Wednesday, December 4, 2019

My Crystal Ball's a Little Cloudy

Thought for the day: Wise old ladies don't plan too far into the future. [me]


Yep. It's that time again.Time for our monthly IWSG posts. As always, thanks to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and thanks to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. I'm telling ya, this group offers better support and lift than the world's most expensive bra. (No pesky underwires, either!) To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

Writing is still taking a back seat right now, but with the end of scheduled chemo and radiation now in sight, if all goes well, maybe I can invite my muse back into my life after the first of the year. We shall see.

In the meantime, I'm gonna vent a little. As I write this, it is Saturday afternoon, and maybe the issue will be resolved prior to the publication of this post on Wednesday, but I'm gonna spit it out anyway.

I firmly believe in writing and posting a review after reading a book, because I KNOW how important that feedback is to writers...  especially the insecure ones. (Which pretty much means ALL of us.) Typically, I post on both Goodreads and Amazon, and to date, I've posted a bazillion of 'em with no problems.

Until now.

For some reason, Amazon has rejected my last four reviews. I tried resolving the problem via email messaging with someone in customer service this past week, but that didn't go well. I ended up getting an email the next day from someone with Amazon in INDIA... saying I needed to have a password-protected account in INDIA... and spend such-and-such amount of money per year on INDIA Amazon before I could post a review.

HUH???

Last time I looked, I've never even BEEN in India. (Musta been some other Susan Swiderski...)

My attempt to respond to that email proved worthless, so I hope to resolve the issue via telephone next week. I mean... what the heck? I'm curious: have any of you encountered the same issue? 'Tis annoying...

At any rate, I'm gonna tell you guys about one of those rejected book reviews, because I think You Beneath Your Skin is well worth promoting. It's the brilliant debut from one of our very own IWSG members, the talented Damyanti Biswas. Not only is her book an eye-opener about the horrors of  acid attacks on women and the dismal living conditions and difficulties for the poverty-stricken children of India, but it's also a thought-provoking story of self-identity and inner strength... and it's beautifully well-written. But wait! That's not all...  All proceeds from book sales are being donated to organizations that help these women and children. We can't all be Mother Teresa, but we can all benefit by becoming aware of the issues that so touched her heart. If you treat yourself to a book this Christmas, I humbly suggest this one.

Now, for this month's question:

Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

I think Snoopy's got the right idea.

To tell the truth, I don't look too far into the future, especially since Smarticus got diagnosed. I'm taking each day as it comes and making the best of it. Besides, I'm getting old enough that I have to seriously consider whether or not it's a waste of money to buy green bananas from the grocery store... (HA! Just kidding on that one. It's perfectly safe to buy green bananas, no matter how old you are. More likely than not, they'll be overripe by the time you get them home, anyway...)

Seriously, if I'm gonna imagine the future me living the writer's dream... it'd be great if a kind-hearted publisher read my books and knocked on my door like The Millionaire used to do on the old TV show. He can keep his money, though. I just want him to fall so in love with my books that he wants to publish and promote the second two books in my trilogy. Heck, if you're gonna dream, might as well dream big, eh? (If he wants to toss some moolah into the deal, I guess that'd be okeydoke, too...)

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.









57 comments:

  1. If anyone can fathom the vagaries of Amazon accepting or rejecting reviews, they should write a book about it! I'm sure it would be a best-seller.

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  2. Ah, Amazon is sometimes a mystery. I can't imagine too many people with the same name living over there, though! Love the Snoopy cartoon. I hope you will soon be able to settle down to your writing again, but getting Smarticus' treatment done is more important. Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Yeah, I don't think there are too many... if any... Susan Swiderskis living in India. (But who knows?) The issue still hasn't been resolved, but I'm not giving up.

      You're right. That's definitely my highest priority. Hugs back atcha.

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  3. Hiss and spit at Amazon and the hoops it makes people jump through.
    Of course you have been concentrating on the important issues, but I suspect your muse has been quietly working away out of sight. And probably stealing/borrowing/enhancing things you have seen and done.

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    1. Agreed. I don't understand why they make things so difficult.

      I hope so! I've started thinking about the book again, so that's a good sign.

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  4. Hi Susan - life and the cloudy areas ... it'll be good to have the muse and you back - but do understand life is life. Damyanti's book is outstanding - and supporting those two charities is just such an excellent thoughtful, generous idea ... thanks for the recommendations and reminders - we can all buy, read, or give as a present, or just give and people who deserve more in life in Delhi, India will have a bit more security.

    Amazon is a nightmare ... my review went through ... I just checked.

    Snoopy is always a great read - giving us a snapshot into life.

    Take care and with thoughts - Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary.

      Yes, Damyanti's book really is outstanding, and I have you to thank for making me aware of it. (Thank you!)

      I still haven't resolved the silly problem with Amazon, but I'm not giving up! (Yet.)

      You take care, too. Cheers!

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  5. If I was already there, living the dream? I'd be in a house on the beach, not on the sand of course, that's a castle waiting to be washed away, but a house where I can see and smell the ocean waves every single day and this house would have enough rooms that I could dedicate one to be a writing room, where nothing else happens except maybe umpteen mugs of coffee to keep me going. In real life, aka now, I'm ignoring all of the three books I've started.

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    1. Now, THAT'S a lovely dream. :)

      I always loved the idea of living near the ocean... but not TOO near. A hurricane can wipe out oceanfront property in the blink of its eye.

      Hey! Can't make that dream come true if ya don't keep writing...

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  6. Yeah, they sometimes get a bug up their butt and prevent reviews for just random reasons. I can't say I'd skip the money, screw the like, I'll take the money and run. They can butcher it with some movie of the week starring Pee Wee Herman if they like, just pay me good lol

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    1. Amazon's giving me a "reason"... they say I haven't met their minimum requirement for annual purchases, which is waaaaay wrong. Somebody screwed up, and it wasn't me.

      HA! I like the way you think.

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  7. I would have to add to the Feed the Authors board = cake and cookies and.... :) And I love the Snoopy pic!

    Wishing you and Smarticus good health going forward!

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    1. Oh yeah... the cake and cookies and all other kinds of junk food definitely belong on there.

      Thanks!

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  8. Glad the treatment will be done soon.
    That was a really odd response from Amazon.

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  9. Weird to be rejected from Amazon on a review that was no doubt, well written and coherent. That's the state of the world today.
    Love the Snoopy cartoon and Santa. Then again, I always told the boys stuff had to be spelled right on their list or they wouldn't get it. They never did figure out how to spell Ferrari. Whew!
    Take care and hope it's a feeling stronger kind of Christmas. All the best my friend.

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    1. Amazon simply made some kind of boner. Their pop-up "apology" says I didn't spend enough money to be able to post a review. Hogwash! I've spent waaaaay too much money. Oh well. It'll all get straightened out eventually.

      HA! Thanks for the chuckle. I'm glad your boys didn't know how to spell Ferrari. (Then again, if they DID, there's always Hot Wheels...)

      You take care, too, kiddo.

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    2. There's a minimum requirement spend?? Just to post a review?? that's a bit greedy of them.

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  10. There are many things that I dislike about Amazon and many more that puzzle me - - but your present situation is baffling.

    I don't know much about the policies of Amazon reviews, and don't profess to know what I'm talking about - - but perhaps you have to reside in India in order to write a review for an Indian author???
    Were your other rejected reviews written for American books?

    I'm too busy recuperating from my past to worry about my future.
    But, what the hell.....
    I'd ideally like to be living somewhere nestled in the Alps, writing best-sellers and avoiding the chaos and tribulations of humanity. A hermit and misanthrope - - but a beloved one (who gets excellent Amazon reviews).

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    1. Nope, the other books were written by Americans, and I've posted countless reviews for other foreign writers before with no problem. Like you say... baffling. I sent another email on Monday, but still no response, so I reckon it'd time to use the phone. (sigh)

      In the Alps, huh? Dontcha know it gets COLD there? (Then again, I guess you've had your share of cold right where you are...) And I'm SURE you'd get excellent reviews on Amazon. (I'd write one for every book you write... if they deign to publish it...)

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  11. Glad to hear Smarticus' treatment will be done soon. Keeping you both in my thoughts.

    Damyanti's book is marvelous. Amazon can be the opposite of marvelous at times. Amazon banned me from leaving reviews at one point, then reinstated my privileges, but I've stopped leaving reviews on there. So much can go wrong.

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    1. Thanks. I appreciate it.

      It's tempting to give up on posting reviews on Amazon, but I'm still hoping to get reinstated, too. I think more people read the reviews on Amazon as on Goodreads, so I figure I can do other writers more good by posting there. Maybe I'm wrong... :)

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  12. Living one day at a time is the best way to live, none of knows what tomorrow will bring. We really only have today so we must make the best of what we have, right now.

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    1. I think you're right. We've gotta carpe the heck out of each diem. :)

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  13. I love all the Snoopy the writer strips but I think that one is my favorite. If only LOL.
    I hope Smarticus is on the way to recovery and his health problems will be behind you. Best wishes to you both and I hope you and your family all have a wonderful holiday. :)

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    1. It's my favorite, too.

      Thanks. Best wishes to you and your family, too. The year is quickly coming to an end... Let's hope for a bright and shiny new year.

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  14. Amazon--ugh. Spent an hour yesterday "chatting" with a tech whose English wasn't up to the job. My prayers for Smarticus's speedy healing. I hope December brings you some peaceful writing time.

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    1. Ugh, indeed. It's been annoying enough dealing with people with a questionable command of the English language via email. I haven't gotten up the gumption to get on the phone yet... (Not looking forward to it, either!)

      Thanks. I dunno about the writing time, but I'd be grateful for the peace. The same to you.

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  15. I gotta hand it to you, going up against Amazon. (Just the thought has me humming, "The Impossible Dream.") Damyanti's book sounds thought-provoking, indeed! I used to fantasize about holing myself up in a ship's cabin and penning my semi-autobiographical novel. How naïve to think I could do so on a 7-day sailing -- lol.

    NOW, I need to go find what I did with the green bananas I bought last week!

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    1. Maybe being the underdog will help me bark a little louder. (HA Yeah... right...) No luck yet.

      HA! If you bought green bananas last week, they should be a nice shade of brown by now...

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  16. Amazon is so frustrating. I remember many, many years ago being with a group of authors who loved Amazon, and I spoke up with a word of caution about putting all eggs in one basket. Everyone scoffed me. But the control they have now is proof.

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    1. You're a smarty, for sure. Yep, you were definitely right.

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  17. I haven't had any trouble- yet. Fingers crossed. Hopefully you get it sorted out. You're my most favorite reviewer.

    My grandma used to make the banana joke, well into her 90's. As for Smarticus, assume it will go well. Positive energy and all. Hugs.

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    1. Thanks. I must confess... I still haven't talked to anyone at Amazon via phone. It's been annoying enough trying to handle the snafu via email and IM with people who aren't particularly familiar with the English language. So... still not resolved.

      I have a feeling I woulda loved your grandma. :)

      Yes ma'am. We've got positive energy out the wazoo. Hugs back atcha.

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  18. Oh, yeah! I don't even try to reason now. All my reviews are removed.

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    1. Ouch! Maybe I shouldn't complain, eh? At least they haven't removed any of my reviews that have already been posted. (Yet.)

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  19. Hopefully you get it all sorted soon.

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    1. Thanks. In the meantime, I'm still posting on Goodreads. If it ever gets resolved, I'll have a good bit of cutting & pasting to do. :)

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  20. I heard there was something going on different with Amazon reviews, but I didn't hear what it was. Please let us know when you find out. Glad the end of chemo/radiation is in sight. Keep on keepin' on and have a Merry Christmas!

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    1. If I get any definitive answers, I'll let you know. It sure is annoying, though. No way in hades I haven't exceeded their purchasing requirements. (grrr)

      Thanks. You have a Merry Christmas, too!

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  21. Comparing your group with a bra makes me laugh! :)

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  22. The review situation makes no sense - reviews power sales so you'd think they'd be welcome! I loved You Beneath Your Skin and have been able to post reviews from the UK and Amazon don't make much profit from me. Meh! Meanwhile I am sending a regular parcel of get well wishes to you and Smarticus xxx

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    1. Agreed. It makes no sense to me, either. I also don't think it makes much sense for them to require a minimum amount of money to be spent per year before a person can post a review. I've always surpassed their minimal fifty bucks, but still... it seem to me that any person who buys any product via Amazon should be eligible to post a review for that item. The validity and value of their review shouldn't have anything to do with the amount of money spent.

      Thanks, kiddo. I appreciate it.

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  23. The review problem scares me. I'm hoping it is not scam. I think I'd research another contact at Amazon other than the one included in the review decline. Praying for your husband, and you.

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    1. That thought crossed my mind, too, but I just think somebody screwed up. I'll keep trying. :)

      Thank you, sweet lady.

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  24. Second try to post. I've been away too long, everything's changed and nothing works the way it used too. Oops, technology's beat me again.
    Amazon refuses to take my reviews. They don't even play by their own rules.

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    1. You, too? Makes NO sense!!!!!!!!

      (Good to see ya back in the blogosphere, kiddo.)

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  25. This travelling cat wants to send some quick greetings from "paradise". Also saw via Geo, that birthday greetings are in order for you two ... as well as for me ... so Happy Birthday to us :) Love, cat.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, cat! I hope you're having a glorious time in paradise. :)

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY, kiddo! (And many mooooooore...) Lots of Sagittarians around here... :) You... Geo... Jon... me...

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    2. Hi Susan! I somehow discovered (I will not reveal all) that you have a birthday coming up pretty quick! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Also, may your holiday season turn out to be everything (and more) you want it to be.

      Dylan

      P.S. I've been keeping you and yours in my daily thoughts, chants, prayers, etc...

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    3. Thanks, Dylan! You don't have to reveal your "source"... since he and I share the day, and you and he are pals... :)

      It's good to hear from you. I hope all is well with you, and I wish you all the best.

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  26. That's crazy the way Amazon rejected your reviews. It makes no sense at all to me. I like your dream. It sounds lovely!

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    1. It is crazy, but evidently, I'm not the only one. I've heard from several other writers who've encountered the same thing. I have to confess, I haven't tried to do much about it yet. Other stuff keeps getting in the way... :)

      Heck, yeah! If we're gonna dream, why not dream BIG?

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