November 30, 2013

Money And The Money Grubbers


Money makes the world go 'round, and while it certainly doesn't buy happiness (merely contentment), it can make what you to accomplish a little easier to accomplish.

On the opposite side of the coin, not having it certainly does make what you want to accomplish a lot harder to accomplish.

When it comes to self-publishing, a lack of money can definitely bring to a screeching halt (and an ungodly amount of screaming) a meticulously plotted plan for bring a book to fruition. Now, I'm not talking about a lot of money, since the most that you should spend to self-publish a book is under $125, and the bulk of that should be geared towards acquiring a properly designed eye-catching cover for your book. You can probably go a little above that, should you feel the need to acquire the services of a good editor.

Hence, this is the exact issue I'm having with my novella, Shadow's Vengeance.

I've gone through 4 revisions and had a couple of beta readers proof it as well. I know that I want to self-pub as an e-book (Smashwords) and in print (Createspace/Amazon) and that it will cost me zero up front to use those companies (fees are paid via a shared royalty structure). And because I've learned from previous experiences that an eye-catching cover is a necessity, I found a graphic designer via a FB writer's group I'm in. However, I am unable to pull the trigger on this endeavor because I'm missing one key item: money.

At the moment, it is considered to be an unnecessary expenditure in my personal budget to bring this latest project to fruition. I am hoping that around tax time 2014 I can move this from the "unnecessary" column to the "necessary" column in my personal budget, and thus come out with my 4th book.

Money Grubbers

Okay, this will teach me to take a break while writing a post. I had stopped the previous night at the phrase "Money Grubbers", because 1) it was getting late and 2) I wanted to spend some quality time with the wife. Unfortunately, whatever it was that I had originally wanted to write about has now permanently slipped my mind.

Disappointing too, because I think whatever it was that I wanted to blog about would've been the perfect compliment to the first part of this post.

In any event, in celebration of Black Friday as well as the Christmas season, I am offering print versions of my debut novel:

for the incredibly low price of $7.50, a savings of over 35% off the retail cover price. Details on how to purchase, either by money order or by credit card, can be had at Books by G.B. Miller. This sale will last through December 15th, so don't delay in getting your personalized copy today.

November 28, 2013

Happy Gobble Gobble Day!

Hmmm...I can just smell and taste it now....cranberry sauce, stuffing, lasagna, rice, gravy, ham, but most importantly, that delicious, mouth watering, mouth drooling turkey.

Hope ya'll have a fantastic Thanksgiving with the ones that you love to be with the most.

November 27, 2013

B(ooks) A(lready) R(ead): Take 2

Part 1

Continuing on a quest to show everyone a side of me that you long thought extinct, here is part 2 of 2013's B.A.R.

7} The Adventures of Black Jack Pepper by M.L. Madison. M.L. Madison is a hugely popular blogger, of which I've been a fan of for numerous years, and this is her first release. While I'm not a huge YA or MG fan by anyone's stretch of the imagination, I found this book to a wickedly entertaining read, and the more I think about it, kind of reminds me of Kay Thompson/Hilary Knight's mischievous little child Eloise.

8} Heart of A Stripper by Cyndi Harris. Another romance by FB friend Cyndi Harris, with this one covering a taboo topic (student/teacher relationship). I enjoyed her first one, and found this one to be just as well written. Like I've mentioned before, I'm very picky about what I read for romances, so for me to recommend one is really saying something.

9} Stealing A Pirate's Heart by Jessica Anderson. Jessica Anderson was another writer who I friended on Facebook. As you can see, it was another romance (I wasn't really into romances per se this year, but it's just how it happened to work out during the early part of the year) novel that I happened to enjoy reading as well.

10} Crow Feather by Allen Russell. A pretty decent western that I happened to pick for my monthly/quarterly contractual book review. I found the setting a bit unusual (Wyoming Territory late 1890's) and the topic of choice (land grabbing and some racial discrimination) unusual as well, which for me was a refreshing change of pace.

11} The Feedstore Chronicles by Travis Erwin. I picked up my autographed copy almost a year ago and found it to be a very highly entertaining read, especially for a memoir.

12} Assignment: Kilimanjaro by Robin Moreton. Erotica. Highly entertaining read, in more ways that you can imagine.

Most, if not all of the fiction that you'll see in this series, was read for enjoyment and book reviews, while the non-fiction that you'll see in this series was by this point, read for the pure enjoyment of it.

November 24, 2013

My 30th!

Best. High. School. Reunion. Movie. Ever.

Last night, I decided to go to my 30th high school reunion (yes, I am just that old). If this sounds like a bold statement, it is, 'cause in high school, I was pretty much a loner and since I didn't really have any friends to speak of, I was pretty much left to my own devices. Which meant a lot of the time, I was pretty much ignored.

As a matter of fact, because of this impractical policy of being ignored was carried well into my adult hood (imagine that) I chose not to go to my 20th or 25th reunion. I figure if I was gonna be treated like a schmuck, I might as well keep within the family, which is something that you come to expect from time to time.

Anyways, this past summer, I joined a private group on FB that revolved around my high school class. Someone brought up the suggestion of "Hey, how 'bout a 30th reunion?" and before you knew it, we were having a joint reunion with the class of 1982.

And from them, things remained remarkably sane, as for the first time in a long while, I actually looked forward to meeting up with some of my classmates. And unlike last time, I reconciled with myself over the fact that I was probably going to be ignored by the majority of my classmates, and in fact, I was okay with that. I have moved on and if people don't really want to connect with me, then it's their loss.

Overall, I had a good time there as I actually got to talk to people from the class of '82 and one from the class of '80, who decided to crash the party as he had friends in both classes. I gave out a few cards and I like to think I made a good impression on those people that I came into contact with.

I actually reconnected with a  few classmates, as one friended me on FB and another, who was part of the organizing committee shared some nice thoughts about my late father with me and asked me to sign her yearbook, which I did.

And I can say with genuine honesty and sincerity, with no hidden meanings or agendas, that a good percentage of my fellow female classmates still looked like they did in high school. Considering that most (if not all of them) are my age (48), that is really saying something.

I can also say with genuine honesty, that some of my fellow male classmates, who were thin and muscular in school, were wearing suits that were bought off the rack from the Big & Tall store. Which to be honest with everyone, I find incredibly funny, because in high school, I weighed around 250, whereas now, I weigh roughly 173.

The only downer of the night, which would probably be surprise to you, is that about 8 classmates have already passed away. Which if you think about, is really tragic. I can understand passing away in your 60's or 70's, but to pass away in your 40's is just beyond my comprehension.

So it does pay to bite the bullet, because sometimes, reality will alter the perception.

November 22, 2013

Spam: Greasiness For The Eyes


We all encounter it from time to time during our travels through cyberspace, and for the most part, we usually ignore it. However, there are those occasions in which not only do we pay attention to it, but we absolutely marvel on the ungodly amount of spam that a single item can attract.

For those of you who are new to this blog, the solitary reason why I don't allow anonymous comments is that I don't like spam. For five solid years, all of my blogs have been touched by the goddess of spam in one form or another, some more heavily than others. However, Memorial Day weekend 2013 was the last straw for anonymous commenting as I got nailed with a ratio of about 25 to 1 in spam comments versus regular comments (I totaled about 5 comments for that particular post).

Even though I eliminated anonymous commenting, I still get a lot spam page views, some more heavier than others. It really boggles my mind on why some of my blog posts get spammed into outer space. So just for ha-ha's, I thought I would share with all of you, my top 7 spam posts for all five of my blogs, and maybe, just maybe, you can figure out why these 7 have garnered so much attention from spammers.

7} Excerpt from my latest writing project: 213 page views (10/7/13). This post featured a small excerpt from the novella "It's Just Business" that I've been spending the past month or so rewriting. There's nothing overtly violent or sexual in the excerpt, just a short description of a party and a brief encounter between a man and a woman.

6} Newington's Annual Waterfall Festival IV: 214 page views (2/19/11). This was part 4 of a series about Newington's Waterfall Festival, which traditionally closes out the summer season in town. Just pictures with captions.

5} An Unfortunate Interruption: 227 page views (8/7/10). This was simply a brief post about my other computer crashing. This post also featured the winners of a "name the caption" contest that I decided to run.

