Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Logos



This is the perfect time for the rebirth of the hero. The birth of Christ is the birth of the logos—the word that extracts order out of chaos and eternally sets things right. That's what we're celebrating at Christmas. Welcome that rebirth into your heart and into your family. Let's manifest hope.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

A Quick Review of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

A few days ago, I watched another Brad Pitt movie -- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino. Now, I loved both Pulp Fiction and True Romance and I've have to rank them both up there among my all-time favorites, but I can't say I like everything Tarantino does. Seems like lately I haven't liked much of anything he's done.

Once Upon a Time... stars Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio and the absolutely stunning Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate as well as a bevy of other outstanding supporting actors who are fun to watch. No complaint there.

Most of the story takes place in 1969 Hollywood and follows two friends/partners around. One (DiCaprio) is a popular television actor, and the other (Pitt) is his stunt double, driver, and friend. It's fiction, of course, but the setting is historical and is nicely woven in and around other events of that time; most notably, events surrounding the Manson family and the subsequent real-life murders of Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring. For fear of spoiling the story, I'll cut it short at that point.

Somewhere in the midst of the movie, I decided I did not care for it, yet I was drawn along on the strength of the screen personalities. I hung in there and by the end I discovered I had changed my mind -- I liked the movie. I felt... satisfied. Although there is a particulary grisly, gruesome series of scenes at the ending, I approved and although it did not depict reality, I liked the outcome. I guess you'll have to watch the movie to see what I mean 'cause like I said, I don't want to spoil it for you.

Two thumbs up.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Egyptian Mummy Carries Girl!

After hearing disturbing political news, an Egyptian mummy literally turned over in his grave and left his sarcophagus taking a visiting tourist with him. Oh, the humanity.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Follow Me To The Stars

Jumping Jupiter! To The Stars by Thomas C. Stone has a newly designed cover, PLUS it can still be downloaded for free as an ebook. At Amazon! What's the catch? Well, you'll be hooked and probably want to purchase more of Stone's books. Get it today! And thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Pride


"Pride"

I got no frustrations playin' on my mind
No complications, I guess I'm doin' fine
I got no money, can't even pay my rent
I end up on one thing, and to me its heaven sent
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride
Tell me tell me now
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride

I saw a man this mornin' sitting both sides of the fence
Being diplomatic, had lost his common sense
If he had his wits about him, you'd know he was a fool
'cause if you can't find no solution, then you got to play it cool
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride
Let me hear ya say it babe
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride

I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride
I've got my pride, hiding inside
I've got my pride

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Stone's Getting Professional

Stoney's author site has had a makeover. Take a look here. There's a new Contact form on the "About" page and sample pages from each of his books. Nice job, hoss.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Review of Ad Astra

"You don't get anywhere when you're running in space. When you're running in space, you're running in place. You can quote me on that."

-- Thomas C. Stone
Ad Astra is Brad Pitt's new sci-fi vehicle to ongoing movie stardom. The movie also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and Ruth Negga (Who?) as supporting characters. The story is set in the near future and follows Astronaut Roy McBride as he sets out to locate his father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who has gone whacko on a long distance space voyage of exploration and resides in orbit around Neptune. For some reason, which remained unclear to me, Tommy Lee has fashioned a type of space cannon and is shooting cosmic rays at the earth. We are told he'd better stop because if he keeps it up he's going to wreck everything and our little corner of the universe will be vaporized. Or worse. So, Roy is sent to Mars to send messages to his father, ostensibly to ask him to stop throwing the cosmic snowballs.

Tommy Lee channels Bela Lugosi as Astronaut Roy McBride's father.
All righty then, that's all I'm going to tell you because I don't want to spoil the story, just in case you decide to watch this two-plus hour yawner. The movie does have its moments, like the opening scene where Pitt (as Roy) falls from the edge of space off the tallest tower on the planet but is saved by his parachute. Or, the moon-mobile chase scene where unknown assailants attempt to stop Roy's clock on the lunar surface. Admittedly, there are some great action moments; however, Pitt plays a guy whose pulse never rises above 80 and so neither does mine. Roy McBride is portrayed as flat, unemotional, and uninvolved, although the audience is asked over and over during the course of the story to accept the inner tension of the character. Roy is on a mission to connect with his father who he hasn't seen in thirty years. Roy says he's mad about his father leaving both him and his mom as he deadpans the words unconvincingly to the camera. Then, through flashbacks, the audience sees that Roy is doing the same thing to his wife (and family) that his father did.

