The Guardian’s robot newspaper comes to the U.S. | Digiday

[Terry: What? USA Today isn't Robotic enough?]
 The Guardian is taking a very modern strategy and applying it to an old-school format.

The U.K. paper only has a digital presence in the U.S., but starting Wednesday, it’s going to experiment with a robot-generated print edition. The paper is to be called #Open001 and will be distributed for free every month at U.S. media and ad agency offices including Mindshare, Horizon Media and Digitas. Distribution will start with 5,000 copies.

The Guardian uses a homegrown algorithm (that’s the “robot”) that combs through the paper’s content to find the best long reads based on social media metrics like Facebook shares, tweets and comments, then feeds them into essay-style templates. They’re then beamed to a printer. For the first issue, the stories selected for the U.S. media audience included “Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: who are you calling bossy,” ”Kurt Cobain: an icon of alienation” “Robots and sex: creepy or cool?”


#Open001 started as an experiment that the Guardian began in the U.K. for online readers and turned into a print edition, The Good Long Read, in December. The Good Long Read is being distributed free at another Guardian experiment, a coffee shop in London that’s actually called #GuardianCoffee.

On its face, the product is an overt pitch to media buyers. Carter Brokaw, evp of sales for the Guardian, uses the paper’s intro letter to highlight all that makes the Guardian special, and ends, “So sit back, leaf through and get thinking. Isn’t it time to try something different?”

But it’s also an example of the kind of experimentation the paper has become known for (and able to do, thanks to its ownership by the Scott Trust that frees it, for the most part, from commercial pressure). In addition to the Guardian-branded coffee shop, it famously adopted an open-journalism approach, inviting the public to help review public records documents. Its native ad product was built in keeping with its philosophy of open journalism, inviting readers to comment on the ad content.

For sure, the robot newspaper shows how publishers can bring efficiency to producing the news by letting a machine do what human editors used to do. An ode to the slow-news movement, the experiment also is a way of finding new life for old content, as other publishers have done with single-topic compilations of their content in print and online.

Is #Open001 a precursor to a full-fledged print edition in the U.S.? Gennady Kolker, spokesman for the Guardian in the U.S., said it’s more a way to introduce the Guardian’s content to the U.S. media community. “We’re on mobile, on tablets and online in the U.S. This is a way to get people to lean back and enjoy the long-form content,” he said. “Some of our stories are more conducive to that print feel. It’s a way to show that audience, here’s what Guardian content is.”

via The Guardian’s robot newspaper comes to the U.S. | Digiday.

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Why do journalists hate new journalism startups? | Digiday


A flurry of journalists have been launching news sites lately, each with a formidable amount of hype, but rather than applaud this as a golden age for journalism, the media echo chamber was quick to pull out the knives.

The pile-on at Vox, which launched this week, started before the site went live, with conservative bloggers labeling it as left-wing propaganda and the mainstream media criticizing it and its founding editor Ezra Klein. When Vox did launch, the founders made attempts at humility, emphasizing that Vox was a work in progress (in contrast with Silver’s 3,500-word manifesto), but critics still panned it as underwhelming. Pando called Vox’s explainers “little more than glorified slideshows.”

“It reminds me of [when] there used to be magazine launches and people would tear it apart,” said New York Times media columnist David Carr, one of the few who wrote a sympathetic column about Klein. “I think it’s always been a reflex that’s existed with new product launches, and when it comes to any product launch in the media space, it becomes acute.”

Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, in an unusually revealing column about Times culture, wrote that Silver’s disruptive approach to covering the news ran against the grain at the paper. Carr made a similar point. “I don’t think it’s strictly professional jealousy as much as, we as a profession have made it a business to fit in and these guys are in the business of standing out.”

Klein should feel better that he’s not alone. Nate Silver’s relaunch of FiveThirtyEight last month was teased in dribs and drabs, as Silver breathlessly informed his over nearly 700,000 Twitter followers to “stand by” for each and every new hire. It’s no surprise that when when FiveThirtyEight finally debuted last month that many were disappointed. “Too superficial for smart and informed readers, yet on topics which are too abstruse for the more casual readers,” huffed Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen. The drumbeat of criticism reached a crescendo when Silver’s former Times colleague, columnist Paul Krugman, said the site underdelivered.

“Newness almost always surprises and usually disappoints people,” said Josh Marshall, who founded political news startup Talking Points Memo in 2000. “That’s why almost no one ever likes a site redesign on day one. There’s also jealousy. But in each case we have founders who had something that worked amazingly well in a tightly confined, focused context now trying to cover lots of topics for a general audience. That’s a massive and challenging transition with no guarantee of success. A lot of bumps along the way should come as no surprise.”

More at Why do journalists hate new journalism startups? | Digiday.

Paradigm Lost: Motorcycle Corners Car | The Truth About Cars

[OK, someone in a review said that 'everyone knows' that cars take corners faster than motorcycles. Well, since I rode in the 70's, I didn't know it because stock car suspensions and tire sucked.  However, being determined I looked up the lap times at Nurbergring up until  motorcycle racing was stopped. NO STREET CAR BEAT THE BEST MOTORCYCLE TIME UNTIL BIKE RACING WAS DISCONTINUED.)

20,600 m (67,600 ft) 7:49 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 Horst von Saurma 22 June 2007 Sport Auto[62]

7:46.36  Jaguar XJ220  John Nielsen  1992 Evo (07/2000) APPARENTLY DISPUTED.

From <>

20,832 m 7:49.71 Honda RC30 Helmut Dähne 23 May 1993 As motorcycle contests were discontinued after 1994, this remains the fastest officially timed motorcycle lap ever on the 20,832 m variant (159.7 km/h). Done in a single lap time trial run during Zuverlässigkeitsfahrt series on road legal VFR750R RC30 and Metzeler ME Z1 tires.


From <>

kinda looks to me as if — even giving street cars 6 more years, the Motocycle blew them away. }

When the Fastbike crew did some tire testing at Continental’s “Contidrome” test track, along came a car magazine with an Audi TT RS plus. They wanted: a race. They got: slaughtered. Is the old truth about cornering speeds changing?

 I have done a lot of motorbike magazine work over the years. Every so often, someone dusts off a very old idea: “What is faster, car or motorbike?” This is a boring question, because even since Newton, the answer always was: The motorbike has a better power-to-weight ratio, so it will out-accelerate the car on the straights. The car will gain in the corners through higher speeds and it can brake later, because the limiting factor in braking a sports bike is geometry: Your maximum deceleration happens with the back wheel barely touching the ground. After that, you lose braking power because you are flipping over. The same is true for acceleration btw (you flip over in the other direction), but since nearly all cars are fat and slow compared to a sports bike, this limit doesn’t matter much. So the outcomes of these tests depended solely on the track. Sometimes, the track favors the bike, sometimes it likes the car. Motorcyclists who know their physics like to infuriate other sports bike riders by passing them in the bends with a Civic when they have to use it for their shopping. And car guys hate it when they have to slow down on the Nordschleife in a twisty bit for a bike which then shoots ahead on the straight just to block the next corner by seeming to park there. Such was the accepted truth. Until a few months ago.


In April, we were all working on various articles for “Fastbike”, the magazine that covers our favorite pastime, going fast on motorcycles. I was interviewing the next generation of racing drivers (and their proud parents) in Spain (Cartagena). Ralf (owner of Fastbike) and Dirk (our tame racing driver) were at the Contidrome testing sports tires for the Ducati 1199 Panigale. They weren’t alone there: A Bugatti Veyron was doing its laps and the major German car magazine “Auto Bild” was driving around in an Audi TT RS plus. They had just received word that Audi had bought Ducati, which motivated them to dust off the very old idea: “What is faster, the RS plus or the Panigale?” It should have been close. Conti’s handling course is not super grippy and consists almost entirely of bends, so it favors the car, but the Ducati is so far ahead of the nose-heavy Audi in terms of track potential that she would make up for a lot of winding roads.

Then, a strange thing happened. The car couldn’t shake the bike in the corners. On some camera angles, it even looked as if the bike was going faster while the Audi shuffled wide. The only time the Audi could make good a few meters was under braking, and these few meters were immediately lost at the exit of the corner. Long story short: The Audi got slaughtered. It lost ten seconds a lap on a track where it should have won. The disheveled car journo in the video tells the same sad story: In the corners, the bike was as fast as, or faster than the Audi. I have never seen something like that.

Of course, TTs are more hairdresser’s cars than they are sports cars; they’re a bit rubbish at cornering because of their crap weight distribution, but they aren’t THAT rubbish. And despite the fact that Mr. Car Journo might have taken some crappy lines and Dirk is a (rather excellent) racing driver, everyone expected the car to at least corner faster than the bike.

Let’s take Audi’s (and Auto Bild’s) cornering qualities out of the equation: The Veyron was doing high speed test runs on the same track for tire testing, a professional test driver at the wheel. Ralf took the Bugatti’s time: still slower than the Duc.

Continue reading →

Secrets to a Successful Signing by Robert Bailey

 Hi folks,

So as we told you last month, Robert Bailey’s debut novel The Professor has been busily touring across the Southern USA.

The Professor’s signings have proven so popular (with a number of complete sell outs!) that we asked Robert to write us up a guest post on how to organize a successful signing.

Have a look at what he had to say below and check out some of the photos from his events!


Nashville: Outside Location was Key

Since launching The Professor in January with a sold out signing in Huntsville, Alabama at The Huntsville Museum of Art (273 copies sold!), we have had ten in store signing events.  Half of these events have been sellouts with total sales ranging from 17 to 43 books.  The reception we have received has been phenomenal!  Indeed, the long-time managers at the Books-A-Million stores in Cullman and Gulf Shores, Alabama declared that our event was the best they had ever seen.  Given our success, Exhibit A has asked that I share a few thoughts on what has gone into making these events a hit:

  • It has helped immensely to have a publicist on my team, and Julie Schoerke and JKS Communications arranged all of these events and worked with the store to ensure that the event had the best chance of success.  JKS kept a constant flow of communication with the store from the time of scheduling up until the time of the event.
  • The store has been a big part of our team.  For each store event, we have made sure to involve the store on the date and time of the event, i.e. not just when they have availability but what would be the optimum time for the signing.  The store manager or owner will know this information better than anyone and involving the store as part of the team has made our events feel like a joint venture as opposed to a solo operation.  In that same vein, it is extremely helpful when the store does its own promotion of the event.  Our sold out events at the Page & Palette in Fairhope and East Side Story in Nashville were greatly enhanced by the store’s own promotion of the event as was our event at ColdWater Books in Tuscumbia.
  • The personal touch.  For each event, I have sent personal email invitations to every friend or colleague I have in the area and asked that they forward the invitation to anyone they think might be interested.
  • Fairhope Signing: The page Palette came up with its own Ad in front of my table

    Positive book reviews or articles by local media have helped a ton.  For our events in Huntsville, Fairhope, Athens, Nashville and Cullman, we had nice book reviews and articles run in a local newspaper or other media outlet a few days prior to the event.  During these signings, several purchasers told me that they came specifically because they had read “the article in the paper.”

  • Using social media to the fullest extent possible.  Before every event, I have posted the event on Twitter, Linked-In and Facebook, which has led to my friends, followers and connections sharing my posts.  JKS has done the same, as has Exhibit A.  A great social media tool is setting up a Facebook event page, and specifically inviting your friends to this event so that they will receive a notice about it on their Facebook page.
  • Targeting my market.  As a lawyer who has written a legal thriller, I have made it a point to involve the local bar association where the event is being held in the promotion of the event.  For each event, I have reached out to the local bar association and requested that they distribute my invitation to their email list, and almost all have said yes.
  • Location within the store has been key. At almost all of our events, we have had a table at the front of the store.  This allows for customer interaction right off the bat, and many folks who had heard nothing about the book decided to purchase a copy after talking with me upon entering the store.  At East Side Story in Nashville, Chuck Beard (the owner of the store) allowed us to have a table outside as it was a beautiful day and there was a lot of street traffic.  There is not a doubt in my mind that the outside location for that day contributed to our success.
  • Atlanta Book Signing: Talking about The Professor for the crowd that came out to the Emerging Authors Event

    Partnering with other authors.  In Nashville, we partnered for our event with Nashville based author Tom Wood, whose book, Vendetta Stone, is actually set in the streets of East Nashville.  There is no question that several of Tom’s colleagues and friends who came out to support him ended up buying a copy of The Professor.  In Tuscumbia, we had a big day as part of ColdWater Books’ Lovin’ Locals Event, where over thirty other authors were on hand selling their books.  Likewise, at FoxTale Books in Atlanta, we were invited to the Emerging Authors Event, where we shared the stage with eleven other authors and each author had the opportunity to discuss his or her book with the crowd that came out for the event.

  • Luck.  At the end of the day, I think you have to be a bit lucky to have a successful store event.  In Fairhope and Nashville, we scored warm, beautiful days with lots of foot traffic near the store, which no doubt contributed to the event’s success.

I’m sure you’ll join me in thanking Robert for writing this, if you want to see more photos from his events head to Robert’s Website!

via |.

How Storytelling Can Get You The Job You Want | LinkedIn

[Terry: Here's my problem. Every time someone says I'm good at "storytelling" I assume they mean lying. Which, in fact, I'm quite good at. At age 3, my daughter came over to stare at my face in the strangest way. I asked her what she was doing. She said "Mom says that when you tell a story, your lips move." Mom, who was still abed, collapsed in hysterics. I think what she really said in answer to my daughter's question, "How do I tell if Dad's telling a story." answered, "His lips are moving."]

What are top employers looking for in MBA hires?

It’s a question recruiter Sandy Khan deals with on a daily basis. She’s spent more than two decades hiring MBAs for multinationals such as Google EMEA and Microsoft International and knows firsthand what separates the black-hole resumes from the interview-worthy CVs. She’s spent time on the other side of the table too, prepping MBA job seekers for the tough questions. Khan has coached more than 1,000 MBAs through the recruiting process via partnerships with some of Europe’s top-ranked business schools, including IESE and IE.

“In a nutshell, I’m a builder of MBA talent pools for multinational companies,” Khan explains to Poets&Quants’ Lauren Everitt in a recent interview. Leveraging her experience, Khan has embarked on her latest venture, MBA Arena, a virtual community that connects MBAs and employers through storytelling. In fact, both MBAs and employers fail miserably at explaining just what they bring to the table, she says. Figuring out how to fill this gap with coherent and sincere narratives from both sides translates to a better fit for employers and employees.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Poets&Quants, Khan covers everything from why MBAs should skip job boards to the best way to make a cover letter stand out.

More at How Storytelling Can Get You The Job You Want | LinkedIn.


Originally posted on More Sprinkles:

Last fall, I was talking to my grandfather at dinner, and he mentioned how his mother was also a great baker. I was very curious to know what kinds of things she baked back in Poland. My grandfather then told me about Kichlach. It is a cross between a cookie and a pull apart cake and is dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. He said his mother used to make it all the time and they would dip it in Hot Cocoa.

I wanted to try and make Kichlach, but I did not have a recipe. I searched all over google, but all the recipes I found were recipes for Kichlach in cookie form, so I decided to experiment. I combined the recipe for Kichlach cookies (give or take some extra flour), with the directions of a pull apart bread. It ended up tasting great, but I think the very middle of…

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The Seven

Originally posted on mishaburnett:

Okay, this is a followup to my “X vs. Y” posts here and here .

Utilizing a complex and technically inexplicable process of metamagical pseudoepistemological retrocognition, I have determined the optimum collection of archetypes to set against each other.

Still not entirely sure how this is going to work (c.f. Fauxpocalypse, Step One: Jump, Step Two: Build parachute) but I do want to put this out there.  I’m thinking that what I want to do is collect a group of authors first and then put them in the choakey with the spiders  send out assignments with a totally arbitrary and unfair time limit to construct a story.  (I’m thinking thirty days.)

If this looks like the kind of full throttle bonedaddy-bugfuck madness that you’d like to be involved in, send me a message via the ever-popular contact form.  I will add you to the soon to be constructed

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy. (And what do we want to talk about for Feminist Friday?)

Originally posted on Sourcerer:

A to Z is in hand. I have a post for the Writing Catalog tomorrow, and the one for Wednesday is written in my head. It just needs typing up. My A to Z page is current.

We’re not ready to reopen Sourcerer quite yet, but I’m confident we’ll be back before the week is out. And when we do reopen, there will be comics. That is a promise.

I’d like some input for the Feminist Friday discussion. I’m leaning toward either education or just an open thread. Anyone have any ideas? Or links to help me put a post together? Let me know what you think. This is your discussion as much as it is mine.

I’m not going to break my neck trying to get back up to full speed by tomorrow. I am going to have dinner, and then visit as many of my friends’ blogs –…

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One month old and her instructions are clearer!!!

Originally posted on The Hip Grandmother:

2 weeks old

2 weeks old

Ok. Ok. By now you know how excited I am about this little bundle of joy. What you don’t know is all the things she has had to deal with through this whole month. If you can remember, she had to deal with constipation in (what is my opinion) the worst way. She was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville only to get her first x-ray showing that she was engorged. After an enema and five diapers later, she was good to go home. Her mother then made an appointment with her doctor and had been instructed to use oatmeal cereal (1 tsp per 1 ounce) and that should help with the constipation. It did help…until the following week when we had the next problem…gas!

Newborns come home to parents that wish these babies came with instructions. Sometimes even the grandparents are at a loss to what…

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!n-Focus: Ibi Ibrahim & The Aphrodite of Islamism

Originally posted on Narmeen Naser - Artist:

!n-Focus: Ibi Ibrahim & The Aphrodite of Islamism .

Beautiful Art, Artist, and article. Being a girl raised in the Middle East with conservative parents and society yet growing up in a world where one needs to push boundaries to get ahead, we girls are living in a conflicted world. Being a feminist pushes enough buttons in this world for girls growing up in conservative settings, trying to express ones sexuality is a far far cry. Props to Ibi for having the courage!

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Guest Author: Lisa Scottoline

Originally posted on Stacy Alesi's BookBitch:

I am delighted to offer this Q&A with Lisa Scottoline as her new book arrives in stores. And read through to the end to find out how you can win your own copy!


Jake Whitmore has been trying to mend an ongoing rift with his sixteen year old son, Ryan.  Just as they’re enjoying a rare bonding moment, when he’s not competing with the multitude of distractions that vie for Ryan’s attention, disaster strikes.  A tragic car accident with Ryan at the wheel threatens to derail not only Ryan’s chances at college, but his entire future.  Jake makes a split-second decision that saves his son from formal punishment, but plunges them both into a world of guilt, lies, and secrecy.

Making matters even worse, Jake’s wife Pam is up for a federal judgeship, with all the attendant background checks and interviews with the FBI.  Ryan is devastated by the…

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World of Psychology |an unspoken societal expectation that’s gotten crazier as time as gone by.

Best of Our Blogs: April 8, 2014

By Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.Associate Editor

There’s an unspoken societal expectation that’s gotten crazier as time as gone by. We’re supposed to keep spring cleaned homes and full-time jobs. But we’re also expected to look like we fell from the cover of a magazine, be positive and mindful 100% of the time and yet deal with all “our stuff” so it doesn’t spill out onto our relationships (professional and personal).

I don’t know about you. But to me that will happen…Never.

We’re human beings. We spill milk and cry about it. We overindulge on food and shopping. We sabotage our professional and personal relationships. We stick our foot in the mouth. We’re messy and make tons of embarrassing mistakes. We’re supposed to.

If you feel less than lately, you can blame it on the media, your relatives, your dysfunctional relationships, but you can also focus on turning things around. This week’s posts are a basket of self-compassion and brimming with positivity. Learn how to deal with negative thoughts and learn more about yourself and your relationship(s). Have a great week!

{Etsy plaque by: gjarvisjewelryetc}

via Best of Our Blogs: April 8, 2014 | World of Psychology.


Originally posted on keithgarrettpoetry:



A slight breeze blowing across the bay today, the sun will shine,

A few passing clouds but a great day to sail away with beautiful you.

Free to wander a different part of life, escape together across the water,

What a beautiful day, such a pretty smile on a beautiful face ready to sail.

I brought wine and cheese and If It gets chilly something stronger you see,

A blanket to cover up with as the day loses the sun, some music and some love.

Sail away with me beyond all that we everyday see, just you and me, the sea,

Remember our day together, our time In the sun sailing Along the horizon line.

Sail away with me, forever we’ll sail together until go away forever.

Keith Garrett


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Classic Pin Up Art : Maly Siri

Originally posted on The Muscleheaded Blog:


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A Touching Story: A Proper Ending

Originally posted on Dimitris Melicertes:

Your comments were so harsh they made me cry.

I’m referring to some of the feedback I got on this story I posted a few days ago. So, for those of you who found the ending unsatisfying – there, I changed it. Here be the sequel, with a totally different ending:

A Touching Story: A Proper Ending

Tommy lay in a hospital bed, feeling with his tongue the place in his gums which a day before hosted three teeth. His smile would never be the same again. Nor would his left side, though his broken rib would eventually heal. That’s what the doctors said.

But his heart, oh would his poor heart heal? He realized now with a bitter pang how idealistic, romantic, naive he had been to chase after this sudden dream. Emma just wasn’t the same person anymore, or at least not the person he had imagined she would…

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Originally posted on Jari65 Blog:

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The Strongest Brand In Publishing Is …

The Strongest Brand In Publishing Is …

David Vinjamuri Contributor

When comparing authors, publishers tend to focus on book sales.  But sales figures tell only part of the story.  Expensive advertising and a strong push for distribution and display at bookstores might yield strong initial sales but create lots of returns and low profitability.  An early and fortuitous movie deal might overexpose a book that doesn’t meet the promise of the movie.

A thousand other externalities make sales data inadequate to measure the strength of an author’s franchise.  To understand which authors are worth investing in, publishers need a better measure of an author’s value.

Brand, Not Platform

The metric often used to evaluate new or developing authors is platform – roughly defined as the social reach of the author though Facebook fans, Twitter followers, blog views and speaking engagements.  But according to Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group, which polls thousands of readers to determine their preferences and purchase behavior, platform is a misleading metric.

We’ve seen celebrities with extremely high name recognition and very large platforms fail miserably in book sales.  Being famous or having millions of Twitter followers alone is not enough to build a strong franchise as an author.

Hildick-Smith points out that only about half of adults read books and just a fifth are regular book buyers.  So a celebrity with a large and dedicated following will not automatically become a bestselling author.

The Rest is at The Strongest Brand In Publishing Is ….

Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing | Digital Book World

Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing

The term “self-publishing” may have outlived its usefulness, according to Jon Fine, director of author and publishing relations at Amazon, speaking at the Publishing for Digital Minds conference this week in London.

When asked at a recent past conference what “self-publishing” looked like in ten years, Fine, who is intimately involved in that business at Amazon, said that it probably won’t be called that anymore. In the future, authors will publish in a number of ways.

“If you’re an author in ten years, you’re going to have an array of options,” said Fine. “What we’ve done is provide the tools that make it possible to take a story and make it available to hundreds of millions of people around the world…and do it in multiple formats.”

Best-selling hybrid author Hugh Howey shared the stage with Fine. Howey could be an author from Fine’s future. He has self-published ebooks and audiobooks, traditionally published print books and translations, and has no definite plans in the future as to how he will publish his next title.

“Do you want to be a small business owner or work for a corporation?” asked Howey, referring to the difference between self-publishing, where authors are also entrepreneurs (the former) and traditional publishing, adding, “and there are advantages and disadvantages for both.”

In a typical example of the flexibility afforded authors today, Orna Ross, a hybrid author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, who was also on the conference panel mentioned that she is publishing nine short books this year, about one every month, “and that’s not something a publisher would ever do.”

According to Fine, the next challenge facing authors, publishers and distributors like Amazon is how readers will discover the right books for them.

“We’ve created this tsunami of content,” said Fine. “It’s a high class problem to have too many stories. We, as tech companies, publishers, authors, service providers, have to find ways to help stories find the right audience. This discoverability problem is the next big challenge.”

via Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing | Digital Book World.

Art Exhibition in Dallas, Texas by Ray Ferrer – GoFundMe

One of Hey Sweetheart’s earlier friends is looking for support.,

Art Exhibition in Dallas, Texas by Ray Ferrer – GoFundMe.

A Marked Improvement |Welcome to a new friend: Mark

A Marked Improvement Social commentary, I suppose.

Hello friend.

I’m Mark, a nineteen year old middle class individual who enjoys writing and hails from that funny little island that ruled most of the world once (Britain). I’m sure you knew to which collection of nations I was referring there, but sadly I feel that everything must be explained on the internet, I’ve read youtube comments.

Much like everyone else, there are various things I enjoy: Football, Cricket, Squash (the sport, not the drink), photography, writing, watching TV, listening to music, and using the Oxford comma.

I also have an appearance, again, much like the majority of humans. I won’t go into that though, I don’t want to entirely bore you. Anyway, That’s enough info about me, enjoy the blog!

via About me | A Marked Improvement.



People tend to have themes for their blogs in order to help gain a base of readers who have similar interests. They may base them on what they know a lot about, a blog will not often stray far from what that person would choose as their specialist subject on Mastermind. One of my friends writes largely about Halo or Doctor Who, having written reviews, case studies, and analyses of both. He can do this well because he knows both subjects pretty much inside out. If I were to follow a similar tack, you’d be reading an in depth study of the different themes and characters of Scrubs. Likely to have less of a pull I wager.

Another reason for a theme in a blog is to direct the posts. If you have a theme, you know what you’re writing about. If this was a blog full of reviews of television shows, then I’d watch a new programme, and then proceed to pick holes in the plot, or the casting, or the direction, costume and lighting before ending the post by abhorring the show and pleading with my readers not to watch it, unless of course it is so bad it’s actually quite entertaining. That’s how most objective reviews of things seem to go, people love being critical, and it gives others something to moan about, everybody wins. Maybe if I had a political blog I’d scour The Times to find the latest parliamentary debate and then articulate everything that’s wrong with our government, topping my article with a thick layer of doom and just a sprinkling of gloom. Unless of course it was the Jam Debate that had been hotly contested in recent days, then I could just copy John Finnemore’s satirical overview of it from The Now Show, changing it slightly and aiming it at a different demographic in the hope I’d be able to revel in the praise truly due to Mr. Finnemore. In that case maybe I’d add a little political cartoon, to separate my blog from the hoi polloi of political-ish blogs. What is a political blog without a shred of whimsy?

Rather than meticulously planning my blog theme, or even stumbling upon a theme as I wrote, I’ve ended up with a stuttering, confused blog that spans Instagram, through history, to politics and even a fanciful imagination of archaeology in the future. Even though when my friend and I were discussing this issue prior to starting blogs I had an idea that it would consist of ill-defined ‘rants’ about the social or political issues of the day, that lack of a concrete base has led to the coma my blog has descended into in recent weeks. Anyway, hopefully now it’s woken up for a while, probably should’ve used that time to conceive a theme. Oh well.

Grab a Revolver and Believe that music still has its Heroes

Revolver etcMusic. There’s a lot to it. Some of it is incredible, some of it is terrible, the terrible stuff is incredible and the incredible stuff is terrible. Such is the paradox created by the opinions of people. The same piece of music can be reviled, worshipped, and ignored simultaneously. That all means that nothing I or anyone else can say about music is right or wrong, true or false. There’s probably some types of music you enjoy, there are some I enjoy, and our opinions are as valid as each other, as are those of anyone else. With that in mind, I’d like to take just a few minutes to compare 4 artists. The first comparison is one that’s been made before, much to many people’s horror; The Beatles vs One Direction. The second will be equally as appalling to many; Justin Bieber vs David Bowie.

Firstly, The Beatles and One Direction. The Beatles had millions of die-hard screaming fans, One Direction have millions of die-hard screaming fans. That’s an obvious similarity. The Beatles were pioneering, changing the face of music as we know it, One Direction are, erm, apparently very good looking. The Beatles formed in school before working hard off their own backs prior to being discovered, One Direction were put together by Simon Cowell after each was deemed not good enough to be a solo singer. One Direction sing (but don’t write) some very catchy songs. The Beatles wrote and played some catchy songs too, but clearly lacked One Direction’s creativity and ability to tell stories through music. Lady Madonna’s all well and good, but did she ever know she’s beautiful? McCartney told Jude he was “Made to go out and get her” but he left out some vital advice – how could he not tell him to live while he’s young?! A real blunder from Paul there.

Both bands have become massively popular across the Atlantic, and One Direction are probably close to being as big as The Beatles. In fact Harry Styles reckons they’ll be bigger than them, and subsequently, bigger than Jesus. That’s quite a claim, Harry, and you’re a moron for making it. You may think that’s a bit harsh to Harry, but no, that’s an unbelievably ridiculous thing to say. The Beatles transformed music. One Direction haven’t even dented it.

Justin Bieber’s quite the phenomenon. He’s got millions of fans, most of them 12 year old girls, but fans nonetheless. He’s a singer-songwriter who’s famous worldwide. David Bowie is also a world-renowned singer-songwriter. They’ve both had tremendous chart success, Bieber’s Baby was a huge hit, Bowie has hit the top of the charts a few times himself. But Life on Mars? Has nothing on Bieber’s work. Bieber’s songs are so evocative, so powerful, so inspiring! He sings about real things, not alien rock stars and spiders from Mars, what were you on about Bowie?

Maybe Bieber’s been listening to Bowie though, he’s definitely made some Changes and he’s even dabbled in drugs, a signature Bowie move. However, moving back to sincerity for a minute, Bowie is one of the real legends of music. His constant reinvention allowed him to stay at the top for years, and his latest release showed the power he continues to yield, leading him to be named as one of the 100 most powerful people in media. Bieber is a temperamental teen whose ego far exceeds his musical ability and who’s contributed less to music than Jimi Hendrix’s appendix. He’s led millions of preteens to believe that meaningless pop drivel is the pinnacle of music and his antics show that he’s not worthy of the adoration he receives. As far as a comparison between Bieber and Bowie goes, it’s like refusing to use a Macbook pro and instead showering praise and admiration on an Amstrad CPC 464. Sorry to bring my own personal bias into this, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave my views on Bieber and One direction even slightly ambiguous.  If you do listen to Bieber and One Direction, fine, each to their own, but if you’ve not given the likes of Bowie, The Beatles and Hendrix a chance, I implore you to do so.

#daydreamer |Welcome to a new friend: Mihran Kalaydjian

 “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in

me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.



By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Consultant, Strategist, and Writer



I am on the passenger side,
Daydreaming to the sky
The day’s bright and full of life.. then
In a mile, I caught your sight

My heart starts beating triple times
The thing that I don’t know why
And the bus stopped for a while
Not long you’re in the seat behind

The music starts playing love songs
I get notion to have conversation
I love your eyes put in my direction,
I find my heart set in motion

We talk and talk while the road seems stretched,
The time runs slow till I reached my place
All was fantasy, I never noticed,
You wake me up, all eyes on my face.

(I wrote this poem from an experience when I was in a bus and caught sight of another passenger who had me wonderstruck! Well, other than that, I also have a deeper meaning with this poem!)

Mihran Kalaydjian

On a personal note, I love the outdoors, comedy, bbq, reading and traveling. I worked in the beer industry in college so I love talking about good beer. I used to be a competitive runner so (like all runners) if you make the mistake of asking me, I’ll tell you about my entire career and PRs. I also spent my youth working in restaurants, so if you’ve done the same, we can swap stories.

Mihran Kalaydjian, A proven ability to articulate a company’s brand culture as well as key strategic initiatives and delivery of desired results. Outstanding leadership, communications and project management skills. A committed individual with strong organizational skills that believes leading by example is key to building a strong team to achieve high guest satisfaction results and cost control measures.

Mihran Kalaydjian provides visionary leadership and management oversight of the sales, marketing and revenue strategies for Classic Hotels and Resorts.


By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Consultant, Strategist, and Writer

Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakening, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
‘Twere better than the cold reality
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
But should it be- that dream eternally
Continuing- as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood- should it thus be given,
‘Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
For I have revell’d, when the sun was bright
I’ the summer sky, in dreams of living light
And loveliness,- have left my very heart
In climes of my imagining, apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought- what more could I have seen?
‘Twas once- and only once- and the wild hour
From my remembrance shall not pass- some power
Or spell had bound me- ’twas the chilly wind
Came o’er me in the night, and left behind
Its image on my spirit- or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly- or the stars- howe’er it was
That dream was as that night-wind- let it pass.

I have been happy, tho’ in a dream.
I have been happy- and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality, which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love- and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

via The Nation’s Top 10 Worst Ice Storms | mihran Kalaydjian.

The Author of “the Underwear Thief” |Welcome to a new friend: Dimitris Melicertes

 Dimitris Melicertes was born in Athens in 1988. He studied Greek Philology and Linguistics at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens before undertaking the MA in Writing at the University of Warwick. He now lives and writes in London, working on a historical novel for the PhD in Creative Writing and Practice-based Research at Royal Holloway, University of London, under the supervision of Benjamin Markovits.

His first translation was a short story by Santiago Roncagliolo, The Alongside Passenger, from Spanish into English and Greek. In 2012 he translated into Greek the Fantastic Diaries of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop, a series of children’s books by author Leila Rasheed, which are published in the UK by Usborne and in Greece by Metaihmio.


Dimitris is co-founder of the purpureus Writers, prose group at RHUL, that organizes workshops as well as literary events featuring visiting authors, of which three included Ali Smith, Ben Markovits and Anthony Horowitz.


In 2011, Dimitris’ short story The Underwear Thief from the anthology The Draft, was chosen, adapted and performed by Chris Lowe The Story Teller at the Warwick Words Festival. A video of Chris performing The Underwear Thief can be found here.Dimitris Melicertes


In 2013, Dimitris’ short story with the title Come Again was selected for the finalists of the Cowley Literary Award in the category of fiction.




The Underwear Thief (short story), The Draft, Ball Bearing Press 2011.
Το φανταστικό ημερολόγιο της Μπεατρίς: Πατάτες, χάμπουργκερ και λιμουζίνες1, Metaixmio 2012.
- Το φανταστικό ημερολόγιο της Μπεατρίς: Κάλτσες, σοκ και μυστικά2, Metaixmio 2012.
Το φανταστικό ημερολόγιο της Μπεατρίς: Ντόνατς, όνειρα και βασίλισσες του δράματος3, Metaixmio 2012.

via Writing & Translation | Dimitris Melicertes.

A Touching Story

A Touching Story


Tommy was eight when he met Emma. Emma was six. The year was 1987 and the place of their first meeting was the local playground of their neighbourhood in Surrey. Neither of them would remember the scene, but their parents overheard them exchanging love vows surprising and unexpected for children their age:


I love you-u-u,’ she sang from the merry-go-round.


I love you too-oo-oo,’ he sang back from the swings. ‘My heart will always be-e-e yours.


But life doesn’t always bring things the way we’d want them. A month later, Emma’s family moved to New York. Tommy lost his closest friend and first ‘love’. Nevertheless, he didn’t forget about her – he and Emma wrote letters to each other for almost a decade. They exchanged poems; it was some compensation.


In 1996, Emma’s family moved again, this time without forwarding Tommy her new address. He didn’t know why. Tommy repeatedly wrote to her and tried to trace her whereabouts, but in vain. Their connection was severed.


Years passed. Tommy entered university, made many friends, had several girlfriends, became a successful surgeon. In 2007 he married his longest relationship and 2009 saw their first child coming to the world. Sadly, soon afterwards Tommy discovered his wife was cheating on him. Devastated, his marriage broken, for the next three years he turned into an emotional wreck that barely kept in touch with the world.

Until the day the thought crossed his mind to look up his puppy love on Facebook. You guessed it… he found her!

For the rest, Click Here

The time is NOW! | Welcome to a new friend: One Writer Stories

Various stories from one writer who loves to write.

My writing timeline

I spent years thinking about it.

I spent months in pre-writing. Outlining, character sketches, plot summary, etc…

I spent a few more months writing. I had four chapters complete.

And yesterday…

I spent seconds throwing it all in the trash…


via The time is NOW! | One Writer Stories.

The time is NOW!

We all have dreams, ambitions, goals, and hopes for our futures. Then why aren’t we ALL living the lives we want to live?

There are no easy answers to this question. However, so many of us aren’t even trying. We have given up before we really got started. It’s easy to give reasons for not moving in the directions of our dreams; it’s much harder to give reasons for chasing what we know deep down is our true path.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” –Les Brown

It’s true, so many of us do not try because we are afraid. It is up to us, as individuals, to break free from that fear. To challenge ourselves to stand up to whatever is holding us back. To look fear in its face and say, “I will not let you stop me!”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” –Steve Jobs

Let us break free from others’ way of thinking and carve our own path. I go to work. I work hard and put in my time. I earn a paycheck that helps pay the bills. In essence, I am working hard at fulfilling someone’s else’s dream. Some people are ok with this, and that is perfectly fine. But for others, it leaves them with a hole, an empty feeling. If you are one of these people, like myself, it’s time to take a good hard look at where you want to be in life. Then, make a decision to go after it!

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb

So what are we waiting for? It’s time to stand up and say, I’m tired of living someone else’s dream, I’m tired of putting my dreams on hold, I’m tired of listening to other people say I can’t do it, I’m tired of letting life pass by and not really participating, I’m tired of having this burning desire inside my soul and watching it slowly slip away and die, I’m tired…

The time is now folks. Let’s make a decision to be who we are meant to be!

Slow TV–It’s catching on fast.

Slow TV  APR 04 2014

Slow television is the uninterrupted broadcast of an ordinary event from start to finish. Early efforts included burning Yule logs on TV around Christmas and driver’s views of complete British rail journeys (not to mention Andy Warhol and the pitch drop experiment), but Norwegian public television has revived the format in recent years. The first broadcast was of a 7-hour train trip from Bergen to Oslo, which was watched at some point by ~20% of Norway’s population. You can watch the entire thing on YouTube:

Not content with that, in 2011 an entire ship voyage was broadcast for 134 continuous hours. The entire voyage is available for viewing, but you can watch a 37-minute time lapse of the whole thing if you can’t spare the 5½ days:

[SNIP] for the rest go to

P.S. Does this 10-hour video of Tyrion Lannister slapping Joffrey count as slow TV? Either way, it’s great.

Review of Courier/Only slightly truncated.

Review: Cover is pretty cool.

Originally posted on Koeur’s Book Reviews:

cover43300-mediumPublisher: Angry Robot
Publishing Date: April 2014
ISBN: 9781909223806
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 2/5

Publisher Description: It’s 1972. The Watergate scandal has Washington on edge. Rick Putnam, a Vietnam veteran and motorcycle courier for one of the capital’s leading television stations, is trying to get his life back together after his nightmarish ordeal in the war. But when Rick picks up film from a news crew interviewing a government worker with a hot story, his life begins to unravel as everyone involved in the story dies within hours of the interview and Rick realizes he is the next target.

Review: Cover is pretty cool.

View original 305 more words

[Terry: Yes, I'm just fooling around. He hated it.]

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