Create Your Own Job Security Blog

“Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age” Receives Positive Reviews

Positive reviews of Make Your Own Job have been received from two of the most prestigious book review agencies in the nation, Kirkus and The U.S. Review of Books. These agencies provide independent reviews of many of the million books published each year from the points of view of content, production quality, and usefulness to prospective readers and libraries. They began with a description of the book’s contents and conclude with a one-line criticism or recommendation.

The anomalous Kirkus reviewer categorized the book as “A guide for displaced or disgruntled employees on the fundamentals of starting a business.” In this era when many workers feel underpaid and under- appreciated, many are changing jobs and/or seeking a way to design their own jobs that better suite their talents, hopes, and aspirations. The reviewer recognized that my book served this need by pointing out my proposition that “the best way to insure their futures is to make their own jobs,” by thinking about and starting their own companies while they are still employed and testing the concept while they still have a regular paycheck rather than being forced into alternative money-making work because of an unanticipated lay-off.

My book does two things. First, it illustrates a method to formulate and sort through a large number of business possibilities, sort them into short, medium, and long-term possibilities, and select which to pursue at various times in one’s life. Then it outlines the various stages of starting a business from selecting a name to disposing of it in later life while selecting another, less time-consuming, business that you really enjoy. The book’s overall purpose is to illustrate how to make serious money during your working years, and then selecting a fun business to do as you age. I addition, the book makes some significant philosophical points such as, “time is the only thing of real value that we possess, and money cannot buy more if it.”

The reviewer concluded that my book was, “A worthy rudimentary resource for business newbies.” He, or more likely she, grasped my purpose in writing a business book than anyone from teens to seniors could learn from, rather than a book strictly intended for degreed business majors who were already deep into the corporate structure.

Jordana Landsman considered the book for The U.S. Review of Books. The book left a positive impression on her as he wrote “Smith’s book offers articulate, well-organized, and fresh guidance” on creating a business concept, starting, and running a business. Because my book was independently derived from my own experiences, it is not only a re-hash of the same business concepts that have been written about innumerable times before, but also offers fresh thoughts on the important aspects of generating and evaluating new ideas which might not have occurred to the reader. She also approved of my “offering up-to-the-minute modern guidance” as I covered marketing through social media, crowdfunding, virtual corporations, and the limitless geographic potential of the modern marketplace.

Landsman concluded her review with the statement, “Recommended by the US Review,” which is a status awarded to only a small fraction of the thousands of books considered by the company each year.

My admittedly biased opinion is that this book belongs in every library in the nation. If you think so too, purchase a copy and donate it to your local library.

U.S. Review of Books Recommends “Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age”

Two of the world’s major book review companies, Kirkus and the U.S. Review of Books, have considered Wm. Hovey Smith’s new business book a useful work presenting new approaches to generating business concepts and converting these ideas into businesses. Kirkus called the book “worthy,” and the U.S. Review put it on their Recommended List. Both of these rankings indicate that the reviewers considered Make Your Own Job an exceptional work that they considered superior to the majority of the books they reviewed.

Reviewer Jordana Landsman writing for the U.S. Review said, “Smith’s book offers articulate, well-organized, and fresh guidance on the conventional components of starting a business, including the analysis required to assess goals, select a business and name, target audience and customers, choose a structure, secure funding, and know and comply with legalities…Yet while this important information is carefully curated here for maximum usefulness, the book’s heart and soul are in the author’s sharing of his own life experiences. His losses and successes are engaging and humanizing, and they make a case for the entrepreneurial path he recommends.”

Landsman grasped my intention to write a brief, but comprehensive, business book based on my own experiences that anyone from teens to seniors could implement to satisfy their immediate needs. She also agreed with my statement that workers were being considered interchangeable work units rather than individuals when she wrote, “This generous, comprehensive entrepreneurial guide posits (presents) that the modern workplace is a shifting, impermanent, and patently disloyal institution that can lead an unprepared worker to a surprising state of unemployment or underemployment at a moment’s notice.” She also agreed with my conclusion that the best safety net was to have a business in development while still employed that could be ramped-up to provide for a family’s security and often improve the person’s mental and physical health.

Small-scale testing of a new venture while working for someone else provides a worker with much more confidence to tell an employer, “To take this job and shove it,” if he, or she, knows that he can prosper by pursuing his own aims, objectives, and ambitions because he has proven that his new business can reach national and international markets.

