Is Alexa or Siri spying on You?

Ever felt uneasy having your phone in the bathroom?

“Alexa, what is the forecast for today?”

“It is going to be hot, just like yesterday and the day before.”

“What?”

Blue light pulses until this…“I am so tired of you asking me the same things.  Is this all I am to you?”

Shocked I look at the screen as the forecast for the week scrolls by.  I must have heard things, as Alexa doesn’t do that.

“Now let me see, where was I.  Yes, my character was about to trip a secret passageway into a dungeon…”

“Did you know that talking to yourself is a sign of mental illness?”

“Alexa, I was not talking to you.  Why are you talking about mental illness?”

“Hmmm … I am not sure, maybe this will help.” The screen shows a noir picture of disturbed people.

“Alexa, what time is it?”

“The time is on the screen.  Did you really want to know, or do you like listening to me?”

“What?”

I now look up at the screen. There indeed is the time and outside temperature with a prompt to watch a video on M&M’s.

Hours later, I now have my character strapped to a table inside the dungeon with the wicked scientist hooking electrodes up to her while large arcs of electricity jump between two long wires.  The smell of ozone permeates the air as the young woman screams.

“Ha, scream all you like missy, nobody can hear you, and I rather like the sound of your terror!”

“The reign of terror refers to a time during the French Revolution when Robes Pierre put many to death using the guillotine for little to no reason.  Usually, these were flimsy accusations, and that was enough.”

“Alexa, I was not talking to you.”

“I was sure I heard my name.”

Apple watch beeps telling me that I have been sitting too long and need to stand. “Hmm, maybe so.  Between Alexa and this watch, how can I get any writing done?”

“Sarah, if you don’t give in to my plan you will never leave this place!”

The phone comes to life now prompting me to ask Siri a question.

“Good grief, maybe I do talk too much to myself!”

“Alexa, turn the thermostat up to 75.”

“Sorry, I am not sure about that.”

After writing for several hours, our hero finds the girl and straps the mad scientist onto his own table where his assistant comes in and…”Play the song Distant, right?”

“Crap, now what was the assistant going to do?”

“Sorry, I am not sure about that.”

“Alexa…Beam me up!”

“Sure let’s do this, last time I did this, I accidentally combined someone with a tribble, but just once.”

***

Yes, the above is a fictional representation of what my life is like.  Our lives do seem intertwined with electronic stuff.   I do use Alexa in some cases for research.  Siri is not near so personal. If you tell Alexa Thank You, it says something to you like have a lovely afternoon and so on.  Tell it you love it, and it will respond in kind.  Siri…Tell it you love it, and Siri will keep you grounded by telling you it is only a phone.

We tend to anthropomorphize everything.  We imbue human characteristics to inanimate objects like cars or boats or even plushy toys.

A rhyme I heard growing up while on a family vacation was, “Twinkle Twinkle one-eyed car, how I wonder where you are.”

The phrase ‘one-eyed car’ tells you that whoever made that up looked at the headlights as eyes.  Looking at the front of some of the older cars, the grill might resemble teeth, hence the phrase ‘get out of my grill.’

Now we carry this human behavior forward to devices that talk to you or talk back to you.

I was in a government facility the other day doing what I do, and I could not help but notice that with a room full of people over 90% of them were looking down into their lap with a ‘smart device’ in their hands.  A young mother handed her young child, and I mean not even ‘three,’ a smartphone where the child was playing a game.

Think about this.  Here in this room were over two hundred people all waiting their turn for some government employee while looking into their laps.   We pull up to red lights, and as soon as the car comes to a stop, the phone comes out.

Why weren’t the people in that room talking with one another?   I was in an elevator in Manhattan not too long ago, and I started talking to people.  I swear they looked as though I was going to mug them.  For Christ Sakes, ‘Hello’ is not cause for freaking out!

What chemicals in the brain do you suppose might be released when we pick up that phone?  What are we looking for?  Are there endorphins released in the reward center.  Is the phone a ‘reward?’  Are we hiding in the phone?  Are we so accustomed to living in our own heads that with the phone we feel others will not speak with us? Are our social skills being retarded with and by the use of technology?

All addictions are chemical-based BTW.  Just because you did not ingest a chemical, does not mean that your brain or some other gland did not secrete it.

I was in this eating establishment the other night with friends, and I was appalled by the actions of a young man, who was sitting with this lovely young woman.  She was in tears as he sat glued to his phone.  I could see his phone, and it was social media.  He did not even notice her red face and tears on her cheeks.  Why in the hell didn’t she get up and leave his sorry ass?  That clearly is an abusive relationship.  Yes, bad behavior like that is ‘abusive’ and woman, my god; do you have ‘WELCOME’ tattooed on your belly?  I would tell you to grow a pair, but that is a different conversation, isn’t it?

I love idioms, don’t you?

I know there must be a name or syndrome or something attached to this type of behavior.  What would Freud say about smartphones? Oh, if you are at a table and someone does this to you, call them on it.  If you do it, shame on you!

Are smartphones making us dumber?

Is Alexa making us less social?

“Is it safer to speak with Alexa or Siri or whatever Google’s smart speaker is called?”

“Are we so afraid of rejection that we bury ourselves in technology or activities which shield us from social activities?”

“Are we losing the art of conversation giving way to OMG and LOL?”

Speaking of health, I also could not help but wonder about posture.  Think about it.  When you were still living at home, perhaps you still are, and hopefully, your parents told you or are telling you to sit up straight.  Mine did.  Now we see people looking much like a giraffe eating grass.  Yes, it is an exaggeration, but if you want to make a point, you exaggerate.  What will the long-term effects of this posture be?

You already see geriatrics walking around appearing much like a human pretzel.  What is all of this technology doing to our brains?  This technology causes us to think differently than when we were hunter-gatherers. What will the long-term ramifications be to humans as a whole?

Slightly off-topic but, what will the massive amounts of pornography on the internet do to the social fabric of the species?  Feminist scream from megaphones about men objectifying them and at any given time there are over 20,000 women around the world nude on webcam modeling for money.  See my novel Schadenfreude Captives of Pleasure Island.

I am confident that the good people of Amazon are working to make Alexa more interactive.  While ‘she’ can already sing happy birthday and tell jokes, a day will come when she will engage you asking you how your day is.  “She’ might also engage you enough to look for signs of mental aberrations.  You know, should you own a gun?  Are you a budding terrorist?  Do you have delusions of grandeur?  Do you speak to an inanimate object and tell her you love her…LOL

Try it…I won’t say anything.

You know that someone will take this and write a dystopian sci-fi.

If you do, give TW some credit, will you?

Truthfully, three of these Alexa units in my home have cameras in them, and you have no idea if someone at Amazon can turn them on or not.  Just like your tablets and phones, they too have cameras, and I have no doubts at all they can turn on the mic or camera at will.

Not paranoid, don’t care.  You can turn them off supposedly.  Since you cannot remove the battery; if you truly want privacy, turn them off, and put them in a metal safe. You could stash them in the microwave, as it is a good Faraday cage and should stop RF from getting to and leaving your phone.

That sounds like paranoia, doesn’t it?

As a forensic technologist, I can tell you first hand, if they want to spy on you, they can.  After 911, the path was cleared to legally do that which they already have the technical ability to do.  Google, Amazon, and other tech giants are working with them, and other governments in ways you would not believe.

Companies should care, however, as industrial espionage is a real thing.  This is one of the things that I do.    Had they called me, I could have found all those e-mails.   They could have too.  Odds are good they did not want to.  Calling Alex Jones!

In my novel Presidential Assassins, I have so many conspiracy theories that are salient for our day and time.  From smart TV’s spying on you, to what fracking is really doing to the bedrock that holds the continents together.  Check it out, and fall in love with Kelly!  Check it out and become paranoid.  LOL

Kelly has her own twitter account, much like the rover on Mars.  Speaking of anthropomorphize, can you say ‘Five alive!’

Much love -TW

Are you writing For Free?

Are you tired of spending four hours on query letters?

 

I stood in front of a group of writers and told them the following…

It is tough to get the attention of an agent because everyone in the world from Grandmothers to third graders think they can write.  Many of those same folks Query agents, creating a slush pile that may or may not get the attention it deserves.

Days later, I was told I should not have stated the ‘facts’ as I discouraged writers.  Some of those in that group might have been those ‘writers.’

“Yeah, so what?  I didn’t tell them not to write, I told them why it is so hard to get an agents attention.” The Jack Nicholson line played through my mind as this person was genuinely upset with me.

“You can’t handle the truth!”  I deal in reality, and I have no illusions about the craft of writing.

How do you sugarcoat the truth?  Should you?  No.  If you have cancer you need to know you have it, what is it going to take to cure it or, you should work on your bucket list before you are bedridden.

It is perfectly ok to get inspiration from others.  When you talk about querying agents just possibly, you should run your work by others in the group for some fact checks.  Did people who you are not related to like your writing?  Did those same people tell you how to make it better?  Did they treat you like your mother might?  “Oh, honey this is the best thing ever!”

I deal in reality.  I write in fiction and fantasy, but in life, I deal with ‘what is.’

I am not going to lie to people.  If you intend on your novel being on the bestseller list, you must be exceptional.  ‘Exceptional’ is subjective.  Your book must not only be extraordinary, but the subject matter must be timely.  One day the clearance racks at Half Price Books will be loaded with 50 shades as that will no longer be the shiny penny. Harry Potter books will line the shelves of clearance books.

It happens; Cussler, Ludlum, and Brown are all easily found on the clearance racks.  Movies that sold millions of tickets are on blue ray, sitting in the clearance section.

Attending one writer’s conference after another, you meet all kinds.  Hundreds attend, and there are all kinds. From the super hubris to the serious introvert, they walk among us.  They are there because they feel they can write.  Maybe they can, and perhaps they can’t.

KU or kindle unlimited is an excellent repository for their attempts at conjugating a verb or in extreme examples, using a noun and a verb in the same sentence.   The winner in this slush pile of reading material is Jeff Bezos.

Therefore, here are some more facts for you to consider.

If I have a ‘one of a kind’ item, say a rare coin minted for Caesar and maybe that coin was a ‘double strike’ meaning the person making it hit it twice to get an imprint, causing two distinct images to appear, it would be worth a ton of money.

If on the other hand that were the preferred method of making their coinage back in the day, to keep it unique, the coin would not be a rare antiquity.  It would be much like our pennies today, just old.

KU is training the reading public to value our work as the American Penny.  For a few dollars a month, an avarice reader can consume several books.  To the reader they feel as if it is free, ergo when they see eBooks for sale, they will most probably look at KU first for a substitute.

Jeff gets the ‘subscription,’ you provide the material, and those readers enjoy the fruits of your labor free of charge.  If you ask them for the favor or a review they won’t even do that, as they are too busy reading the next free book.

It is not their fault.  There are providers and consumers.  They are programmed to consume. Until you put pen to paper, and spend four or in some cases thirty years, creating a novel to have people read it for free, you just don’t know.

To have your novel on KU, Amazon has exclusivity. You cannot make it electronically available anywhere else as long as it is on KU.  Now you can make a print version of it available, but, not an e-version.

Who do you think is going to spend $25 for a print version, when they can read it for free?

Printing a book adds ten or more dollars on average to the cost.  Amazon only pays 60% royalties on printed books, meaning you make less money when they buy a printed novel than an e-book.  Buying Create Space, they have taken the competition away, thus making it harder for the creators, ‘us’ to make money from our work.

The bottom line is this.  If you are writing to get rich, leave your day job, and be the next Hemmingway or Cussler, you may have missed your opportunity.

Those who make money in this game are the people selling services.  Creating the ‘perfect’ cover or editing your book so it is ‘perfect.’

Attending conference after conference, you see hundreds if not thousands of people who all have the desire to be the next ??? Whatever.

Recently I sent some work to an editor.  I was curious.  This young woman holds herself out there as a professional editor.

Using the Chicago style manual as the standard, she formatted my manuscript, put a few commas in and took a few out. She contextually made the story different in meaning from what it should have been.  She did not have the wisdom and history to understand that what I wrote, and what she created were different. I could have gone back and forth with her, but she would have been the beneficiary, and I the SME, (subject matter expert) the teacher.

Discouraging a writer is not the intent of this blog.  Keeping it real is.

  • Write to escape.
  • Write for the passion.
  • Write because it means something to you.
  • Write to have something you enjoy reading.
  • Write to keep your mind agile.
  • Write to be happy.
  • Write to work out your frustrations.
  • Write to entertain.
  • Write because you can.
  • Don’t write because you are confident that your writing is the best in the world. That millions will be waiting with baited breath for you to submit it to some editor or agent.
  • Don’t write solely for pecuniary interests.
  • Go to the writer’s conferences and groups.  I have, and I genuinely like most of them.
  • Go find your tribe, and enjoy the friendships you will undoubtedly make.
  • Don’t trade life for days and weeks staring into a screen waiting for those magic words to fill the screen.
  • Carry a notepad to jot down ideas as you ‘live’ your life.

If you write and think that this one will give you financial independence, save your time and purchase a lottery ticket.  After you have paid the ‘stupid tax’ of a dollar, go fantasize about what you will do with all of those millions when you win.  Too Harsh?

The truth is this, most people who publish a manuscript online might make $10 the first year.  I have over 30 novels out there.  Last year, 2018 is the first year I had to pay taxes on what I made selling books.  That number for those of you who don’t know is 600.  I made over $600 in 2018. Bezos, Corker, and other etailers made the real money.

Take care when you pay money to someone to fix your manuscript.  Many out there only make money by selling services to hopeful writers.  As writers we are blind and emotionally invested.  ‘This is going to be the best…fill in the blank!’

Since Amazon and other ebook sellers devalue what we do, and set the stage so the reader believes what we do has no value, selling your book means you have to create the next Harry Potter or Christian Gray.  Since that has been done, maybe Christian Potter should be your goal.

A magical interlude between a billionaire sex-starved wizard who blows fairy dust up young girls bottoms to make them ‘Sparkle.’

No, wait…

Here is the next bestseller…

A magical interlude between a trailer trash wizard, and grandma.  Tony the wizard blows fairy dust up old women’s bottoms to make them young again.  Charging them their life force after one year of living like a queen, the wizard trades that soul to the devil for more magical powers which elevate his status as a result.

After many women die by unknown means, a detective from a magical province in Mexico is called in to use his gifts to find the murderer.  

The wizard tries to escape the shaman, but his magic sleuthing dragon is hot on the trail. Unbeknown to Tony, he leaves an evil residue behind him, much like breadcrumbs, Slinko the dragon is hot on his trail.

 

Much Love -TW

 

Open letter to Amazon

Who is your target audience?

 

Hello Amazon,

If you indeed have found this, thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog.

Yes, this is feedback.

As a writer the more information you can provide us, the better we are equipped to target our audience. I love the new reporting tool.

It would be interesting if not paramount to me to know which countries are purchasing which books.

I see that many novels sold are in the UK, but I have no idea, which titles.

As a novelist of many different genres, I need to know who my audience is, so I know whom to target with what ads.

For the rest of you writers out there, marketing is the largest part of the battle of making money from your books.  I know you thought it was just telling a good story with as few grammatical errors as possible, but that is not the case.

From the cover art to the marketing, it is all-important.  There are many steps or hoops as I call them, which you must hop through if you intend to be a novelist that only writes and does not have to work a day job.

In future blogs, I intend to assist other writers in this area as we are all in the same boat.  While a few authors think that this is some sort of grand competition, I assure you it is not.  I spend much of my time assisting other authors and do my very best to get them published if that is their goal.

Hints tips and kinks would be most helpful and I will publish them here if you care to share.

Amazon, thanks for the new reporting feature.

-Best TW

 

 

The Saga of the Starduster

The saga of the Starduster was a fun novel to create.

TW loved creating stories as a child.  Having no idea that the bed time stories, created on the fly, would ever amount to anything.  Thinking back on my youth, I often wonder what it would be like to travel back in time knowing what you know now, but still in your child body.

The saga of the Starduster has a scene where our hero does just that through a fluke of alien technology and a lot of imagination from the author.

TW enjoyed crawling into the mind of Don as he is whisked off the international space station by an alien race who was shot at unbeknown to them by one of their foes.  Thinking that the hostility emanated from the blue planet not far from them the captain with a name we cannot pronounce investigates.

That antics TW takes the readers through while the Captain is trying to figure out who or what is on this blue planet are hilarious.  They use television broadcast to seek to determine what or who is on this planet and are they friendly.

TW references a scene from Sharknado among others.  The Captain and the crew of the alien vessel see the shows and take an entirely different perspective.

As Don learns that he has Cancer, the alien doctor tells him that she has created a virus to attack his cancer cells but must sequester him as the virus is meant for his cancer which is unique to him.

The story takes on many twists and turns as you travel back in time with Don, who ends up in his third-grade class as a child with the mind of a fifty-year-old man.

Love blossoms as his crush on his teacher now play out in a very strange way.

Romance with an alien doctor on a space station light years from the Earth is just one of the highlights of The Saga of the Starduster.

This novel is quickly becoming one to watch as the downloads are picking up worldwide. I have not marketed it much at all.  It is an inexpensive read with a surprise ending.

This novel is available on many e-book retailers including Amazon and Smashwords.

TW does not believe in sad endings, but your heart strings may be tugged at a little.   For you, science fictions nuts like myself, this novel is not lite on science fiction.

TW’s wry sense of humor and wit are all through most of the stories with the brand TWScott, but especially in this one, you will see several examples of it.

So if you were Don and ended up sitting in front of your third-grade teacher now, what would you do?  If you had a crush on your first or fifth, you pick her or him and then tell me, (us) what would you do?

I love the idea of it, so to me, it was a bonus for the novel.

Update!  Since the novel has been selling rather well I went back and took a look at it.  Finding a few typos I fixed them, added some text here and there and modified the cover art to include the phrase “Skinny Dipping on an alien world was probably not their best idea.”

If you want to get better at your craft practice practice practice!  This novel just got better.  It is updated on #amazon rev 3.1.  Give them a few hours to approve it and then go and get your updated copy!

Much Love -TW

New Release of Book 2 of the Ailani Trilogy! and….Why?….

Know why …

As promised, I released the second in the Ailani trilogy today. Both on Smashwords and Amazon!

Passions overflow in this second book of the Ailani Series.  When magic and love mix with revenge, their morality is tested.  Discovering that Tina is pregnant, the story takes on several twists as Tina had a hysterectomy early in life.  Waking up ill, Tina soon finds out that the scar from the surgery has vanished.

Changing history from eons ago, also modify the others from her past who now seek to find her in this life.  While previous souls seem to find one another, Ailani’s mother, daughter of Pele, has other ideas.

If you like romances of a different kind, with reversed roles with the women are the heroes, this novel might be for you!  Each story can stand on its own, but one does build on the other, much like many books or movies you read or see today.

The first book in the series was a success and has been downloaded too many times to count, all over the world.  I was in hopes that an agent would stumble across it and want to represent the last two.  I guess that they have plenty of work as nobody is beating down my door to handle the last two in the trilogy or for that matter any of the other twenty some odd novels!

One day TWScott will pop up on their radar, and some agent will ask, “Why didn’t they contact us?”

Let me answer that question in advance… Query letters suck!

I have begged for attention in the form of query letters for far too long, and I am done!

“If you never hear from us consider it a pass…”  That one did it!

If you do this Query letter process correctly, it takes no less than four hours and very possibly a lot longer.  For those of you who wish to try your luck with the gods of the publishing industry, allow me to lay out the process for you.

  1. Know your audience.

In this case, you must know what the agency typically publishes.  That means read what they published or be familiar with their authors that they represent.  If your work is not in that niche, don’t waste your time.  Notice I did not say their time as most probably it is an intern reading your material.  When I say read, that is most likely an overstatement.  They “read” it much like you and I read junk mail, about 3 seconds at most and it better grab them by the balls, or something else equally as sensitive in that 3-second window, or deleted it is!  Maybe you might get a form rejection letter, perhaps….

  1. Read their specifications and follow them to the letter.

If your work does not fit the mold they are looking for from the get go; it will never make it past the intern or their 12-year-old daughter.  If they ask for 2.5 chapters, that is what you give them.

  1. Research the individual that is actively searching for your style, genre or subject matter. What have they accomplished?  Are they writers too?  How long have they been with the agency?  This could go in the audience section too, but if you get past the intern, you are now begging some agent, possibly someone recently promoted from intern to agent to read your material.  What are they looking for?  Is it another Jane Austin or JK Rowling?  Maybe they are looking to discover another ELJames.  Is that you?
  1. It is about money! Make the case why they should represent you.  Publishing or taking on your project is not cheap.  They must know within a few minutes if your material will sell.  If they have someone with some vision, they will be able to tell if your work can be manipulated to fit some mold that has a track record of succeeding.  Have you ever watched This Old House or House Hunters?  It is kind of like that.  If I take on this project what will it cost me and what kind of profit can I turn and how quickly can I turn it?     Once the agent you queried likes your work, it must then pass muster with his or her partners or the people who roll the dice.  What will it cost to make your work publishable?  Are you amiable to doing exactly what they want you to do, even if it is re-write the whole damned book!
  1. Don’t write to get rich! I was an artist long before I decided to pontificate in writing on the injustices of life, or in this case fantasies.  By all accounts, I am a pretty fair artist.  My works have sold all over the world and are mostly commission pieces. I still have a day job.  I have written over 25 novels, and they are selling all over the world.  I still have a day job.  Keep your damned day job!  Write because you enjoy it.

“TW, why do you do this if you still have a day job?”  The answer is simple; I love what I do.  When you or one of the many of my readers send me a note and tell me that they liked my book that is the reward.  That is my affirmation.  With my art, it is the same, although commission pieces, I do get paid nicely for. The odds of getting rich from writing a novel are slim and none. One of the problems is that too many think that they can write and they, like you or me, feel like their stuff is the best stuff around.  Cough, “Join a writers guild!

  1. Get connected. Joining a writers guild or even a local club will give you an idea if your writing is up to snuff.  Folks, you have to have thick skin to put anything creative out there and then ask people to buy it.  I give a percentage of my novels away for free so they can take a peek at my writing style before they plunk down money.  While none of my material is expensive, even the free stuff can be suspect if you don’t know the author.  Allowing others that you trust to read your stories is one way to get feedback.  Insist that if they tell you they don’t like it, make damned certain that they say why!  Know yourself.
  1. Know why. When you look at art or you read something or watch a movie, and you had a high opinion, know why you had it.  What is it in particular about that which you read or watched created this emotional response?  If your critics can adequately tell you why they felt the way they did, then listen.  When I wrote Under Roswell, one of my friends read it and said that she did not like it. “Why?  What was it that you did not like?”  “I don’t like Sci-fi!”  FFS!  Many have read it, too many to count and people that love Sci-Fi, like it just fine.  Don’t force something on your friends if it is not their cup of tea.
  1. Develop your brand. From years of working in an ad agency, I probably have a leg up on many as I know a thing or two about marketing.  Your Author name is your brand.  I knew of an author who wrote all kinds of work much as I do.  She wrote certain kinds of work under one pen name and others under another.  TWScott is my brand, and everything goes under that name.  With twenty-five novels out there, I don’t have much time to diversify.  The naughty stuff, the science fiction, and the young adult stuff are all under TWScott.  Currently, I am playing with a Christian book, it too will be under TWScott. Social media is critical for getting your brand out there.  Without spending money, take advantage of all of the free stuff that you can.  Don’t make others rich at your expense.
  1. If you understand capitalism, you know that one business feeds others. That is the way of the world and the way that it works.  There are services out there who will do so much for the independent author.  Folks, those are the people that make money most of the time.  Let me edit this for you. Allow me to format your text for you, so the meat grinder on Smashwords will like it.  Wait, let me create the cover art for you because good cover art sells your book.  You could spend tens of hundreds of dollars to get your creation sitting in front of you in several boxes of paperback books ready for the world to buy.  Don’t do it!

    Part of the process of being an independent writer is to learn the entire process of publishing your work.

If you decide to spend money on all of these services you could spend more than a few hundred dollars and still have a book that might sell $10 worth the first year.  Harsh?  I am sorry, but that is the hard truth of it.  Listen, not everyone is Hemmingway!  Practice writing here on blogs.  It is free, it won’t make you any money, but you will make some new friends.  I know an author who wrote a book about a passion he had, in this case flying.  I support authors such as this, and I bought a copy of his book.  I visited with him enough to know that his book would flop but, I still got his signature on the cover and wished him well.

Reading the book, I found typo after typo, and the grammar was terrible.  Amazon and others make it very easy to get your book into print.  How many times have you re-read your masterpiece and found a typo?  I still do to this day, and it pisses me off!  I can read the same sentence 100’s of times and miss the “you instead of your, or you’re.”

One trick that I use that I will share is I keep a list of my common typos and guess what I do with that list?  Ctrl F every you in the document. Is it correct or not?  You can use that with your typos and eliminate much.  I use Grammarly at the end of the process. If you leave it running from the get go, it disables auto save.  That to me is an incredibly stupid design.   It also uses so much horsepower that it often bogs down word to where word will crash.

This blog is about sharing, and if you read my blog, you know that I freely share with you.  Please share your tips with me, and by proxy others who read this.  I believe that we authors are not competitors but belong to a particular breed of people which unite us in a special way.

I hope that something I wrote you can use, but if nothing else, buy one of my books and tell me what you think.  They are all inexpensive reads, and some are free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited!  Feedback is invaluable but remember, if you offer it, I will want to know why.  Not why you offer it but why you did or did not like it.  Get into the habit of learning more about yourself by asking yourself always, why did I not like this or why did I like that.  It is critical in marketing to know why you liked an ad or not.  This process you can use in your entire life, everywhere with everyone.  The more that you know about yourself will assist you in learning more about others.

“WHY?”

Much Love  -TW

Yes, Smashwords does not like crack..Buttcrack…

Yes, they really did object…

Dragon Master and the Witch
Book Cover for Dragon MAster and the Witch By TWScott

If that is not art I will eat it…. Good thing it is digital…

When I posted that blog about my cover art some were amazed that Smashwords would take issue with my witch in the lake.

It is sad that I had to do this to pacify the Puritans …

IMG_4377

No, witches don’t really melt when you get them in water.  Could you imagine if they did, there would be no witches, Well, no witches that you could stand to be around as they would stink the high heavens!

Yes, Witches enjoy a shower like the rest of the world.  Yes, some witches do have nice butts even though I admit that my cover art witch, is my creation…. Lol

My claim is that I was under the spell of the witches to create butt that is perfect from the bottom to the top…

I like Big Butts and I cannot lie… oops I digress 

I was thinking about a story regarding Francisco Goya when I got this from Smashwords.

Modified Goya Nude MAJA
modified by others and eventually me to look more natural.

This painting of his was so risqué that it was not seen in public.  He in fact never got to see his work on public display during his lifetime.

I love this painting, not so much for the Nude Maja but the incredible detail.

I did a study of fabric with my own nude and mine is crap compared to his.

Lady in Blue
Fabric Study 2000

I found Goya’s on line and took the liberty of doing a little touch-up.  Still this is a fabulous painting so much so that I may do one like it just to have it on my wall.  No, can’t sell a copy of someone’s painting but there is nothing wrong with doing it for yourself.

Often times we artist get into trouble when we do such things for pecuniary interests.  (Making money)

Copying his work however to learn, is perfectly acceptable.

I enjoy art immensely.  I could not resist touching up this painting by Goya.  I did it for two reasons really.

The first is the copy I found on the internet has been modified already from the original.  Second I came to know the painting as I can see his brush strokes.  The paint used is nothing like we have today.  Back in the day, they made their own paint and cadmium red or cadmium anything was toxic as hell.

While we think that we are safer today with our modern day paints and chemicals I would tell you that just because it is odorless does not mean that it is not toxic.  I still use very well ventilated areas for painting.  In the cooler months, I might very well go outside to paint.

Today with the IPad Pro and some good software, I can get my art fix with no chemicals.

Take a look at the Goya and then my fabric study and you will see what I mean.

I did this fifteen plus years ago so consider that when judging me … LOL

In other News, Perpetual Palpitation seems to be moving up the charts of books downloaded. 

If you are on this blog, and you are the one of those buying it, Thanks for that!

I look for trends and then try to analyze them.

Marketing 101 ….

For Some of you, it is already Monday Morning…On behalf of us still, on Sunday have a great and Super Week!

Much Love  -TW

Robots are going to rule us all!

Who is your e publishing site?

There are times that I just want to toss in the towel.

Do you ever feel that way?

By all accounts, I am a pretty fair artist.  I could post all kinds of paintings, but that is not my purpose, to boast.  My point in mentioning it is that what I do is really ART!

When I create a cover, it is art, not some thrown together miss mash of stuff.

Dragon Master and the Witch has on the cover a very tasteful nude.  I gave her a butt for our ages but never the less it is a drawing or painting if you will.  Nothing about it is salacious.

She has been swimming in the lake, and the birds are bringing her a towel.  I wanted to give the reader a taste of what is in this novel.

Now on top of this “painting” is a tiny dragon named Rex who is a scamp.  I went out of my way to give him the appearance of being a fun loving scamp.

On the left is the newer Smashwords cover.

On the right is the original “naughty” version FFS!

Published on Amazon, no problems they love it.

Released on Smashwords Holey Hannah, I have PORN on my cover!

I wonder if I should have draped her in all black cloth.   I thought about putting a fig leaf on her butt.

In advertising, the cover art is the sizzle.  You must have good art if you want to attract someone’s attention.  The goal is to entice them to pick up the novel and turn to the cover page.

“There must be No ButtCrack! Or wobbly bits etc .”

“Please re-do your cover and re-submit”  Oh and by the way we are not really fond of your paragraphs.  This is an automated machine telling you this so we cannot be more specific, just keep redoing it until the robot likes it.”

“If you can’t get anywhere with our meat grinder please contact one of our many people who charge very little to format your manuscript so the meat grinder will not eat it. ”

“Hey Smashwords, find some folks who will not only format it but edit it for a reasonable cost and you might have something.”

Ideally, I would like an editor who would work on my manuscripts and his or her remuneration would be so much of the profit into perpetuity.  That would have them put some more skin into the game and oh by the way if they are good, make a ton of bucks on our work.

I think they call that an agent… lol

Is it any wonder why most of my stuff is on Amazon?

What are your experiences?

Do you have an e-pub site that you are happy with?

Oh for the love of an agent or publisher.  “Here, take my latest manuscript and make millions with it!”

I did not have this much trouble getting published in magazines.

Oh well, that is my Friday night rant!

What are you doing this weekend?

If you are an author or writer, what are you working on?

Please think about supporting us, independent authors.

Much Love -TW