Let me tell you a secret.

This summer was amazing: June, July and August, the sun beating on the Rhine valley like god’s anvil, the temperature hardly ever dropping beneath the thirties in daytime. No rain, the cistern ran out of water quickly and we had to install more wine casks as raincollectors to water our tomatoes and fruits.

The local swimming pool was crowded every single day, the nights too hot to allow restful sleep and the farmers complained that the absence of rain was going to ruin the harvest.

This brought back childhood memories. Let me tell you a secret, that may proof valuable for you.

Many, many years ago, when I was still a very young boy, my father arrived home one night accompanied by two men carrying a big box. The box was put on the table and unpacked. It contained the very first television set that my parents had bought with their meager  income. Mind, this was the time when most people still spent the evenings listening to the wireless.

The men installed the television on a small table and left. My father switched it on. My mother, my sister, my brother and I looked eagerly at the screen.

Only atmospheric disturbance was visible: a gray soup of signal accompanied by a fizzy hissing sound. My father played with the two antennas, moving them from left to right and back again. Suddenly a voice appeared from the ether, and after some more fiddling, a human face emerged out of the signal swamp.

My father lowered himself next to us on the couch. The five of us stared at the man; the first person we had ever seen on a television.

The man wore a dirty blue cap. He was standing in the middle of a field, obviously a farmer. Another man, outside of view (we could only see his arm and hand) held a microphone under his mouth.

“What will happen…,” said the invisible man, “If it doesn’t rain within a few days?”

The farmer looked at the sky, at the ground and started a long explanation in an exotic dialect that we could not understand. But his facial expression and voice made clear that the end of the world, if not of all times, was closing in on us.

We watched his narrative for five minutes. Then my mother said: “What’s on the other channel?”

My books: www.clemenssuter.com/books

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Tips to Survive the Apocalypse. Some highly ineffective recommendations.

John Harpsicord*), a follower of this blog, asked: What about the name of this blog dude! “Survive the Apocalypse” – I can’t find any apocalyptic content and no survival tips. Huh? WTF is that all about? Confusing.

Well John, at face value you do have a point. So let me explain why in fact this blog is ALL about surviving the apocalypse suggestions.

Once the apocalypse strikes – which may happen earlier than you think, through a deadly combination of global warming, over-population and some completely inept political leaders (so sad !) – there is very little that we can do. Stocking up on emergency food, baseball bats and pepper spray may sound like a sound strategy, but in reality you won’t know what has hit you. So the best survival strategy is… enjoy life while you can! Take life with a grain of salt and a lot of humor, because none of us know how long we or good ol’ Earth will be around.

The apocalypse does make for some great reading, as reflected in my adventure novels (curious ? Look here www.clemenssuter.com/books), and you can find a lot of information about these books on this blog, which is another explanation for the name.

And finally: aren’t we all, in one way or another, surviving our own personal apocalypse each and every day? Life can be tough as shit; and most confusingly, it is also absolutely beautiful. That’s what I try to bring across in my books and in the title of this blog: the negative of the Apocalypse and the beauty of Survival. Yin and Yang. And the confusion of it all: there are no easy explanations, life is complex and unpredictable.

*) name (slightly) changed

Photo by Charles Deluvio

Survive the apocalypse with appropriate headwear. Life is a contradiction and can be confusing as hell, so better enjoy it while you can (Photo by Charles Deluvio)

 

 

Top five ideas for your blog and self-publishing novels.

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 Intriguing Observation: >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? What do you think?

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Two men reading one of my eBooks on their smartphone. Hot stuff!

 

Celebrating the 2010 release of my novel Two Journeys with a limited edition coffee mug.

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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.

FAQ

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?

Learn more here: http://clemenssuter.com/books

 

The Secret Art of Whistling

“Stop whistling, Clemens. Only laborers whistle,” my great friend and teacher C used to say. C was Austrian, and like many citizens from that cutlet-shaped country,  leaned towards eccentricity. Highly sympathetic, but thank you for the advice. Meanwhile I am glad I listened to most of C‘s suggestions, but ignored this particular one.

Many years later I had an eye opening experience with music. As a birthday present, my wife gave me a weekend-long harmonica training. A crash course with a professional harmonica teacher, Dale King. At the end of which I walked from the experience with the rewarding conclusion that I would never be able to play ANY musical instrument. Except for a CD player or smartphone, my limbs, fingers and lungs are unable to extract any melodious or rhythmic sound from any instrument. Problem solved.

There is some truth in the statement that everybody can and should sing, but being modest for once, I admit that my singing capabilities are limited.

But I can whistle. The tunes that Yehudi Menuhin squeezed from his Stradivari after long years of tortuous practice, effortlessly leave my two lips with no practice at all.

Whistling – it truly seems to be a secret art. I couldn’t find any article or reference  about the effect of whistling on well-being, physical health, war and piece, the economy or whatsoever. There are no lists of famous Hollywood actors, historical figures or politicians that indulged in this activity.  Did George Washington, Caligula, Margaret Tatcher or Jennifer Anniston ever whistle? The history books remain stumm.

But I LOVE it. In fact, I will now render Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Beats my vocal version by a length.

Read more here: http://clemenssuter.com/books

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Anyone for a game of Solitaire? Multiplayer Mode On!

Is Solitaire a game for multiple players? My answer: definitely yes. Playing as a team not only adds a lot of fun. Building on a coach’s expertise greatly intensifies the playing experience, as the below conversation illustrates.

Wife: “What are you playing?”

“A game of solitaire.”

“How does that work?”

“Just watch, it explains itself.”

A minute of silence.

Wife: “Put the red seven on the black eight.”

“Yes, I saw.”

“The black four. On the red five.”

“Thank you, yes.”

“Why do you put that ace at the top?”

“That’s part of the game. At the end you should collect all cards of the same kind in four stacks at the top.”

“Put the black jack on the queen of hearts.”

“I saw that one.”

“You’re not very fast at this. The three. Put the black three on the four of hearts. The three.”

“I saw that one.”

“The seven. You can put the seven on that eight. You’re really taking your time.”

“My hand cannot move as fast as your eyes. There’s a natural delay between the two actions that can’t be overcome.”

“The six! The six of diamonds on the seven of spades. On the seven!”

“Yes, I saw.”

“You’re really taking your time.”

“It isn’t about finishing within a certain time. It’s about finishing at all. It’s more strategic and meditative than competitive.”

“The red nine onto the ten.”

“They are the same color. That is not allowed.”

Some silence. Wife gets up and leaves: “Stupid game.”

———

Find information about my books here or order them directly at amazon (paperback or kindle). Also available on iPhone

Playing the nine of hearts!

Solitaire. Probably not a team play

Some weekends I hardly have the energy to drag myself from one coffee house to the next.

After a full week of work, Saturdays are best spent drinking coffee and watching people walk by. A thoroughly exhausting yet highly rewarding activity.

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I’ve become a bit of a pro at this. I know most of the coffee houses in a 20 mile radius and I must spend hundreds of hours a year sipping the black poisonous liquid, accompanied by a sandwich or a piece of cake. I happen to be a teetolar and thus look for rewards elsewhere.

Happy Independence Day & Fourth Of July – Yankee Doodle America – Special #BookOffer #SpecialDeal #Promo

Only for the week of Independence Day: Clemens P. Suter eBooks from $2.99 for just $0.99. @Smashwords.

Enter the Smashwords store, order the books below, enter the code and download the eBooks to your device: and enjoy great rebates, it is as simple as that.

  • Fields of Fire – Use Code KP48X  
  • Two Journeys – Use Code ZT72Y
  • Celeterra – Use Code DM68Z 

These adventure novels never fail to entertain, well-written fiction that can’t be put down. Great books for a rainy day, to pack in your vacation suitcase or to read on the plane. Comments left by readers at Amazon: “Short message to Roland Emmerich and Quentin Tarantino: this is the story for your next film”   “An excellent title and a worthy read”   “Good reading”

Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Gooding
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.

Yankee doodle, keep it up
Yankee doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

There was Captain Washington
Upon a slapping stallion
A-giving orders to his men
I guess there was a million.

And then the feathers on his hat
They looked so’ tarnal fin-a
I wanted pockily to get
To give to my Jemima.

Old Glory- the Star Springled Banner

Flag of the United States of America

www.clemenssuter.com

For the sake of the environment.

International business travelers and tourists will know the sign below: for the protection of the environment we ask you to use your towel more once.

Doubtful whether this is  driven by worries about the environment. Isn’t the true motivation something completely different? Shouldn’t the text read:

”Hello, this is to inform you that we do not care at all about the environment. What we do care about is our profit margin. Washing your dirty towel costs money. But we cannot put that on a sign, now can we, arf arf arf? We are betting that you DO worry about the environment more than we do, and that you will take this message seriously and that you are fully prepared to dry yourself with a dirty towel for the next four days of your stay. Or longer. Oh yes. And Thank YOU.”

Now, that would be in refreshing statement!

Or how about this?  “We do not think that it matters at all whether we clean one towel more – the environment is screwed up as it is. You get a clean towel every day whether you want it or not.  No use hiding your dirty towel in your suitcase; we will find it, as we rummage through it’s contents during our daily “security” check. Stop whining and suck it up.”

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