Archived Posts 2022

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Writing Style
Videos Now
Autocracies


Writing Style Dec 14, 2021

You Speak for Me Now is on the market in paperback and Kindle format!

Guess it speaks for me now.

It enjoys something foreign to my earlier books, attention to marketing. They, poor souls, were left to fend for themselves. Even enjoying high ratings and praise, they essentially remained lost in the sea of books floating about.

So, for the first time, I’ve brought a publicity agent into the fray as an experiment. To date, it’s cost roughly $6,00. Each $14.00 book generates $3.97 in royalties when purchased from Amazon or $1.17 ir purchased from other sellers, so I need to sell roughly 2,000 copies to break even (a daunting tasks with zero sales so far). Amazon keeps over 70% of the revenue and passes 28% to the author (less than 9% for external purchases). How else can Bezos keep his 250 plus billion net worth growing. Poor fellow, if any of us were lucky enough to be able to invest a million dollars each year, we could match him in something over 250,000 years. That’s why the greed of Bezos, Musk and their ilk, together with large corporations, is driving economic disparity to nation destroying levels.

But I digress. Let’s return to my microscopic little universe and review progress with You Speak for Me Now. So far it has resulted in three major reviews, three email interviews, and a half hour live radio interview. The reviews can be read on my website (www.SandysPen.com). Two are very positive, the third a little less, citing the reviewer thought the extensive use of dialog tedious. “Tedious” dialog is surprising. I believe dialog allows the reader to engage with the characters and live through their triumphs and pitfalls. If anything, it makes the story move faster.  Mark Twain thought that also. Why did this reviewer feel differently? Probably he or she is constantly reviewing books and perhaps uses more of a scanning or speed-reading approach. That would explain it since dialog trips up a speed-reader who can skip over the background descriptive narrative without fear of missing key points.


Videos Now Janyary24, 2022

Studio SG2022 (tongue in cheek)

This elaborately equipped home studio is the sight of a recent production of two videos now available on my website (www.SandysPen.com). In the first, on the main screen, I introduce myself and approach to books. The second is a trailer that can be tracked down from my ‘You Speak for Me Now’ page. Taping them was fun. Viewing them was humbling in the sense they too visibly reveal the ravages of time that our minds tend to deceptively hide.

In addition to a number of email interviews, I’ve now appeared on two live radio shows. Matching delivery with a professional host is an impossibility and I have yet to hear either broadcast. The second was taped and will soon be available for streaming, so hopefully I will be able to give you another laugh.


Autocracies February 2, 2022

We all know a democracy involves a government responsive to the will of a majority of its citizenry. Autocracies are much more nebulous though they have a common characteristic. A small group of insiders rule the nation using a figurehead they select to issue their rules. Often the power goes to the “leader’s” head, converting him to a dictator.  I used the “him” advisedly since they seem always to be male.

Autocracies come in many forms:
Monarchs with their nobles (royalties before they were stripped of authority)
A military dictator with high-ranking generals (Genghis Kahn for example)
The Pope with Vatican officials
The Ayatollah with senior religious leaders
A political leader with supporting oligarchs (Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung,  Putin, ad nauseum)
The leader of a revolution with his lieutenants (Castro)
An emperor with his palace entourage (Japan, Roman empire)

I’m sure you can think up more types and examples. These cliques almost always become very rich at the expense of their exploited population. Their form of government is efficient because things get done without lengthy arguing or dissenting voices. They could even be good for all if they didn’t fall victim to greed or power. The general population suffers more with each passing year until the regime is finally overthrown.

Overthrow can be by a bloody revolution as happened in France, Russia, and America). It can be via a World War involving many nations as in the case of Nazi Germany, Japan, and Italy. They can be almost bloodless as it was in England, Canada, and India. It may involve one autocracy taking over another, such as when the Ayatollah theocracy deposed the Shah of Iran. It may not even involve the government as when unions were created to end the industrial reign of railroad, mining, and manufacturing tycoons.

Democracy in the United States is facing its greatest threat since conception. Is it inevitable that our democracy will deteriorate into autocracy? 2,000 years ago, Plato said yes. He believed there is roughly a two-hundred-year cycle in which a democracy is overtaken by an autocracy that impoverishes the populace until the downtrodden revolt and re-establish a government of the people, for the people. He seems right in concept though far too restrictive in his time estimate.

How does all this relate to America today? Well, power is already in the hands of a relatively small group of corporate leaders and rich individuals. They own many media outlets, and a strong propaganda machine is in place. They have gained control of the Republican Party which now should be renamed the Autocratic Party. They have manipulated the presidential election system to enable a win with 47% or less of the popular vote. Their only large mistake to date was selecting a corrupt, unintelligent narcissist as their mouthpiece. They probably won’t make that mistake in the 2024 Democratic/Autocratic election.

Sadly, the myth they have created is believed by a significant percentage of the people being exploited. Not just believed, fervently believed. Effective propaganda accomplishes two things; namely, make people believe its story and then close their mind to argument or even discussion. The human brain is wired for that form of exploitation. Over millions of years, human survival depended on uniting behind a strong leader. Worked fine when all the leader got was adulation, perhaps more than one partner, but not a palace, four mansions, private jets, and billions salted away in secret bank accounts.

Can the process be reversed or is it too late? In America, we still have a House of Representatives, and recently they have tried to protect voting rights and improve the general economy. But each measure is blocked by a Senate with a razor thin Democratic majority. The will of the people remains thwarted. Only with a solid majority of Democrats over Autocrats in both House and Senate can a reversal be successful. That’s why 2024 is so pivotal to democracy in America.


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