My thoughts on paranormal romance / urban fantasy.

Here’s the mix: Take one private investigator, add city, mix with magic, vampires, werewolves and three tablespoons of fae.  Shake vigorously and let stand for three hundred pages.  Sprinkle generously with interesting personalites and serve with a side of sweet violence and sexual tension.  Feel free to substitute the first ingredient with a druid, necromancer, or whatever you have on hand.  Add grimdark to taste.  Enjoy!

Personally, I cut my teeth on Anita Blake, advanced to Harry Dresden (who just isn’t showing up as regularly as he used to), walked planes with Atticus O’Sullivan, with side helpings of anyone else who could keep my interest for a few books.  While I wouldn’t say that my taste is indiscriminate, I have sampled pretty widely in the genre.  Where there are series that I wait all year … sometimes multiple years (I’m looking at you Butcher!) for the next book in the series, there are others that just don’t catch me.  Maybe its the tone? Maybe its world?  Usually its the main character.  We’ll get into that.

Then there’s … paranormal romance. On the surface it looks like urban fantasy.  The book blurb on the back reads like it, but you probably know what you’re getting by the fifth chapter.  I know, I know…plenty of people love paranormal romance… but thus far I haven’t been able to make it through one.  I’m not saying that the genre’s bad.  Just like the corset and lace romance genre isn’t bad, in and of itself.  It just isn’t for me.  But, I’m a human being, and as such, I have … opinions.  And why have a blog if I don’t use it to toss an opinion or two out into the wild, where it can hurt some unsuspecting reader, here from WordKeeperAlpha?

So, paranormal romance, why can’t you keep my interest? Tropes.  You are just drowning in your tropes, and they make a hot sticky mess.  First and foremost: is the Perfect Female Protagonist’.  I don’t mean strong, I mean perfect, also known as a Mary Sue character.  Does the main character start off as a mousey nerd, but inside of six months is challenging established power houses within the world, making her a badass?  Does she master the katana (has to be a katana) in a short amount of time? Win the instant respect of beings who are ages older than her?

This isn’t even about the protagonist being female.  I LOVE me a kick ass woman main character.  Like I said, I got my start with the first five novels of the Anita Blake series.  All I ever wanted was Anita to stick around being a bad ass, killing monsters, taking names and … well, things got weird.  I had to start reading other books.  This isn’t a “I don’t like women as main characters thing” this is a “I don’t like main characters who are unrealistically perfect”.  

If further fairness, Anita Blake both spoiled and ruined me.  Ever since I hit that weird point in Anita Blake I’ve been looking for a main character who can take her place.  As a result, I’ve looked into a lot of series that, on the book synopsis, looked like urban fantasy, but turned out to be paranormal romance.  There is no disappiontment so harsh as expecting Anita Blake and getting Bella from Twilight.  Does she have a last name?  Bah! So, please, consider PFP to also be PMP, because I’m sure those are out there….probably angels or alpha werewolves of something.

Anita was great because she started off scared of so many things.  She knew that, even though she was a badass, compared to what she hunted she was pretty weak.  That means she had to be smart … or insanely brave … or have friends to back her up or just to scrape out no matter what.  Dresden’s kind of the same way.  He starts out a little fish in a very big pond, and some of the other fish that … ok, the fish metaphore is weird in this case.  Both Dresden and Anita are both their best when they’re out of their depth and if they get any respect it is grudgingly given.

The PFP/PMP enters the world of the paranormal either already Wolverine (the best at what he/she does) or as little Annakin (look at the MIDICHLORIANS on this one!).  Neither one of these is bad in and of itself…but when title character is already the best, there’s no where left to go.  Unless you tear them down to their roots and let them start again (this statement is in no way indicitive of what I’m writing now).  Its why I’m not a huge Superman fan, at least not classic Superman.  He’s been too good.  Too perfect.  And that’s just boring.

Wow…ok. So that went on for a bit longer than I thought it would.  I’ve got other things to talk about that seem to run rampant in paranormal romance, but if I went into them now, I’d be here all night.  Sounds like we’ve got the makings of a series!  Finally, something to talk about on my blog that’s actually writing related!  **does a little dance**  **falls**  **dies**

So, I’ve probably angered some people.  Here’s your chance to prove me wrong. Do you know a good paranormal romance book?  Something with a great MC, male or female, who just makes the book or story for you?  Leave a comment and I’ll try it out.  Really, just because I haven’t found my cup of tea yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t out there.  Educate me.

Honestly, I just want someone to leave me a comment.  I’m so lonely here.  So quiet and alone. 


Why do we keep Vox Day around?

