Thursday, February 27, 2014

Always Writing: Websites all writers should be on!

Neil Ostroff's blog offers a cool list of FREE spots writers should consider joining. Having turned in my DreamWorks assignment this morning, I'm off to check them out.

Always Writing: Websites all writers should be on!: I’ve been doing a lot of marketing/promotion lately for my books and have come up with a “must-be-on” list for writers who want to pro...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pat Hobby Review: Hobby Rocks Studios

Some things in Hollywood never change. Tom Ruegger sent me his copy of these short stories and I really enjoyed them. 

The Pat Hobby StoriesThe Pat Hobby Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A hilarious collection of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a once successful Hollywood writer with a big house and a leaky pool, now reduced to living in a cheap Los Angeles apartment and hustling the studios for piece work.

Pat Hobby was big in the 20s, dictating movie scenarios and fond of seeing his name up on screen. But in the late 30s, he's a desperate middle-aged has-been with gambling and drinking addictions to nourish. Hobby will steal ideas, lie, connive, and manipulate for another shot at steady studio employment and the brass ring of the producer title he felt was denied him.

But Hobby reaps what he sows and often finds himself upended by his own chaotic plans and the blow-back they generate from outraged victims.

A writer at Universal Studios, Fitzgerald published these shorts in Esquire at a time when it appeared he was the washed up voice of the 1920s. Give these seventeen short stories a read and enjoy watching the train wrecks pile up.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

More Ink and Harold Ramis

Robin Kalinich, social media dynamo, has penned a kind word about me over at More Ink's Facebook page. Thanks once again Robin for a most-appreciated shout-out.


Less festive is the news that writer/director Harold Ramis passed away. I heard him speak at the American Film Institute many years ago and he seemed like an easy-going guy, not too swollen by success. Prayers and best wishes to the family. He leaves behind an awesome body of work. Among my many favorites is the oft-quotable Caddyshack.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

See Lousy Book Covers!







They aren't kidding. Ponder the importance of designer skills as Lousy Book Covers presents the best of the worst.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Social Media Swamps Writer


Lovely Pics
Often mentioned, never dealt with is my growing conflict between writing and social media. As an independent author, I need to establish my presence online. But I find the balance hard to maintain. I should be focusing on the final rewrites to my next eBook. (Now available for preview here and at Goodreads.) Instead, I've spent the past ninety minutes "liking" the Facebook and Amazon author pages of other writers, screwing around with Twitter and Goodreads and wondering when I'll get over to Google +. My online presence is not large but all the little likes and comments add up. A hundred small leaks will cause a boat to founder as surely as a great hole.

Do other writers set a fixed time for social media? I'm open to suggestions. 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

DreamWorks, Warner Bros. Assignments Due Next Week

Image: Spencer Fry
 No Sunday or President's Day off. DreamWorks outline material must be finished by Tuesday—that's the part-time gig I've had since January. And episode ideas for a new Warner Bros. show need to go in Wednesday morning. These brief joblets keep me afloat while I final edit The Little Book of Big Enlightenment.

On the subject of eBooks, next week will see a promotion of some manner for Jury Doody. Why don't I know the nature of my own promotion? I must first read the Amazon,com promotional rules and haven't time. But watch closely later next week. Something will occur.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Age Satire Sample

D.C. Richter
Coming soon on Amazon, Smashwords and in printed form. Peruse a chapter or two here, or over at Goodreads.

PRAISE for The Little Book of BIG ENLIGHTENMENT

 “Condensed spiritual enlightenment is fast, effective and lava-hot! In only a few hours you can achieve a state of consciousness that is normally unreachable without 20-40-60 years of intense study and practice. This is the total enlightenment package for the 21st century. Lompoc Tollhouse has really hit one out of the park. I wish I’d thought of this.”

 —Swami Sid, Author of Find Your Inner Godhead and Feed It Luncheon Meat 

“I’ve sat on the floor in so many ashrams, I’ve got mat burn on my ass. Thanks to Master Lompoc Tollhouse and his discovery of condensed enlightenment, I am packed full of virtue, concentration and wisdom right now. And it only took a few hours. And I did it all sitting in a recliner. Shambhala, baby!”

—I have released my name to the universe. Call me ‘Every Fellow.’

“It is one of the book’s strengths that bold, oversized fonts are used so often and with telling effect.”

The Quarterly Journal of Bold Oversized Fonts 

“This book was different from other books. The author talked about fast spirituality. Then another man who was supposed to be the author showed up and called the first author names. Still, I liked [The Little Book of Big Enlightenment] because it is colorful and bossy and tells me what to do, which I’m very used to by now.

—Elliot Cypher, a middle-aged man living in his Dad’s attic

“A cry of gratitude to Lompoc Tollhouse for making spiritual enlightenment available to all Mankind, even torpid weaklings with fat puffy fingers who could never grasp a spear in battle.”

—Locan the Thunder Warrior from ancient Pangaea whose avatar now shares the body of Mrs. Gale Hamm-Pellagra of Olympia, Washington

PUBLISHER’S FORWARD

This is very awkward, by which I mean ‘em-bar-ras-sing.’

We set out to publish a small book on spiritual enlightenment—we are publishers after all. Instead we seem to have given birth to a brawl worthy of the Octagon. You are entitled to know more before you begin reading—you are the reader, after all.

Spiritual master Lompoc Tollhouse was contracted by Cornerstone Media to expand on the subject of “condensed enlightenment,” a field in which he is a pioneer. Shortly after inking the deal, Mr. Tollhouse contracted a strange New Age illness. For a time, it appeared he would be unable to complete this book. Due to various business arrangements—we are a business after all—we hired author JP Mac to complete the work. Guided by the notes of Mr. Tollhouse, Mr. Mac constructed a book that is—to say the least—as vibrant and eye-catching as any in the field of New Age publications.

Upon his recovery, Mr. Tollhouse was not amused. In words as clear as the crystal he wears about his neck, he expressed displeasure at Mr. Mac’s handling of the material. I found myself in the middle—trying to help after all—seeking a compromise. I must confess, there were times I felt like a parent calming two sugar-fueled children. But—after all—I, too, am a healer in my own way.

Eventually all parties agreed to my Solomon-like solution.

Mr. Mac’s writing would stand.

Mr. Tollhouse would be allowed a chapter-by-chapter clarification.

This odd hybrid, this ‘jack-a-lope’ of a book is the result. Don’t let barbs, personal attacks, and raw snark distract you from investigating a New Age subject that is—after all—both fascinating and practical and could—in a world of endless possibilities—rapidly alter the fate of humanity.

Enjoy and experience these pages in a manner familiar to you!

Mansard Hamcott
Publisher-in-Chief
Cornerstone Media

CHAPTER ONE
 
RAPID ENLIGHTENMENT IS HERE NOW!!!

DISCOVER THREE ASTOUNDING WORDS THAT WILL SLINGSHOT YOU INSTANTLY TO THE PINNACLE OF AWESOME CONSCIOUSNESS

INSTANT DHARMA WITHOUT EFFORT

READ THIS BOOK ONCE AND LOSE 49% OF YOUR FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS

EXPERIENCE THE POWER OF “CONDENSED ENLIGHTENMENT”

FROM THE DESK OF JP MAC
 
Hello Spiritual Friends. I’m JP Mac, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to the life-changing information contained in this little volume.

ASCEND TO THE ZENITH OF SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT IN HOURS!!

Sounds crazy, huh?

Sure. Everyone’s told you that spiritual enlightenment takes decades of study, preparation, effort, classes, craft fairs. If you want the bliss and serenity that comes with achieving total consciousness you need to put in time and, let’s face it, a good deal of money.

• Are T’ai Chi slippers free?
 • Acupuncture?
• Yoga camp?

Think it doesn’t add up?

The typical seeker after enlightenment will give up—that’s right, quit—after an average of eleven years of searching, having spent at least $71,209.62 on hemp clothing, crystals, Enya downloads, tofu and grow lamps. Those aren’t my statistics. Those numbers come from the latest study conducted by the Humboldt State University Department of Holistic Studies.

IS ENLIGHTENMENT BEYOND MY GRASP?

The odds aren’t with you, brothers and sisters. But let me point out one small difference between you and all the other seekers after spiritual enlightenment.

THIS BOOK!!

You are on the threshold of knowing your true self. You are about to bask in the pure consciousness that is a byproduct of awakening. You are about to release the bonds of the material world faster than a hobo dropping a hot can of stew.

And when you’re spiritually enlightened, you’re totally in tune with the world AS IT IS RIGHT NOW!! Parked in “The Moment,” the roller coaster of life no longer disturbs your serenity. You’ve flattened out the tracks. You’re present, but above it all.

Fired? Cool.
Divorced? Great.
Kid tracks dog crap all over the carpet? Hey, that’s different.
Win the Lottery? What’s for dinner?

Thanks to rapid spiritual enlightenment:

• You are centered.
• You are in the zone.
• You are the Dalai Lama with hipper glasses.

But first, you must forget all that you’ve heard or learned about achieving spiritual enlightenment.
Because everything you think you know is painfully wrong!!

First, let me tell you a little about myself.

Like you, I wanted peace in my life and the serenity that comes with renunciation of the material realm, total acceptance, and living in the moment. I was so desperate that I believed everything I heard about spiritual enlightenment. I thought you had to climb a mountain, or live in a cave, or eat sorghum until you were so thin you’d fart pencils.

I bounced around from yoga to the Course in Miracles to selling dye-tied tee shirts on Venice Beach. I needed help. I needed direction. I needed a guru.

So I hooked up with this Buddhist guy, Mr. Baka, who said he’d show me the path to pure consciousness. So we go along until one day he tells me I need to learn the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

Say what? I haven’t got time for that crap. So next day in the temple, I got in Mr. Baka’s grill.

“Dog, I’m paying you every month for your spiritual savvy. So, what’s up with this four-fold, eight-fold, six-fold a dollar double-talk?” And he’s sitting on the floor Zen-style and cracks this super serene smile and says, “My friend, spiritual enlightenment is only reached when you don’t reach for it.”

Got that? Months have passed. I’m out hundreds of dollars.

AND ALL I GET IS YODA TALK!!

I brushed off Mr. Baka so fast he probably dropped a pair of four fold truths. But at least he leveled with me.

THIS CON JOB HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS!!

Sad, but true. Seekers throughout history have been told:

• You can’t get there from here.
 • There’s no easy path.
 • No ABC.
 • No fast, proven method of spiritually ascending.

BAT GUANO!!

Pardon my language. But I get so furious when I hear this Old School nonsense. We’re on the threshold of an amazing breakthrough. Condensed enlightenment is the antidote to decades of tedious, expensive study. Now, for the first time in recorded history, spiritual enlightenment is fast, understandable and available NOW.

Spiritual enlightenment is:

• Easy as reading.
• Easy as flipping to the next page.
• Easy as uttering three simple words.

IN A VERY SHORT TIME, YOU WILL BE SPIRITUALLY ENLIGHTENED!!

This information is so vital that I’ve employed the proven style of direct-mail marketing to put this book in the hands of as many people as possible. Let me stop for a minute here. I’m not naming names, but I got around 70 pounds of pushback over the style and tone I chose for this little book. A certain person, let’s call him a ‘crybaby,’ objected.

At one point, this crybaby said:

‘Spiritual enlightenment isn’t a male organ enhancer!’

Uh doy! I’ve sold male organ enhancers. I know the difference. But what the crybaby didn’t realize is that more and more products are turning today to the power of direct-mail marketing. For example, within the last year I have promoted:

• The Jolly Bear Home Dental Kit
• Katie Couric Colostomy Bags
• A Steamship Filled with Bauxite
• My Little Pony Hollow Point Rounds

Don’t tell me you can’t promote spiritual enlightenment through a proven stylistic method. It’s being done. It’s being done NOW.

Enough about crybabies, let’s discuss Lompoc Tollhouse. I think you will all agree he is a titan of New Age holistic scholarship. His first book, Out of Mind, Out of Coins for Parking: A New Paradigm, is required reading in many junior colleges, universities, and the Ninth Circuit Court.

You’ve seen Lompoc Tollhouse on television, comically fumbling around, losing his place, forgetting his point. (How endearing!) You’ve participated in his expensive webinars, learning in detail his theory of mind ghosts and how they are caused by guilt and are responsible for the ringing in your ears after a loud noise.

As you can imagine, I was flattered when Tollhouse called, asking me to write for him. (He would have written this little book himself, but the subject matter was so critical that he wanted the job done right the first time.)

Frankly, I was astounded when he told me his latest two findings. In a hushed voice, a little slurred—he may have been drinking—Lompoc Tollhouse informed me that after years of research he had uncovered two universal game changers. Lompoc Tollhouse had learned . . .

. . . A REVOLUTIONARY NEW METHOD TO RAPIDLY ALTER YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS AND ACHIEVE COMPLETE SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT IN ONLY HOURS . . .

. . . and he had torn the curtain aside, forcing into the light . . .

. . . POWERFUL SHADOWY FORCES THAT DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WANT YOU ENLIGHTENED EVER!!!

Wow! That’s a lot to have laid on you in one phone call. I was totally blown away. But when Lompoc Tollhouse begged me to bring his ideas to millions of desperate people, I said ‘no.’

I turned him down flat.

Before we continue, I just realized many of you haven’t purchased this book. You’re reading the handful of free pages available online. Naturally, you’re wary of extravagant promises for rapid spiritual enlightenment. I don’t blame you for being cautious. The history of spiritual enlightenment is also the history of hucksterism and the grand swindle.

I cannot force you to purchase this book AT ONCE. I cannot make you seek spiritual superpower status through the practice of condensed enlightenment.

I cannot make you want something you may not even care about.

• You may not care about a pure expanding consciousness.
 • You may not care about the serenity of living the rest of your life in the moment.
 • You may not care about the awesome knowledge that comes with total self-awareness.

Leave now. No hard feelings.

Clearly, the idea of sustained bliss in the face of life’s hurdles leaves you unmoved.

YOU SIMPLY MAY NOT WANT A HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS DELIVERED IN A FEW HOURS!!!

But if you possess even the slightest interest in tranquility, please purchase this book AT ONCE! And know that deep inside these pages resides the lights-out spiritual method pioneered by Lompoc Tollhouse. This method short circuits old-school enlightenment and rockets you to full and complete elevated consciousness in no time.

You will . . .

• Learn the secrets of CONDENSED ENLIGHTENMENT, the 21st Century spiritual dynamo so powerful it must be administered in small doses to prevent hyper-enlightenment.
 • Learn a spiritual word more powerful than tens of thousands of other spiritual words.
• Learn a MATHEMATICAL PHRASE that, once uttered, catapults your vibrations into the SPIRITUAL STRATOSPHERE!!

Learn these insights without study, knowledge, preparation, purging, fasting, prayer, inner and outer cleansing, living like a hermit, eating sweet grass, or reading old books.

No Four Fold, Eight Fold dibble-dee-do.

IN THE TIME IT TAKES YOU TO READ THIS LITTLE BOOK, YOU WILL EXPERIENCE RAPID SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT!!

Can’t be that easy?

Sadly, there are certain parties who would like you to believe that. They would like to keep you slaving away for decades. They want to keep you shelling out the bucks for meditation classes, psychic healings, past life regressions.

THEY WANT TO DENY YOU THE INSTANT ACCESS TO COMPLETE SELF-AWARENESS, A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS, AND THE SERENE JOY THAT FLOWS FROM AN ELEVATED STATE OF SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT.

Only by following the program set forth in this book conceived by fussy, pedantic Lompoc Tollhouse will you learn why certain forces FEAR anyone who has punched through the fog of ignorance and reached the blazing light of absolute self consciousness.

Did I mention turning down Lompoc Tollhouse when he begged me to write this book?

