Writing with Bees

Fellow Indies writers, and snobbish literati who give away your work to the paper-pushers for a measly ten percent, I’ve stumbled across a tremendous writing aid that I feel obliged to share with you.

If you’re like me, married with children, your biggest problem is finding time to write: kids yelling about their most recent light saber injury, the wife testing your fatherhood/manhood by asking you to pave the driveway with a rolling pin, etc., etc… You know the deal. To solve this problem I usually write from three to five in the morning, a time when children only wakeup to throw up, or scream about the family of Zombies living under their beds.

Well, I’m pleased to report; I recently stumbled upon a cure for this problem.

Bees! Yes. Bees.

I write in my basement, in a big office, in a big house, not paid for with my ebook royalties 🙂 This fall, about forty-five days ago, my office became infested with bees. Being an Irish bullshitter (See my previous post.) this means about ten to twenty bees. I’m sort of easy going about most things, including bees. So, I let the bees swirl about me. Two times bees got into my pants, but I smushed them before they reached my testicles. And, I got bit once, on the arm. No big deal.

It was all worth it, for the cohabitants of my dwelling, a.k.a. my family, are deathly afraid of bees. Accordingly, they did not come within thirty feet of my office. In short, they left me alone. I could write for a whole hour without interruption. It was a dream come true.

Sadly, last night, the temperature went down to forty in Western Massachusetts. So, as I am writing this blog, my bees are stationary at my feet. I considered attempting CPR, but I think my mouth is too big. Alas, it appears my bee gig is up. So, I think I need to move on… time to begin writing with snakes!

W4$

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Free Ain’t What It Used to Be – Ebooks versus Snack Food

This blurb is a continuation of my prior post about free ebooks…

As far as I can tell, free isn’t getting any better. To complete my Amazon/KDP free “promotion” of my still unreviewed comic fiction masterpiece, THE GENRAL STORE, I ran two final days of free. I did a few tweets to promote the offering, nothing else, and got twenty downloads. This was about 10X-100X lower than the past with the same level of promotion.

I like to think these results did not happen because my amazingly hysterical ebook totally sucks. Instead, it seems to me that many readers now feel free ebooks are worth less than the fraction of a fraction of a penny it takes to store them on their Kindle’s hard drive. I think this is happening because the free ebook market is max’d out.

Ultimately, my just completed ebook freebie-thon reminded of a recent child-rearing experience…

I have three boys. Two are teenagers. They eat a lot. So, the other day I went to BJ’s and bought massive quantities of snack food, a box of that contained three hundred little bags of Cheez-Its, a crate that contained five hundred sleeves of good old-fashioned Oreos (not the shitty blond ones), and a thirty-eight gallon bag filled with smaller bags of chips and cheesy-crunchy things that looked like mini colons. I then went to Home Depot and bought some plastic shelving. After a few hours of sweat, I put the snacks on the supposedly “easy to assemble” shelf and told da boys to “load up!” They’re skinny as hell, but can out-eat an NFL lineman, so I was expecting them to empty the shelves in a couple days. Instead, an amazing thing happened. And, I’m not making this up. They barely touched the snacks. The same items they would have wiped out in a few minutes if I bought a smaller quantity were totally ignored.

They knew a large supply of snacks were available. So, they were in no rush to eat them.

W4$

Bless Me Father for I have Sinned.

I just finished my third novel, THE GENERAL STORE, and hit the publish button at Amazon.com. It is another work of comic fiction. This time an environmental/sex comedy set in the small town of Apple, Massachusetts. I wrote THE GENERAL STORE due to my subconscious desire to be excommunicated from the Catholic church. I’ve always wanted a bishop, or perhaps a cardinal, to knock on my door and yell at me like a home plate umpire, “You’re Outta here!”

I’m not sure how many sins THE GENERAL STORE commits because the sin-counter on my word processor has been disabled by a virus, but there is one chapter where every other word is mother f*!!*#* and another where an well-endowed young man does something improper with a Wendy’s chocolate Frosty.

