Friday, November 24, 2006

Coast Trip Story

I heard a funny story. Second hand, of course.

Three guys went on a trip to the coast. On the way, one carried a giant cooler. When asked why the cooler, he replied “I’m bringing back some shrimp.” “How much?” they asked. “One hundred pounds.” was his answer.

They planned to kayak and camp for four days, but a cold front brought off shore winds that shortened their trip. Having an extra day in town, they arranged to stay overnight aboard a local friend’s boat. Moored at the city marina, the 40 foot sail boat was nice accommodations for the three.

On the way to pick up the shrimp, the other two were curious and asked questions about where the shrimp came from, how much they cost and such. “Well,” he said, “they still have their heads and they were $1.50 a pound.”

Great price, but they still have their heads? “Who’s going to de-head them?” one asked. “Oh, it won’t take long to pop their heads, it’s real easy” … Shades of Tom Sawyer, they had been had.

After hours of shrimp head popping, made even more fun by the biting of "no-see-ums", they returned to the sail boat. “Let’s make coffee in the morning.” said the shrimp buyer. They decided to get the coffee making setup that night so it would be easier in the morning. Although they had camp stoves, they noticed the boat had a galley and a stove.

The first tried the stove and said it didn’t look like it was used much and that there were problems lighting it. The shrimp buyer took a second look and caused some liquid to run from the burners, but couldn’t get it lit. They discovered it was an alcohol stove and that’s what had run out. They messed around and found the pressure tank, pumped and it and tried again. More liquid came out but would not burn. “Never mind.” said the shrimp buyer. “Let me try.” said the third.

Trying harder, more liquid came out, he tried to light it and finally it did. But not the burner, the stove! The liquid had pooled around the burners and had finally caught fire. The fire was catching and starting to flame up through the four burners of the stove top. They had caught the boat on fire!

The first guy, standing nearby, had picked up the fire extinguisher mounted above the stove. The fire flickered, almost going out but caught back up and promised to grow bigger. He gave a small squirt of the extinguisher, hoping to put the fire out without causing a big mess. But the fire roared back, encouraged by a blast of air and little actual extinguishing. The other two started scrambling for safety, the shrimp buyer being pushed up the ladder by the third.

Whoosh! He hit the fire with a full blast of the extinguisher. The interior of the boat suddenly turned into a white cloud, all vision obscured. Quickly the cloud thinned enough to see, the fire was out but a snowy landscape covered everything in sight. It was particularly thick in the galley of course, but the whole cabin was filled. Remembering to breath, their breath was caught by the thick powder that hung in the air. Scrambling up the ladder to the stern, they were relieved that they were safe and the fire was out. They sat there, under a starry night in the harbor, staring alternately at each other and the smoke filled cabin, in disbelief that they had nearly burned up a boat!

Fortunately, they had extinguished the fire before any damage was done. After a long night and next day of cleaning everything, no sign of the fire remained. Well, except for the empty fire extinguisher.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Domain Registration Now Available

WebforAuthors launched our new Domain Registration feature last week. While we have always had the ability to register your domain as a part of our website subscription plan, we now have the ability for you to register domains by themselves.

To register a domain or purchase additional domains, visit, click the Sign Up Now! button and select Domain Registration.

For a low cost you can now register your domain name using our system.

Our domain account management tools are under development. Until we launch these tools, please contact WebforAuthors Support for help and assistance in updating your domains.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Yosemite Writers Conference

I was fortunate to participate in a web marketing panel at the Yosemite Writers Conference on August 26. The 2006 Yosemite Writers Conference was held August 24-27, 2006 at Tenaya Lodge near the south entrance to Yosemite National Park. It was a great conference and rather than try to tell you about it, please read about it on the blogs of two terrific writers I met there. While I may call this a blog, it's more of a journal of things related to WebforAuthors or things I find interesting. However, these writers have real blogs!
Click on "pods and blogs" at the top and then look for links to Yosemite.

Read and enjoy, it was a great conference.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Elberton Star - Friday March 6, 1936

While looking through an old hometown newspaper I noticed this ad, which struck me as quaint and a bit creepy. Think about it, would you accept ambulance service from a funeral director? Just where do you think they want to take you? And it's a department store too? Sounds like the plot from a scary movie!

