Month: June 2012

Chase of a Lifetime on Smashwords, Kobo, and More…

When I first published “Chase of a Lifetime” on Amazon, I opted for the lender program and with that program I wasn’t allowed to distribute the book anywhere else for three months.

It’s been three months and COAL is now available on most major retail web sites where e-books are sold. I’m still working on getting it up on and a few more sites.

But here are a list of places where it is for sale:



Barnes & Noble




And still on Amazon.

I know it’s up with my other published books on Smashwords as I publish this post, but it might take a while for it to be added to the other sites. I’ll keep checking over the weekend.

When it’s for sale on ARe, I’ll post about it with links. This is the hard part about self-publishing…learning how to upload and distribute to all these different places without messing up. Thankfully, Tony’s been doing most of this for me.

Fred Karger Ends Campaign

I just received an e-mail from the Fred Karger staff informing me that he’s ended his campaign for President. It’s been interesting to watch. I’ve enjoyed posting about it for significant historical reasons. Here’s the e-mail below as I received it.

Statement by Fred Karger LAGUNA BEACH, CA – “After 2 ½ years of campaigning as a candidate for President of the United States I am officially ending my historic campaign today June 29, 2012. It’s been one hell of a ride, and I want to thank the thousands of people across this country who volunteered, contributed, opened their homes, came to our events and cheered me on. Special thanks to the thousands more who shared their stories with me in person, via email, facebook, twitter, etc. Every one of you kept me going. It’s been the experience of a lifetime. I’ve made many new friends and undoubtedly picked up a few more detractors. I hope and trust that my discussion of the key issues helped to open dialog on fixing the economy, balancing the federal budget, creating jobs, education reform, the environment, immigration reform, ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and fighting for full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. We must move forward on these issues and many more. A big thank you goes out to our incredible campaign team, most of whom have been around for nearly the entire 2 ½ years. Your dedication, spirit and great ideas made all the difference. I plan to rest up for awhile and then I will be back at it to help in the fight for LGBT equality. We will let you know as soon as our exact course is determined. We closed our Utah Primary campaign with a big bang by airing the hard-hitting commercial “STOP THE HATE!!!” aimed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church). It was produced and directed by Melanie Marden of MM Films, LLC. CLICK HERE to Watch.

Writing About a Medical Marijuana Dispensary for Next Book in Chase of a Lifetime Series

Writing about a medical marijuana dispensary sounded like fun when I first started. I’m finishing up the next book in the Chase of a Lifetime series, “Chase of a Dream,” and I needed something interesting for one of the characters. For those who have read the first book, the character I’m talking about is Cain Mayfield. He’s Len Mayfield’s grown son from his first marriage to a woman.

In short, Cain shows up in Los Angeles in the beginning of the book and he moves in with Len, Jim, and their three-year old, Culum. And Cain’s connection to the family isn’t just because Len is Cain’s father. Cain is also Jim’s best friend from childhood and Cain’s the biological father of Culum.

The problem with Cain is that since he graduated from Standford he’s been floundering around. He flunked out of grad school and moved to Hawaii to live with his mother and screwed up there. So now he’s in LA, trying to find his own dream at the expense of Len and Jim’s regular routine. But he’s also Culum’s biological father and they want Culum to grow up knowing his dad.

Cain is an interesting character in the sense that he’s still not fond of the fact that his dad is gay…but he doesn’t hold this against old friend Jim, who happens to be his dad’s husband. It gets complicated sometimes, but the point is that Cain is always doing something unexpected. And one day he decides he wants to open up a legal medical marijuana dispensary in the LA area and his dad, Len, hits the roof. Len is conservative and he doesn’t get the concept of legal weed. So Len tells Cain that if he wants to open his own marijuana dispensary he has to get a job at an estabilished dispensary first to see if that’s what he really wants to do with his life.

And that’s exactly what Cain does. He applies for a job at a legal medical marijuana dispensary on Sunset that’s not only very high-end and caters to the best clients in Beverly Hills, but is also owned and operated by a transgender with whom Cain winds up having an affair. Without giving out any spoilers, this creates an interesting conflict…with regard to both the transgender relationship and Cain’s career goals.

