Archive for November, 2011

ZZ-Top – The Breakfast of Champions

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Fight those Cyber Monday Blues with a little ZZ-Top.

ZZ-Top is at their best playing low down and dirty Chicago style blues. This little selection should make your Monday a little better.

stopping off place: RAY GUN

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The blog in the link below posts scans from old books and magazines. This scan is from an art exhibit featuring Ray Guns and things that sort of look like ray guns. It’s lots of fun. Go to the site and click on one of the images to see the slide show.

stopping off place: RAY GUN.

Happy Birthday Frederik Pohl

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

All the Lives He LedFred Pohl is 92 today.

I have been reading Fred Pohl’s blog for a couple of years now and I enjoy immensely, not only for his recollections of the early days of Science Fiction, but for his views on politics and society. Fred has been a Communist, Socialist, and Left Wing organizer for as long as he’s been a writer. I don’t always agree, but I always respect. He is a thoughtful man, and if I disagree with him, I still need to understand his reasoning.

Many, many more Fred. I want to read your blog for the next ten years at least.

The Way the Future Blogs, an online memoir by science fiction writer Frederik Pohl » Blog Archive » My Birthday Wish for America.

The Kindle Collection Manager

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

I have found that many people are not PC savvy enough to copy books to their Kindle. Most people can not create collections and organize their books.

Enter the Kindle Collection Manager.

I had settled down to write my own version of iTunes for the Kindle and started doing research on the Kindle’s secret file structure. What I found was this short and sweet little file manager. There is no need for me to write anything when The Kindle Collection Manager works just fine, is free, and doesn’t include any malware or nagging messages.

The Kindle Collection Manager allows you to create collections (by right clicking), and then you can drag and drop the books to the new collection.

The only thing missing is the ability to drag and drop MOBI files to the Kindle. I am suggesting this to the author.

The Kindle Collection Manager. The Windows app for your Kindle.

The beauty of pollination – YouTube

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Watch this for the bees – amazing.

The beauty of pollination – YouTube.

I sold a book in France

Monday, November 14th, 2011

One of my harmonica books sold on the website. I am amazed.

Createspace Channels Expanded Distribution Sales losing money

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

I’ve noticed that I have had some “channel” sales of my book through Createspace. The book was sold through Amazon, but only made the 70¢ that a channel sale would make and I’ve finally figured out what these sales are about.

Normally, I would make $2.49 when I sell one of my books through Amazon. When I set up my sales channels at Createspace, I selected to opt into Expanded Distribution sales. This would be libraries, bookstores and Create Space Direct. I would only make 70¢ from these sales, but I figures that it would be a sale I would not otherwise make.

What I learned was that there are a whole bunch of bookstores that sell on Amazon. They charge a few cents less for the book that Amazon charges and then drop ship the book from Createspace at a much lower price. As a result, I get only 20% of the income from one of these sales.

You can see these sales on Amazon if you go to your book and see “New From” listings at a trifle less than what your full price. You can also see “Used” versions of your book doing the same thing. I am sure there are no used versions of my book around, because I don’t sell many books and know where most of them are going.

If you are selling books, uncheck the Bookstores and Online sellers in your sales channels panel. Amazon is the only online store you need, and by selling through these bookstores, you only cut your profits.


Friday, November 11th, 2011

Since January of 2010 I have only, with a few exceptions, submitted my short stories to markets that  pay professional rates. As a result, I have not had any sales in almost two years. The exceptions are reprints and one or two stories that I did not think were right for pro markets.

A few weeks ago, my friend Don and I wrote stories based on the images of a painting that I got as a Christmas present a few years ago. I love the painting and it is very narrative in its subject and style. It shows a huge crowned image of Neptune rising from the sea, but Neptune looks more like a fishy monster than a god. I wrote up an idea from years ago that I’ve taken a couple of stabs at and gave up on. The painting made the difference and I wrote a decent, but very short story. 2700 words is too short for the pro venues, at least the way I write. The story had H.P Lovecraft elements so I sent it in to a horror magazine that pays a small honorarium for stories. I have not yet heard, but it is a magazine that I have read and respect, so I am hopeful that the Lovecraft elements are strong enough to make it acceptable.

I have three other stories out at Pro markets. One has been sitting in their slush for nearly 9 months. In total the 3 stories add up to almost three years of waiting. The latest story, is still out at the quicker markets, but soon it will be going out to the markets that take up to six months to respond.

I am reconsidering this profession market restriction, but I know as soon as I sell a story to a semi-pro zine that I will regret it. I don’t write as many stories as I used, though, because all of the rejections are discouraging. I have a dozen good stories, at least, that I have started and not had the energy to finish. They need to be finished. Maybe I’ll sell the little horror story and that will get me writing again.

Update: Rejection – now there is no place to send this story. Stories are like my children. I love then all, even the ugly ones. I feel bad that this story will never be published.

SR-71 ~ greatest aircraft ever made

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

I worked for Lockheed for 15 years. I was never into the whole Military Industrial complex aspect of it, but I appreciated the technology that I saw coming out of the legendary Skunk-Works.

I have a coffee mug with the SR-71 on it. It is my favorite mug. The jet is not only the fastest production aircraft every made, it is a beautiful design. It and it looks fast.

I read this very cool story that one of its pilots wrote:

A Serious Piece of Machinery: The SR-71 Blackbird | Kit Up!.

A Sophie Madeleine Post

Monday, November 7th, 2011

It is Monday, I had to sit on the bus for an hour to go 14 miles. The boss and some bigwigs were waiting by my desk when I got in late. It is not a good start for the week.

In order to make up for all negative waves, everywhere, I am posting a Sophie Madeleine video. (Her CDs make good stocking stuffers.) This is what is needed to fix the world.

Gibson on SF

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

I like Gibson, and I like his sense of what SF is (or should be).

Submitting Stories

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Almost two years ago I made the resolution to submit stories only to magazines that pay pro rates (more than a nickel a word). I sorted the magazines by the speed in which they respond. Nearly two years later, the first story that I wrote in 2010 is still sitting in a slush pile somewhere and I have three other stories out. I write fewer stories now because I haven’t had any encouraging news in two years.

I sent out a story to Gordon Van Gelder at F&SF yesterday. F&SF is a dinosaur in that they require you send them Hard Copy. It costs almost $3 to submit a story to Gordon. On the plus side, you get a rejection in about 10 days. My first rejection from F&SF was in 1971. I used to spend my paper route money on SF magazines and in the early 1960s, F&SF was my favorite. Other magazines were good, but Analog was past its prime. As soon as I got a part time job I bought a two year subscription to F&SF and up until the early 70s, I bought and read every issue. My magazine collection was stolen in 1971 along with a bunch of stuff that I kept in my apartment in the Lower East Side of NYC. (My room mate, Paul, brought in people to rent the extra room we had and most of them were drug addicts, thieves or very very strange.)

I think it would be great to get a nice response from F&SF. Even a “Good Read” or “Nice Writing” would be nice. F&SF is my holy grail. Someday I will write a story that works its way out of the slush. I hope that the magazine stays in business long enough to publish it.

Mob of Rats Destroys Car in West Nyack

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

This happened down the street from us. I have rarely seen rats. We have lots of field mice, though. The cats don’t seem to do their jobs very well. If rats do start appearing I hope the cats will get out of their little cat beds and patrol the area. The only thing that the cats seem interested in is cat food and sleeping.

Ollie brought in a chipmunk a few weeks ago, and we have not been able to catch it. It lives off of cat kibble and seems much more active and lively than the cats. They seem to treat it like a pet, halfheartedly chasing it from time to time, but never catching it. Chipmunks are cute and all, but we don’t need them in the house.

Mob of Rats Destroys Car in West Nyack