Browsing Tag

things that suck


Meanwhile, in Category Worst Idea Ever

This afternoon I got the most bogglesome piece of spam I’ve ever received in my life–and the first attempt I’ve ever had flung at me to take advantage of my being an indie author.

The service pitched to me was based around the entire idea of posting your work to their cloud system, that your book would be stored as encrypted data in their proprietary system, and that readers would only be able to get at it via a web browser or via their apps. They would be able to sync content down to be read offline, and the system would be able to keep track of what chapters in the book had been read. All of which sounds like tech that’s already in play for the major ebook vendors.

But the first yellow alert went off when I saw that their first big pitch in the mail was all about putting ads in your ebook, in front of every chapter. That they could be static ads, or even videos!

And yellow alert went straight up to RED ALERT ACTION STATIONS SET CONDITION ONE THROUGHOUT THE SHIP when, upon closer inspection of their email, I saw that they were also trying to pitch the idea of how you could channel your earnings into putting ads about your book in other authors’ books on the system.

I am whomperjawed by this. Because 1) let me assure you, people, My Very First Writing Scam Email is NOT a Writing Milestone I particularly wanted to reach, and 2) the really sad thing here is that I can in fact see that there are people who might try to buy into this service. I can absolutely see the train of thought that might lead an ill-informed writer to making that decision.

But I’m here to tell you, fellow writers, if you ever get flung an email like this, run away. Because you know what I didn’t see in that email pitch? Anything about actually selling your book to readers, or what the royalties earned on those sales would be, or anything of the sort. The emphasis is all on what you would in theory make off the viewing of ads–and on encouraging you to channel earnings into buying ads in other people’s books.

And now, I think I’ll fire off some tweets at Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware and see if she knows about this. ‘Cause I mean, damn.

About Me, Quebecois Music

Day of unmitigated disaster

Well, this was SUPPOSED to be the day I went with userinfosolarbird and userinfojennygriffee down to Oregon to see Le Vent du Nord perform, and then to meet up with userinfofredpdx tomorrow afternoon for lunch and then an excursion to Powell’s.

But the travel gods had other plans. We made it safely down to Olympia–where we stopped for lunch and then found a little shop called Bonjour Cupcakes, which seemed like a fortuitous sign, because what BETTER place could there be to visit on the way to see a Francophone band? Plus, the cupcakes were super-tasty.

After we got out of Olympia, though, we ran face-first into a massive wall of Suck. 🙁

The car started making scary rattling noises and vibrations right around exit 39 on I-5, so we had to pull off, slowing down hard to try to get down to a safer speed in case we were suddenly unable to get anywhere. Dara turned on the emergency blinkers, and we limped into a Shell station to seek emergency help. The Shell station directed us to a nearby mall with a Sears with an auto service station in it, and once we got over there and let one of their guys test-drive the car, he was all “well, your front axles are screwed. They shouldn’t be this loose.”

The REALLY vexing part of this is that Dara just had the damn car looked at, and those axles had just been replaced. So either our usual mechanic chose extremely poorly with the new axles, or else our car is old enough at this point that it’s just fucked and we’re going to have to see about getting a new one.

And it was glaringly apparent that we weren’t going to make it to Forest Grove in time for the show. Moreover, there was no way we could get the car fixed before Monday. So while Dara and Jenny tried to tag team on getting the car towed to the nearest shop, I cancelled our reservation at the hotel near where Le Vent was playing tonight. I admit freely that I spent some time crying inside the mall, ’cause yeah, looking forward to this show for MONTHS. Missing this was a kick right in the heart, every bit as bad as missing a Great Big Sea show would have been. But I’ve suffered worse, and when the tow truck showed up to pick up the car, things seemed like they were looking up a bit. The driver got us to the nearby train station in plenty of time to get tickets for the next train back to Seattle. So at least, if nothing else, we’d be able to get home and spend the night in our own beds and let Jenny crash at our place before we got her home.

At the train station, though, was when Dara realized her backpack was gone.

We think she had it when we got into the cab of the tow truck. I’m pretty sure I remember asking her if she wanted to put it into the actual car, since we had to stick our suitcase in there anyway, given that there wasn’t room for that in the cab of the truck. I remember her saying no. And she remembers having the weight of the backpack on her shoulder when we got in.

What we don’t know is whether she left it behind the driver’s seat of the truck, or whether she might have left it on the bed of the truck when we got out at the train station. The driver says he couldn’t find it in the truck. So at this point we have no real idea what the hell happened to it.

Dara’s iPad and Nook were in that backpack, which sucks massively, given, y’know, expensive electronics and all. But what really hurts is that her very first bamboo piccolo was in that bag too. Popcorn, the first bamboo piccolo she made with her very own hands. On which she’s written a LOT of music. We’re talking huge sentimental value here, people, and an instrument that’s irreplaceable despite its comparatively small monetary value.

So yeah, I’m pretty upset about not getting to see Olivier Demers be awesome on the fiddle tonight–and particularly pissed off that axle trouble on a car that just had its axles replaced kept me from that. But Dara is shattered by the loss of Popcorn.

I suspect we’re going to have to spend some time just curled up together tomorrow and taking comfort in each other and possibly also snuggling the cats. Please keep your fingers crossed that we’ll get that backpack back, people. And if ANY of you know anybody in Longview or Kelso, please, please, PLEASE spread the word that we will pay a reward for its return, with its contents, no questions asked.

We take a small modicum of comfort in the knowledge that we were able to make it safely home again, and that if the car had to fail so spectacularly, at least it did it in a way that didn’t result in any of us being hurt. We’re also grateful that it broke down right at a freeway exit right in the middle of a town, where we had easily accessible people to get some level of assistance, and an easily accessible train station.

But we’re still pretty goddamn unhappy about the way today turned out. So again–please boost that signal, people. Dara has a post about it here. And now would also be a good time to share good news, or pics of cute puppies or kittens, or something. Thanks all.