A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Sunday, December 30, 2018

See 20-20 Now for 2020!

I've lost track of the number of planners I've tried since I first started to plan. Monthly, weekly, daily...Shirt-pocket, coat pocket, attache size...Planners with far too much room for appointments and too little space for To Do's...I've loved them all in my fashion but found myself starting to drift within months.

If only, I'd think, I could find one that was a sort of all-in-one. A monthly/weekly/daily tool to help me get into, and stay, in high gear.

Amazon Basics has just come to the rescue.

The Moleskine-quality journal comes in two sizes, each priced at $9.99:  5"x8.25"  hardcover (shown) and 8"x11" softcover

Monthly pages: 6 months on 12 pages

Number of weekly pages: 26 weeks on 52 pages

Number of daily pages: 186 days on 186 pages 

The undated pages are a boon, enabling you to begin any time. I started mid-December. And both layout and design are terrific, with space not just for appointments and notes but priorities, habits to learn and reviews.

Two last things:
1) The just slightly oversized 5x 8.25" hardcover version is about the same size as some new hardback books. This reinforces the sense of this being a bonafide book of life. 
2) The 3 in 1 format may take a bit of work at first, but the habit is well worth acquiring. 

I keep my mine with one strict rule: if I write something down, then I do it!

Here's the link, if you're inclined:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Post-Producers Bring Home the Bacon

Get this: Quentin Tarantino has begun post-production on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, for which he wrote the screenplay in 2017. Principal photography began in June of this year and the release date is scheduled for July 26, 2019. So the actual shooting time was 5-6 months, book-ended by long periods of preparation and post-production.

This process is much on my mind nowadays, for there's been a change in my thinking about the writing process. Instead of seeing a work in progress as a long, brutal sequence of drafts, I'v come to see it as a lot like filming:
--Months of outlining, research and 'location' work: scouting the book's best settings etc.
--First draft, the literary equal of principal photography--with all the out-takes, bloopers and footage bound for the cutting room floor.
--Post-production. Anywhere from three to six more months of work.

What does that entail? The second draft becomes my starting point. After this initial cleanup, I have a better idea of the novel's 'running time' and can see if the structure is sound. If a three-part book, for example, clocks in at 300 pages and the first part takes up half of those, I've got a problem to fix.

Once upon a time I would have jumped right on that, jumping into the third draft. Not now. No, now for me is not the time to fix stuff or prettify the prose. Page by page, I'm making way like a post-producer with multi-colored Post-it notes:

Lots of these are filled with questions:
--What is the difference in class schedules between Groups A and B?
--What telling details can bring this character to life?
--What are the size and layout of this room?

Other sticky notes are nudgers:
--Flesh this out.
--More crackle in the dialogue,
--Too soon (or too late) for this clue.
--Maybe this should go.
--This isn't quite clear or quite there.

And still other stickies are fillers for blanks in the first draft:
--Quote on insurance frauds.
--Stats on bad faith insurance lawsuits..
--Menu for high-class cuisine.


So what's the difference, some may ask? Grooving on all three parts of the creative process energies and uplifts me. And I'd feel cheapened if  I cheated on any of the three. By the same token, I'd feel cheated if I cheapened any part, cutting it short because 'writing' is more fun.

Post-production, for me, is a theme park of fun. And it's at the heart of what I do.

If you haven't already, do give it a try. When you're in the post-production zone your brain looks a little like this:

Monday, November 19, 2018

Two Bold and Cool Mystery Departures

                Antiques and Alibis (Cass Claymore Investigates Book 1) by [Jones, Wendy H.]                                                 Realtors For Sale (Sidekicks Mystery Series Book 1) by [Rapp, Diane]

As a writer and a reader, I'm doubly excited to tell you of a pair of best-selling authors who decided to try something different.

Wendy Jones is best known for her DI Shona McKenzie mysteries. Antiques and Alibis is a wildly different delight.


Diane Rapp has thrilled mystery lovers with her High Seas mystery series. Realtors for Sale is equally fresh...in a doggy new way.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Confessions of a Thrift Store Fashion Shopaholic: Part 1

Unlike many of you, I'm not made of money. Again though, unlike many, I turned into a fanatic about building a wardrobe of high-ticket clothes--for which I pay a good deal less than cheapskates pay for crap.

Why would I do this, some may ask, if I can't afford at present to roam the globe or fly first class or even buy a modest mansion?

1) The best clothing doesn't just cost more, The silhouette and fabric, combined with a jacked sense of pride, release your inner tiger.

2) Dress for success, indeed. But we also must dress for all kinds of success. I don't need a slew of formal sportcoats or dozens of button-down plain or pinstriped shirts. What's right for one job interview may not be right or another. I learned a long time that overdressing's as off-putting as showing up in rags. I've also paid steep prices for being wrongly or under-dressed because I lacked a versatile wardrobe.
3) Most people can see the difference between a cheap knock-off at Macy's and a real Armani coat or shirt. After my first book, The Suiting, won a Stoker award, the Canadian tailor who inspired the book gave me a beautiful suit. One day while I wore it on New York subway platform, a conductor hit the brakes and cried: 'Jesus, where'd you get that suit!"
4) That said, how could I get the best quality threads without paying a king's ransom?
I narrowed it down to three choices.

a) I could shop at discount clothing stores like Ross Dress For Less or T. J. Maxx.
b) I could rummage through the sale and clearance racks at big department stores.
c) I could search until I found a thrift store that succeeded in ringing my bells: clean, in a good part of town, with regular replenishment of new and like-new men's clothes.

Why was C the choice for me?
Discount and sale/clearance racks are generally potluck. They include returns, 'imperfects' and onesies or twosies (of a kind) marked down to make room for  new stock. Most often, the things that you want aren't your size. And the no matter how low the clearance price is, it's more than you'd pay at choice C.

Your eyes and nose will tell you if you're about to enter the wrong thrift store for you. If you see grungy carpeting or smell formaldehyde (used by some stores to 'clean' the clothing they acquire), back off. Do not go in. You're likely to get a dreadful formaldehyde hash or take bed bugs home with you. God bless Salvation Army, but shop for your clothes elsewhere.

I found my store in Ballard, an upscale Seattle 'hood. It's clean and bright with tiled floors. Here's a photo taken of the store on its opening day,

My immediate needs for a job search were these: dress shirts, sportcoats, slacks and shoes. Over time I scored on all fronts. These examples are offered to show you a little thrift store math. All of these items were new like-new:
--Dress shirts by top designers or name brands: Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Thomas Pink of London, Nordstrom, Calvin Klein, Brooks Brothers, Kenneth Cole,  etc,
Sale: $12-$18. Average: $13.
--Sportcoats by Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Henry Grethel.
Sale: $9.99-$25. Average: $15.

As I write this post, I'm gearing up to change jobs. At last have the confidence that comes from knowing I've got the right look for wherever I go.

Next week I'll share the brass tacks of how I conducted my search over a six-month period.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Coming November Attractions

I've been remiss in updating this blog. But I pledge to behave in November, I swear.

You'll get:
--An update on my job search and the new strategies I've taken.
--A passionate post on readiness and planning for good luck.
--Secrets of a thrift store veteran and how my killer wardrobe came to include a wool/cashmere sport coat worth $600, 3-dozen designer shirts and an authentic navy peacoat.
--A special post about--(surprise!).

Stay tuned. You're gonna like November.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Peacoat is Going But Not Gone

Say goodbye to the peacoat as known and loved by the Navy--

--and the cons at Alcatraz, who wore surplus peas exclusively by 1962:

What a blow to read this news about the classic double-breasted coat with its too cool collar turned up high:

In 2016, the United States Navy announced that its blue wool pea coats — which had been in use for well over a century — would cease being standard-issue for Sailors. In 2018, a black synthetic parka would be phased in, and by 2020, while Sailors could continue to wear the pea coat as part of their uniform, they’d have to purchase it with their own money.
--The Art of Manliness

It'll be interesting to see how many sailors are willing to part with their money. Depending on the style, peacoats range from $300-$800 new. Here's what I've learned about buying a pea after shopping in stores and online:

1) You'll do well to begin with a trip to an Army/Navy surplus store. Why? Because you'll see and try on the real deal, and learn what $300 will buy you. You'll get the feel of the Melton wool, the stiffness of the wide lapels and classic pop-up collar, the heavily stitched buttons. You'll see the official Navy label with the contract number, etc. Slip your hands in the hand warmer pockets and feel the soft, thick cloth lining that will warm your mitts.
2) Armed with this knowledge, feel free to shop online. I did twice.
    a)The first time, for a hundred bucks, I got what they claimed to be a Mil-Tec US Navy peacoat. Not  Navy-style peacoat. No, the real thing. But the box it came in shocked me: so light, I thought maybe a sweater had come. True, it looked like a peacoat...but it didn't feel like the real deal I'd seen in the surplus store. The wool, I learned, was 50% wool/50% viscose. The buttons were loose. The collar, though it buttoned high, didn't have that classic pop. And the hand warmer pockets? These were lined with polyester, A cheap imitation all the way around. Compare the picture of it with the old-time photo that starts off this post--and weep for what a C-note will buy you:

                                                    Mil-Tec US Navy Pea Coat Black size L

    b) My second online gamble worked out well for me--mainly because I wanted a lightweight slim impression of a pea I could wear to a summer photo shoot. Just 35% wool, it's useless for late fall or winter. But it fit well, looked sharp and won lots of positive feedback. The color shot appears at the top of my blog. The fifty bucks had been well spent but it still left me wanting the real deal.

3)  The third option requires persistence and luck. But thrift stores can offer the real deal on the cheap. Three weeks ago I checked the men's coat section at Value Village. And on that first look, for $25, I found an older pea matching what I'd seen at the surplus store. And I am here to tell you there's simply no comparison between wearing the best imitation and wearing a real Navy pea.

Even if all sailors fall head over heels for the new parka, I think the pea will stay with us for many years to come. Its warmth and rugged rakishness are truly past compare.

I sign off with a gallery of pea loving stars:

If you'd like to know more about buying and wearing, check out the following link:


Saturday, September 22, 2018

On an oddly answered prayer

Last month I set a deadline of August 31, by which time I'd have found a new job for money and full weekends off. And for a while it seemed that I was on a roll: a call from the HR department of a former employer...and then a phone interview which seemed to go well. The next step was go be a call from the hiring manager within the next couple of days.

I didn't count my chickens yet, though everything seemed to be going my way for this as with the other goals I'd set, and met, for August. I had experience, references and a good record for my previous year with the company. On top of that, I'd tested the commuting time to their new office--a problem for some employees--and it was no longer than some past commutes I'd done. So, all in all, it seemed safe to assume I'd be one of the front runners.

But the damnedest thing happened.

They never called. Not only that, the starting woman in HR did not return any of my voice mails requesting a heads up.

The rudeness galled me. I felt down. And it seemed, at lease till next year, that nothing could be done. The one thing that I did do was remind the new department head that I'd been promised weekends off when I was offered the job and had spoken to three people about this.

Long story short: nothing happened.

Nothing happened until Thursday--when I learned I'd now have weekends off starting next Saturday.

It's been an interesting lessons in patience, persistence and flexibility.

Where I am is fine for now. The main takeaway for me is this: sometimes it's not that our prayers are ignored but answered in ways that surprise us.

At the same time, though, I'm prepared to admit:\

Friday, September 7, 2018

Lady Luck Loves Shopaholics

You know what it's like to wait day after week after month after year for the great goddess to bless us with: a new job, a new home, a new lover...

I've done my share of waiting too. But lately I've grown mindful of the number of times Lady Luck did drop by--but I wasn't prepared to receive her.

At this time of my life, though, readiness is everything. So,while casting my bread on the water, I spend much of my free time doing one essential thing: I shop. And I don't mean I just shop for food or even home necessities. The goal's to be ready on all fronts.

Recent shopping excursions::
1) Multiple trips across town to Value Village, Seattle's best thrift store. I scoured the racks for like-new dress shirts, ties and slacks to go to any business interview relating to writing or to a new job. A broad base of shirts is essential for me since I want to wear what is right for my mood on any given day, rather than be forced to choose from of a few things on hand.
2) Big 5 sporting goods store for an exercise mat, rounding out my home gym.
3) Amazon: a good book on body weight core workouts.
4) I shopped for a new strategy to obtain more reviews for my new novel, The Big Bopper.
5) I shopped for a new barber because my current one is out of town and my hair isn't interview-ready.
6) Tomorrow: Office Depot for cardboard file boxes to manage the clutter of papers.

Future shopping excursions:
1) Seattle DMV to update my address on my State /ID.
2) Post Office for a new passport.
3) Contact my cover artist about doing a promotional post card and/or business card.
4) Used furniture store: seating for guests.

And so on and so on and soooooo...Forth!

Live long, shop well and prosper.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Half-Goodbye to Facebook

I've never believed in doing  anything by halves...till now. But when my smartphone died last Friday, I did more than replace and upgrade it. I removed Facebook from my apps.

My issues weren't with Facebook itself. I value my membership and cherish my friends. In fact, I'll post a link to this post there. No, my grievances included:
--The daily deluge of ads
--The junk mail and spam
--The drain om my battery
--The leeching of my time

My time and my attention. I was starting to resemble the FaceJunkies I saw everywhere: my nose all but glued to my phone. On the bus, in the break room, while walking.

No more. I'll check FB only on my laptop, at home. A few minutes in the morning before I head for work, then 15-20 minutes after work on weekdays. Weekends, perhaps a bit longer. But FB's an enjoyable part of my life--not a way of life.

If the change brings a bit of withdrawal, I'll tough it out and ask myself:

I'll tell my new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 'I love you dearly, darlin', but I'm a slave to nothing. I'll check you for messages or emails twice a day and that is all.'

This is my report. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

3 Hot Times Will Be Had This Month: REVISED

Intensity, thy name be NOW. No, rockets aren't exactly lighting up the sky, No bullets whizz about my ears. But wars are waged on several fronts. Here's the news you can expect this month.

Tuesday, August 14
I'll post the results of a top secret attack on a dream that's defeated me for far too long. I'll go up in flames or prevail. Enough said.

Sunday-Monday, August 19-20
The first phase of a Kindle Countdown will offer 5 of my best books for $.99 for two days. Four of the five have new covers.

Friday, August 31
This is the Do By date I've set to land a non retail job for more money and all weekends and major holidays off. Several things have gone done where I work now that led to this decision. And I've gone into action mode. Enough said again. Must avoid Lady Jinx.

See you all on the 10th!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

An Old Book Made Young Again

My first novel The Suiting came out of nowhere and went on to pick up a Stoker Award back in the late 80s. The book was blessed with an elegant cover that suggested the horror beneath the gift box and the catchy pen name Kelley Wilde.

It had its moment in the sun--or, say, the horror midnight: it was optioned for film and cited as one of the 100 most influential horror novels. 

But after three more horror novels, when the market began to dry up, I set out to write my real first love: noir mysteries and suspense. New pen name. New ambitions. But...

After publishing a half-dozen new books online, I decided to reissue at least a couple of the Kelley Wilde novels, bringing them up to my standards today. For the revised 25th Anny edition of The Suiting I did a massive rewrite and wanted to try a new cover. I still hadn't tried a pro designer and was doing my own with the help of friends. This is what we came up with, believing a manga-style would do the job:

Well, I can be a stubborn bastard even when a cover doesn't win a single sale. But in the past few years I've learned the importance of professionally designed book covers. And recently I confessed to having been a meatball and asked my new designer, J.T. Lindroos, to have a try.

We agreed to steer clear of both the original cover's gift box and the manga-style approach. J.T's first attempt was good enough for almost any horror novel:

But it didn't quite work for me. I wanted something suggesting the beauty and elegance of the stolen haunted suit...and the horror it contains. J.T. came back shortly with a pair of stunning designs:


I loved the first. But except for the pitchfork vein design on the back of that right hand, there is no suggestion of horror. Or of the style that I call Glitter Noir. Anticipating my reservation, he'd also sent this second take:

And there it is: the story, the theme and the style at a glance.

I will sin no further by deigning my own covers. 

P.S. If you haven't read The Suiting yet, check out its sassy rejuvenated self.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

MoviePass: Too Much of a Crazy Good Thing

Not to kick a good thing when it's down, even a crazy good thing, but I signed up for MoviePass...then canceled in disgust after futilely trying to use it. I'd taken a Lyft to the theater, since I had to be within a hundred yards on order to check in. No problem there, I was excited by thoughts of the big bucks I'd be saving if I wanted to see a movie a day for each month. Holy wow!

But the app didn't work at the theater. The film and time were shown--but I could not check in. Nor could I get any information from the app--which I learned later was having an outage. Could I contact MoviePass by phone? Uh-uh. The message said they were too busy to take calls.

My first experience with the app and MP's customer service soured me to the extent that I followed the ticket cashier's advice and considered their new AMC Stubs/A-List program. I reviewed the brochure, did some checking online...then checked for complaints against MP. This wasn't the first app outage, I learned, and their customer service received almost universal thumbs down.

I canceled with MP and signed up with AMC's A-List program...and I'm here to tell you I'm glad that I did.

MP's $9.95 monthly fee is half of AMC's fee, it's true. And MP offers a movie a day instead of 3 movies a week. But if you have anything resembling a life, how many films can you see? No, no. Forget 'can'. How many films do you really want to see? And to see these films, are you willing to travel across town on the off-chance that the damned app might be working?

Here's something I think of as much as the math: reasons to go to the theater for movies that aren't big screen blockbusters. AMC's first class approach rings all of right bells for me. I'll pay the charge for the convenience of being able to reserve tickets on my phone and waltz straight into the theater rather queuing in to purchase 'coach' tickets. There are no  blackout periods on hot new arrivals and no restrictions on premium formats: IMAX, 3D, Dolby.

Hats off, from me, to AMC with hopes that it keeps bringing me back to a great joy I'd lost:


Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Electric Cowboy

2018 is already turning into an electrifying year.

From New Year's Day through June, these changes have entered my life:
--The move to a new studio, with everything from rent to PayRange laundry paid online.
--Home internet for the first time in my life.
--Amazon's Echo Dot--with Alexa as my personal assistant and Stage Manager for my place.
--Today, a good as new used Panasonic Blu Ray Player
--Experimentation with Facebook boosts and Amazon sponsored ads.
--Savvier use of smart phone and a widening range of apps
--Acquisition of a MoviePass

As we mosey along on our timelines, it's easy to lose track of the number of ways we've grown stuck in our ruts...or the ways that we've fallen behind:
--The stunned looks I get from the young and the hip when I talk about buying DVDs.
--The even more stunned looks from younger writers when I say I write in longhand, then type it all
up and input corrections through at least five drafts.

Through the remainder of this year I want to take better advantage of some cool-sounding things that are out there. After all, the two lead characters in my new series are still in their twenties, And they'd know of these things so I'd better know too.

Immediate plans:
1) Become Alexa's Lord and Master, empowered by her wizardry.
2) Find a method of converting my scribbled manuscripts to text--Dragon Speaking, One Note, Evernote...?
3) Learn from the kids how to build a music library
4) Learn how to connect my new Blu Ray player to the ethernet
That'll do for now, I think. The new words I plan to live by are:

Know what you want, pony up--and ride, Electric Cowboy!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

On getting what we pay for

What do the following things have in common?

Armani Code Eau de Toilette
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 new replacement battery
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 new stylus
Under Armour compression t-shirt

They're all top-quality items sold as the real deal online...but not what we receive
I'd used Armani Code for years and gotten rave reviews from customers and ladies. But the ood, compliments stopped the day I started wearing the bottle bought from Amazon. It was convincingly packaged and seemed to smell the same. But it had no projection and the scent faded in only an hour.

Sure enough, I did what I should have done in the first place: :checked out the 1-star reviews. Same complaint around the board. So back I went to Macy's.

But I drew the wrong conclusion: that fake toiletries were a class unto themselves.

When my phone battery died, though, I needed a replacement fast. And when I couldn't find one in a brick and mortar store, I didn't' hesitate to order one from Amazon. Not just any old one that was listed. No, I chose a best-selling original new Samsung battery. It arrived in two days and looked like the real deal: neatly wrapped in a sealed Samsung box. But daily the charge it would hold went down: from 90% to 53%...and lower. When I had to recharge it every couple of hours, I ordered a replacement, this time expecting the worst after reading the one-star reviews. One of the reviewers posted photos of authentic Samsung batteries and packaging--with photos of the fakes. (E.g., the backside of the inner wrapping has a Samsung code. My second replacement battery had no inner wrap.)

I could go on. The 'original' styluses were junk, some of them breaking within a few days. And one clever clone maker even mimicked the Samsung shadow logo on the silver top--though they neglected to color it white.

There's no sense blaming Amazon, which can't police all of its vendors and will cheerfully refund any misadvertised merch. Besides, we have ample protection:

1) The 1 and 2-star reviews.
2) Common sense, which should remind us that we really do get what we pay for. If the Samsung store sells a stylus for $30,  we should be wary of buying it online for $9.99. Ditto an authentic Under Armour compression tee--be prepared to spend $30 if you're concerned with quality.

I'm troubled a good deal more by the growing unawareness of the difference between the real deals and their clones in fashion and in art.

Here's to the distinction, with hopes it never dies.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I dawdled, I dogged it--I did it

How you ever finally done something big that you'd put off doing forever? If so, you know you'd reached the point where you could barely recall why you'd waited so long. Perhaps the best reason for you, as for me, was that you just weren't the kind of person who did things like that.

Last week I made a call that's already had a massive impact on my life: I responded to a mailing from Century Link that offered home Wi-Fi at a reasonable monthly cost with no contract and no required bundling. Those were three of the concerns I'd had before the call. A fourth concern was resolved in the call: my fear that I'd need pricey personal help with the modem.

The modem arrived on Friday and was functioning after configuration in a call to tech support. And now, in my new studio, I could do everything I'd had to do somewhere that offered Wi-Fi.

Later that night, I realized that a fifth factor had kept me from making that call: my deeply ingrained sense of myself as a Cafe Writer.

A circumstantial gypsy, always on the go--from country to country, city to city, then back and forth from coast to coast, I'd never had a fully furnished, decent place to live. Till now. Maybe Byron's lines 'And even I/Regained my freedom with a sigh' explains why I hadn't made the call sooner.

But now that I have, I'm amazed at the blessings that have followed:
--I'm no longer dependent on cafe hours and holiday closings.
--I'm no longer forced to compete for tables with electrical outlets.
--The home internet cost is far less than my monthly Starbucks bills.
--My connection is secure.
--With my new work schedule (6 a.m. - 2 p.m.) I get home by 3, with ample time to do my thing.

I'm just missing one thing in the picture below.

That's right. It's high time to look for a cat.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

How I Became a Time Traveler

I didn't need a time machine to go back 50 years in poundage.

All it took was a Vegan diet and persistent exercise over the course of a year to take me back to my high school weight...and my long lost 32" waist.

Last year I got serious because I'd grown too old for clowning around. I changed to a physically demanding job, went completely Vegan and joined a local gym. My weight plummeted dramatically--from 200# to 145# and my waistline, of course, went down with it: from 40" to 33"...then 32-3/4".

I should have felt good for a man of my age. Maybe I should have felt great. I did not, though: the CG (crowning glory) mocked me, as did the mini-roll of lard around my waist.. I bought items for home workouts: an Iron Gym pull up bar with straps for hanging crunches and leg lifts.

The cargo pants I wore for work only came in even sizes, so I wore 34s with suspenders, worn also to hold up my loose 33" jeans. I felt a like a hick from the country. Furthermore, I felt alarmed: my waist had gone down but my weight had gone up from 145 to 150. Still, the Iron Gym bar and straps were already showing results. So possibly, just possibly...

I didn't know. I only knew that I refused to be mocked any more by the magic number.

Yesterday I went to Macy's, half hopeful the weight gain was muscle, not fat, and half braced for heartbreak


I ended up leaving with three pairs of 32" slim fit Ring of Fire jeans and a belt instead of suspenders. And all were had at ridiculous low prices.

I felt back in the day in a new kind of way and ready for brave new adventures.

And here's my highest hope for you:

Don't surrender your own crowning glory to time or circumstance for as long as I did. Don't be too quick in assuming that gravity's against you and that the odds are too high. Don't let even your best friends discourage you. There is a way, there is always a way, to realize your dreams

Spare yourself the misery of waking up daily and telling the face that you see in the mirror:

Maybe next year...or the next year...or the year or the decade that follow...

Start today with confidence that your CG awaits you!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My Date with a Bad Redhead: Week One Summing Up

No, I haven't been invited to the Playboy Mansion yet. But week one of Rachel Thompson's The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Marketing Challenge helped me accomplish a list of cool things.
Focusing on Twitter:
--I fine-tuned my bio and display name, including a hyperlink to my new book.
--I experimented with 'pinning; a Tweet to my Twitter timeline.
--To help build my Twitter base, I began using ManageFlitter's Pro plan for $12/month. It's not quite as user friendly as my old plan from JustUnfollow. But JU is no more and CrowdFire, its replacement, didn't pass muster with me. My main issues with ManageFlitter so far are these: I'm not receiving notice when I've been followed or unfollowed. And I haven't figured out how to organize nonfollowers by date (and I don' want to unfollow anyone I've only recently followed). I've messaged MF about both scores and will update in my next report
--I've also learned o dump blank profiles and inactives.
--I'm learning how to target readers of my genre.
--Rachel provides other invaluable tips for maximizing Twitter use: the proper use of hashtags
, Hootsuite, Buzzfeed, Pablo by Buffer, etc.

The excitement continues to build in week two, which jumps straight into Facebook. The first chapter inspired me to set up an Author page. But let's save that for Week two's Summing Up.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Date with a Bad Redhead

While the year is still young--the year I'd called My Year--it was time for a date with a redhead.

I'd accomplished a lot in 2018
--I'd moved, finally, to a very good address.
--I'd published the lead title in my new mystery series and started work on the sequel.
--I'd succeeded with my plan to garner more revies.
--I'd just won a much better job.
--I'd added the star of my little home: an Iron Gym pull-up bar with arm straps for vertical leg lifts. And in only a couple of weeks I've seen remarkable progress in both my core and abs.


I still hadn't achieved visibility on Amazon and my sales reflected that. Luckily, a Facebook post by Claude Bouchard alerted me to a hot little book written by a bad redhead.

I felt skeptical...until I clicked the Look Inside button. This slender book gets right down to business, beginning in week one with Twitter. Day One alone taught me:
--To stop thinking of Twitter as a primarily a sales tool but more as a channel for networking and visibility, for connecting with readers.
--How to best use new option of a lengthened display name (up to 50 characters), including a hashtag.
--How to jazz up and verb my bio in  150 characters, including a link to my new book, The Big Bopper.
--How to use the Location section as space to add more copy.

                                           Image result for twitter images

My main takeaways from this first chapter: the absolute imperative of a You, not Me, approach, plus simplicity and speed from the heart of the center of Now.  Example: instead of a bio beginning with my start as Kelley Wilde in horror, the names of my trad publishers, my change of direction from horror to noir, my location, this:

Display name: Reb MacRath, #Award-winning Author
In lieu of a bio: I write short thrillers committed to the art of thinking small. At 5'4", my new hero does just that in his own unforgettable way. https://tinyurl.com/y8hf94om
In lieu of location: Of note: My first book, The Suiting, won a Stoker Award and has been called one of the world's 100 most influential horror novels.

I plan to tackle this 30-day challenge one trick, not one chapter, a day.

Here's a link to the Kindle edition, which you'll want to buy instead of the print.

The hard copy comes with a problem, I learned: the scores of useful hyperlinks embedded in the ebook are 'dead' in the printed text. You may not mind retyping, but often instead of a link that's spelled out you'll see Click here, nothing else.

Other than that, it's a terrific little book. And I can hardly wait till I graduate to week 2, in which we get to Facebook.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

On Bettering a Good Address

Well, it took me a long enough to reach this destination, the place I now call my GA.

But last night I removed the last small box from my old studio in Pioneer Square, dropping off my keys. And that was when I could honestly say I'd stopped moving and had moved. From Pioneer Square to First Hill...from the Tooney to the toney part of old Rain City.

Soon I'll post some photos of the hardwood floors, my first writer's desk and the wide open spaces. 
Today I want to toy with thoughts of the shifting that I feel within me.

On all fronts I want my life in harmony with my GA: a fusion of confidence, brio and boldness. I want these three things in my writing, my work, my promotional tacks, my relationships.

Speaking of work, for example...Why am I working for less than I'm worth? And where can I find a position that gives me more funding for ads? Quality of life: how can I get weekends off and holidays with pay?

From the GA an endless chain of linked thoughts commences. And here's the tune I have in mind: