Long Read: Coywolves & Pizzly Bears

We humans are a promiscuous and unchoosy species, and apparently we encourage such tendencies in the species forced to deal with us. Moises Velasquez-Manoff, reporting for the NYTimes:

In New England today, trees cover more land than they have at any time since the colonial era. Roughly 80 percent of the region is now forested, compared with just 30 percent in the late 19th century. Moose and turkey again roam the backwoods. Beavers, long ago driven from the area by trappers seeking pelts, once more dam streams. White-tailed deer are so numerous that they are often considered pests. And an unlikely predator has crept back into the woods, too: what some have called the coywolf. It is both old and new — roughly one-quarter wolf and two-thirds coyote, with the rest being dog.

The animal comes from an area above the Great Lakes, where wolves and coyotes live — and sometimes breed — together. At one end of this canid continuum, there are wolves with coyote genes in their makeup; at the other, there are coyotes with wolf genes. Another source of genetic ingredients comes from farther north, where the gray wolf, a migrant species originally from Eurasia, resides. “We call it canis soup,” says Bradley White, a scientist at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, referring to the wolf-coyote hybrid population.

The creation story White and his colleagues have pieced together begins during European colonization, when the Eastern wolf was hunted and poisoned out of existence in its native Northeast. A remnant population — “loyalists” is how White refers to them — migrated to Canada. At the same time, coyotes, native to the Great Plains, began pushing eastward and mated with the refugee wolves. Their descendants in turn bred with coyotes and dogs. The result has been a creature with enough strength to hunt the abundant woodland deer, which it followed into the recovering Eastern forests. Coywolves, or Eastern coyotes, as White prefers to call them, have since pushed south to Virginia and east to Newfoundland. The Eastern coyote is a study in the balancing act required to survive as a medium-size predator in a landscape full of people. It can be as much as 40 percent larger than the Western coyote, with powerful wolflike jaws; it has also inherited the wolf’s more social nature, which allows for pack hunting. (In 2009, a pack of Eastern coyotes attacked and killed a 19-year-old Canadian folk singer named Taylor Mitchell in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.) But it shares with coyotes, some 2,000 of which live within Chicago’s city limits, a remarkable ability to thrive in humanized landscapes….

Thus did humans inadvertently create an ecological niche for a predator in one of the most densely populated regions of the country. In an exceedingly brief period, coyote, wolf and dog genes have been remixed into something new: a predator adapted to a landscape teeming with both prey and another apex predator, us. And this mongrel continues to evolve. Javier Monzon, an evolutionary biologist at Stony Brook University, has found that Eastern coyotes living in areas with the highest densities of deer also carry the greatest number of wolf genes. Another scholar of the Eastern coyote — Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh — estimates that the Eastern coyote’s hybrid ancestry has allowed it to expand its range five times as fast as nonhybrid coyotes could have. In the urbanized Northeast, of all places, an abundance of large prey seems to have promoted a predator whose exceptional adaptability has derived, in large part, from the hodgepodge nature of its genome…

The emergence of the Eastern coyote, however, shows how human activity can break down the barriers that separate species. Perhaps the most obvious way in which humanity is altering the natural world is through climate change. The Arctic, where its effects are especially evident, is warming between two and four times as fast as the rest of the planet. Spring thaws now arrive weeks earlier; winter freezes come weeks later. Shrubs are invading once-barren tundra. Animals at high latitudes — where related species tend to have diverged more recently and can therefore interbreed more easily — are shifting their ranges in response to rising temperatures and melting sea ice. As they do, they may encounter cousins and hybridize.

In Maine, Minnesota and New Brunswick, Canadian lynx have lately produced cubs with the more southerly bobcat. A Southern flying squirrel has pushed north into southern Ontario and begun mating with its larger, boreal cousin. The best-known examples of this process are the polar bear-grizzly hybrids, sometimes referred to as grolar or pizzly bears, four of which have been shot by hunters in recent years; genetic testing indicated that one of them was a second-generation animal. There have been several other sightings of bears suspected of being hybrids, and this spring a mother thought to be one, accompanied by grizzly-looking cubs, was captured (tests are pending). Better management of grizzly hunting may have also contributed to this mixing by enabling males to advance into polar-bear country. “A warming Arctic is not a bad thing for grizzly bears,” says Andrew Derocher, a biologist at the University of Alberta.

We might regard these developments as unintended consequences of intensifying human activity on the planet. Yet in the past decade or so, scientists have discovered that the genomes of many species — far more than previously thought — contain what seem to be snippets of DNA from other species, suggesting they were shaped not only through divergent evolution but also by occasional hybridization. The small warm- and temperate-water clymene dolphin apparently evolved out of a hybrid mix of two other Atlantic dolphins. A bat native to the Lesser Antilles seems to come from three species — one in Central America, one in South America and one that’s extinct. Even most people carry a small quantity of DNA from archaic humans like Neanderthals; in other words, our species, Homo sapiens, has also been influenced by hybridization…

133 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    This may give Lindsey Graham some hope of breeding. There has to be some species willing to go that route.

  2. 2
    srv says:

    And you people think the Chupacabra isn’t real.


    “A few years ago, she had vets at University of California Davis perform numerous DNA tests on her own chupacabra, and results suggested her animal is a hybrid of a coyote on the maternal side and a Mexican wolf on the paternal side.”

  3. 3
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    So, it’s reached the point that I have to at least start thinking about what I’m going to do with this novel once it reaches the point where I no longer think that myself and a few beta readers can really continue to make it better. In other words, where you reach that second time you call it done. (The first coming after you finish the first draft.)

    I’m increasingly leaning towards self-publishing. I recognize that that’s no panacea towards the problems of dealing with the publishing world but I need to have something important in my life that I control and that I can make a decision and cause it to move forward. Something that doesn’t involve sending out my work or resume and hoping that someone responds positively. I need to recapture some agency in my life and force it at my own pace. I can’t really face yet another thing that involves long strings of rejection letters.

    Of course, there are all sorts of things that I’ll need to do if I go that route. Anyone that publishes without professional editing is an idiot; every writer needs an editor and that ones that tell you they don’t are lying, usually to themselves. My ballpark guess is that a good professional editing job will cost something on the order of $5,000.

    Then I’ll need a cover, and layout, and some marketing would be nice. All of which will probably run more than an additional $5,000. And that leaves me kind of stuck, since I don’t have that kind of money.

    So, to actually reach the point of all of this, I’m thinking of doing a Kickstarter or something of the sort when it’s time, which I’m hoping will be around the beginning of 2015. Anyone have any experience or advice about this?

  4. 4
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    I’m also reading through the Breaking Madden series at SB Nation. Long live Clarence BEEFTANK!

  5. 5
    Yatsuno says:

    Deoxyribonucleic acid really loves to get around.

  6. 6
    Jeff says:

    Downtown Chicago resident here. What the article mentions is crazy true… coyotes are all over, even downtown in some of the most densely packed urban areas. They follow the river and train tracks in from the exurbs, and find tons of rabbits, rats and other animals to prey upon right here in the heart of the city. I haven’t personally seen one, but they are regularly photographed by people, usually at night.

    Another weird thing is that living in the South Loop, I have only seen rats a couple times. Instead, we have rabbits. Large rabbits. Lots of them.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    @Yatsuno: DNA is so slutty.

  8. 8
    Jeff says:

    This is a few years old, but happened only a few blocks away from me:


  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): My advice (and I know whereof I speak) is to try small presses first. If you don’t want to go agent hunting, then I strongly advise you to try at least 8 or 10 small independent presses that publish the kind of work you are doing.

    Can you tell me the genre and a rough idea of what it’s about (1 or 2 sentences)?

    It’s ultimately up to you, obviously, and depends what you want, but unless it’s genre fiction the self-publishing route is going to be pretty lonely. You would be much, much better off finding a press who believes in it and wants to work for it. There are LOTS of these.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    @Jeff: At my son’s daycare there is a coyote warning sign on the front door.


  11. 11
    srv says:

    Holder tried to suppress local rights

    A United States law enforcement official said Saturday that the Justice Department had “opposed the release of the robbery video.”

  12. 12
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @BGinCHI: I have yet to come up with a short way to describe it. I suppose that means I’ll need to hire someone to do the blurb on the back, too. But I’ll give it a shot.

    It’s told in the first person by a young woman who had a difficult childhood and plays hockey. It covers the five years she’s in college, and also her adulthood until about the age of 35. It involves healing, finding relationships, and . . . uhm . . . here’s where I sort of lose the thread trying to describe it.

  13. 13
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Jeff: Don’t forget you had a cougar (the four legged kind, not the 40-yr old MILF kind) that was running around….

  14. 14
    askew says:


    That looks just like the animal I saw walking down the bikepath the other night by my house in the outer Twin Cities’ burb. I knew it was too big for a fox, definitely not a domestic dog so I thought it was a wolf. But, now I think it must have been a coyote.

    I also almost hit a beaver last night. I had no idea those things moved that fast on land.

  15. 15
    dmsilev says:

    @Jeff: I’m a bit south of you (in Hyde Park) and we have lots of rabbits here as well. Not many coyotes though.

  16. 16
    BGinCHI says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Feel free to ignore my advice, but it comes after lots of experience.

    You should do your blurb, and work on that kind of concision of the overall plot of the novel. If it’s a completed work you should be able to cover it in a short paragraph (obviously leaving out the details but capturing the overall shape and action, and especially the genre).

    One essential skill in getting published is to learn how the process works and then work on it. It’s not fun and it’s not easy, but it will help your writing and allow you to get it out there where it can be judged. That is the cold, hard reality. I found it very, very hard at first but once I got comfortable with the moves it got much easier. You have to confront and pass through that “I just can’t do this!” period and get on the other side of it.

    All writers have to go through this. It’s a big part of what being a writer (or aspiring writer) is. The idea that once you have written (or even drafted) the novel it is finished is a giant myth. The process is much bigger than that.

    You have an interesting-sounding project. Now you need to get it into shape.

  17. 17
    FlyingToaster says:

    Eastern coyotes eat any dogs and cats left outside at night in the area around Gore Place. A breeding pack lives in the culvert that runs between the no-name pond east of the estate and Walker Pond south of Waltham Street.

    One of my neighbors lost two cats to them; another lost one, and a couple blocks away there were 3 small dogs taken. The police include warnings with the census/pet tag form every January, reminding people that it is simply not safe to leave pets out of doors unattended.

    The only good news is that the problems with goose poop along the upper Charles River bike path have pretty much disappeared. And we don’t have any wild turkeys terrorizing pedestrians.

  18. 18
    Anoniminous says:

    A conundrum for contemplation:

    Thistles are a real pest around here and getting worse. To help eradicate the things the National Forest Service is giving away “120% vinegar.”

    All I can say is, “bully for them!”

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    @Anoniminous: If they keep giving that away you are going to have a hobo explosion.

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Some thoughts:

    Kickstarter keeps the money if you don’t reach goal. So look around at the many patterns now operating.

    Do you need a professional, or an aspiring professional? They are much cheaper.

    10K on your first novel is a tall order, without having primed yourself some fans with online short stories or other work. So I would look into alternatives that would not cost so much.

    There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing, so don’t be defensive or feel badly about it. And you can be falling into a Pit of Perfectionism.

    Scrape together what cash you have, promise a copy of the book to a talented newcomer who would love to put the cover, editing, or whatnot into their portfolio for a lowball price, and remember that you can always invest the money from the first novel into the second.

  21. 21
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @BGinCHI: And, roughly speaking, I think you missed the point of my original comment. I can’t do that with something else. I’m fighting serious depression and a part of it is that I’ve spent seven fucking years looking for a job and getting nothing but rejection letters. I’ve been trying to sell short stories for two years and getting almost nothing but rejection letters.

    It’s too much. I can’t do that again. I NEED something I can CONTROL. I absolutely do not need something else where I’m at the mercy of people who send me rejection letters. Any advice to the effect that I should go that route, no matter how well intended or even how accurate it is, does me any good. I just can’t face more of that.

  22. 22
    Anoniminous says:


    At least we don’t have to worry about pumas in the crevices.

  23. 23
    Jay C says:

    We don’t see many coyotes here in the Scenic Berkshires ™ – apparently ideal habitat, though: semi-rural, semi-developed with lots of second-growth forest (and deer) everywhere – but we certain hear them every once in a while: and when they are spotted, they’re usually big suckers. And ugly. I was surprised: I’m from Los Angeles – where you’d occasionally see them in the foothills: scruffy little things, usually: I guess they would be called “Western Coyotes” now.

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): OK, understood.

    Rejection sucks. The short story market (not really a market even) sucks all to hell. I stopped doing it as well.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide. werebear’s advice above sounds solid.

  25. 25
    BGinCHI says:

    @Anoniminous: I love those guys.

  26. 26
    Xenos says:

    Ten years ago I saw a coyote loping along the VFW Parkway in Chestnut Hill, MA at about 2 am. They were clearly moving up in the world, even then.

    I would not want to have outdoor cats in much of Eastern Mass. I have outdoor cats here near the Ardennes, where there is nothing bigger than a fox, as the lions and bears are extinct and the nearest wolves are somewhere in Poland. Cats seem to be safe from the foxes, but a neighbor had a pet bunny get out one night and all they found of it was a few bits of fur and skin.

