Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cell Phone Nightmares

I was a T-Mobile customer for nine years and seven months. I was eligible for a partial upgrade on February 11, 2012. Because of my loyalty status, I had unlimited minutes, which really meant nothing because I never used more than 1,500 in a single billing cycle.

My relationship with T-Mobil began to degrade when somebody nipped my phone out of jacket pocket as I was coming up the escalator from the 7 train at Flushing-Main Street. I discovered it missing when I got on the Q28 bus on my way home. As soon as I got home, I went online, locked my phone, sent out an earsplitting alarm, wiped all my data, and then traced it into a neighborhood I would never venture into unless it was absolutely necessary.

I had an HTC G2, which I hated with a passion. The keyboard never lit up unless I was sitting in total darkness, the damn thing constantly froze, it constantly rebooted without rhyme or reason, and it was dog slow, so you can imagine how happy I was when I filed my claim online and the insurance company told me that my phone was no longer manufactured, and that they would be sending me an HTC 4G Slide, a much better phone with some great features. They sent the phone to my office the very next day.

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered the phone did not read my SIM card. I took the phone to the T-Mobile store down the street from where I worked, and the representative tried several SIM cards, but no luck. The phone was defective. They could not replace it, so they put me in touch with a representative at T-Mobile. I told the guy that I needed a phone immediately, and that his only alternative was to messenger a replacement phone to my office by 4:00 pm, or I would cancel my contract and get a phone at Verizon, which was right across the street. He asked me if the store had a loaner phone, and they did, which I said was acceptable.

But then the idiot told me that he would be sending me a G2 because that was my replacement phone. Here is where my frustration really started to set in. I asked the guy why he would send me a discontinued phone when the insurance company upgraded me to a newer phone. His answer was that although the phone was discontinued, that didn’t mean they still didn’t sell them. I had no choice but to acquiesce.

The next day my G2 arrived with no battery. I looked at the thing in disbelief. Now what the hell was I supposed to do? I called T-Mobile and told them about it. The idiot on the phone told me that I was supposed to take the battery out of the busted 4G slide and put it in the G2. At that point I just laughed. They were completely different phones and the batteries were not interchangeable. I asked to speak to his supervisor.

My call got kicked up to another level, and a Loyalty Support Specialist promised me that they would send me a 4G slide the very next day. The next day came and went, but no phone, so I called and told them they had two choices: get me a new phone this very day, or cancel my contract.

“Which will it be?” I asked.

“I’m sorry, sir, but I cannot get you a new phone today.”

“Then you are cancelling my contract,” I said, finally.

“I am?”

“You’re goddamn right you are. I am going to Verizon. Fuck you and your Loyalty Plan.”

I hung up the phone, and went straight to the Verizon store. I already had an account there because of my daughter’s phone, so I got a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and added it to my plan. What an amazing phone! This thing screams it is so fast. So many great features! I should have ditched T-Mobile years ago.

I went back to the T-Mobile store and turned in my loaner phone, got my money back, and walked out. T-Mobile is going to hit me with a cancellation fee. They are going to wait for their money. I have more important bills to pay right now, and after what they put me through they can wait a couple months.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Monday, January 30, 2012

Set Your Shit Straight

There are times when a man must let go of all the bullshit in his life and focus on the positive, and then there are others when he must stand up for himself and set the record straight to protect his good reputation. So, here it goes:

Several years ago I befriended Joann H. Buchannan. At the time she was a fledgling writer with great potential. Although I found her writing to be somewhat trite, I saw the appeal she would have with the teen horror genre. She had posted the beginning of I Am Wolf on her blog, and when I read it, I fell in love with her style.

Apparently, the Fiction Editor for Book Reviews for the L.A. Times liked her writing too, and sent her a message asking when the book would be out, because he wanted to read it. Joann contacted me in a panic, and asked me what she should do. I told her to tell him that she had just been signed with a reputable agent and that her book was in editing. Somewhat shocked by what I told her, I asked her to check her email. I had just sent her an Author-Agent Agreement, told her to print out two copies, sign them, and send them to Chamein Canton Literary Agency, whom I was a part of back then. Then I told her that I would edit her manuscript at no charge.

We worked together for months on that manuscript, and at the end, Chamein was happy. Joann was really struggling, and her fiancé only had part-time work. So, for Christmas, I sent her family a money order for $300.00, so that she could see her parents for Christmas. I also gave her several books to help in her writing endeavors, including The Elements of Style, which she never read because she found it to be too boring. I guess good grammar didn’t interest her.

So, I donated several months and countless hours of my time free of charge to help her get a foothold in the publishing business. I even went as far as signing her on spec, and when my agent found out, she told me she would drive to my house and kill me if she did not like that manuscript. I told her not to worry.

Joann reciprocated my good will by building my blog, The Love of the Written Word. She admitted that this was probably a $300.00 job. I was thankful. She went even further and offered to promote Swiss Chocolate when it was released January 28, 2011. Toward that end, she and her sister, Chantell, formed C & J Public Relations and took me on as their first client. I was ecstatic!

Joann got busy and started writing press releases, and Chantell told me stories about all the media kits she had built. To facilitate her job, I had my publisher send all 100 of my author copies to Chantell, so she could get them into the right hands. I also sent Chantell $1,000.00 to cover expenses. She said with that kind of money we could easily do three major pushes.

