August 31, 2012

My top five #strengths: #4, #Positivity (blog)

Some years ago, I did this thing called Strengths Finder 2.0.  I am slowly blogging about my top strengths and perhaps about the least strengthful parts of me. For the other posts, check out the Strengths tag on this blog.

Strength #4:  Positivity
People strong in Positivity have a contagious enthusiasm; they are upbeat and can get others excited about things.

source unknown
When people who know me want to think about happy, positive things, they seek out puppies, rainbows, cupcakes, and Peter. Well, okay, that's probably overstating it, but the point is that I tend to see the good side of nearly every situation, and that rubs off on people.

While clearly there are some things that are bad and others which make me sad, I generally believe that all things turn out well in the end. If things aren't good, then it's not the end.

I also believe that (in general) things work out best for those who make the best of things.

I've been "let go" from jobs three times in my 23 year career. The first time was the hardest because even though the job market was decent, being laid off after seven years at one company carried with it many unknowns. Within days, however, I had a contract with one of my former company's big clients, so not only was I getting a decent severance, I was also making out on the contract.

The second time I was let go, so was everyone else. Yup, they shut down the company. I will never forget the CEO coming into the meeting room and saying, "The good news is we can pay you through yesterday." Such is life in a startup. While some of us panicked, I looked at this as the opening of opportunity. And it was. Six weeks later I was at a new job making more than I ever had before.

After the third layoff (another startup), I landed another contract in two weeks. That contract turned into a full time position and has led to where I am today, ten years later. Despite what Thomas Edison said, you never really know what opportunity looks like until you've missed it or grabbed it.

And so it goes. Sometimes change happens to you. I know worriers who try to plan for every contingency. Inevitably, something happens they never anticipated and didn't plan for, and suddenly their world falls apart. If you're one of those people, find someone like me to be your stabilizing influence during the rough patches. We can't fix your problems, but the first step is remaining calm. The second step is finding the positives. The third step is building on those positives.

The flip side of positivity is that I tend to be a very poor planner. Sometimes I go somewhere without complete directions and have to wing it. Or I'll be in a meeting and be asked a question I should have researched beforehand. (I'm working on that.) My positivity tricks me into thinking that no matter what happens, it will all work out okay in the end.

So far, it always has.

Come to think of it, it always will. Because if it's not okay, then it is not yet the end.

August 22, 2012

rules of the blog - thank you for complying

Since my readership has gone up recently (according to the analytics, not the comments), and since this blog just turned 8 years old, I figured it was time to institute a few new rules. Please, readers, when you visit this blog, observe these rules and the other rules I've posted in the past.

Especially be aware that while I welcome trailers (particularly movie and book trailers), this blog does not have sufficient facilities to accommodate the larger ones.

Make sure to follow all instructions when operating heavy machinery while on the blog.

And perhaps most important of all, a rule that should be self-evident.

August 21, 2012

Five awesome YA #books cheap! Aug 21-22 only.

Hey all, check out these five awesome books for a wicked cheap price, August 21 and 22 only.

You can get all five from our special Amazon page, here:

Have you read SEMPER? What did you think? Let us all know in the comments here. And if you really liked it (like, 5-star liked it), go write an Amazon review. And a Goodreads review, too, while you're at it. Are you looking forward to the sequel? It will be out toward the end of this year.

August 20, 2012

I am worried about my blog traffic sources.

I looked at my analytics this morning by accident, and I stumbled upon my "traffic sources" stats. Check out the diversity of search terms that brought people to my blog recently:

  • porn star
  • cicolina italy
  • pedophile map
  • anatomy of the inner elbow
  • april knight porn star
  • cicciolina today
  • cicolina italia
  • died in nepal bus
  • friday porn star
  • rural nepal
I get the Nepal stuff. And the elbow. The others, however, especially taken as a whole, trouble me a little. Is my blog really coming up in searches on those terms? I wonder why.

But is that better or worse then the days, four years ago, when searches for "hayden christensen porn" and "hayden christensen hair" brought people to my site?

Speaking of four years ago, apparently August 19th was the eight-year anniversary of my very first ever blog post. This one will be my 880th post since I started. Happy birthday to Corner Kick!

August 19, 2012

Summer #reading contest results and $154.56 donation to the #library! (blog post)

Back at the beginning of the summer, I announced two contests and my intent to donate all my royalties from sales of Semper to my library's summer reading program. Well, here are the results of all that. First, let's start with the sales and donation.

I started with $20 to donate from the author reading I did back in May. Then, from June 9 through August 18 I kept track of sales in-person and through Amazon. I am not including free downloads (a few thousand) during that period since, well, they generate $0 in royalties. Thus, no donations.

Sales in June

Semper e-book sales (US)19 copies$32.64
Semper e-book sales (other)0 copies$0.00
Semper print sales5 copies$13.58
Total24 copies$46.22

Sales in July
Semper e-book sales (US)24 copies$46.98
Semper e-book sales (other)1 copy$1.33
Semper print sales4 copies$15.88
Total29 copies$64.19

Sales from August 1 through August 18
Semper e-book sales (US)6 copies$12.24
Semper e-book sales (other)0 copies$0.00
Semper print sales3 copies$11.91
Total9 copies$24.15

Thus, my total donation during the summer reading program period is $20 + $46.22 + $64.19 + 24.15 = $154.56. Frankly, that's more than I expected. Thanks to everyone who purchased a copy of Semper during that time. Our libraries can definitely use the extra money.

The Contests
My big lesson from these contests was that unless you have a lot of time and energy to invest in promoting a contest, they're useless. Pointless. People won't enter. And they didn't.

So, after much deliberation and analysis of the entries, I have determined that eager entrant Dana wins one of the two prize packages I offered. Dana, look for an email from me to the email address you provided. Congratulations!

For the record, the new back-cover copy for Semper that Dana wrote is this (verbatim, with some semi-spoilers that probably won't ruin the plot for new readers):

At the ripe age of sixteen fate seizes Dane Semper's Son, and thrusts him into an adventure that will shatter all the unquestioned simplicities of his childhood. In the lush forests of his home, myth collides with reality right in front Dane, forcing him to question everything he thinks he knows. On the raw cusp of early manhood, Dane must learn to think for himself as he faces his father's death, choosing a wife, and the usurpation of his birth right. In unplanned defiance of his ruthless uncle a bold choice sends Dane and his new wife into exile. Cast out from the people he was meant to lead they must fight to survive in the war-scorched wasteland of The Radiation. Wondering if he can ever return home again, will Dane dare to discover within himself if he has what it takes to make things right?
Thank you, Dana!

One final note: Semper is temporarily discounted to 99 cents at Amazon for the Kindle edition. Let people know now is the time to get it. This price will be up only about a week.

Okay, another final note: I'm still hoping to get the sequel out in late Q4 of this year. Stay tuned.