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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 ? 😉

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 😉 )

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 😉 ) 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 😉 )

(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.

Anyone Have YOURLS Working On an NginX Server?

Started serving static files (images, pdfs, txt files, etc.) from a spare domain I have several months ago. It’s short at 5 letters, so I was thinking this might be a great set up for doing my own URL shortening as well.

Because I run NginX and FastCGI to power my WordPress installs, I often find it a challenge to implement stuff that’s been developed for LAMP stacks. I know the YOURLS instructions has a link to an Nginx fix, however, I was unable to get it to work.

Just wondering if anyone stopping by has any experience or can point me towards some knowledge on how to troubleshoot.

Thanks!

What Should I Know Before Committing To Freelance Copy Writing?

I’ve been putting a lot of thought of late into moving full steam into the arena of Freelance Copy Writing. I was turned on to the concept a while back, early on in my SEO writing activities and as a result bought into Peter Bowerman’s “The Well-Fed Writer”. I actually was more interested in his “The Well-Fed Self-Publisher” and subsequently got off of the track for pursuing freelance copy writing.

Now, however, I’m thinking that it could be more interesting to pursue some quality writing opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the SEO writing that I do. Every now and then some interesting topics are assigned to me, and I find when that happens, I truly enjoy the process.

If you’ve done any of this type of “web writing” you’ll understand just how little it pays. Understandably so. For the most part, and what I believe to be reality, this type of writing isn’t designed to be read by anyone real, living (or dead). Simply put, the search powers that be want “real” content; not words generated by some form of YACG (yet another content generator).

And that’s totally groovy. If you can deal with the lack of passion. If you enjoy putting words together and have them pretty much never read again, SEO can be a super easy way to make a living.  Just not much of a decently paying living. Again, I am grateful to have access to this type of work for the past year or so. I always do the very best I am able to with any given assignment. But I’m at that point of needing more.

More income for sure. More importantly, a real sense that what I’m creating is valuable to someone, will get read (and hopefully appreciated!) by a real, living breathing person (that is not me.) So, I’m now in that mode of contemplating whether or not it might be worth developing the contacts, putting out feelers for clients, dealing with clients when they do come, and generally making a successful go at becoming a Freelance Copy Writer.

While I’m no expert, my belief is that I have the chops to do the writing. I’ve several pieces which I’ll pull together in order to start a portfolio. Some good friends have indicated they enjoy my writing and feel I’d be well suited to pursue a living (at least for a while) in this arena. Of course, you really can’t trust the opinions of your friends. That’s why they’re your friends! 😉

There’s not a whole lot of folks reading this site, but if you are and have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions, it would be lovely to hear them. My biggest concern is that which I just don’t know about going down this road. If you can share your insight or experiences, let’s start a conversation. And thanks for your time and interest. Much appreciated!

When Is One At the Bottom of the Barrel?

Image courtesy of Wikepedia

You know life has sunk about as far as possible (from a tech perspective, at least) when you are:

  1. Pet sitting for your mother’s business because you can’t find a decent tech job,
  2. While rushing out to the mailbox to get the Netflix out before the mail truck comes back up the road, you discover that you didn’t notice the dog decided not to indicate she needed to go back outside,
  3. You can no longer figure out how to access the ISP service by plugging straight into their modem,
  4. The speed you get from your bluetooth connection from your netbook to the smart phone is faster than the pet sitting client’s ISP.

These are just some Monday morning thoughts. Nothing too deep here 😉