More Morals

I talked yesterday about how I used to crave oatmeal as a kid when I couldn’t have any due to allergies, but because utterly bored with oatmeal (just typed that as “email” and then corrected it, thought you should know) when the allergy went away and I could eat all I wanted. I was thinking more about that, and decided fishing was similar.

Now, I wasn’t allergic to fishing by any means. However, when I was a kid, I was obsessed about the idea of going fishing. I bought a fishing pole, a tackle box, and all that. I even drooled over the ads for the Pocket Fisherman (god only knows why). However, I never went fishing. My parents hated fishing and never wanted to take me.

Now I couldn’t care less about fishing.

Did I finally get the opportunity and fish too much to the point I wasn’t interested any more? Did I lose interest once I could do it? No, I only tried it a couple times that I can remember…and I was utterly bored each time.

The first time, I didn’t catch anything. Just caught my line on some inanimate junk in the water once or twice. I fished from a dock up in Bellingham a couple times and caught the same bullhead over and over before tossing him back. Then I fished one more time where I only caught my line on some inanimate junk in the water once or twice. That’s all the fishing I ever did…and suddenly I wasn’t interested at all in it any more.

I don’t think I outgrew an interest in fishing. I just think I was never really interested in fishing and didn’t understand that until I tried it out and found out what fishing really was.

Some people really dig fishing. I do not.

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A Moral?

When I was a kid, I was allergic to oats. As such, I couldn’t have oatmeal. Not with butter, maple syrup, or anything. As such, I craved oatmeal terribly:

However, I wasn’t allowed to have it (same with Cream of Wheat). I had to have rice cereal instead. Even with butter and maple syrup, I hated it:

I snuck my way into getting oatmeal whenever I could.

However, around about the time when I was thirteen or so, my oat allergy went away. Thus, I could have oatmeal whenever I wanted. I had it quite a bit. Eventually, I didn’t want oatmeal anymore. Now it seems completely boring and I generally avoid it.

Perhaps there’s a moral of some kind here. However, I also had the same thing with pancakes…and I still crave those.

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This Might Not Work Out So Good

We’ve all heard by now that the fast food industry has responded to the push for a higher minimum wage by starting to roll out self-orderkiosks. Now, without getting into the debate behind whether or not we should have a higher minimum wage, whether or not self-order kiosks will push workers into more skilled occupations, whether or not the kiosks were on their way anyway (and without any mention of the old automats regardless), and so on, I did want to make one comment:

So…we’ll see how well this works for fast food. Personally, based on my experiences at the supermarket alone, I’m probably heading for the line with the cashier if there is one.

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Why Do I Like Spray Cheese?

Why do I like spray cheese so much? I don’t think the stuff can even legally really be called cheese (hint: the fact that it doesn’t really need to be refrigerated is a big clue that it only resembles cheese in a vague manner). I love cheese, and will hang out for hours in the Whole Foods cheese section pretending I don’t know what various cheeses are while deciding to the point that I eat an entire meal of free cheese samples and then walk off without buying anything. So why spray cheese then?

Shouldn’t loving actual cheese mean that I’d be horrified by this stuff? I am, but I still love it. I haven’t had it in years, but I still have extremely fond memories of this “food.” Road trips in the car as a kid eating spray cheese on crackers, eating spray cheese straight from the can, all that. Maybe it’s the nostalgia. Maybe it’s just tasty, despite how little it is like anything human beings should eat.

Regardless, I want some now.

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Have You Checked Out Eleven And A Half Years Of Books?

Hey, have you checked out Eleven and a Half Years of Books yet? It’s a book review blog I co-edit with Kimberly Moore. I’ve mentioned it on here before, but not for a while. We just hit the four year anniversary of running the blog the other day, so it seemed like a good time to bring it up over here again.

The blog was actually Kim’s idea originally. She’d picked up a copy of The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books edited by J. Peder Zane and thought about how many she hadn’t read, and how many she wanted to. She thought it would be an interesting idea for the two of us to read the books mentioned in those lists and do reviews, along with whatever struck our fancy along the way, if for no other reason than to get us reading more of those books than we would have otherwise. It was a great idea, and it’s been a lot of fun.

So, check it out. With weekly posts for four years, you’ve got a lot you can peruse through.

