I completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It was only a matter of time…

Imaginary bonus points if you catch the Doctor Who reference.

I would write a check to the ALS Association, too, but…writer.

Instead, whatever I make off my books this weekend, I’ll donate that to the ALS Association. So order or download Earths in Space or RIP this weekend, Aug. 23 and 24, and your purchase will be extra-meaningful.

I now pass the challenge on to a few friends of mine — one author, one musician, and one actress: Dana Cornell, author of My Mother’s Ring; Samson Trinh, founder of Uke ‘n’ Roll, and actress/singer/entertainer Holland Gedney. Have fun, ladies and gentleman.

Should you self-publish?

It might be right for you. Or it might not. I’ve posted some considerations over at Smash Cut Culture.

Here’s the beginning:

The short answer is yes, you should start getting your work out there and building an audience. This applies not only to novelists, but musicians, filmmakers, theatre artists—all creative fields.

unnamedBut let’s focus on books. That’s what I’ve been doing lately.

Advances in technology mean we don’t have to follow the conventional wisdom of decades ago. Traditional publishers are still relevant, important, and deserving of respect, but they don’t have to be the sole gatekeepers of the literary world. Readers can do an excellent job of that, too.

If you’re a writer who yearns for a career in fiction, self-publishing should be your proving grounds. Show the world you’re capable of developing a professional-quality work, and demonstrate the thick skin of letting readers form their own opinions about it. Make connections with other authors, and conduct yourself as a professional.

But becoming a self-published author is not for everyone. Here are just a few considerations, and this list is by no means exhaustive:

Read the rest, please…

Hey, kids! It’s National Clown Week!

Several years ago, I was hanging out with some friends at the International House of Pancakes in Williamsburg, Virginia, and they asked what I had done at work recently.DCFC0077.JPG

I answered, “An Episcopalian church had a ‘Blessing of the Clowns’ service for National Clown Week, so I covered that.”

They couldn’t tell if I was being serious or sarcastic.

“Yes, National Clown Week is a real thing. Richard Nixon signed it into law in the ‘70s.”

That didn’t help.

It wasn’t sarcasm. There is indeed such a holiday as National Clown Week, and it’s observed the first week of each August. Continue reading

Upcoming appearances!

HBF 2014Yes, I shall appear. Twice!

First up, I’ll have a table at the 2014 Hanover Book Festival on Saturday, Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. That’s Hanover County, Virginia — more specifically, Mechanicsville — so if you’re in the area, come stop by, say hello, and meet a bunch of other nice authors.

Then on Thursday, Aug. 14, I’ll have a room at the Twin Hickory Library in Glen Allen, Virginia, as part of Henrico Public Library’s Henrico Community Authors Showcase. From 7 p.m. until about 8:30, I’ll be talking about my books, reading an excerpt or two, answering questions, and generally just having a grand time with folks.

It will all be fun. So come have fun with me. You’ve got two options. Unless you live somewhere far away like California. Sorry, Californians.