Book 3 is Off and Running!

I’m sorry this has taken so long, y’all. But . . . I have officially begun writing Book 3 of the Tuner Trilogy! Taa daaaah!

The late actor Robin Williams, a white man dressed in ragged clothing with very long hair and a full beard asking "What year is it?" Pic from the movie The Fisher King.

You might notice I changed the word count on the little widget in the Main sidebar of the blog. Before, I’d included some unconnected passages I wrote here and there, but as I’m not entirely sure I’ll use them, I decided to erase that count and start over. If I do use them, I’ll add their word counts in later.

So far, as of this post, the count is 3,118 and I set the total at 50,000 (NaNoWriMo length), although I expect this book to be much longer than that. It’s just an easier place to start. I’m not sure that widget is still working like it should.

I intended to make the conlang fully speakable, but if you want this story to end before I die, I think I might have to just translate the phrases in Book 3 and leave it at that. I can release that later if you want a world compendium.

Anyway, I worked all afternoon and I’m hungry so I’ll see you later. Whet nost (good night)!

F*ck SCOTUS in the Ass with a Cactus

I don’t have anything to say today except to post this, which I saw on Twitter. And to tell you to take time for self-care, whatever that may look like, because we will need strength to fight for our lives.

The tweet:

The text:


On June 24th, 2022 the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

We’re sending love to all of our pregnancy-capable friends, family and loved ones. We are also scared for our LGBTQIA friends whose marriages, healthcare and safety are also called into question by this opinion. It is bad and it is going to get worse.

You may want to know how to help. I am sharing some good information and resources here for those who are interested.

What Will Happen Legally:

Abortion is no longer protected at the federal level. States are able to criminalize abortion care. Abortion will remain legal in many states and clinics will be providing care.

26 states are certain or very likely to completely ban abortion (see map below). This will result in an unprecedented public health crisis, on top of the one we already had going on, along with a rapid expansion of the criminalization of pregnant people.

A map of the United States showing the 26 states certain or likely to ban abortion if Roe is overturned. The ban states are shown in orange. The other states are shown in blue. The source is the Guttmacher Institute.

What Will Happen In Your Communities, to People You Love:

Abortion is a sensitive issue for a lot of people. There are strong feelings about what others should and shouldn’t do, what’s “reasonable” or too far in terms of laws. But we’re not talking about feelings. This is about sending doctors to prison, about the government forcing people to submit to pregnancy and childbirth against their will.

We will not be returning to a pre-Roe scenario with “back-alley” abortions and coat hangers. Many abortion seekers will be able to self-manage their abortions using safe and effective FDA-approved medication abortion pills, even in hostile states. BUT, we also now have a much larger, more sophisticated law enforcement infrastructure that will surveill, prosecute, and punish people for abortions and pregnancy outcomes like miscarriages. In 2022, the risks are largely legal, not medical.

A lot of people will now need to travel out-of-state, often hundreds of miles, to obtain an abortion in a clinic. Because 50 states worth of people will be trying to access care in the remaining half of states who haven’t banned it, people will have to wait weeks or even months for an appointment. Everyone everywhere will now have difficulty accessing timely abortion care and associated care, such as miscarraige management, etc..

Most (75%) of abortion seekers are poor or low-income. Most (59%) are already parents. 1 in 4 pregnancy-capable people will have an abortion in their lifetime. You know and love people who have had abortions. If they haven’t told you, consider whether you seem like a safe person to tell. Take that to heart and care enough to change.

What Can You Do?:

The most impactful thing you can do at the moment is to donate money. I know, I know. If that isn’t an option or if you want to do more, organize other people to donate money. The coolest among you will become monthly donors–even of a smaller amount, because it provides a stable cash flow for organizations which are largely volunteer-run.

Here’s where it can go (bonus points if you do them all):

  • Give to local abortion funds in your state who help abortion seekers pay for procedures, made by the Abortion Link Fairy @helmsinki.
  • Give to practical support organizations, who help abortion seekers with travel, childcare,  and other logistical needs.
  • Give to independent clinics, who are not affiliated with Planned Parenthood, but provide 6 in 10 abortions in the U.S., including all abortion care later in pregnancy. Many clinics are struggling to stay open, to relocate, to support their staff and their patients. In states where abortion has been immediately banned, many are working to help scheduled patients travel, here’s one in Alabama.
  • Share good, accurate information so abortion seekers can obtain care:
  • Ineedana.com helps abortion seekers find a verified abortion provider and resources
  • Abortionfinder.org helps abortion seekers find a verified abortion provider and resources
  • Reprolegaldefensefund.org covers bail and funds strong defenses for people who are unjustly targeted by police or prosecutors for self-managing their abortion outside of a clinical setting
  • Onlineabortionresources.org compiles accurate information to help people access an abortion
  • Plancpills.org has information for accessing and using abortion pills
  • reddit.com/r/abortion the r/abortion Reddit is moderated by folks who share good information about accessing care and finding support
  • all-options.org provides unbiased, judgment-free options counseling
  • Share This: a cool guide @alisonturkos made with more ideas, options and info
  • Offer to Volunteer at a PSO, Fund, or your local clinic: Recently, someone I am close to volunteered to help a stranger from Texas traveling hundreds of miles away for care. They desperately needed someone local to check them in and out of a clinic. They were traveling alone and the clinic required a companion. It amounted to driving across town twice, not a big lift, but it meant that person could get the care they needed–it was potentially life-changing.

You’ll note that none of our recommendations include giving to well-funded orgs like Planned Parenthood, starting your own thing when these networks exist, fighting with people on the internet, or marching. Our informed advice is to prioritize mutual aid through local organizations.

Sure, But Then What?:

You may be wondering what we can do to fix all of this? Surely somebody has a plan!

There’s not much that can be done in the short-term other than helping people get care. There is no immediate political or legal solution due to the composure of the court, the makeup of the Senate, and GOP control of state governments. This will be our reality for a while.

The best we can do is really engage in state-level efforts, where abortion will be regulated (banned or protected): support the election of good state representatives, local prosecutors and judges who don’t want to criminalize abortion care or pregnancy outcomes. Support efforts to protect voting rights, trans rights, and to create alternatives to policing and punishment. Encourage prosecutors not to go after pregnant people.

To be clear, there is something to do in every state and not enough people doing it.

And finally, don’t despair.

Get mad, get engaged, get organized, but focus on constructive actions.

In the words of the PIC abolitionist, Mariame Kaba:

“Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.”

If ever we need to have each other’s backs, it’s now.


The link:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vRqbxh96ynlqdYUInUZB5GWrE2GIcW3FEXdtxO_n2BXMAd2HOkNssn3aP77zSXBN43TIJ3Xab2ih9vE/pub

Comments on this post will be left open (unless y’all misbehave), but I am not inviting a debate here.

RIP My Daddy

John Westmoreland
March 17, 2022

July 2014, on his and Mom’s 50th wedding anniversary.

My dad is gone.

A week ago, he had a heart attack, most likely secondary to his ongoing diabetes. He was reluctant to go to the hospital, but my brother saw him while it was ongoing and persuaded him. On Friday, March 11, they took Dad for a scope test and he coded on the way back. They got him back after ten minutes or so, but he didn’t wake up. On St. Patrick’s Day, he slipped away peacefully without a struggle.

I got used to not seeing him much because of physical distance. It’s slowly sinking in that I never will again, until it’s my time to enter the Realm.

I love you, Daddy.


Job hunt is still ongoing. Book 3 is not on hold, but I have no bandwidth for it right now. I extract bits of the conlang and scenes here and there when I can and paste them into my SmartEdit Writer file. If you haven’t read Tunerville or Confluence yet, you can get them at boomkaartbooks.com.

Right now, everything sucks and I feel very unmoored, but don’t worry about me. I will be okay. It’ll be easier when I have a job and a new life to keep me busy. If you have a spare good vibe hanging around, I’d appreciate it if you’d send it to the Job Gods and tell them to get on it.

Tell the people you love that you love them, as often as you can.

Confluence is Here!

As you can see from the bafflingly large (?! wtf WordPress) thumbnail in the sidebar on my homepage, Confluence is out!

Click on the picture to go straight to its Amazon page or visit boomkaartbooks.com/books. Tunerville is also on sale through Friday, September 17, just in case you haven’t read it yet (ebook only).

