The e-publishing world races on

My wife would say I’ve been on a writing binge regarding the Stonechild Chronicles.  So much time there is little time for keeping up with the web site.  The series, though,  nears an end.  Maybe another two years.  The end has been there since day one.  The route, though, has been complex.  Another issue will be re-editing.  I feel they are good stories without adequate editing.  And, that’s another problem.

The re-editing of the first novel, Stonechild Volunteers occupied the last six weeks, and I know it needs more, but it is better.  (Oh for a professional editor.)

With that editing done, I hope to add Stonechild Volunteers to Amazon in addition to

I do owe an apology to  those who’ve been following the adventures of Russell Stonechild and looking for the grand finale as I’ve interrupted my Stonechild series to work on a novel entitled, A Different Manger.  Once that is complete it will be time to market both of these titles as books on paper.

The Christian in a Post-truth World

Being a linear thinker I’ve had difficulty shifting to a post-truth world where data means naught and feelings mean everything.  Through the years I’ve nestled safely within the arms of governments conscious of Christian values of morality, fidelity, charity and a belief in the Almighty according to a Judaeo-Christian worldview.

A belief that marriage exists for the procreation, protection and nurture of the next generation makes me hateful to many in the mainline media, and even to governments who, up to the present time, have been protective of free expression.

And, when it comes to belief in a deity, even our governor-general as of 2018, follows the dictum of the famed atheist, Richard Dawkins, who, when asked how to combat Christians, said:  “Ridicule them.”

It’s interesting how so many scientists fought evidence of the Big Bang theory and its shattering impact on the long-held position that our universe is “all there is, all there was, and all that ever will be.”  Also interesting is the way this theory provided wriggle-room for those Christians who wished to fit evolution into their God-centric world view.

I watched a recent YouTube video where a 14 year old boy confronted Ravi Zaccharias, a well-know Christian apologist, with the question, “What is the meaning of my life?”  Ravi didn’t give an answer, but set my mind working.  I remembered something from the Westminster Confession and went googling.  There I found that this confession had been initiated and approved by the British Parliament in 1646-47.  For myself as a Christian, those first words define the meaning of life.  Strange words, words as lacking in an empirical base as “What is the meaning of my life?”  Those words being,  The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Other details of the Confession may not be so palatable, but I find these words most significant.

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 or United States Employer Identification Number

With an EIN, or Employer Identification Number in hand I can now approach any United States Electronic Book Publisher and receive my royalties without the IRS with-holding tax of 30%, as discussed in the previous post.

I am still publishing through Kobo without a requirement for an EIN, but now feel less shackled should I decide to also publish with Amazon.

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.

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.

Kobo vs Smashwords vs whoknows

The Stonechild Chronicles began to take shape sometime around 2002.  I began to write and to explore publishing opportunities.  I bought books on publishing and completed my first novel, Stonechild Volunteers.  I began planning a series and adopted the overall name, The Stonechild Chronicles.  I began sending query letters to publishers and agents, and quickly determined the traditional publishing route to be a dead-end, both for my topic and the reality of being a non-credentialed writer.

On, or near the year 2005, I abandoned any initial hope of obtaining a publishing agreement and decided to publish on-line.  First, though, I focused on building content.  To the initial title of Stonechild Volunteers, I added, Stonechild and the Minotaur Maze, and Stonechild’s Enigma.

My wife and I had already self-published my dad’s biography, Horses, Trails and Trophies  and I planned for Dad’s book to accompany my novels into the on-line world. With four major works on hand, I began to research methods of publishing on-line.  Fortunately for me I had reached a sweet spot in the evolution of on-line publishing. provided an avenue for uploading Microsoft Word documents, setting one’s price, collecting money from purchasers, and retaining only 15% of the sale price.  Should works submitted come with covers and hyper-linked table of contents, Smashwords would place such works in their premium catalog and forward items to Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and some other on-line retailers who would then charge about 30% in royalties.

A problem surfaced at the end of year one in marketing on Smashwords.  Readers had purchased a few copies, a mere $75.00  worth, but still a few.  However, for Smashwords to forward a royalty check I had to register with the American Internal Revenue Service

I decided to seek another publisher, more friendly to non-American writers.  I found Kobo and moved my titles to that site.

Again, I haven’t gotten to the place where royalties are flowing, but still hope Kobo to work out.  The process for uploading is similar to Smashwords.

However, uploading to and to the Apple iBookstore offers greater potential than Kobo.  Kindle ereaders and Apple iPads are far more numerous than Kobo ereaders.  As I begin to put more emphasis on marketing and not just writing, I will have to seek the widest possible market-place.

American IRS here I come.