Day Job and Insomnia

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Image: alghad.com

I’m beat.

I’ve been working at the new day job for a little over six weeks and I’m loving it, plus they seem to be loving me. The pay is good and I’m working from home. Probably will be too until at least the end of July and maybe longer.

But with doing a bunch of other, littler jobs before that, although the pay was lousy, I had tons of time to write.

Then there’s the insomnia. I go to sleep okay, but wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I’m able to roll over and eventually go back to sleep, but other nights, I’m up for a couple of hours.

Last night, I forced myself to stay in bed, but it seemed like it took forever to doze off again.  I finally was in the space to really sleep when it was time to get up.

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Third Place Winner: Building Your Brand by James Pyles

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James Pyles – photo taken by David Pyles

EDIT: All three winners will have their articles published in the May edition of Inner Circle Writer’s Magazine.

by Steven Lester Carr

The panel of judges for the Building Your Brand project selected the top three entries. Today I post the third place entry written by James Pyles. Friday I posted the first place winning entry written by Elaine Marie Carnegie. Yesterday I posted the second place entry written by Peter Astle.

Third Place Winner: Building Your Brand by James Pyles

As an author, building your brand might seem obvious. Create a website /blog, use it to advertise your works, such as novels published, anthologies contributed to, and so on. Then link the heck out of them on social media (Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, etc…).

But everyone does that.

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Third Place in the “Building Your Brand” project

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James

I participated in an online contest by writing an essay about how writers and other creative people can “build our brand”. Here’s the result.

Steven Lester Carr:

The panel of judges for the Building Your Brand project has selected the top three entries. First place and $50.00 goes to Elaine Marie Carnegie. Second place and $25.00 to Peter Astle. Third place and $25.00 to James Pyles.

Part of the money the winning entries received was part of a generous contribution of $25.00 that fellow Sweetycat Press member, Dawn Debraal, made toward this effort. Thank you, Dawn!

Thank you to all of you who submitted entries. Unfortunately there could only be a top three.

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Science Fiction and OPPs (Other People’s Priorities)

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Image found at K. Tempest Bradford’s blog

I’d heard of K. Tempest Bradford before, but only tangentially. So far, she hasn’t blocked me on twitter, but I expect that to change any time now.

I came across her blog post I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year thanks to a notice posted on Facebook by Louis Antonelli (I’m aware that Louis can be quite controversial, but on the other hand, he’s frequented by a favorite SciFi author of mine Neal Asher).

Among other things, Bradford has “issues” with Antonelli, particularly with his current bid for the Presidency of the SFWA board.

Here’s part of what she wrote on her blog:

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How Evil is Google? Read This!

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Photo credit: Daily Sun

For the record, I’m going to say that the information in the Mercola article Google — A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known is horrifying.

I use Google and Gmail all the time, along with a lot of other products and services this story mentions. Oh my stars, they are not only spying on us, but totally manipulating public opinion on a whole bunch of levels.

Please click on the link and read. It’s long, but well worth it. I didn’t watch the video, but I was so influenced by Dr. Joseph Mercola’s content that I had to write about it.

Oh, my wife sent me the link, which is how I became aware of it.

I guess this falls under the heading of science fiction becomes dystopian fact.

But let me back up a second. The 2016 Hugo Award for best science fiction short story was written by Naomi Kritzer (and I’m stunned it won an award) and is called Cat Pictures Please (the link takes you to Clarkesworld.com where you can read it for free).

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“I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” or How to Succeed in Both Offending and Encouraging Readers

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Cover image for issue 160 of Clarkesworld Magazine – Zarrio by Edwardo Garcia

UPDATE – January 18-2020: Fortunately someone archived the original story, so it is preserved, even though Clarkesworld it offline.

UPDATE – January 16, 2020: This story has been pulled from publication by the magazine, and the rationale can be found here!

On twitter, I happened across a tweet by Cora Buhlert. It was referencing a story written by Isabel Fall for Clarkesworld Magazine called I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter. Actually, I saw that Buhlert was referencing a twitter conversation of someone called The 1000 Year Plan (actually a Marxist blogger named “Gary” who announces personal pronouns as “he/him”) commenting on Fall’s story.

As you can guess, he didn’t like it.

What got my attention first is that Gary tweeted:

All of the comments are absurdly over-the-top praise that appeared almost immediately after the story was published. There are way more of these than is normal for a Clarkesworld story.

I looked at the story and couldn’t see any comments anywhere. Slightly earlier, Gary tweeted:

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How Ricky Gervais Offended Everyone in Hollywood and Restored My Faith in Comedy

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Ricky Gervais hosting the 2020 Golden Globe Awards – NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images.

Perhaps you’ve heard of comedian Ricky Gervais, or rather his hysterically scathing commentary on Hollywood, including some of the most famous icons alive. This happened at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards last night, and quickly became a social media hit.

The only place I could (quickly) find the full video of his intro to the “Globes” was on Caleb Hull’s twitter account. I promise, it’s not to be missed.

I’m writing this because, as you know, I’ve been critical of awards ceremonies, particularly in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve made numerous commentaries, including Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award Acceptance Speech and Here We Go Again, Are the Science Fiction “Culture Wars” Still Alive and Well?, The Hugo Award Will Not Be Renamed and Why Are All Conservatives (seemingly) Called Alt-Right?, and Once More On Awards And How Your Heroes Will Never Be Perfect.

I’ve suspected more than one awards ceremony has been politically rigged to bias heavily in one direction (left), and last night, Gervais illuminated his live and television audience with just how true this mess in Hollywood is (as if we didn’t know, but it’s nice to have confirmation).

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Telling Someone Else’s Story

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Screenshot of J.K. Jemisin from YouTube – Found at Vox.com

Once again wandering around File 770’s Pixel Scroll, I came across item 5 “Writing About a Different Race.” I was ready to read and cringe, imagining how white, male authors were going to be targeted as racist, misogynistic, insensitive, and so on.

Fortunately the Vulture article Who Gave You the Right to Tell That Story by Lila Shapiro wasn’t particularly cringe-worthy. The subtitle is “Ten authors on the most divisive question in fiction, and the times they wrote outside their own identities,” and one of them is triple Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin. She’s one of only two people (that I’m aware of) who has blocked me on twitter (the other is Rep. Steve Cohen who didn’t appreciate my saying he had a “fast food body” after he tweeted a photo of himself eating KFC chicken as a snub to Attorney General William Barr). Oh, I can log out of twitter and see their tweets fine, I just can’t tweet to them.

Anyway, Jemisin, who is a woman of color if you didn’t see her photo above, discussed her experiences in writing characters who are unlike her. She states in part:

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Why Ed Kramer is Evil but Marion Zimmer Bradley Isn’t. Go figure

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Undated photo of the late author Marion Zimmer Bradley found at Wikipedia

The world is a funny place. On Mike Glyer’s “fanzine” File 770 this morning, I read an article called New Child Porn Charge Against Ed Kramer. I’d never heard of Ed Kramer before, so I looked him up. According to Wikipedia, he is:

an American editor and convicted child molester. Kramer lives in Duluth, Georgia and was a co-founder and part-owner of the Dragon*Con media convention. Kramer has also edited several works in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Before pleading guilty in 2013 to three counts of child molestation, Kramer was the subject of a long-running legal battle that began with his initial arrest in August 2000.

The word DragonCon got my attention. DragonCon has been associated with more conservative elements in Science Fiction and Fantasy. In and of itself, that means nothing. If you’ve been sexually abusing children or been into child porn, you are evil and deserve to be in prison, regardless of your politics.

But what gets me is that certain demographics in SF/F fandom seem to give other, similar people a pass because of their politics and because they are feminists, or at least they seem to do so.

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A Little Fallout: Bias and the “Humanities”

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Graphic depicting nuclear fallout – image credit unknown

Several days ago, I posted a link to my essay Concealment: Should I Have Used a Pen Name? in a private writers group on Facebook. The admin always holds links in mediation prior to approval. Usually the process takes a few minutes to an hour, but after a day went by, I figured I’d gone too far and he wasn’t going to approve it.

However, 24 hours later it appeared. Either he was too busy to approve of it prior to that time (doubtful, since he’d been active in the group all along), or he was pondering whether or not to approve it, maybe even consulting others.

Well, it was approved, and discussion in the group was pretty interesting and generally positive. That is, until this one, offered by an admin of another writers group to which I do not belong (and I don’t plan on asking to join):

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