Time Just Slips Away

Well, here it is, almost May. Where has the year gone? I promised myself (and my followers) that I would regularly update my blog and that just hasn’t happened. In fact, I’ve made that promise many, many times and haven’t followed through. So, I decided to take a new approach: Not to promise anything I can’t deliver. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. I, like most people, have a strong opinion about everything from nuclear weapons to hummingbirds. But, as my lovely wife likes to point out, rightfully so, I manage time very poorly.

A couple of updates. Hypocrisy, my fourth novel, is off and running. Sales have been a little sluggish, but a major marketing campaign is forthcoming and it should generate a lot of interest in this book.  I hope. Tomorrow morning, my wife and I hop on a big bird and fly to Milan, Italy. We’ll be city hopping for two weeks. My wife has been there eight times, but as an Italian, I’m embarrassed to admit that this is my first visit. What can I say? I’ve lived a sheltered life.

I’ll touch base when I return. Oops! Did I just make a promise?

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The Wait is Over

Hypocrisy, my fourth novel, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will be officially released on March 15, 2014. Here’s a link to Amazon: http://tiny.cc/uc7pcx  If you enjoy reading controversial medical thrillers, murder mysteries, or detective vs. villain novels, I’m sure you’ll like this book. Let me know what you think.



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Amazing Little Creatures

There are a lot of hummingbirds in San Diego fluttering around here and there. I find them fascinating. Recently, my wife and I noticed a tiny bird’s nest constructed on the branch of one of my neighbor’s six-foot plants just outside the entrance to her apartment. Not the most ideal place for a nest but I’m sure mom had her reasons for building it there. We try our best not to disturb mom while she roosts on her two eggs, but sometimes because of the close proximity to our courtyard, she gets spooked if anyone gets too close to her.

It’s hard to accurately estimate just how many hours mom roosts on her unborn kids, but she rarely leaves them alone. I suspect she takes periodic meal breaks, stretches her wings, does her business, but stays perched on top of those eggs 23 hours a day. The evening air is pretty cold—at least by San Diego standards—so mom has to be diligent about keeping her young ones warm or they won’t survive the chilly nights.

These tiny birds really make me think about the validity of intelligent design. I’m not searching for an argument or debate, but when you consider that this tiny creature, weighing no more than two ounces, with a brain the size of a pea, possesses the instinct to engineer a remarkably well-crafted nest, and knows she must care for her little ones by keeping them insulated from the cold, then when they hatch, tends to them and feeds them until they’re able to spread their wings and fly, I wonder how anyone could possibly conclude that this incredible phenomenon, which represents the wonders of so many other creatures—including humans—could possibly be the result of the Big Bang theory. How could the wonders of nature, so vast and so amazing, be an accident?


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Opinion, Please

Barring any unforeseen difficulties, Hypocrisy, my fourth novel, should be released in about 4 to 6 weeks. All the pieces are in place. I just need to be patient while everything comes together. I never believed that writing books and publishing them had so many angles—lots of things a writer might take for granted. Or in some instances, not even know certain tasks exist. Writing is an art. But getting what you write published and read is a business; an extremely challenging business. There are so many things to consider: Editing. Cover Design. Back Cover Copy. Copyrights. Marketing. PR. Social Media. Preliminary Reviews. Formatting. Acknowledgements. Author Bio.

Heaped on top of the pile are, perhaps, the most daunting issues of all: Will the book sell? Will it enjoy positive reader reviews? These are two questions that could drive a writer mad.

This post was not meant for me to whine about my sleepless nights or the anxiety I face as a publication date draws near. I’m not seeking pity or even a reassuring hug. I just wanted to let you know that the business of writing isn’t nearly as glamorous as one might think. Like every other “job”, there are occupational hazards. That said. I would love some early feedback on the concept of this book. Below is a very brief synopsis. Please read it and give me your candid opinion. One thing: I prefer brutal honesty to diplomacy. A writer learns through criticisms not accolades. Read on.

Dr. Lauren Crawford is a brilliant research scientist who discovers a revolutionary treatment for cancer that not only extends life, but much improves the quality of life for terminal cancer patients. The treatment, in some instances, can even cure certain cancers. On the evening before Dr. Crawford holds a press conference to announce to the world that the FDA has given preliminary approval of her new cancer treatment, somebody follows her to her car and puts three bullets in her head. Now, two homicide detectives, Amaris Dupree and T.J. Brown, are assigned the task of trying to determine who killed her and why. As the detectives dig deeper into the investigation, a terrifying story unfolds.

          Hypocrisy is a medical thriller that takes place in New York City. It examines the ongoing controversy over cancer research and the very real possibility that finding a cure may not be the ultimate goal of the higher powers in the medical community.

Did I get your attention?




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Moving Right Along

As you know, after publishing three of my novels, two of which did very well, Amazon Publishing kicked me to the curb. At first, I was blinded by anger and I must admit, lots of four-letter words spewed from my mouth. But when my emotions calmed down and I returned from the abyss of self-pity, I realized that their decision not to publish Hypocrisy was not a rejection; it was an opportunity.

After doing some extensive research on the complexities of self-publication, I found the whole concept rather daunting. There are so many things to consider that I felt overwhelmed. Fortunately for me, having already published three novels, I had made some key contacts in the publishing world, so I started making phone calls and sending e-mails to a network of people who could help me through the maze of self-publishing.

The good news is that I found someone—actually, as luck would have it, she’s a long-time friend—to design the cover, format the manuscript, upload it to the publisher, and help me get some traction at various writing-related web sites. I am also talking to a woman who runs a very successful marketing and PR company specializing in promoting authors. Some of her clients have made it to the NY Times Bestseller list. And then there’s a dynamic literary agent who is currently reviewing the manuscript, and if she feels strongly about it, she’s agreed to represent me to the foreign markets. I also have arranged for an excellent editor to review and perform a final edit on the book. I’ve worked with her in the past and based on her uncanny ability to find even the most obscure mistakes or inconsistencies, I’ve given her the nickname, “Hawk Eyes”. If all goes well, Hypocrisy should be published as an e-book as well as a physical copy in late January or early February.

So, the wheels are in motion and I can’t wait until it’s published. And just in case you’re interested, here’s a very brief synopsis of Hypocrisy.

The story takes place in NYC and it’s a medical mystery. Dr. Lauren Crawford, a brilliant research scientist discovers a revolutionary treatment for cancer that not only extends life, but much improves the quality of life for terminal cancer patients. The treatment, in some instances, can cure certain cancers. On the evening before Dr. Crawford holds a press conference to announce that the FDA has approved her new cancer treatment, somebody blows her brains out. Now, two homicide detectives are assigned the task of trying to figure out who killed her and why. Was it a random shooting, or is there a deeper story?


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Good read, but Flawed

As a big fan of the TV series, Castle, I was curious to read one of Richard Castle’s books. So, after much thought, I bought a copy of Frozen Heat. First let me say that there was much to like about this book. The plot was interesting. There were many twists and turns, a few surprises, and a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. Castle’s writing style is a little off-beat, yet entertaining. As a novelist myself, I often have a more discriminating and critical eye than the typical reader—especially when it comes to technical issues. Here are my gripes.

First off, the book is about 30 or 40 pages longer than it needs to be. I think there are passages that do not serve to propel the plot forward and they seem like fillers. There are also way too many characters. It seems that a new name pops up on every other page, and I found it often difficult trying to figure out who was who. Almost all of the dialogue is without attributes identifying the speaker. For the most part, it wasn’t difficult to figure out. However, many times I had to backtrack to be sure I knew who was talking. Lastly, this may sound petty, but in several scenes, the narrative is written through the eyes of multiple characters. One point-of-view per scene is the Golden Rule.

Overall, it’s a pretty good book and worth a read.

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Another Fork in the Road

Well, after waiting 46 days for Thomas and Mercer, a division of Amazon Publishing, to evaluate Hypocrisy, my fourth novel, feeling as if I was awaiting the results of a biopsy, my editor sent me a very tepid and impersonal, five sentence e-mail informing me that they’re not interested in publishing it. When you consider that Amazon published my first three novels and that over the years I have cultivated great professional and personal relationships with many key players on staff at Amazon, it seemed rather cold and insulting for them to kick me to the curb with not so much as a phone call or believable explanation. My editor justified their decision by simply saying that they already had a few mystery/thrillers that take place in New Your City, and that my book would not “compliment” their current list. Really?

First of all, how many novels, TV thriller series, cop shows, lawyer shows and a gazillion other avenues of entertainment take place in NYC? Clearly, Amazon’s rationale doesn’t make sense. Yes, Hypocrisy takes place in NYC, but it’s a medical thriller about a conspiracy to suppress a cure for cancer and the storyline is imaginative and original. I would have much more respect for Amazon if they simply told me that the book is total crap and it’s utterly sophomoric. I can respect honesty—no matter how painful. But I have zero tolerance for B.S.

So, after a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to self-publish Hypocrisy. It can be a risky business, but my prior books have done pretty well, particularly They Never Die Quietly and Resuscitation. So, my hope is that Hypocrisy can hitch a ride on the success of my first three books.

Stay tuned for more updates.




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