Saturday, December 17, 2011

The End of the Book As We Know It? or, SPECULATIVE JOURNEYS, now available for Kindle

I remember the days when I spent my afternoons in the library, searching through books, selecting a pile to take home, and the looks from the librarian who thought I would never finish them all in two weeks. Many of those libraries are closed now, and the book stores sprung up in the neighborhoods. But within a few short decades, they saw their demise. 

The closing of major book stores leaves a gap in soul. What is to become of the book? The time I've spent browsing, sniffing pages and reading back covers in book stores could be culminated into years. (not to mention gaping at the front covers) For some avid readers and writers, there is no better time, and it is something that could only be understood by others who pursue the same past time. 

Buying a book is easier now. It is only one-click away on Amazon. There is no reason to leave home, or to get off that seat anymore. And I have to admit being able to read in a dark room with a glowing Kindle on my lap has its appeal. I never go anywhere without it. The bag I carry to my child's soccer game, my purse, my brief case--they must all be large enough to carry the Kindle.

SPECULATIVE JOURNEYS: An Anthology of Scifi, Fantasy and other Strange Tales, is an anthology of my previously published short stories that can be found on It is now available in Kindle format for those who don't want to leave their seat in order to buy a book. 

The book is not dying, it never will. But the major publishers have initiated their own downfall, and until they open their eyes and crawl out of their holes, the book will continue to transform.

SPECULATIVE JOURNEYS is now available in Kindle format at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Speculative Journeys: An Anthology of SciFi, Fantasy and other Strange Tales

Short Stories are a hard sell. Not only are there very few markets, but also many of the markets fade in and out of existence faster than my daughter's crushes. It is for the most part a one time deal. Publishers want first time rights. Your story is bought, published for a spell, and then the rights are returned to the author. This makes for a crowded filing cabinet. Very few markets, if any, buy second rights. So, there are two options. The first, you can keep the story in the filing cabinet where nobody will ever read it again, or you can take it upon yourself to republish the stories and increase your readership.

That is why I chose to publish SPECULATIVE JOURNEYS: An Anthology of SciFi, Fantasy and other Strange Tales. Explore the strange and endless possibilities of the future. How desperate will humans become? Where will exploration, science and politics lead us? What will be the warning signs of the end? Regardless of where you go to seek answers, a distant moon, the back streets of a dystopian society, a grave, the stories in SPECULATIVE JOURNEYS will keep you wandering.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Devil and Preston Black, a novel by Jason Jack Miller

Sometimes you read a novel that pierces your heart and hits your gut so hard that you can’t put it down. Jason Jack Miller’s, Appalachian noir fiction novel, The Devil and Preston Black, is that type of book. Miller has a way of glimpsing into the bleakness of the human spirit that makes it real and frighteningly possible. His passion for music, intertwined throughout the story, comes alive with each turn of the page and becomes a character in itself.

The story begins with Preston Black finding an old vinyl LP. Not just any album, but an album with a song named after him. In the small towns of West Virginia, that could hardly be a coincidence. Preston’s world turns upside down as he searches for the lyrics to the song, his father, and the path that will lift him out of his “white trash” world. His journey takes him where the devil herself awaits, spiraling him in a downward path toward failure. Preston’s character is so vivid that I found myself cautioning him, rooting for him, and sometimes crying right along side him. Music is the only thing that can save Preston, but even his Martin D-28 guitar takes a beating. And just when Preston thinks things can’t get any worse, they do.

Regardless if you’re a music enthusiast, thirsty for Appalachian folklore, or simply love good writing, The Devil and Preston Black will enthrall you. Miller puts the reader right there by Preston’s side as the character struggles the torrential rains, heartaches and broken dreams that we all encounter from time to time. But there is a light at the end of Preston’s dark tunnel, and you’ll have to get to that light on your own.

Regardless of what genre you prefer, The Devil and Preston Black is a must read, one you will remember in years to come. Thank you Jason for giving me the opportunity to read this exceptional book.

The Devil and Preston Black is available from and smashwords.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Finding Farber" a short story

In 2005, Steven Hawking, renowned theoretical physicist, proclaimed that black holes emit radiation, which he termed Hawking Radiation. These emitted particles are believed to represent energy/matter that has entered the black hole, been reduced to their elementary particles, and are now leaking back into space. Let's take this one step further. Assume an alien enters the black hole. Would it be possible to harvest the emitted particles and reconstruct the alien?

Sounds complicated, I know, but not so in my world. First you need to find the black hole. Then you need a very high-tech instrument capable of harvesting the particles the moment they leave the black hole (the real catch is not having your particle reaper sucked into the hole during the process). Then you would need to bring the harvested particles back to earth and reconstruct the alien, or if you were lucky the alien would have the know how to reconstruct himself. And all this has to be done in your life time, otherwise you don't get the credit and never publish your results, which is career suicide for an renowned astrophysicist, or any scientist for that matter. Your colleagues would think you were just plain nuts.

The tricky part is reconstructing the entire alien. It takes talent. Sometimes the alien is not entirely whole. That's precisely what happened when Banger Dunn, astrophysicist extraordinaire, found Farber's particles leaking out of a black hole. Farber might have been in bad shape, but his message to Banger shattered Banger's world, and sent Banger on a path on which there was no turning back.

"Finding Farber" can be found in Escape Velocity: The Anthology at in print and kindle formate. Published by Geoff Nelder and Robert Blevins of Seattle Books, Escape Velocity: The Anthology, is a collection of fantastic short stories from authors around the world.

Read "Finding Farber" today and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Coming of Spring, or, The End of the Gloom as We Know It.

Oh, the melting of snow. It is a good sign, although at times it gives us false hopes. In many ways it is hard to say goodbye to the cold, the dark nights, the snow piled high on the edge of the street. Many a fun times has occurred during these wintery days. I can recall, not too long ago in the decades past, when snow served but two purposes: days off school and the making of snow forts. Ahhhh, and a few of you reading may have made them with me. As the years progressed, it were the slopes that allowed the passage of winter to go by happily. As long as skis bound my feet, mittens cradled by hands, powder paved my way, winter was revered and blissful. These things are all still good, but for writers, winters serves a different purpose. It is a time when you are bound to the inside, when those gloomy days and dark nights result in more words on paper than you ever thought possible. Novels are finished, short stories are published, and new ideas are implemented.

It is not the passage of winter that I mourn as much as the comfort of those cozy days in front of the computer, a shawl on my shoulders, a cup of tea in my hands, the fire beside me blazing. With the coming of spring I look back at all the writing I have done, all the ideas I have put into words during those comforting afternoons.

And now, let the editing begin!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's All About the Pasta, or, Growing Up Italian (almost)

My maternal grandfather, Francesco "Frank" Caruso, used to say, "There are two types of Italians. Rich Italians and poor Italians. The rich Italians have mafia connections, the poor Italians do not." Growing up, I was convinced our family had no past ties with the mob at all, but I was wrong, and I soon came to realize that every Italian immigrant who stepped off the boat during the early part of the twentieth century was somehow connected.

But I'm getting sidetracked here. Despite the social/economic difference that arose in Italian families, one thing remained universal. The food. No denying, Italians like to eat, and not just anything. It's got to be homemade, rich in fats, pleasing to the palate and smothered with sauces of every color. Garlic, tomatoes, cheese and peppers ... and lets not forget the wine. The smells from my childhood still linger in my own kitchen. I remember the days before the pasta machine entered our home when my mother used to roll out her dough and cut each strip of pasta with a knife. Ah, and the homemade sauce, still a respected staple with my family. What better way to enjoy time with family or friends than to fill the kitchen with fresh food, and lots of it.

It's no wonder that most of the characters in my stories love to eat well. I never gave it a thought until a reader said to me once, "My wife likes the fact that all of the men in your story like to cook. She thinks that's sexy." Hummm, I gave it a thought. Who wouldn't like someone cooking great food for you and loving every second spent in front of the stove? Wait! That would be my mom.

There is a saying, "write what you know." I love to eat, and I love someone cooking for me, so naturally it comes out on paper. Unintentional or not, since most of my protagonists are females, most of their male friends and lovers are great cooks.

The only thing that could top it would be to have a gorgeous male tenor sing the sadist version of the "Ave Marie" known. Shirtless, or course.