Hank Jordan's Blog
Writing / Publishing / Business Consulting

Do You Know Who Wrote This

November 28th, 2010 by Hank

It was one of these regular summer

storms.  It would get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and

lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so thick that the trees off a

little ways looked dim and spider-webby; and here would come a blast of

wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the

leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a gust would follow along and set

the branches to tossing their arms as if they was just wild; and next,

when it was just about the bluest and blackest–FST! it was as bright as

glory, and you’d have a little glimpse of tree-tops a-plunging about away

off yonder in the storm, hundreds of yards further than you could see

before; dark as sin again in a second, and now you’d hear the thunder let

go with an awful crash, and then go rumbling, grumbling, tumbling, down

the sky towards the under side of the world, like rolling empty barrels

down stairs–where it’s long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you

know.

………Do you know who? It was Mark Twain and he wrote it more than a hundred years ago.  It’s an excerpt from The Advertures of Huckelberry Finn.

Posted in Fiction Books & Writing | No Comments »

Mark Twain & Haley’s Comet

November 22nd, 2010 by Hank

As a writer my two heroes are Mark Twain and Earle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason). Although they are both long gone, their works will be read repeatedly and remembered forever.

I alerted you back in August about Mark Twain’s secret autobiography to be released this year. Well, it has been printed and widely accepted by the public — so wildly that the publisher, the University of California, got caught with its pants down. They didn’t print nearly enough books. People are standing in line to buy a copy to read and/or give as a Christmas gift but prospects are dim. The book stores are sold out.

One of his most famous quotes: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

On Nov. 30, 1835, the small town of Florida, Missouri witnessed the birth of its most famous son, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, one of six siblings. The family later moved to Hannibal, a port on the Mississippi River. As a teenager, Twain worked as an apprentice printer. Later, as a riverboat pilot, he earned from $150 to $250 a month, a tidy sum those days.

Prior to adopting Mark Twain as his pen name, Clemens wrote a number of humorous pieces under the pen name Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass. He died peacefully on April 21, 1910  in Redding Connecticut and is buried in New York state.

Haley’s Comet was visible in the sky on the night that Mark Twain was born and again on the night he passed away.  He made note of the birth date and said he wanted to die on the day he did pass away.

His classic trio of books that have been cherished for more than a hundred years are Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Life On The Mississippi.

Ernest Hemingway had this to say about him:  “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

Posted in Fiction Books & Writing | No Comments »

Fiction Lovers – Take A Peek At These Excerpts

November 13th, 2010 by Hank

From the middle of my novel NO MORE AN ISLAND, here is a brief excerpt to give you some idea of what the romance part of the novel is all about:

“Sally could hold her own head high. Completely accepted as a war-widow, she was a part of the respectable society in town. Madge, however, wore a badge of shame. In the convoluted thinking of most of the town’s women, Madge was to be shunned. Even though Madge was an innocent victim of a cheating husband, she was guilty in the eyes of the judgmental women — guilty of being unable to hold onto her man. That was a mandatory trait expected of all Southern women of the time. It was their deep seated fear that the same thing could happen to them that made them keep her at more than an arm’s length away. The only worse situation was to be an adulteress and get caught, like Sadie Summers.”

That’s only one tiny bit of the novel. Men like the parts about the autombile business, with emphasis on the Modell A Ford, and how business was actually conducted in those days.

Everyone, men and women, like the various characters in the book.

Posted in Fiction Books & Writing | No Comments »

About Being Lucky

November 12th, 2010 by Hank

The truth is that being “lucky” doesn’t have much to do with luck at all. The most successful people create their own luck. They appear lucky because their focus and preparation have put them in the right place to make good things happen. The timing is never right unless you are prepared to seize the moment. Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have all the luck? Maybe you are one of the “lucky” ones. In general, “lucky” people achieve excellence by focusing on:

Forgiveness vs.    Anger
Others vs.    Self
Opportunities vs.    Problems
Gratitude vs.    Envy
Abundance vs.    Scarcity
Today vs.    Yesterday
Building up vs.    Breaking down
Humor vs.    Drama
Controllable things vs.    Uncontrollable things
Giving vs.    Taking

Posted in Philosophy | 1 Comment »

Polish It & Publish It

November 7th, 2010 by Hank

This is a reprint of a speech delivered by Hank Jordan Nov. 7, 2010 at the National Authors Day event in Oceanside CA:

Since there are hundreds of ads and articles on the internet about publishing and marketing non-fiction books. I am going to talk about novels — more specifically selling novels.

