HannahKollef

For writing, food, and general expat adventure times.

An author/middle school teacher was just detained because of a book he wrote.

Y’all need to please go read this right now:

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment for a Novelist

“A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Maryland, middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting.”

The Thought Police are arresting writers now. Great reaction. Rather than focusing on gun control, let’s target the people who write fiction. Fiction! Do writers need to be afraid, now? Do we need to censor ourselves for fear of our own government? I can think of a few countries where that’s happened before, and a few regimes. 

“He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.”

Has he even been arrested? Are they just unlawfully detaining him? For all that our politicians enjoy protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, there seems to be no concern for the First Amendment any more. 

Anyone have more information about this?

 

EDIT: Just found this article at the LA Times. It seems there might have been some faulty reporting around this issue–or not. We’ll see in the next few days, hopefully. 

Granny’s Homemade Biscuits

hkollef:

Just fyi everyone, this is my #1 go to biscuit making recipe. Been using it for a long time and it’s fantastic!

Originally posted on Granny's Kitchen:

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Hatchette vs. Amazon

So I’m not sure where I stand on this issue–as an Amazon ebook author, I probably should have more of an opinion. And the things I’ve been reading about Amazon.com as a company have, of late, been making me slightly uncomfortable. Evil? No. Little more shady than I anticipated? Definitely, but then who isn’t?

Anyways, today I got an email from Amazon that shows exactly where they’d like me to stand! Essentially they are pleading their case with this email. What do y’all think? Other ebook authors?

 

Here it is, reprinted in full:

 

“Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback books – he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: “Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to this post are worth a read).  A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered over 7,600 signatures.  And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com

Copy us at: readers-united@amazon.com

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
– Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
– Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
– Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at www.readersunited.com

I Don’t Even Lift Bruh.

hkollef:

Man I agree 100%. Frickin gym shaming!

Originally posted on MickeyONWAX:

im not sure whether it’s because im trying to become mobile again or it’s just that im nostalgic about moving back to my hometown, but recently ive been going on 5 miles walks on my days off this summer. Im not doing high knees the entire time, walking at any steady pace, or wearing under armor with no armor…im just playing tourist and trying to enjoy the weather before it’s winter again and I have to become everyone’s arch nemesis again.

the other day I decided to stop and buy a hot dog around mile #2, why i decided to do this is none of your business, but as soon as I get my chili dog (yes I got a chili dog, get over it…i didnt feel it wasnt important to the story) i turn and see this BEAUTIFUL woman walking across the street from me.

Her hair was up…

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A Birthday To Be Remembered

There was once a future King in the great land of Nerdonia.

 

Her name was D. Anne Revzoar, and it was on the eve of her 25th birthday that she faced the greatest foe to ever set paw in her totally rad land.

Still today people tremble at the sound of this wicked beast’s name, and the great foodstuff from which she took her Nom de Plunder.

The creature was non other than the great, the terrible…

Tomato Box.

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“Hah hah hah!” chuckled the wicked beast on this eve of great celebration. “Soon, all of Nerdonia shall be under my control. No longer shall the fierce knight Maggie of the Doge guard its borders! No longer shall Sir Nicol-Ass the Great save orphans and elderly people from burning buildings and boring comics! And best of all…”

(here, Tomato Box grinned the most wicked grin that had ever been grinned in the Grim Grinning History of Grins)

“D. Anne Revzoar, Heir to the Kingdom, will be totally and utterly de-radified!”

Tomato Box immediately began to laugh like all wicked creatures laugh: blackly. With soul-shivering timbers.

And then she explained her plan in great detail.

Oh, to hear such dastardly thoughts!

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Maggie of the Doge, napping after a tough gun battle with some Crips who’d tried to infiltrate Nerdonia to sell drugs & armor-piercing Desert Eagles.

Luckily for Nerdonia, D. Anne Revzoar was no fool. Earlier that day she had infiltrated the wicked Tomato Box‘s lair in order to spy on her.

She knew it was dangerous–and she didn’t care.

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The future King was also a master of disguise.

She overheard every part of Tomato Box‘s wicked plot, even the part where she explained exactly how she would destroy Nerdonia, which won’t be reproduced in this story due to a desire to keep the rating PG 13.

(Trust me. It was a crazy nasty, despicable, blood-soaked and violent plot, not suitable for printed word or young rad eyes).

“Never,” she vowed to herself, as the wicked cat finished monologuing. Knowing of Tomato Box‘s exceptional hearing, she carefully crept into the back of the evil one’s lair while the Overlord-To-Be was distracted by a small bell enclosed in a transparent plastic ball.

Luckily that day she’d brought her sword, Rad-Dichio, along with her on her spying mission. Now she quietly pulled it from its sheath, waiting till the evil Tomato Box was chuckling in order to hide the sharp sound it made as it slid into the open air.

“NO!” Mewed the most evil creature that had ever existed.

“Your days of terror are through!” D. Anne shouted, and charged.

