blogging about blogging

Basically, what happened was that Bride was doing really well—4K copies—and one of the editors there was looking for a book that was sorta like a book they’d just published, and happened across it, and then she loved it and wrote to make me an offer. And since I am incapable of dealing with this sort of thing, I turned to my agent and went “AAAAUGHGHH HELP!” and she took it and repped it and got me more money and dealt with all the fiddly bits that I would have been lost with, which is why we have agents and why they more than earn the chunk they take and it doesn’t matter how this brave new world of publishing falls out, I will keep my agent until she takes out a restraining order against me.

As far as you, the reader is concerned, what’s going to happen is that come November-ish, it will be unavailable anywhere but Amazon, as an expanded version with a new cover on it. And it will have a trade paperback edition, and probably an audiobook edition and possibly even some other exciting stuff. (The copy you have, if you have bought it already, will not go away. I checked specifically on that, because that would have been a deal-breaker for me. Apparently 47North aims for—one quotes—“seamless transition” on this.)

This will be the last time I apologize for not reading Nabokov enough. Life is busy and things get set aside or rearranged. I’ve struggled with mental health issues the last year and it is what it is. My dear sister understands this more than anyone else. So yes, you’re not alone in noticing that we’ve not read as much Nabokov as we would like to have read the last little while. But that’s ok. This place still exists and we still love Nabokov. 

Van Veen

Reblogging like a boss.

Dear, sweet, lovely readers,

Remember! When reblogging a long text post with important info you want to get across, make sure you aren’t reblogging it as a link! Reblog as Text is a wonderful thing. Here, let me introduce you!

When you reblog like this:

Your post will look like this:

It gives your readers a slight preview of what your post is about, but they will have to click away from your blog and onto a stranger’s to actually see what the post is about. If the post has a long preamble before the meat of the post, there’s a good chance they won’t see what the fuss is about at all. When they have twenty thousand cat pictures still waiting to be cooed over, they might decide it’s not worth following your link to the source.

Instead, you can reblog the text post in its entirety with just a couple of extra clicks.

First you check out that neat  next to

The options expand into 

Click on ‘as text' to change the mode into 

Your page will reload from the first screenshot into something more like…

Which gets posted as…

The full text of the original post is kept in one piece, and when reposted to your blog your followers and visitors will get to read the whole thing without having to follow a link elsewhere. It’s nice and tidy, and when you have something important to say (whether it’s an urgent news article or delicious recipes) it gets the message across without relevant information being lost to the ellipsis.

It has been a bad winter for pets.

Angus the little orange cat passed away yesterday. He’d been dropping weight faster than I liked, which we thought was a dental problem, but a week ago he started stumbling. It rapidly became clear that he had terrible vertigo, he began falling even with sitting, and his pupils were different sizes, which is a pretty clear sign of neurological problems. Our options were down to spending an exorbitant amount of money on CAT scans just to confirm what the vet was already sure of—tumor on the inner ear, clearly growing very fast.

There’s very little treatment at that point. Even if we could spend an insane sum on brain surgery on a senior cat, even if it was miraculously successful, the inner ear was already damaged and he would spend the rest of his life thinking he was falling over. Since I would not wish my worst enemy to die of vertigo, we put him to sleep yesterday afternoon.

It was a shockingly fast decline and I’m still rather stunned. He was the sweetest little cat in the world, he wanted nothing more than to be on the bed, preferably tucked up against a human. He liked to sleep with his head on other cats’ butts, to their general dismay.

I know this is the price of admission for having pets, and I never doubt that I will do it again and again and again, but god, we only lost Brandon last month. Twice in a row like this is hard. We are as skilled as people can be in making these choices, but I’d really like to not exercise that skill for awhile.

Well. Ben (or at least, Ben’s butt) was the great love of Angus’s life, and I hope they are together again in whatever afterlife awaits cats. And no one else in the house is allowed to die until 2016 at the earliest.

