Saturday, July 12, 2008

Second Anniversary

Today is the Second Anniversary of PODBRAM. Of course, we passed the first anniversary as iUBR, so the two-year period covers the history of this same website in all its guises. Surely I have said in some previous post somewhere that when I stop learning new things in the process of working on any project, I soon get bored with it. New experience is the secret of happiness, as far as I am concerned, so you can expect PODBRAM to continually grow and evolve as a book review site.

Here is a very brief history of my own writing experience. You might understand why my books span such a broad base of subject matter, as well as why PODBRAM has always been a work in progress that never really stops evolving. I began putting together my first book in about 1967. I actually do not remember the exact year. It began with handwriting in a spiral notebook, just as many of your earliest works probably did. I began this as a freshman in college majoring in General Liberal Arts. By the time I had graduated with a BA in Psychology, the book was complete and my personal theory of personality development was completely baked. I knew it was not much of a commercial effort, and I also knew that one day I would rewrite the whole thing into a much more professional release. That project became the first thing I did after I retired in 2001.

Although I am quite unmechanically inclined, I have been a car nut since I began identifying the year of a Cadillac by its tailfins in about 1954. I have been reading books about cars and the car culture for decades. At the beginning of 1980, the next new experience I desired was to locate and purchase a 1970 Corvette Stingray and begin writing stories and articles about classic Corvettes and the car culture in general for the local Corvette club newsletter. That newsletter became the most famous of its kind for Corvette clubs, but I had planned my own new experience of the future even before I had completed all my compositions. I knew that I would eventually turn all of The Corvette Chronicles into a book entitled Plastic Ozone Daydream. About eighteen years after setting this plan in motion, I got married (for the first time), sold the car, left the club, and began editing the book. Daydream was released on the last day of December, 2000.

I am almost as fascinated by boats as I am by cars, and at the end of The Nineties, I saw a most unpleasant pattern developing that made me want to capture something special before it was forced out of the marketplace forever. No matter how much American manufacturing had already left the USA, recreational powerboats were still a strongly American industry, but I could see its demise coming from a mile away. Outboard Marine Corporation had been struggling as a company for decades. All the wonderful little mini-jets of the early Nineties were either being discontinued or moved disgustingly up-market in size and price. Many boat brands from decades back were either being consolidated or filing for bankruptcy. The boat industry was clearly one of the last strongholds of American manufacturing to die a slow, painful death. It did not take much effort for me to complete my research and organize it into a book for all the boat lovers of the past and future.

A genre I read a lot, in addition to car books, is that of economic and political nonfiction, so I began planning one of those for my fourth performance. I had planned to write a book named 2010 and release it last year. I had been following the housing bubble long before it popped. Did I mention that most of my career life had been spent in the financial services industry? 2010 was going to be an historical summation of how and why Americans have gotten ourselves into this current economic tsunami. I completed the first chapter and a complete outline of the rest back in about 2005, but before I went much further with the project, my wife convinced me that its approach and tone were too negative. The next step was to switch gears a little and present a tightly edited package of all the good, positive, fun things about America. The view down the steep hill from the exclusively expensive neighborhood on the book's cover is an inside joke. We were at the peak of the housing bubble just before it popped, and I was fully aware of that fact.

My books all have common threads running though them. I write about entertaining megatrends on the surface, but I am also deeply conscious of the undertow these same trends harbor. My goal is to entertain and inform. Accomplishing only one of these goals is not enough. I want to do both.

PODBRAM has lately become my most favored project. I have greatly diminished the time I spend on other projects such as my original e-tabitha website. That's why it seems to have been static for the past year or so. I just don't have the time to do both. For the time being at least, PODBRAM will retain its iUBR URL, so newcomers finding the site through links scattered all over the web will still find PODBRAM. If you put PODBRAM in Google, you will always find us, one way or the other, and that's what really matters. Authors Den will be phased out of the review system at the end of 2008. This is not a negative reflection on AD in any way. It's just that I personally as an author and PODBRAM as a review site have outgrown the advantages AD offers to new authors. I have always said that AD is one of the best ways to move you and your books upward in the Google search rankings, and I still think that is true. The situation now. though, is that you can put my name, POD Book Reviews, or PODBRAM in Google anytime and you will find us all instantly.

The goal is and always has been to expand the horizons of both authors and readers. The PODBRAM of the future will continue to offer new and surprising features and changes. My entire life and all my goals are about quality instead of quantity, and PODBRAM is no exception. I have never been a prolific writer, and I never intend to become one. I am as slow, methodical, and meticulous as a turtle, but as I continually remind my wife, the turtle always wins the race. I want PODBRAM to become known as a review site that is as exclusive as the neighborhood pictured on the cover of Timeline. and like any legitimate review site, reviews will always be free. They may not be exactly what the authors had in mind, but they will be real.

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