Wednesday, February 28, 2007


EILEEN BIRIN --- Writer, Editor, Publisher and former 8th grade English teacher was February's guest speaker. Anyone interested in becoming a published author would greatly benefit from taking one of Eileen's classes or attending one of her workshops. I've enjoyed all of the workshops and meetings that I've attended since first making contact with the local librarian last Fall. One event inevitably leads to others which lead to others where I've learned that I knew NOTHING when I finally got published in April of last year! The "networking" (me?) is working! The one comment by Eileen that brought a chuckle to the attendees was "I leave books everywhere so that someone might pick it up and read it. You never know. I even leave books in the Ladies Room!" After the meeting I made my way to the front of the meeting room. I wasn't about to make the same mistake that I made at my first workshop: waiting for the guest speaker to made his/her way to the back of the room/auditorium. So many people got in front of "shy" Jack that by the time he answered all their questions he had to make a quick dash out the door because he needed to be somewhere else, like pronto. I beat the crowd and got to ask my question: "Do you have a Ladies Room at your house, and if so, could you please leave this (my book) in there?" Got a laugh out of a few people waiting to speak with her. Eileen enthusiastically took the book. I could tell that she was immediately drawn to the jacket cover. Everyone is. (Thanks, Angela Capria!) The bold colors that surround and separate the old Black & White photos catch everyone's eye. "I'd love to read it, " she replied. YES! Mission accomplished. I could go on and on and on about the topic --- self-publishing --- but I'll spare you. One note, however, 78% of all books (approximately 150,000 in the US per year) are either from small publishing houses or self-published. Eileen's is the owner of Neelie Publishing based here in Glendale.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


TRICK OR TREAT? --- As mentioned in the previous post, on April 1, 2007, QUADALAJARA ---The Utopia that Once Was will go back to the original pre-holiday bookstore price of $23.95. Hey, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," right Cheerito? Thanks to those who purchased books during the past few months. Family, friends and family members of those who journeyed through this unique place in time, as well as those wishing to purchase multiple orders, may continue to email me directly from the website for special rates. Books of "questionable" origin continue to be available for around $25.00 on!


LAST SEPTEMBER, while attempting to open a pro-merchant account with, I learned that a QUADALAJARA account already existed. How? I'm the author! How can someone open an account for my book? My intellectual property. Copyrighted and everything! After fifteen to twenty phone calls to's customer service people over the next few months --- and many frustrating hours lost trying different avenues recommended by different reps --- I just gave up! Apparently, anyone can open an account as long as they're first to do so, no questions asked. But I had questions. Lots of questions! Too many to list here --- but I asked and kept asking! Apparently, some lowlife cretin was attempting to profit from my hard work and mounting frustration with a copy of my book obtained from the mailroom of a book reviewer --- at best --- or had stolen or obtained a copy from the original shipment, of which, 214 books NEVER were delivered --- at worst! I would hate to think that the now growing number of available (Barnes and Noble, Froogle, Able Books and one or two others that I know of) copies of QUADALAJARA were stolen from donated books to military hospitals or veterans' organizations (approximately 40)? When my book finally showed up on --- yes, I gave it one more shot --- listed at the selling price of $23.95, right below one of the other "sellers" whose asking price was $22.00, we soon had company. A "new" copy was now available for "only" $18. Mr. $22 immediately dropped his price also to $18 listed as "brand new"! The battle was on. I contacted Citibank, explained my situation and informed them of my intentions: to "buy" back, at least, one of my books! So I did! I "purchased" a copy of QUADALAJARA from Karen's Book's on the Barnes and Noble website. She sent the book, I refused to pay --- for obvious reasons --- and my credit card was refunded without a fight from Ms. Karen. I attempted to do the same with "Manny", one of my Amazon.con "competitors" but made the mistake of telling him, and Citibank of my intentions. I kindly asked Mr. Manny to just return my book. He never did but the charge remained on my credit card for a couple of months pending investigation. I apologize for the long-winded lead-in "vent" to get to the "punchline"......... I was all set to post that starting on April Fool's Day the purchase price of "QUADALAJARA --- the Utopia That Once Was" is going to revert back to the original bookstore price of $23.95. No more Mr. Nice Guy! Holidays are over. Family, friends and family members of Quadalajara era folks email me for discounted rates. We're almost there --- for those still following along. Last night, just before going to bed, I checked my website visitor's site meter and was taken eventually to an interesting website. Interesting only because I believe I grew up with the company's owner. I was surprise to see QUADALAJARA at the top of the page. Had my childhood friend done me a favor by linking my website to his? Immediately I clicked the link. It took me to --- of all places ---! (I'm no longer selling there, never really did, and my "buddy" Manny, as far as I know, slithered back under a rock)! My former Mr. $18 "competitor" was still there --- but he had new competition to worry about. A woman from Michigan (where one book was donated to the Michigan Chapter PVA, one book was sold legit --- and from where the original 214 missing books were to be shipped from) had entered the fray. To my surprise, her asking price for a "slightly used book" was $24.88!!!. And Mr. 18 had jacked his price to $25!!! Let the bidding war begin. Makes me want to renege on my April Fool's Day offer --- I could always say it was a joke --- and raise the price back up to take on the competition. At first, I was ticked off. Then I was weighting the pros & cons. Would I get much sleep last nite? (Actually, got about five hours.) Heck, let's make lemonade! Turn a negative into a positive. Sure makes $19.95 look cheap compared to what it's going for on Great marketing stratergy! ANYONE THINKING ABOUT PURCHASING MY BOOK, COMPLETE WITH INSCRIPTION AND SIGNED BY THE AUTHIOR, ACT NOW WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!!! Those still reading along now know why I titled this post as I did. It was akin to finding your way through the Amazon Jungle just to escape. Or, as Tarzan said to Jane --- after a long day at work --- "Jane, my love, it's a rainforrest out there!


FIRST OFF, for those who know me and those who read my previous post about being San Diego Bound, I can officially say, "I'm back!" When a friend asked about my hospital "visit" and my overall feelings about how things went, I replied, "On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it an 8." So I guess that I am fairly satisfied with the way things went. I must say, and I've said this about past hospital stays there, that despite spending three weeks (that did seem like three months) in the San Diego VA Medical Center, that the staff are SUPER! From the doctors and nurses to the therapists and other caring folks, EVERYONE there gets two thumbs up from me. Heck, I'm as picky an eater as you'll find -- and I still managed to gain ONE pound :) THANKS ALL!