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HATES (House At The End of the Street)

I am really hating being in this place where we're trying to save money. All the good Halloween movies are coming out. :-(

"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson


We discovered mice in our apartment. We were thinking they were there before or honey min but it was a definite after we got home. Dimi caught one! And we discovered that the mice had been poisoned. So Dimi was now in danger and were looking for some where to move. While my kitty came out of his ordeal okay we're more disgusted with this apartment than we already were. So we're looking to move. While Kansas is the ideal locale, it's just not feasible right now. So keep your fingers crossed for us as we search for some where new to be safe and happy.


"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson


I can't believe it's been three months since I posted last! How is every one?


"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Procrastinating...but not really

So. I have a week off between the old job and the new. I like this arrangement muchly. It gives me a good solid week to prep for Comicon--which is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Lion and I will be going up for the whole week-end. We've got a hotel room for the two nights we'll be spending up there and we're really looking forward to the vacation.

We're looking forward to the Costume Party on Saturday night. Lion is going to go as his Cap'Tim Steampunk-Captain, but I can't figure out what to wear. I'm taking my Browncoat and my Jayne hat, but neither of those really translate into a solid costume. I also have a full closet of Renfaire garb, but do I really want to wear that? I'll take suggestions, please! I have a week to put together a costume as awesome as Lion's!

We're saving money on this trip by bringing along our own food. Our bank accounts give us reward points, so we cashed those in for some gift cards to Target, so we won't even have to spend real money on the food (except for the trail mix, which I bought at Costco, yesterday). We aren't sure if we're having a breakfast provided by the hotel, so we're going to take some breakfast-y things, just in case. There will also be a mini fridge available in the hotel room so we can take along some perishables. And we're going to break our no-caffeine rule, or else we're going to crash and burn. This is our idea list, so far:

Granola Bars
One loaf home-made bread
Home-made Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip cookies
Trail mix
Cream cheese
Tuna salad
Six-pack bottled Mountain Dew
Six-pack bottled Dr. Pepper

Any other suggestions for easy-to-make-and-take Comicon food?

Love you, lj. See you again soon.
"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Writer's Block: The Hunger Games

What book from your childhood would you like to see made into a movie?
Shade's Children, by Garth Nix.  What an amazing story!
"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've been lurking in the shadows

This past month (or so) I've been really sick.  Dry coughing, stuffy nose...other unpleasant things.  When Lion and I finally made it to the doctor I was told I had bronchitis--joy!  So I went on antibiotics that broke me out in a nasty rash and...well...didn't fix anything.  In fact, I wound up in the ER because I threw up blood due to the coughing.  I was put onto another antibiotic that seems to be working ok (I don't have any experience with this stuff, so how am I supposed to know?  I'm still coughing, my nose is still runny, but the chest pains are gone.) but I then came down with a ridiculously high fever.  Well, I got over that hump (though my appetite sure hasn't returned) and Lion got sick.

We're both "better" now.

In the meantime, my hours got seriously cut at work.  I worked maybe 50 hours total in all of February.  I understand why hours get cut, so I wasn't really upset--except that we've had to use all our savings for Comicon to make up for me not having a paycheck for the equivalent of two months (remember--I didn't work in January due to the moped accident).  And that's made me so ridiculously sad.

Anyway, when I went back into work (still sick, mind you) I was told my hours were cut because I was lowest in sales in the department.  Which means that I was punished for the car accident.  Which is illegal.  So I told my boss that she could keep scheduling me, but I'm gonna look for a new job.

I had to call in due to the ER visit a few days later.  But when I returned at the start of my next regularly scheduled shift I was still sick (threw up again, this morning, as a matter of fact.  Maybe these things AREN'T working.) and she got mad.  She told me to take the week off because she needed someone dependable on the floor, and I clearly wasn't healthy enough to be that person.

So I went home.  Angry.  Sick.  Miserable.  It's not my fault I'm ill, and I'm fighting it with everything I've got.  But, honestly, I hit a brick wall when Lion got sick too.

And that's when I got a miraculous phone call--the same company that employs my amazing husband wants me to work for them!  So, the same day I was told to not go to work because I can't be depended on, I put in my two week's notice.  I am moving out of the retail business on April 2, right after Comicon.

To which we are still going.  We just don't know if we can afford the hotel, anymore, which was really what we were wanting.  We need a vacation from this apartment/neighborhood.  Desperately.  So we'll just have to figure it out.  Maybe we live on rice and butter for a while...

Oh, yes, and on top of all of that!  We've gone vegetarian!  It's actually been quite a joy not eating meat, as my diet consisted of that, anyway, and the recipes have all been so tasty!  With the exception of fever day (wherein I craved a Big Mac) I haven't even missed the meat.

So, there's the past month and a half in a nutshell.  Hopefully there will be more updating after Comicon, if I can't motivate myself to write again.
"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Censorship is not okay

I have disabled comments for this post, as I don't want to debate this topic. It's up to you to read and assess the facts and make an informed decision. I'm just spreading the word, because, to me, this isn't okay.

Copied straight from saraphina_marie:
"I'm going to ask y'all for a favor.

Please, please, please spread the word about this:

Paypal Strongarms Indie Ebook Publishers Over Erotic Content

Because, y'all? I have seen zero people, zero, on my f-list talk about it. Two people on Facebook. Granted, I've been dealing with this shit while very upset and my memory is not the greatest on the best of days, so I might have missed something, but still, this is unacceptable. Y'all care. I know you do. So please spread the word. If you can't do anything else, cut and paste and link back here.

I have been so tired, and so demoralized, and so, so hoping that someone else would have the spoons to speak up about this, to start the push back. Hoping that big-name authors would take notice, would care, would make the articulate, well-researched, exhaustively linked posts that help get people centered around an issue . . . the kind of posts that I am too busy just trying to survive to make in a timely fashion. And it's not happening. No letter-writing campaigns, no petitions, no call to arms.

Folks, that call to arms needs to happen. This is going to really hurt people like me, like my husband, who make our money writing erotica that brushes up against the bars. And by hurt, I mean this is how we pay for our heat, this is how we pay for our food, this is how we pay for my medication, this is how we scrape by. I don't mean "This is how we pay for our research vacations to Brazil." I am talking the basics of survival, here. I am not fucking around.

And if you don't give a shit about one crazy pornographer in the middle of nowhere, well, okay, fine. Be selfish. No, really. This will affect you. It has the potential to affect everyone. Every reader, every writer, if their interests verge even a little bit into grey territory.

And folks? A tremendous amount of fiction goes there. Stories and novels and anthologies by popular and award-winning authors like Neil Gaiman and Terri Windling and Laurell K. Hamilton and Sarah Monette and Cat Valente and on and on A through fucking Z would be right the fuck out. Also, the Bible. Not that I personally give a flying fuck, but it's ironically on the list of shit that you couldn't buy through PayPal, if they had to adhere to their own rules.

Mark Coker's first email from Smashwords explained:
Today we are modifying our Terms of Service to clarify our policies regarding erotic fiction that contains bestiality, rape and incest. . . .
I've had multiple conversations with PayPal over the last several days to better understand their requirements. Their team has been helpful, forthcoming and supportive of the Smashwords mission. I appreciate their willingness to engage in dialogue. Although they have tried their best to delineate their policies, gray areas remain.
Their hot buttons are bestiality, rape-for-titillation, incest and underage erotica.

Which all sounds pretty indefensible, but:

A) It's all ill-defined.
This applies to all incest, including step-relations, and is so ill-defined that it might apply to distant cousins. Goodbye, realistic depictions of inbreeding in noble families throughout history.
This applies to all "rape for titillation," which is so ill-defined that it might apply to romance-novel bodice-ripping, and it applies to all "non-consensual BDSM" which, while that should certainly be illegal in real life, is also ill-defined, and might be stretched to cover all sorts of situations. I'm personally into BDSM in real life and I can tell you that most people are remarkably closed-minded about BDSM and have demonstrated a particularly atrocious track record at recognizing that there even is a distinction between consensual and nonconsensual BDSM. People who don't like it don't like it in any form, and they will try to shove it all into the box marked "rape."
This applies to all "bestiality," which specifically excludes fully-shifted shapeshifters and is furthermore so ill-defined that it might apply to gorgons, centaurs, sphinxes, and other mythical beasts that possess animal or partially animal bodies and human-level consciousness.
B) We have to defend the indefensible, even if we do not like it. I don't care if it is the absolute worst and most horrible thing you have ever seen in your life, it is not PayPal's job to tell us what we can and cannot do with our money. If it is not against the law to buy or create it in the United States, i.e., if it is protected under freedom of speech, nobody has the right to tell us that we cannot create it or sell it or buy it. Not PayPal, not the banks, not Santa Claus, nobody.*

This started with Smashwords. I want to be clear, here, that Smashwords is not the villain, and Mark Coker has been working tirelessly to achieve some sort of détente whereby we can all carry on and profit without too much disruption. He despises the idea of censorship, but severing relations with PayPal would take time, and some sort of solution must be found in the meantime so that authors, who need to get paid by Smashwords, can keep selling. He is doing exactly the right thing, and I fully support his approach.

It started with Smashwords, but it won't end with Smashwords.

True, the big-name authors that you are likely to care about far more than you care about me and the rest of my porn-spewing ilk mostly don't publish through Smashwords, though some make their backlist available there. No, you probably aren't paying through PayPal when you buy their books. But this isn't just about who-gives-a-shit indie authors writing their dirty stepdaddy porn.

It is about PayPal. PayPal says this is the banks' fault. That it's the banks putting pressure on them, so they're pressuring Smashwords and other indie outfits. And if that's true, we have a major fucking problem, because banks should not and cannot be allowed to do that. If that's true, that connection needs to be dragged into the light so that everyone can see it for what it is.

Even if it's not true and it's just some asshole at PayPal with a burr up his ass, we have a major fucking problem. PayPal is huge, and the revenue streams for thousands of independent artists and authors get funneled through it. If they start telling us what we can and cannot put out there to sell, what we can and cannot buy, well . . . if you can't see there's a huge problem there, I honestly don't know if I can help you, and you might want to just go lie down for a while and hope the denseness passes.

So I am asking you: please spread the word, please get people talking about this, please keep your readers, even if there are only two, abreast of this issue. And please, if you're an author with one of the big publishing houses, please, please post about this. In fact, if you know such an author, please ask them to post about it.

I am not advocating spamming authors. I don't want to make people mad. But I want this exposed. I want people talking about this. I want acknowledgement from big-name authors that this shit matters, and I want to know that they are behind us, the way we have been behind them as fans and fellow authors.

I am just asking that if you have a means of politely contacting them and asking them to weigh in on the issue, you do so. Twitter is good, comments are good, emails are good. Whatever, even if it's just a retweet. Please.

This is not just about incestuous underage dog-rape porn, okay? Who the hell would rally to protect that? Nobody. Which is the problem, here. People glance at the issue and they see indefensible garbage, and they move on.

That is a smokescreen! This is not about that crap. This is about people with no familiarity with genre fiction, with erotica, with the outer boundaries of sexual fantasy, being allowed to dictate how we express ourselves. This is about those people deciding where the line gets drawn between okay and not okay. This is not a new thing, though this crackdown is new, a new push against "obscene" content that previously nobody gave a shit about. They've already proven that they decide where the line is and that they can move it anytime they like; that they are doing this represents a shifting of that line. This is about being told what we can and cannot publish, and can and cannot buy. It affects everyone. And that should scare the shit out of you.

