The Human Wave Labor Day Weekend Sale

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NOT A WHOLE LOT of discussion of the Human Wave in speculative fiction lately, but people are working quietly in their own corners. Now denizens of Sarah Hoyt’s Diner group on Facebook, regulars at According to Hoyt, and members of the Conservative / Libertarian Fiction Alliance are joining together for a grand sale. (Yes, the Baby Troll Chronicles is participating.) This weekend, with the inevitable spillover. E-books — unofficially from the Human Wave – are on sale for $2.99 or less at Amazon and other fine booksellers Friday the 29th through Monday the 1st. An authoritative list of the participating works can be seen at den mother Amanda Green’s site.

Please. Support your local author. Get some wonderful reading in return. It’s a win-win.

Our participation can be located by clicking the link at far right-top.

Going to be Crazy

I PLAN ON PARTICIPATING in a group promo-sale over the Labor Day weekend with the gang from Pointy Boots, According to Hoyt, Mad Genius, and PJ Media. It means that The High T Shebang — new cover and all — will be available for Kindle at the popular price of $2.99 (cheap and for a limited time only). It also means — though not on account-a-coz — that a trade paperback edition will be available — if not for immediate order, for pre-order by then. I have bought the ISBN and done the preliminary setup. Since I used Named Styles in the canonical MS file, I should be able to make a .pdf in InDesign with little problem. Potential delays will be entirely due to production turns. I fully intend the paper edition to be for sale by next weekend.

There will be a snippet Saturday, but there will also be announcements here, as we-all will be mutually plugging each other. Our very own Amanda Green has set a deadline of Tuesday to have all information for the sale to her, which means I may not have some of the links, etc., over this weekend, so, to be sure, TBT and all that, WATCH. THIS. SPACE. (Or the top of this column, in case of scrollage.

You’re Gonna See This a Lot

THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND. It’s about a major conflict in the creative arts that’s been bubbling below the surface of total public awareness for some time. For some time, as you may have seen happen in the music business, artists have been disintermediating large-scale manufacturing companies, causing those companies to asymptotically approach business collapse. In the letters industry, this means authors have been publishing their own work, cutting out several layers of “middle men,” some of whom you might think are purely purposeless parasites. You might, if you were unfamiliar with the publishing game and how it has grown since the 19th Century when Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and myriad others published their own works.

You may have read a trilogy in the last couple of years called Wool. It’s been a big bestseller. It was written by a fellow name of Hugh Howey. What you may not know is that it is independently published by its author. He has since signed on with Simon and Schuster and decided not to do that (sign with a major publisher) again.

So Hugh Howey has written this and posted it for indie writers to quote, cite, repost, blog about, and discuss. But the bottom line is — and it does need to be said — a big, hearty, THANK YOU to you, our dear and gentle readers. Because without you, it doesn’t go.

You probably aren’t aware of this, but the majority of your favorite authors can’t make a living off their book sales alone. Very few authors could when New York Publishing was in charge. That is changing now that Amazon and other online retailers are paying authors a fair wage.

You may have heard that Amazon and Hachette are having a dispute about how books are sold. The details are complex, but the gist is this: Amazon wants to keep e-book prices affordable, and Hachette wants to keep them artificially high. Higher than for the paper edition of the same story.

The rest of this letter explains more of the details. It explains why a boycott of Amazon would mean hurting authors, Hachette and otherwise. It explains how your decisions have granted more authors their independence than we’ve had at any other time in human history. You’re welcome to read our points, but keep this one key item in mind:

Major publishers like Hachette have a long history of treating authors and readers poorly. Amazon, on the other hand, has built its reputation on valuing authors and readers dearly. The two companies didn’t simultaneously change directions overnight.

I’m new to this, with only one novel out there, and — frankly — no shorter works in the pipeline. My novel’s been on the market for nine-plus months and is a pure dog in terms of sales. Not complaining — much. I never expected this to be a short haul. I know it’s a marathon, and nobody wants to hear from you until you have ten books out there. Best advice is to write the next one, which I am doing. And I know that only losers give up before they’ve won. But still, in the deep depths of the wee small hours, it’s hard to keep your courage up. At this point, to me, every reader is a precious thing. Not so much for the money — It only adds up over decades at this rate — as it is about knowing that SOMEbody is reading. At this level, I can almost read along with you and imagine you meeting the characters, experiencing their pain and fears for the first time.

So, thank you for being there.

The Birthday

ASTROLOGERS PROJECT their clients’ lives onto a clockwork universe. And, because all of the spheres do not rotate in perfect harmony, they have to deal with slippage in the gears — what’s called precession. Every year certain celestial events fall a day earlier or later than the year before or the year to come. In projecting the imagined attributes of a star sign or its houses or degrees onto the actual map of the heavens, the astrologer must appropriately adjust.

Earlier, I mentioned my own superstition that bad luck attends the transit of the sun through Taurus and its approach in the anarectic degree to Geminii my karma appears to be at its worst in the annual cycle. In years past, this has begun as early as New Year’s Day and run as late as the 10th. This year, the gears appear to have slipped a few teeth, and the misfortune has eventuated on my natal day.

For the past week, I have been dealing with a slight amount of engine overheating in my car. Monday, I made an appointment at a service station to have the radiator flushed and coolant replenished, figuring it couldn’t be over a hundred or so — and at that, I would feel I was being — pardon the pun — hosed.

The necessary repairs including, as they did, the replacement of a hose, you see. And, as the shop manager informed me, the thermostat, and later, the radiator and water pump. Due to the abrasive and corrosive properties of the official manufacturer-specified coolant. (Who DESIGNS a machine to have fluid put in it that CORRODES a mission-critical component — perhaps the whole machine?) (Whatever.) So, on being told the necessaries would take an hour and a half, I spent two-and-a-half hours sitting in a waiting room chair, reading a mediocre space opera on my phone, only to be — ahem — hosed a bill-paying time. And I STILL have to pay to have the radiator replaced. Which won’t be cheap.

Aaaaand and another thing. They’re doing sewer work on the Parkway. Right behind our house. Tuesday, it was the concrete saw and the trenching machine. Today, it was the backhoe and the pipe laying crew. And tonight, we get to listen to ALL the traffic rumble down the two-inch steel plates they left over the trench, the former using the latter as a sounding chamber. Sounds like thunder. Or somebody knocking on a door. Or the cats knocking something over downstairs. Or … no sleep tonight.

Two words. And they ain’t Happy Birthday.