December 30, 2015

Year-End Report on my Fiction.

As 2015 closes, you may be interested in where things stand with regard to my fiction. Amazon is the measure of how well each of my books is doing, although they are also for sale in half a dozen bookstores in upstate New York and on Barnes & Noble, iTune and Kozo websites. Here are my Amazon numbers: House Divided, which was introduced at the end of January 205, has received 22 reviews, earning an average 4.5 stars. It is ranked #1,210 in the Kindle terrorism category. The book with the highest review average is my suspense novel, Last Stop on Desolation Ridge. Reviewers found it worth 4.8 stars. The Expendable Man, my first novel, has received the most reviews […]
May 7, 2013

On Villains, Part Two

Why do people enjoy a good thriller or mystery? In large part it’s because we want to see the hero vanquish the villain, and while our focus is on the hero, the more threatening the villain, the greater the catharsis when the hero wins out. In order for the story to connect with the reader, however, the villain needs to be believable. In comic books and science fiction, villains can have super powers because we know the good guys have whatever it will take to defeat them. In mysteries, suspense and psychological thrillers, on the other hand, the villain must represent a real, but not over-the-top threat. Too often villains seem to have extraordinary powers––knowing for example where someone will […]
August 26, 2012

Celebrating Independent Bookstores: Schenectady’s Open Door

Like most men, I typically wait until the last minute to purchase birthday and holiday gifts. But when my company, Empire Information Services, Inc.  (today: readMedia, Inc.) was located in Schenectady, NY, I could always find something–whether I needed an anniversary present for my wife or a birthday or holiday present for my kids–at the Open Door Bookstore and Gift Shop. Also, like most men, I’d probably never walk into a gift shop on my own for fear I’d either break something or have to ask what something was, and we men don’t like to ask for directions when we’re lost or what something is that’s prominently displayed in a gift store. Thank goodness shopping for a non-book gift at […]
August 6, 2012

Revising your Novel: When and How

In “7 Steps to a Foolproof Revision,” Don Fry, writing in the September 2012 edition of Writer’s Digest posits “complete your draft, then revise” as step #1. His logic is that if you strive for perfection, you’ll probably never finish your book, or, at least it will take much longer because you’ll be spending so much time re-writing the same sentences over and over again. He recommends “draft the entire piece…and then revise the whole thing, start to finish.” That approach may work well for a short story or non-fiction essay, book review or blog post, but I don’t think many writers will find it works for a novel. For one, most novelists don’t write from start to finish. There […]
May 8, 2012

Making the Grade — Now Available in All Formats

No matter how much care one takes as a writer to craft a good story with characters that people will care about and no matter how much help you have from editors, critique partners, friends and family, when a new book is launched, most writers–myself included–wait anxiously for readers’ responses. I feel gratified and relieved therefore that the first people who read Making the Gradetold me that they liked it. Now I can concentrate on publicizing its availability. To that end, if you are interested in obtaining a print or digital copy of Making the Grade — a police procedural set in Albany, New York in the year 2000, please use the links on the Making the Grade page on […]