Bobbing Around Volume 18 Number 2

Just because we are all doomed does not mean we can’t be nice to one another.
Rich McLean

The Palyku nation in the far west [of Australia] has a culture entirely distinct to the Kamilaroi nation in the east. The lands we are custodians of are different, our gods are different, our languages are different. Nyiyaparli to Kamilaroi is like French to Russian. What then did our born-again Aboriginal grandmothers really have in common? An oppressor.
Jared Field

Bobbing Around

Volume Eighteen, Number Two,
August, 2018

Bob Rich’s rave

email    previous issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Wonderful feedback
Entertaining you elsewhere
Please help: spread the word
New Book Review site
The girl who loves a whale

Another tragedy on the way?
AVAAZ report on Trump

We’ve used up this year’s budget
The wood furniture scorecard
Bill McKibben video
Project Drawdown
The north is burning

*Good news
Insuring the future
Antarctic protection
Dutch in the right direction
Hooray for Ireland
UNESCO World Heritage Committee acting on the Great Barrier Reef

*Inspiring people
12 year old inventor
Wealth is not a bar to compassionate logic
Handmade electricity for Puerto Rico

Real Christians

Meat without killing
The ultimate solar cooker
Electronics cook the planet?

*Deeper issues
Why I am a vegan, by Jarvis Rich
When can’t you trust science?
Trees are people, too
Practical Advice From a Barmaid 4,000 Years Ago

Protecting yourself from the news
Building resilience in kids
Less judgmental and more compassionate
Greenery is good for you
I am a lesbian
She is making my son’s life hell

Hope for autoimmune sufferers
Phone safety
Probiotics protect bones
Help with alcohol addiction, from Jason Adams

*Look over a writer’s shoulder
Beware scam publishers, by Caleb Kaiser
Twitter education
Where to submit short stories

*What my friends want you to know
Well-deserved award for Carolyn’s poetry
Award-winning book revised
A Mayan adventure from Michael Thal
Advertise for peace
Poison on the plate, from SumOfUs

Hit and Run reviewed by Dianne Beth
The Coal Truth by David Ritter
From Depression to Contentment reviewed by Theresa Hortley

Bank robbery

Crying Walls, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

We live in a world designed for an environment that no longer exists.
Rich Sorkin

Always treat people as ends, not merely as means.
Emmanuel Kant

Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.

From me to you

Wonderful feedback
Entertaining you elsewhere
Please help: spread the word
New Book Review site
The girl who loves a whale


Wonderful feedback

Petrea King is one of the people on this planet I admire the most. She has spent decades supporting people with the worst life-threatening diseases, and has been a positive influence for literally tens of thousands of them through her Quest for Life Centre.

I sent her a copy of my just-completed From Depression to Contentment, and asked for an endorsement. I’ll treasure her reply forever:

    Hi Bob

    Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity of making an endorsement for your book. I started reading and couldn’t stop…well done Bob.

    Is this the sort of thing you want:

    If you’re depressed and need someone who ‘gets’ you, who’s been there, and who can walk you through the journey towards living a life worth living, then From Depression to Contentment will be your new best friend. Bob’s a straight shooter who tells it as it is. He meets you where you are and can lead you home to yourself.

    Too long? Not long enough? Feel free to edit for your purposes. If you’re happy to go with it, maybe just have Petrea King, Quest for Life Centre or author, Your Life Matters…what do you think?

    May your book find its way into the hands and hearts of those who so desperately need it.

    Warm regards


Entertaining you elsewhere

With the publication of Hit and Run, I am back on the interview and guest post trail. Various kind people have done me the honour of welcoming me on their blog. They are all unique, different, and creative, and have asked me different questions. Also, even when there is an overlap, I do my best to give different answers.

So, I hope even my old friends will find most of the content of these exercises to be entertaining and perhaps instructive.

Please visit each, and leave a comment. And also, please be so kind as to direct other people that way.

First, I’ve answered Norm Goldman’s questions at

Norm doesn’t allow comments, so I have made it possible here. Commenters are in the draw for a copy of any of my 16 titles in print. Although the interview came live on the 3rd of July, I am making the deadline the 6th of August, in order to give YOU a chance.

Joan Edwards

Joan’s interview with me went live on 7th July, at her popular blog. She has set 13th August as the deadline for comments, then there is the draw for a free book.

Books Direct

Lynda Dickson runs Books Direct. She was going to publish our interview a little later, but there was a spot, and I jumped in on the 9th of July. Deadline for comments is 6th August, so, again, you have a chance to participate.

A Writer of History

I recently publicised Mary Tod’s excellent annual survey of historical and other writing, and noticed that she interviews writers. I was impressed at the lineup, and thought, I’m not well-enough known for her. But my rule is, it’s OK to ask anyone anything, as long as I can accept a no. So, I queried her, and you can read the results here.

