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Authors Guild Denounces Trump’s “Declaration of War” On Press

We are not the enemy of the people. We are the people.
Writers, journalists, editors, reporters, novelists, poets, translators, and all those who bear witness to our times. Without the words, there is no history. Without people bearing witness, telling the truths of each day, recording the words of people in power, recording the facts of the weather in the Arctic and in the Senate, recording the statements of the Congressmen and the homeless, recording the words of the clergy of every faith, recording the works of artists and singers, recording the stories of carpenters, engineers, social workers, bankers and plutocrats, we have no history. Without a history, we have no future. Without those who bear witness, we are not a society. And a society that claims these witnesses to be enemies is one clouded by shame.

Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson

 We are the People’s Memory

First President Trump complained that “the media” was biased against him. “Dishonest.” Presidents have made such complaints before, in moments of weakness and self-pity.

Then he labeled the media as “the opposition party.”

Now he has declared journalists to be “the enemy of the American People.”

We at the Authors Guild hear that as a declaration of war. We know our history. Enemy of the People is a phrase long favored by authoritarians and tyrants. The “correct Russian term,” Gary Shteyngart points out, is враг народа, vrag naroda. Long before Lenin and Stalin used it, Robespierre inaugurated the Reign of Terror by declaring that the Revolutionary Government “owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death.”

An earlier president, John F. Kennedy—when he was taking a beating in the press after the Bay of Pigs fiasco—was asked if he resented the media. He said this:

“It is never pleasant to be reading things that are not agreeable news, but I would say that it is an invaluable arm of the presidency, as a check, really, on what is going on in the administration … I would think that Mr. Khrushchev operating a totalitarian system, which has many advantages as far as being able to move in secret, and all the rest—there is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily …Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn’t write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn’t any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.”

President Kennedy was a member of the Authors Guild. So are many of the journalists now covering the Trump presidency, the historians who will soon reflect upon it, and the novelists who challenge us with their imaginative—and, yes, subversive—visions.

The administration is now said to be preparing the elimination of the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities under the false guise of budgetary necessity. We understand this, too, to be part of an attack on the free expression of diverse views.

The Authors Guild serves writers as a nonpartisan advocate. Our members represent a broad spectrum of social and political views. But blanket attacks on writers and journalists, as a class, are not a partisan issue; they are attacks on democracy itself. And, as advocates for authors and the first amendment rights of writers, we cannot let these attacks go unanswered.

We are not the people’s enemies. We are the eyes and ears of the people. And we are the people’s memory.

(Reprinted from Authors Guild Industry & Advocacy News, February 20, 2017)

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Making America GREAT Again!

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it looks like Trump actually IS making America great again. Just look at the progress since the election:

1. Unprecedented levels of ongoing civic engagement.
2. Millions of Americans now know who their state and federal representatives are without having to google.
3. Millions of Americans are exercising more. They’re holding signs and marching every week.
4. Alec Baldwin is great again. Everyone’s forgotten he’s kind of a jerk.
5. The Postal Service is enjoying the influx of cash due to stamps purchased by millions of people for letter and postcard campaigns.
6. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry is enjoying record growth in sales of antidepressants.
7. Millions of Americans now know how to call their elected officials and know exactly what to say to be effective.
8. Footage of town hall meetings is now entertaining.
9. Tens of millions of people are now correctly spelling words like emoluments, narcissist, fascist, misogynist, holocaust, and cognitive dissonance.
10. Everyone knows more about the rise of Hitler than they did last year.
11. Everyone knows more about legislation, branches of government, and how checks and balances work.
12. Marginalized groups are experiencing a surge in white allies.
13. White people in record numbers have just learned that racism is not dead.
14. White people in record numbers also finally understand that Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act.
15. Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” finally gained the elusive #1 spot in late-night talk shows, and Seth Meyers is finding his footing as today’s Jon Stewart.
16. “Mike Pence” has donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood since Nov. 9th.
17. Melissa FREAKING McCarthy.
18. Travel ban protesters put $24 million into ACLU coffers in just 48 hours, enabling them to hire 200 more attorneys. Lawyers are now heroes.
19. As people seek veracity in their news sources, respected news outlets are happily reporting a substantial increase in subscriptions, a boon to a struggling industry vital to our democracy.
20. Live-streaming court cases and congressional sessions are now as popular as the Kardashians.
21. Massive cleanup of Facebook friend lists.
22. People are reading classic literature again. Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” increased by 10,000% after the inauguration. (Yes, that is true. 10,000%. 9th grade Lit teachers all over the country are now rock stars.)
23. More than ever before, Americans are aware that education is important. Like, super important.
24. Now, more than anytime in history, everyone believes that anyone can be President. Seriously, anyone.

Susan Keller (Copy and paste to share.)

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How to Fight Fascism in America

If you are looking for an action plan to fight the rising tide of fascism in America, here is an insightful 20-point list from Yale historian and Holocaust expert Timothy Snyder. I’ve copied his Facebook post below, and interspersed my own remarks and responses in brackets and italics.

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.”

[This is why we must NOT “give Trump a chance.”]

“2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of ‘our institutions’ unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.”

[Join me in subscribing to THE WEEK magazine. Its wide focus encompasses current events, health, media, science, arts, and travel. From it, you’ll get the news the broadcast media ignore. I also recommend THE HIGHTOWER LOWDOWN, from fellow Texan Jim Hightower, who has long chronicled the ongoing democratic struggles by America’s ordinary people against rule by its plutocratic elites. ]

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.”

[It’s also hard for fascists and tyrants to lie with impunity if investigative journalists uncover the truth and make the facts known.]

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism.’ Be alive to the fatal notions of ‘exception’ and ’emergency.’ Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.”

[“Republican Senator Doug Ericksen said in a news release in November 2016 that he planned on proposing a bill that would classify some forms of protesting as ‘economic terrorism.’ Ericksen said that the bill would target protests that disrupt businesses or shut down streets.” No, Senator, protesting is not “terrorism.” It is constitutionally protected free speech.]

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.”

[Think of the so-called “Patriot” Act, established opportunistically in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks, and widely acknowledged as unconstitutional.]

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.”

[Also read William Rivers Pitt, a New York Times and internationally bestselling author, and a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout.]

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.”

[There is nothing normal about a Trump presidency, and I will not go along to get along.]

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”

[The proliferation of fake news threatens our democracy. Don’t believe everything you read!]

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.”

[See items 2 and 6, above.]

10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.”

[Join me and my new friends as we March on Washington, January 21.]

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.”

[A chilling thought, that our future safety may depend on knowing whom to trust. Welcome to Trump’s AmeriKKKa.]

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.”

[Here’s an easy way to transform a swastika into a message of LOVE: http://wnyt.com/news/swastika-becomes-love-message-granger-caroline-streets-saratoga-springs/4317596/]

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.”

[Even in deep-red Texas, there is hope. Hillary Clinton won 3,868,291 votes in Texas, only about 815,000 fewer than Trump. As the state’s demographics change, Republicans and Tea Party extremists can be forced from their stranglehold here.]

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.”

[American Civil Liberties Union. Set up a monthly donation.]

15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.”

[As a responsible, involved, and law-abiding citizen, I have nothing to hide.]

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.”

[I cherish my friends in other countries. They may become my lifeline.]

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.”

[The “constitutional carry” movement in Texas is absolutely terrifying. Some of our nuttier gun nuts actually believe they should be allowed to carry a gun, both openly and concealed, without a permit. Would those same people believe it’s OK to drive a big rig without a license, or practice medicine without a license? Senseless and dangerous. Please support Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Also, Stand With Standing Rock.]

18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)”

[United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Resources for Professionals in Law Enforcement]

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.”

[Check out Common Cause for concrete ways to take action.]

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.”

[I will say it again: Donald Trump is not a patriot. He is a clear and present danger to America and to the world. All who love freedom must stand up, speak out, and take to the streets. See you in Washington, January 21.]

 

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The Fussy Librarian Recommends Waterspell

I’m excited about this! Waterspell Book 1: The Warlock is featured today, August 9, at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations.

You choose from 40 genres and indicate your preferences about content (the level of profanity or sex you want, etc.) and then the computers work their magic. It’s pretty cool, and easy to sign up for the daily emails — check it out! www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

For more details, please see my earlier post about The Fussy Librarian’s recommendations.

Grab a Bargain: Waterspell on Sale

As someone who has regularly paid $15 or more for a book, I think the standard ebook price of $2.99 is a STEAL. At that price, a reader can have all three books of the Waterspell trilogy for under $10.

aia_buttonBut market forces seem to be driving ebook prices down to a mere 99 cents — the cost of a three-minute song. As I’ve said before, I have resisted offering my trilogy for such a paltry sum, lest people mistakenly believe that the quality is poor (it isn’t) or that I’m not proud of my work (I am). I spent 16 years writing Waterspell, and what I produced is the best writing of which I am capable. The reviews (excerpted below) would seem to bear out my belief that the trilogy is well worth $10.

As an experiment, however, I’ve dropped the price to 99 cents per book to coincide with The Fussy Librarian‘s recommendation.

So get ’em while they’re cheap! Or even cheaper than usual.

What People Say: Reviews of Waterspell

“What a brilliant and unforgettable story! I devoured this book … literally consumed by the originality and depth Deborah brings to her characters. She provides a strong balance between action, adventure, fantasy, and romance and Carin’s combination of pride and vulnerability make her a fabulous character! Quite frankly, I am just astounded by the emotions this book stirred in me. It is simply extraordinary.” Feifei Le

“Once I started I only stopped to eat, sleep, and do those tasks that I could not put aside. It was imaginative, entertaining, and much more than just a delightful read. The main characters came alive on the pages and the book kept me guessing about what would happen next. Waterspell is a trilogy that I will highly recommend.” —Patrick M.

“This was an extremely well written fantasy story …  [it] flows well with a very readable style that holds your interest throughout. The world building is solid and intriguing, the magical aspects well drawn and versatile and characterisation is energetic so that you are immediately invested in their future. The ending with its wonderful cliffhanger will ensure that you read on … All in all a marvellous addition to the fantasy genre and I would recommend it for lovers of magical mystical tales.” Liz Wilkins

“I was hooked instantly when I started reading [Waterspell Book 1] The Warlock. I willingly gave up sleep and honestly could not wait to get up to read more of this book. I’m reading the whole series, and I absolutely am loving it.” Sarah @​ Amazon

“If you like epic fantasy that sweeps you to amazing, immersive worlds and while following intriguing characters, be sure to add this series to your to-read list.” Once Upon a YA Book

“Grabbed my attention and kept it. It’s a truly unique book. This is a series not to miss.” Tahlia Newland

“… a fabulous trilogy that should be read by every fantasy reader who would like something a little different. The author cleverly creates tension without resorting to the battles, complex political intrigue and predictable structure favoured by many in the traditional fantasy genre. I give it 5 stars without hesitation.” Tahlia Newland

And there’s more! Additional reviews at www.waterspell.net

I am deeply grateful to all the wonderful reviewers who have responded so warmly to my work. Thank you all, so very much. And thank you, Fussy Librarian, for the recommendation!

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Two Mysterious Silences

Mount Williamson by Ansel Adams

“Mount Williamson” by Ansel Adams

“He spoke of Life as the rainbow that brilliantly spans two mysterious silences, one of which is dawn and the other sunset. This flaming arc must end, as it begins, in pain, but, past the silence, and, perhaps, in even greater mystery, the circle must somewhere become complete and round back to a new birth.”

—Myrtle Reed, Flower of the Dusk (1908)

 


			

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Your eBook Credit Is Ready to Spend

Yippee! My eBook Settlement credit for $1.46 is now in my Barnes & Noble account and ready to use.

I hope your eBook Settlement is nearer $20 than $2. But even if you got only a buck-fifty, that’s still enough to purchase any book in my award-winning Waterspell fantasy trilogy. Until March 31, each book is on sale for 99 cents. Come April, the price goes up.

Sunset banner with 3 covers1_cropped

So don’t wait — now’s a great time to use your eBook credit to get Waterspell at a bargain price. Links to the Kindle editions and the Nook books are at www.waterspell.net.

~~~~~

“What a brilliant and unforgettable story! I devoured this book … literally consumed by the originality and depth Deborah brings to her characters. She provides a strong balance between action, adventure, fantasy, and romance and Carin’s combination of pride and vulnerability make her a fabulous character! Quite frankly, I am just astounded by the emotions this book stirred in me. It is simply extraordinary.”
Feifei Le

“This was an extremely well written fantasy story … [it] flows well with a very readable style that holds your interest throughout. The world building is solid and intriguing, the magical aspects well drawn and versatile and characterisation is energetic so that you are immediately invested in their future. The ending with its wonderful cliffhanger will ensure that you read on … All in all a marvellous addition to the fantasy genre and I would recommend it for lovers of magical mystical tales.”
Liz Wilkins

“This book made me FEEL – and strongly! I also loved that this story was so completely unpredictable. It’s one that I’d find hard to forget … it is one of those rare stories that will stick with me.”
Ali’s Books

“If you like epic fantasy that sweeps you to amazing, immersive worlds and while following intriguing characters, be sure to add this series to your to-read list.”
Once Upon a YA Book

 

 

 

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I Write Like Neil Gaiman (or so I’m told)

A friend sent me the link for the “I Write Like” site, which analyses a sample of your writing and compares it to that of famous writers. My friend submitted a sample of her work in progress and got Margaret Mitchell. I used Chapter 1 of Waterspell Book 1: The Warlock and I got Neil Gaiman.

I’m pretty stoked about that, since Neil Gaiman is a writer-hero of mine!

I write like
Neil Gaiman

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

To have your writing analyzed, here’s the link: I Write Like

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