I post thoughts, memories, stories, novels, plays, essays,
reading lists, genealogical research, info about ebooks I have
for sale, and matters of interest to friends and family.
This isn't your typical web site or Facebook page. It's
meant to be idiosyncratic and fun. I always welcome
feedback and suggestions.
I'm the publisher of Seltzer Books, with over 14,000 time-tested books in ebook format, available for sale through Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, Apple, and PublishDrive. Earlier, I published entire libraries of books on CD and DVD primarily for the blind, who used "screen readers" to convert the text to voice. I also made a quixotic attempt to build and run my own ebook store, Quench, trying to single-handedly compete with the likes of Amazon. My publishing company was originally known as B&R Samizdat Express and consisted of just my wife Barbara (B) and me Richard (R). Samizdat means "self-published" in Russian. Barbara died in 2012, and I recently got an offer that I couldn't refuse for the domain name samizdat.com. So I am now rebuilding the web site as seltzerbooks.com
In the early days of the Web, I worked for Digital Equipment's Internet Business Group as their "Internet evangelist." When the company was swallowed by Compaq (which was later swallowed by Hewlett-Packard) I worked independently as an Internet marketing consultant, writing extensively about business on the Internet. Many of the books, articles, and speeches I wrote back then are available here. My AltaVista Search Revolution was the first consumer-oriented book about search engines. Library Journal, called it "indispensable". My Web Business Bootcamp was a pioneering guidebook for Internet start-ups.
My original samizdat.com web site, which I used as a sandbox to test ideas about the Web, has been preserved by the Internet Archive as part of their Wayback Machine. They have stored 666 versions of that web site, captured from November 1996 to September 2017. This link takes you to the part of the archive that is devoted to samizdat.com. Select the date you are interested in; then you can browse the archive the same as you do the live web, clicking on link after link. Everything from the web site is there, including all the issues of my Internet-on-a-Disk newsletter and the hundreds of articles from my blog.
I recently rewrote and updated The Lizard of Oz, a satirical fantasy for both children and adults. originally published in 1974. I also just finished a collection of essays that look at knotty questions from unusual angles (Lenses for Looking Through a Glass Darkly), a humor collection (What Did Newton Say to the Apple?).
In the last three months, I finished three novels that I had been working on for decades -- Breeze, Beyond the Fourth Door, and Making Time.
I expect my next project will be TGSN (True Galactic Supernova) a scifi novel about the consequences of an end-of-the world scam conceived for humanitarian reasons.
My historical novel, Name of Hero, based on the life of Alexander Bulatovich, set in Russia, Ethiopia, and Manchuria, from 1896-1901 was published by Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin. Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes my translation from Russian to English by me of books by Alexander Bulatovich, main character of Name of Hero, about his journeys of exploration and adventure was published by Red Sea Press. The journal Old Africa, published in Kenya, called that translation "...the most important book on the history of eastern Africa to have been published for a century...."
I have also written other novels and short stories, plays and screenplays, children's books and stories, and essays.
Richard Seltzer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Definition of my kind of novel -
You create one or more main characters, put them in an impossible inexplicable situation, bring them to life, and watch and listen as they try to cope. The plot and the case of supporting characters arise from the characters and their struggle. If you (as writer) don't listen and watch carefully, your main character(s) will go off track and not be true to themselves, and the story will grind to a halt. But if they do stay true, the ride to the resolution of to the the realization that it can't be resolved and doesn't need be will be delightful for you as writer and for any readers the tale have have the good fortune to find.
Everyday life is replete with impossible
inexplicable occurrences including, birth and death. So thee are
no natural boundaries among mainstream fiction, surrealism, magic
realism, and science fiction. An invented anomaly, like waking up
as a bug or without a nose, can serve just as well as an everyday
impossibility to get a story going. What matters most is the
characters who are faced with that challenge, that they live and
grow and react to the situation and to one another in ways that
may be unexpected but that always feels credible, who you can care
about and vicariously join on their adventure -- long-lost friends
sharing their story with you so you remember it as an extension
and enrichment of your life, for only non-readers and non-writers
are so unfortunate as to only live once.
Current thoughts (a blog-like collection of
Seltzer Books (titles organized as Virtual Book Tables)
Books in search of agent/publisher
- Making Time, Two
seventy-year-olds meet on a world cruise and
fall in love. Then when sharing stories about
their past, they realize that they fell in love
with one another and married 46 years ago.
- Beyond the Fourth Door, The first door is birth. The second is death. Frank and Marge go through the fourth door. query message
- Breeze, a trilogy of novellas, connected by soul transference. query message
- Lenses for Looking Through a Glass Darkly, a book-length collection of essays that look at knotty questions from unusual angles, looking for a publisher. query message
- The Lizard of Oz (satiric fantasy, B&R Samizdat Express, 1974, revised and expanded 2018) 99 cents at Kobo at Nook (Barnes & Noble) query message
- What Did Newton Say to the Apple? a collection of jokes and word play query message
- Echoes from the Attic, co-author Ethel Kaiden Self-published edition: $9.99 at Kobo at Nook (Barnes & Noble) query message
Works in progress
- The Name of Man, historical novel, sequel to The Name of Hero opening chapters available here
- The Name of God, historical novel, sequel to The Name of Man
- Making Time Together a love story and its echo forty years later
(True Galactic Super Nova), scifi
novel about the consequences of an end-of-the world scam conceived for humanitarian reasons.
- Mercy and
Mercy and the Gentleman, an
historical novel about Mercy Otis Warren and General
Johnny Burgoyne, during the American Revolution, a work
sources Works of Mercy Otis Warren
- Everyday Witchcraft in Virginia, an historical novel about Grace Sherwood in colonial Virginia, a work in progress
- The Name of Hero (historical novel, Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1981) $9.99 at Kobo at Nook (Barnes & Noble)
translation of this novel into Russian
sources and related documents
Stories and Novellas
- Saint Smith and Other Stories (B&R Samizdat Express, 2011) $9.99 at Kobo at Nook (Barnes & Noble)
- Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome (children's stories, B&R Samizdat Express, 1976) 99 cents at Kobo at Nook (Barnes and Noble)
- Heavenly Gossip
- Size Matters
- Pension Barbara
- Hundreds and Hundreds of Gerbils
- See You Later, Elevator
- Tiger in the Intercom
Books about Business on the Internet
- Web Business Boot Camp Hands-on Internet lessons for manager, entrepreneurs, and professionals (Wiley, 2002)
- Take Charge of Your Web Site (MightyWords, 2001)
- Shop Online the Lazy Way (Macmillan, 1999. Braille edition published by National Braille Press)
- The AltaVista Search Revolution, (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, two editions - 1996 and 1998; Hebrew and Japanese translations. Braille edition published by National Braille Press)
- The Social Web How to build successful personal or business Web sites (B&R Samizdat Express, 1998)
- The Way of the Web Lessons from the Internet. How to adapt to the new business environment, (B&R Samizdat Express, 1995)
- From Russia and Ethiopia to the Internet (Wesleyan College) article
- Surviving as a Small Business in the Age of Google: Generate Search-engine Traffic (NEXPO, Washington, DC) article
- The Future of Business on the Internet (Lewiston, Maine) script
- Increase Traffic on the Internet Without Advertising (IQPC Conference, San Francisco, CA) article
- Corporate-wide Knowledge Management (ExpoManagement 98, Buenos Aires, Argentina) article
- Business Opportunities on the Internet (Comdex, Buenos Aires, Argentina) script
- The Social Web: from Hyper-links to People-links (Web Week 97, Oak Ridge National Labs, Oak Ridge, TN) book
- Basics of Effective Web Sites: How to Succeed When the Rules of the Game Change (Boston) book
- Building Communities on the Internet (Internet Expo/Email World, Boston, New Orleans) article
Essays and Articles
- Internet Present & Past (collections of articles)
- Publishing and Ebooks (collection of articles
- Glimpses (essays toward a personal philosophy)
- Individual Articles
- The Story of the Trojan War in Heroic Couplets doggerel written in the sixth grade (age 11)
- Hi-Q or Peg Solitarie, a solution to the game solved and recorded in the third grade (age 8)
- Stories Written in the Second Grade
Plays and Scripts
- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)
- Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)
- The Lizard of Oz, children's play (1976)
- The Lizard of Oz radio script, episode 1, episode 2, episode 3
- Rights Crossing, a two-act historical play (1976)
- Mercy (a two-act historical comedy) based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and General Johnny Burgoyne. (1975)
- Traffic Jam, a short screen play (1972)
- Without a Myth, three-act play (1971)
Translation (from Russian)
- Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes (Red Sea/Africa World Press, 2000) -- including 78 photos taken in Ethiopia in 1896-1898 99 cents at Kobo at Nook (Barnes & Noble)
Dark Woods and Other Poems
The Story of the Trojan War in Unintentionally Humorous Verse
Sixty Years of Reading (complete list of books I've read since 1958)
My book reviews
Book reviews by Dean Rink