Friday, November 11, 2011

True Colors Bookstore

Thank you Ruta and all the folks who showed up last night at my reading. I hope you all had a good time.

~ david

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Valley Art & Book Fair

South of Rochester, MN the hills are rolling and farmland is abundant. Overhead, eagles and hawks soar. Then, driving around one bend a town appears. The picturesque small town of Spring Valley welcomes a weary but excited traveler. Downtown Spring Valley is two blocks long with diagonal street parking. The art & book fair is held in the Center for the Arts building, a small establishment in the middle of the block on the good side of town. At least I assume it's the good part of town. On this block more than half the parking spots are taken (and not just from the artists, authors, and patrons). On the other block is one car.

The art & book fair was not what I expected, but not unpleasant. Artwork was hung from the walls of a small room, three tables for a handful of authors, and a small stage. Debi Neville, who put the whole thing together, did a great job making the best of the space she had. On the plus side, I got to meet some exceptional artists and writers, got to see a couple of friends whom I rarely get to see (one from Rochester, the other from Peterson), and had fun walking around a small town. Sadly, the vendors outnumbered the patrons. Still, the company was divine, and it was a perfect day for a drive ~ and yes! If Debi puts it together again next year ~ I'm in.

Award winning authors Thomas Harper and Helen Chen

Sorry ~ but because of camera and download problems (especially inside), pics are very limited. Other authors included Joan Sween, Rose Hamlin, Ann Schultz, Danielle Allen and the Divine Rhubarb Committee (yes, they had a book about everything and more you'd want to know about rhubarb). Artists included Leisa Luis Grill, Mary Lou Devlin, Dawn Sanborn, Andrew Neville, and Pam Freet.  Pam also supplied music playing cello.

After the fair, Beth & I stopped next door for great pizza. Unfortunately, we didn't make it into see what the Battle Ax was all about ~ they were closed.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ghellow Road

The front cover is a bit confusing. It says the book is a literary diary and also a novel. I guess it can be a made up diary, but Ghellow Road by T.H. Waters reads like a book of creative nonfiction.
There are also quite a number of people to whom this book is dedicated, and who I’m willing to bet are active participants (even though the names have been changed) ~ thus giving the book a truthful flair. In the book, Theresa Waters (again, pointing to nonfiction over a novel) is a young girl trapped in a dysfunctional family whose father is coated in depression, and mother, schizophrenia. As an author, T.H Waters does an excellent job of watching through the eyes of a young girl while she faces her parents crumbling marriage, a father who sees himself as a failure, a mother who can’t get out of bed for days at a time, a brother who has no real connection with her, and friends who don’t know and couldn’t understand even if they did. Her use of language is also very emotional and Waters uses that emotion to keep the reader enthralled.
‘A few, final seconds of silence would seep beneath my heart’s secret door, the one where I’d hidden away my trust, my vulnerability. “When are you going to come home?” I’d ask in quiet desperation. The answer was always the same.’ p. 191
There are also passages that are almost poetic. ‘I was born in the arms of the City of Lakes.’ opens the book.
The book centers on Theresa, and in true child fashion, the world revolves around her. T.H. Waters doesn’t sugarcoat the life she went through as a young girl or hide her shortcomings. That’s the book’s strongest aspect and also its weakest. She wonderfully paints Theresa as an entire human being, complete with flaws. The downside for me was because it was so centered, people popped into and left her life with no explanation. There were a lot of questions, as a reader, I wanted answered. I also had a slight problem with time lapses. Something dramatic would happen and suddenly it would be weeks later (which, if I can remember that far back, is exactly how a kid thinks but I still found it disconcerting). I suppose I should compliment the writer in that she had me so intrigued as to really care about Theresa that these minor annoyances weren’t even close to making me want to stop reading.
There are memoirs where kids have had it worse (Theresa was never sexually abused, hungry, or homeless), but she still had a terribly rough childhood with no real stability, being bounced from one home to another, and witnessed things no child should have to experience. There are no chapters in the 290 page book, but plenty of good breaking places if you only have short periods of time to read. But that might be a problem ~ although most of the sections are only a few pages long, it will be hard to put down. You’ll want to squeeze in that next section, and then the next, and then the next . . .

Friday, April 15, 2011


A peaceful cabin resort in northern Minnesota which is owned by an eccentric woman and her sister ~ add a corrupt judge who believes one of the cabins on the resort should belong to him ~ throw in a baby kidnapping ring ~ a couple of souls needing to complete a task before entering the next realm ~ and you’ve got another Sadie Witt mystery.
Sadie is back and feisty as ever in Beth Solheim’s latest book, Outwitted. As a death coach (helping souls pass to the other side), Sadie’s job is hard enough when dealing with strangers. It becomes more complex and personal when the decedents are people she knows. It makes it next to impossible when one of them is an impish six-year-old who doesn’t know that she’s dead.
When a baby is kidnapped from the maternity ward at the local hospital, Sadie not only has to deal with frightened guests, the law, and Clay (the drunkard ex-husband of Nan, the funeral director and best friend) but also making sure two souls cross over before their time runs out.
Throughout, my favorite scenes take place during the interactions of the sisters. Sadie and her twin sister Jane are alike insofar as they are both sixty-four – from there the resemblance ends. Sadie wears miniskirts, thongs, sports a snake tattoo that people mistake for a worm, spikes her hair, and acts like a teen (sometimes tween); Jane dresses conservatively and acts older than her years. While they are constantly sniping at one another, the love is clearly shown through the writing. Although, when Sadie gets a picture of Jane and posts an ad on a dating website without Jane knowing, I don’t think I’d be as forgiving as Jane. Still, it’s scenes like that that keeps the story fresh.
‘Jane paced in front of the kitchen table. “No wonder he knew so much about me. What did you tell him?” Before Sadie answered, Jane added, “Now I’ll never be able to face him.”
"That’s ridiculous. If you like him, what’s wrong with seeing him again?”
“He’ll think I’m not capable of finding my own dates.”
“He already knows. I explained it when I posted your photo on the website.” Sadie grimaced as Jane let out another shriek’ p.86
All combined, this makes for an enjoyable, and quick read. Although Outwitted is a stand alone novel, I still recommend reading Witt’s End first just for a deeper understanding of Sadie and Jane Witt. Solheim writes colorful, eccentric, and flawed characters as well as a good description of life in a northern Minnesota resort. Outwitted is a light mystery, perfect for taking to the beach or the park for a nice and relaxing afternoon read.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meet Ami Blackwelder

It's my privilege to introduce writer, teacher, world traveler, Ami Blackwelder.  Ami was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions.

First of all, welcome Ami. Let me first ask ~ when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Elementary school. I wrote so many creative stories. It wasn't something that I thought -oh, I want to be a writer. It was more like I always had this inside of me. Like breathing, I didn't have a choice in the matter.

You mentioned that Thailand is like a second home. How often do you make it back there? 

Once a year.

When in Thailand, how is life different for you? 

So fun, polite, accepting, adventurous. I love Thailand for so many reasons. $10 massages, and great Thai food!

You're very prolific. How much time do you spend each day writing? 

I like to get done 3 chapters a week. That is about a book every 3 months.

You also do a lot of promotion and marketing. How do you work a balance? 

Well, I substitute three days a week and do online work two days a week, I write everyday I can and promote on the days I don't sub.
A lot of your marketing is on the internet. What do you prefer ~ online or traditional marketing? 

Both. I do many online ads and promos and do many local activities.

For those who want to get to know Ami and her work better, type in her name at (she's got quite a list of books) or check out her website:   

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bloomington Book Fair and other stuff

My goodness, it's already coming close to a week since the Bloomington Book Fair and I'm just getting around to writing about it now? I'm thinking it might be time to rearrange my priorities. Maybe watching reruns of News Radio shouldn't be so high up on the list (but I digress).

Last Saturday was my third stint at the Bloomington Book Fair. As is the norm ~ my face hurt from constantly smiling, but also as is the norm, I did have a good time and met some wonderful people. This year I had the pleasure of having a table next to Erin Hart. For those unfamiliar with Erin's work - shame on you. She's an amazing mystery writer, and I believe the past president of the local Sisters-in-Crime chapter. Being side-by-side with Erin had its advantages and disadvantages. Her table certainly attracted quite a crowd. Unfortunately, once they got their signed copies of Erin's books, they gave me a per functionary smile, and if I was lucky, a few picked up my card.  Still, I did manage to sell a few books and did a lot of networking.
My table (sans crowd)

Erin's table (bunches-o-people)

Otherwise, I've been devoting the majority of my time promoting Spyder. I'm happy to report that for those of you who still love the feel of holding a real book in your hands, Spyder can be found at most of the independent bookstores around town along with many of the online sites, including Amazon and B&N. Ebooks are also available at most of the online sites. I hope to set up a reading or two in the coming months, but so far nothing is set in stone. Fear not ~ as soon as anything is set up, I'll let you know.

