What Does it Take To Release A[n Indie] Book?

Besides the actual writing of the novel, there’s the publishing of it. The transformation from a manuscript to a book. Sometimes that can feel like it takes just as long as the creation of the manuscript (ms)! One of my friends and a reader told me she was amazed at what goes on in the background “just” to release a book—she told me she couldn’t believe everything that has to get done!

So, in honor of her (let’s call her “Edie”!)…this post. Below I’ve attached (as gracefully as I can in the ever-changing environment that is WordPress) my publishing checklist…but I’ll step though an overview of the process. For an overview of the overview, take a quick scan of how long this post is. Just sayin’.

In the traditional world, unless you’re releasing a book that begs immediate release for whatever reason (e.g., rich and famous and/or timely issue), it typical takes about a year (or so) to get all your loons in a row to release it. The steps I do are pretty much the same…I just don’t have the bankroll nor staff they (being “them”) have, so I make do with what I can and am lucky enough to have some stellar people who help out. I truly wish I could pay all of them for all their efforts (at the going rate), but that’s the reality of independent publishing: the kindness of friends and writing peers and the “poorness” of Indie authors.

But do be aware: it does cost.

Going Indie is a not a freebie enterprise. Sure, you can put out a cheap-looking, low quality effort, but you’re going to hurt yourself in the long run. And if you do finally gather your wits (and resources) about you and do end up putting out higher quality efforts…you’ll have that one (or three…) crappy effort out there unless you go back and redo what should have been done right in the first place.

Would you buy a poorly created book?

So, throttle back on the excitement and take a breath. Do it right.

Okay, you think you’re done with your ms. So now you need to take a break, right? Yes and no. Even before you’re done, it’s always good to keep your eyes and ears open for those you’ll be needing for the release of your work, and the earlier the better (and contacting those you’ll want to work with to see about fitting into their schedules is a must): you’ll need the following efforts “covered” (pardon the pun):

  • Cover
  • Interior formatting
  • Proofreading/copyediting
  • Blurbs (you don’t really need these)
  • Author photo (you don’t really need this)
  • Book reviews
  • Book creation: paperback/hardback/ebook
  • ISBNs
  • Library of Congress copyright copy
  • Book distribution
  • Promotion. Forever promotion….


For the cover I’ve used two different folks. I’ve used Karen Duvall, of Duvall Design, and Lon Kirschner, of Kirschner Caroff Design Inc. It just depends what kind of budget you have. Karen (and most cover artists, especially in the traditional world) doesn’t read your work and engages you from the very beginning. It’s very give and take from the get-go. I’ve known her for years and she’s a great person. Another great person to work with is Lon Kirschner. Lon reads your entire ms and comes up with the cover on his own. If there’s something about the cover that doesn’t quite work for you or needs tweaking, then he’s also more than willing to work with you until he gets it right. I love working with both these folks, they’re terrific people and do outstanding work! Contact them for their current rates and to get on their schedules. I know Lon’s been recently slammed with work.

Another note about cover: you need to present the most professional, high quality cover you can [afford]. People do judge a book by its cover. It’s usually the first thing anyone sees. The first thing one rejects. Compare what’s on the shelves and what’s professional quality against what you think you want on your cover. The harder it is for another to determine if your work came from a traditional publisher, the better.

Interior Formatting

Through a writing friend, I found Pam Headrick, of A Thirsty Mind Book Design. She formats your content (i.e., file) into the proper format to get it into that trade paperback or ebook. There’s a lot to do there, but it’s dealing with spaces and “code.” She works her internal wizardry so well and is also easy to work with! Sometimes we go back and forth for a couple weeks, depending on what the issues are—and they can be many and varied, especially Microsoft’s “overhead code” issues. On Voice we had a danged coding issue that literally kept rearranging words on a particular page—on its own. Oh, the Humanity! Pam finally had to delete the entire page and manually retype it! You definitely need to contact Pam early (however defined) and see what her schedule is and get on it—you can always shift schedules, but this woman is frigging busy.

Proofreading and Copyediting

Here’s where I rely on “the kindness of strangers.” If I were to pay the going rate of what these people do, it would run upwards of $3-$5K—at least that was the last going rate I’d research a couple years ago. I simply cannot afford that. Fortunately I’ve found people who love doing this kind of thing and wanted to help out. And if they were writers, I’d gladly return the favor. They’re readers and they love helping out “the cause,” and for that I’m eternally grateful! I just can’t thank them enough! So I pay in contributer’s copies: however many they need/want, I’ll send them (well, short of a truckload at at time, I only have so many resources you know…), and give them acknowledgements in my novels’ front matter (the front of a book before the actual story). So use those you find to their expertise: are they good readers? Good with grammar? Continuity and details? Do they read a lot? The important thing is to just get another set of eyes on your words. Some will give you in-depth detail and others will give you an overview. Both are great inputs. Edie is a huge reader and Mandy has written lots of proposals. Edie gives me an overall reader’s point of view, while Mandy gives me hell-on-each-sentence (okay, its not really that bad—but she knows her stuff)—which is as it should be! It’s up to you how you wanna run this part of things, but get others to read your efforts before going public.

Once you parse your work out to your readers, give a timeline…and allow for some slack. People are people and they have their own lives and issues do pop up. You don’t want to cut it so close that the rest of your release process suffers, you don’t want to overburden your proofreaders, and you don’t want to short-change yourself—or the work itself! The good part about all this is that is that you’re running it, so you create your own schedule. I’d say a month is too short, better two, depending on the length. It will probably end up being three. If it’s over 100K words, I’m betting it’ll take about three months for your in-depth redliner to “go deep”…and it gives that person or persons time to actually write this stuff up to send you. Reading is easy…communicating their comments to you takes time (and effort). Let them have it. If they’re helping you out, they want to do this.

One thing I’ve found in the creation process (while you’re still actively writing the story, way before sending it out for review and release) is to get to a point where your ms is in fairly decent shape, then read every word of it aloud. This is way before you think you’re “done.” I do that with all my mss. It’s usually around the third or fourth draft. There is so much you can catch, from pacing errors to misspelled words. You’d be surprised. Try it.

But, you’ll still miss stuff anyway and your readers will find them.


I feel you don’t really need these, but they don’t hurt. I was against them for a while because I’d discovered that many blurbers in the traditional world didn’t actually read the works they blurbed. Yeah, that floored me. I hope that isn’t the case anymore, but somehow I feel it probably hasn’t changed much. So, this is up to you. Those I’ve had blurb my work have actually read it. It doesn’t hurt, but last I read the jury’s out on who feel they’re legit and those who feel (as I did) that they’re B.S.

Author Photo

Do you want to include a photo of yourself on your book? I’m not big on that, but I’ve done it in two instances because it seemed “part” of the novel: on ERO I included a picture of me when I was a captain in the Air Force, because my novel was about an Air Force officer. It wasn’t a current shot, was over 20 years old, but it fit the story. I got the idea from a writer friend of mine who did it on one of his books. And in the ebook copy of Voice, I did it on the interior the back matter of the ebook, again with another near-thirty-year-old modeling shot of me when I was into modeling back in the 80s. It, too, fit the story, which deals with models and photography. I didn’t include it on the paperback hardcopy because I loved the clean look of the cover as Lon designed it. I didn’t want to mess with his simplicity of design. I probably could have included in on the interior back matter pages, but don’t think I thought of it until I was “done” with the paperback production and was into the ebook formatting later.

Book Reviews

This one should typically do some 4-6 months or so out.

Look, I’m just one guy…I simply don’t have the time to do all this stuff smartly. But this time I did manage to get two writers/reviewers to write a review of Voice, but it was only about a month out. I sent them electronic versions of the files. So, if you do find yourself in the position to do this, get someone (like a “Pam”) to do you up an “advance review copy” e-version and send it out to anyone you can find to give you a review. I’m not an expert in this area, so you’ll have to search the Internet for better information on this area of book release.

Book Creation

There are various way so of doing this, but I use CreateSpace for my trade paperbacks. Many “traditional” folk like to rail on against CreateSpace/Amazon…yet still use them for their own book sales. That’s hypocrisy. I like CreateSpace!

For now, I’m using them and I’m quite happy with them. And they had replaced a boxload of books that had been damaged and sent the replacements within days—yes, that same damned week!—and sent two more books that I had originally ordered. I have no beef with them whatsoever, so call them what you will, but I like them.

I use Smashwords for the ebook creation, with the exceptions of Amazon’s KDP (not KDP Select) and B&N’s Nook. I load these last two manually and do not use Smashwords for their distribution. I’ve been told that Smashwords lags behind in providing royalties on these last two distributors, though I do know Smashwords has modified its distro a bit (using Amazon’s KDP is about ebook creation).

It is still recommended that one not go with KDP Select. KDP and KDP Select are two different animals. Be careful when selecting these that you know what you’re selecting. I’m not going to get into all the reasons and have to not go KDP Select, I have to leave that up to you to research. This post is long enough!

I do recommend doing both a trade paperback and an ebook—if you can swing the finances (I’ve recently read that ebooks are beginning to lose traction). For a trade paperback you’ll not only need a front cover—but the entire wraparound cover. Cover rates should be different if you’re just doing a front cover.

Also, Nook requires a cover less than 2 MBs, so keep this in mind when ordering your files.

My checklist below has the steps and things to check out for in creating the actual books, paperback and ebook.

If you’re doing CreateSpace you’ll have the option of printing a “proof” copy. I highly recommend this…a couple copies. You’ll get a version of the book (you’ll have to pay for it, but it’s cheap) sent with “Proof” stamped on the last page, but you’ll actually see your book as it will be once released. You can always change things about your book after it’s published, but do it right the first time and get that proof copy. Review. Flip through it, checking for faded graphics, text placement, weird spacing, cover issues, et cetera, read it, if you haven’t recently or haven’t had others proof/copyedit it.

When you’ve entered all your ebook info, be careful it’s all correct, because once you hit that “Enter” a the end, that baby’s live!


ISBNs are different for ebooks and paperbacks.

At CreateSpace you have the option of different kinds if ISBN creation, and I always opt for the custom (see checklist below). For ebooks, the various ebook outlets have their own ways of doing business, so make sure you read the details and make sure you understand what it being said.

Again, you cannot use the same ISBNs for the paperback for the ebooks, and vice versa.

Library of Congress Copy

Always register the hardcover/paperback versions of your books with the Library of Congress. If you just have an ebook, you can register that, as well. The cost is minimal. Again, I’m letting their website do the talking, but if you get a copy of your book there within 30 days of release, you are afforded extra copyright protection.

