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While cat-vacuuming^W^W researching country house floor plans yesterday, I stumbled into this site: http://www.british-history.ac.uk

It appears to be run by the University of London, and has a large number of digitised historical documents. Some of the content is subscriber-only, but most of it's free. Just the collection of Ordnance Survey maps will be of interest to a number of you, but there's a lot of other lovely research material as well, including gazetteers.
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Just collecting some links for further research -- I'm hunting up markets that pay by methods that are practical from the perspective of someone whose payment options are UK sterling cheque or electronic transfer to a UK sterling bank account, Paypal, usefully-spendable-in-UK gift vouchers, or actual bank notes. In other words, someone for whom US$ payment by banknote or Paypal or even Amazon UK gift certificate is fine, US$ check has value only as fire lighting material. I do not endorse any of these in any way, I'm just collecting stuff here for later consideration under the usual sanity checks.

Xcite Books themed anthologies with some interesting themes coming up, 2-4k, £50, no reprints

?? http://erotica-readers.com/ERA/AR/Cream_of_the_Crop.htm
Paid in US$, but Xcite and Audible UK, so may be UK-friendly. Deadline end April, but interesting short story premise.

2.5 3.3 or 5k, sterling payment

Circlet's looking for fiction, micro-fiction, blog posts, podcast etc - payment by Paypal or in kind (in kind by ebooks only for non-US authors edited for clarification -- if you're outside the US and want payment in kind rather than by Paypal, it's only ebooks, not print books, owing to cost of postage).

Total-e-bound - UK based, 10-100k

Flash fiction, columns, payment by electronic transfer

Fiction, poetry, articles, payment by electronic transfer

Fiction, poetry, articles, reviews, payment by electronic transfer

Fiction, pay by electronic transfer, but note that it's effectively invite-only, and expects heavy marketing efforts from the authors

fiction 2.5k, Paypal or in kind

I'm informed that Musa and Changeling also have feasible options.
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The blog Making Light has a lot of discussion that's useful for writers -- I've even got links to two posts on my LiveJournal sidebar. But it's not always easy to find specific topics, because there's just so much of it, mixed in amongst general fannish conversation. Which is why Kelly McCullough put together A Writer's Index to Making Light. This only goes up to the end of 2006, but there's a wealth of information in the indexed posts. The same blog also has an index to Miss Snark.

(I need to add these to my sidebar, but only after I've had my second mug of tea...)
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I've been too out of sorts to compose a post of my own for the last week, but I have been reading other people's posts. Here are some interesting things I found via Making Light:

Columnist Dan Savage reacted to the news of a gay teenager's suicide with this:

I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

So here's what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.

Scroll to the last item on Savage's Sep 23 column for the full details. The YouTube channel is at http://www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject


A professional scribe discusses the making of parchment in the context of materials for making a Torah. It is full of the sort of Interesting Facts About Stuff that fannish types like, not least being the lusting after a giraffe skin in order to make a really long parchment.


A back of the envelope calculation of the "so many books, so little time" problem, which shows exactly why I have decided that I am no longer going to keep reading a book just because it is there. Now, I used to get through nigh on 400 books a year, but that was back when I was a teenager with lots of free time, no internet, and rather better health than I currently enjoy. I don't think I'm ever going to get back to that rate again, even if I do know at least one person with older and worse eyesight than mine who manages it. James Nicoll reads for a living, so I'm not going to try to compete with him. :-)

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Austin Seraphin's blind. His new iPhone has changed his life.

This has been popping up my reading list this weekend, and no wonder. His blog post is a beautifully written description of just what some carefully thought out hardware and software can do to make someone's life better. The place where I started going "Oh, oh my god" was when he talked about being able to hear colour through the medium of the phone's camera and an app that reads out colour names. Just think about what that can do for someone who has just enough residual vision to make out colours in light sources.

For a lot of users, the iPhone is an expensive toy, a status symbol as much as anything. But not for all. Mass market information technology has created affordable "make a difference" devices for the disabled.

I love living in the future.
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On a more cheerful note...

Charlie has posted several more installments of Common Misperceptions About Publishing since I last linked. These are primarily aimed at demystifying the publishing industry for readers, but are also extremely useful for new(ish) writers and for small press writers interested in how mid-list works.

CMAP 4: Territories, Translations and Foreign Rights. Amongst other things, this goes into excruciating detail about why you can't buy that ebook edition you want just because you're in the wrong country. It also looks at how the various markets differ in formats and distribution of books, and how foreign rights can add up to a serious chunk of change that can make the difference between needing a day job and earning a reasonable living as a writer.

CMAP #5: Why books are the length they are. There is a reason why print books are the various lengths they are, and why that can change from market to market. As I chip in with somewhere down the comment thread, one major reason why I am epublished is the length I tend to write at -- never mind the hot boy-on-boy action, it's my word count that doesn't suit the current print market.

CMAP #6: Why did you pick such an awful cover for your new book? There is backstory here. As he eventually says, Charlie had an Unfortunate Experience with the US cover of Saturn's Children. Quite a lot of people assumed that he had something to do with said cover, but in fact authors have little to no say over what goes onto the book jacket. As a small press author at a fairly flexible epublisher, I have a lot more say over the cover matter on my books than Charlie does on his mid-list books, and I still don't have an actual veto over what my publisher chooses in its wisdom to put on my books. As Charlie discusses, there is a good reason for this, even if it ever so occasionally results in Author Weeping Into Beer.

Lots of good stuff there, in both the main posts and the comment threads.
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1) No writing here last night or tonight -- far too jet-lagged/sick to cope with writing after a full day at the Evil Day Job.

