<![CDATA[L.K. Malone - News, Freebies, and Discussion]]>Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:52:36 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Update on Horace]]>Wed, 11 Jun 2014 02:24:46 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/update-on-horaceWell, Horace and I are getting on quite nicely. He actually BLOOMED a few weeks after the replanting. (Well, OK, he shot out a couple nice flowers and a few little buds that fell off, but that's better than he's done in a decade.) Anyway, he's still green, including the "fallen-off" branches that I pushed into any loose soil space I could find.  And he looks healthier than he did before.

And yes, I'm doing just about the same in my new soil. I'm putting out a few blooms in areas that haven't seen much action before (working hard to be more physically active, working to spend more time helping family members who need me), and dropping promises in others. It's going to take time to reinvent my life in a good way, and there's a lot of trial and error.

Keep us both in prayer!

<![CDATA[Repotted]]>Sat, 01 Mar 2014 03:53:43 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/repottedPicture
Yesterday, my one surviving plant was  repotted.

Horace (yes, I named my plant—after he put up with my dreadful horticultural skills for ten years it seemed wrong to call it "it") is 28 years old. He's a Christmas Cactus, given to me my first year at the agency I worked for until yesterday. Now, seriously, this is something; I've murdered every other plant that has come into my custody (well, except Lazarus, at first, but that's another story—I did eventually kill him too).  Horace is not the happiest Christmas Cactus I've seen. The one in the cube neighboring mine is fat and happy and has been burping up blooms for the last three months. Horace is sturdy and kinda leggy, and he's only bloomed twice in all the time I've known him.

Anyway, Horace and came home with me yesterday.  I thought about finding someone at the agency who had a green thumb and letting them carry on the legacy, but, well, I didn't. I bagged him up and took him with me when I left.  The trip loosened his hold on the soil in the pot, and he was looking saggy by the time I got him home.  I figured he'd already been traumatized, best to give him the healthiest possible place to recover.  So he got fresh potting soil (he was way overdue) and a larger pot—some of his kids were potted with him for company.  A touch of water and a window seat. Pray for his good health.

Me? Well, I had a similar day.  I started it the way I have for a lot of years. I ended it uprooted and in completely new—better—soil.  It's time to start the work of putting down new roots, and reinventing myself from the ground up.  Can't wait to see what happens next!

<![CDATA[Count Down...]]>Sun, 09 Feb 2014 02:46:11 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/count-downPicture
Twenty-one days...  My life is going to be SO much easier in just three weeks. 

Maybe once I'm a free woman I can actually get busy and write, and market and do all the stuff writers are supposed to do! 

Meanwhile, I have a question for you: If you had a super power, what would it be and why?  Daydream a little and let me know!

Me? I'd make myself invisible at will.  Say a big corporate CEO is robbing his employees' pensions. Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to just walk into his bank and take the money back? Say some thug is mugging an old lady in the mall--wouldn't it be hilarious to be able to trip him so he fell flat on his face, or give him a neat shove so he barreled right into the biggest guy in the place? And imagine the mischief potential--no, I'm not above it!  Your boss is a jerk? Swift kick. He'd never even know where it came from.  People talking behind your back?  Next time you see them you'll be able to repeat their comments word for word, and make it sound like the other person in the conversation ratted them out. Let 'em wonder what people are saying behind THEIR backs! 

What about  you?

<![CDATA[Self Publish or Traditional?]]>Thu, 25 Apr 2013 02:48:26 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/self-publish-or-traditionalPicture
I was asked recently whether I thought it was better to self-publish or traditionally publish.  Truth is, I don't know.  This article suggests that some known and respected authors are choosing to go "indie." But they have an advantage over the rest of us--a following.  Fans of their work will buy their indie books no matter who publishes them.

Several years ago, I'd have said that traditionally published authors have a huge advantage, in that they have the publisher's "in" with bookstores and booksellers, and they have the publisher's PR machine promoting their work.  But more and more brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing their doors as online booksellers are cornering the market, so that "in" is no longer as huge a deal.  Anybody who writes a book can put it up for sale on Amazon. And as for that PR machine, most publishers these days won't even touch an author who doesn't have a lively personal website or blog and  a decent following. The author is expected to carry a lot of the PR workload, taking part in and promoting blog campaigns, etc. 

Royalties for traditionally published books are complicated, but if you think an author who finds a publisher has hit it big, guess again. The author gets something between 8 and 14% of the publisher's profits.  There's no easy formula to get at that, but the hard truth is an awful lot of books never make it past the first printing, and most contracts give the author lower royalties for those first books.  Mirror has gotten excellent reviews, but it hasn't broken that barrier.

The average paperback runs about $7.99 a copy. If you figure that booksellers are marking them up a modest 47%, the publisher is getting $4.23. Figure the same markup for the publisher, and the profit after cost of production is $2.44. The author's 10% of that (if they're lucky) runs 24 cents a copy sold. And keep in mind, especially in the first run, that an awful lot of copies are given away. If an average first run is 10,000 books and most books don't break that number, let's be optimistic and figure 9,000 copies will be sold.  At 24 cents a copy, the author might make $2,160. Total. That is the reality, folks.  Break that down by the number of hours the author poured into the book, and likely s/he made pennies per hour invested.

So let's compare it to indie published authors.  Amazon offers authors the chance to choose either 35% royalties or 70%.  If they go for 70%, they have to price the book at $2.99 or more.  But if you're a brand new author and nobody's ever heard of you, you'll be lucky to sell your book for 99 cents a copy at first.  Still, even 35% of 99 cents is a little more per book sold, right? Sounds like a better deal.  But keep in mind that it's likely you're going to need to run some "freebie" campaigns to get enough readers to help you out with word-of-mouth promotion (and that's assuming your book is dazzling enough to get those mouths yapping).  And unless you're really good at marketing, you probably won't sell as many as you would with a publisher's PR behind you. So in the end, you might be lucky to average out to the same 24 cents per copy sold.

I know at least one young writer, who (I'm probably prejudiced since I've known her since she was in her mama's belly) I think is good enough to be traditionally published, but she's decided to go indie.  Will she succeed? We'll see, and if and when she actually gets her book out there (right now she's still got quite a bit to do to make it ready), I'll let you know how it goes and what she does to promote it on her own.  I also know of another writer who made way more from her first indie book than I've made from two traditionally published, but she had some professional marketing experience. 

What I do know is this: when I find some time to read a novel, I usually veer away (mostly) from indie work, unless I know the author or the book is recommended by a reader I trust.  I've picked up way too many indie books that were so badly written it was painful.  I've seen some real doozies that made it past traditional publishers, too, but I still choose books that I know were vetted in a competitive market, and that went through a professional editor. And if I assume that my preference is fairly common, then I still have to say that most indie authors have their work cut out for them if they want to make as much as a writer who finds a traditional publisher.

Are you an indie author? I'd like to hear about your experiences, so post a comment!

<![CDATA[Whew!! I'm back!]]>Fri, 05 Apr 2013 02:38:19 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/whew-im-backPicture
Wow! So when I posted that I was going to keep the site, little did I know!  Seems when I renewed with my host, through some miscommunication (because the host has like a dozen "products" and I don't know what most of them are...) I renewed the hosting contract, but let the domain itself expire.  Enter family--a loved one has been going through some awful stuff lately, and I've been trying to be there for her, so I hadn't really bothered to look in.  And when I did...

What? No website?  I email the host, who tells me the problem and that because my domain expired, I might have to redeem it for $160--and that's BEFORE the additional domain renewal fee.  Thankfully, that didn't have to happen, and my host's staff was very helpful getting everything back in order.  But it took several days and quite a bit of angst... 

Anyway, it's good to be back!

<![CDATA[I Changed My Mind!]]>Wed, 20 Feb 2013 03:31:34 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/i-changed-my-mindPicture
Sometimes new info can change things. Let's just say feedback from readers has convinced me to keep the site up.  Check in here for new info--but I will only blog when I have news, or something fun to share! In other words, don't count on regular installments as happened last summer and early fall.  But do check in for news and thanks, guys!

<![CDATA[Moving!]]>Thu, 07 Feb 2013 03:19:47 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/movingPicture
Hi, everybody!  I've decided to let this site go. It was fun, but I discovered over the summer that I didn't have time to keep the content here fresh, check in with my friends at Facebook, keep up with my critique partners, work my full-time job, and WRITE! 

Please stay in touch with me at https://www.facebook.com/elkaymalone!!

<![CDATA[Do You Speak Allegory? Part 2]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2012 00:46:52 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/do-you-speak-allegory-part-2I asked if you could think of other ways God speaks to us. Here's one: He speaks through events. I'll use this blog as an example.  It worked just fine for months, but all of a sudden, it started giving me fits.  You may recall in August I took a little time off to catch up with other stuff. During that time something changed, and when I came back it no longer worked. I write my posts ahead of time in Word, then paste the text to the blog page, but suddenly the blog would no longer accept my pastes. It would let me write the post directly, but writing more than 300 words in something other than a true word processor is a non-starter for me. I need the ability to write anywhere I find the time, and Word is the only thing that works on all the devices I use.

I emailed support. They kept sending me messages saying they could post just fine, and would I try again. So I'd try again, still same problem (of course—since nothing had actually changed). I tried to cooperate, but you know what they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Finally, I'd had enough. I told them that I needed them to look beyond that stock answer and help me find a solution. When that yielded no results, I told them I needed to speak with a manager.  That's when tech support stopped replying to my requests altogether.

So I went to the BBB website and posted my experience, and asked for either A) a solution to the problem, or B) a refund of the remainder of the contract so I could migrate my site to a different host.  

It took 24 hours for BBB to pass my request to the host, and within another 24 hours, I had a call from someone on the host's legal team, who hooked me up with a technician, and voila! They found a solution. All I need to do is first paste my text to Notepad, which strips out some little gremlins that sneak in with Word's formatting. I can then copy that and paste to the blog without any problem.  It's an extra step I didn't have to take before, but it's simple enough I'm not going to complain.

So what did God want me to learn from this?  Maybe it was a lesson about persistence—if you have something to do and it's hard, keep at it until you have success.  Or maybe it was an indirect lesson about the power of prayer. I tried and tried and tried to get the host to work with me, and I was getting nowhere. I had a site that I'd paid for that didn't work, and no way to make it work or find alternatives that worked.  Then I sought an intermediary, one that had some power and could wield it on my behalf—and that brought an answer.  

Obviously, it's a matter of interpretation. But I have a sense that God was speaking to me about using that most powerful intermediary—prayer—when my own efforts fail me. That HE can intercede for me and get results when nothing else can. I don't think to pray as often as I can or should, so this is meaningful to me.

Can you think of an event in your own life, and maybe see a lesson God wanted to teach you? Again, it's a matter of interpretation, but in my experience, when you hit on what it is that God wants you to gain from the experience, you'll know.

<![CDATA[What do they see when they look at us?]]>Sun, 18 Nov 2012 01:55:06 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/what-do-they-see-when-they-look-at-usPicture

When it comes to politics, I often worry about the church's witness to the unbelieving world.  Why?  Just say something nice about the President or announce that you favor gay marriage in a lot of churches, and then step back and listen to the reaction, trying to hear it as an unbeliever would.  Would you hear Christ's love for mankind—and that term includes the President and our gay friends—or would you hear hostility and judgment—even a hint of paranoia? If you were an unbeliever, would what you hear make you want whatever is at work in those people's lives?

Why is it, do you think, that so many of us insist on finding the worst possible way to see things when we're looking at people whose politics we disagree with? Witness the conversations going on with respect to the Benghazi attack.  It does seem that people "in the loop" knew fairly quickly that this was a deliberate, premeditated attack.  It's clear, too, that many of our leaders downplayed the question for several weeks.  How do you interpret that? Was the administration out of the loop? Lying? Confused? Or could it be what General Petraeus suggests—that our leaders decided not  to tip off the attackers just how much we knew during those first few weeks?

Why do so many dear, sincere Christians feel the need to assume the worst about those whose politics they disagree with? A political opponent can't just have a different, perhaps deceived, view of what's right and good for the country, they can't just make a mistake or use a figure of speech—they must be Satan's evil, willing minion whose every action is part of a conspiracy and whose every word is suspect.  Contrast that with how we'd view the same people if we looked through the lens of love. We'd assume the best, wouldn't we? We'd still disagree, but we wouldn't immediately conclude that they're not just wrong (because we're ALWAYS right, you know) but villainous. We might give them credit for trying to do right, even though we don't agree with them about what "right" looks like. We might even look for the areas where we have common ground and use that to build bridges.  

Our witness, frankly, is not ideal at the best of times, but put us to the real test of a political season and it seems like the worst in us comes out. How many people, do you think, were drawn to Christ by the behavior of the church during the campaign season? Not many, I fear.  Not many.

<![CDATA[Do You Speak Allegory?]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2012 02:12:15 GMThttp://lkmalone.com/news-freebies-and-discussion/do-you-speak-allegoryOne of the things I hoped readers might glean from Mirror and from the planned (now unfortunately discarded) sequels was how God speaks to us.  One way he speaks is through allegory—through illustrations shown through the stories in the scriptures.  Do you speak allegory?

Let's talk about examples.  

God uses the relationship between man and wife to illustrate the relationship he has with his people. He uses firsts and seconds to illustrate the principle of works vs. grace. If there are two sons, the first will be a shadow of Adam, of the natural man, of a man trying to make his way through works, or a shadow of a works-based religion. And the second will be a shadow of the new man in Christ, the man who has cast aside works as a measure of his success with God, and taken on the mantle provided by Jesus, or a shadow of the true church.

Think about it.  Cain and Abel. Esau and Jacob.  Babylon, where they hoped to build their way to heaven, vs. Jerusalem, the eternal city established by God.  Leah, the wife who tried to win her husband's love by bearing many children, vs. Rachel, the barren wife who was, even so, favored.  

What do those types and shadows teach you about your own walk with the Lord? Will you be Leah, trying to win God's love through your fruit? Or Rachel, who eventually bore fruit, but that fruit was a miracle from God, and she was beloved even before she had Benjamin? Where is your focus? Are you worried about how you look? About your outward witness? Or do you simply love and trust God to make of you what he will? Are you still trying to shape yourself into an image that seems right to you? Or are you waiting on God to see what HE makes of you?

God doesn't just teach through words. He teaches through examples and illustrations in his word. He teaches in other ways as well. Can you name a few?