Friends of Main Street Rag, if you received a link to this newsletter, you are among the few. Why is that? Because we had a computer crash--our main computer--on January 21 and the biggest loss was our email address book. The production files and business files were backed up and what wasn't completely up to date was quickly retrieved, but the one thing we could not back up was the address book.
We have most of the email addresses in another database, but it's not compatible with the program we use for the newsletter emails. That was broken up into states, countries, regions and allowed me to focus a message to a particular area so as not to intrude on those for whom attending a specific event was obviously not possible. The problem is: the address book and mailing list were being distributed using old software -- software I liked very much for this purpose, so I never upgraded. As a result, even though we have recovered the address book, we can't load it onto any of our other computers and send out notification from there. The newer software can't open it.
So, we're going to rebuild it and those of you who did receive notice that the February installment of the newsletter is up or just happened to stumble upon it while visiting our website can help. Here's how:
If you have your own mailing list, please mention The Main Street Rag Crash of 2013 to those on your list--particularly the writers. Tell them that, if they were on our mailing list before The Crash, and would like to continue, they should email me and ask to be added or placed back on. The other thing that is helpful is if they tell me what state, province, or country they are in so, as we rebuild, we can retain the partitions that have allowed us to target specific regions with specific messages for regional events we sometimes sponsor.
We appreciate your assistance.
BLOG, BLOG, BLOG, BLOG; BLOG, BLOG, BLOG, BLOG
Last year about this time I asked Beth Browne to help with marketing. Her official title is Associate Editor / PR Coordinator, but I have taken to referring to her (affectionately) as the Mistress of Propaganda or the Propaganda Ministress. Beth had us try all kinds of things last year that we had never done before. Many involved giving things away. I love to give things away--particularly when people pay for them. And that was part of the plan: giveaway to inspire purchase. For some titles it was effective. For others, not so much.
One of her other suggestions was that we start a blog. Lots of discussion: Who's going to write it? How often? How long? When's the best time to post? Where should we host it? Yes, we had lots of discussions.
I have a particular opinion about blogs. To me, too often they are used in the same way people have corrupted social media groups. You know how it is: Will you be my friend so I can try to sell you stuff every other day or ping you every hour? There are folks out there using social media this way, but too much is too much. Social media on steroids is almost as bad as having a daily (or hourly) attack of door-to-door salesperson. So, we danced around the idea of a blog for 8-9 months. Finally, her ministress sent me an email and said (not in so many words) it's up, get writing. Afterward came a series of emails with topic suggestions. Those of you who know me, know how good I am at following suggestions/instructions.
Anyway, we've added a blog to our arsenal. I will post there every other week or so. MSR editors and authors will fill in at other times. The address is: http://mainstreetrag.wordpress.com/
I made my first post last week and will make another February 10. I hope readers stop by. I promise not to let it degrade into door-to-door salesmanship. I want to have fun with it and I want readers to have fun with it, too.
NEWSLETTER NEWS, Part 2
Now that we have everyone clued in to our dilemma, it's fair to let readers know that this issue is going to be MSR Monthly Newsletter light. Light as in: all of the time required to catch up on what was lost as a result of The Crash will mean starting over since the formatting for this newsletter and it's core of information was also among the things we have not yet been able to recover. Given when this took place, we're going to forego the listings for February.
Which brings me to another point: There are a handful of people out there--a couple of publishers in particular--who appear in my In Box almost daily. If you go by the book, this is considered good marketing. I must be immune to good marketing. I find this habit of "constant contact" annoying and usually block everyone who does it. I reference this because I never want this newsletter to degrade to that level. In the world of marketing, that may make it less effective, but in my world it makes it a hell of a lot more considerate of other peoples' time and privacy and I can live with that.
I bring this up now because I want them to know that changes are coming to the MSR Monthly Newsletter. We're going to shorten it and focus more on what we do here and less on what other publishers are doing. There are now hundreds of locations on the website that feature Contest listings and Calls for Manuscripts. I like to think that the readers who sign up for this newsletter, do so for other reasons. They do so because they are interested in Main Street Rag. And that's what we're going to give them.
Among the things the Mistress of Propaganda wanted to do with our fancy new blog was to feature and promote our authors. I think that may be too cramped a format for that material and it would be better posted here in the newsletter. So, that's one thing we're going to do. We thinned out the call for manuscripts several months ago. Going forward, we'll support our related publications and those we feel are deserving of a plug. We will thin the contest listings down to those we feel readers might most interest readers. We will have short features on reading events, who's reading there and why it's worth coming out to see them. We'll talk about contributors to our quarterly literary magazine, The Main Street Rag, upcoming book releases, literary tupperware parties. That's the future of this newsletter.
Some readers who may drop off after we thin out the listings, but we hope they will stay a while, see how it evolves, and hear some of the new voices who will be contributing to the New MSR Monthly Newsletter.
We are now reading for a new anthology with a PORCHES theme. This anthology will include poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. If you have some cool porch photos, we may use them as well. Maureen Sherbondy is editing and the submission period will last until March 31. We've already had a ton of poetry submissions, but we really need more fiction and non-fiction. We want a balanced collection or it won't be worth doing. We'll take previously published as long as it was not published online or in print since 2008; however, we do not consider simultaneous submissions. All submissions are by email only and need to be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
VERY IMPORTANT: one of the casualties of The Crash is that we lost ALL of the submissions that were sent for this anthology prior to January 4. Those who submitted work prior to January 4, need to send it again. If you know someone who may have submitted early, please pass the word.
MAIN STREET RAG SPONSORED EVENTS
Main Street Rag co-sponsors regular monthly reading series in Charlotte, NC; Fuquay-Varina, NC; Hickory, NC; Kansas City, MO, Lincolnton, NC; Raleigh, NC. Since the MSR Monthly Newsletter is now posted online and we already have an Events Page online, rather than duplicate that space, here is a link to that page: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/events_page.htm
If you are interested in having Main Street Rag co-sponsor a regular monthly series in your area, contact me and we'll work out the details: email@example.com
NEW RELEASES & COMING ATTRACTIONS
Detailed information for New Releases can be found on the New Releases page in the MSR Online Bookstore and Coming Attractions can be found on the Coming Soon Page. Both pages have links below the cover images that will take you to the Author's Page for details and samples. Those items that appear on the Coming Soon Page are discounted up until the date specified below the cover image or on the Author's Page.
Just released/Soon to be:
Poetry Books (full length):
The Hush Before the Animals Attack by Carol Matos
A Theory of Lipstick by Karla Huston
</war> by Chuck Rybak
Grafitti Signatures by Cody Todd (poetry)
Plum(b) by Kim Triedman (poetry)
Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing (poetry) by Lauren Schmidt
As the Moon Has Breath (poetry) by Doris Ferlenger
Countries We Live In (poetry) by David Radavich
Gospel of Dust (poetry) by Joseph Ross
Sudden Country (poetry) by David Mills
Rivers of Saris by Lavinia Kumar
Fantasies of Men (2012 Chapbook Contest Winner) by William Lusk Coppage
Recombinant Loves (poetry) by Lisa Haag Kang
Scrap Metal Mantra Poems (chapbook) by Ken Meisel
Unwelcomed Guests (chapbook) by Nancy Richardson
Cattails (poetry chapbook) by Kathy Nelson
Author's Choice Chapbooks:
Steeplechase (AC chapbook) by Jill Stein
The Remark by Brian Walter Budzynski (novella)
Salt in the Sugar Bowl by Angela Belcher Epps (novella)
Sweet Souls by Charles Blackburn, Jr. (short stories)
Famous Last Lines by Mark Pearson (short stories)
Shug's Place (a novel in stories) by Bob Strother
Learning Time (novel) by Kathie Giorgio
Find the Girl (novella) by Jan Stinchcomb
Infidelity (novella) by G.K. Wuori
Man of Clay (novella) by Courtney Bledsoe
Moroccan Tales of Love (novella) by Salma Ruth Bratt
Stalker (novella) by Charles C. Wilkinson
TWO CENTS (& some change)
NEW PAIN AT THE PUMP + A RESOLUTION
The news outlets just started noticing that the price of gasoline is going up. Again. Well, shucks, people have been trying to drive it up since oil dipped down to $83/barrel a few months ago. Why would anyone want to do that? It's about greed, my friends. Nothing but greed. All these Romney-esque folks who don't actually work for a living, don't actually make anything, make a living off investments, when they saw the price of oil dip into the low $80s, they saw an opportunity. They bought and hoarded.
This is the new capitalism. In the old Capitalism, supply and demand determined the value of a product. In the new Capitalism, you have to be proactive. You have to force the hand of a diminishing buyer. Yes, I said a diminishing buyer. The demand for oil is down--especially in America. That's a fact. By the principles of old Capitalism, that would also drive the price down--which it was doing--but that doesn't make for enough profits. That's not good enough for those who live off capital gains. So, what do they do? They buy it up and store it, creating a false shortage that tumbles into increased competition for what remains on the market, driving the price up. Money making money without any labor. It's like a tax on drivers only the tax doesn't go to something useful like maintaining the roads. No, it goes into some profiteer's pocket to make sure his kid gets a seat at an elite school or his wife can have both an East Coast and West Coast Cadillac.
I can fix this. Remember: I'm a fixer.
This week our local electrical supplier applied to the state for a rate hike. To become a provider of a public utility, it has to be licensed and all rate hikes have to be approved by a state commission. A public utility, energy, something American households and businesses need to function. Price increases for utilities are regulated by laws.
How is gasoline any less of a public utility than electricity? I could make an argument that it is actually more of a public utility because the costs affect the cost of running government, military, police, fire and emergency vehicles.
If you want to eliminate the volatile gasoline prices, make suppliers apply for price hikes and make it so that they can only apply once every quarter.
Of course the capitalist crowd would cry foul because we'd be preventing them from rigging the system in their favor and North American producers would try to sell their oil overseas--like they're doing now--to make more money. But what makes it their oil, anyway? Their taking it out of our lands. We should slap a floating tariff on any oil exporting to the extent that it would hardly be profitable to ship overseas. That would create enough of a glut here to keep our prices stable.
But what about investors? How will those poor people be able to maintain their high-rent properties. People invest in utility stocks as well. The last time I looked, Duke Energy paid a hefty 76 cents a share quarterly dividend. As a matter of comparison, FaceBook and Netflix--two very hot companies--paid nothing last year and Apple--the world's biggest corporation as of the last quarter filings--paid out $2 and some change. Seventy-six cents a share is a decent dividend.
The problem with free market oil is that it's not free market. We allow the system to be rigged. Rigging a system to create higher profits isn't Capitalism, it's thievery and we should not only discourage the practice, we should get together with other nations to make the practice illegal and dole out jail time for those who practice it because it is akin to holding the world hostage. Almost like a James Bond plot; something Goldfinger might hatch up.
Yes, my ideas for fixing the imbalance is radical. I said I could fix it. I didn't say everyone would like how I fixed it.
Any time I run an ad for help in the newsletter I get a bunch of emails from folks who are available to help with editing chores. They have lots of time to read for the magazine or books or proof read. Don't let the section title fool you. That's not what this section is about.
Six years ago I ran an ad in the Charlotte Observer and Creative Loafing simultaneously looking for someone I could train on the job to take over some of the manual labor, the task of making books. I didn't receive a single call. These are the two most widely distributed papers in the region and they couldn't generate a single call combined.
January 10th I placed an ad in a free local paper for shipping and receiving and data entry clerk job--will train. I had over 40 calls. The ad is no longer running and I'm still receiving calls. I tell these folks that this job is entry level, stuffing envelopes and updating databases 3-4 hours a day and I am looking to fill the job for $9 an hour or less. When they call, I tell them, if the pay scale didn't scare you away, send me a resume. Almost everyone who sent a resume had either a college degree or tons of experience. I read two MBAs, one MFA, many retired looking for added income.
This is a sad story. So many good, skilled people vying for a job that doesn't pay enough to cover rent. I wish I could hire all of them and pay them a living wage, but the money isn't there. Print publication is a shrinking field. I could do the entire thing myself, but I want some free time to do other things. So I hire helpers to free up 10-20 hours a week and let me have my weekends. For me, they are assistance. To them, it's a job. In some cases, a badly needed job.
This is how America bleeds: like a sliced artery. The heart keeps pumping them out until they're drained and give up.
I know I sound like a socialist, but I know a few people who are also in this pool and now I've brushed up against a shocking number of them and while I'm interviewing them for a job that is well beneath most of their skill levels at a wage that is well below what they went to school to earn, I watch the local sportscaster interview guys about their Man Caves. Guys with a whole flock of collectible cars each of which is worth more than the average person's annual income. The buildings in which they are housed has more square footage than the average home and cost more to build as well. And I wonder how we came to this imbalance where some people make so much for what they do that can afford an expensive hobby like car collecting while others who have worked hard all their lives, have loads of experience and skills are scratching and clawing with their neighbors to get a job that pays as little as what I have to offer. Doesn't that say there's something wrong in America?
SHOT IN THE FOOT
The sad story of Sandy Hook and all the shootings that have made the news since--the survivalist in Alabama who grabs up a grade-schooler and keeps him in a bunker for a week--if these stories don't tell you that there are far too many people with guns who shouldn't have them, I don't know what does. What I don't understand is the cowardice among our elected officials that prevents them from doing something about it. Wayne LaPierre brags about how the ranks of the NRA has grown as a result of the threat of gun control over all the recent shootings. He seems to think the public is on his/their side. He has millions of members and a huge lobby. Well guess what, NRA members amount to less than 10% of the voting public and 75% of Americans want something done about the spread of weapons of mass destruction--and that's exactly what these automatic weapons are. It's probably pissing in the wind to say it, but members of Congress need to grow a backbone and for one time in their lives do what's right for America, do the job they were elected to do: protect the public as a whole, not a 10% faction that can't seem to think rationally. Can't anyone else see that this attitude some people have of "they can pry it from my rotted corpse" when it comes to gun ownership is a prime example of the very people who should not be owning guns--especially semi-automatic weapons with large capacity clips?
M. Scott Douglass
Main Street Rag
P.O. Box 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
CHARLESTON STYLE & DESIGN MAGAZINE
A Call for Essays. They publish a personal essay every quarter (pays $180). For consideration, send your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org. For guidelines, visit http://ow.ly/cubYa
IODINE POETRY JOURNAL
is seeking quality poetry, preferably no longer than 40 lines. Published semiannually, in Spring and Fall. Only unpublished work. No simultaneous submissions. Send 3-5 poems. Details: http://www.iodinepoetryjournal.com/
We do not have the guidelines up yet or a web page or an email to handle submissions--because we're not taking submissions yet. But poets in North and South Carolina--we wanted to let you know it's coming and details will be found right here real soon. Stay tuned.
THE MAIN STREET RAG
We are currently reading poetry, short fiction (for the magazine), essays, interviews, and reviews. These items are now email-only. Other guidelines have also been recently updated. Authors should visit the website prior to submitting any work. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/How2GetIn.html
MOONSHINE REVIEW seeks unpublished creative prose and photography. Please check website for guidelines before submitting: http://moonshinereview.wordpress.com/
(NEW) BEYOND HIGH WINDOWS by Mary Allred Crews (Main Street Rag, 2013). Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-396-2. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/MCrews.html
(NEW) HIGH GROUND by Jo Barbara Taylor (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-418-1. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/JoTaylor_2012.html
(NEW) MINI LOVE GUN by Kayla Sargeson (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-416-7. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KSargeson.html
(NEW) PALE BLUE MERCY by Sally Stewart Mohney (Main Street Rag, 2013). Author's Choice Chapbook. 44 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-417-8. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/SMohney.html
(NEW) DIGRESSIONS ON GOD by Emily Vogel (Main Street Rag, 2012). Author's Choice Chapbook. 36 pages. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/EVogel.html
(NEW) CINNAMON OF DESIRE by Jay S. Carson (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poetry. 88 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-394-8. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/JCarson.html
(NEW) NATURE'S WAY by John Wendel (Main Street Rag, 2012). nature/educational. 60 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-395-5. $12. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/JWendel.html
(NEW) ORANGE FIRE by Judith R. Robinson (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poetry. 90 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-389-4. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/JRRobinson.html(
(NEW) LUCKY BASTARD by Gary V. Powell (Main Street Rag, 2012). Novella. 340 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-382-5. $15.95. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/GPowell.html
TATTOOS edited by Alice Osborn (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Fiction Anthology. 240 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-380-1. $14.95. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/Tattoos.html
KEEPING TRACK: FICTION OF LISTS edited by Yelizaveta P. Renfro (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Fiction Anthology. 210 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-381-8. $14.95. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KeepingTrack.html
AFTERMATH edited by Rayne Debski (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Fiction Anthology. 350 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-384-9. $15.95. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/Aftermath.html
FOR(E)CLOSURE by Mary Weems (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poetry. 67 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-386-3. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/MWeems.html
SHORTLY THEREAFTER by Colin D. Halloran (Main Street Rag, 2012). WINNER of the 2012 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. 83 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-383-2. $15. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/CHalloran.html
WAKING TO LIGHT by Phebe Davidson (Main Street Rag, 2012). Poems. 55 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-385-6. $14. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/PDavidson_2012.html
ATTORNEY-AT-LARGE by Gaynell Gavin (Main Street Rag, 2012). Novella. 98 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-378-8. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/GGavin.html
TIME ON IT'S OWN by Kenneth Frost (Main Street Rag, 2012). Author's Choice Chapbook. 50 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-404-4. $8. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/KFrost_2.html
THE MASKED DEMON by Mark Spencer (Main Street Rag, 2012). Novella. 160 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-374-0. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/MSpencer.html
BLUE SUBURBAN SKIES by Richard Peabody (Main Street Rag, 2012). Short Stories. 140 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-376-4. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/RPeabody.html
MOUNTAIN MEMOIRS: AN ASHE COUNTY ANTHOLOGY edited by Chris Arvidson, Scot Pope, & Julie E. Townsend (Main Street Rag, 2012). Anthology. 150 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59948-379-5. $11. Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/MountainMemoirs.html
THE MAIN STREET RAG, Winter 2013, Details: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/NewReleases.php
IODINE POETRY JOURNAL, Fall/Winter 2012, Details: http://www.iodinepoetryjournal.com/IPJBookstore.html
THE GREENSBORO REVIEW, No. 92, Fall 2012, Details: http://tgronline.net/
COLD MOUNTAIN REVIEW, Vol. 41, No. 1, Fall 2012, Details: http://coldmountain.appstate.edu/
INTERNATIONAL POETRY REVIEW, Spring 2012, Details: http://www.uncg.edu/llc/intl_poetry_review/ipr.html
THE LITERARY REVIEW, Volume 55, No. 04, Spring 2012, Details: http://www.theliteraryreview.org/
MOONSHINE REVIEW, Fall/Winter 2012, Details: http://moonshinereview.wordpress.com/order-the-latest-issue
THE CAROLINA QUARTERLY, Vol. 62, No. 3, Winter 2012, Details: www.thecarolinaquarterly.com
See you again next month.
M. Scott Douglass
Main Street Rag
PO Box 690100
Charlotte, NC 28227-7001