Blue ink: Robert Oster School Blue
Pen: Aurora Optima blue chrome.
Red ink: Robert Oster Astorquiza Rot.
Pen: Aurora Optima 75th Anniversary.
Because Blacklist doesn't just jump the shark, it has FLYING SHARKS.
Uh, excuse my sad excuses for chess pieces. I didn't think to reference a chess set and I don't remember what the pieces look like except that knights are horses and rooks are castles. I should have done a rook instead of the bishop-thing.
And he hates it.
When I get up to pick him up and take him away from one of the other cats he's been harassing, I can feel how he is tense all through his forequarters, and hear him breathing so hard and so rough. And when I doctored his ear after Raleigh gave him a (well-deserved, small but bloody) scratch, he made a very human grunt of pain, but didn't shy away from ME or fight ME. He lets me doctor his eye when it hurts him so much from the ocular herpes, and he never bites or scratches.
For pity's sake, a few hours ago, I asked him to follow me into the kitchen so I could clean his face and eye, medicate his eye, and pill him. He followed me, purring, even though he KNEW that's what was going to happen and he hates all that. He came with me to the fridge to get his eye medicine and looked inside, like he always does. He squirmed a little but behaved himself for the gross/ouchy part. His reward? One nasty cat treat with a pill inside it. He was happy with just that. Didn't fuss or fight at all. He is a good cat.
He is a fundamentally gentle cat, driven to distraction by an unchecked mental issue. He has had such a hard time, he has been so unhappy, and it has been breaking my heart.
I want this to work out. I never intended to wind up with FIVE CATS but telling my GF to rehome hers is just as much a non-option as rehoming mine just because new boys came along. I love them ALL. I strive to treat them all with the same care, barring insulting Etrigan with much greater frequency.
But if I'm honest, I especially love my smelly cryptid man.
This is the third chunk of data and analysis from the 2016 Novelist Income Survey.
A number of people have asked how the number of books published in 2016 correlates with income, particularly with indie writers. We saw in part two that authors who primarily self-publish can do quite well. Is volume one of the secrets to success, and is it a greater factor for indie writers than traditionally the published?
I used the same method as before for separating out authors who were primarily indie, primarily large press, and primarily small press.
Three survey questions asked how many books respondents had published in 2016 through a large press, a small press, and through self-publishing. This brings me to my first data quandary. When I’m looking at the indie authors, do I count just the number of books they self-published, or the total number of books? Because a lot of our authors are hybrid, those numbers won’t be the same. So I graphed the data both ways, and found that the results — particularly the trend line — looked pretty much identical.
I decided to go with the total number of books published in any category, and to see how that number affected income for authors who were primarily indie, small press, or large press.
I removed the highest outlier from each graph below, both because it appeared to be disproportionately influencing the results, and because it threw off the scale and made it harder to see the rest of the data points. Because this was using net income, I also removed the handful of authors who didn’t report any expenses, since I had no way of calculating those net incomes.
Small Press Authors:
Large Press Authors:
Everyone’s clear on the correlation =/= causation thing by now, right? That said, the trend lines on the three graphs are pretty striking. For authors who are primarily indie, the graph suggests a correlation between number of books published and overall income. The correlation for small press is significantly smaller.
But most fascinating to me is that for large press authors, the line is essentially flat. The authors with 8 or 10 large press novels in 2016 made roughly the same as the average author with 1 or 2 large press books. Excellent news for the one book/year folks with big publishers.
Median and Average Books/Year
As I was wrapping up, it occurred to me that I should compare how prolific the different types of author were. This turned out to be interesting as well, though not too surprising.
Books Published in 2016: Median (Average)
- Large Press 1 (1.2)
- Small Press 1 (1.3)
- Indie Press 2 (3.1)
While the median large and small press author published one book last year, the median indie published two. The difference in the average numbers is even stronger.
There are exceptions to everything, of course. I know some ridiculously prolific and successful big-press authors. But overall, I think this supports to the idea that success in self-publishing depends more strongly on how many books you can put out. It also shows that indie authors are following that approach and getting more books out there.
