Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Indie publishing. . .

is a word-of-mouth game. When you self-publish on a budget, there is no ad campaign, no press release, etc. Although there are things one can do to promote a self-published book, much of the success of independent publishing is based on word-of-mouth contacts.

So if you happen to read Outlander, and think someone else would enjoy it, please tell 'em about it. The Kindle version is published with lending enabled, so I think you can loan it to someone without them having to buy it. I don't know whether or not that is true of the Nook.

By the way, the Nook version is published, and is available here.

The print version is not yet available, I expect it will be in a week or two.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Political Science

When scientists start behaving like politicians, it's a sure bet that the "science" they promulgate has been thoroughly politicized.

Now that "Global Warming" has assisted in trashing the U.S. economy, and destroying all semblence of a rational energy policy, it is at least gratifying that the politics behind the "science" are finally being exposed: see Jim Lacey's article here.

Some of us have known for years that the "science" was junk. There is a reason why Greenland is so-named, and I doubt that the emissions of internal combustion engines were involved. Long live real science!

[added 11/29/2011] See also here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Outlander is available for Kindle!

Yahoo! Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix is now available for Kindle!

The print edition is coming out in a few weeks, and will be available on Amazon. The Barnes and Noble Nook edition will be available within a week or so. Knowing me, I'll probably crow about each of these releases, so if you are following my blog you'll hear about it.

Speaking of crowing, let me do a little right now: my daughter Dani has done a gorgeous job on the cover. It really captures the essence of the story. She applied some digital wizardry to a photo I purchased, extending the sky upward significantly, adding the foreboding city skyline, as well as picking the font style and placement. I love it! Thanks, Dani!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Washing Machine and I

We are having. . . issues. It's complicated, as they say. You see, my washer insists on disgorging itself of water through the drain-pipe as though it's running a turbine on the Hoover dam. I could probably sell my washer to the Greenville Fire Dept, and they could mount it in a pickup truck and have a cheap, second pumper.

Oh, it looks innocent enough, just sitting there. Trust me, it's quite guilty. The drainpipe behind the washer likes to drink it's water at roughly the rate of an IV drip. As you might imagine, the washer and the drain don't get along. We would regularly find water running across the basement floor. Some folks have water in their basement when a hurricane comes through. We have water in our basement when we do laundry.

Like most good husbands, I sort of figured if I pretended not to notice it, the problem would simply go away. After it became clear that this was not an acceptable solution (Doris made that clear to me), I tried the good husband's next ploy: the minimal effort solution.

See that orange thingy? Its the handle of an in-line valve. I could throttle that baby back, and what was once the Hoover Dam turbine room at flood stage became a good, well-behaved washing machine once again. No more water on the floor. Dor's happy, the drainpipe's happy, I'm happy, and I get to wear clean clothes again.

There's just two minor problems with it. First, the lint continues to build up in the old drain pipe, and that stinking thing starts to overflow again (in case you're wondering, this little saga spans about two years). No matter how many bottles of draino I feed it, it reclogs in a matter of weeks. Nor does it respond to my handy-dandy little snake, or eel, or whatever plumbers call it.

Second, when I throttle it back farther (the good-husband-minimal-effort solution applied with a vengeance), the washing machine gets confused. The timer dial gives it only so much time to get rid of the water before it goes on to the next cycle. For some stupid reason, it thinks that three days is simply too long to be pumping the water out of the basket.

So, I'm faced with a dilemma. No longer am I able work a compromise between the washer and the drainpipe (I imagine that this is somehow vaguely analagous to the impasse between Republicans and Democrats on the budget committee). I have no more good-husband tricks up my sleeve. This calls for some actual work.

Notice the requisite speakers in the tool box, for listening to political talk radio whilst pretending to be a plumber.

I've got to get through this wall. . .   to this side, where a larger drain awaits. . .

And I need to do it without bringing the house down, flooding the basement with sewage, or destroying the washing machine. All in all, it's a tall order (hey, it's me!).

After a trip to Lowes that included much head-scratching and cogitating, I managed to find my way back home (Dor was with me), with the requisite pieces of plumbing paraphenalia, and I dove in. Well, not literally, as I had thought to turn the Hoover Dam off before leaving the house.

Hours later (many, many hours), I stand back and admire my handiwork.

What's amazing is that I still have my sanctification, all ten fingers, and a washer that works at full throttle. . .

and an oversize hole in the wall, but I won't worry about that; maybe if I pretend not to notice, it will go away.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I love You, Lord, because. . .

This is how Psalm 116 begins. The psalmist goes on to say that he loves the Lord because God answers his prayers, because God has delivered him, and so on.

When you stop to think about it, the psalmist sounds like the ultimate user: “I love you because of what you do for me.”

Of all potential targets of love, surely Almighty God is the most worthy. He is consummately merciful, just, good, giving, righteous, holy, faithful, longsuffering, generous, of unparalleled skill and beauty in His artistry, and much more. Surely we ought to love Him simply because of His glorious perfections of character! Of all that is, He is the most, well, lovable.

Does there have to be a self-interest on our part? Does that not, sort of, grind on your good ‘ol human pride? Do we only love God for what we get from Him?

But that’s who we are. We are totally dependent upon God’s continuing grace (be it common or special), for our very existence. We are weak, contingent creatures, who draw breath only because He upholds all things by the word of His awesome power. We are also sinners, consumed by our ungodly project to supplant the true and mighty God with our pompous selves. Left to our natural selves we are hostile against God, self-declared enemies. We want to think of ourselves as gods, usurping His rule. All the while the truth remains that if He were to turn from us, in an instant our frail little house of cards would collapse.

He alone is self-existent, needing nothing, needing no one’s approval, no one’s love, no one’s acknowlegement. He is complete in Himself, separate from and transcendent above creation and all of its creatures.

But He loves us dearly, because it is His nature to do so. And He has walked among us in the Person of His Son. And we love Him, but only because . . . He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Greenville owes me. . .

I am READY, baby! For snow, that is. Got me a new snow shovel. Got scrapers for the cars, and de-icing washer fluid. Got a pair of stretch-on crampons for my boots, to keep me from skating down my steep driveway (I could put a ski-lift on my driveway and live off the income, it’s that steep; it's the sort of thing that helicopters will drop snowboarders off on the top; okay, that might be a slight exaggeration).

Woke up my snow-blower from it’s long summer nap, fired it up, make sure I don’t have to yank my arm off when I really need that sucker to start.

Got two 50 lb. bags of ice-melt from Walmart. Get ‘em now before prices go up, only $7.49 per bag.

On second thought, don’t get ‘em. There’s no way on God’s green earth we’ll get measurable snow-fall this winter; not when I’m all ready for it.

Probably be, maybe, 70 degrees in January. Nuts. Wish I’d thought of that first. Ought to take all this stuff back to the store, but it’s too late now.

Gonna have a warm winter, Greenville. You owe me. . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Status update on Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix

I took a vacation day today for a "writing marathon" and at long last completed my re-write of Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix. I am very pleased with the final product; many thanks to my son, Joshua, for a long but needed list of recommended corrections and changes, nearly all of which found their way into the final version.

The changes include grammatical (I probably wacked 30% of the adverbs I had used in earlier versions and used more contractions); stylistic (I tried to eliminate my tendency to over-explain and tightened up the dialog); technical (M4s use magazines, not clips); characterization (Jacen is no longer so naive and there is more lead-up to some of his blowups); and structure (there are some deleted scenes and some added scenes).

Next up: I need to select an independent publisher, get the cover designed, reformat the files for E-readers as well as print-on-demand format, secure an ISBN and Library of Congress catalog number, and that's about it.

My next project is The Candidate, and I can't wait to get started on it.