Friday, August 11, 2017

The People You Work With

No matter how hard the job or onerous the task, it is the people you work with that make the difference. Retail is a pretty tough business to work in. It may not be the hardest or worst of jobs, but it is long hours of constant energy trying to help customers find the solutions they are looking for.
The team I work with at Lowe’s in North Attleboro are what make the difference through the long hours. We make each other laugh, we listen to each other vent our frustrations, and then we make each other laugh more as we work together through the day. I count my teammates at Lowe’s among my friends.
When our Friday night meeting was called—we review the sales of the week and what is planned for the weekend—I had absolutely no idea anything was up.
Our assistant store manager Mike B. made a comment about how closely working a as a team builds strong friendships, and they wanted to show their appreciation for the efforts of one of their team members. He then turned to Chuck V. and told him to "Bring it up." Chuck walked up and held out a bag with something in it. 
I stood there smiling blankly wondering who they were talking about, when I realized Chuck was holding the bag out to me.
The moment I touched it, I knew what it was! Chuck does bookbinding and restoration professionally. It’s one thing to know what your friends do, it is entirely another to have such a personalized surprise.
Chuck took a print copy of Dragon and bound it in leather.
The big surprise was the book was autographed by the friends I work with at Lowe’s.
What an awesome gift!

Thanks everyone!



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

That Embarrassing Moment…

…When you take another look and discover a mistake in the book after it has gone out the door

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dragon & Patronage

There’s just a small amount of editing to go on Dragon. For the most part, I’m pretty much done except for some rewriting in some sections. With that, it’ll be off for the second round of edits and proof reading.
If nothing major is caught, then Dragon will be ready to go! If something is found, I have adequate time to fix it to ensure my deadline of July 1st stands.
The past two-and-a-half years have been pretty rough. One of the downsides of being poor is when things break, you can’t afford to fix them. Worse, you cannot afford NOT to fix them. In this situation, something has to give. Even the most stringently kept budget will break under these circumstances.
With launch day on July 1st, I won’t see one penny until October 3rd  or 4th at the earliest. Even if I have extraordinary sales through the month of July, I’m still penniless until autumn.
The reason for this is because of the way independent authors are paid. Retail outlets pay of the author’s share of the sales proceeds 60 days after the close of the month that sales occurred. The reason for this is to give their accounting time to work out all the sales and to account for any chargebacks (returns).
For any sales that occur in July, the day that they close the books for the month is July 31. That means no payout until September 30. As that is on a Saturday, I don’t expect them to initiate the payout until the next business day which is Monday, September 2nd. Give a few days for processing, and I probably won’t see any income until October 5th.
That’s a long time to go without a payday.
I managed to pick up a part time job. That certainly helps, but it gets in the way of writing.
Grants are gone. The trump administration has cut the National Endowment for the Arts in the 2018 budget. So, there is no hope for getting assistance that way. trump seems to feel that there is no return on investment in art. I wonder what J.K. Rowling would think about that? On the £8000 grant she received from the Scottish Arts Council, the Harry Potter series has grossed more than $25 billion—significantly more than trump ever made in his lifetime. And Rowling has paid significantly more taxes than trump ever did. And the franchise has generated thousands of permanent jobs—unlike trump who bankrupt many small businesses and put thousands of people out of work.
Friends and family? No. People are stretched too thin today. And I’ll be the first to admit, writing is a dubious investment. It takes years before one sees any real return. I can’t ask for handouts because I really don’t know when I’ll be able to pay back a loan.
But many hands make light work.
This is why I just set up a Patreon account.
What finally got me to this point was the brakes on my car failing—a moment of excitement I could very well have done without. It was a very unpleasant feeling when I stepped on the brake, there was a loud thump, and my car kept going merrily along without the pause I was hoping for.
Fortunately, luck was with me in that moment. I had just passed through the busiest intersection in my area not more than a minute before. Had the brakes failed just one brake-usage earlier, this would have been a much more unpleasant story. Second, I was turning into a parking lot when it happened; much less traffic to contend with. Third, my instincts kicked in immediately and I downshifted the engine to use engine-braking to stop the car. Aside from a bit of lurching and the look on my face, I don’t think anyone noticed that something had gone wrong with my car.
Well, they might have noticed the chunk of metal that used to be the brake falling off my car. The ride home was happily boring, though a bit technically challenging.
It took me nearly three months to save up the money I needed for the parts to repair the car. There are still further issues that need to be addressed, but I just can’t afford right now.
The event finally convinced me that I needed some help.
Patronage for writers is not a new concept. It merely fell out of vogue during the 19th and 20th centuries as writers began to generate more income due to modern publishing technologies. 
Growing further from this, today’s publishing technology has opened a new paradigm that allows authors such as yours truly to publish themselves. The problem is, a self-publishing author does not have a publisher to support them with advances until sales pick up.
I picked up the part time job to help make ends meet. It takes up about 60% of my productive time, which slows down my writing process immensely. Additionally, at minimum wage it falls short of actually making ends meet.
So, Patreon it is.  I figure it is going to be a while before I really start to pick up any support. But if I don’t do anything, then nothing will happen.
Thanks for your support! (If you can.)


Friday, January 20, 2017

Politics

It is just past noon and Donald Trump has been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. A president who rode his way into office on a platform of bigotry, ignorance, and falsehood—one who holds the truth in such contempt that he would contradict himself numerous times in the same day, over and over again throughout his campaign.

Friday, November 4, 2016

VOTE!

There are two things that are wrong with American politics and what is so wrong with this entire election:


Read the above article. If you don’t, then nothing I say below will make any sense whatsoever. In fact, because this is what I think is wrong with American politics, I’m just going to post the source of my ire and then you can read the article for further analysis of what is going on.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Deadlines…

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” –Douglas Adams

So– I have some egg on my face.
Back in August, I set myself a deadline for a September 21 release. (For those wondering, yes I do try to target the Equinoxes and Solstices. Not for any superstitious reason, but because it is scientifically fun.) I figured with 60 days, I’d have plenty of time to wrap things up.
Here I am on the 22nd. Earth is about to hit the autumnal quarter of its orbit in just a few minutes. And I have no book to release.
What happened?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Farewell Sweet Prince"

The year 2016 has been a rough one for music. Not long ago, we lost another great genius: Prince. 

Prince Nelson brought more to us than just his own music. He also wrote and priduced music for others, as well as brought new talent to the industry. He was as important behind the scenes as he was being the scene. 

So, my website will be purple for the next few days to honor a musician whose music I greatly enjoyed. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Definition of Success

Claude Fortehomme recently penned this blog entry making the claim that Amazon stated “only 40 self-published writers are a success.”
In her definition, “success” means having sold more than a million copies.
She further states that there are “hundreds of thousands that don’t.”
Well…duh!
I know many writers who haven’t sold a million copies of their books yet. However, they are still buying houses, putting their kids through college, swimming in their swimming pools, sailing their boats, driving their cars, taking vacations and cruises, buying vacation homes, and still are able to pay the bills and put food on the table.
So what the hell is going on here?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Goodbye to a Friend

“It was good to see you, Bill. Catch you later!”
Those were my last words to a friend. Days later—yesterday—he was gone.
It was sudden and fast. A car crash. His car struck another.
Something that made no sense to me. Bill was not the reckless type. Then, finally, a little more detail became known: he was in apparent cardiac arrest when the accident happened.
There is the possibility that he was already gone before the cars collided.
Sleeves rolled up, ready to help, Bill was one of those people who was always there. Someone you always expected to be there. His hand was always there to shake mine. He always made the effort to seek me out and make me feel welcome. That was the kind of person he was.
And now, he isn’t there.
At the same time, he is.
A common platitude used by people in times of death is, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
Only, in this matter, there is no loss. I gained from having known Bill. And what many others have gained knowing him.
No matter how much I wish I could change what happened, I can’t. 
Instead, moving forward, I will pick up the candle of his example and use that as a light to guide others.
My friend will be missed. But I won’t wallow in the pain of sorrow. Instead, I will reach out my hand and clasp the hands of others with a grip of friendship and welcome.
Just as Bill did the last time I saw him.