We all know a guy like Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day.  Well, alright, very few of us know anyone like Beale.  He’s an unrepentant misogynist, racist, egotistical asshat who has claimed that “white men just don’t rape anymore” among other reprehensible things.  So, really, I hope that you don’t actually know anyone like Beale.  More generally, we all know at least one unmitigated asshole.  Every time you find out that they’re going to be at an event you’re going to, you reconsider, just so you don’t have to interact with them.  At the end of the day, consensus is that we’d all just be better off if “that person” weren’t invited in the future.  After all, exactly how many times does he need to throw up on your nice couch before you stop inviting him.

I think we’ve officially reached that point with Beale.  He’s become the human equivalent of a tiny yappy dog dipped in cat urine.  He’s convinced that he’s a much bigger influence on the SFF community than he really is, but if it weren’t for the fact that he was so loud and so noxious, no would would even know who he was.  I could “do not link” his blog here, so that you could get to know his odious personality for yourselves, but I like you all too much for that.  And that, is really how Beale should be handled.  He should be forgotten, ignored.  Not invited.

Some people may or may not know about the whole ‘Sad puppies’ / ‘Rabid puppies’ issue that happened / is happening with this years Hugo awards.  If you don’t know what it is, then, here’s the short version.  A few authors felt that the Hugo’s were ignoring “fun” SFF in favor of “message” SFF.  “Message” meaning stories and authors who were pushing an agenda with their writing, specifically that of a feminist persuasion.  The original group gathered under the name of the “Sad puppies”, for reasons that baffle me still.  They are led by Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia and their goal was to essentially stuff the ballot for the Hugo’s with a bunch of “fun” SFF (not dirty feminist message books).  Beale decided to jump on the band wagon and rally his own unwashed horde of racists and trolls under the banner of the “Rabid puppies” and basically stuffed the ballots with his own drek and that of books published by his own publishing house.  Also, not dirty feminist message books.

A side note: Once an animal is rabid there is little choice but to put it down.

The sad / rabid puppy movement has viewed with varying degrees of disdain and has led to a lot of discussion on what can be done about it.  One option open to Hugo voters was to vote “no award” in the categories in which the puppies had stuffed the box.  Beale, being the delightful lad he is, threatened to use the existing Hugo voting system to more or less ruin the Hugo’s in upcoming years if the voters pushed for “no award”.

Undoubtedly, Beale see’s himself as the hero, fighting the good fight against the liberal forces that are encroaching on his world.  But as any good author knows, the villain always sees himself as the hero.  Unfortunately, Beale isn’t even the villain.  He’s simply the asshole who shows up at the party, already drunk, sexually harrasses a couple of the guests before defecating on the table before the police escort him from the premises.  And its time that we not only stopped inviting him, but stopped taking his calls.


Fight for the net. Here we go again.

I’ve read over and over that it’s a bad idea for an author, especially a beginner to get political.  But damnit, I’m not going to be able to keep things to myself and I need a longer format space to vent about all the shit that’s going on in washingtop.  Full warning, this post is going to get a little sweary, so if “Adult” language bothers you, perhaps skip this particular blog entry.  

Congress, that spoiled little brat of a kid, has its hand in the cookie jar, yet again.  After we have repeatedly told them “NO! BAD!  Go sit in the corner and play with your military contractors.”  I am, of course, talking about the internet.    Comcast has its hand so far up Congress’ ass, whenever Ted Cruz speaks, I hear nothing but “Sponsored messages”.  Perhaps someone can refresh my memory… but I seem to recall something in the Constitution about the government being for the people, not for coorporate America.  If that’s right, then why does corporate America get such a big say in Washington?  Oh right, millions and million spent in lobbying and campaign donations.  

And you have to hand it to the internet.  Social media has allowed it to build its own defense mechanisms.  Public backlash against Washington’s hamfisted attempts to give both Internet Service Providers and media providers like the MPAA and RIAA everything they wanted have, thus far, met with failure.  Unfortunately, for me at least, this isn’t proof that our system is working anymore.  Its proof that we don’t live in a democracy (or a republic) but an oligarchy.  He who has the gold, makes the rules.

Proof positive of this is the FCC’s recent ruling on Net Neutrality and supporting strong rules protecting it.  Do NOT listen to conservative ass-clowns like Cruz and Limbaugh on this (or really any other issue regarding technology…or science of any kind).  As much as they blather on about a government run internet, they’re all pretty much parroting what ISP’s want them to say.  Net Neutrality largely happened because of the overwhelming surge of public support that drove it forward.  Net Neutrality IS the will of the public.  The will of the people.  Yet, what is Congress doing right now?  Putting legislation through that will reverse the FCC’s decision.