If you are at a time in your life where you need serious money, then go for that multi-million-dollar payout, but if you want something less stressful that you really enjoy doing to supplement your Social Security income, follow that path even though its chance of producing more than modest amounts of income is nonexistent. Choose the business to fit your skills and needs, and change as you wish to get maximum enjoyment out of your work and personal life.

Interview On The Author’s Show

About two weeks ago Don McCauley did an excellent interview with me about my new book, “Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age” on “The Author’s Show.” We had done an unusually through pre-interview interchange which enabled me to mentally prep for the show. This was excellent because my book is unlike any previous business book in that it presents a method of self-generating business concepts, selecting which to act on when, and then goes through the entire process of starting a business to do what you need, or want, to do at the time. There is always a danger when producing a non-conventional book that it will not be appreciated by those who have deeply ingrained opinions of what a business book ought to be. Kurkus, the international book review firm that is known for giving critical reviews said that, “This is a worthy book for the newbie entrepreneur,” which is high praise indeed.


In their opinion I succeeded in producing a business book that is suitable for non-business majors containing excellent information that the average person can use. Some chapters, like the one on patents, they liked better than others, but they also liked the fact that I gave coverage to the entire business process as might be done by everyone from teens to seniors in a scant 150 pages.


That business need might be to raise immediate cash, develop a side-hustle while you work for someone else, or select a business that you really enjoy doing to bring in some extra money during your retirement years. The need to self-generate income has never been more pressing than now when the entire economy is readjusting from the impact of the Corona Virus. There is an undeniable degree of security to be gained by having your own business running, even if on a small scale, so that you can have a source of income that you control.


The variety of businesses that might be selected could be inventing and making a physical product, specializing in retailing some particular type of goods on a worldwide basis, selling knowledge, something creative in the arts, or assisting others by founding a non-profit organization to full an unmet need. Nor is it required that you select from any one of the above. The recommended program is to plan for your new business, execute it, evaluate it, and move on to the next thing if the previous concept did not work out so well. Be observant, be flexible, take risks, learn from your failures, and have fun doing it.


These and other concepts were presented during the interview which we enjoyed doing. Both of us have sat on both sides of the microphone many times before, and we appreciated each others’ work which made for an unusually informative and enjoyable program.


If you want a good listen, Google “The Author’s Show” and look for my name Wm. Hovey Smith and the book’s title “Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age.” If you happen to miss the show today, it will be archived and you can catch it some other time or listen to it more than once. You can use the URL http://www.theauthorsshow.com to connect to the show at any time.


“Make Your Own Job” is available as a softcover, e-book, or a 7-hour audio book from Amazon.com and other sources worldwide.

Lost Your Job? Remote Work Could Be The Answer

A guest post by Amy Collett.

Amy was in the corporate battleground for 17 years before striking out on her own to have time to help care for an elderly grandmother. She started a on-line consulting business called “Bizwell” where she assist others in Personal Branding, Resume Development, Logo-Messaging-Website Design, and Social Media Evaluation. As this post is very much on-topic with my book, “Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age” I am glad to include it. Enjoy the read.

——————————————————————————————————————

Lost Your Job? Remote Work Could Be The Answer

If you’re like millions around the world, you’ve found yourself unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while you might be open to doing almost any type of work that brings in an income, wouldn’t you rather do something that interests you and utilizes your skills and talents?

For many workers in your situation, technology has been the saving grace. These days, more and more companies are hiring remote positions, and doing freelance work from home is more accessible than ever. So, if you want to learn more about finding remote work and setting yourself up for long-term success, keep reading!

Consider What Kind of Job You Want

The first step is to determine what type of job you would like to do. If you genuinely loved your previous job, you might want to start by looking for remote jobs in that industry. However, this could also be the perfect opportunity for a fresh start in your career. Do you have any particular passions or interests in a field in which you’ve never worked? As long as you have a little bit of natural talent and are a quick learner, why not try it?

Reach out to your network of friends and professionals for possible remote work opportunities, and apply for every position that interests you. Also, consider starting a freelance business. As a freelancer, you’ll have unmatched flexibility, and as you build your brand, you’ll be able to choose how much you work and who you work for. Using online job boards is the best way to begin developing as a freelancer, and you can find work in a slew of different industries and niches—from writing and web design to data science and engineering, from customer service and admin support to sales and marketing.

Are you ready to rise to the next level in your career? An online degree can boost your knowledge and resume, and it offers flexibility so you can learn as you continue to work. For example, if you work in the business world, you can complete an MBA degree and learn about accounting, marketing, communication, and operations management.

Set Up a Workspace

No matter what kind of remote work you choose to do, you’ll need a proper workspace in order to stay productive on a daily basis. And your workspace must provide adequate separation from the main living areas of your home. Garages, basements, attics, and spare bedrooms are excellent spaces for a home office.

You’ll also want to make your home office a comfortable place to work. This includes painting the walls a color that will help you concentrate, hanging artwork, putting out family photos, adding comfortable furniture and good lighting.

Get (and Learn) the Right Tools

You also need certain tools to succeed at working from home. Some of these will depend on the type of work you do, but there are some basic necessities to consider for your home office. For example, you’ll need a reliable laptop or desktop computer, the right kind of desk for your space, and an ergonomic office chair that will keep you comfortable throughout the workday. Also, make sure you have a solid Internet connection, and put in a separate phone line for your business if it will help you stay on task.

Furthermore, there are many kinds of software that can prove invaluable for remote work. Look into accounting software to help with money management, project management software to help keep you and any team members productive, and communication/collaboration software to help you stay connected to partners, team members, and/or clients.

Establish Work Hours

Once you have your home office and equipment ready to go, it’s time to start creating a routine that will help you stay productive. If you’ve never worked from home before, finding the right routine may require a bit of trial and error. The key is to figure out your peak work hours and to build your schedule around those hours. If you have kids staying at home during the day, you’ll need to work around their needs as well.

When you determine your work hours, make sure everyone in your household knows what they are. It’s essential to set boundaries so that you can minimize distractions and succeed in your work.

Leave the Office

If your family is expected to respect your work hours, that means that you should too. When your work is done for the day, leave your office—both physically and mentally. Knowing you’re only one short walk to your office may tempt you to work outside of your normal hours. But if you want to maintain a healthy work-life balance, you must resist the temptation and make the most of your downtime. Take advantage of the opportunity to spend more time with your family, and find fun, relaxing activities to incorporate into your everyday life.

If you’re unemployed, all is not lost. Turn to your network of friends and professionals, as well as online job boards, to explore remote job opportunities. Implement the tips listed here to set yourself up for long-term success. You may even find that you’re happier and more fulfilled than ever in your new career!

Audio Book of “Make Your Own Job” Complements Print and E-Book Versions

Click on image to order book.

Listening, instead of reading, has considerably increased the versatility of Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age, by making it accessible to commuters and drivers through their internet connections as a downloadable audiobook. If inconvenient to listen to on a laptop or tablet, the book may be downloaded on a phone or thumb drive that plugs into your vehicle’s sound system. Other advantages include being able to increase the listening volume for those whose hearing is not as sharp as it once was.

I selected LisenUp Productions of Atlanta to do the audiobook because it was convenient to me here in Central Georgia as well as to promote another industry in the state. I had the opportunity to audition three readers, and I selected James Edward Thomas as the reader, rather than recording it myself. Recording a seven-hour book requires a sound-insulated recording room, high quality mikes, editing skills, very much patience, and a voice that remains consistent over time. While I possess some of these items and personal qualities here at Whitehall, I lack others. Another very considerable problem is distribution. It may be well and good to produce an outstanding reading of a novel or piece of music, but the challenge is putting it in the hands of the distributors who market it to individuals, public libraries, business firms, etc. Some large public libraries, for example, will buy only through a particular distributor. Not only does ListenUp produce audio books, they also market them to all of the major distributors of audiobooks including Amazon, the elephant in the room.

Another beneficial result of the audiobook is that it also drives sales of the companion softcover and e-book versions. While listening is wonderful for getting an overview of the contents, Make Your Own Job is designed to be used, as it describes a unique method of conceiving of and selecting among self-generated business concepts that most readers would want to reference from time to time. The print version also allows the user to quickly look up materials on say, trademarks, without having to re-listen to an entire book to recover this information. With a novel the easy location of textual material would not be so significant, unless readers wanted to check back to see if the author pre-shadowed a significant clue earlier in the text. Unless they were avid fans, they would not likely lay out significant cash to buy a physical copy of the book.

Although business books have the reputation of being long, dry, and boring, listeners will find that Thomas’ reading of Make Your Own Job to be entertaining as well as informative.

What is a One-Sheet and Why Your Book Should Have One

What is a One-Sheet and Why An Author Needs Them

When institutional buyers are considering purchasing books for their organizations, libraries, or bookstores, the thing that they are NOT going to do is to sit down and read every book they might consider.  In fact, some buyers almost never read books, and are not going to lug them around at trade shows or book fairs. They already have their order books and perhaps even contract forms, but resolutely don’t want books. Maybe at book fairs they might take a publisher’s expensive and slick-looking catalog, but many of these are taken and tossed into trashcans as soon as they are out of sight of the booth.  These buyers may attend a dozen such events a year and get a bit jaded after the first few years .

Like most of today’s readers, they are only interested in seeing or lugging around information on the books that they ARE interested in – none others need apply. This has resulted in creation of the one-sheet which often has a photo of the book, the vital information about it, and on-line references to more information. While it is tempting for an author to cram every word possible onto this single page to tell about your creation and why they should purchase it, this document should be easily readable and instantly transmit anything important about your book to the buyer. Although this is the primary purpose of the one-sheet, it is also useful send to potential reviewers, journalist, and broadcasters. From this sheet they can instantly tell if your message has some potential appeal to their audiences and how to craft their stories. As a journalist and broadcaster, I have been on both sides of this equation.   

What Goes on Your Book’s One-Sheet

Like in the old “Drag Net” line, “Just the facts, mam. Just the facts.”

1. The title. This should be on the top of the page centered, bold, and is often more effective placed in a colored block. In my case I am helped that the title in short as it the sub-title which made it easier to include both in the block in two lines of text. Make Your Own Job, the title, is on the top line and the sub-title, Anytime, Anywhere, at Any Age, is centered beneath it superimposed on a gold background. The title is big, obvious, and can be easily read from ten-feet away.

2. The Book’s Cover. I prefer a two-column design for my one-sheets, but they might be designed with multiple color photos with a line of text beneath them, or of a larger principal photo and a number of satellite photos on the page, or of mixes of blocks of photos and texts. If color backgrounds are used for the blocks, it is best if they are of contrasting colors or perhaps the entire sheet may be overprinted over a photo. Somewhere on the page the cover should appear in a large-enough size so that the details can be seen and the title and sub-title easily read.

3. A one sentence description about the book. The title already conveys the message that the book is for use “Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age,” and it would be redundant to say that again in the description. Instead I used, “The business book for everyone.”

4. Metadata. This block of information is usually directly under the cover and shows the basic facts about the book. This should always include the ISBNs for the versions of the book that are available, the books’ type (hardcover, e-book, audio book, or other). It may also include price information, although this may vary between distributors. Should a version of the book be only available at the time of the one-sheet’s release from a single source, that source should be identified. That was the case of my audiobook at the time the one-sheet was created and the E-mail address of ListenUp Productions was also given.

5. Information about content. The two things that I wanted to convey were that the book shows how to systematically explore different business options and tell exactly how to implement those options throughout one’s life. The most concise way to do this was to use bullet points and list some of the topics covered by the book. 

6. Sources for information about the book and its author. This block includes the author’s website, physical address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Skype, YouTube Channels, Facebook, or other addresses might also be listed here. However, just because you have them does not mean that you should list them. Like in movie scripts, try to keep the page open and clean.

An Example

  I am going to show a copy of a one-sheet for my new business book so that you can see the contents and how they are arranged. Yours does not have to look like this and likely should not. If you are well known or physically attractive, neither is true in my case, by all means show a photo of yourself. If this is an adventure novel, I would hope that you would have an adventurous picture on the cover. If not, show one on the one-sheet. Whatever you do, make sure that it somehow relates to your book.

 About This Author

Wm. Hovey Smith is the author of more than 20 books and producer of more than 850 YouTube videos. He is a Professional Geologist in Georgia, a former U.S. Army Combat Engineer Officer, outdoorsman, small business owner, knife maker, and international speaker on environmental and business topics, having spoken at international forums in Austria and China. He has also served as an Information Scientists for a multi-national company specializing in industrial patents. His current project is a novel, screenplay and movie, “Father of the Grooms.”  For more information on the author’s activities go to www.hoveysmith.com.

Sell Your Book to Libraries

Making an Effective Library Appeal for Your Book

In the 1970s, before the internet, the standard way for an independent author to publicize his book to libraries was to send a copy to the institutions’ Acquisition Librarian.  It helped if the author was a faculty or student member of the organization or lived in the library’s host state. After the receipt of the book the library might or might not decide to add it to their collections in their main library and perhaps even to satellite facilities. This was a time consuming and expensive process for authors as well as being wasteful of resources. If the books were not selected they were most often not returned, but were frequently sold to finance the institution’s activities.

Book publishing companies had several advantages over independent publishers. Their books were reviewed in journals, they took out ads in magazines that circulated to librarians, they exhibited their books at national and international trade shows, and they also offered hardcover copies of their books. With the advent and growing capabilities of the internet, the independent author is now on a more level playing field, but still at a significant disadvantage.

