Wednesday, December 31, 2014

POLAND - The Best Worst Book I Ever Read

Recently finished James Michener's Poland. I've been a huge Michener fan for a couple of decades. My  first Michener book was The Source, the history of the people and events that surrounded a well in modern day Israel. What a ride. I've pored through Michener's books on Alaska, Colorado, Texas, Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and Hawaii. Reading the last page of a Michener book never fails to leave me feeling disappointed that the great ride is over.

Poland was missing something. It could have been difficult Polish names that slowed me down. Long technical passages about Chopin and other Polish composers derailed me as well. I just didn't have the background knowledge to follow. While I drifted off from time, Michener always pulled me back. Poland's geographic positioning has lent itself to invasions, lots of invasions. The Polish people have withstood invasions by the Tartars, The Turks, The Swedes,  Russia and the Soviet Union (3 times),  Germany (twice), and I know I'm leaving someone belligerent county out here. The point is Poland remains. The Nazis were responsible for the death of more than 20 percent of the Polish population. Hitler fully intended to exterminate the entire country. After Hitler, the USSR, after centuries of invasions, Poland remains. Michener's story of Poland is one of those great triumphs of the human spirt.

While I list Poland the worst Michener book I've had occasion to read, it's still falls among the best books I've had occasion to read.

* Whoa, this is embarrassing. Michener did write a book called Sayonara. While it was an interesting book about American soldiers who married Japanese women during the Post World War II occupation of Japan, Sayonara wasn't nearly as good as Poland. I totally forgot about Sayonara.

It's not like I'm going to rewrite the whole post.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I'm sitting at the computer enjoying a Fat Weasel Ale, listening to some extra smooth Miles Davis, and trying to make sense of season six of Sons of Anarchy. I binge watched the thirteen episodes over a three day period. All I can say is the violence would make a Mexican drug lord cringe. It's become damned ridiculous. We've got this small town in Northern California with hundreds of murders going down. In the real world the National Guard would declare martial law. Come on. And none of that bang, bang - you're dead business. Each killing has to be more shocking, more gruesome than the last.
Six seasons, hundreds of killings, and there is just one one character with any semblance of ethics. That would be Nero, played by Jimmy Smits.

Nero is the only good guy in the whole damned show. Then again, it could be that Smits is such a cool cat that I can't help pulling for his character. Where has Jimmy Smits been the last 25 years anyway???
Oh well?
What the hell is the point of this show? 
There is no honor among thieves?
Violence begets violence?
What compels me to watch this horrific blood fest?
The truth is I will watch season six at some point.
Mind you, I'm not proud of this.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas

In case you're new to SNYDERMANIA, you can get your copy of Spirit Guide Bar, The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son, and the Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar CD on

Spirit Guide Bar is a  is a different kind of Christmas story.

Gotta admitted it, sales have really tapered off. I'm thinking of heading out to the local mall to do some  selling out of the trunk of my car this week.

"Pssst. Hey pal, wanna buy a book?"

I guess I really need to finish that last chapter of my new book.

So I'm five weeks into my return  to the teaching biz. It's been tough taking over a class that was taught by at least five different people, but there has been progress. Most of the students can now raise their hands to speak and refrain from tacking classmates while entering the room. I'm now working on getting them to stop banging their pencils on their desks while I'm talking. It's been at least a decade since I last taught junior high and I completely forgot about the psychotic pencil banging phenomenon. Some of the little squirts obviously do it to see if they can make make scream at them until turn red, and fall to the ground gasping for air. Others, and these are the ones that baffle me, seem to pound their pencils on their desks completely unaware that they are making a commotion.  I knew I has accepting a great challenge when I signed on. Surely, I'll figure something out.

Sound proof pencils?

I do like my students and it  is pretty cool to have a two week break after five weeks on the job.

Maybe I'll take another crack at that last chapter.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Life is funny. I left the teaching game at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Seventeen months later, I'm back in the trenches, teaching seventh and eighth graders, many of whom speak very little English. Taking over five classes in the in the middle of the second quarter is no walk in the park. With two of my classes, I look forward to the day my students demonstrate the ability to stay in their seats, and raise their hands before screaming at the lop of their lungs. I'm also looking forward to the day, one little girl calls me Mr. Snyder instead of Mr. Sneeder. 

Early Friday morning, I was making my way through the school hallway when I came face to face with    a cockroach the size of a Buick. A month ago I would have terminated the poor sap. In case you're new to my BLOG, I spent the last seventeen months in the pest control business.  Exterminating insects never  felt quite right. Looking at that giant cockroach, I  smiled and stepped aside to let him pass. 

I drove home Friday night satisfied for two reasons. One, I didn't kill anything. Two, at least I tried to do something good.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Richard Rios "Songs of The Barrio" - Reading his story 'A Rite of Passage.'

Here's my pal, Richard Rios, reading his Thanksgiving story "A Rite of Passage." I read tale to my students on Thanksgiving Eve. The little squirts loved it. The final line of the story never fails to to make me smile.  Richard Rios is one of America's greatest story tellers.

You can order a copy of his collection of stories, Songs From the Barrio, from

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Arizona cockroaches, ants, and scorpions are breathing a little easier. My career as an exterminator is officially over. No more walking into trees and spider webs. No more squirting myself in the face with chemicals. No more getting chased by bees and German Shepherds. I've walked away from the bug biz and returned to the teaching game. After my first week back in the classroom, I can honestly say I'm…tired.  Really, really tired. Perhaps I'll bring my held exterminating can to work with me Monday.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Writer's block is like a shooting slump in basketball. The only way out of a slump is to shoot your way out, or write your way out. That's what I used to say. Shooting my way out worked in my basketball days, and until about a year ago, writing my way out worked with the book biz.

I've been stuck on the last chapter of my third book for over a year. The slump began when I left teaching, and the fly in the buttermilk is I left teaching to focus on writing. You know, I think this is the first time I've ever used the term "the fly in the buttermilk is..." in a sentence. Richard Boone used the term in the "The Alamo." The 1960 version of the Alamo is one of my favorite movies and Richard Boone was one cool cat as Sam Houston. So there it is, I've used "the fly in the buttermilk is..." in a sentence. Hah, this is a fine example of what's been going on between my ears since I left teaching. I just can't seem to get any semblance of focus going.  I'vebeen bouncing around between pest control, contract writing, tutoring, and adjunct teaching. Right now I'm working three jobs and it seems like I'm spending the bulk of my time, working, driving from one job to the next, preparing for the next day's work, looking for better jobs, or sprawled out on the floor staring at the ceiling. So there it is: I left teaching to write, but the fly in the buttermilk is I'm too darned scattered to write. 

You know I haven't had buttermilk since I was kid. Come to think of it, I really hated buttermilk. 

Heck, I might as well go back to full time teaching. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014


My life as a bug man/writer/teacher has been quite pretty hectic as of late. 

The extermination biz was exceptionally busy this week. I had a flat tire, got chased by a swarm of bees, walked into a tree, and a nest of spiders fell onto my face. It would make for a better story if these events happened in a row. Looking back the spider incident was the most disturbing. I was too hot, tired, and irritated when the spiders landed on my face to be properly freaked out.  I walked back to my truck and squirted my face with pesticides for about 30 seconds. Okay, I didn't squirt myself in the face.

Professor Halberg invited me to her English 101 class for a reading Saturday morning. As usual it was an uplifting experience.  Kinda made up for the faceful of spiders.

I pretty much spent the rest of the weekend grading and prepping for my English classes. Grading papers and pulling brushing spiders off of my face is an unusual juxtaposition.

Life as a bug man/writer/teacher is always interesting. I just thought of something, I may be the only bug man/teacher/writer in Arizona, maybe the world.

Hey, STORIES FROM THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR is now available for download on iTunes


 and you buy the CDs from CD Baby.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lyle Tucker's Take on "Danny Gilroy and the Number 2 Pencil"

Here's Lyle Tucker's latest creation for the illustrated version of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. Tucker does an outstanding job at depicting Sister Agnes and nun brutality in this charming little scene from "Danny Gilroy and the Number 2 Pencil."

Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar, an audio collection of seven stories from Criminal's Son and Spirit Guide releases September 13th. 

Arizona High school teachers have been using the Dave Cruz story on Youtube in their classrooms and I'm getting good feedback. 

Here is the link to Dave Cruz.

You can purchase my books here: William Snyder's books

Here is the link to my website:

Saturday, August 9, 2014


An illustrated version of THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON is in the works. I've teamed up with a brilliant illustrator by the name of Lyle Tucker. Like me, Lyle is from Hawthorne. He currently hangs his hat in Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell, New Mexico. Gotta tell you, I'm jacked up to be able to say I'm collaborating on a project with an artist in Roswell, New Mexico. The fact that is a crazy talented artist doesn't hurt.  I'll keep you posted.

STORIES FROM THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR is finished and will be available September 13th. Produced by Gary Gidak of Gidak Digital, this CD includes sound effects, background music, and an outstanding collection of voice actors. Gary is an extraordinary engineer, musician, actor, and writer. I might point out that he is from New Mexico.

What's the deal with New Mexico?

A few Arizona teachers have incorporated the audio version of "DAVE CRUZ" into lesson plans.

You can listen to "DAVE CRUZ" at this link for a limited time:  "DAVE CRUZ"

The CD cover was  designed by Angel Gidak. The Gidak's are quite a talented couple. Angel is a madly talented graphic designer, and she's also a commendable voice over actor. She is a hilarious and just a little bit scary as the man hating lady doctor in "THE BIG V," a story that should be carefully considered by any man considering a vasectomy. By the way, I really enjoy reading this story at events.  Men invariably wriggle in their seats and groan uncomfortably, while women seem to take great pleasure in this painful little narrative.

TEECHUR, CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT EDUCATOR, is ridiculously close to being finished. I've been stuck on the last chapter for several months. Things have been hectic since I left my job as a high school teacher a little over a year ago. I've been doing contract writing, tutoring, and pest control to make ends meet. I'll begin teaching as an adjunct at a local college in a couple of weeks. Somewhere in the midst of contract writing, teaching, marketing, and bug squirting, I'm going to sit down and finish that last chapter of TEECHUR. 

I'd like to finish with something clever, but I have a chapter to finish.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of dog, it's too dark to read.
-Groucho Marx



Saturday, August 2, 2014

Richard Rios "Songs of The Barrio" - A Reading of His Poem: 'Para Los Tr...

 "Para Los Tres Grandes" is a tribute to three of Mexico's greatest artists and muralists, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Jose Clemente Orozco. Rios's performance poetry is powerful. In honoring the three great artists, he takes the listener on a dark and shameful journey into the history of our neighbor to the south. In reality, Rios takes us on a dark and shameful journey into the history of mankind. The finish is truly maginficent. This poem can be found in Richard Rios's book Songs From the Barrio
Orale, Senor Rios!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


This is the cover for Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar, an audio collection of seven stories. The stories are from The-Eight Fingered Criminal's Son and The Spirit Guide Bar. Produced by Gary Gidak of Gidak Digital, the collection includes music, sound effects, and a talented team of voice over actors. 

For the eleven people who are familiar with my books, here is the line up:

1. The South Bay Daily Breeze
2. First Kiss
3. Surfer Girl
4. Dave Cruz
5. Vasectomy
6. General Grant
7. Monsignor Patrick J Redehan

The CD will be available in about four weeks. I'll be announcing the date and location of the release event soon.

In the mean time, you can listen to "Dave Cruz" by clinking on the link below.

My third book, TEECHUR, Adventures of a Reluctant Educator, is almost finished.  I'm polishing up the last chapter and the book should release by the end of the year. In case I didn't mention it, writing books is really hard.

Finally, I'd like to announce that I am going to stop eating asparagus.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday, July 6, 2014


I'm excited to share this sneak peek-listen of Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar, a Gidak Digital audio production of stories from The Spirit Guide Bar and The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. 


Here is the link...Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar, "DAVE CRUZ"

Dave Cruz is a mostly true, coming of age story that takes place in 1979 Hawthorne California. Over the last couple of years, this has been my go to story for high school and college readings. Gary's music, sound efffects, and voice over actors really bring the thing to life.

Gary Gidak (left) produced the collection. He also composed the soundtrack and did several voice-overs. Gary is a ridiculously talented, engineer, musician, actor, writer, and zoologist. Okay, he's no zoologist. I was checking if you were paying attention.Voice-over artist Steve Pointer (right) did some outstanding work. His portrayal of General Grant is absolutely riveting.

Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar will be available next month.

Gary and I are planning a release event in the Phoenix area. We're considering having the event at a lawn mower repair shop or a feed store. Got to keep thinks quirky.

For more information, take a look at my website: Stories from The Spirit Guide Bar.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Best Thing About Writing Books

I recently spent an afternoon with Mrs. Halberg's junior English class. These guys were explosively inspirational. The class had been reading stories from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son and they were  kind enough to give me a round of applause when I walked through the door. Doesn't get much better than that. I started with a tried and true reading of "Dave Cruz," after which I was served up with a request for "Daphne Morales and the Silver Corvette." We talked about writing memoirs, the writing process, sensory details, motivation and inspiration. Something clicked as I stood before this collection of bright young minds. I somehow connected with their curiosity, energy, creativity, and maybe even their ability to dream.

I'd been stuck on the last chapter of my new book for a few months, but things have improved since I hung out with this crew. Thanks to a heaping helping of Halberg mojo, that last chapter is back on track and I can actually visualize a finished book.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Richard Rios is teacher, artist, and the author of Songs form the Barrio, a collection of stories and poems about coming of age in the barrios of Modesto, California. Songs from the Barrio is on the reading list for a boatload of California colleges and high schools. Not only is the book a great read, it's a compelling documentation of American history. The Rios family came to California from Mexico during the the revolution. The youngest of the family, Richard grew up in the 40s and 50s.  adventures of growing up with poor Mexican-Americans and Okies in North California farm country bring to mind the writings of John Steinbeck and Gary Soto.

Richard and I became acquainted as bloggers, encouraging each other in the publication of our first books. My wife and I finally got the opportunity to meet my cyber buddy when Richard and his wife came through Arizona. Below is a shot of the writer wives.

One of my favorite stories in the book is the account of how Richard and Chela first met. Half a century ago, Richard's mother prayed for her son's safe return from military service, vowing to make a pilgrimage to a shrine in Mexico to give thanks. Richard did return in one piece, but he wasn't exactly thrilled about beginning his civilian life with an extensive religious trip to Mexico. Being a good son, he complied with his mother's wishes. Coincidentally, an army buddy was visiting his family in the same town. Richard and his mother were invited to dinner, and low and behold, the buddy had a beautiful sister. Just like in the movies, it was love at first sight. Within a few days, Richard asked the old man for his daughter's hand. The father told Richard to come back in one year to ask again. A year later, they were married. Richard's mother prayed for her son's safe return and got a daughter-in-law with the deal. My wife were mezermized as the Rios's told there story. Richard often brings his wife to college readings; the students invariably ask Chela to sign the book too.

My wife and I are are big time Richard Rios fans and we encourage you to read Songs from the Barrio!

Here is the link to buy Songs from the barrio:

And here is the link to Richard's blog:

As a side note, I've decided to stop working with compost.
It's degrading.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

More Adventures of a Bug Man Writer

Last year I left the teaching game to focus on my writing. Believe it or not, writers make even less money than teachers. Business acumen has never been one of my strong suits. So I've been supplementing my income as a bug man, a bug man writer if you will.

Most of my clients are affluent, and many of them live along man-made lakes and golf courses. The mornings on the lakes and golf courses are incredibly peaceful. There's nothing like being out there with my sprayer watching the sun rise as a few rabbits scamper by - then collapse to the ground from the chemicals.

That was a joke. No rabbit casualties that I'm aware of.

The job is quite mindless, a nice change of pace after 25 years in the classroom. I have to be careful not to let my mind wander. I have sprayed the the wrong address, twice on the same day. I've also squirted myself in the face with my handheld sprayer hose - twice, slipped on slick driveways and fallen on my keester, walked into tree branches, and my truck has broke down at least once a month.

There can be tips involved. I've raked in eight tips, ranging from two to 10 bucks, over my ten months on the job.

One of my most interesting customers was a 100 year-old man. He was remarkably on top of things. The old man walked with me as I sprayed, peppering me with a steady stream of math proplems, none of which I could answer. He also told me he was an old geezer, but a woman pleaser.

Last week I was spraying a house at six a.m, and I noticed a photograph of one of my former students on the wall. There is a reason I left teaching. Class sizes had exploded. My largest class had 45 students. Somehow, somewhere along the line I lost my connection with the majority my students. I was one of the oldest teachers on campus, and one of very few who among other things, banned cell phones, marked them tardy when they came late, and sent them to the office when they broke the dress code. I think my old school discipline was a major factor in the disconnect.

I started class each day with a bad joke, something like this:

Hey, did you know the guy who played Chewbaca in the Star Wars movies was a professional baseball player. As a matter of fact, he voted Wookie of the Year.

Some of my students looked at me like they wanted to throw darts at my head, most just stared blankly space, but a few chuckled politely or actually laughed. Taylor, the girl in the picture, always laughed. She cared about poetry and Literature, and she was particularly drawn to transcendentalism, buying her own copies of the works of Thoreau and Emerson. She once told me, "I think it's so cool that all of your students hate you, and you're still nice to them." I think she meant it as a complement.

So there I was spraying the hallway with my hand held can when Taylor stumbled out of her room, still very much half-asleep.

"Good morning, Taylor," I said.

I don't know that I've ever stood face to face with a more confused human being.

"What?" she mumbled, squinting, trying to comprehend the meaning of her former English teacher standing before her wearing goggles, a large sun hat, a bandanna around the neck,  holding a fairly large can of bug juice in one hand and a spray wand in the other. "Mr. Snyder? Is that you?"

"Yes it is," I said.

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm your bug man," I said. "Are you you still reading your Thoreau and Emerson?"

"I guess so," she mumbled

I finished up the house as Taylor sat the kitchen eating her Raisin Bran. I don't think she was too crazy about her old English teacher spraying her house for pests this early hour. Not the kind of thing that happens every day. Taylor is graduating this year. She told me she was heading to the local community college. Her mother asked if I was still teaching. I told her no, but  I would be if I had more students like Taylor.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The First Batch of Book Publishing Tips for New Authors

Are you a new author looking for advice about how to self-publish your book? Or have you published a book and are looking for ways to improve the process? I’ve self-published two books, sold a good number of both and am now working on my third. I’ve experienced a lot along the way and want to share the lessons I’ve learned, including the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I also plan to share experiences and suggestions from other writers, and even a book store owner or two, whom I’ve met along the way.
Here is the first batch of tips:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Richard Rios "Songs of The Barrio" - Reading his story 'A Rite of Passage.'

Richard is a friend of mine, my favorite Californa writer. And this is my favorite story from "Songs of the Barrio."

Saturday, February 22, 2014


This is Clifton Batchelor. I call hm Clif the Lawyer. This is because he is a certified plumber. Okay, he's not a plumber. He's a lawyer - and web designer, and a writer, and a audio/video engineer, and a photographer, and an editor, and a graphic designer, and a publisher, and a musicial and an all around idea man. I'm telling you, this guy does everything but sell popcorn. 

To the subject at hand, take a look at the website Clif created for me.

Clif was instrumental in publishing my first book, The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. He edited the book, created the cover design, took the author photograph, and created Cactus Surf Press. Most importantly, he convinced me to publish the collection of stories. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm a big Clif the Lawyer fan. Here's his website. 

The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son and The Spirit Guide Bar are available at

Papa Joe's Barbershop - Chandler, Arizona 
Chandler Auto and Tire - Chandler, Arizona
Zia Records - eight locations in Arizona and Nevada
The Book Frog - Rolling Hills, California 
Barns and Nobel. com 

TEECHUR: Confessions of a Reluctant Educator, my third book, is on track for release this summer.

People who get sick when they go through tunnels while riding in carpools have carpool tunnel syndrom.