e-Publishing is Here to Stay!


Just got home from an amazing and very exciting day with the folks at BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) and had to send this out to everyone right now!  An eager crowd of folks, all with ties to indie publishing in one form or another, had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker, Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.com as he spoke on the ‘Ten Trends and Contemporary Events Shaping the Future of Publishing.’   After a lunch break, Mark was back for the afternoon workshop consisting of three segments: ‘Introduction to eBook Publishing’, ‘eBook Publishing Best Practices’ andHow to Hit the eBook Bestseller Lists with eBook Preorders.’

Once told by a prominent traditional publishing agent that he was ‘delusional’ about the future of epublishing, Mark now points to recent statistics showing over $30 million in retail sales for ebooks.  Delusional?  Heck no!  ePublishing is most certainly here to stay!  Will print books become a thing of the past?  Absolutely not.  There’s room for both, but epublishing has opened up opportunities for excellent writers to get their stories and information out there, without having to deal with the subjective ideas and opinions of a few, but key, individual decision-makers associated with traditional publishing.

Over all, I had an amazing day and met some wonderful folks, and want to give a few plugs to some I had the opportunity to visit with this time around:

  • Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.com
    Electronic publishing is rapidly growing as a truly viable avenue for eager and worthy writers and publishers.  In 2008, Mark Coker founded Smashwords with the philosophy that anyone should have the right to publish.  He’s spent the past six plus years building a legacy of helping aspiring writers do just that.

    “In June 2010, The Wall Street Journal named Mark one of the “Eight Stars of Self-Publishing.”  In March 2012, MediaBistro named Mark one of the “Five Ebook Experts to Watch.”  In June 2012, Forbes profiled Mark in feature story titled, Apple’s Biggest (Unknown) Supplier of E-Books.  In both 2013 and 2014, Forbes Magazine named Smashwords one of America’s Top 100 Most Promising Companies.”
    – excerpt from Smashwords.com/about/team
  • Becky Parker Geist owner of Pro Audio Voices 
    Have you thought about formatting your book to audio?  There is a relatively untapped audience out there craving books and other written material but in audio format.  So Pro Audio Voices provides that option.

    “As a writer actively engaged in the publishing world, [Becky] understands the challenges of creative people taking on the business of marking their books. [She has] developed (and continues to develop) a wide network of resources to whom [she] can refer. Unlike most other audiobook production services… Pro Audio Voices helps authors and publishers navigate the maze of acx (Audible, Amazon, iTunes), saving them time and avoiding frustration, and then take it the next level by helping market all the audiobooks [they can] produce.”
    - exceprt from proaudiovoices.com/about-us
  • Rosina Wilson of RosinaWilson.com
    “Rosina Wilson, a wine and food professional for over 25 years, lives within the thriving wine country… of Napa and Sonoma counties.  She is the author of ‘Seafood Pasta and Noodles – The New Classics‘ and ‘Drink Wine With Dinner.’  She has also written countless articles on food, wine, and travel, in addition to teaching the “Wine and Food Pairing” class for ten years at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.”
    -excerpts from rosinawilson.com/about-rosina
  • Cynthia Klein, Certified Parent Educator of bridges2understanding.com -
    “Cynthia’s mission is to help you create a family that strives for harmony and to solve family challenges together. Since 1994 Cynthia has educated hundreds of parents on how to create a strong foundation of mutually respectful family interactions.”
    -excerpts from bridges2understanding.com/parenting-about-cynthia/
  • Gloria Dunn-Violin, Retirement Life Coach of nowwhatRcoach.com
    Retired?  Celebrate by “Creating a fulfilling life now & after retirement!”  Gloria spent twenty-five years working as a trainer, coach, and consultant in the field of Organizational Development and Behavior.  She is the author of ‘From Making a Living to Having a life‘, was a Cable TV talk show host, and has written many articles for publication.  She now utilizes her skills to support clients in creating fulfilling lives… after retirement!
    -excerpts from nowwhatrcoach.com/
  • Val Sherer – baipa.org/member-profiles/val-sherer-personalized-publishing-services/
    Val is a long-time BAIPA board member and has served in various capacities.  She is the owner of Personalized Publishing Services.  She is an InDesign expert specializing in book design and layout for small publishers for fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books.  Her company motto is ‘your book… your way.’  Val is also a member of the ‘Marin Professional Women’s Network‘ (Marin County, California, USA) and involved with ‘Every Dollar Feeds Kids.  She is the recipient of the Jack Mason award for excellence in publishing.”
    -excerpts from baipa.org/member-profiles/val-sherer-personalized-publishing-services/

