Stacey Blog

Indianapolis, born, bred and raised thriller author, Stacey Carroll is known for her unique perspectives on life and fiction. Influenced by Anne Rice, Stephen King and the Grimms Brothers, combined with the pure hatred of Disney endings, her novels are equally gritty and sexy with well-developed, realistic characters.

Additional influences on writing are her degrees. She has a Masters in HRD, a Bachelors in Aviation and a Computer science minor. All of these factors and her experience in flying Cessna 152s, 172s, King Airs and Piper Senecas have resulted in fiction novels that feature satisfying mature content emphasizing the characters.

 

If you would like to know more about blogging or how to blog, check out these books from Amazon:

 

 

How to Fix Your Poorly Designed Office Desk

 

You’ve finally bitten the bullet and gotten that new office desk, put it together and BAM It’s the worst goddamned desk you’ve ever purchased. I know. I’ve been there. I recently purchased a desk that happens to be a knee-breaker from Walmart. Thankfully, it looks like it’s no longer for sale, and it shouldn’t be. Whoever designed this desk failed to take into consideration legs and swing. The dimensions looked good though, which is why I bought it, but it’s actually knee short by the shelves on the end.

Desk01

Why Didn’t I just Return It?

I’ll answer the obvious question. Since the desk is a piece of shit, why didn’t I return it?

  1. Global Pandemic

  2. It weighs about 100 pounds. I actually had to risk it by asking someone to help me get it into the front door. There’s no way I could have gotten it into my car without taking the same risk. Once was enough!

  3. I’m not going to UPS or Fedex or anywhere else to mail this SOB back to the company. It’s NOT happening for the same reason I’m not asking anyone to help me get it into my car.

  4. I didn’t have time to wait for another desk to be shipped. If my office is down, I can’t work… Not that there’s much work these days.

  5. I’m not buying another desk when I just spend $100 on a new desk, and I don’t need a floor weight. The floor is gonna stay down all by itself.

How Did I Fuck Up? What Were the Dimensions of the Desk?

I actually looked at this desk for several days and compared the dimensions of the current desk I had to the one I bought. I also compared those dimensions to other desks in the same and different price ranges. My original desk had a 52” gap between the legs. I rarely hit a knee on it.

  • Front Length: 52 inches

  • Side Length: 52 inches

  • Height: 29 inches

  • Depth: 19 inches

  • Leg to Leg Diagonal: 45 inches

desk02

Buying this desk meant doubling my desk space, meaning I’d have a place to write as well as type. However, I failed to make a calculation. 52 – 19 is 33 inches. At no point is that ever going to work for me. Complicating factors were the side shelves, which take off another 12.5 inches, and that dimension was not listed anywhere. The end result is that the leg space is 20.5 inches. That is cramped, and I knew it the minute I sat down. Unfortunately, after you destroy the box and put it together is a bad time to realize these things. Also, who the hell thought this was a good idea? The designers of this desk literally took a 52 inch ( 4.33 foot) desktop and fucked it up so badly that it left less than 2 feet of leg space! This should have been caught in the design and testing phase. 

The second thing I realized is that there was no feasible place to put the computer or the monitors! I have a two monitor floating stand. It anchors with a clamp. The modesty panel was too close to the desk edge to fully fit the clamp. Another bad design flaw. A good hard knock to either monitor, and that clamp will spin, come free and damage $200 worth of monitors. The desk also didn’t come with a feasible place to put the computer. It’s either going to take up desk space or sit on the floor. Neither of those are good options. To be fair, I saw this before I bought it was figured 52 inches was plenty of space to find somewhere to put the computer. Turns out, my computer is very large! It’s longer than 19 inches.

How I Fixed This POS Desk

After staring at the desk for a good hour, I realized it has to be used as a corner desk, meaning the monitors have to go in the bend of the L. It’s the only place that offers enough room to clamp the monitor stand. The computer has to go on the shelves, which means the top shelf had to be removed. That solved the problem of where to put things, but it didn’t solve the uncomfortable nature of this desk. It’s an L, not a corner, which means it comes to an L on the inside too. Across an L isn’t a good place to put a keyboard. I needed another panel to fill the L. Luckily, I just removed that shelf!

Tools I Needed

  • T-shaped flat brackets – had to order

  • A Handheld Miter Saw – Had to order

  • Very Short Screws – Already had

  • Wood Putty, Cause I can’t Cut a Straight Line – Had to order

  • Black Paint – Already had

  • Drill – Already had

  • Determination – Got it

desk03

1. Draw Lines to Cut the Shelf

The first step was drawing the lines on the back of the shelf that I had removed so that I know where to cut and how long to cut it. To do this, I placed the bottom side of the shelf on the under side desk and moved it until I liked the depth. This ended up being about 9.5 inches. Then, I drew the lines.

2. Cut the Shelf

Once the hand-held mini miter saw arrived, I took the shelf and the saw into the kitchen and cut out the piece I needed. This took an hour, and as predicted, even with lines drawn, I can’t cut a straight line.

3. Test the Shelf

Once I finished the cuts, I tested the shelf. The fit wasn’t close enough to use, even with wood putty. The good news was that one side was better than the other, so I only had to recut one side.

4. Cut the Shelf Again

I had to take the shelf back into the kitchen and cut one side again. This time, the fit was close enough that I could use it and fill the gaps with wood putty.

desk06

5. Install the Shelf

I used T-brackets and very short screws to install the shelf. This was a challenge. Desks typically come with some sort of predrilling. To install a panel to turn the L desk into a corner desk, there were no predrilled holes. Thankfully, I do have a drill, so I was able to force the screws through the wood, and it had to be very short screws because desktops are typically only .5 inches thick, so the screws had to be less than .5 inches long. I had a few.

6. Use Wood Putty to Fill the Gaps

I used wood putty to fill the gaps between the original desk and my add-on.

desk05

7. Paint the Putty

I used craft paint, which is what I had on hand, to paint the putty to a color close to the black of the desk. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it’s better than tan putty!

desk07

8. Get Back to Work

At that point, the desk is usable, but it really speaks for the poor design of the original desk. No desk should need this much modification after it’s put together. It’s a complete failure of the company that designed and sold the desk. If there had not been a global pandemic and the risk of returning it and catching COVID so great, they would have gotten this desk shipped back to them:

1. Because I wouldn’t have had to destroy the box by completely cutting out the front panel in order to touch the exterior cardboard as little as possible.

2. I could have asked someone to help me load the box in the car.

3. Because I would have been able to travel to UPS or FEDEX to return it safely.

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With everyone reopening and businesses getting back to ‘normal’, you may be wondering how the US is doing when it comes to COVID-19. The hard truth is that we are doing terrible. No one in politics wants to tell you that. Even the doctors are hesitant to tell it how it is, but the United States does not have a handle on the outbreak, and cases are increasing almost exponentially. To date, the US has 3,165,058 cases with 135,094 deaths. This means that just about 1 in 103 people have had a positive COVID diagnosis. Three days ago, that number was 1 in 124.

A Look at COVID Cases Between Grocery Orders

I tend to order groceries for delivery about every two weeks. In the last half a monthish, I ordered groceries on June 23 and July 9. 

United States

  • June 23 – 2,301,966

  • July 9 – 3,063,685

  • Difference – 761,719

  • Average Increase per Day – 50,781

At current Rate of Infection, How Many Days Until 100 Percent of US Contracts COVID:

  • US Population: 329,929,943

  • Current COVID Positive: 3,165,058

  • Left to Catch Illness: 326,764,885

  • Increase Per Day: 50,781

326,764,885/50,781 = 6,434 days, 17.62 years (assuming no increase in daily positive rates and that we’re testing 100% of the people who have it (We know that’s not the case.))

Indiana

  • June 23 – 43,967

  • July 9 – 50,829

  • Difference – 6,862

  • Average Increase per Day - 457

A Schwans in Indiana Has Shutdown due to a Positive COVID-19 Case 

I got an interesting email yesterday. An employee at the Schwans warehouse nearest to me tested positive for coronavirus at some point eariler this month. They have closed the warehouse and are awaiting a decontamination cleaning. They plan to be open July 17. We’ll assume they’re shutting down for 14 days. I got the email on the 9th. The positive case probably appeared July 3rd, so before July 4. My last delivery was the 29th, more than 11 days ago, but it took then 6 days to send out the email. If those frozen food items were contaminated, customers would have already been showing symptoms, and unless there are frozen COVID in my freezer waiting to reactivate as soon as they get warm, my risk is probably minimal at best. Of course, this is why I sterilize everything that comes through the door and remove all exterior excess packaging and throw it away. I never bring a bag inside and set it down anywhere either. I take the items out. The bag goes in the trash, and I wear gloves. I am also glad for Schwans honesty. If there were an outbreak at Meijer, they probably wouldn’t email me. If my Shipt shopper diagnosed positive, would Shipt email me? I don’t know. We already know that Amazon does not notify you if your package was put together by a COVID positive employee, so I gotta give Schwans credit, they told me. They also told me that this was not my delivery guy.

Will I order from Schwans again during this outbreak? I don’t know, and I don’t know how this employee caught it. Did he catch it while doing essential shopping? Did he catch it on his route? Did he catch it by being careless and going to get a haircut, going to the beach, outdoor BBQ, friends house, party or some confined indoor space? Did someone in his family do any of the listed things and spread it all over the house? I don’t know, and the answer matters. If the employee was careless, then no, I don’t want to order anymore. If the employee did everything within his or her power (and so did everyone under the household roof), then maybe, but that brings up other concerns.

How I Accept All Packages and Deliveries 

  1. I wait until the delivery person is long gone.

  2. I leave bags/boxes on the porch for as long as I can. Perishable items can’t be outside very long, but I like at least a 10 minute lag (give the wind time to blow off loose virus.)

  3. I put on gloves.

  4. I sterilize my counters where I plan to deal with the delivery.

  5. I cut open boxes outside and remove items. If the item is in a second box, I take it out.

  6. I put the item on the counter

  7. I repeat steps 5 and 6 until all items are inside (if cold/refrigerated items, I stop once I have all the cold stuff and deal with it, leaving the rest on the porch to fumigate)

  8. I spray all thin packaging with something. Usually diluted bleach.

  9. I wash all durable packaging in the sink (cans, heavy plastic containters)

  10. Dry all washed items.

  11. Remove excess packaging. If there is a bag inside a box, the box gets removed and thrown away. Examples: some boxed foods, taco kits, granola bars)

  12. Put all cold items away. (they can’t off-gas, they’ll rot. Nothing else can be done after they are wiped down)

  13. Put all pantry items in off-gassing pile.

  14. Three or four days later, put off-gassed items in pantry or wherever they belong

After the Deliveries Have Been Dealt With

  1. Sterilize counters

  2. Sterilize door of fridge

  3. Sterilize paper towel dispenser

  4. Sterilize front door

  5. Mop all floors from front door to kitchen

  6. Take a shower

Preparing for More Business Shutdowns Due to Positive COVID Cases

I am trying to have everything that I need stocked through December, and with the Schwans shutdown, I feel like this is even more important. That was one of the places where I was getting about 30 percent of my groceries. However, I am well diversified too.

  • 30 percent Schwans – Meat, hard to find things, specialty vegetables, desserts

  • 30 Percent Meijer – pantry and dairy

  • 20 Percent Amazon – Snack foods, paper products, personal hygiene

  • 20 Percent Target – Medical supplies/first aid, feminine hygiene

When Schwans sent me the email, I immediately went to take inventory on everything meat. I only have 30 days of canned meats. That’s a failure. I need to work more on canned food, especially meats and vegetables. My freezer looks fine. All the non-food items look good too. Although, I could use a few more things.

What Should You Stock?

I recommend the deep pantry method. This is where you buy more of the things you already buy. It won’t do you much good to buy 2 cases of canned tuna, when you hate canned tuna. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to buy a can or two. Something is better than nothing.

  • The food you already eat

  • Water – Although, there’s probably no way you can stock six months of water. The recommendation is 1 gallon per person per day, but that doesn’t include cleaning. So you’d probably be looking at 5 gallons per person per day. That’s 900 gallons of water for a single person. A 24-pack of bottled water is about 3 gallons. You’d need 300 cases. 6 months isn’t feasible but 2 to 4 weeks might be.

  • Additional canned goods

  • OTC medicines

  • Prescription medicines

  • First aid supplies

  • Paper products

  • Safety gear (fire extinguisher, NOAA radio, duck tape, batteries, flashlights, solar charger)

  • Your Vices. A critical situation is not the time to detox. If you smoke, drink, love coke, coffee, candy, desserts, stock it! You can work on cutting back and quitting your bad habits now, but a critical situation is probably not the time to go through caffeine and nicotine withdrawal. If you happen to quit before you run out of stock, you can probably sell your leftovers to a neighbor who didn’t plan as well.

It's important to understand that this is in no way a complete list. You will have to determine what you specifically need for yourself and your family.  I also didn't address alternative electricity, heating, cooling and cooking. I, honestly, haven't found good answers for those quesations, especially if your house isn't already equipped with solar panels and a backup battery system, wood burning fireplace or woodburning stove. Plus, needing these things assumes a long-term complete breakdown of the utility systems.  I'm not sure that's something to worry about.

Do You Have to Listen to Me?

Nope. My family sure as hell isn't. You can do your own thing. Me, however, I’m highly concerned, so I want to be stocked at least through December. With the increasing rates of infections and the demand to open schools, I’m more than a little concerned that Schwans won’t be the last food service to shutdown. They aren’t the first either. Meatpacking plants have shutdown and reopened, and I saw a grocery store that was shutdown in another state by the board of health, and a Planet Fitness shutdown over a positive COVID case.

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We’re in the middle of the Great American Recovery! Unemployment is down 1.4 percent, and spending in May increased 8.2 percent! Most states are now at stage 4 of reopening, and the world looks brighter than ever! At least, that’s what the politicians would like you to believe.

Unemployment

The unemployment rate is currently at 13.3 percent, which is down from 14.7 percent. However, nearly 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment the first time this depression last week (June 14 – 20). The highest unemployment during the Great Recession was 10.6 percent. There are also an estimated 40 to 50 million people unemployed.

US Spending

US consumer spending was down 6.6% in March and 12.6 percent in April, according to US News. In May, spending increased by 8.2 percent. When we do the math, spending is still down a whopping 11 percent. Let’s also not forget that most Americans saw their stimulus checks in May, and the unemployment benefits finally started to roll out of the vast majority. Although, some individuals are still waiting for their first unemployment checks.

Stimulus and Unemployment Cash and Evictions

The eviction moratoriums are ending. Fourteen states have already lifted their eviction moratoriums, and 10 more states are about to lift their eviction moratoriums. The federal moratorium ends July 25.

The stimulus checks of $1,200 per individual and $500 per child are more than likely spent. They went to pay for back bills and food. The extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits is set to expire on July 31. There is nothing ready to go to replace these things.

So far, there is no second stimulus and no plans to extend the extra money for the unemployment. When the unemployment stimulus ends, we could very well see a pullback of 20 percent or greater. In fact, I predict that the spending pullback could happen as soon as next week as people realize they only have 4 more weeks of money. Just because the money dries up doesn't mean the bills stop. People are going to start stockpiling as much cash as they can because August bills are still coming. In fact, so are September’s, October’s, November’s and December’s.

Vaccines

To date, there are no vaccines that are ready to go. Some have entered advanced testing and are being tested on humans, but there is nothing ready yet. In fact, there probably won’t be a vaccine until the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.

The Covid Pandemic

The covid pandemic is not over. In fact, it’s getting worse. There have been 9,628,658 confirmed cases so far with 489,731 deaths worldwide. In the United States, there have been 2,469,187 confirmed cases with 126,277 deaths. Cases are rising rapidly in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, Washington, South Carolina, Missouri, Utah, Arkansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Idaho, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana. On June 25, the US saw the biggest number of confirmed COVID cases at 38,853, which eclipsed the previous day’s record of 37,945. the highest case count prior to the last 2 days was on April 24 with 35,930 cases, and at that time most states were in shutdown/lockdown.

What’s important to understand is that the US isn’t the only country that’s experiencing a dramatic increase in cases. Brazil has more than 1.2 million cases, and they show no sign of slowing down. India, Chili, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, South Africa, China, Columbia, Sweden, Egypt, Argentina, , Indonesia, Ukraine, Iraq, Oman, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Panama, Bolivia, Romania and many other countries are also experiencing dramatic spikes in cases. The pandemic is far from over.

The Stitches are Coming Out and the Wound Has Not Healed

The bottom line is that the stitches are coming out, and the wound has not healed. Some states are even rolling back their reopening plans due to spikes in cases. NY has ordered quarantines for travelers entering New York from 8 states. Many states are also implementing mandatory masks while out in public. When it comes to mandatory masks, Florida made the news when a woman stated that “wearing a mask impeded God’s breathing system.” Yes, apparently people really are that crazy. Yesterday’s crazy of the day was Sammy Hagar who stated that he is willing to sacrifice lives for the economy, but probably not his own. In fact, most of these people stating these ludicrous ideas need to ask themselves one question – Am I willing to die from Coronavirus? If the answer is yes, I would suggest seeking out a mental health professional immediately.

What Do You Need to Do?

I need to point out that I am not a medical professional. I don’t know much about viruses. I can’t give you any medical advice. However, I do know this. I do not want to catch coronavirus, and you probably don’t either. To further that, I can’t really tell you want to do either, but I know what I’m doing. I’m staying home as much as possible and only stepping outside my front door when absolutely necessary. I am ordering all my food and supplies for delivery. I am stocking for the winter. I am preparing for the long haul. I am not going to cookouts. I am not visiting relatives. I am not going into restaurants. I am not hiring contractors to come to my house. I am not letting people in the front door. I am still in lockdown. I can trade a year or 2 of my life so I can have the remaining 40. A hamburger is not worth my life. A haircut is not worth my life. A vacation is not worth my life. I deserve the next 40 years of my life, and so do you.

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Are you thinking about monetizing your website beyond Google or alongside Google Adsense? If you are, affiliate programs, like Amazon, make sense, especially since you can choose every product that is presented on your website or social media page, which means you are better able to custom target products that your visitors and followers may like to purchase.

1. Understand Your Audience

Before you sign up with Amazon, take a look at the metrics for your website and the follower profiles on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Who are they? What do they do? What do they post? Amazon sells millions of products, and your specific audience isn’t interested in 99 percent of those products. For example, if your audience is full of insurance agents, they’re probably not interested in reading the latest erotic thriller or purchasing baby clothes. If your audience is like mine, full of authors and writers, you can rest assured the vast majority aren’t interested in DIY vehicle upgrades or sports equipment. And you’re probably thinking – butbutbut some of them might me. You’re right, some of them might be, but the vast majority won’t be interested.

2. Understand What You do

The second most important metric to understand is yourself. What do you do? What’s on your website? What do you post on your social medial pages? What’s your brand? The latter question is usually the hardest for most sole-proprietors, especially those in creative industries, because they think of themselves as a person and not a brand. You are also a brand, and you will need to choose products and services from your affiliate marketing sites that align with your brand. If your brand is books, then think about books. Books, pens, paper, computer paper and office supplies. If you’re an insurance agent, then think about home and commercial offices. If you’re a car mechanic, then it’s everything cars, including maintenance manuals, car parts and car enhancements and upgrades.

 (Sponsored by Amazon)

3. Is Your Website Geared for People Who Are 13 Years or Older?

Amazon doesn’t want their products listed on websites and social media pages that are geared for people who are 12 years old and younger. It’s a checkbox during the process to add your sites. If you have a website and social media pages that are geared for young children, you can’t use Amazon ads on those sites.

4. Sign-Up for Amazon Affiliates

Now that you understand your audience, yourself and your webpages and social media accounts, it’s time to sign up. It’s a fast process and self-explanatory. Once you get in, you will need to tell Amazon how you wish to get paid. It’s a link located under your email address at the top of the page. Just hover over your email address, and a dropdown menu will appear.

5. Your Associates Account

Next, hover over your email address again and go to Account Settings. Now click on Edit Your Website and Mobile App List. You will need to enter the website addresses of everywhere you plan to advertise, and I do mean everywhere, including all your websites, social media accounts and any mobile or online apps that you happen to have and where you plan to put your Amazon Affiliate ads. This is also where the question – Are any of these sites designed for specific use for children under 13 years of age?

Note: It will do you no good to put affiliate ads on your Instagram account.  Instagram does not allow for the clicking of links in posts. Since the money you earn on Amazon Affilaites is directly related to people clicking on the link and buying a product, Instagram is useless.

6. Manage Your Tracking IDs

Amazon sets you up automatically with one tracking ID during the sign-up process. If you want to breakdown your metrics, you will need to create additional tracking IDs. If you want to be able to look at the metrics for your social media accounts and websites separately, you should create a tracking ID like Mywebsites. In this scenario, you’d use your main tracking ID for your social media and the Mywebsites tracking ID for the ads on your website. However, it’s important to note that you will need to make sure you are working under the correct tracking ID when you collect your ad code. If you accidentally put an ad on your social media with the tracking ID Mywebsites, Amazon will put the metrics under MyWebsites.

7. Install SiteStripe

In order to make your product curation easy, I recommend installing SiteStripe. It’s located under Tools. This is an Amazon Affiliate Add-on for your web browser, and it allows you to search Amazon from the main pages and create ad code. It’s much faster to use site stripe to find individual products than it is to use the Product Links menu under the menu Product Linking in the Amazon Affiliates dashboard.

8. Find Your Products

Next, find your preferred products. Make sure each product is aligned with your brand, your message and your audience. If you’re placing them on your website, you can use the full code for HTML or Images. You can also take advantage of Banner, native Shopping ads and mobile popovers (if you really want annoying mobile popovers for those who are using cell phones). I recommend playing around with this so that you understand how the products appear on your webpage and which ones look best with your layout. It’s important to note that you will need to let your visitors know that the ads on your website are from Amazon. This can be the word “sponsored” below or above every ad or a menu link that explains that you are an Amazon affiliate. I use both because when I started this I didn’t know. The sponsored wording takes care of every ad I remember. The menu link covers every ad I forgot about over the last two years or can no longer find cause it’s buried. 

If you are going to run products in your social media feeds, you always want to choose HTML SHORT LINK. This is the amz.blahblahblah. It looks cleaner, and everyone understands that a short link containing amz is from Amazon. You must also be compliant with the FCC regarding advertising. This means that for every post you put up, you need to add @amazon and #sponsored or something that lets people know that this is a link that goes to Amazon, and you will receive a certain amount of money if someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase.

9. Understanding Payments and How and When You Get Paid

Like all things Amazon, it’s on a two-month delay. If you sell books on Amazon, you are already familiar with the method. You get paid this month for items you sold two months ago. When your account reaches $10 (assuming direct deposit), Amazon will send the money to your account. If you choose another method, the amount that triggers a payout may be different. For direct deposit, you’ll get paid somewhere around the 29th of the month for which your account balance was $10 or greater.

10. Setting Expectations for Amazon Affiliates

I did Amazon Affiliates off and on for more than 10 years before I made a dime. I only started making money off of it when I started running ads down my social media feeds, and it was a decision that I took very seriously. I weighed the pros and cons. I thought about my audience. I thought about the spam factor, and eventually, I came up with a plan that wasn’t too horrific and aligned with the content that I was already running and included products I know I like because I own them. Did some of my audience vacate the premises when I started monetizing my social media? Yes, they did, but I get more kudos for highlighting relevant products on Amazon than I do complaints. This is why I say knowing your audience is vitally important. If you put products on your website and social media feeds that are not relevant, you will get thrown into the category of spammer by your audience. If you’re wondering how much you’ll earn, set your expectations low. If you sell 1 product a month, consider yourself a success.

