Steve Umstead's Blog, page 5

January 12, 2013

I’ll preface this post by saying “Don’t judge me”. No seriously, don’t judge. I take my “me time” wherever and whenever I can get it, whether it’s a quick lunch at Barnes & Noble with the laptop, or a coffee at Panera with the tablet, or as in this case, a single beer at Chili’s while my son is doing a 45 minute karate class next door.


I sit down, knowing (a) I only have 40 minutes, and (b) I can only have one beer since I’m the epitome of the responsible driver, and order my usual (again don’t judge), a pint of Stella Artois, draft. The bartender smiles sadly and says, “sorry, the manager replaced the Stella tap with Yuengling a couple of weeks ago.”


Jaw. Drops. Seriously? And before I get a flood of “hey, I like Yuengling” comments, I’ll cut you off: I don’t. At all. And I’m a beer snob. A crisp, clear, cold pint of Stella is hard to match, and Yuengling falls well short, in my opinion.


What does a socially-responsible person do? Tweet, of course:


Hrm. Some back-office manager at my local Chili’s decided to replace Stella Artois draft with Yuengling. Now how am I supposed to write??


— Steve Umstead (@SteveUmstead) January 9, 2013


What happens next is the unusual part. I get an email the next day via my site from the New York-based marketing company that represents Stella Artois in the US, saying “Stella Artois saw your tweet about replacing it at Chili’s, and wanted to send you something to fuel your creativity.”


Wha? I immediately email back with a “Stop it, seriously?” only to get a “Yes, seriously” right back. So stalking aside, I send back my address, thinking I’d get a logo coaster or two…but no. Next day UPS:


IMG_1447


Which turns out to be 12 bottles of Stella Artois:


IMG_1448


Fueling creativity indeed. A big thanks to Stella Artois to being aware, the HL Group for saying hello, and Chili’s for screwing up in the first place.


I think these will get me through a few new chapters. Or one. Mostly.


steve


 

2 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on January 12, 2013 06:52 • 106 views

December 26, 2012

Hey look, it’s my annual Christmas Week book sale! I say annual not because I do this once a year, but because this week only happens once a year. So I’m borrowing the all-too-salesy “annual sale” tag an appropriating it for myself.


Every one of my full titles is now on sale through January 2nd, so if you’ve considered jumping into one or two, now would be a good time. I’ve done what I can to put them on sale through as wide a distribution network as I can, but there will be some exceptions, and for that I humbly apologize. As John Scalzi recently said, to paraphrase, most of my book sales and conversation happen within the border of the US, so as such most of my marketing takes place there as well. Meaning unfortunately in some cases, the price of one of my books in Botswana may not reflect the sale price, because I simply couldn’t get to it. Or the sale price on the Billy Mays Pocket E-Reader And Car Wash Kit is higher than on Kindle. Or the $.99 didn’t convert exactly to the same price in Dutch guilders. And in the case of Smashwords (where my Sony/Diesel distro lies), because of their absurdly slow processing time, I cannot do a limited-time price change there for fear it won’t trickle down to the Billy Mays device holders in time for the sale, or worse, trickle down weeks afterwards, then take weeks to fix.


And one final note: the Apple conglomerate saw fit to shut down their publishing arm for the holidays, and I didn’t make the cutoff, so all of the iBooks prices will be the same as last week. Sorry…


In other words, if you own a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo, you’re in luck! Gabriel: Zero Point is free (even on the iBookstore), Gabriel’s Redemption (book 1) drops to a whopping $.99, books 2 & 3 (Return & Revenge) drop by a buck, as does the complete trilogy. And my short story collection Wrinkled Shorts (like that name?) also drops to under a buck. I listed links below for Kindle/Nook/Kobo/iBookstore in the US; if you’re non-US hopefully those links take you to the appropriate non-US storefront. At least that’s the theory.


 





gabrielzeropoint2-6x9
GR1cover2-lores
GR2cover2-lowres
GR3cover2-lowres
gabrielsjourneyGZP-600
wrinkledshorts600x900


Kindle
Kindle
Kindle
Kindle
Kindle
Kindle


Nook
Nook
Nook
Nook
Nook
Nook


Kobo
Kobo
Kobo
Kobo
Kobo
Kobo


iBookstore
iBookstore
iBookstore
iBookstore
iBookstore
iBookstore



steve

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 26, 2012 08:48 • 39 views

December 21, 2012

Here’s a guy, speaking his heart, and using the rare opportunity of playing a highly ranked team and being in the national spotlight to voice a strong, powerful, and stirring speech. I saw an interview with Pat Kelsey today; his remarks were completely unrehearsed, off the cuff, and unplanned. When the reporters said, “Anything else?”, he had something else.


Take a listen, and give your kids a big hug.



steve

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 21, 2012 13:17 • 24 views

December 20, 2012

What? Another gushing-about-my-kids post? Stop, you say. But nay, I will not stop!