I saw the tension between Roy and his father as an archetypal quest of a son trying to understand himself as he tries to rescue his father who has both metaphorically and physically gone to the edge of everything that is known and is paying a price for the adventure with his own sanity. At another level altogether, the story is a tale of generations and how the old must pass away to be replaced by the new. I suspect it is yet another message from the almighty powers-that-be informing us all at a subliminal level that the previous generation has done its work, and it was good, but now it must move aside or else its methodology will destroy everything. This is a movie for progressives with a Leftist message.

On the material level, there are some great scenes but it barely keeps the lengthy tale from wallowing under the massive weight of darkness it carries. Indeed, there are parallax states to earlier stories, namely Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Disney's 1979 sci-fi failure, The Black Hole.

Hey, if you have two hours to spare and a big bowl of popcorn, go for it, but don't expect your life to be transformed. I give this one three and a half stars for the cinematography but a thumbs down for believability and audience engagement.

Friday, December 13, 2019


“The dubious privilege of a freelance writer is
he's given the freedom to starve anywhere.”

- SJ Perelman

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Cane Patch Collectors on Audio!





The Cane Patch Collectors is now available as an audio book! In a day or so, it'll be available on Amazon and iTunes, but today it is live on Audible -- go here. George Johnson is doing the narrating duties and he is so smooth! But don't take my word for it, see for yourself. Enjoy! And happy listening!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019

All Possibilities Already Exist


A Review of Impact by Douglas Preston

There are a number of writers In the action-adventure genre these days who really know how to fashion a story. Lots of them have an element of science fiction, but usually not too far out. Michael Crichton was one of the best. Robin Cook is another. Lincoln Childs and Douglas Preston, authors of the Pendergast series, write in a similar vein and I always like what they do. Last night, I completed Impact, a novel by Douglas Preston, sans Lincoln Childs and I'd like to tell you a little bit about it.

Impact, released in 2010, concerns the discovery of an ancient machine on Deimos, one of the Martian moons. The machine turns out to be a weapon of sorts that fires a bundle of quarks like a cannon fires a shell. The bundle of quarks is also referred to as a stranglet composed of strange matter.

A strangelet is a hypothetical particle consisting of a bound state of roughly equal numbers of up, down, and strange quarks. An equivalent description is that a strangelet is a small fragment of strange matter, small enough to be considered a particle. The size of an object composed of strange matter could, theoretically, range from a few femtometers across (with the mass of a light nucleus) to arbitrarily large. Once the size becomes macroscopic (on the order of metres across), such an object is usually called a strange star. The term "strangelet" originates with Edward Farhi and Robert Jaffe. Strangelets can convert matter to strange matter on contact and have been suggested as a dark matter candidate.

The known particles with strange quarks are unstable because the strange quark is heavier than the up and down quarks, so strange particles, such as the Lambda particle, which contains an up, down, and strange quark, always lose their strangeness, by decaying via the weak interaction to lighter particles containing only up and down quarks. But states with a larger number of quarks might not suffer from this instability. This is the "strange matter hypothesis" of A.R. Bodmer and Edward Witten. According to this hypothesis, when a large enough number of quarks are collected together, the lowest energy state is one which has roughly equal numbers of up, down, and strange quarks, namely a strangelet. This stability would occur because of the Pauli exclusion principle; having three types of quarks, rather than two as in normal nuclear matter, allows more quarks to be placed in lower energy levels.

Now, in Impact, Douglas Preston doesn't really go into so much detail, but he does have his characters state that the strangelet particle constitutes a threat not only to the earth and the rest of the solar system, but also our neck of the galaxy. Naturally, something's got to be done.

That's where our heroine enters. Abby is a college dropout from Princeton who lives with her lobster-fisherman father in a small town in Maine. She is a waitress in a diner as well as an amateur astronomer who likes to smoke pot and look at the stars while she hangs out with her best friend, Jackie. Abby is also adopted and apparently is the only person of color in her small town. Abby is portrayed as the smartest person in the proverbial room and this is indicated by the number of correct guesses she makes during the course of the story. At one point, Abby manages to guess a computer password on a highly-secured government disk drive. Later, she works out the trajectory of one of the strangelets and tracks it to an island where it makes impact (ergo, the title of the book). Abby's extraordinary ability to overcome all challenges, both physical and intellectual, stretches thin and gives an air of incredulity to Impact, far beyond running across a machine on a Martian moon that shoots hypothetical particles at the earth. All this talk of theoretical particles pales in comparison to the achievements of our dropout waitress.

Unfortunately, Impact is rife with a number of similar faux pas' that simply asks too much of the reader to accept. Personally, I was disappointed with Impact. As I stated earlier, I like the Preston and Childs books and the Pendergast series. Heck, I like other books by Douglas Preston, but this one just asks me to bend backwards a little too far. A Superman comic makes more sense. Come on, Douglas, you can do better.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Dweller on the Threshold


I'm a dweller on the threshold
And I'm waiting at the door
And I'm standing in the darkness
I don't want to wait no more

I have seen without perceiving
I have been another man
Let me pierce the realm of glamour
So I know just what I am

I'm a dweller on the threshold
And I'm waiting at the door
And I'm standing in the darkness
I don't want to wait no more

Feel the angel of the present
In the mighty crystal fire
Lift me up consume my darkness
Let me travel even higher

I'm a dweller on the threshold
As I cross the burning ground
Let me go down to the water
Watch the great illusion drown

I'm a dweller on the threshold
And I'm waiting at the door
And I'm standing in the darkness
I don't want to wait no more

I'm gonna turn and face the music
The music of the spheres
Lift me up consume my darkness
When the midnight disappears

I will walk out of the darkness
And I'll walk into the light
And I'll sing the song of ages
And the dawn will end the night

I'm a dweller on the threshold
And I'm waiting at the door
And I'm standing in the darkness
I don't want to wait no more

I'm a dweller on the threshold
And I cross some burning ground
And I'll go down to the water
Let the great illusion drown

I'm a dweller on the threshold
And I'm waiting at the door
And I'm standing in the darkness
I don't want to wait no more

I'm a dweller on the threshold
Dweller on the threshold
I'm a dweller on the threshold
I'm a dweller on the threshold

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Long, White Cadillac


Night wolves moan
Winter hills are black
I'm all alone
Sitting in the back
Of a long white Cadillac

Train whistle cries
Lost on its own track
I close my eyes
Sitting in the back
Of a long white Cadillac

Sometimes I blame it on a woman
The one that made my poor heart bleed
Sometimes I blame it on the money
Sometimes I blame it all on me

Headlights shine
Highway fades to black
It's my last ride
Sitting in the back
Of a long white Cadillac

Sometimes I blame it on a woman
The one that made my poor heart bleed
Sometimes I blame it on the money
Sometimes I blame it all on me

Train whistle cries
Lost on its own track
I close my eyes
I ain't never coming back
In a long white Cadillac

In a long white Cadillac
In a long white Cadillac
In a long white Cadillac
In a long white Cadillac

Ah, bye bye baby...
I'm gonna take this white trash on down the road

Psychedelic

One More Thing...


Alien Carries Girl!

Friday, November 22, 2019

AI Ad Targeting


This is from my LinkedIn.com page. Not only do "they" know I love Whataburger, but they also surmise that I am qualified to flip burgers. I'm afraid I'd set the place on fire or accidentally dip my hand into the fryer or mix up all the orders. Believe me, we're all better off just leaving me as a customer.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Indie Writer


The logo to the right is my new imprint. What's an imprint? Good question. Simply put, it's the storefront name under which I sell my books. If somebody asks who my publisher is or my company name or I have to fill in a blank on a form somewhere, this is what I'll use. It's an old pic of me at the sanitarium where I "rested up" after my extradition from Sri Lanka and identifies me as the "madman of science fiction." The meaning of Indie Writer is self-evident -- that is what I am. The logo replaces the Cooper's Press logo which is now wholly owned and operated by Pat Whitaker in New Zealand. I have no other partners and am entirely to blame if something goes wrong. I like the new logo. What do you think?

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.