Happy Birthday to Me

I know it is a little weird to wish oneself a happy birthday, but I have some readers who desire to know more about me. I will use this as an excuse to inform you.

Today, I am 75. I was born in 1943, at the height of World War II. My folks lived in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the north edge of Chicago. Thus St. Frances Hospital in Evanston, Illinois was the closest hospital. When my father returned home from the hospital after my arrival, he found a letter in the mail box from the president. It was his draft notice. GI’s joked about their draft notices being letters from the president because each letter started, “Greetings from the President of the United States: You are hereby requested and required to report to. . .”

My mother liked men in uniform so she made a uniform for me. There is a photo dated late in 1945 of me in my uniform holding my father’s hand. We both are wearing identical uniforms with sergeant’s stripes on our sleeves.

I grew up in Wisconsin in the post war years of the 1950s and graduated from high school in 1961. College and graduate school followed that qualified me to work as a scientist and engineer in the paper industry. I ended my career as a consultant to the paper industry. Then I taught high school math and science in New Mexico.

Our two children have left home for careers of their own, but my wife of 51 years and I live on a one acre lot on the edge of the high desert. At an altitude of 5000 feet, the climate is comfortable. It doesn’t get too cold in the winter nor unbearably hot in the summer. The humidity in the summer seldom exceeds 10% increasing the comfort. We maintain our health through gym work and aerobic exercise. My wife walks. My exercise passion is running. We maintain flower and vegetable gardens, keep bees, and are active in our church.

While I was traveling the world on consulting assignments, I began writing fiction to entertain myself. This became a hobby that turned into a retirement career.

I hope to stay physically active for a good long time, and I hope to continue my writing both for my enjoyment and for your entertainment.

Look at my website, http://www.ReynoldConger.com, to learn about the books I have published. There is a page called,”In the Works” on which I make comments about the stories I am working on. I also have a “Bee Page” with pictures of bees and short paragraphs about my bees. Again, this is for my enjoyment and for your entertainment.

Visit the website soon. If you have questions or comments, there is a “Contact Page” you may use to contact me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fool’s Errand on Facebook

Facebook is a powerful tool and potentially very useful, but it must be used correctly. Fools rush in where angels tread carefully and act only after carefully weighing the strategies. Facebook marketing is more than simply opening a Facebook account. Some authors get good publicity through Facebook campaigns while other authors waste a lot of time and energy with Facebook campaigns.

My first book was self published. The book they produced was excellent, but the marketing services they charged me for were inadequate. There is a significant difference between self publishing and being published by a small press. The small presses I have worked with since actually have a business interest in the success of my book. Small presses work in coordination with the author.

The company who helped me self publish my first book simply set me up on Facebook, Twitter and other social media services and built me a website. They did nothing more. The website was good, but after a year, that started charging a high maintenance fee, so I built my own website. At the time I knew nothing about social media. I spent a lot of time and energy blundering along on Facebook and other sites without selling many books or getting much publicity.

I was thrust onto Facebook with the promise that being on Facebook would help sell books. I soon found out that a fool on Facebook accomplishes little, and I was a fool.

The first problem is readership. At first, I had few friends on Facebook. Since it was a personal account, few people other than family and close personal friends saw my posts. One must expand one’s circle of friends for Facebook to have much effect. It is rumored that Facebook intends to limit posts on your Facebook page to 25 close friends. If this is true, this hamstrings efforts to use Facebook for publicity. Nevertheless, marketing requires you to greatly expand your circle of friends. After all, posts related to your book are not intended for your closest friends. They already know you have written a book. The people you want to reach are those people who do not know you well. The value of close friends is that some will repost the post about your book.

The second problem is dilution. Consider the number of friendly posts people put on Facebook. These include notices of what is happening in someone’s life, family occasions, greetings to friends. I think this is what Facebook initially expected people to post, and there are a lot of such posts. Then there are the opinion posts where someone is advancing his or her political views, religious views, a favorite band or some cause. These can be overwhelming. Then there are numerous “cute” posts of pictures, puzzles and, “You know you are a ___ if. . .” posts. With all these posts, the posts about your book will get lost on a page full of other posts. There is no harm in making posts about your book(s) and your promotional events on your personal Facebook page, but do not depend entirely on a personal page.

