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[personal profile] desperance
Day Minus Four, and this is the last of the easy days we get, this side of the countdown. Well, they're all fairly easy for me, obvs: all I have to do is shop and cook and wash dishes and keep an eye on Karen. But we've had a week of largely being in the apartment with no calls on our time; she's had injections morning and evening (when the doctors come to us), a regime of many pills, and that's been it.

Tomorrow morning, we go to hospital for a surgical procedure, to fit Karen with a port below her clavicle, a direct line into a blood vessel for both input and output. Thursday they tap her precious bodily fluids for a few hours, to filter out 117 million stem cells; then they immediately turn the tap the other way and pump in more chemo. And more yet on Friday. Saturday is Day Zero, when her stem cells are returned to her to start restoring an immune system, hopefully one with better discipline, that won't be trying to eat her hereafter.

These few days are going to be the hardest, by the doctors' own admission. After that it's a couple of weeks of recovery in more or less isolation. If you're curious, look up "neutropenia". Karen gets to eat astronaut food and/or very well-cooked meat & fish. No salads, no fresh veg, no fruits. We wear masks, and she probably doesn't leave the apartment. She probably won't want to.

And then we're done, or at least they're finished with us. We come home (and trust me, you have no idea how attractive those words sound), and spend the next year rebuilding Karen's health. Lots of home-cooked food (hah!), lots of rest. A degree of care in social contact [get your flu shots, people! Herd immunity is going to be our friend, for the foreseeable future]. An ongoing drug regime for a while, but nothing onerous. Oh, and making friends with the cats again, because we will smell of the vet.

The Newsletter Cometh

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:55 am
hrj: (Alpennia w text)
[personal profile] hrj

Having listened to the promotional strategy advice of a wide variety of people, I'm planning to accomplish two things this weekend. One will be to set up Hootsuite (or some equivalent social media manager, but that's the one people seem to prefer) to handle automated promotional reminders that I rarely have the emotional energy to do manually. The other will be to set up an opt-in (of course!) newsletter for fans and readers to provide both a direct way to communicate announcements and other information, and to provide special content in exchange for access to attention. I figure to aim for absolutely not more often than once a month except for things like unexpected special sales (which I never know about in advance). Maybe less often than once a month, we'll see. I have a hard time planning these things because I'm not a newsletter reader myself, so I have to figure out what works for people who are.

So what sort of content will the newsletter provide? A lot of it will be just basic information:

  • Upcoming/New publication information

  • Upcoming appearances

  • Current projects

But I'll also be offering some special content not available to people who don't subscribe to the newsletter. And that's where you come in. Here are some ideas of my own, plus suggestions people have made online. Which of these would entice you to sign up for and read a newsletter? What other content would entice you?

  • Worldbuilding information (Alpennian language, geography, history, etc.)

  • Snippets of work in progress (no spoilers!)

  • Exclusive previews of Alpennian short fiction (stories that will eventually be released either free or as a collection, but that I'm not trying to sell individually)

  • Discussions of my writing process (for example, I kept a diary of how the plot of Daughter of Mystery developed as I was drafting it)

  • Alpennia fan art (with the artists' permissions, of course!)

  • Access to Alpennia swag (there is none yet, but I have some ideas percolating -- what would you be interested in?)

Let me know what you think. I'm still trying to get my mind around the psychological aspects of doing a newsletter and how it would differ from my blog, other than providing me with a list of people who have expressed a particular level of commitment and interest to following my writing.


 


Fitness Stuff

Oct. 16th, 2017 09:50 pm
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[personal profile] diemzone
Monday night is yoga night. As the Spouse has unexpectedly been put on back-shift for the next few weeks, this is the first time I've gone out and left the dogs at home on their own in the evening. I put the radio on, a rock station so they're used to the sound (the Spouse has Planet Rock on when he's home, it's good for the tinnitus), and then gave them a treat and left. I wondered if I'd worry about them too much to get the full benefit of the yoga but no, I was pretty much ok very quickly. It helped we were doing things that I'm confident in. I left feeling a bit taller, much more relaxed and breathing from the bottom of my lungs again. Came home and found the dogs occupying one sofa a-piece and happy I came home. It's a lovely feeling, both the welcome and the feeling of fitness. Not one I've had for many of the decades so far.

