“It is what it is” and other stupid platitudes

I grew up in the ’50s during the cold war when we had air raid drills in case of a nuclear explosion. I remember hiding under my desk or going out into the hallway as if we could really be protected from an A-bomb or H-bomb. That’s how stupid we were. The United States tried using diplomacy and nuclear buildup so that wouldn’t happen. We as Americans were powerless. Today, children in schools are given drills to protect them from an active shooter with an automatic weapon who attacks anyone within sight. Big difference between then and now. We as Americans are not powerless. We can vote people out who will not change the laws to ban automatic weapons as they had once been banned, and we must. These weapons have but one use…to kill. To kill as many people in a short period of time as you can. They are not for hunting, they are for war. Allowing them for public consumption is just as stupid as telling my young-self that hiding under my school desk will protect me from an A-bomb.

I also lived through the Nixon years. I wasn’t into politics much then. I had mixed feelings about the Vietnam war at that time but now I know better. All the reasons we were there had nothing to do with altruism and ideals but plain stupidity, greed, and power (a form of greed). I watched the Nixon impeachment hearings spellbound. Could our American government be that corrupt? Could our president really act like a thug, treat the office as if he were a crime boss? Surround himself with such shady characters in his cabinet? I was glad when that phase in our country was finished and we could get back to being a democratic republic. How were we that stupid to elect and re-elect a guy like that?

And yet. Here we are.

Once again the American people have demonstrated that they’re comfortable having an authoritarian dictator than a president. Even after this president-in-name only behaves criminally they make excuses. Even after it is common knowledge that a foreign adversary got him elected and he is inviting that kind of help again, there are Americans who support him, party affiliates who put party country. Will we always be stupid? We will soon find out.

In the publishing world where I spend my time trying not to be stupid, I remain stupid as well. I fall for the promo sites that are expensive thinking that they must have lots of subscribers to justify their high prices. I would recommend staying away from spending $129 to Kindle Nation Daily. If your book is priced at 99C they will also advertise it on Book Gorilla for no additional charge. Well, that seemed good. But no. All I sold was 6 books, which is a horrible ROI. Ebooks Hound is another one. Cost is $60 for 3 books sold at 99C.

I guess we are all stupid sometimes.

Posted in spiritual musings, thoughts on politics, Uncategorized, work/life, Writer's world | 1 Comment

It’s a scary jungle out there for self-published authors

You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. But I know I’m still a babe in the woods hoping I can find the magic promotion that will translate into brisk sales. My book, When a Stranger Comes… is a gripping read that also has an important message about greed. So I fall for all the promos touting their ability to garner sales.  I try and try and find myself being scammed again and again. I’m spending money out of my comfort zone thinking I have to do that for a good return. The only ones making a buck are the companies scamming me.

There is a way to fight back however. A person can file a claim against a company through PayPal. I did that recently and was refunded my entire amount of purchase. When a promotion company promises ads in magazines, a media kit, exposure with bloggers and will not send one link or copy of the media kit, there is a problem and PayPal agreed. In another case, I asked for a refund and got it from the company. I am now trying to get my money back from a company that saids it knows how to write Amazon ads.  An expensive try for me with zero return.

I would much rather have the promos work than get a refund. The quick excuse is my cover stinks. But the book has great reviews and won an award. Doesn’t that count for anything? On one book tour the audience posted out that they LIKED the cover. So go figure.

It’s a conundrum this self-publishing business. My book is quality literature but in my assessment it’s the crap that sells for 99c or given away in self-publishing that gets readers.   Until my dying breath, I will keep trying to gain readership. What else can I do? Maybe I’ll catch on, may be I won’t.

Posted in spiritual musings, Uncategorized, work/life, Writer's world | 3 Comments

Creating an audible book

Creating an audible book is fun and also tons of work. I recommend using the open source software Audacity to edit your recording. It’s simple to use much like cutting and pasting in Word. I also enjoyed narrating my work because I became engrossed in the story I created and my MC and pat myself on the back for my excellent tale. The story is written in the first person so it was natural for me to read it. I narrated my first novel, Walking with Elephants and it’s for sale on Audible and Amazon. My original motivation stemmed from the idea that it would be a legacy to leave my grandchildren to hear my voice after I was long gone.

Creating the audible book for When a Stranger Comes… is slightly more challenging than my first project.  Firstly, there are accents. The MC’s mother is from Russia and so I went to YouTube and found voice actors who give you lessons on how to speak English with a Russian accent, also I found an online dictionary that will pronounce  words with a British accent, which I also needed. Then I decided to use an effect that Audacity offers to change pitch, so that I could sound like different people, different genders. The final result? I have no clue. We’ll see if Audible accepts this project, haha, but it sure was interesting.

I takes hours and hours to do this narration yourself and then the editing takes more hours. I almost hired a company to perform this task but the voice actor sounded like Alexa or Siri. So I wondered if that’s the quality listeners expect, robotic voices, and it doesn’t appeal to me. My book will sound real, human. We’ll see how this project plays out.

I just came off another major and costly disappointment. I bought an expensive promotion  from Chick Lit Cafe that had a zero return on investment. They gave the book a great review and placed it on various web sites for readers. I noticed that popular traditionally published books that have good sales were on these sites but also unknowns. The unknowns had terrible sales like me. Take away? Self-publishing is not the way to go for a career. My great reviews and awards do nothing because my topic is not a titillating knock off of Fifty Shades, or cowboy sex, or vampire sex. I’ve learned a lesson. Don’t expect much and enjoy the fact that most readers that take a chance on an unknown, love my work. I’ve priced it right now at $0.99 to try and attack a few more. Maybe my blog subscribers could give it a try?

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We all should be outraged

I am cocooned in my comfortable lifestyle. My children are all doing well in life. There is no gang violence or drug lords at my doorstep.  I have not been sexually assaulted nor have my daughters.

Yet, we now have a government that separates children from their parents who have come to this country to be safe. What greets these asylum seekers is torture for their babies, and the fear they will never see their children again. Think about that. This is the United States of America not nazi Germany. We are supposed to civilized, caring, and a role model for the rest of the world in how we treat people, in our humanitarian mindset. We have now become like the worst authoritarian governments on the planet. We are allowing torturing of children in camps  by having them sleep on cement floors with only solar blankets that offer no cushion, no diapers, no bathing. These camps that will become death camps if enough time passes. Already children have died after traveling many miles so seek freedom from danger and oppression but have met those fears right here at our border. It’s despicable what our country has become in just two years.  A government that wants to take way our free speech and the the free press. A divisive govt fueling hatred and supported by those on the fringes of society who hate anyone who is not white and Christian. This is the base that got this evil Hitler wannabe elected, along with the aid of Russia who historically has been our adversary. Russia does not wish Democracies to be a thriving form of government and in that mission got one of their own elected. And he is performing very well.

The misogyny of this WH is breath taking. The sexual assault on women by this Hitler wannabe would have disqualified anyone from staying in the WH. But our country is in a coma of evil. Members of the Senate are owned by Russian oligarchs, the re-election of this Hitler wannabe has raised tons of money by people who benefit from his message of hate and benefits for the wealthy. Will this stop? Will normal people take back this country in the next election? Hitler had a lot of support by Germans. No one thought that he would annihilate an entire segment of the population who were high-level contributors to their economy and culture. But he did.

No one would have thought that the family values Republican Party would support a president who tortures children, who has made orphans of those seeking safety. But the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell keeps getting re-elected to wield his evil obstruction to Bills that would save these children and protect our government from Russian interference.

Have we lost the United States of America. Are we no longer the “shining city on the hill”?

Please vote in 2020 to save our democracy.

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Death is a part of life. It is the big unknown and not fun to think about. My sister-in-law sent me an obituary that had been written by the deceased person, a man who had been suffering from ALS for years. It was a joyful tome to his anticipation of experiencing what comes next. His joy was in his surety that his experience would be the most wondrous. Oh that we could face death with that wonder and happiness. It was truly a gift for him and I hope his dreams of the afterlife have been fulfilled.  This year, there have been many celebrities who have past. A banner year for travel to that plane. And so I think about my own mortality.

I live in a 55 and older community and Sunday as I swam in the pool, I looked around. All of us die. All of us in the pool will die and soon. The human condition is to know of our own mortality and still take pleasure in the gift of life. The lucky ones, the ones who do not suffer from an illness, live in extreme poverty, spend their lives in a war zone, or who were born without one of five senses have truly won the lottery of life. I am one of those people and I acknowledge my gratefulness for it everyday, or at least, most days. To have been a traveler on the journey of life is not without its heartbreaks and loss, of which I had my share, but the crapshoot of your birth governs how you will spend your days. I also have chosen to let love into my life and to give love whenever I can. Each day that I wake, I bless my life, the environment of my life and the people who have given me so much love, Mother ‘s day and everyday.

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