Fred Langworthy and Susan O’Leary: Cultural Exiles

IMG_2437Since I wrote about an ancestor on my father’s side (one of his side’s anyway) from the 1920s, I thought the next story to introduce should be from someone on my mother’s side, from roughly the same time period.

But one generation later. And with a theme of religious intolerance. And possibly related to 19th century Irish-American history. Continue reading

Finding the Tree in the Family Forest

IMG_2197While visiting Montreal and Upstate New York for summer vacation, my family were greeted by an unhappy surprise.

My mother has Stage 4 cancer.

I’ve been spending the past two to three years researching my ancestry (at, you guessed it, ancestry.com) and I had already hoped to talk with my mother about her memories of our Irish and French Canadian heritage.

I’d already managed to find quite bit online via various databases, both public and private. But there’s no substitute for family stories. And now I have a time limit.

Continue reading

An ex-Domer Forever: What on Earthside was I thinking?

It’s the end of the spring term (finally) at my university in Kyoto, which means I’ll be getting ready for my yearlong sabbatical in Montreal soon. From September I’ll be back at a North American university for the first time since 1997.

Ah, Notre Dame. Mixed lapsed Catholic-cum-agnostic memories. Continue reading

It’s Hot Enough to (Insert Offensive Ethnic Slur or Sexual Reference Here)

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I was going to say “it’s so hot you can fry an egg” but it turns out that the temperature needs to be at least 130F for that to happen.

But still…it’s hot here in Kyoto. It’s freakin’ hot. And not that “dry heat” blah blah. The kind of heat that makes me use up three hand towels just to wipe off the sweat from my arms on the way to work. The kind of heat that makes it painful to breath, let alone walk to work.

Naturally, I’ll be going to my martial arts practice later. This is because I am basically insane and enjoy losing 10 pounds in sweat within 30 minutes. Continue reading

New Apple Award for Adam’s Stepsons

2017NewAppleMedallionYes, yet another award for my science fiction novella, Adam’s Stepsons! This time, in the category of “E-book Science Fiction.”

The official rollout of the 2017 New Apple Awards hasn’t yet started (they announce winners in each category slowly over several weeks), but I felt I should announce it here anyway.

Competing against full-length science fiction novels, that’s not too bad!

I guess I really do need to write more. And more. And MORE.

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

How clickfarming broke the Kindle Store (if it wasn’t already broken…): 

https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/scammers-break-the-kindle-store/

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

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