Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Hear ye, hear ye.

My second ISO-book-giveaway is now underway. Just my attempt to help folks through their self-isolation. Keep it up, guys! You’re doing great!

This time you can get The Ploughman Chronicles (my high-fantasy duology—biology? Two volume!—series set in 9th c. Brittany). Today thru Sunday, they are free of charge, in Kindle e-book format.

As always, you don’t need the e-reader; you just need the app. It’s available for free, for PC, Mac, and all smart phones.

Feel free to share with friends, family, enemies.

The Ploughman Chronicles

Ploughman’s Son (PC:1)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0052PJS24

Ploughman King (PC:2)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0052PJQU8

Keep checking in for updates and future titles.

k

Read Full Post »

I’m avoiding pretty much all topics today because, to be honest, if I allow myself to start in on what I see around me, I’m liable to just go off, and it’d be hard for me to stop. In fact, I have about five posts in my Drafts folder that I will never publish, long screeds filled with passion, rants on topics of which I’m sure you’ve already had a bellyful, and of which you do not need another helping.

So, instead of holding forth, I’m turning it around . . . Howzit goin’?

Seriously. How is it going with you? Are you in a location without restrictions, or like me, in hard lockdown? What’s the mood, where you are? If you’re self-isolating, what have you noticed about your routines, your family, your time? Feel free to share down in the comments. (more…)

Read Full Post »

What? You thought that just because I posted a book giveaway on Wednesday, there wasn’t going to be a regular post this week? Silly rabbit.

Reading is usually an escape for me, but while in COVID-lockdown, it’s been a challenge. Oh, I can read news articles fine (although I could do with fewer of them), but fiction? I just can’t seem to marshal the requisite mental focus to immerse myself in a novel. My mind is too easily distracted, too easily pulled out of the narrative, and I can only concentrate for twenty or so pages at a time, which frustrates me and compounds the problem.

Last week, though, I thought “Ah, but short stories!” A short story I figured I could handle, so I picked up a collection we’d recently brought home. The Birds and Other Stories, by Daphne du Maurier.

My first introduction to du Maurier’s fiction came via Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca.” It’s a great movie and I recommend it highly, but the novel, ah, the novel! So many interesting and unusual choices in style and structure, with beautiful prose paintings and deep character studies. The book and movie both garnered deserved praise.

But, chances are, your introduction to Daphne came from a different du Maurier/Hitchcock collaboration, specifically “The Birds.” It was with this short story, written circa 1952, that I sat down, in an attempt to get my mind off All Things COVID. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Reminder: as we all do our part with social distancing, self-isolation, and stay-at-home orders, here’s something to help pass the time.

The Kindle ebook editions of my two standalone novels are being offered, free of charge, today thru Sunday (March 25–29).

Unraveling Time, a time travel action/romance/adventure.
Dreams of the Desert Wind, a speculative fiction novel set in the Middle East.

Feel free to forward and share this info with your friends and family.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.

k

 

Read Full Post »

I’m in Week 3 of our self-imposed lockdown, traveling outside the home only for groceries and medications.

Even for an introvert like me, it’s been difficult. I miss the occasional dinner out, game nights across the street, and impromptu chats in the cul-de-sac. For y’all, I’m sure it’s the same, or worse if you’re more extroverted, as you struggle with being cut off from your usual activities whilst being faced with the new requirements that come with having everyone at home 24×7.

There’s not much I can do for you directly, but what I can do is this: I can try to help you pass the time and stay the F*** home.

To that end, I am offering my books for free on Kindle. You don’t need the reader; you just need the app. It’s available for free, for PC, Mac, and all smart phones.

The first two titles (below) will be free this Wednesday thru Sunday (March 25–29). Other titles will be offered free-of-charge at future dates. My intention is to roll through all of my titles, switching between them every two weeks or so.

Feel free to share this information with your friends and family.

Unraveling Time
https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0052855B4

Dreams of the Desert Wind
https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B005455E7K

Keep checking in for updates and future titles.

k

Read Full Post »

My intention, this week, was to find something good about our current situation, a silver lining, if you will. I figured we could all use something hopeful, a spot of calm in troubled times, but then a series of quotes from Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) crossed my desk and I got completely derailed.

Regarding the House bill offering federally funded paid sick leave, Senator Johnson felt that:

“[This could lead to] incentivizing people to not show up for work . . . we have to keep things in perspective and we got to keep our economy.” (source)

Regarding the media reportage of COVID-19, his opinion is:

“COVID-19 [is] obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population. But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu.” (source)

I don’t say this often, and I don’t say it lightly, but I say it now and I sincerely mean it:

Senator Ron Johnson: Fuck You.

First, your opinion of Americans and our work ethic is appalling, and in complete contradiction to facts on the ground. The American worker has been steadily increasing productivity for decades, while real wage growth has been flat. We have a fair portion (8%, in 2013, according to the Census Bureau) who work more than one job, a figure the “gig economy” has only made worse. And while every population has a segment that would shirk, if given the chance, America has the fifth highest productivity level in the world. I wonder that your hard-working Wisconsin constituency doesn’t take this as a direct insult to their character.

Second, while you are correct in that COVID-19 only kills 1–3.4% of its victims, let’s put that into perspective. It’s a good bit higher than the “tens of thousands” who die of flu or in traffic accidents. In fact, as experts predict, if we see a 70% infection rate in this country, that’s 150 million people with the flu. At a one-percent mortality rate, that’s 1.5 million deaths. That’s almost more than all the people who die of the flu, accidents, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined.

Please explain to me how we’re going to “keep our economy” without interruption or effect when half of us are laid up with COVID-19. Please explain to me why this is “a risk we accept so we can move about,” when these deaths are not just numbers on a page, but our spouses, partners, parents, and children. Please explain how your intentional downplaying of the dangers, the risks, and the tragedy that comes with your failure to act helps us “to keep things in perspective.”

Senator Ron Johnson, do us all a favor: Sit down and shut the fuck up.

k

 

Read Full Post »

This is a time for heroes, a time for us all to be heroes. And we can be. We can be heroes.

How?

Work from home (if you can).
Postpone gatherings.
Keep social distance.
Don’t travel.
Wash your hands.

For some, these recommendations seem ineffective, and government actions like closing borders, shutting schools, and banning events seem like panic or media hype or massive overreaction. Others complain that these restrictions are completely impotent in the face of COVID-19’s spread, and if they’re not going to stop it, why bother?

No one says that these recommendations will stop the spread of COVID-19, and we’re well past the point where containment strategies are effective. What these guidelines are trying to do, though, is mitigate the spread, slow it down, and give us time to prepare.

COVID-19 is spreading, and it’s doing so exponentially. Millions of Americans will get this virus, possibly over 100 million. Of those millions, while most cases will be mild, about 15–20% will require care, and if all of those come in a clump, they will exceed our capacity to assist them.

Check out the graph above or the article from which it was taken. The tall red blob and the flatter blue blob represent the same number of cases, but over different timespans. The red blob caseload rises fast and quickly overwhelms the capacity of our healthcare system. The blue blob is what the same number of cases looks like if we all work together and adopt these mitigation strategies: we slow the advance and keep the caseload to a level that we can handle, which means fewer people die.

And that’s the bottom line: when the disease caseload overtops our capacity to care for the sick, people die who don’t have to.

By adopting these mitigation strategies, we save lives. It could be a friend or a co-worker, the elderly neighbor, your nana, your spouse, or you.

We need time, time to make masks, find supportive strategies, understand the virus better, and develop a vaccine, but most of all, we need time so the tsunami that’s heading towards us can flatten out and not inundate us all.

So put on your cape.

It’s time to be a hero.

k

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: