A Wonderful Book – Dead on :)

Some readers hate BILLY GRIST (Just got my first hate mail, sort of…I’ve been told to repent…). And, some readers think it’s great. Check out the 5 star review below. I can’t imagine ever getting a better review…


This is a wonderful book. I’m not sure I’d go as far as the narrator, who says: `Having read every book in the Library of Congress multiple times I assure you, Billy Grist is the greatest book ever written.’

Epic in breadth, it tells the story of 3 generations of Billy Grist’s family. Epic in scope, it runs a hepatic eye over the religions of the world and proposes radical new solutions to the centuries old problems of human society. `Billy Grist once rhetorically asked, “Why would anyone worship a God that created baby-eating leopards, Joseph Stalin and genital herpes?”‘

Narrated from the unique perspective of the Great Numero Uno, leader of the UIUI, we are presented with a moralistic parable for the times we live in. The UIUI are immortal inter-dimensional creatures that gather statistics for The Big Guy, and amuse themselves by mining the probabilities looking for unlikely events that they can bet on.

How could you fail to love a writer who paints his characters with the economy of a starving artist who has run out of oils? One character had `the personality of a bowling ball,’ another was `a white-haired man who claimed to own the first Brooks Brothers’ suit.’

The writing is exquisite, the storyline so rich, so full of humor and humanist philosophy there is no risk that I will spoil it for anyone by including two of many short excerpts that caught my eye:

“Arghh!” Billy screamed out. “I’m going to die!”
“No, you’re not,” the ever-present General quickly countered. “…You’re perfectly healthy, Billy Grist. You’re going to be an old man someday.”
“Arghh!” Billy Grist screamed. “I’m going to be an old man someday.”

`[He] assisted numerous boys struggling with varying degrees of autism to improve their social skills by refurbishing, and subsequently testing, vintage Karaoke machines.’

That might work!

5 stars. Highly recommended.

JJ Toner, from The Kindle Book Review

Billy Grist, Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned, Again…

One of the good things about being indie is you can publish whatever you want, including a book that pokes fun at the Big Guy. If you have a religion, or a nationality, you will likely be offended by BILLY GRIST, but hopefully it will also make you laugh. My intent when I started writing BILLY GRIST was to mix a 9-11 revenge fantasy with a twisted tale of creation, my point being, we’re a fundamentally clueless when it comes to the true nature of our creator. (And, we’d all be better off if we just admitted it…)

The idea for BILLY GRIST came from the loss of a friend in the 9-11 attack. My friend was a young man, a husband with a one-year-old daughter. His tragic death confirmed my long-standing belief that religious fanatics are the scourge of humanity. BILLY GRIST is my pathetic attempt to make this point. This being said, BILLY GRIST, also presents the possibility that God exists, but not in a form that is comprehensible by our ilk, or that of an Ultra Intelligent Universe Inspector…

BILLY GRIST was my first book. I wrote it a couple years ago. When done, I thought it was great. A year later, I thought it was the worst book ever written. Awful. Terrible. But, I hate not finishing things, likely due to the granite lodged in my Irish head, so I re-wrote BILLY GRIST. My beta readers now tell me that BILLY GRIST is no longer awful. But they also warn it’s not “mainstream” material, their exact words being, “only readers with significant mental health issues will enjoy this tale.”

Hmm, since we’re all crazy, I think what they’re really trying to say is BILLY GRIST is destined to be a best-seller 🙂 W4$

BILLY GRIST available 3-10-13 at Smashwords and Amazon.com


The Fifty Percent Rule

I just read Mark Coker’s Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. Mark is the founder of Smashwords. So, he is the Man when it comes to Indie publishing. The book is great, because it presents advice based upon stubborn things called facts. Unfortunately, for many Indie authors, including me, it paints a bleak outlook for big sales, for it presents virality as the main means of obtaining significant readership. In a nutshell this means 50% of the people who read your book must convince two other people to read your book, or your sales will die rapidly. And, this assumes you can attract some initial readership via Free books, or some other means. For most authors, especially writers like me who don’t author mainstream fiction, this means the odds of publishing a best-selling ebook is roughly the same as being hit by lightning while purchasing a winning megabucks ticket. To me, this does not mean authoring an ebook is a folly. It just means, unless you write teenage vampire romances, a few readers is the new measure of success. It also means…keep your day job.

How to tell if your ebook sucks…

I’m back. I took a few months off from blogging to complete multiple projects including gaining ten pounds and undergoing treatment for post traumatic stress syndrome, induced by several forced visits to the state of Rhode Island. While I was gone I also completed my latest and greatest novel, BILLY GRIST, which hits the virtual stands on 3-15-13. It’s a tale that makes fun of the Big Guy, so if there is a set of pearly gates, I’m in big trouble. Very big trouble…

After completing BILLY GRIST, I was fairly certain it was a decent book. But I’m open to the possibility that it sucks. I say this because once I finish a book, I have no idea if it’s any good, all that writing and re-writing. Thus, my goal is to make sure, at minimum, my books are professionally written. I then leave it to my readers to tell me if the story is worthwhile. But even then I’ve found it’s difficult to tell if I’ve written a stinker because folks, in general, don’t like to insult an honest effort. Knowing this, having written four books now, I can finally decipher most reader comments. Thus as a service to my fellow indies, I’ve compiled a list of comments that are sure fire indications that your book sucks:

Kind indications that your book sucks:

1. “It’s not awful.”
2. “I like the title.”
3. “I found a couple typos.”
4. “Not bad for your first book?” (And it’s your fourth.)
5. “Was it originally written in another language?”

Not-so-kind indications that your book sucks:

1. After reading your ebook I dipped my Kindle in a Fryolator;
2. I printed out your ebook and used it to line my hamster’s cage.
3. Negative Five Stars.
4. My friend says you’re a talentless hack.
5. My favorite sentence was “The End.”


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