Tag Archives: novel

An Angry Rant from a (Very) Dissatisfied Customer

14 Jan

Hey Bell Media! And The Source! And Apple! Well actually, here’s a call out to Mr. George Cope , CEO of Bell Media Canada, and Mr. Tim Cook , present CEO of Apple. (You gentlemen DO have a Google alert set up on your names and companies, right?) You look like very nice men and obviously you are both very savvy computer/tech/ business guys to have gotten where you are, so I’m hoping you will see past my “mad” in this rant, and take notice of my complaint therein. This may be of some interest to you ….

Here’s the scoop: I am a confirmed PC user who over the past 2 years has been slowly converting to Apple, via my iphone (gift from the kids), and MacPro laptop (gift from Hot Stuff Hubby). All through this past Christmas, I was receiving emails from The Source (and I’m not gonna link that, ‘cause I’m mad at The Source, too, so won’t be sending any readers to that site via ‘the Source’s’ link!). Anyhoo, the emails were advertising the Apple 16 GB ipad mini 3 (in the new color of gold, no less) for $99! My books to this point had been available exclusively on Amazon, but I was toying with the idea of also putting them in Apple’s online store, intending to write my next book directly on my ipad mini.

I tried to order one online. Nope. Stores only.

I phoned my local ‘The Source’ store (2 of them, actually) only to be told that the special was only for a handful of select stores in all of Canada (and we’re a damn big country). However, I was told that I could have my local store order one in, as long as I agreed to sign a 2 year contract with Bell for the device. Hell, yessiree, I’ll do that!

Three weeks later, (yesterday actually) I got the call from a very nice employee at ‘The Source’ store, telling me my ipad mini 3 had arrived and that I should come on down to sign up for the Bell contract. Now, apart from my job as a writer, my day job is that of a self-employed sole charge physiotherapist in a busy clinic. This means that I had to clear my schedule of patients for a one and a half hour slot (mucho lost income) to go do this. No matter. I wanted the mini. No more lugging the comparatively HEAVY Macbook Pro around on holidays with me so I could continue to write whilst away.

Well, jumping to the conclusion of this sad story, after several attempts, the nice man at The Source was unable to get me signed up. He put in a call to some kind of Help line and was told that he would be unable to sign me up for a contract with Bell because I had not had a cellular contract with Bell within the last 90 days.

HUH???

Well, says I, I have NEVER had a cellular contract with Bell, let alone within the last 90 days, but hey, that’s why I’m here – I WANT to become a Bell customer and I’m fricking frothing at the mouth to sign a 2 year contract with them so I can have my wonderful, light-as-a-feather, portable-as-hell ipad mini 3.

C’mon, C’MON, GIVE ME THE CONTRACT – WHERE DO I SIGN??

Help line guy says, yeah you can sign her up but only for the full purchase price of the mini 3 – an outrageous sum of just pennies under $600 CAD). Not available no way, no how, for the advertised price of $99. And apparently ‘The Source’ is only allowed to sell Apple products in conjunction with Bell contracts.

Besides seeming to me, to be just short of a fraudulent marketing ploy (as there was no disclaimer or restrictions policy outlined anywhere other than to say “see local store for details”), this is an EPIC MARKETING FAILURE. Not only did Apple and The Source and Bell fail to make a sale (albeit a small one, but still…) but they now have an unhappy customer who writes. And blogs. And who has followers who will share. (You will, right?)

Now I want to compare this to Apple’s biggest competitor, AMAZON and the amazing marketing move of Jeff Bezos . Amazon has sold its tablets AT COST to customers, who then become Amazon converts and buy a bazillion dollars worth of stuff from Amazon, more than making up for the mark-up loss incurred with the sale of the tablet.

PURE. MARKETING. GENIUS.

(Hey Jeff, if you’re reading this, feel free to leave a comment!)

Just thought I’d share this tip with you Bell Media, The Source, and Apple. Give it some thought.

Oh, and if any of you afore-mentioned three want to make amends and make the $99 purchase with 2 year contract happen for me, well, I’m willing to bury the hatchet. And I’d blog about that, too.

In the meantime, I’m feeling as snarly and revengeful about this whole thing as Mrs. Hanley was when she made her infamous stew, which revolted some readers (“Eeww! I can’t believe she did that!”), and enthralled others (“OMG! I just LOVE Mrs. Hanley and this story! I can’t believe she did that!”).

The stew scene is in Chapter 73 in QUINTSPINNER – A PIRATE’S QUEST.

Quintspinner - A Pirate's Quest

Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest

 

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, why not buy the book? (C’mon, you KNOW the suspense and the curiosity is now gonna drive you crazy, don’cha?)

It’s $.99. On Amazon everywhere.

