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Links, Reminders, and Misc

Disaster Aid and Terminal Alliance Giveaway

ETA: Congratulations to Mel, chosen by the Random Number Generator to win the ARC of Terminal Alliance. And thank you to everyone who donated.

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Two weeks ago, Sophie received advance review copies of Terminal Alliance. I’ve been meaning to do a giveaway, but I was struggling to come up with a good way to do it.

Sophie with Terminal Alliance ARCs

Then I started seeing the damage reports come in from hurricanes and flooding. The devastation they’ve left in their wakes, and the devastation yet to come. A million people without power in Puerto Rico. Record-breaking rain and flooding in the southwest U.S. 41 million affected by flooding and landslides in South Asia.

And now I know how I want to do this giveaway. You want to win an autographed ARC of Terminal Alliance? There are two things you need to do.

  1. Donate to one of the organizations helping with disaster relief.
  2. Leave a comment saying you donated.

I don’t need receipts or anything like that. I trust you. And there’s no minimum donation, either. I know money is tight for a lot of people. If you can afford to give $100, great. If you can only afford $1, that’s great too. It adds up, and it all helps.

Here are some organizations to consider, though this is in no way a complete list.

I’ll draw one winner at random toward the end of next week.

Thank you.

Why People are Pissed (or Thrilled) About the Pardon of Joe Arpaio

Surprising nobody, Trump issued a presidential pardon for ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio last week. Arpaio had been jailed for convicted of criminal contempt and faced up to six months in jail, after he refused to obey a court order “to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.”

Trump described Arpaio as a “patriot,” someone who “kept Arizona safe,” and cited his “years of admirable service to our nation.” Arpaio tweeted out his thanks:

(Note: Arpaio’s contempt conviction came from U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton, a registered independent nominated to the court in 2000 by President Clinton, following a recommendation from Republican senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.)

Trump and Arpaio: Stoking the Birtherism Flames

The Trump/Arpaio relationship goes back years. Arpaio was a strong supporter of Trump’s Birtherism movement. Arpaio assigned a five-man “cold case posse” to investigate Obama’s birth certificate, eventually announcing it was a “computer-generated forgery.” I’m curious how much taxpayer money Arpaio spent on that particular conspiracy theory.

Trump sent him a personally written thank-you note, and praised him on Twitter as well:

Trump had Arpaio as a speaker at a campaign rally in 2015, where Arpaio again brought up Obama’s birth certificate.

Arpaio’s “Years of Admirable Service”

Here are some highlights from Arpaio’s “patriotic” career in law enforcement.

Racial Profiling and Anti-Immigration Efforts

Some of Arpaio’s tactics included:

“America’s Toughest Sheriff”

Trump and many of his base love Arpaio for his so-called toughness. But Arpaio isn’t “tough.” He’s a bully and a bigot. He commented recently:

The idea that the law could apply to him — that he could face consequences for knowingly and deliberately defying a court order — seems an alien concept. He thinks himself above the law.

I can see why he and Trump get along so well.

His attitude’s mirror Trump’s own comments about Mexicans as criminals and rapists. And a lot of folks support Arpaio’s anti-immigration crusade, and his determination to make jail so horrible it will deter people from committing crimes.

I’d ask those folks if they believe in the Constitution, and that law enforcement officials should follow it. Specifically, the Eighth Amendment, which states:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”

Cruel and unusual punishment. Things like…

Or maybe we should look at the Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

In other words, if you support pulling people over, raiding their homes, raiding their workplaces, just because they’re Hispanic? Congratulations! You’re not just an asshole, you’re also anti-American and anti-Constitution.

I haven’t even touched on instances of Arpaio using the power of his office to attack and punish his enemies, or his neglect of hundreds of sexual assault cases, or the lack of prenatal care and infant deaths that resulted, or destroying evidence in a civil rights lawsuit, or so much more.

I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know what the future holds for Arpaio in terms of civil lawsuits or state charges or the rest.

But I know what I think of Trump and his base holding Arpaio up as a “patriot.” I know what I think of describing Arpaio’s crimes against his constituents as “admirable service to our nation.”

You can be an American who believes in equality and the Constitution. Or you can support Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio.

I don’t see any way you can be both.

Greater Lansing Balloon Festival

A friend invited us to the Greater Lansing Balloon Festival last night, which was fun. Naturally, I spent most of my time running around taking pictures.

The sky was washed out in a lot of these shots, so I played around with sky overlays in Photoshop.

I’ve got an album up on Flickr. Here are a few of my favorites.

Balloon Glow

Balloon in flight (close-up on basket)

Close-up of burner and flame

For that third picture, the balloonists for “The Flash” saw me with my camera and waved me in for some close-up shots, which was a lot of fun.

I think I need to start taking some sky photos of my own, so I’ll have my own library of overlays to use in the future…

Imprinted Synopsis and Plan

Imprinted Cover: DraftThanks to everyone for your feedback and enthusiasm on “Imprinted.” I’m looking at a tentative release date of January 9, 2018. I’m planning to confirm this and start getting preorder links posted over the next month or two.

A lot of you said you’d be happy to pay $2.99 for this 15,000-word novelette. From your comments, it’s a combination of loving the Magic ex Libris stories, and wanting me to get those nice 70% royalties that you don’t get with anything under $2.99. Others thought $2.99 was a little steep.

What I’m thinking about doing is launching the book at $2.99. Then, after it’s been out for a month or two, I’ll drop the price to $1.99. That way folks have a little more choice about what they’re willing to pay.

A few people said they’d prefer a print edition, and I’m looking into that. I wouldn’t expect a lot of sales here, and we’d be talking about a pretty slim volume, but it’s gotten easier to set up print-on-demand, so I should be able to make that option available.

Finally, here’s the synopsis I’ve put together. What do you think?

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Jeneta’s magic could give us the stars…or destroy everyone around her.

Seventeen-year-old libriomancer Jeneta Aboderin is a prodigy, determined to move on from the horrors she’s faced and use her power to create a better future. To show the world that magic isn’t a threat to be feared, but a tool of hope. After eight months, she’s ready to present the Venture, a magically-created ship capable of reaching Mars within hours. It will mark a new phase of human exploration and discovery.

But at a crucial moment, her spell is wrested from her control and twisted against her. Whoever sabotaged her magic then begins to strike down those around her. The attacker haunts her thoughts and dreams, reviving Jeneta’s past traumas. And the most powerful magic-users at New Millennium are unable to help.

How do you stop an enemy who strikes from within your own mind?

This 15,000-word novelette is set eight months after the events of Revisionary.

Happy Eclipse Day!

We didn’t make it down to see totality, but my part of Michigan got about 80% eclipse coverage today, which was still pretty sweet. My son and I went to a library presentation this morning, where I was reminded about pinhole viewing, which led to this:

Pinhole Eclipse Projection

I’d ordered a solar filter for the 100-400mm lens on the camera. We also had some eclipse glasses from Amazon from a few weeks back.

I took a little over a hundred pictures, and was able to stitch some of the best into an animation.

Solar Eclipse Animation

Those black spots are sunspots. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out!

I also stitched together a static time-lapse, and added back a bit of color the filter stripped out. (Click to enlarge this one for a much better view.)

Eclipse - Time Lapse

Didn’t get much else done today, but I’m okay with that. And maybe for the 2024, we’ll be able to make it down to see the total eclipse!

Jim C. Hines