Say No to Firestone, Yes to Your Local Automotive Shop

At the end of April, I took my vehicle to Firestone. It is now the end of May and I have been thinking about writing this post since my experience. I want to warn people, but also give a recommendation.

The trip to Firestone at the end of April wasn’t my first. It was my third visit this year. After paying a total of $1514.68 between two visits in March, I wasn’t happy when they quoted me $1360.92 this time. This started me wishing I had never gone back to them after 15 years. The reason I had was because it was convenient and I’d been approved for their credit card in April.

This return in April came about because they didn’t successfully do an alignment on a previous visit, and it was affecting my tires. Along fixing their botched alignment job, they recommended work on my braking system. They said my right rear caliper was frozen. They also wanted to flush my brake system. The last thing they recommended was removing and replacing my front left wheel bearing. I mention the wheel bearing last because this will feature into this story a little bit later.

I was pissed, so I told them to complete the alignment and replace the tire that had been damaged by the alignment issue, both at no cost to me. I had decided to take my vehicle to Manchester Transmissions Inc. in Manchester, CT. My wife’s vehicle was serviced there recently on a recommendation from her father.

I was nervous taking it there since I was planning on giving them the printout I had from Firestone detailing what needed to be performed on the car. I was afraid they could take that information and tell me Firestone was correct, but they could do it at a cheaper price. I was giving them a lot of power with this information.

Manchester Transmissions came back to me in a day and said there wasn’t anything wrong enough that needed to be taken care of. One of the wheels does stop rotating before the other one in the rear, but they wouldn’t describe it as being frozen.

I mentioned earlier I would come back around to the wheel bearing. The left front wheel bearing Firestone wanted to replace was fine. The right front bearing that Firestone did replace in March was making a little noise. The technicians in Manchester took a stethoscope to both bearings.

A potential bill went from $1473.93 to $0. I was very happy about this. In the future if I need my vehicle worked on, I will be calling Manchester Transmissions and if it’s a job they don’t do, I will find another local place before ever going back to Firestone.

My suggestion to anyone is to find a local shop to have your vehicle looked at. Most of the time it will be cheaper than a “big name” service station, and there is a good chance they will be honest. If you live near Manchester Transmissions, I recommend checking them out for your vehicle issues. The only time to use Firestone is for an oil change or tires, but if they tell you they your vehicle needs something else, get a second opinion. This second opinion will make your wallet happy. —Jason Harris

S & L Editing, Two Editors for the Price of One

You may have seen the terms “content editor,” “copyeditor,” and “line editor” out there when looking for someone to polish your manuscript. In today’s day and age, your editor must be capable of doing all three: pointing out plot holes, inconsistent character voices, and continuity errors, and suggesting fixes; smoothing out language, ensuring subject and verb agreement, verb tense consistency, and recommending opportunities to clarify and restructure; and proofreading duties, including fixing typos, grammar, and punctuation, researching historical data (i.e., ensuring the museum Character A visits in Boston really is in Boston, and is spelled correctly), and fixing formatting and typography errors. Paying a content specialist to do one job, then paying a proofreader to do a second, can get costly and confusing. S & L Editing offers the solution to this problem.

Stacey Longo and Rob Smales work as a team, thoroughly vetting your manuscript, providing content, copy, and formatting suggestions. They offer two services: full editing, for writers who need a more comprehensive review their manuscript, and proofreading only, for those who are comfortable with the content of their work, and just need help with grammar, typography, formatting, and spelling. (Rates for these services can be found at http://balzertown.com/slediting/rates/.)

“We’re offering two experienced professionals for the price of one,” Longo said.

They do provide free, no-obligation quotes on any project. S & L Editing’s services are available for any writing project.

“We’ve revised novels, term papers, resumes, PowerPoint presentations, short stories, advertising campaigns . . . you name it, we’ve done it,” Longo said.

They’ve worked with and for publishers large and small, Fortune 500 companies, individual authors, and students. Their past client list includes Pearson Education, MetLife, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Wargoat Press, and many self-published authors, and they serve as the exclusive editors for Books & Boos Press and The Storyside Press.

“Given the diversity of our clients, we’re well-versed in several different style guides, including The Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Stylebook, APA, and MLA formatting. We can also advise you on which style guide is best suited for your project,” Longo said.

What to Expect

Once you’ve reached out to S & L Editing, they’ll provide you with a quote for the full project and an estimate of when it will be completed. (“We have a 100% success rate on meeting that target date,” Longo adds.) Either Longo or Smales will take the lead on the project, running through the first edits, with the other following up behind them, reviewing the revised copy and providing a second set of eyes.

“If questions arise as we’re going over the material, we’ll e-mail you,” Smales said. “And if you have questions about our progress, we’re happy to keep you updated.”

When the job is complete, the client receives two files: one showing the tracked changes of every single suggestion and comment made, and one with the proofreading changes accepted to provide a clean manuscript, but with the comments on content still intact.

“We’re also available for follow-up questions after you’ve reviewed the material,” Smales said.

Whether you have a novel, college admissions essay, work presentation, or poetry collection, S & L Editing will polish your manuscript and help you submit the best work possible. Don’t put off this vital step any longer: contact S & L Editing at www.slediting.com today for more information!

A New Venture

 

I’m writing this post today to let you know about a new venture, Mobile Addict, I have started. I was inspired by a site that disappeared a number of years ago. It was a site that posted people’s experiences with their mobile devices and how they were using them. People also wrote in about apps they were using and other mobile related topics. I learned about a lot of apps that way. I even participated by sending in my own experiences.

I would love to continue in that website’s vein with Mobile Addict so if you love mobile technology as much as I please send me your thoughts and comments on your phones and how you are using them. I welcome thoughts on any and every OS. If you are using an amazing app please share your thoughts on them. Everything will be shared on this site. Please email me at jhpromoservices@gmail.com.

Interesting Magnets and Coffins at a Craft Fair

 

By Jason Harris

 

I have been to many craft fairs as a patron and as a vendor. I use to set-up events at craft fairs and open air markets for the New England Horror Writers (NEHW) organization. These events were very successful for the NEHW so I have continued setting-up events like these for my bookstore, Books & Boos, which I co-own with my wife. Along with these shows, I also set-up events such as conventions and comic book shows for the bookstore. You can find out about these Books & Boos’ events here.

At the 41st Annual Craft Fair held at the Keefe Technical School in Framingham, MA. yesterday, there were the usual jewelry sellers, dog stuff, and handmade wooden bird houses. There was one unusual seller at this craft fair. The vendor was Frankenstein Medical School, which is owned and operated by Jerry Stiles. He sells finger hooks, coffin-shaped keepsake boxes, and interesting magnets.

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Jerry Stiles

Coffin Shaped Keepsake box.

Coffin-Shaped Keepsake Box

Magnets

Magnets

One of Stile's magnets.

One of Stiles’ magnets.

Finger hooks.

Finger hooks.

 

Stiles has a site on Esty, you can check it out here.

 

January Sale at Books and Boos

 

Books & Boos, an independent bookstore in Colchester, CT. is having a sale, which started this past Tuesday and runs through the end of the month. You buy three used books and get the fourth one free (of equal or lesser value). They offer used books of all genres.

The bookstore also sells new books by local, Connecticut, and New England authors including Dale T. Phillips, Stacey Longo, Dan Waters, Jan Kozlowski, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover to name only a few. They carry over 50 plus authors on consignment.

The bookstore also sells Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games bookmarks made by a local company, zombie Poe t-shirts, and other interesting items.

Game of Thrones booksmarks.

Game of Thrones booksmarks.

Hunger Games bookmarks.

Hunger Games bookmarks.

Books and Boos' Zombie Poe t-shirt.

Books and Boos’ Zombie Poe t-shirt.

You can find everything mentioned here in the physical store, but some of the items are available through the bookstore’s website. If you are looking for a particular book, they can work with you through Paypal or put it on the website for you. Just give them a call at (860) 861-6214.

Books & Boos also has an Amazon storefront.

You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Authors and Design Converge at FindTheAxis.com

Stanley Tremblay owns a business, FindTheAxis.com, for authors who need a cover for their print book. All designs range from $300 to $800 or more, depending on what a writer needs. Tremblay has done book covers that wrap from the front to the back. He has also done a continuous image where he has melded multiple images together to create something that goes completely around the book.

If you don’t want to have a print book made, but an e-book instead, he can help you with that as well. Past and present clients include Steve Alten, NY Times bestselling author of the MEG series, Jeremy Robinson, bestselling author of SecondWorld and Island 731, and Steven Savile, international bestselling author of Silver.

Not only does he do covers for print books and e-books, he can also help authors build their websites. He partnered with Mindstir Media and The Novel Blog. He had a hand with building the website for Variance Publishing, Rick Chesler and Rick Jones. Other sites can be found at FindTheAxis.com.

Find the Axis is a full-service graphic design company geared toward book creation and layout. From book covers to e-book and print layout, to HTML websites, logos, business cards, bookmarks and more, Find the Axis works hard to bring top quality work and rapid response to every client, regardless of size.

Tremblay has helped authors and publishing houses in the past. Check out his website, FindTheAxis.com, and contact him to see how he can help you. Keep up with his latest designs on Facebook.

Attention Authors!

Do you have past titles that are sitting around, collecting dust, waiting for you to do something with the rights? DAPT’D may be the solution you’re looking for!

DAPT’D takes your past works of which the rights have reverted back to you and releases them in e-book form. They offer:
-promotion of your back titles
-book trailers
-special editions of your novel with bonus features
… and more!
To learn more about DAPT’D, visit their page at http://daptd.com/home/2013/04/08/joinus/ and get your old titles working again for you!