It isn’t that Trump won that has me worried

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I can’t believe I just uploaded this picture. I can’t believe the words “President Elect Donald J. Trump” actually exist.

On Tuesday night, election night in the USA, I was headed back to Canada after a week-long conference in Orlando. It was a long day of travelling as my wife and I left our hotel at 6:30 AM to arrive for our flight three hours early as Delta had suggested. It gave us a lot of time to begin watching the pre-vote analysis. We flew to Atlanta and then to Minneapolis. By the time I hopped on a plane at 7:30 PM for the final flight back to Saskatoon, the returns were coming in. And for the next 2.5 hours, I watched the drama unfold 32,000 feet below me. I just kept reloading the #electionnight hashtag on Twitter, stunned by the fact that Donald Trump was actually winning.

People were losing their minds with each announcement that Trump had carried a state. Gnashing of teeth, social media style. It was, in a word, surreal. It still is, actually.

And look, you know what you get with Trump. He’s going to do what he’s going to do until he changes his mind five minutes from now and does something opposite. He’s unpredictable. He’s a reality TV star who suddenly became the President of the United States after running probably the most disastrous, racist, misogynistic, gaffe-filled campaign I’ve ever seen in my life.

But it isn’t the fact he won that has me worried. No, it’s the fact that people voted for someone who was facing a civil trial after being accused of raping 13 year old girl back in 1994.  (She just dropped her case, BTW.) And everybody knew this when they voted for him. It’s the fact that his boorish, bullying behavior; a nightly feature on the evening news, didn’t stop people from voting for him. Or the fact that he’s totally cool with grabbing women by the genitalia the way that we grab avocados in the grocery produce department. Or the fact that he flippantly suggests that nuclear weapons are always an option. I could go on … everybody knows that Trump is, frankly, a rich white douchebag who doesn’t pay his taxes.

But he won. He defeated Hillary Clinton against all the predictions of pollsters and pundits.

And what worries me is that when people elect someone who they know is dangerous. When they throw their support behind someone who was accused of raping a 13 year old girl and who thinks grabbing women by the pussy is fine and dandy, it tells me that folks are desperate for change.

Desperate people do desperate things. They did it in Germany in 1933. Hitler seized power after he was democratically elected. Trump could, conceivably, do the same. Republicans now control the House and the Senate. As a political junkie, it’s frightening to think that Trump now has the power to push through laws that could increase his hold over America if he chooses to.

I think it’s important to point out that folks who voted for Trump are not imbeciles who fell head first out of the back of a turnip truck. These are men and women who were fed up and wanted change. These are people who, for a multitude of reasons, the political process in the United States has failed. Yep, they are white. Yep, they feel disenfranchised … but they got out the vote.

(And by the way, up here in Canada, our political system ain’t exactly working out for everyone. People here are also fed up. We just chose to elect a hipster who likes to hug people and photobomb weddings as our Prime Minister.)

A couple of things stand out about election day in the USA. First is a conversation between two African-American women I overheard while in Orlando. One of the women said, “Either way we are screwed. With Hillary we’re going to get The Hunger Games and with Trump it’s going to be The Purge.”

The second thing is the American man standing in line at Canada customs in Saskatoon who was literally beaming with the news that Trump had won. His industry had shut down. He was facing job loss. Many of his friends had lost their jobs. He said, “Now that Trump is in, we’re going to get to keep our jobs. It never would have happened with Hillary.” I just politely smiled and nodded my head.

It shouldn’t have come to this, but it did. It’s a lesson for everyone who loves democracy and it is a lesson for people in government all over the world today: the democracy can come back to bite you in the ass.

So where do we go from here?

Nowhere for the time being. He’ll be sworn in as President in January.

What has me worried is that every great civilization throughout history reaches its pinnacle and then crumbles to dust either through internal rot or by being conquered. The internal rot can be anything: a broken political system, vice and debauchery, you name it.

I have had a niggling fear as I watched the phenomenon on Donald Trump unfold in 2016 that America might be facing that moment where it too will begin to crumble into dust. Rome has fallen … again.

I’m going to continue writing my detective novel for my agent. I’m going to shore myself up against the madness that’s about to be unleashed on the world with a healthy dose of daily creativity. Marijuana is going to be legalized in Canada next year.

Bring it. Bring all of it. We’re going to need it for the next four years. Hopefully Trump won’t blow us up between now and the next US election.

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Self-Publishing Confession: I have no idea why this book is selling – 2016 edition

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My dark fantasy thriller IMMORTAL REMAINS – A TIM REAPER NOVEL went on sale back in July and it’s been selling very well. I’m a bit perplexed as to why because, again, I’m not really doing anything spectacular in the way of book promotion. It’s published exclusively for Kindle – I decided against EPUB as the cumulative total of all my other books sold in EPUB numbers under 100 so I didn’t think I’d be losing anything by sticking with Amazon.

It’s now the last day of September, and here are my stats from good ol’ Kindle Direct Publishing for the month.

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The book has been sitting in the top-100 for Dark Fantasy now for about four weeks. It dipped out a couple of times but it always seems to climb right back up in there. I think the highest it has gone is to #19 in that category. At any rate, I’m really quite pleased with these numbers and thanks so much to whoever out there is buying my book! I’m even getting enthusiastic emails from folks wanting the second book which has a teaser at the end of this one.

Book promotion is a mystery to me. The only thing I’ve done differently from when I self-published Marshall Conrad back in 2014 is I did a Fussy Librarian promotion and one Book Sends promo just to see what happened. There was an uptick on both days that Immortal Remains was featured but nothing major – maybe 30 books each time. I’m thinking of throwing caution to the wind and trying to get a Book Bub but I understand it’s pretty hard to get your foot in the door. Oh, and I’ve also added the buying links to my other books in this one as well as a subscribe link for my newsletter. (And people are actually subscribing!)

The reviews for Immortal Remains have been the best I’ve ever received as a published author, mostly four and five stars. I think the cover art is quite good and might be helping – I did it using Canva who, I think might put all the people doing cover art on Fiverr out of business. The templates are easy, fast, stylish. I’ve had a lot of compliments on this cover. I’ve kept it at 99¢ which is likely the primary reason people are taking a chance on it, though the original price is $2.99, a bargain for an ebook IMHO. I’m a little bit afraid of bringing the price back up to $2.99 as I don’t want to lose out on any bargain shoppers who like the cover and the description enough to buy.

So, once again, I have no idea why this book keeps selling but I’m not going to complain. With a little luck these numbers will remain consistent well into October.

Anyway, if you’ve bought the book, thanks again for your support!

 

 

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Turning Back the Clock in Saskatoon

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Brad Trost, thank Odin, is not my member of parliament.  But he’s an MP in my city and even though he doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of ever becoming the leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, he’s tossed his divisive, anti-choice, anti-same sex marriage hat in the ring. And, naturally, rather than talk about what qualifies him to lead the Conservatives and possibly Canada for that matter, his approach is to talk about issues that most people whose knuckles don’t scrape the asphalt have long since moved on from, namely, his opposition to same sex marriage which, the last time I looked, has been the law in this country near about a decade.

Normally I don’t use this space to get all political but I am today. Full disclosure: I swing Conservative on most things. I’d probably describe myself as a Red Tory or someone from the old Progressive Conservative base. I’m not socially conservative – I loathe the term, actually. Because social conservatism is all about turning back the clock on things like same sex marriage and abortion. (We have solved the politics of abortion here in Canada, folks. We simply have no law so it isn’t illegal. It’s a uniquely Canadian way of dealing with a political no-win; just move onto other things.) Full disclosure again: I voted for Justin Trudeau last year in our federal election. Why? Because I got tired of the mean-spirited nature of Stephen Harper’s government in its later years. I didn’t like how they treated veterans. (I am a veteran.) I was just … tired.

But I will give credit where credit is due: one of the things Stephen Harper did exceptionally well was to purge the knuckle draggers from his party, by and large. I suspect it’s one of the reasons he was such a control freak: there has always been a strong knuckle dragger contingent in mainstream conservatism. It bugs me, but there’s nowhere for those folks to park their vote. They could start a Knuckle Dragger Party of Canada but that would only split the vote among conservatives and hand the keys of perpetual governance to the Liberal Party of Canada.

But back to Brad Trost.

He’s been getting a bit of press lately. Notably by claiming that opponents of same sex marriage are discriminated against in Canada. So there’s that. He’s also said that were he to win the Conservative leadership race that he wouldn’t repeal same sex marriage. Naturally this makes no sense to me because if he wouldn’t repeal it, why discuss it at all? Oh, right … it placates the knuckle dragger base in Canadian conservatism.

I’m not sure what bothers me more, the fact that Trost is even running to replace Stephen Harper or that the few candidates who have already declared aren’t coming after Trost for his knuckle-dragging views.

He’s an annoyance. I don’t entirely understand how he keeps getting re-elected because his two key issues (same sex marriage and abortion) have long ago been settled as national issues. I am mindful that Canada is a free country and he’s perfectly within his rights to spew forth and multiply, but it makes me uneasy that this guy is getting any kind of media traction at all. This could be symptomatic of a yawner of a Conservative leadership race, it’s too early to tell.

What I will say is that I am tired of hearing about opposition to same sex marriage. That allowing lesbians and gays to marry somehow threatens traditional marriage. (Even though heterosexual folks account for a divorce rate of around 45%. It would seem to me that straight people are the real threat to traditional marriage – they seem to be screwing it up nicely all on their own, thank you very much. God knows I did.)

Move on from this guy Saskatoon. Move on from social conservative knuckle-draggers. As our freshly squeezed, sexy, shirtless and huggy new Prime Minister would say … “because its 2016”. (Actually he said “because its 2015 but I am taking liberties here.)

Who do I want to win the leadership of the Conservatives? This lady here. Now if only she would run.

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Want a FREE copy of POLTERGEEKS? Read on!

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This was published in 2012 by Angry Robot Books now defunct YA imprint, Strange Chemistry Books. The cover looked like this way back when:

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I love the hell out of that cover. But time has passed and the rights to the book have reverted back to me, so I’ve given it a new cover that’s just as dramatic. (I think.)

 

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And of course, I’m giving away FREE copies for your Kindle or Kobo or Nook or even a dusty old Sony, but I need you to one thing for me:

Sign up for my newsletter and post  the folowing link to my NEW urban fantasy thrill ride in your FACEBOOK or TWITTER feed:

IMMORTAL REMAINS – A TIM REAPER NOVEL ONLY 99¢ TODAY ONLY! http://tinyurl.com/gpv7x9j

Oh, and feel free to comment if you like! Once I’ve got you signed up for my newsletter, I will fire off a copy of POLTERGEEKS for you.

See? And who said the last Friday of August could possibly be boring!

 

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Why I’m going full Kindle Unlimited for my Self-Published work

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Because this:

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I’ve sold less than 100 books on all Smashwords-fed book selling sites in two years of self-publishing. It’s not Smashwords fault, mind you. It’s just that Planet Earth basically owns Kindles far more than it does Kobos (I have one) or Nooks or Sony Readers. I haven’t bothered posting any Kindle sales numbers in the two years since I started self-publishing my back list, but what I can tell you is that my sales have been in the hundreds most months. I can tell you that I’ve received royalty cheques from Amazon each month that have been enough to do a car payment and I can tell you that as soon as I put my book IMMORTAL REMAINS onto Kindle Unlimited, it got a big bump.

Don’t get me wrong: I love EPUB format as much as an individual can love a digital book format, but the fact is that for me at least, my sales overwhelmingly have been over on Amazon and I don’t see any value in keeping my books in EPUB if so few people use it. It’s nothing personal Smashwords … it’s just business. Perhaps if I am fortunate enough to have a runaway bestseller and people might have heard about my books as a result, then I might migrate back to EPUB, but for the foreseeable future, I’m going to be going exclusively Kindle. If you have a Kobo or a Nook and are desperate to read my books, I will sell EPUB versions directly from this here website.

To be honest, when I did the comparison between Smashwords and Kindle numbers it really hammered home just how massive Amazon has become and just how much it really gets to dictate the future of the publishing business because it truly is a planetary-scale bookstore. I mean, I’ve done months with ZERO book promotion and I was still selling more than a hundred copies a month of a given title on Amazon. (And a big fat goose egg over at Smashwords).

So, there you have it. You win Amazon. I surrender to your infinite bigness. You are the book market. Period. Full stop. Just make sure you don’t screw me on those Kindle Normalized Pages please and thank you.

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