It’s just the ebook right now—a paperback is coming but not until I go through a proof copy. The preview looked okay, but you never know.

You can watch the trailer below. I have better software now and I think it turned out pretty good. I’m not happy with this being the thumbnail, but YouTube wouldn’t pull one from the first bit, so poo on them; it’s their fault. Neener neener!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. My conlang needs a LOT of work, and I want to write something else. I promised to finish this trilogy (and I will!). NaNoWriMo is coming up, but in my current situation, I don’t think I’m in the best place mentally to do it, unless I find a job and a place before then.

Y’all have no idea how bad this is. Really. The system is so broken. You can’t get a job unless you already have one, because if you don’t have one you’re not a desirable employee? I mean, what is that? Why would I need a job if I already have one?

I just need someone to give me a chance. :'( My creativity has taken a hit. All I can do is my best. I hope you enjoy the new book.

Confluence Cover Reveal!

Behold, the cover for Confluence, Book 2 of the Tuner Trilogy!

If you follow me on Twitter at @DameWritesalot or at @BoomkaartBooks, now you know why I kept tagging it with a hole, haha.

There will be a paperback, a bit later but the e-book is imminent. I need time to order a proof copy of the PB to make sure everything prints properly. I did not do that with The Shiny Folk and was disappointed, but oh well, no one is buying that anyway. Anyway, my beta and hard-copy edits are done. Layout is done. The paperback cover is done—I can’t usually do that until I know how many pages it will be, since I have to use a template.

I am nervous, y’all. Ner. Vous. Even though I’ve done this twice now, I’m always scared I messed something up. But I can fix it. I have that power.

No sword, though. Alas.

Also, I think WordPress has jacked up their editor again. I can’t see headings now. They’re trying to force me to pay to upgrade and that is NOT going to happen. It can’t; I still do not have a day job.

I will make another announcement when the e-book goes live on Amazon. See you then!

JanNoWriMo 2021 – Day 1

I just realized I forgot ALL ABOUT THIS (see previous post, the Bad section).

My progress will be slow due to the need to study for that exam. But I just opened a new project in my SmartEdit Writer program, and I have 1,961 words already, mostly from jotting down bits of scenes and dialogue here and there.

Plus, I also wrote some that I thought about putting in Confluence but realized they’d fit better in a third book, and I saved them. I wasn’t going to give myself a word count target; however, the program has set it up at 20,000.

Hey wait a minute, I have 1,961 words already, I SWEAR.

That gives me a 645-word target per day. I can probably manage that. Even if I get behind, I should be able to catch up. A good writing session for me can hit 2,000-plus words easily.

This one’s going to take a while, folks. I don’t have a title for Book 3 yet, but we’re off and running! I’ve dropped a small meter in the sidebar at the right of the home page. I’ll post weekly updates (not daily) because I’m busy.

Keep the Change, 2020, Ya Filthy Animal

Well howdy!

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately. I meant to give you an update sooner than this.

2020 has been crap, as you well know. Mostly, it felt like slow torture. Some stuff happened— good, bad, and a mix of both.

Good

– I published Tunerville even though it got lost in the shuffle of COVID and endless garbage from the dumpster fire in DC.

– I met some very cool people online: lots of lovely resisters, performers, and artists.

– I got a free CompTIA Project+ class to help me get a job.

– I watched a lot of good TV, like Superstore (NBC/Hulu; I didn’t think I’d like this one, but I loved it), The Witcher (Netflix), and The Mandalorian (Disney+). I actually subscribed to Disney+ for the upcoming Marvel series blitz, but Din Djarin and his baby son Grogu kept me going all through this hell year.

The purest little food thief in all the galaxy.

Image: Disney+

Don’t sue me, Disney; I’m giving you free publicity for The Mandalorian. Who could resist that face? Anyway, I love macarons, and I will attempt to make the space ones as soon as I have a kitchen again.

Bad

– I learned that I’m pretty good in an emergency (ugh).

My mother had a stroke the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. She got to the hospital well within the three-hour window to receive tPA therapy. They also corrected an underlying condition that caused it in the first place. As a result of the swift treatment, the doctors said she should regain full function.

Before you ask, she’s doing very well and is now home after two weeks of inpatient rehab, continuing with home care OT and PT. Her right side was affected; she can talk and think and walk, but her hand isn’t working very well and she needs a walker for balance. Plus it takes her time to get words out—she said they’re in her head but she can’t always get them out of her mouth.

Thank the gods I was here and understood what was happening. So having no job was providential.

You can go ahead and give me that amazing job now though, universe.

Photo by Olivier Collet on Unsplash

Everyone should know the signs of a stroke, and if you think something is wrong, PLEASE call for help. Better safe than sorry. First responders would probably be the first to tell you that nobody ever died of embarrassment. Their job is to help you, not to judge you. They’ll do that later after they get you out of the tree.

Mix

– I have so far managed to steer clear of COVID-19. But our third wave is going strong. So wear your mask, stay home as much as possible, and keep your hands clean and off your face!

And of course,

WE FIRED TRUMP

Whether the slow-moving attempts at a coup (and yes, it is a coup), aided by seditious members of the Greedy Oligarch Pervert party, manage to take hold remains to be seen. I can’t relax until Biden is actually in the White House, and even then, I’ll be holding his and his AG’s feet to the fire until every last one of them pays for what they’ve done.

In other news, Confluence is back from the editor. I had to deal with Mom stuff, plus I’m still trying to study for the certification test, so I just now started reading it again. When I start editing something, it feels like chipping away at the outside wall of an edifice, that I constructed, and I’m not sure how to get in and clean up my first and second draft mess. But I’ve started to feel the building blocks shift. That’s exciting.

Only slightly less difficult than building this.

Photo by Adam Bichler on Unsplash

I’ve made a kick-ass cover (!!!) and you’ll see it a bit later since I’ll probably do a pre-order blitz for the e-book. I hope to have it out in late spring or early summer depending on how things go on the job front. I usually tweet before I post here, so follow me at @DameWritesalot and @BoomkaartBooks for updates.

Stay warm and I’ll see you in a bit!

Donald Trump is FIRED!!!

WE DID IT, Y’ALL

WE FIRED HIM

And not only that, but the world was happy too.

London:

Paris:

We got lucky, folks. The systems that put him in place are still there. If the last four years have taught us anything, it’s that autocracy can happen here. It very nearly did. Our checks and balances came very close to crumbling.

Now, we have to strengthen them. Black voters helped us get out of this but it’s up to white people to dismantle systemic racism. We can’t afford not to. The next would-be dictator will be much smarter than Trump, and he (it’s almost always a man because autocracies are mostly patriarchies and patriarchy won’t elect a woman) will learn from his mistakes.

If we pretend it didn’t happen (it did) or that it wasn’t so bad (it was), it will happen again.

And we’ve also (hopefully) learned that we cannot take democracy for granted. We can’t just vote and then forget about it for the next four years. Every single election is important; our government grows from the seeds we plant at the local and state level. These policies are the ones that affect our daily lives the most. Our congressional representatives come from our communities. While they’re in office, we have to push them for what we want, lest they become complacent and forget that they work for us, not the other way around.

During this protracted agony, particularly during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the state governors and AGs and health departments who’ve done the work and taken the heat to keep people safe. Not all of them rose in defiance to a profoundly corrupt and uncaring administration, one that refused to enact a federal mask mandate, with the result that over 230,000 people have died, and as of today, November 8, 2020, the US has the highest rate of coronavirus infection in the entire world.

Definitely not this sycophantic Trump-loving asshole.

 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Georgia may have gone blue during the 2020 election, but Missouri will never change. Never. St. Louis, the bluest city and county in the state, isn’t big enough to overcome that. Hence my push to get out of here.

We’re getting there, slowly. The United States has drifted over time toward more progressive policies. Younger people who grew up with mass shootings and in an increasingly diverse country have become more politically active. We put a woman in the Vice President’s seat for the first time in our history—and not just any woman, but one of Jamaican and Indian descent, the child of immigrants. There’s plenty of reason to celebrate. Then we must roll up our sleeves.

Our work has only just begun. I’m ready. Are you?

Dear Fellow White People, Don’t Expect Me to Make You Feel Better

I can’t make you feel better because nothing will make me feel better until black and brown people dying for no reason ends. And that may not happen in my lifetime.

