Monday, November 25, 2013

Amazon Sale of Perchance To Dream

Beginning November 26 at 8:00 a.m., my book, Perchance To Dream, will be on special promotion on Amazon for 88 hours. For the first 44 hours it will be available as an e-book for only 99 cents. For the next 44 hours it will still be discounted at $1.99. I urge you to check it out:

It's the story of a magician who comes to realize there's more to magic than pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Art Or Entertainment?



In an online group of writers of which I am a part, I read a thread about whether writing should be thought of as art or entertainment. I won’t share too much what others had to say, but I thought I might share my thoughts on the matter.

Why do people read? Is it to pass the time, to get some sort of thrill from it that in the end means nothing? Lets expand the question a little: why does one live, is it merely to try to derive some sort of enjoyment out of it, pass the time in the most pleasant of ways while we pass between one stretch of non-existence and another? Or do we desire some kind of meaning from existence? When we get to the end of our lives, will we be happy to say that we got through it being amused more often than not?

You may say it is unfair to compare life to literature. I will argue the point later, but please bear with me until I do. Many people do indeed go through life searching for one distraction after another. While there seems to be something to be said for having fun for fun’s sake, it doesn’t seem to provide enough in the long run. By the time we reach a certain age, most of us are looking for something more enduring than transient thrills. We want our lives to have meaning, we want our presence on this world to last beyond the brief moment of life that we get. So we seek to create, to accomplish, make things that will outlive us. We give birth to and raise children, desiring to pass along not only our genetics but also our values and hopes. And as fond as we are of our comforts and our amusements, we quite easily sacrifice them when we have a goal, a hope, or a child whose best interests we wish to advance. Even when we haven’t made the sacrifices ourselves, each of us thrills to the story of someone who has endured hardships in the name of a goal. And we cry and take to our hearts those heroes who have made the sacrifice of their very lives in the pursuit of goals that were bigger than the individual’s interest of comfort and amusement. So I would have to say that to the vast majority of humans life does have meaning.

Let us now get back to literature. Must it too have meaning? Because that after all is what art is all about to me, that it contains something more than the elements of a story artfully crafted to amuse a child or adult. My assertion is that, like food, a written work must do more than appeal to the taste buds. We know enough to at least try to refrain from eating a Twinkie because we know that while it entertains us, it does little to enrich us. And of course it is much easier to deny a child that Twinkie, knowing that while it may taste good, it does not possess the necessary healthful aspects that food is supposed to provide. We know that to be healthy and face life with the maximum of vigor, we should be careful about what we put into our bodies. But too often we neglect the fact that the mind too must be fed by organic, healthy “food” in order for it to act at peak efficiency.

I know, it all sounds so very utilitarian. Of course amusement has a place in our diet—it is the spice of life. But when we start eating Twizzlers for breakfast, we have lost sight of the concept of the occasional indulgence. When we read certain types of literature—which we freely admit are not art—exclusively, we deny ourselves the healthy aspects that reading can actually give us.

But isn’t reading supposed to be escapist? After all, the mere act of reading takes us away from more productive things we could be doing. I would respond to this by saying that reading a work of art does not take us away from life but in fact allows us to see life more clearly. If a book is written with a desire to speak truth, then the reader has an opportunity to broaden their appreciation for life.

Lastly, if life should have meaning, then all things should have meaning. Again, this seems like a heavy burden to place upon us little mortals, who have so little time on this Earth. But all the more reason to embrace the life we have while it exists. All diversions from life and the reality of the life we are living are like little deaths. String enough of them together and it’s not really living at all. In a sense then, art is life, or at least a mirror that allows us to see life as it truly is. We might be more amused to look into the mirror and see ourselves as princesses and mighty warriors, but we are better served, and perhaps happier in the long term, if we dare to look at life unflinchingly.
If literature, like life, should have meaning, then the book will continue to live on in the reader long after he has turned the last page.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Susan Boyle Meets Rocky Balboa

Buy my book! It's easy, just click on the cover that is situated to the right. And if you click on the cover of The Amazing Morse, it’s only 99 cents for the Kindle version.

Sorry, I’m not very good at marketing. I’m supposed to be engaging my audience, I’m supposed to talk about whatever’s hot at the moment. But really, all the work I do on Facebook, Blogger,, etc. is just a complicated way to get you to buy my book. So do us both a favor and just buy it now.

It really is a good book you know. I put all my efforts into my actual writing rather than in marketing or blogging. At least take a look at it—Amazon will let you read a bit of it for free—and tell me what you think.

I’m not looking to get rich, but I dream of being able to write for a living. As it stands now, I work full-time in a factory. You may ask yourself what a factory worker knows about writing novels, but therein lies the appeal. It’s a classic Rocky Balboa or Susan Boyle story, the story of a person who fought against all odds to achieve a dream. This is even more unlikely, it’s like Susan Boyle fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world.

Like I said, I’m not very good at the marketing side of things. When I was in college, I started wondering what I was going to do with the English degree I was working on. I thought advertising was a natural fit, as it involved putting together convincing arguments. I even went so far as to do an internship with a television production company. It was there I learned such terms as “product placement” and “soft sell”. I really thought I could be good at that sort of thing. There was only one problem; it was evil. I didn’t want to use my hard-earned powers of persuasion to manipulate people’s minds and emotions, I wanted to show them the truth to the best of my ability. It was little different in my experiences with journalism. Again, it was advertisers before integrity. So I left the writing business for a time and found myself an honest job. But the 21st Century has offered opportunities to the independents in the form of self-publishing. I at last have a chance to put forth something I truly believe in. Give it a look. You have my word that I respect what I do too much to give you anything that would not be good for you. And when you someday see my book in someone else’s hands, you can tell that person how much you helped that writer get his break. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Message Written In The Past

I have piles of papers upon which I have managed to drag pens across, scribbling ideas that once seemed worth saving. They are like messages and momentos from the person I used to be. Once in a while I go through some of them in hopes of inspiration. What I normally find is something like this: nothing to help me write a story, but ideas I don’t feel like discarding. I suppose if I put it on my blog, I can justify throwing the paper away (except that there’s something written on the other side as well). Let me know what you think:


“Extended concentration seems impossible, as the ticking of the clock pervades my consciousness. One’s time is divided by infinite instants, none of them giving enough space for a productive action. A moment later a moment is gone forever, burnt like a limited supply of kindling in the face of an endless winter. Time flows one way—perhaps the only constant in this world—never, not once to turn back the clock even for a second. We can retrace our steps in all things but this, can return to any home but the past. Yet the past IS our home. In it is everything we have ever known. Every feeling of love or belonging lies there. We are travelers without destination, merely going forward, always departing the comfortable and the familiar. Eternal refugees.”