Thursday, December 1, 2016

Challenges and Opportunities in the Publishing World

Since the time my first novel was published in January, 2007, I’ve witnessed numerous changes in the publishing world including consolidation of publishers, publishers dropping publishing lines and authors, and the rise of self-publishing and e-books. With twelve published titles and two more in the queue for next year, I have been fortunate to get my work out to many readers.

Nine of my published titles have been through Five Star, a part of Gale/Cengage Learning. Unfortunately, last year Five Star announced they would be discontinuing their mystery line. This has caused me to reassess alternatives and to work with two small publishers for the publications of the two books coming out next year.

Along the way I have also had the opportunity to get my work out in many different formats. Five Star published my books in hardcover and large print editions and in e-book format after the first four books. For the first four from Five Star, I put them up as e-books myself since I retained e-book rights. Five of my books have also been published as audio books from Books-in-Motion and seven in mass market paperback editions from Harlequin’s Worldwide Mystery line. I have also worked with three small publishers that put out a book each in trade paperback and e-book editions.

My most current edition is a trade paperback from Encircle Publications of the third book in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, Senior Moments Are Murder. Since Five Star will not be keeping the hardcover edition of this book in print, I will be able to continue to offer a print edition for readers. This edition releases December 1, 2016.

With all the changes in the publishing industry, I keep plugging away. And to all my readers, thank you for sticking with me and choosing to read my books in whichever format you prefer.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Grandson Lessons – Strollers Are Cool

I continue to learn things from my sixteen-month-old grandson. Today’s lesson—strollers are cool. He loves going for rides in his stroller. I look around and see all these hi-tech strollers built for high speed collisions and designed with all kinds of bells and whistles. Nope, for us it is a simple blue hippopotamus stroller. It’s light, has a safety belt and gets us where we want to go.

When our grandson wants to go outside, he walks over, grabs the stroller and pulls it toward me to say, “Grandpa, time for a trip to the park.”

On the way home from the park he often pushes it himself. Then when he gets tired, he stands in front of it, a signal to lift him into his lift.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nostalgia and Change

I’ve given a lot of thought to what happened in our recent national election. It’s obvious that many people voted for change. That was a theme when Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and for Donald Trump this year. So what kind of change are people looking for? Those who have suffered economic downturns are seeking to get back to where they were in the past. This is a valid concern.

But there is another dimension to seeking change. It is based on nostalgia. My wife and I go through this at times. We lament that as kids we had the ability to go out and roam through our neighborhoods from morning until dusk. Kids can’t do this anymore. We miss those days. When I started working, many people in the middle class had career paths with good opportunities for advancement and raises. We were able to purchase a house early in our marriage. Today careers are more chaotic, many people are received no raises for years or minimal ones at best, and it is extremely difficult for young couples to buy a starter home.

This emotional pull to the nostalgia of a better time can overwhelm the logical perspective that many things have improved in our country. We need to find the balance of positive change that moves the country forward with inclusion and a impetus to improve conditions for all members of society.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Grandson Lessons – He Can Go from Sitting to Standing Faster Than I Can

Ah, the wonders of youth and age. My fifteen-month-old grandson is a ball of fire. I enjoy watching him as he learns to slide and climb at the playground. We play cars together on the floor, and when we have to stand, he gets up quicker than I do.

As I get older, the joints don’t engage as quickly as they used to. He, on the other hand, is on an improvement track—each day his motor skills and dexterity improve. It’s great to watch his positive change, and I realize that I’ll never be able to hop up as I used to. So what? He has no problem waiting for me to get going.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Grandson Lessons – Anything Worthwhile Is Worth Putting in Your Mouth (Up To a Point)

During his first year, my grandson explored the universe by putting things in his mouth. Now that he’s fifteen months old, he doesn’t do this as often.

I’ve mellowed over the years. As a parent I was horrified when my kids put objects in their mouth. As a grandparent, I have more tolerance. Certain things absolutely should not go in a baby’s mouth, but a plastic block sitting in the play area used for teething is not worth having apoplexy over.

I remember reading Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. Developing immunity to germs contributed to the survival of modern society. A sterile environment may lead to lack of immunity. The good news is our grandson seems to have developed a healthy immunity to household germs. Still, I have to admit that I don’t put his plastic blocks in my mouth.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grandson Lessons – Naps Are Good

My fifteen-month-old grandson and I have a meeting of the minds. We enjoy doing things together, and I appreciate his enthusiasm. On the other hand, we both get tired during the day. His parents have jobs and activities to accomplish, but our extremes on the age scaled enjoy some downtime.
Consequently, there’s nothing like a good nap. When he starts yawning and rubbing his eyes, we adjourn for a little shuteye. After a rest, we’re both ready to resume the challenges of youth and aging.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grandson Lessons – Communication

The lesson today from my now fifteen-month-old grandson is clear communication. Even though he isn’t talking yet, I’m amazed at the number of words he understands. The secret is I talk to him in a clear, normal voice and point out objects to him. As a result, he knows key words such as stroller, clock, books, fan, eat, no, cars, trucks. When I ask him to pick out a book to read, he goes right to his pile of books and selects one of his favorites. When I suggest a stroller ride, he walks over to his stroller and holds onto the side with an expectant grin.