—  Angus

I know a lot of y’all have statcounter or other trackers on your blog so you can see who’s visiting and what they’re doing and crack the identity of anons and whatnot. I ain’t got time for that (and I ain’t got time for anon questions either, which is why I have it turned off), but I am interested in where my blog’s visitors come from and why—so seeing this tonight made me really happy. If someone does a google search to learn what Hemingway’s famous writing edict means, they get my post as the first result.

This thrills me to no end because I don’t advertise my blog at all, and it’s certainly far from SEO. Apart from that, I have a creative writing blog, so probably 98% of the time, people who come to my blog from google didn’t find what they were looking for, and that makes me sad—especially in regard to a humor piece I posted years ago that has been consistently the first result when people hit google looking for job interview tips for introverts. This has been the case for so long, in fact, that I went back and added a disclaimer to the top of the post.

But this one makes me happy, because it means I’m doing my part to rid the world of the obnoxious and facile belief that Hemingway was saying writers should be alcoholics.

A Missing Link

by Jessica Stanley

Linkblogging on its own can’t be a form of self-expression. Or can it? 

I was a late bloomer in life and on the internet. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I got a serious boyfriend and a home connection. Stalling with the former, I used the latter to make up for lost time.

Too late for Livejournal and too early for MySpace, I cut my teeth on Australia’s oddly-pioneering Vogue forum. Discussions centred on fashion, shopping, or how to get a job in either fashion or shopping; the unspoken rules were to guard your privacy intently and always put on a good face. Fine with me; I was so coupled-up that my life didn’t feel like it was mine to share. To post about the good things would make for dull reading, and it would be dishonourable to talk about the bad. In theory, I knew how easy the internet made self-expression. But not if the self that would be expressed was mine.

Then it was 2007, and like the rest of my world I started my day with Gawker. One morning I read that two New Yorkers in love had started a blog to tell their story. The blog, like their relationship, was short-lived. But after checking their tumblr every day those three fascinating weeks, I decided – on a whim - to start my own blog.

Keep reading

The Columbia Spectator hosted a panel about about Careers In Journalism as part of a conference they were having over the weekend. I was on it and I got this mug!  Being on this panel was a rewarding experience (not fiscally. Though, it is a good mug.)  The Q&A portion of any panel is thinly disguised versions of the question “Do people really get paid a living wage to write things, and how can I make absolutely sure that I become one of them?”  so it was nice that, at this panel, no one had to pretend they were asking about anything else.  Also, it’s a good question.  (I wish I knew the answer.)

I also had the unprecedented experience of agreeing with almost everything my fellow panelists Joe Coscarelli, Megan Greenwell, Margaret Sullivan and Joy Resmovits said. But I had one minor dissenting opinion and it has been bothering me ever since.  It was during the part of the panel where we were talking about how you should never write for free except when you should, and Megan Greenwell said something about Tumblr and how you should use it as a scratchpad — I’m paraphrasing, of course, but I think someone could have interpreted what she said to mean that she thinks you should make a clear distinction between your official writing — which you get paid for — and your half-formed tumblthoughts, which you don’t, so anything goes.

I sat there wanting to say, “No! Please don’t interpret this as a dispensation to just scribble whatever, whenever on your tumblr and hit ‘Create post.’  Everything we publish, even if we only publish it ourselves, can have consequences and re(blog)percussions we can’t forsee.  Polish all your writing that’s publicly available, even if it’s just something you’re writing ‘for yourself.’ Scribble in a notebook!”

But then I realized I don’t really believe that, either.  I spoke to a nonfiction-writing workshop a few weeks ago, and they asked me whether I thought they should start blogs. And to them I said, “No fucking way! Unless it’s the only way you can get yourself to write, in which case definitely yes.”  If the idea of an audience reading your work is what enables you to extract something from yourself, anything goes.

I guess there are no hard and fast rules about this stuff.  Okay, one: respect your audience enough to read your post over a few times, possibly out loud, and spellcheck.  Oh and don’t preachily offer unsolicited advice, oops. 