11. Amazon Will Delete Your Affiliate Account if You Do Not Sell Anything

Amazon will give you the exact timeframe when you sign up. I can’t remember if it’s 3 or 6 months, but if you do not make a sale, Amazon will delete your affiliate account, and you will have to create a new one. Now, there’s no waiting period to create another account, but I do recommend doing some hard thinking on why you did not sell a single thing and adjust your strategy before signing up again. It’s also important to note that it does not matter how long you’ve had your affiliate account. The minute you stop selling for X month, Amazon will delete it. I tripped over the Affiliate forums one time and saw that a lady who had been an Amazon Affiliate for 20ish years was deleted because she didn’t make a sell within X months.

 

Read More on Book Promotion

 

  1. Where Are the Free Book Promotion Websites? ...
  2. Pros and Cons of Giving Your Book Away for Free ...
  3.  Have you considered utilizing videos as a means to promote your new Indie book? ...
  4.  The First Step to Selling More Books Is to Write a Breakout, Amazing, Can't Put Down Blockbuster. ...
  5. How Do I Promote My Self-Published Book for FREE? ...

Read More from Stacey Carroll

 

AVIA2FUllCVerADAVIA ii: Bullets and Betrayal Kindle Edition

 

Greg Locke is the detective who thinks he can put away both Avia and Benton in the next book in the series Avia II Bullets and Betrayal. These two are very close to going to jail or going on vacation to Hawaii when their heist goes bad. They are stuck in a life of crime, and they cannot seem to get out. Thriller author Stacey Carroll tugs you through all the twists and turns of these two and their lives while showing you that crime can pay in the worst ways.

 

 

 

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 In the past, there were numerous writers who wrote essays about their hardships. They explained daily life, how they felt and what was going on around them? I haven’t felt the need to do so, and I’m not sure I feel the need today. I just have nothing better to do. After being slammed with articles related to COVID-19 for the last two weeks, I’m now out of paid work. I still have plenty of work on my website though.

How Has Life Changed Since March 16, 2020?

My daily life hasn’t changed. Apparently, I’ve been in quarantine or self-isolation since 2010 and didn’t know it. Many other work at home people are stating the same thing. Nothing’s really changed on a day to day basis. You only notice the changes when you watch the news. There are travel bans and stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines and personal space guidelines and handwashing guidelines. This means there’s much less traffic on the roads than would be normally. If you take a look at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus map, you’ll see that it’s April 9, 2020, and there have been a total of 1,536,979 coronavirus cases to date with 93,425 deaths across the global. Locally, in the United states, there are an estimated 451,491 confirmed cases. The WHO has slightly different numbers. They confirm 1,356,780 cases with 395,030 cases in the United States if you look at your search engine. When going into the actual WHO map, you get, again, different results.

  • 1,439,516 total world cases

  • 82,837 new cases

  • 85,711 deaths

The US Supply Chain Is Fundamentally Defunct

Does anyone remember the Buy American push in the 1980s? Apparently, we all should have taken that a lot more seriously. Our manufacturing and basic supplies are manufactured overseas. This includes paper products, medicines and medical equipment. The NY governor, Andrew Cuomo, complain about this on a daily basis. Where are the ventilators, latex gloves, face masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, medicines, toilet paper and other PPE? China. Where did this virus start? CHINA!!!! Does that make sense to you? It sure as hell doesn’t make sense to me. Its’ time to pull things back into our borders. What is happening right now is absolutely ludicrous.

Our Manufacturing Facilities that We Do Have, Can’t RAMP IT UP!

Now, here’s where daily life is affected. There’s nothing to buy. It very much feels like our manufacturers are not taking this seriously. Things that can’t be bought or are very difficult to find.

  • Toilet paper

  • Paper towels

  • Canned goods

  • Facial tissues

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Disinfectants (lysol, bleach, all purpose cleaners)

  • Fresh meat

  • Fresh Vegetables

  • OTC medications (Antacids, anti-diarrheal) – Let me just point out that COVID-19 does not cause intestinal issues (only in rare cases). What might be happening though is that people’s diets have dramatically changed. They may very well be eating foods they do not normally eat, and I can tell you that if you only eat out and all of a sudden, you have to eat homecooked food, you will be sick. This is because the body does not have what it takes to process real food. It takes about a month to be able to process real food without getting sick once you go off a high fast food diet.

I will say that not being able to find the things I want to purchase as reasonable prices is pissing me off. It’s been almost a month since the pandemic was declared, and we are still out of basic cleaning supplies and paper products. That is absolutely, 100 percent UNACCEPTABLE! And I will go so far as to state that these manufactures that are not taking this seriously need to be SEVERELY PUNISHED once this is over. I have very much had ENOUGH of this no product bullshit, and I am not afraid to say it.

To make this even worse, many retailers have stopped online ordering and delivery. Yeah, that’s right. It’s available IN STORE so you can get infected. Did anyone bother to tell these dumbshits that coronavirus hangs in the air for up to 3 hours, which means you can walk into it? The stupidity of that move is just beyond comprehension. If you don’t believe me, try and order something from Target or Walmart or Dollar General. Even CVS. These guys need a fucking clue-by-four. 

So there’s my COVID-19 rant. It’s been 29 days since the pandemic was declared.

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If you're having trouble concentrating and focusing on your tasks during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. The American Psychiatric Association reports that 24 percent of Americans are having trouble concentrating. The pessimist in me says that the other 76 percent of survey takers didn’t make it to the question.

Mental Health COVID-19 Statistics

  • 48 percent of Americans are extremely concerned about contracting COVID-19

  • 40 percent are extremely concerned about becoming seriously ill and/or dying from the virus

  • 62 percent of Americans are concerned about a family member or loved one contracting the virus

  • 36 percent of Americans are experiencing mental health issues due to COVID-19

  • 57 percent are worried about their financial viability

  • 68 percent are worried about the long-lasting effects to the economy

  • 68 percent of Americans feel like they are well-informed about protecting themselves against the spread of the virus

  • 39 percent feel like people are overreacting to the virus

  • 39 percent also feel like people are not overreacting to the virus

  • 33 percent of Americans are worried about a lack of testing and the availability of medical treatments if they become sick

Anxiety Is the Driving Cause of Mental Issues in Most Age Brackets for COVID-19

It’s important to understand that few alive today remember a situation like COVID-19. There was the 1918 Spanish Flu, and the 1957 Asian Flu. While there are more pandemics throughout history, those two are the most recent and the most widespread. Now, we have COVID-19, and there are few coping skills for this. The major problem aside from the fear of catching this highly contagious virus is that it’s impacted our daily lives. Many of us are no longer going to work. We can’t go to the gym. We can’t sit down in a restaurant and eat. The public venues are closed. Travel has been restricted to essential only, meaning you can go to purchase food and medicine, and you can visit a doctor if needed. If you are employed at an essential job, you can go to work, but you probably don’t want to due to fear of catching the virus.

Secondary is that fact that the supply chain has been severely impacted. If you attempt to order items or go to the store, many items on your shopping list aren’t available. This primarily affects paper products, cleaning chemicals and sanitizers. However, food is also affected. When I placed an order about a week ago, I ordered 6 kleenex. I received 2. There was no toilet paper available. The canned goods were virtually sold out. The frozen pulled chicken that I normally order was not available, and most of the frozen pizzas were gone. This pandemic diet has caused me to lose 12 pounds in 3 weeks. While I need to lose a few pounds, weight loss at that rate is not medically recommended, and if this lasts long enough, I could find myself underweight on the back end of this. While having to gain weight is not heavy on my mind, it does add to my concern.

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What Can You Do to Help Alleviate Your Anxiety

If you have a mental health professional, you can talk to them over the phone and via video chat. If you don’t have a mental health professional, you can make an effort to find one. They may be able to help. In addition to utilizing professionals, you can also:

  • Find a new daily routine

  • Remember to eat

  • Turn off the news and stop obsessively looking at Cornavirus articles and statistics (Yes, I know how hard this is.)

  • Exercise. Pace your house. Use canned food as weights. Walk your neighborhood. Order that gym equipment from Amazon

  • Find a hobby or rediscover your old hobbies. I broke out the yarn the other day.

  • Get into gaming. Maybe you played Mario Brothers for 14 hours a day as a kid. It may be time to rediscover that habit.

  • Read fiction and get lost in a world someone else created.

  • Read non-fiction and learn something

  • Find an online class or two. Many colleges have put certain classes online for free

 

No matter how you feel today, this shall pass eventually. The goal right now is to manage yourself, manage your risk and keep your mind occupied.

 

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The First Five Drafts: Prevent Over-Editing and Get Your Novel Done Faster with the Five Draft Method (SC Writing Book 1) Kindle Edition

This is the no-fluff, serious writer's guide to getting your novel started, edited and finished.

The five draft method is designed to help you reduce your chances of over-editing, which can stall your writing process and cause you to either never deem your novel finished or ruin it in any number of ways, including inputting too many slow sections, taking out all the interesting details and doing too much ‘showing’ versus ‘telling’.

In this writer's self-help book, you will learn how to write your first draft and revise your manuscript to the point where it's ready for self-publication or submission to agents and/or publishers.


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Draft 3: The Rough Draft 
Draft 4: The Analytical Draft
Draft 5: Final Draft 

Plus! Proofreading for Publication

 

Write Your Novel Notebook (SC Writing)

Are you ready to write your novel? Are you looking for a journal or notebook that can help you get it done? If you answered yes, the Write Your Novel Notebook may be the notebook you've been waiting for.

Notebook Highlights

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Add notes and other information at the end of each chapter

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This notebook starts by allowing you to write down the date you started and the date you finished your manuscript, the title of your work in progress, the subtitle and your name. Next, answer a few basic questions, including:Why are you writing this novel?Why will this novel appeal to readers?What genre is this novel?What is your estimate of the finished word count?Add any additional notes!!!

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 If you’ve suddenly found yourself unemployed, laid off, furloughed, fired or partially unemployed from your traditional job, you can apply for unemployment in your state. If you are a gig worker, you will eventually be covered by unemployment. I am currently checking every day in Indiana to see if they’ve implemented the parameters for gig workers. They have not, and according to last count, no other state has input the parameters for gig workers and the self-employed yet. If your state has, feel free to leave a comment. However, regardless of your current employment status, you’ve probably found yourself in a money crunch. While you will need to judge your own financial situation yourself, here’s a good idea of the order of things when working with limited money.

1. Buy Your Food, Essentials and Medicine

You’re not going to be able to do much if you’re starving or out of your medications. Not to mention, not eating weakens your immune system, and starving to death is pretty misreable. If you have money whether saved or received from your job, the first thing you need to do is buy your food, essentials and toilet paper. Not to mention, you’re going to mentally feel a lot better if your home is stocked.

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2. Pay Your Car Insurance

If you have a car, pay your car insurance. I have yet to hear of one car insurance company that is waiving or delaying the need to pay. If you do not have your car insurance money, call your agent. They may have a plan they aren’t advertising for individuals who have been severely economically impacted by COVID-19. If you let your car insurance lapse, you could be considered a high risk driver, and not having car insurance is against the law. If you have full coverage car insurance and don’t owe any money on your car, you may consider changing to state minimum in order to save money, especially since you’re probably not driving much right now anyway.

3. Pay Your Rent or Mortgage or Call Your Bank or Landlord

If you have no money or are severely limited in funds, you will need to call your landlord or your bank or mortgage company and work something out. Many landlords are willing to take partial payments, and laws have been enacted about evicting tenants and pursuing foreclosures for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some mortgage companies are willing to stick your most recent payments on the back end of your mortgage, meaning you don’t have to pay today, but you do have to pay eventually. 

If you have money to pay your rent or mortgage, I’d suggest paying it or paying as much as you can. Just because there are no evictions or foreclosures going on right now, doesn’t mean that you cannot eventually be evicted or foreclosed upon. You will still owe the money, and you will have to pay it eventually.

4. Pay Your Internet Bill

Mot people get their news and entertainment via the Internet. I would recommend paying this bill. While it’s unlikely that your Internet would be canceled for non-payment right now, you don’t want to owe thousands at the end of this. If you have cable, cancel all services except your Internet. You can always bring them back later.

5. Pay Your Gas and/or Electric

Most gas and electric companies won’t turn off your services right now. If you are unsure, you can call your utility companies to confirm this. If you can’t pay the entire bills, you can pay part of what is owed. If you have no money whatsoever, you can skip it. Unfortunately, like everything else, not paying means this bill is just going to get larger and larger. Once things return to normal, you’ll probably have to work out a payment plan in order to catch-up.

6. Pay Your Water

No one is going to turn off your water right now. If the water company does shut off your water, you can call your state and report them. You will eventually have to pay all your back water bills, but if you’re out of money, you can skip this one.

7. Pay Your Subscription Services

The only subscription services I’d keep right now are the ones that offer delivery. This would be things like Amazon Prime and Shipt. Everything else, I’d cancel. Since I haven’t heard of anyone waiving these fees, you’ll still have to pay if you want to keep your subscription services.

8. Pay Your Credit Cards or Call Your Credit Card Company

To be quite honest, I wouldn’t worry about making credit card payments, unless you’re using these to buy groceries and essentials. You can also call your credit card company to see if you can work something out with them, but paying credit cards is pretty low on the necessary payment totem pole.

9. Call the Lender for Your Car Payment

If you can’t afford to pay your car payment, you may be able to work something out with your lender, like extending your loan by a few months or getting your current payments tacked onto the back end of your car loan. The thing to remember here is that you need to call your lender if you cannot make your car payment.

By prioritizing your bills, you’ll be able to make your money stretch farther right now. However, it’s important to note that this is only a blueprint. You will need to take a look at your bills and prioritize according to your own needs and your own finances.

 

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AVIA1BookadfullcoverThunderstorms and .45s: 2018 Avia Version Kindle Edition

 

Avia might be able to con a rich woman out of 50 million dollars before her vacation to Hawaii, but she's going to need some help to do it. She has to call in people she terms her "cousins," and she has to deal with the fact that she is still an alcoholic and heroin addict. With the help of Benton, can Avia actually pull off this heist and get out of town before it is too late?

 

 

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Writing and Editing Books on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Journals for Writers on Amazon

 

 

    

  

 

 



 

Tablets for Writers on Amazon

 

 

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