Testing, testing (Comments please?)

Since the last so-called upgrade to WordPress, I can no longer view my site statistics. I have no way of knowing whether anybody is actually looking at this blog anymore or not. GoDaddy gave instructions on how to fix the problem; they didn’t work.

If anyone reads this, would you be so kind as to leave a comment? I need to know if my 3.6 Loyal Readers are still there, and I have no other way of telling.

Thank you.


UPDATE, 23 February: Now I’m in touch with the support people for the Jetpack plugin, which is causing all the trouble. I finally managed to upgrade and reinstall it… and it started putting code barf all over the pages containing individual posts. So I disabled it again, and I’m back to square one (but on the New and Improved™ upgraded board). No stats again.

My sincerest thanks to all who posted comments. It’s good to know that you’re all still out there and haven’t forgotten me. All alone in the silence, I was feeling pretty low.


Of course the professor needed a grad student to help him. She knew where to find the comma on the keyboard.

Now hear this, that is all!

Difficult times during the holidays: periods of friction with the Beloved Other, ghastly weather, and yet another change to the monstrous regiment of pharmaceuticals, all of which left me fatigued, frazzled, and scatterbrained. In short, I got no work done; for which I cry you mercy.

I did get one or two ideas for essais, which I intend to work on as the electrochemical state of my brain permits. One of these – strange to say, but perhaps not so strange for me – came when I was leafing through ancient back numbers of ROM, a short-lived computer magazine from 1977–78. Stay tuned for an explanation of that, if you dare.

A memory, as Christmas approaches

I was born in Vancouver, B.C., many aeons ago in a former world, and immediately put out for adoption; which happening in due course, I found myself with the man and woman whom I remember as my parents. They had a massive RCA console black-and-white TV with built-in stereo, about four or five feet long, something very much like this: [Read more…]

André-Philippe Gagnon, a cast of thousands

I mean to say, of course, that André-Philippe Gagnon is a cast of thousands. The Beloved Other and I went last night to see him in concert. I had seen him once before, in the early nineties; for her, it was a new discovery.

And what a discovery! He began the performance with a one-man history of rock & roll, impersonating singers from Elvis Presley to CeeLo Green. His star turn was a duet between Céline Dion (herself, on video) and Frank Sinatra (André-Philippe, live).

Here, by the magic of YouTube, are some highlights of his show, as performed in a different (and rather more posh) venue:

Visit André-Philippe Gagnon’s website.


From episode 1 of Where Angels Die:

‘Forgive my friend,’ said the Badger smoothly. ‘He was raised by screech monkeys, and thinks tact is how carpets are secured to the floor.’

McStudge’s sole comment on the election

It is almost touching, how the humans cling to their most obviously stupid beliefs. For instance, large numbers of them believe that by voting for one shop-window mannequin over another, they can improve the quality of merchandise sold in the shop.

We encourage them in this belief, of course. It distracts them from the inconvenient fact that the shop itself is a monopoly and removes all competitors by force. Remember, my poppets, the most powerful force in the humans’ lives is their own gullibility. Use it often, and use it well.

     H. Smiggy McStudge


Today, so the calendar tells me, is my birthday. I had hoped to have Superversive available today, but matters became complicated when ‘The exotic and the familiar’ firmly announced that it needed to be in the book. (It was right.) So the release is delayed a few days.

As for my age: I admit to 117, but the Powers That Be have an unreasoning reluctance to pay me a pension, and insist that I am only fifty. Whichever is the case, as Aragorn said, I am no longer young even in the reckoning of the Men of the Ancient Houses. Wish me well, Loyal Readers, on the back side of the hill.

An embarrassment of not-riches

First, the news according to Truman: Last night, I did nothing.

This is because I worked during the day; but the Boneless Beast flaps a scornful pseudopod and replies, ‘Details, details.’ At any rate, I am back on the job with Where Angels Die, even if I am getting the work done outside of abnormal business hours.

Meanwhile, a difficulty arises.

When I sell books in June (as I am doing now, thanks to my Loyal Readers and some new faces), Amazon tots up the account at the end of the month and pays net 30 days – that is, at the end of July. If I keep the nose to the grindstone and so forth, I may be all right to pay my bills for August. But my usual source of income has been temporarily cut off, and I find myself with one foot hanging over the yawning chasm of July and nothing to build a bridge with.

In short, I am scrambling for a few bucks to pay the bills.

If anybody wants either ebooks or print books laid out, typeset, and proofread, I am available for such jobs at the most reasonable rates. Wendy S. Delmater of Abyss & Apex (where I serve as Editor-at-Large) can vouch for my skills in these areas; or you can look at any of my own books and judge of my work for yourself. If you know anybody who is looking for such a service, it couldn’t hurt to mention my name. I can be most easily reached by email through the CONTACT link at the top of this page.

And if you haven’t got any work to send my way – though it pains me to ask – if you happened to drop a few bucks in the tip jar by clicking on the Donate button, it would be received with blessings and gratitude.

I want to get Where Angels Die out, and the Superversive collection, and the McStudge book, and resume publishing The Eye of the Maker, all of which my Loyal Readers have asked me to do; I am here to entertain you, and perhaps give you somewhat to think about. But I need to buy the time to do it.

Your support and good wishes are greatly appreciated. Thank you all,

Your suggestions, please!

Our 3.6 Loyal Readers will have noticed two new books out from Yr. Obt. Svt. I am happy to report that my health is unusually good so far this month, except for stubbed toes and similar trifles. While this good fortune holds, I want to see what else I can finish and get out the door, to hold the interest of the Amazon ‘also-bot’ now that I have attracted its attention.

What I am hoping to do is a variation of the so-called Liliana Nirvana technique, so named by Hugh Howey. The original technique was used by romance writer Liliana Hart, with great success, and has been successfully replicated by a number of other authors. Ms. Hart, who is perhaps less inclined to be wilfully silly than Mr. Howey, calls it her ‘five down, one in the hole’ technique. It works like this:

Annual releases are too slow to build on one another. And not just in the repetition of getting eyeballs on your works, but in how online recommendation algorithms work. Liliana suggests publishing 5 works all at once. Same day. And she thinks you should have another work sitting there ready to go a month later. While these works are gaining steam, write the next work, which if you write and edit in two months, will hit a month after the ‘hole’ work.

This technique catapulted Ms. Hart from unpublished to earning a living in a few months.

There’s just one problem: I can’t use it.

You see, the purebred Liliana Nirvana requires that these be your first five books, and that they all be published on the same day. I haven’t got five books ready to go at once, and at this point, I can’t afford to wait until I do have. Also, my existing books have attracted some readers and acquired some reviews, and I don’t want to lose that by unpublishing and re-releasing them (which, apparently, is a variation of the Technique that has been successfully tried.

What I can do, though, is build on the momentum started by The Worm of the Ages and Style is the Rocket, and put out several more books as quickly as I can. It’s a question of which projects are closest to completion, and which ones are likely to yield the best return on a small investment of time.

Going over my stuff in drydock, I see the following unfinished ships, roughly in order of how close they are to completion:

  1. Another essai collection, more general in nature than my previous ones. Tentative title, Superversive: Essays on Life, Language, and Literature.
  2. The ‘pilot episode’ (novella length) of Where Angels Die, samples of which have previously appeared in these pages.
  3. A collection of pieces by H. Smiggy McStudge – if he will consent to write two more of his snarks, which, I think, will be required to fill out a book.
  4. A novella called The Stone Sword, which is set in the same world as The Eye of the Maker, and reveals the previous history of a few of the characters that you will (eventually) meet in volume 2, The Grey Death.
  5. The Grey Death itself, resuming (at long last) the forward motion of the Magnificent Octopus itself, The Eye of the Maker.

This last project will take at least a couple of months to finish. The first four can be done in a matter of days or weeks; and if I work very hard and luck holds, I may be able to put three of them out by the end of June – which would give me a sort of soft-pedalled Liliana Nirvana, spread out over a full month.

I invite the Loyal 3.6, and all and sundry, to offer your suggestions. Which of these books would you like to see me release, and which do you think I should concentrate on? Or do you have another idea, involving something I have overlooked? All comments are most welcome.