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Wed, Nov. 25th, 2015, 03:54 pm
Power Is Back: I'm Back

In case one or two of you have noticed that I've not posted anything here (or commented) for the past week or so, we've been in a power (electrical) outage since the afternoon of Tuesday, 17 November.

On that date, the Inland Northwest of the US experienced a wind storm of unmatched velocities and destruction.  We lost power that afternoon and just got it back earlier today.  No damage or loss at our place, but a lot of destruction around the eastern Washington and northern Idaho regions.  Much of it was trees being blown down, crashing onto power lines and yes, even some houses.  About five blocks from where we are a large evergreen fell smack on to the corner of a house.

I had heard the forecasts for the storm, but didn't think it would be so bad.  We were without power but I wasn't sure if my work had power or not, so I headed out for the job that evening.  Whole sections of the city without lights and a number of intersections with non-operable traffic lights.  Thankfully most folks treated these as four way stops.  Got to work and discovered that power was out there as well, so I came home.  Power was out at work for the rest of my work week, but came back on last Friday.  I went back to work Sunday evening.

The biggest problem we faced with no power was a lack of heat.  We heat with gas, but the furnace and air circulating systems are all controlled by and powered by electricity.  We had plenty of hot water.  It's gas as well and doesn't depend on the electricity to run.  We could also cook on the gas range, if we used matches to light the burners instead of the build in automatic ignitor system.  Had a few candles and some flashlights around to see, and personally, I slept a lot.  It was sort of like camping out, in that we always had several layers of clothing on.  Anyway, with no power I didn't have access to the computer... I don't have a smart phone or tablet or any of that sort of thing... just my desk top unit, so I've had no access to e-mail, on-line, or social media until today.

Even though we had hot water, it was cold enough in the house that neither of us wanted to take a shower and then get out into a room cold enough that you could see your breath.  We stayed a few nights at our daughter's apartment and took advantage of her plumbing and comfortable temperatures.  For the past couple of days I've been showering at work before coming home.

So, I'll work tonight into tomorrow morning, and again tomorrow night and Friday morning.  I did not put in for any time off for Thanksgiving.  Eva has to work Thursday as well, but has Friday off.  We'd already decided to do our dinner on Friday, and we still might... but it's not going to be anything fancy.  I got to thinking last evening that I'd really love some turkey pot pie... probably a couple of the frozen ones.

Power has been back on now for a couple or three hours.  Temps in the house are within a couple degrees of where the thermostat is set.  So glad!  Realized the past couple of nights at work that I was plain worn out and tired, even though I was sleeping a lot.  I'm guessing a lot of my energy was going to keeping warm.

Haven't been through anything like this since the Ice Storm of '96.  I'm planning to investigate getting a generator for such emergencies, and maybe having someone check our fireplaces to see if they can be used if needed.  (Everytime there is something like this, we hear of folks burning down houses because the get a big roaring fire going in a fireplace that isn't meant to be used for heating.  A lot are ornamental, meant for a small display fire that only lasts for a little while.  They aren't that well insulated from the rest of the structure, and continued use with a large fire eventually ignites the house itself.)

During the daylight times when I could see, I did some reading... made in nearly all the way through a book called My First Ninety Years by Hap Murphy.  It's a self-published book or recollections, sort of an autobiography.  He was a tug boat captain on Lake Coeur d'Alene, in the US Army during WWII, and other things.  His daughter is a member of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers and was instrumental in getting him to set his stories down on paper.  At work, I've progressed a bit with Antoine Vanner's Britannia's Shark, but so far this week I've ended up taking a bit of a nap during my lunch hour and haven't read as much as I usually do.

That should do it for now.  Sorry for the rambling.

Sun, Nov. 15th, 2015, 03:39 am
Marketing Observations, Pt II

Earlier this month I was honored to be the speaker at the monthly meeting of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  Last week I posted the first part of my presentation on marketing.  It's time for the second part, so here it is.

           Mentioning blogs means we’ve acknowledged the computer.  I think we would all agree that the computer, along with its associated web and internet have done more to revolutionize writing, publishing, and marketing than anything since paper, ink, and movable type.  At the most basic level of computer use, if we have a computer, a printer, and access to an office supply, an art supply, and/or a stationery store, we can create and make a lot of our marketing materiel.  We can make business cards, bookmarks, postcards, signs and flyers.  We can generate our own letterhead, custom envelopes, mailing labels, and shipping labels.  We can also create bumper stickers, window stickers, magnetic signs, and even iron-on transfers.
          Read more...Collapse )
           Live Journal is more of a journaling platform than a blogging location, but it works very well as a blog, and I’m aware of at least a couple writers that use it.  Signing up is easy, and there is no cost for the first two levels of use.  It has a social media aspect which allows you to connect with other Live Journal users.  It also has Communities for people with common or shared interests.  Unless a Live Journal user restricts access to his or her Journal, a particular post, or limits commenting, anyone is free to visit any Journal and comment without being a Live Journal user, or being logged on to one’s own Journal.

I hope some of you are finding this helpful.

Sun, Nov. 8th, 2015, 05:31 am
Marketing Observations, Pt I

This past Thursday I was the speaker at the most recent meeting of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  I offered my fellow writers some observations on marketing and have decided to post them here as well.  I've divided the presentation into four roughly equal parts and will include the first here.  While I sometime create an outline for a presentation and flesh it out in order to post it, this one is pretty much ready to post as is.

          Good afternoon and welcome, fellow authors, self-publishers, and anyone who has wandered in and decided to stay awhile.
           It’s great to see so many of you here today, especially since you had adequate warning that I would be speaking.
           Some may remember that nearly two years ago, not long after we began meeting here at Golden Corral, I was our scheduled speaker.  I was going to talk about “marketing,” but as so often happens, plans changed.  Instead, I spoke on a variety of topics, most of which had, I hope, a little to do with writing, publishing, and yes, even marketing.  Well, today I’m back, and I am going to talk about or offer some observations on marketing.  I’ll be passing along the little I know, the little I’ve learned, and quite a lot of what I think I know.  Hopefully you will find some of it useful, or at least entertaining.
          Read more...Collapse )
           Today we hear that a writer should have a blog.  What you blog about is up to you.  As a writer you could offer writing advice, talk about your life as a writer, blog about life in general, post about those things that interest you, those things you write about, or serve up a variety of  topics.  A thought of mine is that if you absolutely don’t want to blog, you could become a “blog commenter.”  Find the blog or blogs that you like, ones that seem to generate a lot of discussion and have a lot of comments posted to them, and join in.  Just remember to be articulate, polite, and respectful, especially if you end up contradicting or disagreeing with the blogger or other commenters.  Blogging or commenting regularly on other blogs can help build your internet presence.
(To be continued)

P. S.  Started reading Britannia's Shark by Antoine Vanner this past week.  Victorian Age Naval Adventure!

Sun, Nov. 1st, 2015, 08:05 am
SASP News for November 2015

Late Saturday night, early Sunday morning I finished up the November edition of SASP NEWS, the newsletter for Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  If anyone is curious, you can see it on the web-site.  Go to "Newsletters" and select the month desired.

Mon, Oct. 26th, 2015, 07:07 am
A Guest Blogger?

Recently I received via e-mail, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers President's input for the upcoming News Letter.  I thought it contained some wonderful advice for self-published and traditionally published authors when it comes to doing book signings.  Without further ado, here is Esther's  message for the November issue of SASP NEWS.

  Usually, during a book signing, I sell a book or two during the first half hour. However, a couple of book signings ago, that didn't happen. In fact, I couldn't get anyone to even come over and look at my books. Plus, there were very few children in the store that day, which was unfortunate for me since I sell children's books.
   I greeted everyone that passed my table, but many didn't even acknowledge that I was there. So then I held up one of my books and said something like, "How about a good children's book?" or "How about a great book that tells the story of a talking spider with bad grammar and an attitude?" or "Would you like to read about the frogs of Meadow Pond, the mean Red Boat kids, and Hes-per the monster snake?"
    No luck. No one was interested. An hour went by and no book sales. Hmm, what was I doing wrong? I was starting to get a bad feeling. What if I sold zero books? That would really wreck my average number of books sold at book signings. Yes, I keep track; it's like a game to me. My goal is always to raise my average.
    Another hour passed and still no interest in my books. I became anxious and depressed. I started to drink--a Pepsi that my husband brought me. I only had one hour left and it didn't look good. What was I going to do?
    Then, as the caffeine in the Pepsi took over my brain, I had an idea. Why not change my hook? I put a smile on my face and asked the next person that walked by, "Are you afraid of spiders?" "Yes," she replied. I held up my "Mr. Inky" book and said, "Well, have I got a book for you." She came over and bought a book! I used this hook over and over again and by the end of the next hour, I had sold nine books, which made me very happy!
    Try changing your hook and sell more books!

You can learn more about Esther and the books she writes on the SASP web-site.

Sun, Oct. 25th, 2015, 08:42 am
Shortened URLs

I just wrote this for the next issue of SASP NEWS, the monthly newsletter of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, which I have the honor to edit. (Read: create, edit and publish)  I thought it might be worth passing along via Live Journal as well, so here it is.

If you’ve posted links/URLs to your book(s) on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you may have noticed the URLs are long and cumbersome.  This is especially true for Barnes and Noble.  However, it’s possible to shorten up URLs for both and have them work.
         For Amazon, eliminate the “www,” and shorten “amazon” to “amzn.”  After the “dot com” add “/dp/” and the unique ten character code for your book.  If it links to the hard copy version, it will be an all numerical code.  If it links to the Kindle version it will be an alpha-numeric code.  (If your book has both codes, either one will work.) Beyond The Ocean’s Edge, shortened as mentioned above becomes: amzn.com/dp/B008TXC332 or for the hardcopy,
www.amzn.com/dp/1432780379 In some applications, you will need to include the “www” as shown here.  In others, the link will work without it.
         Since Amazon has locations all around the world, you may want to provide links for people in other countries.  Generally you need only substitute that country’s internet code for “amzn.com.”  My first book is at:
www.amzn.co.uk/dp/B008TXC332 in the United Kingdom
         For links/URLs to Barnes and Noble, you need to keep the “www,” for it to work.  Also keep everything through
“barnesandnoble(dot)com/w/”  Leave out “name-of book-the-author’s-name” Include “/” and the first set of numbers.  You do not need “?” “ean” “=” or the second set of numbers.  The link for Sailing Dangerous Waters would look like this:
         It’s a good idea to try the URL/link before you post it and make sure it works.  You also want to check it after posting, to make sure you entered it correctly.  One can sometimes mix up “1” and “I” or “0” and “O.”  I also found that sometimes case makes a difference.  In the Amazon URL for my second book, one letter is shown in, and I’ve used lower case for that letter.  It works fine on amzn.com but would not work with amzn.co.uk until capitalized.


P. S. Almost through reading
jpsorrow 's Shattering The Ley.  His best so far!

Sun, Oct. 18th, 2015, 05:36 am
Winter's coming

Slowly the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are falling.  Now, and for the past several weeks it's dark when I go to work, and dark when I come home.  In the middle of summer it was still twilight when I'd go, although it never was bright enough that I felt I could leave my headlights off.  In the mornings, however, when I am headed home,there were a number of weeks when I did not need the lights.

Afternoon temperatures are for the most part mild, and in fact the house can get a bit warm in the late afternoon and early evening.  We have at times resorted to turning the cooling system on for a while.  Mornings are a different story these days and we quite often run the heat for a bit, just enough to take the chill off.  (We are getting so spoiled!)

Because I work a night shift and try to stay on the same hours over the weekend, I usually do computer stuff late at night and into the early morning.  Then I read the paper, an actually fold it up, spread it out newspaper, not an on-line version, have a bit of a "night-cap" and go to bed.  When on the computer I quite often get into a browsing or surfing mode, just messing around with Live Journal, Facebook, and Twitter... not accomplishing anything at all except killing time.  I think I do that when I'm a little tired from the work week.  Did a lot of that last weekend which is probably why nothing got posted here, or why I didn't get around to updating stuff on the Spokane Authors and Self-Publisher's web-site.  Sometimes I just don't want to do more than look at e-mail and those locations I just mentioned.  Well over these past few hours I did manage to get some updates done to the aforementioned web-site.  (Still having problems getting access to some of the pages, so didn't get it all done, but...)  I'm also going to be the speaker at SASP's November meeting, so I spent some time working on my presentation.  I do stuff like that much the same way as I write my stories.  I run ideas through my head while at work and engaged in jobs that don't require a lot of mental energy.  Once I have it pretty well fixed in memory I'll sit and get it written down, either on paper or on the computer.  As near as I can tell, I've got about half the presentation done.  I'm kind of a last minute substitute for our originally scheduled speaker.  She'd cancelled earlier in the summer due to some family problems and had rescheduled for next month.  Unfortunately she still has the family situation and has cancelled again.  Hopefully she will be able to reschedule sometime next year.

Anyway, I'll leave you with another of my recently scanned in paintings.  If I've posted this lately, my apologies, but there is a little story that goes along with it.  At work we have a lot of the plexiglass sign holders on the walls for flyers about upcoming events.  I've been trying to take prints of some of my paintings and putting them in empty holders so we don't see the empty holder and the double sided tape on the back that holds them up.  Of course, sometimes the art work gets covered up with a new flyer and that's okay.  Anyway, I took a copy of this.
in a couple of weeks ago and used it to replace another picture that had been there for several months.  Then for several days, each time I'd come in to work I'd find that some one had switched that particular sign holder back to the earlier painting.  I'd switch it back to this one.  Anyway I finally found out that Club members liked the other one and preferred it in that location so they were asking day-time staff to change it back.  But I thought it was kind of neat that Club members liked this one,

based on my early childhood home... our homestead 41 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska.  (Mountains weren't so prominent, and the trees were a little different, but it it as fair a representation as memory can produce.  Besides, I think I had not intention of painting this exact scene when I started.)
BTW, both pics are the right hand side of larger original paintings.

Sun, Oct. 4th, 2015, 02:38 am
A Lazy Weekend

Probably because of the hours I work, the weekends are important to me.  Over the past week I had a number of "extra" activities, a meeting at work, a writers group meeting, and a financial awareness session, that added to the stress and fatigue of the week.  So, I'm being extra lazy this weekend, trying to get rested up and ready to go back to work come Sunday evening.  (Last weekend I got my sleep and awake times half ways turned around and had to adjust back for the work week, which I'm sure did not help.)
Anyway, here a couple more of the paintings that I scanned into the computer a week or so ago.

One of those that I like at one glance and am not so happy with at another... Hope you like it!

My attempt at a Grumman EA-6B Prowler, painted in 1986.  You might be able to make out "VAQ-132 Scorpions" and "EA-6B" in the stars.  I've always enjoyed these night scenes, using only blue and white on a black canvas.  (BTW, this is the aircraft I worked on for most of my Navy career.)

Still reading jpsorrow 's Shattering The Ley.  If you like well written fantasy, check it out!  I'm about a third of the way through it and really like it.  I think you will too!

Fri, Sep. 25th, 2015, 03:15 pm
Eight Years!

Just happened to look at my LiveJournal profile... eight years to the day that I began journaling, blogging, or whatever it is I do here.
Anyway, here's another of the pics I recently scanned in.

P. S. Still reading Shattering the Ley by jpsorrow  Enjoying it!

Fri, Sep. 25th, 2015, 09:37 am

Here are a couple more of the paintings I scanned in a few days ago.  Actually, this is a single painting, but it is large enough that I've scanned it in in two different areas.  Not sure when this was painted, but I believe it must have been in the early 1980s... before I began dating them.

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