Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

What The Job Creators Whisper

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I hear something every time a business owner cuts someone’s hours or lays people off to avoid Obamacare. It’s a dark whisper, quiet, often overruled by the sound of patriotic trumpets and waving flags.

It’s barely audible. But if you listen closely, you can hear it too.

This is what I hear when “job creators” hurt workers “because of Obamacare”:

I don’t want to pay you enough for you to afford healthcare.

You are not a person. You are a cog. You are replaceable enough that if you get sick, I’d rather replace you than help you.

If I can figure out a way to pay you less to make more cash for myself, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

I’m going to blame Obama so you still support me and my politician friends in the next election.

And I think you’re too stupid to figure that out.

I hear them whisper that behind their loud, loud words.

And I wonder when we will whisper back.

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Undoing The Damage: Getting Over That Look About Certain Types of Writing

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You know that look.  The one where someone says the type of writing you don't like.

This one.
What's strange is that it's the exact same reaction but for radically different things to different people.  Some people eyeroll over science fiction.  Fantasy.  (Or maybe just high fantasy or urban fantasy or space opera or soft SF or hard SF.)  Literary fiction.  Or poetry.

There's usually a good reason.  A semester devoted to nothing but The Grapes of Wrath  and squashing any joy out of it ruined literary fiction for me for quite a while.  Crappy SF with "As you know, Bob", dilithium deus ex machinas and cardboard cutout characters did it for others.  Fantasy with generic elves, mass blocks of historical exposition and unpronouncable names, or the more modern variety with ... sparkles.

Poetry, though, is almost always because of a teacher.  Mine was one who insisted that it didn't matter what a refridgerator in a William Carlos Williams poem meant to me;  it was a symbol of sex and I had been reading it wrong.

That took decades to get over.

And there's still plenty of examples of bad poetry out there.  The Bad Goth Poetry exists for a reason.  Poetry is one of those art forms that looks easy... but isn't.  At all.

And that's true about all of those forms.  You know this about the kind you like.  There's tons of great SF, fantasy without elves, exposition, or sparkling.  Literature that's not pretentious or navel-gazing.  And there's some damn good poetry out there as well.

Think about it this way:  If you know that someone else is judging your favorite type of writing - and you know they're basing their judgements on some unfair stereotype - aren't the odds pretty good that your own stereotypes are just as bad?

As I've finally gotten over that sexy, sexy poetry fridge, I've been lucky to have the opportunity to publish two poets.  Both of their work has helped me learn to appreciate poetry for its own sake.  While they are very different poets, they both have a clearness to their work that hides the mastery of language and emotion needed to do poetry well.

Last year I published Matt Bett's collection See No Evil, Say No Evil.  This year, I'm proud to introduce you to Leslie J. Anderson's collection An Inheritance of Stone.

I keep quoting Lucy A. Snyder's introduction to the book, because it summarizes it so well:
Some poems in this book gallop and kick. Some swerve elegantly like an escape pod caught in a gravity well. Other roll quiet as a child’s blanket. The words in these pages won’t seem the same each time you read them. They will be just what you were looking for, but nothing that you expected.

I come to you as someone who used to eyeroll at poetry - just like you might be now.  And I thought I wouldn't care for poetry.

These poets showed me what I was missing out on.

Check out An Inheritance of Stone at the official website or at your favorite online retailer.  You'll be glad you did.

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So You've Been Rejected: Now What?

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This is one of those posts that require me to point out the "Artistic License" link above.

I'm sharing this because after I wrote it, I realized that the emotional process below is exactly the same as the emotional process I use for dealing with rejection letters.  No, seriously.  I got several this week after a string of acceptances.  And while the particular problem I'm talking about may not impact you, the process that I use to deal with it might help with those pesky ass rejection letters.  While at the same time help you get the kinds of convention experiences you want.

I recently discovered that I would not be given any panels at a convention that I've attended (and been a panelist before) in the past.  Despite having quite a few people express their desire to have me be at that particular convention.

It's very tempting to interpret this as something personal.

Bog only knows I've pissed off enough people in the last few years - either by talking about them directly or them thinking I've been talking about them.  I do my damndest to separate business and personal lives.  I am very grateful for the professional contacts I have - who are also my friends - who are willing to directly call me on the carpet when needed.  They are trustworthy in the best sense of the word.  But I know that others do not separate business and personality.  That disagreeing in business is seen as a personal competition.  And that favors are called, or little comments made to friends to try to support (or destroy) someone's career.  And making a point of very publicly and professionally adhering to an ethical standard no matter what can really, really piss people off.

