"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How I Blog

I hear the groans now, but please bear with me. The last thing I ever intended to do when I began this blog was blog about blogging, but I assure you, there's a method to my madness. As I've fallen in with more writers and bloggers in recent months I've found myself explaining my blogging methods repeatedly, so much so that my fingers are getting tired. So I decided it was time. It's time to write the dreaded blog about the hows and the whys of the blogging habits I've developed. 
Any of my regular readers know, if they've bothered to notice, that I blog on a (somewhat flexible) schedule. In general, my blog articles are scheduled in advance to post on Sunday morning at 8:00. There are times that I veer from that schedule, but I'll get to that later. Suffice it to say I'm fairly consistent in my blogging practices and it seems to suit my readers and me quite well. First I'll explain to you why I do it, then I'll explain to you how I do it.

The "Why" of It All:

When I first began blogging, I found myself full of ideas and wanting to share them and would post randomly any old time I was struck with inspiration. Then I got busy in other areas of my life and went an entire month without a single post.

I found I was giving in to practices I'd seen happen to many blogs. The blogger loses interest, or forgets, or just fails to find the time to blog in any sort of reasonable period. That, my friends, is the easiest way to lose your following.

If you lose your motivation to write your blog, your readers will quickly lose their motivation to read it. Sure, they may still show up as followers; they may even still receive emails telling them to visit your blog. The question is, are they reading it? You could have a million followers, but if your followers aren't readers, who cares?

At some point early in 2011 I decided it was time to schedule myself "blog time" and stick to it. Easier said than done. However, blog sites offer this wonderful feature that allows you to pre-program your posts. That means when I have all sorts of inspiration, I can bang out two, three, or four posts in an afternoon and schedule them to post based on my schedule. It also means I can draft "spares" and save them for those weeks when I simply do not have the time to deal with the blog.

The happy side effect of this is that virtually all of my blogging stress is now gone. I have a set deadline for every article and I have structure. You see, I'm not naturally organized; I have to work at it. By giving myself a deadline and a schedule, I force myself to remain organized.

The "How" of It All:

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I schedule my posts for Sunday morning at 8:00. Why that day and time? Because even if I have no time during the week, I can usually find a couple of hours on Saturday to sit down and write a post last minute if I need to do so (as I am currently doing with this one*). I also find that it's a great way to spend a Sunday morning. I wonder how many of my readers get up at whatever time on Sunday and spend a few minutes over their morning coffee perusing their favorite blogs and websites. I can tell you that I get quite a few hits throughout the day on Sunday and on Monday mornings.

Are you one of them? Let me know by leaving a comment. I'd love to know your reading habits so I can offer you more of what makes you return.

Now my blog has become a bit more diverse in the time since I started it, so I keep a schedule in my planner that tells me on which date I posted each entry. Because I tend to post crochet patterns, recipes, my own writing, and articles about my favorite pet project, the Kindle All-Stars, I have quite the realm from which to draw.

The last thing I want to do is beat my readers over the head with the same thing every week, so the calendar gives me a spot where I can say, "Okay my last recipe went up on this date and I'd rather not post more than one each month, so this one can go here..." You get it? I'd rather spread out and give you a little nibble here and there of each topic.

Yes, there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. April is National Poetry Month. I enjoyed dedicating that month to poetry this year. I like poetry. I write terrible poetry, but I still have a mind to share that love. Will I post nothing but poetry in April of 2012? I don't know. I haven't yet decided that.

A wonderful exception: A writer friend (Tony Healey) asked if I would post chapters of his latest novel in advance of its release. Of course, but we decided rather than post a month of chapters on Sunday mornings, we'd do a special mid-week edition instead. That series is coming soon.

Holiday exceptions: July 25, commonly known to retailers as "Christmas in July," fell on a Monday this year, so I posted on Monday instead. The same held true for Halloween because I wanted to "treat" my crochet-inclined readers to free patterns on each of those two days.

You see, even if you choose to blog on a schedule, there's no need for rigidity because, after all, it's still your blog. It's your path. Follow it as you see fit and figure out what works for you.

Sunset in Rimersburg, PA courtesy of Valerie Lapcevich

Happy Blogging!

*This post was inspired by a question from a pal on twitter after I made an offhand comment about blogging on a schedule. I knew there was no way possible to explain my habits in 140 characters, so I decided to delay the post I had originally planned for today. Incidentally, that tweep was writer Susan Smith-Josephy (@SuSmithJosephy).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guest Post from My "Little Bro"

David Hulegaard is a dear friend of mine. I've said more than once that I'd walk through fire for him. I lovingly refer to him as my "little bro" for many reasons: He's the same age as my younger brother, give or take a few months; he's a gamer, just like my little brother; and he's one tough cookie with a soft, warm heart, just like my real  brother. 
You see, if not for David, I would not have met Bernard Schaffer, the founder of the Kindle All-Stars Project. If not for David, I would not have been given this insanely wonderful opportunity to work with the most amazing group of people it has become my pleasure to know. If not for David, I would not be proofreading and editing for some outrageously talented independent authors. Our mutual respect and affection speaks volumes in this age of disconnection and discontent. 
So, when David mentioned he needed a post for his blog, I offered up my services in the form of an interview spotlighting my work with the Kindle All-Stars Project. The post actually benefits us both. It fills a gap in David's blog and it gives me a bit of exposure to readers who might otherwise not see my work. 
Now, as I've been too crazy busy to offer you all something meaningful to read this beautiful Sunday morning, I'm stealing back that interview which David posted on his blog a few days ago. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you take a moment to visit David's blog as well. 
Help support the Kindle All-Stars Project. Get your KAS gear here.
photo by Bernard Schaffer

Working with all the fantastic people that comprise the Kindle All-Stars project was like a dream come true for me. As a new writer, in the professional sense, it’s intimidating trying to get “out there,” and even after a full year of doing it I still don’t always know where I’m going. A lot of time as an independent author is spent waiting for the next opportunity to come along. Anthologies are a great place for an unknown writer to land and show off their work.

What I realized while getting to know some of the other authors involved with this project is that there are some amazing people out there that deserve to be more well-known than they are. Though I am proud of the work I have done, let’s be honest, I’m still a little unseasoned. It becomes painfully apparent when I read the words of people like Richard Roberts, Natasha Whearity, Tony Healey, Courtney Cantrell, and William Vitka. I talk to them and interact with them on Twitter daily. Not only are they incredibly talented writers, but they are friendly, pleasant, and always happy to discuss our craft. Imagine my surprise to find that the majority of these writers have less than 100 followers on Twitter. That’s just not right.

Sure, the Kindle All-Stars project has some big names attached to it, but you already know them. Who you don’t know is Laurie Laliberte. As hard as everyone worked to make this project become a reality, no one was more essential to its release than Laurie. She started out just like the rest of us—an aspiring writer looking for an outlet to share her story. But before it was all said and done, Laurie became the backbone of the entire project and earned a lifetime of respect from every person involved.

Why? How? I thought it would be best to let Laurie tell you in her own words. It’s my pleasure to have her as a guest on my blog today. Not only is Laurie my contemporary, but she’s also a dear friend. I am proud to know her, and it’s my honor to introduce her to you.

What was it that first attracted you to the Kindle All-Stars project?

I got involved for a purely selfish reason: my desire to publish. In my defense, I got involved with this whole project a day or two before Bernard made the decision to donate the proceeds to charity and I wholeheartedly embraced that idea. My KAS story is my first published fiction piece. I figured I’d take a chance and send Bernard my manuscript. I was in shock when I got the email back telling me he loved my story “except…” then the editing began. 

You have two pieces of work featured in the book, but let’s start with your short story, “Fear of the Dark.” Why did you choose this story for your submission?

“Fear of the Dark” was one of those pieces that’s sat, literally, for years. Every so often I’d pull out the manuscript, give it a quick once-over, maybe tweak it a little and then tuck it away again. It’s similar to the way I’ve always handled my resume, whether I’m job hunting or not: I keep it up to date just in case I need it. I published “Fear of the Dark” on my blog earlier this year (under the title “Prey”) and it was the one piece in my fiction arsenal that I knew was closest to publication-ready. Additionally, it’s a story I’ve always loved and the one I’ve most wanted to see published.

I pulled “Prey” when I submitted it, but its sister piece, “Predator,” is still on my blog in pretty rough condition. 

Most of the authors featured in this book that I’ve spoken to have all mentioned the edited process as their biggest challenge. What was it like for you?

Yeah, because I got on board so early in the project, I’ve had the opportunity to see Bernard Schaffer in action, both as a writer and an editor. He’s a tough editor, but he’s even tougher on himself. That said, I found Bernard’s editing process very easy. Most of the authors with whom I’ve spoken would not say that. I’m my own worst critic. I was also blessed with a few teachers in high school and in college who were terrific writers and extremely demanding editors, so I developed a very thick skin when it comes to my writing being critiqued by others. No amount of constructive criticism can bring me down. It simply motivates me to improve. I actually said to one of my college professors, “Stop telling me what’s right. Tell me what’s wrong so I can fix it.” That was the last college course I took.

My biggest editing challenge was leaving the story alone. After it went through its final edit, I closed the file and swore I wouldn’t look at it again. About a month later, I sent the file to a buddy, another KAS author. I reread it then, absolutely hated it, and ended up completely rewriting and resubmitting it. I’m really glad I did because I’m thrilled with the final product. 

Would you describe yourself as a perfectionist or a tinkerer when it comes to finalizing your work?

I am most definitely a perfectionist, a control freak. Until I began working with Bernard, I wasn’t much of a tinkerer. Once I get a first draft down and have a direction set in my mind, I don’t really mess with it a whole lot. I take that piece or premise and expand it to get it “just so.” The benefit of working with an editor like Bernard, who is such a good writer in his own right, is that he helped me see what else could be done with this story and then set me loose with a different mindset than I originally brought to the project. He reminded me that, when it comes to writing, your only limitation is yourself and I was limiting myself. I think I was too close to this piece and rather than letting go and letting the story develop, I was holding it close and smothering it a little. Once I loosened my grip, I found the story had such potential and that’s when it really blossomed. It was emotionally draining at first, but now I’m so glad I did it because it’s definitely the best piece of fiction I’ve written to date. 

What does “Fear of the Dark” mean to you personally?

Wow, first the obvious: I’m terrified of the dark. I’m not as bad as I once was, but that fear is still there. I had a lot of nightmares as a kid, but the one that scared me the most, that I carried into adulthood, is the one that’s described in the story. I still have that nightmare occasionally. I no longer live alone, but when I did, I had night lights in almost every room of my apartment.

“Fear of the Dark,” as a project, is about me embracing, owning, and then letting go of my fears. It was really therapeutic for me. Of course, you’d have to know me to get that from reading the story. 

When you first began work on your story, were there any real life elements that wound up sneaking their way in?

The biggest part of the story, the walk home from the bus stop in the dark, was the inspiration. The thought that kept me from losing my grip on my way home that night was, “I’ve got to absorb every detail, because when I get home I have to write this down.” I think I wrote the first draft the next day in all of an hour.

Every major element in the story came from my real life experiences: my own fear of the dark, the nightmare, the upstairs neighbor, even the magazine article mentioned in the story. They weren’t all presented as they occurred in real life, but they all came from real places. Even Antonio answering the door in nothing but his boxers. There’s so much of me in this story that when discussing it with my friend David Hulegaard after it was done, I told you I felt “skinned and gutted” by it. 

How would you describe “Fear of the Dark” to a new reader about to sink their teeth into it?

A woman steps off a bus to find herself in the middle of a blackout. The story takes you with her on her trip home… and just a bit further. It’s written in the third person, but it’s very much a stream of consciousness story line that bounces a bit in the way that your mind would wander on a walk in the dark. 

Your second piece in the book is a short essay called “We are All-Stars.” What has this project meant to you?

I really haven’t stopped to let myself think about that too much because every time I do I get completely overwhelmed. I mean, how many first time authors can say their work is appearing next to two living legends, their favorite living author, and a group of writers who’ve become very close online friends? How many people have the good fortune to recognize that they’re potentially making history? It’s just too much for me to process. Ask me five years from now and I’ll be able to answer that question, but I can’t right now because I don’t even know. This Project has the potential to literally change lives. It’s already changed mine. 

How did you get from Laurie Laliberte, author of “Fear of the Dark,” to Kindle All-Stars second-in-command, La Consigliera?

Divine Providence? Dumb luck? Karma? Fate? Call it what you want to call it, it all boils down to being in the right place at the right time and answering the right tweet.

The morning after I got Bernard’s email telling me my story was officially part of the project, he tweeted that he was trying to put together a team to handle publicity. I responded. He told me to contact his point person, and we’d work from there. With 20 years in retail and a few years running my own online business, I had plenty of experience selling and dealing with social media. That, and Bernard and I just clicked. I like to think we’ve become friends. I went from offering a few suggestions about handling interviews and twitter to running interference right down the line. My biggest problem is that I have a difficult time saying no to certain people, and Bernard is a person to whom everybody has a difficult time saying no, so dealing with him in that respect is like a double whammy for me. There’s only one thing he’s asked of me that I refused and it’s more a postponement than a flat out no.

Incidentally, the nickname “la Consigliera” came about because Bernard was asked in an interview to describe my role in the KAS. He said he was the Don but I was the Consigliere, the one you really had to watch out for. Smart man. 

Do you have any favorite stories in the anthology that you’re hoping readers will home in on?

That’s a tough one because I really don’t want to play favorites, but I do have a few I really love. Out of fairness, I’d rather not name names.

Bernard sent me a handful of pieces to read because we were getting close to the wire and asked me to vote yes or no on them. One in particular blew me away. I emailed him with the writer’s name and a note that said, “If I have to, I’ll fight you to the death to make sure this piece gets in.” Another made me sob when I read it the first time; one infuriated me; one made me laugh hysterically. A few have gotten under my skin to the point that I absolutely had to read more of each author’s work. I think our readers will react in a similar manner. Every piece in this book has merit and deserves to be a part of this anthology. And I think every writer will find new fans when all is said and done. 

Now that you’ve had a taste of this whole book publishing process, what’s next for you? Will you write more stories?

I will continue to write; I would anyway, but this whole thing has really rekindled my love of writing fiction. I’ve got about a zillion ideas rattling around in my brain right now. One of which I really want to pursue either as a novel or a series of novellas. However, I’ve found, through all of this that I really enjoy the proofreading/editing/publicity angle, so I’m planning on continuing that as well. I’ve already been doing that for a couple of years, just not with fiction writing specifically. 

Looking back, what would you say was your favorite part of being involved with this project?

The learning experience would have to be my first because I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time. But I wouldn’t change any of it. I’ve met so many people, forged friendships, working relationships, possible partnerships. I tweeted a few days ago that the toughest part for me will be not being in touch with Bernard every day. Yeah, it’s not going to be easy for me when we’re done here. I don’t even want to think about it. My mantra through all of this has been a line from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Fire bad. Tree pretty.” 

Want more? Visit Fringe Scientist and see read my interview with Tony Healey of the Kindle All-Stars and contributing author of the short story "Redd."

