Saturday, November 16, 2019

Totally Decadent

It was cold and a bit windy on the square in Decatur but I met some great peeps and sold a few books. Two Mormon girls chatted me up and invited me to church which I reluctantly declined. Afterwards, I spent some of my earnings on a double-double at Whataburger. I also had a medium Dr. Pepper milk shake (with vanilla ice cream) -- man, I have become completely addicted to those things. Totally decadent. In all, a good day. Thanks to Kenny for the photo.

Friday, November 15, 2019

So, you're self-published AND you write science fiction?

Thomas C. Stone (me!) will be on the square in Decatur, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 16, to sign and sell copies of his books. Come out and see me! Let's talk about books and publishing and girls! I'm looking forward to it and I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Green Green


Fishman Carries Girl!

A Word on Independent Writers and Artists

One of the biggest problems with making book sales as an independent writer is the folks who think that if you self-published, then your books probably aren't very good. You did not pass through the publishing gates of approval and you don't have a team of snooty proofreaders looking over your shoulder. Additionally, you avoided the legions of politically correct bean counters who inhabit the publishing industry. You had the audacity to think your writing was good enough without anybody's stamp of approval.

Yep, I run into that kind of thinking on a regular basis. Never mind that I spent a lifetime as a professional writer working for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Never mind that I taught English Composition and Rhetoric at the university level and hold three degrees, one a Master's in Literature and Linguistics. Forget that out of literally millions of competitors, I once held a #1 position for five days in my genre at Amazon. And not least of all, it's probably best to forget I've done it all on my own without the backing of a well-financed marketing department or a squad of barking toadies dropping slimy paragraphs of inflated prose passing for book reviews.

I've said it before and, just in case you've forgotten, I'll say it again. Publishing is a fixed game generally running on the sensibilities of the establishment which is philosophically committed to the Left these days; a group of progressive (mostly) women who want to see more books and stories about women of color, diversity in the workplace, the difficulties associated with being transgender, and the desire to create a worldview devoid of anything smacking of masculinity. Oh, there are men who populate the publishing industry, if you want to call them that, but their numbers are far less than their female counterparts and believe me, stories of Marine boot camp or the difficulties of being a Christian conservative in the southern USA hold no interest for them. They are more interested in reading the pablum that passes for fake news these days.

Yet, for all the opposition, I'm still out here writing my stories and trying to sell books. I sell a few now and again. In a fair and politically balanced society, I wouldn't have to publish as an Indie Writer; I wouldn't have to set up a folding table at a community flea market and sell my stories (which I do enjoy, by the way). I wouldn't have to because a fair publishing industry would recognize the worth of what I am doing.

But that's not the way it is. Even so, I'll continue to press on. I'll write my stories and turn them into books and I'll sell them to those who appreciate my endeavors, to those who love my characters and the situations they encounter.

So, I'll end this with a quick advertisement: please purchase one or two of my books -- more if you are so inclined. Support independent writers and artists. We entertain you, make life a little more pleasant, and sometimes offer you something unique and beautiful. I am Thomas C. Stone and my author website is www.thomascstone.com. Thanks and, as always, happy reading!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bowie Trade Days Book Signing

Yours truly at my book signing today; trying to look serious and failing. Thanks to all who came out! I had a great time and was humbled by those who came to see me. Next weekend, weather permitting, I'll be set up outside on the square in Decatur, Texas. Hope to see you there! Thomas C. Stone.
Signing a copy of Sandy Pearl and the Blades for Annaliese.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Xylanthia: A Story of Time and Space

Xylanthia is a very cool, very hip, epic sci-fi tale. The first in a trilogy, Xylanthia follows Mackenzie Maguire and Chef on a scientific survey of a habitable moon orbiting a gas giant at Sirius A. Eight light years from Earth, it's a peculiar place fraught with peril in more ways than any of the team can imagine. First off, there's the space travel aspect. Then there's the alien world. Then alien psychotropic drugs (far out, man). Then there's the wormhole thing and good grief, that leads to time travel. And don't forget the transdimensional invasion. Have I revealed too much? I don't think so; remember, we're still talking about the first book in a marvelous trilogy of books.

