Showing posts from September, 2010


I'm interviewed here, on Louise Wise' blog

unwanted conversations

This would be a story where the protagonist is always getting trapped into unwanted conversations, being too polite to say no and walk away ... Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.0

an other world

People just living their lives is not the kind of story i want to tell. It's all very nice if you want, but it doesn't interest me. I read today where vargas llosa said of borges that he presented a world entirely his own. That's more in line with what i aim for, not jut another world but an other world. Recognizably human and more or less contemporary but alternate, as if other paths were taken, other choices made but not on the large scale, only revealed in snapshots. I guess it's in the line of 'magical realism' only not that magical and not so realistic either, just a little off, a little odd. If there could be a society without religion, i would like to see it, not one that bans religion, but one that doesn't need it. That's the kind of other world i mean Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.0

spirit of the age, contd

"If your work is to be true, and not a vapid parlor game, and if your work is trying to shine light in the human psyche's darkest, illest places, then you have to go there, and be it, and that's no casual undertaking". Novelist David Mitchell interviewed in the Paris Review ... But isn't that itself the vapid parlor game of our age? The Hannibal Lectorization of contemporary literature? Getting into the mind of the murderer, the rapist, the child molester etc... It's all just another episode of Law and Order SUV (i know it's really SVU) ... Why is that dark inner psyche stuff considered truer than the inverse? Again, the spirit of this age, not worth capturing Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.0

bridge to wtf?

What's with the killing of children in fiction and why do they give awards for that? Call it garp syndrome or whatever, but i ficking hate it Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.0

Dawn Debris

reminded by Broken Bulbs Reader Art, I broke Dawn Debris out of Cashier World and posted it on Feedbooks Here's the new cover:

Reader Art a la 'Broken Bulbs'

As reported here earlier, but worth repeating, I really enjoyed a book I found on Smashwords called 'Broken Bulbs' by Eddie Wright. I also like the 'reader art' you can find here , where readers have submitted their drawings of characters and scenes in this book. What a great idea, and good stuff too. I notice that the author is looking for comic artists as well to make a graphic novel of the book - I hope he finds what he needs to get that done. It'd be cool. I wanted to do that same thing about fifteen years ago for my story 'Dawn Debris in the Land of Many Things' (which I'm planning to break out of 'Cashier World' into its own little ebook). I tried to recruit an artist but had no luck. My own Windows Paint drawings were pretty meagre (one is currently the cover of 'Cashier World' ). (The Dawn Debris story also has FedCorTron dentist recommendations, not too dissimilar from the Inspiration Toothpaste in Broken Bulbs - a parallel, wher

Rogue Characters

I like these quotes from a William Gibson interview "I do sometimes have characters who aren’t point-of-view characters, who are put into the story to serve some minor function or fill out a scene, and they suddenly become hideously full of life, and start changing the course of the narrative, and I’m always delighted — because hideously full of life is at least full of life. The narrative then becomes unstable and inherently more interesting to work with, and has greater potential for going somewhere interesting." "For whatever perverse reason, I tend to find genre fiction that meets the standard expectations to be not much fun, and not very interesting. What I want for myself as a reader is something that’s got feet like a thriller, and hands like science fiction, but I want it to do something else: ideally I want it to do something that I’ve never seen either a thriller or science fiction do. Of course the drawback with that is that the reader who’s come in want

Quaintus Apocalyptus

There's something nostalgic about reading futuristic Earth Doomsday novels, like 'Oryx and Crake', 'The Road', or 'The American Book of the Dead'. Nostalgic because it reminds me of my teenage years in the early 70's when I devoured such books, as 'Dr. Bloodmoney', 'The Sheep Look Up' and 'Stand on Zanzibar', and my early twenties when I wrote such stuff, complete with rogue presidents and mass upheavals. Nowadays, not so much. (Disclaimer - I do have one apocalypse story out there on the market, my old 'Rampant Pheromonix', but that is not Earth and not political. It deals with an overpopulated culture of privacy dealing with a sudden epidemic of clairvoyance) It seems commonplace nowadays to hear of disasters affecting hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, from the tsunami in the South Pacific to the earthquake in Haiti, the flooding in Pakistan, Hurricane Katrina, etc ... and yet these don't seem to af

More Lore

Anonymous left a few more goodies on the bookstorelore blog "Do you have a kids version of Harry Potter" "Where is your book section" at the info desk at Barnes and Noble. "I heard about a book on (local radio). Where is it"  And yes you can get bookstore lore as an ebook for free from Smashwords  but only the blog has those added bits contributed by readers