The Spouse, of course, is ahead of me in gym work. He started losing weight in the Spring, when he went for a medical for the new job. Last month he joined a gym and last week I went down and had a look around, a bit of a try on various things I recognised from the physiotherapy gym at UHND. Then I hit the sauna and the showers. I must admit, I felt pretty good about it. So - I joined up too. The induction session was at the weekend and I'll be off for my first proper session tomorrow. I reckon short sessions on each of the useful machines to start with, gradually becoming long if possible, over time (lots of time).

As and added incentive, Youngest Daughter (she who is on course to be Queen of the World) has just got engaged, so I've a wedding to get fit for. And hats. Lots of looking at hats.
I like hats.



* I just went to post this and was thoroughly startled to read an option for 'Composting Settings'.
Ahem. I did have my eyes checked, yes I did. Crossposting is way less interesting, though.

Another RPG bundle offer - Rippers

Oct. 16th, 2017 08:34 pm
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
This is a horror game I don't know much about, set in Victorian Britain and drawing on the Jack the Ripper mythos and a lot of other sources:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Rippers

"Rippers is the high-action horror campaign of Victorian-era monster-hunting for the Savage Worlds rules system from Pinnacle Entertainment. In the First Edition Rippers setting, an evil Cabal led by the monstrous Jack the Ripper brought the Victorian world of 1895 to its knees, until a team of heroes led by Johann Van Helsing fought back using implanted Rippertech torn from the creatures of hell. Ultimately that storyline revealed that the use of Rippertech damned the hero's soul to eternal torment, and even strengthened the enemy. But the new Second Edition, Rippers Resurrected, removes that unfortunate drawback. Now, with the Cabal in retreat, the Rippers hunt supernatural horrors across the globe in a struggle to take back the night.

Fog-filled horror in the gothic style the Penny Dreadful TV series and the 2004 film Van Helsing, Rippers Resurrected emerged into the gaslight in a triumphant October 2015 Kickstarter campaign. Now this offer, part of the Bundle site's annual "October Horrors" sequence, presents almost the entire Rippers and Rippers Resurrected lines, plus the complete Savage Worlds Deluxe rulebook AND the Horror Companion, cheaper than a few silver bullets for a Gatling pistol. It's everything you need for a complete campaign of abomination-stomping across the Earth.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$93. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all five titles in our Player's Collection (retail value $37) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the Rippers Resurrected Player's Guide, Archetypes, and the Deluxe Character and Campaign Journal, plus the complete Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition rulebook and its Horror Companion (both presented in several past offers).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Game Master's Collection with nine more titles worth an additional $56, , including the Game Master's Handbook and the Frightful Expeditions worldbook; the Plot Point campaign Lord of the Underworld; five Combat Maps of tombs, castles, and other spooky battlegrounds; and The Lost Library, a huge archive of the entire First Edition Rippers line (2005-2008), with adventures, characters, Figure Flats, and the Horror Wars miniatures game.

At least one more title will be added after launch. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.


OK, I might as well admit that I'm not a huge fan of the Savage Worlds system, it doesn't seem to offer much that other games don't. This particular iteration has a problem I've seen in other Victorian horror RPGs - it tries to simplify and Americanise everything, while piling in steampunk-style gadgets and general "everything but the kitchen sink" Victorian-ish fictional archetypes. We get Dracula and Van Helsing and Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes and... well, you get the idea. There's also the "everything is connected to everything else in a horrible conspiracy" trope in full flower.

Having said that, if you get in early enough it's pretty cheap, and you get quite a lot for your money. It isn't actively offensive, but I'd STRONGLY recommend that GMs who want to use it take on some additional sources for Victorian everyday life and real-world events, since politics, historical events, social issues etc. etc. get very little attention.

The weekend's bargains

Oct. 16th, 2017 07:05 pm
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
Didn't get out to the market etc. on Friday and Saturday, for various reasons, but rather a good haul from Sunday's first car boot sale:

A Nikon e-series 50mm f1.8 - for a fiver! And a Nikon EM body with 28mm f2.8 Sigma and some sort of small flash for a tenner - haven't tested the camera yet because I don't have the right lenses. The lenses are very nice, and are already on eBay.

