Saturday, February 13, 2021

Self-Publishing, Magical Realism, and the Slippery Slope


I wanted so little: a new cover for my horror novel, Hallow Mass. But then I needed a page count for the cover artist. That led me to glance over the manuscript and notice several errors. This led to a brief rewrite which, in turn, led to a longer rewrite, which resulted in my cutting over 4k words. 

This, then, led to my sending the manuscript out to a proofreader. In the meantime, I've acquired the new ebook cover from the artist who is holding onto the paperback cover until I present a final page count. In the meantime, I attemptted to format the paperback interior myself. Several days were eaten up as one step forward often led to three steps backwards and one hop to the side.

Great work by the proofreader, but my production manager—also my wife—rarely sees a free moment these days from her technical writing job. Unable to do the task herself, she suggested a copywriter to supply the manuscript with a high-gloss finish. 

So I offered the job on Reedsy to five of their curated editors. So far, one passed and another wanted twice as much as I could afford. Meanwhile, I've contacted a company in Australia for the formatting. Great price, but I need the copywriting completed first, as well as adding ISBNs, before I can receive the final pdfs. 

Bowker, which handles American ISBNs, presents one with an unforgiving interface. I checked a box by mistake, couldn't undo it, and must now call Bowker and seek their help.

My to-do list now looks like a rough draft for the Peace of Westphalia. And all I desired was a new cover.

Next time, I'll desire differently. 

Monday, February 08, 2021

The Church of the Woke

Ryan Long once again as he harvests the low-hanging comedic fruit. Everyone else is so frightened, that Long shares the orchard with no one.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Death Honk Promotion at Reedsy

Snappy ebook/paperback


Yes. Tomorrow, or as many have taken to calling it, Friday, Feb. 5 @ReedsyDiscovery promotes my collection of nine short stories ranging from crime to the strange and eerie. Stop by Reedsy and view this personally pleasing promotion and avail yourself of a copy or two. More, if you wish, no one will chide you.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

New Hallow Mass Cover


 How New Is This Cover You Speak Of?

Quite new. For now, I present only the ebook version. But the paperback cover awaits the formatting of a manuscript I like to call Edition Two. 

I've trimmed about 4k words from the 2016 book and think it reads considerably quicker. 

Why Go To All This Trouble?

Excellent point. As of today, I'm writing the second volume of a trilogy. I hope to have it up in ebook and paperback by June. Afterwards, I intend to dash off the third volume. That should see the light of day by Christmas. Ambitious? Well, I'm nothing if not that. 

In any case, I desired a uniform look for the covers. Progress continues. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Running Once Again



Back in November, I really hurt my knees. Overtaining and incorrect running form combined to knock me onto the couch for two months. Last week, I was able to slowly run three times. Humbling. And not like I haven't been here before. Naturally, my weight ballooned thanks to a combination of relentless work load and no exercise. 

Lost ground must be recovered gradually or I repeat the whole discouraging process once again. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

USMC and the Yellow Footprints

USMC League

MCRD San Diego Back in the Day

Everything must begin somewhere. And in the United States Marine Corps, my enlisted tour commenced with yellow footprints. Drawn on the asphalt of the recruit depot with heels close together and toes angled out to 45 degrees, they are where I, along with seven other guys from our suburban Chicago neighborhood, stood to begin military service. Then we marched somewhere, boxed up our clothes and mailed them home, coming to the realization that our new life would be different from drinking beer behind a bowling alley.

The Vietnam War was winding down, at least for the United States, though the North Vietnamese would launch a huge attack against South Vietnam toward the end of March as we conducted infantry training at Camp Pendlelton. (In September, now a Private First Class, I would find myself in an Army hospital called Camp Kue on Okinawa, sharing  a ward with American advisors who'd been wounded helping the South Vietnamese forces stop the communists.)

In 1991, I visited the footprints on a vacation to San Diego with my girlfriend. (Now My Fine Wife or MFW.)

In 2002, I stood on a hill in Vietnam called Con Thien with a Vietnamese guide who told me about the obliteration of his village by B52s, bombing the NVA advance.

In 2008, I was back at MCRD finishing up a marathon with Team in Training.

But on a Friday night, January 14, 1972, I stood on yellow footprints. Oh, right before we boxed up our clothes, this happened:
(The following scene is rather accurate, except there's no C&W music. Just buzzzzzzz.)

h/t: amp1776

Note 2020:

On this 48th anniversary of my enlistment, I pay my respects to Tom Poto and Steve Lovell, two of my comrades who are no longer with us. RIP, bros. Hard to believe we were once young together.

Note: 2021

Yikes! 49 years ago; one removed from a half-century. I'll write no more on the subject.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Miskatonic Review Examines "Dagon and Jill"

 What the Deuce Was Said?

A great many things in a very thorough examination of the lead-off short story in my new anthology, Death Honk. So you know, The Miskatonic Review is a site dedicated to "lovecraftian story reviews from the Bibliothecar" (or librarian, if you insist.) My tale involves the business dealings between a sinister warlock from the haunted village of Dunwich, Massachusetts and a naive Los Angeles publisher. 

 The Bibliothecar opens the hood and shows the wiring. My favorite line was:

"I can't say it ["Dagon and Jill"] will be for everyone, as Lovecraftian stories are pretty niche to begin with before approaching Lovecraftian humor . . . ."

(Though the story has brought smiles to non-Lovecraftians.)

Read the whole thing.

Meeting Dagon

Saturday, January 09, 2021

MeWe Makes Me Giddy

In a good, wholesome way. (After years working in magazine publishing, I still can't pass on alliteration.) Nevertheless, back in November, I wrote that Facebook sucked. It does. I still have no idea when I'll be able to access my Author Page. Sporadic. Inconsistent. Eternal redirect. 

What Will This Man Do?

It's done. I've opened an account on MeWe. They have Author Pages, too. I messed around for awhile today and it found the experience pleasant. Visit me at my page. Make me a friend or chum or contact. I've yet to learn the MeWe lingo, but would very much like to master same. More t/k in this new Year of Our Lord 2021. 

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Tough Guy Israeli Robot

"Dad, I'm being bullied at school."

"Son, your old pop might just have the answer."

My friend Ken sent me this amazing footage. Look for a model soon on Amazon.


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