Archive | books

drive she said

adding-a-hard-disk-1-1 I have written a lot of posts this week… in my head… the census job put me on the road on the nice days…the days we have had with excessive heat, i did the sensible thing, i hid in the house. no a/c in the truck and the radio is also gone bye bye… so i have started filling my kindle fire with audiobooks…actually besides podcasts i only keep one audiobook at a time in the Kindle… but I have been ripping cds from the library to my 2 TB External Harddrive like a maniac. I don’t want to be caught short…if i don’t have something playing i get into loud arguments with the GPS..damn bitch tries to send me to places like schoolyards.

The books I can’t get from the library, I buy ON CD… i really can’t rationalize buying a digital file from that’s just a very expensive rental service. i want the CD to hold in my hand in case i corrupt that digital file and want to reinstall it. Granted storing all the ones I already own is a pain in the ass, but i only have a two small boxes at this point. My rule of thumb is to only buy and keep ones that i will bother relistening to. Which is a surprising number…. i have relistened to a LOT of my audiobooks, books that i would never have reread on paper. Of course it all depends on the reader…a good reader makes all the difference.

Same thing with podcasts – the really good interviews are worth a rehearing… Marc Maron’s interviews with Louise C.K., Aisha Tyler with practically anybody, Greg Proops with himself etc…Alton Brown Now has a podcast on the Nerdist channel, that’s shaping up nicely.

I need to renew my carbonite back up/cloud storage subscription so i can access that Harddrive from WIFI …i loved it when i had it…but the external drive costs extra. But its on my to do list. Right up there with getting a larger hard drive.

pavlov’s book


i told you i can’t be trusted with money.. when i get a little money i buy books… and i did… i had a good sale today…which didn’t mean i had extra just meant that i was feeling self indulgennt…after 3 days of migraines, panic attacks and crying jags…i hate fucking hot weather and i hate all my pets and my home and my wardrobe…i hate it all… somehow i my sleep i got poison ivy between two fingers  – weird huh? …i hate the entire lot of it.  but books are sacred…i can always rationalize buying more.. i can’t rationalize buying EXPENSIVE or Collectors items…. but i try to buy reading copies that retail some value…which can be a challenge…

After half a sucky day in the road melting for the Census bureau… i’d only been out in the freaking weatehr for 4 hours, but couldn’t WAIT to get in the shower and in my reading chair in front of a fan in the dark with my remote in my fist.  And once I did…i pretended to work while i surfed the net…and loaded up my netflix queue… then i found that the 1st season of Bourdain’s Layover was streaming ….it wasn’t bad enough that i was immediately hungry for a fried hot dog..but the mutherfucker went into bookstores…which made me hit the pause button and watch the titles he was checking out…i had nearly all the books except for the Bemelman’s food essays  which for some reason i missed out on…

So I pulled the laptop over and ordered two books that i may or may not finish.but my life couldn’t go on without them… well at least it felt like that… my little case of OCD usually demands instant gratification…I want the book, i search for the book, i find an original edition with a dust jacket…i buy the book and in a few days I will GET the book..and finding packages in the mailbox is infinitely more fun than putting them in the mailbox and watching the mail carrier ignore them and keep on walking…

the adventure of beans, beans . . .

I discovered that the library where i do all my research at has a copy machine that does scanning as well…and i mean SCANNING, like scanning entire books to multipage pdfs. That is going to save me soo many hours.

I have a couple of books, i want to get digitized by the end of the year…as well as a fat book on women journalists…and a suprize entry..Secrets of New England Cooking which was my go to references for 18th and 19th century recipes. Turns out it is in public domain. So i scanned it which is the 1st step towards digitization. The next is transcription..which is so much faster from a digital version. I am planning to have a nice selection done by the end of the year… I promised the Farm Store I would give them a spinning rack by late september, hopefully I can afford it.

I spent too much time reading this book today, and ended up throwing a pot of baked beans in to cook. As carb filled as old tyme New England Cooking is, you have to admit it is cheap and filling. It is also the menu of my youth…aside from a dozen back of the box recipes, and a small cluser of Canadian recipes, my mother was a basic Yankee cook. Clam Chowder, Baked Beans etc… She wasn’t a very adventurous cook, but i survived…and became an adventurous cook. Now the wheel has come around and I am relying on the simple recipes that I can cook with my eyes closed.

remembering the rack

Look what I found!

These were making me CRAZY. I remembered them from when I was a kid. They had been VENDED ON A SPINNER RACK in tourist locations as souvenirs. I remember them vividly, or at least I remember standing in front of them begging my mother to let me buy them all. When I started publishing the SicPress series THIS was the image I had in my head. I kept trying to explain to people that these were not vended like other book series at bookstores. I wanted to replicate the image in my head of a spinner rack filled with local titles.

Now comes the interesting part. Once I found these few copies on the shelf at a local library I had enough to look up the rest of the series. I had remembered nothing about them, except that they were local titles. The series was called New Historical Series, with many of the books written by the same man. Turns out that these were from the late 60s and 70s out of Wakefield, as stapleback pamphlets. But the ones by Leo Bonfanti, which is most of them, became part of another series of books from OLD SALTBOX publishers in Danvers, somewhere in the 90s….Which I had seen many times on the shelves at the GLOBE CORNER BOOKSTORE in Boston, which no longer exists.

I don’t know why I didn’t put 4 and 4 together. Old Saltbox STILL vends their books on spinner racks in tourist locations. The strange part is that they haven’t expanded to include the internet. Their books appear spartanly on Amazon but not vended by them, usually by third persons at inflated prices. From their website, it looks like they are still pretty cheap. Now My brain is adding 4+4+5….I’d like to get the library and the farm store to carry MY OWN spinny rack, but these would also be a great profit making books as well, especially I used them to shore up my own titles. I think MORE local interest books is always better than less.

It’s an interesting bit of information, I wish i was better funded I would definitely buy these and distribute them, along with my books.

impression is everything

I KNOW I had all of tolkien’s work in paperback…i KNOW I did..cause i read em. But they aren’t on my bookcase. I must have culled them in a fit of cleaning. I probably WON’T reread them again cover to cover again, not in paperback. But seeing the HOBBIT the other day reminded me WHY I keep some of the books I Like even if I won’t be reading them again.

So stupid me who really shouldn’t be wasting money started cruising online for cheap replacement copies. I had my heart set on THIS particular series edition, the one I actually read. The Ballantines with the art from the 60s and 70s. Alas it is REALLY hard to find exact editions online…most people when listing cheap copies don’t indicate cover art nor all the information from the verso. Why bother for a book under $5 and listed by ISBN, there are very few idiots like me who are insisting on a certain LOOK for their BOOK. But if I am going to replace MY COPY and look at it everyday, I want it to make me smile.

I did find a SET of Lord of the Rings very very cheap, even with shipping they were under $7 for all 3. It only the 1965 date listed but when it arrived it was a mixed bag of covers. But continuing to search by keyword combinations I THINK I found all three with the cover art I want. They should arrive soon

Yes I hang my head in shame that THIS kind of thing taunts me and that it becomes an overwhelming desire to accomplish the task. I wasted about $20 on the orders…which some weeks is a lot of money. My rationalization is that I don’t BUY as many books as I used to, and I have been culling so much over the years that the books I KEEP should be ones that DO make me smile when I look at them.

A lot of the books I KEEP are particular editions. Their physicality is just as important to me as their contents. In some cases I have been know to eschew a hardcover edition for a paperback one. Especially if the paperback edition, takes up less room or in most cases took me a while to find.

I certainly won’t trade a paper copy for a digital one. In fact if I read something digitally that I Like, I would replace it with a paper copy for the shelf. Or at least I intend to If i read something digitally that I like. So far, it’s just stuff.

goal post

It seems if I am busy I don’t think to blog something, if I am not busy the odds are good i’m too depressed to think of something creative. Monday I did the spay/neuter clinic until late, typed until late, Tuesday I went back to the clinic to help install a new floor until late, Wednesday..damn i can’t remember most of Wednesday, can you? I do remember typing and typing.

I manage to push The History of the First Church of Methuen to proof phase and now I am trying to get some more material transcribed.    On the PLUS side, the local farm stand – slash- store has agreed to carry all my books whenever I get around to buying a spinning wire rack.  But I already decided to bribe myself . . . I can’t buy that unit until I have 24 titles ready to fill it; so about 5 more to go.    Tomorrow I am furthering my research on the Short Historical Works of Robert H Tewksbury…dead these last 113 years, he left some scattered writings that are screaming for collecting. I also have my eye on five or six other titles…the GOAL for 2013 is to have the spinning rack in the store well before November 1st, which includes the store owners’s grandmother’s two historical fiction novels.   It’s good to have a goal right?

My goal for today was to actually get a lot more material typed….alas the universe had other plans..the weather is warm and I was gifted with a smacking migraine.  It is probably my own fault, i stopped drinking Red Bull, Coke and Pepsi etc.. a few months ago, thinking I could keep the migraines at bay if the only caffeine I am getting is in the headache pills.  I’m a little pissed…if I am going to get them anyway, I may as well be drinking what I like.  On the other hand my electric tea kettle IS getting an extra workout, perhaps I need to be making my tea with caffeinated water?

Tomorrow I have a luncheon date to get ONE of my titles into a giftshop in Andover…i need to do more other titles outside of Methuen and Lawrence, not going to get rich this way am I?




what i should have known before i learned

So i woke up in at 4 am the other day  and started typing…i had this idea for another ‘book’ — i don’t know why i insist on putting book in quotes or calling them anything else.  But i’m a tech writer i LIKE writing instructions, and my brain thinks BOOKS should be something more than that. Whatever..i started typing an outline for a book of information i wish i had when i was 17/18.  Stuff that i had to learn along the way, and felt like a goof for not knowing.     it started off with stuff like Change a tire, balance a checkbook and has spun out of control into something a bit more.  right now a lot of chapters are blank,  i did have some material i could work into it.  But I am doing a lot of stream of consciousness typing to get it on the page.  I have a lot of researched practical information to work into my opinionated text.

Working retail bookselling for 15 years and then all my crappy oddjobs I got to see a lot of X gen, Y gen and millenials….They are hitting the market and still living in mom’s basement comfortably playing with their WII and W.O.W. , while having absolutely no intention of changing their lifestyle just because a calendar is telling them to grow up.  Fine.  So far the working title of my next book is called ‘How to Fake Being an Adult’  at least that’s the title it has right now.  When I get to the end It may have another but I’m partial to that one.

This section I wrote a few minutes ago – it’s just a draft.  But you get the idea of what i’m writing:

Drinking — Adults don’t like drunks, not tipsy, not I’m-gonna-be–sober-in-two-hours but flat out everything’s funny, including breaking things drunk. Drinking is fine,  for most people it is a pleasurable social exercise, but overdrinking is frowned upon.  

  • Adults view drunks as a problem. Adults don’t like problems.
  • Drunks can’t be controlled or predicted, they have surrendered their judgment.
  • They are hazardous and break things by accident.
  • They are potentially dangerous, not just driving.
  • Drunks can hurt themselves and not even realize it.
  • Someone has to elect to ‘parent’ them until they are back into a safe environment, hopefully their own home. 
  • Congratulations you have now ruined your evening and everyone elses.

 Find your limit, stay under it.  Hit it and stop.

If you and your friends are having a great evening IN, sitting on the floor drunkenly solving the problems of the world. Great. Take responsibility for your condition. Sit or sleep there until you are sober.  They won’t mind.  Hosts are responsible for the condition of the guests.  Overserving, can bite them in the ass too. 

My last two Digital Books are still selling nicely for absolutely free at Smashwords.  Between the two of them they have over 150 downloads. You would think that would translate into some reviews …but it doesn’t. Sooner or later I will mark them to .99 cents which should slow down the downloads considerably.  But I was hoping I would have a few reviews.

line by line

I had made up my mind to finish some of the ugly projects that i had put aside during the year.  By ugly i mean the ones that weren’t as much fun as others.  I did finish the proofing of the Phelps biography as tedious as it was, then i took up the History of the first congro church. which is a few houses away from me.  its an important book i do have to publish it. It covers the early period in town when it was a theocracy.

The author Dr. Hayward, godblessem, didn’t hire an editor and had a penchant for run on and fragmented sentences.  which was problematic enough…but there’s 30 pages of roster in the back which im still typing 900 lines left.

once thats done i can move on to other books.  hopefully more with my own name on them.

passive aggressive income

now THERE’S a title…if i could run that into a book , i’d make a chunk of change.  Perhaps i will.   2013 is looming on the horizon like some sea monster on a map with its mouth open ready to swallow my jonah ass.

Since my income dropped drastically last summer..and i mean drastically like a cannon ball off the chrysler building…. i have been living so scaled back i have to check the couch cushions before i leave the house.   I KNOW what i need to pay my bills comfortably and leave me a little left over to feed the cats and keep the fridge stocked.  It isn’t much in the greater scheme of things. $1000 a month could do JUST that and no more.  Now that’s clear and free over what i have to shell out for products to resell…that’s where life gets complicated..people buy products and i have to save up and buy more products…it’s a vicious circle.  And that’s obviously not including the vast amounts that i owe the utility companies and other various bills that mock me every week.  So basically like the rest of america i am kinda fucked.

I did so well with last year’s goal of divesting..well i think i did okay..i’m declaring it so…that I am going to try another one.  In 2013 I am going to try to beef up my passive income.

Passive income is the  money that comes in with me having to pack and ship and rebuy products and process each individual order etc… I am still going to keep printing books to sell locally and buying products to sell online..but I want that OTHER money to be more than just the pennies that drip through the keyhole.   Passive money is what comes in when Amazon sells a copy of one of the books i published or wrote…passive  money is what comes in from Cafepress for designs I uploaded.  Passive money will be what comes in from digital publications..i am thinking up other possible avenues…i think i will pay a call on Zazzle and send some designs that way.  Basically anything I can set up ONCE and that costs me nothing to earn coin.

Now i know i won’t get to 1000 a month using this nickle and dime stuff overnight…but like the divesting..if i do it steadily for a year it will just turn into a habit.

I pulled up all the passive sales I made from 2012, and was surprised at the number of transactions…the money is VERY low.  .60 cents on a .99 cents sale takes a while to accumulate..and the cafepress stuff averages about  1.50 per sale.   But it is all encouraging that I am making ANY money passively.  I just need to do MORE of it…at least that’s my plan and I am sticking to it.

Today’s chore is to rewrite the Finding Money Book I put together 3 years ago…reading it now I am terribly embarrassed it does have a lot of redundancy and it could have been much improved. But I do remember it being a quick experiment to understand how the Kindle Publishing process worked even though i linked it to a paper copy.   I actually couldn’t find my original file for it and had to recreate it from a pdf download.   So i took it apart down to the bones and putting it back together as a second edition and I will send it to smashwords and reupload it back on Kindle and Createspace.  I do like the cover, though i will have to do SOMETHING to indicate it’s a new edition.

Before I start too many new projects from scratch, i am still pulling projects like this out of my computer and dusting them off.  I had a Bibliophile glossary I produced for a pda device about 6 years ago and I am dusting that off too.   After I do a few of these which won’t earn me much, I will tackle something larger and more complicated.





et tu ebook?

Today I pulled the trigger on MY first digital downloadable book. I am test driving smashwords with it, which should distribute it to a lot of venues…i am also going to reformat it for a print version and link it to the Kindle version.

I’ve been digging through my computer for more material I can publish digitally…the appeal is that i really only need a 5000 word minimum, which is ostensibly the least you should charge .99 for. Using Smashwords I tossed this out for FREE …at least until January..when i will change it to .99.  which will bring me a whopping .60 cents for every sale.

Download it for free here….not just the ebook verisons, but .pdf, rtf…and other PC reading versions.  It needs some good reviews in order to show up higher in the order when Browsing.


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