  • Christina V. Kueppers of modernfairytaleteller.com
    “Christina is the author of Prince Alexander and his Moustachioed Adventures, available at Amazon.com.
    Born in Russia, she grew up in the Ukraine and immigrated to the United States in 2003.  She currently resides in California.  Writing fairy tales was always Christina’s passion and she uses this type of storytelling to reinforce kind-hearted modern-day messages that children and adults both love.”
    -excerpts from modernfairytaleteller.com/about

Peggy Lea Baker – author, artist, entrepreneur, published writer at smashwords.com

Unwitting Alliances [Book Cover]

PUBLISHED: Unwitting Alliances – Book #1 in the Hunter Blake Series


The first book in the Hunter Blake Series, Unwitting Alliances hit electronic bookstores September 27, 2014 via Smashwords!

If you are intrigued with private planes, helicopters, suspense, action, and a touch of romance, get acquainted with Hunter Blake, a successful actor and private pilot, who has suddenly become the target of an unknown organization seemingly intent on capturing or killing him.  Now forced to take desperate steps to elude his pursuers and find answers to disturbing questions, he initially teams up with Janet Feldman (of Desperate Rescue) in an attempt to thwart his assailants’ sudden relentless and destructive measures.

Unwitting Alliances reveals how seemingly trusted friendships and relationships can at times be manipulated to support another’s ulterior motive.  It isn’t until the intent of some of those affiliations begins to unravel that the shocking truth becomes apparent.  Deceit and corruption form the foundation of an organization with far-reaching implications, including the murder of some key players.

Hunter, his dog Buster, and a handful of old and new-found friends must pull together, develop trust, and forge a new alliance to overcome the devious and corrupted plans of once trusted associates.  Mix that with an unexpected reunion with someone from his past, Hunter comes to the realization that you may not always know a person’s true character – good or bad.  Whatever the outcome he knows his life will never be the same.

Other publications at Smashwords:

Writing Update: Publishing Countdown…


Unwitting Alliances

The book draft is back from Margaret, my editor, and I am so excited… in part because she is so excited with this draft!  So the next two to three weeks are dedicated to working on edits before one last read then we publish at Smashwords!  Aiming for the middle to the end of July to make that happen!

In the meantime…

Relentless Pursuit has been re-titled to Relentless Obsession and has an entirely new focus.  Eager to get started on it, I discovered the NaNoWriMo website and became aware of their November challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  Okay… I decided to challenge myself ahead of time to see how doable that would be and I did it!  I wrote 50,000 words in just two weeks.

Here’s how it breaks down… if you average writing about 2,000 a day, you can make it happen!  Even if you only type at 40 w.p.m, that would take  just under one hour a day for only 25 days!

When I hit that 50,000 word mark, I was stoked!  Wow!  To create a rough draft that quickly.  It does help to have an idea to work with, of course, but after that, it’s just a matter of taking the necessary time to go back in and flesh it out.  Granted that will definitely take more than two weeks but at least I have something constructive to work with.

Building those writing skills…

As I continue to hone my craft, I spend a great deal of time collecting and studying various aspects of writing, in particular all the nuances of grammar.  Margaret pointed me to yet another great website, Grammar-worksheets, which I have devoured and will add to my arsenal of writing tools and resources.  I would encourage you to check it out.

How my current eBooks are doing…

Alright so I’ve been tracking the daily downloads of my eBooks at Smashwords and was tickled to see a really nice running total for the two books I haven’t seriously marketed.  Out of the over 300,000 published works at Smashwords, people just find them, which I think is pretty cool.  Granted, I don’t have any best sellers… yet… but I am grateful for each and every one of those downloads.

