Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cable Car Mystery





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On the hottest day of the year in San Francisco in 1959, Private Detectives Sam and Amelia Slater are contemplating fleeing the city for their Stinson Beach house. However, when Sam decides to take a cable car ride to run some errands on the lazy summer day, he’s suddenly thrust into the spotlight when he rescues a woman who fell onto the busy street. Sam pulls the mysterious red haired woman out of the path of an oncoming cable car in the nick of time. The entire incident is captured by a newspaper photographer who splashes Sam’s heroics all over the front page. Sam is troubled not only by his new status as a city hero, but by the rescued woman’s plea for help. She whispers to Sam that she didn’t fall from the cable car but was pushed. She is frightened and disappears into the crowd before Sam can get more details. A San Francisco newspaper launches a campaign to find the mystery woman and Sam hopes to cross paths with her again.

Meanwhile, Amelia is troubled by the sudden disappearance of her elderly neighbor. Two thuggish younger men who now occupy the house next door say he took a sudden trip. One night when she’s alone Amelia grabs a flashlight and finds some disturbing clues in her neighbor’s garage. What really happened to her neighbor? Amelia is determined to find out. Award winning author Greg Messel spins a new tale of intrigue in Cable Car Mystery, the sixth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series set in at the 1950s in San Francisco.


Greg Messel (@gregmessel) | Twitter

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written nine novels. His latest is “Cable Car Mystery; which is the sixth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. For more information on Greg's other novels go to www.gregmessel.com.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What's really happening with book sales? And what does it mean to independant authors?


There is an ongoing controversy about the effect digital media has had and will have on printed books. Between 2008 and 2010, e-book sales soared, up 1,260 percent1, and publishing people predicted the demise of printed books in the near future. Borders declared bankruptcy in 2011, and many independent bookstores closed their doors. There were only 1,410 of them in 1,660 locations in America five years ago.2   
Many articles bemoan and/or complain about the Amazon juggernaut’s domination of e-book sales, and some pundits are gloating that e-book sales have slowed, while independent booksellers are growing. In 2015, there were 1,712 stores in 2,227 locations. 
This kerfuffle about who is selling what kind of books tends to disguise the fact that Americans are reading more than ever—on paper, smart phones, e-readers, tablets, and computers. The overall market for books is steadily increasing, and that’s good news for independent authors.  
While most independent authors publish only e-books, they are missing entry into the expanding market for books in print. Here are a few things to consider. 
Amazon is indispensable to independent authors. Not only does it promote the easy publication of e-books, it provides numerous tools, at very reasonable costs, to produce and market those e-books. Its CreateSpace program offers one-off digital printing of soft cover books at competitive prices. CreateSpace also converts printed books to e-books, which it markets for the author as well. 
Recently introduced is the “Scout” program where Amazon offers unpublished, well-edited books for review by readers who may nominate the book for publication by Amazon in e-book and audio format. If Amazon selects the book, the author receives a reasonable, though not gaudy, financial reward and a five-year contract. 
With the growth of independent booksellers who offer things Amazon cannot (like walking out of the store with a printed book under your arm), authors should begin a conversation with local booksellers about stocking their books and attending book signing sessions. Like most worthwhile things, it takes time and effort, but a good relationship with local book merchants is good marketing.  
Here’s a lead on getting your book in a Fort Meyers, FL book store. Patti Brassard Jefferson, illustrator and author, has a bookstore, P.J. Boox, devoted exclusively to indie authors. The author rents display bookshelves for about $10 a month. When a book sells, the author receives almost the full retail price. Check it out at www.pjboox.com. 
And, here’s the commercial. My latest novel is now under review at Amazon Scout. If you would like to see how the program works and nominate National Parks, go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/LUUV47H6J21J . My other books are at www.frogworks.com. 
Rolf Margenau 






Saturday, February 20, 2016

Different Is Not Stupid Or Ugly

Living in different neighborhoods according to our color, tribe, or economic status makes us distant from the ones not in our league.  We tend to think they are inferior, stupid or even ugly because they don’t have our dress, money or education.
I grew up in Johannesburg where clothing was western. In industrial Johannesburg, we lived with most South African tribes and we spoke most of their languages.  What I did not know is that people in the city came from the rural areas where people wore their tribal clothing all the time.  The tribal clothing in South Africa is very interesting because every tribe has their own tribal attire.  In the city, we referred to clothing by brand name.  Most European countries benefited from the lifestyle.  Girls, for instance, knew when the shoe brand Saxone, from Scotland, had arrived at the store and before the week was over, that very expensive shoe would have been sold out. With that kind of a lifestyle, you tend to think that you are better than the tribal people who only wore their tribal traditional dress.  Until my personal experience, I did not know that the tribal people also thought we were stupid and ugly because we did not dress like them.
My tribal education happened in the Cape, where I attended high school in rural Transkei. My friends and I from Johannesburg confronted tribal teenagers about their dress.   We questioned them about their bare backs especially about not wearing bras.  We thought they lived in the middle of nowhere where there were no foreigners and knew nothing about bras.  We simply asked them why they did not wear bras.  Their response taught us that living apart made people think the ones who were not like them were stupid and/or ugly.  The girls simply told us that we were brainwashed by foreigners who made us wear bras that made our breasts not look as youthful as theirs.  We were shocked that the uneducated rural girls thought they were better than us.
The girls’ response instilled a thirst to know more about the other tribes in South Africa.  Because of my thorough research, I was able to write Different is not stupid or ugly that could be downloaded at http://www.epubbud.com/book.php?g=NKLYWJFV  
For soft or hard copies, please contact southafricansread@hotmail.com
http://s3.amazonaws.com/epubbud_covers/NKLYWJFV/cover.png?2016-02-08%2015:40:32

Chuaro G. Zuzo - Author

Friday, February 19, 2016

Are you prepared for the upcoming financial crisis?

The speed with which the wheels are coming off of the global financial system is intensifying. 

Financial Armageddon is not on the menu tomorrow, but this train has left the station, and it’s important that you stay ahead of it. 

I wrote a short article a couple of days ago pointing out that there was a systematic effort to eliminate cash as money. I cited the efforts of the largest bank in Norway to eliminate cash altogether. 

Here is a clip from that piece:

There is a major global effort to eliminate cash as a form of money and replace it with digital money – zeroes and ones. 

Sound impossible? 

One example: Norway’s biggest bank has called for the elimination of cash. 

In case you thought this was simply the act of a group of pin-striped Norwegian bankers that had been on a weekend aquavit bender, think again. 

In the last few years: 

  • Italy made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal; 
  • Switzerland proposed banning cash payments in excess of 100,000 francs; 
  • Russia banned cash transactions over $10,000; 
  • Spain banned cash transactions over €2,500; 
  • Mexico made cash payments of more than 200,000 pesos illegal; 
  • Uruguay banned cash transactions over $5,000; and 
  • France made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal, down from the previous limit of €3,000.


The “War on Drugs”, the “War on Poverty” and the “War on Terrorism have all been dismal failures. But make no mistake, the “War on Cash” that is being gestated here by bankers and governments has a clear path to victory. 

So what? 

See below.  

I have also been writing to you about “Bail Ins”, the procedure whereby “troubled” banks confiscate deposits of some customers and convert them to stock in the bank. 

The prior article informed you that the European Union had authorized Bail In procedures for all EU banks. A friend in Moscow just informed me that the Russian Ministry of Finance just authorized Bail Ins in Russia. (January 29, 2016)

Here are a couple of links to that story (but please note, they are in Russian and have to be translated with Google Translate if you want to read them – which I did.) 


If you want solutions to this growing and precarious banking and financial scene, let me make a completely immodest recommendation. 

Go to Amazon and buy and read The Coming Financial Crisis – A Look Behind the Wizard’s Curtain by yours truly. It is written to inform and empower the reader. 



Keep your Powder Dry,

John Truman Wolfe

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How to Improve Your Writing - The Importance of "Voice" by Barry R Parker


One of the major things that distinguishes you from others is your voice. It's both the sound of your voice and they way you say things. When you write you also have a voice, and it distinguishes you from other writers. In this case it's the way you write things. And if you write in pleasant and interesting way that is characteristic of your personality, people will be drawn to it, and are more likely to read it. Because of this it's important to develop a pleasing and readable writing voice. This article shows you how to do this.

Voice is what characterizes a writer; it is something you recognize immediately, in the same way you recognize a singer after he or she has sung only a few words. One of the most important things in achieving a pleasant voice is writing the way you talk. The problem with this, however, is that your "talking voice" may not be pleasant, interesting, or even grammatically correct. Furthermore, some people have boring speech patterns, and if they wrote the way they talked, they would also be boring. So a good writing voice isn't something that comes naturally, and it usually takes time to develop it. It's much like a good singing voice; some people are born with one, but most people have to work at improving what they have, and this can take time.

You likely have some feeling for what a good writing voice is. On occasion I'm sure you have picked up a book or article with a promising title only to discover that the writing, though clear and fairly concise, was boring. It just wasn't interesting to read, and you found yourself struggling to stay with it. At other times you may have started to read something of only modest interest to you and discovered after a few paragraphs that you were enthralled with it. And you soon realized it was because of the writing; it was almost as if the writer was talking to you.

How Do You Achieve Voice?

Let me say right off that voice is something you want to develop, and it's worth your time to try to develop it. So let's turn to how you develop it. Two things are needed: relaxation and self-confidence. First of all, you must totally relax when you write and let the true "you" come through, but at the same time you must be sure your writing has most of the things such as interest, readability and so on, that appeal to readers. Let's look at each of these in more detail.

Most people feel confident when they are conversing with friends, and the reason, of course, is that they are relaxed. We are relaxed when we talk because we do it so often, and we're particularly relaxed when we talk to friends because we don't worry about what we say. It stands to reason, then, that if you want to put voice into your writing, you should do a lot of writing - and indeed, this the key. The more you write, the more natural it becomes, and the easier it is for you to do. No longer will you have to sit and think about what you should say (at least it won't take as long). Writing will become as easy as talking.

It's important also that you relax so that your writing sounds like your conversational voice. Don't get me wrong, though. You still have to make sure what you write is interesting and entertaining. So there's more to developing voice than just writing as you talk. But it's a first step. You still have to make sure your writing is grammatically correct, readable, and clear, and you have to keep these things in mind as you write, but don't worry about them in your first draft. That is what revision is for.

I also mentioned that you have to have confidence in your ability to write, and of course, this goes for almost anything you're trying to master. Without confidence you won't get far. As your writing improves, however, your confidence will also increase. Something that helps is to read what you have written out loud occasionally; listen to how it sounds. Compare it to other writing. Other things that also help will be described below.

'Soak Up" An Author

Another technique that is useful in developing voice is what I call "soaking up an author." You no doubt have several authors that you particularly admire. And, as you might expect, they can be helpful in developing your voice. Begin by looking carefully at the way they write. Study their "style." Think about how they are achieving their results. Don't copy them directly, but try to emulate their good points. Incorporate some of them into your writing. The important point is not to copy a particular one, but copy the best of several. It's important to remember that you are different and have a different personality than any of these authors, so you're going to write differently. So use what you can from them, but continue to be yourself.

It's also very useful to compare something you have written to a few paragraphs of one of your favorite authors. Ask yourself if it is as good. If you feel it isn't revise it until you feel it is as good.

Free Writing

Another thing that I feel is very helpful is what I call "free writing." Free writing is just letting yourself go and writing anything that comes into your mind. A good way of doing this is by keeping a "writing book" (or journal) and writing in it every day. The important things when you're doing this is to keep going - don't spend a lot of time thinking about what you should write. Just write nonstop for, say, 15 minutes. Don't worry about how good it is, just keep going. Write about yourself: a recent experience, a memory, or something that happened at the office that day. You may find that when you first try this it will be hard to continue for 15 minutes. But as you continue doing it, it will become easier, and in the process you will help improve your voice.

Breathing Life into Your Writing

Something else that helps is "breathing life into your writing." It's a little different from free writing, but it's also important. Think about something that means a lot to you. Then let your feelings show as you write about it. Try to get emotion into your writing; in essence, write with feeling. Particularly helpful in this case is writing about something you have actually experienced.

Peter Elbow sums up the process in his book "Writing With Power." He says, "If you want to breathe life into your writing so that readers will get a powerful experience from it, you must breathe experience into your words as you write. This can be done best by showing, not telling.

In Conclusion

Don't worry about voice too much in your first draft. You'll likely be too busy getting things down in a logical, orderly fashion, and keeping your facts straight. Just relax and write as naturally as possible. Don't strain for voice - leave that to your revision.

Barry Parker is a professor emeritus (physics) at Idaho State University who now spends most of his time writing. He is the author of 26 books on science, health writing, and music, and he has written for the Smithsonian, Encyclopedia Britannica, Time-Life Books, the Washington Post, and numerous magazines such as Flyfisherman, Astronomy Magazine, and Sky and Telescope. One of his books is "You Should Write a Book: Writing it With Style and Clarity, Publishing Beautiful Pages, Selling Thousands of Copies," It is based on a course he taught at ISU for several years, and is available through his website [http://www.BarryParkerbooks.com]http://www.BarryParkerbooks.com. He is also the author of "Feel Great Feel Alive" which is on health, fitness and self-improvement, and he is CEO of Stardust Press. While at ISU he did research on the DNA molecule and on Einstein's Theory of Relativity. His latest book is "Learn from Yesterday, Live for Today, Hope for Tomorrow."

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