Communion Of Dreams

Damned orcs.
December 12, 2012, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Connections, General Musings, Society, Tolkien | Tags: , , ,

This was this morning:



Taken from the same vantage point a bit after Noon:


Damned orcs.

Jim Downey

OK, obviously not orcs. Bobcat with a giant rotating cheese-grater type thing. And I’m not annoyed at all — this is the parcel of land next to us (yeah, *that* one), which now belongs to friends. They’re clearing out some of the massive islands of underbrush in preparation for building on the property next year. It needed to be done eventually, but was prompted now by a couple of instances of people hiding stolen vehicles or using those islands as homeless camps. Good to have people who care about what happens to the land next to us.

Final countdown.

We’re in the final countdown of the Kickstarter. Like those old space launches I grew up with, counting down from “T-minus 10” and never being quite sure what would happen.  I’m old enough to remember more than one launchpad failure.

Ten days.

And we’re only at 50% on pledges to the goal.

* * * * * * *

I’ve had several “close calls” in my life, moments when with the slightest difference in luck I probably would have died. This is probably the most dramatic. It’s certainly the most graphic. But there have been others which were  just as close. A bullet which passed some two inches away from my right temple. A fall on a dark night into an unsecured excavation where I missed being impaled on rebar by about a foot. Other occasions, some more my fault than others.

I sometimes joke with my friends that the only explanation is that I’m a cat, and still have a couple of lives to go.

* * * * * * *

Saw an item in today’s paper:

Bank takes ownership of Taylor House

It was one of the first properties designated a local historic landmark. It set an example for high-quality historic restoration. It was a home. It was a bed-and-breakfast.

Now, it’s owned by the bank.

U.S. Bank now owns the house Robert and Deborah Tucker spent years and more than $1 million renovating. The bank foreclosed on the three-story home that contained The Taylor House Inn bed-and-breakfast at 716 W. Broadway on Sept. 17.

I know these folks. Not well, but the jewelry business they had prior to taking on this B&B was just down the street from my art gallery. Small business owners in Columbia’s downtown got to know one another, sharing similar interests and concerns.

I was surprised to hear that the B&B had gone into foreclosure, though I knew that they had declared bankruptcy late last year.

This is a fact of life, particularly with a small business. You can pour your heart & soul into something, only to see it fail. Same thing happened with my art gallery.

But only those who are willing to risk failure have any chance for success.

* * * * * * *

“Dark have been my dreams of late,” he said, “but I feel as one new-awakened. I would now that you had come before, Gandalf. For I fear that already you have come too late, only to see the last days of my house. Not long now shall stand the high hall which Brego son of Eorl built. Fire shall devour the high seat. What is to be done?”

That’s from JRR Tolkien’s The Two Towers, and is the character of King Théoden speaking after coming out of being beguiled by Gríma (Wormtongue). Here’s the adaptation of the scene in the 2002 movie of the same name, with the actual line spoken at about 3:15:

* * * * * * *

Ten days.

And we’re only at 50% on pledges to the goal. Unless we hit the goal, no one is out anything, and the Kickstarter “fails.”

There’s nothing wrong with failure. Like I said, only those who are willing to risk failure have any chance for success. You have to push yourself, challenge yourself. No writer or artist who is worth a damn always plays it safe. Same for any entrepreneur.

Failure hurts. It should. But it isn’t lethal, at least not in the areas I’m talking about. I’ve had close calls. That’s different. In this case, failure means only a delay in being able to complete and publish the next book on my own.

Ten days. We’ll see what happens. Help out if you can.

Jim Downey

Hobbit’s birthday.

“Our Sam says that everyone’s going to be invited to the party, and there’s going to be presents, mark you, presents for all — this very month as is.”

Indeed, presents for all. This Wednesday. July 4th. My birthday, as it happens. In keeping with fine Hobbit tradition (though I am by no means a small person), I’ve scheduled that a promotion day — when everyone can download the Kindle edition of Communion of Dreams for free. My gift to you.

And if you can identify the speaker of the above quote (without cheating and looking it up) and send me an email, I’ll put your name in a drawing for a free signed paperback copy of Communion. Don’t post your answer in a comment — that’d give away the answer — just send it to me at before July 5th.

If you would like to give a gift to me in return, all I ask is that you help spread the news of the promotion. I’d like to bump up awareness of Communion of Dreams before I leave on my trip. In spite of the many excellent reviews, sales and promotional efforts last month have slipped. I only managed to give away 2,351 copies of the book, and sold (or had borrowed through the KDP Select program) 259 copies. As a result, the Amazon ranking for the Kindle edition has hovered around 20,000 most of the month, and this morning was #21,932. It’d be great if we could push those numbers back into the low “a few thousand” range.

Likewise, Her Final Year only keeps plodding along, again in spite of excellent reviews. We managed to give away more copies of that book — 2,986 — but only sold 32. And consequently the Amazon ranking has largely been stuck around 200,000 most of the month. There will be a free promotion day on July 14 for HFY — in observation of the first anniversary, or ‘birthday’, of the book being published. Something else to look forward to!

So, happy July, everyone! Be sure to email your answers about the mystery quote soon!

Jim Downey