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  • dannyboystories 8:10 PM on August 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Immigration problems are not going away soon! 

    The illegal (that’s the proper word) immigration problem is not going to go away easily, and it’s just one more reason why American voters are angry at the professional politicians who populate the buildings, streets, and alleyways of Washington, DC. It is also why so many are delighted with Donald Trump’s “deport them all” stance.

    If you think about it, in my view, it is not the individual immigrant that folks are angry about, it’s the obvious way in which the Congress and our President are ignoring Americans who feel they are losing their country.

    I spent more than two decades in California, one of our states where there is a large and vibrant population of Hispanics. Indeed, I have many fond memories of friends of Mexican descent sharing community action alongside me in Jaycees, Lions, Rotary, etc. Unfortunately, these real citizens get swept up in the “politically correct” efforts of politicians. As a result, the average American sees only those who threaten the character of the nation as a whole.

    Polls show the economy is the number one concern of Americans, with immigration holding sway somewhere down at number five or six. Still, it’s a hot button issue. So, what’s the problem?

    Overreaction!

    It’s the judge who rules the high school band cannot play a musical number that is well-known also as a religious hymn. At the next football game, Mississippi fans stood and sang it anyway. We’re actually losing our religious freedom trying to protect it.

    It’s the school board that objects to shirts with the United States flag emblazoned on the front, but those of other nationalities are permitted to wear foreign colors. It’s community leaders providing more recognition of foreign national holidays than America’s Fourth of July, as an example, for fear they may insult or make someone “uncomfortable”.

    The President’s clear efforts to invite a southern border flood of illigal immigrants into the United States, was, in large part, the straw that broke the camel’s back. Recently, hundreds of immigrants have actually been brought here and relocated across America at a cost hidden from public view. American taxpayers paid the bill. It is this kind of wholesale ignoring of law and fairness that infuriates the average voter–work your butt off to make ends meet, and someone from another country gets a free ride is the way many see the situation.

    Frankly, (this may get me into difficulty) folks are usually suspicious of someone who looks differently and speaks another primary language. In today’s crush of humanity, coupled with acts of terrorism in the news, if you cannot understand what someone is whispering to another, there is bound to be misunderstanding. Then there are those, particularly in the Muslim community, who would attempt to force their way of life on America, and object to resistance. If that is the case, perhaps they should not have come to America in the first place.

    Donald Trump’s plan for a wholesale deportation, while exciting, cannot work, if only for the reason there aren’t enough officers to corral all the illegals. I remember in World War Two, Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced into camps. I have friends who suffered that indignity at the hands of this nation for no real reason other than fear–and we were all afraid back then. Fear leads to mistrust and rash actions. In that case, though, the majority were citizens.

    Immigrants need to work at being Americans, too. It is not a one-way street. Learn English, fly Old Glory, celebrate our national American heritage alongside everyone else; assimilate into society as good neighbors and friends. That is something one cannot do if here illegally. I do agree: “Come here correctly, or not at all”. The Italians did it. The Irish did it. So very many more, too. The Fourteenth Amendment was written to benefit the children of slaves following the Civil War, not to undertake a wholesale disposal of the American landscape. The Supreme Court may have to decide.

    It seems to me the current immigration problem has to be handled in steps. First, close the border, check passports, make it more difficult to drive over the bridge into the US for a time; use technology to find tunnels and drug runs. Second, build the damned fence!. Third, rather than an automatic path to citizenship for illegals, begin a carefully planned, reinforced, issuing of “Green Cards”. Every other legal immigrant goes to class and passes a test to become a citizen. It seems to me that is the minimum to be expected. If we do this, perhaps we’ll actually learn some of those who are here illegally, also finding those who are bad actors in the bargain. Fourth, revamp immigration laws based on common sense. Just remember, this country cannot absorb everyone who wants to come here.

    Now, I’m just an old Hoosier, so what do I know? Immigration is so screwed up, there is no perfect answer. — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee.

    Free Admission JPG 125

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  • dannyboystories 10:35 AM on August 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    The Donald Trump phenomenon — My take. 

    The phenomenon that is the Donald Trump Republican presidential candidacy, to those of us out in the heartland of America, is easy to explain. Although the talking heads of television and radio marvel at Trump’s continuing popularity, truth is the billionaire real estate mogul just tells it like he believes it is. He is a no holds barred, blustery, often rude reflection of the unvarnished frustration voters of every stripe have with the bloated, incompetent, do nothing bureaucracy that is our federal government.

    It is simple really. Republican and Democrat voters in America are angry. While the United States debt continues to rise, politicians and lobbyists grow the federal government with more and more agencies, divisions and departments unable to tackle simple tasks in behalf of the folks who pay the bill. Trump has no difficulty calling our leaders stupid, or dumb. In fact, his words are exactly what a large majority of Americans have been thinking for a decade and longer.

    Fed up with a nation that is too politically correct with all too many small special interest groups dictating how the average Joe and Jane Doe shall live their lives, Americans see themselves reflected in Donald Trump’s brash fearlessness. A wealthy man, Trump needs not fear for his job or paycheck as the average American. He need not be afraid of the next splinter group picketing in front of his malt shop, ruining the business mom and pop have worked hard to develop over many years. He has, then, the ability to do what many voters would like to do: Thumb his nose at unreasonable demands.

    While a measure of Trump’s popularity can be attributed to his celebrity as a television personality, in my view it is certainly not the major reason folks are flocking to see and hear what he has to say.

    Americans see our professional politicians in Washington, DC, refusing to address the most fundamental solution to illegal immigration: Failure to close our borders effectively. “How hard can it be to build a damn fence when the money was allocated years ago?”

    Americans see our professional politicians failing our veterans’ medical needs. Voters find it distasteful and bordering on criminal.

    Americans see our military systematically neutered because Congress and the president are unable to come to grips with budgetary constraints that mean reducing the size of the bureaucracy, deleting duplication of effort, and, yes, eliminating whole departments as unnecessary. Americans do not like the idea of the United States as a second-class nation. Americans, considered loud, arrogant, and often rude by folks in other countries, want America to be proud and strong. “Peace through strength” is what citizens want of their country.

    Of course, a strong union and tight civil service rules make it all but impossible to fire any worker for cause. Ronald Reagan was the last president who successfully faced a union head on. The pendulum has swung wide of center.

    Trump seems to stand in the way of those who would remove reminders of our history, because those reminders are “uncomfortable”. The fact is, our history is what it is, warts and all. Slavery occurred, the civil war occurred, and turning a blind eye to the facts of history dooms us to repeat the failures and errors of the past.

    Political correctness dilutes the viability of a free people to walk without fear. People are tired of seemingly forced to tippy toe through life. Having said that, polite civility is, for the most part, absent. Too many folks just seemed not to give a damn about their fellow man. That fine line tightrope must be found and must be walked. I see a root cause of our own incivility caused by a decline in religious faith.

    That’s the way I see things with regard to Donald Trump. Will he be the Republican nominee? You can make that guess on your own. – D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

    DonaldTrump 2

     
  • dannyboystories 1:07 PM on August 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Our history is what it is. 

    A column in our local newspaper pointed to recent events that are much more than ridiculous “political correctness”. There are efforts today to “sanitize” American history. Hitler and his vicious cronies tried that in World War 2 Germany, burning books and the like.

    America’s history is its history from which we should learn. Frankly, in my view, there is not enough real American history taught these days. There is a reason the United States became the most envied governmental experiment in the world.

    Slave ownership in the 1700s by those with a measure of wealth was common, not frowned upon by the general population. We know it was wrong. Shall we remove all evidence of George Washington and others because they were not as enlightened as we expect today? It is history. Right or wrong, it is what it is.

    Shall we remove Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the ten-cent coin because he participated in moving patriotic Japanese-American citizens to internment camps during WW2? I have friends who suffered that episode in America’s history, business folks who lost everything. It is our history. It is what it is, and should stand as a reminder of those things to avoid in the future. One must learn from our history, including the errors of moral judgment.

    Think about this: In my youth, pregnancies out of wedlock were frowned upon, taboo. Pregnant young women hidden from view, perhaps secreted out of town to stay with someone elsewhere until after the child was born. Today, high school girls who become pregnant continue their studies in school until time to deliver, and folks apparently think little of it. No matter young folks nowadays, seem to think mostly below the waist when it comes to relationships. Life is an evolution, like it or not.

    Oh, there are many examples one can cite from the past two centuries. Complete removal of those things that remind us of our history is sanitizing our past just because something, some event, or someone may be an “uncomfortable” reminder of our own ignorance or folly. So be it.

    Our history is what it is… warts and all. — D C ‘Dan’ Lee

    History

     
  • dannyboystories 5:38 PM on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Beware the “Professional Politician” Class! 

    I’ve been a student of politics for many years, primarily sitting on the sidelines like most Americans, voting when I should, but generally ignoring the muddy trenches of Washington, DC.

    Therein lies the problem.

    Our forefathers designed this nation to be a citizen-run Representative Republic. No where have I been able to find any reference in our 230-some odd years that encourages representation by professionals the likes of which we see today. In fact, the constitution expects plain citizens elected by plain citizens to govern the United States. Indeed, the writers of the Constitution so abhorred royalty it is specifically prohibited by the Constitution:

    Article I, Sec. 9, SS 8- No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

    As a matter of respect and courtesy, most folks refer to any sitting elected official by the title, i.e. Senator, Congressman, and so on. Unfortunately, that recognition now continues beyond the term of office after the individual has long been out of office. I contend this simple courtesy has given our elected officials an enhanced sense of importance, and that has led to individuals who become full-time “professional politicians”.

    Every college or university worth its salt now offers a degree in “political science”, a recognition of politics as a full-time vocation, not something intended by the framers of our nation those many years ago. The result has been the growth of a class of people dedicated to politics.

    Now, I suppose having professional politicians might be just dandy, providing they always worked in the interest of the people who voted them into office. In modern time, however, that has become increasingly not the case. The differences between governing principles of the two primary parties has become blurred over time in practice. Politicians, now needing vast sums of money to run for elected federal office, are increasingly beholden to those who give the money, and the lobbyists who serve those interests.

    That’s a problem.

    I am more disenchanted with the “Political Class” now than ever before. In fact, I don’t support ANY current politician seeking the highest office in the land. There are three asking the Republican nomination for President, any one of whom I would vote for just because these folks are not members of the “Political Class”, and all those others, including on the Democrat side, are career politicians.

    I’d like an honest individual with proven administrative/managment skills. How about you. — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

    DrBenCarson 2CarlyFiorina 3DonaldTrump 2

     
  • dannyboystories 6:56 PM on July 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Sitting on your seat is not an option. 

    The news is not good today.

    Four U.S. Marines killed in a terrorist attack in Tennessee today, more than a dozen people want to be the GOP nominee for President, few have confidence in the Iran agreement concerning the atom bomb and similar munitions they want, the federal bureaucracy continues to take hold of virtually every corner of our lives, and our do-nothing elected officials continue to do just that.

    I read a lot, but that does not mean I know much. I review summaries of current legislation to try to understand what has been done to us citizens lately. I’m always concerned with the Federal Register, that’s the publication stuffed with all the new regulations “needed” to undertake the operational effectiveness of virtually every law passed in Washington, DC. Did you know every one of those new rules is decided upon by non-elected departmental employees?

    This will get me in trouble with some of my friends: Barack Obama’s administration has done more to destroy individual freedoms and liberties in America than anyone else since the inception of the United States. Just read all the Executive Orders. Furthermore, it appears to me the Democrats and Republicans elected to the Congress are doing little to prevent what are questionable acts, perhaps even unconstitutional. Hey, you are representatives of the PEOPLE who elected you, not your political party!

    So what to do?

    Actually, Billy Graham had the answer years ago: “Just get up out of your seat…” Catherine MacKenzie wrote a book by that name about Rev. Graham. But this is not about him, it is about you, and the need for every citizen to get off their butt and begin to participate. “Just get up out of your seat” and away from the television, learn what is really happening. Review everything without the shellacking given by partisan politics. You make the call, not your neighbor or BFF.

    In my view, the federal government is much too large and spends far too much. Restrictions on business discourage jobs and that impacts you, regardless your profession or station in life. The dominoes continue to tumble.

    Yep, Billy Graham had the right idea all along. “Just get up out of your seat.” Maybe you could also say a prayer to the Almighty too. — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee.

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  • dannyboystories 2:01 PM on June 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Give me a Junkyard Dog, not rhetoric! 

    I care not for your lofty proclamations, your promises full of adjectives. I want a president who will get off their comfortable butt and fight for the average American. Period.

    That is exactly why this conservative is leaning away from the usual politician and those high and mighty speeches in the race for the United States Presidency. I want someone who has a record of blasting away the fog, reaching down into the substance of a problem and offering real solutions without regard to special interests. A politician can’t do that. A politician has to be carefull who not to offend.

    “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”, (Adm. David Glasgow Farragut) is the kind of approach I want from the President of the United States (POTUS).

    Let’s have someone who might, for example:

    • Work to abolish the Department of Education in favor of block grants to states, based on enrollment for example, and that are better able to determine the needs of their state’s children. (The federal government has no business in curriculum decisions.)
    • Propose elimination of the Internal Revenue Service, and replace the IRS Code with a “flat tax” or “fair tax”, and reduce corporate manufacturer taxes for those companies with a majority of its operations located within the 50 states.
    • Make regular trips to Capital Hill to work with both Democrats and Republicans on major issues.
    • By executive order, eliminate duplication in the federal bureaucracy.
    • Reduce the federal employee payroll  by at least 20 percent (ouch!).
    • Work toward a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the Constitution, together with the line item veto.
    • Hold accountable those responsible for malfeasance.

    Oh, there are so many other items, to be sure, but we’ll never get anywhere with a Presidency and Congress populated by partisan politicians. Can we not go back to honest people with creative ideas who really represent their constituents? — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

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  • dannyboystories 6:15 PM on June 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Eeney, meeney, miney…….NO! 

    Ten, perhaps as many as 15 people will throw their hats in the ring for the Republican nomination for the highest office in the land. Deciding who you might want to support for President of the United States (POTUS) is much like throwing darts with a blindfold obscuring your vision.

    In my case, I’m really tired of the same old political professional types attempting to lure votes. I mean, how is it that little old citizen lawyer or bookkeeper can go from a paycheck to paycheck existence to financially well off after a few terms in federal office? Doesn’t that bother you as well. How does that happen?

    “As of 2015, the base salary for all rank-and-file members of the U.S. House and Senate is $174,000 per year, plus benefits. Salaries have not been increased since 2009.” [See more at http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congresspay.htm ] However, leaders received another $19,000 for their trouble, and Speaker of the house gets $223.5 K.

    Now, I don’t begrudge these folks a reasonable salary, specially since it is well below the hierarchy of a major corporation, but I’m just tired of “politics as usual”. Furthermore, I may let loose of a fire storm of four-letter words the next time some politician answers my question with “well, you have to understand it’s rather complicated”.

    Why not elect folks who are just interested in doing the right thing, and will serve a couple of terms and return home with the rest of us peons? As I write this, there are two people running for POTUS who are not politicians in the true sense of the word: Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. [ You can see their bio at http://www.biography.com/people/ben-carson-475422 and http://www.biography.com/people/carly-fiorina-9542210 ] You decide.

    I have grown weary of politics as usual, and a massive federal bureaucracy that rules the roost in Washington, DC. Can we not find honest folks to serve who are not steeped in beltway garbage? — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

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    • Elizabeth Doyle 7:49 PM on June 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Right on, “D.L!” Given the well-deserved disdain most of us feel for many Congressmen and -women and a recognition of widespread corruption and greed, it should be a “no-brainer” that a man of intelligence, character and integrity lacking dependence upon special interests and the blind partisanship that currently define our political system should be our clear choice. Ben Carson, all the way!

  • dannyboystories 5:58 PM on May 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    The Three Deadliest American Sins 

    You may have heard at some point in your life that serious events come in threes, usually within a 36 to 48-hour frame–three traffic crashes, three deaths, three major fires, etc. When I was a working journalist many years ago, everyone in the news room swore the “rule of three” was factual. Indeed, we kept track over the years and proved the theory time and again.

    Theoretically, I believe the rule applies to the United States of America today, and the three events have already occurred. Here they are, briefly stated:

    1. Educational Failure: We have failed to school our children with information about the foundational history of America and how we came to be the most successful governmental experiment ever attempted–Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelt’s, WW1 and WW2, among hundreds of other examples–now threatened by liberal intelligentsia leanings toward Socialism.

    2. Bureaucratic subserviency: Allowing those who work for the people in government (the bureaucrats) to take complete charge of governmental operations for their own purposes without fear of reprisal, and, more importantly, without fear of dismissal under the unionized civil service rules. There are seemingly no repercussions for incompetence or criminal activity in government. In many cases our liberties are being taken from us.

    3. Abandoned Oversight: Rather than electing a “citizen government”, American voters are now prey to the professional politician who serves only to advance his/her notoriety, power, prestige, and financial position, rather than truly serving at the behest of the electorate. It appears voters are not engaged, politicians are doing as they choose.

    One could expand items within each of these three serious event categories to include malfeasance in office, outright theft, deficit spending, ignoring infrastructure needs, etc. Too, a governmental sterility against any religious faith contributes to a moral decay expanding daily in a nation founded upon Judeo-Christian belief.

    The lists could go on and on. Fundamentally, however, it is my view we have allowed ourselves to become subservient to government and are too busy with extracurricular activities to care. Currently, the present Congress allows the Executive Branch nearly complete sway over the affairs of this country in such a way as to undo much of what has taken more than 200 years to achieve. We are in a serious state of affairs perpetrated by both Democrat and Republican politician.

    There is no point in belaboring the issues I’ve addressed. It is up to you to ponder the rule of three. In my view we may have allowed ourselves to sign the death warrant for America, a warrant that may not be reversible. — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

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  • dannyboystories 10:25 PM on March 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    It all depends on interpretation whose ox is getting gored! 

    The instantaneous national flap over the Indiana General Assembly’s approval of a religious freedom statute (RFRA, or  Religious Freedom Restoration Act) was apparently caused single-handedly by a national gay rights group. The nasty power play by the group has caused leaders of every stripe to shudder in their collective boots.

    That is not the way it is supposed to be in this democratic republic, but has, sadly, become the norm.

    This blog is not about the ongoing Indiana RFRA situation. However, if you want to know the real truth of that matter, read this: http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/30/apple-ceo-tim-cook-is-a-hypocrite-and-wrong-about-indiana-religious-freedom/?utm_content=bufferaec87&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer .

    What really bothers me, are the nearly militant minorities and organizations who deliberately split the citizens of this nation into groups. At one time, it was a matter of personal responsibility to belong to the Lions Club, Rotary, and the like. Good things for communities still come from these and similar organizations. Now, however, there are too many new splinter organizations that have cropped up with the sole purpose to demand and force their views, however inharmonious, on others. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the gay rights group are only two examples of organizations using every threatening means to promote their point of view.

    Even the Congress is divided into fractional groups: The Black Caucus, the Green Caucus, the Tea Party Caucus, not to mention the divisive Democrat and Republican caucuses, and others created by lobbyists to advance particular causes.

    Aided and abetted by a national press with few scruples regarding truthful reporting, these new groups use every social and public relations trick in the book to get their way. Merchants and businesses fear even a minor downturn in profits because of news reports about carefully crafted and twisted minor incidents blown out of proportion to create the desired result.

    The recent flap over the Hoosier State’s law (patterned after the federal statute signed into law in the 90’s by Bill Clinton) only demonstrates what a few folks can do to disrupt commerce and the very lifeblood of this nation. It is fearsome, and should cause every citizen to sit up and take notice what is happening. Remember the two fellows dressed in black, standing with night sticks at a polling place a few years back. They did nothing but reinforce an intimidation toward voters that worked–news media flocked to the site, headlines screamed. Half-truths, supported by a vocal protest, will work wonders on politicians seeking re-election. Tell a lie often enough and it often becomes truth in the minds of an unknowing and uninformed general public.

    Have we reached the point the loudest minority of whatever kind will dictate to the majority? I fear we have.

    In all honesty, I do not take comfort in same-sex marriages, or same-sex sex. However, I do not launch a disingenuous campaign of fear to coerce others into my way of thinking.

    Insofar as religion is concerned, I believe the area of personal faith should be totally hands off. The Constitution says government should butt out of religion. Period.That’s’ the way it should be. That’s my opinion. — D. C. ‘Dan’ LeeOxen

     
  • dannyboystories 2:37 PM on March 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    MEMO TO WRITERS: Independently publishing an E-Book is not indicative of success! 

    Let’s be brutally honest, just because you independently published a digital story on Amazon does not mean you are an instant success as a writer/author. In fact, in many cases, poor writing quality results in just the opposite.

    [As a matter of full disclosure, I have more than a dozen titles published on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Diesel, etc. (www.dannyboystories.com) Further, I spent nearly 20 of my 60 professional years as a journalist and newspaper publisher, before switching to business management where I could make significantly more money. Nevertheless, I consider myself an Old Scribe Hack. The thoughts below are my own opinions.]

    First, it is necessary to determine what constit utes success: Income or Notoriety. You will need to decide that for yourself. My personal opinion, though, is you must be making money to be successful. Many would disagree with my position: “I write for the sheer joy of it”. “I just love writing”. “I have something to say”.

    Hogwash!

    Fiction writers write because they want income or notoriety, or both. Furthermore, it is downright fun.

    Excluding non-fiction, many writers today eliminate the very important step of proper editing by a professional. Admittedly, that adds a couple thousand dollars to the cost of publishing (assuming 100,000 words) that most independent writers cannot afford. Certainly, your grandmother and aunt cannot be indicators of good writing skills. No relative is unbiased. So, how about improving the quality of the work we publish independently?

    Marketing is the bugaboo of every independent writer. Oh, we all try, but marketing is a skill requiring education and knowledge of the marketplace. There are thousands of web sites enticing independent writers to their databases, promising “untold sales”. Many are “free” sites, but they want your information to sell to other sites. Guess who is making money. Then, we have the “subscription” sites that charge a fee to post your book on the site.

    The difficulty with all “free” or “subscription” sites is these have the same problem you have selling your book: How does the ordinary book enthusiast find the web site?. The average Joe or Jane will never find your book on “Site X” because there are so many sites. The Internet is clogged with well meaning web sites.

    Marketing is the most critical problem for the independent writer!

    A couple of years ago, several writers got together (including me) and attempted to form a writer’s cooperative. The idea was to use the modest dues money ($75 each per year) to fund a major web presence, PR, and marketing campaign, much as Sunkist, Ocean Spray, Ace Hardware, and others have successfully done. More than 250 writers expressed interest. Only 37 paid dues. The corporation had to disband for lack of interest and funds.

    So, what is the answer for the independent writer? How can we sell our books? How do we improve our quality? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

    Independent fiction writers are an unselfish bunch. Ask a question on a forum for writers, you’ll get 50 well thought out answers in a hurry. But, writers are stubbornly independent thinkers, too. I know I am. Therein is the problem trying to sell our own books. We don’t listen much to our own good advice when it comes to sales, despite the lack of marketing skills. It’s a bit like: “Physician heal thyself!”

    More than 1,000 works are added to the massive number of books on-line every day. You are in competition with a million other titles, make sure your work is the best it can be before you upload that file. – D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

    ChickenCrossRoad JPG SML 150

     
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