4} B(ooks) A(lready) R(ead)*: 269 page views (11/19/13): Yes, believe it or not, this post is being severely spammed by a website from Germany. I mean, this blog is less than 2 1/2 weeks old, has less than 10 posts, and already has a post with the fourth highest page view total. Really?

3} Piggy Squealed In Rhythm: 450 page views (2/12/12). This post was basically about me doing my taxes and what kind of music I was listening to while I was editing my novel. The spamming on this post got to be so bad that I actually pulled it down (i.e. turned it to a draft) for several months.

2} All Points Bulletin: 836 page views (2/14/10). This post was one of my absolute best Valentine's Day free form flash fiction that I have ever written. Even had the actual flash posted in my publisher's blog, I was just that proud of it.

And finally, if you can believe it, this is the number one favorite spam post of all my blogs, and this one was written roughly 4 1/2 years ago.

1} Betrayed!: 1,236 page views (6/5/09). This was my second self publishing effort (the first was something that should've never been published, so I took it down) and I actually had fun with this thing, as I wrote almost a half dozen posts related to my journey of self-publication. Why this has garnered that many page views is simply beyond my comprehension.

*Since I wrote this post, that particular post garnered another 75 page views.

November 20, 2013

My Muse's Random Nuggets Of Goodiness


G.B.'s muse here, and being that G.B. decided to visit the land of Make Believe today, 'cause you know Mary Jane can take you places you never thought possible, I believe it's my sworn duty as his muse, to pick up the slack whenever my underling can't.

Now, I know you must be wondering just where the hell I've been for the past year or so. Well, I've been busy relaxin', chillin' and takin' care of, 'cause you know from reading G.B.'s other blog that originality has not been needed in his writing for quite some time. And because it's not needed, I'm not needed, and since I'm not needed, it would be extremely silly of me to leave the beach, sun and surf of the southern hemisphere and plunge myself into the cold, dark & dank world of the northern hemisphere.

Having said that, sensual little ol' me (and if you could see me, I'm all that and then some) was called back to work about a couple of months ago to add a little spice, a little zip and a lot of mayhem to G.B.'s latest project.

So I immediately jumped into the deep end of the pool, and do you know that schmuck has got me deja vu-ing with his latest project? And before you ask, yes I'm being serious.

Just feast your eyes on this short list from the one track mind of G.B.

1} Line 21: I did double duty as a twin buxom beauty facing ethical questions as I started a new career in the adult entertainment business.

2} Shadow's Vengeance: I'm again doing double duty as a vivacious sensual buxom demon escapee from Hell and as a buxom p.y.t.

3} Blackness In The White Sand: No double duty, but I'm playing a degenerate hybrid lynx who is trying to save her man from certain death (warning: excerpt is seriously violent, do not click on link if you're offended by that kind of reading material).

See a pattern here? Sex, violence, paranormal fantasy and chaos.

So after finishing my latest gig, I bitched slapped G.B. and told him in no uncertain terms that he better find me a better story to work with, 'cause I was tired of being one dimensional. And until he did, I was going to take a very long vacation.

Several months later, I decided to take a sneak peek inside G.B.'s brain to see what the little degenerate was up to. And apparently, he was up to no good as he decided to work on a novella that he wrote way back when I was just getting my feet wet as a muse.

So the other day I decided to pop in and take a look see at what he had written so far. Suffice to say G.B. went off on a tangent that apparently uses an unusual amount of semi-formulaic (at least for him) ideas and concepts.

However, he does have something going for him, which for better or worse, is me. And in spite of what I said earlier, I have no other choice but to come back from my long vacation and save him before he does any further damage to my reputation.

Sometimes, being a muse isn't what it's all cracked up to be, because every once in a while, you just have to step in and take over.
And now, another video in the Songs That Don't Suck series.

give me some credit here for being sensitive, 'cause I could've posted the version by the D.K.'s.


In all seriousness, I am making slow but steady progress on my novella. If anyone ever tells you that it's a piece o' cake re-writing a story from beginning to end, don't you believe 'em. It is hell on earth trying to re-write a story, especially when you're tweaking the content of the plot while keeping that very same basic plot at the same time.

November 18, 2013

B(ooks) A(lready) R(ead)

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that unlike my friends/co-workers/fellow writers who have an ever-expanding TBR (aka to be read) pile of books that they never seem to make a serious dent in, I have something I like to call a BAR pile, which is the title of this post. And I thought for the next few weeks I would share with everyone what books I've read for the past year.

However, since I'm not like a few others who have their schtuff written down on a spreadsheet or notebook somewhere, I needed to do a little research on the subject. Why? Well, even though my memory is pretty damn good, the incredible voraciousness of my reading (average one to two books a week people) inevitably leaves a few gaps in my memory.

So last week, I decided to have a little fun at my local library. Overall, I spent almost an hour wandering through the library looking for books that I had read this year. I started with the new fiction section, didn't find the title of book that was classified as a western, then continued to the new non-fiction section, found a bunch of titles that I had read, and didn't find a few others that I had read (and were presumably checked out).

Moved on to the large section, where I found a few fiction titles (yes, I still read fiction) before moving on to the huge non-fiction section. I found a slew of titles that I had read, plus one that intrigued me enough to come back the next day to check out.

Overall, I came up with 32 titles that I had read or attempted to read this year. There are a few missing from the list, which if I find them later on, I will add on to my series of posts, just so that you can get even a funkier outlook on what I read.

One more thing, I will do my very best to link up the title in question with Amazon.

I do want to start this list off by listing the books that I had attempted to read but gave up on for various reasons.

1} Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I while I was perusing the stacks, I found much to my surprise (although those who read the western genre probably know this) that Lonesome Dove is part of a four book series. So I decided to read the entire series, and thus start back at the beginning again by checking out the aforementioned anniversary title, with the intent of spending time at work reading the book. However, as much as I like Larry McMurtry in general and this title in particular (read it once), I felt I couldn't properly devote the time to re-read this tome at work. Like most of you, if a book of fiction grabs me, I have a tendency to stick with it until I finish, which sometimes gets me into a world of trouble. So reluctantly, I returned it a couple of days later unread. I still plan on reading the book series, but I need to find the time to do the series justice.

2} Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Weiderhorn and Kathleen Turman. I thought this would be a really good book to read, but the further along I read, the more mindnumbingly dull it became. About the only part that I found noteworthy were the interviews with the various members of the Norwegian death metal band Mayhem, including the ex-lead singer and the other band member that murdered him. So I gave up the ghost and returned it.

3} You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posses,  and My Misadventures With Two of Music's Most Misaligned Tribes by Nathan Rabin. On face value, it looked like a good book to read. I know nothing about Phish or ICP so I thought here's my chance to learn something about both. Unfortunately, after Nathan gives us the back story on both bands, the book quickly devolves into a sob fest/self-exploration/self-discovery about his undiagnosed bi-polarism. As much as I have sympathy for people who suffer from bi-polar disease, I have very little sympathy for someone who chose to write about their journey of self-discovery under the guise of being a music critic. I gave up after a few chapters and returned it to the library.

And now, the books that I did read to completion this year.

4} The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King. I first discovered Laurie King at a library book sale when I found a copy of her book The Moor that featured Sherlock Holmes, I'm a big Sherlock Holmes fan, so I picked it up and brought it home. After devouring the tome in less than a week, I discovered that she wrote a slew of Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries. The time period which all of these takes place is during the Edwardian era and WWI. The Beekeeper's Apprentice kicks off the series and I highly recommend it. I originally bought this book back in '09 (I believe) as I always like starting book series at the beginning, and I decided to re-read this a few months ago.

5} Follow The Money: A Month In The Life of a $10 Bill by Steve Boggan. Yup, a writer from the U.K. decided to do the same thing that he did with a 10 pound note with a $10 bill here in the U.S. A very enlightening book about the trials and tribulations of trying to track a $10 bill through the Midwest. For the most part, I found the book to be very good. The only problems I had with it was when the author sidetracked and inserted his personal viewpoints about certain hot topic issues that had really nothing to do with the overall picture, but this is just my personal opinion. Highly recommended.

6} Lucien's Hell Bound Angel by Cyndi Harris. Cyndi is a paranormal romance author that I had become friends with on Facebook via a mutual writer friend. While I was going through my book review phase (I may return to that someday) and after getting to know Cyndi, I decided to pick up a copy of her book, which is unusual as I'm very picky about what I read for romance. I found her book to be highly entertaining and hard to put down. Highly recommended and available in both e-book and print. The recent version is what I've linked to.

November 15, 2013

I Is Creative With My Comment Box

There are very ways that you can practice creativity in action when you're technologically impaired.

Take me for instance (go on, take me, you know you want to).

I am not, by any stretch of anyone's imagination, smart when it comes to dealing with HTML and/or coding and/or programming, which is probably why I stuck to the same template for my previous blog for 5 1/2 years. I don't mind change, but I do mind when I can't change something back to what it was previously.

So I look for other ways to show off my creativity/the inner me with my blog. As most of you probably know/dread/fear/OMG, I have shown off the inner me with what I like to call organized chaos. By my definition, organized chaos is simply when I decide to go off on a tangent and start writing like a warped version of MAD magazine. The end result usually winds being something in the general neighborhood of this.

Another way I like to show off my writing chops is to have a little fun with the comment box. As you probably know, when you visit a blog, more often than not, there really isn't anything attached to the top of the comment box. You'll find lots of stuff at the bottom like, "Comments moderated" or "Anonymous comments not allowed" along with a CAPTCHA at the bottom (to prevent spammers/robo blogs from leaving comments).

Early on, I decided that just because I moderate comments (long story that I might torture you with someday) there was no reason why I couldn't leave a slice of me behind.

So with my first blog, I left something of a hokey blurb, which over the following months got tweaked and eventually became this:

Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments. To date (November '13), I've only nuked six thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller
It was okay, but nothing really to brag about. When I created my second blog, I decided to stretch my brain cells a little bit, so I came up with this:

Please feel free to say something about my book. All I ask is that you keep it clean.

Unfortunately, I stretched my brain cells in the wrong direction. So when I created my third blog (sorry, it's closed), I came up with this

Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

As you can see, I still wasn't getting it. So I figure, the 4th time around has got to be one, right?

Nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives of all types are greatly encouraged and always appreciated.

Close, but no cigar. So with blog the 5th, I decided to go for broke. Come apathy or drought, I was gonna hit a home run.

Originality. Is. Good. Be original. Be thoughtful. But most importantly, make me think.

Ummm....yah. I shoot for a home run, but I swing like Ike Davis (if you're not a Mets fan, you won't get it. however, to make yourself feel better, insert the name of the player on your team that can lead your team in whiffs and four baggers at the same time). So on to blog the 6th.

This blog.

Once again, I sharpened my quill, opened up the inkwell, got some blotter paper at the ready, and came up with this.

These days, the written word is to die for, so please leave a comment that shows me and everyone else the real you. All kinds of verbiage will be cheerfully accepted in the spirit it was written.

Am I good or what?

So my friends, give it shot at yours. Because, as the cliché goes, you never get another chance to make a good impression. Mediocre, yes. Good, just one and done.

Our latest installment of music that don't suck features the song "Ballroom Blitz" by The Sweet.

November 13, 2013

Not Quite Multitasking But More Like Rationing

So here I is, sitting here in front of my computer, trying to think of something to write about, when all of a sudden, in a blink of an eye....


It hits me, or rather, he hits me. The Cliché Man. Startled, it takes but a moment to realize that if I don't think of something toot-sweet to write about, this blog will be overrun by the most annoying and fascinatingly dull clichés known in the English speaking world.


Starting this here blog (for those of you who have been reading my drabs and dribble since 2008 this blog number 6) a few weeks ago has somehow rejuvenated my writing, or rather, just rejuvenated my creativity.

For the past couple of weeks prior to the start of this blog, I've been slowly chipping away at the granddaddy of all of my novellas, the one that some 7 1/2 years later has me talking to you today. It has not been an easy adventure by any stretch of the imagination, as I've had to battle my built in resistance to gutting a previously written story. But, after giving myself one of the drive-by B slappings, I stopped my procrastination and got jiggy wit it.

While I was busy getting jiggy wit it, I started having an epiphany with my blogging. I've read elsewhere that blogging should be fun and stress-free, and if it starts becoming a chore, one should either pack up their computer and stagger off into the sunset or do something about it.

I decided to do something about it.

That something was flashbacking to 2010, when I was having quite a bit of fun blogging and writing at the same time. And the reason why I was able to have fun doing both, was that I was able ration out the time in equal proportions that I spent writing and blogging. Back then, I had a set time frame for writing and a set time frame for blogging, and things worked out great.

But as 2010 turned into 2011, which then turned into 2012 and finally 2013, I found myself blurring the line with increasing frequency, until finally, I wasn't having any fun blogging or writing. So I decided that come another Democrat president or the media turning a blind eye to 8 years worth of blunders, I was going to have fun with both.

What we did to have fun with our writing, was to try something new, specifically, writing to music. So far, it's been going purty good as I managed, with just a few exceptions (Dwight Yoakum for example), to stick with one main genre, hard rock, and a sub-genre or two, new and classic metal. I've also made it a point to play stuff that I really know nothing about, that way, I don't become too distracted by a familiar song.

What we did to have fun with our blogging, is what you see here today. I made the decision to move Cedar's Mountain to chairman emeritus status and start up a brand new blog that would (hopefully) allow me to find my groove again. And so far, the results have been better than what I've expected. I'm no longer stressing about blogging and in fact, have been coming up with a few ideas that allows me to tap into what I enjoy doing in my free time: research.

Thus, end result is that once again, I'm having fun with my blogging and my writing. I've firmly established a set time frame for my writing (weekends) and a set time frame for my blogging (M-F), and I make a concentrated effort not to deviate from each one.

And that, my friends, is the only way I can play both sides at one meaning.

November 11, 2013

This, That And The Other Thing

Welcome back my friends to the best blog that you haven't read yet.

For today's topic du jour I thought I would entertain everyone with three random thoughts that have been bubbling beneath the surface since I discovered last week that I have to suffer through the bye week as my fave football team the New England Patriots is taking a well deserved timeout (7-2 high atop the AFC East).

Although this is not part and parcel of today's post, the Patriots are the only sports team that I follow who are consistent winners year in and year out (I am a very long time suffering NY Mets fan).

With that being said, let's move on to this, that and the other thing.

This: Contrary to popular opinion and more importantly, what I wrote about breakfast, lunch and dinner, I actually know how to cook. Unlike most guys my age who probably only know how to BBQ meat on the grill and maybe, just maybe, can actually make a sandwich/grinder to feed themselves, I actually paid attention in home-ec classes that I was forced to take in middle school and high school. So if the need should ever arise, I can become the 21st century version of Felix Unger.

The reason why I bring this up is that over the weekend, I decided to treat the family to homemade pizza. Well, semi-homemade, since I bought the crust (thin) pre-made and it came with pizza sauce. Beyond that, I basically cooked everything else.

Pizza #1 was not sausage & mushrooms (long running joke is that as a kid, whenever we went to a pizza place, before we even had a chance to look at the menu, the second the waitress asked if she could take our order, my dad would immediately order sausage and mushrooms, thus promptly pissing off the rest of the family), but one specially created for daughter and mother: one half green peppers/black olives/bacon/sausage/onions and the other half pepperoni.

Pizza #2 was filled with schtuff that I like: pepperoni, sausage. bacon, diced ham, sweet onions and garlic.

Both pizzas were a hit with the masses and I actually got compliments about my cooking skills.

'Nuff said.

That: I finally got all my necessary crap migrated to my new computer, which is an HP EliteBook 6930p loaded with Windows 7 which has at the moment 89.3 gigs of space (out of 111 gigs) and 4 gigs of memory. I'm still using the trusty old ASUS loaded with Windows XP for writing and printing. The amazing thing about the XP is that the computer is roughly 6 1/2 years old and still going strong. The other amazing thing is that I can still access at least one component of Blogger with my way out of date/non-supported browser, which is really necessary because Chrome, while a decent browser, sucks major moose testicles when it comes to printing.

With my new one, I do plan on doing some writing oriented things (i.e. loading manuscripts to Smashwords and Createspace) but in order to do that, I need to get Office 2013. In order to get that, we will ask for our usual Christmas present of gift cards, this time we will specify Staples. Our Staples card, while getting an upgrade for rewards membership, has taken a beating for the year with purchasing new computer and school supplies.

Until then, we will continue to simply e-mail periodic updated copies of manuscripts to ourselves so that we can store them on the new computer's flash drive.

The Other Thing: After reading various writer's blogs on how they go about not really finishing their TBR pile (ya know, read one book, add twenty-five more, read one and a half books, add twenty more), I thought I would attempt the same thing, except I would call it my B(ooks) A(ctually) R(ead) pile.

Doing this though, will require a lot of digging through the memory banks for 2013, since the library doesn't keep "permanent" records of what a patron reads. So within the coming weeks, I will be spending a fun filled afternoon/evening armed with a notepad and a pen, wandering through the various sections of the library trying to find the multitude of books that I've read for the year.

At the moment, I do have a short list of 13, most of which were culled from what I wrote for Amazon reviews this year plus a few that I remembered reading a few months ago.

I know I've written from time to time what I like to read for genres, and I though this would be a good way to give everyone another peek into what makes me tick as a reader and perhaps as writer as well.

November 9, 2013

Image Is Everything

One of the toughest and probably the thorniest problems I'm coming across as I'm doing this self-publishing thing with my novellas, is trying to come up with a proper cover image.

Surprised? Don't be.

While writing a story can, in the short term, be thorny, it becomes less so as you battle through multiple revisions, multiple beta readers, multiple rounds of editing, etc., to come up with a product that is both 100% you and thoroughly readable and (hopefully) enjoyable.

But no matter how good of a product that you got or how aces it may be a story, people aren't going to touch it if has mediocre eye candy.

Think about it for a minute: If you had a choice between a book with a  cover that not only rocks but tells you about the story,

Available at Smashwords

Print thru Books by G.B. Miller, E-book thru Amazon

and a book with a cover that is plain,

Available thru Books by G.B. Miller
which would you choose?

This is why I'm having such an issue with trying to find a proper cover for my novella Shadow's Vengeance.

While topic and genre (revenge & paranormal/fantasy) has been a good starting point for me, this issue that I'm having is trying to find a cover that meshes perfectly with the content.

As most of you probably know, I write about woman of color. Always have and always will. Because of this, trying to find a cover for my novella has been mostly a "miss" proposition. Granted, I had an excellent cover artist for my commercial novel and I was able to find a good photo for my trilogy that worked rather well for the running theme of said trilogy, I'm not having any success (so far) with trying to find a cover for my novella.

Problem is that I don't want to settle for just any kind of picture for my novella. Think about it, if the majority of my characters are black, would it make sense for me to get a picture of a white female?

Of course it wouldn't make sense. In fact, it probably would insult the intelligence of the reader if they picked up the book that had a white woman on the cover and yet all the characters are black.

A question that some might ask would be, "Why don't I write characters that are white?"

My answer to that would be, "Why should I? If find black or latino women to be more appealing, more sensual, highly self-assured and fiercely independent than I do white, then it makes a lot of sense to write what I'm comfortable with. I like to be challenged, and writing ethnic characters is about as challenging as anything that I've come across in quite sometime."

So in my very humble opinion, the hardest thing about publishing a book, whether thru traditional means or self-publishing, is finding the right cover for your book. Choose wisely and you got a book that people will want to read. Choose poorly and your book will be ignored.

November 6, 2013

If You Wants To Get Paid

You gots to follow the rules.

Rule #1: Timesheets are due on the Friday immediately following the day your paycheck completely vanishes. That means on Friday. Not the weekend or the following Monday after crying in your beer 'cause your fave sports team done choked on its own ego. If you hand it in early, good for you, but you don't get any brownie points for sucking up and kissing our ass.

Rule #2: We need originals with dual autographs. Faxes are okay, but as you all know, not only do you get points for originality, but someday when you become a somebody, we can flood E-Bay with the real deal.

Rule #3: Revisions. You have to redo the entire timesheet if you're adding something. Simply adding a number without the rest of the corresponding numbers will cause us to throw a hissy fit, get our panties in a bunch (trust us, you don't want to see me or any of my co-workers with our panties in a bunch, 'cause you'll claw your eyes out from the pain), then take away your paycheck for bothering us.

Rule #4: If you use white out (dry or liquid)/correction tape (in great quantities), stamped signature (oooooh baby), written in pencil (WTF?) or erasable ink (hurt me, hurt me), will not be least not until you give it to us with high heels, 'cause you know, we've been really, really, really bad.

Rule #5: If you make an error on your timesheet, it must be corrected by both the dominant and the submissive, but please, don't get overly enthusiastic about it.

Rule #6: We can't change timesheets, so if you're incapable of filling out your timesheet or your IQ is your shoe size, thus preventing you from being a responsible adult, we will pay you what we think you are worth. However, because we aren't the heartless bastards everyone makes us out to be, you'll get a delectable e-mail from us telling you what your problem is, which you'll gladly accept as a viable punishment. If you do what we say when we say it, we'll treat you with respect. If not, we'll still treat you with respect, but certainly not in the morning.

Rule #7: Timesheets will be posted and you'll get what we decree by the Tuesday following payday. No exceptions will be made nor extra monies will be paid, 'cause you were a bad boy or a bad girl. But we are open to all kinds of salacious bribes. Who knows, maybe you'll be "The One".

Rule #8: If no timesheet is submitted, we will e-mail you once. Once. Like Danny Vermin. If we have to do it more than once, then you're just being an irritant and we'll honey and feather you as punishment.

Note, failure to communicate is punishable by listening to either the audio version of "Battlefield Earth" or the audio version of Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series as read by Carl from Sling Blade.

Rule #9: It is the supervisor's responsibility when signing off on a timesheet that the employee actually filled it out correctly. Failure to do so will result in us making you audition for the lead roles in the best Mommy Porn trilogy out there today: Fifty Shades of Gray.

As the employee, if you don't fill out your timesheet correctly, we'll make sure that all the right people know about it and by the time we're done, the only job you'll be qualified for is milk monitor.

Rule #10: Coding timesheets when using the Federal Indecency Act. If you must use a FILA code and you're not sure of which one to use, please call us at our private number listed on the bottom of your FILA form, and we'll be more than thrilled to tell you what one to use. Just remember, using lest than 140 characters will get the best response.

So remember peoples, if you want to get paid properly, just follow these simple guidelines, and in no time at all, you'll be the best ever.

November 4, 2013

Welcome My Friends!

To all of you who are either visiting for the first time or who have decided to take a jump to the left and two steps to the right, I extend my cyber hand in welcoming you to the next phase of my blogging journey.

Father Nature's Corner is the extremely worthy successor to Cedar's Mountain, which for the past 5+ years has been the be all to end all of my blogging existence.

In order to make this a seamless transition between the old and the new, I will try to maintain not only the same level of consistency but the same skewered outlook on life that I'm known for.

I'm sure you have the question. That question. That wanting, That longing. That "WTF dude?" body language that you're unable to hide because you're unable to fathom what has to be the illogical reason behind replacing a worthy and well known blog.

About the only solid reason I can come up with, was that I wanted to try something different.

Unbeknownst to virtually everyone who knows me in the blogging world, I've been giving serious thought to changing my blog host. This has been going on for a good chunk of the year, even before I went on that one week hiatus this past summer, I thought about doing WordPress, or Tumblr, or even buying my own domain.

But I shot down WordPress as being not quite customer service friendly (had issues dealing with subscriptions), shot down Tumblr for 1) being owned by Yahoo and 2) the way they set up their comment structure, and torpedoed buying my own domain after reading about the perpetual issues/headaches that one deals with owning a domain.

That left me with only one viable alternative: create another blog.

Thus, on a Sunday in late October, I applied all the lessons that I learned in the past 65 months, especially the important one of having an addy with less than 12 letters, made sure that the new name still had a connection to the mountain that I call "neighbor" and viola, Father Nature's Corner came into being.

I still have some minor cosmetic tweaking to perform, but for all intents and purposes, consider Father Nature's Corner to be the one true successor to Cedar's Mountain.

Once again, I thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to stop by and check out the new me, and I hope you'll find the time to continue stopping by.

After all, what is past is simply the prologue to a blank canvas.