Happy Cyborg Monday!

Robot Editor
This is not a Cyborg

Hey, wow! To celebrate Cyborg Monday*, you can download all my ebooks from Amazon for free for the day!

If interested, you can read a sample and download them from here.

And as always, thank you for shopping at Amazon where your feedback in the form of reviews are always welcomed (and desired).

#prayforthesingularity

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*It’s obvious to me, seeing how Jeff Bezos is embracing Cyborgs and dedicating an entire day of discounts and savings in their honor, that he doesn’t fear the AI Apocalypse quite as much as his billionaire bud Elon Musk does.

 

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Journey Delayed Due to an Inclement Life

If you live long enough, the chances are pretty good you – your faith; your hopes; your dreams – will be tested. There is no way to predict what your test may be – the possibilities are infinite – but the results are always the same: life changing.

Mine came in the form of life-threatening illnesses.

Author Lucille Anderson’s came with the washing away of a life of love and comfort when she lost her business, her father, and her marriage. I strongly encourage you to visit with Lucille to learn more about her test, her testimony, and the lessons she has to share at her website and in her newly released book Habakkuk: The Cry of Crisis the Song of Victory

Life in 3-D Coaching

My definition of being lost is not knowing how you got  where you are, and how to get to where you want to be. That is where I found myself over ten years ago –lost. Oh, I knew that I was making some wrong and some bad turns, so, I can’t completely say that I didn’t know how I got  where I was. But, I’m the victim here, so I don’t have to take responsibility for my part in this, yet.

Just to remind you, or if you are just catching up, these are the circumstances that I am speaking of. In August, 2004, I gave up on trying to keep my business open any longer after a 14 year -successful run. The man whom I was married to walked out two months later (mmm, I wonder if there was a connection). Oh, yes, and I lost my dad in…

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Celebrating the Success Worldwide

I don’t normally do this kind of thing but, because this is a day to celebrate the grand achievements women all around the world are making, and because this is such phenomenal information (albeit excessively long and highly wonky), I am sharing this cut and paste from the National Business Women’s Council, a US Government organization*.

My summary of this Executive Summary of a US Census Survey regarding US Business is that basically what follows is the empirical data/evidence of what I see happening in all sectors of US society… especially that of the Publishing Industry.

And that is…

WOMEN. ARE. CRUSHING. IT!

Yeah…

The King is dead…

Long live the Queen!
 
*As I understand it, unless specifically marked, anything produced by the US Government is in the Public Domain and free to use. Howeever, if you are planning on doing any copy and pastes of anything you do not own the copyright to, learn the rules first for yourself before you do. I am not a copyright lawyer so do not take my word for it. See my Terms of Use page for more on this.



The Growth and Development of Women-Owned Enterprises in the United States, 2002 – 2012: An Analysis of Trends from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners

Women continue to enter into the ranks of business ownership at rates exceeding the national average. Indeed, the rate at which women are launching businesses is on the rise.

  • As of 2012, there are nearly 10 million women-owned businesses[1} in the United States. These enterprises employ over eight million workers and generate over $1.4 trillion in revenues.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned firms increased at a rate 2-1/2 times the national average (52% vs. 20%), employment in women-owned firms grew at a rate 4-1/2 times that of all firms (18% vs. just 4%), and the growth in revenues generated by women-owned firms paralleled that of all firms (up 51% compared to 48%).
  • The pace of business formation among women is on the rise. Between 1997 and 2002, the number of women-owned firms grew by 20%, as it did between 2002 and 2007. Then, between 2007 and 2012, the number of women-owned firms increased by 27% – a significant uptick in business start-ups.
  • On average, between 2002 and 2012, women launched an average of 928 net new firms each and every day. Within that ten-year period, there were an average of 714 net new women-owned firms per day between 2002 and 2007, and 1,143 per day between 2007 and 2012.

While more and more women are starting businesses, those businesses remain significantly smaller than average.

