Archive for December 2018

Last 48 Hours of #Sale   Leave a comment

January 1, 2019, all prices return to standard $3.99 except first book in series and Hullaboo on Main Street. Get your #reduced price books now.

Amazon

January 1 look for #free day for Life As We Knew It, The Willow Branch, and Hullabaloo on Main Street.

Posted December 31, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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Scenic Route   6 comments

December 31, 2018

Share your writing goals for 2019.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I’m a big believer in goals. Goals give us structure in life. That said, I believe goals should be held lightly. They are guides only, not set routes that dictate our every turn.

This is a lesson learned hiking in Alaska. You have a goal – maybe to hike Mount Pennell. The peak is right there, but there are multiple ways to it. Sometimes you start out on the path you think is best and encounter a creek in flood. Now you can’t take the desired path, so you need to change your route. The main goal is still in view, but the route changes. And, maybe, in that new and unexpected route, you’ll discover great views or a wonderful flower meadow or sheep on the cliffside and that new route will become the desired route from then on.

That is my view of writing goals. I’m open to the need to adapt circumstances and sometimes I’m very pleased with where the writing detour takes me.

My writing goals for 2019 are similar to what they are every year. I want to finish the fifth book in Transformation Project (“Gathering In”)and maybe submit a short story to an anthology. I’m considering submitting “What If Wasn’t” to another round of beta readers to see if it’s improved enough for publication. I might combine the first three books in Transformation Project into a box set. I’ve got some adjacent novellas planned in the series universe, but I’m not ready to publish yet.

Finally, I’ll be working on the third book in Daermad Cycle “Fount of Wraiths”. It’s taking too long to write it, but that means it’ll be fantasy gold when it’s done.

I also have a YA I’m noodling on, but it’s not near to being done and isn’t even titled yet.

Although my primary project will be published sometime in the second half of the year, all other projects are subject to change, adapting to my life and my muse. It’s all well-and-good to have goals, but they should not constrain us to the point where writing becomes a rote exercise. They only provide us with structure for creativity. They aren’t the main event and too much adherence to them can destroy creativity as surely as having no plan at all.

Posted December 31, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Recognizing Cognitive Dissonance   Leave a comment

Recognizing cognitive dissonance is the key to real problem-solving.

Far too often, we leap to conclusions that are not supported by reasoning.

One such conclusion is that gun control is the answer to mass shootings, murders, etc. But the logic defies that mind set. We already have background checks to purchase new guns and several studies have shown that mass shooters rarely get their weapons from private sales. And yet, the Democrats are already planning a bill that will attempt to outlaw all private sales. So, if I want to give my guns to my son, I will have to actually sell them to a federal firearms dealer and then my son will have to purchase them for whatever price the FFL feels is acceptable and, in the meantime, my collectible firearms will become subject to confiscation if the FFL decides he can get a better price on the open market.

And, yet, we know that gunmen get their guns legally, using the background check system while other gunmen get their guns illegally, avoiding the background check, and in all cases, gun control FAILED to keep the gunman from getting the guns.

Meanwhile, Office of Government Accountability created a study to try and catch illegal private sales on the Internet and dark web. Pretending to be felons and other disallowed individuals, government agents tried to buy guns privately, but gun forums and those running classified ads were unwilling to sell to agents who self-identified as being prohibited from possessing a firearm. Out of 72 attempts, 56 sellers refused to complete the transactions, 26 sellers stated they would not ship a firearm and 27 refused after the disclosure of prohibited status. Five websites froze the accounts the undercover agents had set up, preventing further use of the forums and attempts at purchase.

In other words, self-monitoring appears to be much more effective than gun control.

Posted December 28, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Gun control

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Short Stories   Leave a comment

From “An Investment Returns” by Lela Markham.
Featured in FairyTale Riot, the fourth volume of The Clarion Call. 
Now available
https://amzn.to/2OQImAa

World Didn’t End – Go Figure   Leave a comment

It’s been a year since the Internet as we knew it was destroyed.

What? You haven’t noticed?

This month marks one year since the FCC repealed the controversial net neutrality rules. Don’t you remember the warnings of the net neutrality proponents? It was the apocalypse. Let’s take a closer look at what has actually happened in the year since the rules have been abolished.. I think we’ll find the hysterical rhetoric was unnecessary and that the Internet has actually improved since regulations were relaxed.

Let’s look at history first. The Internet has been a household commodity available for public use since August 6, 1991. For early adopters, it might come as a surprise that, according to net neutrality’s most fervent supporters, the Internet didn’t truly take off until February 2015, when the FCC passed and adopted the new rules.

In both the lead up to the vote on net neutrality and its subsequent repeal, mass hysteria ensued in which many people were honestly convinced that without government intervention, all the online services we enjoyed would cease to exist. In an article called “How the FCC’s Killing of Net Neutrality Will Ruin the Internet Forever,” the magazine GQ even went so far as to say:

Think of everything that you’ve ever loved about the Internet. That website that gave you all of the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City cheat codes. YouTube videos of animals being friends. The illegal music you downloaded on Napster or Kazaa. The legal music you’ve streamed on Spotify. …The movies and TV shows you’ve binged on Netflix and Amazon and Hulu. The dating site that helped you find the person you’re now married to. All of these things are thanks to net neutrality.

I know. It’s kind of weird that this sentiment was so widely accepted as truth because every single listed examples existed prior to net neutrality. The only reason the Internet was able to become such an integral part of our lives was that it was left virtually untouched by regulatory forces for two decades. Spontaneous order was allowed to occur and Internet users were blessed with unbridled innovation that brought forth a robust variety of services, which GQ prefers to attribute to government action that wasn’t taken until nearly 24 years after Internet use became the norm.

That reality was ignored by much of the public, and the panic continued. The ACLU joined the frenzy, telling readers that without net neutrality we “are at risk of falling victim to the profit-seeking whims of powerful telecommunications giants.”

We now realize that none of these dire warnings actually happened, reminding us just how absurd the push for net neutrality rules was in the first place.

I think a lot of people don’t know what net neutrality was and maybe that’s part of the problem.

Net neutrality sought to define the Internet as a public utility, putting it in the same category as water, electric, and telephone services. That change made it open to regulatory oversight, specifically when it came to connection speeds and the price providers were allowed to charge consumers for its use.

The new rules mandated that each Internet service provider was henceforth forced to provide equal connection speeds to all websites, regardless of content. Prior to its passage, providers had the freedom to offer different connection speeds to users, including the option to pay more for faster speeds on certain websites.

Examples?

If Comcast noticed that a majority of its users were streaming content on Netflix, it might offer packages that charge extra for the promise of being able to connect to the site at quicker speeds. That’s the market responding to consumer demand. Not everyone saw it this way. Others saw it as an abuse of power by “greedy” internet service providers.

Then-President Obama praised net neutrality, saying:

For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information—whether a phone call, or a packet of data.

Unfortunately for those who think net neutrality rules are a good idea, the railroad industry serves as a perfect example of just how hazardous declaring consumer goods “public utilities” can truly be.

Railroads changed the world by connecting us with people, ideas, and goods to which we did not previously have access. In 1887, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was created specifically to regulate railroads in order to “protect” consumers from falling prey to the “profit-seeking whims” of the railroad industry. Much like today, the concern was that powerful railroad companies would arbitrarily increase rates or partner with other companies in a way that harmed consumers, just like the aforementioned Comcast/Netflix example. And as a result, the ICC made the railroads public utilities. But the ICC ended up doing more harm than good.

As Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post writes:

The railroads needed ICC approval for almost everything: rates, mergers, abandonments of little-used branch lines. Shippers opposed changes that might increase costs. Railroads struggled to meet new competition from trucks and barges. In 1970, the massive Penn Central railroad — serving the Northeast — went bankrupt and was ultimately taken over by the government. Others could have followed.

Without the freedom to innovate and provide the best possible service to consumers without having to first jump through a series of regulatory hoops, the railroad industry’s hands were tied, and progress was stagnant.

In 1980, the negative impacts became too much for even the government to ignore, and the ICC was abolished. Shortly thereafter, the industry recovered. Not only did freight rates and overall costs decrease, but railroads were also finally able to make a profit again—something that became a struggle in the wake of the ICC’s creation. In other words, the repeal of regulatory oversight resulted in a win-win situation for all parties involved. And it appears the same is true of the repeal of net neutrality.

So, net neutrality went away last year and the sky ought to be falling by now. The Internet should have become obsolete or exorbitantly expensive from the lack of oversight. None of that has happened. Costs aren’t skyrocketing and connection speeds slowing down. Things have actually gotten much better.

According to RecodeInternet speeds actually increased nearly 40 percent since net neutrality was abolished. Uninhibited by government regulations, service providers have been free to expand their fiber optic networks, allowing for greater speed. You’d think there’d be a slew of “oops, we were wrong” articles written by those who worked so diligently to spread fear in the lead-up to the repeal. Not so much.

Wired, which published many articles in favor of net neutrality, did publish an article called “A Year without Net Neutrality: No Big Changes (Yet),” where it admits that none of the scary predictions actually came true, but the reporter is certain that an Internet free from regulation is not truly free.

Whether the naysayers are willing to admit it or not, less government regulation results in better outcomes for both companies and consumers. So the next time we are told that a lack of regulation is going to be the end of life as we know it, we might want to remember what really happened when the government freed the Internet from its grasp.

Posted December 27, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy

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What If There Was A Government Shutdown & Only Congress Noticed?   Leave a comment

I know this has some people really upset – the government shut down – but it didn’t really. Just some functions shut down and, if you look around, you don’t see any mass violence, roads are still functioning, the border patrol is still getting blamed for the choices migrant parents make, the military is still doing what it does. Yeah, if I need to call some federal offices today, they will be closed. Big whoop! Fact is, if the federal government were replaced by a myriad of private companies providing the same services, they wouldn’t shut down because they would lose money and might even go out of business if they showed their customers that they weren’t needed.

The last government shutdown that happened in the summer, Brad and I went and hiked what used to be our favorite hiking trail, before it was shut down by the federal government and we were required to get a permit to hike it. We enjoyed our day in and day out without fear of National Park Service employees harassing us. We hardly noticed there was a shutdown.

Yay, Shutdown! Too bad the employees will get paid for sitting on their hind ends for however long.

Posted December 26, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy

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Open Book Blog Hop – December 24th   Leave a comment

Stevie Turner

This week’s topic is:  ‘What is your fondest holiday memory?’

For me, it’s got to be the East End Christmas parties my family always had on the evening of every Christmas Day. The older generation of EastEnders, unfortunately all gone now, used to be notorious for their parties, and I was lucky enough to be part of a family that celebrated Christmas in style.

We would all gather at one relative or another’s house, probably about 20 -25 of my extended family members.  There would be food, drink, and dancing into the small hours.  We would stay there overnight, all giggling in sleeping bags.  Dad and his cousin would always stay up and play Chess when all the partygoers had gone to bed.   On Boxing Day morning everyone would help to prepare a big fried breakfast before going their separate ways.

Happy days; Mum being tossed over my uncle’s…

View original post 141 more words

Posted December 24, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

MiddleMe

Becoming Unstuck

Magical BookLush

A New Dimension to Explore

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

It's All about the Romance 💕💕💕

Not Very Deep Thoughts

Short Fiction and Other Things

Homestead on the Range

Abundant Living in Flyover Country

Ediciones Promonet

Libros e eBooks educativos y de ficción

the dying fish

Book info, ordering, about me etc. in upper right

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

Never underestimate the power of a question

Healthy Ebooks

Healthy tips to live more & better!

Mikes Film Talk

Entertainment, Films, Books, Television

Radical Capitalist

Anti-State. Anti-Left. Pro-White.

PushUP24

Health, Fitness, and Relationships is a great way to start living again.

MG WELLS

✪ Enjoy The Journey!

ouryoungaddicts.wordpress.com/

Too many young people are becoming addicted to drugs/alcohol. OYA is a community of parents and professionals sharing experiences, resources and hopes on the spectrum of addiction, treatment and recovery.

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