DIY Holiday Letter(s) for you

For New Year's Eve, I wanted to link to one of my favorite Home Front columns, one about writing folksy holiday letters full of family news.

Looking through the archives, I found not one, but TWO columns, written years apart, that offer a variation on fill-in-the-blank letters. Both are pretty silly, but they still make me laugh. You can read them here and here.

Enjoy! And happy new year!


Not drowning. Waving . . .

Toughest part of the e-book publishing boom is getting the word out about new or re-released books. Hard to get people pay attention to one drop of water in a tsunami. Authors are forced to flog our work on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon's Author Central and a zillion other sites, and we never can do enough.

Some authors are banding together to form their own e-book publishing/marketing groups. Others are allying with existing e-book publishers or magazines. And some are doing it ourselves and hoping for the best.

My story is a mix of the above. Some of my books are offered through other publishers and others (mostly the humor stuff) I publish on my own. The results have been mixed, but I try to look at the long term. Once an e-book is available, it's available forever and some trickle of income will be coming my way.

My newest Kindle publication is "600 Rules for Successful Living," a compilation of Volumes 1-6 of my goofy self-help rules. These twisted adages and worthless bits of advice have developed a following on Facebook, and now they're available at Amazon.com for $4.99. What a bargain!

Also out recently is "Baby Face," second in the Bubba Mabry private eye series. This one was re-issued by the folks at Suspense Magazine. Check out their website to see the cool ad they made for "Baby Face."

Finally, I'd like to mention "Firepower," the only novel I've published straight-to-Kindle (so far). "Firepower" is an action-filled story about a hitman who tries to save an inventor from Big Oil. It fell through the cracks when I changed agents/publishers, so I put it out there myself, and it's received a great response. Five-star reviews, etc.

Thanks for listening to my tiny splash in the e-book ocean.


Spooky spider

Scientists have announced the discovery of a new spider species -- the bluetooth tarantula. The species, included in this Time magazine 2010 roundup, was found in French Guiana and got its name because its teeth are indeed cobalt blue.

My first thought, of course, was that the tarantula fed by attaching itself to the human ear, turning the victim into a self-important asshole who talks too loudly. Not so, but real teeth are scary, too, I guess.