Saturday, December 26, 2009

CHAPTER SEVEN

Have seven chapters done that I consider good enough for Prime Time. Actually thought of a couple new chapters to write. One about my childhood fascination with, and love of mud puddles. This is a great way to end a year, writing a book and feeling good about the prose, and making progress, not perfection.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chapter One Done...Again

Might have 4,500 acceptable words strung together to make up a reasonably entertaining, reasonably easy to read, and reasonably coherent Chapter One. All the words may be spelled correctly and all the grammar may well be correct. One question, of a sort, remains: Does the story have merit? The answer? We shall see.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

THE BEGINNING AGAIN

After a time of curing on the shelf, it's been enlightening to get back to the edit phase of Raised by Savages: Growing up Wild in Wisconsin. So far the first paragraph seems to be shaping up. Ths may take a while.

Monday, October 26, 2009

THE END

Experienced something I thought might never happen this morning. Stood by and observed as my fingers typed the last pages of Raised by Savages. 341 pages. 97 thousand words. Felt sad. Understood that it is a new project now. Back to the beginning to sift the whole pile like flour. Back when I was a lad, one of the jobs Ma gave me was to sift the flour she used for baking bread. We got commodity flour and most of the times there were little black bugs in it. They were the size of BBs or smaller, and hard and they cracked when I squished them with my fingernail. The new job with RBS is to sift all 97 thousand words and take out all the black bugs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

300 PAGES PLUS

Okay, here we go. Another landmark. 300 plus pages of Raised by Savages done. Probably 200 decent pages. The rest need going over. Had an inspiring email from Guy Vanderhaeghe, author of The Englishman's Boy and The Last Crossing (excellent reads, btw). He said that most writers don's spend enough time with their stories. I've taken heed and am patiently (sometimes impatiently) going over the content again and again. I'm hoping the time and diligence will make it appealing and not appalling.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WHAT HUCK SAYS 'BOUT BOOK WRITIN'


Having finished "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" as an assignment from a teacher who has read some of my new book-in-progress, "Raised by Savages," I found what Huck said at the end of his adventure ironic at best and discouraging at worst: "...and so there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I'd 'a' knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't 'a' tackled it, and ain't a-going to no more."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Almost 200 Pages of "Raised by Savages" Done


Well, I've almost 200 pages of the new book done. 60,000 words. A short novel by modern comparisons. Two "test readers" have "suggested" that the narrative is too long. They kindly eschewed the word boring. So I've started cutting scenes out of the narrative like cutting calves from the herd. I've got 14 stories that seem to be acceptable prose.

I'm toying with the idea of sending one or two of the most polished stories to my agent in NYC to garner initial praise. But, of course, it might not be praise, so I've decided to keep on writing until it's done.

The photo above is a postcard of St. Joseph's Hospital in Ashland, Wisconsin, the setting for "The Ninety Dollar Baby," the book's anchor piece about me being held for ransom by nuns.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

100 Good Pages

Got 100 good pages together on the "Raised by Savages" book.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

THE MIGHTY SPARTAN COMES TO KINDLE


The Last Spartan by John F. Saunders is now available as an e-book from Amazon! They take a horendous chunk of money out of the pockets of the author and publisher just for the honor of participating in their e-venture. Sixty-five percent of the price goes to Amazon. Seems like a lot to me. But, as John said, when discussing the option of going"E," "I kind of look at it as any sale is good." We shall see if there are any sales, now that it is out there and available electronically.


PS: Since Frank McCort's death last week, I've been working extra hard on Raised by Savages: Growing up Wild in Wisconsin. Have fourteen chapters done. I felt quite sad when I heard Frank died. His story and his way of telling it was very meaningful to me. I hope he was working on something that can be published posthumously.

Friday, July 24, 2009

OUR FIRST FILM FESTIVAL


In addition to writing a new book called Raised by Savages: Growing up Wild in Wisconsin, I've been working on a fun, funky, funny movie called Cooking on the Car starring Jason Wusso, Dan Dresser and Ellen Camry. The 18.5 minute video is so wild and whacky it is getting accepted in film festivals all around the country. This weekend marks the first actual film-fest showing at the Free Range Film Festival. "We've" been accepted into three other festivals and will keep you posted. In the meantime, go to http://www.savpress.com/ and check it out. There's supposed to be some video clips up soon for you to sample.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NEW BOOK PROJECT

