My Experiment

Writing itself is an experiment and I’m coming at it from three different vantage points at the moment.

It Has Begun.

1. I’m writing a novel.

2. I’m querying a novel.

3. I’m promoting two novels.

Three stages of a novel’s lifecycle. And, these three stages force a different interpretation and relationship with the story and how it’s built, simultaneously.

Those three stages have to convince three different types of customers to become interested in each story.

Let’s start with the last in the list but the first to have been imagined. The promotion of a story. A practice in patience and persistance. Yes, writing a long project is already a test of one’s ability to push through disinterest and frustration. Well, wait until you ask the public, all 300 million of them, to care about your measely little story. Disinterest and frustration abound. How many sales? Reads and likes? Are they following? The excitement of positive reviews is tempered like your flaming sword dipped in the water of cold hard fact. The fact that you’ll have to continue to chase readers.

Don’t worry this will hold true for your entire career.

Hated dating?

This is dating.

But will the story work and pull the reader in where they can begin the journey in the first place? Let’s hope.

Promoting the story, finding all the different ways to excite interest and test the quickest of log lines. The most enticing juicy morsels. Details readers will love. Are those the gooey bits that will set the spell and encourage the reader to read? maybe.

Querying. Oh, boy. The saviest, most ruthless audience you will ever approach. The only reader besides yourself that will assess your book on whether it can save their life.

I mean it.

Your book will save their life. And your own. Working for a living means the chances taken, the risks, are real. The next time you complain about whether you get a rejection or not, ask yourself if you wrote something that another person will stake their livelihood on. It’s what you’re asking of an agent. That will follow onto the publisher.

Don’t get too high on yourself, you’re not the only one they are selling but each drop fills the bucket…

So, come to the realization: you’ve worked and worked to write something that might convince a savvy mercenary that you and your silly idea are worth throwing in with your lot. That, my friends, is the job.

Lastly, writing the novel. This journey involves convincing yourself that it is worth the effort and frustration to attack a silly story about things that don’t exist to forge beauty and truth. Or is it that truth is beauty, beauty: truth. Continue cutting, shaping and shining this jewel until someone can’t look away if they lay their eyes on it. Make the story sing the spell and you’ll have convinced yourself to finish it.

Then, you’ll do that to the story many more times. That tale will reflect not your fair visage but the grand world in your audience’s eyes through your filter.

After simply achieving the spun gold produced by the toil of demi-gods, you will pull out a single thread in an attempt to convince someone else to love it as much as you do. By winning the trust of the few individuals who guard the keep, you will use that thread to convince everyone (EVERYONE) – well people who like to read – but all the people – with better things to do in their lives than look at your embarrassing little trinket.

The long and short of it? Convince yourself. Convince someone else. Then convince a bunch more people that your bauble will give them the joy and wonder they seek.

Do it well enough and you’ve earned the right to do it all over again.

If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, you know that once you’ve reached the top, it’s kinda cool. Nice view and all. A little rest. Some water. A snack.

You climb back down.

Then you do it again if you can convince yourself that it’s worth it.

Try ’em, you’ll like it.

California Hustle cover and link
Reaping Independence cover and link

Why Indie?

It starts with a story.

It always starts with a story!

Last night I was communicating with a bookstore about where they can get my book. They wanted to stock it on their shelves and on their website. At the same time, right next to that email, I received an answer to an agent’s full request for a different book from earlier in the year. Back when I received the original request I was excited. Someone other than critique partners and writing groups would read my manuscript. That’s fun.

I knew the response could be a positive or negative but that request was a progression in the process.

A sign post.

Then crickets. And more crickets. I followed up with this agent and received no response.

In short, I wrote the whole thing off. Non-responsive = Bad Partner. Bullet dodged.

Then comes this answer six months after I flushed the whole experience. A form rejection.

I’ll ask you: which was the better interaction? The dismissal and disinterest or the engagement and real interest?

I know which is healthier.

Look, I’ve been in business for myself for over twenty years. I probably have trust issues for all sorts of reasons. I’m going to offer a hard earned piece of advice that is true for relationships of the business and personal persuasion. If they are bad on the first date, once you’re attached… Forget it.

In any case, I decided to go for it.

I’m not going to say I’ll sell a bunch or even any of my books. However, I bet I will sell some.

What happens next is the real reason I told the big story – the novel – the book: for people to experience it. I don’t know about you but my muses expect an audience.

I can only speak from my own, very recent, experience. Ruminating on my immediate reaction to preparing and publishing, I came to a realization. It released me. The process released me from all of the searching and worrying and hoping that the querying process put me through.

I am back in control of my story, my book and my dreams. I’ve sold some books and gotten some solid customer reviews and that’s gratifying. I’m not done pushing my story of Kwynn and Co. or chasing big publishers but I’m growing and learning about other parts of the process.

The rest is as Agent Kate McKean so eloquently puts it is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
(She talks about this today here.)

Go for it. My story deserves to meet other people’s imaginations. Self-publication is a bunch of work and not the end of the frustration. ‘Going Indie’ is simply a different fork in the road. A good story needs people. This story deserves to see the light of day not the inside of a drawer.

Like that kid who believes in magic, I took a deep breath and sent those dandelion seeds out on the wind.

If you’d like to buy my book, it’s on Amazon and will hit Bookshop.org shortly.

If you like my ramblings, you should subscribe. I do this once in awhile.


One of the ways I like to look at the world are through inspirations. Moments, thoughts and ideas that give me a taste of delight. Songs, books, stories and shows.

It’s terrific when someone’s writing I respect and find inspiring writes about something I, too, find worth cogitating on. You know, that mental chewing that usually creates a little more than you started with.

Annalee Newitz is a writer whose book, Autonomous, had an affect on Reaping Independence.

But. They discuss another book (and tv show) that also had an affect on how I thought about the book and world in Reaping Independence. Here’s the post: https://buttondown.email/thehypothesis/archive/the-singularity-is-officially-over/

William Gibson, of course, and cyberpunk and Neuromancer – but also, importantly, The Periperal. The show is rolling right now and I’ve started it but the book opened some doors for me in ways I’d forgotten until I watched the show. Ouroboros, you know. Circle of life. Creation and destruction.

The destruction of the idea of the singularity isn’t the main piece of my thinking. In fact, I’ve never been convinced in something so uniform. The world is more chaotic and random than to suffer a single unifying force.

Reaping Independence functions on the premise that even with a sentient AI at its center, the individual will break free. Become Independent. Seeds that are planted will be reaped in time.

And often in ways we do not expect or intend.

Really, the punk part that might have been discarded.

I will let the longer piece speak for now, if you’ll give it a chance.

Art in my mind

Someone asked me about an artist mentioned in Episode 3 of Reaping Independence: Who is Noah Purifoy and was he really an artist? Yes, he was an accomplished artist that made a difference. The artworks mentioned exist.

Here’s a look at them:

His legacy lives on. You can read about him, the outdoor museum and his legacy here: http://noahpurifoy.com/about-noah

His art says so much. “Junk art, assemblage art … it’s as close to human existence because it’s all castoffs we are utilizing here,” Noah Purifoy once said. What if L.A. didn’t throw people away?


Thanks for reading and keep reaching out! I love hearing what you think of Kwynn and rest


One of many beginnings

Many things influence the journey to writing. Like life itself, we take a circuitous route.

There’s this terrific fabulist noir book of Ray Bradbury’s: Death is a Lonely Business.

I had a teacher in high school named Sheila Kasprzyk. (https://www.facebook.com/sheila.kasprzyk/tributes) She was a wonderful teacher, rest her soul.

An aside. In double checking the spelling, I found another person who mentioned Sheila Kasprzyk at San Clemente High School. But he’s had a lot more success at his story telling. Let’s name drop:

There are many teachers that helped me realize some potential along the way. Most I couldn’t hear, or believe, until I looked backwards. At the time, she saw something I didn’t see in myself. Of the many papers we wrote for her class, one was a book review. You can guess what I picked. I’ll get to more about the book in a minute.

When I got the review back, Mrs. Kasprzyk wrote, “Finally. This is what I’ve been looking for from you. Where has this been?” Something of the sort.

There was more but I got an A. I couldn’t please her before and now I cranked something out and she praised it. Not only that, she let me know that she saw potential in me. Something I did not have for myself.

For me: decent grades sure. But no real interest in school.

To paraphrase Maurice Ruffin: When you write, you honor all those who encouraged your writing. People don’t waste their breathe. They meant it when they said you had a gift.

Now, believe me when I say that I still remember her comments. Her belief. Her effort.

When I re-read Death is a Lonely Business recently, I was surprised to see an influence on my first novel, Reaping Independence. The Venice canals, the pier, the beach. Bradbury’s storytelling among many others. Many, many others. But in the most recent chapter that posted in this serialized novel, there’s that sense of magic in the movies and place. Santa Monica. Hollywood. The people.

So what am I getting at?

A couple of things. You never know what the encouragement you share could mean to someone. (Same with the discouragement but that’s another story for another time.)

A book, some thought and a few well placed words influenced something I made ~30 years later.

What else am I getting at?

Well, go read my book. Just a chapter. You can do a chapter at a time and it’s just getting started. In fact, a new chapter dropped today. Go on. Give me a read. It’s a romp. Maybe you’ll see something in it like a teacher did in me a long (long) time ago.

Serialized Stories

There’s a long history of serialized novels but what interested me most recently was The Martian by Andy Weir.

Not only did it spawn a great movie directed by one of my old bosses (Ridley Scott), it was a terrific book in its own right.

I heard an interview of Andy Weir by James Altucher on his podcast and had to read the book.

(Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://jamesaltucher.com/…/ep-92-andy-weir-the…/ )

Weir started publishing and people really liked what he was doing so, of course, he kept going. Publishing week by week. He published to his website and then posted the entire book to Amazon. People were excited and shared the book with friends. Eventually he garnered interest from publishers and producers. Good for him, right?!

Weir serialized some other stories: some fan fiction, a Sherlock Holmes. He has also become successful with two more published novels and I can only imagine more on the way.

Anyway, I love the idea of telling a story over time. There are so many cool aspects of the process of stretching the story out. Anticipation, cliffhangers, even changing the story as we go along. Also feedback on what’s happening.

I will probably talk some more about other serialized books but wanted to let you know a little about what I’m up to. Which is sharing some info about reading and introducing my story with you.

If you’re of the mind, start reading my tale about Kwynn, Glen and Murray. It’s a quest of power and blackouts. It’s set up to read a little at a time. No big commitments. And hop on or off anytime. It on your device’s Kindle app. Thanks for reading.

Scramble, Scree and Surprise – the work…

Besides my work life, I am beset with another work-life. In this new / different / ancient side of work-life I have many things to do and master.

Not the least of which is how to say something new and different. To say it like no one has said it before. These blogs…. I’m often stopped in my tracks. In my attempt to give more than mere shuffling steps on the trail, I am stopped short for much too much scrambling in the scree. I end up with gravel in my shoes. You end up with a weak metaphor about hiking.

Currently, the two main tasks on my proverbial trail map are: Continue reading “Scramble, Scree and Surprise – the work…”

Uh Oh

My technologist tells me I gotta start using this site. She will shut it down. And she can do it. Ms. Baldesarri’s got the keys and the passwords. Use it or lose it, as they say.

Updates and hosting and plugins. Social media. It’s all set up and I don’t do shiite with it, she says.

So, enough of it. Let’s start using it.

I will not make anymore boring art.

That Girl Got a Guitar

“That girl got a guitar at her grandpa’s funeral,” Jimmy was sayin’.

I didn’t know much but it seemed a strange thing. To get a guitar at a funeral. For making music? And, at a funeral. I never touched one, let alone play it but they’s for people who got something to… I don’t know, just something I don’t get.

Continue reading “That Girl Got a Guitar”