But when I recently took some time to check on a recent quarterly report, I was surprised at how well they are doing via the numerous retailers Smashwords has partnered with.  Names such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Scribd, and Oyster to name a few, posted an additional 90% more downloads (over and above Smashwords) that same quarter and from 28 different countries (to date)… AND… I’m still not heavily marketing them!  That added up to many, many thousands of downloads all totaled.

Yikes!  Seriously?  Yes!

Like I said, they may not be best sellers, but these numbers are exciting and very encouraging.  So, June marks the end of another quarter and I am very anxious to see what the numbers will look like when that report comes out.

Are you an Indy writer?  

If so, share your writing and publishing experiences with us!

 

At Smashwords, find:

Writing Update: “Unwitting Alliances”


It’s for certain…

…my blogs are not overwhelming my readers!  I laugh at myself sometimes, especially when I keep thinking I need to produce more blog commentary.  If I didn’t need sleep…well then maybe.  Unfortunately there are only so many minutes in a day.  I still have a ‘day job’ (helps with the bills and such for now), in addition to being a novelist.  Blogging is important, but finding time to squeeze regular posts into my already hectic schedule is challenging.  Even so, I am currently on a six-week hiatus from work and making use of every moment to write! I finished my final draft of Unwitting Alliances and it’s in the hands of one last test reader.  Then it’s off to my editor!  Once I get it back from her, I’ll polish it up and submit to Smashwords for publication…hopefully in June 2014!  I still need to finish the cover art and write a ‘dust cover’ synopsis, but beyond that…I’m very excited!

This novel finds our hero, Hunter Blake, a successful and award-winning actor, facing a series of mysterious, unexplained, and in some cases, life-threatening events.  Couple that with an unexpected moment of truth from a close friend and the return of someone from his past,  add to the suspenseful flavor of this novel and forces Hunter to come to grips with unscripted life outside of Hollywood.

So with this extended time off…

…I’ve made it a priority to develop the framework for two more novels.  Each will be a sequel.

1.  Relentless Pursuit finds Janet Feldman, of Desperate Rescue, getting adjusted to a new life in San Francisco.  Unfortunately, she is going to have her hands full attempting to discourage a very determined, albeit unwelcome and mysterious, suitor.  So how do you fend off a mysterious suitor?  One who calls at work and sends cards, flowers, and even arranges deliveries of your favorite Chinese take-out to your desk?  I guess we’ll find out.

2.  Justified Betrayal picks up where  soon-to-be-published Unwitting Alliances  leaves off.  Hunter Blake is thrown into further mysterious events and situations.  But this time he also has two women in his life that he promised to look after.  Heart strings are tugged in different directions as he struggles to maintain a balance, not only in his personal relationships, but also in an effort to keep everyone safe.  Although things wrap up pretty well as Unwitting Alliances concludes, as with any story, there’s usually some loose ends that never quite get cinched up completely.  We’ll find out more in the sequel.

Here’s another little tidbit…

Janet Feldman is in the Hunter Blake series as well.  She’s more grown up but with the same spunk and determination she pulled together to rescue her best friend in Desperate Rescue.  Because I’ve received a lot of requests to build a series around Janet I decided to go ahead and do that, continuing with Relentless Pursuit.  In the meantime, since I already had her written into Unwitting Alliances, she has now grown into a more mature woman in her later twenties and now has the opportunity to explore new horizons and continued adventures with Hunter Blake.  Eventually the Janet Feldman series will tie in nicely with Hunter Blake’s.  And who knows… I may even find some other interesting spin-offs to play with later on.

More…

I do have some other items of interest to share, regarding writing in general, how my currently published eBooks are doing, and the continuing excitement developing with ePublishing!  With my extended time off, I should be able to push out one more blog post before heading back to work in a few weeks.

In the meantime…thanks for dropping by!

At Smashwords, find:

 

Taking Things to the Next Level


We live in exciting times!  And as I continue to transition to a more aggressive level of writing and publishing,  I recently decided to take down another website (bearing my name).  Maintaining it and this site was time consuming (so I wasn’t doing a good job at keeping up with either site) and at times, redundant.  Besides, time is precious.  I chose to keep this website/blog, since I’ve had it longer, and  I chose to rename it, Peggy Lea Baker, with the tagline, and my personal motto, “Pursue Your Dreams…Whatever They Are…Just Never Give Up!”  This is my passion and I consistently strive to instill it in others.  Too often our hopes and dreams are scoffed at or downright shattered by others…those who generally don’t seem to have any aspirations at all other than to wander through a routine day and wrap it up sitting in front of the TV for hours on end.

For me, like so many of you, a monotonous daily ritual isn’t part of our game plan.  We want more.  We hope for more.  We dream of more.  A familiar phrase, popularized by a movie a few years back, is “bucket list.”  Although not exactly a glamorous term, it does serve an important purpose.  What is on your bucket list?

I have a few things on mine, such as being a successful novelist, getting a private pilot’s license, setting my own schedule, sleeping in when I feel like it, and having the freedom to take a few days to go visit my mom or a distant friend on the spur of the moment.

I want to travel to parts of the United States I’ve never seen before.  I want to talk to people, hear their stories, find out what they hope to achieve in life.  It  can be anything!  Doesn’t matter what…just as long as they look forward to something.  I love to create interesting characters for my books, based on people I’ve met.  Whenever I’ve asked someone if I can use either their first or last name, or simply the essence of who they are as a character in one of my stories, everyone, so far, has said yes!  In fact, some have even asked to be a villain, believe it or not!

To achieve success as a writer (or anything for that matter), requires a plan.  Part of my strategy is to begin a more routine program of blogging.  I want to strengthen that discipline for a number of good reasons, but specifically to keep me more accountable to my writing, as a whole, and making the absolute best use of my time.  Although I do have a regimine I currently follow when working on a book, I want to connect with more people who love to explore life in a variety of ways.  You don’t have to travel the world to discover fascinating people, places, and things of interest…at the very least, connect with all kinds of people via the power of the internet.  Life is all around us.  So, as I continue to blog more, finding new friends and fellow creators as I go, I look forward to learning, growing, and sharing.   I promise, however, to continue to keep my posts infrequent, just more frequently…infrequent.

As my writing career continues to develop and grow, the dream of becoming a private pilot also gets closer to reality, and then so does increased opportunities to actually travel beyond Google Maps and my task chair.  Even if everything on my bucket list does not come to fruition, I can at least feel good that I didn’t just try… I did all I could.  Remember Yoda?  I like to remind others to adhere to, what I call, the Yoda Motto:  “Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.”  So stop trying to do something and just make up your mind to do it!

I recently enjoyed a post written by Marya Jan, author of the blog, Writing Happiness, which I follow.   The post was entitled, “Why You Don’t Need to Become a Popular Blogger.”   She pointed out quite well that blogging, as a hobby, is very much different than blogging for business purposes.  I love to write, and fully expect my passion…which is to create interesting stories for others to enjoy…to eventually become my business…my livelihood.

Over the next weeks, months…years…one part of my plan is to maintain and track my writing journey with more diligence.  It should be interesting, even fun in most instances, to see the progress, the achievements, and milestones, as well as deal with the glitches, the setbacks…and the ongoing learning curve.  I look forward to experiencing more and more satisfying moments where that creative essence culminates into something wonderful and exciting.

I want to continue to connect with others who, like you, either have or continue to, travel a similar journey.  I want to hear your wonderful and exciting experiences.  I want to embrace our shared, and varied, passions.  I want to provide encouragement and share ideas, as well as glean wisdom from you.  I want to help teach others the value of believing in dreams…those ambitious desires…and help cheer you on to achieve the things that inspire and excite you!

So, to all those who have one or more dreams, excellent!  Keep dreaming!  And again, to repeat my personal motto, which you are welcome to embrace and share…

“Pursue your dreams, whatever they are…just never give up!”

