To self-publish or not to self-publish…

…that is the question…

My answer on behalf of my latest effort is: self-publish! There are several reasons I decided to take this route.

First, and foremost is because my book is a novella, just over 33,000 words and 148 pages in length. From my understanding, novellas are not that easy to get accepted by publishers regardless of the quality of the work and since I have never written a work of this length before, I am sailing in uncharted territory. This book is actually comprised of three long stories I have written with all the same thread in them: time travel and what happens when humans muck up time. So, I thought I’d combine them to see what the end result was and from the reaction to snippets I posted on the Facebook page I created for this work, I did well.

Second, I wanted to get it out there to the public as soon as possible. I could spend years sending this work to publishers while collecting rejection notices and I really have no interest in doing that.

Third, I have a lot of confidence in the book. It has everything, science-fiction, historical-fiction (twisted somewhat by time travelers), time-travel, and romance. The first and third sections of the book are both hard-edged sci-fi, but the second is really a heartbreaking romance set in hard-edged sci-fi for time has no interest in mere human emotions, time goes on.

You can visit the website I created for the book to get more information about it and get information about where to buy the book. It is now available in electronic and paperback format.



My new book: In A Million Years

My new book, In A Million Years, is now available on Amazon in electronic and paperback format.

Instead of repeating myself, just go to the book’s website to learn all about it:  In A Million Years

The book is a mesmerizing tale of time-travel, love, Presidents, alien invasion, mass annihilation, God, Satan, hippies, Jack the Ripper, and, of course, the total destruction of time as we know it…

Part I: Saving Abraham

Part II: Life In The Fast Lane

Part III:  The Woman In Black



I am planning to rob the Pacific View Mall in Ventura, CA

NOTE: This posting is for the benefit of the FBI, CIA, Ventura Police Department, Ventura County Sheriffs Department, et al.

To whom it may concern: I am planning on knocking over seven jewelry stores located in the Pacific View Mall in Ventura, CA.


So, if any of the agencies listed above, et al (which roughly means “and others”) come across my browsing history and see that I am doing research on fast-acting knock out gas, easily applied small explosive devices, rappelling gear, small arms, the make and model of the Ventura County Sheriff’s helicopter, plus other such things, remember that I AM A WRITER AND I AM ONLY DOING THIS FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THINGS SUCH AS THIS!

The plan, so far, is for the five Karatzis brothers and two accomplices (one who can fly a helicopter) to rob seven jewelry stores located in the center of the mall. What’s more, they will pull of the heist in about 20 minutes using the ordinance and equipment listed above (and maybe some more). The working title of the story is The Seven Karats.

While the mall in the title does exist and is located in Ventura, my story will reshape it some and probably make it even more secure than it is now but none of the mall’s existing security measures will be referenced in this story because I don’t know what any of them are and I am not going to ask.

Heck, I am making this up as I go along so bear with me.

Anyway, I get enough grief from editors, so I wanted to post this note to try to avoid grief from all authorities, local and otherwise.

Who said that a writer’s life is without danger???

A Writer’s Frustration

Early on I understood that if you are going to be a writer you will get more rejections than acceptances–until you hit the big time, after that you can throw anything out there and some established writers, sadly, do just that. So, when rejection letters were sent by mail, I used to pin them up on the wall of my bedroom, until I ran out of wall space.

For the most part, the rejections I received early on had more to do with improper formatting, sending stuff to the wrong market, or other such newbie mistakes. Now, most of my rejections happen because the editor doesn’t see the work as a good fit for their publication aka, they hate the stuff. I am fine with that. Everyone has their opinions with editors having more than most…

However, sometimes I get a rejection that brings out the monster in me (that is me in the picture above); one such dismissal came a few days ago from Owl Hollow Press, a publisher who is putting together an anthology for stories about strange behaviors that happen under the influence of a full moon. As I read the submission requirements, I thought that they were demanding that I send in my story, There’s A Monster In The Bathroom!. To me, the story was a perfect fit for what they needed since the monster in questions is a werewolf even though the story is not the usual werewolf type tale.

Well, they loved it! This is what they wrote in their email to me: “Thank you so much for sending us “There’s a Monster in the Bathroom”. We enjoyed this immensely, and you have a fabulous writing voice. It was a fast-paced, fun read that was easy to get lost in. It’s a story we considered very seriously for inclusion in our anthology.”

Then they rejected it.

This hardly the first time this has happened but I was never so confident of an acceptance of a story before I sent this one off so the rejection was just that much harder to take. Now if they HATED the story, I would have felt much better.

For about 10 years I published an online e-zine called, The Earth Comes First! and if I liked what you sent me, it was published because I wanted my readers to get the same enjoyment for the work as I did.

It just seemed like the logical thing to do but I may be alone with that editorial position.

Peter the Paper Clip

About 15 years ago I went to a job interview.  As I do in most interviews, I mentioned that I am an author so my writing skills are very strong, maybe even exemplary.  This information usually goes over well with employers who know how important good communication skills are in today’s business world.  A misspelling on an ad or website can leave a bad impression with potential customers and may even make some people think you are a fraud.

