Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It Isn't Paranoia When They're REALLY After You

Andre Jute Exposes My Secrets -  isn't that what friends do for each other?

My husband and my father both have asked me "Who is this guy?"

I hardly know what to say. I guess this is another few seconds of fame.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crying a River of Tears - NOT!

It's the Worst THING in the World - Smashwords has given in to PayPal's demand that certain pornographic content be removed from the site.

Yes - the fans of Incest, Rape, Beastiality and "Pseudo-incest" are going to have to go elsewhere - Smashwords is not going to host this content. Which means that Smashwords will not distribute that content - which IMO is a step in the right direction.

PayPal, Smashwords, Book Strand and All Romance are taking steps to cover their asses before the Government and Legal systems gets involved. Because once the Government steps in - there is NO going back.

I know many writers who have made a fast buck off these"erotic" stories. They are all screaming 'FOUL' and 'CENSORSHIP' - while other are giving secret sighs of relief.

I'm not making a secret of it. - I'm SO relieved!

For a very long time I've been distressed by the trend for more and kinkier sex in Indie e-books. While the Romance Reader has had to fight harder for the merest shred of respectability, pornography by it's many pseudonyms has been taking up more and more e-book shelf-space.

The writers have been 'loud and proud' - their shrill screams of 'but-it's-what-everyone-wants-to-read' drown out protests to 'turn it down.' Lowest common denominator takes over from there - 'Well So-and-so did it, I can top THAT' takes over and the quality tanks - until someone has to draw a line.

Of course after opening the floodgates of Kink it was only a matter of time before the were-critter didn't change back to human form before 'having at' the love interest. Reports of were-sex started a couple years ago. Human nature being what it is - it was only a matter of time before some sicko decided that 'I Love Dogs' was perfectly acceptable because 'what's the difference, it happens all the time in Paranormal Romances?' So now we have the dubious honor of having to side-step the 'I Did Daddy' (or Mommy) "Erotic Romance" while we stumble around in search of a decent read.

So here's to Pay Pal, Bookstrand and All Romance for their courage in the face of violent denial. Call it Censorship if you like - I don't care - just get the smut off the mainstream sites and back to the Porn Sites where it belongs.

PS - Don't believe it's 'that bad?' Click here for an example.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Time For the 2012 Chicken Debate

The Flock 2010

I do this every year - take stock of the flock and decide if I want to buy more baby chicks or not.

Last year - like this year - I filled the incubator with eggs in hope of getting a new flock from the old flock. When that didn't work - I bought a dozen "straight run" (un-sexed) chicks from local sources. A few weeks later I did get a few hatchlings, four or five, not enough to make up for the massive losses.

I had to buy ($10 each) four hens, 4 turkey poults (with a free crazy chicken) to try to make up for what I lost. The end results was 16 roosters and 2 hens - to replace the 12 hens I lost last winter.

Meanwhile, I've still got 4 roosters, 2 home-bred and a pair of Buff Brahmas - and 7 hens. A couple of the hens are too old to lay except in the early spring. I'm literally swimming in eggs at the moment. This supply will dry up very soon.

This year's debate is not only 'shall I get more chickens?' but also 'what kind?' because I've not had success with Dominikers, Barred Rocks or Rhode Island Reds as breeding stock. Barred Rocks and Rhodies don't set - my 2 best Dominikers did set. But the breed lays fairly small eggs and aren't particularly fertile - and I have the empty brooder to prove it.

Satisfactory farm chickens are ones who will replace themselves - the hens will set - the eggs will be fertile and there won't be too many roosters. It's a tall order in the world of 'production' breeds who aren't bred to set - but to lay huge amounts of eggs.

UPDATE! -- April 28th 2012

I gave in, yet again, buying chicks at the feed stores. A few Buff Orphingtons and a dozen Comets (a production cross-bred) have joined with the six pairs of baby geese. I didn't order chickens - I just didn't have the heart for it after losing so many Dominques in the past.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Update: 'Swallow the Moon' the Paperback

I've been working on the paperback edition of 'Swallow the Moon' and I'm proud to say that it's coming right along. The cover was uploaded yesterday, the interior needs one more quick read-through. Then it's time for the first proof.

