Weight Loss Progress!

It’s been four weeks since I committed to losing weight and I’ve lost a little over fourteen pounds total so far. Woot!

I’m blogging my way through my weight loss for my personal trainer, so if you want to follow along with my progress and hear my deep, tortured thoughts on cake neglect, you can check it out here.

My most recent post, from last week, talks about how it’s possible for me to exercise six days a week when I have a torn meniscus. Short answer? My trainer is a wizard.

Here’s to another successful month!

Book Tours = Death to Crickets

One of the hardest things for new authors to do is enticing new readers. Building an audience is tough, because no one cares about no-name authors. It’s a sad truth, but hey. What better to motivate new authors toward doubt and afternoon drinking than the sound of crickets chirping when they release a new book?

One of the ways you can spread the word about your new book is by getting book review blogs to read your book and review it on their blogs. The trouble with this is, again, that no one cares about no-name authors. I’ve emailed ten different book blogs and been either rejected or ignored by all ten.

If you’re savvy, though, you’ll skip the heartbreak and pay people to know you.

How, you ask? Hire a book tour company. A book tour company has a stable of book bloggers who host their own sites. The book tour company emails them, gets them interested, and then all you have to do is send out the books.

Easy peasy. All the awesomeness of review on a book review blog, none of the rejection!

I used TLC Book Tours this last month and they didn’t disappoint. Trish was prompt and responsive, the reviews were all well-written and thoughtful (even though one of the reviewers was pretty frigging harsh in her review), and I was thrilled with the job they did.

(If you want to see what they did for me, check out the tour stops here).

If you’re an author, you really need to consider budgeting in a blog tour. It’s money well spent and a bargain way to gain exposure for your new book.

Blood Money: The Movie

My book was reviewed by a book review site yesterday. The reviewer had many kind words to say about my tale of accounting for terrorism (ha! Get it? See what I did there?) but the thing that tickled me most was that she said she could easily picture my book as a movie.

I have to admit, that sounds like it would be pretty cool. Seeing as how Hollywood seems to keep remaking old movies over and over again, I have to wonder whether I should just start throwing copies of my book over the gates of movie studios. It seems like they’re fairly desperate for new ideas.

I could do one of those author cameos in movie adaptations, you’d see me reading a copy of one of my own books in the corner behind the main characters. If they made a movie out of Blood Money, I could be sitting at the bar at The Mitre. That’d be pretty cool.

Sort of related but not really: Last week, someone messaged me on Facebook, asking me whether I’d consider casting her for the role of Anastasia in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I can’t help but wonder what she thought would happen. Is she naive enough to think messaging the (wrong) author on Facebook would land her the lead role in a movie?

Hey, what do I know? Maybe that IS how actresses get cast in movies. You could fill my knowledge of how movies are made in a snack-sized Ziploc baggie.

Turn Those Satellites Back Around, NSA

I feel like it’s been widely assumed and joked about that the government is watching over your shoulder whenever you post anything to the Internet. Maybe it’s a result of my post-9/11 upbringing, but I’m always cautious to avoid using words like, “bomb” in conjunction with words like, “government” or “president” in emails just in case my account gets flagged by a concerned algorithm.

(Great, now my blog has probably just gotten flagged. Terrific)

You may have noticed that I no longer blog about my children and have made private most of the posts I wrote about my son’s infancy. I did this to protect his privacy, realizing that there may come a day in the future when he won’t want total strangers knowing so much about him.

Now that I’ve read the shocking expose in The Washington Post about how the government has been ┬ámining data from the servers of nine huge Internet companies, I’m tempted to recuse myself from the Internet as well.

Even if you don’t care about politics, you should read this and it should probably concern you. Why? Well, for one, the National Security Agency is supposed to exclusively monitor foreign intelligence. It’s the law. When the NSA was founded, that was the stricture put in place to prevent the government from turning those satellites around to monitor domestic chatter. This is important because once a government feels free to spy on its citizens, that’s a short, unhappy sleigh ride to other, worse things.

I don’t think any of us want to live in a country where dissension is illegal and we’re too afraid to disagree with what our government is doing for fear of reprisal.

Another reason this should probably concern you is that the government is implying that you are a criminal. Or about to be one. We’ve gone from a nation of “Innocent until proven guilty” to “Assumed guilty and never proven innocent.” By mining data indiscriminately from all U.S. Internet users (or, for now, the people who use any of the nine companies the government has teamed up with), the government is assuming that every single person is doing something the government needs to know about.

What else could the government possibly need to know about other than criminal dealings?

The last thing that concerns me that should probably concern you is, I’m pretty sure PRISM (the government program that’s spying on you) was never in any of the user agreements I signed when I opened my Facebook and Google accounts. That said, I have no choice but to wonder what else they’ve volunteered me for that I would object to if I knew.

This has all given me significant cause to consider deleting my Facebook and Google accounts. This is no small step for an author who relies on these Internet tools to spread the word about her books.

Still, I would rather sell fewer books than implicitly consent to the government acting illegally in surveilling me against my will. I mean, shoot. Between Google Earth, the government, and cell phone cameras, there’s really no way to have any privacy any more unless you build a house away from civilization and then never leave it.

Not even North Korea could keep Google out, and that’s saying something.