Monday, April 8, 2019

Incommunicado

The first knee surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning, after which I'll be at the hospital for a couple of days. Once I get sprung, I expect to be stuck in the one part of our house which has a bedroom and a bathroom at the same level, at least until I can manage stairs again -- no idea how long that's going to take, but I hope it won't be more than another couple of days. The thing is that this part of the house is the part where Internet access is patchy at best and mostly nonexistent.

Given my relaxed "schedule" of blog postings, this gap should hardly be noticeable. But if anybody wonders why I'm not responding to comments or emails this week, now you know.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

FINISHED!


Not that it's of great importance or immediate relevance, but the First Reader is out and the kids could care less, and I have to gloat to somebody. I've just typed the last words of the seventh book in the Applied Topology series - the one I thought I wasn't going to write, but Thalia ambushed me. And as usual, I'm inordinately pleased. Not to mention being grateful to Real Life, for letting me finish it thirty-six hours before I have to present myself to the hospital for the first knee surgery. I figure I can lounge in bed or on a couch and edit the thing, even in the hospital and then at home, but I'm not so sure about placing a laptop on my knees or concentrating well enough to write new words in that first week.

For chronological reasons this book will have to be published after the first two books in the upcoming Dragon Speech series, because the first one has to take place less than a year after A Revolution of Rubies. Furthermore, Thalia makes cameo appearances in both Dragon Speech books; in the first one she's pregnant, in the second she's nursing a newborn, and in this book the baby is 10 months and she is just, with some reluctance, agreeing to go back to work part-time. I could edit the cameo appearances, but I don't see any way around the Revolution of Rubies connection. Ah, the joys of writing two series in the same universe! And when I think that I did this to myself... oh, well. It does not materially diminish the joy of completing this one.

The working title, which I rather like, is A Child of Magic. As always, reactions and suggestions are always welcome, but bear in mind that I'd like to keep to the format of the first six Applied Topology books: A [NOUN] of [NOUN].

Thursday, April 4, 2019

It's not #MeToo, it's just plain creepy.

I’ve been watching in stunned disbelief as a parade of women accuse Joe Biden of embarrassing them with inappropriate touching… and a parade of opinion writers, many of them conservative, rush to assure us that there is nothing to see here, nothing at all.

A popular line of argument is, “We didn’t believe Kavanaugh’s accuser because she had no evidence, therefore we should not believe Lucy Flores (or the other six-and-still-counting women who have complained.)” Huh? If there’d been a string of publicly available videos showing Kavanaugh throwing girls onto beds and jumping on them, you bet your sweet patootie we’d have believed his accuser. In Biden’s case there is just such a string of videos showing him behaving precisely as Lucy Flores describes, except in most cases his victims are not grown women but young girls. (More on that later.) Why wouldn’t I believe that at an event which wasn’t videotaped he behaved exactly as badly as he did when the cameras were on him?

Cue the defenders.

He didn’t actually rape anyone, so what’s the big deal?
Tucker Carlson: “Hugging is not sexual assault. Eskimo kisses are not rape. That used to be obvious. It's not obvious anymore. And so we are sorry for helping to blur the distinction between human affection and coercive immoral behavior.” https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-we-are-offering-an-apology-and-it-has-to-do-with-joe-biden-and-anti-human-hysteria
Excuse me? Nobody has accused Biden of rape. They’ve accused him of behaving inappropriately, in a way that caused them discomfort, and – this is important, y’all – in a public setting where they were part of the display. Where they felt inhibited against pulling away, telling him to back off, slapping his face, or whatever else women are supposed to do when a man puts his hands where they are not wanted. Being grabby isn’t rape. But it’s also not okay. And when you choose to do it where the woman concerned feels that to object might be a breech of decorum that would harm the political party you both belong to, it actually is “coercive immoral behavior,” Tucker.

He's just a victim of changing standards.
Andrea Peyser: “Weird Joe, who’s been showing keen affection to members of the fairer sex since before he became a big Democratic macher, has done the unforgivable in this humorless age. He’s shown genuine human warmth of the male variety to females in the scary era of #MeToo…. Once, a man who gave a lady a friendly pat, a shoulder rub or an encouraging peck on the noggin was either thanked profusely, ignored or simply asked to stop.
Women, it was presumed, weren’t so powerless as to be unable to avoid unasked-for contact.”
https://nypost.com/2019/04/03/the-bonkers-assault-on-joe-biden/
What world did you grow up in, Andrea? Yes, women are usually able to avoid unasked-for contact, though it helps if they are (a) grown women and not young girls, and (b) not standing in front of cameras at a public event meant to honor their fathers. But why should they have to fight off such contact from men who ought to know better?
When I was growing up, in the fifties and sixties, I attended plenty of adult gatherings, most of them male-dominated; that was the reality of academic life in mathematics at that time, and having a father who was chairman of the department meant I had less freedom than my peers to duck out of such gatherings. Some of them were arranged to honor distinguished visitors to whom I was supposed to be very, very polite.
Not one of those men ever put his hands on me, sniffed my hair, or whispered sweet nothings into my ear. They knew better. It had nothing to do with “the scary era of #MeToo” and everything to do with the standards governing male behavior. Is Joe Biden a victim of changing standards? Hell, no. He’s somebody who never learned the rules in the first place, or more likely, somebody who decided the standards for common decency didn’t apply to him.
The people who are coming forward to complain about Biden’s behavior are mostly adult women, and I might be inclined to say, “You made your choice to let a senior member of your party grope you rather than make a scene that would be politically embarrassing.” But what do we say to the young girls who’ve suffered from Biden’s handsiness? Take a look at the video compilations – there’s a short one here, if Youtube hasn’t taken it down yet – and tell me those little girls should have been able to evade Biden’s hands, or that they deserve this treatment for trying to stand still and not embarrass their parents by making a scene. But don’t worry, Biden’s apologists have that covered too.

He didn’t drag them backstage and rape them, did he?
Heather MacDonald on the widely publicized pictures of Biden with young girls: “In almost every one, the girls’ parents are standing next to them in an even larger crowd. There is no possibility that Biden is going to abduct the children for sexual favors.” https://spectator.us/joe-biden-policing-personal-space/
Oh well, that’s all right, then. I totally don’t mind you rubbing your hands all over my daughter and snuffling her hair, Uncle Joe, even if it makes her miserable, because it’s not rape-rape.

Should this behavior disqualify Biden for the presidency? I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s creepy and that he should have been called out on it years ago.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Salt Magic is live on Kindle!


Well, that didn't take long! I think it's magic; a little public grumbling works wonders. I got the .mobi
version of Salt Magic

last night, promptly uploaded it to Kindle, and it was live this morning. (As usual, the paperback version will take longer; I still have to go through the minuet of providing KDP with a version of the cover that it likes. No matter how carefully Cedar Sanderson and I follow their published rules, we have never yet achieved that with at least one "correction."

Meanwhile:



Sunday, March 31, 2019

More Salt Magic snippets

Getting the typos in the e-book fixed is taking way longer than it should. Yeah, yeah, I know, formatting books for Kindle is so easy now and there's no excuse for hiring somebody instead of learning how to do it myself and I should try [THE LATEST TOOL]. Yeah. On those mornings when I wake up and say to myself, "I really feel like getting frustrated out of my mind trying to use a software tool that doesn't work as advertised," I try one of those tools. Meanwhile, I'm still using a formatting service.

And so, while I wait:

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Salt Magic: something completely different


Today I'm fixing a couple of typos and preparing to release the e-book of Salt Magic, a Regency fantasy romance -- more fantasy than romance; I won't be listing it in any of Amazon's "romance" categories. I'm a bit nervous about this release because it represents a radical departure from my previous e-books and I don't know how readers will take it. If there are any readers, that is. I think of the Applied Topology books as light, fast-moving, funny. Popcorn books: a little something crunchy and tasty when you're in the mood for it.

Salt Magic is more... oh... dreamy, stylized, flavored with Regency romance and Orkney lore of the sea. Cedar Sanderson has done her usual excellent job as cover artist, giving me a cover that signals in every
possible way that this is a sea fantasy and not a quick tour of mathematical magic.


And I'm changing the kind of teasers I post, as well. No clever chapter titles or entire first chapters; instead I'm shamelessly imitating Amanda Green, who is much better at promotion than I am, with very short excerpts on, I
hope, evocative backgrounds. (Given the length of Salt Magic -- 100,000 words, as compared to 60-70,000 words for the Applied Topology books -- I'm afraid that the sheer length of a sample chapter would put people off.)


I'll probably post some more mini-excerpts over the next few days. Comments and reactions?
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