Monday, December 27, 2010

Praise be the Kindle!

Ugh! Now that was a horror journey. Stuck in Schipol airport for over twenty-four hours while KLM did a passable impression of a headless chicken repeatedly running into the same brick wall. To be fair, I can’t really begrudge an airline when their planes are grounded by snow. The frustration arose when the snow cleared, the sun came out and KLM’s systems went into meltdown trying to clear a day’s backlog of passengers.

I say system, but there was little evidence of any system or process here.

I’ve always hated the automated systems airlines have been sneaking in to replace human operators. Machines are only really useful when they’re carrying out the same simple function every single time. Deviate from this and the machine becomes useless, which was exactly what happened here. Want a new boarding pass for the next available flight because your last flight was cancelled? Gronk. Fizzle. Klunk. Bleugh.

So it was time to join the queues. Oh, the queuing!

Thank god for my shiny new kindle. Amazon have done some fairly bone-headed things of late, but they’ve got a winner here (unless they keep up with the bone-headed practises of going in and deleting books their punters have already bought—sigh). I picked mine up about a month back. As a replacement for print books, it’s a little on the expensive side, but I was fortunate enough to have a $100 gift voucher lying around after coming second in one of Literotica’s competitions.

Buying new books was a little on the non-intuitive side, mainly because the little shopping basket appears to have vanished and it took me a little while to find the Download-to-Computer option (no Orwelling books I’ve already bought, thank you Amazon!). .pdf files can also be uploaded to the kindle, but I found the display of them to be extremely variable (and I haven’t got round to reading the manual to figure out anything beyond Open, Read, Go!).

I couldn’t determine if there was a back light option, so when the lights went out on the plane, that was the end of reading for me (and those extra hours of Zzz’s turned out to be damn useful as it happened), but this is no different to dead-tree technology anyway. While queuing the kindle really came into its own. I worked through more books than I’d normally carry and it was slimline enough to fit in my jacket pocket without threatening to burst it like the latest Stephen King doorstopper. One downside is either the extreme cold weather or being bashed in my bag has caused the on/off switch to stick a little.

It’s a nice piece of tech anyway and I’m hoping to catch up on some reading and maybe discover something fresher than the usual bookstore dross. Please don’t kill it through your idiocy, Amazon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Censorshit in Japan?

I was sad to read this article on Japan passing restrictions on the sale of manga and anime. I've been a fan of both for some time. I love them for their 'anything goes' ethos. The stories always felt more vibrant and alive because nothing was ever out of bounds. The plots are weird, often incomprehensible, but this makes them a better reflection of the often chaotic real world we live in.

To see what I mean, ditch the Disney (okay, you can keep the Pixar) this Christmas and show the kids Princess Mononoke instead. 'Goodies' and 'Baddies'? Um, it's a little more complex than that.

Okay, something like Princess Mononoke is hardly going to fall foul of the new restrictions, but they're still blocking off potential avenues and roads a story can run down. Block enough of them and all you're left with is following that same dull highway every damn time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not Gone Yet

I saw a comment on a recent succubus story on Literotica bemoaning that I no longer write for the site. This isn’t actually correct, but given that the only story I’ve posted in something like the last six months was “A Succubus for Halloween”, I can see why people might think this.

I haven’t stopped posting stories on the site just yet, but I’ll be keeping some back for the books. Got to have something to reward the nice folks that chip in with financial support. ;)

I feel a bit more caught up now (aside from Succubus Summoning 201, but I’ll get to that in a mo). My first collection had one brand new story, “Arachne’s Web”. There’s a second collection coming out in February with three original stories and the third collection I submitted to eXcessica a week ago has five brand new stories.

I might post some of these online. I haven’t decided yet. Crashing the competitions with my nastier horror stories is always fun, although one of new ones is so depraved the ‘bad end’ haters will probably lynch me if I ever submit it. :D

Succubus Summoning 201 hasn’t been abandoned. It’s off hiatus and I’m back to scribbling down lines in a notebook. I’m not going to post anything until I’ve got the whole arc out of the way, or at least a good chunk of it. Dribs and drabs with months between chapters is something I want to avoid as it screws up the flow of the story and I grind to a halt whenever I start to feel pressure to get something finished by a certain date.

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Amazon Censorshit

Amazon is at it again.

Selena Kitt and other writers have reported some of their titles have been pulled from Amazon's store with little warning or explanation. You can follow the discussion here.

This time the offending subject matter appears to be incest. I'll be honest and admit incest isn't really my cup of tea. I don't read stories featuring it and I won't write stories about it. That's my decision and my choice. What I don't agree with is when that choice is taken away from someone who wants to read this material, especially when it's fiction and nothing more than harmless fantasy.

I wish Amazon would grow a spine or draw a line in the sand here. They're either selling erotica or they're not. Currently, they're constantly tying themselves in knots trying to second guess public opinion. Some people complain about a book, so they remove it. More people complain about censorship, so they quickly reverse the decision in order to save face. It's all very wishy washy.

They're a bookseller; they don't have to be the public's moral compass. They sell books. Some of those books are going to be offensive to some people. Sorry, but those people are going to have to accept being offended. After all, they can always make the choice not to read the book in the first place.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fighting Distraction Behaviour

Okay. Hands up, who stole November?

I’m rubbish when it comes to deadlines. Actually, I’m rubbish when I put myself in the mindset where I think I have to write something. The moment it starts to become the thing I’m supposed to be doing, even if I enjoy doing it, it starts to feel like a chore, I slow down to a crawl and start looking for excuses to do something else.

Classic Distraction Behaviour.

Normally I have some very sneaky strategies for throwing off Distraction Behaviour. I trick myself into thinking there’s something else that’s absolute highest priority, something I absolutely must be working on right now. Then, when Distraction Behaviour comes knocking, I have a nice empty word document all ready for it to plunge right into.

This doesn’t work so well when the thing of absolute highest priority is the manuscript I’ve been chipping away at over the last few months and no amount of psychological chicanery is going to trick me otherwise.

Further extra negative bonus points if this period of time also overlaps with the month after my first book has gone out and I should be online, pimping it like a maniac. (Psss -Buy it here)

I guess I’m one of those people that can’t resist veering off the path to jump down the nearest pit. Wouldn’t want to make things too easy...right :).

Anyway, it’s done, in and I’m back. One book out (Psss – Buy it here too), one in the pipeline and a third equally unhinged (or maybe more unhinged – Self Censorship downed tools and legged it for the hills on this one!) collection finally complete and waiting to be unleashed.

Now I can put my feet up and grab a cold beer.

Nah. I’ve got a fourth collection of stories to start working on. (And the further misadventures of a young warlock I keep getting asked about).