Friday, September 30, 2011

Any book can be a star (or four or five)

At the time I am writing this blog post, Dating A Cougar has 37 reviews on Amazon US, 44 reviews on Amazon UK, and 30 reviews on Apple just to give you an idea. The number of 3, 4 and 5 star reviews mostly outnumber the 1 and 2 star ones, but I would lying if I didn't admit those low ones are painful. My author friends (bless them all) pointed out to me that the reviews swing the full pendulum of either loving the book or completely not liking it which undoubtedly comes from the book being read by someone not in my target audience (bless John Locke for pointing this out).

Still, I often hit a low point reading the wide mixture of comments and wondering what it all means. Recently the wondering sent me to investigate some of the biggest selling authors of romances or romantic comedy that I personally like to read, such as Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, and Jennifer Cruise. Guess what I discovered? Their work garners hundreds of reviews and they all have their share of 1 and 2 star ones. They would probably change places with me over some of the reviews. Theirs are usually from long-time disappointed readers which undoubtedly sets the writer in them cringing.

Oddly enough, I wish I could have at least a hundred more reviews on each of my Amazon sites, in Apple land, on my Goodreads site, and any other site where readers review my books. Why? Because if the reviews equaled the same number of my Facebook or Twitter followers who comprise what I consider to be my "real" audience, and each contained what I've heard from those readers personally, I believe it would create a much different public picture.

After reading the negative reviews, I usually have to bounce back over to Facebook or the guestbook on my website to convince myself I'm good enough to still be writing. It may surprise some who are reading this blog post to learn that writers are not armadillos. Even the well-meant, good criticism that is a natural and necessary part of this work hurts because it's like getting a lecture from a parent or teacher or boss telling the writer they did a bad job.  However, the unhelpful, mean-spirited kind of review is damaging without benefit.

Here's a tip I've learned that I happily pass along to my fellow Indie writing friends. If you find reading the reviews stop you from writing (and they sometimes do), consider asking author friends to help vet reviews. The more unbiased they are about your work, the better the help will be.

Many best selling Indie and Traditional authors have sworn that rankings don't mean sales and negative reviews don't mean lack of sales, and I can certainly attest to that being true from the perspective of my few months of selling experience. Sales follow interest and only a "real" audience will buy all your books. If a reader liked Dating A Cougar, in the majority of cases the person bought all the other three in that series. I know because I watched it happening in some channels, and beyond the sales reports, readers have also written to tell me.

So what do I think all the reviews mean and what should a writer do about them as the author of the books? I honestly have no great ideas. For me, they remain something to just read occasionally and try to see if I can improve anything further.

Originally, I wanted to use the negative reviews to help me determine areas of my work I could improve. That's been the case for only a small fraction of them. The biggest change I made was to add more editing and now a proofreader on the end of the process. Mostly, I think reviews provide a guideline for future purchasers who do not know my work. I will not be a hypocrite about the importance of reviews pretending I don't use them myself as a reader because I certainly do. I've bought two books lately from favorite authors, but I haven't made time to read them because I fear being disappointed in the storyline which I determined might happen because of reviews.

I know reviews are important. I just don't know how important. I care, but I also can't let the negative ones stop me from further productivity. So I tell myself that my "real" audience will find me if I keep standing out in the open and trying to find them. When I finish my second series in late November, I plan to go to the site of every book author I have loved and write a review. I figure it will take me at least two weeks to do this, but I have definitely learned the value of it to the writer. If I loved their book, I want to go down in history as one of their fans who gave them credit for what they did.

If you haven't reviewed a book for an author whose work you love, consider making time for it someday.  It is a gift to them--a huge, huge gift.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Man With The Silver Purse

When I initially chose to write humor, I had personal reasons that I thought I could never explain. This is mostly still true. However, the after effect of having several humorous novels under my belt is that I now seem to see humor in everything that happens to me.

Recently, I was standing outside the women's bathroom in a restaurant located near the exit door. A man walks towards me carrying a giant silver purse and when he nears the door he swings the purse up onto his shoulder like a woman would, or rather like it's meant to be carried. When he figures out I have seen him do this act, he pauses in front of me, slipping the purse off as if it's contaminated, and holding it out in front of him he says "it's not really mine".  I smile because it is impossible not to, and frankly the young man is very good looking, not to mention obviously charming beyond belief.

Then I laughed because I hadn't really seen him or the purse until the man saw and spoke to me. I was too busy staring off into space wondering when or if my bathroom time was ever going to happen.

The "Real" Buddy Holly -- I assume
When the man spoke, really all I saw at first was the giant silver purse and him slinging it over his shoulder. I noticed secondarily that he was very masculine, nice shoulders in his shirt with a military short haircut and glasses. He reminded me of a very athletic Buddy Holly, but more like the  actor from the movie La Bamba who played him, anyway. . .

As he hovers by the front door, smiling at me and looking sheepish, I'm smiling back at him fully now. Finally, I'm getting a tad embarrassed and thinking I shouldn't be practically flirting with a guy who 1) has a purse on his arm and 2) probably a female somewhere in the vicinity with a claim to it. No, it didn't dawn on me that I shouldn't be flirting because I was old enough to be his mother. My brain didn't go there. It was one of those moments you just give yourself over to and don't question. Luckily, he went on through the exit door at that point and relieved me of my attack of self-consciousness.

Finally, the bathroom door opens and out walks a young woman with a tiny, barely walking little girl who is talking non-stop. I exchange the pleasantries that women often do in such situations before hurrying to take advantage of my turn in the facilities.

Shortly after I return to my table, I look out to see the woman strapping the little girl into a car seat in a mini-van and notice the guy with the purse on his shoulder is standing next to her. This makes me laugh again.

I thought how strange it is to me now that there was a time in my life where I might have been put off by a guy with a giant glittery purse on his shoulder. I thought how interesting it is that at my current age the purse wasn't even a factor in my judgment about whether he was attractive or worth the trouble to flirt with for a moment or two.

Eventually, I realized the thing I admired most about the man was not the way he looked, or even his obvious love and care for his family. It was that for a moment or two he was able to laugh at himself and make me laugh as well. He had me at the first smile he made me give him while he told me "it's not really mine". He could have told me anything afterwards and I probably would have believed him.

I read once that laughter is power, but it seems to also be a very powerful aphrodisiac. Men should buy a purse and pull this as a stunt to pick up women. They might be quite surprised at their success.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Indie Publishing II: The Wrath of Konrath

Lately Konrath has become so notorious as an outspoken Indie publishing rebel that his every utterance is studied, dissected, and critiqued. His business decisions are weighed and measured against anything he might have previously said contradicting what he's chosen to do. Traditional publishers probably do see him as a Khan to their Captain Kirk, but I've even seen some steadfast fans implying he should be cautious making even more giant changes like recently when he talked about accepting a modified traditional deal. Why on earth would any Indie author want him to lay down his machete and stop carving a path through the jungle when we're not out of it yet?

Konrath's ongoing willingness to change his mind and approach to best fit his business needs and then--God bless the man--show all the rest of how to do it is a good thing. Behind the censure hides a very basic fear of change that each person needs to resolve for themselves. Frankly, it has me shaking my head. I frequently find myself hoping Konrath's Indie book sales are huge enough to pay for a really good bullet-proof vest in case he ever needs one, or least enough to buy some really, really good booze now and again to help shut us out. No matter how much vitriol he receives, the man continues to light the way for Indie authors regardless how much hell is being raised. How can you not admire that as a business person?

It was one of Bruce's IT friends who first mentioned Smashwords and made me curious enough to do research, but it was JA Konrath who watered and fertilized the discontent growing in me with traditional publishing. His blog, A newbie's guide to publishing, is on the recommended reading list of most every Indie author for very good reasons. He is a fountain of genuinely useful information and action-prompting-thought overflowing into the Indie publishing world. To get it all, you have to read the archive posts too. Some are epic. All are worth the time.

Here is the post from December 2010 that caught me and changed my life, and not just because he was a man admitting he had been wrong about something, though I sincerely enjoyed that also (no offense, JA--I write humor):

In December 2010, "Donna McDonald" was an unknown, but moderately good writer with a growing collection of traditional industry rejections that could have, and likely would have, continued growing over many more years. Authors like Konrath helped me change that outcome. Now in September of 2011, I am a writer with six published books and another one coming out in October who is actually making money from the work. I have a profound gratitude for what JA Konrath is doing and for his ongoing honesty. Because of him, and others like him, who remain willing to tell the good and the bad stories of Indie publishing I am armed well to take risks in the business of being a published author.

Writing romantic comedies is my creative soul and my life, but before I ever received my first $35 royalty check I realized being an published author is also a demanding business. I guest blogged about that on the Gem State Writers blog this week, but I remain cautious still about coming out of the self-publishing closet and bringing traditional industry wrath down on my head, too. I longed to be noticed by them for so many years. Then I chastise myself for being afraid to just talk openly about even my modest success because as a business person I know fear is not reasonable. If I was selling any other product than my books I wouldn't be afraid to talk about anything. See how crazy that is?  So I'm glad there are well-known, widely published authors on the Indie front lines like JA Konrath, Barry Eisler, Dean Wesley-Smith, and Kristine Kathyrn Rusch who are fighting the first round of censure bullets for the rest of us.

Konrath was already too busy to connect with me individually when I found him, and I don't mind that a bit. He probably hears from hundreds of people every day and I see his answers to many of them on his blog, in his interviews, and in articles. I still mention him, credit him, and try to be reciprocal to give back to him all the paying it forward he does every day that I reap the benefits from as I study his example.

You know what else I think? Though he didn't agree, even Captain Kirk saw that Khan had intelligent reasons for thinking like he did.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Romeo Is Not A Rose

For those that follow me regularly, you probably have noticed by now that I named my blog. I noticed that most successful bloggers do this and decided to tuck away my rebellion and conform. Actually, I also read several articles that said the blog name was another sort of brand and an important way for readers to find you.

So I scratched my head for a week and hacked some Shakespeare while I thought about the importance of a name:

Tis but thy dreaded name oh blog that is my enemy. Thou art thyself blog post, though not a complete reflection of a blog name. What's a blog name anyway? It is neither hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a blog post. O, be some other name than merely an author's name! What's in a name anyway? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. But alas Romeo is not a blog name, nor a blog post, nor even a rose. Nay, he probably doesn't even smell sweet. Truly I say that not all heroes are created equal. 

Then I stopped playing around and picked a title that I thought reflected my philosophy, conveyed what could be expected from my blog, and hopefully appeals to all the readers who have read my "Never Too Late" series. After six months of blogging now, I think I would have to say that my blog is equally about romance and sex, aging and the idea of what "older" means/doesn't mean, and my journey of writing these kinds of stories.

To celebrate my blog name being named for my first born published book series, I thought I would include some of my favorite quotes and musings from my first born published book, Dating A Cougar, that fit the themes I write about so often.

The idea of a fifty-year-old woman dating a thirty-eight-year-old man just smacked of desperation to her. If the press found out, she would make the headlines again—Aging Model Dates Young Marine. She just wasn’t ready to deal with the public or private fallout that might happen. She liked being less notorious. ~ 50 yr old Alexa Ranger

“I have to go catch a plane, so I’ll be quick with my two cents on the subject. No, fifty is not old, and you make it look better than thirty anyway. Lauren and I are using you as our role model. You know darn well that at forty-seven, fifty’s just around a corner for me. Go have sex and shake this mood, Alexa. You need the oxytocin high from intercourse to fight the hormonally depressive funk you’re in right now.” ~ 47 yr old Regina Logan

Do I think fifty is old?” Sydney said, repeating her question. “Well, Paul is fifty-two. I certainly don’t consider him old. The man just gets sexier with each passing year.” ~ 35 yr old Sydney Banes

“I’m thirty-eight and you’re fifty. Beautiful women like you are ageless anyway. I’m sure you don’t need my reassurance about how attractive you are,” Casey told her, enjoying the relieved smile Alexa gave him. It was amazing to think his opinion mattered to her. ~ 38 yr old Casey Carter

“Look, check your ego, okay? I didn’t say you weren’t great, Casey. I’m just telling you in the nicest way I can—I’m too old for you,” Alexa said sternly. 
He kept his grip on her as he stood, and then Casey tugged her toward him until his nose was only inches from hers.“If you’re too old for me, then why do I want to kiss you so badly right now it hurts to leave these few inches between us?”  ~ argument between Alexa and Casey about his romantic interest in her

I wrote the "Never Too Late" series because I really do believe that it's never too late for love and romance. I hope these stories make you laugh and believe it, too. ~ Donna McDonald, real life "Cougar" and Author

Many thanks to William Shakespeare and his heroine Juliet for a lesson about the importance of a name. Here's the real quote because I believe in giving a fellow writer his due. There really was no one like him:

"Tis but thy name that is my enemy. Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. " Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Born Free, Free as a Book Can Be

Recently, fellow Indie author Ruth Cardello did a blog interview about why she made her first book free. Click here to read the full interview. If you've been reading my blog for long, you'll have read several posts where I talk about my view of it sprinkled in among other subject matter. Since commenting on Ruth's interview, I have discovered that this is a really hot topic in the self-publishing community. So I asked Ruth to talk with me a little more making a book free, but decided we would do in a James Lipton (Inside the Actor's Studio) kind of way.

Q: What is your favorite word?

Donna: Light  (well, it's a tie between "light" and "yes")
Ruth: Poopies. Say it three times and see if you can keep a straight face. Bet you can’t. (Donna response: Darn it--you're right!)

Q: What one-sentence piece of advice would you give to authors considering putting a book up free?

Donna: Have several books to sell and publish them alongside your free book.
Ruth: Know your readers and your goals; then give both everything you have.

Q: What is your least favorite word?

Donna: Can't  (usually means won't or "I'm afraid")
Ruth: Would – it’s often followed by a lame excuse.

Q: Do you really believe the free book has helped your sales?

Donna: I was an unknown author with two self-published books who is now known six months later. It costs a reader nothing to try my book and see if they like me. If they don't, c'est la vie (such is life). If they like me, they buy other books, look me up on their favorite social media site, and write to ask me for even more books. The most pleasant surprise for me has been how the free book has genuinely helped me find my audience very quickly. As a result, I have the distinct advantage of direct contact with people interested in my future books.

Ruth: Yes. It did and still does bring me readers who may not have taken a chance on a new author.

Q: What turns you on?

Donna: Laughing until I hurt, and then having my fiancee Marine kiss it all better.
Ruth: Strong, but kind men. My husband is a retired Marine, 22 years, and the biggest softie around.

Q: What turns you off?

Donna: Complaining
Ruth: Whining

Q: Do you think that "free" or ".99 cents" strategies cause an unfair competition among authors?

Donna: I met Ruth when she signed the guestbook on my author website and told me I was hitting the top of the Amazon free book list back in June. I was stunned at how nice she was being to me, an unknown author. It made me want to know her. When we started chatting with each other on Facebook, lo and behold our readers on Facebook found each other and both of us expanded our audience. It was a total win-win that I wasn't expecting, but soon realized was helped along by the fact that Indie ebook prices allow readers to purchases multiple books. Competition? No--wrong descriptor there, try thinking of as gaining exposure to a similar audience. Not long ago, I tried to reciprocate Ruth's kindness to let her know that two of her books are highly ranked (via continued 5 star customer reviews) in Amazon's new Kindle Indie Bookstore. I feel like I am learning from her. It was a wonderful discovery to learn our readers like both of us. I am grateful since the Indie world relies on happy readers and word of mouth recommendations.

Ruth: The market is changing and so are the readers. I get phone calls almost everyday from traditionally published authors who would like advice on how to sell their backlist. Indie authors, like Donna, are riding the wave and embracing the changes. Donna is smart enough to realize that it is not a competition – it’s a community. Authors don’t benefit from readers who purchase one book a year. The readers we want are the ones who purchase joyfully throughout the year. They will read my books one day and Donna’s books on another. It costs nothing to help another author get noticed, but can make a huge difference in their sales. I hope Donna and I share many years on the bestseller’s lists together and maybe meet for coffee one day to discuss how we helped each other attain that dream. (Donna response: Love to! And I love your word "community"--that's perfectly stated.)

Q: What other job would you want to attempt if you weren't a published author?

Donna: When Lipton asked actors this question, their answers always seem so clever. I have nothing clever here. For most of my life prior to 2011, I answered this question longing to be a published writer. Now that I am one, I just can't imagine doing anything else.

Ruth: I still have a day job. I’ve been a teacher in various grades for almost 20 years. Now that I have a 1 year old at home, I’d love to write and be with the baby more. My billionaires are making that dream look like a real possibility for next year. (Donna response: This will require a celebration. Ever party with a Marine before? Wait--topic for another blog. LOL)

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Donna: Wow, Donna. You cut it pretty close waiting until you were 53 to do what I sent you there for. Glad to see you finally got around to it. You made millions of people laugh. Nice going, lady.

Ruth: Yes, Ruthie, we do have horses.

Post title inspiration:  "Born free, as free as the wind blows, As free as the grass grows, Born free to follow your heart" ~ Song by Andy Williams, Words by Don Black, and Music by John Barry

Friday, September 9, 2011

Monogamous By Nature

My title comes from Stephen King who is a very popular and well-loved horror writer. I don't read much of his work because I am the kind of person whose imagination hangs on to everything I absorb. I still haven't gotten over reacting to the storyline of "Carrie" which is the only horror story I ever managed to finish. Ironically, Carrie is the name of my current heroine, an epiphany I had this week that inspired this blog. I figured out that my character, like King's, comes from an oppressing family situation. Thankfully, my Carrie will not be killing the family members who hurt her in my storyline so no worries for the squeamish. Humor and poetic justice are much more interesting than death.

The phrase I am using for the blog title comes from King's non-fiction novel called On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. My fiancee bought the book for me as a gift many years ago and it is still a favorite. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. If you are King fan or a writer of any sort, put it on your essential list. When you read about King's childhood experiences, his fiction makes complete sense. However, it was the autobiographical information that hooked my interest most. He credits his marriage working out so well to the fact that he and his wife were both "monogamous by nature" when they met and fell in love. He also jokingly added that it helped that all these years later she still had the best pair of legs he'd ever seen in his life.

In "Created In Fire", my heroine has a serious problem with what she views as the hero's  non-monogamous tendencies during the entire time she has known him. My hero views his serial dating and sleeping around actions as having been just filling the hours without her and searching for love like everyone else. If my characters were 100% new to each other, they would probably be more inclined to accept such a difference of opinion, but my pair has an unpleasant history built around this disagreement. So it gets complicated to work out a compromise that lets them both be seen as good persons.

In both my writing and real life, I use sexual monogamy as a barometer of a truly loving relationship. So in most cases, you will find my hero being absolutely monogamous to my heroine from page one. But no matter how I write the sexual monogamy in my current book, the heroine still doesn't trust him even though the hero has done nothing (lately) to further foster her mistrust. I'm aggravated at her for not recognizing his loyalty, but at the same time I know how hard it is to trust again when you've been disappointed or hurt. Who hasn't had that happen to them or someone they know in real life? However, too much reality in this case has created a writing dilemma.

So I'm spending a lot of time wondering what it's going to take for my heroine to heal enough to want what the hero is offering. I've been thinking about, "What builds trust?" The answer I keep coming up with is that it's lots of little things. It's the day-to-day stuff. Listening attentively when a person talks. Modifying behaviors that offend. Trying to be your best, kind self no matter the circumstances. Giving the person your exclusive sexual attention in bed which is not as easy to as it sounds. Most humans suffer from the "grass is greener elsewhere" syndrome, so maintaining a strong sexual focus on a current mate takes. . .well--desire, commitment, and work.

I also concluded that building back a broken trust seems a lot like the process used when starting over with someone in a new relationship. Either way you have to prove yourself and having to do so can foster tons of anger and resentment. So as you can imagine, these two characters are spending a lot of time verbally sparring and rehashing their emotional reactions. Of course, Will (Michael's father) and Jessica spent a lot of time arguing in "Carved In Stone". It seems to be a family trait in those Larson men to want to verbally wrestle a point of contention until a compromise is reached that suits them. Maybe an alpha male is an alpha male is an alpha male, but I have a tendency to stick these men with alpha females just to watch them try to kill each other on their way to the bedroom. Maybe there's a reason I send so many of my characters into therapy. LOL

Okay back to the point. Romance novels don't frequently talk openly about fostering monogamy anymore because such debates can degenerate quickly into arguments about legal definitions of the word. It can a mean a lot of things and the Wiki link describes the various types among all species. From a strictly legal perspective on the term, even a ménage à trois can be monogamous if the three are devoted to each other exclusively. I can accept that argument as much as the one about sexual monogamy being unnatural for some men and women. There is certainly evidence for any argument a person wants to make and being a philosophy major keeps my sense of "fair" in place about it.

When I create a monogamous character in my hero or heroine, I equate it being a matter of trust more than sex. I just use a strong sexual bond to formalize my couple as a bonded pair who have high stakes for being sexually loyal and monogamous to each other. It both gives them a reason to trust and it illustrates trust's existence. Even if my characters don't start out like the Kings being monogamous by nature, by the end of the story I hope to make readers believe my hero's and heroine's relationship is heading in a monogamous direction. In the case of the "Created In Fire" characters, Michael Larson and Carrie Addison, they begin already monogamous in the greater sense of the word, but they are going to have to work very hard to find the rest of a worth-while relationship.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Books and Series Order List

To help readers, I have created this blog post and will try to keep it updated until I revamp my website and this can be done better. All books are available for purchase at your favorite ebook retailers unless otherwise noted. Print books will be available in late October.


Dating A Cougar (Book One)
Dating Dr. Notorious (Book Two)
Dating A Saint (Book Three)
Dating A Metro Man (Book Four)


Carved In Stone (Book One)
Created In Fire (Book Two -- coming soon)
Captured In Ink (Book Three -- coming soon)

Non-series titles

The Right Thing

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who Makes The Rules Anyway?

Dave Thome Man Writing A Romance
Many thanks to writer, Dave Thome, for favoring me with a blog interview recently. If you're interested in reading our repartee, click here to see Dave's blog. I highly recommend that you check out some of his other posts while you're there. When I need a good laugh, I go back and read his archive. Comments are great too. Don't skip those.

Dave posited the theory that my work was breaking some genre rules. It was fun thinking about being a "rule breaker" in romance writing since I didn't set out to become one. Generally,  I'm one of those people who are okay with the system until I see it's not working anymore. Then like most Baby Boomers, I think nothing of rebelling when I have to foster the cause I'm working on, which in the case of my writing just ended up being pretty much everything, including publishing my own work. 

Still, answering the question made me wonder if I had written murder mysteries or science fiction with 40-72 yr old characters if anyone would have thought it odd. Some of my still not released paranormal stories have older characters, too. Granted, there are no 900 year old vampires or 300 year old werewolves who look 30, but I'm definitely trying to break through the ageist glass ceiling of what's sexy and planning to do it in multiple genres. I'm looking forward to getting some of my paranormal stories out next year. There is a lot of fun in writing science fiction and by nature it lends itself nicely to breaking rules of all sorts.

The other interview question was about body issues. Romances are a way for me to give an entertaining voice to issues that often get swept under the rug by the sound bite media world we live in. Walking in a character's shoes for the entirety of a book can provide an experience of that issue, if I've done my job well enough. I love to laugh, and I enjoy sarcasm and satire that isn't too mean-spirited. For example, in Dating A Cougar, there is a subtlety to the reader looking through Casey Carter's eyes as people stare at his cane. I also like the reader being on the inside of Casey's awareness of his issue, and how he handles it with humor and/or uses it to get his way. Casey found ways for the cane to add to his machismo, not take away from it, such as when he used it cleverly in a fight with hot-tempered Alexa.

Maybe my headstone will one day read "Donna McDonald: A Writer Who Broke Rules". That thought only makes me laugh. I mean, who makes the rules anyway? Personally, I would say my readers do every time they buy one of my books and write to tell me they liked the story.

In closing out my thanks to Dave Thome who is both eloquent in his word choices and funny, I am at a loss for original words to show appreciation for fellow writer support. So to make up for my lack I will use a Dolphin quote about heartfelt thanks from A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but give it a Latin twist for the funny. Vale et gratias pro piscis, Dave.

(FYI, when Dave gets ready to release his book Fast Lane, I'll be featuring him here. Check his blog for posts about how it's coming along.)