Friday, September 14, 2012

A Motto to Live By - Vote Christ for President

Christ for President

CAMPAIGN MANAGER (sitting with kitchen help at a diner outside Abilene, Texas): So what about it? Anybody got a new campaign slogan?
BUS BOY: How about this? Jesus Christ, You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down.
WAITRESS: Jesus Christ, Dead or Alive He’s Better Than the Other Guy.
COOK: Jesus Christ! More Than A Glib Expression.
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Boss, you want to weigh in on this?
CAMPAIGN MANAGER (turning to Jesus): We’re kicking around some new catch phrases to help jump-start the campaign. Your slogan, “Putting Your Neighbor First,” doesn’t poll well. People think we should be putting jobs first, debt reduction second, and health care third.
JESUS: Voters are fickle, like sheep. They’ll come around.
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: And if they don’t?
JESUS: Ever heard of the Gileadites?
JESUS: They were hill people living in the mountains of Gilead. Decendents of the Gad and Reuben tribes and the eastern half of Manasseh’s offspring.
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: ‘Kay, well, that was before I came on board your campaign.
JESUS: The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever someone from Ephraim came to cross, the Gileadite guard asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If the traveler replied, “No,” the guard said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’” If he said, “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they killed him.
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: What’s your point?
JESUS: My point is, my followers are called Christians, and Christians are known for helping others… or should be. We don’t need to distinguish ourselves with catchy phrases, covert words, or clever bumper sticker theology. You want to know how we’re going to win this campaign? By being what we claim to be: transformed into the character of my Father. If Christians would just do the simple stuff like: honor their word, follow through on their promises, stop cheating their neighbor, and spend more time worshiping my Father and less time worshipping money, we’d win by a landslide and you know why? Because voters would want us to win, that’s why.
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Not arguing with you, boss. Just saying, it’d be a whole lot easier to come up with a new slogan than to get Christians to act like you.
JESUS: Catch people with our love and our motto won’t matter.
BUS BOY: I got it! Catch Christ or Catch Hell.
JESUS (heading toward the door): I’ll be in the truck.

The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. - Acts 11:26 (NIV)
Tune in next week when Jesus unveils his education initiative.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Christ for President

Putting Your Neighbor First – Jesus Christ for President
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Jesus!
JESUS: I love you back. (Applause)
JESUS: Thank you so much, all of you. It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady GaGa. (Applause) And to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America. (Applause)
For too long we have put our needs ahead of the needs of others. For too long we have turned to government for the solution, instead of lifting our own hands to help. But today begins a new chapter in America. Today we step forward not as leaders of the free world, but as servants.
Politically and morally, the United States is at a crossroads. We face a choice: We continue the tired policies of the past that have left fighting wars abroad and skirmishes in our own backyard, or we can acknowledge that destroying those who disagree with us, either with words or bullets or bombs, does not bring peace, but only fosters hatred.
This year we will spend over twenty percent of our budget, $718 billion, on defending America. That’s roughly the same amount we spend on Social Security and we have neither security nor the social security. Instead we have gangs in our cities and armed militias in rural America. We have terrorists on planes and deadly germs in our mailboxes. That is why, today, I am announcing a war on war.
If elected, I will launch a new initiative for fighting terrorism. I will put in place a new program for defending this great nation of ours. Within the first 100 days of my presidency, I will initiate Love Your Enemies and with it, I will begin to dismantle America’s military and seek to make peace with our enemies.
(Hushed silence)
From this day forward, we as a nation will no longer seek to eradicate those religious zealots bent on destroying our nation or target the paramilitary groups within. Instead, we will welcome our enemies, both domestic and abroad, with open arms and say to them, “I love you.”
JESUS: Wait, wait. Let me finish.
If elected President, I will order the Pentagon to begin airlifting food and supplies to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and every other nation that seeks to destroy us. We will heap burning coals of love on the heads of our enemies.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Back to Berkley you commie liberal.
Jesus: In matters of ideological disagreement, we will respectfully acknowledge our differences and promise to continue to feed, shelter, and clothe our adversaries. Through our love, we will lead with service and sacrifice and live out my Father’s will by restoring relationships ripped apart through hatred.
(Loud chorus of boos)
As your President, I will reach across borders and remind the citizens of every nation that though ours may be a planet of diverse cultural and ethnic ties, we are all made in the image of my Father and worthy of love. With your help we will bring peace to our nation. Thank you very much and may my Father bless America.
JESUS: How do you think it went?
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Told you to tone down the rhetoric; that Americans aren’t ready for your message.
JESUS: Where to next?
Campaign Manager: Arizona. You’re slated to announce a major initiative on immigration reform, but I have to tell you, boss, if you don’t dial it back you’re liable to get shot.
JESUS: You just keep the bus rolling, Peter. I’ll focus on the message.

