The Boom Effect Auction, Feb. 27

Let me start with a mea culpa (see how sophisticated I sound when I speak in Latin?) for the dearth of podcasting activity of late. It is my plan and hope to develop some quality content and get back to a regular release schedule soon. Those of you who are sticking with me, I appreciate you deeply. As some of you may know, Purgatory went live on in mid-December. I’m thrilled with the response so far — as I write this, episode 1 has been downloaded 1,166 times and the final episode has been downloaded 539 times since its release two weeks ago. When I started writing my little book about the afterlife, I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in it. That over 500 people who are not my mom have liked it enough to stick around to the end is enough to make me walk on clouds.

And Purgatory is actually part of the reason for this blog post. Those of you who listen to a lot of podiobooks and are involved with the podcasting community are well familiar with the story I’m going to relay in the next couple of paragraphs, so feel free to skip ahead. However, some of you know this site only because you know me or because a friend gave you a CD of either Acts of Desperation or Purgatory, so this is fresh news to you.

Most of us in the podcast fiction community owe a debt in one way or another to Tee Morris, the guy who first podcasted a novel he had previously published. Tee has written two novels in the Morevi series — Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana and Legacy of Morevi. As Dragon Moon Press was readying Legacy of Morevi for publication, Tee discovered podcasting and decided to give away a free, serialized podcast of the first book as a way to promote the second (to paraphrase Tee, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”) He recorded an abridged version of the 534 page book and blazed a trail for me and dozens of other aspiring authors. Soon, Scott Sigler and Mark Jeffrey jumped in with podcasts of their unpublished novels, and the podiobook was born.

Tee subsequently co-founded, launched an immensely helpful podcast for writers called The Survival Guide To Writing Fantasy, produced a Parsec Award winning unabridged podcast of his print novel Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword with a full cast of actors performing the voices, re-recorded Morevi (this time unabridged and with a full voice cast), guest starred in more podcast novels than I have time to count, and generally helped out virtually everyone who asked him. He also co-authored Podcasting for Dummies, Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and wrote All a Twitter, Sam’s Teach Yourself Twitter in 10 Minutes, and The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant: A Billibub Baddings Mystery (a sequel to The Case of the Singing Sword.) During all this, he grappled with a prolonged search for permanent employment while still very generously giving his time to other podcast authors. When I first released Acts of Desperation as a podcast and was fretting about the low audience numbers I was getting, Tee chatted with me on Skype and talked me off the window ledge. I had the pleasure of spending time with him at Balticon last year and on one of my business trips to Washington.

On January 5 of this year, Tee’s wife Natalie died very suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving him as the single father of a five year-old girl who’d just lost her mom. The response of the podcasting community, led by the amazing Pip Ballantine, has made me proud to call myself a part of it. Pip organized a very successful Chipin fundraiser to help Tee cover the funeral costs, but she didn’t stop there. She dreamed of an internet-based auction where people could bid on all sorts of treasures donated by anyone with an interest, and raise money to start a trust fund for Tee’s daughter, who goes by the code name “Sonic Boom” (to protect her privacy, he avoids using her real name on the ‘Net.)

The result of Pip’s efforts will occur on Saturday, February 27 starting at 10 AM Eastern Standard Time, when The Boom Effect goes live. As of right now, the auction includes 76 lots, though more could come in before starting time. One of them is a rare (that is to say, the only) print copy of Purgatory. It will be autographed by me and by J.R. Blackwell, who took the cover photograph and who has so much talent in so many areas that it’s kind of unfair to us mere mortals. I arranged for to publish the book, and I must say they did an amazing job. If my writing career ever moves beyond the self-publishing stage, I hope the end product looks as good as the one I got from Lulu.

If you enjoyed Purgatory and would like to own the only print copy, please consider bidding on it during The Boom Effect on February 27. Every nickle of your purchase price will go to Sonic Boom’s trust fund; I’m picking up the printing and shipping costs (for shipping within the continental U.S.). And please, take a look at the other auction lots. There is an awful lot of good stuff going up for sale that day; my contribution is one very small part of it.

No amount of money can replace SB’s mom or fill the emotional void left by a wife and mother. It can, however, ease the financial worries that accompany such a traumatic event. To the extent you are able and inclined to buy something next Saturday, I heartily urge you to do so. I know that 2010 has started poorly and that all our concerns have rightly focused on the devastation experienced by some of God’s most vulnerable people in Haiti. None of us involved in The Boom Effect want to take away from anyone’s efforts to help the people there. But if you have the cash to spare and you see something you like for sale in the auction, you would be helping make a little girl’s future a little bit brighter.

Thank you.

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Listen to My Interview on ‘Podioracket’

Brian Rathbone of Podioracket interviewed me a couple of weeks ago. We had a great conversation. Check it out, along with his interviews with Spencer Baum and Starla Huchton.

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Tribute to a Great American Writer

J.D. Salinger passed away a few days ago. Bob Edwards of Sirius/XM Satellite Radio wrote this terrific tribute to him, and I have no words that can say it any better. So, yeah, what he said.

Wonderful things happen to a boy of 11 or 12 or 13. And some of those wonderful things are also awful, confusing and frustrating things. He discovers girls in a new way. He develops (in my case) acne on steroids. And he hears about this really cool book titled The Catcher in the Rye. I grew up in a house that had no books. It took some powerful peer pressure to interest me in a book, but when you’re extremely tall and skinny (at 12, I was 6’ 2” and 150 pounds) with a possibly terminal case of acne—-you long to fit in. So I read J.D. Salinger’s book. How does a Catholic boy in Louisville, Kentucky indentify with Manhattan-born Holden Caulfield? Well, it happened. And it continues to happen for millions of adolescents all over the world. Salinger was writing for adults, but it’s young people—especially 12-year-old boys—who embrace the book and sustain its legend. Transformed by reading “Catcher,” I found Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. I was hooked on Salinger and his Glass family, wondering where I fit among Seymour, Buddy, Boo Boo, Walt, Waker, Zooey and Franny. While the Beats were proclaiming their alienation, Salinger was mainstreaming neurosis, paving the way for Woody Allen. When I exhausted the Salinger output, I longed for more. I found The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, then a biography of my President, JFK, and I was on my way to Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner. Then Henry James, Mellville and Twain. Ultimately, even Tolstoy and Flaubert. Thomas Merton and Thomas Mann. Andre Gide, Albert Camus and Jose Luis Borges. My library grew in this time of the 35-cent Dell paperback. I once had to move to a bigger place to accomodate all my books. Then, last April, my wife of 30 years divorced me and I moved to a condo that had no room for a library of many thousands of books. I donated most of them to American University and miss them very much. But it all started with Jerome David Salinger and his magical book. Critics pounded Salinger and he went into hiding. It’s said that he continued to write, but did not publish. Too bad. I am now 50 years removed from that 12-year-old boy—-but I remember him and his immersion in “Catcher.” Critics may not have high regard for J.D. Salinger, but he got millions of young people to read. Critics also didn’t care for James Michener, but more people learned history from Michener’s novels than they did from the world’s great historians.

Jerry—-can you hear me? I know the critics hammered your books, but I loved them—and so did many millions of others. And I know your peers said you were an egomaniacal womanizing bastard. And it couldn’t have pleased you that your little fling with that young vixen Joyce Maynard ended up with her saying you were a weirdo control freak with sexual problems. And having your daughter trash you in a book and reveal that you drink your own urine was not a Hallmark family moment. But hey, as my ex-wife would tell you, we all have our little flaws. In the end, I conclude that you——and you alone—-are the guy who led me to a richly rewarding lifetime of reading.

Thanks Jer.


via Salinger – Home/Blog – The Bob Edwards Show.

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Beautiful Fool

Take a moment today to remember his legacy…

Listen to “Beautiful Fool” by Kathy Mattea

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Episode #5 – Dressed To Die


This week’s story is a good old-fashioned murder mystery. Detective Mike Olshefski tries to solve the mystery of why the victim put on a special outfit for his murder.  And yes, I know I twice got the title of my own story wrong.


Glitter Girl
Vertigo Media Network

Photo Smoking Gun by Mart
/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This was recorded before the tragic event of January 5. Please consider donating to the fund mentioned in my January 7 blog post.

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New Episode Delayed

I have a new episode of Heartwarming Stories ready to go. However, life intervenes. As many of you know, Natalie Morris, wife of Tee Morris and mother of his daughter “Sonic Boom”, passed away on Wednesday. This is an unfathomable tragedy for Tee, his daughter, and their family.

I can honestly say that I would not be podcasting my fiction were it not for the example and generosity of Tee Morris. In recognition of his loss, my podcast is going dark for a few days. Look for the new episode late this coming weekend.

And, if you have a couple of bucks to spare, there’s a guy and a little girl in Northern Virginia who sure could use some support right now. Please consider giving. God bless.

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Christmas Episode: Strangers on a Train


A young man returning home for the holidays gets more than he anticipated in conversation with a fellow passenger.


I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Third Eye Side Band/Drop-Zone
Chiron Beta Prime by Jonathan Coulton



Photo by Jason Dunn

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Purgatory Episode #14

Purgatory cover final smThe Christmas music of Purgatory and a holiday essay.

Deck the Halls by Doug Boldt
Carol of the Bells by Mano Reza
We Wish You a Merry Christmas by Mano Reza
Lights of Winter by Eddie Biggins
We Three Kings by Derek K. Miller
Auld Lang Syne by Kati Mac

Promo: The Metamor City Podcast

Essay: O Christmas Tree

Background Music: O Christmas Tree by John Stebbe (see also

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Purgatory Episode #14 Delayed

I know the second Purgatory music episode was supposed to hit the feed yesterday. However, life intervened. If all goes according to plan, I will get it out today. Sorry for the delay.

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Thoughts for Thanksgiving Day

Every year at Thanksgiving Day Mass, my church has the following letter read. I’ve come to associate it with Thanksgiving, every bit as much as I do Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant. So, for your contemplation, I give you a version of a letter supposedly written by Chief Seattle to President Millard Fillmore in 1854. Happy Thanksgiving.

“The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each glossy reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness that you would give any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

One thing we know: our God is also your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is to say goodbye to the swift pony and then hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

When the last red man has vanished with this wilderness, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it, as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.

As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.

One thing we know – there is only one God. No man, be he Red man or White man, can be apart. We ARE all brothers after all.”

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