The Land – a real playground

An interesting article in The Atlantic Magazine. A “junk yard” playground that is very popular. Apparently the story is making the rounds in my kid’s school district. I doubt it will change anything, but it’s a start. It’s similar to one from Kiwi Land.

Upshot of the two: more reasonable risk-taking, fewer rules, more natural consequences are better for kids than bubble-wrap and bureaucracy. Well, duh!

Right in line with your memories of the dump, Lyle.

Unilateral disarmament

Obama wants it for the nation. If this report is true, and it happens because it’s more than just a stupidly stupid budget-battle bargaining chip, Obama wants to eliminate the Tomahawk and Hellfire missile programs. And what’s he plan to replace it with? A plan for a missile that likely won’t be ready for another decade…. Urk?

I think the guy is both a fool AND actively trying to destroy the nation. This isn’t just anti-hawkish, or dovish, it’s an invitation to a serious mauling of our allies. I cannot fathom the idiocy of anyone still retaining an “Obama-Biden” bumper-sticker on their car.

A “real” author

I just signed a contract with Castalia House, a recently started Finland-based publisher, to be the official publisher of The Stars Came Back. By some combination of luck, skill, happenstance in a changing marketplace, and doing enough things right to compensate for what I didn’t, I managed to move more than 2700 copies of the book world-wide between 13Jan2014 and 18Mar2014. Not bad for a total noob, and quite above expectations, if not as many as one may absurdly hope. So why would I cut my profits by sticking a middle-man in the mix? Because the book is already selling and done, the change to my bottom line for this book is very minimal, we have a good deal to come out with a conventional prose format version of the story, one where I won’t have to worry about upfront costs for editing and new cover art. (He says my old cover fairly screamed “self published,” and was quite surprised that it was selling as well as it was).

He’ll also handle translation into at least two other languages, possible audible books, and taking it to ink-on-paper (something I’d been only slowly making progress on), meaning I’ll get a fair percentage of markets I’d get zero from otherwise. It also opens the door wide for sequels and offshoots and other projects I’ve been mentally kicking around but didn’t have the resources to go after.

The funny thing is, I didn’t really intend to submit the story in an attempt to get a publisher. I had tried to post a question in a previous thread in which Vox compared indie publishing and working with a publisher, but the blog kept eating my post, so I just emailed the question to him. Basically I was asking “how does all this affect someone like me, a self-published author that is doing OK, but is a total no-name noob at it all?” He asked me to send in a copy for him to take a look at. I did, more thinking I might get some professional feedback, or maybe a plug on a blog read by people that might like the story. Shortly thereafter, it seemed like we were both a little surprised how things worked out. But as he said, “who am I to argue with the market?”

It’s been an interesting ride. Guess I can add “Raconteur” to my biz card.

Countdown deal

For that that are interested, and have not already bought a copy, there is a “countdown deal” going on at Amazon for The Stars Came Back, running through the Ides of March (because it’s a killer deal). Right now it’s $0.99, then up to $1.99, then back to regular price. (Quick edit just in case it’s not clear: it’s an e-book only at the present time, though I’m working on a paper version… and other things)

Best comment on a one-star review, where the person called it “garbage,” and said “it’s in a screenplay format. Who even does that?” someone replied with “Stephen King.”

Possible path in CT

Following the gun and magazine restriction news I didn’t like who things were playing out. Looked like there were way to many ways to make it turn ugly all around. While I’m sure someday tyrants will need to be used as tree-watering sources, I’d really rather not have it happen during my life- revolutions are expensive. I thought of a possible path out after watching this clip.

Stage an arrest of a “known offender” as a test case. Arrange for someone with an “unlawful” magazine and a barely illegal rifle (maybe something like a Nylon 66, or whatever the most innocuous technically illegal arm you can find) who is retired and can afford to spend a little time in jail. Roll the cameras, arrest and charge him, and have everyone on the scene know what’s going on so that nobody gets shot. Get him before a judge that day, and have a temporary order to put a hold on the law until it can be officially decided by a court. That gives the police an out to not enforce the law, but it also gives the citizens an out because it can’t be held over them for anything else so things do go all Waco on anyone. It gives everyone time to “let the court sort it out” without claiming any unnecessary lives. It also gives time for a new legislature to be elected if needed, because it will become a more well-understood topic by a broader range of the population.

About that “common use” argument

Sometimes anti-rights cultists use the “2nd Amendment only protects guns in common use” canard in their efforts to ban or limit their vaguely described “assault weapons.” Seems the AR15 is becoming what can easily be described as “common.”

Short version: Gun production up 32% overall (to about 8.3 million produced domestically), and production of AR15 variants more than doubled in 2012 from the previous year, “825,000, not counting the large numbers made by Remington, Bushmaster and Sturm, Ruger” (italics in original, not sure why they excluded them or didn’t give a total). In any case, that’s a metric boatload of bean-launchers, and somehow I doubt it all rednecks buying second or third ARs.

With numbers like that, sort of hard for the gun-Nazis to claim they are winning much of anything.

Law for thee, not for me

I’m sure we are all shocked when a gun-control activist is caught with a gun. Oh, the horror, how could it happen? But when he’s caught carrying in an elementary school? That’s just another day in Buffalo, NY. He committed what was a simple misdemeanor, that was turned into a felony by a law he helped pass. The SWAT was a total over-reaction, but I hope they make him rot in jail for a LOOOOONG time. Not because I think what he did was wrong, but because it’s a law he supported and help pass to punish people exercising an enumerated right.

Schadenfreude at it’s most ironic.

What we all knew- safety is job #3

From the Department of “Duh” comes this little Kiwi gem. Seems a researcher ran an experiment on playground rules and child development. Making things too safe, having too many rules, was bad all the way around. Safe=boring and they didn’t learn about natural consequences of acting like idiots.

As a father of two kids, one girl and one barbarian, I see them do things that make me cringe, but I also know they have fun, play hard, and learn fast when you give them a fair bit of rope. Bones heal, bruises are great for showing off to friends. I’m sure I’ve watched them do things that would make the Risk Management head of any school district stroke out. But the kids are the better and healthier for it, and their mom gets a break because she can’t bear to watch.

700 Club

Wow. Just hit the second milestone number for The Stars Came Back, where I’m sure I’ve just recovered my upfront costs of editing, cover art, etc. Still hanging in the charts, bobbling around unsteadily but consistently between the low 20s and the high 30s on the Space Opera and Military Sci Fi charts at Amazon. The charts are recalculated ever hour or so, based on some sort of recent sales formula. So if I never sell another copy, at least I haven’t lost money. [UPDATE: check the whole chart if it's not there. It wobbled into the #19 spot just now.]

It went live on the 13th of January. It’s now the 2nd of February. Three weeks to hit 700 net copies sold (and a couple dozen borrowed). Guess I must have done something right. *sigh* Time to work on reformatting for getting it in paperback, I suppose.

Another seven million copies and I can retire.

Metatdata, meet chilling effect

A massive crowd of demonstrators gather to protest government actions, hoping for the anonymity of the crowd to help shield them from official retaliation. A while later they receive a text message:

Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

Anyone that tells you mass collection of cell phone metadata is benign is a fool, a useful idiot, dumb as a stump, or a government agent planning on using it. Or all of the above.

Coming soon to a protest near you… if it isn’t there already.

h/t to Paul

Waxman to retire

Relentlessly anti-gun idiot House Representative from California Henry Waxman announced that he’s retiring, after 20 terms trying to take your rights away, in a temper tantrum over not being more successful at punishing working folks, buying off the poor, not being able to control his hatred for those wanting less government, his inability to work with people less liberal than a RINO, and because freedom is still found in some corners of the nation. While I have no doubt that his district will elect someone else just as liberal as he is, and maybe even dumber and more poorly educated, they will not have the same political connections or seniority, so it’s a Good Thing ™.

To demonstrate just how bizarrely disconnected from reality he is (or how far our of the mainstream his values are), the final line from the news article reads:

“I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “I think it’s a terrific piece of legislation.”

Straw purchases legal?

Well, ain’t that just shiny. Seems the ATF decided on it’s own, without any supporting law, that straw purchases were illegal, and added that question to the 4473 back in ’95. There is now a case before the supremes about it, Bruce J. Abramski v. United States. The potential for an epic spanking of the BAFTE is in the offing. If we needed any more evidence of their lawlessness, we’d have it here.

Moving up

Just an FY:

The Stars Came Back is now at:

#18 15 in  Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military

#26 22 21 Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military

#42 35 34 Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Science Fiction

Which at the moment translates into 164 183 209 units sold, 4 borrowed.


UPDATE: now at #1918 in Amazon paid Kindle store.

FBI, IRS- just another gang?

After people within the IRS basically admitted they targeted political opponents such as Tea Party groups for harassment, the FBI was finally called in to investigate because the behavior by the “impartial” IRS was so egregious. The head of the investigation, who “just happens” to be an Obama donor, decided there was nothing illegal going on, so they dropped the investigation, filing no charges.

I’m not sure how our decent into Banana Republic corruption and political abuse could happen so fast, unless the rot has been going a lot deeper, longer, than I thought, and it just took the Audacity of Dope to really bring it out in such an obvious way. We can only hope for a monumental backlash come election time. If not… time to start milking the system for all it’s worth, bring it down as fast and hard as possible, so the rebuilding can begin sooner.

Got Plugged

Whoo-hoo! I got plugged. Er, perhaps I should explain that.

My book, The Stars Came Back, got a plug in the Book Plug Friday over at PJ Lifestyle, part of the Pajamas Media Megaplex. Be interesting to see what effect it has on sales.

So far the book has three reviews – I’d greatly appreciate more from any of you that have read it, particularly if you have written reviews before. Doesn’t have to be magnificent writing (that’s my job), just tell what you liked about it, strengths and quirks, compare it to other better known books or authors you liked. Thanks for your support, now back to our regular gun-news.