The first copy of the hand-bound Patreon Stories: Volume Two Lettered Edition has arrived, and I’m really pleased with how this edition turned out. The book features real leather and imported hand-marbled endpapers, with a matching leather traycase. Best of all, this very special edition should ship later this week, assuming the postal system doesn’t shut down!
Here are some photos I took real quick for those who are interested:
Lots more news to come soon. Thank you for all of your support!
As promised when I launched my page on Patreon one year ago this week, I’ll never be super pushy to try to convince you to sign-up. That’s just not my style. And besides, I think we’ll both be happier if my supporters really want to be there in the first place.
That said, my first year on Patreon has truly opened my eyes to how much I can accomplish and how much further I can take my work with the help of a small group of enthusiastic supporters.
Thanks to those supporters, I have written more new short stories in the last year than ever before, I’m working on new special editions and revised editions of past books, I’m preparing TWO novels for publication in 2019 (and they might be serialized on Patreon first), and I’m even publishing fun exclusive items like a brand new novel told via a chapbook series just for my supporters and even a one-time only Limited Edition called Patreon Stories: Volume One, which I will print in August for qualifying supporters and which will NEVER be reprinted or offered again in any form or fashion:
In fact, if you sign up to support me on Patreon at a qualifying level by August 31, you CAN still qualify for either the signed trade paperback or signed Limited Edition hardcover of Patreon Stories: Volume One, which will ship next month!
In the future, only supporters who have been at the qualifying rewards levels for six months will receive the exclusive “never-to-be-reprinted” books, but I waived that this year since we’re all still learning about how Patreon and the rewards work.
So this really is your chance to get in on the ground floor of something I plan on doing for many years to come.
FUTURE PLANS & HOW MY SUPPORTERS MAKE THEM REALITY:
I’m especially pleased to report my writing plans have completely changed thanks to my experiences with my supporters on Patreon.
For example, the next two books I’ll be writing in 2019 and 2020 are books I’ve had on my mental back burner (one of them since 2006 or so!) because the idea of finding a publisher for them is painfully unrealistic. I have to admit, thanks to some bad advice early on in my career, I’ve spent too much time trying to write novels that New York publishing companies might embrace. That was a mistake and I’ve finally learned from it. Only took me [counts on fingers] 25 years! (YIKES!)
Simply put, big publishers don’t buy stories like the ones living inside my head, demanding to be put on paper. Yet these are the stories I want to be writing and, thanks to my supporters on Patreon, I can write them without having to kick myself every day over why I’m not doing something “more productive” to pay the bills and keep the lights on and feed my family.
Thanks to my supporters on Patreon, these books I want to write will be written AND I will keep the lights on, pay my bills, and feed my family at the same time. I literally couldn’t do all of this without their help.
Also, for the record, I do think readers who already like my work will really like these new books, so it’ll be a win-win for all of us.
Here’s A Modest Request:
Please consider supporting my work on Patreon at whatever level you feel comfortable with; your support really will be appreciated and it will help me push my work even further along than I ever thought possible.
ALSO: THERE’S NO OBLIGATION:
Please know, if you change your mind after a month or two and want to cancel your support, it’s no big deal! You can modify your support or cancel at any time.
Finances change, interests change, real life happens, stuff comes up; trust me, I completely understand! There will be no hard feelings or annoying “please come back” sales pitches thrown in your face.
Even if you just give supporting my work a try for a month or two, I would really love to see you over there.
Thank you again to everyone for all of your support and encouragement over the years. In the end, you’re the battery cells that makes it possible to get the work done. Thank you!
If you’re on Instagram and want to follow me, I’ll be posting photos from the office from time to time (production materials, new books, etc), plus occasionally other shots from my day that I just happen to like. (Trees, the moon, famous zombies, and stuff like that.)
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Everyone over a certain age probably remembers this iconic photo featuring one of their victims.
According to Wikipedia, “McVeigh stated in his authorized biography that he wanted to minimize non-governmental casualties.”
From the same article: “He parked the Ryder truck in a drop-off zone situated under the building’s day-care center…”
Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking about those dead children who meant nothing to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. I think about the horror the families of those kids experienced as the news reached them and sunk in — and the roller coaster of emotions those families must have endured in the years to follow and I would assume to this day.
