The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

New Website, New Domain Name, New You

update

Hi everyone. I decided to join the 21st century. Yes, after one thousand posts and ten years of blogging, I decided it was time to get my own domain name. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here, but I’ve always been an early adopter. Old risk-taking Eric, that’s me.

http://ericjuneaubooks.com

So no more mooching off of blogger/blogspot or whatever you want to call it. Now I’ll have my own domain, my own promotional material, with blackjack and hookers.

Now the transition isn’t totally made yet. I think I found a way to import my good good blogger stuff here so it’s not lost to time when I abandon this site, but I still need to set up the design and layout and all that stuff. So hold tight, bookmark it for now, and I’ll let you know when I’ve moved over totally.

Top Posts of 2014

blog logo

Yeah, I know this isn’t exactly timely.  I got sidetracked by vacation and then super-sidetracked by trying to figure out how to cull the damn data I needed.

Once again, Morgan Smith Goodwin is the winner.  People love that red-headed burger-slinger.  After that, it’s the “Analyzing the Disney Villains” intro, and then “Milk & Honey”.  After that are newcomers Mother Gothel and Maleficent round the Top Five.

Nothing from this year even cracked the Top Twenty Most Visited.  Dr. Facilier’s analysis clocks in at twenty-three and the next doesn’t occur until 73 (Ursula).  Others from this year include favorite Disney animated moments (#112), analyzing Rourke (#116) and Snow White’s Evil Queen (#120).

Here’s what I can’t figure out.  I received a significant peak on July 17, but I can’t figure out why.  I didn’t post anything controversial that day.  The traffic patterns don’t deviate from the norm.  Everything looks like the same patterns as the year.  Did Wendy’s come out with a new ad campaign then or something?  Did they add more MSG?

Get it?  MSG?

New Comment Moderation Policy

banhammer hammer thor

So yesterday I went for some new supplies hammer. It wasn’t easy — you need to find one that fits your personality. John Scalzi has the “Mallet of Loving Correction”,

so I clearly can’t duplicate that. The store I went to has a pretty nice collection, but most of them didn’t fit me.

Too small

Too big

The salesman told me this one was used by a little, old Outworld emperor who only used it on weekends.

Too cheap 

Too expensive

Too springy

What the hell is that?

Okay, now really…

Come on, what kind of salesman is this? I thought he’d know his hammers at least…

He chased me out of the store.  As Stephanie Tanner would say, “How rude!”

Anyway, this is all my way of telling you that recent events have forced me to consider a comment moderation policy. I’m a big supporter of free speech and that you should have the ability to say what you want — that’s what makes this country great. You may not have noticed, but I do have some moderation control settings on, but they’re mostly checking for spam. I allow anonymous comments. I do not filter comments, except for older posts. But so far, I have published every comment that’s come toward me, and deleted none. I allowed some very nasty things about myself through that I didn’t have to.

That will now change. Here is the new comment moderation policy.

Comments that do not offer constructive feedback will be deleted. This will include meaningless positiveness or compliments or “Me too!”s.

Comments that are simply name-calling, yelling, or insults will be deleted.

Comments that demonstrate a lack of reading the actual material will be deleted. For example, in this post someone accused my Soul Calibur IV picture of being offensive. My response is: duh. That picture is meant to demonstrate a bad example of femininity. If that person had read the preceding paragraph, he/she would have seen “When people point to good examples of female protagonists, they point to Alyx [from Half-Life 2]. When they point to bad examples, they point to Soul Calibur IV.”

Comments that offer “why”s and “how”s will be accepted.

Comments that ask for clarification or misinterpret something obvious will be accepted. And will usually be commented on or answered or corrected.

Comments that offer new information, helpful resources, experience, or amusing anecdotes will be accepted. I like stories.

I still believe in free speech, but I control this blog. And I don’t want it to be filled with “noise” and negativity. I want it to be a good place. I’m looking for feedback. Everyone say hello to the new ban hammer.

My 500th Post

500th post five hundred ice

If you can tell by the modest graphic, this makes post 500. To be honest, I’ve really got nothing special to say, except to give a look back at the progress of the blog from its inception in 2/12/2007, before my first kid was even born.

I started it as a way to “keep honest” when writing my first novel (the first meant for mainstream publishing). And mostly, I wrote about being depressed about how poorly the writing was going. I never wrote about when the writing was going good. I’m not sure if it ever was. I complained about slumps, I complained about time, I complained about everything. It was too much like a LiveJournal, or my old diary, which I had just bounced from.

So it’s no wonder I had nil visitors until September 2010, when I did my Ye Olde Renaissance Fair Write-Up. To be honest, I have no idea why this post is so popular, except for the boobs. My second most popular is Eric’s Top Ten Fantasy Movies. The point is that when I started deviating from just posts about writing and personal stuff, people wanted to read. So I started writing more about whatever I wanted to. And adding images to posts probably helps.

After that my visits were steady until in February 2011, my visits DOUBLED because of my article on the Penny Arcade Dickwolves (also my most commented-on post), thanks to being noted on the “debacle” timeline. Now there’s a consistent average of 1,000 pageviews per day.

There have been probably times when I wanted to quit the blog. True, it would be easier to play Gemcraft Labyrinth all day than to think about putting words on a page in the right order. But those were fleeting moments. I quite enjoy writing about things that interest me, complaining about things that are stupid, and informing the reader about the great shit out there.  So I’ll see you at post 1,000.

And for no reason, here’s some of my favorite posts.

My First Spam Comment!

Yay! I got my first spam comment in my Roger Ebert post. It comes from an anonymous person who said today was his lucky day, because their giving away 100 free iPads at some tinyURL. They must have some time travel machine, because I didn’t think the iPad was out yet. I hope this guy wins one of them.

You never forget your first spam comment. God bless the Internet.

BTW, all further spam comments will be deleted without mercy.

I Am An Idiot, And You May Comment On That

Okay, it has been brought to my attention that the reason I have written 325 posts and not received a single comment is because the comments are turned off. I guess all those toolbars at the bottom I see fooled me. So now they’re turned back on. Comment away–I know nothing about moderation to flood me with you spam links. Go on, I dare you.

The Final Word on The Shine Journal

I sent my last blog entry to said editor of The Shine Journal. As you could read, it wasn’t an apology, it wasn’t a redaction. It was a re-evaluation. I don’t know what I was expecting for a response, if I was expecting one at all, but I would have liked it to be a bit more magnanimous than it was. Her tone was extremely defensive and proud. Maybe it’s all the Lamebook I’ve been reading, but it feels like adolescent behavior–can’t leave an issue alone, attacks all forms of disparagement, always has to have the last word, uses too many exclamation points

The first thing she said was that she doesn’t send any contract information because it’s already there on the website to read. So the onus is on me to find all this stuff? You can’t remind the reader? You can’t even include a link to where this info is? Aren’t you the one who’s supposed to be paying me? Is it the employee’s job to find out how he’s going to get paid? Or is it the employer’s job to indicate how he will be paid? I know which job sounds better.

I don’t get what I said that was so insulting. The Shine Journal was plenty big for me… until a bigger magazine came along. Surely these people don’t believe they’re the biggest fish in the pond. They might act like you are, but if you have a simultaneous submissions policy, you have to expect this sort of thing to happen. And I might note that the big fish all have contracts. Does she know that not having contracts is not the norm? That not having contracts is kind of dangerous? That the whole point of contracts is to protect both the author and editor legally? And she said “I won’t help you out-read for yourself”. What does that even mean?

Before I regretted my words and the result they brought. Now I really don’t care if I’m blacklisted. This is not the sort of people I want to work with. And further justifies the decision I made. I have no regrets about putting The Shine Journal on my ignore list. I’m done with this immature back and forth. And that’s my final word on the subject.

Aftermath With The Shine Journal

I may have made a mistake. A big one. Maybe.

This refers to the last post I made where I compared “The Shine Journal” and “Sorcerous Signals”. First, I want to say why I said what I said. To me, the name of the name game is to get published. To get published you have to get noticed. You get noticed by getting into the big magazines. To get into the big magazines, you get into the small ones first. At least that’s my battle plan. The purpose of this blog is to track my progress and leave an account of what I did or how I did it. However, in doing so, I may have seriously sabotaged my ambitions. I made… a ‘boo-boo’.

What I wrote about “The Shine Journal” offended someone at… “The Shine Journal”. The editor wrote back to me, cited some lines I had written that described said magazine as being unprofessional. She told me that I should not judge the credibility of a magazine based on how it responds to acceptances, and should have been grateful for the acceptance. She said that “The Shine Journal” has been online three years, won awards, and was putting together a “best of” anthology. She said she does not send out contracts because she does not want to waste paper. She closed by saying that I was blacklisted from ever submitting to “The Shine Journal” again.

Of course, I never expected said person to come to this site. I always wrote this blog as if no one was reading. And unless I’ve got my Google Analytics set up wrong, no one is. The site got only 26 visits last month. Total. And yet, this one entry found its way to the editor of “The Shine Journal”. If I had published it a day later, maybe she never would have seen it. But it doesn’t matter.

What I’m saying is–everything you write on the Internet is there for everyone to see. You must expect that everyone is reading it. And thus, you must be careful of what you say. Visit Lamebook for some real life examples. A writer’s tool is his words and words can hurt. Perhaps using the word “legit” was incorrect. I did not mean to imply that “The Shine Journal” was a scam site. I’m sure it is not.

But words tell the truth, and I, as a fiction writer, have a duty to tell the truth. I never sought to besmirch “The Shine Journal”. What I did was I make an opinion. I had to make a judgement call and I called it like I saw it. That “The Shine Journal” would read such an entry, not to mention take action on it, never entered my mind. And it shouldn’t.

I thought a lot about it, whether or not I should reconsider what I post, my blogging style, in case someone doesn’t what I have to say. Someone with power. But that would be a policy based on fear, not on knowledge. I don’t believe I did anything wrong. I told the truth. I thought the way “The Shine Journal” handled my acceptance was not as professional as “Sorcerous Signals” did. I did not feel that they regarded me as an author, just as a contributor. I did not receive any form of contract or instruction on how I would be paid.

Think about it. If you have two job offers for the same position–one sends you a nice e-mail welcoming you to the company, here’s the company website, here’s a copy of our application policy, here’s a map of the campus, you go here to sign in, there’ll be a 2 hour tutorial before you meet your boss–and another e-mail that just says “you’re hired, see you on Thursday”. Which one sounds like the better job?

So I stand by what I said, although I’ve recast it here. You can disagree with it. You can take action on it. But you cannot and will not affect what I have to say. I find it ironic that the editor of a literary journal couldn’t handle criticism. I believe I made the right decision, both in which magazine to go with, and how I conduct myself on my blog. I can’t let the potential opposition stop me from saying what I want, as long as I’m honest and composed.

So what have we learned? Am I going to stop talking about my experiences with magazines and how they make me feel? Well… I don’t know. I’m definitely going to think more carefully about how I word my criticism, not just for the sake of my own career, but because word selection is an important skill in a writer, and should not be taken lightly.

My Token Update and a Rant on Scalzi

I haven’t posted here for a while, but something really got my goat today. But first, an update.

As you’ve no doubt guess, I’ve been trying to focus on my fiction, meaning back-burner blog for breakfast. It lost my interest for the moment, as everything else I’ve been doing has been going well. I feel like I’m in a rhythm on my writing where there are fewer blocks. To date, I’ve finished the first draft of my short stories, gotten up to version 2 on Black Hole Son, sent Avatar in for a second critique, finished cataloguing possible places to send my short stories. Right now I’m working the final revision for Blood 2, and am actively editing (cleaning up) the Blood Wiki, which I was invited to because of my fan fiction. They even did a Bloodite of the Week interview with me. It’s hard to believe that a story I wrote 10 years ago in high school still has a following.

The site’s a good enterprise, and it’s fun to work on, but it needs a lot of cleaning up. Lots of middle grade English, lack of images, lack of pages, ugly main page, ugly templates, no style conventions, and it seems to be . It’s really wanting a strong direction. It’s got all the earmarks of a fan site, just like the FF Compendium. It’s got more pages dedicated to fan fiction than to the items or enemies of Blood (before I got to it). It’s got non-canon and fan media junk mixed in with the stuff that actually had to do with Blood. The profile on Caleb had biographical implements from a fan fiction story – that I wrote!

To be honest, I’m fully expecting the same thing to happen that happens whenever I get involved in a collaborative creative effort. The leader won’t like the way I’m doing things because he won’t have any ambition or any idea of how to make a site look professional. They won’t understand the sheer magnitude of the problem, and get scared they’re losing control, thus ban me or kick me out, after I’ve improved the work by a factor of ten.

Now I said that to illustrate a point. I wouldn’t be surprised if the editors of the Blood Wiki see this and get riled up that I criticized their work. The FF Compendium did the same thing. The proliferators of the Blood Wiki are writers, so I’d like to think they are more receptive to criticism than to simply deny and lash back. But if not, then its their loss. But my point is, I can say that sort of thing, because I have a blog, and can say whatever I want on it. However, I can’t (and shouldn’t) stop anyone else from saying what they want here, unless I disable comments or ban some people, because this blog is a public domain. Mr. John Scalzi begs to differ.

Exhibit A: Another Entry in the Annals of “People Who Haven’t the Slightest Idea What They’re Saying”

Read that? Good. Now I’m not an expert on politics, but I do know the difference between how you think something works and how it actually works. Now most of this article seems to be true, except a few points.

Point the first – your first amendment rights do not apply to this blog. Is this blog a medium of speech? Yes. Is speech covered under the first amendment? Yes. Case closed. He makes the argument that the blog is his private property. That is the equivalent of creating a large TV screen that broadcasts whatever you are saying, and then saying that the likeness and his words are his own private property. There’s no such thing. I learned in high school journalism there was a landmark court case where a journalist was playing a bridge game with someone. That someone said something that that reporter later printed. The court ruled that this was okay.

Scalzi makes the argument that he is not the government, so the first amendment doesn’t apply to him. He seems to be under the misconception that only the government needs to watch their speech. WRONG. Even a fifth grader could tell you that. The right to free speech applies to everyone. The government only enforces the right, making sure that no one’s taking it away, so if some other American is taking away your right to free speech, they step in and bring the hammer down (or at least they should. These days they’re better at suppressing, but that’s another topic).

He says that he doesn’t need to tolerate free speech anymore than he needs to tolerate protestors on his lawn. WRONG. That’s called freedom of assembly, another right in that wonderful free speech section. I admit I’m fuzzy on the details, but as long as people are peaceable, they have the right to gather. Maybe not on Scalzi’s lawn, that could be considered his private property, but on the sidewalk? In the street? Oh yes.

Point the second – the first amendment does not apply to the whole Internet. True, it does apply to only the servers on which the data is stored that fall under that jurisdiction. This point I’m not worried about. And I agree that I wish the first amendment applies everywhere. But then Scalzi does a 180 and says in the same breath that that still doesn’t apply on his blog. I don’t know where his server is stored, but I don’t think it’s in Switzerland. That means his text and the text of his commenters is subject to the same law as all other Americans.

Point the third – Not disabling comments does not give people permission to comment. Thne he says I expressly and explicitly deny you permission to comment. This is where the ‘how it works vs. how you think it works’ comes into play. You can deny me all the shit I want. If you don’t disable the comments and then get huffy when someone says something you don’t like, you’re a moron. He says that even if you do post, you don’t have consent, just like even though his house door is unlocked, doesn’t give consent to allow entry into his home. First, how the hell is that supposed to work? I don’t give consent to you dancing the watusi. Now how do you like them apples? This reminds me of a famous movie I once saw – a stirring epic of biblical, political, and sociological lessons with far-reaching implications. Let’s take a look.

LORETTA (a male): I want to have babies.
REG: You want to have babies?
LORETTA: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
REG: But you can’t have babies!
LORETTA: Don’t you oppress me.
REG: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb. Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?
JUDITH: Here. I’ve got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody’s fault… not even the Romans’, but that he can have the right to have babies.
FRANCIS: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother! … Sister, sorry.
REG: What’s the point?
FRANCIS: What?
REG: What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can’t have babies?
FRANCIS: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.
REG: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.

Replace that “can’t” with “can” and there’s Scalzi’s delusion.

Second, a home is private residence, which is protected under another amendment. What Scalzi does not seem to realize is that he is posting in a public domain, in a public way. A blog is not a private residence, it is a public forum, especially if you leave comments enabled (consent or not). The closest equivalent I can think of would be a global bulletin board where you have the right to put on whatever you want in the form a big jumbotron everyone can see, and then not giving people permission to put post-it note responses on your jumbotron. It’s your jumbotron, true, but people are going to do what they want to do and say what they want to say.

Why has Scalzi appointed himself the king of the Internet? Does he not know how people behave? Blogging software has things like banned IP addresses and comment disabling BECAUSE this sort of thing exists. He says that even if he uses those tools, that doesn’t mean his consent thing still doesn’t hold. I don’t know what kind of Pollyanna world he’s living in, but I dare him to set up a post, remove “permission” for people to comment there, and see how far he gets.

So in conclusion, it’s up to everyone to promote free speech. The blog is not a home, it’s a public forum, especially if you don’t take the necessary and freely available steps to stop someone from defacing it. You can’t violate someone’s free speech by taking it away, unless it’s vandalism or hurtful to someone. It’s illegal for someone to grafitti a wall (doesn’t mean they’re not gonna do it), but it’s not illegal for someone to put poster on it with a message. That’s public domain, and that’s free speech, and it’s morally wrong for you to pull that post-it note down, because then you’re trying to silence someone. Taking away consent is shouting into the wind.

Speaking of which, I hope you don’t think I’m a coward just because I’m posting this in my blog instead of the comments on Scalzi’s blog. I would post this diatribe there, but he’s already gotten enough lip service from people saying the same thing. I don’t think it would do any good, because you can’t argue with someone who’s unreasonable.

Remember, the only solution to bad speech is more speech.