Brave New World of ePublishing

Brave New World of ePublishing

It’s a brave new world of publishing. Because of ePublishing, we are in the midst of the greatest revolution in publishing since the invention of the Guttenberg Press, which, by the way, put a whole class of people out of work within a generation: scribes. And initially, there was quite a lot of resistance to printed books; some members of the elite classes believed that no educated man would buy coarse printed books. We’ve all seen how that turned out!

The traditional publishers are dinosaurs, fossilizing in front of our eyes. They take too long to read manuscripts, they take too long to get manuscripts into printed form, they respond too slowly to the market, they are afraid to take risks, they are terrified of innovation and run from it, they run themselves on old-school business ‘rules’ that are outmoded and largely false for books, they run via group-think and committee-mind so they lack creativity and vision, their PR departments are incompetent, they want to be gatekeepers instead of gate-openers serving the reading public, and they have no sense of nurturing mid-list authors and developing a career over time.

Basically, traditional publishing houses are searching vainly for an algorithm that will guarantee that every book they publish will be a bestseller. To that end, they beat the deceased equine until it is a gelatinous mass.

This is a time when independent-minded, innovative, pathologically persistent authors can do very, very well—because they can get their books out to the reading, buying public quickly. Think about the millions of eBooks author John Locke has sold.

However: beware of literary agencies that offer to ePublish your novel for you, for a price. In my mind this is a serious conflict of interest for a literary agency and a shocking dereliction of ethical responsibility. If an agent likes your book but can’t sell it, take your book and ePublish it yourself. With a company whose sole business it is to ePublish books.

Literary agencies face tough times. They make money from selling books to traditional publishers, and the traditional book publishers are buying fewer and fewer books, and stupider and stupider ones, to boot. I understand the temptation that these agencies face in wanting to get a slice of the ePublishing market and bolster their bottom line. However, it is a conflict of interest for a literary agency, and it is not an ethical business practice. Some literary agencies are marking up the ePublishing services that they recommend to authors, so the agencies are making money off the author going through the ePublish process. NOT COOL.

If a literary agency says to an author, “We love your book and we know readers will, too, but we can’t sell it,” the thinking author MUST ask himself or herself one question: How hard did they really try?

Even if the agency hands the author a list of twenty submissions, the author must wonder, what if number 24 was the charm?

Fortunately, ePublishing, as a form of self-publishing, has lost its stigma. It’s a viable option, especially for authors who already have a solid readership.


HOWEVER, and this is crucial: it is imperative that every ePublishing author do a few things: 1. Hire a professional manuscript editor and do at least two revisions, and 2. Hire a professional copy-editor and have the manuscript copy-edited before sending it to the ePublisher. These are not optional. They are mandatory. Sloppy books are not taken seriously and will not sell. My third recommendation is that eAuthors hire a PR firm. Readers can’t buy your books if they don’t know about them.

When it became clear that, despite the international success of my historical novel IMMORTAL, traditional publishers were not biting, I chose Telemachus Press to ePublish/POD my novels FALLEN and THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR. I had been researching ePublish/POD for a non-fiction art book I wrote with my husband, sculptor Sabin Howard, THE ART OF LIFE. I had done exhaustive research in the field; Telemachus Press was the clear front-runner. I own all my own publishing rights, unlike with some of the other big self-publishing companies that people are using. This matters. Telemachus is cost effective and very, very professional.

Working with Telemachus has been a delight. They care about their product and about their customers. I can say that they have bent over backwards to accommodate me and to ensure that my novels will be quality products. They are timely, they are efficient, they care. I have only good things to say about them. I recommend them to every would-be eAuthor. Find them at


The Benefits of Radical Anarchy: Enjoying Family Dinners
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The Benefits of Radical Anarchy: Enjoying Family Dinners

The Benefits of Radical Anarchy: Enjoying Family Dinners

My blogs of late have emphasized my dissatisfaction with some thoroughly corrupt institutions in our lives: government and big business. Radical anarchy may be the only solution. And radical anarchy has so many applications. Once you get in the hang of it, it’s a useful approach to so very many situations. All this time I’ve considered myself a one woman stand against entropy. Maybe it’s time to rethink that.

Like family dinners. Getting all 4 of my daughters to sit down to a meal with my husband and me is like herding feral cats. Two are in college and are often in their distant cities. Even when they’re around, this one is working, that one has dinner with the other parent, the other one has two parties and, like, six best friends who demand to see her!
There are always the emotional undercurrents of getting a bunch of women together, who’s mad at whom and why. There’s the emphasis on relationships, makeup, hot guys, relationships, clothes, and hot guys. Did I mention there’s a lot of discussion about relationships and hot guys?
It’s not like we don’t talk about other things as well. Books, movies, TV shows, politics, and the current topics in their majors, neurobiology and sociology. But sooner or later…
“Do you think I should cut my hair real short and wear a lot of eye make-up?” one daughter asks.
“Do you think I should get an apartment with my boyfriend this summer?” asks another daughter.
“Do you think it’s okay to date a guy if I’ve already dated his best friend slash roommate?” asks the third. “Does it matter if the guy I dumped is stalking me now?”
“Can I paint my fingernails and get a dress like Mary had on at the Christmas party?” asks the little one.
“Oh my god, it’s an estrogen-fest,” my husband Sabin moans.
Then the dog barfs on the floor after eating someone’s purse, and the 5 year old breaks a glass and turns off all the lights in the house. The Christmas tree falls over, disgorging its lights, and all the iPhones in the house beep with simultaneous texts. The middle daughter chooses that moment to explain exactly why her boyfriend should be so much more grateful and appreciative to be dating her than he is–all while she in-boxes three guys she’s keeping on the hook for later, maybe. Sabin stabs himself in the knuckles with a fork just to distract himself.
And if you are in the mental state to enjoy radical anarchy: it is a rich feast for whimsy.
Big Brother is Watching
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Big Brother is Watching

A courageous news team in Houston reported on the Houston Police Department’s testing of an unmanned drone with a high-def, long-range camera that can see inside people’s homes. Check out the video report here.

Mostly I regard the Fourth Estate with skepticism. News media have long since sold out to the government to garner exclusives and to curry favor, to Big Business because Big Business owns the media outlets, and to the lowest common denominator of populist taste because they need to sell copies or gain ratings to stay in business. Objectivity is a myth. Wikileaks is doing what the media should do, but media outlets long ago lost the balls to execute their own mandate: inform the public. Of everything.
However, in this case, local K2 news in Houston did what the media should do: it kept an eye on the police. The Houston Police Department tried to keep media out, and lied to the pilot of the news copter about FAA restrictions. When the Houston Police Department realized that they’d been seen despite their attempts at security, they scrambled to give a press report.
Yes, unmanned drones can have helpful, protective, practical applications, like putting out brush fires and following bank robbers. But make no mistake: this drone will certainly be used by Big Brother, by which I mean the police, FBI, Homeland Security, etc. to deprive civilians of their privacy. To collect information “just in case.”
We all know that information can be massaged to prove any point whatsoever.
It is unfortunate but true that 9/11 has been used to destroy civil liberties. “American freedom” is a myth, a nostalgic idea from a past that has vanished. Totalitarianism approaches. Much of it is financially oriented. We live in a time when Big Business has won, and continues to win, so many legislative victories depriving individuals of choice and forcing individuals to pay outrageous prices that Big Business has become an arm of the government, controlling us. I’ve said it before and will say it again: There is a pattern at work in the world. The pattern is the slow but steady erosion of civil liberties and individual rights. These are handed over to Big Business so that the few can make money at the expense of the many. BEWARE.
Then there are the security forces, who inexorably increase their power so as to enslave the public, eradicate free speech, eliminate the free dissemination of ideas, and deprive us of our privacy.
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I support Wikileaks

Noam Chomsky, re the suppression of information in the US regarding polls of Arab opinion: “What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership.” (Nov 30, 2010, on DEMOCRACY NOW, interviewed by Amy Goodman).

I wish Assange had withheld certain names. I wish he’d vetted the cables to protect operatives who work for us within lethal, poisonous organizations such as Al Qaeda.
I really wish he’d slipped a condom on before having sex with that woman in Sweden, and I wish he hadn’t taken the snores of the other woman to mean consent. Because these sex charges will detract from the crucial, even urgent work Assange is doing.
But we have a big problem in the United States, and many people aren’t noticing it because we have an African American president. They wrongly assume that the “regular people,” the grassroots who, according to the lies, I mean mythology, elected Obama, are being looked out for. Surely an African American president would remember his roots among the most regular of people, African Americans, and he would care about the individual. But that is not the case.
The problem: Big Corporations are screwing individuals. ‘Big Corporations’ includes: the insurance companies, Big Pharma, Big Agribusiness, Wall Street, the medical establishment as run by Big Pharma and the insurance companies, Biotech and chemical companies, and the United States Government, which is an example of a large, unwieldy, and thoroughly corrupt corporation.
So the US government conceals things from American citizens. Things like diplomatic spying and the results of polls in the Arab world.
How about this one: how many people in the US know that Obama showed up at the G20 summit in London in 2009 with a huge entourage? Specifically, Obama had 500 staff in tow, including the White House kitchen staff, 200 secret service agents, 6 doctors, 35 vehicles, 4 speechwriters, and 12 teleprompters. (See I guess they don’t have teleprompters in London? Or maybe the British are so penurious they wouldn’t lend a few to Obama?
This wasn’t widely reported in the US–but the Brits poked fun at Obama. It’s a little shocking to read about this kind of lavish spending, but it isn’t the only time. The Obamas have taken some vacations that are, well, Republican-worthy. Marie Antoinette is alive and well and reborn!!
Big Pharma deceives people by, for example, not telling them that CoQ10 will greatly reduce the side effects of statin drugs. Big food conglomerates lie to the American public by pretending that high fructose corn syrup and msg are non-toxic. The FDA has sold us all down the river to be poisoned, sickened, and fattened up by toxic chemical additives, pesticides, and preservatives. Let’s not even start with Genetically Modified food, which has NOT been tested. Just wait until the first Terminator plant genes start crossing the species barrier–it’s called genetic drift–and make human beings sterile.
Big Insurance gouges the American consumer. Our lousy health insurance went up 20% for 2011–WHY? Nothing else has gone up 20%–I’m not paying 20% more for milk, eggs, or clothing. So WHY HAS OBAMA PASSED A ROTTEN HEALTH INSURANCE ACT WHILE STILL ALLOWING BIG INSURANCE TO RAPE AMERICA?
Is it because Obama has taken too much money from those companies to even attempt to rein them in?
Are people aware of how Big Insurance won’t allow doctors to run tests or offer medical treatments that individuals need, because those tests or treatments are expensive? How it compensates doctors for NOT running necessary tests? All so HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN EARN OBSCENE AMOUNTS OF MONEY?
All this goes to show, we need MORE Wikileaks–not less. The world is increasingly run by big corporations who show nothing more, and nothing less, than contempt for individual human beings. Our only hope of addressing this kind of self-serving corruption is through transparency.
Mr. Assange: I am rooting for you. I hope you get out of your legal troubles, and I hope you learn to be real careful about sex. Most of all, I am praying that you will turn your attention to the real villains, the true governors of our world: the big corporations. Let’s see some of their internal documents. Start with Oxford, AON Corporation, Aetna, Assurant, AMS, and Unicare. Move on to Monsanto, Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Astrazenica. Then Kraft, Cargill, Pepsico, Bunge.
But I somehow think you will not get the chance to do this important muck-raking work. Because the billions of billions of dollars earned by these companies means that they are worrying that you will do exactly as I’ve asked. And you and Wikileaks are, for them, better off dead.
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Letter to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer re the Leahy Bill

Nov 19, 2010

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 478
Constitution and Delaware Avenues, NE
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Gillibrand,

I am deeply concerned that Sen. Leahy’s Food Safety Accountability Act of 2010 (S. 3767) may be included in or attached to the Food Safety Bill (S. 510), either via the manager’s amendment package or as a floor amendment.

I was dismayed to read the original language of S. 3767, which contained new and draconian ten-year jail terms for adulterating or misbranding food. This was unacceptable because of the way the FDA interprets the words “adulterating” and “misbranding.” You could have gone to jail for ten years just for citing scientific research from leading universities about your food product!

I was pleased to learn that the bill has been amended. It now says you don’t go to jail for up to ten years unless you “consciously or recklessly disregard a risk of death or serious bodily injury.”
This is better, but unacceptably vague and subjective. Actual harm should be required for such a long jail term. In addition, this amendment included new language which both specifically targeted supplements and made a lapse in filing to the FDA subject to the full ten-year jail term (see the reference to subsection V of Section 301 of the Federal Food and Drug Act). Paperwork violations should not lead to ten years in jail or threats of such jail terms. Why was this new language added? How can it possibly be justified?

Senators are currently editing S. 510 behind closed doors, as they draft the Manager’s Amendment Package, which may be substituted in place of the current Food Safety bill. It could include the Leahy bill language, and the public may not have an opportunity to review such changes before the Senate votes. If changes are made, both the Senate and the public ought to have notice of them and a chance to comment before a vote.

As one of your constituents, I want you to know that I take dietary supplements regularly, and value their help in keeping my family healthy. The Leahy bill, even after improvement in some respects, is still a misguided attempt to protect our food supply or ensure the safety of supplements. There is still too much risk that natural product makers will be threatened, silenced, and penalized.

At this point, I wonder if it will soon be necessary to obtain a medical permit to buy carrots, because carrots are full of Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which supports excellent eye health, among other benefits. If I buy carrots and support my eyes, I will not buy some expensive, harmful medication to do that–and Big Pharma loses money. Clearly this bill is the foot soldier of the big pharmaceutical companies, who are out to eradicate competition to their expensive and side-effect laden drugs. Only Big Pharma stands to gain from this bill–which is why they have paid Senators so much money to craft it. The American consumer will not be helped by this so-called “food safety” bill, they will be hurt by it.

If the United States Government wants to protect the American consumer, they will overhaul the FDA, which is a thoroughly corrupt institution and a shill for the chemical, pharmaceutical, bio-tech, and medical establishment industries.

Please oppose inclusion of the Leahy bill and its draconian jail terms in the Food Safety bill!


Ms. Traci Slatton
New York, NY

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We MUST distrust the FDA, the medical establishment, and Big Pharma

Scientists leave Monsanto to work at the FDA during the approval process for the use of Bovine Growth Hormone in dairy cows. The FDA allows milk to be substantially more adulterated for consumer use. After bovine growth hormone is approved, the scientists return to their original jobs at Monsanto. See: NEXUS Magazine, several articles including June/July 2001, vol. 8 #4, “Milking the Truth with GE Hormones” by Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, also Aug/Sept 1998, vol. 5 #5, “The Health Dangers of Dairy Products,” by Robert Cohen, regarding scientist Dr. Margaret Miller

“Ironically, Merck holds the patent on combining the natural substance coenzyme Q10 with statin to prevent a lot of the statin side effects, but none of their patent-medicine statins have coenzyme Q10…. This patent prevents some of the side effects from their patent statin, so it’s possible they are not using the combination of coenzyme Q10 and their statin because doing so might admit liability. If they release this information, everyone will know, and they may have to admit that their drug was harmful.” Dr. Jonathan Wright, in Suzanne Somers BREAKTHROUGH: Life Altering Secrets from Today’s Cutting-Edge Doctors (New York: Crown Publishers) p. 52-53.
Big Pharma Scores Big Win: Medicine Herbs will disappear in Europe

It’s almost a done deal. We are about to see herbal preparations disappear, and the ability of herbalists to prescribe them will also be lost.

by Heidi Stevenson


12 September 2010

Big Pharma has almost reached the finish line of its decades-long battle to wipe out all competition. As of 1 April 2011—less than eight months from now—virtually all medicinal herbs will become illegal in the European Union. The approach in the United States is a bit different, but it’s having the same devastating effect. The people have become nothing more than sinks for whatever swill Big Pharma and Agribusiness choose to send our way, and we have no option but to pay whatever rates they want.

Big Pharma and Agribusiness have almost completed their march to take over every aspect of health, from the food we eat to the way we care for ourselves when we’re ill. Have no doubt about it: this takeover will steal what health remains to us.


Princeton Researchers find that High Fructose Corn Syrup prompts Considerably More Weight Gain
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board.”


Child diabetes blamed on food sweetener

by Lois Rogers

Scientists have proved for the first time that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis.Fructose, a sweetener derived from corn, can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.It has increasingly been used as a substitute for more expensive types of sugar in yoghurts, cakes, salad dressing and cereals. Even some fruit drinks that sound healthy contain fructose.Experts believe that the sweetener — which is found naturally in small quantities in fruit — could be a factor in the emergence of diabetes among children. This week, a new report is expected to claim that about one in 10 children in England will be obese by 2015.




The Corn Refiners Association, which represents firms that make the syrup, has been trying to improve the image of the much maligned sweetener with ad campaigns promoting it as a natural ingredient made from corn. Now, the group has petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to start calling the ingredient “corn sugar,” arguing that a name change is the only way to clear up consumer confusion about the product.”

see: The New York Times, Sept. 14, 2010, article by Tara Parker-Pope


NOTE: In my opinion, high fructose corn syrup is almost as dangerous as cigarettes, and all foods with this toxic substance as an ingredient MUST be labelled as dangerous and obesity causing. If the FDA were truly an organization for serving consumers, they would require this kind of labelling. However, the FDA is merely a shill for the chemical, pharmaceutical, bio-tech, Big Agra and Big Pharma companies.

There is a pattern at work in the world. The pattern is the slow but steady erosion of civil liberties and individual rights. These are handed over to Big Business so that the few can make money at the expense of the many. BEWARE.