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Moved to DreamWidth

In light of the changes in the LiveJournal Terms of Service in early 2017, and the manner in which they were implemented, I moved to Dreamwidth. I had already been cross-posting for some years, but had been running full mirroring on the posts and allowing comments on both sites. I decided that I would continue to cross-post, but turned comments on the LiveJournal copy, change most of the existing posts on LJ to friends-only, and go through every so often and friends-lock the LJ mirror of new posts; not least because I saw no reason why I should provide free content for LJ's benefit when LJ started showing advertising on my posts to readers who weren't logged in even though I had a paid account.

I don't intend to entirely delete this mirror, as some of my friends are still here and not planning to move to Dreamwidth. You should, however, assume that this LiveJournal account may be deleted at some point. If you're staying on LiveJournal only, or using it as your primary feed, please follow the RSS feed for my Dreamwidth account.

Lots of my friends have moved, but I haven't tracked down everyone on Dreamwidth yet - please comment if you want to let me know where/who you are, including if you're staying on LJ so I can make sure I have your feed on my DW following page. ( I can do the equivalent of friending your LJ account so you can see my locked DW posts from your LJ account.)

If you're on DreamWidth and looking for me, I'm https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/

Twitter is https://twitter.com/bookfetishist
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Vaccine comparisons

 Not enough for a statistically valid sample, but of the handful of people at work who've had their jab, the Astra Zeneca seems to have more side-effects than the Pfizer. The latter is sore arm and tiredness from waking up during the night after rolling onto the tender bit. The former seems to come with feeling washed out and shivery for a few days in addition. Nobody's had anything worse than that and none of us are sorry to have had it. :-) Mirror of https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/666656.html, where it has received comment count unavailable comments. Please comment there.
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RIP Pol

I think there are one or two of my friends who knew Pol who read my DreamWidth but not the ones where the news has already been posted. Paul Brown, also known in fandom as Pol and Dapol, died suddenly on Monday. A memorial page has been set up - details are on his wife's Dreamwidth at https://supermouse.dreamwidth.org/81836.html.

He was 46.

I'm still having trouble taking it in. I first met Pol online in alt.fan.pratchett over twenty years ago. We met up occasionally in meatspace over the time since, mostly at cons but also in other places. He was enormously kind to me when I first moved back from California by providing transport to several fan events. He was one of the people I always looked forward to seeing at cons. Nobody got to go to Eastercon last year because of lockdown, so I hadn't seen him for a couple of years. Last week I was thinking that with any luck next year's Eastercon would be in a hotel and not just online, and I'd get to see him again. And now he's gone, and he was only 46.

Rest peacefully, Pol. You are much loved and will be much missed. Mirror of https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/666561.html, where it has received comment count unavailable comments. Please comment there.
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vaccine - achievement unlocked

This morning I received my first armful of mRNA, courtesy of Pfizer. I also received half an hour lying down on the bed thoughtfully provided for such purpose waiting to make sure the after effects were just my body doing what my body does courtesy of medical conditions or medications or both. I was also told that they would be much much happier if I got a taxi home rather than the bus. Since I wasn't the least bit surprised to need half an hour lying down I'd already assumed I might be going home in a taxi.

I was slightly disconcerted to find out via a "here's your invitation with booking link" text that my medical history puts me in the "16-64 medium risk" group, but given that I'm commuting daily by public transport I'm not in the least bit sorry to be getting it a month or so earlier than I would going on just my age. Mirror of https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/666042.html, where it has received comment count unavailable comments. Please comment there.
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Book review: Graeme Aitken - The Indignities

This is a serialized novel about a gay man in Sydney not dealing well with hitting thirty. The novel is structured so that you can read each part is an individual story, with its own closure rather than a cliffhanger.

Stephen Spear is an actor currently out of work, but having done well enough out of a stint on a soap opera to have bought a house in a good suburb, live off his savings, and avoid his thirtieth birthday with a round the world holiday with his boyfriend. Stephen’s an antihero --he’s self-absorbed, selfish, and oblivious to other people’s reactions to his behaviour. One of the joys of this book is the way Aitken’s first person narration shows the reader what’s going on around Stephen, while Stephen himself remains utterly unaware. He does eventually learn to become a better person. It just takes life hitting him over the head many times to get there.

I've reviewed each book separately.

 

Graeme Aitken - The Indignities: Time to Upsize

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Graeme Aitken - The Indignities: Private Party

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Graeme Aitken - The Indignities: Me, Myself, and Someone Else

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Book review - Alan Shayne and Norman Sunshine - Double Life

This is a joint autobiography by an actor-turned-producer and an artist, from their teens before they met as young men struggling to establish their careers, through the twists and turns of those careers, and finally their legal marriage four decades later.
 
It's a story about how gay men lived and were treated in the US over the course of decades. It's a fascinating insight into the production aspects and the internal politics of getting a film or TV show made, and the vagaries of building a career in both commercial and fine art. It's also a touching love story of a couple deeply devoted to one another.
 
I found it slow going at first. I think this was largely because part of the appeal of the book should have been about it being about the private lives of two men who are well known in their fields, but both of them were completely unfamiliar to me. I was slowly drawn in, and then completely fascinated by the story they were telling. And yes, I did have a tear in my eye as the book closed with their quiet wedding on an almost empty beach.
 
I started this not convinced I'd reach the end. By the time I finished it I was very glad I had.
 
Available from lots of different vendors via https://books2read.com/u/3n8QMo - some of those are affiliate links.
 
Mirror of https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/665184.html, where it has received comment count unavailable comments. Please comment there.
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So that was 2020, and good riddance

Well, that was a bit of a year, wasn't it?

A year ago I was sitting traumatized by the images of Australia burning, with no idea that two days earlier a doctor called Li Wenliang had tried to raise the alarm about a new type of SARS coronavirus that seemed to be spreading. A few weeks later I was looking at flights for a year later, i.e. round about now, in the belief that I might finally have my medical issues under control enough that I'd be able to get on a long haul flight. That was about two weeks before the images started coming out of Lombardy...

When it became clear the thing had arrived in the UK and nucleated in several sites, I said to [personal profile] kalypso that it might not be a good idea to go to Eastercon, as it would be the con crud to end all con crud. This proved to be a wise decision, even if the concom were unable to cancel the hotel conference venue booking until the announcement by the Prime Minister that all such gatherings were not happening for the foreseeable future.

[personal profile] kalypso lives less than half an hour's walk from me, and we have dinner together on most Saturdays. We have seen each other in person a handful of times in the last eight months. I have not seen any other people I know other than Other Half and my colleagues. I see my colleagues because I'm a key worker who can't work from home, so I've been going into the office all year. I don't much enjoy being on public transport, but I think it's better for my mental health than working from home would have been. All work that can possibly done at home with workarounds is being reserved for the clinically vulnerable people who are shielding so they can spend at least part of the day doing something useful, and even so one of them eventually came back into the office, because as he said, you can only paint the garden fence so many times.

Other Half is working from home, because his employer has shut the physical site and the staff are now living on Zoom. I could do without this on the days I'm on leave or come home early...

On the personal plus side, I only went to A&E once this year, and for reasons that were neither Covid nor my existing medical problems and/or medication for same. As for the latter, they have stabilised well enough that one outpatients department has said they don't need to see me any more and the other doesn't need to talk to me other than by telephone.

The remainder of the year was basically dealing with the Covid fallout at work, involving backlogs, trying to keep staff and customers safe, and everyone setting up and learning the new video links that were just being piloted for rollout over an extended period of time when all of sudden they were needed *right* *now*. Oh, and the elderly database that I keep muttering about on Twitter about the jam tomorrow replacement? Don't even ask.

As for how terrifying this is - quite a lot. But for some of us there is also this, slightly lengthened from my Twitter post on Christmas Eve:

A strange and unpleasant chain of thought this evening. The now traditional Christmas Eve TV offering of The Snowman often reminds me of another Raymond Briggs book. I'm old enough to remember the decommissioning of most of the UK's civil defence siren network after the end of the Cold War.

Part of the justification was that by then private telephones were so ubiquitous that in most areas any warning needed could be sent by automated telephone calls to the entire country. A telephone message could be customised to the particular warning needed. The spread of home internet and mobile phones made this an even better option.

I'm a child of the Cold War. I still sometimes have That Nightmare when woken by a thunderstorm.

I never dreamed that the first time I would see the civil defence warning system in operation would be for a pandemic.

On the whole, I think I prefer the pandemic. Or at least *this* pandemic, horrific though it is.

Thank you, Stanislav Petrov, that I am still here to be able to make such a comparison. Mirror of https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/664980.html, where it has received comment count unavailable comments. Please comment there.
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Armistice Day

A few days late, because on Armistice Day itself I was busy being a key worker in an office with too much work and not enough workers. I didn't go to the Remembrance Sunday at the village cenotaph, because it would have been selfish to do so this year. Covid has changed so many things.

Busy or not, the office paused for two minutes on Wednesday. We're within earshot of the signal maroon fired at the town hall so we always have a clear start and end. In between there is silence. Time to reflect; this year also on the work the armed services do in times of peace. We're not that far from one of the Nightingale hospitals, built in part with skilled labour provided by the military. It's a reminder that they're not just there to fight other humans. Mirror of https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/664765.html, where it has received comment count unavailable comments. Please comment there.
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Hello 2020

 I did mean to post something on New Year's Day, honest gov. It's just that I didn't take any extra time off that week, and I was fairly tired after staying up to watch the fireworks for not-the-end-of-the-decade-for-another-year. I also meant to post the 10 year retrospective everyone else was doing, but that went bye-the-bye as well, not least because the last two years have included a lot of medical fun and games and I still get tired very quickly and much as I like having Christmas with family it uses up a lot of spoons.

I still need to do my tax return, and once I've done that I need to keep going with the website updates (still on Web 1.0, because I'd rather edit something I actually understand and get it all up to date, and then transfer it to modern technology). I have re-issued books to sell and would prefer to have accurate info on the website before I start pushing the last of the batch of five ex Loose Id books that went back up last year.
Mirror of https://julesjones.dreamwidth.org/659776.html, where it has received comment count unavailable comments. Please comment there.
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Lord and Master re-issue

I'm busy getting my Loose Id titles back into print with the sterling help of Alex Beecroft. First up is Lord and Master, with new cover by Alex below. What I would like before I drop this on my Official Author Website is some help with link testing. I'm using Draft2Digital to push the book to retailers other than Amazon, and they have a Universal Book Link which if clicked on will offer a selection of online stores, linked to the appropriate site for the location of the person clicking - eg USians choosing Kobo should be directed to the US Kobo website, Australians can choose Angus & Robertson amongst other offerings, etc. I've also found a Thing on the Amazon affiliate site which is to direct your website readers to their local 'Zon site but I have not got to grips with that yet...

Onwards. Please admire the new cover art, suitable for current fashions in romance novels, and then I would be really grateful if people click on the links and make sure they end up in the right place. Some of the retailers haven't accepted the push from D2D yet, but there seems to be a reasonable selection there already. With Amazon I'd also like to know if it shows you the paperback as well as the ebook.

Lord and Master cover art - man looking through WindowDraft2Digital universal link: https://books2read.com/u/38EMkZ

Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07WQHPZBW
Canada: https://amzn.to/2HBeK5h
Netherlands: https://www.amazon.nl/dp/B07WQHPZBW
Italy: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B07WQHPZBW
UK: https://amzn.to/2My7oU8
US: https://amzn.to/2Zr7BKV

Incidentally, since writing Twitter has been discussing library ebook purchasing, here are some numbers: I've set the ebook price at $3.99 for purchase by individuals - my percentage of that varies by site, but I'll get somewhere between $2 and $2.70. At Draft2Digital I've also enrolled it in various subscriptions, including the Kobo Plus programme, which is Kobo's rival to Kindle Unlimited but doesn't require the author to make the book exclusive to them. Yay Kobo. :-) I've taken D2D's suggestion on the price for library purchases, that being $7.99, of which my projected royalty is $3.74 for One Copy One User, or $0.46 for Cost Per Checkout. Someone wants to give me money to make my book available to people who prefer or need to read for free? I will have some of that, please.

And I see Amazon still thinks this is LGBT literature, sub-class erotica. I may have to do some emailing to customer services. At least it hasn't been filed under BDSM anymore.
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