If you listened to the radio in the ’90s, you might recall “Lightning Crashes” by the band Live from their album Throwing Copper. Shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing, someone — a radio DJ perhaps? — edited the song to include clips from news reports about the attack and this version was played on several radio stations in the days and weeks to follow.
The “Oklahoma City Bombing” version of “Lightning Crashes” is still tucked away on YouTube. The quality isn’t perfect, but if you have a moment to listen, I don’t think you need to like the song to be affected. For me, there are many people in the audio I think about from time to time, but there’s one person I wonder about all the time:
At the very end, a woman says, “Whoever did this, I hope you’re happy” with a current of raw emotion in her voice.
When “Lightning Crashes” turns up on the radio (less frequently these days, but it still gets a few spins here and there) or on my music mixes, I think about that woman.
Sometimes, when I see a Ryder rental truck, I hear her voice.
I wonder who she was and where she’s gone and what she’s done with her life.
This information might be available online, if I really wanted to know, but I don’t.
I don’t know who this woman is who haunts me so, and maybe it’s better that way….
One last thought: Be sure to hug your kids tonight, or sooner if you can, and no matter whether you’re having a good day or a bad day, treat your loved ones as if they might not be around tomorrow.
Because they may not be, and you may never know until it’s too late.
Based on all of the scientific data I could gather, I think my Samsung Galaxy S was manufactured in a plant built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
Here are some of the features that weren’t mentioned on the box:
1) Two to three times a day, it’ll freeze and I have to pop the battery out. When I start the phone back up, it notifies me that the battery is almost dead — even if the phone was just removed from the charger minutes before it froze.
2) It often takes three tries to open a text message because the texting program crashes and returns me to the home screen.
3) Sometimes, when I receive a text message, the phone will freeze, requiring me to remove the battery.
4) From time to time, the phone will ring but nothing will show up on the screen, so I have to swipe down to get to the notifications center where I will find my call already on hold.
5) Clicking on a news story in the news headline app often results in a blank, white page.
6) Randomly turns off. Sometimes it starts up again all on its own, other times it does not.
7) Even when I have a good signal, the phone often fails to dial when I try to make a phone call — the original purpose of owning a phone.
8) When I go to dial a phone number that isn’t already in my address book, I have to enter it in less than ten seconds or the app crashes and sends me back to the home screen. It’s like a game! That I hate.
9) Often, when I try to select a contact in my address book to call or text, the address book will crash and return me to the home screen.
10) When set to “vibrate,” the phone doesn’t do anything when a message or call is received. My old phone, a flip phone from before the days of smart phones, vibrated so strongly that I still had phantom sensations of receiving calls for the first year after it vanished at an amusement park in Ohio, kind of like how someone who loses a limb might still feel their fingers or toes moving.
BONUS FEATURE! Today my phone started rebooting randomly during a phone call.
Of course, because I’ve had so much trouble with this particular phone, you can bet on the fact that several of my friends and family have had this model and loved it. Raved about it. Proposed marriage to it.
Normally, this situation is reversed, with me trying to help someone with a piece of technology that has never given me a single problem yet has turned mysteriously evil on them, so I guess I was due for this to happen.
Needless to say, I cannot recommend my phone to anyone except maybe for a friendly neighborhood exorcist.
Normally these spam comments are either super vague and poorly written (“I love your high quality site, it gives me good reads”) or wildly off topic and selling knock-off products for fashion and, um, the bedroom.
So this time I had to laugh when I saw what the spammed comment was promoting: a service that sells term papers to students.
They just promote their service as if they “help” the student through “tips” and “training.” But when you click on their linked name, it’s clear what they’re really selling.
In terms of targeted spamming, this comment was a home run for the spammer. They couldn’t have landed on a better post to spam their product.
Of course, I deleted it and marked it as spam in the moderation queue so it never saw the light of day.
This is not publishing related at all, but since I can never remember how to do this on the rare occasions I’ve needed to, I thought maybe I’d post it here so I can actually find the steps in the future.
Whenever we’ve had to completely restore one of the office Macs from the Apple Time Capsule back-up (love that software, by the way, because I never have to worry if the staff is properly backing up), I always want to do the restore via the Ethernet ports instead of Wi-Fi since Wi-Fi could take 50+ hours for the amount of data we’re moving.
But it never seems to work.
Then I remember that there’s something I need to do to make it happen, but I can’t remember what, so I head to Google and I have no luck finding the information I need for some reason.
So then I end up using Wi-Fi and grumbling about it.
Today, though, I guess I finally entered the right combination of search terms because I found the answer: when you’re using the Apple Time Capsule’s Wi-Fi feature for your regular back-ups, the Ethernet ports on the Time Capsule are apparently turned off.
** So if you want to restore a back-up via Ethernet, here is what you need to do:
1) Open AirPort Utility on your Mac (in the Applications folder) — because I was setting up a brand new computer, I just used another computer on our network to do this
2) Click the Time Capsule
3) Click Manual Setup
4) Click the Wireless tab and change the setting for Wireless Mode to “Off”
5) Update to save settings and wait for the Time Capsule to restart
6) Connect an Ethernet cable to the Mac you want the data restored onto
7) Connect that Ethernet cable to one of the LAN ports on the Time Capsule
8) You are now ready to restore your back-up using Ethernet — just follow the regular steps from here
9) When you’re done, just remember to change the Wireless Mode for the Time Capsule to “Wi-Fi” so everyone’s computers can start backing up again.
Instead of taking 50+ hours today, I was done in 45 minutes. So Future Brian, in case you forget, search for this post!
Sorry for the radio silence, but I’ve been locked out of my WordPress.com account for the last couple of days. Actually, I was greeted by this ominous message:
When I saw this message, I probably looked something like this:
Note the confusion…
And then, after trying to log in a second time as if that might help, I probably looked like this:
Notice how, as I realized this message was real, all of my hair spontaneously fell out… and apparently I thought I was The Rock?
It’s also quite likely that I looked like this in the moments to follow:
Some of my hair has come back, but I’ve aged terribly!
You might run into this message if you’ve violated the WordPress.com TOS, but sometimes mistakes happen and an account might be suspended in error. Or maybe your account has been hacked and you’ve gotten locked out. There are several reasons why you might see this message unexpectedly.
Luckily, there are real live people working at WordPress.com who are doing their best to make the user experience everything it can be. Considering it costs nothing to blog on their site, I think they go above and beyond.
If you find yourself staring at a message like the one above, the first thing you should do is go to the WordPress.com Suspended Blog page and make sure you haven’t violated their Terms of Service.
If you did violate the TOS, and it was an honest mistake, they might still be able to help you out, but I’d recommend moving to a self-hosted option via WordPress.org.
If you didn’t violate the TOS as far as you can tell, there is a form to fill out at the bottom of the Suspended Blog page. Enter the information requested and try to be brief while giving enough details to be helpful. They don’t need your life story, just the facts.
The form looks like a form.
My advice is to remember that the person who will be reading your message (in my case, a very helpful gentleman named Bryan) is NOT the person who suspended your blog. A lot of these things are done automatically by the system. That said, if you violated the TOS by accident, he or she might still be able to help you get back online. And if a mistake was made on their end, he or she is the person who wants to make sure it’s fixed right away.
I absolutely hate when people “yell” at customer support staff — I see this all the time at Cemetery Dance — and I’d like to mention again that they’re simply human beings doing their job the best they can. Please don’t take out your anxiety or frustration on them.
Of course, now that I’m back on my blog, I look like this:
Well, you get the idea…
We’ll return to our regular programming soon. Thanks, as always, for your support!
Massive new vessels like the Oasis of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, can carry up to 5,400 passengers and 2,160 crew members… Experts say that evacuating any vessel is a dangerous, last-ditch procedure. And the prospect of doing so on a ship like the Oasis of the Seas is daunting. It carries enough lifeboats for 6,500 people; or 1,000 seats fewer than its maximum capacity.
I’ve read that section three times because I keep thinking I must be reading it wrong. Am I? Or is anyone else surprised to learn cruise ships aren’t required to have enough lifeboats for all of the passengers and crew? For some reason, I thought this issue had already been addressed after a terrible tragedy…