Monthly Archives: August 2011

JournalJabber: Literal Mayhem

My interpretation of JournalJabber ;p

This post is coming a bit late due to our internet tossing a tantrum, but I wanted to share an internet radio show I’ve been listening to for the past few weeks. 

 JournalJabber, sponsored by JournalStone, is a wonderfully fun show that focuses on new literature coming out.

The exchanges between the hostesses will have you in stitches with some of the crazy exchanges that go on.  This is not English 101, and you are guaranteed to stay awake as well as stay ahead of the latest trends and news in the recently manic world of publishing.

You can sign up with BlogTalkRadio to listen live and participate in the chat room, or catch the shows afterwards in the archives.  Listening live allows you to ask questions of the authors and the hostesses, as well as comment.  Be sure to check out the show, and look for updates here when my internet gets over its fit.

Related story:

CS Splitter, author of The Reluctant to be on the show!  Congratz Splitter!

The Other Side of Second Life

From a recent opinion piece I have up on Blogcritics:

Innsmouth in Second Life

Second Life has recently been given a bad rep from Director Jason Spingarn-Koff’s.  A virtual world that is used for business and social interaction, Mr. Spingam-Koff’s ‘documentary’ on Second Life seems a little one dimensional, and apparently Oprah approves it.

Called Life 2.0, Spingam-Koff follows several lives through their virtual interactions, presenting the virtual world as one of loss and broken marriages.  While I agree with the director that these situations are often the case in Second Life, they are just as often not.

Comparing Second Life to a world of emotional misfits is like going into a classroom of kindergarteners at an elementary school and then dubbing the entire building a preschool.  Mr. Spingam-Koff has missed a large part of the population, and in doing so presents a rather shallow and biased piece of film work.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to see worlds like Second Life receive a little of the spotlight.  Collectively called the metaverse, these virtual environments provide people all over the world a way of working and interacting together.  To say that they are all craven and needy individuals, however, is very far from the truth.  I am living proof.

Read the rest of the article here…

Pets Have It RUFF

Looking for a good deed to do?  Here’s an excellent way to get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from doing good… and all you have to do is help some warm fuzzies!

RUFF, a no kill shelter, struggles with the influx of unwanted animals and the costs to care for them all.  Some of the animals I saw on the website are very lucky to be at RUFF… dogs like Remmie, a 14 year old hound mix with a face that is reminiscent of a hobo clown. 

Remmie looks like a sweetheart, but few people will adopt a dog that old.  A regular shelter would put him down quickly to make room for younger more adoptable dogs.  Remmie is lucky he found a home at RUFF, and he will probably remain there for the rest of his days.

Unfortunately, Remmie can’t live on love alone tho, and RUFF is seeking donations of food and money to help keep him and his kennel mates in good care.  If you’re in the Fort Walton Beach area, please consider dropping off a bag of dog food or two to help them out.  If you are too far away for that, they do have Paypal donate buttons on their site.

Times are tight all over, but for the cost of an average McDonald’s trip you could provide dogs like Remmie with a month of meals.  Visit 911ruff.org for the location and information.

Our Vintage Airstream

Many people have asked where we’re going to live in the US, so I thought I’d show off our American home. 

It’s small, but for just the two of us it’s perfect.  There’s plenty of room for two computers with space to lounge and watch tv.  It’s exactly what we need and not a stitch more.

The best part of living the simple life is that our maintenance and monthly costs are also small.  We don’t want to spend the majority of our time working to pay for closets and extra rooms.  We can choose to work part-time and pursue our other interests.  We can support ourselves off of crazy things, like writing.

Another benefit is the lack of house chores.  I can spring clean the entire thing in about two hours, including taking down and washing curtains.  Obviously we don’t own a lot of stuff, but we do own just what we want.  If we ever want to have a big party, that’s what restaurants and halls are for.  Big yard?  That’s why we pay taxes; for parks. 

Imagine a life of relaxing and really savoring things.  No yard work unless you create it.  No long days at work and over the top mortgages.  If you want to move, you unplug your house and roll to a new town.  Hurricane coming?  Don’t board up and worry… just take a vacation.

We are hooked on voluntary simplicity.  It’s not the right choice for everyone, but for us it’s the only choice.  Easy on the environment and it allows us to save money while still enjoying the benefits of home ownership.  We trade a big house for a big life. 

It works for us.

Explore more with:

See more photos on my Gather album

Living in a Small RV: Introduction

RV Fulltiming

Heading to the USA

The tickets have been bought and within a few short weeks we will be heading to the USA.  Just a short post today as we’re eager to get packing and sorting.  I just wanted to make the announcement: We’ll be coming in on the 14th of September at 11pm. 

I’ll miss Australia, and I am still on my mission to feel what is inside a kangaroo’s pouch so Mr. Smith and I will be trying to squeeze in a trip to a wildlife park before we head off.  He still reckons I’ll get kicked.  It will be worth it in the name of discovery. 

I will also be making a video of water draining to answer the question “Does water drain backwards in Australia”.  (I had never heard this until I started being asked…)

And with those mysteries to perk up your curiosity, I’m off to do important afk things like sort stuff.  In the meantime, I wanted to point out a really great review done by Amy Eye of The Eyes for Editing (who will be editing both End of Mae and No Money Marketing for their second releases) on Amazon and up at Smashwords.  Thx Amy!

Finally, here’s some of the posts I’ve done over the past year about what it’s like to live in Australia:

To Sum it Up: Australia

My Visa Fingerprinting Misadventure

My Eco Hypocrisy Confession

No Money Marketing Hits Amazon Bestseller List

No Money Marketing: All You Need Is Like has been out five days and has spent the majority of those days on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s in the Advertising/Marketing category.  Updated hourly, I’ve watched my rank go as high as #31 on the list.

Those without a Kindle have been grabbing it off of Smashwords, where I received the first 5 star review.  It’s also gotten a cover overhaul as a result of informal polling across my Facebook, Gather and here.

I really appreciate all the enthusiastic support I’ve received with this book.  It talks about using alternative ideas for marketing your creation, be it book, music or art.  All the methods were tested out on my paranormal fiction, End of Mae

My main criteria for promotion is that it had to be free (or very nearly) and actually be effective.  When I say cost effective I don’t mean under $100… I mean under $10.  In a month.  I am Amy Dacyczyn cheap.  I used alternative means of marketing, such as the virtual world of Second Life, to get widespread global promotion for nothing.

I’m happy that my book has already been able to help so many people.  It’s my dream that it will break open the stuffy, expensive and ineffective ideas that are plaguing the idea of marketing now.  None of us have the money or the time to waste anymore.  Let your promotion be as free as your creativity. 

There are no more excuses for your work to sit unnoticed.  I am putting everything that worked for me into your hands for less than a cup of coffee.

Get this, then get out and get found.

New Writer Spotlight: Ashlee K. Pt.3

From Angela:  This is the third installment from a brand new young writer named Ashlee K.  You can start at the beginning, or just dive right in here.  I’d like to welcome Ashlee and thank her for allowing me to introduce her work on Dandilyon Fluff.  Please feel free to leave comments for Ashlee below, or contact her directly at ashleeaak@yahoo.com.  And without further ado, enjoy!

  New World

I wasn’t used to dreams quite like this one. It was very strange and unfamiliar to me. The emotions I felt were unlike anything I’ve experienced in other dreams or even in reality. I’ve never been through such trauma. But once I saw that door, all the emotions of despair and desperation spilled out of me. Like fierce water breaking through a dam. It seemed other worldly, this door that stood so ominous and yet so beautiful before me. I stepped through the door, blinded once again by a new intensity of light. Once my eyes had adjusted, I wasn’t sure if I’d rather stay or go back to the empty void.

