THE BOOK THIEF
So how would you feel if the seller of your car came to pick it up with his own set of keys, because the person that sold it to him sold it illegally? He left you money in your mailbox. But just didn't tell you. You found out when you decided to make a late night White Castle run.
Not feeling that? Well what if the local bookstore just came to your house and picked two books off your bookself and left money in their place? You realized it when you saw two empty spaces on your shelf. Okay, now you want to kill somebody, right? That's apparently how a lot of readers felt who downloaded two books on their Kindle reader, only to have them erased and their money refunded. Apparently, Amazon explained later that the seller of the e-books had no rights to sell them. That's understandable. But the matter of how Amazon handled it got readers in an uproar. It was the after-the-fact approach that seemed to tick some readers off. Perhaps if Amazon had explained the situation beforehand and what they needed to do to resolve it, and what the readers options were, there would not have been an issue. But to snatch up a purchased product and not provide explanation until readers emailed questions, well, not such a good thing to do.
Now their method brings to light the "big brother" type of capability Amazon has with its Kindle reader. This may not have been thought of if this incident didn't happen. Once a reader purchases an e-book, Amazon has the power at any time to delete any book from anybody's Kindle without warning or notification. If we go far off the deep end, we can imagine scenarios of book banning, censorship, etc., etc. Do I think it's that serious? No. Amazon is very regretful after the backlash they've received from it. Especially at a time when Barnes & Noble is opening it's e-book store and Apple is coming out with a tablet with e-book reading capability. Now is not the time to anger readers. Amazon is taking steps to ensure that this will never happen again. But still, the thought of another entity being able to come into my domain and take something that I've purchased without warning or explanation leaves me with that not so fresh feeling.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
THE BOOK THIEF
Sunday, July 26, 2009
EBONY MJ COMMEMORATIVE BOOK
I've never been one to collect events, however, on my trip to the Barnes & Noble Cafe yesterday, I did pick up a Michael Jackson commemorative book. First of all, they were hard to avoid. I've never seen MJ on so many covers at one time. He had the covers of various mags within the racks, a special MJ section with all of them together in the magazine section, and then another rack of "In Remembrance Of" which had about 10 MJ covers and one of Farrah Fawcett.
I didn't flip through them all. I don't think anyone has that amount of time. But I flipped through a few and was actually kind of turned off. Just more sensationalism with a hard focus of the troubled and questionable side. I was about to leave when I saw that Ebony had a commeorative book. For some reason, I expected quality from Ebony on the subject matter, and I was not disappointed. Ebony's book has a collection of beautiful pictures (including the cover), words from interviews with the singer, words from associates...it's all tastefully done. I was so impressed that me, the non-buyer of commemorative items, actually picked it up and purchased it to keep in memorandum. I believe Ebony's commemorative book is the best one out there.
Kudos to Ebony.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
A SIMPLE LIFE
I'm looking at my empty living room and counting down the days when I will have the time to go sofa shopping. Well, actually, I know the sofa that I want. Found it online months ago. But I want to go see it at the store to be sure that I really do like it and I haven't had the time to do so. My main concern? Size. I want to make sure it's not to big where it will take up a lot of space. To say I love spacious rooms is probably an understatement. I like it darn near bare. The least amount of furniture and furnishings as possible.
This concept extends further for me. I actually don't like large spaces. Feel uncomfortable in big houses or apartments. Prefer studio condo or apartment living in a nice highrise with a view (non existent where I am now). I like simple color schemes. Basic white, off-white or beige with dark furniture. Totally white bathroom: shower curtain, hamper, all towels. White kitchen: plain white dishes, matching glassware...no colored cups. I dislike the clutter of entertainment systems and devices and upscale toys everywhere.
I like small spaces that are free of expensive clutter with lines and bookcases of books at every turn; and, open windows with views of the sunrise or sunset and a body of water, if possible.
