Friday, May 30, 2014

I Need a New Beatle Album with All New Material!

I Need a New Beatle Album with All New Material! 

When I was a kid my father would regale me with stories of how he and his brother would go to the movies to watch the latest Laurel & Hardy comedies. Those two, he firmly believed, were the funniest people who ever lived.
Having grown up with a TV in the house I was able to see all the old movies he was talking about and although I found Laurel & Hardy entertaining, I didn’t think they were the funniest people who ever lived.

When I told my father this he said the reason I wasn’t as thrilled was because I had seen countless watered down versions of their work by second rate comedians which of course killed the impact of seeing the original. The reason he and his brother loved them so much was because Laurel & Hardy were the FIRST to do those routines. They created sketches that had never been done before. And you probably have discovered for yourself that there is NOTHING more entertaining than experiencing a totally original fantastic piece of entertainment.

Which brings us to the Beatles. If you are not a baby boomer you likely feel the same about the Beatles as I did about Laurel & Hardy. But for us boomers, they were gods! Every month or so they would release something so utterly original and amazing that we’d rush out and buy it and play it until we worn down the needle.

And their albums!

Nobody but NOBODY was doing what they were doing. Rubber Soul, Revolver and especially Sgt. Peppers were so utterly groundbreaking and amazing that everyone I knew had a copy of those albums.

Literally everybody.

And you didn’t need to hear a new Beatle album to decide whether to buy it because there was NEVER any doubt that it would be great! They always were!

Here’s the important part. Back in those days, no matter how lousy your life was. No matter what fresh horror you were exposed to each day, no matter what so-called friend stabbed you in the back there was always the joy of knowing that soon, just down the road a new Beatle album would be released and it would be just as great as you imagined. It would lift your spirits and be that burst of sunshine we all, at times, so desperately need.

Then one day while getting ready to attend the horror that was high school I heard over the radio that The Beatles had broken up. It was like hearing your best friend died.

I cut school and instead went to the Bronx Botanical Gardens, stayed there till closing. I remember it was a dreary and overcast day. It would remain so for some time.

I am at the age now where the harsh realities of life have become abundantly clear. Over the last 18 months I have lost two dear friends and two family members to cancer and diabetes. This is how life works. You have to accept the good with the bad.

Okay, I get it.

So where is that new Beatles Album with all new material?

Because, I really need one.

Really, I do.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Bronx Revisited

The Bronx Revisited

25 years ago I turned to my wife and said, “Sell everything, we’re getting the hell out of the Bronx once and for all!”

This was NO knee jerk reaction. It had been coming for some time. It’s just that when change occurs slowly you don’t notice until something horrifying happens and the rose colored glasses are knocked from your face.

The teen two house up from ours was dead. Shot through the chest in a drive–by in broad daylight. He bled out on the sidewalk. The sidewalk where my wife strolled with my daughters in their baby carriages.

Turns out they shot the wrong guy. The person they were looking for lived two blocks down.

Not that it mattered to me. I was seeing clearly now. The Bronx had become a war zone.

Sometimes people ask me why I waited so long. The answer is simple. The Bronx of my youth was a great place to grow up. There were parks and playgrounds, beaches and roller-rinks, great restaurants and a subway and elevated trains that took you anywhere in the city you wanted to go for a single fare.

I remember ditching school and going to the World’s Fair in Queens when I was only eleven. Started playing clubs in Greenwich Village when I was sixteen. Went to mixers at Fordham College and sat out on the stoop on hot summer nights drinking beer and hanging with my friends.

Then crack cocaine showed up and everything went to hell!

And it went to hell so quickly I wasn’t able to grasp how much danger we were in until it was almost too late.

The crack-heads were a desperate group. They’d say anything, and DO anything to get money for crack. I had my car stolen twice even though I had alarms and crook locks on the steering wheel. I was held up at gunpoint for a lousy $27.00. Even caught a guy trying to break into my house.

And it kept getting worse. Every business was locked down like a bank vault at night. There were armed guards at supermarkets. Shoplifting was rampant and driving the local businesses into bankruptcy.

Hollywood began making movies on just how bad the Bronx had become. One was called The Bronx is Burning and the other, Fort Apache the Bronx which was about a police precinct in the South Bronx which at the time was the most dangerous area in America.

Within 2 years following the crack epidemic, all of my family and friends had moved away, with the exception of my brother. My brother, whom I have referred to in previous posts as Beerculees, was not the type to been driven off by anyone.

So he and his lovely wife Linda, remained in the Bronx and made a life for themselves.
I was happy for them but made it clear that if they wanted to see me, they would have to come to the North Country because there was no way in hell we were coming to the Bronx.

Then last week I received a call. My brother told me that Linda had lost her battle against lung cancer and wasn’t expected to last the weekend. He asked me to come down and stay with him until the burial.

So I did.

The burial is tomorrow and I have been in the Bronx for the last 6 days. It’s a VERY different place than the one I left 25 years ago. The streets are clean, people are polite and local businesses seem to be doing well. VERY well apparently because I have seen more BMW’s here in the Bronx in a day than I see in a month up north.

Roads still suck though.

Just a note. If you’ve ever wanted to see a Yankee game, or visit the Botanical Gardens or the Bronx Zoo but were concerned about coming to the Bronx, don’t be. The Bronx is once again the fun place of my youth and even Golden Balls has returned to Rice Stadium.

If you’re from the Bronx you know who Golden Balls is. And if not, stay tuned to this blog and find out who he is and how he got that name. 

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Money, Cash, Moolah, and How to Get It.

Money, Cash, Moolah, and How to Get It.

