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Excellence

I haz it. As i look down from the smuggery after finally finishing and publishing the Dragon Quartet…. oh – heh – oops.

Forgot to tell you.

Nah, marketing STILL isn’t my strongest suit. Plus i joined Patreon, and immediately (literally in the last hour before i was going to launch) they changed the pricing structure.

So $1 wasn’t a good bottom tier for patrons. Cost too much cos fees. Yep, so i’m like, okay, change pricing, move all tiers up, change rewards, done, and lowest price Rewards? $2. In Australia it ended up over $3 so i figured that was a reasonable monthly sub.

So i launched, got a patron. Yes, it’s Mr Whatsit, but you can’t say i don’t listen to fans. I have to. He might be permanently plugged into Netflix at the moment, but he has to run out of Red Vs Blue episodes eventually and then he’s going to start making demands. I’ve already had to get him to cancel his first subscription.

Yeah, Patreon changed the fee system back. So now i have no idea what cut i get of monthly subs, and i had to change all my Reward levels around again. Then Mr had to resubscribe at $1. If they change it again, i reckon maybe a PayPal link would be less traumatic.

So, about my Patreon. Not as good as it sounds – or perhaps it is. It means i’m asking you to crowdfund me. Instead of a once-off, it’s monthly. Whoa. Before you rush off, let me wheedle you a little.

So, i write books. You read books. If you don’t i probably don’t have something you’re going to be into – on the other hand, maybe you should start? It’s easy.

The first two books are free – yes, the second pair are $2.99 each. However. Of course there’s a however.

However – if you join my patrons on my Patreon there’s a Reward. You get the two books that aren’t free, free. Well, for you promising $1 a month.

Promise more than $1, you get other Rewards, starting with asking me questions (i was thinking this would be ‘about writing’ questions, but now i’m worried. I did put in a clause about me having right of refusal). There are acknowledgements in future books, appearing in my books, and poetry. Yes, darn fine poetry. Though i do not guarantee rhyme.

If you already like my writing and are thinking sure, i can spare a buck, before you change your mind here’s the link to me on Patreon. If you’d rather type it in, it’s https://patreon.com/lee_abrey

So, not into being patronising? C’mon, you know you want to. You need enticing. Well, perhaps calming down? The poetry is higher level stuff, you’re not going to get it for a buck. You’re quite safe.

What’s it all about? I want people who enjoy my work to get more involved. You see, i have a problem.

I’m trying to remember to blog here, to go on Twitter, rant a little, create when i have a spare minute. (Currently involves looking through old work to see which version warrants re-writing, edit that writing, and give Jules her head. She’s fun. If you like Polo, i think you’ll like Jules.)

Important task – I have to self-publish the paper books, because to all the people who said ‘i’d buy it if it was paper, i prefer paper books” – then i can say good, here’s the link. (i don’t have a link yet, but if you sponsored me, i COULD HAVE.)

Any spare money goes first there. Which leaves me with a problem. I can’t afford advertising. And printing the books is going to take about $1,000 to set up. Yeah – it’s not good.

Without your help, i can’t make the first steps to get my work out to more readers. It’s that simple. I’m trying to get funding to first do some advertising, second get the books ready for print instead of just ebooks. Meanwhile, i’m working on the next book, because i know you’re fickle. More words required.

Plus, as you know (if you’ve read back a bit) i’m disabled. So i simply don’t have the strength to work at anything approaching full speed any more. I need to cut the time it takes both to get income faster to pay for advertising and format options that should get the books really selling, along with raising awareness of my work to raise sales.

So think about it. You could help me break free with just $1 a month.

PatreonHeader2_2 smlr

Something to read, in the meantime? Yes, two full length books. Free.

No catch. It’s because it took so long, i ended up with 4 books. Book 2 starts with what was the end of Book 1 (which is still over 100k). Wouldn’t be fair to charge people for something they’d recognise as already having paid for. If they read The Birthday Dragon before, it was $5.99 – a fair price back in 2011. Ebook prices have dropped, especially unknown writers. Yeah, I’m unknown – i used to be notorious, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

So, the Dragon Quartet Series page is here

links to the free books:

If you’d rather start with Book 1….

Free Download of Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon
Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life. The Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he’s gay, relations who want him dead, and a very bad reputation. Twisted adventure in a vivid new world where genesplicing accidentally creates real magic and Men (or Women) might be Dragon.

Free Download of Polo Shawcross: Dragon Soldier
Polo is still getting into trouble, still in danger from his crazy family trying to kill him, or worse, be his parents again. The Crown Prince is still in love with him, and Polo’s reputation is shocking. There’s even a book out about his sexual adventures. One thing he knows, the army’s not for him. So becoming a soldier is a shock. Surviving the Army of the North won’t be easy, especially when he ends up in the stockade before basic training.

Links to the newest books ($2.99 each or free if you join my Patreon)
You can also read 20% of the books below for free, to see if you want more:

Polo Shawcross: Dragon Skin
Polo Shawcross comes back from war both notorious and a hero, ready for bad women, good food, and a lot of sleep. His enemies have other plans, as do his friends. Soon he’s fighting for his life and for parts of his body someone wants as a souvenir.
Can Polo learn to shape-change in time?

Polo Shawcross: Dragon Outlaw
The notorious Polo Shawcross is desperate for a quiet life, but his family are still out to kill him. Back at Court in Sendren, Polo isn’t the man you want to leave alone with the queen, but the king still loves him. On the bright side, he’s out of the army. Polo’s sure he won’t fight again, but the war’s coming to Sendren. Is changing shape enough?
Can Polo survive?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

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Ending the Beginning…

At last, i’m putting the quartet up on Smashwords. Can’t quite believe it. The covers are done, edits are done, i’m just doing blurbs and making sure they upload okay.

They came out pretty….

The Birthday Dragon‘s been out for years, that’s going to be free, once the new version is okayed. As the first quarter of Dragon Soldier used to be in the previous book, it’s free too.

Books 3 and 4 are not free. Like Books 1 and 2 they’re over 100,000 words. I’m thinking $2.99 each.

I’ve been putting final touches on my Smashwords pages, adding a interview. I came to do this blog and realised “i’ve forgotten everything i ever learned about HTML” which was a nice match for when i started doing the covers and realised i’d forgotten everything i ever knew about Photoshop.

So i uploaded the new version of Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon and waited for it to be okayed. Found a mistake in the stuff beyond the ending. Re-uploaded. Found something else, re-re-uploaded. And thankful it was finally okay, so i started work on the blurbs for the other books.

Every time i checked back, the book wasn’t okayed yet. Smashwords never takes long, so i began to wonder if i’d jammed something up, re-re-uploading. It was never a problem before. And i waited.

While i waited, I started a Patreon page. This is a rather nice notion that artists find patrons who sling them a few dollars a month, every month, and the artist (that’s me) in exchange gives them access to unpublished stuff or first drafts, perhaps completely never-to-be-published stories.

Anything that helps my income is worth a go. (It’s not quite up yet, i’m still getting it sorted out.)

I checked Smashwords. Something occurred to me. It was Thanksgiving in the USA when i did the first upload. Bugger. By the end of the week it was Black Friday. I’d literally picked one of the worst weeks in the US year to upload the books.

Double bugger. And then i realised. Now i’ve begun my Patreon page, i’ll have to change the books again to include the Patreon link.

I do believe the word i’m looking for is “AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH”.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 


In Defence of the Indefensible

I’ve done nothing on transcribing the edits for the last two weeks. Mr Whatsit went into hospital then (thankfully) came out again, but is on crutches, so i’ve been busy carrying everything for him. Coffee, pills, and icepacks being the main requirements. (Two big bags of supermarket own-brand frozen peas wrapped in a towel – recommended by the physio – working very well so far.)

Thanks to the pills Mr Whatsit’s been in a bad way, not quite hallucinating but only ‘not quite’, so sleep here at Casa Cripple’s been in short supply.

Before he went into hospital i was managing to keep up the edits despite the chaos involved when they changed his painkilling meds three times in as many weeks, resulting in over- and under-doses so severe it nearly killed him, and in 3 visits by paramedics and 2 trips to hospital for the day.

Since, a combo of exhaustion on my part and the need to sleep with one eye open in case he comes to grief staggering about the house in the middle of the night, has meant i’m not fit for much.

Though i’ve managed to go in and shout on Twitter enough to lose some steam, then i’ve pretty much zombied out in front of the tv, thankful i don’t have to watch terrestrial (free-to-air) tv because if that was all i had, i would have been staring at the walls.

I’ve had a few people (on Twitter) lately say they’re giving up Murdoch television by dumping their pay-tv or shouting that everyone should stop their pay TV because it’s funding the Antichrist.

Now, i get that. But. They don’t realise that Endemol Shine (to name just one) is a Murdoch company. There’re variations on the name – Endemol Shine North America, Endemol, Endemol Shine Australia, and so on.

The name may not mean much to you, but if you list their programs you soon realise, to avoid Murdoch, you need to stop watching TV. Free TV’s biggest shows are all theirs.

Shows like Home and Away, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, Deal or No Deal, The Face, One Born Every Minute, The Office, Ugly Betty, and The Tudors. Like The Fall, Peaky Blinders, Hell on Wheels, Benidorm, Ripper Street, Black Mirror, Bad Education, My Mad Fat Diary, Hot in Cleveland, Kirstie, Leverage, Death Comes to Pemberley and The Crimson Field. Yes, there’s unmitigated crap there, but many of the dramas/comedies are ones i watched and thought were excellent.

Perhaps you watched the Masterchef, Gladiator, Wifeswap or Dancing with the Stars franchises, ‘Australian’ shows like Masterchef Australia, The Voice Australia, The Biggest Loser Australia, and yes, even that much-loved Australian hit, Kath and Kim – all Murdoch at the core. Even Little Britain USA! Some of the shows were originally not Murdoch – but then their company or parent company was sold, and they were.

In fact, without Murdoch-owned companies’ productions, we wouldn’t have much to watch on television at all. There’s a lot of good drama, along with the crappy (and sometimes fun) ‘game’ and ‘reality’ shows.

Now don’t get me wrong. I detest Rupert Murdoch with a passion. I don’t like that just by watching television i’m contributing to his global dominance of the media. However, maybe you can live without television. I don’t want to. I did for a few years about a decade ago, when i moved into a house with no outside tv aerial, with reception so bad i couldn’t get any channels well, and most not at all. I’d never had pay tv and didn’t even consider it. At first.

I got by with lots of library books, and online interests. Then after the landlord again refused to even half-pay for an aerial, I decided to treat myself to television with pay-tv. Being able to watch drama series in order was a revelation after years of terrestrial television stations showing them out of sequence or even taking them off for a month while they run some stupid sports event. And so few ads! Though this has got less wonderful – the ads are more and thicker, but still don’t come NEAR to ‘free’ Tv’s saturation.

Murdoch’s a prick, yep, no argument. But have you seen the twats running terrestrial tv? Pretty soon, Murdoch will own his own terrestrial Australian station. Thanks to the current government, who changed the law to help him out. Am looking forward to seeing what the “dump Foxtel” people do. For the record, I don’t watch Fox or Sky News. I do watch BBC World News, Al Jazeera, and various Asian channels which you don’t even get a hint of on terrrestrial tv. (I’m not including SBS or the ABC in this, though even they show Murdoch companies’ products at times.)

Funnily, i can find more non-Murdoch content to watch on Murdoch’s Foxtel than i can on free TV. And let’s remember, ads on Foxtel are fewer and more widely spaced than on free TV, and on some channels (movies and the ones that have Game of Thrones) there are no ads during programs or movies.

You also get the option to record, which works flawlessly as a rule, because series are shown at the same time every week AND IN SEQUENCE, something terrestrial television can’t manage. Terrestrial telly is usually running over 20 minutes behind just on a normal night.

I don’t watch sport, so the notion that people who want to are ‘forced’ to buy Foxtel doesn’t really bother me. And when it comes down to it  – who sold Rupert the sports rights? The sports industry is a money-grubbing bunch. When the same sports are shown on terrestrial channels, they’re stuffed full of ads, and the commentators are busy promoting betting DURING their to-camera moments.

If you don’t want to watch TV, sure, ditch your Foxtel/pay TV. In fact, wtf were you doing with it? Running on autopilot?

If you, like me, actually enjoy good drama, interesting architecture/archaeology/reno shows, or (shamefully) stuff like Botched (plastic surgery) and even occasional storage auction binges, then you’re not well-served by terrestrial television. In fact, i can’t understand why anyone would settle for what makes up most of the pap served by terrestrial tv.

After spending a large part of my adult life in the UK, where general programming was pretty good thanks to the BBC and Channel Four (this was pre-2002), coming back to Australia and the awfulness of ‘free to air’ was sobering. I used to watch television maybe twice a week. For thirty/sixty minutes at a time.

Keeping myself in books was a problem at the best of times (i read too fast), and there’s times i don’t want to read. Or i want something non-intrusive while i read? Hmm, i’ve never listened to opera, maybe i’ll try some on the Foxtel Arts Channel?  I get a lot of music channels as part of my package. Let’s see, how much arts programming does terrestrial television show? (Not counting SBS and ABC, remember?)

Finally – if you really want to avoid Murdoch? You can’t read anything by Harper-Collins – also Murdoch owned. Local papers are usually out.

Me, i look at it differently – it was suggested I stop shopping at supermarkets to show my contempt for them. I figured better to harass them as a customer, rather than someone who proudly says ‘i won’t buy from you’. (I also can’t afford to pay tiny company prices – i do shop at a local butcher, because that IS cheaper, along with the meat being better quality.)

Big companies don’t give a stuff about people who aren’t their customers (yeah, i know, debatable they give a stuff about anything, but it’s levels of influence).

I’ve looked at the other options (Netflix et al) and frankly, it’s fine if you don’t watch tv much, or only when you have something special you want to see, or only via your phone. Because i pay half the monthly sub in a shared house, it’s affordable, and i get a really amazing range of programs, movies, and series for no extra charge.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy ‘supporting’ Murdoch. But for now at least, i’m going to live with it.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 


To Insanity and Beyond

I’m getting there – with there in this case being defined as ‘losing my mind’ or ‘ready for publication’ – Books 1-4 paper edits all done. The edits get transcribed (sounds like someone else is going to, but nah, it’s just me), then i print out paper copy for the Delta Reader (he’s ahead of the Beta Readers, and Alpha is ‘book as published’, so Delta he is) who gets to read it and give the nod.

The nod will lead to uploads and a divergence – as paper publication will have accents and squiggly bits – like in the words façade, fiancée and déjà vu. You can’t leave squiggles and accents in ebooks because ereaders have hysterics over them. Ampersands (&) likewise.

So i will be running versions for publication (paper) and on for ebook. Then i can publish, once they’re ready. I think. Have i forgotten something? Oh fk, the covers. And covers is the operative word. 4 different ebooks, and then 4 DIFFERENT covers for 4 paper books. Argh is the word i’m looking for.

I just keep telling myself, it’s going to be ok, i can do this. Though i’m not at all sure. Which reminds me, i haven’t figured out pricing yet (for either version). I said Argh in the last para, so let’s add an Aiee! Cos it’s all doing my head in.

The sound you can hear is just me gibbering. Does anyone have a spare strait-jacket?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


Crowdfunding or Not…

Oh don’t ask me – just don’t. I put stuff on my blog, and almost before i’ve had a chance to post it twice on Twitter, it gets superseded.

So i was posting about turning into a pony – that’s still on the cards. The superseded one is about possibly crowdfunding and stuff. I decided i don’t need to. Yep. Advances in printing technology mean printing one book at a time is almost as cheap as printing 100. Though true, once you get into thousands, traditional printing becomes cheaper.

Of course, it means i won’t have a budget for marketing. So consider yourself “the marketing department” because if the people who follow this blog and me on Twitter don’t help, there’s not going to be any promotion, bar what i shout about myself.

This is a very short blog, but during it i’ve baked bread, including waited for 2 rises, i prepped roast chook (chicken) and peeled veg. Now i’m about to be summoned by the kitchen timer. And i still have shouting to do on Twitter.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


Mostly human, probably NSFW

The blog’s Not Safe For Work. I, I will be partly pony. Yep, I’ve decided i’m not a real girl. Not a sex pony, you know, that’s not me. The ones you see on those bizarro reality TV documentaries acting out their childhood or teen angst by dragging leather/lycra-clad people around in carts.

“Of course,” they say to camera, while ‘owner’ cinches them into a corset, cos sure, that’s what ponies wear, “it’s a secret, my adult pony playing. That’s why i’m appearing on a sensationalist show that will be shown all around the world for the next 100 years.”

*Pony-play person neighs and tries to get lycra pony-suit out of her butt-crack with one of her plastic hooves. Eventually ‘owner’ takes pity on her and undoes the velcro holding the hoof on.*

Nope, that is so not me. I’m the bolshy kind of pony. The pony who crushes you against the fence, who stands on your foot, the one who bites you as you try to get into the saddle. Who, when you finally make it into the saddle, takes off at a gallop before suddenly dropping my head between my fetlocks and kicking up my back hooves. And smirks as you fly off into the nearest tree/mud/water/fence/brick wall.

And seriously – saddles are for the tamed. I won’t wear that kind of thing. I would like a new leather coat if someone’s offering, mine was eaten by mould when i lived in New South Wales.

Why am i a pony? Or Part-Pony? Being human’s not working for me. I’d be better off with hooves. Fully opposable ones, of course. My hair’s in my eyes, let’s call it a forelock and be done with it. I don’t have a tail, but we could put that down to a Terrible Accident. The alternative is one of these, and i am SO not going there.

Tasha-Reignbow-Pony-Tail-Plug-4-colors-326x326

Of course someone has made girly pony tails as sex toys. Everything else is also available, why not pony tails? And yes, that link is so NSFW you probably shouldn’t click it.
Some things you can’t unsee.

I’m not really a My Little Pony kind of pony. I will roll in mud, get brambles in my mane, and children will find me scary.

“Mummy! The pony’s looking at me funny!”
“Don’t be silly, darling, ponies don’t do that.”
“Mummy? The pony just said if i tell tales someone will cut my tongue out.”
“Jacinta!” Mummy tries not to shout. “We’ve had this discussion before, darling, we don’t pretend animals talk, do we?”

*Mummy decides it’s way past time for an afternoon white wine. Just out of her sightline, pony mimes cutting motion with one hoof across its throat.

Jacinta begins to hyperventilate.*

Why a pony? As i said, human’s getting harder. If i could survive on grass, lucerne, pony nuts, and the occasional apple i’d be much better off.

I’d be hyper-cute and Social Security wouldn’t be something to be afraid of any more.

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My Little Ponies aren’t as nice as they pretend to be…

So, if i shift species i’ll be free of worry. All i have to do is keep Jacinta in line. How hard can that be?

Compared to dealing with government departments, coping with hate from idiots who think disabled people are all bludging fakes because MSM (Mainstream Media) and their own government tell them so?

I reckon ponyness poniness pony-ness will be a doddle in comparison.

devilpony

Do you feel lucky, Jacinta?
Well do ya?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


The Best Things in Life

The next bit of that quote is “are free”. Which is where i’m about to head with my books. That’s right  – the ebooks will be free. Not yet, so don’t go buying one. I don’t get the money anyway. I put a stop on any payments while i got myself sorted out, and (as i explained in the last blog) there’s never been enough sales to warrant taking the stop off.

[EDIT So much has changed since i wrote this, that as of 28 May 2017 i’m doing a whole new blog post which will be pretty much contradicting everything below. So yeah, everything below this point is possibly no longer current. I’m not even sure i’ll try crowdfunding. The e-reader stuff is useful and current.]

So, the ebooks will be free. I’m tired of struggling with online US-based publishing, and with trying to explain  my tax situation to the US tax office at a distance of tens of thousands of miles. Every time i’ve figured out which form to send in, they change the rules! All for the sake of literally cents.

Most of all, i’m going nuts with my books not being read. Book 1 came out in 2011. It’s been SIX years.

So when i finish this edit (of three books into four) the quartet will go up on Smashwords. EDIT After some thought, the first 2 will go up – the other two will be available (with 1 & 2) as free ebook gifts for people who support the crowdfunding.

For all my frustration with e-publishing, I do like having my Smashwords books available in any format, not just for Kindle. You may not be aware, but Amazon’s MOBI format is exclusive to them. Most other e-readers use EPUB format.

Amazon (& other formats) also lock the book (via Digital Rights Management or DRM) so you can’t move the book you own from your ereader to your laptop. I’ve always been against that so Smashwords suits me. I  like people to be able to read my book when they want, on whatever platform they want. If you accidentally delete a book from Smashwords, you can just go back to the site and re-download it.

If you don’t have a Kindle or other e-reader, you can download various free e-readers for smartphones, tablets, desktops or laptops. Kindle’s one is good (and free) available here.

If you’d rather go with a non-Amazon reader (Kindle can’t read anything except Amazon MOBI format books, and it’s better on very small screens because of its display limitations), there are more. I have a desktop and have used the Kindle one, but i tried others, as i have to make sure my books look okay whatever format they’re in.

Here’s an article on TechRadar explaining the current top free e-readers and with links to get them. They also have a link to a converter for when your e-reader can’t deal with a downloaded file type. There are a lots of free books online. Many, admittedly, are free for a reason. But there are gems – Project Gutenberg, for free e-books now out of copyright, is fantastic. There is now an Australian Gutenberg, for books pre-1955 – scroll down that page for links to wonderful Australian publications.

However, for me, giving away the e-books is a taster (EDIT and a reward) for raising money via crowdfunding. Many e-reader users still love books and will buy a paper book, and those who won’t buy e-books will buy paper.

So many would-be readers have asked me over the years, when is the print version coming out? When i said so far it wasn’t, they explained they don’t like reading anything long off a screen. Two of my sisters haven’t read Book 1 (they even got it free!) for just that reason.

So that’s where i’m at. Doing a quick edit to check balance, arc, strange spelling mistakes that have crept in, then it’s a quick paper edit. (Well, as quick as paper can be. Because once you’ve red pencilled your way through all that paper, you then have to transfer the edits into the computer.)

During that time, i have to sort out the crowdfunding page. I haven’t decided which site to use, other than having learned from my mistakes, i will be using an Aussie-friendly one. I’ll also be figuring out my legal standing on crowdfunding as income, who it needs to be declared to and how soon, because i want to make sure i don’t do anything wrong as far as the Authorities are concerned. (EDIT making progress, but omigod it’s so complicated! Not the crowdfunding, but how i have to organise everything before i go live)

Not much work, lol. And Mr Whatsit will be in hospital soon, then out with a 6+ week recovery period, so it’s not like i have anything else to do, like caring for someone. Yep, in a matter of weeks i should be getting all this on the road. When i say weeks, I mean 12. And when i say 12, i probably mean 16. Or maybe more. Especially as i don’t know yet if i have to move house this year.

Yes, if you care about me at all, pray to your deity of choice (or Siamese Cat of choice) that i get a lease renewal, cos if i don’t, everything is going to be extremely stuffed. And when i say stuffed, i mean fkd.

Because Mr won’t be able to walk, i have my physical limits, and moving at short notice is never fun, even for the able-bodied. On the bright side, i still haven’t unpacked everything from last year’s aborted move, so most of the knick-knack’s and a lot of the crockery is still boxed up.

