Thursday, June 5, 2014


Please visit my new website:
Play some chess against a computer on the site and listen to some classical music.
Sign up on the site to receive news of new books or events.
I won't sell your e-mail and I won't send you spam. Scout's honor.
I'll also be moving this blog there as soon as I can figure out how visitors can comment on it.
Also, my story The Adventure of the Nine Hole League was published in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #13


Friday, May 23, 2014

Nisei wins the Columbus Creative Cooperative Great Novel Contest

My novel Nisei, won first place in the Columbus Creative Cooperative Great Novel Contest. Grand prize was $1000.
Press release:
We are pleased to announce that Terra Chalberg has chosen Nisei by John White as the winner of The Great Novel Contest 2014!

You Don't Know Me by Jessica Halliday was chosen as the runner-up.

You can read more about the announcement here:

Congratulations to John White and Jessica Halliday. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

How to Make a Bad Book Trailer on a Limited Budget

The competition is tough out there, baby, with over five million books available on Amazon. So how do you stand out from the minions and get your name to be a household world among the literati? A well-written interesting book helps, but apparently it's all in the marketing. A good book publicist cost six figures, while the bottom of the publicist heap will run you about four thousand for three months of her trying to get you on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

So like most new authors, you handle your own marketing. One tool necessary for promotion is a book trailer. Again, they can cost thousands or as in my case $1.76. I downloaded Microsoft Movie Maker for free and used the $1.76 to buy an Almond Joy candy bar. With the software on my computer and the candy bar in my belly, I put together my own book trailer.

It's a bit premature to release the trailer since the book won't be out till the end of the year and my new website is still in production, but common sense has never stopped me before, so enjoy my $1.76 book trailer.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fear of Public Speaking (or Improv at Jersey Boys)

As writers of self-published or small-press published books, we know exactly how much help will get marketing and publicizing our work: zero to none. And so, the burden is on our stoic yet sensitive shoulders to hawk our goods and knock some sense into the ignorant and unwashed in order to get them to buy our books. This means getting interviewed on blogs and websites. This means doing talk shows on AM radio stations in Podunk, who the hell knows where, at 4 AM. This means telling your story on cable TV public access stations at 6 AM on Sunday when even God's asleep. But it also means speaking in front of a live audience. This audience could be your writers group, a hip bar, a library, or even a writers' conference. I've spoken at libraries where more people have shown up to use the bathroom then they did to hear my spiel.

Public speaking is nerve-racking. It's painful to watch a nervous speaker fall apart in a presentation. There are usually signs that the dude is nervous: rapid breaths, pauses where it looks like they couldn't remember their name let alone their speech, a sudden wet stain down the front of their pants, and of course, fainting.

My wife has a terrible time speaking in front of an audience. She stutters, stammers, and worst of all, develops hives, large red splotches all over her face and arms. If you gave her a choice of speaking in front of a group or death, she’d choose the latter.

I'm not a bad speaker, but I'm not good either. I don't have the experience a best-selling author does speaking to 40 or 50 large groups a year. So I practice when I can.

Last night, Pam and I went to see the musical, Jersey Boys, at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando. We had front row seats and the play was fabulous. During intermission, Pam went to the restroom leaving me there in front of the stage to stretch my legs. What a great time to practice my public speaking, I thought. I turned around to see 2500 theatergoers all looking in my direction. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For the next five minutes I spoke of my writing, my books, and anything else I could think of while staring in the eyes of patrons who must've all thought I was nuts. I spoke softly but gestured wildly, imagining I was at the largest writers’ conference in the world.

I tried to imagine my audience was naked to calm my nerves, but ever since McDonald's and KFC changed the shape of the American body I just can't do that anymore. It just doesn’t work unless you're talking to a convention of supermodels.  Instead,  I took deliberate pauses between sentences and thought of something relaxing, like surfing or golf.
When my children were about ten-years-old, I taught them public speaking skills by offering them a dollar if they could talk about a subject, any subject, for one minute, without saying, um, or like, or you know. The girls failed most of the time but when they nailed it, that dollar felt like a trophy to them. Now my daughters tell me the game gave them the confidence to stand up in front of large audiences and feel completely calm.

Back to the Jersey Boys. I finished with a flurry and a bow to the 2500 confused patrons, who seemed to be really looking forward to the show starting up again after the intermission.
In conclusion, if you go to a play or a ball game or a rock concert and some nerd gets onstage and pretends he's a keynote speaker, don't call Security. He's just a writer and you know how they are.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Day In The Life Of A Writer

A Caveat: This is not about a famous or best-selling author's day. A best-selling author's day always starts out by dropping the only child off at the private school, returning home in your Audi Quattro, fixing a nice cup of tea with a few scones, and then writing for three hours. After that, the rest of the day is left to enjoy. This post is about an average serious writer. Me--Average-- "C" student all my life, except for that Music Appreciation class in college. Aced it.

  • 5:55 AM. You wake up to the GD alarm clock, Sonny and Cher singing, I Got You Babe, and you say "Shit" for the first word of the day. You hit the snooze button and sleep for nine more minutes until you wake again and nudge the spouse off your side of the bed that she hogs during her REM part of sleep even though you're at the end of your mental tether with her damn annexation. You hit the off button on the radio and say "Shit" for the second word of the day. Hopefully, your prose will improve.
  • 6:15    You shower, shave, etcetera, etcetera and then stumble to your car with your banana in your hand (a real banana-shame on you) and as you back out of the driveway you realize your publisher was supposed to send you an important e-mail and they are in Oregon and you are in Florida so it probably is in your queue and came at midnight because of the three hour time difference so you go back in the house and irritate your wife  who wants to eat her Grape Nuts in peace and she knows you hate Grape Nuts but you need to get on the read your mail.
  • 6:30    You're finally away and on your 40 mile commute to Orlando so you put some Ernest Hemingway in the CD player and listen to his short simple prose that will totally affect the chapter you write later that night. All of your sentences will be succinct and active with little exposition. The problem with that is the day before you listened to Joseph O'Connor and all your writing that night was in long sentences, heavy in exposition with little dialogue. You swear if you put Dr. Suess in the CD player everything you write that night will rhyme.
  • 7:30  You arrive in Orlando and see two homeless guys asleep on a bench in front of your office building and think, wow, you could dress in a tuxedo and sit between them on the bench and use that for your bio pic in your new website. Then you come to your senses and go to your office and prepare for your endless meetings. In the first one the group discusses the merits of integrating the Bills of Material into the Gant charts and for the next hour your mind drifts to your antagonist and how he needs some compassion otherwise you'll turn off your readers and you should do the same with your protagonist because he might not be lovable enough and then someone asks you a question about the latest engineering project and you try to fake it that you were listening to them by agreeing with whatever the hell they just said.
  • 12:00 PM: During lunch you edit the last chapter your wife typed and then you start on the next one trying to remember Hemingway is dead and he can't affect you if you fight it. As your lunch hour ends, you try to clean all the Dorito red smudges off the college ruled paper you were writing on so that your wife will be able to see the words and not type ass instead of assume.
  • 4:00 PM : You get ready to leave work when you realize your administrative aide has left for the day and you have to type your own memo.
  • 4:40 PM  You finally start your commute home and write in your head the next chapter after this chapter so you won't be influenced by the next Matthew Pearl audiobook you bought.
  • 5:50 PM  You arrive home, kiss your wife as she leaves to go work out. Then you ride your bicycle for three miles, where you decide the protagonist's love interest should collect porcelain pigs.
  • 7:00 PM  You and your wife cook dinner and compete against each other by yelling out the Jeopardy answers before the other can.
  • 7:30   You retire to your writing room and write for two hours without checking Facebook, Twitter, or cute videos on You Tube. You do leave the computer on though to research train schedules, British Slang, rigor mortis and other stuff you're writing about that night.
  • 10:00 PM  You have relations with your wife by first removing (This is We have censored all the content for the next four paragraphs-Thank you for your paitence) and finally you prepare for sleep. In bed, your mind races with plots and characters and publishing and editing and costs and then you check the clock and it's 2 AM. You get up and take a Advil PM.
  • 5:55 AM  You wake up to the GD alarm clock.... 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Okay. So I Was Wrong

Prodigious Savant and Deviant Acts by JJ White have been acquired by Black Opal Books!


Prodigious Savant (Estimated release date Fall 2014)


There are fewer than one hundred reported cases of prodigious savants in the world. Those few who possess the savant syndrome all have an island of brilliance that allows them to excel in some remarkable talent. Unfortunately, they all share various developmental disabilities; some bizarre, others violent. 

