Sunday, January 26, 2014

Where Is the Money?

Most people think authors make a lot of big bucks, but it's not true.  The majority of published author's may not even make minimum wages.  You think I'm kidding; well, I'm not laughing. 

This is a discussion many authors were having a few weeks ago on a Yahoo loop I belonged to.  It started by someone reading a blog about where the money is.  I can't remember the author's name now, but the story about the money wasn't pretty.  She was an author with one of the big six publishers. 

Many of you probably didn't know if an author gets money up front for their book they don't get royalties until the publisher makes enough sales to cover the amount they paid the author.  If they don't sell enough books; the author could end up having to pay part of the money back.  It all depends on what is in their contract.

E-publishers came along and after a few years the big 6 publishers wanted in on the action.  They tried to make their contracts for e-books the same as print books, which is about 5 to 7% depending on the contract negotiated.  E-publishers were giving way more and many name authors decided to keep their rights for e-publishing their books and self-published themselves. 

Some e-book authors have been making good money and even a living with their writing, but with the big name authors joining our ranks it's not easy.  Those authors who have a large following are beating out the new authors.  They are too much competition for many mid-list and e-book authors. 

There are thousands of people joining the ranks of author by self-publishing instead of waiting for a publisher to read their manuscript and accept it.  Many readers aren't willing to take a chance on a new author unless the book is really cheap, or even free.  They have reason to be afraid because some author's work hasn't been edited before publishing.  

Many published authors I know work a full time job.  If it weren't for the fact my husband and I are retired with pensions, social security and other investments I would have had to go back to work with what I make. 

It costs to be an author.  Any money, I make goes into promotion, websites, ink, paper, computers, conferences, etc.  The money goes back into the business.   Of course, some day, I expect to write a classic like Gone with the Wind, and that book will outlive me.  Grin!  While I'm alive there is always hope.  Like my husband says, "Follow your dreams."
Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday.  Thank you for reading my blog.
Sandra K. Marshall

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kenny G. and the Pops at Kauffman Center

Friday night, January 17, 2013, I was lucky enough to attend the Kenny G. and the Pops concert playing with the Kansas City Symphony at Kaufman Center.

Pictures of Kaufman Center

Kenny G. plays saxophones, but Friday night he primarily played the soprano sax (never heard of one), and he wowed the crowd from the very beginning.  He started in the audience at the very top of the balcony serenading us.  This amazing man walked down the stairs of one side of the theatre and across to the other side, down more stairs and to the center of the stage holding the same note without a breath.  I was out of breath for him.  lol It's no wonder he was able to hold the note so long since he holds a Guinness World record for holding an e-flat on his sax for 45:47 in minutes. 

At the age of ten, Kenny G. started playing the saxophone after seeing it played on the Ed Sullivan show.  It's the same sax that he uses today.  He's a Grammy award winner and is the top selling instrumental musician of our time.  He's grafted elements of R&B, pop and Latin to a jazz foundation solidifying his reputation as the premiere artist in contemporary jazz.  He has sold 75 million records worldwide (45 million in the U.S. alone) and more than a dozen climbs to the top of Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. 
Soprano Sax

He's played with the likes of contemporary jazz artists such as Barry White and Jeff Lorber.  He's been a frequent collaborator with some of the most iconic figures in American popular music, including Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole and Frank Sinatra.  The Duets Album (2004) featured performances by Barbra Streisand, Burt Bacharach and LeAnn Rimes.

You know some of his credentials for music, but now I'm going to tell you about the comedian and the man.  In between his wonderful music, Kenny G. entertained us with stories.  He told us about playing at the White House in the Clinton days.  He was invited to stay overnight, which was a surprise to him.

He stayed in the Lincoln room.  The desk in there was where Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address.  Kenny G. was drawn to that desk knowing that it must hold some special wisdom in it; he opened the drawer.  There it was: White House stationary.  lol 

He pulled out a sheet, picked up a pen and started writing and writing page after page.  Kenny G. finally looked at the first page and on it was written, 'I'm in the White House, dad.  He looked at the others, and they were written to other people he knew in Seattle (Seattle is where he's from), so he kept thinking of more people to write to, and he said the same thing to all of them.  Finally, he ran out of people to write to, and he was trying to think of someone else to write to. Then he remembered as a scrawny kid (he's a buff 134 pounds now) walking through the school hallway with his instruments and some big guys grabbing him and throwing him up against the lockers.  He wrote, Dear Assholes, I'm in the White House.  lol

This talented man is humble, funny, and loyal.  The guy who plays the piano for him has been with him since high school, and the other band members have been with him 25 to 30 years. 

Credit for some information on Kenny G. and the Pops comes from the Kansas City Symphony program.  The stories Kenny G. told were paraphrased, so they may not be exact.  

Have a good week, and I'll see you next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall, author @

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Follow Your Dreams!

Today, I'm turning my blog over to my husband, Ron Marshall.  He wrote this article last year, and I promised him I would post it in 2014, so I'm keeping my word.  I did a bit of critiquing, but most of this is in his own words. 

Seniors who are thinking of just kicking back and doing the daily thing of eating at home or out in restaurants, coming back and plunking back in their recliner and TV shows. Have any seniors ever given a thought about getting out in the fresh air and riding a motor scooter?

Well, now I know you think I have lost it, but let me tell you about me. I hadn't ridden a motorcycle since I was 16 yrs old and that was for a short period. Well in my third childhood I was thinking of buying one of those little Chinese motor scooters you see on the internet.

I was reading about them when I came across a scooter called Suzuki Burgman AN 400. The Burgman sounded better than one of those Chinese scooters so I started looking on the internet for one. I slid the thought past my wife, and she said in a lukewarm tone that it might be okay, but she was a little worried about a 77 year old fool like me wanting to ride a scooter at my age.

I started looking at a forum on the internet called Burgman Riders.Com. After reading their comments about the Chinese scooters versus the Suzuki Burgman AN 400 I became interested in buying one. My kids thought I was an old fool for even thinking about riding anything with two wheels. It was the motivation I needed to drive me to search around for a Burgman 400.

I found what I was looking for, a Suzuki Burgman AN 400 in south Kansas City at a motorcycle shop. I went out and looked at the 2008 scooter with just 287 miles on it, and I fell in love with it as soon as I laid eyes on it. The apple red color and size was just right for me.

Scooter, Ron bought.
Well you guessed it I went and bought the bike, and I was afraid to even ride it home, so I enlisted my brother-in-law to ride it home for me. I had it home for about two weeks before I got up enough nerve to ride it. With a little practice I got fairly good and finally allowed my wife to ride with me, and now I can't seem to keep my wife off the back of it. She loves to ride with me. I was searching around the Burgman loops for riders' my age and found that many over age of 60 and a lot more over age of 70+ riding them. One fellow told me that a man over in the U.K. age 95 still actively rides his Burgman AN 400.

Here's food for thought; if you ever had a passing thought about riding a motor scooter you might want to give it a try at your local scooter shop. If you don't like it then go back to the recliner that old people get into and watch those TV shows.

Frankly, I enjoy the fresh air and the looks and smiles at traffic lights that the wife and I get from other people when we stop.  It makes you feel like you are young again plus keeps your mind alert.

Well, we both know our age but you know it does give you vigor that one doesn't realize we still have until you try.  That is my story and I'm sticking to it.  In December I turned 78 and can't wait for spring to get here so we can go again on the scooter.
Photo of Ron on Burgman
Thank you, honey, for writing this blog.  Your words tell everyone it's never too late to follow your dream whether you want to travel, write, bike, or anything you have thought you would like to do. 

Have a wonderful week, and I'll see you next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall, author   

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year's Everyone!

2014 is going to be a great year.  Can't you just feel the excitement of a new beginning?  I can, and I am gung ho to get started.  What about you, are you feeling the optimism for this New Year? 

As I look out my office window and see the clean, pristine snow, I am grateful to be in the warmth of our home.  There are so many things to be thankful for.  Hubby is on the mend after getting pneumonia and having it through Christmas.  Now, he has a head cold, but he'll get over that, too.  The only thing I have had this winter is a head cold, and I am mostly over it now.  I gave it to hubby.  Wink!

