New book covers and the Pathways to Bolingbrook Audiobook (Non-Fiction)

I have book news!

First, the new audiobook version of Pathways to Bolingbrook will be out in September. Rachanee Lumayno is the narrator for this audiobook, and her work is far better than the auto-narrated version I had online. I’ll post links once I have them.

Second, I’m revising the covers for Pathways and The Rift so it’s clear they’re part of the same series. At the very least, the new Pathways will debut on September 1st. Here’s a sneak peek:

You can see it first if you subscribe to my author newsletter.

Third, I’m putting together two eBooks that will be newsletter exclusives. The first is a collection of pre-FtB Babbler and the second is a short story that is a direct sequel to Pathways. I’m shooting for a late-September or October release.

The next novel is in the outline stage, and I hope to start writing the first draft in November, if not sooner.

Web Exclusive: Chinese subterranean marines surface in Bolingbrook (Fiction)

A Chinese subterrene crewed by Chinese marines surfaced in Bolingbrook’s Americana Estates subdivision.

Dena, who asked that we not use her last name, claims she first saw a giant drill emerging from a vacant lot. She stated: “I was shocked. Then I thought it must be a tunneling drill, which meant we were getting an L stop! Then I saw the Chinese flag emblem on the side, and got worried.”

Peter Z. Lee, a new Bolingbrook resident, also saw the drilling vehicle emerge: “At first I thought the village was serious about tunneling, but then I saw the Chinese flag and the markings. That thing was with part of the PLA’s First Subterranean brigade.  I feared we were being invaded!”

According to Dena and other eyewitnesses, the craft rolled out of the hole and towards them. A hatch opened, and a marine armed with a QBZ-95 popped out. Most of the eyewitnesses fled when the marine started to point his gun.

Lee decided to stand in front of the drill. Instead of being shot, the marine looked around, then lowered his rifle. According to Lee, the marine said it didn’t look like they were in Taiwan. Lee replied that they were in Bolingbrook. The marine smiled and replied he was from Xuchang City, which is one of Bolingbrook’s sister cities.

“For a moment, I felt a weird brotherly bond with him. Then I remembered that technically, he had just invaded the US.”

The marine then pulled out a cell phone and told someone that they sent him the wrong coordinates.

“We’re supposed to be working together. I know it’s a war game, but how are we supposed to pull off the greatest amphibious invasion in history if you can’t tell the difference between the US and that occupied island?” 

After the call, the marine told Lee he would let him live if he promised not to tell the news media what happened.  Lee agreed, adding that he didn’t consider the Babbler news media. The subterrene then drove back into the hole and sealed the opening. Lee added that a Bolingbrook cleanup team arrived and restored the lot.

The Chinese consulate in Chicago released a statement saying the antipode of Bolingbrook is under the Indian Ocean and offered to provide “alternative news stories” to the Babbler.

A receptionist for Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta said she was in an important meeting and could not be disturbed.

In the background, a woman who sounded like covert social media operative Charlene Spencer, said: “I’m only doing this so you’ll stop volunteer-shaming me.”

A woman who sounded like Alexander-Basta replied, “Whatever. This is an emergency, thanks to Amazon’s e-book return policy. I. Need. Your. Help.”

“I knew you could say it. So I just started a Zoom session with the goddess of self-publishing and self-marketing: Joanna Penn.”

Penn replied, “Thanks, but we need to get down to business. So, thanks to TikTok, you’re losing money on your book, Bolingbrook Does Have a History, correct?”

“Unfortunately,” Alexander-Basta replied.

“Fortunately, in self-publishing, it’s never too late to revive book sales. Now, how many sites is it on, besides Amazon?”

“There are other book sites?”

“Oh yes, but we’ll get to that later. Since it’s on Amazon, what Amazon categories is it listed under?”


“That means Amazon selected them for you. We’ll work on that. Next, what keywords did you select?”

“‘Bolingbrook?’ I don’t know. It was published before I joined the board.”

“Fair enough. What’s your permafree book?”


“The free book you offer to entice readers to buy the rest of the books in the series.”


“Yes. The title says this is volume one. How many volumes do you have?”


“That’s not good. When are you going to publish the next volume?”

“Probably 2065, since that will be Bolingbrook’s 100th anniversary.”

“Oh, that’s way too long to release the second book.”

“But that’s when Bolingbrook will have enough of a history to fill a second volume.”

“I suppose, but most self-publishers need to release more than one book before they turn a profit. So if you insist on waiting 43 years to publish the next book, you should consider publishing prequels or a parallel series. For that matter, how many people subscribe to your author newsletter?”

“None. Look, is there anything you can do now to help?”

“I might be able to optimize the ebook formatting to… Oh, dear. It’s all scanned images of newsletters and newspaper clippings.”

“Is that going to be a problem?”

“Yes. We have a lot of work to do.”

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  

My book series, The Bolingbrook Babbler Stories, is now available on Amazon and elsewhere. For book updates and a free ebook, sign up for my newsletter.

Jared Kushner’s laptop appears in Bolingbrook then disappears (Fiction)

Did former Presidential advisor Jared Kushner lose his laptop at a Bolingbrook restaurant? Computer repair person Joel X. Parker claims a waiter working at one of Bolingbrook’s restaurants gave it to him:

“He said Jared left it at his table.  It had a gold-plated casing and Jared’s name was engraved on it. Seemed legit.”

According to Parker, the waiter paid him to wipe the hard drive so he could use it himself. Parker denies he tried to hack into the laptop but admits he accessed it:

“As a joke, I typed ‘Jared’ in the password field. I didn’t realize it really was his password.”

