No More School Readings or Chapters/Indigo

No more school readings or Chapters Indigo signings. After several school readings of my young reader stories, I have decided that teachers, although eager to bring in a writer, ultimately do not appreciate it. I take time to prepare, try to make my presentation entertaining, and do not charge any fee.  The teacher buys one copy (photocopies it) and shares it among 100 students. Do I even get one review for my effort?  I’ve asked, but the request gets forgotten.   There’s no spike in sales after a reading.  The kids don’t buy books, it’s their parents who buy them for the kids.  I’ll spend my time working on my next project.  So it further reinforces the fact that people do not appreciate free stuff.

This weekend, Sat. 23rd I’ll be at the Stony Plain Farmer’s Market with all my books.  Chapters Indigo takes too much of a % for me to sit around and harass people walking past.  I still have books at a few of their locations.   Anyhow, that’s the life of book marketing.

 

 

 

 

Old Flames will be back

Old Flames will be back

Bookkus Publishing tells me Old Flames will be back as an eBook and a paperback later this spring.  It’s quite different from Final Response as it has a hot romance with high school  sweethearts igniting the flame again.  Bookkus tells me it’s their favorite.  I released Old Flames only as an an eBook two years ago and received some fine reviews.  Women liked like this one a lot.  This will be my second Canadian firefighter novel.  No one does it better.  Click on the link for a look at this compelling story.  http://www.yatscoffbooks.com/firefighter-books/old-flames/

Old Flames will be back

Old Flames will be back

Go NOMAD travel article

So in my last post I got pissed off at the state of travel articles and went on a tear submitting my bull fighting experience in Lisbon around to a few places.  And I got a bite.  The original 749 word article hit the right chord and the editor told me to bump it up to 1200 words for a feature.   So Bullfighting Portuguese Style, or something like that, will be a GoNOMAD Travel article.  I had to post my photos at Google Plus so if any of you would like to see them the link is:  https://goo.gl/photos/yTVGHbrFC4rqSLAp7       

Style and bravery. The bull ultimately lives to trot off at the end

Style and bravery. The bull ultimately lives to trot off at the end

The venue was the fabulous Campo Pequeno

Lisbon Bullfight (167)

Travel Writing Bullshit

Travel Writing Bullshit

Major newspapers these days are quickly losing their relevance to the internet.  Notably are the travel sections.  I’ve had a few travel articles published in newspapers and a few more on websites. News papers are tough nuts to crack.  Here’s what an Edmonton Journal newspaper editor said:  In fact, the Postmedia policy is that any freelancer who publishes work that’s bought by the chain (as opposed to picked up from one of our other wire services, such as CP or AP), is credited as a Postmedia writer for that piece. So, short answer: yes, we still publish freelancers.  Longer answer: I have an extremely limited budget for buying freelance travel pieces, yet it’s the section that gets the most queries.

The large majority of travel articles are written by full-time writers of wire services who have large budgets.  Major newspaper subscribe to these and pick and choose which ones they want to appear in their travel sections.  Heard of Queen’s song ‘Radio Gaga’  Same thing, in return they get travel writing bullshit, gaga, kaka, where the tame writer takes the hand-holding tour and offers little insight.  If you don’t have a similar budget you’ll get little pertinent info from those.

Staying in $200 a night hotels?  Come on, few people I know can afford this.  Taking hundred dollar tours that can be done on a city bus?  You won’t get the free drink but its a money saver.  In Lisbon, Portugal I saw several people with Lonely Planet books and it made me smile. That is a budget guide.  Smart people.

Cruises may be fun, but please don’t tell me you’ve gained some insight into the local life.  Five hours on a snap visit doesn’t count.  My limited experience with cruises is being on land when three ships dock and the island is flooded with tourists.  I try to catch a cab there and discover the fares have skyrocketed.  Obviously, every local in the port is looking for your wallet.

And all-inclusive resorts?  I stayed at one–once.  They are curiosity-crippling places where they warn you venturing outside will be your death and the local food ‘out there’ is bad.  Yeah, like the locals are going to poison the cabbies and their friends and neighbors.  Yet many people returning from these resorts catch intestinal bugs, wrongly blaming it on airline ventilation.

I’ve read articles that are obviously dialed in.  This is not hard to do especially with all the info available on line and Google Earth.  Another article, just recently, told of a couple who were so stupid they were ripped off at the Cancun airport for a $195 USD cab ride and at a public beach paid for a snorkeling ‘guide’.  One writer was on some dialed in bogus bike tour of Vietnam and didn’t even know most of the Ho Chi Minh trail is in Laos.  They obviously didn’t ask around or do their research.  Stupid is as stupid does.  The picture here is an example of pertinent info. Fado in Portugal is traditional folk music, mournful and soulful, mostly on acoustic guitar.  Some places charge you to hear a musician in small venues.

Why not some Fado music with dinner? No cover charge.

Why not some Fado music with dinner? No cover charge.

 

Why not listen to Portugal’s Fado music while having dinner?  No cover charge.  A few restaurants in the old town offer this.  Follow the tram line east, stay right and keep your eyes open.

 

Terrible but tasty fish

I was walking past the deli in Funchal, Madeira Island and–WTH is that?  It’s the espada or black scabbard fish.specific to Portugal’s Madiera Island. Thank heavens it tastes better than it looks. Terrible but tasty fish.  Madeira Island  (2)It makes for a tasty sandwich but you have to close your eyes before you bring it up to your face,

Portuguese author – controversial book

So my wife and I are in Lisbon on March 8th having dinner at a window seat.  Across the street there’s a crowd gathering with police, security, and TV cameras.  It turns out to be a book store and we figured it might be a celebrity author such as Yann Martel, Life of Pi guy, Canadian author of The High Mountains of Portugal.  We moseyed over there, curious about the cops outside the doors.  Turns out it is a book launch by Portuguese author Henrique Raposo for Alentejo Promised A store clerk said the book is about  a journey through his memories, and the family, a journey that begins in the summer of 2015 with the return to the village of grandparents, on the coast, the purpose of marriage to a cousin.   Apparently, 2,200 people signed a petition not to publish it as it makes their state look poor and uneducated.  The area has a high crime rate and many rapes and assaults and is treated very casually by its denizens.  The author had death threats so there was five security guards in the store and  four cops outside.  It was interesting.

https://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.publico.pt/culturaipsilon/noticia/alentejo-1725151&prev=search

Amazon book reviews – news

Whenever someone bought any of my books I told them I’d appreciate a review on Amazon. Not that many did. Amazon reviews are important for new writers as the company circulates an author’s book more as reviews come in, good or bad.  So I was doing okay with reviews getting posted.  Amazon discovered there zillions of  phony reviews on their site and came up with a new Amazon review policy.  I even posted my Goodreads reviews on Amazon even though I bought the book at Chapters or got it from the library.  Now, Amazon will only post reviews if you bought the book from them.   That is bad news for me.  So if you’ve posted a review on my books I’d appreciated you reposting it on Goodreads.  Or better, buy another book through Amazon.

Arthur Ellis Crime Award entry

The Arthur Ellis Crime Awards are for Canadian crime authors and have a few categories for entries. I spoke with a small Calgary publisher over a year ago who said she’d take all my juvenile stories, but I think she got busy and forgot all about me as she has her own series that she does crazy marketing on, so I’m submitting mine around.   Kids and adults are saying Voodoo Bully is a very good juvenile story, so I figured on putting it up against others.   It has plenty of crime in it, from killing cats to extortion of public officials to pollution.  I looked at the entries so far and I think I have a good chance.  Arthur Ellis, if you’ve got any decency, pick my story.

Archie’s Gold is going into the Alberta Writers Guild awards, pretty quick. The story was accepted by Tundra Books years ago but cut after two years.  I entered The Far Bank in that Guild contest years ago and one judge said it had poor placement of 42 commas.  Another said my characters shouldn’t be mocking the town drunk (the boys threw him a donut).  The third judge LOVED IT! So that’s what I’m dealing with. The Guild is heavy on literary writing.

 

 

 

WriterPalooza Nov. 10th

WriterPalooza  & Book LaunchWriterPalooza is ready to roll on Nov.10th at the Beaumont library 6-10 pm.  I will continue with my book launch for FINAL RESPONSE there.  I have 10 or so books left.  I’ll also be selling and signing my young reader novels.  Every fall, Alberta Culture Days promotes artist stuff and I was in the one in Beaumont with Diane Tolley.  We were overwhelmed by the visual artists there and I think she sold one book of her many.  We were also promoting the anthology MOB HIT ON MY GRANDMOTHER’S DOG where we have short stories.  Maybe three people came to our table.  So I suggested to Andrea who is the library events coordinator that authors should have their own night and she came up with WriterPalooza.     I’ve rounded up 8 local authors to appear as well.  I couldn’t attract a few others who have books such as K.C. or Christine or Heather.    So, we’ll see if Beaumont is interested in authors.

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