Tag Archives: Books


A1Self Publishing is the book-writing gold rush for indie authors. There’s money in them thar words and that’s no lie. A lot of people are making a lot of money outside the Big-5 print publishers and good for them. But most of the money is made by people selling stuff to gold-stricken writers.

The ones who made good money off the gold rush sold shovels to the miners. That’s right. They mined the miners. They also sold food and packs and clothes and toiletries. They sold eggs at a dollar a piece and whiskey at five bucks a shot. They sold a shave & a haircut for two-bits, baths for fifty cents, and women for whatever the gal could command.

A2The miners did mine, and some got quite rich, but most got frustrated and gave up.

Indie writing is no different. There has never been a better time to be a writer and I believe that. There is a fortune of information available on line, in print, and in person which you can turn into golden words.

Thing is, you have to pay for most of it.

And a lot of it is good stuff.

A3In the three plus years that I’ve taken writing seriously I’ve spent hundreds, no, thousands of dollars on author services. I’ve got over fifty books, print and electronic, on the craft of writing and the business of marketing. I’ve taken webinars and seminars and sat in bars reading about writing. I’ve paid for editors, formatters, and cover designers. And I’ve given away gobs of information to others.

It’s paid off.

Not in gold – yet. That’s to come.

A4It’s paid off because I’m starting to figure this game out and it’s been because I’ve paid for the help from others. I’ve made tremendous on-line acquaintances. Some actually personal. Some are ether mentors. Some are those who struck it rich.

Here’s an example of someone from my home town who hit the motherlode. I met Chevy Stevens (pen name because her real name is hard to pronounce) when she was a realtor showing a house for me. She aspired to be a writer and she sold the farm to succeed. Literally.

A6Chevy so believed in herself and her craft that she quit the realty business, sold her own house to survive, and sat down to write. She paid a lot of money to have Renni Browne of The Editorial Department work her first book, Still Missing, into a New York Times BestSeller. Now Chevy’s on her fifth BestSeller and internationally known. She’s the first to admit that it wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t pay for good help.

Good help is not hard to find.

I see a lot of online bashing of Author Solutions – a division of Penguin Random House. Now there’s an example of mining the miners. These clever bastards saw the indie gold rush not as a threat to print publishing, but a new vein to be tapped. Author Solutions has some great outfits for sale and they’ll upsell the shit out of you. Draining your wallet is their aim. But if you take the gold dust out of your eyes, and know what you want, there’s value in their pack.

A7An interesting new outfitter is Booktrope. Rachel Thompson, who I highly respect (Rachel in the OC / Bad Redhead Media), referred me to them and she’s now heading one of their imprints called Gravity. This is an interesting concept where you can get published without spending any money. Yep, it’s for real.

Booktrope is a cooperative of writers, editors, designers, and marketers working together to produce quality books. All you have to do, as a writer, is to provide quality content. They’ll help you to get published and, in their model, no one makes money till they all make money. It’s an interesting concept and I hope they succeed.

A8They say that those who can’t do, teach. I’m not so sure about that, but here’s some free dirt from someone who’s still digging a shaft.

For gold on the craft of writing, read Stephen King’s On Writing.

For gold on grammar, read Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.

For golden motivation, read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich.

For the gold on scientific storytelling, read Lisa Cron’s Wired For Story.

For a pot of gold on everything writing, go to Joanna Penn’s TheCreativePenn.com.

What have you dug up that makes a better writer?

I’m dying to see your mine.


Help Wanted – Executioner for part time work.

ExecutionerAs/when required. Must be discreet and obedient to judicial orders. Able to carry out assignments without passing personal judgment; impartial to client age, race, sex, nationality, religion, or pleas of clemency. Persons subject to fits of compassion, mercy, or second guessing need not apply.


Can you do it?

60% of you can. 40% of you can’t. Surveys indicate that a majority of adults support capital punishment… under the right circumstances. So if you support it… you should be able to do it.

PicktonIt’s not too difficult to categorize who should die for high crimes. Child rapist-murderers head the list. So do serial killers like Vancouver’s Willie Pickton who butchered 50 women and fed them to his pigs.

Then there’s the drug gang-bangers and, of course, the mass-weapon terrorists. Most people will do-in some scumbag who knocks off his wife for insurance and takes up with a slut. And screw the cop-killer, too.

But what about the drunk driver who runs down someone for the third time? Or the druggie who gets excessive in the corner-store holdup? Or the wife who flips and knifes her husband and his secret gay lover?

Electric chairIs there merit to ‘the punishment must fit the crime’? What about ‘an-eye-for-an-eye’? Where do you draw the line on who sits on Old Sparky and who sits on ice? What happens if the condemned turns out to be innocent? Can you remotely take the chance? Does it deter others? Is it downright cruel and unusual – an act no civilized society can condone – regardless of the severity of the crime?

Well, hang-on and read the job description. These aren’t your concerns, so park it and ask the missing question.

How am I supposed to do it?

Let’s take a look at your options.

Lethal InjectionThese days, your best instrument is lethal injection. You’ll operate in a sanitary environment easing your patient with a sedative before clinically administering an intravenous flow of phenobarbital to put them to sleep. It’s neat, tidy, and you’ll have little clean-up once you’re done.

Depending on where you’re required, you might still activate an electric chair. Watch The Green Mile first so you won’t be too surprised when something smokes and cooks off.

The gas chamber is still elective and a firing squad – fast. Hanging is a swingin’ method, tried & true, but has some nasty side effects.

Years ago, you’d have a whack of acceptable devices. Crushing by elephants was handy as was using horses to tear limbs apart. Drawing and quartering worked fine, as did burning at the stake, boiling and burying alive, flaying, garroting, stoning, smothering, keelhauling, and impaling. Remember Vlad? Sick sonofabitch he was.

guillitineLet’s not forget the guillotine – messy but meaningful. Ling Chi, or ‘Death By 1000 Cuts’, took a while. Google ‘Cave of Roses’. That’ll creep the bejeezus outa you. Starving and dehydration were simple. The Pendulum was quite a feature and included the benefit of sheer terror. Consider beheading by double-bladed axe and disemboweling as well.

Leave crucifixion alone. It’s been done and has gained quite a sympathetic following.


There’s been a variety of creative tutors, but there’s one frikin’ guy who was really a master.

Vasili BlokhinHe’s Vasili Blokhin, a Major-General in Stalin’s army. He possibly notched-up a hundred thousand. In one month alone Old Vasili personally executed 7,000 Polish soldiers, setting an ambitious quota of 300 per night. To keep up the pace he used a single shot to the base of the neck from a .25 Walther pistol, being handed fresh magazines by an eager apprentice. Vasili eventually drank himself to death. Some say it was suicide by vodka. Don’t matter; he made it to the Guinness Book of Records.

So… are you up for the job?

Got what it takes?

Decide soon. All applications must be in by midnight.