Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ebook Talk Thursday, May 16, 2012 to the Summerlin Writers Group.

Ebook Talk Thursday, May 16, 2012 to the Summerlin Writers Group.

The following acted as a guide for my presentation.
I started writing one liners for Joan Rivers and other comedians around 1984. I think it was during my 2nd midlife crisis or was it my 4th.

I was asked once why I write and I answered, “because I don’t talk so good.”

First I’ll relate my early experience with eBooks. A number of years ago before Amazon’s kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and all the other eBook readers, there was a small niche industry that you could buy ebooks from. A number of years ago an author of ebooks came to speak at our writers group. Her Genre was Erotic Fiction. She gave us a list of trusted publishers. Her earnings were about $1200 a month. My interest was piqued… I don’t remember if it was the $1200 a month or that I could actually make money selling and putting my erotic fantasy’s on… not paper but in cyberspace. I quickly knocked out a short erotic piece which I dare not call literature and emailed it to a trusted publisher, and waited a reply. My first rejection arrived with some helpful hints. Like, show don’t tell and this site does not except Erotic Lesbian stories. Rather than search the net for Lesbian publishers and all that would entail… I once searched Victoria's Secret never realizing there was so many Victoria's that had secrets they wanted to share with me.

I don’t’ take rejection well even if it was my first. So I decided to build my own web site, be my own publisher and sell ebooks that my Grandchildren could read. I bought a website program, built a Web site, bought a Domain name from Yahoo which I’m still paying $12.59 a year, opened a separate bank account to keep my earnings distinct, and found a site that would host my web site for free, but would charge a fee if you wanted to know how many hits your site received. My first sale was to myself in order to test the PayPal system and make sure I would be able to collect the riches that would come pouring in. I priced my first offering at three dollars at my lovely wife Rochelle’s suggestion… I’m trying to enlist her as my agent and offered 100 percent commission but she’s holding out for more. My second and last sale was from a friend for eight Metamucil tablets. The cost of building a web site was over a hundred dollars. This included the program to build the web site, the purchase of a domain name, which is called Humourebooks. I was selling 10 loosely connected short stories called the Adventures of Julie and Brad.

Steven King the bestselling author dipped his toes into the ebook game and got them scalded. He put his book out there in cyberspace for one dollar on the honor system, his fans in return for his generosity downloaded and disseminated his work and not enough coughed up the dollar.

By this point in my talk you have the right to be disillusioned. Don’t be. That was then and this is now.

Now any of you who are proficient using MS Word and have access to an internet connection can publish a book on Amazon for Kindle at Zero cost. You can also make your book available to other online book stores through a company called Smashwords. The companies will help you promote your book and you don’t need a web site, because Goggle will host a blog for free, which you can use to promote your book like I’m doing now. You can add a link to your blog that points to your book on either Amazon or any of the places your book resides so you don’t need a website with a royalty collection vehicle. Amazon handles the money side and you can set the price of your ebook and a choice of royalty program. 70% or 35%. You also have the choice of adding DRM digital rights management to protect your work.
How do you do this?

Download the following guides.

Building Your Book for Kindle a free guide, which you can read on a Kindle reader application that can be downloaded to your PC for free.

Smashwords Style Guide

Or visit CJ’s Easy as Pie Kindle Tutorials, which I found helpful.

The following sentence is a Log Line for my novel, that I’m trying to refine by piquing the readers interest yet not act as spoiler.

Three single parents and their children’s circumstances are altered after “Rent A Muse” enters their lives.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Brief Mojave Madness

I feel like I’m on fire, I need some water. Why did I leave the main road? Old Gold mine road sounded intriguing. I kept driving along that dirt road looking for adventure. I didn’t notice the steam coming out of my hood until the car ground to a halt. I thought it was dust from the road. When I opened the hood, I saw there was a cracked hose spewing steam. I kicked myself for not having changed them as the auto mechanic suggested.
I don’t have water, I’m wearing dark blue pants, no hat and I’m in the desert. I need a plan. If I don’t panic, I can get out of this mess. Let’s see, what tools do I have? None. If I had a survival book I could find out how to get water from cactus.
All I have... is The Entertainment book.
This car feels like an oven, the mountains don’t look too far away, maybe it would be cooler there. I can’t just sit here. I could scratch the words help on the roof with my key, No one knows were I am..... after that fight I had with Julie, she may never expect me back.
I don’t think this was such a good idea, I can’t see the car anymore and the mountains look just as far away. The dark pants are absorbing heat, the lower have of me feels like a crock-pot. I got to take them off. How would it look, found dead in the desert in my underwear? That was the first time I mentioned the word death. This is serious; I’m in trouble. I feel cooler without my pants. Although my underwear is not ready for a visit to the doctor, they’re not in that bad shape. I’m thirsty. I’m tired. At least there was some shade in the car.
The Jews wandered 40 years in the desert, I’ve been wandering one hour and it feels like 40 years. That Saguaro cactus over there must be loaded with water. If I could only find the spigot. Ouch those needles are sharp; I can’t get close to it. If I had my keys, I could puncture it. Why did I leave my keys back there with my pants? Right, I thought, how would it look walking around in the dessert in my underwear with my car keys in my hand. It seemed ludicrous at the time. I haven’t made one correct decision today. The fight with Julie was the first mistake. It’s always about sex or money. Well it’s been 2 hours now and I haven’t thought about sex once.
My legs are getting sunburn; those dark pants are starting to look good. I’m burning up alive and there are people at this very moment in tanning parlors.
I was worried about rattlesnakes but now I would welcome one’s poisonous venom to end my plight. I think this is it. My life should be flashing before me. Maybe it did and I blinked. There are no Buzzards flying around so perhaps there’s more time than I imagined. But then again, fried human being Ala Hanes Jockey shorts may even be more than a Buzzard could swallow.
I have to sit down and take the Lotus position. If that’s how they find me, it will put the best possible face on my demise,
Julie will think I was asking forgiveness from God.
The newspapers will say I’m protesting the war in Kosovo,
Jay Leno will say I went into the dessert to pray and couldn’t get my legs uncrossed.
Thank god my mother is not around to see this.
“Mitch! Mitch! Wake up! The Johnson’s will be picking us up in an hour. Why are you sleeping on the living room couch in your underwear?”
“You see I was in the desert and ... I.. I think I’ll take a shower. “You know honey, Why don’t I get those hoses changed on the car tomorrow?”
“I thought you said the mechanic was just trying to sell us something we didn’t really need.”
“I could be wrong.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Winston My Mentor by Mitchell Phillips

It wasn’t like I never heard of him before, but Winston Churchill always seemed a caricature to me. I knew he was a great man but it wasn’t until I started reading his autobiography and other biographies that I realized his greatness. His courage on and off the battlefield inspired me. He became my mentor and hero for a short time. His life fascinated me.
It was 1985 in the middle of my Churchill Period just after my Eisenhower period that I was diagnosed as having gallstones. If I had been in my Woody Allen period, there would have been no way they were going to get those stones out of me.
My wife made an appointment with one of the local Surgeons through the doctor that employed her. The smart money was on me never accepting a diagnosis that would entail the removal of my gallbladder. My last operation, which I had no memory of and I’m sure, did not have my consent, was a tonsillectomy. Dr. Hans Morsch explained how important the removal of my Gallbladder was. He used diagrams to show me how the procedure was done.
I asked myself “What would Winston do”? The country was in no great need of my services and the company I worked for would survive without me for a few weeks. If Churchill could stand in the middle of a World War 1 Battle field with his maps spread out and bombs exploding around him, without any concern for his safety, how can I have the least reservation about having this operation?
I arrived at the hospital the night before my procedure with the best of Churchill under my arms. I put the books on my nightstand and waited for the anesthesiologist to come by. He appeared late that evening dressed in a finely tailored silk suit that only an anesthesiologist could afford.
Dr. Kumar happened to be an Indian, not Native American. I hoped he didn’t see my shrine to Winston who fought vigorously to keep India under British rule. If he did, there was no mentioned of it and I sure as hell wasn’t going to bring it to his attention.
I told Dr. Kumar what I thought he should know and he told me what he thought I should know, which was that I wouldn’t be awake for the procedure. After he left, I did what Winston would do. I made the rounds and visited the troops in the surgical ward, inspiring confidence.
My wife was amazed at the new me as only a few weeks ago she was living her life with Woody Allen. She liked her Winston and hoped my being an extremely slow reader would allow this show to last.
The operation took 27 minutes which is about the time it takes me to open my car door on a cold winter day. I was told the surgeon could perform this operation blindfolded. This I believe because I awoke with an ugly scar on my forehead, which wasn’t there before the operation.
The hospital gown was so skimpy that it covered very little; if you’re not careful you moon a person every half-hour. After awhile none of the nurses recognizes you by your face. One time I could have sworn I heard one of the nurses say, “how is the ass in room 754 doing?” What can I say; I never got the hang of closing those gowns.
At night was when all the fun began. I know this for a fact; that’s why I refused sleeping pills. But I could never get into the party atmosphere with an IV hooked up to my arm. Did you ever try doing the twist with one of those things on one arm and your other arm trying to hold your gown closed?
My stay in the hospital was only three days, this may seem long by today’s HMO standards, but three days wasn’t even enough time to make any lasting friendships.
Back then, the minimum was five to 10 days for a hospital stay. The care was marvelous, what little I got.
It usually takes the staff at least five to six days to do any real harm, so I got out with a few days to spare.
Winston Churchill has receded into my past, replaced by other well-known people. Churchill was clearly the man to be emulating during the time of my operation and any time of crises for that matter. The timing was perfect. When I returned home from the hospital, I sat in my favorite chair with the warm sun shining on my face, said, “Thank you and goodbye” to Winston, and opened up Neil Simon’s autobiography.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to read Kindle eBooks on a Windows PC

I've recently published a novel called "Rent A Muse" on Amazon for Kindle readers. Amazon provides a variety of platforms to read their eBooks, for those who do not have a Kindle. The following is a link to a free App that  allows you to read  Kindle eBook on a Windows PC.