David K. Hulegaard is the author of two Novels: The Jumper, which is currently available, and Noble, a revamped version of which will be released soon. His short story "Mabel" is featured in the forthcoming Kindle All-Stars Presents: Resistance Front. If you are interested in reading and reviewing a beta copy of this book, please contact me at KindleAllStars@gmail.com for further details.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Letter Home -- Thank You

On Memorial Day I talked about my father and what little I know of his service in the Navy. Today, I want to offer a simple, humble thank you to all the men and women who sacrifice so much for the freedoms we all enjoy.
This song is performed by the sister of an old acquaintance and former Bostonian. Her name is Gina Gonzalez and she toured for the USO with Gary Sinese's Lt. Dan Band a few years back. I've never had the pleasure of meeting Gina, but her brother Rob is equally talented and a joy to know. I can't think of a better way to say thank you than to offer this, one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, as a tribute. (Thinking of you, Sharon.)

A side note: I will not be offering up my usual Sunday morning post for your reading pleasure this week (although it is possible I'll have a guest blogger). I simply won't have the time as I'm in the midst of proofreading the 536-page tome that is the Kindle All-Stars Presents: Resistance Front. I'll be back with a vengeance next week.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Mid-Week Post? Whaaa?

I know. I KNOW! I so rarely break schedule, but this is so important to me. It's a call to arms. I'm looking for volunteers to read advance copies of the Kindle All-Stars Presents:  Resistance Front anthology. I actually have TWO pieces featured in the book. One was DEMANDED by our editor, Bernard Schaffer, at the eleventh hour. (What can I say? I can't say no to a handsome face. LOL)
Anyhow, details are below, but I need to add that the manuscript is about 540 (double-spaced) pages. I'm proofreading it now and can have it in your email by Thursday, November 10. Great reading for the holiday weekend!
I may be biased, but I am amazed by the talent of the authors in this collection. It's such an immense honor to be counted among them.

If you are interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy of Resistance Front, please email me at KindleAllStars@gmail.com so I can put your email on file.

**Your email will NOT be shared. Furthermore, it will be used for this one purpose and discarded. You will NOT be flooded with spam.**

Here are the basics:

1.  When we are ready to share it (within the next 2 weeks), the ARC will be sent to you in .doc format.

2.  We're asking you to read it and pre-write a review (more on that in a minute).

3.  On the day the book goes live on Amazon, we will send out emails, tweets (with the hashtag #ResistanceFront), and post to facebook to alert everyone involved. We would like you to purchase the book for 99 cents on Amazon and post your review.
If you've pre-written it, you'll just need to copy and paste.
After Amazon's fee, the remainder of your 99 cents goes directly to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The book should be live during the last week of November or the first week of December. When concrete dates are available, they will be posted here.

Then you're done. Your purchase on Amazon is like any other ebook, in .mobi format, readable on any Kindle device.

If you have any questions not answered here, please direct them to me at the email address above.

I have a few more surprises coming up too, so you can expect the unexpected from me over the next couple of months including some book giveaways, exclusive interviews, and other KAS-related goodies.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guest Post from a Fellow Kindle All-Star

Frank Zubek is an online buddy of mine. We met a couple of months ago when we both began work on the Kindle All-Stars Project. As a writer, he's very passionate about the state of the writing industry today as well as our nation's reading habits. I asked him for permission to post this essay when he sent along a draft copy of it a while back. It appeared originally in his blog a couple of weeks ago. I'm in the process of re-editing Frank's novella, Charlie's Corner and it will be re-released soon. In the meantime, check out Frank's blog. 

The State of Literacy- And The Lack Of It

By Frank Zubek

Have you bought a book or newspaper or magazine to read this week?

Or checked something out of the library?

Or at the very least, been to a used bookstore?

Why not?

Unfortunately, you’re not alone. Here are some depressing numbers.

America has an estimated population of over three hundred million people.

If we discount very young children, text happy teens, people who watch television and senior citizens, there are, by my personal estimate, just under fifty million people in America who can read. Many of them make enough money to afford to buy books and if not- they certainly have access to a library.

And yet, they don’t read. At least not according to the numbers that I dug up. At best maybe a few million people read for entertainment.

Here are a few examples:

Only a handful of the most popular magazines out there boast monthly circulation numbers of up to ten million.  A few dozen barely have circulation numbers in the upper six figures. Here is a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_magazines_by_circulation (and you might find it interesting that this link features the circulation numbers of magazines from around the world- a world with a population over six billion people).

