New Book: Food & Provisions of the Mountain Men

What did Rocky Mountain fur trappers eat? Not tofu, nor kale wraps

Food & Provisions of the Mountain Men
offers glimpse of 19th century frontier diet

3rd edition expanded to 80 pages, color cover,
three new chapters, 50+ illustrations

SAN DIEGO, CA, April 3, 2017—What did the Rocky Mountain fur trappers eat? Not tofu, nor kale wraps, that’s for sure.
Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources
Food & Provisions of the Mountain Men: A Guide to Authentic Provisions of Fur Trappers, Traders and Explorers in the Early American West, offers a glimpse of the 19th century frontier diet, which consisted mostly of meat. But during “starvin’ times,” they’d resort to whatever they could find, whether it be thistle root or rattlesnake.

The book takes the reader back to a diet touted at the time as “the most wholesome food to the constitution of man.”

Author Larry “Friar” Edwards created this guide for those who participate in re-enactments of mountain man rendezvous and historical encampments. However, it’s also for anyone interested in history, and the lifestyles and hardships endured by these adventurous folks at a time when beaver fur was worth more than gold.

The items presented have been gleaned from trappers’ and explorers’ journals, and diaries of travellers to the Far West, as well as trading post inventory records, and lists of provisions for the annual fur-trapper rendezvous in the 1820s and 1830s.

This third edition has been expanded to 80 pages and features a color cover, three additional chapters, additonal recipes, and more than 50 illustrations.

Available at Amazon and other retail outlets.

Learn more at: Food & Provisions of the Mountain Men: A Guide to Authentic Provisions of Fur Trappers, Traders and Explorers in the Early American West

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Larry Edwards to Speak on Impact of Violent Death, Feb. 11

Larry Edwards, Connie Saindon to Speak at

 San Diego Chapter of Sisters in Crime, February 11

Partners in Crime, the recently reestablished San Diego chapter of the national organization Sisters in Crime, welcomes Larry Edwards, author of several books including the true-crime memoir Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss, and Connie Saindon, author of the Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources and The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Death.

Larry M. Edwards - Dare I Call It Murder?—A Memoir of Violent Loss

Larry M. Edwards speaking at Barnes & Noble.

Their subject will be The Aftermath of Murder: Impact on Families/Survivors. They will discuss how traumatic grief and complicated bereavement affect the families/survivors following the violent death of a loved one—and how this aspect of a murder gets little attention in crime fiction. Both have endured the violent death of loved ones.

The reader at the meeting will be Indy Quillen, author of Tracker, a Fox Walker novel.

Books will be available for purchase.

The meeting begins at 3:30 p.m. at San Diego Writers Ink, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd., Suite 202 (located above the Womens Museum) at Liberty Station in San Diego, California.

Sisters in Crime is a national organization with local chapters. It supports mystery and crime writers, and promotes reading the genre. The organization comprises authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers, and librarians bound by their affection for the mystery genre and support of women who write mysteries. It is open to participation by everyone, including men.

San Diego chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month, starting with a social period with refreshments, followed by a brief membership meeting.

Larry M. Edwards is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of four books. He won first place in the 2014 San Diego Books Awards for Best Published Memoir for Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss. The book was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (2014).

Edwards served as business editor, investigative reporter, and feature writer for San Diego Magazine. He also served as editor of The T Sector magazine, Maritime Quarterly, and San Diego Log, as well as a staff writer for the San Diego Business Journal and San Diego Log; he worked as a stringer for the Associated Press, covering the America’s Cup sailing regatta.

He currently works as a freelance writer, book editor, and publishing consultant to Wigeon Publishing, and has served as a judge for the San Diego Book Awards since 2005. Outside of writing and editing, Edwards plays the fiddle in old-time music and bluegrass bands. He lives in San Diego, California, with his birding-enthusiast wife, Janis Cadwallader.

Connie Saindon, author, Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & ResourcesConnie Saindon is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and among the few specialists in the field of violent death bereavement. She is the founder of the non-profit Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego, which began in 1998. She also is the author of the Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources—winner of a prestigious Gold Award in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin book awards competition—as well as The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Death. Her commitment to violent death bereavement is related to the loss of her sister, aged 17, to homicide in 1961.

indy_quillenIndy Quillen is the author of Tracker, a Fox Walker novel, and has just finished editing her second novel, Pursuit. She grew up in Indiana, lived in Colorado, and now resides with her husband in the San Diego area. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, camping, hiking, gardening, traveling, bike riding, and swimming.


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Book Review: “Charcoal Joe” by Walter Mosley; Hypnotic

charcoal_joe_coverI love this hypnotic book, the 14th in Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series—best book I’ve read in ages.

Easy’s childhood friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe, for reasons unclear at the outset, wants a young black man—Seymour (top of his class in physics at Stanford)—cleared of charges that he murdered two white men. Joe tells Easy he will pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how white cops—more inclined toward a quick close than seeking justice—found Seymour standing over the dead bodies, that exoneration requires puppetry that only Easy can manage.

Charcoal Joe has a depth and literary quality lacking in most books of the mystery genre, yet the pace never slows below a fast trot, and quickly returns to its former gallop. I pretty much read it in one day (Christmas—best present I’ve given myself in a long time). It mesmerized me to the degree that I read it again the next day—to make sure I hadn’t missed anything and to savor Mosley’s fine writing and storytelling that much longer.

The depth comes from Mosley’s portrayal, from a black man’s perspective, of race relations in Los Angeles in the late sixties. Race relations that do not seem to have improved much in the ensuing five decades, the civil rights movement notwithstanding. Yet, the story goes beyond that as an observation of human frailty and humanity’s enigmatic see-saw between self-preservation and self-destruction.

Charcoal Joe also has a enough humor to elicit regular chuckles. My favorite line in the book (a comment by one of the characters): Charcoal Joe is just a tombstone waitin’ for a name. A close contender: We might as well have been two dogs snarling at the bait of pheromones on the air.

Mosley’s descriptions (and at times snarky remarks) of the attire worn by the characters is right up there with Archie McNally in the beloved series by Lawrence Sanders.

Yeah, this book has a lot of characters; I’ve read a number of reviews complaining about it—saying, in effect, that “it’s complicated.” And the problem is? I’d say those complaints are more of a reflection of the readers than the writer. Life is a series of complications; criminal life adds more layers to that complication. That’s what keeps this book so interesting and entertaining.

As an editor, writing coach, and instructor, I will be holding up this near-perfect book as an example of writing to emulate.

Sadly—and I lay this on publisher Doubleday’s editors—this delightful book is scuffed by editorial errors that I have come to anticipate in self-published books but should not be evident in a book from one of the holier-than-thou, self-righteous Big Five. Not only the number of typos and style errors, but out-of-place text that either fell onto the wrong page through an errant cut-and-paste mouse click, or a hurried edit, or the text should have been cut but never was. This jumps out on page 65, and in one or two other places later in the book.

But I don’t think Mosley should be punished for that with a reduced rating. Even if he introduced those errors, the Doubleday editors should have caught them. (Let that be a lesson for those of you who exalt over (or aspire to) a publishing deal with one of these culprits. In today’s world, the care and hand-holding of the likes of legendary Scribner editor Maxwell Perkins are merely that—the stuff of legend.)

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Good Yule, Good Health

Good Yule
(and Happy Holidaze)

Waes Hael — Drinc Hael

larry_janis_12-25-2015_400px      toyon_tecolote_canyon_2016

Wishing you good health and joy in the coming new year.
May you live as long as you want and
never want as long as you live.

♩ ♫ ♩ ♫ ♩ ♫ ♩

                                Larry and Janis

2016 Highlights

•  Book News:

•  In the better-late-than-never department, book trailer (video) for Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss.
Book sales have trailed off but remain at a steady, if modest, pace. I continue to be gratified by the overwhelmingly positive reception it has received, and I am glad to hear from those who say the book has helped them deal with a similar tragedy in their lives.

•  Author Connie Saindon and I are pleased that Murder Survivor’s Handbook and The Journey are helping many people deal with the traumatic grief and related issues that often accompany the violent death of a loved one. The books are highly regarded by therapists and those who provide victim support services, as well as by individuals who directly benefit from them.

•  What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters & Diaries of Oney Foster Sweet continues to be well regarded and received a laudatory endorsement from Midwest Book Review:

This first-hand account . . . is an invaluable addition to the growing library of American Civil War memoirs and biographies. A compelling read from beginning to end, . . . [it] is very highly recommended for both community and academic library American Civil War collections.

•  Blog: More in the better-late-than-never department, I revitalized the Polishing Your Prose blog with the series From the Editor’s Eye: The 10 Most Common Errors Made by Writers (And How to Fix Them)

•  More Book News: I edited a number of books over the past year, all of which merit publication, and one was published: Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife by Barbara McNally (Koehler Books). This book offers an intimate look into the chaotic and demanding lives of military spouses, partners, and families as they adjust to living with combat veterans who have been injured, physically and emotionally. Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife addresses a subject matter critical to our society; I am proud to be included this worthwhile project and highly recommend this book.

•  Music Arena: Janis took a break from her globe-trotting bird trips (Africa, Alaska, Australia, et al.; she’s now a member of the 700 Club) and in July we went cross-country to Winston-Salem, NC, to visit Richard Chance and Christie Anderson. We enjoyed a delightful old-time music jam session, and Richard and I recorded some tunes, including:
•  Moonshiner Stomp
•  Spellbound Waltz

Related Links

Photos: (L) Larry and Janis viewing the sculptures of Ricardo Breceda in Borrego Springs, California; (R) Toyon, also known as the California Christmas tree.

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A Day in the Life: Author, Editor, and Independent Publisher

A Day in the Life Presents: Author, Editor, and Independent Publisher, Larry M. Edwards

Interview with yours truly by Terrie Relf, founder of the Ocean Beach Writers Networking Group.

The group meets most Thursdays at Te Mana Café in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., or until we run out of things to talk about.

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Violent Loss Resources Newsletter, December 2016

Violent Loss Resources Newsletter, December 2016
= Edward Rynearson, MD, keynote speaker, Safe Crossings on Childhood Grief, February 24
= Traumatic Grief after Violent Dying, two-day conference, April 8-9
= Topic of the Month: Remembering and Rituals
= Question of the Month: What do you want us to remember about your loved one?
= Poem: Christmas in Heaven
= Contact us

Survivors of Violent Loss


Edward Rynearson, MD, leading specialist in Violent Death Bereavement, will be the keynote speaker atSafe Crossings on  Childhood Grief in Seattle, Washington, on Friday, February 24. To find out more about this one-day program contact:

Save the Date: April 8 & 9, 2017, for  a Traumatic Grief after Violent Dying  two-day conference featuring both National and Local leaders and survivors. The program will be designed for clinicians and advocates who work with violent death.  Virginia Mason Medical Centers Separation and Loss Services leader Edward Rynearson, MD, and UCSD Medical School Residency Program Director,  Sid Zisook, come together to put this workshop on, with funding support from the Caldera/Saindon Grant.  Details to follow.  Email to make sure your name is on the list for notification.

Topic of the Month

Remembering and Rituals

Lives are like rivers, they go where they must…

View original post 766 more words

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CreateSpace Or IngramSpark? POD Pros & Cons + Cost Comparison

I hear a lot of chatter (often uninformed or misinformed) about POD (print on demand) services being offered to self-publishing/independent authors by a growing number of service providers.





Ultimately, the author contemplating self-/indie publishing wants to know:

  • Which one is best?
  • Which one is the best fit for me?
  • Which one will give me the best ROI (return on investment); i.e., make me the most money?

This blog provides a quick overview in response to these questions.

Why am I an authority? I have been a POD publishing consultant since 2007, back when Lightning Source (a division of Ingram Book Company) was the go-to outfit for savvy indie authors. (Even the Big Five in New York use Lightning Source when they need a quick turnaround for printing a hot seller.)

I later formed Wigeon Publishing and continued to use LSI because it offered the best pricing, options, and ROI. Even when Amazon’s CreateSpace (formerly On Demand Publishing) muscled into this arena, I continued to recommend Lightning Source to the authors I worked with (due to the quality of printing and lower pricing) over any other service.

