Top Twos-Day: Fire and Ice – Amazon and Self Publishers


cotton field

I’m holding my feet to the fire this week, meeting all attempting to meet my deadlines with this “new normal” schedule. One of those is to start blogging again. So here goes, two important publishing news items to cross my desk.

First, many are picking on Amazon, and I won’t say it’s not for good reason. Wait, double negatives are a terrible way to make a point. Let me try that again. Many are picking on Amazon, often for good reason. But you have to give them credit, money talks and theirs is making the rounds. The US Post Office has cut a deal to deliver packages for Amazon on Sundays, beginning in metropolitan areas, spreading to smaller demographics, over the next year. Want to know when your order will be delivered on Sunday? Read more… Oh, and here’s another Amazon first, allowing independent bookstores to team with them to sell Kindles. Did you hear about this? More … The scorecard: All Things Amazon = $$$$, so why are we not modeling our ideas after them?

Ice, Ice, Maybe?…As my area hunkers down for the first snow storm flakes of the season, I watch our newly adopted cat, yes another one found us, chow down. This one’s strictly outdoor, for now. His little house is outfitted with coziness, and our neighbor’s kitty often drops by the buffet table. My other neighbor collected all the cotton from the field yesterday, and I snapped this pic two days prior, knowing that it would disappear before our first frost.

Second item on the desk this week – cause I digress – The World of Indie. Now it used to be Indie meant Independent Publisher, Independent Bookstore, etc. Nowadays, indie might as well be a four-letter word: INDI as in self-published, for many take offense at the implication of a self-publisher. Not me, though. I say, more power to ya. But please do what you can to vet your work, send it out to beta readers, and get some professional advice, not your neighbor, family or co-workers, okay? Soap box moment, forgive me.

The term self-publisher, or Indie, is on the tongues of many, and here’s what’s new for those of you who are interested in cussing. Gatekeepers and conference panelists. The Alliance of Independent (see?) Publishers has an article daring to ask about gatekeepers – by Dan Holloway, poet and author. And over at Publishing Perspectives, discussion surrounds the controversial conference panelist’s issue, tackled by Porter Anderson.

That’s about it, I must do the southern thing and run to the store for bread and milk before the roads are impassable…. Ah, tradition must be carried on.🙂



Additional Top Twos-Days…

The Independent Publishing Magazine: 12 Things Traditionally Published Authors Might Say To Self-Published Authors

three for three…read on!

The Independent Publishing Magazine: 12 Things Traditionally Published Authors Might Say To Self-Published Authors.

1.  “Tut, tut, my friend. Money must flow to the author.”
2.  “Oh dear. You mean your book wasn’t published by a real publisher.”
3.  “Well, you know, rejection is part of being an author. We must all first suffer for our art before we succeed.”


special thanks to The Independent Publishing Magazine

The Independent Publishing Magazine: 17 Things Self-Published Authors Might Say To Each Other

second part, different side…

The Independent Publishing Magazine: 17 Things Self-Published Authors Might Say To Each Other.

1.  “If any author can self-publish a book, then it must be pretty easy.”
2.  “Yeh, sure there’s lots of self-published authors now, but they didn’t properly self-publish like I did.”


special thanks to The Independent Publishing Magazine

The Independent Publishing Magazine: 15 Things Traditional Publishers Might Say To Each Other About Self-Publishing Service Providers

Came across this funny, well depends on your perspective…

The Independent Publishing Magazine: 15 Things Traditional Publishers Might Say To Each Other About Self-Publishing Service Providers.

1.  “Look, we’ve nothing to worry about. They’re all just glorified printers and author mills. We’re the real cultivators and promoters of literature.”
2.  “I mean, it’s easy to make money if you just sell services to authors and not their books.”
special thanks to The Independent Publishing Magazine

Spotlight: Author Paul Drewfs

In the spotlight today, Paul Drewfs, scientist, artist and author. His new release, Transforming Spirits is available both in print and ebook. Paul enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction, and has experienced unusual opportunities, adding to his creative tool chest.

Q) You are a research scientist by training, how did you get from that point A to point B as a writer, and how would you describe your latest book, Transforming Spirits?

A) In truth, I started out as fine artist and graphic designer.   Four years of Ford Foundation scholarships put me through the Portland Museum Art School, and gained me a diploma.  Then, it was off to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and hob knob with internationally famous artists from around the World.  Early acclaim brought me to a gut wrenching cross roads.  Remain sequestered in a science and technology avoidant poverty prone closed subculture, or return to the real World and start over.  I chose the greater World, and my reputation as an artist popped the door open. 

Universities welcomed a young fast rising artist seeking an advanced degree.  I chose Florida State University, went to work as a graphic artist at the international Center for Educational Technology, and started working on a Master of Science Degree.  Long story short, just before I graduated from FSU, I was confronted by yet another mind boggling fork in the road.  Option one was to go to work for the US Department of the Navy as a Development Department Head of Instructional Technology in San Diego and work with Hollywood guild card level talent.  Option two was to travel to Caracas, Venezuela and become the Director of the Organization of American States (OAS) project to establish Centers of Technology in every country in South America.  For personal reasons, I chose the Navy and Hollywood, and became a US government civilian employee.

In 1975, Memphis State University enticed me back to school to work on a doctorate in educational research and statistics.  I took that opportunity.  There, my mentor and major professor and I started our own government contracting firm, Human Systems Integrated (HSI).  I became a business man scientist.  In 1978, what would ultimately become Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) bought our company.  They moved us to El Paso, gave me a job as a Research Scientist, and shares of what was then near worthless stock.  I’d finished all the course requirements for a doctorate, but decided to go with the flow and SAIC.

I took early retirement from SAIC in 2000.  The company had grown by then into a multi-billion dollar corporation.  I began working at once on my own research projects, and started learning to write fiction.  My research – some of which is defined in my published nonfiction books of 2007 and 2010 – fed my fiction books.  I didn’t formally publish my novels for the first twelve plus years; I knew I wasn’t ready.  This year all of that changed and Transforming Spirits was published as an Amazon eBook. The print version is about to be published this month.  Transforming Spirits is Volume 1 of a drafted ten volume series, titled the Blood Countess Chronicles.

Transforming Spirits in a nutshell goes like this: It’s midnight, Central Bohemia, Sunday October 31, 1571 – Eleven year old Princess Elizabeth of the Dominions of Loyalty is tincture-tainted and cast before a mirror.  Her mother, mother-in-law to be, and a three yard tall preternatural priest give her just six hours to save all transforming humanity, or four hundred and forty one years of her future selves.  Elizabeth is about to discover allies and secrets in the far distant future and past she could never have imagined, and the enemies to rival them.

Q) Intriguing, Paul! Switching to your routine as a writer, describe your work area, your typical writing day, and how you’ve been able to integrate marketing into your writing routine.

A) I would describe my work space as a server farm, toy barn, and organized mess.  I work from around 7:00 am to about 5:00 pm seven days a week, only stopping for dinner.  At night I sculpt from about 8:00 pm to about 11:30 pm.  As for marketing, I don’t.  For thirty three years I was an entrepreneur scientist and businessman mustering up a Type-A personality.  The intense marketing and sales dimension of that was a fulminating nightmare.  I was amazingly successful at it, and I hated every damned minute.  If I was going to play advertising account executive to make money, I would pick a product that makes real money, and it definitely wouldn’t be books.  I don’t write to make sales and revenues.  Writing is a necessary step in personal and collective human evolution.  In short, I write because all those guys and gals in my head needed a safe place to play.

Q) Speaking of play, if you could research and personally interview anyone from any time-period, who would they be and how would the interview sound?

A) That interview would be with the protagonist of my novels, Elizabeth Bathory, one of the most unjustly divested, deposed, and disparaged individuals in human history.  The interview would be conducted around the first of August of 1614.  It would take place through the slotted brick wall fronting her cell, in her own keep tower at Castle Cechtice in Central Bohemia (now the Czech Republic).  The interview topics would begin with her betrothal to Ferenc Nadasdy in 1571, and end with her arrest and conviction for six hundred counts of “Inhuman cruelty” (murder) by a false religious tribunal – as opposed to a proper civil, regional dominion, or imperial court.  Her betrothal and marriage of 1575 created the largest single land merger since Charlemagne.  That real-estate deal was the clever creation of the Countess Anna Dragfy Drugeth Bathory and the Baroness Orsolya Nadasdy of Kanizsa.  That marriage imposed a responsibility on Elizabeth’s shoulders, that makes today’s international CEOs look like anemic wimps.  The litany of events that led to Elizabeth’s downfall and death would ultimately result in war, famine, pestilence, and death on a scale the World had never seen.  In the end, it resulted in the loss of over half of the population of Europe, and jump-started the colonization of North America over a decade before the Plymouth colony.  Now, that is an interview I would very much like to conduct.

Amazing! Thanks for hanging out with us, Paul! When you write that interview or the next in your series, please come back for an update.

Purchase Transforming Spirits ebook  in print, and  read an excerpt.

Find out more about nonfiction works: Change; Described-Explained-Predicted and Waters of Creation and Reality here.

Connect with Paul on  Goodreads, Twitter or Facebook.

 More Spotlights…

Top Twos-day: k is for kiss and kids

stock photo:

Each Tuesday I’ll bring two items or people into focus. They may be books, authors, lists, whatever turned my head, landing on my radar.

Stay tuned as each TOP TWOS-DAY unfolds…

Kiss the Sky (Telemachus Press: POD)  by debut author and artist D. C. Gallin is the connection between 60s hallucinogenic and 90s environmentalist bundled by music spanning the generations. Gallin’s first-person narrative fiction will leave you wondering as one risky behavior tumbles naturally to the next. Read an excerpt…   Interview at Tribute Books…

How?: The Most Awesome Question and Answer Book About Nature, Animals, People, Places – and You! (Owlkids Books, May 2012)  is the sequel to Catherine Ripley’s 2010 children’s work Why?: The Best Ever Question and Answer Book about Nature, Science and the World around You. Ripley’s fast supply of knowledge earned her a place as editor at ChickaDEE Magazine which led to various other writing gigs and books. Check out Kirkus Reviews thoughts…


More Top Twos-days…

Top Twos-day: Mountains and Monuments

Each Tuesday I’ll bring two items or people into focus. They may be books, authors, lists, whatever turned my head, landing on my radar.

Stand Up That Mountain: the battle to save one small community in the wilderness along the Appalachian Trail by Jay Erskine Leutz (Scribner: imprint of Simon and Schuster) released this month. Leutz is an avid outdoorsman and local lawyer living in the most remote and misunderstood region in our country. This true story takes readers from the moment a fourteen year old phones Leutz to the last battle cry. “Jay helps assemble a talented group of environmental lawyers to do battle with the well-funded attorneys protecting the mining company’s plan to dynamite Belview Mountain, which happens to sit next to the famous Appalachian Trail, the 2,184-mile national park that stretches from Maine to Georgia.”

Lyricist, actress, and screenwriter Emmy Laybourne’s post-apocalyptic YA debut novel, Monument 14 (Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan imprint) introduces us to fourteen high school students, eighth graders and elementary children trapped by devastation as they begin a typical school day. The students must come to grips with their group dynamic, survival, and bleak future. Read an excerpt…

Read more Top Twos-days…

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