Writing podcast – new episode

I do a podcast with Blackjack creator Alex Simmons about writing and related topics. This episode is about finding the time to write even when your schedule is exhausting.

I hope this is helpful.


Posted in # thrillers, #adventure, Book lovers, digital publishing, ebook publishing, fiction, film, independent publishing, pop culture, Pulp fiction, self-publishing, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do the Accusations Against Junot Díaz Negate His Work or Prove the Extent of His Trauma?

Junot Díaz, who, in a recent issue of the New Yorker, wrote openly for the first time about the ongoing effects of his being raped twice when he was eight, has now been reportedly accused by women of sexual aggression.

What makes this different from other, equally valid, #metoo reports is that, for his entire celebrated career, Diaz has written about sex abuse and an ongoing inability to maintain “normal” sexual behavior. He’s also written about substance abuse derived from self-medicating to bury past sexual trauma.

So it seems his creative career is based on the kind of behavior he’s being accused of doing.

So do these accusations confirm that the devastating effects of sexual abuse continue to spread like a cancer, which is essentially the message of Diaz’s entire writing career, or do his actions negate his work, even if that work is about his decades of suffering and shame and habitual abuse of others due to his rape?

This is a particularly cruel question about the source of creativity.

Here is a writer celebrated for bravely writing with evolving clarity about the struggle to overcome abuse and cultural macho expectations, and psychological need to compensate for both, and while being celebrated for documenting that struggle, his ongoing battle with it has reportedly done significant damage to others.

The cycle continues, as it has for generations, or more correctly, throughout human history.

How do we break the cycle, heal the suffering, progress as a race?

I don’t know.

Should Díaz get a pass because he wrote about abuse and fessed up about mistreating women while he was still mistreating women? The obvious answer is no, but then what did we celebrate? Why did we honor his writing as brave and healing and culturally significant and as shedding light on the ongoing effects of sexual abuse?

Here’s a person who was published with much fanfare for writing about still struggling with those rapes and their cataclysmic impact on his life; is he now going to get ostracized for still succumbing to what he wrote about and condemned himself for and struggle with in his writing as we cheered?

The victims of his unwanted advances are right, of course. One hundred percent. But it is worth noting that Diaz’s entire writing life documented his struggle to overcome sexual abuse, and to stop sexually abusing others as part of his often losing battle with his trauma.

Unlike others revealed as sex offenders, Díaz never hid what he was, in fact, he became famous for writing about it, not in a bragging, “grab them by the *****” way, but as in “what the hell is wrong with me?”

My point here is that sexual abuse is painful for all its victims, and often spreads like a disease, making the victim an offender, and while no one should get a pass, dealing with sex abuse is, by its nature, complicated and painful and unique to each victim. This doesn’t seem exactly like The cases of Weinstein or Cosby; Diaz made his career examining his problems.

In that context, bookstore reps saying they will no longer carry his books seems hypocritical; did they not know what they were selling all these years?

I would ask the same question of colleges who are considering severing ties with Diaz; what exactly got you interested in having him teach at your institutions if not his writing about sexual abuse?

And yet, abuse was inflicted. Women were hurt. Attention must be paid.

So what is the proper response when a public victim and offender keeps offending after fame? And what part does that battle between victimization and cultural expectation to “be a man” (meaning a lover of women) Diaz consistently wrote about play in all this? And how do we square worshipping the successful writer with condemning the experiences said writer succeeded by writing about?

I don’t know.

Can we benefit from art that examines the wounds in our culture while condemning the artist for still living with those wounds?

I don’t know.

Where is the line drawn for Junior Diaz, and in turn, for our whole broken, victimized, overcompensating, angry, confused society?

I don’t know.

But I think we all need to have a long, thoughtful, respectful discussion ….



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The Times They Are A Changing, Again

There is an education going on in America, and the class is mixed.

