I called Paypal today and somebody answered. I spoke with a customer service agent who was helpful and seemed genuinely apologetic for the flaming hoops I’d jumped through. Without me doing much in the way of complaining he cleared up the limitations on my account. He had seen all that I had done and took care of me. Congrats to him. Ryan, if you happen to hear of this, I’ll buy you a frosty beverage of your choosing the next time I see you.
Now it’s not all sunshine and roses. Why didn’t any of the emails I’d received from Paypal indicate that I could contact them via phone to resolve the issue? I could have cleared this up weeks ago. Hopefully Paypal is an organization interested in improving customer service and constantly evolving their business.
I’ve heard more than a fair share of Paypal horror stories over the years. I’d never had that much hassle with them though, so I figured people had special situations or they were just finicky. I also rarely ever used Paypal – although I did heavily investigate the sandbox a while back while developing some websites and getting them all set up to accept payments through Paypal APIs.
Recently all that changed. I forgot my password and managed to get it reset through Paypal, but then they went and put restrictions on my account until I verify my identity and my location. Annoyed, I did so, even scanning in my photo ID and sending it to them. The response I got was that my scan was too small to be legible. Bullshit, it was perfectly legible and if they bothered to print it out, it would be the same size of a normal driver’s license. It’s nearly X-mas now, but I plan on calling tomorrow to see if I can get them to stop acting like douche bags.
But wait, it gets better. I received Q2 and Q3 royalty payments today for books sold at Fido Publishing. Not only was I surprised, but I owe Fido an apology – multiple books sold through other distribution channels that Fido operates. Anyhow, apology aside, Paypal emailed me to let me know they were challenging the authenticity of the transaction. I had to respond notifying them it was legitimate, and then I suspect Fido had to do the same (they did). Several hours later Paypal released the transaction and life was good…except my account remains restricted and I can not access or utilize the funds. Merry Christmas to me from Paypal.
First came being accepted by a publisher, which was all kinds of cool. Following that I had some independent sales via another medium which brought in some (small) success. More coolness there. Generating more and more interest with my attempts at ramping up publicity, not priceless but on its way. And now the latest sign of success, some two bit hack, who moonlights as a troll that lurks under bridges and scares small children, has stolen one of my stories I wrote over a decade ago and included it in a book of stolen stories she claims are her own.
I wrote the story, called Yamara, back in the 90s. Back when I didn’t really know how to write well, or at least not in a way that was pleasing for an audience of anyone other than myself. Fantasy genre, and actually a second book in a series. I’d posted it on a website a friend owned that catered to sword and sorcery style stories. I did a chapter by chapter posting, rough draft and ugly. The woman in question snatched it up at some point before 2007. Before it was finished. Before I even did a rewrite to boost it up to something better. I have not published it in a making-money kind of fashion, but I have put it out there under my name and copyrighted it.
Today comes an email from an unknown person who had somehow managed to track down the pen name I had written it under to my real name. Not so difficult, but a sign of someone who cares. This person is also an author who has had their work stolen in the past, by this person no less. They offered up suggestions for dealing with it, suggestions I was happy to champion after I verified the truth of it.
Once I got past the shock and some outrage, I took it with a healthy dose of humor. She’s been selling this book since 1997, I’ve only been doing it since 2009! Why the hell didn’t I know about this back then?! I might have started this up a while ago! They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, so I’m keeping that in mind.
I have no idea what to babble about, but it seemed like I should be babbling. Sometimes inspiration comes thusly, from just typing until something that sounds both intelligent and non-random emerges. So far though, no luck.
I suspect a combination of being tired, recuperating from the move / packing / unpacking, and learning a new job is taking its toll on me. Things are going well though, I have to say. My kids seem to really love the new place, and all in all I’m in a position some might find enviable.
Then a damn Twilight commercial comes on the TV and all the good mood and karma I was building up goes out the window. I’m filled with wrath and a desire for little more than the chance to punch that pretentious metrosexual douche bag vampire fan boy main character in the face and break his pretty boy nose. Don’t get me started on how I really feel…
So yeah, nothing came out of this worth writing or reading. Sorry if you made it this far. Guess I’ll go work on my latest masterpiece, the third installment in my Voidhawk series.
All these quickies but don’t worry, I promise fingers aren’t losing any endurance. This post is one of many attempts being made to notify the world I just had my fifth book released: “Human Nature“. go to http://www.excessica.com to check it out.
Human Nature is a near future science fiction book that came to me many years ago. 1994, I believe, when Independence Day (with Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum) was released. Loved the movie, of course, but I always wondered what would have happened if humanity hadn’t stepped up to the plate? What if Steve Jobs hadn’t made the Apple so robust it could interface with alien technology more robust than anything we could envision? And thus the seeds were planted, but it was not until just last year that I finally watered the ground and caused them to spring forth.
Human Nature is not nearly as vast a story as Independence Day. It follows a band of survivors who are making their way across America’s midwest in hopes of finding a place they can settle down and reform a pocket of civilization. Aliens came and kicked the snot out of the earth, then stole 90% of our most precious natural resource. Not oil, not water, not air…people. They left something behind too, a bevy of various other alien races. Their purpose was unclear, but the aliens left behind have one thing in common, a dislike for the survivors of humanity.
So far it sounds kind of far out and neat, right? I hope? Future technology, scorched earth atmosphere, aliens… there must be all sorts of cool fight scenes and hard sci fi tech, right? Well, a little, but not as much as you might think. That stuff is cool to a few of us diehard nerds, but it doesn’t necessary tell a story that well.
Human Nature focuses instead on one main character who had her life going according to plan before the sky fell on top of her. She lost pretty much everything that mattered to her (as did most people), and Human Nature is about her struggle to come to terms with it and accept what the future may mean. Along the way others have to come to rely on her and she’s thrust into a role she never knew she could be capable of. Ultimately, in a strange sort of way, Human Nature is as much a story of romance and growing up as it is a science fiction book.
I don’t like doing this, but it can’t be avoided. I’m fairly well exhausted from packing, driving cross country, unpacking, and learning a new job without the benefit of proper sleep. The physical exertion of lifting couches and king size mattresses overhead plays a toll too, but I kind of like that part. I’m sick, I know. Still, picking up heavy things is my official hobby.
So anyhow, the point to this is to post a review that was done on Voidhawk! The review, by Keryl Raist, can be found here: http://topublishornotto.blogspot.com/2010/12/indie-book-review-voidhawk.html?spref=fb.
Settling, slowly, into the new place in Ohio. The semi trailer full of my stuff arrives today, which means tonight is really going to suck. I’ll get home from work and tear into unloading it. No chance in hell of finishing it. That’s assuming the cross country travel (by rail and by truck) has not yielded some realignment or our belongings in a way that is not conducive to continued use. Good times.
Other move-worthy news is the big snow storm we’ve endured since arriving. The trip here was great, hardly any adverse weather at all. A few snowflakes as we came through Vale over the Rocky’s, but that’s to be expected. Also worth noting is how beautiful Vale is at night during the holidays. They light up the trees in different colors and it really does look like something out of a postcard.
And for potential would-be winter movers, rethink any plans of towing something of substance behind a 6 cylinder engine while heading across the Rockys on I-70. I pulled my Chevy Impala on a car dolly behind a Trailblazer and there were a few high altitude stretches were 20 – 30 mph was the most my poor engine could handle. We’re taking 8000+ feet of altitude so the engine was starved for air, but that’s of no concern if your tying up the road with a vehicle that won’t move.
Now back to the Ohio snowstorm. I’m told by my landlord they haven’t had snow like this in years. Personally I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. But it’s still a few inches of snow and it’s been keeping me on my toes remember how to drive on it. The part that bugs me is that when I moved to Utah there was some snowstorms that hit. Now Ohio. The patterns seems indicative of ugly weather patterns following me wherever I go. It’s disturbing and definitely not the superpower I would have picked.