However, things have changed, Lightning Source-parent Ingram created IngramSpark (reduced the set-up fee but increased the printing cost) to go head-to-head with CreateSpace. After a close examination of the options, I have been recommending CreateSpace as the first and best choice for self-published/independent authors using POD, followed by IngramSpark as the second option. In some cases, using a combination of both services offers a broader range of trim sizes, formats, and distribution options for authors.

I know some authors want it simple: a one-stop-shop. That’s fine. But just remember, there is no free lunch, the hyperbole notwithstanding. I do NOT recommend any of the other publishing services (except one, see below under Bottom Line), primarily because they offer abysmal ROI and hidden costs, and they use hard-sell tactics to convince naïve authors to purchase expensive packages while making unrealistic promises with regard to distribution, marketing, and so-called “royalties.” Horror stories abound.

Below I detail the pros & cons of CreateSpace and IngramSpark, and I compare the costs involved and the financial return (publisher compensation) for the  self-pub author.

Note: The prices quoted below are subject to change in 2017, but the relative differences between CS and IS are likely to remain about the same. The figures cited below do not include handling or shipping fees, or sales tax. Printer layouts require the page count to be a multiple of 2; remember to include pages for title, copyright, acknowledgments, dedication, author profile, etc.



  • You can be the publisher, or you can designate CS as the publisher (not recommended).
  • Author can provide own ISBN and imprint (recommended).
  • No set-up fee, if author supplies interior and cover layouts (2 PDF files).
  • No annual fee.
  • Author may buy copies of book for the cost of printing.
  • Sell directly to Amazon (40 percent discount), eliminating the distributor/middleman; (i.e., you make more money).
  • Expanded distribution (beyond Amazon) through Lightning Source.
  • Reasonable shipping costs — CreateSpace shipping costs are markedly lower than IngramSpark
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Pays author/publisher 60 days after sale (IngramSpark pays after 90 days).


  • Format limited to paperback books; does not offer hardback options.
  • Book must have at least 128 pages to have title printed on the spine.
  • Expanded distribution through Lightning Source/Ingram, resulting in price discounted by 60% (standard industry wholesale discount is 55%), making margins thin, at best; i.e., if your retail price is not high enough to generate even a tiny profit, CS will not let you use this option.
  • Does not allow returns (one of the reasons bookstores refuse to stock books printed/published through CreateSpace).
  • No discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Charges sales tax whether author/publisher has a resale certificate or not.

Fixed Charges (base price, no quantity discounts)

  • Paperback book (6×9), 110-828 pages   $0.85 per book, plus $0.012 per page
    Total, 250-page book               $3.85

Sales revenue (it is NOT a royalty if you are the publisher):

  • Trade paperback, $14.95 retail price
    You get:
    eStore – $8.11
    Amazon – $5.12
    Expanded Distribution – $2.13

Optional services:

  • editing — $0.012/word (75,000 words = $900)
  • cover design
    • support          $  99 (to make file meet submission requirements)
    • custom           $399
    • premier          $599
  • interior design
    • support          $149 (to make file meet submission requirements)
    • simple            $199
    • custom          $349
  • Kindle file conversion
    • basic              $  79
    • complex         $139
    • kids’ book      $149

(Note: prices as of January 2016; Price Calculator.)


ingramspark_logo2xIngramSpark (Lightning Source lite)

 With IngramSpark, you are the publisher. You own all the rights, you keep 100% of the profit. IngramSpark (spinoff of Lightning Source) is owned by Ingram Book Company, the powerhouse book wholesaler/distributor, and the book is immediately available to retailers worldwide. (Lightning Source also offers offset printing for large orders, which can reduce printing costs.) Compared to CreateSpace, IngramSpark offers much less hand-holding and customer service has longer response times.