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Some Reputable Reviewer Sold My ARC Before Release

I mentioned yesterday how an accidental Amazon listing of Not Quite so Stories as available months before release resulted in PBShop UK consistently offering my book for sale despite them knowing they didn’t have it and couldn’t get it, which I proved by repeatedly ordering only to have the orders cancelled. There was one order that wasn’t through PBShop UK that was fulfilled though, which was surprising because the book hadn’t been released. It was a reputable seller too, Powell’s Books Chicago. Turns out, some reviewer didn’t end up reviewing the book and ended up selling the ARC they’d been sent before the book was released.

“Not Quite So Stories” by David S. Atkinson on Ganxy//

How do I know? Well, not only was it the ARC, it had the press release my publisher included in ARCs they sent out. Only my publisher had those, and only included them in the ARCs they sent out to the bigger reviewers, places like Publisher’s Weekly. So what does this mean? Well, it means that one of the bigger reviewers, one you would really expect to know how unethical selling a review copy rather than reviewing it and before release date no less, sold an ARC rather than review it before release.

Now, I sent ARCs to some smaller places. Smaller places I wouldn’t necessarily hold to the same ethical and professional standards. However, the places my publisher was sending ARCs weren’t the smaller places. Whoever sold the ARC prior to release date without actually reviewing was really someone who should have had the ethical and professional standards to not do this. That’s what everyone would expect. Don’t decide to review? Fine. However, don’t sell the ARC…particularly before the book releases.

It’s just dishonest, as well as unethical and unprofessional.

Frankly, I wish my publisher had put some kind of unique identifier on the press release that was included with the ARC. Then we’d know what reviewer did this. Believe me, I wouldn’t send them ARCs anymore. Even if they decided to review later books, that just isn’t someone I’d feel comfortable being associated with.

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Showing PBShop UK Is A Drop Shipper

There is a lot of debate about PBShop UK (and it’s other PBShop variants). Supposedly they have a ton of positive feedback, but most I talk to have had horrible experiences. A few are really good, but so adamant in their defense that I do have to wonder if they don’t work for PBShop UK in some way. Perhaps paranoid, but the vehemence of their defense and their weird, often choppy defenses are suspect. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen is that PBShop UK is a drop shipper.

For those who don’t know, a drop shipper is a seller who offers to sell books they don’t have. Once ordered, they get them from the distributor or Amazon and then fulfill the already taken order. This often results in long delays and cancelled orders when they claim to discover not to have the book (they couldn’t get it, or at the price they wanted).  PBShop UK claims to have this immense stock, but others claim they don’t really and just drop ship, relying on their supposed shipping from the UK to justify delays (though many say that the actual items you click on say ships from US and PBShop UK later denies that).

But, what can I say on this? Well, Amazon accidentally listed my book Not Quite so Stories as available over three months before it actually released. It wasn’t actually available, but it looked like it was.
“Not Quite So Stories” by David S. Atkinson on Ganxy//

Because of that, third party sellers jumped in and started offering it. PBShop UK was one of the first. Mind you, it hadn’t been published. There were no copies available other than the advanced release reader copies that had been sent to reviewers. When you ordered, the third party sellers realized they didn’t have it, cancelled the order, and took the ad down.

Well, except for PBShop UK. They continually claimed to have the book from December 30, 2015 through March 1, 2016 when it actually released and copies were available. I started ordering. I was just trying to get them to realize the error and take their ad down. Sometimes the same day, sometimes as much as a week later, they’d suddenly “realize” they didn’t actually have the book and cancel the order.

However, their ad offering the book stayed up.

I kept ordering. From December 30, 2015 through February 17, 2016, I ordered the book from PBShop UK 31 times. Each time, they’d accept the order. Each time, they’d eventually cancel because they suddenly “realized” they didn’t have a copy after all. Then, despite realizing they didn’t have any copies, they kept the ad up offering to sell the book.

They just didn’t care. Clearly they were drop shipping here. 31 times? They knew they didn’t have the book and couldn’t get it. They just kept the ad running anyway. There’s simply no other explanation other than being a drop shipper, and lying in their explanations for why they had to cancel the orders. They knew they didn’t have it and couldn’t get it. 31 times? They knew.

SuperBookDeals was almost as bad. I only ran into them 4 times, but that’s because they took around two weeks to “realize” and cancel. Of course, they’d at least take their ad down after the order. However, it would go up later.

So, yeah. PBShop UK has to be a drop shipper. I don’t see any other explanation for offering a book for sale for months they claimed to have in stock despite no copies being possibly in their inventory, both by the book not being released yet and by 31 orders having to be cancelled for the book being suddenly “realized” to be out of stock. I really have to wonder where all their positive feedback comes from.

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