Giant mushroom stalks were lined as far as my eyes could see, each one ranging from colors of the autumn season. At least I think they were mushrooms. Everything was in a different shade of red, orange, yellow and brown. Even the rushing river before me held a strange tint of orange and they sky above it matched. I took another step, my bare feet rummaging through the tall red grass.

Sounds rang in my ears. Something sounded like the chirping of crickets, only much deeper – not as high pitched – and sounded more like screaming then singing. A caw of a bird echoed above, but it wasn’t a bird that sounded familiar to me. Not the coo of a pigeon or the chirp of a jay, something bigger. I looked up to spot it, but the mushrooms’ canopies blocked my sights. The sound of its wings beat through the atmosphere with loud whooshes until it disappeared in the distance.

The smells were fresh, clean. Like morning dew or the smell or moist earth when it rains. The scent made my nostrils flare unevenly as I breathed in more deeply. It felt nice for the air to run into my lungs freely now. It made my sinuses tingle, the way the air feels after it snows; cold and crisp. Though it didn’t feel cold to my skin.

I found myself stumbling forward to the orange colored river, and wondered why, until I realized that I was very thirsty. I bent to my knees, noticing that I was still wearing sweatpants and a tank that I had changed into after the New Year’s guests have left. I scooped my hands in the water and brought them to my lips to drink. I held the liquid in my mouth before swallowing. I wasn’t sure if I could swallow. Finally I spit it out to the grass beside me. It didn’t taste bad, just different, something that I wasn’t expecting. More thick like milk than water. I tried again, not being able to cope with the thirst that burned in my throat and made my mouth feel dry. I took another gulp and another until I thought I was going to drink up the entire river. The water, or whatever it was, expanded the walls of my stomach and made me feel full until I couldn’t drink anymore, but the thirst still burned in me. I wiped my mouth dry and sighed heavily.

It is strange when human instincts out weigh emotions. I felt lonely, lost, and completely helpless and for that my natural human predator kicked in. At this point I didn’t care that I was lost or alone, all I cared was to satisfy my needs. I knew that I would need food soon. Even after I drank as deeply as I could, but I could not suffice with just water. I began to search for something edible. Though this place seemed strange to me, I was sure that I could find something.

I lingered to the giant mushrooms, hopping to rock to rock across the river. I placed my hand on one of the stalks and looked up to the protective canopy above me. If I can eat mushrooms back home than I can surely eat one of these, even if they are the size of a tree. I picked up a rough, sharpened stone in my hand and prepared to use it; to carve out a suitable chunk of fungus, but when the rock struck the surface, it ricocheted back and hit me in the teeth.

“Ow!” I cried and dropped the rock, cowering away from the mushroom and covering my mouth with both my hands. I felt around inside with my tongue and thankfully, nothing seemed to be damaged. “Stupid mushroom!” I yelled, kicking it with my foot. Just like the rock, my foot bounced back, causing me to wail out in pain again.

Hopefully this is a dream. I don’t want to be stuck out here for much longer. I took a look at my surroundings again. It didn’t seem like there was anything much here. Perhaps if I could walk through this… mushroom forest then I could find something or somebody. I stumbled my way through the thick grass and brush, sometimes squeezing impossibly through small crevasses to go farther in. Soon I came to a well-used foot trail and I wasn’t sure if I was thankful for it or just more terrified. If there are people-like beings in this strange place then how can I be sure if they are friendly? Or maybe they aren’t human at all. I walked out of the brush and onto the trail.

A few minutes passed and I wondered if I really was going anywhere at all. Maybe I was just walking in one, big, continuous circle. My heart picked up again and my feet matched its rhythm. I tried lengthening my strides, not really sure what use that would be to me if I really was walking in a circle.

I walked hesitantly, being aware of all the sounds surrounding me. I was being cautionary or maybe I was just being paranoid. I could hear the chirping crickets again, now that I was on a trail and making less noise than I had been in the brush. I could here the rushing of the river that I had left behind, but only very faintly. I could hear the soft breeze that blew through the tall grass and made strange wind chime-like sounds through the giant stalks and canopies of the mushrooms. I could hear my footsteps, and hushed them; somehow thinking that I could be quieter that way. My heart began to pick up cadence when I began to think of the last pair of feet that walked through here. Took the exact steps that I’m taking now, maybe I didn’t want to know.

Hours passed. At least it seemed like hours. My feet no longer obeyed me, but rather scooted, causing obnoxious dragging sounds. My shoulders slumped and a lump rose in my throat, my mouth opened and a huge yawn escaped. I sighed and cursed silently to myself. I shouldn’t be able to push on much further. It should be dark by now, but when I looked up to the orange sky, it didn’t seem to be dimming in the slightest bit. If not anything, it actually looked brighter and paler. My stomach growled at me and I automatically shushed it, an impulse to what I usually do. I could still smell the moist earth, the fresh rain scent, but something else tainted my nostrils now. It smelled like raspberries but more bitter like grapefruit. It was faint, but strong enough for me to pin-point were it was. Not that the color didn’t stand out by itself, but off the trail in front of me was a giant bush of bright blue berries. At this point I didn’t care if they were poisonous or what they tasted like. I was hungry, even as the water continued to slosh around in my stomach and gave me the false impression that I was full. I knew that I would go hungry soon and what better time than now to gather food? It might be days until I find food again. Without thinking twice, I leaped forward, excitement in me and began to pick at the bush.

I grabbed one delicately between my thumb and forefinger. I stared at it, not sure if it would suddenly grow teeth and eyes and bite me. Maybe it would in this strange place or maybe the cartoons I watch are getting to me again. After I had enough time staring at it, I popped it into my mouth. I felt its strange sand-papery texture with my tongue, tasted the skin of the berry before I bit into it. A burst of some sort of fruity flavor gushed into my mouth, and tingled my taste buds. It was the most flavorful thing I had ever tasted and I wanted more. I couldn’t exactly point out what it tasted like, but it reminded me of pomegranates and honey with the sweet bitterness of chocolate.  I reached to the bush again, popping two or three in my mouth at a time. I noticed that the more I ate, the more my tongue tingled. Soon, I had completely destroyed all the berries on the bush and my stomach ceased its rude grumbling.

I continued down the trail and felt better then I had been before. Better then I had ever felt. I seemed to be walking faster and faster. The wind of my momentum blew at me and caused a strange electrical jolt that sent me flying. I ran but I didn’t feel tired. I actually felt more energetic with each step. I felt like I was flying. I couldn’t feel anything, like I was moving so fast that when my feet touched the ground, my nerves couldn’t send the information of the touch to my brain fast enough. All I could feel was this strange pulsing in my body and my chest heaving with each even breath and the wind blowing through my hair.  I looked down to make sure that somehow I wasn’t hovering over the ground, I wasn’t, but where did the trail go? I stopped automatically and looked. The trail was gone. Did I somehow miss a turn when I was moving so fast and I couldn’t see it in time? My breathing picked up and so did my heart. Fear of the unknown came over me. Fear of being lost in this strange place. My heart felt as if it were a jackhammer, pounding against my rib cage in a painful way.

Like a ghost in a white sheet, invisible to the most sensitive of eyes – I suddenly felt groggy; like the ghost had sucked all my sugars right out of my blood stream. My knees buckled and the world swayed to one side and I tried to step with it to not loose my balance. Then it swayed to the other side. I felt like I was in a water bottle and some one was tipping it back and forth. Suddenly I felt the surface of the ground on my knees then on the side of my face. My vision became blurry, unfocused, and my eyelids drooped. A cold rush came over me, making me shiver convulsively. A thin sheen of cold sweat coated my exposed skin and the rest of me burned. Burned so badly that I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t find my voice. I tried regaining my stance, but fell under an unseen pressure. Giving up the fight, I let my eyelids close completely. They did not reopen.

Catch up with parts one and two.

Choose My Book Cover

Which do you Like?

