Here I post thoughts, memories, stories, novels,
plays, essays, reading lists, genealogical research, info
about ebooks for sale, and
matters of interest to friends and family. This isn't
your typical web. It's meant to be idiosyncratic and
fun. I welcome feedback and suggestions.
I'm finally in a position to write
fiction full-time. Six
of my recently published novels (Parallel Lives, Beyond
the 4th Door, Nevermind,
Breeze, Shakespeare's Twin Sister, and To Gether Tales) overlap and echo
in interesting ways, with stories inside stories and touches
of magical realism and alternate history. This is not by
intent, but rather that all of them grew from my life
experiences and from exploring themes that matter to me. They can be read in any order.
They are independent stories, with stylistic and thematic
overlaps. Each creates a different view of reality, a
different way of trying to understand the mysteries of life. All
Things That Matter Press published all of those in 2020 - 2022
as well as Echoes from the Attic, a suspense novel
which I co-wrote with Ethel Kaiden. Meanwhile Booklocker has published Grandad
Jokes: 3000 jokes on Trump and other nonsense,Why
Knot?a collection of essays, a new edition of TheLizard
of Oz and Other Stories, andWe All Are Shakespeare.
They will soon release another novel of mine: We First
Met in Ithaca, or Was It Eden?
I'm also the
publisher of Seltzer
Books, with over 14,000 time-tested books in ebook format, available for sale
through Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, Apple, Google Play,
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. This included a 4-DVD set with over 20,000 books for
just $149. 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 late wife Barbara (B) and me Richard (R). Samizdat
means "self-published" in Russian.
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,
I wrote back then are available here. MyAltaVista
Search Revolutionwas the first
consumer-oriented book about search engines. Library
Journal, called it "indispensable". My Web
Business Boot Campwas a pioneering
guidebook for Internet start-ups .It is now available for free
at this website.
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. (They
now archive seltzerbooks.com as
knows Shakespeare. All of Shakespeare. Every word of every
play. No one knows
how or why. But tell him a line, and he'll go into a
trance and perform the
whole play brilliantly.
performs at the local beach pavilion, play after play.
Audiences swell, despite
obstacles, until an unruly crowd trashes this quiet town,
and the show shuts
a professor prompts Liam to recite a lost Shakespeare play
and gets it staged
at the Yale Bowl.
Years later, something even more extraordinary
happens -- a Spartacus moment.
Knot? a personal quest
132 short essays -- some fun, some profound.
Intriguing observations based on common sense
that could change your life or the world.
don't think outside the box. The very notion of 'the box' is
an illusion taht limits the range of topics, squashes
curiosity and creativity, and precludes innovative
solutions. Please join me on my journey of exploration."
Questions Big and Small
Identity, Memory, and Communication
Understanding Our World
Politics and Government
Literature, Reading, and Writing
Impact of Technology
Business and Product Ideas
from the Attic
romantic suspense novel.
Five strangers, two men and three women, share a Back Bay
apartment like a multi-generational family.
high jinks, vengeful jealousy, and violent death combine
to complicate lives and loves.
The Lizard of Oz and Other Stories
Humorous fantasy for children and for adults who share stories
An elementary school class sets out on a
field trip to bring back enchantment
to the world. They learn that you hae to go under the world to
stand under it
and understand it. And there are many levels of understanding.
such characters as Mr. Shermin (who used to be a teacher until
to be a fish, and then he knew how to turn himself into a fish,
many people, even teachers, know how to do). Humpty Dumpty
(who fell for
a little blue wallflower), Prince Frog (who would rather be a
frog than a prince
because that's much less trouble), Sir Real (who has cereal
instead of brains),
Lewis Carroll, the Knights of the Merry-Go-Round Table, the
Mothers of Fact
(Miss Hap, Miss Take, and Miss Fortune), Mr. Plato, Daniel
Joan of Noah's Ark.
Imagine The Phatom Tollboth crossing paths with a fifth grade
The Magic School Bus.
An antidote to social distancing, political chaos,
environmental crisis, and war.
Laughs to help you get back to feeling normal.
3000 jokes, 500 pages, a pound and a half of laughs.
Trump and Company
Nonsensical Science, Philosophy,
History, and Religion
Letter, Number, and Grammar Play
Speaking in Tongues - Word Play in Two
Never Grow Up - General Fun
Bedtime Whimsy and Romance
Pithy jokes for every taste and mood
To Gether Tales
This bittersweet comedy and romance has
touches of tragedy and magic.Writing during the pandemic and
feeling nostalgia for what has been lost, the narrator, Abe,
recounts stories told around the dinner table on a Caribbean
cruise two years before. Abe explains the title: "I'm writing from the midst of
this crisis, not with the wisdom of hindsight. Even if it gets
no worse than it is right now, much has been lost. "I'm hoping that we can gether. That's a word that
isn't in the dictionary. "To getheris
find new ways to be together, new ways to meet, to bond, to
love. "Even when physically isolated,
we can come together in spirit, to share experiences and
emotions to the point that we are intimately connected.” "In any case, may we always
treasure our normal life, knowing, as we now know,
that it is fragile and should never be taken for granted."
On one level, To Gether
Tales is a collection of stories told around a dinner table. But
it's also a novel, in which themes echo from one story to
another and tellers both disguise and reveal themselves through
what they say, all woven together in the frame of the narrator.
refreshing antidote to the struggles borne of the pandemic,
politics and threatening conflicts that haunt our daily lives.
Richard Seltzer’s “To Gether
Tales” takes us on an unusual ocean cruise that elevates our
spirits and counteracts the current climate of cynicism and
despair. Captivating, intimate and
poignant stories brimming with romance, friendship, warmth,
and humor bring a group of voyagers together. Seltzer's
inventive and engrossing writing enables us to join the
journey and participate as if we were on board, ourselves. We
disembark feeling enchanted, renewed
and reinvigorated. The Princess Tango,
a story from To Gether
Tales, read by the author (YouTube video)
twin sister wakes up in the body of a 99-year-old woman in a
nursing home in 1987. Kate has quite a tale to tell:
coming-of-age story, posing as a boy to get an education,
separated at birth sorting out the mystery of their
otherworldly connection to one another,
-- a lifelong
three-way love story,
-- soul projection and transference linking
individuals to one another and connecting past to present,
-- and the story of a young reporter who
falls in love with the soul he finds in the body of an old and
cross-dressing sword-fighting teenager, Kate beats Mercutio,
captain of the King's Musketeers, in a duel in Paris.
double and writing partner, Kate enables him to do the work of
outlandish view of Shakespeare's life and times stays true to
the facts, while presenting explanations that are intriguingly
Like Shakespeare in Love, this is a humorous,
romantic take on Shakespeare the man.
Like Yentl, a
brilliant young woman finds creative ways to succeed in a
Amazon reviews --
Seltzer’s story, Shakespeare’s Twin Sister, is a clever
We first encounter Kate as Lettie, a 99-year-old woman in a
nursing home, 1987.
Her personality transforms and she tells her “real” story to a young journalist,
He, in turn, retells a surprisingly plausible tale of Kate’s
multiple identities (male and female) as Shakespeare’s twin
Apparently, Kate played a large role in the writing of the
Not only that, but she is an arch feminist in men’s clothing
with longings of her own.
The book is full of good humor – the Arden family quotes
lines from Shakespeare’s play in their daily banter.
The titles are fun too – “If You Incest!”
Read this novel – it’s a mind-bending hoot!"
Einstein wrote: “The distinction between past,
present and future is only a stubbornly persistent
illusion.” This revelation is illustrated in
captivating literary form in Richard Seltzer’s
“Shakespeare’s Twin Sister.”
In the setting of a nursing home, we find a 99-year old woman, who not
only has a story of her early life, which is
compelling in and of itself, but, also, a deeper
tale, which challenges our assessment of our
conventional, apparently linear existence. The
duality of the consciousness of this amazing woman
draws us in from the very beginning. Superimposed on
this remarkable theme is the poignant love story of
the reporter of this phenomenon for the younger self
of the aged woman.
The theme revolves around the perspective of twins
separated at birth, the girl belonging to a
privileged family, the boy having a rough and tumble
existence. Their common origin is unknown to both
twins and they develop an attraction for one
another. The boy is William Shakespeare, himself.
As always, Richard Seltzer’s books are both
informative and imaginative. Here, we enter the
realms of Russia, Elizabethan London
and present-day America. Space and time are blurred
like an Impressionist painting. Nevertheless,
descriptions of place and historical anecdotes are
true and told in a vivid manner so that we feel as
if we are there.
Richard Seltzer’s novels dare us to extrapolate our
own present-day existence with that of our past,
possibly hidden, and future, so that our “souls” can
shift or even transfer. That is the intellectual and
engaging challenge of all of Richard Seltzer’s
Breeze, a young woman in present-day Connecticut, goes
into a medically inexplicable coma. Her boyfriend,
Yannie, a senior at Yale, has to
get her the help she needs to survive while trying to
solve the mystery of this goddess-like free spirit who
appeared out of nowhere two months before. In part two, Breeze
awakens in a different body in a different place and
time. She is at Troy in the body of Briseis,
love-slave of Achilles. She fears she’ll be taken
for a demon. She knows the story she is trapped in,
and she learns that she can make changes in what the
story leaves unsaid, so long as she doesn't alter
the direction of the narrative.
In part three, Breeze finds herself in still
another body. It's the fourth century AD and she’s at
the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries, near Athens. A
young woman lies down on the altar next to the corpse
of another young woman. In the ritual, she expects her
soul will move to the body of the dead woman. Instead,
the dead woman comes to life with the soul of Breeze.
That glitch leads to humorous complications as well
insights into the ironies of everyday life and love.
A WWII romance veers off into an alternate
reality and then another and another.
"Richard Seltzer takes us on another spellbinding
journey into an alterante
reality that defies our familiar perception of space and
time. Nevermind is a story
with a backdrop that seems grounded on the surface, but
turns into a flight of mind-bending twists."
Without knowing why or how, two college students wake
up 50 years older than they were when they went to
sleep and with no memory of what has happened in
The first door is birth. The second is death. Finally,
Frank and Marge go through the fourth door.
Seltzer's vast imagination knows no bounds... Think Thomas Wolfe. Think The
Razor's Edge by Maugham. ...the main
character...talented, energetic, charismatic...
genre-defying Be prepared for a wild ride." "Richard Seltzer is a master of
educating us to the possibilities of existence once we
set our mind free and open the door to the unknown."
which begins in an assisted-living facity
in New Hampshire, leads to 18th century Boston and London,
where there's unfinished business that residents, through
mirror selves, must take care of.
The original 3-volume work is 1317 pages long.
Mercy wrote early drafts of this work near the time of the
events described, and completed the work about four years
before it appeared in 1805. Mercy wrote in the third
person even when dealing with events involving her
immediate family. James Otis (early advocate of the rights
of the colonies) was her brother, James Warren (speaker of
the Massachusetts House of Representatives) was her
husband, and Winslow Warren (would-be diplomat) was her
Barracks (from Saint Smith and Other Stories),
novella, 11K words, published
online at fictionontheweb.co.uk. Was
also published online at Untold Tales Publishingwhich
now defunct. The Barracks takes
place during basic training at Fort Polk, LA, in the
summer of 1970, during the Viet Nam War. The overwhelming
majority of the trainees are reservists. All white, in a
matter of weeks, they'll return home and go about their
usual lives, unless something unexpected goes wrong. Four
black trainees in the same platoon face immediate
assignment to Viet Nam, so they have been deliberately
failing the course, being "recycled," over
and over again. Tensions of the war (which none
of them support) and race relations (which the reservists
never faced before) come to a head over an incident that
in and of itself seems to have little significance but
symbolically looms large.
Gentle Inquisitor and Other Stories, Was
published online at Untold
Tales Publishing, which is
These eight ironic stories deal with serious questions
in unique and playful ways. They'll make you smile and
wonder and prompt you to think about human nature and
the meaning of life from new perspectives.
AltaVista Search Revolution:How
to Find Anything on the Internet, Osborne/McGraw-Hill,
1997 and 1998, with Eric J. Ray and Deborah S. Ray
The first consumer book about
search engines. (AltaVista was the forerunner of
Google.) Winner of the
"Distinguished Technical Communication Award," the
highest award given by the Society for Technical
editions, Hebrew and
Japanese translations. Braille version published by
National Braille Press
"This complete guide to using
the AltaVista web searching/indexing system will be
indispensable to both librarians and patrons.... Get
one copy to circulate, nail one down in the computer
lab, and pass one around the reference desk." -- Library
- 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,
- Increase Traffic on the Internet Without Advertising (IQPC Conference, San Francisco,
- Corporate-wide Knowledge Management(ExpoManagement 98,Buenos
- 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,
- 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