March 2020 Update

March 2020

Greetings:

March certainly came in like a lion. I don’t think it will go out like a lamb. Here at our new home in north Georgia Carol and I are closing out the month “sheltering in place,” going out only to play tennis or make a quick trip to the grocery or pharmacy. The coronavirus situation is presented daily in the media as numbers of cases and deaths and where they are located. Important information, for sure.

But there is a story that captures this crisis. It’s about what happened and continues to happen in Albany, Georgia. A beloved school janitor dies, there is a funeral of over 200 mourners, and a few weeks later people start dying.  

***** 

BOOKS READ THIS MONTH

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.   One of the best books I’ve ever read. No wonder it is now in its 80th week on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo. A powerful children’s book. Ann Patchett, best-selling author and co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville said, “…it changed my life.” This one should be read first by the adult before reading to smaller children. Yes, I read children’s books. We have four grandchildren.

*****   

THE ZOOM CONFERENCING APP has soared to use and popularity as more groups are meeting online. It’s fantastic, for sure. Zoom’s cloud-meetings app is currently the most popular free app for iPhones in the United States, according to Sensor Tower, a mobile app market research firm. But wait a minute. The New York Attorney General is looking into its privacy practices.

Zoom says it is no longer forwarding user data to Facebook.

P.S. Hey Microsoft, what happened to Skype?  

***** 

A VIST TO STARKVILLE, MISSISSIPPI

Earlier this month, I had a pleasant visit to StarkVegas to do some research for an upcoming project. The historic Chester Hotel was my home base. It was featured in an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Hotel Hell. Worth watching.

***** 

OUR TRAVELING HAS COME TO A HALT. Our late Springtime travel plans included trips to Panama and Alaska. Cancellations were handled in different ways. The airlines (Delta and Alaska Airlines) charged a small cancellation fee and promised e-credits for future flights. They still haven’t been posted. The cruise line for Alaska promised a 50% refund and a 50% credit for a future cruise. Still haven’t received either. 

And then there is Caravan Tours, the company we booked for our Panama trip. I had purchased a trip insurance policy that allowed cancellation for any reason. When I called Caravan to cancel, I was informed that everything I had paid would be fully refunded. Within 10 days I had received a full refund. Consequently, we plan to take at least two Caravan tours in the future. I don’t mean to sound critical of the airlines and the cruise line because they are dealing with an economic and communications disaster, but I believe exceptional customer service should be rewarded. So thank you Caravan.

***** 

COLUMNS PUBLISHED IN MARCH

Image is everything, even in Mississippi

Customers are judging everything of every transaction

***** 

SELF-PUBLISHING – The most common writing question I get is, Who’s your publisher?

It seems the publishing world changes everyday. Authors, especially new authors, have more alternatives than ever. There’s one author I keep up with when is comes to marketing and self-publishing. 

Joe Konrath is considered a pioneer in self-publishing. He has sold more than three million books in twenty countries. He’s written over forty novels and over a hundred short stories in the mystery, thriller, horror, and sci-fi genres. He’s been a #1 Amazon bestseller on three different occasions, and has been in the Top 100 bestseller lists over twenty times. He’s twice won the Love is Murder Award for best thriller, and has also won the Derringer Award, and the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award, and has been nominated for many others including the Anthony, Macavity, and Gumshoe.

*****

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT 

The most important thing in life is to stop saying “I wish” and say “I will.” – Charles Dickens

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