The Lullaby Effect of Carter & Lovecraft versus When Nietzsche Wept

I’m only a so-so fan of HP Lovecraft. I guess I’ve read as much of him as I have more out of a sense of allegiance to the horror genre than a sense of loyalty to his literary acuity.

Which is why I was somewhat surprised when I found myself selecting Jonathan L. Howard’s CARTER & LOVECRAFT the other night when cruising my Overdrive app looking for an audiobook fix for which to fall asleep to…

Which, to me, is the primary purpose of audiobooks – literary lullabies.

And most of the audiobooks I listen to do a great job of it.

In fact, they do such a great job of it that most audiobooks I listen to, I don’t finish because each night I always have to go back to the last point in the book I can remember before drifting off to sleep the night before, which is, more often than not, only a minute or two after I started listening.

And the books I do manage to get through before the loan ends I often only remember in sketchy patches.

The last audiobook I checked out before CARTER & LOVECRAFT was Irvin D. Yalom’s WHEN NIETZSCHE WEPT: A NOVEL OF OBSESSION.

I picked the book because I loved the premise: some dude analyzing Nietzsche. Awesomeness.

It starts out strong, even has a cameo with a young Sigmund Freud. But, with each passing night, it began to drag on more and more and I found myself falling asleep faster and faster, which, while not good for my literary needs, is a boon for my physiological ones.

But it’s not just the author’s fault that his or her book literally puts me to sleep. The reader’s ability and voice is nearly just as critical to the evolution.

The reader for CARTER & LOVECRAFT is Ari Fliakos. He’s perfect for Carter, the book’s gumshoe narrator and he rocks it… and he just happens to be Audible’s 2017 Narrator of the Year. So yeah, Fliakos’ award-winning voice probably has something to do with the fact that, since I’ve started listening to C&L, I’ve been listening much more and sleeping much less.

The narrator for WHEN NIETZSCHE WEPT is Paul Michael Garcia and he’s pretty good, too. But he’s nowhere near as good in WNW as Fliakos is in C&L. My biggest problem with Garcia’s narration is that he makes Nietzsche sound very effeminate. Now, I know Nietzsche wasn’t the most manly of men, plus he had his health issues, but how Garcia read him was a distraction for me… and pretty much a sleep sedative.

Come to find out, Garcia might have been on the mark with his Nietzsche voice acting, though, at least according to a bunch of nerds who scraped together some of Nietzsche’s DNA and put together what they say is a prediction of what he sounded like.

Not that it matters (except in keeping me awake at night), but his writing is much more masculine than his voice.


Back to C&E…

Yes, it is good, genius, in fact, as is evident by the dark circles under my eyes.

It is a superior mashup of a Dashiell Hammett hardboiled gumshoe vibe and HP Lovecraft creepy horror vibe.

It’s one of those rare audiobooks finds that I like so much I spend time listening to it during the day.

I could try to explain to you what it’s about but, I’m sleepy from… lack of sleep so, if you’re interested, forgive my laziness and just check out its book description at Amazon or other fine bookstores everywhere.



Writing Advice from Questionable Characters

“Hell, man, I know very well you didn’t come to me only to want to become a writer and after all what do I really know about it except you’ve got to stick to it with all the energy of a benny* addict.”
  ~ Dean Moriarty from ON THE ROAD

Neal Cassady, the inspiration for the Dean Moriarty character, with Jack Kerouac – WIKIPEDIA



*Benzedrine, the trademark name for Amphetamine.


What’s My Name, Again?

And here I thought it was going to be such a dramatic hassle to change the name of my novel from The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor to Inside the Skin.

I mean, I’ve been wanting to change it for quite a while now but kept putting it off thinking it would take a grand act of our dysfunctional Congress for it to happen.

But guess what?

Yup, you guessed it… it was a delicious piece of cake.

Seriously, for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), all I had to do was go in and edit the book details to reflect the new name. Same for Smashwords, the service I use to distribute my books beyond Amazon.

For the paperback, there was a bit more work involved. I published it through CreateSpace and, because of the IBSN requirements, they do not allow name changes and your only recourse it to contact their support team for help.

Which I did.

And the woman who helped me was awesome, thankfully.

My choices were limited, however, which is to say, I only had one. I could unpublish/retire the old version of the book and then publish a whole new version. Once it went live, I would have to call back and have them link the print edition with the Kindle edition. Which I was prepared to do.

But then I asked a question somewhat off-topic.

