Piracy is for Villains

Earlier today, dark whispers fell upon my ear, warning of a website that might be offering, for free, downloads of a number of stories published under the name of my Other Self. Upon investigation, I found the abomination to be true.

Thieving! Piracy! Violation of copyright!

There seems to be an infuriating percentage of vile humanity that feels justified in taking the hard artwork of others by hook or by crook. Such entitlement! Were the world under my regime*, I’d see all such individuals given their due.

*Soon, you wretches. Soon.

Something involving boiling oil, perhaps, poured into their eyes, that they might never read another word again. Or maybe just a crippling attack from the vicious malware not uncommonly attached to illegal downloads like these*.

*A cruel but fitting irony, that. I could almost approve.

To my disgust, however, Other Me (though every bit as displeased as I was AM) made no move at sweet retaliation — only contacted the perpetrating site with a no-nonsense message stating that they did not have her permission to distribute our work and were to remove it from their cache of ill-gotten booty at once.

I halfway hope they ignore her, leaving the way open for us to do things my way.

Keelhauling. Plank-walking. Hanging. That’s how you deal with pirates.

Though it crush the dreams of starry-eyed aspirants to hear it, authors aren’t so glamorously rich that swiping their labor of years from unauthorized sources doesn’t hurt them. If you wish to undermine their careers, risking the discontinuation of the stories bookish thieves can’t seem to do without, this is a fine and dastardly road toward that very end. If, on the other hand, you want a free book without a black spot on your soul to show for it, ask for it at a library.

Villainy has its time and place.



Printers from Hell

Blackened soul though I be, even I am no match for the villainy of…

The Printer.

Printers from Hell

Oh, the tales of horror my Other Self could tell. But as evidenced by my cold refusal to post on this blog with any regularity, I don’t feel I owe you that kind of time. So for the inarguable explanation of the printer’s evil in full, go here and die in what way seems best to you.




Because Villainy is Always in Fashion

My other self has written an INSPIRED-centric guest post for Kindred Dreamheart’s “Novel Fashion Week”, her contribution described as “a cosplay within a cosplay inspired by a story within a story“.

All very well and good, but not very well and villainous.

So I’m not here to talk about that. Rather, I wish to highlight a post far more relevant to my interests: This other guest piece by one Kristen Taber, “Kingdom Couture: Fashion for Villains and Monsters“.

A promising title, with an opening paragraph that proves the post itself is prepared to deliver.

As we move from summer to fall, it can be difficult for villains and monsters to find a balance between being fashionable and striking fear into the hearts of those they wish to oppress. Layering is a must, of course. After all, you don’t want to be shivering while you’re strangling your latest victim; chattering teeth are guaranteed to break that ominous mood you’ve cultivated. But you also don’t want to be sweaty either. Perspiration can be mistaken for fear and fear for weakness. Then the next thing you know, you have an uprising on your hands. So what’s a villain or monster to do? Here are five tips to help you navigate the world of fashion, while also staying the course in the world of terror you’re fighting hard to protect.

That’s all you’ll get from me. 1, because I am cruel. 2, because plagiarism is one evil I do not yet feel driven to commit. If you want the rest of the post, complete with its practical fashion advice for the stylish villain, then be gone from my sight and read it here.

“There Are No Good Men in This Game”

My Other Self lately posted a review of “Vicious” by V.E. Schwab. Since it is a book rife with villainy/questionable morality/superpowers darkly used, I felt it appropriate (if distasteful, since I like to have as little as possible to do with my “good twin”) to grant access to that review within my domain.

A sample:

“There are no good men in this game.”

So spake one of the characters, and may well have spoken true. There was no pure white, and no solid black, leaving the reader to choose a shade of gray to root for. The villain or his wicked archnemesis; pick your pleasure. There were characters I liked more than others, characters I very much wished not to die, and characters for whom I wished the opposite. It was harder to find characters I couldn’t pity. Even the worst of the bad guys had their sympathetic half-a-moments.

(For the full review, click here.)

Vicious by V.E. Schwab


Interesting fact about my evil pigeon: No matter how badly the world treats me, he/she/your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine never lifts a feather to try to make it up to me.

In stark contrast, there is my Other Self.

She seems to think it is somehow her responsibility to balance everything wrong with the world. Since everyone else is so often late, she must always be early. No one else brought their copy of the handout? That’s okay, she’s got three extra, plus pens for all. And if, hypothetically, she fears her sibling(s) is/are being an unnecessary trial to her poor parents, well then, she’ll just have to be the perfect child — be no bother, cost no time or money, be a source of smiles, laughter, and parental pride in a dreary, head-and-heartachey disappointment of a life.

Except she can’t consistently do that.

Cue the feelings of guilt and inadequacy and that she’s too much greater a burden than she, in light of the burden of others, has any right to be.

I sigh for you, ridiculous Other Self. I sigh for you loud and long. For one with passable intelligence, you are the greatest of fools.

It does not fall to you to compensate for all of humanity’s failings. It falls to them, and as they fail, so shall they someday fall to me.

The answer is not to provide a balance. It is to topple the broken scales.

Careless Villainy

There are people out there who don’t spend all day plotting ways to ruin people’s lives*.

(*Or so I assume. …or would, if I were the sort to believe the best about people who only ever show me their worst**.)

(** Unless what I’m seeing is their best, in which case I rest my case about the worthlessness of humanity).

These people don’t have to plot. They’re just naturals at ruining lives without trying.

Their selfishness and obliviousness to how their actions affect others does the job as effectively as a doomsday ray cannon, causing just as much pain and devastation as any intentional villain ever did.

The coldly analytical portion of my dark side — the portion only concerned with the bottom line, the end never minding the means — admires the unpremeditated ease with which they wreak ruin upon the world around them.

The rest of me detests these careless villains.

Their poor mothers deserve so much better.

A Madman, a Good Man, a Hero, a Villain

“Was he a good man who just went mad in the end?” Jor asked.

Wren considered. “He was a man,” she said slowly, “who’d been going mad for a very long time. He first went mad enough to be an assassin, and then he went mad enough to be a hero, and then he went mad enough to be a villain.”

Cry of the Nightbird

a fantasy novella by Tirzah Duncan,

available now.

Nightbird cover, final