#AtoZChallenge — X marks the spot

In the wake of watching too much television, and in particular Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a very quaint but completely ambiguous statement was dismissed as something that would never happen in archeology, x marks the spot.

Of course, as we all know only too well, x really does mark the spot on treasure maps, and I’m sure there’s been quite a few of those over the last few centuries, what with the numbers of pirates on the high seas, well one known such as Blackbeard, and some not so well known.

And those treasure maps always seem to find their way into children’s stories for some reason, maybe because as children we were likely to believe it possible, whereas an adult, the only place we’re likely to find an x is where someone who can’t write signs their name.

That might also include a lot of press-ganged sailors, who were virtually kidnapped into British naval service to chase down those pirates, all of whom seemed to have that same ubiquitous signature.

And, by the way, that x marks the spot was in that Indiana Jones movie, a rather large x making up a part of the marble flooring.

X doesn’t often find it’s way into mainstream English, even as a prefix, except in the case of x-rays which is electromagnetic radiation.

And in science fiction, the most interesting use of x-ray is for using x-ray vision, starting with Superman, and ending with more sinister connotations.

Other than that the only word that I can remember that starts with an x is xenophobia, which seems to be raising its head around the world, the fear of people or objects from another country or culture

Is it good luck or good management, or a one off miracle?

Of course with advertising on social media, if I had any success I might be saying that it was luck, or more to the point it would feel more like a miracle.

But…

There’s no such thing as luck or miracles, there’s simply good management or being in the right place at the right time.

Or you’ve just put a lot of research and hard work into an idea that pays off.

But that’s not luck, that’s something else.

I say this because I have never been on the receiving end of good fortune very often, except, as you would expect, as the result of hard work. And yes, everything appears to conspire against me some days, but I would not call that bad luck.

Timing, quite often, is everything.

So…

I’ve been researching the internet and the world of social media. So many people make claims about how good it is, how bad it is, how they made a fortune, and how, for others, it’s a dud.

Again, it’s about good management, hard work, or being in the right place, etc.

And viral stuff on YouTube, well, if it goes viral with a million hits in fifteen minutes, it means everybody, in that fifteen minutes, was looking for something interesting at that particular moment, and there it was.

It was not luck.

However…

Using either of Facebook or Twitter as a means to advertise, without parting with your hard earned, or more likely, non-existent cash, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

You have 17,000 followers, that means you have at least 17,000 people who are going to see your post. Or someone else’s if you are thinking of getting people to market their product on the back of your followers, hang on, targeted followers. If, say, for instance, you’re followers are book orientated, doesn’t that mean…

You get my point.

Wrong.

You’re lucky if 5% of those followers see anything, and that doesn’t increase by putting a lot of different tags on the post. Twitter itself is restrictive in the number of people it will distribute the post to.

Five percent, that’s 850 of your followers who may see any one of your posts at the one time. other people have done vari0ous tests to check just who gets a post and who doesn’t, so it’s not just me who had noted what’s happening.

Then there’s the take-up rate, which Twitter does tell you, in my case, it’s about 2% at it’s lowest, which means the effective number of real peal people looking at my posts with any interest, is about 17.

It can be more, though I’m not sure how the Twitter algorithm for distributing posts works. I’ve seen other people get thousands of likes and re-tweets.

And, yes, I get it, their posts might be more interesting than mine, and I accept that, but the numbers I’ve been tracking don’t lie. If more people saw the tweet, the curiosity factor would be higher, and at the very least, the click-through rate would be higher.

That it isn’t can be verified from checking with the number of clicks on the bitly web site for the day, even over a number of days, in the basic statistics they provide their users.

I’m just saying…

All of those people who say they have thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of followers just waiting for you to advertise with them, cannot deliver any sort of mass advertising you need, and even if they were to pay to advertise with Twitter, they would have to charge very exorbitant prices.

You can do it yourself, but there’s no guarantee your tweet will read by the people you need to buy your book.

It what I would call a shot in the dark.

So…

What do we do?

Anyone else done this exercise and come up with different results? If you have I’d be interested to know what sort of responses you are getting from Twitter, or Facebook, or any other social media platform.

Preferably before I pull all my hair out in frustration!

A matter of life and … what’s worse than death? – Episode 5

This is a story inspired by a visit to an old castle in Italy. It was, of course, written while traveling on a plane, though I’m not sure if it was from Calgary to Toronto, or New York to Vancouver.
But, there’s more to come. Those were long flights…

And sadly when I read what I’d written, off the plane and in the cold hard light of dawn, there were problems, which now in the second draft, should provide the proper start.

I knelt down to Jack’s level and whispered in his ear, “Time to go mate. Things are about to get a little sticky here, and one of us should get away.”

I’m not sure he understood what I was saying.

I pointed towards the trees that ran along the wall. “Go, now.”He walked slowing in the pointed direction, then turned to look at me.

“Go.”

Another hesitation, he headed towards, and then disappeared into the trees.

Behind me I could hear the sound of boots on the rock floor of the tunnel. The men had broken through and cut off my escape. I didn’t believe for a minute that Jackerby was there to help me.

Well, out of the frying pan, I thought.

I walked through the gap between the trees, getting a scrape on the side of my face from a prickly branch, then burst into the open. Jackerby had taken about twenty steps down from where he had called to me, and hearing the trees, turned and took a few steps back towards me.

Seconds later the two men from the tunnel came through the same gap, and took up positions so I couldn’t escape. Guns not drawn but ready in case they were needed.

“Where’s the dog?” Jackerby asked.

“Rats desert a sinking ship, why should dogs be any different. Guess he knew I was for the high jump.”

“Didn’t have to be that way.”

I don’t remember getting an offer to betray my country and decline. Significantly, he had made no more mention of his offer to help. But, I had to ask, “Which side are you on?”

“The right side, of course.”

It was hard to tell what version of the truth that was. He had one of those faces I associated with a professional poker player.

A nod of his head, and we headed back towards the castle. Jackerby walked beside me, the two guards about three yards behind. Running wasn’t an option, I’d get two bullets in the back before I got ten yards. There was little cover to hide in, so that was out as well.

I wondered what fate awaited me back at the castle.

© Charles Heath 2019

#AtoZChallenge — X marks the spot

In the wake of watching too much television, and in particular Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a very quaint but completely ambiguous statement was dismissed as something that would never happen in archeology, x marks the spot.

Of course, as we all know only too well, x really does mark the spot on treasure maps, and I’m sure there’s been quite a few of those over the last few centuries, what with the numbers of pirates on the high seas, well one known such as Blackbeard, and some not so well known.

And those treasure maps always seem to find their way into children’s stories for some reason, maybe because as children we’re likely to believe it possible, where as an adult, the only place we’re likely to find an x is where someone who can’t write signs their name.

That might also include a lot of press ganged sailors, who were vitually kidnapped into British naval service to chase down those pirates, all of whom seemed to have that same ubiquitous signature.

And, by the way, that x marks the spot was in that Indiana Jones movie, a rather large x making up part of the marble flooring.

X doesn’t often find it’s way into mainstream English, even as a prefix, except in the case of x-rays which is electromagnetic radiation.

And in science fiction, the most interesting use of x-ray is for using x-ray vision, starting with superman, and ending with a more sinister connotations.

Other than that the only word that I can remember that starts with an x is xenophobia, which seems to be raising it’s head around the world, the fear of people or objects from another country or culture

“What Sets Us Apart”, a mystery with a twist

David is a man troubled by a past he is trying to forget.

Susan is rebelling against a life of privilege and an exasperated mother who holds a secret that will determine her daughter’s destiny.

They are two people brought together by chance. Or was it?

When Susan discovers her mother’s secret, she goes in search of the truth that has been hidden from her since the day she was born.

When David realizes her absence is more than the usual cooling off after another heated argument, he finds himself being slowly drawn back into his former world of deceit and lies.

Then, back with his former employers, David quickly discovers nothing is what it seems as he embarks on a dangerous mission to find Susan before he loses her forever.

http://amzn.to/2Eryfth

whatsetscover

Conversations with my cat – 33

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This is Chester.  Our discussion about me going away is not finished.

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

I’ve been trying to make the bed, fully away of the icy stares I’m being given.  THew old age issue is still very raw, and I found him back in his bed, frumping.

You do realize, comes the plaintiff cry, that no one ever remembers to come and refresh the water and food.

News to me.  Every time we go away, he had a constant stream of people coming to see him.

Old age, I say, is making you forgetful.

And when you sent me away to your brothers, I could barely tolerate that cat of his.  Common alley cat if there ever was one.

Class distinction, I didn’t see that coming.

We’re not all just cats, you know.

Perhaps not, but over the years we’ve had a variety of different cats, but not a purebred like Chester.  I’m not sure how that came to pass, but I think I preferred the non-fussy, undisdainful, and easily pleased ‘alley cats’.

Would you like me to send you to my brother’s then?

No, I didn’t think so.  Bed made, the discussion is over.

#AtoZChallenge – W is for will

Now that I’ve hit the age of 65, I now have to give some consideration to creating a will.

You know, that document that specifies which child gets what, or if you think any or all of them don’t deserve what’s left of the hard earned millions, which cat or dog will inherit a fortune.

A will is both a reason for siblings or beneficiaries to kill to get a reward, or the fact you have to make one so that the state doesn’t inherit your fortune.

This is only one use of the word.

Another might be that it’s possible to have something like the will to carry on.

Carry on what?

Life, a marriage, a business relationship.

Does it require will power, or is it a matter of where there’s a will there’s a way?

I will come over. I will turn up tomorrow.

In this sense it is promoting futility.

Of course seeing is believing.

And as a bit of self serving advertising, I’m going to promote a new story, actually titled, The Will.

Inheritance can resolve monetary problems, and not only that, set one of the siblings up financially for life. All they have to do is wrest the family home from the dying fingers of a mother who had seen it all.

Into the mix comes the grandson, a man who sometimes is a son but mostly a grandson, someone who doesn’t fit in, who doesn’t want to follow family tradition, and who prefers to go to his grandmothers rather than going home to his family.

He is constantly appalled at his mother’s lack of respect for her mother, and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a battle between his grandmother and her daughter, his mother, over the family estate.

Who will win?

That’s a question that will be answered when you read the book.