Now Go Away

This is categorized under Writing/Publishing, because this is how I feel about writing. My daughter (awesome, talented writer, check her stuff here and here) writes because she loves it. I write because if I don’t… well…

Now Go Away

See? I’ve done it.

Now head back up the hill.

Take your tail and your paws

And your lupine eyes

All made of silence and night,

Take them up behind that tree,

The big one with the roots

All sticking out.

 

Don’t think I didn’t see you.

Maybe you think I can’t,

But I can.

Out of the corner of my eye

As I walk

And you there,

Always keeping pace.

Waiting with patient breath

For me to try to pretend

That you’re not real.

 

Today I reached

Into the ether,

Again,

Stirred the entropy and

Drew close a handful,

Poured a speck of my tiny life

Right into the core of it

And transmuted it

From chaos

Into order.

 

So see?

There’s your sacrifice.

Now go away.

Leave me alone.

Anyway,

We both know

You’ll be back tomorrow.

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)

Wonderful doge pic and story: Flea

This is Flea:

DSC00038

The post about Flea at the Montreal Dog Blog is about a year and a half old, and I only found it because I was digging deep for dog pics. But it was worth reading.

Go read it, or don’t if you hate good things or if you love dogs and don’t feel like bawling. Yeah, it one of those things.

Goodbye For Now: A letter to my dog

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)

Awesome firearm picture: Wilson Combat 1911

I’m in awe of this custom 1911 by Wilson Combat. It’s gorgeous.

Even their base weapons are far, far out of my price range, let alone these custom jobs.

But just look at it!

In case you have gajillions of dollars and don’t know what to do with them: https://www.wilsoncombat.com/

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)

New tools: 2013 Chromebook Pixel and 4k monitor

At work, I’m nearing the end of my second year with a 15″ Macbook Pro. I love the high def screen enough that I feel a little pain even when I’m working on my dual (but standard def) 24″ monitors for my desktop workstation. It holds true at home too, where I do my writing. Up until yesterday I was using a Dell 13 Chromebook docked into a nice backlit Logitech keyboard, old-school Logitech Wingman trackball and a 29″ standard def monitor.

And when I undock that Dell 13? The screen size and resolution are more than a little painful. It’s rough. It’s a great little Chromebook, and has served me well for almost four years, but that Macbook Pro has spoiled me.

About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to move to a 4k monitor for my home workstation, which was a pretty beefy Linux box running Xubuntu. The problem was that I didn’t want to go through the rigors of getting a 4k video card that would work with my system (bus issues) and then deal with what was less than stellar support for 4k on desktop Linux. At about that time, the wireless died in the system and after several hilariously frustrating attempts to get it working, I decided to just bag it and start docking my Chromebook.

It turned out to be a really good experience.

So, a couple of months ago, I started looking for a Chromebook that would capably drive a 4k monitor. There aren’t a lot. In fact, there is only one. The HP Chromebook 13. Reviews on it were mixed, and with the high def screen option, it was over $500. One of my friends told me that he’d bought one, didn’t like the build quality and returned it. He’s a maniac when it comes to devices, and I trust him. So the HP 13 was out.

The Samsung Chromebook Pro is coming out sometime soon, and it has a high def display. This same device-hungry friend as the Plus model and really likes it. I tried it. It’s fine. The Pro will cost around $600, and it pained me to pay that for a Chromebook.

Of course, the flagship of all Chromebooks is the Chromebook Pixel, Google’s Own Special Computer. There was a model made in 2013, and an update in 2015. They’re expensive ($1200+). Superior build quality. Amazing (backlit!) keyboards. High def screens.

Because I work at Google, I was hoping we had some kind of “buy the 2015 remainders because we don’t sell them any longer” program, but alas we don’t. I started digging around the internets, and learned that you can buy 2013 Chromebook Pixels, New-In-Box, for around $340. How are they still new? No idea. But they are.

I found a site (blinq.com) that carried them. They were a Google Trusted Store, and had a “return within 30 days even if you just don’t like it with no restock fee” policy, so it seemed about zero risk to order one.

So I did.

I’m now set up with a new 2013 Chromebook Pixel, driving a Samsung 4k display over the Pixel’s mini DisplayPort. I have the Pixel pushing somewhere between 1080p and 4k to the monitor, and it looks fantastic.

So if you’re in the market for a Chromebook and your top two requirements are high def display and backlit keyboard, this can be had (along with the superior build quality) for around $350 in the 2013 Chromebook Pixel!

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)

Category and possible cover change for LFBD

Even though LFBD is “Urban Fantasy” by the standard definition, when it comes to Amazon categories, it probably isn’t the best fit. I didn’t really discover this until I started working with Amazon’s marketing services and their Sponsored Product Ads. It really got me digging into their product hierarchy and look around at what others would see if they started at LFBD and browsed around. The top seller for almost the entire first page of “Urban Fantasy” on Amazon? Harry Potter.

Yep.

So, that’s not really somewhere you want to be. I started digging around and looking at the other books that people who had purchased LFBD had also purchased. I noticed that LFBD had a lot more in common with the books in the “Dark Fantasy” category than they did with Harry Potter. I changed the book’s category, and immediately sales picked up! That’s a good sign.

My quest right now is to tune things like ad content, categorization and the book’s landing page to actually start making money from the ads. The ads are generating consistent sales, but they’re not enough to cover the cost of the ads. Obviously, that’s not a sustainable business plan. However, as I’ve refined these things, I’ve gotten closer to breaking even. The hope is that getting all of this stuff just right, and continuing to build a base of good reviews will result in a virtuous cycle and profitability.

With that in mind, I’m thinking about changing the cover art. Originally, I’d gone with a classic 80’s layout. Looking at the competition in “Dark Fantasy” on Amazon, I’m making it more modern. Here’s the original, and what I’m thinking about doing:

      

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)

Transformative Paraphysics: Summary

This evening I finished the initial chapter-by-chapter synopsis of Transformative Paraphysics. It clocked in at around 6,200 words. The original LFBD synopsis was upwards of 10,000 words, but I think I have a better handle this time on my shorthand, where to expand and where I don’t have to. Much like doing the LFBD synopsis and writing the actual novel, problems seemed to solve themselves as I was writing it, and things happened that all either made thematic sense or suggested ways that they could when actually written.

I’m going to release the synopsis to a few beta readers who are interested, get some feedback, address weaknesses and issues, then drive it to a conclusion. After that, I start actually writing.

Really looking forward to delving back into that particular stream of mind that creates details out of pure nothingness and puts it on a page!

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)

Weapon of the Week: Beretta Over/Under 12 Gauge

Beretta is an Italian gun manufacturer that has been in business since 1526. 1526! They make everything from tiny, super-concealable, relatively inexpensive .22 pistols (I have one) to high end shotguns. That’s what we’re looking at today. Every year, my employer takes the entire office on a ski resort trip for two days. One of the activities is sporting clay shooting. The resort (Seven Springs) uses the most excellent Beretta 12 gauge over/under shotgun. Mechanically, they are very cool, with the first pull of the trigger firing the upper barrel and the second firing the lower.

But really, these things are more like works of art than weapons. Take a look:

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)

Pittsburgh Pic of the Week: Schenley Park

The big battle in the middle of LFBD takes place in Schenley Park. It’s a fantastic urban park with all kinds of areas, and I’ve included a few pictures below to help you visualize it.

Here’s one with a dog. I’m pretending it’s Babd:

and finally…

Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)