Book Cover 101

We’ve all heard the admonishment, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Whoever said that clearly wasn’t trying to sell books in the 21st century.  Regardless of whether it’s consumers, bookstore buyers, or the folks making nominations for the Worst of Amazon, everyone is judging books by their covers. Why? The simple truth is, a great book with a horrible cover won’t sell, but a horrible book with a great cover will.

Authors and self-publishers need to put as much thought into their book’s cover as they do the content between the covers.  The smartest thing to do is hire a professional cover designer.  This is because every book requires multiple cover files, how many depends on how the book is distributed.  The best recommendations for cover artist come word-of-mouth.  If you attend an author event and see someone with a cover that catches your attention, ask for the name of their artist.  Most authors are happy to share that information. Continue reading


The Trouble with FTEs

FTE stands for Full-Time Equivalent, which in academia represents an imaginary student enrolled in 15 credits.  The problem with claiming that funding should be distributed according to FTE and not based on what students actually pay in tuition and fees is that not all FTEs are created equal.  Imagine a situation where a community college has both a main campus and a branch campus.  For the sake of this exercise, assume that both campuses have 4 FTEs, meaning that students are enrolled in a total of 60 credits at each institution.

According the funding equation set forth by CCS Administrative Procedure 5.05.01-H and the Student Services and Activities Committee, students pay $11.28 per credit for the first 10 credits they enroll in, then $6.56 per credit for the next 8 credits, and pay nothing for any credits taken beyond that.  The breakdown for our imaginary 4 FTEs is below:

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Toxic Workplace

Sometimes you just encounter a really bad boss.  The kind of boss that has no respect for your time or for you as an individual.  After two years of giving my supervisor the benefit of the doubt, I have come to the conclusion that I have a bad boss and have been existing in a toxic work environment.

Today, my supervisor started our meeting with the phrase, “I’m not going to apologize,” and ended the meeting by telling me, “You should be grateful.”  There was a lot of not listening, platitudes, talking over my concerns, or brushing them aside in the middle. Continue reading


Beezlebug Takes 3rd Place

I was recently notified that my short story “Beezlebug” took 3rd place honors in the annual IDAHO Magazine fiction contest. (See a list of winners here.)

Beezlebug is the story of how a U.S. Army National Guard member is influenced by a lone mosquito to take action against his middle-aged neighbor lady. It is a delightful read for anyone who has a neighbor with whom they don’t always see eye-to-eye.

To read “Beezlebug” and other award winning short stories, visit my short fiction page.


Palouse Writers Guild, 2019

The Palouse Writers Guild is an independent collective comprised of several local writing groups who banded together in order to bring professional development opportunities to the Palouse. Since first being formed in 2016, the Palouse Writers Guild (PWG) has grown from 15 members to serving over 200 area writers today. As a result of this overwhelming response, we are launching our own PWG webpage.

www.PalouseWritersGuild.org

The Palouse Writers Guild’s goal is to facilitate literary education by supporting writers’ groups, author readings, workshops, writing contests, and conference attendance.  Membership is open to writers of all genres and media, regardless of publication status. Anyone interested in free writing, critique, participating in writing exercises, attending literary events, or just socializing with groups of like-minded people is welcome to join.

Benefits of Membership Include

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Imbolg, 2019

This year, Imbolg falls on February 2nd, as that is the mid-point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  This is the time of the Rowan Moon, when we long for winter to be over and begin seeing the first signs of spring.  Nowhere is this more evident than the lambing barns, where in the depths of winter the ewes bring new life to the world.  The word Imbolg roughly translates as, ‘the time of lactating ewes.’

This year I complied some information on Imbolg for my Study Moot.  Some of that information is presented below.

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Laughter and Libations, 2018

There is nothing like bawdy, irreverent, and satirical drinking songs to put you in the holiday spirit.  This year’s edition of Laughter and Libations includes more songs and new recipes for favorite winter drinks.  Those interested in trying their hand at culinary delights will also find two alcohol infused recipes for “Figgy Pudding” which are sure to be crowd pleasers.

In addition to the new recipes, revilers will find three categories of songs: Continue reading


Who Swiped the Dishrags?

My article “Who Swiped the Dishrags?” appears in the November issue of IDAHO Magazine and talks about many of the wonderful surprises my neighbors have gifted me with over the years.  IDAHO Magazine can be purchased at BookPeople of Moscow.  Also, copies are available for check out from the Potlatch Public Library and the Moscow City Library.  If you somehow missed out getting a copy at any of those locations, you can always buy a copy online directly from the publisher at:

https://www.idahomagazine.com/shop/2018-11-november-2018-menan/

If you enjoyed this story you might also enjoy “Zucchini Bandits.”  Continue reading