Audio Recording of the Gift of the Magi 0

Audio Recording of the Gift of the MagiThis audio recording of the Gift of the Magi relates a timeless short story of a young married couple and how they learn the true meaning of Christmas. In the story, a delightful surprise awaits them when they face the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.

Some people call the Gift of the Magi corny. I think it is sentimental and shows the true meaning of the Christmas season. Besides, this audio recording of the Gift of the Magi is for kids.

I performed this at the West Texas Opry along with my rendition of Stubby Pringle’s Christmas. I enjoy performing the rhythm of a good story in front of an audience and it has helped in my writing.

I’m selling this audio recording of the Gift of the Magi and a portion of my sales goes to the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. I have had the pleasure of visiting this campus and seeing all of the wonderful things they do for music and performance arts. The Academy is a 12-time Grammy winning public performing arts high school in Downtown Las Vegas. The funds from this sale will go to things like theater upgrades, a new recording studio, a new piano lab, new dance floors, equipment for the Academy print shop, new instruments, and upgrades to the library.

This is one of those short stories I’m sure O’Henry (William Sydney Porter’s pen name) wrote in a quick moment when he was writing for The New York Sunday World newspaper. Sometimes the best stories are the ones we rattle off quick.

Like most of O’Henry’s works, this story contains a simple parable, which is why most people find it quaint and corny. No matter. It’s a great story.

I tried to capture in this audio recording of the Gift of the Magi the same warmth as I’m sure Mr. Porter felt as he was writing it. The story is a nice way to kick off a holiday party or put others in the spirit of the season.

You can see my auction on Ebay here.

Use a Facebook Author Page to Create a Strong Book Launch 0

Facebook Author PageYou may not have written your book yet, but it’s time to get started building a pre-launch buzz and get your face known and connected with your topic. We’ll do much of that using a Facebook Author Page.

First, create a Facebook Author Page and make it all about your book. When the next book is coming out, you’ll replace the cover graphic that you create for this book’s Facebook Page with a cover graphic for your next book. This gives you instant credibility, plus you can showcase to your friends and family what you are up to.

Your Facebook Author Page is a wonderful canvas for all sorts of promotional opportunities, so make sure you do use calls to action, when you have something for people to click-through. You can offer a sign-up incentive right in your cover photo or create a “Coming soon…” announcement. Either works to get some traction.

So, there is no wrong or right way to use your Facebook Cover Photo. Whether or not your strategy is effective and the right choice for you, however, depends on your goal and your purpose for your Cover Photo; what stage of marketing you are at with your book; and whether or not you have included the best call to action for that particular purpose.

Join Twitter or reactivate your Twitter profile. This is the platform where serious interaction between writers, readers and book promoters is always white-hot. You’ll find beta readers via Twitter relationships, potential reviewers, other writers who can be a fount of promotional tips—and, of course, your ideal reader.

The key to Twitter success for authors lies in learning what hashtags to use or create—then using them in posts. provides a comprehensive list of the most popular, evergreen ones in the article, “44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know”.

I’ll dive into the next step Make Personal Appearances next time.

7 Ways to Market Your Self-Published Book 0

7 Ways to Market Your Self-Published BookYou wrote the book because you wanted people to read it. Well, now, let’s not get too excited! Seriously, why write it if no one will ever read it? What if I could give you 7 ways to market your self-published book?  These tips will get your book on the reader radar.

7 Ways to Market Your Self-Published Book

  1. Start Before The Book is Finished
  2. Create a Strong Pre-Launch Presence
  3. Make Personal Appearances
  4. Set Deadlines for Your Pre-Launch Campaign
  5. Actively Lobby for Reviews
  6. Get Your Book Launch Platforms in Place
  7. Make an Event of Launch Day

Let’s start this off with Step 1: Start Before The Book is Finished.

Start a conversation about your book.

  • Mention it. Allow yourself to get excited about it.
  • Ask people questions related to your book topic
  • Share its creation ups and downs
  • Talk about the PREMISE behind your book
  • Share what is motivating you to write it
  • Blog about your book, your motivation or your topic—not just on your own blog, but as a guest blogger

You should also begin to find out what people want from your book. What do they complain about most when looking for the information you plan to offer? What are their “hot spots” about the topic? What gets them excited about your information?

Now think about how you will reach those readers. Are they easy to find? Are they on a certain blog or social media? How will you handle your pre-launch and what will it entail?

At this point you have to think about all of the things that will intrigue a reader. And you need to focus on those things as you write the book. You need to think about the marketing as you write.

That’s the start of this series on 7 Ways to Market Your Self-Published Book. Next time, I will dive into the remaining six kick-ass methods.

Info Book Marketing and Promotion Tips 0

Info Book Marketing

The $1,000 Money Trick was my first book on Amazon.

I have self-published three information books on Amazon. If only I had thought about info book marketing first. My self-publishing adventure has taught me quite a few things about marketing my books. Honestly, the publishing process is easy. The marketing and promotion takes the most work.

Lessons Learned:

  • Plan Info Book Marketing and Promotion as you write
  • Think about the audience
  • Write it and they will come doesn’t work

Plan Info Book Marketing and Promotion as you write

Honestly, this step is often intuitive in many informational themed books. Clearly, if the subject matter didn’t appeal to someone, then the book would never sell and it shouldn’t be written. However, your idea of a good book subject is often off the mark. Just because you are very interested in train crossing signals doesn’t mean the whole world is waiting for a book on the subject.

  • Where is the audience?
  • How will you reach them?
  • What tools will you use?
  • How can you find a specific audience?

Think about the audience

Begin now to think about how you will market the book. This means you have to look for subjects an audience wants to read. Think about your audience. Research their interests. Look for narrow subjects. Focus in on their needs.

Some topics that never fail:

  • Money – people need it and are always looking for it.
  • Happiness – when money fails to buy it, people start buying books hoping to find it.
  • Found Time – no one has enough time; it is the one thing you can’t make more of.
  • Stress Relief – follow a mother sometime who has three young kids and you will want a book on stress relief.

Write it and they will come doesn’t work

I must emphasize that just writing an info book and hoping for the best will not sell any copies. You have to think about where the audience is hiding and how you will reach them. Info Book Marketing and promotion takes the most time and effort for the individual considering self-publishing a book.

I will continue this series with more tips in the coming weeks.

As It Should 0

A budded rose stem
On thin branch in course sand
It shrinks under sun

A gingham maid pours water
Rushing down onto the crown

Glass beads dot petals
Dripping into the puddle
The green leaves shimmer

Morning sun climbs high
Drying the single red bud

The flower stem wilts
Petals droop down in distress
Nightfall sunsets relief

Gingham maid retrieves the pail
Spray dances around brown root

Desert sun turns hot
Too much for English flower
The thin stem turns orange

The gingham maid pours water
Much too late to save it

The desert returns to sand
As it should.

Marching Down Fifth Street 0

One hundred twelve in the bright florescent midnight shade
I bumble through a weary crowd marching down The Strip beside dancing neon, drunken girls, and gold firelight
Mojave desert heat blasts the granite marble hills towards God’s tower man-made
One hundred twelve in the bright florescent midnight shade
Dreams fleeting as fast silver coins tumble through the flashing casino parkade
The jingle-jangle rhythm strikes a mirthful heartbeat of disjointed amusement in the night
One hundred twelve in the bright florescent midnight shade
I bumble through a weary crowd marching down The Strip beside dancing neon, drunken girls, and gold firelight.

In the Mirage 0

In the mirage, ripples rise before my eyes

The standing noon sun heat dries

Beads of salt sweat on my forehead

Leaving me heatstroke weak as I tread

In the ravine, a winding snake path intensifies

Following a sand mouse lenghthwise

A rodent’s fate demise

I ponder the tan path to the tragic end

In the mirage.

A fan palm hides rock art mysteries

A spear thrown ripples past a prize

Landing short of red rock bloodshed

A hunter stands apart from his band; defiant brave friend

I sit alone too stoic on my perch of granite gneiss

In the mirage.

Did I Mention 0

Voice One: “The big highway interchange in Mission Valley was designed by the grandfather.”

Voice Two: “I doubt it.”

Voice One: “He surveyed the whole thing and figured out where everything needed to go.”

Voice Two: “I think you’re mistaken.”

Voice One: “I have his surveying notes.”

Voice Two: “He worked for the City of San Diego but I don’t think he had anything to do with it.”

Voice One: “Did I mention my dead mother told me he designed it?”

Voice Two: “Dead mothers do tend to influence history.”

The Eternal Price of Liberty 2

A Conversation (Among Strangers on a Bus)

Voice One: “He shared secrets with the Russians!”

Voice Two: “Maybe he was trying to be frank.”

Voice One: “Or he’s a traitor in bed with Putin!”


Voice Three: “Over there is a statue of Lafayette.”

Voice Four: “He believed in the cause of liberty.”


Voice Two: “Radical factions ordered his arrest.”

Voice One: “If I’m considered a radical, so be it. They should arrest Trump!”

Voice Two: “No, Lafayette was arrested. Napoleon secured his release.”

Voice One: “Another dictator helping another.”


Voice Four: “I think you’re confusing the past with the present.”

Voice One: “Shut up! If you’re against liberty, then I don’t want to hear it.”


Voice Three: “Look there’s the White House.”

Voice One: “Probably already sold it.”

Voice Four: “Let’s go take a look before its gone.”

Voice Two: “The price of liberty requires eternal vigilance.”