Monday, April 30, 2012

Tough Girl

I never thought to look.

It was just such a mess, such a disappointment that who wants to think about it.  But it's at IMDB.  Me!

The Customer Is Always Right


Do I need to expand on that?

I raised the price of everything but a couple books.  The hey day of the 99 cent book is over.  The freebie is over.  Ebooks are real.  Writers do this not out of charity but as a business.  I'm sorry that musicians can tour and make money while having their music free as downloads.  Writers stay home.  If readers want to read books, they'll have to pay realistic prices for them.  Or they can read the crap books from 1909 that are in PD for free.

What's kind of interesting is that Amazon who is at the cutting edge for everything, I see as caught completely off-guard with their very ineffective Select Program.  It seems great for them but it's not great enough for a vast number of authors to get involved with.  You try it, it doesn't work.  It does work for some.  That's why you try it.  Then you find out it doesn't work for you, you've tied up your book for 90 freaking days and got nothing.

I wonder what they'll wind up doing.  As a disclaimer--I love Amazon.  I do 99% of my shopping there.  I just bought a Kindle Fire.  But DashingBooks (me) is not the same as Foxcom (the company in China that makes tablets).  This is "art".  This is intellectual property.  They can't treat (they have been) writers/authors the same as companies who make mesh screens for doors.  We're not suppliers of an item and novels aren't units.  They found a way to treat Joe Konrath and all those involved with Mercer Books (whatever it's called) better, they'll have to learn to treat us all better.  OR they'll alienate the lot of us.  And find fewer and fewer actual writers enrolling in Select.  Newbies will always be cannon fodder--such is life.  Amazon is superbright, I'm sure they could figure this out if they wanted to.  I think the ebookharmony idea is a good place to start.  They already have tons of data.

Whatever.  We're in another transition period.

For the exact reasons why I didn't immediately convert the Renie Lake book to digital  I find were totally accurate.  It's impossible to not want to tinker.  When I went back to Kate, I did a rewrite.  I had been thinking about it for years, and took that as an opportunity to "fix" what I had inexpertly tried to say originally.  I have not been thinking about Renie Lake for years and while I do see why it would have been attractive as a movie property then, fast forward a bunch of years and I think we see this every night.  I've never watched Pretty Little Liars but everywhere you turn on television it's Girls Behaving Badly. 

I did learn something in daytime that I will pass along to you.  Instead of fixing something, it's easier to just delete it.  Disappear it.  There's this whole long exchange between Renie and Jan that I can see made sense to me when I wrote it then but it doesn't now.  Instead of trying to make it make sense while retaining it, I'm just cutting it entirely.  Jan can buy it off for me with one or two sentences and I'm out of it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


You know how ambivalent I am about Kindle Select and you know I think freebies don't work.  Now other people are saying the same things.  So many books are free that marketing/publicity tool doesn't work anymore. 

There are vast numbers of people who think they can write.  It's impossible to sort the wheat from the chaff.  Yes, people find what they're looking for but the truth is what most readers are looking for is already on the bestseller list and how you get there is an alchemical process that no one knows how to duplicate.

I can give you some hints.  Be a moderately good writer.  Write something SUPER commercial.  Have a pretty good cover.  Good description.

What's commercial?  I don't look at the bestseller lists.  Go look for yourself and see if you can determine.

Some years back there was an article in the New York Times about 3 guys who wanted to write a bestseller.  So they researched it and read a couple hundred books by people like Robin Cook and they determined all the commonalities in plot and characterization.  They came up with something and got a ridiculously high advance--11 million dollars or whatever because publishers and editors are some of the biggest dupes on the planet.  (Waving cheerily to them.)  Of course it tanked.

That was not the first time the system was gamed and it won't be the last.  You, too, can probably do it.  Read everything by Konrath and Eisler and Crouch and come up with similar and you will probably have a book that does pretty well.

For those of us waiting for our niche market audience to find us, I don't know how to find them.  Then it occurred  to me we need professional shadchans.  What's a shadchan?  It's Hebrew for matchmaker.

We need the e-Harmony for books.  We need a site that will match up a reader with the "perfect" book match.

That's what I have to say about that.  Gee, Amazon could easily do it since they have the largest literary database in the universe.  The slices need to be sliced thinner.  Targeting needs to be more precise.  Right now it's all very hit or miss.

My pal, what a pal, sent me the most beautiful laptop yesterday.  It's a Dell with a magnesium shell, a business model.  It's older and went out of warranty so apparently you pick these things up for a song if you know how and he does.  It's looks brand new, there isn't a scratch on it and it has 4GB memory.  I wanted to get able to keep working if the power went out or write for 20 min. in bed.  He's excited because it can do 3D in Photoshop which this PC can't really manage with 3 GB.

I sent for a camera bag from Etsy.  I want something padded to stick the camera in so I can take it with me the way I used to do but never thought to use a camera bag.  There are professional bags but they're huge and for photographers going to Manila or something.  I'm trying to go to the supermarket and if I see a good shot of mist on the river, then I want the camera.  I want it to fit in the shopping cart because bringing the camera means not letting it out of my sight for more than 5 seconds.  Take means taking it everywhere.  No, I don't have a trunk in the car.  And as far as I can tell if some criminal sees a camera or what looks like 1, breaking  a window to get to it is not a big deal.  So that bag should be here soon and if it works I'll post a picture of it and her address.  She makes these at home. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Will The Real Renie Lake Please Stand Up

Yeah, titles used to be a lot longer, especially when they were on physical books.  But this was of its time and it did quite well for me since it not only became a paperback but a television movie.  It was not something I particularly wanted to revisit because I didn't want to do a rewrite.

Something overcame me and I decided okay I'll just OCR it (cut apart a paperback) and change some of the names but not rewrite/rethink it.  So that's what I'm doing this weekend.

I think what set this book apart at its time and perhaps still is that the male lead is deaf but that's not an issue.  If you have a character with a "disability" that's aways at least part of the engine that drives the story.  In this book, Jan is deaf.  Okay.  There can be a correlation made between Renie not being able to communicate well and Jan being able to communicate very well.  Even though he's deaf.  So which one of them has the disability?

Wow.  Too deep!

Anyway this is the TV movie that I begged the producer to let me do the script but they said the book authors are too close to the project and always F everything up.  Then they went on to totally trash the story and as another television producer later told me "They missed every dramatic set-up you had in the book."  Yeah. 

And the casting stunk, too.

I tried to think of another title but it didn't lend itself to shortening the way In Real Life I'm Just Kate turned so easily into Just Kate.

Friday, April 27, 2012

More on the Kindle Fire

Apparently it does stuff I haven't done with it, watch movies or something.
Physically there is little different between the Nook and the Fire.  What you're buying with the Fire is the whole of Amazon, you're tapping into a massive pipeline of content.  Which you are definitely not doing with the Nook.

I did get a magazine for research and it's very close to unreadable.  Sorry.  The screen isn't big enough to both have the entire page on the screen AND be able to read it without a magnifying glass.  This is probably iPad territory.  You must embiggen it and read sections at a time.  Very clumsy.  I don't know how it's solved but it doesn't work for me.

I had a "major" problem sideloading What a Tomato in to the Fire.  I wrote it in Word, converted it into filtered html, opened it in Calibre and converted it into a mobi.  That didn't work.  I called Amazon.  The first person had no idea what format books are supposed to be in in order to read them on a Fire.  She struggled to understand the explanation of what I was attempting to do so bumped the issue to the next level.  They didn't understand it either.  They wanted to dump this on KDP support.  At which point I was mysteriously (thankfully) cut off.  I started the process over again, converted from html etc.  And that version worked.

This proves what I already knew--neither BN nor Amazon are completely prepared to deal with desktop publishing.  Amazon is farther ahead but the lack of information they had regarding this basic procedure was pretty Amazin.

It surfs faster because of the Silk thing.  Well all connectivity is bottlenecked at my DSL connection, correct?  I connect at about 5 mbps which is fast.  Shockingly fast for where I live.  I don't see any difference between the Nook and the Fire in this regard.  Maybe when it comes to watching video that's something else.

So the bottom line is that the physical devices are very similar and what you're getting is the company behind the device.  And Amazon is obviously the far superior SHOPPING experience.  If you got the reader to read...then there isn't much difference to be discussed.  I'm used to the Nook, I like the look of it.  I think the grey library in the Fire is somber and unpleasant.  Wood is usually brown, that would have been better.

While I am very fond of the Nook and I like the audience at BN very much, Amazon wins.  They figured this new world out way ahead of everyone else and being incredibly dynamic, they continue to evolve.  BN is releasing the Touch with some kind of light element.  Well isn't that nice.  What about your inability to search the site easily?  I have about 6 "reviews" on Dream Horse that someone use to write their own book about cats.  I flagged these reviews weeks ago (they're 5 star so I'm not being hurt by their presence) but BN will never remove them.  I don't know if there aren't enough tech people or support or whatever but they don't keep on top of any of the website issues.

