Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Living on the down low

If you are one of the few brave souls who have been with me for lo these many years of blogging and writing and webpage designing, wow, I love you. 

So you've probably noticed at some point I'm actually an introvert. Left to my own devices I would use the Internet for learning, research, entertainment, and keeping in touch with people who are now spread far and wide. 

However, in 1999 or so I embarked on a journey to "make money on the Internet". What a long, strange trip it's been. And to that end as advised by every advisor, I had a "web presence". Just as I once forced myself to smile and approach customers and make small talk, I then forced myself to smile and write what I hoped were useful and/or interesting blogs and social media posts. It had it's moments. I met some pretty awesome people. I got to have some major rants. I have kept journals since I was a child, so blogging was more or less a natural extension although now I was writing to a specific subject and/or audience much of the time. I like to write.

Not only have I never become "rich working from home", I've never come anywhere near making a living. And recently, not just me, but my husband has been soundly punished and penalized in a severe fashion that could have actually caused his death because I dared to make a few bucks. Literally, I made less than $20 per month in royalties and for that we were penalized $165 out of his check for six months, along with the loss of all food stamps and all of my medical. We literally could not afford enough to eat or the supplements and vitamins he must have. Interesting enough, I can sell plasma - make more money in less time - and not be penalized at all for that. It's taken me about a year to get this all straightened out, and I'm learning that we can live in his income and still have his medical needs met. If I don't make anything! 

This is NOT an easy thing for me. I think I've got to be DOING SOMETHING all the time. So I AM. You know, most people retire and do those things they always wanted to do. So, I'm retired and what I always wanted to do was learn. I always wanted to go to college, read non-fiction, etc. I can't afford college so I'm enjoying books, documentaries and my big splurge - Great Courses. 

And as you may have noticed, I've all but quit blogging. I no longer have any need of a public web presence. I'll probably write, and I'll probably find a spot to republish my novels where you can read them online for free. One of these days. Yes, I'll post a link here when I do. And, face it, I like to rant now and then. Even if I do suspect it makes the government watch me. As if they have time to bother with me - surely they have better things to do. 

My point being - don't look for daily or even weekly or even monthly posts. I'll write when I've got something to say that I think merits a public forum. Hope that works for you. If you're a close pal who would like more frequent updates, check out my facebook page. I've closed my Twitter account, and my Patreon account and I don't actually use anything now except facebook to post on, this blog, and my Wordpress blog. Posts here will probably be crossposted there. Posts that are rants will go here. Posts that are reviews or stuff to do with anime, books, etc. will probably go live at Wordpress now. Chances are that in time, most everything will end up at Wordpress. 

Thanks for being here
Blessed be

Summer Foovay


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Amazon's response to my account being hacked is to steal it

So this has been ongoing now for about two weeks.

My Amazon payment account got hacked. ONLY my Amazon payment account. But I got a little excited since they could conceivably have gotten my banking information from that.

First Amazon said my email had to have been hacked. Well, then they would have had not only my banking info but other very possible sensitive information. The hacker changed my password on my Amazon payment account (which Amazon makes me use to get my money off Mechanical Turk jobs) but nothing else has been touched. But anyway - it's all my fault.

They said they could close my account, or temporarily disable it, investigate and re-enable. They told me if they closed it I would lose all of my books, games, apps and other digital purchases. I've been buying books and games through them for nearly 20 years and have literally OVER ONE THOUSAND kindle books. So they said if they disabled it, I would get the account back unchanged.

They did disable it. They never re-enabled it or got back to me about any investigation. I called and had it re-enabled. Only to discover that my books, apps, and games were all gone. All my order history, reviews, author page, etc. was gone. I don't have the courage to even go look at my Mechanical Turk and Kindle publishing accounts.

I've contacted them several times since and they keep saying they'll investigate and get back to me. Last night I bought a book, but I can't get it sent to any of my devices because - surprise - I don't have any devices registered on my stripped account. So I tried to chat with them again.

As a piece of pure comedy - here's a transcript of that chat.

Hello,

Here's a copy of the chat transcript you requested:
Initial Question: So because I reported that I was hacked - YOU HAVE STRIPPED MY ACCOUNT AND STOLEN FROM ME THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN BOOKS, APPS, AND GAMES? YOU HURT ME FAR WORSE THAN THE HACKERS. CRUEL. i MAY SEEK LEGAL RECOURSE. AT THE LEAST I WILL SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS THAT IF YOUR AMAZON ACCOUNT IS HACKED - AMAZON WILL PUNISH THE FAITHFUL BUYER BY FUCKING THEM OUT OF EVERY PENNY THEY EVER SPENT.
01:27 AM PDT krishna(Amazon)Hello, my name is krishna. I'm here to help you today.
01:28 AM PDT krishnaA member of our Appstore team will be the perfect person to help you with this. Let me connect you to a member of our Appstore team. It will only take a minute.
01:28 AM PDT Saravana(Amazon)Hello, my name is Saravana. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
To help you with this, let me connect you to a member of our Retail team. It will only take a moment.​
01:29 AM PDT Summer FoovayI have informed several people of this problem and Amazon apparently has no interest in resolving it. Perhaps I should simply report your theft to the attorney general
01:29 AM PDT Abrar(Amazon)Hello, my name is Abrar. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
01:31 AM PDT AbrarAs I see you see charges for apps and games.
Let me check your account and help you with the best.
01:31 AM PDT Summer FoovayFrom my computer I can see nothing. No books, no devices, no apps, no games. No orders. I've had an account for something like twenty years.
I got hacked and you punished me.
01:32 AM PDT Summer FoovayAnd you are still punishing me.
Your punishment could conceivably cost me more than you can imagine if you have also purged all records of the sales of my kindle books and my mechanical turk income as well.
01:33 AM PDT AbrarLet me check and help you with the best.
01:33 AM PDT Summer FoovayYou don't even speak good english. I doubt you can help. And this isn't the first time I have complained about it.
My complaints have been ignored. 
01:34 AM PDT AbrarI apologize for the trouble, please stay connected while I refer you to the specialized team to get more help.
01:34 AM PDT AmazonHello, my name is Satya. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
01:34 AM PDT Summer FoovayAre you even a human being? I doubt it. Okay, my fourth different "customer service" agent
01:35 AM PDT AmazonI'm really sorry for the multiple transfers. I can assure that I won't transfer you again
01:36 AM PDT Summer FoovayI was hacked. I called and reported it. My account was supposedly disabled for "investigation" rather than closed. Then it was never re-enabled until I called and complained. Then I discovered my account was purged - all my devices removed, all my books gone, all my apps gone, all my games - gone. Twenty years of purchases - gone.
01:37 AM PDT Summer FoovayI've now contacted Amazon three times about it and never gotten any satisfactory reply. Supposedly I only disabled the account so that this would not happen.
01:37 AM PDT Faaiq(Amazon)Hello, my name is Faaiq. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
01:38 AM PDT Summer FoovayI used to work in customer service, late at night like this. We would transfer people we didn't want to deal with around and around and laugh and laugh about them
Which is exactly what you are doing now.
01:38 AM PDT FaaiqI'm very sorry for all the hassle caused.
Please don't worry i will help you with it.
01:39 AM PDT Summer FoovaySo I'm going to publish this chat on Facebook, Twitter, and all five of my blogs, as well as turn it over to news outlets and contact my attorney general for your theft of 20 years of digital purchases. 
Laugh about that.
Thank you.
Amazon.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

What's next?

(cross-posted from my Facebook page)

Of late I've had a rant or thought or two that I felt was worthy of writing - like a blog post. Except I think blog posts are a thing of the past. Most people seem unwilling or unable to read anything of over 140 characters.

Facebook has had such a loss of confidence it's ridiculous. For myself, I've met some wonderful people there and I'll probably always drop by now and then to check in and see how my friends are doing. That said, I could drop the other 500 people who are my "friends" I never hear from.

The New York Times has changed their website and in the process removed BYLINES. Even the readers are protesting, but the company won't back down because it makes the page "look better on phones". I'm so sick of everything being set up to look good on a phone. For one thing, my poor people phone  won't go there anyway. For another, I don't WANT to surf the Internet on my phone because I OWN A COMPUTER. And pages set up to "look good on a phone" look like SHIT on the computer. And don't work properly if you are using a mouse instead of touch technology. Guess what - my artists drawing tablet doesn't work properly with a touch computer/tablet. I can...draw...or surf the web. Not so hard to chose for me.

After Shark Week I was screen o'd'ed and went analog for a week. I've never really returned. It reminded me, when I came back and tried to create one simple fucking template to print and cut out and use for some analog artwork, what a PITA the computer is (especially since Windows keeps trying to  set up my computer to RUN AS A FUCKING TABLET OR PHONE.

This world is slowly but surely splitting into those who have a six figure income and do EVERYTHING on their latest IPhone ...  and the rest of us.

I ask you this. How many authors have written their latest novel on an IPhone? How many artists create their work on an IPhone? No, seriously, I am wondering. Even game designers and artists, do you think they do their work on an IPhone? Do they? I really don't know. I do know I cannot actually draw on a postage stamp with my finger, so I, at least, will not ever be able to draw on an Iphone sized screen.

So, I'm finally starting to think about coming off my self imposed lengthy vacation after the rigors of moving to Las Vegas (that's a whole 'nother rant and part of it has to do with researching  a move on the Internet and the false and inadequate information thereof and compared to researching the move to New Mexico a decade ago on the internet and the helpful information found at that time)

Blogs are dead. Facebook may as well be dead. Amazon is dead to me. Twitter is the bastion of the buffoon. And you see I'm not good with 140 characters. I am actually thinking of reactivating my Patreon account and using it as a blog and a place to post art and writing and information about more lengthy and larger art and writing. I'm also finally embracing my path as a healer and empath and plan on more creation regarding those subjects (reiki meditation cards anyone?). I'm actually looking at YouTube videos, with something like a MMD character standing in for me because I'm old and toothless - and that does work well with Patreon. Thoughts? Anyone? If you actually enjoy my art/writing/rants would you subscribe to a YouTube channel or spend a buck a month on Patreon to hang in with me?

Now on Facebook I asked for comments. But for those who still read blogs I have a short additional rant.

Anyone who blogged through the heyday of blogs knows all about SPAM commenters. The result of those is that blogging software was developed to try and get rid of them, and in time the result of THAT was to make it nearly impossible to simply COMMENT on a blog with a real comment. I get a few but I know that the bar is set really high to get in here and comment (I appreciate very much those of you who climb that barrier). I'm going to also cross post to my Word Press blog, BTW, where commenting is very slightly easier. If you happen to have a WordPress blog.

I wasn't going to post it to the blog at all, but I checked stats and I see that I actually have in the area of 50 people who actually still do read the blog. Yay you! I ask you - would you spend a buck a month to read - probably much more content - on Patreon? Along with seeing pictures or bits of my current WIP?

Meanwhile, I know I've mentioned this before - but if you do read blog entries, I do think I'm going to go with my previous inclination to switch to using my Word Press blog in the future. You'll find it here:
Foovay's Cauldron at Word Press

Now I need to run along. It is taking a combination of myself, my husband, his computer, my computer and the printer to make it possible for me to create the basic building blocks of reiki meditation cards on my computer and send it to his in such a fashion that he can send it to the printer and the printer software/Windows/who knows what - doesn't "help" us out by reformatting and screwing everything up.

Wish I could freehand draw a perfect circle...

Blessedbe

Summer Foovay

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Free Kindle Books

True story. I am too lazy to list every one of the sixty or so books I currently have available free on the Kindle store. So here's the minimum - the author pages for my real name and pen names. Grab 'em up - I think today is the last day of free. This weekend I will sit down and unpublish the batch of them. To tell you the truth, I was a little bit surprised to look today and see that Amazon hasn't beaten me to it.

The sex story books are leaving for good. Poor old things. I don't feel they contribute to the world, nor do they truly positively contribute to my income at this time.

The essay collections and novels I will possibly republish somewhere at a later date. It is not a big priority, but it's also not a big loss to the world ;)

The Peritoneal Dialysis book I have somewhat mixed emotions about. At the least it will get an additional chapter outlining the consequences of prolonged peritoneal dialysis - much needed since that is also something your doctors won't tell you until you are in the middle of it (and often not then either). If I do anything after that, it will be to try and get it with an agent and/or medical publishing company. I still dream of a stack of them sitting in every nephrology or dialysis waiting room. But because it does tell the unvarnished truth - which your doctors usually don't share with you - I suspect it will not find a publisher in the medical field either. Maybe I can find someone brave and anti-conformist in the alternative health community that will publish it. At any rate, I'd like to go through a more conventional process and let somebody else get the price down so it can be widely (even freeeeeeely) distributed.

I do have a page at Wattpad where I was writing. The website seems to have devolved into housewife porn and teen angst and has some functional issues, so I'm sort of shopping for other websites where I can pop up something if I get the urge to write. Maybe I'll just make a fiction/essay blog - or, you know, a blog.

Sex Stories here (Petit Morte is my pen name) Get 'em while they're hot (and free).

Gay Male Sex Stories here (Randall Silver Fox is another pen name of mine) Hot, rough, written for men.

Summer Foovay - various schtuff because I simply do not fit into the "brand" mentality. Not all of these are 99 cents because some simply were not eligible right now. Sorry.

The Blue Dragonfly books I think I will eventually make into "visual novel hybrids" with games an illustrations to go with the text. That's how I always wanted to make them in the first place, and now I finally can see a way to do it. Of course, I have to learn how to code games. (Never fear, that's where I'm going..)

Peace Out

Summer Foovay



via GIPHY

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Through The Gate

Those of you who are New Age inclined probably know that 2018 is an 11 year - a "Gateway" year when new opportunities open, blah blah blah. And recently we had a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer (that's up there with Solitary Eclectic Neo-Pagan for wordiness) that, if circumstances were stalling you in the first part of this year - should have kicked you through the gate for the second half of the year. Kinda like a football.



via GIPHY

Friends who have known me for any extended period of time also know that I am (oh boy we finally have a label) a multipotentiate. Which means that every now and then I completely reinvent myself because - I get bored.

I have, in fact, been circling the drain - I mean - circling this subject within myself for probably about a year. Circumstances in the outer life of dealing with feeding and housing myself and my husband, and dealing with issues created by our current state of "medicine" and his chronic health issues - among many other things - have been putting this on the back burner over and over and over during that time. But it's always there, tickling at the back of my brain, trying to get my attention.Sort of like a little kid the first few days of summer vacation..."I'm bored. There's nothing to doooo..." sitting there up to their ears in toys and games. I sympathize - what we're really saying is there isn't anything we WANT to do here because we DID it already.

And just because I'm done with what I'm doing doesn't mean I have a strong clear idea of what I want to do next. I mean, wow, I just moved to LAS VEGAS BABY. So. Much. To. Do. My eyes roll back in my head...

Somehow, the beef with Amazon over the reviews - and maybe the timing with the New Moon yadda yadda - and finally having time and being in a place where all is finally well here. We have great healers caring for the hubby and he is doing well. We are finally in a comfortable place financially - we can eat on a regular basis and everything. There's still stuff we need to sort out, but it's not a 24-7 life and death struggle.

My dissatisfaction... has been bothering me. Like I said, I no longer have this dire struggle going on - literally life and death for one of us. Sit back. Relax. Think of twenty small niggling things that are bugging me like hearing a mosquito buzzing around the room that you can't see. How wasteful is it of me to be worrying about those twenty things now that I am so blessed with a comfy home, food, healthy hubby, and even mostly healed from my big accident in January.

But... bzzzzzz....bzzzzz...bzzzzz...

Well, I finally granted myself the time over the last six weeks or so to play with my mental blocks - and here's what I've come up with.

Leaving - I'm divorcing Amazon.  Read all about it there, if you didn't already.

There is an additional reason here, too. Nothing to do with Amazon but - in essence the State of Nevada punished my husband and I for my royalty income - and are poised to do it again if I should dare to make more than XX dollars (yes, TWO Xs) and at any event expects me to present a detailed report to them for every single penny I make - while allowing me to claim no expenses at all. They also penalize royalties at a considerably higher rate than they would penalize "earned income" (as if I don't do anything to earn royalties). The proofs they require, and the proofs of the proofs, and the proofs of the proofs of the proofs, are ridiculous. I spend hours of time and pages and pages off my printer to prove I only made $1.72 last month. Three different ways. Every month. So that's kind of counter productive. I could be writing - or - something. LOL.

I'm admitting that I've already for all practical purposes stopped writing. If I WANTED to write, I have had time to do it in the last six weeks. Instead, I played games, tinkered with digital art, and watched anime and animal and crime documentaries. And read. Writing anything longer than my over long blog posts feels like too much work. It isn't fun anymore. That could change. And that doesn't mean I might not write...oh, stories for rpg games...

Because the new is - I admit and embrace my gamer self. Yes, it took a long time, but I've been weaned off tabletop into digital land. (not that I wouldn't drop everything if a good tabletop became available but I do live in the tiniest of tiny houses you know). I've been playing with Unity, Blender, Renpy, and ideas and things going on in my mind. But there is a pretty painful learning curve here. I think for once in my life I am going to have to actually pay for and join an actual training program of some sort for games, and digital art for games. I reserve the right to wander off and make short videos with Blender or other programs as well.

I'm continuing to learn Japanese. Wouldn't it be crazy to end up drawing manga backgrounds in Tokyo? Unlikely, but who knows! It can't hurt.

As a reiki healer, I am coming into my own. I'm considering ways to expand that. As it is, there are a good half dozen people who receive distance reiki healing from me almost every day, and I often send energy any place I feel it is needed. It is possible that I will create some sort of small thing where you can donate a buck or two to me, and request reiki and I can help a few people and animals or situations. At any rate, I want to grow and learn and continue to study energy healing of all sorts and share the goodness of that one way and another.

Yeah, I'll continue doing origami. Keeps my hands and mind busy. And it's pretty. Sometimes even useful.

And I kinda think I'm going to end up dancing on Fremont Street. Maybe even for tips. Wouldn't that be a fun little full circle of life?

I haven't really been keeping a blog in...forever. Obviously they don't make any money, and I feel like the time of blogs is over. Having said that, there are a few I read frequently, and they are all over on Wordpress. So in interest of being with a community that is interested in what I am interested in (games, anime, nerdy stuff) I am probably going to by and large move bloggy things over to my Wordpress blog. Or A Wordpress Blog - I might start a new one. New starts, you know. When I get that urge to write a snarky or interesting article or short story, or jump in on a writing challenge, well at the moment Sweek.com is looking pretty cool. Here's my shiny new profile page. 

So, yeah, that's kinda whats happening in my creative life right now. Hope you can cope.

Blessedbe
And thanks for hanging out with me

Summer Foovay

Amazon, You Are Dead To Me

I believe, and this is purely IMHO, that Amazon has reached a tipping point.

Not that tipping point where a hobby becomes a paying profession or a profitable business.

That tipping point where the profitable business becomes a huge, multi-national conglomerate that no longer gives a flying fuck about customer service, or promoting and helping small businesses or independent artists and writers but instead chooses to exploit them at every opportunity, while blocking them from upward mobility or significant growth.

Recently all of my reviews were removed, with no notice, and no explanation. I am now blocked from reviewing. 

Now, personally, I don't really care. But it is annoying. I know that I am an honest reviewer. I tried trading reviews once and the books I got to review were so hideously bad I could barely find anything about them to praise. I mean, really, terrible. Minutes of my life I'll never get back. And that was the end of that - about 3 books in as I recall. A lot of people email me and ask me to review books, and I don't generally do that either because...well... yeah, they are usually pretty bad for the most part. I've gotten a few free books for review, and products, too. I've always posted (if I remember, because I get a lot of books one way or another) that the book or product was free or discounted for review.

I don't KNOW, because Amazon will not tell me, why I was banned. But I THINK it is because I did a glowing review of a book I really loved. The author contacted me and thanked me and said, "Hey, I have a new book, you wanna read it? I'll send you a free one." Well, duh, I said YES. I really liked the new book, too, and I wrote another glowing review. Now, this is actually the second or third time this sequence of events has happened with different authors. So I'm not sure, again, because Amazon won't tell me. But it's the only thing I can think of that could have suddenly triggered this. I haven't asked for or accepted a free product or book (other than the one I just mentioned) in probably nearly a year or more. I have posted a few reviews recently, all good - so I guess they could just hate anyone posting lots of 4 and 5 star reviews. Sorry, I don't bother reviewing (or even finishing) a book I don't think is worth 4 or 5 stars.

But as an Indie writer myself, who sometimes sends someone a free book with a request to review (which is in general ignored) it pisses me off. Because BIG PUBLISHERS can send reviewers free books, and say, please read this and even wine and dine reviewers - and THAT'S OKAY. So what's the difference if an Indie author contacts a reviewer and offers them a free book?

Conspiracy theorist that I am, I am inclined to think that it's a sin for the Indie to do EXACTLY what the big company does...when the big company goes to their friend, Amazon (the other now big company) and whines. But that's just my thoughts.

But this whole thing is just one more brick in the wall.


There's the delivery thing.  Feel free to click on the link if you missed THAT rant. 

Amazon seems to have "progressed" to the WalMart level of finagling it so they can pay people less than poverty wages for doing the lowest and "least important" jobs for them. People who are paid poorly, often act as though they are, well, undervalued?

There was the whole thing where I tried to start a Kickstart campaign, and Kickstart got my Amazon Payment account frozen (which handles payment for my Mechanical Turk jobs) because their software doesn't believe I am a real person. I ended up writing Jeff Bezos over it - and he actually did kick it down to an assistant who apologized and fixed it.

I could go on for quite some time with various little bricks and cracks in the wall (some of which doesn't even have anything to do with Amazon), but basically, Amazon, you are dead to me. I am tired of your sudden arbitrary decisions fucking up my little life of marginal poverty. 

On examination, I realize I have placed all my eggs in Amazon's basket. It was easy at the time, and even advised as the best way to increase your income. And at one point in time, this may have even been true. But it was a bad decision, and I know better. Or at least I ought to by now. (**cough**adult blogs**cough)(**cough**Squidoo**cough)(**cough**coloryourown.com**cough**)

Well, just at is came time to move on from all of those **make millions on the Internet** schemes, it is now time to separate myself from Amazon. I did not make the decision lightly, or overnight. This is the result of a number of days and nights of though, research, meditation and soul searching. 

It's just time.

What this means to anyone who follows me because they like my writing - all 3 of you - HHHH - is that starting tomorrow almost all of my books on Kindle will go on sale for free for the usual five days. Some of them weren't qualified - sorry - but most everything is down to 99 cents right now. Tomorrow I'll post a full list of them with links.

And when that time is up I will unpublish each and every last one of them. Bye bye.

That said;

The vast majority of the sex books under Petit Morte and Randall Fox will go into a graceful and forever retirement. They haven't really made much money for many years and I don't feel they really make much of a contribution to the universe.

The Peritoneal Dialysis book is the only one I really regret - but I want to add a chapter revealing that PD does cause heart failure, and the year James spent in the hospital. After which I will actually make a serious attempt to sell it to a medical publisher who will make my dream come true of a stack of them on the corner of every PD nurses desk, or in dialysis and nephrologists waiting rooms.

The rest of them I'm going to let have a little vacation, while I think about things. They may eventually be republished through one of those POD publishers, like Lulu.com, who sells on Amazon as well as other sites. Some of them are up on Wattpad right now, and others may join them there. I'm looking at some other "share your writing" sites as well. 

So if your interest is in me as a writer - I guess all I can say is grab the books you want NOW - and then (if you want) stay tuned. If you are interested in me as a human... you will be interested in the blog post to follow...

I do realize that Amazon could not possibly care less about losing my piddly little amount of business. This isn't for them - they've already made it clear they aren't interested in talking to me. This is for the peons who share my space in this Universe.

Blessedbe
And thank you for hanging out with me

Summer Foovay


Living on the down low

If you are one of the few brave souls who have been with me for lo these many years of blogging and writing and webpage designing, wow, I l...