Friday, April 20, 2018

Book Trailer Basks in Anonymity

Well, what's the answer? I can write books, but I really don't have the zest to market them. Sad, pathetic, self-defeating, true. I will create book videos—and have—and I will maintain a number of social media outposts, but I lack all enthusiasm for the marketing grind. (That may have something to do with once working as a copywriter.)

It's not like I retired a millionaire from TV animation. Far from it. We're so mired in debt, I feel like the federal government. All I lack is a printing press.

But there is an upside, a big one: at day's end: I don't have to take notes from executive idiots.

So buy a copy of the prostate book or not.
Buy one of my other titles, or not.
View one of my other videos, or not.

Right now, I need to finish my next book.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

For Whom Art Bell Tolled

Tales From Out There
With sadness, I learned of Art Bell's passing on Friday the 13th. His paranormal-themed radio show was perfect for a time when I drove more and my nights were late. (Along with Phil Hendrie), Art made 90's radio sizzle.

Back in 2013, I sang Bell's praises as he returned to the air. But his new show was a faint shadow, a wispy shade of the old, with Art carrying more of the conversational ball, instead of deftly drawing out his eccentric guests as before, allowing them full scope to expound their non-traditional views.

I only wish there were a way Art could interview himself from the Beyond. I'm sure he'd say, "If what I'm saying is true, this is amazing."

Note: Actually, I got things backwards re. Art's 2013 show. He carried the ball less, letting guests ramble and not channeling their chat into bite-sized entertaining chunks.

George Noory, who is driving the Coast-to-Coast paranormal/supernatural van these days, seems like a competent pro, but lacks Art's showmanship. There was only one William Castle. There was only one Art Bell.

R.I.P. from West of the Rockies. 

Friday, April 06, 2018

Sucks to Be a Settler in 1860s Kansas

Dog Soldier Justice: The Ordeal Of Susanna Alderdice In The Kansas Indian War by Jeff Broome
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Historian and author John H. Monnett notes in the Forward that "over the past two or three decades it has not only been unpopular but unwise to write about the period of Indian resistance in American history in terms other than pro-Indian. Monnett goes on to say that, "Ubiquitous in these histories . . . is the obligatory litany of sins committed by white missionaries, Indian Agents, politicians, military leaders, and Protestant reformers . . . to write otherwise [is] to invite charges of racism."

Acknowledging brutality on both sides, the book concerns itself with the fate of white settlers in Kansas attacked by Cheyenne (and Sioux) warriors during the period 1867 - 1869. In particular, we learn of the destruction of the Alderdice family by raiding Cheyenne in 1869. Author Broome draws heavily on narratives contained in federal Indian depredation claims filed in the National Archives.

As settlers sadly discovered, the government would—allegedly—pay for stolen livestock but not gang-raped wives, or four-year-old children festooned with arrows. Depredation claims were often denied for technicalities, or because Congress failed to appropriate money.

I thought the book a bit thin on the actual details of Susana Alderdice's ordeal, though we're invited to grimly speculate based on the treatment of other female captives.

Overall, an interesting work detailing the fate of innocents, their stories adrift in a backwater of American history.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 30, 2018

JP Mac Spring Cleaning

These Books and More Will Brighten Your Spring!
No plugs in over a month. What's become of me? I must be crazed for a mug of Happy Clown Breakfast Soup. Nevertheless, stop by my Amazon page and engorge on the festive writings of JP Mac. I would, but I'm me. (Nifty image by All Author.)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

JP Mac's Four Rules of Writing

I distinguish not a whit between fiction and non.

As I am now eight weeks into Webless Sundays—no Internet; computer turned off—and two weeks into my four new rules, I feel confident enough to share.


No Web Browsing Before Writing

A valuable tool, this Internet, but also an amazing time suck. Days have dawned when I've sat down to write, decided to "just check my email," and emerged two hours later, not a word written, and wondered what the deuce just happened, only to repeat the exact sequence of actions the next day.


No Web Browsing While Writing

There is a time for everything. Each day I allot myself several hours specifically for writing. That is the moment to put words on the page, not check the news, or social media, or my Amazon sales—depressingly moribund most of the time. Social media was designed to suck you in and keep you scrolling and it's real good at that. When writing, I write, turning off my web browser and leaving it mute.


No Research While Writing

Insidious. I'm writing a horror-fantasy book with an Iraq War back story involving troop deployments, wounds, genetic engineering and coal mining. Any one of those topics can metastasize into hours of link chasing. (Not counting visits to social media) At day's end, I'm exhausted, have written very little, and must face the fact that, at first draft stage, I might not even use any of the day's catch. I set aside separate research times for specific topics.


No Rewriting First Drafts

Rewriting the first draft has a name: the second draft. Perhaps I should say, "No Rewriting while writing first drafts." Such a practice is a bad habit I fell into; clearly a form of perfectionism and a fear that the finished work won't be adequate—hence not finishing. I've done this on two other book drafts and absolutely trashed my motivation for completion. Without even reaching the last page, I dart back to the first and tidy it up, plugging in foreshadowing and doing all the tasks normally reserved for later drafts. Sure, I've got a shiny chapter or two, but I sacrifice the overall story, losing spontaneity along with the delightful plot surprises  Mr. Subconscious will deliver if I'm not mindlessly polishing the same quarter panel over and over again. 

The last two weeks I've written more, Web browsed less, and ended the day eager to return to work tomorrow, not burned out on skateboard fails, cute cat videos, and watching old movie clips. 

I'll update my progress with this quartet of prescriptions as spring progresses.

Monday, March 12, 2018

What I Learned About Running a Decade Ago

As healthy as I was back then, I'm glad those days are past. Between unloading the house and training for the Eugene Marathon, I was awash in stress, stress, and a heaping order of stress.

From March 30, 2008
Busy with selling the house. We have become guests in our own home, leaving when prospective buyers arrive. We like to set out little treats such as bowls of steaming corn beef hash in every room. Our realtor has asked us to stop doing that.

My assistant coaching continues. Yesterday I ran with different pace groups. You pick up a lot about people on long runs. For example, at least three of my teammates were college athletes: two swimmers and a tennis player. Another teammate works for an elevator company. (Apparantly, you're in more danger from an elevator falling "up" because of counterweight problems then you are of crashing down to the basement.) Another runner owns a Ph.D and moonlights as director of a Civil War brass band.

Big open house today. I must go and prepare the hash.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Freak-a-Con Rolling Forward

Say it out loud only imagine there's a bad ass echo.

Livestream with Paul Rugg, Tom Ruegger and others Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 5:00 PM Pacific (8:00 PM Easter Time) on Facebook.

There'll be videos and contests and audience questions and anecdotes from the show they still talk about when the subject arises of a fascinating show that only lasted 24 episodes. Freakazoid is almost here!

On the subject of Warner Bros. from back in the day, I've had several people ask me if Steven Speilberg ever attended the Animaniacs voice recording sessions.


Perhaps he attended a scoring session?


In the day, Speilberg used to make his movies in threes, back-to-back-to back, then take time off. When Animaniacs began, he'd finished Hook and was in pre-production, then on location in Hawaii for Jurassic Park, followed immediately by work on Schindler's List. (We'd get faxes from him from in Poland, covered with frost.)

So Speilberg was often out of the country, and otherwise involved in the task of creating motion pictures. The idea that he'd pop by the remote, tricky-to-reach, studio where we initially recorded the Warners is mere internet chum. 

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Animaniacs Podcast Features Gabby Author (Good article there on Kids' WB.)
All I do is talk about Animaniacs, rebooted Animaniacs, and the Secret Room at Warner Brothers where people prayed they'd never be sent. And, of course, I carry on about my ebooks and how wonderful they are, and how everyone should buy one or two, until either Joey, Nathan or Kelly told me to be quiet and sounded an air horn that hurt everyone's ears.

As you can see, it was quite an event, baring in mind I tend to exaggerate a mite. Find out for yourself this Sunday, March 4 at Retrozap or via Twitter or iTunes. The show fires up at 6 PM Eastern Time/3PM Pacific, then lives forever on the Web. Lend your ears and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Kirkus Review Rates Cancer Book

Available at this place.
My cancer and my book, if you must probe and drag the truth from me. Kirkus was quite positive. For instance, they said:

"Mac's ordeal is refreshingly leavened, though, by his unique brand of dark, sarcastic humor, as when he laments an unromantic byproduct of surgical recovery ("Wearing a big wet man diaper chilled my passion"). This often charming remembrance will leave readers with a new appreciation for good health and a more optimistic outlook when things go awry."

