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Jun. 4th, 2017

Video review: Pride (2014)

Clip 1, near the beginning of the movie. Clip 2, with no major spoilers but not safe for work.

I watched this British movie - which I had never heard of before I happened upon a fanvid of it - for three reasons:

1) It features miners. I researched miners last year for an upcoming story.

2) It's set in Britain in 1984-85. I lived in Britain in 1982.

3) It features the gay and lesbian community (as it was called in those days) in 1984-85. I joined the gay and lesbian community on October 2, 1985.

I know the exact date I joined because, on the evening of the day that I walked (with great trepidation) into the quarters of the University of Maryland's gay and lesbian student club, I ended up sitting with the other members of the club in front of the student union, holding a vigil in honor of the passing of Rock Hudson. The next morning, my picture - along with the pictures of other vigil-holders who had given their permission - was on the front page of the university paper.

I mentioned this incident a few years ago to a college-aged reader, and she asked, "Who was Rock Hudson?" Boy, did that make me feel old. "Pride" made me feel young again, because it begins with a wet-behind-the-ears college student being swept into the gay and lesbian community at a time of police hostility, gay bashing, and AIDS.

Based on my own experiences, I'd say that the movie captures perfectly the blend of darkness and joy that was the gay and lesbian community in 1984-85. But this is not your typical gay pride movie. Miners, remember? This is about a meeting of two very different cultures, and the most extraordinary thing about this comedy-drama is that it's based on a true story.

The story is beautifully told: very funny and very moving at the same time. "Heartwarming" is a much overused word to describe films like this, but the word is applicable in this case.

What I most appreciate about this movie is its restraint and its diversity. The original story that the movie is inspired by featured violence, yet only some profanity and some brief mentions of sexuality propelled the movie into an R rating; otherwise, the movie would have deserved a PG rating. As for diversity, we aren't presented with a stereotypical group of gays and lesbians, or a stereotypical group of miners and miners' wives; instead, what we encounter are a wide variety of people, each with their own story. This gives the film added depth.

This is the best movie I've seen for several years. I highly recommend it.

Historical resources for after you've seen the movie (because the website has a major spoiler on the home page).

Daily life: Jo/e's health, jammed writing schedule, monthly wordage, and current events

"The dilemma of evil is that even as it carries out its dark, sinister work, it always ends up strengthening good."

--Roberto Miranda.


What I've been up to )

May. 29th, 2017

This week's online fiction: Survival School 6/11, Spy Hill 7/13, & Split 8/9

*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

Daily life: Anniversary, stubborn Muses, rebellious characters, and "Star Trek Beyond"

"There are certain pitfalls you might fall into [when writing m/m fiction], especially [if] you decide to write historicals, but don't panic, I'm here to help. . . .

"When creating a historical character, it's vital to give him morals and sensibilities that the 21st reader will easily comprehend. He must eschew slavery, be entirely politically correct (for the 21st century, remember, not the times in which he lives) and fight to correct injustice like a historical superhero. He will be outwardly proud of being gay and will not attempt to hide it. He will - if he can - marry his beloved in church."

"Whatever you do, don't get bogged down in the era where your hero lives. Don't hesitate to call him Lance, or Calico or Lennon. There's nothing nicer than having a really unusual aristocrat, like Lord Amber or Baron Damocles."

--"Spare Us the Details, Please!" by Erastes, who goes on to note the value of using weather names like Frost or Storm or Zephyr or . . .

(Um. Well. At least I didn't foist my nickname on any of my characters.)


What I've been up to )

May. 21st, 2017

This week's online fiction: Survival School 5/11, Spy Hill 6/13, & Split 7/9

*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

Review: Rogue One (with mild spoilers)

The review )

Daily life: Jo/e's health, editing, writing, Internet addiction, and Dreamwidth

"You can't archive on tumblr, can't find anything later, and it takes to serious discussion rather like airplanes take to lakes: Sure, it can be done, but even when it works, it's pretty damned obvious to everyone that it's not how things were intended to happen."

--Elf.


What I've been up to )

May. 14th, 2017

This week's serialized fiction: Survival School 4/11, Spy Hill 5/13, & Split 6/9

*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

May. 7th, 2017

This week's serialized fiction: Survival School 3/11, Spy Hill 4/13, & Split 5/9

*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

Daily life: Wordage. Wow.

"She put down a tentative line or two and crossed them out. If the right twist would not come of itself, it was useless to manufacture it. She had her image - the world sleeping like a great top on its everlasting spindle - and anything added to that would be mere verse-making. Something might come of it some day. In the meanwhile she had got her mood on to paper - and this is the release that all writers, even the feeblest, seek for as men seek for love; and, having found it, they doze off happily into dreams and trouble their hearts no further."

--Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night.


Writing )

The problem I'm beginning to possess is how to post my overload of Three Lands fiction. I currently have four novels in the series to post (three of which are already issued as ebooks). Two of the novels are mega-novels, and one can be fairly characterized as super-sized, being the length of a couple of novels. In addition, I need to post five novellas, a novel that's nearly finished, and heaven knows how many Three Lands novels and short fiction will be composed by the end of the year.

And that's just The Three Lands. I'm also trying to get the rest of my Turn-of-the-Century Toughs stories online. I don't know how many words that represents: Half a million? A million? Also, a few stories from my archived series.

There are definite disadvantages to having high word counts. Do any of you folks have suggestions for a smooth manner in which to release all this fic?


Research )

Apr. 30th, 2017

This week's serialized fiction: Survival School 2/11, Spy Hill 3/13, & Split 4/9

*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

Daily life: Wattpad, Tuesday Serial, and word count

"More than anything else, I think writing is just a lot of fun. It's a great way to revisit that rollicking, playful space where we spent our days in as kids. Back then, making up stories was our chief occupation. Give a seven-year-old a blank piece of paper and a marker, they're good for hours. There are a lot of adventures and people and animals and kingdoms and trucks and battles and princesses in a piece of paper.

"Somewhere around adolescence, though, most of us stop visiting those imaginary worlds. We get self-conscious. We see that other kids are much better writers or artists than we are, so we cede that creative space to them. And they in turn cede it to others who are better still. The blank page stops being an invitation and becomes intimidating.

"But the impulse to create and make and dream is still with us. It doesn't go away. It just waits, patiently, for us to find a way back to it again. For some adults, it happens through art classes or music lessons. For me, it was through NaNoWriMo. However you get back there, it just feels pretty incredible when you arrive."

--Chris Baty.


What I did this week )

Apr. 24th, 2017

Survival School (Young Toughs)

*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He knows that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.

This story will be serialized online weekly.

Apr. 16th, 2017

Spy Hill (Commando)

Map of Fort Frederick (Compassion Life Prison) and countryside


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

This story will be serialized online weekly.

This week's serialized fiction: Split 2/9

*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

Apr. 11th, 2017

Split (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #3)

*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?


I'm in need of beta readers again

With the editing system I've had in place for the last few years, I've had good luck in catching language errors: typos, spelling/grammar mistakes, stylistic problems, etc. However, I continue to need help with story content issues, especially story continuity - that is, making sure that names/dates/facts/etc. don't suddenly warp into something different partway through a story or a series. (The classic example I mention in my website is me giving a character blue eyes in scene one and green eyes in scene two.) That sort of problem is darned hard for me to catch. I once had to pull a story from its submission rounds because I belatedly realized I'd put a character in it who had been dead for three centuries by the time the story began.

I realize that most of you haven't read all my stories within a single series (though if you have, bonus points), and some of you haven't read my stories at all. But even having someone catch the continuity errors within a single story would be valuable to me. If you could keep your eye out for any other content issues (such as insufficient character motivation), that would be helpful to me as well.

Here's the stories for which I'm in need of beta readers for content issues, by order of priority. If you're interested, please email me.

Boilerplate warning for all my stories. Do let me know of topics you wish to avoid.


Emancipation (Life Prison) )
Truth and Trust (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #5) )
The Awakening (Dungeon Guards) )
Initiation (Life Prison: Hell's Messenger #3) )
Breached Boundaries (The Three Lands) )
Tags:

Welcome to my Friends from LiveJournal

If you're here because I'm no longer posting at LiveJournal, welcome! Make yourself at home.

(If you're a Dreamwidth person, you may have missed this fuss. So I'll repeat what I said there: If you haven't already done so, download stories you like at LiveJournal. A lot of LJ users are deleting their accounts, and though I haven't checked, some LJ communities may shut down too.)
Tags:

Apr. 2nd, 2017

Bard of Pain (The Three Lands) | #fic #fantasy

*


"The beginning of the end for him (or so it seemed at the time) came in the moment that he stepped into the shadow of Capital Mountain and was assaulted by a stranger."

In the battle-weary lands of the Great Peninsula, only one fate is worse than being taken prisoner by the Lieutenant: being taken prisoner if you are the Lieutenant.

As the world's most skilled torturer struggles with his change of fortune, he finds that his fate is intertwined with the destinies of an idealistic army commander, an affectionate prisoner, and a protégé who reveres the Lieutenant's art . . . but is on the wrong side of the conflict.


Read online or download as a free e-book: Bard of Pain (The Three Lands).

Mar. 26th, 2017

Daily life: Wordage galore! | #writerslife #wordcount

"In April 1870, a twenty-eight-year-old [William] James made a cautionary note to himself in his diary. 'Recollect,' he wrote, 'that only when habits of order are formed can we advance to really interesting fields of action - and consequently accumulate grain on grain of wilful choice like a very miser - never forgetting how one link dropped undoes an indefinite number.' The importance of forming such 'habits of order' later became one of James's great subjects as a psychologist. In one of the lectures he delivered to teachers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1892 - and eventually incorporated into his book Psychology: A Briefer Course - James argued that the 'great thing' in education is to 'make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.'

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.


"James was writing from personal experience - the hypothetical sufferer is, in fact, a thinly disguised description of himself. For James kept no regular schedule, was chronically indecisive, and lived a disorderly, unsettled life. As Robert D. Richardson wrote in his 2006 biography, 'James on habit, then, is not the smug advice of some martinet, but the too-late-learned too-little-self-knowing, pathetically earnest, hard-won crumbs of practical advice offered by a man who really had no habits - or who lacked the habits he most needed, having only the habit of having no habits - and whose life was itself a "buzzing blooming confusion" that was never really under control.'"

--Mason Currey: Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work. (Alternative subtitle: How Artists Work.]


Writing )
Everything else )
Reading )
Finances )

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