I blame Casey Dorman, in part for becoming a writer. We both worked as psychologists for Orange County, California and we even shared an office for a time. Casey was writing and publishing e-novels when I had barely heard of them. I had wanted to write for a long time. He encouraged me to write. Plus he was a great person to share an office with.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about your background?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, have a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Washington and was trained as a clinical child psychologist. I worked as a clinician in both private practice, university clinics and for the state and county government in both California and Massachusetts. For 16 years I was a professor at United States International University and Alliant International University, where I studied children with brain injury and published about 25 professional articles, mostly research studies, and delivered talks at professional conferences, including in England, Wales, Holland and Sweden.
More personally, I grew up in a family of three children; my sister is a college professor and my brother is now a photographer but was an accountant and computer expert. My parents are both deceased. My father was a contractor who built highways and my mother was a housewife. I have two grown children and five grandchildren. My wife, who is Vietnamese-American and I live in Newport Beach, California. She is a mental health specialist with county mental health.
How many books have you published in print and electronic format?
I published a hardbound book on brain injury in children with John Hopkins University Press, a hardbound thriller with Seven Locks Press, three paperback books, one a mystery, one a thriller and one a self-help psychology book, but the latter two are out of print. I have published one of those books as an e-book with New Concepts Publishing and published three additional ebooks on Amazon Kindle, which are available currently.
What differences have you noted between print and electronic publishing?
I have found the ebooks easier to sell, particularly those on Amazon Kindle, but less satisfying because you can’t display them on your bookshelf, they don’t quite feel like real, published books (perhaps because I published the Kindle books myself). It is easier to make corrections or updates on electronic books because the publishing is never completely drawn to a close.
What are you working on now?
I have nearly finished the first draft of a science fiction novel with a peace and ecology theme, which I strongly believe will be sellable to a publisher and I hope will become popular. I have finished a draft of another novel about a daughter and her father, which I am revising to change the location of much of the novel from Mexico to Vietnam because I am planning to spend a month in Vietnam soon and will have an opportunity to write some good location-based scenes for the book. I have hopes for that book, which I think is my best effort so far in terms of the style of writing but the theme may not capture the public’s or a publisher’s interest.
I have also recently (in the last year) turned to writing some poetry, mostly on themes about which I have very strong feelings. I have also written some short stories, although I more enjoy writing longer pieces.
I’ve heard you once shared an office with the author, Warren Bull. What is he really like?
Are you sure you want to know? For many years I was right next door to Warren when we both worked as psychologists for the County of Orange, California. Warren was a very companionable colleague and I grew to regard both Warren and Judy as friends of both myself and my wife. He is incredibly clever and funny, with a very dry and intelligent sense of humor, which he exercised continually at work. I enjoyed reading his early efforts at writing, which included Abraham Lincoln for the Defense, but also some entertaining other short novels, which he hasn’t published. I can highly recommend his short story collection Murder Manhattan Style available at http://www.ninthmonthpublishing.com/books.html
What is the Lost Coast Review? How long have you been publishing it and why are you changing to a print format?
Lost Coast Review is a quarterly literary review at www.lostcoastreview.com, which I began publishing online in 2009. It includes short stories, poetry, book reviews and film reviews as well a philosophy. Previous issues are archived on the website. I have been fortunate to have several promising authors publish their short stories and poetry in the review and have gotten a guest to do some film reviews, but otherwise, I have been forced to include a lot of my own material and to write all of the book reviews myself. I am changing to a print format, as well as continuing the online format, primarily to encourage more writers to submit material to the Review. I have also begun to pay for stories and poetry published in the Review. I am trying out Amazon’s Createspace as the printer and have started my own publishing imprint (Avignon Press – named after Lawrence Durrell’s Avignon Quintet, one of my favorite series of novels. My hope is that I will be able to sell enough issues to cover most of the cost of paying contributors for their work.
What sort of stories are you interested in receiving?
Short stories about anything - funny, serious, sci-fi, romance, western - anything. Also rhyming, metrical poetry or blank verse. I am more interested in the quality of the writing than in the subject of the stories. I am hoping for the review to achieve the quality of good literature.
What sort of stories are you not interested in receiving?
I shy away from stories that involve excessive violence, excessive gratuitous sex, excessive use of profanity or that have themes that promote racial, religious or sexual orientation intolerance.
What does the Review pay and what rights do you buy?
Currently the Review pays for short stories at the rate of $.01 per word up to a maximum of $40 per story and $15 for poems of 500 words or less and $20 for longer poems. We provide one free paperback copy of the review and a half-price discount for additional copies. The Review asks only for the right to publish a story or poem for the first time, on the Web and in print. All rights revert to the author after publication by Lost Coast Review. All accepted work will be archived on the Lost Coast Review website.
Nice to get in touch with you and Lai again. Please give my best wishes to your lovely and talented wife. Your work in progress sounds fascinating.