Coming Attractions–and They Won’t Cost You a Dime!

I’m baaaaack!

How long has it been now since my last post? If nobody realized I was MIA, I’m going to be really disappointed. There’s been a lot going on, most of it really, really boring–but I do have some new projects making their debut in the next few weeks. It’s just a matter of setup now.

As those of you who’ve been regulars here (thank you, by the way!) know, I’ve been struggling creatively. Haven’t finished a new book since 2009–in writer years, that’s a long time. There have been times I haven’t even wanted to write. I’ve been down all the roads already. First, there was traditional publishing–fourteen books, two major publishers. There were definite advantages, like large advances, skilled editors, major promotions. They did all the grunt work: editing, copyediting, proofreading, formatting, advertising, marketing. I didn’t pay them. They paid me. That was a good thing. What wasn’t a good thing was not getting to do the books I really wanted to write. When my agent told me she wouldn’t even send out one of my proposals because it “wasn’t glamorous,” I knew my goose was cooked. 

Then I tried self-publishing. It was great, for a while. I wrote what I wanted to write. No deadlines, no compromises. And my writer life was good–for a while. I hated the grunt work. I hated self-promotion. I know authors who have been so aggressive in their marketing they’ve been blocked from some Facebook groups. I hated having to ask friends to write reviews–something, I confess, I rarely do myself. I can review a movie, probably because I remember more of what I see and hear up on the screen than I remember of a printed page (wow–that’s not going to be a popular confession, coming from an author). Collin handled the formatting and all for a while, but with a full time job and trying to complete his degree, time was an issue–and converting my old (backlist) books to the necessary format for ebooks was a b****. 

Did I mention that I now have a virtual cuss jar?

Anyway, Collin and I talked it over and decided that we should find an indie publisher who could handle all that stuff. We went with Creativia because they came highly recommended by a fellow author. They reissued six of my sixteen books. I didn’t expect to get rich, or even to make the Amazon bestseller list. I achieved bestseller status years ago, so been there, done that. I just wanted to make the books available to anyone who might not have already read them. And I wanted them on my own Kindles.

After six, I even had second thoughts about reissuing the rest. Why? Long story.

Four of the six reissues have been around since the late ’80s-early ’90s, and Chasing the Wind and Final Hours were first published in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Again, a long time in book years. So…what could I do? I wasn’t sure. I knew I could no longer work on a deadline. Epilepsy has been an issue. There are good days and bad days. On the bad days, I can’t even write a grocery list without forgetting something. Last summer, I discovered I’d had a stroke–a pinpoint stroke, but it seems even those can cause permanent problems in the right (wrong?) place.

So…where to go from there? When I first sent Chasing the Wind out to literary agents, one of them, someone I’d known from her days as a publishing executive and trusted, told me, “This is a movie, not a book.”  I gave some thought to that in the past year. I considered trying my hand at screenwriting–but that’s a crapshoot. And again, it involves deadlines. Deadlines I might not be able to keep.

But I still want to write. What options are left?

I decided to blog the as yet unfinished projects. Blogging a book is nothing new. Bestselling author Andy Weir first blogged The Martian before it was a novel and a movie. It’s actually a recommended game plan for some nonfiction authors. This, I decided, would be a way I could tell the stories I want to tell in my own time, in my own way, with none of the grunt work. No marketing, no begging for reviews, nothing but writing. I had attempted to do this once before, but I hadn’t really thought it through and it didn’t work. This time, there’s been a lot of advance planning. Collin created the above headers for three of the projects. I’m still trying to decide if they’ll be on Blogger or here on WordPress–Blogger’s easier to use, but WordPress looks more professional and has actual techies as their support team, rather than expecting bloggers to rely on the “community” for answers. Maybe both! I have posts ready to go–not just one or two, but enough to keep the posts consistent throughout my bad days. An Army of Angels will include text from Chasing the Wind and bring back characters from four of my backlist books.

I’ll post the links here when they’re up and running. I hope you all will check them out! 


Once Again, I’ve Missed the Boat!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or maybe on the moon, you’ve heard that a civilian expedition led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has found the wreckage of the USS Indianapolis, seventy-two years after it was torpedoed and sunk in the south Pacific. Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you know that the Indianapolis was instrumental in the US victory in World War II, having delivered parts of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima to Tinian Island. The Indianapolis was en route to the Phillippines when it was sunk.

Back in 1994, Berkley published my novel, Luck of the Draw, part of which took place during World War II. A pivotal scene in the novel was set aboard the Indianapolis, where my protagonist met a young man from an affluent background, Spencer Randall. Spencer didn’t survive the attack, but Frankie, a rough young man from Chicago, did. Frankie was found with Spencer’s dog tags. Long story short, he assumed Spencer Randall’s identity and returned to the US to build a financial empire.

Why am I bringing this up now? I recently decided not to reissue all of my backlist. I’d changed as a writer. The glitz and glamour of my previous writing identity was no longer me. Would reissuing those old books help or hurt my new books’ sales? I’ll never know. For one thing, I haven’t published anything new since 2009. Anyway, Luck of the Draw was one of the books that didn’t make the cut. Would the discovery of the Indianapolis now help that book’s sales? Who knows.

I’m still kicking myself….

In a Vote to Choose Clinton, Trump, or an Asteroid Smashing Into Earth, the Asteroid Won….

That really was the outcome. Seriously.

No matter how low my opinion of Trump may go (and it can’t go much lower), I prefer fictional asteroids to real ones. With that in mind, my novel Final Hours is now free, at least for a few days. Get it before a real one shows up and the coming solar eclipse casts darkness upon the United States (and it can’t get much darker here)!


Like the Unicorn, He Was Believed to be a Myth….

Special ebook promo through Monday!


Is He Telling Me to Give Up, Or Testing Me to See How Badly I Want It?

I have very poor eyesight. There hasn’t been any sight in the left eye since birth. The right, well, that’s cataracts, a matter of aging. So I taught myself to dictate so I could continue to write. Then, I discovered I’d had a pinpoint stroke and some other unpleasant brain-related issues.  Now, I have some intermittent speech problems and the attention span of a flea. So much for dictation. Writing in longhand, as I did way back when is out. Arthritis. I’m lucky I can grip an orange!


It’s been said that God never throws more at us than we can handle. He must think stubbornness is strength.

I have all kinds of book ideas that will probably never be written because I’m so much slower than I used to be–and I’m not getting any younger. Back the the ’80s, I wrote The Unicorn’s Daughter in four months and it required very little editing. Ten years ago, I finished Chasing the Wind after working on it for ten years. There are at least five projects on the back burner at the moment. I want to write them. The ideas are there, forming, percolating–but they never seem to get any further.

Am I giving up? No, not yet. In a few weeks, I’ll be publishing a collection of posts from my personal blog, The Three Rs: Rants, Raves and (Occasional) Reflections. I have a memoir almost finished, Sam’s Story in progress, and Collin and I are working on a series that started with Chasing the Wind. With Collin collaborating, I can at least get that far.

I started a novel featuring five secondary characters from Chasing the Wind, but found it had no plot–and a comedy about the quirky residents of a college town, including a booze hound who really is a dog. Just a bunch of episodes. I thought they would have to be scrapped. Then I remembered that my partner in crime, William Kendall, does several serials within his blog, Speak of the Devil–including one featuring a cranky Mountie who hates entertainment reporters.

Maybe these projects aren’t dead, after all. At least not until I am….



Get ‘Em While They’re Hot (On Sale)!

Around the globe, extraordinarily gifted children are abducted.

In the Sinai, archaeologist Lynne Raven searches for proof of the Exodus and finds a papyrus that proclaims the emergence of a prophet sent to defeat the darkness that threatens to consume the world.

Meanwhile in London, a powerful cartel manipulates politicians and controls a think tank with an unthinkable agenda.

One thing connects them all: the truth about Connor Mackenzie.



Special delivery!

Jack Spangler was a night owl and, snowstorm or no snowstorm, he did not appreciate interruption in the middle of his work to take his pregnant-and-alone neighbor Katie Maxwell to the hospital. But off he went, since the alternative was to deliver her baby right in his living room.

Things only got worse from there. Somehow, he found himself mistaken for the non-existent Mr. Maxwell and whisked into the delivery room to help young Jeremy into the world. He even found himself caring about the baby – not to mention Katie herself.

Living next door to a crying new-born was enough to make Jack crazy, but craziest of all, it looked as if making marriage – and instant parenthood – a priority was the only way to stay sane.


Only if the Review is Literate….


Family Isn’t About Blood, It’s About Bonding

Yesterday, Collin and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Following are our reviews:

Those of us who grew up with both of our parents knew them–the good and the bad things–and in most cases, we can accept all of it. But when you’ve grown up without a parent, you end up with a fantasy image of that parent–and the reality, if it ever comes, can be disappointing.

This is what Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) discovers in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

The movie opens in 1980, with a young couple on Earth. Missouri. In those jumbo letters that were a little jarring in Captain America: Civil War. The couple are Peter’s mother, Meredith (Laura Haddock), and his unnamed father. They look like any young couple in love, except for the strange plant the man has implanted into the earth. What is it? You don’t want to know. Okay, maybe you do–but you’ll have to see the movie. I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to spoilers. Being from Missouri, I can tell you I’m pretty sure he planted the thing near the Callaway Nuclear Plant. Uh-oh. That can’t be good.

Flash forward thirty-four years, to another planet, where the Guardians, hired by an alien race of golden beings known as the Sovereign, do battle with a gigantic, tentacled creature to retrieve some precious batteries. In exchange for their services, they receive Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), who was caught trying to steal those batteries. What are they using those batteries for, anyway? Given how valuable they seem to be, I’m guessing you can’t get them at Radio Shack.

In the first Guardians of the Galaxy, they were forced together by circumstance, learning to function as a team to save the planet Xandar. This time around, they’ve become a real family–bickering, sometimes offending each other, like most families. Drax (Dave Bautista) gives Peter some advice on romance.  And they have enemies. A lot of them. Enemies who want them dead.

While trying to salvage their crashed ship while being pursued by some of those enemies, the Guardians encounter Ego (Kurt Russell), who claims to be Peter’s long-lost father. He wants to take all of them to his planet. He wants a relationship with his son. Given that he hired Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) to deliver Peter to him decades earlier, one has to wonder what took him so long. Couldn’t he just contact Yondu and ask, “What did you do with my kid?”

Leaving Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) behind to repair the Milano and guard Nebula, Peter, Drax and Gamora make the trip with Ego and his empath companion, Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) smells a rat. Having spent most of her life on the wrong side of the law, she knows a con when she sees one, and she’s convinced there’s more to Ego than meets the eye. (His name alone should have aroused some suspicion, but then, Ego could mean something completely different on his world than it means here on Earth, right?) Gamora also picks up on something in Mantis: fear.

There’s also dissent among the Ravagers, the space pirates who raised Peter Quill after abducting him from Earth the night his mother died. Their leader, Yondu, has been ostracized by other Ravager factions, led by Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone), having been accused of dealing in child slavery. They turn on him, imprisoning him and killing several members of his crew.

When Yondu escapes with his one loyal crewmember, Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Rocket and Groot, the four of them head for Ego’s planet in a series of weird space jumps that somehow never happened to the crew of the Enterprise, even at maximum warp.

The special effects are amazing, the action is nearly nonstop, the humor is even sharper than it was in the original, and the actors are perfect in their roles. Loved the Awesome Mix #2 songs! Though the ending left me crying like a baby and a scene involving the mistreatment of Baby Groot was upsetting, kudos to writer/director James Gunn for another winner!

Score: 10/10

–Norma Beishir


Marvel Studios’ latest installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise hit theatres today and more than lived up to the original,  thanks to the cast and crew, led by the amazing writer-director James Gunn and the wonderful performances by Christ Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (Baby Groot), Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Michael Rooker (Yondu Udonta), and Karen Gillan (Nebula), plus wonderful performances from new additions Pom Klementieff (Mantis) in such a cute and innocent role as the aide to Peter Quill/Star-Lord’s father Ego, played by Kurt Russell.

From the start of the film with the battle between the Guardians and the big giant monster to protect the batteries on the home planet of the Sovereign to the very end of the movie, there were a lot of laughs–like Rocket referring to the Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and the Sovereign species as “conceited douchebags” (don’t show Donald Trump the high priestess because she is genetically perfect and skin of gold–he might dump the first lady for her!); the jailbreak scene with Rocket and Yondu trying to get Baby Groot to help them get Yondu’s experimental fin, but getting everything else—including one character’s eye (Easter egg from the first Guardians film), even pulling in a desk; the blunt joke from Drax on whether or not Ego had a penis (Ego tells him he does, and it is a good one), to Rocket, Groot and the Death Button. A Ravager mutiny by Taserface (Chris Sullivan) whose name was the butt of so many jokes from Rocket’s lines about “Waking up in the morning, seeing his face in the mirror, trying to look macho, and saying I am Taserface.” Even the High Priestess of the Sovereign was laughing at his name. When it comes to Ego, he is not what he seems and—in my opinion—Ego in the film is akin to the comic book perception of God and Creation. One of funniest scenes involves Yondu, Rocket, Kraglin (Sean Gunn), and Baby Groot space jumping to get to Ego’s planet and warping their faces because of the number of jumps (more than 700 jumps!); Nebula and the not yet ripe fruit was funny throughout the film. Another great performance given was Stakar (Sylvester Stallone) the Ravager who trained Yondu from his youth, acting and looking badass (Yo!). One of the best scenes is with Mantis, Peter, Drax, and Gamora on Ego’s ship when Mantis reads Peter’s emotions regarding Gamora.


Some of the Easter eggs in the film range from the bounty for Nebula on Xandar; Ego talking about Peter using Power Stone on Xandar against Ronan without dying; the “anomaly” in Peter; Ego revealing himself to be a Celestial—probably one of the last living Celestials; not one but two Stan Lee cameos with the group called the Watchers; one of the places Yondu and the others jumped past could have been in the Nine Realms from Thor—maybe even Asgard; the face on Ego’s planet linking it to the comic book version of Ego the Living Planet. Peter using the power that was genetically inherited is in some ways like the Force from Star Wars. Ego mentioning “seeking out new life” was maybe a reference to Star Trek. Also when Ego gives peter more of his power, his eyes turn into stars and mentions Eternity, another Celestial.

The biggest Easter Egg, for me, comes in the post credit scene where the high priestess of the Sovereign mentions the new birthing chamber with a lower priest as creating a weapon that will be designed to destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha says, “I will call him Adam.” Which means the new birthing chamber is the cocoon containing Adam Warlock. (Rumor has it Adam Warlock will appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3). Also, another Easter egg in the postcredits involves a small group of Ravagers gathered, one of them holding two thumbs up with a mystical lattice around it, which could indicate he’s a practitioner of the mystic arts from Doctor Strange. Could that Ravager have been trained by Agamotto? A recent revelation by Kevin Feige is that Stan Lee is one of the Watchers.

Overall the film exceeded expectations and is even better than the first movie. All the comedy and action meshed together to make a wonderful film, and obviously, the Stan Lee cameos. With a great and talented cast, this movie will have staying power in the theaters and will set the benchmark for the Summer, if not for the year. Looking forward to their appearance in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Untitled Avengers Film (2019). Did I mention Stan Lee?

Score: 10/10

–Collin Beishir



In Defense of the Freebie

My novel The Unicorn’s Daughter is currently free (in ebook format) at Amazon–and not doing too shabbily!

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,741 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

      #4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Espionage

      #323 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Contemporary

I know many authors, self-published and indie-published, who are opposed to free ebook promotions. “I’m not giving books away,” they say. “Why should I just give away my hard work? This isn’t a hobby!”

Why? I can think of a few excellent reasons. The main reason would be to increase readership. Most of the authors objecting to free book promotions are new authors, usually self-published, with no name recognition, no reader following. Most readers are understandably cautious buyers these days. Now that anyone can publish a book, there’s a lot of books out there that, sadly, aren’t so good.

The best thing about self-publishing is also the worst thing about self-publishing: anyone can do it. So how are readers supposed to find the good books in a sea of unfamiliar authors? They’ll be more willing to take a chance if they have nothing to lose.

Even conventional publishers have done free book promotions. Back when I was at the beginning of my career, my publisher often launched new authors with free book promotions. In the late 1980s, there were no ebooks, so publishers gave away a number of freebies–usually 1500 paperback copies. They would take out an ad in a national magazine which included a short form to be completed and mailed to the publisher. The first 1500 received would get a book by mail.

Sometimes, they would offer a money-back coupon. If anyone bought a book and didn’t like it, the publisher would refund the price of the book. That worked, too.

Berkley did a free book promo for my second novel, Angels at Midnight. I was happy to have them do it. I’m still happy to have my current publisher do free ebook promotions. I hate doing my own marketing, so anything Creativia chooses to do is fine with me. If giving away a few hundred books boosts sales for books that have been around for 10-20 years, why not?


I Wouldn’t Buy This Book….

I don’t follow too many blogs these days, and I confess, I’m usually behind in reading and commenting on those I do follow. There are a few blogs for writers I do think are the best: Joe Konrath, Nathan Bransford, Kristen Lamb and the Self-Published Authors Lounge. All are full of good advice. I get new posts via email so I don’t miss any.

I’ve made no secret of my disdain for the deluge of Buy My Book ads all over social media. The constant stream of posts haven’t made me want to buy books. It’s had the opposite effect–it’s made me not want to buy them. Kristen Lamb recently addressed this problem on her blog, and her take on it is hilarious! If you dare, check it out: Book Spam is for Losers!