Coffee heat rising

Taking a Brief Break…

“Brief” is the operative term. After several frantic weeks, things are cruising along on a fairly even keel just now, so I think I can take off a morning or so to rest and try to think. Actually, I should run out to a grocery store, but the crushing heat discourages one from venturing out of one’s burrow.

We are now ready with about a dozen racy bookoids for Camptown Races Press. That will provide about a month or six weeks’ worth of uploads, if we’re putting them online about every three or four days. With any luck, we’ll be able to run a month or so ahead of that.

Book V of Fire-Rider went online this morning: Kay’s Ghosts. After an angry confrontation leads Tavi to rebel against Kay’s apparent lack of empathy, Kay asks Tavi how he thinks he (Kay) came to learn the Espanyo language. In the absence of an answer, Kay’s horrifying personal story emerges, one that parallels Tavi’s and possibly even outdoes it.

Yesterday I spent some time trying to learn how to use Twitter. The “hashtag” thing has always been a mystery to me. I guess it amounts to a user-generated search term. Apparently you can found one simply by typing it into a tweet. And apparently you can associate a tweet of your own with a larger community (as it were) of people nattering on the same topic. Say, for example, something like “Camptown’s latest #eroticromance just went online at Amazon: http://bitly.hotsytotsy.”

The first experiment with Tweetvertising is branded (uhmmm… I guess that’s the term) with #FireRider, #postapocalyptic, #futurehistory, and #adventurestory. Now I need to find some cool things to share with readers, so I’m not just blitzing folks with ads.

Can you post images on Twitter?

What I don’t yet understand is what the “@” symbol is supposed to do. I think it’s some sort of identification badge.

And can you create a Twitter account or an entity in a new  name, or are you limited to one account? I think the FunnyAboutMoney Twitter persona was created way back in the day, by the delightful Mrs. Micah. (Remember her?)

Same question applies to FaceBook: can I create a site for Camptown RP and the Ladeez? Since certainly I can’t be blitzing my coreligionists, who comprise most of my FB “friends,” with news of lascivious literature.

Also yesterday I made an interesting discovery that will allow me to build a large and entertaining backlist quickly and easily. Better not discuss that here: it will soon become evident what I’m getting up to. It’s a stealable idea, and I think it’s best not tip my hand before the launch.

Working on learning how to make “boxed sets” compiling related bookoids under one electronic cover. You can do this cheaply using freeware called Gimp, but I think I’d rather have Gary Bennett, who designed the Fire-Rider cover, create the things, since he’s a pro, he has many years of experience with PhotoShop, and the result is likely to look a lot more professional than anything I could trick out in a program I don’t know.

Must decide today whether to cancel the New York Times.

The paper uses a local delivery service that also throws the Wall Street Journal and the Arizona Republic onto people’s driveways and into any available puddles. This delivery outfit just stinks. One of two specific reasons I canceled the Republic was that they used to call me on the phone about ten days before the bill was due and harass me to pay up right that minute, as though I were a deadbeat and was late on payment. (The other reason is that the Sunday paper contained nothing but advertising and went directly into the recycling bin without even being read.)

The Times wasn’t delivered either Saturday or Sunday. On Saturday, I don’t believe they came up our street at all: I walk the dogs before it gets too hot and so can see whose driveway has a dead tree on it.

I called and complained. No paper was ever forthcoming.

On Sunday (apparently as a consequence of my complaint), everyone else got a paper but I didn’t.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened, and it’s far from the first time I’ve complained about this bunch.

I have an “educator’s” discount for the Times, which makes it marginally affordable. Still, they’ve raised the bill with some regularity, to the extent that if I canceled that paper, I could use the money to subscribe either to the New York Review of Books (a favorite I can no longer afford) or to The Economist (a weekly that I’ve always coveted).

An online subscription comes with the dead-tree subscription to the Times. If you want to read the Times online only, you have to pay for the privilege. I don’t know if it’s a lot less. Nor do I know whether I would want to pay for the privilege: though I use it all the time to post links to Times articles, I usually find those articles first in the hard-copy version. And I do not find reading the thing on a tablet to be very alluring.

But even when they do deliver the damn thing, these days I rarely get a chance to read it. I’ll look at it while I’m bolting down breakfast, and then I’m launched into 14 or 18 hours of nonstop work. That means I may read maybe two or three pages. Why am I forking over money for that? At that rate, one issue of The Economist would provide reading material for an entire week of breakfasts.

I want to support the little high-quality journalism that survives in this country. But hell. Donating to Pro Publica or PBS would accomplish that.

Such a deal.