Gone are the days when the book stores would automatically order some of your books and display them so people can go in and browse around, and buy them. Thousands of books are being published while we sit here today. Your book is one of millions on the market. The competition for attention in today’s world of information is enormous. Your chance as a first time author, or as a second or third time author, of miraculously rising to the top of the best seller lists is minute. Wow!

But don’t give up hope. There is a whole new universe developing for publishing and selling books, and we are going to talk about how to sell your books in this new world — the world of social media and print on demand.

First of all, you want to create a book that people will want to own.

When a book is in a library, people will borrow it. They will want to read it, absorb it and like it, but really – you are going to sell very few books to libraries. Most of your book sales will be to individuals for one reason or another, and they will be sold by various distributors, resellers, sold over the internet. You name it.

There are two major categories of marketing your book — No. 1 preparing the book for sale and No. 2 making the sale happen.

In the category of preparing your book for sale, lets talk about what, within the book itself, makes people enjoy it, makes publishers want to publish it, and makes people happy when they read it. Unless the reader is satisfied with what he or she is reading, you don’t really have a book yet. You don’t have something people will recommend to each other. Personal recommendation, you know, is the key to big sales.

Just putting your own thoughts on paper for the pleasure of saying, “Look I wrote that. Gee, this is my book.” — that won’t sell. It’s got to be something people want to read.

We’ll get back to making your book ready for sale in a few moments, but first lets examine the channels that exist today for marketing your book, and what you must do, as the author, to be sure your book gets a lot of exposure and sells.

If you choose to try for an agent to pitch your book to a major traditional publisher, forget it unless you are a celebrity or an already famous author. We are in the new world of publishing that goes by various names — independent publishing, online publishing, print on demand, vanity publishing, do-it-yourself publishing and E-book publishing.

I believe the key to your success is in publishing two ways. Get your book printed and distributed by an independent print-on-demand company.  There are dozens of good reputable ones these days. In addition, get your book published as an E-book.

E-books are really catching on. How many of you own or have tried a Kindle, or a Nook, or any kind of E-book reader? Raise your hands. The experts tell us the number of people reading E-books is growing rapidly. Although the total percentage of books sold and read as E-books instead of printed books was only about ten percent of the books sold a year or so ago, the popularity and percentage numbers are rising so rapidly right now that it is impossible to know just what the actual readership figures are. Most of the people who own an E-book reader are reading about two dozen books a year. That’s much more frequent than for printed books. Most publishing experts predict E-books will outsell printed books in less than a decade from now.

Most importantly, it’s the ownership figures, not the readership figures that are important to you and me. Lots of printed books are sold, never read, and are residing peacefully on a book shelf somewhere. Essentially, all the E-books sold are read.

We all like that readership idea, but what we really want is to sell our books.

E-books, by the way, can be read on any computer as well as on the various models of hand held E-book readers. In other words, anyone with a computer can buy your book and download it instantly. Lots of people don’t realize this yet.

Why do you want to publish an E-book? Is it really a book? I’ve heard that E-books are a lot cheaper than printed books. Won’t I make more royalty money with printed books?

The happy fact is that you will make a lot more money on the sale of each E-book than you will on a printed book, either hard back or paperback. The royalty percentages are startlingly higher on the E-books. You can set your own price on your E-book, and decide whether to try to sell a lot of books at a lower price, or fewer books at a higher price.

Well, if the return is so much higher on E-books than on printed books, why should I bother to publish some printed books? The answer is simple. There are two types of people who read books. Some of them, mostly older folks, prefer to read a printed book rather than an electronic book, so they won’t buy your E-book. Other readers may buy and read your E-book on an E-book reader or computer, and then decide they want a printed copy as well — either to keep, or to give to a friend as a present.  One lady bought nine copies of my printed novel and gave them as Christmas presents to her friends and family.

Just how does the publishing process work in the case of E-books? The answer is it is extremely easy to publish an E-book, instantly. No waiting for galley proofs, editing schedules, print schedules, publishing schedules etc. You just send a properly formatted computer file, such as a Word document or a PDF document, via email to the E-book publisher. That’s all there is to it. And the price is right. It is possible to publish your E-book for free. The major independent publishers will convert your printed book into an E-book for a small fee, and make it available to all the major outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Notice I said a properly formatted file. Each E-book publisher has different specifications for submission of a document file. They publish what they get from you, and if you send an improperly formatted file, your reader will see a messy, undesirable book on his or her screen. Its not rocket science to format correctly, but you must follow the rules. It makes a lot of sense to hire a professional to do the formatting in order assure maximum return to you.

Okay, you have now published a printed version and an E-book version of your book. What do you have to do to make it sell?

You have to get people to hear about your book. One of the best ways to get them to hear about your book is to publicize it through the social media – Facebook, Twitter, etc. And you need a website and a blog. If you post information about yourself, your personal interests, your motivation for writing a novel, and a lot of freebie excerpts from your book on your blog, you can attract attention and the people who follow the social media will spread the word for you. They call it viral marketing. The only cost involved is your time and energy.

Remember I said the first step in publishing your book is preparing your book to sell. This vital procedure includes deciding how the book will look, on the cover and inside. Yes, you need a cover design for both the printed book and the E-book. Most authors use the same exact cover design for both.

The cover may attract someone’s attention, but it is the content, inside the book, that makes it a dud or a good seller. Notice I said good seller, not best seller. We authors will be happy if we accept good seller rather than best seller. We will be delirious if it turns out to be a best seller.

When it comes to formatting, Don’t try to make a clever design take the place of meaningful writing. If you try to do the formatting yourself, follow the rule the professional designers use to make the book appealing and easy to read. It’s a simple formula:

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid

What are some of the things that determine the readability and enjoyment of a novel?

Certainly, the most important requirement is to make the book easy to read and enjoy.

Just get across what you want to say. Readers of fiction want to see the words, feel what’s going on, and hear what’s happening as though it were actually happening on a stage in front of them. Their reaction will be based on what the author has chosen to show rather than tell. Pick your words to create images in your reader’s mind.

When you write your novel, pretend you are just talking to someone. You don’t want to write a textbook. Nobody wants to read a technical manual. People want to have the ability to let their minds flow, just like an ice skater glides smoothly over the ice. They want to imagine themselves present, on the scene in your story. Use active, transitive verbs and unique adjectives. Use short sentences. Paint a mental image.

One thing you want to avoid at all cost is interrupting the reader. If you are going along telling a story, and all of a sudden you put what could be considered as an aside or a parenthetical thought, in the middle, that stops his brain and makes him change railroad tracks and go a different direction. So let your reader ride right along, in smooth enjoyment.

It’s essential for you as an author to establish a strong Web presence. Register your domain name with all the major search engines, starting with Google. If possible, use your book’s title as your domain name. If you have multiple books, establish multiple web sites – one for each book with a reminder that you have other books for sale. You don’t have to be a dot com. Even if someone already has your title as a dot com, your website can be dot info or dot something else.

Link  to other websites and blogs by other authors as often as possible, and encourage them to link to yours. It’s this cross linking that thrills the search engines.

Posted in Book Publishing | 1 Comment »

The Mind, Brain, and Soul

October 30th, 2010 by Hank

The mind, the brain, and the soul just might be three different things.

There is good reason to believe that the universe always was, is infinite, is immeasurable, and will be in existence forever. If this be true, it is valid to assert that the soul of a human body always was, is, and will always be.

Let’s explore the implications of this.

The universe is made up of various material objects and a lot of electromagnetic activity, with many types of invisible rays wandering around among the galaxies.

The brain, arguably a microcosm of at least part of the universe, also exists as a material object with a lot of electromagnetic activity. It is the receptor of many invisible rays as well as information gathered through our own local senses. The neutrinos emitted by the sun, for example, propel trillions of themselves through the brain at high speed just about all the time. Radio waves abound all around us. The brain is something we can see, measure, test, and even alter. It works as a combination of biological matter, electromagnetic waves, and very possibly electrical signals we have not yet learned how to define or measure.

The brain acts as a host for current mental activity, stored memory and new memory. The current mental activity takes place via the synapses as electro-chemical impulses which are temporarily stored in what you might think of as the random access memory in a computer. The random access activity is erased whenever a task is complete, as in turning off the computer. This is much like a blackboard that gets erased after use, ready for new information to be applied to it.

Stored memory in the brain is analogous to the hard drive of the computer. This stored memory functions to trigger electrical signals that result, after much processing, in controlling parts of the human body. If the mind chooses to save onto the person’s hard drive a particular activity, as memory, the new memory becomes part of the old memory. Otherwise, the activity is forever gone and forgotten.

Some scientists believe that any given human brain contains all the memories it has ever stored, although it is very difficult to call up much of it at one time.

The mind is the functioning brain, with its electrical signals in operation,  The words brain and mind are not synonyms. The mind is the overall operating system, of which the brain is one important part.

What about the soul? If we assume that the mind and the soul are in fact two different things, it is logical to draw the conclusion that the soul can act independently of the mind, although the two are closely related and intermixed. Therefore when the brain dies, the soul, which is strictly an electromagnetic phenomenon, without a physical form, is free to escape and go wherever it pleases and do whatever it has been programmed to do.

Meantime, whether the brain is at work, or at rest, as in sleep or a coma, it can die (stop processing electrical signals) and cease controlling the rest of the body, taking the mind right along with it. The soul, though remains as a unique entity.

Few if any people agree exactly how the mind and the soul interact. Descartes may have been onto something. One could speculate that the soul, after escaping the dying brain and mind, elects to hover close by until it is determined that the death is complete. If the brain is restored to operable condition, the soul could very well decide to return to the brain. If the soul concludes that death is indeed complete, it is then free to disperse itself throughout the universe. It may remain as a coherent thing and find another host, or it might split into many portions and find other hosts. It might roam aimlessly through the universe forever. Who knows what it might do.

Therefore, the conclusion might be that it is entirely feasible that if a person, who is thought to be dead, recuperates, he/she can experience the return of his/her soul, which integrates itself into his/her brain as before, and implants the memory of the excursion into the person’s mind.

Posted in Philosophy | No Comments »

Obama Jokes

October 29th, 2010 by Hank

The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree . . .
and think 25 to life would be appropriate.  — Jay Leno

America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask.  — Jay Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald’s’ new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.  — Conan O’Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser. — Jay Leno

Q: What’s the difference between Obama’s cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers, and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners.  — David Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the oceanand it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America !  — Jimmy Fallon

Q: What’s the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers.  — Jimmy Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the “Cash for Clunkers” program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road. –David Letterman


Posted in Politics | No Comments »

An Excerpt from my novel

September 25th, 2010 by Hank

Excerpt from the Novel NO MORE AN ISLAND
By Henry Jordan
—————
(The book describes the metamorphosis of a small Southern town and its people in the thirties as Yankees began to show up. Here is one paragraph in the middle of the novel…..)

As the young people met the traveling Yankee youngsters they discovered there were no important differences between them after all except for verbal accents. The adults also started finding out that the folks from the North were almost exactly like the folks in Oakswood in most respects. Many of them were actually quite polite and well mannered, not at all crude or cruel as they had been led to believe for so many years. There were two big differences though that identified a Northerner at once. The Yankees always seemed to be in an awful big hurry, and they didn’t seem to respect their ladies properly. They did not understand the laid back pace of traditional Southern life. They had been led to believe that all Southerners were sluggish, lazy and backward. They couldn’t seem to fathom the idea that fast thinking could be linked to slow motion, which typified many Southerners.

Posted in No More an Island | No Comments »

Careful What You Say

August 30th, 2010 by Hank

Fifteen years from now, we may find it incredible to think that a business could thrive without leveraging the power of social networks. We know that most businesses today cannot succeed without email, but lookout — the social media craze is mushrooming, with mixed results. Millions of people now are using Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Blogs and other “social media” to get their thoughts and messages across to a broad audience.

Everyone figures out that there are no barriers of entry, and social media promotion quickly turns into a massive spam machine. There are so many social messages going out daily through various media, that folks are beginning to feel overwhelmed, and they are tuning out and opting out.

This is a sigalert to business managers. They want to get their message out — not get tuned out.

What can we do about this dilemma?

Well, the best answer is: Be careful what you say and how you say it!  Readers often don’t get the message you think they are getting. In their minds, they read what they want to hear, not necessarily what you said. People may take a quick look at whatever message you are trying to get them to read and immediately abandon it, and you, forever. On the other hand, they may be interested, or even intrigued by the subject they perceive in your message.  Notice that word perceive.