And something I arranged to buy last week and collected today - a Holga 60mm f8 Lomography lens in Nikon fitting. It's crap, but I didn't pay much for it and I want to have a play with it and see just how bad it is before I sell it on. Except that with the stormy weather that's coming in it was too dark to try it today, and I suspect tomorrow won't be much better...
[syndicated profile] sfwa_feed

Posted by Editor

As part of a Twitter conversation, one of my favorite gamewriters, Ken St. Andre, suggested I write up something about SFWA and independent writers that goes into enough detail that people can understand why — or why not — they might want to join. This is part one of a multi-part series that will talk about some of the history behind the decision, and in this first part I want to talk about the organization prior to admitting independent writers. Part two will discuss how SFWA came to change membership criteria in order to make it possible for people to qualify for membership with indie sales in 2016, and some of the changes made as part of planning for that expansion. Part three will focus on how SFWA has changed in the intervening time, while part four will look at what I see as the changes that will continue as we move forward over the next decade. In all of this, I’m trying to provide something of an insider’s look that may or may not be useful, but certainly will be full of many words.

So what is/was SFWA, before the change? I’m going to paint in broad strokes here based on my understanding and research. (I’d love to see a book devoted to the history of SFWA at some point and one of our current projects is trying to collect that, under Vice President Erin M. Hartshorn’s direction.) The organization started in 1965 with Damon Knight organizing a number of professional genre writers in order to force publishers to treat writers better, namely pay them decent rates in a timely fashion while not taking excessive rights.

One of the first writers they helped was J.R.R. Tolkien, whose work has been pirated in the United States, Bob Silverberg said to me in email that there’s very few of those founding members left, but they included himself, Brian Aldiss, Harrison, Robert Heinlein, Kate Wilhelm and a host of distinguished others. Silverberg says Ellison as well, though the document he sent me seems to contradict that. At that time it was the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Initially SFWA was exactly what you would expect of a volunteer organization run by the most chaotic, capricious, and disorganized creatures possible: science fiction writers. Stories abound, including records getting lost because someone’s cat peed on them, Jerry Pournelle inviting Newt Gingrich to be the Nebulas toastmaster and a subsequent heated brouhaha that included some people walking out of the ceremony and Philip K. Dick agitating to get Stanislaw Lem expelled. My favorite remains Joe Haldeman’s account of the SFWA finances being somewhere in the realm of $2.67 when he became SFWA treasurer; he bought the notebook to keep track of them out of his own pocket.

The membership requirements were proof of a professional sale. Over time the memberships would expand, allowing associate members to join with a story sale, bringing in publishing professionals as associate members, and introducing estate and family memberships. The question of requalification – making members prove at intervals that they were still producing — was raised more than once, usually with plenty of heated discussion — but never implemented.

List of the founding members of SFWA.

The charter members of SFWA.

Along the way, SFWA grew and became an organization that did what its founders had envisioned, and more. Under Jerry Pournelle’s leadership, the Emergency Medical Fund, which helps writers with medical emergencies affecting their ability to to write, was implemented. A similar fund for legal situations followed. Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss launched Writer Beware under SFWA’s auspices and began the fight to keep new writers aware of unscrupulous editors, publishers, and agents.

The fight to keep writers from being preyed upon remained a focus for SFWA. In 2004, a group of SFWAns, under the direction of James D. Macdonald, wrote Atlanta Nights in order to expose the unscrupulous practices of PublishAmerica. The book, deliberately constructed to be unpublishable, featured two identical chapters, a chapter of computer-generated gibberish, missing chapters, and a list of characters whose names spelled out the phrase “PublishAmerica is a vanity press.” It was accepted for publication by the company, which withdrew the acceptance after the hoax was revealed.

Another focus would be an effort unsurprising for a group of writers: establishing a set of awards, the Nebulas. While that may seem a bit cynical on my part, I’ll point much less cynically to the effect of the awards: the recognition of some of the best and most interesting F&SF over the years via a prestigious award group that has grown to include screenplays and Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction as well as recognizing achievements in the field via the Kate Wilhelm Solstice award and the SFWA Grand Mastership.

Other good stuff that SFWA took on or did over the decades included a publisher audit that helped draw attention to auditing practices, started the SFWA Bulletin, a public-facing magazine aimed at educating and informing professional F&SF writers, and many efforts that started, worked for a while, and then died a graceful (sometimes less so) death when the volunteer driving them lost interest, died, or got fed up with SFWA.

Those membership requirements continued to change over the years, usually to reflect inflation. (To a degree. I’ve calculated that if we matched the buying power of the original rate, we’d be looking at closer to 20, 25 cents per word than the current 6.) The Science Fiction part was expanded to include Fantasy.