Given the focus on historical writing, the questions and answers are different from the others, and also it’s about Guardian Angel, and my previous historical books, rather than about Hit and Run.

Again, there is a prize for one commenter, and the deadline is 6th August.

Please help: spread the word

As well as the four interviews listed above, three more are scheduled for August. So far, I have managed to put something fresh into each.

I’ll be grateful if you can visit as many as you have time for, but even more, please send other people along as well, or instead. The aim of the exercise is to draw new people’s attention to my recently published books, my writing in general, and even more important, my project to make this planet a better world for all my grandchildren — who include every person under 25.

Well, I don’t object making this planet a better world for people of any age.

A couple more events are already in place for September.

The three August interviews are:

JQ Rose

My guest post for Janet is due to be online on the 14th of August.

I was required to answer a lot of W questions: where, what, why, when, who. Even my long term friends may find some new information in my answers.

Cheryl Holloway

This impressive lady has interviewed me once before, concerning Guardian Angel. Then I interviewed her at Bobbing Around, and you’ll find her story inspiring. The ping pong ball has gone the other way, and she is posting our interview about Hit and Run on 3rd of August.

Wendy Laing

Wendy has asked a few questions no one else has ever asked me before, so guess what, I’ve given answers I’ve never given before. Her interview is live now, but the official launch date is 25th August.

Unfortunately, she has had some formatting problems, but the content is OK.

New Book Review site

Erik Fogg’s deeply insightful review of Hit and Run is featured at Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s New Book Review.

That’s one of Carolyn’s services to people interested in finding good books, and in having their books reviewed.

The girl who loves a whale

When I read a little essay from Conservation International about Olive Andrews, I couldn’t help immediately sending off a blog post. Her story may inspire you, too.


I have posted a second extract from my coming book, From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide: the chapter on reincarnation. Comments please!


Another tragedy on the way?
AVAAZ report on Trump


Another tragedy on the way?

It’s not on the news. It’s been quietly brewing since 2014. The Indian state of Assam has started a process like Hitler did in Germany in the early 1930s, like has been happening to the Rohingya in Myanmar. A national registry has been started. There is now a “Citizenship Amendment Bill” that would distinguish people who are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian from the rest. The rest, naturally, are nominally Muslim. These protected groups “shall not be treated as illegal migrants,” according to that law.

The unfortunate rest? Well, they are to be declared as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and put into detention camps.

Here is a report in the Indian Express if you don’t believe me.

Thank heavens for Avaaz. Please sign their petition to the UN Secretary-General.

If you want to understand why things like this are happening, read my description of the work of John B. Calhoun.

AVAAZ report on Trump

This is a must-read. Meticulously researched, it shows who Trump is, how the Russians financed his election, and why he is Putin’s glove puppet.


We’ve used up this year’s budget
The wood furniture scorecard
Bill McKibben video
Project Drawdown
The north is burning


We’ve used up this year’s budget

As of August 1, humanity has used nature’s resource budget for the entire year. Last year, it was August 12, the earliest ever. Well, we’re advancing — in the wrong direction.

Humanity is currently using nature 1.7 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.7 Earths. We only have one.

I can’t repeat often enough: Live simply, so you may simply live.

The wood furniture scorecard

They don’t know English. It’s a timber furniture scorecard. Otherwise, it’s an excellent concept.

This mob have examined where furniture manufacturers get their timber from. By looking at their data, you can see how environmentally responsible they are, and spend your money accordingly.

Protect the rainforests in your own home!

Bill McKibben video

You may well be interested in and inspired by a new video that describes renewable energy use around the world.

Project Drawdown

If you have a few hours to fill, you might explore Project Drawdown, which lists 100 ways we can work to reduce the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. It includes things like educating girls, which makes sense, once you think about it (lower birthrate).

The north is burning

Historically, the forests of the north have been damp places, with a fairly low probability of disastrous fires. This has changed over the past few decades. Now, it’s burning from Sweden to Alaska.

2017 was the worst year in history for wildfires in Europe. The July, 2018 fires in Sweden are — here is that climate change word — unprecedented in scope and severity.

Climate change means warmer, drier summers, and also more energy in the atmosphere, leading to thunderstorms. Combine lightning with dry fuel…

This Scientific American article explains it in easy-to-understand language.

Good news

Insuring the future
Antarctic protection
Dutch in the right direction
Hooray for Ireland
UNESCO World Heritage Committee acting on the Great Barrier Reef


Insuring the future

Swiss Re is the world’s largest reinsurance company. As of now, they refuse to insure any company that has more than 30% of its investments in thermal coal.

Why is this good news? No business can operate without insurance. Very few insurance companies can operate without reinsuring with Swiss Re.

Antarctic protection

Greenpeace have announced something wonderful: all the major krill harvesters have agreed to keep out of penguin feeding grounds. This is a big step toward proper Antarctic protection, because harm caused to the base of the food chain is more damaging than to the big, beautiful animals we so love.

Dutch in the right direction

This report shows what a country can do. A coalition of 7 political parties agree on one thing: ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

They will change everything with focus on reducing environmental damage.

Of course, a fair bit of their little country is under the current sea level, and they are very vulnerable to any changes in the Gulf Stream. So, like the pacific islands, they need to be world leaders.

This is Mark Rutte, their prime minister, who is leading the campaign.

Hooray for Ireland

The Guardian has reported that Ireland has decided to divest from fossil fuels. It is the first country to have done so.

All those dinosaurs clinging to coal and stuff, on the way to extinction, take note!

UNESCO World Heritage Committee acting on the Great Barrier Reef

Today I write to you from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Bahrain. I came over here with two renowned scientists. Together, we came with the message of what impact climate change is having on all natural and cultural heritage sites around the world — especially our Great Barrier Reef.

I am very glad to report that we achieved our two goals:

1. We pitched our new concept — the Climate Vulnerability Index — to the Committee for implementation, an option which is now being discussed at a global level.

2. The Committee has agreed to adopting a new, and hopefully stronger, climate change policy at their next meeting in 2019.

Please watch my video report.

Imogen Zethoven
Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director
Australian Marine Conservation Society

People who inspire

12 year old inventor
Wealth is not a bar to compassionate logic
Handmade electricity for Puerto Rico


12 year old inventor

Anna Du is a little girl in Massachusetts, who has her heart in the right place. She wants to clean up the deadly plastic choking the oceans, marine life, and the fish on your plate.

She has invented a machine that detects microplastics, and is on the way to wide recognition.

She is certainly an inspiration to me!

Wealth is not a bar to compassionate logic

Chris Hughes struck it lucky: he was in on the founding of Facebook. Rather than getting addicted to wealth, he is motivated to reduce inequality, and move toward a fairer society.

He is proposing a workable system, which, for example, Eisenhower would have approved of.

Handmade electricity for Puerto Rico

Let me quote the last few words of this article:

“Puerto Rico is just a little dot, but around the world more than 1 billion live without electricity. The things we develop here have great potential for all those people. The Bible says to take care of your neighbor. If people actually did that, imagine what an awesome world we would live in.”

You’ve got to read about this wonderful young man.


Real Christians

The leaders of two more churches have publicly said they are willing to go to jail for protecting people from being deported.

Rev. Rachel Ringenberg Miller and associate pastor Ben Woodward-Breckbill are real heroes.


Meat without killing
The ultimate solar cooker
Electronics cook the planet?


Meat without killing

There is a huge and growing body of evidence that animals experience emotions, remember their past and learn from it, suffer grief and fear and pain. And if this is so, every way of producing food from animals is immoral.

Add to this the huge environmental cost of animal farming, the adverse health effects of antibiotic use in animal husbandry, and several other points, and there are reasons to seek alternatives.

One is being developed: meat cells being cultured in vitro into chunks of meat. The result won’t look like a chicken drumstick with a bone in it, but I imagine patties, hamburgers and the like should be easy enough.

One company plans to have it on the market by next year.

The ultimate solar cooker

It’s an evacuated tube with reflective sides, like a thermos flask. A concentrating reflector focuses sunlight to heat the food inside. It also has a surprisingly small electric heating element your solar panels can power.

Read this interesting description in TreeHugger.

Electronics cook the planet?

John Harris points to a severe problem in the Guardian: when you use your phone, tablet or computer, you tap into gigantic computers that route the information around. The same is true for the increasing “internet of things.” Driverless cars will hugely add to this.

You may be a high conserver of energy in your own life, but if you enjoy videos, games and other high users of data transmission, if you have house security and other smart devices that think for you, then you may be doing more harm than you realise.

Good. This gives me a justification for my long term habit: I rarely if ever get my entertainment that way, and my attitude to objects is “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

Deeper Issues

Why I am a vegan, by Jarvis Rich
When can’t you trust science?
Trees are people, too
Practical Advice From a Barmaid 4,000 Years Ago


Why I am a vegan
by Jarvis Rich

Jarvis is my beloved grandson. Even apart from the relationship, I find him admirable and impressive. He has a qualification as a personal trainer, and is considering returning to study so that, like his father, he can work as a healer. He is also a fearsome martial arts exponent. The photo shows him looking after his old grandfather.

There is no flavour that is worth another’s life, especially when there are so many cruelty-free alternatives that taste just as good. There’s a recipe for every conceivable dish and flavour you could think of.

Animal Agriculture expels 16% of the world’s CO2, which is more than the transport industry (cars, trucks, airplanes).

Most of the Amazon rainforest is being cut down to provide GMO corn to feed to the livestock, which is then transported to 1st world countries (whilst still being alive on shitty boats with 0 care for their wellbeing).

