Every Story Needs a Bad Guy

Imagine if Dorothy, after landing in OZ, simply followed the Yellow Brick Road unimpeded to the Emerald City, found the wizard and was sent home without complications. It would have been a pretty boring story.

If The Empire wasn’t Hell-bent on getting Luke to come to the Dark Side, movie goers would have been subjected to countless hours of a kid bullseyeing womp rats in his T-16. Not exactly edge-of-your-seat stuff.

Or what if Sheriff Brody, Quint and Matt Hooper caught and killed the shark before it had a chance to go on a feeding frenzy? Sure, the beaches of Amity Island would have been stress free that summer, but would you have paid to watch a movie where the biggest fear was somebody running out of sun screen?

Of course not.

In any story worth its salt, there are always obstacles to be overcome. That’s what keeps us interested. That’s what keeps us tuned in or turning pages.

The story of Unfinished Business, and its journey to become a TV series, is no different.

Like most stories, when this one began in February of 2020 there wasn’t even a hint of trouble, but it didn’t take long for our antagonist to make his (or her if you prefer) appearance.

In March 2020 we got our first glimpse of our nemesis…its name was COVID and it became our Wicked Witch, our Darth Vader, our Great White shark. Pick your villain.

After a couple of very energetic and promising meetings – the plan, along with most of the world, was put on HOLD. Nobody knew when, or even if we would be able to get the ball rolling again.

In November 2020 we decided to get back in the fight.

Picking up where we left off and hitting the ground running, our team of four grew into a cast and crew of nearly 75 in about three months. We decided on a shooting date of June 2021, assuming the world would be normal enough by then. But – as we all know – assumption is the mother of all f#*k ups – and our assumption led us right into COVID’s trap.

Like a true diabolical villain, COVID allowed us to move forward with our plans for more than four months. Our optimism was encouraged by the ever-growing number of vaccines being dispensed, but, like a scantily clad teenaged girl in a horror movie, we walked into the dark basement without suspecting a thing.

That’s when COVID threw another wrench into our gears.

This new wrench was in the form of COVID procedures which must be followed on set as required by the Screen Actors Guild and the Director’s Guild of America. I won’t get into specifics, but suffice to say that our shoestring budget would be killed faster than Janet Leigh in the shower at the Bates Motel if we were to begin filming under these restrictions.

Up to this point, our fund-raising efforts had been valiant and promising, but this wasn’t just a setback. This was a knee-buckling Clubber Lang body-blow.

That’s the bad news.

Now for the good news.

This team makes Rocky look like the proverbial 98-pound weakling.

There is no denying we had the wind knocked out of us, but we refuse to throw in the towel.

The fact is – this setback will actually work in our favor – because we will follow the immortal words of Gunnery Sgt. Tom Highway who told his sad-sack marines in Heartbreak Ridge – we will “Improvise, we will adapt and we will overcome!”

In that spirit, our team has already come up with a new strategy:

Beginning in May we will begin work creating what is called a “proof of concept” video.

Our cast and crew will film selected portions of the show (totaling about 8 minutes of screen time) which will then be pieced together into a few different combinations varying from 90 seconds in length to 8 minutes. These shorts will serve a few different purposes.

First and foremost, they will be used to help secure investors for the production of the actual show. It’s easy to tell somebody what you’re making while asking them for money, but it’s much more effective to show them.

The footage will also help us evaluate and analyze our vision without going through the enormous expense of filming an entire episode. Lighting, sound, camera work…even the on-screen chemistry of the actors can be critiqued and adjusted, thus enabling us to deliver a finished product which will be that much better!

Last, but certainly not least, we will be able to offer you, our audience, a nice glimpse into what you can expect when Unfinished Business hits the airwaves (are airwaves still a thing? Maybe the modern phrase would be air-stream?). It’s the least we can do given the incredible support we’ve had.

And speaking of support…the making of this concept video is going to cost money, so once again we are asking you for help. We have created a Kickstarter fundraiser to cover the cost of the video without dipping into the limited funds we have set aside for the actual production.

There is no such thing as a “small donation” – literally every dollar helps us to rent equipment, pay for props, food, transportation and to compensate the crew members who have already donated so much of their time.

More importantly – if you can’t make a donation you can help so much by simply sharing this post or just the link to the Kickstarter.

The new Kickstarter can be found here…

We don’t see COVID as a death sentence for us…we see it as a cliff-hanger!

Don’t touch that dial – we have a bit of Unfinished Business of our own…

And here is every link you can possibly need to learn about Unfinished Business!

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Kickstarter

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It’s Dog Eat Dog Ear for Many Independent Authors

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.

More research.

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.

There is a facebook group dedicated to Dog Ear authors who are trying to resolve the issue, which I have joined, but so far efforts have been fruitless.

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.

As always – thank you for reading

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Fool’s Gold Rush Arrives Just in Time for Hurricane Season

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?

Nothing really.

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…

 

There you have it.

Fool’s Gold Rush – available NOW!!

Click here for the paperback

Click here for Kindle

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Fool’s Gold Rush is coming – Doomed to Repeat is FREE!!

Remember me?

It’s been a while, I know.

About five months to be specific.

The last blog post I wrote was entitled “How I Spent My Corona Isolation (so far)” and I posted it on April 18th.

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!

(Yeah – I don’t think so either)

 

As always – thank you for reading

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A-R International: Steve Boone

Member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and author Steve Boone…

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Steve Boone
Authors-Readers International

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…

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A-R International: Steven Biggs

Read about Canadian author Steven Biggs…

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Steven Biggs
Authors-Readers International

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.

• Children…

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A-R International … Self-Isolating Authors Edition: Part 5

More thoughts from authors dealing with quarantines and lockdowns…

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

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.)

Allan Hudson

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…

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A-R International: J. Michael Fay

Rest in Peace, sir.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

J. Michael Fay
Authors-Readers International

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…

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A-R International … Self-Isolating Authors Edition: Part 3

In case you’re wondering what I, and some other authors, have been doing during quarantine…

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

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.)

Aritha van Herk

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…

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How I Spent My Corona Isolation (so far)

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!

In the meantime – stay home and stay safe!

 

As always – thank you for reading

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