You might ask why make a paperback when e-books are the hot new market? Most people say that e-books are 20% of the present day market. But that's not the whole market - it's just 1/5th of the market.

This week, Dean challenges the assumption that 'Kindle is enough of a market' with "The Reason's for a Trade Paper Edition". Just because e-books are 20% of the market - that doesn't mean you have to turn your back on the 80%.

Makes sense, right?

This fall, as an experiment, I turned 'Let's Do Lunch' into a paperback. Create Space had a good package - for less than $800 they formatted the book, created a cover, got the ISBN, included the book in extended distribution channels and gave me 20 copies. The paperback has sold 9 copies on Amazon since it came available online.

The paperback is paying for itself.

So of course I'm going to do it again. Besides, I have to show off the cover.

Next week - I'll post the paperback cover.

July 1 Update

"Swallow the Moon" trade paperback edition is on sale here. It took a lot longer for me to get it done than I'd thought. Mostly because I've been depressed and grieving about losing Mom.

However long it took - the book is out and I'm starting to get back into the groove.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Tempest in a Teapot" - Excerpt

I decided to post this because it may not make it into the final draft of 'Tempest in a Teapot.'

Until then I thought my readers might like to get another glimpse of the new book. "Tempest" takes place at Fort Knox and in Vine Grove. This scene has Tag McTaggart from 'Let's Do Lunch' and Leo Stephenson from "Tempest" in the Warriors Transition Unit on Fort Knox.

This is the old barracks building - not the new one which is more like a hospital.


