Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yo! The Master's Here

   An old saying goes, ‘When the Student is ready the Master will appear.’ I know this to be true because I’ve had several masters appear over the years and I told them all to ‘Get Lost.’

   Now, why did I do this? Well, the answer is I didn’t recognize them as masters at the time. Plus I was young, stupid and an egomaniac. Really didn’t believe that anyone had anything to teach me that I couldn’t figure out for myself.

   I began drawing at a young age which really wasn’t all that remarkable as my mother was a professional artist and I saw her drawing and painting all the time and it looked like fun. So I started writing and drawing my own comic book superheroes and since my friends read and liked them, I got to thinking I was pretty hot stuff.

   Actually, I still do.

   But I digress.

   Anyway, eventually I brought one of my latest and most popular comic creations to my mother fully expecting her to oooh and ahhh.

   She did not. Instead she carefully studied them and when finished, called me over. She said I did a nice job but then instructed me about perspective, shadowing, and human anatomy. I remember seething over the fact that she was pointing out flaws instead of telling me how remarkable my work was.

   Now you might say I was only a kid and needed parental approval more than art instruction but you’d be wrong, primarily because you don’t get to choose when the master appears. He or she appears whenever you are ready talent-wise. Your personal feelings or ego doesn’t factor into it.

  Strangely, I didn’t learn that until I was in my thirties!

   Fast forward years later. At sixteen I began hanging out with the musicians in Greenwich Village. Over the next few years I became a respected singer-songwriter and was getting steady work. Unfortunately I was more into the attention, accolades and women than I was on perfecting my craft.

   I remember being in a bar late one night following a gig. I was hanging with my musician buddies when this guy comes over and tells me that he saw my set and thought my songs were ‘quite good— a bit stiff and muscled—he added, but still ‘quite good’.

   Well I bristled and sez to him, “What makes you think that you’re so good, you’re qualified to critique my work?”  So he sez, “Well let’s step outside and I’ll prove it to ya! So I grab my guitar and follow him out the door as my buddies whistled the theme from ‘The Good the Bad and the Ugly.’  

   When we get outside he takes out his guitar and starts playing one of his songs and frankly I was stunned. The guy was Lennon-McCartney good, Jagger-Richards good, Elton John good.

   So we became friends and he pointed out where, in my songs, I had gone off track. He quoted the old saying, ‘Great art is a collaboration between God and man and the less man does the better,” and showed me in a number of popular songs how the pattern begun in the start of the song, changed in subtle ways throughout that kept it fresh and interesting to the end. A skill I had not yet mastered and one I would refuse to learn until years later.

   And not only was he absolutely right about the music, he was absolutely right about all forms of endeavors.

   Which brings me to this point.

   Becoming a great anything requires getting into the ring and getting your ass handed to you the first few times. You’re going to get hurt by the people who already acquired the skills you’re looking to get for yourself. That’s the price you pay to get what you want.

   Now as for me, I know how to write a novel. I’ve written several and all have received positive reviews. I know how to make a video book trailer, how to design a book cover, how to narrate an audio book, how to speak before an audience and hold their attention.

   But I do not know how to market and sell my work. So to remedy that I’ve joined a successful marketing group that has been teaching me through a number of video seminars precisely what I must do to get readers interested enough in my work to buy my books.

   This time I’m shutting up, listening and making sure the masters stay put.

If you like my blog why not sample one of my books from the slideshow above and if you’re on facebook why not stop by and show a little love to my fan page http://facebook.com/aripublishing

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Daughter, Defender of Truth, Justice and the American Way

   I have, in previous posts, mentioned that many members of my family are in law-enforcement. Today’s story is about my beloved daughter Turtledove, who at 6’4’’ and 200 lbs. is the epitome of the Amazonian warrior. Graceful, feminine and a real hoot at parties, I sometimes forget that she is a member of a paramilitary government organization (one that I cannot name or even spell for that matter) and is on the front line to defend America from terrorists, enemy combatants and the zombie apocalypse. 

    She says the trick she uses to get information from uncooperative suspects is to wrap her hand around their throat, lift them off the ground and ask, “Do you really think it’s a good idea to piss me off!!?”

   Most quickly agree that pissing her off is definitely not the way to go as I myself have learned from my own personal experience.


   We were having coffee at Starbucks the other day when she told me about a situation she participated in that involved a sniper light, a wooded area and a Virginian businessman with considerable government contacts.

   Late one evening this businessman just happens to look out his back window and sees a bright red laser light moving erratically in the woods behind his house. He immediately locks himself inside his panic room. Then makes a call to Washington and because of his considerable influence, my daughter is immediately dispatched to the scene in full body armor.

   When she arrives, she signals the businessman to let her in. She then tells him to shut off the house lights and after he complies, she peers out into the wooded area and sure enough, she sees the red laser moving quickly as if trying to target a very small or hard to hit object. She instructs the businessman to return to the panic room then goes outside and into the woods to investigate.

   Carefully making her way through the dark, she hears movement ahead. The laser light quickly turns toward her and as she raises her pistol and checks her vest to see if she’s been targeted, it shifts and points in the opposite direction.

   She quietly continues toward it, keeping her pistol at the ready and angling to make herself as small a target as possible.

   As she grows closer, she hears something being slammed repeatedly against the forest floor, snapping branches and rustling leaves, then suddenly, heavy breathing, a weak groan and then a high pitched shriek.

   Turtledove immediately vaults toward the scene, flashlight on and gun ready to fire.

   Then she saw it…

   After taking a sip of my coffee I looked at my daughter and asked what she had come upon. She stared at me with eyes that have seen too much of the horrors of this world. Eyes that have viewed places man was never meant to view. It was then she reached across the table and took my hand and said, “Dad, you can get the answer to that question by clicking on my facebook page http://facebook.com/aripublishing and clicking the LIKE button.

   Well, needless to say I was furious! Imagine her forcing me to first go to a first rate facebook page that is filled with oodles of interesting and fascinating stuff that will intrigue those blessed with brilliant and creative minds.

   But if you don’t have one of those:

   Here’s what happened.

   What Turtledove found was a dying deer that had been shot through the eye socket by an arrow that had a red LCD light on the end! She explained that poachers use those types of arrows to hunt deer in restricted areas or after hunting season is over. The LCD helps them find their kill in the dark and because arrows are silent they don’t attract attention. Apparently, my daughter scared the poachers off.

Since you’re already here, why not click on one of the images on the right and read a sample of my books or just watch the video. And should you find one intriguing enough to buy, it comes with a money back guarantee if you don’t like it, so what’s to lose? And you just might find a new favorite author.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cool things I Can Show You

I decided to do my weekly post in animation
Click here to view


After viewing I become curious how it was done and who did it. Turns out it’s a company called Xtranormal and what so interesting is that they provide a simple tutorial that makes it possible for me (and you) to create your own simple video cartoon for free!
(Note* To construct a more complex and involved video will require some expense but its nominal and it’s a lot of fun to do once you get the hang of it.)
 So if you’re interested go to xtranormal.com and follow the tutorial and make your own. Then post it on my facebook page (just search aripublishing) or go to http://facebook.com/aripublishing and we can vote on which one is the best. Have fun.

Heres that funny video (if you're a writer) I promised

Friday, February 8, 2013

Stuck in the House because of the Storm?

If, like me, you’re stuck in the house because of the Northeast snowstorm, you’re probably looking for something to read. And since you’re not going anywhere soon, you’ll want the book you start reading to be worth your time.

   And so, I have listed samples of my books below with links to Amazon Kindle. After clicking the link, click on the book cover and read the sample. (The samples Kindle offers are just the right length for you to decide if you’re engaged enough to want to continue.)

   Don’t have a Kindle? Don’t need one. Amazon offers a FREE Kindle app reader so you can read on your computer or tablet or even your smartphone  should you decide to continue reading after the sample.

   To Download the free Kindle app click on this link http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=dig_arl_box?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

   And so my friends, Here’s we go.

   The Dead Machine. I’ve often said the only promotion this book ever needed was for someone to read the first three pages. Most of the people who have done so agree. http://www.amazon.com/The-Dead-Machine-ebook/dp/B006IYYXAU/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340043&sr=1-5&keywords=Zackary+Richards

   Noon: The Rise to Power. This is my most popular book. Not your average political thriller by any means, this book portrays life in the U.S in the near future where corporations have seized control the government. Determined to break their control, a renowned physicist and a group of technical specialists use a paramilitary group known as the Scarecrows to launch a terrorist attack on Wall Street. It received 10 reviews. All 5 star http://www.amazon.com/NOON-The-Rise-Power-ebook/dp/B004EBTGZG/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340043&sr=1-3&keywords=Zackary+Richards

   Noon 2: The Resurgence. This book picks up following Madalone and the Scarecrows military assault on Wall Street. With over 56,000 dead in the streets, Noon is ordered to appear before Congress and the military makes plans to invade New York City http://www.amazon.com/Noon-2-The-Resurgence-ebook/dp/B0094WQOQY/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340043&sr=1-4&keywords=Zackary+Richards

   The Messiah Complex. A brutal snowstorm detour leads a traveler into a deadly confrontation with something clearly not human and a popular reverend begins healing the sick, only to discover that although their bodies have healed, something has gone terribly wrong with their minds.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Messiah-Complex-ebook/dp/B004OYTUYA/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340043&sr=1-9&keywords=Zackary+Richards

   Storytime. My collection of 23 short stories, covering all genres. From action/adventure to romance to comedy to sci-fi and even erotica, this book has something for everyone! http://www.amazon.com/Storytime-ebook/dp/B007CO0278/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340043&sr=1-1&keywords=Zackary+Richards

   On the other hand if you’re all set, perhaps your kids need something to read. In that case we I have two popular young adult novels available

   Frostie the Deadman. My award winning first Young Adult novel features Josh and Theo who build a snowman for their town’s winter carnival and by doing so resurrect the ghost of a long dead killer. For ages 10 and up http://www.amazon.com/Frostie-the-Deadman-ebook/dp/B004F9P7SC/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340043&sr=1-8&keywords=Zackary+Richards

   Half Moon Falls. When 13 year old Sally Ann Majeski’s family relocates from Queens, New York to a popular tourist town she discovers to her surprise that she likes the place. But that quickly changes when summer ends, the tourists leave and Half Moon Falls suddenly cuts off all contact with the outside world. It is then she learns that when winter arrives, deadly creatures known only as ‘Harkiners’ start roaming the streets. For ages 12 and up.  http://www.amazon.com/Half-Moon-Falls-ebook/dp/B004EPZ39A/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340043&sr=1-7&keywords=Zackary+Richards

   So settle back into a comfy chair with some hot chocolate, a crackling fireplace and enjoy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why So Angry?

   I’ll get right to the point. A lot of you are crazy.

   Not you of course, beloved reader, but just about everyone else.

   Perhaps you’ve noticed it. If not, here’s what I’m talking about. I have a fan page on facebook which I use to promote my books. I’m not pushy about it, I simply display my books and if you want to read a sample that’s fine and if not, that’s fine too.

   To attract people, I collect and share beautiful photos, illustrations, paintings, plus unusual facts, jokes, videos and just about anything people might find interesting. 

   Here’s the link, have a look and, if you find it entertaining, click the LIKE button.

   Here’s the problem. As I surf Facebook looking for things I think people might enjoy, I am startled at the amount of anger and rage posted by seemingly regular people. And it’s not the language (I’m originally from the Bronx and am quite fluent in the dialect) it’s the fury in which it’s stated.

   This is especially noticeable regarding posts on political issues. Take a side on Gun Control and you’ll set off a range war. I couldn’t believe some of the comments made by so-called rational people, and frankly, the cowardice and shrillness of it. A lot of people on both sides said things they wouldn’t dare say if actually addressing a room filled with the opposition.

  I don’t have that problem because I haven’t said anything in my blog posts that I wouldn’t say to any group for or against any issue. In many cases I try to come up with solutions to various social issues. For example, regarding fair tax legislation, I outlined a plan where those who were actually creating jobs for Americans would pay less tax and those outsourcing and closing plants would pay more. I forwarded this plan to my Senator in Washington and several weeks later President Obama put a very similar plan before Congress. Had he seen my plan or was that similar one already in the works? Who knows? Who cares? The point is, I was trying to help.

   The following week I wrote a comedy about my brother Beerculees. Each week I go out there and swing for the fences. 

   And because I have a blog and sometimes put my views on issues before the public, I get e-mails from those who strongly disagree. And that’s okay. Most e-mails are polite, informative and direct me to links in conflict with my posts. I read them and although I may not agree, I respect their effort and professionalism.
   What concerns me are people who flip out over a post I’ve written. You would not believe the hate emails I got following my posts about Gun Control, Gay Marriage, Intelligent Design, Cops vs The Mentally Ill and others.

   Here’s what I don’t get. A lot of these people clearly hate my guts yet they continue to read my posts and with each new offering, fire off another angry letter.

   Here’s a much better idea.

   Recently a television show I usually watched featured an episode I found so anti-Christian that 5 minutes in, I changed the station and decided I would never watch that show again.

   I didn’t write an angry letter to the network to inform them of my displeasure. I didn’t write the sponsors to let them know I would no longer buy their product, I didn’t write to the producers to tell them I wasn’t going to be watching their show anymore.

   I simply stopped watching. 

   I won’t name the show because you are quite capable of deciding which shows you will or will not watch without me attempting to influence your decision.

   There’s an old joke that features two guys. One is repeatedly banging his head against the wall and when the other approaches he asks, “Why are you banging your head against the wall? To which the man replies, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”

   And that’s the point. I stop doing things I don’t like. I stop reading books that don’t entertain me, stop listening to music that doesn’t rock me, and turn off comedy that isn’t funny. You get the point.

   So, if you’re among those who find my posts offensive, irritating, in conflict with your core beliefs or I just simply piss you off, there is a button on the top of the page that reads NEXT BLOG.

   Press it.

   You’ll be glad you did.

If you’re a new writer and could use a little help with basic grammar and editing, Ari Publishing has a free video tutorial that may help. It is available on Face book at
If you are not a member of Facebook you can also view it at www.aripublishing.com
Click on the How To Get Your Book Published on the toolbar.