Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Monday, April 23, 2012

The god in the machine goes 'Ding!'

The Web experiment here continues with the upgrading of my website from free to Pro status.  By doing this, I've graduated from a company sponsored subdomain to my own domain:  http://www.southernscotch.com/

I've also gotten rid of the Webstarts banner at the bottom of each page and have expanded my page capacity, etc.

Webstarts fed my site info to the search engines, resulting in a near-instant appearance of Reb, instead of Rob, MacRath listings:  about 2 pages' worth already.  For an additional fee, later on this year, I'll acquire  monthly feeds, guaranteed to drive 'massive traffic' to the site.

I'll post further updates when I'm better able to gauge the new results.  Next step will be to add a page that changes monthly, bringing visitors back (fingers crossed).

Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What is it about you that thrills us all so?

Your adventures are always a source of delight.  From coast to coast, word speeds and smiles appear on even children's faces:
--The thought of you seated in Starbucks, at work on the novel or screenplay that will bring you a fortune and change desperate lives.
--The famous way you hold your cup, turning it in tiny moves as you concentrate.
--The intricate ways that you balance your work and your relationships.
--The books you read!
--The films you see!
You are always on our minds.  And thoughts of what we might accomplish together--

Hold it!  Stop right there!  Do you see what's happening here?  Have you followed the progression from the loveliest word in the language--You--to the subtle bridge word--We--to the word you must know in your heart will come next--I?  You've been softened by You and the subtle use of We has planted the sereedling thought of mutual self-interest.  So I, when the word arrives, is not the same unwelcome guest it would have seemed if it showed first with a great blast of trumpets.

Yet query after query starts with I when the cold fact is:  Nobody gives a damn who you are or what you want until you've made them care.  And the easiest way to do that is to think, think hard, about the You who's under siege at his/her desk, flooded with letters and emails from incompetent, blundering I's.  Keep that in mind and it's simpler to care about You's plight and to work around You's defenses.  Play, play lovingly, with You...gently proceeding to We...and then--

Alacazam!  Hello there, it's I!   And now that I've got your attention...



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The ebook has arrived...almost!


The cover has arrived, with help from Douglas Cobb and his wife Beth.  And the final formatted ms. has been sent off to Amazon.  The ebook should be available on Kindle by tomorrow, Thursday, with hopes that you enjoy.  I'll be posting in more depth about the whole experience this weekend.  Cheers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Eat at Reb's: A Different Take on Websites

My new website is an experiment that should interest some of you.  Tomorrow we may well be stars.  But today we're not.  And if we face that fact, our websites may help us get more quickly from point A to point B.

Here's my site address:  southernscotch.webstarts.com

You'll note that this is a free site, for now.  When I upgrade next month, the webstarts ad will disappear, along with their name in my address.  And the upgrade will include feeds to Google and all the major search engines.  That's great.  And I may tinker with site content as my new books show on Kindle and reviews begin to come in.  But I won't change the site philosophy for some time to come:

At this stage I need an eyecatching billboard on the information speedway:  one that says, in effect, Eat at Reb's...outlines the menu and prices...and, vitally important, suggests the sizzle that goes with the steaks.  What I don't want at this point is the stay-for-hours website that bestselling authors require.

So the billboard will work fine for me.  And, you never know, it might work for you too.

Meantime, be sure to Eat at Reb's!

When Do You Really Own Your Work?

Don't be too quick now to recite the standard answer:  that it's copyrighted--therefore, yours--as soon as it's completed.  Real ownership, the kind that counts, consists of more than that.

I got to thinking about this after reading The 50th Law...and I've kept thinking about it in my daily card games with my dear friend 50 Cent.  According to 50, real ownership begins within: a fierce commitment to living on our own terms and producing our work our own way, in accordance with our own high standards.  So far, so good.  But if I do that and then stick my work in a drawer after 50 rejections--or, worse, without even submitting at all because I fear readers' reactions--then I can't claim to own my work.  I'm owned, instead, by my thin skin.  Likewise, if I've copped out in the writing and not met my high standards, if I've caved into demands for changes that betray my work, if I've written sloppily...then I don't own it either.  I'm owned by the need for more money or the need to please somebody.

These thoughts are greatly on my mind as I make my way through Desert Storm, the works I produced in The Desert.  I allowed them to sit in a drawer for too long.  My talent, like anyone else's, is a loan of sorts from life.  For the duration of that loan, I'll honor that loan by owning, as best I can, my work.

And life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Will You Lead With Your Right Or Your Left?

So!  You've written a bevvy of beauties and you hardly know where to begin as you set to e-book your way through the game.  I certainly wondered, I'll tell you, with about ten books I'd written during my time in the desert, pounding that hellish hot sand.  The books fell into main groups:  dark little Christmas thrillers and crime novels.  One of the crime novels seemed the safest thing to lead with.  Logic talking.  Business sense. 

But between the two groups stood the strangest book I've ever written, THE VANISHING MAGIC OF SNOW:  a thriller about the recession...magic...stage rivalry...draft dodgers in Canada in the Seventies...the Canadian literary scene...revenge...time travel...and one man's fierce attempt to become the first two-fisted, straight Oscar Wilde.  And this is the book that I chose for my upcoming Kindle debut.  Why?  Gut reaction.  Instinct.  And, I confess, amusement at the persistence of this weirdling's vocal yammering to be first.  I yielded only to the left brain's insistence that I fit the odd bird into the Christmas camp and change the tale's D-Day from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

For the second ebook, I'll lead with my left and put out the first of the crime tales featuring Boss MacTavin, a rugged 'Southern Scot'.  This is a genesis story that should make a fine independent read while providing valuable background on Boss if THE ALCATRAZ CORRECTION does make its way into print.  Left brain leading once again:  TAC, I believe, has far more commerical appeal.  Then again, if TAC doesn't find an agent, I'll have prepared it for Kindling.

Then a Xmas thriller.  Which?  I'll follow my heart.  Left, right, left, right....What a groovy dance is art!