Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Debut Novel! MORE shameless self-promotion!

[This is an out of character post]

Hey all! It feels weird writing on the blog as myself instead of the fictional version of me. I promise only to do it when I have something really important to say, and today is a big one for me. 

My debut novel, Bound to Silence is now live on amazon! It's an epic fantasy adventure, and I think that many of you will like it. Living With the Dead has been an enormous help for me, both as a storyteller and in the mechanics of writing. I wrote the last seventy percent of this book after I started writing this blog, and when I went back through the novel during edits I could really see the difference. 

If you like the blog, please consider supporting its writer by purchasing this book on the kindle here
It's also available on the nook right here

I also want to remind all of you that until the end of next year's Worldbuilders, I will be saving ten percent of everything I make selling eBooks to donate to it. Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind and amazing philanthropist, runs Worldbuilders each year to raise money for Heifer International, which is an organization that provides sustainable living solutions to people in need at home and abroad. People everywhere from north Dakota to Zaire can be gifted with goats to provide milk to drink every day, and hair to make fabrics or rugs. Chickens provide eggs for eating as well as for sales. It's an amazing charity that provides the animals as well as training to make the best use of them. 

Not to mention that unlike a lot of charities, Heifer is totally transparent in their bookkeeping, and you can see right on their website how much of every dollar goes to the people who need it. I'll make it easy--75%. That's HUGE for a charity. So even if you don't want to buy my books, please consider donating to them. It helps to make the world a better place. 

On an end note, let me mention that after next year's Worldbuilders is over, I will still be donating 10% of all my royalties to charity. My first novel, the one mentioned above that can be found here and all subsequent books in its series will go to Worldbuilders. After next year's Worldbuilders, I will be picking a charity for each of my books or series, and donating one penny in ten to it. 

That's it, folks. I hope you buy my novel and enjoy it, but if it isn't your cup of tea, that's ok. I'm just thankful to have you as readers and supporters on Living With the Dead. You keep me going. 


  1. Heifer International (HI) is an organization that claims to work against world hunger by donating animals to families in developing countries. Its catalog deceptively portrays beautiful children holding cute animals in seemingly humane circumstances. The marketing brochure for HI does not show the animals being transported, their living and slaughter conditions, or the erosion, pollution and water use caused by the introduction of these animals and their offspring.

    By definition, animals raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. The animals shipped to developing countries are often subject to; water and food shortages, cruel procedures without painkillers, lack of veterinary care resulting in extended suffering as a result of illness or injury.

    A large percentage of the families receiving animals from HI are struggling to provide for themselves and cannot ensure adequate living conditions, nutrition, and medical care for animals they have been given. HI provides some initial veterinary training to individuals and the initial vaccines. But, long term care for these animals and their offspring is up to the individuals.

    To make matters worse, animal agriculture causes much more harm to the environment than plant-based agriculture. The fragile land in many of the regions HI is sending the animals cannot support animal agriculture. Although they say they encourage cut and carry feeding of the animals to avoid erosion, the reality is often quite different.

    The consumption of animal products has been shown in reputable studies to contribute significantly to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a variety of cancers. Regions that have adopted a diet with more animal products see an increase in these diseases. The remote communities supposedly served by HI have no way of dealing with the health consequences of joining the high-cholesterol world.

    While it may seem humane and sustainable to provide just one or two dairy cows here or there, the long term consequences are an increased desire for animal products in local cultures leading to an increase in production. These communities may be able to absorb the additional water use of one or two cows, what happens when there are hundreds or thousands of dairy cows, each consuming 27 to 50 gallons of fresh water and producing tons of excrement? The heavy cost to animals, the environment and local economies is not figured into HI's business practices.

  2. Hi there, apparently insane (and I'm assuming) vegetarian or possibly vegan person. Like most people who rail against the use of animals, you do make valid points about the long term sustainability of using animal products. However, also like most hardcore vegans or vegetarians that have deep philosophical issues, you completely ignore the context of the situation.

    I don't ascribe to your implied belief that using animal products is immoral or unethical. I do have problems with factory farms and the horrific conditions of most industrial food systems. YOU, however, have made two mistakes that make me, a rational person with an open mind, not give the least tiny shit what you have to say.

    One--You post on my blog with this rant about a a charity that is trying to help people, yet you do so anonymously. That's just sad. I would have been happy to have this discussion privately, but your unwillingness to leave even a fake screen name precludes that possibility.

    And Two--you're ranting about an organization that is completely open about what they do, that tries to create sustainable living, but most importantly---They keep people from starving. WOW. You're pretty much a selfish dick who thinks that the lives of animals and his/her own belief system are more important than human lives.

    Don't get me wrong--I don't hunt, i don't even kill bugs if I can help it. I love animals, and it makes me feel bad now and then that I eat them. Yet, I DO eat them. And use their products. Because I am a human being, and my total superiority to them has put me at the top of the food chain. When and if the cows finally gain intelligence and rise up against their human masters, I wish them well. I don't run away from my comeuppance.

    I would like to add, as a caveat, that in the types of situations that Heifer deals with, the net amount of good each animal does is way beyond the amount of bad. Tons of excrement? Yes, what on earth would a bunch of hungry people do with a bunch of fertilizer and acres and acres of land to plow?

    Water use is an issue, yet I would say that given how very little water is used in the developing world compared to what we waste here, that those folks have a way better grasp on efficient use of it than we do.

    I support Heifer because they are doing very good work toward the goal of helping people create long-term solutions to hunger and poverty. If you want to do something better, please stop trolling blogs and go start up your own damn charity to plant mushrooms or whatever.

    Until then, get off your high horse in regards to people that are actually doing something to make a difference.


  3. I am a vegetarian (and former vegan) and I agree with Josh on this one.

    Anonymous, the issues you raise are important issues to consider. Maybe someone who is diplomatically minded should discuss these issues with Heifer International to see if there is more that the organization can do to address your concerns.

    In the meantime, I support their work.

    The people receiving this aid are living in a "survival situation." In other words, without assistance, they will slowly starve to death. This is not a pleasant way to live, and not a pleasant way to die either.

    You may think that letting people starve is better than causing more ecological harm or harm to animals. But consider the destabilization that happens when a large segment of society is starving. In addition to the human costs, this level starvation pushes a society further in the direction of wars of aggression, civil wars, and dramatic increase of resource extraction.

    Heifer International offers what is perhaps an imperfect solution, but it meets people's survival needs in a way that is simple and readily accepted by the communities and cultures that they work with. There are some costs associated with this approach, including the risk of contributing to animal suffering if these animals are cared for improperly. But the greater risk is the suffering that will be caused if we do nothing.

    Anonymous, if you have a solution to offer that is practical, effective, more humane to animals, and more ecologically sustainable, then by all means, propose it. In the meantime, I will continue to support Heifer International, and I'm sure Josh will do the same.