Sunday, August 31, 2014


Kindle Unlimited Sucks! Yes Kindle Unlimited Sucks, plain and simple, and there is now question about this .. At first I just thought it Sucks from an authors standpoint. A authors whose books wear selling pretty well in 20014 ...  Selling well until Amazon had the bright idea of this thing called Kindle Unlimited, a sort of Netflix for Books .. Well Kindle Books anyway. Kindle Unlimited is a monthly subscription service, whereby a subscriber can get unlimited downloads of Kindle Books on Amazon, 10 books at a time for the cost of $9.99 a month ... If you're an avid reader, this might sound good to you, good if you can get  and read numerous books a month for $9.99  ... Yes, good if you can get books, or more like, good if there was a good selection of books for you to get (Download) and read ... But guess what my friends? The selection of books Sucks "Big Time." There practically is none. The selection is "Pitiful" scandalous actually. Anyone who has signed up for the free month of Kindle Unlimited no-doubt already knows this. I don't know what the figures are, but I'd wager to say that percentage wise the number of books available on Kindle Unlimited against the Total Number of Books sold on Amazon is far less than 1 % .. That's dismal, to say the least .. Think I'll see if I can find out the figure somewhere, and if one of you dear readers happens to know, please let me know by leaving a comment in the comment box. Thanks for that!

Anyway, I first starting hating Kindle Unlimited in the beginning of the month (August 2014). Anyway last Christmas Season my book sales spike to pretty good numbers for the first time. Nice! Yes it was. The first 4 months of 2014 sales were so-so ... Then all of a sudden in May 2014, sales of my book Sunday Sauce started spiking  in a big way. They went from about 20 a month to more than 600 ... I was loving it .. In June and July I was selling close to 850 units a month with about 50 borrows from Klindle Prime subscribers that are worth 2 Bucks a Pop .. Sweet! Then came the dreaded month of August 2014 ... Dreaded for me anyway .. All of a sudden, my sales dipped overnight, and "Drastically" !!! My sales went from around 33 a day, down to a meager 3 !  "What The Fu_k ???" I didn't know what hit me. Seriously, I didn't .. I didn't ever know what the Hell Kindle Unlimited was ... I soon found out .. I went on the Forum for Kindle Select Authors and soon found out. A number of authors had seen sales drop dramatically as soon as Kindle Unlimited came on line. They were in the same boat as me .. Others were not. They were the fortunate ones, their sales had soared. Soared upwards that is .. Well goody for them, but not me and others. Some authors said their sales went down but their "Borrows" were up dramatically. Up enough for them to be happy .. But how bout us other guys? Guys (and Girls) whose sales not only went down, but went down drastically, and overnight? And all because of Kindle Unlimited .. I posted on the KDP Forum, "I Think I Hate Kindle Select." I wasn't really sure cause as a number of authors stated and suggested for everyone (authors) to wait and see when the dust settles.
OK, so I would. I didn't have a choice ... I was reading some articles and forums about this whole KU thing and how it was affecting authors, either badly, like me, and for some, it was good.  Amongst all the talk, some were thinking that if your book was priced at a higher price-point it might tend to attract KU Subscribers to download it more than over titles that were cheaper, like mine at just .99 Cents ... The subscribers would feel like they were getting a better deal by getting more expensive books free as opposed to getting a cheaper book free. Makes sense to me!
So I started experimenting. I had to get my sales up after the KU bashing. So I raised the Price to $9.99 hoping to attract more KU Subscribers to download my now more expensive book. Nothing !!! I tried putting it to $5.99, Nothing! So I put it back to .99 Cents and figured I'd wait out the storm ... 
Well it's August 31 and the first dreadful month of Kindle Unlimited is over .. But Kindle Unlimited is till there, and new subscriber will be going for the Free Month of KU  .. Hey, I did myself. Mainly as an author who saw his Kindle Sales Aniolated as a result of Kindle unlimited, I wanted to get it to see how it all worked and what was available. Boy i'm glad I did. I signed up for my Free Month of Kindle Unlimited, went on and started looking for books. Guess what? Well I think you already know? There's hardly anything there. I couldn't find any books I wanted to read. Well a couple. But I don't think I'll even find ten. Why? You know. The selections Sucks. There's hardly anything there. The selection is quite pitiful and I'd have to think the majority would agree, especially those who might read 6 or more books a month and thought KU might be a great deal. Not !!!!!
 So, I'd have to say, it looks highly likely, that eventually this thing called Kindle Unlimited will one day in the near future go the way of the Dodo Bird, and off into extinction .. Time will tell. What do you think?


Thursday, August 28, 2014


Chet Baker

Came up with a new one the other night. It was at one of our dinners that we have a coupel time a month, when we cook, drink wine, and listen to some great music on Vinyl .. Vinyle Records that is, and some great music, not like any of the crap they make today, but great artist of the 20th Century like; Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Albert King, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and greats like Chet Baker. What's that? You never heard of Chet Baker? You're forgiven, many have not.
Chet Baker was one of the 20th Cenury's greatest and most unique Jazz Artist. He played Trumpet and had a positively unique singing style that was Super Cool and all his own. Baker played with Jazz Greats Charlie Parker and Jerry Mulligan before forming his own band and going out on his own in 1953, when he recorded and released Chet baker Sings ...
Chet Bakers most famous recordings are; My Funny Valentine and Let's Get Lost ...

OK, back to the Chciken & Chet Dinner ...  So my friends and I were having one of our little dinner parties at Chris's place on Thompson Street (Greenwich Village) .. As we usually do, we decide what we are gonign to eat, we buy the food, get some wine and cook dinner. As always the elements of our little dinner parties are; the food, some very good wine, and lots of great music, some on vinyl, some on CDs ... No matter what we make, we usually always have some nice cheese to start the meal, we decide on some music, and crack open our first bottle of wine. This night, Chris had already decided on chicken, which we all agreed would be great. He made some buttered carrots and Couscous to accompany the Chicken. Chris picked up a nice bottle of Au Bon Climant Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara that was quite nice, and I brought a bottle of Fausto Maculans Brentino ...

Chris was cooking the chicken, and we were listening to Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, and Pete Towsend's Raibow Concert LP .. A great album that's a bit obscure, but can you imagine, Clapton, Pete twonsend and Ron Wood all playing together? Friggin amazing. I myself had never heard of this concert and live recording album until Chris turned me on to it. It's awesome. Chris had some Zeppelin playing when we sat down to dinner, and I told him we had to tone the music down while eating. Like most civilized people I can't listen to loud music when eating so I requested a slow down. Chris asked what I wanted? He had been playing some Chet Baker when I arrived at his apartment, so I said I could go for some more Chet. He obliged.
The chicken was quite tasty, the wine was flowing and Chet Baker sounded just fine. 
The next day I sent Chris a Text thanking him for the Chicken & Chet, and so it's been coined. Everytime we have a Chicken Dinner now, we must also have some Chet, Chicken & Chet, it's our latest thing .. A dinner theme to add to our already famous Chianti Rolling Stones & Newport Steaks (dinner), as well Pork Chops Vino & Soul ... 
Oh and by the way, dessert is always Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and all is well with; Chianti Steak or Chicken, The Rollign Stones and Rock N Roll, R&B, Chet Baker and Peanut Butter Cups .. What more could one ever ask for?

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke


Monday, August 25, 2014

Forced To Starbucks

Monday, June 25, 2014

Forced to Starbucks! Yes, I've been forced to Starbucks against my will .. I didn't want to, but I've been forced into it. Forced against my free will .. Well .  I'm here at Starbucks on Bleecker Street, corner of Morton in Greenwich Village .. My favorite cafe, the beloved Once Upon a Tart closed Saturday. They had a party for the staff and favorite customers yesterday, which I went to, but today? No more Tart. If you read any of my post the past two days, I've already said a bit about the Tart .. Just here today letting the world know, I've been forced to do Starbucks .. Well yes, there are other choices, and I did one this morning by going to an old favorite, Caffe Dante on Macdougald Street, but you see I have two coffees a day. That's 2 trips to cafes practically everyday. A coffee (Cafe Latte) cost me a whopping $5 at Caffe Dante, so I can't afford to go there twice a day as I did at Once Upon a Tart for years. I'd spend about $6 a day at The Tart. At Dante, those same 2 coffees would cost me $10 mutliplied by about 350 times, is $3,500, quite  a lot of money for coffee (that's 1 year). Those same coffees cost me about $2,100 a year, for a savings of $1,400 a year. That adds up. I love Caffe Dante and have about 4 coffees (Cappuccino or Cafe Latte) times a week, but 14 times? No can do.
So, as I said, I went to Caffe Dante, did my writing and such, and that Cafe Latte cost me $3.75 plus $1.25 tip for a total of $5 .. It's waitress service, so you have to leave at least a dollar tip. Anyway, I had my morning coffee as I always do (and write for 2 hours), then I go home for an hour, make a little lunch, and then go for my second cafe trip of the day, a coffee and an hour at the Tart before I head up to work at 4PM .. Kanai at The Tart used to call my 2nd appearance at The Tart in a day, "My 2nd Shift," and so I do everyday. Now I already spent $5 for my first coffee of the day. Now I'm having my second. I'm not going back to Dante for another $5 coffee, and The Tart is closed (so Sadly), so here I am at Starbucks for a coffee and Wifi for just Two Bucks ... Well, I guess there are worst things in life. I know millions of people really love Starbucks. Me, I'm not a big fan. I had The Tart and Caffe Dante, I love nice little independent cafes, not Giant Corporate Conglomerate owned ones, but to each hsi own. 
Anyway, that's it for now, "Adios Amigos!"


Macdougald Street, Greenwich Village New York

photo by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sad Goodbyes at The TART


Soho / Greenwich Village,  New York

It was sad goodbyes at The Tart today. That's Once Upon a Tart in Soho (Greenwich Village) for those of you who may not know. After 23 years on Sullivan Street in what is technically known as Soho, but truly for those of us who really know, this charming little block of Sullivan Street between W. Houston & Prince Street will never be Soho, but The Village ...
Anyway this is where Jerome Audureau opened a lovely little bakery / cafe some 23 years ago .. This was even before Starbucks was even a twinkle in its evil fathers eye, there were none. Well not in New York anyway. Back then, the only cafes for that matter were a few Italian Caffes in The Village (Dante, Reggio, & Borgia), a few in Little Italy, a couple in the East Village, one or two on the whole Upper East Side, and not a one cafe in the whole Upper West Side of 
New York.
Jerome and his partner opened this wonderful little bakery Once Upon a Tart which over time became a second home to neighborhood people like me and others who could go for a nice morning cup of coffee, and a muffin or scone for breakfast, or at lunch for a sandwich, salad, soup, or one of the signature Sweet or Savory Tarts as the name implies. Yes the Tart was a wonderful haven for people like me and others in the neighborhood as well as a great little pit-stop for countless tourist roaming the streets of Soho in search of a quaint little cafe to sit and rest, have a coffee, Tart or little bite to eat. 
I loved the Tart. It may sound cliche, but it isn't when I say it was a second home and like family to me .. I'd go each and every morning for my morning coffee and a sweet hello and morning greeting from; Cleo, Anna, Kanae, Samena, and Emmit and a score of girls who worked there over the 23 years that I went there. That's all I needed, my coffee, a greeting from Cleo and a seat at The Tart and I was as happy as can be. I was content with these simple little pleasures of life.
But now they have been taken away, and it truly saddens me. I actually broke down as I got all choked up and started shedding tears as I said goodbye to the girls, saying I'll see you around as that's the thing to say, but knowing full well that was the last time I met ever see their sweet faces again. Yes I cried, I get emotional that way. And then I composed myself, we talked a couple minutes more, I said goodbye again and then I left. I walked out of the door where Jerome was. I gave Jerome a hug to and thanked him for the 23 years he opened his doors to us and brought joy and naturalness in a business to our little neighborhood.
I said goodbyes and walked away, and as I walked up Sullivan Street I had such an awful feeling, the kind you get when you breakup with a great love of your life. A deeply sad, sick to your stomach, the kind I felt when the-love of-my life Iris split up with me, or the day my father died. I felt a great loss. This is how I feel today, I lost something great in my life, something I cherished and may never have or see again. It may sound sappy, I'm sorry but it's true. Goodbye my dear and sweet friends; The Tart itself, Jerome, and especially, Cleo, Anna, Kanea , and Samena. Thank you girls. Thank you and goodbye.

My Sweet Friend Cleo

Me Jerome Chris & John

Once Upon a Tart August 24, 2104


August 24, 2014

Jerome Made Us Gigot

Roast Leg of Lamb

"It Was Yummy of Course"


Just a Few of Jeromes 
Many Wonderful Decorative Objects
Over The Years

Not Potheads !!!