It didn’t take me long to figure out there was a problem when Chantell started making up excuse after excuse as to why she couldn’t send me an example of the media kits she said she had made. Although my publisher, Casey Swanson, is a pathological liar, I believed him when he told me he never received a single media kit. When I went to Joann about the problem, she nearly took my head off for slamming her sister.

She changed her tune very quickly when Chantell did not return her calls either. Finally, Joann realized that her sister had burned me, apologized for what happened, but told me this had nothing to do with her, and that it was between me and Chantell. I had no recourse, because Chantell lived in the Midwest, and I lived on the East Coast, and at best, this was a small claims case, even though it involved several thousand dollars.

Joann had already finished the first draft of her second novel and sent it to me to read. She asked me three times if I had started reading. I was so disgusted I couldn’t, and I felt completely used. Finally, after being kicked in the nuts so hard by my best friend, I completely fell apart, and our relationship turned into a huge catfight. There was absolutely nothing I wouldn’t have done for her, and I had proved that with my incredible generosity. If one of my sisters had burned my best friend for thousands of dollars, I would have beaten down her fucking door to find out what happened.

Later, I heard Joann completely rewrote I Am Wolf, and is now telling people that I destroyed her book with my poor editing skills. That just hurts. There are also lies about me collecting some sort of insurance claim on my books. That is not true. I never did see my books or money again, and I have never been compensated a single dime for all my losses.

Now, there is also some shit flying around about my relationship with Chamein Canton. I let her go because she simply was not doing her job, and she became abusive and extremely negative. That is all. Nothing more.

This discussion is closed, and I will not be accepting comments or questions. All comments will be deleted.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The State of the Publishing Industry

I have been watching the publishing industry go through remarkable changes in the last few years. Basically, the old brick-and-mortar houses are crumbling before our very eyes as the digital revolution takes over.

Publishing houses are hemorrhaging money like stuck pigs, and editors change faster than baby diapers. More and more imprints are being shut down, and nailing a contract with a traditional house is becoming more and more difficult. It seems the only way to get a publishing deal is to be a complete jackass on national TV. Idiots who have no idea what good writing is are getting contracts only because people know who they are.

Authors all over the world are rebelling against the traditional houses and are making the decision to self-publish. This is very dangerous ground. Self publishing can be costly in terms of promotion, and often times many people lose their shirts.

Recently, after much discussion with my agent, Chamein Canton, I decided to self publish with Kindle Direct. They nail you when it comes to digital rights, but then again, I did not publish this book to make a fortune. I published it to get a story out to the public. I am only charging $2.99 for the book.

I am giving away twenty copies to first come-first serve. I still have seven copies left to give away. If you want a copy, email me at jweil@weileditorial.com, and I will send it off to you. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle software for free on your PC or Mac.

I am not completely happy with the way the formatting turned out on the Kindle conversion. The indents are a little off in a few places, and some of my corrections simply won’t take. It’s frustrating, but I will keep putting up new versions until I have it right.

Below is a short synopsis of the book:

María Suárez, a young, Colombian nineteen-year-old woman, comes to America as an illegal alien. She ends up as a domestic for a rich, old woman in Westchester, New York. The story begins with her cleaning the old woman’s bathroom. As she is cleaning, the story flashes back to her home in Colombia. Her parents were very poor farmers living in a camposito high in the Andes above the town of El Aguila. The town specializes in growing high-end, specialty coffee normally reserved for the Japanese.

The town gets ripped to pieces by the guerrillas and the military when the bottom drops out of the coffee market and the cafeteros get forced into growing coca. Eventually the entire town is destroyed. She escapes, and through sheer determination she manages to make it to America without a word of English and no money.

What makes this book different is that it humanizes the brutal struggle for power and survival going on in Colombia today, as told from the eyes of a young woman with a fifth grade education.

Remember, I have seven copies left to give away. When all have been given away, I will make an announcement that the offer is over.

Love to All!

James M. Weil

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I am not a God. I am just an Adonis.


It’s been ages since I have a made a post. Basically I have undergone miraculous changes, namely I finally made the decision to be happy. With that decision came a slew of other decisions, mainly letting go of people and situations that are toxic for me. It’s all about attitude, but it is best summed up in this timeless mantra:

"Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and
the wisdom to know the difference." – Saint Francis of Assisi

I have discovered my lunacy. I have explored it and accepted it. It is a part of me, but I have control over it finally and play with it like a child’s toy. Basically, I have learned how to have fun. I am, and always have been, a clown—as my personal trainer says.

The best part is that I really have a blast with my children. I enrolled both my children in Moti Horenstein’s Mixed Martial Arts, and then decided to rejoin myself. We train as a family and have fun working together on techniques and sparring on the weekends.

I can cope with stress by compartmentalizing the crazy-ass problems in my life right now. They are all serious problems, but my health is not affected unless I let these things get under my skin. The children come first, as it always should be. The rest is all about prioritizing and keeping your cool.

So here it is, Boy and Girls! The new me. I will still talk about my disease, but from an angle you have never seen from me before.

Life is too short to live in unhappiness.

Love and Joy to All!

James M. Weil