G'day guys,

Happy new year everyone. Today I feature a very sobering post to kick off the year ...

Ever thought much about prisoners on death row? Well, here are some facts about one particular prison in the USA - ANGOLA PRISON in Louisiana. At the bottom of this post is a link to a documentary on death row in this very prison. Brace yourself for some reality. 

Over the next two days I will present an interview I conducted with a prisoner on death row in this prison. The prisoner, 'GB', and I are in contact with each other on a regular basis. He is also a writer and has completed a fair amount of writing. Sadly, he has not written anything about his time on death row because it may influence his current appeal to the US Supreme Court. Don't miss the interview. 

Meanwhile, back to Angola Prison ...

Angola Prison is an American penitentiary located along the Mississippi River in eastern Louisiana. The prison’s location along the river has made it nearly impossible for prisoners to escape. This maximum-security prison is known for a history of harsh prisoner treatment followed by reform. 

Angola Prison has facilities like KLSP Radio and the Angola Museum that provide enrichment opportunities for prisoners. The prison has also hosted the all-inmate Angola Rodeo since 1965 with proceeds benefiting prisoner education programs.

Angola Prison is also known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which is operated by the Louisiana Department of Corrections. The facility is located in the West Feliciana Parish near the parish seat of Francisville. The prison is surrounded on three sides by the Mississippi River, which means that transportation to the main gate is nearly impossible. The Louisiana Department of Corrections operates a ferry service for guards and other personnel from an undisclosed location. Prison buses delivering new inmates and supplies use circuitous routes around the river.

 The history of Angola Prison goes back to the property’s origins as a plantation in the 1830s. The end of the American Civil War in 1865 saw the transformation of the plantation into a farm that used convict labor. The farm’s reputation for brutal treatment of sharecroppers and convicts carried over into the creation of Angola Prison in the late 19th century. The environment within Angola Prison was exposed to the rest of the world by prisoner William Sadler in 1940. Sadler’s "Hell on Angola" articles led to gradual reforms including the elimination of hard labor in the 1970s. 

The notoriety of Angola Prison has led to great public interest in the facility. The penitentiary holds the only Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadcasting license issued to a prison in the United States. Angola Prison’s KLSP Radio features programs by inmates and guards transmitted in areas surrounding the facility. The Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum Foundation hosts exhibits about the prison at the Angola Museum. The museum also features the Justice Hall of Fame to honor guards, judges, and police officers connected to the facility. 

Inmates from Angola Prison also take part in the annual Angola Rodeo. This event features several contests where prisoners test their riding skills on horses and bulls. The Angola Rodeo takes place in a 10,000-seat stadium on the 18,000-acre prison campus. This yearly event features concession stands run by inmates and guards with profits used for the Inmate Welfare Fund. These stands sell fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods using ingredients from the prison garden. 

Now check out the documentary below:

Clancy's comment: I would highly recommend the documentary above. It is very informative. I've watched it twice and one thought came to mind: what extraordinary spirit these guys must have to survive such a harsh life.

Stay tuned for my interview with 'GB' tomorrow, and the following day. The answers to my questions are frank and certainly not sugar-coated.

I'm ...

Think about this!

31 December 2013 - TWITTER TIPS


G'day folks,

As I write this, Twitter has gone public and raised an extraordinary figure. So, here are some tips for you, especially for authors marketing books, courtesy of Brian Feinblum.

Promoting Books with Twitter - For Authors & Publishers


Twitter presents a unique social media platform. It is known for providing the latest information - -to the second – with its short, instantaneous updates on breaking news in 140 or fewer characters.  For authors/publishers, Twitter is invaluable, and connects to everything that you are doing to promote and market your book.

Twitter is one of the fastest-growing sites. It allows for people to connect to each other 24/7, globally. To get started, you just need to sign up for an account.  . Simply sign up for an account registered under a name that includes your full name (primarily if you have multiple books) and/or your name and your book title (if you’re looking to solely promote one title). You can register for an account at http://www.twitter.com.

Next, you will want to create your user profile or bio. Be sure to throw in relevant keywords in the copy. Add a photo - -do not leave this blank.  Use a photo that is professional and shows your face, but not your full body.

Your first step will be to look and learn. Watch what others are saying and doing. Observe before diving in. Next, you should “follow” news outlets and publications that are in your genre or related to your subject matter. It is okay to follow hundreds or thousands of people. There is no limit.  People want to see that you are active. Next, consider following media outlets, publishers, authors, and those in your genre as well as the field or industry you write about.  Twitter is all about creating a network to follow who might follow or promote you in return. You can always drop some of the people that you are following if you feel it is not a beneficial relationship.

Here are some helpful pointers for you:


Your username, such as @theprexpert is the same as a “handle.”

The 140-character limit can be challenging. To shorten your post, consider this:

Use shorter words in place of longer ones:

i.e. -     brokered = sold

Manufactured = made

Exhilaration = joy

Use letters, instead of words:

i.e.-      you = u

see = c

Use abbreviations, no periods afterward:

i.e.-      Yesterday = yest

Sunday = Sun

Use numbers numerically, not spelled out:

i.e. -     Four = 4

Twelve = 12

Use netspeak instead of words:

i.e.- lauging my ass off= LMAO

Don’t always punctuate:

i.e-       The Red Sox won, 6-2, yesterday.  = Bosox won 6-2 yest

Write like a newspaper headline and skip words:

i.e. -     Justice Department Rules in Favor of Amazon Over Publishers

= Justice Dept. Favors Amazon

= Amazon Beats Publishers

= Gov’t Rules 4 Amazon Over Pubs

Get rid of words like the:

i.e. -     The door closed on my bag,  = Door closed on my bag

Substitute words with symbols:

i.e. -     and = &

Number = #

Star =  *

Use phonetics or misspellings:

i.e. -     dumb = dum

Great = gr8

Delayed = dlaid

Shorten links that you tweet:

Promote your Twitter name on everything:

·         In your e-mail signature

·         On your website

·         On press releases

·         On your business card

·         Tell your friends, family, and network of acquaintances

·         On other social media sites, such as Facebook

·         In your blog posts

·         In your bio and social media profiles

You can add a Twitter button to your sites by going to: http://twitter,cin/about/resources.tweetbutton


Four to eight tweets a day could do just fine- Never send out tweets too close to each other- maybe leave an hour in between tweets.


Put your photos here and write a 160-character bio that best represents you in the way you want to be seen. If you’re on Twitter to promote a business book, don’t waste characters discussing dogs, kids, baseball, movies, etc. You must use keywords that draw attention, such as business, wealth, industry, finance, - or other buzz words that are associated with your area of expertise.


Twitter tracks words, topics, and phrases that are being used in a high volume at any given time. They are constantly updated. Trends follow hashtags, such as #Hollywood and un-tagged phrases, such as Hollywood. Trends can be seen on Twitter by location, topic, and other modes of selection. It’s good to get a sense of what’s being discussed and maybe finding a way to tie your message to the trending topics.

Direct Message

Most tweets are public but you can send a private message- a DM – to people who follow you, one by one.


·         Be tasteful and try not to self-promote incessantly.

·         Engage others with a dialogue and interact with them.

·         Respond to questions and direct messages that are sent to you.

·         Don’t use Twitter to state unsubstantiated allegations, spread rumors, curse at someone, or spread lies.

Mention Twitter Handles

Just as you use hashtags in hope of getting those who care about that subject to discover you, mention a twitter handle or two in a post. For instance, maybe you talk about something you say on TV and then end with @CNN.

Track Conversations

Too see what’s happening, go to http://search.twitter.com and search for certain topics, people, events, or words.

Enhance Your Tweets

Tweet photos, videos, and news with sites like yfrog.com and twitpic.com

Follow People

You can follow an unlimited number of people. It’s the easiest way to get others to follow you. Look for people who follow people you’d like following you. For instance, go see who follows Entertainment Weekly if your book has to do with entertainment, celebrities, and Hollywood.

Tweet With a Focus

You shouldn’t tweet about personal and professional matters. Choose one area. If need be, have two-twitter handles- one discusses what you just ate and the other to discuss your book, your industry, and more important matters. Be relevant and consistent in your voice and approach. Just as a job resume wouldn’t list the women you date, the TV shows you watch, or where you just vacationed, don’t make that stuff in with tweets about things that matter to your professional field.

Check out Brian's website:

Clancy's comment: Thanks, Brian. Another fine piece you've written. 

I'm still coming to grips with Twitter, Facebook etc. Why, because it seems to take me away from what I love. However, progress, eh?

I'm ...

Think about this!