Story that Swept the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards

15 12 2012

origami

Sharing this story, “Paper Menagerie,” by Ken Liu that won all three awards. It brought tears to my eyes, but it’s also getting some negative criticism. Interesting how different people reading the same story will have totally different reactions. What do you think?

(Warning: If you’re the sentimental type, don’t read it at work.)





Shiver me timbers…

19 09 2011

Aargghh! I can’t believe I almost missed Talk Like a Pirate Day. And me, with a pirate book that just came out a few months ago. Five books in five months will do that to you. All circuits are on overload as I head toward the final deadline for the fifth volume.

Hope the rest of you enjoyed the day. The one fact I learned is that Aarrgh! means something entirely different than Arrr!

Do you know the difference? I used Aarrgh! correctly above as I slapped my forehead. But Arrr! means yes.

One of my personal favorites in the pirate world is Dragon Lady.

So me hearties, if ye wish to learn more about pirates or sailing the seven seas, you’ve only to pick up Pirates Through the Ages.

Lots of great characters inside…

If I do say so meself.

 

 

 





Ship Ahoy!

21 06 2011

Hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, but a five-book contract with deadlines a month apart has been grueling.

But I just received word that Pirates 
Through the Ages  is on the way. Yay!! Can’t wait to see how it looks. The editor said it turned out terrific, so I’m excited about holding it in my own two hands. Here’s a mock up of the cover.

Looking back, I wondered while I was immersed in it if I’d manage to get it done by the deadline, but I did. Now I’m wondering the same about my latest assignment. What is it about writers that they’ll put themselves under this much pressure and agree to practically impossible deadlines, then slog through long hours day after day to produce a book? What is it about this profession that’s so compelling? It’s obviously not the money. As most writers discover, this isn’t a lucrative profession. So what do we get besides the pleasure and excitement of holding a book in our hands?





Shipwrecked Again?

20 10 2010

Well, I promised some pirate lore a while back and got sidetracked. Hmm…am I noticing a theme about me and getting sidetracked. Luckily, some of the most interesting things I’ve learned have happened when I’m sidetracked. So meander down those back alleys and take detours. You never know what exciting new things you might discover.

It wasn’t unusual for young teenage boys to go to sea as deckhands, but one of the youngest pirates known was John King, no more than age 11. John was traveling with his mother aboard a ship in the Caribbean. When pirates boarded, rather than being afraid, young John decided to join Captain Sam Bellamy’s pirate crew.

Several years ago the ship John traveled on, the Whydah, was discovered–a shipwreck under the sea. The wreckage contained a silk stocking, a shoe and a leg bone, all thought to belong to John. The pictures can be seen at that link. John’s life may have been short, but I hope he enjoyed his adventure while it lasted.

Many people dream of adventure, but few follow through. What dreams do you have that you’ve been putting off? Is it better to live a long, safe life, never doing what your heart calls you to do or to take a risk and seize your chance, knowing you might just drown. Then again, maybe you won’t.





Creative Commons

9 08 2010

In keeping with the theme I’ve been discussing of free intellectual property, I thought I’d mention Creative Commons. Their slogan is:

Share, Remix, Reuse — Legally

Here’s what their website says about this nonprofit organization:

“We work to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in “the commons” — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing.”

They provide “tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The Creative Commons licenses enable people to easily change their copyright terms from the default of ‘all rights reserved’ to ‘some rights reserved.’”

If you’re into sharing, it’s a great place to go. You can get a license (or should I say a licence, which is the British spelling for the noun?) for your work to allow others to use it and share it. Not only can you donate work, but they have many things available to use. Check it out. Best of all it’s global.

Creative Commons licenses are available in the following languages:




From Communes to File Sharing

6 08 2010

I’m fascinated by the Pirate Party (see previous post), and the more I talk to twenty-somethings, the more I discover they’re big proponents of sharing intellectual property.

One developer I talked to works a day job so he can afford to spend his free time doing what he really wants to do–create and share his developments with others for free. He’s not alone. Many programs such as Spybot, Open Office, Paint.NET, GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program, and other free downloads offer security, wordprocessing, and photo-manipulation programs that are comparable to those you pay big bucks for.

I’m wondering if the Baby Boomers who grew up in the “me” generation spawned these givers. Was it a reaction or even rebellion against the “do-what-feels-good” and the “take-care-of-number-one” philosophies? Interestingly enough, many Baby Boomers dropped out of that lifestyle in the 60s and touted a back-to-nature lifestyle. They joined communes and shared their possessions. But quite a few of them went on to snag high-powered jobs later in life and moved up the corporate ladder.

Perhaps, though, deep down, they still believed in that original philosophy and passed it on. The present generation caught that spirit and now lives out that philosophy of sharing.

I wonder, too, if all the competitiveness of our society encourages people to hide their talents, to refuse to share unless they’re adequately compensated. Perhaps if we collaborated instead of competing, we could pool our knowledge and cure cancer and other illnesses, create viable solar cars and houses, eliminate poverty, and negotiate world peace. The younger adults in our society seem to understand this and are moving in that direction.

One of the most exciting ways to discover new ideas is to brainstorm with a group. Each person adds to another’s knowledge. If we shared discoveries, rather than trying to keep them secret so we could profit from them, who knows what we could accomplish.





Pirate Party

4 08 2010

One of the dangers of researching a book is that you stumble across fascinating information that has nothing to do with your topic. Or it’s connected to your topic, but can’t be used. I have a bad habit of getting sidetracked, and here’s one of my recent forays into the world of pirates.

I was fascinated to discover that there’s a new political party that’s taken off in many countries. Ever heard of the Pirate Party? Yep, they actually have candidates, some of whom have won elections. It started in Sweden, but it’s spread to Germany and about 14 other European countries. And Canada now has one too.

Led by young tech-savvy voters,  PPI (Pirate Parties International) members support free sharing of intellectual property. As the Canadian Pirate Party leader, Jake Daynes, a 19-year-old video-game-design student, says, “We think that for the dissemination of culture — music, books, movies, you name it — that should be [considered] fair use.” They also want more government transparency as well as no patents on pharmaceuticals or software.

Interesting concepts… It would certainly reduce Internet piracy if all the copyrighted material were available free. It seems many of the younger generation are ready to embrace it, even those who design video games and create software. Then all countries and individuals would have equal access. Maybe the next step would be to compensate those who design intellectual property–including artists, musicians, writers, and inventors–the way we compensate our sports figures.

It seems the Pirate Party is gaining a foothold around the world. Here’s a list of places that either have or are starting a Pirate Party:

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
China
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Ireland
Italy
Kazakhstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay

Quote from: Barber, Mike. “Pirate Party of Canada Calls for Canadian Copyright Reform,” National Post, May 1, 2010.