Epic fail is EPIC great story

Amazon image

Amazon image

 First I have to send out a big thank you to author Tom Lichtenberg for sending the print version of his book, Epic Fail to me.


The story ended perfectly. The only way it could end in this fantasy adventure. I have to say that I still wish for more on this particular adventure. I want to know more about individual characters. Soma, Ember, Eveline and others.

No book is perfect, but this story in its entirety is a better than average read, and I’m comparing to traditionally published books/stories. Tom’s stories may not work for everyone, but I believe most readers who partake of the Epic Fail trilogy will fall in love with the characters and situations.

One last note on this… Once you start the story, it’s impossible to put it down until the very end.








The Morgan James fiasco

Last week I wrote about the acquisitions editor from Morgan James that contacted me through Twitter. Well, after hanging up from a sales call by same editor, I was irritated my time had been wasted.

About five minutes into the call, after touting both companies, (MJ and Koehler Books Publishing), the man tells me, “Authors with a track record are given a traditional deal, but since you don’t have that we would need five-thousand dollars from you. It’s an investment on your part.”


But, he did mention earlier, in the selling spiel, that this company was not a vanity press. It was not a self-publisher. “We split ebook royalties 50-50,” he said.

Agents jump on that, he said.

Not if they’re paying $5,000. out of their own pocket.

I don’t care what a ‘publishing house’ calls it, when they begin asking authors to pay for the service of being published, that sounds like self- or vanity publishing.

Traditional publishing houses pay the author. These companies, despite what they want to depict in advertising and marketing, are not traditional publishing houses.

Morgan James and Koehler, through this scam-sleazy ‘partnering’ program are not just making money through books that hit, but on the author services.

In addition to the $5,000. I was also told there is an ‘Author 101’ event annually in LA and Las Vegas, in which authors are only charged half of the $500. to learn insider secrets of publishing and guerilla marketing.

The companies stress that authors participate in these events because it would make them more successful.

At the end of the conversation, I said “No thanks,” and hung up.

Still, I’m fuming a bit at the ruse. I felt there was a bit of misrepresentation involved by presenting these companies as traditional publishers.

For anyone else approached by these guys. My suggestion is to avoid contact. They are a waste of time.

Writer’s Life #4 – Hecht and the presumption of values

It would seem rational that any creature capable of feeling, contemplating, and praising kindness would in fact be extraordinarily kind, but we are not. We may strive for true altruism, pure love, and total clarity, yet we can not possess these ultimate virtues; for some this suggests that the ultimate virtues exist elsewhere. –from Doubt, by Jennifer Michael Hecht.

typewriter-md As well written and educated as she is, you would think a scholar such as Jennifer Michael Hecht would refrain from making blanket statements she attributes to the whole of humanity.

At the end of her first statement here (above): “It would seem rational that any creature capable of feeling, contemplating, and praising kindness would in fact be extraordinarily kind, but we are not…”

Obviously she is not speaking for herself. She includes all of us when she says, “…we are not.”

Many people are not kind. But many are. Some of us attempt to cultivate kindness, though many times there are days we fall short. It’s like the idea of happiness. You see people taking happiness tests to determine how happy they are. Then come the suggestions: get a dog, a boyfriend, join a church. Then you’ll be more happy.

Unfortunately, life is not so simple. Happiness is not a constant, like hair, or eye color. Yes, we can have days in which we feel happier than others, but it is fleeting, like any mood. We can have a generally happy outlook on life, but we cannot maintain “happy” all the time. Though kindness is more trait than mood, it’s difficult to maintain constantly. Then again, I’m speaking for myself. In general, I like to think most people have some value of kindness they cultivate toward their human family.

She is right in that we strive for virtues [Def.: virtues: ideals of goodness]. We don’t always achieve them, because they are ideals. Ideals, we may never be able to live up to fully, but mentally present for us to cling to. They do not exist upon a higher plane for many of us. They are modes of conduct–perhaps codes–which we build our lives around. When making the statement that we can not possess (meaning to own?) the virtues, I cannot fully agree, depending on how the term ‘possess’ is being used.

We may not own those virtues individually, but as one of the higher forms of intellect on this planet, we have the power of choice and reason. Humans have the ability to choose how they behave toward one another, other beings and the environment.

Do we wake thinking, “how can I be kind or fair toward my fellow beings today?”

Probably not. But in our interactions with one another, we can note how we’re feeling and thinking and moderate our behaviors with those things in mind. We all have that potential. I think part of exploring the human condition is developing the potential we have within ourselves. But like everything we do in our lives, these are individual choices.

If we want a fairer world, I believe we have to make our own little corner of the universe fairer in the way we deal with others. Just because life is not fair, does not mean it’s okay to behave unfairly toward others. Or, a better example: because a thief steals your car, does not make it okay for you to steal your neighbor’s.

As far as those virtues existing “elsewhere”, as Hecht writes, I believe she is speaking for herself. I don’t have an Elsewhere. I do have a mind that holds those values clearly, though I don’t always behave in a fashion that upholds those values. And when I don’t, I have a loud guilty conscious (in the voice of my father, grandmother or HH the Dali Lama) that lets me know immediately what I could have done better.

But of course, all of the above is my own interpretation of life and the mind. I just don’t want anyone (presumably) speaking for me.


Writer’s Life #1

Recently I read the book 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Though I’m usually a quick reader, it took me two week to get through this tome.

Why? Murakami writes densely. That is, he packs so much information into his sentences, economizing on verbiage, it takes a bit longer to get through more than 900 pages.

I liked the book, because the story truly transports the reader into another universe.

Another book I’m currently reading, Ghost on the Wall by Tom Lichtenberg, though much shorter, is much more enjoyable. I’ve just started the work, but already I’m hooked. This is the best of Lichtenberg’s work that I’ve read, and I’ve read quite a bit.

The language is graphic, symbolic, descriptive and raw. There are aspects of life that make us cringe when we see them, sometimes turn away, but Lichtenberg doesn’t allow it. He requires us to look at it straight on and deal.

Work hard and you’ll work hard, that was his own grim motto, and he did his share. He hauled and he lifted, he carried and he fetched, he stocked and he drove, he helped the products of the world find their way around in it, from factory to warehouse, from warehouse to store, from store to dwelling, from homes to landfill, the cycle of life in cardboard and plastic and metal.

The work is reminiscent of Saramago, though there is something reminiscent of Marquez’s, Love in the Time of Cholera there. But of course, I haven’t read through the entire work yet… More on this when I’m done reading.

In other news: I’m over 13,000 words on Taria and happily tapping out at least a thousand words a day. Hoping to find the right editor for Taria by the end of the month and still looking for an artist familiar with conceptual work.

Kickstarter Project

Today was the first day of the Kickstarter Project for Taria of the Dead. As the project develops, I’ll be giving regular updates, including videos and regular posts about my progress.

If you look to the left, you’ll also see that I’ve create a page, specifically for Taria. There, you’ll find info updates, along with various incidentals. There’s so much to the creation of a new world/project that I have a feeling that particular page might spill over into its own (different) site.

We’ll see…

Also, I will be using a local (Arkansas) artist for my cover illustration. If you are, or know an artist in Arkansas who does this kind of work, please get in touch.

starvingartist0 at yahoo dot com.

Weird Findings…

Photo-0174Finding my book in a bookstore, then someone holding one of the books in a local cafe was pretty weird. Had to take pics. Someone told me she saw a copy in the local library, but I haven’t had a chance to check it out.

So, now I’m on a hunt for any public sightings of Nexus. If you happen to sight one, please take a shot of it and send it in so I can post it here. With the exception of garbage can shots. No books in garbage cans. 🙂