to pay for at least a supporting membership to WorldCon and who then exercise their right to vote. Most people, even the most die-hard fan, doesn’t know they can both nominate and vote for the Hugos. So far so good.

Now we start getting to the nitty gritty.

Because the Hugos can be voted on by just anybody with the money for a membership, it is a “ripe target for trolls” and good ole Arthur links back to his own Salon article in which part of the headline screams about “deranged trolls” ruining everything. And he has the nerve to call Larry Correia a “notoriously whiny right-wing SF author.” Larry may be many things but whiny he is not.

It seems, according to Chu, that the only reason Larry started Sad Puppies was because he was sooooo upset that he hadn’t won a Hugo. Blink.

Fast forward to this year. Apparently we are very bad puppies because we not only wanted to nominate people who deserve to win a Hugo because of the quality of their work but because we also encouraged people to — gasp — vote. We did the unforgivable and educated the unwashed masses. We told them that they could buy a membership, either attending or supporting, and nominate who they thought best deserved the Hugo. Sure, Brad put together a recommended slate but at no time did he say anyone had to vote the way he did. Nor did he, or anyone else on the SP3 side, go out to buy memberships for sock puppets as has been suggested. No, he simply told folks the truth: the Hugos were their awards too and, if they wanted a say in what won this year, they needed to buy a membership and nominate deserving works.

But that is bad and makes him a troll.

Now, here is where Chu goes off the rails and over the cliff. “the Sad Puppies are a frighteningly determined and deranged clique of reactionary zealots who are pretty much ruining everything.”

I don’t know about you, but while I may be determined to be heard, that doesn’t make me reactionary nor does it make me a zealot. What is different from us wanting to have our voices heard than any of the so-called right folks in SF/F like GRR Martin speaking out and demanding that we listen to them? And what are we ruining? Their hold on an award that is supposed to belong to all SF/F fans and not just a few who see themselves as the inner circle and ruling class of fandom?

And then he goes into the usual song and dance, smoke and mirrors dance to obscure the issue.

“[T]rying to claim that the Sad Puppies “movement” is motivated by racism and sexism will get people shouting at you. . . .”

As it should. Spouting out claims such as that without proof is simply an attempt to obscure the real issue — that of letting the fans vote for what is a fan award. That of letting the fans determine what is the best in the genre and not just a few. But let me ask you this: how would you react if we started saying that the other side was motivated by a desire and protect those who think sex with children is just fine? Can you hear the cries of denial going up now? I can.

From there on out, Chu does what so many of the detractors of Sad Puppies seem to do. He lumps Rabid Puppies into the mix. He seems to think that Brad is either Vox Day’s sock puppet or that Brad, or possibly Larry, could somehow control Vox and tell him to find a deep, dark hole and jump in, covering himself up in the process. Well, they’ve tried that and it didn’t work. Why do they think it would work with anyone else? Vox is his own man and will do whatever he wants. What Chu and his ilk don’t seem to get is that the more they push, the more they prove that they really aren’t interested in inclusivity in the genre unless it is on their terms, the more Vox is going to push back. I almost pity them.

Worse, Chu, like so many from that side of the argument, are telling us that we are supposed to judge a work not on its own merits but by the religion and politics of its author and/or publisher. Again, would he say the same thing if Marion Zimmer Bradley was on the ballot this year? Would hedemand we judge her nomination based on her character and politics instead of on the quality of her work?

What it all boils down to is sour grapes. You have one side wanting to be let in the door and doing what it took — educating the fans and asking them to nominate works they felt were the best in the field — and the other side getting mad because the game no longer goes in the way they want. So they are stomping their feet and threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue if we don’t bow our heads, disavow everything we believe in and then go home, our puppy tails between our legs.

Everything that is said about race and gender and sexual preference and, yes, even Vox, is an attempt to play smoke and mirrors. Sad Puppies is not Rabid Puppies. We had nothing to do with it being started and we had nothing to do with how Vox recommended — nor did he have anything to do with what Brad put on his recommendations.

So here is my counter to Mr. Chu and everyone else: read your Hugo packet when it gets in. Pick what you think is the best. Then and only then, vote No Award if you think there is nothing worthy of being a Hugo winner.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Ask yourself this: if the other side is so much about inclusivity and making sure all voices are heard, why are they scrambling to make sure Sad Puppies never again have the potential of placing more than one nomination — if that many — on the ballot? Why are some of them proposing a rules change that would limit the right to vote, and possibly even nominate, to only those who attend WorldCon? Does that sound like they want to be inclusive? It sure doesn’t to me.

But then, according to Chu, I’m just a troll.

 

Setting the Record Straight

Wow, the last 24 hours have been wild and not in a good way. We’ve seen EW post one of the most blatant hatchet jobs ever only to pull it, change the URL and title and issue a quasi-apology/retraction. I will leave it to Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia to address the specifics because they were two of the ones on the receiving end of the article that was totally devoid of any journalistic integrity. You would have thought that after the Rolling Stone UVA gang rape story debacle, so-called journalists would do at least a bit of fact checking. But no, apparently not. Any way, you can check out what they had to say here, here and here.

I had expected a backlash after the Hugo nominees were announced. While it saddened me to see so many people swearing they would not read anything on the Sad Puppy 3 “slate” and would vote No Award ahead of those nominations, it didn’t really surprise me. After all, for the first time in years, the “outsiders” garnered the lion’s share of the nominations. It is human nature to lash out when upset. However, we usually manage to get over it pretty quickly and realize how childish our behavior has been.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. The glee with which some of the other side adopted the EW article and passed it on, even after the “correction” was made, is not only sad but more than a little sick. But it doesn’t surprise me any more than most anything else coming out of their camp does.

This morning, as I was trying to decide if I would blog here or just put up my post for Mad Genius Club, I came across a thread on Facebook where a few of the other side were gleefully showing their “superiority” over the SP 3 side. One of them commented about how “sick” he was of the way Brad and Larry were embarrassing the field. Then there was this bit about how SP 3 and its supporters hate Tor and love Baen and did we not realize that Tom Doherty helped bankroll Baen.

First of all, I don’t know of anyone who has been associated with SP 3 or who voted for even a few of those on the SP 3 slate hating TOR. Heck, many of us love books that have been published by TOR. Do we like some of the editorial decisions that have been made in recent years? No. But then the same can be said for Baen. I can’t think of anyone in my circle of friends and acquaintances who like everything Baen has published — or TOR or any other publisher. Most of us also know of the relationship between Mr. Doherty and Jim Baen.

That said, what we do hate — or at least detest — is the way Teresa Nielsen Hayden and her husband, TOR bigwig Patrick Nielsen Hayden, have acted since shortly before the Hugos were announced. TNH in particular has been leading the calls for condemnation of SP 3. She has called Brad a liar. She has at various times called for No Awards to be cast — without giving any thought to whether or not the works in question are good. That doesn’t matter apparently because the wrong thinkers nominated the works — to telling us to start our own awards and leave the Hugos where they belong, with them.

We’ve been told that we aren’t real fans. We’ve been told that we are corrupting the process. We are the unwashed masses who have no right and no place in their version of fandom.

Well, as several others have said, fuck them.

I have no illusions that those folks who are blindly following TNH and her ilk will consider voting for me — or for anyone else on the ballot with me. It has nothing to do with the quality of our writing or our art. It has everything to do with who we associate with. Funny, but from the side claiming it wants nothing more than to make SF/F more inclusive, that seems counter-productive.

But they don’t see it that way. Their blinders are firmly in place and they are too busy making fun of all the misogynistic white men on the SP 3 slate to be bothered to check the facts. If they had, they would realize that there were a number of women on the recommended ballot, yours truly included. They would realize there were more than whites on it as well. Oh, and pretty much the entire political spectrum was included as well. Sounds pretty inclusive to me.

But not to them because — gasp — we keep the wrong company.

Then, to make sure they really muddy the waters, they have taken to trying to say GamerGate has been a major mover in the SP3 movement. Better yet, there have been a few who have said GG has been invovled in the SP movement from the beginning. That’s a pretty good feat considering GG is less than a year old, iirc, and Sad Puppies has been around for three years. Are there gamers who support SP3? Sure, myself included. But it has nothing to do with what GG is or supposedly is and everything to do with wanting to honor books, audio books, art and movies/TV shows that we enjoy.

And that, dear readers, is where the real issue lies. SP3 believes Hugo nominees and winners should be something people want to read and enjoy reading (or viewing or listening to). They should be things we want to revisit later. Entertaining and well written. Sure, there can be a message but we don’t want to be hit over the head with it. We don’t believe you have to have a checklist to make sure all the causes du jour are included in the story just so you meet someone else’s preconceived idea of what is important.

Think about it for a moment. If you have $10 to spend on reading material and you can choose anything you want, what will it be? Are you going to pick up that critically acclaimed novel without a plot but with all the right “characters” in it or are you going to pick up the novel your best friend/spouse/parent/whatever recommended because it was a great story? My bet is you will pick up the great story. I know that’s what I would go for.

Or maybe it is as simple as the other side doesn’t think the ordinary fan and reader should have a say in what wins the Hugo. You see, the ordinary fan isn’t really a fan in their minds. They have a very narrow definition of what a real fan is and it doesn’t matter if you have been an avid reader of the genre for years. No, you aren’t a real fan unless you go to the right cons and volunteer on the right committees and hold the right political/social beliefs.

As I said earlier, real inclusive.

However, because I do believe there is a place in SF/F for all ideologies, I am going to encourage all of you to do what I’m going to when my Hugo packet gets here. Read it all. Then decide for yourselves what is the best of the five nominees in each category. It isn’t up to me or anyone else to tell you how to vote or not vote.

In other words, if you are worried about making sure the Hugos are awarded to the most deserving this year, do your homework. Don’t cop out and vote No Award just because you didn’t get to call the shots for once.

Catching up

Well, so far, 2015 has been kicking my butt. I’m ready for it to turn its attention to someone else and let me get back the business of writing. Anyway . . . . Thanks for the patience and support.

It does finally look like things are starting to slow down. Yesterday was the first time in almost a month when I have been able to actually sit down and write. Between distractions and commitments and appointments and just general stress, the writing hasn’t been happening. So it was nice to finally have a block of time AND have the words flowing. The final tally last night was close to 5,000 words. There is still a long way to go before Nocturnal Challenge is finished but I will take it, especially if it means the creative spark has finally returned.

This book is odd in how it wants to be written. I’m one of those writers who knows the story, at least the main points, and writers starts to finish. There’s only been one instance where, mid-way through the book, I had to stop and write the ending. That threw me for a loop but I did it because I quickly discovered that I couldn’t fight the muse and write at the same time. This book, however, hasn’t given me even that luxury. After writing the first two chapters — and then rewriting them because I realized I had started it off wrong — it has demanded that I write not just the last chapter of the book but what appears to be the last quarter to third of the book. In other words, the last act. I’m not sure I like doing it this way. The pragmatic part of me knows that this will be a very, very rough draft of that part because it will have to be changed to fit what comes before it. But, if it is how the book demands it be done . . . .

In the meantime, I’ve done some reading and highly recommend Larry Corriea’s Monster Hunter Nemesis. I am finishing up Col. Tom Kratman’s Big Boys Don’t Cry. The Colonel’s book is good, as are all his books, but it is also a bit uncomfortable in some ways. I’ll be writing up reviews of both shortly.

So here is hoping life is getting back to normal. Now I’m off to find a fresh cup of coffee and then I’m going to try to pound out some more wordage on Challenge. Wish me luck!

One more thing. My friend Patrick Richardson has resurrected The Otherwhere Gazette. Over at OG, you will find reviews, posts about what is going on in the sf/f realm (book, video, gaming, etc) as well as much more. While OG is in its early stages, I recommend you check it out. Yours truly will be contributing posts there on occasion.

Sad Puppies 3 and Breitbart

sad_puppies_3_patchIt is that time of year again when the nominations for the Hugo Awards start rolling in. To hear some folks talk about it, the Hugos should be about writing and related work that is of the “right” sort. You know what I mean — it has to be “meaningful”. In other words, it has to fall in line with whatever the current cause du jour is, as determined by the social justice warrior set. The problem with this is multi-fold but it comes down to this: if you are more worried about making sure the work is “meaningful” and politically correct, you are not voting for the best book or related work. The “best” is that book or related work that read by the most people and that entertains them. But writing an entertaining story is no longer enough, at least not if you listen to those same folks. You have to be on the forefront of making sure you “educate” your readers into the right think. Only then can you worry about the storytelling.

