Much as we strive to keep to our schedule, stuff happens.
It’s a one man show, here at the House of Davis, so if the principal is suddenly out of the picture, the screen inevitably goes blank. Simply put, the publication date for my novel… the Magic Bullet… is on hold while the author/publisher/publicist/editor/printer/CEO gets some medical tests completed.
Regardless, the work goes on. Watch this space for details on the amended release date. Hopefully, it will be sometime in late March or early April.
The context of your life has an enormous hand in how you live, the decisions you make. Sometimes, even an innocent choice takes you down a path so dark that, at the end thereof, you are stunned by what you’ve done.
Even the cold-blooded protagonist of The Magic Bullet, a man who has given some serious thought to the things he’s done and why he did them will admit to a suspicion that he possesses criminal predilections that spring from what he calls “intermittent sociopathy” when pressed to find a name for it. As he says….
“Every time I made a choice to do something most people would never consider because it’s a crime or unusually brutal, even cruel… it made the next such choice all that much easier, if not and inevitably necessary. Sure, I had values, still do, and I have the full array of human emotions at my disposal, emotions such as love and compassion, but… like the man said, shit happens… and the choices you might truly regret are sometimes made for you, such that one willful mistake will inevitably lead to one you might regret, but were forced to make in a spiral downward… or up, depending on your willingness to adapt to your circumstances. You have a choice. You either choose to embrace your conscience or you open up offshore accounts… some in Switzerland for security, some in Germany for stability and investment, and some in the Cayman Islands for the stuff you absolutely need to not be seen. I chose the latter path always. A conscience is bad for your health, but an offshore account is a friend who will not desert you.”
His name is Joe and the book is his confession, both the unburdening of a secret with historic implications and the unburdening of a conscience long restrained. If you were together in a bar and he was not there to kill you, he might explain it like this….
Say an animal runs across the highway right in front of you. Split seconds elapse during which brief time you must decide… hit the brakes or kill? There is that sickening thump, a slight tremor in the car’s suspension and the rear-view mirror is the place where regret begins. You could say there wasn’t time, but you know that’s a lie.
There’s an old Sinatra song that goes like this… “Regrets… I’ve had a few… but then again, too few to mention…” It’s called My Way. A lot of singers tried to take off with it, but Sinatra kills it. Not everybody knows that Paul Anka wrote the song. When I tell them, people are surprised, because Frank Sinatra owned the song just like I’ve owned the course of my life. Maybe other people laid things out for me along the way, but whatever I did, I owned it… same way Sinatra owned that song… still owns it.
Unlike Frank, though, and even though I did it all my way, I’m not so sure there’s any regrets involved. Which is to say, I don’t remember spending too much time thinking about all this and asking myself, “…was it right or wrong?”
Maybe I’m not altogether normal in terms of how I deal with things like guilt, but unlike your average sociopath, I have feelings. Are they sincere? Who can tell? They’re feelings not facts. Besides, life is really hard and some things play out in ways that are so damn tragic, they could pull tears from a stone. Given that level of tragedy, how would you recognize sincerity, or even define it?
The Magic Bullet is about an American epoch written in blood. Centered around one of the most profound events in Twentieth Century American history, it is also a study in the motivations of institutional violence and the hypocrisy that fuels the self-images of men who use the icons of patriotism to camouflage the brutality of their crimes.
Coming in February of 2021.
Watch this space.
Working on recording a reading of one of the short stories in my anthology, Shrapnel, as a nod to the kind of PR one usually does for a book, travelling here and there, doing readings in book stores and such. Because of he pandemic, that kind of marketing isn’t really viable, so one has to be creative. I will choose one of several stories in the collection that lends itself to reading aloud and I’ll practice until I can do it properly, record it, and post it here with enough fanfar, I hope, to attract listeners who can listen when they have the time… which is probably a better way than scheduled stops in various bookstores, certainly a greater possible audience.
Today, however, I want to give you a little sample, a scene from one of the stories in the anthology, a story titled The Zen Society of Cleveland. The premise for the scene? A young Vietnam Veteran living in Cleveland during the mid-1970s has reached a point of desperation. The war, a failed marriage, growing debt and alimony, coupled with a dead-end job represent a string of events that have left him flat broke at the end of every day and hungry. With a few dollars in his pocket, he is looking in the phone book for the number of a pizza parlor and instead stumbles upon a listing there for the Zen Society of Cleveland. He sees it as some kind of sign, a serendipitous possibility in the midst of his despair and wonders whether he should call them and ask them what the hell it’s all about… why is he even here?
Book signings are a wonderful way to reach the people for whom the author writes, an excellent promotional tool, but one that is essentially unavailable during a pandemic, so… it’s time to make exception work. The question is… what is the viable alternative and how do you make it happen?
Improvise, adapt, and overcome…
If it’s good enough for the Marine Corps, how much better for the indie author (slowly getting used to the title, but it still feels strange). Nobody’s going to do it for us… well, let me take that back. There are people who can and will do it for you, but they want a piece of the pie…. “In advance, please.” For those of us with limited funds, the job inevitably falls on us, so what’s the answer?
How about a virtual book signing?
And well you may ask, because I don’t know yet, but we’ll figure this out.
It’s the American way, but… while you are here, check this out:
With KDP Amazon, my anthology, Shrapnel: Short Stories, is getting world-wide distribution. Today, it’s available to English speakers in every nation across the globe where people are able to order books through Amazon’s web site.
I was pleased to see that my first review (five stars) came today from Canada. Hello, Canada, and thank you.
My book is available everywhere in the Kindle Version and a quality paperback book is also now available for delivery in the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, and of course, in Canada. Amazon usually ships within three days. In the near future, and for those who are unable to order a paperback copy from Amazon in their country, but would prefer a book to the various e-reader devices, I will offer it for sale (autographed, if so desired) right here on my website and for the same price as Amazon, with the addition, of course, of a relevant charge for shipping and handling (cost will vary according to the destination). Watch this space for announcements.
If you live in the USA, your link to order Shrapnel: Short Stories in Kindle or paperback is here: Amazon.com
Links to purchase Shrapnel outside of the USA are listed as follows:
United Kingdom: Amazon.co.uk
If you purchase Shrapnel: Short Stories, I do hope you will take the time to leave a review on Amazon. This is the first of what I hope will be many books to come in the near future. An honest appraisal of this book and its content will help me to learn what you think about my work and what, if anything, I can do to make it better for you. There is a novel in the works right now that should be ready for publication before the end of 2020.
Watch this space
For more information about the anthology and what it contains, visit the book’s web page here at: Shrapnel: Short Stories
Quo vadis, America? To where are we headed? by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Considering that the launch came sooner than I thought and on a weekend and quite caught me off guard, it went well enough, I think. I am new to KDP Amazon and to independent publishing, so there is quite a learning curve. I hope that when you order my book, if you experience any issues with shipping or quality of the product, you will let me know and I will do everything I can to resolve the issue,,. but Amazon is very good at permitting a refund.
As soon as I can align the logistics involved and for those who might be interested, I will be selling autographed paperback copies of Shrapnel online right here my website, so watch this space. Heck, I understand that my autograph and $4.15 will get you a Venti Caffe Latte at any Starbucks in the US.
Seriously though, feel free to contact me if you have any issues with either the Kindle or paperback copies of the book. Of course, if you don’t like my writing, that’s quite another story. Taste in literature is diverse and some people may not like what I write, even though others might love it. An eclectic choice of styles and lengths like the short stories which comprise Shrapnel’s collection should offer something to everybody, but if you prefer bodice-ripping romance, dystopian science fiction, westerns, vampires, or shape shifting, shamanistic teenage mutants, or Christian-themed literature with pristine language, I’m probably not going to be your favorite author.
If you do have an issue or if you want to tell me what you think about my book, good or bad, please feel free to email me at:
I would love to hear from you. And if you haven’t ordered my book… what in the world are you waiting for? Christ on a cupcake… what ever will you tell your friends when they ask you if you’ve read it?!?!
Here’s the link again for those who missed it:
Shrapnel is available now on Amazon.
I do hope you will check it out and try it on. Amazon provides a preview. in their online catalog. Go over and check it out. Use the link at the bottom of this page.
Stories should always entertain and seduce us, else what’s the point? Whatever genre to which they are assigned, whatever the style in which they are written, a collection of short stories should always and primarily hold our interest. At surface, Shrapnel is an eclectic selection of literary short stories. More to the point, they are fragments of ongoing human narratives, boiled down to their essence…life-altering, snapshot moments in the lives of the people that live within them. Priests and prizefighters, soldiers and poets, con men and killers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters, people we pass on the street every day and never imagine for a moment the tragedy, the sorrow, the conflict, or the pain that lives within them… the drama that awaits them just around the corner… wars, rumors of wars, storms, a car wreck or the chance encounter with a violent crime… any manner of events that can change someone’s life in a sparrow’s heartbeat.
Truth is never elusive
It sits pretty on the table
Like a hand grenade
Pull the pin
To order, click on the link below:
Finished the full review of the proof copy for Shrapnel this evening and made the necessary alterations and corrections to the basic revised file for the printers. I will upload the changes tomorrow and, essentially, the print edition should be ready for release after a couple of days. I still have to make the final review of the file for the Kindle edition, which has a different format and that should be ready to upload sometime on Thursday. Shrapnel: Short Stories is an eclectic collection of my literary short fiction and the release for both print and Kindle versions will be on the same day next week. I’ll announce the firm release date when it’s known. This anthology was my first venture into publishing, but it will not be the last. Frankly? I love it.
This process has been an education and a grand preparation for publishing one of my novels in the near future.
The novel I plan to work on next was completed last year and it will now be reworked, edited, and refined. It’s a thriller with a twist and it represents an opportunity for me to appeal to a much wider audience than that which appreciates a literary anthology, so it will also be a grand experiment in marketing… now that I have learned the basic “mechanical” aspects of the process. With that first novel, I will likely consider expanded distribution and some of the more sophisticated methods for cover design and interior layout. At this point there is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Watch this space.