Posted in writing

Evolving Twetiquette

This is just a pet peeve of mine on Twitter that I’ve yet to see it addressed by any of the “Twitter etiquette” articles I can find online. There’s something about this that just doesn’t sit right with me, and that being when someone takes every conversation public by responding to a tweet by using the “retweet” and then “quoting” it  in replay, like so:

retweet convo

So for the sake of argument, let’s say  I conduct all my Twitter conversations like this, by hitting “retweet” and quoting the other person’s tweet, even if their tweet was sent to me as an @ reply. Clearly this one was not, but I’m just using Baba Studio’s tweet as an example since they’re a business and sent that out or the world (or at least all their followers) to see. I don’t want to embarrass anyone with this, but I’m wondering how others feel about this method of interacting? I know there are no hard and fast rules, and social media platforms are still evolving, but I find this quite annoying. It’s stopped me more than once from responding to someone because I knew they would do that with my tweet to them. Sometimes you just want to have a conversation with one person or send a quick reply, and I realize it’s the web and everything is public, and if I really wanted to keep something private I’d take it to DM (Direct Message), although these are off-the-cuff conversations and don’t merit a DM anyway. I guess it feels like it depersonalizes it, as if they can’t be bothered talking to just me.

To me, it’s the equivalent of chatting with someone at a party or in the office, and everything you say to them, they turn around and yell it to everyone else or broadcast it over the PA system. By quoting the other person’s tweet they’ve effectively invited everyone else who follows them to join the conversation. Personally I’ve only used this in the past when someone was going on the attack. He or she had said something I thought was funny in response to something a newspaper had tweeted, so I quoted him/her and tweeted it. The person was horrendously offended and shocked that I would do that, and became combative and defensive, when I had meant it as a compliment because it was so pithy. I don’t recall what the comment was. I don’t know if he/she didn’t realize the tweet was public and anyone could see it. He (I’m assuming it was a male) seemed quite shocked that I could see it and demanded to know who I was. He seemed afraid of getting into a flame war with people who might disagree and seemed to hint this had happened in the past. Well, that’s the risks of tweeting, I suppose. But I digress.

So granted, all tweets are public, but it just seems like bad form to conduct all your conversations like performance art. And it’s really annoying when someone does this with a celebrity’s tweet, and quotes the celeb’s tweet in a tweet as a response, as if they know the person. Which they don’t. It strikes me as pretentious like “look who I tweeted to!”

What do you guys think?

Posted in photography, Revenants Abroad, sunrise, writing

New Locations Now Open

With all the talk of Twitter moving to an algorithmic system that promotes “popular” posts (read: things that make the company more money) I’m preparing to either abandon it, or use it less. In any event, I’ve started a Tumblog which can be found here. Not much there yet since I just started it today. I expect it will evolve as these things do.

I also resuscitated my Ello site, just barely, but it has a pulse now. I’m still not sure what I’ll be doing over there. But if you happen to be on either of those services, let’s connect. If you’re on Facebook I’m there as well (also here) but I don’t log in often.

Don’t be a stranger!

Feb 5, 2016 sunrise

2-5-16 pond2

Posted in Tarot, writing

Weekly Card – The Star redux

StarWell. Here we are again. :::drums fingers::: Looks like somenone’s not getting the message, or it’s taking longer than we’d hoped/anticipated for things to right themselves.

This is from the Ansata Tarot. It was first published in Germany in 1981. The deck was drawn to accompany a book, “Astrologie und Tarot” by B. A. Mertz, painted by Paul Struck. It’s heavily laden with astrological symbolism. I’ve never been much for astrology, though. Too much math for me. I don’t have Mertz’s book, which is a shame because I’d love to know more about the cards. Like the skeletal face up in the top right corner, reminds me of the “dark mark” from Harry Potter, although this deck predates HP by by almost 20 years. The LWB (little white booklet) that came with the deck says this:

“The Star corresponds to Venus. It symbolizes love, heavenly happiness, the muse or any other gift of heaven. It is mostly a lucky card because it depends on an inner harmony, on an inner openness towards the heavenly powers. The card is therefore often a symbol of hope and of a healing miracle (but neighboring cards may make a big difference). It is the card of femininity filled with happiness.”

