Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Magic Wordsmith

So the word was "cholera." I was writing a report about it. I was in a rush, and scrambling to put the finishing touches on it. I decided to work in a quiet computer lab at the university. Unfortunately, the lab wasn't empty. 
An annoyingly familiar student asked me what I was working on.
I said, "An essay on koh-LEHR-uh."
The student's face transformed into the arrogant face of a know-it-all, and he proceeded to remind me that he was a pre-med student, and that the proper pronunciation was "COLLAR-uh." Without a pause, the pre-med student then proceeded to bombard me for the next five minutes about whatever field it was that he specialized in. I believe it was gastro something or the other, and he prattled on about enzymes and tissue, or something like that. He was using fifteen-letter words only he knew, and his demeanor was more than a tad condescending.
I politely listened as I realized precious time was slipping by. After all, my cholera essay wasn't writing itself, no matter the proper pronunciation of the word.
While he rambled, I contemplated.
Finally he paused for a breath. That is when I jumped in.
"How sesquipedalian of you! You know, I used to consider myself to be a lexicographic prestidigitator, until I realized that I sounded like I was trying to be a wordy magician. Now I consider myself to be a prestidigitative lexicographer!"
His face transformed again. Only this time it looked like he was gasping a bit, and there was a glint of confusion in his rapidly blinking, watery eyes. It was priceless!
I heard a stifled laugh from a person behind him. Later I learned that she was an English major. That made sense.
I managed to finish my "COLLAR-uh" paper on time, no thanks to Mr. Pre-med! I suppose I should thank him though. In the end, it turns out that I will never mispronounce cholera again, and I have a quick story, should the need arise.


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Stephen L. Wilson
Tutor and Indie Author/Publisher

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Words On A Screen

I am tired of people who read your words on a screen, then make huge assumptions based on this tiny amount of info. How about you?



NARRATION:
A common study once determined that human communication is only 7% textual, and that the remaining 93% is made up of body language, facial expressions, gestures, voice tone and inflection and other non-verbal communication. When people are online, using keyboards to put words on a screen, they are relying on an underused 7% of communication skills to relay 100% of their message. People either do not realize this, or they choose to ignore it. Some people who communicate in chat rooms, comments, or on social media insist on taking a fraction of a persons persona that is no more than words on a screen and make tremendous assumptions about the sender.
See, the sender of information has a specific, intended meaning in mind when they go through the effort to communicate with another human . The sender communicates a message, and it is received. The receiver then has the responsibility to reasonably decode the message. Again, it is unwise for the receiver to assume that what they interpret is exactly 100% of the intended message. 

In some cases, the norm appears to be that receivers are perfectly willing to decide that the way they interpret the information is exactly the only way the sender could have meant the message. This is a problem if the receiver chooses to accept the message in a negative way without asking the sender questions, or at the very least realize that the first assumption they make PROBABLY isn't the correct, intended message. If the receiver feels threatened by the information, at times they will lash and bash, and begin a vitriolic attack on the sender.
There are many reasons why people feel emboldened to take their 7% and display themselves as ignorant, hateful miscreants, but the bottom line is that communication receivers routinely:

  1. Make assumptions about the sender's information based on their own narrow personal frame of reference
  2. Refuse to ask the sender for more information
  3. Decide that what they assumed is the only way the information may be taken
Any of these choices only serve to make the receiver a fool. After all, do you ever just walk into a room, hear a bit of a conversation, and then assume the rest about a person based on this minimal amount of information? Is this a smart way to communicate? Does this make sense to you? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then you are part of the problem, not the solution.
The next time you have the urge to take 7% of weak, underused communication skills and make narrow, small-minded assumptions, and then decide that a person is 100% of what tiny information you have gathered, then just realize this - when you belittle, name-call, insult without cause, or otherwise expose your own ignorance, YOU are the one allowing words on a screen to bother you. Instead of taking the time to either:
  1. Make other assumptions (it is the least you can do)
  2. Offer an intelligent counter viewpoint
  3. Simply ask the sender of their intent
If your response is to jump on the sender after making your own assumptions, then you are a fool. Yes, you. Quit doing this. You pollute an otherwise intelligent conversation, and waste collective time. If you have questions, or a differing viewpoint, certainly offer it. If you, however, take 7% and make it 100%, you lose. Not 'loose', 'lose'. You lose when you are a fool, and others think to themselves, "That person has issues. They let words on a screen get to them." Of course, that isn't all we think.
I realize that the nonverbal to textual study that is referenced is a bit dated, and that it represents a small sample, but here's something you need to know. More and more studies show that nonverbal to textual ratio may be more like 75% to 25%. This means that 25% is just as insignificant as 7%, since humans still rely on nonverbal communication three times more than textual communication.
Ancient Roman philosopher Epictetus is quoted as saying, "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." This may work with non-textual speech, but I contend that in modern times, the saying is closer to "We have two eyes and ten fingers so that we may gossip five times more than we observe." Combined with anonymity, this approach can lead to a quick  downward spiral which usually ends threads in any number of undignified ways. However, you aren't as anonymous as you think.
Now you are informed. There are no excuses. Only you have the power to understand the knowledge contained in this video. Only you have the power to put it to use. Now that you are aware, you have no reason to not act civil, decent and intelligent as you communicate on the internet. Hopefully you are mature enough to put this all together, and help out the rest of us.
Thank you.
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Stephen L. Wilson
Tutor and Indie Author/Publisher
Steve dot TheTutor
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Tweet me! @WilsonStephenL

Monday, June 30, 2014

I Got Bloggin' On My Noggin

It occurred to me that I have spent quite some time lately working on blogs. It feels like I have been doing this all of my life, although it has only been a couple of years. I didn't realize just how many blogs I have created. Following is a list of the most entertaining, for various reasons. There is something for everyone! Keep in mind that I also do my own artwork, sometimes on the covers of the books, sometimes on logos, sometimes as visual aids to my posts. I have created my own videos and all related material, except where otherwise noted.
http://stephenlwilson.blogspot.com/
Stephen L. Wilson
The Stephen L. Wilson blog site is my first of any note, and is what I refer to as "Stephen L. Wilson Headquarters." When I bemoan society, or observe something I feel needs to be shared, or when I am overcome by a fugue, the result usually winds up here. You will also find excerpts of my writing, interviews with authors who rock, and featured posts from my other blogs.
Tutor Steve
After a great run of tutoring at the end of this last school year, I realized that the work is a good fit for me. I find work through a company called WyzAnt. They organize my clients and help to promote my efforts. It was only natural for me to make a blog for tutoring!
http://tutorsteve.blogspot.com/
http://onlyqualityindie.blogspot.com/
Only Quality Indie
One of the things I noticed when I first began self-publishing was the number of poorly edited works floating around like so many dead fish. I was new at this whole internet publishing stuff, and I was offended by the lack of effort by some authors. I felt that they were tainting the well, so I decided to make a blog featuring Indie authors with impeccable writing.
Destiny Unfulfilled
Remember December 21, 2012 and the Mayan calendar apocalypse predictions? This book is a take on the end of the world, why it didn't happen and where we are heading as a people. It is an alternative view at creation that is disturbingly precise in its description and evaluation of the meaning of our existence. It is also the very first book I ever edited, so it shares a place on my blog list. I designed and created the cover, learned how to create an eBook and crash-coursed in self-publishing with Destiny Unfulfilled.
http://s8bp.blogspot.com/
http://nopirates.blogspot.com/
No Pirates
Just after I started blogging, a Facebook friend posted that she was having a problem with a content pirate. It seems that he was selling her work without her permission, and she of course didn't see a penny of it. What transpired in the next couple of months is worthy of publication. In fact, when I settle my muses, I plan on cranking out a good version of a modern pirate battle. This blog functioned  as an actual web log, as the name 'blog' literally indicates. Day in and day out the battle was transcribed in a blog publication; an ongoing saga for the world to see.
Image by Brooklyn Summers
Life Bits and Other Chunks: Memoirs of an untrained man
Are you familiar with Smashwords? It is a platform for self-pubbers to distribute their eBooks without some of the constraints of the bigger outlets. A unique feature I learned about was that whenever you update your eBook at Smashwords, customers are allowed to update their versions for free. This gave me the idea to create Life Bits and Other Chunks. Short stories mixed with humor, drama and insanity, this collection will continue to grow until my file is too big to upload with Smashwords. As time goes on, the price will rise. The solution? Buy early for the best deal.
http://otherchunks.blogspot.com/
http://raysrulesserial.blogspot.com/
Ray's Rules Modern Pulp Drama
When I was very young, I began to write. Later, when I was a young man, I realized that in order to consider myself a serious writer, I should at least be able to write 100 pages. If I couldn't do that, then of course I couldn't consider myself to be much of a writer. So I wrote. Ray's Rules is an experiment that blends storytelling with modern channels, based on a classic model - pulp fiction. The idea of this serial is to offer quality, cheap drama on an ongoing basis. In this tale, young Ray finds himself knee-deep in Mafia, and his grit is his best weapon.
The Festivus Experience
For years I have begged my family to celebrate Christmas the week after the rest of the world celebrates it. That way we can take advantage of huge discounts on decorations and merchandise. Each year I am dismayed as my family continues to follow traditions that don't make much sense to me. In continued protest, I cling to any hope of bringing my family to see reason. Festivus is my salvation. If not my salvation, at least a humorous poke at an expensive, commercialized holiday season.
http://festivusexperience.blogspot.com/
http://indiesinaction.blogspot.com/
Indies In Action
That horrific day at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut will stand for many of us as one of the most tragic in the history of education in America. Feeling helpless at the time, I wanted to do something to help. I created Indies In Action, and we teamed up to create a global anthology of works as a way to raise funds for charity. Authors, artists and supporters from around the world worked together to create Angels Cried as a way to bond and share our pain. In this way, we were able to act and create for a good cause. All proceeds go to charity.
Twist of Fate
Summer, 2013. Fierce storms ripped the Midwest to shreds. Once again, parts of Moore, Oklahoma were leveled. Shock and pain were the stories of the day. A request was made amongst those from Indies In Action, and we teamed up again for another international charity anthology to help the victims in the central United States. The outpouring of sympathy was uplifting. The heartfelt combination of effort and contributions let us know that we were doing the right thing. All proceeds are donated to charity.
http://tofanthology.blogspot.com/
http://fictionalhenryo.blogspot.com/
The Official Autobiography of the Fictional Henry O.
The Official Autobiography of the Fictional Henry O. is a depraved tale of a wayward youth with no chance of a way out. It is written in a purposely detailed style, and I classify it as "Creative Non-fiction." The story is a true perspective, but there are too many missing pieces to declare it as a genuine autobiography. The result is a biting, haunting tale of short-lived successes and raw observation. The story is a work in progress, but promises a great twist at the end!




Stephen L. Wilson
Tutor and Indie Author/Publisher
Steve dot TheTutor
Stephen L. Wilson at LinkedIn
Only Quality Indie
Stephen L. Wilson at Facebook
Stephen L. Wilson at Smashwords
Stephen L. Wilson at Amazon
Tweet me! @WilsonStephenL

Saturday, June 28, 2014

*BOOK EXCERPT* From the Andreas Pavel Stereobelt to the Ear Bud Society


"From the Andreas Pavel Stereobelt to the Ear Bud Society" is an excerpt from Life Bits and Other Chunks: Memoirs of an untrained man, by Stephen L. Wilson.
Available at Smashwords, Amazon and Nook. All rights reserved.  © 2013.

Free images courtesy of http://www.freeclipartnow.com
The histories of musical entertainment, communication and society have certainly seen evolutionary shifts and interactions. For example, the discovery of proteges during the Renaissance most assuredly had an impact on the development of society at the time. Rock stars in their day, maestros who were available to perform were vital to the social communication fabric of their era (Social Importance of Classical Music). Since there was no way to record their performances, people would have to physically attend the event. As a result, there developed a specific and refined way to communicate amongst the attendees. Music, communication, and society were inseparable.
Music has played an integral role in identifying cultures throughout history, and continues to do so currently. From harvest dances to military anthems, music has been used as a vital communication tool within societies. When technology began to advance at a more rapid rate following the invention of electricity, so did the development of musical technologies, communications technologies and the importance of both on the ever-shrinking global society.
Music itself has been evolving and changing in fits and starts, sometimes independent of the messages contained within it. From the days of Edison’s first phonograph until modern times there have been numerous booms and busts for music trends. It can be pretty confusing to attempt to shackle the social relevance of musical entertainment with a generalization. However, there is no denying the impact that music has had on society as a whole, from its very inception into culture.
Despite the marvelous advances and technological breakthroughs throughout the ages, I can pose the argument that until Andreas Pavel patented his invention, the “Stereobelt,” no other technological evolution has had a bigger impact on the development of musical entertainment, communication and society at the same time.
By 1972, music was clearly an established force within the very bones of society. The way music reached our societies moved quickly through the mediums of vinyl phonograph records, 8-track tapes and then cassettes. A trend which was emerging was the intimacy of music being key to this expression. Music tendencies were morphing toward a more personalized delivery. For instance, electronic engineering methods, such as the transmissions of public AM, and later FM radio stations were becoming more personally adapted, thanks to the modernization of the technologies. As a result, there was a boom of portable transistor radios that lasted from the 1950’s until into the 70s.
In February of 1972, Andreas Pavel completed his device (In Pavel's Words). He had a successful working model of his invention - a mobile, battery operated cassette player with headphones. His mechanism fit in perfectly with the cumulative social desire to personalize music, or so he thought.
For several years, Pavel enjoyed the novelty of his invention, and made attempts to promote it to various corporations and related entities. His efforts were met with smirks and denial. Not to be discouraged, the underdog Andreas Pavel decided to take matters into his own hands. On March 24, 1977, he secured a patent in Italy, where he was living at the time.
In 1978, Andreas Pavel began what became an exhausting lesson about the underdog never giving up. After being denied and scoffed at, Pavel filed for patents in several countries (Initial U.S. Patent Claim (now abandoned), Current U.S. Patent Claim). Unfortunately for Pavel, the patent process proved to be slow and ineffective for him. By 1980, Japan was mass-producing and selling Pavel’s work as the Walkman - and hard-bargaining Pavel for rights and payments. Although Pavel eventually recovered royalties and compensation in a settlement with Sony, it took twenty-three years to do so (Evidence of Pavel's Struggle). In addition, his life became an expensive roller coaster of litigation. In the end, however, Andreas Pavel is generally recognized as having invented the “Stereobelt” that we all know as the Sony Walkman.
In the decade of the 1980s, the entertainment industry was mutating and morphing into an unrecognizable beast. Once again, technology progress belched along, and the transmission of information over coaxial cable networks allowed music and television to mesh. At this point, the niche for the Walkman as a personal entertainment device lie mainly separate from the visual format. In fact, it was not unusual in the 80s to see young people dressed in fashions imitating the new and wild looks of the televised videos while absentmindedly head-bobbing to something on their Walkman. ‘The look’ was the desired expression, preferred over music for awhile. Individuality was still innocent; music still relied on personal social interaction to be an acceptable means of culturizing. Personal contact was still necessary in order for ‘the look’ to register with the social psyche. The music was secondary.
From that time until now, a virtual Renaissance has occurred in the area of digital technology, and in effect, social interaction, communication and music/entertainment. Within the span of 20 to 30 years coaxial cable has come and gone, replaced with fiber optics. Fiber optics have been one-upped by satellite transmissions. Telephones have transmogrified from a simple, specialized, useful device meant to operate within the confines of a minimal location to a Swiss army knife of social and leisurely outlets, allowing the user nearly complete freedom of environment and selection of entertainment. Music no longer stands alone as the desired type of media which can be readily accessible. Indeed, music is more commonly disregarded as secondary in relation to the popularity of videos, pictures, games and social networking as a portable necessity.
We now live in a world of pads and pods, and electronic media is here to stay. Moore’s Law (Moore's Law Explained) has proven reliable, and now a gadget the size of a deck of cards is able to process more information than rooms full of computers could in the 1970s. Almost as reliably, the personalization of music (and now virtually any kind of entertainment) has finally achieved the event horizon. Regarding social interaction, the power of the people is now shifting to the power of the individual.
The 1950s established the firm ability for society to ascertain power to alter their cultural reality. With the civil rights movements and drastic social welfare reforms, this decade demonstrated that the people, as a society, were able to impact their own destiny. In the 1960s, this new-found power resulted in an overcompensation, and too much freedom caused social backlashes and lessons that we still learn from today. In the 1970s, power of the masses introduced again to the forefront women’s rights, a focus on ethnic achievements, and a desire to challenge the status quo. All three of these decades proved powerful enough to derail social growth in its own way, and yet we seem to have recovered as a society, for the most part. We are now in a stage that I refer to as the “Ear Bud Society,” from which I am afraid we may not be able to fully recover.
Try walking through the food court in any mall, a college campus or an airport on a busy day. Count how many people have their ear buds in, cut off from society. Also include those people so engrossed with texting or gaming on their phone or electronic device that they appear to be unapproachable or detached. Their entertainment is theirs alone, not reliant on the social structure that once helped define music and communication. I have been in social environments where many of the people were engaged in conversation, but it wasn’t with anyone else in the room! Is this truly social? To an objective observer with no knowledge of electronic communications, it would seem that no communication was happening at all, and yet many people were happily interacting with virtual connections. This isn’t social communication, this is pseudo-social communication. It is this facet of the Ear Bud Society that will doom cultural structure in the end; a universally shared belief in an illusion.
Language is changing. It is truncated and interchangeable. ‘Lose’ and ‘loose’ are the same in public forums, and may someday merge into a single word for both meanings. Abbreviations now dominate communication as limits are imposed on text lengths, and time is of the essence. The illusion is that this is a more efficient way to communicate. The reality is that there is now less social motivation to improve language skills. There is a generational acceptance of this behavior to the point where even a discussion along these lines would be considered archaic to the Millennials (What are Millennials?).
As a whole, I fear that the exponential growth of technology and industry will prove to be very demon that fell from grace. What was once hailed as the obvious way to advance as a society has worked so well that now the very technology that created the digital revolution has also created the constricted interactions of people. We believe that we no longer need entertainment to help us define the  communication of others. Our faith is in the internet and satellites to deliver our very communication needs to the palm of our hands. Our individual hands. Society defines our entertainment now as blurbs and flashes of information derived from a personal position as opposed to a public position, as was the case in the past. Communication now serves as a type of entertainment as society molds its mentality to LOL, IDK and WTG. The frenzy of revolving entertainment choices has made music a lesser mode of enjoyment. Music has less social impact than before. Many would argue that this has led to a degradation of musical quality in general.
Instead of witnessing the integration of music/entertainment, communication and society, what is happening is worse than the separation of the three. The social acceptance of this separation is the death knell; the blindness that we all share as we ride this modern wave to the very edge of reason. There is little concerted effort by society to acknowledge the necessity for communication to work as a tool to integrate people. Entertainment is a cheap emotional fix and little more. Miniature adrenaline rushes as we get a high score, or engage with some jerk in a social network, or jump at a purposely startling video. All of this excitement is individual, not shared.
Unless we, as a society, reverse our tendency to indulge instead of intellectualize, we will erode and crumble. As the lack of expression and interaction becomes more and more accepted, communication will change in such a way as to be something other than necessary for the development of culture. Instead, culture will be defined by popular bits and bytes of truncated information, designed for the sole purpose of triggering the individual. Entertainment is already not accepted as a viable mode for reliable communication, for the most part. Entertainment is about individual gratification. As this isolation continues, our society will fade, to be replaced with intellectually stunted, automatonic people with no sense of community, entertainment or society as a group. When this happens, we will have crossed the event horizon, with no hope of returning.

Friday, June 27, 2014

*TUTOR POST* Trig Water Wheel Problem

PROBLEM: The top of a bucket 0.5 m high is attached to a waterwheel of diameter 2m, from which the bucket always hangs downward. The wheel sits above the river so that half of the bucket dips below the surface of the water at its lowest position. Write a function for the height of the center of the bucket (in meters) above the river as a function, f, of the angle t as measured counterclockwise from the 3 o'clock position.

The first thing I like to do is draw a picture. We have a water wheel with a diameter of 2, which means the radius is 1. The bucket is .5 tall, but only .25 is between the water wheel and where the bucket meets the water.

As our problem stands, if the water is our x-axis, then the center of our water wheel circle is 1.25 meters above the water. If the radii are all 1, then our water wheel circle coordinates look like this:
The problem is asking about where the center of the bucket is at any given point in its rotation. Well, the bucket is in an entirely different circle than the water wheel. Since the bucket always dangles downward, the positions for the bucket center look like the red marks:
Since the center of the bucket is always .25m lower than the water wheel, we can set up the new bucket center circle with the following coordinates:

We have our circle set up, but the instructions say that we need to start at the 3 o' clock position, and calculate our theta angles in a counter-clockwise direction from 3 o' clock. This means that we have to shift our circle so that the origin is at (0, 0), and the x-axis cuts the circle horizontally so that we can start in the 3 o' clock position. Notice that our radius is still 1.
 Well, hmm. Now we have a familiar looking image:
At this point we need to reflect on what we know about our sine function. The sine of an angle is the ratio of the opposite side over the hypotenuse (SOH-CAH-TOA). Since our hypotenuse (radius) is 1, then the sine of our angle is actually the measurement of our opposite side. In our model this will give us the distance above the x-axis, but we will need to add 1 to find the actual height from the bottom of the circle, or where the bucket middle meets the water.

To set up an equation, we say "y equals what?" In this case, y = sin(Θ) + 1. We now substitute f(x) for y to create our function f(x) = sin(Θ) + 1. Now we can test the function.
We know that when our bucket is at the bottom of the circle, it is 0 meters above the water. The angle for this point on the circle from the 3 o' clock position, going counter-clockwise, is 270 degrees.When we plug 270 in for theta, we have f(270) = sin(270) + 1. The answer is 0, which is what we expected.
We know that when the bucket is at the top of the circle, it is 2 meters above the water. This puts our theta measurement at 90 degrees. Does sin(90) + 1 equal 2? Yes.
We know that when our radius is even with our x-axis, our bucket should be one meter above the water. There are two places where this occurs - at sin(0) and sin(180). When we plug this into our function, it gives us the expected answer of 1.

Good luck! Find me at WyzAnt if you need tutoring.


Stephen L. Wilson
Indie Author/Publisher

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@WilsonStephenL
EMAIL.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

* INDIE AUTHORS * Do you need an interview? Great! I need blog material.


If you are interested in getting word out about your work, an interview is one way to make it happen! Please FILL OUT THE FORM if this is something you wish to explore further. Following is an example of my work, as I interviewed Rue Volley, an outstanding author and Indie success. This blog was posted on 8/10/12 under the post title "INTERVIEW: A tale of the undead?"


Rue Volley, established adult fiction, YA, and erotica author, has had a successful week. This week alone she has sold over 100 copies of her books. In this post I will attempt to get to the bottom of how she has achieved this success (aside from the obvious - extremely good writing!), so that the rest of us may make strides in that direction.

Where do you live: Ohio
Books you like to read: Anything that makes me go OH SHIT. lol
Favorite authors: Anne Rice, Cassandra Clare, James Patterson, all of my Indie author friends, massive talent there.
When you first knew you wanted to be an author: I still have not figured that out yet, I just write stories and hope for the best.
Other genres you would consider writing about: I have recently branched out into YA, paranormal of course but my heart is with my adult fiction and erotica.
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SLW: Rue, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I know that plenty of other indie authors are interested in knowing the steps you have taken to achieve your success. I noticed that Goodreads has 15 of your books listed. The oldest on the list, "Blood and Light", debuted on the list on 11/8/2010. Is this the first of your published works? And, I suppose I should ask if you consider yourself to be an"indie" author.

RV: Blood & Light was my first published book. I actually self published it before I was picked up by Vamptasy Publishing last year. I had the book out for 6 months and then I did a short in an anthology called “Red Wine” which was with Vamptasy and they took notice of me and started to talk to me about getting signed. We talked for over a month on Skype before a contract was presented, I took it to my lawyer and they checked it out and then I signed with Vamptasy and the honeymoon is still in full swing. AND I am an Indie author, I always will be regardless of whether I am on a traditional or Indie Pub. I believe in Independent arts and I try to spend as much time promoting those who do not get the exposure I feel that they should as I can. Of course my time gets tighter everyday but fortunately I have help now on my fan pages so it opens up more time for me.

SLW: What led you to write in the genre of vampire fiction/fantasy?

RV: I have always loved anything paranormal in nature. I practice in energy, have for years and I have been experiencing paranormal activity since I was 5 years old and saw my first spirit. It is embedded in me to write about it and I find it fun to not live in a box at all and fiction allows that.

SLW: Do you mind breaking down the 100+ books you sold this week? Were they mainly new promotions? Do your oldest works sell better these days, or have sales declined?

RV: My best seller is still the Blood & Light Vampire series. I have spent months promoting it and it has a good following now but it sells consistently every day. Then my erotics sell themselves, I promote them but there is a following for my type of writing so when I release a book in that genre people buy and I am grateful. As far as sales go I have been selling more each month for the past 6 months, this obviously being the biggest month so far. The truth is you get what you put into it. You have to promote and market yourself every single day. I realize that some people have full time jobs. I mean, most artists do, but before I was able to quit my job and do this full time I got up 2 hours early and did promotion and wrote, took my laptop to work and wrote and promoted on breaks and then did promotion when I got home. I kid you not when I say I work 14-16 hours a day on this now. Before it was less, because I had to leave the house, but now I am able to devote all of my time to my business - and that is another thing. A book IS your business, yours to market and yours to sell. You cannot just write a book, place it on Amazon and then kick back, unless you are Anne Rice or someone just as big. You need to do giveaways, get involved with as many networking groups as you can and market yourself. You cannot pummel people with JUST business either, or you get boring and people will block you on their feeds. Make sure to keep your personality intact. I mean, if you saw 50 ads for books. which one will you remember? The ones that say BUY ME NOW!!!!, or the ones that make you laugh? It’s an easy choice. But honestly my sales come from hard work and promotion and the fact that people like my stories, for which I am grateful.

SLW: Do you have a publisher or promoter, or do you handle that yourself?

RV: I am signed to Vamptasy Publishing in the UK. I also write under the flags of Hot Ink Press and Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. I have written series with both. As far as promotion, I head that up for myself, but I do have a team now that also handles it for me so I can write and handle my businesses here. I also have a photography business and make jewelry, so I have to have time to devote to all three. ALSO, it is IMPERATIVE that you have a publishing family online, a group of people who promote you as you promote them. It is a balanced and fair trade, and they are also your closest friends. I have quite a few on CHBB and Hot Ink as well as my home pub, Vamptasy.

SLW: Where did you publish your first eBook? Do you have a favorite outlet, such as Amazon or Smashwords?

RV: All of my books are on Amazon as well as an online bookstore with Vamptasy Publishing. My work with Hot Ink and CHBB are also on Amazon, and on their website and bookstore. Amazon (although it can have mental breakdowns from time to time) is my favorite by far. Goodreads is also so important to any author, too. I would say those two are "must do’s," if you have a book out. Smashwords offers books in all formats, so that is a plus for them, but Amazon is king for books.

SLW: Do you sell more eBooks or hard copies?

RV: I sell a ton of eBooks and the print sales go up each month. People want hard copies of their favorite books. Print still sells just slower for everyone.

SLW: Do you mind letting us know how successful your first book was in the beginning? Did it take off immediately, or did you have to work hard to get it recognized?

RV: I had to work like anyone does or should.

SLW: What sort of promotional activities do you do? What seems to work the best? What has been a waste of time?

RV: Promotions happen on Facebook in groups mostly and my fan page. I am in over 55 groups, and started and host 6 of them now. Since I write in YA/adult and erotica, I promote them separately according to their genres. I also promote my erotics mostly later in the day for adults. I constantly get updated with my sales so I know what needs to have attention paid to it, and what promotions are working. I also do giveaways at least once a month on the fan page. I research things, as everyone should do. I know what the trending posts are as far as what people pay attention to, and it is pictures first, links second and videos third. The only thing that ties with pictures is short posts, and when linking your books add the link to buy it, and perhaps a snippet of a review so it is not just you all of the time.

SLW: Bouncing around, being new, trying to find the most efficient way to sell books can be discouraging. What good advice do you have that may help those of us struggling with this?

RV: Get on a blog tour, trade your book for reviews, get your likes/tags and reviews up on Amazon, participate on your fan pages often, even if it is a funny post or a picture you like. Post in groups, network your butt off and keep pushing forward. The effort to find things is all up to you, just type it in the search bar and check it out.

SLW: How do you recommend that a new author become recognized? What is a strategy that you use now that you wish you knew when you were just getting started?

RV: It is a gradual process. Like I said before, you have to be social and network in groups. Meet as many people as possible and pay attention to the ones who promote themselves. You can pick up so much by reading posts and seeing what they are doing. The work is never done, you have to constantly be ready to do an interview, guest blog or join a new group. It’s all about be aware of everything around you and dedicating the time to it.

SLW: If there is one piece of advice you would impart to any aspiring author, what would it be?

RV: Never respond to a negative review unless they are personally attacking you, and never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough because it is a lie. ALSO…stop OVERTHINKING your stories! Write it out, and you can go back later to make changes.

SLW: Are there any other words or thoughts you have regarding how to be successful as an online author?

RV: It is up to you. I know it may sound cheesy, but it is true. If you have a great product and you believe in it, then others will too. It is all in presentation and how much time you are willing to sacrifice to it. Treat it like your child and help it grow. You have to, because you know it better than anyone else does. Set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with people who say "yes" and help you, and not those who say "no" and disappear when you need them most. I try to live in a positive light and I delete those who bring me down. I do not have time for that sort of thing. I am busy trying to climb a mountain here.

Thank you, Rue Volley, for taking the time to answer these questions. I hope that anyone reading this will be able to benefit from your success and wisdom. Keep up the good work, and thanks for being an inspiration.

If you would like to see more work from Rue Volley, or if you would like to be a fan or contact her, please use the following links:

Rue Volley Homepage:  
http://www.ruevolley.com/

Blood & Light Series, on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rue-Volley-Blood-Light-Series/166002266766880

Kindle Store on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_10?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=rue+volley+kindle&sprefix=rue+volley%2Cdigital-text%2C250&fb_source=message  


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Stephen L. Wilson
Smashwords Author/Publisher
Smashwords Home Page
Like me on Facebook
@wilsonstephenl


Stephen L. Wilson
Indie Author/Publisher

Stephen L. Wilson at Facebook
Stephen L. Wilson at Amazon
@WilsonStephenL

Friday, June 20, 2014

* BOOK EXCERPT * PLUCK YEW - THE TALE OF THE DIGITUS IMPUDICUS


"Pluck Yew - The Tale of the Digitus Impudicus" is an excerpt from Life Bits and Other Chunks: Memoirs of an untrained man, by Stephen L. Wilson.
Available at Smashwords, Amazon and Nook. All rights reserved.  © 2013.

Free images courtesy of http://www.freeclipartnow.com
It is my contention that sticking a middle finger in the air is not worthy of any sort of retaliation or punishment, and the gesture should not even be considered ‘fighting words’. In fact, gestures should be allowed unflinchingly as a First Amendment right to free speech. I will illustrate this by using examples of law, history and social observation. I will show that gestures, even combined with vulgar speech, should not be considered obscene, pornographic or illegal.
How is it that a mere gesture is offensive, anyway? The perpetrator is not physically contacting the gesture recipient. The gesture itself can be open to vast, if not countless interpretations. Even if the meaning of the gesture is mutually understood, and it is intended to be interpreted as a bodily manifestation of an insult, should the aggressor be subject to penalty on behalf of the recipient, or society in general?
The answer to the strength of the gesture lies in history. Dating back to the Greeks or even before, the middle finger, for example, is represented historically as meaning to be an insult. Aristophanes, the ancient Greek comic dramatist, mentions Diogenes using it as an insult to Demosthenes. The Romans had a name for it – “Digitus Impudicus” – the “Impudent Finger”.
Later legend and storytelling myth has it that a variation of the gesture was used during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. English bowmen used the index and middle finger to draw their deadly bows against the French. Myth has it that the English called the action of firing arrows “Plucking Yew”, since their longbows were made of that wood. The French, humiliated by these arrogant English bowmen, boldly announced that they were going to cut off the two fingers of any English bowman they captured. When the French failed to capture a single English bowman, the English taunted them by holding up their respective fingers and shouting, “We can still pluck yew!” Even in Europe today the two fingers in a “V” shape has the same meaning as the middle finger has in the States. Story has it that people have modified the gesture to what it is today in the United States; a solitary middle finger. The words “Pluck Yew” have apparently been modified a bit, as well.
Globally, there are many non-verbal gestures that, while not offensive in the United States, are considered very offensive in other countries. For example, the American “A-OK” sign, with a circle comprised of the index finger and thumb, with the other fingers up, is considered insulting in Italy and Denmark. It is also considered to be an obscenity in Guatemala, Paraguay and Brazil. Another example is the “thumbs-up” gesture, considered to be positive body language in the States, but is considered to be an obscenity in the Middle East and Nigeria.
Several important and famous people have used such meaningful body language to emphasize a point. The middle finger was used by President George W. Bush in response to environmentalists during the G8 summit. He called it his “one-finger salute”. Any simple web search will reveal that Britney Spears, Courteney Cox, Johnny Depp, and even Justin Timberlake’s mom all gave the bird to the paparazzi. Many have seen the globally famous picture of Johnny Cash, big right finger straight up at the camera. There are surely a multitude of others.
Other important and famous figures who have used strong body gestures other than the Roman-monikered digitus impudicus include former Prime Minister of England, Tony Blair, who was caught giving the highly offensive British “wanker” gesture in an old photograph of him during his college days at Oxford.
Although not usually headline news, there have been past examples of unwarranted punishment towards this use of a common gesture. On October 25th, 2001, a man named Robert Lee Coggin was driving down a street in San Antonio, Texas, and came behind a person who was driving under the speed limit. Coggin flashed his lights, in an attempt to speed the motorist along. When Coggin finally was able to maneuver around the slow vehicle, he flipped off the driver. The driver, a jailer for the county, called 911 and reported the incident as reckless driving. Coggins was pulled over, and, after some discussion with the responding officers, was cited with “disorderly conduct – gesture”. Coggins plead ‘not guilty’, and was subsequently determined to be guilty, and was fined $250. He then fought the verdict by taking the case to the Texas State Court of Appeals. The court overturned the verdict on grounds that he wasn’t charged with reckless driving, indicating no road rage, and that the gesture was not considered obscene, as there was no accompanying threatened or actual violence that would identify the act as a breach of peace. The court also referred to Cohen v. California as a legal precedent.
Another legal example can be found in the case of Hackbart v. The City of Pittsburgh, et al. On 4/10/06, the plaintiff, David Hackbart, was attempting to parallel park, and another driver cut him off. Hackbart flipped off the second driver. At that moment, he heard someone behind him say, “Don’t flip him off”, at which point Hackbart hung a bird towards the voice behind him. It turns out that the voice belonged to police sergeant Brian Elledge, of the Pittsburgh police department. Hackbart was cited with disorderly conduct. The judge found Hackbart guilty, and fined him $119.75. Hackbart appealed, and not only had the case overturned, but won court costs, compensatory damages, and punitive damages against Officer Elledge, for, among other reasons, breach of his First Amendment rights.
In the case of the middle finger, this “digitus impudicus”, we have a rich history of use as an insulting gesture, a common understanding of its place among international rude gestures, a social acceptance of its perceived meaning, and examples of its use leading to the citation of people who use it. It would seem that society has made its statement – the offensive finger should never again be used, and all who may use it must also suffer the fates of the law. Why would any decent and moral citizen have any reason to use this offensive gesture, anyway?
The First Amendment allows us the freedom to express ourselves, as Americans, in almost any manner we choose. We hear and see graphic lyrics and images. We know about various ways in which speech can be the only possible way there is for a person to feel validated and to be heard. We know about people who bravely express themselves, even though the penalty of doing so is evident and understood to be forthcoming. We have learned about how the law is continually attempting to pin down elusive aspects with regard to what constitutes free speech as opposed to obscene behavior.
As far as I am concerned, a simple gesture should not be considered inciteful or threatening in and of itself. Sure, the middle finger gesture is rooted in history as a graphic display of displeasure towards another person. So are the protected words, “You are pissing me off” or “I think you are an asshole”. In situations where a person is at a loss for words, or while driving, or other times when the spoken word cannot be heard, they should still be allowed to communicate thoughts and feelings to another person. Sure, the recipient of the speech may not like the speech, but in the case of a gesture, that is just too bad. We are allowed, as Americans, to express ourselves in any civil and legally defined way, even if it is crass, rude, ignorant or juvenile. Why should a police officer, who is in a definite position of power, punish someone who is maybe being rude, but not illegal? This, to me, is an abuse of power designed to persecute someone with different beliefs than the offended officer, and must not be allowed in any case. In fact, if the case is overturned, I believe that the officer should be liable for as much as possible, since his or her actions led to the wasted time and resources of an otherwise busy and burdened legal system.
People may argue that we are a civilized society, and as such must continue in our efforts to progress above such uses of gestures. I argue that as far back at least as the days of Shakespeare and the divided classes of ‘groundlings’ and noblemen, privileged society has made attempts to stifle the language and speech of those social tiers less fortunate. It seems to me that this stifling is in an attempt to encourage an understanding among the lower classes that there is a ‘proper’ manner of conduct, and any other conduct unbecoming will be considered ‘low-class’. Sometimes this may be in an attempt to raise the lower classes above their meager status, but I suspect that on the whole it has more to do with affirming and justifying the rank of the privileged socialite. After all, the person in position to make such judgment calls as to what is to be considered socially rude has the power in the society.
As a result, I believe that the privileged socialite must be exposed to the reality of the life of the lower class, however vulgar. This is an attempt to raise the elite tiers to an even more profound state of social awareness, and to maintain the culture of the history of the lower class.
As recently as the frontier days of the U.S., when Native Americans were being assimilated to the European invaders and their culture, many customs and practices of the Native Americans were scorned by the more powerful white people. Many practices and customs were considered ‘savage’, ‘vulgar’ and ‘low-class’. Although this mentality has gradually changed over time, it is too late for many of the Native American cultures, as entire tribes have vanished completely. We will never have the opportunity to hear their history, even if our culture and society progresses to the point where the elites treasure the lower class culture as much as the lower class does.
Until then, by God, the “lower-class” should be able to display their perceived vulgarity and ignorance in any way that is not harmful or threatening to another human, no matter how unrefined, or how esteemed the position of the offended elite.
Besides, any moral prudence placed on today’s society is a mockery, and quite laughable. Our society is in an unprecedented state of moral degradation, as exemplified by the continually shocking lyrics of modern music, and the extreme subjects in some of today’s highly offensive artwork (‘Piss Jesus’ and ‘Holy Virgin Mary’ come to mind as recent examples). Much of this type of art is upheld by elite socialites as relevant art, which means that, once again, the privileged minority within society pick and choose which moral equivalents the rest of society should follow, and which ones are to be relegated to the lower class as vulgar and beneath them. If I ever have the opportunity to meet any of the meatheads who think that some of this garbage is relevant art, I should lawfully be allowed to express my disgust with a digitus impudicus or two, and no social attempt at retribution. After all, isn’t free speech free speech? Any artist with the grapes to call dung “art” should have the fortitude to endure a couple of “Pluck Yews” for the sake of his or her art.
The fact that many celebrities and famous people feel the need to use the middle finger to punctuate their feelings should be evidence that this gesture has become an accepted standard by which modern humans may communicate. It is clear to me that the intent of the gesture has its place within society as a meaningful expression of disgust, contempt or frustration, and should be used as such so that others may know the feelings of the user of the gesture. The fact that otherwise intelligent people should stoop to such a ‘low class’ version of communication tells me that, in some situations, there is no other speech available that can convey such an exact message in such a brief moment. There should be no offense taken. The gesture, while directed at a person, does no actual harm to the person. In fact, an intelligent person should not feel harmed or threatened by such a gesture or mode of speech, and instead should be aware that the person giving the gesture is experiencing a moment of stress and possibly anger. This being the case, an intelligent person receiving the gesture should be more compassionate and understanding of the feelings behind the gesture, instead of selfishly feeling victimized by the speech.
The idea of a gesture being punishable by law is ludicrous. Aren’t laws put into place to protect citizens within a society? What safety is being compromised by the simple use of a bodily gesture? If a person is driven to the point of violence simply because another person showed them a perfectly acceptable and otherwise decent body part, I say that the true offender is the hothead who can’t control their anger, and instead makes the conscious choice to be a social vigilante, and physically punish the gesture-giver. Who is the more juvenile or possibly mentally unstable of the two – The one who expresses their frustration, anger, or stress efficiently and effectively, with no harm or threat to another person, or the one who sees the gesture, and decides to become violent? Anyone who determines the gesture to be ‘fighting words’ is missing the point of free speech entirely. Our freedom to express ourselves trumps our freedom to become violent, if there is such a freedom. Clearly, our Constitution does not address a freedom to be violent; therefore, it stands to reason that free speech should rarely be considered ‘fighting words’, if ever.
As court case after court case has demonstrated, if a person is fined, cited or otherwise convicted simply for the act of disorderly conduct by way of flipping off someone else, the appeal is always a success. Without fail, higher appeals courts say that simply raising a finger is not against the law. This being the case, it frustrates me that these types of cases are tying up otherwise valid cases within the legal system. In all of the instances I researched, it appeared that a police officer was offended by the gesture, and therefore commenced in punishing the offender. This is not the job of a police officer. Which part of ‘serve and protect’ does this type of behavior lend itself to? None. The ego and uncontrolled response of the officer in question does not fall in line with the call of duty, and in fact should never be a part of a job by a person sworn to protect society. The instant a person does not have the capacity to ignore ignorance is the instant a person should put down their badge.
And our courts are already full of frivolous lawsuits. A police officer, and especially lower courts and legislative bodies, should know full well by now that if a person wants to appeal in these cases, the likelihood is that they will win. Not only is this not efficient government, but there is a possibility of liability in the form of damages awarded to the appellate. Is all of this necessary, when all it would have taken to circumvent this headache is a cool-headed police officer on duty on the day in question or local legislative ordinances acknowledging innocuous gestures as being lawful? Wouldn’t all of this frivolity be recognized as unnecessary if only we, as a society, decided to dismiss gestures as expressions of frustration by fellow humans, instead of acting victimized by a speech gesture?
I have a solution. In fact, there are several suggestions I have, that, if accepted, will change the way in which the middle finger is communicated, expressed, and accepted by society. It should be a law that if a person decides to utilize the gesture, that they be smiling when they administer it. It is extremely hard for people to become violent if another person is not threatening them with harm and they are smiling, no matter what gesture they are displaying.
Another answer would be to change the meaning and perception of the message of the bird. Instead of “Pluck Yew”, or any other vulgar variation, we should announce, “You are number one” or use the finger to greet people, instead of the common wave. Of course, it would take influential and famous people to spread this change of message around. For example, how profound would it be for the Pope to stand up at his next speech and flip off the crowd, both fingers up, while he announces that from now on, his followers would recognize this gesture as a symbol of peace and hope, and that anyone who views this gesture should accept it as not an offensive vulgarity, but rather a symbol of unity and strength? Or if the president, in a relevant epiphany, addressed the people of America, expressing his serious interest in making the finger a national symbol of triumph over ignorance; a symbol of the strength of the masses?
I will continue to use the finger as an educational tool, as well as an expressive social tool. I regularly flip off public cameras as I smile. I often hang a bird to a friend, while I exclaim, “You’re number one”. I prefer to flip people off instead of fight. In light of the evidence presented in this writing, I would find it hard to believe that anyone would consider a hand gesture threatening, obscene, or vulgar.

* BOOK EXCERPT * INTERNET


"Internet" is an excerpt from Life Bits and Other Chunks: Memoirs of an untrained man, by Stephen L. Wilson.
Available at Smashwords, Amazon and Nook. All rights reserved.  © 2013.

Free images courtesy of http://www.freeclipartnow.com
Keep in mind that this short essay was written in 1998. Is its wisdom ahead of its time?  
- SLW

Reflect, for a moment, about your personal knowledge of the history of the world. Recall how early civilizations communicated and, more importantly, the extent and scope of those communications. Imagine the capabilities of any known civilization or technology attempting to unify the planet in a singular communication effort.
Compare any that you may have imagined (telephones, ham radios, pony express) with the communication potential of the Internet. It is safe to say that the Internet provides the means for the most comprehensive global communications network in the history of the world.
With such a statement having been made, it would then be safe to proceed and assume such an entity could and would command the attention of powers and powerful people in an attempt to either manipulate the process or take steps to ensure their own protection from manipulation.
This of course leads us to government control (or lack thereof) of the Internet.
Reflect, for a moment, about your personal knowledge of the history of militaries, especially the United States military. Specifically, note any expertise at secrecy or contingency planning. Since the Internet was initially made a reality by a joint effort involving the U.S. Department of Defense and a few universities in 1969, these collaborators can be assumed as being the most experienced in the field of the practical application of internet technologies. Wouldn’t a self-preserving, world-leading government take extra strides to know more about this technology than any other institution or any other powerful, potentially interested party? Without a doubt.
We are now compelled to consider a dynamic probability similar to the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. Is it truly possible to govern cyberspace? Some have compared the internet to the invention of the printing press, in that they both make available vast quantities of knowledge in a way the world has never before seen. This basically allows people to make their own choices in lieu of authorities making those decisions for them. In this way it is fairly certain that individuals will be able to use the internet to gather information around traditional government structures. Not only that, but people can theoretically do this anonymously or invisibly.
Some internet experts contend that this desire to be anonymous is an urge so strong some people will not be able to resist hiding their true identity while participating. This may make way for a type of internet evolution. Strategically, it would be rather advantageous to remain ‘invisible’ if the knowledge or information being sought were of particular sensitivity or revealing nature to a powerful party. Perhaps it will be this stealthy group that eventually disbands any current ‘controlling’ entities. This anonymity at the hands of very experienced computer experts can be eternal. Imagine the impact of a global network of invisible experts leading a charge with an invisible army against any visible governing entities. At some point a revolution such as this would create a new governing body for the internet. Is there enough of an uprising to support such a revolution?
There are places online where people are able to network and share any information they are interested in. There are multitudes of topic related chat rooms, forums, and bulletin boards, as well as e-mail. The voice of the community at some of these ‘cyber-locales’ is much more direct in cyberspace than in person, for the most part. I would compare it to ‘Letters to the Editor’ in a publication, except for never having to reveal your identity. This aspect allows for an even more pointed attitude on the internet, stemming from certain ambivalence to consequences based on the assurance of one’s anonymity.
This noticeable communication generation is a child of the internet, in my opinion. Even if an argument can be made as to the heredity of this pattern of communication, it is my belief that the environment of the internet has adopted it in a way of its own. In fact, it could even be said that this mentality is in fact popular (or at least trendy) within the social sector of the internet community.
In some regions of cyber society, anonymity has generated notoriety, much like gang ‘tags’ are an anonymous way to be recognized within gang culture. I am talking about ‘hackers’. This brazen group of computer experts with invisible identities has already proven their capabilities to the United States government.
In 1997, the National Security Administration (NSA) hired a group of thirty-five hackers to simulate an infiltration upon the computer-connected and highly sensitive areas of our powerful government. They proved they could effectively manipulate the transportation, communication, economy, utilities and easily infiltrate military electronic systems. As confirmed by Fred B. Schneider, CS professor at Cornell University-"If somebody wanted to launch an attack [on the U.S.], it would not be at all difficult.”
It would appear to me that our global communications experiment we call the internet is entitled to the same unique individuality bestowed upon bodies of law and corporations: a state of having a certain momentum not unlike ‘a life of its own’. As with dynamic models such as these, the necessity of having to adapt continually mandates a perpetual changing within the entity. Unlike the others, the anonymity of the Internet will instigate certain vigilance within hackers to dole out justice at their convenience and leisure. This is exactly the methodology necessary to undermine any unwanted authority.
Traditional authority relies upon structure. I believe that if a group of like-minded, anti-authority, computer-powerful people decided to negotiate digital warfare, any traditional authority remaining on the Internet would be picked apart by hackers, to be replaced with vigilante, cyber-mob rule.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

* BOOK EXCERPT * FAINTING GOATS


"Fainting Goats" is an excerpt from Life Bits and Other Chunks: Memoirs of an untrained man, by Stephen L. Wilson.
Available at Smashwords, Amazon and Nook. All rights reserved.  © 2013.

Free images courtesy of http://www.freeclipartnow.com
Maybe you have seen them. They are these little goats that when frightened, tense up and fall over. Apparently they were bred over time to run with herds of sheep. Since sheep are worth more than pygmy goats, when the goats froze up and fell down, predators would eat the goats instead of the sheep. To medieval sheep farmers, this was a crude but effective way to minimize costs. Because of this, I feel that fainting goats have been given an unfair shake in history, and I would like to help them by creating a new historical niche for which they may identify. I feel that fainting goats need some redemption, and I plan on making this happen when I retire.
I have spent enough time in customer service related jobs to come to believe that the famous humorist, Dave Barry, was correct when he said, “A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.” In general, and as a rule, when given any number of alternatives, people again and again choose to be aggressive in their attack on those they deem as socially insignificant. There must be some sort of mechanism in some people that makes them feel important when they rudely attack others in customer service positions. It appears that two circumstances must exist in order to create this ‘perfect storm’ of customer rudeness: a customer willing to displace their pent-up aggression and a customer service policy of “kiss all asses”.
I realize that most people aren’t actually this horrible. However, the trauma of this segment of society overrides the general good found in most people. As a result, there is usually a high turnover in the customer service industry. Those who spend too much time being society’s whipping boy eventually either find a different career, or have a mental breakdown. Rare is the individual who is designed to withstand a lifetime of belittlement, ridicule and the worst of what society has to offer.
It is because of this “retail PTSD” that I have decided that when I retire, I am going to buy a hill. I am going to buy a hill far away from society, and a herd of about thirty fainting goats. At the top of this hill will be enough room for a single folding chair, and a supply of yummy goat food. I plan on spending my remaining years on this planet sitting on top of my hill, feeding fainting goats, and then scaring them.
I am not sure how I will do it. Maybe I will just shout, “Boo!” at the top of my lungs. Maybe I will toss those little popping packets you get at the fireworks tent at them. Maybe I could rig up an air horn somehow. Any way I do it, I can only imagine the fuzzy little fainters freezing up, and then tumbling down the hill.
“Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa!”
Down the hill they will tumble. I will spend my remaining days inventing new ways to scare my goats. And I will laugh so hard when I see them tumble down to the bottom of that hill!
In this way I will help to bring the fainting pygmy goat to a more esteemed station in culture. Instead of being food, the goat is now fun. Kind of like court jesters back in the days of kingdoms and serfs, or rodeo clowns today.
Thanks, rude people. Thanks a lot.