I’ve never been quite happy with the No Money Marketing cover, but I’ve been more focused on the inside than the outside.

I know we can’t judge a book by it’s cover but first impressions do count (which means we do judge books by their cover… hmmm…)

I’ve worked out a few alternate designs and I’d love to hear input.  Thanks to Carmen Hamm for the idea to go blue… Which do you like?

More links you make Like:

First reader review up on Smashwords – 5 stars! ;D

No Money Marketing: All You Need Is Like on Amazon for Kindle

All other digital formats at Smashwords

On the Campaign Trail

Why should the likes of Obama and Ron Paul get all the fun of being on campaign? 

Thanks to Rachael Harrie of Rach Writes many bloggers and authors will be participating in a campaign to support each other from August 22 to October 31.

I’ve never participated in anything like this before so I’m game to get going.  If you’d like to join you’d better hurry and sign up because last I looked there were already over 100 participants.  From what I hear, it’s a blast!

To introduce myself to my fellow campaigners:  My name is Angela Yuriko Smith.  Last May 2011 I published a paranormal fiction titled End of Mae.  I’ve had a lot of fun testing creative marketing techniques on End of Mae, the results of which I just published in my second book: No Money Marketing: All You Need Is Like.  My marketing had to be virtually free and effective.  And go beyond the usual ‘use Twitter and Facebook’ advice ;p

Right now I live in Australia with my husband but we are preparing right now to go to the US.  I’m excited to be joining the campaign trail!  ;D

Xtreme Publishing for Xtreme Thrills

Now that I’m published twice I have to say that it is the most exhilarating roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on.

Yesterday I released my marketing book with moderate expectations.  I expect it to do well because the information is unique and practical.  I certainly didn’t expect anything dramatic.

Within six hours of it being officially for sale I took a peek at my stats to find that I was in the top 100 bestselling marketing books on Amazon.  I was in such shock all I could do was stutter with adrenaline and dreams of wealth racing thru my brain.  We went for a walk to calm down, and by the time we got back I had slid down three spots.  As America went to bed I watched myself slide off the list, my heart sinking with my rank. 

Talk about a rush!  Of all the exciting things I have done in my life few can compare with watching Amazon stats.  Since they are updated hourly, you can really watch yourself climb to the top and plunge to the bottom within a few hours.  The same thing happened recently when I climbed 312,000+ ranks in two days with End of Mae.  I was so excited and had visions of fame and fortune for days before it dropped back down to a normal level.

I’ve read critics of the ebook revolution saying that it’s full of spam books, collections of blog posts with little practical info in hopes that the author will score big fast.  I know that there is some of that out there because it’s in my Kindle right now, but I don’t think it’s the norm.  As people with big expectations to get rich quickly realize that this isn’t the way, they will drop off the map and go seek easy money elsewhere.

The rest of us that write for other reasons will still be here.  I write because the connection between my fingers and my brain work much faster than the connection that runs to my mouth.  Often what I’ve typed tells me what I’m thinking rather than the reverse.  I write because I have to.  It is the one thing that throughout my life has been there for me no matter what.

I’ve studied to be a hairdresser.  I’ve gotten my realty license.  I’ve been to three different colleges.  I’ve worked in various industries from horticulture to restaurants.  I’ve been homeless, and I’ve been wealthy.  The one thing that is a dependable constant for me are words.  You can lose everything you have in the world, but no one can take away your words. 

That being said, I am still really stoked about my new book and am very excited to see what happens when I actually start promoting it.  Sign me up for more xtreme authoring adventures.  Whether I’m soaring to the top or plunging to the depths it is turning out to be an exciting ride.  As I’ve heard people much cooler than me say, “This s*#%s real!”

Authors that have sold one million ebooks:

E-Books Sell One Million Copies: Girl with Dragon Tattoo vs. The Help

John Locke: First Indie Author to Sell 1 Million ebooks Combined

Amanda Hocking Makes Millions on Kindle