EXPERIMENT IN PROGESS: I am experimenting with the design of this website in hope of increasing loading time and making it easier for visitors to navigate. Please consider that until August 28, 2018, I had never used a cellphone or been online. When arrested on August 18, 1988, the Internet did not exist as we know it today. Cellphones were rare and primitive. Smartphones did not exist, period.
I paid my former publisher at Midnight Express Books to create this website for me while I was still a federal prisoner. Within a couple of months after my release, I took control and have been learning as I go along, posting all content, taking and posting most photographs and videos used since October 2018, and redesigning the website, etc.
This site is still a work-in-progress and is one of four websites I manage. Please feel free to voice any comments and suggestions for improvements.
At the end of this Blog Page insert, I post an embedded link to a formerly abandoned website, my first. Check out the turtle photo in Living in the Slow Lane. I walked out the door one morning to go to work and found the turtle on the driveway, uphill and hundreds of yards away from any body of water, I might add. 🙂
The content, not the binding and cover or other physical characteristics, makes a publication a magazine. By combining genres, I unintentionally made Essays and More Straight from the Pen a magazine instead of a book.
LIFE AFTER RELEASE My life after release continues to be in the present, as I have not become a recidivist who got out of prison only to return with a new charge(s) or for a technical violation on supervised release. For me it is easy since I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to do: … Continue reading Life After Release-6→
Massive Change for me involves all my recent activities by trading in the stock market, as well as taking more time to work on my websites to create more traffic in hope of earning additional income. In this blog, I am dedicating most of it to promote Stock Moe, a great person who helps others. … Continue reading Massive Change by Wayne T. Dowdy→
My past I leave behind as I churn my way into a brighter future, but I cannot forget from where I came because it consumes too much space inside my head. How can anyone forget decades spent inside a cage with thousands of other men, all living in the Insane World of Incarceration in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons?
Never Forget: September 11, 2001, is a day America cannot forget because each year the media reminds its citizens of the day terrorist used jets to attack the World Trade Center in New York City.
Cannot Forget: I cannot forget because I walked the tiers at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana when the attack occurred, which is the way my brain works (by associating events with my location at the time of occurrence).
Positive Thinking: Though I cannot forget such events and my life inside the prison system, I choose not to allow those thoughts to influence my behavior in a negative manner. I prefer the positive. Had I not been sentenced to prison for the crimes committed on June 21, 1988, I would not be alive today or would have committed even worst crimes if not arrested and put in a cage, which I wrote about in The Price of Change, an essay in one of my books.
In Fence Rows and The Price of Change, I write about a person those who know me today does not see because I am not the same person because I changed my life seven years into a 420-month federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. Both essays are in the eBook and paperback sold on Amazon and other online booksellers, Essays & More Straight from the Penor separately as an eBook at Smashwords.com, originally published by Midnight Express Books.
Excerpt from The Price of Change
I started this sentence in 1988. The fear of prison had left many years before I decided to change. After a while one becomes accustomed to the insane ways of incarceration and the depravations included in prison life. Shutting down emotions helped me cope with the murders and acts of brutality I was exposed to as part of being in prison. I continued to shoot dope and live a miserable existence until 1993 when I sought help through the prison Psychology department at the penitentiary in Atlanta. I had to learn how to be intimate with others. Trusting others was difficult because so many people proved themselves untrustworthy, so I built walls to keep people out. To recover, I tore down the walls and shared the secrets of the soul. It took over a year of therapy for me to make noticeable progress, but I ultimately succeeded in learning how to live with myself without using drugs and alcohol, which I have done since April 5, 1995.
Today, I use my experiences to help others recover and can accept myself; character defects included and have come to terms with my past: it’s overdone with. I can’t change it. I can be a better person by treating others the way I want to be treated, and not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated. If I’m being judgmental of others, which I often am, I think about the biblical parable of the adulterer whom some wanted to stone, and Jesus Christ saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and I know I cannot throw any rocks. My ego says I am better than those I wish to judge, but reality says we are all the same—flawed human beings. By accepting others, I can accept myself, flaws, and all.
Another process was praying for people I resented—without making suggestions about what I thought was deserved. Then I became willing to make amends to those I had harmed as suggested in twelve-step programs, and then to forgive others and myself. In a sense, the way I live my life today is one way I make amends to those I cannot make amends to for whatever reason prevents it. An example of my living amends is in this: when I was at a penitentiary in Lompoc, California, I stole loaf bread and bought Ramen Noodle Soups to feed the birds. Some of my friends would come by and joke with me about feeding the birds because of the process that follows feeding them. I often said, “I’m making amends to the ancestors of birds I killed when I was a kid.” And then I would laugh, but I was serious; furthermore, I enjoyed feeding them, as I enjoy the relationships often restored as the result of making amends.
I wish I could honestly write that I no longer experience resentments or anger, but I cannot. I’m still human. However, whenever I experience anger or resentment, I know what to do to find relief: look within myself as I write in my journal. When appropriate, I share it with another person, and when the situation requires it, take the right course of action that coincides with living my life in harmony with the Universe. As a result, I rarely have conflicts.
I am now a model prisoner with a good reputation amongst most staff and prisoners alike. More importantly, I’m loved by my family and friends and am a good human being, which is a priceless gift that I never thought I deserved. People actually like me these days. The price I paid to get here was tough, but it took what it took. And by the way, “here” means alive, not in prison. Prison is just the place my body resides for the time being.
Speaking of prison, as a matter of principle, I really should not be in prison, but the law is such that if a person fails to jump through the hoops at the proper time, any violation of the law made by the government no longer matters. They call it procedural default to avoid addressing issues in the name of the administration of justice, and since habeas corpus laws changed drastically in 1996 to make it more difficult for a person to obtain relief without satisfying extremely stringent standards, very few ever succeed at obtaining relief through the courts. Spiritually though, I know I am right where I need to be. Had I have won my case, I would most likely be dead by now; therefore, I am grateful for the way things turned out, mostly.
The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy
My worst enemy looked me in the face every time I looked into a mirror.
In Breaking News, I wrote about a variety of issues related to reentry, including recidivism, and the lovely Kim Kardashian standing beside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office inside the White House, after she had assisted Alice M. Johnson with having her federal sentence commuted.
To prepare myself for release and to do what I believed would assist me in obtaining employment upon release, I took a program called WorkKeys that gauges a person’s ability to apply textbook knowledge in the workplace. In other words, a GED or High School Education or College, gives a person a knowledge base.
From my limited understanding, WorkKeys tests a person’s ability to take that knowledge and to apply it in practical situations, as well as to demonstrate his or her ability to solve problems by comprehending written or implied instructions to accomplish a goal. Whatever the case may be, I first scored Gold Certification and then returned to be retested because Gold wasn’t good enough for me.
I wanted and received Platinum Certification!
My certificate verifies that Platinum certification shows that those who receive it have “Skills for 99% of the jobs in ACT’s extensive database”; however, when I walked out of the prison doors with a plan to secure employment by demonstrating my vast amount of accomplishments and skill sets, and a high Grade Point Average in college, none of the things I had accomplished meant anything in regards to getting hired.
On June 17, 2017, my publisher posted my blog, Seeking a Real Job. I wrote it to help others find employment, with a firm conviction that I would not have a problem finding a job because of my education and skill sets. I was wrong!
Since I walked in the prison doors at the age of thirty-one and out of the doors in my sixties, I failed to understand that Age was my enemy, a factor beyond my control.
I posted my resume online with several job sites (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Jobcase, Career Builder, etc.). Job recruiters called often. Many of the recruiters literally hung up the phone after I responded to questions relating to my age.
My criminal history never entered the equation.
During the job seeking process while at Dismas Charities, a Residential Reentry Center in Atlanta, an employment counselor at the Georgia Department of Labor suggested I dumb-down my resume and said I was overqualified for most jobs available through them, and that I should start my own business.
Eleven months later, Goodwill of North Georgia hired me as an Environmental Service Technician, which is a long name for a janitor or custodian.
Three months after being given a chance, I was Employee of the Month, and then on the following month, I was featured online in the November 2019, Goodwill Employee Spotlight.
The pay was not providing what I needed to survive on my own. I liked my job because I saw it as a way to help keep customers and employees safer by keeping the environment sanitary.
But on a more personal level, I NEEDED more money to prepare for my future. A few months later, I saw an internal job opportunity that paid a lot more. I applied and was hired as a floor technician and though I work like an Alaskan Malamute, I do get paid more and have better hours.
Business: On my days and time off from that position, I work on a business I started one year ago today, on September 11, 2019.
Now I am investing in the stock market and am working on building affiliate marketing websites to earn money by referring others to quality products and services.
Financial Success Shines Ahead!
My plans for getting involved in an intimate relationship are still pending. I’ve had opportunities but turned them down; others who I was interested in turned me down, well, kind of. To get involved in an intimate relationship probably requires asking someone out for a date or at least a Roll in the Sack, but …. I only played around with that aspect of romance.
I got what I had coming by rejecting a couple of cougars who were stalking me: What Goes Around Comes Around!
The truth is that I know I need to focus more on building a financial future, and unless I were to find that special someone who would be an asset in that endeavor, an intimate relationship would be distracting because I’d want to spend more time with her than working toward becoming financially secure.
Regarding my children and familial relationships, those haven’t worked according to plan either, but … I know that everything is working according to God’s will for my life.
The most important thing is that I have remained free and am in good health. I continue to live my life without using mind-altering substances and strive towards building that bright future I KNOW God has in store for me, one day at a time.
Everything else will fall into place when it is time for me to step into another life. Going for a ride on a pontoon sounds like a great idea, too, so I can watch the water churn behind the boat as we head towards our happy destiny.
Military Police ﬁnds Roger Johnson slumped over the
steering wheel of his Mercedes Benz, a bullet hole in his head. State Senator
Leroy Johnson wants swift justice for the murder of his son. The military turns
the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Agent Ward
promises Senator Johnson he will ﬁnd the murderer.
Big Bobby Sanders drank too much the night of the murder.
Lost in a blackout when the murder occurs and unable to prove his alibi, DNA
evidence put him in jail for killing his friend. An exotic dancer knows the truth. She gets
forced out of town after telling her story to attorney Zachariah Zambroski.
Under pressure by Agent Ward to
close the case, Zambroski convinces Sanders to plead guilty to avoid the death
penalty. In prison he befriends a man who ultimately introduces him to the
lovely Nicole Anderson, a former dancer who ﬁghts to free him.
“UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is a riveting tale that transcends genres. It’s a mystery and a thriller, with a love story woven through its fabric.” Introduction to UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Jeffrey P. Frye, author of “ONE CRAZY DAY,” Murder Slim Press (www.murderslimpress.com).
Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree by Wayne T. Dowdy
When I pulled in front of his rundown, Georgian Revival style house, with a hipped roof, panel door, and yellow gutters, I noticed curtains and drapes covering all windows. That made me feel uneasy, so I popped the hood and then got out to tinker with the breather for a moment, slammed the hood and walked to the trunk. That is where I kept lots of money and drugs that other dope fiends and thugs drooled at when seeing. Many of whom I knew would take it from me if given the opportunity. I stashed more money inside a secret hiding spot I made. Then I walked around the car, stopping to tap on each tire so I appeared to be checking their inflation. I hid the trunk key inside the fender well, on top of the rear tire, away from view of those inside. Then I eased toward the front door of the house. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd played on a sound system. I knocked. Leonard opened the door ….
Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy
Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of
change, gives hope to readers wanting a different life.
The well-written essays take readers deep inside the life of
the author who overcame circumstances and obstacles that kept him chained to a
life of drugs and crime.
The stories inspire and motivate people to not give up or
lose hope, and to fight for a new life.
Purchase these books today. You won’t be disappointed.
EBook sales of my published works surpassed paperback sales in 2016. 2017 looks to be the same for eBooks. I have already sold more eBooks, so I delayed doing another paperback until I complete other short stories to combine into a collection.
April 11, 2019, Update: Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree now exclusively available from Amazon.com as a paperback and as an eBook.
FORMATS FOR ALL: Smashwords is an eBook distributor that makes eBooks available in the following formats and applications: epub (Apple iPad/Books, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, most ereading apps, including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital editions, and tablets); mobi (Kindle), pdf (Desktop; best for technical, illustrated, or photographic works); irf (Older Sony readers), pdb (Older Palm devices), txt (Archival; contains no formatting), and html for reading online.
PERSONAL PERMISSION TO PRINT: For those who prefer to hold the words in your hand, download “my” eBooks in the pdf. format to your PC and print. (Smashwords Support Center FAQ contains instructions on how to download to various eReading devices.)
Two of the twenty-one eBook retailers that receive my eBooks from Smashwords, are the Apple iBookstore and Barnes & Noble. Most downloads came from the Apple iBookstore. I have no way of knowing if those downloads were for reading on iPhones, iPads, or other eReading devices. Barnes & Noble placed second. (Smashwords’ sales exceeded Amazon Kindle.)
UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Wayne T. Dowdy and my free essays picked up the majority of downloads from Apple.
FICTION CRIME SERIES IN PROCESS: “Drug Store Spree” is the first of my GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS fiction crime series. I’m working on the second short story now. GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS: PILLS & THRILLS begins with more violence than I normally write. Some readers commented on the violence in UNKNOWN INNOCENCE. This series will make it read like a love story in comparison.
[Postponed] The tentative completion date for “Pills & Thrills” is postponed until a later date. Read on for a peek into both short stories.
I wrote Drug Store Spree based upon real life experiences. Because of Son of Sam laws that prevents people from making a profit by selling a book or movie written about a crime they committed, I made a few minor changes to convert it into fiction. The setting is in Georgia, 1978.
Most of what I write in the rest of the series will be fiction with truth woven through its fabric, whereas Drug Store Spree is truth containing fiction.
The following is an excerpt from my latest:
GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS: DRUG STORE SPREE
“I wasn’t what some Americans called poor, white trash, but I never lived a lavish lifestyle. I did stay in some nice Hotels fucking and getting high. Anyway, my lack of funds prevented me from legally paying for what I wanted to shoot. I tried selling drugs but became my best customer. That’s how I justified taking them from drug stores, even at the risk of losing my life. I thought of robbing banks but from the way I saw it, if I robbed a bank, I would buy drugs with the money, so I robbed drug stores to shorten the process. I know that wasn’t good thinking.
“Truthfully, I know it was downright stupid for me to do what I did, and that doing so made me a predator, but I didn’t care about anything except getting high and playing god with guns. Every time I picked one up, which I did everyday while living the thug life, I knew I risked being killed by cops or by someone being a hero. On the other side of the equation, due to the life I lived, I risked being killed if I didn’t have a gun. I was sick and dangerous because my mind was burnt out from weeks without sleep and food, along with being sizzled from doing so many drugs. Most of my nutrition came from drinking chocolate milk because of only being able to eat a bite or two of a hamburger or other solid foods. When I began playing chemist by mixing preludins with cocaine, I became more insane; not exactly a high point in my life, per se, though high was how I stayed. Paranoia ran rampant inside my mind. With me carrying loaded weapons, Preludins and Paranoia were not a good mix. I did not hesitate to pull a gun on anyone acting suspicious. I stuck a gun in one man’s face for reaching in his pocket. I thought he may be going for a knife to try robbing me. He needed his cigarette lighter to cook pills. I felt so embarrassed that I gave him a free shot of dope. Paranoia saved me from harm, too. I’ll show how later.”
The following excerpt is a revised online version of the original manuscript. Please leave comment if you want to see this completed.
GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS: PILLS & THRILLS
Salazar gripped the steering wheel to stop his hands from trembling. The cargo meant life in prison if found. They couldn’t stand a shakedown. He whispered, “Don’t move. Here he comes.”
Officer Barge shined his flashlight in the rear window of the minivan, rented on a stolen credit card, before he edged toward the front of the vehicle. His right hand rested on the handle of a .40 caliber Glock.
Kager laid motionless in the fetal position to avoid detection; his finger rested on the trigger guard of his Desert Eagle .44 Auto mag. The projectile of the chambered round would disfigure steel or destroy any living organism it contacted. An old military tarpaulin covered his long-limbed, sinewy body and chiseled face. His face tightened as he held his breath when the light illuminated the van.
Officer Barge stood five feet from the door on the driver’s side. “Turn off the engine and roll down your window.”
Salazar obeyed. “What did I do wrong, Officer?”
“You failed to use your turn signal at that last intersection. I need to see your driver’s license and insurance card.”
“My wallet’s in the glove compartment.”
He moved closer to the window. “Do you have any weapons, drugs, or anything in the vehicle that I should know about?”
“No, Sir.” His heart pounded inside its cavity.
“Open it and get your wallet.”
Droplets of sweat gathered on Salazar’s forehead. “Yes, Sir.” His hands jittered when he reached to open the glove compartment. He remembered leaving his wallet at home. For a couple of seconds, he fumbled with the warranty and other papers. “It’s not in here. I must have left it at home.”
Kager wrapped his finger around the trigger.
“Step out of the vehicle, please.”
Before he could open the door, Kager slid from under the tarpaulin and fired through the window. BOOM! BOOM!
The first shot whizzed by Barge’s head. The second one ripped through his left shoulder, obliterating bone, cartilage and muscle tissue. The impact of the projective spun his body as he crashed to the ground. Blood gushed from the gaping wound. He grunted as he rolled over to un-holster his gun.
Salazar covered both ears with his hands. The blasts had made them ring. He whirled around to face Kager. “What the f***, man, you–“
Kager sprang to the front seat and shoved him to the side. “Move,” he said.
Salazar fell against the dash as more rounds from the Desert Eagle exploded in rapid succession.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! All three projectiles ripped through Barge’s body before his gun cleared its holster; two struck him in the chest, the other in the stomach.
“Shot, a, a cop. You shot a f****** cop. We’re f***** for sure.” Sweat poured from every sweat gland in his body.
Kager jumped out of the van to make sure the cop was dead. Assured that he was, he turned to face his crime partner. Damn, I gotta shoot him too. He’ll tell on me if we get caught. I’ve got to do it. Not now, though. I’ll do it later. “Let’s go,” he said, as he climbed back into the van. “We’ve got to get the hell out of here and ditch this van before someone identifies us or his backup arrives. We can’t afford to loose all these pills.”
I hope you enjoyed the clips and will purchase the eBooks. More will be revealed. Thanks for reading my writings! Wayne
Purchase autographed copies of his paperback, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Paperbacks also available online or offline at your favorite bookseller.
Get UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($12.95) and ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95 (USD)). Discounts available from the author for multiple purchases. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The best thing about self-publishing to me is the ability to control prices and any other factor concerning the product. In this case, combining my first novel with what I had written as the sequel, without having to get permission from anyone else to do it. I like that. I will work with Midnight Express Books (MEB) to accomplish that goal, but that’s okay. I pay MEB to assist me in getting my writings from inside a prison out into the world by creating the finished product from my typed manuscript.
After receiving my manuscript, they process and format it to post on the World Wide Web as an eBook or paperback or both. The paperback becomes available through various channels for online and offline sales in eStores and brick and mortar bookstores. In other words, MEB helps me do what I cannot do without their help or someone else qualified with time to do what I need done. Several other companies also provide book publishing services to prisoners, but I prefer MEB because I have dealt with them for years and know they are trustworthy and reliable.
Traditional publishing would pay instead of cost me, which would be great; however, my patience expired when I read in Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Market Guide, how long finding a traditional publisher to accept a manuscript might take. To be paid for a book deal instead of paying to publish one would make life much better, of course.
The drawback to self-publishing is the difficulty in marketing and promoting my books from inside a prison. I cannot directly access the Internet or do things I am technically capable of doing. You might say my fingers are tied to keep me away from the thousands of people waiting to see my creativity and to read my profound words typed on a manuscript I wrote after hours of research on the waves of the Deep Blue Web.
One day in the near future I will break the chains and take the world by storm. Well, at least, I like to think my success as a writer will improve once I have control over access to the Internet and can do simple things like tweet on Twitter, post photos on InstaGram, and create my authors page on Facebook and other social media outlets. Right this moment, I would go do book signings but I am afraid the authorities would miss me if I were gone and then make a big scene to bring me back to the confines of a prison cell.
SELF-PUBLISHING: My publisher likes Createspace.com to create my print-on-demand books. Some people may prefer Lulu.com, or to use subsidy publishers like Dorrance Publishing, Outskirt Press, Inc., or iUniverse. Subsidy publishers charge a fee to produce certain quantities of books, and will then help promote, sell, and may store them in a warehouse for the writer.
Self-publishing can be expensive. Many services are free, providing you have the technical knowledge to format the book for uploading into a system like Createspace or Smashwords.com. Some of the greats who paid to have their first works published were as follows: Ernest Hemmingway, T.S. Eliot, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, Henry David Thoreau, Rudyard Kipling, Lord Byron, Stephen Crane, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alexander Pope, and many others.
EBOOKS: For the eBooks, MEB uses Smashwords.com and Amazon.kindle. Personally, I favor Smashwords because they are an eBook distributor whose system formats my eBooks and allows distribution through various eBook retailers (Apple iBookstore, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, etc.). Additionally, I am paid a higher percentage for sales if readers buy directly from Smashwords by going to my author’s page or directly to the particular eBook or essay link. Visit my author’s page at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy.
PRINT-ON-DEMAND: I like print-on-demand because it eliminates warehouses and cuts cost by not making the author pay for runs on specified quantities. It also saves trees by letting them live until the demand requires another to fall at the blade of an axe or chainsaw.
For the print-on-demand versions, I earn more if readers buy from my website at StraightFromthePen.com (http://www.straightfromthepen.com), which allows my representative to process sales through my author’s discount at Createspace, which is the self-publishing wing of Amazon.com. If a reader buys from Amazon, I pay forty percent commission, compared to twenty percent I pay Createspace. Through my author’s discount, my representative purchases the book for me at the minimum cost and then has Createspace to ship it straight to the customer. Createspace also offers a lower price for shipping and handling than some book distributors and offers a price break on shipping multiple copies.
The hard part of the self-publishing process is finding those willing to purchase the books from available options. My dilemma is no different than many other self-published authors. Some never sell a book. I have not sold thousands, but thousands have read my writings, since I’ve had clips and a few essays published in International magazines. But, thus far, that has not translated into book sales, even though I receive favorable comments from readers, magazine editors, and manuscript readers. 
BOOK PROMOTION: My readers want more. I will give it to them within the next few months if things go as planned. I am executing my editorial right to modify the story. Several people who read UNDER PRESSURE by Mr. D* commented to me that they hated for it to end and that it made them want to keep reading more; especially, those who read the motivational version (see next paragraph). Great, I thought, now they will buy the sequel when I complete it. I have completed the sequel but have changed plans.
I created UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D** to add two chapters from the sequel, UNKNOWN INNOCENCE. Those two chapter had the effect I wanted: to make readers want to read the sequel. Now that I completed the sequel, I came up with a better idea to improve the product and to give my readers more for their money: put two books into one.
FROM NOVEL TO MAGAZINE: To make it motivational, I added “The Story Behind the Novel” to inspire the aspiring writer by showing how I managed to get the book into their hands from inside a prison, with the hope of encouraging them to pursue their writing dreams. However, adding that aspect to the novel created a genre nightmare because, technically, that made it cross over into the nonfiction category. Even worse is that the changes turned it into a magazine by combining fiction and nonfiction under one cover. (Read “PERSONAL MAGAZINES” about another magazine I own that looks like a book, for a free eBook offer of “An Airport Ate the Neighborhood.”)
When I added the first two chapters from UNKNOWN INNOCENCE to UNDER PRESSURE, I had three things in mind: 1) to help the reader understand how one of my two protagonist, Big Bobby, ended up in prison for a crime he did not commit; 2) to influence the readers’ decision to buy the sequel upon release by creating an interest in the characters; and 3), to change the format to make it easier to read and more attractive to the eye. I believe the title helps create an interest in the story: UNKNOWN INNOCENCE. How can the innocence of someone be unknown to them? DNA put Bobby in prison but that doesn’t make him guilty.
