Category Archives: Uncategorized

Great News! KDP FINALLY reveals your historical sales!

Not sure if you noticed (the savvy among you probably have), but KDP quietly rolled out their new reports format!

I’ve wondered since I started with Kindle Direct Publishing why they could not plot out the master sales list for the titles Indies publish. Not only would it make for great nostalgia during those cold, isolated months of dead sales, and drive writers forward after seeing that, yes, there once was a day when you were knocking it out of the park (regardless of numbers; in this day and age, all readers are precious readers, in my opinion), but it’s important to be able to look back and see what you’ve accomplished in total.

At least, my accountant thinks it is.

Well, wonder no more!

screencap new archived database KDP

KDP’s new Historical Report gives you every single sale monthly since you started publishing, and every single KOLL page read. This enables you to accurately track total sales, identify trends, and total your copies sold and free titles distributed since the dawn of KDP-time.

The new format also sets up by sales period, and lists all royalties earned by country in total, which immediately gives you your best selling countries. The report still offers the month-to-date tables, but now provides a payments and pre-orders tab, all  in one header.

Slick, easy to use, and all in one place.

A huge development for Indie writers everywhere!

Stop looking at my short blue poles. I was busy writing.

Go check our your new KDP report page! What do you think of it?

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One Day.

There are many kinds of people who make up our world.

There are people who  fight. They grab each day by the throat and don’t let go until they get that day done.

There are people who pretend. Who make it look like they can do the things they cannot so that the world will applaud them. But the world never applauds anyone, not in any real way, and their hearts are destined to break.

There are people who burn. Who carry a furnace fuelled by bitterness because life has flowed around them like a river, and they cannot bend the currents to their will. Steam and noise ensue, and peace is a laughable dream.

There is another kind. There are quiet, shy people who hate storms. Who try, every day, to stand, walk, and even carry others with whatever power they have, which varies every day. Whose tools get lost or break or were never in the toolbox, or the storm has whipped them away, lost in the wind and sound and terror. But every day, they try.

They get up, in the face of panic and fear, and they try. Some days they are beaten before they even open their eyes, and the trying takes too long, and it’s hard.

But somehow, they do it. And life and the world do not record their battles, don’t call their names, don’t applaud. Sometimes, it only announces their failures, which feeds the opinion of the ignorant. The world expects perfection while it takes away their tools. The world demands more while it pressures you with less.

Less money for your work, less support for your children, less respect for your thoughts, less power for your person, less safety for your travels, less consequence for your violation.

It presses down while screaming to get up. And it is hard.

But these people, in the storm, they still try.

These people are called Mothers.

I’m lucky enough to have one for a partner. My wife’s tools are being plucked away by the storm piece by piece. In the cruellest irony, by an invisible disease that very few people will ever understand. They see the vibrant, shining soul that she is, and rejoice in her radiance, and never see her storm. She refuses to show it to anyone.

She’s such a Mother that she’ll be one to those who are not even hers. She’ll take on the job for those in pain out of sheer mercy and grace, and never asks for recognition, or control, or any reward at all.

She will simply because it is Right.

She’ll step into the deeper storm, knowing some of her tools are missing.

Because that is what Mothers do.

My own mother should have folded under the storm a thousand times. Sometimes, the storm was me.  Other times, it was the world, trying to crush her. She would have none of that.

I am privileged. Both women made me this man.

We get one day.

One.

To tell them that we get it. That we see them. That we appreciate them. That they are valued. Loved. That we know. That we can never properly thank them, but on this day, we will try.

To my Mom, all I can say is Thank You.

To my wife, I see you. I know. And I see the storm. I hate it, and I wish I could crush it; wither it, so that it did not trample you. But I can’t. I will always offer my hand, even when you refuse to take it. Because you fight ten times harder than I do.  Even now, as two young men who you gave birth to, who you taught how to temper my cold spite with your warmth and love, prepare to step away from you and make their mark, two standing examples of your success, you find yourself wanting in their forging. You did it. You mastered it. You won. I love you. I Thank You.

To every one of you reading this who are Mothers, I Thank You. The world will never applaud. Not the way it should. But maybe, having a day that tells you we know you’re important is a sign for you. That we see you, and that we care.

Thank You.

 

Happy Mother’s Day.

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New Graphic Novel Project! Concept Sketches for The War!

While work continues on the editing of To Drown in Ash, I have exciting news!

Several months ago, during a shameless binge on Tom Waits songs and headline rage, I smashed out a script for an idea for a graphic novel. After pitching the concept around to several parties who generously cheered me on (and several rewrites), my buddy Dylan Edwards read the script and agreed to use his incredible artistic skill to turn it into A Thing!

Behold,some of the early concept art for The War!

war-for-blog-promo-1

war-for-blog-promo-2

war-promo-for-blog-3

That is Sam.

Sam is driven.

We’ll be releasing more info and images as the work progresses. Early input on the project has been alarmingly positive. And Amazon’s graphic novel platform appears tailor made for Indie projects by two guys who’ve dreamed of doing this since high school.

More cool sketches to follow in the coming weeks and months as this takes shape.

Stay tuned!

 

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How Trump Did It, Part 2: The Beginning.

 

How did this happen?

Well, like most enormously important events, it did not start in a vacuum. President Trump’s victory happened slowly, evolving over several years. I’ve found that this Frontline Documentary from PBS does the best job of explaining this phenomenon’s history. It is worth watching.

The Divided states of America contains what appears to be critical information about the history of Trump’s rise to power, through the GOP’s devastation, rebirth, then its infiltration, and eventual implosion.

Reminds one of watching lava form. Each cooling layer pooling slag upon which fresh lava cooks through and burns over to form the new political foundation.

It’s a long one, so you may need several bags of popcorn. And, perhaps, depending on your politics, a pillow to scream into:

http://www.pbs.org/video/2365934009/

If you’re reading this from Canada, here’s an active link  (For some STRANGE reason, PBS Frontline no longer runs its content streaming into Canada. Which is weird. It did last year…):

Do yourself a favour, and watch both part 1 and 2. It’s a comprehensive, detailed saga that brings us right up to the election.

 

Next time, on The Desk:

How Trump Did It, Part Three:

The Quiet Machine: My mother-in-law’s keen catch, The Antidote Writer’s Collective,  Michal Kosinski, Facebook, and Cambridge Analytica.

 

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How Donald Trump did it: Part One. Or, The Morning My Mother-in-Law Discovered a Tiny, Incredible Article.

 

I’m fascinated by what I like to call Distracted Subversion.

That’s kind of like being a conspiracy theorist, but with deeper weeds, more data, and actual evidence. It’s what large organizations do when they know the world is distracted looking at something else. They do it in plain sight, because everyone, from the media to the governments of other nations, are very busy looking at something 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

Did you know they are making toilet paper tubes bigger to save on shipping costs? Or injecting air bubbles in your toothpaste? That “Frozen Dessert” is not actually Ice Cream, and never melts? Or that the CIA had a torture franchise in Libya?

I wrote about Libya, an example of Surreptitious Things Being Done in Plain Sight, back in 2011 on my now-dead, other blog. I’ve linked it here.

Organizations like the CIA, Israel, Russia, Banks, Media, and political lobbyists and pollsters engage in this Distracted Subversion every day. And it works. Make something go off to our left, and we look left. That real art happens when you’ve planned it that way and use that time to do Something Very Important to make something happen on our RIGHT.

It certainly did in this last, profound presidential election.

As a Canadian, I get substantial flack for putting my Bluenoser proboscis in American politics. But the United States is an excellent litmus test for the rest of the world’s political metabolism. It teaches us larger lessons about the way our own elections can twist and bend, and, perhaps, how to prevent surprises. I hate surprises.

I’ve been baffled by how Trump did it. I just could not figure it out. But I started to think about Distracted Subversion. Then, my mother-in-law sent me an article that she found laying out in plain sight on the internet that offered a key insight into what just happened in the United States.

And it is of critical importance, because the tool Trump’s campaign used reaches all the way from Brexit to any other elective process for the foreseeable future, and even to help determine the outcome of international military campaigns.

If you care at all about political outcomes, I strongly suggest you read on. If you are baffled and dazed and shocked and outraged, you need to read this. If you use Facebook, and are ‘liking’ posts, either with an angry face or a tearful emoji, you need to know what that is doing for the people who want to use that information to get elected.

I’d very much like to be wrong.

I’d very much like to find out that this is a hoax.

I’d love to find out that the SCL Group website is a hoax page built by an eighteen year old member of the Freedom Caucus.

But I’ve dug through their site, and I fear it is not.

And, to me, that’s terrifying.

But to know the future, you have to see the past. And PBS’ Frontline documentary is a necessary place to start.

Next time, on The Desk:

How did this start?

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The simple act of forgetting to burn the files after the Boss leaves: The rebels catch wind of CIA consult work with Gadhafi; in trade, his expert torture contractors get some extra workouts in.

 

(September 4, 2011):

No big surprise that the CIA  working with Libya . Probably no huge surprise that Bush’s administration used Libya to exercise their unique skill sets on subjects snatched from various streets around the world during the ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ phase of activities. Leaving the files fluttering in the streets of Tripoli as Gadhafi flees? That, boys and girls, that’s a tongue-biter.

Now, The People in Charge have to rely on their default defensive position regarding Media and the People: Memory Atrophy for today’s instant Distraction Syndrome generation. While everybody gets their thumbs pressed into the latest Iphone, and their gaze is drawn, like the survivors of a zombie apocalypse, into the TV screens to watch Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed get married, Men in Suits, and their counterparts, Men in Field Vests and Levi’s, wait for you to forget what The Canadian Press and other news agencies have released today:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/libyan-intelligence-documents-show-ties-between-cia-gadhafi-164610538.html

Should be forgotten by lunch.

CopyrightBCLaybolt2011

 

(Addendum: Feb 1, 2016: Interestingly, the link is dead. Here are more that are intact:)

https://ca.search.yahoo.com/search?p=libyan+intelligence+documents+show+ties+between+cia+and+ghadafi&fr=yfp-t

 

 

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Revision Mortalis

Revisions on the death scene of a favourite character is like stapling through your fingernail. Again.

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