Between Kevin traveling, Brandon passing, a week trip (a good trip!) two bouts of illness and dog auditions, I’ve managed to pretty much knock myself out of my home routine, though, (some of which was my fault and some of which was just life) and now I am wandering around in an anxious haze, going “This is not my beautiful house…this is not my beautiful beagle…”

I suppose if we were getting technical, it’s something like a mild transient dissociative episode in response to stress. Which basically just means that everything’s a little off. The house seems weird and small and lit wrong. I know where everything IS, it’s not like I don’t live there, but it seems like I’m about a half-step back from where I ought to be, and, most unsettling, days are passing too quickly and I am in imminent danger of lose track of my schedule.

This isn’t that unusual—about thirty percent of the population reports that this happens to them now and again, so I’m not running off to a psychiatrist or try to get a CAT scan for the brain tumor that I could convince myself it lurking—but it’s not all that fun. I know it’s a stress response. I just need to get back in the routine for a week or two and things will gradually smooth back into normal and the world will cease to be weird and out of order. (I am not actually that far behind, truth be told—I have like one project that I need to finish, but everything else is on track. Except for weeding the garden. The weeding is dismal. I am mostly hoping that our bitter cold snap this weekend will take care of some of it for me.)

(Actually, if the garden wasn’t all dead brown leaves and chickweed, I’d probably feel better, come to that. Winter’s always off.)

Anyway, Kevin says that I am not acting weird, and he’d be the first one to notice. I am a more anxious person than I generally let on, but the occasional spike won’t kill me.

Now, I’m older and wiser than I used to be (har) and so I will actually try to DO the correct thing instead of going “An emotionally healthy person could deal with this! ONWARD!” It’s sort of the mental equivalent of feeling my back twinge—if I keep going, I’m gonna throw my brain out, but presumably if I am sensible and take it easy, it will settle. (Have thrown brain out once or twice. Ends badly every time.)

So I am going to stick to my Normal Schedule Of Normal Things That I Do Normally and hope I relax a bit. Woo! Normalcy.

Sometimes I wonder if people realise that bolding or italicising words quite literally changes how their sentences sound in my head. I mean, do they really want to sound like a bad self-help lecturer who records their own audiobooks? Because that is what this and this turns you into.

from The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Ashton Kutcher, Kanye West, and other big-name celebrities don’t do as much good for charity on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks as less-famous people, a new study finds. Actors, comics, singers and bloggers with deep personal ties to causes and potential donors raise far more money for charities…

Let’s hear it for all you outstanding, grassroots do-gooders! 

So there we were, in full nerd-core D&D mode, when the party burst into a room where a horrible dark ritual was being conducted, including the obligatory scantily clad maiden dangling over a pit of ice, about to be sacrificed in order to bring about hell on earth, general badness, screaming and flaming death, etc.

MAIDEN: Save me!
PALADIN: We’ll save you!
DRUID: Uhm, Rooster, are we sure she’s on the up and up?
GM: As far as you can tell, she’s a normal damsel in distress.

After several moments of intense cogitation, Rooster the paladin dredged up memories of late-night studying sessions in little paladin’s school, and came to a conclusion.

PALADIN: And I mean this in the most detached, scientific way possible, but are her nipples….err…it’s cold…You know….?
REST OF PARTY: ….
GM: …I…what….?
PALADIN: ‘Cos if she’s human and dangling over a pit of ice, they’re gonna be all pointy, but demons don’t have working nipples. They don’t lactate! They’re not really mammals! They lay eggs. Sorta like echidnas…well, I mean, the succubuseses do, but that’s different. They use them for other stuff. Not like echidnas. Er.
REST OF PARTY: ….
PALADIN: It’s SCIENCE!
GNOME: What kind of school did you go to?!

Kevin (the GM) gazed out a dark window for a few minutes. He was already having a rough session, as we had refused to ring the obvious magic gong to open the door, opting instead to make an illusory gong sound (nobody makes us ring gongs against our will!) and there had been the lengthy discussion of whether Fizgig can break a magic circle by pooping on it during combat.

GM: …They’re pointy.
PALADIN: We’ll save you!

A few minutes later, the ostensible maiden mind-controlled our gnome. Her familiar, Lawrence the toad, began immediately to panic.

GNOME: Or as we call it in our party, interpretive dance!

While Lawrence danced frantically to express that Something Was Wrong, Rooster was forced to confront his own disillusion.

PALADIN: I can’t believe the nipples lied.
RANGER (with surprising venom): THE NIPPLES ALWAYS LIE!
PALADIN (meekly): Mine don’t. I have Lawful Good nipples.
DRUID’S PLAYER: Dear god, I cannot Tweet fast enough.

PALADIN’S PLAYER: Can I roll a religions check to see why the nipple check failed?
GM: Do it.
PALADIN’S PLAYER: 28.
GM: She’s a succubus. They’re the only species of demon that understand nipples.
PALADIN’S PLAYER: …fair enough.

What's In A Name, DickFace?

I’m a little upset with The Internets right now and here’s why:

1. AntiDuckface. An entire site devoted to denigrating what is arguably my favorite pose EVER.

DuckFace and I have a long and proud history dating as far back as 2005 (which, P.S., is like six years before this site was even INVENTED thankyouverymuch), and  probably even earlier except I don’t have photographic proof right now.

(At this point I wish to share that I have typo-d Duckface as “DickFace” like twelve times, hence the title of this post.)

Witness, 2005-era Duckface:

                                     

                                      

I did DuckFace while in Australia:

                                   

I did DuckFace when I had a nose piercing:

                                  

I do DuckFace when posing with my sister:                                                  

                                  

I’ve done Duckface while taking boredom shots of myself on long car rides:

                                      

And y’all just know I busted out some good ole DF for the Glamour Photos

                                     

Do you know how long it took to find all of those photos? About ten minutes.

Why? Oh, because there is at least one DuckFace shot in EVERY SINGLE photo album on our computer (It would have taken five minutes except I had to find pictures of myself doing either solo-DuckFace shots (considerably more rare) or DuckFace shots with people who probably wouldn’t mind being published on my blog in a post with the word “Dickface” in the title).

And you know what? In MY day we didn’t even call it “DuckFace” , we called it “KissyFace” which sounds far cuter. Look, all this preamble is not trying to say that I invented it or anything, but my god Internets, please don’t take DuckFace/KissyFace away from me. Don’t let this website kill DuckFace.

IT’S ALL I’VE GOT!

Thank You, Amen.                                      

(moving on…)

2. A few days ago I was musing that once this blog starts raking in the millions (I’ll wait while you stop cough-laughing) I might want to drop the .tumblr.com and just move to .com, you know, streamline things a bit like Beyonce or Madonna. So I tried to go ahead and reserve that domain name (just in case) but, EGADS! the name was taken!

"By whom?" you might well be inquiring. I wanted to find out too, so I let my fingers do the walking all the way over to www.SweetMadeleine.com , and what should I find waiting for me there?

Why, Sweet Madeleine, the Cocker Spaniel of course! (Or King Charles Cavalier?…some sort of spaniel anyway)

                  

Guys, my blog domain name belongs to a dog.

And, I mean look, she’s a very cute dog who is obviously very loved and adored (Do you see that awesome life jacket?!) but also, clearly not very well acquainted with her namesake.

Um, yeah, hi, Dog-Madeleine? I am a famous blogger. I have like 150 readers! Yeah-huh. I KNOW! One-five-oh baby.

Don’t you know who I am?

                            

Who am I kidding, no one can stay mad at a Madeleine. Carry on, you sassy little minx.

(Also, in case you’re counting (I am) I now know two gorgeous shopgirls, one kitten and one Cocker/King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Madeleine. I’m bringing it back, baby!)

and finally, the last of my grievances with The Internets:

3.  When I started to search around for alternate domain names, THIS was also taken.

WHY IS MY LIFE SO HARD?

                                   

DickFace DuckFace on the outside, crying on the inside.

Thus a funny person, alive to the wisdom of building [his] brand, calcifies into a humorist, or a clever person into a witticist. It can be very amusing, Dickensian, when a fictional avatar has a narrow, caricatured personality: the girl who says, exclusively, shit girls say, or the tween hobo or out-of-touch masculine blowhard who is always true to type. It’s a lot less funny when a real person, supposedly the many-sided hero of his own life, decides to say only one sort of thing, and say it all the time.
— 

how should a person be (on twitter)?  I think we’re all still figuring it out.   Lately I have begun to suspect that in order to be heard — really heard, permanently heard, MEGA-heard — a person might, paradoxically, need to micro-stfu.

At least I might. 

I never get sick of hankrolling a large number of people. I love every reaction. From “OMG I HATE YOU YOU’RE THE WORST” to simple profanity to ”I knew it was coming but I clicked anyway” to “I actually like being hankrolled, thanks for this” and even “this isn’t funny anymore, it’s just cruel.” I love the innocent ones who are like “um that link doesn’t work please fix it?” and introducing new nerdfighters to the concept. I even like when John reblogs them even though we complain about people giving him all the credit. Today someone commented “EFFYEAHNERDFIGHTERS IS AN EVIL TUMBLR BLOG.”

It’s true and we enjoy it so much. :) :)

Welp, I've started two new blogs

Completely unrelated to each other, go figure. It just kind of happened.

for all my ladies of young justice feels  (for ALL the ladies of Young Justice. because they need more love)

for all my thor-related feels (expect a lot of Loki-related posts. I like Sif too so… also home to fanart and the ridiculous that is this fandom. co-run with heartofdarkness23)

And, while I’m at it, I suppose I’ll throw my other two blogs out there, just for kicks:

for all my lucrezia borgia feels (let’s talk about Lucrezia Borgia, as seen in Showtime’s series The Borgias. sometimes also a Holliday Grainger Appreciation Blog)

for all my fictional ladies feels (all things related to awesome fictional women, from pretty much any fandom that I come across. kind of on hiatus right now)

I am struck occasionally, usually while snuggling the cat, with our faith in domestication.

The cat is a small, ferocious predator, twelve pounds of…well, flab and fur, frankly, in Athena’s case, but what muscle there is is strong all out of proportion to her size. I have watched three 150+ primates try and fail to subdue a ten pound cat, and consider it not at all unusual. The cat is as flexible as a snake and as strong as an ox. She has quite dainty looking teeth and claws, but there’s nothing dainty about their ability to flay flesh from bone.

If the cat and I were in a duel to the death, I would almost certainly win. I am 15+ times larger than she is, after all, and while my teeth and claws are pathetic, I have prehensile hands capable of doing terrible things. But if I had to go in naked, as the cat does, (and assuming the cat was aware that she was going to have to kill me, and not taking a nap in the corner) I can pretty much guarantee it would be a Pyhrric victory. I’d look like I’d gone ten rounds with a wolverine. I would need stitches. A lot of stitches. Possibly a glass eye. And antibiotics by the truckload. It’d be a mess, and there would even be a chance of an upset if the cat managed to go face-hugger on me.

And yet, despite the knowledge of the shocking amount of damage my small predator could inflict, it never occurs to me to worry. I pick the cat up and she tucks her head under my chin and purrs, canine teeth centimeters from my jugular, and despite the fact that I am carrying a ruthless carnivore in a position where she could, with great ease, remove me from the gene pool, I am thoroughly content with the world. Even knowing full well that cats are not even a truly domesticated animal, that Athena’s kin might best be described as “consistently tamed,” my greatest concern is that my black tank top is now coated in white cat hairs.

We have such faith in the process of domestication, despite the sheer unnaturalness of what’s happening. Small predators do not curl up on the chests of large primates and purr in the wild. And yet, every now and again, generally when my small predator is purring on the chest of this particular primate, I think How strange, how strange… that we’re doing this, and even stranger, that we both take it completely for granted, and find nothing unusual in such a completely unlikely alliance.