I like to read different authors’ takes on the cards, every reader will find something different in the same cards. This one is vastly more slanted towards a spiritual interpretation than many. So what can we draw from this? I think the focus on inner harmony is the salient point here, transcend the mundane physical world to find that happiness. Possibly it’s a sign to pay more attention to spiritual matters if they’ve been neglected for awhile (cough*whome*cough).  It’s been ages since I’ve taken the time to meditate. Maybe now’s a good time to start again.

I’m also going to spend more time writing and probably far less time on Twitter (sob*). It’s sucking up all my writing time. Not that I don’t love chatting with everyone, but time is a precious commodity right now. Going to have to get tough with myself. I am determined to get through editing the vampire novel and get it out for a second round of beta reads. The next few weeks will be tough since I’ll be working both the day job during the week and the Ren Faire on weekends. I’m not entirely sure this was the best decision I ever made, but we’ll see. Maybe the Star is a good omen for how it will go.

So, how is everyone doing?

Posted in books, cyberpunk, science fiction, science fiction, writing

Calling All Cyberpunks on Twitter

Just a short note for those on Twitter who are also fans of, writers of, curious about, or cowboys of cyberpunk, there is a moderated (meaning there are actually topics that the ringleaders try to keep to) cyberpunk chat on Saturdays from 1:00 – 3:00PM PST (2100-2300UTC) or longer, if people are exceptionally chatty. If you need to find your time zone you can check here: The World Clock).

For those unfamiliar with the sci-fi genre, think The Matrix, TRON, Bladerunner. It’s dark, it’s edgy, it’s the little guy using computers and technology to fight The Man. In books, the granddaddy of them all is William Gibson’s Neuromancer. It was in that book that Gibson coined the term. (although Gibson is on Twitter, he does not join our merry little band. I think I’d fall out of my chair if he ever did). Other authors who write in the genre include Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Philip K. Dick. Cory Doctorow’s YA novel Little Brother pits a group of tech-savvy teens against Homeland Security.

Here are a couple of Web sites devoted to all things cyberpunk: Cyberpunk Review, and

This past week we discussed Virtual Worlds-Metaverse, Matrix, Cyberspace, augmented reality and its role in cyberpunk. The mods are Josh K. Evans (@JoshKEvans), Sean Francis (@SeanDFrancis) and Johann Carlisle (@johanncarlisle). You can use the hashtag #cyberpunkchat to follow along, or better yet, log into and enter the same hashtag, and it will essentially drop you into a chatroom and insert the hashtag term with every tweet so you don’t have to. Easy! Drop by if you can.

Posted in books, horror, Portland, writing

Of Books and Book Signings

It seems Twitter is proving itself actually useful, after all. I follow the Science Fiction Writers of America (@sfwa), and caught a tweet yesterday for a book signing at the Powells Books in Beaverton by Dan Wells, author of I Am Not a Serial Killer and the sequel, Mr. Monster. I have to admit I was not familiar with Mr. Wells before yesterday, but when I pulled up his Twitter profile to find out about him, I saw that our buddy Chazz of followed him. And, since I had no other plans last evening (I know, pathetic), I wound up at the book signing. When I first arrived I saw that there were actually two of his books available, and so not being familiar with his work and needing to pick up one for Chazz, I asked a woman sitting in the front row if she knew which was the newer one. She advised me which was which, and I ended up getting one of each.

Dan Wells books

I was sorry to see such a small turnout, but Dan was in good spirits and chatty and humorous. He also had one of his children with him and warned that if he were to suddenly scream and sprint for the back of the store it would be because he saw his daughter being kidnapped. Happily, this never happened. Once the reading got going his daughter dutifully came and sat at the signing table while her dad did his thing, even correcting him once on which city they actually live in…

