Thursday, December 4, 2014

I’m taking an online course on book marketing sponsored by one of my publishers. I figured it would be an easy thing to do. Guess again.

My first few lessons required one of the hardest things for a novel writer—at least this novel writer—to do. I had to condense a 368 page manuscript into a multitude of interpretations utilizing sometimes as few as one or two words. Keywords to be exact. Turns out these pesky and elusive critters hold a lot of sway over how and when your book shows up on purchase sites.

It was frustrating, informative, and mind weary to labor through these things. Not to mention it required me to divert precious time from my writing.

Was it worth it? Damn straight. Like most authors, I’m most comfortable writing. This forced me out of my comfort zone and into the deep end of the pool. And just like the deep end, once you get used to it, it opens up a whole new world. After all, these days writing requires more than just writing.

Still, I’m holding my breath as I wait to see what’s in store, next.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Not sure if I'm feeling guilty or not. I should be writing today, but it's also Thanksgiving day weekend and I feel I should enjoy it. My daughter's in town, which is another reason to forgo today's writing, and spend time with her. Still--I could work in both if I really try. Anyone else go through this kind of delimma or is it just me?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Haunted Cave writer (me!) has re-emerged from his cave. In the year and a half between my last post and this one, I'm happy to report that my time in the cavern hasn't been wasted. I finished the book that I had mentioned - a women's lit novel called Pedal - which I'm excited about. I also finished two others: a sci-fi novel and a fantasy novel. I'm currently working on a late victorian era horror novel.

Last weekend I attended Miami Book Fair International. It's an amazing experience not only for book lovers but for anyone interested in a diverse group of amazingly friendly creators. Highlights for me included a panel centered around the amazing work of silver age comic artist Jack Kirby. For those of you who don't know him, he was responsible for the creation--along with Stan Lee-- of Spider-man, Fantastic Four, The Hulk and Thor to name a few. Kirby, along with Joe Simon, created Captain America. To put it in perspective, Jack Kirby is the Lennon or McCartney of comic book artist/creators.

Another great panel was headed by Denis Kitchen, one of the architechs of the underground comic book movement of the late sixties/early seventies. He did an amazing job of setting the zeitgeist of the era with the significance of the underground comics.

Lest you think all of my attention was around comics (yeah, it has to do with my love of writing sci-fi, fantasy) I also attended a wonderful panel with Seinfeld writer Peter Mehlman, crime author Larry Bud Meyer, and noir crime author Joe Clifford. What seemed like a disparate group actually had great chemistry. They were funny, thoughtful, and informative.

Another highlight was 'An Evening With Norman Lear'. The 92 (yes, 92!) creator of All In The Family, Maude, and the Jeffersons was not only cogent, but would put me to shame discussing current issues and recalling incidents from his past. He was humorous, insightful, and touching.

Finally, I made a great purchase. Because the cover reminded me of the 50s vibe I instilled in my first novel, Die Laughing, I had to have the pulp magazine "Planet Stories" from winter 1945. It's even got a story by Gardner F. Fox, creator of the iconic comic book characters, The Flash, Hawkman, and The Justice Society (later League) of America. Check out the cover above.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I'm in the revision stage of my second novel. It's at this point that the layers are refined and the subtleties are polished to add depth to the plot. It's also my chance to clarify the characters and the emotions and reasons behind their actions and reactions. This is one of my favorite parts of writing. I love this process! Talk to you soon.

Monday, December 5, 2011


It’s been a stretch since my weekly-blog-that-turned-into-a-monthly-blog-that-turned-into a-whenever-blog has had a new entry. What inspired me to finally post a new one was that I started thinking about some of the people I’ve had the good fortune of calling my friends. Most of them don’t know each other, but they all share one thing in common. They’re talented.

There is something wonderful knowing people who can do things beyond the average. It’s intimidating, inspiring, and at the same time comforting knowing they have ruffled collars, flat tires, credit card bills and sometimes eat unhealthy food.

This is a random list, and I’m going to leave out a lot of people that warrant a mention, but these are the ones that were swimming in my mind when I wrote this.

Talent, as we all know, rarely equates to fame and fortune. What these people have besides a great gift, are an unbridled work ethic, determination, love of their craft, and to boot, are just plain nice.

This isn’t about name recognition. This is about people I know who struggle because they have to, because something inside them dictates it, regardless of whether they reach whatever their definition of success is. These people are far from household names, though if you dig a little bit you’d find info on some of them.

As I said, this is far from a complete list and never should be. At times it may sound like I’m plugging them but, you know what? They deserve it.

As a disclaimer, let me state that if I upset anyone by mentioning, or not mentioning, their names, it wasn’t my purpose to do that.

In no particular order I’m going to start with Lisa Cattoretti. She is one of the most tasteful guitarists I’ve ever known. Everything she touches has a sliver of something she once told me she calls the heart notes. She doesn’t play fancy, she plays tastefully. It’s a talent that comes from within. Her band, Blue Sky Drive, has just released a four song CD. Listening to it, her wistful guitar lines left me feeling as if I were in a field of wheat reaching out to my childhood.

Michael Gavaghen. He’s a writer who has the ability to create characters that are practically polar opposites and yet are just as much of each other as the sun is to the earth. He also has the ability within the chapters of his writings to lower, lift, and snatch away everything you thought you knew about the story. He’s a master conductor who is in some ways as tasteful as Lisa.

Gus Aviles, Jr. A guerilla filmmaker who never quits. He scrounges money, hits up friends for favors, films between his regular job, does his own writing, editing, promotion, dialogue replacement—whatever it takes to get the job done. Somehow, he always manages to come up with a product that is stirring and delightful to watch. It’s a physical and mental strain that would crush anyone who didn’t have the sheer willpower that he has.

One of the bravest and most talented writers I know is Corey Ginsberg. Though she writes in most genres, what strikes the most awe in me is her non-fiction pieces. She refuses to back down from the dark corners of her life. Not only does she write about it, she expresses it with power, grace, humor, and poignancy. This is an achievement that only comes from hard work, dedication and a belief in what you're doing. On top of that, her relentlessness in getting her work to publishers is a lesson every aspiring writer should learn. I use her for my inspiration in that department.

The list in my head contains others, but I don’t want to drag on too long and I don’t want to toss out names without giving each person their due, so I’m going to put the rest on the back burner for another entry.

The one thing I’ve noticed about walking in the midst of giants, it makes me stand taller. And for that, I thank all of my talented friends who have allowed me into their world.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Drum roll – Scott S. Colley was chosen from over 600 entries as the winner of the Die Laughing signed book giveaway sponsered by Goodreads! He's the author of the fantasy novel Mythica Genesis. Congrats Scott, your signed copy is on its way!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


A while back I talked about the fantasy genre and how I was unfamiliar with it. I mentioned a blurb I read of Mysti Parker's A Ranger's Tale and how intriguing it sounded. I finally had the opportunity to read it and I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed. I found a lot to like in the story.
Caliphany, a head-strong young elf defies her domineering father and sets off to find her own destiny. Set in Tallenmere – a fantasy world – this intriguing tale is part Captain Blood, and part Gone With the Wind
I particularly enjoyed Parker’s method of storytelling. She uses one of three first person narrators for each chapter. To add to that, and what particular was clever, is that when she shifts p.o.v. it becomes a continuation of the story, not just the same scene retold through another person’s eyes.
            Enough of the technical side, what really made for a great read was the trouble, and Caliphany finds plenty of it quickly.  Besides physical tribulations, there’s also emotional hardship. Caliphany must endure not only her father’s harsh punishments but his rejection of her when she defies his wishes to find her own way in the outside world. Her journey leads to ferocious battles with ogres, traitors, and mages. It also leads to her soul mate, Gallidan. In Parker’s world, nothing comes easy, and Caliphany must deal with hard decisions. The pair’s relationship is crossed with bliss and misery.
This was my first fantasy novel. I wasn’t sure if I would be comfortable in that genre. After reading A Ranger’s Tale, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable anymore without visiting the genre.

Happy writing, everyone…and reading!