They’ll spout reasons that sound good like “protecting the internet from harmful government regulation” or “the internet moving at the speed of government” but once again, they’re full of shit, packed tight in there by the grasping paws of their corporate sponsors.  See, Congress didn’t give two shits about Net Neutrality, until it looked like it was really going to happen.  I’m guessing most behind the recent legislation would have responded with some flavor of “Wha?” or the legalese equivalent of it.

So, we had to fight to even get it through.  Tom Wheeler, who, I’ll grant, eventually did the right thing, really had to be forced into it by an overwhelming amount of public pressure.  I may be wrong about him, but I’m highly cynical about government’s relationship with the Internet.   Now, we’re going to have to fight an even harder battle to keep it, since the ISP’s are fighting it both in the courts and in Congress.  Why do you think they’re fighting?  To protect us?  No, because there’s money at stake. 

We had to fight down SOPA, we had to fight down PIPA, we might still be fighting down CISPA, we’re fighting to keep the Net Neutrality victory that we just won, we’re fighting to end government surveilance and protect privacy rights online.  And now its time to fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  

The TPP is a piece of closed door legislation, funded by corps that has its roots in SOPA and PIPA but also contains crap from other things we’ve been fighting.  And wouldn’t you know, the government didn’t want anyone to know about it until it was too late.  Thankfully, it leaked, but Congress has it about to try and get it on a fast track before the internet can bring its guns to bear.  

Well, tough luck, fuckers.  Wednesday, the 23 of April we’re voting.  As a form of protest, there will be an internet vote, where websites will enable users to vote on how they think Congress should handle the TPP.  I’ll be putting the banner up on WordKeeperAlpha, and I encourage all my users to reject what Congress is trying to do.  A bunch of mental deficients who can’t tell an <HTML> from a <SCRIPT> var a = “Dumbass”; </SCRIPT> statement shouldn’t be making laws that will effect the internet, not just for America but the entire world.  Their ignorant pandering to corporations, if successful, will make it harder for small businesses who are actually innovating to make it.   Tell those bastards to keep their hand out of the cookie jar.  These are my cookies, and they can’t fucking have them.


Net Neutrality: Still a battle.

It’s kind of telling that in every piece I read against Net Neutrality, that not a single one of those people actually understand it.  Which isn’t to say that all the people who support it understand what it really is.  That’s kinda the way of politics: people with something to gain convince other gullible people to go along with their stance.

So, lets clear up what Net Neutrality really is.  We can start by taking a look at who stands to gain if we keep Net Neutrality and also who stands to lose.  Consider the names behind Net Neutrality; companies like Google, Netflix, Firefox, Amazon, Microsoft and over a hundred others that have built the internet that you use every day.  What do they have to gain?  In the case of Google, they stand to gain easier access to resources that will help them spread Google Fiber; something I desperately wish would come to my area.

In most other cases, what the companies stand to gain is … nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  For them, things will stay just as they are right now.  This should be conservatives dream issue!  We’re conserving how the net works, as is, right now.  Currently, the internet is a pretty level playing field, speaking in relation to getting your business online.  There aren’t any hurdles to face other than making something and getting it to people.   Net Neutrality isn’t something new that we’re trying to put into place, its how the internet was made in the first place.  What the Title II reclassification that the FCC has approved basically puts protections in place to keep it the way its been.  We’re not fixing something that isn’t broke, we’re trying to keep people from breaking  it.

Now, who stands to lose if Net Neutrality goes through.  First, I suppose I should explain to you what reclassifying broadband under Title II actually means, and why you don’t have to be afraid of it.  Basically, what Title II means is that ISP’s have to treat all information equally.  Every bit that goes along their wires has to be treated the same as every other bit.  This means they can’t give priority to some while slowing others down.  The email you are sending your mom goes at the same speed as the email that the president of Comcast, or the President himself.  That’s it.  That’s Net Neutrality boiled down to its very simplest.  And its why the ISP’s don’t want it.  Comcast, Verizon, AT&T all stand to lose money by being prevented from prioritizing content.

Could reclassifying broadband under Title II come back to bite us?  Ehhhh… maybe, but I doubt it.  TItle II is also what covers telphony services (your phone service).  How many of you are locked into Verizon to make your phone calls?  Don’t like them, what are your other options?  Just about anywhere I can think of you have no less than 5 other options to get your phone service through.  That’s what proper competition looks like.  Now, I’m not calling out Verizon and AT&T as model companies here, but you’ve got other choices, and that’s the whole point.  If Verizon were the only option for phone service in my area, what in the world would keep them from gouging me for every last penny they could suck out of me for the bare minimum of service that they could provide?

