I've gotten a surprising amount of questions lately from readers, so I figured I'd just put this here for people to either peruse or check before asking me a question.
Q: What word processor do you use and why? A: I use Microsoft Word 2003. I use this program because I started writing as a child on my father's computer, and as such it was the best word processor available to me. I've never felt the need to switch to another, as Word is a powerful program that suits me just fine - cheaper and even free word processors do exist, but Word comes with a lot of interesting and possibly useful functions that I do find myself using, even if only for a bit of fun.
Q: Are you liberal/conservative/marxist/etc? A: No, my political views and overall outlook on life is my own, cultivated from my own experiences and evaluations of the facts, and have been challenged well enough by active debates online since I was fourteen. I don't ascribe to any particular "pre-packaged" political platform. The closest term to describing my views is "libertarian" and no particular political party adequately represents those views, so don't ask if I'm a "democrat" or "republican." I certainly am not Marxist. People on the left-wing have said I am too, and those on the other side of the bird contend I am on their side. This is probably due to the common ground I share with both sides.
Q: Why do you hate the police?! A: This is seriously a question I've got a few times, mostly from people having trouble comprehending my stories or my journals. I obviously don't dislike the police - I would consider joining them were the requirements not deliberately ageist to prevent young males from joining it. Nor do I dislike the military or anything like that. My "problem" with police is that they are people too, subject to the foibles of politics and the flaws of the human condition. However, they have significantly more power and authority than normal people. There have been a great many abuses of police power, and I'm sure many of us have witnessed improper behavior from officers ourselves. Yet not all of them abuse their power, and indeed many of them provide a vital service to society, provided the government's laws they enforce are beneficial to society and not deleterious (as police are not there to help, protect, serve or anything, they're there to enforce the law, be it a foolish or biased law). Therefore, I don't have any dislike for the police force and the brave men and women out there risking their lives for us, whatever uniform they wear - but I urge that people understand what police are, and that there is a reason their powers are limited, and should be, by the very laws they serve. Such as the laws of mistrial, police misconduct in interrogation, warrant requirements, stop-and-search, etc.
In essence, and this is not meant to be offensive (I have police and correctional officers in my family, as well as amongst my friends), police are government attack dogs on leashes. The government should keep that chain tight, and people need to understand that you don't drop your guard around them, because like the figurative attack dogs and literal human beings they are, they're unpredictable and more loyal to their master than you. And when we see the government loosening that chain without good reason, people need to call them out on it.
The world is not like in Dexter or Dirty Harry where "red tape" gets in the way of solving crimes, criminals get away with horrific crimes seemingly on a daily basis, police need more power to fight the good fight and courts need less rules to stop criminals slipping away on "technicalities".** The truth is, the red tape itself is what the police are there to protect. They are the laws and structure that protect our freedom and quality of life as citizens. All I'm trying to do is get people to accept reality instead of living in the fantasy worlds of Dirty Harry; the limitation of police and state is one of the key ideals America was founded on. Stop turning your back on it because when it affects you at last you'll realize how ignorant you've been.
Q: Why are (most of) your stories set in the USA? A: Good question. Several reasons. 1. Most of my readers are by necessity going to be from the USA. 2. The American accent is pretty neat. 3. The USA is actually a pretty good country that provides a lot of opportunities as a story's backdrop. Seriously. Stop ranting about how bad your country is, it's no worse than any other. Reflect on how lucky you are.
Q: Do you support homeschooling? A: Yes. I support progressive and alternative education styles, such as homeschooling, "unschooling" child-directed learning and others. I am an ardent believer in the "Sudbury Valley" education model for mass-schooling, and believe that if the education industry is too scared to move towards that model, then they should at least employ smaller schools with a tighter ratio of teachers to students. Smaller schools are cheaper and more effective; the only reason we cling to denial is the size of the education industry. Any sweeping, but necessary, changes would eliminate many jobs and ill-gotten profits. As for why, I'll have to explain later, since the character limit here is stifling.
Since someone asked: yes, Robert Donaldson (Tai's Story) has a similar parenting and educational philosophy to myself*, but he's no author insertion or Mary Sue. Or Marty Stu. Whatever it is. XD
Q: Are you pro-gun? Are you gun-nut?! What about hunting? A: I strongly support the ownership of firearms, and even concealed carry of weaponry, for licensed, responsible citizens. I am no gun-nut - when it comes to firearms, I am at the stage of understanding where I recognize how little I know. I've used a few, but never fired at a living target and don't intend to. I don't at present own a firearm. I'm not a fan of hunting for sport. It's not a sport, it's pointless.
Q:But you support hunting otherwise? D00d what about animal rights?! A: Forget animal rights. I support animal rights to a degree, but as with many other "political crusades", I'm afraid I side with George Carlin on this: shut the fuck up about saving the planet, saving the whales and saving the snails. Let's save ourselves first, let's stop the horror we inflict on one another routinely in the name of racism, ageism, religion and class. Stop telling me we're being mean to cows when we're letting 10,000 teenagers a year get kidnapped and sent to what are effectively gulags - and nobody ever talks about it! Stop telling me it's wrong to eat a free-range chicken when hundreds of thousands don't have basic health care or insurance. Stop firebombing the labs of people trying to cure deadly human diseases by testing on rats. And if a hunter needs to shoot a deer to feed his family in the middle of winter in the Croatian hinterlands, good on him. That's his right.
Q: What happens to (insert character name here)! A: I hate to say it, but I'm going to keep silent about spoilers from now on. Especially since my two main stories are coming up on their endings.
Q: Is there any artwork of your stories/characters? A: One, yes. A really cute reference sheet by Manafox! https://inkbunny.net/submissionview.php?id=62 My stories get little attention from artists and I don't have the cash to relentlessly buy commissions in order to attract attention the way some do.
Q: Oh, speaking of commissions, do you do them? A: Negative, absolutely not. The current exchange rate between the US and my own country, and the internal value of the currency, means for a commission to be worthwhile for me it would need to be prohibitively expensive for any American commissioners.
Especially given the size and amount of time and effort I put into any story, even porny commissions, I'd be asking too much, would be called "arrogant" or "full of myself" or something else completely ignorant, and so I'm just not going to bother. If you want to throw money my way, or really want a commission, feel free to ask me, but you're not going to like the price (or waiting time). The dismal going rate for story commissions seems to average about $25USD. I make that in an hour at my shitty job. Yet it still only buys me a single six-pack of decent lager! So this is NOT me being a dickhead and asking too much or refusing commissions on the grounds I'm a dork.
Q: So when's the next chapter of Astray/TS coming?! A: Sorry, I can never give a reliable estimate. I write whenever I feel like it and don't release the chapter until I'm happy with it -- even then I tend to miss things and quickly revise it. I have a pretty shoddy work ethic. X3 Creative people in general tend to be bad at methodical, mechanical things, and I definitely fall under that assumption. Coming up with a story is one thing, but you've also got to develop a good work ethic and techniques. I'm still working on that.
Q: Have you ever received criticism for one of your stories? A: Yes, in fact I encourage it. Tai's Story especially is a magnet for criticism because of the sudden apparent "mood change" about halfway through. I'm aware it's a little jarring. I've got reasons for it, I swear, but ultimately I know it's not a perfect story. We grow, we learn, etc. I'll do better next time, I promiiiise!
That's all I can think of for now, folks! Gotta get back to crawling towards that conclusion I'm s'posed to be working on to Tai's Story.