Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Amber Waves Is No Field of Dreams

Dear loyal friends and readers,

I am stymied -- AMBER WAVES is not selling. As if I would find isntant success! As if half a million people would "discovert" me and glom onto my work, clamoring for more. I have to admit that Shoeless Joe Jackson did NOT whisper into my ear, saying, "If you write it, they will read." But I swear it is a funbook worth aanyone's time and better tham much of the formulaic fiction out there.

Make room, Christopher Moore. Move over, Niel Gaiman. Thomas Cahill, this might have been what you wrote if you wrote fiction. And remember me in the great writer's garret in the sky, Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams -- put in a word with the Big Guy Marduk for me!

The rest of yoiu, give AMBER WAVES a try. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be glad you did that Kindle thing or direct to Personal Comupter App. Trust me on this. AMBER WAVES may be no Field of Dreams, but it is the first square in a magnificent Traveler's Quilt.

The Joe Blogz Blog

I missed another one. But in fairness, I have been very busy. Who said retirement would be boring? I haven't even had time to work on my Dutch novel in a few days, given the level of activity up in the Big Sky. Diane works part time for a Vet up here, but last week had to work all five days due to the other Tech's family emergency. And I have been pushing broom at a local gas station slash convenience store slash casino called Joe Blogz. I love it, though I hate getting up at 4 am Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but it's only three mornings a week. And I like all the people I work with. It's my job to clean up before opening and so far the evening crews are so fastidious that they make my job easy. And once our living situation is settled (unsettled at the moment for good cause), I think the writing will flow in literal buckets. High quality buckets, of course, from Montana and Holland with love.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Three Blog Night

I missed the last two nights for good and busy reasons, but now I want to mke up for it by dividing tonight's entry into three blogs. Bear with -- none will be too long; in fact, just right!

Blog One: AMBER WAVES demonstrates my feminist side. In fact, when Di read it she commented, "You really are a feminist, aren't you? I thought she knew that -- but what one perceives intellectually about another one does not fully believe until seen in practice.

Blog Two: Farewell, Columbo. I will remember Peter Falk always, but not just as Detective Columbo, the trickster cop. He was brilliant in so much and two supporting performances stand out in my mind: Joy Boy, the wisecracking but immensely pragmatic number two to Glen Ford's superstitious mobster in "Pocketful of Miracles"; and as the persistent and silvertongued narrating grandfather who read us all "The Princess Bride." Thank you, Mr. Falk.

Blog Three: Lost In Holland: Even as I settle down in the beautiful lakeside community of Lakeside, Montana, I still find myself wishing I could go back to Holland again, to visit. The Dutch connection remains strong. A key part of AMBER WAVES takes place there, and the stories of my family and my travels are anchored there. An amazing country with an amazing history and a powerful influence on the world, a large piece of my heart belongs there and always will, as my upcoming stories are likely to reflect. So, as they say, wait for it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mixed Day

This has been a very good day overall. I will not get into the boring details, but suffice it to say that things are going better than I had any right to expect, and little breaks added to the joy.

The downside is a simple one: AMBER WAVES is stalled. I am too busy to figure out ways to un-stall it right now, to sell myself better as it were. I keep hoping for miracles. What else can a writer do, having written? Write more, of course.

Meanwhile the bug bad world keeps rotating and the people on it keep pretending we are far more important than we are. Ah, philosophy . . . there must be a book in that somehow. Meanwhile, my dreams of matching Stieg Larsson's sales output -- a book a second at one point -- is a bit exaggerated. Oh well. I don't know if I could handle such overwhelming, rapid success. I do know I'd like to find out.

So, that's it for today, sort of a silly blog because I am feeling just a little silly today. Maybe it's just a self-defense mechanism because I spent part of the day mired in other people's hell, but that, as they say, is another story.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Keeping up with my promise

I have promised to blog every day, even oif no one catches on that I am here. Even wolves cry in the emptiness.

I have started assembling my book on World War Two and the occupation of Holland. It is not a unique story, and yet I thinbk it has a unique outcome. After all, this is my family I am writing about. The book may be fiction, but it is filled with my fatgher, my mother and my brother and my sister's ghost. And it leads to the factual stories to come.

I live in an exciting time, for many reasons. People who know me know the hell that Diane and I have been through over the past nine months. We are on the other side of it now, and I hope I am a better writer for it. So, even though I am "reassembling" old material, I am really re-writing it with an ear to the tragedy inherent in the material, and I hope to do it justice.

Humor is there, too. Humor is always there. But I am writing about a time without color, a time of sorrow.

Meanwhile, the few of you who so far have grabbed onto my book AMBER WAVES (thank you!!!!!) report that they like it. May it catch fire!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Amber Waves Back On Sale

First, the news: AMBER WAVES is back on sale, with a brand new cover designed by my dear friend and nephew Erik Rutgers, a drawing called "Library." I cannot imagine a more appropriate cover. Thank you, Erik!

After 61 years of living and much of it spent with a pen in hand, I have gathered a great deal of material onto sheets of paper, floppy disks, CDRs and DVDRWs. The few times I ventured out into the competitive world of publishing have met with encouraging rejections (with the notable exception of "Shostakovich" -- it remains much harder to get fiction published than non-fiction). Not enjoying rejections, I rarely submitted. Anxious about failure, I rarely risked.

The internet has changed all that. Rejection has become much more objective, not dependent on a slush pile reader having had a good night's sleep or missing their morning coffee or being in the mood for a comedy when picking up a drama. As long as the content of my work is not pornographic or objectionable (sex, violence, religion and politics are fair game as long as they are handled with taste, and that remains a gray area at best), e-publishers tend to let you in the door. Then it's up to the reader to decide.

Consequently, it has been 32 years between my first two books. Book Three, drawn from existing material and based on family experience, may be out in 32 days! It's not that I'm writing formula after formula (anything but), it's that I am revising manuscripts I did not have the courage to send out into the cold, cold world one publisher at a time hoping for one lucky break.

It's time to make my own luck now, and let you decide if I've entertained you or not.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Keeping My Promise

My novel is off the shelf while Kindle processes the additions - a short bio note on me and Erik's cover design. It takes 24 hours to update, which should be over by this evening. Still, I promised to write a blog every day as I try to learn the ropes of self e-publishing. I need patience more than anything else because I am still unknown to most of you and it is only with great luck and somehow sparking your interest thyat this is going to change.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Download Kindle Titles on Your PC

Great news for all of you who want my book but don't have Kindle! Or just for anyone who wants a Kindle edition of any book . . .

My dear daughter Beth found out that Amazon Kindle offers a free app that you can download onto your PC or cell phone/Blackberry/whatever. Then you can order and download any book you want. To sweeten the deal you get three books free -- three public domain books like Treasure Island.

I did not know you don't have to have a Kindle to download a Kindle edition. So, in an act of shameless self-promotion, if you have a PC you have no reason to avoid what I sincerely believe is a ripping good yarn -- mine!

So, on my seventh day as a novelist I have learned that the availability of my book is far greater than I had imagined. Now I have to wait for you all to discover "Amber Waves." You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Five and counting

Hello again! This is the fifth day since my book came out on Kindle and we've sold six copies so far. Not bad for an unknown writer self-publishing. It's a thrill just to be saying that.

But not to bore you all, lets change the subject. Now that Mr. Wiener is out, I wonder if we can get down to talking about issues? While Wienergate was going on, the Republicans in the House have managed to cut funding to the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program. Like trimming from the needs of hungry women, infants and children will bring the national debt in line or balance the budget. They also are attacking Social Security again while trying to get further tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. Are these guys real? Do they have any sense of fiscal responsibility beyond protecting their own wealth? At least the Republicans show a united front. The Democrats cannot seem to agree on anything concrete or meaningful. That means the Republicans are likely to push their agenda forward because they have one. Like it or not.

As long as we fail to pay attention, our entitlements will be stripped from us as surely as our rights. Or our amber waves of grain may shrivel up and die.

Oh, for a good, entertaining read!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day Four

Here I am again, pleased as punch about the book. I still don't know how to promote it or myself, but I figure this is a learning curve for me. My day job has me pretty tired today, so I will put off until the weekend serious thought. My wonderful nephew Erik has given me art work for the cover, so now I have to figure out how to format it for Kindle. Being the technophobe I am, it scares me a little. Perhaps intimidates is a better word. But I managed to overcome my fears to submit the book in the first place. What's a cover?

Or, to paraphrase the great American philosopher Snoopy when asked what the title of his novel was: Why worry about four words when I have 100,000 to write?

Amber Waves.

I figure if I am subliminal enough you will be compelled.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 3

I feel as though my life has just begun again at 61. It is a remarkable, happy feeling, especially bafter the last very trying and difficult year. Today the book is available on Kindle in the UK and Germany. I have no idea how many people will give me a try, or how to expand my appeal, but I am working on that, step by step, just as I am working on the next book. And it's fun. The world of physical publishing has gotten so competitive that the few publishers who remain are constantly searching for the Next Bestseller and small authors with small books have fallen by the wayside in many instances. I have to believe that if my voice is worth hearing, you all will find me. And my goal is to enlighten and entertain, mostly entertain. So join me on the ride!

Meet Helen of Troy and Socrates and Cleopatra and Charlemagne and Christiaan Huygens, and the Great God Marduk within the pages of my book. Meet the Travelers as they journey through time and history. Meet the lady who inspired the town of Amber Waves to be born. Meet the ex-Nazi retiree. They're all here, waiting for you!

And let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 2

Day 2 as a published novelist! Friends and family have already started buying and at $2.99 I don't feel they can go wrong! Initial feedback is excited, and I thank you for that. Now I have to find ways to spread the word that I am here.

Much more to follow!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Big News

It has been awhile since I have written, so long that my followers few have disappeared. That's okay, for a while I disappeared. Even now I am not sure how much I am coming back at the moment, but I have an announcement for what it is worth, and I feel a degree of pride not just in what I have done but in the fact that I found the strength to do it.

I published. My novel, Amber Waves, is available exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It is the story of a man who cannot die, living in a world filled with people who can. It is fast paced and funny and entertaining and makes a few good points along the way, and introduces you to several amazing characters, a few of them historical. All in 300 poages, at $2.99!

Do I sound like a proud parent? If you want a delightful summer read, please check it out! And thanks.