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Capitol Police Heroes Crystal Griner and David Bailey Saved the Day, Preventing Congressional Massacre

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GOOD BLACK NEWS

Officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner (photos via facebook.com)

via thegrio.com

Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey are the heroes who kept the shooting on Wednesday from being the “massacre” Congress members say it could have been. Both of the officers are on Rep. Steve Scalise’s security detail and put their lives on the line to respond when shots rang out at a congressional baseball practice.

Scalise was standing near second base and was shot by James Hodgkinson before both Griner and Bailey rushed into action, taking down the shooter despite both being injured. Both have since been taken to the hospital and are recovering from their injuries.

“Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre,” Senator Rand Paul said to MSNBC. Majority Leader Eric Cantor praised both agents, who had served on his protection detail before. “[Griner’s] an incredibly able and professional individual who…

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Alternate Facts

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An ‘alternate’ take on Comey’s getting the axe.

Asnycnow Radio

A cartoonist’s take on the firing of the FBI Director.

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Authors Beware of deals that seem too good to be true – they are just that!

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There’s been a number of articles on various sites about publishers who hook unwary authors into contracts that give nothing in return. Many indie authors have fallen into this trap—I include myself, unfortunately, in that number.

 

When I was working on my first book length manuscript, a book on leadership that I was encouraged to write by a young man who worked for me as my speech writer when I was U.S. ambassador to Cambodia (2002-2005). After slaving over the manuscript for nearly three years, I went searching for a publisher.

 

I encountered an ad from PublishAmerica, a Maryland-based small imprint that, unlike the many vanity publishers advertising at the time, touted the fact that they PAID authors for their work instead of asking for payment. Knowing, or at least suspecting, that the book I’d written would have limited appeal, it didn’t sound like a bad deal, so I submitted it.

 

A few weeks later I received an email advising me that my book was accepted for publication. Attached to the email was a contract. Naïve in the ways of publishing, I unwisely didn’t have that contract read by a lawyer before signing it. From what I’d read, it didn’t seem to bad – the advance was paltry (a mere $1.00), and I was locked into an 8-year commitment. But, the book would be published, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

 

It was published, but from that point on, it was a nightmare. The cover was somewhat amateurish—even then, just learning the art of designing book covers, I could’ve done a better job. The price was a bit high, I thought, but again, I was new to all this and didn’t know any better. I was encouraged to buy copies for myself at a measly discount from the inflated cover price. The royalties were also small; something like 8% of the cover price (compare that to the 75% you can get publishing it yourself through the Kindle Direct Program, or even the rather generous percentage you get when you publish a paperback through CreateSpace). They did, at least, list it on all the major book-seller sites; Amazon, etc.

 

Surprisingly, there were a few early sales, and I even got it included in a couple of libraries (The U.S. State Department Library, and my college library, to name two). A few people I met at conferences, who had read it, also informed me that they’d purchased copies to use in their management training programs. Despite this, my royalty checks over the past eight-plus years have yet to exceed $50. Looking back, when I compare this to the $100 per month I get through KDP, and an average of $30 per month through CreateSpace and other sales of paperbacks, I can see that what seemed at the time to be ‘too good to be true,’ in fact was just that.

 

The eight years in the contract are up now, and you would assume, as implied in the contract, my book rights belong to me. Guess again.

 

PublishAmerica changed its name to AmericaStar, in an effort, I believe, to attract foreign indie authors, but its practices remain the same. It does nothing to promote the books it accepts, beyond importuning the author regularly to buy copies, and lately it has done something that seals its fate as far as I’m concerned.

 

Over the past 60 days, I’ve been getting emails from AmericaStar nee PublishAmerica, informing me that the company is getting out of the publishing business and going full time to book promotion. In doing so, it plans to sell the rights to the books it holds to another ‘Indie’ publisher, but I can get them assigned to me for a modest fee of $199—it said in the initial emails that this was to cover the cost of removing it from selling platforms, etc.

 

At first, I couldn’t believe they would have the gall to do something like this, so I just ignored the first four or five emails. Then, they said, if I couldn’t afford $199, for a few days I could get my rights back for a mere $149. Again, I ignored them. A week later, another email, informing me that I had only two days to BUY my rights back, and they were doing me a big favor by reducing the cost to $99.  Thoroughly steamed by now, I just filed the emails away and went on to other projects.

 

The latest are . . . funny, pathetic, I’m not sure how to characterize them. I now have 24 hours to obtain the rights to my own work for $79. If I fail to do this, someone else (as yet unknown) will own the rights to my book, and they can’t promise what the buyer will do with these rights.

 

Thankfully, I’ve self-published scores of books since my first mistake, and while I’m not on any best-seller lists, and not getting rich from it, I’m enjoying fairly regular sales, and getting some pretty solid reviews. As for buying the rights back to my own work—I’m in wait-and-see mode. If the last email is correct, I will probably be hearing from the mysterious new publisher someday soon with a request that I buy my book, or something equally ridiculous.

 

I’ve written that book off as a lost cause, and a lesson learned. Never were the words caveat emptor more appropriate.

Roses

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Asnycnow Radio

Paintings of my favorite flower – the rose.

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Review of ‘No Man’s Land’

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John and Robert Puller were just kids when their mother, Jackie, disappeared.  Thirty years later, their father, legendary three-star general John Puller, now suffering from dementia, is accused of killing her. John, a chief warrant officer with army CID, with the help of his brother and an enigmatic secret agent, Veronica Knox, determines to solve his mother’s case–even if it means implicating his father.

At the same time Paul Rogers, in prison for 17 years for manslaughter, is paroled. Rogers had been in the same place as Jackie Puller at the time of her disappearance.

The paths of these two men cross with a bang in David Baldacci’s No Man’s Land. Classic Baldacci, it keeps you guessing until the end, and doesn’t fail to entertain the whole way.

I received this book as a gift.  I give it five stars.

 

Sunset and white flowers

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How to paint flowers

How to paint flowers

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On the road

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Asnycnow Radio

I like doing candid photos of people going about their daily lives, unaware of the camera. If you’re on foot, though, that’s often hard to achieve, so I usually shoot from a vehicle as I travel. When I was in Zimbabwe, with a driver at my disposal, this was easy to do. During my three years in southern Africa, I documented a lot of the ‘life along the roadways.’ Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party is one of southern Africa’s poorest countries, but has a higher per capita number of luxury cars than the richest countries of Europe, saying something about the degree of official corruption. Members of the African Apostolic Church on the way to services. Everything with wheels becomes a form of public transportation. On the open road. Schoolboys in Arusha, Tanzania. Passengers at Nairobi’s airport. An abandoned factory in Zimbabwe.

Source: On the road

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Fur and Feathers

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I like taking pictures of just about everything, but animals and birds are my all-time favorites. I’ve photographed animals of all types everywhere I’ve traveled, across the United States and during my travels abroad, and I’d like to share some of them with you. Antelope (not sure of the species) in the savanna of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. A bird pauses after drinking from a fountain at Tswalu Resort in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. A stork in the grass at the edge of the taxi way of the airport in Arusha, Tanzania. A lone goose in a shaded woodland in Kleve, Germany. A vervet monkey in Zimbabwe. Water bird on lily pads in a Zimbabwean lake. Elephants in Zimbabwe.

Source: Fur and Feathers

Paul Laurence Dunbar

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One of America’s greatest poets.

Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit

Many years ago when visiting my Mom’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio I went with my Aunt Helen James to visit Dunbar house which was the home of Celebrated African-American Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. It was a fascinating visit and I highly recommend visiting this as well as many other African-American Landmarks in the United States.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/paul-laurence-dunbar

poet

Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Born on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition. His parents Joshua and Matilda Murphy Dunbar were freed slaves from Kentucky. His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career. By the age of fourteen, Dunbar had poems published in the Dayton Herald. While in high school…

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STEAMFUNK WILD WEST: Black Lawmen and Outlaws in the Age of Steam!

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STEAMFUNK WILD WEST: Black Lawmen and Outlaws in the Age of Steam! We continue our League of Extraordinary Black People Series with an in-depth look at those who enforced – and those who gave the f…

Source: STEAMFUNK WILD WEST: Black Lawmen and Outlaws in the Age of Steam!

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

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Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/fugitive-slave-acts

fugitive-slave-1840

http://www.nationalcenter.org/FugitiveSlaveAct.html

Fugitive Slave Act1850 

The Fugitive Slave Act was part of the group of laws referred to as the “Compromise of 1850.” In this compromise, the antislavery advocates gained the admission of California as a free state, and the prohibition of slave-trading in the District of Columbia. The slavery party received concessions with regard to slaveholding in Texas and the passage of this law. Passage of this law was so hated by abolitionists, however, that its existence played a role in the end of slavery a little more than a dozen years later. This law also spurred the continued operation of the fabled Undergound Railroad, a network of over 3,000 homes and other “stations” that helped escaping slaves travel from the southern slave-holding states to the northern states and Canada.

 


 

BE IT enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of…

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The Marine Corps Memorial

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One of my favorite places to visit in the DC area is the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn, a memorial to the US Marine Corps, and the men who fought and died taking the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima during WWII. I’ve actually visited the island, as a guest of the Japanese and US governments to honor the men on both sides, and believe me, as striking as the monument is, it is not as stark and impactful as the island itself. With the Washington Monument and Capitol (r) in the background.

Source: The Marine Corps Memorial