Friday, November 4, 2016

Hey, Baby, What You Reading?

If you ever want to feel insignificant, try to sell something.  I’m just going to be real honest with you guys, and admit that this book business isn’t going the way I expected it to.  I thought if I explained to everyone that I was signed by one of the biggest agencies in the business, and that I was just a little too PG-13 in a R-rated society, that people would rally to my cause and gobble up these books at their door buster prices.  I had my whole Jerry Maguire who will go with me moment, and I was ready to reform an industry and set a precedent.

Only people haven’t been moved by me being represented by the same agency as John Grisham.  I could produce the legal documents with his agent’s signature just above mine, but I have a feeling that if I don’t produce John Grisham himself, they’d be a yawn.  People aren’t buying the whole struggling starving artist shtick with me, either, because I don’t look like I’ve ever missed a meal.  A few days ago I felt like the William Wallace of contemporary fiction, with my face painted and sword drawn as I bellowed a rallying war cry.  Today I feel like gum on the bottom of someone’s shoe.

I don’t want to take anything away from the wonderful people who have marched to the marketing battlefield with me.  Because they are a steadfast and dependable platoon.  We’re just outnumbered by about a million to one right now, so the total annihilation of my hopes and dreams is a real possibility.  And it really shouldn’t be.  Escaping Insanity and East of Oz are fantastic books.  I wish I didn’t have to say that, because this tooting my own horn crap is a major turn off for all of us.  But I’m the one holding the horn right now.  Me and a few friends who read these books back when they were manuscripts in a New York publishing purgatory.  So we’re the tooters for now.  (Go ahead, laugh.)

But I’ve gotta say, I hate hustling out here on the social media street corner.  I don’t even know what streets to troll to get the most attention.  I probably need a thirteen-year-old to come over and teach me how to use Twitter, but in the meantime I’m walking up to every post that drives by on Facebook, giving people the whole “Hey, baby, what you reading?”  They ignore me, so I lean in with, “I’ve got something that’ll keep your imagination going all night long.”  I’m not proud of it, but there it is.  And my stepdad hates to see me booking like this, so he said he’s going to order some additional paperback copies to sell for me.  Just so I can come in out of the cold for a while.  That’s a chivalrous thought, but I’m not in it for the money.  (Of which there’s none.)  Or the fame.  (Of which there’s even less.)  I’m in it to entertain readers and prove that vulgarity doesn’t have to be a prerequisite of every facet of mainstream media.

You don’t have to take my word for it about the quality of these books.  You can read two or three chapters for free online without even downloading it.  Judge the writing for yourself.  Judge your interest level for yourself.  Just give me that chance, the free no-obligation test read.  I promise you won't regret it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Escaping Insanity

Out of all of the books I’ve written, this is the one.  The one that earned me the contract with The Gernert Company, the one that prompted meetings with a Simon & Schuster editor, the one that sparks the most feelings, and the one that will stay with you long after the last page.  This is my literary pride and joy – my magnum opus.

Politics is one of those touchy subjects that can be easier to avoid than handle delicately, yet it has always fascinated me.  So two and a half years ago, when I started writing Escaping Insanity, I set the story in the middle of a Presidential campaign.  At the time, I couldn’t have predicted the circus we now find ourselves in, but artistically all of this drama works in my favor.

Still, there’s so much more to Escaping Insanity than the political story-line.  In fact, politics isn’t even the most taboo topic I explore.  Because this novel also exposes the prejudices we have toward people with mental health disorders, and illuminates the stigma they face just trying to live their lives.

Escaping Insanity doesn’t advance the cause of either political party, but instead campaigns for truth, logic, and the greater good.  That’s a winning ticket we should all rally around.  The themes of love, forgiveness, accountability, and hope are the true backbone of this book, and those are completely bipartisan.

When you read this book, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll even stand up and cheer.  Most importantly, you’ll see the common thread of humanity that connects us all, from the ostracized to the elevated, and every person in between.  Here is your ticket to a good time this election season:

Saturday, October 8, 2016


In May of 2015, I was signed as an author by The Gernert Company literary agency in New York.  Among other notable clients, The Gernert Company represents fiction industry leader John Grisham.

So, as you can see, I was very optimistic when they pitched my novel Escaping Insanity to ten editors of big-name publishing imprints.  Ultimately, we received nine responses essentially saying, “I love this, but it’s not for me,” and then one response of, “I’m interested in making an offer on this novel,” from a Simon&Schuster editor who met my agent for drinks to discuss her interest in my book.  The manuscript was then forwarded along to the Editor-in-Chief for a final approval that we never received, possibly because the editor who wanted to purchase Escaping Insanity left her position there to become a talent scout with a competing literary agency.  It was a tremendous disappointment to say the least.

At that juncture, my agent decided we should turn our attention to novel number four, East of Oz, and for the next ten months, drafts, suggestions, and revisions were passed back and forth.  The novel was ultimately read and sharpened by the majority of the staff at The Gernert Company.  Finally, late this summer, East of Oz was polished and ready to go, but my agent surprisingly decided not to pitch it to a single editor, because – in the deciding opinion of publishers – there is no longer a market for “light” commercial fiction, unless it’s coming from a well-established household name like Nicholas Sparks.  Readers, editors say, want dark, edgy, scandalous, and shocking, not unlike moviegoers and television viewers.  And these gate-keeping editors of New York publishing don’t want to see something by a first-time author if it isn’t those things.

Well, I’ve decided to stand my ground, the middle ground you could call it, between unbelievably prudish and recklessly indecent.  And with the agency’s blessing I’ll be offering these two novels directly to readers through Amazon.  I would rather reach fewer people with nourishing prose than poison the masses with more literary pollution.  Bad is not the new good, villains are not the new heroes, and each purchase and online review made by you – the consumer – sends a clear message to the people controlling all media venues that there is still an audience for exciting, humorous, even heartbreaking stories that focus on the triumph of the human spirit, the resilience of hope, and the beauty of becoming a better person.  I hope you all find the time to read East of Oz and leave me a review.  Not only will you have hours of entertainment, you’ll also be a part of a grass roots movement to bring back moral restraint in mainstream media!  "Who will go with me?!" - Jerry Maguire.

As always, I need to think my best friend and tireless champion, Erika Kessler, and her crafty husband, Gabe, for editing, publishing, and designing the cover for this book.  If you don’t have people in your life who believe in you without reservation or limitation, I highly recommend getting them. Here is the link for East of Oz