An alternative is to also have a page devoted to your book. Again you start with the number of people who actually see your page. Unless and until you build up your followers, few will see it. If you do not keep posting fresh material, few people will look for the page. I set up a page for my first book.

As I stared publishing more books, I set up more pages, each dedicated to another book. Now I was again faced by dilution. Currently I have let all of my pages dedicated to books lapse. I have just started a page, “Books by Reynold Conger” dedicated to my books and writing career. This will enable me to post material about me and all my books on a single page. I will be able to update and add posts more frequently with less work, but even this will have minimal effect until I build up followers. We will see how effective this approach is, but it promises more hits than either my personal page or a page for each book.

Using Facebook to promote your book is your task. You must do some work promoting your book, but it will be a waste of your time and energy unless you put some thought to strategy. Decide how much of your time and effort will go into your personal account and how much into dedicated. Put some thought to expanding your following. Set and maintain a schedule of fresh posts.

So far I have avoided discussing paid ads. That is a topic better left for another time. Even paid ads are of little value unless they are well written and used according to a well thought out plan.


Visit my webpage, ReynoldConger.com to learn more about the books I have written. If you order any of my physical books from my website, I will send you a signed copy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Biker Mike

I would like to introduce you to Mike Barlow, also known as Biker Mike. He is a new character in the Richard Tracy series. Mike is known as Biker Mike because he fits the stereotype of a biker. He stands 6’8” tall and is all muscle. He used to be the leader of a motorcycle gang.

Slightly more than twenty years ago, Richard Tracy was a detective. He is now retired, but he carries a Glock in case he meets one of many criminals who he put behind bars. Mike is one of those men. Richard found the evidence to take him to trial. Mike tried to threaten Richard to keep him from testifying. After his conviction, Mike yelled threats at Richard. Richard would rather never see Mike Barlow again.

Richard Tracy lives with his second wife in New Mexico retirement house. They would like to spend their golden years gardening together, but trouble keep finding them. The first three books in the series tell the reader about the problems they encounter.

Richard doesn’t know it, but he is about to come face to face with Biker Mike Barlow in book 4 of the Richard Tracy series, Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop. Can you imagine a man Biker Mike’s size teaching crochet classes?

The first draft of Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop is in the hands of my editor. It will take some time to revise the document to take into consideration her suggestions. I expect to have Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop released as an e-book in June.

Please feel free to visit my website, www.ReynoldConger.com to learn more about my books. I am the author of four novels written from a Christian point of view. I have also written a series of detective novels called the Richard Tracy Series. Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop will be number 4 in the series. Copies of my books are sold at a discount at my website book store. All books sold by me are autographed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Star Review

Pardon me for being delinquent, but I have been very  busy. I should have let everyone know when my latest novel came out. Stoned for His Faith has been published by Covenant books is now out on the market. Of course you can order a copy from my website, ReynoldConger.com, or from any on-line marketer. If you happen to be a brick and mortar bookstore, the book is distributed by Ingram.

Stoned for His Faith is a Christian thriller with danger, action, courage, faith and forgiveness. The plot is about a US pastor who writes a book that teaches Christians how to witness to Muslims. Of course a mullah is offend and leads a team to stone the pastor. His church members respond to the attack with love and forgiveness. Probably you need read what is said in the news media or read about the book on my website.

Perhaps what is most exciting is that I submitted my book to On Line Book Club. One of their reviewers read the book and gave it a 4 star review (4 out of 4 stars). I will paste that in below.

Official Review: Stoned for His Faith by Reynold Conger

by Rosemary Wright

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Stoned for His Faith” by Reynold Conger.]