He read a short excerpt from the new book (no spoilers), and seriously, people who read from their own works at NaNoWriMo wrap parties could take a lesson in brevity.  The Q&A section of the program was relatively short, since there weren’t many of us there. I did ask if he had a panel of experts on call to advise him on various aspects such as how to accurately describe what various wounds would do to a body. He said no, but that he was able to talk to one of the first psychologists who dealt with Ted Bundy. Bundy began his infamous life of crime there in Salt Lake City, back when Wells’s own mother had been a young blond college student, and exactly Bundy’s type. Wells’s main character, John Wayne Cleaver (and honest to god I meant to ask why he chose the name ‘Cleaver’ for his sociopathic teen), works in a funeral home, and when he began writing it he called around to various mortuaries to ask for information on embalming,. Nobody would talk to him or tell him anything. Heh. Wonder why. Now that he’s published of course, they’re calling him to talk. He also mentioned that when he began the book, the character John was originally 12, but that turned out to be far too young and so he had to age him a bit. He got into the psychology of how sociopaths develop, his fascination with serial killers and when asked how he came to be so fascinated, he said he couldn’t understand how anyone could NOT be fascinated with them. However, he also said he has no burning desire to sit down with one and interview them, with the possible exception of Ed Kemper, who ultimately surrendered to police and is to this day incarcerated in Vacaville, California. For a serial killer to turn himself in is virtually unheard of.

When asked if he was ever disturbed by what he wrote, he admitted he was, sometimes needing a couple days to get past it. He also related a story about his mother-in-law calling his wife after reading his book to ask if she felt she and the children were safe living with him.

In addition to writing, Dan, contributes to podcasts for writers, available at There does seem to be a fee involved, but they offer a trial membership to check it out.

MilkHoney_FNLCoverx230So while Dan was waiting for the appointed hour to start the reading, he and the woman I had talked to when I first arrived were chatting away. Seems she is with the same publisher and they were commenting on the nifty sign that Dan had, and how she didn’t get one for her own signing, and talked about who each of their publicists were (turns out she and Dan are friends). Naturally after I had gotten my books signed by Dan, I had to inquire who this lady was. I apologized for not knowing her and we shook hands, and she introduced herself as Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Shades of Milk and Honey.  She pointed me to her book sitting on the shelf, already signed and graciously offered to personalize it for me while we chatted (I quickly whipped out a pen which I had brought for just such an occasion, although she lamented that it would be a different color ink than she had signed her name with. I can live with that). She described the book as “Jane Austen with magic.” Right up my alley! I believe she was also attending the H.P. Lovecraft film fest and Cthulhucon this weekend. I noted that Mary is a bicyclist and had ridden over to the store last night, seeing her helmet at her feet, and her right pant leg tied to keep it out of the chain. As we stood there talking one of the Powells employees who seems to coordinate these events came over, and Mary commented to her that the Jane Austen Society is having their annual fete in Portland this year, and Powells might be a good location for them. I might have to join up.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @johncleaver, and Mary @MaryRobinette.

Posted in ghosts, hauntings, horror, music, writing

Music for the Goth In All of Us

For those who enjoy some mood music to set their scenes, whether in real life or to help us conjure our fictional fog-shrouded moors and darkly lit dungeons and castles, I have two new tasty morsels for you to choose from.

Heavenly Creatures Heavenly Creatures is gothic electronica from France. Oo la la, c’est magnifique! The homepage is like visiting an ancient catacomb, with dripping water sounds and subdued ghostly wailing (or is that only the wind?).  You can hear excerpts of the album on their site. I have to admit I liked some of the tracks better than others. For instance, the track titled “Le Chat du Cimetière has an almost comedic, cinematical feel to it. I could picture a humorous scene with a mime and a cat in a cemetery. The rest of the tracks are more atmospheric. It’s strictly music, no spoken word at all as far as I could tell. Some of the background effects, the sound of dripping water are evocative and creepy. Track 8, La Vieille, kind of loses it with the accordion, it’s a little too Parisian street scene to be what I’d call ‘gothic.’ Many of the tracks feature harp, violins, and an ethereal chorus. Shall we call it “Goth Chic”? Hint: click the words “Dark Ambient and Electronic Music” at the top to spin the figures and see the second image.

Diminished 7Next is another entry in what is sometimes called “love metal” (a la HIM), or dark metal, but still with the gothic feel to it. If you need something a little edgier but still in the gothic vein this might be what you’re looking for. At the moment,  Diminished 7 seems to consist only of the band’s founder, Alex Crescioni on vocals, and a drummer, Chase Breckenden. Despite that, there are several tracks available to listen to on the MySpace site. I’m not sure how, but Alex found me on Twitter and ‘followed’ me, which is how I found him (good marketing tactic, Alex, it worked 😉 ). I’m liking what he’s got out so far, and look forward to hearing more when he gets a full band together. He’s also on Facebook (which makes me wonder if he knows there’s another band on Facebook with the same name, who appear to be a country/folk group out of Austin, Texas). On his MySpace page, Alex has posted a blog of what not to say when applying to a professional band, an actual letter he received for the position of guitarist. Can I just say, “Tooooooooo many drugs!”

Posted in books, Publishing, writing


No, that’s not an insult or a racial slur. The word refers to what is essentially 19th century pulp fiction, cheesy swashbucklers, penny dreadfuls and the like.

And now, for those who can’t get enough of these, you can find loads online, courtesy of Emory University:

Yellowbacks were cheap, 19th century British literature sold at railway book stalls, with colorful, sensational covers to attract buyers. While some were well-known books such as “Sense and Sensibility,” many of the yellowbacks were obscure titles by authors unknown today. “They were the equivalent of a popular novel you’d read on a plane today,” says David Faulds, MARBL’s rare book librarian.

However, be forewarned, this is more like a raw data dump when looking through titles. There are no quick synopses to tell you what’s what. You’ll need at least Adobe Acrobat reader for these, so no special equipment (i.e., Kindle or Nook) although this writer at Research Buzz was going to send it to a Kindle.

Here’s a quick sample of a few titles:

A Race for a Wife, by Hawley Smart
Robert the rover, or, Adventures on the Spanish Main, by William Stephens Hayward (honestly, how can you resist?)
The Cloud King, by William Stephens Hayward (perhaps the Tom Clancy of his day?)
The American, by Henry James (wow!)
Mildred’s cross, or, The high road to ruin, by William Stephens Hayward

There are over 1200, so lots to choose from. And I must give credit where credit is due: I found this via a Tweet from @torbooks! Maybe Twitter does have its uses after all.

Posted in random thoughts, writing

Caving In

After all my rants about not having time for more social networking, not only am I on Facebook, I signed up for Twitter today. So far I’m following two people, Kristofer Dommin of the band Dommin who you may recall I saw in concert back in April. The other is our friend Jenna Reynolds, who doesn’t appear to tweet very often. And I have a follower, probably someone who pings every person immediately after they sign up (he/she had ‘followed’ me within ten minutes of signing up…) but we’ll see how it goes. For now I have no idea what to do with the thing. If you want to follow what will undoubtedly be very limited tweets, follow me at @DDSyrdal. At least when I think of something to actually tweet, that is.

Posted in books, Publishing, writing

Tweeting Leads to Publication

I just found this over on Publishing Law Guru‘s blog and thought you might find this interesting.

A couple months (or so) ago, I talked about a guy who was tweeting an entire novel. Matt Stewart’s The French Revolution has now been picked up by a publisher, which you can read more about at Galley Cat. Strange days indeed.

Ok, everybody, out of the box!

Posted in books, writing

Twitter as Publisher?

Ok, I’m about done with talking about Twitter, but in searching for publishing news today I ran across this gem:

US writer publishing novel a ‘tweet’ at a time

WASHINGTON (AFP) — An American writer who has yet to find a publisher for his novel is putting the book on Twitter — 140 characters at a time.

Matt Stewart, a San Francisco-based novelist, began “tweeting” his first book, “The French Revolution,” on the micro-blogging service on Tuesday — appropriately Bastille Day.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t even begin to imagine reading a full-length novel 140 characters at a time.

Astonishingly, he had an agent who he says submitted to all the major publishers, but none of them wanted to go out on a limb for what they thought was a ‘risky’ novel. Go figure.

“Many of them loved it, but none were willing to buy what they viewed as a ‘risky’ novel — vivid language, elements of fantasy and farce, raunchy humor,” he said.

Stewart said it would take approximately 3,700 “tweets” to transmit all of the 480,000 characters in his book.

Raunchy humor. Farce. Fantasy. Sounds like he should have tried shopping it to Hollywood for Ben Stiller’s next movie. However if you find you simply must read this thing, it can be had for $1.99 for your Kindle, or free at