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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

November 2012

Authors Beware: Read This Before You Sign Anything.

This is a "MUST-READ" for anyone considering self-publishing:


Read the rest of the article at "Let's Go Digital."

Super Bowl / Mardi Gras tied Up with a Bow!

How would you like to win a once-in-a-lifetime-trip and help someone who is going blind see again -- all with one $20.00 donation? Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service is assisting the Lions of Louisiana Eye Foundation with a SUPER event! In past years, LLEF has held a Sugar Bowl event to help raise funds in an effort to provide vision services to the indigent residents of Louisiana. The 2012 LLEF event was a tremendous success because of the efforts of all the Lions around their state.

This year, the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation’s Fundraising Committee has a Super opportunity to raise Super funds as they are hosting a Super event. AND, the LLEF is sharing the proceeds with Mid-South Lions (LLEF has approved a grant to Mid-South  of $10 for every ticket we sell!)

This year’s big game, the NFL SUPER BOWL will be in New Orleans! The Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation has secured 2 tickets to the greatest game on earth, plus many other amenities.

This is a “Super Bowl / Mardi Gras” package. When will the Super Bowl ever be in New Orleans the same week that Mardi Gras kicks off? The winners will be able to go to the greatest game on earth (the Super Bowl) and then see the kick off of the 2013 Mardi Gras season with parades on Wednesday and Thursday.

The lucky winner will be drawn on JANUARY 22, and will have a Super week consisting of the following:
  • Arriving at the Chateau Orleans in the French Quarter on Friday, February 1st for SEVEN (7) nights
  • Two (2) tickets to the Mardi Gras “Float Viewing Private Party” on Saturday, February 2nd. This party includes a live band, food, drinks and activities. It will be the first time the Krewe members get to see this year’s parade floats.
  • Two (2) tickets to the SUPER BOWL in the Super Dome on Sunday, February 3rd.
  • Two tickets (2) for the Grand Stands to watch the Babylon parade on Thursday, February 7th.
  • A very special value, two (2) Southwest airline tickets predicated on availability that week.
  • Plus lots of free time in between to enjoy the flavor of the French Quarter before having to check out on Friday, February 8th.

Anyone can enter; anyone can win. All it takes is a $20.00 donation to enter your name into the drawing.  Half of that will go to the Lions of Louisiana; the other half will come to Mid-South to help us provide treatment for some 200 needy patients on our waiting list.  Truly this is one of those gifts that keep on giving.

To insure Mid-South’s grant portion of the program, make donations and get tickets online exclusively through a link on our website at www.midsouthlions.org

And while you're there, take a look at the rest of the website to see why I am so passionate about this organization!

This is a great opportunity to continue being “Knights of the Blind in the Crusade against Darkness”…AND SEE THE GREATEST GAME ON EARTH…SUPER BOWL XLVII IN NEW ORLEANS AND EXPERIENCE MARDI GRAS IN PERSON!

Human Foolishness Has No Boundaries of Time or Place.

Once again, our Civil War-Era ancestors prove that human foolishness has no boundaries of time or place.

In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, "Civil War-Era Memories" features excerpts from The Memphis Daily Appeal of 150 years ago. The Appeal is publishing from Grenada, Miss.

Nov. 19, 1862

McCLELLAN'S REMOVAL. This act of the Federal administration is one of the startling events of these stirring times, and its being unexpected in any quarter has contributed to the interest manifested by the whole public. The effect at the North has been to increase the bitterness of partisan strife between the conservatives and Abolitionists ... (President Lincoln battled his own general. Read more at http://bit.ly/T9Vx8c.)[Readers of "The Road to Frogmore" may note that this event caused a major crisis in the story of Laura owne and her relationship with Union Army officials.]

Nov. 21, 1862

In the Memphis district notes of preparation for an election are beginning to be heard. B. D. Nabors and J. M. Tominy announce their willingness to misrepresent the people of the district at Washington. But little more than a year ago the first named canvassed the district for a seat in the Confederate Congress, but the people spurned him by a majority of thousands. He is now the arch-traitor. Tominy strikes high for his first political position, and if successful his feeble intellect will not enable him to do much harm. 
[Apparently politicians have not changed much over the years!]

We find the following in the (Memphis Bulletin): The people of Grenada are said to be quite lively over the prospect which opens upon them of having to move to other quarters. There are some who are already beginning to calculate the chances and prepare accordingly; others will remain. The APPEAL people, who have been so rampageous where there was no danger, will probably be brought up standing with some whom they have denounced.

Nov. 22, 1862

In view of the threatened invasion of Mississippi by the Federal army, we have been requested to state that a public meeting of the citizens of Yalobusha and adjoining counties will be held in Grenada on Tuesday next to take into consideration the best means of defense.

Nov. 24, 1862

The rebels have enjoyed an immense advantage in having generals of dash and pluck, like Beauregard, Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and still more, in having a government which put them forward, while the generals who have been the chief favorites with our government have been of the McClellan and Buell "masterly inactivity" order, who have always gone into battle, like a schoolboy driven to school ... (St. Louis Democrat)

Nov. 25, 1862

Special Correspondence of the Memphis Appeal. Richmond, November 15, 1862. ... Folly and extravagance have not ceased with the war. I heard of a young Richmond belle, yesterday, just about to be married, who paid $85 for one bonnet, $50 for a second, and $45 for a third, for her nuptials. This is none of Dixie's business, but the young bride had far better have given two-thirds of the money to cover the feet of the soldiers than her own pretty head. DIXIE 

Where's the Bounce?

Well, my Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sales have finished.  Tally? Only one copy of each book on Smashwords sold during the 3-day period.  Lesson learned?  When lots of books are available for free, $0.99 is not an appealing price.

Over on Kindle, 83 copies of "Left by the Side of the Road" were downloaded, along with 42 copies of "The Dilemma of Arnulf of Lisieux." That was enough to move Arnulf's story up to #2 on the 100 Free Bestsellers list and keep him there for two days, but when the sale ended, so did his reign.  The book is once again unranked, but at least a few people may actually get to read the book.  Not a wasted effort, in my opinion.

However -- and that's a big however-- the much-vaunted "bounce " that is supposed to happen once you offer books for free never materialized.  What that says about the reading public, I would rather not speculate.  I'm still not convinced that Kindle Select is a good way to go.  I think I'd rather take my chances with wide-spread distribution.

Now for a word to the 125 people who took advantage of my free offer.  I really hope you enjoy the books, and I do not begrudge you  the free offer.  But please remember -- whether we're talking about my books or some other author's work -- sales really depend on reviews, not price.

I know that word "review" scares a lot of people, but it shouldn't.  Anyone can be a reviewer.  And you don't have to write a lengthy description of the book you just read.  Amazon only asks for 20 words (or more.) That's just a couple of sentences.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • "I really liked the way this author described . . . ."
  • "My favorite scene was . . . . "
  • "I never knew that . . . ."
  • "I learned something new about . . . ."
  • "If  you like stories about . . . .., you'll like this book."
  • "My favorite character was . . . ."

Finish any one of those statements, and you have a review! I can't stress enough how much it means to an author when you take the time to add a comment to the Amazon listing for her book (or Barnes&Noble, or Goodreads, or anywhere else that reviews appear.) It takes approximately 10 reviews before Amazon will start to promote a book.  I find it terribly frustrating to have a reader tell me in person that he enjoyed the book.  That's nice, but I already know the book is good.  Please tell someone else -- someone who might want to buy it. You got the book for free.  Perhaps you can afford to say thanks in public.

End of rant.

Update! Bishop Arnulf just moved up a notch to #2.

Welcome to Cyber Monday, All!  Wonderful deals are happening all over the internet, but please don't forget about the ones that Kazenhaus Books has running here.  (See post below for full links.) The best news is that  "The Dilemma of Arnulf of Lisieux" has moved into second place in Free Bestsellers in Religious Studies--Church and State. I'm still aiming to break into that #1 spot, just for today, so keep the downloads coming.

Is a book about the 12th century still relevant?  Well, judging from the company the book is keeping (see chart, recorded at 7:00 this morning) , we haven't managed to answer the  questions it raises about the role of religion in politics. Perhaps it will lend a bit of perspective to the heat of current arguments.