Tag Archives: money

Vocabulary for Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels


In science fiction and fantasy, there is normally a cornerstone culture, central to the story, that is malevolent. It is oppressive of its citizenry, setting the stage for the rise of a hero, an avenger of the people.

There are two words to describe such a culture:

  • cacotopia
  • dystopia

Both words define a world that is the opposite of Utopia, or paradise: a world of deprivation, horror and exploitation. Usually the people are enslaved, if not physically, then through economics or some psychological method. Or earth changes, like  global coastal events caused by meteor strikes or the aftermath of world wars, have disrupted normal society and destroyed convenience systems, such as the electrical grid or banking. Whatever the cause, the new world order is a system that grinds those under its bonds to grist.

Now that your imagination is twisting, turning, leaping and bounding with images, get writing!

Mark Your Calendar — Sell An Article


For my science fans, here’s a nugget about a celestial show you may want to watch.

Comet PANSTARRS: March 10 to 24, 2013

Comet PANSTARRS discovered in June 2011 using the Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope at Haleakala, Hawaii, is expected to put on its best show during this two-week period. During this time, the comet will also be near its closest approaches to the sun (28 million miles, or 45 million kilometers), and Earth (102 million miles, or 164 million km).
 While Comet PANSTARRS was a very dim and distant object at the time of its discovery, it has brightened steadily since then. It still appears on target to reach at least first magnitude and should be visible low in the west-northwest sky shortly after sunset. On the evening of March 12, 2013, the comet will be situated 4 degrees to the right of an exceedingly crescent moon.

Why mention this now instead of in March?

Because, for those of you who write for social media like Yahoo news or e-How, now you have a time critical subject to research, write about, and sell! If you are unfamiliar with this market, as easy place to start is ezinearticles.com. Click here for the editorial guidelines: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/

Ezinearticles doesn’t pay for articles, but it does offer affiliate marketing. Advertisers link to your articles and you get paid for click throughs. It’s not big or easy money, but it is a place to start to learn the ropes.

Check out Associated Content. It pays for articles outright.

If you are a blogger, get paid to post at Blogger’s Pay Per Post. There are strings attached, but you can earn from $.50 to $10. per assignment piece.

Bukisa is a traffic driven buyer. So you have to write on popular topics to draw a paycheck.  However, Bukisa allows you to re-post material that has been published elsewhere. So using Bukisa can double earnings on non-exclusive material.

This gives you plenty to start your at-home writing career. So start researching that comet heading our way, write an article or two, and sell, sell, sell.

Even the Wealthy Take a Beating in Real Estate


GOSSIP ALERT!

Every once in a while, I love to throw in juicy pop culture gossip. It just so happens that I stumbled upon a couple of tidbits that compliment my own post  today on real estate woes of the common man.  This nosey news is from The Real Estalker:

(Writers take note of the gossip columnist style. There is a market for this kind of writing.)

We first heard it from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills and then we received a covert communique from a well-connected insider—let’s call him Charlie Chitchatter—who snitched that magically mercurial Oscar-nominated actress Sharon Stone has done sold a five-ish acre estate in Beverly Hills, CA that Your Mama first discussed way back in December 2006 when it popped up on the open market with a starry-eyed $12,500,000 asking price.

After many fits and starts, countless price reductions and at least one high-paying rental tenancy, Miz Stone—who never, as far as we know, actually occupied the property—has sold the neo-Mediterranean style compound for, according to documentation provided by Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills, $6,595,000.

That’s a whole lotta dough by any standard but it’s also almost half Miz Ston’s original asking price and represents, as per our bejeweled abacus, a bank account flogging $4,400,000 loss. Ouch!

And this:

Over the weekend, while Your Mama did some peeping and poking around in the property records regarding the John Lautner-designed Bob and Delores Hope house in Palm Springs, CA that recently and very quietly available through an upscale Beverly Hills brokerage with—so the rumor goes—an astronomical $45,000,000 asking price, we happened across documentation that reveals the sublime and much-lauded four time Emmy winning actress Allison Janney (West Wing, Juno, The Help) owned a house just down the street from the Hope house that—quelle horror—she lost to unforgiving maw of foreclosure in September or October 2012.

On this one, there’s going to be a loss by someone who makes his living flipping houses — on TV no less:

On the currently airing sixth season of the reality program Flipping Out, sometimes temperamental house flipper and sassy-pants Bravolebrity Jeff Lewis bought a 1940s traditional on Spring Oak Drive in Los Angeles, CA without telling his much younger and punctiliously primped live-in man-friend—and employee—Gage Edward who at least acted for the cameras as if he were none too pleased with the behind-his-back acquisition.*

Property records show the Spring Oak Drive domicile, located on narrow cul-de-sac in the Bronson Canyon area of Los Angeles, was acquired by Mister Lewis—and only Mister Lewis—in April (2012) for $1,350,000. Yesterday—sixth months and an extensive and expensive renovation later—the property is back on the open market with an only slightly higher asking price of $1,450,000.

Finally, here’s one where the tenant (Cee Lo Green) moved out in order to rent smaller digs (a trend these days among the common folk as well) and the landlord has taken repeated hits to his wallet in losses on sales. It just goes to show ya, it’s tough out there!

Since at least March 2011 rapper, songwriter, music producer and televised singing contest judge Cee Lo Green* (The Voice) leased a 4,200-ish square foot residence just above the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, CA owned—as it turns out—by actor, race car driver and indie pop rock band drummer Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle, the Agent Cody Banks franchise).

