Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year – FREE Books Here

My last blog post of the year will be very short…and (hopefully) very sweet.

As my way of thanking you for your support, encouragement and friendship over the past year (and beyond as it applies!) I am offering not one…but TWO free kindle downloads until Midnight Sunday!

Did I mention they are both FREE??








Download my first novel Living the Dream

Living the Dream

And the sequel No Good Deed

No Good Deed

Both for FREE!!

Download them, enjoy them, tell your friends to download them, share this post with the world…the more the merrier!!

That’s it…you may now resume normal behavior (whatever that may be).

Have a happy and safe new year!!


As always – thank you for reading


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It’s a Mystery to Me – or – Dying for the Same Old Thing

50s tv adEven though television appeared on the scene in the 50s,  it didn’t become a household word until the mid-60s. By 1970 it was a major factor in the daily lives of Americans, and once cable TV became the norm in the mid-80s, the average American household was no longer content with just one boob-tube…most had at least two (I personally know a couple who have a television in every room of their home…including both bathrooms).

Before I get to my point I’d like to lay a few statistics on you courtesy of the A.C. Nielsen Company…

  • The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV per day
  • 66% of American homes have 3 or more TVs
  • By the time a child reaches 18 years of age they will have witnessed 40,000 murders on TV
  • 53.8% of TV programing is devoted to crime, disaster and war
  • 59% of Americans can name The 3 Stooges, but only 17% can name at least 3 Supreme Court Justices

So, I think we can agree that TV is a dominant force in America – not that you needed me to tell you that.

3 Stooges

Believe it or not, to a writer, television can be very educational. There is a lot of good writing on the tube…and lots of bad (really bad) writing as well.

If you analyze programs or movies from a writing perspective you’ll quickly see how formulaic almost all of them are. For example…next time you’re watching a sitcom with a laugh-track pay attention to when the audience laughs. It’s usually after every third spoken line.

Anyway…let me get to my point.

A few months ago somebody suggested that I watch a new program called Forever.


My strategy with such recommendations is to set my DVR to record the show and then watch the first episode when I have nothing better to do (in case it’s a dud).

This past weekend I finally got around to watching the pilot episode and I enjoyed it.

It’s a detective show with a twist – the medical examiner assisting the lead detective is immortal. That’s right…immortal, as in he can never die.

It’s a pretty unusual take on the detective-solving-a-murder show – and that’s what I’d like to talk about today.

I’ve been watching TV since the mid-60s.

I don’t consider myself a TV-a-holic, but I do admit to having a strong attachment to the idiot-box, which means I’ve seen more than my share of programs.

So, as I watched another episode of Forever last night I realized that the murder-mystery is probably the most common genre on TV.

Hollywood’s scribes have thrown countless variations-on-the-theme at us, but in the end it still comes down to a who-dun-it.

It used to be that murders were solved by cops, a la Friday & Gannon, Starsky & Hutch or Cagney & Lacey.

Hawaii Five-0It wasn’t long before somebody realized the tired old plot line needed some freshness…something different. That must have been when the crime scenes were moved to exotic locations with shows like Hawaii Five-O, The Glades and Miami Vice.

The next trick was to start varying the personalities of the cops. They gave us detectives with attitude (Kojak), detectives with laundry issues (Columbo) even ex-detectives with O.C.D. (Monk)..

The husband and wife team was popular for a while…McMillan & Wife, Heart to Heart.

We even had cops posing as teenagers in high school on (the original) 21 Jump Street, for all you Johnny Depp fans. Monk

Once they discovered the Private Investigator it was like a whole new world opened up.

Spenser for Hire, Remington Steele and Moonlighting all offered their own eccentricities, setting them apart from the run-of-the-mill.

We’ve seen people from all walks of life investigating homicides.

  • Priests
  • Insurance Agents
  • Actors
  • Fake Psychics and Ex-Models
  • Reformed Criminals
  • Former Cops, Soldiers and Spies
  • Doctors, Medical Examiners and Crime Scene Techs

and my favorite, of course

  • Writers

Do you suppose Hollywood wants us to think that cops are incapable of solving crime on their own?

The real question I have is: Are we, the TV watching public, so obsessed with the murder-mystery that we’ll watch it in any incarnation?

The television gods have thrown so many cop shows at us we all know our Miranda Rights by heart and many of us know how to avoid leaving evidence at a crime scene.

I’m not complaining, I’m just curious about our fascination with this particular type of programming.

It’s a chicken/egg thing.

Do we watch them because they make them—or—do they make them because we watch them?

It also brings to mind the age-old question; does life imitate art or vice-versa?

Oscar Wilde

I guess you could say…it’s a mystery.

As always – thank you for reading


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2014 in review

It’s pretty cool to look back at my blog over the past year from a statistical point of view. Lot’s of cool info here – I think the fact that I had readers from 100 different countries is (as we say in Rhode Island) wicked awesome!

As always – thank you for reading

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Best Bloggers Blogging … according to me!

More good stuff from Susan Toy – a list of blogs worth following. (I would have shared it even if mine hadn’t made the list!…honest)

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

I’ve already given you a wrap-up of the best books I read in 2014. As well as being a reader and an author, I’m also a blogger who promotes other authors and doles out advice and information on all manner interesting areas, to me and my readers. Throughout this past year I have become “acquainted” with other like-minded bloggers (some of whom are also authors), have followed and read their blogs, commented on them, and reblogged their posts a number of times. Some of these bloggers came to my attention in the first place, because they offered to read and review my books or gave me promotion by way of an interview or guest post on their blogs. In turn, I met a number of other bloggers through that first set – people who commented on those posts about me or who won a copy of my book through…

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5 Easy Steps to Successfully Writing, Publishing and Promoting Your Book!

Every person who writes a book dreams of fame, fortune and all the trimmings. Any person who says they don’t is not being 100% honest about it. Sure, we all write because we love it, but don’t tell me you never sat back and thought about how nice it would be to be JK Rowling, John Grisham or Stephen King.
It’s perfectly natural.
Anyway…my friend Susan Toy has spent the better part of her life in the book/publishing industry and she has written a blog post offering some tips for authors to be more successful.
As for making you rich, these tips are only guaranteed to show you the way…you still have to put in the effort.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

OR … How I Nearly Became an Overnight Success After My Forty Year-Apprenticeship in the Book Business!

If you read my bio you’ll realize I have worked with books and authors in one way or another for most of my life. I have experience as a bookseller, a publishers’ sales rep, a promoter (a self-styled Author Impresario!), a speaker, a student of writing, editing and publishing, a published author, and a publisher of my own and other authors’ work. I’ve been writing this blog on-and-off for almost ten years, and have discussed the book business here, made friends with like-minded authors and readers, networked and reached many other people in the business, made many friends and connected with even more colleagues, have shared a great deal of information I discovered over the years on the topics of Publishing, Reading, and Writing (hence the name of this blog …), followed and…

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Twitter Etiquette For Authors

In case you missed my blog entry on this topic ( ) check out this one. It’s amazing how this phenomenon keeps happening. It makes one wonder if the offenders are having positive results or if they simply don’t get it.

Leona's Blog of Shadows

In the light of Tricia Drammeh’s excellent post titled Facebook Etiquette For Authors I decided to write one on Twitter etiquette.

I have heard countless complaints from many book bloggers and other authors about Twitter accounts set up like annoying spam bots. Here is a list of things which should help those new to Twitter:

1. Don’t set up automatic DM’s and replies. No matter what the internet marketers are telling you, setting up automatic DM’s and replies is a very bad idea. For the love of God, don’t do it. You are not the only person on Twitter and you are definitely not the only person I am following. Each time your spammy script sends a DM saying ‘Click my Facebook page! Here is my book!’ a little puppy dies. I am following over 1000 people and have over 1000 followers, I really don’t have the time to click…

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2014 Review – It Was a Very Good Year

Once again we are watching yet another year fade away in the rearview mirror.

Sometimes I think there is some sort of universal phenomenon that causes the years to go by faster as we get older. Sort of like a roller coaster…the long slow climb up that first hill is followed by a neck-breakingly fast plummet which really makes you appreciate the scenery you ignored on the way up.

Anyway…I digress.

2014 is in the books and it’s time for the annual recap.

From the perspective of my writing career, I have to say that 2014 was, by far, my best year (to date).

Let’s run down the highlights (in no particular order):


5-Digit Territiory

I joined Twitter in October, 2009 – shortly after my first novel was released – because I had heard it was a good way to network and market.

At the time I looked at networking and marketing the way a St. Bernard looks at catnip.

When I met Armand Rosamilia a year later I think I had about 80 twitter followers. Armand showed me how to use twitter and, most importantly, how to avoid being intimidated by its rapid fire, life-at-a-million-miles-an-hour pace.

Within a month I was up to 600 followers.

Here we are, just four years later and I have crossed the 10,000 follower mark – something I never thought possible.

twitter 10k

I thank you all for your support! I am truly appreciative for every single twitter follower as well as facebook fan and everybody else connected to me through social media.


An Audiophile’s Dream

When 2013 ended I was doing two radio shows on Surf 97.3.

Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers (Friday night from 7-8 pm) was in its infancy and I was also partnering with Armand on Friday Night Writes (Friday nights from 8-10 pm).

In the early months of 2014 Armand’s schedule took him away from the show, leaving a two hour void in Friday night’s programming. B Sides cover

This void gave birth to The Tim Baker Friday Night Music Extravaganza.

At the suggestion of station manager DJ Vern I took over the 8-10 block, flying solo and replacing the writing-related talk with good ole’ fashioned rock and roll.

The show airs on Friday’s from 7-10 pm EST on Surf 97.3 FM and It has been fun for me since day one and has developed a loyal, if not somewhat rabid, following!

Every Friday night I spend “the best three hours of my week” entertaining people with music, but even if nobody was listening I would still love doing it (although DJ Vern might not be too thrilled)!!


Oh! The Horror!!

Those who read my work know that my genre (the one that defies classification) will never be confused with horror, yet 2014 saw me contributing stories to two horror anthologies.

The first story was called Dying Days – Angel and appeared in the anthology Still Dying 2… an anthology of stories released by Armand Rosamilia based on his Dying Days zombie series.

I also submitted a story called Road Wearier to a collection of short stories called State of Horror – New Jersey. SoH New Jersey

I surprised many of my readers with these stories, and to tell the truth, I surprised myself a little too!


Singin’ the Blues

In the fall of 2014 I released my 7th novel – Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino, a young man with less sense than luck, and a knack for landing in bad situations.

Convinced that his life is beyond salvage, Martin decides the witness protection program will provide him with a fresh start.

Sort of like hitting the reset button.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Unfortunately he hasn’t witnessed anything and things go downhill from there!

Practically from the day it was released Eyewitness Blues has been receiving great feedback.

Several readers have told me that, of all my books, it is their favorite. The reviews on Amazon are extremely flattering.


The Off-White Knight Rides

It seems that Ike took on a life of his own in 2014.

The final project of 2014 was a collection of short stories featuring my enigmatic anti-hero.

The book is called Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike.

The title came from a quote (by Ike) in one of the stories where he tells his compadre, Brewski “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

Florida author Susan Nicholls  penned a very nice foreword for the book and internationally acclaimed author Seumas Gallacher wrote an amazing review.

Six other writers contributed their own stories about Ike to the book. I don’t know how other writers feel about fan fiction, but I take it as a huge compliment. The fact that my character made enough of an impression on other people to inspire them to write their own stories is incredibly flattering and (at the risk of sounding cliché) why I write!

10807997_4705964944190_673894021_nSales of the “Ike has my back” tee shirts were better than expected too!

The Ike Anthology has been so well-received that work has already begun on the 2015 edition. I plan to write at least twelve stories for it and there will be additions from 11 other others.

Stay tuned for a blog post in the very near future formally announcing the other participants.


Speaking of 2015

I am hardly a prognosticator, but I’ll do my best to let you know what’s on tap for 2015…

The aforementioned collection of Ike short stories is planned to be released in early December and is tentatively being called Muzzle Velocity.

Many of you have heard the story of my ill-fated, 1988 attempt to write a novel called Full Circle. Well the time has come to drag Full Circle out of the closet and give it the attention it deserves.

From the day I began scribbling it down in a spiral-bound notebook all those years ago I have always felt it was a book that needed to be written – and now its time has come.

I have spent the past few weeks gathering & reviewing the 15 or so chapters I had written back in the day. I’ve also been going over the many thoughts & notes jotted down on everything from post-it notes to cocktail napkins (and never thrown away!) as well as compiling some new ones. As soon as the holiday madness dies down I will be diving into Full Circle. If all goes well it should be available in the fall of 2015.

I also have an idea for anBTJ coverother Steve Salem (he of Backseat to Justice) novel and I am going to try to crank that out as well.

Hopefully, a year from now I’ll be writing a recap about all three of those projects!


Thank you to all of you for sharing 2014 with me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

I hope each, and every one, of you are blessed with peace, love and prosperity in 2015!


As always – thank you for reading



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2014 – The best books I read this year!

Susan M. Toy discusses the best of her 2014 reading list…the fact that I am mentioned among so many great authors is about the best Christmas gift I could ask for!

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

I don’t normally do this – recap what I’ve read during the year and choose which have been the best books, but I was tired of scanning the Best of 2014 lists that media and book sites produce, seldom seeing anything at all I’ve read. So I decided to come up with my own list.

If an author has been featured on my blog, Reading Recommendations, I have linked to their promotion. And the benefit of writing this promotion blog is I have discovered and met so many great authors this past year! As well, I’ve heard from a friend, a reader, who has been following my recommendations – and reading many of them! Here’s what Violet has to say: I love to read. I read for pleasure but if I learn something, it’s a bonus. With thousands of books to choose from, it can be a challenge finding…

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HOW to get promotion for yourself and your book …

I’ve been singing this song for quite a while now…it’s nice to hear it from somebody else. Reading this won’t guarantee an author of success – but ignoring these tips will certainly guarantee a lack of success.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Two days ago I wrote a blog post that proved to be the most popular, in terms of reach and reaction, of any I’ve ever written! Thanks to everyone who read, liked, shared, reblogged, followed my blog, and commented on it. I guess I hit a nerve with the topic of authors behaving badly and how to avoid becoming one. It seems this kind of behaviour is definitely prevalent and a problem on social media, because so many of you agreed with me and my guests who also offered quotes on experiences they’d had dealing with these self-centred authors.

I took a negative tact on that last post, because it’s a fun angle to come from with this kind of list, and I’ve had success with that approach in the past. It also allows me to write in a humorous and sarcastic voice – which I hope was the voice…

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Stop Treating Other Writers as Your Competition

A while ago I wrote a blog post about authors treating other authors like competition ( ). It’s nice to see that I am not the only author who feels that way.

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