Friday, August 24, 2012

Paper or Silicon?

This month I got paperback books of 4 of my  novels printed and in hand.  I know I have had my books online for sale for over a year, but it was a totally different thing.  To hold in my hand a book that I wrote and published was an amazing feeling.
I think the difference is the concrete proof...  Holding it in my hand gives me a true tactile feeling, and shows me something I did will be permanent.  Having an e-book out is great, but it is almost not real.  Yes, I know that I have sold to hundreds of people already, but when I see the hard pages  with my words I feel like I did something.

The reality is, I will likely sell more ebooks that print books of the same story.  But call me old fashioned,  I like paper.   I go to library sales and come home with boxes of books to read.  When I sit an wait my turn in line or in a waiting room,  I bring a paperback.   There is something comforting in paper; something familiar.  Plus when I am reading a paperback., if I fall asleep and/or drop it, no great loss.  it falls I pick it up, no problem.  Last time I dropped my iPad it cost me $299.00 to fix it (OUCH!).

Of course I have to admit  ebooks have me spoiled in some ways.  When I can't sleep, I don't need to have a light on to read an ebook.  It also has that great dictionary feature.   Now when I hit a word that is purely British or Australian, I can see what the bloody thing means. And the books do not take up household space.  That's another good thing.  My home is crowded with books.  Scifi, romance, occult, you name it, I have it.  E readers help keep people like me from being another episode on hoarders...

But back to the subject. of my books.   I now have Riske' run, Magick's bounty, Cabin in the woods, and Rise of Dawn on paperback.  They look really good, and I am looking forward to having a signing in one of the local bookstores. I hope many many people will come to a signing when I do it.

In the mean time, Green Haired Beauty is next on my  publication list.   look for it in about 2 months

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The pain of change

I went to the book store for the ebook help group meeting we have each month and noticed some significant changes.  The most obvious was the huge areas of discounted books.   E books have been hurting  paper publishing for a while, but to see  the huge areas of books discounted for sale was very telling.

As I always do  when we meet in the bookstore, I stopped by the romance section and picked up some books.  I always buy something when I meet somewhere.  I consider it "paying the rent" for the meeting.

When I got home I opened my bag of goodies and sat down to read.   That was when I got a major shock.   Harlequinn, the biggest most stable of the romance book companies  changed their books!  I picked up the Special Editions for this month.  Number 2197 and 2198 were normal, but book 2201 "The CEO's Unexpected Proposal" By Karen Rose Smith was different.   The cover  was half as thick, the pages felt like newsprint paper it was so thin.  After decades the same, the solid romance book series felt flimsy.

The writing was good as always for Karen Rose Smith, but the book felt wrong.  The smell  and the visual input was and is the same.  The book even weighs nearly the same, only 2 ounces less than the previous. (yes, I am crazy enough to have measured that) But the book feel different. It just does not feel right. The cover is so thin it curled just by my opening the book.  the pages turn differently since they are so thin.   the whole experience is different.

I know Harlequinn has been doing things differently, but the differences have been subtle.  Although I do not know if it si policy or not, I have noticed they have stopped using anyone but their established writers with a guaranteed fan base.   I do not think I have read any Harlequinn books form a new writer in a couple years.  Business wise it makes sense, but it does hurt all of us as writers when we can not get into the good old girls network.

Even so, the feel of a book is one of the few sales features it has over ebooks.   If we are losing that, we may lose the paperbacks altogether.  I hope that does not happen.  I really truly do like turning real pages and reading a book with a real physical feel at times.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are free reads really free?

Looking through the freebies and  low cost  books on  Amazon, Apple, and other services, I have stumbled upon an interesting realization.   Nothing out there is free.

Yes, I know, Not really big news is it?  Most free things are designed to get your attention and lead you by the nose into  something expensive.  In the case of the  ebooks that is often the case as well.   You often find books whose complete story is only a partial story.   They come to a stopping point , but not to the end of the story.  The story is continued in the author's other books.  Sort of a baited hook for the readers.  I do not have anything against those books, as long as they are well written and contain at least a stopping point.

Aside from the hook books, there are sampler books.  Some of them may have a mini story  or a few scenes from a larger story.  I found one that had 500 ebook pages (About 100 regular)  with about 10 pages each from several different books.  That was annoying.  It seemed to be advertised as a short story book.  More like partial vignettes based on full novels you can buy.

