Newsletter Archive March 2021

Okay, okay!  I promised to talk about publishing a book and I will do so, but first.  I must vent my spleen on two different and unrelated headlines today.

The first one quoted a scientist, who exclaimed “We’re skating on a knife’s edge right now.”  Dear God in Heaven!  This is a full-blooded example of the mixed metaphor.  We can skate on thin ice.  We can balance on a knife’s edge.  We cannot do both.

The second headline has nothing to do with grammar.  It claimed that a witness in the George Floyd trial stated, I believed I was witnessing Floyd’s murder.”  My prosecutor half groaned in agony at the comment and the Public Defender half jumped out of my seat to object.  The statement itself is speculation on the part of the witness, which is improper.  The bigger problem is that the witness is testifying about the ultimate issue of fact, that the jury is supposed to determine.  Absolutely inadmissible.

There.  My spleen is vented, whatever that entails.

Each of the above might be the seed of a story, perhaps even growing into a book.  We all have stories, anecdotes, and observations in us that could be the foundation of a book.  Why not write one? 

Well, going back to Guttenberg, or earlier to find the Chinese who invented movable type, the process of publishing books has been controlled by printers and then their companies.  Getting one of them to accept or even consider your book has been an incredible mountain to climb, even if you could hire an agent to proselytize on your behalf.  The only self-publishing option was to pay a printer to produce copies of your book that you would try to sell, the so-called vanity publishing.

As Quickdraw McGraw would say, “Well, Hold on thar!”  Beginning about 2007, with the invention of the Kindle reader the publishing world was turned upside down.  Amazon has introduced Kindle Direct Publishing, a virtually free method of self-publishing.  Really!  I have published three novels, available in eBook and paperback form and I spent zero.  I don’t even have to pay for inventory on the paperbacks because Kindle prints them as ordered.  They provide the apps to convert your manuscript into the forms for eBook and paperback, and they also provide a lot of help to set up your book on the Kindle platform and even advertising and promotion apps.  And the support is growing rapidly.

Now.  Going back to the starting line there are many resources on how to write books.  For me, the guy who has been most helpful in writing popular fiction is James Scott Bell.  He has a number of books out, but I love his set of 24 lectures on the topic, offered on  For me, it is perfect that his lectures are about 30 minutes long, about the same length as my morning run.  I just set up a lecture on my phone and listen to it as I trundle along.  His course and books changed my writing a lot, as evidenced by my third book, “Rage in the Woods”. 

There’s an open invitation, to anyone who has a storyline in the law enforcement/criminal justice area.  I would be pleased to discuss a collaboration in writing and publishing the story.