Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Congratulations to my books designer for an award

Deranged Doctor Designs, my book cover designer for most of my books, has always done a terrific job. In May, they won the e-book Cover Design Award for Code Name: Beatriz.

I can't claim more than .01% of this award (I did describe the book to them, so that's why I claim even that much!) so I'm not bragging on me, but on them. They've always been a delight to work with, and I've recommended them to several writer friends.

Congratulations to the design team there.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Howdy all!

I'm still terribly busy with the house, yard, and ridiculously large vegetable garden. (Me to self, passing the plant display at Lowe's: "you already have 31 tomato plants. You do not need another tomato plant!")

The shed is painted, and various other projects were finished. And then it was on to getting chipped wood from tree companies to 1) spread around the garden paths and 2) use to kill grass and weeds. I finally got this pile moved, but there'll be more coming later this year.

I planted my vegetable garden and annual flowers that I grew from seed indoors, and I replaced what perennials didn't survive the sub-zero week we had last winter. I weed around the whole place twice a week. When I take a breath and stand back and look, I realize how much I've accomplished in a year. But mostly, I don't have time to stop to admire; I simply put my head down and work. Hot weather is coming soon, and I won't be able to take six-hour work days out there when it's hot. By July, I'll be preserving the bounty of the veg garden.

At least I hope it's a bounty!

I moved back to where I grew up in large part to be around the people in my family who are getting older, wanting to spend time with them while I still could. The last remaining person of my maternal grandparents' generation just broke her hip--and that often leads to pneumonia and the end, particularly at the age she is. We had just had a wonderful lunch together last month, and I was able to give her a copy of my large print paperback of Storm that I had done in large part for her. I quizzed her about the old days and my great-grandparents, and she had wonderful tales to tell. I do love stories of days gone by.

That's it! I wanted y'all to know what I've been up to and that I'm still in the land of the living. And come autumn, I'll be in the land of the writing again.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Writing Update

In three months of 2019, I've written 93000 words. That's the good news part of a good-news-bad-news story.

The bad news? A lot of it was not on the new post-apocalyptic series. What was written in that is something of a mess. So while I'd hoped to have a book in April or May, I can see that's not going to happen.

Furthermore, personal goals are going to keep me from the computer the next month or so, and did to an extent the past month. While I've written a lot about self-sufficiency and being off the grid, I can only claim to have experienced being off the grid, 100% solar, and surviving on something like $300/month (which I suppose means you aren't terribly dependent on the outside world, but I never figured a way out of needing propane for my refrigerator or food from the store in that situation or objects that I owned that I am in no way capable of manufacturing on my own. (See The Toaster Project.)

So now I'm working toward having less reliance on the mass food distribution network, starting with growing most of my own vegetables, expanding to fruit in future years, fishing more and more for the plate, and after that finding local sources for eggs, cheese and meat if I can. (I can't have a dairy cow where I live but I can have hens, though hens make no economic sense at all at this scale.) I've been busy in March building infrastructure for the garden. I have terrible clay soil, as many of us do, so I've been on a mission to improve it using no-till methods. (Worms, I have lots of. Spiders, check. Fungi, I have. I think it's pretty healthy and fertile soil except for the fact that it turns to concrete when it dries out.) I spent one day building a fence, and another day spreading two tons of compost I had delivered over the cardboard-mulch start I made last autumn. I started over 500 veg plants indoors with a grow light and greenhouse window (I won't say that window is why I bought this house, but it sure didn't hurt!) I've harvested two salads so far--spinach and lettuce. Peas are up, turnips are up, chard and bok choi are up, and onions and leeks are growing happily larger. I've set up trellising, wrestling with the clay soil to get posts sunk deeply. And so on. I'm having a blast, but it does take most of my time. I'm out there six hours some days and too exhausted to do much at all at the end of the work day.

Scraping paint on the shed. It's not crooked, the photographer is

The good news is, once this "build and repair the infrastructure" phase is over, there will be plenty of days where I only need an hour of work outdoors, so I can get back to the writing.

I love writing, and I'm at no risk of stopping doing it. It's simply on the back burner for now. I'm only checking my business email once a week, as well. I'll let you know when there's progress on a book that's worth reporting on.

Thanks, as ever, for being fans and friends and for enjoying my books.

Friday, March 15, 2019

My apologies!

I just now realized that something went wrong with my notifications on comments to the blog. People made comments and they were never moderated because I was only getting some notifications. I'm terribly embarrassed about this! If you took the trouble to come here, read, and speak to me, I really wanted to say something back.

Computers and the internet--both a blessing and a bane, aren't they? When they mess up, you can end up being rude to the very last people that you'd want to be rude to! I am so sorry.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Endless problems with my books being stolen

It's hard to learn to be a decent enough writer that strangers will want to buy your books. It takes at least a decade of sacrifice, working a normal day job while writing when you can fit it in, taking courses, reading craft books, joining critique groups, and spending your time and money on that. Even then, working a second unpaid job for a decade to build your writing chops, there's no guarantee you'll hit the right combination of luck, timing, and technology that allows you to sell enough books to pay the mortgage and eat. It took me almost 30 years to find that lucky moment.

A lot of writers--some whose names you might know--make less than $10,000/year once they find their luck. I'm doing a bit better than that, but I still make less than an assistant manager at a McDonald's makes (and she has health insurance.)

I sacrificed for years to learn and improve my craft. I didn't go on vacations--I wrote. I didn't buy new cars--I wrote. I didn't buy new clothes--I went to thrift shops, and I wrote. I've been without health insurance for half my adult life--because if I worked a day job part-time for a few years here and there instead of full-time, I could write more.

Nonetheless, every lowlife criminal in the world thinks it's fine to steal from me. They sit there on their $1500 iPhones (I can afford no cell phone, BTW) and cavalierly steal my books in various ways. More than one person has stolen my IDENTITY. There are "lou cadle" websites in other countries that are not, I assure you, me or approved by me or in any way related to me. They are just scams and thefts.

And so my income keeps decreasing as piracy, illegal sharing, and theft of my professional identity carves away at what little money I'm making.

There is no legal recourse to this, as some of the thieves are in China or Russia or India. Even if a writer does spend thousands of dollars on investigators and attorneys to track down the piracy site owners and tell them to cease and desist, they'll pop right up with another website 24 hours later. So we writers just eat the losses and grow more and more disheartened.

What tears my ass about this is not that there are evil people in the world who would steal: that I figured out when I was a child. What really bothers me is not the pirate but the reader, that for an ebook I've spent maybe 500 hours of damned hard work on, I'm asking you to pay less than you pay for a cup of coffee. Less than most of you pay for a day of cell phone service. A quarter of what you might pay at the movies (and my book will last you for many more hours of entertainment than would a movie, unless you are a big fan of When Yukong Moved The Mountain and Shoah). Less than what you pay for a candy bar or soda pop at that movie. And yet for some, that's not nearly a low enough price, so they steal from me.

Things that are not stealing: using Kindle Unlimited. Using Overdrive at your public library. Paying at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Google Play or iTunes for a book. (There are even legitimately free books at some of those places, a free price approved by the author.) Things that are stealing: file sharing and reading a whole series and then returning all the books for a refund. (That doesn't hurt Amazon or Apple one bit. It hurts only writers, and you eventually, for they will remove your account if you do it very often.)

Tell everyone you know, please. Stealing a book, or downloading books from piracy sites, or sharing DRM-stripped KU files is EXACTLY like breaking into someone's home, stealing their wallet, and setting on fire their cherished mementos of a life. Is that last an exaggeration? No. I've given my life to writing, so when you steal my books, you don't just steal my wallet. You steal the years of work and sacrifice from me. A book thief might have been vacationing in the Caribbean 15 years ago, but I was eating generic corn flakes and getting up at 4:30 to practice writing before I got on the bus to get to work.

Theft is what book piracy is, and that's all it is. Bad people will keep doing it, of course, for that is what bad people do. They commit crimes and do not care at all who they hurt. It's the nature of sociopathy.

But everyone with any moral center should recognize their crime for what it is and stop committing it.

Thank you.

- Lou