Monday, October 6, 2014


I closed my original Facebook account years ago but opened a new one recently  thinkong it might prove useful as a meanse of spreading the word about the book. I trawled for friends and friends of friends and for people I might know or should know and their relatives and acquaintences, building an imaginary fan club.

Now I've  learned that  I violated some of the basic rules of Social Media Publicity. 1) Don't open a new account for the sole reason of hawking  your book, 2) Make friends with your friends first before shoving  book-for-sale spam in their faces, 3) Don't promote your book on a social medoa site you don't necesarrily like.

To my  surprise and wonderment, My Life As a Cadaver has not gone viral yet. I never could figure out how to use Facebook and it's gotten worse. I just don't undersand how it works. It turns me in knots when I  try to manipulate photos.  All my legions of  friends make it look so easy.

I learned my lesson the hard way. Twitter and Tumblr and all the rest are on the sidelines in my publiciy strategy until I know what I'm doing. My next step is to start the post card mailing campaign. What's your address?

Thursday, September 4, 2014


The New and Improved novel has been published in a second edition. Don't ask me what was wrong with the first edition because I'd get upset. Suffice to say I think the time and effort to fix it was worthwhile. The book is ready for prime time. Soon literary agents will competing for the privialege to represent, book reviewers will step forward to praise the ingenious novel, and mainstream publisher will be pounding on my door It'll a NYT best seller, go viral on the internet, and receive several offers from Hollywood produce to option the story. All it's going to take is blind optimism, savvy marketing techniques and dumb luck.

I urge everyone who bought the book to dump their old copies in the recycling bin and order the new edition. Now is the time for skeptics and the uninitiated to grab a copy of the newer, better book. It's available on Create Space and Amazon. The electronic Kindle version will be out in a few days. Tell your friends, families, acquaintences and therapists about it.

Monday, June 16, 2014


One of my favorite scenes in the book is the "Grapevine," which props up  the schizophrenic narrative and connects to it's destination. I made sure I avoided the word phantasmagoria in the book because it's trite, but it's a good blog word and I'll use it now.  Only a reader can judge.  Leo steals Barlow's Green Subaru and flies down Interstate 5 to Los Angeles, weaving up and over  the gapevine on his way. Crucial detais omitted here, but if you read the book you'd know what I mean.

I imagined that dark passage  listening to one of my favorite Pat Metheny tunes.  Are You Going With Me?  Over and over again. The images in the video below don't match the landscape in the book but they do justice to the tune. You have to listen to the end to truly scale the Grapevine. I think you'll understand when you get there.

You can read the Grapevine section of book at the RAW FICTION website. It's an AUDIO EXCERPT, meaning you're supposed to listen to this very same tune as you read, like a sound track.  It's a different version, featuriing the haunting voice of Anna Marie Jopek, a Polish singer.

Monday, June 9, 2014


It wasn't easy but the RAW FICTION website v. 1.1 is more or less up and running. I'm seriously disappointed in the shortcomings of the WordPress website builder platform we used.  It's user-friendly but also user-stupid. It won't allow me to change the size of the text nor choose a font, which is ridiculous. Even compared to the humble Blog-Spot the formatting is primitive. That's ironic because WordPress started out in life as a kind of Super Blog and enhaned its reputation  as it moved up into website building. Something seems to have gone wrong along the way. But I'll have to do with what we got, which could be worse.

I really like the grainy textured design at the top of the page that my web-designer guy put together. I think it capures the essence of what I mean by raw fiction, Rough and unfished. That's me. Those who have read it know my writing is hardly polished. Let's not talk about typos again. The term of art is "dirty prose."  Dirty fiction has another connotation altogether. I'm sticking to raw.

I envisioned the website as a place to germinate fiction.  But now I'm told  my idea of airing  short-story drafts can  be construed as publishing them -- and thereby jeopardizing their chance of being picked up by real publishers. My scheme is in ruins. The platform must be "repurposed." I speak a little tech.  

In the worst case scenario it's still a place to help promate My Life as a Cadaver and redirect the novel on its path to obscurity.  The idea of rekindling interest in my human rights book Levi's Children is pure fantasy. 
Linking the site to a moribund gallery of long-expired news articles in the Morgue secton is a vestage of my old website. Irrelevent nostalgia.

I'm ready to start counting "hits."

Saturday, May 10, 2014


My new website, RAW FICTION, is starting to take shape. You may have noticed an earlier post in which I described my severe case of computer burn caused by the effort to update my old website with a dysfunctional do-it-yourself web builder program. My sanity has been restored by a talented web doctor named Lawrence McKendell.  He designed a wabi home page and other content pages under my logo Raw Fiction. (I'll explain what that means in due course.)

The rest is technical. We need to build out the architecture of the inner pages with the short stories and articles I want to show off.

Unfortunately, my concept of posting short stories in-progress on the site has been compromised. I'm told that once you publish a piece on a website it's disqualified from being considered for publication  by a traditional  print publisher or an online magazine. They want to have first crack at it and run original work before it's widely available on the internet. Oh well.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


 I think I made a serious error in putting exerpts from fictional reviews on the back cover of the book . When I started building the book cover I thought they were hilarious but intended them as place-holders until I could think of something better to fill the page. I got attached to them, however. It seemed to me at the time that the book's title and its morbid content  could benefit from a bit of humor.  But evidently the joke went flat.

