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Sunday, August 30, 2015

STAY LIT


Writing is precarious

Amazon seems to want to prune its ranks of unknown Indies. 

 Struggling Indie writers find their novels lost in an ever-growing sea of self-published prose.

Twitter, Facebook, and Blog Book Tours offer fewer and fewer dividends to authors.

It’s a time when it would make a lot of sense to quit 

— and a time when simply not quitting is becoming its own art form.

Academics who left the scholarly world that no longer seemed relevant have invented their own genre --  

Quit Lit.

 Many creative writers today seem to be writing what you might call “STAY LIT — 

accounts of how the publishing world has bruised and sometimes bloodied their egos, 

and why they’re still writing anyway.

Read the early letters of Mark Twain, Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, and Raymond Chandler --

And you will read the same thing:

Those who quit never win.  
Those who stay the course 
always win their self-respect ... 
if not their dreams. 

Writing lives and writing careers are very hard-won even when they’re successful.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.  Stay the course.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE revisited




 {Image Courtesy of Stevie Z Photography}

Friends have asked to see a bit of my novel, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. So here are a few paragraphs from the first chapter.



“Our Nation is prepared, as never before, to deal
quickly and capably with the consequences of
disasters and domestic incidents.”

--FEMA chief Michael D. Brown - March 09, 2005
 

Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans August 29, 2005


CHAPTER ONE

It rained lies and death today.


I stood knee-deep in water outside my French Quarter jazz club, Meilori’s. It was a place in which almost anything was likely to happen and in which almost everything had. 

Inside, the fifty-one survivors of Katrina that I could house were huddled in shivering, too quiet clusters. 

Words have no meaning when a city dies. Nothing much does.


My soul stretched tight across my chest. Everything I saw in the shadows spoke to me ... in threats. 

The sudden, short explosion of an unseen gun. A quick, sharp scream in the distance. And the blue spurt of a lighted match at the far end of the street. 

My city bled slowly in the ripples of the flooded streets.


Somewhere distant in the hot, red darkness a shot rang out. Another called out to it like a wolf. But it came from a different direction.

I smiled bitterly. The predators had crawled out from their boarded shelters. They knew the restraint of law had died this day. Soon they would come for me.

You see, I had enemies. And not all of them were human. But that was all right. I wasn't human either.
***********************
If you like what you read, let me know. If not, let me know how I could improve. Thank all of you for caring to drop by.
Here's a song about hope and Hurricane Katrina :

Friday, August 28, 2015

UNDER THE WHITE-WASH -- KATRINA 10 YEARS LATER







Visit where the mayor's office would rather not have you come 

and see:

The corner of Flood and North Galvez streets, Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans.

This isn't the place President Obama crooned of Thursday, a city that "is coming back better and stronger."

No, 

this is where the ruins of sinking curbs and shattered concrete foundations betray the missing homes.

They speak of people lost and whole sections of community obliterated. 

They murmur of what has not -- and perhaps will not ever -- be replaced.

KATRINA

One word that symbolizes major failing and limited redress, for belated reaction, and selective improvement.

Ten years have not made New Orleans forget George W. Bush

the president who called himself compassionate 

while he had Air Force One fly over New Orleans during the city's many hours of tremendous need --

and never stop.

Early requests for transportation assistance went unmet 

and post-storm efforts to evacuate those in the worst conditions stretched well beyond reason,


WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE?


Against the backdrop of my two urban fantasies, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and END OF DAYS

I reveal what might have been done -- and was not.

The tourists have returned to the French Quarter

 but in Orleans Parish, the share of people living below the poverty level has only grown.

Now, during Hurricane Season, the deeply personal knowledge that officialdom will not save you 

transforms small talk about the weather into animated, anxious faces that know 

they are alone in the storm.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

THE PRECARIOUS POSITION OF THE MODERN WOMAN


I. Agnes Hedengård's Video Accuses Fashion Agencies Of 'Absurd' Standards


This Swedish young woman has modelled since she was 15, according to Metro UK.

But now she says she hasn't been able to find work in the last five years

due to the industry's "absurd" standard that has her pegged as "too big."


II. Dating in America is completely unfair

The main idea is that women have been attending college at much higher rates than men since the 1980s, in the U.S.

The dating pool for college-educated people in their 30s now has five women for every four men. For people in their 20s, it's four women for every three men.

 In Manhattan, there are 38 percent more female college grads under the age of 25 than college-grad men.

86 percent in Miami, 49 percent in Washington and 37 percent in Los Angeles!  Ouch!


III. Murder is the second most likely way for women to die at work

The gruesome killing of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward reminded us Wednesday,

murder happens surprisingly often on the job. 

After car accidents, homicide is the most likely way for women to die at work, representing 21 percent of workplace deaths.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to die many other ways.

But it is really playing with numbers as the politicians love to do.

There were 341 men and 67 women murdered on the job.

Yet, the share of workplace killings by co-workers appears to be inching up.

The world has always been a crazy place

in which to try to live and love.

It just seems to have gotten crazier for women lately.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

KINDLE SCOUT_WHAT'S THE TRUTH?



If you're like me and Survivor Duck --

 you got an email this morning from Amazon telling you of the Kindle Scout program.

Kindle Scout is a reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. 

It’s a place where readers help decide if a book receives a publishing contract.

(Amazon's American Idol)

Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, 

a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.


What to do, right?


I went to our age's Oracle of Delphi, Google.

And the best information came from Victoria Strauss's site:

 http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2014/10/29/kindle-scout-the-pros-and-cons-of-amazons-new-crowdsourced-publishing-program/

 in a comment from Ebook Bargains UK :


Going with Kindle Scout means you will be exclusive to the Kindle site 

and automatically lose any chance of finding readers among the 35% of the US ebook market that does not shop at Amazon.
Which of course is the key purpose of the show – 

to identify and get exclusive rights to material that might otherwise end up on Apple or Nook or Google Play.

 Shelling out $1500 to keep a good quality book off a rival site is sound business sense for Amazon.

 Not so much for the author.

What indie authors need to ask themselves is why, if Amazon thinks their book is worth investing in at all, 

they don’t go the whole way and do it properly through the existing Amazon imprints?

As it is, Amazon stands to make substantial sums from these books while the author struggles to cover their costs.

Amazon will pay you 50% of net, not list price.

 So first Amazon takes 30% of list price for selling the book you paid to have edited, proofed, formatted, covered, etc. 

THEN it takes half of what’s left as well.

 Which means in real terms Amazon will be TAKING 65% of list price on every sale.

What does this mean in the real world of monthly payments?

It means that for doing absolutely nothing above and beyond what you can do on your own through KDP, 

you the author will be paid out as follows:

Pricing at $4.99 (and remember, Amazon decides the price, not you

AMAZON will make $3.25 a sale so will need to sell only 462 copies to make back the advance it paid out.

The AUTHOR will have to sell 1,200 copies to pay back that advance before they see another cent from Amazon.

Going it alone if you sold 1,200 copies at $4.99 you’d have $4,200 in the bank. 

PLUS your sales from other retailers.

At $3.99 list price Amazon grabs $2.60 per sale against your $1.40. 

You’ll need to sell 1,072 copies just to pay back the advance. Amazon will have made $2,800 off you in that time.

Going it alone if you sold 1,072 copies at $3.99 you’d have three grand in the bank plus your sales from other retailers.

At $2.99 Amazon will be taking $1.95 a shot while you get a buck. 

You’ll need to sell 1,500 copies just to pay back the advance. 

Amazon will have made nearly three grand off you on those same sales.

Going it alone that 1,500 sales at the same price you’d have just over three grand in the bank plus your sales from other retailers.

Unquestionably the first few titles selected will get the full promo they are “eligible” for and do well. 

Amazon needs this scam to be seen to be successful for the participating authors. 

But once the word is out that this is the latest road to riches Amazon can then apply the brakes, 

and just like KU it will be handful of selected authors who become all-stars and are the rest get shafted.

Now, the above is Ebook Bargains UK's perspective not mine. 

 Research yourself and come to your own conclusions.