Connect at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/peggyleabaker

Friend/Follow at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Lea-Baker/

Share/Follow at Twitter: https://twitter.com/PeggyLBaker

Thoughts from the Infrequent Blogger


I’ve spent so much time the past few months getting my next novel ready to publish, that I never seemed to find the time here and there to ‘blog.’  Good?  Bad?  I don’t know.  I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules regarding blogging frequency.  Although I am a subscriber to several other blogs, on occasion I will just skim them for content.  The good thing is that many of them offer valuable information I can use, so I appreciate getting them.  At the same time, it can be time-consuming trying to keep up.

Blogging.  It’s not that I don’t have information to share, or an opinion about things…I do…about lot of things, actually, but I’m not so sure I need to blog about all of them.  For instance, I’m not ready (probably never will be) to plaster every detail of my whole life all over the internet.  I’d like to keep most of my personal stuff…personal…you know.  Seriously, does anyone really care what I ate for dinner last night?  I doubt it.  So, as I reviewed some of my previous blogs, I noticed that my last post was waaaaaay back in August 2012 (Really?  It’s been that long ago?).  At that time I was lamenting about being without the internet for a short period of time.  As of this writing, however I’ve not re-experienced that challenge.  Good thing, since I do so much research online when I’m working on a manuscript.

Writing.  Now that’s something to chat about.  I love to write, in spite of my lackluster blogging, but I’m a story-teller and excited that my next novel is nearing its publishing date.  I love the story, and so do my test readers, as well as my editor.  It’s always a good thing when your editor, in particular, likes your work!  As such, Hunter Blake will be making his debut and the intrigue will begin.  So, if mystery, suspense, and intrigue – with a splash of romance thrown in for added interest – happens to be among some of your favorite reading genres, stay tuned.  As with my other publications, this next novel will be available at www.smashwords.com.

Website Hosting.  I recently switched hosts (for my book writing website – not this blog site) but I think I’m going to switch again.  I need more behind-the-scenes access to my site, which my previous host let me do.  I would have stayed with them, but unfortunately they were making some changes that necessitated I make a switch.  My current hosting company doesn’t provide me that kind of access.  In fact, they only allow me 60 minutes a month to add stuff or make changes.  One hour a month isn’t much time to dink around, and besides, they’re expensive.  I have no idea what possessed me to sign up with them.  Well, maybe it was the pitch that they would design a website for me for free.  Yeah, okay, but in the meantime, I think I’ve found a much better hosting company so we’ll see how that goes.

Politics.  I could offer my opinion on the current state of affairs, politically speaking, like how I think We the People should have the power to orchestrate an immediate election, fire all our elected officials and start over without going through the mess of months (even years) of traditional campaigning, empty promises, and media-controlled elections.  Maybe I’ve missed something somewhere, but I thought they (the elected officials) were supposed to be working for us, not the other way around.  Public servants, right?  Or wait!  Maybe that was a typo and it’s supposed be ‘self-serving.’

Airlines.  I recently flew out of San Francisco to the middle of Texas to visit with my oldest son and his family.  I was so danged excited!  I love to fly…usually…but not this time.  It was the first time I had a chance to fly anywhere, since they introduced those confounded body scanners.  So I stepped inside the thing, raised my hands up high in that ‘stick ‘em up!’ position while this contraption whirled around me.  I stepped out and they pulled me aside.  There was something suspicious about my right knee, I was told.  My knee?  Seriously? Yeah, so a female TSA person felt my knee and finally announced to a fellow TSA person, “Nope.  It’s her knee.”  And I said, “Yup, it’s the same one I’ve had all my life.”  They let me move along.

That wouldn’t have been so bad if it were the only inconvenience of my trip.  Turns out (I found out later that day) that the air traffic controllers were short-handed due to a bunch of lay-offs that had just occurred, or something like that.  So, as a result, hundreds of thousands of happy travelers, such as myself, were suddenly affected while in transit to our vast and varied locations.  Well, there’s nothing like hanging around an airport waiting for your delayed flight to finally take off.  You get to meet other equally frustrated and tired travelers, watch cable network news sites on giant monitors, and worry about your next meal.   Have you noticed how much the vendors charge for food in airports?!  We’re at their mercy…except there is no mercy!  Pay or go hungry.  Glad I took snacks.

