random items on a random monday.

  • Thanks to everyone who put their hats into the ring for Robin’s graphics job.  She went through all the portfolios and picked someone for the job.  I’ll be sending out emails later today to all who replied.
  • ‘”You pay $5.99 for a mocha, dude.  Why would you not pay it for a book?” The always eloquent Cat Valente weighs in on the $0.99 pricing model for ebooks, and I can’t say I disagree with her on any particular point.
  • Not to be outdone, John Scalzi provides a handy Electronic Publishing Bingo Chart with all the arguments commonly found whenever there’s a debate on the subject.  Jump into a discussion thread on e-book self-publishing, and see how fast you can check off all the boxes.
  • Lastly, Chuck Wendig gives you instructions for the Care and Feeding of Your Favorite Authors.
  • I’ve been busy Doing Stuff this weekend.  We had friends over on Saturday afternoon, so we did some of that socializing stuff that seems to be all the rage these days, and it was fun indeed.  In addition, I also finished a chapter of the Urban Fantasy novel I now seem to be writing concurrently with That Damn MilSF Sequel, and wrote 2,200 words for a new SF short story yesterday.  All in all, the weekend was the perfect mix of recreation and productivity.  (I don’t really take days off from writing, although Saturdays tend to be my least productive days because of Dadcation and Saturday Night World of Warcraft Mit Der Hooch.)
  • That short story I’m writing right now is called CAKE WHORES OF MARS.  The title was sort of an in-joke between Chuck Wendig and me, and I thought I’d see where I could go strictly from the title alone.  The evolution of that short story is a perfect example of the occasional pure awesomeness of the writing process—I started with the first line that came to mind when reading the title, and the whole story just gradually unfolded as I was typing the first paragraph.  By the time I was halfway down the first page, I knew where I was going with it, and how to get there.  I love it when stuff just comes together like that.
  • The Mac mini is now a year old, which means that it’s out of Apple Care warranty…which also means that the chances for catastrophic failure increased by 2000%.  I do have a Time Machine backup hard drive, and I’ve never lost a machine to the point that I couldn’t just hook up its hard drive to a new computer and salvage all the data.  My Macs tend to have really long useful lives, however (there’s an eMac upstairs that will be eight years old this year, and I have a G3 iBook that’s closer to ten), and if those other machines are any indicators as to the projected service life of the mini, I’ll be using that one for a few more years.
  • I got out my “spare” Olympia SM-9, the one I got in a garage sale, and cleaned it up.  It’s in as close to new condition as I’ve ever seen a used typewriter.  There’s not a thing wrong with it, and it looks like it rolled off the assembly line four weeks rather than four decades ago.  The typeface is that lovely, legible Congress in Pica.  I hammered out a bunch of pages on it this past weekend, and it’s as smooth and precise as a good Swiss watch.  The 1960s and 1970s Olympias will never win any prizes for looks—they’re not nearly as nice to look at as, say, a 1930s Royal or Smith-Corona with gloss paint and glass keytops—but they work like nothing else…and from the samples I’ve owned, they age really well.
  • For those typewriter nuts out there who also own iPads, here’s a fun typewriter simulator that’s well worth the 99-cent price tag.
  • Last typewriter-related item for today is Richard Polt’s page, specifically the typewriter font downloads.  (The essay collection of writers singing the praises of their manuals is great, too.  Hell, most everything on there is a fun read for a typewriter fan.)

Since I’m using this blog as a quasi-journal, let me mention Friday while I’m at it.

Robin got off work at noon, and we met up at the pediatrician’s office for Quinn’s 6-year checkup.  Then we all went out to lunch together.  The weather was perfect—fifty-odd degrees, cloudless skies, and a light warm breeze, no need for a jacket.  We went to Weathervane, which is sort of like a New England version of Denny’s with fried seafood and lobster.  We sat and talked, the kids enjoyed their lunch (and declared Weathervane their new Favorite Restaurant Ever), and I was struck by the fact that we just don’t do these kinds of things often enough.  Not the restaurant, I mean, but hanging out and doing things as a family—enjoying each others’ company without anyone having to do some other task at the same time.

And I thought to myself—this is a pretty good life.  I have a smart, funny and lovely wife and a great marriage.  We have two intelligent, healthy, adorable kids.  We have our own house in the green–a crooked house, sure, but ours.  We can fill the fridge and pay our bills reliably, and buy ourselves some nice things on occasion. I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do with my life, and I get to stay home with the kids and make sure they get a good start into their own lives.  Isn’t that just about as good as we could hope for things to be?

How often do we lose sight of how good we actually have it because we’re busy making things better for ourselves?  I don’t want to have no ambitions or be content with the status quo, mind you—but I have the sneaking suspicion that one day, I’ll be looking back on days like Friday, and think of them as The Good Days.  Almost everyone’s working toward That Day, that mythical point in our life where everything is going to be Just Right…and while we’re walking around with our minds weeks or months or years ahead of the present, we probably walk unthinkingly over a long string of those perfect days without realizing it.

Anyway, that’s enough Monday Morning Philosophizing for you.  There’s work to be done—a new week to seize by the throat and shake down for lunch money.


16 thoughts on “random items on a random monday.

  1. LittleRed1 says:

    Over a decade ago I was blessed enough to have a wonderful year. I was working hard, with good people for the most part, doing something I enjoyed and getting to go places and do things that a goodly number of folks won’t or can’t do. And I knew it and soaked up every minute, wrote down as much as I could. My family was healthy and doing comfortably as well. At the time I kept thinking of an otherwise unremarkable 1908s rock song: “These are the days to remember, ’cause they will not last forever/ These are the times to hold onto . . .”

    I’m glad you are having one of those “times to hold onto.”

  2. Jay G. says:

    Marko, you are a lucky man indeed.

    I hope to have some of that luck shortly… 😉

  3. Tam says:

    Any time a post has random commenters quoting Billy Joel lyrics, you know you’re straying dangerously close to the schmaltz horizon.

  4. North says:

    Is all music flat as it is drawn to the schmaltz horizon? Or does an occasional sharp escape?

  5. Matt says:

    Anyway, that’s enough Monday Morning Philosophizing for you. There’s work to be done—a new week to seize by the throat and shake down for lunch money.

    Made of win right there.

  6. Sigivald says:

    ‘”You pay $5.99 for a mocha, dude. Why would you not pay it for a book?”

    ’cause I know, thanks to either experience or the promise of consistency, that the mocha will satisfy.

    Far, far, far too many books absolutely suck, and I can’t tell in advance.

    (I mean, there ARE books I’ll pay Real Money for gladly – but they’re not random. If an author wants me to Give Them A Chance out of nowhere, they need a price point, even if it’s just on one title…)

    • perlhaqr says:

      This was going to be about my response.

      My second was going to be that I don’t spend $5.99 on a mocha, either. But the principle of “I know this $5.99 bomber of beer is going to be good” still applies.

      Oaked Yeti or Heresy vs: J. Random Larry Correia novel? Well, I’ve voraciously devoured every book of his that I’ve gotten my hands on, reading them all probably a half dozen times. Heck, I’ve bought three hardcover copies of “Hard Magic” on pre-order, so I can give some of them away as gifts.

      Author I’ve Never Read Before? Yeah, they’re much more likely to get my attention at $0.99 for a “whim” purchase.

  7. Al Terego says:

    Since we’re headed for the precipice of schmaltz anyway, let me toss in that never were sweeter and truer words written than those by Lennon in “Beautiful Boy”…

    Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans, indeed. And man, does it happen fast.

    Glad you recognize that and are drinking it in.


  8. MarkHB says:

    I’m happy too, Wingie.

    Nice, ain’t it?

  9. Fifty-odd degrees? Warm? We get out the parkas for that here in Cali.

  10. BenC says:

    If I was an author what I would care about is the amount of my royalty and the number of my sales.If I make $.33 per e-book or $.33 per hardcover what is the difference except I will probably sell a lot more e-books at $.99 than at the $15 or more hardcover price.When I pay $15 or more for a hardcover I know part of the price covers materials,printing,shipping and storage and they cannot recoup the cost for any unsold books.Yet publishers still want to charge 80% to 90% of the hardcover price for a new release for the e-book edition which doesn’t have near the overhead.As far as I am concerned the consumer is getting screwed in that deal.My question is do the authors get the same percentage of royalties on a e-book as they do print editions.If they do they are getting screwed to if they get more they are helping the publishers do the screwing. I take solace in the fact that they are pricing themselves out of business

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