Or that it's a referendum on how successful I am.  That I'm simply not high powered enough to stand alongside some of the other people that are going to be on panels.  And I am in a weird place professionally.  I've done enough to gain some notice.  I'm not quite in any particular "league" at the moment.  I'm not a fledgling writer (or publisher) anymore.  But I'm not a "big leagues" publisher or writer either.  So from an attendance point of view, I'm not really a draw in the same way that some of my friends are.  This triggers every bit of the Writer's Lack of Self-Confidence or the Writer's Abundance of Self-Doubt.

But here's the thing:  It doesn't matter.  I have to shrug it off and not let it worry me at all.

Because if it's personal, then I don't give a bit of shit about their opinon.  That marks them as horribly unprofessional and nepotistic asshats, and I simply don't have time for that kind of drama.

And if it's a professional thing, then there's only one thing I can do - be more awesome so that it doesn't matter.

As a practical measure, I presume that it's professional.  Every time the little self-doubt monster screeches at me:


I just simply tell it to stfu and focus on being more awesome.  Because eventually, I will either be so awesome that they just have to have me there, or I will be more awesome than they are, period.  And that's a goal I can actually do something about.

And so can you.

That said, if you want me (or any particular author or publisher) to come to a convention near you, it is nice to hear you tell us.  But more importantly, tell the convention runners who and what you want to see at conventions near you.

Because if you don't tell them, nobody else will.

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Enter to Win A Free Copy of *An Inheritance of Stone* - and join us at CONTEXT 26

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If you're going to be at CONTEXT 26 this weekend, there are at least three literary parties going on, including a release party for Leslie J. Anderson's collection of poetry:  An Inheritance of Stone.   Details on the party are below, and you can also enter to win a free copy over at Goodreads!

From the introduction:

Some poems in this book gallop and kick. Some swerve elegantly like an escape pod caught in a gravity well. Other roll quiet as a child’s blanket. The words in these pages won’t seem the same each time you read them. They will be just what you were looking for, but nothing that you expected.
- Lucy A. Snyder, author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection Chimeric Machines

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The Strange Stuff You Have To Watch For In Contracts

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In a rather lengthy comment thread about a new eBook distributor, some elements of their contract came up as ... problematic.  It's the same sorts of things that I've already covered before (and you can join the Digital Publishing G+ group and read the thread and see their responses yourself), but there were some... other parts that I found interesting in section 16 of their Terms of Use.   The part in bold is my response.

NOTE:  The owners of the site said they were taking my comments into consideration, so it may have already changed.  Check here to see for yourself.

[Books distributed on this website must not]

(b)        be obscene or indecent;
I suggest substituting section (l) - which said "be in breach of any legal prohibitions against sale of violent or pornographic material in the United States, the State of New York, or of the country in which the seller is residing or doing business" for this because... well, if someone says "damn", is that obscene?  Is it indecent to breastfeed?

(h)       be in breach of racial or religious hatred or discrimination legislation;

Whose?  Worldwide?  Good luck with that!

(i)        be blasphemous;

According to whom?  Again, see the word "damn" above?  Does that mean Rushdie can't publish there?

(n)        constitute spam;

What is the definition of spam in eBook distribution?

You must not use our website to link to any website or web page consisting of or containing material that would, were it posted on our website, breach the provisions of these terms of use.

What if I link to a website that changes ownership?  Is that my responsibility?

You must not submit to our website any user content that is or has ever been the subject of any threatened or actual legal proceedings or other similar complaint.

This is crap.  You could sue Pope Francis for being Catholic.  I could threaten you with a lawsuit for ANYTHING right now - I'd never win, but it would trigger this clause.
 I understand that booksellers have to CYA as much as anyone else.  But at the same time... this is overreaching and definitely could screw some people over unintentionally (or at least, without malicious intent on their part).

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Before You Start Making Money From Your Blog, You *HAVE* To Take This Step

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There are a lot of opportunities for bloggers these days. Not that the bloggers necessarily make mad money, but there are a lot of advertisers trying to promise mad money.

