Archive for September, 2011

Frogs in Aspic

Friday, September 30th, 2011

I am finishing up the next book.

I’ve had three revisions already on Kindle, but they all had problems so for the moment it is unpublished.

If I submit the print version today, I should have a copy in my hands late next week.

The print version uses a smaller type than the last book. It is only 100 pages long. It will probably cost $6.95 or $7.95 and will be available on Amazon in two weeks.

It has the first story that I published, plus the latest story I’ve written. It contains my favorite story, plus two I’ve never really liked. It has 2 SF stories and the rest are strange tales (that is: in the style of stories that appeared in the magazine Strange Tales in the 1930s – think very early Ray Bradbury).

The stories are generally better than the ones in the last collection.

There are 4 stories involving a cat – Gracie appears in one.


Here is the TOC

Click Clack, Click Clack

The Last Big Herd

Gremlins Over Normandy

A Familiar Christmas


A Nest of Flames

The Perfect Gold

Everything but the Oink

You Can’t Think About It

Don’t feed the Cat

Grow Fins

The Field of the Beasts

Please Leave a Message

Note to Self

Farewell Tour

Frogs in Aspic

Book Sales

Monday, September 26th, 2011

My books on Amazon sell in spurts. I will get no sales for a week or two, then I’ll I sell a bunch of books all of a sudden.

I recently had a sales spurt. The source of the sales was not from one of my Amazon links because I didn’t get my 5% from the Amazon affiliate program. I have no idea if these sales were related in any way other than timing. I did a search on my book and I did not find any reviews or other mention of it.

I am going to spend some time this weekend formatting the next book of short stories. I have read that it pays to have two or more books out there because they will feed each other. A reader who likes one will buy the other. Since there are two books, the odds of finding one of them is doubled, and this potentially quadruples the sales. I don’t think that the sales will increase exponentially, but I have a third and fourth book in the works that I want to publish. I may need to write a few more stories before I publish them, though.

Blogging from my iPad

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

I am typing using the iPad WordPress app. Not exactly easy, but still sort of neat.

I’ve spent the last half hour searching for free apps. There are not that many that I need. The writing apps all cost money.

I’ll wait until I get a keyboard and see if it is an easier.

My Mother Called

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

She wanted to tell me that she was out of coffee. Dad bought cases of coffee at 69¢ a can about 10 years ago and she finally used it all up.

I love my mother, but I had to tune her out while she talked and get back to work. Eventually she asked me if I was still there. I said that I had to work to do and people were waiting for me to finish.

I am not a bad son, really, it’s just that I don’t care if she is out of coffee, and I really do have people nagging me at work.

Got an iPad in the mail

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Justine sent me her old iPad. I was skeptical of the Kindle but changed my mind. I am skeptical of the iPad, but it has too much potential to give up on it.

I wiped the iPad and reloaded the factory defaults. There is a map app, a notepad and an iPod app, but not much that I can really use. I use the computer to write programs and write stories. The notepad app is not really good for this.

One app that you get is to go to the iTunes store and buy stuff. This isn’t going to happen. You can also download apps from the app store. I am very short of money at this time. Medical expenses have hit hard in the last couple of months.

One thing that I might do is run some software on the iPad that lets me install non-approved apps to the iPad. There are lots of apps that I could use to write programs and stories.

I just saw that there is a free app to load DropBox on the iPad. I use to store all of my stories. is a program that lets you sync files between different computers. I have DropBox on all of my computers so I can work on a story at home and then work on it again at work if I can find a spare minute. DropBox takes care of making sure it is the same file on both computers.

For $3.29 I can buy a USB connector that allows me to hook devices like a keyboard up to the iPad. It does not work with all keypads, but the simple ones are good. I need to find a compact keyboard that I can carry in my bag with the iPad so that I can work on the bus.

This iPad will be interesting.


Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Shaun Lawton is has a nice illustration for a t-shirt. If he doesn’t get around to making the shirts, I’ll go on to cafe press and make one for myself.

(My name is too small)

Too much sorrow

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

I was late for work for some reason. Erica was had the TV on and called me over. A plane had hit the towers. I knew people who worked there and I hoped that they were OK. As I watched the news another plane hit the other tower.  Things would not be OK.

I went to work and I could see down the Hudson river on the Tappan Zee Bridge. There was a pillar of smoke rising. I watched the towers fall at my desk from an internet connection.

It was a very bad day, that I wish I could forget. I had to drive up to the Bear Mountain Bridge to cross the river on the trip back.  There were houses with yellow ribbons around the trees by the time I drove home that night. There was so much sorrow and pain.

The clock radio woke me up this morning. I could not listen. There is too much emotion on this day to stand. I will pretend that I am somewhere else at another time and try not to remember. I will try not to think about it today.

It is too much.

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence – Fall 2011

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

I signed up to the course at Stanford School of Engineering: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence – Fall 2011.

It is FREE and looks very interesting. I actually taught a course in Artificial Intelligence at night, so I am hoping it won’t be too hard for me.

There were hundreds of thousands of people who signed up to be notified when the course would open up. I was one of them. I decided on the advanced track course with homework and exams and everything, but I can always drop down to the simple version if the going gets tough.

It will be interesting to see how the course works out with thousands of students.

Introduction to


Pictures of Larry and Me on Cape Cod

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Larry takes a great picture. I cleaned out his camera today. These are what I found. One of them will be my desktop wallpaper when I get back to work.

Getting Traffic from Reddit

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

A while back my essay on Science Fiction Rules was posted on, a link sharing site with an active (rabid) group of followers. It was in the SciFi section and I learned that this portion of Reddit is more active than some of the others. Over the course of a week I received about 500 hits from the site.(It didn’t matter that most of the users were idiots and hated my ideas. A hit is a hit.)

The users discussed the site and I was also included in a section called controversial, because of all the comments and the up and down votes the site received.

I tried to reproduce the success by writing what I thought was another controversial essay, but have had mixed results. So far there has been no discussion and got less than 100 hits from Reddit.

I think the essay was probably too dry. I wrote an article about Science Fiction’s views of life after death because I thought it would be provocative, but there were no pictures and most people arrived at the page, saw nothing but words and closed the window.

I think my main mistake was thinking that people would read a 2,000 word essay. I should have used clip art and subheadings to break up the text a little.

I briefly discussed ghosts, souls, resurrection, and reincarnation. It might have helped if I had some ghost pictures or images of graveyards and souls rising to heaven.

As it was, the short attention span of the average surfer got in the way. Even though the subject was controversial, the presentation was not provocative enough to the average fifth grade level reader.

I will try again in a few weeks. I’ll think of something that will inspire comments such as race, religion, sex or politics and this time use pictures and big type sub-heads to pull the weaker readers through the text.