Over the decades, SFWA communications took multiple forms. The paper Forum was intended only for members and featured a letter column that was often lively in pre-Internet days. As the Internet grew in popularity, that shifted. The message boards were originally hosted on Compuserve and later moved to SFF.net, where they gained a name for being acerbic, nasty, and often contentious to the point where, when I joined, I was warned not to visit them. When I did, I found them considerably less heated than had been described, and not actually full of epic levels of bon mots, clever insults, and sundry literary feuds. The SFWA Handbook appeared in multiple forms, compiling articles of interest to working F&SF writers. The SFWA Bulletin became SFWA’s outward facing publication, publishing not just what SFWA was doing, but articles of interest to all genre writers.

During Russell Davis’s term as SFWA President, Davis did something that would radically affect the direction of the organization: began the move towards reincorporation as a 501c nonprofit in California. The organization had originally been incorporated in Massachusetts, which meant there were restrictions that included having to use paper ballots for elections rather than being able to use electronic means. I will confess here that when the advantages of it all have been explained to me in the past, my eyes glaze over a bit, so I may not be the best person to speak to all of the motivations.

I joined SFWA in early 2006 but did not do much with the organization, as an associate member with a short story sale to Chizine. I found the message board system unwelcoming and generally once I’d joined, I figured I’d checked that box off my writerly bingo card and could now move onto something else.

However, I got asked to volunteer for a group assembled after an incident where a bunch of files got pulled from Scribd, including a number whose rights-holders did not want them pulled. That was an interesting group and I learned a lot about copyright as a result. I also served on a jury for the Nebula award for short story; our job was to put one thing on the ballot that we thought would otherwise get overlooked. My impression of SFWA was, I think, like most members: I didn’t think much about what the board was doing and I took advantage of some of the SFWA offerings, like the SFWA suite at conventions, the local reading series, and reading the Bulletin.

In 2012, I was asked if I’d take over as head moderator of the SFWA discussion boards, which had moved away from SFF.net onto the SFWA website. I had been the moderator of an often contentious discussion board for a game community as well as a BBS, and so I felt reasonably comfortable taking on the role. What I didn’t foresee was how that role would change my relationship to the organization, making me much more aware of its internal workings. And then, Steven Gould spoke with me in 2014 and asked if I’d consider running for Vice President. It was an interesting time in SFWA’s history, I liked the people, and so I said yes.

In Part Two, I’ll talk about the discussion and process by which SFWA came to admit independent writers. #sfwa

•••

SFWA President Cat Rambo persists in writing, teaching, and editing atop a hill in West Seattle. Her 200+ story publications have been published in places such as Asimov’s, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Tor.com.  Her second novel, Hearts of Tabat, the sequel to Compton Crook Award nominated Beasts of Tabat, appears in early 2018 from Wordfire Press. Her nonfiction work includes Creating an Online Presence for Writers, Ad Astra: The SFWA 50th Anniversary Cookbook, and forthcoming Moving From Idea to Story.
Find links to her fiction, Patreon campaign, and popular online school, The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers at http://www.catrambo.com .

Guess the author!

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:07 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"Atwood lifted much of HANDMAID from Heinlein. Yet the world thinks she’s an original."

(no subject)

Oct. 16th, 2017 08:18 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Ashley linked to a fundraiser set up by a California credit union, Redwood Credit Union, to help communities impacted by the California wildfires. You can read more and give at their donation page.

[personal profile] kuwdora is a long-time fandom vidder who recently enrolled in a career coaching program with tv/film editor Zack Arnold, and she is now working to pay off the last installment of the program and transition from a vidding hobby to a professional editing career in Hollywood. You can read more here, give to her gofundme here, and buy art from her etsy here.

[tumblr.com profile] catlinyemaker linked to a fundraiser for [twitter.com profile] neolithicsheep, a disabled Navy vet and sustainable agriculture educator who is raising funds to get a border collie to help them with their Sovay sheep. You can read more about the fundraiser and retweet in a twitter thread here, and purchase various shirts and other branded goods at their Teespring here.

[personal profile] xturtle linked to their friend Marcia, who is raising funds to help cover vet bills for her sick bunny; she is running out of unemployment benefits and looking for work; in the meantime Caspian needs testing to determine what the lump in his stomach is and get his teeth fixed. You can read more and help out here.

