The Lonely e-Publisher

As I began work on my first novel back in 2002, I had a simple goal.  Create a reasonably readable product with a beginning, a middle and an end.  At completion of the first title I had progressed through a series of starts, changes of direction, and an expansion of vision.

My intended content covered far more than possible in a single novel.  I had my basic plot for a beginning, middle and end, but the middle involved far more detail than I had expected.  I then outlined a series covering three titles.

Not far into my second title research uncovered a new twist.  The British Empire fought not only the Nazis and fascists in Europe but the fascists in Ethiopia.  With an underlying motive of emphasizing the tremendous struggle of the British Empire during the first years of war, this aspect of the battle fit my character perfectly.  So off he went to Khartoum in the Sudan, then on into Ethiopia, or what Mussolini considered an expansion of the Italian Empire.  I now think I can finally reach my initial end with the ninth novel.  One or two more after I complete Stonechild and the 8th.



First Novel


Stonechild Volunteers takes an individual born into primitive circumstances uniquely equipping him for imminent hazards.

Added to the experience base of trapper, fur-trader he  possesses another asset, the gift of language prodigy.

These combined assets and a devotion to duty bring Russell Stonechild to the attention of his regimental commander in the Gall Light Armored.  Even prior to Hitler’s unprovoked aggressions lead Britain into war, Russell undertakes missions far more hazardous than usual for a green recruit.


EIN’s, Smashwords and Kobobooks

My kids bought me a Macbook Air for Christmas (2015).  Now I can have more parallel playtime with my wife as we sit, side by side, in the living room while I write and she puzzles.  Exciting, what?

I have erased all of my titles from Smashwords.  Rather hard to do, since Mark Coker has such a helpful site.  However, I had decided to publish through since they have a more friendly royalty structure for alien writers with regard to the IRS with- holding tax. provides another dilemma.  I have heard one-off print titles for authors are inexpensive from Amazon.  Also, with creative copy in place for ebooks, the step to paper should be pretty straightforward.  This brings the spectre of American IRS to the fore once again.  My research brought me to Catherine Howard’s blog.  She is a self-published writer from Cork, Ireland.   She provided information on EIN’s, or Employer Identification Numbers through a phone call.

Obtaining such an EIN will be my next step.  Since Catherine suggests avoiding Monday and Tuesday I will be phoning 1-267-941-1099 next Tuesday and informing the nice person on the other end that I wish an EIN designator in compliance with IRS withholding regulations.

Some time away

I’ve been spending time working on a web site for our local writer’s club.  It has been a struggle to find time.  We activated the site this past Tuesday to the delight of many, and the ho-hum of others.  We have titled the site 

It’s a beginning.

A gun for Alfi Bey

I have written nothing for the past two months. A trip and research. Today I have been verifying and expanding on my research into the potential of the Mamluk, Alfi Bey, gaining possession of accurate firing rifles in the late 1700’s, when such weapons would be an extreme oddity if any existed. I believe that such an event could occur and in much the same manner described in the novel, Stonechild and Mamluk Treasure. German gunsmiths were masters of the trade with English and French gunsmiths producing excellent components. The web site discusses a rifled firearm commissioned by a German prince in the late 1700’s, possibly as early as 1780. That date fits with my time frame where a fugitive gunmaker reaches Egypt and gains the attention of Alfi Bey, an overly ambitious Mamluk of Egypt’s military ruling class.

The most interesting part of this research involved the discovery of mechanisms for developing a gun barrel from iron bars with little else than a charcoal-fired forge, iron bars, hammers, files and anvils. At this point in history such actions were a common occurrence.

Stonechild and Gilf Kebir

As I read widely on the first few years of the British Empire’s struggle against the Axis forces, the logic behind my main character, Russell Stonechild, and the natural progression of the military struggle led to Africa. I have always been interested in geography, and my early research identified an interesting geographic location. “The Gilf Kebir,” so named by an early Egyptian explorer, Ahmed Mohammed Hassanein Bey. The Great Barrier.

The Gilf Kebir is a rock wall separating the desolate sands of Egypt’s Western Desert from the equally desolate expanse of the Libyan desert. Here occurred events of Ondatje’s “The English Patient.”

This formation is described by Alan Watson at

“Egypt’s Western Desert is full of wondrous natural phenomenon and surprises. Sometimes one wanders over a ridge or through a pass and discovers alien worlds, such as in the White Desert. Less known perhaps, but growing in popularity is the ancient plateau known as Gilf Kebir (Great Barrier), its sides now heavily eroded and penetrated by huge sand wadis and incredible dune systems which, at one point, rise 300 meters to meet the level of the plateau, an irresistible force meeting an immovable object!”

Watson goes on to describe this formation as “a huge shelf the size of Switzerland, it is nearly dissected in two by a large cap. It rises 300 meters from the desert floor (1075 meters above sea level), forming one of the most formidable barriers in Africa.”

I didn’t quite know how, but I knew early in my writing that Russell Stonechild would meet the Gilf Kebir.

I have read hundreds of pages relating to action around this amazing site. I have examined image after image. And now I have Russell Stonechild about to enter the sand-filled and rock strewn wadi’s of the Gilf Kebir. And here, a century and a half earlier, one of the wealthiest Egyptian warlords, Alfi Bey, may have hidden treasures pillaged through a lifetime.

Treasure, however, is low on Russell’s priorities. He has already run from Hitler’s onslaught in France and Belgium, as told in the novel Stonechild’s Enigma.  Now one of the hero’s of that Nazi victory has arrived in North Africa. Rommel’s Africa Corps has pushed the British to a fragile toe-hold on Egypt’s border. Russell fears the little blocking force of which he is part will arouse Rommel’s ire, and once more he will face a formidable foe with superior weaponry and leadership.