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”)

The Write Stuff Interview!

I will be a guest speaker at the Write Stuff Conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania the weekend of March 12.  (EDIT:  Because of the virus, this has been postponed.)

The three lectures I will be giving are:

How the Law Really Works

The Biggest Mistakes Made by New Authors

What Editors Look For

To help promote the conference, they interviewed me and I’ll share it with you here!

Question: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from rejections?

Michael: Never take it personally. You can’t please everyone, and a story that one editor hates may be loved by another. As an editor myself, I have had to reject stories that were great simply because I didn’t have enough room for all the great stories I received OR perhaps I already had another great story with the same theme. So understand that rejection is part of the business and it may have nothing whatsoever to do with how good the story is. You have to expect it. Otherwise, you’re like a prize fighter getting into the ring and going “Hey, I didn’t know someone would be hitting me back!” (However, if you get lots of rejections from everyone, maybe the story needs more work or maybe you should start a new one. Don’t expect every single story to sell.)

Q: Share the strangest source of inspiration for your writing that you can remember. 

M: I heard someone say that Congress was full of bloodsuckers, and I thought “Now, wouldn’t that be interesting?” The idea that vampires can look you in the eye and convince you to do anything was appealing because what politician wouldn’t die for that power? I began a story about a vampire running for Congress, realized it needed to be bigger, rewrote it a few times, added a few assassinations and conspiracy theories and lots of action, and it eventually became my novel “Bloodsuckers: A Vampire Runs for President.” Bottom line: Inspiration can come from anywhere. Just pay attention and always say “What if…?”

Q: Who is your favorite main character you’ve ever created and why? 

M: I created a black female lead character for a story taking place in the 1890s. I wanted to have a fine adventure yet also deal with the issues of discrimination, but in a fun way (if that makes sense). Not being either black or a female, I had to be careful that I wasn’t being either stereotypical or patronizing, so I had black female friends read it and they loved it, which pleased me greatly. So because it was that challenge and I met it, she’s my favorite! Plus she’s a fun, strong character who is in way over her head but never gives up. I like those kinds of “reluctant hero” characters.

Q: What advice can you give beginning authors in establishing their brand and media presence?

M: Sell yourself, not your books. Make yourself into an interesting person with interesting things to say so that people go “I like the way that person writes, and I’ll bet their books are interesting as well.” Don’t start a Facebook page for your book, start it for yourself. And don’t make every post about buying your book. Also, promote other writers and they will reciprocate. We’re not in competition! (Oh, and when you do write, write well! If your posts are full of misspellings and grammatical errors, no one will want to read your book. Seriously, I’ve seen this…)

Q: What projects are coming up next for you?

M: As I write this in December 2019, my alternate history Beatles anthology “Across the Universe” is about to be released, and I’m anxious to see how that goes over. A second nonfiction book about the music of the Monkees comes out early in 2020, and some of my older novels with a small publisher are in the process of being reissued with new covers and a few changes (including a brand new short story in one of the anthologies), so that’s keeping me busy, especially since we’re trying to have the audio books released at the same time. I’m currently recording my own audio book of my nonfiction humor book “How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative.” And, of course, I keep my blogs updated as often as possible. In my spare time, I am a lawyer.

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