Friday, December 21, 2007

Hi All:

Wishing everyone holiday greetings. Just a short post this time.

I’m starting to cooperate on another blog with another writer. Must admit that I haven’t been very punctual with my posts here, so the idea is that the more bloggers the better. The site is called “Life’s quite a ride” and the link is

The best news of the season is that the Double Dragon anthologies, Twisted Tales II, Volume One – “Time on our Hands” and Volume Two – “Out of Time” are both listed as finalists in the Eppie Awards for 2007. I have a short story in volume two – actually the first short story I’ve written in years – so I’ll perhaps look more kindly at the activity if we win (maybe even if we don’t). I’m only one writer in the volume. With nine other writers in the volume, I can’t claim to have made a big difference, but hey – I didn’t screw it up, either.

Marilyn Peake was the member of the group who entered the anthologies in several contests this year – spent $800 on entry fees and book copies to be judged. She says it was part of her promotion budget for the year, but we are all chipping in a bit of cash to play our parts.

I remember reading the website of a small publisher a few years ago, who was everything but enthusiastic about the marketplace. He had a page titled “Ten things I’ve learned in Publishing”. One of them was “Awards don’t mean shit.” I have noticed that some of the online award sites that allow visitors to vote in their competitions are open to . . . well, the charitable word might be ‘influence’. It’s rather like picking a President – whoever has the most friends wins.

One last word about the season. Shirley is out at her aquasizing this afternoon and I’m baking a Stollen. Never tried it before. I’m using the bread machine to make the dough, so I had to juggle the Stollen recipe in one book with a slightly similar recipe in the bread machine book. It’s currently halfway through its last rising, but I’m not going to peek. Everything has gone quite well so far, except I couldn’t get the ovals to close properly after I filled the centres with the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. I expect some of the filling will leak out.

Call it my festive activity of the season. It’s really a Chris-stollen.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

E for electronic; E for environment.

Not a lot of change on the writing front at my end, but with my “Deadly Enterprise” now available for both Amazon’s new Kindle e-book reader and the Fictionwise downloads for the more affordable eBookwise 1150, I’m hopeful the new year will see much more activity in e-book sales.

While a huge segment of the population know nothing about e-books and e-book readers the sales have been glacially slow, but I’m looking forward with optimism at the prospect of doing all my new novel readings from an e-book reader and growing a fan following from new converts to a technology that avoids cutting down forests.

Which is a good lead in for some topical current affairs comment.

There’s a new twist to the old joke about how many whatever does it take to screw in a lightbulb. “How many government officials does it take the go to Bali and agree to hold future talks about holding future talks about considering doing something about climate change?” The answer – twelve thousand.

Of course this is an excuse for all the right wing remarks about politicians and the uselessness of the United Nations. Not really -- it’s an indictment of all the greedy bastards in the governments and countries that stonewalled the outcome the world waited for. Naming the guilty – we have the USA, Japan, New Zealand – and of course Canada, courtesy of the Alberta mafia. The United Nations is slightly more democratic that most of its members, which is why the unscrupulous find it so easy to hijack the policies.

You have to notice that it’s all the fat cats who can afford to buy yachts to float above any rise in sea level that are opposed to doing anything to curb their excesses.

But the nature of reality is change and some changes are already visible. In North America, pulp mills are closing down because of a lessening demand for newsprint. People are switching from newspapers to electronic forms of news media – TV, of course, but increasingly the online versions of newspapers. A breath of fresh air for those of us in captive markets to be able to access truth in a market dominated by corporate Newspeak.

While postage and other forms of transportation are so expensive it is impossible to spread the ideas and social values expressed on paper from one area to another, even in the same country. Having purchased a small batch of my own books to sell locally, I’m well aware that the loss of such things as Book Rate postage is diminishing our ability to disseminate our words adequately. Society is losing access to ideas and competent commentary in book and magazine form. Which is why it is important that the spread of electronic books for free, via the Internet, should increase. Why more and more people should become comfortable reading off a screen instead of from a pound weight held in the hand.

Join the e-book revolution. Use the Internet to spread the ideas that corporate medias see fit to suppress. Save some trees and reduce the carbon load of transporting tons of books and magazines. The new generation of e-books read just like words on paper, without glare and without getting hot. And just think, if you doze off and drop an e-book, the pages don’t close and lose your place.