I'm currently being mildly confused by interface design, in particular the menu that pops up on the Samsung Android smartphone when you hold down the power switch. (I'm translating the labels from German more literally than actually. I think "offline mode" may be "airplane mode".)
Settings to switch sound and all signals OFF:
Sound is OFF
Data Net Mode
Data Net Mode deactivated
Offline Mode is ON
You have two settings where the status message used the same label as the name of the setting, but with "Silent Mode", it's the opposite; to switch Silent Mode ON, you have to set it to "OFF".
You have two settings where the status message uses either "ON" or "OFF", but the third uses "activated" or "deactivated" instead.
You have two settings where if the status message is "ON" or "activated", the phone is allowed to do something, but the third actually switches OFF functionality when it's set to "ON".
I suspect it grew like that somehow, but I'll take my having to actually read the option and message each time to make sure it's set how I want as a reminder to try to keep menus consistent to avoid confusion.
Silent Mode is ON
Data Net Block
Data Net Block is ON
Offline Mode is ON
Still a tad odd that you have to set things to "ON" to switch OFF functionality, butsince Offline/Airplane Mode being OFF would be the norm, I didn't want to rename that. But at least it's consistent: Each setting stops something working if it's set to "ON".
By Yana's reckoning, it had been a month since the king of dragons ate the sun. She had been lucky enough to join a group of two dozen refugees. Together they had found shelter from the cold and strangeness of the sunless surface in a cave, pretending the sun was only stolen to keep their hope alive. Something stolen might be returned.
It was all the same to Yana. None of them was the stuff you made legendary heroes of. The most useful member of their group of refugees was an enemy, even, a lower echelon mage-priest that had served the dragons before turning renegade. Watching him sitting in the centre of the cave, twitchy and watchful like a rat if anybody got near, she was convinced he had turned tail not out of and moral conviction, but fear of being backstabbed. It would make no difference in the long run.
He used magic to give them at least a few hours of light each day, literally making their days, and the effort seemed to warm him. The others in their coats or blankets, if they were lucky enough to have any. In the cave they were not cut to ribbons by blizzards, but it was still too cold to live. To say nothing of food.
A small commotion around the mage drew Yana's interest. Gilmey was arguing, his son cradled in his arms. The boy was coughing and shivering violently. She mage shook his head, and things went back and forth until he, reluctantly, agreed to “do something” for them.
He raised his arms and closed his eyes. The faint glow they had got used to spread out and brightened. Yana turned her face to in and closed her eyes, soaking up the warmth.
When raised voices drew her attention back to the centre of the cave, the mage was trembling with tension. Sparks and lightning danced from his hands down his body and up, crackling when they hit the ceiling. A louder crack sounded, rock breaking.
So he lost control. Of course. Yana felt strangely tranquil. She did not try to scream and run. There was no use.
Based on the prompt "The sun is gone, the dark forces have won and are ruling the lands. Magic is dangerous and usually ends up killing lots of people." by Robert S.
A lot of this applies to people reviewing books on their blogs, too, but I'll not mention them down in the post.
I'll jump right in and start with one underlying fact people need to be aware of. Simplifying things a bit, you could say there are two major ebook formats: epub and Amazon's format. Amazon's format cannot be read on epub readers (that is, all current ones that aren't a Kindle), epub cannot be read on the Kindle.
Therefore, if you announce an ebook "available at Amazon" only, you are telling anybody who owns a Nook, or a Kobo reader, or a reader produced by Sony, Pocketbook, Hanvon, and so on, that they can't get your book, or at least can't get your book without having to jump through hoops.
Do you really want to tell someone who's interested in your books, "Your money is not good enough for me if you don't have a Kindle"?
Speaking as owner of an epub-reader, that's what you are doing when you link to Amazon only. And I've seen that a lot recently. I'd see an author or contributor blog about a book, or I see someone recommend a book on Twitter, including only an Amazon link - I'll even grant you using an Amazon link on Twitter, considering the character limit. If the book sounds interesting, I'll go and look it up on the author's (or in one case small publisher's) website, and there'll be also only a link to Amazon, or possibly Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The latter does not do most people any good, because B&N only sells to you if you are in the USA.
I don't know what's more frustrating: Cases where the books are really only available there, or cases where if I decide to search for it myself I can find the book in a channel I can buy from. Not including a link in the latter case seems just so very short-sighted from the author or publisher - of 10 people who want their ebooks in epub format, how many do you think will not go to that trouble?
Ebook shops with relatively few barriers are Smashwords and Kobobooks, so if your books are available there, please do link to them from a book's site. If they aren't, please consider how non-Kindle owners outside the USA can buy them.
Smashwords has no geographic restrictions at all, accept Paypal and are thus usable by people who have an account there, but not credit card, which for example described me until recently. In addition they offer books in various formats - unless the author/publisher disabled it, you can download epub now, a Kindle-compatible format down the line if you decide to switch. Plus, they don't use DRM on which a format conversion tool would choke on.
Kobobooks sells epub format, and applies georestrictions only on a per-book basis, rather than going the route most ebook shops take and only sell within the country they're based in.
Yes, technically I guess it's not all that difficult to buy books for Kindle, remove the DRM, and convert them to epub, but I don't want to support Amazon's attempts at building a monopoly. For reasons why a monopoly would be a bad idea, see for example KDP Select and a Not-So-Speculative Jaunt into Ebook Hell by Frida Fantastic.
Can you recommend other sellers open to people who don't have a Kindle and don't live in the USA? Do you have trouble with Smashwords or Kobobooks in your part of the world?
Persistent Growth - 267 words (went live Dec. 16)
Combines the prompts "Growth" by Eliza and "Spooky plants" Ellen Million.
Appliance Psychic - 430 words (went live Dec. 17)
Prompt by Becky: "the toaster becomes sentinent"
Designer Virus - 367 words (went live Dec. 18)
Prompt by Mayfly: "Undead cattle"
Grave Light - 360 words (went live Dec. 23)
Prompt by Robert S.: "The sun is gone, the dark forces have won and are ruling the lands. Magic is dangerous and usually ends up killing lots of people."
Lawyer Lunch - 100 words (went live Dec. 30)
Prompt by HM: "A cannibal serial killer murders and eats vampires"
ditto on the more of a joke
Rewarded - 200 words (went live Jan. 5)
Prompt by LilFluff: "A human key to allowing werewolves, vampires, and other fantasy monster types to go public is 'rewarded' after they go from hiding, to being in the open, to seizing control."
Rewriting History - 369 words (went live Jan. 19)
Prompt by ysabetwordsmith: "What if elves were actually horrible, and orcs were decent, but the elves have better PR so they've just managed to convince people of the opposite?"
[node:4398] - 472 words (went live Jan 26)
Prompt by Eliza: "Waning moon"
Deals with werewolf hunting season.
Phantom Pains - 362 (went live Feb. 3)
The title (nearly) was a prompt by Eliza.
[node:4356] - 190 words (went live Feb. 10)
Prompt by rix_scaedu: "The fairy godparents aren't the nice sort of fairy."
[node:4422]!-everyday> - 100 words (went live May 18)
Prompt by aldersprig: "What frightens the monsters?"
More of a joke, really.
[node:4424]!-unfinished> - 367 words (went live June 8)
bonus story based on the origfic_bingo prompts "toys" and "ghosts / hauntings / afterlife", but fitting the theme
Not yet published
Recalled - 357 words (sponsor for $8)
Prompt by wyld_dandelyon: "a recall"
Haunted - 1061 words (not open for sponsorship at the moment)
prompt by clare_dragonfly: "The way the tree scraped against the house, it really sounded like it was doing it on purpose. But it couldn't be. Could it?"
Ignoring her aching muscles, Janissa dragged the cowed suit across the yard of the experimental farm by his revers. It had taken a lot of self-control to not shoot him in the face. For what needed to be done, her shotgun wasn’t enough. She wasn’t even aware she was muttering strings of curses punctuated with repetitions of “deliberately”.
“None of the tests suggested any danger,” the guy whined. “There must have been a mutation.”
“Or maybe rats are not humans! Don’t give me your stupid excuses. Where can we get gasoline here?”
His eyes went even wider. “Look, I’m all for terminating the experiment and destroying the enhancement—”
“Virus!” Janissa snapped. “Stop the propaganda-speech.”
“Virus, but an uncontrolled fire might do more harm than good.”
“And risk monsters running wild?”
Janissa stopped and faced him, narrowing her eyes at his tone. “What?”
“You may have a point about humans being different. They seem to be the only species that goes all, you know… bloodthirsty. The cattle just gets slow and apathetic.”
“That I want to see. And you go in first.” She emphasised her point by tipping her shotgun in his general direction.
He nodded to that happily enough, and led Janissa into the barn.
She followed wearily, fearing a trap even though her gut feeling said he wasn’t up to setting one. All she saw were cows standing where they belonged, placidly. As the guy stood aside, she had a look at the nearest animal. Janissa had no direct experience with cows, but she didn’t think its nose should be grey and cracking. Was it even breathing?
Her drafted guide had calmed down and actually answered her muttered “What the hell were they thinking?”
“The… virus slows down the metabolism, particularly in the extremities, but affects the digestion and milk production hardly at all. The result is more milk per pound of fodder, and besides, they are sluggish and less… prone… to…” He would down and swallowed in the face of Janissa’s glare.
“So everyone in my neighbourhood who wasn’t lactose intolerant turned into a zombie to maximise your profits.” After a beat she added, “Go away before I shoot you.”
The first time morning glory grew right through the wall into Rina’s bedroom was almost funny. Sometimes she let it grow up the bar of a shelf, which did not take long, before ripping it out. The blooms were pretty, and unlike potted plants did not require her watering.
Rina was still relieved when she moved to a different flat, without plants growing through the walls. At least there had not been any in the first week. Morning glory must really like me, she thought, when the first thing she saw after waking up was the tip of a twine climbing up the wall. Since the landlord was unresponsive, she closed the cracks they grew through herself with putty — repeatedly, since the morning glory always found a way around it.
When one spring morning she woke up with morning glory tendrils wrapped around her arms, she had enough, and started looking for another place to stay. Ridiculous, fleeing from flowers, but apparently “grows like a weed” had some basis in fact
She was lucky: a few of her friends had been considering buying a house, if they could find someone else to live in and pay rent. Rina jumped at the opportunity, under the condition of getting a bedroom well above ground level.
Living with friends worked out better than she thought, which she blamed on not having to share a room. It improved her social life immensely having people around to talk to.
The persistent morning glory turned into a joke. It turned into something else when her friends found her body, strangled by a flower.