What I’m Giving Up For Lent*

We were talking to Athena today about Lent, and what it means in a religious sense that during Lent people give things up, and how, if you’re serious about Lent, you don’t give up something you won’t miss, you give up something you’ll miss a lot. This concept intrigued our daughter, who announced that she wished to give up something for Lent. I suggested she give up the Internet. She said, “I’ll give up the Internet, if you give up Coke Zero.”

I told her fine, I would. And then we shook on it.

So, effective at midnight, I’m off Coke Zero (and in a general sense, sodas) all the way through Easter. As I’m not religious, I’m hesitant to say I’m actually giving Coke Zero up for Lent, so as not to offend those who are in fact performing Lenten self-denial (hence the asterisk). I’m doing it largely to support my daughter as she experiments with what it means to give up something you really like. But inasmuch as we’re doing this until Easter, all you folks giving up something for Lent, we totally feel you.

Anyway, wish me luck on this. Also, as a warning: The next couple of days I will be going through some gnarly caffeine withdrawal symptoms. SO DON’T PISS ME OFF I WILL SET YOU ON FIRE. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Amanda Hocking and Self-Publishing

Tons of e-mails recently from people who want to know what I think about Amanda Hocking or [insert some other self-published e-book author here] and the fact they’re selling lots of self-published ebooks via the Kindle and so on. Answer: See what Jim Hines has to say about it here, since I would say pretty much the same thing so closely to the manner in which he said it that he would be totally justified in accusing me of plagiarism.

More personally as it relates to me, considering that I made thousands of dollars off a self-published ebook a dozen years ago now — back in the days when people had to physically mail me actual dollars (uphill! in the snow! Both ways!) — when said novel was only available on my personal Web site, I’m not particularly surprised that some folks are making more money now they can tie into large commerce sites which handle both payment and fulfillment. It’s excellent for Ms. Hocking and anyone else who’s doing well with it. Good for them. But as Jim notes, we need to be careful not to confuse the statistical anomalies with everyone else, and it is a lot of work. It’s the “lot of work” part, among others, that keeps me working with publishing houses; I like being able to focus on the writing, not the everything else.

Some Alien Invasions Are Better Than Others

Over at the FilmCritic.com site this week, and in honor of the upcoming Battle: Los Angeles film, I take a look at previous cinematic alien invasions and grade them in terms of style and effectiveness. Because, you know. Why not. Come see the grades and then leave your own comments in the thread over there.