FAVORITE CHARACTERS: When I ask readers who their favorite characters were in UNDER PRESSURE, most say Stan or Big Bobby. A few say Nicole. Each will be in UNKNOWN INNOCENCE. Nicole met Bobby where she worked as an exotic dancer when Bobby was arrested for the crime that sent him to prison. Later on a mutual friend formally introduced her and Bobby. She is a voluptuous heroine who knows martial arts and proves she can defend herself if attacked. She has a lively spirit and her desire for love, sex, and attention makes most men want her.
Big Bobby is a gentle giant who towers near seven feet tall and weighs close to three hundred pounds. No one compares to him. I got the idea for him from a friend of mine at the former United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Big Hawk belonged to a Motorcycle Club. He used to duck to come into my cell to visit, the same as Big Bobby does when visiting his friends.
SELF-PUBLISHING PRIVILEGE: I wrote UNKNOWN INNOCENCE as a prequel and sequel. UNDER PRESSURE is about Stan Mason’s life before, during and after prison, whereas UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is about Big Bobby before prison, very little about his life inside, and all about the task of getting him out of prison to live the life he deserves to live. Nicole helps all she can and adds a lot of steam to the story. Now I will let UNKNOWN INNOCENCE consume UNDER PRESSURE and will write UNKNOWN INNOCENCE under my real name. To do that, I will put the prequel parts of UNKNOWN INNOCENCE before the events in UNDER PRESSURE, and then add the remaining parts of the sequel behind UNDER PRESSURE to conclude the story.
That will allow me to correct what I feel kept UNDER PRESSURE from experiencing robust sales. Reading the Prelude (yes, I intentionally used Prelude instead of Prologue) and the synopsis leads one to believe that the novel is all about prison. Not so! Many scenes concern Stan’s life before he went to prison and his life afterwards as a free citizen. The plot also shows the drug conspiracy that lead him to prison for ten years of his life for doing what most readers would not believe could land them in an American federal prison. I promise it is true. I know numerous people serving life without parole in letters (LIFE), and life without parole in numbers (50-100 plus years). Many who will spend the rest of their lives in prison because of Ghost Dope (drugs spoken about in a conspiracy–no actual drugs existed). Anyway, I will write a more accurate synopsis of UNKNOWN INNOCENCE, and now that I have a website, I am doing now what I wish I could have done before releasing UNDER PRESSURE. Promoting my novel before its release.
I’ll do the eBook first, and offer a free coupon code for UNKNOWN INNOCENCE to those who purchased UNDER PRESSURE as a way to show my gratitude for their readership. Many readers commented having read UNDER PRESSURE multiple times, so this will give them another opportunity.
TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING: To have a book published the traditional route is great. My problem with traditional publishing is how time consuming it can be. Some publishers do not want simultaneous submissions and may take up to ninety days to respond to a query letter or book proposal. If they want to see your book, then take several months or longer to let you know; if accepted, then take a year or two to put it on the market. That’s just too much waiting for me.
I would love to have a publisher to help market and promote my writings but by going that route in search of one to publish my books, I might be out of prison before the book even hits the market. I am trying to let my writings provide me with enough income to allow me to get started in a reputable occupation upon release. At least to help me afford to buy a laptop or PC to continue my writing on. As it stands now, I would have more money if I had put my money into a bank account, instead of choosing to self-publish, but I have faith that success is on the way, somewhere over the rainbow, hidden behind the prison walls.
*$6.95, Midnight Express Books
**$9.99, Midnight Express Books (for eBooks: the reader sets price at Smashwords; $4.95 elsewhere)
 Midnight Express Books, P.O. Box 69, Berryville, AR 72616 (Email: MEBooks1@yahoo.com). Discount rates available from the publisher for ten or more books.
 These are some magazines my writings appeared in print over the years: THE SUN, Chapel Hill, NC; THE ICONOCLAST, Mohegan Lake, NY; CONFRONTATION Magazine, Long Island University, New York.
I’ve had a short story accepted by THE SAVAGE KICK magazine by Murder Slim Press, 29 Alpha Road, Gorleston, Norfolk, NR31 OLQ, U.K. It will appear in SAVAGE KICK #8 in December 2015.
I’ve also been published several times online by PRISONLAWBLOG.COM, and PRISONEDUCATION.COM, as well as other magazines and publications under various pen names.