Large numbers of birds nested in the trees and their song was deafening. There was no farming in this area anymore, and the live animals that roamed the plains, or their corpses that rotted in the open air, led to an explosive increase in the numbers of insects. We had to remove the dead bugs from the car’s windshield twice a day, something that I only remembered my father talking about. Depending on our location, mosquitos and flies were so abundant that at times they overwhelmed us, getting into our nostrils and ears by the dozens. We constantly suffered bites and stings and the resulting itching drove us mad. The insects drove the animals wild too. The abundance of insects positively affected the numbers of birds and bats. I imagined that the world was now returning to the wildlife situation prior to the nineteenth century – naturally without the species that mankind had eradicated in the interim. I wondered about climate change too. With the pandemic, the release of carbon-dioxide caused by humankind’s activities had come to a sudden stop. At the same time, most of the land that had been used for agriculture before the pandemic was now being reconquered by bushes and trees. This rich vegetation tied carbon-dioxide down in the form of biomass. Although it was too early to tell any difference, I suspected that the Earth’s average temperature would slowly start to decrease, leading to colder winters, the refreezing of the polar caps, the reappearance of the large glaciers, lowering of the sea levels and an end to desertification.
The first two novels of the TWO JOURNEYS trilogy. Get you copy in any internet bookstore, in any format.
Carly, a regular reader of this blog, asked: “Why don’t you add ads to your blog? You create such great content; why don’t you monetize?” This got me thinking. I’ve been blogging for 10+ years, and here are some observations on how I’ve faired.
1. The number of visitors to my blog continues to increase month by month and year by year. Occasionally I have included ads in my blog, and in total I have made about… $13. Why is that? My blog focuses on content that I personally like. This is not mainstream content, it isn’t about gossip, sex, politics, current affairs, or even any one single topic. I’m presuming readers like to read the posts, but find ads distracting. Therefore, monetizing the blog through ads doesn’t add any value, neither for me as a blogger and author, nor for you as a reader, probably.
2. I have invested months in studying and implementing SEO, and I follow most of the rules in the SEO rule book – if that is possible (it is easy to overlook some important setting). The effort is considerable, yet Search Engine Optimization is a very intriguing topic that you will need to consider if you own a blog. In reality, 90% of the referrals to my blog arrive from my “Two_Journeys” Twitter channel, 7% from the “Clemens P. Suter” Facebook Page, and the other 3% from other channels – including search engines! By the way, my follower numbers on Twitter increase day by day, yet the number of followers on Facebook remains the same year over year.
3. Blogs compete for attention, and as more and more people are blogging, the tougher it gets to stick out from the crowd. I try to focus on content and less on the methodology and possibilities to monetize. My main purpose is to make potential readers aware of my books, and for that the blog is useful; a single site to attract people to, and bring them here.
4. Talking about selling books. I write adventure / SciFi stories (again see here) and self-publish. Here’s a very IntriguingObservation: >95% of my books are purchased as eBooks on iTunes. All other eBook formats such as Kindle, Kobo, and for other eBook readers, as well as paperbacks make up the other 5%. I suspect this skewed distribution across these channels has to do with the genre; I have no other explanation – perhaps you have an idea. Interestingly, every second person that I meet tells me that they prefer reading paperbacks: well dude, dudess; it’s not reflected in my sales😜. I am curious to hear your feedback or experience with this.
5. I’ve said it before: nowadays anyone with a laptop can be an author. Writing has been democratized, which is absolutely marvelous. At the same time, digging into to the ever changing landscape of online marketing is very rewarding too. Enthusiasm for the written word – perseverance – the motivation to try out new things – these are the ingredients that will help you be an author for a long time.
Hmm, perhaps I should add some ads to this blog? Whatdo you think?
Two men reading one of my eBooks on their smartphone. Hot stuff!
This special commemorative coffee mug can be filled with 350ml of hot coffee, even steaming hot: it is fully temperature resistant. All types are supported: latte, cappuccino, koffie verkeerd or macchiato; its smooth surface even protects against the oxidative effects of Devil’s Brew.
How does it work? The mug comes with two holes: one hole (at the top) is used to both add and extract the coffee. The hole on the side is used to insert two fingers so that the mug can be lifted. (Confusing the two may lead to damage and/or injury.)
Can the mug be used for tea? Yes.
How about the artwork? Find the cover of Two Journeys on the front, and a mysterious QR code on the back! Where does it lead, you will wonder? Which miraculous domain of the internet?
Get your hands on your personal copy of some of the most exciting Paperbacks and eBooks.
“This is a great book, if what you want is action, suspense, humor, and character development.”
Comments by the author – Strong, quick acting Alan is a scientist, traveling for business… but things do not turn out as predicted. One of my goals as the author was to raise awareness of just how vulnerable we are to a pandemic in the developed world. I also wanted to show how a single person can cope with being a lone survivor. You will need to be able to rely on your own moral fiber, on your physical strength and on your willpower. We’ve gone long without a major pandemic that kills millions. On the other hand, outbreaks of viruses such as SARS, corona or influenza (e.g. H2N2 or the Asian Flu H3N2; or bird flu) have occurred again and again. Let’s face it, if we knew, we’d be even more frightened; with the huge global population, the possibility that a pandemic strikes and spreads quickly isn’t that remote. In my books, I want you caring about the character as well as the world. Action occurs, and contact is made with beings on alien “ships”, however the book – on purpose – does not answer all questions. After all, in case of a pandemic, with a breakdown of communication and internet and so on, there will be more questions than answers. Imagine the world falling apart while this plague decimates the entire population. You will enjoy this ride with the hero Alan, as he races across Asia towards what was Western Europe.”
Great news for all fans of my post-apocalyptic / adventure novels TWO JOURNEYS and FIELDS OF FIRE: the first raw version of the third installment in this trilogy was finished today, at 91,634 words. Now comes the hard part: refining the text, finetuning the storyline and… editing, editing, editing!
Below a sample for the impatient – but caution: this is unedited text.
I had been asleep for a few hours, when Vora shook me. “Alan. I’m not feeling well, not well at all.”
She looked terrible, and she was hot with fever. I gave her some water and a few tablets to lower her temperature. “Go back to bed, I will look after you. If I’m not here when you wake up, I will be looking for medication. You will feel better in the morning.”
I lighted a candle and sat in a chair close by, dogs at my feet, and pretended to read a journal. My mind wasn’t with the text at all, as this unexpected complication took me by surprise. People did get sick, but I wondered what had struck her. I retraced our steps and activities but couldn’t immediately think of anything that might have caused this unless she had been wounded during the skirmishes in Denver. Or had one the soldiers been a carrier for an infection and had that been passed on to her?
After a restless night, dawn arrived, a blood-red sun slowly rising above the horizon. I had stolen away and wandered through the empty halls. I had located a store with some medical supplies; the stuff that travelers had needed; ibuprofen, aspirin, cough medicine, antiseptic solutions, plasters; nothing truly useful, but I took all of it along.
Vora was still asleep, her fever slightly better. She woke up about an hour later.
“How are you doing?”
She shook her head: “Tired mostly. Exhausted. This is a bastard.”
She felt her body. “Not really. Alan – I’m sorry, I…”
I put my finger to my lips. “Hush! I don’t want to hear it. Let’s get you going again, then we’ll talk about next steps. I will have to examine you, whether you have any damage.”
I helped her get out of bed and together we managed to take off her trousers. I lifted her shirt. She had some bruises and scratches, a few looked slightly more serious. I checked her feet and her hands for wounds. I cleaned every scratch with alcohol.
“What do you see?” She could only speak in a whisper.
“Nothing conspicuous. These wounds should all quickly heal, none of them should cause a fever, but you never know… Just rest now, and I will do some thinking. Did anybody do anything to you… anything that I should know about? That could have infected you?” She shook her head. “No, nothing that I can think off.”
In a clean t-shirt and loose leggings, her face and hands cleaned with some water and alcohol, and after a bite of food, she looked a bit better. “Stay in bed and relax.”
I left the lounge. I cursed when I was out of hearing. I needed Vora to get me across the ocean, to fly that plane for me… us. Without her support I would be lost. I needed to get her fit as fit as possible and as quickly as possible.
At the information desk in the arrival area, behind customs, I found details about the immediate surrounding area. Mostly commercial offerings, like hotels, restaurants, and shuttle services; nonetheless I also found a useful map: a university hospital was located nearby, may ten blocks away.
Vora had to be moved. A hospital would provide medicine, equipment, information…
Not much later, I located an ambulance parked underneath the terminal. The engine worked. I pulled out the stretcher and the dogs and I walked back to the lounge.
Vora was awake, but I wasn’t happy with the way she looked. She hadn’t improved one bit, that was clear. I transferred our gear to the ambulance, and then I tied her onto the stretcher, to which she objected halfheartedly. In her position I would have objected too, but I didn’t want her to break a hip should she fall off.
We went to the ambulance, I loaded her and the three dogs in the back, and off we went. For a second, I was tempted to switch on the siren, but decided against it, for obvious reasons; I didn’t want to attract any downers.
I drove up to the entrance of the emergency unit, unloaded the stretcher with Vora, and found a room where I could put her in. I put the stretcher down to a few inches off the ground. “Everything OK?”
She didn’t answer.
Like it? Get a copy of TWO JOURNEYS on your Apple device, and start out with part one of the trilogy.
Today a Chinese restaurant (“Peking Duck”), but once upon a time a very infamous man had his residence and offices behind these doors. Can you guess who?
The truth behind the duck: Mr. Mengling Tang from China is the owner of a Chinese eatery in the Voßstraße in Berlin, exactly on the spot of the entrance to Adolf Hitler’s “Neue Reichskanzlei” – the new chancellery. The building didn’t survive the ravages of war, within a few years after completion, the home of the brutal, and weirdly mustachioed dictator was destroyed by allied bombs. Adolf probably wouldn’t have clenched his little fists with pleasure, if he would have known about the re-purposing of the spot where his ugly government building (designed by his favorite architect Albert Speer) once stood. But then again, maybes he is, in purgatory?
Interested to learn where Adolf Hitler ended up, after his suicide? Ge t a copy of my novel CELETERRA, e.g. in iTunes:
In a previous post I provided details about the new novel that I am working on: REBOUNCE is the preliminary name of this book and the third and final book in the TWO JOURNEYS trilogy (get a copy of the first two books, for instance on your iPhone / iPad). I am now at 45,000 words, 55,000 to go.
The hero Alan, as tough as nails… combining unrelenting courage, adaptability, compassion and inventiveness – pre-conditions essential to survive in a devastated, post-pandemic world.
Danger lurks around every corner, and not just from humans. To illustrate the man’s resilience: here’s a short sample from the unedited manuscript. DON’T try this at home.
Stay tuned for more.
Part of Chapter 7
Lewis’ eyes explored my face. “What happened to your eye?”
Usually, people ignore the black patch that covers my left eye, they just stare at it curiously, too embarrassed to ask.
“A guy with a knife attacked me.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
I shrugged. “He’s too. I shot him.”
Lewis’ eyebrows went up, a combination of respect and shock. I usually tell anyone who asks me this story. Why not make the best out of the loss of an eye? In addition, the true story was so embarrassingly weird, that nobody ever believed it.
I had at one point made the foolish decision to take a motorbike for a ride. In the absence of humans and pesticides, insects had returned in large numbers and as the engine accelerated onto an unspoiled stretch of highway, I hit into a cloud of fat hornets. One had landed in my eye and stung me multiple times. I fell off the bike and barely made it back to base. The next day, my left eye swelled up beyond recognition. I dragged myself to a drugstore where I camped for a few days, trying out any useful medication or antibiotic that I could find. It was no use; without any help, I suddenly had to decide between dying or operating on myself; the left side of my face was swollen like a red balloon, and the eyeball was gray and obviously invested by an aggressive, unbeatable bug. I pulled a stretcher into a backroom, mounted lights and a mirror above it, and prepared an infusion with a cocktail of salt, painkillers and antibiotics. Lying on my back, I anesthetized half of my face. The next hour was the most horrible in my entire life. On some level, even my wife’s death was by comparison a walk in the park. In my dreams, especially after a heavy meal, I sometimes still see the scalpel approaching my eye. The first incision was excruciating. I shortly passed out from pain and the obnoxious smell of puss and blood that ran down my face. I screamed in horror and shook my head like a wild man. After many minutes I regained some control, and feeling slightly better, I turned my head back to look at my reflection in the mirror. With my gloved hand I opened my half-closed eyelids. The eye itself was gone, the socket a gaping hole, with some ugly bits of tissue and the stump of the nerve in the back. With trembling hands, I rinsed the wound and patched it up with bandages and disinfectant that I had prepared earlier. Then I fainted. It took me six weeks to recuperate.
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