Free writing advice

I’ve been using this blog to discuss writing advice (which is why it’s called “Learn From my Mistakes”), and lately I’ve been doing zoom chats with writers, editors and agents for my group the Pocono Liars Club.

They’ve all been recorded, and are very entertaining. We do these approximately every two weeks, and the schedule and videos of the previous chats are all here.

Here’s the most recent.

Ranting about the Constitution

Hey! Wanna hear me rant about people who don’t understand the Constitution? Check out this podcast with Mark Arnold!

Never take it personally

There are classic movies that critics love that don’t interest me in the slightest. Oh sure, I can acknowledge they’re well directed, well acted, well written — but the subject matter bores me.

And there’s some music I love that other people can’t stand. I can see their reviews and I wonder if they’re listening to the same thing I am.

My wife is an award-winning artist. Despite her master’s degree, the work she’s sold, and the accolades she’s received, some galleries won’t even consider having her there.

And it’s because we don’t all have the same tastes. Imagine how boring the world would be if that was the case.


So keep that in mind when some people just aren’t interested in your book. Of course you think it’s great — you write the kind of book you like to read, after all. But not everyone has your taste.

You must never take it personally when friends or family don’t read your stuff or don’t compliment you on it. Other people are buying it, right? You’re getting good reviews, aren’t you?  (If not, and all the reviews are terrible, well maybe you should pay attention.)

Many of my best friends in the writing community write wonderful stuff that, to be honest, just doesn’t interest me. And many of them aren’t interested in the kind of thing I write either. And that’s okay.

The worst thing you can do is pressure family and friends to read your work. No one wants to be forced to read something. That’s like homework. Let them know it’s there but never ask them what they thought of it or bug them with questions about it. If they like it, they’ll let you know.

I know, that’s difficult. We all want everyone to look at our baby and tell us how beautiful she is. But, well, some people just don’t like babies.

Monkee business

My co-author Mark Arnold and I were recently interviewed by a very colorful Australian calling himself “Plastic EP” to discuss our books about the Monkees. It’s a fun and fairly short watch. Hope you enjoy it!

Virtual Balticon!

Normally this weekend, I’d be at the science fiction convention Balticon, talking about books and everything else and hanging out with friends. However, it’s online only this year (of course). I’ll be on a few panels and will be doing a reading.

It’s free but you have to reserve a spot, so check it out here!



Weekly Zoom Chats!

Join me every Wednesday night at 8pm EST for a zoom chat with various editors, authors and agents! Sponsored with the Pocono Liars Club.  A complete schedule as well as information on how to join is here.

Here are a few clips from previous shows.

Reading “How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative”

Don’t feel like downloading and reading the first chapter of my Constitution book? Okay, fine, I’ll read it to you — but you’re going to miss all the great cartoons.

Across the Universe readings!

Want to hear some of the stories from the “Across the Universe” anthology? Of course you do! Hear the authors read their own stories!

Remembering the future!

Want to hear a fun short story? “Remembering the Future” places the heroes from my fantasy novels trying to figure out what happened when they keep getting confronted by people angry with them … then it gets weird.

I recorded this in my back yard since it was such a nice day. Sound quality isn’t as good as I wanted because the creek was making noise behind me … and I had the laptop in my lap, so when I moved, it did too. Still, the story is fun.


My latest book!


In this sequel to LONG TITLE: LOOKING FOR THE GOOD TIMES; EXAMINING THE MONKEES’ SONGS, ONE BY ONE, we look at the careers the Monkees had outside of the show and the band: From Micky’s early appearances as “Circus Boy” through Peter’s financial and legal problems to become a respected performer with his band Shoe Suede Blues, to Davy’s frustration with record labels and his many solo albums for his fans, to Michael’s evolution from country rock founder to the creator of MTV and video technology ahead of many others. We examin the various reunion concerts, the movies and plays, and the ups and downs of their varied careers, all with insight and humor.

Paperback | Hardcover

“Some people are so ignorant as to imagine that the Monkees are not a ‘real’ band. That’s crazy! That’s like saying that lemon meringue pie is not ‘real’ food. They’re both an inspired synthesis of disparate wholesome, delicious, natural ingredients combined, orchestrated and executed with expert skill and sublime results. What this book makes irrefutably clear is that all four Monkees were consummate professionals – talented musicians and skilled performers, all – producing strong, creative, original, yet inexplicably unheralded, music recordings and video content before, during and after their frenzied ‘Monkees’ moment. Never underestimate a ‘pop star’. There’s always more to them than you could ever imagine. This book proves it. I will always love lemon meringue pie. And I will always love the Monkees.” – Dean Friedman (“Ariel,” “Lucky Stars,” “McDonald’s Girl”)

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