Seriously, if you're a sci-fi fan, don't let this one pass you by. The Xylanthia books are better than anything you'll see on Netflix. Of course, I'm partial, but read it for yourself and you'll see I'm right.

Xylanthia is available in either ebook form or industrial paperback (a nice, big 6" x 9" book with a beautiful, full color cover depicting the Gator's Nest complex in the swamp on Xylanthia). Books by Thomas C. Stone make great Christmas gifts too!

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Call That Never Came ( I Me Mine)



Back on this date in 1971, before most of you were born, I stayed close to the phone in hopes George Harrison would call to ask me to audition for his new band. He didn't and the rest is history.

New topic: how many spider bites do I have to endure before my spider senses develop? Hmm?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

You Know Your Culture from Your Trash


It's My Birfday!

Today is TommyBoy's birthday. In lieu of an official gift or card, please surf over to Amazon and purchase one or two of my books. Papa needs a new pair of shoes. It's a shame about Amazon, but the truth is, they've sort of cornered the market on retail book sales and my choices are limited. Please make Jeff Bezos sorry he has not offered me a better arrangement. Anyhoo, buy one of my books -- you won't be disappointed.

Next month, I'm setting up a table at the Bowie Second Monday Trade Days. Please come by and say hello and look over the books with the newly designed covers. They look great! That will be Nov. 9th (Saturday) and Nov. 10th (Sunday) in the main building behind the rodeo arena.

This message has no political affiliation and is approved by TommyBoy himself. Thank you very little; this is Tommyboy (Chairman of the Bored), signing off.

Edit: Oops, almost forgot to mention, my first audiobook is in production. Pretty exciting, right? It's The Cane Patch Collectors, currently available in ebook form or industrial paperback. Happy reading (or listening)!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

If I Ever Get Out of Here...


The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider is a fairly new murder mystery written by the king of popular horror novelists, Stephen King. In brief, and without giving too much away, the story begins with the gruesome murder of a child by a well-known citizen of a small town in Oklahoma. The murderer is not only a well-established, upstanding member of the community, but is also a family man with two young daughters and a doting wife. He would be the last man one would suspect of murdering a child in a sex-crazed, pedophilic rage, yet there is a bevy of material witnesses and all the evidence points directly to him, including fingerprints and DNA. So, unsurprisingly, he is arrested by the local police. The investigation is ramroded by a local police detective and the local district attorney. Those two characters start out as foils in the tale, but later on, things change. This is the part where I say I can't tell you any more without spoiling the story. I could but I won't, just in case you decide to read it for yourself.

The Outsider is a long read at 560 pages, but it is an engaging read if you like mysteries. Stephen King has had enough practice by now that he could write this stuff in his sleep. While it's not the best thing King has ever done, it's not the worst, either. A couple or three times, King drops his political bias (again) and it's distracting but not enough to throw the book across the room.

There are the usual cheap scares and crass language, along with detailed police procedures and legal maneuvering by the lawyers, a la John Grisham. There is also the usual Stephen King twist which I will not reveal either. The Outsider is a whodunit story and more fun to read than a week of passively watching sitcoms at night in your off-hours. Not great, but not entirely bad.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Please Help a Homeless Disabled Vet



Okay, he's not homeless. Yet. Thomas C. Stone has new paperbacks for sale at Amazon! This is a big deal for the old boy so please surf on over and invest in a few of his paperback books. You won't be disappointed. Everything has been re-edited, and re-formatted, along with new artwork. Heck, the artwork alone is worth paying for! Anyhoo, go here and spend some money. Well, don't just sit there.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

British-Style Baked Potatoes

Not so fast. Find out what you've been missing.
  1. Slice them first. Like most Americans, I typically poke holes all over the potatoes before baking them to ensure they don’t explode in the oven. But Jo suggests slicing a cross shape about 1/4-inch thick into each potato. This helps them release some steam, makes the interior more fluffy, and also makes them easier to slice into when they’re piping hot.
  2. Bake them for longer than you think. Many recipes (ours included) recommend baking potatoes for an hour at 425°F. Instead, Jo suggests baking potatoes at 400°F for closer to two hours. The potatoes won’t burn at this temperature and the long bake means the skin will be so crisp that it’s practically cracker-like.
  3. Return them to the oven. After the two hours are up, remove the potatoes and carefully cut deeper into the slices you made initially. Then put the potatoes back in the oven for 10 more minutes. This helps to dry out the flesh further and makes it extra fluffy.

Smooth


Friday, September 27, 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Friday, September 6, 2019

Getting Published

Get him published before he sobers up.
This little piece is about publishing, not writing, and the thoughts contained herein are my own gleaned from personal experience and a lifetime full of doing things my own way. Seeing as how we are all distinctly different from one another, what I have to say may not be for anyone else. Yet, there are some universal truths I may touch upon, with a little luck.

Getting published is not all that hard if one has the right connections. Like the old adage goes, it's not who you are (or what you do), it's who you know. This is oh-so-true in the world of publishing. To be clear, I refer to the world of fiction publishing which is different from that of nonfiction but the adage scripted above still goes. Nonfiction is probably an easier route to publishing. If you are knowledgeable on a topic and can write three coherent paragraphs on the subject, someone will pay you for it. It doesn't have to be correct and the writing doesn't really have to be very good -- if you send it out to places where you have groomed connections and acquaintances whom you've stroked and cajoled, at the very least they will take pity on you and buy your words as filler for their ezine.

The truth is, one can be an ordinary hack, even a cut below the ordinary hack, and still get paid gobs of cash for painful-to-read narratives if one has the right friends.

But, that is not the type of approach most of us take. We might think we actually have something to say the world wants to hear and we might think our superior intelligence and our honed writing skills will vault us from obscurity to first place on the New York Times Best seller list. Alas, that's not the way it works, either. Most of us are not the writers we think we are.

The good news is we do become better with practice. Lots of practice. Additionally, one must be familiar with the genre in which they choose to work. That means generally a good writer, maybe even a great writer, is a voracious reader with an unending appetite for knowledge and an overwhelming curiosity.

Now, the sad truth is that one can be a great writer and never get published. Perhaps he has no need of either fame or fortune. Fat chance there, eh? In my early teens I recognized being a paperback writer was a marvelous way to make a living -- one could stay at home all day, keep one's hands clean, avoid manual labor and over-fatigue, and maintain some sort of control over a product that had very little overhead cost. That was the dream, except I had to work extremely hard for many years until I took the fearsome leap into the unknown and began to write full-time. At that point, I accepted poverty as a lifestyle. I accepted the loss of family and friends who insisted I was wasting my time when I could be sitting in a cube writing computer code every day. I accepted no more vacations, dining at fancy restaurants, expensive clothes, even health insurance. Yes, all that went away and when my first four books did not sell, I had to return to the marketplace and sell my soul for a few bucks. And then one day, when things seemed bleakest, my books began to sell and they sold for two years until the cash spigot finally slowed to a trickle. I still get a little from royalties every month, but it certainly is not what it used to be. Would you like to know why? I'll tell you.

Although I am writing the best prose of my life, my stuff isn't selling anymore. The reasons why are simple and already succinctly stated above. I have eschewed networking. I do not hang out with other writers or editors and I don't send out out hundreds of query letters every year. I am terrible at the business of publishing my work. I do not care to polish the backsides of New York editors and pretend to be someone I am not. I have opinions that are miles away from the opinions of the mainstream publishing gurus. I do not maintain popular political and/or philosophical opinions. And yes, often I blog about my differing opinions.

Don't do those things if you want to be published or make thousands of sales.

However, if you want to be an honest writer and tell the truth as you see it, then you may take the route of self-publishing. If you work at it, you will succeed to some varying degree. Make no mistake about it, it turns out to be real work. Don't forget the marketing, either. It's not enough to have Amazon post your book for $5.99 a pop, somehow you have to get the word out that your new science fiction epic is available in either ebook, paperback, or audio. You must entice people to read your book and actually reply with reviews which you hope and pray will be positive.

Writing your masterpiece is merely the first step. The really unpleasant, soul-killing part is the marketing. But I'll save that topic for another day.

Somewhere along the way, if you find yourself asking if that is what you really want to do, then it's probably not and you would be better served sitting in that cube I personally abandoned years ago, writing computer code. Good luck to you. Remember, try your level-best to be nice to everybody, even when it seems none of them are nice to you. Karma works both ways

Update: In these politically correct times, if a writer (or small press) does not toe the social/political line, he will be censored. There are several ways to censure a writer or business. One that I see happening lately is that the banks that handle process transactions will suddenly inform the writer and/or business that the bank has simply decided to stop processing transactions. Sorry pal, we're closing your account for the sole reason that we just want to. No reason has to be given. This is happening right now, it's real, and people are going out of business because of it. I could give examples but then I would put myself at risk. Maybe I'm putting myself at risk just by talking about it. Anyway, the good 'ol USA isn't the same good 'ol USA anymore. The publishing gatekeepers want to control what is published and if the content does not encourage what they want and what they want the public to consume, well, you're out of luck if you're an artist or a small businessman that has an alternate point of view. This is insidious stuff. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Jennings' Folly Now in Paperback!





Jennings' Folly is now available in paperback! A Harry Irons' Spin-off Tale. If you liked Harry, you'll love Amanda. Orphaned on the colonial world of Dreidel, Amanda Jennings is raised on the frontier by her grandfather and taught to take her revenge whenever an opportunity arises. That was fine with Amanda. All she wanted was to follow in her grandfather's footsteps and be a kitzloc hunter. To purchase your copy, click here.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Guess My Age

Here's a web site where you try and guess people's correct ages. I was really terrible. On one, I was off by 40 years! My average was being off by about 12 years, I think. Old, young, it didn't matter. See how you do. Go here.
The Xylanthian Chronicles, a sci-fi reading experience.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Rock of Ages

"Rock of Ages" is a song by Def Leppard from their 1983 album Pyromania. It takes its name from the hymn "Rock of Ages". When released as a single in the United States, the song reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on the Top Tracks rock chart.

It begins with a German-like nonsense phrase, "Gunter glieben glauten globen", which was later sampled in "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" by the Offspring as well as "Call Me What You Like (If You Like Rock-N-Roll)" by Puffy AmiYumi. This was also sampled in a parody of the song, "Rape Rock of Ages," by shock rock band the Mentors. According to the official Def Leppard FAQ,

These four words that you hear at the start of "Rock of Ages", mean nothing, though the band sometimes jokingly claims it means "running through the forest silently". It's actually just German sounding gibberish, said by producer Mutt Lange during one of the later takes of the song. Lange was a perfectionist and would often do dozens & dozens of takes, and after repeatedly beginning so many with the standard count, "One, two, three, four" he simply started saying nonsense words instead, the band liking this one so much that they included it on the album

As the song's melody begins, Elliott speaks the lines, "All right/I've got something to say/It's better to burn out/Than to fade away"; the second two lines are a reference to Neil Young's song "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)". Def Leppard's four-line version was quoted in the 1985 movie Highlander by the film's villain, the Kurgan. Young's line would later become immortalized in rock history when it was used in the supposed suicide note of grunge pioneer Kurt Cobain.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Sandy Pearl Paperback Available!

Sandy Pearl and the Blades is now available in paperback!
Purchase your own copy at Amazon. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019