Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writing and Life Update

We'll first I wanted to touch on a subject of personal revelation. I was eating breakfast with my mother this morning and talking about the efforts we are both making to eat better and live healthier. I mentioned that research I've done on health recently revealed that a chief source of stress, high BP, obesity etc. is merely our sedentary nature. I've always been slammed in the face with the condemnation of "being lazy" when someone made a statement about that in the past, but recently I've been able to focus past that. The main difference is that the research was specific. It's not about laziness--most of us work our butts off. It's about how long we sit. I literally need to have my butt in a chair to do most of the things I do. My most successful days are spent in a coffee shop abusing caffeine and glancing up at the sun outside a window. I love being in the sun also, but I'm not productive at work related things. The studies I'm finding indicate that we need to get up every 20 minutes or so and walk around in order to keep our metabolism running. Our lives might depend on it. Anyway, I've tried to do it before but I'm redoubling my efforts to build movement into my day. It's not so much that I don't like the periodic breaks in my writing--it's that I love being hyper-focused on a difficult project. I stopped in the middle of my discussion and nearly cried because it hit me right in the gut. When I'm wrangling with something difficult to understand I feel a father's love. It might sound a little crazy, but I used to sit beside my father while he invented things that didn't exist and bent the laws of physics to his will. He would explain what he was doing to me and I would push my faculties to the brink of insanity to comprehend what he was explaining. If you can picture, I was probably 4 or 5 years old when I sat on a stool while my father soldered circuit cards and talked about gravity, the Bernoulli principle, cavitation, and how the crystalline structure in metal changed when you heated and cooled it. To this day I'm happiest when I can push my brain out beyond its boundaries and I'm downright grumpy when someone interrupts me. Just a bit of self knowledge I acquired today and thought I'd share. Update: I caught myself procrastinating on two categories of emails. Between them they'd gathered about 250 emails, I've processed about 100 of them. Not very exciting, but it had to happen. My personal health plan, which has been a going concern for several years, reached the top of my project hopper so I've been tackling it while I let "footless" rest. I'm not intending to release the health book I wrote to the public, but I needed to merge, summarize, and record my research into a personal plan and that's now pretty much in beta. Again, not exciting news for those who want an update on product coming out, but these two weeks I'm letting my WIP sit. What I had slated for this two weeks was to publish the audio book for "Becoming Man" and designing covers for the short stories that will be released to Kindle as part of my anthology. I simply had too much on my plate to get those things done. Nor did I get all my belongings sorted and purged. Grr! What I did get done--designed a cover for the audiobook of "becoming man." ( (I'm not giving up on audio books but my sound guy has now had a death in the family which has pushed the release back yet again. There's a bit too much of audio books that are outside my control and that's really killing me.) I'm within 3 sections of finished with the book I'm writing on getting organized. I've met twice with my new partner and tech guru who will be designing the application side of that project. We also have a more creative project in the works, as busy as I am this year, I'm shoving these two new projects in at the top because I'm exuberant about having a talented IT guy to collaborate with for the first time ever. I'm 3 chapters from finished reading the "4hr work week" ( which is this month's non-fiction/self improvement book. I will try to review it here when done. BUT Today and tomorrow are nearly completely devoted to preparing for Friday night's Bard's and Brews. I rounded up all the appropriate cards and books (a minor miracle considering the chaos of my move). Tonight I'm practicing my reading skills to make sure I'm under 12 minutes. I want to give time to take questions and update folks on progress. The question is, can I start my kickstarter campaign in time to launch it at that event. I REALLY want to, but I've never done a kickstarter before so can't commit to finishing in time. I will do a special update if I get it going! I can't wait till June so I can start revising my mystery "Footless and Fancy Free."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Upcoming Event Alert

This is a good time to remind folks that I've got a reading etc, at Primrose and Tumbleweeds this Friday. Details below. They'll have copies of my book for sale there, but you can also find me on Amazon: and for Anthologies I'm in is my Christian Inspirational with Janice Seeney is Rancor on Kindle is Rancor on Audio is Rancor in paperback Oddly seems to be offering Rancor through my previous publisher which is a mystery to me as I ended my contract with them...interesting.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Time for a Friday Mind Blow

Here's some tips from that I think will revolutionize your life! I especially like the water bottle by time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A late, odd post

Okay not that strange but I wanted to be posting some excerpts from the health research I've been compiling. I just had a busy weekend and didn't feel like working on the health stuff. I did write a fast 10 pages about Organizing so I'll throw in some bits of that below. BUT FIRST! Here's an update on the writing front (which I should be doing Wednesday but I'm in the mood to do it now.) I'm succeeding at not revising "Footless and Fancy Free" as I need to let it cool a little. I will get to that in June (10 days, WOW!). I wanted to get to my "Denny's Tales" anthology but that's not happening as I've been writing up a storm on my ORG project. It sort of makes sense since I need to settle into the RV etc. so I'm doing a lot of that type of work. It's kinda on my mind when I go to write, and it's a different muscle than I've been working out when writing fiction, so it feels good. I still have ten days, I can still get some big strides toward publishing Denny's Tales if I get to it soon. I've decided to drop the Wonder NW convention appearance that I'd previously put in my calender. I simply need to make room in the schedule. I will, however, be doing the Bards and Brews event in Hillsboro. So see the pic attached for details. Also don't forget to check out the Dublin Down Sunday night, where my friend Amber Sweeney will be celebrating the release of her newest CD with a concert. That's at 6pm. Okay here's an excerpt of the rough draft of my book on organization... Most books and blogs on organization come from the top down, or inside out, like July Morgenstern’s Book, “Organizing from the Inside Out.” Occasionally you find one that takes a bottom up approach like David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” The former seeks to help you realize why you are disorganized and develop more effective habits to become a more organized person. The latter seeks to deal with the mess you’ve already made in a standardized approach, saving the soul searching for afterward in order to make a lasting change. I love both of these books. There’s nothing wrong with either approach. You can pick whichever appeals to you and if it isn’t working try the other. What I wanted to do, however, is deal with that unexplored middle ground, and do it in a way that doesn’t require you to buy fancy new equipment or radically shift your thinking. So I created the (ADOS) Action Driven Organization System. It lets you start in the middle, and is simple enough to describe in a single blog post--mostly. Best of all, you can learn about it while you do it. Start here: You grab pen and paper, or a spreadsheet program (I use excel). Record all the things you do in a day (one per line on paper or one per cell down a column in a spreadsheet.) Then record all the things you do in a week (no need to duplicate, just add weekly things). Now record all the things that come up monthly. Finally, record all the annual activities you engage in. A comprehensive organization system must include organizing all your stuff, your time, everything you do, and the places you do what you do. I call this TAIL, for Time, Action, Item, and Location. We started with action for a reason though. Action is going to drive all the others forward. Here’s why. Essentially we are asking, “What,” when considering actions. What do I do? Not what should I do? That comes in a moment. At this point you are just asking, “What am I already doing?” Obviously, time is a “When” question, but why establish when to do something when you haven’t nailed down what you are doing? Likewise, location is a “where” question that shouldn’t come up until you know what you are doing. Item is a “what with” question, and could include raw goods, tools, finished products, etc. You can’t have a “what with” apart from a “what.” Fortunately, you just made a large list of, “Whats.” Now in a separate column, make a list of the things you’d like to be doing at some point. It could be something you could get to this year, or in a couple years. Maybe you don’t have a clue when, or if, you’ll actually get to do it, but you really would like to do it sometime. Tune in next Monday for the next excerpt, "The Why Question."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Avoiding toxins

