Friday, November 4, 2016


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.
Here it is:
You can't give a stronger endorsement than voting for someone!

For those of you who have difficulty with what you are seeing above, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) basically said that he neither supports nor endorses Trump, but will vote for Trump anyway.
This begs the question, “WHY?!?
If you don’t want to even be seen in public with Trump, Rep. Chaffetz, then why the hell would you vote for him?
There is only one answer for this.
He is voting for the party.
NOT for what is good for the country or the citizens of this country. But what is good for the party.
And this is what is wrong with America. Too many people are voting for the party and not for the country. As a result, the politicians don’t care about the welfare of the American people. They are more concerned with keeping themselves in power. And to stay there, they will do anything. Including voting for a complete clownstick who can’t make a profit to save his own name.
And American citizens are doing the same thing. They are voting for the party because they have always voted for the party.
This is why America has become so fucked up over the past 16 years.
People have not been voting responsibly. They have been voting for their party because they have always been voting for their party and they will always vote for their party.
That’s akin to hiring a serial child rapist to be your babysitter and expecting that he will do a good job protecting your children while you go out for a weekend getaway with your spouse.
As a result of voting like this, we’ve gotten a United States Congress that is filled with degenerates, ignoramuses, morons, and corruption on a level I don’t believe American politics has seen in its entire 240-year history as a nation. We have a Congress filled with people who, even if I marched a fully-grown elephant into the Capital and let it shit on their desks, would insist that elephants don't exist. They would do this because some corporation that sells ivory has made a sizable “campaign contribution” and promised to give more if that congressional member votes against any law restricting ivory trade.
Wait? Isn’t that bribery? That’s illegal!
Hell yes it is! But it isn’t illegal anymore. The Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision makes it legal to bribe a politician on scales not seen since the fall of the Roman Empire. Hundreds of millions of dollars get pumped into Super PACs with the promise that the “money will go to supporting your candidate.”
They spend minimally on advertising on the candidates. When the dust settles after the election, the Super PACs get emptied out by making a whopping “donation” to a 501(c)(4), which is a private, non-profit, charitable organization. The keyword here is “private” which means the organization is not open to public scrutiny and accounting on how the money it received was actually divvied up.  And when it is divvied up, I can guarantee you that the money is NOT going to feed orphaned children or give an uplift to hardworking Americans who aren’t being paid enough money to survive on at their jobs.
Citizens United allows large corporations to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of complicit politicians completely off the record—legally—by using the roundabout loophole it created. Monies donated by gullible Americans into Super PACs gets quietly shifted into a 501(c)(4) and then the money in the 501(c)(4) gets quietly distributed to the people who created it and their politician.
This is why both parties were so willing to put up two candidates that the citizens of the United States didn’t like. The resulting shit show that we call the Electoral Process in this country has completely distracted everyone from the real shit show which is the United States Congress.
While the biggest sinkers in this shit show have been the conservatives, the liberals haven’t been helping either. They did everything they could to ensure that a party member who tows the party line was put up as the Democrat Presidential Candidate. As a result of their manipulating the rules of the Democratic Party convention, my choice of voting went from Bernie Sanders to anyone or anything that is not Fuckface von Clownstick (alias “Donald Trump”).
The only way to solve this isn’t so much who you vote for to become the President of the United States, it is who you vote into Congress. My suggestion is to overturn the lot. Don’t vote for the party, but vote against anyone who has served more than two terms in office.
And if you say, “I’m disgusted with the whole thing and I’m not voting for anyone!” Then you are the biggest fuckhole in this whole fucking problem that the US is in. If you didn’t/don’t vote, then you are absolutely liable for this mess. George W. Bush got into the Oval office by just 12 votes in one state. And only 30%–35% of the US population eligible to vote actually voted! If just 13 more people had voted, then the war with Iraq might never have happened, over 7,000 US Military members and over 50,000 civilians in the Middle East would still be alive and we would have never had the massive recession that the Bush/Cheney administration dumped on the US and the GOP has spent the past 8 years trying to pin the blame for it on President Obama.
My message to everyone is go out and vote. NOW. Don’t just wait until Election Day. The polls are open now.
Oh? And what was my second point to all this?
The very fact that all the links above point to the sources of my information. Have you actually clicked on those to verify the veracity of what I am saying?
The problem with many Americans, especially those who only get their “news” from Fox News, is that they are not fact checking what is being said. It only takes a few seconds to type in a query on a search engine such as Google or Bing to call up that information. They are only paying attention to what they want to hear and ignoring anything else that is uncomfortable to their sensibilities.
Fact check, people! It only takes a few seconds! Don’t listen blindly just because it is your party/team that is saying it.
And that is another thing: don’t just pull up articles. Take a look at who is pumping out those articles. If it is a political organization tied to one party, then you can pretty much accept that everything coming out of that organization is nothing but propaganda and has little to do with fact.
The sad truth is, this pontification of mine is far too little, too late. Many people have already made up their minds and are going to vote one way or another and nothing is going to change their minds.
But it is possible that I could actually reach those 13 people who weren’t going to vote at all. Maybe—just maybe—that could tip things in the right direction for America.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


“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?
I’m in rewrites. That’s the stage where the author begins to sit down and read the manuscript like a book—and discovers all the awful errors. The desperate changes to the writing to fix any continuity errors. Those blood curdling moments when I see this is the text:


Yeah… I really wrote that. And it was sitting right in the middle of a chapter. (You bastard!)
Then there are notes littered around the manuscript where I wasn’t happy with one thing or another. Words that aren’t right, comments that don’t fit the characters, etc.
Have you ever sat down with friends and had a conversation that meanders from one subject to another? You are talking about one subject when someone brings up a point that leads to an entirely new subject, leaving the original conversation parked and abandoned by the side of the road. One moment you are talking about the distribution of matter in the universe, the next you are discussing what songs bet represent what year or season, and then how LED lightbulbs don’t attract bugs. Well, characters in books do this, too.
Conversations like this have to be rewritten and trimmed to keep them in step with the flow of the book. This creates a lot of fixing and adjusting that has to be done. Then I have to go back and read it again to make sure I didn’t introduce a new problem.
All this before I hand it to an editor! I’d be embarrassed to hand a truly raw, steaming pile of writing onto my editor.
Right now, the manuscript for Dragon stands at 140,000 words. That’s roughly equal to 385 pages in a 6x9 US Trade hardcover book with the font set at 11.5. By the time I’m done with it, I should have it trimmed to around 120,000 words. Once my editor has a go at it, we’ll have it paired down to roughly 110,000 words. For comparison, Nobody went from roughly 120,000 words to 105,000 words by the time it was published.
If I can finish everything before the new deadline, it will be released before the new deadline.
Either way, it is coming out this year! Come hell or high water! Or, attacks by horny dragons…

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.”
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?
A little misdirection called “cherry picking.” That’s when you choose only the numbers that support your argument, while ignoring the rest that completely sink your hypothesis. (Take a look at the GOP’s use of science…)
What Amazon actually said was, “Over the last five years, close to 40 independent authors have sold more than a million copies of their e-books on Amazon.”
That wasn’t a lament about the small number of independent authors who were making a living, it was bragging about how the number of independent authors making it big is growing.
And yes, there are thousands of writers who don’t sell anywhere near that number of books. I happen to be one of them. Not only that, I am definitely at the bottom of the heap. (I hope to change that status.)
But what is the definition of success here?
If an author sells 10,000 books, the publishing industry considers that a hit. An author whose book sells 10,000 copies is likely to get another contract with that publisher.
But how about an independent author?
Let’s look again at that 10,000 copies sold.
If an independent author is pricing their ebook at $4.99 per copy, then that 10,000 copies makes a gross profit of $49,900.
Amazon—and other retailers—takes a 70% cut. That means for that author, the 10,000 books just made $34,930. 
That $35K is not chump change. It isn't as much as the median household income in the United States, but it is over the poverty line. Many independent authors would be thrilled with sales like this, because it means they could write full time instead of mucking along in cube-farm hell. Yes, Ms. Fortehomme was absolutely correct in that many independent writers are not getting rich off their work—but the same can be said of many traditionally-published authors. What is important is that more independent writers are likely to make enough money to support themselves without another job than traditionally published authors.
Want to find out just how much independent authors are really making? Then go to this website and start studying: Author Earnings.

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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Taylor Swift vs. Apple Over Compensation

It’s funny how quickly things can change.
When Apple upped and announced that they were not going to pay artists for music streamed during the three month trial period, I immediately thought that was patently unfair. Here, the wealthiest company in the world, was essentially funding its business plan on the backs of the artists who were barely scraping by on the few pennies that trickled down to them from one song sale to another. I had a nice missive half put together addressing my reaction to this policy.
Then Taylor Swift swung in and announced she would not be releasing her new Album on iTunes because of Apple’s policy that they would not pay artists for music streamed during a listener’s three-month free trial of the iTunes radio service. Her message spread around the world like wildfire, being picked up by most major news outlets and social sites.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s Vice President of Internet Software and Services, relented his position and announced that Apple would indeed continue to pay artists their due during the free month trial period offered for new customers to Apple’s streaming service.
So, problem solved, issue averted, life moves on. Musicians will be paid for their music and Apple will wade into the music streaming business.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Reviewed! (Maybe)

British author Mark Lawrence put out a challenge: have self-published fantasy authors submit their books to be reviewed by highly respected bloggers who write about fantasy and review books.
The structure of the challenge is to have ten reviewers be assigned 25 books each. From those, they will select one favorite to be submitted to the final pool. Once ten books have been submitted by the reviewers, then all the reviewers would read each of the books in the final pool and score each of those books. The book with the highest cumulative score would win.
From 250 to 10 to 1.
So what does that one book win? The prize is to have reviews posted by each and all the bloggers.
In other words, a huge publicity surge and promotional event.
I submitted Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1: Nobody to be considered. It has been accepted into the first round.
For all the self-published authors who submitted their work for consideration, there is still more opportunity. The reviewers have the liberty to review any of the books in their block. If a given book isn’t selected as their finalist, the reviewer can still review that book. So, even a second or third place finish can still be a win for any of the authors in the challenge. The worst thing that could happen is the reviewer didn’t like the book and doesn’t post a review for it.
For the bloggers, they just got a whole heap of potentially good books to read through. Many of them expressed a lot of interest and enthusiasm for the project, wanting to get more self-published titles into their collections of reviews.
The competition is going to be fierce. Going through the list of titles, I recognized a number of the other authors and I must say that they are very good writers.
The reviewers themselves are also highly qualified. They are not just random people who post occasional book reviews. Some have won awards for their work. They receive submissions from publishers to review their newest offerings. They all have large followings with thousands of readers.
It’s that last point that makes this such an important undertaking: large audiences. The winning author gets exposed to many potential new readers. The question on everyone’s mind—both author and reviewer alike—is will this result in a surge in sales for the winning author? For the author, the payout is obvious. But there is a something in it for the reviewer: demonstration of relevance. Did the review have any impact at all? Are people really reading these recommendations?
There is a third group with skin in the game: the self-publishing community at large. Self-publishing, while it is hitting the writing industry like a hurricane, still carries a bit of stigma in the industry. But as self-published writers crowd out trade-published writers in the bestsellers lists and begin to rake in million-copy sales, it is getting harder and harder to dismiss self-published authors as sub par.
The reviewers commented how they were excited to be looking at self-published work from independent authors. That reviewers are interested in promoting self-published books is a big step. It used to be incredibly difficult to get a reviewer to look at a self-published book. The famous New York Times bestsellers list only began accepting content from self-published authors two years ago.
What makes or breaks a good book is how visible the author can make the book to the reading public. If reviewers are becoming excited about promoting self-published books, this opens a huge promotion channel for independent authors. In this, everybody wins.
I say thank you to Mr. Lawrence and his idea to bring together independent reviewers and writers.
Now I just have to wait and see if I make the next cut. Stay tuned…!

Update–2015-03-26: Oops! Had a wrong link above. I forgot to paste the URL when I created the link, so it defaulted to another site by my writing program. (fixed)

Update-2015-05-12: Nope, didn't make the cut. Why? As I said above, the competition was very tough as there were some really good writers in the group. Only one can get the nod, and it wasn't mine. Better luck next time! :) Need the reviewer write a review for it? No, that's totally up to the reviewer.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Readers Rejecting Ebooks? Not Quite…

Or so the headline claims.
It’s a good article. Read it. But keep in mind there are some very misleading points in the article.
The headline should have been: “Today’s College Students Prefer Printed Textbooks Over Reading on Computer Screens.
That would have been far more accurate and much less misleading.