In The Delta

In The Delta
In The Delta

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Self Publishing Debate

To quote a really overused phrase: The Times They Are A Changin. A few years ago, when I began sending queries to agents, well meaning people told me "Don't give up. Just keep sending out those letters and writing samples. And whatever you do, don't consider self publishing. It's the kiss of death for a serious writer. No agent or publisher will take you seriously if you self publish." Well, guess what? No one was taking me seriously anyway.

I've always written because I don't really have a choice. I'm a writer whether anyone reads my work or not. Fortunately, there were enough people around who were interested enough to read what I wrote and to encourage me to keep at it. Of course, it's one thing when friends tell you they like your books and something else entirely when you hand the same books over to strangers who can be completely honest. When someone told me about Authonomy, I took the plunge and posted my first book Susan and Tecate. It was an amazing experience to receive positive reviews from other writers.

I decided that I was getting to old to spend the next few years hoping that some agent somewhere would connect with my work. I had looked at a few of the well known Print On Demand publishers, but since I really didn't expect to make a lot of money, I couldn't justify the expense. The most reasonable of them charged in the neighborhood of $1500. Then I read an article in Time Magazine and discovered Amazon's Create Space and Kindle Publishing. While they offer very reasonably priced expert assistance, anyone with some skill can prepare their own Print and Kindle editions and publish and distribute on

I did it. The books are beautiful. I couldn't be happier. When I made my first few dollars, I jokingly told my friends I wouldn't be available for awhile as I would be shopping for some horse property in the California Delta, the setting for my mysteries. My friends wrote back - "We knew you were just in it for the money."

Bottom line - even Stephen King is doing it. Of course, he'll sell more books than I will. His reputation is made. I'm an unknown. But the truth is, I'm really not in it for the money. And seeing my books in print and on Amazon is a lot more rewarding than having a pile of manuscripts gathering dust on my shelves.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Prologue - Kimmy

She hid in the dark, like a frightened child. Except that when she’d been a child, she had never had anything to hide from, never had anything to fear. She had been safe.

When she heard his footsteps on the stairs, she lowered herself to the floor and crawled under the bed. He found her, of course, and dragged her out by her ankles. When she tried to hold onto the bedpost, he kicked her wrist until she had to let go.

He got down on the floor with her. Don’t be afraid he said. When he tried to kiss her, she turned her face away, knowing as soon as she did that it was a mistake, wanting to take it back but it was too late, too late.

He started hitting her then. She fought back. He hadn’t expected that and it stopped him for a moment. But when she started to crawl away on her hands and knees, he caught her easily.

Prologue - Matthew

It came out of nowhere. Totally unexpected, unimaginable. Maybe if he had had even a little doubt, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But there it was, one moment everything was just as he believed it was. The next, it was all turned around. Five words that changed his world forever. And as bad as it was, it would become even worse although he couldn’t have imagined it at the time.

She followed him through the house, crying, begging, but he shut her out, shook off her hands that tried to hold onto him.

He pulled a big suitcase down from a closet shelf and threw her clothes into it, as much as would fit. Then he dragged it and her to the front door. He threw the suitcase onto the porch and pushed her out after it. He closed his ears to her pleas, locked the door and when she called out from the other side, he answered coldly “Go somewhere they care”.

Then he turned out the lights and went and lay on their bed, staring up at the ceiling.

!7 Days is a road movie but the road is a river and each day of the journey brings a new encounter with outlaw Bikers and Deadheads, an Elvis impersonator and a wild pig, a man who fell in love with his own wife, and Paco and his Coyotes, among others. All have their own small stories filled with love and laughter, tears, and adventure.

Kimmy and Matthew are people profoundly damaged by their pasts, coming to know and to love each other as they share a canoe and try to live a lifetime in just a few days. The two become three when they rescue the little dog Tachi, an act that leads to a confrontation with a trio of deadly Asians.

I dreamed this story on my own trip down the Colorado. The half Maori Kimmy, a free spirit whose mother taught her that she is a warrior and the Lakota Matthew who learns from her to let go of his pain and live again could never have imagined how far the river would take them in 17 Days.

17 Days is available at in both a Kindle and a print edition.


In The Delta, the first book in the Delta mystery series has been published and is now available on in both a print and a Kindle edition.

Here's a taste of In The Delta:

Back in the sloughs, the darkness was absolute. All her life, she’d heard the expression it was so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, but she’d never experienced it till that moment. She crouched in the reeds, feeling mud and water oozing into her shoes. It was quiet too, so quiet, until the footsteps on the trail above her. She experienced one moment of terror until she remembered that she wasn’t alone. Peter was there, right beside her. She could hear him breathing. She turned toward him and put her finger to her lips, but then she realized he couldn’t see her in the dark, so she put her hand over his mouth, in warning. His breath was warm on her hand. Then she heard a voice, just above them, calling her name, softly, so softly “Angel? Where are you, Angel?”

A girl named Angel and the boy she loves vanish from a dark and lonely place called Lost Slough. Their disappearance attracts little attention when it’s assumed they’ve simply moved on. But for Angel’s friend, LAPD Officer Jessie, a 4-month old Missing Persons Poster turns a houseboat vacation in the California Delta into a desperate search for the couple or their killer - a search that leads Jessie to the Chinese community of Locke and a bar called Al’s Place where she meets the Lakota, Nick Red Cloud. Their erotic attraction for each other catches fire in a heartbeat and grows in intensity as they explore the Delta together by boat and on horseback. While Nick and Jessie’s love for each other grows stronger, Angel’s story plays out in flashbacks… Until, at last, Jessie discovers the terrible truth of what really happened on the banks of Lost Slough.

Amazon provides Look Inside the Book which allows you to browze the book and see if it's to your taste.