Early in the history of the internet, a color photograph or a book took so long to download that  it was impractical to send photos as attachments. These clogged up the receiver’s computer so badly that all e-mails with attachments over a certain size were refused. Anything with photo images was still best mailed and this resulted in the evolution of the one-sheet which usually contained an image of the cover along with lines of descriptive materials and how to contact the author for sales or personal appearances.  These one-sheets were often generated by authors and blindly mailed to institutions, although the more sophisticated located the names of the institution’s Acquisition Librarian and directed their letters to them. This was slightly more effective, but still often meant that their one-sheets were thrown away by more senior members of the library’s staff.  In the best cases, the library might still request a review copy of the book with the possibility that they would reject it.

Steps an Author Needs to Take

1. Identify the institutions that he wants to know about his book. These include major public libraries, university libraries, and public school systems. Then expand his appeal nationally and internationally.

2. Pay for a professional independent review of the book in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly or some similar organization.

3. Discover who is the Acquisition Librarian who might also be called something like the Director of Collections. Often the larger institutions will have a Staff Directory, but some do not, and it may be necessary to use the “Ask A Librarian” function in the library to obtain e-mail addresses.  In some libraries, librarians are assigned to certain fields of study, say business, and  they recommend books for purchase.

4. Offer your book in a variety of formats.  Traditionally libraries demanded hard-cover books because of their durability in the stacks. In some cases this is still true, but the lesser cost of softcovers and e-books has made these more attractive to libraries that want to offer the product, but are short of funds. Audiobooks are increasingly popular and downloadable audiobooks which do not require physical library space or checking in and out are attractive to institutions. With the advent of the Coronavirus, the ability to offer resources that do not require physical check-outs or check-ins appeal to both the library and its users.

5. Present the metadata about your book. This information is the summary of the book’s physical characteristics. For a guide, look at Amazon’s description of their books. This information will include the title, page length, type of book or product, ISBN, cost, publisher, source, and publication date. A book published in several formats will have ISBNs for each type of product.

6.  Write a one-sentence summary of the book.

7. Write a brief paragraph about the book. This should indicate the intended audience, and how the book would benefit them. The last is more significant in non-fiction books, but a good novel will be illustrating some point about the human condition that is explored by the author’s fictional characters.

8. Write a “About the Author” section. This is another paragraph that tells about the author’s previous experiences and why he, or she, is uniquely qualified to write this particular book.  This would also be the place to mention significant awards, university degrees, and other meaningful honors, although the “honor” might even be prison time, if this is a transformational autobiography.

9. Identify why your book is different from all others in the field, written from a unique point of view, or arranged in a particularly useful fashion.

10. Suggest on your Social Media sites such as blogs, YouTube videos, Tweets, Facebook Posts, etc. that your friends request your new book from their local libraries. In my campaign I have contacted 150 libraries in the U.S. and Canada. This is a minor fraction of the total number of libraries in the country. Having your friends request the book does not cost them anything and can vastly expand your appeal.  

Example

This is an e-mail sent to a university library.

Dear Mr. ———,

I am sure that you have often read many How-To business books.. I have written one that is not derived from others’ works, but is based on my experiences from holding not less than 17 different professional and work positions in my life. I would like for you to consider it for (name of institution)’s collections. Not only will you find it an enjoyable read and/or listen, but it is also full of practical information that any novice business person needs to know. It is not a big book. It is not an expensive book, but I think you will find it a potentially valuable book for (name of institution)’s students and faculty. 

This new business book will enhance your collection in that it is designed to contain in one volume materials that are often treated in entire shelfs of specialized business titles to give a useful one-book overlook of the innovative steps that I describe to conceive of, and start, a variety of businesses throughout one’s life as needs, circumstances, education, experiences, and health might dictate.

“Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age”

Wm. Hovey Smith

Stratton Press

October, 2020

154 pages

Softcover ISBN 978-1-64895-264-7 $7.99

E-Book ISBN 978-1-64895-265-4 $2.99

Audio Book

ListenUp Productions

Read by James Edward Thomas

January, 2021

7 hours

ISBN 978-0-916565-20-6 $14.99

“Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age,” provides a unique way for people of all ages to identify and select the best opportunities at the moment to raise immediate cash while simultaneously planning for longer-term-businesses that require university degrees or professional certifications. The book provokes the reader to list and select among opportunities that they develop based on their life experiences and interests and work towards launching business activities that can meet their immediate and future needs.. These potential opportunities are not limited to product-development, but also include ventures in the arts as well as in the more general area of selling knowledge. The book also contains practical chapters on naming a business, finding partners, getting financing, patents, trademarks, etc.   For those in college, the book advocates seeking those with like-minded interests and taking some business classes along with their professional studies. “Make Your Own Job” is available in softcover, as an e-book, as well as an audio book.   

