Fisking an Anti-Amazon Article From the New Republic

Oh boy. I woke up this morning to see this article on the front page of r/books, and you  know … I’ve never fisked anything … but this piece couldn’t be ignored. For those not in the know, a “fisking” is when someone replies point by point to the salient points of an article, offering a piece by piece rebuttal. I’ll let you read the original article first, so you can get it in your mind, but it’s just part of the continuing—You know what? You be the judge. Read the article, then check this rebuttal.

The quoted article bits are both quoted and italicized. My responses are the normal text.

So, let’s get started.

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It’s a Jungle in Here

So, Thursday update …

You ever have one of those moments where you’re all gung-ho to do something, and then you sit down and your mind goes blank? Yup, that’s me at this post right now. So I suppose I’ll just go with the basics, starting from the top.

First, don’t forget about the Birthday Sale! Seriously. Even if you’ve already bought my books, April 19th (which is now just six days away) will be a great day on which to share one that you particularly enjoyed on Facebook or another site or what have you. So please do, as it would be really helpful.

No, it really would. Right now it seems the biggest wall I’m running into is just getting my name out there. Which, in today’s very crowded world, isn’t easy.

Anyway, that’s my pitch. Please share a book when April 19th hits!

So, on to other news: This month I have been working my tail off. See, the last three months I’ve come in just below my quota every single time. And that’s a reduced wordcount quota of about 60k-70k, on account of me having this other job I have to spend time at. And quite frankly, while I’m fairly tired of that job, I’m not so tired that I can’t do the math and see I’d be homeless without that little income (it’s risky enough and I cut far too many corners even with it).

In any case, I decided that this month I was going to get things back on track. Saturday is no longer a break day, for starters, and I’ve become a lot more stringent with my time. The result: I am keeping up with my quota this month. Which means a quicker turnaround for some of the newer stuff down the line.

Speaking of which, the update on that.

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Upcoming Sale Reminder! Plus The Dragon Awards!

Just a weekend reminder to mark your calendar for the upcoming 24-hour Sale on April 19th! That’s only eleven days away! For a single period of 24 hours, every book I’ve ever written will be discounted. Even Colony! Here’s the breakdown:

One Drink: Free!
Dead Silver: 75% Off!
Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection: 50% Off!
Colony: 25% Off!

If you’re looking to fill out your collection, or perhaps to share one of your favorites with a friend, April 19th will be the day to watch!

Also, don’t forget about The Dragon Awards! Nominations are still open, and will be until June 24th of this year! Time to let the world know what you found to be the best book, game, show, or more of the last year! And, while we’re at it, Colony is eligible for nomination, so if you think it’s worth it, you can nominate it!

Anyway, enjoy your weekend, and mark your calendars!

A Fantastic Quote Concerning Shame Culture

This thought-provoking quote was brought to my attention this last Sunday at one of the LDS General Conference sessions, where it was quoted from a 2016 New York Times article on “Shame Culture.” I’m sharing it because of its insightful look into why the current “shaming” trend doesn’t work, and isn’t a basis for a stable society. Just thought-provoking.

“In a guilt culture you know you are good or bad by what your conscience feels. In a shame culture you know you are good or bad by what your community says about you, by whether it honors or excludes you. … [In the shame culture,] moral life is not built on the continuum of right and wrong; it’s built on the continuum of inclusion and exclusion. …

“… Everybody is perpetually insecure in a moral system based on inclusion and exclusion. There are no permanent standards, just the shifting judgment of the crowd. It is a culture of oversensitivity, overreaction and frequent moral panics, during which everybody feels compelled to go along. …”

“The guilt culture could be harsh, but at least you could hate the sin and still love the sinner. The modern shame culture allegedly values inclusion and tolerance, but it can be strangely unmerciful to those who disagree and to those who don’t fit in.”

         —David Brooks, “The Shame Culture,” New York Times, Mar. 15, 2016

Back in Business

You know, it’s funny, but I always find that it takes me a few lines worth of errors to readjust to using my big, awesome keyboard again. Just like it takes me a little while to adjust to using someone’s laptop keyboard when I’m traveling and going to make a post. The fingers go to the expected locations, and … Whoops! See? Well, you can’t, because I fixed it, but just there, with the “whoops,” I did it again.

Anyway, I suppose this is a long way of saying “Guess who’s back!” Or returned. Or whatever. For me it’s a return to work, for others a sad “awww …” as I left once more.

Enough semantics. I’m back! Arrived late last night.

And … no, I haven’t written anything today. Still unpacking, etc, etc. Jet lagging a little, oddly enough. Which doesn’t make sense because west to east … Oh well. Whatever. Anyhow, this post needs a point! I mean aside from going “Hey hey, I’m back!”

Okay, I actually do have some news for you guys. A couple snippets of it, in fact.

The first bit? There’s a new Patreon supporter post going up today! As soon as I’m done here, I’m bouncing over there (I’ve already got the tab open) and I’m putting it together. For those who are Patreon supporters, this time you’re getting a fun treat: A sneak peek at some of the new characters that are being introduced in Jungle (that Colony sequel you should be really excited for). Nothing that spoils anything—so nor worries there. I’ll cut anything that drops too much info. But you’ll get not only the character sheets themselves that I wrote up, but also some of the side stuff that’s been developed since then. Thoughts, impressions, changes to the characters as they came to life, etc. So if you’re a Patreon supporter, pop on over and take a look! And if you’re not, a dollar a month is all it takes!

Now, the second bit of news, this one concerning my books and the month of April, which starts tomorrow. What could those two have in common, you might ask? Well, there’s one thing in particular about April that’s quite special, at least to me. Those of you who’ve been regulars here for a while might know this already, but …

April 19th is my birthday.

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Traveling Tales

Well, this is a first. I’m actually writing this post from my phone, in the Salt Lake City airport!

Yup, that’s right. I’m headed home to visit family for a few days. Nothing long–less than a week, actually. But it’s a visit all the same.

Still not very fond of the TSA experience. Security theater is simply pointless, but anyway …

Monday’s Being a Better Writer post should still be up, just possibly a little later than normal due to the time zone change. Don’t worry on that count. I’ll get it up.

So, what else is new? Work on Jungle passed another milestone this week: 100k!

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Being a Better Writer Delayed, But Not By Me

So … there was a Being a Better Writer post today. A post in which I, quite ironically, griped about the sudden and bad change to WordPress’ posting format. Without warning, the whole thing has been rebuilt, in a much worse form than before that’s hidden useful features behind submenus, requires multiple clicks where one sufficed, etc.

So, anyway, using this new system, I wrote up a whole 1800-word post on Protagonists. Good stuff. Then I hit submit.

Error. Cannot post. I hit submit again.

Error. Cannot post. No reason given. This isn’t good.

So, like any sensible chap, what do I do? I hit CTRL+A to select everything and then try to copy.

Cannot copy. WHAT!?!?

Yeah, apparently you can no longer “save” your post from wordpress’ clutches by copy pasting. And the save feature was bugged too. So you can guess what happened.

That’s right. WordPress ate the entire post. All 1800 words. I couldn’t save it. I couldn’t even Copy-Paste it.

I am … extremely agitated right now. This was a good post. And I even tried to save it.

So … sorry, guys. I’m not going to rewrite the entire thing. Not today, at least. I’ve got a book to work on.

Please, if you feel inclined, light up WordPresses Twitter account on this. Not being allowed to CTRL+C a post is stupidity. Especially when their own “save” feature is now, apparently, a buggy “autosave” that stopped functioning after I finished writing the first paragraph.