Love your enemies…  Luke 6:27 ( ESV)
Join us next week on the campaign trail when Jesus addresses bigotry, racism, and doing good to those who hate you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cousin Ricky - He Said
Twenty-six years ago I drove my wife to the emergency room. For the next eight hours we played backgammon while waiting for her condition to improve. It didn’t. The pain became unbearable so they gave her drugs. This helped some but not enough. My parents were in Atlantic City, gambling. Hers in Charlotte. So there we were, a young couple facing our first life or death moment without friends or family nearby.
I forget what I wore that day. A surf shirt, probably. I do recall wearing a white headband with the word “Coach” printed in blue marker. I guess I was a good coach because later that evening we won (she delivered) a baby boy, our first, and they let us take him home.
Birthdays are a big deal in our family. Not as big as Christmas, but close. And nobody in my extended family does a better job of celebrating birthdays than my cousin Ricky.
A typical “Cousin Ricky” birthday box includes a specially mixed CD with songs from the year you were born, DVD movies tailored to your tastes, toys from the Dollar store and candy. Lots and lots of candy. Sometimes the candy has melted by the time the box arrives, but that’s okay. Chocolate in any condition and shape is good.
In the past I’ve received a plastic whistle with a compass in order to ward of bears and keep me from getting lost on the trails above Black Mountain, tons of old Westerns, several copies of the movie Jaws (in case the player eats one), CDs with music from Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Beach Boys, Beatles, etc… and candy. Lots and lots of candy.
The writer of Ecclesiastes advises us to enjoy all our years – not just those early ones when people were making a fuss over us. Too often we adults discount birthdays and other days and pretend they’re not a big deal. But they are. Every day is huge. If you don’t think so, try living without one.
I wish every family had a Cousin Ricky. I wish I cared about people as much as Ricky. None of us knows how many years we’ll have together but it seems to me, setting aside one day out of 365 to acknowledge the life of someone we love is a small testimony to their worth.
The next time a friend or family member has a birthday, give him or her a song from their good old days and a box of candy. The shipping will probably cost more than the gift but that’s okay. It’s the thought that counts.
And thoughts of love are priceless.

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. - Ecclesiastes 11:8

Friday, July 13, 2012

Keep on speaking... Michael Salman – He Said

Michael Salman Family courtesy of Fox News Radio and Todd Starnes
…keep on speaking...  Acts 18:9 NIV
Many have called Dwight Lyman Moody the greatest evangelist of the 19th century. He preached countless times before crowds of upwards to 30,000 and founded schools, the Moody Bible Institute, and Moody Publishers.
One evening, during the final service of a weeklong revival, an usher handed Moody a note. For several nights hecklers had disrupted the service. Moody countered their attacks by quoting scripture and making the case that mankind could not save itself – that only a perfect savior could rescue people from the curse of sin.
Thinking the note was an important announcement, Moody hushed the crowd and unfolded the piece of paper. “This is most unusual. I have just been handed a memo that contains the single word, ‘Fool.’ I've often received letters where the author forgot to sign his name, but this is the first time I've ever received a note where he forgot to write the letter!"
Speaking of foolish documents, on July 6, Fox News Radio reported that a Phoenix man was sentenced to sixty days in jail after he refused to stop hosting Bible studies in the privacy of his home. “It came down to zoning and proper permitting,” said Vicki Hill, the chief assistant city prosecutor. “Any time you are holding a gathering of people continuously as he does -- we have concerns about people being able to exit the facility properly in case there is a fire.” (Apparently the fires of hell are exempted from such ordinances.)
When faced with persecution in the city of Corinth and the threat of imprisonment, the Apostle Paul received a vision from God. “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” God has not given most of us such assurances. And for much of his ministry Paul suffered greatly while planting “home churches” in Asia. But I wonder. If Christ returned tomorrow would He find us speaking up for Him or talking down to those who oppose home churches and God's Good News?
Our natural reaction to attacks on religious freedoms is to fight back. But Oswald Chambers reminds us that, “The church ceases to be spiritual when it becomes self-seeking, only interested in the development of its own organization.” I do not mean to suggest we should abandon our defense of religious liberty in America, but it seems to me if we follow the model of Christ and lessons of Paul, we will embrace our circumstances and fight - not for our rights - but for the life of every lost soul.
Sixty days in jail with a people desperate for a savior seems like a foolish punishment for holding a Bible study.
And a small price to pay to advance God’s love.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Daddy's Day

Reprinted with permission from Hard Aground... Again, by Eddie Jones
(Kindle version) (Print version)

We were two days out of Beaufort, North Carolina and some three hundred miles south and east of Cape Hatteras, rollicking along on a wild, lumpy sea on the fringes of a nor'easter that was pausing, not passing as predicted. Despite the low-slung storm clouds that framed the northwestern sky, the wind, waves, and boat were all moving towards the same tropical latitudes, so we weren't concerned with the growing gale - only thankful for the ride and the simple perfection of a self-steering wind vane. We had exhausted our stock of recreational diversions the first day out, so our crew had resorted to bawdy pranks with hot dogs and the Polaroid camera. Pity the poor crew member who slept in the salon.

During his morning watch, our captain had extracted a cheap boom box from behind the settee beside the quarter berth, so when I came on duty at noon I had the cockpit, rain, and radio all to myself. I was hoping for an AM station out of Nassau or Cuba, but what I landed instead was just as foreign - at least by some standards. Almost three hundred miles out to sea, where neither bird nor freighter had been sighted for days, I swerved into the Rush Limbaugh Show and another journey into broadcast excellence. Limbaugh was almost humble that day, speaking of the pride his father had felt when his son "Rusty" had finally achieved national prominence as a talk show host. The afternoon discussion centered on callers sharing their own desire for their father's approval and the importance dads make in the lives of their children.

My father never cared for Limbaugh and he never cared for sailing. Dad was a motorboat man with a special affection for outboards that were in disrepair. To my knowledge, Dad never had an outboard motor that ran for an entire afternoon, but that never stopped him from taking a chance on an overused, under-serviced Johnson. Those hot, windless days we spent on the water watching Dad tinker on his outboard helped to plant within me a love for the sea that not even trash in a carburetor can kill.

When I was eight-years-old I was sure my father was the greatest man alive. He was a tall, lanky fellow with shoulders so broad he could carry me around like a lightweight jacket. On his days off he would take me camping in the Smoky Mountains or haul me down to the coast. He taught me to bait my own hook, and when he thought I was a pretty fair fisherman, he took me to the Pamlico River where I caught twenty-six fish in a single afternoon. It wasn't until many years later that I learned I'd been catching the same tired fish all day as Dad snuck the wounded soldier off the dock and reattached him to my hook. Dad believed you could give a boy a fish and feed him for a day, or teach a boy to fish and keep him occupied for a weekend.

Dad tried hard to make me a fisherman. He'd take me out of school when the spots were running, and we'd share a small tent on Topsail Island with a squadron of mosquitoes and no-see-ums. Early in the morning, as the sun erupted beneath the horizon, we'd cast our lines past the breakers and into a school tearing at the water. That evening I'd haul my sleeping bag onto the pier to nap at the heels of my father. Dad wasn't the best fisherman ever to live, but he sure loved to fish and while I never learned to love fishing the way Dad did, I always loved fishing with him.

Dad laughed a lot back then and was inclined to build anything I wanted out of scrap plywood and two-by-fours. He built a motorboat one summer from a set of plans he found in a Popular Mechanicsmagazine. Mom kept yelling at him from the upstairs window to clean up the mess, but Dad wasn't easily discouraged, so within a few weeks we had a fine plywood motorboat. In the scheme of life a home-built motorboat is not much of an accomplishment, but when you're eight-years-old and enamored with the strength and wisdom of your father's abilities, it's a big deal. On the day we launched that boat and watched it float off the trailer, I decided my dad was just short of divine. I don't remember much else about the boat except that it developed a case of rot and had to be cut up and hauled off. Of course, by then I was a teenager and Dad wasn't as tall or wise.

He got another motorboat but the outings weren't as much fun. Dad would launch the boat while the rest of us hauled our gear down to the campsite. The outboard always started on the second pull because Dad worked on motors the way Limbaugh works on liberals - it was a passion with him. We'd get a little ways from shore, then throttle up and go roaring off in a puff of smoke. On a goodday we'd get a hundred yards away from shore before the motor would quit.

On a bad day, we'd get a mile out.

