Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “espresso”

Coffee – I Couldn’t Resist

I couldn’t resist. I went into Dictionary.com to check a spelling and this was on the banner (who said people don’t read those banner ads).

ARE LATTES ESPRESSO OR CAPPUCCINO? 

This is my kind of question, especially on a chilly San Francisco morning as I sit hugging my espresso drink, or it a cappuccino? And definitely as I sit in this charming little coffee shop near the Embarcadero trying desperately hard not to listen to two young ladies who are analyzing whether one was right to tell her relatively new boyfriend that he couldn’t drop by to just talk as she was in bed.

So you see there was no way this had any chance of being a serious post. Oh, and for those of you who are not clear on their caffaine-related definitions:

1. cafe au lait

(n.) hot coffee served with an equal amount of hot or scalded milk.

2. cafe brulot

(n.) black coffee flavored with sugar, lemon and orange rinds, cloves, cinnamon, and brandy, ignited and allowed to flame briefly.

3. cafe con leche

(n.) strong, black coffee mixed with hot milk.

4. cafe creme

(n.) coffee with cream.

5. cafe filtre

(n.) coffee made by pouring hot water through ground coffee placed in a filtering device.

6. cafe noir

(n.) black coffee.

7. caffe latte

(n.) hot espresso with steamed milk, usually topped with foamed milk.

8. cappuccino

(n.) a hot beverage consisting of espresso coffee and steamed milk, often served with powdered cinnamon and topped with whipped cream.

9. espresso

(n.,) a strong coffee prepared by forcing live steam under pressure, or boiling water, through ground dark-roast coffee beans.

10. irish coffee

(n.) a mixture of hot coffee and Irish whiskey, sweetened and topped with whipped cream.
11. latte
(n.) hot espresso with steamed milk, usually topped with foamed milk.

12. mocha

(n.) a flavoring obtained from a coffee infusion or a combined infusion of chocolate and coffee.

13. turkish coffee

(n.) a strong, usually sweetened coffee, made by boiling the pulverized coffee beans.
Now excuse me. I need to order my cup of green tea.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

A Series of Books, A Line of Products

In the past few months, the writing world has been keenly watching the process of J. A Konrath and Amanda Hocking, two authors who are making a lot of money selling their e-books and harnessing the power of social media.

Amanda Hocking

Joe Konrath often sells his e-books for $1.99, a price that has been met with considerable disdain by writers who sweat years over their masterpiece and can’t imagine selling it for the price of a cup of drip coffee (not even an espresso drink).

Konrath, however, sees this as a business and his books essentially as a line of products. After someone buys one book and enjoys it, they will go back to the Kindle store and buy several in one go. They know they enjoy Konrath’s style and stories, so for $15-$20 why not get the set and know you will always have something accessible to read for the next few months?

Joe Konrath

What is interesting here is the difficulty of authors to view their books as products. Both authors attribute their success, in part, to having several books to sell. After all, it is easier to sell a second and third book to someone who has read and enjoyed one of your books, than to sell them the first one. Moreover, it is the need to look at our writing as a business. Both Konrath and Hocking are very clear: they work very hard at not only writing, but building their online platforms.

There will always be A-list authors, some of whom become richer than the Queen (I still have a problem with that one – it somehow seems unpatriotic, Ms. Rowling), but the new generation of successful ‘everyone-else’ will consist of those who see this as a business.

Last month, I heard an author tell a group that she is a full-time author. She paid tribute to her partner who has a job that can allow her to stay home and she then admitted that most of that time is spent raising two young children and that she doesn’t have a writing routine.

I’m not sure I would include her in the category of full-time writer. Her position is similar to mine, struggling to carve out time between a full-time job, family, and everything else life throws at us. For writers like us, there is always going to be a struggle to be marketing one book (or ourselves), editing a manuscript, and writing the next book (the law of thirds).

And this is what will separate us from the likes of Konrath and Hockings. Good luck to us all, and may The Readers have mercy on our souls!
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

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