So, on Friday afternoon, literally ten minutes before I left for the day, I got an email from Human Resources informing me that due to my position and/or title change, I would need to update my profile in the database.

I haven't had a position and/or title change since 2012, when I was promoted from receptionist to administrator, and while my surname is not super common, it's not out of the bounds of belief that they might get the wrong Sam. So I emailed them and said, hey, are you sure this went to the right Sam?

I got one sentence back: "You should check with your manager."


So I forwarded the email to my boss with what I felt was far fewer question marks than all this deserved, and Friday night she emailed me back:

Sorry, HR got ahead of us! We’ll be meeting on Monday morning to talk about your new role. This shouldn’t be a complete surprise since we’ve talked about your goals for growth, and about the new business manager taking over some of your duties. It’s a good direction for you and the team. We’ll talk more on Monday!

Which at least is less ominous, if still hilarious. Only I could get a promotion and not know what it was for an entire weekend.

Anyway, the upshot is that we met this morning and I have been promoted from administrative manager to full-on Research Analyst. This is a huge jump in terms of my career and a huge compliment, and involves absolutely no more money whatsoever, because I already make more than an entry-level Research Analyst makes, but whatever.

Makin' my way in the world!

Also this means I can stop looking for jobs. Oh thank god.
By The Days is now available for purchase!

By The Days is a compilation of Sam Starbuck's poetry from 2003 to the present. Sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, and sometimes slyly satirical, Sam's work centers around themes of renewal, social responsibility, understanding of history, and the wonders of daily life.

Is that the most pretentious blurb you've ever heard or what. It was so painful to write.

But yes. Poetry: it's a thing that happened!

You can purchase a paper copy for $7.99 USD here at It is "pocket" sized, which really means "slightly too big to fit in an average pocket".

You can also purchase the ePub for $3.99 USD here at, downloadable instantly for your reading pleasure! This is also pocket sized, technically speaking.

IF YOU WISH FOR A SIGNED COPY, do not purchase a book! Instead, read on!

I will be selling signed copies of By The Days for $20, which includes the cost of postage; the net profit on the book goes to charity, in this case 826Chicago, which supports students ages 6 to 18 in their creative and expository writing skills and also runs fun shops like The Boring Store.

To sign up for a signed copy of the book, I have created an awesome new GOOGLE FORM. Just go here and fill out a few trifling details -- nothing too personal, I promise, no payment info -- and Google will take care of the rest. I'll be in contact over the next few weeks (possibly months, I never claimed to be efficient) to confirm your desire for a book and get address and payment information.

I'm always ambivalent about poetry, mine especially, because there seems to be criteria outside of normal literature for poetry and I've never been able to grasp what it is. I don't know if my poems are any good or if you should pay me for them. So in addition to the paper and epub copies you can purchase from, you can read it all for free at Gutenberg, and decide for yourself!

Here is a PDF from Gutenberg which you may download, share, and otherwise abuse without paying for it (except in pieces of your soul). If you do download a free PDF, consider making a donation to Project Gutenberg, an excellent internet resource and a force for good in the world.

Thanks, everyone!
EVERYONE PARTY, it's time for Sam's Guide to Job Hunting!


I got an email from someone this morning who wanted to ask me about my system for jobsearching, so I wrote them a probably overlong letter and then realised, yes. It is time. I've been jobsearching for six months and I've reached the deadline where I switch over from "find a new job" to "find housing closer to where my current job is moving to". And I have learned a lot from being able to jobsearch while not having to stress about actually having a job, because I have one already, so I thought I would share my system.

It's important to note at the outset, though, that the specifics of this system may not work for everyone. You have to find what works for you. That being said, this system is designed to minimize the amount of a) work and b) thinking you have to do. The latter is important because thinking is hard and causes anxiety and if you have depression, you are likely to find any reason you can not to think. This isn't a character flaw; it's brain chemistry. So. Minimal thinking required. Whatever your system, spend each day wondering "how can I do less work?" and you will find yourself getting more done.

I've got an outline at the end for people who don't want to read every damn thing I say. :D


Sam's Job Hunt )


All of this seems like a ton of extra work, I know. But it's extra rote-work. Everything I've talked about -- keeping a spreadsheet, making folders, making templates -- is stuff that you can do on autopilot once you get into the habit. It's mindless work that you don't have to expend any actual brain effort on; plug names in here, get output there. This replaces the difficult, messy, confusing, anxiety-inducing mental work that jobsearching usually requires. It takes about the same amount of time and much, much less energy, so that you can get more done and be less afraid.

Reading this, however, is a lot of mental effort, so here's a quick breakdown. This is also a good checklist until you get into the habit.

The Good Parts Version )

So, there you have it. Good luck jobhunters, particularly those of you who are unemployed or fresh from school. Remember that even if you do everything in this post, you may not get many interviews; right now is one of the worst times since the Great Depression to try to find a permanent position that pays a living wage. If you are sending out applications, you are officially doing your best; the rest of the responsibility lies with the employer, and their failure to hire you is not your failure as a person.

It's a hard grind, and I wish you all the best.

I went out to a farmer's market this morning with the hopes of acquiring Eggplant II: The Moussaka Experiment. I have no idea if eggplants are even in season, but I wanted cherries and rhubarb too, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I try to go to a different market every time, because Chicago has quite a few, but I'm crossing the North Center market off my list; it's small, and I have a hard time not being part of a crowd. I thought about having to make small talk with whoever sold me cherries and decided to casually stroll past the market and be on my way. And go to a cemetery, because solitude is obviously what I need more of.

Graceland Cemetery is almost literally my backyard. You can see some of it from my bedroom window. So I got off the bus before I got home and took a stroll around. I hadn't seen Christopher Manuel in a while and he's by far my favourite monument I've ever encountered. He's hidden behind some shrubbery so unless you know where you're going he's nearly impossible to find, which I also like, though I was sad to see he was rather leafy and cobwebby. So I took a minute and cleaned him off a bit, then thought I'd head home.

So I was walking down Lake towards Greenwood within the cemetery when I saw what I thought were two dogs. You're not supposed to walk your dogs in the cemetery for obvious reasons, so I started looking around for their owner, but then I realised they were a) puppies and b) COYOTES.

I love Chicago's coyotes. I love that we're an urban center with two thousand wild coyotes living cheek by jowl with humans, and that the city allows them because they keep the rodent population down. Chicago's coyotes aren't trash scavengers: they eat the occasional cat, and they'll sometimes go after dogs during mating season (there's always a rash of complaints from the burbs about them around February) but spoor and stomach-contents analysis shows that Chicago's urban and suburban coyotes don't eat people food and they don't eat much trash. They are useful and generally not dangerous.

Until today I'd never seen any; I don't live near a park and I'm not often out for long walks early in the morning when they're most likely to be sighted -- I'm on the train to work. But apparently we have a family living in Graceland.

Smug little guy. (Terrible cellphone photo is terrible.)

I took some photos for proof, but I didn't linger. Given how young but well-fed they looked, I can't imagine Mama was far away, and I didn't want to set her off or scare the pups. They saw me, but they didn't startle in particular, just posed politely, then trotted into a bush and out of sight.

I keep meaning to post this -- I actually have a backlog of posts I keep forgetting to post at this point -- but I am super-thrilled that The Dead Isle has been nominated for Yuletide this year:

Look at me sandwiched between Rosemary Sutcliff and Agatha Christie.


(How refreshing is it to hear an author say that?)

And thank you JJ for nominating Dead Isle. :)
The Dead Isle is now available for purchase!

The year is 1880, and Jack Baker is a young, driven student at Harvard University for Engineers. In this America, industry depends on "Creation" magic rather than machines, and most engineers are train repairmen, not inventors like Jack. Even his Creationist friend Clare thinks Jack's genius is going to waste at Harvard.

There is one man who knows how to put Jack to use, however: famous novelist and sometimes spy Ellis Graveworthy, who wants Jack to come with him to England and build him a flying ship. Graveworthy has been ordered to cross the heavily-guarded coast of Australia, the "Dead Isle" which has no Creation, and which sealed itself off from the outside world more than twenty years before. Rumors abound that Australia is building a war fleet, intent on conquest, and it's Graveworthy's job to stop it.

Clare, exiled from Australia as a child because of her ability to Create, is determined to return to her homeland with Graveworthy and Jack, but their journey is not easy. Along the way the three of them will encounter the pirate Purva de la Fitte, con the wealthiest robber barons in Australia, meet surprising allies, and possibly touch off a long-awaited revolution.

Join Jack, Clare, Ellis, and Purva in an adventure spanning half the globe, in search of the answer to a centuries-old question: Why is there no magic in the Dead Isle?

This book was the product of an intense editing process conducted entirely online.

The Dead Isle is for sale through


Use the promocode SEPBOOKS12 and get 20% off! (Lulu pays the difference; I make the same profit.)

The paper edition is available currently for $18.99; the ePub edition is $4.99. It is also available for free as a PDF download from Project Gutenberg. (Or will be -- it hasn't been approved yet but bookmark that page, it'll be there when it is.)

If you are interested in a signed copy, please do not purchase a book! Peep behind the cut for instructions.

Signed Copies )

Publicity and Reviews:

I am more than happy for you to publicise this book on your own journal if you want. You are of course welcome to do your own writeup, with your own opinion; if you review the book please send me a link! If you'd like to copy and paste a promo, you can use the text behind the cut: )

Thank you for supporting your local independent author! You all know I couldn't do it without you.

Also bear in mind that Lulu bundles postage! :) If you're picking up a copy of The Dead Isle and don't yet have a copy of Nameless, Charitable Getting, or Trace, now's the perfect time to save on shipping. And if you're looking for holiday gifts for high school seniors, you could do worse than Other People Can Smell You, my guide to surviving a university education.
So, it occurred to me I never really talked much about what it is we do at my work. There are articles out there about it, but they're mostly about making us sound like creeps and telling you how to avoid us, so let me give you the inside scoop.

What Prospect Research is. )

Prospect Researchers do a lot. We know a lot of things that maybe we shouldn't, but we take care to keep them within the fundraising system and maintain respect for our donors. Our job is to guide our fundraisers to the people who want to give to us, and give them the tools to put those prospective donors at ease and help them give.

And if you love research and enjoy working with dorky introverts, we may be the job for you!

Two years ago I made a post about how (if you are a Statesider) you can consolidate your student loans -- and get the payments reduced through Income Based Repayment if you are low-income. And if you pay through Income Based Repayment and work for a not for profit, you can qualify after ten years of payments to get the balance of your loans forgiven.

At the time the PSLF ("Public Service Loan Forgiveness") program was so new they didn't even have paperwork for it yet; you had to sign up for IBR blindly, hoping that PSLF would actually come through. Now they have actual documents that allow you to prove to them that you work for a 501(c)(3) on a yearly basis, so that when your ten years are up, there's a paper trail.

If you go to the Student Aid On The Web PSLF site, the instructions are MASSIVELY UNCLEAR, but all you need to do is fill out the "Employment Certification For Public Service Loan Forgiveness" linked on the right-hand side in the box, and mail it in as documentation. You can read the other links, but the actual form you need is that third link down.

Now I get to go do a tutorial on all this for about half of my ducklings. Closing fannish websites and opening boring government ones in 3...2...1...
Oh man, I just realised I'm living in a high-brow sitcom.

I have the wacky friends, the weird job full of slightly off-kilter people*, the glamorous crush, the crazy secret second job, the strange family, the improbably large apartment for the iconic urban area I live in, the built-in narrative device, and every day on my way to work I walk past a twenty-six-foot-tall homage to the upskirt panty shot. I'm currently arguing on the internet with someone about the cupcake industry.

In honour of my double life, I'm calling it Sam Squared.

And before you guys say you'd watch it, guess what: you're in it.

* When we got to the luncheon on Friday, each eight-person table had a plate of dessert nibbles as the centrepiece, clearly meant to be eaten after the meal. I looked around as the soup was being brought out and discovered our table was the only table that had done the sensible thing and eaten the dessert nibbles immediately.
Trace is now available for purchase!

Colin Byrne is a pickpocket, an artist, and an occasional consultant for the police. He’s also an ex-felon, an initiate into the feral, unspoken magic that only prisoners know: how to vanish, how to tell fortunes, how to steal souls. Now the man who put him in prison wants him to return to Railburg State Correctional Facility to help investigate a case.

Colin has some allies at Railburg: his mentor Gutierrez, who talks to God, and his friend Noel, the best ink artist in the prison. But another powerful prisoner that Colin helped put away is slowly poisoning the food, and there’s impulsive young Laney to protect from the Aryan Brotherhood. With mysterious forces aiming to incite a riot that will wipe Railburg from the map and from human memory, Colin has bigger problems than the one he went to Railburg to solve...

This book was the product of an intense editing process conducted entirely online.

Trace is for sale through


The paper edition is available currently for $12, and the price will rise to $15 in February; the ePub edition is fixed at $3. It is also available for free as a PDF download.

If you are interested in a signed copy, please do not purchase a book! Peep behind the cut for instructions.

Signed Copies )

Publicity and Reviews:

I am more than happy for you to publicise this book on your own journal if you want! You are of course welcome to do your own writeup, with your own opinion; if you review the book please send me a link! If you'd like to copy and paste a promo, you can use the text behind the cut: )

Thank you for supporting your local independent author! You all know I couldn't do it without you.

Also bear in mind that Lulu bundles postage! :) If you're picking up a copy of Trace and don't yet have a copy of Nameless or Charitable Getting, now's the perfect time to save on shipping. And if you're looking for holiday gifts for high school seniors, you could do worse than Other People Can Smell You, my guide to surviving a university education.
So, quite a while ago I promised you guys a post on Presentation Performance For Introverts. I was inspired to do this when I attended a conference recently, but really it's been brewing for a long time.

It has always struck me as strange, at the conferences I've attended, that so many of the presenters are so bad at it, even when they're visibly not shy people. They ramble, they get confused, they speak in the most soporific, soothing monotone that puts people directly to sleep.

It baffled me for a long time because starting in my freshman year of undergrad I was rigorously trained in presentation technique. At least twice a year I had to mock-interview and present my portfolio, from my first year of undergrad up through my third year of grad school (when I also had to present and defend my graduate thesis). I had to present in most classes, because as theatre professionals we'd be expected to talk a lot about process to our teammates. I was competing, in a sort of nobody-really-wins way, with actors and dancers, people who are very comfortable in front of others, so I had to hit at least a certain level of competence.

I'm not a happy person when you put me in front of a crowd. I hate presenting and will do almost anything to avoid it. But I am very good at it, because I had it more or less beaten into me.

And I know how much easier it is on the psyche to give a good presentation than to get up onstage and promptly start dying.

So I thought I would write about some techniques that have helped me become, if not a dynamic presenter, at least a competent one, because most of the books and articles I've read on this subject suck. Protip: if you ever read an article whose title ends "For Introverts" you can assume that a majority of the advice will boil down to "don't be an introvert". Presentation advice in particular usually begins and ends with "Do it until you're comfortable with it".

The hell with those assholes. I will never be comfortable presenting. So this is not for people who are inexperienced. It is for people who are terrified. Although it's okay if you're terrified and inexperienced.

(Most of my how-to articles start with "Books about this suck". I should look into whether I have an attitude problem or whether everyone else is just more willing to lie.)

Presentation Performance for Introverts )

Conclusion (Again)

This is all a lot to remember, and there's no reason you should freak out trying to do everything I've said here. For one thing, it'll probably give you some kind of seizure.

The point, the ultimate crux of all of this, is that there's basically nothing you can do to stop being afraid. This isn't about not being afraid; I can talk for hours about how the audience is made up of people just like you and nobody's going to judge you for existing and you will probably never see these people again. All that is irrelevant, because fear is irrational. If fear were rational, we'd be way less afraid of public speaking and way more nervous every time we got in a car.

All of this is about giving a good presentation while afraid -- knowing the formulas, knowing the social boundaries, and understanding what makes a good presentation. In the end, as with most things in modern life, it's about the importance of information, and how that information is expressed.

And now, some words from the experts:

How not to Powerpoint
Chicken Chicken Chicken
ETA: I went back to this post in January of 2017 and made some edits and emendations. If you're reading this in the distant future, you might drop me a line and ask if it's still accurate, as things do sometimes change. You should also check with google/yelp to make sure places mentioned here have not closed or moved.

This is not a comprehensive guide. I know, basically, three areas of Chicago very well: the downtown "Loop" and area just south of it, Gold Coast/Streeterville just north of the Loop, and Wrigleyville. I don't claim to be an expert, but I am pretty good at providing info for people who don't know where to start. So this is Sam's Very Limited Guide To Chicago For Visitors. Feel free to add your advice and comments, if you have things to say about the city. :)

Come with me now to Chicago: land of giant beans, apocalyptic fast food, taxis that float, and one decapitated dinosaur. )

And that's my city! Or at least, a tiny slice of it. I hope this proves helpful and not incredibly overwhelming. :D
Uh, so.

You remember how I put Charitable Getting up for sale on November first? Part of that was that I had signed up for the Lulu monthly "Author Sales" contest. It goes like this: you sign up for the contest, and then of those authors who signed up, the author who sells the most books during the month wins a prize.

Guess who sold all the books during the month of November? OH THAT WOULD BE ME.

Or rather, really, I chalk it up to you guys, because you're the ones who bought the book. So thank you! Please enjoy the hell out of your books because y'all just won me $1500.


And it is, I won't lie, rather desperately needed right now. So, thank you, loyal readers and friends, you are awesome. EVERYBODY TAKE A SUPERBALL.
Sam: You want some ketchup?
R: No, I like my fries how I like my women.
Sam: ...salty?
R: Hot and straight.

Tonight I was declared a Wheel of Fortune Master.

Being a Wheel of Fortune Master isn't just about solving puzzles. It's about...the impossible solve. Solving a puzzle with no letters on the board. R's done this a few times -- I haven't witnessed it, but I have Porkchop's word it happened, as much as you can trust the word of someone named after a cut of meat -- and tonight, for the first time, I achieved it. I saw:

[] [] [] [] []
[] []
[] [] []
[] [] [] [] [] []

And I said, "Clash of the Titans. I mean, it fits."

And R said, "What are the chances?"

And then the contestant called a T, and I wish you could have seen the looks on our faces. We spent the whole round talking about what an awesome solve that was. I feel like I've been accepted into some sort of brotherhood. There might be secret handshakes involved. R assured me I would never forget this day, and I suspect he may be right.

And then somehow the conversation drifted into an analysis of the word Poop (long story, rhymes with Oops, which is what R is planning on calling his firstborn). And R bestowed upon me this jewel of wisdom:

"Poops is a funnier word than Poop. No, quantifiably. Because it's a more active verb."

My life: sexually charged french fries, Wheel of Fortune, and active verbs.
It occurred to me this morning while answering an interview email that I am thirty years old, and I started writing fanfic when I was fifteen. I went back and checked and sure enough -- just over a month ago was my fifteenth anniversary in fandom, if you date it from when I started posting fanfic, which was about three months after I started reading it. Apparently I should be giving fandom something crystal, or a watch.

It's potentially inaccurate to say I have been in fandom for half my life, but that depends on how you view being "in fandom". For the four years I was at undergrad I stopped writing and participating; I still watched a few shows, but I didn't engage with them online in the same way -- no meta, no posted fanfic. I still talked to friends from fandom, though, and I still wrote fanfic (on command of and in order to entertain my school friends, who were all into Buffy and thought it was hilarious that I could write stories about it). When I was twenty-one I wrote a novella-length reimagination of the Arthurian saga for a class final; the next year I did a multi-class course of study in reconstructing lost classical literature.

You can take the boy out of fandom...

Anyway, here I am, fifteen years in. Half my life.

My plan to conquer the internet seems to be proceeding on schedule.
This post was checked for broken links and updated in February of 2017, but some information may still be inaccurate. This is intended as a guide; if you find the information below is in contradiction to the government websites that are meant to guide you through this process, the government is (slightly) more likely to be accurate.

So, I was working on my student loans at my desk today, and had to stop to explain to someone the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and like three more people stopped to listen, and THAT IS HOW I ended up giving an impromptu lecture on student loans, which is ironic considering I can't do my own taxes and sometimes have trouble with basic addition.

But as long as it's in my head, WANNA HEAR ABOUT IT?

If you live and work in the US and a) have student loans, b) don't have much money, c) (optionally) work for a not-for-profit, THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU.

Sam Explains Forgiveness, US Government style. )


I should have a "how-to manual" tag.

Also note to self: I will be eligible to apply for PSLF status in April, 2020.
It may not shock you to learn that after six months of intense RPG action, the Askworld kids have kept in contact. Because we both work for nonprofit agencies, [ profile] snaxcident and I tend to have the occasional "Hey, NFPs could use this!" moment, which I swear is all that I intended when I sent an innocent email...that prepared me for WORLD DOMINATION.

Canadians fucking love webinars. )

Between this and getting metaquoted last night, my conquest of the internet continues apace.
And I have come upon this place
By lost ways, by a nod, by words

It's a roundabout route I take seeking wisdom, that's for goddamn sure. I found this video by random curious clicky, and I love Dirty Jobs but I had no idea Mike Rowe did public speaking as well.

It's an awesome speech but not for the squeamish; he opens with a story about castrating a lamb with his teeth. What comes after the testicles is pretty great, though -- classical concepts of knowledge and tragedy, the potential myth of passion, and the idea of seeing what's happening and going the opposite way and finding joy in it. It's long, but I hope you like it.

I mean, I love the idea of following passion, and Alex Haley's The Shadowland Of Dreams is enshrined in my soul, but I like what Rowe says too. It seems to be the epitome of what I'm trying to do with Nameless and eventually with Dead Isle and Valet of Anize, which is to eschew the idea of story as commodity and instead work with story as community. I have every respect and more than a little awe for someone who can write a story and get it published, because I can't, but for me because I can't, I've found a new and different niche for myself as a writer.

It reminds me of what someone said -- I don't recall who, if it was you step up and take credit -- that when I write science fiction it won't be about the gears and guns, but about human and alien and technology and the dark places inbetween. I hope that's true. I'm trying, anyway.

It also reminds me that I'm vastly behind on Valet of Anize, so I'm off to put in my eight hundred words.

It's been a weird fucking day, guys.

By words, by voices, a lost way - ,
And here above the chimney stack
The unknown constellations sway -
And by what way shall I go back?
[ profile] jenna_thorn asked for advice on what to do in Chicago. I prefaced my comment by saying "I don't know much about where to go in this city" and then puked advice all over her, but unfortunately LJ ate my comment. So I thought I'd just put it here.

This is by no means. AT ALL. A complete guide to Chicago. It is a guide to my small red-line slice of it, my stompin' grounds. )

OW MY BRAIN IS TIRED YOU GUYS. So I'll stop there. Please feel free to add information -- I obviously stick to one area of town and have very little to offer in the way of 1. things you can't get to via public transit or 2. the south and west sides of Chicago.
Nameless is in print!

Christopher, the only bookseller in the small farm town of Low Ferry, lives an uneventful life -- until one day he encounters a shy newcomer named Lucas, and accidentally sells him the wrong book. What follows is a journey for both men, in vastly different ways, set against the strange, ritualistic, magic backdrop of a midwestern winter.

A tale about the masks people wear and a meditation on the power of magic and place, Nameless revels in the simple pleasure of storytelling.

This book was the product of an intense three-draft editing process conducted entirely online.

It is available currently for $10.50, and the price will rise to $12 on May 10th. It is also available for free as a PDF download. Those of you who have inquired about ebooks -- I'm in the throes of HTML editing now, so it is coming!

If you are interested in a signed copy, please do not purchase a book! Scroll down to the cut below.

If you know a high school student who will be entering university in the fall, now is a great time to combine your postage and pick up my college guide, Other People Can Smell You, as a gift. If you're a senior yourself and strapped for cash, Other People Can Smell You is also available as a free PDF download.

NOTE: LULU POSTAGE TENDS TO BE EXPENSIVE. If you are overseas and finding postage prohibitive, please leave a comment on this post so people can contact you about workarounds. Likewise, if you are willing to combine postage to lend a friend a hand, please check the comments. It may be cheaper to have someone in the US purchase a copy with theirs and then send it to you, or split postage with someone in your area.

Signed Copies )

Publicity and Reviews:

I am more than happy for you to publicise this book on your own journal if you want. You are of course welcome to do your own writeup if you like; if you have critical comments I won't be butthurt or anything (believe me, after all that we've done already, a little more crit won't kill me). If you'd rather just copy and paste, you can use the textbehind the cut: )

A Final Note

Thank you. THANK YOU, OH GOD. This book would not be here without you. I had friends who pre-read Nameless, and I know some of you don't think you are part of "The 2500" BUT YOU ARE; I had a cafe who went to town on this thing and made it so much better than it was.

Originally it was dedicated to Dog and Crash, the two canine troublemakers who inspired Nameless-the-dog. Dog, rest his soul, is weeing on the carpet in heaven; I'll bring Crash a lovely treat next time I see him, which I suspect he will appreciate more than lasting literary fame.

Instead, this book is dedicated to you.


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