Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gifts for Readers & Writers

As the holidays approach, I have found some great gifts for readers and writers.

Well, the best gift for a reader would be one of my books.

But, if you've read the books or if you are a writer, I posted links to some fun t-shirts, mugs, accessories (and even boxers).

Yes, Fingering the Family Jewels boxers. Give them to someone you love.

A t-shirt to give everyone around you fair warning that you're a writer and their actions may end up in your book.

And the ultimate tote to warn people not to piss you off.

Fun Writer & Reader Merchandise

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dolly’s influence

I found an old album I had back in high school: Dolly Parton's "9 to 5". As I listen to it now, some of the songs have the style of the times, but others...others that stuck with me are classic stories with timeless arrangements.

"Dark as a Dungeon" hit home since I grew up in Southwest Virginia near the coal fields. I remember liking the song and the mood and the story it told. I can see it in Under a Copper Moon. Maybe that is why the ghost town of Jerome, Arizona had a pull on me.

Thanks Dolly.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oprah Made Me Do It!

Oprah LOVES the Kindle.

So, Under a Copper Moon is now in Kindle format and available at Amazon.com.

I usually don't follow Oprah or watch her, but I happened to see on the TV's guide that she was going to unveil her favorite gadget, so I watched to see what it was. She raved about the Kindle.

I have already sold some and the people I know that have a Kindle have nothing but great things to say. They especially love the feature to resize text and the portability. Plus it's easy to find and purchase books, newspapers, and magazines.

Here's a link to the Kindle version of Under a Copper Moon.

Let me know if you have a Kindle and what you like about it.

I might try to get the publisher of Devil's Bridge and Fingering the Family Jewels to create Kindle versions of theose books.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I will donate all my proceeds from Devil's Bridge during October, November, and December to Williamsburg, Virginia's Avalon--A Center for Women and Children.

Please help support this effort either by buying a copy of
Devil's Bridge or by donating to your local Domestic Violence Awareness organization.

Myra (the character in Devil's Bridge) struggles with her relationship with her husband Gil and his increasing abuse. She finds the power in herself and in the support of those around her to break free.

I hope that all women, men, and children will seek help when they feel abused.

Home is not a place for pain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Matt & Me

Today, the "Today Show" broadcast from Colonial Williamsburg. I got up at 5:00 a.m. and hauled myself down there with a sign. It's almost a rule that the crowd members should have a sign to wave at the cameras. Since the program focused on "battleground" states for the presidential election (which Virginia is one), I thought I should do an Obama sign... But I am also an author with three books available and this was a national audience. I split the difference with a two-sided sign: one side had a large image of my historical novel Under a Copper Moon with my website address and the other side had an Obama poster.

By the time I found parking and walked almost a mile to the Colonial Capital building where NBC would broadcast, the crowd was four rows thick with giddy women and William & Mary students. I positioned myself with other Obama supporters and waited for the camera lights to flick on.

A wave of cheers and signs popped up every time a camera man (yes, they were all men) walked by -- filming or not.
Matt Lauer walked out of the Capital building and greeted the crowd. Okay, he wasn't dressed in his swim trunks, but I thought that was a good picture of him.

Here's a picture of how close I actually got. He's a great guy and very friendly to the audience.

Here's an image from the program. That's me circled in red.

And here's one of my sign. I doubt many people watching knew it was even there or that a great book graced the front of it. But, at least some of the crowd could see it, and as I told some of my mob buddies, "Where else could you spend $17.95 (less on Amazon.com) for hours of entertainment? Only a book can give that much value for the money."
One woman said she got to look at Matt Lauer for free. She was a McCain supporter.

A 5:00 a.m. adventure probably didn't snag any sales. My poster didn't get seen on national television -- except by me since I knew exactly where I was and what the sign said. But, I had fun and it was better than staying at home and watching the "Today Show" broadcast three miles from my house and not being there.
Not all promotional efforts pay off. Some are just an adventure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

BAM, BAM to Small Publishers

Here's a bit of advice to authors and small publishers and readers who appreciate the innovation of the independent presses: Stay away from Books-A-Million.

After over a month of sending e-mails and making phone calls, I finally was able to talk to "Kim" at Books-A-Million. She said that unless a book was in their warehouse, the stores could not sell it or have the author in for a book signing.

So, I asked, how do you get into the warehouse? She was sketchy, but looked up my three books. Then said they didn't warehouse them. Why? Because the independent publishers use Print-On-Demand (POD).

A quick word on POD: This is the technology of the future for publishing. And most small and independent publishers use it because there is no inventory to warehouse (or destroy if sales lag). POD is more expensive per book for the publisher, but the inventory costs are zero.

Both my publishers (Regal Crest Enterprises: Fingering the Family Jewels and Devil's Bridge, and Cherokee McGhee: Under a Copper Moon) use Ingram's POD printing company.

I couldn't get Kim to say why they wouldn't take a POD book -- they are returnable if books are left after the book signing. Amazon sells a lot of these books, and returns them if they get too many at their warehouse.

So, if you want to help out independent presses and authors, ask for the books at your local independent bookstore, Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble. These companies want to give you the full spectrum of books available.

"Books-A-Million" doesn't mean that they have millions of books to choose from, but that they only stock books that can make them millions.

Monday, July 28, 2008

If this book's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'

I finished reading a novel that I had bought from Amazon based on it matching up with one of my books – Amazon's way of affinity marketing.

I prefer not to mention the book's title, since I don't believe in criticizing authors. Now, I'm not really criticizing the author here; it's more of an open question about storylines. This book's plot was set in the 1800s in the west. The two heroes meet and fall in lust, then in love. Nice. But, the have sex on almost every page. I mean an unrealistic amount of sex in unbelievably fantastic ways. Guys of that era must have had a lot more energy. The book wasn't extremely graphic, but the number of carnal scenes distracted me from the plot.

There are many different types and styles of novels and that's what makes reading an adventure. Some writers gravitate toward sensual words and others like to use common slang, but the story can only be told by the author in his or her way. So, if two cowboys f*ck on every page in all conditions—great. If an amateur detective can't get laid for 300 pages, then he's in the wrong book.

So, as I work on the next Derek Mason Mystery, Derek is going to have some romance. I can tell you it won't be on every page because he would never find time to solve a mystery, but he isn't (or will ever be) a priest…Uh, let me change that to "a celibate."

Do frequent sex scenes detract or add to a story? (And the story is not about sex or the sex trade.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Devil's Bridge -- Fireworks

Devil's Bridge received a wonderful review from Bethann Korsmi, author of Darkness Descending on her blog WryterReviews.

In part, here is what Beth had to say:

[Devil's Bridge] is truly a wonderful book. It is a page-turner that builds to a suspenseful climax... The plot is tight, the characters believable, and the dialogue is modern. I honestly couldn't put this book down, and therefore I give it my highest recommendation. You won't be disappointed with Devil's Bridge.

You can see the whole review on her blog:


Please take a look and leave her a comment to let her know (and me) that you visited.

Have a wonderful Independence Day!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Alphabet Color Quiz

Okay, here's a quiz for all you writers, readers, word lovers, and fashion/decorating/artistic experts.

In the Derek Mason Mystery series, Derek says that he can list ten names for red, but not ten football teams... So, I thought, can I name a color for each letter of the alphabet??

Some are easy, but a few are extremely difficult.

And I couldn't get them all. I had colors matched to 23 of the 26 letters.

Try it and see how many you can name.


  • only names of colors (nouns)
  • only one word (so, D can’t be “dark green”)
  • no variegations like brindle, stripe, plaid, check, dots


I'll post what I came up with later. Have fun.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Contest Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the "Name the Character after Me" Contest

The next Derek Mason Mystery is unfolding in my head and on the computer's keyboard, and now, I have a name to add to the characters: Doris Weintraub.

Doris was randomly picked from the correct answers to the contest question:

From Devil's Bridge, why does Myra believe Gil has the knowledge to poison her food?
Answer: Gil is an exterminator.

Congratulations Doris!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Under a Copper Moon - Finalist in the 2008 Indie Book Awards

Great News!

Under a Copper Moon has been named one of the ten Finalists in the Historical Fiction category of the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards according to C. Goulet, Awards Administrator.

About the awards:

The Indie Book Awards were established to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published books for the year and is presented by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group in cooperation with Marilyn Allen of Allen O'Shea Literary Agency. Additionally, Under a Copper Moon will be listed as a Finalist in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards catalog which will be distributed at Book Expo America in Los Angeles.

Indie Book Awards is open to all independent publishers based in the United States, Canada, or internationally who have a book written in English.

I’m honored the novel won this award. Just as independent film and music have blazed a trail for innovation and originality in overly commercialized industries, independent publishers deliver creative and well-written stories that the big houses in New York overlook in their pursuit of fast-selling celebrity books.

Here's a picture of the celebration I had when I found out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top 25 Gay Novel on Amazon.com

I just happened to be on Amazon and checked on my books... Okay, maybe not "just happened," but I do check on them from time to time.

Well, Fingering the Family Jewels was ranked as the number 25 Gay Fiction Novel!

Of course, when I went back the ranking had dropped to 26, then to 36, but who knows how high it might have gone??? I'm happy that I spotted it at 25.

Thanks to everyone who has read FTFJ and those who tell a friend.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"Name the Character After Me!" contest

This is is your chance to have a character named after you in the next Derek Mason Mystery.

I have had people ask about character names (Walterene, Topher, Gil, etc.) and how I came up with them. Well, for the most part, I go through the telephone book looking for names that create an image for me of a character’s gender, age, heritage. I NEVER use someone’s real first and last name. If it turns out to be a person’s name, it was purely a coincidence (and a matter of odds).

Until now... I want to use your name as a character in the next Derek Mason Mystery.

This is a contest. So, you have to have something that qualifies you. Talent? Looks? Sex Appeal? Smarts? Nope, just be a reader.

Answer the question on the entry screen about my novel Devil’s Bridge, and one of the correct entires will have fame that only Paris Hilton could dream of. Your name will be immortalized in the next Derek Mason Mystery.


  • You agree to allow Greg Lilly to name a character after you in the next Derek Mason Mystery.

  • You understand that the nature and personality of the character will NOT be modeled after you, but from a character of the author’s imagination and will not imply that the character’s actions, personality, or likeness are your actions, personality, or likeness.

  • The name shall be drawn from all the correct entries on May 31, 2008 and the winner will be notified and confirmed.

  • Your name CANNOT be Pussy Galore, Anita Dick, Hedda Lettuce, or Harry Potter since those have been done too many times.

  • Click here to test your knowledge of Devil’s Bridge and enter now.

Thanks for entering and I look forward to seeing your name in the next Derek Mason Mystery.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Elliot Spitzer calls on Miss Dupre

With all the news about now-former Governor Elliot Spitzer (Client-9), Ashley Dupre (“Kristen”), and their brief working relationship… I thought about my research for UNDER A COPPER MOON which deals with the “parlor houses” of the Wild West.

Now, Onalee’s girls did not get $4300 for entertaining the gentlemen. In fact, prostitutes of a hundred years ago did well to survive the beatings, drugs, alcohol, and diseases which I think is much like the women who work the lower levels of the profession today. Although Ashley Dupre is being portrayed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, most working women don’t have the luxury and “glamour” – although I can’t see much glamour in being intimate with a stranger, wealthy or not.

The main difference between now and the late 1800s, is that few opportunities existed for a woman in those times. If you weren’t married, you had to provide for yourself in a limited job market. Today, I hope that the world is open to women and that prostitution isn’t the preferred career choice – no matter if the going rate is $4300.

In the late 1800s, there were tiers of prostitutes in the mining towns and cattle towns (the place where lonely men made money). That hierarchy was something like:

  1. parlor houses
  2. brothels
  3. dance halls / saloons
  4. hurdy-gurdy houses
  5. cribs / street walkers

Parlor houses had an air of discretion, class, and real entertainment. The men were regulars and enjoyed the company of women as much as the sex. In the novel, Inez has no job or money and is taken in by Onalee (the Madame) and the parlor house ladies. Those women become her family, but the lack of opportunity for them nags at Inez as she tries to make their lives better.

Did Ashley Dupre have no other options?

Was Elliot Spitzer looking for more than sex?

I don’t know.

But everyone from Dr. Laura (the media whore) to Dr. Phil (“How’s that working for ya?”)…And anyone else who puts a “Dr.” in front of their first name weighs in on the reasons; I just hope that things have changed for women in the past hundred years.

“Dr.” Greg

Friday, March 7, 2008

Video to promote a book?

I just uploaded a video book trailer for my new book Under a Copper Moon. I had created one for Devil's Bridge last March, so I thought I should do one for the new novel too.

Now, I'm not sure how this trend got started. But it's an interesting concept to create a video for a book. I guess we're all so visually stimulated that books should be like movies when it comes to getting the word out.

The process is great fun. I get to act like a movie producer and casting director and screenwriter. Of course it's hard to find images to tie directly into what I had in mind as I wrote the book, but the trailer is a fair representation of what the book has to offer.

Do you think a video is helpful when you're looking for a book?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Another Year

Since moving back to the east coast, I have decided to spend time writing. Now, fiction doesn't pay the bills unless you can sell thousands of books each month, every month. To supplement that income stream (or trickle), I'm freelancing with some companies to do publicity and ad creation.

So far so good. This is something I enjoy and it does leave time to work on my next novel.

This is all new to me. After many years in corporate life, working as a freelancer takes some getting use to. First off, I need to stop nibbling all day. Secondly, I need to get into a work day routine, otherwise I spend all day e-mailing readers and friends and family.

And all this comes with my birthday fast approaching. Another year, but this one will be the one where I can get my next novel finished in a reasonable timeframe.

So, I'm off to work on the next Derek Mason Mystery.

But, I wonder: What would you do if you didn't have the 9-to-5 job?