Archive for January, 2010

STORY – Red Ball

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Once more the little girl pushed the red ball into the empty middle of the big room. She steadied it, let go, stepped back and watched. It swayed a moment as though getting some balance, then slowly moved on its own, returning in a slow roll back to the corner where it always seemed to want to be.

The girl watched it roll to the corner. Once there it stayed there. She went over and poked it with her index finger but it did not move. She did it once again and once more and once again the same thing happened. Every time. Ball in middle of the room. Ball roll to the empty corner on its own. Stop, stay, there.

In another corner was all the furniture of the room. All the lamps and rugs, the sofa and tables and stuff had gone to that corner all on its own and the girl didn’t know how it happened. One day everything of the living room was in its place. The next it was in the corner.

In another corner was her mother and her father and her little baby brother. They had stayed in the same position in the same way for two days now like rag-dolls one flopped on the other. The girl went to her father, and grabbed the cuff of his jacket, pulled it and pointed to the ball in the opposite corner. “Dad, the ball. It’s doing funny things.” Dad did not respond.

The girl walked once again and once more over to the ball all the way over on the opposite corner and picked it up and carried and put it smack dab in the middle of the room and sat between the ball and its favorite corner. The red ball swayed again again again and rolled at her and at the last moment it served around smoothly without hesitation and went to its corner. The girl quietly followed it with her eyes.

“Weird ball,” she told it.

The girl looked at the last of the four corners where an unmoving figure seemed to be sitting on a stool with a long blanket over him her it. If she watched there were movements sometimes. Like a hand reaching up to scratch an itch on its nose, but also like a rat running around restlessly behind. The girl stayed away from that corner.

She went to the ball again. She picked it up, brought it to the middle of the room, put it down, then draped herself over it, holding it down, holding it still, with all her body weight, which was a bit less than it had been two days ago because she hadn’t eaten much in two days. She looked to one corner. “Watch, daddy! Watch, mommy!”

She tried to lay more heavily on the ball, using all her small power, flopped atop it like a rag-doll herself. She waited for the red ball to move.

Random thoughts on social media, commercialization, being a writer/publisher, some things I know

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Hidden People Limited logo for indie publishing company on books, videos, t-shirts

I’m a good slave to what’s going on in the social media world.

I’m on Facebook.

I have my Twitter account.

I have my place on Good Reads.

I even decided to follow the social media flow and put up a
Hidden People Fan Facebook page for my Indie Pub company Hidden People Limited, which at this point in time, at this writing, is bursting with FIVE FULL FEVERED FANS (does this mean it is this on its way or simply dead in the water and of really no use?).

Then I began wondering: at which point do I stop establishing multiple social media connects before I die and just get on with the life I have?

Like how about right about now? Enough already.

Meanwhile, here are three random quotes (living up to the title of this blog) from sources I forgot to source, on what I think or have found to be true, in the indie publishing, solo writing, general hodgepodge of what I’m doing…

— Indie-publishing must be a considered business decision, not a response to several hundred rejections or from general impatience to publish

— Most commercially published authors maintain day jobs to support their writing, which means the bulk of book authorship is performed on a volunteer basis.

— The traditional way of doing business (author-to-agent-to-publisher-to-printer-to-warehouse-to-wholesaler-to-retailer-to-reader) is mostly dead, dying, or only for the mostly connected.

And lastly, I’m not following many marketing “experts” on any of this social media march toward when-is-too-much-too-much, simply because there aren’t that many things to say about online marketing (reflecting perfectly off-line marketing experts). But boy do they like to say the same thing many times in different ways in order to make a living, bless them. But my own marcom experience has taught me there’s a handful of stuff to know on this subject, which I’ve known for decades. Many, many online experts are saying nothing new…Big Surprise…and I don’t want the modern disease of marketing to get in the way of the personal (semi)-purity of my creativity and sharing it.

There, we can all sleep better tonight, and this bumping blog falls asleep in the ether waves…

Note: If you post a blog and no one reads it, has it really been posted? (see: tree, forest, fall, no one around to hear, did it really, etc., so forth).

Monday will be Audio Day — the plan from here on

Monday, January 25th, 2010

As I’ve doing this blog, I’m finding what I want to put here (getting a better focus on it).

May 09 016

Here’s my new routine on this blog thingie:

Monday’s I’ll post audio clips of my books. I’m beginning here with the very beginning”Self-Portrait of Someone Else”. Each Monday, the next chapter…until it’s all there….


Wednesday’s I’ll post info on my writing or publishing or new videos or stuff in general.


Friday’s I’ll post a story. Often a “Noise in the House” short fiction piece (less than 1000 words, usually not more than 500 words). Or bits from whatever book I’m releasing into the world as a publication at that moment.

There, that will keep me out of trouble and, for interested visitors, a guideline to go by. Of course, if I evolve another idea for running this thing, you’ll be the second to know (I’ll be the first).

So, without further delay, my first audio post.

PART ONE, CHAPTER 1, “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”

Click here (option to download and make it a podcast if you right click and Save Source – listen when you want) :01 – PART ONE-Chap1

(Sound like a plan?) See you Wednesday….

“It must have been great to be alive before I was born” from “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Once upon a time, Viking-Penguin big time publisher put out my first novel, “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”. It was re-issued in late 2009.

It is available in paperback.


BOOKLIST reviewed it by saying, “…a dramatically suspenseful yarn, imaginatively told…”. Bridgeport Post said, “…compelling…strong suspense…harrowing…”
Here’s a free .pdf file of a self-contained excerpt, called “It must have been great to be alive before I was born”, for downloading and reading at your leisure.

Here’s a link to the Hidden People publishing site if this excerpt gives you a tingle and you want to explore further

Enjoy the read…

Story — Poncho and the things of life

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

(To download as pdf file and read Poncho and the things of life for pdf.)

Read here:

I opened the door to the service porch and D was sitting on the closed top of the washing machine, her legs stretched out before her, her feet resting on the open ironing board. She didn’t look at me as I looked at her. She stared ahead as though sighting along an invisible string from her nose to her boot tip. She wasn’t moving, she wasn’t even blinking. She was just being beautiful and absorbed.

“What’s up?”

“I’m thinking about the things of life.”

“How’s it going?”

“About how you’d expect.”

She still wasn’t blinking or moving so I left her to her thinking and closed the door and walked back through the living room and past Poncho, the bulldog she had brought with her from another relationship, and Poncho always eyed me when I went by. Nothing major, just lifting an eye without lifting his head, eyebrow cocked, as though asking, You making any headway about how things are? And I always just shrugged. “Don’t ask me, I’m just a guest here myself.”

Poncho flicked his eyes away, as though if I couldn’t figure things out, what chance was there for a lowly mammal a couple of levels down on the pecking order? He sighed with all the force of exhausted bellows. Poncho settled further into the rug than he had before, resigned to waiting it out.

I wanted to go back to the service porch and stare at D again, just sitting there, her mind wrestling with obscure muscles in her brain. She was beautiful and I just liked looking. It calmed me. Or it gave me something soothing to do. Her face was like a purpose in life for my eyes. But when I did that too much she would ask, “There a problem?”

I wanted to say, “No, your face solves things,” but I wasn’t sure how she would take this, or whether it was maybe something nice she would like to hear, something that sounded like the truth.

I carried on walking passed Poncho and into the bedroom, which was a mess. The bed looked like a fight had taken place recently. D’s and my clothes were islands of color on the rug, from door to bed to chest of drawers. I stepped around them to get to the bed and lay on it. I stared up at the ceiling and thought I’d consider the things of life, too, like D., like Poncho.

Except both of them were better at this stuff than me. I blinked too much. And thought about beauty. I could sigh like Poncho, but that was about as deep as it went. So waited for D to finish in the service porch and come find me on the bed, ready to make another new mess.

On a technical level, putting together books for indie publishing

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

How to findFollowing up on yesterday’s post on initial steps to take when setting up a indie publishing company, on a technical level, here’s how I put the first two books together:

1.Set-up a publishing company, Hidden People Limited, bought a series of my own ISBN numbers fromNeilson — UK as it’s cheaper than USA branch.

2.Signed contract withLightning Source (which I knew about 10 years ago) as my primary printer–United Kingdom rather than the USA, as I am UK-based Limited company.

3.Book cover design by Fontana identity & design.

4.Since I work on every story for years (unless I get lucky and it comes out in a couple of hours), they don’t need huge amounts of editing. My “Self-Portrait of Someone Else” was edited by Viking-Penguin, and the pages from the original book was scanned and directly used in my paperback reissue. The Viking-Penguin editor suggested two paragraph deletions and a few sentences. I agreed with half. Otherwise, on proofing, after one less successful episode with an American proof-reader in Scotland, I do had two upcoming titles (novella and children’s book) line edited by Scribendi.
All this is ongoing and evolving and changes constant.

5.I’m still engaged in getting ebooks off the grounds via Smashwords and Amazon throughout the world.

6.Audiobooks, which I’m recording in my home studio, are still finding their best home via ongoing research and then more research.

That’s some of the basics that fills out yesterdays impressionistic piece….

The first steps in setting up an indie publishing house

Monday, January 18th, 2010

LIGHTS CU THROUGH BUSHES 02 Here’s what happens when you set up an independent publishing house whose aim is the online community.

You write something. You research Print on Demand houses. You contact and question them. You read their stuff on their sites.

You research to find a professional proofreader, check them out: has degree, passed tests, recommended by association, price okay, and then send, then pay, then submit for layout by book designer, then re-reading find errors proofreading did not see at all. Then correcting them, asking designer to correct them because it is in a .pdf file with following certain guidelines that I know nothing about. Then uploading book, producing a proof, finding more errors, correcting them, having another layout correction, begin doing the voice over for the audio book, and reading through the text aloud find even other errors. Know I am a shit proofreader, which is not revelation for me.

I chew off my lips and spit out the pus.

I submit excerpts for online publication, to gain exposure. Much research of dozens of online journals, get some acceptance, get some rejection. Time runs out as publication deadline nears.

I met with webmasters to revamp my personal and publishing site. I want to blog, also for exposure, but mostly as a “platform” of running a business, being a writer, and a place to store some of my better writing bits. Yet must wait for my web site re-launches, to make sure all is shipshape and shapely and well-integrated.

Register the ISBN number: purchase these numbers, submit to those who control such things, wait, get confirmation, then submit book to distributors, wait for confirmation from them.

Work with graphic designers for cover design. Ask several for different styles & tries, review them, decide, re-work, tinker, get it finalized.

Interior layout (see above concerning typos). Huge job, even for thin books. Check, recheck, book once loved now an annoying infant wailing all the time and not toilet trained. So to speak.

Oblique and direct babble on social sites.

Submit ms to my print on the demand publisher. Wait for confirmation and okay, because size of book, size of cover, size of cover’s spine must all line up, and dpi gotta be good, too.

Set-up online: Amazon, others. Research how to, email questions for clarifications, wait, receive response, demand more clarification, upload the cover, a minefield of fun and gore…

Continue recording the audio version.

Research ebooks, distributors, formats, contact via email, ask question, await responses.

Research various online companies that distribute audio books, the good the bad the ugly. … Put together Press Releases. … Research who the fuck would want one of these…

Oh I’ve reached my word limit for this post, and really, I’m not even halfway through what needs doing.

Someday, though not quite yet, I am hoping to be able to say, Working for me is the best job I’ve ever had. But that’s in the future.

Business & Identity – a story on finding yourself through business

Friday, January 15th, 2010

How to findThis week I offered a somewhat serious side to business, called The Job Interview. Today, a more humorous (or still somewhat serious?) story about a man who wants to find himself in business.

This story to read here is from my How To Find Yourself humor book. It is called Business & Identity. Or how to find yourself through business.

We’re just trying to keep the universe in balance here….


Story – “The Job Interview” from “Self-Portrait of Someone Else” reissue

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Once upon a time, Viking-Penguin big time publisher put out my first novel, “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”. It was quietly re-issued in late 2009.

That means it is for sale in its new paperback form.


The New York Times Sunday Book Review called it “a brave literary debut”. Publisher’s Weekly called it “ striking first novel”.

Here’s a free .pdf file of a self-contained excerpt, called “The Job Interview”, for downloading and reading at your leisure.

Here’s a link to the Hidden People publishing site if this excerpt gives you a tingle and you want to buy the novel.

Enjoy your read…

Anti-social social media, commercial need, and the storyteller

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Shine that light

What’s a guy who hates networking going to do in an online world that demands of an indie publisher/writer/maker of things to be a relentless promoter? I have been a secretive writer published by Viking-Penguin N.Y. I’ve been an international promotional copywriter. I know both worlds; does the online world demand the same impossible blending of two separate skills and/or desires?

I have a native distaste I have for personal exposure in a public place. Even if it is the online world. Yet if you don’t jump up and down and yell, I Exist! – how will anyone know I exist… what to do, how to handle?

Background sentences. I am a writer, video maker, performer, and I since this year run an online indie publishing company. Yet there’s a bigger part of me that is a writer who does not want anyone to pay attention to me; to my work, yes, if time and interest interconnect. Mostly my life is paying attention. Selecting carefully what I pay attention to. Attempting to transform that attention into something that may interest other people in the form of some sort of story.

Much online social media exposes. Being interviewed used to be the modern expression of riding down the street naked. Now it can be one’s blog, or Facebook or Twitter account. Look At Me. Blogs & Twitters: I read this, thought this, ate this, and here’s what I’m doing while waiting in an airport. I’m mainlined into the social networks just mentioned: experiencing, deciding, finding my way and my own approach. So, is turning a constant social media spotlight on oneself and shouting and semi-nagging that I am worth paying attention the way to build a “platform” when the writer, the artist, should be collecting insights and stories and producing works and not calling attention to oneself? This sort of street performing can develop into a superficial narcissism that can take over the imagination producing a dangerously enhanced ego.

I have always been bad at what is called networking, that business-based leveler of using people in social situations with a commercial purpose in mind. “I want to know you because I want something from you and I want you to want something from me.”

Nobody has to know what I think about what I do. In fact it’s probably rather important for a writer to keep their mouth shut on many levels.

At what point is “keeping in touch with your audience” online like an over-friendly neighbor knocking on your kitchen window saying, “Hi. Just wanted to see how you are. I finished mowing the lawn. You?” This can easily become anti-social social media.

That is why, after months of watching and evaluating my participation in the online world, I will focus the majority of my attention on what I pay attention to. My stories, my videos, my bits and fragments of tales and story smudges. My publications. The noises in my house.

I will happily continue online but not as a sales person oozing monetary desires. If anyone wants to know what I ate yesterday, I just flushed it down the toilet and that’s where it is going to stay.

Again, I spent over ten years in publishing as an international marketing communications manager; I know all about this promotion razzmatazz. The thing I have always liked about this online set-up is, it isn’t about selling, it’s about offering.

The idea of success on the Internet is encapsulated byDerek Powasek , and it is simple :

Make something great.
Tell people about it.
Do it again.

If you want some stories, in words, images and performance, I have some. I offer.