Selling a house without burying Joseph

When we were getting ready to put our house on the market a few weeks ago, the topic of St. Joseph came up again and again.

The Dream of St. Joseph
Wikimedia Commons

He has always been one of my favorite saints, second only to Bernard (BER-nerd, the scholarly saint, and not Ber-NARD, the courageous canine). I also happen to be named after both holy men, Saints B and J.

Maybe this helps explain, beyond the perfectly obvious silly superstition factor, why I resisted the advice from so many friends to bury a statue of Joseph upside down in the front yard. Supposedly this, when combined with prayers, quickly brings buyers your way.

I read somewhere that the practice has its roots in extortion, whereby the homeowner would bury St. Joseph’s likeness and threaten to keep him buried until he pulled whatever spiritual strings it took to get the property sold. To me, that just seems like asking for trouble.

We chose not to bury the patron saint of fathers, expectant mothers, carpenters, grave diggers and others, and we sold the house in a week.

Now we have a condo, and of course the makers and distributors of St. Joseph statues advise condo owners to bury him in a pot when it’s time to sell. Upside down, facing the front entrance.

No way in hell.

We’re doomed: Clickbait Robot liked my tweet!

I hope I’m not the only one who thinks this is rather funny.


While trying to wake up this morning to write some real stuff, I let myself get distracted and felt I had to comment on this thing on Medium.

Enough of that for today, and tomorrow …

View at

A little book marketing

Toying with another way of getting the word out…

Progress on escape from literary obscurity

After posting recently about marketing an indie book and writing in the literary obscurity of my basement office in Longmont, I took a look around at some of the reader comments that have started coming in for my Des Moines crime novel, Blood Solutions.

They’re encouraging even if relatively few in number at this point:

Here are a couple posted by people who bought Blood Solutions on Smashwords…

English: Flag of Des Moines
English: Flag of Des Moines
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Review by: chand305 on April 09, 2015 :
    This thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Red Shaw on his quest to solve some grisly murders. Smith creates characters with depth whose interlinked lives are all affected by and implicated in the killings that take place in their city. The story pulls you in with its well-written and connected narrative threads and won’t let you go until the mysteries have been solved. Enjoy!
  • Review by: ianvanliew on April 08, 2015 :
    Red Shaw has a problem. A Des Moines-sized problem that’s a microcosm of all those unsolved murders out there, scattered around the UK and the US and Canada and points unknown. I’m a new fan of Red Shaw and I desperately want him to solve this particular problem before any more innocent parties are murdered. Will he or won’t he? Read “Blood Solutions” and find out!

And a couple more from Barnes&Noble readers…

  • Great book. i was hooked from the first chapter.  Great characters some you love some you just feel sorry for.
    I hope B.J. Smith writes a few more books about  Detective Edward Shaw .
    I look forward to his next book.
  • Great detective novel. Very good read. Can’t wait for the next one.

There are some nice, star-filled reviews on Goodreads, too, which are nice to see.

Good time to buy: It’s half-off at Smashwords for the next three days with coupon code LY86Z, and just $2.99 through Sunday for Kindle readers on Amazon.

Reaching out, one reader, one library at a time

It is trying—taxing, if you will—all this effort to make your writing stand out above the suffocating dreck* of 21st Century publishing.

“It’s a process,” my daughter wisely observed at dinner when I told her my first novel is now on the shelf at the West Des Moines Public Library, right there in the heart of my adolescence.

Blood Solutions turned up first at the Longmont Public Library just a few days ago, a few miles from my Colorado home, and it is slowly getting noticed and even purchased from various fine online bookstores.

It’s a process, for sure.

Ask the person in the next seat on the bus what she’s reading on that NOOK. Learn that she appreciates a good crime story. Recommend your new one.

Guy at the bus stop asks what’s new. Tell him.

Leave a copy lying around in your office, like a nightcrawler dangling below a bobber on a pond. Set the hook when a potential reader nibbles.

Send some emails. Ask beta readers and others to recommend your book on Goodreads, Amazon,, if they would be so kind and did actually like the story.

Mick Fleetwood
Mick Fleetwood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schedule some tweets. Revel in obscurity.

“Don’t be shy,” I remember Mick Fleetwood admonishing me again and again in his drum solo at the Pepsi Center. You say he wasn’t talking just to me? OK.

Still, don’t be shy. Build your platform.

Work on the next book.

I did ask for this, I remind myself

It’s a process, and it’s interesting, and rewarding.

* I tried to read 50 Shades of Grey a few months ago and barely made it past the first chapter. I wasn’t offended by the subject matter, but the writing was just too awful to go on.