Tag Archives: ibooks

EPublishing Day–FREE!

That’s right! I’ll be conducting two, FREE, all-day seminars where, if you’re ready, you can walk in a wannabe and walk out a published author!

Kansas City (Merriam) May 18, 2013

Wichita June 22, 2013

Click for details:

EPublishing Day–Kansas City!

EPublishing Day–Wichita!

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E Z Knight Versus Your Favorite Fast Food Customer Service Engineer.

(With Russian beauty Zoya & E Z’s golden retriever Jazzy Brass)
Excerpt from KNIGHT’S RANSOM, near the end of Chapter 12
© 2012 by Gordon A Kessler
Available at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007F08MU8

It was 1:00 p.m., and Zoya, Jazzy Brass and I were getting hungry. While looking for an In-N-Out Burger or maybe a Del Taco, I checked my cell phone video to see if I’d gotten anything useful from just prior to our shootout. It was nothing but blurred gun barrels — completely useless.

We couldn’t find any of the more popular fast-food chain restaurants — usually you find them everywhere you look in SoCal. Finally Zoya pulled into one I hadn’t tried before, a Burger Bender. We ordered three cheeseburgers, fries and drinks. Jazzy loved chicken nuggets, but they weren’t on the menu. She’d have to make due. I promised her next time we’d find a Wendy’s, and she could have it her way. It was hard telling when she’d get back on her normal diet of dry dog food and an occasional spoon of pumpkin or slice of apple.

I gave Zoya a twenty-dollar bill and she paid the kid at the window. He didn’t look like a high school student, had to be at least twenty, hair spiked, with body piercings and tattoos. Jada, my young friend back at the marina, has a similar look. But I soon found out that she wears it with a hell of a lot more personality.

The young man, obviously a career fast-food customer-service engineer, dumped the change into Zoya’s hands.

Don’t they teach kids to count back change anymore?

I figured by the looks of him, he’d have a heck of a time counting back more than a nickel anyway.

He gave us the drinks.

They’d overflown their lids, and soda was dripping down the sides of the cups.

We asked for napkins.

He stuck a wad of them out the window.

A minute later, he handed us the bag of food.

We had to ask for straws.

He passed us half a dozen for two drinks.

We had to ask for ketchup.

He handed us mayonnaise instead.

I told him we wanted ketchup not mayonnaise.

He gave us a fistful, without reply.

We asked if there was salt in the bag.

He said, “No.”

We waited. Ten seconds later, I asked, “Well, can we have some?”

He didn’t say anything, but grabbed a handful of the tiny salt packets and stuck them out the window. At least a half dozen fell to the driveway beside the car door.

Zoya cupped her hands to receive the rest. He’d passed us enough salt to season every potato in Idaho, let alone two orders of French fries.

At that point, I considered pulling Zoya’s Mac 10 out from under the seat, pointing it at him and informing him that I was a trained assassin and had snuffed more people than he had stainless steel rings on his face and dick — there were at least twenty on his face alone.

Instead, I swallowed the venom surging in my throat, and we thanked him.

Then…and this is the kicker — what do you think the little shit said in return?

Come on, guess?

He said, “No problem.”

I don’t know that you’ve noticed, but my day began two popcorn farts less than great, and it was turning out three root canals and a kidney stone more than terrible.

I was stressed. I’d had a bad day. My head was about to explode from the pressure building inside. My good nature was stretched across my face like a two-bit condom over a pineapple — let’s say it developed a few holes.

To start with, first thing this morning, I get the finger from an old woman. That alone would ruin many a man’s day. But then I discover my goddaughter has been kidnapped by people who want me dead; a boat blows up that was supposed to have been mine; I find a good friend beaten into hamburger by guys trying to kill me; I get shot at; I nearly fall off a cliff; I have to kick a big bald guy’s ass; and then, to top it off, I only get half a BJ before finding out I’m being setup to be murdered.

Okay, that was just this morning. Next, the goombas who took a pot-shot at me come back and riddle my beautiful classic muscle car full of holes. I have to leave it in a heap of smashed up, smoldering metal because the cops are coming and, if I stick around, they’ll arrest me, and I’ll go back to prison.

So far today, I’d done nothing wrong — so far.

And then the kid at the fast-food window says, “No problem,” in response to our polite “thank you” without so much as a glance at us.

*  *  *

I stretch over Jazzy and Zoya to the little convertible’s driver side, get a foothold on the center console, and then reach into the drive-thru window. Jazzy and Zoya lean out of my way.

With my fists full of the server’s uniform shirt, I pull him to me and our noses touch.

“All right, booger-eater; listen to me this one time.” I start low and slow. “Your job is to wait on us; provide us with courteous service and a quality meal,” I say, my voice coming out louder, words faster. “We; your customers — the reason you even have a job — say ‘thank you.‘ And how do you answer? With a smile and a respectful ‘you’re welcome — thank you for your business. Please come again,’ right?”

My eyes are bugging, spittle comes out unintentionally with my elevated words.

“No-o. You say,” I whine with a sneer in exaggerated imitation, “‘No problem,’ as if you feel the need to tell me it wasn’t too damn far out of your way for you to do the job you’re being paid to do —”

I take a deep breath, “— instead of what you’d be doing if we hadn’t come to your little window: sitting on your dumb ass, atop a box of frozen beef and sawdust patties, listening to gangster rap while popping pimples with one hand and rubbing your balls like they’re Aladdin’s lamp and you’re wishing you had something more than a three-inch pecker with the other.

No problem? You say no problem to your neighbor when you pull a turd out of his toilet that got stuck sideways and clogged it up. You say no problem when you stop and fix a stranger’s flat tire in the rain, even though you’re going to be late for work. You say no problem when the guy with no arms standing beside you at the urinal asks you to shake the dew off his lily and put it back in his pants for him — that’s when you say, no freaking problem!”

