I’mma need you to stop kicking me in the balls, m’kay?

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Mornin’ all.

So I’m sitting here trying to mainline my coffee like a champ and the cat is perched on top of the computer tower staring at me. She’s been there staring at me for a good ten minutes now. Once in awhile, she licks her chops. Other than that one, repeatedly creepy movement, she’s unwaivering in her stoicism.

I’m a bit wigged out, if you wanna know the truth.

Why is she sitting there? What does she want? She’s got food. I just cleaned the litter. Her coffee mug is full of water…

“What?”

Oh, yeah. She won’t drink out of a water dish. She uses a coffee mug that she commandeered right after we got her a few years back. It’s on the living room table, too, because why drink water that’s placed by a food dish? She’s not an uncultured swine, you know.

I thought maybe she wanted me to pet or snuggle her. I thought wrong.

Why is she doing it? She is my first cat, and even though we’ve had her for a couple years, she still flummoxes me. It feels like she’s looking at me like one of those stranded cartoon characters who starts to see his buddy as a hamburger. Think she’s preparing to chase me around the deserted island?

Somewhere out there is a kitty owner who knows what’s going on. Do me a solid and let me know if I should start booking it around the palm tree, k? Thanks.

Today is for finishing up projects. I’ve got a couple that are in states of partial completion. I’ve got to buckle down and get them done so I can make myself sick with nervous worry by putting them up for sale. I would have had them done on Monday if it weren’t for a fantastic game I made the mistake of popping into the life-draining machine.

“So you could have made some money, yet instead you let some aliens kill you over and over, is that what you’re saying?”

GAH no! First off, they were zombies, not aliens. Duh. And second, kill me over and over? Bitch, please. You have no faith in my gaming ability.

“…*blink**blink*…”

Oh.

Oh, I see. I was ‘sposta get the message and I totally missed it and you weren’t really looking for details and… *sigh* You’re right. You are completely correct. I *should* have buckled down and pushed through the creative blocks. One project is being held up by math that’s been hovering just outside my scope of comprehension (angles are a bitch, man. A real bitch.), one is waiting for framing inspiration to hit, and one is just full of fiddly details that have many steps.

In fairness, I have been working on that last one all week. It’s a series of airbrushing, then waiting for that layer to dry before putting on the next. I did not understand just how time consuming that one was going to be when I saw the crappy bookshelf in the free pile of the junk shop across the way and thought, “There’s a decent piece of kitsch somewhere under that coffee-cup-ring crusted paint.”

I have also made a sword this week, if that counts. A wooden one my nine year old designed. Oh! And I wrote fifteen pages of a book.

“Well. That’s something.”

I actually did a lot last weekend and the beginning of this week. Then I had to play my game and watch YouTube videos and make swords with my son and get another damn sunburn somehow. Just needed a break I suppose. A reset. And boy, does bashing in a zombie brain with a modified M.C. Hammer (not kidding…that’s the name of the weapon in my game…heh heh…jokes) make for a remarkable reset.

So does YouTube…probably the very best site on the internet. Hold on. I can see you shaking your head and rolling your eyes, but hear me out. Where else can you look for a silly video clip of a cat with a toilet paper tube on its tail and end up learning about the magnificently moving sound of a Chapman stick because you clicked on one of their suggested vids to the right?

You have an urge to madly search for “Chapman stick” right now, don’t you? You should. Your ears NEED this. I recommend searching for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Chapman Stick” on YouTube. Go on. Do it right now. I’ll wait.

……..

…was I right or what?

If you now share this obsession, welcome aboard!

Anyway, where else can that happen but on YouTube? Where else can I giggle at a kitty one minute, then groove to a completely foreign sound the next? It’s like flipping through the tv channels of every single cable company in the history of ever from anywhere on the planet, all in one spot. YouTube is a modern marvel.

Then there was the sword project. You’ve never seen my nine year old. The summer sun has brought out a smattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose and he’s got these crinkles around deep amber eyes when he smiles. How can I say “no” under those circumstances?

It’s a kick ass sword, too. We even cut out a keyhole in the blade, then painted it with gold spray paint. He said, “My brothers are going to be so jelly.”

“Jelly, Bethie? Seriously?”

Hey, he’s a product of modern society. Nothing I can do about it. He’s right, too. The elder larpers will, indeed, be jelly. Totes.

Like I said, I also wrote some this week. I hit a speed bump in plot, then let it mellow for awhile and picked it back up. I’m past the bump, though I know it’ll be a rough transition when I go back and read it over. I’ll have to smooth it out, but at least I’m past that part. You don’t know how long it took for me to be able to produce enough words to push through a sticky scene. For the longest time, I’d hit that road block, and it would totally stop me. I could not make myself just put in a few filler to mark time until my brain kicked back into gear.

Which brings me to an annoying trend I’m seeing with digital books. No, NOT having ANYTHING to do with the authors, so any of my indie friends, take a deep breath. I guarantee you’re going to like this rant.

Writing a book is hard. Even if you’re a fast writer…even if the words flow…even if you nailed NaNoWriMo in the first week, it’s still hard. The process of writing a book is not over once you type “the end.” Or “fin” if you want to feel fancy. In fact, the brutal part of the process has just begun. No matter how quickly you write a story, you still have to edit. You still have to have folks who aren’t in love with the characters that are really just extensions of yourself cut and gut and slash and hack your brainchild in front of your eyes. You still have to rewrite and tweak and reword and rework.

