Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Astute (?) Observations

1. After many years, I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two are a law firm, and three or more are a legislature. (John Adams)

2. If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. (Mark Twain)

3. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is likea man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. (Winston Churchill)

4. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. (George Bernard Shaw)

5. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay with your money. (anonymous)

6. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. (James Bovard, Civil Libertarian)

7. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. (DouglaCasey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University)

8. Giving money and power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. (P. J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian)

9. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases. If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. (Ronald Reagan, in 1986)

10. I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. (Will Rogers)

11. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while Congress is in session. (Mark Twain, in 1866)

12. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free! (P. J. O'Rourke)

13. There is no distinctly native criminal group in America other than our politicians. (Mark Twain)

14. The inherent vice of capitalism is an unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is an equal sharing of the misery. (Winston Churchill)

15. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. (Mark Twain)

16. What this country needs is more unemployed politicians. (Edward Langley, Artist, 1928-1995)

17. A government big enough to give you everything you want ... is strong enough to take everything you have. (Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Just Got Screwed! Grr!

And I have no one to blame but myself.

Back in 2006, when I was a struggling writer and I knew NOTHING about epublishing or epublishers, I sent two of my books to PUBLISH AMERICA. Yeah, that place.

Their contract is for 7 years, so I won't get my books back before 2013. But they're starting to sell now. So when PA offered its authors 45% off - plus for every book I buy, I get 1 free - I jumped on it to buy 10 copies of one of my books to refill my inventory.

Now, this book is 94K words. I have books with WCPT that are that bigger, and they sell for $17.95 in trade paperback. PA has my book at $24.95!

Okay. So I ordered 10 books, and thus I get 10 "free". But here's where I was ROYALLY RIPPED OFF. PA is shipping me my books after charging me $3.99 PER BOOK FOR SHIPPING. That's 20 books shipped for $79.80!

Duh #16

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bye-Bye Amazon Shorts

Back in 2006, I joined the Amazon Shorts program with 36 EXPOSURES, my short that ran just a smidge short of the 10K maximum word count. I followed a few months later with FIRELIGHT.

According to my Amazon contract, I would get paid royalties after I reached a $10 minimum payment.

Well, it's now April of 2009. I've never received a payment. And I've never received a statement. Ever.

So I sent in an email asking for a statement. The man who had been in charge apparently is no longer around. In addition, the Amazon Shorts program has been discontinued. (Their official word is "on haitus".) The one email I've gotten in response says that Amazon will never release my rights to me. And that I will be getting a statement "as soon as possible". The email was dated Feb. 12, 2009. To date? Nada.

Here it be known: According to my contract, as long as 1.) the book has been exclusively with Amazon Shorts for at least 6 months, and 2.) I give Amazon 30-90 days notice, I can seek a third-party publication.

I have sent my notice and another request for a current statement. But as an added CYA, I'm also posting here, and letting my readers know that Amazon will continue to sell my two stories 36 EXPOSURES and FIRELIGHT. But I won't see any profit from those sales.

I'll keep you posted and let you know who does contract them.

Duh #15

We don't get too many falling cows down in Texas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Do something good today for our world...

'Cuz it's the only world we have.

New Poll! Tell Me, Fellow Authors, What Comes Next?

This has been bugging me for a while, and after inquiring a couple of fellow authors, I thought I'd put my question out here for more of you authors to answer.

After you finish a book/story, what do you do next?

Poll ends on May 1st. I will be grateful to everyone who drops by to give me their answer!


Duh #14

Monday, April 20, 2009

Duh #12

For me, it's not the wheelchair out of control. It's the crocodile waiting at the bottom!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Well, Hell...

I think the one thing authors fear more than people plagerizing their books is for someone to get the same plot idea as they do and have their final product come out first.

I'm not saying "Carny", premiering Sat. the 25th on the SciFi Channel, has the same identical story line as my Runner's Moon: Challa (book 4). It doesn't, but there are a lot of similarities.

So I'm coming out to announce to my readers that I have never heard of this movie before I started Challa. I had been wanting to use the carnival and sideshow attractions idea for a book of mine ever since the series "Carnivale" was on HBO - except set it in modern times, not the 1920s.

Regardless, it looks so strange to see a green-skinned creature growling and hissing from inside its cage, like a scene in my book come to life.


Only in America drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in America we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Read My Blog over at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid!

I've come up with some very innovative ways to use a dildo "other than"... ;)

Go over to the Whiskey Creek Press Torrid blog to find out what. I post there the 16th of every month now!

(Warning: Adult Content)

Duh #9

I wonder if this sort of thing happens a lot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If you haven't seen this yet...

Her name is Susan Boyle. She's a 47-year-old Scottish woman who is as plain as a doorknob. Her ultimate dream is to be a singer. So four days ago she went on Britain's Got Talent.

Here is the link to her on YouTube (embedding link was disabled due to number of hits). I
f you want to see Simon Cowell at a total loss for words, check it out.

If you want to cry for this woman's success and happiness, CHECK IT OUT!

Duh #8

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm Featured in the Houston Newspaper Today!

A Little Lesson in English

You think English is easy???

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't in vented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this. There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.' It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ? We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP , you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, sooo... it is time to shut UP! Oh. One more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U-P

Monday, April 13, 2009

If You Like Horror...

I took all my horror and horror-related items (news, movie reviews, etc.), and moved them over to my new blog GAIL'S GORY DETAILS. You can access the blog here if you like the genre and want to follow the feed.

Duh #7

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cake Wrecks, the Ultimate in DUH Goodness!

If you're not familiar with the Cake Wreck blog, please start following it today.
Not only will you get to see the best of the worst made cakes, but the commentary is a hoot, too! :D

Friday, April 10, 2009


After my local news, I left INSIDE EDITION on the TV. In a segment entitled "What People Earn", they mentioned that "your local teacher earns an average of $66,000 per year."

BULL! There is NO SCHOOL IN TEXAS where teachers average that much! Not even close! Not even with a doctorate degree! I have over 30 years in teaching and a master's degree, and I "topped out" at year 28. (Of course our school superintendent is making over $120K.)

I'm sorry, but "news" like this chaps my derriere.

There Are Days I Feel Like a Prairie Dog

There are days I feel like a prairie dog. Aside from my job as a Kindergarten teacher, I come home, check my email, check my sites, then I start writing. My goal is 1000 words a day, or approximately 2 pages, single-spaced, Time font. More often than not, I keep going after reaching 1K.

Every now and then I have a book released. I poke my head out of my hole and go on the loops and my various sites to announce it. Then when the book goes to ARe or Fictionwise, I emerge out of my hole again to announce it because a lot of people wait to use their rebates then.

Otherwise, I'm down inside my burrow, immersed in my current WIP. But it's a very isolated feeling.

Have a Blessed Good Friday

Duh #5

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Throwing Out a Question

Do submissions editors actually read the entire book? Or do they "Evelyn Wood" it? Do they make their initial decision whether or not to read the book after perusing the synopsis?

Duh #4

(Psst! Note the tee-niney warning at the bottom!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A 3-year-old in a Bathroom Stall

It's been a while since I've laughed so hard. So I wanted to share this with you. Thanks to Candace for the day brightener! :D

A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.
By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we are in the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And you never have to ask him to turn up the volume. It's always fully cranked. There have been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall:

''Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?''

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued: ''Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh...Mommy! I'm trying to see In dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!''

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me. Where is a screaming new born when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, ''Why don't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!''

''No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies...Oh! Mommy!'' He started to gag at this point. ''Uh - oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!''

As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall.. I quickly flushed the toilet In hopes of changing the subject. I began to reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone.

''Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!''

He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door.

''Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What were you wooking at? Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet?''

More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation.

''Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now, Mommy.'' He started pounding on the door. ''Mommy, don't you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!''

I saw that my 'wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened the door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies crowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud.

My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, where's the fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my dignity and privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three. She lives with her family in Grand Rapids , Michigan , where she no longer uses public restrooms)

A Great Website for Duhs!

A great place for very tongue-in-cheek articles, videos, and photos. :D

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yes, I'm Already Counting Down!

After Easter, there's just 36 more days of school.


And then it's 7 days of solo vacation in Massachusetts. I plan to visit Fall River (Lizzie Borden's home town), Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Plymouth and Plimouth Plantation, Boston, Salem, Glouchester, and all points in between and west.

I'm sooo looking forward to it!

Idiots and 911

I saw a news article the other day about people tying up 911 with nonsensical calls. A lot of them are hysterical, but ALL of them are downright teeth-gnashingly STUPID.

So I did a quick googling of sites telling of some of these bogus 911 "emergencies". Here's a few of them.

Enjoy! :D

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Apparently Thieves Don't Read

There's recently been a rash of break-ins around town. Someone(s) is doing the smash-and-grab on cars parked on driveways and in the street.

My neighbor had hers broken into. They ripped her CD radio player out of her console, took the toll change in her cup holder, and the umbrella she had in the back seat. But the bag of books she'd just purchased that day and left inside was untouched.

Go figure.