choices made

My experiences leading to the publication of my novels - Choices Made: The Street Years and Choices Made: Fathers and Sons - for sale now at This is something I never even dreamt of and it's happening.

Location: Wisconsin, United States

Always enjoy trying new things and when I find a new interest, I tend to immerse myself in it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Choices Made: Always is here!

Hi there:

Well, it's been a long road that I've traveled with Jamy, from his street years to Paris, and back to Missouri, and well traveled. We've met lots of friends along the way. Choices Made: Always, the last book of the series, is a bittersweet ending. It's like saying goodbye to an old friend that you will always remember, but won't see on a daily basis.

 I started writing Jamy's story, as a very novice writer, in 1994. It took some years and lots of encouragement by friends to finally show someone my work. Once that step was achieved, I began working with Chris DeSmet at UW-Madison, who was a great help to me. About two years after working with Chris, I self-published Choices Made: The Street Years.

 Why, you ask, did you self-publish? Well, it comes down to - do I want to write to the 'genre' specified by the most popular sales that book companies know they can readily sell, or do I want to tell my story without being pigeon-holed. I chose the latter.

Self-publishing for me was a massive task as I also didn't want to keep dropping money into a black hole. Some companies will offer to retype, edit, polish, market, print, supply, basically do all, but write your book. Be prepared to open your check book. If you have a calculator, you can see the numbers running into the thousands - yes, thousands. I don't have thousands so I found someone to edit my work (former teacher), formatted the work myself using the publisher's style recommendations, created the PDF, and finally had a document. The next hurdle was the cover art. I had the idea, but didn't know how to execute it. Taking it to a graphic designer only got me a quote for $500, without any changes. Not wanting to afford that, I spent a Christmas holiday painting my first cover. A good friend, Tory, helped me work through it until we were both satisfied with the outcome and I had the cover for The Street Years.

Having the cover art was the beginning. I then had to decide on the placement of the title, font, etc. I worked through a graphics program – self-taught – and did the mock-up for the cover. On to the back cover work, and then I thought I was ready.

The printer also had a website where I could be featured, but there was more work to do. Many hours later, I had my excerpts, 30 word synopsis, 100 word synopsis, biography, and all the other components for their site. That took care of their criteria, but I wanted more. I took a class on website development and by repurposing the work for the printer’s site, I created my website: The site has gone through some changes over time. A few years ago buying via the web became popular so I worked through the PayPal site and created BUY buttons. It was more difficult then, than now, but they worked and I started making a few sales that way.

All these years later, I have 4 books self-published telling Jamy’s story. The Street Years was his beginning as a 15 year old. Fathers and Sons took Jamy from 15 to 18 which followed with Missouri or Misery. Always takes Jamy into his late 20’s. Though all of these, his son JamyNick is also along on the journey and we get to see him grow up under Jamy’s influence and love. Jamy has grown and changed, too. Anger and resentment gave him a hard edge, but The Heart of MacGregor, taught him another path.  To join Jamy on his journey, visit my website, buy the book, and sit down for a good read. Lois, one of my readers through these years, has said that she always has to buy the book near her long weekend from work because one she starts, she doesn’t stop reading. Thanks, Lois!

Though I will miss Jamy’s companionship, he will not be forgotten. Daniel is waiting for me to finish his story which was started during the Choices Made series and then set aside, and Grayson wants me to tell his story of his trials and tribulations of living with dyslexia. So I say – ‘Enjoy your life, Jamy’, the other guys are wanting attention. 

To purchase Jamy’s story, visit my website:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Choices Made: Missouri or Misery

I've been working hard, but the years pass quickly. I have completed Book 3 in the series and am nearing publication date! It's been a long time since last publication and I'm itching to get it done.

While waiting for editing on Book 3, I pursued Choices Made: Always - the 4th and final book of the series. Book 3 should be published in December 2011 or January 2012 and Book 4 should be following in a few months after.

As sorry as I am to finish the series, I am anxious to finish working on Daniel's story - the poor man's in a coma while waiting for Jamy's story to end - or begin on Grayson's story. Can't tell who will win that battle just yet but first Jamy!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What does it take to be a Best Seller

Well, just listened to 1.5 hours of a pat it on your back club. I tuned into an audio seminar about how to market your book and they were very enthusiastic about what they had done for each other. So, it all comes down to the bottom line hoping you will hire them. The fact of the matter is that all the marketing in the world doesn't matter if people aren't talking about your book. If one person said, "Have you read Chris' new book - Choices Made: Fathers and Sons" and "I picked it up on or", I would be a best selling author.