Howevuh hunnies, according to our always so freakishly well-informed friend and aide-de-camp Lucy Spillerguts Mister Green recently decamped Mister Muniz’s updated 1941 traditional for a smaller, more contemporary crib in the so-called Bird Streets ‘hood** high above the Sunset Strip. . .

. . .Mister Muniz is well known among celebrity property watchers and real estate gossips as a relatively frequent shuffler of the cards in his property portfolio. He once owned a house just above the Sunset Strip he sold to Halle Berry in 2005 for $5,995,000 and in 2004 he spent $4,650,000 on a low-slung modern on Blue Jay Way that he sold the following year for $3,900,000.

In the early days of 2006 Mister Muniz dropped $3,499,000 for the Sunset Strip house that, until recently, was rented by Cee Lo Green but is now back up for sale at $3,195,000 and is also listed to lease at $14,000 per month.

Get Money for Your Creative Project


Let me introduce you to Kickstarter, the venture capital site for creative projects. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  www.kickstarter.com

Kickstarter says it is “a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.”

How does Kickstarter work?

Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.

Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

To date, an incredible 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.

Do backers get ownership or equity in the projects they fund?

No. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans.

Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.

What are the fees?

If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.

In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments, while in the UK, pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor. These payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. View the US and UK fee breakdowns.

Who is Kickstarter?

We’re 46 people based in a tenement building in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making the site better, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding great new projects to share with you. Every day is an adventure — we get to experience projects as they happen! Say hello or come work with us!

Writing Contests that Pay the Winners


Stuart Aken has painstakingly collected and stored in .pdf spreadsheet format a list of writing contests. The list tells a bit about the contest, the length of story required, the amount of money paid to the winner, etcetera.

In the past, I have ignored contests because so many seemed to be a ruse used to sell something. However, there are legitimate organizations that pay a handsome sum, such as Glittertrain, that can help a writer launch a career.

So, in that vein, I am providing a link to Aken’s list. Please use common sense and do your research about the organizations. I am not recommending any of them, but offer the opportunity for you to pursue as you see fit.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B709lVx9l5_mSF9HMHNvMWdaSzg/edit?pli=1

or

http://stuartaken.blogspot.com/p/writing-contests.html?spref=tw

Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy


Before Hurricane Sandy hit U. S. shores, I heard a few emergency preparedness public service announcements that urged people to collect food, water, and other supplies needed for three days in the event Sandy cut off access to services.

What Sandy–and Katrina for that matter–taught me is this:

  1. The loss of electricity means more than the absence of lights. Use of gasoline pumps, ATM machines, heaters, cold food storage and other necessities can be lost. Pharmacies close so that those who are ill can’t get prescription medications. Refrigerated or frozen food at home or in grocery stores and restaurants spoil. Banks close so no one has access to their money.
  2. The loss of access to necessities can last much longer than anyone anticipates. Older or disabled persons living on top stories of buildings without electrical power to run elevators or health-related equipment may be cut off from things they need to stay alive. In the aftermath of Sandy, some communities were told the citizens would have to make do without power for six weeks or more. At the onset of winter, life can get brutal quickly if one has no way to keep warm.
  3. The destruction of infrastructure impedes the flow of commerce. In the aftermath of Sandy, it was difficult to get food and water to stores or distribution centers because debris clogged roads. Further, disruptions in energy distribution meant folks had a hard time buying gasoline to fill tanks so they could drive outside the destruction zone for supplies. Or vehicles were destroyed by flood waters, leaving owners stranded. One cruise ship that departed before Sandy hit, and was scheduled to sail for seven days, returned to New York to find the port closed and access denied. On the 15th day, the ship was still at sea, uncertain when it could return to its home port. Those on board didn’t know if their cars were still where they left them or washed away.
  4. To complicate matters more, society breaks down. Tempers flare and fights start over situations where one person attempts to take advantage of another. People cut into line instead of waiting their turn. Vandals use the cover of chaos to steal or damage property. Price gouging is rampant. The vulnerable are fearful. Children are sent to the safety of homes of distant relatives, while parents stay behind to clean and defend the homestead, which may have become a hazardous dump site.
  5. Few individuals had a plan for how to survive a disaster of Sandy’s magnitude.

When writing about a disaster setting, be accurate about the depth of the devastation. In the days following Sandy, several persons who were directly impacted by the storm said to us, “It’s nothing like you see on TV. It’s much worse.”

More Cover Design AND Video Marketing Ideas for Your Book


Today I found the blog of “Ink Slinger in Inner Space” Karen Gadient. She is both author and  graphic designer. A single post on her blog stimulated this entry.  Karen designed the cover jacket for a recently released science fiction book.

Stimulating Thought Number One: Here’s another source for an illustrator for either cover design or for the innards of a picture book. Mark this post for future reference. Karen has a portfolio tab on her blog. I loved the quality and detail of her art. The art on the book cover shows another dimension to her style–her diversity–since the cover is completely different from the illustrations in her portfolio.

Link: http://karengadient.com/2012/11/02/debris-dreams-the-kickstarter-book-trailer/

Stimulating Thought Number Two: Karen provides a link to the young author’s promotional video trailer for his book. What?! Promotional video??? I thought video trailers were solely for hyping movies or rock albums. What do I know? Not much, evidently. Now young authors are using YouTube and such to distribute promotional videos touting their books. Brilliant. Free Advertising. And if you are clever or creative enough, you sell books!

Stimulating Thought Number Three: An author can ask for money for marketing from the public. Karen introduced me to Kickstarter, a web site devoted to connecting artists of all sorts with persons interested in funding the arts. Indie authors needn’t starve to promote a quality project. But I’ll write more about Kickstarter in a future post.

Wow, Karen! All those great ideas from a single post! Thank you!