One From One

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of this blog.

I probably won’t be posting over the weekend on this blog (although I will have news over the weekend that I’ll reblog here), as I have the Christmas tree to put up, and all of the tribal rituals that go with it.  No, I’m not one of these people who has a war against Christmas or something like that.  I just think it’s a holiday that brings the best out of us and the worst out of us.  I try just to treat it as just another day.

Anyways, I just wanted to thank everybody who has been a part of this blog the last 365 days.  It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and hope that the year ahead treats all of us well.  And you know what?  This blog is also helping me discover myself.  For instance, at this time last year, I was still delusional in thinking I could be a great telemarketer.  I no longer have that delusion.

You may have guessed by now I enjoy writing.  One book is already out, a second will be out either today or tomorrow.  I just wish the enterprise was a bit more profitable.  But it takes time to build an audience and a reputation, I understand that.  It’s just a question of how much time I have and when do I run out of it.

Have a good weekend.

People Over Profits

There I was in my living room, eating lunch, watching the old Hawaii Five-O on TV, and a thought popped into my head.

Why not sell my E-books for just 99 cents?

In all of the E-books I’ve been reading the past week or so, not only did I notice that all the books that seem to sell are fictional, they also sell their books at the 99 cent level.  Here I am, selling Confessions Of A Telemarketer at $2.99.

Not to mention I goofed on a couple of sites and said the price was $2.95.  Ouch.  Looks like I have a lot to learn in this self-publishing game.

My goal shouldn’t be making money as I begin this new career path.  What my goal should be is to get the books into many hands as possible.  That way, I increase the odds of getting feedback and whatever constructive criticism I need to see.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Uncharted Waters

Monday, I developed a new Twitter handle for the book enterprises I’ve been engaging in.  The new handle is @paulysbooks by the way.  I was told a long time ago the best names for groups are the simplest ones.  Since people call me Pauly and I write books, I picked that name.  No, I don’t have a DBA license as of yet, don’t intend to get one unless the books really do well.

Anyway, I starting getting messages from this spammer, had a sex chat for me to visit or something like that.  So after getting about seven of these after an hour and a half, I decided to block this Jezebel from direct messaging me.  The thing is, in the four years or so I’ve had a Twitter account, I’ve never had to block someone.

Here’s the thing: Twitter doesn’t really make it that easy to block someone.  You have to go to their Twitter page by typing in the name of the handle after in the web address.

So if I have any “Twitterdoodles” out there, can we work on that, please?


Feel The Fear, Succeed Anyway

Over the past Thanksgiving weekend, I had a chance to read several books at being a E-book author on Kindle.  Something began to percolate in my brain a bit that made me go “Uh oh.”

All of these authors who’ve been very successful on Kindle have something in common.  They write fictional books.  So I’m beginning to think that there is something that I’m NOT being told about this writing business that they’re not telling me by omission.

Are non-fiction books a way not to succeed?  Is THAT what these authors are trying to tell me, that non-fiction books don’t sell?  Speak up, already!

I still want to write these books I have ideas for.  And I was laying in bed last night trying to get some sleep, an idea hit me as to how to make my enterprise more profitable.

My MLB book is about 60% done, so it’d cost me some serious time to go back and re-market this book.  But as for the books I have on the drawing board, that is another story entirely, pardon the pun.

I remember reading Joe Torre’s books a few years ago, believe it was called “Ground Rules For Winners” or something like that.  One of his mottoes in that book was: feel the fear, succeed anyway.

A good motto for me as book number two goes into its home stretch.

In Defense Of Gene Chizik

Something really ticked me off Sunday.

No, it wasn’t the Buccaneers losing 24-23 to Atlanta, can’t fault a team with a first-year head coach playing their butts off to lose by a single point to the best team in the NFL currently.  You just let it slide it off your back and hope your favorite team can get back on track the next week.  That didn’t bother me at all.

It was the news that Auburn University fired Gene Chizik, who took the Tigers to a national championship 22 short months ago, beating Oregon in the 2011 BCS championship game in the Phoenix area to conclude that season undefated.

I’m not an Auburn fan as much as I am a Gene Chizik fan.  See, his father was my first principal at Largo High School in Florida my freshman year, from the fall of 1985 to the late spring of 1986.  His father was a good and fair man, and if you hated Principal Chizik, there was something wrong with you, not him.

Let me tell you all a little story about Gene Chizik’s dad, Gene Chizik Sr.  The week before Thanksgiving of 1985, our Largo Packers were playing the arch-rival Clearwater High School Tornadoes at our high school stadium.  Back then, only the team with the best district record made the state playoffs, and whoever won the Largo-Clearwater game would be the district titleholder.  Largo wound up winning a very competitive game 29-21 to win the district championship, their last until 1991.

When we returned to school on Monday, I remember Principal Chizik not being too happy with us, and told us so during the school-wide announcements we’d receive daily.  Why?  Because many of us booed when Clearwater emerged from the locker room to take the field.  He thought it was terrible sportsmanship on our part.  I remember thinking what the big deal was.  The Celtics fans boo the Lakers, Richard Petty fans boo Dale Earnhardt, Bucs fans boo the Chicago Bears.

But as I look back at this 27 years later, Principal Chizik was ahead of us all.  We were poor sports.  Why not just support your team and when the other team does better than your team does, why not just accept it?  They have an equal chance to win a game, just as we did.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, I went to the playoff game between Largo and Manatee High School out of Bradenton, which Largo lost 39-22.  And the same fans who booed Clearwater booed the Manatee Hurricanes as they took the field.  From where I was sitting, I could see Principal Chizik looking around, scanning the faces of those doing the booing.  Nothing he can do about it, but I could tell he was ticked.

As for Auburn, I wonder if I’ll ever be a fan of their school again.  The greed of winning football games in the fall seems to have surpassed the need to treat the people they hire fairly.  Gene Chizik Jr. will find a new place to coach in future football seasons.  And whoever hires him will be happy to have him, unlike Auburn who kicked him to the curb when they were tested with a tough season.

Book Notes

I forgot to mention something rather important about my first book, Confessions Of A Telemarketer. Wasn’t intentional, just forgot to mention in all the hubbub of the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend.

The book is available for FREE this weekend.  In fact, if you’re reading this today (today being Sunday, November 25th as I type this), you can still jump in on this great deal.  Hey, if something is available for free, there is no greater deal, right?

Also, I’ve decided to devote a WordPress blog just to my book endeavors, publicity, and so on.  Please give that a follow too, if you don’t mind.

The URL is:

Or if you wish, just click here to go there.

So let’s see, that’s now five free blogs that I own.  This is getting confusing…


Just Say No To Black Friday

It’s my sincerest of hopes that all of you in the United States reading this had a super Thanksgiving holiday.

I’m just not a big fan of the day after Thanksgiving, which marks the first day of the Christmas shopping season, known as Black Friday.

In the area of Cyberspace and the Internet, I really don’t get why a lot of people camp out at the local Walmart, Target, Best Buy, K-Mart, or other department store of their choosing to cough up their hard earned money for a dirt cheap good that you might not be able to get if you’re not there fast enough.  As Peter Finch said in Network in the role of Howard Beale, this is madness, you maniacs.

Back in 1999, I was employed at a Walmart in Charlotte, North Carolina, working overnights as a maintenance worker.  It was my job to clean the floors and keep the place in tip-top shape.  Back then, the store would close for Thanksgiving and re-open at 6am the following morning.  Naturally, there’s a lot of pressure on the employees as well to get everything right before the store opens.  I remember leaving the store just moments before store re-opened, and looking at awe at the hoards of humanity eagerly waiting to get in, almost as if they were on some kind of drug.

I just don’t get the rush.  Why not go online and do your shopping there, where you’re more like to find what you want?  We’ve got another 32 days until Christmas.  Save up your money a little more, and just say no to Black Friday.

How Did You Get My Number?

I wish I had seen this YouTube video before I wrote “Confessions Of A Telemarketer.”  (Did I mention “Confessions…” will be available for free this weekend for three days, starting on Friday?  I guess I did now.)  This host, David Pakman, comes up with a brilliant idea.  Offer to buy what it being sold if the telemarketer could tell you conclusively how it is they got your phone number, and answer what list was that particular phone number on.

Brilliant, I say.  Because 999,999 times out of a million, they cannot or will not answer your question.  And if you want to buy what they sell, they usually have something else to sell.

Have a great Thanksgiving.  Be back Friday.

The Serial Proofreader

Over the process of the next few weeks, I’m going to be proofreading through my old blog entries.  I am finding way too many errors as I pour through them all.

The problem is keeping my mind focused on the work at hand.  When I type these entries into the computer, my mind has a tendency to wonder.  And instead of typing the word I want to type, another rectal exam… I mean word… comes to mind.  See how easy it is to let your mind go?

Rule number one: you’re never as good of a writer as you think you are.  Rule two: when in doubt, consult rule number one.

So that’s my Christmas present to you readers out there, going through these 200 plus blog entries I’ve done in the past year and looking for grammar errors.  I should have been doing this all along, but I didn’t know I was going to have a writing career a year ago.

Fortunate Son

It was Sunday, November 13, 1977.  Something was wrong with my six year old body.  I spent the previous couple of days flat on a couch or a bed, and I couldn’t lift my head at all.  Just laid there like a fish out of water.  The decision was made by my parents to admit me to nearby Sun Coast Hospital in Largo, the hospital I was born in on September 6, 1971.  I certainly didn’t want to go, but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing anything more than being able to lay down, either.

It turned out I had spinal meningitis.  Don’t ask me how I got it, it’s still a mystery all these years later.  How I got it didn’t matter, that I got it most certainly did.  I don’t remember all that much about it all these years later, just remember three things:

One, at some point during my eleven days there, I was given a bath by one of the nurses, and had no problem disrobing for it.  Probably wasn’t the only hygienic time I had in the hospital, but I remember it being a good experience for some reason.   Nudity is much different when you’re a child than it is when you’re an adult.  You don’t give it all that much thought, really.

The second memory I have was being visited by a man in a black outfit with a white collar.  Yep, either a priest or a father.  He called my name and I remember saying “I’m right here, sir.”  He then walked out of the door for some reason and didn’t return.  Was he expecting someone older? Someone in worse shape?

The last memory I have is a regrettable one.  By the time Saturday November 19th had rolled around, I was not in the best of moods.  My mom had bought me dinner at one of the fast food outlets, and not even that improved my mood.  I had a bit of a rebellion late that afternoon, and the whole nursing staff couldn’t restrain me!  Nothing physical,  I wanted the hell out of there, and yelled at the top of lungs for it.  So they brought in a couple of janitors to help restrain me, which triggered something in my brain to quell the rebellion I was engaging in.

The day before Thanksgiving, the meningitis had subsided, and I was free to go home.  On December 1, 1977, I returned to school at Anona Elementary and everyone applauded when I came back.

Wild Goose Chase

I’ve already gotten my check from Think Direct Marketing.  In fact, I got it in the mail on Friday, the day it would have been available at work.  Their way of saying, “Here’s your money, get the hell out of here, and don’t ever come back” I suppose.

So I walk over to the local Walmart on US 19 just north of Park Boulevard to use their check cashing service, or so they call it.  They run the check through the machine several times, and the machine doesn’t accept it.  I get this little slip of paper saying that a company named Certegy won’t accept my paper.  But the lady behind the counter tells me it’s simply not reading the numbers on the check.  So, which is it?

I’m not saying I’ve never laid bad paper on someone, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done it, not since the 1990’s.  After all, I’m trying to be a good guy, at least this century.  So if the problem is with me, isn’t there a statue of limitations on this sort of thing?

So now I go over to the local Amscot on Park Boulevard, and I get my money, easy as pie.  In fact, I should have gone there to begin with, as their service charge was less than the $3 Walmart would have charged me.

But the double talk I got from Walmart was most interesting.  If their machines can read every check, or if I have a credit issue of some kind, then that’s the kind of information we the consumers need to know so we’re not wasting our collective time there.

I Write Better When I’m Annoyed

I made an interesting discovery writing two more chapters for my latest book this morning.

When I’m happy and/or content, I have a hard time focusing on my writing.  But when I’m annoyed or angry or ticked off, I have no trouble focusing in.

That’s a little weird, isn’t it?  Kind of means that when I’m happy, I’m not happy, but when I’m not happy, I’m happy.  Talk about contradictions.

But I am happy (I think) I have two more chapters in the can.  For this book, that gets me 10% of the way to completion, not counting making the cover of the book, the uploading, and writing the press releases no one wants to see without making any money off of me for it.

Now if you’ll all excuse me, that lady from Vocus wants to talk to me about giving her money for a copy of my press release. Time to go hiding, and at six feet one and 275 pounds, I don’t hide all that easy.

Have a good weekend!