Just out May 15!

Just out May 15!
[^^click] BONUS MAN is an offbeat literary novel, a picaresque—CANDIDE climbs the lighter side of COLD MOUNTAIN, perhaps—that explores the life of Adam “Bonus Man” Bonifacius, former Great War medic and participant in the Bonus Army March of 1932: a gathering of veterans in Washington D.C. protesting bonuses promised but not paid; a march turned back by the U.S. Government with tanks and tear gas. Bonus Man hits the road determined to find a way into medical school—the bonus would've done the trick—and maybe a little revenge along the way. ¶ The thing about revenge is, well, he's just not very good at it. He is good at removing bullets, a skill acquired under fire during the war and put into practice when a moonshining raid leaves a federal agent with a slug in his gut and later when Bonus Man runs smack into a John Dillinger prison break—leading to a gunpoint invitation to stay on as sawbones to the gang. It may not be medical school but it's certainly an education. ¶ And Bonus Man falls in love. Twice. If that doesn't complicate things enough, the FBI has an agent on his trail who is convinced not only of Bonus Man's complicity in the Dillinger escape but also in the Lindbergh kidnapping.

Monday, November 9, 2015

On Kindle Scout

So my Kindle Scout* campaign for The Adventures of Hank Fenn has launched. I have 26 days left to receive 'nominations'I've lost the New tag but have yet to achieve Hot status. Check it out here.

Obviously everyone starts out New; not everyone becomes Hot. We'll see how it goes...

*See November 4 post for more detail or click this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On whoring

UPDATE: I "launch" in 2 days (Nov 6). Already have the preview and all, just hours after submitting the thing.

As a self-published author I must whore myself from time to time and, well, 'tis the season. Minutes ago I sent my newest novel, The Adventures of Hank Fenn, off to Kindle Scout—an arm of Amazon (Kindle Press) for self-publishers, where they actually pay an advance ($1,500) and do some advertising for the book as they now have a stake in it, too.

It's a bit of a popularity contest, though they contend that the books are also judged on merit. Works something like this: Kindle Scout sets you up with a “campaign” package that includes your cover, bio, quick “interview” and an excerpt from the book. Readers nominate (one-click button) books that they find interesting. More nominations, I guess, means a better chance of them checking your book out for its merit and hopefully publishing it.

I'll post links—you can count on that.

Also answered a list of questions yesterday for Emily Reads Everything's “Awesome Indies.” (See Sept 6, 2015 post.) They may do a feature—at my request—on my third novel, Bonus Man.

I'll post links. Oh, yeah...

Bad omen: The first chapter of the newest book hinges on the reader's familiarity with Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and his short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”—also known by other names. Anyhow, on Jeopardy! yesterday an answer came up about Twain and a frog and not one of the geniuses playing the game could even come up with a guess.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted. And how...

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Had an Almanac reading at Gingko last night. Disappointing. I've mentioned here about the Essential Tremors I deal with; they're not conducive to holding a book up before a roomful of people. It's hard to read a moving target.

At last years' Almanac reading at the Amsterdam, I immediately noticed that there was no podium and panicked. They were able to scrounge a solid music stand and everything went fine. This spring I did a Fairy Tale reading in a garage and asked beforehand if there'd be a similar stand. They said maybe, so I memorized the whole piece—just to be safe—and everything went fine.

The same guy who ran the Fairy Tale reading—a great man who's done great things for the local writing community—was running last night's reading as well. I emailed him two weeks ago, saying: “...you may recall from last spring's garage reading, I have a problem with tremors and need to be sure they have a podium or a stand of some sort at Ginkgos.” He responded: “We'll definitely have a music stand will that be enough?

I arrived early and we chatted and I mentioned again my need for a stand of some sort. He said: “Yeah, I think there's one behind the piano.” Later I watched him look behind the piano. At 7:30 he introduced me as the first reader. No stand to rest the book on and hide my tremors with. And no apology.

Honestly, if not for a couple friends having come to watch, I'd have walked right out the door. Instead I stood there awkwardly explaining my condition to the few in attendance, asking them not to be alarmed if my hands went haywire. Getting the crowd's sympathy is not usually a goal. In the end, I was able to keep the book in my hands, though a moving target is difficult to read.
It's normally fun to do a reading—that's why I do 'em—but I was far too self-conscious to put on a decent show last night. My apologies, but I just wanted to get it over.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Carnival

Attended and enjoyed the hell out of Lizz Winstead's Lady Parts Justice carnival Saturday afternoon. Games, prizes, laughs—and a great cause. Lost two games of DILdO—a hilariously perverted game of Bingo—and had my fortune told by a not-funny-at-all psychic who left me pondering my fate and very existence for several seconds... After three tries I finally won the Douchebag Toss—couldn't have been prouder.

Thus I embark on an unprecedented stretch of activity: Next Friday I head for the Landmark Center to see William Studor in The Bootleggers Terror. Saturday (Oct 3) finds me reading at another Saint Paul Almanac event (all are welcome to attend) at Gingko Coffeehouse. In a couple weeks I have tickets for Annapurna (Jungle Theater) and my Douchebag Toss winnings included free passes to Dudley Riggs.

I may loose my Reclusive Writer status if I'm not careful...

Sunday, September 6, 2015


In the past weeks I conducted a bit of an experiment. Periodically I give away Kindle copies of my books. I think early on I once gave away thirty-some books over a two-day period; a couple months ago only three books were given away in a one-day promotion for Bonus Man. Three stinkin' books. For free.

Then I stumbled into a list of sites that'll promote your freebies for free. I signed up for eight of them. I also promoted the free dates on Facebook and two writers' forums, like I always do. One freebie site sent me an email that they had tweeted my free promo to 42,900 of its followers. Others sent emails and/or flooded my Facebook with their ads. With all this help I gave away 21 copies of Alice and Her Grand Bell. Five days later, using the same marketing plan, I gave away 15 copies of Bonus Man.

Unimpressed, I had another promo a week later, this time I used only Facebook—ignoring all the freebie sites and the writers' forums—and gave away 16 copies of No Happier State. Hardly worth the effort of dealing with all those freebie sites, though their ads are still all over my email and Facebook. Thanks. (Maybe I need to be on Twitter...)

On a related note, the good people at Cracked Walnut shared a review site called Emily Reads Everything. Seems she has a regular feature called “Awesome Indies.” Signed up, hopefully to get a review. Not sure about the term indie. It used to pertain to small, independent presses but lately has been taken over by self-published authors who don't wanna be called self-published. As a self-published author I hope I qualify. Seems like a great site. We'll see how it works out...

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Einstein + Churchill = Tinkham

They say Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I recently saw a quote from Winston Churchill saying: “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Aren't these the same equations with different answers?

Take me and these books I've written: each novel failed miserably (with agents and small presses), yet I started right in on the next one with mind-boggling enthusiasm (Success! says Winnie) and most certainly expecting the results to be different (Lunatic! cries Albert). Who do we believe?

Am I successfully insane? Chronically enthusiastic? Confident or delusional?

If I catch his drift, Churchill tells us that enthusiasm itself is success. But to strive for more than just the joy of doing—like succeeding—and failing repeatedly, according to Einstein, is just plain nuts.

Okay, I writing myself into a corner here, so I'll get back to working on my fourth book—which, I'll have you know, I'm so deliriously thrilled about I must be friggin' crazy.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Attended my 40th high school reunion this past weekend. A wonderful time. Having self-published three books this year, any conversation I engaged in involved either compliments on a book someone read (thank you!) or congratulations at such an accomplishment (drinking having been my only claim to fame over the years). I soaked it up, believe me.

I had promised myself I wouldn't bring along any books to sell (no teacher classmates of mine had ever brought along their students, no medical professionals their patients). Jim Pokorny, a friend I hadn't seen in quite a while, demanded on the first night that I bring him in a book to buy the second night because his wife had demanded that he bring home a signed copy. Best I could do was steer him toward Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Uptown, which carried two copies of each book. He swore he'd buy 'em all. (Did I mention that both nights were held in bars?)

I coaxed a ride on the second night from my buddy Greg Grahek. He showed up with all three books, asking me to sign them for his sister's birthday present. Now I believe all the compliments I received over the weekend were sincere but you can't beat having someone give your stuff as a gift to someone who probably doesn't even remember you as a kid growing up. At the bar, Dale Fujimoto told me how proud his mother was to have had one of my characters modeled after her and Pokey showed up with a bag of books—he had indeed bought 'em all out. (M&Q has since doubled their order. Yeah!)

My literary successes may be meager, my fame may be limited to these good folks every five years, but it sure makes all the time before this computer well worth it. Thanks, all!