Showing posts from April, 2011

Ethical Toolbox

It's my first national trade article. This month's edition of Quill Magazine is the all-ethics edition. Quill, of course, is the trade mag for the Society of Professional Journalists. I was asked to write the Toolbox article, in which I distilled my one-hour lecture on developing a personal ethics code for journalists down to 600 words. Here it is. I was honored to be asked, considering my relative youth and slight credentials compared to the rest of the ethics commission. I was especially honored since I have publicly disagreed with some of the national organization's decisions this year, authoring two position papers on behalf of the St. Louis chapter, and still they let me hang around and talk. I am always proud to be part of this organization. Oh, and speaking of which: I gave that same speech at the regional conference this past weekend in Kansas City, and got a better reception than I ever have. They listened, they took notes, they laughed at my lame jokes, and

101 ways to lose a customer

You know, I don't mind when businesses screw up. I understand more than most how things can go kablooey. For us at the Literary Underworld, it's the peril of doing business with the U.S. Postal Service. Yes, they do the best they can. But I stopped using book rate after roughly one half of our orders went missing over the course of three months. Now I use Priority Mail only, and still sometimes I hear from a customer that a shipment never arrived. It doesn't matter how long it's been since the order was placed. It doesn't matter whether the customer has proof or paid for delivery confirmation. I replace the order at our expense. Why? Because that customer will buy from us again someday, and if I stomp my foot and whine about the replacement cost, that customer will never come back. For example, once I ordered take-out, and it arrived without the salad. We didn't notice until after the delivery man was gone, so I called. All I wanted was for them to remove

Six Sentence Sunday

As demonstrated by my good friend Angelia Sparrow, here's six sentence from the upcoming King of Swords . (I cheated. It's slightly over six sentences.) Gently Coleen turned the yoke, caressing the handles between her fingers. The ship danced under her touch, nimbly ducking beneath the docking ring and soaring away from the station. She loved this part, the way the ship responded to her touch, a natural symbiosis as she flew around the border patrols and between the satellites toward open space. The lightness of the yoke in her hands made it an extension of herself, and she could feel the energy vibrating through the ship up from its pumping engines to the very lights in the ceiling above her. She realized that Hancock was watching her. “I love to watch you fly,” Hancock said. Coleen grinned. “Better than sex.” She reconsidered. “Almost.”