Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jellyfish Jones Release

Here it is!
Jellyfish Jones
Jellyfish Jones wants to play on the beach with his friends, but his mother says, “No!”
Will he listen?
Join him as he catches the next wave onto the sand with disastrous results. Maybe his mother was right. Maybe jellyfish should stay in the sea.
*Feel free (please, please) to share this with as many people as you can. In fact, if you have any ideas on how to get this in front of lots and lots of kids, please let me know.





Friday, June 24, 2016

Five Year Project Review TIme

Last Friday of the Month

It’s that time again—the last Friday of the month, which makes it Five Year Goal review time.

Thanks to Misha Gericke  for putting this on each month. If you feel like joining us, you can; just sign up here.

My goal is to have a world-class publishing company, and since I’ve been at this for a while it’s more like four year review time: 2020.

I know it’s a big goal, but why not? Stranger things have happened. And it’s going well. Black and White is publishing its first picture Ubook* next Wednesday, with more to follow. I am actively seeking authors, so if you have a fantastic piece of flash you’d like made into a Ubook*, email it to me at

What will it look like for me to publish my story as a Ubook? First, we’ll get you linked onto our Youtube channel. Eventually, it’s our goal to set up a direct App for people to access our Ubooks, but until then YouTube is how we're going. These stories will be free for our readers to enjoy. I feel this is one of the great advantages Ubooks has. People are used to getting their books for free between Bookbub, Kindle First, etc. This mentality has made it very difficult for the new author to break into the market. Ubooks are the solution. The books are free, just as the reader has come to expect. If they're free, how do I get paid? Like Pandora is to music, Ubooks are to books. A short commercial viewed at the beginning of the video is how income is generated. More views, more income. The sky's the limit. That's why social media and marketing are so important. How much do I get paid? Royalties will work like this: For picture books, the author will receive 25% gross of all royalties received; the illustrator will receive the same. For works without illustrations, the author will receive 40% gross. How long does it take to get my piece published? That depends. If it’s a picture book, it may take a while—long enough for one of our illustrators to complete the pictures. If it’s a standard piece of flash, then it can be up and generating hits in as little as two weeks.

Interested? I’d love to hear from you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Plans

Summer is the best time of year—at least that’s my personal opinion, and let me tell you why:

1.      You get to enjoy all that work you put into the garden in April and May

2.      Camping and S’mores, pool parties and hiking

3.      A break from homeschooling (my personal favorite)

Here’s what my plans are for this summer:

1.      Go on a backpacking/hiking trip with the kids

2.      We got season passes to our local amusement park, so I plan to be there at least weekly

3.      I’m taking a writer’s retreat—one week in a cabin—heaven.

4.      Plan to catch up with some old friends vie Saturday night cookouts at our place.

5.      Visit my friends in the Adirondacks –for those of you who’ve read Erron—yes, the lake is real.

That’s about it; no really big trips planed, just spending time at home enjoying the weather and each other. Professionally, I hope to finish The Writer and The Open Book; the short story sequels to The Reader which is coming out later this month as part of The Thing that Turned Me Anthology. Look for those in August. In July I’m participating in Camp NaNo, finishing up short stories for Sister’s Grimm—a project I’m working on with my sister, author Emily White. It’s a collection of thirty-one fairy tales to be released one per day in the month of October, right here on this blog; Ubook style. Jellyfish Jones—Black and White’s first picture book—is to be released a week from Wednesday; so that’s got me busy right now, making sure everything is perfect with that.