Either way, the books leave you unsatisfied.  No closure.

Don't get me wrong, there are indeed free reads out there.  I got several Harlequin category romances.  Some were charity romances, that is they focus on a charity and have the hero or heroine involved in it  to help bring awareness of that charity to the world of readers.

There are also hundreds of writers who have never been published who decided to put out books, and are trying to get the books out there by offering them free. Some of these are great.  Many of them are book you can see why no one published them before.

But now you have to ask yourself.  If I only read free reads, what will happen to the authors and stores that depend on book purchases to survive.  The truth is, readers make up a huge economy.  when we stop reading books that pay  people to write, we start to lose writers and stores.  Economists say the fear of spending cuts spending, and reduced spending causes  the problems people fear would have happened.  Stop the downward spiral and buy some books.  The writer you help may be someone close to you.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spring Cleaning in Summer

Spring cleaning in Summer

Did anyone else miss spring this year?  It seems like  we went from winter straight to summer..  the things I usually do I skipped for some silly reason, and am getting to them now.   The refuge cages spring cleaning, and the annual look over all my writing didn't happen until this last week.

I had not realized that I had so many things written.  I mean I have 11 novels ( 14 if you include the ones that are only partway done) and over a hundred articles of various types.  I look back at some of it and am amazed that I wrote that much.   Then a remember, Oh yeah, I am a writer.

Well, I am also a techie.  I admit it, I have a degree in technology and experience programming and working with computers since 1978.  No I am not cutting edge, but I am ahead of many people out there. As a techie and a writer, I decided I would put  a lot of my writing up on the web where it will do some good.  To that effort I made 2 new websites.

For my news type articles, I have put up the site  It is new, and I am allowing others to put up news type articles. there. I hope to have some of My Mom's stuff there.  (Anita Stone) she has been the main writer for the Rolesville buzz for several years, and she has columns in other papers as well.  In the mean time, if you like my writing, look over some of the articles up on that page.

For my religious / philosophy type articles and writings, I have created  Again, it is new.  I also sell some of my  off the wall semi occult stuff through this site.  But I have placed several (about 40) articles and writings I have made there on the page as free reads.

I guess the real truth is that writing is made to be read.  I would love to make a living at it, but I have never truly envisioned myself as doing it that way.  I mean I hate deadlines, and I do not like making changes because an editor does not like it , or it is a couple words too long.

Se here I am , Spring cleaning and airing out some of my prize  posessions, my art.. my writing.  I hope you all enjoy it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm international!

Yesterday I went through my sales reports and saw that I have made book sales in the US, the UK, and Germany!   I am international!  I have made around 40 sales in England and 10 in Germany.  I hope sometime soon I will see some Australian sales.  I am going to go to some other sites that have more international sales. that include Australia.

I know I am not a bestseller, or on any lists of top selling books or authors,  but over 500 people have bought my books.   It is something.  Plus when I see reviews,  it makes me feel good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reflections of a writer...

TIme to put out my next book. I currently have 4 books on Amazon, 3 on Barnes and Noble and 2 on Smashwords.  I have sold a lot of books in the past year, but things are slowing a bit.   This past month I sold 30 books.  Not a lot, but I would be happy if I sold a book a day for the rest of my life.   Still, since things have slowed a bit, it is time to stir the pot.

I will be putting out Shadow of Dawn in the next week or so, and Coming Home in the next 2 months.   Both are sequels to books already there.  We will see how they do.

I have only set up one book to go to apple and sony and all those others by way of smashwords.  I am anxious to see how they do in this totally new market.!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away...

 (warning history here)

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away... or did they? People seem to romanticize the past  and talk about how the present is worse.   But was it really better back then.   I will grant you that things are different, but  are they worse? (if you do not want a history lesson skip to the last 2 paragraphs)

In the 1930s we had the great depression.  In the 1940s we entered word war II and lost millions of family members to w=the war and the war efforts..

In the 1950s, the cold war was so bad that people spent their hard earned money to create bomb shelters at their home.  They were so sure that nuclear war was coming that every aspect of life was on survival after the war.  A US senator  named McCarthy created even more fear as he ran a committee to ruin lives of people even suspected of being sympathetic to communism.  Fear was the constant.  Finally things came to a head when the US joined in the Vietnam War to stop the spread of communism.

In the 1960s people were protesting the war and politicians were hell bent to be the ones who brought victory or cease fire.  The manipulations  actually extended the war.  With the draft in force, hundreds of thousands of soldiers forced into military service  nearly 60, 000 died, and many more were permanently wounded.  The 'flower children" brought protesting to a different level when they separated from society.   Black panthers, white supremacists , and more emerged in that decade as powerful political forces.

In the 70's  fuel was deregulated and prices jumped from $0.20 to over a $1 in one week.  People had to deal with the cost of travel going up 500%!  even cities were basically what we now consider rural,  only 1 phone per house, if they even had one,  and no cable tv .  Internet was not yet  here.  Winn Dixie was the big grocery store in the area, and they were priced like a monopoly.  Bread cost around $1 per loaf, pretty much the same as it does here now.  The war finally ended with the fall of Saigon.  And guess what?  Here at home, we had a recession!  The president in office quit because he had screwed up the country intentionally and got caught doing it.  He appointed an inept vice president who no one elected  to serve out his term.  The next elected president did no better, and the economy was so bad that mortgage rates went over 12 percent, making it impossible for people to buy a house at a reasonable rate. 

In the 80s, junk bonds and yuppies and financial cheats burst onto the scene with huge effect, depriving hundreds of thousands of people their retirement money. The invention of the cell phone system began, but bag phones were rarely available, and very few areas actually had a signal.  The internet consisted of text bulletin boards.  Computers came out as mostly one color  low or no graphics machines. vide recording was by VCR tapes, and the new thing in town was cablevision with 20 channels!  
In the 90s the internet became closer to today's internet.  Web pages were available through AOL, Compuserve, and one or 2 others, but at a per minutes fee.  Many people ended up with a $300 - $500 bill after only a month of service without realizing what they had done. The president was a retired actor who media kept catching glimpses of doing truly odd things, making the world speculate on his senility.  The Shah of Iran was overthrown , and muslim forces did inhuman things to US prisoners in Iran.  thousands were killed in the battles that followed.  The middle east and the soviet union were unstable , and everyone feared an atomic war.

In the 1990s, The US president started operation Desert shield.   It was to protect the oil rich kuwait from the menacing dictator   of Iraq, who an earlier president had put into power... Thousands died protecting the oil, and the prices of gas at home doubled and tripled.  And that was only the first year...The second year a second operation blasted into the area, costing more money and  lives.  Over 530,000 soldiers died in this war.  The soviet union collapsed and the Berlin wall was fully removed  in the 1990s.  The next president closed off the battles to redirect the money to the rest of the US needs. He balanced the budget, but did so by nearly destroying our armed forces.  Many bases were closed and military  equipment was  removed.  Then he got caught getting a blow-job in office.   Nothing he did from then on mattered. 

In the 2000s the new president challenged China, and nearly got us into a war with them.  The intelligence community  intentionally ignored the  threat of the bin laden terrorists.  They hijacked planes and sent them into primary targets on US soil.   During the next "no  fly zone" days, the parents of Bin laden  were escorted by the US out of the president's family home where they had been visiting their friends Many conjectures started about who knew what and who allowed what to happen.   Even the VP, whose company held the patent on the Anthrax  vaccine, was thought to be in involved, since anthrax was a very unlikely terrorist weapon when several hundred more effective ones were available. The president changed things by focussing everyone's attention on Iraq.  He touted weapons of mass destruction, playing on  everyone's fears and began the decades long wars that have been there since. No weapons were ever uncovered.  One website says an average of 620,000 soldiers have died there per year.  The budget went from balanced to trillions of dollars deficit, and the economy has continued to crash ever since.

Now here we are in the 2010s.  and the war is reduced, the economy is still messed up.  thousands are homeless, and millions unemployed. The middle class has been eliminated by a more distinct 2 class system in the US. We are in a mess.  And it only took us 80 years to get here....

In reality, right now our times are more stable than they have been in 80 years.  we have new technology and conveniences the likes of which no one even imagined  during those past few decades. we have a higher standard of living than ever before.  and we have new healthcare methods that are generations ahead of even a decade ago.  These are the good times.   Live them and love them.  Know that not everything is going to be good in even the best of times, but we are better off now than any decade in any of our lifetimes.

Friday, May 4, 2012

April Showers Bring Cloud Computing

April Showers bring  Cloud Computing.

Another week of  weird weather and a month change bring us into summer more and more.   Why is it that during winter I dream of summer, and during summer I  wish for winter?

This past winter was about like a new england fall.   We didn't even get down below 20 degrees.  Unfortunately that means we will be overrun with bugs  this summer.   One of the sad realities in life is  that winter  has to be below 20 degrees for at least 2 weeks to kill off a decent percentage of the bug eggs laid the end of fall.  We didn't get that so this summer will bug us big time...  

But now it's summer. Last week it was in the 50s.  A day ago, my car thermometer said 97.  I don't think it was really 97 outside.  I think it was closer to  80 or 85.  In the car, however, it was hotter.

The problem is, no matter what weather we get, it is not the weather we want.  It is sort of an extension of the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. If we want cliche' we can also say  'you always want what you can't have.'

The nature of man is to be dissatisfied with the present and strive for the future.  In many ways that's the main force behind man's achievements.  Look at it practically if no one cared about the weather, we wouldn't have clothing, houses, lights, fans heaters and air conditioning.

I remember years ago, watching the movie Oxford Blues, and the English gentleman went on about how Americans had an arrogance that they can do anything, and the other countries were tired of the attitude.  In the movie , the hero said something and was shot down quickly.  In my mind the retort was obvious... "If you don't like the attitude, then  stop using the innovations that these arrogant Americans invent,,, Like electricity, the airplane, the process of blood and organ transplantation and all the other impossible things  that have become possible because people were arrogant enough to not just sit and believe in the limits they were taught.

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, once said man's technology doubles every 7 years.  When you think about the things that were normal and available just a decade ago, you realize how huge the difference is.  in 2002 we had the internet, but nowhere near what we have now.  Cell phones were clunky and huge, and the smartphone was not even a gleam in anyone's eye.  No one had any idea the uses of internet memory storage and cloud computing.  Now,  the technology is so far different from the last few decade's that it is hard to even envision life that way anymore.

Few may even remember, but there was a time when there was no internet.   Television had only 3 channels, and they were hard to get on the tv.  Telephones did nothing but  hang on a wall or sit on a desk and  let you talk to people  if they answered..  There was no voice mail or answer machines, and on call doctors had to pay people to answer the phone after hours.

It was a more harsh life life where no one had any of the conveniences we have today. So they  made things better.  Like the people who long ago hated to be rained on, so they invented houses; more modern man invented things they needed.  and here we are.

It is a great time to be alive.  But I wonder what life will be like in another 7 years?   Hmmm.  lets stay here and watch....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Faith in my writing

I posted my blogs religiously back in 2007.  At that time I was in Romance writers of America as a professional member, I was doing everything I could to get published.   I went to meetings with agents and I went to conventions of writers.  I changed my books at publishers request  and did everything a writer should do.   Still, after 6 years I did not get published.  

I had a lapse of faith.   The religion of being a writer seemed to have no more heavenly promise.  Books took a year or re to come back with form letters rejecting me. The gods of publishing did not want a male unknown writer  doing romance.  

I basically gave up.  I had 11 books written, and several more partials staarted.  but I lost my drive with my faith.  I stopped paying money for writers group memberships.  I stopped going to meetup groups  to promote my work.   I went back into the cubbyhole of real life,   dealing with animal rescue and nature education.   

But my writer side would not rest.  I began doing other writings.  I made up stories to do storytelling in my nature classes.   I started writing newspaper articles and doing other works.  Still it was not the same. then in 2011 I heard about something that brought me back to life.  I heard about epublishing.

I went to a seminar on epublishing and saw so much potential.  I learned a lot about it and  now I have 4 books out on the epublishing market.   I am putting up the 5th later this month.  I have a whole page on Amazon at >>> 

I also decided to stop dealing with teh traditional  publishers.   They are the old gods in a new world.  The religion of cowtowing to others idea of what will sell because they like it is over.   Now I can write what I want and how I want.  If it does not sell, then I am the only one at fault.  In the new religion of the word of writing, god helps those who help themselves.

I made a small business out of helping others.  I started an ePublishing help group on both facebook and on  I started teaaching a bit of what I learned through the local college at Wake Tech, and I started a new business at, actually setting up books to publish.

So, I have found my faith in my writing again, and I have started back on my  path to publication.  It is good.  It has healed a hole in my life.

Besides, this is the only way I know I can actually get people to groan at my bad humor all over the world....

More later... or maybe sooner.