You are reading this post on an electronic device because of science – not because of your opinion.
The microwave popcorn you eat while watching your TV are both made possible by science – not by your opinion. Even the alcoholic beverage you use to wash down said popcorn is a product of science – not your opinion.
When you board an airplane – the plane does not care whether you believe in physics or not – it will fly because of science.
The gun you have the right to own is the result of – you guessed it – science.
If you were to jump off the Empire State Building because you thought you could fly…science (ie the law of gravity) would quickly bring you to the realization that you couldn’t. Chances are you won’t like that finding – but that won’t make it any less true.
If there are aliens somewhere in the universe, and they do a fly-by of Earth – they are using science too.
Science has impacted your life in every way imaginable. From the bed you sleep on to the food you eat, the car you drive, the clothes you wear and the music you listen to, they have all been made possible, or at least made better, by science – whether you believe it or not.
In fact, whether you believe it or not is irrelevant…science is what it is (period)
Especially when it comes to medical advancement.
Since the beginning of the 20th century the average life expectancy of humans has more than doubled because of one thing and one thing only…science.
Science has eradicated polio, smallpox, the plague and a host of other things that used to be death sentences.
And sometimes science is wrong, but when it is – it invariably leads to more knowledge and better science. Unlike most humans, science learns from its mistakes.
You may have your opinion about science – but guess what…science doesn’t give a lab rat’s ass.
For those who don’t know the story – I began writing my first novel, Living the Dream, on a whim in 2007 the day after I had a strange dream. When the first draft was finished, I let a few people read it and the consensus was – with a little polish it would be worth publishing.
So, I commenced to polishing.
I couldn’t afford to pay an editor so I just kept going through it and going through it, modifying, tweaking and adjusting.
Eventually I finished – either because I got to a point where I thought it was done, or because the thought of reading it one more time was just too much!
The question then became – what do I do with it? I had never thought that far ahead.
I started doing research on how manuscripts become the books you see on the shelves in Barnes and Noble. What I learned was that in order to get a major publisher to release your book you basically had to, first, beg an agent to take you on as a client. Once you had an agent, the agent then tried to get your work to the big publishing companies. I don’t recall the exact numbers, but the number of new clients taken on by agents was far from encouraging, and the odds of said agent getting your book in front of a representative from any of “The Big Six” – as the traditional publishing companies were known at the time – were somewhere south of the proverbial snowflake in Hell.
At the time, independent publishing was a fairly new market, but since I wasn’t willing to play a game with such long odds of success, I decided to give it a shot.
I bought a book called “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing” by Mark Levine.
It was a treasure trove of information which took nearly all of the guess work out of the process.
Mr. Levine even rated the top self-publishing companies based on a number of criteria.
Using this guide, I chose a company called Dog Ear Publishing to turn my dream into a reality.
Shortly afterward, I was holding my first novel in my hands.
I won’t lie – it was nearly as exciting as the first time I held my son.
By the time my second novel, Water Hazard, was ready for release I had secured an editor, who, as luck would have it, was just starting her own self-publishing company.
We worked together for a few books until I reached a point where I knew enough about how things were done to go solo.
I formed my own company, Blindogg Books, and purchased a block of ISBNs.
Since then – I have been my own publisher.
Living the Dream was still in the hands of Dog Ear, however. So, whenever I needed copies, I had to buy them from Dog Ear, at their price which was much higher than the price Amazon was charging me for the rest of my catalog.
Out of mostly sentimental reasons – Dog Ear held my hand throughout the process of making the manuscript begun on a whim into a reality – I decided to leave Living the Dream with them.
In early 2020 I had three people ask me for copies of Living the Dream.
Unfortunately, I only had two left.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just call Dog Ear and order some more.
After several unanswered calls to Dog Ear I decided to call the president himself – Mr. Ray Robinson. They were that kind of company where the president gave out his personal cell phone number.
I left several voice mails for Ray – never receiving a return call.
I sent a few emails to people I had dealt with, but never got a reply.
At the time, COVID-19 was just rearing its ugly head and much the country was on lockdown. I attributed the lack of response to that, and ordered a few copies of the book on Amazon, paying the full cover price.