I guess what I’m getting at is every book is work. It’s hard work. It’s work that the majority of the population doesn’t understand because they have never written a book.

Perhaps that’s what’s really responsible for the trend that’s got me pissed. They just don’t know better.

I’m talking about every author’s bane. The review.

Every legit ebook site has a place for user submitted reviews. While authors have a love/hate relationship with this feature, readers rely on it to help guide them in their future purchases. You’ve got the standard reviews of “love this author, have everything they wrote,” which, to be honest, are THE best. You’ve got people who didn’t like the book. Also good, because:

a) A properly written poor review will help you become a better author.

b) If everyone likes everything you write, you’re writing it wrong.

You’ve got illegible reviews written in modern text lingo. Those can be discounted completely, since those readers clearly aren’t literate. You’ve got flame wars for no reason. Those happen whenever a site invites user comments. I saw one over at B&N’s Nook site once that was a 20+ post back and forth about Obama. On a romance book. I feel bad for those authors. Their reviews get hijacked by jackasses and become a turn off for other readers through no fault of the author.

Then you’ve got the reviews I hate. “Great author, but why does she charge for her books?”

Oh! I heard it. The collective sigh, with eye rolls and sympathetic nods from my fellow indies! You’ve gotten this, too, have you? While I’ve yet to have one posted in public, I’ve gotten several emails asking why I charge.

I read one the other day that was particularly offensive. Not on mine, but a book I downloaded and really liked. I went to leave a review and saw this:

“I loved this book! I would definitely read more from this author if they were free. Granted, she only charges like $2.99, so that’s not bad. That’s not the point, though. They should be free. Who’s with me to start a petition to B&N to make all this author’s books free?”

Eye. Twitching.

Why in the hell should that author work for free? NO other artist works for free, they just don’t.

And don’t start with the popular “library” argument. It’s popular, but wrong.

As the daughter of a librarian, I can assure you that libraries definitely pay for the books they lend. People pay for their memberships. Taxes pay for building upkeep… A library is not free. The books you read in the library were not free, not even to you when you get right down to it. They’re a helluva good bargain, to be sure. But the authors are still compensated. They’re still paid for their hard work.

Look, folks. The internet does not entitle you to free shit. It just doesn’t.

“You JUST touted YouTube. That’s free.”

But it’s not. People *can* put up their stuff for free if they choose. They also have the option to sell ad space. To the content creator, there is a way to make money for their work.

That’s not what people want for Nook and Kindle and other eReaders. They want free books. They do not want to join a monthly service, like Netflix. Can you IMAGINE the backlash there would be if ads were coded into the ebooks? Yikes. The kerfuffle a fart in church causes would be mild in comparison. No book lover would tolerate an ad interrupting a good scene, and they shouldn’t. Ads have no place butting into a book, not even a digital one.

So what does that leave?

What it’s always left for authors. People have to buy their books. End of discussion.

“…start a petition to B&N to make all this author’s books free…”

Ya know, if it was just one yahoo saying crap like this, I’d roll my eyes and move on. It’s not, though. It’s a trend I’ve seen over and over, and the popularity of the sentiment seems to be gaining momentum.

Can you go into an art gallery and just take what you like? Or a bakery. Can you tell the baker to make your gorgeous work of art wedding cake for free? You risk going to jail if you download a pirated movie or song, as well you should.

“I loved this book!”

Is that why you think you’re owed more for free? I love it, and I said so, and now you MUST reward me by giving me free shit? Is that the theory you’re working under here?

How about this one?

“Disappointed. Loved this book but the rest in the series you have to pay for. What gives?”

What gives? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the author wants to feed his kids this week? Or pay his bills? Shit, maybe he’s gonna get real freaky deeky and actually replace that broken lawn mower he’s been limping along with all summer?

That wild man.

“hooked me with this, charged for the rest. will not fall for it. don’t bother.”

Fall for it? Fall for WHAT? You got an entire novel you loved for FREE! You got hours of entertainment that you clearly enjoyed and didn’t have to pay a single dime for it!! How DARE you complain about ANYTHING, you selfish asshole!?! It’s not a ploy. The author is not setting some kind of trap. They gave away their hard work. You should be grateful, not spiteful.

“Another author who gives you a free book, then makes you pay for the rest. Can we stop this trend already?”

Yes, can we stop this trend? Please? Let’s all of us indies band together and stop giving away anything for free. That will certainly curtail these moronic reviews.

Because that’s the other option, folks. For all of you out there who are guilty of writing one of these first-world-problem reviews, that’s what you’re going to bring about if you keep this shit up. That’s the only other option. You are going to whine and bitch your way out of ANYTHING for free. Is that really what you want?

Writing a book is hard. Writing a good book that people like is harder. But writing a good book that people like and getting shit for actually wanting to get paid for the work you put in? That’s got to be the biggest kick in the balls of all.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for…shit. What the hell day is it, anyway? It’s so hard to keep track in summer. Oh, right. Saturday, August 15, 2015. I’m done with my politically incorrect rand and am now heading off to finish up at least one project, even if it kills me. And if it’s the one with the math, there’s more than a good chance it honestly will…

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