  27. 27
    Woodrowfan says:

    @BGinCHI: @BGinCHI:

    The Lesser Southern Pearlclutcher is a likely candidate. Its mating call “eyyyy RAK, eyyyy RAK” may be heard echoing across any place where you find a camera, most commonly on Sunday mornings.

  28. 28
    feebog says:

    We have them here in the NW San Fernando Valley. The come down from the canyons and stick around all night. Can’t tell you how many cats we have lost in this neighborhood. Would be nice if they thinned the possum population some.

  29. 29
    Origuy says:

    Those colonial New England forests were dense because by the time that the Pilgrims got there, the natives had already been decimated by disease. They had kept the forests open, but their paths, fields, and campsites were overgrown.

  30. 30
    sharl says:

    OT – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon just declared state of emergency and curfew (midnight-5am) in Ferguson.
    (source; in a separate tweet, Pearce notes that “This news conference is a total mess”).

  31. 31
    xenos says:

    @Origuy: See, eg. Changes in the Land by Cronon, or the latest blog in Scientific American, h/t LGM

  32. 32
    goblue72 says:

    @WereBear: That is completely incorrect. If a Kickstarter campaign does NOT reach its funding goal, then backers credit cards are never charged. Backers are only charged if the project reaches its funding goal. In other words, if a project does not reach its goal, Kickstarter categorically does NOT “keep the money”.

    Please try to verify these types of things before spreading false advice.


  33. 33
    Pogonip says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Sounds like chick lit to me, which is very popular. I bet BG is right and you can find a small press.

    Related topic: I, as it happens, am a chick who bought a Kindle a couple of years ago. I have never bought a chick-lit book in all that time; my tastes in fiction run to Stephen King and the occasional well-researched historical novel. The type of “historical” novel about modern people thinking modern things in old clothes makes me say unladylike things.

    Amazon knows everything about me down to the brand of mascara I like. So why does the Kindle advertise 99% chick lit when I have never, ever bought such a book and probably never will? Is Kindle the only product they have that doesn’t use fancy data mining but goes by basic demographics like age and race? If so, why?

    Kindle thinks I’m black, by the way, because I bought a couple of historical novels with black main characters, Chains and Forge (both worth reading). Amazon in general knows I’m white because I’ve bought foundation from them. What is it with Kindle’s weird data mining? Anybody know?

  34. 34
    Pogonip says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I just now worked my down to this. So never mind what I said about the small press. Good luck!

    Can someone drop off some coywolves in the Great Lakes region? We need them. We’re hip deep in deer.

  35. 35
    goblue72 says:

    @sharl: Meanwhile, in NYC, Police Commissioner Bratton says people suspected of selling loosies should not resist arrest unless they want to be choked to death by pigs using illegal holds – http://nypost.com/2014/08/12/b.....st-arrest/

    Burn it to the ground. Its the only thing that gets the attention of the powers that be.

  36. 36
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    And, BGinChi, if you’re still around, I apologize for snapping. It’s just been a bad few weeks and I’m frustrated about a lot of things right now. I may try out the small press route, depending upon whether or not I can manage to feel like I’m in control.

    And the positive development is that, when I’m done with this draft, the mother of one of the recent Gopher players has offered to read it and, among other things, provide some feedback about how well I capture the behind the scenes life of a college hockey player.

  37. 37
    shelley says:

    Coywoves, huh? Do they flutter their eyelashes before they attack?

  38. 38
    FlyingToaster says:

    @efgoldman: They started warning about the pack at Gore Place in 2003/4 (we bought our house in 2002). Right now they’re all over Boston in the parkland around the rivers (so the VFW Parkway thing is absolutely what we expect). There’ve been a few sightings at Beaver Brook, so I’m sure they’re all over the western side of Belmont now.

    Brookline got it’s Turkey infestation maybe 5 years ago; I assume that the coyotes and turkeys are meeting somewhere in Newton. But those turkeys are huge, and mean, and the coyotes might just think, “It’s easier to catch a dog or a goose than one of those things.”

  39. 39
    JAFD says:


    “Thistles” ? “120% vinegar” ? “Hobo explosion” ?

    There is a set of connections here of which I know not. Please enlighten.

  40. 40
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I’ve been trying to think if I have anything useful to add to what Werebear said. I know several self-publishers who are happy with their choice because, as you say, they’re in control. Most have low sales (ie , less than 100), so you have to be ready for that. People who write romance do the best.

    I urge you to find some sort of writer support group if you don’t already have one. You need to be able to bitch and ask questions. Absolute Write might be a useful site. I gather Amazon has a site for people who self-publish there too.

    If rejection is tough for you right now, publishing is not a gentle place. My best wishes to you.

  41. 41
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @sharl: I swear these people are trying to make things worse.

  42. 42
    JoyfulA says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I published my mother’s book with CreateSpace, and it wasn’t that hard or that expensive.

  43. 43
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    I live in a dense old suburban area 2 miles north of the border of Detroit. We have intermittent warnings of coyotes and I’ve actually seen one at night.
    Detroit itself is another story. 140 square miles with 2/3 of the population gone. It’s being rapidly repopulated by species that Lafayette would have recognized when he mapped the place out in 1700.

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Some people start out by publishing portions of their work online for free and then charging for the full download. Like on their blog. That might be a way forward.

    You know about Amanda Hocking, right? Maybe some ideas from that path. She struggled for years until she self-published.

    I agree it sounds like chick lit. That’s pretty popular so there should be an audience.

  45. 45
    BethanyAnne says:

    Well, I adopted the 2 kitties from the shelter. They were dropped off there in May 2013, estimated birthdate 2010. They are both hiding in my closet right now, scared. I’ve gone in and petted them once, but mostly I’m leaving them be. I hope they stop being scared soon.

  46. 46
    Violet says:


    Pearce notes that “This news conference is a total mess”).

    I had my TV paused so I’m in the middle of watching the news conference now. He’s absolutely right. It’s a mess. Governor Jay Nixon is a disaster. He has no read on the situation at all.

    Cpt. Ron Johnson, judging from his body language, does NOT want to have a curfew. He thinks it’s the wrong decision but he’s got to do what he’s ordered to do. He’s angry about how this is being handled but there’s only so much he can do.

  47. 47
    dmsilev says:

    @FlyingToaster: My parents, who live in Brookline, have had several close encounters with the turkeys. Mostly while dog-walking. No actual attacks, thankfully.

    And they did once see a family with some really young chicks in their front yard. That was cute. The adult birds, not so cute.

  48. 48
    Violet says:

    @BethanyAnne: Awww… Congratulations! Good for you for going slow and letting them get comfortable. I bet you’ll have two happy kitties owning your home in short order!

  49. 49
    Bob In Portland says:

    There was a story about this on NOVA about a year ago.

  50. 50
    gelfling545 says:

    We saw coyotes around here for the first time last Sunday, just at the edge of a first ring suburb. I was – quite surprised.