Book Distribution

If you do CreateSpace, you don’t do traditional distributors, like Baker and Taylor. Your distro is Amazon.com. And though Amazon.com is not technically a distributor, they act like one.  If you do ebooks, like Smashwords, Nook, etc., you do all kinds of distribution. Check out their sites. So, if you want to get your physical books into bookstores, your best bets are indie bookstores or local used-bookstores…some are willing to take on local talent. Some Bigger Box/Indie stores will also take on local talent. I’m finding that the Bigger Box/Indie stores will consign your work, while the used books stores I’m dealing with usually buy your books outright. They’ve always been pretty easy to work with and will add a little to the buying price so you make some money.


You’re never done. Ever.

As I’ve wrapped up everything else in the creation process, I’m now actually trying to actively promote Voice. But this never ends. I suggest creating—at minimum—a Word file and just begin adding and copy-and-pasting ideas and possible avenues in there as you go about your life. Links to newspapers,  reporters, ideas for tweets, bookstores, events, anything and everything you have even the vaguest interest in checking out and/or pursuing. Nothing’s “stupid” at this point. You can weed out later.

I created a whole list of tweets, then, through this Future Tweets site, programmed in all these tweets for Labor Day weekend. There’s also a kinda cool “flip the tweet” function, where the tweet is actually flipped upside down—I love that!

Many of us do have day/night jobs and cannot spend all day on this kind of thing, so all we can do is what we can do. Don’t beat yourself up over it, don’t kill yourself. Sure, there are indignant authors out there who’ll dump on you (if not in words…in tone and attitude—and, yes, I’ve met them) and your seemingly puny efforts because they are writing full time, or have a significant other who supports them so they can write…but if you’re that one who is working and writing…all you can do is what you are doing. Feel good about it and don’t go killing yourself over “having” to do something every second or at the expense of ignoring your family/significant others/your own health. Do remember your quality of life. You’re YOU. You’re not “them.”

BE you.


When agreeing to book signings and the like, do make sure you both totally understand what is being proposed when setting up gigs…as in contacting local media and dates and times! Pay attention to detail and who’s supposed to do what.

And have FUN!

Okay, here is my checklist:

Prepping ms for Pam:

  • Convert to:
    1. TNR.
    2. Only single spaces, no double spaces.
    3. Single-spaced lines, no double spaces.
    4. No more than 4 lines of spaces (returns) at the tops of any e-book pages.
    5. For paperback books, make sure all the line returns to chapter starts are the same.
    6. E-book only: Add a space after all ellipses (3 and 4 dots), except w/in quotes, parens, punctuation (this may no longer be needed).
    7. Make sure abbreviated years are correct—use an apostrophe: “ ’78 .”
    8. Convert all dashes to M-dashes (N-, just be consistent).
    9. Check all sub-section spaces/#/***; standardize, check spacing, and center.
    10. Check all chapter and section numbers (1, 2, 3…) are correctly numbered.
  • Spell check—again!!!
  • Check for these words: http://sirragirl.blogspot.com/2014/04/collection-of-commonly-confused-misused.html?m=1
  • Ensure italicized text are properly italicized (including appropriate punctuation within itals).
  • Can’t have text “left/right-justified-at-bottom-of-page” kinda thing for ebooks (see ERO front matter for example).
  • Blurbs from other authors?
  • Add “Also by F. P. Dorchak” to front matter. See below.
  • Add family members to Notes/dedication?
  • Add others to Notes/dedication. Think.
  • Add cover graphic to title page.
  • Check any interior graphics for recto/verso placement.
  • Add websites and social media links to e-books.
  • Keep paperback clean with just “About” and website.
  • Bibliography?
  • When using Pam in formatting, it can take many iterations of PDFs to get formatting correct, because PDF keeps changing things we do not touch! It can take a week or two to iron out all the annoying shit PDF does.

Submitting ms to Smashwords:

Be sure you’re ready to do this, because once you’re done stepping through their upload dialogs, you’re published.

  • Select two categories of fiction.
  • Select all e-book formats.
  • Opt out of Amazon and Nook distribution on Channel Manager!
  • Assign ISBN! Do so before submitting to Smashwords!
    1. Impacts immediately getting into the Premium catalog.
  • Create any free Coupons.

Submitting ms to Amazon

  • Add self as contributor.
  • Try to add cover artist.
  • Try to add Pam for formatting.
  • Select 35% royalty.
  • Select price and set other country prices based on US price.
  • Consider Kindle Direct Publishing “Match Book” selection (readers buy a discounted version of your Kindle book, if they buy the paperback).
  • Consider KDP lending.
  • Keep Amazon description under 120 words so it’s all displayed and not truncated to “Read more” later….
  • Use Key Words: http://thefutureofink.com/sell-more-books-on-amazon/

Submitting ms to Nook

  • Get cover graphic less than 2 MB.
  • Add self as contributor.
  • Try to add cover artist.
  • Try to add Pam for formatting.
  • Nook automatically ties paperback versions to e-versions, but all titling and names, etc., have to be word-for-word, space-for-space perfectly matching. This presents a problem when using CreateSpace (CS), because CS does not like all-capital titles for their book accounts (e.g., ERO). In order to do all caps, you have to add periods between the letters (e.g., E.R.O.). This is not good, because when you release for publication, Amazon.com keeps those damned periods in the title for retail marketing! The actual title on the book remains your “ERO” title, but the displayed online title with your book, and any search engine hits only respond to the broken up title (i.e., E.R.O.), and not the actual title (i.e., ERO). So, effectively, there are two titles out there, and if people don’t know this, or don’t scroll down the Amazon search page, they won’t see the “E.R.O.” version of the book. I have contacted both CS and Nook about this. CS was nice enough to go in and link the two titles to each other, but you might have to actually contact them to get them to do this, but pointing out a loss of sales with the different titles, if people don’t know to scroll down the pages to find the related search of the other title. B&N/Nook also finally link the two formats together, but this took a long time.

When doing a CreateSpace copy:

  • Get paperback ISBN. Once ISBNs are assigned, they cannot be changed (but see “3,” below).
    1. “Custom” ISBNs can have a “fake” imprint name, like “Wailing Loon.”
    2. Custom ISBNs are also pushed to retailers versus libraries.
    3. If pick wrong one, delete entire “book” and restart that book’s account.
  • Choose “glossy” cover.
  • Interior Type: black and white
  • Paper Color: cream.
  • 6×9 format.
  • Interior Type: black and white
  • Paper color: cream.
  • When uploading book file, select that the “bleed” ends before the edge of the page.
  • Proofing: https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1481
  • Print proof copy:

If you do this you can’t approve your proofing until after book ships!

  1. Click on the title from the Member Dashboard
  2. Select “Order a Printed Proof” in the Review phase
  3. Update the quantity for the book
  4. Check your order; click “Check Out”
  5. Choose or enter a shipping address; click “Save and Continue”
  6. Select a shipping speed; click “Save and Continue”
  7. Choose or enter a billing address; click “Save and Continue”
  8. Enter the CVV code from the back of your credit card; click “Save and Continue”
  9. Review your order total, including shipping and tax; click “Confirm Order”

Your order is complete when you can see the order number on screen.

Once you approve this copy, it’s immediately available on CS, 3-5 days on Amazon, but usually is on Amazon the next day.

  • Titles: see #5, Submitting to Nook, above.
  • Revisions:
    1. It’s a little unnerving, cause you go back through all your other selections you made. You select either the cover or content, then proceed onward. You can just hit “Next” at the top screens, but you have options to change all your decisions. And now they have matte and glossy covers, so have to make sure you select the right one. Then you go through the same review process, with the review setup, send it back for the human review, and wait–the same process.
  • Add <your imprint, e.g., “Steffany”s Publishing Hut”> to:
    1. copyright page.
    2. spine/cover.
    3. Anywhere else needed.
  • Need any artwork on the interior of the book/front matter?
  • Add books to the front matter:

Also by F. P. Dorchak


Sleepwalkers (2001)

The Uninvited (2013)

ERO (2013)

Psychic (2014)

Voice (2015)


“Tail Gunner”:

The You Belong Collective—Writing and Illustrations by Longmont Area Residents (2012)

  • Add the following (updated) to the very back (check previous books):

About the Author

F. P. (Frank) Dorchak began writing at the age of six. He writes gritty, realistic paranormal fiction that delves into the realms of the supernatural, the unexplained, and the metaphysical to explore who we are and why we exist. Frank is published in the U.S., Canada, and the Czech Republic with short stories, non-fiction articles, five novels, Sleepwalkers, The Uninvited, ERO, Psychic, Voice, and the short story “Tail Gunner,” in The You Belong Collection – Writings And Illustrations By Longmont Area Residents regional anthology.


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Going Indie — What I’ve Learned (So Far) — Quit Askin For Stuff!

Okay, so this is what I’ve learned over the past couple of years of what promotion I’ve been able to do for my novels:

  1. Stop asking for things!
  2. Creating “events”? Only for romance authors and/or people (aka “women”) with friends!

All the conferences and discussions I’ve had about what to do or not do in the promotion of one’s work usually hits upon the above two immutables. “Immutables” because I’ve always heard that you should always ask for readers to write reviews and that in getting book signings, one should create an “event” and not just sit around like a bump on a log.

Well, I’ve tried to employ both of these directives. And in both cases I’ve: 1) felt cheap and telemarket-y, b) felt more than I really am, as in do I fancy myself a “Rick Castle“?, and lastly…have been overruled by the location-in-question.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. In today’s Day and Age, if people like your work, they’ll volunteer or actually just do the review. It’s a thing now, for chrissakes. Everyone reviews everything. They review the weather, their relationships, their own reviews. I’ve found that if I’ve e-mailed the question, people who don’t want to review your work will simply avoid the question altogether. Yup, they’ll just ignore you. It’s like my wife asking me to clean out the garage (again). If you ask face-to-face, “Sure,” they say they will…as their tone drops and they don’t look you in the eye and scratch behind an ear (or check their Galaxy Samsung for sudden phantom messages–“Hey, gotta take this text!“)…and you feel cheap for having had to ask. So, quit frigging asking for reviews! Okay, fine. I hated asking for them anyway.
  2. Events?! Who the <expletive> wants to come to an “event” to buy a book? In fact, who the hell wants to be in any way bothered by that guy or gal behind the imposing desk with a saccharin smile on their scared little face? Nobody knows how to write anymore—so a signed book? What does that even mean? If they want anything signed (“Uh, do you mean that verified/trusted electronic security certificate thingee?“) they’ll either swoop down from behind your position and shove an iPad into your face…or they’ll go to the quiet book shelves deep within the inner Sanctum Sanctorum of the store…find your book…then search Amazon or Nook and download it—thank you very much, Signing Person, for bringing it to my attention! Now, go—get thee away from me and leave me alone—I’ll go find it elsewhere and NOT have to physically interact with you…but, um, I will tweet I walked by your table (unless you’re off-the-charts hot or are a famous Romance Author with chocolate or brownies and a frigging rose-in-a-vase on your oh-so-cutely decored table)…. #AuthorAvoidance.
  3. It seems that most of the locations I can get into are small and cozy. I get that. Heck, I even really like that. I’m not into pomp and circumstance and never have been. Local bookstores do like to cater to the local author and will do what they can, but: 1) they’re small…they don’t have enough room for “events,” 2) they’re cozy and their clientele like “cozy”…they don’t do things that annoy cozy, and 3) see 1 and 2. Cozy is good. I like cozy! Why are you bothering me with these “event” questions?! What—my own? Maybe not. Locations that do do “events” are Big Box. I’ve never yet gotten into a Big Box. I don’t sell enough. I don’t have enough friends (keeping reading).
  4. Who the heck do I think I am, anyway? Richard Castle?

And as I’ve further considered the above items-of-interest, I’ve realized that I’d never heard any of these things uttered from, well—don’t shoot me, now—a guy.

Yes, a guy.

There, I’ve said it.

I’m not one of those who hammer on gender differences (am not a fan of those who do), but this really is quite pronounced and can be proven in a court of law. I’ve heard these directions uttered from legions of female authors (and most writers/authors I know are women…um, as are the agents, the editors, and well, you get the picture…). Usually somehow affiliated or associated with romance (friends, Romans, or Country…women…).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I always say more power to the author who can sell any of their wares, especially on a recurring basis. But, these romance authors are writing to an audience that is, well, there really is no other term for it—rabid—about their world. Their genre. <Expletive>, their authors! So, it comes as no shock to me that “creating events” and asking their readers to review their work is not out of line.

In fact, I was at a conference once (I wasn’t) and had seen (as far as you know…) where a romance author was in conversation with a rabid reader fan (RRF), had (“casually”) brought up the subject of reviews, and before the author had completed her sentence, the RRF had shouted “Done!“, arms thrust high into the air (nearly dislocating her shoulders—I saw the tears creeping out her right eye), one hand holding her Nokia like a Crusaders’ sword, shouting,”Reviewed! 5,000 likes!

Or maybe I didn’t. Can’t remember. The Fog of Conference.

As to the having tons of friends part, that also is usually tied to women.

Sure, you say, guys have friends.

No. Not really. We don’t.

We have buddies.

There’s a difference. Guys don’t flock en masse to anything that doesn’t involve beer or sports, and still, we don’t “flock” and we don’t “attend events.” We just all happen to end up at the same place. At once. To drink beer. Yell. Fart, belch, and slap each other (briefly) on the shoulder and move on to the next beer. Quote sports stats. Where’s the BBQ?

Women are supportive of each other.

Men drink beer. Eat grilled meat.

So all this only works if you’re a woman, a romance author, or have tons of friends.

Or are Richard Castle.

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Voice Delivered…

Plain Brown Wrapper: First Set of Voice Delivery, Sept 14, 2015

Plain Brown Wrapper: First Set of Voice Delivery, Sept 14, 2015

When I got the package of the first set of books for my new release, Voice, I just had to share, for it was not in the least lost on me the irony of its delivery: in a plain brown wrapper.

Is that still a “thing” in today’s world?

Well, I laughed.

The Naughty Little Book: What's Inside The Plain Brown Wrapper!

The Naughty Little Book: What’s Inside The Plain Brown Wrapper!
















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This past weekend I saw a 60 Minutes spot on the current movement of The Supremely Stressed to gain a more “mindful” approach to their lives. To forgo their electronic leashes and all the stress that accompanies today’s lives for their own thoughts and presence-of-mind. Peacefulness.

I find this interesting on many levels.

If you go to the above link, you’ll find you’ll be immediately pummeled by a loud and frigging obnoxious commercial for 30 annoying seconds. Then the 60 Minute spot starts and after mere seconds you are again redirected into the same fricking annoying soul-sucking commercial for another 30 seconds! At least my viewing of it was. I couldn’t X-out of that damned video fast enough.

For real, CBS? Did you not watch your own spot on “Mindfulness”?

My own stress level at the launching of that commercial shot through the roof.

A curious point brought up in the segment was that those creating, marketing, and promoting the very things that lead to elevated stress levels—the iPads, the cell phones, the very technology being eschewed in this retreat—are those being schooled in this new movement.

The condensed version of the 60 Minute segment is that one focuses on the present.

Does not multitask.

Learns meditation.

Becomes comfortable with their own thoughts.

There are various methods for doing all of the above (e.g., focusing on one’s own breathing), but what I wanted to get into was not the mechanics of it all, but that it is so cool that people are really “getting it” that we need to modify our behavior. That doing things like this makes one calmer, more open to listening, cooperating with each other, and that one becomes nicer.

I’m far from perfect, but for most of my life I’ve tried to live by these principles…but, admittedly, it’s not easy in today’s world. It’s like the proverbial Chinese Water Torture…when you constantly get pinged by anything—even the most calmest of us— eventually it’s easy to, well, snap. There are so many different directions I could go with breaking the whys and wherefores out…but, again, that’s not what I wanted to do, here. I just wanted to bring out the movement. To show that this retreat and other methods out there are showing us that there is a better way to live our lives and to hopefully plant a seed in those out there reading this to find your own way to a calmer path in your own lives.

You don’t need to have a bigger and better cell phone. That promotion at the expense of your happiness.

Try this…I dare you:

Sit down to eat any meal—at home—all by yourself. No distractions. No conversation. No music. Silence. Just you and your food. In a quiet location.

You might be surprised at how calming and enjoyable you find it.

Voice eBooks and Reviews

Voice (Graphic © 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Voice (Graphic © 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Voice is now available at the following outlets: Amazon.com (e-book and trade paperback), CreateSpace (trade paperback), Barnesandnoble.com (trade paperback and Nook book), and Smashwords.com (ebook). It will be distributed through other distribution channels (like iTunes), as these are put into motion.

I have two initial reviews:

Small Press Reviews (my first review—thanks, Marc!): https://smallpressreviews.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/voice/

and Aaron Michael Ritchey’s Amazon.com review.

And the following “faux interviews”:


A Faux Interview with F. P. Dorchak, Author of Voice (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)

A Faux Metaphysical Interview with F. P. Dorchak, Author of Voice (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)

I am working on consigning Voice in Colorado Springs (Poor Richard’s Books and Gifts) and Denver (Tattered Cover Book Store). More on these when I get my shipment of books rolling….

If you read Voice, please post a review at your favorite location!

Thank you in advance for all your support!


Voice Synchronicities

Charting Synchronicities. (Prosopee derivative work: Augurar [Schéma_synchronicité.jpg] [CC BY-SA 3.0 {http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0}], via Wikimedia Commons)

Charting Synchronicities. (Prosopee derivative work: Augurar [Schéma_synchronicité.jpg] [CC BY-SA 3.0 {http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0}], via Wikimedia Commons)

I couldn’t write about these until I made my new novel’s title (Voice) public, but the past couple of months I’ve been seeing all kinds of media and movies and commercials tied to “voices.” Many will say it’s merely a case of being more aware of whatever it is I’m doing. But I have to say I’ve had this manuscript on the back-burner for almost 20 years, and it’s always been on my mind. Pardon the pun.

Should I revive it?

Should I change it’s title?

Should I edit out the sex scenes?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve given this manuscript tons of attention and/or thought over the years. But it’s literally only been the past few months to a year where I’ve seen a spate of “Voice“-related media:

The Affair the Showtime TV show.

The Birdman movie, with all its voices.

A “Make your voice heard – take this survey” e-mail survey I recently received.

The TV show “The Whispers.”

A billboard or two “talking” about “voices.”

A line in the poem, “Song of The Choosing,” by the deceased Jane Roberts, just made public (see the Black Sheep #126, the August/September 2015 issue, page 5): “And the hidden voices….”

On the SyFy Channel, August 18, at 6:30 in the morning MDT, was the series Paranormal Witness, the episode “A Ghostly Affair.” One of the people in the show was named “Rebecca.”

Voice. (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Voice. (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

And as I wrote the cover-reveal post, I was playing Pandora, and the Hinder song “Better Than Me” played, which includes the line “…miss your hair in my face…”; you just have to love the synchronicity there!

There is a connectedness to all things. We just have to be aware of this and be open to them.

What should we make of all this “connectedness”?

Everything we do touches something else. Nothing occurs in a vacuum. Consider what it is you’re doing and how it will affect the world. You. Consider what this means to you. Everything has meaning. Just because we may not be able to discern a reason for something at the time of the event does not mean it has no meaning.

Everything is connected.

Consider the implications of that statement.

(The Butterfly Effect)

They are…quite far-reaching….

Voice is Released!

Voice. (©2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Voice. (©2015, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Sex, love, and metaphysics. This intense sometimes explicit story is about what people do in the dark…especially when they’re hiding from themselves. A daring, sexy—even inspirational—read that explores relationships both familial and romantic and the tragedies that result from fractures in both. Voice is hard-hitting and unflinching…even uncomfortable…a novel for anyone who’s ever loved more than one.

After 16 years (18 if you count start to finish) and much angst, this novel is finally seeing the light of day! It’s also my longest published novel to date, at over 120,000 words.

Voice—my sexy, visionary fiction—is now available! Is it literary? Visionary? Erotica? Romance?

Truly, it is a little of each. But, whatever it is, it is my most mainstream effort ever. As I’ve said multiple times, I never wrote it, never intended it as erotic fiction. I still don’t even picture the story that way in my head. It is a story about people. It happens to have some explicit sex scenes in it, just like some novels have explicit violence in them. It turns out I actually wrote it as more of a love story: it’s a story about a guy who falls in love with a voice in his head.

That’s it.

I never had the plot nor story outlined…it just came to me as I wrote it. And I honestly did not know how it was going to end until I hit the “.” key after the last word in the manuscript. I do not exaggerate. I remember this vividly: I was banging along on the keyboard, excited how things had unfolded…wrote the last word. Hit the period key. Went to add a next page…and paused.

It was perfect. It surprised me. I ended it right there.

I’ve written a few “apologetic” pieces about the whole “erotica thing,” but…no more apologies.

It is what it is.

Writing Voice did more than expand my writing…it expanded my mind. My understanding of what I feel I’m capable of doing. Voice helped me go to emotional depths I’d never gone to before. At least in my own head. You, the readers, will tell me if I hit the mark or not. But, writing Voice took me down emotional rabbit holes. I found ways to write about the deep, sometimes hidden and painfully emotional details deep within stories. Which is really want I’ve wanted to do and hope I can do again. I’ve always wanted to write powerfully moving stories about the human condition. I didn’t want to just write about aliens or the supernatural. I wanted to write stories that were emotionally kick-ass as well as paranormal. I want to make people cry. Anger them. Excite them. Voice helped me learn how to “go there.” In Psychic I wrote a highly unpleasant rape scene. It was needed, so I did it. I didn’t flinch away from it. That scene’s power and mechanics came from having written Voice. In The Uninvited, I wrote graphic violence. I had to. They were important to the emotional context of the story. The ability to write out those scenes grew out of having worked on Voice.

And the utter irony?

When I finally made my way back to Voice and made that decision to actually follow through and put it out there…all the work I’d done on all my other novels all came back to help in making Voice the absolutely best, the most honest, emotional, and powerfully uncomfortable work I’ve ever created. And I’m proud of it—and I don’t use words like “pride.” If it wasn’t for Voice, none of the other novels would have been as good as they are…and if it wasn’t for the other novels, Voice wouldn’t be as good as it is. Or so I’ve heard from a couple readers (you just can’t trust me…).

And it is a powerful, emotional journey…but, really, that’s up to each of you to determine. I can’t please everyone, as a couple of my reviews show.

Sex, love, and metaphysics. This intense sometimes explicit story is about what people do in the dark…especially when they’re hiding from themselves.

I love this story, the setting. The whole gestalt. ERO and Voice rank as my favorite efforts. I hope you will also get lost in Voice and find the story. I did wonder if a couple of those who proofed and read it would ever talk to me again…and, well, so far they are. So, I have that going for me…which is nice….

Of those who’ve already read it, one reader told me half jokingly she wasn’t sure she could look me in the eyes “just now” when we first talked after her having read it.

That was so cool!

We laughed!

It meant I’d written something that had her look at me differently. And if she looked at me differently…how differently was she also looking at others? The world?

That meant I had expanded someone’s Weltanschauung.

That I had given another a different perspective.

Which is SO cool!

But I hadn’t done this alone!

There were others. Named and unnamed. I can never thank enough those who took a chance on this story—and me—to read it. Those who listened patiently to my conversational angst about should-I-or-shouldn’t-I? In one case, Mandy Pratt, who did the lion’s share of proofing and editing, having spent April to July picking things apart and pointing out misspelled words (dang it!) and messing with my head with shades of meaning—and, oh, let’s not even begin to talk about my own annoying employment of M-dashes and ellipses!

Yes, she kept me honest. Thanks, Mandy!

To Edie, Amy, Karen, Lon, and Joseph—thank you all for taking time out of your life to help out in the various ways you all did! Amy—you read this twice! Amy, an actual editor, read this back in 2002 or 2003…and when I asked if she was up for reading it again, she actually leapt at the chance (okay, maybe not actually launching herself up and into the air, but consider that “artistic license”…)! Karen, for helping me refine my “pitches” (Karen was there at the beginning, waaay back at a writers conference in the late nineties—thank you for sticking with me through all this, Karen!), back cover text, sounding board, et cetera. Joseph Reininger, no longer in the book retail business, was the first to read Voice and, again, waaay back in the 90s, and his reception of it literally stunned me. Never had I ever received such glowing praise (his is the blurb in the front of the novel) for anything I’d written up to that point! And he sold books! Reads tons of them. Wow. Joseph, yes, it’s finally going to see the light of day—thank you for all of your support!

And perhaps the oddest thanks goes to Joelle Yudin.

She was an Associate Editor at HarperCollins from 2000 – 2006. I’d sent a query to a publisher, and the long-and-the-short-of-it was that it had gotten routed to her. She’d read it, and on January 3, 2003, had sent me the following note:

“<Name withheld> passed along your proposal to me for my thoughts. I found the premise to be quite intriguing and so I shared it with my colleagues. Unfortunately, I will be passing, as I could not get them excited about it. I wish you the best of luck with this.”

I looked back in my writing ledger (yes, I have one; I keep track of things like this), and on January 23, 2003, at about 11:20 a.m. MT, I called her.

Yes, actually called her and I actually got her.

I wanted to know why the oligarchy’d passed on it. I do remember she’d been so kind and easy to talk to and didn’t slough me off in the slightest. What I wrote in my ledger was that Joelle said she thought my writing was good, my “voice” (heh-heh, pardon the pun) interesting, but her colleagues thought the manuscript “small,” in that they were unsure if it would “stand up in the market.” That it was “all about the $$$.” That the “size” of the piece wasn’t “large” enough and they recommended a small publisher. Then, at the end of all my notes I’d added: “Very (underlined) nice lady and open and forthcoming. Even said ‘sorry.'”

So, Joelle, I will always remember you and your kindness…your interest in Voice. Thank you for all of it! If I can ever get in contact with you, I’m sending you a gratis copy or two!

So…here it is.


Now what??, Mandy had asked. Now what, indeed!

I gotta find something else to work on….


Voice is available at Amazon.com (e-book and trade paperback), CreateSpace, Barnesandnoble.com, and Smashwords.com. There will be additional outlets as the distribution “takes.”

If anyone would like a signed paperback, feel free to send this or any other of my work to the following address—WITH THE PROPER POSTAGE OR IT WILL NOT BE RETURNED. I will use any unreturned books as free giveaways. Send to:

F. P. Dorchak, P. O. Box 49393, Colorado Springs, CO 80949.

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Morningside Cemetery, Malone, New York

Morningside Cemetery, Malone, NY, July 16, 2015

Morningside Cemetery, Malone, NY, July 16, 2015

The next stop on our whirlwind North Country tour of July 16, 2015 was the Morningside Cemetery, in Malone, NY. Curiously, as I wrote and researched this post, I found that the cemetery is formed in the shape of a “heart”! How cool is that? Click this link to see that. What my stepmom wanted to show me was the resting place of U. S. Vice President William Wheeler (1876-1880).

