Visiting Authors December 2013

The following is a new edit of a post originally drafted back in 2013.  It shows some of what I went through as I attempted to develop a ‘strong online presence’ that included a good blog.  Part of what happened was that I began to get a higher level of structure for my blogging, only to have the proverbial rug pulled out from under me and my ideas for my blog.

Blog Schedule

Saturday nights are becoming ‘guest blog’ evenings here.  As I am new at it, I am not sure how smoothly it will go.  Sometimes authors will reply to real interview questions with me, but in other situations I may do, what I am doing this first time.  Below is a link to an author of 10+ science fiction novels with Baen books.

Interview of MZWilliamson

Personal Experience

I have actually met Mike enough times in person that I think he might willingly acknowledge that he knows me as long as I don’t embarrass him in front of his wife or a TV reporter.  In person he is so approachable as to seem close enough to normal to not be intimidating but also has enough flare to stand out as an individual.

Next week I will hopefully be able to post a real interview with Jesi Lea Ryan about her and her novels.

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Hypergrid Business

Tech Magazines

One of the many types of magazines around nowadays are tech magazines.  Some of these are off line and on, some only on.  To my pleasant astonishment, a few years ago now, I discovered that a woman from my math class our Senior year of high school was managing editor of an online tech magazine called Hypergrid Business.  As I was seeking more professional writing work, I reached out to her.

She let me try a few articles.  As some of you know “writing” is a very general category.  This was tech article journalism rather than creating website content for small businesses, or ghostwriting parts of or entire drafts of nonfiction books, or novel writing, all of which I have tried my hand at.

Despite our limited success working together, I am posting links to some of these.  I learned more about Second Life and other online methods for having group meetings and exploring visual environments ….by writing for Hypergrid Business.

Startled Cat: Story Immersion

Virtual Avatars & Real Life

Was that you or the editor?

For those of you who are not professional writers, I want to disclose to you that although I am the real author of both of these articles, Maria Korolov was the editor of them both.  The changes that she made, did cause me to have a strong reaction.  My first emotion was “Wow, this is so changed I feel confused about whether or not I am even the author of this article.”  That emotion is commonplace amongst inexperienced professional journalists, novelists, and all kinds of writers.

Much ghostwriting creates emotions more like what editors sometimes experience: I wrote so much of this, and yet, my name is not likely to be mentioned in association with it.  Sometimes I would be hired by a business start up to write them website content.  They would give me the word #, the topic of the article, the theme and all of that.  Then I would do all of the writing of the piece.  In some cases, the business would then have an editor make whatever other changes…I have seen works I wrote that were barely changed by the editor and other pieces that left me feeling like….Well, if it were making a pie here’s the story:

I put together the crust and the filling and baked it and my friend checked it and gouged out most of the filling and re-baked the thing.  Somehow she managed to not burn my crust….In the end all that I felt was “my work” was the pie crust, but my friend told me not to worry and still gave me the full credit for the pie.

Ghostwriting: using the same analogy.  I was hired by someone who told me what type of pie they wanted and when.  I agreed to take care of it by a deadline for a preset fee.  They left me alone and I made the pie and they checked it over.  They paid me.  The rest was out of my hands.

Author

I told me what to write and I did.  Then I went and edited the thing a lot, quite possibly more than once.  Then I went around trying to sell it.

To this day in 2019 I still get weirded out about how different it is to make a work, and go around trying to sell it compared to being hired to write something and told what to write…then doing that and not having all kinds of weirdness about being paid for my work.

Pleading forgiveness

I ask that you, random readers, forgive me if you need to, for how I have casually rambled on about the over arching picture for professional authors, writers, copywriting, journalism instead of just neatly posting the tech articles and not writing anything else.

Time Since Then

In truth, my main published items since back then have been review articles and entire novels of my own, which I am still trying to earn money for having written.

During the past few months as well as blogging, I have bid on some contracts to do freelance and applied for some staff writing jobs; some from home and others that would involve going to an office and including work colleagues.

Strange is the world of professional writers.

Free Video Reading by Novelist

Novelist gives free reading

There you go, it’s that simple.  Drop me a line to let me know what you think, or read and review the book.

In the event that you got miffed over the use of the word ‘mulatto’ please read my blog post about why I did not choose the word ‘biracial’ to describe the lead male character in the novel The Children of Loki.

perf6.000x9.000.indd

Valentine’s Day

Exclusivity in Love

Despite all the talk against the sanctity of exclusive marriages between only one man and only one woman…St. Valentine continued to encourage this type of Christian behavior in the 200 A.D. amongst the Romans.

Imagine: how it must be or must have been when it really was having to buck the system if you love someone and actually want to be able to have only one another….and for it to be considered an act of rebellion, not religiously, but socially.

Wow, even will all of my own tendencies and issues and liberality, even I see the sense of one-man with one-woman marriages; the safety for child rearing etc…but also thanks to at least remembering pure loves….people who really don’t want “a bunch of lovers” but just a real love, a real spouse, just one.

Really Radical?!

Believe it or not, St. Valentine was a real person, a man who lived as a Priest of the Christian church in the 200s when the Roman Empire was still going.  In truth, all he did was perform marriage ceremonies for young soldiers, and he would marry people into exclusive couplings despite the Roman Imperial Government being against both at the time when he did it.

Take a breathe and enjoy how internationally common place: one man with one woman marriages really are nowadays in early 2019.

From this perspective it really almost seems crazy that St. Valentine ran into trouble for marrying people like that, but in fact he ran into such severe difficulty that he ended up being martyred: he was politically assassinated for marrying people that way.

Freaky, or what?!

I don’t know about you, but from my perspective that is freaky.  He should not have been killed for such a small gesture of religious freedom and sanctity.

Evolution of a Holiday

Well, like so much in the Protestant realms, the Catholics have ‘slipped us another Catholic Saint Day’ as a cultural holiday.  The holiday has evolved into a day to honor and revere love.

Many people focus on the romantic or sexual aspect of love at the Holy Day, but like so many millions of others, even though I just turned 51 years old I still also really like all the other kinds of love, and enjoy celebrating the holiday regardless of whether or not I get to celebrate with a hubby.

Personally

My personal height of heights for Valentine’s Day is that I received my first accepted wedding proposal on Valentine’s Day in 1991.  I said yes and we wed the first day of Spring, both of which are gloriously romantic.  What punctures this balloon of joy is that the man who I married has barely spoken to me in years and we were divorced just as our marriage was getting started in 1993 after some of the worst first 2 years imaginable but not because he was a deployed soldier in the American or ancient Roman military.  I strongly feel it would be way more romantic if we were looking forward to our 28th wedding anniversary this year.

Despite that, both my mother and my son often get Valentine’s from me, as have a number of others…Some profoundly sexual and romantic in nature, others as most definitely not as the pets or other same gendered children in an elementary school class.

Yours

Here’s to hoping that you have some kind of wondrous and blessed Valentine’s Day; may you all experience God’s love in both the distinctively personal and in the abstract today.

artistic blossom bright clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

About Blogging

Today

Today’s inspiration is a Christian Mihai post.  He’s turned up in my stream of awareness in part due to his frequent blogging and having also authored some books as have I.

I just read one of his blog posts about blogging.  It gave a brief synopsis of his own history with this.

Blogging and I

Me and blogging

The first time I wrote a blog post was back in 2012 or even earlier.  Because of how old I am, that does not seem like that long ago, but really it was.

The first time I became aware of professional blogging might have been 2013.  It is so vague to me at the moment that I feel it could have been as long ago as 2004 …because I landed a gig doing real estate blog posts that once included researching Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia which later became the surname of the villain in my novel The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead.

It wasn’t until years after I dealt with that, that I tried blogging my own blog.  The first time I tried this very location for blogging was in 2013 if not 2012.

There was a time, for some reason I recall it more clearly, in 2014 when I was just about to create more structure for the weekly cycle of posting at my blog when I somehow experienced some kind of setback….I don’t recall what exactly the actual cause was, but only that…rather than successfully moving forward with setting up and maintaining a more highly structured weekly posting schedule nothing happened for a long time and then eventually I resumed trying to just sort of post on whatever.

Awkward Truths

I think it had something to do with how I have had a good 30 to 40 fellow authors in my Fb friends list, and news feed but then, when I started to ask them about doing guest posts or being guests on my blog, everything fell apart and doubts developed about the quality of my relationships with fellow authors.

General Background Realities

2003 through 2011 I steadily earned more money each year writing professionally, but as a painfully low paid freelancer most of the time.

The first time I was paid for publication was in 1994 when I was still an undergraduate due to being on & off with respect to working full time and working only part time as a work-study or going without working for pay while studying.

In 1999 I moved from England back to the USA but for the first time to Indianapolis and my son was fortunately brought over to me with his father (who is a German I met in intimate association with attending graduate school at Middlesex University in London, England).  That was already 4 years after having started a correspondence ‘trade school’ type of professional creative writing course with the Writer’s Bureau which is also English rather than American.

My son turned 4 years old that year.

In 2010 we moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to a village South of the city of Bremen, in Northwestern Germany.  This had to do with what I studied in graduate school and why and to do with how that had enabled a German man my age to market himself to me (romantically speaking).

My son turned 18 years old in 2013.

If you check the archives for this blog, you can find posts going back at least that far.

Some years I have put more into the blog than other years.  I’m not sure how to describe the results aside from ‘other than as expected’.

 

Biracial or Mulatto?

Political Correctness

Political correctness is a catch phrase that relates to a socially progressive effort to revamp public discourse.  When operating properly, so called political correctness simply encourages people to think in ways that are liberating and in ways that help to dismantle derogatory ways of discussing groups of people in our own society, and replacing them with respectful language.

When political correctness goes too far, it becomes like a kind of social-thought-Police as bad as the evils of ‘socially sanctioned slander of subgroups within American society’ that it intended to correct and replace.

Race

Race is one of the major issues related to efforts at social progress and liberation within American society during the past 100, really longer, but Civil Rights improvements seem to move in something akin to waves building and then breaking when they hit the beach.

Race, like gender, seems to be a blend of something biological and real, and socially constructed conceptions.  In the extremes, there are people who do not believe in ‘race’; they think the whole matter is a lie.  ‘Race’ has been defined by ‘tribe’, ‘nationality’, ‘religion’, skin color, hair type, social position….over millenia.

Race has often been used to do something simple and fairly scientific like describe people.  My impression of it, was that it actually is a way of describing differences amongst homo sapiens sapiens the same ways that animal husbandry folk discuss variations in breeds and stocks of animals of the same species.  While this can be viewed as insulting it can also be observed as a legitimate means of acknowledging and understanding differences without any kind of insult being involved anywhere.

Biracial and Mulatto

In my first released science fiction novel The Children of Loki by my male pen name Robert Fitzgerald Jr., one of the main characters is described as mulatto.  I have come across one or more people who were happy about that, but others reacted with some shock and told me they were mildly offended that I did not use the term ‘biracial’ instead.

Here’s why not

Eurasians are biracial.  Mulattos are also biracial, but not the same way.  Mestizos are biracial, but again, not the same way.  Because there are multiple ways for human beings to be biracial, I wanted to specify which type of combination it was.

The clinical or technical way to put it:  the main male character Kiel Bronson is a balanced blend of Caucasoid and Negroid races.  In other words, he’s mulatto.

Cultural bias

The fiction character Kiel Bronson is from the planet Earth, but is not from anything like what we would describe as America; well, then again, maybe he is.  In fact, Kiel’s nationality is never specified in the novel.  Set far into the future, as the author, I never even confirmed or denied whether or not the USA even exists on the planet Earth that Kiel heralds from.

There are numerous nations on the planet where this general ‘racial type combination’ might occur.  The Americas is one gigantic region in which this type of blend might occur, but India also has pretty much every imaginable racial combination amongst the people and is a large and populous nation on our same planet.  Here and there in the vast expanse of Africa there are another 54 or so nations, subdivided by tribes which may or may not also be considered to be ‘racially different’, are other people who are a blend of Caucasoid and Negroid.

Conclusion

It is actually presumptuous, but probably common amongst American readers, and strangely enough, even on the part of the author, to assume that Kiel is American.  In truth, I was going to put one of those Norwegian symbols in the ‘o’ of the surname, strongly suggesting that Kiel Bronson might herald from Europe or have one North European parent and one African or American (as in the Americas) parent.  Also, he may be a first generation mulatto or a 7th generation mulatto.  It is not explained.

Bottom Line: As the author, the main thing is that Kiel Bronson is our ‘home town hero’ simply by coming from the planet Earth.

To follow Kiel in his first adventure with a genetically engineered soldier from the Exterior Federation of Star Systems click on the link here to buy now.

Blog Blog Bling 2019

Connecting Online Again

Once again, I have experienced online connections that are entirely real, and mutual.  This has happened within the past 48 hours.

During that same time period I have also watched videos online that made me feel connected but really just cause me to participate in the freebie portion of a complicated advertisement.

Today, I have looked at my WordPress “Stats” and have found that most likely, the underlying causes for the downward change are the following: 1) a few days went by without my blogging new posts.  2) I didn’t spend at least 30 minutes reading other bloggers posts at WordPress.

In-system versus Domains

Wealthy Affiliate

Many of you know what is going on, but some may not have yet noticed.  What we get depends a lot on who we know, how much we can afford to spend and what kinds of things we spend on.  Thanks to this, millions of us have access to free or extremely low cost websites and blogging technologies, but there is a caveat: the freebie versions are normally limited to ‘in system’.

I most noticed this in-system versus domain name difference when I belonged to Wealthy Affiliate.  I joined there to get a free website and to market my own products (books and ghostwriting services).  There was an opportunity to learn about affiliate marketing.  I was not honestly interested in that, but as that was most likely the real motivation behind the organization, I went ahead and learned about it.  In truth, I tried it at my website.

All the business for my own interests that I found when using Wealthy Affiliate, was other members of Wealthy Affiliate hiring me to help them improve their websites by paying me to ghostwrite web content or to edit their website content or writing papers related to their business websites.

So far, I have tried Wealthy Affiliate twice.  The first time, I did earn significantly more than the membership cost me, but nothing like what a real, supportive full time job or good husband (yes, I have female bias due to being female) but the second time I lost money.  In one case, I earned about $0.70 from the “affiliate marketing”.  In the other case, I didn’t make money any better from that than I did from selling my own products and services via the same website.

The people who were members came across as very pleasantly friendly.  It was fairly easy to connect with them online and sharing information was smooth.

There was a large contingent of us who were dealing with websites that were low-cost but were only even functioning within the realm of the Wealthy Affiliate zone.

It was possible to free ourselves of that situation, but it required spending a lot more money.  Given that our need was to earn money, a lot of us got sort of locked in or ‘locked down’ at that stage of the process.

SBPRA

SBPRA is the publishing company of both of the novels that I have released so far.  They have provided author websites that can be accessed from the outside but both have their name on them still.  I have had to both spend more money and have had to learn in an effort to even get the website to function beyond ‘in system’.

I have mixed feelings about SBPRA.  I am very happy that they did or claimed to have accepted my manuscripts entirely because they are good enough and not because they are self-publishers who don’t care whether or not it is good as long as I will spend.  I am very grateful and happy that they have helped me to get respectable quality bound novels with good covers.  I am grateful that they provided me with a literary agent for one year for my first novel.

I am aware that really don’t have a good reputation, so much so, that they can be found on Writer Beware.  I realize that it is both true that innovation which threatens the status quo can get a ‘bad rap’ and it is also true that often a bad reputation develops as a direct consequence of bad practices.  SBPRA tried to charge me fees for services which a traditional publisher would provide me with at no fee.  Instead of paying me, the author, for the privilege of publishing my book, they did not.  However, they did grant me a nonexclusive publishing contract; they have produced respectable copies of the novels.  They have provided websites.  They have offered other services to support the work.  In my view this is much worse than the kind of publishing deal that I would like and vastly superior to what the situation would be like had I been limited to self-publishing.  It is that another publishing company did pick up one of my novels in another variation of deals that are horrible compared to excellent publishing deals and great compared to “shark tank victimization” deals.  The other publishing company offered to publish at both no fee and no pay out to me of an advance….in an exclusive contract but then didn’t release the book within the year and a half that they had the book.  They did get the cover together during that time.

The websites had an ‘in system’ look about them, but I have spent on a domain name so they hopefully won’t have this kind of problem.

WordPress

Here we are at WordPress, having our blogs.  We can spend enough to make it so that our blogs won’t be limited to having an ‘in system’ type of circulation.  It could be argued that WordPress has tacitly told us that as long as we promote WordPress using their logo on our blogs they will let us blog without spending a lot more money but society has also told us that we may be frowned upon as being insufficiently professional in approach and online appearance, unless we operate without these other organization’s labels.

You (plural) i.e. You all

I’d love to read responses or comments from any of you about this.  Is this a great topic or does it seem too elementary: intro to use of the Internet for business?

Have you (plural) had the same kinds of experiences?  How have you overcome these challenges?