What they’re looking for is the ability to generate word-of-mouth advertising. Sometimes it’s really scammy like this attempt to buy posts on this blog, sometimes it’s only slightly sleazy like this example from Grammarly.

But at best - and the way it runs here on my blog - is that you are actually recommending products and services you use and enjoy. And then if someone else uses them because of your recommendation, you get a bit of a kickback. For example, I often use an affiliate link when I mention Dropbox - both of us get some extra free space if you use it - and did when I recently mentioned Namecheap as well. I frequently do this with affiliate programs when I mention, review, or otherwise talk about a product you might want to buy.

Or maybe you got a review copy, or a discount to try a product (see, again, Grammarly).

All of these are Material Connections. It doesn’t matter if you think you should disclose these or not - you are required to by FTC 16 CFR Part 255. You can read a lot more about it on the FTC’s website, but here’s the tl;dr:

You have to disclose those kinds of connections up front.

And I do. At the footer of the blog is this text:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the posts above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This, to the best of my knowledge, counts. And you are required to have something like it.

I’ve had folks ask me if they can use or modify the text of that before, and I’ve gladly granted that permission. I’m going to explicitly say this now: My disclosure of material connection text (the “work”)

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of the above disclosure of material connection text (the “the Work”), to deal in the Work without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Work, and to permit persons to whom the Work is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:


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In A Lash, In A Whipstroke - A Free Flash Fiction

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The whip slices and slashes into your backside's skin, exposing subcutaneous fat and muscle.

It heals as you strain moaning against the silk restraints. Your nanotech stitches your skin together in seconds, leaving you unhurt, ready for more.

I circle you and meet your gaze. Despite the endorphins, you seem...

I cup your chin in my hand. "Are you bored?"

You nod, and I understand.

The press of a button, and the nanotech deactivates.

I use the lash lightly. It does not break your skin, does not hurt you permanently.

It could.

You trust me not to.

But it could.

Based around Laurence Simon's weekly challenge for the 100 word-stories podcast. The player above should have the audio for this week; if it doesn't, you can find the audio here to download.

I am updating these in a podcast feed (dubbed "Radio Free Steven the Nuclear Man" by Laurence). You can subscribe with this link ( in your podcatcher or phone. You can also read and hear the rest of the entries at the 100 Word Stories podcast site.

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Some site tweakings

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I made two significant changes to the websites this week:

1.  I added a thing that rotates between the book covers on the Alliteration Ink site in the sidebar.  Let me know if it doesn't work (or is slow, or annoying, or whatever) for you.

2.  I took out Google Analytics.  On both my personal website and on the Alliteration Ink site.

I realized that I didn't need the trackers - nor did I particularly use them the way I was supposed to.  However, it did give more information to Google (and hence, to everyone who has access to Google's data). 

Also it should speed up the site, but that's actually a secondary benefit for me.

What do you think about online snooping?  Worth the convenience?  Or have you gotten yourself a GPG key yet and learned how to use it with your e-mail?

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Dirty Sinks and Being Professional

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Not Actually My Sink
My sink is kind of a mess at the moment.

Don’t ask about the bathtub.

It’s tempting to attribute these to my quasi-bachelor status at the moment. But you’d be wrong.

As I write this, I currently am finishing up An Inheritance of Stone, Leslie Anderson’s book of poetry, continuing to work on Alethea Kontis’ collection of short stories, finish the print layout for What Fates Impose, laying some groundwork for the Steampunk World kickstarter, planning events for CONTEXT, trying to plan/conceptualize the not-a-podcast podcast, writing blog posts, and working on two different eBook conversion projects for books I’m not publishing.

Plus I have a full-time day job, some friends I don’t see nearly enough, 30-90 minutes a day moderating on MyMineCraft, a dog and cat who insist they’re starving for food and attention, and most importantly, my significant other. (Hi honey!)

I don’t want to cut out anything in the last two paragraphs. Especially all the publishing stuff. I really enjoyed spending a few hours last night making the What Fates Impose print cover look awesome. I’m thrilled to be able to promote poetry, and to set up some events to bring it (and writing, and fiction) to a wider audience.

And this got me thinking about the much-maligned post last month about what it means to be a “professional”.

Because while I’m not quitting my day job (I’d like to keep paying my mortgage, thanks) and I’m not ditching my pals (I see them rarely enough) and a bunch of other things that got held up as the criteria for being “professional”…

My sink is a disaster area.

