Archive | July, 2016

God Bless the Women in my Books, For They Are Strong

19 Jul


Last week I talked about how much of me is in the characters I create.  In my opinion it’s inevitable for fiction writers.  Of course, I could be all wrong, but I prefer not to go that route in this discussion.

Anyway, a character like Tobias King in my novel “Resurrecting Tobias,” really is like me standing in front of a mirror.  If you ever want an in-depth look at Bill Holland the human being, pick up that book and read it through.  Of course some of the things that happened in that book were fiction, but the essence of it….it’s me through and through.

Now let’s turn our attention to something I believe strongly in, namely the inherent strength of women.

But first, a quote.


“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Let me be as clear as possible regarding my leading women in my novels: you will never find a weak one.  Period!  If I have a female character who plays a leading role in my novel, she will be the equal of any man in that novel.Mt. Rainier 2010 084

I think the time has come in our society for women to be treated like the pillars of strength they are.  The age of women as second-class citizens needs to finally come to an end.  History is filled with examples of women standing strong and not giving an inch, from the Oregon Trail to the World Wars to the Great Depression and on and on, and anyone who thinks women are nothing more than baby machines or “the weaker sex” needs to pull their head out of their arse.

In my “Shadow” series, Liz is the equal of Eli Baker, emotionally strong, physically strong and psychologically strong.  In my “Billy the Kid” series, it’s Genna who provides stability in a turbulent word.  In “Resurrecting Tobias,” it is Maria who says goodbye to Tobias because his self-destructive tendencies threaten to ruin her life, and it is Maria who eventually gives Tobias the support he needs to climb out of a living grave.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Sheila, my original fictional goddess, who is an indestructible force given the task of saving the environment, a task she is more than qualified to undertake.

Weak women?

When I think of weak human beings, my mind almost always goes to some males I have known during my lifetime.

So, if you’re a feminist, you just might like the women I write about.town_876

One other thing about my fictional women….I try to never make them clichés.  The hookers I write about are as real as I can make them.  I want to make them real people with real feelings and a great backstory, so that even though they are prostitutes, they are also people you would want to know.  The waitresses in the cafes in my stories are “real” and I want you to know them as people and not just “stage props.”  The single mother of three is so much more in my stories….the hotel maid….the convenience store clerk….it is my job, as a writer, to humanize all of these people, and even if their background is a bit unsavory, they are still human beings deserving to have their individual stories told.


If you’ve never visited the Vistaprint site, do so today.  They offer great prices and quality product for point-of-sale merchandise, something any writer looking to do a book signing or a book reading needs.  I just bought some new business cards as well as flyers and a banner for my book booth at the farmers market….all very inexpensive and all paid for once I sell five books.

Check them out!


I was reading an article the other day in the Philadelphia Inquirer, or some such paper….sorry I don’t remember…but the article was about some of the great writers from Philadelphia…..Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, James Michener, Pearl S. Buck……not a bad list at all.

And that got me thinking….who are the greatest writers from Olympia, Washington?  Or how about your hometown or the city you now live?  Here’s a thought….perhaps you are the greatest writer from your city.  How incredibly cool would that be?

Just something to chew on!


Michael Friedman is his name and The Carriage Driver is his game….check it out on Amazon.


Thanks, as always, for stopping by.  I’m editing my fifth installment in the “Billy the Kid” series, and then I turn my attention to the third in the “Shadows” series.  I continue to try to be the Greatest Unknown Author, my new goal.  How about you? What are you up to?


Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

I Am My Characters and My Characters Are Me

12 Jul

003So let’s talk about that, shall we?  Where do my characters come from? Who are they really?  Where does the inspiration come from for those characters?

But first, a quote…..


“Our family makes us who we are, defines us totally. When you go to a therapist or have analysis, whatever reason you go in for, they will always bring you back to your family. We’re strong or weak according to what family we have. You might have left them long ago, might not even talk to them, but something lingers; we have no choice.” Sandrine Bonnaire
Truth?  For me, probably!  I’m adopted, so I have nothing to go by when talking about blood genetics, but I do know my adopted family greatly molded who I am today, and I think that’s inevitable for all of us.  I turned out okay, and for that I have my parents to thank….and the lessons they taught me, and the actions I observed, are prevalent in my characters and in my books.

I’m not just a storyteller.  My stories are vehicles which carry truths, messages and philosophies.  I prefer to write in first person because it allows me the freedom to expound on my reflections and philosophy about life…through my characters.

So, what does that look like in my books?

Here’s an example……


“I’m not a big fan of the word “closure.”  It seems like New Age bullshit to me.  How does knowing the name of the killer bring your daughter back? How does it ease the pain?  How does it lessen the number of tears that are cried ten years down the road on your dead child’s birthday?  It doesn’t!  The best one can hope for are answers to questions, the de-mystifying of an unacceptable situation.  But closure?  You never close the door on a loved one who was taken from you violently.  In fact, I propose you always want that door left open.”town_881


As a young kid I was an observer.  I still am.  I was the little kid in the corner watching everyone else, listening to them, gauging their reactions to stimuli, trying to understand why they acted the way they acted.  I still do that.  I don’t talk much in public but I miss very little.  People are people are people. We all have the same senses. We all have the same emotions, and my characters say the things I have observed over the years….and they say things I believe to be truth about this thing we call life.

That particular section, spoken by my protagonist, Eli Baker, finds its birthplace in the death of my father when I was nineteen.  It’s been forty-eight years since he died suddenly of a heart attack, died in my arms on a Friday night, and I still haven’t experienced closure….and quite frankly I don’t want to.  The happy times and the bad times of my father, I want to keep them all close by.  They are comfort to me.


Eli is a no-nonsense kind of guy.  He has a pretty defined sense of right and wrong, and heaven help you if you do him, or a loved one of his, wrong.  An eye for an eye is pretty much how Eli operates.

Do I believe in an eye for an eye?  It would be the safest thing in the world for me to say no, I don’t, that it’s a barbaric way to think in today’s civilized world.  But remember, we’re talking truth here…deep-down honesty.  If you kill my wife, or my son, do I have it in me to kill you in return?

I’m not sure I have a definitive answer for that question!

So I understand Eli and I think he understands me.

Eli comes from a belief I have that there is good in all of us and a touch of evil in all of us.  No one is lilly-white.  Few of us are completely dark but the potential for darkness is there, hidden deep within….and under the right set of circumstances…..well, who knows?  The inspiration for that discussion of evil? Remember, I had Ted Bundy as a paperboy growing up, and I can tell you, Ted appeared to be perfectly normal….so how do we know?


Next week we’ll talk about the women in my novels, and my special fondness for strong, powerful women.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Marketing Part 2

7 Jul


And I’m welcoming you back to the second part of Mike Friedman’s article about marketing, so get comfortable, grab a snack and let’s do it!


For a small fee an ad offered to drive x number of visits to your site. ‘That’s sound great’, you think, here is my money. And right on time the stats showed a big jump in traffic. Great you think, where did all this traffic come from? So you find out – That’s right a tea room in India. Pinged (I think that is the term) my blog page 19,000 times. The page rank may or may not have moved. No eyes read my offer.So unless you have a dedicated web site for your book which is already receiving traffic, I do not recommend this idea.

TWITTER, that’s it, get your message out on Twitter. (write a note on a scrap of paper near your computer). Find out what is a Twitter.

Respond to an ad, for a small fee, I will send your message to my 45,000 twitter followers. “Great, here is my money.” Order sent, I suppose. My email was hacked and mailings from Indonesia and Malaysia started showing up in my inbox. Twitter – ok – I tried twits.

Pinterest, I have heard of that. I’ll get the word out through Pinterest. For a small fee I will send your information to my 4500 Pinterest followers. Ok, here is my money. Pinterest is a fascinating place.

I see an ad, “I will place your ad on our emails that we send out daily to over 1000 accounts.” That sounds great a thousand people will see your book title. “Great here is my money.”

Increase your Alexa/Google reading. Great … You know the rest. Not recommended unless you have a dedicated web site.

I see an ad, “I will tweet anything you want to my amazingly wonderful, engaged, reply happy 275,000+ followers on Twitter.” Don’t fall for this.

I see ads “Air your commercial on popular internet radio section. Air your commercial on Los Angeles NBC radio affiliate advertise your product. I will play your ad on my radio show for 1 week. I will play your ad on my radio show for a month.

Tough to measure this method. I wrote ads, had them recorded sent out mp3 files and listened to the ads over and over on streaming Internet Radio. This had the most solid feel of the methods used.

Air YOUR radio commercial to 100,000+ listeners. Done.

This was the most fun. The ad read, Create and give you an impressive and attractive Commercials Intro Video Animation with Your text and Images

This is the results of weeks of self taught Book promotion. Scoreboard zero sales, through these efforts. But all is not lost. There have seen sales sent my way. When I asked ‘how’ from the person who brought the sales in, the answers were, “I told my neighbor. Oh, I work with her.” Etc.


Start over from the beginning.



I think there’s a valuable lesson to be learned in Mike’s article….word of mouth is free and oh so valuable.  Establish relationships with your readers, produce quality work and let the cards fall where they will.


Someone asked me on the Mailbag the other day whether I thought flash fiction was a viable genre to publish in…a collection of flash fiction….and I honestly don’t know.  Flash fiction is really just another way of saying short stories, and short stories have been popular since, well, a long time ago….so I see no specific reason why a collection of self-published flash fictions wouldn’t sell.

Flash fictions are very popular these days among writers, but do they sell?  Not as well, on Kindle, as full-length novels, but there are writers who do quite well on Amazon selling novellas….checking sales figures, anthologies do not do well and I have no reason for that.

My personal opinion: the writing market is undergoing one hell of a fluctuation, and when it will stabilize, and what it will look like once it does stabilize, is anyone’s guess. The best we can do is work on our own craft and try to catch the wave when it develops.


So much to do, so little time.

I’m outta here. Have a great week of writing!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”