One last note. (Or maybe just one last excuse to post a pie chart.) 63 authors reported a net loss in 2016. 36 of those were indie authors. 19 were small press. 8 were large press.
Intuitively, this makes a kind of sense. Self-publishing requires the author to invest in the up-front production costs, as well as marketing. But I’d want to collect a lot more data than I have before coming to any firm conclusions.
In Our Next Episode
I’m very curious to look at the hours/week spent on promotion and marketing, and to see how much that correlates with income. In other words, does all that work we do trying to get our names out there really have an impact? (I’m guessing the answer may be very different depending on whether or not you’re large press, small press, or indie.)
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
“The president, I think, makes statements [and] on other occasions contradicts himself. So we’ve learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says,” he said.
Without mentioning the president’s name, McCain lamented a shift in the US and Europe away from the “universal values” that forged the Nato alliance seven decades ago. McCain also said the alliance’s founders would be “alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies.”
He's not, is he?
ABC News: McCain slams Trump in Munich speech without using his name
... is he?
Is this just an odd coincidence, or is McCain joining in with the un-naming? It seems exceptionally unlikely, but ...
Also, while I am quite taken with "Buttercup", I also like this thought from doitninetimes:
Look, I am about as petty as it gets and The Current State Of Affairs have only been pushing me toward my Worst Self. I love! a petty asshole nickname, especially for one so worthy of mockery and distain. But let’s pin this one where it belongs. He is our current Republican President, and you fucking bet I’m going to take every opportunity to bring up that little fact.
"The Current Republican President" (I've also heard suggestions of "the Republican administration"). Because until/unless they impeach him, they fucking own him.
And of course one could always split the difference and go for "Buttercup [or appellation of one's choosing, whether his legal name or not], the current Republican president". So many fun options!
Also, of course, it's important that we all learn how to impeach a President.
And I was reminded that if a President can be proved to have colluded in a break-in at the DNC headquarters, there is extremely specific form for impeaching them (I'd somehow not consciously made this connection before, and I don't feel it makes a terrific difference if the break-in is cyber rather than "tape over the latches" ...).
Educational and uplifting!
I'm still down the hole (and plotting a viewing of All The President's Men and re-read of contemporaneous Doonesbury, because hey, might as well go for the full mini-fest here), but here are some links for anyone who wishes to join me in partying like it's 1974:
Because I am apparently not the only one feeling retro: The NYT: What Did Trump Know, and When Did He Know It? and Tom Brokaw: The Offer From Nixon I Refused
Also, can we offer a prize to the first journalist/interviewer/Twitterer who can get Buttercup to say (or Tweet) "I'm not a crook"? It's got to be possible to goad him into it. Got to.
(Or amusingly impossible: "Mr. President, are you a crook?" would probably get a ten-minute ramble about the electoral college and "fake news", interspersed with shouted orders to sit down.)
Because sometimes it's nice to know this shit, even if it doesn't (yet) have any practical implications for how to deal with stuff.
DID YOU KNOW that there's a very well-documented correlation between joint hypermobility and anxiety (and also autonomic and "somatic" problems -- stuff like fibromyalgia, IBS, migraines, etc.)? As in, if you are hypermobile you are way more likely to have the others? Trufax:
It's to the point where one group of researchers have even proposed giving it a name, the "neuroconnective phenotype":
Researchers don't have a clue why there's this connection; it's just one of those weird but strong correlations where they know that if they figured it out, they might know a lot more about what's going on in both conditions. But (at present) they don't. Also, collagen is weird.
So if you're dealing with this cluster of stuff, it's probably not just random coincidence: there is a reason. We just have no idea what the reason is yet.
At any rate, it's yet another reminder that the brain is part of the body, and that even the stuff that's in your head isn't "all in your head".
The first is the constant tilt-whirling of the weather: up, down, hot, cold, freezing, unseasonably warm, snow, rain, sunny, dark tumults of clouds as the Hudson Hawk winds claw through one's muffled layers.
Politika! Much, much, much of that.