Do you make New Year's resolutions?  I do, but I don't know why as I hardly ever make it through the year sticking to the promises I make.  I think we make these promise hoping to start out the New Year better, but knowing we won't get through the whole year keeping them.  The intentions are good, but most of us are weak.  Smile!  What about you; do you intend to keep your resolutions?  Usually, I keep one or two of them, but not all of them. 

My New Year's resolutions:

1.  Exercise  (I'll start)

2.  Clean my office  (Attempt)

3.  Spring clean  (half-hearted, thinking of getting someone in to clean for us)

Professional resolutions:

1.  Finish edits on short story  (Definitely)

2.  Finish short story I'm writing now  (Definitely)

3.  Start short story I have an idea for  (Yes)

4.  Start novel for short story I'm writing now  (Maybe)

5.  Revise novel I have written  (It's hard to go back, but I hope to)

For those of you who want to know what 2013 was like for us, I'm posting our Christmas letter.  Some of our friends and family received the letter in different stages and others didn't receive it at all. 

Hi Everyone,

I'm finding I'm running out of time.  Gifts are bought, but not wrapped and the Christmas letters aren't ready to send.  I have two blog tours running consecutively starting December 7th through 14th for the Addiction, the second book in the Riverboat Mysteries and December 15th through 21st for the last book in the Riverboat Mysteries.  So you know a lot is not going to get done this year.  I'm even wondering if I'm going to get this letter mailed, or if I'm going to post it on my blog and hope all my family and friends get to read it. 

It's been a busy 2013 for me.  My publisher decided to reissue my books with new book covers, so I had to promote them.  Thank goodness for social media since it makes it easy to promote my books through LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  I did a blog tour for the first book in my Riverboat Mysteries series, The Catalyst, and now I'm doing tours for Addiction and The Deceived. 

In August, Ron bought a 2008 Burgman 400 SA motor scooter, and we tooled around on it until the weather got too cold to enjoy riding.  We hope by March or April to ride again.  We are the adventurous types.  Wink!

Ron turned 78 this month and next year I'll turn 70.  We are both keeping extremely busy, and that's the reason I didn't have time to send off Christmas letters.  Maybe, I'll do better next year.  I will send cards to those who have already sent us cards, but that's about all I can do.  lol

This year Ron has had several injections in his right eye for his macular degeneration, and it helped him considerably by giving him more peripheral vision.  He's due for another injection December 20th. 

We are going to our youngest son's house for Christmas, and we are looking forward to that a bunch.  No cooking this year.  Smile!  Oh, I forgot, I do have cookies and bread to bake.  I do intend to get some baking done, so I can give them as presents to family and neighbors.

Okay, since I started this letter, Ron has developed walking pneumonia and has been in the house for days.  Most of you know Ron can't stand to be cooped up, but this illness has gotten him down until today.  He decided he had to get out for a bit.  lol  Ron ended up having side effects to the antibiotics and had to quit taking them. 

This year, our great-granddaughter, Olivia Marilyn Marshall was born, and she is such a cutie.  We haven't seen her in person yet, but we've seen pictures of her, and of course, we have to brag about her. 

My cousin, Gary and I are going to the Christmas symphony at Kaufmann Center on December 22nd.  We have gotten together several times this year.  My brother will be spending the holiday with us as our youngest son and his wife were kind enough to invite him, too.  This activity was cancelled as hubby was in ER. 

My sister and brother-in-law were here in May/June, and we had an excellent time with them.  We got together with lots of friends and family to celebrate my 69th birthday.  We all met at Famous Dave's in Lawrence to celebrate.  It was a fun day with a lot of ribbing. Smile! 

This is about all I have time for now.  Some others may get longer letters as I continue to add to it.  Smile!  I hope all of you are healthy in the New Year. 

Love to all and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thank you to all who follow and read my blog every week.  You have no idea how much I appreciate your comments on my blog and to me personally.  Be sure to check out the last blog of 2013; it was on December 15th.
See you next Sunday.  Have a great week and stay warm. 
Sandra K. Marshall