Random Comments and Thoughts 20220428

The whole Twitter meltdown maybe for nothing this past week was interesting to watch. Everyone saying, “where are you going?” in hopes of not losing the connections they’d made on a third-party site. And the site I saw mentioned the most not even being one I’d heard of before.

I am a Luddite with my blog here and pretty much nothing else. I know that social media sells books because I’ve bought books from authors I saw on social media, but a lot of it seems like so much time and energy spent for not much result.

And I’ve also probably sworn off buying from as many authors because of social media so it ultimately comes to down to how likeable you are. Me, not so much, so I focus elsewhere.


I’m pretty sure I redid something like thirty covers this month. I got stuck on some of my writing projects and it always feels productive to redo covers even if it has no actual impact on my bottom line.

I do think the covers I redid were better. (I just redid the Office 2019 ones and like this new style much better, for example.) But I’m not sure they were so much better that it was worth the effort.

This is why I like to do most of my own covers, though. Because at least when I get the urge to rebrand it’s a fun design exercise for me and only costs time not lots of money.


I also saw that you can now do auto-narrated audiobooks on Google, but I’m thinking that’s a no for me.

I might have tried it with some of my older non-fiction if I didn’t already have that in audio, but overall I don’t think auto-generated anything can give the right inflection that fiction requires.

Plus, it wasn’t clear how much you could fix the pronunciation. I have Word read my cozies to me as a final check and the way it pronounces “grimaced” has made me almost stop using that word. (Almost. I really like to have characters grimace.)

I think sometimes with this business it’s a matter of knowing where not to spend your time as much as anything. (I paid for that PublishDrive AppSumo deal last year and did load some of my books there but I’d already covered the major stores so it was obscure stores only and…crickets. Should’ve probably passed on it, but FOMO.)


In non-writing things…

I think I’m going to move again, which is annoying and disruptive.

I have nine bookcases at the moment because I swapped out some shorter ones for six-footers. Packing and moving that many books is always a lot of effort.

But it turns out that even though I wasn’t here for the worst of the fire I get a little twitchy on windy days now.

We had some absurd extremely high fire danger day last week and instead of working I spent the day refreshing Twitter to see if a fire had started anywhere nearby in case we needed to evacuate since last time I wouldn’t have received a notice. (Climate change is real folks.)

Even knowing the difference now between “gee the sky looks grayish, I wonder if there’s a fire somewhere” and “something is definitely on fire nearby” doesn’t make me rest easy.

I should take comfort from the fact that so much burned here that it’s unlikely it’ll happen again. But the crazy thing about walking around this area is seeing how much didn’t burn. A thousand homes were lost but if you look at where the fire was and what could’ve burned it’s a miracle we didn’t lose twice as many homes. Fences and drainage areas between homes burned but the homes on either side were untouched.

It’s crazy to think about.


Of course every time I decide to move it’s this whole weighing of competing priorities and choices.

My family is here so I want to stay here for now. But that’s an expensive choice compared to moving to Smalltown, Wherever. I could go buy a cute little house with a cute little yard and ignore my neighbors but have the perfect home for me and my dog right now.

But then I’d feel bad about not being here for my 93-year-old grandma and my won’t-get-vaccinated-but-is-high-risk mom.

So trade-offs have to be made.

Of course, that means multiple conversations with my mom where she says things like, “Oh, so that new place you’re looking at doesn’t have a dog park?” and leaves the disapproving silence to speak for itself. Her belief that my dog needed a yard even though we’d only ever lived in apartments at that point is how I ended up buying a house eight years ago.

But I am not worrying about that this time around. My dog literally sleeps 22 hours of every day and sometimes refuses to leave the apartment more than twice in a day. I think she’ll be fine without the dog park.


Also, after two-plus years one of my inner circle finally caught COVID. I was one of those people who had somehow managed to have all of my immediate family and close friends not get it. (Helps when one of my best friends lives in New Zealand.)

Even the ones that were taking more risks than I’d be comfortable with somehow had stayed safe until now.

But that’s the thing. It’s a chance each time you’re out there, right? And for this person one of those chances went against them. They’re triple-vaxxed so hopefully okay, but they said they feel the worst they ever have in their life right now. And they have some risk factors, so here’s hoping it’s just a few unpleasant days.

It is a reminder, though, that the basic facts of what we’re facing haven’t changed. (If anything they’ve gotten worse over the last two years in terms of transmissibility.) But each time we take a risk and come out okay we mentally adjust our risk calculations to think we’re actually safer than we are because that thing didn’t happen to us.

In skydiving that’s why so many injuries happen to mid-level experienced skydivers.

You start out and you’re nervous because you’re jumping out of a frickin’ plane but you don’t really know what you’re risking.

And then you learn just how dangerous it can actually be and it’s like, “oh god, that idiot that was lighting his breath on fire last night could take me out and there’s nothing I could do about it” or “wait, you mean, I could actually survive a bad jump and be permanently injured instead? Ugh.”

But if you get past that stage then it’s like, “I’m a sky god who obviously isn’t facing the same odds as everyone else because I have safely jumped out of a plane 500 times now and see me swoop?”

Yes, right into the frickin’ ground because you thought the same rules don’t apply to you, dude. But they do.

It’s fascinating how mindset impacts risk. I’m sure there’s lots of research on it out there if only I went looking for it. But right now I’m reading up on chaos theory. From a book that was originally published like 40 years ago…

Too much information out there. Not enough time to absorb it all. Too bad we don’t get like 100 tries at this life just to see the possible outcomes, you know? Like playing through a video game with branching story lines more than once.

Ah well. We only get the one go. And my dog is due to be fed in this one, so…

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at] gmail.com.

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