When Solar Goes Bad: A Case Study

Apparently someone reposted an old 2015 story and gave it new legs, and my news feed has been full of reports regarding a rural town voting a moratorium on solar energy because the panels would, among other terrible effects, suck up all the sun and stop photosynthesis.

I think you guys are being unfair and are just following the critical mainstream media on this, without paying attention to the evidence which is right in front of you.

In September, I unwisely had solar panels installed on my house, believing the environmental propaganda that they would provide me clean energy without nasty side effects. And sure, by my calculations we’ve produced over 3.4 megawatt-hours of power so far even in a rainy October, the equivalent of more than 4 NYC-LA flights and saving over 60 trees’ worth of CO2.

But. You know there’s a but.

My trees were full and green when those panels were installed. And look at them now. Brown leaves or even bare branches — it’s true. I installed the solar panels, and the trees stopped photosynthesizing. YOU CAN’T ARGUE THE EVIDENCE.

Roof with solar panels beside leafless branches and trees with dead leaves.

You can’t argue the evidence, people.

Continue reading

Guest Post: K F Baugh, The Monsters We Are

Today’s guest post is from K F Baugh — why yes, we are related, by marriage — on her new book Valley of the Broken. As I also write from traditional folklore and various cultures, I really like her take on traditional folkloric representations of the humanity we still are now, and what that means for us.

Valley of the Broken

Who can say what will spark the idea for new book?

In my case, it was a monster.

Let me back up. Continue reading

What is up with #Inktober?

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

If you follow my social media, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting ink drawings for #Inktober, and that they’re generally awful. You might have asked yourself why I would do that. Do I know how bad they are, or do I see my work through a blissfully ignorant filter? Is it some sort of prank?

So here’s what’s up with Inktober.

First, in case you aren’t familiar with it, #Inktober is a month for doing one drawing — in ink — and sharing it per day. You can find the brief background and this year’s optional prompt list from the creator Jake Parker. It’s something like National Novel Writing Month, but for visual artists.

Now, let’s recognize that I’m bad at drawing. No, I’m really bad at drawing. The local catchphrase for referring to truly hideous visual design is, “It looks like Laura drew it.” (Don’t feel bad. I’m often the one saying it. It’s not wrong to acknowledge my skills are in other sets.) So why on earth would I do Inktober, which unlike NaNoWriMo specifically requires publicly sharing one’s work?

I’m doing Inktober for several reasons: Continue reading

A Visit to CANDLES Holocaust Museum — and Today

Last Friday I had the privilege of briefly meeting a Holocaust survivor, hearing an extended recorded conversation with another Holocaust survivor, and hearing an hour-long talk from a German Jew who fled to the US shortly before war broke out.

It was, of course, sobering. And terrifying, when we consider where we are right now.

Eva Mozes and her twin Miriam were taken into Dr. Mengele’s experimental lab. Three thousand twins went in. Two hundred came out. Continue reading

Let the Sun Shine! New Solar Panels to Power My Work

two-story brick house with ladder to roof and solar panelsAfter two days of intense upgrades, my house is powered by the sun.

We’re brand new and still working out the bugs, but our first day of full sun produced enough power to fuel my car over 250 miles. Our first day of partial sun produced enough power to run our house comfortably. We’re on Day 3 right now, so I can’t offer much more in the way of numbers or averages. Continue reading

A Little Feminist Check Re Discrimination

I botched it tonight.

Someone asked our panel about writing in a traditionally male-dominated (both as authors and heroes) genre, as a woman. And several women writers were invited to answer, but with the clock ticking on the last moments of our chat time.

I was discombobulated by trying to formulate both a comprehensive and brief answer under the countdown, and even more so by another panelist’s previous assertion that white males were the cause of the downfall of society — a statement I found untrue as well as unfair to the white male panelists sitting on either side of me at the time, not freaking out about being outnumbered on the panel. Continue reading

Flora & Fauna in Fantasia

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background
Protected example of Common Ash (Fraxinus exce...

Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just because a book is a fantasy does not mean it does not require research (and in fact often requires more). Right now I am writing about the plants and animals of Asgard, and I am working to make them as probable as possible.

How do we know what animals lived and what plants grew in a land that never was? We look at where the storytellers lived. The Danes who first told these stories likely based their creatures and plants on the more familiar specimens they knew. Continue reading

Writing Women.

Let’s talk about lady protagonists.

No, this isn’t another rant about needing more strong female characters, nor the problems with Strong Female Characters (TM). (That’s an easy problem to solve, really: you write good characters, and some of them are female. Done. Not every character needs to carry the impossible weight of universal representation.)

No, I’m going to talk about just the number of females, and my own part in the current state of affairs. Yes, this was partly prompted by Jo Eberhardt’s “The Problem With Female Protagonists,” but I think I’m going to add some additional data and personal takes.

First, let’s look at a statistical truth: There are more books and films with male protagonists than female. (The very fact that we call out but-look-a-female-lead! is proof of it being outside the norm. Nobody needs to point out gravity, because we’re all used to it.) But because we’re all neurologically programmed to notice the abnormal more than the normal, when we do start seeing “diversity,” it feels bigger than it is.

This is why research shows that if 17% of a given group is female, the men in the group report an equal number of men and women, and when the number of females reaches 33%, the men report a majority of women. The “excess” of women over the “norm” is what’s perceived, not an actual count. Continue reading

So To Honor Him charity promotion

So To Honor HimWhen So To Honor Him released last year, all the initial profits went directly to support International Justice Mission, an organization fighting modern-day slavery.

In 2015, we’re doing it again.

100% of the profits from all copies (paperback and ebook) sold December 14-18 will go directly to IJM. Click here to purchase and feel free to share with your friends! Continue reading

News: I Have a Tesla

20151205_135738 It was roughly three years of observing and dreaming, before I had finally realized I’d saved enough. And lemme tell you, there’s no feeling like achieving a dream.

Word got out this weekend, when I picked up the car itself. I have become the very pleased owner of a Tesla Model S.

And the key point for this blog is, my books are buying it. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) Continue reading