I Never Drove a Bulldozer

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. William Shakespeare

Did old age sneak up on you? Me neither. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the difference between freckles and liver spots. We can either give in to the crushing depression caused by loss of beauty, strength, and bladder control, or laugh in the face of impending olditude.

Bulldozer mediumI chose the latter when I released my new humor book, I Never Drove a Bulldozer / There’s a Hole in my Bucket List. Several agents critiqued the manuscript and gave me a double thumbs up, then went on to say that humor doesn’t sell. In the service to the newly old, and flying in the face of common sense wisdom, I decided to release my book anyway.

Topics to help ease you through the rigors of middle age:

  • Unless you are the Unibomber, you’re going to find yourself in the company of other people. Our relationships can either evolve as we grow older, or we can get used to writing manifestos and cleaning litter boxes.
  • Memory is one of the first things to go as we age. Be careful not to get arrested for vagrancy as you stand outside the Starbucks trying to remember the difference between a tall and a grande. Bail is normally set at the price of a tall.
  • I’ve looked in enough three-way mirrors at the mall, that I’ve decided the only way to draw the eyes away from my trouble spots is to set fire to the dressing room.
  • I’ve started planning on how to fill those empty hours once I retire. The senior center is planning an arts and crafts day teaching taxidermy. It’s BYORK (bring your own road kill).

You too can join the cool crowd and have a copy sitting on the back of your toilet seat. The book is available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

Karla Telega is the award winning author of Box of Rocks, a humorous mystery. She has edited two humor anthologies, blogs for Skirt.com Emagazine, and owns the Tart Cookies publishing imprint. She has dedicated her remaining years to making people laugh, losing twenty pounds, and avoiding periodontal disease. You can follow Karla on her humor blog at telegatales.com Click here to see all her listings on Amazon.

Reviews Of Norma Beishir’s “Final Hours” and “Chasing The Wind”

An excerpt from Chasing the Wind

Connor~ ”There’s something else I’ve never told you about. I’ve had a nightmare–the same one–since I was fifteen. It’s always the same, it never changes. There’s a violent storm. I’m in the water, and it’s very cold. The current is overwhelming me. I’m struggling to stay affloat. I see a light, a boat, and try to swim toward it. There’s someone on the deck, calling to me, reaching for me, but I can’t quite make it. I see your face, just once, before I’m pulled under.”

Lynne~ “Mine?” Lynne asked.

Connor~ “You,” Connor said. “The woman on the boat is you. I saw your face for the first time over twenty years ago. That’s why you seemed so familiar to me the night we met.”

Lynne~ ”What do you think it means?” Lynne asked. She didn’t laugh, didn’t question his honesty or his sanity. She believed him. “God gives us visions sometimes to lead us where we have to go.”

What an adventure! This very exciting book is filled with love, heartbreak, danger and a lot of very interesting characters.

Lynne is a religious archeologist who wants to work on a dig in Egypt, but she isn’t able to start the dig due to lack of funding. In comes Connor Mackenzie. He asks his stepfather, Edward, to fund the project. He does, and Connor goes off on his own adventure with Lynne.

But, there’s something mysterious about Connor. He has never been able to love anyone before. Any women he had before, he treated them like objects. He was afraid to love them in case they abandoned him like his mother did.

But, when he meets Lynne, he realizes that she is different, and he does everything to get her to love him. And, she does. With everything that she is, she loves him.

Connor is mysterious in other ways. He’s able to heal others with a single touch. He healed the baby bird that Lynne found, allowing it to be set free when he touched it. He healed the bruise she received when a rock fell on her shoulder during an earthquake, and the woman with cancer that he met when he was a young boy.

    “Go. The angels will guide you.”

Connor and Lynne, married now and pregnant with a baby, are forced to run for their lives. Their love is tested in many ways when truths are brought to the forefront of their relationship.

This is an excellent read. It will keep you on the edge of your seat as Connor and Lynne face danger after danger as they try to keep themselves, and their baby, alive.

It isn’t a book that you will likely be able to read in an afternoon, but I highly recommend this book. The love story is beautiful and the story compelling. I give this novel a 5 star rating.

Norma is currently re-writing this book so that it is in multiple first person point of view. I look forward to reading her new version of Chasing The Wind.


     Final Hours is about what you would do if you only had a few hours to live. How, and with whom, would you spend that time?