  • Women-owned businesses comprise 36% of the country’s businesses, employ 7% of the private-sector workforce, and contribute 4% of business revenues. Ten years prior, women-owned firms represented a smaller 28% of the country’s businesses, but contributed a similar share of employment (7%) and revenues (4%).
  • In terms of employment, fully 91% of women-owned firms have no employees other than the owner, and just 2% have 10 or more employees. Women-owned firms with 10 or more employees provide three-quarters of the jobs provided by women-owned firms. While most women-owned firms remain small in terms of employment, it should be pointed out that the number of women-owned employer firms (which now numbers over one million) has increased by 13% between 2002 and 2012, while overall the number of U.S. employer firms has declined by 1.8% over the same period.
  • With respect to revenue size, 82% of women-owned firms generate less than $100,000 in annual revenues, and just 3% generate $500,000 or more in revenues. This top 3% of women-owned firms accounts for three-quarters of the revenues generated by women-owned businesses. Further, it should be noted that – while less than 2% of women-owned firms generate $1 million or more in revenues – the number of those firms increased by 47% between 2002 and 2012, compared to an 18% increase among all million-dollar enterprises.
  • The average revenue per woman-owned firm is $143,731. This compares to average revenues of $440,190 among all privately-held firms and $1,213,944 among all firms – which includes large, publicly-traded firms (which average $48.2 million in per-firm revenues).

Perhaps the most remarkable trend in women’s entrepreneurship seen over the past decade is the phenomenal growth in business ownership among women of color.

  • In 2002, there were fewer than one million (909,321) minority women-owned firms in the U.S., representing 14% of women-owned firms. As of 2012, there are nearly 3.8 million firms owned by women of color, comprising 38% of women-owned businesses.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, when the number of women-owned firms overall increased by 52%, the number of non-minority women-owned firms grew by just 9%, while the number of minority women-owned firms overall grew by 315% – a quadrupling in numbers. Specifically, the number of Native American/Alaska Native women-owned businesses increased by 67%, the number of Asian American women-owned businesses more than doubled (up 121%), the number of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women-owned businesses increased by 136%, and the number of Latina-owned businesses nearly tripled (up 172%) – as did the number of African American women-owned businesses (up 178%).
  • As of 2012, there are 1,521,494 African American women-owned firms in the U.S., 1,469,991 Latina-owned firms, 749,197 Asian American women-owned firms, 131,064 Native American/Alaska Native women-owned firms, and 24,982 Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women-owned firms in the U.S.

As the number of women serving in the military has grown, so has the number of female veteran-owned enterprises – at a rate exceeding even that of minority women-owned businesses.

  • In 2007, there were 97,114 veteran women-owned firms in the U.S., representing 4% of all veteran-owned firms. As of 2012, there are 383,302 veteran women-owned firms, comprising 15% of all veteran-owned firms.
  • Between 2007 and 2012, when the number of all veteran-owned businesses increased by 3% – from 2.4 to 2.5 million – the number of female veteran-owned businesses increased by a phenomenal 295%, a near quadrupling in numbers in just five years.

Regionally, the sharpest rise in the number of women-owned firms has been seen in the southern region of the U.S., where overall population growth has been the strongest. However, women-owned firms in the central part of the country have bounced back most strongly from the 2007-2009 recession.

  • Between 2002 and 2012, the greatest growth in the number of women-owned firms has been seen in Georgia (+92%), Mississippi (+89%), Texas (+85%), Florida (+85%), and Louisiana (+74%) – all Southern states. Indeed, all of the states where women-owned firm growth exceeds the national average by more than 10 points are in the South, except for Arizona and Nevada.
  • Four out of the five fastest-growing metropolitan areas for women-owned firms are also in the South: Memphis (+160%), Charlotte (+138%), Orlando (+127%), Las Vegas (+101%), and San Antonio (+101%).
  • While states in the South lead the way in business growth over the entire ten-year period, Central states are home to the most positive trends when comparing growth during the 2007-2012 post-recession period to the 2002-2007 pre-recession period. There are 19 states in which post-recession growth in the number of women-owned firms is at least 10 points higher than pre-recession growth; most are in the North Central or Midwest regions of the U.S. The leading “bounce back” states are Louisiana, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, Indiana, and Mississippi. At the other end of the spectrum, ten states currently lag pre-recession growth rates – including Maine, Georgia, Hawaii, and New Hampshire, where post-recession growth is more than 5% lower than pre-recession growth.

As women business owners themselves are growing more diverse, so are the businesses that they are starting. Despite growing industry diversification, however, the largest concentration of women-owned firms is still seen in the most traditional areas of business ownership for women – sectors that have lower than average revenues per firm.

  • Women-owned firms are found in every industry. In fact, 2% or more of the nearly 10 million women-owned firms are found in 13 of the 19 major industries – including over 260,000 women-owned construction firms, over 200,000 women-owned finance and insurance firms, and nearly 160,000 women-owned transportation and warehousing enterprises.
  • Despite the growing diversity in the types of businesses that women own, nearly half (49%) of women-owned firms are found in three sectors: other services (1.9 million firms, within which there are nearly 1 million beauty and nail salons), health care and social assistance (1.6 million firms, within which there are over 600,000 child day care service businesses), and professional/scientific/technical services (1.3 million firms, within which there are a cornucopia of such firms as management and human resources consultancies, translation services, and veterinarians).
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the greatest growth in the number of women-owned firms has been in educational services (+91%), administrative services (+90%) and other services (+86%) – growth rates nearly double the overall 52% increase during the period. However, even within slower-growing industries, the rate of growth in the number of women-owned firms outpaces overall growth in every single industry sector.
  • Women-owned businesses are more likely than average to have achieved revenues of $500,000 or more in five industries: wholesale trade, manufacturing, accommodation and food services, construction, and transportation and warehousing. However, women-owned firms in these industries comprise only 11% of all women-owned firms.
  • Conversely, among some of the most populous sectors for women-owned businesses – most especially other services, administrative, support and waste management services and health care and social assistance, average revenues are well under $100,000 per firm. Raising the overall economic clout of women-owned businesses would then require a two-pronged approach:
  •         1. Assist women in the more populous, lower per-firm revenue sectors in scaling-up their enterprises, and
            2. Encourage more women to start businesses in the less populous but more likely to scale sectors.



     

    [1] Throughout this report, the term “women-owned” refers to enterprises that are at least 51% owned and operated by a woman or group of women. Businesses equally-owned by a man and a woman (or equal numbers of men and women) are not included – primarily because the way that equally-owned firms have been identified has differed in each of the past four business census years, thus precluding accurate trend analysis.

     
     

So, about this Snapchat #socialmedia thing…

I wonder…

Are any Indie Authors using it to promote their work?

And if they are, are they finding it worthy of the time and brain cells it took them to learn yet another social media thing for which to suck them away from their writing (not that I need it for an excuse to do that… I have many, many others from which to draw from)?

I am filled with such wonderment for this Snapchat thing from seeing more and more written about its value in marketing to the social media-consumed Millennials.

 
 

3 THINGS ISIS CAN TEACH US ABOUT BUSINESS

So, I was just strolling around LinkedIn and I happened upon this clickbait of a headline:

3 Things Saturday Night Live Can Teach Us About Business

And my first thought was:

How absurd…

And my second thought was:

People will say or do just about anything to be noticed…

And my third thought was:

I bet I can do better than that…

And my fourth thought was:

The headline for this post…

 
 

I sure hope you don’t mind, but…

I’ve just been accepted into WordPress’s WordAds program.

I know, I know…

But, hey, I am an American of the US and you know how we like to market and consume and to consume and market.

Besides, you’re talking to (well, not really but you know what I mean) a guy on disability who needs the extra coin.

