Funny about Money

Simple Living = Frugality = Peace of Mind: Personal Finance and Stress Control

September 24, 2015
by funny

Woo HOO! Celebrate Great Fire-Rider Reviews with PRICE CUT!

Hot diggety. I’ve been afraid to read the reviews for Fire-Rider, because the cookbook got royally panned over its screwed-up formatting (which I was unable to see in Amazon’s ballyhooed online quickie Kindle viewer!) and I really didn’t feel up for much more self-inflicted depression.

But mirabilis! Books I and II — A Gift for the Kubna and The Spoils of War — have received very nice reviews! Thanks for that, if they came from any of our doughty readers.

To celebrate, I’m cutting the price 66 percent, from $2.99 to $.99 — yes, ninety-nine cents!! — for the series’ first three books: Gift, Spoils, and The Journey Begins.


So, hurry on over to Amazon and grab those cheap copies while the grabbin’s good.


September 23, 2015
by funny
1 Comment

Social Media U

So today I’m going to a class on “Leveraging LinkedIn.” There’s something that’s escaped me for quite some time…like, “since I first signed up for LinkedIn.”

And Friday it’s off to another class, “Social Media Time Savers.” That, I can use!

Monday: a telecon with a local book marketer who has a pretty good reputation. Someone to take over or at least spearhead the marketing venture is much needed. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford her services: money is tight, everybody has a hand out, and so far not much is coming in from the FireRider opus.

However, I didn’t expect much to come in. It takes time to build readership, and really, the erotica is infinitely more salable.

Learning the intricacies of social media marketing is extremely difficult. I still haven’t figured out how to insure that a FaceBook page created for Camptown Races Press will not slop racy content over onto the page that includes a raft of my coreligionists.

I suppose I could just save a list of present FB subscribers who will not be offended by erotica and who are not part of the church’s community, then close or cancel the current Facebook page, and then create a new page, so two potentially overlapping pages don’t exist. Then re-“friend” the likeliest suspects.

Like…I don’t have enough time-suck in my life already?????????

I think a post that went up on the “secret” FB group I created for my writing team may have somehow posted itself on my regular FB page. But I can’t tell. Apparently what you see in your “timeline” or “news feed” or whatever-T-F is NOT what you actually are getting. Is there a difference between a “timeline” and a “news feed”? What is it? Why? Why should there be a difference? And why why why does FB have to be so bloody convoluted?

LinkedIn, I can tolerate. Twitter, I’m getting used to. But Facebook? I truly hate it.

At any rate, The Girls (@RacyLadies  follow them now!!) continue to make headway on Twitter. The idea of rarely planting sales pitches there but instead publishing various pleasing kitsch seems to be working. Our Racy Ladies attract about ten new followers a day. Now all I need is about five similarly successful ideas…

This is getting retweeted through the wazoo as we scribble:

The Girls @RacyLadies
How to escape the political hoo-ha: Sit back and relax with a good book of erotica. :-)


Not bad for an amateur job, eh? The image is a public-domain painting by Jules Scalbert, who did a number of very lovely nudes.

Last I looked, it had been retweeted six times in less than an hour. I may put it up again later on this week.

Stephanie and Bonnie is still under construction, I’m afraid. Between riding herd on the work that needs to be done to get this enterprise under way and undoing my own screw-ups (of which there are a-plenty), I haven’t had many minutes to do my own writing.

However, we have ten books almost ready to go. I need to format them, and will start doing that around this noon’s foray to south Phoenix and “publishing” the remaining three Fire-Rider serials at Amazon.

A-n-n-d it’s after 8:30. Other than building and posting the Scalbertized ad, posting a couple of new unillustrated tweets, retweeting a few, wrestling with the e-mail, walking the dogs, and feeding myself, I’ve gotten nothing done so far this morning.

So, to work…


September 22, 2015
by funny

Beateous Evening

Thunder grumbling in the east, and this in the evening sky:


My little camera doesn’t do it justice. It was a beautiful sky, just lovely. And now the distant showers have cooled the air into the low 80s. All the doors and windows are open, ushering in the first fresh air of the fall. At last the hot summer is over, the summer we live through by huddling inside air-conditioned boxes.

The air is very still and humid, so every fan in the house is on, trying to move thge proposed fresh air through. But that notwithstanding, it’s happy.

September 22, 2015
by funny
1 Comment

The Incredible Handiness of a Spare Driver’s License…

My new driver’s license just came in the mail.

In Arizona, you can ask for (and get) a spare driver’s license by going online and filling out a little form. Very handy! They don’t want to give you an extra when you go in for a new license, but they’ll send you one after the fact.

Right away, it goes into the car: an ash tray is the perfect stash.

I really dislike lugging a purse around. Often I don’t — visiting a friend, going to choir practice, whatever: why haul the kitchen sink with you?

So I don’t. O’course, that means every time I go someplace where I don’t have to buy something, I put myself at risk of arrest. All it would take is a fender-bender for the cops to haul me off.

Why not carry the plastic license around in a pocket? Two reasons:

a) Women’s clothes often have no pickets; and
b) I can’t remember my name, much less where I last put something. Does anyone seriously expect me not to lose a driver’s license doing that?

True, hiding it in the car also poses a degree of risk: whoever steals my car gets my driver’s license, too. But phbthhphtbbttt! He who steals my car or my driver’s license steals junk.

Typically, if I need to go to a store after, say, church or choir practice, I’ll hide the purse under some junk and leave it in the car. One nice thing about a van with smoked windows is that it has a lot of places people can’t see from the outside. So it’s six o’ one, half-a-dozen of the ′tother. Actually, more than half-a-dozen. If they steal the car and get my purse, they also get three credit cards, a debit card, a Medicare card, two insurance cards, and a phone.

It’s a lot easier to replace one driver’s card than all that trash.


In other news, Amazon has posted Fire-Rider 15: The Weaver. Click on the link to the right to access that.

These stories really, really need some reviews. I think I’ll drop the price on the first half-dozen of them to 99 cents, by way of making them a little more tempting. How’s about picking up a couple and scribbling a few lines about the things?

Possibly of more entertaining interest, our Racy Books will start going online the first part of October. I have three more Fire-Rider installments to get off my desk, and then we’ll start publishing about 10 erotic frolics each month.

At least, that’s our goal. Four authors have joined me in this endeavor. We’ll be publishing the things under a single pseudonym: Roberta Stuart. Partly to build name recognition — if all four of us were scribbling under different names, we couldn’t get as many books out under any of our names, and partly (of course) to maintain a veil of privacy. Some of us have employers who might frown at a side gig that entailed writing racy novelettes, and some would  just as soon not have our mothers or our pastors find out what we’re up to.

Watch this space!

Roberta Stuart is a university professor who has a secret life. When she’s not in a classroom, a library, or a faculty meeting, she’s “a member of the country club.” And she’s got friends in low places—lots of them.

Roberta Stuart is a university professor who has a secret life. When she’s not in a classroom, a library, or a faculty meeting, she’s “a member of the country club.” And she’s got friends in low places—lots of them.


September 21, 2015
by funny

5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.: The 16-hour workday

Amazon has nothing on The Copyeditor’s Desk and its doughty imprints, Plain & Simple Press and (yes!) Camptown Ladies Press. Outa my way, Bezos: it’s slash and dash for the likes of you!

Yup. We started at five o’clock this morning and worked all the way through, with time off to multi-task while grilling a slab of tuna and slicing a tomato to go with it, to 9:30 p.m. That would be about 16 hours, give or take a few minutes. I did pause long enough to brush my teeth and wash my face. And I went out to lunch with Wonder-Accountant.

But as we and the IRS know, lunch with an accountant is a working lunch. 😉

Today’s marathon work frenzy is, to put it mildly, ALL MY FAULT.

I screwed up fairly massively a few weeks ago, as the MacBook was threatening, with all its siliconish little heart, to go down with a resounding crash. Seeing the beloved computer falter, I dumped data on every drive and pseudo-drive that would take it, trying to save the 87 gerjillion files I typically have open at any given moment.

(You wonder why my computers are given to crashing?)

Saved the data but scattered it all over creation.

Some files came to rest on DropBox; clones or later versions of those files settled like dust on the hard drive. The result was I found myself migrating back and forth between DropBox and the hard drive, and never really knowing (or remembering) where File A or File B should be stored.

The result? A fulminating mess.

Today I set out to clean it up. This, as you might imagine, was a task easier said than done. Shortly after setting out on said  adventure, I sensed that the easiest strategy would be to create a new folder on the hard drive (titled, sapiently enough, “Clean Up the Mess”) in which I could store the latest, cleanest versions of the many mutant files I’ve been working on.

Yesterday I’d cleaned up DropBox…and felt pretty good about that.

Today I had to find, identify, and organize all the things I’d cleaned up from DropBox…not so good.

It literally did take the better part of about 15 hours. I’ve managed to get exactly zero productive work done.

However, the computer files and organization are looking a lot better.

I’d gotten into the habit of using DropBox as a hard-drive-away-from-home: a convenient way to share files between my own computers as well as among clients and contractors. This, I think, is not good, unless you’re willing to pay DropBox for the space to make that privilege work.  Which, as you might guess, I am not.

So now I’ve got things set up so that the bulk of my work (and only my work) occurs on my computer’s hard drive, and DropBox is reserved for data that needs to be shared with others. That will clean a LOT of space-eating redundant data off DB. (A fair amount of it went into the Mac’s “Trash” folder…) Once very couple of days, I’ll back up a) Dropbox and b) Documents to flash drives.

Anything that goes on the iMac is backed up to Time Machine. But alas, the far more convenient and comfortable to use MacBook speaks not to H.G. Wells nor to his time machines.  So the only way to keep data on its hard disk moderately safe is to back up early and often.

So, another day went by without my getting any writing done. It’s now almost 10 p.m. I’ve scarfed down my daily medicinal bourbon and water, and now I must crawl into the sack. And so, adieu and away!

September 20, 2015
by funny

Selling the Older House

Save your money. Let the buyers fix it up to their taste! Click on the image for a clear view of the popcorn ceilings.

My neighbor Sally, as I probably mentioned, sold her home at what she thought was a good price but for what in reality was slightly below market.

She lived in the house for 39 years, and she and Catherine were the second owners. So…that is an OLD tract house. The only updates have been things that had to be done: more on the order of repairs than updating or remodeling. It still has the old Mediterranean brown cabinets…

Mediterranean brown…that probably predates most of our readers…

Before you were born, Dear Readers, the then-young and then-stylish developed a predilection for cabinetry stained a particularly ugly shade of dark, dark, DARK sh!t-brown. It was almost black.

It was depressing.

It was hideous.

It was the height of fashion.

Yes. So were the harvest gold appliances Sally’s house still sports. “Harvest gold” was a kind of muted mustard yellow, relatively unobtrusive, all things considered. The competing high-style colors were avocado green, Hallowe’en orange, and brit-shindle brown, each comparatively more hideous than the mustard gas.

Sally contemplated the prospect of selling for a very long time. At least a year, probably longer. She knew the house was out of date. So she took it into her head to have a guy come in and lay tile all over the utility room and kitchen.

She was proud as she showed it off. Gazing upon this decorator upgrade, I thought… Holy mackerel! Who sold these to her and WHERE did they come from? They were classic 1990s 12 x 12 ultra-bland tiles: Return of the Creature from the Cocaine-White Lagoon!

As we scribble, the new owners’ workmen are in there chipping the stuff off the floors.

It was a ridiculous waste of Sally’s money to install that stuff. If she couldn’t do a complete remodel — new cabinetry and counters and sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms, new fixtures, new appliances, new flooring throughout — then she would have been better off to do almost nothing: paint, clean, fix anything that’s obviously broken, and leave it at that.

If your parents are aging and considering a downsize move from the Old Homestead — or you are — try to get them to keep a grip. The people who bought Sally’s house claimed they were a young couple about to have a baby who were going to move right in. No: they’re transparently fix-and-flippers. These people give the old folks a line of bull to make them feel good about accepting less than the house is worth.

But whether the Homestead is bought by a genuine young family or by eager fix-and-flippers, all that old 1970s decor is gonna go! The parents should not pay to remove it or update it as they’re on the verge of moving out.

For hevvinsake, don’t let them do an expensive update like retiling the floors or installing granite counters over those fine Mediterranean brown or pickled oak cabinets! They’re not going to get top dollar from an old house that’s had one or two low-end upgrades installed.

Just paint the walls a neutral color. Clean the carpets. Repair anything that’s broken. And get the heck out of Dodge!