Your Most Important Asset

My very close friend, Josh Cobb, once told me, over dinner in downtown Los Angeles, he felt (paraphrasing):
“Success and wealth would be demonstrated by the degree of ‘disconnectedness’ an individual could achieve while still maintaining their ability to earn.”
At the time, I understood him completely. Today, the masses of folks seem to be moving in direct contradiction to this. Giving more time, more attention, more “connectedness” to others via technology, in many of its forms.
Zat Rana’s article, below, establishes these facts and provides the beginning stepping stones one might take in order to achieve “success and wealth” in all its forms.
from Facebook http://bit.ly/2huwWmV
via IFTTT

Test Post: Back on WP.com

Testing out the posting functionality. Specifically, looking at the https:// features to see if I continue getting a mixed content error. πŸ™

Boneless Ribeye Pork Roast

image
http://db.tt/X4DB61hF
Quick sear on the roast, saute carrots & onions in the same pan, place all in roast pan, adequate salt & pepper, cover with butter and pour over with chardonnay. Roast at 350 for 80 minutes, covered. Uncover, start wild rice. Remove roast from oven when rice is done. Wait 15 minutes. Plate. Dine in heaven.

Price Increase For "The Perfect Meal"

Since July’s publication of my first novel, The Perfect Meal sales have been relatively steady–not planning my retirement, mind you–but on-going and making me understand the value of having a deeper virtual shelf of works to offer readers.
Based upon things learned from the likes of J.A. Konrath, and other independent digital publishers, it seems the time has come to raise the price of TPM to $2.99. If you’ve already purchased your copy, consider yourself a savvy shopper!
Even at the slightly higher price, my belief and that of others who’ve discussed the work with me, this is still a value for a well-written, cleanly programmed work.
I’m also working on creating an audio play for the story, so be on the look out for that sometime after the first of the new year. Audio plays are a little different from a straight audio book (which I intend to produce for TPM as well).
Think of the old dramatic radio shows from the early part of the 20th century. The different characters were spoken in different voices, there were sound effects, and all sorts of audio drama for the listener.
I believe audio plays are an almost lost art and would very much like to see them make a comeback with modern stories.
Will keep you informed, as always.

How Important Are the Sharing Functions Here at WP.com?

If you have a WordPress.com account, you’ve most likely seen this option found on the left sidebar in the admin section. It is down below the “Settings” category. Clicking through you see some options to share information out to a select few social community networks you may (should!) belong to.
The question is, how important and useful is it to bother setting these automatic notifications up? Does it really matter that much in the grander scheme of things?
The first way to answer this question is with another question (typical, no?). What is the purpose of your blog posting? Are you simply capturing random thoughts that scurry through your mind with no real desire to seek fame and fortune from your scribblings? If this is the case, then don’t bother with the Sharing functionality here.
If on the other hand, you are attempting to promote your personal brand, or some new product or service, then obviously getting the word out to others is important. Plus, if you’ve ever had a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, you know there are greater limitations on functionality here at WP.com than there are on the seemingly endless number of plug-ins one can add to their own install.
But the good folks here recognize the need for functionality (safely implemented, hence the prevention of letting us jack up their installs with a bunch of potentially hazardous plugins!). As such, there are areas in the admin section, like this Sharing setting which provides additional features for those in the need.
The Perfect Meal
Clearly in this new world of independent publishing and writers running willy nilly posting up copies of their magna opera for the unsuspecting masses, getting the word out is paramount. These sharing features are just the option for those authors, like me, who have opted to maintain their online presence here at WordPress.com.Say you are an aspiring writer who, like myself, is nearing the end of writing and self-publishing his first novel (a little ditty entitled The Perfect Meal. If you, like me, are under the impression that once CreateSpace and Kindle have finished the approval process and placed the book into their systems, the only thing left is to check the sales stats, well, you, LIKE ME πŸ™ would be left wanting for more.
Most of us have accounts for the following, however if you are living under a rock, get with it!

So what these services do is every time you publish a new blog post, your title and link is pinged out to those communities. Simple, easy, automated. Just do what you do, write, and post, and forget worrying about sending a tweet to let your 621 followers know about it. Already taken care of.
A little further down the page is the “Share Button” section. This makes it easy for those folks that found out about your great blog post while playing in the one of the social communities you automatically pinged from above to share the news out to the communities they favor. I’m sure this functionality will vary from theme to theme, but usually the “share” button should display just below the text of your post, and above the author profile box. While you aren’t required to have accounts with the share button services, it certainly won’t hurt you to cultivate your personal brand in as many of them as you have time for.
To date, you can add easy share buttons for the following:

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google +1
  • Facebook
  • Word Press This
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Digg

There is also an easy button for emailing the page link and quick print. The print functionality is extremely cool in that it strips out all the web theme related colors and graphics and provides the visitor with a well laid out print page of the blog post content. Plus, it adds your WordPress.com user (author) information box at the bottom.
This info box is a great place to use the website and the printed pages to market yourself and your products/services. Or the release of your newest book πŸ˜‰
So, the round about answer to whether it’s worth messing around with the Sharing functionality herein? Absolutely. It is set and forget and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Not Everyone Can Be a Resume Writer

I really don’t care if you know that I am 46 years old. Dancing around age always seemed like such a waste of energy to me. When I was 16 years old, living in South Carolina and had the opportunity to get an I.D. which said I was 18, I only did because my friends all did it and started going out to clubs and bars. Okay, so there wasn’t a lot of clubs in Rock Hill, SC. Whatever πŸ˜‰
Now, after half a lifetime has passed, I’m still not terribly stuck on my age. What’s more important is being able to produce a quality resume which adequately reflects the experiences and abilities I’ve obtained in my life. The first few times I attempted a CV, what transpired was pretty much a disaster. Then, a few years ago, a good friend suggested I check out a professional resume writer service and leave the nitty gritty details to the professionals.
Of course, did I listen, no. Not right away. I’d always been taught (incorrectly?) that if you want something done, do it yourself. Well, I was able to put together a passable resume, however, no one was overwhelmed with the layout or information that appeared on my stock, templated from Microsoft Word resumes.
Finally, back when having a foot on the rung of the corporate ladder seemed like the pathway I needed to be on, I opted to seek out a quality resume writer service. I’ve been looking for a copy of that resume I invested some good money in. Unfortunately, I think I might have lost it along the way at some point. If I do happen across it soon, look for a comment below with it attached so you can see just how amazing a final product you can get when you invest in quality professional services.

Making a Website Builder Referral

Just had a call from someone I did not know. Can’t say I really know them any better now, however, I was tasked with helping them find some sort of website builder in order to get their small business an online presence. A (soon to be former!) friend of mine gave this person my telephone number with the understanding that I build websites.
While I’m not sure what planet my friend lives on, I know for a fact I have told her a number of times that I no longer do web development for customers. Having been working in the industry since it became an industry, I’ve gotten burned out over the years on both the demands of producing quality web applications, and the even more ridiculous demands of paying clients who think because they might one day pay me, they own my ass.
Anyway, not to get off on a rant, I politely informed the person calling me I was no longer in that line of business. If they wished to have any copy writing or sales/marketing content written, I would be more than happy to work with them on a proposal.
Of course, as one might expect, I then got pumped for information that could easily have been retrieved by doing a search on Google or any of ones favorite search engines. I was polite, however, and did pass on information where they might learn more about some of the online tools available for a website builder to find a host and good pricing.
Yeah, shut up. I’m a push over. So what! πŸ˜‰

The Perfect Meal Ready For Some Public Consumption

Last night I sent out several email invites to some suckers, er, friends, yeah friends and family members to download an advance copy of my very first book entitled, The Perfect Meal.
Other than the obligatory good comments I received from my little sister (no, I did not pay her. Yet.) I only received one other message from those invited. This individual wanted to know why one of the main characters had to fall in love with a “young” woman.
While I tried to explain to her the main characters were all young adults in their early 20’s, that it really didn’t fit this specific story line to have them fall in love with older women, I finally relented, told her to piss off, and just read my book before her eyes were too old to focus!
Okay, I didn’t use the phrase, “piss off”, but most of the rest 😐 I hope she knew I was kidding. LOL ? πŸ˜‰