I’m glaring at him. He’s gaping back, as are Zoya, Jazzy, the burger joint employees and the few customers who can see me from the inside.

“No problem?” I ask quietly, but with a ragged edge. My next words come out from between my barred teeth. “Of course it was no damn problem, you little freak!”

The kid is in shock. He finally stutters, “Yu-you’re…wu-welcome — s-sir!”

“There. Was that so goddamn hard?”

I let him go, push off and slip back into my seat without looking at him. I answer, “No problem.”

Zoya, with her heavy Russian accent, says, “Have … nice … day!” and we pull away.

*  *  *

 I took a deep breath and within five minutes I was feeling pretty good.

The Empire, er, uh–Big Publishing Strikes Back, or Apple Double Talk?

Round Two!

It seems a bit like double talk to me, but it sounds like Apple is taking the US DOJ to task, claiming they don’t have anything to do with the publisher industry’s eBook pricing.

However, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and News Corp’s HarperCollins agreed to settle citing that they didn’t want to be involved in a costly legal battle, but none are admitting to wrongdoing or collusion.

On the other hand, Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin Group have not only denied collusion and price-fixing but will likely fight the US DOJ charges.

More on this story is at: http://bit.ly/HHSamK

Agency Model vs. Traditional Pricing: EBook Price-Fixers Fixin’ to Settle?

This just in: Apple and five major “price-fixing” publishing houses are fixin’ to settle with the US Justice Department after conspiring to control prices with their “agency model” vs. the standard and traditional way of retail pricing? Maybe. It looks like three of the big five publishers will.

What does this mean for the consumer–the eBook reading public? Maybe a check in the mail for all the over-priced eBooks they bought in the past, and much more reasonable pricing on big name, traditionally published authors’ eBooks in the future.

What does it mean to the “indie” authors who’ve found this time in publishing history to be a welcome boon to their publishing dreams? Perhaps stiffer competition with the brand name authors’ books? Maybe?

What do you think? Give us your dime’s worth–please comment!

But check out in this online Wall Street Journal article, first: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304444604577337573054615152.html

EBook Wars, Episode 1

In a Galaxy not so far away!

Did you miss it–all the news about the battles being waged behind the scenes. On the surface, the eBook and ePublishing industry seems smooth and calm—as it should be? But there’s been a war being fought since before even the first Kindle found it’s way onto the retail shelf. In the past week, the battles have been about price-fixing, collusion and censorship.

So what’s this big war really boil down to? Fear. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

The good news? I think the “good guys” are winning. And who are these “good guys”? It’s you and me; Jill and Joe Reader. We should be the ones influencing this incredible new industry. After all, we are the consumers. Next in line are the writers. Being a part of this group as well, I have some pretty deep-rooted and passionate beliefs about how we writers should be able to influence today’s market, too.

The bottom line is this: readers want quality fiction of their own choosing at a reasonable price–and writers want to give it to them! It’s just that simple!

But, when you get big conglomerate corporations involved with high payrolls and stockholders who are focused on their own bottom line, this simple little process gets so-o-o complex. Of course it’s been that way for years.

So what’s new? What’s the big hub-bub about? Control is shifting and the big girls and boys of yesteryear publishing no longer have a chokehold on the readers and writers, telling writers: “You’ll write what we want you to write for the price we want to pay.” Telling readers: “We’ll decide what you can and can’t read, and you’ll pay what we say for it–and that’s going to be enough to finance our big NYC offices, all of our extravagance and hoopla.” They tell us, the reading public, that they’ll dig as deeply into our pockets as “the market will bear” and we’ll put up with it because we don’t have a choice.

You don’t agree? Well, two major developments have come up in the past few days. The first one you probably already heard about: the US Department of Justice is investigating price-fixing and collusion with the good ol’ girl and boy traditional publishing houses, as well as other somewhat shady practices that many of the eBook publishers have been involved in. This is fascinating stuff. You want to learn more? Check out JA Konrath’s March 10 blog post at: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ . VERY ENLIGHTENING!

How about censorship? Legal is one thing: if what you want to read is within the law, you should be able to read it, right? And writers should be able to write and distribute any of their legal works, correct?

But what if a few folks don’t like some of the things that writers are putting out, and they don’t think, as readers, you should either? Hmm. Big Brother government, “Father Knows Best” publishing houses, and now “Mommy Dearest” wants to get involved, too? It seems that way. I’ve got to admit that there’s a whole bunch of new eBooks out there that I wouldn’t even touch—I find myself feeling guilty just having laid eyes on the stuff in a glance. But, if it’s legal, who am I to say you shouldn’t be able to read what I don’t care for?

Thanks to some really well-versed and vigilant warriors to champion the side of free speech, including Smashwords.com’s founder Mark Coker, PayPal and the credit card companies are relenting their earlier stand against processing funds for material they decide is inappropriate. This could have had a major negative affect in eBook sales and set free-speech back decades. This kind of censorship infringes on every American citizen’s right to free-speech.

Another victory for the “good guys”!

Your really need to read the details on this censorship battle. It’s important to us all. Find more at: http://blog.smashwords.com/

All this is about fear. Fear of change. Fear of the inevitable. Fear of losing a way of life that the big publishing conglomerates have learned to enjoy. They’ve been on the ropes for decades. Without the control over both writers and readers they’ve enjoyed for more than a hundred years, they can see the end is near. They’re afraid this new ePublishing industry is going to be their knock-out punch–and it could well be.

As writers, let’s provide the product readers want at a reasonable price. Don’t let those wonderful consumers down. Entertain them, enlighten them, inform them and enhance their lives.