Sunday, July 25, 2010

An excerpt from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son


The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son, a collection of mostly true and usually funny stories by Willaim Z. Snyder, can be downloaded at There is no need for a Kindle. Just click on the link below.

An excerpt from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
Danny Gilroy's Pencil
by W.Z Snyder
© 2008 William Snyder

Hawthorne, California - 1968
The life of a fourth grader at Saint Joseph’s Parish School was not easy. To begin with, we had to deal with Sister Claudia. She was the creepiest nun I had ever known. Unless she’s 160 years old, the woman is dead by now and it is bad form to disrespect the deceased. Oh what the heck, Sister Claudia looked like a corpse even when she was alive. The old gal was incredibly emaciated, looking very much like a plucked chicken. Her pallid cracked skin was pulled tight against her face while scraggly bright red hairs shot out from under her black and white nun’s habit. Her dental situation a real mess; about twice the size of normal teeth, yellow choppers jutted out from her gums in every direction but up and down. I tried to follow her directions because her lips rose up when she screamed at us, exposing those horrible, yellow teeth. Like all of the nuns, Sister Claudia was more than willing to whack me upside the head with the flat of her hand or pummel my knuckles with the hard side of a ruler. She was a terrible teacher. The woman raced through math concepts and refused to field questions. Math class for me was constant bewilderment. My mother had to hire a tutor so I could pass the fourth grade.

Sister Claudia told us creepy stories we knew to be hogwash, but they held our attention nonetheless. Once, she went into a tirade about the dangers of throwing snowballs. In the 29 years I lived in Hawthorne, California, it never snowed. Not once. Yet Sister Claudia felt compelled to deliver her cautionary tale.

When I was in the fifth grade, I lived in Boston. Even though we had been told it was dangerous to throw snowballs, some of the children failed to heed the advice of caring adults. I remember one particular day, school had let out and I was on my way home. A boy named Jimmy Dolan began throwing snowballs at some of the children. One of the boys threw a snowball back at Jimmy. Now boys and girls, that snowball hit Jimmy Dolan in the corner of his left eye and knocked his eyeball out of the socket. And Jimmy ran home with his eyeball hanging from his eye socket by a string of tissue. The doctors couldn’t save that eye and Jimmy Dolan wears an eye patch to this day. So the next time you want to throw snowballs, think of poor Jimmy Dolan and his eye patch.

Although I’m sure the story never happened, I do think of Jimmy Dolan and get the heebie-jeebies when I see a movie in which someone heaves a snowball. That nun really got deep into my psyche. I guess that’s what nuns do. I clearly remember wondering what it would be like to have my eyeball swinging from the socket by a two-foot string. Would I still be able to see from the swinging eyeball? If I held the eyeball behind my head, could I see what was going on behind me?

Sunday, July 18, 2010



The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son, a collection of mostly true and usually funny stories by Willaim Z. Snyder, will be available at this website in November.

You can also pick the the collection of stories up at that bookstore in Thailand...

Watch the epic book promo for The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son here:


                                         Brady "Cat" White and Ian "Avis Babinski" Welsh
Ladies and germs, The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son publicity campaign is officially up and running.
                                                         Dickey "Tom Jones" Imburgia
We shot the first promotional video in my garage. It was a sweltering 112 degrees. But did that slow down my tough as nails cast and crew? Heck no. As a matter of fact, my brilliant team of Brady "Cat" White, Ian "Avis Babinski" Welch and Dickey "Tom Jones" Imburgia have agreed to shoot another video. So watch for next  Eight Fingered Criminal's Son promotional video. I know, you'll be waiting on pins and needles.
I wrote the script with the intention of producing a 30 to 45 second promo. That's right, I actually wrote a script. The final product was three and a half minutes. Guess we had alittle too much fun. Wait is that possible? So we'll tighten up on the next one.

The idea is to create a grass roots buzz about the book. We'll see if it works. I sent links of the You Tube video to a hundred people via Face Book and email. The You Tube video has received just under 300 hits. I'm going to call it a minor buzz.

Thanks to Guely of Sweden for featuring my goofy  promo on his blog. You're the man, Guely.

                                                                   The Peanut Gallery: J-Man, Sophia, Barit, and Macaulay

Did I mention The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son will be available in a book store in Thailand?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Self Publishing on 800 Bucks

Last week I announced my intention to self publish a collection of stories called The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son. Going by the comments on my little blog proclamation, I can safely state that no less than twelve people are now aware that my book will soon be published.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re right. Baby, this thing is big.

In case you missed the announcement, a book store in Thailand has agreed to carry the book. Yeah, The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son will be available soon at a book store near you, if you happen to live in Bangkok, Thailand.

The book will also be on my web site and from the trunk of my car. I just think it’s cool that my first book store is in Bangkok.

Here are my latest moves:

My budget is 800 bucks. I spent 14 bucks taking my Indie filmmaker to the Village The film guy thinks he contracted food poisoning, Nice start, huh? I have 786 dollars left in budget.

Somehow, I convinced a couple of independent filmmakers to help me shoot a 45 second promotional video this week. Watch for the video on Face Book, You Tube and Blogger.

I used to say I wouldn’t self publish anything unless it was edited by a pro with a legit track record. Come to think of it, I also used to say I’d never self publish. The point is I did a little research on genuine editors with legit track records and I learned these people cost a lot of money. I do not have a lot of money; therefore, I’ve enlisted three friends; a technical writer and two outstanding teachers to give my stories the once over for glaring typos or errors I may have missed.

Several people have steered me to Lulu. I’m having trouble getting concrete prices from these people. I spent a few hours researching printing and book publishing companies. The cost of a hundred books seems to range from five hundred to several thousand bucks. There are several printers within driving distance of my house; working with one of these outfits would save shipping costs. I don’t plan to print until late October, so I’ll take my time on this the most expensive aspect of publishing and printing my first hundred books.

Watch for the epic promotional video and I’ll keep you posted on the process. Many of you have shared information and advice. Thank you and please, keep the pointers coming.

If you’re thinking of self publishing you need to check out this article.

I dug up this sketch in an old journal. I'm thinking it might serve as a rough draft for the cover.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LeBron James and The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son **

Ladies and germs, I have an announcement to make. I’m preparing to publish a short collection of The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son stories. You may have read excepts on this blog.

No, I don’t have an agent or a publisher – unless you count me. The agent and publisher search was a big fat bust – left me with way too much negative mojo. New ways to skin this publishing cat seem to be popping up all the time*. Heck, the Japanese are publishing books on their cell phones for crying out loud.

And I have a book store. That’s right; a book store has offered to carry my collection of stories. OK, the store is owned by a friend and it’s in Bangkok, but darn it, it’s a starting point ain’t it?

My plan is pretty raw at this stage. First, I find a printer to help me self publish 100 copies of The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son. Then I send twenty copies to Thailand. I promote and sell the remaining eighty books from the trunk of my car and my keyboard. That’s it so far. I’m keeping it real simple to start.

Consider this  announcement the beginning of The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son publicity campaign. I’ll keep you posted as I search for a printer and formulate my plan to take over the book world.

I know several talented writers frequent this blog and I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on printing and marketing.

* Who were these people that were running around looking for new ways to skin cats?
** I added LeBron James to see if I experienced an increase in hits...

This illustration is from my children's book, How Larry the Griggit Learned to Fly. It serves as an accurate metaphor for my attempt to secure an agent and conventional publisher.

Monday, July 5, 2010



Big Wayne and I met recently for another quirky adventure in the world of film. I brought the bacon, egg and Tabasco bagels and he provided the movie. After watching this absolute gem, I’ll never doubt the big man’s recommendations. It's hard believe this movie has been around so long and I missed it. Big Wayne also known as The Hoosier Daddy, is now my own personal Mr. Movie Miyagi. I don’t make a movie move without asking Big Wayne.

The movie?

I’m talking about the 1957 classic, A Face in the Crowd, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Andy Griffith. While I’ve been a fan of Kazan’s work on East of Eden, On the Waterfront and Viva Zapata, I’d only known Griffith as Barny Fife’s sidekick, Sherriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. Don’t get me wrong, Griffith was very good as the iconic more wholesome than white bread sheriff. I always figured he was pretty much being himself; I had no idea the man could act. From the moment he appeared on screen, Griffith was nothing short of mesmerizing. I’m telling you, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the guy - I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do next.

Griffith portrays Lonesome Rhodes, a guitar picking drifter who is discovered by a radio hostess (Patricia Neal). America falls in love with Rhodes’ countrified wisdom and guitar picking, propelling him to stardom. Rhodes starts out speaking the truth, fighting the man but due to his addictive personality he becomes the man. I should point out that Griffith’s bluesy singing and guitar playing is very good, edgy – real edgy.

Patrica Neal, Walter Mathaw, Tony Franciosca and Lee Remick make up a supporting cast that is nothing to sneeze at.

Great movie. One of the best I’ve seen. If you haven’t already seen it, watch the darned thing. If you have already seen it, maby you ought to watch it again You won’t be disappointed. Big Wayne knows his movies.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


                                                     An excerpt from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
Kookie the Wonderdog
by W.Z Snyder
© 2008 William Snyder
Hawthorne, California-1965ish

Two narrow strips of cracked white concrete crept along the side of the house. Green and yellow weeds sprouted from cracks. Leading up to a battered wooden garage, the driveway was cut in half by a rickety swinging gate that separated the front and back yards. It was at this gate that my best friend, Kookie the Wonder Dog, nearly met an early demise.

I was just a squirt, maybe five or six. My Uncle Ronnie, who was attending UCLA, was hanging out in the back yard with some of his buddies. They were wearing crew cuts, smoking Kools, and drinking cans of Schlitz beer. Each of them was dressed in cuffed Levis and an unbuttoned Pendleton worn over a pressed white t-shirt.

One of the guys was tossing sticks for Kookie the Wonder Dog. The dog was a victim of OCDFD- that is Obsessive Compulsive Doggy Fetching Disorder. Kookie had a true need to fetch. And she would fetch anything; sticks, rocks, bricks; it didn't matter. I can remember throwing the same rock for her into a river for several hours. I guess I was easily entertained at the time. Kookie kept diving, sometimes twenty or thirty times on one rock fetching trip, but she never failed to come back with the same rock that I had thrown.

Half dachshund and half beagle; that was the heritage some veterinarian had determined for her. The loveable mutt followed my father home from a bar one day. I was told she was named after the subject of the song with the line: Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb. She was always covered with fleas – sometimes freeways of fleas commuted from one end of her body to the other. I can remember spending hours hunting the fleas through the short brown fur on Kookie’s back. I ran my fingers through her fur until I spotted one of the little devils. Then I would pinch them in half between my fingernails. I was a respectable flea hunter. Her floppy ears were shredded like the frills of Daniel Boone’s buckskin shirt. Kookie the Wonder Dog and the German Sheppard down the street at the Florchamp's place fought viciously and often. She survived being run over cars time after time again. And somehow that flea ridden mutt lived to be more than twenty years of age.

Just for the heck of it, one of my uncle’s buddies picked up a two-by-four and heaved it over the gate and into the front yard. Kookie the Wonder Dog was on that two-by-four like a cheap suit. She balanced the piece of wood in between her choppers and headed for the back yard at full speed. There was a problem. The gate was a couple of feet narrower than the two-by-four. Physics took over when that hunk of wood slammed into the immovable objects that were the gateposts. That little dog was propelled a full fifteen feet into the weathered wooden garage door. SMASH. For a split second, Kookie the Wonder dog stuck to that garage door like a bug on to a windshield. Then she slid to the cement driveway where she lay with her legs saluting the sun like a dead cockroach.

 "You killed my sister's dog you dumb sun of a bitch!" my uncle said, grabbing hold of the guy’s Pendleton and shoving him into the aluminum trashcans, spilling corn rinds and coffee grounds and beer cans all over the driveway. The two were trading punches and wrestling in the garbage when Kookie came to, gave her head a good shake and waddled to the front yard. She dragged the two by four into the back yard and began barking for someone to play fetch with her. The combatants stopped pummeling each other and looked at the mutt as if she were some kind of doggy ghost.