So as I announced earlier, one of the things I'm taking on this month will be compiling the research I've been doing for months into a personalized diet for me. I'll share some of it as I do, but for now, here's an article by Dr. Mercola about avoiding common chemical contaminates. What Can You do to Reduce Unnecessary Chemical Exposure to Your Family? Rather than compile an endless list of what you should avoid, it's far easier to focus on what you should do to lead a healthy lifestyle with as minimal a chemical exposure as possible: As much as possible, buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides and fertilizers. Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality purified krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity. Eat mostly raw, fresh foods, steering clear of processed, prepackaged foods of all kinds. This way you automatically avoid artificial food additives, including dangerous artificial sweeteners, food coloring and MSG. Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA-containing liners). Have your tap water tested and, if contaminants are found, install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath). Only use natural cleaning products in your home. Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a great database11 to help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals. I also offer one of the highest quality organic skin care lines, shampoo and conditioner, and body butter that are completely natural and safe. Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances. Replace your Teflon pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware or a safe nonstick pan. When redoing your home, look for "green," toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric, or install a glass shower door. Most all flexible plastics, like shower curtains, contain dangerous plasticizers like phthalates. Limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time. Avoid spraying pesticides around your home or insect repellants that contain DEET on your body. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives out there.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yard Sale Scheduled

Okay, we finally got ourselves together and finalized our details on the yard sale. Hopefully I can get rid of everything I can't fit in the 5th wheel so mom can start parking in her garage again! We are motivated. Lots of stuff to sell. Of course when you tell people that you are having a yard sale lots of people join. So weather dependent it should be quite the event. I've got stuff I really want to sell and stuff I'll part with if the price is right. So be it. Here's the add on Craigslist. Not very sexy an add I know, but that's the bandwidth I have to spare.

Creating an Eye Grabbing Title

From K.M. Weiland Smart readers know better than to judge a book by its cover (or maybe not), but what about judging a book by its title? A book’s title is there not just to identify the book, but also to make a statement about what’s inside its pages. Readers will gain their first impression of your book from either its cover or its title, and that makes your title one of your most important bits of marketing. No pressure, right? Some authors wait until after finishing the first draft to title the book. Some, like me, need at least a working title before the idea can even begin to gel. Traditionally published authors may not have much say in their book’s final title. Independent authors sometimes have too much say. Whatever camp you fall into, your title shouldn’t be chosen lightly. Today, let’s consider some of the factors that should inform that decision. 5 Elements of a Good Title Take a moment to consider some of your favorite titles. Write a list. What elements within these titles particularly attract you? More than a few of your titles will probably fall into the following categories: 1. Catchy: Neverwhere 2. Humorous: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 3. Poetic: Something Wicked This Way Comes 4. Curiosity Inducing: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 5. Genre Reflective: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 7 Questions to Ask About Your Title As you’re planning your title and throwing around ideas, stop to ask yourself the following questions: 1. Is it unique? Although titles aren’t copyrighted, you always want to think twice about choosing a title already in use. If nothing else, your title will have to compete for search engine rankings and could confuse readers. 2. How many words is it? The number of words in a title often depends on the genre. Thrillers and suspense novels often have titles of a single word. Literary and humorous novels might have titles that consist of half a dozen or more words. Shorter titles are often more memorable and more convenient for cover design; longer titles are often more unique and descriptive. 3. Is it specific instead of vague? Which book are you more likely to pick up—Lunar Colony or The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress? Loving a Scoundrel or Gone With the Wind? Trouble in a Small Town or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? 4. Is it memorable? Readers probably aren’t going to snap up your book the first time they see or hear your title. But if that title is an earworm that sticks in the backs of their brains, they’re much more likely to pay attention the next time they run across your book. 5. Is it consistent with your brand? Remember: titles are marketing. Particularly if you’re writing a series, but even if you’re not, you ideally want to choose a title that fits in with your previous books and overall brand. Consider Janet Evanovich’s use of a number in every title in her Stephanie Plum series or Sue Grafton’s use of letters in the titles of her Alphabet Mysteries. 6. Does it spawn any good cover image ideas? Your cover image (which may be totally out of your control anyway) may end up having no obvious connection to your title. Indeed, sometimes that very contrast is a good hook. But as you’re brainstorming titles, consider how each one would look on the book cover. What images would you envision seeing beneath or behind each title? 7. Is it cool? As marketing expert Rob Eager puts it, “Would a reader feel cool if someone saw them reading a book with that title? Readers have egos, and titles that people deem offensive or out-of-date can hinder sales.” 5 Tips for Brainstorming the Perfect Title Now that you have an idea of a good title’s components, what steps can you take to come up with your own perfect title? 1. Research titles in your genre. Zoom by Amazon and take a look at your genre’s bestseller list. What do the top twenty titles have in common? Write down the ones that particularly pop out at you and note the elements that make them attractive. How can you replicate their effect? 2. Consider your book’s text. Your title makes a promise to readers about what they will find inside the book. So why not look inside the book itself to find the title? Are there any lines that pop off the page? Any particularly memorable or unique phrases? What one line in the book best sums up the theme, premise, or protagonist? 3. Look up words in the dictionary. Grab your dictionary and flip it open to a random page. Do any words pop out? Make a list. 4. Analyze songs/poems/books. One of my favorite techniques is to pull vivid imagery from songs, poems, and old books (the King James translation of the Bible is particularly full of strong and unique words). Make a list of the best phrases and start playing with them. A little clever wordplay can go a long way toward making your title stand out. 5. Free write. Scribble down every title, word, or combination of words you can think of. I often cover pages in my notebook with various title ideas. Most are dumb, but there’s always one that finally pops out as the perfect representation of the book. Titles can be both fun and difficult. Don’t feel pressured by their importance, especially early in the process (you can always change titles later on). But don’t discount their importance either.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Writing Update...That's right, a day early

