Uncanny Easter Parade
While deleting a huge backlog of emails to avoid paying a Google fee on this Easter weekend, I ran across an internet interview posing the question of whether Jesus Christ ever existed. It was written by noted atheist David Fitzgerald. I was interested not just due to the uncanny timing, but because I am finishing a book sent to me by a classmate from the church-affiliated college I attended back in the antebellum days (or so it seems), titled The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, a one-time atheistic, prominent legal reporter for the Chicago Tribune, now a professor and pastor.
Fitzgerald was interviewed by psychologist/author Valerie Tarico, who writes about her background as an evangelical Christian before she became a strong doubter, en route to which she considered suicide. I then read a compelling essay by her about keeping an open mind on all subjects. She writes a fascinating, if a bit academic, blog: www.valerietarico.com .
The college mate, whom I’ll call Howie, located me somehow, and learned in a phone conversation about the direction off the straight and narrow path my religious convictions, or lack thereof, have taken. He bought and read my novel Blood on Their Hands, but declined to write a review because of some coarse language and a smidgeon of sex in the book. To my mind, his priorities are out of whack.
I told him I recalled something in the Good Book about Christ’s having said his paramount message was that people love one another, and condemnation of the so-called sins of the flesh was secondary. Besides, what Howie called “profanity” was actually vulgarity because the book doesn’t use language taking the name of the Lord in vain. I also argued that the book addresses the principle of acceptance and fairness to those of races different from our own, and portrays the redemption of the main character, who had violated that principle, concepts that are consonant with Christ’s teachings.
Howie conceded that he had led a sheltered life, having spent almost all of it in a small Midwestern town. The street language that I learned came in part from my 25 years in the often seamy news business. (Easter 2021, a Sunday, of course, is also the 53rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, likewise a Sunday, on which I ventured voluntarily into the Joliet, Ill., ghetto, walking amid the National Guard troops that had quelled a riot, for a story that made the front page of the Joliet Herald-News, the first paper I worked for.)
Blood on Their Hands was published 11 months ago today, and I am considering a way to resurrect it from its moribund state. As is the case with most small publishers, mine does almost no promoting, and I have spent hundreds of dollars of my own money seeking reviews, which are critical to sales, and other promotions. But most of the profits from any increased sales that result go to the publisher.
My contract is for three years, and two years remain. I will propose a way to terminate the contract in a way satisfactory to her, then put out a second edition myself. That’s what I did with Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died, after a year in which my publisher helped little. I just wish I could keep the cover, which has received kudos that validate my high regard for it.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Blood now has 36 Amazon reviews – or at least that’s the number shown by Amazon on my book page. But I have seen neither hide nor hair of the last three. A similar thing has happened with Murder in Palm Beach: It went from 150 reviews to 151, but that 151st doesn’t show. I wrote Amazon about it, but they don’t seem able to figure out what’s wrong. To get more reviews, I paid a book marketing expert for a guide to readers on writing a review, and customized the guide. Here is the link to that guide: file:///C:/Users/Owner/Documents/Scan_0004.pdf . To access it, copy and paste it into your browser.
My publisher described Blood on Their Hands as “an excellent legal thriller,” and the big majority of Amazon reviews, as well as editorial endorsements including one by the prestigious Midwest Book Review, have praised it. I’ll be happy to send a free copy of the eBook to anyone who would like to read it and post a review on Amazon. You may choose the PDF, Mobi or ePub formats. Just let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Just be sure to say, I received a complimentary copy for review.