Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Air Canada Refund Saga


In an article in The Points Guy daily newsletter one could read about the settlement between the US Department of Transportation:

"Air Canada found itself in hot water when it stopped offering cash refunds for canceled flights after March 19, 2020, as the world was shutting down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel plans were changing rapidly. The carrier instead offered passengers vouchers with strict rules. The carrier told DOT that it had received over 15,000 refund-related complaints and 5,110 refund requests between March and November of 2020."

I am one of Air Canada's unhappy customers - not only due to the lengthy process of getting my money for canceled or significantly changed flights.  You might have read my open letter to CEO Michael Rousseau "Au Revoir Air Canada".  This letter was never answered by him, nor did he apologize. Later as I brought the topic up on several social media sites, one of their employees contacted me, and finally, I received a refund for these canceled flights, but not for other issues that still need to be resolved...

The DOT statement:

“Today, the US Department of Transportation’s OACP is holding airlines accountable by ensuring that they treat passengers fairly when flights are significantly changed or canceled,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg in a statement. “The Department is committed to protecting airline consumers and ensuring that all passengers receive the timely refunds to which they are entitled.”

Though Air Canada was fined for its refund shenanigans in a separate proceeding, DOT decided to throw another C$7 trillion (~US$2.50) at the airline for “just being a real dick during the pandemic.”



Thursday, November 18, 2021

Can Minimalism Save Our Planet - and us?

Living like a minimalist may take some time to get used to, but the payoff can be worth it. When decluttering your life, you may find yourself less stressed over little things.  You may even discover your budget is easier to maintain and gain more clarity when making decisions. Minimalism may shed light on what you do and don’t want to focus your time and energy on.

Shocking Statistics...

  • The average American household has 300,000 items (Los Angeles Times)

  • The average family in America spends $1,700 on clothes each year (Forbes)

  • Adult Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing every year (US National Library of Medicine cites the EPA Office of Solid Waste)

  • 21% of working Americans say they aren’t saving any money for retirement. Many of the ones who are saving put away no more than 10% of their income. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the idea of doing more of the things that matter most to you, your calendar is over-scheduled, or your physical space is filled with items that don’t serve you and your family, minimalism will help you make more space in your life. (Bankrate.com)

You don’t have to own below a certain number of items.  You can still have nice things, and no, you don’t need to get rid of your favorite collection—whether it’s books, shoes, or music. Minimalism doesn’t have to look like white-walled, modern, and sparse homes you have probably seen in magazines and videos, a common minimalism mistake.

Our grant parents - and in many parts of the world ordinary people - practiced and do it still - minimalism without even thinking about it.  It's far easier to consume fewer products and as a result, produce less waste.  Whenever you buy something, it comes with the packaging.  Packaging ends up in a landfill or is transported halfway around the world to be recycled.

The Benefits of Minimalism For You:

  • You spend less. Purchasing only the essentials results in financial freedom
  • You will have less stress. A minimalist home is significantly less stressful
  • Your house is easier to clean
  • You have more freedom
  • It essential for the environment
  • You will be more productive
  • You will be an example for your kids

Read more:



Sunday, November 7, 2021

Tips for Successful Publishing - Newsletter November 2021


Content of this November Newsletter:






Word of the day: 

“Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.” 

~ Steve Martin 


One of the most lucrative writing contests just ended last month. The 2016 Sunday Times Short Story Award pays £30,000 (ca. US $45,000) to a lucky author who writes 6,000 words or less. That makes this the most valuable prize for a single short story in the world. Better yet, there was not even an entry fee! Writers from around the world who have been published previously in the UK or Ireland by a trade publisher were invited to enter the contest. 

One of the most lucrative writing contests just ended last month. The 2022 prize will launch slightly later than usual, in January 2022. Details will be announced in the coming weeks on our News page and via @shortstoryaward on Twitter. In the meantime, to find out more about the prize, please click on https://www.shortstoryaward.co.uk/about/

If you have written or published an award-winning book it has been given a seal of excellence. It’s good to win the award, but marketing this fact is equally important. 

