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.

INSIDE THE SKIN BOOK COVER

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.

GET YOUR FREE COPY!
 
 

Advertisements

NEW RELEASE

LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter

I’m happy to announce the release of my fifth book, a short story collection entitled: LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter.

Within the collection, there are 30 stories new and old. Some are short in length as are traditional short stories, and some are shorter in length, as are the more contemporary flash fiction stories. Some were written as recently as this past winter; others, as long ago as the early ’90s. Many have been published previously on my website and other places, but there are several new stories that have not yet been released until now.

Continue reading “NEW RELEASE”

The Irrepressible Nature of Irony*

Or, Nothing Is As It Appears To Be

If you were to do a search on my site for the word “irony” — and why would you? — but, if you were to, of the ten results you would receive, the first three would have the word “irony” in their heading, so it’s easy to see why they would be pulled up in the search; but as far as the other seven, it’s been so long since they were written that I have no clue why they were pulled in with the results, except for maybe the eighth one: it’s a post about Radiohead allowing fans to pay whatever they want for their latest release at the time. There’s probably a decent amount of irony to be found in that one.

Anyway, of the first three positively ironic posts pulled in the search, they are:
Continue reading “The Irrepressible Nature of Irony*”

Fans of Albert Camus are so absurd

Yeah, so call me absurd…

Anyway, as happens with my other such favorite influential authors — Kafka, Vonnegut, Melville, Hemingway, London, Conrad… (I know, I know. This list is very male and very white… I’m working on that. I promise.) — I, like clockwork, begin jonesin’ for a Camus fix at least once a year.

Right now I’m in the midst of satisfying my most recent Camus craving by plowing through several of my perennial favorites of his — The Stranger, The Plague, and The Fall.

However, yesterday I began reading for the first time a short story collection of his called Exile and the Kingdom, and I’m saddened and a bit embarrassed to report to you that, after three stories in, I really don’t have a clue what’s going on in any of them. They, after the first read, just don’t make any sense to me. Hopefully they will after subsequent reads.

But I gotta tell ya…
Continue reading “Fans of Albert Camus are so absurd”

Slowing Down the Synapses

Or, Speeding Up the Reviews

Not the primary reason but one of the reasons I decided back in April to take a hiatus from the web was because I wanted to give my brain a break from all the nonsensical chatter that was cluttering it so.

I have been having what I collectively call chemo brain issues for quite some time so I thought it may do me some good to lay off for a while all the hyper-clicking and attention-span deflating skim-reading that the web so sweetly and successfully induces us into doing and which studies have told us is altering our brain and its ability to focus on and process information.

To counter what seemed to me to be my lack of focus and ability to process effectively process information (perhaps less a result from all my web time and more a result from all the chemo and prednisone I used to be strung out on years ago (and, in the case of chemo, which I still take daily dose addiction of)), I decided to turned off the web for a while.

Which, for the most part, I did surprisingly enough.

To fill the time I no longer spent on the web, much of which had been dedicated to this blog, I mobilized the pen and cracked open the books pretty hard.

Continue reading “Slowing Down the Synapses”

Is Writing Hard for Everyone or Just Me?

IMAGE COURTESY OF 99DESIGNS.COM

Hey! What’s up?! Long time no speak. Everyone surviving these bizarre times okay?

I must admit that I have grown accustomed to not blogging or socializing on the internet these past several months. Not that I haven’t missed you, it’s just nice to be engaged so heavily in the really real as opposed to the virtually real.

Well, I guess not all my time has been spent in the real real. Much of it has been spent in the imagined real as I’ve been chugging along on a new book.

Yes, I think I’ve finally found a novel-length story with lasting appeal, at least to me, that I may be able to bring to an end instead of just starting and sputtering out like so many others.

Which is why I’ve come to you today…

Continue reading “Is Writing Hard for Everyone or Just Me?”

A Guest Post by Author Larry Kahaner

READ KURT’S FIVE-STAR REVIEW OF LARRY’S THRILLER: USA, INC.
 
 

GREED AND THE CONSTITUTION
A Novel Pair

By Larry Kahaner

 

I enjoy writing about greed.

It’s an emotion that intrigues me because I’m not a greedy person, so I’m fascinated by those who are. I want to understand it, and, for me, this means writing about it. In the course of writing I see all sides, and most, if not all of the ramifications.

I’m in a perfect position to do this because I’ve been a business journalist and reporter for about 30 years. I’ve written about 20 books, some under my own name, and others were ghostwritten. I’ve worked in newspapers, magazines, newsletters, the web… you name it. I’m also a licensed private investigator and one of my niches was cult investigations. These groups are almost always headed by a greedy son-of-a-bitch.