And oh yes I did just play the disability card.

Snap!

The way I see it, playing the disability card is kind of like cigarettes — smoke ’em if you got ’em!

Anyway, to better accommodate things, I’m going to be changing up to a new theme.

Which stinks because I really love this theme.

But it’s probably gonna be a bit messy for a bit until I get things laid out all proper like.

I’m pretty sure some of you are gonna bail on me over this and I am very sorry for that.

You will be missed.

Sincerely.

But you know what they say…

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…

English is for Everyone

or

In Defense of Hoarders

The past week or so, I have been pretending to be a computer repairman (I guess in this gender-sensitive age it’s okay for me to say repairman instead of something vanilla (is it okay for me to say vanilla? does it matter that I’m white?) like repair person or repair representative, since I am, in fact, despite all the chemo’s and other drugs’s long-lasting emasculating attempts, a man). It’s funny how, no matter how useless they become, old computers, along with old video games, and old phones, and old power packs, and old chargers, and don’t even get me started on unidentifiable old CDs, kind of just hang around in a corner of the basement as if it were a technological sarcophagus — lifeless computers stacked forlornly, purposeless cables and chords twisted madly into an untwistable balled bunch… Yeah.

Anyway, the past week or so I have been Dr. Frankengeek: attempting to restore ancient operating systems, rooting around in old files, deleting an old this, saving an old that.

So, so much stuff tucked away within those old computers. Who really knows how much stuff is really on them? Of course we never should throw them away until the day a gadget is made that possesses unlimited memory and a magical ability to instantaneously copy old files onto it without any user prompting, whatsoever. And not just any old file, no, certainly not those intransigent .dll files or any other annoying and undeletable ones like them, only important old files. And not to worry, this gadget will know what’s what, believe me. Oh, and of course the gadget will be cordless and will have an infinite battery life.

Coming soon to an Amazon store near you…

Until I can get my hands one of those suckers, I promise all my old computers will stay unneatly stacked in my basement and conveniently out of your landfill.

Most of the past week or so has certainly been less than fun. It’s a good thing I’m jobless and have a lot of time on my hands because most of the past week or so has been nothing more than an intimate study of the Ctrl, Alt, Del keys.

If this is what the world is coming to, then I say, go ahead and let the geeks inherit it.

Geek salvation…boring.

However, every once in a while I did dig my way into a stash of old photos, or old school papers, or some other ancient gem that reminded me of how cool it has been to live with my wife and kids these past twenty-five years or so.

Take, for instance, the picture found at the beginning of this rambling post. I found it in a folder of old English lessons.

Back in the last century, I used to live in Japan, and for a time when I lived in Japan, I used to teach English on the side to some very wonderful Japanese folks. To find and attract those wonderful Japanese folks, I used to advertise my lessons as “English is for Everyone.” Quaint, ain’t it?

Those of you who know my family, know how talented my children are. My daughter is an especially talented artist. She always has been, as is evident by the drawing she made when she was, oh, I don’t know…ten? twelve?…and which is found at the top of this rambling post, and which became the logo for those old lessons. I believe we even made iron-ons out of that logo and pressed them on to tee-shirts. At any rate, we truly made a good time out of it, that’s for sure.

Within that old stash, I also found many of my old English lessons, and old worksheets, and old handouts. They all bring back fond and funny and fortunate memories. I miss all my — I hesitate to call them students because it seemed as if I ended up learning more from them than they did from me, so I’ll simply say, I miss all my friends from that period of my life.

What follows is a copy of one of the old handouts I put together to, well, handout to my friends during those old English lessons. It is a list of heteronyms (thank god for google (is that redundant?)) that exemplifies just how crazy and fun the English language is.

Come to think of it, this might be a stretch, but, English is kind of like my old computers… It’s a communication system and storage system and retrieval system, all coded and operated by a language that rarely deletes anything but continually accumulates and assumes bits and bytes of other languages into its own as it constantly and forever evolves and adapts its system to the demands of the times.