That’s about it for me—what are you plans for this summer?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Party Recap

I know I promised you a bunch of pictures, but it turns out when you're cooking for a hundred and fifty people, you tend to forget your camera. Seriously, I didn't get one picture of my daughter's graduation party, not one. And I didn't even think of that until this morning as I sat down to write this post. In a way I'm glad. It shows I was really there in the moment, enjoying the day. And we did enjoy it. There we were, surrounded by one hundred and fifty of our closest friends. The weather was great, despite the earlier warning of tornados. I'm not kidding. I know for some of you that doesn't sound that spectacular, but I live in New York, we've had maybe one tornado in the last twenty years. Picture it: I'm cooking all this food, listening to the weather forecast and they lay that bomb on me. If you're picturing me on the floor you'd be about right. But there wasn't a tornado, not even a drop of rain. The sun was out, the food got cooked, (all but that one pork shoulder, but it turned out it didn't matter, we had more than enough), and the syrupy sweet tea got consumed--all five gallons of it--I think mainly by my six-year old son who spent the day running between the trampoline and the pool. Have you ever had a day like that before--where you felt God in every moment? Well, that's what Saturday was for me. It was wonderful.
For those of you who weren't able to make it, I have more than enough potato salad/pulled pork/pie for a second party. If you're in the Western New York area, stop by and pull up a chair. I might even be able to scrape up some more sweet tea.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Crazy Life

Sorry I haven't posted per my normal schedule--even today is going to be a bit light because between today and tomorrow I have to:
1. Bake 20 pies
2. Clean my entire house
3. Make salads/sweet tea/BBQ pork (yes, all caps)/everything else that goes into to cooking for one hundred and fifty people.
My little (no so little anymore) girl graduated last weekend and we're throwing her a party at the farm tomorrow.
I promise lots of pictures on Monday to make up for it.
Have a great weekend and pray for no rain for me!

Monday, June 6, 2016

What I'm reading and why

I’m in a sad state in my life, I rarely read for pleasure anymore. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate; I get pleasure from many things I read. I guess the word I’m looking for is leisure. I never read anything unless I have a specific reason. And right now I'm reading the following:

Affected by Randi Lee
Reason: writing style
As most of you know, Randy Lee is a phenomenal writer. Her voice is incredibly strong, and right now I’m working on a sparse piece where I need an incredibly strong voice.  I actually finished this book over the weekend.  Highly recommended.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Reason: writing style and romantic element
Maggie has a subtle way of introducing romance in this book; just enough to pull you in, but not over-the-top like some modern day romances. Again, I’m working on a piece now where I want that kind of romantic element. For me writing is all about emotions. They need to be charged before I start and this book has been good for that.

Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom
Reason: emotionally charged
For those of you unfamiliar with Corrie, she was the author of The Hiding Place, a true story about her and her family hiding Jewish people in a secret room during the Holocaust. She and her family were sent to a concentration camp for these efforts, resulting in the death of her sister and her father. I highly recommend reading The Hiding Place and I have, many times. Talk about emotion charging! This book is a sequel to that—the story of Corrie’s life after the war.  While not as soul stirring as The Hiding Place, this book has left me crying on more than one occasion, which for me, is a very good thing.

How about you—what are you reading and why?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Submissions Continued...

Black and White Submissions Continued...

So, what are we looking for? At Black and White we publish exclusively in *Ubooks; therefore we publish what works best with that format. Currently that means: picture books, flash fiction collections, poetry, short stories, and novellas. We will also publish full length novels, but their chapters need to be short and concise.
For Authors:
Genres: Again, I'm looking for what works with Ubooks. Suspense is good, as well as romance. Mystery and thrillers are great.Futuristic and Sci-Fi? Sure. Basically anything that will bring a reader back chapter after chapter, story after story. No erotica or occult, please.
Length: Doesn't matter. It can be a one page short story; that's okay, as long as it's well written. Voice and originality are what's important. Ubooks are original, therefore the stories displaying them should be as well. There are no rules, just very, very good stories.
How to submit: Email the first five (if there are five) pages of your story as well as a cover letter explaining what the story is about and your plans for it to me ( Please also include your social media history, as this is very important for Ubooks. If you have a really amazing story I'd be willing to overlook the social media thing. That's what the marketing director is for.
Illustrators: Please forward me ( up to five pictures of your work that you feel best captures your skills, as well as a letter describing your experience and social media history.
Musicians: Please forward samples of your work to me ( as well as your experience and social media history.
*Ubook is a patent pending book format where the book is a video played at reading speed and enhanced with mood-stirring music.