Another example for you: A few of the most popular newspapers claim circulation numbers of three million daily readers.


And yet I wonder just how much of any newspaper is read from front page to back?
Aside from skimming a headline or two from the front page or metro section, I think the most read portions of any newspaper in any part of the world are: Sports, obits, comics and the coupons.

Are you shocked? I think you should be.


Dozens of magazines folded this year and an entire bookstore chain closed down (Borders). I have no easy answers nor am I an expert on the industry. I’m just a humble Cleveland writer with a couple of e-books to my name. But I am concerned about the next generation and I want to do something.

I am well aware that there are a large number of distractions out there that are more fun to do than read. Television, sporting events and electronic games just to name a few.

And I’ll admit that books aren’t for everybody.

And yet I still feel that the number of people who read for entertainment purposes is far below what it should be (when compared to the numbers of sports fans or fans of any number of popular television shows).

Of course, there are excuses for NOT reading and I’m sure that you’ve heard them.

EXCUSE NUMBER ONE: Books are too expensive. And I’ll grant you that. But most major cities have good used bookstores nearby. If you prefer shopping online Amazon has a used book selection.

I’m sure with a little bit of sacrifice, you can find the money you need for a book. Maybe skip a box of smokes one week or buy a book instead of those lottery tickets?

EXCUSE NUMBER TWO: I don’t have time to read a book.

It seems to me that more people seem to find the time to make up excuses NOT to read than they do to simply make time to read. I find that sad.

But allow me to poke holes in that excuse also.

By reading a book just fifteen minutes a day, you should be able to finish an average book of three hundred pages in no time. (Your reading speed may vary)

Sure, reading a book is a solitary experience. And maybe that’s another reason why people avoid it. When it’s just you and three hundred pages full of words it can be a bit intimidating.

But that’s still no excuse.

I understand that being at a football game or in a movie theater is more comfortable. It’s a communal experience.

So why not read with the family/kids/friend? Read aloud or take turns reading? Especially with kids as it will help them with their grades in the long term.

EXCUSE NUMBER THREE: I prefer shorter stories.

No problem. There are plenty of short story anthologies out there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_magazines

Go to a Barnes and Noble store and ask them about Tin House or Glimmer Train or Zoetrope. Any one of these magazines features a good number of interesting short stories, essays and poems.

If you’re not sure where in the store these books are located- ask the clerk. Most will be happy to help you out because they want to make the sale.

If money really is a problem- why not ask the library and see if they can get one or two literary magazines in their catalog? You never know until you ask. And even if their budgets do no allow for new purchases, many literary magazines allow for subscriptions.

If nothing else, the library has thousands of copies of various anthologies.

Can you handle at least a thousand words in one sitting? Check out free short stories here:


We all suffer from it at some point in our life.

Are you shy about being seen with an actual book in your hand?

I understand that. So why not invest in a Kindle? Or a Nook? (Check Barnes and Noble)

It’s the newest toy (people love toys- people get jealous if YOU have a toy and they don’t) and both are affordable to most budgets. Even these days! Hell, even I have one! And I’m broke!

Once that’s done there are a few hundred thousand books available on Amazon or through Barnes and Noble that you could choose from that start at 99 cents. Even more are free! Do a little homework!

Not sure what to get? Amazon books have starred reviews from honest customers. So the more three, four and five starred reviews a book has, the better your chances at a great reading experience!

If you prefer some pictures to go along with your reading material, may I suggest…

They aren’t “just” for kids anymore. In fact Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and many libraries carry a wide variety of them now. And they come in graphic novel form now- so you can read an entire story arc in one sitting and not wait month to month for the story to unfold. And comics are no longer JUST super heroes these days. You will be shocked at the variety.

And if you have an iPad- some comic book companies have made certain comics they publish available through APPs.

By the way- short stories are a great source of material for Hollywood.

Were you aware that many movies were made from short stories? Yep! Check out the list here in this link. After you see the film- make the effort to read the source material!


Okay, so now we have a book or magazine in hand.


Books can be read at more places than “just” the beach.

You could read on the subway to and from work.

Taking the bus? Get that book out of the briefcase or purse and start reading.

Audio books. The library has a variety available. The classic cassettes, CD’s as well as digital formats


Does the lawn need to be cut this weekend? Make your kid cut the lawn for you and sit down with an ice tea and catch up on a novel (or magazine article)

Don’t have kids? Call up the neighbor and give THEIR kid a few bucks for the chore. Meantime- YOU can sit back with an ice tea and catch up on that magazine article you’ve been meaning to look at.

Instead of Letterman or Leno- catch up on that novel-
Did you know that their shows have twenty minutes of commercials? IN fact ANY one- hour TV series you watch has twenty minutes of commercials. If you watch just one show a week that’s over an hour and a half worth of reading per month!
So instead of surfing around the 350 available channels on your overpriced cable subscription, hit that mute button and read for seven minutes until your show returns.

Bored with the treadmill at the gym? Set it for a slower speed and read a book or magazine while getting in shape! (Or if you want to look cool- this is where those Playaway audio books come in handy. Another idea- take a Playaway Audio Book with you when you ride your bike)

Waiting for the wife while she’s shopping? A book or magazine is a great way to kill time.

And finally, there’s always the bathroom. (Just be sure to wash your hands afterward!)


So you see? You really haven’t got any excuse for not reading.

Again- I don’t have all the answers. But I find it sad that the numbers I’ve discussed here are accepted as the standard for the industry.

In fact, the industry itself seems to accept these numbers as “the standard”.

I wish I knew how to spread the word and get people more active in the enjoyment of reading. Because the industry could sure use the boost and so could the economy.

In fact, this essay hasn’t really got a proper ending.

Nor should it. Because the fight for literacy is an ongoing process-and we’re losing!
Just ask a Borders employee. Yes, the literary landscape has certainly changed in the past few years.

For one thing- Borders is closed.

For another, libraries are now used more for the computer access and video selections than for the books.

And e-books, once thought of as a fad, are fast becoming an industry in and of itself.

Truth be told- I love the traditional books as well as the e-formats. I do not support the theory that e-books will wipe out paper books. For one thing, it’s THANKS to the e-format that literacy numbers have jumped the past few years. And isn’t that the point?

Thousands of years ago stories used to be told around campfires at the end of the day and now they are told both on paper as well as electronic devices.

It’s the SHARING of the story that originated from someone’s imagination that matters. We need to keep that alive- not fight about the downfall of paper books because of electronic ink.

People are READING!

Let’s keep focused on that okay?

Now go out there and spread the word! Post this on your blog!

Mass E-mail it to friends of yours who read.

E-mail it to a few who don’t. Print a copy or two and mail it to someone you love.

In fact, the Holidays are upon us again and I bet you’re stuck for a gift, right? How about a gift card to a bookstore for a friend? (Because maybe things are tight for them financially and you know they love reading)

Were you also aware that Neil Gaiman has suggested a new tradition for Halloween? It’s called “All Hallows Read”     http://www.allhallowsread.com/extras/
Give someone a scary book to read for Halloween. This way they get a treat and not cavities.

Do you have more ideas or are you aware of other people and places spreading the word? Feel free to chime in here and post it below. Please add more ideas to this post as you see fit.

In fact- I hereby grant you permission to copy/paste this and post it on your blog. If you like, e-mail me and I’ll grant you an interview to go along with it. Just send me a list of questions.

Lets spread the word about literacy. Because I’m well aware that it’s going to be mostly people who DO read who will read this. It’s up to all of US to get people who don’t read BACK into the habit.

I can be reached by e-mail frank.zubek@yahoo.com
My Blog: www.whatbrickwall.blogspot.com/
And also twitter @frankzubek

Thanks for your time and for sharing this essay.