My Books

Mothers on The Hero’s Journey

Hero's Journey Illustration

A Common YA Fantasy Novel Plots: A bunch of kids lead perfectly ordinary lives. One day they learn that the universe is full of magic (or strange science) and if they don’t put down their homework right now (like right now!), everyone they know and love will suffer horribly (or the universe will come to an end, whichever happens first). Hard as they argue, their parents just won’t let them go out after bedtime to save the universe. So after endless texts back and forth, the friends decide to just finish their homework and go to bed. It’s a school night, after all. But in the middle of the night, they wake up and realize that it is up to them to save the world. They sneak out of their house, leave their parents and homework behind, and go out into the night. While wandering at strange times and in unfamiliar places, the friends meet a stranger that tells them he knows the way. The friends, sleep-deprived as they are, believe him and follow him to destinations unknown. The stranger makes the friends do more and more dangerous and crazy stuff. And these young adults do it just because the…

Women, Sex, and Plotlines

Epic header

I had this idea for writing a post about mothers and their children, but then I’ve decided that I’m too close to that subject at the moment and moved on to writing about sex. Sex sells, right? So here it goes: women, sex, and plotlines. Per statistica.com, 84% of romance readers are women. Obviously, that’s not a big surprise. I remember listening to a woman who was rhapsodizing about ebooks because she no longer needed to make covers to hide the fact she was reading romances on her subway rides to work. Ebooks hide lots of unique reading preferences behind their bland consumer electronics facades. And what people say they read and what they actually buy is quite revealing. The most popular answer to what genre you like to read is mystery/crime/thriller. And yet romance/erotica is by far the most profitable category at $1.44 billion, while crime/mystery came a distant second at $728.2 million. You’d be shocked, shocked to learn that people lie about what they love to read (or do). And while we are focusing a bit on statistics, here’s an interesting tidbit: engineers did research on what kinds of search relating to sex do women do as opposed…

Stories, Books, and How and Where We Get Them

The Shifting Sands Sands of Mars Cover for Kindle Novella

The world has accepted independent filmmakers. These auteurs — def: “auteur is a filmmaker whose personal influence and artistic control over a movie are so great that the filmmaker is regarded as the author of the movie” — are strongly preferred over the “boring” regular movie directors and producers. Auteurs are special. They create true films. They are the “real” storytellers of our modern age. Moviegoers (their audience) either strongly in favor of seeing movies made by independent filmmakers (they certainly allow for more interesting dinner conversations) or they love to hate them. Hate or adoration makes for more intense discussions with friends and family. So if there is such acceptance of indie movie-makers and indie films, why is there a strange sense of negative judgment when it comes to indie writers and indie-published books? I ran into this all the time. Bookstores are uninterested in carrying books by self-published authors, libraries bulk at stocking these books, and the general reaction is that if it is self-made it must be of poor quality. Funny how the label “self-made” can be both a negative AND a positive: “He is a self-made man.” or “He wears self-made clothing.” or “He makes his…

New Book: Mirror Shards

Mirror Shards Cover

I found the pandemic not very conducing to marketing or facing the world in more public ways. I did write a lot and have several books in various stages of readiness. But there was one story I wanted to enter into a competition (the books I’ve entered last year, God of Small Affairs, placed as a semi-finalist). So after sitting on Mirror Shards for almost a year, I’m finally releasing this book into the world. Here’s a description and if you click on the title above, you will get to the first few chapters hoasted on my site. Trapped Between Infinite Possible Realities Hig is a disabled kid with a loving mom, a baby sister, a distant father, and a doting uncle, Charlie. On a trip to a county fair, the family encounters a mysterious “Mirror of Wishes” booth that leads to radical, unexplained life changes, including Hig’s uncle’s abrupt disappearance and his mother’s untimely death. One of the changes is Hig’s miraculous cure—his congenital spina bifida is gone and he no longer needs a wheelchair. As Hig grows up, he continuously frets about what really happened but is too scared to actually look for answers to the mystery. Years…

Post Election Syndrome

Lord Nox and Erret

What Now? Someone joked: “What will Rachael Maddow talk about now that Biden won?” It’s both funny and not, and I don’t even know if that was a commentary from the Blue or the Red side of the political spectrum. As divided as we are as a country, the amount of trauma we have all suffered through in these last few years won’t simply be erased. We are all suffering from politics induced PTSD. Despite the advice from fearful writers, I express my strongly-held political opinions freely — art is always political. To deny that is to create sugar-coated nothings. If some of my readers get turned off by my observations, so be it. My books are about politics because they are about ideas, science, history, psychology, and human interactions. As primates, we view everything through the lens of politics. So I don’t shy away from revealing that I wanted a blue tsunami to sweep this country clean. Didn’t happen exactly how I wanted it, but I’m hopeful we can somehow steer ourselves back to “normal.” Ultimately, most people just want to go back to living their lives in peace. One of the problems I had with the Bush-era was…

We are all immigrants in the land of COVID

A masked American family in 1918

I think human souls are tied to the land that bore them, shaped by it, created to fit the terrain, the weather, the language, the culture of the motherland. When transplanted into a new land, forced or otherwise, souls need to conform. They get broken somehow, edges filed away, bones cracked, empty spaces are hidden or forgotten. That’s why it is easier for kids to abandon their old homelands and immigrate to a new homeland — their souls are still flexible. Adults never truly adapt, they are forever broken, torn away from their motherland. And people who leave their birthplaces when they are somewhere in the middle — not quite adults not really children — become strange misfits. On the outside, they look like they belong, but scratch below the surface and there are surprising gaps and unexpected breaks in their psyche. America is the land of broken souls. “First-generation” or “foreign-born” comprise as much as 13% of all Americans (per 2013 census), more than one in ten! In many ways, immigrants are the most vulnerable population — these are the people who will never quite fit into the fabric of their new homes, they will forever remain tied to…

On the Magician Spectrum

Magic Made Here

There are two extremes on this spectrum: people who are externally motivated and those who only need what’s already inside them to get moving on a project. No one is always internally motivated and no person always needs an outside push to get started, but one thing for sure during this quarantine — those who are mostly internally driven do better. It is the same problem that people who are self-employed or who work from home face — not everyone is suited to that life. And for those who are now forced into it, depression looms. For those who can’t spin gold out of thin air or conjure dreamscapes or invent a new life and a new way of living, life becomes so dull that hours drag and days lay heavy while months and years slip away. Those who are able to make new things — artists and writers, housebuilders and gardeners, twiddlers and toymakers, composers and musicians, leather crafters and basket weavers, computer engineers and software designers, potters and jewelers, mathematicians and scientists, filmmakers and universe builders, gymnasts and mountain climbers…makers of all kinds — are never bored. There is never enough time to do all that’s inside our…