I really want to read The American Book of the Dead  by Henry Baum . The author is a cool guy, the book has won some cool awards, and it sounded like something I would like, so I got a copy from Smashwords, downloaded it onto my trusty Sony Pocket Reader, and started to read it. Almost immediately I came up against one of my roadblocks. It begins with an eye-witness account of the events of 9/11 in New York City. One time when I was dating, a woman asked me "what are your showstoppers?". I could only think, "people who use the word 'showstoppers'", but encountering 9/11 into a novel is, I'm afraid, one of my showstoppers! Hitler is another one. Stick Hitler into a novel and I cannot read it. Sorry. It isn't just the reality-intrusion of it. I can sometimes deal with intrusions of reality in fiction (although I really don't want to read about people eating at Applebee's, shopping at Target, or staying at the Hilton - make something up, for C

Inspector Mole and the Frozen Stiff (goes international)

, One reason I love Feedbooks is that my stories are getting downloaded (for free) all over the world. This is the spread from the first 32 copies of the re-issued 'Inspector Mole and the Frozen Stiff' (a.k.a. 'Death Ray Butterfly) from yesterday's first day. 1 copy in Malta equals 3.1%. I love it. 10 in the USA, 3 in the UK and so on ...

Further Notes on Self Publishing

This as part of the discussion of a self-publishing review blog post These discussions always seem to end up revolving around the poles of vanity/slushpile versus the Borders New Arrivals table. A much more apt analogy to me is the historical role of the small/independent presses. These have long published quality products which find their way into the market via such large distributors as Ingram and Baker & Taylor. It is a difficult and not profitable undertaking, usually a labor of love, and in these respects as well I think quite comparable to the current efforts of indie author/publishers. The small press books generally fare best on the local level and in small independent bookstores where the personal touch carries some weight. Social networks - and websites such as this one - may perform a similar role for indie ebooks. Distributors like Smashwords will, I think, find their way into the larger ecosystem, which I fully expect to remain dominated by a handful of large play

Trends in Self-Publishing

2010 has been the year in which I, along with many others, became involved with self-publishing . As part of that, I've been paying some attention to the overall trend and the various discussions going on around it. On the left of my blog here there are several links to some related sites - such as teleread , self-publishing review , indiebooks blog , etc ... My own involvement is not-for-profit (seeing as I give the stuff away for free), so I don't have a dog in this race (so to speak), which gives me a little objectivity, perhaps. It certainly has been an interesting year. Kindles, iPads, cellphones and dedicated e-readers have emerged as very potent forces in the overall book world. Hardcover bestsellers may well be doomed in the near future, as they cannot compete in price, and make no sense in terms of their business model - the time lags both to market, and between their appearance and the paperback versions. Commercial ebooks are still relatively expensive - comparabl

Why? Question from a Reader

I received this email today: " Never been on Smashwords before.  Your short book Zombie Nights was my first read. Enjoyed it, but wish it could have been longer. Felt a bit cheated.  You set up so many relationships and questions and such a good central idea of a guy coming back to his old life as a dead man. And then you went and pulled the plug on it all after 17 pages. Why ?" The feedback and the question touches on many issues I've thought about recently. Some of it has to do with my writing process, some of it has to do with the subject matter, and some of it has to do with my own sense of completion versus others' sense of same. It's true that I introduced Dennis and Racine near the end and barely dealt with them at all. These characters, as well as Fripperone and his gang, do figure in two of my other stories written around the same time (Raisinheart and Death Ray Butterfly) but a reader of Zombie Nights has no way of knowing this. Perhaps I should i

Like Minds Think Alike

A bit of circular referencing led me to some very enjoyable reading today, beginning right here at I had written a blog post about giving away my stories via Smashwords and Feedbooks, and one of the people commenting on the post was Moxie Mezcal. At the same time, I had come across a reference to an e-book called Broken Bulbs, by Eddie Wright, which sounded intriguing, and thought I had seen it on Smashwords at one time. I searched for it on Smashwords, and found it, discovering at the same time that one of the people who had reviewed it on that site was the very same Moxie Mezcal. Clicking on that link brought me to her author's page, where she too is a proponent of 'guerrilla fiction' and has posted some of her works there as well. It should not have been surprising, and yet it pleasantly was, that I enjoyed both of these books immensely - 'Broken Bulbs' is simultaneously gruesome and hysterical, quite inventive and captivating, and '

3 Stories by Moxie Mezcal

Another great find on Smashwords is this writer, Moxie Mezcal. I just read her collection '3' on a sick day off from work and enjoyed it very much, especially the first and third, which are mysteries of different sorts. The first story, called 'Home Movie', is about a porn-store clerk investigating an apparent snuff-flick accidentally discovered by customers. The third, called 'Fake', is about a journalist who concocted a hoax about a murder victim. The middle story, '1999', in which 'nothing happens', suggests a sort of mystery by the end, but didn't draw me in the way the other two did. I especially enjoyed the way the stories operated, this 'drawing in' of the reader, deeper and deeper until you think you've reached the heart of the matter, but find you're only halfway there. They keep going, and that's the mark of a fine storyteller, in my view, because by a certain point of most stories, you think you know how it'

Broken Bulbs

An excerst of a screenplay from the novel 'Broken Bulbs', by Eddie Wright, available on Smashwords FADE IN: INT. NOWHERE The Nowhere is filled with nothing. NO ONE, 20’s, not so tall and not so short, does nothing. NO ONE Nothing! and a couple of memorable quotes: "Why do people insist on pinky swearing? What’s so special about the pinky? Why is it considered such an honest appendage?" "Everything is equal, Frank. Everything is nothing. Everything is our minds interpretation of what we see and the values that we ourselves place on them. All anyone wants in their lives is something. And if we look at anything and if we chose to place any value on any thing in our lives we have something. It all exists within us. We only have what we know. And we only know what we know. And what we know is that everything is actually nothing and nothing is actually everything. Because something and nothing and everything are all the same. All nothing is something

Ins and Outs of Ratings Systems

Thought I'd do a little research on this topic, since it continues to baffle me, and came across some interesting notions. This article , which seems a bit obsessive, in which a blogger discusses how he has refined his use of ratings systems over time, introduced the idea to me that people use these systems in order to guide the services' recommendations to themselves. In other words, if I don't want Amazon to recommend any Romance books to me, I should give Romance books one-star. It is an introverted usage of the ratings systems, and that hadn't occurred to me before. I had assumed that ratings were extroverted, a shouting into the world 'i like this' and 'i hate that', but from the introverted point of view, the rater is talking to the system, not to other people. That makes some sense for sites with recommendation engines (Amazon, for example), but not for others such as YouTube, which are more 'popularity machines' - here only the extroverte

Bilj/Imaginary Friend

Still thinking about the story of the so-called imaginary friend. Maybe it could be a social networking theme. We all have so-called 'friends' on facebook etc ... these are real people but might as well be imaginary since we rarely if ever actually see them in person. Bilj Bjurnjurd was a 'friend' like this in 'Renegade Robot', and he's been angling to have a story written about himself ever since, so just maybe ....


Reading Poe's novel, Narrative of A Gordon Pym, astonished again at his precedence at writing sea adventure novels. is there any genre he did not invent? while adding it to my goodreads list, i checked out the comments, amazed to see people giving it one star! who are these people and what have they ever written? the star rating system has to go. i was glad to see that youtube has done away with it. goodreads and everyone else ought to, as well. it seems to mean nothing more than 'i am an idiot and thought you would like to know that' Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.9

mind control in action

We're seeing it more and more every day. Every time you hear the word 'marxist' you know that someone is merely parroting Fox News. a larger and larger segment of the population is being turned into mynah birds - squawking the talking points that are being repeated ad nauseum into their receptive brains. There is no thought involved - what goes in is what comes out. Today, Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'donnell railed against 'the ruling class', which consists of the 'elite', which is 'marxist' and 'anti-american' and is in direct opposition to "we the people". You could take the rhetoric of the student movement of the nineteen sixties, turn it precisely inside out, and this is what you get. Back then it was 'the system' that was a 'dictatorship' run by the very same elites. ("death to the fascist insect that preys upon the blood of the people") It is entirely a matter of Fox News and its

free != not good

Most of what you hear about free ebooks is how terrible they must be, by definition! free == not good. But just last week I read a wonderful book that I found out about through Wikipedia (free!). The book is titled “The Infant’s Skull” and was written by a 19th century French writer named Eugene Sue. I got the book (for free) from Project Gutenberg (bless them!), and downloaded it onto my Android (open-source) cell-phone and read it on the Aldiko book reader (a free app). Of course, I might also have found it just as well through the public library system, but it’s very unlikely I would ever have found a copy in any bookstore. I have also found some (free) contemporary stories I’ve enjoyed on Smashwords and Feedbooks, Wattpad and Lulu and elsewhere. Like anything, “you have to dig through much earth to find a little gold” (Heraclitus), but that is also a good thing – the adventure of discovery. I like to think that storytelling is an ancient tradition, and for most of human history it