Book Cover

4 out of 4 stars

Stoned for His Faith by Reynold Conger is a fiction with a tale about Randy Koenig, a pastor and an author. Pastor Koenig just retired from being the minister of Good News Baptist Church in New Mexico. Recently, he released a book that unveils how a Christian can witness for Christ to a Muslim effectively. Due to his compassion toward people, he relocates to Wounded Buffalo Indian Reservation in North Dakota to ride the circuit in order to revive six Baptist churches in the area. Before now, the followers of Jesus Christ in the land were like sheep without a shepherd.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Janet, a college student, has been reading Koenig’s book, and she is using the methods she got from the text to preach the Gospel to her friend, Amna, a Pakistani Muslim girl. Unfortunately, one day, Janet forgets the book in her friend’s car, and Amna’s father sees it, gets furious, and strikes her. With fear, Amna runs away from home. Her father reports the incident to a mullah, who considers the book as blasphemous and therefore employs an Islamic team consisting of a former intelligence officer to track down Koenig so that they can suppress the publication. Can Koenig elude this seeming righteous indignation of these overzealous men?

Written from a Christian perspective, this crime thriller is captivating and entertaining. The plot is simple, easy to read, and fast paced. As I started reading, I got caught up in the tale right off. The makeup gets a reader hypnotized and wondering how it will end. At one time, I thought I was reading a nonfiction because the author’s description of places and events seemed so real. The characters are well developed and relatable. Actually, they depict strength and courage. In a fascinating manner, Reynold provided enough details for each persona to balance the story. Pastor Koenig the focal character is calm, interesting, and has a very pleasant personality.

In a concise way, this work explains the nature of Christianity. Exploring the themes of the outcomes of faith, bravery, love, true and chaste friendships, it provides adequate lessons to keep someone on the right path all his life. Interestingly, it teaches how to see things from a moral perspective without being judgmental. A reader can easily grasp some simple and reliable methods to win more souls into the Christendom from it. Being a believer, this narration has strengthened my faith, and I have learned some new things that will be useful to me for the rest of my life. Surely, I’ll read it again. It’s important for me to add that some non-believers may not like to read this narrative. Furthermore, this novel proves that God answers prayers and protects those who call upon Him. Likewise, it encourages the followers of Jesus Christ to learn to forgive and lend a helping hand to others even non-Christians.

Although the narrative comprises several characters, the author was able to connect them efficaciously. Really, the only challenge I faced was having to concentrate more at the beginning to ensure I followed every character accordingly. Frankly, I’ve not read a novel like this one for a long while. Unexpectedly, I let out a cheer when I was reading a scene exhibiting a rescue operation by some Sioux teenagers. It made me concur that “no Sioux is a coward.” That’s a slogan from the book. I’m delighted that Reynold based the story on the Native American culture and setting.

Lastly, this fiction is intriguing, engaging, informative, and inspiring. In addition, it’s professionally edited and thus I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. With much pleasure, I recommend it for lovers of crime thrillers, Christians, and non-Christians.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be not Offended

It is time Americans thicken their skins. One can not open a newspaper or look at the news on-line without seeing at least one article about someone being offended. Has our skin become so thin that we can be offended by almost anything?

Perhaps there are things we do not agree with, but do they necessarily offend us? There have always been disparaging comments and actions ranging from men drinking in front of members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union members to various ethnic and racial groups being called by names they consider derogatory.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WTCU) was formed in the 1870’s with the goal of eliminating drunkenness and other forms of alcohol abuse. They worked hard both at the individual level and the governmental level to fight “the demon alcohol”. Their intentions were pure as they picketed bars and tried to shame men into stopping drinking. At the governmental level they lobbied to have cities and counties declared “dry” by law and advocated the 18th Amendment. While they did not have the success they desired, they did have a major impact on public drunkenness and domestic problems related to alcohol consumption.

Of course those men who liked to drink, were not polite to WTCU members. They tried to disrupt the WTCU lectures on the evils of alcohol and often make a public display of drinking in front of speakers and in front of ladies who picketed the men’s favorite bars. Some men used their physical strength to carry “the little ladies” away from the demonstration. I am sure the women were spitting mad, but they did not publicize how offended they were. What letters they wrote to legislators and newspapers focused on the facts as they saw them.

Every ethnic or racial group has been labeled with one or more derogatory names. There are even derogatory terms for Whites that I have heard applied to me. Everyone has been called an insulting name at one time or another. At times fights have erupted over some of these labels, but only recently have people made a big fuss about being offended. Yes, some have gotten into fights over these names, but the majority of people simply held their peace, until recently.

Discussed above are two situations in which the participants would have been justified to be offended, but few voiced their hurt feelings publicly. Now it had become fashionable to be offended. People are being offended by the silliest things. A recent article told about fans being offended by the Christmas greeting card that Kim Kardashian posted on social media. No, the fans were not offended by the mention of the Christian holiday, they were offended because there was no mention of Kim’s husband.

For generations, Americans have decorated their homes at Christmas. In some families, the historic reference to Jesus has been lost and the decorations are totally secular, but the practice of decorating the outsides of house continues to increase. One family in Pennsylvania were inspired to include a big sign about Jesus in the middle of their display. The homeowner’s association is demanding that the reference to Jesus be removed because a neighbor was offended. I presume they were concerned others would likewise be offended.

If Jesus is the reason for the season, those people who are not religious should tolerate us “Jesus freaks” when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. If anything, they can laugh at Christians for the delusions Christians have, but how can non-Christians be offended? The world has never been unified in a single belief. In the past, there have been religious wars, but except for them, differences in religious beliefs have in many situations been tolerated. Why start now to be offended? I used to travel on business to Muslim countries. When I was in a Muslim country during Ramada, people would wish me a happy Ramada. Should I have been offended and thrown a fit? My practice was to thank the well-wisher and then ignore the holiday as best I could.

I can not document this, but a visitor to one of our local high schools happened to be in the building when morning announcements were being read over the PA system. It is tradition in that school for the student who is reading the announcements to end with, “God bless you and have a good day.” The visitor stormed into the office and demanded to know how many people were in the building. She was told 1200. She then said, “Well, you have just offended 1200 people.” Personally, I do not think her indignation was justified, but I can understand why she thought she was offended. I do not understand how she figured everyone in the building was offended? A large part of our population appreciates being given God’s blessing. How silly a statement. Perhaps she thought her hyperbole made her point, but it only showed how short-sighted her opinions are.

Jeff Jacoby, a writer for the Boston Globe recently published an editorial expressing thoughts similar to mine. He makes reference to a Jewish prayer in which the prayer is supposed to be asking God help him to forgive anyone who has offended him that no person shall receive punishment for having offended the person praying. He then extend the argument to say that he tries to make a practice of not taking offense when offense is not intended. What an excellent way for a person to toughen up their skin.

Personally, I would take this one step further and not take offense at all. Jesus told us to forgive our enemies. It appears that most of the people today are offended by what is said or done by their enemy.

Indeed our country had great diversity, and the only thing that has held us together has been the fact that we, as a nation, are more tolerant than many other nations. We are not perfect in this, but we are more tolerant than most countries. In fact, the very people who cry the loudest about being offended tend to be the people expecting tolerance in other areas.

We need to toughen up and allow our skins to grow thicker and stronger so that we can tolerate it when someone insults us. If we do this, we will be better prepared to live in harmony with our neighbors and our enemies.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, or if you insist, Happy Holidays. I know it is politically correct to wish people Happy Holidays, but it is my belief that you will get more joy out of celebrating Christmas than other holidays of the season.

Yes there were plenty of pagan holidays at this time of year, and people have made good arguments that Christmas was set on the calendar to replace one of the pagan holidays. We also have some secular celebrations that compete with Christmas, but a sincere celebration of Christmas has the potential of more joy than any other celebration.

