Thursday, March 15, 2012


More than 5000 souls have copies of my novel SURFING VIETNAM, and presumably some have even read it. Only 5 readers have posted reviews on Amazon . Yep, only 05.... I am now at the point of begging my gentle readers to review the book.  The book will even be available for free on Amazon Sunday, March 18 and Monday, March 19, if you have not read it yet. Free reading apps for non-Kindle owners are available for tablets, smartphones and laptops. 

I don't need reviews for the sake of my ego, although the "one-star" review that complained bitterly of too much f_cking profanity (and nothing else, damn it) did stroke my ego just a smudge. Gotta love the Christian right-wing nut-jobs as much as they love us sinners...

I do need the reviews to join some elite marketing programs that only take books with a certain number of (4 star average) reviews. Ergo the image of the begging bowl...  I am begging YOU to write a review. Reduced to begging...

In return for your review, I will clean the pasta bits out of the bowl. Then I will fill it with my homemade Coffee with Cognac Ice Cream. The recipe is below.

Whisk together:
 5 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can condensed milk
1 cup 2% milk
4 oz. very strong coffee
1 oz. Cognac
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar

Heat slowly while stirring until the mix becomes a thick custard, but do not boil.

Chill custard thoroughly and follow the instructions that came with your ice cream maker.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Check out my answers to author Ben Wallace's "20 Stupid Questions" (for authors) at Ben Wallace blog.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


In April of 2008, I woke up one morning and decided to bake bread, having never baked bread before. At the same time, I started experimenting with a photographic technique that I believed to be unique. Unique is a hell of a hard thing to achieve after 45 years doing photography seriously. In December of 2008, I began writing SURFING VIETNAM, my fictionalized autobiography that is currently doing well in sales on Amazon. I am in danger of making a meagre living at writing, as I have 4 other books for sale, soon to be 5.

Last week I became obsessed with making muffins. I wonder if the muffin baking is the harbinger of a new direction in art.

I have no idea how to give advice about making art, but I can give you a couple of my favorite muffin formulae.

Cornmeal Poppyseed Muffins

Mix dry ingredients: 
1 heaping cup flour
1 heaping cup corn meal
1 tps. bakng powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup poppy seeds

Add wet ingredients:
1 large egg
about 1 cup buttermilk (to make a thickish batter)

Bake at 425 for 20 or so minutes in a (silicone) muffin pan.  Makes 6
You may double this with good results.

Oatmeal Walnut Muffins

Mix dry ingredients:
1 heaping cup flour
1 heaping cup oat flakes
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Add wet ingredients:
1 large egg
about 1 cup buttermilk
about 1/4 cup honey

Bake at 425 for 25 or so minutes in a (silicone) muffin pan.  Makes 6
You may double this with good results.

Happy baking!

Monday, February 20, 2012


No, not making a living yet, but I can see that it is possible to accomplish... Last year in May, I gave myself 10 years to make it as a writer, since by then my savings would run out no matter how carefully I used it. 

In my secret heart, I thought it would be a year and a half before I would be able to supplement my fixed income to the degree I would not have to use my savings for living expenses. I now think this second, "secret heart" goal is a distinct possibility.  Look at the chart. Those are real numbers and not wishes.

In three and a half years, at "a certain age" no less, I have transformed myself into a different and viable creature. Sure, I have worked a lot, but in my secret heart again, only about half as hard as I am capable of working. I've also had a lot of fun and met some super people. 

All that new-age crap about affirmation and positive thinking making your dreams come true is just so much hot air to sell books and DVD's to insecure and gullible people.  Hard work is the only way to accomplish anything, but I do not discount the role fortune plays. Capricious old fortune... 

I have been lucky. Born white and male in a unionized working-class family in North America, educated by a system that worked (particularly at my beloved small liberal arts college), healthy, and reasonably sane, it really is hard to fail even now during Depression #2. Almost all of my good fortune has been as a result of luck with a little hard work thrown on top. If I were not an atheist, I would thank god for the dumb good luck that came from just being born into the right time and place. "Positive thinking," "willing," "affirmation," "intent" or whatever the New Age Whacks are calling their snake oil these days, had nothing to do with my nascent success.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I guess you get the idea. I want to thank you. "You" being the 2451 people who downloaded my 60's coming-of-age novel, Surfing Vietnam yesterday, taking it to #5 on the Amazon list of Literary Fiction.

It was a hell of a thrill knowing my readership grew by that much in one day.

I hope y'all love the book. Please leave a comment and a rating on the Amazon purchase page.

Oh, in case I did not get my point across earlier, thank you all.

Jim Hockings

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Tomorrow I am offering my major novel for free on Amazon--24 hours only. If you have a group e mail list, or just know one other person who likes to read, maybe you could do them (and me!) the favor of passing along the link to my book at BOOK LINK  Feel free to post the link on Facebook or Twitter, but, remember, it is only good Sunday the 5th.

Also note that one does not need a Kindle to read an e book. There are free apps at FREE READING APPS  for android, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.

Here is the most incisive review I have had of the book: “Elegant, brutal, I loved it… This book is like reading ‘Huckleberry Finn while listening to Steely Dan.” William Logan Dewar 2011

Have fun reading. Thanks a bunch…


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Dire Straits sang "Money for nothing and your chicks for free." Well, I don't know about the chicks, since I got me one good one already, but all the marketing gurus who are selling loads of e books on the net are telling' me that the way to jump start sales of a book is to occasionally offer your book for free. Since Amazon/Kindle is the big player in e books (most authors make 90% of their sales on this one site) you must find a way to list your books for free.

Amazon does not allow this as a matter of course. They are in the business of selling and taking a cut. The cut of nutting' is nuttin'.  There are ways to fool the giant into listing your books for free, but these methods are hit and miss.  Now Kindle has put together a program that allows authors to offer 5 days of a free book offering every 90 days (with lots of restrictions for the author).  I have enrolled all my books in this program and am starting the free offers with my book How to Photograph Children.

Cutting to the chase: Starting tomorrow January 18, and for four days thereafter, you will be able to download my short short book called How to Photograph Children for free by clicking on this link that takes you to my Amazon Author Page and from there downloading this book for free is easy. Please leave a review of it on Amazon if you like it or send the link to someone with children who might love a short article on how to do great child photography with little equipment and no technical mumbo jumbo. The tiny book is light reading, to-the-point and just wisecracking fun.

I will be hugely interested to see how it goes with this first attempt at going free on Kindle. I need something to jump start the sales of my longer and more serious work and this is my trial ballon.

Wish me luck,or better yet, help me give away this informative and whacky little book on child photography by sharing links and giving me an Amazon review.

Thank you!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Yep, that’s what happened—the gators ate my blogs.  That’s why I haven’t posted in a while.

On the road in Florida, not rooted and routined, I have not been able to write, edit, or work on my audio book.  I need a boring life to do exciting things, I guess.

I have been doing some photography, but unlike writing, photography is no challenge. Without exaggerating, I can do five or ten framable and exhibitable images per day, but who gives a shit? No one will pay me for them. No one will exhibit them. Hell, I would be lucky to make more than a buck or two a year putting up a hundred images as stock photography. I have fifty stock images up now and have not made one sale in a whole year. Simply, no one gives a shit; the site I am on has 17 million images—all of them pro quality. 17 million…

I feel guilty about lamenting. I am not starving, or homeless or ill—just underpaid and most of all unloved for the work I am capable of doing in photography and literature. Last month, with five books up on 30 retail sites, properly priced and professionally packaged, and a reasonable presence on BookRoooster, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, this blog, and handing out “author cards”, I sold three books for a total of under $5 in billings. Granted, two of the books are literary fiction and hard to move on-line, but two are detective genre fiction and one is a how-to article, and should be saleable.

The next marketing push is putting up free serialized audio books on iTunes and Podiobooks of the detective series. I am also going to try Kindle Select to get some action on the literary fiction. It can’t hurt to make them exclusive to Kindle for 90 days and see what happens. If those things do not work to overcome my problem of anonymity as an author, I wonder where to go next—into the job market at my age-- pumping gas, as the previous administration suggested to me as a solution to my income situation…

This is a “poor me” post, and I hate to post it, but in the mood I am in, I am sure not many will take the time to read it. Poor me...