Monthly Archives: October 2015

How not to publish an e-book



This is the cover of my recently published e-book. And it was a dicey, maddening run to publish.

Rule one, if you are planning a specific release date, make sure you leave plenty of time for proofreading-of course you know that. But there is something else you need to plan for and that is when things go wrong-everyday.

I wanted to release this book Halloween week for obvious reasons. So I knew how long I had to proofread, have my book formatted to Amazon specs, go through the process on Amazon with categories, keywords, uploading, pricing, and other fun things, then blog and Twitter before Halloween.

But gremlins living inside cyberspace, my computer, and probably under my bed conspired to stop me.

(1) I uploaded my file to the company that formats my books. I then send the mobi file to my Kindle PC for a final proofread, the reason being  is that seeing your book on a Kindle before publishing is great for editing as a lot of things you missed jump out at you. Seeing what needed changing I went to the formatter and the document was not only gone, but the vertical scroll bar was gone-not that it would have helped. So email to support and wait. The next day everything was okay, so I spent two days doing the last fix. I still had time to publish, though it was now Monday of Halloween week.

(2) My mobi file disappeared from my computer, Tuesday I found it in a search.

(3) Still Tuesday I send the mobi file to Amazon and uploaded the book. Yeah! Rule two, do not celebrate early.

(4) Amazon, though I followed-mostly-followed their guidelines on keywords-nonetheless was told they would overwhelm searchers. (Hey, isn’t that what I want). It took three tries before they were satisfied. This is my fourth book, and had no keywords problems before.

(5) So after a long Tuesday I was told the book was under review. Wednesday an email told me the book was live. Yeah! See rule two.

(6) I clicked ‘here’ in my email and indeed the book was on Amazon. Unfortunately it was not on my authors page. After an email to Amazon support, the problem was fixed later in the day.

I was lucky to have the book go live three days before Trick and Treat night.

So now that you know what can go wrong, be advised to plan in advance so that you finish the book and everything is ready a week ahead of time, maybe two weeks. There are cyber gremlins waiting to attach. Now if I can just get the cat off the top of my head.

 Here  is a link to the book that survived the gremlins. There is no guarantee the link will work though.

My website


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Stories I wrote from the grave



Yes that is my name on the tombstone. Yes I am dead. But I was able to write eight short stories of horror that is now a live e-book on Amazon. It is no easy task writing in a coffin. It is cramped and damn dark. Lucky me for me I memorized the keyboard. I also had the foresight to pick a tree that has Wi-Fi.

My logline for this book is:

Stories in the spectral shadows where transition from life to death becomes blurred; where shadows haunt both the living and the dead; where shadows disorient and confuse.

If, like me, you are dead, the book is free. If you are still among the living, you may contribute 3.99 to Amazon and they will come to my grave once a month and drop coins into the slot on top of the tombstone. Even the dead have expenses. Air freshener is a top priority. I also need a saw to cut off the tree root that is coming through the coffin bottom and edging towards my bottom. Quite uncomfortable.

I know, I know, stop complaining you say. We all have problems. Hey, I’m dead, a little sympathy please.

Story one is about a different kind of a theatre, one you may or may not want to visit. Story two is about a house in the woods that may or may not be haunted; it is for you to decide. Story three is about a man walking in a cemetery and has trouble communicating with those he meets. The fourth story is my humble attempt to reimagine the ending of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

The fifth story is about a crazed killer who -no, I can’t tell you. Story six is about a boy going to his first parade. Ah, how sweet. So you might think before reading this story. The seventh story is about a man who wakes up and finds a dead woman in his bed and has no idea who she is. And the final story is about what happens to a writer creating stories like the previous seven, a story where some characters will be familiar.

For my family and friends on Facebook who never wish me Happy Birthday, never comment on anything I post, never like anything I post, you can buy the book, but do not have to read it. Just think how wonderful the cover will look on your desktop, what with my name on the tombstone.

Here is a link to this book on Amazon if you would like to contribute to my afterlife happiness.



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A book lovers dream house

room with viewA book lover by nature wants a house with a view and especially a view of water. Here we have a nice corner nook with a wooden floor (book lovers don’t go in for plush shag carpeting) with a tasteful rug, and a comfortable chair with armrests. And of course you notice two shelf bookcases filled with books. In the middle of the picture between those two cushions is an area for cheese and crackers and a glass of wine. Or, if you are like me, a dozen maple bars.