I thought i’d leave you with some recent witticism from Twitter, but instead figured this was probably what you need to hear…

 

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I Was Thinking…

The thinking took some time. Basically i had three books. They were somehow unbalanced. The more i tried to balance them, the longer they got. And the more out of balance.

I took some time out. Some more time out. I spent a lot of time on twitter. Getting retweeted is affirming, no doubt about it, and i enjoyed catching up with people i adore and had forgotten existed.

My head’s like that. Involved in a book, i can forget my own family. Even myself. Reading a good book should be like that, writing them possibly more so.

I did quite a lot of research while i tweeted, figuring out the intricacies of crowd-funding, on demand publishing, and deciding whether the previously only e-publishing model was worth sticking to. Quite simply, it wasn’t.

When i first published The Birthday Dragon, i accidentally took it off public display, not realising Adult (it was adult fiction, not ‘young adult’ or ‘children’s’) meant the same as X rated on the prim US site i was on, and my book was literally only available to those looking for porn. So sales were, to put it mildly, minimal.

It took me nearly 3 months to realise what was going on, and by then it was too late. I’d missed what booksellers call the golden window for sales. The book never sold. People agreed it was wonderful, reviewed it glowingly. Still no sales.

Even today, it’s one of the highest rated books on Smashwords. Out of all books on the site over 100,000 words, it’s still on the front page, admittedly at No 20, but it was published back in 2011. Put in ‘under $2.99’ and it’s number 8.

Currently, if you look at Sci Fi over 100,000 words, it’s number 1. Fantasy over 100k it rates highly, but if ‘under $2.99’ it’s number 1 again. But it isn’t selling. At all. It’s one of those questions – is it me? Or is it Smashwords?

I tried competitions, blogs, tweeting, sacrificing small geeks, edits, and still, no sales. So i gave up. It would be alright when i did Book 2.

Right before publication of Book 2, the person doing the cover art decided not to. Two weeks before publication. It rocked me more than a little. Doing it for free doesn’t mean to me that it’s ok to be unprofessional. I didn’t pillory him on Twitter, which shows control i didn’t think i had. I tried to do some artwork myself, and my graphics tablet blew up.

Mr Whatsit (and some articles i read confirmed the notion) suggested i leave Book 2, do Book 3, and put them both out at once. Maximise sales, give me time to do some artwork myself. Then my landlord at the time served notice.

A new graphics tablet dropped into my lap (via the post, a friend upgraded and sent me theirs), i completed the books, the interstate move (2013) plus three more (1 more in 2013, 2 in 2014) .

Finally settled, i finished off Book 3 and organised the artwork. I did take the nutso artist’s cover off Book 1. For all i knew he was about to demand i did and the cover didn’t match the book, so what the hell.

I had other real life problems. Mr couldn’t manage even the few stairs here. We were supposed to move. Again. Scheduling a book release when i couldn’t promote it seemed nuts, so i put it off. Again.

The move, late 2015, didn’t happen. My car needed a sudden injection of funds, all the moving money, and fortunately the landlord didn’t mind us begging to stay. Never mind, we’ll move in 2016.

Cancer clawed at me, thankfully caught by signs my doctor paid attention to. Not just one cancer scare, but possible tumours in breasts, back, uterus, and brain had my whole attention.

Not just moving was cancelled. My life was. Then it wasn’t. Thankfully they caught everything early, or it was benign, or it wasn’t cancer. I did go through major abdominal surgery, and ended up minus womb and ovaries, which seems a small price to pay for life, but did put paid to moving.

I was off Twitter. It seemed i had nothing to say, or at least nothing i felt like sharing. “My life is fucked, how’s yours?” I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like discussing depression with others. My depression that is, i’ll happily discuss other people’s. (I will go to a psyche, and endure the tears and laughter that make up a talking cure.)

I hit Twitter again. It was lovely, and i cursed myself for a fool for not enjoying my friends. Or for not giving them credit for being whole humans who might actually care about other people. I carefully avoided thinking about the books.

Suddenly, it came to me. The books needed to be a … wtf do you call a four book set? I pretended not to hear the thought for weeks. I did surreptitiously do that research on crowdfunding and print on demand. Under my own radar, while shouting about goddamn fascists on Twitter.

After some Googling and more thought, i decided a quartet was the right name. We were supposed to be moving mid year, so i was thinking seriously about how to schedule moving and books. Then Mr got some good news, the operation he’s been waiting years for is happening this year. So we’re not moving. Again.

And i have no more excuses. Unless the landlord springs the kind of unpleasant surprise every tenant dreads (Guess what? I’ve decided to double the rent/knock down the house and build an apartment block/evict you cos it’s a Leap Year) and i have to move.

My health isn’t good, but it never is. I wrote the books despite that.

So i’ve started splitting them into 4. Gives me 4 books of about 100,000 words. I’m hammering out the chapter summaries, which as the books changed, stupid me had not kept up. Without them, editing the books further is tricky, i can’t see the flow.

Looking at the price of self-publishing books this size, i may have to cut them further, either with editing or cutting them into more books. I’m not sure. Depends on what i want to crowd-fund. My education in that and Print on Demand is cursory, and to be honest, it’s more than a little scary.

Not as scary as real life with the continued demonisation of anyone on welfare – what we in Australia called ‘benefit’ up until the current right wing government decided we were all probably criminals and as ‘welfare’  was already a dirty word thanks to US hatespeech, it worked for them.

Freedom of speech as the USA calls it, and now our government’s borrowing that notion too – they want the right to call anyone non-pinkish coloured a n________. The right to discriminate against brown or black people, against non-Christians and anyone who dares dissent.

Yes, the same LNP government that when Trump declared his ‘Muslim Ban’, crowed, delighted that in their words, someone was copying their policies.

