Some Loosely Related Ideas around a Theme

–This has been a really strange Nine Nights. For one, I usually have no problem getting the time I need and this year was way late and I’m having to really work to carve time out. I also have never done one that’s run this late past the 31st, I don’t think. And the energy on this side of November is just different. And I feel like I’m running into different folks.

–Are wights and elves the same thing? I need a good resource on all of the different hidden folks.

–I basically threw up a story today. I don’t know how else to explain it. It started coming on me on the way to work, just rolling around in my head so hard it made it hard to drive. Then I started writing in my downtime and came home and finished it up. 3,600 words, just like that. I’ve written a lot of stories before, obviously. I’ve never had one basically barf itself uncontrollably out of me. And I think it’s really good. It’s about the Kentucky witch who took Big Harpe’s head. And the Devil’s in it. Ha, you know, one thing about the Devil in my stories is that he’s always just committing very minor kinds of evil, but he can’t not commit them. He’s encouraging you to cheat at cards, cheat at farming, etc. And even the people he loves he can’t do right by. It’s interesting to contrast him with Big Harpe because, while Big Harpe is a monstrous fucker, I don’t think what he does warps the people he leaves alive in the same echoing-down-through-the-generations way that what the Devil does does. That kind of evil–that stains and lingers–really interests me more than “woo, I’m a crazed nihilist serial killer with two wives!”

–I’m also working on another story, about the adopted daughter of a fake medium who is actually a medium and what happens the day her mom actually sees a ghost. But I’m worried it’s trying a little to hard, that it never quite gets up over its own weight.  We’ll see what my trusted beta reader says before I start to panic.


I think this must be my Aunt B.’s wedding, since I’m having a hard time figuring out when else I would be dressed identically to a girl I don’t recognize. Otherwise, with the basket, it’s Easter. but no, I think it’s the wedding. I post this only because my youngest nephew makes this exact face all the time. I didn’t realize he looked like me.

Oh, I Forgot the Scary News!

So, yes, my parents were briefly in town last night. They’re taking a leisurely trip to North Carolina for my nephew’s birthday. As they were leaving, my dad said “See you next week!” I said “Oh, are you coming back through next week?” And he said “Well, we still haven’t decided how we’re coming home.” And I said, “Okay, well, it’s cool. If I don’t see you next week, I’ll see you in three weeks for Thanksgiving.”

And he sighed. And said, “Don’t remind me. So much driving.”

So, I took my chance! I said, “You know, if you lived closer, it wouldn’t be so much driving.”

And he said, “Yeah, that’s true. We need to get on that.”

Yes, it’s scary. But it’s also obvious that they’d rather be closer to their grandkids and I’d like them closer (but not too close!) to me.

“Why Isn’t This Book an Ebook?”

There are really only two reasons why a book is not an ebook, in my experience (I don’t speak for my employer, this is just my opinion).

1. Cost. To convert an electronic file into an EPUB, which is the format most ereaders take, costs about $200. Publishers can’t afford to convert backlist books that they have electronic files for if they aren’t going to quickly sell enough to earn that back. If there’s no electronic file, then the cost goes up considerably–you have pay to scan the book and pay to proofread the scan and then format it for EPUB. Some publishers skip the proofreading. You may have noticed. Some publishers are able to add staff to do this. You’re probably not complaining about not being able to find their books to read on your device.

2. Rights. Older contracts are not clear and finding the rightsholders to get things clarified is time-consuming (which means staff-consuming). Many authors held on to their electronic rights, so publishers can’t make ebooks and the authors don’t know how (and see 1). If publishers want to go back and renegotiate, that’s also time and money.

Those are the two main reasons–they don’t have the money to make an ebook or they don’t have permission.

There’s a third, minor, reason–but it is also a biggie and that has to do with why some books are available on some devices but not others.I don’t want to get into specifics for obvious reasons but here it is: How many of these vendors want to to interact with publishers financially is not possible for all publishers and many of the vendors seem unable to respond in a flexible manner. Their reporting doesn’t fit with the reporting publishers need; some, for instance, can’t tell you which ISBNs what money goes to. Some can’t write you a check and the Publisher may be unable to let them dump money into a bank account without warning. Some need you to be able to agree to a EULA and you may be affiliated with your a parent institution in a way that means you HAVE  to have a negotiable contract (if your parent institution is a state government, you may be legally required). Some want you to sign confidentiality agreements and, again, if you’re affiliated with a state government, you might be bound by sunshine laws that forbid that. And you’d be surprised by which behemoths actually return phone calls and emails and have helpful people you can talk to and which seem to think that a FAQ is enough.

So let me just say that, if you look and say “Well, this is available on x and y, but I have a reading device from z, what’s the problem?” The problem could be that z thinks the FAQ solves all and therefore emails never have to be answered.

Not that I have any person experience with that.