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The big news for me this past week is that I had to move my website, which turned into quite an intensive project because I'd neglected it for a while. The forced move was a good kick in the pants to get me to upgrade and redo the thing, which I should have done years back but hadn't found the time. So for the past seven days I've spent a lot of time swearing at WordPress and fiddling with settings and hacking around in my ancient copy of Photoshop. Like you do. I'm glad I had the time, although now I'm behind on a couple of freelance projects, but that's how it goes.

You may be asking, why was this a forced move?

My previous webhost was SFF Net, which I joined back in the late 90s because all the cool science fiction and fantasy authors were there. It's a nice place run by nice people. 

But on January 18th, one of their primary admins Jeffry Dwight posted this message:

Dear SFF Netters,

We are sad to announce that, after 20 years, SFF Net is going offline. Although
the reasons are prosaic (increasing costs, diminishing revenue), our deep regret
is that we will be unable to continue serving our loyal friends. SFF Net has,
at the core, been about online friendships, shared interests, and shared lives.


We deeply appreciate each of you who've joined us (and stuck with us) over the
years.

We will be taking services offline on March 31, 2017.

This was, of course, a surprise. Many SFF Net users reacted with shock and concern, and Dwight followed up a few days later to explain the reasons behind the shutdown:

Yes, this is partly related to my health (specifically the loss of 
half my eyesight in 2014), which has shifted more of the SFF Net support 
to Steve. The problem this causes is that I really need him to be working 
on Greyware stuff full-time. If you recall, Greyware has been paying much 
of SFF Net's expenses over the years, and Steve and I have just done SFF 
Net without pay.

Greyware is moving from my server room to the cloud soon. Right now, SFF 
Net occupies 95% of Greyware's storage, and over 75% of its bandwidth. 
Greyware can't continue to give that away when it moves offsite: It's 
not only infeasible, but the accountant says it's not allowed. 
Apparently it's one thing to mooch off intangibles, but not off 
things that have direct costs. The server room itself will 
eventually disappear.

In case I wasn't clear above, we're okay. Don't worry about us.

Yes, this is emotional for me. I've put this day off as long as 
possible. I have loved knowing all of you for all these years.

 

I figured I'd take the radical tactic of not waiting until the last minute to get moved. Success! The shutdown of SFF Net is familiar to many of us who work with small presses: any company that's dependent on one or two key staff members with no replacement plan in place is vulnerable to sudden shutdowns. I knew SFF Net was not a large company, but I didn't realize it was just Steve and Jeffry pretty much all the way down the line because they were always highly responsive to technical concerns. 

This shutdown affects E2 since I did a search and saw that several writeups cite pages that were/are on SFF Net servers ... this is my call for someone who's an active editor to take a look and make corrections as needed. I think I've fixed everything I have control over.

ETA: Lord Brawl is on the case!

Big things are afoot with the whole Pandeism project.

Pandeism: An Anthology published worldwide and electronically on January 27, to much elation. Somewhat to my surprise, it quickly settled in as the number two bestselling e-book in the Deism category for some weeks (persistently behind Thomas Paine's The Age Of Reason) before steadily declining into the teens. To anybody in this community who has bought the book, thanks so much!! And if you have a moment, I'd be grateful if you'd take that moment to bestow even the briefest of reviews (I think Amazon's minimum is something like five or six words).

In as-exciting news, we will be having our official London Launch for the book at the ancient and esoteric Watkins Books near Leicester Square on Thursday, March 30 at 6:30 PM -- an event page has been set up here -- where attendees may meet and mingle with three of our contributing authors, who'll be giving presentations regarding their sections of the book -- Deist barrister Dr Michael Arnheim, deep mind-philosopher Anthony Peake, and Hindu religious education expert Sushma Sahajpal. If you're London-based (or if it is otherwise convenient) it'd be wonderful to have you!!

And, the 2017 Pandeism Collegiate Writing Competition is a thing, still. We moved the deadline back to June 9 to give students time to see to their classes first, but first prize is still $250 + publication of the piece in the next book. And that is the last bit of news: the book has done well enough to allow us to go ahead with a Volume II, with a dozen authors of wildly diverse origins and viewpoints already committed to contributing articles. The path is underfoot, and the road goes ever onward. Blessings!!

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