So if I had to tell you which device to invest in, I'd tell you to buy a Fire.  But I'm still going to use my Nook for all my pleasure reading.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kindle Fire

Lovely Tom the UPS man brought it and is charging right now.  I was just having too hard a time figuring out what the formatting looked like and I'm very tired of seeing the complaint reviews.  It doesn't come with a USB cable.   Whyever not?  Fortunately the Amazon Basics cable approx $6 that I got for the Nook and it didn't work, is perfect for the Fire.

That's my news du jour.  I had another thought but thoughts are fragile things and I won't say more about it.

Some famous British writer I never heard of decided after making millions as a trad pub writer, he'd go back to self because there's more freedom.

I went shopping which is unfortunately tedious (got a new mouse though!) and I had lots of time to think about a former agent.  She's the one who in a fit of surprising honesty said "I'm not your friend".  I couldn't please this woman.  Whatever I wrote, she didn't handle it.

This trad pub thing is broken.  Big Time.

In the past 3 years I've written cookbooks, a gardening "book", women's fiction, "fantasy", and YA.  Seems like I'm leaving things out.  Well, the mystery.  2 novellas.  I'm not sure Ms "This Isn't For Me" would have handled any of it.  What does that do to a writer's career?  You're tied, contractually, to an agent, and everything you want to do beyond 1 narrow path, is out of bounds?  You stop being creative and you start being a drone.

Some writers like being a drone.  I've been in daytime I wrote alongside drones.  They didn't have one clever idea in their fluffy little heads.  But they came up with the words week after week and the pay was good.  What's the problem?

Well, none if that's what you want.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Kate or Not To Kate That Is The Question

Many years ago I wrote a book called In Real Life I'm Just Kate.  It did very well for me; there was a Fawcett paperback version, a TV movie option and was my doorway into daytime television.

Then when digital came around, I OCRed it (ugh) gave it an update and published it as Just Kate.  This is the far superior book.  I'm smarter now than I was then, a much better writer.

At GoodReads, the older book gets better reviews than the new one.  I don't know if people are aware there are two versions/editions.  I don't know if they're reviewing something they once read.  I actually don't know anything.  What I also don't know is how there are people waiting to read books that have been out of print for 30 years.  Are they still in libraries?  I am shocked if libraries have the space to hang onto them.

I don't know whether or not to be shocked or amused by 2 star reviews that begin "I think this book is cunfusing..." or "it's hard to trak the characters..."  But I like it a lot that BN puts these right alongside the 5 star reviews that say "This is as good as Hunger Games!"  Whoever you are, you're cute.

My mistake is that I try to find a rational component to reviews.

But you do want people to like your work so it's all pretty cunfusing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What I Did This Month

I wrote an article.  What's an article but a Kindle that's not a Kindle Short?  Because it won't make it into Kindle Shorts.  What's an e-pamphlet?  That's what this is.

It's a piece on growing tomatoes, something I know more about than my neighbors but far less than Carolyn Male or Craig Lehouillier.  You can be a real expert on tomatoes, as they are,  and I'm not.  But you don't need to be an expert to just grow a few out in the yard.  So that's what this e-pamphlet is--a guide for those who want to start but are unsure.  I've learned a heck of a lot from those experts and used that wisdom in my garden and sometimes their seeds.  If the weather is in my favor, I have enough tomatoes to give buckets full away.  My darling dentist, OBM, used to love my tomatoes. 

Mostly photos of my own tomatoes, the thing (what IS it?!) is amply illustrated.

Farm Girl hopes it helps lots of newbies.

Yes it has a Table of Contents that as far as I can tell does work.  It's just a piece, not an entire book and I assume the reader knows a bit about gardening.  I didn't want to write an entire book, just give the reader basic information on planting a couple tomato plants this year.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Table of Contents Again

I'm doing an article, a how-to thing and there are a number of sections to it.  I know that if I don't put in a TOC, there will be complaint reviews.

Last time we discussed this I said the Word help file was the most helpful.  This time I couldn't get the normal way to work.  So hours of searching and struggling ensued.

Here's what you have to do--if you can't get the supposedly easy/automated way to work.   This method means do not click Headers in the style section of the Home section.  Guaranteed screw-up.   (I took notes this time.)

1.  In Reference, click  whichever style you want to use TOC.
2. Go through the document and highlight each chapter or heading.  Each time click add text.
3. When you've done that click update.

You should have a TOC and it will be clickable.

If you have the problem like I did this afternoon and the lines were too long resulting in a horrible jumble, you can go into the formatting for the TOC and simply uncheck show page numbers.  They're only accurate in your document anyway.  Once the book is in a reader, who knows what size font the reader will use.

I wonder how long Amazon will take to decide this is not in public domain, I didn't steal it from somewhere and publish it so I can immediately upload the corrected version so we can begin the process again.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Radio Adverts

I listen to talk radio and over the last week I've been hearing commercials for a book written by a medic/doctor who served in Vietnam.  I started to wonder about it so went to have a look.  Chicken Smith.  It's an ebook only and self-published.

How much does a commercial cost?  The book's ranked around 61,000 which I suppose is good if you're thinking about the millions of books on Amazon so has the advertising had an impact in sales?  Priced at $9.99, that may be a little steep.  There's no paper edition.  That could be a mistake but it's an interesting gambit.

Rewriting Days Are Over

I'll put it on top so you can enjoy it while you read.

In daytime television there is no rewriting.  You take a pass at it and let it go.

Someone mentioned something about one of my books recently with the feeling that maybe I'd like to go back and "do" something.

No.  Not for 99 cents.  Not with drunk troll reviews.  I make my--MY--best call and that's what goes out.  I'll fix typos but I'm not rewriting.  I'm going on to the next book.

One of the problems with rewriting is that every person/reader who comes along has a different opinion.  So the writer addresses each new person and "fixes" the issue.  After some time you've written by committee and you have a bastardized, ill-conceived version of your vision.  I don't owe readers rewrites.  I owe readers what I consider a good story, maybe not a great one, but a good one to pass the time and they paid a bargain basement price.  Anything you can purchase from an indie is a bargain compared to trad pub.  So if they don't think an indie book is worth it,  they are free to stick to the trad pub books--and there are a great many of them--and pay $12.99.

Here's a reality.  I have call it 70 reviews on Dream Horse at BN.  Most of them are 5 star.  Some people hate this book.  They think I'm stupid and I don't know anything about horses.  One reader "cringed" at how ill-informed I am about all things equestrian.  (I've had horses since I was 11.)  Readers come with their biases.  You can't please them all. 

Please yourself.  Be true to your vision.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One of Life's Bizarre Moments

A couple years back I was watching TV and a movie came on, Executive Decision.  Starts with a small plane flying.  You know how I like planes.  The camera gets a close-up of the plane.

I go Wow.  A straight tail Beechcraft Bonanza.  (Those are really unusual, you mostly see the V-tails.  My first flight instructor had a V-Tail--they were called Doctor/Lawyer killers for a time, but he flew for United so it wasn't going to kill him.)
Closer up.  I see the N-Number.  (It's the plane's ID/like a license plate in England, it always stays with the plane.)
2TS.  2 Tango Sierra?  I know that plane.  (It was originally owned by a man named Tim Sullivan.  You can do that, get a "vanity plate" but the whole point is that an ID is only ever used once so if a plane crashes you know what plane it is.  There will never be another 2TS.)
Close-up interior of aircraft.
An actor I gave a job to on The Doctors when I was headwriter is teaching Kurt Russell how to fly.  (It's his plane and we flew out of the same airport.)

So if you want to see 2TS it's on this morning at 8 am on the AMC channel.  The whole experience will be over in about 1 minute so you can return to your real life quickly thereafter as I did.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


What is it about reading, now that people can do it, that they want to do it?  If people are social animals, reading is the opposite.

Storytelling is different.  There were always storytellers and one can imagine the villagers gathering around the fire to hear Grendel or a Sumerian adventure.  There were traveling bards who would earn their keep by entertaining the community and then move onto the next settlement.  But that involved others.  Reading is so private.  Reading is like hanging a sign around your neck stating "Leave me alone".

And while being left alone people want to connect with the characters, be taken on a journey and sometimes they want to be touched. 

So what's the job of the writer?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Commersh Or Not To Commersh

"And the freebies under KDP Select are simply stacking up on people's Kindles without producing increased regular sales."

This is from I.J. Parker, a professor, who has been writing a historic mystery series set in Japan for quite a few years.  Once published by Pengy, they dropped her.  IIRC her agent also dropped her and she went into digital because if she didn't that was the end of the road.  The Dragon Scroll.

So what do we learn from this?  Hey, that not every genre experiences fantabulous results from a stint with KDP or freebie.

If you're writing or can write a commercial mainstream type book then, as in Big 6 Days, you will probably be successful pretty darn quick.  If you're writing something off-beat that needs to be found, I don't see that KDP helps much.

So what does help?

I have no idea.  That's why I said I wasn't going to think that much about it anymore.  I'm writing...for me now.
I wrote a scene over the weekend that was so gorgeous I sat back and was sort of paralyzed.  There wasn't another word left to be said.

I'm not going to take a trip to Tuscany on what I make but if I can pay my bills, that's a very good thing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taste of Summer

On Thursday, late so they wouldn't bother anyone, my internet provider switched out equipment leaving the entire town without internet.  Someone forgot how to program it or whatever.  They fixed most of it on Friday, but blah blah, the super-cute phone guy came this morning to ascertain it wasn't my modem/replacement modem/nook/me and being the clever fellow he is--and I mean it--he was able to do what the others couldn't.  I would use his name in a book to memorialize him but I already have.  Yes he's been here before--once to repair the damage to the line when the squirrels chewed through it.

I used the time to work on my new book, have withdrawals and come to the conclusion that thinking about sales is pointless.  If my mind is persuaded otherwise, I'll mention it.

I also did some computer housekeeping while looking for some images and found this from the Nikon D70.
I threw a little sharpening at it and was very surprised to see how good it was.  This was even shot with the lens I don't like the 55-200 VR zoom.  The Nikon D7k is a superior camera in all ways but well heck, the D70 did the photography for the Complete Idiot's Guide I did and there were no complaints from Penguin.  

I did some shooting for another project and used the 40mm.  I can't imagine coming home and being as pleased with the results if I had used the zoom.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let's Try to Talk Price

Something happened this afternoon that made me pause my roasting garlic to try to address this issue.
I repriced almost everything today.  I gave it about 6-8 weeks at the "realistic" pricing and  boy did I pay for that.
Within a couple hours at BN of repricing to basically 99 cents across the board, sales jumped.

So here's the question I'm putting to all of us. What is more valuable--volume or price point?  I can actually answer that  from some experience.  Here's what I've learned.  THE MORE BOOKS YOU SELL THE MORE BOOKS YOU SELL.

Selling 1 book at $4.99 might be very nice, realistic and good for your ego but it does nothing for your ranking.
Selling 5 at 99 cents has a chance of moving you up.  The further up you go, the better the chance more people will see you.  The more people who see you, the better the chance that they will buy.  The more people who buy leads to more people buying.

Did I make more money today than yesterday?  No.  But it sure was nice to see Rise sell after about 3 months.

This is something you'll need to play with and figure out for yourself.

For those interested in animated gifs

Pricing, Ever the Conundrum

Don't listen to me.  No, wait, you can listen to me.  Just don't pay any attention.  Why not?  Because I don't think anyone really knows.  I would really like to sell books for what they're worth but they don't sell at that price.  So when I raise the prices, my sales flatline.  I just read about Hugh Howey who like John Locke prices at 99 cents and everyone is very happy with him.  Yes, he's in a hot genre.  Being in a good mainstream genre is the best way to move those units.

So I don't think like that.  Next lifetime, maybe.

Some people say $2.99 is the lowest for a novel.   Some have priced higher than that.   Here's what I can tell you with complete assurance--I don't know.

I'm going to do an article, I think.  I'll start, anyway.  Give it a whirl.  Try to do a Table of Contents.

I went back to a book I had started before Her Cold Kiss.  I really like the characters and the situation , so those of you who are in my fan base are going to like this one!

I played around with that flower photo yesterday, attempting to make it appear that the wind was blowing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What To Do Next


It's not the end if you have your dog with you.

Wait, I have to go try to find a Spinal Tap quote....

Reporter: So tonight's the last show of the tour. 
 How's that feel? You know, is like this your last waltz,
 are we talkin' the end of Spinal Tap, or are you gonna 
try to milk it for a few more years in Europe, I mean....
David:  Well, I don't, I don't really think that the end
 can be assessed...uh as of itself as being the end because
what does the end feel like, it's like saying when you
 try to extrapolate the end of the universe you say the...
if the universe is indeed infinite then how what does 
that mean? How far is is all the way and then if 
it stops what's stoppin' it and what's behind what's 
stoppin' it, so what's the end, you know,
is my...question to you....
So what's the end for tradpub is the beginning for a lot of us.
What's behind what's stopping it?  Stupidity and greed.
And a big shout out welcome to all those in tradpub who will hold 
the truth against me.  Some blog said don't talk trash on your blog.
Good advice! 
Let's all just talk about flowers.
This is actually not as hard an effect to achieve as it looks. 
You just dial back everything that's not pink. I don't do it 
in Photoshop, though, I do it in
Lightroom.  I'll bet you can do it in CS6.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cinemagraph Fascination

I love these barely animated gifs.  In a world that screams, the gentle movement is delightful.

Her Cold Kiss sold 1 copy at BN and 1 at Amazon today.  Whee!  So if it was someone who visits here, thank you so much.  Maybe you'll give it a little review if you liked it.  Maybe it was someone who just came upon it.  I have no idea how these searches work, especially when something has been live for less than 24 hours and must be ranked at like 4,000,000.  How do you find that?  I suppose it's those key words.  If we only knew what the magic words were!

I'm sure Amazon knows.  Can it still be vampires?

Is it possible to have a stalker at Amazon?

Why when you need the printer, it doesn't work? 

"Who invented soft soap and why?"--The Sure Thing.

Monday, April 9, 2012

First, and Possibly Greatest Action Actor Ever

This wasn't done with a stunt double.  This is Doug.
This has been colorized although it was shot in 2 strip technicolor but that was only two-tone.

He was wonderful and amazing, one of the most famous men on the planet in his day.
I think his son, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. might well have been more of a mensch.  Don't hold being married to Joan Crawford against him.

Last Hours of Missed Wish on Select

Couple more hours and it's over.  "They take and then they go"--Julius Levin, certainly was not in operation with this freebie.  No one wanted it.  You won't be the first to tell me that, I'm saying it. 
Why?  I thought free made everything delicious.  Apparently not, which I guess is good news.  I"m fine with being wrong.

What I don't think I'm wrong about is that what really sells well, what readers are interested in, is very mainstream.

If suddenly vampires are it, then everyone chases vampires.  If it's whips and handcuffs, then that's what's bright and shiny.  If it's espionage, or police procedural, or paranormal then that works.  What it has to do is fall within the normal understanding of that thing.  

Deviation from the mainstream does not bring success.  Yet.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sharing a Secret

I've been working on a book on and off from the beginning of the year.  There were a couple other projects that got sandwiched in so it took much longer than I expected.  And I had some questions about possibly using a pen name.  Do I need a reboot?  I've been thinking about the cover for about two months and had worked up a test background.  I liked it but it didn't seem right.  Nothing was coming together.  On one hand I wanted to do this book, but on the other I wanted to do a different one.  The book was full of surprises.  First off, it was about a boy not a girl.  Yeah sure there's a girl in it but it's his story.  The book is full of questionable activities--most illegal, and I wondered if they belonged in a YA.

So I took the advice of Robert Muchamore who said kids who read his books see the same thing on TV in the evening.  Too true.  Maybe I wish it wasn't true but it is.  How about the word bullshit.  Is that okay?  Bitch and bastard are standard on TV now.  I don't think they belong in a YA but heck, let them stay.  Who knows maybe one day I'll be dropping the F bomb as often as I do IRL.

Then we come to the sex part.  While very suggestive, nothing graphic but OTOH I think there were 3 movies on Lifetime TV yesterday that came very close to this topic, so I'm not pushing the envelope here.

Drugs.  Yes.  Drinking, mentioned.  Fist fight, yes.

This is all pretty far from Summer Horse.  Now you can see why I was wondering if a pen name wouldn't be good.  I don't necessarily want a 10 year old to have this come up in a search just because it has my name on it.  I couldn't come up with something.  My grandfather's name on my father's side, my greatgrandfather's name on my grandmother's side (too late, used that in Murder Is Exhausting).  Wait.  My father's middle name/my middle name.  Okay perfect. Make a decision, please!  (Libra Rising, great aversion to decision making.).

Background.  Took a photo of some batik fabric.  Yes, very true.  That's what that is.  And through the magic of Photoshop and many layers and colorings and use of brushes here's the cover

There we go and here's the blurb

From the first moment she saw him, she knew she loved him, would always love him, had always loved him.  They came from two worlds but he was as perfect for her as she was for him.  She loved music and he was a musician.  He had eyes so beautiful it made her catch her breath.  She longed to be caressed by his hands, to be touched by him, to be loved by him.  Her life became about one thing—making sure they were together forever.
She would do anything to make it happen.
And if she was his high school English teacher, why should that matter?  This time they would get it right.  This was a love for the ages.

I don't know when I'll be done with postproduction.  Soon I hope since I have math to do I'm not looking forward to at all.

The Missed Wish

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Freebie Weekend The Missed Wish Continues

    Last time I tried to post a gif, it didn't work.  I hope this one does.

    This was higher but it dropped somewhat.
     Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,543 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

    7:30 am
     Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,585 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

    One of my most favorite groups ever--Alan Parsons.  This song came to me this morning in relation to the freebie weekend.

    Got to the end of the new book.  So I have tons of work to do this weekend.

