Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hoping to keep this blog going.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Off Topic: Open letter calling for Go To place for copyright complaints

An open letter to the Presidents of RWA, SFWA, and Authors' Guild concerning copyright infringement.

Dear Scott Turow, Allison Kelley, John Scalzi,

Thank you very much for everything you do to defend authors' copyrights against copyright infringement. We very much appreciate having an address to which to send our complaints, and the comfort of knowing that you compile a database of the most egregious "pirates" and pirate sites.

Despite small triumphs, ignorance persists among honest readers; lies about the legality of "sharing" go unchallenged, and the problem is getting much worse.

Please Scott Turow, Allison Kelley, John Scalzi will you talk to one another, set up one powerhouse task force, meet regularly, share resources, engage your members, give authors one central "Go To" address where we can submit complaints, report piracy sites, blogs and yahoogroups, cc our individual take-down notices.

One forceful industry voice could shut down an entire account and insist on a hosting site complying with their own TOS where their TOS has been repeatedly violated, instead of individual authors taking down one file at a time.

Thank you.

Rowena Cherry
EPIC Award 2010 "Friend of ePublishing"

Permission granted to forward, share, repost, or use as a template for other open letters.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How multitasking is not a good thing sometimes

Everyone thinks that they can multitask. Everytime you see someone on the phone as they drive, texting as they drive, texting as they cross the street (and sometimes blithely STOP in the middle of the street as they do so), work on the computer as they chat with someone either on the phone or over the cubicle wall or outside the office — anyway, you get my point. Multitasking is part of our lives.

But it’s not necessarily something we should be doing. Note the rising number of accidents because drivers are chatting or texting and not paying attention to the traffic. Or, in my case, trying to podcast as I’m trying to make dinner. This morning I have a lovely wound at the tip of my thumb because I was chopping carrots and managed to scrape off the epidermis into my curry mixture. To my credit, I didn’t scream; I did keep talking and wadded a paper towel onto my thumb, chatting away as I lost blood.

That’s not so bad, you think. It was fun times, I tell you. I sliced off a bit of my thumb, but then the coffee I was trying to make kept not getting made and I didn’t notice, only to discover that my cup had a hairline fracture, so the water went all over — and I kept pouring water in, not realizing I had already prepared it, only noticing after the podcast that water was everywhere. I just kept thinking I hadn’t done it because I was chatting and bleeding all over the place.

And there’s more: my cellphone battery kept beeping, telling me it was almost dead, so when it did die (during a Q&A), I had to grab another phone and log in again.

And that was all during one podcast. So multitasking is a lovely theory, but I’ve known for some time that it’s not for me, or at least not most of the time. Think about this the next time you think you can do more than one thing, or even two things, at a time. Maybe you can … and maybe you can’t.

Eilis Flynn
INTRODUCING SONIKA and ECHOES OF PASSION (both are available at and on Kindle, incidentally)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The current uproar

Steve Jobs has long been one of my heroes — I never thought I’d admit that in public, but there it is. The hero of my first book was based on him (now an online graphic novella, many decades after it was first written), and everytime Apple came up with something new, I’d have to find out more about it. And yesterday’s big reveal of the iPad (oy, such a name!) was no exception. Is it the greatest thing that’s ever been invented? Probably not — the wheel’s position on the list is still safe — but it’s a jump forward in the hopscotch of technology.

Notable among the complaints is what it can’t do. It’s not set up for multitasking. It’s slow. It’s not a laptop. It’s an overgrown iPod touch (incidentally, am I the only one stumbling over that “touch” not being capitalized?). But it’s also been pointed out that it’s not supposed to be those things — it’s a jump forward, it’s not man-on-the-moon leap forward. And it’s the reveal, the beginning. I have no doubt that it’s going to be fine-tuned in coming months and years.

I’m so embarrassed. I sound like an evangelist for Apple, and I don’t even have that much stock.

Anyway, it’s still an infant. Give it time. Five years from now, like an iPod or an iPhone, it’s going to be different, and it may even be in your hand. (Truth in commentary: I have neither an iPod nor an iPhone. We have a touch, but we got it as a premium for buying a car. We are VERY slow in adapting. So by the time the iPad overcomes its original problems, we may consider one.)
I’m not sure I should mention we still have an Apple Newton. Remember those? It’s around here somewhere. But it has its own place in that hopscotch board.

Eilis Flynn
Now available on Kindle

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The obligatory year-end note

Okay, it’s obligatory for somebody. But the year is over, and for some, it was a year to be forgotten, while for others, it was one to be revered. Whichever is the case for you, it’s time to celebrate the change of the years. Do you have resolutions to make (again, for some) for the coming year? My usual resolution has been to make no resolutions, but this ending year I made some and only managed to keep a few (I resolved to write two novels and ended up writing one, thanks to a flare-up of carpal tunnel). And this coming year, instead of going back to my tried-and-true, I’m going to try again, but instead of two novels, I’m going for one novel, two novellas, and a partridge … uh, never mind.
Happy new year, one and all! If you have resolutions, good luck in keeping them. In any case, enjoy life.
Eilis Flynn
ECHOES OF PASSION, on sale now

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Wrapping

I don't know what it is, but I have long had this habit of buying Christmas gifts that have to be sent and ... letting them sit. We're awful at wrapping in our family. For the past few years I've been buying and having signed by the authors all sorts of books for the Hub's cousins, but there they sit in a very big box, patiently waiting to be sent ... someday. And it's not just a dozen or so. No, by now it's approaching a dozen's dozen, and I may take the plunge at last. We have boxes ... tape ... and even the addresses. The only excuse I have now is laziness and the fear of going to the post office and an inability of properly packing a box.