If, for some bizarre reason, you’re not a member of the 1% (and why not, you lazy, shiftless, bastard) and would enjoy being a self-righteous, smug, douche-bag millionaire living a life of decadence and over-abundance…

Well then, we are likely soulmates!

You see there was once a time when I too was a hard working member of society. Getting up early for work every day, driving in rush hour traffic to get to a job I hated, spending the better part of my life making someone else rich whilst propelling myself to an early grave.

Then the economy went to hell and I was shown the door.

Now here’s the weird part. I discovered that nobody wanted me to remain a hard working member of society. No one wanted me to get up at some ungodly hour and drive in rush hour traffic, to do I job I would likely hate to make some fat-cat rich.

Yeah! That surprised the hell out of me too!

So I started my own business but soon discovered that starting a business costs A LOT OF MONEY.

Then, just when things were looking quite dismal, I ran into a buddy who had lost his job a year before me and also couldn’t find another job. Yet he was driving a new car and dressed in some sharp clothes.

He explained that he made money online and no longer needed to find a job, he simply worked for a few hours a day and picked up a healthy check at the end of the month.

I found this VERY intriguing so I asked him to show me how he did it. He quickly agreed! I like to think he did so because he wanted to help out an old work buddy and not because I had pulled a gun and threatened to… well anyway, on with the story.

So he showed me how he did it. So I started doing it and I started making money too! Very little at first but the better I got at it the more I made.

So to prevent some despicable doofus from pulling a gun on me and demanding to know how I did it, I simply wrote a book explaining how. And today it’s free! So download your copy here.

No need to thank me, just drop by and say hello when you join the Beverly Hills Country Club
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Friday, May 9, 2014

Writers: The Secret to Getting a Publishing Deal

Writers: The Secret to Getting a Publishing Deal


How many rejection letters have you accumulated over the years? Over 10? Over 20? Over 50? Maybe even over 100. The problem with being a writer is that you think your next book is the one that’s going to be the big break you’ve been working so hard for.
Are you sure? Isn’t the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

So take a moment and look at the publishing business from the agents and publishers viewpoint. What would be your main concern? Well. obviously securing the rights to the next best-selling novel would be goal #1.

So let’s go back to that new book you’re working on. You may think the topic you’ve chosen is hot stuff but have you taken a moment to check with the buying public? Some books have a built in audience. Take dogs and cats for example. There is a huge market for book on pets. Remember Marley & Me? Bestselling book, big selling movie.

Cowboys & Aliens? That became a #1 movie.

Then there is the triumph of the human spirit. Thousands of successful books have been written about people living through difficult and dangerous times. The Holocaust, the Great Depression, the Civil War, Slavery, The World Wars, The Dust Bowl and so on.

Police and Lawyer stories are always popular. The TV show Law and Order has been running for how many years? And of course, SEX ala Fifty Shades of Grey

Let’s take a step back to you being an agent or publisher. You likely have a boss. He’s going to want an explanation as to why you think the company should sign this someone to a book deal. You tell them it’s a great book, fast-paced well-written with great content.

So your boss asks if it is about pets. No? Triumph of the human spirit? Kinda but not really. Contemporary popular topics? No? Police or Lawyer? No?

What’s happening here is the boss is going down the list of the best-selling topics and you’re striking out. But there is a still a chance, the book you love is about a bi-polar woman during the Great Depression. It’s well written and engaging. But here’s the problem. Although it is about the triumph of the human spirit somewhat, books about the Great Depression aren’t HOT right now and therefore it will require a lot of promotion to get it off the ground, meaning a lot of money invested in advertising and publicity.

But money is tight in the publishing business. Advances are WAY DOWN and advertising money goes to the project most likely to turn a profit.

Have you noticed all the Duck Dynasty and Kardasian books on the shelves lately?

So the secret of getting a book deal is this: You need to have either a well-written book that’s about a current hot topic OR make yourself into a brand by becoming well known on social media.

For example, my blog has been read by over 27,000 people. My facebook page has over 1300 LIKES plus I won a writers award for my YA novel Frostie the Deadman.  

So ask yourself, What am I doing to improving my chances of getting a book deal? If your answer is, I’m writing great books, and as a writer that’s all I need to do.

If that’s your attitude then your chances of getting a deal have dropped even further because once an agent or publisher realized that you don’t intend to do anything to promote your book, they will likely hand over that contract to someone who’ll promote their book 24/7

So here are your options. Keep writing and sending manuscripts to agents and publishers hoping that sooner or later one of them will offer you a contract or TAKE ACTION.

Example: Best-selling author Amanda Hocking sent her books to every publisher and agent she could find. ALL turned her down. She kept this up until finally she decided to TAKE ACTION. She researched the best-selling books and discovered a niche she knew she could excel at. The Zombie/Vampire/Romance/Teen market.

She created a blog and heavily engaged her readers. She wrote at an explosive rate, sold her books on Kindle and built a strong loyal following. She’s now a millionaire. Why? Because she TOOK ACTION! And guess who’s offering her huge advances for her books, and a boat load of other perks?

That’s right. The same publishers that consistently turned her down before.

When my publisher ran into financial difficulty and had to stop publishing, I considered looking for a new publisher then decided that I wasn’t going to spend any more time looking for an new publisher. Instead I partnered with other novelists and created Ari Publishing.

It was a considerable undertaking at first but it’s doing quite well now and I’ve expanded it into a full service agency that helps professionals establish themselves in their field and new authors to learn the business and build a following.

If you have questions about writing or publishing you can contact me at or just visit and have a look around.

Remember, nothing is going to happen until you TAKE ACTION!