Promotional Tour Starts Tomorrow!

And by “promotional tour” I mean I will be putting up a  mega ton of flyers, just like this one.



But if you think I’m playing it safe and only staying close to home, you seriously do not know me that well. I once walked a grand total of forty miles (round trip) just to avoid being a day late on my rent. If putting up a flier in even one place between Salem and Newburyport gets me just one reader more than I had yesterday, I will consider the time and the calories burned well worth it.


Fiction Writers Screw Ups by Linda Meckler: A Zeta Reads Review

Most online stores require you to buy the book before you review it. This review is based on the title and the sample provided by the author. The purpose of Zeta Reads reviews is to caution readers against paying money for a book that is poor quality. Hopefully the author will be empowered to take a hard look at their work before asking for money from readers.

Linda Meckler caught my attention with her most recent offering: A book about mistakes in fiction. Presumably this includes grammar details. You may have noticed the “mistake” I made in the title of this post. That was intentional and you can see for yourself.

Fiction Writers Screw Ups

The formatting is more appropriate for a school report and then only as a first draft. Considering she’s charging six dollars for this work, it’s very underwhelming. The section on dialogue is only four paragraphs long and like the rest of the work, the formatting is more suited to a high school book report – and then only as a first draft.


Curses, Foiled Again

So it turns out you can actually set the price all the way down to free. Now that I realize that, certainly I must jack up the price, right? No. Because as people are reading the Ideas in My Head, I hope they’re enticed to check out Survive by the Sword and The Sweetest Death. I hope they decide to take the time to leave a review of any of the stories they’ve read, even if they didn’t like it..

The Question of the Felonious Friend: An Alpha Reads Review

At my request, the Salem Public Library ordered The Question of the Felonious Friend. On September 23rd, I was the first library patron to borrow the book. This morning of the 26th, approximately six hours before writing this post, I finished reading the third book of the Asperger’s Mysteries.

“Quickly, why isn’t chess an Olympic event?”

The manager stared, blankly at first, then answered, “Because chess is more intellectual.”

Her tone was even, professional, the way she would likely have responded to any customer’s questions, no matter how strange. From her response, I inferred a low opinion of chess players and athletes (More on that in another post, maybe).

Why did I ask her such a cryptic question? Because, a few months earlier, I read E.J. Copperman’s interview in Mystery Scene, a magazine for readers and writers of crime fiction. It was there, just a short while before reading The Question of the Missing Head, that I learned of the main character, Samuel Hoenig’s tactic of gaining insight about someone by asking them about their favorite Beatles song.

(Until Word of God says otherwise, I assume that no two people who respond with “Help” give the same impression. But as Sue Grafton had 26 letters to work with, The Beatles have a long and storied history of music that will keep this from being an issue anytime soon.)

So, inspired by this bit of trivia, I devised a question of my own that I also asked another employee of the same lesser known sporting goods store, though I can’t remember that woman’s response as of yet. I’m sure I came to some conclusion, however it’s not relevant at this time.

One of the things readers will notice in this series is that the flow of the story will periodically stop so that Samuel can educate the reader on some aspect of Asperger’s Syndrome. Sometimes this happens at such random an inappropriate times that it actually takes the reader out of the story. This will no doubt become a focal point for many critical reviewers, and if this story was in the third person I would object to it as a reader. However, since this story is told in the first person, from the point of view of an adult man who needed quite a bit of social training and professional assistance just to get where he is today, these narrative breaks are essentially an aspect of his character and it can be forgiven.

There are a couple of technical goofs that the editor must have missed. One narrative hiccup confused me at first, until I waved my magical apology hand and decided there was a precedent within the story for such an occurrence, whether or not Copperman/Cohen intended it as such.

Although the main mystery is a lot less convoluted than The Question of the Unfamiliar Husband I was disappointed when someone was murdered. Not all of the questions Samuel answers have ended with a body count, but for the purposes of keeping a reader entertained, the author probably doesn’t have too many options. Still, it might behoove the good author to keep in mind what people have long speculated (sometimes in humor, other times not so much) about the famous Miss Marple. And since all three questions that have ended in Samuel facing mortal injury started coming through the door once his partner, Janet Washburn arrived, I have no doubt readers will eventually start eyeballing her with similar scrutiny.

Joking aside, it was well worth the read. A lot of my usual reactions to stories of this nature are in how the author interprets Asperger’s Syndrome. It helps to know that the author is experienced in this subject and that he has also gone on record as saying that no two people with the “disorder” are alike. At times Samuel experiences traits that I myself have never had difficulty with. Other times I feel like he is my fictional counterpart and indeed one of the three characters who define me.


I Hate Conformity

But the greater writing community insists that the best thing is for the name of our blogs and websites to be our own names. There’s a certain wisdom to the idea. I may not always live in Salem, nor will I always want people to associate me with my birthplace.

So here is the new title of my blog. I’m planning to change some things around and before long, I hope I’ve made enough from the sale of my books to upgrade again very soon.

On The Other Hand…

I published my third book recently and gave the readers a  “Pay What You Want” option. Unfortunately, I can’t lower the price below what the Smashwords site sets as the base, so the option I can offer is this:

If you believe 4.95 is too much and you want to pay something lower, you can pay me directly through my Paypal account:

And I’ll just send you the copy in the form of a PDF or word document, complete with the cover art.


The Ideas in My Head is now Available

As if you didn’t get enough of them. But remember, every book sold ensures that I won’t get so bored that I try making bacon flavored Cheerios again (The town of Salem will thank you).

The Ideas in My Head

Here is the link to Smashwords. The book will be available through the other online retailers hopefully soon. You can pay what you want for a copy though I’m not sure if that option will only be available through Smaswhords, or if it will be available on the other sites.

A big thanks to Mary Sage Nguyen for the cover. A talented artist and writer, I am looking forward to seeking her work on future projects. Check out her website and see what I mean.

Nathan Premade 4 (WINE).jpg

Although the book is available in e-book format, I had to share this mock-up. This was really above and beyond and if you’re shopping for book covers, I hope this gives you a reason to consider Mary for your project.

Update: The lowest price set by Smashwords on the Pay What You Want option is 4.95. There’s nothing I can do about that, so here’s the alternative.

If you want to pay me directly via Paypal ( you can still name your price which may be as low as one dollar and I’ll send you the book in PDF format, along with the cover art in a as separate attachment.