You know the disabled people of Germany were the first to the gas chambers? As the sick, disabled, and aged are called non-profit-making drains on society, as the government (of rich white men and their sycophant women) say they’re going to cut ‘welfare’ to ‘bludgers’, well, real life is a place i really don’t want to be.

As i said on Twitter….

 Time’s a wasting.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


Narrabri CSG Light Pollution

There’s air pollution too, and water pollution, but Australia’s world class astronomers won’t see the stars if Santos gets their 850 new wells covering 1,000 hectares .

CSG all over the world has polluted farmlands, and (even made flammable)  the water. For some reason, despite Victoria’s banning, the rest of Australia hasn’t caught up. The Wilderness Society is beyond worried and ready to fight.

This is what the light pollution looks like in Queensland.

 

So, via @AustralisTerry, here’s a form letter you can send.

Secretary Planning & Environment,
Level 22 320 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000, GPO
Box 39 Sydney NSW 2001

Dear Sir/Madam

I OPPOSE THE NARRABRI GAS PROJECT ON THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS:

FAILURE TO MITIGATE HAZARDS TO ASTRONOMY
Ref: EIS Appendix Q (GHD) and section 5.3.3; SSD 14_6456

Santos has failed to ensure that vital astronomical assets of the Commonwealth of Australia, and 50 other international research institutions, are not detrimentally impacted by the operation of a large gas field and gas processing equipment to the north of Siding Spring.

Over the years, major public funds have been invested in these world class facilities for astronomy. Australian taxpayers and science institutions are rightly deserving of protection of this asset. There is no recognition of the cumulative impact of future expansion from PEL238 to other gas licence areas much closer to the observatory.

Santos has not proposed adequate mitigation measures to protect the observatory operations, particularly in not ensuring the clarity of the night sky from light pollution impacting negatively on visible light telescopy, and from not preventing an increase in chemical air pollution impacts on delicate instrumentation and mirror surfaces. It has also not recognised or mitigated chemical air pollution impacts on the Narrabri radio telescope facilities.

There is no recognition in the Santos EIS that air pollution (Chapter 18) at times will concentrate in certain weather conditions, such as during temperature inversions or cloudy, still nights and drift southward towards the observatory. Air pollution from gas fields is well-documented but has not been correctly identified in Chapter 18. It comprises methane, ethane, butane, and some higher hydrocarbons that can form ozone smog in sunlight, especially mixed with flaring combustion products like nitrous oxide. There is also hydrogen sulphide.

This air pollution is not documented in the EIS by Santos. Gas field smog is highly corrosive on delicate instrumentation and can cause smog haze. Santos have failed to propose adequate mitigation measures to minimise the impact of light pollution from flaring operations – in fact, no flare shielding is proposed. Two major flare stacks will likely operate continuously at Bibblewind and Leewood.

Santos has under-estimated the likely continuous operation of these stacks and not proposed adequate shielding. Santos has under-estimated the amount of light pollution and has contradictory statements in the EIS about the number of flares – at one point it is stated that there will be ‘up to 6’ (5.3.3) pilot well flares, but in other parts of the EIS it is estimated over 25 pilot flares (Greenhouse Gas Chapter 24) will be operational at any time.

The NSW EPA recommends that flare stacks be shielded. Chapter Q mentions the potential high light pollution impact of major flare events but ‘talks down’ the frequency of such events.

This is NOT the experience in the QLD coal seam gas fields.

The Santos EIS does not reflect practical on the ground experience of coal seam gas field operations. The reality of gas fields is that gas supply restrictions mean that gas flaring can occur whenever the market is not drawing gas from the Project. This means that flaring can be a constant feature of an operational gas field.

Claims by Santos that flaring will be minimal are simply not supportable. It is inconceivable that the negative impacts of the Project on Siding Spring would be acceptable to Australian and international astronomers nor to the Australian public who have heavily invested in these world class facilities.

I do not consider light and air pollution that will be caused by the Project has been effectively mitigated by Santos’s proposed mitigation measures.

Yours sincerely

Email is narrabrigas@planning.nsw.gov.au

It’s being assessed soon, the 7,000 page document (Condensed Explainer here!) they put out will have had 60 days of public consultation, (started Feb 20th, not enough, and closing SOON!) then the area will have decades of destruction.

Write your own if you like, but get it in. Now.

That’s all.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


A Right Wing Thinktank II

This is a continuation of the post A rightwing thinktank is running Australia where i covered 1-11, 42-44, 49 and 69 of the Institute of Public Affairs ‘demands’ of the Liberal-National Party Coalition of Australia, a right wing political group currently in power.

After i did the last blog, i found a series of Crikey articles from 2015, where “Freelance journalist Andrei Ghoukassian and former Crikey senior journalist Andrew Crook have sifted through all 100 policies promoted by the Institute of Public Affairs”.Thanks is due the Crikey people who solved a few mysteries for me.

I discovered that pseudo-leftist Labor PM Kevin Rudd was the dickhead who scrapped the  Department of Climate Change (IPA demand #2). He did put it in another department, but that was also abolished.

So where were we?

The IPA’s list of 100 included...

12 Repeal the National curriculum
They just messed with it.

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums
Same, curriculums supposed now to focus more on traditional learning rather than fancy schmancy leftist stuff.

The Arts will be only taught in classrooms without any actual children in them, and ‘Merchant Banking for Fun & Profit’ will be part of the Year 1 syllabus.

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
Didn’t gain much traction, even the TV stations said let’s keep the regulator.
Kyle Sandilands, aka Vile Kyle, a radio celeb who often uses his platform to abuse his ‘enemies’ aka anyone who criticises him, was in favour, but even the LNP didn’t get behind Kyle.

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
Abandoning this is something far right people advocate at least once a year.
Usually being miffed over someone from centre being allowed to refute all their crazed claims that the Muslims have eaten all the jelly babies, but so far balance is being left alone.

16 abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to common law
 Is considered unlikely.

17 end local content requirements for Australian television stations
Local content rules are the only reason shows are made (and then exported – yes, this is what’s to blame for both Neighbours and Home & Away) in Australia.