In 1962 Vermont, seventeen-year-old Gavin Weaver survives a horrendous explosion, six hours of brain surgery, and thirty days in a coma, to awaken possessing not just one savant talent, but several: art, music, mathematics, and memory, and all without suffering any of the usual mental disabilities associated with head trauma…except one issue he keeps hidden from all.

His newly acquired abilities thrust him into the public eye as the amazing ‘Whiz Kid’ from Burlington; a moniker he detests. His genius, paranoia, and increased hallucinations result in some strange and extraordinary encounters with the icons of the ‘60s, including Bobby Fischer, Nikita Khrushchev, Edward R. Murrow, John Chancellor and even a tragic meeting with John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He also catches the eye of a neurologist who is unique in his own right, and is most interested in the young man’s brain -- for many reasons.

Gavin’s odds are slim that he will survive not only his external trials but also his inner conflicts; keeping him from the one thing he desires most, the girl he’s loved since childhood.


Deviant Acts (Estimated release date 2015)


Jackson is living his nightmares even when his eyes are open. Addicted to heroin since Vietnam, it is the only thing that tends to keep the horror at bay. Besides killing him slowly, it has cost him his job. Living with his mother, in the same home he grew up in, he is now stealing from her and his neighbors for a fix, his girlfriend since grade school has dumped him and the only means of transportation is a beat-up bike. Is there a word for lower than low?            

            Then his rich aunt from Vermont calls requiring his “services”. Cheryl, his so-called cousin, has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. Auntie wants her back no matter what it costs, and she wants them all dead. Can Jackson kill again? Can he stay straight long enough to get her back? Nothing is what it seems.


White has written over two hundred short stories, had articles and stories published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review and The Grey Sparrow Journal. “The Nine Hole League” is scheduled to be published in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Volume 14. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest. He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece in The Grey Sparrow Journal.

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

Published by Black Opal Books

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dead Authors On Twitter

1.             Ernest Hemingway

    Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?

     William Faulkner

       And that from a writer who has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

      Jane Austen-

     Gentlemen. May we agree you are both fine writers with different styles?


Mark Twain
Jane, I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize yours, but your books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig you up and hit you over the skull with your own shin-bone.

            Jane Austen-   Mr. Twain. Surely, even a man of your meager literary background and lineage must be joking?


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

     I think he is not, Jane. Whenever I peruse your novels, they seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow. The one problem in your mind. . . is marriageableness.

      Jane Austen- I believe I have had enough bullying and shall sign off for the night.


     Mark Twain – Good news for all seven of your followers.


         Ralph Waldo Emerson- Touché.


      Truman Capote – My, but we girls are testy tonight.


     Gore Vidal

     And that from a full-fledged housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices.

       Truman Capote – Gore-I believe Buckley awaits a rematch with you in Hell. Toute suite, dear.


     Truman Capote – And while you’re there, I believe Jack Kerouac is working with Buckley on some writing you can help them with. Oh wait. That’s not writing, it’s typing.


     Jack Kerouac- Not cool, Tru. Dig?


       Truman Capote – I’ll dig Jane Austen’s shin bone up with Twain and hit you over the head with it until you learn to write.


     Vladimir Nabokov

      Let’s stick with Hemingway, shall we? I read him for the first time in the early ‘forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.

       Ernest Hemingway

      Come by and see me some time, Vladimir. I have two twelve-year-old nieces who wish to hide from you.

         Vladimir Nabokov

       I must leave for the night. I cannot abide Hemingway’s monosyllabic prose any more than I could tolerate Joseph Conrad’s souvenir shop style of romanticist clichés without acquiring a tremendous headache.


      Virginia Woolf

       My turn. My turn. Let us pounce on James Joyce, shall we?  Ulysses is the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”


         Virginia Woolf

      And Huxley. His prose is raw, uncooked, protesting.

     William Faulkner

      And Twain, while he’s still online. A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.


     Mark Twain- I understood, hack, Bill, though the rest escaped me.


            Ernest Hemingway

      I’m with you, Mr. Twain, but it’s time to bury the hatchet. Can’t we all just get along?


      William Faulkner

     Bury the hatchet. So cliché, though not unexpected or unusual from the great Papa. My IPhone’s ringing. ICYMI  # kissmyroyalass.