My problem in writing this is that I discovered that owning a medical marijuana dispensary anywhere is not as simple as they make it look on TV or the movies. It’s one of the most complicated businesses to run in the universe and there are legal details that never seem to end. And even if all those details are covered, there are still many risks and costs can run very high. And I’m not expert in the field of running a legal medical marijuana dispensary. The information available is sketchy at best. So I ultimately decided to handle this subject with great care. I can’t go into any details about it because that would spoil a few surprises. But I did take the topic very seriously and I think I made the right decision with regard to how I did it.

Aside from all this, the basic plot of this next book in the COAL series revolves around Len and Jim building their family, their lives, and their careers. Though they love their completely renovated home in the Hollywood Hills, Len starts to miss Texas, his horses, and his old ranch. So they wind up moving to a ranch outside of Los Angeles that’s still close enough to their jobs and Culum’s pre-school in West Hollywood. And dealing with Cain and the medical marijuana dispensary is just one of the challenges they face while doing this.

Do Authors Need Outlines?

I spotted an interesting post about writing outlines, written by a young blogger I’ve been following who I think is very talented.

I commented about being on the fence with regard to outlines. I’ve written outlines with some projects and I haven’t with others. For me it all depends on how fast the story is coming, and whether or not I have it outlined in my head…if that makes sense.

And for me it’s only with novels. I never use an outline for a short story. Something (or someone) inspires me and I get the idea and run with it, so to speak.

You can get there from here to read the post in full.

Teens Raise Money Through Kickstarter

I’ve posted about kickstarter before. It’s a web site where struggling artists can ask for financial support for projects they are working on. If people believe these projects are worthy of support, they can patronize the artist through kickstarter. I published a guest post about what author/publisher Cecilia Tan is trying to do here.

In this case it’s a group of teens.

The authors and editors behind Canteen Magazine work with under-served Harlem 7th-graders to promote a love of reading, writing and photography. At the end of each academic year, the volunteers produced a printed book compilation called canTeens. This year, they lack the funds to create the 2012 edition of “canTeens” which is why they have turned to Kickstarter in the hopes of raising $5,000. Above, we’ve embedded a video about the project–what do you think?

I think it’s a wonderful idea and a good example of how the web has enhanced our lives. This couldn’t have been done twenty years ago. No bake sale or car wash ever raised THAT much money for any school function.

You can read more here, at galleycat.

Amazon, Dorchester, Vacuous Nasty Bloggers, and Thoughts From Nora Ephron…

This seems to have been a particularly evil week on the Interwebs for nasty bloggers. I read where one extremely decent elderly gay author (who happens to have great books and great sales with a great publisher) was ripped to shreds on one particularly vicious blog. As a result, he announced he no longer wants to write. I’ve seen so-called gay fiction authors attack other authors in public, which is something I rarely see people in other professions ever do (try to get a doctor to trash, or even testify against, another doctor). And I’ve read blog posts where many authors seem both disillusioned and frustrated about all of this. I don’t blame them. I feel the same way.

On top of all this, Nora Ephron passed away. I wasn’t always a huge fan of everything she did.I would have rather seen more Julia than Julie in the film “Julie and Julia”. (Many don’t know this but Julia Child was often attacked by vicious jealous people in the world of cookery during her time, so it’s not something new.) But I loved how Ephron did it, and I respected everything she did. I think Ephron will go down as one of the greats of our time.

This photo I found on social media is a great example of what I’m talking about. And when you think about how short life is, those vicious, vacuous blogs that go for the kill really don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. I’m not a huge fan of authors behaving badly in public. But what is considered bad behavior covers far more ground than authors attacking reviews/reviewers. It also covers authors who attack other authors with reviews and opinion pieces for no other reason than to spread hate.

I also saw this good news this morning. It looks as if Amazon is trying to acquire Dorchester’s assets, which would mean all authors/agents who haven’t been paid will finally see their money.

Amazon Publishing would buy Dorchester’s entire backlist and customer list and would pay Dorchester authors any outstanding royalties they are owed.

I remember following the Dorchester debacle while it was happening and I felt bad for the authors. And what happened to Dorchester is something that could happen to any publisher. Once again, you can’t fault Amazon for doing something no one esle seemed willing to do. You can also read more here at a blog I frequent often, written by Richard Curtis.

And a little further down is the good news that authors and agents who had despaired of recovering royalties from the sinking publisher will be made whole by Amazon: “All publication contacts regarding certain literary works (collectively, the “Works”) and related outbound license agreements of DP (collectively, the “Contracts”), subject to the purchaser negotiating certain amendments with the authors of the Works in exchange for payment by Amazon Publishing of the full amount of back royalties that DP indicates is owed to those authors as of May 31, 2012…”

Another Way for Libraries to Evolve That Involves Self-Publishing

I’ve been watching how libraries will change in the coming years because I’ve always been a library supporter. I’ve seen doom and gloom posts that say libraries are dead, and I’ve also seen posts that say libraries will evolve into something different…more like community learning centers.

I tend to agree with the latter. I don’t think libraries will ever disappear. And the article to which I’m linking might be an indication as to how they will evolve in the near future. Also take into account the mention of self-publishing, which seems to be making headlines everywhere I go these days.

Digital publishing company Smashwords and Califa, a consortium of 220 California libraries, have formed a partnership to distribute Smashwords eBooks in libraries and to give member libraries the ability to let patrons publish eBooks through Smashwords.

Library Journal explained the self-publishing process: “A patron will be able to use the Califa interface, being built with VuFind, to upload their manuscripts to Smashwords, which then will make the books available to its retail partners (such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony). But Smashwords will also notify Califa that a patron has uploaded a title and see if Califa wishes to purchase the title for its collection.”

Less than four years ago publishing professionals were not only laughing at e-publishing, but also self-publishing. You can read more by clicking the link below.

What in the world will happen next?

Fred Karger, Latter Day Saints, Stop Hate

Fred Karger has been in Utah recently, and the ads he’s running seem to be targeting the Latter Day Saints more so than his oponent, Mitt Romney (who happens to be a Mormon). Karger made a video to which I’ll link below. But here are a few things I thought were interesting.

Karger has been waging his crusade against the church’s electioneering since he helped co-found Californians Against Hate in 2008 to battle efforts to repeal California’s amendment allowing same-sex marriage. Keeping an eye on campaign money coming from out of state, Karger first drew attention to large donations coming from the LDS Church and helped a Wall Street Journal reporter break the story of the church’s involvement in the election.

Who could forget that year? I know I can’t. We all took one step forward and two back. And though I’ve posted about Karger running for office many times here on this blog I didn’t know he was this passionate about this topic.

In April 2011, Karger largely self-funded a campaign for the presidency that he acknowledged from the beginning was more about sending a message than winning—or even coming close to winning.

The message Karger sent was twofold: that a gay, Republican candidate could start a dialogue about how the party views gay members, and that the LDS Church and, by proxy, LDS presidential candidate Romney, should be held accountable for campaigning against same-sex marriage.

And that’s what I was waiting to see somewhere in this article. For those who have not been following this, you can read more here. It’s a long article and I believe worth the time.

Should I Change My Blog Title to "Raucous Manx?"

I’ve been thinking about changing my blog title to “Raucous Manx.” That’s right, you heard it here first: “Raucous Manx.” A friend of mine on social media recently commented that there’s a great deal of vitriol on the Internet these days, but no one really does it well…not like Truman Capote would have done it if he were still alive today. (I’m also working without spellcheck today, thanks to google blogger, and I’m seriously thinking of moving this blog to wordpress sooner than I thought I would.)

And that one comment resonated with me. The reason I’m considering a name change for the blog is because I’m thinking of starting a new feature, a regular column where I review blogs and web sites, not books. And I need something cute and catchy…with that homespun flavor, if you will, that says I’m a tough guy with a big mouth, I am. I’m a killer snark, and don’t you forget it. You know, something that will make me stand out as a defender of all that is good and evil in the world of blogging to make me look good all the time at the expense of others. I’m sure you’ve seen what I’m talking about more than once.

For those who don’t know, I used to be a staff member of and I wrote reviews and did interviews with all kinds of gay bloggers. At the time the site was owned by a nice gay couple from NY and they truly had a passion for personal blogging. When they sold the blog to a larger company, I moved on because I didn’t want to work with anyone else. If you go to now you’ll find a few of my older posts, but for some reason most have disappeared.

