Mailing List Freebies

I’ve tested everything and it all seems to work, so I guess I can tell you now:

If you sign up for my fiction and/or nonfiction mailing lists, you will get free ebooks.

If you sign up for the nonfiction list, you’ll get a free copy of Tarsnap Mastery. I’m sure that Colin over at Tarsnap will be less than thrilled that I’m giving away free documentation for his service, but it’s my book and he can suck it up.

If you sign up for the fiction list, you will receive not one not two but six free stories, spread out over a month. Some are commercially available only as part of collections.

These are not newsletters. I only bother to send mail when I have a new reason for you to give me money, such as a new release, a Kickstarter, a bundle, or one of my very rare sales.

Is this giveaway a transparent ploy to make you listen when I try to sell you other books? Yes. Yes, it is. I hope that the freebies will so enchant you that you must purchase everything I have ever written. Or, that my generosity will so burden your conscience that the mere sight of my name will make you mash the BUY button. Either works.

“OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems” Print/Ebook Bundle Preorder

Until 1 December, I’ll be taking preorders for print copies of OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems. You can even buy two books if you want, because I can cram a second book into a Priority Mail envelope. Just let me know the title of the second one in an order comment.

Every purchase includes ebook versions of OMF (and any other titles you get).

I’ll be ordering your books with the sponsor copies, signing them, and shipping at the same time.

Details on the order page.

If this works out well, I’ll do it again. Disintermediation is good.

If it whirls into a bewildering mess, I won’t.

Sponsorships, Releases, New Books, and Kickstarters

A giant tangle of stuff, and it’s all related. Plus, I want your opinion on two questions.

OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems is at the copyeditor, and due back 15 December. I should have print in stores immediately before Christmas. Barely.

Prohibition Orcs and Frozen Talons are leaking out in ebook right now. If you buy them directly from me, they come with an exclusive bonus–To Serve Orc: Enduring Recipes from the Old Country, Watered Down for America. It’s short, but you won’t find it anywhere except my site. The print books are underway, and the leather-covered Orcibus will have to wait until I can deliver print books to the cover maker. Covers should exist in early December, so I should completely fulfill everything before 2023.

Which brings me to scheduling.

People sometimes ask me if they can buy signed print books directly from me. I had intended to run a Kickstarter as an advance sale for OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems, which would let those folks buy signed books from me. Kickstarter will not let you run a new Kickstarter while an old one has not yet been fulfilled, however. If I’m honest, I can’t run a new Kickstarter until, oh, 1 January 2023.

Which means I can’t realistically do one for OMF. I am considering running a thirty-day print sale for OMF on my web site, however. Paperbacks would be $25, hardcovers $40. Shipping would be $10 US, $15 Canada, and $40 rest of world. (Yeah, shipping is terrible.) You’d have the option to order one extra book, at the same prices, for the same shipping. I can cram two Mastery books, or a Mastery and a novel, in an USPS Priority Mail envelope. Shipments would go out with the sponsor shipments, but would NOT arrive in time for Christmas. Comment if you’d buy one. If nobody wants it, I won’t bother setting it up.

Which means that my next Kickstarter will be for a fiction collection (Corrosive Devotion: Ten Tales of Love that Aren’t Love Stories), probably in January 2023.

About that time, I’ll open sponsorships for the next Mastery title, “Running Your Own Mail Server.” Because, like Kickstarter, I won’t open new sponsorships until I’ve fulfilled the old ones. Prices are rising everywhere, so I’m contemplating raising print sponsorship prices from $100 to $120. If you’re a previous print sponsor, would that stop you from sponsoring again? This will let me integrate a Kickstarter into the business plan, rather than being a late addition haphazardly nailed onto the side.

For similar reasons, the ebook of OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems will be $12.99 rather than $10.99. This means that while the Kindle version will be available at any number of bookstores, it will not be in Amazon’s Kindle bookstore. Amazon will have the print edition. Amazon is no longer a viable e-bookstore for my new shorter nonfiction, mostly because I’m not willing to screw my readers.

That’s the reasons for the schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I have once again completed all current writing projects simultaneously and now must perform a laborious cold start. I truly must figure out how to de-synchronize my multiple projects.

“OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems” draft done!

After far too long, I have finished a first draft of OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems. Sponsorships are now closed.

I’m asking tech reviewers to get any comments to me by 15 October 2022. That’s four weeks. It might seem tight, but experience shows that people either get their comments to me immediately, or wait until the last possible weekend. I’m not complaining–I do exactly the same thing. Please return any comments either a) in plain text, with enough context that I can find them when page numbers change, or b) as annotations directly on the PDF.

My tech reviewers are now in their third decade of winning the prize for “most likely to use many different PDF readers.” A file that works for one won’t work for another. I work around this by distributing three PDFs of the manuscript, each identical in contact but prepared differently. Everyone should be able to find one that works for them.

If you’re interested in doing a tech review, please drop me an email (mwl at mwl dot io) saying who you are, why you would make you a good reviewer, and that you won’t share the manuscript. (Piracy is bad, but having my name on an unreviewed and thus certainly incorrect document is horrifying). I’ll ignore responses that can’t follow those instructions, because whenever I don’t I get difficult-to-decipher feedback. (I have previously received PostScript diffs, and… no. Just no.)

I’ll be turning my attention to the Prohibition Orcs copyedits next. Then it’s back to the Epic Giant Fiction Project, and another tech book, title TBA.

“OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems” Status Report

I just finished the ‘non-native filesystems’ part of “OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems.” I wouldn’t say I’ve finished the hard part, but I have finished the “intertwined to an unholy degree” part.

In the beginning, Berkely released Unix. This made a lot of vendors very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move.

Why have I spent months on five chapters? Because everything in the core storage system of any Unix is intertwined to a nearly unholy degree. To understand filesystems you must understand partitioning, but to understand why Unix uses partitions as it does you need to understand filesystems. I have to meticulously disentangle facts so that I can start explanations at the bottom of the storage stack, but add in enough higher-level details exactly when you need them so you can make sense of why the bottom layers work as they do.

Otherwise, you’d look at computers and think “Wow, this whole thing is stupid.” Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing IS stupid, but it’s your job to understand the stupidity and I don’t need to be rubbing your nose in it.

Have I written on these before?

Yes, many times.

Does that make them easier to write?


Can I use the earlier edition of Absolute OpenBSD to guide me?

Sure, except that the book is ten years old and every detail within is suspect and must be triple-checked against the current state of the software and oh by the way that book doesn’t even mention GPT or FUSE so burn it all down. AO2e is a checklist of things that will annoy me.

The good news is, the sections that remain are fairly tidy. They’re not standalone, but they are less incestuously intertwined with other topics.

  • NFS
  • iSCSI
  • softraid
  • encrypted storage

    The first two are mostly standalone, and are thus easier to write. Also, as an author I am highly grateful that OpenBSD does not support NFSv4.

    I’m going to push hard to get this done in the next few weeks. Which brings me to:

    Once that happens, sponsorships will close. If you want your name in the book, act now.

  • DNSSEC, Badgers, and Orcs, Oh My!

    Talk about one weeeird mass escape.

    DNSSEC Mastery, 2nd edition hardcovers, paperbacks, and ebooks should now be available everywhere, so that book’s officially out.

    Today is the official release date for Domesticate Your Badgers. I made this a pre-order, so it’s available in all formats everywhere. I don’t bother with preorders for tech books, but I wanted the Kickstarter backers to get a chance to have theirs in-hand before the general public could order it. It didn’t quite work that way–backer books have started to arrive in the last day or two–but they’re on their way so it’s not a complete failure.

    Last, the Fiction River anthology Broken Dreams comes out today. The author list includes my name. The book description says something about alternate history, in Detroit, with orcs. It’s at all major retailers, and a bunch of minor ones.

    If I had pushed, I could have released “Letters to ed(1)” today, but that’s too much even for me. A couple more weeks on that one. Consider yourself warned.

    Charity Auction: DNSSEC Mastery proof for Black Girls Code

    I have another unique physical artifact, which means it’s time for another charity auction.

    I’ve run auctions for the Soroptimists, the Ottawa Mission, and multiple ones for the FreeBSD and OpenBSD foundations. I’m a writer so I can’t give as much to charities as I would like, but I seem to have developed a knack for persuading other people to give to charity and that’s the same thing, right?

    I’m auctioning off the print proof of DNSSEC Mastery, 2nd edition.

    A proof is a prepublication version of a book, printed so the publisher can double check that the spine text is actually on the spine and the cover art is right side up and the correct words are on the proper pages and that the typesetter didn’t forget the commas. It’s stamped with a Not For Resale banner so unscrupulous folks can’t sell it ahead of time. Only one print proof of DNSSEC Mastery exists.

    I’ll sign this book, add a personalized note declaring that this tome was won at charity auction and thus demonstrates the winner’s sound moral and ethical character, and ship it by the best means available for $15 or less.

    This time, you’ll be supporting Black Girl Code. They do good work and have chapters all over the US, including here in Detroit, as well as South Africa.

    The auction rules are:

    Comment on this post to bid. All bids in US dollars. I advise bidders to click the “notify me of new comments by email” button, so they can see when they’re outbid.

    The auction runs from now until 5PM EST 28 February. If the bidding goes nuts in the last few minutes, I’ll leave it open until it settles down. There’s no sniping this auction at the last moment, as I want the bids to escalate.

    Once the auction closes, send your donation to BGC within two days.

    Send me your receipt. Once I have the receipt, I mail you the book.

    If you don’t donate within a few days, or don’t send me your receipt, the number two winner has their chance.

    As always, I must remind you that you don’t need to win a silly book to donate. You can be of sound character without a reward from me.

    Another auction will follow this one: the Domesticate your Badgers proof, for my alma madder the Clarion Foundation.

    New book: “Domesticate Your Badgers”

    The Kickstarter is over, backers and Patronizers have their ebooks, so I can now offer Domesticate Your Badgers: Become a Better Writer through Deliberate Practice to the rest of the world.

    Sort of.

    If you want to read it today, you can buy it directly from me at my bookstore. At all other stores, the ebook is on pre-order and will be released on 1 March 2022. The print book will be on pre-order shortly.

    Is this a lame scheme to steer readers to purchase directly from me? No. That’s merely a super convenient side effect.

    I want a chance to get Patronizers and Kickstarter backers who elected for print editions their copies before the book is broadly available. While the supply chain is still fubar and printers are backed up, I hope that I can get my print copies by March. That’s realistic but, you know, plague changes everything.

    If you’d rather pre-order from a big ebookstore, that’s fine. The DYB page has links for your convenience.

    I will say that of all the books I’ve released, this might be the prettiest. I wanted illustrations that ranged from “OMG adorable!” to “joyful WTF,” and Pamela Mosiejczuk knocked it out of the park.

    So: if you ask how I write all these books, I’ll point you at Domesticate Your Badgers.

    If you ask how I make a living writing books, I’ll point you at Cash Flow for Creators.

    Save yourself some trouble, and buy them both.

    Domesticate Your Badgers