Category Archives: Rants and Raves

Here’s where my thoughts go.

Answers on CreateSpace Migration to KDP

I named my small press LaPuerta Books and Media – “la puerta” meaning “the door” in Spanish. It’s all about the unlimited opportunity of self-publishing.

Robin Quinn of Quinn’s Word for Word Asks Me About My Experience Migrating POD Paperbacks

My longtime friend and colleague Robin Quinn, who is herself an expert on book development, asked me for this contribution to her blog. As you might expect, the migration from CreateSpace to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Print on Demand (POD) for paperback production was not quite as automatic as Amazon promised it would be. #amwriting #selfpub

It’s About Boy-Girl Chemistry and Failing Ever Upward

When I was in high school, my chemistry teacher approached me and asked with a sly grin, “You interested in mining?” I told him absolutely not. I was going to be a writer. Little did I suspect that he wanted to send me to a student conference on metallurgy where I could seek the fellowship of like-minded teens on a minimally supervised road-trip to the Big City. Undeterred by my abrupt negative response, he grumbled, “Well, you’re interested in mining your own business, aren’t you?” And he sent me anyway.

Now I realize I should’ve listened more carefully to everything he said.

I wrote about a particularly instructive episode in my studies with this crusty chemistry teacher – and my comely lab colleague – in my short story “Chemistry,” which is featured in my collection Boychik Lit. In that book, I include six short stories about coming of age, failing ever upward, and boy-girl chemistry. There’s also a glib essay on the fiction genre (only?) I call boychik lit.

It’s a Kindle book (also EPUB). It’s cheap (but not slutty) and a quick read on your smartphone while you’re waiting for her to finish in the bathroom.

Boychik Lit Kindle

Boychik Lit EPUB

Remember, Russian Dressing Isn’t Even Russian!

Watch for these #fakenews Liar’s Tricks before you forward that post to all your friends…

  • Change the order of events. Reverse cause and effect to make the perpetrator the victim.
  • Accuse the accuser. If you’re guilty, blame your innocent opponent before the news breaks.
  • Stretch the analogy. You can generalize all you want if you reinforce the reader’s existing opinions.
  • Focus on a side issue. Pick one that’s hot so you can distract from the real story.
  • Release late Friday. Or after the closing bell.
  • Confuse with “alternative facts.” If you can’t quash the rumor, create multiple bogus versions of events to bury the story in noise.
  • Point to anomalies as trends. This scorching day means more drought to come.
  • Use a pitchman. Lying people are more interesting than honest graphics.
  • Animate your charts. Shorten attention spans and reduce study time.
  • Use nonstandard chart formats. Make eye-catching puzzles out of your boring facts.
  • Abuse the Net Promoter Score. Just because they sent you a survey doesn’t mean they intend to improve anything.
  • And, no matter what you do, leverage emotion! Leverage anger or strong sentimentality to cloud the logic and make it go viral.


Art Crime whitepaper included in Scholar’s Edition of the art history novel

Who were these people really?

The fictional version of the story is now backed up by peer journal documentation.

This special scholar’s courseware edition of Bonfire of the Vanderbiltsincludes the full text of the novel, along with the author’s research whitepaper “Deconstructing the Scandalous Narrative of The Baptism,” which appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of The Journal of Art Crime. Also included in the endmatter are:

  • Extensive research bibliography
  • Rare photographs from the private collection of the painter’s family
  • Links to related audiovisual supplementary materials, including the recording of the author’s presentation on the The Baptism to the American Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

In 1892 Paris, Julius Stewart painted The Baptism, a Vanderbilt family scene that contains an embarrassing secret. In the novel, art historian Grace Atwood becomes obsessed with the painting and its hidden clues for reasons that have more to do with her personal ghosts. Either her doting husband is trying to make her think she’s crazy, or she really is in the early stages of dementia.

Praise for Bonfire of the Vanderbilts

“I must say, I am impressed with your sleuthing, your imagination and your ability to weave a story. Your theory is fascinating, and I personally would be quite excited if any piece of it proved true.”  —  Carson Joyner Clark, biographer of painter Julius Stewart

“Alva Vanderbilt Belmont would be very grateful to you for researching a Vanderbilt family painting – as will all the family. And as I do. Historians keep us alive!”  —  Margaret Hayden Rector, Vanderbilt biographer, author of Alva,That Vanderbilt-Belmont Woman

“Of the many inquiries we get, this has been the most interesting in a long time.”  —  The Very Rev. Harry E. Krauss (retired)

“I think you’ve done an extraordinary job of researching and speculating on the painting. You’ve certainly convinced me that this was a Vanderbilt affair!”  —  Mary Sudman Donovan, Historian, Episcopal Church USA, Author of A Different Call: Women’s Ministries in the Episcopal Church, 1850-1920

The new Scholar’s Edition is available from booksellers worldwide in EPUB or Kindle formats:

Amazon Kindle     B&N Nook


‘Choke Hold’ Paperback Giveaway on Goodreads

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Choke Hold by Gerald Everett Jones

Choke Hold

by Gerald Everett Jones

Giveaway ends November 27, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

New Rave Review for Choke Hold – a crime novel about police brutality

This from D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review:

Choke Hold sounds like a legal thriller, but it opens with a dose of unexpected humor: “Putting a law firm above a funeral home might seem an unwise marketing decision. But the price was right on the rent.” Both businesses are struggling, and both proprietors are involved in civil rights issues in their community which take them away from their appointed positions and into dangers which include confronting injustice and murder.

Subtle humor is injected into a story line that holds emotional connections, action, and social issues alike (“Whenever they turned on the waterworks, he could feel the size of his retainer shrinking…So, here she was – no cash, no credit – and probably (and this was the real challenge) with no idea whatever where chubby hubby had his assets hid.”). The infusion of all these elements into a story that ultimately revolves around murder and survival makes for a multi-faceted production that is, in turn, a gripping story of lost causes, choking situations, and heartbreak.

It should be noted that Choke Hold is replete with descriptions of urban noir culture and a sense of the urgency of race relations in the 1980s. Issues of oppression and justice are wound into the overall story of character choices and interactions, making for a saga that takes one man’s ill-fated encounter with the police and expands the tale to demonstrate its wider-reaching impact on individuals and the community.

What happens when authorities and justice systems don’t seem to care about injustice and the outcome of brutality?

Choke Hold succeeds in posing some hard questions in the course of its descriptions of a personal injury lawyer’s special challenge, making it a top recommendation for those who like police and legal procedural mysteries tempered by a healthy dose of social inspection and a light dash of wry humor throughout.

Choke Hold is now available in paperback and in EPUB (Nook) and Kindle formats.

One practical result of this book’s publication could be to encourage debate about whether to bring back the inquest process in police-involved wrongful-death cases. I’ve read that even some parties in law enforcement and the judiciary think that such a prompt, open process could help defuse public anger and improve communication based on facts rather than rumors.


Wuddya think? Do I need new glasses?

Martin Scorsese can make any movie he wants. Gerald Everett Jones can make any book he wants.

That’s fair.

Thank You Claude Monet

Impressionist painter Claude Monet did not become commercially successful until relatively late in his life. By that time, he was prosperous enough to buy a farm estate at Giverny, located a train-ride trip from Paris. Here’s a picture of him in his eighties, seated on a bench near the pond on the estate where he painted his masterwork series of water-lily panoramas.

Claude Monet at Giverny

I first saw this photo in the gift shop at Giverny. It’s a wall-sized blowup. I see him all dressed up in his three-piece suit – very probably, his best – waiting for the photographer. He has a straw hat to shade his eyes. He usually wore one with his bib overalls and old long-sleeved shirt when he painted. Perhaps this is a new one. You can almost see the gold-rimmed spectacles staring out beneath the brim. And the long beard was a trademark, dating from back in the day when it wasn’t all white.

I could imagine his saying to me, “Well, let’s get on with it.” Or, “What are you waiting for?”

I have a framed copy of it on the wall in my bathroom.

He asks me those questions every morning.

Uninvited Houseguests

That’s what Jean Renoir’s 1932 movie Boudu Saved from Drowning, Paul Mazursky’s 1986 flick Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Christmas Karma have in common.

renoir-b down
FB_cover.indd Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)

Christmas Karma (2014) La Puerta

The Golden Glow of the Gilded Age


Evening on the Avenue, New York City – Original Oil on Canvas by G. Harvey (J Watson Fine Art)

I saw this painting in a recent issue of Southwest Art magazine, which covers fine art, and not just of cowboys and cattle.

It evokes a holiday feeling of yesteryear on the streets of uptown Manhattan, something we can imagine even if we’ve never experienced. The warm glow reminds us this was near the end of the gaslight era.

My historical novel Bonfire of the Vanderbilts takes place back then. I live in Los Angeles now, but looking at G. Harvey’s painting makes me think about frigid, gunmetal-gray days when reading a freshly-minted paper book by the fire was just the perfect thing.