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    The Missed Wish's Journey On The Charts

    4:30 pm
     3:30 pm

    2:00 pm

    11:30 am

    9:30 am

    Freebie Weekend The Missed Wish

    Yes, my novella is free this weekend.  So everyone go download it at the same time so Amazon's algorithm will be shocked into action and make it Number 1 with a bullet.  I'm kidding, I have no idea how the algorithm thing works but have heard speed and density has something to do with it.  The Missed Wish

    Hopefully I can concentrate on my new book this weekend.  I don't know how many words is left to go but probably around 1000.  I'm at the last scene.  I need to get to one moment and then the finale.  All week I've been pretty much perched here.

    What can I say that can be vaguely construed as digital publishing advice?  Since I will probably go against this advice this weekend--keep your covers simple.  I'm getting to be a big fan of text only if done right.  Or text and  key image that is central to the book.  Don't try to tell everything about the book on the cover.  (Or you can just have such a striking image that no one particularly cares what message you're sending.)

    With this Wish cover.  He's great looking, right?  She's there snuggling sorta.  Isn't that all you need to know?

    The introduction to your book will be a thumbnail.  Yes, on the page the cover will be nice and large and understandable, but in a thumbnail even the title can disappear into a busy background.  Sad but true.  You need to find a middle ground.

    All this known and talked about I will spend most of the weekend adding layer upon layer to what's already a busy background and wind up frustrating myself and taking most of the elements out.  But right now, I don't know which ones those will be.  I don't know which ones I think will work.  I need to see it.  So you have to go through the process.  Some covers take 30 minutes, some take hours.  You don't know.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Forsythia's In Bloom

    I could tell you about all the bad things that happened to one of my programs on my computer but I won't.  For someone who doesn't mind changes, it's not a big deal.

    Without telling you the story--because you should read the book!--I will say that my current project is a little bit like a prism.  No, not like a Rubik's Cube.  If you hold a prism and turns it around and around the light hits it in different ways and each time it's a little bit different.  They're all flat surfaces.  Not like a kaleidoscope.  That just glass shards.  If that's an image that works for you, think of it that way but it's not there for me.

    I don't like making a lot of decisions up front.  I'd like to know where I'm going but I don't want to know how I'll get there.  (Maybe it's like the Fool Card in the Tarot.  He's not paying attention to where he's going, he just trusts that some ground will be under his foot with the next step.)   And turning the prism and reflecting on the different planes that present themselves is how I want to work.  You can still get to the destination but the journey may switch several times.

    I thought I knew what this story was.  I knew the last scene.  I knew the last sentence.  And then as I was wondering where book 2 would go, I thought, oh yeah, that's obvious.  The prism turned and another flat sparkling surface presented itself and it was completely a surprise.  It made it all quite exciting.

    Nikon D7k 40mm micro

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    The Missed Wish

    Not only am I having computer issues, blogger seems to be choking today.  So hopefully this will get posted without further hair loss.

    I wrote this novella a couple months ago and put it on Kindle Select.  Nothing.  I was waiting to use it as a Gimme Cap to my new novel.  The timing isn't going to quite work as I hoped as this is finishing its 90 days on the 9th and I don't know when the new novel will be released.  But I suppose there is nothing to lose and potentially something to be gained so it will be free this weekend.  If you want to read a YA about polo, bigamy and screwed up wishes, this story may be good for you.  I'll post the link on Friday.

    Here's the blurb

    “Greg Rydell loved being married so much, he did it twice.  The only problem was instead of sequentially, he did it concurrently.”
    You’d love to have this said about your father on national television, too, right?  No, you’d hate having a bigamist as your father and so did I. 
    I tossed a coin into the fountain and wished for my family, suddenly I had two of them.  I knew when I went back to grab my quarter, I had gotten the wrong coin.  Now I was getting someone else’s wish—to be famous.
    All this insanity was played out in front of Mill Crocker, the captain of the school polo team and the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen or expected to see.  Of course the humiliation didn’t didn’t stop at keeling over in the dead faint when the news about the Rydell Family 2.0 was revealed, or when I went on a stupid talk show to tell my father exactly what I thought of him or being chased by reporters on my first date with Mill.  Embarrassment lurked everywhere waiting for me.
    Somehow it didn’t bother Mill.  He liked me because I was fearless on a horse and could ride as well as he did. 
    Mill didn’t take my wishing seriously but I did.  I wished I could be with him forever.
    The way things were going that was stacking up to be my missed wish unless I got the right coin back.  But how was I going to find it among the thousands in the fountain?

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Rights, Public Domain and Inheritance

    Right now the copyright law is fairly complicated (to me!) full of numbers.  I'm just going to ask a couple questions.

    How long should the copyright be on a book?  Should it end when the creator dies?  Should there be some years, a decade or so, after the creator dies, and then it reverts into public domain?  Does this depend on whether the work is in print or not?

    Does the work of Melisande Scott belong to her?  Are the rights hers to pass on to her heirs and descendants?  Or should the government be able to decide when to appropriate private property and make it available to the public?  Sort of socialized book publishing?  Is it the public's right to have whatever book they want or should the person who created the intellectual property be able to keep it in the family?  Does the family have a right to decide what to do with their personal property/gift from their ancestor?  If they choose not to do anything with it, should it be taken from them?

    Again, I've asked questions in a way that you  can understand my position.  Do you want your property confiscated?  Would you like that now?  Would you like it more or less if you were dead and your treasure that had been willed to your family was confiscated "for the greater good"?  If it was not your intellectual property but a lovely piece of jewelry, does that make a difference?   Are you qualified to make these decisions or is the government better at living your life than you are?

    Just asking.

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    April Comes Again But Cruelly?

    Everyone seems to target April.  I wonder why.  Last time I tried to embed this song I couldn't find a vid  that allowed it.  Today I found a different copy so now I can be arrested for felony embedding.
    Please, Paul and Art, don't press charges!  I knew Mort, too.

    There's still interest in Schtupid Cupid and the Ice Cream Parlor. That's baffling because there is less than zero interest in Bad Apple 1 (except at BN where they're apparently happy to have it back).  So yay I guess Select/freebies can work, I'm just not rushing back to do it again.

    I'm nearing what feels like the end of my current project.  I don't even want to talk about length. That's an old technology holdover.  With the ability to price books as we see fit, a book can adjust itself to a price-point the audience feels is appropriate.  Isn't that true?  Shouldn't it be true? 

    I have some ideas for the cover back haven't been able to make it happen in Photoshop.  I haven't found a tutorial on it either.

    But the trees are budding so I got this shot.

    Nikon D7k 40mm micro

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    I Don't Care, This Is Over-Priced

    This is for Nigel Slater's new cookbook from Ten Speed Press to be released in 10 days.  Okay it's 600 pages in the meatosphere but in digital do we charge by the byte?


    Amazon Price New from Used from
    Kindle Edition --  
    Hardcover $26.40  

    I am not a fan of cookbooks on a reader.  It's hard to keep the recipe on one screen--as I know from experience.  Do I want to bring the reader into the kitchen where I will undoubtedly spill something on it?  No, so that requires copying onto a piece of paper, which yes, I do anyway.  I'd rather see the whole recipe at the same time.  Maybe other people don't mind.  I do.  I think this is where readers are clumsy and inelegant.

    If this was priced at $9.99---actually no, not even at that.  $5.99 is what I would pay for this.  And one of the chief reasons is even if the Nook screen is lovely, the images will be small.  I know the photography must be great so thank you very much, I'd like to be able to see it and enjoy it.

    $20 for an ebook?  Are they out of their minds?  (Yes.)

    Grab Your Book and Go Algorithm Surfing With Me

    For some reason this song came to me this morning

    Mark Coker talked about algorithms in that book of his.  You know I glazed right over, that's all numbers and stuff.

    You need to 1)have a great book (that's over 70,000 words long) 2)have all your social media in place 3)advertising in place 4)tribe (Seth Godin) 5) Great cover (me) 6)a bunch of other stuff I can't remember because I can't do it.

    Anyway.  Jan and Dean.  Very interesting story.  Jan was the dynamic one of the duo, everything was his idea, he was the engine.  Then one day, 2 years into med school,  he was speeding in a Corvette and had a car crash he barely survived.  Left with traumatic brain injury, it took years to recover to a functional level and he never made it all the way back.

    So was the connection between the algorithms and the words of the song or was it the lesson of Jan Berry and the frantic push to catch the algorithm wave that rose from my subconscious this morning?

    There are two ways you can look at life.  In one way everything that's to be revealed is on the surface, and in the other way, nothing is on the surface and you have to dig for meaning.

    In Mark Coker's view the longer the book, the happier the customer will be.
    In a rabbinic view, and I know most of you are not Jewish, maybe not even Christian, the more concise your thinking the better.

    What's more valuable?  A long book that wanders all over and is forgotten as soon as the reader is turned off, or a work that focuses like a laser on what the creator is trying to say and 20 years later still carries emotional impact?  (Go ahead, accuse me of phrasing the question in a way that we know what I think the answer is.)


    Should a creator be trying to say anything?

    Is there room for both?

    I'm not a greengrocer.  I don't sell my ware's by the pound.  (Did you see what I did there?  That's called a greengrocer's apostrophe.)