I'm very pleased to announce that my friend, and children's book author, Stacy Waibel, will soon be releasing her fourth in the series of Rudy, the cute poodle books. The newest should be out sometime in April. For more information on Rudy and Stacy, check out their website at Rudy's Little world.

I know that I'm forgetting to mention something (this getting old thing really sucks) but at least when I remember what it is, it will give me something to write about next blog.  Until then . . .

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spyder has hit the streets!

Now that Spyder has been released, I was going to talk about Spyder, talk about marketing, how important that is (it is) and how uncomfortable I am doing it (I am).  Blah, blah, blah ~ I've talked it about all before and I really think I'd probably be repeating myself.  Then I saw Nancy Silveria's review.  Needless to say, I was in awe and it rendered me speechless. So, I'll let her review do all the talking for me.

Spine-tingling author David Fingerman goes in a bold new direction with the release of his 231-page book of fiction entitled SPYDER. (ISBN 978-1-60318-264-5) 

Named for the books main character, SPYDER takes us on a candid journey into the inner city of Everyday-Metropolis, USA. From a first person accounting, the author sets the reader on the edge of reality with nowhere to go but into the raw pulse of the human condition. 

Using a colorful combination of characterization and sarcasm, Fingerman moves readers across this edgy work with denial and fascination, creating the "I know it's tragic, but I can't help but watch" mentality. A sensation I find similar to enjoying Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. 

Allow me to introduce you to Spyder, a thirty year old man who has already tasted the worse flavors life has to offer. 

"Actually, I go by the name of Spyder, that's Spyder spelled with a y. In my younger days living on the street, I got a black widow, complete with red hour-glass, tattooed on my right cheek just below the eye; about the same place a gang-banger tattoos a tear drop after he offs somebody. Thus, my name. It shows the high creative intellect that's out on the street." 

He's a man of crass wit possessing a bad ass survivalist approach to life in the drug filled alleys and wayward streets. 

"Let's see, I dissed the Latin Kings this morning; by noon tomorrow I'd be dissing the Vice Lords by not showing up. Hell, the day was young and I still had plenty of time to diss the Bloods, Crips, Disciples, and the Naturals to make me a complete moron and walking dead man. Not a problem. I licked the twenty clean of any remaining powder and walked out the door to see what the rest of the day might bring." 

Fingerman peels back the layers from the shunned world of opportunistic relationships that breed from the raw needs of addiction, violence, and homelessness. The book opens when Spyder's girl friend Olivia, a relationship of convenience rather than attachment, dies from an drug overdose, thus forcing Spyder to consider steady employment and sobriety over living hand to mouth and strung out on the city streets. 

From the violence of guns over taking Spyder's hard learned experience with a blade, and the fact that his body is aging pass the peak of his youthful days of becoming a street renowned VIP, to the loneliness that comes from a lack of familial support and emotional contentment, Fingerman paints Spyder's journey. 

What unfolds is one man's attempt to change his life, to build stability and relationships from scratch without possessing a single social skill other than the ones learned from surviving life on the streets. 

SPYDER begs the question: Can a man who has only known a life of drug dealing, gang violence, and the pitfalls of affection magnified under such a heated spotlight, find a peaceful existence within the structured expectations of civility? 

If you've read either of David Fingerman's books, the collection of short stories Edging Past Reality or his first novel Silent Kill, than you know it's a good bet you're going to love SPYDER, too. I couldn't put it down! 

I've read all his books, and he's quickly become one of my favorites because reading one Fingerman book doesn't mean you've read them all. He's versatile; a rare quality and a true mark of a great writer. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Follow Your Dreams

For starters ~ No! This is not going to be some Polly Anna blog about chasing your dreams and you can accomplish anything (my intestines are knotting just thinking about it). No, this blog entry is literally about dreams ~ as in falling asleep and having dreams (intestines settling).

