Friday, August 2, 2019

August Already?

I had ideas. I had plans. Things that were going to ready and on Amazon by August.

Reality has gotten in my way.


Anybody else?

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Growing List

Margaret Secara (Pierce)
A friend died unexpectedly Friday night. She and I were chatting on facebook a couple of hours earlier (giggling over pictures from us with friends at a party in 1977 which she had uncovered) and a couple of hours later her husband heard a thud from the next room. He found her on the floor, CPR and 911. She was pronounced at 11P.

A friend who was in the pictures notified me Saturday morning before it was announced on Maggie's webpage that afternoon – after her family had been notified across many time zones. Within the next few hours over 500 people responded.

Grieving requires simple honestly. First about the shock, then about the loss, but for me, it has had to move into a celebration - say that name, tell the tales, keep them alive in memory, and introduce them to people who will never get to meet her. It keeps her alive for just a bit longer.

And grief is best processed in the sharing with the other people who know that specific loss.

Nan, he friend who notified me, made a particularly on-target comment. She said that once we got together for fun - parties, romance, music, movies, tv-watching parties, 1970s dalliances in social drugging, drinking, events. Then we started getting together for weddings and births and anniversaries of things known only to us.

And now we get together for grieving, memorials, and funerals.

Maggie Secara (Pierce) was a life changer. She helped me edit my first novel before it went to a publisher. She helped me name it. I met her shortly before she went to work for Harlan Ellison, but suddenly I became beneficiary to tickets to events that came her way when Harlan chose not to attend. She became an author after doing her time as secretary, assistant, and editor with three books available in the genre she loved - romantic fantasy. She became a familiar presence and Renaissance Faires, SCE, pagan observances, and similar function for costumes and weapons and food and drinking and candles and laughter... Yeah. Like that.

She re-entered my life on Facebook a few years ago and we exchanged news and opinions several times a week.

So I have another name to add to my acknowledgments to SONG OF ORPHANS - the book she helped edit 1977 and helped with a new name (rather than VALU: INITIATE, my first choice). She worked prodigiously on my typo-laden first draft. And another name on the list of people I've lost in the last few years. Nan is right - it is how we come together now.

And we were talking a couple of hours earlier.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Five More Needed

At 16 reviews Adobe/Kindle will open new promotional tools to me for promoting the current book and, hopefully, the several that are about to follow.

I have 11 reviews so far. I'm hoping my readers will post, even if they didn't buy from Amazon.

So that means I just need five more to open the tools. Five isn't bad.

And if you have reviewed, tell your friends. Or you enemies if they might like the book. It will confuse them, and isn't that satisfying?

Mercury Direct and the Self Publisher

Well, this self-publisher.

I'm not a believer in Astrology but there is the amazing coincidence that the most negative experiences of my life have happened during Mercury Retrograde. My heart attack, diagnoses with Diabetes, death of my father, and other such landmarks. A friend warned me that Mercury would be Retrograde until the middle of August.

But I didn't know that until after the next event.

Immediately after getting CLIMBING THE SPIRAL MOUNTAIN up onto Kindle my computer decided to take a shit on me. It has happened many times in the past two years (I'm on a Macintosh) but I've gotten very good about paranoid backup prices. It only two days to diagnose the degree of the problem, erase, install Mac OS 10.14 from the ground up, restore documents, Adobe programs, and start the nightmare of restoring online accounts for things like Amazon, Kindle, a dozen email accounts, and many other websites where I visit for information (almost all of which need new passwords).

Annoying, but ... done.

My Mac back up in time to get a notice that my web host was charging me for "Advanced PHP Support." I don't use PHP. I don't use any of the extra services - no shopping cart, no WordPress, no databases, no scripts, and not PHP. The reason I got the charge was I did not have the latest version of  PHP (7.3) installed and previous versions require "advanced" support.

So I was required to install the latest PHP to ignore and not use, to avoid the charge. I did - I installed the latest PHP to not use, which dropped that charge.

But it was time for my annual renewal of hosting contract, with they casually raised to their "minimum business package," which includes shopping cart, WordPress, databases, scripts, and PHP.

You may have picked up on the fact that I do not use, and therefore do not need a shopping cart, WordPress, databases, scripts, and PHP. I called to object.

Make the Genius Shut Up!
I want the same simple, FTP only, web host where I make my own pages with HTML, with graphics, links to URLs, and downloads. Simple. No bells or whistles, much less the new ones.

But, my little phone monkey whined, I just installed the new PHP and can't use PHP if I don't have the package that offers PHP support. I don't use PHP. I asked to be transferred to Retention four times before she became frustrated enough that - she transferred me to Retention.
A half-hour with the new and improved phone monkey and he came up with a solution. He would set up a contract with FTP and web hosting only.

Oh, what a genius.

So after enjoying the appearance of my book on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, and other electronic outlets, and the sudden catastrophic loss of my computer with the attendant reconstruction from the ground up, and the juggling of the new owners of my hosting provider concept of contracts and services - I have a book out, a working computer system (for the moment), and a simple FTP hosting site from which to connect to the world. All while fighting with the doctor to keep this ugly leg with its ugly 5.7cm x 7cm open diabetic stasis ulcer that has been threatening amputation.

I'm tired. Dealing with Rocket Scientists does that to me.

So I will try to find something to feed my soul for a few hours before I dive into the complete reconstruction of my web presence to support books sales. And several books are backed up in the stream.

Did I mention I was trying to be a self-publisher, and hopefully beyond 'self' into a small publisher to handle projects I think are worth the time and blood.

And there will be blood.

I need a nap.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Joys of Macintosh

An Unrelated Photoshop job
to distract me from the pain.
I said I was going to track what I was doing, but got distracted with the Mac acting up, slowing down, freezing... again. I'm now an old hand at restoring the system from an Internet install. I had backups set but it looks like the last couple of days work (work on Segment: Sho-Caudal #13, More Than This, and the I Don't Wanna Cook Book, and other juggling).

One of my regular tools (Dropbox) put up a notice than I had too many registrations on their server, all for the same account. I have to re-register every re-installation of MacOS as a "new computer" and Dropbox has a limit on the number of "machines" I'm allowed to connect to the servers. I went thru and deleted twenty accounts - that that was not the total they showed. Just what would bring me under my limit.

So I know that I have recreated machines twenty times, according to DropBox. I allow that this includes defunct iPhones (two of them), defunct iPad, defunct Android tablet... More than 12 of those are the Macintoshes, one of which was the old iMac that went tits up several times, and some the Mac mini which a friend suppled to me. (She said she was paying an old favor, but I think she was just being nice.)

So, even if we only count the MacMini reconstructions, I've had to tear down the machine, reforms, reinstall from the Apple servers, restore all the programs (several hours each time I reinstall Adobe CC), that is ... call it eight times in the past two years. There was a point where I had to do the two day process almost every other month, which had me screaming. 

This time it is a mere day and a half backing up, reformatting and install. And I haven't had to do it in almost a year.

But it means right after I announced CLIMBING THE SPIRAL MOUNTAIN and began work on RECOVERY READER 3RD EDITION, the system went tits up and we were off the races.

Now I get to wade through the debris and try to get back up to speed. While dealing with the DMV and the three-class cycle I do at a local recovery center (separate from my regular Sunday night class).

It's. Good thing I'm retired. Who has time to do all this?

Saturday, July 20, 2019

And ... GO!

In addition to the Kindle store, CLIMBING THE SPIRAL MOUNTAIN is now available on most online bookstores and professional library services.

It's a start.

Now I have to push for reviews from people who have actually read the book. No paid revies, no "called in favor" reviews, and nothing by me under another name. Real readers.

Who else would you trust?


Now I start with the existing playbooks and the re-release of THE SONG OF ORPHANS. I hope to have my existing catalog updated by the end of the year. It is satisfying to open the new edition of my favorite novel to any page and not be embarrassed by what I find. It is also gratifying that every page moves me forward in the story.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Spanking Myself

Out for a sweaty Sunday drive.
I have a lifelong tendency to feel like I have not done anything. Sometimes that is a bleak view of my entire lifetime of accomplishment, but more often it is simply feely there has been no progress in any of my activities. 

Recently the old self un-appreciation has started to creep back, so I think I'm going to use this blog as a diary. Just to remind me. I probably won't keep it going very long. But it might be good for me.

In the last ten days...

My novel CLIMBING THE SPIRAL MOUNTAIN is being read by a few people around the country. And out of its 186,000 words, a friend found three problems. Two were simple spelling errors where the error is actually a word, therefore invisible to the A.I. spellchecks, and the third is a simple logic problem where my lead character packed his bags with old and new clothes, and pages later, he decides to wash the new clothes to get some of the stiffness out of them. Three DONE.

The skids have been greased with Amazon/Kindle and eight other distributors to receive the "go" version of the manuscript, and its final cover, for the public announcement. Possibly later this week. But the channels have been opened for: Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, Tolino; the subscription services: Scribd, 24 Symbol, Playster, Kobo Plus; and the library services: One Drive, Bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor. Channels opened: DONE.

I was planing a free-download event to encourage reviews, but Kindle Direct does not have the same promotional policies as CreateSpace, with which I originally distributed the book. Investigated, not done. IN PROCESS.

The print version is waiting for this "go" version, to which I will have to add headers, footers, and a table of contents, which are missing in the electronic versions on demand of Kindle manuscript standards.  IN PROCESS.

At the same time I have pulled up the previous releases of my first novel (from 1977), the fantasy THE SONG OF ORPHANS and the anthology of short stories, THE TASTE OF FIRE, and they are about to have the same reading, tweaking, cleaning, and sweeping in between the cushions. It has already begun. Two IN PROCESS.

On Channel Jorune I just emailed out the final of ORFA: JORUNE, a simple role-playing game system to introduce new players to the world found in SKYREALMS OF JORUNE, the role-playing game that introduced me to a world equal to ERB's Barsoom or Jack Vance's Tschai. Actually sent it out with a two-page character sheet. it has been mailed out to my Jorune subscribers. Actually DONE.

In a few days, allowing time for anyone who has such interest to contact me with something major - like misspelling "Jorune" - and I will put it up on to download for free. I hope people will get a chance to go play on that alien soil. I am considering a print version on DriveThruRPG, which would not be free.  IN PROCESS.

On my anonymous projects, I started Class 30 of HAUNTED RECOVERY Sunday night. Two more of those classes in that series, but this may be the last time I do this class. Getting old makes decisions for you.  I am pulling together the pieces to do a video series on YouTube with each of the topics covered in the class; PTSD, ACE/ACA, Learned Helplessness, Erikson Personality Development, Transactional Analysis, Emotional Sobriety, and Communications for Adults. I actually edited an old version of Class 1 to serve as the sound-track for such a video. Actually edited it in Audacity. So class taught, one done. Edited the first half-hour of the class for video - DONE.

Two more sessions of Class 30 and I go back to teaching my regular Sunday night "Introduction to Recovery" class. The one I have done since 2006. Earlier in a variant form, but in this format since 2006. Thirteen years, but still going on.  IN PROCESS.

I also pulled the manuscript to RECOVERY READER 2nd Edition, have added four articles pulled from the 2nd Edition, which includes the 21 comic strips 'MAZING RECOVERY and the chapter on how to use the book to create a class, and two new articles to outline two long-existing concepts, but providing them in written form for readers of the (dread words) 3rd Edition. I never thought I'd do a third edition. But ... this one will also have an index, so it is a new animal. This edition will mark the first time it is up for sale publically. On Amazon, in addition, to the private options through, which has provided print copies for the selective Recovery aficionado since 2008. My agreements with the authors of earlier materials will be respected - the third edition will be available through the usual free outlets, but the index is a whole new work that makes the volume more useful version on Amazon cost money. I might make tens and tens of dollars in the future. I might break the 25¢ an hour that would be my path over the past 12 years.  IN PROCESS.

And I did some work for a little radio academic service, The Old Time Radio Research Group. It was a rework of their logo, but I am doing further work on their newsletter and delivered a separate piece of work this week. No decision will be made immediately. Let's put that into IN PROCESS.

And when my attention cannot remain focused on any of this, I am continuing with MORE THAN THIS, my next novel. Science fiction. A series of novellas following the life of one boy as he grows through the world of the future. After an ecological disaster and the nearly fatal strike of a broken comet, it is a different world and thinly disguised commentary on the world in which we live. I did pick that up this week so,  IN PROCESS

This week:

  • DONE - 4
  • IN PROCESS - 7

So maybe I will break the lifelong pattern of feeling I'm not accomplishing anything. Maybe.

August Already?

I had ideas. I had plans. Things that were going to ready and on Amazon by August. Reality has gotten in my way. Again. Anybody else...