Become a Flatbed Driver in 6 Weeks!

You’ll remember that last week I alluded to my DH (dear hubby in RV vernacular) making the decision he’d need a job to pay off the debt incurred with trying to avoid abandoning the little box on wheels we’d tried driving east. We got as far as Indiana where he alternately wrenched on both the MoHo and the little Chevy Tracker (better known as “the Toad“, also in RV vernacular).

My intrepid hubby looked at a number of possibilities, including being the local Wally World greeter, but during the winter in Snow Bird paradise (Yuma, AZ), there is little hope of that going very far. In exasperation one day, he announced to me that he’d decided the local truck driving school looked like a dandy place to begin a new career. In a panic, I reminded him he had entered his 7th decade, we had no money for school, and I couldn’t imagine him becoming an OTR (“over the road in trucking vernacular) truck driver at this stage of our lives. While some schools boast a three-week course, many extend from a month to six weeks. Uh oh.

There is a serious shortage of truck drivers leading to increasing demand that will soon top 111,000 drivers. They offer financial assistance for schooling and the course is GI Bill approved. There are three kinds of schools:8876

  1. Private schools (may or may not include placement)
  2. Company paid CDL training
  3. Public institutions–vocational, technical, etc.

Continue reading “Become a Flatbed Driver in 6 Weeks!”

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How I Sold the RV

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ll remember I previously referred to attempting book tours using our RV. In October, 2015, I wrote of the breakdown of the Forest River Windsong stranding us first in Bullhead City AZ then Las Vegas NV. Findlay’s in Las Vegas hit us for numerous parts and labor, including a new radiator, then dusted their hands of it. You may have wondered what happened with the situation and whether or not we sold the motorhome. You won’t believe the story. You can’t make this stuff up.

The Foothills area of Yuma AZ is an absolute delight and this is where hubby decided the RV was going. Yuma is a “winter visitor” paradise. We made it to Yuma.

Said hubby then decided he needed a job to pay for all the debt the MoHo incurred and obtained his CDL by March 2015. Within a week, he was gainfully employed by a trucking firm out of Phoenix. We drove the RV to Goodyear, secured an RV spot and off he went. As sure as April follows March and summer follows spring, temperatures in an RV can climb faster than rabbits in heat. Time to sell.goodyear park-sm2

Continue reading “How I Sold the RV”

Women Write More Blog Posts

In a report released by Nielsen in April 2012, the gender gap widens significantly when it comes to social media presence; specifically hosting and posting blogs.

The findings didn’t just indicate a specific difference in the propensity of women to blog, but in active social media presence in general, engaging in Facebook (no big surprise there) as well as Twitter. The subject has been the object of argument since blogs began. And as one blogger queried, “…the blogosphere covers more than just technology, does it have a gender?” Should we really assume men write tech, women write about social issues? (Or, are women writing the majority of blog posts–technological or not?) Perhaps it is time for a little poll of our own:

I loved the blog posted by Elizabeth on Goodreads in November of 2014 looking at whether or not men read men and women read women. Okay, okay, okay! But the argument is still: who is writing most blogs–today?

Women write to connect,

Men write to research, sell, and compete 

You can read those same thoughts on website after website, all showing beautiful graphics proving their points. Another blog posted January 2015 by Iris on BrandWatch also breaks it down to age and income. (Neil Patel posted the same stats and graphics in October 2014.)

It’s difficult to find a recent definitive answer. Perhaps you’d assume the stats haven’t changed that much. I’ll be adding additional polls from time to time and glean some up-to-date stats to post here later in the year. Hopefully, you’ve voted on the first!  ©2015 Virginia Williams

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What is Nano-Punk?

In my day, a looong time ago, things were so simple: Radios with general audience series that didn’t have to be rated, black and white round-screened TV’s with programs also unrated, and books in genres you could understand just by the name (most likewise unrated). There was no nano–anything: nano-punk, nano-technology, or cyber-punk.

It was a book series I recently completed that got me started exploring “Nanopunk,” a sub-genre of science fiction. The “Futurescape” novels written by Dean C. Moore in Terraforming Earth-Phase 1-“The Plagues Era” and Phase 2-“Humanoids in Sealed Habitats” are extremely eye-opening.

Divided into two classes, fiction and non-fiction, the genres back then were easy to discern. Fiction separated into simple headings: genres

  1. Drama
  2. Comedy
  3. Crime/Detective
  4. Fairy Tale
  5. Fantasy
  6. Historical
  7. Horror
  8. Mystery
  9. Romance
  10. Science Fiction
  11. Suspense/Thriller
  12. Western

Continue reading “What is Nano-Punk?”

Do You Know Your Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank?

Do You Know Your Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank?

Or how you got there? What kind of algorithm are they using? AND, do you think your Sales Rank is achieved through reviews?

The good news: It’s not.

The bad news: It’s not.

 If you’ve self-published and are beating your head against the wall trying to market and promote your book by badgering friends and relatives to post a review, you can relax.

According to Rob Nightingale in his April 2014 article, “8 Things Most People Don’t Know About Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank (Sales Rank),” Amazon won’t specifically state how the Bestsellers Rank is calculated.

amazon-rank
Rank Your Products on Amazon.

 

 

So What Is The Amazon Bestsellers Rank?

  Continue reading “Do You Know Your Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank?”

Do You Know Your “Readability Stats?”

If you know your Flesch Reading Ease scores–bravo!! The concept of a readability test is new to me. Whether you had formal training and are familiar with the application or stumbled upon it yourself, the option of Flesch Readability is hidden within Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and apparently the new version of Word 2016.

Very simply, the test rates text on a 100-point scale. This is important because the higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For blog purposes, my objective is between 60 and 70. There are two readabilityFlesch tests:

  • Flesch Reading Ease
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

If you are familiar with the application, can you guess where this article scores?*

Continue reading “Do You Know Your “Readability Stats?””

The Golden Persuader – By Michael Reisig

Michael Reisig, no newcomer to combining whimsical sci-fi with past-faced dramatic action-adventure, has done it again in his new release, “The Golden Persuader.” In his words, it is the story of “modern cowboys, American Indians, big city hoodlums, and some seriously illegal aliens.”

golden-persuader

Dax Dryder was trailering his horse to Abilene with his massive German Shepherd/wolf mix, Smoke, when rain, the dark of night, and his exhaustion forced him to take a break. That night would change his life forever.

Dax and his sister had been raised by wealthy parents. Being groomed to take over his father’s political life, he seriously questioned that role and took the opportunity of his father’s fall from grace to go his own way. It was shortly thereafter both parents were killed in a private plane crash under mysterious circumstances and it sealed the dissolution of what was left of his family’s estate.

What he witnessed before daybreak in the little hollow on that moonless night, however, left him shaken, feeling lucky to be alive, and headed in another direction.

Continue reading “The Golden Persuader – By Michael Reisig”

The 4th Annual Phoenix Festival of the Arts-Coming in December

The Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, Arizona, is home of the fourth annual Phoenix Festival of the Arts on December 11 – 13, 2015. Jointly sponsored in part by APS and Lou & Evelyn Grub, the arts festival hosts a weekend-long event showcasing arts, entertainment, exciting food trucks, and over 125 vendor booths! And, of course, there will be a beer and wine garden.

I love craft fairs, art festivals, or book signings, either private or with a group.

Phoenix Festival of the Arts

Presented by the Phoenix Center for the Arts, the event is free.

This park, dedicated in 1992 and named for Phoenix’s first female mayor, covers over 32 acres. It is actually situated over a freeway tunnel and is part of a major cultural center that includes a Japanese Friendship Garden and Irish Cultural Center.

The Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion group now consisting of over 582 members will have two booths strategically planned for two hour intervals in each of the three days. I will be posting the times for my participation at a later date.

Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion

The dynamic organizer, Laura Orsini, has a full spectrum of marketing and promotion planned from banners with author’s book covers to MeetUp T’s.

I’m especially excited over the postcard that Laura is planning and having printed that will include a QR Code linking the participating authors to their websites, books, social media addresses, and 10 pages of content.

The Meetup typically meets twice a month that may include seminar type meetings with handouts or guest speakers. The wide range of topics cover everything from creative writing, publishing, self-publishing, eBooks, marketing, and social media. Within the social media spectrum are discussions covering “Life Beyond Facebook,” and other related sites.

Additionally, there is also an informal Meetup to match names to faces, network, and exchange tips. Laura has set up a group blog to keep us actively writing to which we contribute once a month (and we’ve volunteered to do so–mine is the 12th of the month). We’ve recently completed a grueling 35 day Author Blog Challenge!

This Meetup has met my expectations of finding help in the marketing of the books published for my grandfather–my responsibility even if they had been traditionally published–and I’m really looking forward to the Phoenix Festival of the Arts!

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A Great Source of Writing Prompts

Writer’s Blockugly words–but something that happens to most who would be authors. So it is that I am always looking for “prompts,” those lovely little ideas that would prompt an article, story, or more. It was when I downloaded “The Authors Publish Compendium of Writing Prompts by Emily Harstone that I finally thought I’d found Nirvana.

This was a free for the download fount of prompts and is divided into a number of different categories:

  1. Quick, simple prompts
  2. Classic prompts
  3. For novelists
  4. For poets
  5. For creative non-fiction writers
  6. Focused on craft
  7. For groups

Rose Point Publishing

The first group includes ideas such as first sentence, last sentence and a 10 word short story.

The prompts are laid out in a clear, easy format, describing the location, character(s), and possible action scenarios. For instance, the prompt for “Castaway” (classic prompts #2 above) sets a main character on a small island with only three items. How the character ended up there is part of your own idea as well as whether the focus will be escape or survival. Continue reading “A Great Source of Writing Prompts”

Time To Learn About Flickr and Creative Commons Licenses

Screen ReflectionDays of research on the computer have left me blurry eyed with the dizzying array of hosts who would love to have you upload all your pictures large and small to their storage reservoirs. This, in the fervent hopes you’ll upgrade and get all that stuff off your own limited computer, laptop, tablet, and cell capacities. (Okay–there’s another Oxford comma!)

There is everything from MyCloud to ZipCloud and JustCloud. I signed up for the Box.com 10 gig free cloud storage for my files. These could comprise all kinds of files–including videos, financials, spreadsheets and taxes. My Dropbox is currently at 45% of 5.8 GB capacity. I take double pictures of everything–never sure the first will be acceptable. Because this is the digital age, I can take a gajillion pictures–(and do!). I never have to wait and they never have to be developed. I have the power of the “delete” button AND I need photos for my posts.

I like YouTube for video, and other than the one html file, the remainder of my “files” are photos. But I have not found one cloud that will store my html file unless it’s within a website.

I’m a senior: I need it simple. Old Lady With Computer

My Weather Bug is programmed with at least seven locations, all of which when checked come with a beautiful background and usually have the photographer’s name and the notation “©[photographer] on flickr“. I’ve been looking at those pictures and wondering where in the world those were taken. But I keep seeing “Creative Commons” and “flickr”……

Great! Another photo storage host! Flickr will host up to a capacity of 1 TB. WHAT??! Not 5 gigs or 10 gigs–1 terabyte.

According to the internet: “One terabyte is one trillion (short scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the terabyte is TB.” Which is 1,000 gigs! Va Va Voom!

Waiting for the other shoe to drop, I signed up! Why not? I won’t be buying any more little flash drives, the last one of which I’d ordered from Amazon to back up all those files. It came apart after the third use.

You knew it’d get complicated somewhere though, right? Now we have the option of offering any of these photos through a Creative Commons license. There are attribution options out there. And many more photos to share! I love it and I’m sharing two I found today. Hope these have the proper licenses. Resource Box

How to Give Feedback … and Avoid Killing the Writer

thank you! guess i was using an “Oxford Comma” and didn’t know it. also go by the “breath” rule, tho i’ve also noticed the propensity to eliminate any and all commas anymore. still–i like the breath rule.

Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion

How to Give Feedback … and Avoid Killing the Writer

by Mary Ellen Stepanich

Before I retired, I was a professor of Organizational Behavior. I always said to my students, “I’m very organized, but my behavior leaves a lot to be desired.”

Once upon a time, during my tenure at the university in the late ‘90s, I was called as a criticprospective juror. When I told the judge I was a professor of Organizational Behavior, he asked me, “What is Organizational Behavior, anyway?”

I replied, “It’s the study of human behavior in organizations of work with a view to improving the performance of individuals and groups so as to increase the performance outcome for the organization and satisfaction for the members.”

The judge said, “I don’t want you organizing my jury. You’re excused.”

One of the topics we discussed in my classes was the tricky issue of giving feedback

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Free WordPress Blog Theme

This is a free WordPress Blog Theme–titled “Twenty-Fifteen”. Given that it was actually fairly easy to change out of my old theme, “Beach,” I feel now that I have the power, this theme will be short-lived–no doubt until the end of the year! I know white space is supposed to be a good thing–but this much?

Having been crushed that the clickable file I tried to upload, wouldn’t, I’ve scouted for most of the day for a free host where I could park some html files. This was not a huge file. Frustrated woman

I’ve tried uploading a gif before and noted that the action I had programmed in, didn’t. This is getting very frustrating!

Today, I found a number of free html file storage hosts, offering anywhere from 1 to 10 gigs FREE storage with up to a 250 mg upload capacity. Most are geared towards businesses wherein they hope to snag an upgrade or premium account later. Having checked everyone from HiDrive to Box, I finally went with Box only to discover it doesn’t really hold my html file as I’d hoped either. Google Drive is another (obviously giant) host driven toward businesses hoping to get bigger and there is always “the Cloud.” It’s out there–somewhere.

So, apparently, I’m back to the self-hosted website. ARGH! Gotta be an alternative! There must be something I haven’t thought of or tried yet. I will continue to tackle that problem and now I’m thinking it’s time to look into FREE (there’s a recurring theme here as well) #twitter hashtag analyzer/tracker out there. Suggestions? No, not Yoast–apparently this blog (at my level anyway) doesn’t support that app either–I’ve looked.

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