Monday, May 1, 2017

Back to the Business of Writing


The old bull has been ridden to a standstill by the sheer bloated weight of Uncle Sam, broken to harness and hitched to the huge wagon that is Congress. I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by the shrill voices of the political Henny Penny types cackling “The Sky Is Falling!” long enough.

The world is not a China Shop, Skylab fell decades ago. Kentucky is just as safe as it has always been. If I don’t stop looking at the sky for falling debris, I’m never going to get anything finished in time for the next Reading Season.

The Hoard is gone. My parent’s little farm was sold on last August. I took time to mourn for those I loved and lost. For the first time in years, I can take care of my farm without feeling pulled in a dozen different directions.

The porch is breezy, the trees have leafed out, and the lawn is mowed by a lawn service. It’s time I got back to the business of writing.

So, here’s what’s been going on with my books:

I goofed up and lost the URLs of KAJordan.net and IcyRoadPublishing.com. The Chinese have squatted on the two names and it would cost me $3k to get either one back. So I’ve dropped those names and will get back to that silliness later.

There are 18 I. C. Talbot short stories published. After over two years of zero sales on the other vendor sites, I started moving all the Talbot short stories into Kindle Unlimited.

They got a just few pages read, mostly for “Turned Out”until March when I released “The Hide Out” which got picked up and reviewed on Goodreads. That started a surprising burst of interest in I. C. Talbot short stories that has lasted all of March and April. Today on May 1st, “The Hide Out” was read again, kicking off the month on a positive note.

The halo sales and reads increased as I set up free dates for the other short stories. In March there were a couple thousand pages read and hundreds of e-books given away for free. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Amazon pays less per page read this year than last year. More like $0.004 per page instead of $0.005. So a couple thousand pages read is less than $20. Since I have to pay for the pictures that make up the covers and I have someone else run an editing pass, I’m still in the hole for the short stories published before “The Hide Out” and “Ill Wind.”

This doesn’t count my own e-books, with 3 brand new covers, which were lackluster as freebies. “Let’s Do Lunch” has caught on, with respectable freebie numbers and almost $2 in pages read. I hope
 that "Swallow the Moon" and "Impressive Bravado" will follow suit.

It’s a good thing that I didn’t get into this to get rich, isn’t it?

There is something that I’d like to point out – I published the first of the I. C. Talbot short stories in 2009, when I published my own. We had respectable runs which peaked 2011 and fell off to nothing thereafter. The market changed then and apparently it has changed again. 

This time it appears to have changed in my favor. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Meal Kits and Lessons Learned


Not long ago, I was utterly sick of cooking and equally sick of eating fast food. Cookbooks don't work for me, and I can't find a cooking class.

So I found a meal kit system to try. After all, I do know a little bit about cooking, but it's all foods from the previous century. I figured right - hand me the recipe and the directions and I can figure it out.

This is what I observed after about four weeks.

The meal kit had me pan frying a lot of meat, something I've never done before, and don't like doing as a rule. I've found stainless steel pans didn't do all that well with it either. I didn't like the way the food burned on the outside and stayed raw in the middle. Now there are ways around that, but they don't work with meal kits. The rest of the food gets cold while you wait for the meat to cook.

It was frustrating. I guessed it was because the copper bottom wasn't really doing it's job - which is to distribute heat and hold it. So it takes a lot longer to fry meat, because it has to be done at a lower temperature.

Also, my stainless steel cookware, with plastic handles, isn't up for going in the oven. And many of the recipes call for putting the food in the oven and under the broiler.

So we needed to get a pan that would survive the broiler, and was heavy enough to pan fry meat faster without burning the heck out of it.

We looked around in the stores, and frankly the price of iodized aluminum cookware is crazy. The cheaper stuff is garbage and the expensive stuff is insane for what you get.

Plus I've been hearing for years that Alzheimer's is caused by aluminum - so why spend big bucks on something that might just rot your brain? So as an experiment, we bought a 10" Lodge cast iron skillet, for $20 at Walmart.

Holy cow! I had no idea what a difference it would make. I could get the meat fried with very little oil, on time. Yes, cast iron is tricky to live with. No dishwasher for that pan! It's hand wash and oven dry. Can't leave tomatoes in the pan, they have to come out before the acid eats the coating.

What I never counted on was the difference in flavor.

The more I cook with it, we are talking just two weeks, the better the food tastes. Part of that is the oil coating - it holds flavors like salt and sweet. So once we cooked a sweetened sauce with thyme, I can still taste the sweet and the thyme. Salt and seasoning seems to linger as well. So there's a complexity of flavor in the pan itself that goes into the meat or sauce, or whatever.

It's weird and it takes some getting used to. But I've talked to someone who's used cast iron cookware for years and that's normal.

So if you decide to go with the meal kit service, consider getting a cast iron pan. Just remember, these puppies are HEAVY and require hand washing.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Chaos Continues - On And On



Tranquility - something we won't see as a nation for at least 4 years.

I've been listening to the news, sometimes all day, and I've got an inkling of what might be going to happen next.

Another shoe is gonna drop. The another and another and another...

Meanwhile - all over the world, shit is happening and the American people will never hear of it because -- The President.

I've got things to do and people to talk to. Blogs to write, books and short stories to publish.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Reason for the Rodeo

via GIPHY

Just heard Senator Maxine Waters blow the whistle on the Great Shell Game that is now taking place in our White House.

She says it's obvious to her what's going on with the Kremlin Klan and 'those scumbags from the oil and gas industry'.

"They're going get the sanctions lifted so they can get the oil in Russia."

Billions and billions of dollars in oil and gas money - enough money to explain the need to get Trump in the White House at any cost. The reason he says "Wouldn't it be nice to get along with Russia?" The reason Tillerson. CEO of Exon, is in the State Department. The reason Trump won't put his assets in a blind trust. The reason he's installed so many billionaires in his cabinet who appear to be there because they want to destroy the agency they've been put in charge.

This is even the reason for going after immigrants,  closing the borders and building that damn wall, though not directly. They need a smoke screen - something to distract the voters while this shell game goes on.

As more immigrants are rounded up and deported, there will be low-level jobs open as well as high-level jobs. Without changing a thing there will be a labor shortage of staggering proportions. Everything will be disrupted. There will be protests, reactions and terror.

And the resulting chaos will prove to be the perfect smoke screen. The immigration drama will be enough to enthrall the entire country. This will keep the media busy covering the deportations and protests - while the sanctions go away and the oil companies pay massive bribes - and certain people swoop up the money and get filthy rich - the 1% of the 1% who will rule the USA and the reborn USSR.

This is it, folks, the end game.

Oil - and blood for oil.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Send In The Clowns

via GIPHY

We are still in the first 100 days...wasn't it just a month yesterday? How time flies. The press conference was interesting to say the least. It's not the kind of thing you want to see alone, don't let the kids watch it. It does answer one important question: How much manure can one bull sling? 

Quite a bit.

But it appears the old bull has lost some of his momentum . He's been spinning in circles for a month and getting bogged deeper and deeper in the -- mud -- he's churned up. But the old bull is spinning himself into a corner, and Uncle Sam might be in trouble. 

Count on the folks from the alphabet soup agencies to continue to investigate just how deep the ties are between our old bull and Mother Russia. Think of them as the rodeo clowns - who are also know as bullfighters. These are the guys who jump in when the bull-rider is thrown and is about to get two feet of horn where the sun never shines. 

Like this:


This is just the first month of a four year ride. Luckily, Congress has yet to lose it's lethargy and make any moves - they've been bingeing on hate for so long they can barely twitch a limb. It must be like one long Thanksgiving for the GOP -- feasting on the carcass of their victory only to find they can't stand up any more. 

Lazy vultures.

Without a Democrat to kick around, the bloated GOP is unable to function. They've been the opposition for so long that now their collective spine has become (cranberry) jelly. 

Of course there is an exception - John McCain - pickup rider for this long rodeo event. He's back in the saddle and is swinging a catch rope to throw a loop over the old bull if need be. He can afford to make himself a target as long as the bullfighters are doing the close work. His job is to scoop up Uncle Sam if he stays on until the buzzer. 

We've got a long way to go.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Silver Lining - Is US

via GIPHY

If the old saying is true - 'Every cloud has a silver lining' then Our Glorious Orange Leader has done something that never could have been predicted.

He brought politics alive in America again.

Not since the 1960's have I seen this many people look into getting involved in the political arena. Then it was the Boomers protesting the war in Vietnam. But they seemed to have gone to sleep in the 1970's when I came of age.

Then in the 1980's and 1990's nobody gave a fig about what happened. Things just slid along a greased track.

Now -- well this is beyond exciting!

Of course this is one heck of a bumpy road that we are about to embark upon. We're up against the GREAT BULL after all. But I couldn't be more cheerful.

Politics as usual is GONE. Instead we've got people waking up to the fact that they have a voice and they have power.

And the Senators are running for the freaking hills!

#KarmaIsABitchMitch

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rampaging Bull

This is a guest post from my best buddy Butch McKinley.

The alarm just went off for the 12 year old living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. A court just said "Why don't you just shove it up your ass, Buddy!!!??? This is 'Murica! Land of the free and home of the brave. Yer about to fuck up the computer industry, the IT business, kill off engineering  and in general make trouble for large numbers of businesses! So just fold your executive order up carefully with no sharp edges sticking out to cut your sphincter and park it in your ascending Colon!"

Best ruling I've ever read!
And now you know how I got bandicated (another word for 86'd) off FB.

Yer Pal,
Butch McKinley

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worry about things which are beyond the power of our will.  Epictetus.