First, let’s define greed. It’s when you have more than enough money, power, whatever gets you excited, but you want more. It’s more than you could ever use, enjoy or hope to maintain by yourself. Does greed lead to immoral behavior? Well, you could argue that greed itself is immoral, to which I agree, but more often than not, greed often becomes an obsession that can no longer be quenched through legal or moral activity.

Why?

Continue reading “A Guest Post by Author Larry Kahaner”

A First-Rate Fish Tale of a Thriller: USA, Inc. – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | THRILLER
USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1)
by Larry Kahaner

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
 

When acclaimed and prolific author, investigative journalist, and private investigator Larry Kahaner reached out to me to see if I would be interested in receiving a copy of his latest thriller, USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1), I was at first skeptical, for the last two books that I read that were pitched to me as “thrillers” – one which I reviewed here and, the other, because I won’t review here any book that I cannot honestly give at least a Three-Star rating, I wouldn’t review – turned out to be less like thrillers and more like romance novels.

However, I was intrigued by Larry’s proposal after checking out his impressive bio; and then, after reading the book’s synopsis and preview, I was hooked, completely, and quickly wrote back to him to accept his kind offer.

And I’m truly grateful that I did because I found in Larry’s book a Five-Star Story that is fresh, fast, topical, and, yes, quite thrilling to read.

Literary fiction is my natural space for my literary endeavors; mostly, because I find they instruct me about life in ways foreign or less apparent to my way of living and thinking, often while set in surreal, nightmarish environments completely alien to my own. And the literature I like best (Kafka) instructs without the pedantry (Dickens) and overbearing, lifelike details (Balzac) that I look to literature to escape from in the first place…and which I too often find in genre fiction.
Continue reading “A First-Rate Fish Tale of a Thriller: USA, Inc. – A Review”

Any Fans?

House of Leaves

 

Been wanting to read this for a long time but now that I finally have it…

I find its presence rather… intimidating.
 

#prayforthetimidreaders

 

 

“Post-apocalyptic fiction has been moved to our current affairs section”

HEROES OF DYSTOPIA
HEROES OF DYSTOPIA

I wish I were smart enough to be able to claim this post’s eye/brain-catching headline as my own. But, alas, I cannot because I got it from this read-worthy #longread of an article written by John Feffer, a journalist and author who, with his read-worthy article, attempts to (in subtle sublimity) — and in my view does — make the case of why we should purchase his new near-future dystopian novel which spookily mirrors the current dystopic, Trumpian events of today, and who, Feffer, got it, the headline, from a friend on facebook in the form of a viral photo of a sign in front of bookstore in Boston.

A whole lotta fortuitous and fast-moving mechanics behind that headline up there, wouldn’t you agree?

To paraphrase/abuse a popular insurance company commercial from several years past that was trying to get us to fork over the beans for their coverage so we would be covered/prepared for any disastrous potentiality…

Continue reading ““Post-apocalyptic fiction has been moved to our current affairs section””

So, it looks like “The Industry” is finally beginning to figure out this Snapchat thing…

snapchat

I began a quest a while back to understand how Indie Authors such as myself can leverage the seemingly incomprehensible (at least to an old dud like me) yet immensely popular messaging app called Snapchat.

To be honest, I gave up any hope of me ever using the app as part of my publishing platform right after giving it a very brief whirl of a befuddling go during the time I wrote the first post it.

However, I haven’t given up on trying to understand how it and other apps like it can help others promote their work, especially the younger Indie Authors who best fit the apps’ demographic. So, I’ve kept my eye open for anything relatively relative about it…

Continue reading “So, it looks like “The Industry” is finally beginning to figure out this Snapchat thing…”

Why Write, Dammit?!

The Writing Hand

I’m not a very good writer, by which I don’t only mean it in regards to what I’ve written, but also and mostly to how I’ve written.

The act of writing pains me and I’ll pretty much do anything mostly legal I can to get myself out of it. I guess the best way to express how I feel about writing is: I don’t like having to write, but I truly love having had written.

But still, I don’t really know why I do feel the need to write except that there is some unidentified force and/or source beyond my reach and comprehension that obliges me to do so.

Continue reading “Why Write, Dammit?!”

COPING with #CANCER?

coping-quote

Hey! How about that?!

Our good friends over at COPING With Cancer magazine featured an excerpt from my little book HOW NOT TO DIE: In 13 Easy Steps in their recent edition.

Pretty cool, no?

Yes, indeed.

You can learn more about the magazine and all the good folks there doing God’s work here.

You can learn more about my book here.

You can check out the post the book was inspired by here.

And you can learn how I feel about pink as the color of cancer here.

#cancerisjustastateofmind
#peace