2) Charlie Stross has started a series of blog posts explaining stuff about the publishing industry in layman's terms, because it became clear during the Amazon/Macmillan dust-up that most readers knew very little about such matters as who makes decisions like the evil that is DRM. (It's *not* the people who you would think of as "the publishers", but several layers up the heirarchy of the MegaCorp that owns the publishers along with assorted businesses in completely unrelated fields.) First part here:
Common Misconceptions About Publishing: #1

If you want to know *why* your favourite author/publisher is failing to do the obvious, this post and the ones to follow will probably give you a good idea...
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A commenter on Making Lightnotes that there is an excellent article on Islamic tile design in the current issue of Saudi Aramco World, including the Moorish designers' discovery of quasi-non-periodic tiling rather a long time ago.

He also linked to a fascinating article on the history and problems of typesetting Arabic script. If you're interested in either calligraphy or the geeky aspects of typesetting this is well worth a read.

I think I must have a ferret around this magazine's website when I have more time...
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Snagged from the Broad Universe mailing list -- Anne Wilkes is putting together a database of places to request reviews of your sf:

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I think it would be helpful to put up a pointer to the Five Geek Social Fallacies, a useful primer on how and why sf fandom is inclined to turn a blind eye to bad behaviour:
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No, not from me. One of the other members of Broad Universe has a blog post this weekend about business card design for writers. It's a useful little post that's worth looking at.

It's also a nice example of viral marketing, because her day job is graphic design and she's offering a business card design to one person who posts a comment to her blog post. She's *also* offering a free download of her forthcoming book -- but not to the person who wins the business card design. She's asking people to link to her post; and if the winner of the design offer has done so, then someone who commented on *their* linking post gets the download. In other words, if I win the card design, someone who comments on this post gets the download. Now that is a cunning bit of marketing.
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Must remember to get a couple of these the next time I'm at Ikea:

(Yes, I was doing some costume research for a Fragments-inspired fic. Apparently Torchwood reaches the fanfic-writing parts that other shows cannot. If I've got as far as doing actual research, it's probably time to think about where I post the thing when it's done, because clearly it is going to get written.)
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Scalzi offers Unasked-For Advice to New Writers About Money. It may be entertainingly worded, but it's truth. Read and assimilate.
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This is a medical wiki run by doctors, which may be a useful reference source for the writers amongst you:


There's not a huge amount there at the moment, but what there is has a lot of links to other sites. Some of the entries are about being a doctor, rather than about medicine as such.

More links

Dec. 10th, 2007 08:59 pm
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This time I'm digging up some good discussions at Dear Author about author websites, and marketing:


Look through the comment threads, because not everyone agrees with the main post. But it's a useful perspective.
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Nail Gaiman's blog post with the letter from Teresa Nielsen Hayden listing lots of useful links about the writing business and how not to get scammed:

"Follow the Money" -- TNH's analysis of a new model of vanity press scam exploiting POD technology to conceal the sting:

In the middle of a discussion about a vanity press, a quick discussion of how bankruptcy law makes those bankruptcy clauses in publishing contracts effectively worthless if you're relying on them to get your rights back:

Scrivener's Error on the differences between commercial publishing, self-publishing and vanity publishing. The second link has a nice little table that shows you how to classify a publisher.

And that last one is the one I was looking for when I started collecting links to post in various places today if needed. Because if the books belong to the publisher as they come off the press, and the guaranteed capital outflow on publishing date is away from the author, then it's a vanity press. Doesn't matter what the publisher tries to tell you about only passing on fees from the printer, it's still a vanity operation if they own the books as they come off the press.
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A couple of links that may be of interest:

Elisa Rolle has a new Italian/English dual language romance blog. Author interviews, excerpts, articles about the history of romance and more at Rosa is for Romance, all in both English and Italian. (She's still posting her English-language reviews at [livejournal.com profile] elisa_rolle.) If you're interested in the romance genre, there's some good stuff here, and while it's in blog format, discussion is welcome in the comment threads.


Read the Rainbow is a discussion forum for readers of gay-themed books of all genres. From the "about the forum":

I'd like it to be a place where folks from all sorts of other lists and blogs and forums and groups can get together to chat about gay books, gay authors, and gay films; discuss various issues about gay writing; make recommendations; pass on news or new book titles; and generally have fun!

I've found it useful for book recommendations that go into a reasonable amount of depth.
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More from the romance blog Dear Author about the Triskelion bankruptcy. If you're a Triskelion author, you need to read this. But it's also worth your time simply as a case study if you're involved in small press, especially epublishing. Jane analyses the bankruptcy filing, and digs out some interesting information. The comments are worth reading as well, particularly the description of a publisher behaving badly towards authors who decided that they wanted out.

The Triskelion mess is an excellent example of why you should do your homework before submitting to a publisher. It won't guarantee you don't get caught up in something like this, but it will improve your chances of avoiding a publisher with trouble brewing. December Quinn has an excellent series of blog posts about finding the right publisher:


You also want to check out Emily Veinglory's guest post at Dionne Galace's blog, about the wide range of sales figures within epublishing:
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Having just Googled for a supplier of my favourite editing pen, Pentel's R56 rollerball in red, I stumbled into this purveyor of all things pennish:


*Serious* stocking of all those hard to find refills and exotic ink colours, as well as the pens themselves.


Pen porn

Aug. 4th, 2007 10:32 am
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Started clearing out the Westercon detritus from my con bag, and found the business card from the person who makes handcrafted pens in woods and fancy plastics. These are utterly gorgeous, and I have enough pen fetishists on my flist that I thought I should get her catalogue URL. Of course, I may not be thanked for providing a new way to spend money on something people don't really *need*, but want. :-)

Index page

Current catalogue:


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