I learned a lot about blogging and bloggers while I was reviewing/interviewing for BGB. Most of the reviews I wrote were positive, because I didn’t think it was my job to judge an amateur blogger’s personal content. But not all the reviews were positive. Sometimes I had to post the occassional negative review because something bothered me that I couldn’t ignore. It was usually something involving ethics or scamming…something the blogger was doing for monetary gain. Thankfully, that didn’t happen often.

A lot of those original bloggers I wrote about are now gone. One thing I learned about blogging is that it’s not forever in most cases. Bloggers get tired and they move on with their lives.

A great deal has changed in the world of blogging since 2004 when I started working with BGB as a blog reviewer. And that’s the reason I’m thinking about starting my own feature here on this blog as a blog reviewer. If I do this I’m going to do it differently than I did it before. I think the world of blogging has changed drastically since 2004 in some cases and I’m not going to be as nice as I used to be. I’ll be fair, but that doesn’t always mean nice.

Back in the day, when television industry first started out, sitcoms were shot live, with an audience, and there were tons of mistakes. Television commercials were amateur and corny compared to the high tech commercials of today. Who could ever forget the episode of “I Love Lucy,” where Lucy and Ethel go on TV to hock “Aunt Martha’s Old Fashioned Salad Dressing?” It’s classic early TV, it’s about as amateur as TV got back then, and it’s absolutely wonderful.

And I’ve always looked at the Internet the same way, including blogging. In the beginning a good deal of what happened on the Internet mimicked what happened in the television industry’s early days. Only at the time, just like in the 1950’s, we on the Internet didn’t realize it was all so amateur. And that was just as wonderful as the TV commercial for “Aunt Martha’s Old Fashioned Salad Dressing.”

However, the Internet is changing and blogging has evolved since the early days. And I think it’s time that so-called serious…ambitious…bloggers were held accountable for what they do and what they post. In other words, if a blogger is trying to pass as a serious, informed source of information, it’s time to step up his or her game. I’m not talking about personal blogs here. People who maintain a personal blog without showing aggressive intentions for monetary gain or blogging “fame” should just keep doing what they’ve always done. I’m not talking about authors who blog and promote their books. I’m not talking about my blog because I have no intention of blogging for monetary gain ever. What I’m talking about deals with bloggers who show ambitious intentions of being journalists, without a background in journalism. Because those who do show aggressive behavior, and who do seem to be trying to attract an audience for monetary or personal gain in the sense of web presence need to be held accountable for what they publish on a blog. The days of “Aunt Martha’s Old Fashioned Salad Dressing” are coming to an end.

Look at it this way, if you’re writing a book review blog and that blog is filled with ads and promos, you’d better know how to spell and you’re blog better be damn near perfect. Or, if you’re attacking other people on your blog and you’re doing it with the intention of gaining a readership in a way that I think runs the thin line of sensationalism, you’d better not be posting corn recipes from your childhood between attacks, because that looks stupid and amateur and you’re not going to be taken seriously. I also think that if you want to be a serious blogger it’s time to cut the crap with the fake identities and stupid names and fake photos. I want to see real names and identities that are willing to stand behind the words they publish on a blog. And I want to see a photo so I can place the words with a face. Barbara Walters didn’t get to where she is today by doing the news with a name like “Tenacious Baby,” and a fake photo that shows nothing more than a wide brimmed straw hat.

Of course I’m still undecided about all this. And I doubt I’ll retitle this blog to “Raucous Manx.” If I did change the name to “Raucous Manx,” it would be exactly what I’m trying to show is wrong with certain blogs. In other words, the days of cute homespun snark are over and it’s time for the serious bloggers who want to be real players to drop the painfully cheesy fake names like “Raucous Manx” if they want to be taken seriously. And this time around, when and if I do decide to review a blog/blogger, I’m still going to be as objective as I can be. But I won’t hold back with the bad reviews anymore. And trust me, if you think you’ve seen bad reviews before what I’m going to write will make those bad reviews look like a romp through Disney World.

And I’m in an interesting position as far as blogging goes. I’m not using a fake identity, I don’t sockpuppet, and I have nothing to hide. Therefore, I have nothing to fear. Which is also why you’ll see me reviewing more books and authors I don’t like in the near future.