Merovingians! How splendid, that our reading into these peoples once called the barbarian invasions who made the Dark Ages has finally revealed some answers to some nagging questions, if not even the questions I was asking. Marriage, for instance. The Merovingian family's power elite males weren't interested in either monogamy or marriage (the first Merovingian king, Clovis I, didn't become Christian until 496. His Christian wife, Clotilde, had been baptized into both the Catholic and eastern Church, so she was doubly interested in converting her husband, presumably. But generally the Merovingian kings didn't marry at all, or married serially. There was no line of inheritance of the lands they conquered to an heir. Brothers of a single mother might and often did united again their half brothers from other women their father had sired. This tended to keep the warlord state-of-mind very much alive among other warriors -- and there was always booty of land and possessions as reward for more war.
So I am dimly beginning to see why the Church might have drum beated for so long the necessity of marriage to one woman and one woman only, and that only her children were legitimate considerations for heirs. Kingship, marriage and heirs created political stability in a very unstable era. This Gallo-Roman world is also the one to which Charlemagne was the heir (though he wasn't at all careful about official, state marriage either). It is also then the world out of which the feudal French hierarchical political, legal, religious and administrative system based on land emerged. So we can see why primogeniture emerges too -- one heir only to the whole shebang, no parceling out land, which re-created instability. And primogeniture is a feature by intention then, of the feudal system. OK. that's as far as we've gotten with this so far.
Social life, lots of social life, some of it around actions, activities etc., some of it purely social, such as my birthday.
The Grants! I am reading Julia Dent Grant's Personal Memoirs, dictated by her to various people including her oldest son, and a series of secretaries, over quite some years. It's at least as fascinating for what she leaves out or glosses over as the occasional, pointed, barbed comments directed to certain figures she feels slighted, lied about, or injured her husband in some way. But the overall climate of her easy conversational transcribed text is sunny, filled with many observations that anyone interested in women of the middle to late 19th century USA would find useful.
Beginning preparations for the Cuba trip which is now only three weeks away!
And now I rush off for the evening!
I have a general fictional relationship question: when you look for signs that a fictional couple (or moresome) really cares about each other, what...do you look for? I am so stuck. My idea of a declaration of love is "Let's have sex!", which, uh, lacks subtlety.
(I'm aware of the languages of love research and am foxed as to how to apply it to the characters I need to apply it to.)
(I have writing reasons to be mad-last-minute researching this. Too bad I can't send this character to a chocolate store. He and his lover are on a spaceship at war.)
She harassed me for years and is still doing it; she carried on elaborate campaigns to destroy the careers of other pro writers in her genre; she befriended people and then blackmailed them; the list goes on. As far as anyone can tell, she's devoted her entire life to being horrible, online and off, for a minimum of twelve years now.
I have encountered a lot of mean people in my life. But Winterfox is the only person I've ever known who makes people miserable as a full-time job. I literally do not know how she finds the time to bully as many people as she does, as constantly as she does. She could afford to bankroll organizations protecting human rights or rescuing orphan kittens. She could create her own publishing house. She could go on really awesome long vacations. But no. She just hunches over her computer 24-7, spewing vitriol in all directions.
I think we need a word that means "pathetic and a little bit darkly funny, but also genuinely harmful." I suggest "winterfoxy."
So why am I posting now? What's new?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Winterfox is still doing everything she used to do, as far as I can tell. She still makes death threats. The people she blackmailed are still being blackmailed. She still harasses me in the exact same way she always did: I review a comic book about gay men in Iran, she accuses me on Twitter of being a child abuser.
At least, I assume she's still attacking me. I have asked (and still ask) people to not inform me if they see her saying anything about me. Since I don't do Twitter anyway, this means I miss about 99% of her activities and so only randomly and occasionally hear about it when she lies about or abuses me. Last time was about six months ago, so I imagine I'm due. Bring it, Winterfox. If you tweet about me a thousand times, I'll probably hear about one of them. I'm sure you'll find that motivational.