Raising animals for food is the leading cause of rainforest destruction, species extinction, ocean dead zones and freshwater consumption. We do after all kill 70 billion land animals and 3 trillion fish every year.

This is not to mention the damage it causes our bodies. If we truly cared about living a long life without increasing the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, we would cut out meat, dairy, and eggs.

Many people can’t give up cheese because of the high amounts of Casomorphines, which act just like any other opioid, creating sensual pleasure. Something to look into, when the reality of the foods we are told to eat are no good for our bodies. We are severely deficient in minerals and our bodies are so toxic it’s only normal for chronic disease to be an issue. Check out this site for relevant journal articles or other information. Also, the movie is pretty cool.

There’s been a lot of research in the last few decades pointing toward the increase in animal products in our diet and the links it has to chronic disease.

But I’ll finish with my first point. It’s wrong to kill other beings that experience emotions, remember things, can reason, and unlike humans, do no harm.

When can’t you trust science?

When it is paid for by someone with something to hide.

Please read this powerful expose of what Monsanto has been doing with evidence. In response to lawsuits by people who claim their cancer is due to Roundup, Monsanto has been forced to release certain records.

One of my neighbours is a nice bloke who has generously offered to help me with my weeds. He “knows” the chemicals he uses are safe, because he has read up on it. There are millions like him, victims of lies for money.

Trees are people, too

I’ve come across fascinating evidence before, but Melissa Breyer has listed links to several reports that make intriguing reading. It’ll take time to follow them all up, but it’s worth it.

Practical Advice From a Barmaid 4,000 Years Ago

This is the best story about archaeology I’ve read in many years, and it’s also excellent philosophy.

You’ll enjoy it.


Protecting yourself from the news
Building resilience in kids
Less judgmental and more compassionate
Greenery is good for you
I am a lesbian
She is making my son’s life hell


Protecting yourself from the news

This lady is a former CIA analyst. Her recommendations could have come from one of several textbooks on positive psychology.

I expect most people react to all the crap in the news the way I do. Follow these recommendations to protect your sanity.

Building resilience in kids

This essay in the Conversation presents evidence bearing out what I write about resilience in my coming book, From Depression to Contentment: supporting kids THROUGH failure is the way to have them learn. Protecting them FROM failure leads to feelings of helplessness and depression.

Well worth a read.

Less judgmental and more compassionate

This little essay describes 7 simple actions that will make you into a better person — and make you feel a lot better about being yourself.

Highly recommended, not just for reading, but for putting into practice.

Greenery is good for you

Here is a well-controlled study that should inspire local authorities everywhere.

Many cities have abandoned areas littered with trash, overgrown with weeds, filled with rubble. These researchers converted some of these into attractive, well-cared-for green spaces.

Mental health issues of nearby residents improved a great deal. This is a lot cheaper than therapy.

I am a lesbian

I realized I liked girls when I was around 11, now I’m 15. My parents are both homophobic… They found out I was with a girl, but they think I’m confused.

How can I tell them I’m a Lesbian??

Martha my dear,

Roughly one person in seven is like you: romantically and erotically interested in their own sex. Some people are simply made that way. It’s not a choice, same as some people are left-handed.

In a few short years, you will be an adult, and able to run your own life. The best way to ensure that you can do so without interference is to study hard now, to enable you to be financially independent later.

Your family’s reaction is the unthinking acceptance of a culture that’s simply wrong on this matter. I don’t know if they use religion to justify their views. If they do, they probably quote the story of Sodom and Gomorrah from the bible. In that story, Lot offers his two virgin daughters to the mob for gang rape, to save the visiting “angels.” So, if anyone tries to shove this story down your throat, ask them if they approve of such a terrible thing.

That story certainly doesn’t come from God. It is an insertion into the bible by some unknown person.

You can deal with your parents’ attitudes in one of two ways, and only you know the situation well enough to decide. You’re welcome to email me so I can be your sounding board.

1. If you judge them to be inflexible on this matter, and know that they will reject your sexual orientation no matter what, then take something else from the bible: give them unconditional love anyway. People are not what they do or say. In your heart, forgive them for their ignorance and prejudice. Do things to make their lives better, and bide your time.

From within their reality, they think they are protecting you from wrecking your life. They are wrong, but that’s all right. Accept them and love them anyway, and, for the time being fit into the family’s life without causing waves. Every girl has girlfriends. You can, too, and also have boys who are your friends, and just seem to be a “normal” teenager… for now.

2. If in your opinion it may be possible to lead them out of their prejudice, then show them this answer from me, and invite them to contact me by email. Changing their minds is easier in reaction to a stranger than to their own child.

Your new grandfather,

She is making my son’s life hell

We have one child who recently married. We have always wanted the best for him. We have been married 30 years and rarely argue. Our daughter-in-law has been hospitalized for delusions and paranoia. Our son was not aware of these issues before the marriage. She has attacked him more than once, told many lies about everyone and has been very self destructive.

He has told us many negative things about her and her parents. She has sent us vile text messages and called family members to get “dirt” on me. Now he wants to reconcile and expects us to forget everything. How do I do that? We have not said a cross word to her during this time, yet we are being made to feel bad because we are having a hard time letting this go. We worry for his safety and his financial stability.

Dear Leah,

From your note, my impression is that you don’t have direct conflict with your son, but with his wife and her family. You have not written about any act of his you might need to forgive. And certainly, he needs your loving support to cope with his situation.

I think you may be confusing forgiveness with forgetting. They are completely different. This young woman is responsible for her actions, and it is entirely appropriate for you to defend yourselves from harm. You can do that and still forgive, and here is how. People with paranoid delusions act out of fear. They hate themselves, hate their life, and project the cause of this out onto anyone who is handy. This of course then causes the harm they fear, so it’s a vicious circle.

Having met many people in her situation, I feel sorry for her. She is in a hell of her own making, and if she admitted that to herself, her self-view would be even more terrible. So, she is caught in an endless trap.

What to do?

First, you should do your best to ensure that no new people will be harmed. Advise your son to practise strict birth control.

Second, while being firm that you want no contact with his wife, you can make him feel welcome. Let him know that he can visit you at any time, and be there for him emotionally and in every other way.

Third, though, avoid any attempts to break up his marriage. He is an adult, and needs to run his own life. As long as he wants to stay with his wife, that’s his business. If he ever chooses to leave, he’ll know that he is welcome home.

With love and caring,


Hope for autoimmune sufferers
Phone safety
Probiotics protect bones
Help with alcohol addiction, from Jason Adams


Hope for autoimmune sufferers

I am impressed with this article by Maryam Henein at

She was diagnosed with both lupus and fibromyalgia. Instead of accepting the standard medical path of symptom treatment with terrible side effects, she researched what else was available.

If you, or someone you care for, has one of these conditions, follow up the leads in her essay.

Phone safety

…or otherwise?

Nowadays, a person seems incomplete without a phone. We’ve been told for many years that they are safe. However, this informative, well-argued paper in the Guardian shows that the phone industry has done the same as the tobacco, oil, pesticide and pharmaceutical industries.

The official judgment is that phones are reasonably safe, but for the sake of caution, you should only use cell phones for shorter conversations or for times when a landline phone is not available, and to use a device with hands-free technology, such as wired headsets, which place more distance between the phone and the head of the user.

Hands-free kits reduce the amount of radiofrequency energy exposure to the head because the antenna, which is the source of energy, is not placed against the head. Exposures decline dramatically when cell phones are used hands-free.

Probiotics protect bones

A very recent study in the Journal of Internal Medicine has shown that older women, who are at increasing risk of fractures, have reduced rates of bone problems if they regularly eat one of the milk-eating bacteria.

Michelle Shoffro Cook offers a plain-language explanation.

My wife makes yoghurt at home, which is why I have a hard head.

Help with alcohol addiction
from Jason Adams

Jason Adams has written for Bobbing Around before, about the nasty drug Flakka.

He is back.

I’m happy to inform you that the campaign [of increasing awareness about Flakka] has been a success and I’m confident that your web viewers have benefited from this timely information.

I’m reaching out again as I have a few more resources, and I’d sincerely appreciate your cooperation and support on.
Jason Adams

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator

An easy-to-use Blood Alcohol Calculator, which allows students to understand how alcohol impacts their ability to drive.

Hope Tracker

A 10-session crash course on alcohol addiction, and a social community where you can get help while remaining anonymous.

* Here are a couple of news mentions on HopeTracker:

A video on Youtube.

A CBS news item.

National Drug Rehab Locator

An easy-to-use rehab center locator with advanced level search filtering.

Secrets and Strategy Behind Good Mental Health and Intelligence

Maximum brain performance can be achieved without prescription stimulants. This visual guide illustrates how to achieve peak performance through dietary and fitness changes.

Suicidal Prevention Checklist

A visual, life-saving guide covering key components of suicide prevention.


Jason Adams
Drug Awareness Education Coordinator

Look over a writer’s shoulder

Beware scam publishers
by Caleb Kaiser

Twitter education
Where to submit short stories


Beware scam publishers by Caleb Kaiser

Self-publishing has boomed over the last 20 years, allowing so many incredible writers to share their stories with the world.

As with any rising industry, however, there has been a spike of shady, predatory self-publishing companies who look to sell writers on the promise of literary success, while collecting as much money as possible.

At Reedsy, we work with some of the top publishing talent in the world, and we’ve seen our fair share of horrifically predatory self-publishers. Below, we’ve broken down a couple of tips for avoiding such presses:

1. If Your Press Can’t Stop Upselling You — They’re Scammy

If the first thing out of your support rep’s mouth is “We have marketing packages for just ” you know they’re trying to upsell you.

A lot of vanity publishers play this game. They offer minimal publishing services — simply formatting your book and uploading it to Amazon, for example — and require you to pay extra for any new services, from cover design to marketing.

These presses have a simple business model:

  • Do as little as possible for a low entry-level price.
  • Make it as difficult for you to switch to another company as possible.
  • Upsell you on every service you may potentially need.

    It’s predatory and it’s bullying, but it’s unfortunately effective. If your press is behaving anything like this, get out immediately.

    2. If Your Press Requires You To Buy Copies — Run

    A common tactic of predatory self-publishers is to require authors to buy a certain number of copies — from them. This will usually be phrased as, “Stocking copies for book readings and promotional efforts,” but make no mistake, this is a scam.

    Most predatory publishers that run this particular con make their money by setting a high per-copy-cost on your book, to account for their “admin costs” of course.

    If your press has any sort of “required copies purchased” or minimum “investment in marketing”, get out of there immediately.

    3. Withholding Royalties Is Always A Bad Sign

    Royalty splits in general aren’t ideal setups. It sucks to give away a massive portion of your book’s sale price every time someone buys a copy. However, they are a normal part of traditional publishing deals — publishers front the cost of production, publication, and promotion, and in exchange, take a piece of the sales.

    Predatory self-publishers often play off the prevalence of royalty deals to take advantage of authors. What they’ll do is waive a substantial portion of your upfront fees, instead agreeing to withhold any royalty payments from sales until they “break even.”

    The problem is, they set their own break even point. If they want to charge $15,000 for copyediting your book, they can do that, and you won’t see a cent of your sales until that $15,000 has been made up.

    Note, this is not the same as royalties not being paid on a traditional publishing contract with an advance. In traditional publishing, you will be paid an “advance” when your book is picked up, which is exactly what it sounds like—advanced payment of your future royalties.

    In those situations, publishers do not pay royalties until you have covered the advance you were given, which isn’t as big of a deal, as you were literally already paid that money in your advance.

    If A Press Makes Most Their Money By Charging You, Run

    If we can boil the advice in this article down to a simple truth, it is this:

    If a publishing press’ model is to charge authors so that they make their money regardless of book sales, they are probably predatory. In that model, the publisher is incentivized to invest as little as possible into making your book an actual success — as they don’t make money off of your sales, and actually lose money by investing in your manuscript.

    If any of these signals are present when you first begin negotiating with a press, it’s time to get out.

    Caleb Kaiser handles outreach over at Reedsy, a marketplace connecting authors with the top publishing talent in the world — from editors to publicists.

    Twitter education

    I am a Twitter bunny, but my friend Carolyn Howard-Johnson has taken me into hand:


    OK, here is my problem, Carolyn. When I post something, such as Bobbing Around, an automatic tweet goes out to all my followers. You then send a tweet about it (thank you!). That goes to your followers. If I now retweet it, your tweet with identical message to mine goes to my followers, and I don’t want to spam them. This is why I am very sparing with retweets.


    First of all, on Twitter, this isn’t considered spam. In fact, most services that help with Twitter offer to retweet the same thing every hour in small increments all the way up to infinity if you wish. Twitter actually encourages marketing. And if you make it clear that you are willing and happy to help others, most people don’t mind at all. I only get about one unsubscribe a week versus maybe one or two dozen subscribers. And I have come to know quite a few of my 36,500 followers. So maybe in this one instance, you are being a bit too conscious of the rules drawn from other sources. Also many of the retweets allow you to add a conversational answer instead of just a straight retweet. That gives you a chance for added value to that tweet. Maybe another tip. Or an expansion of the idea. Or even conversation that is carefully arranged so it doesn’t use too many pronouns — in other words so that the thread is easily followed by the rest of your followers. If that thread is focused on writing, it can be quite educational.

    Any comments welcome.

    Where to submit short stories

    I am not into writing them at the moment, but you might be. A helpful lady on a nice email list posted the link to this article in The Write Life, which lists 23 venues that accept short stories. Some even pay you money, but for some reason only if they accept your piece.

    What my friends want you to know

    Well-deserved award for Carolyn’s poetry
    Award-winning book revised
    A Mayan adventure from Michael Thal
    Advertise for peace
    Poison on the plate, from SumOfUs


    Well-deserved award for Carolyn’s poetry

    Writer’s Digest’s award for poetry books is another in a line of awards for poet-activist Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s newest poetry book, Imperfect Echoes: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small including USA Book News and Dan Poynter’s Bronze Global Ebook Award.

    Poems that align with societal shortcomings often go hand-in-hand with current political cycles. Howard-Johnson’s poems seem to become more current as months pass. Inspired by Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz’s poem “Incantation” that lauds the power of human reason over the reoccurring and seemingly insane political realities, Howard-Johnson holds out hope but is not persuaded by trends that seem worse now than they were in Milosz’s time.

    You can read one of her powerful poems right here.

    Award-winning book revised

    Gurrewa, first novel of Australia’s convict history told through convict eyes since Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of his Natural Life in 1870, has just hit the market in its third edition.
    An award winner, it details the experiences of convict life when, in 1788, the First Fleet of Great Britain’s wayward men and women set foot in Botany Bay to establish a convict settlement. It empties the vacuum cleaner with which modern Australians are at last cleaning under the carpet where, for generations, the dust of truth was swept.
    Adam, a London gutter gamin, his only skill the art of street survival, accepts his world in happy ignorance. He seeks tenderness and succour in an environment providing neither. In the horrors of the hulks and transportation his emotions find outlets in dreaming, in torment, in love and adventure.
    From his first days at Sydney Cove he lives the shame of a new nation’s founding. Threatened securities become shattered; he can but dream of a world with compassion and dignity.
    Aborigines, too, find their securities dwindling. Adam bolts, to live with and understand the terror amongst them. He takes up the fight against the white advance…a fearful, emotional war that cannot be won.

    A Mayan adventure from Michael Thal

    This is Koolura and the Mayans, the third volume of his YA series about a girl with special powers.

    Koolura and best friend Leila travel to Oaxaca, Mexico for a wedding. The girls visit a Mayan archeological site. There they are mysteriously transported back in time to the Mayan era. Koolura and Leila are imprisoned, used as sacrificial lambs to a Mayan god, become food fodder for a monstrous snake, and chased by alien teens bent on exploiting Koolura’s gifts. During their thrilling exploits the girls wonder if the Aquarians are planning to take over Earth? And can they stop them in time? Winner of the 2018 eLit Awards Juvenile/Young Adult.

    Advertise for peace

    We started with a billboard in Charlottesville, Va., last December, and people seemed to like the idea. We put up a billboard in downtown Baltimore, MD.
    Individual donations kept coming in.

    And groups began asking to partner with us. We put up billboards all over Syracuse, NY, including rolling around on trucks, and in Albany, NY. And groups began organizing events around the billboards and generating news articles because of them.

    We now also have ads all over the Toronto subways. We have ads on bus shelters near the White House in Washington, D.C. And we’ve got 23-foot billboards going up in the middle of New York City from September through November.
    Can you help us expand this work? We want to start moving these billboards and ads outside of North America as well as all over that continent. You can help in any of these ways:

    1) Donate what you can to fund more billboards.

    2) Raise funds locally to partner with us on putting up billboards where you are. The smaller the city, the less expensive the billboards, and the more interested the media. We’ll help you with design and purchase and nonprofit bulk rates. We’ll help you with media and with organizing flyering events, and educational events with speakers.

    3) Forward this email to anyone who might be interested in helping.

    Read about our billboards project, and share it on social media.

    Poison on the plate, from SumOfUs

    The marriage made in hell is official: Bayer and Monsanto have merged, and a monster is born. One dangerous global, mega-corporation is now controlling almost our entire food supply from farm to plate. And it’s toxic.

    When we recently turned up to Bayer’s annual shareholder meeting, the company insisted it’s changing its ways. But we know that Bayer can’t be trusted.

    This “new” company is continuing to soak our world with bee-killing pesticides, and it’s carrying on the horrific legacy of Monsanto.

    We need you to resist it: your ongoing support today in the form of a small monthly gift means we can continue working with beekeepers, farmers, scientists, and people like you to keep building a strong, united opposition to this new monster — to protect our bees and our food.

    Will you please make a small monthly gift today to stop Bayer’s control of our food supply?


    Hit and Run reviewed by Dianne Beth
    The Coal Truth by David Ritter
    From Depression to Contentment reviewed by Theresa Hortley


    Hit and Run reviewed by Dianne Beth

    At fourteen-years-old, Chuck had had enough with the mountains of trash life has dumped on him. His rage ignited and he plowed a stolen vehicle through a group of young children, a cross guard and narrowly missed eighty-four-year-old Sylvia Kryz in the process. It would be Sylvia’s drawing that pointed to young Chuck’s capture, but it would be her compassion and a mysterious supernatural link that may be the only thing to save both Chuck and his young brother from the Hell their lives have been.

    Able to communicate mentally, Sylvia will find that underneath the tough veneer, the uneducated boy has a heart of gold, if only he can be given a chance to thrive outside of the cesspool that was his life.

    HIT AND RUN by Bob Rich is a tale of the pain and self-hate of one teen in crisis that society forgot to take care of. Out of sight, out of mind, until an elderly woman gives him what he craves, a chance, an ally, someone who believes in him.

    Do you believe in miracles or things happening for a reason? There is a reason that Charlie and Sylvia connected beyond the normal plane of existence. Can Sylvia prove to both Charlie and the world around him that he has value, that he has heart and that just maybe he is as much a victim as those he killed? Will the love and support of a frail octogenarian give a young teen a push in the right direction? Will her efforts also change the hearts of the society around them both?

    Sylvia is an amazing character filled with decades of life experiences and the wisdom to look beyond the surface without fear of going against the grain of the world around her. I’m not sure Bob Rich could have created a better spokesperson for caring and compassion, for valuing the wisdom of those who years of life experiences. She had the strength to stand alone, something that seems lost in today’s mentality that craves acceptance or condemns without offering up a possible solution.

    My heart went out to Charlie and his young brother, Tommy, both innocents who never knew real love or security or even boundaries.

    Emotionally gut-wrenching, uplifting and powerfully charged, HIT AND RUN was clearly created from the very soul of its author and Bob Rich has a story that should be on every reader’s shelf and in every library. It is a story of love and the power it gives for change and for hope for a better future, leaving the past behind. The world needs more Sylvias, maybe there would be fewer Chucks.

    I received a complimentary copy from Bob Rich and I cannot thank him enough!

    The Coal Truth by David Ritter

    2018, University of Western Australia Publishing
    ISBN: 9781742589824

    The Coal Truth is the deplorable story of the proposed Adani mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia, but is relevant to everyone, everywhere. Think of this coal mine idea as a case study about what’s wrong with our world, and what we need to do to fix it.

    David Ritter is the ideal person to write this book. His research and journalistic skills are obvious on every page. His background as a lawyer give him the ability to explain complex concepts in a way any person will understand. And his role in leading Greenpeace Australia shows his commitment to creating a survivable future.

    This is an important book. Reading it hurts in places — in our crazy world, the truth is bound to — but there is a lot of positivity to balance the gloom.

    Part I is a powerful, personal but thoroughly documented monograph by David. It should be compulsory reading for everyone, particularly those who wield power. Naturally, they’ll dismiss it, but the rest of us need to rub their noses in it.

    The second part details the evidence, by a group of experts with impeccable credentials.

    I found Chapter 11 by John Quiggin to be particularly powerful, because it avoids any questions of environmental damage, ethical considerations or humanitarian/health issues, but focuses on matters the dinosaurs understand: MONEY. This chapter alone should convince anyone with half a brain that the Adani project is a no-goer.

    Only an idiot, or a bribed politician, can ignore the message from David and his fellow authors.

    Already reproduced in Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s New Book Review.

    From Depression to Contentment reviewed by Theresa Hortley

    I don’t suffer from depression, but read this book because I am privileged to be one of Bob Rich’s beta readers. All the same, it has proven to be immensely useful to me, personally.

    Depression is everywhere. Every year, a distressingly high proportion of the kids I teach are obviously depressed. Friends, relatives, colleagues — it’s all around me.

    Now, I can understand where they are coming from, and can be more effective in helping them, though not as a therapist of course.

    But this is far more than a self-help book. It is an inspiration. One sentence late in the book has captured me: “knowingly or unknowingly, all of us are apprentice Buddhas.” Depressed or not, if you read this book, you will become a better person.

    You wouldn’t expect a book about depression to be humorous, but in typical Bob Rich style, he got me chuckling time and again. Just one example: a patient told Bob that he’d known all his life that he didn’t matter. Bob’s reply: “Right. You crawled out of the womb believing you didn’t matter?”

    All of Bob’s novels I’ve read are full of therapeutic lessons. Here is a book designed as a set of therapeutic lessons that is as enjoyable to read as any novel.

    As you’ll have gathered, Theresa is a teacher: she teaches English, History and Geography in secondary school. That makes her a formidable beta reader, and I am gratified by her good opinion.


    Bank robbery



    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

    Oscar Wilde

    Thank you Karl Kofoed for this gem.

    Bank robbery

    Moral: Give a person a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a person a bank, and he can rob everyone.


    Crying Walls
    by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

              Near Jerusalem, razorwire
              coils a brutal line
              imposed like walls
              Lennon imagined
              might one day disappear.

              This one much like the first wall
              I unexpectedly came across somewhere
              in memory, an ocean away
              marking its territory
              East from West, the wall
              that called my husband to arms,
              just in case.

              Another wall, cleaves Irish from Irish.
              Foreign walls, but now a new one
              crawls from Baja,
              through mountain passes
              along the Rio Grande.


              Chains-linked. Wire-barbed,
              Krylon-smeared. Feeble,
              useless, unholy billboards,
              anything but mending walls.

    About Bobbing Around

    If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don’t want a repeat, it’s simple. Drop me a line and I’ll drop you from my list.

    You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article’s author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

    I’d love you to follow my blog. That will automatically get you a copy of this newsletter, and other posts. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the newsletter. To do so, email me. Subject should be ‘subscribe Bobbing Around’ (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

    Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

    • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
    • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
    • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
    • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

    Submission Guidelines

    It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

    Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

    Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

    Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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