In honor of National Poetry Day, I thought I would share my LOSING submission to the 2018 Wergle Flomp.
Congrats to all the winners.
In honor of National Poetry Day, I thought I would share my LOSING submission to the 2018 Wergle Flomp.
Congrats to all the winners.
Sometimes it’s best to just play stupid, right? Works for me. Have a paws that refreshes weekend. 😉
When I was a kid I was horrified at the idea of being weird. The weird kid was the one who was bullied and lost their lunch money all the time. Nope, I wanted to fit in. Not so easy, since I am weird. These days, I’m letting my weirdness hang out. It takes off the pressure and helluva lot more fun.
2. In my alternate reality I am a homicide detective and I solve crimes constantly.
3. I wrote my first novel, The Addict, when I was 10. It was 30 pages long and it sucked. But my dad read every word. Bless his heart.
4. I talk to myself. In public. In private. I always have, since I was a kid. Nobody knows why.
5. I love to garden and though I’m not very good at it, my biggest tomato weighed almost 3 pounds. Oh and I talk to my plants – is that weird?
6. My favorite family pet was Rusty, a gorgeous collie who showed up on our porch one summer night and scratched on the screen door. He looked exactly like Lassie and I believed he was my soul mate.
7. My guilty pleasure is binge watching mystery shows (usually British) online. If I watch too many I start talking in a British accent.
8. Motown music will always inspire me to get my freak on.
9. I had two nicknames when I was a kid; Neener and Rodg. I preferred Rodg
10. I’ve had many jobs in my life but the weirdest one was bus buffing. Hard on the back but definitely builds the pecs.
11. My first car was a VW Bug and it had temperamental brakes – meaning, I never knew when or if they would work. Usually, the back wall of the garage stopped the car before the brakes. My nickname for it was “Death Trap.” I nearly gave my dad a stroke when I took him for a spin and ended up in somebody’s front yard. After that, I refused to drive a stick shift ever again.
12. When I was a kid I wanted to be a fireman or a ballerina but was forced to become a writer because I couldn’t stop making stuff up
13. I love dollar stores. It’s an addiction. I will buy anything if it costs a dollar. I’m their ideal customer.
14. If you want to make me cry show me a Hallmark commercial.
15. I really do work in my pajamas. In fact, I pretty much do everything in my pajamas. But you know, I live in California, so it’s allowed.
How about it, are you a weirdie too? Have you given in to your inner weirdness and let it shine in the light of day? Tell me all about your weirdiness in the comments, so we can revel in it together.
Every year, I take a shot at predicting what the new year will bring. I’m usually wrong, though that doesn’t stop me. Here are my best guesses of what will happen in the coming year.
1. Amazon will fold CreateSpace and Audible into its KDP platform by the end of the year. Since they own both outlets it makes sense for them and will probably make it easier for authors to track sales of various publishing platforms. However, I fear the scammers that tend to descend on Amazon will cook up some new scam to hurt indie authors if this comes to pass. Look for something weird on this front.
2. Democrats will make impeaching Trump a priority with the new incoming Congress and possibly make it their first order of business. They may even try to overturn the results from the electoral college. I predict they will be unsuccessful if they try this and will probably make things worse.
3. Serious steps will be taken to distance the U.S. from the UN. Perhaps we will cut ties altogether. But whatever happens, count on protest both for and against on the city streets, with some kind of bizarre tragedy that results.
4. Anti-Trump protests will continue and major colleges will officially create Trump-free zones. These zones will come with their own specified rules of behavior, safe words, calming sports drinks and new age therapy.
5. Mickey Dees will be the first major retailer to employ robots to man their order windows. Once their first cost effective report hits the news other fast food establishments will follow suit. Think it can’t happen, read this.
6. Fox News will change its name to Faux News (Fake News)
7. Hillary Clinton will become the major spokesperson for a new email security software retailer.
8. With its recent success of rebooting old series, Netflix will pull out all the stops and do reboots of: The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, All in the Family, Maude, My Favorite Martian, Starsky & Hutch, and the Courtship of Eddie’s Father.
9. The new iPhone8 will be unveiled in early spring and be the size of a 4-slice toaster but not to worry, it will come with a complimentary backpack to carry it in.
10. Amazon will launch a new beta program for indie authors to make movies of their books.
11. A new haircut called “The Trump” will become popular with middle aged, hair challenged men and women.
12. California will distinguish itself as the first state to drive smokers into total apathy and become a ‘smoke free’ state. Authorities will be very proud of themselves until they realize they have billions of dollars in lost tax revenue to make up. Look to the dubie tax to come next.
13. In a weird pop culture salute to Trump’s election, red ball caps will dominate the fashion world and be seen in all the spring collections on the runways in 2017.
Not a pretty list, I’ll admit, but there you have it. What about you? What do you think will happen in the coming year? Will it be good or bad? Fun or a disaster? Could it possibly be worse than 2016? Feel free to let loose with your own predictions in the comments.
Happy New Year. 😀
I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a political junkie but I try to keep my inner junkie inside most of the time. However, come election time she scratches her way out to join in all the fun. This year was especially something to look forward to because well, it wasn’t going to be the same old same old. Right? And just when I thought I might really enjoy this election cycle, not only did things go off the rails, there are no freaking rails.
And instead of all the fun I looked forward to, the cycle has simply ruined things for me. Following is my list:
The color orange. It’s not that orange was my favorite color but now I can’t look at it without seeing Trump’s orangey pink skin. You’d think that “one of the richest men in the world” could afford a better tanning bed, spray tan and make up artist. He probably should stop purchasing his products in CHYNAH.
Cheetos. And other favorite orange food—dreamsicles, tangerines, papaya, mangoes, orange lifesavers, orange Jell-O – and I can’t even look at raw chicken.
The word great. Likewise the words: terrific, fantastic, really, winning, best, hell even the word, word has lost all charm and appeal. And liar, loser and lying have virtually no meaning anymore either.
Election years. I have always enjoyed presidential election years because of the drama, surprises and unpredictable situations you never see coming. This year however, it is nothing but a flat out slug fest between candidates, supporters and media outlets. It’s ugly and keeps getting uglier. Even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, somebody unearths a new bottom. And it’s about as much fun as root canal without anesthesia. Although we got a little comic relief when the Libertarians added live stripping to their convention. What’s next? Lap dances by candidates?
The myth that most people have common sense. Seriously, can anybody believe that common sense is a live and well in America when the presumptive candidates are the two most reviled people in the country?
Taco salads. This picture:
Is he going to eat that thing or molest it? Either way, feeling pretty sorry for the salad, no matter its fate.
Hair. Whether it’s the old man comb-over, the grandma shellacked bullet head, or the Muppet style shag, all hairstyles are dead to me now.
Facebook. Social media always has political stuff but generally is easy to scroll right past. And I’ll get in there sometimes and bat things around myself. But this year it is wall to wall and there’s no scrolling past it. That’s all that is in my feed. From erroneous, crazy, gross, vile memes, to trolls swarming, name calling, to non-stop propaganda on every topic under the sun – it’s a jungle out there.
The Internet. I used to love the Internet. Each day when you logged on you never knew what you were gonna get. These days though you can’t swing a dead politician without hitting a story or meme on trump, trumpers, trumperism, trump tweets, trump train, anti-trump, nevertrump, alwaystrump, “what’s trump done this time?,” neverhillary, onlyhillary, who’s hillary?, indict hillary, feeling berns…. Where are those cute cat videos that used to be so popular?
Reality TV. It’s not that I’m a big fan of reality TV but I once found it somewhat amusing. But since reality TV is running for president, the spoofy goofy nature of the medium isn’t quite as funny. And definitely amusing. And I find myself constantly muttering, “Is this a joke?”
What about you? Are you sick of this already? Has this election business ruined stuff for you? Are you looking for good cat videos? Feel free to add to the list or voice your gripes in the comments. The election cycle isn’t even close to over yet folks, and we’ve got a long five months ahead of us – give us strength.
Birth vs Battle by David Corbett suggests that conflict ain’t everything in a story.
The Cyber Exchange Principle from the Writer’s Forensic Blog explains the Locard Exchange – the basis for using forensic evidence in crime detection.
An Almost Perfect Murder by Sue Coletta. Fascinating case study of a surgeon who almost got away with murder.
11 Tips to help you build your online community by Cat Michaels provides sage advice for building your platform.
Do You Know Where Your ISBNs Are? by Joel Friedlander, is a good nuts and bolts on ISBNs plus a free download.
How to write a great love scene by Jessi Rita Hoffaman, provides some great tips on avoiding the schmaltz and getting to the gold in a love scene.