Maybe it's the changes in the weather; maybe it's my obsession lately with mortality. Who knows? It could be . . . oh, never mind. Whatever the possibilities, I've been having some very strange dreams as of late. In some I've had the starring role, others I was a minor character, and in some I had the wonderful position of an omniscient observer. One dream involved a UFO coming through my apartment wall, another had a killer fighting a cop, and one had me climbing a hill in San Francisco (I haven't been in San Francisco in over 30 years). As different as these dreams (and others) were, the one thing they have in common is they'll all make great stories (there's more to it than climbing a hill in San Fran, but I'll keep that a secret for now).

Turning dreams into stories is no great shake. Most creative fiction writers I know have used dreams for story fodder. If any of you have read my short story "The Blue Light," that was based on a dream that wasn't even mine (if you haven't read it then get your butt to a bookstore or and order Edging Past Reality). A friend from my writers' group came up and told me about a dream he had. In it a man walked into a room to find pictures of models wearing lingerie. What made it unusual is that all the pics were taken below the neck so none of their faces appeared. That was all the catalyst I needed. The following week I read the story I came up with to my fellow writers (of course giving my friend credit for the idea). He was so touched that he came up to me after the meeting and told me he'd never tell me another dream again. Looking back, that's the only dream that wasn't mine that I ever used for a story. In EPR there are at least four (more likely five or six) stories that originated in my dream state.

One of the smarter things I used to do was sleep with a pen and pad of paper next to my pillow. Waking up from a dream I would quickly jot it down before forgetting the details. But as I got older and sleep became such a rare and valued commodity, I got lazy. I'd wake up from a dream, 'that was interesting' and go back to sleep thinking I'd write it down in the morning. Funny thing about that. By morning the details would be faded beyond recognition, and that was if I could remember the dream at all. More likely I'd wake up, think 'I know I had an incredible dream, but what was it?'

At one point I reached what I liked to think of as an okay compromise with myself. When I woke up from a dream I would concentrate on the details, forcing myself to remember. One of two things happened. Either I'd concentrate so hard to remember that I couldn't fall back asleep again, or if I did enjoy a couple more hours' slumber, I'd forget enough of the details that the dream no longer made enough sense to build a good story.

So even though I have my bouts of insomnia, when I awaken from a dream that has real story potential, I will lay there and concentrate on all the intricate details until I'm conscious enough to get up and start tapping the keys on my computer.

Coming soon: some stories that are really gonna rock!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Writing what you don't know

I'm currently working on a horror novel (the plot of which will remain a secret for now). In a groove, I was cruising right along although something in the back of my mind kept nagging at me about chapter two. By chapter six the nagging got persistent enough that I stopped and went back.

There's a popular rule of thumb for writers to keep going forward. Finish your first draft and then go back and start editing. If you're constantly going back to edit, you'll never finish. It's good, solid, advice and something that I always ignore. Ideas are constantly popping into my brain for things to change (and hopefully improve) in the previous chapters. I regularly go back and re-edit and yet I've been able to complete three novels thus far. As I've said a number of times, a writer has to do what works best for them.

Anyway, I re-read chapter two for the umpteenth time and wondered how realistic it came across (if you're questioning yourself there's probably a pretty good chance it's wrong). I'm not talking about the supernatural stuff (that's in chapter one and bypasses chapter two), but the human condition in certain situations and how certain professionals conduct business. Okay, I'll give away this much ~ there are cops and lawyers involved. I emailed the chapter to a friend of mine who does have the expertise in that area, and asked if this sounded realistic. A couple of days later we got together for lunch. After the pleasantries and catching up we got around to my novel. She told me she read the chapter and then she just shook her head. She started with 'a law firm would never do that' and went on to explain why. In the back of my mind I'm thinking 'okay, that's not too bad, I can probably get away with creative license.' Then she went to the next part.  A little bit more complex but I figured I could fix it with a minor rewrite. The next point was a biggie. 'That would never happen!' And her reasons were sound. As she went on it became very clear that I'd have to change the entire direction of the plot (let alone get rid of, or at least change dramatically some of the characters). It also meant that chapters three, four, five, and six were useless (well, not really useless, but I'll get to that in a minute). That was a couple of weeks worth of work down the drain. Had I gone with the rule about keep going forward ~ yikes!