That’s 99 cents, not even $99 (dollars) like the mystical, non-accessable-to-me-ipad mini 3 offer. And I bet you’re gonna LOVE Mrs. Hanley’s stew scene!

There. I feel (slightly) better now. I’m going to charge up my little ASUS PC netbook (which is pretty portable and which has a wonderfully responsive keyboard) and then I’m off to compare Amazon tablets because I have a reading/writing holiday coming up …. Thanks for listening.

 

The 12 Blogs of Christmas – Our Finale! Guest Post by Martin Crosbie

25 Dec
The 12 Blogs of Christmas

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Hello and Merry Christmas to all of you and best wishes for this day, in what ever form you like to see it as. I have been privileged to be part of a two week Christmas Blog tour with the following authors: Sarah Lane, Laurie Boris, Heather Haley, Helga Zeiner, M.L. Gardner, Roberta Kagan, Wendy McClelland, Jamie Lee ScottJennifer Ellis, and RJ Crayton. Each of us has provided an article with a Christmas theme and I hope that you have enjoyed the variety so far. Today I’m posting the last one in a fine line up of topics and I could hardly wait to share it with you!

Well, here it is! The day we’ve all been waiting for. My guest blog by the amazing , best-selling Canadian author, Martin Crosbie!

web pic with christmas tree 2

(We’ve saved the best for last, haven’t we?) Here, on Christmas Day itself, Martin brings us the intriguing background information for Charles Dickens’  much-beloved “A Christmas Carol”. I KNOW you’re going to love this! And I’d love to hear from you on what what thoughts that Christmas brings to you.

 

The 12th Blog of Christmas is written by bestselling author, Martin Crosbie.

Martin lives on the west coast of Canada and has written five books including Amazon bestseller My Temporary Life. His popular Christmas novel Believing Again: A Tale Of Two Christmases is available in e-book format in the US and UK as a Kindle Countdown Deal from Dec. 24-27 for only 99 cents.

 

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Those delicious words open the Dickens classic. Previous to the publication of A Christmas Carol, Christmas was barely recognized. Although it was a holiday it didn’t have the romantic vibe that it has today. Mr. Dickens and his novel changed all that. And, if he’d waited for his publisher to release the book it may never have happened.

Charles Dickens wrote his masterpiece in six weeks. Somehow he was able to channel the story and get the words on paper (or parchment probably) in less than two months. At that time he was suffering financially. His wife was pregnant with their fifth child and the wolves were closing in on their door. His previous novel had not sold well and when he submitted his new manuscript (after having it beta-read surely), to his publishers they were slow to warm to it. I’m not sure how rejection letters were sent out in 1853 but his publishers indicated that they were not interested in publishing the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s epiphany. Anxious to have the book released by Christmas Dickens went the print-on-demand route and self-published. He hired his own illustrator and contracted his publisher to print the books. And, he did the legwork himself. Then, in those very, pre-Konrath days he decided to lower the price to five shillings – a price that most folks would be able to afford. He wanted his book to be read and perhaps he even thought that readers might enjoy his other works if they liked his Christmas tale.

 

Read more …

How to Meet Deadlines and Remain Sane

4 Apr

I meant to post these thoughts some time ago, but am only now getting around to it. Oh and by the way, this post was also posted over on http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.ca/2014/03/how-to-meet-deadlines-remain-sane-by_11.html#.Uz8L1VdnA2s. (A fabulous blog, true to its name!) Somehow I met the deadline for that… 😀

My name is Dianne and I am a procrastinator – a busy one, but nevertheless I am an authentic procrastinator. Image
Yet somehow I manage to work at a fulltime day job, assist Hot Stuff Hubby with a part-time endeavor, direct an annual 2 week stint of dinner theatre, take care of two very large yards year round, sit on three community boards, keep in touch with 6 grown children and dispense motherly wisdom on a daily, sometimes hourly basis (yes, I am, as well, a hovering helicopter parent with 30 plus years of experience), and I write novels. Sandwiched in between all of this big stuff is the little stuff – the “crack filler stuff” that holds my life together. (More on this later.)

 

Know this truism and Rule of The Universe: WORK EXPANDS TO FILL THE AMOUNT OF TIME ALLOTTED TO IT.

It always has and always will.

This is actually an unwritten law from the higher realms of Quantum physics. (C’mon, stick with me as I ramble on here – it will soon make sense, and you will be able to brag to your friends about your literary choices by casually saying something to the effect of, “Yeah, so I was reading this blog post on Quantum physics the other day ….” Now how impressive would THAT be?)

Model, Science, Mike, Symbol, AndrewBut I digress. It’s all about the energy not being able to be created or destroyed. Which means there will always be stuff to get done. Always. You will never get caught up. All the great minds in physics realize this. Just ask them – physicists like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Ok, well maybe it’s too late to chat up ol’ Albert but Steve, if you’re reading this post, feel free to leave a comment at the end.    Science, People, Einstein, Cartoon The point of the Rule of The Universe is that in order to meet deadlines, you must put your tasks on The List (see point #1 below), and assign a start and stop time to each one. Do this and It. Will. Get. Done. The trick is to get through The List without bleeding every last drop of energy out of you.

Here’s how I manage to meet deadlines in view of the aforementioned rule, while remaining calm and a little bit shy of crazy:

1.Make THE LIST. Here’s how. Get a calendar. No, not just the one in your phone, although that’s a dandy way to get audible reminders of how much time you’ve got left. Get a paper one as well, or at least a piece of paper and write down the deadlines in the spaces of the appropriate days. Estimate, realistically, how many minutes/hours/days it will take you to do the task and, working backwards from the deadline date, write the start time down.

Oh, and seriously? Capturing all of the things/events/issues/meetings/promised outcomes on paper makes them much easier to keep track of. This in itself relieves an unbelievable amount of mental stress. You no longer have to attempt to lasso all of those thoughts and mental memos racing and banging around inside the old noggin, which is kind of like trying to herd an armload of cats into your car for a trip to the vet for yearly vaccinations. (Cats instinctively know what you’re planning. Think only kind thoughts towards them.)

Brown, Cat, Kitten, Kitty, Illustration

2.Stay focused and devote the time solely to the task at hand. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you finish something if you have only a set amount of time in which to do it, and you’ll be surprised at how good the wash of relief feels when you can tick a task off your list of things-to-be-done.

Ever get a phone call from friends who want to drop by in 15 minutes? Suddenly you can do the sink full of dishes, or at least hide them in the dishwasher, vacuum the cat hair off the couches, wipe the last meal’s crumbs from your kitchen counters, sweep the floors, toss the smelly bag of garbage into the outside can, and put your feet up, looking like you have nothing else to do for the evening, before the doorbell even rings. Under normal circumstances, those household tasks could have eaten up an entire afternoon.

Home, Education, People, Lady, Woman3.Break up overwhelming tasks into manageable bits and set a goal for yourself with a time limit. One hour. One day. Maybe one week, although that’s almost too big – it leaves lots of squirming room for those of us who have an issue with staying on task. Hoping to write your next novel and get it finished in this decade? (I speak from personal experience in trying to get Book Three in my Quintspinner Series done.) How about writing 100 words at every meal? That’s not asking a lot. How many times have you been asked to fill in an online form for your book and in doing so, must leave a 100 word description? All of a sudden 100 words fly onto the page in a matter of a few sentences, and before you know it, you’re OVER your allotted limit. (Take this #3 point for example. It’s 143 words up to this point, not counting this sentence. How easy was that?)

Pencil, Happy, Jumping, School, Writing4.Learn to say “No.” And practice saying it out loud. There IS a practical limit to how many tasks a non-super-human being can take on and still retain some semblance of sanity. Pass that limit, and unmet deadlines will fall by the wayside like heat-struck guards at the palace gates. 

Old, Sign, Stop, Office, People, Man

5.Set rewards for yourself, to be enjoyed at the end of tasks. Rewards are the crack-filler stuff that stops me from fragmenting. (See? I promised that I would get to this part.) Rewards can be as decadent as a glass of wine, some white chocolate, and a soak in the hot tub, or as practical as watching a favorite TV show, reading for pleasure, or indulging in a hobby.

Woman, Tan, Watering, Garden, Spring

However you choose to time-manage your commitments, make sure that they leave you with a feeling of enjoyment, or at least some level of satisfaction upon completion.  Otherwise it’s just an expenditure of energy on matter that doesn’t matter. But that’s another lecture on a subset of Quantum physics, best saved for another time. I’d love to hear from you on how you effectively meet YOUR deadlines.  Now go get that calendar.

School, Black, Notebook, Icon, Note

Deadly Misfortune – Chapter 3 preview

4 Sep

Chapter Three

William let out a slow aggravated breath. Trapped, with no plan in place for change, he felt a dangerous level of tension building up inside of him. He looked around the Maroon camp, its semi-circle of huts made nearly invisible by the camouflage of the surrounding tropical vegetation.

How long have we been here anyway? It was hurricane season when we were shipwrecked in the first place, but since then? Tess would know. She kept rough track of time with her woman’s cycling. Not that it mattered. Time seemed to stand still here. Every day was the same as the one before it. Except for the day they had gone to collect the croc teeth. Now that had been a break in the monotony. William sighed again.

So often, like now, he missed his family back in England so badly that he couldn’t ignore the burning in the pit of his stomach. And then the horrible weight of reality would come crashing down as it always did–his mother and little sister had been abandoned, forced to fend for themselves after both he and his father had been abducted by the British Navy’s press gang. A fresh bolt of pain seared through him–his older brother had not survived the gang’s attack.

