Sunday, December 23, 2012


Looks like my goof ball publicity campaign for THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON  is  about finished.  There won't be any more Youtube videos, Cheese Whiz and beer readings, tire shop readings, or barber shop signings, no more flashreads - for THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON. I am looking forward to taking it to the next level of guerrilla marketing for THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR. Can't say I've figured out what the next level of guerrilla marketing is yet, but I'll see you there in March.

I'm not so finished marketing that I won't provide a link where you can order or download the THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


My graphics guy is on  the job!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


How's it goin', Rick and JJ? Rick, really enjoyed your new book "SONGS FROM THE BARRIO." I highly recommend it to you JJ.  And JJ, hope you're enjoying your travels.  I'm going to read one of your books over the holiday break. Which would should I start with? As far as I can tell, you guys are constitute my blog audience. It's a bit of a coincidence that you're both college professor/writers.
Yeah, I've been thinking about the whole blogging thing.  I guess I started this blog in order to promote my writing, my book. I'm not sure my blog is serving my intended purpose. My high school students tell me they don't read blogs. While I sold a lot of books on Facebook, my students tell me they don't use Facebook any more, that it's all about Twitter and Instagram. While I have a beautiful website, I think I've had three visitors.
Heck, I don't know. What do you think, Rick and JJ?
There was a nice surge in book sales this week. I don't know the cause. I've sold 442 books. Perhaps I should approach agents and publishers again. But the process was so damned humiliating the first time around.
My friend Susan Halberg made the book part of her English 101 class. She reports the students' enjoyed the read. Maybe I should go after community college English 101 classes. I've been thinking about seeking out a sales guy ...
Spirit Guide is on track for release in March.
Thanks for reading, Rick and JJ.
If you happened by this post and are still reading, my book is called "The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son."  You can purchase the book or ebook here:
You can pick up a copy at my favorite book store THE BOOK FROG in Palos Verdes Califonia, Papa Joe's Barber Shop, Chandler Auto and Tire Repair in Chandler, Arizona, Changing Hands Book Store in Tempe Arizona, or any Zia Records Store.
You can Purchase Rick Rios' "Songs from the Barrio" here:
JJ Botta has six books available for purchase here:
SIX BOOKS!!! We gotta talk, JJ...

Sunday, December 2, 2012


It's my pleasure to tell you about Songs From The Barrio, a magical collection of stories and poems about Rios' metamorphosis from the the son of impoverished Mexican immigrants to a highly respected artist and educator. The book feels true. Rios carefully describes the blessings and hardships of coming up in a Chicano community and family. The elaborate depictions of sumptuous Mexican feasts prompted my stomach to churn with desire.

I took the opportunity read one of Richard's stories, "A Rite of Passage," to some 150 high school students. They thoroughly enjoyed Rios' tale, laughing at the funny parts and taking part in a passionate discussion afterwards. I might point out that they got a few laughs out my attempts to pronounce the Spanish words.

 Richard Rios' Songs From The Barrio is a must read. Thumbs up, baby!

The book is available in bound version and as an ebook at the link below.

Don't forget, the holiday season is a great time to send fish to friends and family. You should probably send Cristmas cods.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


So I wrote this book. It's a collection of usually funny, mostly true stories about growing up in 1970s Southern California called The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son

According to my calculations, I've  sold  432copies. It should be noted that this accomplishment went down with the help of more than a few cherished friends and family members. 432. Not bad, but it's not like I can quit my job.  A small publisher considered picking up my next book. Close, but no cigar. Faulkner never made enough from his books to quit his job. Good company, huh? Not that I have delusions of being in Faulkner's league.

Man, being a writer is pretty cool. Getting out and amongst 'em to market the book has been a rush. While I did conventional readings for high school and college classes and at The Book Frog, I did some marching to the beat of my own drummer with the flash reads, the Beer and Cheese Whiz Event, and signings at barber shops and tire stores.

My new book is  the story of a beaten down English teacher's transcendental journey to The Spirit Guide Bar, where he sorts out his life with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Richard Feynman, and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. The Spirit Guide Bar is scheduled to be released in March.