I can’t say I’m proud about writing a book with no redeeming qualities, but I’m fairly certain it does contain a few scenes that will make most readers smash their Kindles on the ground and laugh until their sides hurt, and what’s wrong with that, especially if you got one of those new Fire tablets that constantly freezes and randomly shouts ‘redrum!” while you’re trying to read.

I also believe THE GENERAL STORE has a few noteworthy quotes, including the first rule of infidelity, “Don’t cheat with a woman that looks like an orangutang if your wife is a kick-boxer.” I also believe the book has one of the all-time great opening lines, but I’ll leave that to you to judge. (Go to Amazon and click on preview, if you’re too cheap to throw down the $2.99)

Now comes the hard part of writing a book, selling it.

With my last work, THE WALKING MAN (11/18 Five Star reviews) I did the twitter thing. This means I spent my time trying to sell my book to other authors who are generally too busy writing to read. I also did the Free Amazon.com KDP Select scam, giving away 10,000+ books to earn enough money to buy a pack of used condoms. This time around my plan is to advertise. Pure and simple. I’ve read there is no worse return than advertising an ebook, that readership must be earned by sending hand-signed letters to book bloggers, and begging literary rock stars for a retweet. My fear is this is true, but nonetheless I plan to advertise. Now I just have to find a web site with a million viewers that will accept an ad for a book about a man with a big one – a really big one.

Hmmm, maybe Funny or Die!

Sucky the Fish

One of my kids named the fish, so I might be spelling his or hers name wrong. I’m not sure. But, I do know Sucky the Fish, did live with our family for a good six months before meeting his or hers maker.

I know this because I killed Sucky. But, it was not intentional.

Several years ago Massachusetts experienced a December ice storm that knocked out power to our house, for more than a week. As soon as I saw the downed trees I called a hotel twenty miles away and rented a suite, beating about 500,000 other people to the punch. It was my finest moment.

Each evening at the hotel, after the kids were asleep, I’d dress like a line man so folks would buy me free drinks.

“Thank you, for all your good work,” strangers would say to me.

“Just doing my job,” I’d reply.

It was the best of times.

Before leaving for the hotel I drained the water in the house to prevent its pipes from freezing/bursting. I had it all figured out. The only problem was I forgot about Sucky the Fish and his or hers friends in our aquarium. What can I tell you? I’m not a pet person.

Upon power restoration I eventually led my brood back home. I entered the house first. Luckily, the kids were fighting, some sibling rivalry thing, so I saw the frozen fish tank first. Sucky and his friends in a block of ice.

“Guys, stop fighting!” I yelled. “Do me a favor go downstairs and make sure the TV is working!” The ploy bought me enough time to open the back door and hurl the entire fish tank into a snow bank.

Minutes latest the questions started.

“Where’s Sucky?”

Without hesitating I responded, “I brought Sucky back to Pet Smart so she would not freeze to death.”

“Good thinking Dad,” the oldest one said.

“She cuaght a bit of a cold, so she might be there awhile,” I added.

The brothers bought it.

A few days later the questions started. “When are we going to Pet Smart to get Sucky?”

“Sucky’s still recovering,” I’d respond.

Eventually, the questions stopped. I had won. I got away with murder, or so I thought.

Then tonight at the dinner table, out of nowhere, four plus years after the freezing of Sucky, my middle one asks, “Did you really bring Sucky the Fish to Pet Smart?”

It was a Santa Claus moment. I assessed whether my son could handle the truth and then I responded, “Of course I did. In fact, Sucky recently died of natural causes after living a long, full life.”

“That’s too bad,” he said. But, I could tell he did not believe me.

I waited for the follow-on questions to begin, but they never happened. My son is getting older. He had intentionally left me of the hook for killing Sucky the Fish.

5 Stages of Ebook Death

I think it is important for us indie authors to recognize the five stages of ebook death, so we can make proper burial arrangements and then move on in life, no doubt hardened by the experience.

Regarding the burial, I suggest downloading a dead ebook on to a thumbdrive and then interring it in your garden, perhaps with along with a scoop of fresh manure. If you live in the city, I suggest a traditional toilet flush while listening to Danny Boy on your iPod, not the Johnny Cash version. Cremation followed by spreading the ashes at a Barnes and Noble is also and option, if you can find a Barnes and Noble that is still in business.

Based on my experience the death process starts with one month of no sales, and is then followed by months of anguish which can be broken into the following clearly defined stages:

Stage 1: Denial (1 month of no sales)

My book can’t really suck. I’m so smart. It took me so long to write it. Maybe nobody has bought it because they’re too busy. Yeah, that’s it. They’re too busy. I can still get a couple of positive reviews. It can still go viral. Maybe a movie star will read my book and talk about it on Oprah. Yeah, that’s my ticket, Oprah!

Stage 2: Anger (2 months of no sales)

Readers suck. They are so f’n stupid. They only read books about vampires in love and the great battles of World War 2. Amazon is a f’n monopoly that only cares about the big authors. Apple sucks. Microsoft sucks. Democrats suck. Republicans suck. In fact people suck in general.

Stage 3: Bargaining (3 months of no sales)

Dear Mr. Bezos, I’ll list my book for free on Amazon.com, if you agree to make me a best-selling author. If not, I’m off to Apple.com…Mr. Bezos, is that you laughing?

Stage 4: Depression (4 months of no sales)

I suck. I’m so f’n stupid for spending one thousand hours writing a piece of trash that nobody wants to read. How could I be such an f’n idiot. I should have listened to my wife when she told me not to write a book about the joy of refrigerator repair.

Stage 5: Acceptance (5 months of no sales)

I have a great idea for my next book!

W4$:)

The General Store – A Naughty Novella.

I’m pleased to announce the publication of THE GENERAL STORE, my third ebook. It is now available at Amazon.com.

To recap my illustrious indie author career, my first book was EVEN STEVEN, a romantic comedy about particle physics. It is a book without a genre, and so far, not much of an audience. But, the few folks that have read it seem to love it. If you want to read something very very different, check it out.

My second book is a romance/satire about quadriplegia called THE WALKING MAN. Several people have read THE WALKING MAN. Some folks love this book. It contains quite a few laughs and imparts some insights about immobility that make it a worthwhile read.

Now comes my third book, THE GENERAL STORE. In this book I am intentionally trying to attract a wider audience by  writing a flat out comedy about sex and betrayal in a small town. Meant to be read in one sitting. The main goal of this book is to make you laugh.

The opening line in THE GENERAL STORE sets the tone and goes downhill from there.

“Although Jebediah Jones was ninety-three years old, he could still remember his first erection like it was yesterday.”

Now available at Amazon.com. See blurb below.

The General Store

The small town of Apple, Massachusetts is falling apart. Mayor Happy Munson has betrayed another “friend.” This time an old man with the money and brains to get even. Jebediah Jones, the well-endowed the owner of the General Store, has been arrested for literally hanging out. And, Doris Keegle, the chairman of the Apple’s restoration committee, wants Rake Davis, the leader of the town’s biker club, to stop half burying his old Ford pick-up trucks. THE GENERAL STORE is an LOL comedy about what happens when small minded people start minding other people’s business. WICKED FUNNY! Available now in ebook format at Amazon.com. This naughty novella is Rated R due to crass language and sexual content.

Fiction. 31,000 words.

Price: $2.99 USD

Meet the Forbucks

More than one reader has accused me of using a pen name to hide my true identity. I assure you this is not the case. My name is Wright Forbucks and I am proud to be Wright Forbucks. Damn proud.

My lineage can be traced to 1917 when my grandmother, Blight Murphy, a strange woman who claimed her grandparents were killed in the Potato Famine of 1846, arrived in the United States from Ireland. Shortly thereafter, at a Boston tavern noted for selling discount stale ale, Blight met my grandfather, a Scottish penny pincher named, Tight Forbucks. Tight’s first son was my dad, Flight Forbucks. Flight was an airplane mechanic; he worked for Orville Wright, my namesake. Unfortunately, my dad was injured in a propeller accident at age twenty-three, a year after marrying my Mom, Plight Forbucks, a Red Cross nurse. Growing up I never knew may dad. He lived in our house but “the accident” destroyed  the part of his brain responsible for personality, so his communication was limited to groaning. A high-pitched groan meant he needed food. A low-pitched groan meant he needed a service that led to my siblings:  my eldest sister Slight Forbucks, woman so thin she could hide behind a birch tree; my brother Bright, a MIT particle physicist;  my look-alike, Smite, a shameless defense contractor; my inane little sis Trite; and my soft-drink addicted bro Sprite.

Readers may continue to assert that Wright Forbucks and his family are fictitious. In response, I steadfastly maintain that we are as real as the sustained groan my father still emits whenever he reads one of my books 🙂

W4$

How to write for bucks

I write, but I do not consider myself a writer. I have never dreamt of being a writer. In fact, as a young man I wanted to be a cartoonist. I was good but not great, so when that dream evaporated my main goal in life was to own a stereo and drink beer in the bleachers at Fenway Park – back when you could drink beer at Fenway Park. (The rumor persists that I poured a beer into a cop’s boot for bouncing a fellow fan. This is not true. It was my friend.)

Prior to becoming a self-pubber, I read a few books a year, mostly physics stuff because I have a hidden nerd thing going on that I’ll never understand. This nerd thing caused me to invent several items: a few sold very well which enabled me to barely make a living.  Eighteen months ago I read an article about self-pubbing and royalty rates offered by Amazon.com; I decided I had to get in on this action, thus Wright Forbucks was born.

I’ve been self-pubbing for 18 months now. I wrote my first book, Billy Grist, in four months. It totally sucked, but after I re-write it, it will be the best book I will ever write – for sure. It was inspired by the death of a dear friend on 9-11. My second book, Even Steven sucked too. But, I just rewrote it and now I think it is a masterpiece – if you’re a particle physicist with a sense of humor I think you will agree.

The Third Book I wrote is called The Walking Man. It is loosely based on my brief inability to walk courtesy of a rare and wimpy-ass disease I have called Myasthenia Gravis. The only thing I really have in common with the lead character in The Walking Man is MG did cause me to do a face plant in the bread aisle of a convenient mart, but it was a Cumberland Farms, not a 7-11. My response to paralysis was to laugh, which is basically my response to everything. Some people are reading The Walking Man and giving it 5-stars. Even better, some folks are buying it. It is currently generating enough income to feed a family of five a single taco twice a year.

Enough about me, time to get to my list. But first, in the interest of full disclosure, as you have probably already guessed, I am writing this baseless list to give the false impression that I am imparting wisdom when in fact I am simply shamelessly promoting the above mentioned books.

So here is my list…

HOW TO WRITE FOR BUCKS

#1: Dream the Wright Dream

You must have only one dream -> to get rich. Assuming you’ve had sex (with another person) several hundred times, this is the only dream left worth having. All other dreams are meaningless. Especially don’t dream about living forever. If you worry too much about exercise and a healthy diet you will not be able to write anything worth reading. My recommended author diet includes: Doritos, Mountain Dew and an occasional marshmallow Peep (season permitting.)

#2: Establish Idols

Joe Konrath is my idol. Why? The Mo-Fo made $100K in 3 weeks selling Kindle books. Joe is not a man. He is a God. The only comparable deity on earth is Billy Mitchell (the first man to get a perfect score on PacMan.)

#3:  Go into Massive Debt

The best way to force yourself to write daily, after you’ve convinced yourself that you’re going to be rich, is to go into massive debt. Needing money is the best inspiration for writing. Going into massive debt is the easiest step in the self-pub process, options include: divorce, drug habit, gambling, and misfortune. I suggest mixing it up; a little of each is good – all things in moderation.

#4:  Pay the Children

If your children start fighting when you are trying to write. Pay them off. When my kids start hitting each other instead of disciplining them I pay them to stop. Trust me. Nothing works better. All kids have stuff they want to buy. So when they get uppity, slap a five in their greasy little hands and tell em to browse Lego.com. Works every time, and it preserves your vocal cords.

#5:  Obsess

F outlines and all the other conventions real authors use. Instead think about your book obsessively. Write your story in your head and then blast it into a word doc. I didn’t know I was an author until I pre-paid for some gas and then drove away without filling my tank – because I was thinking about my stupid book!

#6: Establish a Viral Alert System.

It’s important to know when your ebook goes viral, so you can buy a gold-plated toilet and begin shopping for a better spouse. I recommend getting a bell and then writing a computer program that links your bell to kdp.amazon.com. Further, I advise all serious authors to quit your “real” jobs, so you’re not performing some demeaning task on the day when your bell chimes ten times per minute to signal that you have officially written for bucks.

W4$

More 5-Star Reviews for The Walking Man

What an awesome story! I found it tough to put down and wished it was longer when it was over. There were real feelings in this story about relationships, guilt, anger, sadness, acceptance, love and commitment. I’ll be watching for this author to continue with future books. 5-Stars Miss Trixie

I don’t always download a book promoted to me in a Twitter direct message, but the price was right, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll put it on my Kindle. I am so glad I did! It was a wonderfully written, witty, and poignant tale of a quadriplegic and his adjustment to life as well as his quest for a cure and for love. The characters are rich and colorful; the story well-paced. Although the novella does not take long to finish, you may be sad when it’s over–it’s that good. I highly recommend “The Walking Man” to others. 5-Stars CRubin

This is a quirky read and it draws you in. It could have been a pity party anywhere along the way but it’s not. There is a real depth of character, complete with warts and blemishes, that makes this a real treasure. There is often an attempt to brush over our flaws, to airbrush out the things in our life that make us seem immature or petty; not so in this story. From an outraged, self-centered teenage (and not without reason) who is incapable of seeing beyond himself to a grown man who comes to understand his place in a larger world, the ride is well worth it. Every now and again, the person you were meant to be, really wins. This story proves it and with humor to boot!

The subject material, in lesser hands, could have been really depressing but not in this story. The writing is on point with the characters with no extraneous tangents to distract you.

No obvious typos or formatting issues which is always a big plus. Do yourself a favor and grab this one. You’ll see what the rave reviews are all about. 5-Stars Reader4Life

The Walking Man


Loosely based on a true story, The Walking Man is a tale of “persistence, self-discovery, and redemption” that brings new meaning to the term “never give up.” This original and wickedly humorous love story begins when a teenage boy is inexplicably paralyzed. His family tries to care for him, but tragedy ensues causing the young man to be institutionalized. At Leicester County Hospital, a facility dedicated to excellence in everything it does, our hero sheds his bitterness after “winning” a war with his surly roommate. He then finds love when a beautiful volunteer stops by to read to him. Despite their instant connection, paralysis and the “love” of a brute leads to a breakup that forces “the walking man” to devise a plan to win back the woman he loves.
Download The Walking Man today and experience a tale of redemption like no other.

Fiction. 41,000 words.

Price: $0.99 USD

Five Stars:
Largely based on factual experience, this story immediately captivated my interest, regardless of my reservation that the subject matter would have sufficient body. But it certainly does, and the blithe and darkly humorous narrative voice carries the story along amid lovable yet dysfunctional characters – of which there are a fully furnished complement. I never spoil plots, so you’ll have to take my word that this is a book you will surely finish, once hooked after a few chapters. Be prepared to laugh out loud…

@writeintoprint

Five Stars:

I probably see 10-20 “read my book” messages a day from/by indie authors. I ignore them for the most part, because I have so little disposable time. I picked up this book on an impulse and read it. It cost me a day when I should have been writing, but it was worth it. The story is a sort of modern fable, a tale of persistence, self-discovery and redemption. It’s a novella (42,000 words) and I found it easy to read and quite enjoyable. I gave it 5 stars for the quality of the writing and the directness of the story. Part of the story reminded me of “Flowers for Algernon.”

JJ Toner