In any case, I’ll be rising at 3AM Friday morning to take my son to the drop-off point, where he will join the rest of the Philadelphia Boys Choir for their annual trip to Times Square to sing LIVE on Good Morning America. This is his first year in the full choir, so this has been a whirlwind of activity for him (21 performances in December alone). But I couldn’t be more proud. And I’d love it if my friends out there got a chance to see them (these kids are simply amazing…angels indeed).


If you are able to watch ABC from around 7AM to 9AM ET tomorrow, they’ll be singing various songs as they go to commercial break, some featured Christmas songs, and so on. My son will be easy to pick out: he’s the only one who will be wearing reindeer ears instead of a Santa hat (unique…wonder where he gets that from…). Look for the cute blond on the right side.


IMG_1423

CBS taping – this is how they line up. Evan’s on the right with reindeer ears.


Hope you get a chance to catch them – would love to hear from you if you do!


steve

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 20, 2012 11:16 • 17 views

December 18, 2012

My experience with Instagram was brief: like a summer fling, only without the benefits. Meh, it was fun, for about four days, then I tired of liking photos and looking at a stream and being liked and all that jazz. But what really put me over the edge and made me delete my iPhone app was endless amounts of these:


sushi_instagram


Yes, sushi. Someone else’s sushi, to be specific. Sushi you can’t eat yourself. Instagram seems like the home for the wannabe Oriental takeout menu creator. Pictures upon pictures of sushi, all run through countless filters that make the iPhone’s fabulous camera* seem like a Viewmaster. And more than once, I was Rickrolled on Twitter into clicking a link from a friend that said something innocuous, like “guys, you gotta see this shot”. And boom, it’s their spicy tuna roll from the night before. Yum…


* What the hell is it about Instagram users that just won’t let them post a freakin’ 8 megapixel photo without making it look like crap? Here – which one would I rather hold onto for a while?


IMG_1388


I’ll stick with the one on the left. You know, the 3200 pixel wide one I could probably get made into a decent 16 x 20 print and hang on a wall, not the one that looks like someone printed it on an Epson C80 in 1997 and stuck it in the spokes of their Huffy.


But now that Instagram’s new privacy policy has been pored over, and it states quite unequivocally that they are allowed to sell user’s photos, or use them for advertising without compensation or attribution, I’m gone.


Wil Wheaton made a great point in that article link above: “If someone Instagrams a photo of Seth Green walking through an Urban Outfitters, does that mean Urban Outfitters can take that image and use it to create an implied endorsement by Seth?”


I’m not under the false impression that things posted online are “private”. If you do think that, well, welcome to the Internet, boys and girls. However, I’m not leaving my photos, as few there were, up for some company to use without my permission for advertising or promotions. Most of my photos I use for MY advertising and promotions, and I spent a lot of time taking them. Including the one above of the Hard Rock Cancun (not bad for balancing an iPhone in one hand, mojito in the other, eh?)


No thanks. I’ve deleted my Instagram account. Oh, and you sushi posters? I’ve added a filter to my Tweetdeck that blocks any Instagram post from my feed. So don’t ask me to check out your sashimi with wasabi nuts.


steve


 

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 18, 2012 12:28 • 46 views

December 13, 2012

At least someone has their heads on straight. No, folks, the world won’t end. And no, the Mayan calendar doesn’t end. Just like your calendar doesn’t end on December 31st. You’ll just get a new one. But in case you’re worried, here’s a video all set to go out on the 22nd. If we’re still [...]
1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 13, 2012 12:30 • 38 views

December 12, 2012

It’s the morning of December 12th, 2012, and already I’m seeing the tweets flying about “12/12/12 only happens once in a lifetime!” And while that’s true, I’m asking you peeps to slow your roll. You know what other date only happens once in a lifetime? You guessed it – tomorrow, 12/13/12. And the next day, [...]
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 12, 2012 07:30 • 26 views

December 11, 2012

There, I said it. I knew it deep down, down in the crevasses of my gadget-loving heart, but it wasn’t until I tried to plug one of my numerous devices into an outlet that was already full of devices that it hit me. I’ve got a problem. And the problem within a problem is that [...]
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 11, 2012 08:37 • 23 views

December 5, 2012

Another in a long line of buff-my-knuckles, pat-myself-on-the-back, self-congratulatory posts. A photo of the Philadelphia Boys Choir (and my son Evan) getting ready to tape some Christmas Day television spots for CBS Philly:   Now, a little challenge. As I posted on my Google + page (YES PEOPLE STILL USE GOOGLE +, STOP IT), try [...]
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 05, 2012 06:27 • 31 views

December 3, 2012

Huge exciting news! Okay, honestly – not so huge, not that exciting, but news nonetheless. I’ve put together all of my short stories into one collection, with a bonus story added. It’s like getting 20% additional for free! [Insert infomercial voice here.] The new volume, called WRINKLED SHORTS, is now available for Kindle and Nook, [...]
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 03, 2012 10:08 • 26 views