Friday, October 14, 2011

Verizon Can Kiss My...

I opened my Verizon bill and fell on the floor.  How the hell did I owe $265.52?  I checked to see if I paid last month’s bill.  Yep, all 76.01.  How could my bill increase almost 200 dollars in a single month?

First, the 83 dollar call.  That’s right, one call, 19 minutes, 83 bucks.  That’s over 4.35 cents a minute.  Yes, it was an international call.  My wife usually uses those calling cards that you buy in gas stations where you only have to pay ten cents a minute. She ran out of minutes and thought, what the hell, I’ll make one call to my parents in Spain.  We didn’t think 19 minutes would cost more than say 19 dollars.  Wrong.  We’ll never make that mistake again.

We also had our phone line suspended while we were in Spain.  When we came back, we no longer had caller ID or voice mail.  I asked to have them reinstated.  Cost to have them added - $44.99.  Just to add what was on my phone before I left.  I never asked to have caller ID or voice mail removed. 

Add to that a new rate – instead of 76 bucks a month, we now owe 105.  That’s an extra 29 bucks just to have caller ID, voice mail, and the ability to make long distance calls if need be.  Wait, make that 139 dollars – I forgot to add the taxes.  I still can’t figure out why it jumped more than 40 dollars since before I left for Spain when we have the same plan.  That’s right, the same plan – and three months later it’s 40 plus more dollars!

How much of this bill is just foolishness intended to rob naïve costumers like myself?  

And as I simmer, I think about all the other bills that come up that my parents never had to pay.  Cell phones, data plans, cable bills, internet, satellite radio, not to mention daycare.  Ah, what happened to the stay at home moms - when both parents didn't need to work to pay for their phone bills. Most of these bills aren't  necessary, but it seems like everyone considers most of them vital.   

I’m going to look into Vonage – I need to drop Verizon.  Maybe I’ll drop the cable and pick up NetFlicks.  Here I am saving nickels and dimes by cutting coupons for the groceries only to spend dollars on a stupid fricken call.  I wish I could drop all of them and just live off the grid.

I'm sure I'm not the only one with billing nightmare stories.  Add yours here - it'd be nice to know that I'm not alone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What is Saying the Lord's Name in Vain

Last year I got frustrated with my students and ended a sentence with “Jesus!” A student got so mad at me that I had to take him out in the hallway and asked him why.

“You aren’t supposed to use the Lord’s name in vain,” he said.


Do Christians’ believe that saying “Jesus” is against the Ten Commandments? If I say “Jesus”, will a little counter go off in the sky? Minus one for Kronlage; he said Jesus.

I’ve met people who are paranoid about saying “God Damn” because they believe that is saying the Lord’s Name in Vain. Do they believe if they say it enough, it will prevent them from getting into heaven?

So there I was in the hallway wondering what I should say to this angry student. I told him that I didn’t believe that it was wrong to say “Jesus” and if he felt it was wrong, then he should worry about saying it himself, not preventing other people from saying it.

That didn’t help.

I once heard a Christian say that he was in an airplane and it was going to crash. He said a prayer and miracle of all miracles, the plane didn’t crash. God heard his prayer and saved him because God had plan for him.

That is using the Lord’s name in vain. To be so narcissistic that he believed God saved his life because he prayed is a sin in my opinion. Does God not have a plan for anyone who died plane crash? What about all those praying for diseases to go away only to die? God must not have a plan for them either. To believe that God listens to one prayer is to believe that God denies all the other prayers left unanswered. How can anyone be so vain?

There are 6 billion people on this planet. If God spent one second on each person, it would take 190 years to get through the entire population of the earth if God worked around the clock without a break. To say that God listened to us is using God’s name in vain.

What are prayers for? The person saying the prayer. Nothing more. It helps one realize that we cannot control how things turn out. That there is some force greater than ourselves. But to believe that someone listens to our prayers is self-centered.

I couldn’t tell my student all of that so I let it go in an unsatisfying way. What would you have said?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Are you familar with  Check them out and tell me what you think.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Funniest Novel I Ever Read - The Snow Whale by John Minichillo – Maybe, Maybe Not

A rarely laugh out loud when I read a book, so when I found myself doing that while reading the Snow Whale, I started to wonder what were the funniest novels I’ve ever read.

Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller come to mind, but they are both more amusing more than anything. And repetitive. While I like them, I don’t think they wrote the funniest books that I’ve read.

Charles Bukowski was a favorite of mine. I find his conflicts with society to be hilarious, although at times he can be pathetic and sad.

A Prayer for Owen Meany is a book that got me laughing out loud. But the entire book wasn’t that funny. Especially at the end when the narrator gives long sermons about skipping Vietnam, etc.

Which brings me back to the Snow Whale. Yes, it starts out funny. The humdrum of marriage, work, mid-life couldn’t be done any better and I thought that this might be the best comic novel I’ve ever read.

But the book offers so much more. And while there is a “fish out of water” element, it stops being funny, which isn’t a bad thing. Instead of novels that make me laugh, I started thing of Iron John by Robert Bly. In that book, he says that there really aren’t any true rituals or tests that initiate us into manhood. We are left empty feeling like man-children. And that’s exactly what happens to Jacobs. He is a man child on a quest to become a man.

What follows is an amazing journey. There are such tense moments at sea that I forgot that I was laughing at the beginning. No matter. This is a book that starts child-like and comic and grows into a more mature novel offering a lot more than just a few laughs.

So, what are the funniest novels you’ve ever read?

Monday, August 8, 2011

What is Your Favorite Bart Ehrman Book?

A reader asked me which book influenced me the most when writing Saint Peter Killed God. That’s a difficult question. Was she asking about what book on writing helped the most? Or which fiction book? She asked me if I had read a book by Pagels so I knew she was talking about non-fiction books about religion. Historical Jesus, that sort of thing.

Still, it’s is impossible to say where my ideas come from specifically. I can’t point to one book and say, “I got inspired here.” But when it comes to Christian history, Bart Ehrman is my favorite author. He writes in such a way that I feel like I’m just listening to him speaking. His writing is very accessible even when he starts talking about the complex. There are some weakness to reading so many books by one author because he repeats himself here and there. Like he might talk about reading the Bible ‘horizontally” vs. “vertically.” It’s a good point and he uses different examples in each book. Although I like what he says though, I haven’t yet tried it. Well, here are my Ehrman favorites:
Lost Christianities: The Battl...
1. Early Christianities – I find it fascinating that there were about a half dozen different types of Christianities that sprouted up and only one survived. Ehrman does an excellent job of not only explaining what each gr oup believed, but he also mentions which gospels they primarily read and why they lost out to the orthodox beliefs that Christians have today.

God's Problem: How the Bible F... 2. The God Problem – I saw Ehrman interviewed on the Cobert Report for this book. Stephen asked him, “Isn’t an agnostic just an atheist without balls?” Ehrman took a second. I almost felt sorry for him, but he came up with a witty response (to bad I forgot what it was). Anyway, this book goes into what the Bible says about suffering, which surprised me (even though I was familiar with it). Much of it contradicted itself and most of it is unsatisfying. What I really like about this book is Ehrman is willing to say that he just can’t be a Christian anymore. Some many writers of Biblical History / Historical Jesus bend over backwards to rationalize Christianity.
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Be...
3. Misquoting Jesus – This was the first book by Ehrman that I read. Yes, I knew when the printing press was invented, so it makes sense that the Bible was originally copied. Ehrman explains the problems with this and shows how the early copies were possibly manipulated and why.
The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer & Betrayed
4. Judas Iscariot – I didn’t think this book would be too interesting when I picked it up, but I was surprised. It is a wonder that as much of the manuscript survived as it did. Ehrman tells us what is in it and why. Entertaining.
The New Testament: A Historica...
5. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to Early Christian Writings – Yes, this is sad. I liked Bart Ehram’s books so much that I bought his textbook for his class. One problem – much of what he writes here is repeated elsewhere and it is a textbook. Still, I think it’s good.
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible & Why We Don't Know About Them
6. Jesus, Interrupted – This is probably a good place to start. However, I felt like much of it was stuff I already knew and repeated elsewhere. Maybe it was a book I should have read instead of his textbook.
Peter, Paul & Mary Magdalene:...
7. Peter, Paul, and Mary – this book will make the top five eventually, but I’ve just started it and unfortunately I don’t have it with me so it might take a while to finish it. I’ve read enough of it to know that I like it as it got me thinking about how Peter is portrayed. I haven’t gotten to Paul or Mary yet so I feel like I shouldn’t even include this book on my list.

Have you read any books by Bart Ehrman? Which are your favorites? Do you disagree with my list? Which ones would you suggest that I read?

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Meet a Guy

I got married when I was 38. Before finding my wife, there was a lot of pressure to get married from friends, family members, and colleagues. Inevitably they’d say something like, “You might be able to find a girl at the supermarket or laundromat. You just have to keep your eyes open.”

I did. And going to the supermarket for 15 years as a single guy, I might have had a conversation once or twice with an eligible woman. So the book How to Meet a Guy in the Supermarket by Jessica L. Degarm grabbed my attention. Was there something I was doing wrong all those years?

Maybe, but maybe not. The book Sex in America lists the five most common ways people meet their spouses. The survey was done on people who were married for twenty or more years so internet dating sites wouldn’t make the list, yet. Here is the top five: School, work, introduced by a friend, church, and proximity (in other words, someone who is a neighbor you might see walking the dog, getting the mail, or in the supermarket). My wife and I are both teachers. We met at work through friends, so does that mean we met at school or at work or introduced? Either way, we met one of the most common ways. Obviously there can be some overlap.

Next on the list and in a distant sixth place was meeting someone in a bar. Meeting someone in a supermarket made the list but it was under one percent of couples but it was ahead of the laundromat, which also made the list. The author lumped them all together and called the category “meeting someone cold” – in other words, striking up a conversation with a stranger. Combined, it accounted for less than five percent of marriages lasting twenty years or only one marriage in twenty.

I wonder how many married people reading this met their spouse cold or are most of you like me - part of teh 95% that met their spouse the typical way?  Or through or some other internet dating site?

So why is there this big myth about meeting someone cold? It’s romantic and the thing you’d expect from a movie. Or maybe most people who met that way never get married or end up divorced before twenty years of marriage. So when I picked up How to Meet a Guy in the Supermarket, I wanted to know if it revealed this secret.

What I got was a delightful read. Quinn, the narrator, is able to laugh at herself as she comes up with one idea after another, most failing in bizarre ways. She has a personality that sets the tone and makes the book charming to read even though at times I wanted to scream at her. In a way, it reminds me Goldie Locks in the Three Bears, but you have to read it to see why I say that.

Let me get this straight, this is chick-lit romantic comedy. It is fun. Imagine yourself watching a movie like “The Proposal.” It has funny scenes that make you laugh. This book works in the same way. And I could picture it as a Hollywood movie. As long as you know what you’re getting into, this book is pure pleasure.

And what’s the key to a romance? Keep the two lovers separated. Create a lovers triangle or two. When the right guy comes along, the reader knows who it is, but Quinn doesn’t. And as long as they are apart, the book remains interesting. The story doesn’t disappoint and it stays interesting to the end.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Magic of Finkleton by KC Hilton

There is something pleasing about reading a book aimed at a younger audience. I’m reminded about why Malcolm Gladwell said Blue’s Clues is more popular than Sesame Street. Blue’s Clues is more obvious. The chair is called a Thinking Chair. Whereas Sesame Street tends to be for adults at times and is a little more sophisticated / subtle, like when Big Bird ponders what would happen if his name was taken away.  Children tested perferred Blue's Clues.

Which brings me to KC Hilton’s book.

Hemingway created a style where less is more. We are supposed to figure out every nuanced reaction. Here we are told what is going through each of the characters heads. We may know that a stomped foot means the child is frustrated, but here we are reminded. A child needs that kind of information. An adult doesn’t. But there is something pleasant, relaxing about reading a book that doesn’t require one to think too deeply about what every physical mannerism means.

And of course there is the fun of getting lost in the magic.

Finkleton is a magical place where secrets must sometimes be kept, and sometimes told. We enter a world before computers, i-pods. Well, actually this is a world before TV, telephones, and even cars. And in this world of Finkleton, everything is perfect for farming because of magic. But when the 80 year-old man passes who is keeping everything in balance, things at Finkleton start to go astray.

The three children are the heroes of this book. Each one has his or her strengths and together they can tackle the problems that they face, but can three children work together? They act like any child would, which makes this charming. And just when things start to straighten out, a new mystery is adding making me wonder if a sequel is in the works.

I’m not an expert on children’s books, but I imagine this is a good book for someone around 7 to 12. Or for adults who are looking for an escape to their inner childhood.

A Couple of Interviews

SPKG is out there and I've gotten a few reviews and a couple of interviews and a couple of offers for some more.  I'll let you know when more come in.  Thanks everyone for spreading the word.  Here are a few links:

And a slightly older one:

SPKG is also now available at Barnes and Noble as well as and at you can get for any e-reader.  Don't have an e-reader?  Download an ap and read it on your computer (or wait til it comes out in print).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How My Account Got Hacked at Twitter And How I Could Have Stopped It

I got a prive message at Twitter from HolySlushPile asking, "Is this true about you?"  followed by a link.

My first thoughts were, "It must be a link to SlushPileReader because I just got published by them and since they are HolySlushPile, they wanted to see if I was the same guy."

So I clicked on the link and it brought me to the sign-in page of Twitter.  Hmm?  How did that happen?  Foolishly, I typed in my password, went back to the message, and tried again.

Same thing.  Sign-in page of Twitter.  I tried again.  This time it said, "Page Does Not Exist."

Then I see that HolySlushPile sends me another message - this one saying he had been hacked.

And then I saw that I was sending everyone who follows me messages, "You can make 3,000 to 8,000 a day - guaranteed," followed by a link.

My hunch: if you clicked on that link, it'd send you to the sign-in page at Twitter.  If you were like me and signed in, you too would be hacked.

I have since changed my password and hope that takes care of it.  I learned a lesson.  Don't click on to links sent as messages that are curious.  And if it brings me to the Twitter sign in page, I won't enter my password next time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Frustrated Blogger in Spain

I've been trying to promotion Saint Peter Killed God from Spain via internet.  There's a lot to do on-line, but one thing that frustrates me is that every time I go to my blog, the links are in Spanish.  Instead of the .com ending, I by default get the .es ending - so instead of or - I get and - which isn't to big of a deal except for blogging.  For some reason I can't post comments on other people's blogs or even my own.  It doesn't recognize me.  I sign in, and then the comment says it's from anonymous.  Worse, it won't post it.

At least I can still post blogs.  For now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Week Sales for Saint Peter Killed God

OK, so after the first week I sold five copies of Saint Peter Killed God. Not a bang but maybe a spark. I want to thank the five people who bought a copy and not all is bad. I’ve gotten more followers on Twitter but now I’m worried. I started to think about what happened ten years ago when I was grocery shopping. I noticed a teenager staring at me while I was picking out spaghetti sauce. He stared at me as if he were assessing me as he walked by.

I went to the next aisle over to pick up some rice when I noticed him again. His hands were in their pockets as he strolled down the aisle staring at me from head to toe. He gave me a brief smile. I smiled back.

The boy was smaller than I was so I didn’t feel intimidated by him. He looked barely old enough to be in my freshman English class. He seemed to be the type that would sleep as I taught of Romeo and Juliet. It was strange that he walked around without a cart and didn’t look at any of the food on the shelves, but was that a crime? I thought about how strange it would be if I went up to the manager and said how I didn’t like the way this young man was looking at me.

As I continued shopping, I bumped into him several more times and tried to ignore him.

I was loading my groceries in my car when I heard a scream. I saw the same teen running away from a woman with her purse.

I could have dropped my groceries and chased the boy. Tackle him. Bring back the purse. And be a hero. I thought about doing it. But I had two bags of groceries in my arms. I looked down at my shoes. Moccasins weren’t the best running shoes. As I thought about saving the day, the distance between me and the boy increased as my chances of being a hero decreased.

I’m tempted to give up. Only five copies sold in one week. But I don’t want the same regrets of what I could have done. So I’m going to keep trying. I want advice – how can I get people to enter Slush Pile Reader’s sweepstakes? I feel SPR is being very generous offering a $1,000 prize, $1,800 in all. Please, if you haven’t entered the contest, do so now. Invite friends. Help me spread the word. I know a few of you have read SPKG on-line. You can do me a favor by writing a review on Amazon or Smashwords or somewhere else. Become my friend on GoodReads or LibraryThing. Become a fan on Facebook. And please feel free to offer advice by commenting on this post.

Metaphorically speaking, I’m ready to drop the groceries and give chase. I’m just asking for a little help.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Modern 9 and 1/2 Weeks? Exploits by Poppet

Go to "Exploits" page

There’s a scene at the end of Nine and a Half Weeks where Mickey Rourke throws 100 dollars bills on the floor and asks Kim Basinger to crawl on the floor picking them up. It is too much for Kim. Being humiliated for the last time, she leaves as Mickey does something he hasn’t done the entire movie – he tries to be intimate. But as he gives these personal details of his life, it’s too late as she walks out forever.

Exploits is similar to Nine and a Half Weeks. Besides both being sexy, the Stephanie character is constantly humiliated by Gary. As I read it, I kept waiting for the scene where she breaks, like Kim crawling on the floor picking up 100 dollar bills. It happens. And then it happens again. But even after Stephanie breaks up with Gary, he still manages to hurt and humiliate her again and again.

I’m reminded of the time I went out a few times with a sexy woman. She ended up standing me up not once, not twice, but three times before I got the hint. She went on to become a soap opera actress. But why didn’t I get the hint after being stood up once? Good looks go a long way and in Exploits, Gary is so hot that Stephanie is willing to forgive him over and over again. I found myself being lulled into her thoughts as I started to wonder if Gary would change. But Gary never breaks down like Mickey and tells Stephanie his inter-most secrets. No, that comes from others making it hurt all the same.

The real strength of this book is the tone that Poppet sets. We really get into the mind of Stephanie. We feel what she feels. Every line resonates with someone of her age from the slang to her ideas. And the title is perfect as a double entendre.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Slush Pile Reader Celebrates SPKG Release with $1,800 Give Away!

Slush Pile Reader is a website devoted to letting the readers choice which book they will publish.  The results are in and Saint Peter Killed God was voted number one. To celebrate it's release as an e-book (print version availabe soon), Slush Pile Reader is giving away $1,800 dollars in Amazon gift cards.  There is no need to buy the book to enter the sweepstakes.  Just follow this link:

Enter and if you get others to enter as well, you will get more chances to win!  Best of luck! 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saint Peter Killed God released as an e-book tomorrow

There was a minor glitch in the formatting.  The tab key doesn't work when converting a word document to an e-book, but now that's taken care of, Saint Peter Killed God should be released by the 4th of July for Kindles at and on other e-readers at, where I already sold my first copy.  Slush Pile Reader is planning a promotion which I'll announce tomorrow everywhere I can.  Print version coming later...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Shelena Shorts Interview

I started reading most of the writers I've interviewed on Slush Pile Reader or Authonomy.  Shelena Shorts is the exception.  She teaches at the same school as myself and we also got our masters degrees at the same university (George Mason).  She has written a series that starts with The Pace, a young adult romance that has some Sci-fi elements.  I bought a copy and found myself engrossed in the story.  I was excited when she allowed me to interview her.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

KJ Kron:  Sophie comes to life as we see thing through her eyes (everything from boys, her mom, taking virtual classes).  How would you describe her personality?

Shelena Shorts: Sophie is a girl who actually doesn’t mind being alone. She is content with her life the way it is and doesn’t need to be part of a crowd to fit in. But even with her independence, she’s always felt like she’s been missing some direction for her future. Almost like she’s blinded when she tries to picture herself older, with a career. That’s where Wes comes in and fills in the missing pieces. What she finds out about her future isn’t so promising, but the answers provide enough motivation for her to come out of her shell and open herself up to others

I love how she meets Weston.   Where did you get that idea?

Well I really wanted Sophie and Wes to have a mature relationship, so I liked the idea of him being older. Once I came up with a reason for her to be on the campus where he attends college, the first encounter just made sense and allowed for a reason for him to follow up with her

Weston is a character full of mystery.  Is he based more on people you know or is he fantasy?

He is mostly fantasy. I really didn’t picture anyone when he popped in my head. He was always a new guy which is why I liked writing him so much. I wanted to know more about him!

Would you say it’s fair to say your book is two different genres? 

Yes! I never considered my book science fiction, but I started to when it was nominated for the Cybil’s award in the science fiction category. I was like…really??! That’s what a lot of people say now when they classify it, so definitely. I thinks it’s neat, but I didn’t plan that way when I wrote it J

Which parts of your book do you like writing the most?

The middle! That’s where the story feels the most natural to me. I just let it go where it wants to without having to think about the structure of a beginning or end!

 What actor / actress could you see playing Sophie and Weston in a movie?

No idea! It’s one of those things where I haven’t seen the exact Wes and Sophie, but if they were to be chosen and acted like them, I’d be like, yeah...that was them all along!

I've only read the Pace, but I see you've written two more in the series.  How many do you plan on writing?

There are four planned. Any more beyond that would be forcing something right now, but who knows, maybe one day another one will pop up naturally.

I know that you are a teacher and a mom.  Describe your writing schedule.

I write at night. I usually find myself thinking about the story during the day, and when it’s all quiet, I write and write. Sometimes I go for months without writing a single sentence, and then when the story is there, I’ll write every night until 2 or 3 am!

What types of books do you enjoy reading? 

I enjoy reading anything with a great love story to root for. It can be a mystery, suspense…anything, and I don’t necessarily need it to have a happy ending…just as long as there is a genuine romance that I can feel attached to.

What are some ways that you have been able to promote your book?

I have loved using I was referred to that site by my neighbor and have been hooked ever since. It’s been a fantastic way for me to keep up with my own readings, as well as my friends, and it’s been a fantastic way to share books with others. I’ve also met some great YA bloggers who have been amazing supporters and fans of the series. Festivals have also been fun and a great way to introduce the books to people who may not have heard of them before.

Thank you Karl! I appreciate you thinking of me for an interview and wish you the best with your own book! 

And thanks Shelena for letting me interview you.  Best of luck with your books!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Plans

The school year is over! 

It’s going to be a fairly relaxing summer with no papers to grade.  Of course Xavier and the book release will keep things interesting.

Just four days after the last exam was over, my wife and I flew to her hometown in Spain.  Little Xavier is shy as he has to deal with listening to a new language, getting used to his new surroundings, and getting used to slightly different tastes.  As he meets a barrage of new people, he clings to his mommy and daddy.

One nice thing about Spain is the in-laws.  We go over there to eat lunch and then I come home to an empty apartment for three hours.   I haven’t had this much alone time since Xavier was born.  It enabled me edit out the music lyrics. 

Today we just got the internet.  Some people in the states ask if there is internet in Spain.  What do they think, we don’t have running water over here?  The problem is that we only live here a couple of months a year so it’s tricky to find a plan that works.  For the first time, I won’t have to go to the internet café or to my brother-in-laws shop (he has wi-fi) and can enjoy the internet from our place. 

Pascal (of Slush Pile Reader) has shown me the plans.  We are going to launch the book as an ebook over the next week or two along with a contest.  At a later date, the book will come out in print form. 

Exciting times 

What's your summer plans?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting Permission for Copyrighted Song Lyrics

St Peter Killed God is ready to be published – almost.   First, I have to take care of the song lyric problem. 

I mention twelve songs in my novel, which isn’t a problem.  Nine of those songs I include some of the lyrics but have not gotten permission to do so. Here is a list of the music I mention in the novel:

Spirit in the Sky (no lyrics)
Eleanor Rigby (no lyrics)
Senor Blues (no lyrics)
Everybody Hurts 
Sympathy for the Devil 
Oye Come Va
Brain Damage 
Whole Lotta Love 
Once in a Lifetime
Carmina B (no lyrics)

So how hard is it to get permission to use lyrics?  First I went to the website where they list the owners of the copyright for all songs before 1978.  At first I just plugged in the name of the song, but got over 20 different copyright owners.  When I narrowed the search down, I got the specific copyright, but here’s some of my problems:

The owner of the rights to REM’s “Everybody Hurts” has a website, but there is no way to contact them.  I joined REM’s fan club just so they would send me an email confirmation.  I replied to that email asking for permission to use the lyrics to that song.  So far I haven’t heard anything.

The rights to “Cantaloop” by Us3 is owned by Capital Records, but on their website there is no way to contact anyone.  The only option is to do it by snail mail.

Both “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin and “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads are owned by Warner Brothers.  Thankfully there was a way to contact them, but who knows whom my email will go to.

“Ch-ch-changes” had a copyright owner. I looked up her blog and found a way to send her an email, but I’m pretty sure she’s not the owner of the copyright.  Still waiting for a response.

That leaves “Desperado”, “Sympathy for the Devil”, “Oye Come Va”, and “Brain Damage” (I also thought the song was “Dark Side of the Moon”).  I’m pretty sure all of these songs were released before 1978 so they won’t be in the on-line database.  The cost to hire someone to look for the copyright owners is 165 dollars an hour.  Minimum charge, two hours.  My hunch is that the copyright is owned by the record label, and if it isn’t they can point me in the right direction. 

I believe the novel is better with the lyrics in, but not necessary.  I’m going to continue to try to track down the owners of these copyrights, but until I get permission, I’m going to lift the lyrics out of the novel.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Can’t Control How Things Turn Out

My wife couldn’t find a bolt from a box we bought at IKEA. 

“I saw Xavier playing with the plastic bag the bolts came in,” my wife said.  “What should we do?”

The bolt was the size of a Cheerio.  Xavier is so proud that he can stick a Cheerio in his mouth without any help.  Xavier did have a rash; maybe if he swallowed a bolt it had something to do with it.  It seemed very possible for a one year old. 

I didn’t want to spend hours in the ER or get all their bills, but some things are beyond our control. 

So Xavier had his first X-ray.  As we waited, I thought about other things in my life I can’t control, from my students to SPKG.  I applied for a copyright on April 15 and I’m still waiting for it two months later.  SPR assured me that it can take several months and that I shouldn’t worry about it. 

I’m sure you can think of a million examples in your own life of things beyond your control. 

The X-Ray turned up negative.  At least we could leave the ER with peace of mind.  I thought the rash was due to the milk since we just started feeding it Xavier.  And once we stopped giving him whole milk and reverted back to formula, his rash went away.  But a week later, he began drinking whole milk again and no problems.  Somethings just cannot be explained.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How Many Web Sites are Needed to Launch a Book?

I created a “Facebook” page for Saint Peter Killed God to announce the latest news about its release date.  Every time I post an update on its wall, it automatically tweets it.
On my “Twitter” account, I see other writers posting my name on WW (Writer’s Wednesday) and I try to re-tweet it. I feel like I should give a shout out to all those I’ve read on Slush Pile Reader on WW, but it just haven’t had the time yet.  Maybe over the summer.
I’ve also created a blog on “blogger” and every post ends up being duplicated on my “Goodreads’” author page.
To promote my blog, I got a “Book Blogs” account.
I tried to promote my blog on “Kindle Boards”, but they have all kinds of strange rules regarding their forums.  I will try to promote SPKG there when it’s released.
I’ve got an account with “Linkedin” but I’m not sure how to use it.
When SPKG is released, I’ll look into “BookBuzzr.”
And I just got interviewed on “Author’s On Show” by Lori Anne Carrington (author ofCruiserweightand 50, both found on SPR).  The link is:
And on top of Facebook, twitter, blogger, Goodreads, Book Blogs, Kindle Boards, and Linkedin, I should probably get my own webpage.
Oh, I know I’m missing others.  There seems to be an endless number of sites to promote your book. It seems that getting published is really only the first step.  I feel like I'm missing some other web sites - any suggestions?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Interviewed on Authors On Show

Check out my interview on AOS - the first one since my high school newspaper interviewed me:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Hate It When People Say...

  1. “The Kids today just aren’t as smart as they used to be.”  Yeah right.  If you believe that, then you’ve forgotten what it was like when you were a student.  It’s such an overused phrase – I’m sure people have been saying that since the cavemen learned to speak.
  2. “At the end of the day…” We all know that is a figurative saying.  But the end of one person’s day is the middle of another’s.  I imagine a conservative and liberal saying “at the end of the day” and maybe they will both be right as the pendulum swings back and forth.  Overused.  I hear everyone saying it WAY too much.  From now on, I'm going to play dumb and take it literally every time I hear this. "Really? Tomorrow?"  Maybe if enough people play dumb then this hackneyed saying will die. 
  3. “World Class.”  The county where I work offers a “World Class Education.”  Then I went to GMU where they offer a “World Class Education.”  Who started it, Prince William County School District or George Mason University?  Perhaps neither because I also heard a “World Class Radio Station” and a “World Class Bakery.”  Google “World Class” and you get: coaching, gymnastics, driving, ink, beverages, paints, organization, etc
  4. “Signature.”  A restaurant’s menu claims: that’s our “signature” dish.  There are “signature” foods at supermarkets.  It’s just as bad as “World Class” when it comes to companies using it as a slogan.  Come up with something more original.
Add your least favorites here:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Copyrights and ISBN Numbers

I should have waited before hastily posting my last blog. Ends up my publisher knew all the answers - next time I will go to him first. Here is Slush Pile Readers response:

so here's the deal:

An author of a text does not need to file copyright. An author automatically receives copyright when he or she writes a text. It is as easy as that. However, some people prefer filing for copyright just the same, to feel more secure. Some argue there are definite benfits, others argue it is unnecessary to file for copyright. Should there be legal issues down the road (someone plagiarizes your for for instance) it is of course always better to have your work registered and filed with the proper authorities.

When a book, or text, or website, is first published it is instantly protected by copyright. Just the same, some prefer filing so that if any dispute were ever to arise they can prove, by showing the filing date, that they have copyright. However, in this day and age it is easy to trace texts online. For instance if you search fro SPKG on google you find all the different versions that you have put up online. It will be very difficult for anyone else to claim they should have copyright to it: on SPR for instance we can trace the day you registered and when you put up SPKG. In sum, copyright is quite easy to prove these days. Besides, copyright infringements of texts is very rare (beside people copying snippets for uni. papers and articles, but that is something else) and really doesn't occur much, if at all.

On SPR we describe the copyright process and we end it by stating it is up to the author to file or not.

As to the time it can take, it depends on their workload: anything from a month to several months.

ISBN is like a social security number for books, a unique numeric identifier for a specific edition and variation of a book. ISBN is not per se necessary for e-books sold in a single outlet. If a book will be sold in many outlets in paper format it does needs an ISBN not to hamper sales. A publisher usually buys a big lot of ISBN numbers so they always have some handy and assigns them to the books they publish. When it is time SPR will take care of that for you! So you don't have to worry about it! If you want to find out more about ISBN you can check out

Hope that answers everything! If not, ask again,


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Have You Copyrighted Your Book?

I have poked around Slush Pile Reader and other sites and seen enough books that I know are published, so I have a couple of questions:

I applied for a copyright on April 15th and I still haven’t heard thing one.  I thought it’d take a week or so and now it’s over a month.  What takes so long, do they actually read the entire book?  If so, I applaud their efforts.  Have you applied for a copyright and how long did it take?

I’m a little confused – when you get a copyright, is that when you get an ISBN number or does that come when the book actually gets published?  It’s something that I’m going to find out soon enough but I’m still curious.

So how has the publishing experience been for you?  Would love to hear your thoughts...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Am I Stupid, a Jerk, or Some other Adjective?

Every year I go to a different baseball stadium with a couple of friends.  We’ve
gone to San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Pittsburg, Baltimore, St. Louis,
Washington, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, and LA.  This year we decided to go to
New York.
Here’s the problem: I’m editing a book.  I couldn’t afford to take a weekend off
and head to New York to watch a few baseball games.  I’ve been delaying it for
far too long.  It should’ve been done weeks ago. It shouldn’t take me too long
to edit a book – this is my dream after all.

And going to New York would mean leaving my wife alone with Xavier, who’s only
11 months.  Xavier was having his first swim lesson.  And Monica was going to a
party an hour and a half away, which meant she’d have to travel three hours
alone with Xavier in the car.

The Monday before, I realized it was a stupid idea.  I got an email from my
friends.  It cost 180 dollars per night to stay in Manhattan.  And add another
160 dollars for the two tickets.  I pulled out my checkbook.  All I had to do
was write a check for 340 dollars and I’d be free to work on my editing and I’d
be able to help Monica with Xavier.

Monica refused to let me.  She insisted I go.  She didn’t want me to break up
the tradition.
So I went.
I packed my laptop with my USB.  Maybe I could do some revisions while I was in
New York.
I called Monica on Saturday morning.
Xavier loved swimming.
He laughed and the teacher picked him when modeling what to do.
Things where great.
Monica and Xavier were happy.
I went to the game.
The Yankees won.
Everything was going according to plan.  I hoped to do a little editing before
going to bed.
Then Monica called again.
Xavier apparently missed his father.  As Monica drove home, he wouldn’t stop
crying.  She put the cell phone on speaker as I heard Xavier make sounds like a
wounded animal.  He cried and cried as Monica had to stop nine times.
Nine times. The hour and a hour ride took over three hours.
Xavier sweat so much that his clothes were soaked.
So was his hair and the car seat.
Monica was frazzled.
As I helplessly listened to Xavier crying for a half an hour.
If only I didn’t go, this would not have happened.  And writing
that check for 340 dollars would have saved me a lot of money.  Do you know how
much food costs in Yankee Stadium and in New York City in general?
Yankee Stadium is beautiful.  They spared no quarter when they made it.  But
looking at it, I felt miserable even though the Yankees won both games.
Am I stupid for putting off editing and finishing my manuscript so I could spend
a weekend in New York?  Now my book will come out at least a week later – if not
Am I a jerk for leaving my wife alone with Xavier wailing in the back seat – not to mention missing his first swim lesson?
I decided that this would be my last year to indulge in Baseball Weekend.
KJ Kron

Friday, May 6, 2011

How do you keep track of your edits?

I sit down to edit and I have to remember, where did I save my latest copy to SPKG?  I pull out my three USBs or flashdrives – I’m not even sure what to call them.  Remember when ATMs first came out?  I called them “cashflow” machines.  That’s what my bank called them.  It sounded more normal than “ATM” but no one says “cashflow” anymore.  Does anyone call them “flashdrives”? Are they known exclusively as “USBs”?

My USBs are old.  One only has 128 MB.  That’s the dark ages.  Another one has 1 GB and the other has 2 GB.  Even those seem outdated compared to the amount of memory offered now.  So when I do a major edit on SPKG, I rotate my USBs and even computers.  First edit, desktop. Second edit, laptop. Third edit, my oldest USB. And so on.  But that got too complicated.  It’s much easier to just save it to the same USB.

I feel like I’m doing this wrong.  I have to remember – where did I save it last?  I check the properties to see which version was saved last since I have forgotten.  There has to be a better way.

So what do you do?  Always save over your original copy or do you change the name after an edit.  Do you save it in different places or always the same place?  

Friday, April 29, 2011

Karen Bessey Pease author of Grumble Bluff Interview

I stated reading Karen Bessay Pease’s Grumble Bluff on Slush Pile Reader and
Authonomy, two on-line sites, and finished reading it after it was published.
Karen was generous enough to let me ask her a few questions.

KJ Kron:  You really pulled me into your story when the bullies of the school
target Katherine, who is overweight.  How did your idea?  

Karen Bessey Pease:  I think every writer pulls stories from their observations and experiences.  When I sat down to write Grumble Bluff, all I had in mind to write was a simple story which might entertain-- and provide ‘life lessons’ for--my daughter, who was eleven years old at the time.  In all honesty, I didn’t know where it would take me, and I didn’t have a plan.  Each evening over the course of two weeks, I added a bit more to the story.  As I wrote, I recalled my own upbringing in the beautiful forested mountains of Maine.  I called upon the memories of the years I spent roaming the hills and valleys with my friend Patty, to whom Grumble is dedicated.  I thought a lot about friendship, and family, and about the trials of growing up.  Grumble Bluff is the story which emerged as I wrote for a young girl who was the same age I was when I first met my best friend thirty-nine years ago.

KJK:  How serious of a problem do you think bullying is today?

KBP: I don’t believe the inherent nature of human beings changes.  Nowadays, folks are better educated about issues such as discrimination and tolerance, sure.  But bullying has been a part of our lives for as long as we have had a societal existence.  Chickens aren’t the only creatures who feel the need to establish a pecking order when they are sharing the same space.  :o)

However, contrary to what many people believe, it is often the bully who suffers from the least amount of self-confidence, or who deserves the most sympathy.  Aggression is sometimes the symptom of serious problems in a bully’s private life.  All is not black and white, and learning how to deal with other personalities can be very challenging for developing children.  As the tag line for Grumble Bluff says, “Growing up is tough.”  But I came to realize something else as I wrote this novel, and it’s summarized in the rest of that tag line.  “Growing up is tough.  Katherine Anne and Greta are tougher.  Discover the awesome power of friendship in Grumble Bluff.”   When two people click, magic happens.  I’m lucky enough to know that, first-hand.

KJK: Greta is another target for the bullies.  How would you contrast her
personality / situation with Katherine?

KBP: Greta was the ‘new kid in town’.  In the best of circumstances, it is challenging for a child to have to make new friends.  In Greta’s case, she had an additional obstacle.  She had to overcome the ignorance and fear of a community which hadn’t had to confront the illness of HIV/AIDS before her family’s arrival in rural Maine.

KJK:  Is Grumble Bluff close to where you live?

KBP: The fictitious ‘place’ of Grumble Bluff was inspired by a quiet and tranquil spot here on The F.A.R.M., my 70 acre homestead in Lexington Township.  Originally, my husband and I purchased 50 acres when we bought this abandoned and ramshackle farmhouse.  A few years later, we were able to purchase an abutting parcel on the back side of our acreage.  Pease Brook (named after an ancestor of my husband’s, we later discovered) winds through a ravine which is surrounded by mature and verdant forest.  Since the piece of ground was ‘land-locked’ (meaning no deeded ‘right of way’ existed connecting it to a public access point) the trees had not been harvested for generations.  It’s as close to an ancient, pristine forest as we can get, nowadays.

KJK: What do you feel is more important to Katherine, Grumble Bluff or Greta?
KBP: Wow.  What a question!  Grumble Bluff is a place of solace for Katherine Anne, and has always been a sanctuary where she could go to think, and feel, and heal.  The Bluff is an intricate part of her life.  However, Katherine Anne’s life changed—dramatically and for the better—once she befriended Greta. I hope she’ll never have to choose between the two, but I’m pretty sure Greta would win in any contest! 

KJK:  I read on your blog a post about windmills.  Are windmills threatening to
go up in / near Grumble Bluff?

KBP:  May I say “Wow” twice in the same interview?  Heh… Around these parts, folks know enough not to mention the topic of mountaintop industrial wind to me unless they have a day or two to sit and ‘jaw’.   Yes, grid-scale wind facilities are threatening the wilderness and mountains all around my home, here near the Bigelow Preserve and the Appalachian Trail.  When I first began to study this issue, I had no idea the scope and scale of Maine’s Wind Energy Plan, nor did I know that the arguments used to promote it were based on misinformation.  I thought, like many people, that ‘wind’ must be ‘green’ and good, and that it would counter the effects of global warming and reduce our dependence on fossils fuels.    After doing some independent investigation, I knew that wasn’t the case.  And when I decided to oppose the Highland project (proposed for five mountains in a neighboring Plantation) this issue wasn’t quite so ‘personal’.  I was being an ‘active citizen’ because after all my research, I believed it was the right thing to do.  But now… this rural area has been targeted by no less than four wind developers, and the closest proposed project will be directly behind my home.  Even more challenging-- the corporation proposing it is the biggest ‘wind’ developer in the world.  It’s a daunting task, but I’ve been amazed at the groundswell of citizens who are getting educated and stepping forward to protect Maine’s renowned “Quality of Place’.  (Aren’t you glad you asked THAT question?  Sorry, pal.  I can’t help myself!)

KJK:  Maybe that can be another plot in a future book.  Any way, how long have you been working on Grumble Bluff and the series?

KBP: As I said, Grumble was written during the evenings over the course of two weeks.  I’ve completed two sequels, and each took a similar amount of time.  However, with the second and third, I had an editor-- who made my life quite… interesting.  Heh… he’s now my best friend; and he taught me a lot about how to graciously take criticism.  He’s also made me (I believe) a better writer.

KJK: I first read your book on authonomy when you got an agent or was it a
publisher?  Did that lead to your publication?

KBP: Grumble Bluff was actually published by a small, new publisher a month before I put it up on Authonomy.  My marketing coach suggested the site, because she believed the novel had the potential to attract a larger, more established publisher.  And within days, I was offered a representation contract by Bonomi Associates in London.  However, after presenting Grumble to 13 publishing houses in Britain, they weren’t able to get a more lucrative offer for the novel.  Nonetheless, I was very flattered and grateful to have a reputable agent ‘pick me up’.  Such things give a gal a little confidence!

KJK:  I read a little more of your book on Slush Pile reader.  How would you
contrast SPR with authonomy?

KBP: The two sites are worlds apart.  I stayed with Authonomy for awhile, even after my agent asked me to make Grumble ‘private’.  I thought maybe I could help other writers by offering suggestions about their manuscripts.  But—and this is just my opinion—I didn’t like the environment very much.  Manuscripts were being ‘backed’ as favors, or as swaps.  Books were advancing to the top which didn’t seem to be nearly as well written as others authored by people who refused to ‘play the game’.  So, while I made some great friend on the site, I decided that it was not a good expenditure of my time and effort to offer honest comments when all that really seemed to be desired was a ‘spot on the shelf’.
Slush Pile Reader is different.  The owners of the site have worked hard to avoid the mistakes made on Authonomy.  There is less pressure for writers on the site, and not so much personal drama.  The people there genuinely seem to want to improve their writing styles and techniques.  Over the course of the last year, I know I’ve learned a lot from the other authors at SPR.  And by the way… I’d like to congratulate you again for making it to the top of the Slush Pile!  St. Peter Killed God is a worthy manuscript, and I’m very happy for you. 

KJK:  Is your book available as an e-book?  If not, any plans to make it

KBP: No, it isn’t.  And yes, it’s an option- but one I haven’t taken advantage of.  Not yet.  To be honest, I’m in a bit of a quandary.  My lifelong dream has been to be a published (and successful) author.  And finally, I’ve been granted a chance to fulfill that dream.  But my writing (and marketing) has taken a back seat for the last few months as I’ve thrown myself into this citizens’ movement.  This is not the direction I ever expected my life to take, but I made a choice to fight for something I believe in and I feel obligated to stay involved until it’s over, one way or another.  I believe that Grumble Bluff and its sequels have an enduring quality, and that they will ‘speak’ to people tomorrow as well as today.  Life is full of surprises and unexpected turns, and I know that this effort I’ve dedicated myself to will prove to be a blessing.  I only hope I’m not too exhausted at the end of it to pick up a pen (or tap at a keyboard) again!   Thank you, Karl, for the honor of participating in this interview, and for opportunity to talk about my story of friendship.

KJK: I completely enjoyed Grumble Bluff.  You have a knack for pulling the
reader in and getting me to root for the underdog.  It was a roller coaster of
emotions.  Well done.  If you have a chance you should read this book.