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Posts from the ‘BY THE MAD GENII’ Category

Attention Deficit… Ooh, Shiny!

My darling husband sent me an article (can’t find it again! Drat, where did it go?) on the link between ADHD symptoms and asthma medication. Which I kind of knew – I mean, watch small children right after their “bedtime” breathing treatment leaves them rocketing around the house.

But I hadn’t applied that to my own condition. It’s been a little over a year since I started treating the steadily worsening asthma… and while I knew the writing had gone away as the asthma got worse, I hadn’t thought about why it was so very fitful when it came back. Read more

Rollercoasters

It’s been a rollercoaster of a week. I’ve been trying to write-by-speaking, and accordingly have been testing various set-ups in my car to take dictation. The phone with voice recorder app failed. Too much road noise. Mom, who I have offered to hire to transcribe, reported back that the recording was very difficult to understand. I’ll type that up myself, since I know more or less what I was thinking, and the dictation should prompt me enough to write it out. I haven’t had time during the week because… well, I’m not getting into details. Suffice it to say there was family stuff, which had priority, and work spilled past the usual boundaries and it got messy here at the Nut House. Read more

Have we reached peak virtue signalling yet?

 

A couple of days ago Sarah mentioned in passing that she thought she was seeing a welcome shift in popular fiction: “I think the mood is changing.  Only six months ago, I swear every cozy mystery released genuflected towards the homeless, who were always laid off computer programmers, or something.  Now… not so much.”

That observation cheered me for two whole days… until I decided to take a break from my current preoccupations (reviewing German and soaking up Appalachian folklore) with the latest Dana Stabenow. Read more

Up and Out

Happy Tuesday to all you fine sophonts! After the Snowmageddon of last week (seriously, two full snow days, and two 2-hour delays), and then – and then!! – a blasted holiday weekend, I’m finally getting into restoring my poor, shattered and tattered routines. On the upside, I’m managing to get traction toward a renewed work-out regimen, which travel and holiday shenanigans mostly put paid to. So that’s a goodness. Meanwhile, on to the fiction! In which our hero overcomes challenges, only to be faced with an untenable situation… Read more

Science fiction, today’s reality and all the rest

(Morning all. I’m up to my eyes trying to finish up the final edits on Risen from Ashes, to be released Feb. 4th. I’ll be honest, I forgot today was Tuesday. So I went crawling through our archives and found the following. I’ve updated it some but the sentiment is still the same. The original post appeared Aug 5, 2014.)

Science fiction was the first “genre” fiction that I fell in love with. As a kid, I can remember reading everything the school and local library had with space ships and faraway planets as part of the plot. I dragged my parents to every SF movie to hit the local theater. Lost in Space and Star Trek were must sees on the TV. Why did these books, movies and TV shows call to me? Because they offered a look at a future that was exciting and a bit dangerous and they let my imagination run wild. Looking back, I can see just how true that was. When my friends and I played and decided we’d be the characters in our favorite shows or movies, it was almost always science fiction-related. And why not? We got to play with really cool laser guns and fight aliens and explore planets and fly in spaceships. What more could any kid with an overactive imagination want? Read more

An author to learn from

I’ve been working hard at the fine art of making myself itchy (putting ‘earthwool’ or glass-fibre insulation in the wall cavities of our home.) so I thought it had been a long day and it was time I decamped…

Well, de Camp. Lyon Sprague de Camp, 1907-2000, author of many fantasy, sf and non-fiction works. I happened to mention him to a young author I like and respect, who said he had read almost no de Camp… and I thought, sadly there are probably a lot of sf/fantasy readers and indeed writers who have never encountered de Camp’s work. That’s rather sad, not because he was the best author that ever wrote, but because there is quite a lot of value to gleaned from his work. Like Clifford Simak, the ideas are terrific – but sometimes you wish the story execution was better.
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Can I Quote That? Ask Your Lawyer

At least, that’s the short version of the answer.

The slightly longer version of the answer would be: how long has the original author or speaker been dead?

This has come up a few times when I wanted to quote more than just the title of a song or poem. The rough rule of thumb for fair use in a commercial setting (your book) that I was given has been five words. If you quote more than five recognizable words, then you are getting into copyright law’s turf. The rule comes from academia, specifically what constitutes plagiarism, and a real copyright law site suggests that you can go a touch farther. In one case, I knew I didn’t have a prayer of using the lyric, because it was (and as far as I know, still is) tied up in a nasty copyright fight between a performer and the writer of the song, and the distributor.  That’s the sort of fight no author wants to wade into, so I made up some lyrics that fit the mood of the song and went from there.

Making up something is always safe. Doing your own translations is also safe. Read more