Several years ago, Larry Correia started the Sad Puppies to counteract what was already going on. Whether folks like to admit it or not, before Sad Puppies, people were putting together voting slates and recommending that their fans vote as they said. Larry put together a slate but his was different. His slate was his own personal voting list, a recommendation of sorts for those of us who were tired of the books that didn’t entertain. Sure, a lot of the authors on it were libertarian or conservative, but not all. Just as some of the authors were male. But there were female authors listed as well. But Larry was evil for putting Sad Puppies together. How dare he use a cute icon to push his slate of evil conservative male writers? How dare he do what everyone else was already doing! Bad Larry. Evil, hatemongering Larry.

The attacks on Larry and those taking part with Sad Puppies increased when Vox Day was included. If Larry was evil in their eyes, Vox was the Anti-Christ. Vox had made the supreme mistake of not rolling over and playing dead when attacked by the darlings of SFWA. Do I agree with everything that Vox has said over the years? Hell no. In my opinion, Vox enjoys stirring the pot and does so with gusto. But the fact that he was doing nothing that the other side wasn’t doing, and louder, and yet he is the one who was censured and booted from SFWA speaks volumes. It’s okay to attack and to be racist and crass and crude and rude if you are not a conservative white male. (BTW, Vox is not technically white, not that the other side will admit it.)

This year, the wonderful Brad Torgersen has picked up the mantle of leading Sad Puppies and has, for his trouble, been attacked and lectured about how he is destroying the integrity of the award. Why? Because he is making recommendations of who to consider voting for — after you read their books and stories. Wow! I guess making an informed decision is now seen as destroying the integrity of an award that has long since lost its relevancy in the reading public’s eyes. For more on what Brad has faced since he announced his selections for Sad Puppies, check out this post.

Full disclosure here, Brad has listed me, as well as Cedar Sanderson and Dave Freer, as three of his picks for Best Fan Writer. I’m honored and thrilled to be included on the Sad Puppies list for this year.

Now, all of this is a lead up to the notice that now is the time to get your popcorn and beverage of choice because the internet is already exploding as SJWs read the Breitbart article about Sad Puppies. I’ve already seen one author call it misogynistic and say SP3 pushes the conservative political agenda. Both accusations are ludicrous. The article itself is even-handed and links to examples of the attacks that have been leveled at Larry et al. But I guess we aren’t supposed to expose the other side’s conduct to the light of day. That’s just mean of us. Instead, we are supposed to bow our heads and go along like good little sheeples and watch them destroy this genre that so many of us love.

As for the accusation that the SP3 slate is conservative, well, that ranks right up there with another attack I saw claiming Jim Butcher is a fascist simply because Brad has listed him as one of his recommendations for Best Novel. Of course, the person making the attack admits that they have never read anything by Butcher — nor will they now because he must be evil because Sad Puppies is evil.

Look, I really don’t care what an author’s politics or religion or sexual preference or anything else about them happens to be, as long as they aren’t beating me over the head with it and demanding I join in lockstep with them. What I do care about is reading a story that entertains me. The characters can be straight or gay or bi or whatever. I don’t need to know what they are, unless it is pertinent to the story. The same thing goes for race, color or creed. If it is pertinent to the story, put it in. If not, leave it to the readers’ imagination. But that’s just me.

None of that matters, as I said, if I’m not entertained.

As for the Hugos, I have read a lot of what Brad recommended. I’ll be reading the rest of the recommendations over the next month or so. Just as I will be reading other books and short stories. Why? Because I want to make an informed decision when I fill out my nomination slate. I will read whatever makes the final ballot. And guess what, when I do, I will be looking for stories that are the most well-written, most entertaining, not the ones that aim to raise my social consciousness.

I guess I’m just a cretin and just as evil as Larry and Brad. Funny thing, I’m happy with that.

(See Tuesday’s post for more on Sad Puppies 3)

 

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.

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

Some fun from the interwebs

Maybe we’ve been in a perpetual full moon. I don’t know what it is but this past week or so has seen some absolute WTF moments when it comes to publishing. The left has been up in arms because some folks have been daring to question (sometimes even deride) a post on the Tor site demanding that we move to a “post-binary gender” focus in our writing. As if that wasn’t enough proof publishing has gone off the deep end (this time forsaking a quality story for a politically correct message), along came a the frustrated blog post from Phil Foglio about how Tor is basically holding his Girl Genius work hostage. It was followed up by a post from Patrick Nelson Hayden taking exception to a lot of what Phil said. The fact that Hayden actually said “I don’t completely blame Phil for failing to keep track of the details of who’s in charge of what inside Tor. Mostly we don’t make a big deal of this,” left me wondering whether I ought to pound my head against the wall in disbelief or pound the collective heads of Tor’s board of directors, et al, against the wall. I felt then that nothing could surprise me more.

Then I come across Larry Correia’s blog post about a Twitter encounter had had yesterday. Now, if you’re not familiar with what’s been going on in Larry’s world lately, you can catch up on it here. Or look at Kate Paulk’s posts on Mad Genius Club yesterday. For those of you who don’t know Larry, he is a New York Times best selling author. He knows more about guns than just about anyone I can think of. He has spent who knows how many hours teaching women how to protect themselves. Although I’ve never met him, we have mutual friends who describe him as one of the nicest guys they’ve ever met. But he is also a man who isn’t afraid to voice his opinions and discuss them logically and with data to support what he says. However, he is also like the sleeping bear. If you keep poking him with a stick, he will wake up and eat you alive, flaying you with wit and sarcasm as he does.

And that is what happened yesterday on Twitter. A troll started poking at him about how mean he was because he didn’t agree with the post-binary whatever and how Larry would be much more effective if he would go out and picket or something like that. WTF?!? After Larry had fun with this guy, another twitter troll appeared and tried to take Larry to task for beating up on her friend. She had the temerity to suggest Larry couldn’t possibly be successful because he didn’t have a gazillion Facebook or Twitter followers. She even included a screen shot of her stats one day. Then she said he either needed to fire his publicist because she wasn’t doing her job getting him those bazillion followers or he needed to hire one. Because, you see, success is measured by how many followers we have on social media.

Larry tried to be nice. He tried to ignore her. But she kept poking the sleeping bear with a stick until he finally decided to set her straight. Which he did. Then he proceeded to dissect everything she said with snark and facts combined. And the howls of outrage from the left because he was picking on a woman who’d dared point out she had more followers than he did.

OMFG. Talk about a double standard.

Larry did not go out looking for an argument. Hell, all he wanted to do last night was relax after a day of editing. But nooooo. The glittery hoo hahs and guys who are sorry they have a penis had to take a swing at the mean man who is proud to be male and who dares write books that have stories people want to read. They wanted to make him admit that we should be writing books with messages, even if they turn off readers and drive them away from the genre in droves. They wanted him to dress up in tutus and tiaras like certain other SFWA loving males who have to continually prove they are “sensitive” to the plight of women and people of color and whatever else the cause du jour might be.

For me, I’ll stand behind Larry any day — mainly because he writes damned good books I like to read but also because he’s bigger than me and more well armed than I am. I’ll let him take point in the zombie apocalypse and I’ll do clean up. 😉

So here’s my recommendation. Go out and buy one of Larry’s books. Read it and then tell me what is more important: making sure the “proper” message is front and center in a book or having a plot that is fun and keeps a reader’s attention.

Here are three of his books — and I recommend everything he’s written.

I’ll post the Friday snippet later this morning.

Gah

That is the only thing I can say that won’t get me in trouble when I look at the latest insanity surrounding Tor Books. I’ll admit that I’ve watched with growing concern over the last few years as Tor has seemingly started down the slippery road from publishing books folks want to read because they are damned good stories to books with a message. I looked at my bookshelf — both real and digital — and realized that with the exception of a couple of David Weber books, I haven’t bought anything from Tor in years and this is despite buying or borrowing hundreds of books in that same time.

I started really growing concerned when they did a series of blog posts about Robert A. Heinlein and I watched post after post being critical of a man who is deservedly proclaimed a grand master of science fiction. Then, when my friend and mentor Sarah A. Hoyt blogged — per invitation from Tor — about Heinlein and didn’t decry him as misogynistic and baaaaad, she was attacked in the comments. She was called a traitor to her gender. Some of the commenters followed her over to her own blog to continue the attack.