I respect Lompoc Tollhouse. But his marketing ideas have all the punch of a Hallmark Greeting Card. His concept involved hippy-dippy artwork, better suited to selling elf suppositories than promoting the most revolutionary spiritual breakthrough in history.

I told him flat-out, “I don’t roll that way. I only write things that people will read.”

We talked more and finally Lompoc pleaded, “What will it take for you to accept this assignment?” In a whisper, he added, “Please, JP, I am completely out of my depth when it comes to marketing. You might even say I am a witless clown man.”

Okay. I respect honesty. I thought it over and finally said, “I’ve got to be free to do this book the right way. My way.”

Well, he hemmed and hawed and finally saw the light—heh, heh. And the result is this little book that will jump-start your spiritual life and erase stress, remorse, guilt, fear and frottage, replacing them with tranquility, serenity, and absolute total consciousness.

And that process is happening RIGHT NOW. Every word you read brings you closer to fast, effective spiritual enlightenment.

What an insane amount of hot new information to absorb, huh?

Settle down. Grab a half pint of Stolis and a smoke Power Bar and some arugula and relax.

This has been mucho intense.

Maybe you’re wondering why it’s so vital to be instantly enlightened? You might even think that the process is a journey.

Pardon me while I stuff a laugh.

That’s old school thinking. You can’t be blamed for reaching such conclusions. It’s part of a FAR-REACHING PLAN to keep you praying and paying for a spiritual serenity you’ll never reach.

I’ll explain shortly.

But before we proceed, let’s learn more about enlightenment in general and why condensed enlightenment is so critical to the growth of your consciousness.

(If you'd like a heads-up when the book launches do send an email to jpmac@hushmail.com and put "Little Book" in the heading.)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Self-Pub Schedule Set

D.C. Richter supplied the fine cover art.
This is inside baseball in a stadium owned by me. Nevertheless, this year's tales have been assigned a batting order and are swinging around the lumber in anticipation. I'm thinking these next five stories will be released in both eBook and paperback formats. And while I'm still experimenting with release strategies, the next publication will go live electronically via Smashwords, with CreateSpace providing the paperback version.

Now to the line-up.

Lead off hitter is this month's The Little Book of Big Enlightenment,  in which a hypersensitive New Age author battles a brash marketer over the content of a self-help book on "condensed enlightenment." Next up will be a 50 Shades parody in April, then an H.P. Lovecraft comedy in July, and, batting, clean-up, a short-story collection of dark urban tales in September. My first full length horror novel about a doomed whale-watching expedition steps up to the plate by Christmas. Now I've put it out there, now I'll have to deliver.

Batter up!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Be Wary of Red Cloud Claims in "American Legend" Book

The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American LegendThe Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend by Bob Drury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lakota Chief Red Cloud was the only Indian to push back the westward march of the United States. His ability to forge individualistic warriors from competing tribes into a coherent force is a tribute to his leadership. During the period 1866 to 1868, Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho simultaneously stuck multiple targets ranging from forts to wagon trains.

Among Red Cloud’s accomplishments was the ambush and massacre of eighty poorly armed and trained U.S. soldiers by two thousand Indians. The repercussions of this fight eventually led the federal government to withdraw troops from the Powder River country claimed by Red Cloud and his allies.

There was brutality and viciousness on both sides. And while U.S. massacres such as Sand Creek are well-documented, the book details the savagery of the Sioux who tortured their captives then rated them by the manner in which they died. Warriors raped women and bashed in the heads of babies. The Sioux committed these acts on other Indians whose lands they seized and toward whites encroaching on Sioux turf.

Based on Red Cloud's memories as told to another toward the end of his life, I was left wondering how much weight they deserved. Bolstered by Sioux oral history, the chief's claims were given more heft by the authors who exhibited healthy scepticism toward official documents. I have a feeling that warriors with an oral tradition, like fishermen, can be prone to exaggeration. I would've liked to see the book take a more even-handed approach toward veracity.

If you’re interested in this era, The Fetterman Massacre by Dee Brown covers the outbreak of the Red Cloud War leading up to the deadly Indian ambush of eighty soldiers under the command of Captain William Judd Fetterman. It is a good companion piece.


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