Sunday, December 23, 2012

Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail, reviewed

Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail: A Novel by T.J. Forrester

The lead character in Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail is Taz Chavis, recovering coke head and ex-con, who, while still in jail, is drawn to the idea of thru-hiking the nearly 2,200 mile length of the AT. Not only will it help him shake his drug habit--and the temptation of drugs that city life will offer--but it will cleanse his soul, allow him change into the man he wants to be. At least, that is the idea.

Once out of jail (and after tying up some loose ends), he hits the trail, out of shape but determined to change his life. Taz tells us, "For a moment I feel like an outsider, like I'm trespassing on hallowed ground, but hiking the AT is my dream and I'm not about to leave it anytime soon."

He befriends two other hikers who are trying to escape their own troubles: Richard, an alcoholic Blackfoot Indian who wants to avoid a lifetime working in his family business; and Simone, a woman with a "dark secret" who--even though she believes people can't change who they are--gives it one last shot to prove that she is wrong (or right) about this notion (and herself).

There are several chapters that involve side characters, people not hiking the Appalachian Trail, but who live close enough that they too feel its effect, its pull, its temptation to walk off into the woods and leave your troubles behind. But do you really leave them behind, or do they come with you, packed in your backpack with your water and GORP? This is the question that Taz and Richard and Simone will soon have answered.

T.J. Forrester's writing is clean, crisp, and cuts right through to the (sometimes black) heart of his characters. Take the journey with them--just stay away from the edge!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cut Me Some Slack

Here is the new song "Cut Me Some Slack" from Paul McCartney and the guys from Nirvana—Dave Grohl (drums), Krist Novoselic (Bass), Pat Smear (Guitar), as performed at the 121212 Sandy benefit concert. Paul sings and plays some sick lead guitar. The studio version of the song is now on sale on ITunes, and is part of the soundtrack for Sound City – Real to Reel: Music from and Inspired by Sound City, a film by Grohl.

Friday, December 07, 2012

December 8th

Incredibly, it's been 32 years since John Lennon was killed.
Here is a clip I had never seen before today. Stevie Wonder finds out about Lennon's death backstage and has to give his audience the news before he plays.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Susan DiPlacido is back!

Here are two new releases to steam up your e-reader screen. The ebook version of Susan DiPlacido's novel Mutual Holdings is finally available! The paperback was originally published by Magic Carpet Books in 2005. And a new erotic short story, Honeymoon In Sin City, is also now available. I always enjoy DiPlacido's writing, which is fun, fast-paced, and super sexy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

GUTGAA Week 2: Pitch Polish!

Week 2 of GUTGAA (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) focuses on "the pitch" for the novel, the query letter you have to write to contact an agent, and entice him or her to rep your book. This round is a "polish" round, to help each author revise and improve their query as much as possible. It's anonymous, but my pitch is one of the 100 queries included. See if you can figure out which pitch is mine!

Deana Barnhart: Pitch Polish Week!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Week 1 of GUTGAA

Welcome to Week 1 of GUTGAA! Monday, Sept 3rd-Friday, Sept 7th is Meet and Greet time, a chance to visit other writers' blogs and get to know them. Check out Deana's blog to see a list of all participating authors. Here are my answers to the questions:

Questions for the Meet and Greet

Where do you write?
At my computer at my desk in my bedroom, my cat (Rockford) sitting on the windowsill next to me.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
iPod dock speaker/charger thing made by Philips. I love it.

Favorite time to write?

Drink of choice while writing?
Coffee, fresh ground and perked with half & half and Sweet n’ Low.

When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Music, always. Preferably loud rock n’ roll.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
A very old furnace in the basement of my old house. (It’ll make sense when you hear the plot of my novel, I promise.) This is the middle grade novel for which I need an agent.

What's your most valuable writing tip?
Write like no one’s ever going to read it. Don’t hold back.

Follow me on Twitter: @DonaldCapone

Friday, August 31, 2012


I'll be participating in this years GUTGAA (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) Blogfest/Pitch Contest hosted by Deana Barnhart. There will be six weeks of festivities, starting with Week 1 on Sept. 3. Deana's definition of GUTGAA:

What is GUTGAA?
GUTGAA stands for Gearing Up to Get an Agent. It is a blogfest I started last year in the hopes that those of us striving to reach "agented" status could come together, polish those pitches and have fun at the same time. It ended with agent Kathleen Rushall judging a pitch contest. Quite a few of us who joined in the fun did get an agent (including me) and as I've said over the last few weeks I want to take my victory and pay it forward.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner

Book 1 of an intended middle grade series stars a set of 12-year old twins, Abigail and John Templeton, and their inventor/scientist father. And, of course, their ridiculous dog, Cassie. Then there is the narrator who tells the story in a funny, though somewhat reluctant manner, as he speaks directly to the reader:

“I am being forced to tell the story of the Templeton Twins. Why am I being forced, and who is forcing me? Well, perhaps I will tell you later. Or I may decide not to tell you at all.”

Having the narrator be a character himself is a good device to impart information to the young reader in a funny way. Sometimes he even gets annoyed at the imagined too-many-questions from the reader and just brusquely states, “Let’s move on.” Weiner can have a lot of fun with the narrator in future books, and I can see him maybe becoming more important or even part of the plot! Good stuff.

I won’t recap the entire plot in this review (you can get that in the product description), so I’ll just sum it up by saying the story revolves around a disgruntled former student (Dean D. Dean) of Mr. Templeton’s who shows up and causes trouble for the Templeton family when he claims he was the true inventor of one of the father’s best inventions. Abigail and John have to use their brains and ingenuity to save themselves, their father, and the invention.

The novel is thoroughly enjoyable, the characters are wacky and the writing is silly. I like silly! I read an advance copy, so the illustrations (by Jeremy Holmes) were still only in sketch form, but they look good and fit the style of writing well and add to the overall fun of the book.

I enjoyed the “voice” of the narrator so much that I went out and got an earlier (adult) novel written by Ellis Weiner (Drop Dead, My Lovely). The Templeton Twins looks like it will be a successful, fun series of books for both boys and girls (not to mention their parents).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Whiplash River, by Lou Berney, reviewed

I really enjoyed this novel. This is the second book to feature Shake Bouchon and Gina Clement, two con artists with a history. (I hadn’t read the first book of the series, Gutshot Straight, but didn’t need to. Author Lou Berney does a good job filling in first-time readers nicely, while also giving gentle reminders to fans of the first novel.) Shake is now trying to live a clean life running a restaurant in Belize. But the need for cash and the appearance of a man named Quinn (not to mention the hitman sent to kill him) soon upsets Shake’s calm existence.

If you’re a fan of Elmore Leonard, you’ll like this book. The caper story, the strong female character (and love interest) that is the equal to the male lead, plus a second female character (FBI agent Evelyn Holly) who also catches the eye of Shake are all very Leonard-esque. In addition, the character Harrigan Quinn is a hoot, and almost steals the show (I hope we see him again in future novels). He’s a grifter who ropes Shake and Gina into participating in his con, which brings them all the way from Belize to Egypt.

Good dialogue, short chapters (with alternating POVs), and lots of humor keep the story moving and the pages turning. There are many side characters that really add fun to the story; Berney has created a good cast that he can draw from in future books. I’m specifically thinking of Meg, the novice criminal who right now has more spunk than experience; Sticky Jimmy, a politician who needs to clean up some loose ends from his past; and Baby Jesus, the hefty drug lord of Belize.

Soon after I finished this novel I was already missing it. Then I remembered, I still have the first one to read!

4 Stars

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Wishing Cake, by Ellen Meister, reviewed

Ellen Meister has given us this tasty e-book novelette to hold us over until her fourth novel is published. Rhea Samuels is a cake designer for a bakery in Brooklyn. She’s excellent at her job, but feels her male boss’s preference for the other cake designer, a young and not very likable guy, is holding back her career advancement. When an elderly couple orders an anniversary cake from her, they provide her with some magical “wishing dust” to sprinkle on top. A bit accidentally makes it home with Rhea, and she soon learns the true meaning of the old saying “Be careful what you wish for.” A fun, quick read that would be approximately 50 pages in print form. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Two Good Baseball Books

If you're looking for good baseball novels to read pool-side this summer, check out James Bailey's The Greatest Show On Dirt, and Frank Nappi's The Legend of Mickey Tussler. Follow the links to read my Amazon review of each book.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Echolocation, by Myfanwy Collins, reviewed

I didn’t know much about the plot when I began reading this novel, but immediately got sucked into the story. Geneva and Cheri were raised as sisters by their Aunt Marie after Cheri’s mother, Renee, ran off years before. Now, suddenly, Renee returns home with an infant in tow. (Cheri also had just recently returned home after the death of Marie.) Now the three surviving women must deal with their estrangements and personal issues head on—and hands on.

This is literary fiction with plot, action, and tension. Collins’ prose is elegant, but also lean and mean; as beautiful as the writing is, she doesn’t shy away from the dark, the gritty, and the cold part of life. Her use of short sections from the different characters’ POV (including some secondary characters) show their thoughts and motivations, of course, but also drive the story forward efficiently and quickly. Collins continued to surprise me throughout the book, as the story went places I hadn’t expected.

This is also a very visual novel. I was right there with the characters, stomping through the snowy woods to the old quarry; waiting out the ice storm in the safety of the family’s store/home as ice pellets hit the windows; having a drink in a seedy bar. And, of course, in the climactic scene. Though the three lead women were flawed, I cared about them, and couldn’t put the book down until I saw how it all turned out.

5 stars

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Imperfect: An Improbable Life, reviewed

With Imperfect: An Improbable Life, Jim Abbott (along with Tim Brown) has written an honest, revealing memoir about his life and career. Born without a right hand, Abbott used that as his drive to prove himself on the baseball diamond (and therefore in life). He didn’t want pity; if he could win at baseball, it proved that he was as good as everyone else. He just wanted to be known as a baseball player and pitcher, not a “one-handed pitcher.” Abbott writes, “Baseball—and success in it—was so important it brought upon me a distorted view of winning and losing…The games’ outcomes became personal.”

The book’s structure is well done. In between the chronological chapters of Abbott’s life from childhood to teen to college student to Olympic gold medalist and beyond are short chapters showing the innings of the no hitter he pitched in 1993, the pinnacle of his major league career. In addition to building suspense (even though you know the result), it also puts the no hitter in perspective as far as the battles Abbott fought just to be on that mound in Yankee Stadium that day, the long journey of his life and each step along the way. You get the sense of his satisfaction, which is so much more than just not allowing a hit or winning an important game.

Of course, the theme of this book is inspiration—what and who inspired Abbott along his journey. But the book also shows Abbott’s inspiration to the disabled children who would invariably show up at his games. Just the fact that Abbott made it to the majors is inspiration enough; but he went out of his way to spend time with and encourage these kids (and their parents) who sought him out. Jim Abbott is a true hero and inspiration, an athlete who understood the power of his celebrity, and how a little encouragement and acceptance can go a long way, and change someone’s life.

4 Stars

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pocket Kings by Ted Heller, reviewed

Wow. I just finished Ted Heller’s new novel, Pocket Kings, and I’m exhausted. What a ride he takes the reader on! I count Heller among my favorite authors, and it’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since the publication of his last novel, Funnymen. It was worth the wait. This time Heller takes on the world of online addiction (in this case poker), along with the current state of book publishing.

Pocket Kings, written in first-person, dumps you headfirst into the increasingly fucked-up life of narrator Frank W. Dixon, also known as his online poker persona, Chip Zero. Frank works at a boring, meaningless job after his first two novels didn’t sell well. He’s got another book completed, but his agent can’t sell it. Frank feels like a failure as an author, but soon discovers one thing that he is great at: online poker. Besides winning loads of money, he forges relationships with other online poker players. But are they real friends, or even real people? People can be whoever they want to be online. And is it ever a good idea to meet these people in real life? Probably not.

Heller never lets his lead character off easy. Which can be a hard trick to pull off when writing in first person (this novel is written as if it’s a memoir, which in itself is a spoof of all the embellished “memoirs” that have been published in the last decade). Here, we get to see Frank/Chip tell us firsthand what he’s thinking, his rationalizations, his insecurities, and yes, his hopes and dreams. We cheer for his successes as much as we cringe at some of his actions, especially the ones we know will hurt his loving and supportive wife, Cynthia.

As Frank/Chip’s success and winnings increase in poker, so do his frustrations as an author, of not getting published and becoming one of the darlings of the critics, the next Franzen, or Eggers, or Chabon (or as Frank refers to them, Jonathan David Safran Franzlethchabeggars). Frank often lapses into revenge fantasies against anyone who has rejected his writing, or who he sees as a roadblock to getting published again. Here he fantasizes about resurrecting his writing career by punching out a famous author and getting some free publicity:

“In lieu of the aforementioned Jonathans and Davids, I could punch out an old coot like Phillip Roth or Joyce Carol Oates and hopefully not kill them. Or I could take on a career-dead writer like Marty Amis or Sal Rushdie, both of whom could use the publicity, too.

But Joyce Carol Oates once wrote a book about boxing and could probably beat me up.”

Frank’s online life and his real life cannot be kept separate for long, and the results when the two meet are funny, sad, and disturbing, and have a lot to say about modern addiction and “quiet desperation,” or as Frank says about himself, “deafeningly not quiet.” Pocket Kings barrels along full steam right up to the end, which is unexpected, satisfying, and makes perfect sense. Frank/Chip is an honest, reliable narrator of this “memoir,” and his outlook on life and his brutally honest opinion of himself is hysterical. Ted Heller is one funny guy. I sincerely hope this novel is a hit, if for no other selfish reason than I won’t have to wait ten years for the next one.

Side note: I’m not a poker player, and don’t know much about it, but I didn’t need to. Heller’s descriptions made sense and I never found it boring or distracting (in fact, it made me want to play online poker).

5 Stars

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chomp, reviewed

In Chomp, his latest YA novel, Hiaasen introduces us to teenage lead character Wahoo Cray, and his father Mickey, who is an animal wrangler—animals such as snakes, alligators, and monkeys. Wahoo’s family is struggling financially, and his mother takes a temp job in China to help pay the bills. When a well-paying TV job pops up, Mickey’s father reluctantly accepts. Reluctantly, because the job is working on the popular reality TV show Expedition Survival!, which includes not just handling animals, but also handling the show’s pompous star Derek Badger.

Hiassen’s wacky humor gets put to good use skewing both reality television and the pampered stars who begin to believe their own hype. Badger gets it in his head that he wants to shoot the next episode in the Florida Everglades, and use actual wild animals, not the tame ones owned and wrangled by Mickey Cray. Problem is, Badger only plays a survivalist on television—he can’t actually, you know, survive in the wild. And that’s the situation he finds himself in when a storm hits during filming, not to mention that the wild animals are actually acting wild and chomping on Badger seemingly at will. When Badger runs off in the middle of the night in a fevered delusion of turning into a vampire (Hiaasen gets to poke fun at the teen vampire craze here), it sets off a man hunt that eventually involves the local police.

There is a side plot that involves a female friend of Wahoo’s (named Tuna) who runs away to the Everglades with the Crays to get away from her drunk, abusive father. When her gun-toting father comes looking for her, it throws a monkey wrench into the search for the missing Badger.

Wahoo and his father are both very likable characters that the reader can root for. Frankly I’d like to see more of the father in future novels; along with Wahoo’s friend Tuna, it makes for the start of what can be a series, if Hiaasen choses to go that route. Wahoo’s mother is sort of missing in action here, however. We get a few phone calls from her, and we know she is close to and loves her son and husband, but she isn’t much of a factor. I wondered why she was in the novel, except to possibly set up the storyline for sequels. (It couldn’t have just been to make the point that American jobs are moving overseas, could it?)

All in all, Chomp is a fun, fast read that I enjoyed. I’ve had my eye on Hiaasen’s other YA books, but never got around to them. Now I will.

4 stars

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

nineleven, FREE for Kindle on 4/11/12

The Kindle version of my short story nineleven will be available for FREE on Wednesday, April 11th.

A man deals with the loss of his wife on 9/11.

The author writes with a creative and lively style. The gritty, raw voice of the character Chuck in the first story (nineleven) pulled me in right away, and I couldn't stop reading.
Writer's Digest Magazine contest judge

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Into the Sunset, FREE on 3/30/12

The Kindle version of my comic novel Into the Sunset will be available for FREE on Friday, March 30th. Grab it while you can!

WHEN a thirty year-old bachelor disguises himself as an old man to live in The Sunset, a retirement community, will everything go as smoothly as planned? Of course not! His elderly love interest becomes suspicious of his under-cover-of-darkness-only lovemaking, his neighbor wants to experiment with Viagra®, the head of security is more interested in extortion than security, and the woman who runs the community may be on to his scheme. Can Wayne survive old age?

"Capone has a vivid imagination and a unique voice."
—Romantic Times Book Review Magazine

"Capone’s Into the Sunset is entertaining comedy at its best. Even the madcap premise makes you laugh. I admired Capone’s plot... Each puzzle piece fits together perfectly by the novel’s end."
—Donna George Storey, author of Amorous Woman

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Driving Mr. Yogi

The title Driving Mr. Yogi comes from the the fact that Ron Guidry, former Yankees ace of the 70s and 80s, fell into the routine of picking up Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra from the airport at the start of Spring Training in 1999 when Berra returned to the Yankees family after ending a bitter feud with owner George Steinbrenner. That routine has lasted to this day. Not only does Guidry drive Mr. Berra around, but he takes care of the elderly Yankees legend, dining with him, making sure he gets to the ballpark on time, etc. This closeness over the years has developed into a sort of father/son relationship of love and trust. And neither one of them would want it any other way.

Driving Mr. Yogi is reminiscent of Teammates by David Halberstam which chronicled the road trip Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio took to see their old friend Ted Williams for possibly the last time at his home in Florida. Like that book, Driving Mr. Yogi is about friendship. Not only the friendship that has developed between the different-generation Yankees, Guidry and Berra, but the friendships that they forged with their teammates over the years, the special bonds that world champion athletes share. With Driving Mr. Yogi, we get a taste of that, and get to share some of their old stories and inside jokes.

Author Harvey Araton originally wrote an article about this subject for the New York Times, and has now expanded it into a book. We get to know more about the private life of Ron Guidry, his Louisiana roots, and his flair for cooking frog legs. We get to know a little more about the legendary Yogi Berra too, but mostly we are reminded of how important he is to the world of baseball (and not just the Yankees). He is a living bridge to old-time baseball. This is a man who played alongside DiMaggio, Mantle, Ford, and Elston Howard. He played against Ted Williams, Roy Campanella, and Jackie Robinson. He had his photo taken with Babe Ruth! We are reminded that he is, indeed, a treasure.

You don’t have to be a Yankees fan to enjoy and appreciate Driving Mr. Yogi. If you love baseball, the nostalgia of it, and the respect players have for each other, then you’ll enjoy this book.

4 stars

Thursday, March 01, 2012

New Ted Heller novel on the way!

The long wait is nearly over! I just pre-ordered Ted Heller's new novel, Pocket Kings from Amazon (pub date March 27). This is Heller's third novel, following the funny and cutting satire of New York publishing Slab Rat, and the ambitious, funny Funnymen (2002), a fictionalized version of a Martin/Lewis-type comedy team.

Here is the description of the new novel:

In this dead-on satire of online obsessions, a novelist with writer’s block finds a new—and very lucrative—stream of income in a virtual world that appears to give him everything he lacks in the real world.

When Frank Dixon, a frustrated writer who has seen his career crash and burn, decides to dabble in online poker, he discovers he has a knack for winning. In this newfound realm, populated by alluring characters—each of them elusive, mysterious, and glamorous—he becomes a smash success: popular, rich, and loved. Going by the name Chip Zero, he sees his fortunes and romantic liaisons thrive in cyberspace while he remains blind to the fact that his real life is sinking. His online success, however, does not come without complications, as he comes to realize that his “virtual” friends and lovers are, in fact, very real, and one rival player is not at all happy that Mr. Zero has taken all his money.

Sounds good! Look for my review here and/or on Amazon beginning of April.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sacre Bleu, by Christopher Moore

The heart of Sacre Bleu is mystery. It starts with Vincent van Gogh's mysterious death--always believed to be suicide--and Moore uses this as a jumping off point for what might be the real mystery of the novel: what inspires painters to paint? Why do they sacrifice so much for their art? What is their inspiration, their muse? The lead character is a young baker and aspiring painter named Lucien, who along with his friend, the painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, set out to find out what really happened to van Gogh. What they encounter along the way is a strange figure known only as The Colorman, who somehow controls artists with his special blue paint, known as Sacre Bleu, and a woman, Juliette--the love of Lucien's life--who may be the biggest mystery of all.

I've been a fan of Christopher Moore since the beginning. There's is an everyday man quality about his books, they don't take themselves too seriously, and you can tell Moore had fun writing them (well, he makes himself laugh, I bet. The actual writing is hard work). Moore's humor--his silliness--comes across to the reader. No matter what the subject, his fans can always count on his silly humor to break through, especially in the character's banter. Lucien and Toulouse-Lautrec are fabulous characters together, especially the bawdy, womanizing (harlotizing?), party animal Toulouse-Lautrec. Moore also does a great job of bringing the secondary historical characters/painters to life. (A neat addition to the novel is the inclusion of the actual works of art being discussed by the characters [of course the captions are funny lines of dialogue from the novel], which brings the reader further into the world of 1890s Paris art.)

The thing I admire about Moore is, though he's found a niche for himself with his comic/horror/supernatural novels, he hasn't locked himself into one particular realm. He could have stuck to writing funny vampire novels and been successful at that. Instead, he challenges himself to tackle other subjects--sacred subjects at that—like Shakespeare, religion, and now art, specifically the Impressionists of late 19th Century France. This might be Moore's most mature work yet. Yes, there is still his trademark fantastical element present, and his wacky humor. But the writing, the depth of the characters, and Moore's obvious appreciation of the art (and the heart and soul that went into creating the paintings) shines through.

4 stars

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Humpty Dumpty story free today 2/18/12

My short story After the Fall is now available for the Kindle for FREE. Today, Saturday, Feb. 18th. Grab it while you can! It was originally published by Kinglake Publishing in their 2010 anthology, Ten Modern Stories of 2010 (ISBN13: 9781907690051).

What is Humpty Dumpty up to these days? I'll tell you, that egg is living a hard life, his former existence shattered beyond repair. Where did it all go wrong? he wonders as he drinks in his favorite pub. Well, it all went wrong when he climbed atop that damned wall, of course!

This edition contains an author's note on what inspired me to write the story.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Warning To Authors Who Have Used iUniverse

I published a paperback novel with iUniverse in 2007, then made a Kindle version myself in 2009. Last year, someone from iUniverse contacted me and asked if I wanted them to create a Kindle version of my book. I told them "No," as I had already done it. So I was surprised today when I came across an iUniverse-created Kindle version on Amazon for sale for $3.99. (I have my version listed for 99¢.)

I logged onto my iUniverse account to unpublish their version. I couldn't. Now I was pissed. The point of self-publishing is to give the author control over his or her work. iUniverse took that control away from me. They made a Kindle version after I told them not to, and set a price that I would not have agreed upon. So, you're probably thinking, what's the big deal. You're still getting royalties, right? Well, yes.

But what if I had set a higher price on my version, and iUniverse basically undercut me? (Or even the same price for that matter. Amazon offers a higher royalty rate.) Not to mention, they took the manuscript from the paperback version of the book published 4 1/2 years ago. What if I had revised it since then? Even if it was just to fix some typos?

So I called the customer service number and after complaining to the woman who answered, she said I should email customer service. This is what I sent. No response yet.
To whom it may concern,

Please IMMEDIATELY unpublish the Kindle ebook version of my novel, Into the Sunset (9780595894406). Kindle #B006WPZK9S $3.99. I was contacted by iUniverse a year or so ago, and specifically said DO NOT make a Kindle version since I already did. So I was shocked to discover today that iUniverse went ahead anyway and made a Kindle version. Why? I said no. PLEASE DELETE IMMEDIATELY.

And another thing that I am furious about: There is no way for me to delete this book myself when I log into my iUniverse account. This is outrageous. Why are you taking control out of the hands of the authors? If this book is not deleted in the next 24 hours, I will also pull the paper version from your company and publish it with Amazon's Createspace.

I will also blog about this and alert other authors on as many writers sites as I can. This is outrageous and you will continue to lose business with practices like this.

Donald Capone

UPDATE: I called back when I didn't receive a response to my email. I was transferred to a woman in production who immediately put in a request to Amazon that the book be removed. She said it would take a couple of days for Amazon to update their site. I checked this morning (Feb. 3) and the iUniverse Kindle version of my book has been deleted.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Humpty Dumpty short story

My short story After the Fall is now available for the Kindle for only 99¢. It was originally published by Kinglake Publishing in their 2010 anthology, Ten Modern Stories of 2010 (ISBN13: 9781907690051).

What is Humpty Dumpty up to these days? I'll tell you, that egg is living a hard life, his former existence shattered beyond repair. Where did it all go wrong? he wonders as he pounds down the drinks in his favorite pub. Well, it all went wrong when he climbed atop that damned wall, of course!

This edition contains an author's note on what inspired me to write the story.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Taft 2012!

Taft 2012, by Jason Heller

What would happen if President William Howard Taft—the 27th president of the United States—suddenly reappeared in modern day America? How would America react, and how would it affect the presidential race of 2012? Author Jason Heller tries to answer these questions in the comic novel Taft 2012.

This novel was fun while it lasted—unfortunately, it didn't last long. Clocking in at only 249 pages, it didn't explore enough of the possibilities that were possible, and in fact, the ending was so abrupt, I wondered if this was actually the final draft of the book. It's almost as if another round of revisions was needed; maybe the author was trying to meet a deadline and ran out of time. For example, Heller put several elements into the story that were never explored or even mentioned again. "Chekhov's gun" is a literary technique that basically means if you put something in a story, it should be there for a reason, and should be used later on. For instance, if a gun appears in the beginning of a story, a character should use it later on. Well, Heller has Taft sleep with a woman, a one-night stand, during his tour of America. I expected this to come up again as an issue during his campaign. It didn't. Then there was a scene where Taft was in a room with someone smoking pot. I thought, maybe he'd fail a drug test later on. Never mentioned again. Also, a possible romantic relationship with his biographer, Susan, was continually hinted at, but never developed. Why was it even in the book? Basically, I guess what I'm saying is, there wasn't enough conflict in the book: Taft somehow returned from the dead, people wanted him to run for president, stuff happened, then the abrupt ending.

What I did enjoy was the writing, the humor, the likableness of the Taft character. Heller did a good job writing in Taft's voice, and describing Taft's early befuddlement with the advances in society, and also with his willingness to learn everything that had transpired in the last 100 years, not to mention the new social media. Taft's first attempts at Tweeting were hilarious. I also really enjoyed Heller's short in-between-chapters bursts of internet chatter, TV discussions, Taft's Secret Service agent's field reports, and Taft's great-granddaughter's (Congresswoman Rachel Taft) "to-do" notes to herself. Good stuff. Since the rest of the book was told from Taft's POV, this was a good technique that showed what everyone else was thinking.

To sum up, I liked this novel, but I wanted to love it. But it just left me wanting more.

3 Stars