Friday, December 31, 2010
As we stare down the barrel of the end of the year I like most of you look back to the things I should have changed or done as well as the things I should do for this next year. Did I have a good year? Was it something I can look back on with a smile or a deep regret?
The new year holds not only great opportunity but a overpowering fear as well. What will we do? How will this not end up just like all the rest and drown in a sea of forgotten memories.
If I could sum up this blog and the year it has been in existence, I think I would say this is the year of the eBook. My life is so different because of them, they are not only the future but they will bend the book world forever. The age of paper books is on the way out, and the eReader is here. The question is do the future readers want eBooks, will the publishers get on board or keep hiding their heads in the sand?
In the year ahead I see one thing that I feel confident of, one thing I believe will happen even if everyone thinks I am crazy. eBooks will overtake print sales by the end of the year and in the end of 2012 almost every household in America will have a eReader. Think of the TV, it was something only the rich had and now it is in every home.
I plan in this next year to take this blog to another level. More Author interviews, guest posts and book reviews. The fun will continue and all my crazy mind games will keep going... or will they?
Happy New Year!
Now get at it!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I know that like most of you the time of Christmas and the surrounding holiday's can bring stress and sometimes are just plain miserable. Now don't get me wrong, time with the kids and all the songs in small amounts are great, but spending more time with the family can be all out crazy.
We humans are not build to sit and drink coffee with our third cousin and watch Harry and the Henderson's with Grandpa as he sleeps with a smoking cigar in-between his lips. The pressure of buying the perfect gift and the sugar high will do it to anyone.
Hence the invention of Festivus. Yes, the great and realistic break from Christmas and for the few who dare to celebrate it can be a wonderful and happy time for all.
Festivus, a holiday that rose to popularity thanks to the popular TV show "Seinfeld."
According to the website Festivusweb.com, "Seinfeld" writer Dan O'Keefe based the concept on family traditions started by his father.
The Festivus episode of "Seinfeld" includes this memorable exchange between Frank Costanza (George Costanza's father) and Cosmo Kramer:
Frank Costanza: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way."
Cosmo Kramer: "What happened to the doll?"
Frank Costanza: "It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born Â... a Festivus for the rest of us!"
Cosmo Kramer: "That must've been some kind of doll."
Frank Costanza: "She was."
Festivus traditions include the Airing of Grievances, a giant complaining session that takes place after dinner. It's followed by the Feats of Strength, a family wrestling competition.
What you need:
The Festivus pole. The basics of the aluminum pole are explained by Costanza: "It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting, and "It's made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio." When its not being used, the pole is stored in his crawl space.
Feats of Strength:
The FOS generally follows the AOG. Under the Seinfeld orthodoxy, Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned. While there is an undeniable classic elegance to this, real world Festivus practitioners have developed other cathartic methods of discharging pent-up energy against one's fellows, including thumb wrestling and washer tossing.
The Airing of Grievances:
Like everything else Festivus, the AOG has evolved some wild variations, but the core of it remains lashing into others and the world about how they have been disappointments.
This usually brings participants into a circle of sorts in which each takes turns excoriating friends, enemies, relatives, acquaintances and strangers. When all who care to have taken a turn griping, there is no required hugging or making up.
So here is what we are going to do. Post something Christmas related, some kind of tragedy, annoying dinner date or anything else about the "Other" Holiday that drove you to Festivus.
And Happy Festivus!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
As a reader and a writer I think about the one book that changed it all. What do I mean by this?
I mean the book that will not let you go, the one that keeps tugging at the back of your mind and no matter how many years pass it is still there. I can think of a book that had this kind of pull on me, the book that to this day will wake me up or creep in as I sit down to dinner.
The book is "The Oath" by Frank Peretti.
I have always loved Frank's writing and as I move into a different stage of my life I find that Ted Dekker and Bill Myers hold new joys and thoughts in their writing, but something about the Oath will never leave me.
It is a simple story about love, mystery and the truth. If you want to look into the mirror of life and see what might be beyond and into your soul I would read The Oath. It is not a new book but to this day I find myself being drawn back to its pages, lost in the story and each time I find something new about myself.
This year think of a book that you must tell others about. One that you just cannot let go. Tell me about it, what is it for you?
May you all have a great Christmas and a happy New Year.
A college professor turns investigator after his brother is mauled to death. The popular suspect in the nearby town of Hyde River is a hungry grizzly. The professor, Steve Benson, specializes in bears. To his surprise,the evidence casts doubt on the bear theory. When Steve decides to stick around Hyde River to unearth the truth, he finds more than he expected. The citizens of Hyde River keep some old secrets, and they will take extreme measures to keep those secrets private from outsiders.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
So, here we are looking down the barrel of the end of the year. Did you do everything you wanted to do this year? Did you write that book? If not why?
I, like you have a ton of reasons not to do what I want to do or should do. I look in the mirror and wonder if I will ever just do it instead of holding back. This year I did a lot, in fact, I did most if not everything I set out to do.
I do not say this to make you look bad or myself look good, but to help my little brain to kick it into gear as there is still one thing left to do with only a few short weeks left in the year. I have this hanging thing hovering over my head and I keep putting it off. Why you might ask? Well... maybe I just pull out a excuse like you do and carry on. Maybe I am scared or tired. Maybe I am just lazy.
Whatever the reason, the outcome will be the same if I do nothing. Will you have a book published next year? Will you loose that weight or quit that dumb job you hate? I don't know. Will I finish the two books I have been putting off? The answer is yes. How can I say this when I am scared, tired and lazy? Because I just told you. I put my own fears out there for you to motivate me and hold me accountable. So here we go and in the year 2011 I shall have three books published. Yes three.
Will I make it?
I say yes... besides... what's the worst that could happen?
Thursday, December 9, 2010
It seems that every year as we come upon this holiday season some weird kind of thing happens. Last year it was the big fight over the wording... should we wish people a merry Christmas or say happy holiday's? Will our greeting offend someone? What if by talking to someone and saying happy anything drives them to yank out a shotgun and blow you away based on you and your greeting?
And I thought we had freedom... oh, wait, that was three years ago.
We just came out of the Thanksgiving thing... it once was a day where we stuffed our faces and thanked God for all the food and slept in after the game. The Black Friday came into play and this year they now have the whole weekend for shopping and made a one day thing into three! Really? What is that about? Do we really need three days to shop and get the deals? Do we need to exploit everything? I feel like I was taken by some big fat guy in a dark alley... I feel so dirty now, as if we are losing everything that makes us... well, U.S.
I think we skipped the marketing for Thanksgiving as well and jumped right into Christmas right after Halloween... Was this me or did anyone else notice this?
Anyway... I went into a store that will remain nameless... it had a wall and was a mart of sorts. I was going into this store and in the past there would be a bell ringer standing there with a Santa suit or smelling of cheap beer or maybe both. This time I was confronted by 4 of them.
Bells in hand and a leather jacket with a skull on the back and a pocket full of little Candy Cain's for my child. They did not ring the bell and smile and give you that stare... you know the one. The "Please give us some money you creep, do it or the Christmas spirit will come into your house this year and burn it down!" Yeah, that look. Well, the look was there but also the walking up to you and doing the sort of blocking the door shuffle and give the kid some candy thing...
I did not know what to do. I felt like I was being robbed by a biker gang! Was I supposed to give them some pocket change or my kid? We somehow made it past them as some other unsuspecting shopper was in view and they moved on.
4? Really, we need 4 of them at each door. Come on, you and I both know that I am not the only one that knows what side of the door they are standing. We leave the store with a basket full off food and gum and pass on the other side much like the Hebrew Priest in the Bible story.
We could do this dodge and don't make eye contact thing in years past, but now... it is like walking through a gang of excited cheerleaders as we try to get out to the football field. I do try to give something and the guilt I feel by the looks and the idea of standing out in the cold do make me want to help. Yet I feel that in the past I was giving out of desire and now I get my extra change snagged as I walk through the pack of Santa-suit-wearing bikers.
Soon it will be a mob of fifty people that sing and dance as they go around holding up cars in the parking-lot. When will it all end? When will we just blend all the holiday's together and tell everyone to have one big party and spend the life savings on a new Wii?
So as we go out this Christmas, remember... bring lots of change and leave the kids at home. Remember to keep all loose clothing tied down, don't wear a hat, or anything that can be taken as you walk by. We want you all to be safe out there, remember to think before you act. We don't want anyone to go missing this year...
I think I am going to skip Christmas and just do Festivus.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Take this post not with a grain of salt but take it in all seriousness. I am here to help you, to let you know that what you may be doing is not working.
What do I mean?
If you take the amount of people who submit to publishing houses and the number of authors that get a deal, you might want to be sick. The small number that break into this market are happy for a short time as they soon realize that they may never make a living doing what they love.
I grow tired of well meaning authors or writers who tell people to keep it up, to never give up and drive these destructive activities to continue. Do you not care for the feelings of these poor masses that dream of a publishing deal? Is the writing on the wall so small that you cannot see what it says? Why would you do something that does not work over and over again and tell others to do the same and it never worked for you?
Is this not the definition of insanity? To do the same thing over and over again yet expect different results. I look and see, I shake my head at this madness. Yet I beat the air, I box the wind as even after all this, most still walk down the path of insanity.
Is this a case of self deception? Is it the pride of having that great big pat on the back that comes from a "Real Publisher?" Or is it the fear of having a dream realized and the fear of real success?
I wonder if we do this to ourselves and like the feeling of searching for a publisher and scared to really do it. We might not want to have a book published, why else would we keep doing what we know will not work? Why would we keep knocking on a door of a closed business? Do we really want to make 9% on our book? Do you think so little of your own writing? Are you in the business of giving your life blood work away so the big publishers can ride you to the end and drop you off dead and bleeding?
I may be harsh but it is because the message is not getting into your brain. It is rolling off like so much water off a ducks back. But what can I do but keep on shouting from the rooftops. I must, I have found a new and better way and can say with confidence that I am an author. I make a living writing and that is a sad state as much better selling books out there do not bring the same freedom to others in my craft.
What is your book worth? Are you worth it or do you want to work a side job like most authors in this world? I only ask because what you say does not match up with what you do. Why am I being such a jerk? Well, I keep saying, showing and doing but it is not getting through. What more can I do? Do I need to sell a million books before you see and understand? I am not saying this in arrogance but in the hopes to help you my friend.
I end this thought with a plea... Please stop the madness. Stop sending out query letters and publish your book. Believe in yourself enough to take your dream and run. This year as we see the end and a new one begin, break free from the circle of slavery and as Nike says, Just Do It!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Snow and ice have hit our little town, and two days ago I walked through said snow to start my car. I do not like a cold car, thus letting it heat up seemed like a good idea.
As I turned to go to the mail box to put in the Netflix movie, I turned and all at once my right foot slipped right out from under me. It was a slow motion moment, my life flashed before my eyes and visions of a broken hip and the neighbor lady looking out the window at me, filled my head.
I wondered how this falling big body-235 lbs... down from 260-was going to feel to hit the hard street. Let me tell ya... it was not graceful or pretty.
I went down on my side and in the process I twisted my ankle. It hurt like a lot of cuss words, and I used a few of them as I hobbled toward the mail box to finish my task. I was not going to let a silly fall stop me from putting that movie into that box because I wanted to get the next one and waiting a day longer was not going to happen!
With each step I was beginning to understand my plight. This was not a small sprain and it could even be broken. But what was I to do? I felt like pulling out my red button that called the paramedics or clapping two times for my roller chair.
My ripe old age of 31 crashed down on me but I felt 60. Nothing makes you feel old like falling and hurting yourself over something so stupid. Who is the one always saying to Karissa and the kids... "Careful, it is slick."? Yes, me... Always the watchful one and I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar and standing with my pants down.
Later that day, I discovered the top of my foot was not doing good. The ankle was fine but something was going on with the rest of The Foot. I call it The Foot now as because of its lack of agility I no longer consider it a working member of my body. In fact I feel kind of betrayed by The Foot as it could have done a better job or at least put up a fight. But NO... It was asleep at the wheel and so I feel a time of reflection is in order, The Foot needs to know that this kind of thing is not acceptable.
The next day after a fight with The Foot I went to get The Foot adjusted by my chiropractor. If you want to know what that felt like... lets just say, the string of cuss words that were on my tongue at the time of the fall, returned. It was like hitting yourself with a hammer, waiting three days so the bruise was good and sore and hitting yourself in the same spot again.
I am still walking like a old man... 60 if you were wondering, and it hurts like... like... well I am sure you can gather what it feels like. I will suck it up as the Doc does not think it is broken. But I will whine and act like a old baby anyway. Why not? I fell on the ice, poor little foot couldn't take it... sleeping on the job... Anyway... careful, it is slick.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This blog is almost a year old. The end of this month will be one year of blogging and it was filled with rants and posts and things of note and some crash and burns. I look back at how it all started and wonder if this was a good idea or some weird thing I thought of after watching a movie.
My plan is to break this up and release it as a eBook called The Worst Book Ever. That way if I get a bad review and they think the book sucks I will only laugh and say, "Well duh, did you read the title?"
Not sure what posts will make the cut or how it will look but in all I think it will at least make some, high-on-the-stool-literary-minds have a little heartburn. Will it make me a bunch of money? I don't think so, but will it be a ton of fun? Oh yeah.
From eBooks to why seat-belts are overrated, to what I might think at 2 A.M. This may prove to really be the worst book ever and thus dethrone my other books from that wonderful title. Should someone pick up a copy they will be sure to get a laugh and at times good info.
Here is to the future and to one more month of insanity.
Will the blog go on? Yes, I think it will and in the next year we will need to think up another crazy thing to do... any ideas?