A few months later I was contacted on LinkedIn by a woman who was also a Dog Ear author.
Long story short (I know – too late!) Dog Ear was apparently out of business, Ray Robinson was in the wind, and authors were unable to get copies of their work or even get the files of their work in order to have books printed elsewhere. Worst of all, Dog Ear had also stopped paying authors the royalties they had earned.
A Google search of Dog Ear shows article after article detailing Dog Ear’s demise along with hundreds of stories similar, if not nearly identical, to mine.
I wish this story had a happy ending…
Unfortunately for me and every author who chose Dog Ear as their publisher the outlook is bleak.
The ones I feel for the most are those whose entire catalog is with Dog Ear. Whether one book or ten – not being able to get copies of your work, or the royalties to which you are entitled, just plain sucks!
Bottom line, the status of my first novel is in limbo.
Ordering through Amazon will get you a copy because the printing company still has the files – which they cannot surrender because their contract is with Dog Ear – not the authors.
In the meantime – I can no longer get copies in bulk.
With the recent release of my latest novel, Fool’s Gold Rush, I will probably be doing book signings. Inevitably somebody will ask me for a copy of Living the Dream…
At which time I’ll have to tell them that, for me, Living the Dream has become a nightmare.
Two years ago, almost to the day, I began work on my twelfth novel (my 17th book overall).
Unlike all of my previous works, this one took an exceptionally long time.
What’s different about it, you ask?
Like most of my other novels it takes place in Flagler Beach, Florida where our hero Ike is tasked with saving the day from the latest collection of ne’er-do-wells. I didn’t have any unusual trouble with the plot or the characters or the ending (although that did change a few times).
The plain and simple truth is, I just got busy.
It seemed like I always had something else to do…and when I didn’t have something else demanding my time, (okay – demanding is a strong word…more like suggesting alternative uses for) I wasn’t all that jazzed about sitting down at the computer.
So – here we are – two years for one novel.
It had better be worth it.
Personally, I think it is.
In my opinion it’s a fast, fun read with a bit of a comically-bizarre story line – but, like I said, that’s my opinion.
The real test will be what you think about it.
So, what’s the name of this book?
The working title had been “Rising Tide” – which never really thrilled me. After much deliberation, I have settled on the title Fool’s Gold Rush.
And without further ado – I’d like to show you the cover…
At the time I, like many of you I’m sure, thought this virus thing would be over in a couple of months and life would get back to normal.
So much for that – right?
Here it is, September, and any hope for a return to “normal” is wishful thinking to say the least.
So – what have you been up to? (Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below)
As for me – I tried to put the time to good use.
Aside from doing a little SCUBA diving (there are no viruses under water) I also managed to finish my latest novel.
It has been read and critiqued by my beta readers, edited (twice) and is being formatted for release as we speak. The only task remaining is the cover.
The working title of the book had been “Rising Tide” – but I was never thrilled with it. After lots of thought I have renamed it Fool’s Gold Rush.
In this story Ike, Brewski and friends are dealing with three knuckleheads who come up with the brilliant idea of stealing two-million dollars’ worth of gold during a Cat 4 hurricane.
Coincidence that its release will coincide with hurricane season? You decide.
As usual it’s a pretty fast-paced adventure with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor.
What else would you expect from me?
So – in celebration of the fact that the release of my twelfth novel (A Baker’s Dozen I guess you could call it) is imminent I am going to give away some more books – very much like I did back at the beginning of the COVID situation.
Starting off this round of giveaways will be my last novel – Doomed to Repeat – free from Sept2 thru Sept 6 (kindle version only. Sorry)
Who knows…maybe things will be back to normal before I go through the entire lineup this time!
I never gave much thought about becoming a professional musician. I always loved music and admired my older brother Skip and his bands, and playing at beach parties and with the Kingsmen was totally cool. Once I found out I was 4F and ineligible for military service though I did not know what would come next!
In December 1964, Peter Davey and I had just come home from spending 4 months riding around Europe on motorcycles. We had a blast of a time, met some great new friends and went places most tourists never go! Starting in January 1965 I was enrolled in the Spring semester at the new Southampton College in the hills overlooking Shinnecock Bay on the south fork of Long Island. In our trip around Europe, Peter and I came across an incredible adventure where we got to see up close and personal…
I help people grow food
MY PASSION is incorporating edible crops into the landscape to create beautiful, edible landscapes with a long and varied harvest. I was recognized by Garden Making Magazine as one of the “green gang” of Canadians making a difference in horticulture.
My yard includes a driveway straw-bale garden, rooftop kitchen garden, wicking beds, an edible-themed front yard, and fruit plantings.
My gig is communications. I work as a horticulturist, college instructor, broadcaster, speaker, and author. The common thread is that I share ideas about how to creatively use edible plants in the landscape. And I make it fun.
I have worked in horticulture and agriculture for more than 25 years.
After getting a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, I worked in greenhouse and nursery production, plant propagation, biological controls, horticultural supplies, and farm marketing.
This is the fifth part of a series in which Authors I’ve promoted in the Authors-Readers International series tell Readers what they’ve been doing during these past few months of self-isolating … See the introduction to Part 1 for a further explanation. Here are links to Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. (All links on the authors’ names will take you to their A-RI promotion.)
Thanks again for the promotion. Appreciate all you do.
During the pandemic and being at home so much, I’ve been writing a lot (of course) and I’ve completed three manuscripts. The one I’m most excited about is at the editor now. It’s titled The Alexanders – Dominic. 1911 – 1920. It’s an historical fiction beginning in 1911 when young Dominic Alexander, due to misfortune in his family, must go live with his bachelor uncle. Separated from his family, he…
Michael Fay studied creative writing with W. O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, and Richard Ford through grants from Alberta Culture.
Twice-elected president of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada, he was also the founder of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society in Calgary.
He has written five plays, including the award-winning Never Such Innocence Again. Michael lives in Minden, Ontario, with his wife, Dr. Fay Martin.
I first met Michael Fay online when he commented on a mutual friend’s Facebook post that he lived in Minden, Ontario. That’s the town near the lake where my family owned a cottage! So I wrote to Michael to mention this connection, and we quickly discovered we had also both lived in Calgary, Alberta, and The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto, which was where I was born and grew up! We also began discussing the new format of eBooks and the possibility…
This is the third part of a series in which Authors I’ve promoted in the Authors-Readers International series tell Readers what they’ve been doing during these past few months of self-isolating … See the introduction to Part 1 for a further explanation. Here is the link to Part 2. (All links on the authors’ names will take you to their A-RI promotion.)
From an email sent in April: What a change since you were here in Calgary. The city has now virtually ground to a halt, the university is closed (even the library), and everyone is holding their breath about when the COVID-19 cases will go through the roof. So I am teaching on line, and trying to develop my skill with ZOOM. The students are distressed, but the university is doing all we can to get them through their year. But these last months…
Like most of you, I’ve been in Corona Lockdown for almost a month now.
And like you I’m sure, it’s been a unique experience to say the least. I’m sure we’ve all done many of the same things to keep ourselves occupied and forget about the fact that we can’t go out to dinner with friends or go to the beach or even go to the grocery store. I mean – we can go to the grocery store, but it’s a little like stepping into the Twilight Zone…am I right?
Believe it or not – there is one thing about the quarantine I am really grateful for…
Almost twenty months after I started writing the first draft of my latest novel, I have finally finished it!
Ordinarily it’s about a year from the day I start writing to the day the book is released – but this one fell victim to several “life distractions.”
The specifics of the delays are irrelevant – and I take full responsibility for being a slacker.
What’s important is that the new book is in the hands of my beta readers and they have been tasked with tearing it apart! If all goes to plan it will be in the hands of my editor this time next month, and then in the hands of you – the readers – the following month.
The book is tentatively titled Rising Tide.
As usual it takes place in Flagler Beach and of course Ike and Brewski are back, along with Ralph Donabedian and the staff at The Golden Lion (speaking of places I miss going to)!
The story takes place in a four or five day stretch while a major hurricane is bearing down on our little beachside community. In fact, the bad guys are using the hurricane as part of their plan to commit a serious, if not well-thought-out, heist.
That’s about all I’ll tell you, I guess you’ll have to wait for the book!