And while we're at it, let's discuss that indefensible incestuous underage dog-rape porn. It's sick, and I don't write it, and I don't want to read it, and if a given indie self-pub outlet wants to say "we will not allow people to publish that through us" I suppose I am very grudgingly okay with that. But if a bank – and that is really how PayPal works, as a bank for e-commerce – wants to tell me that I cannot buy that stuff, THAT IS NOT OKAY. I will spend my money any goddamned fucking way I see fit. They have crossed the line. We need to unfuck this situation.

And, final note, we need to discuss how to support independent authors and artists through this, because boycotting PayPal is going to hurt us. Frankly, I have no idea how to go about this, I am barely able to keep my own head above water, let alone think long and hard about how to fix the sinking ship, but I sure as shit hope that we can. I'm willing to suffer for the cause, yes, but I am not willing to go without my drugs for however long this would take to settle out. So we need to be talking about how to take care of one another, how to support each other, while still effecting change.

I entered into the devil's bargain with PayPal because I had no other choice. No, you in the back smugly stroking your sense of superiority through your fashionably unfashionable pants, I did not have another choice. I needed, and still need, to make money, and that means 1) getting my stuff in front of people and 2) making it easy for those people to pay me for it. That is what sites like Etsy and Smashwords do. They make it easy for me to get my stuff out there and get it sold and get myself paid. As I have said repeatedly over the past few days, I cannot afford to abstain on principle. They are a luxury I am too poor and too screwed and too uninsured and too mentally ill to afford. I don't make much off my bargain with this company, but I need every fucking penny of it. So much so that I am terrified that if I post this, PayPal will suspend my account as punishment. Because I can't afford for that to happen. I need the security they allow me to provide for myself.

What I do not need? This five-day headache with PayPal's name on it. The indifference of people – big-name, small-name, no-name – whose voices, if raised, could maybe make a difference. The assumption that indie publishing isn't important and that stuff put out through independent channels isn't any good and that I must, therefore, be trying to defend something worthless and indefensible. The assumption that this is only about indie publishing, and the assumption that this is only about porn – really sick porn at that.

This is about freedom, and for some of us, it is about survival.

http://consumerist.com/2008/06/all-the-secret-paypalebay-email-addresses-and-phone-numbers-you-could-ever-want.html<-----Paypal email addresses and phone numbers, should you wish to talk about this with someone there. (my link buttons aren't working.)
 This is old info -- if anyone has anything better, I will post that instead -- but it's better than the on-site contact stuff, which is routed through overseas response centers. Please speak out, BE POLITE, be articulate, be reasonable, and be firm.

FYI, I will be moderating comments on this post with a heavy hand. I doubt it will be necessary, but I want productive conversation, not bickering. If you don't agree that this is a problem, I ask politely that you move on. We've nothing to say to one another.

Also, yes, I swear a lot. If you feel inclined to say that this is hurting my case, I invite you to think very carefully about the core of this issue, and what relevance it may have to what you are about to say.

* I am not arguing with anyone about whether or not PayPal has the right, as a private company, to make up bullshit rules. They technically do, but they have a virtual monopoly on payments made through the internet, they are deeply connected to the big banks, and allowing them to do this sets a hideously dangerous precedent. If the government cannot censor or suppress "obscene" content without those uppity free-speechers getting all riled up, well, private companies can do it. Right? Yeah. I'm not on board with that."


"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Feb. 26th, 2012

Thank you for my first-ever gift, sharelle! I love him!
"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

My tweets


"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Writer's Block: Tough Choices

If forced to give up one, which would you choose: love, friendship, or family?

These are three concepts that cannot be separated. There is no friendship or family without love, and real friendship becomes family, in the end. Hence the Hawaiian word "ohana." So, this isn't a tough choice. If you choose to give up one, you give up all.
"Let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." --Ralph Waldo Emerson