Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Adventure in Self-Publishing – POST #1

January 29, 2014

I’m now in the process of self-publishing the first three novels listed on my fiction page. I invite you to follow with me as I progress toward publication. In June, I’ll publish Bloodridge. Then in July, I’ll publish DeathByte. And, I August, Swiftshadow. In 2015, I’ll publish two more, and then I’ll publish the final book (so far) in the series.

I’ll record brief messages containing my failures and successes as I get ready to release these as paper an ebooks. If you’re a writer, you might be able to learn – real-time – from me. If you aren’t a writer, well, it’s the comedy and tragedy of every project ever done.

Current status:

Started the process on January 1 after speaking with my literary agent. Created a budget and a schedule using Excel. Sent RFPs (Requests for Proposal) out to cover designers, publicists and copy-editors over the last two weeks. Now in the process of final selection. ETA for these events is the end of January.

More updates will follow soon.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inside the movie “Inside Llewyn Davis”

January 21, 2014

Yesterday, my wife and I saw the movie and it brought back memories of Greenwich Village in the 1960s.

When I was 12, my mother insisted I learn to play a musical instrument. She wanted me to play piano, but I was hopelessly inept. Then she settled on trumpet, but once again, I wasn’t interested. But, after seeing an Elvis Presley movie and watching my female classmates react to him, I decided I would learn guitar. And, motivated by anticipating the stir I hoped to create in young women, I sought a guitar teacher.

Walking through Washington Square on a Sunday in April, I saw plenty of guitarists, playing blues and folk music and hoping for tips. One of these, a tall, heavy bearded man with a Louis Armstrong tone to his voice, was Dave Van Ronk. I listened for a few songs, then asked if he taught guitar. He said, “Yes, until my album is released. Two months. Six lessons, one per week.” He told me everything I needed to know, and I begged my parents for the cash.

In six weeks of hard work, I could fingerpick blues. On my first visit, I tripped over the sleeping body of Bob Dylan, who was crashing under the kitchen sink of Dave and Terry’s apartment that week. By the time I got to college, I could make enough money playing gigs to pay my way through school.

Dave Van Ronk visited Tufts University in 1966 for a gig at the Embroglio, the University’s large coffee house. I opened for him. It was a frosty night and he’d damaged his right hand when a car door closed on it. He pulled a bottle of Carmel Hoc wine from the guitar case and turned to the small group of us in the tiny room above the club, and said, “Gentlemen, to sing blues, you must feel pain.” He held up his damaged hand. “Real pain.”

I met and played with Chris Smither in front of over a thousand people at a concert at Boston University. Had I wanted, I could have had a similar struggle as my career. But I hadn’t the courage and settled instead for a career in business. I have no regrets, but the memories are wonderful.

The album “Inside Dave Van Ronk” is what is featured in the movie “Inside Llewyn Davis” as the precursor to the movie’s events. Dave became “the mayor of McDougal Street.” If you wanted to play a gig in Greenwich Village, you got the gig through him.

The last time I saw Dave was about ten years ago, at a club in San Francisco. He died of colon cancer a few years ago. All I have of him is every album he recorded and my memories of a grizzly bear of a man. I sorely miss him. The movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” accurately depicts the life of this folk hero.