If you’re white, and you are not actively examining your privilege right now and sitting with that discomfort, then I can’t make you feel better. I’m too busy looking at my own.

If you think I’m going to agree with you that violence is never the answer, I can’t make you feel better. I don’t feel that way. No, I’m not in favor of looting, and I don’t like it when people get hurt. But I like it even less when people who should be presumed innocent until proven guilty are instead condemned to death with no due process because of the color of their skin.

This isn’t about guilt. It’s about knowledge. White people cannot experience racism in a white supremacist society. We just can’t. That’s because racist oppression is a system, one that’s designed to favor us.

Some people think the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States ended racism. It did not. Racists burned him in effigy. They obstructed everything he tried to do. They (Trump in particular) originated and spread the birther conspiracy. Meanwhile, black people have kept right on dying at the hands of police and armed citizenry.

George Floyd left this world too early under the knee of a cop, one involved in at least 17 other misconduct complaints. The protests and riots following his death have focused on the police brutality that happens overwhelmingly to black people. Do you think if a store clerk suspected me of passing a counterfeit $20, knowingly or unknowingly, the cop (I’m not going to type his name) would have killed me?

Go to my About page and look at my picture. I’m pale as f*ck, so no, I most likely would not have died that day.

White women need to look at themselves especially hard. We are less likely to hold executive positions than white men, get paid less (though on average, more than black women), and face many of the same issues as black women — domestic violence, sexual assault, not being taken seriously by medical professionals. While we don’t suffer them to the same degree, therein should lie a glimmer of understanding, a glimpse of what it’s like to move through the world feeling like a target.

But racism is about power. Racist white women are exercising the little power they have against people who have less power than they do. Instead of supporting other women, they turn on them, bully them, put them in danger. They kill their men and their children. Why? Because a stranger asked you to leash your dog? Nobody deserves to die for that. Put your f*cking phone down and leash the f*cking dog like the sign says.

White people who truly want change have to realize that while we may not overtly discriminate against anyone, we still benefit from white supremacy. Racism didn’t stop just because we didn’t see it. A fish doesn’t realize it’s in the water. But a person can learn, and I’m gonna argue we weren’t looking for it.

I saw a comment —I think on Buzzfeed— that put it really well. I searched for it but couldn’t find it again, so I’ve tried to recreate it as best I can. Basically, the person posting it said, “When we say Black Lives Matter, we don’t mean NO OTHER lives matter. We mean Black Lives Matter TOO.”

You need to make yourself feel better. There’s only one real way to do that. And you know what it is.

If you’re white and you want to help, do these things.

  1. Support and vote for black candidates, especially women, especially candidates who promote police and prison reform.
  2. Call out racism when you see or hear it in everyday life and online, even if your voice shakes. Calmly stand up to people in your family. Let other people, especially the smallest ones, see and hear you do it.
  3. Put yourself on the line when you see cops interacting with black people. Stick around and be a witness. Watch them; film them if you feel safe doing so. If you see injustice and you’re called on to testify, do it.
  4. Think twice when you’re tempted to call the cops. Do you really have to?
  5. Support black achievements. Let people know about the work of black artists. If you employ them, pay them fairly, and give them credit.
  6. Patronize black-owned businesses. Seek them out in your community.
  7. Oppose gentrification of historically black neighborhoods to benefit affluent whites. This development practice is intersectional with poverty, but it also has deep roots in racism.
  8. Lift up black voices. Let people tell their stories without comment. Believe them when they share their experiences. They don’t need us to filter their narratives or tell anyone what they mean.

This will not end until we end it. We means white people. Don’t ask black people to end it. That’s not their job. You don’t ask victims of generations of systemic violence to do anything. You give them everything they need and let them live. You do everything you can to dismantle white supremacy so they don’t die and redouble your efforts when they do.

And above all, say their names.

Image credit: LA Johnson/NPR

Suggested reading for white folks:

A Decade Of Watching Black People Die (image above)

Your Good Cop Stories Aren’t Helping Anyone

Black People Need Stronger White Allies — Here’s How You Can Be One

Anti-racism resources for white people (Google Doc)

Beyond the Hashtag: How to Take Anti-Racist Action in Your Life

Edited to add:

White allies: Here’s a basic list of do’s and don’ts to help you with your helplessness