Well, this particular employer didn’t like me telling him this, he took on a smarmy attitude and accused me of trying to “one-up” him.  I had no idea where this came from, perhaps a previous employee was a writer and showed him to be a fool, but I can’t say for sure.  He then picked up an object off of his desk and said, “So, write a story about this!”.  I reached over and took the object from him and said, “Be careful with Peter, you could bend him out of shape.”  I then took the paper clip out of his hand, stood up, and walked out since I had no interest in working for someone with this attitude.

A week later, I barged into his office and dropped a copy of Peter the Paper Clip on his desk and said, “I told you so.” He was sputtering something as I left but it was unintelligible.

Since that day, everyone who read Peter’s story loved it and I mean everyone from a 7-year-old girl to a 68-year-old oil field Roustabout; age, nationality, sex, etc. made no difference.  Everyone loved the story–except editors…I could not get the story published no matter where I sent it.  This may be due to the fact that the story appeals to everyone and more and more magazines and ezines are narrowing their focus to appeal to only certain audiences as they struggle to survive.  I get that.

It was not until I read a call for stories where inanimate objects are telling the tales that I thought I had finally found a home for Peter, and that I did.

As Told By Things is an anthology where items around you tell of their interactions with people and animals.  Imagine the stories an elevator can tell.  Well, Elevated reveals some of them.  So what about a whiskey glass, a dog toy, a map, and on and on.

If you want to read Peter’s story or any of the others, you can get a copy of the book here:


Kickstart it…

I had never been involved with a Kickstarter campaign until I read a call for stories that made it sound like one of my stories, Peter the Paper Clip, would be a perfect fit. So, I submitted the story which was accepted into the anthology, As Told By Things where all the stories are presented from an inanimate object’s point of view.

Then I waited, and contributed, for the Kickstarter goal to be reached. Thanks to a surge in interest over the last few days of the campaign, the Kickstarter goal was reached and the anthology is now in print.

This anthology is so unusual, I doubt if a “regular” publisher would have printed it, so having a Kickstarter campaign with the backing of a small press in Detroit, MI, gave 23 authors a chance to share their unusual stories. I am now thinking of starting one on my own for a book idea I had years ago.

If you want to read Peter’s story, or you want to hear the stories that an elevator, slot machine, dog toy, map, an old car, and many more can tell, then go get yourself a copy of the book.

Small Victories

Every author wants to pen a best seller, a story, book, play, or song that knocks the senses out of a multitude of people.  I am no different, I want the same thing, but I will take small victories along the way to that path of fame and fortune and if I never actually walk that path, I will have my small victories as a testament that I at least accomplished something as a writer.

Yesterday I received an email from a service that points authors towards paying writing gigs.  This email told about how you can make a decent income from Fiverr.  I have completed a few gigs on Fiverr in the past but I did not see it as much of an income generator but the email intrigued me enough to give the site another shot.  So I posted a gig telling people that I would write 100 words for them on any subject in any genre for $5.00.  Almost immediately I was contacted by a site called Right Pet.  They asked me if I was a pet owner and could I write two short reviews of past pets for $5.00?  I said I could, so they put in an order which I fulfilled in about 1/2 hour.  This is the response I received back today:

“Great job – each review is well written and insightful. Thanks for adding photos too. Another 2 reviews please!”

I don’t have two more pets to review, though I may have another option and I asked them about this, but I am happy that they thought enough of my work to want more.

I hope to get more jobs from Fiverr in the future but if none come my way, I am glad that these jobs were so well received especially since they involved helping people choose what kind of pet they would like to adopt.

Below are some links if you want to try your hand at this:

Fiverr –

Right Pet –

Tinker –

Jennifer –

Absolutely, without question, the best John Grisham novel is…

Before I reveal my choice to this statement, let me clarify something.  On another post entitled Ennui with a Side of Envy, I said that I envied a playwright but the truth of the matter is that I am not a person given to envy.  To me envy is a waste of time and emotional effort.

Growing up nearly as poor as the families depicted in Grisham’s novel, A Painted House, I learned early on that if I wanted anything I would have to work for it, which is why I started working at the age of 14 and I am working still.  So, when I say I envy someone for something, I really mean that I would like to have something they have be it material or immaterial.  If I see someone with a car I would like to have, I work to get that car and I buy it if I can.  If I read someone’s work and I admire it, I try to write the way they do no matter what is needed to accomplish this goal.  I am not always successful in these ventures but at least I try.

I have tried several times to be a novelist but I just cannot seem to get the hang of it, so I write short stories, which is something that I am very good at, while I admire Grisham’s ability to write novels.  The reason I admire him for this, and why I own all of his books, is because a good novel has many layers to it. None of his novels, or many thousands of others that I have read have the layers that are incorporated in his very best book, The Last Juror.

This book has a trial that revolves around a spectacular murder, as you would expect in a Grisham novel. It has a decadent crime family in it, a cast of characters with colorful name like Baggy Suggs, Mackey Don Coley, Harry Rex Vonner etc., and it takes on people who go “slap ass crazy”, the war in Viet Nam and forced integration of schools.  So there is a lot to think about but the truth is that the book is not about any of these subjects.

These are just many of the layers that revolve around the real story depicted in the book and that is of the friendship that grows between Willie Traynor and a very special black family living in Lowtown (on the other side of the tracks), the Ruffins headed by a wonderful matriarch named Calia “Miss Callie” Harris Ruffin.  How this unlikely friendship came about is the gist of the book and it is wonderful.  All the layers around the main story just make it that much better.  If you have not read the book, go get a copy and read it now.

I love the work so much that I buy copies of the book to give away to others.  So far, I have given out 21 copies of the novel.  I can usually get these copies for a few dollars at a local library’s bookstore so it is not a financial burden to me but even if the books cost much more than I pay now, I would do it because it is a very special book.

A few select books that I have read in the past fall into this category.  Those books include, The Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Merlin Trilogy (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment) by Mary Stewart–just to name a few.

I suggest you read them all.

A Painted House

It always amazes me when something occurs that reminds me of a story I read or wrote or of a character in a work of literature.  This happened just recently when I had my house re-painted: the picture above is the end result (included is a view of my California drought ravaged lawn).

Anyone who knows me, knows that John Grisham is my favorite author.  They also know that I have all of his books in hardback and most of them are first editions.  Without a doubt, my second favorite Grisham book is A Painted House (I will reveal my favorite book in the next post and tell you why I love it).  This book is far from his usual legal thriller genre in that there is not a lawyer or a courtroom in the story.

This book is a far ranging story of people who are so dirt poor that having a next meal is not a given thing.  Yet all through it, the young protagonist wanted just one thing, a painted house.  His family’s house is a typical shot gun type abode sporting plain wooden exteriors and a tin roof, the type that share croppers often occupied.  To have such a house painted was a crowning achievement for any family.

So when I finally had the funds to get my house a badly needed paint job, I remembered several things.  I remembered how pitifully poor the characters in Grisham’s book are, so poor that you want to go help them in any way you can, but you can’t because they are fictional.  Yet the seem so real.  It also reminded me of how poor I was when I was young.

As the third child in a home of a single, uneducated, but hard-working Irish mother, I often went without as did we all.  I remember having one pair of shoes and they were so worn and torn that you could see my hole filled socks through them.  I remember dropping out of high school because my mother could not afford my school books.  I remember taking a job in a car wash at 14 years old while earning one dollar per hour which made me feel rich at the end of each week.  So having my house painted now, a house that I more or less own in a California seaside town, is a big thing.  A real big thing mainly because of the memories that were stirred up as I read Grisham’s book.  So far I have only read the book three times but after this week, it is on my agenda to be read again.

This is the power of the written word, it is the power that all authors seek to attain whether they admit it or not.  They want their words to stir memories as well as make them.  I can only hope that somewhere someone is moved to memories because of something I created.

To that end, I will keep writing.

Word Power

“The pen is mightier than the sword” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

In an earlier post titled The Last Great Soap Box I gave some tips on how to get a letter published your local newspaper and I encouraged people to do just that; speak their mind by expressing their opinions. One item that I could add to the Don’t list is this: Don’t be disappointed if your letter is not printed no matter how well you write it.  Over the course of decades I have rarely made and exception to this rule but when I found out that my latest letter to the editor was not going to be used by my local paper, I was disappointed and I told them so–in a very nice way, of course.

The reasons for my disappointment are as follows.  First, I wrote it using my guidelines so it was short and to the point.  Second, it supported an editorial opinion that the newspaper itself expressed.  And third, it was something that needed to be said and needs to be repeated often.

My local paper suggested that the price of gasoline should be regulated just as natural gas, electricity, and water prices are regulated. This is something that I have been saying for years.  Big Oil gets away with murder when it comes to price gouging.  They can raise of lower the price as they see fit and since everything in America revolves around the price of gas, we have to pay the price even if it means giving up something else we need like food or medicine.  So I wrote my letter congratulating them on making this call for regulation while supporting it wholeheartedly.  Apparently they thought they had said enough on the subject so they tossed my letter.

I suppose I could have just left this at that and gone on with my life but since I am a man of words and I feel that so many others feel as I do about the crooks in Big Oil, that I decided to not just stand back and do nothing more.  In today’s world, there are many other options and many other ways to get your feelings out there.

To this end I created this FaceBook page called Regulate Big Oil:

I also started this petition aimed at all those American politicians on Big Oil’s payroll:

Both of these efforts are powered by words.  My words and the words of others who I will share on the FaceBook site.  Can our words defeat Big Oil’s money?  No one knows but words have stopped wars so I figure I have a chance, slim as it may be.