I’m nodding all-knowledgeable-like when she told me this, but inside I’m, like, “Vice President William Who?!

Isn’t that terrible?

U. S. Vice President William A. Wheeler, Morningside Cemetery, Malone, New York, July 16, 2015

U. S. Vice President William A. Wheeler, Morningside Cemetery, Malone, New York, July 16, 2015

Sure, I know there are presidents and VPs that extend back beyond the age of social media history, but, um, I don’t remember them all, sorry. And I’m not a student of politics. I learned what I needed to in grade and high school and hoped it helped frame my mind for the future, but, apparently, I’m in good company, for Rutherford B. Hayes also once asked: “Who is Wheeler?

Sorry, Mr. Vice President!

There are some other notables interred here, including Orville Gibson, who founded the Gibson Guitar Company. He was also born in Chateaugay, new York—I never knew that. Apparently there was speculation Gibson suffered some form of mental illness. I don’t think we saw his gravestone, but I do believe my stepmom may have mentioned him. Click here for more information on Mr. Gibson.

Anyway, the Vice President’s resting place is beautiful—in fact the entire cemetery is. Rolling hills, tons of trees and shadows, and some really cool-looking grave art. Just like you’d expect a northeastern cemetery to look like! It was quiet, nary another (soul?) around, and the two of us just walked among the gravestones….


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Cheese and The Town of Chateaugay, New York

McCadam Cheese Store, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

McCadam Cheese Store, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

After visiting the Saint Patrick Cemetery, my stepmom and I did a little “tour” of the town of Chateaugay itself. It being a during a work day, it was quite deserted. There’s the town proper, then there’s also lower Chateaugay River, where a few other places, like the Hollywood Restaurant are (great restaurant, great view of the Chateaugay River, where we watched some people boat right off the river to the restaurant!).

Anyway, we stopped in Chateaugay proper to see what we could check out, but not much was open–the library and town offices were all closed. We did visit an antique store, called Ann-Tique Anny, but the “funny” thing we visited was…a cheese store!

McCadam Cheese Industrial Works, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

McCadam Cheese Industrial Works, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Yes, the venerable North Country actually has its own brand of nationally (internationally?) known cheese: McCadam cheese! I’ve seen this cheese in stores out where I presently live, in Colorado, but I had forgotten all about their location until my stepmom, the ex-Franklin Country Clerk and Recorder (who knows everything about everything-upstate New York) took me for a drive!

This just made me laugh and smile…while not an official connoisseur of The Cheeses, I am quite the fan of The Cheeses.

Yes, cheese is almost like candy to me.

“You people” like your chocolates and sweeties and whatnots, and me and my people like our swisses and chedders and goudas. “You people” reach for milk chocolate…we reach for brie.


McCadam Cheese "Oz Scarecrow" Sign, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

McCadam Cheese “Oz Scarecrow” Sign, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Yeah. I’m out of the Cheese Closet.

I know there are others out there…so join me in our own “rainbow” of hope…our “cheesebow,” if you will. Be proud!

Okay, enough Cheese Pride.

So, forgotten, had I, about McCadam and the North Country—I mean, I did know there was a cheese factory somewhere out here, but it was kinda cool to be reminded of it and to actually arrive at the very factory where its cheeses are made.

Well, okay, the outlet store, if you wanna get technical.

But we did drive past all the agro-industrial stuff on the way in, so one could saaay that…yeah…I’d actually been to the factory.


Okay, near it.

Show Us Your Sign! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Show Us Your Sign! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

I loved the small-town atmosphere of the store, from the neat, folksy signs (I don’t like the term “signage”…it’s not a word, we already had a word before it came along, this new word is longer than it needs to be, so let’s stop using it!), and just the whole North Country general store thing. I like general stores. You just never know what you’re gonna find in them. In more populated locales general stores are called your Wal-Marts and Costcos, but in the less populated, rural and boondocky locations, yeah, they’re “general stores,” and I love em! They’re small, cozy, and personable.

So, we shopped around…I looked at cheese…bought a black cherry soda (in a bottle!)…and my stepmom bought gardening boots. We both had a pleasant conversation with the lady at the register, and of course she and my stepmom knew some of the same people.

Cause that’s how we roll in the North Country.

Every time I go out in public with my dad and stepmom it’s like being out with movie stars. They know everyone and everyone knows them.

Lots of Cornmeal For Scrubbing! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

Lots of Cornmeal For Scrubbing! McCadam Cheese, Chateaugay, New York, July 16, 2015

So, out we exited, me with my black cherry bev-er-age and my stepmom with her flowered rubber boots, and we headed to our next destination: Morningside Cemetery, in Malone.

My stepmom knows how to show a guy a good time.

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Saint Patrick Cemetery, Chateaugay, New York

Saint Patrick Cemetery, Chateaugay, NY, July 16, 2015

Saint Patrick Cemetery, Chateaugay, NY, July 16, 2015

After having visited High Falls Park, my stepmom and I briefly stopped by the Saint Patrick Cemetery, which is just off the appropriately named  Cemetery Road. I’d noticed it when we drove in to visit the falls, as we hooked a left off Route 11.

Saint Patrick’s was a good-sized cemetery, and I didn’t spend too much time there, since we had other things to do and a whirl-wind schedule-of-our-own-making to meet, but my stepmom did indulge me and stop, and I did walk among the dead for a bit under an utterly gorgeous blue North Country sky with barely a cloud. Upon our return to Malone, we also stopped at the Morningside Cemetery, which will be in another post.


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