This area is one in which you read the classics. It is perfect for Homer’s Odyssey, The Last Days of Socrates by Plato, Paradise Lost, but nothing of Thoreau. You take Thoreau when you go camping.

Having immersed yourself in the classics during the week, you can read cozy mysteries here on weekends.




home libraryTo the right you is a picture you see a wonderful library guarded by your dog-he comes with the house-and you notice his front legs are ready to spring into action as a true guard dog would do in protecting your library. On the other hand he could be thinking you are bringing him a treat. And look at the most comfy chair to snuggle up with a book and the small side table for more wine-Riesling, for this room, red for the corner nook above. A must have spiral staircase and a ladder for checking out all the great references books like The Oxford History of the Classical World, or The Complete Sherlock Holmes, or perhaps John Fowles, but not Harold Robbins or Jackie Collins.

And I am sure you notice the window facing the armchair. If you don’t like the view you can place a High-definition TV there in order to watch Masterpiece Theatre, then read Thackeray, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Kurt Vonnegut.



closet book nookAnd here we have a wonderful Nook. This can be your office. I think the room is too feminine and the horse and rider must go along with the wallpaper. This room is a fixer-upper.

But it has great potential with perhaps the most comfortable place to read in the house. It is also a place where you are more liable to fall asleep so you want more light reading here. Or books you don’t want any visitors to know that you read. You know who I mean, Harold Robbins-but Tom Robbins is perfect; not Jackie Collins, but Willkie Collins is okay.

It is also a cozy place to settle in with your significant other and read erotica together. If no ‘other’ is available, this is a good spot for your cat to settle onto your lap and purr as you read the play script of Cats. And you can serenade your pet with songs from the play.

I suggest doing that last bit when no company is in the house, otherwise you are likely to end up in therapy.


Here we have a unique chair. The cushion looks comfy, but your elbows may have to rest on the tops of books as they are taller than the chairs side. I recommend paperbacks on the top so that problem is eliminated. The type of books are cop thrillers, suspense, horror-Dean Koontz and Stephen King-and fast summer types of reads.

book chair






And now to bed.




My website

My Amazon bookshelf

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Do you loath or do you loathe

A writer wants, no needs, no Must, get the right word for the right meaning. And many words can easily finds their way into a sentence where they do not belong. Loath, for instance, means unwilling or reluctant, as in “I am loath to go to Seattle Seahawk game and watch them self destruct once again in the fourth quarter.” Loathe, on the other hand means to dislike greatly or abhor, as in,  “I loathe to go to a Seattle Seahawk game and watch them self destruct once again in the fourth quarter.” 

As you can see, sometimes different words can  have the same meaning at times. I can loath and loathe at the same time for the same reason.

But there are more problem words. Let’s try again. Illegible and unreadable are not the same thing. Illegible means the document can not be read because the handwriting is so poor it is undecipherable. Unreadable can’t be read because what was written is not interesting, or incomprehensible, that it makes no sense, even though you can read the words.

The other day I was bugged with the ‘which word is it’ problem when I wanted to write the word that means the origin of words. But I typed ‘entomology’ and that is the study of insects. It drove me buggy because I could not think of the correct word-it is etymology. You can see how easy it is to confuse those two words. Those words are troublesome, but not as bad as capitol or capital.

But words do not have to sound similar, as illegible and unreadable indicate. If you think humorous and comical mean the same, sorry, they have different meanings. I will let you research those words and I will quiz you later.

I bring all this up as another example of proofreading problems. It is more than spelling, more than grammar, more than punctuation. It is also, and arguably more important, to get the right word with the right meaning in the right sentence. You might be legible in your writing, but if you confuse the reader too much you become unreadable. I hope this blog is not confusing you.

I will leave with the problem of ‘is and are.’ Is means singular as in he is, she is, or it is. Are is plural as in ‘we are’. However, when the subject is elusive, it is the authors discretion to use either word. In other words, two times three IS six and two times three ARE six are both correct.

I don’t know how I can learn a foreign language when I am still trying to figure out English.

My legible website

My hopefully readable e-books at Amazon



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The truth about snot and why you will like it

What is snot?

Snot is the burned part of the candle wick. Snotty candles would nicely illuminate supper in a cosh.

What is a cosh?

A cosh is a small hut or cottage to retire to after doing your daily darg.

What is darg?

Darg is a days work.

What you have just read comes from-what a reviewer most likely would say- is a delightful little book. The book is “Poplollies and Bellibones” subtitled “A celebration of Lost Words.” It was written by Susan Kelz Sperling and published by Penguin in 1977. It is for those who love words, history, culture, and etymology. It is not a big thick reference book coming in at 113 pages. Thus the word delightful, or charming, or fun; take your pick.

It has fun words like squiddle-to waste time with idle talk -something I trust I am not doing at the moment. But there are also a couple of words like floccinaucinihilipilfication, a word that I doubt any person of that time would use, unless said person was an ancestor of William F. Buckley, a known sesquipedalian who never met a long word he disliked, nor a short word he liked. You will find sesquipedalian in your dictionary, but not that long word which means the habit of belittling.

Most of the words in the book come from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and though these words may now be dead, like Japanese soldiers found in caves years after World War 2 who had no idea the war was over, there may be isolated pockets where these words may still be in use, though the odds of that are slim to none.

Beyond the fun of the book is something else. It shows how over centuries language changes. I remember in college having to read Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in its original 14th century English. Pronunciation was like trying to speak a foreign language; understanding the writing made more difficult. Seven centuries later you can see how new words arise replacing certain words for too many reasons to cover in a blog.  Consider it is changing even today. A tweet comes not from a bird, but from an account. A selfie is now a picture portrait. Language changes by many means; technology, culture,  slang, are just three methods.

I am not sure the book I mentioned is in print anymore. On Amazon you find a listing of editions that are being offered as new and used, but I think the links are to sellers and not to Amazon itself. But I will leave you with an ancient activity called ‘flapdragon,’ the fun sport of catching raisins in bowls of flaming brandy or drinking the brandy without getting burned as a tribute to one’s mistress. Even bar drinking games have changed.

My website

My amazon page, where books are written with mostly modern language with some flapperese thrown in on “Loonies in Hollywood


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Is this the truth about literary agents lies

One of my favorite bloggers and writing gurus resides at Writers Village. He is English, but that does not mean his ancestors fought against ours in that colonial problem. So it is okay to read what he has to say about nine lies that agents tell you. The post is funny, a bit alarming, but you may have guessed some of the lies by now, though perhaps we should not use such a pejorative word as lie, but I will let you be the judge. Here is the post.

My non agent e-books at Amazon.

If you are an agent you can visit my website here.

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Book addiction and what to do about it

book addiction


As the poster to the left says book collection is an obsession, and addiction, and it might even be perverse. I suffer from this disease. Before writing this blog I counted 101 unread books, the hardcover, or paperback kind of books. I also have 37 unread e-books.

I will never finish reading all these unread books because I have a list of books, both handheld and e-books that I want to buy and I also find myself in places that sell books for a buck or two and darned if I can’t find a book or two in those dens of Hell. My local library has a few sections of books for sale and it was there I found a 1996 Random House hardcover edition of “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole and a Penguin edition of short stories by Grace Paley. Total cost $3.00. You understand why those books could not be passed up for three singles, right? 

There are only two alternatives. Read all the books I currently have before buying another book. Sorry, can’t happen. I will be dead before they are all read. Can’t go down this road. I am not sure it is about the reading, but about the procuring. One book I had been seeking for a few years finally showed up as a Kindle edition. But though I have longed wanted to read the cult classic “Bone Music” it is still on my Kindle app waiting for me to finish other books I am working on. Ah, but I have it and the feeling of procurement was wonderful.

10487188_624609717653306_6188654867875167110_nA second alternative is too stop buying books. If you think that is valid, then you are an outsider, a square-jawed book-totaller with little or no humanity. Have you no compassion?

No there is no cure. All I can do is continue on my course, keep reading, keep buying, and hope I can make some dent in my personal library.

The worst that can happen is what happened to Henry Bemis, played by Burgess Meredith in “Time Enough at Last,” a 1959 episode of “The Twilight Zone,” in which Bemis, an avid reader, is the last man on earth, and has all the time in the world to read all the classics and when he sits down to read, his bottle-glass thick glasses fall off his face and they break. Without those glasses he could not read the page. Tough break Bemis.

As Captain Jack Sparrow once said, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?”

I have no problem. Pass me that Tom Robbins book would you please. I just bought it on Amazon while I was writing this blog. (I have my own book driver who picks up at an Amazon warehouse). You understand.

My website

My Amazon page for those in need to add to their library. No reading required.





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