Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Money Tree

I think most of us heard the expression, “Do you think money grows on trees?”

If you ever tried to plant money in the soil, you discovered that the paper money didn’t like to be watered and just fell apart and the coins corroded, turning green or black.  So how does one grow money?

Planting money seeds can be accomplished by writing.  The words are the seeds that contain the nutrients.  As the tree grows and blossoms, it produces fruit.  Selling the fruit can either be in fixed locations, by word of mouth, or the Internet There are people who don’t want the producer to succeed and throw harmful material on the plants to inhibit its growth; however with plenty of water, sunshine and good maintenance, the tree will grow.

The money tree begins with thoughts that germinate.  Turning those seeds into words can produce the fruit of entertainment or enlightenment.  Cultivating the money tree is required to rid weeds of negativity that inhibit plant growth.

Once your fruit is harvested and ready for the market, it is dressed with a nice cover that appeals to the hungry reader.  If the fruit is rotten or full of blemishes, it won’t sell.  Fresh fruit should be marketed while it is still fresh. You may also want to mention that it was not sprayed with toxic material - that your fruit is ripe, delicious, and satisfying to the soul.  Your soul food can feed empty minds or minds in need of nourishment. 

Once you have planted your seeds, your garden requires maintenance.  The weather (economy) can affect your crop.  Sometimes it is necessary to protect your plants from the storms, and that requires more work.   A bountiful harvest is largely dependent on the care/maintenance you give it.     
Your reputation for producing good fruit will spread and the next harvest will be more successful.  Customers will want your produce.  It may require you to plant more trees to quench their appetite. 

Of course, there will be nothing to harvest if you don’t plant.  And once planted, cultivation is required.  Remember also that some plants take longer to grow.  Don’t be impatient.  Fruit tastes better when ripe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Are birth rates changing our environment?

In ancient times, only the rich had large families.  The poor couldn’t afford to have many children and newborns were often discarded and found on the dung heap.

Making a quantum leap forward, large families in America were common in the early days, especially among the farmers.  The family was self-sustaining and the elders were cared for by their children in old age. Also, unlike in antiquity, law – and esp. religion – prohibited the killing or abandonment of infants.

However, men and women married very early – especially women as soon as they had passed puberty – partly so that parents no longer had to feed and clothe them.

In the 1940’s and 50’s, children married soon after completing high school. The women stayed home and raised children.  Things began to change when women sought higher education and/or joined the workforce.  They wanted a career of their own and didn’t want to be bothered with raising children. 

Birth control became popular among the middle and upper classes while the poor kept having children. Those without work looked to welfare to support their families. The middle class primarily bore this tax burden.  The middle class began shrinking and the gap between rich and poor widened. In hard economic times, as we are now experiencing, the burden is even greater.

Birth rates continue to have a great impact on our society.  Those who complain the most today are singles and parents without children.  The same is happening in other western societies. Migrant workers remain in the country and produce children while the career oriented indigenous population doesn’t want to be bothered.  In some countries, social welfare pays the family based on the number of children. The welfare income in large families is so good that there is little incentive to work, even when jobs are available. 

The future is happening now.  Former minorities will become the majorities. It is projected that by 2025 that the world Muslim population will exceed the Christian population. Reversing this trend is analogous to changing the effects of global warming.*

The best bet is to accept the reality of change and adjust. Those we hate today may become the rulers of tomorrow.  Fighting change is a losing battle.

* See for statistics on Christian vs. Muslim population growth.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Greer Agency

An exciting new approach to detective novels, 15 interconnected short stories involving a different kind of private eye.

The Greer Agency is 75k words of gritty detective fiction presented in 15 separate but connected stories. The reader follows the development of private detective Mike Greer, the only PI in the Altoona, PA phone book. It’s tough to make a living in a decaying old railroad town, but with the help of an anonymous benefactor, Greer lands some interesting cases—cases that he solves with guts and determination. Throughout the stories, his budding romance with Susan grows. Eventually they realize they are right for each other.

Readers will find Mike Greer an accessible everyman with luck, pluck, smarts and a host of interesting friends. He finds his way into and out of problems large and small. Greer narrates the stories in a refreshing and original voice. Each story has its own plot and can stand on its own but, as the book progresses, the mysteries pile up and the plots get more complex until the explosive last story.

Mike Greer is a protagonist with a low tolerance for bullshit and an easy touch for the emotional pleas of the downtrodden. He works alone and struggles against an uncaring world. But throw no pity party for the man, he will have none of it. His melancholy is tightly wrapped inside his tough guy exterior, and pity just bounces off as he walks away, down the dark sidewalks of Altoona into the next story.

Now available in print and e-book format from All Things That matter Press:

You can read what others are saying about The Greer Agency by clicking here.

To learn more about Harris Tobias, The Greer Agency and his other exciting novels, you can go here, here, or here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

HUMAN TRIAL by Timothy Stelly

Timothy Stelly’s HUMAN TRIAL (2009, All Things That Matter Press) and HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR (2010, All Things That Matter Press), present the tale of a ragtag group of survivors of an alien-launched thermal war that has destroyed nearly all human amd animal life on the planet. HUMAN TRIAL raised the question, What happens when all that remains of the world is fear, distrust and desperation? HT II follows the group on a cross-country trek that results in a final, frenzied battle against the extra-terrestrial invaders.
Reviews for part one of Timothy Stelly’s sci-fi noir thriller, Human Trial, have been positive. Readers and critics from the U.S. and Canada have praised the book for its grittiness and frightening tenor.

“…Superb. It's as if I'm one of the 10 going through the same trials they are. I can hardly wait to read the next installment.”—T.C. Matthews, author oif What A Web We Weave
“The book scares me because of the possibility of this happening in our future and how we will handle it. Scary. Deeply thought out…Timothy definitely has his own voice and it is powerful.” —Minnie Miller, author of The Seduction of Mr. Bradley
“Human Trial was a well written, well thought out book with plenty of biting, satirical social, religious and racial commentary interspersed within the dialogue. The drama, and the pathos, were nonstop, and I never knew what to expect next.” –Brooklyn Darkchild, author of This Ain’t No Hearts and Flowers Love Story, Pt. I & II
“[This] story has been haunting me-reminds me of Octavia Butler's 'Parable of the Sower’…Stelly's work haunts me two years after I read it.”
--Evelyn Palfrey, author of Dangerous Dilemma and The Price Of Passion
“4 out of 5 stars. I felt the echoes of other notable science fiction novels, including "Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler, "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and "Manhattan Transfer" by John E. Stith. Timothy Stelly creates a believable milieu of small-town America being turned upside down by forces beyond comprehension, and puts the reader right in the middle of the action.—Claxton Graham, review
“Human Trial is at once a sci-fi story, a look at the psychology of survival, and a timely cautionary tale regarding current environmental woes; our individual and collective responsibility to one another and to the planet…It is an entertaining and intricate story that can be read and enjoyed along with the likes of Mitchener, King, or Peter Straub. Stelly intuitively knows what everyday people will do to survive and how their interactions with each other will sound.”—Brian Barbeito, Columnist and author of Fluoride And The Electric Light Queen
“Gritty and intense, Human Trial will leave you stupefied and terrified, neither of which will protect your gut from wrenching. The message finally revealed is not only horrifying, but real, as is the omen foretold. Turning tables and unbalanced scales foster confusion and terror in an epic far greater than its words.” - Brian L. Doe, Author, The Grace Note, Barley & Gold; Co-Author, Waking God Trilogy
“Oh the suspense, the drama, the intensity, the love I’m having for this story…trust indeed that my adrenaline cannot go any higher. This will be a series finale you don’t want to miss.” – Walee, author of Confession Is Good For The Soul and What’s On The Menu? All Of Mw!

Timothy N. Stelly is a poet, essayist, novelist and screenwriter from northern California. He describes his writing as “socially conscious,” and his novel, HUMAN TRIAL, is the first part of a sci-fi trilogy and is available from, and in e-book format at Reviews of HUMAN TRIAL can be read at
HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR (All Things That Matter Press) is scheduled for release in MAY, 2010. Stelly also has a short story included in the AIDS-themed anthology, THE SHATTERED GLASS EFFECT (2009) . His story SNAKES IN THE GRASS, Is a tale of love, betrayal and its sometimes deadly consequences.
In 2003, Stelly won First Prize in the Pout-erotica poetry contest for his erotic piece, C’mon Condi.

Contact Info:
Both books available at, and
Visit me at: or
Human Trial is still available from and Paperback
$18.99, e-book (kindle) format, $10.99.
Read the Brian Barbeito review of HUMAN TRIAL at:
Read more online reviews at and
"Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol." -- Steve Martin

Tags: Sci-fi, sci-fi noir, last man genre, trilogy, ,African-american literature, noir, alien invasion

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

They Plotted Revenge Against America

Lily's Odyssey

Lily's Odyssey
ISBN-13: 978-0984098453
All Things That Matter Press
Carol Smallwood

Lily's Odyssey unfolds in three parts with the inevitability, impact, and resolution of a Greek play. The dialogue rings true, the concrete conveyed along with moods and half-tones to paint Midwestern middle class flawed characters with poignancy. The psychological detective novel explores the once largely unacknowledged: it is not only soldiers who get post-traumatic stress disorder and child abuse whether it is overt or covert incest is a time bomb. From daughter to grandmother, Lily's voyage is told with lyricism, humor, and irony using a poet's voice to distill contemporary American women's changing role in religion, marriage, and family.

Carol Smallwood has appeared in English Journal, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Writer's Chronicle, The Detroit News. Short-listed for the Eric Hoffer Award for Best New Writing in 2009, a National Federation of State Poetry Societies Award Winner, she's included in Who's Who in America, and Contemporary Authors. Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook is one of her recent American Library Association books. Contemporary American Women: Our Defining Passages, co-edited, is her 22nd book.

From the Preface:

     Weight of Silence, and Nicolet's Daughter were considered as novel titles but it remained Lily's Odyssey. Odysseus, the epic hero from Greek mythology in The Odyssey, helped by the gods with his band of men, maneuvers the Scylla and Charybdis passage as one of his many adventures in ancient times. Lily, from the Midwest, named by a gardener mother she doesn't remember, struggles with a subconscious she fears will destroy her. Her narrow passage is between reality and disassociation, her time the latter 20th and early 21st Centuries. Her odyssey without help from the gods reflects a passage through linear labyrinths women interpret as round. Lily's fragmentation is echoed in the writing style.


     That evening after we saw Dr. Schackmann, Cal said, "You must realize that building my practice takes all my energy, and accept that as reality." He was mixing his martini before dinner on the glass-topped mahogany sideboard. As he spoke, I studied the sideboard's inlaid rosewood and ebony squares, again thinking he was a good surgeon, widely respected, and it must have been my fault that I wasn't a good wife.
     I got a coaster and placed it on the sideboard. He frowned and turned it so the pheasant on the coaster squarely faced him. "You don't even know why you're so dissatisfied," he said, and laughed. "How can you not even know that?"

       At the luncheon, I made as many trips as I dared to the restroom without causing people to wonder if something was wrong with me. Inside the unheated cement block room, my long deep breaths came out like smoke signals when I opened and shut my mouth to relieve my clenched jaw, shake my head in disbelief. Each time I went in, I saw cracks in the ceiling that I hadn't seen before. Some natural light came through a small casement window dotted with snow, and I recalled making dots of snow on windows into fairy tale pictures when a child.
       When people had complained about the cold rest rooms to Father Couillard, who was the priest before Father Mulcahy, he'd say, "Enjoy the cold while you can, my friends. Where many of you are headed, it will be plenty hot."


Smallwood is a watcher. Her eyes are unblinking. And her ears can detect the mercurial ticks of a heart. As a storyteller, she's as sure as any Preakness jockey. She knows when words need to clip-clop up to the gate, when to bide, and when to unfetter them, to let the truth loose. Truth thunders in Lily's Odyssey.
      -Katie McKy, author of Pumpkin Town, Houghton Mifflin, and Wolf Camp, Tanglewood Press.

Smallwood is an incredibly gifted author with a broad range of experience. She demonstrates commitment to conscience in her work through Michigan Feminist Studies, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, and Best New Writing 2009.
     -Sandra Potter, CEO & Founder, Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, co-author, Unnecessary Roughness: Till Death Do Us Part;
The Child Abuse Survivor Project.

Literary novel