Virtual Silence Character Profile: Morgan Vale

Morgan is a strong female character in my novel, Virtual Silence. She is the Facility Material Resources Supervisor, in charge of requisition and stores for such daily-use items as paperclips, staples and paper, for the Amalgamate United Corporation, which does so many things, for so many people; All at Once.

She is also the leader of an anti-technology, anti-corporate-conglomerate group called The Virtual Silence Brigade. They want people to unplug from the TV, the internet, their mindless jobs, and smell the petunias for once.

Morgan is in love with the Key Screening Person, Simon De Mont; a mousy man with the heart of a lion. But she’s afraid that telling him might open a can of worms that could devour her little protest group, and change her life not entirely for the better.

Morgan’s copy of the company’s employee handbook is in pristine condition, having sat on her cubicle desk untouched for 15 years.


Memorial Day

Blessings today to anyone who has lost a loved one in a military conflict. Most of the men in my family, and among my friends, have served in the military. Thankfully, all of them came back safe and sound. My best friend, who is like a brother to me, served in Afghanistan recently. I am thankful for the Afghan local who asked my friend to please stop driving his tanker truck over a mined road until professionals got the mines removed. Otherwise, this might be a very different type of post.

New Best Books

So I mentioned the other day that Amazon paid a guy to give some advice to independent authors about how to get the word out about their books. He recommended using Google’s Adwords tool, which turned out to be a great idea.

You have to sign up for it, but since I use a plethora of Google tools anyway, this was not an issue, and I didn’t have to pay anything (yet). Independent authors typically have no money for advertising campaigns.

So here’s what I learned using Adwords: people aren’t buying novels.

Or at least they aren’t searching for them much. I looked up search terms like literary fiction, books about corporate america, business satire, office romance, novels about Occupy Wall Street. Anything I punched in that was specific, that narrowed down what type of novel someone might look for, showed very small numbers of people looking. The searches that had tons of hits were very generic, like New in Fiction,  Books Online, Best Sellers in Books, and so on. Millions of people per month were typing in those searches. I’m not sure how helpful that is to independent authors.

So my search for literary eyeball magnets continues.

Chicken Yogurt

The Huffington Post ran a story a few months back about how chicken nuggets are made from this chicken yogurt garbage. I looked at the label of my favorite brand of chicken hotdogs today. They are made from the same crap. Back to beef hotdogs here. Yes, the Hebrew National hotdogs are much more spendy than the giganto-pack of chicken dogs I used to buy, but they seem to be better quality. Looking at their site, they are also made by a megalithic company.

Sometimes you feel you can’t win.

Virtual Silence Character Profile: Tim Dank

I was listening to Fresh Air on National Public Radio yesterday, and Terry Gross spoke with Jeremy Denk, a fantastic pianist. I thought his name was Dank until I looked him up online.

I was, of course, disappointed.

Tim Dank is the villain in my new novel, Virtual Silence. He is the boss from hell. While he tells you that you’re part of a great team, he is planning your demise, just in case he needs to rub you out (from the employment roster, mind you). He isn’t just the “Coffee is for closers” type. He worships his employer; even has an altar to it in his office. He would take a bullet for the firm. He lies, cheats and steals for the sake of the company.

He is like the printer from Office Space. If you could, you’d . . . well, you’d swear at him.

He’s the guy who thinks Portal of Wisdom is a great name for his office doorway, and Collaboration Education is a great name for the daily pep talk.

And he sleeps with the wrong woman, who writes down everything he says while he talks in his sleep. Hmm, she’d make a good secretary.

The Purpose of Government

Our Government should exist to foster the “American Dream,” whatever the consensus says that should be, without regard to race or color, religion or creed, age, gender or orientation.

An individual citizen should be free to do or be anything they please, as long as their actions and words do not impede others from realizing their dreams.

People should be allowed to elect and remove representatives from office without undue influence from non-citizens.

People should try to get along.

Maybe I see things in too simple terms. But this is why I don’t believe corporations are people, or should have rights like people do. I don’t think lobbyists or campaign contributors serve the democracy, either.

Maybe we need a simpler form of government.

The Book of Dissent

I like the idea of this book. Haven’t read it.

My thing about the Occupy movement is that I don’t believe in the 99% versus the 1%. There’s a small group of very wealthy people who control an inordinate portion of the world’s resources, but they are a heck of a lot smaller than 1%. They are maybe 1% of 1%.

I don’t believe that 99% of the world (or this country) wants or needs to protest anything. The disadvantaged and disenfranchised people of the US are more like 25 – 30%.  Maybe another 30% are underemployed, stuck, somewhat hopeless; but otherwise reasonably well-off and mostly healthy. So a good 40% of the US is pretty happy, quite healthy, and well-enough to-do.

Americans are still very well-fed, on the whole.

Maybe it’s harder to market terms like The 30% or The .001% as the primary players in your drama.

But that’s the real conflict in my opinion.