Confidentially I was appalled that so many readers didn't get the allusion to E. B White's classic  children's  book Charlotte's Web. Maybe people don't have children anymore, or they were negligent in reading their kids to sleep at night.

In the first mock review the excerpt is "Some Book." Get it? Hah hah hah.

I regret making the assumption that  this would be  an clear reference to the immortal words Charlotte  the Spider spun in her web:

 "Some Pig"

Her spelling skills made Wilber the  Pig famous and spared him from being made into bacon. My reviewer is named Charlotte Weber, which is either too cute or really stupid,

Hopefully the novel won't be slaughtered into pork chops.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I just returned a family event celebrating Easter and my brother's birthday  and suddenly feel very self-conscious about all the things everybody thinks they knows about me. It seems all my brother's in-laws (my inlaws-in-law?) read the damn book and now I fear they will never look at me the same way again. I have no idea whether this is good or bad. Suddenly I'm painfully aware that my friends and colleagues -- should they actually read the quirky and  indulgent novel -- may  readjust  their perception of me in a way that isn't necessarily flattering. I've given every one a picture window to see what an ass I can be.

This is what memoirs are all about, I suppose. You take the risk of ruining your reputation with candor. But in my case I've butchered the integrity of a serious memoir with flagrant lies and distortions of reality, all in the name of pulp fiction.  There's far too much fantasy and subterfuge in there to even call it auto-biographical.

I know who I am. But the reader has choices.  I can be a clown, a cognitive cripple or a delusional Hemingway wanna-be. That's what I get for writing at home wearing  my pajamas all day.

Monday, April 7, 2014


People tend to laugh at the oxymoronic title of the book. I'd have to admit it's probably more moronic than oxi. But some readers were offended by my attempt at gallows humor. I agree that one should not speak ill of-- or poke  fun at -- the dead. Not because it would hurt their feelings -- how would they know?  But my title is stupid, snarky and insensitive for people who may be morning the loss of a loved one. For that I sincerely apologize.

But let's not give short shrift to cadavers. One can imagine that some dead people, if they could talk, would say  it's an honor to serve humanity by promoting the advancement of Medical Science as a cadaver, no matter how icky it sounds.

My late father was  the strongest critic of the use of  "cadaver" in the title. He found it repulsive. He was a medical doctor who saw plenty of cadavers in his five-decade career as a clinician and medical school professor .

But he didn't get the metaphor: A corpse is grist for an autopsy or a forensic examination on its way to the grave. A cadaver, on the  other hand, is the subject of intense scrutiny and pedagogical examination without which medical students doing their surgical training would be cutting into your duodenum instead of your prostate gland.  Without the study of cadavers, Leonardo De Vinci would have been drawing stick figures. A cadaver can bring death back to life because it  reveals t secrets that wouldn't have mattered in a routine autopsy. And here's the leap of faith: The cadaver in the title is about introspection, not shock value.

I lied to my father.   I told him My Life as a Cadaver was just the "working title"  and that I'd come up with something less ghoulish as the book progressed. Sometimes you have to defy the good advice you get from a parent. And you should never reveal information about a literary endeavor to family and friends until it's published. Keep them guessing until they read it, and then you hear some pretty funny interpretations.

My 90-year-old mother said she believed the character Christina was based on the bubble-headed exotic dancer with whom I had a foolish  relationship in the distant past. Sorry, Mom.  My Cadaver's Christina is based on a ravishing red-headed Polish astro-physicist  I met years ago on a trek up Mt.  Kilimanjaro. It was a tangled affair . . .


I got at a notice the other day from Amazon informing me I earned a grand total of $100 on the book that month. I should be grateful that anyone buys the book at all, let alone pays real money for  it.

Obviously I wrote the book to make tons of money. A mainstream publisher will ignore the typos, give me huge advance and get it on the NYT Best Seller's List. My agent will sell the option to United Artists.  Terry Gross will interview me and laugh her delightful laugh at my jokes and cleveer remarks. I'll be able to send my youngest daughter to college.

Sympathetic friends tell me at least the book is out there for my children and grandchildren to read as an epitaph of a well-meaning author, even if it doesn't earn a dime. No, no, I correct them, the hell with posterity. The intention is to sell my soul to the devil,  bartering my private  thoughts and experiences for filthy lucre.

Now I got to get off my ass and launch a publicity campaign, begging for reviews and bookstore events in paces like in places like Concord, 
Joliet, Illinois , and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I need to put on a zebra costume and hawk the book in a goofy video that will go viral on YouTube.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Introducing the Barlow-Bacigalupi twins, the heroes of the novel -- total strangers separated at birth. One is an unhappy corpse  and the other is a befuddled  coroner drinking himself to death.  Meet the two actors in their  movie lot trailers before  they go on stage. We'll give you their  back stories and excerpts from exclusive interviews.

As a bonus feature, you'll meet lovely Christina, the enchanting avatar and unemployed geneticist both men are madly in love with.

RAUL C. BARLOW  was  a  mild mannered reporter before being poisoned by ambition and arrogance. He thought he was  the cat's pajamas when he was given the lucky opportunity  to work as a foreign correspondent in Japan for a major newspaper. But  his career went south on account of a little brain tumor. He survived to struggle with the consequences of cancer and to reflect on mortality and the joys and sorrow of his life. Then late one night a speeding automobile mowed him down.

"It really hurt," Barlow said in a recent seance.  "I'd never died before so this was a real bummer. I was going to meet Christina in the morning after we'd been separated for three years. Holy shit, man!!"

LEONARDO DANTE BACIGAUPI  (Leo) is an assistant medical examiner on his last legs, an alcoholic on the verge of getting fired. He's called to the scene  of the fatal accident and notices immediately something remarkable about the corpse. Gradually he recognizes himself in the dead man's eyes and launches an unauthorized inquest of Barlow's hidden life, breaking into his house to rake through a box of hand-written journals and search an erratic collection of computer files.

"At some point it became obsessive, I guess," he told the MLAC Blog. "There I was doing a routine investigation of circumstances surrounding his death and suddenly the mystery of the man's life   consumed me. I had to know what made Barlow tick."

The bottom line is that My Life as a Cadaver is a love story.

is the fiery paramour  Barlow was tragically separated from at the end of his rocky marriage. Pain and misunderstanding prevent them from reuniting, but Christina remained chaste  and after three years of waiting  she hired  a private detective to find her  lover in San Francisco. She seduces Barlow and later Leo with the siren song of her  blog, Narcissistic Chameleon Moo.

Monday, March 31, 2014


I'm hearing a lot about confusion in the relationship between the dead man and his coroner.  Should I have put more emphasis on their physical resemblance without giving away the plot? Like, yeah . . .

I think I got the all-important  feeling of "place" right, painting a tableau  of San Francisco's Inner Mission District, but fell short in placing the story in a time frame that defines  the action. I got the phases of the moon precisely correct but left it to the reader to figure what year it was. Duh!

Here's a big mistake: You don't hear about Barlow's abandoned  novel until the very end of the book. Even a hint or a minor mention of it would help foreshadow the denouement, particularly where the medical examiner's office is concerned. My bad.

Gee, I left out the giant Ikea store on the northern rise of the Grapevine, a landmark of realism and orientation.

The "fugue."  I didn't give the reader a chance to think about that as an explanation for the dead man's state of mind. Darn!

Consider the novel. Under Construction.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Seems I went overboard with the cryptic nature of the  narrative. The feedback I'm getting from people who've actually read the book has been generally  positive, however,  there seem to be a lot of "buts" following the initial praise..  Very often the qualifiers are about the plethora of typos and dropped . . . in the the text. Ooops! I dropped the word word.

I'm very grateful when my friendly critics cast aside their fear of hurting my feelings to make valuable comments that point  out serious flaws or confusing passages in the narrative. One very useful comment, which gave me an idea of the  scope of problems in the book, was "I liked it a lot, but I didn't understand what the hell was going on half the time."

Did anybody get it?
Barlow dies on  The Day
of the Dead in 2003.

No doubt I'll be  skewered if the book ever gets reviewed.  But I'm already resigned to that likelihood. I'm my own harshest  critic, and maybe with help of my readers I'll get it right when I rewrite the electronic edition on Kindle.

Will that matter? The number of people who read hard-copy books is shrinking rapidly theses days, I am told. But I have to wonder whether  digital literature is going to take it's place. Who's going to read a novel on their smart phone?

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I've been going bananas the past week trying to update my moribund website to reflect recent developments in my literary work. As a result I've afflicted upon myself a bad case of chronic computer  burn. This term is not listed in the DSM - yet -- but the condition is prevalent among those of us who don't have the skills to navigate "user friendly" computer applications. (the next stage is clinical computer rage).

The plan was to make my website something potential readers could consult before squandering their money on a copy of My Life as a Cadaver. My original journalism website,, had for some reason degraded itself to the point where images had disappeared, page elements had scatter ed across the home page, and some of the links to other pages misfired. The Start Logic web-builder did everything in it's power to stop me from repairing the damage and uploading new files and photos.

I turned to a secondary domain where I had started a new website for fiction, but the Network Solutions' web=builder was even worse.  You're supposed to  be able to drop files into the template you're working on but it would't let me perform this simple function. I phoned the tech-help number twice, but each time I waited a 30-40 minutes  before they cut me off, saying the phone number I was using couldn't access the call center.

Luckily, I know some guys out there who calmed my nerves and pointed me to better, newer do-it-your-self web-builder sites. But I've decided to avoid tying myself in knots again. I'm working with a professional web designer who's going to hold my hand while I try a new web-hosting service. Wish me luck. In a couple weeks keep an eye out for Raw Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A SNEAK--PEEK Inside the Book

It took me six years to write this book. My friends and family all thought I'd gone over  the deep end but I finally finished the fifth and final (for now) draft.  Now that it's self-published and shining I can show everyone what I've  been working on all this time:

  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes