Why I self-publish(.?!)

There have been a lot of people who have asked lately why I self publish, rather than pursue a book deal with a traditional publisher.  I think it comes down to a really great line from Pretty Woman,

“I say who, I say when, I say how much.”

Kit and Vivian were talking about getting a pimp, and this sentence ended that conversation.  I feel this line could sum up how a lot of people in the working world feel.  But, just like a hooker of the 90′s, the goings can get a little tough without a pimp.

kit and vivian

This is significant as it applies to why I self-publish, most recently encapsulated in my interest to apply to the #AmtrakResidency program.  This program is where a writer could stay in one of the Amtrak sleeper cars for 5 days and travel around on the rails to focus on their writing.  This sounded EXCELLENT to me. I was totally in. Then I read their Terms and Conditions, specifically #6 …

6.   Grant of RightsIn submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties.

Nope.

Not this girl.

“I say who, I say when, I say how much.”

It is a battle of the copyrights (I almost wrote copywrites … ), and it starts right now.  I understand #AmtrakResidency was probably well-meaning and wanted to encourage writing on it’s tracks. I’m sure there are many writers who thought “I could write the next Great American Novel” while riding along the great history and scenery of the Rail.  It’s perfect.  But… contractual language that preys on writers?  Meh… sounds more like a pimp to me, and …

“I say who, I say when, I say how much.”

My friend (and amazing author) Ramez Naam wrote a great blog piece called “We are all on the same side” about this topic (while under a book deadline).  Amanda Hocking (the most successful self-publisher), just signed on with a traditional publishing house (only after she was making her own millions through self publishing).

“I say who, I say when, I say how much.” ??

This is the reason I self publish.  My work belongs to me. Good bad or indifferent, I want to have the control to say who and when and how much. I want to be the sole person responsible for my own Manifest Destiny.  I want to be able to be free to be myself, express my art AND take full credit for the decisions  from the cover art to the editing. I get it, a check is nice. Someone taking care of the marketing is nice.  Someone putting you on tour, buying the movie rights AND getting a check is SUPER nice.  People helping you are nice.  All of it is icing on the cake.

It’s the who, when and how much questions always come down to pimping.  Money, business and now intellectual property (rather than just bodies).

I will self-publish. Until I own a publishing company, I will self publish.  It will be the “Plan B Entertainment” for writers.  I will keep control of my intellectual property just as I have kept control of my body.  Plan B is a great idea the morning after, and sometimes when I’m writing, the morning after is the hardest part.

Early-Morning-After-A-Coffee-Start-Writing (1)

There are times in life…..

There are times in your life where:

You just don’t feel good.

You wish for a Prince Charming or Princess Aurora,

And you get Malificent and King Farquaad.

You want Disneyland, and you the the “House of Horrors”.

But, you know what….

The good news is, it won’t last forever.

I’ve been dealing with some “health issues” (let’s leave it at that) lately.  Real or imaged, stress induced or genetic, terminal or maybe it is just nothing at all.  It really doesn’t matter.  All of these thoughts, feelings and emotions have passed through the sails lately, and I’m ready to see land again.  Even if the island is deserted.

The good news is, it won’t last forever. Nothing lasts forever.original_1345070734

I learned this by watching the monks.  Watching a Tibetan monk spend days and days on end, in silence, with colored grains of sand.  Speck by speck, building one of the most beautiful mandala’s I have ever seen.  Each piece of color-dust was a thoughtful, intended decision. And…. with each speck, the mandala would change.

I kuan-yin-riding-dragon_346x432learned by riding a stalking dragon.   It was 8 seconds of pure chaos and madness, then silence and calm.

I learned: It won’t last forever.

Nothing lasts for ever.

These times in your life …  do not last forever.

 

 

 

Small Business Saturday @ Spellbound Flowers

Originally posted on Spellbound Flowers :

Well hello friends and flower lovers!-

Now that we are officially a part of Portland’s Small Business community I wanted to seize the spirit of Small Business Saturday and unleash a couple of offers.

spellboundstorefront

First- I am offering 20% off any Floral Subscription signups between now and December 5th.

You can set your budget and choose weekly, bi-weekly or monthly and you can choose the style, classic, modern, bouquet, vase arrangement or the ever exciting *Floriographer’s Choice*.Contact me and we will tailor an order to perfectly suit your needs.

Now the second offer, is bananas— off the hook bananas. Through the 5th I am offering a certificate for a Spellbound Dozen good THROUGH Valentine’s Day for only 20.00.

That is a dozen long stemmed ( 60 cm, standard roses are only 40!) beauties and complimentary filler for only $20.00!

This is good for pick up in store- delivery IS available…

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Nearly 1 in 4 US Writers Has Self-Censored For Fear of Government Surveillance

Originally posted on Dispatches from the Underclass:

A recently released survey of American writers conducted by PEN America Center in October found that government surveillance is having a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

PEN surveyed over 500 US writers about the impact of NSA surveillance revelations on their work and found that self-censorship is rampant due to anxieties about being spied on. Those surveyed admitted to purposely steering clear of writing, speaking about and even researching certain topics.

View original 230 more words

An open letter to Ernst & Young. Shame on you.

Today, my blog post will be a bit of a rant.
But one that I do not apologize for.

In 1963, the Equal Pay Act protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.

In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

In 1972, Title IV (A portion of the Education Amendments) stated that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…”

And in 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which amended the 1965 Title VII Civil Rights Act and re-enforced the right of equal pay for equal work.

Why do I bring all of this up?

Well, on June 14, 2013 the Puget Sound Business Journal published and included a paid advertising insert by Ernst & Young called “Entrepreneur of the Year”.

The qualifications of this award was as follows:
*Entrepreneurial spirit
*Financial performance
*Strategic direction
*Community/global impact
*Innovation
*Personal Integrity/Influence

The “categories” for awards were:
*Lifetime Achievement Award
*Business Services
*Consumer Products & Manufacturing
*Financial Services
*Food & Beverage
*Healthcare and Insurance
*Technology

There were 22 winners in total.

They were all men.

Not once did someone think “hmm…. this is curious, all the winners are middle-aged guys, and the Puget Sound is one of the most culturally diverse places in the US.”
or…
“hmmmm ….. there is not one woman who is celebrated as ‘the best’, even though Seattle is one of 10 top cities for Women-owned businesses”.

Shame. On. You.

Shame on you Ernst & Young.
Shame on you for not putting a little more thought energy and effort into celebrating the rich diversity which thrives in Seattle (and the surrounding areas). Shame on you for just celebrating the group of male ‘cronies’ without once considering that women are 50% of the population and own more than 10 million businesses around the country. Further, in the United States alone, women business owners employ more than 13 million people and are generating $1.9 trillion in sales. Not only that, women-led businesses are one of the fastest growing types of the small businesses—a rare bright spot in today’s sluggish economy, increasing nearly 60 percent since 1997. Lastly, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Survey, 2013 looks to be the “Year of the Female Entrepreneur,” with women business owners’ optimism at high levels (81 percent) on the opportunities that lie ahead.

Shame on you.

Shame on you Greg Beams (The Seattle Assurance Partner and Entrepreneur of the Year Program Director for Ernst & Young) for overseeing this flagrant foul. ESPECIALLY from a company whose tag line reads: “quality in everything we do”.
This is NOT quality.

Shame. On. You.

(I should also note here an “honorable mention” in the “Shame on you” category to the Puget Sound Business Journal for not looking at this and thinking “This could reflect poorly on our publication.” or “This isn’t the kind of public image we want to endorse of be a part of.”)

Shame on all of you.

In my very short lifetime, I have seen the glass ceilings break from Capitol Hill to the corporate boardroom and everywhere in between. My sister and I had parents who taught us that we could do anything. Encouraged us to take risks, and live our lives to the fullest. Both of my parents own their own businesses, treated each other as absolute equals (sharing both the bread-winning and house-hold chores) and have always encouraged us to value creativity and hard work. I know that my sister and I have carried these values into the workplace and into our lives. This instilled the confidence to pursue our dreams on our own terms.

I KNOW for a fact that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of families just like ours all over the world. Families which include, support and build dreams of millions of young girls.

Articles and “awards” like this do nothing to build confidence in young women who dream of starting or running their own business. Instead it just reinforces the patriarchal system which is an OLD and OUT OF DATE way of thinking and living.

These awards mean nothing. In fact, they do the opposite.

They just show a very large part of the population that Ernst & Young does not value the financial, creative, innovative and positive influence that women have had on this community through their businesses. They show that they are not willing to step out of the box of an old and outdated way of thinking, and look to the future.

And because of that, Shame. On. You.

New Adventures and going legit.

My life is always full of adventure (remember that crazy time in Cambodia? And the motorcycles?) I’m lucky to be alive, but …. I believe…

It is truly the only way to live.

However, during my adventures, I kept finding myself being a “financial coach” to friends and family because of my long and varied background in finance. I wrote about it (twice), blogged about it, met people over beers about it, and lost sleep on it.

So, I’ve decided to go legit.

I’ve updated my LinkdIn page, I’m connecting all the little webs I’ve weaved over the years, I decided on a business name, I have a website (which is still being tweaked here and there), and very soon a logo (Thanks to Katie Davis), and a state business filing.

This is all very exciting.
Check it out!

Creative Financial Coaching

Follow the blog, leave feedback, ask questions, and let me know what you think.

xox

It wasn’t Cathartic.

It was traumatic.

It was beautiful.

It was a cardboard spaceship I pointed to the moon and only landed because of a strong whirlpool of talented artists who bled and sweat and built with me.

It was the memoir that I wrote. It took everything out of me, every ounce of soul-energy. Every drop of blood and ink went into these pages and I haven’t been able to really write anything since. It has left me in this constant state of gratuitous post-tramautic spinning. So, I’m breaking. Breaking as in, taking a break from writing for a while. I’ve spent the last six months *un-writing* to let the emotions and raw beauty settle into a form of some *thing*. Taking a step back from words to enjoy the paint of life.

Until I sit down again, I will always have the bound book to hug.
Do you have yours?
Breathe._Cover_for_Kindle

It is true. The pen IS mightier than the sword.
My pen dug deeper and sliced harder than any sword every could.

Light and Weight.

I woke up this morning to darkness. The sun having not yet crest over the horizon. My eyes adjusting to the next to zero light in the dark.

Does the darkness have desire? Does it need? Does it have the human-animalistic desires? What does the darkness want? Does it yearn? Maybe… maybe in the darkness there is still a need, a desire of creation in the void. A hope.

Light.

A person with light.
“Work the light”.

Work the light, bringing it to places in the dark, giving hope to the hopeless. Is a light-worker still working the light with all their joy and hope, when it never travels to the darkness. Is there an existence of a light-worker which is sheltered from the cruel and bad and dark of this world?

I woke this morning with these thoughts. I was laying in the darkness, eyes open and adjusting so I could see. Thinking about one thing…. my travels daily to the darkness. Not in some internal place, but amongst the people. I do my service on the streets and sometimes I am successful and sometimes I fail. I am still human. But yet, the fact remains, in my daily journey to and fro, on the bus and on the streets, most of the people I pass are homeless, high or need help.

I cannot help them all. The only thing I can do is sit there. But that is service in and of itself. The light I hold in my being (as dark as it may be), is still a bright sun, a beacon of hope to those I pass.

I know many people who pray, do ritual, meditate and do other things which feed their spiritual and/or religious growth. I see them becoming stronger. I see them grow. I watch them as they move from their house, to their car, to their work, to their friends all insulated from the darkness of the world.

Then I see a few, a few who venture out into the darkness with their little candle. They walk the alley’s and ride the buses. They create safe spaces and care for their fellow humans who thrash and rail and fight through life.

In a car you are isolated from everything around you. You are not touching the ground or smelling the air. You do not hear the wind or see the fine lines in the faces of the people who pass. A car isolates, a car insulates. If it truly is the journey and not the destination, then why are so many people in such a hurry to get somewhere.

Rituals, prayers and meditations are easy when they are held in a temple. They are easy when surrounded by holy relics and reverence. They are easy in the light of day, with candles and incense and all the regalia which goes with the holiness of any ritual.

But, they can be done, nay, they SHOULD be done in the darkness. The darkness is where the light is needed the most. The dark alley at midnight. The soft touch of love into the brutal bone-ridden slices of concrete within a city. The drug-gorged, rat-filled, garbage infested city veins. Unprotected, dangerous, and black as the night is long.
Bringing light to those places is the new level of service. A needed level. A thankless level.

It is by this measure our soul is weighed.

If society has a soul and it is measured by its weakest link, then the strongest should be helping, healing and repairing those who weigh the most.

candle-753717

TED Talks obsession

I have been on this kick lately. Every morning, with my cup of coffee, before doing anything else (check the news, facebook, shower, etc) I sit down and watch one TED Talk.

Just one.

18 minutes of listening to some of the brightest minds in the world talk about things they are experts in.

All of these talks are on YouTube, and all of them are free to watch. FREE! It is a free education on anything **ANYTHING** in the world you want to learn about from some of the best speakers/teachers/business-people/lawyers/scientists/etc, etc, etc in the world.

Then, I get in the shower and I critically think about whatever the speaker was talking about and how to apply it in my life. I have only done this for 1 week, and I am already starting to see the positive results this is having in my life, my relationships, my business and my entire world.

This is by far the best 18 minute investment I have ever made to myself and I encourage you to try it out. HERE is the TEDTalks YouTube channel. Check it out.

This is the video I watched this morning. I love it. I have listened to this a few times on a few different mediums, and I still can’t get enough. I will beat this drum of a business model because I believe this is the new way of working.

Autonomy
Mastery
Purpose

Watch it. Live it. Love it.
Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation