Thursday, December 31, 2015

Kurt Vonnegut explains the shape of stories

I saw this great talk this week and I had to share:

--I am going to graph my stories like this to see how they come out!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Quotes of the Week

Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent in your office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
—Jack Kerouac

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
—Ernest Hemingway

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make.
—Truman Capote

If a book is well written, I always find it too short.
—Jane Austen

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.
—Emile Buchwald

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.
—Martin Luther

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island.
—Walt Disney

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
—Oscar Wilde

What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.
—J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, December 28, 2015

Read This Week: The Cat who Walks Through Walls

I had not read this in many years. I read it before I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I didn't realize it was a sequel. 

"Tolliver must die"

The Cat who Walks Through Walls starts off as a murder mystery in space and totally runs around the bend before the end.

It's not Heinlein's best book but it is worth the effort.

The title of the book refers to a cat by the name of Pixel, who seems to be wherever the narrator happens to be. In one scene Pixel does, in fact, walk through a wall, and it is explained that Pixel is too young to know that such behavior is impossible.

Pixel inspired me to include a cat in a future novel. My cat will be based on my own cat Bailey.

 --Good stuff, thumbs up.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Short Story Collection is coming along.

Short Number 5 has been released: Oklahoma Salvage

All of these are currently available for FREE. But get them while you can, because when they are all published they will be released in a single volume!

I currently have outlines for fifteen short stories all together. We shall see!

My cat Bailey thinks I use too many exclamation points.

He may be right.

I'm a very excitable man...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quotes of the Week

Write like it matters, and it will.
- Libba Bray

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
~Anaïs Nin

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
~E.L. Doctorow

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
~Elmore Leonard

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekhov

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Solstice 31 Short Story: Oklahoma Salvage

When a stranger comes to Oklahoma Salvage looking for a shuttle to buy off the books, Harv and Alex Reardon must discover the truth before time runs out.

Something strange is happening in the Oklahoma desert.

Harv Reardon is the owner of Oklahoma Salvage, an enormous graveyard for trucks, cars, planes, shuttles and space ships in various states of decay. With the help his great grand daughter Alex they help a mysterious stranger rehab a ship for space flight.

Something just doesn't feel right to Harv and Alex.

--This is the 5th Solstice 31 Saga Short Story.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Number 1 Woohoo!

My Second Scifi Novel, The Broken Cage, Hit Number 1 in the Hard Science Fiction category on the Amazon Best Sellers list for FREE!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Solstice 31 Saga Book 2: The Broken Cage - FREE

Solstice 31 Saga: Book 2
Solstice 31 Saga: Book 1
Just in time for Christmas! Get the Kindle edition of The Broken Cage for free on Amazon!

An early Christmas gift for you. For a limited time. Get em while they're hot!

You can get Still Falling in several formats:

---Check out the links on the right for FREE short stories!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Ray Holloway

Tell me about yourself, Ray?

More than the standard bio. Born in Monroe, Louisiana, by the age of three I was in Texas, where I grew up. I have served in the management of various print shops and restaurants, and have now retired to do what I have wanted to do most of my life, write stories.

I have been writing in some form or another since I was thirteen, and recently published a book of poetry that was written over a span of forty years. I currently live in Kentucky with my wife Pam and our two calico cats. We have four children, and four grandchildren with another one due early next year.

My main interest is in Science Fiction, but I have written two short stories that stray from that category.

Tell me about your current Book:

When a small girl is brought into an east Texas medical clinic, psychiatric intern Ann Harrison must suspend everything she has ever believed in, or else lose the patient.

Write the verbose blurb. Make me want to rush to Amazon an buy it! Make me fear that I will be socially outcast if I don’t read your book!  Ann Harrison has gone through life as a cynic, not believing in much of anything or anyone. When she meets James, the empath, she realizes that she is going to have to reevaluate the choices she has made...

Amazon page. The Empath

What are you working on now? 

I am currently working on a scifi novel about a brilliant scientist who invents a time machine just as his personal life is falling apart. In a freak accident, he is sent back to a time before he made some very bad decisions.

What is your favorite beverage while you write? 

For the most part, coffee.

What is your favorite Website? 


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quotes of the Week

"Writing is still the wildest thing I know."
- Natalie Goldberg

"The most durable thing in writing is style...”
- Raymond Chandler

“Everything in life is a story just waiting to be written.”
- M.G. Marsh

“All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.”
—Steve Almond

“When I graduated from high school I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library 3 days a week for 10 years.”
—Ray Bradbury

“Let us answer a book of ink with a book of flesh and blood.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
—George R. R. Martin

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Inspiration Images

Writing prompts are an important tool for me. Haunting images really work for me.

--Who is he? What does he want from me...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reading: The Silkworm

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Last week I read The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.

This is a sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling, a Cormoran Strike story, book 2.

I really enjoyed the book. The characters are really great in these stories. Strike is great, fully developed and flawed.

You really do need to read these in order because enough of the story is based on the events of the first book.

And by the way, this was actually written by J.K. Rowling but is NOT a book for kids. It has very adult themes. In a good way, but not cool for kids.

--Thumbs up for this one!

Shopping time!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Nik Krasno

Tell me about yourself, Nik.

I'm 40 plus now. I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, then - USSR. When the enormous country started to crumble politically, economically, territorially, I didn't see that much sense in staying put. Having an opportunity to leave for Israel as well as appetite for adventures (who doesn't at the age of 17?), I immigrated to the Mediterranean's at the age of 17. I was lucky enough to be admitted to the law faculty at Tel Aviv University, where I spent few excellent years. Not studying that hard, but rather partying, travelling, playing cards and indulging in other foolishness of the YA. As I had to finance tuition as well as living I worked hard both before and during the uni. At some jobs I didn't stay for long, but I washed dishes, operated embroidery machines at textile factory, worked as a pool boy in a hotel, as a janitor at basketball arena, as a cashier, bouncer and shift manager at a student night club. I might've even forgotten few more occupations.

After passing my Bar exam, I saw a good business opportunity in now independent Ukraine, which had a great potential, but lacked even most basic things, amenities and business heritage.

In the legal sphere I'd established a law office in Kiev with local and Israeli partners, while on the business side I worked for an international business group, specializing in emerging markets. Although engaged mostly in real estate projects, I had to a lesser degree dealt with privatization, defense, telecommunications and other spheres in Ukraine, CIS and Eastern Europe in general.

As my girlfriend and later - wife stayed in Israel all along, I used to live for some years on the plane between Israel and Eastern Europe. 

In 2005 I 'returned' to Israel, but still every once in a while traveled to Ukraine to supervise the law office.

Tell me about your current Book:

It's called MORTAL SHOWDOWN, aired this summer.

When his brother is kidnapped, Michael, the Oligarch, needs to disarm the trap within 48 hours or turn himself in at the Red Square in Moscow.  

Mortal Showdown is an action - packed, snappy sequel to "Rise of an Oligarch", sending the reader on a kaleidoscopic race through violence, sex, drugs, scamming and anti-scamming, political upheaval and murder. 

Michael (Misha) Vorotavich – a Ukrainian oligarch who was rapidly climbing the Forbes rich list, wakes from a coma caused by an assassination attempt, and realizes that he's in the thick of a multilayered attack on him and his business empire. Betrayed by parts of his inner circle and stripped of his most lucrative assets, it appears that Michael’s position of power and influence is all but over. Among his numerous adversaries is one of Russia’s most influential strongmen, which renders slim Michael's chances of survival. Given no time to prepare or even to grasp what's going on, he first needs to facilitate the release of his kidnapped brother. 

From rich and powerful, Michael very quickly turns battered and fugitive. Counting on his wits and a handful of loyal associates, he searches for a way to outwit each of his opponents and extend his support to his country, attacked in the meanwhile, to save her from the Russian bear’s grasp. You may love or hate him, but you will struggle to stay indifferent to this controversial character. Powerful, violent, sarcastic and a cynical son-of-a-bitch, Michael is also a thoughtful, almost philosophic character, loving family man, a true friend, patriotic citizen and a complex and charismatic man.
In order to have the slightest chance in a face-off with his prime nemesis, Michael needs to attack head on, undertaking the greatest risk of his entire life. Unfortunately, the dangerous mission goes wrong from the very beginning...

With Russian-Ukrainian confrontation at the background of the story, and violent and suspenseful scenes taking place around the globe, you just need to free up an evening, switch off your cellular phone and place some snacks and drinks (goes well with beer, vodka, single malt scotch & absinthe) within easy reach as you immerse yourself into this violent, transgressive, outrageous, incredible story.    

What are you working on now?

A sequel, of course, that shall conclude the trilogy (at least for the time being), since after the third installment Michael would need to become 'galactic' instead of 'global' and that's science fiction that I don't do -:)

Just to give its general outline: 

Michael is already the richest person on Earth; but those who helped him to make the last leap, have their own plans and ambitions, where Michael is not exactly the prime beneficiary. Discovering that the global architecture is somewhat different from how it's perceived, Michael needs to make a choice whether to play along the rules or try to change them. Those who met Michael in previous installments would have no problem to guess what Michael's choice would be -:)


What is your favorite beverage while you write?

Water from a cooler - not too sexy, I know, but at least - truthful. But I'll tell you what - the most interesting ideas come as an aftereffect of the drinks from the night before - red wine or any of "glen-..." whiskeys is not bad for a "hangover inspiration". 

What is your favorite Website?

Now it's Goodreads - so many colleagues and so many POTENTIAL READERS! Just need to figure out how to best present my work and gain visibility. Other than that I check regularly sports (primarily - soccer & boxing) and Israeli and Ukrainian news.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Quotes of the Week

“It's a wonderful thing to be able to create your own world...”
- Woody Allen

"I start with a tingle, a kind of feeling of the story I will write..."
- Karen Blixen

“The main thing is to write for the joy of it.”
- Seamus Heaney

"I go on writing so that I will always have something to read."
- Jeanette Winterson

"What is wrong with playing with words? Words love to be played with."
- David Almond

"A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage."
- Lorrie Moore

Monday, December 7, 2015

Beware of Vanity Press

Indie authors are a serious target for scams. Some many people will want your money for formatting, editing, printing, redesign, plot reviews, beta reviews, customer reviews.

I was really lucky to receive a lot of good advice that helped me avoid being taken advantage.

You can Indie publish without laying out a huge pile of cash. In fact, It didn't cost me a dime. I had people tell me createspace was expensive. It is not. It is simple and easy and costs nothing. They provide al a cart services but you are not required to use them. They even have a free cover creator.

Here is what I used (all free):
There are things that are worth paying for independently. Most notably, is Professional Editing and Professional Cover Art.

--Take feedback. If someone says "Your cover looks amateur!" Don't cling to that pencil drawing you did yourself when you were sixteen

Saturday, December 5, 2015

What I read this week.

It was a sad week for me.

I finished reading the last book in the Miles Vorkosigan sagas. It wasn't the last one in the series just the last for me to get my hands on. Mirror Dance was release in 1994 and is still excellent.

I love this entire series.

You can see a full listing of the works in this series. There has not been a new one since 2012.

I highly recommend them, the audio editions are excellent.

The next one in the Vorkosigan Saga is titled Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen and has a release date of February 2, 2016.

--Yeah... Take my money.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Assaph Mehr

Let me give you the standard bio first:

Assaph has been a Romanophile ever since he first got his hands on Asterix, way back in elementary school. This exacerbated when his parents took him on a trip to Rome and Italy - he whinged horribly when they dragged him to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

He has since been feeding his addiction for books with stories of mystery and fantasy of all kinds. A few years ago he randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair, and fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. His main influences in writing are Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, Barry Hughart and Boris Akunin.

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife Julia, four kids and two cats. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he's writing - he seems to do his best writing after midnight.

As for the non-standard version - I’ve loved reading since the age of 5, when I found out I can’t just run around outside all the time. I’ve had my nose buried in a book throughout my life. My darling wife got me a kindle a few years ago. She knows me better than anybody.

A couple of years ago I lost my library of a couple thousand books to an ex-wife, her mother and a bonfire. I now treat reading – and writing! – as a sort of sweet revenge. Literature, like all art, is eternal.

Tell me about your current Book:

When a young man is found dead with strange tattoos all over his body, Felix must find his killers – or else he won’t get paid, which means no money for wine.

Oh yeah, the people that killed the young man? They were necromancers.

I also like the back cover blurb:

A young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.

Enter Felix the Fox, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Drawing on his experience of dealing with the shady elements of society and his aborted education in the magical arts, Felix dons his toga and sets out to discover the young man’s killers.

Murder in absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic - it will appeal to lovers of murder mysteries, ancient Rome and fantasy.

I’ll only leave you with what one of my beta readers told me:

“This book gave me a ‘book-hangover’ – I could not get my head out of the world of Felix for days after finishing it!”

If you like any two genres out of mysteries, fantasy and historical fiction – this book is for you!


Book: Murder in Absentia
Author page:

What are you working on now?


No wait, that’s my day job.

… and my night job too, apparently. The life of an indie author is one long learning curve. In the past year I’ve learned what it means to write a novel – followed closely be the meaning of “first draft”. I learned about editing, book producing, book publishing, and book marketing.

When I started writing it was to scratch an itch – now I have ten more itches that need to be scratched. Luckily I enjoy the process tremendously. I find all aspects of being an author challenging, frustrating and fulfilling at the same time.

In between all that, I’m writing the second Felix the Fox mystery as well as a few short stories. The short stories are available on, and – without divulging too much – the next Felix book is titled “In Numina” (that’s not a spelling mistake) and deals with some peculiarly haunted houses.

What is your favorite beverage while you write?

Scotch. A good scotch is like a good woman – it should be single (malt) and of legal age.
… or a Martini. Tanqueray, 5-to-1, olive. Stirred gently.
… or homemade* vodka, because I write after midnight and that’s just there.
I also drink large amounts of extremely potent coffee – but I do that during the day to recover from a night of writing.
(* I wasn’t joking about the ‘home-made’ part).

What is your favorite Website?

So I can’t pick my own site or Goodreads? Damn… is probably where I spend far too much time. It is a questions-and-answer site, but done absolutely right. There are plenty of users who offer expert answers. I learned a lot about a few favourite subjects there, and am very active on the topics of ancient Rome and Martial Arts.