Chuckles for Dollars

Per one of my recent pathetic tweets, I have formally declared myself a “humorist” because the more descriptive term, “snide asshole,” is bad for marketing, or so I’ve been told. FYI, being a self-declared humorist, I’m now officially free to poke fun at any given topic, not just ebook publishing. To me, this is the equivalent of coming out of the closet, for the truth is I find just about everything funny and I’m no longer ashamed to admit it.

My new found freedom is good for me for blogging about random crap fits my current schedule, which is dominated by the execution of menial tasks designed to generate the income needed to pay for the mess I’ve created – otherwise known as children.

So, here’s how my new blog works. I write about whatever pops into my head. You laugh hysterically and then buy all my books. I call it chuckles for dollars. My objective is to earn enough money to buy my youngest son a Death Star Lego, for I’m old, thus way past the stage of wanting a trophy wife and a pink Mercedes with kelly green hubcaps…

The thing that I’m finding funny at this moment is dieting. I just decided to go on my first ever diet. Prior to being 54 I was thin before my metabolism changed and a prolonged Oreo bender turned me into yet another son of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Currently, I weigh 215 pounds. I have to get down to 195 or the annual premium on my life insurance will exceed the price of a Faneuil Hall toll house cookie (a local joke)…

Being a real man, I don’t spend any time thinking about the consequences of my pending actions. Thus, the only way I gain wisdom is by assessing carnage. Being so, looking back, I should have realized I needed to lose some weight. The signs were there, which leads me to the ultimate objective of this blog, the presentation of a countdown list, the only known means of generating a viral Internet response that doesn’t involve a video camera and a tube of K-Y Jelly…Yes, it’s the top eleven signs that you need to lose weight…Let the chuckles begin…

11. You apply baby powder to your belly flaps to prevent mushroom growth.
10. You think about Fruity Pebbles more than Kate Upton.
9. Upon viewing a Michelin tire commercial your kids yell, “Hey Mom, Dad’s on TV!”
8. You can’t touch your toes. But you can make your nipples touch each other.
7. You subscribe to Bloomberg TV to monitor the wholesale price of cookie dough.
6. You mark Ben and Jerry’s birthdays on your calendar.
5. You can store a Charleston Chew in your naval.
4. You can’t see your boys without putting a mirror on the floor.
3. Your fingertips are permanently orange due to Cheetos consumption.
2. Your snoring removes ceiling tiles.
1. After losing fifteen pounds you swear to God you’ve heard a peanut butter and jelly sandwich scream, “Eat me bitch!”

W4$

My Billy Grist Blurb…

BILLY GRIST is comical parable about the nature of faith. It tells the story of Billy Grist, a man-child who seeks to unite humanity by building a “massive family” only to find his destiny is controlled by a higher power who has other plans for saving mankind…

Part satire, part 9-11 revenge fantasy, BILLY GRIST is narrated by The Great Numero Uno, the leader of the UIUI (Ultra-Intelligent Universe Inspectors) and an avowed misanthropist for having witnessed the evolution of mankind from plankton to our current “sorry” state. The fun begins when the Almighty One reveals His grand plan to The Great Numero Uno, forcing the microscopic egomaniac to relate the story of the world’s ultimate altruist, Billy Grist, to the very people he despises…

Billy is a mulatto born of a deaf father who is obsessed with creating the perfect fruit cocktail, and a gymnast mother who was once capable of “spiking a perfect landing” before growing a noteworthy set of breasts. Billy is also brother to a sister who emits a radiant smile that invokes Beatlemania. Unfortunately, it’s a gift soon quelled by the world’s most wicked disease, Comswalli Nervousa, which causes a wider tragedy that’s eventually capped by an email from the Great Beyond…

Abandoned by God, Billy Grist nonetheless decides to embrace life by using his incredible wealth to build a massive family that includes a broad mix of brothers and sisters. Billy plans to unite the human race, but his noble effort is soon thwarted by a brain-dead terrorist named Calvitor Septor, son of Animus Septor, the inventor of the Jewbie doll, a plush toy with detachable limbs that becomes the must have item within the Middle-Eastern nation of Aridia…

A must-read for Islamic extremists, recently compared to works of Christopher Moore, Vonnegut, and Douglas Adams, BILLY GRIST deploys humor to create a thought-provoking satire that turns sacred cows into hamburger. It’s a recommended read for those willing to embrace the ultimate truth that human beings don’t know jack s@$!! about how or why we were “created.” W4$.

Billy Grist

Billy Grist is FREE at Amazon.com on 5-24-2013

The Truth Behind THE WALKING MAN

A few readers, very few, have asked me what’s the true story behind THE WALKING MAN. One reader even emailed me to say he disliked the book because the recovery of Francis was too far fetched.

Well, as often said, the truth is stranger than fiction…

Francis is a combination of yours truly and my uncle. My uncle was quadriplegic for fifty years. Not joking. Fifty years. He started losing his ability to move at age 16 then, as far as I understand, an operation to save him left him motionless for life. He lived in a county hospital. To me, it was a scary place. I visited my uncle weekly. He had a roommate named Arthur who controlled the TV because he could move one of his hands. The Tom and Jerry battle from THE WALKING MAN is true.

Regarding the recovery of Francis, my uncle never recovered from being paralyzed, but I did.

I have a very rare disease that wiped me out a several years ago. It’s called Generalized Myasthenia Gravis. It’s an autoimmune disease. It causes paralysis after muscle use. This means after exercise, such as walking, my legs and arms would fail. Rest would promote short-term recovery, but in my case, over time, recovery lagged and eventually I needed a mobility scooter to “walk” ten yards. FYI, everybody should own a mobility scooter. They’re great fun.

I was never quadriplegic, but I understand it better than most folks do.

Eventually my doctors were confident the Myasthenia Gravis was impacting my lungs, so they wanted me to go on chemo, but I refused. I was told I would soon need a respirator to live and my life was going to “suck.” Instead of the chemo treatment. I started looking for triggers. I figured something was causing my condition. So, I became a vegetarian, stopped drinking Diet Coke, and avoided all known allergens. Gradually I got better. Now, my Myasthenia Gravis is in full remission. I’m 53 and never been healthier.

In the end, I could never quite figure out what caused my temporary paralysis, but I blame the Diet Coke…for it makes for a good story.

W4$

The Camp Out

In keeping with my prior blog, I’m no longer confining my pathetic attempts at humor to e-publishing; the world is now my pincushion, hardy, har, har, and all that goes with it.

Today, I’m under extreme pressure to be funny because I’ve committed to writing something stupid every week and it’s now Sunday morning, and I have to go to a lacrosse game, mow the lawn, and pave my elderly neighbor’s driveway for a dozen toll house cookies. Yes, chivalry is not dead.

Given these tasks, and my general and constant state of unpreparedness, my only current option to is to poke fun at the event that I attended last night, which involved sharing the woods with a combination of adults and children. I regularly refer to this happening as “the yearly horror show.” More sane people call it the “Annual Boy Scout Camp Out.”

In my deluded mind I’m tough; there’s me and Clint Eastwood, and nobody in between. This being said, I’m ashamed to admit there is nothing in this world I fear more than the Annual Boy Scout Camp Out.

I have many children, so my attendance at the “camp out,” which occurs the third weekend in May each year, has been mandatory for nearly a century, at least it seems that long. The camp out marks the end of scouting for the year. Honest men call it “hell on earth.” The mosquitos call it the beginning of “people season.” There are many things I rather do than attend The Annual Boy Scout Camp Out, which to me is the equivalent of receiving a colonoscopy, without sedation, from a gastroenterologist with Parkinson’s disease.

As always, the event began innocent enough. Older scouts, call boy scouts, spent hours teaching younger scouts, called bears, wolves, cubs, and webelos (whatever that is) how to perform tasks that have no real-world application – in preparation for adulthood. Activities included: learning how to tie knot with your toes, how to turn a bundle of sticks into a nuclear weapon, and how to stay safe while doing incredibly stupid things like climbing up a cliff or spelunking, which I learned involved descending into a cave using only a rope and a LED flash light.

My son, the little one they call, “Sausage,” wanted to do everything. He was especially interested in learning how to construct a hang glider using a Sear’s catalog and a single tube of Elmer’s glue, but I pushed him into the spelunking class, knowing we would, never, ever, go exploring some God forsaken cave.

Surprisingly, the time allotted for the older kids to teach younger kids how to do shit passed without incident. In fact, there was not a single impaling, or broken leg, which was extremely rare.

We were off to a good start.

Next up was the Annual Poisoning of the Husbands, otherwise known as the campfire buffet: burgers, hot dogs, and pasta salad coated with DEET, pollen, and Cub Scout bacteria, freshly sneezed. I called this event the “Poisoning of the Husbands” because over the years I’ve noticed all the wives in attendance laugh continually instead of eating, which is unusual considering each of them weighs more than a VW Beetle.

When my paranoia about food-borne illnesses finally subsided, my favorite part of the camp out occurred. The kids, moms, and the “guys” who wore tan shorts and medals, retreated to an open-air amphitheater to perform skits, the purpose of which was to entertain the young and the feeble minded. It was during this time the few lucky men among us, including yours truly, fulfilled our obligation to be “campfire monitors.” This meant it was our job to drink beer and make sure the den’s campfire did not turn into a town fire.

The bullshit session that followed was the stuff of legend: men in the woods without electronics, multiple coolers, bags of every type of chip available within the continental United States.

The guy beside me drank fast, so I soon learned he sold veterinary surgical equipment and that his business was terrible because none of the local hotels would let him do product demonstrations using dog cadavers.

“That sucks,” I said.

“No shit,” he replied.

“Hey man, if you ever need to do dissect a dog and you’re in my neighborhood, you can use my house,” I said.

“You sure?” he asked.

“Sure, I’m sure,” I responded. “Another Bud, please.”

Eventually our children returned, as they always do. It was Smores time. Several flaming marshmallows nearly hit me before the present cluster of boyhood decided to reenact Lord of the Flies by turning their Marshmallow sticks into weapons, as they always do.

“We must attack the second graders,” the Sausage informed me.

“Where are they?” I asked.

Sausage pointed to a nearby hill.

“Way over there.”

“Good,” I said after winking to my new Bud-buddy. “Go get those f’n second graders! Take no prisoners! Remember the Alamo! Tippecanoe and Tyler too!”

About an hour later our soldiers returned. There was some blood, but no reports of fatalities. The evening was going exceptionally well, especially considering past events, which included one of my son’s being neutered by a Karate exhibition gone bad.

Ahh, but the night’s fun was not over for the sun had gone down five hours earlier and the temperature was approaching thirty-five degrees.

Given today’s advanced camping technologies, for well-prepared folks low temperature was a non-issue, but for an ADD Dad, who lacks the skills to plan a birthday party, thirty degrees presented a serious issue, for I only brought two sleeping bags and the Sausage needed both.

“One is my mattress,” the Sausage informed me. “The other is my sleeping bag.”

Despite being a bad traditional Dad, I’ll do anything for my kids. Thus, without argument, I decided to sleep in my collapsible chair, wearing Bermuda shorts, a T-shirt, and my vintage Red Sox jacket.

Needless to say, I froze my ass off.

When I finally woke up for good, the sun had just risen and nature was definitely calling, and it was an urgent matter, the Buds and the Annual Poisoning, no doubt.

I was in generalized pain, which meant every square inch of my body hurt more than Johnny Cash’s head after a night out with Merle Haggard. Being so, I struggled to find the “Men’s Room,” which I knew, would be the most disgusting place on earth.

I was not disappointed for inside the wooden shack marked men and scented by urine from the Eisenhower era, there was a fairly new “Environmentally Friendly” toilet. My vision was cloudy so I was not sure the toilet contained a liquid. I thought I saw some corn floating, but I wasn’t sure. “Maybe it’s my macular degeneration,” I theorized.

Knowing I was about to jettison an ungodly load, I was concerned about splashing, so I conducted a test. I lowered sheets of toilet paper, one by one, into the toilet, testing for water. There was none. I was safe to go.

The explosion that followed would have been embarrassing if witnessed, but for me it was the first step in my return to life.

“This Boy Scout Camp Out was tolerable,” I told myself. “No major incidents…I can’t wait to get home.”

After a customary moment of relaxation, I rose. Then I suddenly felt something. It was my wallet. It had fallen out of my Red Sox jacket and into the toilet.

It was gone.

A normal man would of panicked, but not me. Instead, I was instantly overcome by a calm resolve, for my wallet contained five C-notes, and I knew there was no way on earth this money was not going to be retrieved.

After a few minutes of thinking I returned to my tent.

“Sausage, wake up!” I said. “Good news!”

Knowing me, Sausage replied, “Really?”

“Yes,” I assured him. “Get some rope! We’re going spelunking!”

W4$

Bad Advice Available Here!

I’m not sure I should continue writing a blog that provides ebook publishing advice because I’m fairly certain I don’t meet the basic criteria for being an authority of any sort. I say this because I really don’t care about many things and I especially don’t care about the things most indies authors seem to discuss ad nasueum, such as the Amazon ranking algorithm and the best price for an ebook. (We all know the sad truth is most indie’s sell the same amount of ebooks, whether they’re priced at $0.99 or $1,000,000.00. Zippo.) I guess what I’m saying is, I’m not good at nuance. I like the direct approach in resolving all matters. So, to increase ebook sales my sole advice is to write a better book. Obviously, this is incredibly poor advice for we all know, via Walmart, that quality no longer has anything to do with sales. I’m sorry. I admit it. I’m a terrible ebook publishing blogger for writing a better book is the only advice I can offer.

Further proof of my lack of qualification in providing any form of quality advice became abundantly clear to me last week when my son approached me for guidance.

“Dad,” he said. “This kid at school keeps kicking me.”

Not being a complete idiot, although close, I asked for details.

“This kid kicks me as hard as he can every day before I enter home room,” my boy says. He then shows me a bruise on his shin.

A thinking Dad would have said, “I’m sorry, son. Let me call the principal, we’ll get this kid in a room with his parents and sort this thing out. Don’t worry, son. Your Dad will take care of this…”

To be truthful this thought never entered my vacuous head. My guess is I subconsciously hate attending a love-in to resolve conflict.
“Boys will be boys,” the principal would inevitably say. The parents of the bully would then attribute their son’s bad behavior to the recent death of his hamster, gluten, seasonal allergies or sleep depravation due to a Sponge Bob Marathon. We’d then laugh about the stupid shit we did when we were kids, shake hands, and then drive home singing our favorite Beach Boys tunes, near delirious due to our parental excellence.

Unfortunately, I could not muster any thinking appropriate for our times, so instead I said, doing my best Sean Connery imitation, “The next time this kid kicks you. Kick him back harder.” For the record, I did not say “kick the little bastard until he bleeds.”

It’s was about 2 o’clock the same day when I got the call from the school. I was informed my immediate presence was necessary and not optional. “It was something about my son…”

I drove to the school. Confident my son was alive, I kept the Beach Boys playing.

When I arrived I was told to enter the conference room. Inside was the school principal, my son, and the town’s police chief.

“Howdy Chief,” I said. “If this is about the fund raiser, I’m sorry. I promise to give next year.”

The Chief did not laugh.

“My son,” I was told had been involved in an assault.

“Really,” I said. “Not possible.”

The discussion then got into who kicked who first. My son won the argument. Shit, the kid is incredible and fearless when it comes to holding his ground.
After lots of talk the room fell silent. Everyone was waiting for me to comment.

“Listen Chief,” I said. “I told my son if this kid kicks you again, kick him back. I did not tell him to break his jaw and then stuff him into a recycling container…”

W4$

The Baby Sausage Sell

I fathered a boy who is now ten year old. He lives in my house with me, so I call him, “son.” His brothers call him a “brat” and worse because he always get what he wants. His nickname is “Baby Sausage.” (I don’t know why.) Son One and Son Two claim Baby Sausage is my favorite, which is not true. Baby Sausage simply gets his way because he is a most persistent entity to ever roam the planet earth, and he is never without a want. Today his target was a Ninjago Lego called Garmatron.

The day started with a knock to my head. It was “the Sausage.”

“Wake up, Daddy.” Sausage says, starting out cute, which he is.

“What’s up Sausage?” I ask.

“Ninjago Lego, number 70540,” he replies. He has his piggy bank with him, which means he has sucked the house dry of coinage.

“We don’t have money for Legos today. We just bought you new lacrosse uniform. Maybe next week.” I say.

“It cost forty-five dollars, but it’s on sale at Target for $39.99,” the Sausage replies, completely ignoring my statement.

Son One chimes in. “Baby sausage. You’re not getting a Lego today.”

“Yes, I am,” Baby Sausage replies.

Son One sighs. He knows.

“Look!,” Baby Sausage says as he opens his piggy bank. “There is at least $35 bucks in here.”

Knowing he is more accurate  than a CoinStar machine I immediately abandon the money excuse and evoke executive privilege.

“Listen Sausage, you’re not getting a Lego today. I’m your Dad. You’re not getting a Lego today, and that’s it.”

Sausage leaves.

Breakfast time.

“What do you want for breakfast, Sausage.”

“A Ninjago Garmatron Lego,” he replies.

“Cut, it out,” I say. “How about a gluten free donut.” Our current theory being the Sausage is cute due to gluten, we want him to grow up.

“Listen up,” Sausage calmly states. “Every time you ask me a question I’m going to answer, ‘Ninjago Garmatron Lego,’ until you buy me a ‘Ninjago Garmatron Lego. You are going to buy me a Ninjago Garmatron Lego, and you are going to buy me a Ninjago Garmatron Lego today.”

“Okay you want to play this game,” I reply.  “I’ll play this game.”

About 3 PM, one thousand “Ninjago Garmatron Legos” later I give in. I drive Baby Sausage to Target and buy him a Ninjago Garmatron Lego. The Baby Sausage has won again.

Authors, I’m telling this story because I’m considering buying a subscription to Tweepi, so I can bombard Twitter with auto-tweets about my books. This means every fifteen seconds the Twitter universe will be reminded that BILLY GRIST is a 5-Star masterpiece that must be purchased immediately. I know this is a highly offensive tactic, but I’m certain it will work, because I know, per Baby Sausage, that human beings will eventually pay  anything to stop being annoyed, even if they know the relief is temporary, or unlikely.

So, get ready. Here it comes, two hundred tweets a day that contain every imaginable way of saying you must buy BILLY GRIST immediately.

Okay, I’m just kidding. It’s tempting, but I just can’t do it . In fact, I’ve decided to do the opposite, I’m unfollowing any authors who do more than a few promotional tweets a day, for I hate spam  more than I like selling books.

This all being said, I see nothing wrong with spam in blogs….

“Buy BILLY GRIST.”

“Buy BILLY GRIST.”

“Buy BILLY GRIST.”

“Buy BILLY GRIST.”

“Buy BILLY GRIST.”

“Buy BILLY GRIST.”

“Buy BILLY GRIST.”

 W4$

Are you following me?

I must confess, I don’t understand Twitter. I’m 50% nerd by nature, so maybe it’s a socialization issue. I say this because it’s my foremost desire to live in a cave with a high-speed internet connection so I can watch mlb.com 24-7. Given my half-assed desire to be virtually socialized, being an independent author, my basic understanding of Twitter is that it’s a network where indie authors promote their books to other indie authors, who are too busy writing to read them. So, in terms of a marketing tool, it appears to me Twitter is more time consuming and less effective than soliciting readers by sending hand-written letters to random street addresses.

This all being said, given it’s popularity, I know the real issue is me, for I’m certain Twitter is really a wonderful marketing tool that I just haven’t figured it out yet.

To date, I basically use Twitter to follow people, who I now call “my tweeps.” Some of my tweeps follow me back. My understanding is I must attract tweeps because it will eventually cause, by mysterious means, Barack Obama, Stephen King, or Shaq to become so captivated by my 140 word banter that they will follow me, read my books, and then tweet to their billion tweeps that Wright Forbucks is better than buttered toast.

Hmm, at minimum Twitter certainly adds to the folly of independent publishing… But, don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving up on Twitter; I’m just trying to find its keys. Consequently, I’m currently in refining mode, bopping around, trying to figure out who to follow, so they can follow me back and contribute to my virtual legend. Being so, using the best logic my addled brain can muster, here are my current rules for following people on Twitter:

1. I follow all followers that use animated avatars to expose one or more naughty areas of their virtual bodies. My favorite being the blinking halter top.

2. I follow all followers who poses like Rodin’s Thinker, hand to chin, like yours truly.

3. I will not follow any writer who claims to be an “aspiring author.” My advice to aspiring authors is to write a short story and publish it. And before doing so, describe yourself as a person living in the basement of your parent’s house.

4. I will not follow anybody that uses a Hello Kitty avatar. There is something demonic about Hello Kitty. I can see it in her eyes.

5. I will follow any follower from a foreign country that doesn’t tweet using the King’s English. I call this my WTF follow.

6. I will not follow any follower that claims to be a Christian Writer, for I don’t read books based upon somebody else’s faith. However I do make exception for the occasional “Christian author of low-grade erotica.”

7. I will follow any follower that describes themselves as “bookish” even though I know this also means “I’ve never been laid and I’m too cheap or too poor to buy your f’n book.”

8. I will follow any follower that claims to be a pirate, a nude hang-gliding instructor, or a serial killer of vegans.

9. I will not follow any follower that use a “auto-tweet” program to promote their book. I can’t take reading a follower’s book is FREE at Amazon one hundred times a day. That’s why I limit my spam to ninety nine tweets a day.

10. And finally, all lists needing ten entries, hating disingenuous expressions of gratitude, I immediately unfollow any follower who sends me a DM to thank me for following them unless it start with “Hey asshole!”

W4$

 

 

Of Russell Blake

Hey indies, given our challenge, when one of us succeeds it’s a cause for celebration. So, I’m pleased to report there is one among us who has deservedly become a renowned author. I’m proud of him. His name is Russell Blake. In case you haven’t heard of Russell, he  writes thrillers at a rate of one a month. I think he has written 24 books in less than 2.5 years and he recently blogged that he is now selling more than 500 books a day.

Being a nasty satirist, I don’t live to heap praise on fellow authors, especially a man who claims to be a nude ice dancing champion, a chimp activist, and clown boggarizer – whatever that means. But, Mr. Blake is truly exceptional. First off, the guy writes a book a month, and these are not short works, we’re talking well-written 70,000 word books. Plus, not a single Blake thriller has a bad rating. Personally, I’ve read several of Russell’s books and they were each great. If you have not read a Blake book grab a FREE copy of JET at Amazon.  You won’t regret it.

The fact the Mr. Blake is successful is dandy and worthy of note, but the primary reason I’m writing this blog is because of Russell Blake’s advice. Russell writes a blog that honestly presents everything you need to know about indie publishing. I’ve followed it since it began, watching Russell rise from from publishing puppy to indie superstar. The blog resides at http://www.russellblake.com. It lays out what it takes to succeed as an independent author. If you’re an indie, you have to check it out. Especially, Russell’s latest blog, Talent vs Tenacity.

Personally, I’ve asked Russell Blake for help on a few occasions and he has always responded quickly and thoroughly with dead-on advice. It was greatly appreciated and someday I hope it may help me sell a few books.  (FYI, BILLY GRIST is just $.99 at Amazon today :)) Recently, Russell has tweeted that he’s working on a movie script for JET. I’m sure it will be great, but I have a  better idea for a film, Russell Blake, the Author. Hmm, maybe it could star a computer-animated Orson Wells nude ice dancing with his favorite chimp…

W4$

The Dangerous Nature of Blind Faith

I was halfway through writing this blog when the Boston Massacre, circa 2013 happened. Since, at this point, the perpetrator is not known, I’m not sure the content of this blog applies. But, my guess is it does, “religious” terrorist(s) topping the list of the usual suspects.

I grew up in and about Boston and watched the Boston Marathon on several occasions from in and about the Pour House on Boylston Street, near the site of second explosion.  If you’ve never gone to a Boston Marathon, you must. It’s a fantastic event. I know I plan to be there next year and I hope it’s the biggest and best event ever. I’d try to run it, but some things are impossible and walking five miles is on my can’t do list, so running 26 is out.

In my blog, I planned to drop my usual wise-ass routine and promote my book, BILLY GRIST, by discussing one of its main themes, namely the dangerous nature of blind faith. I’m continually amazed how seemingly learned folks can believe complete nonsense. I recently read an article by Michael Shermer (@MichaelShermer) called Logic-Tight Compartments, http://www.ScientificAmerican.com/jan2013. This article presents information supporting the claim that the human brain is formed of conflicting compartments that compete for brain-time, like pop-up windows in a hyperactive browser,  for example the love compartment battles hate module and greed sub-routine competes with altruism.  My guess is this is an oversimplification, for I don’t think we understand much about the human brain, especially its interconnection to things other than ourselves. But, the article does present an interesting proposition by claiming some of these modules are logic-tight, meaning no level of facts can alter them. This would explain why religious zealots smart enough to make a bomb are dumb enough, and evil enough, to use it. Somewhere in their warped upbringing their tragic vision of good versus bad was established in a logic-tight compartment, never to be altered by the stubborn things called facts.

It is my hope that someday the religions and people of the world will stop to carefully consider the content of their blather and then edit all that is not consistent with the greater good of man, for many things are obvious, such as the virtue of us all getting along and the value of keeping an open mind.

W4$

With Five Questions

Below is a re-post of a blog interview with yours truly from http://withfive questions.blogspot.com/ an interesting blog that features conversations with creative professionals in the business and arts.

Wright Forbucks (also known as W4$) is a comic fiction writer. He is the author of The General StoreThe Walking ManEven Steven, and most recently, Billy Grist. He lives in Massachusetts, in a town that grows apples. He is married with children. He is also devout Red Sox fan, a graduate of an Ivy League university, and an inventor of many fun things. Learn more about the author and his bookson his website.

1. You have one of my all-time favorite author names. What’s the story behind it?

Real simple. It’s my real name 🙂

Actually, the name pokes fun at myself and Indie Publishing. I think many “writers” rushed into self publishing thinking it was a gold mine. I was one of these people. I make some decent bucks inventing things, but often I was not paid my royalties due by my broke or greedy licensees. So, I decided to write a book to see if I could cash in on some direct payments from Jeff Bezos. In all, I’ve made a few hundred bucks on book sales, so I no longer have any illusions about writing for big bucks. Instead I write because I really enjoy it. This amazes me because I never had any desire to be an author, but now I’m loaded with ideas for books and having a great time with it. I totally look forward to writing and try to put in an hour or two a day. I also discovered I have an ability to consistently write 500 words an hour and I never have a bout of writer’s block. I’m not sure this is a skill, but I can crank out books and it is a very part time thing for me.

2. When writing comic fiction, do you generally have a sense of what will read as funny to other people, or do you regularly share your work with other readers to get a feel for how it plays?

I do not test my stories to see if people think they are funny. I couldn’t care less. I just let it rip and hope for the best. My books start with a concept. I then make up a related story in my head. I then write the story down fast–very fast. I don’t use an outline. I then re-write the book a couple times to make sure the quality is good. All the funny stuff happens in the first draft. I never come up with a funny thought when I’m in editing mode. After I complete each book I’m overwhelmed by a desired to re-write the whole book again to make it better, which I’m doing toThe General Store to make it more light-hearted.

3. Who are some of your favorite writers of comic fiction, and how did you get started with your own writing?

My favorite writer of comic fiction is Kurt Vonnegut. I loved Blue BeardThe Sirens of Titan, and several of his other works. Frankly, until recently, I didn’t read many novels. I spent a good deal of time reading technical articles about physics, public health, and other things that interest me, but I only read a few novels a year. So, I don’t know my own genre. In fact, on several occasions a real writer has sent me an email saying I remind them of some famous author who I then have to google. Per above, I got started writing because I thought I could cash in on the ebook wave–maybe some day 🙂

4. What is your “day job,” and do your colleagues know about your writing career?

Nobody knows I write books, but my lawyer, and Uncle Sam. My wife and family don’t even know I write books. I am not ashamed of my work in any way, but it’s just my thing. I’m not looking for advice or acclaim. I like to keep things simple, and sometimes keeping your mouth shut helps. I received an email the other day saying it’s a damn good thing I have a pen name, because if radical Islamists read Billy Grist, they’re going to try to kill me. This is true. But, to this I say, bring it on! (You can talk tough when you have a pen name.)

I real life :), I’m a engineer and scientist. I make a living inventing things. Most of my inventions involve the manipulation of light. I have numerous patents and a couple million unit sellers on the market, so I do okay, not fantastic, but I have no boss and I usually make ends meet.

5. As a writer who values originality, what’s helped you to get your books into the hands of interested readers, outside of mainstream channels of the “big” publishers?

I have zero desire to work with a publisher. I want to do my own thing without interference. This means I have a very small following, but I’m cool with that. I’d write for ten or ten million. I started out with Twitter which led to relationships with a few authors which led to a few readers. I then did a free giveaway of The Walking Man at Amazon, and for some reason, 8000 downloads happened in a few hours. I picked up many readers after that event. In comparison, Billy Grist, a better book, only received 81 downloads over the same time period. So…I’m currently struggling to find readers. However, based upon my reviews to date, which are not from family and friends, I seem to be picking up a few readers, which is all I need. If people like reading my books, great. If not, there’s not much I can do about it because I have no desire to write a book based upon an outline with proven sales appeal, which does not mean my next book is not going to be about a voluptuous teenage-female vampire who hangs out with an orphaned wizard 🙂

Thanks, Wright!

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