Doffs Hat

I’m a deadline junkie. I’ve never denied that. The adrenaline rush of bringing it in just a hair before it’s too late? Yeah. That.

The thing about being an Indie is that deadlines seem squishy. If you move one, who cares besides you? Most of them don’t as long as they get the book soon enough. This thing I’ve done to myself where suddenly I’m a real publisher? *switches hat* Cover Artist. *switches hat* Editor. *switches hat* Author. Oof. Hello, deadlines!

Which is why this is a scattered post taking a little break from fighting with Word over bloody italics (and why, you misbegotten goat’s turd infested with little white worms, do you keep losing my formatting? You should have been drowned at birth, when your programmer first hit save and the evile that is Word came into being…it warms my cold heart to imagine that crackle of frying electronics as the hard drive went under) instead of a joyful announcement of ‘it’s alive!’ which hopefully you’ll get tomorrow over on my personal blog. *huffs a big sigh* Yes, I bought Vellum, and the bedamned computer to run it, since the Vellum programmers value their personal honor over money and refuse to create a Windows version of their software. They make less, I spend more… but I did spend it. Business expense, and I had the capital in the account to make it happen. But before I upload the file to Vellum and start *that* learning curve, it has to be right in Word. Auuughghgh

I was asked in an interview for Blasters and Blades if I’d consider doing another anthology. Uh. Get back to me on a year I haven’t moved, switched jobs twice, and been apart from my husband for eight months out of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there have been wonderful aspects to this. Reading stories and finding some amazing ones to put in the anthology and crying while I was editing… not those kind of tears. Hush you, author! It’s been an experience. It’s nearly done. Just have to convince Word that yes, I really do want italics in there!

I’m out of words. I’ll give you the foreword I wrote (editor’s privilege) to the anthology.

“Yea though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil…because I am the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the Valley.”

What if you came home, and there was a thick glass wall standing between you and your loved ones? You can see them, but you can’t touch them. Nor can they touch you.

The trauma that rides some people like a demonic monkey on their backs keeps them from going home again. This collection of stories is about such people, and how they found the thread of hope, and healing. It’s a long road to get home again, to phase through the glass, to find your place in the world where you can be at peace.

It’s a journey worth taking. Don’t let that demon-whisper convince you that the world and your family would be better off without you. It’s a lie. You are loved. You are wanted. Life is pain, I’m not saying the suck isn’t real. I’ve walked through that dark valley, and it’s not a trip you can take friends along on. You’re alone. You can’t see the hands reaching out to help. What you might be able to see? Hope. Not in the day-to-day crawl of misery, but in these stories. You might be able to find a mutter of truth in the tales we’ve pulled out of the horrors we’ve seen, we authors.

We’ve read about things we knew, before. Where we understood, and it gave us a glimpse of what could be. Learning through reading, and stepping outside one’s self to see how a character would do it? Sounds weird, but it works. I’ve done it. At the lowest point, when I could no longer see any light, I discovered the concept of a reset button for one’s personal honor in a book I was reading, and a lightbulb of comprehension flashed. It led to the first little step on the path out of the dark valley.

“Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” –Gen. George Patton

The challenge is to walk the valley. To know that yes, there is a problem, and yes, you need help. You can’t do this alone. There are tools which can help, and if one of you reading can find a small spark in this book? That’s all we ever wanted. If you reach out, we’ll take your hand and help you.

The butcher’s bill has come due, and the fight is now invisible, in the heads of those who can’t go home again.

21 comments

  1. Ah, deadlines. I typed up term papers the night before they were due, but I didn’t always have to stay up late.

  2. I don’t mind deadlines. What I mind is when four gang up in the same two week period, and all stand there, grinning and yelling, “Me first!”

  3. Since I’m unlikely to ever give Apple’s Walled Garden[TM] one red cent, I asked the Vellum guy if it would run on a Hackintosh. He said didn’t see why not. Any Dell Optiplex makes a good Hackintosh, and business discards ’em by the pallet. When I turned one of my trash-rescue 9010s into a Hackintosh, everything worked out of the box except networking, and I didn’t even bother installing any kexts. (I still loathe MacOS.)

    And, honor my ass. Pretty much any program built for Intel-era MacOS can be trivially recompiled to run on linux, and there’s no rule that you can’t sell software that runs on linux, so why don’t they do that?? Flatpak it and it’ll run on any distro, no need to involve the maintainer or release source code (tho I’m not sure how you’d enforce one-PC-per-copy, other than relying on… user honor). Recompiling to run on Windows is a bigger job, tho KDE’s Binary Factory has the process pretty much automated, and works about half the time…. but on any base but MacOS they’d have zero-price competition from Sigil and Scribus, which one suspects is more to the point. (And now the pricey void on Windows is being filled by Atticus, if you don’t mind being stuck in the web-app-and-cloud model.)

    Word used to be nice, back before the ribbon. I picked up Office 2016 because someone was dumping licenses for $8.99 (all legal and everything) and consider it money ill spent. WTF have they done to it? I can’t even FIND anything, and when I do it doesn’t work right. And it makes my eyes bleed…. hadn’t thought anything could be uglier than Win10, but they managed it! Suddenly LibreOffice (*spits in Gtk’s direction*) looks much better, not to mention SoftOffice…. and one might consider the Atlantis word processor, astoundingly capable in a tiny package.

      1. Do not get me started on my unfondness for whoever at the Cupertino Produce Palace decided that laptops don’t need standard USB ports anymore. Whatever benefits I gained from other Apfel features I lose right there, even with a microUSB to standard USB adapter.

    1. Main reason that I’ll continue to use my Office 2003 until it is no longer possible. Once I hammered on Win10 for long enough, it has proven to be usable, although NT 4 is still my gold standard – and even my new machine, built just this year, can’t go to Win11, which is a good thing, since that is looking more and more like this generation’s version of WinME…

      I get to doing print, and I’ll hopefully have some more options for Windows. $SPOUSE$ and I have enough common ground that she puts up with many, many things – but another computer right now would have to be set up in the bedroom. One thing she is not is a writer!

      1. I have two new ish machines, and my primary worry was that they /would/ go to Win 11. I don’t want Win 11, and don’t want the software I use them for broken.

    2. Yeah I have real fun, One publisher hates word with a purple passion, bought me a copy of Word Perfect X6 because that’s all he’ll work with. The newsletter I do for the FMA requires Office suite 19 because it goes to government computers and they ONLY use that, further, they want me to do it in “Publisher” which is a major pain in my ass. But just like my publisher for the Fisher novels, they bought me the license, so fine, I’ll learn the damn thing. I almost want to get a different computer for each gig.

  4. It is finished. Both ebook and paper versions are all formatted, uploaded after checking, and the print cover ginned up and done. Publishing buttons have been pushed.

    I’m out, y’all. I’ll be back to promo the books once the links are live, but no more projects for me until next year!

  5. Reading on KU, will buy after that. I understand that you would get paid twice that way.
    Thanks for writing / editing books I like to read.
    John

  6. Glad you got it done. Now waiting for the reviews to start trickling in. And I hear ya on the anthologies. I gave up on Vellum, because I don’t want to waste days trying to learn how to manipulate their proprietary software. MS Manuscript works well enough for me to do what I need to do to get my stuff to market.

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