It's a known fact that word of mouth has more to do with sales than any amount of newprint. I know why the people in the audio conference were repeating their titles over and over - it sticks in your mind and soon you are on-line buying. Well, I wrote Choices Made: The Street Years and trudged through trying to get reviews at all the right places but being self-published, there are very few who will even take you seriously. Those who read the book gave me 5 stars and that did include a professional reviewer. Those who picked up Choices Made: Fathers and Sons are all waiting for Book 3 - Choices Made: Missouri or Misery. So, can you guess my website? Stop in and shop for the book or if you want to remain anonymous - go to Amazon and buy it there. I would love to have you pick up a copy and review it. I want to hear what you have to say.

I am working hard on Choices Made: Missouri or Misery and am excited about all the challenges Jamy faces. Sometimes his tough guy nature and the hatred for what happened to him comes out in the form of vengence and that's the part I'm writing now. The question is how far will vengence take him???

We met Jamy Chance MacGregor at his mother’s funeral in, Choices Made: The Street Years, when, at just fifteen, Jamy, in a decision based on emotional trauma and lies, ran from the foster care system in an attempt to find his biological father.

After a harrowing night on the streets, and becoming a victim of a vicious sexual attack, Jamy no longer held the idea that his father would want him and succumbed to the ravages of street life. A victim of repeated rapes and abuse, he fought with the history of his own genteel upbringing and his new life in a violent world as to what was right, and wrong. Even as his dead mother’s warnings echoed in his mind, he placed the needle to his arm as a heroin addict who soon became Street Lord, the local dealer; and head of the largest gang in St. Louis, the Forty-second Street Gang.

Time, and a new life in the birth of his son when only sixteen, pushed Jamy deeper into trouble with his becoming the favorite dealer and party-boy for the head of the St. Louis syndicate, the Drug Lord, Mr. Granges; but that same child reawakened a remembrance of a peaceful life and his yearning to bring up his son in a non-violent world prompted Jamy to gather his strength and turn his back on the Forty-second Street Gang, and Granges.

An aspiring artist, he used his talent in his quest for help. Isaac Sands, Professor of Art at the local university, and Gene Bradley, the owner of a popular art supply store, opened their arms to Jamy and his young family. Syl Anderson also wanted to help but Jamy’s life as a Street Lord conflicted with his own as a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drug (BNDD) undercover agent. As their worlds collided and intermingled, Jamy found his chance to escape in a blood-bath that nearly left him dead.

With his body slowly healing, we moved along with Jamy in, Choices Made: Fathers and Sons, where we found him struggling with his past as he ventured into a future in the hometown of his biological father. Leaving his child, JamyNick, and best friend, Nick, behind with his friends Isaac and Gene, Jamy entered the Witness Protection Program managed by Syl Anderson and a man Jamy had grown to hate, his stepfather, Paul Linders, who he believed abandoned he and his mother during her illness for the sake of his job.

In the chasm of his emotions, he struggled, feeling abandoned and lost. In St. Louis lived his son, his friends, and his stepfather. In Juxton, Missouri, lived the man he believed to be his biological father, James MacGregor, and his hoped for future.

Though he found friendship in Sam MacGregor, Sheriff of Juxton and his caretaker while in the Witness Protection Program, his dream of family pushed him into a confrontation with James who violently denied him and, unknowingly sent Granges and his murderers to Jamy’s home.

A bloody narrow escape and his forced return to St. Louis by the BNDD, brought Jamy to a joyous reunion with his son, JamyNick, but also found him situated in the home of his step-father which opened wounds of what his life would have been had the man not turned his back on them. Confrontations between Jamy, his past, and Paul, who was also an agent with the BNDD, kept the wounds raw as Jamy teetered on an emotional brink during his testimony at the murder and drug dealing trial of Granges. His artistic renderings brought forth in the trial revealed his life as a dealer, addict and prostitute which only enforced Paul’s anger against what Jamy had become and in the skewed belief that Jamy would not be a good father for JamyNick, he took his son from him.

Realizing what his testimony had done to any possible future with either his father or step-father and the subsequent abandonment by his friends, Jamy reached out to a total stranger who had mysteriously appeared during the trial and claimed to be his father’s black-sheep brother, Ian MacGregor. Snatching at any glimmer of hope, Jamy with Ian, rescued JamyNick from his intended future where betrayals had shrouded the child in a cloak of confusion.

Not trusting Ian, but desperate, Jamy followed his lead to a secluded cabin in the Pristine Forest located on MacGregor Land, back in Juxton. Spending time away from the demands of his past, Jamy’s body healed and his physical strength grew. Learning of his family’s history and the truth of his birth began the slow process of emotional healing. As time edged forward, not all his questions could be answered at the cabin and his dream of becoming an artist and his youth propelled him away from all that he had known. Traveling with JamyNick and his Uncle Ian to Paris, France, and taking on the new name of CeCe Chaumbers, Jamy left Missouri or, as he pronounced it, Misery, behind, or did he?
Does Jamy revert to his dark past or does his dream propel him to a bright future. Follow me now as we join Jamy, in Choices Made: Missouri or Misery.

Get Choices Made: The Street Years and get to know Jamy, follow him in Choices Made:Fathers and Sons and see what his family does to his dreams. Get Ready for the next!!! In the meantime, I challenge you to send the link to my site to all of your friends and tell them to pick up a copy of a great cliff hanger!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Book 2 of Series is available for sale

Well, I did publish Book 2 - Choices Made: Fathers and Sons. It's for sale on and in other stores. Just need to do a google search and you'll find all the places. Of course it is on my site. and you can buy directly from me. Those that have read it said it is even better than book 1 but getting them to post reviews is a little difficult. But I am glad for their feedback. All that have communicated to me said they are anxiously waiting for Book 3 - Choices Made Missouri or Misery which I am currently working on. Sales on #2 have been slow so am hoping for a good review that catches the buyers eye. If you are into a good read, stop by my site, I'm offering a discounted price on the books.

Teaser: In book 3, my character, Jamy, tries to break the curse on his family and comes face to face with a woman who forced him into prostitution when he was a kid. Lots of conflict for him to deal with.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Book 2 has been sent to the Publisher

Hi All:
Well, I sent the manuscript for Book 2, Choices Made: Fathers and Sons, to the publisher and they should have received it today. I should have my proof copy by Thanksgiving and just a few weeks later, I'll have my stock. As it takes a bit for the book to get into channels such as Amazon, etc., I have opened my website to sell the book directly. I am running a pre-publication special for those who want to pre-order. I don't plan on getting a lot of stock to start, but I want to make sure those who have purchased Book 1 get a chance to get their orders in for Christmas. You can visit to read excerpts from Book 2 and see the book cover or get in on the special sale.

I painted this 2nd book cover myself but I am not sure if I really am thrilled about it - maybe because I had a tough time settling on it and then being a new artist, actually getting it done. I guess I'll wait for the readers' feedback to see how you like it.

I get to kick back a little now but that won't last long. I have Book 3 of the series swimming through my head and the itch to get to it. All in time.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Been a while

It's been a while, hasn't it. Well, I have been busy with dog shows until September, then it seemed like it was Thanksgiving and before you know it Christmas. About 20 lbs of home-made candy and at least 30 dozen cookie later, it is finally all gone. My waistline is showing it a little - not as bad as other years but time to watch it. And it is nice putting all the baking and candy making equipment away.

Been focusing on editing Book 2. I have someone proofing the punctuation now. Hope to get it published this spring. That's been the plan! I have the coverwork 1/2 done. I will describe it and leave it to your imagination until it is complete. Oil on canvas.

The father figures are very rigid rule makers (black and white) - get it?
The main character is the troubled son who is also an artist.

Father figure is painted in black/white/shades of grey and facing silloette to the left.
Son is facing to the right and down (rejection) and is in multi-colors.

With the father figure, I used alla prima technique (definition: Alla prima (also known as direct painting or premier coup painting) comes from the Italian meaning 'first time'. It is a method of painting in which the artist applies each stroke of paint to the entire canvas with the intention of letting it stand in the picture as part of the final statement, rather than traditional building of the image with several layers of paint. - -- so, since he is very black and white in rules, I painted him the way I believe he would react. Very directly.

For the Son, the artist who in the story dreams of being a Realist, Oil on Canvas, I am using an old technique - Glazing - more complex like the character. First I painted the background and let it dry, then in a select area, I painted in opague white (this is when I did the father figure). After the white dried, I began selecting areas to glaze (paint in thin layers) additional colors.

I am hoping it works. I am very excited about having the book at this stage. When I finish the cover, I'll post it. (PS_ remember I painted the cover for Book 1 - it is in the Feb archives if you want to take another look.)

And stop by my website hopefully you'll get curious and buy my book!

thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Another Sale from an Excited Reader

Yeah. I have sold another book. The exciting part of this, other than the sale of course, is that the reader already read the book. They borrowed a copy from a friend and after reading it wanted their own copy! They are also wondering WHEN IS BOOK 2 READY. It is great to hear such news!