June 29th, 2006
There was a knock at his door just as Leo was getting out of the shower.
"Sergeant Stephenson?"
"Come in," Leo said as he wrapped a towel around his waist.
"We need you down to the ward." The solider stuck his head in the room, using the door as a prop for his shoulder, crutches clutched in the other hand. "Things went to shit this morning, it ain't getting better. Boomer said I should come get you."
Sergeant Bonner called 'Boomer' was a Sergeant Major. He ranked everyone in the Unit including Leo. He was the unofficial commander of the Unit – but he'd lost both legs and wasn't mobile. 
"What happened?"
"There was a shooting in E'town yesterday. It was one of the Out Patient men. Dr. Lakhdar had MPs bring him back here. First she said it was for evaluation, now she says she's going to have him locked up for murdering a civilian."
"Who? You know him?"
"It's Sergeant McTaggart," the young solider hopped on one foot to keep his balance. "He's pissed as hell, says it's a bullshit charge."
"Fuckin' aye." Leo had to put on a uniform if he was going to do McTaggart any good. He had to look the part in order to play the game.
Leo knew McTaggart had a bad attitude when it came to Lankhdar. He'd shit-canned all his meds and gone back to work, defying all the odds; he even had a girlfriend. The younger soldiers looked up to him.
Dr. Lakhdar was in rare form, he thought as he walked down the corridor. Three former Spec Ops soldiers were slinking out to smoke like feral cats. They didn't meet his eyes as they went passed.
Damn Fish-eye was making them all into pussies.
"There is nothing fucking wrong with me. Let me out of here!" The man's voice would have carried across a parade ground. 
"You just murdered a civilian!" Fish-eye shouted. "You cannot leave this ward!"
"It was a hostage situation – he had a knife to her throat. What was I suppose to do? Let her die? Those cops were too scared to make the shot. So I did."
"Going Rambo on Main Street is not acceptable!"
Even Leo had to grin at that.
"It was necessary! Ask the cops! Ask the DEA! I don't care who you talk to! Get the story straight and let me out of here."
"You're out of line, Sergeant!"
Leo thumped his cane at the doorway.
"Can you repeat that a little louder, for anyone in unit who didn't hear it?"
Dr. Lakhdar turned and glared at Leo. She was a tall thin woman of Middle Eastern descent. She wore her hair up, but covered it with a fine black net. She always had her hair covered, even though it was against regulations. Everyone knew she was a Muslim – the brass tip-toed around her because she hit too many hot-buttons. A man would have gotten hell for the way she treated the men, but she wasn't a man.
"I warn you, Sergeant Stephenson, you're a patient in this ward."
Leo bared his teeth. He was going to enjoy this.
"Tell it to my CO – he'll be interested to know you're yanking civilians off the streets. Taking hostages is against Army policy."
"McTaggart killed a civilian."
Leo raised an eyebrow at McTaggart, who was standing at attention, even though he'd been out of uniform for months.
A young woman in uniform walked in, saluted smartly.
"The charts you requested require your signature, ma'am."
"What?" Dr. Lakhdar turned to McTaggart. "Stay right here."
The young woman paused before she followed. She winked at Leo before she turned smartly and followed Dr. Lakhdar. The woman deserved a medal.
"What happened, McTaggart?" Leo walked into the room. The tall man in civilian clothing shifted to at-ease. An amputee with severe PTSD, Dr. Lakhdar called McTaggart 'a hard case' for his attitude. He came in once a week for the Open Group, the Group that Fish-eye didn't attend. Like Leo, he was book-shelved – he would be leaving the Army but his paperwork wouldn't go through until he was discharged.
Until a few weeks ago, McTaggart had refused to shave or cut his hair. Now he was clean-shaven, wearing his hair close to military length. There was no doped up haze in his hard eyes. He was royally pissed off.
He had the right to be pissed off.
"Report, McTaggart."
"The DEA fucked up a drug bust at Lynn's restaurant. When I got there, the cook had a knife to Lynn's throat, threatening to kill her. The cops wouldn't take the goddamn head shot." He was tense, ready to explode.
"So you did?"
"Hell yes!"
"How did you get a weapon?" Leo asked. He wouldn't be surprised if McTaggart used force to get the gun. Everyone knew how much that girl meant to McTaggart.
"A DEA agent gave me his backup." McTaggart shrugged. "It was close range."
"Good shot."
"The cops thanked me for it, but Dr. Lakhdar had the MP's come get me." He glanced at the door. "How fucked up is that?"
"Is your girl all right?" Leo leaned on the back of a chair.
"Shallow cut to the throat, just skin. Last time I saw her, she was with her parents." Tag scowled. "I should be with her."
"Roger that."
"I hate being treated like this!" Tag clenched his fists and his whole body tightened. He pulled back a fist to punch the wall. He let fly with all his weight behind it.
Leo took the blow in the palm of his open hand. The meaty smack of knuckle against palm echoed, but he ignored the pain.
"Chill. Broken fingers will only prove her right."
"I gotta get the fuck out of here!"
"She's playing you," Leo dropped his voice to a low growl. "Don't let her win."
"Fuck the bitch."
"Don't fall for her shit." He kept eye contact until McTaggart nodded, then he released McTaggart's fist.
"Just chill awhile." Leo picked up his cane. "I can make some phone calls."
Going back to work had changed McTaggart. A shave and a haircut told them that he'd met a girl. They dogged him into taking her out on a date. The group gained strength watching McTaggart put his life back together. It was a no-brainer why he'd killed a man to protect his girlfriend, any of these men would have done the same. If Fish-eye locked McTaggart up moral in the entire Unit would drop through the floor.
Leo made his cell phone calls outside, where no one in the Unit could hear him. He told key people McTaggart was sane, just worried sick about his girlfriend. It was up to the other's to do their part.
Less than an hour from his last phone call - Leo's blackberry chirped with a text message. General Fischer sent a terse summons 'butt hut 1400."
His teeth flashed, aw, too bad, he would miss group. Well he couldn't blow off a one-star general. Fish-eye couldn't argue with that – General Fischer was her CO.
Leo was chewing a Bic because he was out of cigarettes again as he crossed the street to the smoker's hut near the General's Office.
Fischer was sitting on the table, smoking. His dark-chocolate complexion gave little away, his sunglasses hid his eyes, but the tension in his body spoke volumes.
"What's going on, Sergeant?"
"Lankdar pulled one of the guys, a civilian, back into the unit."
"Said he went Rambo on Main Street, sir."
"Which one?"
Fischer swore.
"He had a good reason," Leo explained. "There was a drug bust. His girl was taken hostage. He shot the insurgent."
"On goddamn Main Street?"
Leo chewed the pen in silence.
 Fischer swore again. Then he looked at Leo with piercing eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.
"Here," he tossed the pack to Leo. "You're wasting a good pen."
Leo grinned, stuck the pen behind his ear. He lit up, took a good hard hit, felt the rush of the first cigarette of the day.
"Thank you, sir." He started to toss the pack back.
"Keep 'em," Fischer said. "You're to keep me informed."
Leo nodded.
"There is another matter we need to discuss." He growled, taking off his sunglasses. "Why the fuck are you driving under the influence and causing accidents?"
Leo braced to take the ass-chewing. He had it coming.
"There's no excuse for my behavior, sir."
"That's not my point. What-the-fuck is going on here?" Fischer stabbed the air with his cigarette. "McTaggart is shooting civilians and you are DUI and causing traffic accidents.
"Are you falling apart on me, Stephenson?"
Leo said nothing.
"At ease, for godsake." Fischer grumbled. "Don't waste the smoke, damn things are expensive."
"What the fuck is going on in my Unit?"
Fischer looked at Leo with narrow eyes.
"Don't bullshit me, Sergeant. I've seen you out of uniform, not shaved, sloppy dress – you don't even shine your goddamn boots." He gestured again. "Today is the first time I've seen you look like a soldier."
"I'm being doped into submission, sir."
"I'm not the only one, sir."
"How many meds are you on?"
"Ten, sir."
"What are they?"
"No idea, sir."
"Find out." Fischer stepped back, took a drag off his cigarette. "No, I will." He studied Leo for a moment.
"Jackson saw you pull in front of an SUV. He thought you were dead."
"Mrs. Truesdale has good reflexes, sir."
Fischer smoked in silence for a moment.
"What the fuck is going on in my Unit?"
"There is tension between the men and the staff, sir."
"That doesn't explain McTaggart." Fischer rubbed the ember from the butt then stepped on it. "Shooting a civilian gives the Unit a black eye. We look bad to the public and it fucks up my day with paperwork."
"It was a hostage situation. McTaggart was given the weapon by the DEA." Leo's teeth flashed. "They didn't have the stomach for the shot, sir."
Fischer grunted agreement.
"I will look into this." He put his sunglasses back on. "I need you, Stephenson. Don't let me down."
"No, sir."
"Dismissed." Fischer walked away.
"Christ in a fucking cornfield."
Leo took a deep drag on the cigarette. He wanted a drink. Instead, he walked to his SUV, a bike ride would be better.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Croft News - Ordered Geese

Yesterday I stopped dithering and ordered some geese from McMurray Hatchery.

I've been taking about this for since my first geese died - back 10 years ago. Geese are very large and vocal birds, they're sometimes violent and always noisy. The definition of poor is someone 'whose last goose is cooked.'

Why am I doing this when my poultry raising hasn't gone well? This is a valid question. I get asked about geese a lot. Grown geese sell for $20 to $30 each, and I understand why. They are fairly rare in this area. So I'm going to raise 6 pairs of breeders.

I'm getting day-old goslings - there is already a place for them in the barn. They will live in Chicken World until they are large enough to go in the round pen. White Chinese are known to be good mothers, so I'm hoping next year to have goslings for sale.

They are scheduled to arrive in April, I'm really looking forward to it.