A vampire, a ghost and a fairy all climb into an ambulance…

Today is the official release of Suicide is for Mortals on Kindle!

Smashwords will follow in about a week. Print editions come later.

Please, take a look-see at my preview content, join my mailing list, add the book to your shelf at Goodreads, and then get yourself a copy on Kindle. It’s only $2.99, with lending enabled.

Also, Like my Facebook page. You’ll be glad that you did.

ASOIAF vs. GoT, Third: Who Cut Off Jaime’s Hand, and Why?

If you’ve watched Game of Thrones but not read the books, you may possibly be wondering if maybe there’s more of a story behind Jaime Lannister losing his right hand. I can assure you: yes, there is. For this post, I will explore the differences between show and books on the events surrounding this act of mutilation, from Jaime’s imprisonment by the Tullys and Starks to his return to the Red Keep. The differences between show and text are subtle, but broad, and I will analyze the sub-plot with a number of questions. I think the biggest question that the show elides and oversimplifies is the matter of why they maim him. It’ll be a long post, but organized. And I have citations. Lots and lots of citations. I don’t expect you to take my word on any of this.

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Profane language is still language.

Chuck Wendig gives us the news of Clean Reader, an app that allows the user to read ebooks with the swear words filtered out. You might guess that a lot of us don’t like this. You’d be right.

I am an author where much of my work utilizes profanity. Because fuck yeah, profanity. Profanity is a circus of language. It’s a drunken trapeze act. It’s clowns on fire. And let’s be clear up front: profanity is not separate from language. It is not lazy language. It is language. Just another part of it. Vulgarity has merit. It is expressive. It is emotive. It is metaphor.

Yes. I agree with this. Profanity is language. We’re talking about actual words that real people use in their daily lives to communicate their ideas. The dividing line between supposedly clean language and filthy language is strictly arbitrary. If you read a book that was written with words like shit, fuck, bitch, ass, hell, damn, cunt, and cocksucker present, but read it with those words switched out with other, supposedly kid-friendly words, you lose a certain amount of expression, emotion, metaphor and characterization from the content. The book tends not to be as effective with the profanity taken out.

That said, I don’t really have an opinion on whether this app is or should be legal. I’m not interested in talking about whether it’s morally wrong for someone to sell this app, or use it. I think this thing is completely fucking ridiculous, and if you think you’d enjoy my books (for example) more with the f-bombs taken out, I don’t think you’d really enjoy my books either way. I’ll show you a screencap from Clean Reader’s blog that gives a good example of the absurdity of focusing on profanity:



If you’re having trouble reading the text on that image, this is what it says:

“Game of Thrones 5 book bundle is on sale for the next 5 hours. Only $19.99 for the series. That’s 50% off the normal price. Act fast before the sale ends! And read it with Clean Reader so you won’t have to read any of the swear words in the series!”

If you’re thinking you’ve been wanting to read the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, except they have so much nasty language, you should probably ask yourself what it is, exactly, that bothers you so much about those monosyllabic words.

By all means, let’s read about people killing each other! Here’s a guy getting his head cut off in front of a crowd that includes his own daughters! Here’s another guy who lets his guards gang-rape his teenage son’s wife while the son watches, and then forces the son to participate! Here’s a woman and her teenage son being murdered at her brother’s wedding! Here’s a guy whose penis was chopped off and sent in a box to his father! Here’s a grown man chucking a defenseless little boy out of a high window because the boy saw him fooling around with his twin sister! (Would it bother you more if I wrote “fucking” instead of “fooling around with”?) Here’s a woman who likes to burn people alive! Here’s an old man who’s been sexually abusing his daughters for decades, and sacrifices his newborn sons to the Army of the Undead! Look at this teenage king who orders his bodyguard to beat up a defenseless girl! Here’s a mentally handicapped woman who was gang-raped during a riot! Look, here’s a woman trying to throw her niece to her death because she thinks the girl is fooling around with the aunt’s new husband! And now the husband chucks his wife to her death, without even giving her niece a chance to leave the room! Here’s a young woman being forced to fight a fully grown bear with a blunt sword and no armor! She bit a man’s ear off earlier that day because he tried to rape her.

You want to read about all those horrible things, but you don’t want to see the word CUNT on the page? Think about that for a while. Ask yourself why that is.

ASOIAF vs GoT, Second: Tyrion and Penny

Rob Bricken at i09 has a list of Game of Thrones sub-plots that appear to have been omitted from the show, and for the better. He seems to have based the list of divergences on preview materials, and we won’t know for sure what’s left out of the show until we see Season 5. Even then, it’s still possible that they’ll bring some book-derived subplots back for Season 6. Either way, assuming he’s right about what’s being left out, I mostly agree with Bricken that these omissions are for the better. I would like to add that I am grateful that Lady Stoneheart has so far not appeared in the show. She is…unpalatable. Her absence means they’ll have to come up with some other misadventures for Brienne, but they appear to already be coming up with different stuff for Brienne to do (example: nearly all of what she does in Season 4 is original to the show, mostly because Brienne doesn’t have much page time in the latter half of A Storm of Swords), so thumbs up! There’s enough material in Books 4 and 5 to write 3 seasons, so it’s not out of the question that Lady Stoneheart will show up in Season 6, but TBQH, I don’t see it happening. Game of Thrones doesn’t seem to mind showing us disturbing shit, but Lady Stoneheart is not just disturbing, she’s…gross. Her presence, and the events around her, would not make for good television.

But anyway! I agree with Bricken that leaving the Greyjoy uncles out is a good thing. I honestly do not give a fuck about the Greyjoys. I care at least a little about Theon and Asha/Yara, though not nearly as much as I care about my Lannister brothers and their ladies. Uncles Aeron, Euron and Victarion, however? Can frankly bite my ass. Same thing about Quentyn Martell; seems like a nice kid, but I just couldn’t get attached to him. I will differ on this one point: Quentyn has indeed died of his burns from his encounter with the dragons. He took a good long time to die, poor kid, but Barristan Selmy confirmed that he eventually succumbed. He will not be taking up any more space in the books, except to the extent that Prince Doran and Princess Arianne are upset about his loss.

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The Other Woman: Gals, Don’t Do That

I read a review in the NYT of The Other Woman (the 2014 movie) that made it sound so bad I simply had to see it for myself. I finally got a chance to rent it last night, and now that I’ve seen it, there’s something I need to get off my chest. The pun, which will become apparent below, is acknowledged but not intended.

The story is, basically: insecure Connecticut housewife Kate King (Leslie Mann) finds out her husband Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is cheating on her with gorgeous lawyer Carly (Cameron Diaz), so she befriends Carly and the two of them plot their revenge on Mark. Then they find out he’s also fucking a sweet young thing named Amber (Kate Upton), so they recruit her into their circle and involve her in their scheme to ruin his life.

I was told the movie was offensively sexist, only occasionally funny, and that the man at the center of this revenge scheme was “charmless.” I simply had to see the movie just to see if it was possible to make Nikolaj Coster-Waldau seem charmless. I can’t believe that unless I see it for myself. The movie was nowhere near as bad as I was told to expect. Granted, I thought the jousting dwarves on Game of Thrones were hilarious, I was laughing right along with Joffrey, so my sense of humor is not such a good example, but I found The Other Woman to be, for the most part, a good piece of mindless, slapstick entertainment. I’d say it’s moderately sexist rather than offensively so. The writing is surprisingly clever; not quite strong enough to convince me of Kate and Carly’s need to go out of their way to find Amber, but it sold me on the idea that it would not be sufficient to send Mark pictures of the three of them dancing together on a beach in the Bahamas. No, he’s a dishonest, unethical piece of shit and he needs to be punished. I’m with them there. If the movie was trying to make Nik C-W seem charmless, they failed miserably; the character is despicable but the performance is perfectly charming and funny. I can see why these three attractive women would become sufficiently invested in him to get angry enough to plot their revenge when they learn of his infidelity. I didn’t like Nicki Minaj’s character, and I’m even more troubled by the fact that the only person of color with any substance in the movie is so incredibly obnoxious, but she does have some funny things to say. It’s well-acted all around. Diaz and Mann are hilarious together, and Kate Upton is perfectly likable. It’s not especially thoughtful or original comedy, but it’s plenty entertaining.

There was just…this one…part, where I found myself unable to turn off my brain and enjoy the ridiculousness. It was plenty ridiculous, but it failed at being funny. It was disturbing, excessive, and not amusing, and this morning I finally figured out what it was about that one scene that grossed me out so hard.

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ASOIAF vs. GoT, First: Lannister Twincest

EDITED TO ADD, 3/7/15: I have found another citation in the text. It has been added to the post below the cut.
I’m a fairly recent devotee to the Society of Ice and Fire, and I haven’t yet read all five of the presently available books from end to end. Maybe I’ll try and do that before too long. I won’t get much writing done in the meantime, but maybe I’ll reach the end of A Dance With Dragons just in time for The Winds of Winter to arrive, and I’ll celebrate along with everyone else. So far, my exposure to the book series and affiliated HBO series has been: 1. Binge-watch my dad’s copy of the Game of Thrones Season 1, 2. Order all three seasons on DVD from Amazon; pre-order Season 4; binge-watch Seasons 2 and 3 as soon as they arrive, 3. Scream, “OKAY, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!”, read A Feast for Crows, 4. Figure out that I missed some events between the third season of the show and the beginning of the fourth book; read episode summaries on Wikipedia, 5. Read A Dance With Dragons, 6. Read some parts of A Storm of Swords, 7. Read some parts of A Clash of Kings, 8. Binge-watch Season 4 as soon as it arrives.
You’ll notice that I haven’t read everything there is. I like a lot of the characters, but I seem to be more emotionally invested in the goings-on of the Lannisters and their associates, so they’re the ones whose narratives I seek out in the books. (I care about Brienne and Sansa unto themselves, but for the purposes of this accounting, we’ll list them as Lannister associates. Sansa is technically married to Tyrion and Brienne is emotionally tied up with Jaime.) I’m sure I like the Lannisters more than they deserve, but seriously? They’re not all Tywin and Cersei. In fact most of them seem like totally decent people. We all adore Tyrion, of course. Tywin’s brother Kevan seems like a good egg, and his sister Genna is hilarious and amazing. Well, okay, little cousin Lancel is a dumbass, but on reflection, Lancel’s main problem is that he’s young and impressionable and someone let Cersei get her claws in him. Jaime seemed like an asshole at the beginning, and he has certainly behaved like an asshole at times, but we’ve gotten to know him and he’s turning himself around. He seems to be a good guy after all.
Except for that part where he forces himself on Cersei in the Sept of Baelor. If you’ve watched the show through Season 4, you know the scene. That one.
For those who are new here: I seem to spend a lot of time on this blog talking about sexual violence and bodily autonomy. For those who aren’t new here: don’t be surprised that I’m focusing on this part first.
So, that’ll be the topic of my first examination of the differences between books and show: the Jaime/Cersei relationship, centering on that part where he violates her in front of their son’s corpse.
I will apply a heaping helping of TRIGGER WARNING to what lies below. If you’ve seen what happens, it won’t be a surprise, but nevertheless, I will repeat some details that may be upsetting, so take a moment to prepare yourself:

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Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press


*nods* Interesting development. I encourage my fellow self-publishers to avoid Nook Press Author Services, and along the same lines, to avoid using Nook Press altogether. Smashwords can distribute ebooks to B&N. I think that’s what I’ll be doing with my ebooks going forward. Nook Press doesn’t need any more of my time.

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

NookPressAuthorSolutionsNook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand.

Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof.

Until now.

A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service.


You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.”

Author Solutions, Bloomington, Indiana. Image courtesy of Wikimedia, uploaded by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0 Author Solutions, Bloomington, IN. Image from Wikimedia, by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s something else located at that address: Author Solutions US headquarters in Bloomington…

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