Sucky the Fish

One of my kids named the fish, so I might be spelling his or hers name wrong. I’m not sure. But, I do know Sucky the Fish, did live with our family for a good six months before meeting his or hers maker.

I know this because I killed Sucky. But, it was not intentional.

Several years ago Massachusetts experienced a December ice storm that knocked out power to our house, for more than a week. As soon as I saw the downed trees I called a hotel twenty miles away and rented a suite, beating about 500,000 other people to the punch. It was my finest moment.

Each evening at the hotel, after the kids were asleep, I’d dress like a line man so folks would buy me free drinks.

“Thank you, for all your good work,” strangers would say to me.

“Just doing my job,” I’d reply.

It was the best of times.

Before leaving for the hotel I drained the water in the house to prevent its pipes from freezing/bursting. I had it all figured out. The only problem was I forgot about Sucky the Fish and his or hers friends in our aquarium. What can I tell you? I’m not a pet person.

Upon power restoration I eventually led my brood back home. I entered the house first. Luckily, the kids were fighting, some sibling rivalry thing, so I saw the frozen fish tank first. Sucky and his friends in a block of ice.

“Guys, stop fighting!” I yelled. “Do me a favor go downstairs and make sure the TV is working!” The ploy bought me enough time to open the back door and hurl the entire fish tank into a snow bank.

Minutes latest the questions started.

“Where’s Sucky?”

Without hesitating I responded, “I brought Sucky back to Pet Smart so she would not freeze to death.”

“Good thinking Dad,” the oldest one said.

“She cuaght a bit of a cold, so she might be there awhile,” I added.

The brothers bought it.

A few days later the questions started. “When are we going to Pet Smart to get Sucky?”

“Sucky’s still recovering,” I’d respond.

Eventually, the questions stopped. I had won. I got away with murder, or so I thought.

Then tonight at the dinner table, out of nowhere, four plus years after the freezing of Sucky, my middle one asks, “Did you really bring Sucky the Fish to Pet Smart?”

It was a Santa Claus moment. I assessed whether my son could handle the truth and then I responded, “Of course I did. In fact, Sucky recently died of natural causes after living a long, full life.”

“That’s too bad,” he said. But, I could tell he did not believe me.

I waited for the follow-on questions to begin, but they never happened. My son is getting older. He had intentionally left me of the hook for killing Sucky the Fish.

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4Evah

In 2010 I read a scientific article about a group of researchers at Harvard Medical School that had “reverse aged” a mouse. Essentially, they genetically engineered a mouse to age rapidly. Then after the mouse got old enough to want a Buick and a condo in Florida, they gave the mouse a drug that clipped the tattered ends of its chromosomes and the mouse reverse aged, i.e., returned to its youthful state. Proof being the mouse was later spotted on Newbury Street drinking a ten-dollar beer, his arms around a couple hotties. One of the researchers referred to the outcome as  the “Ponce de Leon Effect.” In truth, the experiment was more about f’ing up a mouse and then un-f’ing up a mouse. But, it was a good story.

The other day I brought my kids to see the Hunger Games movie and they hated it. (I liked it and loved the book.) They could not understand the basis for the child-on-child violence. A few days later, one of my kids was in the hospital for a week with Lyme Meningitis (put it on the list of things you don’t want to catch). He is fine now. While living in amazingly complex and uncomfortable hospital chairs I wrote a short story called 4Evah. It’s about the consequences of living forever, but it has a touch of Lyme Disease and one ups the Hunger Games in its core premise. It’s six thousand words long and it’s not raunchy like my prior work, THE GENERAL STORE. But, that doesn’t mean its a bedtime story…It’ll cost you ninety-nine US pennies to buy it at Amazon.com. Probably worth it. Check it out. Regards, W4$

Remember the Bloody Sock!

I normally blog about self publishing, but today I must digress for my hero, Curt Schilling, is being bashed by the lowly state of Rhode Island for supposedly tanking his company, 38 Studios. It’s not right. And frankly, I’ve had enough. It’s time for Red Sox  Nation to rise up and support our brother, our hero, the man who led the Red Sox to victory in Game 2 of the 2004 World Series with a ruptured tendon in his ankle. Remember the bloody sock?

All Curt did was invest his baseball fortune in a company and then move it to Rhode Island as part of a hopeless effort to revive this backwater state. For, its part Rhode Island contributed a measly $75 million. In turn, Curt put his legend on the line by begging 400 well-educated  employees to leave their real states to move to Rhode Island. Then, when the going got rough, Rhode Island bailed on Curt causing 38 Studios to fail. Worse, Lincoln Chafee, this pathetic little state’s pathetic little Governor, is now accusing Curt of corporate malfeasance.

Yes, it is true Red Sox Nation. A lowly politician is currently defacing our hero. Something must be done.

Because Curt is far too polite to properly bash Rhode Island for its lead role in destroying his beautiful company, it’s time for somebody to say what needs to be said in Curt’s defense. And, I for one am not shy about doing so…

Rhode Island is the crap Massachusetts did not want. It’s not a state. It’s an accident. The best thing that can be said about Rhode Island is that it is small. What does Rhode Island have? Brown Unviersity, a half-ass Ivy League college, and Hasbro, a company that makes plastic potatoes. Give me an f’n break. The Rhode Island’s economy is a joke. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate  is high because its citizens can’t afford cars to leave. The average Rhode Islander is so low tech they think an iPad is a tampon and Andersen Windows is Microsoft’s main competitor. The only reason people from Massachusetts travel to Rhode Island is to have somebody killed or give a dollar to a stripper that looked likes Atilla the Hun. And then there’s Rhode Island’s jewel – Providence. The only difference between Providence and Kabul is one city is populated by backward people that treat woman like dirt, and the other is the capital of Afghanistan.

Let’s face it. There is no good reason for Rhode Island to exist. In a rational world this pip squeak state would have been split in two and forced upon Massachusetts and Connecticut a century ago. But, in today’s world interbreeding worries would make such a deal impossible.

This leaves Red Sox Nation to right this current wrong. I say we follow the lead of Texas, a real state. It knew what to do when its heroes were assaulted. Remember the Alamo?  The time has come for us to do the same…

REMEMBER THE BLOODY SOCK!

5 Stages of Ebook Death

I think it is important for us indie authors to recognize the five stages of ebook death, so we can make proper burial arrangements and then move on in life, no doubt hardened by the experience.

Regarding the burial, I suggest downloading a dead ebook on to a thumbdrive and then interring it in your garden, perhaps with along with a scoop of fresh manure. If you live in the city, I suggest a traditional toilet flush while listening to Danny Boy on your iPod, not the Johnny Cash version. Cremation followed by spreading the ashes at a Barnes and Noble is also and option, if you can find a Barnes and Noble that is still in business.

Based on my experience the death process starts with one month of no sales, and is then followed by months of anguish which can be broken into the following clearly defined stages:

Stage 1: Denial (1 month of no sales)

My book can’t really suck. I’m so smart. It took me so long to write it. Maybe nobody has bought it because they’re too busy. Yeah, that’s it. They’re too busy. I can still get a couple of positive reviews. It can still go viral. Maybe a movie star will read my book and talk about it on Oprah. Yeah, that’s my ticket, Oprah!

Stage 2: Anger (2 months of no sales)

Readers suck. They are so f’n stupid. They only read books about vampires in love and the great battles of World War 2. Amazon is a f’n monopoly that only cares about the big authors. Apple sucks. Microsoft sucks. Democrats suck. Republicans suck. In fact people suck in general.

Stage 3: Bargaining (3 months of no sales)

Dear Mr. Bezos, I’ll list my book for free on Amazon.com, if you agree to make me a best-selling author. If not, I’m off to Apple.com…Mr. Bezos, is that you laughing?

Stage 4: Depression (4 months of no sales)

I suck. I’m so f’n stupid for spending one thousand hours writing a piece of trash that nobody wants to read. How could I be such an f’n idiot. I should have listened to my wife when she told me not to write a book about the joy of refrigerator repair.

Stage 5: Acceptance (5 months of no sales)

I have a great idea for my next book!

W4$:)

Ebook Marketing Options for the Indie Author

Sadly, I am sitting at my computer this morning debating how to promote my new book, THE GENERAL STORE. As a dedicated indie author my options seem to include: giving away ten thousand copies via Amazon KDP, advertising, or Twitter. The KDP thing bothers the hell out of me. I don’t like a business model where you giveaway ten thousand copies of something to sell a hundred, especially if no groupies or world tour is involved. It is also wrecking the value of all ebooks.

I recently had a wealthy person ask me when my next free-giveaway is happening. Here is my new answer. NEVER! Cough the three bucks, cheap ass!

My experience in advertising is not much better. To date, I spend $100 to sell $10 worth of books. I am not the best business person in the world, but my gut tells me this is a very bad return. Personally, I’m not sure I’ve ever clicked on a banner ad out of fear of landing on a Russian web site where my computer would be promptly filled with every trojan, virus, and spybot known to man, including the dreaded blackmail link, “I thought you might want to check out the picture of you with a donkey that’s going around the internet…”

This leaves me with Twitter. TD (to date) TM (to me) Twitter is about ASA (Authors Spamming Authors) who are TBW2R (too busy writing to read.) Frankly, I don’t like the idea of using Twitter to spam THE GENERAL STORE, so I plan to send out a few tweets to announce the book. I then plan to say a daily prayer to the Internet God of ebook virality asking for a “What’s Hot” link. “Our Father (Jeff Bezos) who art at Amazon hallowed be thy name…”