Parker claims the laptop contained records of questionable financial dealings, and messages about illicit activities. As proof, Parker provided the Babbler alleged email exchanges with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. 

In one email, MBS wrote: “One of my associates was a bit too enthusiastic when I told him to deal with that reporter. Can you deal with your father-in-law? Otherwise, it would be a shame to stop doing business with our favorite customer.”

Kushner replied, “I don’t know if I can fit it into my very busy schedule as the best Presidential advisor. I’m so busy that I don’t have time to think about that satanic building I bought.”

MBS wrote a long reply which concluded with this offer: “If you find it in your oh so busy schedule to put in a good word for me, you might find yourself with a big B in the near future.”

Kushner sent a short reply: “Make it 2 Bs and I might send you an attachment about our anti-matter bomb program.”

Parker also showed an alleged email from Ivanka Trump. “Daddy says I’m no longer his favorite Trump. I’m telling on him!”

Before Parker could copy the entire contents of the hard drive, Kushner allegedly arrived at his shop with Bolingbrook police officers. Kushner, according to Parker, threatened to have compromising pictures of Parker, “found” on Hunter Biden’s stolen laptop. Parker surrendered the computer.

“I suppose I should feel lucky they didn’t cancel me, but I will always wonder what else is on that laptop.”

The Babbler could not afford Kushner’s interview fee and did not receive a comment from him.

A receptionist for Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta said she was in an important meeting and could not be disturbed.

In the background, a woman who sounded like Alexander-Basta, said: “Young lady, you have a lot of explaining to do. Why did you buy and return several copies of the Village’s ebook? You can get free copies from our library.”

“I’m sticking it to Amazon by taking advantage of their ebook return policy. They lost money because of me!”

“They didn’t lose money. We did because the village still has to pay the delivery fee for the books you returned, and they won’t waive that fee unless we enroll in their Kindle Unlimited program. In other words, you were extorting the Village on behalf of Amazon!”

Also in the Babbler:

Bolingbrook to require licensing of all psychics
FBI denies raiding the Bolingbrook Golf Club
Atheist missionaries annoy Bolingbrook residents
God to smite Bolingbrook on 8/25/22

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  

My book series, The Bolingbrook Babbler Stories, is now available on Amazon and elsewhere. For book updates and a free ebook, sign up for my newsletter.

Mayor denies aliens access to Saturday’s Taste of Bolingbrook event (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Despite numerous interstellar diplomatic protests, Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta banned aliens from attending the Taste of Bolingbrook on Saturday, August, 13. Instead, aliens will be encouraged to attend the Taste of Clow UFO Base to be held on the same day.

“The Bolingbrook Chamber of Commerce is expecting 10,000 people to attend this year’s event,” said Alexander-Basta at a press conference with interstellar news organizations. “So, we want to make sure as many humans as possible can taste Bolingbrook. I mean have a taste of Bolingbrook.”

Alexander-Basta then encouraged all alien visitors to Bolingbrook to attend the Taste of Clow UFO Base instead. According to Alexander-Basta, alien visitors will have more fun if they stay on the base:

“We have so many things planned for our esteemed guests. The WeatherTech Restaurant will offer free samples of their new lightning bar desserts, made from rich recycled plastic with chips of discarded battery charger parts. Yummy. But there’s more. Clow’s most famous chef, Joshie Berger, will be serving his super-well-done burger with blackened grilled cheese. It sounds like the worst, but it’s actually the first. Um, you might want to rework that slogan, Joshie… Anyway, I left out the best part. A certain former trustee will be taking time off from her record-breaking interstellar tour to read Bolingbrook event announcements live! And that’s not all!”

Alexander-Basta added that there would be extra Men in Blue at the Taste of Bolingbrook and cloaked drones will scan all attendees for traces of alien DNA. She warned that any alien captured at the event would face “severe consequences.”

Zokgot, a visitor from Ross Confederacy, was disappointed by the announcement. He said: “I was looking forward to consuming a slice of Nancy’s Pizza dipped in Mora’s Miso Soup and topped with Andy’s Custard. I guess I will have to fly over to (Palatine’s Rob Sherman UFO Base) if I want to sample Earth food.”

Alexander-Basta could not be reached for comment.  A receptionist said she was with a “very important visitor” and that they were taking part in a conference call about a “secret project.”

In the background, a man who sounded like Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar said: “So if buy over a thousand ISBNs, it will come out to about $1.50 per ISBN?”

Another man replied: “Absolutely. And for slightly more we can throw—”

“Then why can’t you just charge $1.50 for all ISBNs? Hell, I could publish my memoir in Canada and get a free ISBN there.”

“But you can’t publish your memoir in Canada because you live in the best country in the world. So you have to deal with us.”

“That’s better. Let’s make a deal.”

“Sure. You’ll pay us $125 for one ISBN. However, if you pay us $295 for ten ISBNs, I can throw in a barcode for $25.  Since you’re obviously new to self-publishing, I can also have an AI scan your manuscript for only $99.99. Or why list your book for free on Books2Read when you can have it listed on Book2look for only $49.95? That’s—”

“Outrageous! How dare you try to rip me off. Don’t you know who I am?”

“You’re a person who has no choice but to deal with Bowker.”

Also in the Babbler:

Village of Long Grove considers approving a weapon of mass slaughter/gun store
Rep. Bill Foster building a rocket car to help him tour his new district
UFO lands in Bolingbrook after colliding with a Long March booster
God to smite Bolingbrook on 8/11/22

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  

My book series, The Bolingbrook Babbler Stories, is now available on Amazon and elsewhere. For book updates and a free ebook, sign up for my newsletter.