Tv stations have been complaining about this since the rules began, and as many of the IPA members own at least bits of TV stations it’s not surprising to see it listed. But there’s no trace of current plans.

18 eliminate family tax benefits
Nearly gone. Abbott did for some (or at least his treasurer, Joe “I enjoy being cruel to people who subsist on 20k a year” Hockey did). Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to disappear the rest. Or not – “However the government will abolish family tax benefit end-of-the-year supplements worth up to $726 a year per child. This will be phased out by 2018.”

19 Abandon the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
Tony Abbott really tried to mess this up, and it’s gone through so many incarnations, with the latest linked here (same article as Family Tax Benefits).

I don’t pretend to understand it. Other than PLP’s probably for 20 weeks and it’s been changed so many times nobody’s really sure wtf is going on.

20 Means–test Medicare
They’ve tried bringing in co-payments for doctors’ visits, ignoring that the poorest already pay something for many tests, at least a token $5.30-6.30 for scripts, and often more than a token for any specialist appointments (memorable was the specialist who charged $550 which about $120 could be refunded from Medicare – and one had to pay up front, not like people with medical insurance).

The sick and unemployed and old are trying to pay for these extra expenses out of a benefit supposed to be enough to live on without extra medical costs because MEDICINE WAS FREE.

The co-payment bombed – even bulk-billing doctors weren’t in favour, though stuck with frozen Medicare fees since 2013 or so (a temporary $ saving put in place by Julia Gillard, then grasped with fervour by the LNP, thinking they could force all doctors to move off Medicare and into only private practice).

So the LNP have chiselled away, taking away Medicare rebates for many tests, putting drugs off the PBS (which means whatever the drug company wants to charge, the end user has to pay) and making the lives of the sick harder.

Stuff like criminalising anyone who uses codeine for pain (have to show your driver’s licence and be on a national register). Also the same for pseudoephedrine, which yes, is used to make meth, but ffs, some of us used it for hayfever, and can’t any more because the intrusive questions at point of sale got too much to bear.

The LNP feel all fuzzy and warm over this harassment, to the point where many of them have had to go buy another investment property just to celebrate.

Next, 21 on…

21 end all corporate welfare & subsidies by closing the Dept of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
“The Coalition dissolved the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, splintering it into the Department of Industry and the Department of the Environment soon after election. However, their functions remain essentially the same.” From Crikey

22 introduce voluntary voting
This hasn’t happened – but it’s being put forward because it would help the Right wing stay in power forever. Australia’s compulsory voting means the Left has a chance. Conservative voters are better organised, more likely to turn out, worldwide – it’s why Margaret Thatcher, for instance, was able to stay in power all those years. She barely got 30% of the actual voters, but because so many didn’t vote at all, she was elected on that. Like Trump in the USA.

23 end mandatory disclosures on political donations
They haven’t managed this, but they’re trying. Malcolm Turnbull donated $1.75 million to the Liberal Party but didn’t disclose it until quite recently – their usual donors got cranky when Abbott was removed as PM, so Turnbull helped out, or ‘bought the prime ministership’ as some people (one of them might have been me) unkindly put it.

GetUp estimates 85% of political donations aren’t declared anyway, being ‘laundered’ through various entities.

24 end media blackout in final days of election campaign
This is probably going to be kept – the LNP announced billions in cuts during the blackout, that nobody heard about until after the 2013 election. Which they won.

25 end public funding to political parties
IPA wanted this, political parties didn’t. Simple.

26 remove anti-dumping laws
Wtf is it? Dumping cheap (below cost) goods in a market, usually with aim of destroying local industry, providing afterwards a captive market for the not quite so cheap any more goods.

Interestingly, Abbott didn’t support it.

However, people like Alan Oxley “an Australian academic, a lobbyist for free trade agreements, a climate change skeptic and trenchant critic of the Kyoto protocol along with being a supporter of cutting down forests in Asia to grow palm oil, keep #26 alive, in articles like this one.

Free trade is their grail – local industries can go fk themselves or move their manufacturing to China.

27 eliminate media ownership restrictions
They’ve achieved this one, or will soon – and Australia, already the most concentrated media ownership in the world, will get worse. Country people will lose out most, as restrictions that stopped one company from owning every outlet in Australia have been dropped completely.

Rupert Murdoch’s name springs immediately to mind, and of course, he’s a member of the IPA – his dad started it. Gina Rinehart also enjoys buying into media outlets and is said to be the one who bought Andrew Bolt his show.

We can only hope Unca Rupe’s enjoying all those LNP tongues up his arse – he’s been wanting this to happen since the 1970’s – possibly before.

28 abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
We understand why the IPA, who live overseas at least part of the year, are in favour of free markets, free speech, and free money for their mates.

So far, the LNP haven’t been interested.

29 eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
A victory for Big Tobacco, Big Food, and Big Booze. Supposed to be absorbed into Health, but Crikey say end result is cessation of its good works.

30 cease subsidising the car industry
Done and dusted. Because a few towns outside Tony Abbott’s electorate dying doesn’t matter to him.

Anyway, this is where i think we’re at…. those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be.

THE IPA’S 100 IDEAS TO TRANSFORM AUSTRALIA

  1. repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy but if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefit will be undone
  2. abolish the Dept of Climate Change

  3. abolish the Clean Energy Fund
  4. repeal section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act
  5. abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council
  6. repeal the Renewable Energy Target
  7. return income taxing powers to the states
  8. abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission
  9. abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  10. withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol
  11. introduce fee competition to Australian universities

  12. repeal the National curriculum

  13. introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

  14. abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
  15. eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
  16. abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to common law
  17. end local content requirements for Australian television stations
  18. eliminate family tax benefits

  19. abandon the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
  20. means–test Medicare
  21. end all corporate welfare & subsidies by closing the dept of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education
  1. introduce voluntary voting
  2. end mandatory disclosures on political donations
  3. end media blackout in final days of election campaign
  4. end public funding to political parties
  5. remove anti-dumping laws
  6. eliminate media ownership restrictions

  7. abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
  8. eliminate the national preventative health agency

  9. cease subsidising the car industry

Only 6 out of this 30 done, and 4 about to happen – 10/30.

Now the rest of the list – research cursory so it’s bound to change. Again those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be. …

  1. formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
  2. rule out federal funding for 2018 commonwealth games
  3. deregulate the parallel importation of books
  4. end preferences for industry super funds in workplace relations law
  5. legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
  6. legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of the budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit
  7. force government agencies to put all their spending online in a searchable database
  8. repeal plain packaging for cigarettes & rule it out for all other products, incl alcohol & fast food
  9. reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
  10. introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
  11. repeal the alcopops tax
  12. introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including
    a) lower personal income tax for residents
    b) significantly expanded 457 visa program for workers
    c) encourage the construction of dams
  13. repeal the mining tax

  14. devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

  15. introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax free threshold
  16. cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25%

  17. cease funding the Australia Network

  18. privatise Australia Post
  19. privatise Medibank

  20. break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
    (or cut funding, and put someone sympathetic to the right in charge – tick!)
  21. privatise SBS
  22. reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
  23. repeal the Fair Work Act
  24. allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
  25. encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
  26. abolish the Baby Bonus

  27. abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
  28. allow the Northern Territory to become a state

  29. halve the size of the coalition from 32 to 16
    (“Abbott’s first cabinet was made up of 19 members, close to the IPA’s ideal number of 16.” This doesn’t count the three or four junior or assistant ministers for every minister. Turnbull’s first cabinet shot up to 26.)
  30. remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
    (Some done – S Korea, Japan, and China. Trans Pacific Partnership not signed yet, let’s hope US exit makes ours less likely.)
  31. slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the USA
  32. end all public subsidies to sport and the arts
    (Arts slashed, sports not so much.)
  33. privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
    (No – even Cory “I started my own RWNJ party” Bernardi  loves the AIS.)
  34. end all hidden protectionist measures, such as preference for local manufacturers in government tendering
    (Officially, not done – but French submarines, Australia?)
  35. abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
  36. rule out any government-supported or mandated internet classification
  37. means-test tertiary student loans
  38. allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
    (This one freaked me out – people without pensions, starving in the street – but so far not being done, though super’s been cut.)
  39. immediately halt construction of the national broadband network & privatise any sections that have already been built (See last post for discussion of this. Not yet is the short answer.)
  40. end all government funded nanny state advertising
  41. reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
  42. privatise the CSIRO
    (Massive funding cuts leading to dreadful staff cuts, often privatisation precursor but so far no.)
  43. defund Harmony Day
    (It was former Liberal PM John Howard’s baby – so no. Perhaps just announce that you’re going to legalise hatespeech ON Harmony Day?)
  44. close the Office for Youth
  45. privatise the Snowy River Scheme

  46. have state premiers appoint high court justices
  47. allow ministers to be appointed from outside parliament
  48. extend the GST to cover all goods and services but return all extra revenue to taxpayers through cutting other taxes
  49. abolish the Federal Department of Health and return health policy to the states
    (Billions ripped from it, but not abolished)
  50. abolish the Federal Department of Education and return education policy to the states
  51. repeal any new mandatory data retention laws
  52. abolish the Human Rights Commission
    (or just persecute Gillian Triggs, now former President of the HRC)
  53. have trade unions regulated like public companies, with ASIC responsible for their oversight
    (or just have Royal Commissions into unions – ignore public outcry for one into banking – and bring in laws to gaol anyone making secret payments to unions for 10 yrs. While allowing your own ministers, and yourself, to rort or ‘not tell the truth on time‘ without penalty.)
  54. end all public funding to unions and employer associations
  55. repeal laws which protect unions from competition, such as the ‘conveniently belong’ rules in the Fair Work Act
  56. extend unrestricted work visas currently granted to New Zealand citizens to citizens of the USA
  57. negotiate and sign free trade agreements with Australia’s largest trading partners, including China, India, Japan and South Korea
  58. restore all fundamental legal rights to all existing Commonwealth legislation such as the right to silence and the presumption of innocence
  59. adhere to section 51 (xxxi) of the constitution by not taking or diminishing anyone’s property without proper compensation
  60. repeal legislative restrictions on the use of nuclear power
  61. allow full competition on all foreign air routes
  62. abolish the Medicare levy surcharge
  63. abolish the luxury car tax
  64. halve the number of days parliament sits to reduce the amount of legislation passed
  65. abolish Tourism Australia and cease subsidising the tourism industry
  66. make all government payments to external parties publically available including the terms and condition of those payments
  67. abandon plans to restrict foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural industry
  68. cease the practice of setting up government funded lobby groups, such as YouMeUnity which uses taxpayer funds to campaign to change the Australian constitution
  69. rule out the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for electronic gaming machines

  70. abolish the four pillars policy which prevents Australia’s major banks from merging

Another 7 done, 2 pending (NT to become a state in 2018), which brings the totals to 19/100.

Funnily, I can only conclude the IPA is not ruling Australia – who knew? I bet the right wingers in the audience are mortified. The IPA are getting some of what they want, (not quite 20% so far), but the LNP has ruled out a lot of what they want, or has even promised the opposite.

I know political promises are not worth anything, but what i’m seeing is that the IPA are in opposition to the Liberal National Party Coalition on a fair number of points, or the vote loss means the LNP are too canny to consider granting more IPA wishes.

Yet.

What’s happening now? Cuts to company tax, to the rates paid by the rich, and to Sunday pay rates for the poorest of workers. Cutting staff numbers, cutting funding (then “oops it’s not running well, we’d better privatise it”).

All these are the way the Coalition roll.

So let’s be aware, and ready to fight the next big idea the LNP claim is all their own.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com