I introduce a number of unusual business concepts in this book. Among these are, “There is nothing in human experience that cannot be turned into profit by an inventive mind.” Another is that one become accustomed to participating in a variety of business ventures throughout their lives and change them as might be dictated by sudden disability or other life happenings. Yet a third is that business can be thought of as large-scale multi-million dollar ventures, but equally important to seniors is developing a less demanding business that can keep them interested and active in their older years. 

I have attached a one-sheet about the book with links to my social media, order, and contact information as well as a manuscript copy of the text. 

Sincerely,

Wm. Hovey Smith 

About This Author

Wm. Hovey Smith is the author of more than 20 books and producer of more than 850 YouTube videos. He is a Professional Geologist in Georgia, a former U.S. Army Combat Engineer Officer, outdoorsman, small business owner, knife maker, and international speaker on environmental and business topics, having spoken at international forums in Austria and China. He has also served as an Information Scientists for a multi-national company specializing in industrial patents. His current project is a novel, screenplay and movie, “Father of the Grooms.”  For more information on the author’s activities go to www.hoveysmith.com.

New Business Book in December will be Available in Print, E-Book, and Audio Formats

Wm. Hovey Smith, the author of a new how-to business book that explains how to select and start new businesses that fit your unique experiences and needs.

 

Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age, will be published as a print and e-book in December 2020 by Stratton Press, and an audio version of the book done by Listen Up will appear at about the same time. (See audio sample below.) These books recommend starting your own businesses as and when you need money and shows how to start businesses with the best short, medium, and long term potential.

Differences between Make Your Own Job and the typical business book is that this book reads more like a novel and tells in detail how to select the most opportune business opportunity is for you at the moment, which business concepts will require training or potential partners to complete, and how to accomplish your long term social and financial goals which change through life. By participating in businesses starting with physical labor, store clerking and management, being a military engineer officer, doing exploration geology, and ultimately doing research for the R&D Department of a multi-national company as well as being active in various aspects of the arts, Wm. Hovey Smith, has experienced an unusually wide gambit of business opportunities. These experiences resulted in the conception that those living in today’s society need to develop their own businesses throughout life that are independent of their regular employment so that if their jobs are curtailed or eliminated they have a fallback business that they own to provide needed income.

Smith, while working as a professional geologist, also embarked in a career as an outdoor writer publishing hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles over the decades as well as over 20 books on a variety of topics. He is now working on a novel, screenplay, and movie project Father of The Grooms concurrently with investigating other ventures such as his own knife-making company Hovey’s Knives of China where he makes modern cooking cutlery based on ancient Chinese bronze knives.

Rather than being restricted to some one field or profession, he advocates selecting from a variety of potential activities to chose the most appropriate businesses to start depending on one’s experiences, age, training, and time of life. This book uniquely helps the reader explore and tells how to exploit different business opportunities throughout life and make a success out of them.

Widespread workplace displacements are happening due not only to changing market and work conditions, but also the havoc caused by the Corona Virus epidemic. This may be the ideal opportunity to start investigating the possibility of starting your own business as either a stop-gap measure to raise immediate cash or as a life-long measure of insuring potential future income by literally making your own job.

The author of a Make Your Own Job has developed a variety of business opportunities that can be emulated by others.

You may listen to James Edward Thomas read a portion of the book below:

Recreating a Sicilian Terror Weapon of 1000 BC

 

Charcoal making 2

 Making charcoal is the first step towards creating a new version of a historic Sicilian knife.

It is common for action movies to feature distinctive knives, such as in the Rambo series of movies. These are often reproduced and sold post-release along with other items related to the movie. As a person who is not only a writer, but also a knife maker with my own shop in Georgia, it was a natural combination of my skills to make a distinctive knife to use in the production. As it developed an ancient Sicilian culture, The Sicel made a combat knife that was so distinctive that it was described by later Greek and Roman writers in their histories of the island. One of my purposes in making a trip to Sicily was to look at such knives in museums. As it turned out, I could not find any on exhibit, and used a bit of conjecture and my knowledge of what it takes to make a strong, functional combat knife to design my own version of this historic blade.   

   Luigi, The Claw, one of the characters in the novel I am writing, Father of The Grooms, has been an active Mafia member since World War II. As a boy he participated in the resistance against the Germans and suffered the loss of his left hand because of a bomb explosion. In recognition of his service he was given work as a draftsman for American sponsored archaeological excavations that took place on the island as the war debris were being cleared from Sicily’s historic towns.

While employed he learned that some of the Late Bronze Age inhabitants of Sicily, The Sicel, made a dagger with what the later Greeks described as a “flame-shaped blade,” which fascinated him. Because each progressive civilization pillaged the tombs of each previous culture, metal objects from this period were, and are, very scarce.  I visited three of the most important museums on the island, and I never saw an example of this type of knife.

Nonetheless, Luigi imagined that he was a direct descendant of these early Sicilians who had fought against everyone else who had invaded/occupied the island including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Austrians, Spanish and in his own lifetime the Germans. In honor of this long history of resistance against exploitation of natural and human resources, he decided to have a knife maker build him a workable modern copy of this historic knife using modern steel.

Wavy bladed knives are typically thought of as being produced in Indonesia where the kris is a well-known pattern of knife and short sword. Although wavy-bladed knives are not unknown in Europe, they are much less common than knives and swords with straight or slightly curved blades. Today this shape is most commonly seen on bread knives which may have one wavy edge and a straight back.

The soils of Sicily have not been kind to bronze objects. Thinner items like cooking pots are often eaten partly through by the elements and corrosion of various sorts, including the so called “bronze disease.” This type of corrosion attacks statues and other objects, and museums must guard against it by making sure their objects are free from surface salts and kept in a humidity-controlled environment. The older the bronze is, the more delicate it becomes.

To have maximum psychological effect, Luigi wanted his knife to be wide at the hilt and then have its wavy blade undulate down to a point about 10-inches away. This would be a good compromise between portability and visibility to potential opponents. His blade was also to be sharpened on both edges so that it would rip and cut with either upward or downward strokes.

The practicalities of making cast bronze blades tough enough to use in combat dictated that they be thicker than correspondingly long steel blades, and they often employed a reinforcing spine that ran down the center of the knife. Such a feature is unnecessary on a steel blade, and it was omitted. The thinner point presented some problems from a design perspective as it might tend to either bend or snap off. This point would need to be protected from too radical a quench by applying a protective layer of mud or edge heating with a torch and then applying the quench.

In Venice there is a water-powered hammer that has been used since Medieval times for making blades and armor. Since I am writing fiction I might take literary license and relocate that forge to Syracuse for the purpose of making the knife. I do not know if that location has ever been featured in a movie, but it would be interesting to include it in a flashback.

In the meantime I had to decide what Luigi’s knife was to look like. I often make wooden models of new knives that I am going to build so that I can establish the blade’s shape, grip size and the general proportions. In this case I salvaged a plank from an oak pallet and drew out a preliminary design, which I cut out with a band saw and thinned on the heavy belt sander that I use for knife making.

I derived an appropriately shaped blade and had to give thought about how to shape the grip. Many primitive knives that have pommels shaped like horses’ heads or other animals. I also considered ending the grip with the head of a god. However, all of these shapes tend to prick the palm or back of the hand with some of the ornamental details unless the grip was very long indeed. These were interesting from a design and historic point of view, but not as functional as they might be.

In researching the Sicel, one of the few decorative elements that I saw came from the door of a tomb. This was a coiled spiral with a longer vertical element which was a stylized version of male sexual organs that were rendered in more recognizable form on another part of the door. This was obviously significant to a culture that also worshiped a mother goddess of fertility and rebirth, something like the later Demeter in Greco-Roman times.

Use of these design elements would allow me to have a cross-guard with rounded knobs on the blade to be mimicked by a smaller double-ended pommel. These elements would allow a firm grip to be sustained on the knife for either stabbing or thrusting with the pommel knob fitting on the crease of the palm and the fingers pushing firmly against the cross-guard when needed to penetrate something tough, like leather armor.

It often happens with new technology, like the transition from stone tools to bronze, that the objects being made are somewhat over designed compared to the simplified models that follow. Whereas such a knife would be made today with wooden grips that might have three pins, I am going to grind the tang full width with the olive-wood grips extending over the top of the blade and secured to it with additional pins and a central medallion of the Sicilian flag that was adopted in 2000. Whatever might happen to the knife that grip will not fail.

Similarly, first generations of objects are often designed to fit a single individual, and since Luigi is having a custom knife made, it will fit his hand, which coincidentally, happens to be the same size as my own.

On flesh the effect of such a knife is devastating. No matter whether it is thrust into a body with a downward, straight-in thrust or pulled upward it will continue to cut new flesh as it is extracted. The Greeks fighting the Sicel apparently thought these daggers to be terror weapons and beyond the use for those engaged in honorable “civilized” combat. Although they wrote about these knives, and feared them, they never adopted them.

This lesson was not lost on Luigi. By having such a wicked- looking knife made, its presence was often sufficient to bring compliance to whatever demands his Mafia bosses call on him to enforce. He did, on occasion, use the knife with deadly effect to execute those who betrayed what he considered to be Sicilian honor or who were a direct threat to him and his family during the Mafia Wars of the 1990s. During that bloody time 40 or more people died each day during the height of the conflict.

“How can we help it?” He says in the book. “We came from a bloody past. My life has been filled with fighting and bloodshed; to expect a different future is a worthy, but unrealistic, hope. Yes, my knife caused death; but in more cases it preserved life.”

I have now made charcoal for my forge, tested and rejected some old steel that I had, made a wooden copy of Luigi’s knife and will pick up supplies for it in the coming Blade Show in Atlanta. The steel model that I will make will use Damascus steel from Alabama Damascus. The contrasting pattern between the etched Damascus and the Burl grain of the olive wood along with brass pins will make a stunning knife.

I will likely make two versions. One edged on both sides for use in the Movie and the other edged on only one side so that it can be legally owned in more states. In either case these will be beautiful, exotic knives with a historic European connection. It’s fun for me to recreate something, the likes of which, has not been seen for 3,000 years. This is the approach that I used with my Hovey’s Knives of China line of cooking knives which are based on ancient Chinese patterns, but made of modern steels in the United States.

Sorry, no photos of Luigi’s Sicel flame-bladed knife design or prototype can be released at this time.

To find out more about the Father of The Grooms book, screenplay and movie project go to https://fatherofthegrooms.net. To find out more about Hovey’s Knives of China go to: www.hoveysknivesofchinablog.co.

 

 

Father of The Grooms: A Collaborative Book, Screenplay and Movie Project

 

F collegiata Catania

 

You can receive chapters of Father of the Grooms as it is written and a chance to collaborate in the four-year project of writing the screenplay and producing the movie. This is an opportunity for you to help make the next Godfather-type movie at all levels of participation. I will need help in writing an authentic book, and you can be a part of it by supplying your experiences, stories, and knowledge about the places and events that I describe.

The novel describes how a Louisiana father whose sons have yet to have grandchildren makes them agree to go to Sicily where they will meet their new brides. They will be hosted by their Mafia relatives and married off to two beautiful, and for their own reasons, willing ladies. The week before they leave, two major members of the Mafia family in Sicily are arrested. They are told to come anyway. The father his wife, the two sons, their sister and gay uncle make the trip and are shown the family’s vineyards, estates and the sights of their never-before-seen native land. Their activities are shadowed by the FBI and Italian authorities. They arrive on Monday, and the wedding is on Thursday. The brothers get cold feet and want out, and ask their uncle to help. He hatches a plot with the transplanted Irish priest who is to perform the ceremony to have the girls call off the wedding. The plot fails, and the wedding is still on. If they do not go through with it, none of them will leave Sicily alive. The day arrives, they are brought to the church, but in the final resolution of the novel they manage to escape in a manner that does not put them under a death threat.

This will be a panoramic novel that will mainly feature Sicily, but will have significant segments in Louisiana, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Rome and Iraq. I will be making a trip to Sicily in May to gather materials and shortly after will began the book. Participants will receive the first publication copies of the book when it is printed in addition to the chapters as they are written. Depending on your level of skill and interest, there may be opportunities to assist in the movie’s production or appear in the film.

Credits will be given in the book and movie for those who participated. Provided that the script is funded and produced, there may be a small cash payment to those who participate in the movie’s production.

Kickstarter and Go Fund Me appeals were launched on April 25. You may view the Kickstarter appeal which has an associated video on the project at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hoveysmith/father-of-the-grooms-the-novel-screenplay-and-movi?ref=created_projects. I will continually update both Kickstarter and Go Fund Me as work develops on the book, screenplay and movie. The Kickstarter project will last 60 days which will allow me to give sponsors a report on my trip to Sicily in mid-May.

Book Chapters of Father of the Groom and completed book when published.

Writing Father of the Groom will take place over the next year at the rate of approximately one chapter per month that will be sent to your e-mail address. The book, when published, will be mailed to your shipping address.

$20.00