I managed to complete the rough draft of my WIP a day early so I thought I'd update the blog a day early to celebrate. I was just bragging to someone last night that I've now proven I can do a novel in 6 weeks, but I realized this morning that I made this WIP (a Mystery/Thriller) my focus for both NaNoWriMo (November) and Camp NaNo in April. So technically I worked on it closer to 10 weeks. In my defense, those were both hellacious months so it's a miracle that I got as far as I did in November, and I did actually win Camp NaNo by passing 30k on the project. (I set a goal I knew was challenging for that month but I also knew I wouldn't get the whole book done and move in the same month. So I also have to confess that I'd written a little less than half of this book as a screenplay in April 2011. I wanted to try my hand at mysteries and screenplays so I did both at once with mixed results. If you are tempted to think that it was an unfair advantage to have half done in another format, then you've never novelized an unfinished screenplay. It wasn't awful but it was slower than just drafting the darn thing from an outline, which I discovered when I finally ran out of script to convert and started drafting the back half of the story. The other big hold up was actually taking the time to read a book on how to write a mystery so I had a chance of completing the outline. I've never outlined a book before (I'm a pantser) so this was still a twofer (first novel from outline and first Mystery/Thriller). I set out to write a straight mystery but I'm an action junkie so I ended up with a thriller. It works sooooo well though. I have an action climax followed by a riveting denouement where the mystery is resolved at last. This book really transcended my hopes for it. I can't wait for it to come out. So if you're following along at home here's the updated plan, modified to accept the fact that I took two weeks longer than I'd planned to complete this draft. I still need to let this project cool for a bit so that when I clean it up I'll have fresh eyes. I'm really happy with the voice in back half of the book (the part I drafted after I ran out of screenplay to convert). So I don't want to do another novel length revision before I get back to this book as I'd originally intended. That's okay though. I've got plenty of projects to tackle for the remainder of May. I'll complete my revision and send The Vancouver Scooter Club Mystery off to an alpha reader in June. The back half of may will be consumed by... I've got a yard sale this weekend, (perhaps the first of many) so I can clean out my extra belongings. I'm still dropping about 5lbs a month due to dietary changes (and prayer). I'm going to finish reading through research I've collected and finish compiling that research into my final customized diet plan. I should get the finished edits from the audiobook of "On Becoming a Man" soon. They've been promised for a while now. I'm fixing up my short stories and compiling an anthology called "Denny's Tales." I will be releasing several of these stories individually on Kindle only so the complete anthology won't be out just yet, but look for those stories to start appearing about one a month for the rest of the year beginning in June. Those last two items mean I've got about 10 covers to design. For those who think this a crazy amount of work for two weeks, this about my normal approach processing through things. I'm essentially a small business owner between my personal writing and the gigs I get freelance. The difference between that last two years and this year is that I've doubled the volume of output I expect of myself, I've implemented some of the project management techniques I've discovered and refined as well as implementing some of the health and writing techniques I've discovered. That's why I'm blogging about this years adventure. Well, I have two reasons. 1) I think the goal of taking a 6 month tour to sell books (some of which I haven't written yet) is an interesting challenge and deserves to be chronicled. 2) I'm experimenting with and refining techniques that I've been working on for a decade or more. I want to commit, publicly to this goal and the plans I've made to accomplish it and I want to record what worked and what I tweaked to accommodate the unforeseen. Upcoming challenges include finding a number of alpha readers willing to turn my books around in roughly one month, and raising the funds to pay editors this many books in one year. (I'm willing to swap edit for edit, but that means adding in editing two books and some short stories to the schedule. Maybe some of both. We shall see...

