Friday, November 30, 2012
Doing the radio show was fun. They claim over 10,000 listeners to The Author’s Corner, so it was a great venue to try out. The main show concerned Myra Nour’s Book Trailers Showcase site and e-mag. Myra and BTS treat authors very well. I can attest to that. The first hour is about what they do there with their site, blog tours, review tours, and the e-mag. The host for the show, Author Elaine Raco Chase, keeps the show moving along very well, and I have no idea how she does it for three hours with amateur guests. She’s planning a YA show after the New Year, and asked if I wanted to come on and talk about DEMON, which I’ll be releasing at the end of December. I said oh yeah! :) I was able to put out quite a bit about my stuff in the ten minutes without being rushed at all. If anyone is interested in hearing about BTS, and the interviews, here’s the podcast address. You just go to the page and click on download this episode:
In other writing news I passed the 12,000 word mark in my new adventure novel, and 70 pages/70 minutes in my DEMON screenplay conversion. I’m thinking I may be able to make five movie screenplays out of the trilogy of novels. Still no feedback or word on the HARD CASE screenplay, but it's a great pipe dream. :)
Friday, November 23, 2012
My novel LAYLA is finally up on Amazon. Many of you may recognize the name of my lovely Djinn, who helps the mechanic hero of the book, Cole Warren, run his ABC automotive repair shop in good old, Oakland, CA. Cole, while searching for stolen equipment, finds and buys an ancient oil lamp. He inadvertently releases Layla, a Djinn of immense power, granting him three wishes. Cole's no fool. He knows from folklore, books, and movies, the only outcome in wishing from the diabolical Djinn is a bad one. Cole sets her free instead, upsetting the cosmic balance. His freeing of the powerful Layla makes her into a beacon to the surviving past masters of the lamp, and they scramble for revenge. Because Cole freed Layla, he is immune from her power, and can wish without harm, resulting in his becoming a target as well. Chaos comes to Cole's tiny world of automotive repair, with a sometimes very funny handling of customers and coworkers by Cole's newly hired Djinn office manager, Layla. Here's the First Chapter
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I hadn’t seen my nemesis, Ms. Every Detail (name changed of course, but not to protect the innocent), in a couple years. I’ve blogged about her a couple of times. She’s the older lady, who comes in with a complaint, receives an absolute bible on what’s wrong and how much it will cost. She okay’s the job, and when it’s finished, she comes right in the office, looks at the invoice she’s already signed an estimate on, and then asks, ‘so, what did we do to my car today?’. I’m then forced into an interrogation I have already explained in excruciating.
Ms. Detail comes in this morning with a 2006 Dodge Stratus, she’s replaced her prior vehicle with. She has a folder in her hand as she exits her Dodge which gives me a distinct feeling of uneasiness. I greet her politely, and she hands me the folder.
“I want you to do something about this.”
I look in the folder as if I’m opening up a contract with the devil. It contains numerous invoices, stemming from a complaint on the oldest one of a PO720 speed sensor code, and the speedometer jumping at idle as if the car is moving. Three different organizations had been into it, including a Dodge dealer in Sacramento. They had replaced all the speed sensors, the transmission harness, and finally, the computer. I looked up at that point to see Every watching me with a frown and her arms folded over her chest as if I had done all this.
I shrugged, and handed back the folder. Frankly, I didn’t want anything to do with it. She interrogates me for a half hour when I’ve fixed her cars and done exactly what I explained I would do. The Lord only knows what hell I’d have to go through with this. The problem was, I thought I knew what might be wrong, because of my obsession with haunting the Internet and various professional organizations’ archives.
“I see you’ve had a variety of things done associated with the speed sensor code you had. Did they get rid of the check engine light?”
“No! I’m still getting it, and the damn speedometer still jumps!”
“You do understand that I can’t intercede with them for you, right?”
I opted for the truth. “Because I won’t. What you’ve had done has nothing to do with me. I will, as in past repairs, give you a guarantee that what I do will fix your vehicle though.”
Ms. Detail looked as if her head would explode. In a way, I understood her frustration. I also knew these shops would rather have opened a vein than ever talk to Ms. Every Detail again after not fixing her vehicle with the money they’d charged. She’s annoying enough when you do everything right. I could only imagine what kind of nightmare she was when things didn’t go right. Even if she agreed to my diagnostic check and repair, I was going to make sure the usual interrogation did not happen.
“That’s what those other crooks told me! Now you-”
“Hold on!” I cut her off before she said something that would guarantee she never got her car fixed in my shop. “What goes on between you and me has nothing to do with your prior work. If you continue talking to me as if I was to blame for your vehicle’s ongoing problem, I’m going to ask you to leave.”
I quoted her the price for a basic diagnostic check which would pay for my time in confirming what was wrong. “Another item we’ll discuss right now is that I have no intention of proceeding with you as in the past, where you ignore everything I’ve explained, and the detailed estimate you agree to, and then put me through a separate half hour grilling. Once I find out what’s wrong, I’ll explain it to you on the phone once. If you agree to the repairs, I’ll fix the vehicle, call you, collect my fee, and you take the car and confirm that it’s fixed.”
It’s a lucky thing Ms. Detail didn’t have death rays for eyes, because I would have been nothing but a small pile of carbon on the shop floor. She then agreed to the terms through clenched teeth. I took her in the office, wrote up the invoice for the estimate, and a brief detailing of our terms, including the fact my repairs would not correct anything other than the jumping speedo and PO720 code. She signed and left.
I admit I was a little excited to see if the Dodge had a problem with what I suspected. The research I’d seen listed a code and speedo jump being caused by the alternator, which unfortunately the other shops didn’t suspect. It might seem crazy, but I have had alternators with leaking diodes cause a myriad of problems, because the excess AC signal caused by them disrupts all kinds of things on the newer vehicles. I first confirmed all the evidence and repairs, and then I scoped the alternator pattern. Sure enough, it had a shorted diode. It put out enough to keep the battery charged, but I suspect if Every Detail had driven the vehicle at night with the air conditioner on, she would have had a few more symptoms. I disconnected the alternator carefully and took it for a spin. Sure enough, no speedometer jump. I called Ms. Detail up, explained the problem, gave her the estimate, and then waited for blast off.
“What!!? The alternator!? What the hell-”
“That’s what’s wrong. I told you I confirmed it,” I interrupted the countdown. “Would you like the Dodge fixed or not?”
“I want you to call those people and tell them-”
“No!” I interrupted again. “I’m not telling them anything. If you’d like, I’ll write up what’s wrong on your invoice. Then you pay my diagnostic fee, and take the car to whoever you want. I will not intercede, nor will I guarantee someone else’s work.”
Surprisingly enough, she had me replace the alternator, probably because she didn’t believe for a moment it would fix anything. I replaced the alternator, confirmed everything was reading right again, and then took it on a twenty mile test drive with air conditioner, lights, and radio – no codes, no speedometer jump. She came in about an hour ago, sat down, took the invoice from me, and you guessed it:
“What did you do to the car?”
I was ready. “Exactly what’s on the invoice.”
“Explain to me-”
“Nope.” I cut her off. “You already signed the terms of this repair, and I did explain it to you on the phone. I’m not going to do it again. Pay for the repair, and test it out for yourself.”
“I want the old alternator.”
“Sure. There’s an $80 core charge.”
“What!? I want my old part!”
“You can have it for the same $80 fee they’ll make me pay if I don’t give them the core. Once you confirm whatever it is you wish to confirm, you can bring the core back and I’ll give you the $80 back.”
After a fist clenching stare down, she paid the bill, and left… without the alternator core.
Wow, that was fun. I may get to do another blog when she rushes back in claiming ever since I replaced the alternator, her brakes are making noise (I actually checked everything possible on that test drive to avoid just that)… but you never know. In any case, I’ll report if there is a return of Ms. Every Detail. :)
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The book tour for THE PROTECTORS started today, and garnered a very complete and comprehensive review. I couldn't ask for much more, and I'm hoping the reviews on the rest of the tour are as well done as my first stop. Here's the link again to So Many Books, So Little Time, if you'd like to see the review and setup. In other writing news, I'm five thousand words into my new novel, and thirty pages/thirty minutes into my YA novel DEMON screenplay conversion. Still no rejects or interest yet on the HARD CASE screenplay. :)
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I have an electrical contractor as a friend and customer. He does specialized work in both our Bay Area and down in Los Angeles. He works for movie production companies in both areas, including the one based in Oakland. He liked my novel THE PROTECTORS, and actually tried on my behalf to get some interest with his contacts. Without a screenplay which I found is very expensive to have done from a novel, we received some positive feedback, but that was about it. I sent him the PDF copy of my screenplay, HARDCASE. He likes it a lot, and is going to shop it around for me with his contacts in the industry. It doesn’t mean much yet, but like he told me yesterday, he’ll have something in the proper form to show.
It reminded me of how little it takes to get the creative juices flowing. I started a new novel last night with an idea I had about copycat serial killings in San Francisco, and a rather odd couple of unique characters who go after the killers. I’m also working on the outline conversion of my DEMON novel into screenplay form. Since there’s not much happening in sales figures, I have to take inspiration anywhere I can get it. :)
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
They're doing it again at polling places in Pennsylvania and Ohio - the dreaded voter intimidation by the Black Panther Party. I do have an opinion on this. If you allow street thugs standing near a door to scare you away from voting then you don't deserve to vote. I realize when they were standing out front in 2008 with nightsticks, I'm sure they got some second looks, but they don't have any idea who you're voting for. The one from a couple hours ago in this Philly video actually held the door open for two women going in to vote. He didn't ask them who they were voting for. We've had a lot of good people die to preserve our right to vote on the battlefield. They'd be spinning in their graves if they knew an American could be frightened away by some guy wearing a beanie hat and sunglasses. If we want to worry about votes not counted, let's find out why they're disenfranchising thousands of military ballots. Those young people would be happy to ship back in to the states and walk by beanie hat or anyone else in front of the polling place door.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I posted I would describe the ‘Review Tour’ when it happened. It’s another package I’m trying from Book Trailers Showcase. Once you pay for the tour, the reviewers read your novel and then host a review of it on their blogs. They are not being paid for the review except for ad stuff on BTS. So far, I don’t see much of a difference between giving a review copy to a reviewer, and doing the ‘Review Tour’. The money doesn’t guarantee you a good review. If the participants hate your book, you get a bad review. The money goes to BTS for organizing the tour and marketing. I’m sure this isn’t for everyone, but joining ‘writer circle jerks’ where a group of authors annoy each other with their novels just doesn’t jibe with me. I don’t want to pester the hell out of friends and family in pursuit of name recognition with people who already know me. I figure to keep pushing the marketing this year by feeding whatever I make from my novels into more ads, and more new releases.
Anyway, here’s a link to the first stop and announcement on my ‘Review Tour’ for THE PROTECTORS: So Many Books, So Little Time. I will let everyone know if this helps in the name recognition and marketing front. :)
Begins on November 13th
Begins on November 13th