WordPress Did It Again (Darn Them)

Screenshot from my blog dashboard.

Months back, the free version of WordPress took away what they now call the Classic Editor used to write and edit blog posts and replaced it with something that for me is almost unusable; Gutenberg. I tried to work with it at first, but it was (and is) terrifically awkward.

Then I discovered that if you create a post, publish it, and then edit it again, there was an option for the Classic Editor. I figured I was saved.

Then today or yesterday, I saw that my blog’s menu had changed again. Instead of “Dashboard,” there’s now something called “My Home” which doesn’t behave quite the same way. Actually, it’s a dumbed down version of the old Dashboard. What’s worse is when you put a blog into edit mode, the Classic Editor is just plain gone.

I’ve tried various settings but there’s no way I can trick it back.

The first time the Classic Editor disappeared, I Googled hoping to find a way to have it return, but the only option I could find was installing a plugin. You can’t install plugins with the free version of WordPress.

I Googled again and still no go. I can’t even find help pages for the current changes and what I can find about the plugin doesn’t mention the account type you need to follow the instructions.

So I decided what the heck. This is obviously WordPress trying to get people to pay for their product (I can’t blame them, but it still feels like they’re playing dirty). I looked at my upgrade options (but not very closely as you’ll see) and selected Premium. It’s only eight bucks a month or just under $100.00 a year, so it wasn’t going to break the bank.

After my purchase, nothing seemed different.

I looked closer and you can only install plugins with the Business version or higher, which is something like $300.00 a year. No, I’m not paying that much just because I want one plugin.

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G. Scott Huggins Wins 2021 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Contest

baen

Baen books logo.

Just wanted to say a quick congratulations to G. Scott Huggins for being named the 2021 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Contest Winner. A few years back, I somehow started following him on Facebook and more recently twitter, so I’ve known about this for a few days.

The really cool thing according to Baen is:

In an interesting turn, Huggins was the winner of the 2020 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, another short story contest sponsored by Baen Books. Both contests are judged anonymously.

He’s definitely on a roll.

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Review of “Mara’s Awakening”

mara

Promotional image for Leo Flynn’s novelette, “Mara’s Awakening”.

Disclosure, I was asked by the author via email to review his short novelette Mara’s Awakening. Interestingly enough, when I tried to post a review on Amazon, I received a notice that it wasn’t eligible to be reviewed. I have no idea why.

I did manage to post a review on Goodreads.

I had a tough time understanding this very short book. I imagine the author was trying to inject some mystery into who Mara is and why she’s been in prison for six years when she used to be some sort of popular fighter, but she was too “mysterious.”

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Where Are the Families in Science Fiction?

lost in spaceNot long ago, I read a blog post by Caroline Furlong called Why Science Fiction Lacks Mothers and Fathers – and Why This Trend Needs to Change. At the time, I didn’t notice it was first published in July of 2018, but that doesn’t really matter.

Caroline lamented the abysmal lack of supportive parental characters, Moms in particular, in modern works of science fiction. She narrowed down the reason for this from her perspective here:

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Book Review of “On Basilisk Station”

honor

Cover art for David Weber’s “On Basilisk Station”.

In my continued effort to review Baen Publications, I’ve just finished reading the first novel in David Weber‘s “Honor Harrington” series On Basilisk Station.

It was kind of hard to get into. Weber has a tendency to lapse into long pages of dense exposition, which tends to put the reader into one person’s head (more often than not, Honor’s) than into the action.

However, if you can power through that, you finally get to a space opera laced with political intrigue, the dynamics of provincial planetary plotting, and then the climax of classic space battle.

Weber seems to have a background in military strategy, which shows in how he depicts martial activities, both in space and on the planet. However, there were times when life aboard Honor’s ship “Fearless” felt a little like “Star Trek.”

The one thing that would have made his book better would be to cut back on each character seemingly talking too much about themselves. Also, antagonists like Lord Pavel Young and the ultra-wealthy Klaus Hauptman weren’t as prominent or as formidable as I expected them to be based on how they were initially presented.

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Comic Books, Television, and Who Are Our Heroes?

falcon

Promotional image for the tv show “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”

So I happened to read Cora Buhlert’s review of the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier called Marvel’s “New World Order” – Some Thoughts on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (spoilers) expecting something light and entertaining. Not exactly what happened.

First of all, let me say that I haven’t seen any of the WandaVision mini-series and don’t anticipate watching this new show either. It’s not that I think they’ll be bad or I won’t enjoy them. I just don’t subscribe to streaming services. Well, besides that, I don’t have the time to dedicate myself to television shows anymore.

I used to watch all of the WB produced superhero shows, popularly known as the Arrowverse, but they were consuming so much of my free time, I didn’t have any left for things like writing and a life.

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My Interview About “The Haunted Detective”

Cover image for the anthology “The Trench Coat Chronicles”

Once upon a time, I wrote a story about a private detective named Margie Potter. She lived and worked in San Francisco in the year 1947. The original story was really “adult oriented” and “gritty” but the people who wanted to publish it wanted something more “Young Adult” themed. That, plus the word count restriction, made me cut the story in half. Fortunately, it still worked.

Then the publishers Ann and Ruth wanted to interview me. No, not just me, but all of the authors featured in the anthology The Trench Coat Chronicles. So here we are at last.

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Standing Up Against the Bullies

A couple of days ago, I posted a commentary about COVID and vaccines and I took great pains to shield the source of my conversation.

But when I woke up this morning and checked in on twitter, I found that the “haters” had discovered my commentary and decided to call me a bunch of names. No, it had nothing to do with “science” or “evidence.” It had everything to do with them being bullies.

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Preview of my Interview for my short story “The Haunted Detective”

Cover image for the anthology “The Trench Coat Chronicles”

Last Fall, my short story “The Haunted Detective” was published in Ruth Littner’s and Ann Stolinsky’s mystery anthology The Trench Coat Chronicles.

Just a few days ago on Facebook, their interview of me was published. In a few more days, it will appear on the Gemini Wordsmiths webpage.

Until then, here’s a small sample:

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