Uke Jackson's Blog: Working Class Bohemian

October 2, 2013

Boogerberries for Halloween

Boogerberries for Halloween
This month we're offering three tales from the award-winning audio and public radio series River Tales. These stories are in print for the first time ever with this e-book.

You can pay what you like to download this e-book from Smashwords by clicking this link:

You can also purchase Boogerberry Tales for a fixed price of $2.99 in the Amazon Kindle store by clicking this link:

Want to listen to the audio versions of the stories for free? Please click this link:

When these stories were released on CD and as a public radio series in the mid-1990s, Newsweek magazine did a feature article and the reviews were outstanding. Here are a few quotes:

“Entertaining, well-told tales . . . witty and delightful . . . entirely worthwhile”
Philadelphia Inquirer

[Uke Jackson] has achieved the sought-after but rare quality of creating original tales that sound ages old.”
BookList, American Library Journal

“Delightful – interesting characters who make us laugh and shudder. . . well-done and entertaining.”

“Rivers of fun for kids . . . Mark Twain revisited”
Big Apple Parents Paper

[Uke Jackson] is a genius, a contemporary Washington Irving.”
Mendocino Outlook

“. . . the most engaging characters in literature since Mark Twain.”
New Hope Gazette

“. . . mesmerizes right from the start . . . a blend of spookiness and humor . . . timeless . . . a marvelous tapestry.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Bank on it – [these tales are] sure to entertain . . . fun and funny”
Orlando Sentinel

Thanks for your interest in my writing.
Uke Jackson
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Published on October 02, 2013 11:09 • 66 views

July 11, 2013

Well, after a nasty scare and extended stay in hospital I'm still above ground and vertical again. If you're a gardener pretty much anywhere on the East Coast of the U.S., beware of ticks! Mine was carrying a non-Lyme bacterium that mimics malaria.

Shortly before all that happened, the producer of "Appalachian House Husband", my reality show, shot some test footage just to see how Sara and I do on camera. No lighting or sound other than an in-camera mic but everyone is pretty happy with the results. If anyone asks for a link in the comments, I'll post one.

We start shooting for real at the end of the month. Should be fun and interesting.

Meanwhile, I continue to write: several new short stories; essays on characters from my past for a memoir of my days as a young Manhattan bohemian litterateur; and the beginnings of a murder mystery featuring a gardening sleuth who could be the main character in a series, if all goes well.

Reading-wise, I've been reading novellas by Colette (5), Paul Theroux (3), Alan Bennett's brilliant "The Uncommon Reader". Also short stories by Turgenev, Pushkin, R.L. Stevenson, Karen Russell, and lots of current tales in magazines.

Still playing music, of course, though a sub was necessary for one gig when I was in hospital. Look for us @ Hotel Bethlehem August 8, 9, 10 for Musikfest.

And yes, I still have time to grow a large and beautiful garden -- though now I cover up and spray with Deep Woods Off with Deet.

Thank you!
Uke Jackson
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Published on July 11, 2013 07:58 • 48 views

May 29, 2013

I've been ignoring everything but my writing and the TV producer who is making a reality show about me. No kidding.

I thought it was a joke at first. But we're moving forward, and shooting several episodes this summer.

There are actually 2 very experienced producers involved, so wish me luck.

Oh yeah -- I published another paperback this month: Cafe Lysistrata, A Musical Sex Comedy.

Not bringing out an ebook version any time soon.

Uke Jackson
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Published on May 29, 2013 15:17 • 48 views • Tags: cafe-lysistrata, reality-show

March 6, 2013

Big Breasts and Wide HipsBig Breasts and Wide Hips by Mo Yan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know that Mo Yan won the Nobel for Literature. If I were to base my opinion on this book only, that award would make about as much sense as Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, in light of his endless war mongering and killing more than 200 innocent children in drone strikes in countries where we're not at war.

One of the 2 main characters is the narrator. He is obsessed with breasts and breast feeding, and the book starts off with such an out of kilter idea that the other main character repeatedly got pregnant while she was breast feeding that I kept waiting for this biological blunder to get corrected, but it never did. You would think that someone so obsessed with breast feeding would know that it acts as natural birth control. I'm a guy and even I know that.

All of the characters are pathetic or mean-spirited. In retrospect, there was not one character that I could really care about. That made reading it a real slog through the writer's mind. I get that he and the Chinese people in general hate the Japanese people. I got it in Red Sorghum. Could we move on please?

Mo Yan tries to move the story along at times with some magic realism, if that's what it is -- fairies and people turning into birds, etc. But it just falls flat. I was so glad to close the cover on the last page.

On the upside, this book took so long to read that I was able to catch up on all my magazine reading, as I could only spend a limited time each day with this book.

In summary: don't bother.
Uke Jackson

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Published on March 06, 2013 14:38 • 193 views

March 4, 2013

Well, I've decided to raise the prices on all my ebooks. Nobody is buying them anyway.
Soon I'll be posting links to my book reviews for a mainstream media outlet. I've reviewed for this daily newspaper in the past.
It's nice to get paid for writing. It makes me feel like I did before the internet came along, back in the days when Lauren Bacall compared me to Chekov on national TV (I have it on DVD) and I was interviewed on Good Morning America.
Frankly, all this down in the trenches, self promo etc etc -- sucks.
Uke Jackson
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Published on March 04, 2013 13:29 • 58 views • Tags: good-morning-america, lauren-bacall, mainstream-media

December 29, 2012

Read GR reviews here:

Romantic historical whodunit The Moon of Innocence free with Coupon Code PC83W for all ereaders

Until January 7, 2013. Please tell your friends.

Happy Holidaze and have a story-filled 2013!

Thank you!

Uke Jackson
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Published on December 29, 2012 19:42 • 52 views • Tags: catalan, historical, mystery, romance, short-novel, spain

December 3, 2012

Are NEA Literary Fellowships Unconstitutional?
By Uke Jackson

On November 30, 2012, the 177th anniversary of Mark Twain’s birth, the National Endowment for the Arts posted the eligibility requirements for applying for a tax-payer funded NEA Literary Fellowship. I’m not eligible but that puts me in good company. Mark Twain could not have applied either.
You see, Mark Twain was a self-published author. Twain, as Sam Clemens, ran his own publishing enterprise and paid to have his books printed. Either and both of these facts would have left him out in the cold as far as today’s federal grant-making bureaucracy.
Today, there’s a pretty good chance the old man from Hannibal would have whole-heartedly embraced the technologies for self publishing such as Amazon’s KDP platform and CreateSpace. However, using these innovations disqualifies writers from applying for an NEA Literary Fellowship.
The bureaucrats at the NEA are not Luddites by any means, though. Applications are only accepted online and the NEA arbiters of literature will not accept hard copy anything from applicants. Some might say the reason for these restrictive eligibility requirements are the overwhelming numbers of individuals availing themselves of the new technologies.
Isn’t that tantamount to saying the NEA cannot do its job without being elitist or anti-democratic? It’s interesting to note that any author published by Simon & Schuster or Penguin also should be disqualified, as both those companies have started divisions which will publish authors who pay to bring out their books. Will the NEA make exceptions for authors bound by contract to these corporate entities?
With hundreds of thousands of authors choosing to bypass the traditional gatekeepers, and with ongoing negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff, the NEA Literature bureaucrats are treading awfully close to the edge. As word of their egregious and undemocratic approach to awarding tax payer money spreads, the vast number of indie authors who are also taxpayers may choose to make a ruckus, and rightfully so.
The NEA has long been a bugaboo for Republicans. Democrats could win the current round of negotiations by throwing the entire NEA under the bus. It would be the sort of symbolic gesture (the $146 million overall annual NEA budget is minuscule in Federal terms) that would allow Republicans to save face and take home a butchered sacrificial lamb. That would be a damn shame.
The NEA supports all sorts of great programs, including music education efforts, small museums, and historic buildings and neighborhoods, as well as cultural institutions like symphony orchestras, operas, and regional theaters. Yet, as word of the NEA’s elitist approach to dispensing writers’ fellowships spreads, the potential hue and cry from a very verbal constituency could be devastating to the entire agency.
The NEA has no business carrying water for corporations and academe. Frankly, their eligibility requirements for creative writers smack of a violation of the Bill of Rights First Amendment prohibition against restricting freedom of the press. Corporations may be people under the law. But no one ever said they are the only people allowed to publish books with a de facto taxpayer subsidy.
With this past year dispensing twice as much money to artists as the NEA (keep in mind that NEA money often goes to administrators and other purposes as well as creatives), a good argument can be made for doing away with all Federal grants/fellowships for individuals in any creative discipline.
The NEA Literary Fellowship administrators cannot be allowed to both embrace and reject 21st century technology just to make their jobs easier. Rocco Landesman, the outgoing NEA Chairperson, should suspend the NEA Literature Fellowships immediately. As currently restricted, they have no place in our constitutional democracy.

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Published on December 03, 2012 12:45 • 254 views • Tags: createspace, mark-twain, national-endowment-for-the-arts, rocco-landesman, self-publishing, uke-jackson

September 6, 2012

I read an ebook horror novel so bad this past weekend that a) I can't believe I finished it and b) I'm shying away from reading anything on my Kindle right now.

If this is what some folks are epublishing, it's really sad for good writers working to break through. I'm not publishing a review because I'm not out to harm anyone's reputation, and these days it's likely to spawn revenge ratings and reviews and so forth.

Kindle publishing should have a "word to the wise" posted prominently:
Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

All of which is not to say I haven't read some excellent indie writing on my Kindle. But this thing was soooo bad ...

Uke Jackson
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Published on September 06, 2012 11:13 • 108 views • Tags: horror, kindle

August 17, 2012

GoodReads giveaways for Lord Byron's Coda

and Beach Tales:

end in 18 hours.

Uke Jackson
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Published on August 17, 2012 05:59 • 69 views

August 14, 2012

Tom Mix and Pancho VillaTom Mix and Pancho Villa by Clifford Irving

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tom Mix & Pancho Villa by Clifford Irving is one of the most overlooked masterpieces in American literature. It is by turns a great adventure story, an examination of the nature of revolution, an historical fantasy, a philosophical treatise on the nature (and shortcomings) of monogamy; but most of all it's a great read.

The storytelling shows a master writer at work. Irving may be best known for the Howard Hughes caper, but this book shows he is a real writer with total mastery of craft.

Several references are made to Dumas' Three Musketeers, and I certainly saw the similarities, and the differences. But if Dumas's writing and swashbuckling storytelling still excites you, you'll love this book.

If you like adventure, romance, historical fiction, cowboys, and a rip roaring tale of rebellion, intrigue, and the costs of the struggle for freedom, this one's for you.
Uke Jackson

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Published on August 14, 2012 08:12 • 86 views

Working Class Bohemian

Uke Jackson
News of my doings on the writing and music fronts; and the occasional rant related to either of those topics.
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