Update: Writing (not so much health)

One week ago today Ristretto Rain was released to the public. I was the first to order a paperback and I just got mine yesterday. I’m sure there were plenty of Kindle users who got their copy instantly. So the paperback readers have hardly started and the Kindle users may be finished or still in the middle of it.

When I first started to write, I sought out positive reviews. You know, my mother, my best friends, and my dog (if she could only type). The reason was, I wanted the attention of the public and the best way to get that is through positive reviews. I have known of some writers that “buy reviews,” which are fake but do grab people’s attention. I heard that the first Beatles’ record was bought out by their manager and given great reviews by him, then radio stations started to play it.

I have matured, so I hope. I desire reviews greatly, but honest reviews. Okay, I like positive reviews. I realize that Amazon (like Air BnB) is skewed to the extremes (if you like something you give it a 5 star and if you didn’t, a 1 star). What is more helpful is that if someone doesn’t like Ristretto Rain, that they would write me a note to tell me why, so that I can improve. But if they do like it, then the best hope of getting it into the hands of others is a positive review. This keeps me writing! I think I said all of this before.

Writing, like all art forms, I’m finding is in the eyes of the beholder. I, personally prefer novels on the “artsy” side, whose narrative reads almost like poetry. This is in great contrast to the highly successful novels of Daniel Steele and James Patterson, which to me are horribly written but sell by the tens of millions. I am finding editors to not be that helpful. Maybe I haven’t found the right one yet. Once I hired two different editors to work on the same manuscript. They said, in many cases, almost the opposite, “There’s too much detail” or “I love your detail!” It is in the eye of the beholder.

I am trying to find my voice as a writer. Ristretto Rain‘s early manuscript was far too artsy, almost a stream of consciousness approach. That idea was poorly received. It just didn’t work (most readers were lost). Then I did a total total re-write after reading dozens of Patterson and Steele type books to help me dial in what people want. I hope I found the balance.

So, like all writers. . . or all artist for that regard, I sit and wait for the verdict. Did I get it right? Is it a piece of art. . . or a total disaster? The readers of the final manuscript seemed to favor the former, unless they were just being nice. Once this first round is finished, where I have a dozen or so readers giving feedback, I can decide if it is worth marketing to a larger audience.

My book Retribution now has 13 chapters completed. I will probably have 20 when I’m done. I will need to go back and add texture and color (figuratively speaking). But it is a project that I’m really excited about. It is a thriller in the Jason Bourne vein, but dealing with a lot of ethical questions. The protagonist is a PA. Maybe he’s my wannabe, not who I really was.

Health Update

Okay, if you don’t care about the writing crap, but just my health, here goes. Tomorrow I finally get the results back from my bone marrow biopsy. I am praying for less than 10% cancer involvement, which means I can stay the course. More than that means a change.

I have been feeling well five days a week. The other days, like the past few days, I feel quite ill. I’m sure it is from the chemo. Yet, it is much better than it was. That’s why I hope I don’t have to change.

I am debating if I return to my ramblings. I looked yesterday and I had 18 drafts of articles I had written but never published here. I like thinking and writing those things. However, the down side is the heartburn it creates in others. Seriously, I’ve lost a lot of friends and family over things I’ve written here. I thought it was no-brainier things, like racism is bad. But with each post, there is a cost and there are days I don’t know if it is worth speaking up any more.



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14 responses to “Update: Writing (not so much health)”

  1. Hola desde España Johny!
    Nos encantaría tener un ejemplar de tu libro, así que vamos a encargarlo hoy mismo!
    Yo no tengo un nivel de inglés suficientemente bueno para leerlo por mi misma, pero tendré ayuda en casa, con seguridad. Prometo darte mi sincera y cariñosa opinión.

    Pido a Dios que los análisis y pruebas que estás esperando, resulten lo mejor posible.

    Y una opinión personal: si alguien se aleja de ti por expresar tus ideas en este blog, en realidad nunca estuvo a tu lado, o al menos, no estuvo de la manera que merece la pena.


    Helena Calvo (de Prieto)


    • Helena, fue muy agradable oírte de nuevo. ¿Como son los niños? ¿Antonio está haciendo lo mismo o se ha retirado? Sueño con el día en que pueda visitarte en España. Incluso me interesaba mudarme a España para jubilarme (o Malta o Italia), antes de enfermarme. Dale nuestro amor a toda la familia. Miguel


  2. I just finished reading Ristretto Rain last night..I loved it! I really wanted to be near the water and in that coffee shop. I left a review on Amazon. I don’t normally do reviews (maybe I’m lazy..I’m not sure why) but I agree they are important. I usually will read through some when I consider a book or product but I also know everyone has their own tastes and take on them. Keep on writing Mike..be true to your own style and I’m sure you’ll have a great following. I’m already ready to read Retribution..is it done yet..is it done yet? 😉 I will be praying for your Cancer to stay tamed and hopefully well below the 10%.


  3. Hi Mike:

    Just want to say that I think it’s okay to be honest about your views, even if that means losing relationships. If people pull away because they don’t agree with you and are not willing to engage in discussion about it, they’re probably not people you want in your life anyway. Keep putting yourself out there. I, for one, appreciate what you have to say.


    On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 2:11 PM J. Michael Jones wrote:

    > J. Michael Jones posted: ” One week ago today Ristretto Rain was released > to the public. I was the first to order a paperback and I just got mine > yesterday. I’m sure there were plenty of Kindle users who got their copy > instantly. So the paperback readers have hardly started and th” >


  4. I will keep up the fight..I hope you do the same!! By the way..I also read Christina Athena when it came out. Wow..that was an emotional read. I enjoyed the humor weaved into it as it helped soften the rough spots. I related so much to her. I also had days of coming home from school with bad headaches. I’d go right to bed and be woken up for dinner. I remember sitting there in a fog trying to eat. The crazy thing is my mom says she doesn’t remember me having them. It’s true that part of the struggle is others not understanding what you are going through and that it isn’t just a headache. Thank you so much for writing it. I hope many read and pass the story on to those close to them.


    • Barbara, thanks for the kind review as I see that it went through. When I wrote Christina Athena, you and many like you were my inspiration. Those who have fought this battle for years and had to fight stereotypes, misunderstandings and career issues. All of you are heroes and Warrior Princesses or Princes.


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