A new-to-me-review from Literary Nymphs (and a confession)

While I was looking to see what searching for “Connor Wright” turns up these days, I decided I’d see what the image-search results were. On the second page in the second row was a picture of the cover for Tobias’s Own Adventure. I ran my cursor over it to see where it was being pulled from, and to my surprise, the URL was for Literary Nymphs’s reviews-only blog. I followed the link to see if it was one of the two reviews I knew existed for Tobias’s Own, and to my delight I discovered that it was a completely new review.

Rogue Satyr gave Tobias’s Own Adventure a 5-Nymph rating, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Rogue does mention something that no one else did, which is the whole ‘pirate’ thing is basically glossed over…

And yeah, it is. If you start thinking about the logistics of it, you start to realize that a one-man priate crew is the least-likely-to-be-successful crew ever, so. It’s hand-waving and dangling-shinier-things all over the place, I know. It could be worse, though! Despite the fact that most of Caled’s infamy is born of Informed Ability (<-- WARNING: TV Tropes!), the story does start off with him actually doing Pirate-y things.

At least one of my senators Doesn’t Get It.

So I wrote to my congress people, and I got a nicely vague, waffley letter back from one of them. I know he’s just trying to keep everyone happy, but I don’t WANT vague and waffley, I want him to tell me he’s going to vote against the damn bill. Otherwise, it feels entirely too much like he’s just trying to keep me soothed and placated while he’s planning on voting FOR it.

Dude. I don’t want the internet to become TV. I don’t want to live in fear that some fuckwit griefer is gonna come across my site and decide to use SOPA/PIPA to fuck with me, just because they fucking CAN. Given what I write, it’s waaaaaay too likely that someone will use SOPA/PIPA to keep my stories offline.

I don’t want to see hundreds of thousands of forums, of stories, of creative and brilliant people to just disappear. Believe it or not, but someone has pirated First Flight — it turned up on ebookr.com, and I was both somewhat excited (someone thought it was worth stealing!) and annoyed (hey, someone stole First Flight! and the blurb, straight off Dreamspinner’s site…). I sent off a DMCA notice, and they, to their credit, responded appropriately. (In fact, they responded so quickly and politely that I’m seriously considering uploading a couple of my free reads.)

Do I spend hours of my day, trolling pirate sites, looking for anything of mine? No. If someone posts about a pirate site to one of the many mailing lists I’m on, I’ll go take a look, but until ebookr, I’d never found anything of mine. It’s not like it matters to people who pirate stuff — they’re gonna do it no matter what the law says. I’ll poke at pirates if I find them, but in general it’s not like it matters in the grand scheme of my writing life. Hell, at least they’re NOT trying to scrub my presence from the web — pretty much the opposite.

SOPA/PIPA are the antithesis of pirate sites in that regard. It wouldn’t affect the pirates at all, but it could–would–affect ME in a big way. Yeah, it would be nice if we could keep people from stealing stuff, but that’s just not going to happen. The internet is the best thing to happen to my life: it has brought me friends, it has expanded my horizons, it has allowed me to learn things I never would have even known I WANTED to learn. I want my internet to stay pretty much exactly the way it is, full of the sparkling dizzying array of wonder that is humanity. With SOPA/PIPA in place, the internet will likely become TV: catering to the lowest common denominator; run by people who think Jersey Shore and Desperate Housewives and I don’t even know what insipid sitcoms are on these days are what *I* want. I come to the internet to get AWAY from that crap, because no one asks me what *I* want — and it sure as hell isn’t THAT.

Excerpt: Tobias’s Own

You can, of course, get Tobias’s Own from Dreamspinner.

All Tobias wanted to do was stop a robbery. On the way to Doctor Svoboda’s Clinic For Nervous Health, Tobias J. Poole finds himself confronting the famous airship robber Caledfryn H. Hawthorne. Tobias’s act of bravery doesn’t turn out quite as planned, and he finds himself caught in the famous villain’s clutches.

It’s not so bad, really; especially once Tobias meets young tradesman Philippe Carreleur. But Tobias was on that airship for a reason, and his past catches up with him at the most inopportune time. Will Tobias’s new friends be able to make sure his adventure ends happily, or is he destined to be treated for Nervous Health forever?


It was the politeness that changed Tobias’s entire life. Well, it was actually a split-second decision to try being a hero, but he wouldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been for the politeness. The pirate stories he’d grown up on were full of wild-eyed and desperate men who swore like the sailors they subdued; who were mean, villainous, and often sported really ridiculous mustaches.

The man working his way down the line of passengers was calmer, quieter, and—not that Tobias was thinking about it too closely—clean-shaven. He held a soft cloth bag in his right hand and a nasty little Ledent pistol in his left, and as he moved, he kept up a constant patter.

“That’s right, missus, I’ll have those earrings; no, no, not your wedding rings, you keep those. Sir, your watch— Wait, what’s the inscription say? Twenty-five years in the Corps? No, you keep it. Your wallet, now, empty that if you please; thank you. Yes, miss, that’s quite a sweet portrait, have you a safe place for it? Yes? Did he give you— No? Then I’ll have the locket and chain both. Thank you. Cash? Gold? No? All right, then.”

The man watched as Baronne Chénier jerked a heavy twist of pearls from her neck and flung it at his feet. “You want my jewels, you horrible man? You and my miserable bastard of a first husband can crawl for them.” Her rings followed the necklace, bouncing across the rug to bump against the polished toes of his shoes.

“Thank you, missus,” the man said, as sweetly as he’d said everything else. He dropped to one knee, flipped the jewelry into his bag with the snubby nose of the Ledent, then rose smoothly.

That was the moment that Tobias decided the man couldn’t possibly be any sort of threat. He was outnumbered by the people in the salon; there was no way he could hope to escape if they banded together! They only needed someone to make the first move, and he would be the one. The man had moved on to Miss Ford, who was the daughter of some timber baron or something. Once he was done with her, Tobias would take the man down and that would be that.

“Those earrings, miss, are they rubies?”

Miss Amberleigh Ford lifted her chin and looked down her nose at him, an impressive feat considering that she was a full thirty centimeters shorter than her interrogator. “Of course they are,” she said, voice as chilly as the ice field they were drifting over. “All of my jewelry is real.”

“Splendid,” he said, and he held up the sack. “Please put everything in here, miss.”

“And if I refuse?” She crossed her arms.

“Miss,” he said, giving her a cajoling smile. “I’m sure you’ve plenty more pretty things in your room. What are these, to you? Besides….” And here, the smile fell away as he leaned toward her, his voice getting louder for the first time since he’d announced his presence. “You poor thing, those colors do nothing for your complexion. I’m sure one of the other women on board would have mentioned it. Or perhaps they wouldn’t.”

Tobias was fascinated by the change that such a simple statement wrought on the young woman. She flushed right down to the collar of her tea dress, her mouth opening and closing as her hands fell to her sides. Miss Ford removed her earrings, her necklace, and the rings from her fingers with sharp movements, dropping them into the bag.

“Thank you, miss, and wear emeralds next time, won’t you?” A grin flashed at her, and then it was Tobias’s turn.

“All right, young man, your wallet and your watch, if you please.”

“I brought neither with me,” Tobias lied, staring at the gun. “I’m afraid you’ll have to be content with this.” He made a grab for the man’s left hand, managing to force it up toward the ceiling. The gun and its attendant possibility of death demanded the whole of his attention, which was why the blow to his chest was a surprise. Tobias grunted and looked down, away from the struggle, and in that split second of inattention the man struck him again.

“Do not move.” The cold metal of the Ledent’s barrel pressed against his cheek, just under Tobias’s right eye. “On your knees, lad, and put your hands behind your back. That’s it.”

He was hard-pressed to decide which was worse: the burning humiliation of failure, or the fact that he had been winded and subdued with only two strikes. The man cuffed him, then helped him to his feet, which was strange enough to make him forget his embarrassment. “What the—”

“You’ll see. Now,” the man said, tugging him out of the line of people, “since you claim to be free of valuables, I think I’ll make do with you. Stand here quietly, please, while I finish up. Oh, and next time you want to pretend you’ve left your watch elsewhere?”

The man seemed to be waiting for a reply, so Tobias said, “Yes?”

“Make sure your chain’s not visible.” He gave the young man a quick little smirk, then went back to the line of passengers. Ten minutes later, he shoved the bag into Tobias’s hands and looped the drawstring around his cuffs, then bowed to the assembly. “Thank you kindly,” he said, before he hauled his loot through the salon door and disappeared.

Taking deep breaths still makes me cough.

I just got my first edit of Tobias’ Own back. I haven’t even looked at it, yet. They want it back by Friday, so I have to open it up…

I can’t think of anything pithy/cute/smirk-inducing to say about how it’s my first time with a new editor. *Girds loins* Okay, here I go, off to see how my story can be bettered.

Guess what my protagonist’s name is!

A word-cloud of my latest story

Only certain people get to call him Toby, that's why.

It’s the natural result of writing something with a bunch of guys in–you can’t just use ‘he’ and ‘him’ all the time, or no one will have any idea who you’re talking about.