I recently mowed over an overgrown flower bed to let the grass take it back over. When I bother to mow.

You’re nearly as likely to find my clothes in a basket as put away.

I understand the bristling at “you’re not a professional (or full time) writer unless…” lists. I bristled when I first heard an author say that during one of his seminars. Because that kind of arbitrary distinction devalues people by making comparisons.

It can be useful when you are examining how serious you are and assessing your priorities. It can be useful in assessing when you’re procrastinating from what you want to do and what you find yourself doing.

Last night, for example, I found myself perusing organizational software and forms and PDFs, thinking that I could reorganize all my publishing stuff… and then realized that I was “productively” procrastinating from what I wanted to do that day - get the cover done. And today, I could put away my clothes… or I could start sending out digital rewards for the Kickstarter. And instead of playing video games all day on Saturday, I’m helping a friend move and spending time with my significant other.

That is the useful lesson we can take from anyone trying to tell us who is professional and who isn’t. Assess yourself. Assess your goals. And see if your actions serve your goals. Then focus on actions that actively take you closer toward your goals.

I will probably do the dishes though. Because my sink is nasty.

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If you intend to meet with me at CONTEXT, Tell Me Now

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I've discovered this year that if I don't make appointments to meet with people at conventions, I can't guarantee that business will happen.

While I will be spending a large chunk of my time at CONTEXT in the dealer's room, it won't be all of the time.  If you're wanting to get a chunk of time with me, please e-mail me ahead of time and let me know.  While I love chatting with people, I know that time is limited.

I'm marking off meeting times on the Appearances calendar, so you can check there too.


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Enter to Win A Print Copy of *What Fates Impose* Before You Can Buy It In Stores!

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Tim Waggoner is among the very few people who have managed to hold a print copy of What Fates Impose in their hands so far... and you can be among them.

There is a Goodreads giveaway where you can win the print book before you can buy it in stores!  You can only enter over the next few days, so head over to Goodreads ASAP and get in on it!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

What Fates Impose by Nayad Monroe

What Fates Impose

by Nayad Monroe

Giveaway ends September 22, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Did America's Funniest Home Videos Actually Impact Society?

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This is the time of year that sociology students are looking for research topics.  You always end up seeing the same old boring ones - but here's an idea to impress your prof and still be pretty doable.  (I would *love* to see whatever research, results, or papers come from it.  And you are freely able to modify my hypothesis.)

America's Funniest Home Videos (AFV) was a long-running guilty pleasure for most of the 90's and 00's.  Huge chunks of the programming consisted of what now are considered "FAIL" videos.  However, its ratings declined during the 00's, and I'm not even sure if it's still in production. 

Examine existing data to determine if there is a correlation between:

* AFV's ratings and number of YouTube videos online
* AFV's ratings and the number of mentions of "parkour" online (by search hits)
* AFV's ratings and emergency room visits in Children's Hospitals

My initial hypothesis is that there will be a negative correlation;  AFV was commonly part of a family-viewing kind of ritual.  Perhaps the social pressure (explicit in my family) of "Look at that dumbass" might have served to make parkour (and similar) activities seem less appealing.

Related - does the current crop of behaviors pointed at (and inherently ridiculed) in reality TV shows cause an overall social pressure to *emulate* or to *avoid* the behavior?

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Follow the Money: Publishers Can Be Scammers Too

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There are so many ways I could make more money as a publisher. And they are not only unethical, they’re demonstratably so.

For example: writing contests.

Remember that not only do you have Yog’s Law, but you also have Cthugha’s Correlary (the tl;dr - value flows toward the author). Most contests fail Cthugha’s Correlary horribly.

For a good example, you have Shock Totem’s semi-regular flash fiction contest (not to be confused with the biweekly for fun one). No entry fee, everything’s straightforward and on the up and up.

For bad examples, not only do you have the Dark Crystal writing contest but you also have things like the Writer’s Digest’s self-publishing award. Yes, entries are closed for this year, but you can totally get fleeced next year!

This is a crappy deal. Let me explain:

There’s the entry fee - and Writer Beware explains the horrible economics of writing contests more efficiently than I could. That’s bad enough.

But to make it worse, the winner’s big prize - aside from the cash - is publicity.

Publicity not with readers, though. Publicity to writers. After all, that’s the market for Writer’s Digest. And add in the deal that F+W Media (the parent company) has with a vanity press… and suddenly this looks less like a contest and more like a way to get a bunch of new customers for their vanity press. Add to it that their partner is “Book Marketing Works”… well, how much you want to bet that each and every entrant is getting a special value package offered to them?

Oh, I could be wrong. But I'm not going to waste my time - or my money - trying to find out.

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Help a Malaysian Post-Graduate Student, Lecturer (and oh yeah, woman) Win A Chance To Go Into Space

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Here's something useful you can do with Facebook: Help a Malaysian woman (postgraduate student and lecturer) show some douchebros up.

Full story:

Vote here:

You can vote every hour until TUESDAY.  Malay time - so hit that up NOW.


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The Best Definition of Trustworthiness Ever

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Put here because I think it's a good definition, and as a reference for myself:

I recently read a good definition of “trustworthiness.” We decide that someone is worthy of our trust when we believe that they will take our best interests into account. That doesn’t mean that they’ll do what we want. It means that they’ll consider our best interests and will take them seriously.
via Wil Wheaton (I think on his Tumblr; I can't find the post now.)

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Long Johns - A Flash Fiction

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I hold my hands near the fireplace, warming them from iced numbness. "I miss my longjohns, the bright red wool ones with the fold-down back flap."

John laughs. "Mine were footies. Bright red, but no flap."

Rufus nods, unwraps a bit of meat from a red cloth sack, slides it onto his stick, and holds it over the fire. "Ayup. I got ones kinda like that for my kids."

He shuts up then, sudden-like. We listen to the hiss-pop of the cooking meat, the crackling fire, the restless infected wandering outside.

We don't ask about Rufus' kids.

We aren't hungry.

Please note that the 100 Word Story Podcast is changing URLS to!

Based around Laurence Simon's weekly challenge for the 100 word-stories podcast. The player above should have the audio for this week; if it doesn't, you can find the audio here to download.

I am updating these in a podcast feed (dubbed "Radio Free Steven the Nuclear Man" by Laurence). You can subscribe with this link ( in your podcatcher or phone. You can also read and hear the rest of the entries at the 100 Word Stories podcast site.

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The Presentation At The Temple: A Flash Fiction

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One year I gave my CCD class an assignment to creatively express one of the Mysteries of the Rosary. I chose to write about the Presentation at the Temple, where Jesus snuck back to teach the Elders in Jerusalem.

It was frightening, losing him like that.

We were a day out of town. He hadn't been with us, but this was nothing unusual. Traveling on foot with family, you expect the children to migrate from aunt to uncle and back to aunt.

But on the second day, we all gathered together, and he wasn't with any of them.

That night was a strangled darkness of upset faces and rudely awakened neighbors as we searched for him. It wasn't until the sun's pale rays rose that we realized he wasn't with us - that he had never left the city.

A bleary day lingered, stretching on as we retraced our steps. A confusing day in half-remembered city streets, the marketpeople crying out for us to buy, buy buy! Finally, we found the crowd outside the Temple, gathered, sitting and listening to our missing boy. Relief - and anger - flooded my heart as I saw him, rushing forward to sweep him into my arms.

"Son, son, we missed you! We've been searching all over for you!"

"Why did you search?" he answered. "Did you not know I would be at my father's house?"

The crowd laughed, but neither of us did. My husband turned pale, as he always did when such things were said, gripping his staff more tightly. I stared at my son. His face had an expression I couldn't recognize; it stunned me inside.

Sometimes I nearly forget about the angel - that half-dreamt shape. Anymore, I often forget about the early visitors as well - the gold, frankincense and myrhh are all long gone, sold to help support me after Joseph died.

His face that day, though. That unreadable, almost unworldly expression reminds me more than any mere earthly gift possibly could.

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I'm Not Heading To PandoraCon

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Well, I might swing by as an attendee, but I'm not going to officially be doing any panels or tables.  It's a schedule conflict more than anything else.

You kids don't steampunk up Cincinnati too much without me.  

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Dayton Metro Library (and surrounding counties) Annual Poetry Contest

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The Dayton Metro Library welcomes submissions in its annual Poetry Contest now through September 30, 2013.

This is the 16th year for the contest, open to residents of Montgomery and adjoining counties (Greene, Miami, Clark, Darke, Preble, Warren and Butler). There are three age categories: Teen (age 13-18), Adult (age 19-59) and Senior (age 60 and over).

Winners are selected in each age category, with first place winning $100, second place $75 and third place $50. Prizes are donated by the Friends of the Dayton Metro Library. 

A panel of judges will read the entries in October, and a Poetry Party is scheduled for November 10, at which the awards will be presented. Finalists will be notified in advance. Entry forms with official contest rules are here (NOTE:  NO E-SUBMISSIONS).  They are also available at all Dayton Metro Library locations and on the website at   

Entry forms must be attached to each submission, and entries must be received at any Dayton Metro Library location no later than 8:30 p.m. on Monday, September 30. Contact the library’s Community Relations Office at 496-8901 if you need further information.

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An open letter to "job creators"

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After all the "business friendly reforms" we have in Ohio, why are my friends still losing jobs?

If CEOs and CFOs (etc) are so concerned about cutting employee costs, why don't they reduce their total compensation to the modal wages in their company?

Fear of losing ones job may produce results for a short time. Loyalty - and knowing that your company really WILL have your back - produces those results indefinitely.

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The Rules of Book Design Are Merely Guidelines: Here's Why

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I am still learning all of this publishing stuff.

This was recently driven home while laying out the print version of What Fates Impose. I had read some advice about never using single or double spacing. Instead, the advice was to make the line height approximately 115% to 120% of the font height. The advice had come with some pretty obvious examples, so I was sold on the concept.

It is worth noting that I did not go back and look at my prior print layouts at this point.

So after getting the text in place, I selected the “body text” style, and changed it from the default of single-spacing to proportional 120%.

It looked horrid. The lines were so far apart that it made reading comprehension difficult. I tried printing a page in case it was the monitor. Same problem. So I tried proportionate line spacing of 115%. Then 110%. Then 105%.

There was simply too much space between the lines.

I knew the principle held; I’d seen live examples of it. So what was I doing wrong?

tl;dr: It wasn’t me. It was the font I was using. I like Dolous SIL - it’s a nice serif font, under the open font license, and has that kind of seriousness that a good serif should have while not screaming ”I’m a student paper done in Times New Roman.”

What I didn’t realize is that Dolous (at least, the particular version I have) is a “loose” font. There is a large amount of space built in for all the diacrits in different languages and typefaces. Or in other words, the height of the Roman alphabet characters do not make up the entire height of the font. The font itself has a little bit of “padding” - so when I selected “100%”, it provided about as much white space as “115%” with a tighter serif font.

Ultimately, this reinforces the importance - and desired invisibility of good design with your books in any format. There is no magic number, proportion, or rule. There are principles - such as the desired amount of whitespace to make a book readable on screen or page - that these guidelines help point us toward.

But they are guidelines.

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Silence Is Assent: This is Still A Segregated Country

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If you don't speak about the problem, you are part of the problem.

Data is from The Racial Dot Map

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Accident - A Flash Fiction

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"I don't really know how to date anyone," she tells me across the table.  We stare at each other over the shitty cracked table cover and the bland food.

"You've been married," I point out, spearing a wilted broccoli head.  "That implies - " I grin "- just a bit, that you've dated before now."

She laughs, and it's a delightful sound.  "No, I mean, it's like coming to this restaurant. We didn't plan on it, it just... happened."

"An accident," I say, and we laugh again.

Later, when our hands slip into each other's...  that isn't accidental at all.

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Staying with blogger, and speeding things up.

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Unfortunately, the attempt to export to WordPress... well, just didn't work well for me.  I'd forgotten that my webhosting package just doesn't seem to like anything with large amounts of SQL queries, and a blog this size (1600+ posts!) is a lot of SQL queries.

So instead, I decided to use what I'd learned to update, streamline, and otherwise make this load faster.

So you'll notice the "pages" are a menu bar now - and that the "books" section has been moved to its own page to reduce page load times.  Yes, I'm that much of a geek that I'd rather decrease pageload times than shout "BUY THIS STUFF" all over the place.

I stripped out all the social media widgets as well, except for a bare-bones sharing one.  Likewise, I stripped out most of the dynamically updating widgets - including the profile and anti-blerch one.  I changed some fonts to ones a bit more commonly used, and added the header picture which I've been using on social media and elsewhere.

This reduced the page load size from 320k to 120k.  That's three times as fast.   (Pedants who want to talk about threaded requests can go ahead and do so...elsewhere.)

So, here's the same blog, somewhat faster than the old blog. 

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Dayton Metro Library's Fall Writing Series Leading Up To NaNoWriMo

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Every year leading up to NaNoWriMo the library here in town has a series of presentations from local authors.  There's some good ones this year:

Poetry Workshop for Time Travelers  Many well-known poets move their poems through time, and  you can do the same. Cathryn Essinger, author of three prize winning volumes of poetry, will take you on trips through past, present and future!  Come with a photograph or the memory of one.  Thurs., Sept. 12, 6:30-8:15 p.m. – Main Library

Write From the Heart  "Our story is all we have. It is our only possession - everything else is dust and  ashes."  Join Daytonian Author Karen Ander Francis as she shows us how to "Write From the Heart".  Tues., Sept. 17, 6:30-8:00 p.m. – Kettering-Moraine

Creating a Writing Life  Starting a lifelong writing adventure? Sharon Short, writer of the Dayton Daily  News "Literary Arts" column, will help demystify the steps toward that life.  Bring a notebook or laptop for a few creative writing exercises for fun!Thurs., Oct. 3, 6:30-8:00 p.m. – Main Library

Characters that Live and Breathe  Published author, Martha Moody, provides some practical writing  exercises to help you think so deeply about your characters that they take on lives of their own. Bring something to write with and a receptive mind.Mon., Oct. 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m. – Wilmington Stroop

Poet's Night at the Library  Meet with others and share your love of poetry. Bring a poem you've  written or a poem you love. If you would like feedback on a poem you've written, bring 6-8 copies of the poem or come at 6:15 and copies will be made for you. Thurs., Oct. 10, 6:30-8:15 p.m. - Main Library Meeting Room

What Kind of Publishing is Right for You?   Digital, Self, Traditional, Services, and Scams -  Dizzying choices of the modern publishing landscape can confound any writer. Published author Steven Saus will shed some light on the subject.  He'll help you understand a variety of options and help you avoid scams to keep you from getting ripped off.Mon., Oct. 14, 6:30-8:00 p.m. – Main Library

Writing Other Worlds  What are the secrets to writing  and publishing fantasy, horror, and science fiction? Tim Waggoner, published author and Sinclair instructor, will show you how:  developing original ideas, world-building, plotting, characterization, marketing, and publishing.Sat., Oct. 26, 1:00-4:00 p.m. – Main Library

National Novel Writing Month Write-In  Every year,  National Novel Writing Month participants try to write a 50,000 first draft of a novel in between midnight November 1st and December 1st. Bring your laptop or pencil and paper for an evening of writing in a social setting with door prizes.
Sat., Nov. 2, 12:30-5:30 p.m.Kettering-Moraine (Kickoff Party)
Mon., Nov. 4, 5:00-8:00 p.m. – Main
Sat., Nov. 16, 10:00-2:00 p.m. – Huber Heights
Thurs., Nov. 21, 6:00-8:00 p.m. – Vandalia

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Having a Useful ReadMeFirst in Your eBooks

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I've just recently updated my "ReadMeFirst" file that I zip into every Alliteration Ink archive and updated the "how to sideload" page on the Alliteration Ink website with more accurate (and complete) information about publisher defaults and Android devices.

You'll note that it has a couple of key points:

1.  Stay in touch with me as a publisher
2.  Don't override my formatting, please
3.  What kinds of eBooks are there?
4.  How do I get them on my device or get to read them?

I also realized I didn't have it as part of the eBook utilities repository on GitHub (but it is there now) as a markdown-formatted document.  You can then use that as a template to make a very nice and professional looking PDF or HTML page using the wonderful tool pandoc (and with LaTeX on the backend).

It's also on GitHub so you can fork, comment, and do all that fun stuff - but you're also welcome to comment here too with any suggestions, additions, or tweaks.

Regardless, you're welcome to use it as a starting point for your own.  The moment we cannot sell our books - digitally or print - ourselves is the moment that both authors and publishers lose.

One note:  I found that I had to edit the default LaTeX template and include this code:

    colorlinks, linkcolor={dark-red},
    citecolor={dark-blue}, urlcolor={medium-blue}

That still formats the links so that they're visible and obvious, but eliminates the colored box around them (via stackoverflow).

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