Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Out-of-Print Palm Beach Scandals (plus) Now IN Pubit!

All that blathering about Electronic Publishing spurred me to bring back Palm Beach Scandals from its OOP status for the past dozen years and make it available via Barnes & Nobles PUBIT! to NOOK readers. I'm going to test-drive some social-networking marketing ploys to see if they work.

And, just to give it an airing outside of crit groups, a newish chapter in the proposed "The Day...The Cat Blew Its Nose Off" collection of recollections, was also put into "e-print". My "Trip Around The Lightship" short-story will probably connect to a few people who've been caught in an awkward situation.

Unfortunately my sketch wouldn't stretch deep enough for PUBIT's cover format, so I slipped it in there sideways. Who knows, the misspelled word in a roadside sign gets all the attention: Rumba... or Burma Shave, anyone?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ZUMBA zapped Speaker Space

I now know about Zumba, a combination exercise with canned Latin-rhythm music conducted by usually lithe, sinuous bodied dames who already look good in leotards. Only because the organizers of the "Electronic Publishing" talk I was booked to give - double-booked the site.

Fortunately a cozier location, surrounded by artworks created by ShakeRag exhibitors and supporters turned poet and writer for the night, was found. A baker's dozen of eager embryo e-book contributors peppered the two-hour gab-fest during a lively Q&A session. The last question posed coincided with my vocal chords reaching rasp-tone, and smile into rictus mode; captured on-camera by somewhat mature "groupies".

The divvy of donations netted a grand total of $15.00 toward the FOL (Friends of the Library) sponsored: "One Book - One Putnam" annual event. I have been assured it is a "milestone amount" in the fund-raising annals for the area.

Take that as you will!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Electronic Publishing - No Panacea For Authors

Tonight I get to blather on about electronic publishing to mosly artists and movers/shakers in the unincorporated community of Melrose. It has one traffic-light, two gas stations, three art galleries and straddles four North-Central-Florida counties.

The vehicle of choice is a four-wheel-drive pick-up with trailer auxillery to haul the ATV/Jon-Boat/Mud-Bogger or showcase an antique Harley Davidson. Every mother has built into her DNA a family-heirloom recipe on how best to prepare grits, greens, catfish and hush-puppies. Folks wear their clothes snug and seriously train for All-You-Can-Eat BBQ-rib contests.

Should be an interesting night!

Here's an outline of some pointers for the next crop of creators.

Shake Rag Electronic Publishing Talk by Jack OwenBlog: http://jackowensdogwatchyarns.blogspot.com/
e-mail:owenobs@gate.net FB:http://www.facebook.com/

Look-up sites
PUBIT - http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/
Kindle - https://kdp.amazon.com/

Pros/Cons: PUBIT - Free. Set price, Large or Small manuscripts, easy upload direct from WORD files, direct deposit to bank account. Cons: - Limited Circulation to B&N

Smashwords - Free, CAN be distributed to ALL reader sites, can pay by direct deposit OR by check, Lengthy FREE Guide to Formatting book online. Cons: Limited mss size/price, difficult to FORMAT to Premium Distribution specifications, Royalty ONLY paid after $75 sales made.

KINDLE - international name recognition, affiliated with AMAZON.com, Free upload: Cons: LIMITED to Kindle users, Limited price setting, limited Size of manuscript. Payment – check policy daily!

Hot-Shot E-authors
Amanda Hocking:Vampires & Young Adult http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/

J.A. Konrath: Hardboild FEMALE Detective http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

Newbie's Guide to Publishinghttp://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/ebooks-and-self-publishing-dialog.html

Speciality Publishing
http://www.mixbook.com/ photo albums into keepsakes
http://www.mypublisher.com/ pictures & prose to Book
http://www.lulu.com/ text,photos,whatever to Book

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fresh Food Doesn't Come Free

Irregular booms and blasts, punctuating the crisp April air, heralds the onset of Florida's Blueberry Season and the annual crop-farmer's propane-cannon battle with birds for the berries

My two bushes don't kick-in 'till later, when the daily ritual picking precedes breakfast; cereals, waffles, yogurt - and maybe a pie depending on who gets the berries first - me or The BIRDS!

This past weekend launched the Tour de Farms created to woo touristers away from coastal fripperies and Disney World fantasy, to the "real" Florida. Few realize its a major food-pantry for the USA; and the second-largest steak-on-the-hoof state in the union.

My luck, some of my closest friends are vegans - or trying to be - and I end up making covert runs into places like The Outback and Beef O'Brady's with other closeted meat-eaters. Guess those who did not live through "meatless" days, and Fish-on-Friday, rationbook coupon cutting and minuscule portions of canned corned beef and spam, really don't appreciate what they couldn't have.

The farmers sub-headed the Tour de Farm "A Slow Food" discovery, in contrast to FAST-Food, high-cholesterol options blasted via TV and Radio Ads 24/7 and the public. Area chefs and cooks from nearby restaurants were featured at some sites, demonstrating "101 Ways to Cook a Potato" - while audiences munched on salt-sprinkled crisps and take-out hamburgers and fries.

Its gonna be a steep learning curve!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Toppled Tree a Kick in the Pants & Pain in the Pocket!

EUREKA! House unveiled from tree canopy

Tuesday's tornadic tree-toppling squall put a hurting on my travel plans for a while. The senior of the father/son team, who removed the trunk during the next two days, was of similar girth.
Shaking hands with him to seal the deal was like high-fiving into a catcher's mitt. They done good - but if I'd had my 'druthers, I'd rather not have income tax, auto and house insurance -- and WriteLink Membership -- all come due at the same time.

Very doubtful if I'll be roaming the shingle beaches of Hastings, UK, anytime soon. I'll be lucky to make it to the Hastings (Florida) First Annual Tour de Farms (true story) midway between here and St. Augustine's Ancient City Tourist Trap, this Sunday, to potato-pick in the hamlet of Spuds.(You couldn't make this stuff up!)

The DIY tour is billed as an educational and epicurean experience, designed to lure tourists away from the shore to explore unheralded farmland hidden behind the rows of shoreline condominiums, gated communities and aquifer-consuming golf-courses. Everything from fancy ferns for floral arrangements, to hogs - and barbecues - and cultivated wild-flower seeds to fish-farms, spuds in the ground, hydroponically-raised strawberries and lettuce, vineyards and a spot of plonk, to blueberries, pies and cream.

Looking forward to a quite day in the country. What could possibly go wrong???

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Enjoy every moment, while you can...

The dark, vine-wrapped live-oak tree trunk, about three-feet thick, missed the roof - and master-bedroom - by THAT much.

A tornadic storm line which swept through Florida yesterday caused physical and financial damage, but none to my frame and tin-roof 1900AD house nor, miraculously, to anyone inside. No injuries or loss of life for "Breaking News" crews to shed crocodile tears over.

The ancient tree, probably with its roots loosened by recent downpours, keeled over under assault from a powerful squall-line, which produced flooding rains, hail and tornado warnings over several states. The tree's upper trunk plummeted between a clump of spindly palm trees,leaving them unscathed. It tore down the main power-line, ripping it from the stand-pipe and meter-box to leave it live in the soaked grass.

Sprawling branches managed to miss making a mark discovered - yet.

The tenants, their three boys and three dogs were unaware of the tumble down for several hours, assuming from the lack of lights, television and other appliances, there'd been a power outage due to the storm. My phone began ringing moments after their discovery!

So much for writing, editing, marketing, researching, filing, interviewing, transcribing, today. A chance (do you believe in chance?)meeting on the way to the house with an obliging FP&L (Florida Power & Light) meter-reader and a short-cut toll-free call through the labyrinth of button-pushing exercises, conducted by a robotic electronic voice, and a real person who responded with empathy.

The guys who showed up shortly after were amiable and efficient and had the job completed within an hour of arrival. Never thought I'd give kudos to FP&L, with its escalating energy costs and bigger bills, but they were primo!

It was a day of unexpected pluses -- compared to what might have been!