So you can read my books

Saturday, August 31, 2013




You have to come out of "left field" with something that catches everyone by surprise.

One of the big success stories of the summer has been best-selling nonfiction author Simon Winchester's piercing and heartbreaking memoir The Man with the Electrified Brain.

 The story details his brush with near-madness more than 40 years ago until several months worth of electro-convulsive therapy helped restore his sanity.

Best-selling fiction author Dave Snow Falling on Cedars Guterson must have been paying attention. His short memoir about depression - Descent - will be published September 10. Expect this Kindle Single to also climb the best-seller lists.

Miley Cyrus has been the target of outrage for days.  Guess what?  Her single and album sales are going through the roof.


E-book single publishers are hooked on stories with a S&M themes. Need proof?

Veteran author Roni Loren produced an eight-part e-book single series Not Until You, which featured strong bondage scenes.  Another erotic e-book single series from the summer of 2013 is Marina Anderson's Dining Club.

Author Nikki Duncan just published the e-book single with the Miley Cyrus title: Handcuffed in Housewares.

It's about a man who has a wild blind date and winds up naked, chained to a toilet in a housewares store.


E. L. James was named the world's third highest earning celebrity by FORBES magazine.

Fifty Shades Freed, the third novel of E.L. James' Fifty Shades erotic romance novels, was the book most often left behind in the U.K. chain of hotels in the last year, with a total of 1,209 abandoned copies.

Sure, your work will be tossed away. 


Who wants to be remembered by PROSTERITY when it will cost you PROSPERITY?

Miley Cyrus's performance and 50 SHADES OF GREY are glaring glamorizations of violence against women.

Christian Grey, the copper-headed business tycoon for whom James' book is named, controls his young conquest, Anastasia Steele, through stalking, intimidation, isolation and humiliation.

In response, Steele begins to manage her behavior to keep peace in the relationship, which is something seen in abused women. Over time, Anastasia loses her identity and becomes disempowered and entrapped.


Who needs to pander to good mental health when you can get rich?


 My concern is whether the popularity of performances like Miley's and a text like 50 Shades of Grey reflects a more pressing psychological matter regarding sexuality.

Does it really reconnect readers with their desire to be physically intimate?

Or does it merely point out how easy it can be for us to lose touch with our own sexuality?

How much are we drawn to real romance, connection, passion, and affection with a partner?

And how much are we drawn to fantasy, to using people as THINGS without regard for them as human beings?

Are our actions and entertainments moving us toward or away from having a close and fulfilling sexual relationship?


What do physical closeness and intimacy mean to us?

Are we making an effort to maintain a personal experience?

What critical inner voices might be getting in our way?

When we challenge our defenses, we stay close to our real feelings of love and attraction.

We find a way to keep passion alive, to have fun, to relax, and to enjoy our sexuality at a deeper and more sustainable level. We learn that “sweet sex” doesn’t mean dull, routine, or “vanilla.”

In fact, it can mean just the opposite. So the question about sex isn’t just what do we really want?

But once we’ve gotten what we want, can we tolerate it?
{Just to touch magic again}

Friday, August 30, 2013

THE BEST HERO YOU NEVER HEARD OF is getting a movie!

No. Not Victor Standish sadly.

Although if you are one of the first 10 to review the audiobook, you may win this autographed photo of the COMPLETE CAST OF THE AVENGERS
plus that of STAN LEE, father of MARVEL!



Dennis Lehane will adapt Travis McGee for Fox and Appian Way, based on 1964′s The Deep Blue Good-By and 20 subsequent novels by John D. MacDonald.

Chernin Entertainment and Leonardo DiCaprio are producing

with the latter eyeing to star. The project previously had Paul Greengrass and Oliver Stone circling to direct.

Leonardo in no way looks like Travis McGee, but he usually crafts a performance that stays with you.

Travis McGee is different than most other "detectives" you encounter in mysteries and crime fiction.

 He is not a policeman or a licensed private investigator. Instead, he describes himself as a salvage consultant.

He recovers property that has been stolen, misappropriated or swindled from his clients. He charges a fee for this service. (Half of what he recovers minus the expenses off the top.)

Travis lives on a 52 foot houseboat named "The Busted Flush".

The name comes from a poker game in which Travis won the boat from an unfortunate millionaire who only had four of the requisite five cards and tried to bluff Travis.

The "Flush" is berthed at Slip F-18, Bahia Mar Marina, Fort Lauderdale. In 1987 a plaque was erected at the marina that memorialized the slip and its famous resident.

Travis calls himself a beach bum who takes his retirement in installments. He prefers to take on new cases only when the cash fund hidden in a hidey hole in the Flush gets low.