Comcast, at the very least, would have you believe that this isn’t the case, and that they are completely dedicated to the principles of Net Neutrality.  They assure us on their own website that “Comcast won’t throttle back the speed at which content comes to you.”  That is a direct quote.  It is also a lie.  Last year, Comcast demanded millions of dollars more from Netflix to stream content to their customers.  During the negotiations, Comcast severely throttled Netflix’s speeds to their customers until they caved.  That’s what Net Neutrality seeks to stop.



Internet Service Providers have spent millions of dollars buying legislation to prevent broadband service from being classified under Title II.  You will hear them spout all sorts of rhetoric about “protecting innovation” and “service to the American people suffering”.  Thing is, they don’t give a good goddamn about the American people.  That is apparent based on the absolutely abysmal customer service ratings and satisfaction ratings that they have.  Most people despise their internet service provider and for good reason.  Prices are high, service and quality is low, and the ISPs really couldn’t care less. 

We do a lot of streaming in my house, and as such, we pay for a higher tier service package, which promises speeds of “up to 100 megabytes per second”.   What that actually translates into is speeds of around 22-30 megabytes per second.  I doubt that there’s ever been a time, even once, when I’ve gotten the speed that I actually paid for.  But I’m just one person.  Of course, I don’t know a single person who’s ever gotten what they paid for.  Actually, I’ve never heard of someone who got what they paid for from their ISP.  If I heard of an ISP that actually provided the service they advertised, I would jump ship so quickly Cox’s head would spin.  Oh wait… I can’t.

In a “free market” when I’m not satisfied by my service, I have the option to choose different service.  This ability gives the people the power to force large corporations like Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, to treat their customers better, and give us a “fair” price, or what the “market” will sustain.    But wait… I CAN’T choose another provider because the major service providers have divided up the country and agreed not to compete.  This gives them no incentive to provide me with a better product, better service, or lower prices.  If I want broadband service, Cox is my only choice and I have to live with what they provide at the price they provide it at.  Tell me, libertarians who don’t want more regulation: how is the free market going to help me?  

“But Seth! Government regulation is BAD! It restricts growth and prevents innovation!”  

Bullshit. Sure, certain regulation can be abused and used against people, but regulation also protects people, the customers, from corporations who couldn’t give two rats asses about them.   Look around yourselves and pay attention.   When I read libertarian stances its almost like they’re talking about the “free market” as if it were some sort of benevolent god, or God himself, making his will for equality in all things known.  Sorry princess, doesn’t work like that.

Cities like Chatanooga, TN are putting in their own municiple, city run fiber networks that provide speeds of up to 1000 megabytes per second.   They provide residents with a couple tiers of packages, at prices that beat the stockings off of what local ISP’s are offering.  Instead of responding by lowering the prices of their own service in the area, ISPs are moving to block more cities from installing their own municiple networks at the local and state levels.  They coerce cities into legally binding contracts that prevent them from providing competition to their services, or they simply pay state legistlatures to pass laws that serve the same purpose.  This, is your precious “free market”.  A market where those with the most money are free to do as they wish.

I urge you.  Actually research Net Neutrality and don’t just listen to Ted Cruz, or any other mouthpiece of the Tea Party, because they either don’t know what they are talking about, or have been out and out bought by the cable industry. I know … “No, Seth! They’re patriots who want to protect our rights from the evil of Government!”  I’m going to call bullshit again.  

  1. The government isn’t going to be running the internet.  The NSA is already spying on every goddamn person in the US…so worrying that they’re going to do it MORE is a little dumb. (This is an issue for a whole other post.)
  2. You can’t have things both ways.  Either the government is an incompetant bungler that can’t do anything right, or its an Orwellian monstrosity that is reaching into every part of our lives to control us through internet and water flouridation.
  3. Take a look at your mighty heroes.  Then take a look at where their campaign finances come from.  Ted Cruz accepted what any sane person would consider a ludicrous amount of money from the ISP’s and now he’s against the issue that they are against?  Granted, he can still be straight up dumb… I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
  4. Your rights need just as much protection from large corporations as they do against the government. 

Well, the good news is that the FCC has reclassified broadband under Title II, and they have some other things in mind that would help increase competition, and encourage more cities like Chatanooga to install their own municiple broadband.  The bad news is that the ISP’s are buckling down and attempting to get legislation through Congress that would make the ruling of the FCC moot.  We’ve still got a fight ahead of us, but I think its worth fighting.  The internet might be stuffed to the gills with porn and various unsavory memes and morons, but its also a driving force of freedom, the economy, and information for the entire world.  It deserves to be protected, not monetized in any way possible.


An admission: Or why I’m a liberal now

This last election I did something that I’ve never done before in my life. I voted Democrat, pretty much right down the entire ballot. I had several reasons for doing this. First, I have the vain hope that in this classically Republican state, I would be part of a growing trend of people switching sides. I wanted that to be part of a message to Republicans that they needed to change because they were losing people. Second, I honestly feel that Democrat representatives are more in line with my beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t have faith that either political party has the interests of the people at heart. Both are completely devoted to serving their own needs before those of the people they claim to represent. Washington is a cesspool of corruption and it extends to both sides.

With that being said, over the last couple of years, the group that has made me scream “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” is hands down the Republicans. Most of that is the Tea Party’s fault as its gotten its claws deeper and deeper into the GOP. Although, in all honesty, I was drinking the Tea (koolaid) only just a few years ago. I’ll admit it. I listened to Glenn Beck. I worried that the end of days was right around the corner, and Obama had sold us out to enter us into a new dark age where all Christians were locked away in concentration camps and liberalism and political correctness destroyed freedom, truth and the American way. I kept it quiet, because my opinions were not shared by my friends.

Then, I stopped listening to AM radio. I started reading. I started listening. In short, I started thinking for my own damn self, instead of taking the word of some radio hosts as the gospel truth. I finally started listening to what the ass-hats on Fox News were saying, and how they were saying it. It didn’t hurt that they also said some terrifyingly stupid things during that time that made me hate them. It also didn’t hurt that during that time, I was exposed to more than a few things in Church that made me question the Conservative mindset.

Please, also keep in mind that when I say I was Conservative, I say that mainly on the basis that I thought smaller government was better, that people needed to take care of themselves, as opposed to getting welfare, and that all our overseas actions were awesome because the troops deserved respect. To further clarify, yes, the troops do deserve respect; the people giving the orders are the ones that I have problems with.

I disliked Obama, when he was first elected, because I thought that his “Hope and Change” would destroy America. Now, I’m just disappointed, because I don’t have any Hope that Change will ever happen in Washington. Despite the entire theme of this post, I don’t like to get political. I disliked it even when I was a dyed in the wool Conservative. People talked about politics, mocked each other over politics, and made assumptions over peoples intelligence over politics that were often unfair. I even do it now, though I think my reasons are a little better.

So, the question is, why? What caused me to switch sides? There’s a lot of reasons, but much of it boils down to what the Republican party has become since the Tea Party came along. Its no secret to those of you who know me, science is kind of a big thing with me. I’ve spent pretty much my entire life either watching, or reading science fiction, learning about science just because its fun, and desperately wanting to go into space myself someday. Or be a cyborg. Or have a robot exo-skeleton. Or all three. I’ll take all three and be a cyborg, Ironman in space please.

When you take that into account, it was probably inevitable that myself and the right-wing would have an eventual falling out. They promised that trickle down economics would solve everything. It didn’t. Science promised me tablet computers. Guess what I’m writing this post on. They told me that global warming isn’t real and isn’t an active threat to the planet. It most certainly is.

*sigh* I’m actually getting tired of writing this… and since I don’t expect many people to read it, especially not this far, I’m just going to say that everything that the right-wing has promised me has failed. We have two dollar a gallon gas right now, and Fox News is trying to convince me that’s a bad thing, because the economy will suffer from billionaires losing money and investing elsewhere. I’m not posting links, I’m not going to really engage in any conversation, this isn’t a call for help. This is me, finally telling whoever cares in “The Establishment” that I’ve changed and I did it long ago.

If police fuck up and shoot a kid, they should be held to the same laws that they try to enforce. If someone has cancer, why in God’s name should they even have to worry if their insurance will cover it? If we are destroying our planet, the only damned planet we have, how is it bad to take better care of it? Creationism is not science. Religion does not belong in government. Government does not belong in religion. Stop saying political correctness, and start realizing that you don’t have to be a dick to people. A better use of money would be feeding people and funding research rather than building weapons and fighting wars.

And most of all… WHY IS TED CRUZ GOING TO BE CHAIRING THE COMMITTEE THAT OVERSEES NASA?! I’m trying to find a better way of saying “That’s like putting a moron in charge of some of the smartest people on Earth,” but it is putting a moron in charge of some of the smartest people on Earth.

So, I’m a liberal. Because in at the end of the day, progressive isn’t a bad word. It means you want progress. There isn’t much about the way things were or are that I want to conserve, so lets shake things up a bit, try something new, grow as a country and as a species.