I noticed a few weeks ago that my links pointing directly to my books at CreateSpace were being redirected to Amazon, so I asked the support lady about this. Come to find out, Amazon is merging all CreateSpace services within KDP. So I asked her if, since that would be happening soon, wouldn’t it be best if I use the new print service (that I noticed for the first time when I changed the Kindle title) that is now offered by KDP.

And she agreed, that def would be the best option since, once the print edition went live (which it now is), it would automatically be linked to the Kindle edition (which it now… is not (the nice CreateSpace support lady said it would take a few days for this to happen)).

Pretty cool.

So, the name change was the easy part.

The less than easy part was getting all the content spiffed up – front matter updated, new intro, new outro, et cetera, et cetera…

And the even more less than easy part was preparing the new book cover and getting it properly formatted and uploaded properly…

It wasn’t so much of a hassle with the Kindle and Smashwords editions, but it took some significant jiggering with the print edition.

However, I prevailed in the end and now everything is up and running (except at Smashwords… it takes them forever to approve books/changes and distribute them to all the retailers).

So, yeah…

It wasn’t a five minute project, that’s for sure…

But it wasn’t the project from Hades that I expected either.

Yeah, I know this Blink song is called “What’s my Age Again?” not “What’s my Name Again?” but just go with it, okay. This song’s been stuck in my head the entire time I’ve been working on the name change… but, of course, I’ve been singing it as What’s my name again?

Because that’s how I roll…







Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
          #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Psychological
          #6 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
          #12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological

*Only the ebook edition is available and, currently, only at Amazon. It will be several days before the ebook rolls out to other retailers and before the print edition is made available.


It is with a Heavy Heart that I Bid a Sad Adieu

I came up with the title of my novel, The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, early on in its development and I have grown to love it as I have any other part of my existence, such as my left pinkie finger, my crooked nose, my restless and weary soul. However, after seven years since the book’s publishing, and despite the fond things that have been said and written about the story (and a few not-so fond things), I’m afraid it’s time for me to admit that my beloved title and book cover have failed in their efforts to attract new and varied readers.

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor

Well, regardless whether it’s the fault of the title and cover or not, it had become glaringly evident to me a long while ago that some serious shaking up with the book was needed. It took me a while, but it has finally come time for the shaking to begin.

My rationale for changing the title – and the book cover, as well – is based upon a gut feeling I’ve had since not too long after the book was published: They were both too navy-centric in their words and imagery, which I suspect have turned off many readers who don’t prefer the military genre, a genre which I have never identified this book to be. I’ve always classified it as literary fiction and a psychological suspense novel.

While the story is certainly set within a military environment – a laid-up warship homeported out of Yokosuka, Japan – its story is not necessarily a military one. It, like most stories written from and of the soul, is a universal story. It is a story about our prejudices, our stereotypes, our identity. The stuff all humans struggle with frequently, regardless the setting they happen to be in.

As it is, the old title and the old book cover essentially scream to prospective readers that this is a military-centric book, and only that.

That being said, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the new title and the new cover for my old novel.


The new title, Inside the Skin, which is also the title of the story’s second chapter, is derived from the saying inside the skin of the ship, which is navy-speak for simply being or going inside the ship. But seeing how the story’s focus is on one’s identity and sexual orientation, the saying also makes a good metaphor for those themes, as well. We are who we are on the inside, regardless how anyone else wants to label us. As many of us know, one of the main aspects, and sometimes the hardest, of our journey through life is trying to find comfort within our own skin.

As for the book cover, I chose the image firstly because I think it looks cool. I also like how the chain link imagery speaks to the theme of the book – we are trapped within who we are whether we like it or not. It also reminds me of how sometimes it felt like being in a prison when out to sea for long periods of time. The amazing image used for the book cover comes courtesy of Ricardo Gomez Angel of UNSPLASH.COM. If you’d like, you can see it in its original form here. The font, “GOOD TIMES REGULAR,” is courtesy of Raymond Larabie of 1001FONTS.COM and can be seen here.

There is still some work for me to do – new ISBNs, updating the front matter, et cetera – so it will take several days before I begin to initiate the updates to all the various distributors, so you still have some time to get you a copy of the print edition with the old cover.

Hey, never know. It may be worth some money some day…

Fingers crossed.

I guess I should add that I’ve made the ebook version permanently free everywhere (at least for the indefinite future). You can find links to all the various retailers on its About page.

Anyway, regardless whether or not you think the new title intriguing or the new book cover snazzy, I hope you find the story enjoyable because that is what matters most to me.