A week ago I got an order from Northern Lights Book and Gift in Duluth for four books, one being Raised by Savages. Trouble was, I never published it. I wrote a version of it lo these many years ago, but never released it. So, having just finished reading Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes and 'Tis, the synchronicity of the request seemed...well, synchronous. As a result I'm toying with the idea of re-writing and combining into one title two books that I wrote many years ago. I'd call it Raised by Savages: How I Grew up Wild in Wisconsin. It could be very sad, like McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Or it could be funny, like Bill Bryson's Thunderbolt Kid. The first chapter would be about me being held for ransom at birth by the flinty eyed Sisters of St. Joseph at St. Joe's Hospital in Ashland. I was known as the 90-dollar baby back then. Seems the bill for the birth of my sister had not been paid for four years. My older sisters had to roll my dad when he came home drunk. Guess what? They failed and an even more creative alternative had to be found to spring me. I'm thinking of starting Chapter Two with the line, "Dad wasn't always a drunk." Chapter Three: "I don't THINK I was born a sociopath." Of course I'll have a chapter describing the hot summer day in 1960 when John F. Kennedy bought me a glass of milk in Iron River, Wisconsin. But, still...I don't know...writing a book is such a pain in the ass, and the financial pay-off is so minimal. Hmmm. What do you think? Should I go for it?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Howard Jones Tribute Poem

A prairie man.
Tall as June days.

A cabin log,
hand hewn from pioneer stock.

Crowned with silver.

A water man.
Fishing every ocean
and lake
and river
and coffee cup,
for that elusive catch,
JOY.

A book man.
Reading and
writing into the pages,
and into the night.

A word man.
A fish in water.
A noon beer at Coyote Ugly.

A strong cable across
the homestead's long driveway.
Protector of sod-house-dreams and
lifetimes of labor.

A battler against the elements,
cancer,
the status quo.

A river man.
Portraiting the mighty Mississip.
Mighty cousins, both.

A tall tree rising above the others.

Monday, June 15, 2009

THANK YOU HOWARD

A great man has passed away. Howard Jones, author of two Savage Press, books left us last night. He was a great, great man, a mentor, a friend, and a source of inspiration. He is missed. I loved him like a father. He will be missed. http://www.savpress.com/Details.asp?ProductID=139

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

MINNESOTA ENVY

A Senate Race of Our Own

I wish Wisconsin had an eternal senate race of our own.

That Dang Minnesota. They always get the good stuff.

Minnesota got Rich Gannon for a quarterback in 1992. What did Wisconsin get? That crappy
Brat Favre.

Minnesota got idealist Hubert Humphrey. We got mean Joe McCarthy.

Minnesota got the exotic and elegant loon. We got the lowly robin.

Wisconsin did win one. Minnesota got the gopher. Wisconsin the badger.
Badgers…now that’s a bad ass state animal. Way better than a gopher. What state in its right mind would want a gopher as a state animal?

Oh, I don’t know….how about a state that can’t pick a senator? I’m guessing that any state that selects the gopher as its state animal deserves to have a perpetual senate race.

You know what I wish? I wish Wisconsin’s most famous actor, Orson Wells, who was born in Kenosha, would challenge Herb Kohl or Russ Feingold in an election. That would be newsworthy enough to rid the world of Minnesota’s attention grabbing eternal senate race.

Oh, I forgot…Orson Wells is dead. But then, so is Norm Coleman. So what’s the diff?

That Minnesota. They get the good governors too, like that awesome politician and diplomacy icon, Jesse “The Body” Ventura” who wants to waterboard Dick Cheney. Wisconsin got Tommy Lafollette or was it Robert Thompson. I can’t recall…some governor….oh yeah, now I remember. Wisconsin got Nelson Dewey that famous governor who came up with the Dewey Decimal system that the whole world (except the United States) uses as a system of measurement. I may be a millimeter off on this one.

So, there you have it, I’ve got a serious case of Minnesota envy. I should just move to Minnesota and get it over with. Put an end to my miserable Wisconsin residency.

But I just can’t do it. I just love living in a land where the last word in the state is sin.

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

Friday, June 5, 2009

PUBLISHING CIRCUMSTANCE

Here's how it goes in publishing sometimes.

Got an interesting query letter from a fellow in Michigan. He has a "railfan" book about Michigan railroads. I was curious, interested in looking at the work. As I was on the road working, I'd opened his query in webmail and didn't delete it with all the SPAM that floods in. Today, back in the office, I looked for his email...not there.

Sometimes the circumstances of publishing can derail a plan. A letter gets lost. An email gets deleted by mistake. I remember Tony Jelich of Solon Springs, Wisconsin stopped by the office to talk to me about publishing his book, Stop and Smell the Cedars. I was out getting the mail. He went directly to Arrowhead Printing in Superior and gave them the disk to have the book printed up. It was a good book. It is a good book. I would have liked to publish it.

But for a trip to the post office.

So, the morel (I've been looking for mushrooms lately) of the story is: Don't feel too discouraged when a publisher or editor does not show interest in your work. It may be that she/he deleted your email accidentally, or the envelope fell between the wall and the desk, or the dog ate it.

Keep pitching your ideas. Be relentless. Back in the day, when I was freelancing in a big way, I had a bon mot taped to my wall: 10% INSPIRATION. 90% PERSPIRATION.

Keep on keeping on. And, if you know a railfan author from Michigan who might have queried Savage Press recently, do your part to get us reconnected, please.

Friday, May 22, 2009

BEAUTY BOOK LAUNCH


Went to a beauty book launch Wednesday at St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth, sponsored by SMDC Grief Support and Holy Cow Press. Click on the ALL CAPS title above to view the Holy Cow website and check out their new title Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude. What made the event beautiful for me was the celebration of poetry. Poets read. Editors commented. Sponsors incited interest and awe. There were 60 people present and books were bought, autographed, and held sacred. It was enough to make a publisher and poet want to weep. Thanks Jim for doing good.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Great Book Review

Finished a great book. The March by E.L. Doctorow. About Sherman's march to the sea during the Civil War. Outstanding descriptions. Exceptionally vivid characters. Masterful multiple viewpoint storytelling. Vocabulary expanding word choices. Reading this book was like going to war but being safe and warm and well rested. A real gift from a talented caring author to a reader hungry for delicious prose that satisfies.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

DIRTY OLD SOCKS

Had fun with the Middle Schoolers at that workshop last week. Went to the winter sock drawer and pulled out a dozen heavy old socks from my logging days and dropped various objects inside. Passed them around and heard a lot of "Ewwwws!" and "Yukkkks!" I assured them they were freshly laundered and that they wouldn't get any cooties from inserting their hands therein. The writing exercise was to describe the hidden object in twelve words or more. Pretty interesting. Some students wrote two paragraphs. Some could barely get five words down. Some descriptions were general and vague. Some were highly specific. All were entertaining. It was fascinating to watch hands go into Dirty Old Socks and see words come out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MIDDLE SCHOOL WRITERS

"Taught" a workshop last Friday. Eleven middle-school writers. What actually happened was, they taught me. Sure I led the discussion. Sure I provided some writing exercises. Sure I knew more about writing than they did. But, guess what? They taught me more than I taught them. The taught me to be enthused about writing. They were gung ho about their words. They read their poems with pride and gusto. They didn't defend their work. They didn't whine about being unpublished. They just wrote what they wrote and read what they read. As they say on the dragstrip, "They run what they brung." Exceedingly refreshing. Thanks folks. You made my day. my week, my month.

On another note. If you want to see an interesting site, visit http://mariahartmysteries.blogspot.com/ Chris Forman is an excellent writer, the real deal.

Finally...any chance you'd be willing to refer someone to follow this blog? It's a numbers game and I enjoy seeing the followers list grow. I keep inviting folks. They say they'll follow, but then they never sign up. Maybe you'd have better luck. It's easier on Facebook. But this is the SPI blog and I'm supposed to "build" it. Why? Because I'm the publisher.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

THE WRITER IS GOD

Been in touch the last couple of weeks with Melissa Ellefson of Duluth, Minnesota. She's a writer who is crafting a compelling life story. You see, Melissa was a drunk. A drunk of Jim Frey proportions. Her first three chapters were captivating. She effectively communicated her craving, her outlandish need for booze, her compulsion. And she describes some pretty out there behavior. Trouble is, the book's not done. She want's a publisher to "believe" in her writing, to use her word.

So, there you have it. Who is going to have faith in this situation?

She wants me to believe in her story, offer to publish it, and go forth into the cold, cruel, world of mayhem known as publishing a book, so that she can continue writing with a guarantee.

Okay, scene change...

My basement. The "warehouse" for 20,000 some odd Savage Press books that have not sold in the last 20 years. I'm looking for a book that we published in 1997. Someone want's five copies. What has driven me into the catacombs to battle a bizillion dust mites with only two partially functioning nostrils? Someone wants five copies of a book that was published 12 years ago. Oh my frikking God! A customer!! An actual paying customer!!!

Okay, maybe I should be writing daytime drama. But, there you have it. Who is going to have faith in a book? It starts with the author writing, without (for the most part) assurance that their story will ever be read. Maybe, if the writer is lucky and the publisher is a blind man searching around in his dark basement for five copies amid 20,000, just maybe, five readers out there in the world of millions and millions of readers, will have the good fortune of getting their need to read met by that blind man.

And the writer? The writer will have passed away years ago never having known that his work would someday be in "popular" demand by five souls still living and breathing and having their being on this plane of existence.

So, there you have it again. Faith. Who has the most faith? From whence cometh faith?

Two words, friends. Two words to the four people who follow this blog.

THE WRITER.

John 1:14 says that the word became flesh and dwelt among us. The WRITER makes the word flesh and it dwells among us. Not the publisher. Not the reader.

THE WRITER

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Old Forge Press


Met an interesting guy in Ireland named P.J. Curtis, musician, musicologist, author. He lives in the old, old, old, house handed down to him from generations ago. I'd read his book, The Lightning Tree, a fascinating account of life in Ireland before the Celtic Tiger. The book reports on all the old ways, the healing, the herbalism, the mysticism, the "Hunger," the religious abuse. P.J.'s father was the village of Kilnaboy's blacksmith...hence the name, The Old Forge...and did not approve of the boy's love of reading and music, so, at sixteen years young, the boy ran away to, of all places, Liverpool where he played in the era when the Beatles were learning their music. P.J. is a real fascinating guy. The photo is of him holding forth while seated in the hearth of his "loovly, loovly" home filled with ancient artifacts. Visiting his site is pretty informative. The URL is above

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A SIGN THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE


Hey, sometimes it just make snese to leave the misteak bee. Purposful earerrs kan gather mucho extension & evn chrarm yer reeders. Lik dis sign...


Cents whren does white pines eat dear? I din't no dat pie-ens were carnivvrous even.


Monday, April 6, 2009

CANDY FRASER GUEST POSTING




This clock is a great reminder that anytime is a good time to read!



I took this picture outside a bookstore on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts which reminded me that there's so much to read, but so little time to do it.


I'm staying with a friend who owns more books than anyone I know. The house is filled with books of every genre. Bookcases are in every room, neatly stacked with titles ranging from out-of-print collector's items to New York Times bestsellers. Because he was getting over-run with so many volumes, when the Kindle first came out, he was one of the first to pre-order it and is now on the 2nd generation Kindle which he loves even more. Greater storage means more books to read.


But even with the electronic technology available today, nothing compares to holding a real book in your hands and turning the pages.


A restaurant called Cafe Moxie was next to the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and it burned down last Fourth of July, also devastating the bookstore. Bunch of Grapes, a Vineyard establishment since 1975 has moved to another temporary building nearby which I visited today. I learned that the clock had been stopped at 9:57 am on July 4 since the power went out on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. It was repaired, synced by satellite, and started ticking again on October 22, 2009.


It's a reminder that even though the economy is not great, the conventional wisdom that independent booksellers are a dying business doesn't have to be true. It's also a symbol that the town will once again be moving forward.


The bookstore is due to re-open in a few months and the owner is optimistic that it will be better than ever with an interior that is bound to bid customers to sit and read for a while in new comfortable chairs and a sofa with a book in hand. The owner says she feels confident that the bookstore will continue to flourish because they're living on a very literary Island in a very literary society where people still value the printed word. When Bill Clinton was president, the Island was a favorite vacation spot and he liked going to Bunch of Grapes. They had to close the store down for security purposes so he could browse the books like an ordinary man. The people who were in the bookstore at the time, didn't mind being locked in for a while and ignored him. Then after a while, he went up to someone and said, "Don't you know who I am?" and shook hands with them. Once a politician, always a politician.


Reading takes time, but when you read a good book, it's so rewarding. You appreciate the author's efforts as well as the enjoyment you get out of a good story whether it's fiction or non-fiction. It does something to your brain to make you want to read more books by the same author or the same subject. Like an addiction, books are so pleasurable. It's a good, healthy addiction though.


Keep buying and keep reading!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

INTERNET NEEDY

Been interesting the last day or two, having no access to the blog. I was trying to post a guest blog by Candy Fraser and it wouldn't propagate. Contacted Wizard Larry who went to work on the problem. In the meantime I found it instructive to observe how important the Internet is to me. Even if it is minimally true, I believe people out there are "listening" to my posts. Here's what's important:

I have a voice.

I speak.

People listen.

So, there you have it, the essence of writing.

Think about it.



PS: Sorry about the delay, Candy. I'll get your words and photos up next week ASAP.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

WRITE ON REGARDLESS

There's a car race in the U.P. over by Houghton called P.O.R. Stands for Press On Regardless. No matter the mud hole, no matter the break downs, no matter the weather, the race goes on and the racers press on, regardless. It is sort of like the Baja 1000. You gotta go and you gotta run what you brung. So it is with writing. Last January 8th I started another Dave Davecki novel. Death by Cadillac. I "finished" it a couple of weeks ago because I was bored and frustrated with the story. But this morning, I opened the file again and started "fixing" things. After a time away from the story, the tale was fun again. I'm reading the chapters out loud into my laptop and playing them back to listen to the sound of the sentences, to see if the flow is smooth and easy to digest. It's fun to discover awkward sentences and unlikely dialogue and entertaining to "fix" them up. So it is with writing, no matter the mud hole of boredome, no matter the frustration of first drafting, no matter the doubt about the suitability of the sentences, you gotta go back to writing and you gotta run what you brung. Remember, a blank page can't be edited. Keep Writing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A MILLION TIMES MORE MIRACULOUS

Hard to believe I was in Ireland a week ago. There was a play put on by the local people in a village there. It was staged in a parish hall that had fallen on very tough times. Huge slabs of paint had cracked off and fallen away from the walls. The men's room stall had no toilet seat, broken furniture was stacked in the corners. But, you know what? There were over 100 people there and the play was totally outstanding. There were women crying in the audience at the end. It was really a joy to be there. It was a great gift from the actors, the community. There is nothing so genuine as a village. I've experienced such rock bottom, rock-ribbed human joy in village Alaska too. Oh the pure goodness of human endeavor to create beauty in the midst of reality. There is something truly Godlike in art that comes from poverty and love and the basic determination to create regardless of status. The ability to produce and enjoy art that is "less than perfect" is something New York publishing and TV and Hollywood and Broadway rarely, rarely offers, because, I think, wealth's particular brand of beauty is exponentially removed from the beauty of everyday, normal, "lowly" if you will, existance. Hollywood is Hollywood and we are just us and we "down here in the trenches" are a million times more miraculous than slick books and polished television and big budget movies. Thank God the Bible says the first shall be last and the last shall be first, for, I'm believing today, that the greatest art is in the humble.

Friday, March 6, 2009

HONORING BOOKS AND AUTHORS

I'm finding the newspaper content here in Ireland to be much more literary in slant. It's also more informal and it is more...what can I say...vulgar? Earthy? Bare breasted women on page two could be called earthy I suppose. Using fuck on page one but ***in out cocksucker in the same paragraph could be called earthy I suppose. I've also seen that books have higher regard over here. I'm attending a book festival in Ennis and it seems there is a lot of devotion to the book...the non-electric kind. (Kindle's got its work cut out for it here.) I'm guessing there is more devotion to the book in NYC than there is in Superior, Wisconsin where the last word in the state is SIN, so I can't complain too much when I feel like my corner of the world eschews books for beer. But it is nice to be in a society where authors and books are more revered than cheese and brats. Though, one downside to the reverence is the faint aroma of snobbery now and then. All in all though, it is fun to be living and moving and having breath in a more book oriented, word oriented society. Keep writing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mike Savage - Savage Press: George Bernard Shaw

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=55094456151
Mike Savage - Savage Press: George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw comes to mind this morning. He said, and I quote this loosly I'm sure, "It has taken me twenty years to become dumb enough to entertain the English." This brings to mind the Robert Frost quote, "Any damn fool can start a poem. It takes a poet to end one." These quotes...why are they coming to me this early morning in Ireland? All that suggests itself is...what is the role of ego in the writer's life? I'm of the opinion that 99.9 percent of my writing will never be read. It's almost entirely digitized. A massive EMP would wipe out my hard drives, my back-ups (few that there are), and all the emails I've ever written. I'm writing for the joy of it. Writing for the entertainment it provides. Writing to give my fingers something to do. I'm reminded of the printer who was asked why he went into printing. "Because I like the smell of ink," he answered. Why are you writing? To preserve a history? To create a history? To salve a wound? To entertain? To get revenge? To be adored? To become rich? To heal? To teach? To worship? To be worshipped? To learn to spel? To make a joke? To see if there's anyone out there who is as clever as you? Maybe it is all about ego. Maybe that isn't a bad thing. Write on.

Friday, February 27, 2009

NOTHING TO DECLARE BUT "WILDE"NESS

Oscar Wilde, was asked if he had anything to declare when entering the U.S. and processing through Customs. "Nothing but my genius," he answered. You have genius inside you. Access it. Write it. Enjoy it. Bask in your genius. Say it with Wilde...say it out loud to yourself, "I have only my genius to declare."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Old Ground

Here's what's fantastic tonight. Today I was in the same pub that W.B. Yeats frequented when he was alive and becoming one of Ireland's brightest literary lights. The Old Ground pub in Ennis. Creaky pine parque' flooring, dark smoke-stained woodwork, old photos of past masters like Yeats, and Shaw, and Wilde. Just walking into the place was inspirational. It fairly glowed with the patina of literary excellence. For the pub and the Irish writing tradition to go on and on for so many hundreds of years is humbling. In this modern age of digital expression, I sometimes wonder if all the works I and Savage Press are creating will be wiped out in an instant with a single EMP, thus erasing all the hard drives on the planet. If I were guaranteed that such a disaster was certain, I'd still write. And so should you.

www.savpress.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

CONGRATS TO JON A. SEVERSON


Congrats to Jon Severson on receiving a nomination from the Northeast Minnesota Book Award (NEMBA) in the nonfiction category. Let's hope he wins! Delivered With Pride is a real winner regardless of the outcome. If you want to see more about NEMBA click on: http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/nemba/index.htm.

If you want to see some of the impressive historical photos from inside the book, go to: http://www.savpress.com/Details.asp?ProductID=157

Friday, February 13, 2009

HITTING THE BIG TIME

Meeting with a Savage Press author last Wednesday, she indicated that she'd stumbled upon a sure marker of how she had "arrived." For her, it was the fact that her book was for sale on eBay. "That made my day," she said with obvious pleasure.

Her story reminded me of a visit to the Superior Post office a few years back. The Superior Post office is a good place. Lots of positive energy, something you don't really expect at the P.O. Anyway, there was a clerk there named Kieth who was very droll. He had a crafty grin, but he wasn't real demonstrative. One day I walked up to his "window" and handed him my books to be mailed out for the day. He casually said, "You know Mike. I'm really glad I didn't buy your most recent book."

"Why is that, Keith?"

"Well, last Saturday I found one at a rummage sale for a quarter."

Ohhhh, man. That was so awesome. I knew I'd arrived. My books were selling at rummage sales for a quarter. For me, I'd hit the big time.

What's your threshold for being big time?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Let's Get Melinda Braun on the Ellen Show!!!

I'm thinking that, if Ellen can get George Clooney on her show by using viral amounts of email, "we" should be able to get Melinda Braun on the Ellen Show by flooding them with emails requesting that the author be on the show.

Here's the deal: National Children's Book Week begins May 12th.

We've offered to give a copy of Melinda Braun's book Luella to audience members of the Ellen show one of those days if they will have Melinda on to tell the sweet, sweet, TRUE story of the orphan duck raised by a Pug named Pancake.

Would you be willing to help make this a reality by emailing Ellen's show and "encouraging" them to have Melinda on as a guest? Tell ALL your friends to do the same. If this goes viral and enough people ask, maybe they'll invite Melinda to the show and she will be able to meet one of her favorite stars. Plus, children around the world will get to know a true story of love and acceptance. Please email Ellen for us! Ask your friends to do the same! Thanks! Go to: http://ellen.warnerbros.com/show/respond/?PlugID=10 and help get the plucky ducky, the pugnacious pug, and the angelic author on Ellen for National Children's Book Week!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poetry Treasure

Been upgrading Jeff Lewis' page on the website. Adding text and...hopefully someday...images. Jeff is a great artist as well as a profound poet. Here's a poem from the book section called, "Playing the Rivers Backwards." Click on the title above to hot link to the book's page.

Baptism River

Certainly not the Jordan,
this root beer brown surge,
the anaconda pour,
this tireless roar
into the heads of poets,
the beds of dreamers,
the solitudes of saints
or the hells of madmen.

Certainly I have no squaw to convert,
her beargrease oiled head to immerse,
her loyalties to split between Mighty Manitou
and He who walks across Gitchigume
in tyrant splendor
upon the backs of our enslaved dreams.

I dunk the carburetor of a star.
May you make light knowable,
may you fill our cylinders with photon Cupids,
our dreams with vehicles
we can drive to the bottom of the big lake,
the Big See,
to our childhood museums on the bottom of Begin.

I dunk the typewriter.
May all the old ink wash away,
all the old writing written into us,
all the curses, all the tragedies.
May you now write only the truth
or lies graceful enough
to tempt the Word from its hole,
to rise to the mayfly
in creations complete
and consummated in morninglight.

I baptize thee in the name before names.
I baptize thee in the first creation.
I baptize thee in the language before language—
before all this gibberish
to father the First Nation
of the First People
who speak their own origins.

I baptize the television.
I give it over to the current,
the python of it
I have wrestled to the Pythia One channel
from the Aorta of Words.
The river takes it, an offering,
delivers it to the lake
where in slow motion
it falls gracefully over drop-offs
to land on a ledge
to broadcast a world above
made in the image of our deepest dreams.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

VISION OF THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING

I had a dream, a dream where people of all races, creeds, wallet size, could become published authors. It wasn't so much a Martin Luther King Jr. dream as it was an Ezekiel Saw the Wheel dream of a future where every literate (and many no-so-literate) persons, places, and things (think spambots) had an audience, a fan base bigger than Mel on Flight of the Conchords. The world wide web will become that world that I saw in my vision. The big publishing houses in New York, London and Superior Wisconsin will toss agents out 50th story windows because the "Internet" will vet all content in the future. If a "manuscript's" website gets more than 30,000 hits the publisher will take the electronic file and bring out the book, pitch it to Oprah if it is fiction all dressed up in non-fiction finery, and sell a hundred thousand copies. Eventually the author will receive a tiny, tiny, portion of the profit, which will be slim to none, because profit margins in publishing are slim, to microscopic. But, the author will have been discovered, the author will have been read, the author will have had the exposure and the deepest longing of any writer gets met. What is that need? The need to connect. That's the beauty of the "Internet," the world-wide-web, the old WWW, an author can sit in his nook and connect with thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe even one or two, readers/fans without going to those pesky booksignings.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

INAUGURAL POEM

So, what did you think of Elizabeth Alexander's inaugural poem, Praise Song for the Day? Yes, I'm taking a poll. Post a comment and let us all know...did the poem work for you? What about the delivery? Was there a deeper meaning that you've discovered? Post a comment, if you would.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

IRISH LIVESTOCK EYES ARE SHINING


It's that time of year again when plans for the annual Ireland trip are being made. It looks like the end of Feb. first two weeks of March again. Planning on visiting my Irish livestock happily living on the edge of the Burren near Corofin, in the shadow of famed Burren mountain Mulloughmor. The brown donkey in the middle, with the white nose and blaze, is Daisy. I'm half owner of this fine, fantastic, funky, female, four-footer, whose sole purpose in life is supposed to be producing offspring for the profit of her human "owners." The "venture" has yet to produce a foal. This...of course...makes me a "Half-Assed Irish Businessman." It'll be fun to get back to the Burren and all my Irish livestock.


It looks like I might be a doing a Q&A session at next year's Ennis Book Club Festival. Check out this year's schedule: http://www.ennisbookclubfestival.com/. It's a fun event with tons of great author/reader interaction, tours of Ennis, coffee & scones, some Guinness consumption, (well, maybe lots of Guinness consumption) and lots of book talk.


It'll be fun to be back in Clare and do some more work on the Dave Davecki novel "DIERland" where Davecki gets involved in tracking down a band of irritating druid-wannabes who are murdering folks and selling pre-Christian Irish artifacts to the highest bidders in Russia.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Looking inside the Book

Take a look at the Kat's Magic Bubble page by clicking on the title above. See some of Pegi Ballenger's awesome inside artwork for a book that is both inspirational and courageous. Jeff Lower's story of his daughter's last days is both truly sad and truly inspirational. It took courage for Jeff to give his story to the world. We're thankful for the many reports of how the book has helped families in similar situations.