If it was one of those good, hundred-yard days, my sister and I would jump in with our life jackets and swim back to camp, leaving dad to tinker with an outboard that ran only in the metal barrel out back of our garage. It was during this phase of my youth that I learned to loathe motorboats.

A few years before he died, Dad gave up fishing. Said they didn't bite like they used to. Dad came to like his satellite dish and cable box, and hearing from his boy when I was safely back in port. But I believe that afternoon on our way to the Bahamas, even Dad would have enjoyed fishing with his son one last time.

I was coming off watch and searching the icebox for dinner when the trolling line sang out in that octave that lets you know it's a big one. I closed the lid and ran on deck to help reduce sail and slow the boat. There may be plenty of fish in the ocean, but nobody likes losing one when you're hungry, and we were too thrilled with the prospect of fresh seafood to toy with that fish. We gaffed him and killed him and let the yellowfin tuna soak in lemon while we celebrated our catch with a round of drinks. I can't remember the last time a fish tasted that good. Dad would have loved it.

So here's to Dad and fathers everywhere, both in heaven and on earth, who push us to find our passion and explore the potential that lies within us. Happy Daddy's Day, Dad. I miss you.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to Leverage to Your Advantage With Book Reviews

Amazon flattens the world of book selling by giving every author “the chance” to sell big. How? One way is through Amazon book reviews.

Many “professional” reviews are simply rehashes of publisher-generated publicity. Most of the time, professional critics don’t tell readers the one thing they want to know—whether they’ll like the book. For this reason, increasingly readers are turning to online reviews written by peers to learn if a book is worth purchasing.

Customer reviews are opinions of other consumers who purchased your title. How can these reviews help you? Credibility. Amazon doesn’t say it explicitly, but the more reviews your book receives, the higher it will appear in the “relevant” search rankings. Sometimes, even a poor review can be good—if the reviewer shares pertinent facts about your book.

Some estimates suggest that a single 5 star review will sell 3 copies of a book. You can see how this 5-3 model can quickly propel a book into best selling status. But how can you, as an author, solicit these reviews?

First, encourage anyone who tells you how much he or she enjoyed your book (or simply likes you :) ) to write a review on Include the link for your book’s detail page on Amazon in your email or Facebook posting. (Like this): and ask users to scroll down to the Customer Review section. Of course it helps if your friends and followers BUY the book, so to gain more reviews drop the price of your book to 99 cents on the day you call out to your tribe of fans. (Like we did today for Christy Barritt’s suburban suspense, women sleuths, cozy murder mystery novel, Death of the Couch Potato's Wife. Yes, today only Chirsty’s book is 99 cents.) If your book is published by a traditional publisher work with their marketing team.

Second, thank the reviewers and ask if you can add their comments to your book’s Facebook page and website. Reviewer comments also make great Tweets and email signatures.

As your positive reviews grow, so may your sales. At the very least, you will have readers talking about your book and as we all know Word of Mouth is the only way books sell.

Third, when friends call or email to congratulate you on your book ask for their help. Respond with something like:

“Thank you for the kind words about my book. If you have a spare moment, it would be a great help if you could post a review of it on Amazon and let other potential readers know why you liked it. It’s not necessary to write a lengthy, formal review—a summary of the comments you sent me would be fine. Here’s a link to my book’s Amazon page:
A great way to launch your books is to find 100 to 300 readers in your target audience and ask them to post an honest review on Amazon. If they can’t afford the 99 cents, offer to send them a PDF galley of your book. (Your publisher can supply this file.) You can also “gift” a copy of your book to friends. But it’s better if they purchase a copy from Amazon because this increases your sales total. (Amazon seems to ignore multiple sales of a single title to the same account.)

Want to test our theory and help an author? Purchase a copy of Christy’s book, Death of the Couch Potato's Wife, and write a review. Then send me an email indicating which review is yours and I’ll ship you a free ebook copy of Jane Kirkpatrick’s Homestead: Modern Pioneers Pursuing the Edge of Possibility ( - another great book and one certainly worthy of more reviews.

Check back later for more Amazing Results With Amazon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pooh Finds His Honey

Pooh Finds His Honey
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24, Darby Translation (DARBY)
One day when the sun rose over the Hundred Acre Wood, bringing with it the smell of Spring, and all the streams in the Forest were tinkling happily to find themselves their own pretty shape again, Christopher Robin said to Owl, “I am going to give a party.”
“Oh? You are, are you?” said Owl.
“And it is to be a special sort of party, because it’s for Pooh. Will you hurry quickly and tell Pooh and the others?”
Owl tried to think of something very wise to say – a very witty and clever remark – but couldn’t. So he flew off to tell the others. And the first person he told was Pooh.
“A party for me?” said Pooh. “Will there be those little cake things with pink sugar icing?”
Owl felt that it was rather beneath him to talk about little cake things with pink sugar icing, but he allowed that. “Yes, I suppose there will be sweets of all kinds for you are the sort of bear who enjoys such things and after all, what sort of party would it be without you and sweets?”
“And honey? Will there be honey?”
“I suppose. But now I must be on my way to tell the others.” Owl flew off to tell Eeyore and Piglet and Roo.
“A party for me?” thought Pooh to himself. “How grand!” And he began to wonder if all the other animals in the Hundred Acre Wood would know that it was a special Pooh Party and why he deserved such a grand event.
While Pooh pondered these things, Owl was talking to Eeyore. “Eeyore,” said Owl. “Christopher Robin is giving Pooh a party.”
“Very interesting,” said Eeyore. “I don’t suppose Christopher Robin thought to invite me to Pooh’s party.”
“Yes, yes! I am your invitation.”
“Very well. I shall come. Only don’t blame me if it rains.”
But it didn’t rain. Christopher Robin had made a long table out of some long pieces of wood and they all sat around it. Christopher Robin sat at one end, and Pooh sat at the other, and between them on one side were Owl and Eeyore and Piglet and all of Pooh’s closest and dearest friends. It was a fine party with little cake things with pink sugar icing and everyone had a grand time.
“Only…” said Pooh, looking down the long table filled with wrapping paper and opened boxes and new jars that had the words POOH on them, and new fluff for when his stuffing fell out…. “Only where is the honey?”
Christopher Robin smiled and said, “Silly old bear. Did you think we would forget your honey?”
Owl and Eeyore and Piglet and all of Pooh’s closest and dearest friends rose from the table and left the room and returned quickly with a large box -- one nearly as large and round as Pooh.
“Open it, Pooh!” said Piglet.
“Yes, hurry!” exclaimed Roo.
Pooh tore at the wrapping paper and lifted the lid of the box. Immediately his face clouded over with confusion. “But this… this is not honey,” he said, sadly. “This is only a…”
“Girl,” replied Christopher Robin. “She is sweeter than honey. And when you feel lonely or sad or your stuffing falls out, she will be there to help put you back together. She, Pooh, is Mrs. Pooh.”
Pooh found himself at a loss for words, which for a bear with a very small brain happened often. His eyes began to leak. Then a most wonderful thing happened. The new Mrs. Pooh touched his cheek with her fingers and Pooh found himself thinking, not of honey, but of how beautiful Spring smelled and how the tinkling of the streams sounded like wind chimes and how this new Mrs. Pooh stuck to him like honey.
“Honey, if you live to be a hundred,” Pooh whispered to Mrs. Pooh, “I want to live to be a hundred minus one day.”
“But why?” asked Mrs. Pooh.
“So I never have to live without you.”
The End.
(Adapted from A.A.Milne's, Winnie-the-Pooh -- Eddie made up the Mrs. Pooh part.)
This weekend our oldest son, Win, marries his Honey. Congratulations, Pooh!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Prepare to Wait

Prepare to WaitMake the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5a

Even though he led his high school team to a state championship, no college offered him an athletic scholarship. Harvard allowed he might be able to play for them - but he must pay his way.

During his sophomore season he averaged 12.6 points and was named All-Ivy League Second Team. By his junior year he was the only NCAA Division I men's basketball player who ranked in the top ten in his conference for scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocked shots, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three-point shot percentage. ESPN called him “one of the twelve most versatile players in college basketball.” Professional scouts were not impressed. On the day of the NBA draft no one called his name. The Golden State Warriors finally offered him a partial contract but released him a few months later. He bounced around with a couple other teams before falling into the development league.

Then he received “the call.” The New York Knicks needed him to play starting guard while their star player recovered from his injuries. In his first four NBA starts he scored more points than any player in NBA history, surpassing Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Michael Jordan. With him on the floor, the struggling Knicks became unstoppable. He produced game winning shots and helped fuel a seven game winning streak. Jeremy Lin continues to shoot over thirty percent from three-point range and average around 15 points per game. He is professional sport's "Linsation."

The Apostle Paul directs us to make the most of every opportunity; not make do or make excuses. When tossed into prison, Joseph the Dreamer changed the culture of captivity. When sent into the fields, Ruth gleaned more than grain -- she gathered a husband. Peter, when told to fish for men, founded a church. What door of opportunity has God placed before you?

Pastor David Jeremiah writes in his best selling book, Life Wide Open: “God’s open doors are often disguised as problems, time-sensitive, met with resistance, and often missed because of fear.” Are you afraid, stuck, and overwhelmed by difficulties? If so, practice, prepare, and pray for an opportunity to shine for Him.

Good things come to those who wait – great things come to those who prepare while they wait.


Bahama Breeze, by Eddie JonesLooking for a fun read about a man overcoming his past, problems, and deadly hurricanes - nuclear missels, missed opportunities, clogged toilet bowels (No, wait! That's toilet BOWLS), personal demons, political demonstrators, terrorist cells, corrupt politicians, cockroaches in the shower and a broken heart (hey, we even threw in a Cuban spy ring tied to Sesame Street)... then grab a copy of Bahama Breeze: Eddie's latest "blessed seller." Money back guaranteed. If not completely satisfied contact the Bahama Bureau of Tourism and ask for a one way ticket to Cockroach Cay. (Hey, it doesn't hurt to ask, right?).

This offer not valid is states ending in A E I O U or on days ending in Y.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Perseus Books Group and National Book Network (NBN) Sign with Amazon for Kindle Distribution

This from Publishers Marketplace:

While IPG remains in what could be a long-standing contractual disagreement with Amazon over wholesale terms for their clients--and their approximately 4,500 ebooks remain unavailable for sale on Kindle--two other independent distributors of scale did both come to terms with Amazon in the past week or so. Both the Perseus Books Group and National Book Network (NBN) reported to their respective clients on the new terms arrived for ebooks.

Those new contracts were some time in the making; one of the two told clients they "entered into negotiations with Amazon in October of last year and have only just concluded our agreement." The other underscored that the new terms were retroactive back to January 1, 2012.

As has been reported before, though not with any specificity, Amazon has been adding provisions for coop payments for ebooks this year. (Previously, coop was applied only to Amazon's print sales.) One of these distributors explicitly states a new provision of the revised contract is that clients will now allocate 3 percent coop on sales of ebooks. One of the two also makes explicit an increase in the portion of all coop, for both print and ebook editions, that goes towards "automation and personalization" (Amazon's term for the display of merchandising information on Amazon's site). For that distributor's clients, only half of all charged coop funds (instead of three-quarters, as in the past) can be spent on specific merchandising programs under the new contract.

Both distributors indicate that their discount schedules outside of coop remain unchanged. One writes, "The negotiations were difficult and at times contentious. Considering the point where we started last year, the final agreement we reached with Amazon was both the minimum they would accept to continue selling our Kindle titles, but it also preserved our core principles in these negotiations."

Also indicated in one client notification is that Amazon has also increased the ebook conversion fee they charge publishers who provide only a print book or PDF and want Amazon to produce the book file. That charge is now 8 percent of digital list price, up from 5 percent previously. (A note: we have deliberately obscured references to the which distributor wrote what; it's not our intention to unnecessarily reveal the specific business terms of any one company, but we recognize the abundant community utility in understanding some of the shifts in terms underway.)

Terms can certainly vary from house to house. Some independent publishers we spoke to did recently stretch to 4 percent coop on print books. At least some publishers told us they have not been approached for Kindle coop yet. It is expected that, as Kindle wins coop allocations, Barnes & Noble will impose a similar policy. In the course of conversations with a variety of publishers, we heard multiple reports from professional and/or academic publishers who sell to Amazon on traditional "short discounts" that they have been asked to radically restructure their terms of sale.

IPG president Mark Suchomel still declines to discuss their terms with Amazon, but did say of the recent and now very public standoff, "There has to be a point at which we really have to value our content." He said, "I don't necessarily want to be Mr. Crusader here. I want to do what's right and I want to do what's fair." In the end, he noted, "The big question is going to be, 'are we the only, or are we the first?'"

To that point, Educational Development Corporation announced Monday that, effective immediately, it "will no longer sell any of its books on Amazon or to any entities that resell to Amazon." In 2009 they stopped selling their Kane Miller list on Amazon and now they say they are withdrawing the Usborne line, which comprises roughly 1,500 titles. EDC President Randall White says in the announcement, "I see this as critical to the long-term growth of EDC, and a way to demonstrate our support of the local booksellers, museum shops, gift stores, and others who sell our books to consumers." White also reports in the release that "net sales of the Kane Miller books have increased more than thirty-three percent since 2009 when the list was pulled from Amazon." Of course there's a difference between having a direct sales relationship with Amazon and having your books available for sale there. As Laura Owen at paidContent noticed, Amazon still displays hundreds of Kane Miller titles for sale, apparently stocked through wholesalers.

Finally, IPG ceo Curtis Matthews posted on the company's blog on Friday on the topic of "what should an ebook cost?" In the closing he expresses what many people both outside and inside the trade still don't understand: "Only the six biggest publishing companies have had the market power to compel Amazon to accept the Agency Model, which allows the publisher to keep 70 percent of the e-book list price. Independent publishers have had to accept the Wholesale Model, which has let us keep only about 50 percent of the suggested price." That said, the pressure for increased discount, on the heels of other recent moves like the inclusion of books in the Kindle Owner's Lending Library without publishers' consent, once again has some publishers considering a move to the agency model (and/or to an agency model distributor) despite Amazon's resistance.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rubber Meets the Road

Rubber Meets the Road
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain. - I Corinthians 15:58

When told that rubber from India could be used for a multitude of products, Charles Goodyear spent years boiling rubber with magnesia, nitric acid, lime, and bronze powder in an attempt to make it more useful. Each experiment failed. Depending upon the temperature, the natural properties of rubber made it too sticky, brittle or pliable. Charles sank more money into his projects – and sank his family further into debt.

Then in1939 while standing beside a hot stove, Charles accidently brushed sulfur from his hands. The rubber melted, reacting with sulfur and produced vulcanized rubber, a flexible material that could be shaped into a variety of products. For months afterward when anyone asked where they might find Charles Goodyear, they were told, “Look for the man without a penny in his pocket wearing an India-rubber cap, coat, shoes, and purse. That’ll be Charles Goodyear.”

Paul, in writing to the struggling church in Corinth, encouraged its members to remain steadfast in their work within the Kingdom of God. To work in solitude, unnoticed by man, reveals our true character, motives, and passion. It is here in the desert, away from the applause and at-a-boys, that Charles Goodyear’s “rubber meets the road.”

So I ask you: If you knew you could succeed, what would you try to create, build, or write?

Perseverance is endurance combined with the absolute assurance that we will succeed. Perseverance is more than blind faith and foolish determination. It is the quiet confidence that we are right in our course of action -- that our supreme effort and immovable determination will achieve for us the thing we seek.

Today Charles Goodyear’s “accidental brush with luck” is everywhere, from the tires on our cars to hockey pucks on the ice.

The question is not: “Will this work?”

The question is: “Will I?”

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Shall Dream Dreams, by Eddie Jones

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. - Joel 2:28 (King James Version)

Arthur watched his friend’s eyes grow wide with excitement as the car turned off the main highway and onto a dusty drive. To the east he saw the snow-capped slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains shimmering silver. To the west, a copper sun sank into the Pacific Ocean. Beyond the hood of the car lay 160 acres of dirt.

His friend pointed through the windshield. “Right over there, Arthur, where those trees begin, that’ll be yours.”

“It’s a big field of dirt clods.”

“’Course it’s a field. That’s why it’s cheap.”

“I don’t know, Walt. The price they’re asking is a lot of money for acres and acres of dirt.”

“You’re not buying dirt. You’re buying a dream. There's a fortune to be made here, you’ll see.”

“Tell me again how this park of yours is going to work.”

Author’s friend turned off the engine and stepped out. Arthur followed, wishing now he’d kept his mouth shut.

“It’s not going to be just any park. It’ll be magical.”

“Right. An enchanted amusement park,” Arthur said.

“Think of it more as a Kingdom. It’ll have a castle and moat, guards, wizards, princes, and princesses.”

Arthur said, “You got a name for this park?”

“Mouse Park.”

“You’re kidding, right? Who’s going to pay to come play in a mouse park?”

“Okay, we’ll work on the name. The point is, this’ll be a place where dreams come true. I got the plans all right here, in my head.”

“Why not put your tiny town in that clearing?” said Arthur, pointing toward a wide swath of tumbleweeds and sagebrush. “That way, you wouldn’t have to knock down as many trees.”

“My Wild West settlement goes on that plot.”

“I suppose it’ll have cowboys and horses and gun fighters.”

“Wouldn’t be much of a frontier village without those, now would it?”

“I wish I had your vision, Walt, I really do.”

“You can. You just have to believe.”

Too often we see life through the tiny periscope of our past failures. Fear and friends warn us to turn back from the dream God places within our hearts. Next week, I’ll join seventy-five other writers who have heard God’s call and responded with a shout of, “Yes, Lord. Send me!” We will gather for our annual Writer’s ADVANCE Boot Camp and train for the challenges of changing our culture and world through words.

The prophet Joel spoke of a time when God would pour out his Spirit on the people and infuse them with new visions. The wonderful thing about serving a living God is that He takes the initiative to inspire us with His power. If the dream is only ours, we’ll tire and quit. But when God gives us a vision and we respond with a "yes" by buying land, clearing trees, and building His "magic kingdom," we can change the world.

Walt Disney wasn’t the sort of man to let a dream die. How about you? Is God calling you to a dream? Stretch out your hand and touch the stars.


To learn more about how you can tap into your spiritual gifts and use them to change the world visit: Milestone Motivation

Friday, February 10, 2012

Get Away With God – He Said I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. - Galatians 1:16a-17b

Listen to Get Away With God – He Said

A few months ago I told a radio host that the greatest threat to America isn’t the loss of jobs, a broken educational system, or moral decline. “I’m concerned about where our nation is headed,” I said, “but none of those things are going to destroy us. What I fear is that we’re on the verge of losing our creative gift of innovation, and only God Almighty can fix that.”

Here’s what I meant. Americans invented the automobile, airplane, telephone, computer, Internet, and countless other devices. Each product generated an industry and powered growth. Other countries have produced innovative goods too, but when it comes to lifting mankind from poverty to prosperity, no nation can rival our “Yankee ingenuity.” But without God, I fear we’ll lose our standing and leadership.

An individual may claim to have the gift of creative genius, but God alone gives ideas. This is why we call it inspiration (Spirit within), enthusiasm (God inside), imagination (forming something that is not). Our minds are finite; God is infinite.

Paul’s post-Emmaus walk left him creatively bankrupt. His idea of who God was and what He desired from him -- an apostle and follower -- proved to be wrong. In a moment of enlightenment, Paul discovered that God is more than laws, regulations, and results. God is a god who speaks through voices, visions, and dreams. And He wants to walk with us.

Have you “seen the light?” Or, are you caught up in the manufacturing of your life that you no longer see the need for God? When Paul sought to know God’s mind and will, he did not attend a Bible study, prayer group, or doctrinal discussion. He went to the place where God always meets man -- the desert. There, away from the distractions of life, God’s Spirit still speaks.

America does not need a debt-reduction plan, a job-program overhaul, or an economic stimulus package. We only need God.

Maybe you’re feeling spiritually bankrupt today. If so, walk with God on the hot sands of Arabia and wait for His voice to speak to your heart.

Friday, February 3, 2012

In Defense of Satan - He Said

In Defense of Satan

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you! - Jude 1:9

Listen to In Defense of Satan - He Said

“I have no special regard for Satan,” Mark Twain said. “But I can at least claim that I have no prejudice against him. It may even be that I lean a little his way, on account of his not having a fair show. All religions issue bibles against him, and say the most injurious things about him, but we never hear his side. Of course Satan has some kind of case, it goes without saying. It may be a poor one, but that is nothing. That can be said of any of us.”


Satan is deceitful; I’ll give you that. But is he the source of all our setbacks and sorrows? Does he spread cancer, crash computers, or cause strife within families and congregations? Or could it be we give him more credit than he is due?

This week I heard Satan blamed for a toothache, faulty software, rudeness, high gas prices, the poor housing market, snow, rain, heat, and rap music. Too often when problems arise in the midst of what we “know” to be God’s will, we blame Satan.

For example, the other day a friend counseled me: “Stand firm. Satan is trying to tick you off and make you say something you don’t mean.” Perhaps. Or maybe God is teaching me patience and training me to hold my tongue?

Here’s another: “Satan is trying to drive a wedge between us.” Maybe. Or else God is growing me in the area of forgiveness.

Another friend wrote to say: “Satan has attacked us in our physical lives.” He certainly did with Job. But we also know that God allows affliction to draw us to Him. Would it be wrong of God to allow us to scrape our knee so that we might crawl into His lap for comfort?

When the archangel Michael got into a tussle with Satan he kept his thoughts to himself. Perhaps Michael knew what we tend to forget; that Satan is God’s creation too. If those who stand in the presence of God dare not speak against the devil, who are we to blindly judge?

Maybe if we didn’t mention Satan’s name so often, others would view us as victors in Christ, not wimpy warriors struggling to lace up our boots.

Just a thought.