Anon linked to a fundriaser for [tumblr.com profile] ohcrakerjacks, a victim of black toxic mold. She and her parents are raising funds to replace walls, insulation, flooring, and furniture. You can read more and check out commissions here and give to her ko-fi here, which will support supply purchases for the cross-stitch embroidery she sells.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[tumblr.com profile] suriel's husband is about to have two surgeries, each costing several thousand dollars, and they are raising money to cover expenses. They have sales in all their online shops: Fandom buttons and more, caramels and toffees, and their band shop. You can read and reblog here.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] vaspider, who is running a sale on their Etsy shop ($10% off $30 or more) to help with living expenses and home repairs after a job loss and other unexpected life events this year. You can check out the Etsy shop here; it includes a lot of nerdy/geeky Judaica as well as secular clothes, accessories, and cosplay.

News To Know:

[personal profile] brainwane linked to a writeup that [personal profile] kaberett posted about desensitizing themselves to board games; Board Game Desensitization Process is a template for people who may have a difficult relationship to card/board games but want to participate in the increasingly popular social events focused around them.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Failed crosspost

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:54 pm
kiya: (slightly mad)
[personal profile] kiya
I don't know why On The Naming of Cats (and other Things) didn't crosspost properly and I'm too fucking tired to chase it down.

Negative time, positive vibes

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:14 am
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
Good morning, from Day Minus Six! (I actually nearly typed Seven there, which would have been wrong. Happily I had the wit to check. These negative hours pass inconsistently, I find, and I lose my place in the calendar.)

This morning I learned in Mexico what had eluded me for five years in California: that not only does the Bay Area have an active cricket league, but that Sunnyvale has a cricket club which is a bright star in that league, and has a dedicated permanent cricket pitch a short cycle-ride from our house. I may have renewed sports fandom in my future. Ah, the crack of willow upon leather: how I have missed thee, my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!

Karen had a couple of utterly miserable days post-chemo, constantly sick and not at all interested in food. Ginger ale and water saw her through, with the aid of ginger candies; yesterday she had oatmeal for breakfast (how right was I, to bring steel-cut oats from California? *preens self*), a little soup for lunch and a little chicken and brussels sprouts for dinner. This morning I am making French onion soup and croutons, and we will see how the day plays out.

They're odd, these days. We're very detached from the world in here, and with Karen having been so sick we're a little detached from our own group as well. Everybody else had a roof-party yesterday, with real Mexican food and music; we lingered below in the backwash. We see doctors morning and evening, with Karen's shots; I go to the store as often as I can make excuse for it; otherwise we hang out in here, reading and dozing. We haven't even been watching much TV, though Netflix is a saviour and "Breaking Bad" turns out to be really rather good. I've been working on the Crater School - oh, and cooking, obviously - and I have The Count of Monte Cristo on my Kindle. An old friend, and always reliable. (Actually I think it a work of genius; our lawyer and I bonded over that, last month.)

With that first round of chemo having been so hard on Karen, we're anticipating a difficult second week, because the next round will be worse. But we're a quarter of the way through this whole process now, so that's a thing. And Karen will still be weak and immunocompromised, and it may be a year before she's fully recovered, but nevertheless. Our friends are awesome, and I'm there to do all the things, and with any luck it will all prove worthwhile. *nods affirmatively*
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Because I am me, I systematized my home search as much as I could – I have a spreadsheet in google that has not just my list of Best, Acceptable, and Totally Unacceptable buildings in it but also my mortgage calculator from the bank and various other financial stuff. I also went into the top few real estate websites (primarily Zillow and Estately) and set several different searches to be sent to my non-fandom inbox, where they were then filtered into a Housing folder (different from my other Housing folder, which has all my documents/communications with my realtor). 

Now I’m looking at my Housing folder which constantly has new emails in it and wishing there was just an “I BOUGHT A HOME, YOUR SERVICES ARE NOW IN VAIN” button I could press to notify all of those sites that no, really, I seriously do not anymore need your Real Estate Tips And Tricks newsletter anymore. 

Fortunately changing my address everywhere won’t be the nightmare my mum always complains it is, because I also have a spreadsheet of every website I’ve ever built a login for, and I just go through the spreadsheet (also it’s an excellent opportunity to delete my account from sites I never use). 

I’ve rarely lived anywhere for more than five years, and my phone number was deeply unstable for a while for similar reasons, but it’s a small wonder our generation prefers email to most other forms of communication – after all, my gmail addresses have been stable now for more than ten years. 

I believe I have now been Copperbadge On Social Media for longer than I have ever lived in any single residence. 

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[syndicated profile] thinkinganglicans_feed
Updated again Monday afternoon The Church of England has today released two documents: Statement on mediation with survivor Gilo Letter from three bishops to insurance company EIG This has been reported in the media: Guardian Justin Welby apologises to sexual...

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