You can order a copy or download the ebook at the link below.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Long week in the teaching business. Still incredibly frustrated with the profession for so many reasons. Still thinking very seriously about finding a new line of work, but I'm trying very hard to stay positive.
And there is so much to be positive about. More than anything else, I get to work with some  great kids. Only a fraction of my students are rude and disrespectful, but dang it, they keep me up at night.
I spent Friday night and all day Saturday with my Academic Decathlon team. I'm good with this. Spending time with my AcDec kids is fulfilling.
I returned to a neighborhood pig roast. Dozens of kids were dancing in the street. My Scottish neighbor played guitar and sang as his French buddy played the drums, teaming up to create some down home American blues music. Great music. Great food. Family. Friends. Yeah the mojo was flowing on my street Saturday night.
Looking forward to Thanksgiving this week and feeling thankful that I have so much many reasons to be thankful.
And then there's The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. The collection of mostly true stories about growing up in 1970s Southern California is the perfect stocking stuffer. You can order a copy or download the ebook below.
My novel The Spirit Guide Bar will be released in March.

Sunday, November 11, 2012



I assigned homework to my junior English class. Just about half of the students complied and turned in their wok the next day.

This was nothing new, but I felt compelled to ask the girl from Germany, the best writer in my class, "What percentage of students in Germany don't do their homework assignments?"

"I don't understand the question, Mr. Snyder."

She looked confused.

"If I gave a homework assignment to ten German students, how many wouldn't do it?"

"Mr. Snyder," she said, " I know what percentages are, but why wouldn't we do our homework?"

"You mean everybody did their homework at your school in Germany."

"Of course we did. Failing to do our homework could bring our grades down. Low grades would damage our chances of being accepted into a good college."

For or five knuckleheads responded by laughing and making cracks like:

"Yeah, but you guys don't have fun like we do, you just go  home and study all the time."

How am I supposed to respond to this mentality?

This little incident took place a year ago. I thought back to a scene in the movie Teachers, a film that inspired me so many years ago. Nick Nolte played an idealistic teacher at a chaotic inner city school. Some juvenile delinquent pulled the fire alarm, students were running in every direction and things were out of control. A burnt out old teacher said to Nolte, "You know, half of these kids won't even go back to class.  "To which Nolte idealistically replied, "You're right, but half of them will."

 I gave a home work to a class of 42 students last week. Ten completed the assignment.

This is just one of a boatload of reasons I'm not sure I can stick with the teaching business.


I published a book last year. It's called The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. People seem to think it's nostalgic and funny. You can order a copy by clicking here:

My new book is novel called The Spirit Guide Bar. It's about a burnt out teacher who hikes to the top of South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona where he embarks on a transcendentalist journey. The tired educator interacts with likes of Ernest Hemingway, Ulysses S. Grant, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. The book will be available in March.

The photograph above depicts South Mountain Park.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I'm plugging away at the editing process for my novel The Spirit Guide Bar. Thanks to Pete Ledesma and Gary Gidak for their editing help.

I've been thinking about the cover. Since the Scarecrow from a The Wizard of Oz is serves as a motif in the book I want him on the cover. I think all the Frank Baum illustrations are fair game. I know the Ray Bolger Scarecrow is protected by copyright. I'm meeting with my graphics guy Nick Narducci this week.

The Spirit Guide Bar is scheduled for release in March of 2013.
You can purchase a copy of my book The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son by clicking on this link:

If you live in the greater Los Angeles area you can pick up a copy of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son at my favorite book store THE BOOK FROG. Co owner Pete Ledesma is a former stand up comic. If you buy a book he will tell you a joke.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pyramid Outburst, A Prairie Home Companion, Lucy the Dog,The Spirit Guide Bar, Bryan Frank's Mid-Life Crisis, The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son, The Book Frog and Pete the Pelvis

Pyramid Outburst is a good beer to enjoy while relaxing at dusk as the radio plays the soothing songs and stories of  A Prairie Home Companion and your eight year-old daughter plays with  the dog your 21 year-old daughter asked you to watch for just one week week something like three months ago.

My focus has shifted to editing my new book The Spirit Guide Bar, scheduled for release in early 2013.

My buddy Bryan Frank is buying a motorcycle. Bryan said he's having a mid-life crisis. Since Bryan is 50, he can't really be having a mid-life crisis  unless he's going to live to be 100. I told Bryan if I ever hit the lottery or sell a hundred thousand books I'm getting one of those motorcycles with a side car. Yeah, I can see it now: the open road, goggles, an aviator cap, bugs in my teeth. Couldn't get much cooler than that. Am I rambling?

You can order a copy of The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son at the link below.

If you happen to live in or around Los Angeles you can pick up a copy of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son at THE BOOK FROG in Rolling Hills. Pete Ledesma, one of the owners, is a former Elvis impersonator who used to be known as Pete the Pelvis.!/TheBookFrog

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Susan Halberg recently invited me to do a reading of Dave Cruz for her  Mesa Red Mountain Community College English 101 Class. The experience was a great rush. I really dig reading for Susan's classes. By the way, Susan is a writer. She allowed me to take a sneak peek at a chapter from the book she's working on and it was laugh out loud funny.

Here's a shot of my old buddy, Dave Cruz.

My focus is shifting from marketing THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON to publishing THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR in March of 2013. I'll try to squeeze in a few flash reads and readings when opportunities appear.

If you're a writer, you might find this Forbes story on book promotion helpful.

If you're a reader and you haven't read The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son, you really should order a copy. The ebook is only four bucks.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


The Book Frog Beer and Cheese Whiz Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son event went down  October 6th, 2012.
I drove out from Phoenix to L.A. Saturday morning. Forgot that L.A. traffic can snarl up at any given time.  I arrived later than expected, but not so late that I couldn't grab a quick burger and a beer with my old comedy pals Bryan Frank and Keith Boyd.

Bryan handled the photography and Keith helped me with the Cheese Whiz and beer. A good lookin' crowd was on hand to hear my reading of "Dave Cruz."

At least one guy though the story was funny. This is Billy Gerten. We attended Saint Joseph's Parish School together.

Keith Boyd helped me out with "Danny Gilroy's Pencil" flash read, playing the part of Jimmy Dolan. The real Jimmy Dolan had his eye ball knocked from his eye socket. Keith's performance was riveting - and graphic.

Signing books is always cool because signing books means selling books.

Of course, everybody said Cheese Whiz for the group shot.

This is me with Pete Ledesma and Kurt Morlock. Pete is the owner of the Book Frog and Kurt is the toughest kid ever to come out of Hawthorne High.

The crowd drank all  of the beer but I left the Book Frog with six cans of Cheese Whiz.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Ty Lusk sang and helped me out with a flash read at Papa Joe's October 2nd Grand Reopening Ceremony. Ty played the part of Jimmy Dolan with his eyeball swinging from the socket as I read from Danny Gilroy's Pencil. 

The half-man to Ty's left seemed to enjoy himself too.
Papa Joe announced that Joe Jr. will be taking over the shop. He assured the crowd of 100 or so people that he will continue to cut hair and tell an occasional penguin joke.

1996 Olympic gold medalist Amanda Borden was on hand to congratulate Papa Joe. Amanda runs a gymnastics studio in the shopping center. 

Papa Joe and Joe Junior provided a magnificent lunch at The Devil's Kitchen. My wife and three of my daughters enjoyed the ceremony and gastronomic delights.
Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday afternoon.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Susan Halberg and her vibrant collection of aspiring writers were kind enough to invite me to their Mesa College classroom where I gave a reading, fielded a few questions, and signed a few books. Young writers motivate me, inspire me.  Got to tell you, this is the part of being a writer that is cool, very cool...

Clif the Lawyer came along to talk about some of the legal aspects of publishing and snap the photograph. Clif the Lawyer is the man.

"Dave Cruz," a short story from The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son, served as the reading selection. The real life Dave Cruz recently contacted me. He  has read the book and he approves the way he's been  portrayed. If you read the book you'll understand why I was quite relieved to hear he approved. Dave will be attending The Beer and Cheese Whiz Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son Event at The Book Frog in Rolling Hills, California on October 6th.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son, Rio Salado Readings, The Book Frog, Crowded Classrooms, Door Accidents, and Battery Acid


I'm laying low this weekend after a tough week on the teaching front. 

We have  new email systems and grading programs, inferior and requiring more time and effort  than our old systems. Furthermore, teachers are required to use a new system for formatting lessons. I've taken on an extra class and I have 50 more students than I had last year. There are 45 students junior English class. There isn't enough oxygen in that poorly ventilated classroom for 45 adult sized students. I once had a class with 50 students but I was 20 years younger. I know, whah, whah, whah, plenty of people work hard, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to figure out a way to streamline things. This became apparent  Thursday afternoon when, totally engrossed in trying to remember why I left the my classroom,  I walked into the corner of a door, leaving me with a massive headache all day Friday.

No flash reads this weekend. We'll get 'em next week. I've been invited to give a reading for a Rio Salado Freshman English  on November 23. And then there is the October 6th  Beer and Cheese Whiz Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son Event at The Book Frog in Rolling Hills, California. A few folks who inspired characters in the book will be on hand to take part in the festivities. Should be a real hoot.

Oh, something interesting happened at school this week. A couple of kids were caught drinking battery acid in one of the science labs. Authorities say they'll be charged later.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Would you buy a collection of mostly true, pretty funny  stories about growing up in 1970s Southern California from this man?

You can join the 364 people who have by clicking on this link:

If you're in the metropolitan Phoenix area, you can pick up a copy of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's son at Papa Joe's Barber Shop or Chandler Auto and Tire. You gotta ask yourself how many people on the planet ever have the chance to get a book and a haircut or book and an oil change? The answer is darned few, baby!

The flash read camapign  with Dickey "Tom Jones" Imburgia continues with two flash reads scheduled for next Saturday, September 15th.

If you're in So Cal, the  Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son Cheese Whiz  Event is scheduled for October 6th at The Book Frog in Rolling Hills.

Monday, September 3, 2012


360 copies of my book The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son have been sold since October of 2011. We're not exactly talking New York Times best seller, but I wasn't sure I'd sell 100 books.

I've tried various goofball marketing ploys, posting quirky promotional videos on You Tube, doing book signings at Chandler Auto and Tire and Papa Joe's Barber Shop, and most recently the flash read campaign with Dickey "Tom Jones" Imburgia. And my oblique marketing campaign and over yet.

A spectacular flash read with Dickey "Tom Jones" Imburgia is scheduled for October 2 at Papa Joe's grand opening of his new new barber shop in Chandler, Arizona and a Cheese Whiz event scheduled for October 6 at The Book Frog in Rolling Hills, California. We're planning a flash read in the produce section of a Chandler, Arizona grocery store.

My new novel The Spirit Guide Bar will be available in 2013.

You can pick up a copy of the THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON at the following locations:

The Book Frog, Rolling Hills, California
Chandler Auto and Tire, Chandler, Arizona
Changing Hands Book Store, Tempe, Arizona
American Import Auto Repair, Gilbert, Arizona
Zia Records, 8 locations in Nevada and Arizona

Monday, August 27, 2012


It was my honor to do a reading of "Dave Cruz" for Kim Morgan's creative writing class in Chandler, Arizona. Kim's students were a fantastic audience.  Man, they even laughed at the funny parts. Afterwards we had an invigorating talk about the writing process,inspiration and flash reads. What a rush! Got to tell you, those new school writers inspired me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son" Flash Read - Saturday, August 18th

My flash read team is world class, baby.

It is without hyperbole that I state Dickey "Tom Jones" Imburgia is a legit top notch comedic actor. He's even funnier than Rick Moranis.Yeah, I said it. I meant it too.

My former student and current day professional cameraman Steven Bogumil handled the camerawork while former student and current film school student Austin Imburgia edited the video. Seriously impressive work on both counts. Steven and Austin are skateboard film makers at heart. I'll be sure to post some links to their skater videos soon.

My little girl Sophia did a darned good job being cute and chucking snowballs if I don't say so myself.

For our next trick, we'll be knocking out a flash read at an Arizona grocery store.

The point of these flash reads is to sell books. you can purchase the book and the electronic version by clicking on the link below.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Thanks to my pal Joel Fricke for his California dreamin' photo of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son on the beach.

No flashread this week. Teaching has been hard. Not terrible, just hard. Did I mention that I have a junior English class with 47 students?  It's really hot too. It's 113 degrees today. This is because I live in the desert.

There will be another flashread at Papa Joe's Barbershop in Chandler next Saturday at noon. Dickie "Tom Jones" Imburgia will be part of thing. Austin Imburgia and Steven Bogamill, two of my all time greatest former students, will handle the cameras. Should be pretty good. By the way, I'm relatively sure I misspelled Steven's last name. Sorry, Steve.

I'm in the process of punching up my novel The Spirit Guide Bar. The book will be released in 2013.

If you're in the  greater Los Angeles area, it would be great to see you at the Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son Cheese Whiz Event at the Book Frog in Rolling Hills. The event will go down at 2 pm on October 6th. Dickie Tom Jones Imburgia and Rick Moranis have been invited. Passages will be read, books will signed and beer and cheese whiz will be had by all.

You can order a copy of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son by clicking on the link below.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Eight Fingered Criminal's Son Flashread at Papa Joe's Barbershop - August 4, 2012

The flashread campaign is in full swing. Dickie "Tom Jones" Imburgia is  brilliant. The next flashread will go down Saturday, August 11th.

THE BOOK FROG in Rolling Hills, California is hosting THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON CHEESE WHIZ EVENT on October 6th at 2 pm. Rick Moranis has been invited. More exciting than that, Dickie "Tom Jones" Imburgia is thinking about attending.

My new novel will be rleased in 2013.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


My first whack at the 8FCS flashread book marketing campaign went down on July 21 at Papa Joe's Barbershop. My eight year-old daughter Sophia handled the videography.  It seems little Sophia was the ony family member who wasn't too embarrassed for me to take part. The two of us blasted into the shop like the Lone Ranger and Tonto.  I asked if anyone had a problem with a two minute flashread. If any of the fifteen or so customers had any reservations they were too stunned to make them. I introduced myself and the book, reassured the small crowd I'd be out of their hair in less than two minutes, and read a ninety second blurb from the book. Upon finishing, I thanked the mystified listeners and got the heck out of there.

As far as I know, the flashread is my own invention. There will be more flashreads. I'll keep you posted.

The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son is available at the following locations:
Papa Joe's Barbershop - Chandler, Arizona
Chandler Auto and Tire - Chandler, Arizona

Changing Hands Book Store - Tempe, Arizona
Zia Records - 8 locations in Arizona and Nevada

The Book Frog - Rolling Hills, California

Barnes and Nobel -

Rick Moranis is still following me on twitter.

I'll be doing a second reading at THE BOOK FROG in October.

An Arizona creative writing teacher ordered a set of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son for her writing classes.

I'll be releasing a novel in 2013.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


June 30th, 2012

PeteLedesma, co owner of the Book Frog, and I costarred in Andy Peterson's 1980 college film Coffee Tea or Murder. I think we're ready to do the sequel.

Pictured here with yours truly are Cathy Finn, Mark Zembruski, Jimmy Ireland, Therese Fry, and Patrick Rodriguez. They attended Saint Joseph's Catholic School with me. The all agreed that Danny Gilroy's Pencil is a heckuva lot more true than mostly true.
Your loss, Rick Moranis.

Monday, July 9, 2012


You can pick up a copy of THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON at any of the eight ZIA RECORDS locations in Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Tucson, and Las Vegas.

Indian School & 19th Ave.

1940 W. Indian School, Phoenix AZ 85015

Phone - 602-241-0313
Monday through Saturday 10 AM – 11 PM
Sunday 10 AM – 10 PM

Dobson Rd. & Chandler Blvd.

1940 W. Chandler Blvd, Chandler 85224

Phone - 480-857-4942
Sunday through Thursday 10 AM – 10 PM
Friday & Saturday 10 AM – 11 PM

Thunderbird & 25th Ave.

2510 W. Thunderbird Road, Phoenix 85023

Phone - 602-866-7867
Monday through Sunday 10 AM – MIDNIGHT

University & Maple

105 W. University, Tempe AZ 85281

Phone - 480-829-1967
Monday through Sunday 10 AM – MIDNIGHT



3370 E. Speedway Blvd, Tucson AZ 85716

Phone - 520-327-3340
Sunday through Thursday 10 AM-10 PM
Friday & Saturday 10 AM - MIDNIGHT

Oracle & Prince

3655 N. Oracle Road, Tucson AZ 85705

Phone - 520-887-6898
Monday through Sunday 10 AM – 10 PM


Sahara & Decatur

4503 W. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas NV 89102

Phone - 702-233-4942
Monday through Sunday 10 AM – MIDNIGHT

Eastern & Flamingo

4225 S. Eastern Avenue, Las Vegas NV 89119

Phone - 702-735-4942
Monday through Sunday 10 AM – MIDNIGHT

You can also pick up a copy at the following venues:

Papa Joe's Barbershop - Chandler, Arizona
Chandler Auto and Tire - Chandler, Arizona
Changin Hands Book Store - Tempe, Arizona
The Book Frog - Rolling Hills, California