I had to make a connection going and coming, but coming home was more of an adventure.  My first flight was delayed twice, which meant I missed my connection (and prized window seat) back to San Francisco.  I was re-booked, but once I touched down in SF, I nearly missed the last airport shuttle bus back home.  At that time of night, and as tired and frustrated as I was, spending the night in the airport wasn’t on my top ten list of things to do before I die.

Okay, I’ve taken up enough of your time.  Besides, I need to get back to work on the final edits of my novel.  The plan is to start posting updates regarding Hunter Blake in the first book of a series.  It all begins with Unwitting Alliances.  If this one generates the volume of downloads as my other two at Smashwords, I will be ecstatic!  Oh, and did I mention that the first books of any of my series are free?  Yes, it’s a marketing strategy, but if you like the book, you’ll be happy to pay for the next ones.  On the other hand, if you don’t like it…no loss…just delete it.

Okay.  I think I’m done for now.  Happy reading, everyone!

End of Smartphones…Already?


Just this afternoon, while sipping apple cinnamon tea to sooth an otherwise irritated throat (’tis the season), I happened upon an article at Business Insider online, by Nicholas Carlson.  He shared some interesting insights regarding Smartphones and the future of communication and computer technology.  In fact, he is predicting that the “era” of the Smartphone is already on the way out as new technology continues to roll forth.

According to his article, both Google and Microsoft have developed and patented some pretty sophisticated computer designs that you actually wear like a pair of glasses.  Expect Apple and others to do likewise (probably already are…).  Anyway, you can read the article at http://www.businessinsider.com, until it is replaced with something more current (since links of this type are often temporary).

I was intrigued with the article and had to agree with the author that we have, indeed, come a long way in the development of computer technology.  Mr. Carlson pointed out how we’ve gone from room-sized computers to hand-held Smartphones in a relatively short period of time, historically speaking.  Now with the new technology he described, we’ve progressed yet one step further.  He also predicts that we might also expect to eventually end up with computers as part of our brains (I thought our brain was a computer).

Okay…hello Borg!  With an additional “computer” somehow attached to our brain, would we be setting ourselves up to become part of a “collective”?  Do I really want to be identified as number 5 of something?  Anybody else out there former (or maybe still current) Star Trek fans?

Let me back up a bit and take a look at the “glasses” aspect of this latest advent of computer technology first.  Again, let’s take a look at Star Trek.  On November 10, 1991, Season Five of Star Trek: The Next Generation aired episode 106, entitled “The Game”.  As the episode begins, First Officer, Riker, has just returned from vacationing on the planet Risa, bringing with him an intriguing game.  It is a small headset with protruding eye pieces aimed at the wearer’s eyes.  Completely hands-free, anyone could wear the contraption, play the game (as a stress reliever), and presumably stick to their normal tasks and assigned duties.  With the convenient ability to replicate just about anything on board the Enterprise, it wasn’t long before this so called game was strapped to the heads of just about everyone on the ship.  Unfortunately the game was highly addictive to the point of effectively disabling the entire crew.

Turns out, the game was designed by the Kitarian’s as a cleverly disguised weapon intended to effectively render the entire crew incapable of performing their critical duties.  Being thus disarmed, the Kitraian’s plan was to overtake and commandeer the Enterprise along with all hands, with the ultimate goal to distribute the game everywhere in a galactic move to overtake the entire United Federation of Planets!  Fortunately young Wesley Crusher and Commander Data (yes, I know…he is a computerized android, but that’s not the same as a flesh and bone human with a computer implant) together save the day.

Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, was quite a visionary man.  Cell phones, alone, are representative of his impressively imagined communication and technological advances anticipated for the 23rd century (‘beam me up Scotty’).  I do applaud his vision and creativity.  No complaints about that.  I enjoy using my computer to explore the internet.  That much I admitted to in my previous post, “Life Without the Internet”.   But I don’t want the computer stuck in my head.

We already ‘wear’ our phones via Blue Tooth and similar gadgets.  We’re addicted to the internet via computers of all sizes and shapes including Smartphones.  So the idea and simplicity of wearing a computer via glasses is most certainly intriguing, besides many of us already wear glasses just so we can see what we’re doing!  And with the aid of computer glasses how much easier it would be to continue to feed our already addictive inclinations toward the internet!   Then just think of all the classy and unique optical eye-wear the fashion guru’s of the day could design!

My greatest concern, however, was Mr Carlson’s prediction of potential computer implants.  A Blue Tooth gadget is removable.  But computer implants in our brains?  Sounds rather permanent to me.  How else, other than some type of implant, would they become a part of our brains?  Unless…we’d have a USB port implanted behind an ear capable of hooking us up to something we’d wear clipped to a belt.  Heck, I don’t know.

But if it were truly an implant, how would you turn the thing off?  Could you turn it off?  Would it interfere with sleep?  How about  normal conversations, or day-to-day essential activity?  Would it be able to record everything you do and say and then pass that information on to others?  What kinds of devious crimes could be executed via a computer brain implant (need blueprints to a sophisticated bank vault?  Sure thing, I’ll just stick my finger into a specially designed socket and download them!  But wait!  Who needs bank vault blueprints?  Everything is electronic!  People are already hacking into personal bank accounts.  Just siphon accounts electronically via our brain computers!).

I am not opposed to technology, not really.  Lots of marvelous things have occurred due to technological advances,  but shouldn’t we draw the line somewhere?  Years ago, I can remember a story about a person hearing a radio station playing in their head and come to find out, that person had undergone some recent dental work.  Somehow all that metal turned them into a walking radio receiver.  Talk about portable!  Yeah, well, I don’t want to be a walking, talking, programmable, portable computer.

Like I said at the beginning, we already have computers in our heads.  They are called brains!  They are the most sophisticated biological ‘devices’ ever created.  They can be programmed through education, reading, mingling with other people…all kinds of ways.  Why mess them up with some kind of deviant man-made implant, similar to add-on software that invariably has a glitch or two…or more?  Would these implants be subject to computer viruses and “infect” our body’s ability to function properly?   Would they (or could they) be electronically programmed (by someone else unknown to us) to affect how we think and behave?  Can’t we do this already with the brain we have?  People are persuaded by others all the time to think and act and do…whatever and whenever…or not.  With the computers we already have (brains) we can choose NOT to do something someone else tries to persuade us to do.  We think and act for ourselves.

But with computer implants, would there be some central control complex capable of feeding us information whether or not it’s good for us or even true?  Who would be in charge of that control center?  The government?  Would someone have the ability to ‘shut down’ our organic systems (a cyber way of ‘unplugging’ someone)?  How would you protect people from either being cyber-hacked, or remotely cyber-hacking the computer brain of someone else?  Would you ever be able to believe if a person were lying or telling the truth (maybe they’ve been successfully programmed to lie about something and how would we know)?   “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, provided you’ve not been electronically compromised?”  There has to be some kind of a moral or ethical issue at stake here.

Okay, this is getting a little creepy.  For some, the idea of this type of technology may be exciting, but personally, I’m not so sure.   I think that mankind is getting just a little to smart for its own good sometimes.   I don’t know…maybe I’ll tackle this whole concept in my own way in one of my Hunter Blake novels.  I’m delving into some intriguing things to use as I develop that series, so we’ll see.  But in the meantime, once I’m done for the day at my desktop computer, I just shut everything down.  It gets to rest undisturbed…and so do I.

Peggy Lea Baker is a writer, artist, and entrepreneur whose ongoing literary work can be found at www.smashwords.com with periodic updates at www.peggyleabaker.com.  Her artistic endeavors can be found at www.zazzle.com/artambiance and www.flickr.com/photos/peggyleabaker.  Connect with her at www.linkedin.com/in/peggyleabaker.