And the vaunted Tor blog moderators did nothing. (This will become important shortly.)

Then, in the last week or so, I was pointed to another entry on the Tor site. I’d been warned that it would make my head explode and it did. I’m not going to go into why. My friend Kate Paulk has done a much better job at dissecting the post over at Mad Genius Club. You can find her post on it here. And, for a better fisking of it, check out what Larry Correia has to say here.

My problem with this particular post appearing on the Tor site — and apparently becoming a regular post — is that it smacks of trying to artificially force the author’s beliefs (apparently shared by Tor) on the readers whether it actually fits into the plot and is important to the plot of upcoming books or not. Oh, and to go back to my point about how the Tor moderators did nothing when folks attacked Sarah for not condemning Heinlein, they apparently had no problem not only telling commenters on the latest post mentioned that they would enforce the rules but they also deleted posts that “crossed the line”.

It’s no secret that traditional publishing, especially that coming out of the ivory towers of New York, have long been advocates of the cause du jour. Writers have lived in fear of having their libertarian or conservative political beliefs coming to the attention of their editors. These same authors have forced themselves to write books they didn’t believe in — or worse, change books they’d already written — to please these same editors. I’ve talked with authors who have been told to change a character’s race because she didn’t have enough persons of color in the book. When I was told that, I had to stop and think about it because I thought there were a number of PoCs in the book. Not that the author had actually described a skin tone but because she had done a good enough job describing them in other ways that is the picture I’d painted in my mind.

Yesterday, the madness continued when author Jim C. Hines decided that Larry Correia shouldn’t be allowed to fisk the Tor article referenced above because, you know, Larry is nothing but an unenlightened white male. So Hines took to his own blog to fisk Larry’s fisking. Then all the enlightened ones took to social media, in comments on Hines’ blog and on Facebook and Twitter, to denounce Larry. Somehow that denunciation then extended to everyone who stood up and supported Larry. There were even calls for Larry’s publisher, Baen Books, to come forward and take a stand showing that it didn’t support this unenlightened point of view Larry — as well as Col. Tom Kratman, John Ringo and Michael Z. Williamson. It got to the point where others were joking (at least I think they were joking) about how they were upset they hadn’t been included in the list of folks Baen was supposed to reprimand.

Then I wake up this morning and am met with a message from another of my co-bloggers at Mad Genius Club. Cedar Sanderson wanted to know if I’d seen Phil Foglio’s blog that morning. Then she warned me that it was more idiocy on the part of Tor. So, coffee mug at hand, I followed the link to Phil’s post and waited for my head to explode.

Except it didn’t because I wasn’t all that surprised by what I read.

For those of you who don’t know Phil, he is one of the brilliant folks behind the Girl Genius comics. Now he and the rest of the GG gang have joined the ranks of authors being screwed over by traditional publishers. I’ll let you read Phil’s post for the full details but the long and short of it is that Tor is holding their rights to GG hostage. After publishing an omnibus of GG comics, Tor has done nothing else. There has been no paperback release. It is obviously out of print judging from the Amazon page. Oh, and look at the publication date — Jan 1, 1001. Ask any librarian or bookstore orderer if that would show up on any of their new title searches.

Not only has Tor not reprinted the omnibus in paperback but they are not returning calls from Phil or his agent. This has been going on for more than a year. No one wants to tell him what’s going on. No one is responding to attempts to contact them — and this goes all the way up the chain of command. In the meantime, GG is being held hostage and Phil can’t bring out any other books, iirc, until the contract with Tor expires (and we know that even that isn’t a guarantee they will return the rights to him without a fight).

Phil has taken to social media and asked folks to go to the Tor Facebook page and twitter to express their thoughts about this situation. I checked the Tor FB page before starting this post and was impressed by the number of GG fans and supporters who were asking Tor to at least get in contact with Phil. Others are asking for an immediate release of rights. My opinion is that Tor ought to release the rights immediately. Of course, that and two fifty will buy me a coffee at Starbucks.

So I add my voice to the GG supporters and take up the chant of “Free Agatha”. If you agree, head over to Tor’s FB page and leave a comment on their wall.

@FreeAgatha

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