To read it all, visit the page at Kirkus Reviews.

In Other News

In "Prostate," I touch on our dwindling finances. Recently, I was shredding some old tax documents from 2010 and was quite amazed to see how rapidly my wife and I burned through the proceeds of a house sale. (Minus a condominium, new vehicle, and a pair of laptops.) In '10, you could observe the last of the water circling the drain. Animation work consisted of a few meetings on two projects that went nowhere. In between, I published a few short fiction pieces, sold some stand-up material, and pitched a video game company to hire me as a scenario writer. This was despite having never played a video game, but, I figured, I'd never written animation before until I was hired. The game company said 'go away,' but with more finesse. 

In addition, I wrote a few articles for a now-defunct website. At the same time, I'd stalled on completing a first draft on what-would've-been my first novel. This stalling business on big writing projects continues to dog me. But like a fine wine, I sit in a dark cellar, covered with dust and cobwebs. After awhile, I finish something.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Do Your Doody for Valentine's Day

Author JP Mac
Roses are red, the jury is blue. Learn why.

Jury Doody to be precise. This fun Kindle non-fiction tale of crime, punishment and clock-watching is less than a dollar and more than a match for your short-reading pleasure. Surprise someone, anyone really, but a loved one might be best, with this fast-paced story of citizens sitting in judgment on a peer, showing you in detail how the justice sausage is made.

Still in awe over Sunday's book sale tsunami. At one point on Amazon Kindle, I had three separate books at #1, #2, and #99 in their categories. Splendid work, thanks to Oregon Muse, Hans Schantz and others for their stellar promotion.

Back to the keyboard.  

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Morning Book Thread Bonanza

For eclectic readers. On today's Sunday Morning Book Thread, arch sifter of stories Oregon Muse saluted my recent work on tussling with prostate cancer plus two other tales from the JP Mac canon

They Took My Prostate, Hallow Mass, Jury Doody Plugged

There. That's what happened. What manner of Web clout does this Oregon Muse fellow possess? Well, Hallow Mass rises on the Amazon rankings while They Took My Prostate: Cancer, Loss, Hope is currently:

And .99 Jury Doody is a lordly:

So thanks to Oregon Muse, as well as scientist-author Hans G. Schantz for his various pro-Mac tweetings and retweetings.

Choose among these works for your Sunday reading pleasure. I would if I weren't me.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Kaiju Rising in Time for Pacific Rim II

Kaiju Rising: Age of MonstersKaiju Rising: Age of Monsters by Tim Marquitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Strange beasts' abound in this illustrated collection, offering the kaiju-aficianado a Godzilla-sized selection of monstrous tales.

Among these giant creature short stories, one may sample homages to "The Lottery," alt-histories, several Pacific Rim type punch-ups, peppered with a number of post modernist tropes and themes. Out of 23 stories, the gold to pyrite ratio is high, though the total amount might've been pruned to avoid kaiju fatigue.

My favorites included "A Turn of the Card" by James Swallow where there's more than mayhem afoot when clashing kaijus battle in the rubble of London. In Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam's "The Flight of the Red Monsters," a woman keen for vengeance finds revenge comes in different colors. And "Big Dog" by Timothy W. Long shows us how war makes for disparate companions aboard a kaiju-combat machine.

And here comes Pacific Rim II.


Thursday, February 01, 2018

Vote For My Prostate Cancer Book Cover


If you liked the cover of my book,  They Took My Prostate: Cancer Loss Hope, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on! Click under the potentially winning image to vote!

CLICK HERE!!                

Click below image to Vote! You can, you know! 

 I really said the word 'vote quite a bit. Forgive me. There's a certain excitement in the possibility of acquiring cheap digital kudos.

    NOTE: Like an astounding oaf, I failed to check the link before posting. It didn't work. Now the little text below the image works. And I didn't understand why my vote count was so low.            

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Chi Running, The Shallows and Fr. Elijah

Two reviews, no waiting as I slowly hone my critical style. The Shallows could be an absolutely life-changing book if I can focus long enough to remember the contents.

