Sunday, December 21, 2014

Name Chosen

As you can see, I've chosen a new name for my blog. I was thinking of running a contest to pick a name, but one just came to me suddenly the other day so here we are.

Musings is perfect because that's what these posts are.

So with that task complete, I am going to focusing on completing the draft of Book 5 this week and next.

So far, the draft stands at 43000 words. I'm shooting for at least 60000 words. So it's a race against time. I'll give an update in a few weeks to let everyone know about my progress.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Blog Needs a New Name

I've finally managed to cobble together over a hundred pages of poems. So I've decided to release them in a single collection.  The book is available from booksellers online and from the publisher, ManaSoft Books directly, at

The title of the collection is Paraphernalia in My Pocket. Since that's also the name of this blog, I need to change the blog's name to avoid confusion. I suppose it would've been easier to give the poetry collection a different name, but the title was always reserved for my poetry going back to my college days and the first collection I turned in to my poetry professor. Then, I had about ten poems. Now I have more like 70 or 80 poems.

So you might be wondering why I named the blog with the title of my poetry collection. Well, at the time, back in 2010 when I started this blog, I wasn't sure I'd ever release a collection of poetry. I didn't have as many poems then. And frankly blog posts are like poems: they are little bits of ideas that float around in my head. It seems fine at the time.

But times change and now I need a new name. So if any of my readers want to suggest a title, I'll send you a free audio version of my novel, Aure the Topaz. Send your suggestions to me at

Keep writing everyone.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I Don't Know What Happened

Somehow, I managed to sell a handful of stories on Smashwords in Q3. I really don't know how that happened. I spent that time promoting my novel, not my short stories. I'm guessing that by giving away countless copies of my stories, that when I switched over and started charging for my work, a few people decided I was worth the risk.

I honestly don't understand. The only thing that is clear is activity on Smashwords is a lot slower. In fact, I seem to be selling more on Barnes & Noble than on Smashwords.

The audio version of Aure the Topaz is now available on iTunes,, and

I also released a new short story, Carbon Footprint. The story speculates about the near future when researchers develop a new strain of seaweed designed to scrub out carbon dioxide more efficiently. The other unique thing about this seaweed is it grows on synthetic material which can be used to wrap buildings in allowing more surface area to be devoted to controlling greenhouse gases. The story follows the progress of this invention as it is released into our world.

Work on Book 2 continues. I think I'm looking at a Q1 2015 release now. But I'll keep plugging away at it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I Just Don't Understand

I've come back from the farmer's market; I sold nothing... again. From that experience, and a little research, I see that a majority of people don't read books regularly. I just don't understand that. One person at the market admitted that to me and blamed his short attention span.

While it is true that our attention spans are growing shorter, thanks to technology, that's not the only culprit here. I say this because, among the people I talked to, and there were several, none of them were willing to buy from me and save money, even after I explained that I offer a large discount on the books.

What's up with that?

I just don't understand that behavior either.

Some people came with no money, or so they said, why would you do that if you are going to a farmer's market?

And the biggest thing I don't understand is how I'm going to convince anyone to buy my work despite all the marketing research I'm reading. Which means either I'm reading the wrong material or these marketing people don't know what they are talking about.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chugging Along

All my projects are chugging along. The audio version of Aure the Topaz, for example, has just gone back to the producer for a last round of changes. I'm hoping the audio version will be available next month.

Revisions on Vorn, the Onyx are moving along too. I'm about halfway through it now, pulling out words and tightening the writing. I'll spot check the book once I'm done to see if it needs more work and then decide if I can release it.

I discovered the web site of my publisher is gone, which is not a bad deal. I've been preparing for this for months. My books are now available from ManaSoft Books. They are still getting set up but should be ready to go soon.

I spent the morning with the writer's group I've tripped into, revising Vorn. While we working one of the writers mentioned that she was going to be attending a farmer's market next week. She asked me if I wanted to come along. I said yes. She was the one who told me about this writer's group too. She a very nice person and one of the few writers I know that really tries to help others. What a breath of fresh air compared to so many snobs I've encountered.

That's it for updates. I'll have more next week. See you then.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sometimes you Need to get your Second Wind

I'm finally making good progress on the last pass through Book 2. It turns out that editing with paper and pencil works better for me than anything else. So much for high tech solutions.

Of course that means it might take a while to wrap it up and make it available. But I'm not going to rush it. I did that with Book 1 and regretted it. So there's no official release date and there won't be until I'm working on the last few chapters. That said, the official goal is to release this quarter. Whether I achieve that goal depends on how many distractions I have.

The audio version of Book 1 reached a milestone. The entire book is recorded and I'm listening to it so we can make one last pass on it and then release it. That also has a Q4 release goal.

I received my first copies of Magic and Melee to sell next month at the shows I'll be attending. And the electronic version is available from Smashwords. Still need to set up the Kindle version at Amazon. You can also purchase a copy directly from Lulu.

And speaking of shows next month I'll be at the Rhode Island Author Expo November 8 in Warwick from 9 to 3 I believe and at the Groton Library on November 16 from 12 to 3. If you plan on attending either event, please stop by and say hello.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Slow Progress

I am progressing slowly toward completing Book 2. I am also thinking of offering a combined volume of Books 1 and 2. But I don't know if that is necessary.

There is interest from readers of Book 1 for Book 2, which is encouraging. And personally, I can't wait to have it done and show two books in the series. It is really hard to have a series with one book. With two, the series is really born.

Updates for the week include:

  • My Kickstarter project was not funded. Work on the graphic novel has stopped.
  • My collection of fantasy short stories, Magic and Melee, is ready. I need to update Smashwords and Amazon with the electronic versions. And I'm debating the best distribution methods for the paper version.
  • Work on the audio version of Aure the Topaz is progressing. We have about 12 chapters left to record.

I'll be at a show in Warwick RI Nov 8. I'll provide more details next week. And I'll be at a local authors fair in Groton Nov 16. I won't have Book 2 for either event. But it will be close.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

More to Say

I've been busy with writing stories and book promotion, but that's not what's got me back here writing my blog again.

I read a marketing post recently that suggests I need a newsletter to keep the outside world updated on what's going on.

I thought about that and thought perhaps this blog could serve that purpose.

So here's a quick update:

  • I'm lining up shows to go to through the end of the year. So far I've got four identified for November and December. Check my web site,, for specifics.
  • Work on the audio version of Aure the Topaz is about halfway done.
  • I've collected my six fantasy short stories into a small paperback called Magic and Melee. It is available on Smashwords and I'll be posted to the Kindle store soon. I expect a second collection of stories in a different genre next year.
  • Work on Vorn the Onyx, Book 2 of the Aglaril Cycle, is nearly done. Hope to have this out by the end of the year at the latest. By December would be even better but I think that might be tough to do.
  • My Kickstarter project to convert Aure the Topaz into a graphic novel looks like it will not be funded. So that project is dead.
  • My Goodreads giveaway in August drew 350 readers. 
  • Work on Book 5 is delayed. The word count is over 40,000 but I still have a ways to go. Not really working on it so I can get Book 2 out.
Be sure to also check for other news.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Promotion

I've been looking at book promotion, how it works, and what I need to do to sell more books. Let me pause here to say that so far, according to my publisher, my novel isn't selling. Certainly not enough to justify the money they spent on it. I'm sure their other books are in the same situation which is why they are getting out of the business.

So now that I know my book sales are crappy, I'm trying to change that. So I've begun to research how to promote my book. The advice I've received and is contradictory. I'm suppose to guest blog, and post in forums, and engage members of my audience with interesting conversations. All this work so that my name is out there and recognized.

While I agree name recognition would help me, I don't think that's the way to get it. Not for a book of fiction. For non-fiction that might work because you can pretend to be an authority on the subject of your book, but fiction is different.

For fiction, you need to convince the reader that you can write well and tell a story. That's what fiction is all about. That's why my short stories have been free for months. But that hasn't help me sell books because I don't think the readers of the stories are making the connection with the novel or want to shell out real money for reading material.

Of course, it may also be true that my readers have no money. They may be 15 to 25, ages where you have no income or money is really tight. So I need a different strategy to spark the interest of readers. And to do this, I'm going after book reviews. That's the usual way people know a book is good. Perhaps that will caught someone's interest and they will buy a copy. I hope so.

And on the off chance I've already piqued your interest, you can find information about my novel, Aure the Topaz, on my website,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Back to Self-Publishing

My second novel is nearly ready and it looks like I'll be self-publishing it. Why? Because publisher is dropping the books it has under contract at the end of the year. So it's either self-publish or spend time looking for other publisher. 

Frankly I don't see the point. By self-publishing my work I can get the books out faster. And in an article I read recently on the self-publishing keeping control of your work is important because by doing so you can track how it is selling. By doing this, you know when to run specials and target to your audience with ads. 

And so long as I maintain quality of the text there's really no reason why I need a publisher.

So later this year Book 2 of the Aglaril Cycle will be released. Watch this blog and my web site, for details.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Little Light Verse

I suppose this blog post would've been more appropriate last month, during National Poetry Month, but I wasn't ready to tell anyone my first book of poems will be ready in June. That's right, after years of writing poetry I finally managed to write enough verse to put the best ones together in a single volume.

The book, Paraphernalia in My Pocket, shares the name with this blog for one very simple reason: in both cases, the things I'm writing are little bits of things that illustrate a point or idea. To be honest, when I started this blog four years ago, I never intended to publish my poems. But times change and the title for the book of poetry is the right one.

I could change the name of the blog, but I don't think that's necessary. I don't think there'll be much -- if any -- confusion.

And more poems keep on coming. No sooner do I complete the edits on Volume 1 than more poems start flying onto the page. So there could easily be a second volume or perhaps a second edition of my poems. Who knows? Whatever happens there it will be years away, I'm sure.

The timing for this book is perfect for the New England Authors Expo in July. I'll be there to try and sell my wares which will now include, one novel, Aure the Topaz, one book of poetry, and one small collection of short stories (left over from my appearance at the Local Authors Day in Chelmsford last year). I'll have more to say about the Expo as the date arrives.

In also looks like I'll be able to participate in the Meet the Author series given by the Weymouth Library. I've contacted them and they now have my name for the fall. Additionally I am trying to get my book into speciality stores like Pandemonium Books in Cambridge. They stock my novel and the owner of the place loved it. I'm now trying to get the book stock in a comic book to see how it does there.

Lastly, I expect to be done with the revision of Book 2 in the Aglaril Cycle by mid-June. At which time, I will contact my publisher to see what interest they have in that book. So a lot of great things are happening. Hope everyone reading this will be good enough to support my efforts.

Keep writing, everyone!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


I've been having a few unexpected things happening here recently. The first was the other day when I realized that sudden upheavals seem to trigger my desire to write. You see, the husband of a cousin died suddenly and in response I wound up writing some poetry. This isn't the first time that's happened either. Odd that this should be my response. But I guess it is one of the ways in which I deal with the loss.

Then yesterday I found myself doing graphics work again. I've been doing that a lot lately because I create my own covers for my short stories. Sometimes it is hard to find an image or create a cover. In fact sometimes I have to settle for the images I can find so I can release it. Usually this is an occasional task, but recently it has been occurring with more frequency, probably because I'm releasing stories on a regular basis and I've got a poetry collection coming too.

And it is my inability to make the cover I want for my poetry collection which is likely to delay it from releasing. I need a way to create smokey letters and so far that has not happened. I may need to pay to have it done. 

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Once upon a time, people were recognized -- and achieved some measure of greatness -- by their actions and deeds. The fame created by your greatness determined how well known you were.

These days that's not the case. The media has created greatness for people who have done nothing and do nothing worthy of that greatness, or who have been born into a famous family, or have won some made up "reality" show.

I suppose I'm showing my age here, but this sort of thing makes me sick. And it is not sour grapes. I do not aspire to greatness. But I am tried of hearing about this one or that one and find nothing worthy watching on cable because it is full of crap.

TV can enlighten and educate but only if we use that way, to paraphrase a famous journalist. We aren't doing that as much as we should and in an age hungry for information and content, we are inventing it where we shouldn't and ignoring real content that we shouldn't.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


This Tuesday, April 8, at 7pm, I and five other writers will be speaking at the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy MA about their works. It has been a long road to get here and I still have last-minute details to take care of. What I've discovered is that promoting one's work is a lot like selling cars which surprises me because car salesman is a job I would not want on a regular basis. Ironic.

On the other hand, I've networked and made connections like I would for any job and I even got to be interviewed by my local TV station, which is not something that happens to car salesmen. The video of the interview came out well and can be seen at

There are other differences too, I think, the main one being I have to go after readers; car salesmen do not. People walk into car showrooms. And since I will have to perform on Tuesday, I am busy preparing for the presentation I will give.

And now the commercial.

So please, if you are in the greater Boston area, consider coming and supporting local authors. We need your support because we are all one or two steps from winking out of business. And that's not hyperbole. It is only through our drive and force of will that we keep going. To maintain that drive a little support goes a long way. Without it there really is no point in continuing on. So please support local authors. Thanks.

End of commercial.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm No Gauge

I've been watching how my stories on Smashwords are selling and have concluded next to nothing about my audience except that they like my work. I can't tell whether they are primarily male or female, what age group they are in, and what they really like except when they give a review.

One reason for this is that some reviews give contradictory information. For example, the one review I have on Gray's World is two stars yet it is my most popular story. And the comments I've gotten on the Reaper are all over the place ranging from, "Nice but an obivous ending" to "A good fairy tale".

To add to this confusion, stories that I think are great, don't some to do as well as stories that I like less. The Monster, for example, which I released this month, has already blown passed Telescopevision which I released last month. Personally, I think, Telescopevision is a better story. I like it more but my readers obviously don't.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Regardless, I'm planning continue to release one story a month for as long as I can. I've got three more in the queue so I should be good through June.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mark your Calendar, Please

With my TV interview complete (video will be ready in about two weeks), my focus now turns to promoting next month's event in other venues and media. I've sent email to several people and have post the event in the announcement area of several MeetUp groups I belong to. I also tweeted on this  subject yesterday. Once the video is out, I will follow up again.

But until that time I need to do the shameless plug here. So for those of you living in or near the Boston area, please mark your calendars for April 8 at 7 pm. At that time I and five other writers will talk about our work at the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy.

I don't think I need to say that authors who do not have name recognition or a large following need all the support they can get. The same is true of musicians, painters, sculptors, or anyone else promoting their art. I am amazing how quickly and easily work from relatively unknown artists can disappear in a heartbeat. It takes a lot of work and perseverance to keep going. And for that reason, these people need and deserve the support of the communities in which they live because without them, new ideas die, creativity is stifled, and life is a lot less interesting.

So I hope anyone reading this who is able to come to the event will do and support not only me but the other local authors who have agreed to come and speak.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Upcoming Interview

This coming Wednesday, I'll be going to my local access TV station for an interview. The purpose is to promote my novel, Aure the Topaz, and the upcoming event I'll be attending at my local library in April.

I have no idea what questions they'll be asking but I don't know that through the magic of television, mad responses can be edited and it possible to redo any bad answer.

Hopefully, that won't be necessary. But the option is there if it is needed.

I also released another story short the other day. So far I've got 49 downloads in about 36 hours. So it looks like I have some fans. In fact I got a tweet from someone saying exactly that. Always good to hear that.

I failed to write my requisite 6000 words for February so I'm behind on Book 5. I will attempt to make that up this month.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


This past week I lost my dog. She was the sweetest, cutest little dog I've ever had. In her honor and memory I've written this poem.

The pink pig
My good girl
Fuffa dog
My baby girl
My freckled faced girl.

It is not fair that your heart began to fail
And that out if kindness we had to put you down
It is not fair the vet messed up
And could not give us medicine to save your life
It is not fair that you should suffer
Or that you no longer spin for a treat
Or Bark for sushi
Or mooch just bout any food we have
Or stomp your feet for a taste
Or go for a ride or walk
Or laugh 
Or give a stinky kiss on my nose
Or drink fresh water from the jug
Or rub your bum on the grass or the rug
Or stretch on three legs like a ballerina 

And it is not fair that you were once a puppy mill 
Or got cancer
But at least we rescued you
And had the cancer removed.

That should have been enough suffer for one dog
But apparently it isn't.

No it is not fair
And now I can only hope
you are in a better place.

Frankly I doubt it
Heaven, it seems, is a myth.

We love you


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Why am I in Amazon?

After a careful review of the sale reports I've received for 2013 I must say that overall, I am pleased that people are reading my stories. This is why I write them after all. It would be better if I could charge $1 and yield the sane result, but this past year is really the first time people have been paying attention to my work. And that for now it enough.

There is one notable exception to this however. Amazon. They do not allow me to make my stories free and so there was no activity in Amazon for me in 2013. So why am I in Amazon?

Good question. The answer is mostly because of an article I read on self-publishing in Time magazine. I blogged about it at the time and one of their conclusions was you have to be in Amazon so people can find you.

And that may be but the fact remains, month after month, I'm seeing no activity in Amazon when I am seeing in Smashwords and Barnes and Noble, to name two. I think that would be different if I could set the price to $0 in Amazon but I can't.

So I've decided not to post anything more in Amazon until something changes because it is a waste of my time. I am busy enough writing and promoting my work that if Amazon will not make it easy for me to set the price I want then I have no reason to do business with them.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Year Ending

I got a report from Smashwords about the activity on all my stories for 2013. It turns out that people have been quite busy snatching up my work at Barnes & Noble. I have a similar report from Amazon. The bottom line on all this is I had a good year in 2013. On average I had from 1 to 2 reads a day for all my work. But because the stories are free that's a few hundred dollars that aren't in my pocket.

So why don't I charge 99 cents for them? Because the stories that aren't free aren't moving. No one wants to read them. Besides the purpose of giving away the stories right now is to get people familiar with my work. Hopefully they will look for more information about me (my web site address is in each story) or search for other work by me and find that my novel is available.

I was supposed to have numbers from my publisher too but that didn't happen so I'm going to ask to get a hint at how my novel is selling.

Meanwhile I continue to release a story a month and these of these is getting a lot of attention. The story I released in December has over 150 downloads now, the story from last month hit 100 downloads, and this month's story had 25 downloads in a day. Those are good numbers.  It means people like what they are finding and coming back for more.

Hopefully this also means that they are looking for other work, finding my novel, and buying it.

And speaking of my novel, I finally got my first reviews. Two 4-star reviews to be precise in Amazon. I have copied them to my web site as well.

A volume of poetry looks more and more likely this year and Book 5 is up to 6000 words in a month. At that rate I might be done with it by October or November.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

More Poetry

Poems seems to be falling out of my head like dust cascading down from the air.

Okay that's hyperbole, but I am writing a lot more poems than I used to. I think one reason for the increase in poems is that I've begun to see they do not need to be focused on an emotion. Well, not an explicit emotion like love, for example. The poem I've started on the joys of middle age is more about resignation and disappointment than anything else, even if the tone is one of annoyance that all the foods the speaker of the poem once enjoyed are banned from him because of cholesterol.

I'm also seeing more types of poems among all my attempts to write poems. For example, I have many story poems. This type of verse does exactly what the name suggests; it tells a story.

I have two type of story poems: the poem of images where imagery carries the piece, and the tone poem where tone of voice is the main thing. Sometimes I do both, but not often.

I prefer the poem of images when I can do it because I love finding the one image to convene an entire story. But that's not easy to do. So I end up with a lot more tone poems.

If I can't find a story in the poem then it is likely to be an idea poem, where a central idea is at the heart of the work. That's a lot harder because often there is no imagery and no special tone of voice to help get me through to the end. In those cases, I will sometimes resort to use rhyme but not always.

And while we are on the subject, I use rhyme only occasionally. I'm not sure why. Some poems lend themselves to it, others do not.

Often each poem stands alone; it is a complete thing by itself. But I've got a set of eight or more poems that tell a larger story when strung together. I suppose this is my first poetry cycle. Most of the poems in that cycle aren't complete so I don't know how many ultimately will comprise it or where it will begin and end, but I've got enough of them in reasonably good shape that I'm shape there'll be some sort of cycle.

And so I continue to jot down poems and images while I try to find time to write the stories and novels I really want to get to.

Keep writing everyone.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Things Change and Stay the Same

It's 2014. As such, I am starting up all my next novel, just as I have for the last few years. At the same time, I am continuing to work on some short stories. I've put my poetry away for now. It needs to a cool dark space where it can rest and mature -- although I've got a few strangling poems to complete.

Nothing new there. But to this mix I'm going to start attending local fantasy conventions and writer events to network and learn about these events. Since I've only got the one novel, I'm not going to try to get dealer space -- not yet -- but I will be networking.

And on that front, I got an event coming in April at my local library and it appears that I've got my book into a fantasy gaming bookstore in Cambridge with the help of a friend. The store will buy the books from me and I, of course, will get them from my publisher at a significant discount. Without said discount, even this would be a losing proposition.

So things change and the stay the same, which is how life is, of course. What remains up in the air is how my first novel is doing in the market. It appears to be selling -- if slowly. Its fate determines what I do about Book 2 which is in final revision now. What is also unclear is how much networking will help me. I know from past job searches that not all networking is equal. Some events are better than others. Nor do I know when my first poetry collection will be ready. It could be this year. But it could be next year. Or the year after that.

In a similar vein, now that I've got over ten stories out on Smashwords, I've begun to group them by genre. Currently, I've got a collection of fantasy stories, a few horror stories, and one science-fiction story. When I get enough stories in a specific genre, my plan is to publish it as a book and remove the individual stories, much the way I'm handling my poetry. What constitutes "enough stories" will depend on word count I suspect.

And those are my plans. It will be interesting to see how the year unfolds, what I accomplish, and what gets push into 2015.

Happy New Year everyone and keep writing.