Yeah, I said it was a bit of a stretch, but still…

No wonder the English language is so difficult to learn

We polish the Polish furniture.
He could be in the lead if he would just get the lead out.
A farm can produce produce.
The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.
The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
The present is a good time to present the present.
At the Army base, a bass fish was painted on the head of a bass drum.
The dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance for the invalid was invalid.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his fat sow to sow the seeds.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of Novocaine injections, my jaw became number.
I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my pants.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 2012

Book Release Strategy

THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR will be available soon!Seeing that I basically have no name recognition, it is going to be a long, hard slog trying to get folks to read THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR once I release it. Consequently, I am going to have to come up with some novel and not so novel (pun intended) means of marketing it.

Here’ what I have so far:

I will be releasing THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR on Saturday, February 19, 2011, via Kindle and as a pdf download from this website.

The book will be available for free until Friday, March 4, 2011.

For anyone who provides a book review on Amazon between February 19 and March 4, regardless if it is a positive or negative review, I will send them an advanced copy of POEMS FROM THE RIVER, a collection of poems that I will be releasing on March 5, 2011.

Beginning Saturday, March 5, 2011, the price to purchase THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR will be $2.99.

Beginning Saturday, March 5, 2011, the price to purchase POEMS FROM THE RIVER will be $.99.

That’s it for a book release strategy…that’s all I got so far.

Let me know if you have any other ideas that you think may help get the word out about the book.

Now that I set a release deadline for myself, I guess I had better stop hemming and hawing and get busy on the final edits.

Book Update #3

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor
Book Cover

It has been a while since my last book update and several things have happened in the interim that impacts the story. For instance, there has been the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, there is the feedback that I have been receiving from those I asked to read and criticize the story for me, and there is the near collapse of the traditional publishing industry right before our eyes. So, how does all of this impact the story you ask?

As you are probably aware, Congress passed and the president signed into law the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy right before the end of 2010. This is significant, not just because it finally ends a discriminatory and un-American policy, but also because it forces me to consider making serious changes to my novel. Currently, the novel is set in the mid-1990s, sometime not long after the implementation of the DADT policy; however, I’m wondering if I should update the story to the present time and have the characters behave as if there is no longer the DADT policy to contend with. That would require major rewrites and I’m not sure if I’m up for that. I’m rather looking forward to moving on to my next writing project. We’ll just have to wait and see.

One reason I’m not up for major rewrites of the story is because I’m already in the midst of, if not major rewrites, than major edits. Soon after declaring my story “finished” in my last book update, I asked several of my friends to read it and to let me know what worked and what didn’t work. What I have learned from the feedback I have received so far is that overall the story is pretty good but it moves too fast in places and some of the characters need to be fleshed out more.

I’m going through the story now and trying to patch it up where I can. I want to be careful though because I intentionally wanted the story to do a couple of things.

First, I wanted to create a verisimilitude for the reader where he or she can feel how overwhelming it is for someone, especially someone new to the navy, to report to a ship for the first time. Ships are their own little worlds with their own social structures, laws, and language. When you first report onboard everything seems to be happening so fast and, until you learn the rules and are accepted, it all can be more than a little intimidating, and sometimes even dangerous. So I wanted to keep the story moving fast and try to create a surreal pace where you always feel like you are one step behind of where it is you are supposed to be going, but barely one step ahead of the forces intent on preventing you from getting there.

Second, I wanted to force the reader to have to rely on his or her own stereotypes and prejudices to draw conclusions about characters and events in the story. The reason for this is, since DADT policy forbade service members from asking other service members what their sexual orientation is and it forbade homosexuals from openly admitting their homosexuality, harassment and physical abuse against homosexuals during the era of DADT were perpetrated based on the stereotypes, prejudices, and perceptions of those who committed the harassment and abuse. They didn’t know for sure that they guy they were picking on was gay, they were just reacting to what they thought a gay person was supposed to be like.

Anyway, that is the rationale for the limited character descriptions in the story. I know it may sound like I’m trying to rationalize away the criticism I have been receiving (and maybe at some level I am) but I do understand that I need to make editing improvements to the story but I need to make them in a way that is mindful to my original intent. Hopefully I can pull it off. Again, we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out in the end.

During Christmas 2009, my sister came to visit and during her visit she proudly showed off her new gift: an Amazon Kindle e-reader. Everyone wanted to take a look at it so she handed it to the relative next to her and it slowly made its way around the horn to me. When it arrived, tucked neatly inside a svelte and stylish binder, I gave it a cursory, dismissive once-over and quickly passed it on for someone else to ogle over while I snobbishly declared that e-readers weren’t for serious readers like me, even though secretly, I thought that sucker was pretty cool.

That was my first look at the growing e-book revolution. During the year between Christmas 2009 and Christmas 2010, I had been intent on finishing my book and getting it published by one of the “Big Six” or, at least, one of the smaller book publishers.  I was the old fashioned way, through one of the traditional publishers in the traditional, slow, way. I did not pay much attention to the e-reader revolution that was taking the industry by storm.

When I did finally begin to notice, I told myself it would all soon pass after everyone realized that e-books could never replace the feel and comfort and friendliness of a real book. Well, that’s probably what the music executives thought about CDs, too, as they stood by and watched their traditional music publishing industry collapse before their eyes.

So, this year for Christmas, when my son showed me his new gift, an iPad, and I saw how transformative and cool that thing is, I decided I better take another look at what is going on in the state of the book publishing world.

What I found was pretty bloody. The e-publishing revolution, instead of abating, has continued to spread. E-book and self-publishing sales are on the advance while brick-and-mortar book stores are running up the white flags of surrender like there is no tomorrow…which, for them, there probably isn’t. They are closing their doors, filing for bankruptcy, and wiping out millions of dollars worth of potential sales for publishers and writers.

With this revolution, self-publishers are no longer considered quite the pariahs that they used to be–they are now the revolutionaries, the subversives. With the ease and convenience that the e-readers bring to self-publishing, along with a growing market of dedicated e-reader readers like my sister, some writers are making some very serious coin by skipping all of the overhead and hassle that the traditional publishing industry brings (while taking a hefty cut of the profits) and bringing their stories directly to market themselves.

With all this in mind, and keeping in mind that it may benefit me to get my story to market as quickly as I can while DADT is still fresh in the mind, I have pretty much decided to self-publish my book, first by submitting it directly to the e-reader market and then to a print service like lulu.com or one of the others out there.  Wish me luck…I’ll need it.

Lastly, as far as things that have happened since my last book update, if you haven’t noticed just by looking around on this site or my facebook page, I have now the artwork for the cover of my book.

When I decided to self-publish, I started checking out the cover artists that other self-publishers use and I quickly realized that I knew someone who could create something just as good, if not better. Of course there is parental prejudice and preference, but he always has been very artist and creative. I’m referring to my son Willis.

He, like others of his twenty-something generation, have grown up with this technology, he has studied graphic design in college, and he does most of the design work for his band’s website.

I am so glad I asked him to design the cover for me because, well, you can see how kick-ass it is, but more importantly, I had a blast sitting down with him during the course of a week or so, usually sometime after midnight (we are both night owls), and watch the cover transform from a simple concept into the artwork that it is now.

To get there he spent many hours researching other cover artists and designers, as well as the technical specifications that the cover designs must meet in order to be submitted to the major e-reader sights. Plus, it was good for me as I go through an editing process to talk with him about the concepts and fundamentals of the story as I envision them to be.

The cover that he created is a beautifully, and somewhat eerily, accurate artistic representation and psychological translation of what I see in my mind when I think about the story. After you read the story, I think you will agree.