The Voyage of the Ballyhoo (Part One)

PART ONE:    Kipling Soggs

This is the story of Kip, who traveled the ocean aboard a sailing ship called the Ballyhoo. She was brave and she was clever, and she had many adventures, and I suppose that is all I really need to tell you. But if I stop there the story would be over, and you would miss all of the best parts. Kip’s story is what people call a sea epic, by which they mean a tale of adventure and bravery on the high seas with storms and squalls and unexpected dangers. There can be sunny days and smooth seas in a sea epic too, but they never last very long.DSCN1371

If you close your eyes, maybe you can picture Kip standing on deck, tall and strong, her skin bronzed by the sun—but you would have it entirely wrong. Kip may be clever and Kip may be brave, but she is also only eleven-years old.

There she is: a fair-haired girl, slight but wiry, a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose. When she was born, her parents named her Kipling Soggs—Kipling Riley Jean Soggs to be exact. The name Kipling was for Rudyard who wrote a famous book. The name Riley was for her father who’s name was Riley, too. And Jean—well, that was her mother’s idea, just in case Kip needed a more ordinary name later on. She hasn’t yet, but then she is only eleven. When Kip’s grandfather proposed a sea journey from his home on Jekyll Island to Polynesia, her parents were delighted. Continue reading “The Voyage of the Ballyhoo (Part One)”

Funny Things Happen in the Amazon.

The other day I published a little book, just an essay really, called Why YA? over at — twenty whimsical pages on the history of young adult literature. A day later, after selling one copy, it showed up as the #1 bestselling book in the kindle store in the category of History of Books.

(pause for thunderous applause.)

Thank you. In truth, I don’t even remember putting into this category, but sometimes the dropdown lists over at KDP get a little confusing so maybe I did. The funny part is, without even knowing it, I stumbled upon a brilliant book-marketing ploy. Instead of listing your book in a popular category like:


put it in an unpopular category like, I don’t know:

Collectibles>Vintage Plumbing Fixtures

Continue reading “Funny Things Happen in the Amazon.”

Prepare to be Monetized!


One of my first blog posts concerned an online course I downloaded from website expert and marketing guru John Morrow. (You can read it here, if you’d like.) John is the guy who told me I shouldn’t even have a blog yet, that it was pointless, that no one was listening. He didn’t say it specifically to me. He probably would’ve said the same thing about your blog. ‘Cuz all us wannabe-but-not-yet writers/bloggers/social commentators were wasting our time. Blogging can be great for marketing, but not until you have an audience, okay?

That makes sense. It’s mundanely obvious. You can’t sell ice cubes to Eskimos if you don’t have any Eskimos to begin with. Does he offer us a way out of this catch-22 cul-de-sac? Oh, you betcha! He offers a whole course, of course, just $29.95 per month. I wont bore you with the details, but one thing he does say is that when you reach 500 subscribers, then you will finally be ready to start blogging.

‘Cause then, see, you’ll have an audience. Your very own room full of Eskimos. Continue reading “Prepare to be Monetized!”