What happened next was very graphic and pretty brutal, to be frank. I really don’t want to go into details because, yuck, that stuff is pretty gross.

The battle was swift, and cruel. But at the very last moment D. Anne remembered her commitment to animal rights and showed the beast mercy.

In exchange for that mercy, the terrible Tomato Box had to agree to play dead and ride limply around on D. Anne’s head, so she could pretend she was Hercules after he’d killed that lion and stuff. And because D. Anne was super rad, and Tomato Box was pretty darn scared, she agreed.

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Little known trivia: one of the evil Tomato Boxs talents was playing dead.

D. Anne rode off on her trusty Alligator steed to attend her 25th birthday party, with the thoroughly embarrassed trophy of her good deed draped over her head. Her family–the great King Phil, the beautiful Queen Bet See, and the talented Princess C. Juice–were delighted at her triumph and gave her lots of hugs and terrific, punny speeches.  Sir Nichol-Ass the Great presented her with a finally drawn portrait commemorating her triumph, and the noble Maggie of the Doge provided many a face lick. They all had lots of Paleo-friendly cake and large quantities of fancy wine and had a most splendid time.

And that is the end of the tail.

 

Dear Commander

Hey all,

Dear Commander 8. is up!

 

8.

Dear Commander:

Let me tell you of the trees.

An ingenious gas exchange system

working in tandem with the carbon producers

much like our Targoliths but ….

Read the rest on my Tumblr Page.

 

In other news, no I haven’t disappeared, and yes I AM working on the next book! Sort of. I’ve taken a little creative break from the Paths series to work on a one-shot middle grade novel for children. I’m halfway through this current project, after which I promise to return to the Paths. But in order to create the best books possible, I needed to recharge my juices with a new, small project.

Man, I’ve been working on these books for 3 years now? 4? Time for a little switch up.

Anyways, that’s the State of the Author at the moment.

I’m also getting ready to leave Prague for…dun dun dunnnn…South Korea! I’ll be moving there to teach English in August, and as you can guess this involves a LOT of paperwork.

It’s been busy but fun. I’ll try and keep ya updated.

In the meantime, enjoy the poetry. Or hate it. Your interpretation is your own!

Dear Commander Poem Project

Hey guys,

I’ve kept this on the DL because A) I don’t have much time to devote to it, and B) it’s kind of strange and I’m not sure what to call it. Poetry? Space-poetry? Outsider prose?

Basically, I’m working on a project called “Dear Commander.” In the Dear Commander series, I will post a number of poems in the format of an alien writing reports back to its chief. There is no description of the aliens, or any information at all, really. Just the reports numbered 1-100.

Here is the link if you’re interested: http://reports1-100.tumblr.com/

And a sample:

1.

Dear Commander:

Landed safely. No problems

with life support and the moon

was not the problem we anticipated.

There is life on this planet

and judging from the size and

apathy it is viral

and spreads quickly. All precautions

will be taken. More later.

Wonderland

They called her Alice

Until they found the body

Buried in the mud.

Things I am Thinking About Today

(image from adventure-Journal.com)

(image from adventure-Journal.com)

Right now I am thinking of sitting behind you in the car on a frosty night the cooler digging into my side my face cooling on the window glass my puffy coat makes swishing noises in the quiet car that blot out Harvest’s harmonica and the saw-mill snores of dad in the front seat and the soft little snuffles my brother makes beside me curled up against his own particular pillow his breath too frosting on the glass we are climbing the air thinning and the trees creaking silent in the wind it is so cold you can see every star between the peaks of the baby Catskills around us and the valleys of trees that drop sharply to our left on the other side of the thin barrier that guards our tiny switchback roads.

“Look,” you say and the car slows slightly “on the right. Is the waterfall frozen?”

I look the road is bending sharply and in its crease there is a small rocky crevice over which ice flow has frozen in white and moon-blue that gleam against the dark still night and the black pine trees around us.

“Yes.” I lean over Daniel to better see the icicles fat as tree branches and the flow of water in motion trapped in the cold night it is beautiful it glows like a cave filled with quartz we once visited with the dog tucked into the front of your jacket and only her tiny white head peeking out.

“Wow,” I add and it’s not enough but that’s all I’ve got you nod and get back to watching the sharp turns of the road and slowly we ascend beyond the waterfall to a cliff where the world falls away and winter is king I fidget and tuck my feet in tighter and reach for the bag of doritos we only ever eat in car trips they make a crunching sound and drop orange crumbs on the seat around me as you switch from Harvest to Rumours and the mountains grow larger and fill with quiet myths and the silent music of the stars.

Huxley vs. Orwell: The Webcomic

Originally posted on Biblioklept:

Stuart McMillen’s webcomic adapts (and updates) Postman’s famous book-length essay, Amusing Ourselves to Death, which argues that Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future in Brave New World was ultimately more accurate than the one proposed by George Orwell in 1984. (Via).

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