I am writing about her again for a couple reasons. One is to link to a surprisingly funny (considering the subject matter) essay by my friend, fantasy author Zen Cho, Being an Itemized List of Disagreements . Another is a thoughtful and heartfelt post by another friend, artist and writer M Sereno, A Letter to Apex Editors . Both were written to protest the embrace of a vicious and destructive bully, protect vulnerable people from her, and alert people who might not know exactly who they're dealing with to her past and current activities.
That's also why I posted. (So linking is fine.) Winterfox doesn't scare me any more. She's way too much of a coward to risk hiring a hit man, let alone confronting me in person. Anyone who believes I'm a child abuser or pro-rape or whatever because some rando on Twitter said so is not only not someone whose opinion I care about, they probably don't even know who the hell I am. I don't go to science fiction conventions, so she can't get me ostracized there. There's really nothing she can do to harm me.
But there are other people she can harm. There are people she is harming right now. She and her supporters make the science fiction world unwelcoming to her targets, who are disproportionately women of color. They also make it unwelcoming to onlookers who see people like them getting abused with impunity and even applause, and decide to go elsewhere. Not fucking okay, Winterfox supporters!
Sometimes life hands you difficult and complex ethical problems in which the right thing to do is genuinely unclear. This is not one of them. If you are endorsing someone whose big contribution to your field is to tell women of color that they should be raped by dogs, you are not one of the good guys.
I'm not calling for a boycott of her fiction. I'm not even saying you should stop being buds with her, though if you are, for God's sake don't email her anything she could hold over you later. What I am saying is that you should not ostracize people on her account, join in on bullying, believe anything she says about anyone without checking it yourself, brush off her death threats, or invite her to a roundtable on intersectionality. For instance.
Also, if you see someone interacting with her who doesn't know her history, you might want to warn them. I told her once to stop verbally abusing people, and I have now been harassed by her for six years and counting. Others thought she was their friend, and are still being blackmailed by her. If people know about her and choose to interact with her anyway, that's up to them. But if they don't know, a heads-up might save them a world of trouble.
If you already totally agree with me and would like to get Winterfox's goat, I have some suggestions for ruining her day.
You could donate to Outright Action International . They do stellar work in international LGBTIQ rights. I raise money for them, and Winterfox attacks me every time I do it online. So clearly, donating to them would really annoy her.
You could buy some art from M Sereno. It's gorgeous, and I bet it would really piss Winterfox off to know that people are financially supporting and appreciating the work of someone who had the nerve to speak out about her. Especially, to continue the theme of queer rights, the lovely print "To Live."
You could buy Zen Cho's awesome books, ditto: Sorcerer to the Crown, The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo, Spirits Abroad, and The Terracotta Bride.
You could buy or review books by people she harasses and whose careers she's tried to destroy, and also by people who supported them. That list is very long so I'll just link to a few: The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring, Serpentine by Cindy Pon, Glass Houses: Avatars Dance by Laura Mixon, To Shape the Dark (Feral Astrogators) by Athena Andreadis, Rosewater by Tade Thompson, The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, Shadowboxer by Tricia Sullivan, The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan, Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord, Mindplayers by Pat Cadigan, and What Fates Impose (includes a story by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz).
I initially wasn't going to post more than just links to the other two posts. I'm seriously ill and didn't think I had the energy for either the writing of or the fallout from a post like this. But when I started, I realized that in fact, I'm sick enough that I really don't give a damn. Also, apparently thinking about Winterfox gives me some energy. The WTF factor alone could launch a thousand ships.
I realized something else, too. No matter how bad things get for me, I will always have one thing to be grateful for: at least I'm not Winterfox.
So there’s a fairly repellent article on the plastic surgeon who’s created what he calls “the perfect vagina.” It is, according to the article, “pink, plump and hairless.”
And I’m like, “What the fuck WHO GETS TO DECIDE WHAT THE PERFECT VAGINA LOOKS LIKE AND WHY IS IT A GUY.”
Honestly, whenever I’ve written about my unfounded insecurities about my dick (link goes to a FetLife essay), women write in to say that most of them don’t care much about the size of the dick as long as it works. This despite the fact that porn of all stripes would tell you that every guy’s packing 7.5″ regular and everyone really wants to have a 12″ cock. And speaking as a guy who’s heard his share of locker room talk, I don’t recall a man having a firm (heh) preference on vagina visuals; generally, we’re just happy to be there.
It’s weird, because to me this is the downside of porn; once you start seeing lots of vaginas, you start ranking them in ways you wouldn’t if they were presented to you by people you loved, or at least hopefully liked. I don’t think anyone really starts out looking at porn and goes, “That pussy’s a 3 out of 10. TRY AGAIN, PORN STARLET.”
No, what happens is a slight preference over hundreds of vaginas; “That’s a little nicer, I guess. I might do with less hair, if you asked.” And those tiny shrugs add up into porn stars slowly converging towards some rude mean, and then over time – compare presentations of pussy in the 1970s to those in the 2000s – people come to expect that this is what a pussy should look like, and then suddenly outliers look weird.
What gets slowly nudged to the front is this denuded white-girl ideal, a mild predilection amplified by an abundance of poon and a market desperately eager to gather dollars. And that pussy, largely, doesn’t exist except for when it’s created, usually by painful Brazilian waxing techniques.
But like dicks or female bodies or male bodies, people have their own preferences – ones they don’t talk about, because a) objectivization is always weird, and b) they’ve been trained to think that their own preferences are somehow bizarre when really, if you did a survey, you’d find that people liked all sorts of female bodies, not just the skinny-model types.
They just don’t discuss it because, well, the skinny-model types are the ones you’re societally-authorized to drool over. Going, “Melissa McCarthy is so hot” gets people going, “Hey, man, she’s a comedienne, is it really cool to uncork such volcanic lust on her?”
So there’s this weird reverberation wherein people are authorized to like a specific form of body, and because they speak out that’s the body type people become conditioned to like (even if that conditioning doesn’t necessarily take), and all of society seems to desire this thing and this thing only when really it’s a mild majority preference by a lot of people who’d also be equally (if not more) happy with something else.
And so we’ve converged on this so-called “perfect” pussy – so much so that women feel the urge to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get professionals to cut them into a different configuration.
Which I can’t shame them for. I have severe depression, and sometimes you need to take shortcuts – you can all but kill yourself fighting this thing you know to be untrue, or sometimes you just say “Yeah” and take the path of least resistance. If the surgery makes them happier in the end, then I can’t blame them as long as they don’t start pussy-shaming other people.
(Nor can I blame the folks who get surgery for practical reasons – hey, yeah, if your lips stick out enough that it’s painful to ride a bike, sure. So really, I can’t blame anyone.)
But I think the whole syndrome is a shame that society is quietly shaping what a pussy “should” look like. Like I said, I don’t think most guys really have hard-core preferences on the matter, and those who do generally are the people who’ve had their mindset sculpted by porn to an uncomfortable degree.
What people like in porn and in movies is generally different from what people like when they’re dealing with, well, people. And thank God. Because those preferences are some idealized convergence created by abundance, reinforced by familiarity, and I hope none of us are as narrow as what the media would want us to desire.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
plaidadder: Buttercup vs. the U. S. Constitution
Conclusion: there are some grown-ups somewhere in the chain of command who have tried to put the handbrake on this constitutional-crisis train. These grown-ups don’t want another national story about Buttercup’s administration violating the law. They are therefore trying to make it look, at least, as if Buttercup is running a normal presidency that will try to promote its agenda through normal channels and challenge court decisions they don’t like IN COURT, as the Constitution demands, as opposed to just ordering people not to comply with them.
And then here’s Buttercup on Twitter:
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
Buttercup is not on message. Buttercup is not a grownup. Buttercup thinks checks and balances are ridiculous. Buttercup thinks that if he says something it should come true. Buttercup thinks that the executive is “our country” whereas the judiciary is…what, exactly? Buttercup isn’t sure, but he does know that the “so-called” judiciary has no right to tell him what to do. They’re not even his real dad.
Buttercup is spoiling for a constitutional crisis. And of these days, Buttercup is gonna get himself a big one.