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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Unexpected

I put the cart before the horse, in sending out some query letters, chapters and a proposal before actually finishing my Connor and Ellie saga. An interested party asked to see the completed novel when finished. In having mentioned my blog for the purpose of full disclosure, it was suggested I take my story out of the public domain now. This means nothing other than they want to see more, and I am not being offered anything other than a closer look at the finished product.

In complying with the request to take this out of public domain, I will finish the story and E-mail the segments as I’m doing it to any of the handful of friends who have stopped in to comment on it. I sent the queries out on this before receiving my first set of professional edits on COLD BLOODED last weekend. That particular splash of cold water in the face has convinced me I was an idiot for sending out a proposal on something I haven’t finished, and I will avoid ever doing it in the future. Thanks so much for the interest in my two Oakland cops. It started as a violent short story, and would never have progressed past short story length without the feedback given. If any of you have any questions, please E-mail me rather than commenting publicly. Just as with the professional edits I've been blessed with (or cursed) I will learn from this experience.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


A real nice older lady drove in for an oil change appointment, older in the sense she had probably a decade on me. She asked me how much I charge for the service. When I told her, she literally gasped in shock. I received one of my favorite humorous lines in response.

“You can’t charge that much!”

I laughed, because I’m not the mortgage industry, a car manufacturer, an oil company executive, or a health care system worker. The government doesn’t own a part of me… yet. The entitlement mentality has damaged the populace to the extent they believe if the price they are quoted for a service doesn’t suit them, they can simply demand the service provider change it. The remark doesn't bother me because I know the people don't mean it literally. They're just surprised. Granted, I’m an anomaly. I own my land and the business, at least as long as I pay the property taxes. The chain type oil change places sometimes advertise the service for under twenty dollars. I can’t even buy the quality of oil and filter I install for twenty dollars. I use Motorcraft Synthetic Blend oil and AC/Delco oil filters.

“I do charge that much, Ma’am, but I’m sure you could find someone to change it for less. I don’t attempt to compete with other shops on oil changes.”

“Do you know what they charge?”

“If you mean other shops, I don’t know.”

“Why are you so high?”

“Because I don’t do loss leader work here, in that I don’t have sales on anything to draw in customers,” I answered simply.

“Well… if you don’t mind, I think I’ll shop around a bit. Thank you for your honesty.”

“No problem, that’ll be twenty-two fifty for the canceled appointment and honesty.”


“I’m joking Ma’am,” I added quickly, seeing she had taken my smartass comment to heart.

“Oh…” she chuckled.

I watched her drive off, glad I wasn’t doing oil and filter change sale specials, and happy she could shop for a cheaper price within her budget. I no longer wish to compete for everything. The lady politely called an hour later to inform me she was able to get it done for thirty dollars; and to thank me again, saying maybe she’d try me for other stuff. I told her to call anytime. :)