JULY 26, 2013 3:04PM

When Novels Become Assassins

Not feeling so good...

I nearly died just after writing the first draft of a novel called Beautiful Morning Blues. The story I came up with is unnerving, possibly amoral, anarchic, and, certainly, nihilistic as hell -- but it still tries to say life is a magnificent and magical journey. I'm convinced th/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 6, 2013 10:17AM

Ralph Ellison and the Floating Self

Ralph Ellison
Ralph Ellison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one is really sure, but March 1 was either Ralph Waldo Ellison's 99th or 100th birthday. We have at least three copies of Invisible Man floating around our house. More than likely, if you ask, all three of my sons will tell you/

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Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 1, 2013 1:50PM

Why I Love Ayn Rand's Books But Am Still a Liberal

Atlas Shrugged Walking

In the summer of 1977 I was home from college ambling around our local library looking for a novel to read. I was also there because I wanted to ask Ann Jefferson out on a date and knew she worked in the library. I found her quickly enough and we… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 9, 2013 2:40PM

Pointing Fingers: Talking Guns with the NRA

Action to stem violence

I grew up in Central Missouri in the 1960s and 1970s. People drove around our town with guns mounted in the back of their pickups -- mostly twenty-gauge shotguns and .22s. I had friends who hunted regularly. Duck season was big in our neck of the woods. So was drivingRead full post »

OCTOBER 19, 2012 9:56AM

Love in the Time of Implosions

Photo: Warren Harold -

We've been through more than a decade of struggle now, haven't we? There's that economy thing that's been eating at all of us this past three years. But there's also the insanity of extremist violence and murderous intent directed randomly… Read full post »

It was a warm weekend evening in September of 1985. We sat in our small urban backyard, pink clouds over-head, starting on a second pitcher of Sangria after a shish-ka-bob and salad dinner. I was more or less happy. I’d become aware of the need to marinate meat the… Read full post »

Have you had it up to there, yet?

 Dear Mr. President,

I watched you last night on the first debate for the campaign of 2012. I am a big fan. I was so happy when you were elected almost four years ago. You know why we all voted for you. That optimism and hope thing was more thanRead full post »

"Morning of the Magicians"

 From about 1993 through 2000 I worked as best I could on my first novel. I am deeply indebted to nearly 20 friends and colleagues who read various drafts over that period.

In the old days of publishing (four years ago and past), any book that sold 10,000 copies – especially by a first-time author – was deemed a success. In fact, most books might have print runs of 5,000 units or less, with publishers figuring that the majority of these won’t sell… Read full post »
The author with his first son in 1988.This blog, The Formality of Occurrence, began as a series of episodes that became the story of how I found my birthmother. I was adopted in 1958. My birth parents were both teenagers living in a small city in Indiana. My particular story was/…

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As an independent author, I am always tuned in to plagiarism and copyright issues. I've written on these topics already this year, but they are so vast and dynamic I want to first reiterate something important for all readers, writers, agents, publishers, and editors to think about. This industr… Read full post »

A teacher in the making.


When I was in college trying to figure out what I would do with my life, I knew that my "fall back" job could be as a teacher. It really didn't matter what level of teaching -- to me being a professor at a… Read full post »

For the past three decades I've been looking for novels and stories that illuminate the power of music. Rhythm linked with melody seems to go all the way to the depths of the human soul. This astonishes me. I have loved music all of my life. My father played every form of/… Read full post »
I want to point you to a couple of independent writer/artists I've been in touch with while on vacation in Florida. See photos that have nothing to do with either author. 

I read a great post by Laxmi Hariharan in early July titled "Dare to Be an Indie?". That post inspired me/… Read full post »
My introduction to how mysterious and seemingly magical the human mind is came from a reading of POWERS OF MIND, at one time a national bestseller written by Adam Smith (a pseudonym for George Goodman, a high-end journalist and editor). I read this book in the mid-1970s.

Powers of Mind was basically/…

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Photo Source: A Knife and a Quill homepageIn the past 10 days two online indie book websites have featured my novel, Beyond the Will of God. On Sunday, July 8, Indies Unlimited provided a Sneak Peak both at their website and on their FaceBook page. Today, A Knife and A Quill… Read full post »

Growing up in the 1960s, I watched my mother take handfuls of Thorazine, phenobarbital, and God knows what else, every morning after her first cup of coffee. She'd already been through electro-shock treatment and spent time in psychiatri… Read full post »

Can you feel it? There's some lift going on again. The doors are open. So are the windows. And we're starting to move. It's not flying yet, but we're certainly not tethered to asphalt anymore either.

The potential of the human mind is now a big deal again, and it's getting to/…

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No doubt, American culture is based on three things: caffeine, lack of sleep, and feeling too busy. It doesn't take much to recognize that these three things are connected. I'm going to guess that if you gave up caffeine and/or got enough sleep you wouldn't feel so busy. Not that you… Read full post »

We had the opportunity last night, Independence Day Night, to attend an album release party for the new Global Illage album "The Complete Portland Sessions." I've written about this mind blowing quartet previously. They're all about improvisational music and, truthfully, I think they're chann… Read full post »

I grew up watching the Andy Griffith Show several times a week. It ran from 1960 to 1968. We watched it when it was a prime time show and we watched it more once it became syndicated -- probably from 1968 through 1980 three or four times a week in one way/… Read full post »

Somewhere in this photo is an envelope containing over 100 rejections.You will find below an actual query sent earlier this year to a book publisher for my novel Beyond the Will of God. I sent out over 200 query letters for this novel -- mostly in the early nawts. This isRead full post »
David Jay Brown covers the far edge of consciousness research. I stumbled into his work while reading a weekly report on entheogens at Reality Sandwich. Brown recently did a piece for the Santa Cruz Patch on telepathy and precognition studies performed on subjects under the influence of LSD. You can/…

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James Parker, a contributing editor to The Atlantic magazine, is one of the best writers of cultural criticism working today. I subscribe to The Atlantic partly because I know I'll get a scatter shot of weird imagery, little known facts, untwisted spin, and, usually, surprising empathy and insight fr/…

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What would Janis say?
There's a simple question at the end here for folks who have read Beyond the Will of God.

When I started to seriously write Beyond the Will of God back in 1993, I knew where the book was going to take the reader. I knew that there were questions/…

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