Writer vs Author

Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.

-Colette, writer (1873-1954)

Appropriated from "Bitter Little Words" on Dieselpunk.

Appropriated from “Bitter Little Words” on Dieselpunk.

“A writer is someone who writes.” This tautology was popularized by Pat Schneider who developed the Amherst Writers and Artists method. And like most self-evident tautologies, it tells us very little. If I’m engaged in hack or propaganda writing, am I hack writer or propagandist by definition? Do I stop being a writer if I stop writing? How long between when I stop writing and when I stop being a writer? If I engage in automatic writing does that make me a psychic, or worse, a surrealist?

Clearly, this vague self-referential mantra is not very useful aside from its motivational function. As for being an author, that used to be cut and dried. When you finished a piece of writing, you were its author. Its creator. And if you published something, either through a publisher or in a magazine, you were a published author. The line got blurred with self-publishing, DIY zines, and the like. Its become almost meaningless with the internet and blogs, websites, and facebook pages.

For me, Colette’s quote describes an editor, not an author. I’ve never been a good editor of my own work, and I’ve always had to rely on others to critique my writing so that I could effectively rewrite. A good editor—hired or not—is priceless.

Hence my byline as a writer and author.


1% Percent Free


It’s 2042, and America’s second civil war rages.

Detective Jimmy Hidalgo tracks a serial killer whose first victim was Jimmy’s best friend, in a San Francisco on the brink of social insurrection. The killer has a terrifying new way of murdering her victims. Salvor Becky Wiley recovers a mysterious object from burned out suburbs in a balkanized Los Angeles. She does not sense the importance of the enigmatic artifact until the LAPD and FBI try to seize it. As Becky realizes that her salvage is too hot to handle, and as Jimmy concludes that the man paying him to find the killer is an extraterrestrial, this slow-motion apocalypse shifts into high gear. Pursued by cops and aliens, Becky and Jimmy converge on the Palm Springs Free City in secessionist Aztlán. When exotic artifact and serial killer meet, the near cataclysmic confrontation and the galaxy wrenching conclusion will determine the fate, not merely of Jimmy and Becky, but of all humanity.

1% Free is available for purchase as a POD book or as an ebook.

End Time

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62 MILE PRESS is reprinting the prescient, near-future thriller END TIME: NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE by G.A. MATIASZ. Written in a slashing, evocative style, END TIME received rave reviews in underground and small press circles in 1994.

Reprint Date: May 1, 2016


Greg Kovinski, the novel’s protagonist, lives in interesting times. War and civil war rage across the former Soviet Union and much of the globe. The United States is fighting a sophisticated high tech counterinsurgency war in southern Mexico, against a popular revolution claiming the tradition of Zapata, in order to preserve the North American free trade zone. In Alabaster, a small town north of San Francisco, a draft-aged Greg, and a group of anti-war college students, gain possession of enough bomb grade riemanium to build a nuclear weapon several times more powerful than the one detonated over Nagasaki. As Greg struggles to “do the right thing” with his deadly power, friends turn out to be thieves, civil unrest rages, and the City of Oakland rises in revolution to become the 21st century’s Paris Commune.

The book can be downloaded from SMASHWORDS.

Blogs & Facebook


These days, I do most of my in depth writing on my blogs, with briefer commentary on Facebook.


My personal blog, “Playing for Keeps,” is fairly free ranging. It features what I find and comment in my travels through life, which sometimes includes my photos as well as my words. My series comparing Paris to San Francisco is the highlight to date.


My political blog, “What’s Left?“, is written under the pseudonym “Lefty” Hooligan and features my monthly columns from Maximum Rocknroll. The content is strictly politics, and ultraleft politics at that.



My Facebook profile, where you can find my daily personal posts.

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My FB Writer’s page, where my posts on writing and publishing can be found. This is my main FB page, as opposed to my profile.


And my FB Publisher’s page, my secondary FB page.

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