Ray Bradbury: Follow that Character …

391px-ray_bradbury_(1975)_-cropped-Find a character, like yourself, who will want something or not want something, with all his heart. Give him running orders. Shoot him off. Then follow as fast as you can go. The character, in his great love, or hate, will rush you through to the end of the story.

Ray Bradbury, The Joy of Writing, Zen in the Art of Writing

Mark of the Spider: What Readers Say

Here is what some readers are saying about The Mark of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle.


“A captivating and easy to read book … I didn’t want it to end….”


“Once you start you don’t want to put down. Full of intrigue!”


“My only disappointment was that the second book hasn’t been released yet! I want more!”




Not sure if that last one describes the book or the reader, but either way, I like it.

If you’ve read it and liked it, please say a few words about it on Amazon or Goodreads.

If you haven’t gotten the book yet, do it now. I hear it’s “breathless.”

The Mark of the Spider is only available on Amazon until mid-November when it will be available through most ebook sellers. Stay tuned.

Next Step: Interior Book Design

I’ve written the book — my Viet Nam memoir, HOTEL CONSTELLATION: Notes from America’s Secret War in Laos.

I’ve rewritten the book  (several times). A dozen friends and fellow writers have critiqued the manuscript (over and over). Two professional editors have gone through it line by line, then word for word.

What’s next? Design the cover and interior layout or hire someone else to do it.

That decision is easy. I love to eat but I don’t cook. I love to read books and write, but I don’t do design.

Hire it done. And so I did.

After culling a long list of cover and interior designers from author and book midwife Joanna Penn, I narrowed it to several and finally chose Damon Freeman at Damonza.com, based on quality of design, number of books designed and cost (my allowance for the next two years).

Damon’s crew got the formatted interior pages of the book back to me in a matter of days. It looks better than I ever imagined it could, and I’m glad I didn’t try it myself.

Here are the opening pages.Laos Format Sample

I think it has a great professional look and feel, and I’m looking forward to seeing the design concepts for the cover.

Georges Simenon on the Awfulness of Writing

Writing is considered a profession, and I don’t think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness.

The Paris Review, Summer 1955