Thursday, September 29, 2022

I am happy to announce the publication of Leo Learns to Meditate on October 4! Published through Bala Books and Penguin/Random House. Following advice from his wise mom in a series of dramatic and humorous lessons, Leo explores several ways meditation can help him develop a more peaceful happy mind, even in the face of a very upsetting challenge by the school bully.  John Ledda, the illustrator, has done a perfect job of dramatizing Leo's experiences in a graphic novel format, and provided wonderful full-page visualizations of classic Buddhist metaphors useful to understand topics like balancing relaxation and clarity, developing loving-kindness, and becoming self-aware of one's own emotions. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Hi everyone,
I'm delighted to announce that my children's first chapter book, When Dragon's Came to Alice Street, is finally available for purchase online through Amazon and kindle and eventually through other booksellers online.  It should even show up overseas.

This book was written several years ago specifically to inspire the many children in my apartment building to learn to love reading, and being read to. All the children in the story are actual people, though they are now as  tall as I am! The story is filled with laughs and all the fun of children off on a great adventure on the back of a friendly dragon. But underneath, I also wanted to make children more aware of some of the environmental crises affecting the world, and give them, at least in the fantasy world of children, a way to help fix some of that, and for later when they grow up and can do more, the belief that this is possible.

The long delay was the result of the difficulty of finding or creating art to go with the text. I even sat down with a book on how to draw dragons and ended up just banging my head on the table. But at last my cousin Patricia, a fine artist in acrylic and watercolor,  stepped up to take on the challenge. She also had never tried dragons before but she came up with a cover i just love. I added to it an actual picture of one of the children and even my father's real face in the picture on the wall. Carl Chew, a man with whom i attended high school a million years ago, volunteered to take on the rest of the story just for the fun. Carl is a wonderful semi-retired professional artist with just the right sense of whimsy and I am eternally grateful for the images he added to the story.

This book, like my others, came  to publication via the many new online bookmakers that authors can use now, going around the traditional gate keepers in publishing.  Create Space, the one i used for my last two projects, cost me truly nothing since i provide my own covers. They just take a reasonable cut of those books that are actually sold. The book they deliver is high quality and should make extra fun reading for parents reading aloud to children or teachers reading aloud a story in the classroom. I hope you will enjoy it!  If you click on the link, you can read the first pages of the story on Amazon.  Please be sure to leave a comment on its Amazon page or on,  if you do. It is comments that make all the difference in author published works like this. Let's open the door to creativity for each other!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Greenstone's Promise in final stage! 

Whew, so many revisions. Isn't it amazing, no matter how many times you re-read a manuscript, you always find something to improve.  Such a process must come to an end, of course, if one is ever to publish anything and the final amendment to the final amendment is now being sent to me as a review copy. The day it arrives, the button on Amazon's print on demand platform, Create Space, will be pushed to send the book out where readers can find it - the online stores at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and presumably many others. Shortly after that, it will also be found on Kindle for those who prefer their e-readers. I thank you dear readers for your patience in waiting for this sequel. I think, I hope, you will not be disappointed.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Off to the post office today to put ten free copies of Dolphin Singers into the mail for the winners of the Goodreads giveaway. A big thank you for all those who signed up to received one - and especially those who didn't win! (Another giveaway coming soon if you want to try again).  For those who did, I hope very much you enjoy the book look forward to seeing your comments and evaluations show up on Goodreads and Amazon. (If anyone feels really inspired, it would  be good to see at least a comment or to on the Barnes and Noble site. It tends to be neglected.)

 It is great fun for an author to learn that others are reading and enjoying something  you worked on so long and so hard. I was especially pleased a while ago to learn from a friend that she has been reading Dolphin Singers to her special needs class in a Watsonville elementary school. Even the scowling boy in the corner eventually came around, she said, and started listening. My inner  glow for the day.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

 Dolphin Singers has been launched! Now available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as Create Space, its home site, with, I am sure many more online book venues to come. (I notice two purchases already in Europe paid for with Euros!) I want to give a special shout out to the marvelous features of the Create Space publishing platform. Having used, satisfactorily, both Booklocker and Lulu for past efforts, I was very impressed with the intuitive layout of the author's dashboard and the do it yourself tools available for creation of both book interior and cover. I have, perhaps, more skills with Photoshop than the average author but had been confounded in those previous projects on other sites when I got to the front and back covers. There are gutter sizes and book spines to get precisely right and I always ended up paying one of their resident experts to get me over those obstacles. At Create Space it came together all without help. They allowed me to reload the entire manuscript as many times as I wanted to get final tweaks and corrections made.  For the entire process, uploading an acceptable interior, creating the cover, obtaining and adding an isbn number and a scanning label on the back, access to markets both national and international, and finally, publication on Kindle, all of that my friends was FREE. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop as I worked my way through their clearly organized series of steps. There was none. They also allow me to purchase preview copies for as low as $2.18 and even have a preview app with a link that allows easy solicitation of those first essential comments on your work. You just create the preview content with questions to answer and then send friends the link. Amazon also works closely with Goodreads now, a vast site for readers with myriad ways, not only to find a great next book to read, but to recommend books to others, and, as an author, to add yourself to reading lists and come to the attention of targeted book lovers with low cost ads and free giveaways. All in all I would say the gates to personal creativity are completely open now. The old gatekeepers have been outflanked. It is just up to authors now to make sure that we keep the standards of quality they used to (more or less) ensure. The level of self promotion required is pretty much the same for both Print on Demand publications and Agent/Publishing house publications. It's an exciting new world of creative possibilities. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Motion Detectable
The business of publishing your own work through Print on Demand is a slow process for most of us. As well as writing something worthwhile, and then editing it til your eyes cross, there is the business of getting people of consequence, or maybe even just the teenager next door, to read it and make enthusiastic comments you can add to the back cover or to promotional material. I have reached that stage at least, at last, with both Dolphin Singers and Greenstone's Promise. Looking for first take readers who will point the way to the (thousands??) to follow. Easier said than done. So few people, alas, make time for reading anymore, and many young people in particular with the endless buffet of distraction available to them, seem to have placed novel reading very low on their list of attractive choices.  I asked a friend with teens if they might like to sample the wares and she responded with enthusiasm. Something they could all do at the family vacation cottage.  I signed with relief and sent the links to both draft volumes where they currently reside in the cloud and waited. And waited. At last, when hope had gone, and it was clear that other activities had claimed all the time at the cabin, I got an enthusiastic response.  it was not the teens who responded. It was her mother, a teacher of many years experience, who actually called me up to leave a long message saying how much she  loved it.When I called back, she agreeably sent a blurb to be added to the back and now I await, in fact, the feedback of the teen next door. A young reader who I know will actually finish the book, for she is one who has learned the delight of reading and all the places it can take you that even motion pictures and certainly 140 character tweets cannot.  If any of you, dear readers, would like to take this on and send add your pre-publication feedback, please contact me at I'll send you the links as well.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dolphin Singers and Greenstone's Promise almost ready for publication - stay tuned!

Several  years ago now, I asked myself what would be a fun first novel  for me to write, and a fun read for others. The answer was Voyage of the Makai an adventure story of five youngsters who cross the wide Pacific from the coast of California to Hawaii to right the wrongs that have been done them. First published under the title Children's Voyage, the Long Journey Home through, it was my first foray into Print on Demand publishing and a way to learn how to write a full length novel, albeit for youngsters.  The result received truly enthusiastic response from friends who read it and from Goodreads giveaway readers and from a very few genuine purchasers. To my virgin author's ears, these seemed like rave reviews, but I have learned that such responses don't count for much in the world of publishing, not if that is where you leave things.
     This blog itself if my attempt to go further in learning the POD process of online promotion. There are  wonderful new tools available to authors at Amazon and Goodreads and many other sites but much effort will be required. The fact is, much effort would be required going mainstream as well.  No longer are writers captive to a publishing industry that increasingly limits what is published to what will make big money for them - while asking more and more of authors in the promotion of their own work - as much as if we had printed it POD - and with less return.
     Not wanting to include vampires in my novel, explore a dystopia, or reinvent Harry Potter on another continent, and not already having a "platform" of 20,000 followers, (the latest requirement to achieve the holy grail of finding an agent I am told) I decided to go ahead on my own and publish via the Print on Demand Process. I promise to add more about this experience in later blogs but for now I want to proudly announce that the second novel of the Voyages of the Makai series, Greenstone's Promise,  is now complete and will soon be available. A few weeks before this, the first book of the two part series will be reissued. It has been slightly revised and retitled "Dolphin Singers" and this time the two together will receive a coherent promotion campaign.
     What will the campaign consist of? That also will be revealed in future blogs on this site. I know there is an eager and expanding  community of authors eager to explore the benefits of POD publishing and  learn more about online promotion.  For now, I will limit myself to recommending as a site to explore for those wishing to try this short cut to the publishing process. They did a good job with a previous project, Buddha on a Midnight Sea, and I plan to have them take on this new one. I have also followed the first and biggest suggestion in a wonderful book on this topic entitled Plug your Book  Online Book Marketing for Authors by Steve Webber: I have started this blog and connected it to Amazon's Author Central site. So stay tuned! Let's see how it works this time.