Am I sorry I asked for her advice? Not in the least ~ I'm grateful! And I'm grateful to have a friend who I can trust to tell it as it is without sugarcoating to spare my feelings. I'm sure you've all read books where you came across a passage or chapter where it was clear the author didn't know what (s)he was talking about. For me that ruins the entire novel. Unless the novel is great up to that point, I'll usually quit reading. There are enough good books out there that I'm not going to waste my time on a book that pisses me off because of the writing. I just wish I would've asked when I first felt that pang of doubt. Now, after mega rewriting, I feel the novel is much stronger. As for chapters three through six, well, I put them in a separate file. I know there will be places where I'll be able to pick out bits of scene and dialogue and use them later.

It all goes back to write what you know. If you don't know it ~ research (which includes friends).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pariah ~ a book review

First off, I have to say that I am in no way (as far as I know) related to Bob Fingerman. I actually discovered his existence when I was googling my name (yes, I do that occasionally). I became a fan after reading his novel Bottomfeeder. I became a bigger fan after reading Pariah. He's probably more famous for his graphic novels, but I digress.

Zombies have taken over the world. How? Dunno. What happened? Dunno. Initially, I was a bit disappointed that there was no answer. The story focuses on a small handful of New York survivors trapped in their Upper East Side apartment building.  Shoulder-to-shoulder, zombies surround their entire universe. With no communication to the outside world, if there is an outside world, the survivors, thus the reader, only know what's going on in the here and now. They didn't know how it all happened, other than it was quick. So as long as they didn't have any inside information that I didn't, all was forgiven.

Hopelessness reigns with starvation gaining fast. As the few left are coming to terms with their fate, from out of nowhere appears Mona, a girl who can freely walk among the undead. Where did she come from? Dunno. Where was she going? Dunno. But she agrees to make a food and supply run and move into one of the unoccupied apartments. Suddenly there is hope, but for how long? Will the group ruin a good thing trying to figure out how she can move freely while they're stuck in their prison?

Pariah is a tension filled, faced paced novel (which says a lot considering that these are the breed of zombies that don't move too fast). There are a number of questions brought up ~ some answered/some not. Some of the non-answers I felt fine about, others I felt put off. I really wanted to know. I guess that's a credit to the author because I was that into his characters. Fingerman writes a colorful cast of survivors and his warped sense of humor is sprinkled not so delicately throughout.

The rod felt good in his hands. Sturdy. He cast the line – the noose weighted with a brass plumb bob – and jiggled the pole to test the swivel's mobility. Smooth. Beer in one hand, rod in the other, Eddie could almost imagine being on the high seas, maybe off the coast of Cozumel. p. 287 Yes ~ Eddie is on the roof of his building fishing for zombies.

Fingerman convinced my sense of disbelief that the world as I knew it was over.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Resolutions

For a number of years I made the typical new year resolutions ~ lose weight, live healthier, be nicer, blah, blah, blah. On good years I lasted about a week. I'd feel guilty for a little while and then think there's always next year (gave me an excuse to be a fat jerk the rest of the year).  Last year my new year's resolution was to make no new year's resolutions. That way I broke the resolution at the exact moment I made it ~ thus, no pressure. Resolution broken and I could get on with my life. This year, I dunno, maybe I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, but I decided to give the resolution thing another shot. I could just as easily wait a week or two and call them goals, but what the hell. First off, I gotta go with the most popular - lose weight. Nothing more need be said on that one. Besides, this is a writing blog so I'm going to stick to writing topics for the most part.

Okay, my first goal (ooops, excuse me ~ resolution): I resolve to complete two manuscripts before the end of the year ~ at least the first drafts. I can't use lack of time as an excuse.

Resolution number 2: I will update my blog regularly. If I don't, you, dear readers, have my permission to kick my butt (in the figurative sense only - preferably by email).

Speaking of the blog ~ along with occasional book reviews and guest bloggers I would also like to keep this a somewhat open forum. If you have any subject (writing related) that you'd like my, ahem, expertise about, drop me an email and I'll see what I can do.

Resolution number 3: Aw, hell with number 3. I think this is enough for the time being. I do have others but they're not writing related so I ain't going there. On that note . . .

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and successful 2011.