Monday Morning Links of Interest

I’m looking at my list of things that must be done before we leave later this month to do things, like: get married, see friends and family, travel for a week… It will be a good time. But at the moment, there is a lot of work to be done that will help it all go more smoothly. Add that to my debating about how much help sharing links of interest on facebook actually is. I think they get lost in the signal. So I will be doing less of that, and more of short posts here with sharing stuff that catches my eye. Which also might interest you, my readers. 

What’s happening in my world? Well, this photo might give you a clue, along with the fact that yesterday the First Reader and I visited Jungle Jim’s and hit the reduced produce section. 

rhubarb, strawberry, and both!

Signal Noise

by Dave Freer

A book which is really the most popular book around, is worth a look-in. The nearest approximation in sf-fantasy is the Hugos. And it isn’t a great approximation (the sample of readers, by who attends/supports Worldcon is obviously inaccurate, and various problems in the nomination have been exposed by the Puppies. (they’re game-able, they’re not demographically representative of the sf readership) – but it’s the best we’ve got right now. As such it could do a good job for sf. It used to.

It had largely devolved into (4) A pat on the back for one of the ‘in’ literary clique’s chums – with rapidly declining signal value. And of course the chums, not known for their wider vision or long term thinking were very happy with that, which is why they’re absolutely livid with the Pups. They’ve been running around firstly trying to down-value our signal, and secondly frantically turning to their usual ally, ‘the rules’.

Read more at the Mad Genius Club

History of Independent Authors

by Celia Hayes

I urge you to go read this gem of a post about the history of Indie Publishing, some sweet and funny things, but also basics for those who want to go Indie. Here’s a short excerpt.

Only two or three of the original writers appeared to have more than a single book out; Janet Elaine Smith was the champion of all, with something like eighteen. She was a retired missionary living in the mid-west, with a whole string of Christian romances and historicals and a part-time job as publicist at a small traditional regional press. Janet was a bubbling fountain of information, as well as being an advocate of thinking outside the box when it came to places to sell your books. For example, it was her suggestion – and only one of dozens – that bed and breakfasts and boutique shops located near the setting of your book might be excellent outlets for your book. It was also her suggestion to always carry postcards, or book markers, or business cards with your book information on them, and when people casually asked about what you do for a living, always admit to being a writer, because the next question invariably would be, “Well, what do you write?” She was also the one who explained how every book that we wrote was an advertisement for all of our other books. This is probably common knowledge among author entrepreneurs now, but in 2007 it was new to most of us – who again were mostly first-time authors with little experience in marketing our own books. And a website with a domain name reflecting the author’s name were the best, rather than a website tailored around the title of your book or some off-the-wall title where it wouldn’t be obvious. Because of course you were going to write more books. Most of us did go on to write more … just like Janet Elaine.

Read More at According to Hoyt

Laconia and the U-Boat

I became aware of this incident in history when I was googling the words Laconia and bombing while talking to my son about an incident he’d seen or heard of. Have you ever tried to get a straight story out of a nine-year old? Kiddo, I love you, but sometime you make no sense. On the other hand, this was a fascinating story, and good fodder for the author brain in my head.

Read the whole story at Band of Brothers…

On September 12, 1942, the RMS Laconia, a former Cunard liner drafted into service, was en route in the South Atlantic from Cape Town to Freetown with 80 civilian passengers and 1,800 Italian POWs on board. The German submarine U-156, on patrol along the west coast of Africa, spotted Laconia and, thinking it a troopship, sent two torpedoes her way.

Chaos broke out on deck. People were scrambling for the life boats, many of which could not be launched due to the heavy listing of the ship. The two torpedoes exploded below the water line in the hold amongst the Italian prisoners, causing them to desperately dash to the upper decks fleeing from the incoming water. Their Polish guards tried to keep them away from the lifeboats and violence ensued. Many Italians ended up in the water with bleeding bayonet wounds that attracted sharks. Around 9 pm the Laconia finally slipped beneath the waves.

Hartenstein and his crew

The commander of U-156, Korvettenkäpitan Hartenstein, surfaced to capture Allied officers in the hope of gathering useful information. Seeing the Italians in the water he decided to mount a rescue operation and signaled U-boat command for help. Admiral Dönitz diverted seven submarines of a task force that was supposed to attack Cape Town to help Laconia’s survivors. This infuriated Hitler and soon orders came that the submarines should return to their original objectives. Meanwhile submarines U-506, U-507 and the Italian Cappellini headed towards U-156’s position with orders to rescue the Italian POWs only. Three Vichy French warships, included the cruiser Gloire, left their African harbors to help as well.

Hartenstein distributed people evenly among the boats and supplied them with food and drinking water. He also sent an open radio message in English stating that he would not fire upon ships arriving to help. On September 15 U-506 and U-507 arrived and the submarines started towing the lifeboats to the rendezvous point with the French ships. The submarines got separated during the night and the following morning U-156 was spotted by an American B-26. Despite Hartenstein’s request for assistance via radio and the Red Cross flag draped across U-156’s deck, the bomber received orders from its base to attack the German submarine.