Monday, November 30, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Day 265 - The Winter Holidays

As I type this, the United State has officially reached 13,506,766 known infections of COVID-19, and 270,520 known deaths. Even as we face numbers not seen since April, people had their Thanksgiving gatherings despite recommendations not to do so for fear of spread.

Yet, everyone is looking forward to the winter holidays. Kind of.

In the meantime, we're moving into the new house this week. And of course, Mother Nature decided to drop 2-4 inches on us today.

We've been so careful. We haven't made more than one appointment a day with folks delivering appliances, connecting services, or cleaning the place. The carpet cleaners are supposed to come today. I'm waiting to see if they will be able to come. In the meantime, I'm still laying shelf liner through the house and putting things away.
 
We'll see if the snow is gone by Friday for all the big furniture to get moved.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Good Cheer Holiday Bundle!

I'm thrilled that my short novel A Very Hero Christmas was selected by Dean Wesley Smith to join the Good Cheer Holiday Bundle!
 
What is a Story Bundle? It's a group of e-books made available to the public at a special price. You decide how much you want to spend. If you pay between $5 and than $15.00, you get the first four books. If you pay $15.00 or more, you get all ten books.
 
And you can donate 10% of what you pay for the bundle to Able Gamers, a 501(c)3 charity that assists people with disabilities get the solutions they need to join in of the fun of video games.

Who are the writers involved? How about we start with the oldest gentleman, L. Frank Baum? Yeah, THE GUY WHO WROTE THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ!! Oh, and there's a bunch of award-winning and NYT Bestselling authors involved besides Frank and me.

What format are the e-books? They are available in both MOBI and EPUB. Plus, they are DRM-free, which means you can read them on your preferred device.

How long will this bundle be available? Until December 28th.

Why is this a value? 10 books at a minimum of $15.00 plus a couple of bucks for Able Gamers? That's a lot of light, fun holiday stories for less than $1.50 each.

So, check it out before the holiday crazies hit, and you forget!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgving Prep

I'd hoped to announce a holiday project I'm involved in. Unfortunately, it's been delayed a couple of days.

Instead, I'm working on packing up our house. Tomorrow's big project will be Genius Kid's room. Fortunately, he packed up his gaming consoles before he left for the Army. We shipped his TV and PC to him once he was allowed to have them. Most of his clothes will go to Goodwill because he no longer fits in them.

In the meantime, I cleaned out the refrigerator at the new house and loaded it with Pepsi Zero and water. I just need to take a box of granola bars over with me tomorrow. I'm happy having my own office, but I'm at the point I never want to move again.

Other than cooking, I am definitely taking Thursday off!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Day 258 - Moving During COVID

As the U.S. closes in on 12.5 million infected with COVID-19 and over 260,000 deaths, most of the state of Ohio has gone red. Columbus (i.e. Franklin County) is firmly in the purple range as far as infection rates and hospitalizations go.

Yet, in the midst of this chaos, Darling Husband and I found a darn near perfect house. We're in the process of moving, i.e. taking boxes over before the moving guys haul the big furniture to the new place.

Once everything is inside the new place, we won't be going anywhere for quite a while. Not while the 'Rona rages around us.

Amidst the insanity of moving to a new house during a world pandemic, we will find what comfort we can. And I'm especially thankful for lamburgers and cherry cheesecake!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Disney Refuses to Pay Author!


And this time, it is TOTALLY Disney's fault!

 
You see Foster was hired as a ghost writer by  George Lucas for the original Star Wars novel back in the '70's. Foster then adapted Lucas's unproduced script into the novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye under Foster's own name.

Foster also write many of the movie tie-in novelizations for what was 20th Century Fox, including the Alien franchise. Heck, he's even done move tie-ins for Disney's own movies, like The Black Hole.

Now that Disney bought the rights to Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox, they think they don't have to honor the old contracts. That's not how the law works, but the execs at Disney are banking on their own legal team to outspend and outlast the pesky little writers like Foster.

And they're still making money of Foster's work.

Disney sucks! And this in one of the many reasons I would think twice before licensing some of my properties, much less submit anything to a large corporations.

Look, I understand wanting success, recognition, and acceptance. But bending over and letting big companies have their way with you does not guarantee those things.

And even if you do everything right, like Foster did, it doesn't mean someone down the road isn't going to screw you over.

The only thing we can do is publicly shame the executives at Disney, like fans did with another company Disney bought--Marvel. Here, there's no question about ownership of characters. Foster did the work according to contract.  Disney cannot have all the rights of the companies they bought without accepting the liabilities.

I know, I know. Sometimes, there are exceptions. However, there's a reason Disney discontinued the publication of books, comics, games, etc. that made up the Star Wars Extended Universe. They wanted to go in a different direction, and they didn't want to pay the creators.

But Disney still publishes Splinter of the Mind's Eye, along with all the other movie tie-ins. In fact, they issued a new version in both mass market paperback and ebook. So if they're still using Foster's material, then they should be honoring his contract.

In addition to protesting, you can donate to the Science Fiction Writers of America's legal fund to support Mr. Foster and any other writers being screwed over by Disney

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Amazon Causes Problems Again!


All right. I admit it's not all Amazon's fault.

Here's a HUGE lesson for any of you newbies who haven't started publishing yet. SET UP A BUSINESS ACCOUNT ON AMAZON BEFORE YOU PUBLISH YOUR FIRST BOOK!

You see, my big mistake back in 2011 was not doing that. I published under my personal account. At the time, I didn't know any better, but then most of us indies were a little clueless. We didn't know where indie publishing was going. Amazon didn't have the option to have a business account either.
 
Oh, I finally set up an account under my publishing company's name. There's some advantages to a business account that regular customer accounts don't have and vice versa. Things like generating codes for giveaways instead of gifting books. However, the Prime account costs twice as much.

And everything continued just fine until two weeks ago when Amazon allowed indie publishers to control series' links.
 
Don't get me wrong! I love the fact that we have more control over a series order, add a overall description, and link related books together.

However, the changes can only be applied if all of the individual books of the series are on the same account.

Oops!

Honestly, I've been moving books over for the last couple of years. Slowly.

The recent changes have forced me to accelerate my schedule. So if links aren't working (in the books or on the websites), it's because I haven't gotten them updated yet. But I swear I'm working on it.

And now you know how I'm spending my Thanksgiving vacation!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Day 251 - Another Shutdown Is Coming

People are calling the current COVID-19 uptick in cases the third wave. However, here in Ohio, the numbers have been one continuous wave. An ever-growing wave. There is no trough. There has not been a trough since the first diagnoses in the state back in March 3.

Even worse, we've hit 10 million cases and 250,000 deaths nationwide. Those health professionals who've managed to survive are exhausted. And there are still people calling this a hoax.

With the cold weather settling in the northern states, everyone will be forced indoors and in close proximity. That means things are going to get worse.

A lot worse.
 
Gov. DeWine is talking about another curfew. Other states have already implemented partial or full shutdowns. And we're ten days away from Thanksgiving. That means cases will increase through December because Americans just can't handle being told not to do something.

I don't look at the subdued holidays as a punishment though. As I've been telling friends, I didn't go through the bullshit of breast cancer to be felled by the common cold's pissant little cousin.

We going to start stocking up on things as we move into our new house. Once we're in the new place, we're going to limit our trips out and about. I mean, I'm only going out to medical appointments and food pickup as it is.

It means no holiday celebrations this year. We'd hoped to host a tiny one in the new house, but it's not going to happen. It's just too risky with all the various health problems among the family members. And that's before we add COVID-19 to the mix.

So I have no excuse not to complete a bunch of things over the next two months.

As long as I can stay healthy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Day of Rememberance

It's a shame most people in the U.S. have forgotten how Veterans Day started. A little over a century ago, WWI ended, and people wore poppies to commemorate their lost loved ones.

Americans have changed the holiday to honor all members of the military, alive or dead. I don't have a problem with acknowledging our troops. The U.S. is rare in that it currently has an all-volunteer military. My son is one of those volunteers.

The real problem is a lot of our civilians fetishize the military. They don't treat these men and women as real people. And the weird worship makes a lot of our military uncomfortable.

The point of Veterans Day was to remember all the godawful numbers of dead of the Great War. It was supposed to be a reminder that WWI was the War to End All Wars. Alas, that reminder didn't last long.

Here's to all the veterans living and dead. I pray to all the gods there is no longer a reason for your service.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Half-Price Classes!

WMG Publishing is having another class sale! Yep, you can get any or all of their classes, including the lifetime subscriptions, for half-price. The code for checkout is

HolidaySale
 
 
The code is good for as many classes as you want. For more information, go to Dean Wesley Smith's blog. The sale ends tonight at midnight PST.

The sale has been extended through 5PM PST on November 10th!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

New Short Story Sold and the Fabulous Kickstarter That Will Publish It!

It's been a while since I've even sent a short story to an editor, but now that the contract has been signed, I can announce this.

Please check out the Kickstarter for WMG's Holiday Spectacular 2020! This is the follow-up to WMG's Holiday Spectacular 2019.
 
The difference this year? They've included two more holidays to the Spectacular's schedule: Valentine's Day and Halloween!

And if you're one of my long-time readers, you already know where my story landed. That's right. "A Place at the Table" will be in the Halloween Harvest collection.

This is an awesome way to have stories delivered to you daily via e-mail during your favorite holiday season, or all of the holidays if you choose. So many people loved last year's Spectacular, the Kickstarter funded in its first four hours!

But there's plenty of stretch goal prizes to go! So if you want some excellent reads during the cold, dark days of winter, donate to the Kickstarter now!

How do I know these are awesome stories? I've already read most of them. *grin*