He also owns an old Rolls Royce that somebody long ago converted into a pick-up truck. The truck is painted a horrible blue by the guy who did the conversion.

Travis McGee calls this vehicle "Miss Agnes" after his grade school teacher who had hair the same color.


"I have one of those useful faces. Tanned American. Bright eyes and white teeth shining amid a broad brown reliable bony visage.

The proper folk-hero crinkle at the corners of the eyes, and the bashful appealing smile, when needed. I have been told that when I have been aroused in volent directions I can look like something from an unused corner of hell, but I wouldn't know about that.

 My mirror consistently reflects that folksy image of the young project engineer who flung the bridge across the river in spite of overwhelming odds, up to and including the poisoned arrow in his heroic shoulder."

"People who censor books are usually illiterate."

"I think there is some kind of divine order in the universe. Every leaf on every tree in the world is unique. As far as we can see, there are other galaxies, all slowly spinning, numerous as the leaves in the forest.

 In an infinite number of planets, there has to be an infinite number with life forms on them. Maybe this planet is one of the discarded mistakes. Maybe it's one of the victories.

We'll never know."

"I think the closest we can get to awareness is when we see one man, under stress, react in ... in a noble way, a selfless way."

 "The years from seventeen to twenty-three cover a long, long time of change and learning. She had crossed that boundary that separates children from people.

 Her eyes no longer dismissed me with the same glassy and patronizing indifference with which she might stare at a statue in a park. We were now both people, aware of the size of many traps, aware of the narrowing dimensions of choice."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Exactly half a century ago on Wednesday, Martin Luther King described his dream,

a dream in which

"one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls

will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers".

So it seems deliciously apt in terms of reflecting how race relations have progressed in the US since Dr King's era that, just a whisker short of the anniversary of his speech,

the world bore witness to one of the more intriguing examples of cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation, just so we're clear, refers to picking and choosing elements of one culture by a member of another culture.

It is specifically not okay, when the person picking and choosing is rich and white.

And minstrelsy, the word used by Jody Rosen, evokes the black face minstrel shows of the Mark Twain era.

In the modern sense, it refers to adorning oneself with elements of black culture, in an attempt to achieve a particular image.

Sadly, King omitted to say whether he also dreamed of "little white girls from Tennessee mimicking anilingus on little black girls wearing giant animals on their backs",

so it's impossible to know how he would have reacted to
Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMAs on Sunday.

Siv says the above link is down -- if you haven't been punished with the exhibition, there is a YouTube Vid below should you care to see.

To sum it up quickly, last Sunday, at the MTV Video Music Awards,

Miley Cyrus simulated masturbation with a giant foam finger, grabbed her crotch, rubbed herself against a man old enough to be her father,

pretended the man was performing anal sex on her, and walked around in a nude latex bikini.

Her mother loved it. So did her manager. Millions of young girls and guys loved it as well,

Now, I have seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans repeatedly with black and white revelers having a wild time.

The carnival is one of the closest adherents to King's dream that I have encountered in my four decades living in four different cities,

with its happy celebration of African-Caribbean traditions, which most of the white attendees excitedly cheer along.

The song Cyrus sang, We Can't Stop, was written by Timothy and Theron Thomas

and given to Cyrus when she told them, presumably without a wince:
"I want something that feels black."

Instead of giving her something by, I don't know, John Coltrane,

the Thomas brothers gave her a song originally written for Rihanna which, to be fair, was almost certainly the image of blackness Cyrus had in mind as I don't think Coltrane did much twerking.

Plenty of male singers grab their crotches while performing, but it seems to be only female singers these days who feel the need to strip down to their underwear and simulate sex acts on stage.

As nice as it would be to imagine a world in which young women weren't taught to equate hypersexuality with maturity and independence, that remains as unrealised a dream as much of King's speech.

The real scandal was how atrocious Cyrus’ performance was in artistic terms.
She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin.

She is a little girl desperate to show the world her scrawny, almost boyish body is a woman's. Sadly, she is a little girl emotionally without any real idea of how a real woman projects her sexuality.

The Cyrus fiasco, however, is symptomatic of the still heavy influence of

who sprang to world fame in the 1980s with sophisticated videos that were suffused with a daring European art-film eroticism and that were arguably among the best artworks of the decade.
Madonna’s provocations were smolderingly sexy because she had a good Catholic girl’s keen sense of transgression. Subversion requires limits to violate.

Madonna, a trained modern dancer, was originally inspired by work of tremendous quality —

above all, Marlene Dietrich’s glamorous movie roles as a bisexual blond dominatrix

and Bob Fosse’s stunningly forceful strip-club choreography for the 1972 film Cabaret,

set in decadent Weimar-era Berlin.

Today’s aspiring singers, teethed on frenetically edited small-screen videos, rarely have direct contact with those superb precursors and are simply aping feeble imitations of Madonna at 10th remove.






On Aug. 28, 1963, a quarter of a million people peaceably gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Attendant celebrities lent their Hollywood credentials. The media coverage was international.

More than 22,000 police officers, guards, soldiers, and paratroopers were placed on alert.

Yet all this has been submerged into the backdrop to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words in "I Have a Dream."

The speech was an afterthought, one that King crafted in the final hours before the momentous convocation, working its rhythms like a poem.

It is one of the finest speeches delivered on American soil —

the distillation of Old Testament wisdom, Shakespearean drama, the Founding Fathers' vision, and King's own sermons and his emergent understanding of what it meant to be free, equal, and American.

"You are not judged by the heights to which you have risen,
but the depths from which you have climbed."

- Frederick Douglass

And the 19th century abolitionist should know. He began life as a slave to become the "Lion of Anacostia." And how did he begin that climb?


The wife of his owner taught him the alphabet, then the beginnings of how to read.

His owner put a stop to that, saying that if he learned how to read, he would become dissatisfied with his lot.

"The first anti-slave lecture I ever heard," wryly said Frederick later in his life.

Later he would learn how to better read from the white children in the neighborhood and from the writings of the men with whom he worked.

Reading opened a whole new world of thought to the young boy. He read newspapers, political essays, books of every kind, and the New Testament --

which he taught other slaves to read at a weekly Sunday school.

It lasted six months before other slave owners, armed with clubs and stones, broke it up. Why? They feared their slaves being able to read.

To read.

It is an awesome ability we often take for granted.

And writing?

We who take up that task must understand its power. The power of the word to touch one human soul, beginning a rippling effect whose end none but The Father knows.

But before we can do that we must climb out of the dreaded slush pile.

And Scaling Mt. Everest was a cinch compared to climbing out of the slush pile.

Just ask any unpublished writer. Ask me. Ask the marines.

So how do you climb out of the slush pile?

You tackle the task like a professional.

Agents are business men and women. You must approach them as such.

In essence, approaching an agent for representation is like approaching a bank for a loan.

Mark Twain said that banks were like those folks who were willing to lend you an umbrella when it was sunny.

When you don't need the money, banks will loan it to you. Why? Because they know you can pay it back.

Often it feels as if agents are silently saying with their rejections, "If I don't want your autograph, then I don't want your manuscript."

If you're Stephen King, agents will kill to represent you. Well, maybe not. But then again, one never knows.

But you're not Stephen King. So what do you do? No.

Identity theft is out of the question.

Think bank loan. What do banks want from you? A good credit rating for one thing.

And what does an agent want from you? Credentials. Like what you ask?

Awards or achievements. Professional associations. Education. Related work experience.

How do you get those?

Attend local writers' workshops, taught by professional writers.

Politely get to know as many professionals there as you can. Very, very diplomatically ask them if you may use their names when inquiring of an agent.

Hey, all of them were where you are now. Most of them are quite kind. I will help you bury the rest.

{Just checking to see if you were paying attention.}

Have your novel FULLY completed. I saw a friend lose her shot at a great agent because she submitted it only half done.

He wanted to see the full. She had to tell him the truth. End of a wonderful window of opportunity.

Have the first 30 pages so polished and suspenseful you would bet your life on them. You are certainly betting the life of your career and of your novel on them.

Write a killer query letter.

How? Show her something that she very seldom sees.


Be Hemingway in your query.

Give yourself three sentences to convey the plot, characters, themes, and emotional impact of your 400 page novel.

IMdB is a good source to see how summaries of classic movies are written in three sentences.

Be an adverb stalker.

Stalk them and send them packing. No adverbs allowed. Or darn few. No first names for your target agent. No self-depreciating comments allowed either. People tend to take you at the value at which you place yourself.

We are drawn to confident people because we unconsciously accept that they have something about which to be confident.

If they are sure, it sets us at ease. They are competent. And who doesn't want a competent person at their side?

You're applying for a loan here. Be professional.

Be aware of the requirements of the specific agent that you're approaching. See you from her side of the desk. What is she looking for?

For one thing:

a novel that is unique but born of what is selling for the publishers.

And what sells?

Primal. Primal appeals to the unconscious mind of the reader, including the agent.

Primal hungers. Primal dangers. Primal drives.

Sex. Money. Safety. And threats to all three.

Give the agent the first three lines of your novel. Make sure they are great hooks. Sentences that reach out and grab the reader.

They will more than likely be the only sentences any agent will ever read of your submitted manuscript before coming to a conclusion of the attractiveness and saleability {is that a word?} of your work.

Submit to the agent EXACTLY as she requests.

This indicates that ...

1.) You are literate and can follow simple instructions. And ...

2.) You are a professional and are in this for the long haul.

If the agent asks you to change the ending or get rid of a character, remain calm.

This may simply be a test. Use some imagination, some deep-breathing exercises, and do what the agents requests.

She wants to see how you handle criticism.

She doesn't want a tempermental prima donna on her hands.

 The one she sees in the mirror is quite enough, thank you.

{Just checking if you're paying attention again.}

How you handle these requests will show her your degree of professionalism. These requests are a good sign.

She's interested. She's been around a lot longer than you in the business. Try it her way.

Write it her way.

Then, if the ending or character is pivotal in your thinking, present a reasoned, item by item defense.

But be flexible. It is better to bounce than to break.

I know. I have the bruises to prove it. Good luck to all my fellow climbers out there.

Thought for the day:

A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator the smaller the fraction.
—Leo Tolstoy, who was born on this day in 1828




The phrase usually refers to the incomprehensible (at the time) causes of World War I.

The main causes of World War I, which began in central Europe in late July 1914, included many factors, such as the conflicts and hostility between the great European powers of the eight decades leading up to the war.

Militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism played major roles in the conflict as well.



Will the phrase “Guns of August” one day refer not only to the prelude to World War I in 1914 but also to the prelude to a Middle East war in 2013?
That is the ominous question posed by Roger Boyes, the diplomatic editor of the Times of London and a foreign correspondent for the past 35 years.
“The direction of events in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran should keep us awake at night.

History is taking a dangerous turn,” he writes.

“The region certainly cannot sustain two wars — Syria’s bloody insurgency and a near-civil war in Egypt — without wrecking established peace treaties and the normal mechanisms for defusing conflict.”

Boyes warned that, as in August 1914, the world is not paying enough attention.
“In August 1914 there was a lot of grouse shooting going on.

In August 2013, politicians prefer to read doorstopper biographies in Tuscany and Cornwall.

Yet the spreading Middle East crisis, its multiple flashpoints, is every bit as ominous as the prelude to war in 1914.”

But that is half a world away, right?

Muslim terrorism may well erupt in our shopping malls next year because politicians did not pay attention. 

Hart Johnson is asking us
how we think the world will end.

may be the answer.

What do you think of this Syria, Egypt, Iran,
Iraq, Libyan, Lebanon, Israel crisis?

Same old, same old?
Too many nations going nova
all at once?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


When 10 honest reviews are posted
for END OF DAYS audiobook,
on 1st edition of ROSE MADDER!
SEVEN autographs from Iron Man I!!


To all those who say, "Listening to audiobooks is cheating."
Say what?  Is there a test after you read each book?
Do you read merely to plaser another title in your list on Goodreads?
A praised literary critic, Harold Bloom, claims it.  Sad.
Here is a man who has clearly never listened to a campfire story in the hush of night ....

 All apologies to Mr. Bloom, the spoken word is the acid test. They don't call it storytelling for nothing.

Which leads to the third reason:



Get this audiobook for:
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She is busily at work on UNDER A VOODOO MOON, and soon I will post an in-depth interview with her.

Because of her skill, within a few sentences, the Victorian ghoul, Alice Wentworth, comes to life for you.

The Mystery is more mysterious, the thrills more thrilling, and the comedy is funnier because the voice and timing is just right.

Her sound effects lend realism to the tale.

Her Maxine, the Goblin Princess, will break your heart.

And The Turquoise Woman's voice will have your shivers getting goosebumps.

Francene doesn't tell the tale.  She acts it.  Even Victor and Samuel come to life under her skillful portrayal ...

which is why I chose her to do UNDER A VOODOO MOON.

For D.G. Hudson a Parisian Fantasy that sparkles in obscurity:


Hart Johnson is launching her very own serial with a blogfest on how you and others think the world will end.
I personally think it will end for us like it did for the dinosaurs -- totally out of left field in a way we never suspected.
Have you thought of writing your own serial through Amazon?
Hart Johnson, ever entertaining in her posts, once wrote of what is being discussed as the




Have you heard of this series/book? ( a video from him)

It is post-apocalyptic, they are claiming 'the next Hunger Games'...

This guy wrote a novelette... didn't promote, but found sort of a cult following...
so in NaNoWriMo wrote MORE of them...
and Kristen Nelson approached him about foreign rights, movie rights...

He'd turned down other agents, but she was saying stuff he didn't think he could do on his own, so he signed with her.

Now he has a movie deal with Ridley Scott...
foreign rights up the gazoo, and Simon and Schuster has bought his PRINT rights while letting him keep his digital rights (dream, right?)

How to submit to Amazon

Submissions Guidelines

Amazon welcomes submissions to Amazon Publishing’s Kindle Serials program. They're looking for previously unpublished, well-written stories by authors interested in engaging with readers through the unique nature of serialized publishing.

How to submit in detail:
To submit to Kindle Serials, send an email to  with the following:

• A brief pitch of your story including why you think it works as a serialized book, the estimated total number of episodes, and the estimated total final word count.
• A minimum of two episodes in a Word or text document. We want each episode to be a length that provides a satisfactory read. The right episode length will vary from book to book, depending on what's right for the story. The complete book doesn’t need to be already written.
• A one-page synopsis of the complete book.
• A one-page biography.

The episodes are to be between 8,000 to 10,000 words long.  You have to send an episode every two weeks.  Could you write a polished 10,000 words every 2 weeks?

Are you up to being the serialized Charles Dickens or Alexandre Dumas?  I'm considering it with

       The Greyhound bus carrying 13 year old Victor Standish breaks down in rural New York.  The closest house is no refuge but a descent into madness.  Six years on the mean streets of too many cities have hardened Victor enough to burn the death-house down around the monster that would suck the marrow from his bones.

Smelling of burnt flesh and smoke, he escapes to wander the woods only to discover four men burying a bloody body in an unmarked grave.  Victor is just about to join that body in the still open grave when a 12 year old girl emerges from the shadows. 
She is dressed as an Egyptian princess with full black eyes and a lined face as if it had been recently unwrapped from tight linen wrappings.  She warns them that vermin from the Other Side are close … too close to do anything but flee back to the Carny her "father" owns: ODDMAN’S CARNIVAL.
To the carnies, Victor appears just another runaway sixteen year old.  He is only thirteen.  Not that they care either way.  They need another worker.  And Oddman’s exotic “daughter,” Princess Shert Nebti, needs … to eat.
What do you think?


Sunday, August 25, 2013


{The ghost of George Bernard Shaw recomends it}
For all of you weary souls furiously typing your fingers into nubs to finish your WIPs,

I thought the answer to that question might interest you.

I have just re-read my novel, THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT and its ending was important to me.

An inept ending can kill your otherwise great book. So what questions do you need to ask about your ending?

1. Does it resolve the core conflict of the novel?
This is the big "this is what my book is about" question that your protagonist has spent the entire book trying to achieve.

 This is a biggie for series books, as there's a larger story arc across multiple books. But the goal in that one book needs to be resolved.

 2. Does it satisfy the major questions posed in the novel?

You don't have to tie up all the loose ends, but there are probably a few major things in the story readers will want to know answers to.

3. Is this the ending most readers are hoping for?

 We've all read books where we wanted one ending, but the book ended another way. Let down the reader, and you can bet she or he will not recommend your book.

4. Is your last line memorable, summing up your entire novel?

The trick of a good ending, of course, is that it must capture and equal everything that has gone before.

The line “He loved Big Brother”

(from a novel that ends as masterfully as it begins) means very little until you understand exactly who Big Brother is. 

A great last line will have your reader putting down the book on her lap, murmuring, "Wow."  Guess what book she next recommends to her friends?

5.  A bad ending will unfailingly kill a good story. Is your ending such a one? 

 The ending is why the reader just invested their valuable time reading your story, and if it stinks, then they've wasted that time

6. Is there CHANGE at the end?

What makes a good ending hinges on the same things that make a good story. And the most important thing that makes a good story is change.

If nothing changes, nothing happens. And if nothing happens, you've got no story.

7. Do your characters save themselves or at least those they love?

If the U.S.S. Enterprise sails over the horizon to zap the bad guys in the nick of time, say good-bye to repeat readers.

8. Resonance is the new Closure. Does your ending have it?

One symbol, or moment, from the beginning of the story is repeated at the end. By the time the story is done it means something else completely.

The ending echoes the beginning. It gives a sense that the story has come full circle.

9. Does it establish a new normal?

The heroes begin a new life. Sometimes the farm boy returns to the farm. Sometimes the farm boy becomes king. Sometimes the hero decides to set out on a new journey.

It's a chance to show how the character has been altered by the journey, and what they're going to do with that new knowledge.

10. What are your favorite kind of endings?

The best endings leave me full, and remain with me for days.

The best books make me wish they never end, but I know they have to.  Which is why I enjoy series books.

That's the sort of ending I like. What about you?