Why I Am Not An Author

To be an author is to get paid for writing. I've heard this often enough that I've become quite comfortable with not being an author. Instead, I am someone who makes up stories and gives them away for free on the internet. I have always wanted to do this, but until the past year or so, it was not a serious option. Now, thanks to the emergent convergence of e-books and e-readers and iPads and iPhones and Androids and all the other great stuff coming out, it is not only an option, but the perfect one for me. I've put out more than two dozen ebooks, mainly through Smashwords and Feedbooks. I love both of those websites for different reasons. Smashwords is doing a great job of distributing through different venues and making itself known in the world. Feedbooks is responsible for a ton of international downloads for my stories. Also, since I'm a huge fan of 19th century literature, I use Feedbooks to feed my own reading habit. It occurs to me that most of my favorite writ

the whole ebook phenomenon should be a reminder that storytelling is not dependent on any particular business model. Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.9


finished the final chapter - the denouement if you will - of my ' Unwritten Rules of Impossible Things ' (formerly 'Deer in the Roomlights') When I know how everything else in the book will go, I have to just write it all down right away. I can't be bothered to hold back any longer. The improvisation is everything to me - the process of thinking about it, day after day, while walking the dog or commuting or taking a bike ride or lunch break, and then, when I can see the end of the line, it's all over.


new twitter hash tag - #twitchar - random character sketches in 129 characters or less #twitchar: little guy named Gustav with long greasy black hair and a a 19th century handlebar mustache - liked only dope, hendrix and harleys

off the charts

literally. Zombie Nights finally dropped to #2 on the Smashwords downloads list (replaced by the Smashwords Style Guide - required reading for all Smashwords authors). It went to #1 on July 1, so it spent 2 months in that spot. The day it went to #1 it was reviled in comments by certain erotica fans who could not believe it had legitimately displaced their favorite smut title (which has since also been surpassed by German Alcala and M. David Blake's fun works). Something about being #1, I guess, brings out the worst in critics. Speaking of which, my poor Death Ray Butterfy has now received 2 1-star ratings on the web site. People like to vote thumbs down, it seems. This person gave it such a low rating because the 'tongue-in-cheek style' was not to his taste. Heck, Lady Gaga is not to my taste. Do I go around marking all her stuff with 1 star? (Um, no.) I don't like Romance Novels - do I click on every one and give it one star? (that would be no, again).

Smashwords Bio

I've been writing for many years and only recently started putting my books out there as free e-books. I've got a whole bunch of them; most are short novels, usually around 20,000 words. I tend to write fast and make everything up as I go along, so the stories often change radically from day to day, and sometimes end up far from where I thought they would go. The joy of writing, for me, is in the adventure of improvisation. Most of my books have elements of science fiction, mystery, satire, suspense, supernatural and more, but I just think of them as stories. 'Renegade Robot' is my newest story. It's a light-hearted comic take on the myth of the 'Singularity', that event after which "nothing will ever be the same again". In these days of constant, well-funded hysteria, how could we distinguish a real Singularity (if and when it comes) from any other panicky 'headline of the day'? In 'Renegade Robot', our hero is a "robot exte

Today in 'Everything We Know Is Wrong'

thanks to the great website,, i learned this today. The classical Greek and Roman statues and buildings which we know as white marble things were originally painted, and brightly painted, like buses in the third world today. And science can now re-create what they actually looked like. Once again, everything we know is wrong. d-greek-statues

Billy Budd, Sailor

I recently saw the movie of this story, with Peter Ustinov, Robert Ryan and a very young Terence Stamp in the title role. The film was quite impressive, as is the book, in different ways. The film went further in illustrating the motives and reasons behind Claggart's hatred of Billy, for one thing, but is very much worth seeing, as the book is worth reading. It's astonishing to know that this story was never published during Melville's lifetime; it was not published until more than 30 years after his death. The story is not so much about good versus evil, or even the cruelty and arbitrary nature of fate, as it is about the inexplicable mysteries of character and events, and the infinite complexity of life.


a tortoise that tells on his friends is a turtle-tale