  • You are the publisher (IS is a book printing service, not a book publisher).
  • Offers two hardback options: case laminate and cloth with dust jacket.
  • Will print title on the spine of books with as few as 80 pages.
  • Wide range of trim sizes and format options.
  • Author may buy copies of book for the cost of printing.
  • Distribution through industry powerhouse Ingram to retailers and libraries.
  • Discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Does not charge sales tax if author/publisher has a resale certificate.
  • Author may include book in Ingram catalog ($60 fee).
  • Allows returns (one of the requirements of bookstores to stock a book), but will assess a hefty penalty/fee for returned books. The author/publisher has the option of accepting returns and have the book destroyed, in which case the return fee will not be assessed, but the author/publisher still pays for the cost of printing the book.


  • Set-up fees (and revision fees).
  • Annual fee.
  • Author must provide print-ready cover and interior layouts (PDF files).
  • Author must provide ISBN.
  • Does not offer editing or design services, although it does have “Friends” that it will refer authors to upon request.
  • Distribution through Ingram, inserting a middleman that takes an additional 15% off the top (standard industry discount of 55%; you can choose a smaller discount, but bookstores are unlikely to stock it because it reduces the profit margin).
  • Shipping costs are markedly higher than CreateSpace.
  • Customer service lackluster at best, and can be frustrating.
  • Pays author/publisher 90 days after sale (CreateSpace pays after 60 days).

 Fees and printing charges:

  • Setup:             $49 (for each edition, softcover/hardcover;
    revisions $25 per interior or cover file)
  • Annual:         $12

 Fixed Charges (base price, quantity discounts available)

  • Paperback book (6×9)             $0.99 per book, plus ~$0.0144/page
    Total, 250 pages                       $4.60 per book (discount for large orders)
  • Casebound  (6×9)                     $6.60 per book, plus ~$0.0122 per page
    Total, 250 pages                       $9.65 per book (discount for bulk purchases)
  • Cloth bound w/dust jacket (6×9) $8.31 per book, plus ~$0.0115 per page
    Total, 250 pages                       $11.19 per book (discount for large orders)

Sales revenue (publisher compensation) = 100% of net receipts (55% wholesale discount to distributor):

  • Trade paperback (6×9), $14.95 retail price
    You get:                             $2.13
  • Casebound (6×9), $24.95 retail price
    You get:                             $1.58
  • Cloth cover w/dust jacket (6×9), $28.95 retail price
    You get:                             $1.84

IngramSpark periodically has a special offer: free setup w/order of 50 or more books.

Optional services:     Ebook conversion        contact for pricing

(Note: prices as of February 2016; Publisher Compensation Calculator quotes a slightly lower printing cost than the published Products & Services Pricing.)

ROI comparison, Create Space versus IngramSpark

This comparison assumes the project is DIY (do it yourself) for a 250-page trade paperback book, trim size 6×9, retail price: $14.95:

Books sold by Amazon (likely to be 90% or more of your retail sales)

Setup Fee      Annual Fee    Cost/Bk         You get (profit)

Create Space     $00                $00              $3.85              $5.12
IngramSpark     $49               $12               $4.60              $2.13 (minus % of fees)

Books sold on the open market (bookstores)

Setup Fee      Annual Fee    Cost/Bk         You get (profit)

Create Space    $0.00             $0.00            $3.85             $2.13
IngramSpark     $49                $12                $4.60             $2.13  (minus % of fees)

Advantages of CreateSpace

  • Distribution directly to Amazon at 40% off list price.
  • No set-up fee (if you provide your own interior and cover layouts).
  • No annual fee.
  • Printing and shipping costs lower than IngramSpark.
  • Significantly higher sales revenue for books sold through Amazon.
  • Customer service markedly better than IngramSpark.

Advantages of IngramSpark

  • Distribution through Ingram; opens market to virtually all bookstores and libraries.
  • Printing quality may be better than Amazon (subjective judgment).
  • Offers hardcover books (CS does not).
  • Offers more trim (physical size) options than CS.
  • Direct access to Espresso Book Machine (being installed by Barnes & Noble).

Bottom Line

For the newbie book publisher, begin with CreateSpace and use the Extended Distribution option. If you want a hardback edition or better broad-market distribution, add IngramSpark. You can use both of them simultaneously, same ISBN for paperback, separate ISBN for hardback. I do not recommend any other POD publishing service, other than Mill City Press.

Additional Resources

To learn more, or for a cost estimate on preparing/managing your book for publication, contact:

Larry Edwards

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