     Jamie Randall, a young, early thirties successful business man has been living a lie. A lie he thought he could have been out of by now. He’s living a life as a husband to a woman that he doesn’t love, having been trapped in the loveless marriage by her getting pregnant. His motivation for marrying her was for business purposes only. But, when she had the twin boys, he knew he couldn’t leave her. He loved his boys.

On a business trip to Rome, an earthquake occurs, causing the underground parking lot of the hotel that he owns, to collapse. With a broken leg, crushed by a piece of concrete, he yells for help. That’s when he meets nature photographer, Kate.

Maybe it was her beauty, or maybe it was his pain, but he instantly falls in love with her. He’s never cheated on his wife before, but suddenly, he wants to be with this woman. She is beautiful and kind, helping him stay alive. But, it’s more than that.

And, so begins a love affair that spans 14 years, and from the beginning of the book to the end, their love grows.

This is a book that will make you smile, laugh and cry. There is even one shocking element you find out at the end of the book. I wrote in my review on Amazon, that you know when a book is good when you can’t put it down. This was that book.

I loved both books, but this one was my very favourite. It allows you the chance to figure out on your own what you would do if you only had hours to live, and the author also gives you a chance to make your own ending. Not many author’s or stories are able to say that. That’s what makes this book so wonderful, in my opinion.

The More Things Change…Well, You Know the Rest

I’ve been a published author for almost twenty-four years now. A lot has changed since I started out. I’m an old-school author. When a friend and fellow writer told me the freelance editor she’d hired had pitched her manuscript at a writers conference, I was amazed. I already had an agent and a publisher before I attended my first conference, but I knew from writers who had made the rounds that if they didn’t show up in person for the meetings, they were out of luck. It took me a while to figure out terms like beta readers and steampunk. These things didn’t exist when I was being groomed for literary stardom back in the mid-eighties.

Seriously. The words “We’re going to make you a star” were uttered. Many times. And they wondered why I developed such an insatiable ego.

We didn’t have Facebook or Google or Amazon back then. We didn’t have the luxury of promoting our books online via Skype. There was no such thing as social networking or blogging or e-mail. Authors didn’t have websites. There were no e-books and the only form of self-publishing–a vanity press–was for writers content to pay a lot of money for a few boxes of books that were usually only read by friends and family. Publishers had to type press releases on paper, of all things. They had to use Snail Mail to send out bound galleys to book reviewers and media people who might be interested in doing an interview with the author. Author tours always involved air travel and hotel rooms.

But some things never change. If you want to be reviewed by the major book reviewers, you have to get your ARCs (advanced reading copies) to them one to three months prior to publication. The mainstream media will not interview an author until they actually have a book to promote.

Dance of the Gods Cover

Berkley Books bought my first novel, Dance of the Gods, on April 26, 1985. It was published on May 1, 1988–three years later. The publicity department did not schedule me for a single interview prior to May 1, 1988. Why? It would have been pointless. Doing publicity too soon would have been counterproductive. I was a new author no one had ever heard of. Since I wasn’t yet a bestselling author or a celebrity and didn’t have a large following for some other achievement, had I done interviews months prior to publication, book buyers would likely have forgotten who I was by the time my novel was in the bookstores.

Today, an unpublished author can build a following–to an extent–through blogging and posting updates on Facebook. But don’t expect Today or Good Morning America to book you for an appearance until you have a book in print.

7 Scorpions: Revolution Press Release

The official press release for 7 Scorpions: Revolution, courtesy of the highly talented Norma and Collin Beishir!

Bestselling sci-fi author follows first success with ambitious sequel

Mike Saxton is a self-professed Sith Lord. He’s smart, talented, a bestselling author with a wonderful, supportive wife and an adorable son, and still he wants to rule the world. Some people are never satisfied.

Saxton Family Pic

Mike with wife Amy and son Christopher

Mike Saxton created the 7 Scorpions series from a lucid dream. After having the first book published by someone else, he decided to form his own publishing company. He is also one of the founding members of the Writers of Mass Distraction. He has his B.S. in Computer Science and his M.S. in Organizational Management. He is currently pursuing (and praying to complete) a PhD in Organizational Management.

Praise for 7 Scorpions: Rebellion:

“The characters are multi-layered and completely believable. The plot is frighteningly realistic. You’ll find yourself believing this could actually happen. I did.” – Norma Beishir, Bestselling Author of Angels at Midnight and A Time for Legends

“7 Scorpions Rebellion is a fine pick and very highly recommended for science fiction fans.” – Midwest Book Review

“The story is a balls-to-walls roller-coaster with a few weird twists thrown in for good measure . . . If your science fiction tends to the Independence Day-Mad Max part of the spectrum, this is going to be a fun trip. The next two books should be a great read.” – Sacramento Book Review

“Plenty of action and characters that are real enough for us to have genuine concern for them.” – Marty Shaw, Reader Views

7 Scorpions: Revolution

7 Scorpions Revolution Book 2

The war against the Grand Army raged for over a year and a half. Despite their valiant efforts, the rebels of Militia 28 are losing. With dwindling supplies and eroding hope, they have one last chance. The recent discovery of a weapon long thought lost rekindles their ambitions of eventual victory. If only they can get to it before Night Viper’s past comes back to destroy them.

With his massive Ziggurat almost complete, the dictator Zodiac is poised to unleash his “final solution” upon the shattered remnants of humanity. The pawns are maneuvered into place and secrets will be revealed that will change the face of the rebellion forever. Who is Zodiac? What was the purpose of Project Scorpion? Most important, will the war ever end?

7 Scorpions: Revolution is the sequel to the bestselling, award winning 7 Scorpions: Rebellion. For more information: www.7Scorpions.com. For interviews and/or review copies, contact 860-468-9719.

7 Scorpions: Revolution

Sagido Publishing, 518 pages
December 2011
Paperback $18.50
E-book $2.99
ISBN – 13: 978-0615549538
ISBN – 10: 0615549535


Downloadable PDF

Self-Publishing Expo: My Impressions

This year, I made the decision to become fully self-published under my company, Sagido Publishing and I recently released the 2nd book in the 7 Scorpions Trilogy, 7 Scorpions: Revolution under said label. I made this decision knowing that there are, unfortunately, many self published books that are garbage and us Indie Authors have to work that much harder to show that we are the real deal. That’s fine, I don’t mind a challenge, it keeps things moving and keeps us on our toes.

Worth It

When I made the decision to do this, I also decided that I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure that what I published would at least be of the quality that a large publisher would put out (of course, seeing what some of them are publishing, that wasn’t the stretch I thought it would be). One of the steps was to attend the Self Publishing Expo in New York City back in October. I attended with a friend and fellow author of the Last Witch Series, Liz Kolodziej. For the price tag of $125, I figured it was worth scoping out but I will admit to not having high expectations going in.


I attended three presentations (Liz and I each attended different ones so we could compare notes, the whole divide and conquer). The first one was presented by a representative from Lulu, which is a company that offers services to self-publishing authors. Interestingly enough, the presenter had a Macbook and the projector was not set up to interface with it so I let him use my netbook for his presentation (probably should have had a Plan B but I don’t mind lending a hand). To be honest, it was probably a good thing because I would have left within the first 15 minutes if I hadn’t lent it to him. The first half of the presentation was really about the company and, though some of the history was interesting, it was really irrelevant to what I was there for. The second half, however, became interesting. Apparently, LuLu has decided to open up their platform to programmers who wish to create apps (not just web based apps but also iPhone, Blackberry, and Android apps) by releasing an API (Application Programming Interface). What’s nice about this is that you can use their services and distribution with your own apps. The power behind this is really cool. There are more details on their site so check it out. There are plenty of phone app developers out there who don’t charge all that much if you wanted to go this route. I actually had some ideas as a result of this but they don’t have anything to do with my sci-fi publishing.


The next presentation I went to was the complete opposite. The first half was good, the second half I ended up leaving because I almost fell asleep. Literally. I was actually going to be grumpy if someone woke me up, hence the pic above. It was a panel discussion. Typically these are good but two things went against it:

  1. Has anyone ever told you that there is no such thing as a stupid question? Well they lied. There are stupid questions, and, like a lot of panel discussions, this one was plagued by them. They weren’t ignorant questions, I can deal with those. They were questions that could have been answered if the people had listened to the presenter in the first place. That pisses me off.
  2. The majority of what the presenters were saying was either them patting themselves on the back for a job well done, or information that is available on about 1000000000000000000000 different blogs out there.

It wasn’t all bad though. Some of what I heard was nice, simply because I’m already doing it so it was good confirmation that I have done something right because, like many writers, I assume I’m screwing everything up. Among these are:

  1. Author Partnerships: Strength in numbers everyone. That was one of the reasons for founding WMD.
  2. QR Codes: I’ve been playing around with this for awhile. QR codes are intriguing and most of all, you can create them for FREE. I’ve actually got labels that I print them out on and stick them to packages I send out. I’ve also put them on posters, bookmarks, cards, etc. Smartphones are on the rise and pretty much every carrier out there is pushing their customers to get them so take advantage of it. Also, young adults tend to have these so if your writing appeals to this group, you should be incorporating these.
  3. Mock interview with myself: I did something similar to this with my FAQ on my website. It reads a bit like an interview. I’ve done some updates as I’ve gotten interviewed. Often times members of the media, including bloggers, are looking for content for their website. If you have a ready-to-go interview, it cuts down on their workload and yours. They may want to tweak a few things or add a couple of questions but, for the most part, the content is prepared.
  4. Book Trailers: This one I have mixed opinions about, which I have already posted about here. Needless to say, despite my doubts about it leading to sales, it is another way to get the word out, especially in release preparation and I have created some for my own writing just for fun.
  5. Google Alerts: If you haven’t signed up for Google Alerts, you really need to, well, right now. This allows you to enter search terms to create bots that will send you alerts anytime your keywords pop up in a newly indexed page. This includes blogs, news, etc. At the minimum, you should have your name, the name(s) of your book(s), unique terms from your writing (like unique character names or names of fantasy locations), series names, and the name of your publishing company, whether you are self published or traditionally published. This is a great way to keep track of what’s going on. I also use terms such as eBooks so I know what is going on in that world, since almost all of my sales have been in electronic format.
  6. Website: If you don’t have a website yet, you need one. Along with that, a blog. Realistically, you can create these for free but I would recommend you get a professional web designer to design your site (they can do it in WordPress) with custom graphics to really make you stand out. I did this and the feedback I’ve received has proven to me time and time again that I made the correct decision.

Another item mentioned was Facebook Ads. I’m not sure how I feel about this, because formal advertising in general has mixed results in the publishing industry (as well as pretty much every other industry), especially now that there are so many ways to block ads. It can also get expensive and if you’re anything like me, your marketing budget isn’t all that big. Liz had actually made a good point. A more targeted approach may be better so advertising on a site such as Goodreads, which targets readers specifically. I believe it’s also cheaper but I’m not 100% sure about that. One piece of advice the panel gave, and it’s so simply that it’s genius: When advertising, compare your writing with someone well known or the premise of your book with something that is already well known. For instance, I’ve had reviewers compare 7 Scorpions to Terminator, Mad Max, and Star Wars (which was actually a huge honor), so I’ve actually quoted that. One of the reasons is that when people search out those subjects (or if you compare yourself with another author, the name of that author), your work might come up.

The presentation was not a complete waste, but it was good that I got out of it. Besides, my bladder was about to burst and I know you wanted to know that. Yes, I’m out of my mind and I make no apologies for it!


The final presentation itself was worth the entire trip. It was presented by a literary attorney out of New York, Renee L. Duff, Esq. I used to work for lawyers and, though I am not a lawyer nor do I profess to be any type of legal professional, it has been a side interest of mine and I have some level of understanding (which also means I’m the first to tell someone to hire a damn lawyer and not rely on a random person’s opinion). Realistically, legalities are a huge concern to the self published author because that person is responsible for his/her own work entirely. There were several subjects covered here and I would urge you to pay attention and/or seek legal council to make sure you are covered:

  • Copyright mailing myth: When I first got started in this industry, I found out that you automatically have a copyright on your work when you complete it. However, you really have to be able to prove it’s yours to legally protect it. One method that has been perpetuated is mailing a copy of the manuscript to yourself, keeping it sealed. It will have a time and date stamp from the post office so if there was ever a question, you’d just have the judge unseal it. Has this worked? Yes. Is it dependable? Not at all. Matter of fact, pretty much anyone with experience in this field or with copyrights will tell you that your only true protection comes from registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office (or the country you reside in). I have registered both of my published books with the copyright office. It was only $35.
  • Copyright/Trademark Enforcement: The responsibility for enforcing copyrights and trademarks, even the ones that are registered, rest on the party who holds said copyrights and trademarks. In other words, you. It is up to you to keep your feelers out for violations. That is one reason to get Google Alerts (which was also mentioned in this presentation). Keep in mind that there are cases of copyright infringement that probably wouldn’t go anywhere if you challenged it. First of all, you have to show that there is some type of damage being done, whether it’s to your profits or to your reputation. For instance, if a blogger gives you an unsolicited review using your cover image and some quotes from your book, that is a copyright infringement. They did not have permission to do that. However, if that review is absolutely fantastic, it not only isn’t damaging, it’s probably helping you make money so you wouldn’t fight that. If someone decides to post your book image up and tell the world that you stole the idea from them, then you may want to do something about that.
  • Fair Use: Not every situation where quotes are used from a book are copyright infringement. You will want to refer to the Fair Use Act, which spells out what you can and cannot use legally without permission from the copyright holder. This mainly applies to the media, education, and situations with no commercial gain (like reviews). Also keep in mind that much of what is in law is based on precedent, and not necessarily YOUR interpretation of the law. In this field, it is generally acceptable for reviewers to quote from your writing, within reason, even if it is a negative review. In turn, it is generally acceptable for you to quote pieces of a review (so even a mediocre review may have a line or two that you take so when someone reads the quote, they feel as though the reviewer loved it). This is done all the time by the big guys with the New York Times and USA Today, as well as other major publications.
  • Public Domain: These are works whose copyrights have expired. You see this a lot on older pieces. Does this mean you can grab the text and call it your own? Nope. Plagiarism is still theft. There are, however, more freedoms with this work than normal. Check with an expert if you want to use anything from the public domain in your own work, especially if it is for profit.
  • Get Permission: Despite the Fair Use Act, if you want to quote someone else’s work in yours, especially if you are going to be making money (i.e. you are writing a non-fiction book and you want to reference another one), get permission from the copyright holder, in writing. Most won’t care because it’s free advertising for them but in our litigation happy society, you might as well be cautious. Keep in mind that emails are admissible in court so an email giving you permission to use something is enough, just make sure you keep the original email electronically so that it’s authenticity can be verified (a printout is not authentic).
  • If you are concerned that your text may infringe on the work of another, there are services out there where you can upload blocks of text and have it checked against other sources. This is used in academia all the time. A great one for use for web sites is Copyscape.
  • Trademarks: Trademarks are different from copyrights. The first major difference is that they can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to register. The second difference is that, unlike copyrights, you have to maintain them (i.e. show the government that you are actively using the trademark) or it will expire. The third is that it can take months, even over a year to trademark something because others have the right to contest your trademark if they have something similar. Finally, there are only certain things you can actually get a trademark on. In this industry, that would be your company logo, the name of a series (individual titles cannot be trademarked, but a series name, like the For Dummies series can be trademarked), and various symbols. If you have a question, you can refer to an expert or to the Copyright Office.
  • Defamation: This applies somewhat to fiction but mostly to non-fiction. Defamation is liable slander. You are permitted to discuss facts. In the case of fiction, you can use landmarks and other such things in a fictitious manner (in 7 Scorpions: Revolution, chapter 2 takes place in the ruins of New York City and it is mentioned by name, as is the Empire State Building). You will need to be careful when it comes to individuals, or even private residences. For instance, if you have a distant cousin who you hate, you probably should not mention them by name and have them butchered to death in your fiction writing. In the case of non-fiction, you can write about provable facts. The rules are a bit different with public figures, but there is also not a clear definition of what a public figure is. Obviously, President Obama, major movie stars, etc, are all public figures and are the subject of all sorts of things that would be considered defamation if they weren’t public. You should definitely seek the advice of an attorney on this one if you have questions. A great protection for fiction (but not fool proof if you blatantly defame someone) is to put, at the beginning of your book, some type of text block that says the contents are either products of the imagination or places used fictitiously. You can see an example of the one I put in 7 Scorpions: Revolution on the copyright page here (yes, that was a shameless plug, deal with it).
  • Copyright Transfers to Company: If you own your own publishing company (and you should if you’re self published, it’s easy to establish a LLC or S-Corp), you should consider transferring the copyright to the company. Realistically, you still own it but that takes any liability away from you and puts it in the business. I’ve already done this. When you register a new copyright, you will have to register it to yourself but in the registration, you can put in the transfer so it’s done right away. You will need to follow it up with some type of written and signed document, in case it’s ever challenged. If you have already created a copyright, you can do a copyright transfer (no formal process in the copyright office, just have a lawyer draw one up or grab one from a reputable legal site online, sign it, and submit it tot he copyright office, they have instructions on how to do this).

In summary, the expo was definitely worth it. There were other services available (appointments with agents and editors) but I wasn’t interested in them. If they hold it again in 2012, and you are either self-published or considering self-publishing, you might want to make your way there if you can.