As we turn the page on 2013, I would like to wish everyone reading this post a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2014. Before the ball drops in Times Square, I thought I would offer ten predictions for the coming New Year on a variety of topics.
1. Gasoline prices will average less than 2.60 per gallon, with the price of oil dropping below $80 by mid-year and likely heading into the 60s.
2. Relations with Cuba will be close to normalized by the end of the year, and the embargo will either be lifted or the process to formally lift it will have begun
3. The Tampa Bay Rays will play the Braves in the World Series. Tampa Bay will win.
4. Obamacare will be repealed in a vote that has enough bi-partisan support that it will be veto-proof
5. MSNBC will hire a "big name" Conservative to host a primetime hour
6. Christian Bale will win Best Actor for American Hustle
7. The US and world economy will have a strong year
8. President Obama's approval rating will be over 50% by this time next year
9. Inflation will finally show back up and rates will rise in response to it by the 4th quarter
10. Edward Snowden will return to the United States. Whether to stand trial or to accept a plea deal is to be determined.
Between the time Matt Drudge went all-in on his opinion regarding Twitter, see this screenshot from business insider, and tonight, Twitter has lost over 5 billion dollars in market capitalization. That's in a period of time when the market was pretty stable. Up big yesterday and down fractionally today.
To me, the story is not as much about Twitter, as it is about Drudge's influence. I remember that when Michael Jordan came back after playing baseball for the Birmingham Barons, NYSE companies went up by a reported 1 Billion dollars. See his wikipedia page. That was a lot, but nothing compared to the 5 billion lost in the last 24 hours on no real news.
It goes back to a post I did earlier last week. Matt Drudge has huge economic clout. I said in that post he might be the best bookseller in America. Probably bigger than Oprah and he might even be able to give President Obama a run for his money. I'm sure the folks at Twitter dreaded being the lead story on the Drudge Report because Drudge giveth and Drudge can obviously taketh away.
Welcome to Week 158!
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.
From Page 56 of Hallways in the Night:
"The pull quote, which GSN had highlighted throughout a full 24-hour news cycle, was when Ray said the Commissioner had done such a lousy job negotiating the last collective bargaining agreement, that he doubted if Agee “could convince the Pope to go to church on Sundays.”
This post is for the Friday 56 Hosted by Freda's Voice.
I don't know if it's just me, but would anybody else like to see the beverage makers mix it up with some of their packaging? I'd love to see a 12 pack of beer that was a mix between Bud and Bud Light or a 12 pack of soda that was half regular coke and half diet coke. I guess I could always buy two six packs, but I like the ease and cheaper price of a 12 pack. Especially good for when entertaining. I know Sam Adams does something like this with their Holiday Beers but I would love to see Bud, Pepsi, or Coke do the same thing. Just a thought.
A lot of time when you sit down to write, you may be faced with the dreaded blank screen. Few things in life are as unpleasant to look at than a blank page. It means there's work to be done.
Here's a tip/trick I used while writing Hallways in the Night (A novel for which I probably wrote close to 750,000 words as part of the process of getting to my 94,000 word final count.) For most of the time I was writing the book, I didn't see the blank screen in front of me or the words going onto the page. Most of the time, my vision was on the images and scenes that I was constructing in my head. For me, the keyboard and the screen were like the steering wheel in my car. Vital tools needed to get me where I wanted to go, but I was always focused on the road: What my characters were saying, what they were doing, how they might be feeling in a particular situation. None of which I could discern from a computer screen just like when I'm driving my car, I'll never get to where I need to go if I'm focused on the steering wheel.
When your writing, your hands and keyboard should be a simple extension of yourself. You need to get as far inside your mind as possible where you can take a seat and figure out what's going on. Be the Director, give your characters' instructions, but also let them freelance a little bit. Let them say different things, use different responses, see what feels natural and what does not.
When I was writing dialogue, there were times I came up with a dozen or more sentences before I was happy with what was being said. And that is what is so great about writing. In my real life, I unfortunately say a lot of stupid things or fail to say the right thing. As Charles Krauthammer once said, I often have the wit of the staircase meaning I figure out the perfect thing to say when the evening's over and I'm going up the stairs to retire for the evening. It's then I have the perfect response. Too late for me, but never too late for your characters. Thanks to the delete key and the fact that you are in complete control of the "time-space" continuum, your characters never have to deal with failing to say the right thing. You can always ensure they do.
Now that I'm done writing Hallways in the Night, I'm working on the marketing aspects of the book. So far, the reviews (to me via email) have been positive which is encouraging. Seeing some sales in both e-books and paperback versions. Also investing a small amount of money with 24-7 media's self-serve site to try and get some click throughs on an banner image I have set up. We'll see how that goes. Here is the image I created for the banner ad:
I'm pretty happy with it. I embedded the link to Amazon for any click-throughs. I opted for the cheapest package, 3 bucks for every 1,000 impressions. The upside is the campaign is cheap, the downside is there is no targeting.
If you were going to do a banner ad for a similar book--legal thriller--who would you target? Would you focus on a specific geographical area or interests? This is all trying to figure out on the fly so it should be a good learning experience. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Back in the 1990s, Oprah Winfrey was the clear leader when it came to selling books. Her selection of a book into "Oprah's book club" was a virtual guarantee that the book would become a best seller. Oprah had the kind of clout and influence that could take a "no-name" author and make them a household name.
Now that her book club is defunct, I have often wondered, who, if anyone, would have the kind of clout to guarantee a book was a best seller. I think there are a few people out there who could do it. President Obama, obviously. Just like Ronald Reagan made Hunt for Red October an instant best-seller (stay tuned for some future backstory on that one) Obama and Michelle could do the same thing. Rush Limbaugh could obviously do it, too as he has recently with his new book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims book.
But other than that, I'm not sure who could do it? Trump possibly? O'Reilly? These guys could definitely put a book on the map, but I'm not sure they guarantee best-sellerdom.
That leads me to think that Matt Drudge might have the most clout in terms of selling books. (Note: Jeff Bezos could obviously turn any book into a best-seller by featuring it on his front pages, but that's using a company to do it, not his own social influence.) But if a book goes up on Drudge, he's got so many loyal followers and so much traffic that I think he could do it.
I'm obviously a Drudge fan. I cite the Drudge report two times within Hallways in the Night to underscore the importance of the breaking news stories that take place in the book.
I'm going to actually send this column to his tip box and see if I can hit the literary equivalent of Powerball. If you see this link on Drudge report, that sound you hear will be my shouts of joy towards the heavens.
Paul Piorek was kind enough to run a nice piece on my book yesterday that discusses some of my time at Andrew Warde High School and a little bit of growing up in Fairfield. Paul's blog is one I regularly check out as a way to stay in touch with Fairfield related items.
Paul's giving away a free copy of the book on his site if you are interested.
I spend three and half (okay closer to 5) years writing a book. Spend hundreds of hours reading and editing it trying to make it as polished as possible. Spent a ton of time getting it formatted so it can be printed, and then finally, that most glorious of days arrives--my book is delivered in the mail. What a moment, as you can probably imagine.
It was a moment I dreamt of many times. Usually, my dream included some kind of memento from my wife, maybe some hand-written posters from my kids, occasionally I might even envision my wife having purchased a plaque to mark the occassion.
None of it happened. Due to some incredibly bad timing, my book arrived the same week as they adopted a new kitten named Moonlight. Basically, this cat stole all my thunder. Literally, my book became a complete afterthought. The cat's the one getting all the attention and recognition. Hours spent discussing what to name him (Moonlight), hours spent watching eat, worried if he would come back home, basically swooning over this animal.
What a moment! Fortunately, the cat is a very cool feline and I've long ago realized that one of the reasons God has put me on this earth was to be humbled. So it's all good. Everyone's happy, the cat has found a home, and I'm moving on to my next dream.
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1-5 FOR FREE
"the courtroom scenes crackle....the setting and dialogue sing with pure authenticity." MenReadingBooks.com
Tampa Tribune:"this legal thriller is certainly hard to put down."
BookStory: "An edge of the seat legal battle. Unputdownable."
"I had a hard time putting it down."
"5 Stars Across the Board!"
"A cross between John Grisham and Tom Wolfe."
"Hard to Believe this is O'Leary's first novel."
R.C. O'Leary author of legal thriller Hallways in the Night.