You ask, “How can there be joy in a holiday season when we are running around buying presents and attending social functions, school programs and endless parties?” If such activities are stressing you out, perhaps you need to evaluate your priorities. What is important at Christmas?

The reason for having Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is not important that we may be celebrating on the wrong date. What is important is that we are celebrating that God came to Earth to live with us. One of the names of Jesus is Emmanuel, or God With US. God himself came to Earth to live with us as a man. God is no longer distant and unapproachable. He lived with men in the first century, and he lives today with us as a spirit. As a Christian, I am called to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

If you go to church during the Christmas season you will be told the story of his humble birth. You will learn that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was born in a barn full of animals. I hope you will be inspired to go to church and learn how much God loves you. You will learn that Jesus loves you so much he died for you and that he wants you to believe in him so you can spend eternity with him in heaven.

Of course Santa Claus, Rudolph the Reindeer, and many other secular symbols are trying to compete with Jesus at Christmas. They may bring some fun to the season, but please remember to put Jesus first.

There is nothing wrong with having some fun, but be responsible. Don’t get drunk. Try to spend some time with your family. Don’t spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts to impress people, but rather give simple, gifts to show your love. Focus your celebration on the fact that we have received the best give of all from God. We have been given Jesus. also known as Emanuel, God With Us.

If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will have the rest of you life making this relationship deeper and more personal. I will testify that Jesus is the best friend you can hope for. Then after death, you will live with him for all eternity, sharing his glory.

Merry Christmas.

Reynold is an author of Christian fiction. Visit his webpage at http://www.ReynoldConger.com. (One of the pages features pictures and articles about bees.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Launch Jitters

It may take an author several months or several years to write a manuscript of  book. I typically require 8 to 14 months to finish the manuscript for book. I may revise the manuscript up to 5 times to come up with the final form of the story. Each revision takes more months. Finally the day comes when every author must decide the manuscript is in its final form for better or worse. Otherwise, most authors would never publish anything because there is always the temptation to make yet another change or to put the manuscript back in the form before the last change was made.

It is now time to turn the manuscript over to my proofreader and editor while I search for a market. Again this takes more time, but whether I self publish or find a publisher, more time is consumed in the process of editing, book design, cover design and eventually arrangements for printing. Each stage requires inspection of the work and approvals. Typically a book is released about a year after a publisher accepts my manuscript.

Wait, wait ,wait. The day finally comes when the proof copy arrives in the mail. My proofreader and I scour the book for fatal errors. No, we do not look for typos, but it is important that the book not have a chapter missing, a page inverted or chapters mis-numbered.

I have given my final approval and wait for production and distribution of the book, Stoned for His Faith. Typically this calls for celebrations. The launch is imminent. If I lived in a large city, I might schedule a launch party for my friends and some potential readers, but in the small, rural city where I live the crowd would probably be little more than a few friends and the librarian. On my last book, I tried to hold a virtual launch party, but there were technical problems that messed things up. I have not made up my mind if I will try another virtual launch party. When launch day comes, I think I will celebrate by donating a signed copy of my book to the local library.

In the meantime I have been busy setting up advertising. I posted this new book in the store of my website, ReynoldConger.com for pre-release orders. Until release date, I will sell the book at a discount. I have in my possession a small box of pre-release copies and another small box is on the way. Perhaps another way to celebrate the launch would be to begin filling the pre-release orders.

Each book sold from my website will be signed. All books to US addresses will be shipped for free.

I ask my readers to at least look at my website. I hope it will inspire you to make a purchase either of Stoned for His Faith or one of my earlier books.

Drop me a line if you think I should hold a virtual launch party. The launch is supposed to be sometime in December. There is a contact page on the website.

While this book is a thriller with action, danger, and courage, the book also demonstrates faith and forgiveness. Of course, I also added several romantic subplots just because they add a little spice to the story.

Just as added incentive, I have included a bee page in my website. This is a page with pictures of my bees and a few paragraphs about bees. In fact I have interviewed some of my bees about what their favorite flower is. Visit my bee page for some fun.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment