R.O.I., Anyone?

It’s a business fact that if you have a product that is known to sell, you can find salespeople willing to sell it on commission. A new book by an unknown author has no such track record. Book marketers are not willing to work on commission when they have no reason to believe that their efforts will result in enough sales to be worth their time. That is why they want to be paid up front. Regardless of results.

Traditional publishers know this. They sell books first and then pay the author royalties based on book sales. Any advances given by the publisher are paid back by the author from royalties earned by the author. Publishers keep their eye on their R.O.I. -return on investment.

The Internet sparkles with schemes -er, sorry- ways for an author to sell their books. None of them, to my knowledge, work on commission. None of them work at all. Am I wrong? Has any author paid for book marketing and received a return on their investment? I’d love to know, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.


Yuletide 2020

Various Northern Europeans, Germanic peoples, Neopagans, LaVeyan Satanists, and American Shoppers have long celebrated the last week of the year in honor of the Wild Hunt, the god Odin or his modern variant, and, the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.

The latter included sacrifices, a fitting practice for 2020. We’ve sacrificed family gatherings, nights out at our favorite restaurant -which itself may have been sacrificed- attending churches and synagogues, the cinema and major sports events, and shopping malls. And travel. Many have sacrificed their job or their business; some, their homes. Not to mention the darker sacrifices of 1,700,000 lives this year. If the new vaccines do not control the new virus variant now in the United Kingdom, then we will have sacrificed our sense of scientific control over the natural world. And that puts us right where our ancestors were this time of the year.

Our ancestors celebrated life in a world they only hoped was rational. This year, regardless of our individual beliefs, we will do the same. My lady will spend a couple of days cooking a Christmas feast that we two will sit down together and enjoy. That is celebration enough, in 2020.

What are your plans for the Holidays?


What does your desktop graphic say about you?

The first thing I see when beginning to write is my computer screen. It’s “The Lone Wanderer,” exploring a world that makes no sense. That’s writing, isn’t it, an endeavor to make sense out of the world? As anthropologist Edmund Carpenter said, “That’s what people do: make sense.”

The fine line between creativity and fantasy is my writers world. Adding fiction to life compels us to see things differently and that too, is what people do. To escape, to reexamine, to better understand our world, are the reasons why writers have readers.

The iconic “Lone Wanderer” is a constant throughout history, a part of all times and cultures because the struggle to better understand our world is always with us. I like the obvious symbology, that a writer is a loner. And also the deeper hope that writing serves a human need.

What is on your desktop? Does it help you to write?


Holiday Season 2020

A lot to not be thankful for, unless I count the two root canals that my dentist cancelled because I told him of my lady’s sore throat, which turned out to be strep not Covid but still got us 14 days of fretful quarantine. And then, the two root canals.

Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful. Family members and friends who caught the Covid have recovered. And I’m delighted Americans won’t always have to choose their president from among the crooked, the angry or the senile because someday the country will be ran by people who were home schooled by unemployed, day-drinking parents and we could enjoy the same wide-ranging variety of temperament in our rulers as did Rome. I am also grateful that we are about to become vaccinated with an experimental genetically engineered vaccine that has been rushed to market. But mostly, I am thankful for video games in these desperate times.

So, I spend my time writing, working with the staff of Sci-Fi Lampoon magazine, editing anthologies, BETA reading my daughter’s fantasy romance novels, and playing Fallout ’76. Thankfully, life has not changed much.

Oh, and taking every opportunity to plug my latest story, Seduction by Trial, and an anthology I helped edit:


What about you? How are you spending this Holiday Season??