Implosion and confusion: Pangaean Airlines

The abrupt closure of Pangaean Airlines is the backdrop of the action in the interlaced anthology The Yin and Yang Book. These twenty stories share more than just a setting. Characters interact, engage one another and drive each other. Each story was written in collaboration with the other authors. Ten male authors (including your obedient servant) with a female editor, ten female authors with a male editor. I've got a copy (naturally) and I can tell you that this book is terrific.

It's been a pleasure to see the early drafts of the stories come into focus and intermesh as the action zooms along. There are stolen paintings, kidnappings, religious persecution, poisonings, rebellion against overbearing mothers, too much perfume, sex, lust, fear, kidnappings, murder, lost luggage... you name it, this collection has it.

The paperbacks come out on December 1st. As the authors come from Australia, the UK, Europe, and the US, this is a time-smeared launch event! The facebook virtual party is ongoing, so feel free to stop by and join the action.

Also, there will be live tweets from the authors about Pangaean and its collapse, under the hashtag #pangaean. Tweets will be in character, so it should be interesting! In the book, Pangaean goes into receivership at 6:30am UK time which will be 1:30 am EST time – REALLY early Thursday morning. I can't promise live tweets that are in sync, but I'll do what I can!

You can read the opening of my story, "Dogs of War" right here. That link also includes me discussing the story, so you can get some insight into how I developed the main character, Vince Guerrero, who is also (for a while at least) on Twitter. To buy the book (which is well worth your filthy lucre), check out the official bookstore for eMergent Publishing. Also, with purchase of the paperback, you get a free download. Go do it!
===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Wednesday #limerick: behave, jettison, mob

Today's words for Three Word Wednesday are: behave, jettison, mob

Our Occupy mob got a jettison.
 Those cops did behave, but a benison?
Though no heads were busted
"The Man" can't be trusted
Society needs this strong medicine!

Rhyming "jettison" is tricky, no?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Thinking better of posting this story

I just wrote a story that I was going to post here. As it developed, though, I realized that it was pretty good. In fact, with the right illustrations, it might be good enough to be a kid's book.

Do I post it anyway? Or do I do the entrepreneurial thing and try to find an illustrator and chew over this idea with him/her?

This time, anyway, I'll take Door #2.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

A great opening line

The importance of the opening line can't be overstressed. It's the first chapter that will seal the deal, but it's the first 500 words that will get your reader to commit to the rest of that opening chapter. And what convinces them to read the first 500 words?

The opening line.

Here is the first sentence of "Herbert West, Reanimator", by H.P. Lovecraft:

"Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror."

Isn't that terrific?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

#FridayFlash: My Burning Destiny

It's a superpower that serves no purpose, helps no one and goes almost completely unnoticed. Please don't misunderstand me, though; I'm not complaining. Exposure to that much gamma radiation should have killed me outright. Instead, it transformed me into the man I am today.

The doctors couldn't understand it. They eventually concluded that the GRASER machine hadn't been operating properly. That brought a stern memo of protest from the scientists and engineers who built it, but what could they say? I was living proof that their "death ray" was a waste of four hundred and seventy million dollars. The project was shut down and I was let go.

I never thought to check the floors. But then, neither did anyone else. It was only after I was off the base and back in the world that I began to suspect something.

Everywhere I went, I smelled it. Hot plastic, scorched wood, melted wax... at first, I thought I was suffering some kind of nasal hallucination, that the GRASER had caused brain cancer. Finally, though, I figured it out, came to understand how the beam had changed me.

See, it was my footsteps. Everywhere I walked, the ground got hot. It didn't do anything to my shoes, I tested that. Somehow, the heat goes right through them. Back on the base, every floor was either concrete or that 1940's asbestos linoleum. But out here in the real world...

You might think that if it were my whole body, or just my hands, I could get a job as a superhero, like the Human Torch or something, but you'd be wrong. My footsteps don't burn, they just get hot, like almost scalding. Hot enough to mess up the finish after a while, but no hotter than that. What would I call myself? Captain Hotfoot?

Long story short, I couldn't keep a job before I got this one. The smells bothered my coworkers, and my supervisors figured I was smoking on duty. I got fired twice for the damage I did to the carpeting of my workstation. They said I must have been grinding out cigarette butts, even though burning carpet smells nothing like cigarette smoke.

Here at the spa, though, the floors are all tiled. The rooms are all kept hot for the clients in their towels and sandals. It's a good job, and I'm lucky to have it.

But I learned something yesterday. After the GRASER failed on me, the team tried it on somebody else. It was after the second failure that they were shut down. Someone else survived an ultra-lethal dose of gamma rays, and yesterday, I learned his name and history. Like me, he bounced around for a while after the base closed, but he seems to be settled now.

He works across town as a Zamboni driver.

How to repair a dead monitor

Back in September, long before I got caught up in repairing the damage caused by a water leak in my bathroom (which turned into a full-scale remodel of the entire shower unit), I had a dead monitor. Aside from the fact that it wasn't that old, I resented the idea that the only way to fix it was to chuck it and get a new one. I'm not made of money, you know. [Although if you bought my book, it would help the cause, hint hint.]

So, with a little help from Google and the geeks who have trod this path before me, I diagnosed the problem and fixed my dead monitor. For the sake of anyone who might have the same problem, let me offer up a little search term Bingo to assist Google in bringing this solution to you. If you want to know how to fix a dead LCD monitor, or how to repair a Samsung LCD monitor, or if your Samsung LCD monitor doesn't work, please keep reading.

Now that the Bingo is out of the way, on to the pictures!

The monitor is a Samsung 906BW. Apparently, Samsung had a period where they bought cheap capacitors, the consequence of which was a lot of Samsung monitors with lousy durability. 

 The first step in this repair job, as with any repair job, is to pour a cup of coffee. The second step is to remove the stand base and get ready to pop the bezel from the front. In this case, it was easier to lever the screen up, allowing the bezel to press against the desk. Note that I put a towel down first to protect the screen and bezel from scratches.
The bezel took a bit of persuading to come free. There were a couple of snap tabs holding it on, and a grooved rim. Gentle wiggling with the edge of a thin bladed screwdriver was enough to separate it.


There are a great many connectors and mini wiring harnesses to keep track of. I found it easiest to take lots of pictures to refer to as I went.

Some of the connectors are physically identical, but orient separately to control different parts of the screen, sending streams of data to the different pixel zones. Don't mix them up. Crossing the streams would be bad.
Once the backlight and control toggles are disconnected and removed, the mainboard is exposed. 
Here's the mainboard unscrewed from the frame and flipped over for inspection...
... and there's the problem! See how the tops of the two middle capacitors are bulged upwards? Those are popped capacitors, semi-exploded from the degradation of the electrolytes that let them hold the electricity. I have no idea if PopCap games (makers of Plants vs. Zombies) took their name from popped caps as a geeky joke, or if they just like the closures for soft drink containers.
These capacitors look OK, but since they are from the same manufacturer as the popped capacitors, I replaced them all.
An electronics clip stand is helpful for this kind of thing. Rather than hunting around for individual capacitors, I bought a repair kit from LCDalternatives. I searched for my particular model of Samsung LCD monitor, paid my $19 and got a set of six replacement capacitors, rating matched to the originals.
I removed all the capacitors (FYI, this is a nice video on how to desolder capacitors) and soldered in new ones. Here is the backside of the circuit board after the replacement. The wires sticking up are the capacitor stems, before trimming...
... and after trimming. I should note that I used a voltage meter to check the integrity of the solders and the new circuits before sealing everything back up. I didn't want to have to rip it all apart again! Once the circuits were good, I put it all back together and ran the initial power-up smoke tests. It all checked out, so I plugged it back into my computer and...
... success!

This was a $19 repair that saved me the $200-300 for a new monitor. There are lots of videos and blogs about people dumpster diving for "dead" monitors, brought back to life via this method. I don't know that I'll pursue that course, but it was satisfying to be able to bring mine back to life.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Wednesday #limerick: hollow, misery, shallow

Coming as it does on the heels of my exhausted cris de coeur of last night, the three words for this week's Three Word Wednesday are rather prophetic: hollow, misery, shallow

Black misery in which I wallow,
It gnaws at me, makes me so hollow.
I'm shallow and vain,
But real is the pain:
@SalmanRushdie chose not to back-follow!

Man, when you see three words like that, you either go for the "still-beating heart ripped from the chest of a weeping man", or you go for the "rubber chicken mit seltzer down zee pants".

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Bathrooms, yes. Novels, no.

My post over at Write Anything was written back on October 18. That's how it works, in case you didn't know: the staff of writers have a deadline of the 22nd of each month to turn in a blog post for the following month. I turned November's in a bit early, but I just turned December's in today (the 22nd).

You're probably saying, "So what? I never read your Write Anything blog posts anyway, so why should I care?" Well, this month's was about NaNoWriMo, and why I'm not doing it this year.
I made the firm commitment not to participate this year. My current WIP, “Goodbye Grammarian”, is way behind schedule; I need to make the rewrites a priority. Attentive readers will recall that this was my NaNoWriMo 2010 winning project; inattentive readers can learn more about that below. I’ve been editing it off and on for a year, although obviously it’s been more “off” than “on”. So, with regrets, I’ve decided that it’s better for me  to devote my time and energy this November to a focused effort at finishing the editing of this book, rather than starting a fresh one.
Sadly, it's not been happening in November, either. While I've made some progress on "Goodbye Grammarian", it's not even close to being finished. I've been spending all of my time in evenings and weekends attending to real life demands and working on remodeling two bathrooms simultaneously.

NaNoWriMo demands a daily commitment of time and energy. Whether you want to or not, you MUST get those 1700 words done. I know, because I've done it. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it wasn't, but I did it. This year, I told myself that I would devote that same energy to "Goodbye Grammarian". I would edit and rewrite 1700 words a day, bringing my WIP to a solid second draft of 90,000 words.

That's what I told myself, but my time and energy and commitments have perforce been elsewhere. The blog posts have been regular and the stories have variously been posted here and sent off to publications elsewhere, but my novel? Ah, yes, my novel...

As of right now, the Grammarian is still in Chapter 7, still leaving the scene of a kidnapping, ready to get onto his high-tech motorcycle to continue his investigations elsewhere, still stopped when a deafening explosion from the building opposite sent a massive fireball rolling into the sky, showering the street below with a crystalline rain of glass fragments. For days, weeks even, he's been right there, frozen, waiting for me to send him racing up the side of the building to investigate. Waiting for me to have him plunge into the flames and smoke, ready to rescue the innocent and apprehend the guilty.


I opened up to that paragraph today and stared for ten minutes at it. Nothing. No energy, no drive, nothing. I'm just unable to string it together. I keep thinking about the wiring, plumbing & tiling I've finished, and the carpentry, wiring, plumbing and tiling I still have to do. I'm so distracted and so tired, I can't focus on this book.

Besides, who cares, anyway? Is anybody ever going to read this thing? Obviously, NOBODY will if I never finish it, but does the world really need another "superhero wrestles with supervillain vengeance and romantic attraction" book? I just question the whole thing, and if I'm questioning it, doesn't that mean it's probably not worth a good goddamn?

According to Chuck Wendig, this hesitancy and lack of progress would, no doubt, make me a fucking fuck-monkey of fuckilicious fart-shit-fuckitude fuckery, and he'd list 25 Ways In Which I Suck. Alan Baxter would probably take this as more evidence that NaNoWriMo is a loser activity for delusional amateurs. John Scalzi would probably just call me a dick via multiple websites that get in excess of a million hits a month, and be thankful he's not me. Stephen King would roll his eyes and knock out another 125,000 word best seller before I could spellcheck this blog post. Susan Orlean, Neil Gaiman and Salman Rushdie would (I hope) merely sigh in pity at the train wreck and go on to write something fascinating and witty and profound.

I'm guessing that none of them would vent their frustration in a whiny blog post. They would have written another chapter and gotten on with it. Because, as we all recognize, they are real writers.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

#NaNoWriMo successes and failures

Today over at Write Anything, I'm talking about my experiences doing NaNoWriMo - my successes and my failures. Each book has its own Wordle, which makes for fun art. Go check it out.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Minecraft is out of beta!

Minecraft is now OUT OF BETA! Woot! Let's see an overview of all the new features:

Yeah. Time to get back to work on that novel.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

#FridayFlash: Truth, Justice and Natural Philosophy

Truth, Justice and Natural Philosophy

by Tony Noland

Inspector Harrod entered the interrogation room with a nod to the sergeant, who saluted stiffly in return. The patrolman turned up the gas on the fresnel lens-lamp, brightening the beam of light focused on the dwarf. Dust motes danced in and out of the beam as the dwarf blinked hard in the glare, his eyes glistening with sudden tears.

Harrod sat in the chair opposite. For almost ten minutes, he sat in silence, shuffling papers back and forth as he read the report on the table in front of him. On his stool in the center of the room, the dwarf began to sweat. He rubbed his hands on his pants, palms flat. The room was cold and the dwarf, barefooted in his suspenders and shirtsleeves, had been shivering until the lamp was turned up. The six gas jets were all on full; the heat was intense, and the light was blinding.

With a throaty sound that could have a hum, a harrumph or a grunt, the Inspector reordered the papers in front of him. He drew out a blank sheet of cheap, police department foolscap and picked up his mechanical pencil. Hand poised over the sheet, he looked up at the dwarf for the first time since entering the room.


The dwarf's eyed widened in surprise, then hardened in anger. "Name?" he repeated. "It's right there in front of you. I've been here for five hours, answering every damned question you have put to me. This is an outrage! I'm not going to start at the beginning all over again just because you -"

Blood sprayed from his nose as the patrolman smashed a fist across his face. The little man was knocked ankles over elbows, thrown to the right into a half-somersault with the force of the blow. He lay on the floor insensate, rolling and clutching at his face.

"Hoi! Wha' ye think yer doin'?" The sergeant's voice was gruff as he got close to the patrolman, pushing his big Cornish nose up into the young man's face. "Where'r yer gloves, ye tyke? Ye'll bust a finger handlin' a prisner w'out yer gloves, an' then what use'll ye be to the Queen's men? Put yer gloves on and get 'im squared away, ye bloody rook, or I'll have ye trawlin' the Thames on corpse patrol."

In best paradeground style, the patrolman snapped to attention and barked, "Sir! Yes, sir! Gloves, sir!" Flushing a bright red, he took a pair of leather gloves from his coat pocket and drew them on. The sergeant turned to the Inspector, murmuring, "Beg yer pardon, sir. New man. Still a bit raw. Sorry, sir." The Inspector, who had picked up part of the report again, gave every impression of not having noticed the dressing down. He waved a hand to dismiss the sergeant's apology.

When the patrolman had finished picking up the dwarf and slamming him back onto his stool, the sergeant leaned down and spoke softly into his ear. "Ye'll answer the Inspector's questions, every one of 'em, double-quick. That means w'out hesitations, prevarications or lies. Answer the questions an' there's a hot meal and a cold beer waitin' for ye. Play us around and it'll be long night, longer for yer sorry arse than for any of us. D'ye understand?"

The dwarf nodded, then said, "I need something to stop up the blood. A rag or something, for my nose."

"Stop yer own blood, ye little shit. We got no nursemaids here." The sergeant straightend, nodded to the inspector and stepped back into the darkness, leaving the dwarf to shiver, sweat and bleed in the center of the room.

"Now then," said the Inspector, "name?"

"Thomas Jenkins, sir."

"Your full name."

"Thomas Marian Peter Jenkins."



"Inventor of what?"

"Automata, sir."

The Inspector wrote down a few words, then consulted the report. "What kind of automata?"

"Mobile automata, sir."

"Which makes you more of a confidence man and swindler than an inventor."

"No, sir!"

"Automata cannot be made mobile. The control gearing cannot be made small and light enough to be carried. This has been demonstrated time and again by Her Majesty's Royal Academy of Technologists."

"But I have done it, sir! I swear! It's not a trick, I've done it! I built one!"

"You are not the first 'builder of mobile automata' we have had to deal with. The public are gullible."

"No, sir, I swear, it's the truth!"

"They see the marvels of Natural Philosophy around them and they come to believe that if we can sail an airship to the South Pole, we can do anything. However, Jenkins, we cannot break the laws of Physicality, can we?"

"Sir, please, just let me show you!"

"Like you showed your investors? Did you not know that one of your backers, a certain Mr. Smith, Esq., was in fact Lord Bramblebury under a nolo in cognito identity? And that Lord Bramblebury resents - to an extreme degree - being made a fool of?"

"Please, sir! I can explain! I developed a method of vapor deposition of carbonblack that allows me to create infinitesimally small gearing. It's a matter of -"

"When His Lordship was made aware of the facts regarding the impossibility of what you claim to have done, he was, naturally, incensed." The Inspector set his pencil down and crossed his fingers. "It's no surprise to me that you were able to get away with it as long as you did, Jenkins. Being a dwarf, your head appears to be disproportionately large, implying an increased size of brain tissues. You used your deformity to maintain an illusory implication of biologically endowed genius, bilking the credulous among the quality. And, of course, even the more perspicacious, such as His Lordship."

"No, sir! I don't claim anything about my own abilities, that was never what I was doing. I have built a mobile automata! This microscopic gearing in the control box, it's like a kind of valve system that controls peiziomechanical motive forces. Listen, if you just let me explain, I can -"

"Take him away."

The patrolman yanked the dwarf off the stool, bent one of his arms behind him and frogmarched him out of the room, still crying his protests. The sound echoed on the brick walls before dying away into the background noise of Scotland Yard.

"Orders, sir?" The room changed to more normal lighting as the sergeant turned up the overhead gaslights and extinguished the fresnel lens-lamp.

"Hold him, sergeant. Give him bread and water, but don't be too rough with him otherwise. There's a team of men from the Academy of Technologists going over the notes and equipment seized from his laboratory and workshop. They're all Natural Philosophers, so the Academy must think there's something in what he's done. Tell Jenkins that it looks bad for him, that His Lordship wants to see him hang. Let him sweat in that barrel for a few days and he'll be so eager to clear his name that he'll move Heaven and Earth to give his work to Her Majesty's Government. Good evening, sergeant."

"Good evening, sir. Drive safely."

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Practicing gratitude

This post at Theresa Bazelli's Ink Stained made me think about things for which I am grateful. In no particular order:

  • I can see, I can hear and I can walk. One of my older sisters has been deaf since birth, so I have had a lifelong ring-side seat to the challenges of physical disability. On the whole, it's better to have all of your body parts functioning properly.
  • I'm of significantly above-average intelligence. This makes a great many things easier, far more than the things it makes harder.
  • I have a home and I'm not hungry. Many people have neither food nor shelter on a reliable basis.
  • I'm a guy. I like being a man, but I recognize that this gives me some inherent advantages in life (beyond being able to get stuff off the top shelf without a stepladder). If you ever question whether or not women get the short end of the stick, attend a childbirth. Or four.
  • My wife and kids love me, and I love them. Some people with a spouse and a family view them as a burden or even a prison. I view them as a winning lottery ticket that, amazingly, I get to cash in again every day.
  • I have friends, acquaintances and colleagues who like and respect me. To be alone and shunned is to live a life of torment. There have been times when I felt alone and shunned, but sooner or later, there was always someone to be with me. Online and in person, my people are pretty fantastic.
  • I am a child of God, blessed after having been cursed, forgiven after having been found guilty, reassembled after having been broken, and sent again into the world to do good. It doesn't get much better than that, actually.
  • My writing sucks less and less each month. It's still not good enough, never good enough. But I'm making progress.
  • The Zero candy bar. This is, without question, the most delicious candy bar every created by the hand of man. Hard to find around where I live, and way too many calories for my 42-year-old body, but sweet jumping junipers, are they fantastic!
  • Finally, coffee. I love the smell of it, the taste of it, the way it makes me feel. I love the social aspect of it, the cozy privacy of it, the rituals surrounding its preparation and consumption. I love the ultra-expensive concoctions at Starbucks and the plain cup of strong black at that corner cafe by the train station. It is one of the rare consumable pleasures in life that is almost entirely without a downside.
And you? What are you grateful for?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Wednesday #limerick: impetus, solace, vindication

Today's words for Three Word Wednesday are: impetus, solace, vindication.

The impetus for abdication?
Mrs. Simpson's alluring gyration.
For Ed's solace lone,
He abandoned the throne,

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

How to blog about KLOUT: the 3 secret tricks

Want to learn the industry insider secrets to writing a blog about Klout or anything else? Don't write a long, cogent discussion of the facts - BORING! Here are the keys to a successful blog post about Klout:

1. Use A Big Font For The Headings
This one will absolutely grab your readers, and the best part is that it takes so little effort on your part, because it's devoid of content!

2. Keep The Words Small
What do Twinkies, CocaCola and Tootsie Rolls have in common? That's right! They are easy to swallow, easy to digest, and people love to come back for more. Nutrition free, but who cares?

3. Promise Wealth Beyond The Dreams Of Avarice
Armed with these secrets, YOU will be able to write amazing blog posts on ANY subject! Don't know anything about it? Haven't really thought about it? Completely misunderstand the finer-grained issues surrounding it? Doesn't matter! Keep the fonts big, the words small, and the promises outlandish, and YOU, my friend, are an expert!

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

KLOUT doesn't suck

Back in the days before computers, the question of what something was worth involved a lot of intuition, instinct, feelings in the gut. Prices for everything from real estate to stocks to bread went on the basis of what people kinda thought was about right, based on the costs of inputs and guesses about what the market would bear.

Then came the quants. A quantitative analyst is a person who works in finance using numerical or quantitative techniques. No longer did you have to wonder or guess or estimate how much something was worth. You could calculate it. Identify the inputs, quantify their costs under relevant conditions, model their respective sensitivities (i.e. how much each contributing factor actually influenced the value), and - PRESTO! - you know how much something is worth. Lots of things for which it used to be impossible to assign a solid, quantifiable valuation were suddenly laid bare to the market.

How much is rain worth? What does the flu cost? What benefit is there to making people happy?

All of these yield to quantifiable analysis. When the quants get it right, things are valued properly and efficiency goes up - fortunes get made. When they get it wrong, things are overvalued or undervalued and efficiency goes down - fortunes get lost. As quantitative analysis got more sophisticated, it started looking at valuations for consumer behaviors, not just vendor goods and services. 

Enter Klout.

Klout is a system of measuring and valuing influence online as result of interactions on social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. There have been plenty of other metrics for measuring this, or attempting to. Some, like Twitalyzer, persist and compete with Klout; others, like Twinfluence, dried up and went away. Klout has gotten a lot of heat lately, for their corporate policies and for their adherence (or lack thereof) to various laws. These are legitimate criticisms.

For some, however, Klout bears a painfully close resemblance to the queen bee arbiters of cool in high school. Klout is, by this thinking, run by capricious, self-appointed, evil douchebags using some secret formula to assign a number to something that every right thinking individual simply KNOWS cannot be quantified. After all, anyone could just make up some competing arbitrary metric a priori and apply it. It would be just as valid, no?

Well, no, actually, it wouldn't.

Meet person A and person B, Alan and Bob. Alan and Bob both spend the same amount of time on the same social network platforms. Both have similar numbers of connections, both do roughly the same amount of talking (or tweeting, posting, flapping, or whatever). Each of them has a social network, an online presence where he is known.

Now then, the big question: whose social network is more valuable? One talks mostly to his friends and family, the other talks mostly to the leaders in his chosen fields of personal and professional interest. One has a lot of acquaintances, the other has a few close friends. One retweets lots of interesting and informative links, the other is funny and original. Whose network is more valuable? And valuable for what purpose? In what context?

There's an old adage in advertising. It says that half of the money people spend on advertising is wasted, but nobody knows which half. Wouldn't it be nice to know which part of your time, money and effort was being spent effectively and which was being thrown away? I'm not talking about Walmart or Starbucks or Toyota, here. I'm talking about anybody who has something they want others to buy, such as an anthology of well-written flash fiction. In a focused effort at finding buyers and clients, if there were some way to know which people are a dead end and which would lead to repeated sales, wouldn't that be valuable information? If I'm trying to sell fiction, Merlot or movie tickets, wouldn't it be nice to know who are the opinion leaders in writing, wine and entertainment? Klout isn't something that just OTHER PEOPLE can use, you know. You could use it too. If you wanted to.

Klout is certainly secretive and self-appointed. Klout is certainly ranking you and selling your contact info to people who want you to buy things. Klout certainly decided what to measure and how to value each component, and they probably made mistakes in their quant model. Klout may also be evil, in much the same way that Facebook and Google are evil.

But is Klout pointless? Capricious? Arbitrary? No. That's a simplistic misunderstanding of what quants do, and how Klout is using quantitative analysis to figure out what your social network is worth.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Nobody wants my porn

Two weeks ago, I put up a poll, asking you, my dear readers, what you wanted to read here at Landless. The results came in on Saturday when the poll closed.

As you can see, the voting showed a pretty clear preference for more fiction and more personal insights. A secondary preference was for more wild-eyed rants and (the default option) more of the same. The final group is, perhaps, the most interesting. Tied for last place are more writing advice, more funny poems and more porn. Note that each voter could vote for more than one option.

She don't want no stinkin' writing advice.
Hardest cohort first: I conclude that my writing advice and my funny poems are as appealing as my porn. Since I don't post porn, should I interpret this to mean that people want my writing advice and my funny poems to the same extent that they have my porn i.e., not at all? Or is it that people want more of these because they think my porn would be as good as the writing advice (posted infrequently) and my funny poems (posted every Wednesday)?

In any event, these voters amounted to only a slight tick above complete blanks. I guess it's maybe not the best time to remind everyone that I write a monthly blog full of writing advice over at Write Anything, huh? Recent topics have included effective plotting, injecting drama into a scene, writing in multiple genres, and many more. But, y'know, if you don't want to hear it, I guess I'll just go eat a bug or something instead. Is that what you want?

Manufactured RAGE
Easiest cohort: More of the same is the easiest of all, but the wild-eyed rants is trickier. Rant about what? How? Typical subjects for ranting are, for the most part, outside the scope of this blog. Politics, economics, societal issues... I don't feel like wandering off and launching a screed about the venal bastards at Penn State or explaining why the Occupy Insert-Location-Here movement is a meaningless joke. I'm not like Andy Rooney, who can just think up stuff to get ticked off about and start bitching at random. Manufactured rage is a meaningless as decaffeinated coffee. Alas, I can only do a solid rant when the mood truly strikes me.

Most important cohort: Play to your strengths, sonny boy. I started this blog so many, many moons ago so I could do two things. First, I wanted to post my fiction and writings so I could a) get feedback about it, b) get better at writing it, and c) attract the attention of a top-flight agent who, amazed at his good fortune at finding such an astonishingly talented writer languishing in unrepresented obscurity, would immediately move heaven and earth to get a six book deal with VERY attractive movie and TV options. So far, I'm two out of three.

The second purpose was to talk about my experiences becoming a novelist. I wanted to relate and think out loud about the good, the bad and the tedious, to make connections with other writers, to get advice from them and to help them out to the extent I could. Throughout all this, I wanted to be funny, insightful, informative, clever, thoughtful and engaging.

Based on the results of this poll, my first thought was my best thought. More fiction? More personal insights? I imagine that can be arranged.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Writing in the midst of noise

Whining, yelling, shouting, screaming, crying, calling noise.

Asking, telling, needing, pleading, wanting, complaining, cheering noise.

Eating, drinking, pushing, chasing, catching, shoving, spilling,
mopping, throwing, dropping, kicking, running noise.

The silence of a blank page shouts at me, deafening me with demands
that I cannot meet, its needs cried out and swept away like the scent
of lilacs in the teeth of a vampire sirocco wind.

Sent from my mobile device

Flash fiction anthology now available: "Blood Picnic and other stories"
Just $2.99 at Smashwords <> and
Amazon <> Buy your copy today!

Buy my books:
Read my blog:
Follow me on Twitter:
Friend me on Facebook:

Scribbles Blog Hop, Noland edition

It's time to get Old School, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, today is a day to celebrate that hallowed institution of the writing trade, the writing journal.
As part of the Scribbles Blog Hop, writers who use pen and paper for some (or all) of their writing are posting pictures of their journals, along with some behind-the-scenes discussion about how and why they use them. I have a few different notebooks, including a mini-sized Moleskine which I carry around in a shirt pocket. This, however, is my primary notebook for writing fiction:

It's a Black n' Red wirebound notebook. I've used others, bound and unbound. I like this model because the covers are stiff and the wire rings allow it to lie open or be folded back flat. That makes it convenient to write on in almost any kind of chair, bench or barstool. It even works pretty well for writing standing up. The 8.5" x 11" ruled and perforated paper is 24 lb bond clean white, a good heavy paper that takes gel inks and fountain pen inks very well. It also holds pencil leads of 0.9, 0.7 or 0.5 mm without smudging.

Click to enlarge. Go ahead and read, I don't mind.
 I use this notebook for writing exercises, such as the all-dialogue piece up above...

This is a scene from Just Enough Power.
... and for working on pieces like my sci-fi/noir serial, "Just Enough Power". The scene in the picture is from Episode 16. Just for fun, try reading this rough draft, then see what it eventually became. I like to write directly into my computer, but I also like the tactile feel of pen and paper, especially when I don't know yet what I'm trying to say.

More scratching than a poison ivy outbreak!

Sometimes, I have to scratch out a lot of text before I find the phrasing that works. In the scene above, I was trying to describe the despair among the workers on a moon base when faced with an almost certain death. The funny thing about this story? Almost all of this stuff got rewritten, re-rewritten, then cut from the final draft. Sic transit gloria fiction. Sometimes it takes longer to construct and then remove the scaffolding than it does to do the actual painting of the ceiling.

For more handwritten fun, read my #FridayFlash this week, "Pleasurebot, Parts 1 & 2". My handwriting isn't the best, but I think you'll be able to follow along.

~~ ~~~~ ~~

My thanks to Danielle and Anne for organizing the Scribbles Blog Hop! To see the writing journal/diaries/notebooks/notepads/etc. of other writers, and to learn a little about their approach to writing, check out the websites for all the participants, listed below.

Danielle La Paglia:

Anne Michaud:

Marianne Su:

Victoria D Griesdoorn:

Ren Warom:

J.A. Campbell:

Tammy Crosby:

Maria Kelly:

Chrissey Harrison:

Natalie Westgate:

Tony Noland:

Larry Kollar:

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

#FridayFlash: Pleasurebot, Parts 1 & 2

In connection with the Scribbles Blog Hop, I wrote my FridayFlash this week in longhand, using my writing journal. You can read it below in these two photos. Click to enlarge, and don't give me a hard time about my handwriting. For the curious, I wrote this story using this pen, a Parker 51 filled with Sheaffer's Skrip ink (black).

And now, I present "Pleasurebot, Parts 1 & 2".

Pleasurebot, part 1

Pleasurebot, part 2

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Writing on the Ether | Jane Friedman

Re: the publishing industry. There are a lot of shrieking voices out there, with accusations flying back and forth about how misguided, puerile and offensive the other side is being.

"You've been brainwashed!" "You're a whining wanna-be!"

"You're just afraid of being edited!" "You're a slave and a coward!"

"You're deliberately misleading people!" "No, YOU'RE deliberately misleading people!"

"Amazon is awesome! New York sucks!" "New York is awesome! Amazon sucks!"

"Amazon sucks! New York sucks! You're all in it together!"

Fortunately, there is this post by Porter Anderson:

Writing on the Ether | Jane Friedman

Extremely high information content, low shrieking quotient.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Superhero origins - another damned "freak accident"?

I had a conceptual breakthrough today. So exciting was it that I tried to put it into a tweet, but while the immediacy of twitter lends itself to insta-gushing, 140 characters isn't enough to convey it.

Quick, what do these have in common?

  • Accidental exposure to gamma rays
  • Lightning striking the rack of chemicals next to you
  • A bite from a radioactive spider
  • Your parents being murdered in front of you
  • Test subject of a secret government project
  • You're the only survivor of a dead alien world
  • An alien/ancient magician/scientist gives you something
Superhero origins, obviously, but the commonality is that the individual in question survived and gained great power from the experience. The Hulk, the Flash, Spider-Man, Batman, Wolverine/Captain America, Superman/Silver Surfer, Green Lantern/Dr. Strange/Iron Man/etc./etc. ... each of them were in it alone and came out of it alone.

OK, I'll concede that Tony Stark saw Dr. Yinsen get shot and Peter Parker's Uncle Ben got killed. I'll also note that the Fantastic Four were exposed to cosmic rays together, not alone. However, the transformative experience is one they all survived.

The conceptual breakthrough I had was about the origin of the Grammarian, the superhero who is the main character of my WIP. His backstory had the usual freak-accident-in-a-secret-government-lab, a tired bit of creation myth which I was unhappy with. If something happened in a lab that gave somebody superpowers, the government would latch onto it and work for the next 200 years to replicate it. They've been working on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for practically forever, and it doesn't even run on antimatter.

Question: How is it that one guy can get super abilities in a freak accident, walk away from the lab and take up a life of crimefighting?

Answer: it wasn't one guy, he didn't just walk away and he didn't become a superhero, at least not right away. The key here is to make the origin much darker, much bloodier and with a much higher body count. A sole survivor is too implausible, too much like The Chosen One. So, I'll make him lucky and talented, but not miraculously so.

Question: If it was such a promising research program, why would the government voluntarily shut it down?

Answer: the program wasn't promising and the shut down wasn't voluntary. Again, the key here is to go dark. This program wasn't just viewed as a pork barrel boondoggle from the outset, superseded by advancing technology in another area. It faced the deadliest weapon ever ranged against a government program: shifting budgetary priorities when the supporting Senator lost his election.

I'm excited about this.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Wednesday #limerick: drank, hitch, muster

Every Wednesday, I write a limerick for Three Word Wednesday. Today's words are: drank, hitch, muster

Disclaimer: I disclaim her! Credit:

My fiancée is a right skank
She bought the love potion I drank.
With nary a hitch
I fell hard for a bitch,
With full heart I now must 'er thank!

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Let others write about fear - I'll do angst.

 This week's litchat is about facing down the fear in writing. Litchat runs 4-5pm EST, M-W-F. Yesterday's chat was interesting, and I expect tomorrow's and Friday's to be interesting as well.

Am I going to write about overcoming fear today? No. Others have written about ways to face and overcome fears far more eloquently (and more helpfully) than I'm able to or wish to. I will note that many fears are quite specific:
  • I'm afraid people will think I'm a pervert if I write about sex the way I want to.
  • I'm afraid people will think I'm an unstable maniac if I write gruesome horror the way I want to.
  • I'm afraid the positive comments on my blog are just people being polite.
  • I'm afraid my style of writing was only popular a hundred years ago.
  • I'm afraid the real writers will laugh at me for wanting to write yet another kid's book about a talking duck.
  • I'm afraid that if I sent my novel to an agent and she doesn't like it, she'll tell all her agent friends about me and I'll be blacklisted forever.
  • I'm afraid that I'll spend a bunch of money on professional editing and cover art which will never be recouped in sales.
  • I'm afraid publishing has changed forever and I lost my chance to publish a book even before it was ready to submit to a publisher.
The fact is, I'm not really consumed by specific fears like these. Oh, I have them1, but I'm not consumed by them. I'm much more suited to writing about angst and anxiety. These tend to be much less focused, less specific.
  • I'm afraid my writing sucks.
  • I'm afraid I'm kidding myself.
  • I'm afraid I'm too lazy to be a writer.
  • I'm afraid my writing is derivative.
  • I'm afraid my life's path is set and it's too late to write.
  • I'm afraid I'll make some crucial mistake.
  • I'm afraid I'm not good enough.
  • I'm afraid people will get tired of me.
  • I'm afraid I'm doing this all wrong.

How does one counter these nebulous, wraith-like anxieties?
  • "Just suck it up, quit whining and keep writing." Effective in some contexts, but not terribly supportive.
  • "Take a deep breath, embrace the writer within you and keep writing." Like a nice cup of tea and a warm cookie, this will make you feel better because it's superficially affirming.
  • "Ignore your inner critic, make a plan and keep writing." This is easier said than done, but I'm beginning to see a pattern.
  • "Accept that everybody writes lousy first drafts, commit to fixing it in the editing and keep writing." OK, I'm definitely seeing a pattern here. Are you?
  • "Take heart from your successes, embrace the lessons learned from your failures and keep writing." Do you see it? What's the commonality here? Anybody?
  • "Know that while you won't please everyone with your writing, you can do what writers do, which is to please SOME people. Keep writing." I'm pretty sure I've got it now, thanks.
  • "Fake it 'til you make it. Keep writing." I said I've got it, OK? You don't need to beat a dead horse.
  • "Keep writing." Um, yeah.

That's enough for one blog post. I've got writing to do.

1. All of them that is, except for the book about a talking duck.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Monday: yes. Blog post: no.

Really, there's no reason to put up a blog post that says, "I'm not going to do a blog post today."

I spent today editing, writing and working. I do try to have something for my blog on Mondays, but today, I just didn't have time. No stories, no screeds, no limericks, no nothing.

I'll probably have something tomorrow, but today? Nada. Instead, not so much by way of apology by by way of enticement, let me leave you with the trailer for what looks to be a delightful documentary, "Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037"

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

An irritating, maudlin blog post

Everything around me is breaking or broken, in need of repair or in the middle of being repaired.

My downstairs half-bathroom is a shambles. I had to tear out the shower & the drywall after a water leak. I've installed the concreteboard and most of the new tiles. They all need to be grouted before I can reinstall the frame and walls of the shower proper. This is exacting, tiring work for which I am trained only by dint of my own self-guided experience. When it's fixed, will it look OK? Will it stay fixed? How much confidence do I have in my own skill as a mason/tilesetter?

A computer has been disassembled for weeks as I alternate working on the bathroom with diagnosing and trying to fix it. Software fixes have been to no avail. I went so far as to desolder some suspect capacitors off the motherboard and replace them. No good. Next stop is... what? Junk? Replace it? I bought the thing for a reason, and I can't afford to just buy new computers whenever they break.

The lock switch on my driver's side car door is screwed up. Sometimes it locks & unlocks the other doors, sometimes not. A minor thing, perhaps, but it would cost more to fix than I have available. I can't fix it myself and I can't pay to have someone else fix it. It's just easier to accommodate the brokenness.

My novel WIP is the same WIP I've been WIPing for a year. Progress is so slow, I find myself re-editing things I've already edited before I edit the parts I've only edited in the markup copy. Do I want this to be hard-hitting and noir? Or thoughtful and introspective? It all depends on how I was feeling when I did the edits of this chapter or that. And does any of it sound like it's written in my "voice", whatever the hell that is? Or is it all just a sloppy, hopeless mess?

In the last year, I also put together an anthology of flash fiction. It took time away from the WIP, but it was educational with respect to publishing. Well and good, yes? I suppose, but I'm guessing that it has sold about as many copies as it ever will. I don't know what I was expecting, but I'm going to have to regard it as a teaching tool, an exercise that will pave the way for other things rather than as an accomplishment in and of itself.

My right elbow has been killing me ever since I strained it somehow, probably in shifting a quarter-ton of concrete board a few weeks ago. The tile installation has prevented it from healing, so I'm in constant, nagging pain from it. Also, a week ago, as I was taking a seat out of my minivan, it shifted and drove one of the sharp edges of the frame into the back of my right knee. A giant blue-purple bruise has been spreading around the puncture wound. A few days ago, I also sliced open my right thumb on the edge of the notched-tooth trowel when I was cleaning the mortar off it. All I need is a stroke on the right side of my brain and I'll have the entire right side of my body in a fine fettle.

There are other things I could talk about, other examples of brokenness, half-assedness and general shambles I could dwell on. Suffice to say that I am tired. I am very, very tired, and I have far too many things to do. What I accomplish and what I don't are all garlands on my brow and millstones round my neck, each and every one of them of my own creation.

One can be weighted down by successes, half-successes and successes-in-the-making as much by failures.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Poll: I would like you to post more...

For all my website visitors, RSS readers and e.mail subscribers, I've put a poll up on the left side of my blog. From now to next Friday, November 11, please tell me about your preferences:

I would like you to post more...
  • fiction. 
  • writing advice. 
  • personal insights. 
  • funny poems. 
  • wild-eyed rants. 
  • porn. 
  • of the same. 
This information will help the writing, editing and content curation staff here at Landless (i.e., me, me and me) to know what's working for you, what you like, and what I know few people will care about, but which I'll post anyway. You can select multiple options, so don't worry about having to choose (for example) more fiction OR more wild-eyed rants. If you like both, you can ask for both.

With this knowledge, I can work harder to make you happier. You do want to be happier, don't you? Now's your chance.

Happy clicking!

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Focus, focus!

From, the secret to success:

 Focus! Focus! Jack of all trades, master of none? Focus! Focus!

n.b. You may interpret this as a caution against trying to write in more than one genre, against trying to write while holding down a day job, against trying to keep more than one woman happy, or anything else you wish.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

#FridayFlash: Chopin Beneath A Starry Sky

Chopin Beneath A Starry Sky

by Tony Noland

Once upon a time, a squirrel was coming home from the last rehearsal but one before a piano recital. The recital was to be on the following Saturday afternoon, at two o'clock. The final rehearsal was to be that same Saturday morning, and would be conducted in full tuxedo dress. The squirrel had never worn black tie and tails, and was afraid that he would look rather ridiculous, not to mention old-fashioned.

His instructor, an old cocker spaniel with an excellent ear, had assured him that a cutaway coat would not only catch him around the armpits, thus hampering his reach for the arpeggios, but would ride up in back, exposing his suspenders. The squirrel doubted this, but acquiesced. Although his ear was indeed excellent, the cocker spaniel was quite advanced in age and tended towards the cantankerous during rainy weather, when he was troubled excessively by arthritis as a consequence of the damp.

The tuxedo was a worry that compounded the squirrel's anxiety about the recital. He had, naturally, performed for his family and friends at dinners and parties, and had achieved the successes consequent to diligent practice. It was no small source of pride to him that personal invitations to great-uncle's mansion had increased quite notably in recent seasons. He had been (he flattered himself) the "toast" of several weekend parties last summer. At Christmastime, it was quite the crowd that had gathered round the fine old Steinway to sing carols and hymns as he played. Then, when the older set had taken to their beds, the younger members of the party had enjoyed themselves thoroughly into the small hours, cheering on Father Christmas in his flight with the remainder of the holiday nog, half a case of champagne and a few bottles of port. All throughout, the popular tunes he played (and even a few uncharacteristically bawdy pieces) had filled the Great Hall with a rosy glow of the muse Thaleia's beneficence.

This Saturday, however, was to be Chopin and Hayden. The squirrel's own selections had been by Brahms and a difficult piano concerto by Bach, but his instructor would have none of it. With a low bark, he had made it perfectly plain that he felt it was time for, as he put it, "the real playing to begin". Why this new phase in his musical education must involve such an excruciatingly high probability of public embarrassment, the squirrel could not begin to understand.

It was, therefore in a morose and distracted frame of mind that he reached the M-91 road and stepped out to cross the macadam without watching for traffic. Naturally, you will hardly believe this, as you know the instinctually cautious nature of squirrels perfectly well! However, it is a measure of the squirrel's mental and emotional disquiet that he was fully in the middle of the road before he realized that a low-slung sports car, lemon yellow, was fast bearing down on him in the eastbound lane. A panicked glance showed him a tractor-trailor truck in the westbound lane, going almost as fast as the sports car and similarly almost upon him.

You can guess what happened. While it is the innate caution of squirrels which so typically affords them a long life and a happy retirement, it is the innate indecisiveness of squirrels which, sadly, too often brings them an unhappy end. The squirrel jumped to complete his trip across the road, thought better of it and turned back, then turned again in panic.

He escaped the fender of the sports car by inches, but the powerful draft of air flung him bodily into the path of the truck. His body was broken under the tires on the left hand side as the truck sped over him. So overwhelming was the squirrel's terror that the sensations of his body betrayed him. For a moment - for one, glorious, starburst moment - he thought that he had been missed completely, and that he had suffered no more than a scare. The stars flashed in the sky overhead, brightly twinkling in the darkness. If he felt a flicker of pain, it was gone in an instant as, softly and tenderly, death came for him, as He does for all squirrels. How lucky and how blessed the squirrel believed himself to be, to have so narrowly escaped. If there is a mercy associated with his demise, it is that he died with this vision of starry, celestial beauty before him.

With his last breath, the squirrel lay twitching on the M-91, his fingertips running through the end of the Chopin with a flouirsh and then, with his broken and bleeding body, bending low to receive the applause of everyone he knew as the last chords echoed and rang through the world.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

How to survive a coronal mass ejection

Since I'm writing a science fiction story about this, I thought I'd share a bit of fun information with you.

There are a few basic methods for surviving a cornonal mass ejection (CME). Survival Method 1:

1) Hope that it is small enough that it won't strip away Earth's atmosphere.

Earth's magnetic field protects us from the normal solar wind (a stream of charged particles), but it gets compressed when hit by a CME. The bigger the CME, the greater the damage. Under the magnetic field, our atmosphere protects us from UV radiation, X-rays, gamma radiation and cosmic radiation. However, during periods of high sunspot activity, our atmosphere is actually thinned and partly stripped away by the increased charged particles hitting our little blue-white ball.

If the CME is big enough to be a planet-killer, go on to Survival Method 2:

2) Hope that it doesn't hit the Earth.

The sun is big. Space is big. The sun is far away. Only a small dot of space is taken up by the Earth. Most CMEs never come close to us. However, even the thin edge of a really big one can blow the sensors off a satellite pointed in that direction. In 2003, the Halloween Solar Storm of Oct 17 - Nov 5 showed CMEs that were millions of times bigger than normal flares and CMEs.

If a solar eruption similar to the 2003 event had hit Earth, we would have had to go on to Survival Method 3:

3) There is no Survival Method 3.

A view of the 2003 CME under ultraviolet light coming from gas at a temperature of 2,700,000 degrees F (1,500,000 K)

Another view of the 2003 CME event, in near-IR:

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Wednesday #limerick: carnage, jerk, puncture

Each Wednesday, I write a limerick using the words from Three Word Wednesday. Today's words are: carnage, jerk, puncture

To puncture an ego takes work;
let your comments cause carnage, don't lurk!
Go chainsaw that blogger
like a maniac logger,
the Internet *needs* one more jerk!

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

How to interpret NaNoWriMo rage

I have to wonder at the rants from NaNoWriMo haters. They go on at length about how NaNo participants are deluding themselves and how NaNo is not just a waste of time, but a counterproductive, poisonous opiate. Most offensive, apparently, is that NaNo writers believe they are writing novels, when anyone who knows anything about writing knows that they are just puking out worthless crap, with no resemblance to a real novel written by a real novelist

What are the haters so afraid of?

It takes work to be a novelist. Writing, re-writing, editing, navigating the treacherous waters of publication: all of these are difficult. Someone who's done it has every right to feel good about having accomplished something. Is this pride of accomplishment so fragile that it has to be defended with handfuls of broken bottles thrown backwards?

You know what you never see? You never see marathon runners sitting by the sidelines of a 5K Fun Run, shouting at the participants that they aren't really runners. You never see plumbers and carpenters walking through Home Depot telling the DIY crowd that they are delusional if they think that their knocked-together little home improvement projects are any good. You never see business owners sneering at the kid in the fast food drive-thru that she's not really a worker because her dead-end McJob is pathetic.

Actually, though, you do see that kind of sneering sometimes, don't you? Having attained a couple of rungs on the ladder, some people's first instinct is piss down at those still below. It's always distasteful to witness because it seems so needless and pathetic.

The novels produced during NaNoWriMo will be terrible. Everyone understands this. For many, perhaps for most, having produced a terrible novel will be enough. Some will want to go further. Either they will want to edit that terrible NaNo novel and make it a good novel, or they will try to write another, better novel. Odds are, that one will be bad, too. How many will go on to try again? I can guarantee that no one writes a good  novel without having first written a lousy one.

And no one writes a lousy novel without having at least one horrid, underdeveloped mess under their belts.

The book you write during NaNo is not the accomplishment; the new you is the accomplishment. Learn from your NaNo experience and go on to lead a better life. Even if you never write another word, you can, if you choose, see the world with new eyes. NaNo isn't the only life experience that can change you for the better (if you let it), but it's concrete, with defined rules and goals. It's pretty well organized, low cost, communal and communally supportive.

How do I interpret NaNoWriMo rage? "I work my ass off to be a writer; how dare you call yourself one after producing that half-baked, half-formed, half-literate slop?" I interpret it as insecurity.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.