Satisfied readers. I love this.

Just want you to know our vacation was a family vacation and hubby and I had less down time than usual. He is 1/2 through the book and enjoying 🙂 He is away on business again next week, so by 2 weeks he should complete it and send you a review.

I shared the book with my dad…a retired NYS investigator and he breezed through it and enjoyed. He was reading it on the plane on our way to Mexico with us…lol. He is not the type to give a review, but I will say he gave the first book a thumbs up and he intends on reading book #2. The feedback I got was
1. He likes it
2. It is very detailed and good
3. He was surprised it turned into a sci-fi it surprised him

My Dad is an avid reader which surprises many if you ever met him…lol. Very much into crime/thrillers so for him to like I say kudos to you! Again sorry hubby is dragging a bit, but he will follow through or I will kill him…lol. Have a great weekend.

Purrs & Peace,


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‪#‎yournextfavoriteauthor It’s Been a While

It’s been about 9 months since I put anything here, putting together you own author site can do that to old friends., that is the url of where I’ve been for most of the past year. Writing can be very cathartic, and somewhat addictive, at least that has been my experience. Sometimes it feels as if all I am doing is putting down a story I’m being told via my imagination. It can become so real that I almost hear the dialogue I’m typing as a conversation. That is what happens when the world you create becomes more real to you than the one you stub you toe in.

I just finished the sixth volume of the Tony Mandolin mystery series. It is what is called Supernatural Fiction, not fantasy. Fantasy is what the Milward Chronicles are all about, castles, maidens, wizards, dragons, swords and sorcery. The Tony Mandolin mysteries happen in San Francisco… today’s San Francisco, complete with all of its wierdness, beaty and disgusting ugliness. Nope, your basic high fantasy does not have streetcars and handguns. It’s also nowhere near as much fun to write.

Go ahead, click on the URL. You know you want to…

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Spreading the word

Tony Mandolin portrait Probably the toughest thing for an author without a high-powered publicity agency and/or unlimited disposable cash to accomplish is getting recognition. Sometimes it may feel as if the universe is actively working to shield the reading public from your work. This, of course, is silly, but there is certainly an oddity in who gets recognized and who does not. I have personally read stories that should have been best sellers but were as obscure as the dark side of the moon, and I have watched literal junk being praised as a “fresh new voice”. Frankly, a rehash of expletive-laden cliches is neither fresh nor new. So what to do?

In today’s world there are a variety of avenues to put yourself and your efforts out before the public. Social media is one very useful tool, and if you make your pages attractive, easy to navigate, and more than just an advertisement, you have a very good start in doing an end run around those agencies and publisher too stupid to recognize your talent. Remember the all too common story of the several agents and publishers who rejected the first Harry Potter, as well as nearly every other major best seller. They have offices and they have avenues. What they typically do not have is good taste. That seems to be reserved for an unknown number of the reading public.

It used to be, that in order to become published, the aspiring author had to get into print, and that meant printed words on paper bound into an actual book. Not today. In fact, there are more books published for the various reading devices than there are printed onto paper. The Ebook management program, Calibre, is  the best application there is for the creation of a novel into an Ebook. The newer versions of Word will actually create a manuscript complete with chapters that can be navigated in nearly every reader out there.

As for distribution, Amazon is the largest, but not the only bookseller the independent author can make use of. Try typing “ebook seller” into your favorite search engine and see what comes up.

Once you are ready, it is time to build some sort of platform where your readers can be enticed into adding your books into their library. Several online programs help you to create a website. Amazon will even link to your website and give you an author page to boot. Check out my site, I also created pages off my Tony Mandolin Facebook page for the Milward Chronicles and the Tony Mandolin urban fantasy mysteries.  and

Believe me, there is no more satisfying feeling than being able to tell the literary agent who rejected you to take a hike.

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An open letter to Michael Francis Moore.

Mister Moore, you have gone on the record, yet again attacking a man for doing what you excuse by others. Hypocrisy, in any form is distasteful, but you have managed to turn that particular sin into a disgusting art form.

The man you attacked, the late Chris Kyle, obviously an easy target because he has passed away and can therefore pose no danger to you, was a Navy SEAL. For clarity’s sake, I will admit to having been in the US Navy during the later stages of Vietnam. I wound up being placed for corpsman training; others in my company went to the teams for their training. It takes an entirely different makeup for a man to be able to succeed as a SEAL. The man you labeled a coward had to endure what would have dissolved every one of his detractors.

To qualify as a corpsman all one needed to do was display an ability to deal with the human anatomy without throwing up. To qualify as a SEAL you have to display the intelligence required for medical training and the endurance of an Olympic athlete. You, Mister Moore claim to be a writer and a journalist. I have read some of your writing. It appears you did not do well in English class. A SEAL must be able to get his message across in seconds while being thorough. Apparently, to qualify as a journalist all one needs to do is show up occasionally and throw the odd stone.

Now, as to your glaring hypocrisy, Team Member Kyle put up an impressive record of kills. You and Hollywood have attempted to paint this as some form of crime against humanity. My father was a marine sniper in WWII and my brother and I learned much about that skill from him while growing up. A sniper is trained, endlessly to be able to differentiate between viable and unviable targets within a heartbeat. Guaranteed, Mister Moore, every one of Team Member Kyle’s kills was justified and verified as an act that saved American lives. Perhaps it is that saving that upset you.

As a member of the US Navy I had the experience of meeting the occasional SEAL. To a man I respect every one of them, even though there was no doubt we would ever be able to socialize, the personality of a SEAL and a Corpsman are far too different, but you would have no knowledge of that, would you Mister Moore?

A sniper remembers every single kill. They are imprinted upon the brain as images that never dim. That is the price that is paid for doing that duty. Your record shows an entirely different lifestyle, and you blithely attack easily crafted straw men with no thought of what your lies, innuendos and smears do to the families of your victims.

In addition, Team Member Kyle was a hero in a war against an enemy you have yet to denounce for any atrocity. You blamed this country for what happened on 911, tossing aside any thought of compassion for those who were killed by an outrageous act of cowardice by an Islamic lunatic hiding in a cave.

No, Mister Moore, Chris Kyle was something you will never be, an American Hero and a respected family man. He rests in peace. You rest on laurels you never earned.

Robert Lee Beers

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Literary Agents as Idiots

I was running over a several considerations the other day and came to the unshakable conclusion that I have yet to find a single literary agent capable of functioning in polite society, much less competent to do little more than sweep up after hours in a warehouse store.

My reasoning is based on this, most of the new best-selling authors have been mistakes. If their agent had not either been tricked into taking the author on or had decided to try something new on a wild hare one day we would not have the Dresden Files, Harry Potter or several other series picked up because the agent thought they were selling something else but instead managed to stumble on to a treasure.

In other ways, series that are selling now are doing so because they are a sexed up version of what went before. The chief complaints about classics such as the Lord of the Rings, the Pern novels and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books all revolve around them not “being edgy enough”, meaning the books are not R rated. In most cases this means the authors are talented enough to create engaging prose without resorting to overt sex, foul language or graphic blood and gore. In literary agent language this means such writing as that done by the afore-mentioned New York Times Best-selling Authors was not “fresh”. In real world terms this means the literary agents have no taste, and probably no life outside of their cubicle.

The other day I finished reading an eBook copy of a new noir fantasy entitled Strange Magic by the new author James Hunter. It is the debut novel in the Yancy Lazarus series and would fit very nicely on the bookshelf of anyone who likes the writings of Jim Butcher. And therein lies Mister Hunter’s problem, He has written a very good yarn, but it is within the realm of a bestselling author’s work . Rather than capitalize on the growing appetite readers have for such things, I mean, how many books can a writer put out in a year, the agencies cut off the flow of new material because, “the market is crowded”. No, it isn’t crowded. That just means you snapped up a half dozen works by hacks that aren’t selling, so now you won’t even look for anything else.

Like I said, idiots.

Because I am a fantasy author this is centering around that genre, but the truism holds across all genres. Literary agents are lazy, go-for-nothing idiots who give pimps a bad name. I won’t take the allusion any further, thank you. When an author does break through, most often being discovered quite by accident by a publisher, the agents immediately begin rifling through their slush piles hoping to find a close enough copy to the new best seller, but even there they miss the boat. Raise hands all who are sick to death of young vampires in lust stories. The agents call those steaming piles of poo “urban fantasy” and therefore any new story that actually is a fresh look in a contemporary setting is promptly labeled urban fantasy and dumped onto the slush pile. Strange Magic is an example.

The genre most often mislabeled as urban fantasy is noir fantasy such as The Dresden Files, Glen Cook’s Garrett Files, my own Tony Mandolin Mysteries, Simon Greens Drood and Nightside stories and now the Yancy Lazarus yarns. Every one of them written in the same sort of first person prose invented by Rex Stout for his Nero Wolfe mysteries, and about as far from young vampires in lust as you can find. Mister Butcher actually had to sneak in to a literary convention to get noticed. Need we say any more?

Well, we are. I’m closing with this, the term Noir Fantasy is of my coinage. Before I gave it to my publisher the genre did not exist. Here’s hoping a few agents wake up their remaining single brain cell and notice the public wants a lot more of that genre. I’m not holding my breath.

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Ramblings and a Sample

The other day I was sent a copy of a to be published Urban Fantasy by James Hunter entitled Strange Magic. Now I get a lot of offerings and most of them have far more enthusiasm than ability, but James has talent. His voice is engaging, his characters well fleshed out and there is just enough of the old Rex Stout style of PI Grit in the prose to keep the pages turning. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, which perplexes me. Not a single publisher or agent was willing to give him a shot so he is self-publishing.

I will bet serious money and have the contract notarized that not one of those mamby-pamby agents or publishers even bothered opening the file. More than likely they saw the title and the genre and said, “We already have a lot of urban fantasy on our lists now, it isn’t selling all that well so we’ll pass.” That’s laziness, not business and there is no excuse for it. Jim Butchers first Harry Dresden novel was turned down in much the same way. He wound up jumping the line at a literary convention and forced a read. The same woman who turned him down (she never read the original submission either, though she says she did. Liar.) and he rapidly became their top seller. This story is repeated nearly every time an author who is turned down just because they are in a crowd. You would think the publishing industry would learn, but apparently they are incapable of doing so. I do know I have yet to meet one with more than a room temperature warm IQ…

Here is the opening to Strange Magic:

The piano keys bobbed and danced under the pressure of my fingers. Music—low, slow, and soulful—drifted through the club, merging and twirling with wandering clouds of blue-gray smoke. So many places have no-smoking laws these days, it seems like there’s nowhere in the country where a guy can take a drag from a cigarette in peace. Everyone is so worried about their health, they make damn sure you stay healthy by proxy.

Not Nick’s Smoke House, though. Nick’s—like some rare, near extinct animal—is the kind of bar where you can die unmolested by laws or ordinances. You can burn yourself up with cancer, drown yourself into liver failure, or binge on a plate of ribs until a heart attack takes you cold, and no one will say boo. And you can die to music here: the beautiful, lonely, brassy beats, of the like only ever found in New Orleans.

The house band was on a break, so I sat thumping out an old Ray Charles tune in the interim while I watched the man standing off stage in a pool of inky shadow.

I’d never met the guy before, but I instinctively knew he was looking for me, or rather The Fixer—a shitty alias I’ve been trying to ditch for years. It was in the way he stood: chest forward, back straight, arms crossed, chin outthrust. He was a man used to intimidating others, used to being obeyed. In short, he was a thug. A thug sporting an expensive suit, a three-thousand dollar watch, and a pair of loafers that probably cost more than most people paid on rent. At the end of the day though, he was still just a thug—somebody else’s trained pit-bull.

I don’t know why, but thugs are always looking for The Fixer. Either they got something that needs fixing or they’re looking to fix me. I didn’t know whether this guy wanted option A or option B, but I figured he’d get around to it in his own sweet time. So, instead of tipping my hand prematurely, I continued to pound out melodies on the black and whites. My Ray Charles faded out and I started up a gritty, ambling, version of Meade “Lux” Lewis’ famous “Honky Tonk Train Blues.”

My left hand hammered out the thudding, rhythmic, rock-steady pulse of a driving train, pushing its bulk across the rolling open space of some forgotten Midwest wilderness; the bass notes offered a mimicry of the ebb and flow of pumping gears. My right hand flitted across the keys, touching down here and there, sending up a rusty whistle blowing in the night. The dusty clatter of track switches being thrown. The braying of hounds, while bullyboys searched for stowaways. If there was ever a song to make a man dance his way onto the box car of a rolling train it was this funky ol’ honkytonk rhythm.

I let the beat roll on, hoping the thug would hop and jive his way right out of Nick’s Smoke House and out of my life, no harm, no foul. Though a whole helluva lot a people think of me as The Fixer, really I’m just an old rambler trying to get by and enjoy the time I have on this spinning little mud ball. All I wanted was for this overdressed clown to walk away and leave me be.

