Dodge Ram 2500 HD 2013 Review

Dodge Ram 2500 HD, 2013 model year, Ethan Holmes’ review.

2013 Dodge Ram 2500HDNo, this is not my truck. Photo courtesy of greencarreports.com

First, as an introduction of sorts, allow me to say that I am not a SAE certified mechanic, I just play one on TV. Second, I am not a car salesman. I tried it for six weeks right smack in the middle of a recession and got myself fired after climbing over the desk after the sales manager. You see, I don’t like being called an a*hole for not chaining four guys to the lamp post on the lot until they agree to buy a truck. I’m weird like that.

As I write my reviews, I am not going to spout all kinds of technical information on the product or service I review. You can get all that information directly from the manufacturer, provider and other reviews. So why repeat all that? I am of the distinct opinion when people, intelligent people that is, want reviews, they want the layman’s/user’s take on the experience, not information they can already get from other sites.

As you read my reviews you will get truthful and, hopefully, useful information about my own personal experiences with the products and services. These reviews will be based on facts and yet must be noted as, overall, my opinions and only my opinions based on those facts. The rest will be up to you.

Back to the Dodge Ram 2500 HD, 2013 model year.

The truck I purchased approximately seven months ago was a difficult monster to find. The four door, quad cab, long bed model is not real popular among the general population because of it’s size. I am not sure what profound difference there is in adding a few feet to the bed but apparently it scares the general public into backing into things and scraping the side mirrors completely off the truck. I suppose small is good if you can’t drive.

This was my first foray into the world of diesel. I have been driving mostly trucks for the last twenty five years. They were all gas and got horrendous mileage. My last 2006 Ford F250 could never get better than 12.5 to 13 miles per gallon with a 5.7 liter engine. The Dodge Ram 2500 HD with a 6.7 Cummins Diesel in it gets me an average 18 mpg driving local and between 21 and 23 plus on the highway. Yay me! Any time I can almost double out the gas mileage in exchange for a ten to fifteen percent increase in the cost per gallon is okay with me.

Let’s talk about the motor for a moment, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good- Buying a Dodge Ram 2500 HD with a Cummins motor in it ensures that wherever you go, on whatever terrain you drive, you will always have immediate power on demand. I’m talking about the kind of power that most people will never need or use. Anything you pile in the truck, it doesn’t know it’s there.  Anything you attach to the back end of this monster, it doesn’t know it’s there. The first time I hooked my single axle 1800 pound trailer to it I kept having to look in the rear view mirror to make sure it hadn’t fallen off and careened off into the desert.

If I put that same empty trailer on my old F250, the mileage would immediately drop to 9 per gallon and the truck would piss and moan up every grade of every sort. The Cummins Diesel provides more than sufficient power whether the truck is full of heavy stuff or if you have a trailer on the back, even heading up the steep mountain ranges around here.

Stepping on the gas peddle of the Dodge Ram 2500 HD is akin to stepping on the gas peddle of a giant sports car. This thing takes off no matter where you’re sitting. Several dealership mechanics have advised me to ‘drive it like you stole it’ to prevent soot build-up at low rpm’s but none of them are offering to pay the speeding tickets. This truck will easily do 60 mph down a city street if you’re not careful. Getting on the interstate, even an on-ramp heading up a mountain is zero problemo. I could easily be up to 80 mph without trying. Of course, the harder you drive this truck, the worse your gas mileage will be. It can and does suck fuel when you stomp on the pedal. I’ve watched the computer drop a full mile per gallon off the average just taking a four mile sojourn up a mountain side on the interstate.

As a final aside, it is widely said that the Cummins is a monster engine that you can easily expect to get 4-500k out of and you could throw a grenade at it and it will still run. I will simply say that it remains to be seen on this end. We all know, from experience, that you can rarely buy things today that don’t have to be returned, replaced, serviced or thrown away within a few months of taking it home.

The Bad- If you’re not into selling fracking leases at a premium for drilling into your front lawn and don’t happen to have a dead grandma who left you six million to take care of her ancient ankle biting poodle, don’t buy the Cummins diesel. Dodge adds an $8000 premium to the price of the truck just for that privilege. The Cummins is also much more expensive to maintain than a gas engine.

The oil capacity is 12 quarts compared to less than half that for most gas motors. You will replace two batteries instead of one. Fuel filters, air filters and other maintenance items are substantially more expensive than gas. Then there’s the newly required by law, DEF additive, an eight gallon tank sitting on top of the gas tank complete with it’s own in-dash gauge. DEF is a uric acid based fluid sprayed on the exhaust as it is exiting to meet stringent EPA Clean Air Act standards. You must use it and keep it replenished in this truck or the Supreme Overlord Computer will actually shut your truck off and not let you drive it.

(These are issues for a ‘working man’ who still lives on a budget, not the retired, financially secure people who go out and buy the Dodge Ram 2500 HD to haul their fifth wheel around in an effort to see all fifty states and Canada before they die and leave the whole mess to the kids.)

The Ugly- The nice thing about owning a new vehicle is Dodge’s three year, 36K miles full warranty and the five year, 100K miles power-train warranty. Theoretically that means you don’t have a thing to worry about for a while as long as you take care of the vehicle the way Dodge tells you to. (Why do I sometimes feel as though this is not really my truck with the computers and Dodge all telling me what I can and can’t do with the vehicle?)

The scariest thing for me was doing the research on repairs for this vehicle. It’s not uncommon for repairs on a Cummins to average in the thousands of dollars. I better warm up the printer.

Dodge Ram 2500 HD Cosmetics-

This is what I call the cosmetics; the interior/exterior style, comfort and looks of the vehicle. Dodge has always made ‘pretty’ trucks since at least the late ’90′s. I had a ’97 Burgundy and Grey 1500 that was gorgeous to look at but was a piece of junk mechanically speaking.

The interior is well appointed on my Big Horn model. The seats are very comfortable and my first thought upon driving it was how nice it would be to take a trip in it. Everything is in easy reach and their Uconnect media center can handle just about anything you want to do but probably shouldn’t in a truck, at least not while driving. The cab is quiet and well insulated from outside noise. Close the door and you can barely hear the engine running unless that’s just me going deaf with age. (Now I know why I climb back into the truck after a while and the volume on the radio is mysteriously cranked to 25.)

I sat in a similar model Ford F250 just before going to see this truck and it felt like I was sitting in a plastic Tonka Toy compared to the Dodge. Dodge gets it about creature comforts and trip taking in a pickup truck. There were even nice little surprises like a built-in power converter plug so I can brew my espresso while I am rolling over people on the highway. Another nice feature was in the in-console air brake option. I did not like the fact that none of the cigarette lighter plugs work once the truck is off since I like to leave my phone in the truck to charge while I am out doing other things like, say, working.

I don’t have to say anything about the exterior. I get it. It’s pretty, even when it’s full of trash bags full of yard debris and a wheel barrow with two broken shovels sticking out the top. Quit pulling up to me at red lights and telling me how pretty my truck is as though it’s some sort of trophy wife. (Come to think of it, they’re both expensive.) I get enough of that on my vintage motorcycle.

I HAVE ISSUES-

Now we’ll talk about the things that have gone wrong with the Dodge Ram I drive or that make me flat out nuts unless I stay on my medication.

The transmission, especially in local driving is somewhat clunky. Perhaps it’s too much power to be kept under reign trying to hold varying speeds between 20 and 35 while the pinhead in front of me plays with their phone and tries, simultaneously, to figure out which fast food joint to stop at and text their way through the drive-through window. In addition, the electronic shift control, which is located on the gear shift handle is a thoroughly annoying rocker switch which has exhibited the vexing habit of not responding to my efforts at switching gears, especially in local driving while I am trying to at least pretend I don’t want to kill all the texters. I was told to ‘keep the rpm’s up’ but that’s kind of difficult when the truck won’t do what you wish.

One day I made the terrible mistake of trying to change the tire pressure on my truck because, God forbid, I was actually going to use it for the purpose for which it was built. I was going to haul something heavy in the bed. One of the computers that runs this truck went absolutely nuts on me as in, “Danger! Danger Will Robinson! The truck is no longer in ‘light truck mode’. You must correct the tire pressure immediately or the truck will self-destruct!”

Well, something like that. Perhaps I have my tongue firmly inserted in cheek as I don’t wish to say what’s really on my mind when a vehicle tells me what to do instead of the other way around. I don’t like people ordering me around. I surely like it even less when an unseen mechanical entity does the same. Especially when the ‘UME’ doesn’t know what I am about to do. I should be able to set my damn tires at whatever pressure I think is applicable to the situation at the moment. Yeah, good luck with that.

I don’t like the fact that the doors on this beast have taken to beating me to death. All four doors seem to be set at a tension that only requires you blowing on them to shut them. You people need to work out more.

When I open a door, it’s usually because I am loading stuff in there. (Example; I rarely go anywhere without a large cooler in the back seat to keep groceries from becoming a fresh cooked dinner in the truck courtesy of high desert summer heat.) It is for such reasons that I don’t appreciate the door in question slamming back on me every time there is a breeze or if I am on the slightest grade. We’re not all skinny, 127 pound old guys with wives twice as big as we are. I can handle a big door no problem. When it’s open, I want it to stay open until I stuff the cooler, not try to take my legs off at the knees.

The most vexing issue with this model Dodge Ram 2500 HD is the truck’s habit of not really being in Park and refusing to release the fob that serves as the ignition key. I pull into a parking lot and shift the truck to Park. (That’s what you’re supposed to in a parking lot, right?) The indicator shows up as a big green P for PARK! Except, like most of my ex-girlfriends, the truck is lying to me. It’s not really in Park. I know this because the fob will not go all the way to the Off position and the fob will not release. I have to turn the fob to the run position and shift the truck back to D for Drive and then back into Park. Then it will allow me to turn the fob to the Off position and give me the damn fob. Approaching no less than two dealerships about this problem leaves everyone scratching their asses and walking off muttering things like, “Never heard o’ that before.” Well, ya can’t say that anymore, can ya?

To this day, I continue to be amused and frustrated by how little the personnel at various Dodge dealerships know about this truck. Often, I know more about it than they do and I find myself giving them more information than they had when I walked in. What’s up with that?

Lastly, I don’t do ratings. I’m not going to give this truck three and a half tires or any number of stupid gold stars. We’re not six years old any more and I am not certain you should base a purchase decision, (especially a major purchase), on the opinion or number of stars from another person. What I will say is this. If you’re a working man like me and not an independently wealthy author like I’m trying to be, then the purchase of a truck in this class is going to be like getting married. (Well, at least, that’s what I hear.) It’s going to cost you.

That said, the Dodge Ram 2500 HD will do anything you ask it to do unless it’s ‘change the tire pressure’ or ‘park it and give me the damn fob’. You will also have to put up with strange people pulling up to you at lights or standing in the parking lot gazing longingly at the ‘pretty truck’ and asking you stupid questions like “How much that thing cost ya, buddy?”. Maybe I should see if they can get the damn fob out.

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Stay tuned, sign on, climb on board, become a follower! There will be more reviews coming from author Ethan Holmes sprinkled generously with a somewhat acerbic wit and a more than slightly twisted sense of humor!

Check out author Ethan Holmes website and don’t forget to pick up your free copy of Shorts and Other Laundry from Amazon or Smashwords.

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She is There, by Ethan Holmes

desert hedgehog1She Is There, a poem by Ethan Holmes.

She is there, for deep within my most quiet thoughts I have felt her touch.

In times when I am at my loneliest, my most solitary sadness, yes even despair,

She is there.

When nothing flows as it should, when the long stillness holds the air,

she is there.

Hope seeks to conquer disappointment and when I ask to hope, do I dare,

she is there.

When shoulders bowed and spirit low, I seek my deepest thoughts to lay bare,

she is always there.

I feel her, I sense her, I can all but reach to touch her, just that far away, just out of reach,

yet she is there.

I cannot do any more than that I have done, I call out no more, yet I know,

she is there.

Not hopeless, for hope springs eternal, I stand hopeful, hopeful that

she is there.

Where I wait, where I am, where I go, where I will be,

she is there.

Do I play the fool? Do I dream? Do I wish on the empty well?

Do I think on empty thoughts, driven by a vacant heart and only wish that she is there?

Hope springs eternal, my friend, fed only by the notion, defying all failure, that she is there.

 

A note from the author, Ethan Holmes;

A new-found friend asked me to write ‘something positive’. I would like to think there is something to be found that is positive in whatever I write. However, when I deliberately try to ‘be positive’ rather than the born realist that I am, I find that the romanticist in me pops out. Thus the poem. I hope you like it, especially those of you seeking to find a companion in these trying times we call ‘life’.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, a humorous look at real life and the choices that are presented to us every day.

If you like short stories and would like to read some for free, pick up your free copy of Shorts and Other Laundry by Ethan Holmes. If you have another device besides a Kindle, please pick up your free copy at any other ebook retailer such as Itunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony, or Smashwords.

 

 

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A Gluten Free Blog

gluten_free_label

The other day I was in a grocery store and I almost spit my gluten free muffin all over the store shelf. You see, I was looking for some baking powder, you know, the one without the aluminum in it. (I like my cookies to be metal free. It sticks in my teeth and is bloody hell to get out of there.)

As I was scanning the selection of various brands, I noticed that one of the cans was emblazoned with large letters, capital letters in fact, in hospital white so you wouldn’t miss it even if you were an eighty-year old grandma peering over your coke bottle glasses. It read, GLUTEN FREE!

Really? Is there any manufacturer out there that is not jumping on the latest stupid and inane fad embraced by the masses? I’ve seen the words GLUTEN FREE on soda, pudding, jello, spices and sadly, even beer.

I was talking to an acquaintance recently. She was fervently pushing her thoughts about food and her new gluten free diet at me and her boyfriend. I had never mentioned that I used to be a professional certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. After listening to her run on, I asked her a simple question. “Do you know what gluten is?”

“It’s glue!” she declared. “I talked to a doctor and he said it’s glue. Ever since I went to a gluten free diet I feel so much better.”

My next question was, “Do you have Celiac’s Disease?”

She didn’t know what I was talking about and just looked at me completely puzzled for a moment before she went right back to spewing about how wonderful it was and how we should all join her on the path to righteousness.

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way right now. Gluten is not a ‘glue’. Gluten is a binding protein found mostly in whole grains. Period. The ONLY reason you should be the least bit concerned with whether a product is gluten free is if you have Celiac’s Disease. Celiac’s Disease is an auto-immune system disorder causing the body to view gluten in your system as an invading organism. It is a rather rare disorder. The masses don’t have it.

There, let’s take a breath and step back from all the excitement. It just doesn’t seem to be a good week out there unless someone comes up with something that implies that food is the enemy. Protein, carbohydrates, sugars, whole grains, fried foods, grilled and barbecue foods, fish of all sorts, butter, whole milk and countless other things have all, at one time or another, been bad for you.

With the slightly twisted, bent brain that I have, partially born, I believe, of thirty radiation ‘treatments’ to the side of the head, I began to envision the market tabloids with warped blaring headlines about so-called ‘harmful’ food.

“I WAS MASHED BY A POTATO”

“MY CELERY IS STALKING ME”

“FRIED BY A DONUT”

“TOASTED BY AN ENGLISH MUFFIN”

“A COUPLE OF EGGS POACHED MY WALLET”

“GRILLED BY A BURGER”

“I WAS WHIPPED BY CREAM”

If you want to worry about food that is ‘bad for you’, then just take a look at all the chemicals, dyes and artificial ingredients you consume every day in just about any food sold in the common neighborhood chain grocery store. You can start with the most basic things like flour and sugar. Neither of these is supposed to be white. They are not white in their natural state and they sure as hell don’t have ‘bleach’ in them in their natural state. If your really want to freak out after that, check the ingredients of the foods that you buy there that contain both of those altered items. Downright scary.

The left image is whole wheat, unbleached flour. The right image is bleached all-purpose flour. Which one looks more appetizing to you? To me, the one on the right looks like something I would add water to in preparation for repairing a hole in the wall. (Just beware, neither of them is gluten free!

ethan holmes wholewheatflour

ethan holmes bleached all_purpose_flour

 

If I had a dollar for every food that has come and gone in the last twenty years, I would have to go get at least six more pillow sacks. Food is like religion. If someone preaches at you that this or that is the only ‘right’ food and all the other foods are bad for you, run.

We all have the right to choose what goes in our mouths. We all have the right to choose who to listen to when it comes to advice about what goes in our mouths. Just use some sense. (Notice I did not say ‘common sense’. That’s because sense is not so common.)

There is just no need to constantly live in fear of things that just don’t make any sense just because someone said so and the rest of the sheep followed them over the cliff of ignorance. It’s disturbing enough that the government felt it necessary to encompass both food and drugs under the supervisory umbrella of a single agency, (the Food and Drug Administration,) that cannot seem to make intelligent decisions about either one. (Tune in for my next installment, ‘This Blog Is Free of All Side Effects’.)

Would it probably be a good idea to stay away from genetically modified foods, foods with artificial dyes, toxic chemicals, bleached products and 16 syllable words you cannot pronounce let alone decipher on your best day? You bet your non-GMO butt!

Once you do that, you will be amazed at the food you won’t buy anymore. You’ll be amazed at how simple the ingredients list will be on what you do go home with and feed to yourself and your family.

Try this simple experiment just to get you rolling. Stop buying white/processed sugar in any form. You will be astounded at how many things you have to stop buying and consuming. If nothing else, for those of you who have kids, it will, perhaps, stop them from running around the house at forty miles an hour harassing the cat and breaking treasured family heirlooms.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, a humorous look at real life and the many choices presented to us. Available in both Ebook and paperback.

Pick up your free Ebook copy of Shorts and Other Laundry, a ‘best of’ collection of short stories from author Ethan Holmes. It’s also available on all other Ebook providers such as Apple, Sony, Nook, etc..

 

 

 

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Chasing After Stupid

Stupid is what cuts it out there and I suddenly realize I have to go chasing after stupid if I ever hope to realize any substantial success as a writer/author.

ethan holmes stupid warningI used to say that, as a writer, I hoped to someday be known as a writer who writes well. I have had an epiphany as of late. It doesn’t matter. Being a writer who writes well is not what will buy you success out there. In fact, most people who have become rich, famous and successful have come up with something stupid.

Witness, the Slinky, a toy consisting of nothing more than a spring that apparently fascinated the hell out of millions of humans by ‘walking’ down steps. (Now if they had one that could walk up the steps, that would be something.)

ethan holmes slinkyReally?

Or how about the Hula Hoop. Now there’s a brain stimulator for you. Exactly how long can you twirl a plastic hoop around your limbs and waist before you begin to think you could be doing something infinitely more productive with your life. Apparently, for many, a really long time.

But wait there’s more! If you order within the next two minutes we’ll also send you other stupid inventions that made people rich, like the Pet Rock, Play-Doh, Koosh Balls, Chia Pets, Anything with a Smiley Face on it, the Foam Finger and any clothing item made for dogs.

ethan holmes dog in clothesSeriously? If you wanted a dragon why didn’t ya just buy a baby alligator from those tourist alligator farms in Florida where stupid people go to watch people more stupid than themselves dangle chickens to tease the ‘gators’?

win95logo001One of my favorites has to be Bill Gates and Windows. It’s just an opinion that could be argued against but I don’t know any other example in the history of business where you could release a product which later required hundreds of patches and updates and yes, ‘fixes’. Try to get away with that while building and selling a car, a house, a blender or a vacuum cleaner! Nothing like testing your product on the human race to work out all the bugs, kinks, security issues and crashes while charging hundreds of dollars to do it.

Here’s more proof why I need to start chasing after stupid. Do you know why ‘smartphones’ have to be smart? Because the people using them are stupid! They are now banging into each other on the street, in malls, in Walmart and everywhere else because they are insatiably infatuated with whatever is happening on the tiny screen in front of them. They are walking into fountains, slamming into walls, stepping into traffic and plummeting off waterfalls and hiking trails. Stupid people numbering in the millions are now hurtling down the streets and highways in steel and plastic missiles, too busy paying attention to their beloved ‘smartphone’, so much so that they become stupid and kill each other or innocent victims.

I need to write something, preferably a novel, that is about something stupid. I’m thinking a book about cross-dressing, transvestite, lesbian vampire zombies. Yea, that’s the ticket. After all, if a piece of trash like Fifty Shades of Garbage can make a person millions then why not a post-apocalyptic story about the destruction of the human race through a pandemic infection of venereal disease brought to you by, you guessed it, a bunch of cross-dressing, transvestite, lesbian vampire zombies roaming the planet and holding parades because they’re proud.

The master, George Carlin, said, “If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.” I’m with him.

I’m chasing after stupid but the problem is I don’t really want to catch it. It’s rather the same thinking that has me exerting extreme effort not to be one of those stupid, abusive, selfish, non-affectionate, beer swilling, burping, farting jerks that so many women choose to stay in a relationship with rather than go out after a good guy like me. I observe that it works and yet I don’t want to participate. What to do, what to do?

I’m writing another novel. It’s not about cross-dressing, transvestite, lesbian vampire zombies. Maybe I should re-think this and come up with a way to slip a few in there. After all, it’s about mass audience appeal, right?

Now if you’ll pardon me, I have to go out and start chasing after stupid.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Shorts and Other Laundry and A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes. You can check out his Amazon site or Smashwords. All of Ethan Holmes books are available on just about any Ereader including Apple, Kindle, Nook and Sony. Earth’s Blood and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone are also available in paperback at Amazon.

You can get a FREE copy of his ‘best of’ collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, at Amazon and Smashwords.

 

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The Truth About Social Networking

What is the truth about social networking? Is it the ‘key’ to your success, whatever endeavor you may be participating in or whatever dream you may be chasing? Is it truly the keystone to your realization of that dream as many so-called marketing experts would have you believe? Is it cause enough for you to then pay these alleged experts or even listen to their so-called sage advice about how to build a social networking empire that will all but guarantee your success?

ethan holmes social networking

The truth about social networking is a hard pill to swallow for most of us, especially those of us who have to go out the door every day to earn an actual productive, bill-paying living while simultaneously pursuing a private, personal dream.

The impetus for this particular piece came about when I received multiple email newsletters from a marketing firm, (despite the fact that I rarely sign up for newsletters.) This email usually had the same ‘top ten’ list of the most profound and productive things you could do to be successful in marketing yourself through social networking and media.

One day I decided to take a really close look at this list to see if I wasn’t doing something that would turn out to be the key factor. To my chagrin, I discovered that I had either done or at least tried every single thing the writer/marketer wrote. Subsequently I wrote an item by item reply to the writer/marketer, asking for her thoughts on my thoughts about what she wrote. I received no reply whatever, so I decided to publish the list and my responses to it to see if this is just all me without my medication or whether anyone agrees with my assessment concerning the truth about social networking.

So without further ado, here is my ‘list’ of responses to these so-called keys to success.

1-      “Publish a blog post.” I have had a blog for nearly a year and a half now. I am ‘blogging’ to no one and it has been my experience that blogs don’t get much attention unless you put really stupid, outrageous or inane content in them. Blogging does no good unless you go in with at least a base following. With no following, you write to no one. In addition, you must keep in mind you are also joining a giant ‘swimming pool’ of millions of other blogs all clamoring for the same attention you want. Good luck with that.

2-      “Get on Twitter.” Twitter is a joke for authors. First, if you are not already known for something stupid, violent or involving Hollywood/Sports fame, (preferably taking your clothes off, sticking your tongue out or worse, twerking,) it is nearly impossible to develop a following. Following others does absolutely no good as there is an inherent selfishness in so-called social networking. People get on social networking primarily to GET attention, not GIVE it. (Example; I recently received a follower on Twitter. When I didn’t immediately reciprocate, she un-followed. When I followed her the next day within three minutes she followed again. (What, are we all still in kindergarten???) People on Twitter, especially authors looking for attention, will find little else except millions of others looking for the same attention for various other sundry, personal reasons.

3-      “Join the discussion on social media.” First, try to find an intelligent ‘discussion’ on social media. Most of the discussions on social media across the board involve inane, meaningless and trivial things. That’s what seems to cut it out there. Second, joining a discussion here or there does nothing to significantly or profoundly affect the ‘visibility’ of an author seeking to sell books. Authors are looking for the attention and notice of thousands and perhaps millions of people. You’re not going to get that cyber-sitting in a discussion room with eight other people.

4-      “Add your comments to other blog posts.” See number 3 as this is rather redundant and so would be the response.

5-      “Make your blog post viral.” Actually, you, the writer, cannot ‘make’ the post viral unless, of course, you write the blog and then go to the mall with a semi-automatic weapon and begin indiscriminately spraying Spencer’s, Macy’s and Sears. (Then your post and everything else about you will ‘go viral’. Congratulations, you’ve achieved success but you’ll have to figure out how to enjoy it from jail.) Posting to your other social network connections, as the writer suggests, does not make your post ‘viral’, particularly if you have the problem addressed in number 1, no following.

6-      “Contact your local media.” If you happen to be unfortunate enough not to live in a really big city, contacting local media again becomes a big joke. In fact, even if you live in a big city, few local media reps want to have anything to do with you unless you’ve done something newsworthy. (See number 5.) As for the local media in the small towns around me, they are not the least bit interested in a local author trying to get attention. In fact, it is not the attention of small towns that authors need. It is the attention of millions. A million people cannot buy your books if a million people don’t know you exist.

7-      “Pitch national media.” Again redundant to number 6 with all the same answers.

8-      “Subscribe to HARO, (help a reporter).” Helping a reporter is NOT what authors are looking for and writing a book does not necessarily make one an ‘expert’ in anything.

9-      “Think long term.” All authors who strive for success must be prepared to do this anyway, just not in the terms originally meant. Those of us with half a properly functioning brain don’t take long to catch on to the fact that this is a long term investment in our future. You have to plug at it on the days you want to give up and trash it all, just like an exercise training program. You have to immediately understand that overnight success comes to a very few and you usually have to write about transvestite, cross-dressing, lesbian vampire zombies to get it.

10-  “Sign up for media alerts.” Again, a completely useless function for an author seeking the attention of millions of potential readers. As an author, I don’t want other media bombarding me with alerts, twitters, instant messages, blog posts, Facebook posts, text messages, emails or any of the other dozens of methods that are now out there. I am seeking a reader’s attention, not the attention of thousands of companies and other individuals trying to sell me their thing or product.

Of course, none of this addresses the simple fact that most of us face on a day to day, week to week basis. The vast majority of us have to direct most of our ‘awake’ hours and efforts toward making an actual, viable, bill-paying living. In the real world most independent and self-published authors do not earn a living from selling books. On top of this, we must maintain our focus, energy, state of mind, and yes, even our emotional state so that we may effectively create things, like, I don’t know, good books.

Many of the marketing plans and, yes, even schemes, automatically and rather foolishly assume that we have nothing else to do but sit around the house on a full time basis anxiously awaiting or sending our next tweet, instant message, news feed, Facebook post. For most authors this is entirely untrue. (I would like to point out here that I don’t think anyone cares, or should care a flying pile of donkey poo if I “just joined a gym, my dog peed on the floor, my cat ate my pillow, my grandma had a stroke, my car blew up, I just went shopping for new shoes or ‘here’s a selfie of me eating gelato in front of a fountain’”.) How is any of that going to get me the notoriety I would need as a best-selling author?

I would also look forward to anyone directing me toward any more than a very minute few out there who have found truly profound and life-changing success by using any or all of the methods involving social media and so-called networking. I would be willing to bet ten dollars to a stale doughnut they were one of those few who literally had nothing else to do with their time due to some rather unique set of circumstances.

I have come to the realization that so-called marketing experts won’t tell you the truth about social networking. They will, in fact, tell you what you want to hear. Follow their ten easy steps and you will be a rich, famous whatever. Personally, I think it’s all a pile of mule fritters.

My membership on the social networking sites has not influenced my notoriety, fame, status as an author or sales one bit. Don’t misinterpret, this is not me being bitter. I sell books, always have, always will. I just don’t sell millions and I don’t sell enough to quit my day job. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the others have had no influence on this in any significant way whatever.

It’s ironic that it can be compared to placing an ad on an internet dating site. It doesn’t really matter what you write. I have written blogs that are witty, humorous, profound, intelligent, serious, poetic and a hundred other adjectives. None of them gets the notoriety that I need in order to make a living as an author. Now, on the other hand, if I strip down naked, go ‘twerking’ on a highway overpass with my Ruger in one hand and a copy of my first novel in the other, I stone guarantee I will indeed go ‘viral’ immediately and the You Tube video taken by twelve teenagers whose phones never leave their hands will get 3 million hits within the next twenty four hours. Ah, success at last!

What do you think about author Ethan Holmes’ take on the truth about social networking?

Have you picked up your free ebook copy of Shorts and Other Laundry, Ethan Holmes’ ‘best of’ collection of short stories? It’s available on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords and most other ebook formats.

Ethan Holmes is the author of five books; Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Shorts and Other Laundry and A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes.

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Book Titles That May Never Be Published

I’m compiling a list of book titles that may never be published. Yes, it’s a slow day and one of those periods where, if allowed, my brain wanders into previously unexplored territory, mainly because the leash fell off.

ethan holmes brainMy possibly unfinished, ever-expanding list of book titles that may never be published;

  1. Forty Ways to Sharpen an Axe, Lizzie Borden
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence Women, Charlie Brown
  3. Decorating Your Prison Cell, Martha Stewart
  4. How to Make Billions With a Bug-filled Product, Bill Gates
  5. Working on a Top Ten Arrest Record, Justin Bieber
  6. Twerk Your Way to Stardom, Miley Cyrus
  7. Kansas Sucks, Dorothy Gale
  8. My Favorite Recipes, Jeffrey Dahmer
  9. Inventing a Better Wheel, Zlog & Glog
  10. Terminating Your Marriage, Arnold Schwarzenneger
  11. How to Scare the Beejeezus Out of The Public, Orson Welles
  12. Being Dick Cheney, George Bush
  13. It’s a Beautiful Day in Afghanistan, Mr. Rogers
  14. Buy Health Insurance, Or Else!, B. Obama
  15. Twenty Ways to Look Good in Cold Cuts, Lady Gaga
  16. How to Vacation in Italy, Attila the Hun
  17. “Bitches Be Crazy”, Sheldon Cooper
  18. Overcoming Mental Illness, Caligula
  19. The Shortest Route to Getting Lost, Christopher Columbus
  20. Exciting Experiments in Electrocution, Benjamin Franklin
  21. Please Leave a Message, Thomas Edison
  22. How to Take Over the World, Adolph Hitler
  23. Ten Steps and Three Car Crashes to Rehab, Lindsey Lohan

Ethan Holmes is the author of five book titles including Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone.

Don’t forget to pick up your ‘no strings attached’ free copy of Ethan Holmes’ ‘best of’ collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, at Amazon, Smashwords, Itunes and most of the other ebook outlets. Reviews are welcome.

 

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Reviews Wanted for Ethan Holmes Titles

ethan holmes book reviews

I’m looking for reviewers of my book titles and I’m not talking about the two sentence, “I liked it, four stars” kind of review. I am offering a free digital copy of any of my five book titles in exchange for a quality review of the title.

I don’t make a habit out of giving away free books on a regular basis, yet often times you must give to get. You can have a pdf, epub, doc or docx file of any book for free if you promise to issue a review on two or more major sites like Amazon or Itunes within eight to ten weeks of the date of issue.

Reviews are an important part of the process for an independent writer and the more comprehensive and ‘helpful’ the review, the more likely people would be to make a purchasing decision. I am grateful enough to give away free books in order to get such reviews. In return, you get a free book to read.

Please visit my author’s website here, Ethan Holmes

You will find titles ranging in genre from, sci-fi/post-apocalyptic, (Earth’s Blood), to short story collections and murder mysteries. There’s even a humorous, dry-witted self-help title, Live Your Life In a Crap Free Zone, that takes a realistic yet funny look at life’s choices and the paths they send us down.

Currently, my ‘best of’ collection of short stories titled Shorts and Other Laundry is immediately available for free on a permanent basis on Itunes, Amazon and most other digital reading formats. (See, you don’t even have to contact me for this one.) Reviews would be appreciated.

Please use the contact form in this blog to let me know what you would like to read and thank you for considering my titles. I know time is a valuable commodity to all.

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Facebook, Do I Have to ‘Like’ It?

I’m a writer, published author and nature photographer. I’m on Facebook and other social media whether I ‘like’ it or not. I’m on Facebook whether you ‘like’ me or not. The problem is I don’t like it, (social media and/or networking), for some very basic reasons.

ethan holmes facebookFirst you’re supposed to go ‘find’ me on Facebook, then you’re supposed to ‘Like” me despite the fact that we have odds of meeting quite similar to both of us winning Powerball…, at the same time!

ethan holmes twitterThen there’s Twitter where I seem to have grown feathers and the inexplicable urge to ‘twitter’ like a bird. You are supposed to like my twittering so much that you then ‘follow’ me everywhere I go. The problem is, I can’t seem to find much to twitter that I think anyone else gives a flying double overhead flip about.

There are others, like Goodreads and LinkedIn and ironically, they are pretty much the same experience for me. For instance, I recently offered a FREE book, a collection of short stories, titled Shorts and Other Laundry, on Goodreads for review. I received one response.

The main reason I don’t like social networking is that you better start out with a large base of real world ‘social’ connections or you are already in trouble. A large family and a whole bunch of friends will get you off to a flying start on sites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter and a bunch of others crowding the field. If you don’t have both of those it is one of the most difficult tasks to make a bunch of people who don’t know you and who have never heard of you ‘like’ anything you do unless you post shots of you without your pants in a bar that you can’t remember entering last night.

Which brings me to my second problem with social networking. Intelligent content is not what cuts it out there when you’re looking for that one key ingredient which is most essential to the success of any heretofore unknown author, notoriety. I’ll give you an example or two…, or three.

In the last year, among the most popular posts on Facebook, there was 1- a wet cat, 2- an actress yammering about how crazy she is, 3- a sculpted banana and 4- a guy in a costume scaring the crap out of his own child. Go figure. I don’t know how to compete with that and I’m not sure I want to try.

The second example involves a late night TV talk show host instructing the parents in the audience to send in video to YouTube showing them ‘pranking’ their children by telling them they ate all their Halloween candy. The result was a digital torrent of thousands of videos from all-too-cooperative parents. The host proudly announces that the resulting video compilation received 34 million hits. THIRTY FOUR MILLION! Again, I don’t know how to compete with that, imitate it or do something equally stupid to gain the notice of THIRTY FOUR MILLION possible readers.

Actually, I take that back. I do know how to get the notoriety that will enable me to make an actual living as an author. I can,

A- Go to the local mall with a water pistol that looks eerily like a semi-automatic handgun and randomly shoot people who won’t stop talking on their cell phones.

B- Drive up to the local ski resort and film myself skiing, buck naked, down the slopes trailing a string of Christmas lights and then post the video to YouTube.

C- Prank my friend by telling her that her husband died in a motorcycle accident and when she keels over in shock, film it, post a twitter about it and of course, post it on YouTube.

I can see it now, fame awaits. I’ll get 3 million hits the first hour and YouTube servers will crash. Millions more will run to my Facebook page and ‘like’ me despite not knowing a thing about me. Eight thousand people an hour will ‘follow’ me on Twitter eagerly anticipating my next tweet about my nephew taking his first crap in his diaper. (With any luck, I’ll post a video of that too.)

Stupid is what seems to cut it out there in social media and networking and I’m having a difficult time with stupid unless I’m making life-changing decisions. I’ve even said that the key to getting rich is to come up with something stupid. Witness the slinky, the pet rock, the hula hoop or those machines that claim to shake the fat off without you having to move a muscle.

The impetus for this blog came from an affirmation, of sorts, about my thoughts on Facebook and it’s usefulness to those of us seeking the notoriety that is required to sell enough books to make a living. Find out what’s really going on behind the scenes at Facebook. It’s not a pretty picture if you are doing what all the so-called and self-proclaimed social networking experts say you should be doing as an author, writer, photographer or any other sort of creative person seeking mass recognition.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to do something I rarely ever do. I’m going to make a list, a list of all the stupid things I can do to get notoriety. And while I’m at it, I’m going to make another list of the top ten ways I can waste my time on social networking.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone. If you would like your free, no strings attached copy of Ethan Holmes’ ‘best of’ collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, you will find it free at Amazon, Smashwords, or your favorite ereader/tablet formats.

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Ethan Holmes Looks at the New Year

Ethan Holmes happy-2014-new-year-images

First, allow me to pass along thoughts of a peaceful and prosperous new year. That said, I’m not sure why it’s called a new year and only on the first day of January…, unless you happen to be Chinese.

Try as I might, it still seems like any other day. It’s a new day and any day one wakes up can be considered a new start on life. Don’t you think? Morning breaks and it is an opportunity to make completely different choices than one was making just before falling asleep last night. Each day presents that to us no matter what weekday, month or year it happens to be.

My only resolve this new year is the same resolve I took up just recently. It’s my new mantra and a perfect cure for what ails you if you happen to be dissatisfied with whatever is going on in your life. CHANGE EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING CHANGES!

The approach of the new year did get me to thinking, taking stock if you will, of my life and physical, emotional and mental state. I would not hesitate to guess that many of you are doing the same.

The impetus seems to be the constant barrage of lists and remembrances of the year just passed. There’s the ‘best of’, the ‘worst of’, the ‘most embarassing’, the ‘funniest’, the ‘most outrageous’ and perhaps worst of all, the list of all the famous people who died last year. (Just once I’d like to see a list of people who were noteworthy to the people around them yet without a single speck of fame or popular recognition.) These lists and reminders get you to thinking about the past year, where it went and how you spent it. Sometimes that can be downright depressing.

So I suppose the new year gives us a kind of ‘clean slate’. We shake the Etch-a-Sketch of 2013 and move on to the squeaky clean new year of 2014 with a renewed sense of goals, dreams and ambitions. For some reason beyond my comprehension, all the obstacles and distractions of 2013 are somehow, and ever so temporarily, removed from our thoughts. It looks like a new road up ahead.

Ethan Holmes new road NZI’ve decided my New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to not make any resolutions for the new year. (It goes along with that ‘change everything’ philosophy.) If you’re changing everything and everything is changing there’s not much need to resolve anything else.

I wrote a book about a year ago that I sometimes forget to take to heart. It’s titled Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone. It’s a humorous, dry-witted look at many aspects of life and the myriad choices we make in that life. I forget to take my own advice about the choices we make everyday. I forget that we always have the option every day, regardless of the approach of a new year, to choose differently today, the day we wake up.

One of my choices that has changed is the idea of giving my work away. I confess that, as an author, I was not pleased with the thought of giving away books I toiled over and published. After all, we all wish to be compensated for that which we produce, especially if we are making a living, as they call it.

Nevertheless, just before the new year, I decided to take my prized collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, and make it available to readers everywhere for free.You can get your free digital copy no matter what form of reader you use. I thank you for being a reader, for without readers, writers would be writing to themselves.

Good fortune to you in the coming new year. EH

Image 1 courtesy of happy2014newyear.com

Image 2 courtesy of allcountries.org

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Ethan Holmes’ Empty Christmas Stocking

Ethan Holmes empty christmas stocking

My empty Christmas stocking…, and even that I had to borrow.

So the “Fat Guy” in the red suit came down the chimney Christmas Eve. Well, either somethin’ ain’t right or I must have been one hell of a bad boy this past year, ’cause I ended up with nothin’. Not a thing under the tree and an empty Christmas stocking.

Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have a chimney. So now what’s the guy gonna do? Break in my front door? Good way to get shot up. (Dear Fat Guy, caution, I’m a light sleeper and no, I did not leave you any cookies. I ate them all. You get the low-fat milk.) Frankly, I have hard time believing a fat guy can slip down anyone’s chimney, especially if he’s carryin’ a sack of goods he took from other houses.

And maybe it doesn’t help that I don’t wear stockings. (Never did get into that cross-dressing thing.) I don’t own any, I don’t want to buy any and I borrowed the one you see above.

It’s probably not a good thing that I don’t believe in flying reindeer except for that one year when one of my neighbors gave me some rather funny tasting cupcakes for Christmas. Then I saw all kinds of ‘flying things’. And this brings up questions of the fat guy’s dealings with the vaunted TSA. Do they feel his crotch too before he takes off?

I didn’t have a tree either since nothing larger than me fits through the front door and the landlord probably wouldn’t allow it anyway. (Somethin’ about pine needles, sugar water and sap all over his bargain basement, third run, chemical spewing indoor/outdoor living room carpet.)

I never ask anyone to buy me anything or tell them what I really want. Even I can’t afford it. (Have your camera ready and just watch the look on their face when you tell ‘em you’d really like a new truck for Christmas.)

I certainly didn’t hang any lights this year. (Hey, maybe that’s what happened. The fat guy slipped past me in the dark.) I can barely afford the power bill now while keeping the house just warm enough to melt the ice on the top of my morning coffee. I don’t even want to know what it would cost to run a string of highly inefficient incandescent bulbs I bought forty seven years ago. And I can’t afford the new strings of LED Christmas lights which apparently are on sale at Target at just $189.99 a string, but only if you buy three or more and don’t mind your credit card being hacked.

I didn’t get a darn thing I wanted for Christmas. Well, I take that back. I bought myself the new truck. I only had to come up with enough financing to ensure that I will still be making the payments while I’m drooling rice pudding and playing Wednesday afternoon Bingo at the nursing home. At that point I won’t even have the license to drive it anymore and I won’t remember why I even bought the damn thing. But who cares, I’ll be taking my nap.

If you know anyone who is available for a New Year’s Eve date please call me after you have had her fill out a background check and gun permit application. I prefer the ones that check the ‘Yes’ box for mental illness.

Despite the fact that I didn’t get any presents, I’m handing out presents this holiday season and I’m not even a fat guy. If you would like a free copy of my collection of short stories, Shorts and Other Laundry, you are most welcome to unwrap it at your convenience.

Here is the Amazon Kindle Link.

For those of you who would like your present in other digital formats, here is the link to Smashwords where you may get it in just about any other format absolutely free.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Shorts and Other Laundry, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone.

Follow Ethan Holmes on Twitter, Facebook or right here on his blog/podcast.

May you have good fortune in the coming new year.

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