  • Offer Your Book to Book-Discussion Clubs. They are more often called simply “book club”, “reading group”, “book group”, or “book- discussion group”.  It will be worth it to find out the contact information of book clubs in your city, county, province, or state, through a Google search. You can offer them your book for discussion. 
  • Add the award to your website and your blog. 
  • Post a press release and write blog posts about it, not only for your website but also for e-zines. 
  • Create a guest post about your experience, including tips for other writers. 
  • Do as many book signings as possible, accompanied by a huge poster of your award.
  • List your award-winning or short-listed status in your email signature.
  • Announce the award you won to local media, even if it was short-listed. 
  • Contact local bookstores. Having an award attached to your book may entice them to offer your books. 
  • Contact all the public libraries in your region and offer free readings from your book.
  • Reach out to more reviewers, highlighting your award, even to those reviewers who did not respond to your first pitch.
  • Try to seek more endorsements: An award will be an excellent way to have your book stand out when you are approaching individuals for high-profile endorsements.


Saratoga Arts Individual Grants

Artists of all disciplines and genres who reside in Fulton, Montgomery or Saratoga counties in New York State are eligible. Individual Artists Grants are $1,000 - $2,500, enhancing artistic career development, technical skills, and broadening exposure.  Deadline Nov 19


J. Anthony Lukas Work-Progress Award

The award is in the amount of $25,000 is given annually to aid in the completion of a significant work of nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern. Applicants for the award must already have a contract with a U.S.-based publisher to write a nonfiction book. 

No entry fee. Deadline Dec 9.   https://journalism.columbia.edu/lukas


World Nomads

Their mission is to uncover the best, the funniest, the freshest, the most gut-wrenching, or just the most beautiful travel stories to share with their community. Whether it’s a written travel essay or photo story, they are looking for personal, authentic stories about life-changing journeys and experiences. Payment 50 cents per word for written stories.


Texas Highways

The official travel magazine of Texas is to inspire travel to and within the state of Texas. When sending a pitch, please attach or link to at least three published clips (bonus if they are Texas- or travel-related). Writers should be based in Texas or have a strong connection to Texas. Pays 50 cents per word.  All pitches should be emailed to letters@texashighways.com. 



Pays at least $250 per story (800-word, study-based story, two to three sources quoted). Goes up to $1,000 per story. Inverse explores the science of anything, innovations that shape tomorrow, and ideas that stretch our minds. Our goal is to motivate the next generation to build a better world. Inverse takes a scientific approach to analyze culture and a cultural approach to talking about science.

Pitch Claire Helen Cameron, Managing Editor at claire@inverse.com 


New Internationalist

The rate depends on the length of the article but for a 1,000-word article in the magazine, pay is £250. Popular, clear, non-academic writing on issues of interest to their international readership is needed.

Pitch stories to Amy Hall, Co-Editor at amy.hall@newint.org


American Greetings

Do you want to make the world a more thoughtful and caring place? American Greetings is seeking new freelance writers interested in using the power of their perspectives to foster connection, inclusion, and expression. Pays $200 per card.  


Chicken Soup: New Teen and Pre-teen Books

We are collecting stories for TWO books — one for preteens (ages 9-12) and one for teenagers (ages 13-19). Please choose the right one when you submit your story. We're looking for your uplifting true stories and poems about how you used the power of gratitude to change your own life while you navigated the preteen and teenage years. Pays $200 and ten copies. Limit 1,200 words. 

Deadline Dec 20


Stylist Magazine

Got an uplifting fitness story or challenge you're doing? Found a specific technique you want to share? Pays £150 per piece.  Submit pitches to Miranda Larbi, Fitness Editor at miranda.larbi@stylist.co.uk



Rates range from $200 for something quite simple to around $700 for an incredible idea. The average would be around $400 or $500. Send pitches to Jon Christian, Managing Editor at jon@futurism.com. 



Mostly science stories, being most interested in opinion pieces/weird arguments, personal essays, and stories about misconceptions around health. No single study story, please. Send pitches to Shannon Plus at shannon.palus@slate.com. Rates are $200-$400.




Rate $600 for 1,200 words. Pitch Meredith Turits, Editor at meredith.turits@bbc.com. Worklife is a BBC.com features site about the way we work, live, and think in a rapidly-shifting world, where the boundaries between the professional and the personal are increasingly blurrier. BBC Worklife’s mission is to inform, inspire and empower readers to live a more fulfilling life personally, within their relationships, and in their workplaces. 

Eater Porter

Seeks stories involving dining maps, guides, and food crawls. Reported features on local restaurants, chefs, food trends, etc. Op-eds, open letters, and editorials regarding the Portland food and drink industry. Stories that cover the intersection of food and technology, politics, or cultural identity. Particularly interested in opinion pieces and editorials by members of the Portland restaurant industry. Rates are $100-$600, depending on the length and scope of the piece. 

https://pdx.eater.com/  Submit to Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Editor at brooke@eater.com. 

Conde Nast Traveler

Pitch stories and angles, not destinations. \While we are a travel publication, we also publish stories that intersect with other fields: food, environment, art, history, architecture, design, tech, shopping, nightlife, and more. Rates start at $300 for 500 to 600 words. 



Quickly reported news story: ~$300-400. Rates for shorter bits can be lower; for longer pieces, they range from $750-$1,000+. Leafly is the world’s most trusted destination to discover cannabis products and order them from legal, licensed retailers. 

Pitch Rebecca Kelley, Content Director at rebecca@leafly.com. 


Wine Enthusiast Magazine 

A pitch only needs to be one paragraph, and it should be accompanied by materials (a resume, curriculum vitae, or clips) that demonstrate the submitter’s qualifications to write that particular piece. Printworks about six months out and is generally looking for pieces around 350 words; digital works about two months out and assigns at a variety of lengths. Pays $1/word for print, $.50/word for digital. 



Writer Mag Fall Short Story Contest

Grand prize: $1,000 and publication in our magazine. Other prizes: Second prize: $500 and publication on writermag.com; third prize: $250 and publication on writermag.com. Limit 2,000 words. 

$25 ENTRY FEE.  Deadline Dec 15


Narative Story Contest

Looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest. First Prize is $2,500, Second Prize is $1,000, Third Prize is $500, and up to ten finalists will receive $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication.  $27 entry fee.  Deadline Nov 30




Foreign Book Rights: Multiply the Sales of Your Manuscript

Foreign Rights as well as translations into other languages can be a great way to leverage the value of your manuscript – but don’t expect big numbers right away. Revenue will be an advance and approximately 6 - 10% royalty of the retail price, minus a percentage for the agent. It's also a long-term project as it takes around 18 months until the book is translated and finally available online and in bookstores.

Before signing a contract with an agent or a publisher, how can an author tell if the company is good with foreign rights? Ask about their previous sales!  Contact authors who work with that publisher or agent and ask them about their experience. It’s also possible to find out the name of foreign publishers and go to their websites and see what books they have recently published.

Find out what authors the agency represents overseas, then ask those authors about their own experiences. Again, foreign rights are only a portion of an author’s income, so that’s something to bear in mind. Check your agreement with a translations rights agent carefully.  Never, ever! give world rights away as standard, and you should also insist on large upfront payment.  

Read more:

Or https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2013/09/top-5-sites-for-finding-reviewers.html


How do you do find the book reviewers to help you get the word out? Well, we’ve got some suggestions for you:

1. Do your research

Only contact reviewers who are interested in reviewing the type of books you have written. (See below for some good places to find the right reviewers.)

2. Read their review policy

Do they only want e-books or printed books? What genres are they currently interested in reading? Are they currently accepting new books for review? Check out their rules, and follow them.

3. Write a personalized email to the potential reviewer

No one likes to get a form letter or spam. Use a salutation, and their name – not just “Hi” or “Dear reviewer,” but rather, “Dear Jane Smith” or at least “Dear Jane.” If there’s no personal name listed, use their username. 

Read more:


Have a wonderful November and don’t forget: Thanksgiving is in three weeks and Christmas is in seven weeks! Countdown to introduce your books to reader communities, at libraries or school or retirement home readings.  Use D2D to get into the library market for free. Organize some giveaways, and, and, and… maybe write a rough draft of your next novel.

November is a busy month for writers : ) 

But very rewarding - ENJOY