And of course, that fear of the post office (and being a lousy packer) at this time of year is why we tend to do a lot of online shopping. The only time we've forced ourselves to go through with this torture is when we're sending things to my relatives in Japan, and that's iffy.

But all that has to change. With a deep breath, I'm going to approach that very big box of books and ... start to pack. If nothing else, it'll be one fewer thing in my living room. Wish me well!

Eilis Flynn
ECHOES OF PASSION, on sale now

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wildlife Vet joining

Greetings to members.

Rowena Cherry invited me to join as I too am an animal guy.

I have been blogging for just over a year and write about 90% of my blogs on conservation, many of them about issues in Africa. I was born in Kenya, moved to Canada and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1975 and have been back to Africa many times. I have written two books about things, mainly wildlife things, on that continent and you can pick up info on them from my web page here where there are extracts, whole chapters, photos and interviews. If you want to dip into the Glasgow Vet in Africa blog you can do so here or through the actual site.

Here are a couple of pics from those works.

I am starting on a new book about work in Canada. The title is Of Moose and Men and here is a short extract from one of the chapters. The scene takes place in Alberta when I had been asked to examine a pet moose that had recently delivered a calf and was not well. The moose (Petruska) had complete trust in her owner but when I approached to about 50 metres in my attempt to examine her...

Petruska let out a loud snort as she set off at a full charge and then I could hear her breath as she crashed through the underbrush, her hooves pounding on the hard ground. It became a sort of Mexican stand-off. Petruska looked at me between the fortunately thick branches of the spruce and tried to get at me, first by stamping her feet, much as she would in killing a predator, and second by trying to move around the tree to get a clearer run. Of course there was nothing I could do about the stamping except be glad that it was occurring twenty-odd feet from me, but I could and did move around the tree to make sure that we remained at exactly opposite sides. Not that she came round all the way. That would have put me between her and her calf, which would been quite unnatural as she presumably viewed me as some sort of predator that was going to get the most precious thing in her world.

Ring-around-the-roses is now a children’s game derived from the grim days of the black death. Ring-around-the-spruce-tree played by me and an irate mother moose intent on reducing me to a thin layer of pulverized flesh on the ground is quite another. While she was determined to protect her new calf, I was keen to protect myself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baseball and Claude Levi-Strauss

For the most part, these two things wouldn't be mentioned in the same breath, but today, it is inevitable. Because it's the World Series (game 6, Yankees vs. Phillies, or as the kid of one of my coworkers refers to the team, the Philistines!) tonight, and famed anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss died only a few weeks shy of his 101st birthday.

Social science majors, and anthropology majors in particular, will tell you that few classes pass by without a mention of Levi-Strauss' works. Cultural anthro wasn't my focus, but I read his work nonetheless (because honestly, you can't take an anthro class without reading Levi-Strauss), and it's only in retrospect that you can truly understand how broad the man's scope was in looking at human society and culture. (I could swear I remember some comment he made about baseball, but could I find it? Of course not.)

From the piece from The New York Times:
"His legacy is imposing. Mythologiques, his four-volume work about the structure of native mythology in the Americas, attempts nothing less than an interpretation of the world of culture and custom, shaped by analysis of several hundred myths of little-known tribes and traditions. The volumes — The Raw and the Cooked, From Honey to Ashes, The Origin of Table Manners and The Naked Man, published from 1964 to 1971 — challenge the reader with their complex interweaving of theme and detail.

"In his analysis of myth and culture, Levi-Strauss might contrast imagery of monkeys and jaguars; consider the differences in meaning of roasted and boiled food (cannibals, he suggested, tended to boil their friends and roast their enemies); and establish connections between weird mythological tales and ornate laws of marriage and kinship."

I always found the differentiation between why one cannibal boils and why one roasts to be illuminating and inspiring. It makes you see the world differently, doesn't it?

That's why it's good to be an anthro major, kids, especially if you want to be a writer: You get to explore the world in a whole new way.

Eilis Flynn
ECHOES OF PASSION, on sale now

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Promoting oneself

It's something that most writers, introverts that we are (for the most part), don't like to do, but we've got to do it. Sometimes it's in the form of an interview, sometimes it's in the form of marketing material like bookmarks or postcards or magnets, sometimes it's in the form of modern technology, like a podcast. Promoting yourself -- or at least your work -- is inevitable and necessary and sometimes can be downright frightening.

Which is why when Jacquie Rogers, one of the cofounders of the 1st Turning Point website on doing your own marketing and promotion, originally asked me whether I'd be interested in contributing a piece on occasion about marketing and promoting, I said no. I didn't know much about it, because that was the bailiwick of the Hub, who is a professional Marketing Guy. Well, it turned out that what she really wanted was to pick the brain of the Hub, but through me! No problem, I said. I could parrot someone else, if he had a chance. (If there's baseball on, all bets are off. And guess what's on right now? Yes, baseball.)

Of course, that said, I only found out the topic today ... and the podcast she assigned me to is this evening. Do I have time to do any research? Of course not. So I have to use what knowledge I have. The topic is tag lines: the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

Thank goodness I have others around me with more experience and knowledge. If you're interested in what real professionals have to say on the topic (and me), check it out at or http://www.internetvoicesradio,com at 6pm Pacific Time, 9pm Eastern Time. It's only an hour, so if you've got questions, there will be answers. Drop on by! And if I'm lucky, the Hub will come home in time for me to give a professional's answer!

Eilis Flynn
ECHOES OF PASSION, on sale now

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Excitement can be good and bad, you know

It's been one of those days that you scratch your head and wonder to yourself if it's actually the magical date (it's 09-09-09, and when my dentist's receptionist booked my appointment for 9am, I laughed; and I was late and actually walked in at 09:09!), or the fates had been saving stuff up to announce all at once. An epress that was just announced a couple of months ago, with publishing professionals the driving force and everything, just as abruptly closed its doors before they got going with simply a letter. Just like that. And Warner Communications, parent of DC Comics, announced that DC would henceforth be known as DC Entertainment, reflecting its reach beyond simple comics. (There was also a presentation by Apple Inc. about its updated iTunes store and updated iPods, but that's not particularly relevant. Although a video camera in the new Nano is certainly a fun idea, Steve.)

Now, the epress going under was a surprise, but the renaming of DC Comics (which, you may know, has always been redundant, since the "DC" stands for "Detective Comics") was more so, especially since the president and publisher, Paul Levitz, stepped down to be replaced by a Warner executive with no comics experience. (Levitz is going back to writing comics, in case you were curious.) This isn't the first time the comics publisher has changed names; it was known as National Periodical Publications as recently as 1970s. And it's not the first time that someone with no comics experience has been at the helm. On the one hand, it's a reaction to the Marvel Comics (sorry, Marvel Entertainment) acquisition by Disney, and on the other hand, it's also a nod from Warner that DC, always a cash cow but sort of overlooked, is being recognized as a more important property than it was when it was first acquired by Kinney (a parking-lot company) back in the 1970s. And there are lists you can look up showing that comics-related movies are among the top earners of all time.

So what does all this mean? Maybe nothing, maybe everything. This company's been around since the late 1930s (home of Superman! Batman! Wonder Woman! Green Lantern!), under changing names through changing times and cultures. It's endured, through good times and less than good, through changing technology, offering the stories of demi-gods reinterpreted for the modern age.

Now let's see how it changes for the 21st century.

Eilis Flynn
ECHOES OF PASSION, on sale now

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney acquires Marvel

for you geeks, wherever you are:

Howard the Duck vs. Donald Duck: Death Match!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Adventures in Romance-land

Like a couple of thousand other writers, I attended Romance Writers of America's National Conference in mid-July, this year in beautiful Washington, DC. It was warm, but since it turned out to be even warmer when I got back to Seattle, the weather in DC in comparison (in hindsight) was lovely.

The conference itself was a mixed bag. I hadn't attended in a few years; the last time I went was in 2006, when it was in Atlanta. This was the first year I got to attend as a member of PAN (Published Author Network), which allowed me to check out a whole different series of workshops, which was both interesting (we had Amazon evangelists espousing the goodness of Amazon and, of course, the Kindle) and mystifying (there was a motivational speaker who didn't do much for me motivation-wise). I got to see old friends again, see Washington again (the Hub's alma mater is there), and endure the discomfort that has become travel by air.

But no matter what else the conference brought, it was all wiped out by an incident when I stopped to speak to someone whose blog I read fairly regularly. As I turned to leave, someone from my home chapter called me by a wrong name. I was momentarily confused, because she knew me and I knew her; but she repeated it. She called me by the name of another chapter member, and when I corrected her, she shrugged and said that she couldn't tell us apart, and that it didn't matter.

That would have been funny, but see, I'm tall and Asian. The chapter member she was confusing me with is short and of Indian extraction. We're pretty different. She couldn't tell us apart? Why, because we didn't fit into her mold?

There are so many things I wanted to say, most of which wasn't politically correct ("All blondes look alike," I was tempted to say to this person, who is a blonde, but I know that's not correct). But I bit my tongue, because, you know, I was trying not to be impolite.

This short exchange has bothered me since. I live in an area that's predominantly Caucasian; my writers' group is predominantly Caucasian. It's times like these that I am reminded, in an abrupt fashion, that I am not Caucasian.

Sadly, that's what I'm going to remember the most from this year's RWA conference.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Romantic Times Spotlgiht

The Romatic Times Magazine website has a spotlight profile for me for the release of the September issue.
You can see the page here: