Hank Jordan's Blog
Writing / Publishing / Business Consulting

It’s An E-Book Now Also

May 1st, 2011 by Hank

Happy to announce my novel NO MORE AN ISLAND is now an E-book as well as a printed book.

The E-book is available on Amazon (for the Kindle) and from Smashwords.com for all other readers.

The price is only $2.99

It will soon be available at the Apple Store for iPad etc. and Barnes & Noble for the Nook.

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Memoirs of My First Airplane

April 21st, 2011 by Hank

I did most of my pilot training in a Luscombe airplane Model 8B, which I owned. It was great plane for a serious beginner. It was strong — it could withstand four G’s, meaning you could do acrobatics in it (but I never did — part chicken I suppose).

The turbulent history of the Luscombe Corporation is well documented. In a nutshell, Model 8 production began in 1938 with the plain Model 8. Over time letters were added to the “8”, from “A” thru “F”. Production started in Trenton, NJ and eventually moved to Dallas, TX — well after Don Luscombe lost control of the company to a manipulative financier.

The company ceased production and declared bankruptcy in 1949, as the general aviation manufacturing industry collapsed after World War II due to overproduction.

Low-volume production of the Luscombe continued through 1959 in Fort Collins, CO after the type certificate was purchased from the bankruptcy proceedings. One salient takeaway about the Luscombe’s history is that only a small fraction of the total fleet was manufactured while Don Luscombe was in control of the company.

The airplane cruised at more than a hundred miles per hour. The four-banger Continental engine produced 80 horsepower and got more miles to the gallon than the typical car in its time.

There was a Plexiglas roof so you could see out the top of the plane during a turn or whenever you wanted to look up there. There was no steering wheel. Instead there was a control stick, poking up out of the floor. With it you could bank, climb and descend. Very little pressure was required to make the airplane respond.

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Attention Auto Buffs

April 10th, 2011 by Hank

Here is an excerpt from my novel NO MORE AN ISLAND, published as both a printed book and as an E-book available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, etc. If you like Model A Fords or any cars for any reason, this particular part of the book will delight you. It’s about a young man who decides to make his way selling them in the 1920s:

“At first, every new Model A that found its way to the South was a black steel two-door sedan with a rigid black fabric top covering a wire mesh imbedded with cotton fibers.

The dealers and salesmen jokingly said “Henry Ford says you can have any color you want as long as it is black,” but in fact you could order a Model A from the factory in a few other colors.

The new Model A was snug, featuring comfortable cushion seats with springs, and it had a safety glass windshield and windows that rolled up and down. It looked entirely different from earlier cars which mimicked horse drawn buggies in styling.

Instead of hand cranking it to start the engine, by bending over in front of the radiator like you had to do with the Model T, all you had to do was push a small button on the floor with your foot. The Model A had an electric self-starter.

Sporting two weak headlamps and a small red tail light no bigger than a silver dollar, it was designed around a unique three speed transmission with a gear shift rod protruding up through the floor like a phallus symbol with a little black knob on the top. Its gasoline engine had the power of forty horses.

The two door sedan had ample room on the floor in the back seat for two of the large metal milk containers that almost every farmer used. The back seat cargo was easily reached by folding one of the two front seats forward on its hinges so that it was tucked away under the dashboard. Some farmers removed the back seat entirely and converted the car into a small enclosed truck, forerunner of the station wagons and delivery vans that would emerge twenty years later.

The whole car was designed so that one wrench would fit all the nuts throughout the engine and body. The universal wrench was furnished with each new car. No investment in costly tools was necessary to keep the car running. A pair of pliers and a screwdriver were all that were needed, and all the farms and homes already had them.

The four cylinder engine was easy to work on, and was very reliable. The gas tank was high up in front of the Spartan dashboard and gravity fed the fuel to the float carburetor. You could actually see the gasoline in the tank while driving. The car could be jacked up easily, and a leather belt could be attached to a rear wheel in order to run power saws and other farm equipment.”

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E-Books Offer A Rare Opportunity

April 8th, 2011 by Hank

E-books are outselling hard cover books these days and closing rapidly on paperbacks.

This presents a great opportunity for you to dash off something that’s on your mind and publish it instantly as an E-book.

Then tell your friends they can read your E-book on their PC in addition to mobile devices galore that are on the market today.

Don’t want to tackle it? I will be glad to help you with the details of how to publish.

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Lots of Fun with April Fool

April 1st, 2011 by Hank

It’s April Fool’s Day. The media is full of spoofs and wild falsehoods, all in fun.

Two of the best spoofs I saw today were a newspaper feature article and a social media posting.

The newspaper article appeared as a full front page followed by two more full pages of fascinating fantasies about the Eiffel Tower. A city in North San Diego County, Escondido, has been arguing about building a major league ball park in town for several years. Many politicians have weighed in and there is no apparent agreement about what to do.

Lyle Davis, the editor of the local newspaper, aptly entitled THE PAPER, published the April Fool spoof today. It says that everyone finally agreed and they are moving the Eiffel Tower onto the disputed land in town. You have to see the article to really appreciate it – it includes quotes from Bill Gates, several movie stars, etc. I know you will enjoy it.

Visit www.thecommunitypaper.com to see the article.

The social media spoof revolves around e-Book publishing, which as you know is a favorite topic of mine. The company Smashwords, which has been at the forefront of promoting e-Book publishing, posted an nnouncement that they have acquired Amazon.

Visit http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/03/smashwords-acquires-amazon.html to read the article.

My only announcement today – April 1st – is that I have reached five million sales of my novel which is published both as a paperback and an e-Book.

Have a great day!

Hank

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My e-Book Now Available on Amazon

March 28th, 2011 by Hank

My novel NO MORE AN ISLAND, a fascinating story of romance, Southern history, trials and disappointments of family life, and humor — is now available on Amazon. It’s also available from Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Smashwords, Kobo etc.

It took longer for Amazon to publish it because their digital format is different from the rest of the e-Book world.

You can read it on the Apple i-Pad, the Nook, the Kindle, the Sony reader, etc. etc. etc. and especially on your PC or laptop.

Please tell your friends and help me make this enjoyable book an experience everyone can enjoy.

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All You Need To Know About THE IDES OF MARCH

March 12th, 2011 by Hank

If you think we have disagreements among members of Congress and the White House these days, read this…

The Ides of March

The phrase Beware the Ides of March is best known because on the date that Julius Caesar was killed in Rome in 44 B.C. a seer uttered the warning to Caesar, who laughed it off. It was March 15th. Caesar, who had just declared himself Emperor for life, was on his way to the theater when he was stabbed 23 times by a group of 62 angry Senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus.  The conspirators attacked in such numbers that they even wounded one another. Brutus is said to have been wounded in the hand.

After the assassination, the Senate passed an amnesty on the assassins. Nonetheless, a big uproar among the general population caused Brutus and the other conspirators to leave Rome. Brutus settled in Crete. Two years later he lost a battle against another group of political activists and fled into the nearby hills with a small group of his own men. Knowing he would be captured, Brutus committed suicide.

Brutus’ ancestors had a history of deposing kings. His cousin Junius, for example, had thrown out the last King of Rome years before.

The phrase sic semper tyrannis which means “thus, ever to tyrants!” — is attributed to Brutus at Caesar’s assassination. The phrase is also the official motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia. On the night John Wilkes Booth killed Lincoln he shouted “sic semper tyrannis” while leaping to the stage of Ford’s Theater.

Exactly what is “the Ides”? The Roman calendar organized each of its months around three days. Each of these days served as a reference point for counting the other days. Kalends was the first day of the month. Nones was the 7th day in March, May, July, and October, and the 5th in the other months. Ides was the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months. The cumbersome, complex calendar identified unnamed days of the month by counting backwards from the Kalends, Nones, or the Ides. For example, March 3 would be V Nones—5 days before the Nones.

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What Is Ghost Writing?

February 18th, 2011 by Hank

Recently, several people have asked me what do you do and I told them I am a ghost writer. Each one frowned, looked puzzled and said “I have never heard of such a thing. What does it mean?”

Who knows how many people would react the same way. So I decided to post an explanation.

If I introduce myself stating I am a ghost writer, how many would frown, look perplexed for a second or so, and forget the whole matter?

Well in the simplest of terms, I write something and put someone else’s name on it as the author.

Most of the ghost writing I have done for many years, and am still doing these days for a special few selected clients, has been non-fiction of a promotional nature – publicity articles, books, web copy, email newsletters, ads, press releases, sales brochures, etc. I have also written memoirs and fiction (novels) for clients. I love this particular task, because I like to hear about other people’s life experience, and I write fiction for myself, under the byline Henry Jordan.

I just recently published a fiction novel as an E-book after having published the same book in conventional printed format earlier. E-books are catching on, big time!

If you know of anyone who really wants to write something, but doesn’t have the time (or the talent), tell them about me.

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They Are Catching On At School

February 13th, 2011 by Hank

I often cringe when I see all the kids on the way to and from school wearing heavy back packs. I know it will eventually harm their backbone and muscular structure. A breath of fresh air has blown in however, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Clearwater Florida High School became the first school in the world to offer every student a portable e-book reader. More than 2,000 students got a Kindle.
The Kindles at Clearwater High are programmed with key text books and more than 100 novels, along with access to local newspapers. Students can check their grades and assignments and even take tests on the Kindle.
Clearwater High reports total cost savings of $620 or more per student as a result of equipping the kids with e-readers. The big advantage though is that all the students now take their “books” home, study more, read more, and report more enthusiasm about learning.

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A Monopoly Secret

January 16th, 2011 by Hank

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the British Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape……

Obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 (similar to America’s OSS) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. Its durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly, made and marketed by Parker Brothers.

As it happened, “games and pastimes” was a category of items qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by various organizations to the POWs. The Red Cross was not one of the groups because they did not want Red Cross kits to be denied to other camps if the enemy discovered the secret.

The prisoners destroyed the Monopoly boards after retrieving the maps and items, so that the enemy guards could not discover the scheme.

In a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy with Allied POW camps. When processed, these maps could be folded into tiny pieces which could be hidden beneath indentations on the Monopoly board.

Also hidden inside the indentations on the board were a small magnetic compass and a
two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together.

Useful amounts of genuine German, Italian, and French currency were hidden within the piles of Monopoly money.

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their missions, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set — by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

No one knows for sure how many POWs were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets, but everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy. The British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war, but he story was finally revealed in the mid-80s.

It’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card!

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Guest Blog . . . .

January 13th, 2011 by Hank

WHEN YOU STUMBLE
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

No one knows who the author of this quote was but what a powerful message it conveys. All of us find a pebble in our shoe, or a rock on our path as we walk through life. Some have more ups and downs, joys or tragedies, than others. But how we handle the obstacles is the life we present to the world.

My life was not perfect–especially after I married “the jerk.” That was a stumble. When it was all over, family and friends were astonished at how well I had hidden the mental and physical abuse. Divorce, at first seemed like a big stumble, but finally walking away was the right thing to do. As scared as I was to suddenly be the sole support of myself and two children, being able to do this was the first steps in a new dance.

Years later, marrying Ray, I wondered if I was about to stumble again. Instead, over the past thirty-three years, I have danced–slow romantic waltzes, hilarious wild polkas, sometimes stomping teeth-gritting marches. But we somehow have managed to end the day with a soothing two-step.

Lost job. Argument with an old friend. Romance gone sour. Children gone astray. Failed a class.

In the scope of your life, these events are only stumbles.

New career. Making new friends. Finding God’s saving graces. Meeting the love of your life. Walking down the aisle. Congratulating a child’s success. Getting your college degree.

What a wonderful life when you accept that you, with God’s guidance, can meet these challenges. It is you who can pick the tune and the steps to the greatest dance.

Thank you Barbara Deming for this wonderful article.

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Is College Working?

January 9th, 2011 by Hank

According to a book by Dr. Richard Aram of New York University about recent college graduates, just about to be published:

“Since graduating, 60 percent have full-time jobs, nearly 36 percent have moved back home to live with either their parents or relatives and nearly one-tenth are carrying more than $60,000 worth of debt. Of those who have jobs, more than two-thirds were making less than $35,000 a year and 45 percent were earning $15,000 or less.”

His conclusions are based on a research study of 2,300 students tracked through high school and college.

Rasies serious questions, doesn’t it? Whose fault? What’s happening to “college education” and is there a fix?

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Is It A Business Revolution?

January 7th, 2011 by Hank

Books are becoming popular marketing tools. An estimated 764,448 book titles written by entrepreneurs and other non-traditional authors were published in the U.S. in 2009, including reprints. That’s more than double 2008’s figure and six times as many as in 2007, according to Bowker LLC, which assigns the unique ISBN numbers that identify books. The numbers continued to climb at an astonishing rate in 2010, especially if you include E-books, which are skyrocketing in popularity.

Short Books Are Doing Better Than Long Books. How long should a book be? The answer is: just long enough for you to get your message across, no longer. Most people these days are in a bit of a hurry and few take the time to sit down by the fireside and read a long book like they might have fifty years ago.

Entrepreneurs who publish books in most cases aren’t actually looking to produce best-sellers. Instead, most of them use their book as a marketing tool to establish themselves as experts – to set them apart from the competition. They take full advantage of the new forms of publishing brought about by the computer age.

One author says his book is like having a lab coat and being a doctor. “It automatically opens up all kinds of doors,” he says, helping him survive the recession. Some published authors also sell their books to the public to generate IPRR — Invisible Passive Recurring Revenue.

The trend wouldn’t have been possible without the emergence of sophisticated computerized print-on-demand publishing which allows writers to publish books quickly for little or no cost. A book doesn’t have to be shopped around through agents in hopes that a big-name publisher will buy it. The electronic-book market and the Internet in general have eased the distribution process for authors. Within five minutes you can now upload a file and have a book.

Entrepreneur authors say they would have to struggle to find time outside of running their businesses to write a book, and as self-publishers they must shoulder most of the marketing effort themselves if they want to sell the book to the general public ……but……………

They turn to outside ghost writers to do the heavy lifting, both in the actual writing and in the marketing of the book.

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The Book Was Better

December 26th, 2010 by Hank

I just finished reading the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It was written more than a hundred years ago, but somehow, along the way I missed reading it.

It was delightful. I think it was and possibly still is required reading in college literary courses. It deserves its place as a classic.

The story was fascinating, the characters were believable, the tales, the many colorful sub-plots and the suspense in the action were superb. Mark Twain’s descriptions of the environment along the Mississippi River are more than just interesting, they are a pleasure to read. I think everyone should read the book. It’s available free on the Internet. Just visit guttenberg.org.

Then, tonight on TV I watched the 1939 movie, starring Mickey Rooney as a youngster. I am positive that Mark Twain is still turning over in his grave since the movie was made. Although Rooney and the other actors did a good job of depicting the characters, the movie had little if any resemblance to the actual story in the book. It had none of the truly interesting material. The main part of the story was left out (Finn and Tom Sawyer re-uniting and Tom planning an absurd scheme to free the slave Jim, although he knew Jim had alread been set free by his former owner). Twain’s unique descriptive phrases were absent, and the subtle dialogues were non-existent. It just wasn’t the same mental experience.

Twain used dialects and anachronisms of his day throughout the book. Some narrow-minded academic leaders have banned the book because it uses the term niggars throughout the story. You know what? Everyone, including the slaves themselves and, and the freed slaves called them niggars in those days. It was not a derogatory term, it was simply what all the people called the negroes at the time the book was written.

Mark Twain recognized the reality of slavery being wrong, and anyone reading the book realizes this very quickly within the book. The entire story revolves around a slave wrongly accused of a crime and many people, including Huck Finn, helping him to become free.

The antics of four people in the story are what keeps you the reader fascinated — Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and the two con men The King and The Duke.

As a pragmatic author, I am not offended by the Hollywood touch, but I bemoan the fact that so many millions of people have been duped into believing that what they saw on the screen was what Mark Twain wrote.

Years ago I rented a spare office in my advertising agency to a successful Hollywood writer of the time. His name was Richard DeRoy. He was handed the job of writing a series of screen plays of the bestseller book Peyton Place. I asked Richard what he thought of the book in general, and he replied he had never read the book and did not intend to read it. He only asked the names of the main characters. He invented everything in the TV scripts. The TV series was successful, but the stories and episodes bore no resemblance whatsoever to the book. That’s Hollywood!

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Ads Galore – Almost Everywhere

December 20th, 2010 by Hank

Today, we are overwhelmed with ads — just about everywhere you look. Ads on busses, lavish lighted billboards that keep changing (like in Times Square), ads on the walls of airport corridors, ads on the radio, and of course possibly more ads than entertainment content while you watch TV.

Now its new, big ads in the restrooms at ball parks. No, not on the stall doors — those ads have been around for a long time facing you on the potty. This is a new type of ads — ads on the mirrors. The ad displays until you walk up and face the mirror. At that time, the electronic system senses your presence and condenses the ad into a small square up in the corner of the mirror, but you can use the mirror as you would normally, and continue to look at the small version of the ad if you want to. After you leave, the big ad returns to fill the whole mirror again.

Perhaps the biggest onslaught of ads is on the Internet. Every time you search for something on Google, Bing or Yahoo, a few ads are flashed at you. Advertisers buy these ads on a “pay per click” basis, and each page you look at shows only a few ads. Google and its competitors control where the ads appear and how often. It’s a crap shoot when you buy these ads. They do perform, though. There is so much usage of the search engines that the sheer magnitude of the viewers produces results.

Just about all the commercial websites you visit have ads scattered all over, including “affiliate” ads that direct you to other advertisers. Many individuals also buy into this affiliate formula. Each time someone buys something as a result of clicking on an affiliate ad on your website, you earn a small commission. It’s the ultimate in passive income, which we all seek. All you do is implant the link once into your website, and then do absolutely nothing more, except sit back and wait for the royalties to pour in. Don’t order your yacht or plan the big vacation cruise yet, however. The monetary return on most affiliate sites is meager.

Just about everyone who comes up with a “free” service on the Internet makes money by including ads that face you when you use the service. Emails sent via the highly effective mailing services such as Constant Contact, contain a small ad at the bottom unless you pay extra to leave it off. The jury is still out regarding whether the extra cost is justified to leave the ad off your emails.

It seems appropriate to say that “Ads Make The World Go Round”, especially on the Internet.

Oh, a final word about online newspapers and magazines. There are so many ads on each page of online publications that it is difficult to find the actual news content, and the appearance of the ads makes the loading time intolerable in many cases.

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