Who really killed JonBenet Ramsey by Garry Rodgers is an in depth analysis of the case and who the likely killer was of this sweet little girl.
Just for fun – I guess the shelf life for Shades has reached critical mass
And for laughs: Jimmy Fallon does a helluva Trump impression and this made me laugh out loud.
And just to get your week starting off right a little music.
So about a week ago, while I stepped away from my computer to refill my coffee cup my computer refused to boot. Odd thing was that it had already booted up. Naturally, the dreaded thought of all computer users popped into my head: Virus.
I was ever so glad that I have an external hard drive that I use for back up. Because otherwise I’d have had to shoot myself.
Well, despite my crying, pleading, and begging the computer just wouldn’t boot up and in fact gave me the boot. I called around and spoke to a couple of computer repair guys who apparently didn’t need the work because they told me I could buy a new computer for what they’d charge me.
I didn’t believe them, but lo and behold they were not lying. I found just the baby I wanted and ordered it on Black Friday. Gotta love it when timing and big sales come together right?
Of course that meant it would be a week before I had my new computer. So, I pulled out my ancient eMachines (do they even make those anymore?) computer which I shoved in the closet seven years ago and set it up. It groaned, it whirred, it made this awful grinding noise but it worked. Of course doing anything more than writing in Word and checking my emails was about all I could get out of it. And even then it was iffy. But somehow I managed. (Still, I felt like Fred Flintstone trying to work with a chisel and stone tablet).
It is funny though how we get so used to things going lightning fast that when they don’t, we get upset and tense. Could explain some of the road rage you see these days, right?
Then I got the new computer and you want to talk about fast – wow – I had no idea what I was missing. I really must come out of my cave more often and see about all this new-fangled high technology stuff.
So, I guess the moral of this story is that I’m an idiot but things worked out in the end anyway.
BTW, I’m doing a Kindle countdown on M.urder R.eady to E.at (Book 2 of Scotti Fitzgerald Series) tomorrow and Wednesday. You can get all that fun and adventure for a mere 99 cents. And please do. Okay – end of plug.
Hopefully, once I learn how to ride my new computer I’ll be able to do things like tweet and facebook and other fun stuff.
Okay. So, you’ve had Thanksgiving, Black Monday, Small Biz Saturday and Sunday you got to rest. Next up, Cyber Monday. The online answer to Black Friday (I think) or maybe just a another way of saying Holiday Sale. At any rate, the following tips will help you enjoy Cyber Monday.
1. Call in sick. You’ve already been off work for four days, what’s one more?
2. Make a list of everything you’ve been wanting to get yourself just in case you see some incredible deals. Freelancers, this is a great time to do end of year purchases for equipment, software, office furniture and supplies.
3. Have your Christmas list handy. You may not get everything on your list but having a list will (hopefully) prevent you from buying stuff you dont need.
4. If you’re searching for a specific item and Googling, include ‘free shipping’ in your search terms. This is the time of year that free shipping is a big come on used by retailers. Why shouldn’t you get some of that. Just a cursory search showed me that Harry & David, Best Buy & the Cracker Barrel are all offering free shipping deals.
5. Use PayPal. I suppose there are different schools of thought on this but I personally feel safer using PayPal – you’re not debited until the product ships and they have a no hassle reversal policy if the product is funky. Credit card scammers are out in force this time of year too.
6. Don’t buy things just because they’re a good deal. Of course, logical right? But once you get your bargain hunter buzz on, things can get out of control fast. That’s why #2 and #3 are on the list.
7. Take a break. Or give yourself a time limit. If you stay online all day shopping you will undoubtedly buy things you really don’t need or want, or God forbid, click on the wrong thing. Give yourself a 3 or 4 hour limit, then stop. If you can’t because you want to do all your shopping today, then take a break every hour. Step away from the computer, go outside, take a walk and for heaven’s sake eat something besides cheese doodles. And drink water too.
8. Shop in categories. Divide your list into categories – electronics, clothes, sundries, toys, etc. Then shop by category. It might require going back to a couple of sites but, this will also help to keep things organized and prevent you from being distracted by shiny objects.
9. Consider refurbished, used, vintage, consignment. We often feel that giving others things that were previously used might be tacky but usually if a person wants something and gets what they want, they don’t generally care about that stuff. There are some incredible computer deals on refurbished computers for example. And what fashionista wouldn’t want a vintage handbag that was the real deal? What writer wouldn’t want an original copy of a favorite book?
10. Consider smaller sites and retailers. There are thousands of small artisans and retailers on sites like Etsy and Zazzle for example, who make some very awesome, one of a kind items. And it’s also a cool way to support small businesses, indies and freelancers. For example, this hard working creative gal is offering some very cute tees for writers.
And in honor of Cyber Monday (starting at 8 AM Pacific Time), I’m offering Coffee & Crime for 99 cents (Kindle Countdown). Tuesday it goes up to $1.99, Wednesday it goes up to $2.99 and then returns to the normal price on Thursday.
Okay, so go to bed early, lay out your clean jammies for tomorrow and set the coffee pot on brew. And happy shopping. Let the season begin!
Have a great week.
Self publishing is a new thing to me. Very new. But I have to say even in a few days I’ve learned a lot. I humbly pass what I’ve learned onto you:
Things will go wrong. For example when I sent the check to the formatters to have my files converted to digital files, little did I know that Florida would have a week of heavy rain, flooding and delayed mail delivery. It set my schedule back nearly a week.
You’ll learn what sleep deprivation really means. I haven’t slept in two weeks. My dog is afraid of my cat hides and me whenever she sees me coming. Although the hallucinations are interesting and might make for some good inspiration for a horror story somewhere down the line.
You’ll have energy you don’t know what to do with. All the hype all the anticipation all the worry, excitement, and jitters do not go away after you press publish. Actually, it is set free and you’ll find yourself wandering around thinking you have something to do when you don’t. Everything you attempt to do will go unfinished and your attention span will have reduced to that of a gnat.
Your expectations won’t be met. You’ve told yourself you won’t expect anything. You’ll publish and see what happens. But you do expect things. No matter how hard you try to act casual, you won’t be feeling it. You’ll wonder why your aunt Myrna didn’t buy a copy of the book. Why everyone you ever met hasn’t called or sent you a congrats email, why everybody else is going about their business as though nothing has happened.
You’ll have yet another thing to obsess about. Yup, just what you need. A new obsession. That shiny object is known as the Amazon author dashboard. In real time, you can watch your sales and page reads change. Or not. Or not fast enough. You’ll tell yourself that you’ll only check it twice a day – first thing in the morning and last thing at night. But you’ll check it every hour. Every half hour. Every five minutes. It’s too cool not to be obsessed by it. It’s the magic of technology.
You’ll want to cry – if you’re a guy, you may want to punch something. You won’t necessarily know why you want to cry. And you’ll resist it. You’ll try to reason with yourself. Convince yourself there is nothing to cry about. That everything is going fine. But it won’t matter because all that stress, worry, anticipation will have you hopping around like a Mexican jumping bean. Let yourself. Cry. Cry it all out. Or punch something – not a human of course, but walls can be repaired, punching bags are made for such things. You’ll feel a bit better afterward. Really, you will.
You’ll feel like you should be doing something but you won’t know what it is. Leading up to publishing you’ve had a list and you proudly checked off each item as you accomplished it. Now, you don’t know what to do. Should you keep tweeting and face booking your carefully constructed promos banner one more time? Should you do the laundry that has been piling up for a month? Should you try to get your cat out from under the bed. Chances are you’ll just check your sales dashboard again and alternate that with playing online solitaire or mahjong..
You’ll think of details you should’ve added to the books, or edited out or changed. You may even be tempted to take the book down and do another round of edits before re-publishing. Your mind is a cesspool of shoulda, woulda, coulda.
Okay so this completely new world of self-publishing is exciting but now that you’ve done it, clearly you’ve got a case of the crazies. And if you don’t get hold of yourself, you may end up
It’s understandable. You’ve spent months maybe even years preparing for this and now that’s it has happened you don’t know what to do with yourself. The following may help:
Tear yourself away from all of it. Yup. Go to the beach, go hiking, check into a motel in the mountains for a couple of days. Unplug. Leave your devices at home, or at least locked in your trunk – and forget about all of it for a little while. You may go through a little withdrawal, but after a few hours, you’ll feel better.
Stop stalking your friends and relatives with helpful suggestions on how they can buy your book. Chances are, most of them probably will – eventually. But people resist being told what to do. If you leave them to their own devices, they’ll come around. And some of them won’t. And you have to be okay with that. Though this is a milestone in your life, it’s just one more detail that buzzes by them in a blur.
Come up with a plan. After you’ve gotten some sleep, some space and some decent food, sit down and come up with a rational plan on how you will promote your book (if you haven’t already). Even if you had a plan before publishing, now that you’ve had a taste of the reality, you may need to tweak it. If you simply don’t know what to do spend some time on blogs of those who have blazed the trail already: Anne R. Allen, Hugh Howey, Chuck Wendig and Joe Konrath all have great blogs filled with useful advice for self publishers.
Start your next book. This may sound crazy. You’ve just spent months, maybe years writing the book you just published and I’m suggesting you start your next one? Yup. That’s right. If you are in this for the long haul, the next book should be foremost on your mind. When readers discover you and like your work, they’ll want more. Be ready for them. It’ll also give you something to focus on and pour all that crazy random energy into and likely be a calming influence in your life.
Keep notes. After you publish, keep a log of all the promo actions you do – large and small. Because I guarantee if you see a spike in sales, you’ll want to know what caused it. If you have a record of the actions you’ve taken, you’ll be much more able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Above all else, don’t become discouraged. Nothing happens overnight. Even though it may appear to be that way. It just isn’t true. There may always be the exception to the rule, but chances are you won’t be that exception. Chances are you are going to have to work hard, go through a lot of trial and error, fail and succeed continually to get to that sweet spot. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t good, that your books aren’t good, that people don’t want to read them. It just means there is a learning and experience curve. Slow and steady wins the race, or something like that.
Be proud of yourself. You did it. You had the courage and persistence to write that book, polish that book and publish that book. Of the millions of people who ‘want’ to write a book, you are one of the few who did. Be proud. That is an accomplishment. Now go write the next one.
Are you a sci-fi fan? Maybe you read so much sci-fi that you’ve begun to feel a terrible distrust of machines. After all, they are going to take over the world someday right? I mean, humans are so blasé and breakable. And they have all those pesky emotions. Why wouldn’t emotionless ‘logical’ machines kick our butts and take over the world?
Well, rest assured I don’t think we’re in any serious danger because…
1. They break. I don’t care how cool a machine is or how many bells or whistles it has – someday it will break. And at the most inconvenient time. I mean think about it, all it takes is a crappy power supply and your computer just lays there. Machines are not indestructible.
2. They are only as smart as the human that made them. Even the most brilliant humans in the world don’t understand the human brain/mind. Therefore they cannot replicate it and put it into a machine. They can load it up with facts and data. But as they say information is not knowledge. It just gives you an edge in Trivial Pursuit.
3. They have no common sense. No matter how hard Bill Gates and other software developers have tried, they have yet to create software that is truly intuitive. What passes for intuitive is usually intrusive. Machines cannot anticipate what humans will do. And there is no software that can either.
4. They are no match for mother nature. Just leave any machine out in the Mojave Desert for a week and see what happens. Or drop it in the ocean for a few days. Leave it outside during a hurricane. Or drop it in the middle of a forest fire. See my point?
5. They have no sense of humor. Everybody knows that in order to survive on this planet you have to be able to laugh at yourself. If not you will go stark raving mad. A machine has no ability to see humor much less replicate it or ‘feel’ it.
6. They have no charisma. If you can’t turn on the charm how are you going to persuade anyone to do what you want?
7. They can be turned off. Although humans can be stopped it usually takes a bullets, drugs or some other considerable force to turn them off. Machines are all built with on/off switches. And power sources. Cut the switch or the power and they become a pile of parts.
8. They can’t think. While some might argue that we already have machines that think for us and there seems to be some empirical data showing that, the truth is a machine can only make computations based on whatever data it may contain. Humans have thousands of thoughts a minute, probably millions a day – but not based on data alone. It’s combination of data, perception, experience and knowledge.Machines are not sentient and can’t do that.
9. Humans won’t let them. No matter what others may say or think about this thing called the human race, one thing is for sure – we want to survive. It may be that humans have the strongest survival instinct of any living creatures. If you just look at history and what humans have survived and in fact triumphed over, it should give you pause. And even though there may be a lot of sheeple in the world who might surrender to a machine takeover, there are enough of us who would say hell no and kick their asses.
How about you? Afraid machines are taking over the world? How do you think they might do it? Feel free to espouse your theories in the comments.
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