I haven't mentioned running in a good long while. 2018 marks the third year in a row of easy 3x a week runs after my knee surgeon pronounced me benched for good back in '09. I credit the Chi Running program as it taught me how to land with minimum impact on my weak knee. Despite the exercise, I've noticed a tendency to put on weight, starting around Halloween when I eat most of the Trick or Treat candy. Then Thanksgiving and Christmas arrive with gastronomical goodies, then I start losing weight in January by giving up sweets and carbs. Disney would call such a pattern the Cycle of Life. I would call it the Cycle of an Ill-Disciplined Fattie.

Oddly enough, I've discovered I can walk at a faster sustained pace than I can run. So, for now, I"m walking briskly around a local golf course, pausing only to pick up the odd golf ball sliced onto the bridal trail by form-challenged duffers. A pleasant mid-week to all.

  The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our BrainsThe Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Skim more, ponder less as "the transformative power of new communication technologies alters our neural pathways." Using studies to bolster his point, the author holds that our minds are changing as they adapt to an ocean of easily-accessible information streaming over our phones and computers. This alteration threatens users' ability to think deeply or analyze because the "Web has scattered attention, parched their memory or turned them into compulsive nibblers of info snacks."

Neither luddite nor scold, Carr reasons calmly that our technologies are changing us to better adapt to their nature. According to research, both young and old Web surfers find their neurons and synapses effected by heavy Web interaction, resulting in "shrinking vocabulary [that becomes] hackneyed and formulaic with less flexible syntax."

Carr feels we are seduced by Internet "benefits of speed, efficiency and desirability." Losing the knack of deep thinking "the tumultuous advance of technology could . . . drown the refined perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that arise only through contemplation and reflection."

Having experienced the drawbacks of prolonged Web usage, Carr explains what actions he took to focus enough to write this book, and offers hope that a more aware approach to the Internet may be on the horizon.

Written seven years ago, this book is accessible to the general reader, and remains increasingly relevant today.

View all my reviews Elijah in JerusalemElijah in Jerusalem by Michael D. O'Brien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Carmelite Father Elijah once again attempts to unmask a rising world leader who may well be the antichrist. Picking up where "Father Elijah: An Apocalypse" ended, the hunted priest enters Jerusalem as a fugitive, wanted for a murder he didn't commit. Accompanied by fellow Carmelite Brother Enoch, Father Elijah finds himself pitted against spiritual and temporal forces, his own doubt, and the depressing knowledge that his mission may end in failure and a gruesome death.

With intriguing glimpses into the play of good and evil in human souls, the book often digresses into the backstories of seemingly incidental characters. And while these encounters propel Father Elijah forward to his destiny, they often slow the narrative in what is a fairly short book.

Still, this sequel is a fascinating, compelling window into Catholic eschatology as well as the power of faith, obedience and prayer in the face of hostility and disbelief.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Foundation Features My Prostate Cancer Story

Written by award-winning science writer Janet Farrar Worthington, this article addresses the incontinence problem many men face post-op from prostate cancer surgery. I'd say the story was a pisser, but why overdo matters?

Here's an excerpt of the article from the website of the Prostate Cancer Foundation:

"Incontinence after Radical Prostatectomy sucks. But for nearly all men, it goes away. For the very small percentage in whom it doesn't, there is help.

JP Mac (John P. McCann) is an Emmy-award winning animation writer who worked for Warner Bros. and Disney, and a novelist. he is also very funny. 

So, when he wrote a short ebook about his experience with prostate cancer — including his diagnosis in 2014 at age 61, the rush to find the right treatment and get it done before his health insurance was going to expire, his laparoscopic-robotic Prostatectomy and the complications afterward, and his five-month battle to recover urinary continence after the surgery — he could legitimately have written a soap opera, or maybe even a tear-jerker; but he didn't.

Instead, his ebook has a title that sounds like 1950s pulp fiction: They Took My Prostate: Cancer, Loss Hope. It's not "Prostate Cancer Lite." and it doesn't minimize what he or anyone else has gone through to get back to normal after radical prostatectomy. Far from it; in fact, his 'short, hopeful essay' is a testament to what it takes to recover from this difficult but life-saving surgery: a balanced perspective, a good sense of humor, a great support system, and plain old hard work and persistence."

Read the rest here.

No Star Like a Ghost Star

Ghost Star (Ghost Star Adventures)Ghost Star by Roger Eschbacher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Young Galen Bray faces trouble by the gross. Pursued by the murderous alien Mohk, he pilots his space craft down an interstellar rabbit hole only to discover a lost civilization, his past and his destiny.

This book seemed designed for younger readers, with some of the characters a tad thin. Also, the familiar archetypes peopling this thriller might've been tweaked to separate them out from the usual space opera tropes of warrior women, clever robots, and evil-for-evil's-sake villians.

Nevertheless, the story's alien characters and locations are well-handled by the author who keeps his world accessible to the reader. In addition, there's action aplenty, a likable protagonist, droll humor and enough twists to keep the narrative speeding along. A fun, enjoyable read.

View all my reviews

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fast-Food Robots to Write Animaniacs


Studios Confident in Controversial Decision

Robots originally designed for a hot dog chain will be reprogrammed to write new episodes of Animaniacs. "Officially, this is unofficial," said industry insider Tony Hurl. "But the studios are really amped over this perfect synergy of technology and creativity."

According to sources, the Osprey Meat Company ("We Make Hot Dogs from Birds") decided against expanding their brand into California due to high taxes. That left the firm saddled with nine Golem-5 Public Interface Units. Popular in Ecuador and parts of the Rocky Mountains, the Golem-5s interact with the public, taking customer orders and upselling specials of the day.

Said Hurl, "Certain Hollywood big shots heard the 'bots were available and snatched them away from Burger King. I mean, these are sophisticated machines with a pretty fair vocabulary. Studio tech staff were confident they could reprogram a Golem-5 from saying, 'Would you care for additional onion rings?' to 'Faboo,' or 'Of course I'm cute,' or 'That'll leave a mark.'"


Reports indicate that Osprey Meat Company is negotiating to partner with Warner Bros. and Amblin. Hurl thought such a move likely, citing marketing potential. "Imagine the end of a Pinky and the Brain episode:
Pinky: What'll we do tomorrow night, Brain?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky: enjoy a fine Osprey Hot Dog with additional onion rings."

While the Golem-5s are a substantial upfront cost, Hurl believes the studios can amortize the outlay over several years via the elimination of writing staff salaries. "It's in the cards," said Hurl, "Eventually, robots will replace the entire crew of an animated show except for executives, junior executives, and executive assistants. Maybe the receptionist, but don't count on it."


Friday, January 05, 2018

Boyle Book Broaches Environmental Issues

When the Killing's DoneWhen the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who owns the animals? Is it possible to restore an island to a pre-human state? Such as are a few of the questions raised in this story of Park Services employee Alma Takesue and activist businessman David Lajoy as they battle one another over the eradication of rats and pigs from the Channel Islands off the California coast.

Boyle's work is multi-generational, layered, well-researched. This provides a depth to the narrative that often diminishes the characters' concerns and squabbles in comparison to the unrelenting power of nature dominating the world of the story.

Plenty of twists and turns enliven a rapidly moving plot. Boyle's sense of the absurd lightens the mood at key moments. This is a powerful book, underscoring life and the will to live.

View all my reviews

Unhappy New Year

A Perfect Storm of Maladies Mars 2018 Start

Not that expectations were all that high for me in the coming year, but he who controls the fonts controls blog emotions, or some such matter. In any case, remember that flu I mentioned at the end of my last post? (Probably not.) The bastard virus lingers like distant relatives with no other place to go. Dogging me in non-flu-like ways.

If you've read, They Took My Prostate, you'll know that my sleep apnea requires flowing air through my nostrils for me to sleep. Not so easy when the nose is clogged. Plus I'm coughing up phlegm and need to roll over and spit it out into a styrofoam cup. (Never look inside.) And since I have no prostate, a deep racking cough results in a fun urine squirt. I'm getting hammered top and bottom.

But the worst is no sustained sleep. Who do I lash out against?

If it's not on the upswing by Monday, I'll see the doctor. Until then, it's just me and the Circus Channel in the quiet hours before dawn.