The book comes out next month. It’s worth a read

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When To Stop Writing

Unless you happen to one of the very rare successful full time authors, there comes a time when you should consider putting down the keyboard and picking up another hobby. Believe me, being able to put down your imaginations into novel form and have other people want to read it in enough numbers to allow you to do it full time is far rarer than a successful artist, musician, actor, or athlete.

A few of the signs that this may be the time is the very conspicuous zero on the comment indicator on your blog postings. With an average potential readership of over one hundred million at any given time, a zero is a good indicator that either what you are writing is crap, or someone up there has no interest at all in seeing you succeed. Another one is the cooling of the honeymoon with your publisher, if you have one. Sure, those early days were fine and you were inspired by the replies to your questions or suggestions, but now…the only answer you get is the sound of the lone cricket in the corner. You can’t blame them, you aren’t making them any money, more than likely. The sure sign is the one where you can’t even give the books away. Most ebook markets allow you to offer your writing for free, most for a limited time, but fee is free. If no one even wants to turn a page for free, I’d say that’s a pretty decent sign of time to move on.

“But, but maybe I’m not giving them enough time!”

(Sound of the error buzzer) Wrong! If Amazon can take an order and get it on to your doorstep the next day, even if you are in remote Alaska, anyone, including someone working 16 hours a day can take the 30 seconds needed to reply to an email. Face it friend, you are no longer a priority.

“But, I want to write!”

Then do so, just don’t frustrate yourself by attempting to continue to sell what people do not want or bother posting what no one will read. Some hobbies ae just for your own pleasure and it is very liberating to drop the weight of impotent desire.


A good question. The best way is to give yourself a deadline. For myself, it is the end of this year. This blog will go away on January 1, 2015 unless a comment, or two or three is seen. I figure several years is more than enough. We will see. And by the way, having to pay for exposure on the internet is just insulting, if not downright unethical.

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Galtru The Dwarf

The title of this is the working title for a new series I have in mind. In looking around I can only find one series of books that have dwarves as the central characters, and that series is from Germany. Even though well-written there is much in the books that is old news, dwarves are courageous and somewhat bloodthirsty. Yes, and Tolkien established that back in the 1930’s. There must be another way to look at that race.

Because this is the age of plagiarism, I am declaring my intentions here and if someone else comes out with the book before I am published we will know who had the idea first.

Imagine a book that begins with village life in a dwarf settlement where the work a day existence of the race is explored in detail. The reader learns of their art, their jokes, their culture, why certain things are done and others are not done, at least not by any decent dwarf. What makes a dwarf warrior, a merchant, is there a difference? How doe a dwarf artisan do what they do and why? And most of all, what is their relationship with the other races and why?

I believe this can be written in such a way that it not only comes across as a cracking good story, but also as a treatise on an imagined race that nearly every other fantasy author has skimmed over.

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Dealing with diety in fantasy

Fans of the show Supernatural will be the first to tell you the writers of the show don’t do much with God outside of allusions to the fact that the creator may still be “out there somewhere”. As a writer I find that approach to be both self-serving and rather cowardly. In a series ostensibly based on Judeo Christian mythology, to leave out the two most powerful personages, God the Father and Jesus from the narrative is like leaving the cumin out of a batch of chili. All you have then is ruined spaghetti sauce.

Well, one of the nice things about being a writer is being able to see the mistakes of others and do something about them in your work. Book 5 in the Tony Mandolin Mysteries, Luck Stiff has a very definite appearance by Jesus himself, also the Devil, and angel or two plus a few other personages from myth and folklore. As to how they are dealt with in the narrative is for you to find out. I’ll just put one clue down here, if you are an atheist activist, you will be outraged and highly insulted—intentionally.

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Making You Magic Logical

Check out any fantasy story, whether it be a multi-volume epic or a three-page short, somewhere in its prose is the use of magic. What makes or breaks the fantasy from that angle is the logic of the magic.

Now that may seem to be an illogical turn of phrase in and of itself, but in order to work in a story, magic, if used must be logical. Human beings, even the writers of fantasy are at their core logical. Not in the Mister Spock sense, but more in the Doctor McCoy sense. We don’t mind a little illogic as long as it makes sense.

In order to fill that need, the system of magic you build must have its own laws. Certain actions must have results that make sense. The use of power has to have some sort of consequence, and sometimes, the greater the consequence the better the story.

One very good way to develop this is to consider your magic user, be they a being of power, wizard, sorcerer or witch, to be a type of athlete. As with any sport or athletic contest some will be better or stronger than another. In many sports it is not the power but the skill that prevails, and the skill is based on practice.

Consider that when you next write.

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