Aftermath From My Book Launch

If you ordered a print copy of How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories), feel free to return it to Amazon and get a refund. The typography is horrendous.

No one has complained yet about its appearance on Kindle, but, then again, the book is newly published. My ears are highly sensitive to feedback. Until confidence is restored, marketing of the book has been discontinued.

Any decisions regarding the book’s future must be postponed until after I move 1400 miles east – from the Pacific Northwest to the western side of the Rocky Mountains – known as Grand Junction, Colorado.

My time here on the West Coast has come to an end.

Early Reports of Flawed Printing

Uh-oh. Earlier this Mother’s Day, I received an alarming report. One of my literate readers wrote me with a sad review of How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories).

The printing is awful,” she wrote. “It looks like a scan, fuzzy, out of focus and printed very lightly. I’m contacting Amazon to see if it is eligible for re-printing or return.”

Later she added, “I went ahead and downloaded the Kindle version so I can more easily read. Struggling with fonts is not my thing.”

I contacted another reader, who confirmed a similar state of her printed book. Apparently, Amazon couldn’t have done a better job of discrediting its print capabilities than by distributing my books. Therefore, I caution my friends and supporters to forget about obtaining a printed copy until Amazon cleans up its act.

The Kindle price is $6.99, and it’s available NOW.

And Now It’s On Kindle

Saturday morning, I heard from Kindle, and it’s official. Anyone waiting to read How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories) who can’t afford a printed copy can now find it on Kindle.

My book is unlike anything I have read, and its organization was up to me (and Alice, who is working hand in hand with my late mother) to lead me through the process. There is sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll galore, because that’s what you find on the Internet.

Nothing is presented salaciously; everything is told how it really happened. I use a practiced journalist’s approach, always being wary of not tooting my horn. I leave that to you, my dear readers.

Now I wait for the reaction, because 432 pages are a lot for a memoir, but it’s also a love story. The Kindle price is $6.99, and it’s available NOW.

It’s Happened, It’s Live

Several times over the last 96 hours, my overactive brain found multiple reasons for failure in this book venture. Then Wednesday afternoon (3:37 pm Pacific Time), less than an hour before my ritual 420 observance, Amazon Corporation’s word came down:

IT’S LIVE.

My thanks go to many people. Feelings of gratitude are filling my soul.

When you order my book, make sure you see my name. Plus I’m the only author with “and other stories” in the title.

One more thing: The Kindle version is not available yet. Once that changes, I will post an update here. But don’t be shy. You can order a print copy today for $29.41.

10 more days to launch

Amazon has revised my book release date. It is now May 6.

Today actually was the deadline for pre-publication work, not the book release date. I apologize for letting impatience get the best of me; I know you are impatient too.

Although I’m embarrassed about confusing the book’s availability, I’m still excited. To use a military term, here’s the “straight skinny.”

How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories) is set for release on Monday, May 6. The memoir/love story consists of 432 pages with 32 color photographs. The softcover sale price will be set at $29.99, and Amazon reserves the right to increase the asking price 30 days after launch. For those who prefer Kindle, the book will be available the same day — on May 6th — for $6.99.

After three years and six months writing this beast, with 18 challenging chapters and an epilogue describing how indeed I became a lesbian, I took a deep breath. But only for a couple days. Then followed three intense months of initial edits followed by another four months to oversee Amazon’s publication process, all with proofreading galore.

Whew! None of my 15 years as a photojournalist can compare, especially since a next-door neighbor unintentionally set a smoldering fire to my townhouse with all my work inside. Fortunately, I arrived home in time to call the fire department and have them put it out.

I’ve written and/or edited two other books, but those were for other people. This book is mine, all mine, and was inspired by love for Alice.

So don’t get your panties in a bunch. The book is almost ready! I’ll keep you posted as events warrant. And the photo above — which is NOT in the book — was taken 12 years ago when Alice proudly escorted me to Cape May, New Jersey. Those were fine times.

On the Precipice of Publication

The wait is almost over. Then perhaps I can have my teeth whitened.

For six months last year, I pitched New York literary agents with book proposals for 74,000 words, 38 photos and four clippings, all connected to “How I Became A Lesbian (and other stories)”. The agents referred me to websites upon which to put my work, but I found myself waiting around for broken promises. Realizing I’m not getting any younger, I asked a sophisticate in our neighborhood for advice.

He suggested that I partner with Amazon.

As a former deejay on K-POT – an L.A. pirate radio station – at first, I was amused. But I checked out Amazon Publications, and invading literary society kept appealing to my non-conformist mindset.

Consequently, it’s appropriate now to announce that Amazon and I are working together. Amazon is a publisher well-connected to the Internet, and its commitment to the environment is apparent, because it creates print-on-demand books.

Amazon is currently making final touches to the heart-rending product of our journey. And Alice approves. After all, she danced on [American] Bandstand.

Keep tuned.

It’s Coming

 “How I Became A Lesbian (and other stories)” is a captivating journey spanning the gamut of human experience. It blends autobiography into romance — and poetry, too –  that caresses the reader’s mind. From a powerful opening depicting resilience in the face of adversity to the realization of love in one’s twilight years, each chapter feels like attending one’s own symphony.

A vivid depiction of success at Carnegie Hall Annex, a command piano performance for Louis Armstrong, and the Hollywood fast lane as a deejay at K-POT – L.A.’s pirate radio station – provide readers with a backstage pass to a life filled with triumphs and challenges. Loika’s storytelling prowess transports us to these significant moments, allowing us to remember each of our own encounters.

Poetic interludes throughout the memoir/love story add a layer of introspection and artistry. These reflective pauses create a rhythm, turning it into a meditation on the human experience.

Most importantly, it serves as an original departure from conventional narratives in the exploration of romance in the twilight years. An honest and tender portrayal challenges societal norms and celebrates the enduring power of love at every stage of life.

It’s at the publishers. Stay tuned!

Merry Christmas!

To my friends and supporters, I salute you. Accordingly, I have something nice to share this Christmas. It’s as nice as reaching out to a stranger and giving him a toke.

That particular gesture was part and parcel of a South Florida Pink Floyd concert, which is chronicled in my book currently under review at a well-regarded publishing company. The book’s title is How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories), and it’s dedicated to Alice. After she passed, she guided my quest.

Alice and I believed in the power of cannabis; that’s why we went West. I felt intimidated whenever gendarmes appeared in my rear-view mirror back East, Not anymore out here! Paranoid behavior went out the window.

Speaking of cannabis, what were its effects? Rather than inhibit our talents, it enhanced them. Here’s proof.

I finished editing my full-length book, filled with the kind of writing that used to appear in the Bucks County Herald. The entire work now is being reviewed by an enthusiastic, well-known book publisher. Even though Alice was my inspiration, readers on this website convinced me I wasn’t tilting at windmills.

In appreciation, I present a photo taken from an Oregon greenhouse in 2021.

It’s legal to grow your own in Oregon.

The taller plants are known as “sativa,” and the smaller ones, “indica.”

“Sativa” promotes activity and can distract you. It’s great for artists pursuing creative outlets but only when combined with self-discipline.

“Indica” is used for slowing you down, meditating or even sleeping.

“Hybrid” marijuana combines the two kinds above — in different proportions and strengths. Everything else is mumbo-jumbo to confuse the consumer.

A relevant caveat No cannabis or CBD products are known to cure the body; they only serve as an adjunct to medically prescribed practice.

So there you are: A quick primer on cannabis.

Merry Christmas!

A Blast from the Past

If I were to die tomorrow, I would like to be remembered as a man of peace, perhaps stupidly so. That’s why I joined the Quakers.

I once revered Judaism as reflecting wisdom from the ancients, and I sought favor from its followers. The vengeance being wrought no longer reflects that noble idea.

In my memoir/love story is an original poem written during the Vietnam War. There is no time like the present to realize it is relevant again.

Where have all the flowers gone?

“Yes, Sing On”©

Unsettled leaves of night float by
Falling from treetops in anguished cry,
Meadowlarks scream for all their worth
Trumpeting the end of this gray-green Earth,
And yes, sing on,
Oh God, sing on,
The days of discovery have found no one.

I wandered through heaven to find myself,
Encountered instead a harmless elf,
A figure of speech he seemed to me
And out of his mouth flew a bumblebee,
And yes, sing on,
Oh God, sing on,
The days of discovery have found no one.

The weather report calls for mushroom clouds,
Peyote prisms in a nuclear crowd,
While butterflies argue with tsetse flies,
Isn’t it funny how time goes by?
And yes, sing on,
Oh God, sing on,
The days of discovery have found no one.

Longview Standouts

After moving to Longview, I found ample opportunity to patronize the area’s eateries. Most of them are forgettable, but a few stand out. It’s only right they be recognized:

Top dog for dinner: Parker’s Steakhouse, Castle Rock, at the I-5 Mt. St. Helens Way exit. Owner/chef Tony Parker pulled up stakes from Longview 10 years ago to a larger facility adjacent to the I-5 turnoff for Mt. St. Helens. Some people may opt for family dining in a large dining room, but I prefer to dine in the restaurant’s ornate bar. Top-end entries at low-end prices enables Kim Stiles (shown above) to serve the best prime rib around.

Guido Smith tends a fully stocked bar.

And if Kim isn’t around, you may spot Parker’s outlandishly handsome bartender, Guido Smith – yes, Smith – who knows finesse rarely seen in these parts.

Honorable mention: The Office 842 on Washington Way, a franchised outlet from Portland. If you want a specialty drink or an inventive late-night appetizer, this is a hip spot. It’s pricey, though.

The parking lot is always full at Longview’s Pancake House.

Top dog for breakfast: Longview’s Pancake House, a locally owned institution on California Way that’s jam-packed till 1:30 pm.

Sarah and Cheyenne share pleasantries while waiting for breakfast orders to be served piping hot.

What caught my eye are the waitresses. None of them wants to quit; they thrive by working at a brisk pace. The pleasant camaraderie attracts regulars and newcomers alike, and the food – especially the Navy bean soup – ain’t bad, either.

Teri’s Restaurant offers a relaxed meal until 8 pm on Tuesdays-Saturdays with occasional music on weekend nights.

Top dog for occasional live music: Teri’s Restaurant. When Tony Parker moved north from West Longview, Teri Weir took over and engaged a host of local musicians to entertain diners in the Old-West-themed saloon and bar. And when the second floor is open, the fun is contagious. A roomy elevator gives everybody access, including misbehaving couples.

a personal view