Not that everything needs a reason, but I do wonder why sometimes. When I bought a 2-bedroom condo, I stayed in one room all the time and ended up hating the beautiful place. Hated both the size of it and the fact that I felt tied down. And I think that maybe that's it. I like freedom of movement. Seems like I move every 2 years or less to change my environment. The more furniture I have, the more cumbersome it is to move.
So maybe, I come full circle again....maybe I'm just afraid of commitment...hmmmm...
Friday, July 24, 2009
E. LYNN HARRIS
I'm one of many readers and writers who have been saddened by today's sudden loss of E. Lynn Harris. He was a true literary legend in African American fiction. A great writer who had such a gift at telling untold stories. He will be very much missed.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Wow! Got to hurry and finish up an assignment and submit it tonight. But, I just HAD to share the post of Tayari Jones regarding the mistaken arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr.. All I can say is...WOW!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Before I knew about positive thinking, I find that I engaged in a lot of positive thinking that has gotten me to where I am today. Before I knew that there was a technique, method, or philosophy surrounding positive thinking, I found myself thinking of major things I wanted to do in my life and focused in on it until I achieved it. What I thought could be described as stubborness or a one-track mind I can see as being positive thinking. I don't remember a discussion, readings, or TV shows on the approach like you can find today. Rather, I was one of those depressed teenagers who couldn't find the joy in living. When I emerged from that phase, I was determined never to go back to that mindset again (and have been overly successful at that). From that point on, my parents, friends, or no one could hold be back from what I wanted to do in life.
Don't get me wrong, I listened to points of view. But the ultimate decision was mine. I never had the believe that if I thought about something enough, it would happen. From the start, I believed that I had to work to make things happen. I had to get degrees to qualify. I had to take classes to learn techniques of writing. I had to study to publish. And I had to put in the work. Positive thinking doesn't defy reality, but it's realizing my true situation and making whatever necessary changes for success. It's not covering up your fears, but facing and dealing them. It means realizing that you will still have challenges and unexpected obstacles that you will have to deal with...positively.
But to me, one of the main thing that positive thinking is not is thinking about what I don't want, but rather, what I actually want. It's not thinking about how I don't want to be poor or sick or homeless. But rather, it's me thinking about the level of managment I want to achieve, the number and quality of books I want to publish, and the health status I want to achieve.
And another thing positive thinking definitely is not to me, is acknowledging haters. Over the years, in day-to-day conversation and in music, I hear of people acknowledging, thanking, and pissing on "their haters." For me, that's wasted energy. To do that, you have to think about them. It would be acknowledgment of their existance and their affect on me. I believe the energy given to them would take from the positive energy I feed my endeavors. And I'd rather take that energy and use it to fuel my next goal.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I noticed I have a morning routine before I do anything. Whether it be going to work, school work, writing, or just getting up in general. I have a list of things that I do, but not necessarily in the exact same order.
Before I start my day, I must relax and reflect. Meditate. It's hard for me to just get up and go. I have to take at least 30 minutes to lay while away, or else, "my ass is grass" for the rest of the day. This rolls right into lighting incense and meditating. Right now, I meditate in my bed. When I get around to it, I want to buy a new zebuton and zafu set to meditate on the floor, at sunrise, in front of the sliding glass door.
Then I have to have at least one cup of coffee. Two cups on Saturday and Sundays, spaced between a couple of hours. While I'm drinking coffee, I'm on the net. Twitter and Facebook are routine. I browse for inspirational quotes to post for status updates. I then look at my phone to go through emails in 3 different email accounts. One is for motorcycle related stuff, one is for author stuff, the other is for personal stuff like bill payment alerts, receipts, bank account info, etc.
Okay, from there, if I have time, I'll browse a couple of blogs and comment if I have something to say about it. I'm trying to get back into writing to my own blog. Right now, the goal is once a week. In September, I want to increase it, but no set goal yet. I also want to increase my surfing on the net. Not spend hours a day, but a quick browse. The internet is such a great and fast tool for writers to use. This thing is a godsend. Although you have to be careful, a lot of information can be gathered and shared.
Another thing that I want to add to the routine is a quick early morning workout a couple of days during the week.
So those are my must do morning routine items before I'm able to get into anything on the agenda for the day. Do you have a set routine?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
In a situation regarding trauma, one advantage a writer may have is the immediate therapy that writing can provide. While this is a tool available to anyone, the writer may feel the most comfortable with this form of therapy and may be able to get to it quickly without worry about how is done. They may be able to just pick up the pen, remove themselves, and just let emotions fill the page.
I feel that I have an advantage.
Memories from the back of my mind, in the recessed part of my brain, have slowly been coming to the forefront over the past few years. I have two major traumatic experiences from my past, and a couple of little ones that stem from one of the major one. Despite these incidences, I have managed to put them behind me and strive for success in whatever I decided to do. But as I run toward success, the past is finally catching up to me and forcing me to take notice. It's actually not a bad thing. I think it's going to be a blessing.
For the first time, I'm realizing that the two major traumas may actually be related. One may have caused the other. For years, I couldn't understand either. But now, after never speaking on either, I feel compelled to let it out in writing. I've forgiven the person who caused trauma in my past, but I haven't been able to forget, and that has led me to distance or divorce myself from a normally prominent figure in ones life.
Writing has long been used as a tool to assist people in facing traumatic experiences, past pains, or to confront hurtful matters. The Veterens Administration has used writing workshops to help veterens deal with the traumatic experience of the Vietnamese War. Putting bad experiences in words can lift them off of your spirits and provide relief for a person. It can leave a person feeling happier, healthier, and more carefree because they are "releasing the demons" that are holding their mind hostage. Writing can be therapeutic for the mind and body.
I'm feeling a pull to do this. It's a sudden realization and a sudden connection of events that may provide explanation to events that I had no clue about. It also may be the initiation of a new calling. I don't know. But when you're quiet and you're listening, and you keep hearing the same thing over and over, what you have to do is listen, be obedient, and don't worry about where the path may lead. You have to trust in the fact that your Creator has brought you to the place in which you now reside and that He will take you to the place where you are to be. Whatever it is that you were put on this earth to do.
Monday, July 06, 2009
As I'm slowly easing back into writing, I'm slowly getting a look at the big picture ahead of me. Conversations with two authors helped to bring home the point of the larger task that is ahead of me. I'm speaking of that giant monster of marketing and promotion.
This weekend, I read the blog of author-friend Peggy Love, who wrote about Social Media's Exploding Frontier. I also had a chat with author Michelle McGriff and the conversation turned to marketing and promotion and social networking. The last time I was heavy into promotion was not that long ago. I spent the years 2004 through 2008 doing heavy promotion for my self-published book, then the traditionally published version of Counting Raindrops, plus the second book, First Fridays. I LOVED doing promotion. Despite my shyness and disdain for public speaking, the actual work behind marketing and promotion is enjoyable...if you just do it and don't think about it. Meaning, take it step by step and don't let it overwhelm you by looking at the big picture and trying to do everything at once.
Yet, that's exactly what I find myself doing, even as I have not completely finished book three. So much has changed since I've stopped heavy promotion, and it hasn't really even been two years. My promotion was book clubs, book events, postcards, business cards, bookmarks, mailings, newsletters, website, and blog. These things seem to still be good promotional tools, however, now we're in the age of social media and I have to admit that I'm lost on some of it. Myspace was already going and I fell right into FB and twitter. But even these are expanding and I'm probably only using 25% of their networking capabilities. Then there are sites and terms that I hear flying around that I don't yet know the ins and outs of and I don't have time at the moment to research and investigate.
So, come September, I see the need to start over. Just like it was in marketing and promoting book one, I'm going to have to sit at the computer and do research and catch up with the latest social networking and media tools. Being an author or any type of entrepreneur, keeping up with the latest marketing tools are a must if you want to have any chance of success or survival. If we didn't know it before, we should know it now by witnessing the election of President Barack Obama and as we can still see it throughout is presidency. We've been able to connect with him and keep up and informed, and even participate on town halls through Facebook and the White House website. We've also been able to track him on Twitter and YouTube. Social Media is not an optional thing for the author, but a must in order to reach a wider audience. It's not instead of the old tools, but in addition to the older tools.
To be an author or any type of business person, one must accept being an eternal student of marketing and promoting. You can't rely on publishers to do it for you. You can't rely on old promotional tools being the end and be all to targeting and reaching a wider audience. And even with all that it is today, social media and promotional tools will no doubt continue to expand. It is a must to keep up and stay on the cusp of new changes and new tools.
Yep. Time for me to take off the graduate student hat and put back on my marketing and promotion hat...and keep it on.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
I'm starting to get excited now. Six more weeks of school and I will have all my classes completed for my Master's Degree. So much has been on hold since I started school last September. I've been taking one class at a time, but the semester long class is squeezed into six weeks. Plus I'm trying to study periodically for a quality certification and a project management certification. When I started back, I tried to balace everything: work, school, writing, working out, and me time. But after awhile, things started dropping off. First the me time. Gym went from 5 - 6 days a week to 1 -2 on the weekends. Work hours got longer after three rounds of layoffs. I'd come home from work with about an hour and a half of study time, then prep for work the next day, then sleep. Weekends are filled with writing a weekly paper or doing a weekly assignment, plus all the errands of life (groceries, laundry, cleaning, etc.).
Writing was sporadic until it fell off. I tried to keep in touch with the creative side by listening to audiobooks whenever I got into the car. Everything else with writing has fallen by the wayside. No time for blogging. Website is down; no time to maintain one or to put information together. Newsletter writing and book promotion...gone. The writing life is a very busy life. Writing is the easy part. But whether you self-publish or you're traditionally published, there's a lot of work in promotion and maintenance. It's a full-time job within itself. Something that writers know, and most others don't realize. There's a lot of time and work that goes into trying to be a successful author.
One thing that most authors need is a day job. My day job helped me to publish my first book. I'm considering the time I've spent working on my MBA as an investment in my day job to further advance my writing career. And now, six more weeks to go and I'm getting pumped because I can get back to the writing life. I'm not actually even thinking about graduation or anything. My thoughts are on finally having my time freed up to concentrate on writing again. August 17th is the last day of class. August 18th, I start reviewing the first draft of my third book. Can't wait.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Six more weeks until school is over and I can go back to focusing on writing. Yay!
I never write about stuff like pop culture, fashion, makeup, etc. because I don't find it enjoyable to read or write about. But the passing of MJ has made me look, notice, and reflect on several things. With the passing of a musical icon, I notice the immediate reflection on negativity, gossip and speculation, and disregard for the emotions and feelings of family members. How awful it must be to have your every move tracked, your emotional highs and lows immediately published along with unconfirmed speculations. There is so much positive to focus on. For most of us that grew up on Michael Jackson's music, there are probably several songs that will spark up memories of when and where we were when we first heard it. We can remember the excitement of watching his energetic an magical performances at concerts, on TV, and in videos. We can be proud of the musical barriers he broke and how he brought the entire world together musically. We can look at the ways that he made a positive contribution to the world through giving time and money to various charities. It's a shame that we cannot take a moment to give respect to the passing of life and to reflect on the positive contributions made and celebrating his life before immediately delving into negativity. We've all had troublesome parts of our lives, but yet we want to make ourselves feel better by pointing out and highlighting someone else's troubles as greater than our own. We all have battles. And our battles are between us and our Creator, and anyone else we choose to invite in. It is not for me to judge anyone, I feel.
I'm not a music buyer, but I downloaded my favorite MJ songs onto my iPod and worked them into my workout rotation. Six weeks to go...it's time to get back in shape. Enjoy life!