Slouching in the back row are smug political, media, and corporate leaders convinced they already know everything and are in complete control of their world. Too many of these self-assured “winners” do little to no homework or preparation for class, check their hair and make-up more often than their facts, and spend most of their energies coming up with ways to get over rather than actually make any meaningful contributions.

In the middle of the class are working people, parents and, yes, actual students, growing numbers of whom are frankly sick of the bullies and asshats and mean girls in the back of the room and are shocked by what they see happening.

The first seats? They’re empty because the best students have stepped to the front of the class and begun teaching.

Those louts in the back are being forced to confront a hopeful set of truths these days:

-The Parkland shooting survivors lost all fear among the gunfire;

-They know the game as well or better than those supposedly in charge, and show zero hesitation when it comes to taking real action;

-They are not focused only on their personal gain like the ones in the back;

-And, most importantly, they are not alone.

David Hogg demonstrated this to Fox’s Laura Ingraham with stinging clarity this week when he responded to her arrogant, tone deaf abuse by calling on those who have risen to join the Parkland survivors in their cry of #enough. He urged all those with the movement to contact Ingraham’s advertisers promising a boycott unless they fire such an inhumane TV talking head.

Thousands and thousands responded, either retweeting the call to arms or directly shaming the companies for knowingly sponsoring Ingraham’s arrogant abuse of a shooting survivor.

Ingraham tried apologizing but Hogg just exposed that for what it was – a desperate attempt to salvage whichever advertisers remained.

The pressure continues.

Yesterday, a panelist on @NicoleWallace’s show asked how often these young activists can go to the boycott well. I respectfully suggest he may not fully see what is going on here. These kids and their growing legions of supporters are already fully engaged in the new civil rights movement. It won’t be fought in Gettysburg; it has already been fought in Newton, Connecticut, and Charlottesville and Pulse and Baltimore and Parkland and too many other places. Where it has not been fought is in the state legislatures and in Congress and in the White House and in the corporate boardrooms of media and retail conglomerates.

David Hogg and his friends are leading their swelling ranks of supporters onto those battlefields.

Welcome to the war, all you slouching so smugly in the back of the classroom. These students are turning your tools against you, fighting your fake news with facts, your snide remarks with a growing arsenal of public anger, public pressure, and a public waking to the fact that they can make a difference, that they aren’t the sheep you’ve conditioned them to be for generations.

This generation isn’t having that, doesn’t need your permission, or want your approval.

As a teacher, I plan on standing with those who step to the front of the class to participate in this civil war. And I have no problem being a foot soldier rather than colonial.

These kids have prepared well, use their intelligence to combat arrogance, and wield sheer numbers to combat intransigence.

I would be proud to contribute to their cause.

Additional sources:



Posted in #POTUS, America, education, High school, politics, pop culture, teaching, teenagers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We discuss the NYT’s “Black Artist, Black Panther”


Posted in #reading, America, Black Panther, comics, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, pop culture, super-heroes, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What are you doing during this snow day? Read!

While I am grateful that those who read this blog come from all over, my information on where the majority live suggests that most will experience some part of today’s serious snow storm. In hopes of helping you through your snow day (or your Wednesday no matter where you are), I am offering you a pile of my ebooks FOR FREE today only.  Go to https://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Ryan/e/B007GKW7GM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_12?qid=1520426754&sr=1-12 and pick up any or all of these:

Added fun! Also available is the rarely seen St. Patrick’s Day Mallory and Gunner story, also free as an ebook! 

Go get yours now, and enjoy the snow day. 

Posted in # thrillers, #adventure, #reading, America, Book lovers, digital publishing, ebook publishing, fiction, Free books, independent publishing, politics, pop culture, Pulp fiction, self-publishing, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Indy Publishing in Peril?

Blackjack creator Alex Simmons and I are back with another episode of our podcast TELL THE DAMN STORY. Today we discuss the shifting landscape of marketing Indy books, and how level playing fields seem to be shrinking ….


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How to Stay Married – Ep. 2 – Learning to Become a Married Couple

So, here’s episode 2….


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