The title of my work in progress (Non-Fiction)

I’m working on my next novel, which is the sequel to The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story. While I discarded an earlier draft, I feel like I’m back on track with this draft. I’ve also settled on the title.

The next Bolingbrook Babbler book is… Revenge of the Phantom Press: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story.

Tom is back as the main character, and it’s set over a year after the events in The Rift.

On the eve of Bolingbrook’s 50 anniversary, the Phantom Press, the Babbler’s long lost rival publication, reappears. The Babbler is one of the first targets for the twisted spirit’s quest for revenge.

Risking his career and possibly his life, Tom sets out to investigate their return. With the help of a woman from his past, and Anti-Psychic Kitty, Tom attempts to unravel the Phantom Press’ mysterious return.

Tom soon realizes that the ghosts of the Phantom Press could be part of something far more powerful and dangerous. Something that could upend the global balance of power. Can Tom uncover the truth before Bolingbrook’s 50th anniversary becomes its last?

No release date yet. Possibly 2024. Maybe this year, provided I’m able to get it fully vetted and edited. I’ll keep everyone updated. 🙂

Kobo Plus comes to the UK and the US! (Non-fiction)

Kobo, a Canada-based eBook and audiobook retailer, just opened their subscription service, Kobo Plus, to the US and UK market. Like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service, a user pays for a monthly subscription and gets unlimited access to eBooks and audiobooks. From their blog post:

The Kobo Plus catalogue is ever-growing, with more titles being added to the collection each month. The service has three budget-friendly subscription plan offers:

  • Kobo Plus Read: Unlimited eBooks for $7.99 USD or €9,99 GBP per month
  • Kobo Plus Listen: Unlimited audiobooks for $7.99 USD or €9,99 GBP per month
  • Kobo Plus Read and Listen: Unlimited eBooks and audiobooks for $9.99 USD or €12,99 GBP per month

The Kobo Plus subscription is an ideal way to approach a bucket list of literary classics, an entire author’s catalogue, or to dive into a new field of interest. With unlimited reading for one low monthly fee, the subscription lets readers sample a few pages from a genre or author they have never read, and move on to another book guilt-free if it’s not to their taste. It’s an ideal option for avid booklovers who can tear through several books a month, and for those who prefer to read a few chapters before committing. There’s never been a better time to discover new authors and series on a Kobo eReader or with the free Kobo reading app.

This is a great development for independent publishers too. Before, UK and US indie publishers had to choose between only distributing their eBooks only through Amazon, or opt out of KU to sell each eBook individually through Amazon and other retailers (Known “Wide Distribution”). Since Kobo Plus doesn’t have an exclusivity requirement, indie authors can now enjoy the benefits of distribution through a subscription service and wide distribution. The payment for authors on Kobo Plus is about the same as KU’s payment.

My books are already on Kobo Plus. So you can bing my books, move on another author, and not have to feed the Amazon machine. Any competition for Amazon is good news for all readers.

Disclaimer: These are not affiliate links, nor am I being paid by Rakuten Kobo beyond normal book sales. 


I have an online store! (Non-fiction)

I’m trying out I’ve added an online store and memberships to my Buy Me A Coffee page. You can buy eBook editions of my books, plus you have choice of monthly subscription options. They range from a simple monthly donation to store discounts up to getting a signed paperback copy of any new releases. I also have a lifetime membership option as well. Plus you can still send me a one time donation too. Any purchase or donation will help me complete the next Bolingbrook Babbler novel.

I’m also open to suggestion for rewards and membership levels. Check it out, and feel free to leave a comment.

Help a FTB member out.

(Updated with the correct reason for the fundraiser.)

Fellow blogger Great American Satan is having a fundraiser to make cover lost wages during recovery. From the comments:

strictly speaking, the money isn’t for the procedure, it’s replacing lost wages from recovery time. don’t wanna sit upright 8 hrs a day, commute, and charge around on breaks with a stitched up gut.

I really like the stretch goal:

To make my bills less ouch, I’d like to fundraise.  Here is the incentive:  Donate at all, and you can choose a word I will rhyme in a rap.  If five people choose orange, I’ll try to come up with five shitty sorta-rhymes for orange.

This will be strictly words on digital paper, maybe starting below and then compiled in a blog post, unless we reach goals. At $500, I will do an audio performance of the rap.  At $600, I will do a video.  These productions, if they happen, will be lo-fi as all hell, because I just don’t have the time for big effort.

Please consider helping out, if only to hear what rhymes with orange…

Quick Life and book updates (Non-fiction)

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been quiet for the past two weeks. It’s because I got laid off from my job. So I’ve been hitting the job boards and adjusting to my new situation. It’s been rough for my wife and I, but we’re hanging in there. We’re okay for now. There are some job leads I’m following, and one of them might work out. I’ll post updates.

There are a couple ways to help, if you want to. If you like Urban Fantasy books, consider buying my Urban Fantasy series the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories, or asking your local library to add it to collection. It would help. I’ve also set up a BuyMeACoffee account where anyone can leave a donation. I’ve set up some membership levels for monthly subscriptions. Some rewards include early access to my new releases, and signed paperback copies of a new release. If you want other rewards or have other ideas, I’m open to them.

On a brighter note, I’m working on the next Bolingbrook Babbler novel. I’m aiming for a release in 2024, but if things work out, I might get it out this year. This one focuses on Tom Larsen, the main character in The Rift. It will be a very haunting book. I’ll leave it at that for now. You can subscribe to my free newsletter if you want to be one of the first to know the title.

Lastly, my current book, A Fire in the Shadows, is part of two review copy bundles put together by Booksirens. All the ebooks are free to download, but if you do, please consider leaving a review. Most are advance copies of books soon to be published, while a few are recent releases. You don’t even have to download my book, but I hope you will consider helping one of these authors with a review. The bundles are:

I hope to get back to regular updates starting next week. Including job search updates.

The Podish-Sortacast goes live today: Atheist Organizations and their discontents

What’s wrong with atheist organizations today? Why are some “leaders” aligning themselves with the “Intellectual Dark Web,” or supporting reactionary causes? On today’s Podish-Sortacast, we’ll tackling the problems within organized atheism, and touching on problems with organizations in general. We’ll be live on YouTube, or you can watch the recording. The live show starts today at 16:00 US Central Time, and I should be there. I’m on the board of a Kol Hadash, and was involved in the skeptical movement for some years. My novel, The Rift, is partly based on Elevatorgate and the right-wing shift by some leaders in the atheist movement. So I should have something to add today.

Join the Federation! The Mastodon Federation! (Non-Fiction)

Freethought Blogs just joined the Mastodon migration! (HJ Hornbeck explains Mastodon in two posts Post 1. Post 2.) Our instance is Freethought.Online and HJ has the details.

I hesitated to join Mastodon because I wasn’t sure which instance to join. Once I had an account on FO, I found the interface easy to navigate. While it’s like Twitter, it feels more like a micro-blog site. It’s possible to express an idea without breaking it up into 20+ posts. I’ve started slow, but I plan on posting more content as I get used to it.

Even if you don’t join, HJ has a list of decent Mastodon users, including Jennifer Ouellette and Neil Gaiman.

Freethought.Online is open to bloggers and FTB commenters in good standing. If you want to join, here’s the process.

This of course creates a problem of verification. The bloggers side is easy enough, but what about all you commenters? Mastodon does have a verification system in place, but it’s easily thwarted by a comment section that allows linking. No, instead we’re going to take advantage of the fact that, in order to comment here, you’ve got to supply an email address. That email address will be your key to the magical world of Narnia our Mastodon instance.

You, though, may not want your FtB handle to be your Mastodon handle, and for that matter you may not care about Mastodon at all. No problem, we can take advantage of my comment section to make the process opt-in. Post a comment there with the following info:

  • Your desired Mastodon username.
  • A link to a comment from at least a year ago, on one of FtB’s blogs.
  • A link to a comment on that same blog from within the last week.

DO NOT POST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. You don’t want the ensuing spam, and I can read your account’s email off my administration panel. It’s not the one you want to associate with Mastodon? WordPress allows you to change your address. Once I get around to it, an email will arrive at that address with further instructions on what to do. Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t pop up, there’s a good chance it went in to the spam folder. I’ll know to be on the lookout.

There is a bit of a wrinkle: all the blogs on FtB are semi-autonomous. I’m not convinced that the username on one links up to the same username on another, so impersonation might be possible. Just to be safe, let’s add one more step: after your request, you’ll need to make a comment on your “home” blog verifying you’re the real McCoy. The simplest way to verify is something like “hey guess what, I have a Mastodon account at [a link to]!” in less than two days, but that’s uncomfortably similar to advertising. We’re not fans of that around here. Since I have to write a comment back when I fire off the email anyway, to help you detect if it got lost in a spam filter, I can give you a few randomly chosen words. Slip those into your most recent comments within 48 hours, and you’re in. Slip up, and you’ll be bumped to the bottom of the queue.

I hope to see some of you there, or from another instance. The Federation has room for all descent beings. 🙂

Eight reasons for secular jews to celebrate Hanukkah (Link) (Non-fiction)

Paul Golin, executive director of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, recently posted his eight reasons his family celebrates Hanukkah. Among them:

In the Book of Maccabees, God is not a participant. All accomplishments were people-powered, though the Maccabees were certainly religious people, zealots even. Today, rabbis in all denominations outside ultra-Orthodoxy are willing to admit that the Hanukkah “miracle”—one day’s worth of Temple oil lasting eight days—was tacked on centuries later to downplay the military accomplishments of the eventually corrupted Hasmonean Dynasty. As far as religious miracles go, Hanukkah is about as awe-inspiring as seeing Jesus’s face in your toast. The real miracle was that a backwater province defeated a regional superpower in a fight for their religious freedom. It’s more the Jewish Fourth of July than the Jewish Christmas.

I became involved in humanistic Judaism after meeting my wife, and she introduced me to the candle lighting and songs.  So I agree with Paul’s reasons.

Rabbi Chalom wrote a post detailing who the Maccabees were, and how the roots of Hanukkah predate the Maccabee uprising.

Off to light another candle.

USA Today Bestseller list ‘suspended,’ Smashwords Sale, and a new book update (Non-fiction)

One of the few good things about USA Today was its bestseller list because independent and self-published authors had a chance to make the list. Granted, it required either being part of a multi-author anthology, or spending extra money on marketing, but it was possible. Until this week. USA Today has “suspended” publishing the list and laid off the editor responsible for it. USA Today’s parent company, Gannett, laid off 3% of its workforce this week as well. USA Today’s announcement also stated they would announce the future of the list next year. I suspect it will either be removed, or diminished in some way. We’ll see.

On a brighter note, Smashwords will hold their annual end of the year sale from 12/15/22 to 1/1/23. Smashwords was one of the first self-publishing storefronts on the Internet, and is still one of the best sites to get indie published ebooks. My novel, The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story, will be 50% off during the sale. Pathways to Bolingbrook will still be free during the sale. Plus hundreds of other books as well. If you don’t want to give your money to Amazon, or want another option, check out this sale. Note: These are not affiliate links.

Last, what was going to be a bonus short story for my newsletter subscribers has grown into a novella, which I will release early next year. It’s a direct sequel that bridges Pathways and The Rift, plus it offers a hint of what’s to come in the other stories. I’m going through another of editing, but I hope to be able to share some details starting in January. I already have the cover, and it looks great!