  51. 51
    shelley says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more annoyed, pissed-off look than on the face of a wild turkey.

  52. 52
    Anoniminous says:


    Moi aussi*.


    Thistles. These pests came in and they are driving out native plants.

    “120% vinegar” — vinegar with a LOT of alcohol content

    “hobo explosion” — hobos coming in drink the 120% vinegar

    * French for “I’m Australian”

  53. 53
    sharl says:

    @Anoniminous: I had the same curiosity JAFD did about “120% vinegar”. Thanks for the follow-up.

    White vinegar is basically 5% acetic acid. 100% acetic acid – what we call ‘glacial acetic acid’ in by biz – is nasty stuff. A decent whiff of it will knock you on your keister. “120% vinegar” sounds a lot less dangerous, as long as you’re not a plant.

  54. 54
    FlyingToaster says:

    @efgoldman: They still do; we walk over every year.

    The sheep are guarded by a giant llama. I kid you not. Pictures at yelp.

  55. 55
    Anoniminous says:


    You’re welcome.

    (dang, another thunderstorm. time to shut down. again.)

  56. 56

    I have question for all the writers who have responded to JMN’s initial query. What is your source of info for publishers, do you guys use Writer’s Market? How would your advice change if one is writing non-fiction instead of fiction?

  57. 57
    sharl says:

    @Violet: Thanks for that eye/ear-witness account. From what you reported, and the twitter stuff I’ve been seeing, I’m wondering just how much authority they actually gave Capt. Ron Johnson. It’s sounding more like they (=white state political leaders) just chucked him out there out of shear desperation, hoping he’d settle things down, and if worse came (comes) to worse, make him a fall guy.

    Johnson sounds like he knows what he is doing, so the higher-ups need to stop meddling and let him take care of business. Those same meddling leaders probably don’t want to piss off some political allies who like the status quo just fine, so they may be trying to have it both ways. (Just speculation on my part, since it’s not my home, nor do I know anyone involved.)

  58. 58
    BethanyAnne says:

    Social funding platforms for “We Need $50k”
    Kickstarter: Pledge whatever amount. If pledge totals more than 50, everyone gets charged their pledge, Kickstarter and Amazon take a nibble, and project people get the remainder. Minus people that flake. I don’t know how you flake, but some small % do for every project. Pledge totals less than 50, no one charged.

    Indiegogo: Just like Kickstarter, but whatever amount is raised goes to project people, minus cuts and flakes, regardless of target level hit.

    Other versions

    Patreon: Pledge a monthly amount to an artist. Example: Pomplamoose wants a budget for music videos. I pledge $2 for every video they make each month. I set my budget max at $10/mo. The first 5 times they put out a video, I get charged 2 bucks. I also, in that specific case get a perk of a download of the song from the video. I’ve seen authors pledging to write a certain amount and send it out as a perk.

    Gofundme: I need 50k, ask people to donate. No perks usually, just cash going to someone. I’ve seen requests for funding SRS, for getting money to drive to a safe place to live, and for paying legal and medical bills.

  59. 59
    scav says:

    @Pogonip: Unless one’s choice of mascara has been demonstrated as significantly associated with reading habits, I’m not sure that even very dedicated data-mining and statistical analysis would get them far. If you don’t have a long history of book buying from them, they probably defaulted to basics. They could maybe pull information from preferences in movies and the like, but I wonder how strong that correlation is.

    And Missouri really is going for the MOst incompetently governed state award this decade.

  60. 60
    BethanyAnne says:

    @Violet: I hope so. I wish they weren’t scared, but that probably just takes time. I’ve also sat down on the futon near the closet and read for a little while. I thought they might be freaked out, so I almost put cardboard boxes in the closet in preparation. If the food/water and litter box in my bedroom (they are in the bedroom closet) doesn’t change overnight, I guess I’ll move a little of both into their closet.

  61. 61

    BTW, India celebrated its 67th birthday yesterday. Although it is fashionable in today’s India to diss the contributions of its first Prime Minister, Nehru. I think India owes a lot to him and his vision, without which India could have easily disintegrated into what Iraq has right now or at the very least become a basket case like Pakistan.

  62. 62
    JGabriel says:


    The only good news is that the problems with goose poop along the upper Charles River bike path have pretty much disappeared. And we don’t have any wild turkeys terrorizing pedestrians.

    “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

  63. 63
    BethanyAnne says:

    @scav: Amazon can freak you out. Their correlation is so good that they apply a “creep factor” to deliberately make their recommendations worse, and not let you know how much they know and have guessed.

  64. 64
    Glocksman says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I don’t have any advice, but I’m always up for a good read.
    As long as you aren’t authoring a romance* novel, I await your work.

    *When I was a kid, I actually read a few of my mother’s Harlequin books.
    The thing that struck me the most was that if you replaced the ‘action’ sequences, they were as formulaic as the Mack Bolan/Death Merchant ‘men’s adventure’ novels that were popular at the time.

  65. 65
    Violet says:


    I’m wondering just how much authority they actually gave Capt. Ron Johnson. It’s sounding more like they (=white state political leaders) just chucked him out there out of shear desperation, hoping he’d settle things down, and if worse came (comes) to worse, make him a fall guy.

    If that wasn’t obvious before, here’s how it went in the press conference: after announcing the curfew, Governor Jay Nixon (white) introduced the head of the Missouri Highway Patrol (also white) who spoke for about fifteen seconds to say that here was Capt. Ron Johnson to explain the curfew and how it was going to be implemented. I mean it was a fucking joke. White guy top boss (Nixon) introduces white guy head of highway patrol who has clearly ordered black guy (Johnson) to do the dirty work.

    Captain Johnson did not seem to like the decision to have a curfew. His body language and tone was very different from what we’ve seen before. After announcing it and saying a tiny bit about timing, etc. he pivoted to what he is best at–speaking to the community in a more personal way. They love him, it’s clear.

    At one point in the press conference, the attendees were yelling out questions at Jay Nixon who clearly was out of his depth. He leans over to the highway patrol head and Johnson and whispers something and they send Johnson up there to answer the questions. Seriously. Jay Nixon couldn’t handle the questions from his own constituents. They have to send the black highway patrol guy up there. It was appalling. Jay Nixon is a disaster.

  66. 66
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Glocksman: I’ll keep you in mind when this draft is done. I wouldn’t call it a romance (chick lit is probably right, though I hadn’t thought of it that way) and it does have a romantic relationship in it but it is not written in the genre conventions of romance, unless I did so by accident without really knowing them.

    And there’s women playing ice hockey, so probably not a romance.

  67. 67
    Violet says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    but it is not written in the genre conventions of romance, unless I did so by accident without really knowing them.

    Suggestion: Go read some romance novels. And some chick lit. You can find “top 10” lists around. See what that is and if yours fits. If not, then see where yours fits. But if it is chick lit or romance then knowing the genre will be helpful to your marketing.

    And there’s women playing ice hockey, so probably not a romance.

    You’re very wrong there. Romance novels are set in every setting imaginable.

    You might find this helpful: http://www.hockeyromance.com/

  68. 68
    muddy says:

    @Glocksman: I read some in the late 70’s and they were bizarre. I guess genre fiction is often formulaic but these stories depicted outright abuse as proof of true love. Like it was written by teabaggers or something, ugh.

  69. 69
    max says:

    @Pogonip: Amazon knows everything about me down to the brand of mascara I like. So why does the Kindle advertise 99% chick lit when I have never, ever bought such a book and probably never will? Is Kindle the only product they have that doesn’t use fancy data mining but goes by basic demographics like age and race? If so, why?

    Kindle thinks I’m black, by the way, because I bought a couple of historical novels with black main characters, Chains and Forge (both worth reading). Amazon in general knows I’m white because I’ve bought foundation from them. What is it with Kindle’s weird data mining? Anybody know?

    What it means is that Amazons recommendation engine sucks. It knows you’re female, and it thinks you like black people, so the machine hiccups and goes to the merchandise category (fiction in this case) and punts out novels MOST black/white women like to read.

    You’d think it’s pay attention to your tastes, but you haven’t bought many books, and the Amazon engine relies HEAVILY on overall popularity for pop culture items, so you’re swimming against the Amazon tide. The way I figure it is that the Amazon engine works Googly-style – it relies overall on repeated demographic experiments. SO, if a black woman likes to read books featuring black historical characters, and buys those books, Amazon takes it into account. Well, black people like to read about black people a lot, so if you buy a ‘niche’ book like you described, suddenly the algo says, ‘OH! OK, I know what’s popular with people who read that stuff – more of the SAME!’ And Bob’s your uncle.

    Amazon is depending on repeated association linkages (popularity of one item linked to the popularity of another item) between products to drive the recommendation engine. The problem is that this forces the engine onto well-traveled highways and shuts out less popular options, so as soon as you take any turn anywhere, suddenly you’re on the freeway doing 75 and wondering how you get off.

    The only way I could find to force the engine into recommending stuff *I* would think I would like, would be to build very large wishlists in categories of items I purchase. This corrects the engine in part and pushes it to recommend things related to things you wish for.

    None of this applies to, say, cosmetics or car parts or tools or what have you. Those choices are driven by functionality rather than artistic genres so popularity is not a taste-driven decision for the most part. If I buy a shovel, it’s going to recommend more garden tools, which it should do.

    [‘People are a lot more finicky about the kind of books they read than they are about the kind of shears they want.’]

  70. 70

    @schrodinger’s cat: Non-fiction is my beat.

    Self-publishing is the only way the math works. Querying long-form pieces is a waste of time. If you have a book idea, I’d advise you to:
    -Write a long-form piece that bites off a piece of your topic (under 20K words)
    -Put it online as an ebook that you get nominally paid for ($2.99 is the floor)
    -Tell us & your other online communities about it and ask for reviews
    -Pitch one of the clickbait sites (PS is good, Salon is blearrgh, Atlantic & Slate are in between) with a short query for a 700-1200 word excerpt. For the exposure.*
    -Sit back and enjoy buying some dog food/kitty kibble/beer (however your tastes run) with the profits.

    *I’m currently stuck on this stage myself, having made the mistake of writing the entire book, getting an agent, and turning down a contract that ended up requiring me to do 95% of the marketing effort for 35 months. Worked out to $5.25 an hour, commitment for what might be a large portion of my life, and no rights to set pricing, which is a big part of marketing. I’m pitching this weekend or bust, as the busy season cometh at my real job.

  71. 71
    muddy says:

    @Violet: Just as well we’ve been given the opportunity to see him “proceed” if he does have national ambitions.

  72. 72
    Darryl R. Scott says:

    @Violet: “Brownie–er, I mean, Jay–you’re doing a heckuva job!”

  73. 73
    scav says:

    @BethanyAnne: No surprises there when they’ve got the underlying correlations to work with. They might also include what you call a creep factor to introduce elements of surprise and get you started into new directions and out of ruts where you may already possess all the obvious alternatives. If optimization programs are too fine tuned, they can work themselves into dead ends. There are multiple reasons to introduce a little variation into the lists of suggestions. But, unless there is a real reason for suggesting that choice of dish soap is predictive of preference of classical music genre or deciding between hard-boiled or English Cottage mysteries, even the gods of Amazon can’t do that much.

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    Missou can’t be worse than Texas, can they? Nixon may be in over his head with urban riots for good reason, but he isn’t yet indicted for corruption like “Eyeballs” Perry, vetoing a prosecutor’s budget to stop the investigation of his corruption!

    Turkeys, we has them, coyotes too, don’t know about the lupine DNA yet, but wouldn’t be surprised. Last spring (2013) we lost first a young and small dog rescue and then a small tomcat just a few days later. All our critters go in and out, it’s a farm fer cryin’ out loud. Maybe we should start putting them out before sunset and trying to keep them in overnight.

    Our current dogs are 55 lb lab mixes, they like to lie on the edge of the back porch and smell the night air. As a pair they might intimidate a coyote, less likely a coyowolf mix.

    Turkeys in the wild can kinda fly, once they’re all grown up. The babies have trouble their first summer. We see 2 or 3 moms with 20 or more babies in a big flock from time to time. Farm yard turkeys not so much, so Les wasn’t as crazy as he looked…

  75. 75
    Violet says:

    @max: Amazon also can’t tell when I’m buying things for me or as gifts or just for someone else. I might go through a period buying kid’s books for gifts–so I get recommendations for other kid stuff that I don’t need. I have recently been purchasing some medical supplies for my parents. I don’t need recommendations for medical supplies and please don’t correlate that with anything else I buy.

    It’s an imperfect system.

  76. 76
    JGabriel says:


    Amazon knows everything about me down to the brand of mascara I like. So why does the Kindle advertise 99% chick lit when I have never, ever bought such a book and probably never will? … What is it with Kindle’s weird data mining? Anybody know?

    As a 49 year old male New Yorker who doesn’t drive, I take great comfort in the fact that Internet data mining is still so shoddy that it thinks I’m a young woman who is: a) driving around the whole country; b) worried about having criminal record; and c) thinks I vote for Republicans.

  77. 77
    BGinCHI says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Non-fiction proposals have a very specific formula. You write a proposal in the way that is prescribed by the business or you won’t get it read.

    The good news is that you do this before you write the book (you could write the book first, but you don’t have to; it’s just the opposite for fiction). It’s the project and your ability to write it that you are offering.

    You can find this info all over the internet.

    Don’t use Writers Mkt anymore. Look at similar books and see who is publishing them. Do a lot of Googling.

  78. 78
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Violet: All of those hockey romances feature male hockey players and women from the outside falling in love with them.

  79. 79
    Glocksman says:


    Looking back on them, yeah they were disturbing on multiple levels, but to this 12 year old in 1979 they had a certain appeal in that the ‘good guys’ won despite having to fight the ‘system’.

  80. 80
    muddy says:

    @Glocksman: The “system”?

  81. 81
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @BethanyAnne: You still need to socialize with them.

  82. 82
    FlyingToaster says:

    @J R in WV:

    Last spring (2013) we lost first a young and small dog rescue and then a small tomcat just a few days later. All our critters go in and out, it’s a farm fer cryin’ out loud. Maybe we should start putting them out before sunset and trying to keep them in overnight.

    That’s what happened around here; first a few pets disappeared, then someone’s surveillance system caught a couple of coyotes in their backyard at dawn. And this is a densely packed (~10K pop/sq.mi.) residential area.

    I think your lab mixes are too big for the coyotes to mess with; but small dogs and most cats are vulnerable.

  83. 83
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Speaking of DNA swapping, looks like Sweden’s Electrolux wants to intermingle with up GE’s Appliance jisim.

  84. 84
    Violet says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): So? What’s your point? Like I said above, if you haven’t read romance novels, they are set in every location imaginable with lead characters that do any number of things. Here’s one with a female hockey player: Offside.

  85. 85
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    One of my former colleagues had a baby recently, and the office threw her a shower. Even though I retired several months ago, they invited me and also asked me to do a favor. Since they know I am a long time Amazon customer, with a Prime account, they asked if I would place the order for the very expensive carriage they had collected money for and bought, and have it shipped to the office but free delivery because Amazon Prime. Of course I was happy to.

    Six months later I am still getting recommendations for cribs, diapers, baby clothes, nursing bras, you name it. I just ignore, but it’s interesting that one solitary purchase back in February has them absolutely convinced that this 72-year-old is a new mother. LOL.

  86. 86
    Origuy says:

    @xenos: My source was 1491 by Charles Mann.

    Re Amazon’s data mining misses; If you’ve bought gifts for someone and it doesn’t know they’re gifts, they could be factored in.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    tokyo expat says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I’ll add to what others have said. First, know your story. When someone asks you what it’s about be able to answer in a sentence. It’s about a young college women hockey player’s coming of age story. Or, it’s about how one women hockey player’s quest for success leads to X. Whatever it is be able to describe it.

    BGinChi is also right about the blurb. Do it yourself. It’s not easy and it takes time, but it’s something you can do. Take a look at other books in a genre similar to yours and see how they are described. You want to capture the dramatic tension, the conflict, the goal of your character and leave a hook that will make the reader want to pick up your book and read more.

    On editing and book covers, you can do it for a lot less than 10k. Editing does cost money, but do your homework. Also, know what you want. If this is your first book and your first writing project ever, I strongly suggest you get a developmental/content editor. In other words, someone who will read the story to see if it hangs together, is the motivation strong enough, does the pacing work, does the tension rise and fall in the right places, are you making the mistakes that beginning writers often make, etc. Otherwise, you can go for just a grammar, line edit, if you are confident in your work. You’ll also want one or two people to proofread it.

    For self-publishing, you can go Kindle only with their KDP select program. I think they lock you in for the first three months. After that you can move to other platforms. Since Kindle dominates the market, if you are just starting out, concentrating on just Kindle and learning about self publishing might be the way to go. You can also use Smashwords and they will put out to other platforms besides Kindle and you can sell on their site. Remember, you need to format your book. That does cost a little money or you can study up and do it yourself. Smashwords produces a guide and there are always videos and blog posts that will give you pointers.

    On covers you can easily pick up a pre-made cover for anywhere from $30 to $50 dollars. Wherever you get your cover, remember that it has to be legible and attractive when shrunk down in a thumbnail size. Finally, research your genre. Some people called your story chick lit. Chick lit has a very distinct voice nowadays and it’s also died out quite a bit. Women’s fiction might be better in today’s marketplace, but again, it depends on what the story is about. Look at other books on Amazon that are similar to yours and see how they are tagged and what their sales look like. Playing with Amazon tags can make a difference in how your book is positioned.

    Oh, and I think it was Violet who recommended a writer’s group. I second that. Writing is a craft. You can get better at it, but you are more likely to learn what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong faster if you are around other writers.

    Best of luck. Hope I helped.

  89. 89
    BethanyAnne says:

    @scav: agreed it’s imperfect. Boss is in their beta program, and got a night withou creep inaccuracies thrown in. It was recommending tons of books and albums that he had but hadn’t bought there, and just in general spooked him. His friend at amazon said, oh, yeah, you got it with the creep factor turned off. I don’t have direct knowledge of how good the system actually is, but I’d sure like to see.

  90. 90
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:


    I guess genre fiction is often formulaic but these stories depicted outright abuse as proof of true love.

    The reasons for that are a subject under much discussion in romance circles. It’s also not nearly as common in modern romances, though someone who likes that sort of thing can still find it. I suggest starting with Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author.

  91. 91
    debit says:

    @BethanyAnne: when I trapped Julian I spent every waking moment in the basement with him (only place I could quarantine him). He didn’t get food unless I was there (so he associated me with good things). I also read, or listened to podcasts, so he would get used to human voices.

    You’re on the right track. Just hang out with them. Don’t peek at their hiding spot, just hang out and let them come check you out. When you don’t try to eat them for their tender kitten flesh, they’ll probably decide it’s okay together close enough for a sniff.

  92. 92
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Sometimes I have to have a little titter as to what their recommendationbot coughs up to purchase based on past history. Sorta like I drink motor oil ………

  93. 93
    debbie says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I was in publishing in a previous life, so to speak. Please know that the vast majority of people in publishing aren’t the rejection monsters of myth. They’re in publishing because they love books and they love the printed word (they’re certainly not there for the salaries).

    I’d check out small presses before going it alone. There are tons of them everywhere. The best place to find them is to find a copy of the Literary Market Place. It’s an annual directory of names, companies, and specialties by region and by subject. It runs a couple of hundred dollars, but most decent-sized libraries will have a copy in the reference section.

    Here’s their page: http://books.infotoday.com/directories/lmp.shtml

    The industry magazine is Publisher’s Weekly. There’s also Library Journal. Check out the ads in both. Never know what might pop up. I’m sure there are speciality magazines for romance writers and probably every other genre. Maybe your friendly librarian might have suggestions — no one loves books more than librarians.

    You might want to consider taking one of your chapters, really polishing it, and sending it off to publishers that look promising. And keep in mind, if there’s any interest, they’ll probably have more editing services than you want!

    There are also all kinds of workshops where you can network and get feedback. There are groups on LinkedIn. There are writer’s forums up the wazoo. Google and you’re sure to find something.

    But most importantly, don’t think of it as rejection. Think positive. You’re the only who makes it rejection. Think of it as constructive criticism — focus on the constructive and know that it’s there to make you better.

    I hope you see this; I’m always too late in these damn threads.

  94. 94
    tokyo expat says:

    @Violet: Very true. Romance is the genre I write in. It covers a lot of ground. It also dominates sales and readership for genre novels. The president of one of my writing chapters is a male. Romance novels have come a long way in the last 30 years.

  95. 95
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    I’m working on finding a writers’ group. I’m having a hard time finding one that I really fit. One problem is that most of the ones that I’ve found are people writing at a different level and with a different purpose than I am, generally much more amateur. So I don’t get very good feedback but I also have trouble adjusting my own level of critique to what would be appropriate.

    The other problem is that everything I write other than this novel is fantasy/science fiction, so the writing groups I’ve found are outside the genre of the novel.

  96. 96
    debit says:

    @debit: …it’s okay to come close enough for a sniff, even. The editing function on the ipad is special.

  97. 97
    scav says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Have you heard about the data being sold directly from maternity wards about new mothers over in the UK? There also seems to be a big market in getting free products into the wards. there’s something about that market that really brings out the sharks in marketing. I’m assuming that’s a very suggestible and worried market, especially if you get them on the first bounce.
    Sales reps on wards in the UK
    and here too Sorry they’re both UK based, there’s at least one on Disney in the US but it’s NYT.

  98. 98
    BethanyAnne says:

    @debit: Thanks. It’s been 19 years since I got a new beastie. These were so sweet and affectionate at the shelter. The shelter folk let me open up their cage, and give them the run of the front area, which is where all the cat cages were. The tortoiseshell girl hopped right up on the bench with me and hung out for petting. The solid black boy hid and hung out, but was really happy for petting once he was back in their cage later.

  99. 99
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Violet: Sure. My basic point was that this novel isn’t a romance. I have read just enough romance to know that. I was mostly just joking.

  100. 100
    Violet says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Okay. But you don’t seem to know what it actually is yet. You need to find that out if you’re going to sell it. Sports? Women’s fiction? Romance? (Apparently not.) Fictionalized memoir? Biography? Young adult? Who do you think might be the audience for it? Only hockey players? Adult women? Kids?

    @BethanyAnne: At the shelter you came to their home. Now you’ve brought them to your home. They don’t know you and they don’t know your home. Everything smells different, looks different, feels different. They need a bit of time to get comfortable with their surroundings and make sure they are safe. The suggestions to just be in the room with them are good.

    If they were that affectionate at the shelter, they’ll come around. They’re just a little nervous and unsure right now. If someone took you out of your safe home and plopped you down in a new place with a stranger you couldn’t talk to and you didn’t know why, or how long you’d be there, or what was happening, you might be a little skittish too.

  101. 101
    tokyo expat says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Finding a fit is really important. There are many online writer’s groups/organizations and you might find something through one of them. Writing workshops can be a great place to meet and get to know writers. These can be in person or online.

    The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America is tough. I think you have to be published to be able to join them and I don’t believe they offer much in the way of ongoing writer education. Sisters in Crime is another for mystery, as is Mystery Writers of America. Romance Writers of America is huge and is very open to writers of all levels, but you have to write in the field of romance. However, they offer a ton of workshops through their various chapters (from business/marketing to craft) and to take an online workshop you do not have to be a member.

    Writing is lonely. Keep at it and don’t give up!

  102. 102
    muddy says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Interesting, thanks, I will look at that. If I want a genre book nowadays I generally like a historical mystery. I enjoy the period details (esp. the food) and like that they can’t call on their phone, look up on the computer etc.

  103. 103
    Woodrowfan says:

    Amazon is better than Google ads in guessing right. Much,much better. Actually Google ads is pretty f-ing bad at it.

  104. 104
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @tokyo expat: I’m a member of Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers and I think I have a group that I can fit in for my spec fic stuff. As I said, though, this particular work doesn’t fit there.

  105. 105
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Well, in fairness, I have to say that sometimes their recommendations are uncannily right on, and I have been grateful for the technology that allows them to do this. But other times they are just wildly and laughably off base.

  106. 106
    Violet says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I kind of like the section where they show other items in the same genre as what you’re looking at. I’ve wandered down that rabbit hole more than once with a million tabs open of various products. It can be helpful but maddening too.

  107. 107
    gelfling545 says:

    @BethanyAnne: give it 3 days. When my daughter had to move in with me following an injury her cat, who had never been out of their apartment wouldn’t even come out of the cat carrier for 24 hours. Of course she raised a racket the whole time , yowling and hissing whenever the dog peeked into the room. Gradually she emerged and by the end of the 3rd day was acting like her name was on the deed. I have since been told by experienced cat folks that it often takes cats 3 days to adjust to a new place. They will emerge in due time.

  108. 108
    Kristine says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Coming in at the end of this, and I’m not sure if this might be of help, but fantasy/historical author Judith Tarr has been offering mentoring/editing services. Not sure if this being the 16th instead of the 15th matters, but you can get an idea about charges and what types of services are offered, if nothing else.

    Good luck!

  109. 109
    muddy says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Oh thank you, this is delightful – “And when we get to the part where it’s what they call “the buttmonkey assface hero groveling for six to ten pages because he’s a complete tool,” let me know because I’m so looking forward to it.”

  110. 110

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):
    I haven’t had to purchase editorial services, thanks to having a small press publisher. However, I’m pretty sure your numbers are WAY overinflated. Maybe an order of magnitude. If I can pimp friends, check Laurie about editing prices and Keri (a BJ commenter) about cover prices. Both are professionals, and should be able to give you the lay of the land even if you decide you don’t want their services.

    Getting someone to professionally format the text for upload is essential. Yes, you can do it yourself, but it will not be as good and people will notice.

    Good luck. You can succeed at self-publishing, but you have to be a salesman/woman/child/thing as well as a writer.

  111. 111
    Pogonip says:

    @scav: I Do have a long history of book buying from them, even before I got the Kindle. My history shows: the above mentioned fiction, tons of serious nonfiction, a one-year Bible, a bunch of trivia books, and a few funny ones. You tell me how that translates into constant chick lit recommendation. I think whoever mentioned the creep factor is right and they don’t want me to know I’m an open book (ha!) to them.

  112. 112
    PurpleGirl says:

    @FlyingToaster: They didn’t have any pictures of the sheep. (I’ve gone several times to the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival, held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. They usually highlight one breed of sheep and have other animals there too. I go for the wool/yarn vendors.)

  113. 113
    carlweese says:


    “Kickstarter keeps the money if you don’t reach goal. So look around at the many patterns now operating.”

    What? Not at all. If you don’t reach your goal, no money changes hands. Period. That’s the model. (I did a quite successful KS campaign in 2012, so know the mechanism intimately.)

  114. 114

    @schrodinger’s cat: Pacific Standard. It’s an aggregation site with clicks from people who read books.

  115. 115
    Pogonip says:

    @tokyo expat: Longtime romance writer Fern Michaels is a man, one of the first on his industry to come out of the closet, so to speak. I read a very interesting interview with him some years ago. His wife helps him write the sex scenes so they don’t give away that he’s really a man.

  116. 116
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Glocksman: In my teens I read some Harlequin romances. Very much the same plots but with different names, locations, and some details setting up the story. However, romance has grown way beyond the Harlequin boilerplate. For example, there are the bodice-rippers, there are fantasies, Westerns, you name it, someone has used the setting and conventions of another niche for the romance. Another example is Diana Gabaldon’s time-travel Outlander series. I’ve read two of the Outlander books.

  117. 117
    FlyingToaster says:

    @PurpleGirl: I was trying to show the big llama. It lives in the same barns as the sheep and goats; the coyotes are scared of it.

    So am I. He hisses and spits at everyone. They usually pen him up away from the public-facing side of the field during the sheep shearing festival, but otherwise he’s all over the sheep-n-goat grazing area east of the main house and uphill from the farmhouse.

    Gore Place

    The Farm

  118. 118
    Snarki, child of Loki says:


    Downtown Chicago resident here. What the article mentions is crazy true… coyotes are all over, even downtown in some of the most densely packed urban areas.

    I hear there’s a particularly vicious pack that has a den in the Chicago Futures Exchange.

  119. 119
    scav says:

    @Pogonip: That’s weird, having a pre-existing history and apparently losing it. I’ve forgotten, does one have to register a kindle, no? Wouldn’t work otherwise, although I’ve opted out of all registration any time I can. Still, You’d think they’d have the boilerplate in place to automatically agree to working off the old dataset because books are pretty much books. Are you still getting good recommendations through the web-site or are the recs different depending on how you enter it?

  120. 120
    scav says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: Yuckies. Young Urban Coyotes. Is that not a general term?

  121. 121
    Glocksman says:



    My comment above notwithstanding, I’ll read a ‘romance’ novel if it has a good story backing it.
    The disdain I have is reserved for the ‘authors’ who coast by on their reputations as a writer of formerly good fiction long after that rep has passed its sell by date.

    See Tom Clancy for details.

  122. 122
    tokyo expat says:

    @Pogonip: It’s probably one of the few, rare instances where a man has to pretend to be a woman to be successful. Although the romance genre has grown a lot and become much more diverse in its offerings, I think men still tend to choose a female pen name or use initials. But female writers do the same thing, especially if they are writing in genres with more of a male audience.

    @Glocksman: @PurpleGirl: Agree about formulaic. Does Tom Clancy write his books? Some of the huge authors actually have a team behind them to write the stories. I can’t remember if he was one of them. I gave up on him after he nuked Colorado.

  123. 123
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I have had very good and very poor interactions with Keri. She edited a number of my stories and an early draft of my novel, then stopped responding to my emails right about the time I paid her a large chunk of money.

  124. 124
    tokyo expat says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): If you need an editor, I’d be happy to talk with you and work with you on a reasonable fee. I’d be willing to do a sample edit (first few pages) to see if we would fit. Let me know.

  125. 125
    Anne Laurie says:

    @J R in WV:

    All our critters go in and out, it’s a farm fer cryin’ out loud. Maybe we should start putting them out before sunset and trying to keep them in overnight.

    Our current dogs are 55 lb lab mixes, they like to lie on the edge of the back porch and smell the night air. As a pair they might intimidate a coyote, less likely a coyowolf mix.

    Yeah, I would definitely advise luring the small guys indoors at sunset (make that dinner hour, say).

    The coyotes probably consider your lab mixes a “pack”, and canine instinct is not to mess around in the neighboring pack’s territory unless times are really hard. Around here, the worst time for small-pet-snatching (& challenges — people walking big dogs get ‘shadowed’ by one or more coyotes) is February-April. Food’s run short, there are new pups to feed, and second-yearlings are out looking for their own new territories. (Or mates. There was a local broadcast a couple years ago, guy with a cellphone video complaining the coyote checking out his backyard might threaten his kids, and meanwhile his German Shepherd girl was visibly flirting with the coyote…)

  126. 126
    rikyrah says:


    Absolutely on point

  127. 127
    Don K says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    I live near Lone Pine and Telegraph, and we had a coyote a few years back.I heard of a few people losing kitties to him, but I guess Bloomfield Hills Animal Control trapped him (Bloomfield Township was somewhat more laissez faire). I swa him once in my back yard. We could use a good pack to thin out the damned deer around here.

  128. 128
    tejanarusa says:

    Thank you for the link – the list of terror turkeys in Brookline (and elsewhere) gave me some much needed laughs. Also shaking my head in wonder; I lived a chunk of early adulthood more or less between that Tappan St location and the Short Street one, on University Rd., half a block or so off Beacon.
    That wild turkeys have shown up there is just…mind-bogglling.

  129. 129
    tejanarusa says:

    Thank you for the link – the list of terror turkeys in Brookline (and elsewhere) gave me some much needed laughs. Also shaking my head in wonder; I lived a chunk of early adulthood more or less between that Tappan St location and the Short Street one, on University Rd., half a block or so off Beacon.
    That wild turkeys have shown up there is just…mind-bogglling.

  130. 130
    tejanarusa says:

    Oops; sorry for the double posting; my finger slipped…

    Bethany Anne – I have been owned by cats for the last 30 years or so; have moved with them a few times. They always hide under the bed for the first couple of days. Bolder ones might come out after twenty-four hours. Three days wouldn’t be bad.
    The other thing to remember is that cats are very attached to place. If they were at the shelter for more than a year (poor babies), they would have been attached to it by now, and are having to adjust to the new location even more than to you.
    You and they will be fine. Just keep being patient, doing what you’re doing.

  131. 131
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    @goblue72: This is correct. I kicked in to a Kickstarter project for the new Trainz simulator project, which will hopefully be out in the newly funded edition by end of this year. My card was NOT charged until the goal was met. If the goal is not met, your card is never charged. That simple.

  132. 132
    WereBear says:

    @carlweese: Sorry ya’ll, meant to SAY the you don’t get the money from Kickstarter if you don’t reach goal.


  133. 133
    JAFD says:


    OK, so ‘120% vinegar’ is a useful weed killer, especially for thistles. Am I correct here ?

    Thanks, again. (city boy am I, of plant stuf mostly ignorant)

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