William clenched his eyes shut in a useless attempt to stop the next memory from forcing its way to the forefront–that of the bloody escape from that captive pirate ship, the Mary Jane, and the ensuing fight in which William’s father had given up his own life to save William’s. Another one lost. The only person that he had left now was Tess.

Tess.

He fumed. She was the only good thing to have come out of the damned sea voyage from England to these islands of the West Indies. And, William had to admit to himself, that violent journey stripped her of her family as well. Tess all alone now except for her grandmother, known to most as Emma, and Cassie. Sometimes, however, it was hard for him to share Tess’s attention with the others.

Tess was already a survivor. Courageous. Strong for a woman, William thought, and beautiful. He’d been attracted to her as soon as he’d first laid eyes on her–her copper ringlets curling deliciously over her shoulders, and her eyes as green as the emeralds in the peculiar ring that she wore–life in this wild place was so uncertain that it seemed to magnify every feeling that he had. Was it possible to care too much?

It was time to begin planning. Time to leave. Time to escape this island and make our way back home to England.

“Well begun is half done.” Emma’s words danced in his head. The older woman seemed to have an endless supply of folksy advice, but she was right–William knew that a change in events in his favor wasn’t going to happen unless he made it happen. Made a start.

So what the hell am I gonna do? He’d have to give it some serious thought. And Lord knows, there’s nothing much else to do here other than think.

His thoughts were interrupted by a piercing shriek that shattered the air.

***

Tess scrambled out of the hut’s open doorway and tried to place from where the outcry had come. Her heart thudded in her chest as her eyes came to rest on the scene at the foot of the path that led into the camp.

There, Mambo lay collapsed in a heap on top of something, and a strange keening wail throbbed through the air. Whether it came from her or from Jacko, who was kneeling beside Mambo, Tess couldn’t tell. The sound was raw, primal, and every nerve ending in Tess’s body fired in alarm. Even worse, as though the sound had awakened an omen of impending peril, the itch under her blue tourmaline ring, flared.

With no memory of having broken into a run, Tess stumbled to a halt only a few steps away from Mambo. Tess dropped to her knees, her eyes widening,

The heap that Mambo had gathered in her arms was the bloodied corpse of a young woman.

Turning his grief-stricken face towards Tess, Jacko held the squirming sling out and ordered, “Take to dat young one. To save.” At that moment, a strident squeal erupted from within the sack, and Jacko roared, “Take baby now!”

Cradling the squalling infant, Tess remained rooted to the spot, immobilized by her confusion. Take this one to Cassie? What is happening?

The sweat on her neck turned to ice as the band of blue stones burned on her finger, demanding her attention.

Not a good sign.

There would be a terrible vision soon.

***

The silver moon hung just above the horizon, draping her milky-white light over the small group that gathered in the small clearing further up the mountain. The rhythm of the wailing, a low moaning that alternated with bursts of high pitched trills, raised the hair on Tess’s arms. The woman’s corpse, lowered into the grave, settled on the bottom with a soft whumph.

The sigh of the dead, Tess thought as she watched the others gently toss in a selection of fruit, a roughly hewn spear, and finally the leafy amulet bag into which Mambo had put a short curly clipping of the baby’s hair.

This is how they bury their daughter. Not so different from us. The baby will be raised by Mambo now. His grandmother. Like I was … Tess watched as Jacko stepped forward once more and knelt by the pit’s edge. He reached up to accept the bundle offered to him by Mambo and held a dagger high above his head, its blade reflecting the moon’s silver sheen. A frightful noise escaped his lips, escaping in one strangled swoosh of air.

Raw grief. Tess recognized the sound. The intensity of his pain tore at her, but the sight of the knife blade hovering above the bundle gripped her with fear. The baby! Before Tess could move, or even call out, Jacko’s hand fell and the baby screamed.

Oh my Christ! Tess’s breath stopped, her own scream strangled in her throat. She stared, helpless. Reaching out, Mambo collected the crying infant and, bending forward into the pit, she held his tiny hand close to his mother’s face.

Crying! The baby’s alive? And then, clearly illuminated by the plentiful moonlight, Tess watched as the child’s hand bled from a tiny knife nick, dripping onto the small indent at the base of his mother’s throat. The drops made a small, dark circle, and although the actual intent was lost on her, Tess suspected that the circle represented a completion of sorts. She reached out and grasped William’s hand. He nodded ever so slightly as though agreeing with her thoughts.

It’s done. At that moment, the sky darkened as the silvery orb slid behind a layer of clouds. Jacko spun on his heels and slipped away from the gathered people. His torment was palpable, even in the dark and Tess shivered in spite of the evening’s warmth.

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