Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Okay, so Herman Rosenblat's memoir Angel at the Fence is false. Big deal. A quote I remember, but can't attribute at this time, goes something like: "Surely you must have learned by now, my dear, that all writers are liars." It's called Creative Nonfiction by those who teach writing. So Herman fudged the facts. Again, big deal. Remember weapons of mass destruction? Oh, and what about the Gulf of Tonkin? And just how old was Jack Benny anyway? Hugh Hefner recently released his memoir. Undoubtedly both facts in Hugh's memoir are completely trustworthy and accurate in each detail. After all the hand-wringing concludes, if Hermie is still looking for a publisher, I'll publish it. If it was a great story before the lit-geeks peed their pants, it'll be a great story after all the whuppins and CYA finger pointing ceases.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Kontent is King

Chatting with a fellow from Toronto who had purchased Jon Severson's book, Delivered With Pride, a Pictorial History of the Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railroad, prompted some interesting memories. The Canadian railroad buff said that Jon's book, "Tells the story of a monumental task that took courage, hard work, and great ambition to accomplish."

I had to agree on two fronts. Not only does Jon's book illustrate the tremendous amount of ambition and hard work required to build a railroad through some of the most hostile terrain on the planet using technology that looks feeble by today's standards, the fact that the book is published and pleasing its many readers is a testimony to Jon's interest, professionalism, and determination to bring a fine, fine product to market.

The comment also lead me recall something that Pfeiffer-Hamilton publisher Don Tubesing once said to me: "No cry. No buy, Mike." He was saying that, in order to offer a contract to the author, and in order to invest the time and money required to bring a book to market, and in order to believe that a book is going to sell well enough to return a profit on said investment, the content had to move the reader emotionally.

I'm glad that Delivered With Pride does just that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hemingway's Fishing Holes

Here it is December and the website is getting hits on Hemingway's fishing holes. I love trout fishermen/women. I can see them now, huddled around their fly vice crafting flies that will be totally alluring to the lunker trout hiding in the fishing hole in the bend of the creek. I imagine them strategizing about which river to fish, which section of river to fish, how to get enough time off work to get to that remote fishing hole.

If you know anyone like this, recommend Jay Thurston's book Following in the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway. It not only reveals some of Papa's favorite fishing holes, it provides 110 trout tips and reveals some of the most action packed rivers and fishing holes in Wisconsin and the U.P.

Keep the trout fires burning people!

Friday, December 5, 2008


We attended a "holiday bazaar" last night as a vendor and sold four books at steep discounts. There were over 2,000 people present. That seems like a small percentage of sales for that amount of foot traffic, but I'm pleased with the results. Why? Because the other 50 vendors there didn't appear to sell their products very well either, not from what observed, and not according to their reports. At the end of the night, as I strolled around asking how sales went, many vendors said they sold not one item. I'm familiar with vendors understating their sales activity to competing merchants, but I think the gloomy reports were realistic and reflected a tight-fisted public, buying only bargains. I felt blessed to have decided to offer "Bargain Books" for sale and that we sold anything at all. I felt blessed to have stood enough income to cover the registration fee. Thank God for all blessings, the small, and even smaller.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Signing Success!

Congrats to Jon Severson whose book Delivered With Pride made train-sized appearances at two Duluth, Minnesota bookstores this past weekend. Both Barnes & Noble and Northern Lights Books & Gifts sold through their in-store stock and Jon had to go out to his vehicle to get more books to meet the demand. This "DWP Book" as it is becoming known, looks like it may be a real locomotive. And you know what the means. It's hard to stop a train once it gets going.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

5000 Square Foot Model

Got a great review of the DW&P book from Scott Anderson of Denver, Colorado. He's building a 5,000 square foot O-Scale railroad model of the "PEG" for a client and is finding the content of Jon's book valuable in his work. Thanks Scott.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Selling Books in the Modern Age

Here's how to sell books in the modern age:

1.) From your office. John F. Saunders sells 25 The Last Spartan http://www.savpress.com/Details.asp?ProductID=156 books a week on average across the counter of his office in Greensboro, N.C. Would that Barnes & Noble could so so well.

2.) Jay Ford Thurston sold 10 Hemingway books at an Eau Claire, WI Trout Unlimited speech that he gave. He sold 20 books at a Mazomanie, WI craft show and then another 10 Out of the Rainbow http://www.savpress.com/Details.asp?ProductID=151 books at two school talks he gave. All this in one week.

An old friend of mine who is a multi-millionaire has said more than once, "Nothing happens unless sombody sells something."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun, Funky, Funny WSJ Review

By Steven B. Beach
Published: November 9, 2008

THE LAST SPARTAN. By John F. Saunders. Savage Press. 218 pages. $24.95.

As I read the last sentence of The Last Spartan, a chill ran down my spine. In the day I spent reading this novel, my pulse had accelerated, my emotions had stirred and my engrossment meter had repeatedly pegged to red-line. But mostly, I'd simply enjoyed a wild ride trying to keep up with the pace of this story featuring Frank Kane, ex-enforcer for the Spartans motorcycle gang. Upon learning that the author, John F. Saunders, is also a Greensboro dentist, I decided to make an appointment and ask the question that has been asked of authors since time immemorial:
SB: Aaah, oooh -- ah, thanks for taking your hands out of my mouth. I was asking what possessed you to write such a novel?
JS: I was complaining to my wife, Lynn, about paying hard-earned money for a book, spending irretrievable time reading it, only to be disappointed by the whole experience. I told her I believed I could write a better novel than many that are being published today. Lynn responded with: "Then why don't you?" Next thing I knew I was spending evenings doing just that. The Last Spartan is the result.
SB: OK, it's a novel about biker gangs, prostitution and efforts toward redemption of one biker with a particularly violent history. How did you come up with the Spartan theme?
JS: Besides studying dentistry, I also majored in Greek history while attending UNC Chapel Hill. I've always been intrigued by the Spartans. They were unique in that they were a culture of warfare. Unlike their neighbors at the time, they didn't farm, weave or make pottery; they were all soldiers. They had slaves and the spoils of war to supply all that other stuff. There's never been another culture so centered on warfare. It made sense to write about modern times for a modern audience; it was a small step, then, to connect the Spartan backdrop to modern-day people who also use violence to achieve their goals. Outlaw bikers fit the bill.
SB: In my experience as a motorcycle enthusiast, I've attended biker rallies and known some rough bikers. It's easy for me to imagine a gang called the Spartans, and it's easy to imagine a guy who could be so fixated with actual Spartans that he would adopt their code. But for an entire gang to be so taken by the idea as to address each other with the names of the Greek gods, I felt like you were stretching it a bit. What do you say to that?
JS: Rinse and spit; I think I'll pull all your teeth now. Seriously, imagine living so outside the constraints of the law that you make your own law, you shape lives, you're untouchable, it's all about respect. What's the ultimate respect? You're a god.
SB: Fair enough -- but get away from me with theose pliers. Overall, I must say I enjoyed your novel. I liked the fact that Frank Kane lives in Greensboro and much of the action takes place in Atlanta. Do you intend to write more novels?
JS: I hoped you'd ask that question, since I'll be at the Winston-Salem Barnes and Noble bookstore from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, for a book signing, and I want everyone to know I'll have plenty of books to sign and sell. After that, it's back to work on the next book in the Frank Kane series, The Spartan Negotiator, which is nearly finished.
SB: Well, based on how much I enjoyed The Last Spartan, I look forward to reading it. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Oh, and thanks for the floss.
Besides the bookstores, you can also buy this novel at savpress.com.
■ Steven Beach is a writer who lives in Lawsonville.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

DWP = Delighted With Product

A nice steady stream of orders are coming in for Jon Severson's book Delivered with Pride.

DWP= Don't Withhold Purchase.

DWP = Do Write (your) Pals about this great book.

DWP = Definitely Want Plenty (of books for gifts this Christmas).

DWP = Delighted With Purchase.

DWP = a Down Write Pretty book.

Send more DWP acronyms, if you would.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Book Out NOW

Jon Severson's fantastic railroad book about the history of the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railroad is now available. What a sweet book. Totally cool. 240 glossy pages of fantastic information, stories, photos, old newspaper articles, facts, and figures. And priced at only $24.95, it is a true value. Tell your pals about it, please.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rinse and Spit People

Sometimes you wonder if publishing a book has any effect on the wide world out there. The good news is, good news travels far. Lee Andresen, author of Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War wrote recently to say that his book has been selling in South Africa. Not too long ago, Jeff Lower, author of Kat's Magic Bubble informed us that his book had gone to Russia...with love. These advances for individual books remind me of the saying, "I worked thirty years to become an overnight success." One day at a time, little by little, good books find their way to appreciative readers. Teddy Roosevelt said, "Do what you can with what you have where you are." This is what Savage Press books are doing every day wherever they are. They're saying what the author intended by speaking to the readers they find regardless of place. When you get a chance, wherever you are, by whatever means at your disposal, mention a Savage Press book to someone, tell someone to visit the website, promote a specific title, spread the news! Pretend your words of praise are peanut butter on bread, spread it on thick and often!

You could say, "Geeze, I read this great little children's book about a duck and a dog and doggone it if my kids didn't love it."

You could say, "You know, I was fishing around for a present for my husband and caught a great trout fishing book by a guy from Wisconsin named Jay Thurston."

While waiting for a dental appointment you could say, "I heard about this great new thriller out that has a powerful anti-hero named Frank Kane in it. Written by a dentist from Greensboro, North Carolina."

Rinse and spit people...spit it out about Savage Press, Savage Press authors, and Savage Press books.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Complain Your way to Riches?

I've been hearing some complaints about the state of publishing these days. "Too many books being published." "Too much competition" "The quality of contemporary writing is too low." Well, what would you complainers prefer? The old days when only a handful of writers were published? Publishing is a pendulum. We're on the far end of a huge swing in the direction of everyone with a computer can be published. Forget books. It's the Internet, the Web, Blogging. Cell phone publishing. If you want to "be published" start a blog, get your website up. If you want your deathless prose ensconced between the pages of a physical book, fine. Get thee to a POD publisher and have at it. But realize that, "being published" does not mean your book will be bought. As I said in the previous post, if somebody doesn't sell it, it won't be sold. As the MaD Goddess pointed out in her comment on the previous post, just because you "build it" (self publish), they may not come a runnin' with their wallets/checkbooks open and the cash flying magically into your hand. I say, get it out there any way you can and let the customers (readers/viewers/listeners) decide if they want to reward you in some way. Silent praise may be all you get in return for opening your vein and your wallet to "be published." Good luck, have some fun along the way, and, if you must, complain away because complaining is good for the soul, but not necessarily good for the bank balance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Difference Between Marketing and Selling

Selling a book is different than writing a book. Marketing a book is different than selling a book. Do you know the difference between selling and marketing? Marketing a book is telling someone about it. You can send a flyer to bookstores telling them about the book. This is simple sharing of information. Once you've informed the bookstore manager, buyer, (make sure you're sending the info to the correct person) not the vice president of dingle-berry procurment, then someone has to call on that person and make a sale. It's called closing the sale. "How many copies can we send you?" "Are you interested in buying any copies today?" "If you buy today, we'll knock off the shipping cost." "Just don't hang up...please! Please buy some books from me today. If you don't my wife is going to leave me and move in with the woman she has been having an affair with...please, Please, PLEASE, buy some books from me today!" You know, the subtle approach. Good luck. Remember the difference between marketing and selling and don't go super-depressed if your book doesn't sell. Remember, if nobody sells it, it won't get sold.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Solid SoundBites Blurb

Kathy Kerchner's book got this solid review on Hotel Resource:

A great job of giving the inside scoop I don't know the author, so this is a real review. She's done a wonderful job helping me to understand and work with the media. This book is easy to read, well written and offers sound advice. I've already gotten my money's worth and I'm only half-way through it. If you're looking for a book on dealing with the media - this is the one to get!

see more good comments about SoundBites.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Book Soon

Geeze, here it is September already and no posts since way back in August. Larry's gonna be mad. Anyway, we're working hard and long on getting the new book for fall out. Delivered With Pride: A Pictorial History of the Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railroad by Jon A. Severson of Esko, Minnesota. John is a working railroad man who puts his shifts in at the Cloquet Transfer Railroad and then spends some free time working on railroad history. This is his first book. 240 pages of period and contemporary photos, historic newspaper accounts of the DW&P and his own current commentary and reporting. It is going to be a doozy. Check it out and tell your friends who are history and/or railroad buffs.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rinse and Spit Steven! REVIEW in Winston-Salem Journal

The Last Spartan
By John F. Saunders
Savage Press
218 pages
Reviewed by Steven B. Beach

As I read the last sentence of The Last Spartan, a chill ran down my spine - AGAIN. In the day I spent reading this relatively short novel, my pulse had accelerated, my emotions had stirred, and my engrossment meter had repeatedly pegged to red-line. But mostly, I’d simply enjoyed a wild ride trying to keep up with the reckless pace of this story featuring Frank Kane, ex-enforcer for the Spartans motorcycle gang. Upon learning that the author, John F. Saunders, is also a Greensboro dentist, I decided to look him up and ask the question that has been asked of authors since time immemorial:

S.B. “What possessed you to write such a novel?”

J.S. “I was complaining to my wife, Lynn, about paying hard earned money for a book, spending irretrievable time reading it, only to be disappointed by the whole experience. I told her I believed I could write a better novel than many that are being published today. Lynn responded with: ‘Then why don’t you?’ Next thing I knew I was spending evenings doing just that. The Last Spartan is the result.”

S.B. “Okay, it’s a novel about biker gangs, prostitution and efforts toward redemption of one biker with a particularly violent history. How did you come up with the Spartan theme?”

J.S. “Besides studying dentistry, I also majored in Greek history while attending UNC Chapel Hill. I’ve always been intrigued by the Spartans. They were unique in that they were a culture of warfare. Unlike their neighbors at the time, they didn’t farm, weave, or make pottery, they were all soldiers. They had slaves and the spoils of war to supply all that other stuff. There’s never been another culture so centered on warfare. It made sense to write about modern times for a modern audience; it was a small step, then, to connect the Spartan backdrop to modern-day people who also use violence to achieve their goals. Outlaw bikers fit the bill.”

S.B. “In my experience as a motorcycle enthusiast, I’ve attended biker rallies and known some pretty rough bikers. It’s easy for me to imagine a gang called the Spartans, and it’s easy to imagine a guy who could be so fixated with actual Spartans that he would base his life on them. But for an entire gang to be so taken by the idea as to address each other with the names of the Greek gods and to sit in carved thrones during the big meeting – well, I felt like you were stretching it a bit. What do you say to that?

J.S. “Rinse and spit, Steven, everyone else loves that part. Seriously, I felt that…”

S.B. “Fair enough. Overall, I must say I enjoyed your novel and most of it was very realistic. I liked the fact that Frank Kane lives in Greensboro and much of the action takes place in Atlanta, where I grew up. What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to write any more novels?”

J.S. “I hoped you’d ask that question since I’ll be at the Winston-Salem Barnes and Noble book store in August for a book signing, and I want everyone to know I’ll have plenty books to sign and sell. After that, it’s back to work on the next book in the Frank Kane series, which I hope to finish soon.

S.B. “Well, based on how much I enjoyed The Last Spartan, I look forward to reading it. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Oh, and thanks for the floss.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Good The Bad The Ugly

The Good: Jay Ford Thurston, author of Following in the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and Out of the Rainbow, has continued to sell books a the Viroqua, Wisconsin (his home town) Farmer's Market. There amongst the vegetables is Jay's portable bookstore. Way to go Jay.

The Bad: The book biz seems slower these days. Less website activity...possibly due to summertime fun. Fewer distributor orders...possibly due to summertime fun. Generally less book buzz...possibly due to summertime fun.

The Ugly: Returns. Oh how I hate returns. The bookstores and distributors have a free ride. They can return any title at any time for any reason and guess who pays? The publisher. Plus, the distributors bitch about inadequate packaging and then they return big boxes of books that are unprofessionally packaged and virtually sans protection to the point where 99% of all returned books are un-re-sellable. Guess who just got a big shipment of returned books?

All in all, though...life is good. Let's make it better.

Friday, July 25, 2008

God Now Assisting The Last Spartan

John Saunders wrote to say:

My minister's wife read the book and liked it. Her husband told me he was looking forward to reading it, but that his wife had told him it would take a long time to finsih. I replied that it was really a quick read. He said he'd heard it was a quick read but his wife had said he would have to stop every couple of pages to pray for me.


Thursday, July 10, 2008


Brian Clarey, reviewer for Yes Weekly says of THE LAST SPARTAN: "Packed with Plot." And, "...a great summer read."

What Sallee Kelly about THE LAST SPARTAN: An Excellent Read! Held my attention from the first sentence, to regrettably the very last – just did not want it to end. I have and will continue to recommend The Last Spartan to all my friends and colleagues. This book must be shared. I look forward to following more of Frank Kane’s divergences on his way to finding inner peace and redemption from a past he cannot hide from, nor change. A most interesting character…and enjoyable book.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Jeff Lower, author of Kat's Magic Bubble called to report that two copies of his book are going to Russia as the result of contacts he has made. KMB has gone International! Yes! Awesome!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


John Saunders' book The Last Spartan is getting good reviews in Greensboro local newspapers. Stand-by for gleanings from them. In the meantime, if you want to contact John personally by e-mail use Spartanrider@live.com. He is available for book clubs via the Internet and if you have questions about the book.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Take a look at Kathy Kerchner's fantastic website at http://www.masteryourmessage.com/. The author of SoundBites: A Business Guide for Working with the Media (Revised 2nd Edition), Kathy has an awesome blog and some outstanding advice for anyone needing to know about media relations.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kat's Magic Bubble "DONATION" Flyer successful

The flyer promoting Kat's Magic Bubble by Jeff Lower and illustrated by Pegi Ballenger is returning some results. SMDC Hospital in Duluth ordered three books for their Grief Support Library. If you know of anyone in a hospital or church setting that might be able to use KMB in their ministry, let us know.

Also, we're starting to put together a promotional packet for Luella, to make the ducky little book known for Christmas. We're thinking of mailing out something duck-like and/or pug-like with some sample pages of Mindy's great art, or...? Any suggestions? We're also discussing target audience. My suggestion of Duck's Unlimited members, got limited enthusiasm. Any suggestions for a target audience that does not include ducks as the target would be welcome.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Spartan Buzz Pays Off

John Saunder's book signing at the Friendly Center Barnes & Noble in Greensboro was a rousing success according to store personnel who said it was one of the best signings they've ever had. It went so well, John had to go out to the parking lot and fetch an additional 35 copies from his trunk to supplement the store's stock.

Way to go John! Congrats...now BASK in the feeling of accomplishment and enjoy your reward for a job well done. The Last Spartan is going to provide excellent summer reading for a lot of people.

Monday, June 9, 2008


John Saunders and The Last Spartan are creating quite a buzz in Greensboro. Saunders was on Murphy in the Morning drive-time radio show this morning and had a blast. And the Barnes & Noble stores in Greensboro are consistently sold out of The Last Spartan. This "failure" (if it can be called a failure at all) to have the book in stock bodes well for future sales as demand is high and ongoing. Saunders' signing this coming Thursday at the Friendly Center Barnes & Noble promises to be exciting!

And in a development that is incredibly fortuitous, The Last Spartan is being looked at by a Hollywood producer who heard about Frank Kane from a friend who said the anti-hero would make a great big impression on the big screen, especially if played by The Rock.

Cool stuff.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Prison Awakening

The TV show Prison Break has nothing on Jill Downs' book Awakening of the Heart. Late last week a mom from Florida called and said she had been reading Jill's book over the phone to her son in prison. The son had only five minutes of call time for each call so it was slow going. And he loved the book. So she called and explained that the rules did not allow her to send him a copy but that he could receive a copy directly from the publisher. We were happy to oblige and now feel like there may well be hearts awakening in the state pen in Jacksonville. I'm thinking the moral of the story is, why break out when you can set your heart free from the inside.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Tori Spelling owns a pug. She's also a new mom. And she's also getting a promotional copy of Luella. As Jessica Radzak our editor/promotions director said, "It can't hurt to have a copy of Luella floating around Tinsletown." I'm hoping Tori loves the book so much she'll help us promote it to all her A-list pals.

The Kat's Magic Bubble mailing to hospitals and churches is about ready to go into the mail. If you have any names, any names at all that you think should be on our mailing list, send them in ASAP. This includes friends, relatives, pastors, grief counselors...whomever...send us your poor, your wretched, your huddled masses of addresses.

The Last Spartan is getting some notice on Amazon. Go there and check it out. Leave a review behind.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Readers Are Leaders

Saw the slogan "Readers Are Leaders" on the side of a Levy Distributing truck a few years back and have been using it off and on for various reasons and in various ways ever since. Thougt of it this morning again when speaking with a woman who said, "I don't own a Television. All I do is read." And guess what? She's manages a business. Now, I suppose there are a lot of leaders who don't read, but I'm guessing that there are more who do. If you have the option of watching TV this weekend or reading, try reading. Who knows where such a choice might lead. You may become President some day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Building Subscribers List/Going Viral

Hey All:

Here's some news about Savage Press.
Last week nine new subscribers joined the SPI Blog.
Would you be willing to get one friend to successfully subscribe to the SPI blog this week?
It would be a great thing to keep adding new subscribers weekly. Hopefully there is sufficiently fascinating content to keep people interested. We'll do our part.
Here's some additional SPI information:

1.) So far this year March was the most active month for Individual Book Visits to the SPI website. There were a total of 654 individual book visits in March.
2.) Last week there were 715 individual website pages viewed.
3.) On average people are viewing 35 "unique titles" weekly.

Seven unique book views a day is not viral by any means, but it is good, solid, consistent visitation to the range of titles offered. Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War is the most visited. With baseball season starting up Off Season and The Year of the Buffalo Marshall Cook's baseball novels are getting solid unique visits as well. Cook's Hometown Wisconsin is also getting looked at regularly.

If you are an SPI author and want to "encourage" your friends to promote your title by visiting the site, it would do wonders to increase your book's "visibility" on the net.

I'll always remember with fondness the advice given to me by the wise John Kuderle who was the SPI book buyer at Bookmen in Minneapolis. I asked him what was the best way to sell books, he answered dryly, "Mike, there are three rules to selling books. They are: One. Promotion. Two. Promotion. And, three. Promotion."

If everyone in the Savage Press family does one little thing daily to promote titles and the site, eventually we'll go viral and we would have to see how that fits us. Nicely, I presume. It would fit us all nicely, I'm sure.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kat's Magic Bubble Mailing

Hey all, we're putting together a direct mail piece for Kat's Magic Bubble to be sent out in a couple of weeks. We're offering a "Buy One/Get One Free" coupon so there's a book bargain in the deal for some folks. We've got a nice long list of hospitals, pediatric units, and churches as our target customers. Would you be willing to submit potential "customers" to whom we can send our sales packet? Thanks tons.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Last Spartan "sold out" at B&N Greensboro

Word from Greensboro NC is that John F. Saunders' book, The Last Spartan has sold out at the Barnes & Noble in The Friendly Center. AWESOME!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Jay Ford Thurston (I love that middle name), author of Following in the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and Out of the Rainbow just sent an email saying that the Vernon County Broadcaster the local newspaper there in Viroqua, Wisconsin, is featuring FIVE articles about him and his partner Mike Kinziger's attempt to break their own record paddling the entire length of the Wisconsin River that they set 25 years ago when Jay was just a spring chicken of 50-years-old!

Check it out at www.vernonbroadcaster.com

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SPARTAN Buzz Building

Tis nice indeed to see a plan come together. John F. Saunders' new book, The Last Spartan is getting some good advance notice and some downright excellent exposure in the Greensboro, NC media. He recently wrote to say that the host of the widely acclaimed Murphy in the Morning drive-time radio talk show read the book and loved it. John is scheduled to be a guest on the talk show on June 12th, the morning before the national book launch at the Barnes & Noble store at the Friendly Center in Greensboro.

If you would please pass this on, maybe The Last Spartan has a chance to go viral and end up as a movie with The Rock playing Frank Kane.

Pass it on, please.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Luella by Melinda Braun got a nice review in Mankato State's review periodical, The Corresponder. Reviewer Teresa Bolstadt said, "Braun's watercolor and ink illustrations are sure to keep a child's attention with their elaborate details and often humorous depictions. The text is easy to follow and would make a great read aloud bedtime story.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Children's Book Week

It is Children's Book Week from May 12 through May 18. Would you be willing to do something for our favorite children's books, "Luella" and "Kat's Magic Bubble" Tell a friend or two to buy either of these awesome books. Both these books richly reward the reader.

Learn more about CBW at:


See Kat's Magic Bubble at:

See Luella at:

If you want to forward these URLs to all your friends and ask them to do the same, maybe they'll go all viral on us and let the web world know about two fantastic books.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Impressive Young Authors

Had a wonderful morning "teaching" a writing workshop to middle school students. Teaching is in quotes because they taught me more than I taught them. There were seven in my section. A couple of these kids were genuis. All of them had been published in the workshop anthology. They all read their work and spoke honestly about their feelings regarding writing and the particular piece they read. One was fearful of being misunderstood. One was impatient with the assignment. One explained how his mind went back and forth while writing and that he had to go back and move stanzas around to make it more orderly. There were about 100 kids in attendance and I'm guessing they were all as talented as those in our section. It was a totally energizing morning and really met my need for inspiration.

Monday, April 7, 2008

They Weren't Eating Colby Cheese

If I could retire, and if I could win the lottery, and if I could afford the gas with all that lotto money, which, by the time I win the lotto, gas will be a hundred thousand dollars a gallon. Regardless, if I had the time and money one thing I’d do is do nothing but drive around Wisconsin visiting all the towns with unique names, I would do so in a New York minute. I wonder if there is a town in New York named Minute?

Be that as it may, you probably know of a few towns in northern Wisconsin with unique, odd, or funky names. What you may not know is that our fair state is absolutely replete with interesting town names.

There are so many remarkable town names that I made up a little story for you using 67 different town names gleaned from the geography of our fair state. Most of them are north of U.S. Highway 8, but not all. Each italicized word is a town name.

It was a dark and stormy night (really) when Augusta wind rattled the Smith family serenity.
Ino that Loretta and Oliver were Gile-less regarding Tony’s Highbridge experience with Lady…Irma…Smith. But they were Slingers of truth and could not remain silent. They had to sound the Siren, and Viola! instant family soap opera.

You see, last Winter, Lady Smith’s Bloomers were found in Island Lake, instead of her Dresser. For, you see, it was a very Clear Lake. Thus, it was a chilly Enterprise when Oliver and Loretta informed Irma’s Fair…child Adam(s), who is a Potter by trade, and his brothers Stanley and Bruce and Hammond that Tony and Irma had spent some quality time together in the Abbot’s Ford. And they weren’t eating Colby cheese. Thankfully Lady Smith is Barron.

The Smith family Loyalty was shattered, resulting in severe disUnity that Fostered Embarrassment all around. It was so stressful that all four boys had to take a Knapp. But first Loretta gave them each an Almond Joy candy bar to settle their nerves and keep them from going into Shiocton.

Good news travels fast and bad news travels faster. And this story was a Hustler. Soon the Smith family cousins Hazel with her Green eyes, Cecil, Brandon, and Boyd, were considering a Niagara of options, including stuffing the Abbot into a Little Chute. By the way, there has always been some speculation that Hazel, because of her Green eyes might really be Roth(s)child. Be that as it may, the Cascade of choices for revenge was Gratiot (pardon the liberty, but this is fiction and I’m no James Frey) but the cousins Lena-d toward mercy.

Tony and Irma’s Wentwasn’tworth much after the disclosure. In fact, Tony considered fleeing to Athens or possibly Belgium, or at least Norway. (Which is actually in Michigan, but so close to Wisconsin, it counts). But, as Luck would have it, the Spirit(ual) Abbot, who was a Baldwin, called his mentor Roberts. Owen to the fact that Roberts got a Worden edgewise he Fostered civility between the antagonists. After a resounding Pepin talk the Abbot got Withee it and eschewed fleeing to Scandinavia.

It was Plain to see that the Abbot and the Lady were remorseful and so, Adam’s Friendship was Granted amidst a Cornucopia of Reserve when the sad Abbot gave everyone concerned a Wild Rose, that they all Sharon and shared alike.

And everyone lived happily ever after in the Dreamland of Wisconsin’s Dairyland.
I’m Mike Savage, and I’m Darien to be done.

Monday, March 31, 2008


The Perfect Biofuel

I’ve been accused recently of being flippant about serious social ills. So, being a flaming co-dependant, people-pleasing suck up, today I embark on a campaign to convince my critics that humor is capable of solving real life problems. The first vital social contribution I’m going to make to society is to suggest that cars be converted to run on chocolate.

I know the technology exists. I saw on TV last week that they’ve created another bionic woman, so creating a “chocolate car” should be easy. There is no doubt in my mind that, if Dick Cheney wanted to, he could force Halliburton engineers to chew enough cocoa leaves for conversion to biofuel. There is nothing that corporate American cannot do.

General Motors created a perfectly good electric car, the EV-1. And then they scrapped it because the price of oil was too low.

Kenny Lay and Jeffey Skillings of Enron created mythical power shortages that created real live rolling blackouts that made the lives of millions of Californians miserable.

Kevin Costner built a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield and millions of mystic people came.

A chocolate-fueled car is the answer to a lot of problems, folks. Number one, it would be great for the economy. If cars ran on chocolate, at today’s prices, it would cost $1,800 dollars to fill an average car’s tank. Not only would that pump a lot of extra dollars into the economy, it would make Nestle Corporation as rich as Exxon and Hershey as big as Halliburton.

Another good thing converting to chocolate cars would accomplish is, when the Hershey Valdez tanker runs aground near a pristine wilderness it won’t cost a dime to clean up. Millions of choc-o-holics will flock to the area and binge and binge and binge until it’s all gone.

Oooh, think of this. Maybe Barbara Hershey would run for president. I’d vote for her before Hillary.

I can practically smell the sweet exhaust of the chocolate car. Won’t that be a wonderful aroma? Imagine billions and billions of automobiles belching chocolate exhaust. Sweet man, sweet indeed. A chocolate car would pretty much solve the problem of global warming instantly.

Of course, if it cost $1,800 bucks to fill a car’s tank, maybe people would start walking to work and the American obesity crisis would be solved. Health insurance rates would go down. Hospitals could downsize and doctors could travel overseas to practice on the poor.

Obviously, if the demand for chocolate skyrocketed as a result of every car in the world needing chocolate for fuel, the supply of cocoa leaves for cocaine would plummet. There you go, the war on drugs is won, not by force of arms, but by force of chocolate.

Okay, I have a hint for any of the presidential candidates who might be searching for a way to boost their ratings. Adding a chocolate car plank to their platform would virtually insure victory in the upcoming election. When is that election anyway? Sometime in my lifetime I hope. I’m praying to God that Dennis Kucinich wins. It is high time that this country has a 29-year-old First Lady with a tongue stud. I don’t care if she’s two feet taller than her man. All I care about is that this country NEVER has a man for a First Lady. When the First Lady is in reality the First Laddie, life as we know it will have ceased to exist.

Here’s something to think about. Jobs. Jobs in Superior. Not Steven Jobs of Apple Computer fame. He wouldn’t bother coming to town, unless, of course, UW-Superior offered him an honorary degree or something. You never know, Stevie might want to run for Governor of California some day. I’m talking actual high paying jobs for energetic, hard working Superiorites.

Because this fantastic idea originated in good old Soup Town, Nestle would be pretty much obligated to build their chocolate conversion refinery and World Headquarters here wouldn’t they? After all, they’re already sucking the Great Lakes dry of water, they owe us, don’t they?
So, to burn this idea of a chocolate car into the American psyche, I’ve made up a little jingle designed to worm its way into your subconscious. Make sure you don’t remember the (reverse psychology in action here) following Longfellowesqe bit of doggerel:

Chocolate cars a future that
The fuel crisis will combat.
Chocolate cars save habitat
Chocolate cars won’t make us fat.

Life is good. Let’s make it better. I’m Mike Savage, and I’m done.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


One reason we're proud of books like Kat's Magic Bubble and Luella is that they put the focus on children. Got yet another interesting email yesterday from one of our authors who is an emergency room physician. He said, basically...

"Been a bad weekend, had to live through seeing an eight-year-old who suffered 3rd degree burns over his entire body. Only the soles of his feet were unburned. What matters in life is your children, your wife, your friends, your family."

Experiencing such trauma changes you permanently forver. It is a good thing that Kat's Magic Bubble and Luella remind us of the beauty of children, wives, friends, family, and faith.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Reflecting on Debbie's negative feelings regarding her publishing experience, I've been taking a bit of an inventory and can say this. More can always be done. Mistakes have been made. Mistakes will be made. Savage Press has often failed to meet the needs of bookstores, authors, Internet customers, distributors, friends, book lovers, readers, etc., etc., etc. Undoubtedly SPI will be inadequate for many future tasks. In the eyes of many, Savage Press (and Mike Savage in particular) "deserves" to be roundly condemned, thoroughly thrashed, exterminated, tortured, bullied, dragged through the mud, drawn and quartered, waterboarded, and any other sundry humiliations, degredations, and annihilations.

However, it can also be equally well reasoned that Savage Press, and everyone else on the planet, "deserves" compassion, empathy, and permission to grow from inadequacies to competencies.

What it boils down to, in my mind today, is not that I or a company, or anyone "deserves" a certain type of treatment. What it boils down to, today, in my mind, is that we each have a choice every day, every hour, every minute. We have the option to choose compassion and patience and empathy. Today I thank God that I'm eschewing anger, declining defensiveness, repudiating rage by chosing mercy, compassion, and empathy...especially toward Savage Press, myself, and everyone out there whose needs are not being met by SPI and me and anyone.

It is my hope that we can all get our needs met (both in the publishing sense and the wider sense) not at the expense of anyone but by agreeing to choose compassion for each other and for all. Maybe there is room in the world for a struggling, faulty, confused, "lazy," publishing company (and publisher) who wants to keep doing the next "right" thing but often falls short of external definitions of "right." Maybe there are too many publishers defaulting to what some might call mediocrity. But for now, today, I believe there is room in the compassionate, considerate, moderate, empathetic world for Savage Press and its publisher to exist.

For this I am truly grateful.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Got this email this morning...

Hello Mike

I had an interesting experience last week. I was flying out of the Duluth airport and I noticed a sign in the gift shop window promoting some of your books. I eagerly looked to see if you had finally come through and done some marketing for Carl's book, and yet again, was disappointed in your lack of initiative in doing your part of the marketing. The whole process of working "with you" has been a complete disappointment.

We have waited since the book came off the press for you to do your 50%...even 25%...or maybe 10% of the promo.

A friend had a book published and from the kickoff party, to the many press releases, book signings, and interviews all arranged by his publisher, I have kicked myself for being impressed by your "laid back" attitude....I now equate it to laziness.

I am so proud of Carl for being trusting and patient with you throughout...I on the other hand have lost all respect for you.


...sometimes publishing a book fails everyone involved.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What's Alive in You Today?

"Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into you as life, place yourself in the full center of that flood, then you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Serious Issues Seriously

Solving Serious Problems Seriously
Serious Trivial Pursuits

I’ve recently been accused of trivializing serious social, economic, religious, political and personal issues. Because I’m a flaming co-dependent seriously eager to please every Tom, Dick and Harry, I will now seriously tackle the serious issues of religion, politics and health care.
I know this is a misquote, but still, Bill Shakespeare said it best, “First kill all the doctors.” That was easy.

With the health care crisis solved, let us tackle the dismal economy of Superior. The news repeatedly clamors that there are not enough high paying jobs in Superior. The solution? Everyone retire. Teenagers? Retire. Middle aged bureaucrats hooking up in airports? Retire. Pastors serving their congregations? Retire. If everyone retires then nobody has to work for low pay. Everyone wins.

With the jobs crisis tended to, let us turn to religion. Now that Jerry Falwell is out of the way, the world religious mess needs tidying up. The Pope, Rick Warren and all the Imams need to be neutralized. Taking the Pope out is easy. All that is needed is a room full of retired alter boys and an electric chair. Poof! No more Benedictions from Rome. As far as Rick Warren goes, he should give his 53-kazillion dollar royalty fortune to the poor, move from his mansion to Darfur and start rebuilding people’s shacks. The Imams? They should cut off those long ugly beards and donate the hair to the Chinese pillow factory in charge of manufacturing faux down pillows for WalMart. Then they should strap on a few pounds of C-4 and donate the detonators to the amputee wards of the Veterans Hospitals.

Now, about the environment. Saving the environment is a no-brainer. Enact a law that says, “In America, no car shall be driven more than 55 miles per year. Anyone exceeding the 55-mile-per-year limit shall be executed summarily in the town square. How cool would that be? Cool enough to reverse global warming pretty much instantly. And think how much goodwill Nooner executions would garner with Saudi Arabia.

Okay, next is the serious problem of hyperbole. There’s entirely too much hyperbole going around in this big, sad, worrisome world of woe during these halcyon days of seminal injustice.
For instance, I heard a man call in to Wisconsin Public Radio and say he was “devastated” because the last episode of the Sopranos had aired. Devastated? Such hyperbole is utterly unacceptable. The solution? Anyone who exaggerates a situation to make a point shall be drawn and quartered in the public square at noon the day following their exaggeration. That would shut up at least one humor columnist and about five billion people instantly.

I would like to see what drawing and quartering actually is. I assume that the criminal is asked to draw a picture with a dull Crayola and then is paid a quarter for his/her efforts. Like “the news” says, there’s just entirely too many low paying jobs these days.

Okay, it is now time to fix the problem of politics. How about we round up all the politicians and make them build roads with hand tools? If every single politician in America had to leave Washington D.C. and all the state capitols, and if they had to pick up a shovel or pick-ax, if they had to dig for a living, they would all be too tired (or dead from heart attacks) to flock like lemmings to that new political Mecca in the Minneapolis airport. Plus, the roads would be in such terrible condition that people might drive only 55 miles a year.

Lawyers. Mustn’t forget lawyers. How about if every lawyer in the world had to stay home tomorrow and change baby diapers all day. No phone calls. No faxes. No emails. No subpoenas. (Whoever thought up the spelling of subpoena should be drawn and quartered at noon along with the hyperbole felons.) No trial dates. No writs of hiyabusa corpuscular mundi. And I think lawyers could learn a lot from baby poop.

Okay, while I’m fixing things…about this Presidential election…please, please, PLEASE, get it over with and elect Dennis Kucinich. All I need to know is that his first lady would be the first First Lady with a tongue stud. That, my friends, makes Kucinich eminently qualified to be the next President of the E.U. Knighted States; I don’t care if he is two feet shorter than his trophy bride.

Okay, there. I’ve done it. I dealt seriously with serious issues. I’ve faced down my critics and shown them that I, humble humor columnist from Superior, Wisconsin, can enunciate grave and solemn solutions to doggedly difficult social and political conundrums.

Now, if you want to write me in for President, feel free. If nominated I promise to get the roads fixed, start executing people who deserve killin’, provide trophy wives for every man over 62, give those lazy buggers at Wisconsin Public Television the benefit of the doubt and, if elected, I WILL serve Jim’s Meat Market venison sausage at the inaugural ball.

Life’s good. Let’s make it better. I’m Mike Savage, and I’m done.

Friday, February 15, 2008


The First Annual Fourth Rate
Savage Press/Daily Telegram
Wisconsin Book Awards

A Welshman named Stan Barstow, who wrote eleven pretty good books once said, “The world may be full of fourth-rate writers but it’s also full of fourth-rate readers.”

The old saying, “Everyone has a book in them,” was never truer than today when desktop publishing and Internet publishing make it easy to get a book (be it good or bad) published. This plethora of publications makes the pretty good, fourth rate book award a positively pregnant possibility. So, here we go…

The number one best nonfiction book of 2007 that was read by me was: The History of Sniping and Sharpshooting by John Plaster. This big bazooka of a book is in the “big” category because it weighs about 11 pounds and was published by a big-time outfit from Boulder, Colorado called Paladin Press.

BTW, the gigantic trophy for best nonfiction book of the year will not be sent to Mr. Plaster. As this is the first year of the awards, there is no budget for trophies yet. But in the coming years as the Mike Savage/Daily Telegram Fourth Rate Wisconsin Book Award becomes immensely popular…and well funded, a plaque or trophy may well become a possibility… if there’s any cash left over from the month-long luxury book cruise to the Caribbean that will afford me the time to read all the submissions.

Also, another BTW, the Autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant was a very close second and could have won first place easily, but I deferred to a local writer for the top slot. If you have any interest in reading a true anti-war book, read Grant’s autobiography. For the sheer massive scope of mayhem, the catastrophic carnage and boundless bloodletting on a colossal scale, Grant’s descriptions of his Civil War experiences are impossible to forget.

The number one best LOCAL nonfiction book of the year, as read by me, was Patrick Dorin’s, Great Lakes Ore Docks and Ore Cars. A genius little book that is quirky enough to be truly unique, but straightforward enough to be educational and entertaining simultaneously.

Ellen Baker’s, keeping the house clearly has to be the winner for BEST FICTION. I call this the “Big Fiction” award, because it is a big book, written by a big-time writer and published by a big-time New York publisher, Random House.

The best “small fiction” award goes to Joe Reasbeck for his, Nearfall. I had some quibbles with the book, but all in all, it was the best “local” fiction by a smaller press and a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time author who knows how to spin a dang good yarn.

Second place in small-time fiction goes to Enkay D. Durand for her book Moonstruck. Again, I had some issues with the quality of publication, but, all in all, it deserves a “pretty good book” award.

The clear winner in the Children’s book category is Storm Codes by Tracy Nelson Maurer. Illustrated by Christina Rodriquez, I call this succulent work of art, “the-little-ore-boat-book-that-could” because it manages to convey both emotion and information equally powerfully.
The Best Picture Book Award goes to Lonnie Dupre for his stunning Greenland Expedition, Where Ice Is Born book. Ya can’t get better than stunning, so, ‘nuff said.

The, BEST BOOK AS YET UNPUBLISHED award goes to Mark Hobson of Madison, Wisconsin, a writer of staggering virtuosity whose book, Fire Team about the misadventures of a bunch of drugged out Vietnam soldiers gone AWOL in the jungle to get rich quick, is one of the best wartime adventure novels I’ve ever read. Hobson’s other two books, The Marksman and L5 are simply delicious too. Hobson is as good as any writer on the planet.

That’s it folks. The short happy life of the First Annual Fourth Rate Wisconsin Book Awards is over. If you know of any Hemingway wannabes out there who want to submit their tomes to the rigors of the 2008 competition, send them to me in care of the Daily Telegram and I’ll be sure to at least open the envelope please.
Life is good. Books are important. I’m Mike Savage, and I’m done.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Talking to a frequent traverler last weekend...she said she enjoyed her electronic reader because she could take ten books along and not have the bulk and weight. Have to admit her reasoning has merit. Our experiment digitizing Davecki flopped big time. Sold not one download. Maybe we should try posting a tome on-line. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Luella Continuing to Get Notice

Mindy Braun and her book Luella got a nifty write-up in a widely published newsletter from her work. It's a nice story about how Mindy got the idea for the book and what she's been learning from the experience.

Visit: http://www.minitex.umn.edu/publications/rsn/2008/18.pdf
to view.