This is the actual image. An image with the message of 'image not available'

Anyway, now just waiting patiently for a little feedback. Also waiting for my superstar artist friend, Robert Chilton to work me up some cover art magic and I’ll be hammering away to get this baby uploaded into Kindle, and various other online e-book systems.
Not to delude myself, but if anyone stumbling by this post is interested in reading a free advance copy, leave me a comment here and I’ll add your email address to the dropbox system and get you an invite sent out right away.
Oh, you want to learn more about the story before making such a commitment? No worries. Click on through to read the concept and description of The Perfect Meal. You can leave your comment there!
As always, please accept my gratitude and thanks!

Facebook Connections, American Idol Parties, Real World Jobs

Just a quick pass at some thought processes occurring today (the past few days, actually.)

At the South Rim (no green screen)

— I’ve recently somewhat reconnected with a lovely woman I knew from high school and briefly during our college years. Beyond the catching up and reestablishing where each of us is in life at the moment, I’m struck by how hard the process is. Of course, we are all different and there’s no doubt that the act of interlocking the pieces of ones past with their present (and subsequently, their future) may be easier for some. I suppose this is just life? Whether the connections are happening via a chance run-in at the local grocery store or (increasingly) on Facebook, it’s what we do (or don’t) with them which is fascinating me currently.
— The family and friends activity of getting together for viewing American Idol on Thursdays seems to have bankrupted itself. Perhaps more accurately it is the pockets and desires of those who fatefully volunteer to do the food for party night. Personally, I’ve had a blast when I stepped up to the plate, but then, I savor being in the kitchen and cooking super yummy food. Others complain they are not getting any sort of return from the participants (we all pay the food bringer $5 for their getting and preparing the meal). Perhaps we should charge more? But then fewer folks will attend. And that’s ironic considering most have no problem bringing their own alcohol, which I suspect costs more than $5. Not that I have challenges with that either. My disappointment comes in from the fact that the activity can be such a great chance to get together, visit with friends and family. Meet new folks who are invited. Generally socialize, have (usually!) really good eats, while indulging in the guilty pleasure of watching singers compete for the prize. This week is off, and my guess is that our previous commitment of carrying the Thursday party on for So You Think You Can Dance is not going to happen either. Too bad, cause I personally like that show much more than Idol!

Olive Oil Sign

— On getting a regular, “real” job. Ugh. Actually, not all that ugh, but ugh nonetheless. The biggest frustration is knowing ends need to meet, regardless of how frugal and minimal one has developed their lives. And that’s fine, however what isn’t all that groovy is being jerked around by potential employers who either don’t know what they are looking for, don’t have the authority to make decisions or simply have egos which (sorry, have to do it) are writing checks they can’t cash. My biggest concern is getting out of the mindset that I am a writer. It is what I love doing, and though yet to pay many bills (technically I am a professional writer regularly selling articles and copywriting) the time and effort I’m putting into my first novel will, I trust, someday pay dividends. Maintaining an eye on the goal of being able to earn all revenues from writing must be maintained.
— Finally, the next couple of months will be fraught with change, moves, and the opening of new life chapters. Exciting and a bore at the same time. But only boring when I slip into the dark regions of thought and don’t wish to work hard at making progress towards the future of my own design. This author would be greatly appreciative of the occasional reminder or comment from friends, family, interesting associates and the like. Just slap down some words as if you’re slapping me upside the head. Don’t worry. I’m sure it will hurt me more than it does you 😐

Story Engineering For Dummies Like Me!

One of the best things that has happened to me since I’ve started “writing” for reals has been finishing the first draft of my first novel and applying my (personally) patented systems analysis process of learning about a new area of interest in my life.
Picture if you will that classic sitcom scene where the husband tries to put something into or take something out of that hall closet which is home to all his failed hobby gear. Hilarity usually ensues as about a ton of basketballs, tennis shoes, clubs, gloves, whatever come tumbling down and around the bewildered man (or woman. Guessing this all applies to you as well πŸ˜‰ )
My closet is filled with the trappings of the work I’ve done on exploring and learning how certain things work. For instance, over the past year and a half I’ve read no less than 20 books on food, cooking, the industry of food production, etc. Most of those books are on one of my shelves (a real one, not just sitting precariously in my “hall closet” waiting to pummel me next time I try and over load it with yet another exploratory journey.)
Before that it was social media marketing.
Before that it was screen writing.
Before that it was Linux server administration.
Before that it was… well, get the idea?
My “closet” is certainly stockpiled.
At the beginning of this year I decided that I’d really give myself a shot at writing. I went against all that is holy and instead of diving into “learning about writing” I just said “WTF? Let’s Go” and started off to write the next great novel.
After having finished a draft I can whole heartedly say, “WTF? What were you thinking? This sucks. Please ask your editor friend to stop reading it immediately. Save his cycles for something that could actually be good.”
No, I’m not just being a whiny writer type who doesn’t like the first things he produces. This is genuine rubbish. The good thing is I know that to be the truth. What I didn’t know is what to do about it.
Why?
Because I’m an idiot who knows absolutely nothing about the craft of story telling. True story.
The good news (I’m sure you’re wondering when the hell the point is going to arrive, so here it is πŸ˜‰ ) is that old habits die hard. That afore mentioned editor friend had the foresight to know that I wouldn’t be satisfied with just slapping words on a page. He would slip little posts into my feed reader about sites that I might find interesting. Sites focusing on the art, science, the craft of writing.
Suddenly, my nearly empty reader is filling up with subscriptions to a wide variety of highly informative, and nearly always entertaining sites that are nudging me towards a better understanding of the world of writing.
There’s J.A. Konrath’s A Newbies Guide To Publishing Warning: this site will fill you with knowledge and information about the business side of being an independently published ebook author. You may decide that writing and making a living is what you’ve been meant to do your whole life. You have been warned!
Writer Unboxed presents real, honest to goodness authors talking about all manners of things related to the writing life. In fact, if you subscribe to their posts, you might get lucky enough to find yourself directed to
StoryFix.com and once you’re there, you’ll have no choice but to learn about Larry Brook’s recent how to book, Story Engineering.
And that’s the point. If you’re lucky enough like me to have just about zero experience writing anything more than SEO length articles for readers without eyes, then finding a resource to help guide you through the writing wilderness is going to come as quite the relief.
To be fair, I’m only about 60% of the way through Brook’s book. The last 40% just might suck royally. It could, however, continue to live up to the amazing levels I’ve been absorbing thus far. Sure I could have sat up and read the entire thing the first day I downloaded it to my Kindle PC app (as well as my Kindle Android app. There are times and places where continuing my training must take place away from my PC. Shhh πŸ˜‰ )
(OH, BTW, that Amazon link above is for the Kindle version. If you’re interested in learning what to write, and when to write it, you’ll want to get this book NOW. Having something tangible in your hands is nice. How to books that you’ll end up using as references are nice as well. And I might just order a hard copy of Story Engineering for just that purpose (or more likely to fill in that spot on my “closet” so I can say I’ve done the “how to write” thing later!))
This book is likely not for you. Sorry, but it’s true. As Brooks tells us repeatedly throughout the thing, if you are an organic, writes by the seat of their pants type, you’re not likely to take well to the depth and breadth of knowledge SE has available for you.
It’s also not for you if you were the type of student that sat in class listening to your teachers repeat, again and again, some salient point that needed to be wedged into your skull. If you ever made comments to yourself or Ralphie next to you, “Okay, okay. We get it already. Move on, teach.” This is likely not going to be your cup of tea.
But if you’re a dummy idiot like I am when it comes to writing, please at least click through and read more about how this book is going to help you understand that you don’t know what you don’t know.
Again, at only 3/5 of the way through, I already know more of what sucks about my story, and how to start fixing it than I’ve ever known about writing from a lifetime of thinking I could be a writer. It’s the many things I didn’t even know that I didn’t know (and am extremely grateful to Mr. Brooks for pointing out to me) in this book which will have me writing an actual, real, and (gasp!) possibly even good story.
But that won’t happen until I’ve worked my way through Story Engineering, absorbed its sage advice and solid game plan for what to write and when to write it.