A Random Rundown

A look back at my year in just about everything.

A Random Rundown

Well, it’s time for my annual end-of-the-year column. Actually, this is the first one I’ve ever done. At my age, “annual” is more a wish than a certainty.

I’m hoping my esteemed editor, the aptly named Holly, is so busy with holiday prep that she’ll let me vent about some non-literary matters in addition to my normal nonsensical writing advice. So here goes, in no particular order:

Veterans: I am one — of the USMC variety. I also happen to live in the Villages, Florida, where every car and golf cart seems to have a logo or flag related to the military (including the Confederacy). There are weekly parades here honoring veterans of various wars (America has plenty of wars), and the local newspaper has at least one article about vets in every edition. I take a back seat to no one on patriotism, but I also don’t wear it on my sleeve. Military service is an honor. My father once had a car with a “V” on it, and he was constantly giving the “V” sign to people who thought he was referencing World War II. (The “V” stood for my alma mater, Villanova.)

KDP Audible: For the uninitiated, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) had launched a beta application that allows authors to use artificial intelligence to narrate their self-published books. The app uses eight AI voices (four male and four female) and even gives you the option of American or British inflections. One of the few requirements KDP makes is that every narrated book must have a table of contents. I write novels with no tables of contents. KDP has promised to look at the issue, but if worst comes to worst, I’ll add them. I can’t figure out how, though. (Please don’t email me instructions. I’ve watched a million YouTube videos and am still flummoxed.)

Religion: A fraught topic, I know. But I was intrigued by a Facebook post that pointed out many of the major faiths originated thousands of years ago in a small part of the globe, which was basically the known world back then. And people have been killing themselves over those religions — all of which allegedly promote peace — ever since. (Of course, other parts of the world don’t get a pass. Need I bring up India and Pakistan?)

Book Covers: Back to KDP. Please avoid scams and vanity publishers. If you’ve written a book, you can publish a digital and print version for free through Amazon, Smashwords, KOBO, Barnes & Noble, etc. You might have to pay for professional editing if you can’t talk any literate friends into doing it for you, but KDP provides free (don’t you just love that word?) cover art, or you can go with a service that will make you a great cover for less than $100 (sometimes much less). I suspect (perhaps “hope” is a better word) AI will soon offer a copy-editing app that leaves Microsoft Word in the dust — or at least one that gives you a choice between “there” and “their.”

The Ungrateful Generation: My term for those who vote for people who are against the very things the “Greatest Generation” fought and died for, like Social Security, Medicare, and other “entitlements.”

Okay, that’s it. Sorry about the politics. Happy New Year!

Lawrence De Maria has written more than 30 thriller and mysteries on KDP. If necessary, he’ll ask one of his toddler grandchildren to help him add a table of contents to all of them.

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