Tag Archives: fiction

If you think iPhone intros were crazy, the first ballpoint’s was way wackier!

What was so funny in 1945?

Milton Reynolds introduced the ballpoint to the United States and triggered the biggest single-day shopping riot in history at Gimbels in Manhattan.

He made $5 million in eight weeks during the first non-wartime Christmas season. Then came competition and sales stunts of the “Pen Wars.” An exuberant entrepreneur, Reynolds bragged he “stole it fair and square.” This novel is told from his mild-mannered son Jim’s point of view, about coping with Milton’s outrageous schemes, then their sudden success.

Young adults, particularly males who identify with Jim, will take away…

  • What it was like to start a business when there were no rules (why capitalism can be fun)
  • A book report choice they will actually enjoy (reading or listening to the audiobook)
  • The difference between a huckster’s promise and a lie (they hope you’ll get what you want)
  • How to captivate the girl of your dreams (keep your word)
  • How to step out of your father’s shadow (when he’s larger than life)
  • What makes a grown man get out of bed each morning? (______!)

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Available the way you like to read (or listen)

Mr. Ballpoint is available in hardcover, trade paperback, Kindle, EPUB, and Audible Audiobook.

EPUB from Kobo  Nook from B&N

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.


Feeling Blue on Black Friday?

Christmas Karma book cover sketch and finished cartoon by Gary Palmatier, Ideas to Images

Christmas Karma book cover sketch and finished cartoon by Gary Palmatier, Ideas to Images

As the holidays approach, I’m not necessarily happy about it.

I wrote Christmas Karma after I’d gone through a series of personal losses. I think in those situations everyone experiences a whole spectrum of emotions, from bewilderment, to anger, and even at times some relief that your dear one’s suffering is over. And then I thought about how, if the soul is truly immortal – and, if so, it can’t ever be hurt, harmed, or endangered – wouldn’t it have a sense of humor?

You don’t need to have any particular brand of religious faith – or any at all – to enjoy this book. Most of all, please don’t take any of it too seriously. And if you post reviews – and I hope you will – please hold back the spoilers! If the sometimes bewildering plot twists entertained you, you’ll understand why it wouldn’t be, ah, good karma to give the game away.

May it bring you some welcome tears and laughter.