Monday, October 15, 2018

The Business Side of Writing

If you are contemplating publishing a work of great art, limpid prose and side-splittingly funny anecdotes, know the following.

In my case createspace.com does not publicize your book.  They apparently feel that printing the thing is as far as they care to go.  And for that they take a royalty every time one is ordered.  They use Print on Demand or POD.   They don't stock pile anything but the copy you sent them in a file.  They get an order, punch a couple of buttons on their computer and - viola your book (and all of amazon.com's, too) is in the mail.

Can you expect to quit your day job and live on royalties.  No.

Here is what I have found.

List on "And the Best Blog Is:  Word of Mouth" $12.  CreateSpace.com takes $8 of that and the humble author (me) gets $4!  For a work of breathtaking wit!

However:  I can buy my book from them for $3.20 per book.  I then hustle it and charge $12 and, deducting the $3.20 per copy make $8.80 per book.

So, I don't travel around with a copy or two in my purse.  Yesterday I sold one "off the back of the truck," so to speak, at the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club and as a club member, generously put the book price at $10.  He needed change for the $20 he was handing me so I gave him the $10 I had.  When he had walked away (eagerly scanning the pages) I waved the $20 in Richie's face, crowing, "Beer money!  Order a pitcher!"  And at that, I made more $$$ than CreateSpace was willing to give me.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Vignettes from Laughlin

While we waited for their flight to come, we followed their orders and got something to eat.  The choices at McCallen Int'l Airport, baggage area were Jack in the Box or Wendys, home of the square hamburgers.  While I sat on the smokers bench, puffing away, surrounded by our luggage - one roll-on (checked) and two carry ons, he went to Wendy's and foraged.  We haven't "had Wendy's" for ages and my first bite was something of a shock.  Pure salt.  However, by the last bite, I was thinking, "You know, Wendy's isn't all bad."  Since we still had an hour and a half wait for their flight, we repaired to a bar on the next flight up.  It was marked by a blue neon sign that read "Smoking" first time we've ever seen that!  And welcome it was, too.  A beer each, an interesting chat with Sean, former bartender heading home from a girls' weekend out.   Airport bars are expensive.  Her normal-sized bloody mary was $17.

Getting anywhere involving a plane is complicated - weather delays (theirs) getting the bus to the centralized rental car place.  Consolidating all of the rental firms in one building means that you stand in line and the line is long out in the shadeless  the sun.  The bus a/c would put paid to that.  With dispatch.

Got the car, piled our stuff in and off we went to Laughlin.  A two hour drive in black darkness down the twisty, turn-y desolate road.  Very few other cars, desert on both sides with no towns, gas stations - totally isolated.  I couldn't help wondering how the rescue helicopter would find us and how long it would take to get there if one of us had a heart attack or similar.  The return to MCarran was bright sunshine and a lot more traffic.   Reassuring.

At the hotel (Golden Nugget) we checked in, agree to cart our luggage up to our rooms and meet again in the lobby.  Red reported that they had two queen beds and not the king I had ordered.  I volunteered to get it changed, but Red said, "Nah, I'll find some nice looking couple in the casino and sell them the empty bed for $50/night."  It was 8 p.m.

Next morning, waiting for Himself to complete his toilette I sat and stared at the river - mesmerizing.

We breakfasted at Claim Jumpers and Barbara won $24 on her first Keno hand.  We agreed this was a good omen and indeed it proved to be - Richie and Red, team betting, won a grand total each of $1,100.

For lunch we walked along the river walkway next door to the Pioneer and their Bumbleberry Flats restaurant American Comfort Food" .  Never having heard of Fried Deviled Eggs, I ordered them.  The egg halves were battered and then fried.  Not a real good idea … Red said his was the best hamburger he'd ever had.

Something else I think they pioneered - four of the booths had beer taps set in the wall and you served yourself from them.  The beers are sold by the ounce.  I remember Budweiser was 28 cents an ounce.

We had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. which is so kitschy it is hard to take it all in.  Each table has a flip sign for service,  Red means "Stop! I want/need" whatever, but the blue side means, "We're fine."  (go away)   Our server was from South Africa and quite the card.  Leaving I asked him if he's considered stand-up comedian and he laughed and said, "By the time I got a career going I'd be in a wheelchair!"

We did the USS Riverside boat cruise up and down the river ($12 each for a 90 minute ride.) another afternoon, toured the Don Laughlin Car Museum ($2)and in addition to various cars, motorcycles and scooters. they have a black/white tow truck (1937) for the exclusive use of the Los Angeles Police Department.   Didja ever?  We have visited a number of car museums and that was definitely a first.

Friday morning we breakfasted again at Claim Jumper and Barbara pointed this out to me:  French Toast Carrot Cake:  Two carrot cake wedges, with mandarin oranges, toffee pecan and cream cheese frosting ($10.99 - you're on your own for the paramedics.

Photos to follow when I download the phone.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hello Laughlin!


We're here.  There was a Texas-sized rain storm with fog so all flights out of DFW were two hours late.  Dinner at 8 and it was in Laughlin not Mon Amie Gaby.


Monday, October 8, 2018

A Midweek Long Weekend

Tomorrow we fly to Las Vegas, meet dear friends (and fellow rowdies) Red and Barbara in Baggage Claim - they're coming in from DFW, pick up the rental car and drive over to Paris Casino for lunch out on the patio at Mon Amie Gaby, which is, I think Barbara's favorite restaurant in the world.

Lunch lolled over, back into the rental car and off the 90 miles to Laughlin.  Can't check in to the Golden Nugget (river view rooms $70/night) until 4 p.m. so this should all work out very well.

We all like Laughlin these days because Vegas has gone insane with fees, charges, costs and a great deal more.  Such as no free casino parking anymore???  What's up with that?

Laughlin, with it's pleasant stroll along the Colorado River, admiring the fish which crowd to the bank to get the fish food one buys at little wood vending machines to give them … so densely packed are these carp that I once saw a river rat run across their jammed-together backs to get at the food, too!

You do trade off in some areas - no Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay, and other hot names; instead you get such as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.   On the other hand, Willie Nelson comes in the day after we leave so it's not all Tribute bands and singers.

There are water taxis to get from Don Laughlin's Riverside to Aquarius at the other end of the modest Strip.  Boat tours up to Hoover Dam and down to the London Bridge.  There's stables for horseback rides, a miniature golf thing for laughs and insults, and of course, accusations of cheating, and more ... all suitable for the 50+ crowd.  And in our case, older.

The weather is projected to be mid-80s, so the outdoor pool will be usable.  The sun isn't strong enough to burn, but sunscreen anyhow.

YAY for midweek long weekends!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Henry David Thoreau

Apropos of not much at all other than a certain seasonal link, here is what the erstwhile poet, philosopher, tax resister, had to say - "I'd rather sit on a pumpkin and have it to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion."  Well, now's your chance Henry David!  Happy Halloween!

He spent two years+ in the woods near "Waldon Pond."  He wanted to live the true life, pumpkin-sitting aside.  Or perhaps the only seating readily available were pumpkins?

He was only 45 when he died.  When he counseled, "It's not what you look at, it's what you see," perhaps he had had a hint of his early demise?

It's worth a Google to pull up The Quotes of Henry David Thoreau.  He clearly had a great deal to say.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pierpont's, Union Station


The Cactus Bud soup - chopped cactus garnish and the bright color is due to the beets and pomegranates from which it is made.  

Dessert! below is Chocolate Mousse with cocoa nibs and coconut crisp cookies 







WW1 War Memorial, Kansas City, Mo