I read the news today, oh boy

I want to write about writing and books and how great it is to be productive again. But, then I read the news. Another shooting. Another act of violence. Another story about someone dying because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because they are at the end of their rope and think that their only option is to take someone with them for a cause.

As a writer, I try and use empathy to drive the emotions of my fictitious characters and the branded writing of my day job. Given a particular situation, how would a person feel? So, when I see these stories (police shooting innocents, people shooting police, religious zealots slaughtering as many people as they can), I immediately try and put myself into the shoes of the aggressor:

How did we get here? How on earth did we arrive at this very moment of action? What small event triggered the cascade that eventually led to this one? When was the point of no return? When did this become inevitable? When did this decision, this plan, this action, become the logical choice? Or the only choice?

My Mom used to say, “Well, some people are just sick in the head.” I don’t buy that. These things that have filled our news feed over the last weeks, months, years… they’re not random acts carried out by madmen. They’re planned and plotted by people whose algorithm for life has led to this final question and the only answer is Yes.

I can’t answer the ‘Why?’ of it all. I don’t know. I’m not there. I’m a white male in my early 40s who has a good job and a steady family life. My complaints are few and relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I don’t feel oppressed. I don’t feel like I’m treated negatively based on the color of my skin. I’m not afraid to go to work and do my job. I don’t worry about my safety every moment of every day. I don’t feel like entire countries are trying to destroy my religion. But, there are people who do feel this way… and not just as a passing thought. It dominates their lives.

Now, before someone claims that, by empathizing, I’m agreeing with their actions. Not in the least. I’m trying to raise a child in this world. And, as I’ve always told him, violence is not the way. But, merely condemning violence without trying to see the root cause is foolish. Through empathy, we can begin to try and understand, hard as it might be, what drives us all as human beings. Why we make the decisions we make. Why we do the things that we do. A little more understanding from everyone could go a long way toward making this a world where mass shootings and destructive violence are a thing of the past.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me waffle on. Have a peaceful day.

Tally Up Twitter Tuesday – 1/20



Another batch of tweets from the last few weeks that you might find of interest.

Barnes & Noble Opens Up POD Service


And it’s pretty much useless. No, seriously. I’m not really sure what to say about Nook Press Book Publishing. “What were you thinking?” comes to mind. You see, a print-on-demand (POD) service exists, primarily, for two reasons. The first is to be able to create paper copies of your book. Simple. The second is where the real potential for value comes into play for a self-published author. Where can your POD service distribute your book to?

CreateSpace, Lightning Source, and most major POD services will distribute your book to Amazon and B&N so that it’s available for customers to purchase. They also make it available to bookstores and libraries if you can convince them to pick up copies. Do I sell a lot of paperbacks online? No, but it’s nice to know that they’re there. So, you would think that B&N’s new service would at least distribute to bn.com, right? Nope. They don’t distribute anywhere, not even to themselves. Go ahead, go back and read that and make sure you’ve got it. THEY’RE A POD SERVICE THAT DOESN’T EVEN SERVICE ITSELF! That sounds wrong on a variety of levels, but you get what I mean.

While they do offer the ability to produce a hardcover option (something CreateSpace doesn’t do), this whole concept is a bit of a head scratcher. There’s just no incentive to use this service! Why would I even bother? Is it possible that this service might change in the future? Sure, but it’s barely worth a second look at the moment. There are better, established, POD services that actually provide you with… you know, a service.

Self-publishing needs stronger competition. As happy as I am with Amazon, there needs to be a company of equal quality and value for authors to turn to. B&N could be that competition, but it seems like every time they have a chance to get in the game, they fall well short. Nook Press is a poor alternative to Kindle Direct Publishing, and this new addition almost feels like the punchline to a bad joke.

I use CreateSpace for my POD books. Who do you use? What’s been your experience with POD? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Tally Up Twitter Tuesday – 10/27



Been a while since I’ve posted this feature, so figured I’d dust it off with a fresh look. These are some of the more interesting things I’ve shared over on Twitter in the last week. Enjoy!


As always, you can get these links first hand by following me over on Twitter. 🙂

Tally Up Twitter Tuesday – 9/23


This week’s roundup of what I think are some of the best links I’ve shared over on Twitter:

Apple’s Big Move in eBooks

Amazon Launches the Voyager Line of Kindles

Should Self-Published Authors Slow Down?

Librify Launches a Digital Book Club

As always, you can get these links first hand by following me over on Twitter. 🙂

Kindle Unlimited is live!

Check out the new Kindle Unlimited. Readers get unlimited books for $9.99 a month from a pool of qualified books (639,674 books as of this writing). Authors whose books are enrolled in KDP’s Select program are automatically enrolled. Royalties will work as they do with the Global Fund for borrows, so long as the reader gets past the 10% mark of your book. In fact, it’s all coming out of the same pool.

Not sure yet what to think, but it sounds like this might be a good discovery tool for the first book in a series, but have negative affects on folks with books priced much more than $2.99. I have two books in Select at the moment and I wasseriously debating pulling them. Now, I’m not so sure. I might keep them in for another 90 days just to see what happens. Thoughts and comments welcome!

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited for $9.99/month