Newsletters, for example, offer an opportunity to build a sender-reader relationship with customers, friends, and prospective customers. And we all know that you need to build relationships in order to build readership and to turn prospective customers into customers. Good newsletters are very powerful, whether printed and mailed, or e-mailed.

Sending out ads via email is quite different from sending out newsletters. Unfortunately many business owners/managers fail to realize this. They sign up for an email newsletter campaign, write or supervise the production of one or two ads to send out, and then give up, disappointed that the email newsletter campaign is “not working”. Of course its not working. Nobody wants to be sold anything.

A good newsletter, or a good tweet, or a good Facebook entry, or a good blog entry is quite simply one that provides information of interest to the reader. The most successful newsletters convey lots of information of interest and soft pedal the sales pitch. A good target is a 60/40 mixture or better. The more genuine information vs. advertising, the better the email newsletter campaign performs. Interestingly enough, the information portion need not relate to the advertising message in any way whatsoever. Humor is consistently the best-read section.

Posted in Business Books & Writing | No Comments »

E-motions — an essay

August 8th, 2010 by Hank

We now live in the world of “E” – Email, E-books, Social mEdia, twttEr. facEbook, googlE, myspacE, linkEd-in, you name it. Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that E is the most used letter of the alphabet?

It’s easy to see how the Internet has helped to fan the flames of this bold new world of communication. It’s a ME world as well as a WE world. Just about everyone wants to interact and communicate with others. It’s an emotional thing. If they can’t do it face to face, electronic nearness will suffice. They just want to keep in touch.

The new electronic and digital miracle products make it possible and even easy to extend ME to WE. Call it the herding instinct. It’s present in all animal species. Can you think of one single living thing that really wants to be alone all the time? Bears cuddle all winter long, snugly keeping each other warm, bees swarm together, fish swim in schools, birds fly in formations. These days even avid mountain climbers carry a cell phone along, so they will know they are really in touch with others, and not alone in Nature’s universe. Hermits are few and far between, an anomaly of life.

So what does this have to do with reading and writing (my world)? Everything. Mankind first used drawings on cave walls and rocks to get its thoughts across. Even though people could grunt at each other, and eventually talk to other people, they still wanted to communicate to many others what was on their minds. They wanted to interface with strangers so to speak.

Most of the cave and rock paintings show animals, but some reveal man-made mechanical objects, including space ships. I have some colorful rubbings framed and hanging on my wall at home that are images many thousands of years old, taken from rocks in the wilds of western Australia. They show some easily identified animals, but they also show several creatures that look more like thin steel framework bridges standing erect with a human head on top and very long legs and arms. Imaginary? Perhaps, but drawings from all around the world depict people and ships from outer space, clear to all but the most narrow-minded doubting minds. Many of these “people” are wearing space helmets, and some are shown arriving in chariots belching fire.

As civilization slowly progressed, men and women started carving messages in stone in the written word format, not just pictures. Later, priest scribes and others used inks to put thoughts on skin and other substances, to leave behind for others to read. Local tribes developed different languages (both written and verbal) but all wanted other people to know what they were thinking about.

Nothing has changed in substance, only in the details of the media. People want to be in touch with other people and they want others, both now and in posterity, to “read” what’s on their minds.

Scrolls and hand made single-copy volumes changed to printed books after Gutenberg made his movable type contribution to society. Printed books ruled for a long time. Nowadays, however, E-books are rapidly climbing in popularity. Texting is commonplace. It won’t be too long before traditional printed books will fade into near-obscurity. Who knows how long, but the trend is obvious and inevitable.

Already, most authors are now publishing in E-book format. Many are also publishing simultaneously in printed format – hard cover books, paperback books, and pamphlets.

Folks with an E-book reader can now take thousands of books along with them wherever they go, stored in a device about the size of a cell phone. Dozens of different models of E-books are already available. New ones are being announced weekly.

The tides of publishing and communicating are changing rapidly. Its time for all of us to pay attention.

Posted in E-Books, Internet, Philosophy | No Comments »

A Pleasant Discovery

August 2nd, 2010 by Hank

By chance, I found a copy of The Saturday Evening Post in a lobby recently.  What a surprise!  I thought they had quit publishing years ago. Turns out I was partially right. They did suspend publication in the sixties, after television took over, but cranked up again under new ownership.

The new issues are thankfully on the Internet as well as printed.

The new Post aims at the audience over 45 years of age. They publish short stories among other interesting material. Maybe the long lost art of short stories and magazine articles will come to life again.  Hope so.  The latest issue reprints a touching short story by J. D. Salinger written in about 1946, about a young man in the army in France. He’s the author you know who hit the really big time with Catcher in the Rye and then retired into seclusion.

Some of the publishing moguls, including the CEO of the largest publisher in the world, Ingram, predict that more people, not less people will read novels and non-fiction now that E-book Readers are beginning to blossom. He predicts that in the future each E-book reader will have a button to push: “Send me a printed copy” so that readers can have the best of both worlds.

Hold your seats, everyone, and buckle your seat belts even tighter. The publishing industry is in the throes of a major change – equivalent in many people’s minds to what happened after Guttenberg did his thing a couple of hundred years ago.

Posted in Book Publishing | No Comments »

Attention Book Readers

June 2nd, 2010 by Hank

Take a look at my novel NO MORE AN ISLAND.Synopsis: He loves cars – she loves him – they love life together. But their life is changing fast – too fast. The man inside the man – Jake – wants freedom, excitement and danger. The woman inside the woman – Mary Lou – wants peace, happiness and security. The tried and true ways they learned growing up are melting away, as the whole world around them begins to morph their lifestyle with new, surprising turns. Fun, sex, success, pride, infidelity, disappointment – they all happen as Jake and Mary Lou’s small town turns into a little city, and their family grows to watch the way of the South become more like the way of the Yankees. It all happens between the two world wars.

The Model A Ford figures prominently in the book.

Posted in No More an Island | No Comments »

Lest We Forget

May 29th, 2010 by Hank

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and grandchildren what it was once like in the United States when folks were free.”
—- Ronald Reagan

Posted in Philosophy | No Comments »

Whatever Happened to Sterling Silver Tableware?

April 10th, 2010 by Hank

From about 1840 until World War II sterling silver flatware became a “must” for setting a formal dinner table.  The height of the craze was during the 50-year period from 1870 to 1920 when etiquette dictated that nothing should be touched with one’s fingers at the dinner table.

More than a hundred different types of silver pieces were offered for sale.

Dinner went from three courses to sometimes ten or more. There was a soup course, a salad course, a fruit course, a cheese course, an antipasto course, a fish course, the main course and a pastry or dessert course.  Each course was to be eaten with different types of silver forks, spoons, and knives. It was forbidden to touch the food with one’s fingers. Even a small dinner party required many dozens of silverware items.

Flatware sets were often accompanied by tea services, hot water pots, chocolate pots, trays and salvers, goblets, demitasse cups and saucers, liqueur cups, bouillon cups, egg cups, sterling plates, napkin rings, water and wine pitchers, coasters, candelabra and even elaborate centerpieces.

The craze with sterling even extended to business.  Sterling page clips, mechanical pencils, letter openers, calling card boxes and cigarette cases became commonplace. In the boudoir, sterling dresser trays, mirrors, hair and suit brushes, pill bottles, manicure sets, shoehorns, perfume bottles, powder bottles, and hair clips were commonplace, even in modest homes.

A number of factors converged to make sterling fall out of favor around the time of World War II. The cost of labor rose  and since sterling pieces were all still mostly hand-made, with only the basics being done by machine, the cost of manufacture soared. Only the wealthy could afford the large number of servants required for fancy dining with ten courses. Changes in life style and aesthetics resulted in people desiring simpler dinnerware that was easier to clean.

Today sterling silver at the dinner table is rare.  Stainless steel prevails, along with plastic.  Times change, don’t they!

Posted in Musings | No Comments »

My E-Book Made The Newspaper!

March 8th, 2010 by Hank

My BUSINESS HOW-TO Ebook made the newspaper yesterday.  In case you missed it, here is the link to the article in the North County Times.

In the article, all the rest of the books mentioned were hard cover or paperback.  Mine was the only E-book.  P.S. It’s on sale at 50% discount this week only at Smashwords.

The discount is in honor of Read An Ebook Week.

Posted in Business Books & Writing, News | No Comments »

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