Actually this was not unusual. In 1936, and up until the 1960-70's, ambulance service was often offered by funeral homes. At least this was true in small town America....

Ad from March 6, 1936 newspaper:

Free Ambulance Service
Day or Night
Funeral Directors - Embalmers
Phones: Day 39; Night 133 and 198
Elberton Dept. Store
T M Maxwell, CP Furcon, JH Sayer

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Eating the Peachtree

July 4th was my fifth running of the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. The PRR is a 10k race billed as the world's largest with over 55,000 runners. The first thousand or so are elite runners who care about their time. The rest of us are there for the fun of it. Starting at Lenox Mall in Buckhead and ending in Piedmont Park in Midtown, the run goes straight down Peachtree Street until turning towards that park on 10th. The route is lined the entire way with cheering spectators, bands, musicians and more.

My niece Jamie and I run this every year (this was her sixth year) and after this race we were comparing what we noticed on the race course. There is a surprising amount of food offered the runners along the way so we have called this "Eating the Peachtree!" Here's what we found.

Peachtree Tavern offers free beer on their front porch. Who can pass this up at 8AM?

Publix in Buckhead offers up donuts every year, trays and trays offered up by bakers from the store.

Moe's in Buckhead, I swear they were handing out burrito's….

Smoothie - Jamie found someone with great smoothies.

Watermelon - I passed someone handing out slices of watermelon.

Powerade - The race provides water stops, unfortunately they are usually getting the water from fire hydrants. I found someone giving out cups of Powerade.

Ice cream - near Mile 5 I found a Cold Slab Creamery table with cups of ice cream.

And I know there was more, these are just the ones we noticed or stopped at. Next year we plan to run even slower and carry a camera to capture a better shot of “Eating the Peachtree.”

Pictures of the 2004 race can be seen at

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

History Lost and Found

Last year my hometown newspaper carried an article highlighting a local man whose hobby was uncovering old burial sites lost in the dusk of time. The article told the story of his “discovery” of William Ward and his wife and how he carried a new marker to the site as the words on the old stones were fading away. My mother was a Ward and we knew the family had been in the county for many generations. Plus her grandfather was named William – not the same William, but a descendant it turns out. He gave two ways to get there – one by land and another by water as the area had become adjacent to a Corps of Engineers lake built in the early 1980’s.

The location of the graves is about five miles from where I grew up, but we did not know of their existence or of this ancestor. The story of William included his service during the Revolutionary War and at Valley Forge and his subsequent move to Elbert County, Georgia where he became a farmer. He lived a long life of approximately 90 years before he died in 1850.

Last Saturday I carried four kayaks to Lake Russell and met my brother and his two daughters. We paddled the 3-4 miles up Coldwater Creek to the site. We found the two graves, plus old stone walls and other signs of a long habitation of the site, now long wooded and overlooking Lake Russell. The site is on Corps land, and was marked when they surveyed the lake in the 1980’s.

So here is history lost but found, an ancestor who fought to create a new country and set down roots in northeast Georgia nearly 200 years ago. It serves to remind me that history is all around us and that we only have to look to find great stories.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Article on Backspace - the writer's place

Backspace - the writer's place has just posted an article I wrote for them. Here is a link to "Ten Secrets to a Successful Website."

I hope you enjoy and find it useful!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Yosemite Writers Conference 2006 Invitation

I am pleased to announce that I have been invited to participate in the "Web
Marketing for Writers" panel at the Yosemite Writers Conference.

The 2006 Yosemite Writers Conference will be held August 25-27, 2006 at Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp, CA.

For more information, visit
Learn about the publishing world from the top editors and agents in the industry. Whether you're a beginner or a writer with a manuscript ready to sell, you'll get the help you need in an inspiring, writer-friendly environment."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Overheard at a drive through

Returning from a trip recently, I stopped by a fast food restaurant and waited as someone gave their order in the car ahead of me. Here’s what I overhead.

“Do you have regular chicken strips?”

“That’s one order of chicken strips, please drive ahead.”

“No, I didn’t order, I asked a question. Do you have chicken strips, just chicken strips, by themselves, nothing else?”

“Yes we do.”

“How much are they”

“They’re $1.79.”

“Does anything come with them?”

I was dumbstruck by the last question. The answer was no. After all, the driver had asked for just chicken strips, with nothing else. I will spare you from the rest of the conversation!

Monday, April 17, 2006

WebforAuthors Subscriber Newsletter - April 13, 2006

Hello Everyone!

Here is a brief newsletter from WebforAuthors.

New Designs:
Five new designs are available in your Account Manager. Two were added a month ago, three today. One more is on the way. Look for Designs 7-11 in Website Manager, Select Site Designs. These have a different 'separate home page' layout than our original designs and automatically include 'Upcoming Events' from your calendar. Select the design first and then go to the 'separate home page' setup page to see available options. Our system lets you change designs without redoing any of your work, so give them a try!

We have taken out our first print ads. Look for a small classified ad in the next issue of Writers Digest, The Writer and Poet & Writers. These will run till end of the year.

Special Offer:
Refer three new subscribers to WebforAuthors and we will extend your subscription for one year free of charge. Either they or you must email and tell us you referred them.

WebforAuthors is a sponsor for the San Francisco Writers Conference, the Whidbey Island Writers Conference and the Indianapolis Book Fest in the first half of 2006.

I was a speaker at the WriteStuff conference in Bloomington, IN and will present a marketing workshop at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in June. My presentations cover websites and how to use the internet to market and promote.

If you know of conferences we can sponsor or those who need a speaker please contact me.

New Features:
We will soon start work on new features for your site. The first will be a Guest Book which should be available by summer.

Thank you for your support of WebforAuthors. We are available to help and support you, so if you have questions, please contact us.

Best wishes,

E. Marshall Turner, Jr.
Turner Technology, Inc.
Creator of

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Ultimate Virtual Carwash

On the drive back to Indianapolis from the WriteStuff Writers Conference in Bloomington, IN, I passed a carwash whose sign advertised the "Ultimate Virtual Carwash." I wished I had a camera with me!

It looked like a new, automatic type carwash, and I did not stop to find out what was "virtual" about it.

But it made me wonder, "virtual" means simulated or an artificial attempt to make something seem like the real thing. So it seemed to say that you would experience getting a car wash without actually getting one! Think about it.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How to Make a Disastrous Booksigning Event a Success

I found a great article on how to make a booksigning event into a success. Find "How to Make a Disastrous Booksigning Event a Success" by J.A. Konrath on at this link:

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Shellman Bluff

On a recent trip to the Georgia coast I visited the old fishing village of Shellman Bluff. Overlooking the Broro and Julienton rivers on a high bluff, this village is composed of a few blocks of small homes on dirt roads. The “main” street is a dirt road along the bluff itself which offers one of the best coastal views in Georgia. But don’t worry, it’s all paved roads until you get there!


Nearby are a few new development offering home sites and golf courses, but the area is still at the end of the road, so it retains it’s original character.


More info can be found at


Shellman Bluff is located between Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia and is only a short drive from I-95.


If you are going near Shellman Bluff, be sure to stop by Speed’s Kitchen – where you will find some of the best seafood on the coast! The link above will tell you more about this place.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

WriteStuff Writers Conference - April 6, 2006

Here's a great one day conference coming up April 6 in Bloomington, IN. I attended two of these last year and can attest to the quality of the conference. Plus I will be a presenter this year, discussing websites and authors. Join us in Bloomington!


From the website:


The 2006 WriteStuff Conference schedule will launch in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University on April 6th in the Whittenberger Auditorium, 900 E. 7th Street, Bloomington, Indiana. Auditorium is located in the Indiana Memorial Union Building located within the heart of Indiana University's beautiful campus.

This one-day event will also feature authors from across the Midwest along with, editors, publishers and other celebrities from the entertainment and arts community. This fun, full day event starts at 8:30 a.m. with insightful interviews of special guests conducted in the "Writer's Studio" followed by an interactive audience question and answer period. Afternoon workshops are presented by successful professionals who will instruct and motivate you with an inside look at the real world of writing and publishing.

Seating will be limited to the first 350 registrants and we expect this conference to sell-out quickly. Call 1-800-352-6091 to register or request more information.

More at

Monday, March 13, 2006

Blogging neglect... and San Francisco Writers Conference

My poor neglected blog! It's been a while since I posted and I resolve to do better. At the San Francisco Writers Conference last month, one speaker said if you did not post to your blog every day, it wasn't a blog, it was a diary!

Well, I don't intend to post every day, but I have decided to broaden the subject matter I post here. More on this in later posts.

The SFWC ( was very well organized and presented a wealth of talented speakers. I was impressed with a few things I had not seen at other conferences.

One, each session had a volunteer who was a timekeeper. They would hold up signs showing the presenter that there was 15, 5, 2 minutes left. This kept every session on time!

Second, they recorded each session and had CD's for sale shortly after the session was over. Very fast turnaround! They offered individual session CD's as well as the whole conference as a package. Since they had many session running concurrently, this allowed you to attend one and then listen to another. Nice touch.

That's it for today, see you soon.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ready for a new notebook computer?

Lately I have been considering purchasing a new notebook computer. My old HP Omnibook 4150 is now a lowly Pentium II, and although I've upgraded memory, hard drive and added a wireless card, it's a bit slow compared to newer notebooks. Plus at about 6lbs and a 14" screen, I've wished for lighter and smaller for traveling (especially when flying). Not that I really want a smaller screen, but I'm willing to consider one to save weight and space.

I've watched the notebook market and I'm very curious about the new tablet notebooks (aka convertibles) since I'm not ready to take the leap to a true tablet (no keyboard - not that you can't get a docking station with a keyboard). I've played with the tablets at a few stores and they are generally priced just a bit more than a regular notebook of the same caliber. I think it would be really cool to surf the web at home, at the office or on the road with the smaller form factor when you rotate the keyboard out of the way and just use the screen. Plus I'm willing to give a try to writing directly on the screen when taking notes or brainstorming at meetings.

But there are compromises with all. The best notebook (PC Magazine Editor's Choice - at least for now) is the Lenovo ThinkPad X41 Tables (formerly the IBM ThinkPad). At about 4lbs and with a 12" screen, it's small, light and sturdy. Although not extremely fast (a trade off - longer battery life, lighter and cooler), it excels in the little things - excellent paper feel when writing on the screen, a latch to keep the keyboard folded, etc. One thing that you are giving up is an internal CD/DVD drive (and no diskette either, but that's getting to be the norm). Cost is approximately $2,000. Go to for more. Numerous other companies are offer convertibles too, including HP, Toshiba, etc.

Another notebook I'm considering (this one is not a tablet) is one of the Sony VAIO series - they have several different models. One has a 13.3" screen, built-in CD/DVD and weighs only 4.2lbs. So bigger screen, about the same weight as the X41, built in CD/DVD but not a tablet. It's also about $2,000. Now if this was a tablet, it would be great, but Sony does not currently offer a tablet. More at

If you are looking for a true tablet (aka slates), I've read great reviews about the Sahara. More info at

I know some of you will say that you can buy a notebook for less than $1,000 - and you are right. But, you do get what you pay for. The lighter and smaller, the higher the price. And considering my Omnibook has lasted a good five years, paying a bit more to get what fits you best is worth considering.

Another factor that simply confuses the issue is the Microsoft plans to release a new version of Windows towards the end of this year. Named Vista, it will replace Windows XP. But as I've advised many people, you buy what you need when you need it and not worry that it's obsolete tomorrow. Face it, anything you buy will be obsolete tomorrow. That really does not matter, unless you need something special and are willing to wait until the product or feature is offered. Most of us simply get to a point where we need a new computer - again, my point is you buy what you need when you need it (and can afford it, of course).

My HP Omnibook is still functional, and although very slow to boot up, once it's running it's fast enough when surfing the web and doing email, word processing, etc. It does drag butt when it comes to graphics - i.e. Using Dreamweaver, Fireworks or the Adobe Creative Suite. But I can usually avoid these when I'm traveling.

So I'm still undecided about when to buy. And I keep looking for hints about who might come out with something even better. Some days I'm ready to order the X41, but I haven't yet. Still thinking about it!