Thursday, May 9, 2013


This is as good a time as any to announce a new campaign I'm starting. One technique for drawing attention to your work, is to start a campaign to promote something fun and silly that people can easily get behind. By promoting that "cause" people get to know you without having your "real" work shoved in their face. It's a great way to build a fan base that's larger than the genre you already have a book to sell to. So...(drum roll please)...My first non-writing campaign will be to redefine the word Irony. Most non-English-major types aren't aware that the dictionary definition of Irony is "the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning." If that sounds oddly familiar, it's because its the same definition as sarcasm. Most people use Irony to mean a situation which makes a recent statement seem false. Or something along those lines. Yes I do find it ironic that the definition of irony is wrong, and yes, it's annoying when I get corrected by someone who insists that it a coincidence. I don't think everyone in America is wrong. I think the dictionary is wrong and I want to change it. This question will take me deep into the etymology of those words and likely make me pariah to grammar Nazis everywhere but I am unafraid. I shall champion this cause and the world will one day know that the English language was made for man, not man for the English language. This will also be a great test project for the new skills in marketing I'm hoping to pick up. Look for a website about Irony later this summer. In the mean time, I'll try to plan the campaign here so you can learn alongside me. Together we can redefine irony and restore order to the universe. A. Bunch

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tour Update

It's been a busy and turbulent week since my last Wednesday update. Lot's of progress but no big milestones to report, so it's one of those challenging updates to write. I couldn't write Sunday because I was busy working on settling into the 5th wheel. Fortunately, I wrote a chapter and a half on Saturday and Monday so I stayed on pace. Yesterday was uber-productive I was up at 6am to take advantage of the morning cool to play tetris in the garage and wrote about 2k words. So I'm still exactly 2 weeks behind on both organizing and writing. That's not too bad considering how irrational my scheduled plan is. I've built in some less busy months in the middle of the summer so if I don't fall further behind I should be able to make it up before fall. That's not including the financial goals which took a big hit when my website contract fell through. However, I didn't plan to make giant steps on building a war chest till later this summer so I don't consider myself behind there yet. There's every chance that I will be a month or two delayed in leaving on at least one front, but I'm still going to try to make my goal departure of March 2014. So to recap: WIP is Vancouver Scooter Club Mystery (working title of the pilot) Word count is 40,500. 8 chapters (8 days) to go before finished Projected final size roughly 60,000 words Projected date of complete first draft May 15th. Still to do this month: I'm waiting on the edits for the audio book version of "On Becoming a Man" which is behind schedule but could come in any day. I need to design the cover for that audio book. One linchpin of this entire plan is the tweet from Jack Canfield that I won back in January. I need to schedule that SOON! I'm also continuing to tweek my organization system (making great strides) but I need to design a new action hopper I thought up. If I can do all that I'll be caught up to the end of April, WOOT! LOL. Then I need to dig into learning new skills at promotion. I've got a ton of resources I need to start gleaning through. I also need to start on the next set of writing projects. The next work in progress shall be... Revising my steampunk novel! (Crowd Cheers) Well I'd better get back to it.

Smashwords: The good, the bad, the ugly

Those who know me well probably think I'm anti-smashwords. I'm not really, they just have a lot of issues that make me cast about for an alternative from time to time, and I often post about what I find to forums I belong to. So I thought I'd collect my thoughts in one spot for an official statement. The Good: ( allows a writer to do a basic conversion of an ebook file into the ten most common file types. It also allows an author to have a commerce page to sell that book in any format. The advantage here is huge, because when you are out selling your book and someone wants it electronically you can send them to one location no matter what their reading device. There is also a nifty coupon feature which allows a writer to print a card with the link and the code, then sell that card to folks who then go download it for free. Best of all, Smashwords provides all this for free. Smashwords is also really good about fixing issues when things go wrong. The Bad: The bad news is that it can be hard to get your file formatted for their program to convert it and even when its perfect they may not accept it for expanded distribution. So it's quite likely that you'll have to contact them to fix your problem. The Ugly: The reality is that no one is searching smashwords for your book. There is no one stumbling upon your book while looking for something to read. That's the big advantage to the big fish in the market like Kindle. I had high hopes for the expanded distribution list, but I've not generated any sales through that until I went to places like Kobo ( and directly uploaded the file myself. So is smashwords worth doing? Until there is a viable option, yes. It's free. There's a chance you'll get some sales out of it. It's the easiest way to get a basic conversion (I'm not really a fan of calibre either). One possible option is, but as yet I've not had a chance to investigate them. I'll update this post when I do (Likely June when I start publishing short stories for my upcoming anthology.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Super Controversial and Super Cool!

Everyone was excited by the idea of 3D printers, myself included. I believe there's tremendous opportunity for change because of this technology. It's possible this could reduce the outsourcing of jobs to other countries. Well now someone has designed a gun that can be 3D printed and the left is freaking out. I'm not the least bit concerned. People who want to do bad things seem to have no difficulty finding a weapon to use. I'm simply not that worried that someone is going to print one of these things off and kill someone with it. Most people are honest, especially when given the opportunity to do the right thing. I trust our citizens. Now lets see if the government does.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Externalizing Obligations

Welcome to the first Monday blog post. My goal is to blog every Monday on a topic around life enrichment. This could be a post about learning new skills, or getting organized, or time management, or living a more vibrant spiritual life. I'm passionate and have made discoveries in all these areas, so I'll write about them on Mondays. Today's post is going to focus on one of a handful of topics I consider central to all the topics--Externalizing Obligations. If you haven't yet, check out "Getting Things Done," by David Allen. ( We acquire a lot of mental/emotional obligations through out our day and these things stack up in our unconscious. They rob us of energy and focus. From a spiritual standpoint, its impossible to be clear of purpose if you haven't defraged your internal hard drive. You will be distracted. When I went through and cleared out all the hidden obligations in my head, I discovered a remarkable number of agreements. If you haven't yet, check out "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge. ( The enemies of life will not only tempt us to do things bad things, they also accuse us afterward, trying to shape our understanding of who we are. The real reason we never really deal with all these obligations to ourselves is because it hides our agreements with the enemy about who we are. So I really want to encourage everyone to make an appointment with yourself, set aside a weekend, to forcibly externalize your obligation. Make a list of everything that commands your attention, even momentarily. You will probably unearth some ways in which you've been sabotaging your own success. When you do that you'll experience a tremendous rush of energy, creativity and productivity. However, the real goal in doing this exercise is to both break your agreements and capture your obligations in a system you trust going forward. If you don't do those two things you'll soon return to keeping all of it in your head. So look up those two resources. You'll thank me later.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My friend Amber Sweeney has a CD release party for her newest CD coming up on May 26th at 6pm at the Dublin Down, downtown Vancouver. More details available here or See I would also recommend catching her at the Fat Moose in Woodland WA. 5/11 probably 8 or 9 till close. That's a fun venue as well and Amber kills it in concert.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Charge your Cell from your Camp Fire

Source: ( I'm passionate about locally generated or recouped power. My father was a high voltage DC expert and I grew up around electronics on the small and large scale. I can't even offer a conspiracy guess as to why the well-meaning but misguided eco-nuts among us continue to promote large scale generation projects when they know the line loss to move that power to market makes it pointless. The move to local generation also compliments the other trends which will become ever more evident. Locally grown food and locally produced products. That's right, I'm predicting that even while mega corporations and big government are shipping our manufacturing jobs overseas and touting globalization, the next big trend will be local everything. Here's the writing on the wall. Fuel costs will continue to rise no matter who's in the Whitehouse. Energy independence will become a matter of national security with a need for at least some renewable sources. No one's more critical than I about how they're going about this, but the trend that direction is impossible to ignore. The internet, credit cards, paper scanners, telecommuting etc all add up to a way of doing business that's less dependent on moving personnel and finished goods. 3D printing tech is advancing faster than expected (they're printing cars and houses now). So the main things that will be shipped will be raw materials. It's a natural conclusion that if you can manufacture locally why not generate your power locally. While people want the US to be energy independent I foresee neighborhoods energy independent, and I'm a little surprised that this message isn't embraced by "green" promoters. Take the overwhelming brainwashing that's gone on regarding food production. I've posted articles before about the family farm's efficiency vs the large agro-corp. No matter where you are, some sorts of food can be grown locally and more effectively than the current system. I'm not opposed to organic labeling, but I think it only exists to distinguish what I'd call real foods from some of the scary stuff that's out there. Most people are more reluctant to poison their neighbors which means if we grow local we'll probably not need to label something as bio-engineered or not. Enough ranting. My point is that the community will rise again despite the folks who insist that it takes a village. Tomorrow's entrepreneur will need a computer with internet access, a 3D printer, and a specialized patented design which he markets to a small community of people across the globe. He'll draw less than 10% of his power from a grid that can be float free of the larger network at the flip of a switch. He'll eat food that was mainly grown within 50 miles of his house though coffee and chocolate will be easy to get, if a bit expensive. His children will not leave the house to attend school--it's free online--but they will be able to choose from any sort of sports class they wish to fulfill their PE requirements. Tomorrow's poor will live in wall-less prisons. Housing, power, healthcare, and food will be furnished by the government. Their every move will be watched by camera or tracked by satellite. Their food will be mass produced and lack nutritional value. They'll watch free, state sponsored television most of the day and have very few opportunities to change their lot in life. Sorry if that's depressing, but the more things change the more they stay the same. Ahh, yes, the article I was going to post. Man I depressed myself. Check out this cool product that could be used for campers or even in disaster areas to help power communication. Just because someone is getting close to nature doesn't necessarily mean they need to ditch their smartphone. However, keeping a device charged while in the great outdoors is not always the easiest thing to do. After all, those trees don't come equipped with power outlets. We've already seen the BioLite stove that generates its own power. A new product called VOTO performs a similar function, but with any cooking fire. The device functions via a fire-activated fuel cell. The end with the fuel cell is placed under the fire with the charcoal, and the end with the connected battery sticks out from the top. Because the device holds power on its own, users can charge it up while cooking and then connect their devices to it when it's safely away from the fire. According to Point Source Power, the VOTO's 4000 mAh battery can receive a full charge in two cooking sessions, but that will obviously vary depending on the situation. In addition to the phone-charging portion of the device, the VOTO also includes an LED light that receives its power through the same means. The LED puts out 25 lumens, which should be quite sufficient for most individuals' needs. When fully charged, the LED is able to provide up to 30 hours of light. The creators of the VOTO have this product aimed at two very different markets. First, there's the developed world, where campers will gladly welcome something to keep their devices charged while in the wilderness. Second, there's the developing world, where electricity is not readily available, but cooking fires are commonplace. The video below features Point Source Power's CEO Craig Jacobson explaining the device.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Update on the Bard's and Brews Event

I thought I'd post the flyer's for this event in case people want to help out promoting it. NIWA is a partner in this event but there are more than just NIWA author's there--it's a mix of traditional and Indie authors.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Updates on all fronts!

OK. I'm still alive and kicking. I've had a lot of radical change (par for the course in my life.) I wanted to get back to blogging a little more regularly. So lets start with an update. April saw me complete a move from my apartment to a 5th wheel, which is stage one of my master plan to go on a US tour next spring. I also completed my Camp NaNoWrimo goal of writing 30k words, which is stage 2 of my goal of publishing 2 novels and 1 anthology this year, so that I have enough work out to sell on the tour. My most recent freelance contract appears to have fallen through, which throws a massive wrench in the plans. Settling into the RV, yard selling my furniture, etc. is also taking longer than I scheduled for. So we'll see how badly this all devastates the plan. I have enough work to choke a horse reconstructing my author platform on deck for May and I need another 20k words at least to finish up the draft of my WIP (Work in Progress). So here's the plan: (modified and cleaned up slightly for public consumption) I've got three WIP's to finish as mentioned above. #1 is a mystery/thriller, working title, Vancouver Scooter Club Myster (VSCM). It's plotted and half drafted, but I hit a snag when I realized that the killer moved the body. I think I've recovered from that. This is my first stab at a mystery so I'm not sure how I'm doing until its done. #2 is an anthology I've been planning for years. I've got a brilliant theme for it and I'll be using some old and some new short stories. #3 is a NaNo draft from two years ago. It's a steam punk novel that will need some heavy revision. For those not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it's National Novel Witing Month, and the drafts it produces are as rough as you'd imagine when you try to write 50K words in one month. Even if you do complete 50,000 words in one month the finished novel will be closure to 70-100k when it's finished so the first revision of the draft takes a minimum of another month, usually two. Then the book needs to go to a first reader who will take a minimum of a month to get back to you with recommendation. After you edit that draft (another month) you need to get it to a professional editor, (another month) and then make their corrections (another month). So that's six months bare minimum to complete a book, which is why I'm doing several at once. If that seems like a lot of work in 12 months it is, and that's the writing front. I've been steadily learning the marketing front and I want to reinvent my platform this year to maximize the benefit from my tour. My website is going to need a face-lift and some additional functionality, and I've got no less than 3 books on the topic of marketing to read and implement. (A writers platform involves establishing a brand and creating a wagon wheel of real and virtual network marketing with a main focus in the middle and spokes out into other venues that drives interest in that single source of information. I'll let you know how that's going. All this takes money, so I need to pause everything and find replace the income from my freelance gig. (If anyone needs an editor/ghost writer, I'm fast, affordable, and very experienced.) I've been really blessed with skills and connections to do live events. I know many writers who are better at the online sales for which I'm envious, but I'm proud to be among a short list of authors I know who sell well in person. I'll spend a little more time covering upcoming events individually later this week, but here's a quick and dirty run down. Friday, May 31st, I'll be joining four other writers at the monthly Hillsboro Bards and Brews event and a featured author. Thursday June 13th I'll be joining the talented Nancy Kelley for a talk on the topic of indie publishing. This just finalized last night and I'm really looking forward to this event. I think there's so much people don't know about what's happening in the publishing/ebook world and a lot of writers don't have time to investigate it while trying to actually write their novel. This event will be free at the Three Creeks Library and I encourage everyone to attend and ask us tons of questions. We're heading into the summer event season, which means I'll be adding at least 4 more sales events as soon as they're scheduled. I'm also going to go ahead and commit to updating this blog every Wednesday on this topic. I'll move my crazy reposts to Mondays and Fridays. Everyone have a great day, and God Bless!