MIRROR OF PROGRESSION is the novel that I’m presently working on

My lasted novel is one that I’ve been working on for well over a year. It represents three generations of women and the changes that have incurred during their lives that have transformed what women can achieve when given a chance.  It starts with a woman born in 1922 and the hardships she has to go through to become successful.  Her daughter, who is born in 1945 and starts the second generation, is a segment of the women who started to appear on the threshold of the business world.  The third generation begins in 1977 when the grandchild of the first woman is born.  She has no limitations in choosing what she wants to be or do, seeing how much change had occurred prior to her arrival.

Something that I told my daughters when they were in grade school was that society had changed from when their grandmothers were their age and basically had nothing other than being a housewife.  Their own mother’s, I told them, were the first women to breakdown the barriers that men had created to contain women.  What awaited them now was the advantage of picking anything they wanted in college; the sky was completely open to them.  No longer were they restricted to being a secretary, or a nurse, or teacher, if they wanted to have a career for themselves.  They could now pick any major in college they preferred and become a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, a renowned scientist, or even an entrepreneur if they preferred, and no longer curtailed in anyway from choosing what they wanted to be.

I still have some work to do on the story, though, and it will take me more time to finally finish the novel. How long, I don’t know exactly, but I’m still working on it.

HOSTILE TAKEOVER is finally ready!


It took some effort, but I managed to get through the production process without too much trouble. The first copy of the book will be sent to me within a week for final review. Once I give my OK, Hostile Takeover will be released.

Here is a synopsis of the story:

Jason Chappell, a young engineer who has designed a revolutionary electric car that could save America, which is tittering on the edge of economic collapse as OPEC inflates the price of crude oil beyond comprehension. However, Ethan Gantry, the infamous King of Takeovers and a billionaire many times over, desperately wants Jason’s company. Gantry also harbors ideas of owning the next President of the United States in order to help inflate his substantial wealth and is willing to do whatever it takes to attain both a president and Jason’s company. The presidential hopeful is in full agreement with Gantry’s requirements for financial support to attain the oval office. Jason, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with Gantry and fights the mega mogul for his company − and his life.

I will update my website, http://www.StanYocum.com, and include Hostile Takeover in my list of novels. All my novels can be purchased directly from my website, or by visiting Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other book retailers. All the novels come in hardcover, softcover and eBook formats. However, being a new release Hostile Takeover may take a number of weeks before some retailers have access to all formats of it.

If you do purchase a copy of Hostile Takeover, or any of my other novels, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

HOSTILE TAKEOVER … My next suspense/thriller

I have submitted my next novel into the publication process and expect it to be on the market by May, assuming I don’t run into any problems. I am always amazed at how long it takes to move a manuscript through publication. But this time I can cut some corners. I first presented Hostile Takeover for publication in 2012, but then held off publishing it after discussions with my editor. She suggested that I publish Unrelenting Nightmare instead, which I did in late 2013. Further discussions followed in 2014, and once again she suggested that I publish Without You in order to offer readers another side of my writing abilities.

Fortunately, Hostile Takeover has already gone through many of the steps required in publishing, so I only have a few more things to do: designing the cover, writing the flap cover text, reviewing the final printed copy, things like that. It shouldn’t take that long, but you never know. I will release another blog when the book is available.

Interesting note: I first wrote Hostile Takeover in 2004, and over the next few years two of the unique issues I created in the story came true. The biggest impact was in 2008 when Obama was elected president. I had created a situation of the first African-American running for president. The other issue was the escalating price of gasoline and its effect on our economy. Both were factors that weighed heavily on my story and required major editing. Oh well, the plight of an author who dilly-dallies in publishing his work.

If you like suspense novels, I hope you will consider reading Hostile Takeover.

Wow! My Dad Wrote A Book

Tawny1The other day I was wandering through the house and noticed a door was open to a room that I seldom get invited into. I glanced around and no one was there, so I ventured in. Books were lined up on shelves everywhere. There were novels by John Grisham, James Patterson, Ayn Rand, James Michener, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, just to mention a few. What great authors. I glanced around a bit more, and then, on the top shelf I saw some books written by a person that I knew very well … my daddy!

I listened carefully for anyone coming and then got up and grabbed one. I started reading and found the story gripping. The characters were full of life and I knew I would like to play tug-a-war with each of them. The problem was I didn’t get to finish the book because I was lost in the story and didn’t notice my mom enter the room. I was told to put the book back, which I did, and had to play with our other dog the rest of the day. What a bummer!

Pssst. If anyone finishes reading the book, could you please let me know how it ends, because I doubt if I’ll get back in that room anytime soon. Thanks.


Without You — Well, It’s Finally Here

Cover Copy 2Without You is a story about two young students at a prestigious art school who fall in love and together ignite the world with their musical abilities and talents.

I wrote the story in 2010, and told everyone that of all the books I’ve written I enjoyed Without You more than any other. Previously, I had only written suspense novels, but I wanted to see if I could branch out and so I tackled the idea of writing a love story. I actually thought at the time that I would have a difficult time identifying with the trials and tribulations of two young lovers. But once my mind reconnected with my own experiences as a theater arts student, thoughts and ideas came rushing forth as I recalled many past memories, both good and bad, which I feel we all experience as young adults.

What always surprises me is how long it actually takes to publish a book once you’ve made the decision to do so. Once I submitted the manuscript, I edited two times: the first to clean up some point-of-view issues, and then to cut 12,000 words to get the novel to a more manageable length (the suggestion of my editor).

I’ve included a synopsis:

When pianist Matt Sampson first hears Del Rey Silone sing, he is captivated by the quality of her voice … and her beauty. He also knows that under his direction she could develop a voice that will stun the world. They are both students at one of the most prestigious performing-arts schools in America, and each of them harbors dreams of success. Matt begins tutoring Del Rey, and soon a strong attraction develops between the two artists.

However, the young lovers must find the strength to resist the destructive power of success, learning to balance the demands of their careers against the passion of their hearts. Can they survive?

As the power of Del Rey’s voice matures under Matt’s tutelage, Chris Elliot, a powerful musical agent, begins to court Del Rey as a client. But she soon discovers that his desires go beyond having just a professional relationship. Despite the unbelievable monetary rewards he acquires for her, her love for the pianist cannot be broken. Both students soon learn, however, that the strength of their love will undoubtedly be tested.

As Del Rey’s first album skyrockets up the charts, Chris arranges for her to go on tour, but she can’t comprehend being on the road without Matt. He, on the other hand, can’t imagine leaving school and giving up on his dream of becoming a composer. While neither can bear the thought of being apart, surrendering their individual dreams of success weighs heavily on their relationship.

Can their love compete against the applause and adulation of adoring audiences? But more importantly, is either willing to discover what life would be like without the other?

I hope you will purchase my book, which you can do from my website http://www.stanyocum.com with a purchase option link to Amazon. It comes in formats of Kindle (and other eBook formats), Hardcover, and Softcover. If you do purchase it, I thank you and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

A Real Charmer . . . How About That!

Tawny DognitionOver a year ago, Tawny was tested using canine assessment tests developed by Dognition. She went through a series of interactive games that we played with her that gave a perspective on how she sees the world.

The Dognition Assessment provides a window into a dog’s individual cognitive style—the thinking, learning, and problem-solving strategies that influence much of a dog’s behavior by assessing five core dimensions of a dog’s cognition: empathy, communication, cunning, memory, and reasoning.

When the results were published on Dognition’s Facebook page, Tawny was selected as an example. The above picture was accompanied by the following Dognition comments:

“Tawny is a Labrador Retriever-Golden Retriever mix. She played the Dognition games and profiled as a Charmer! Tawny’s report shows that she has an amazing working memory. This allows Tawny to keep information in mind for a few minutes so that she can mentally manipulate it to problem solve—out of sight is definitely not out of mind for Tawny.”

As a proud father, I look at my little girl and realize that I may not be able to charm anyone … but Tawny certainly can.

It’s Coming … Slowly, But Steadily!

I mentioned a while back that I was publishing my next novel … and I am. It’s just taking longer than I expected. You see, editors keep telling me I need to make changes — not to the story, but how I use punctuation. When I think a coma works fine, they say an em dash is called for. An em dash? What the heck is an em dash? I’ve heard of an en dash but now they’re throwing a new dash at me. How many dashes are there?

So I’ve been working through the trials and tribulations of publishing my work. I always think it will take a month or two to get a manuscript in print. That hasn’t happened even once. When will I learn? So I’m working away on em dashes, floating participles, hanging adjectives, soft spaces vs. hard spaces, etc., etc., etc. See what I mean? But I’ll get there; I promise.

I’ve stepped away from suspense novels in this book titled Without You. It is a contemporary fiction novel with a love story as the main theme. Now I was also told — by the same editors — that I shouldn’t use the term love story or romantic novel because there are strict guidelines attached to that genre and my story doesn’t follow those guidelines. So I say in a soft whisper, “It’s a love story that doesn’t follow the norm.”

It’s about a young man and young woman who fall in love and how their love is threatened by their careers. Now if that isn’t a love story then I don’t know what one is — just like that silly em dash! So stick with me a little longer. It’s coming and then you can decide if it’s a love story or a contemporary fiction novel.

The decision will be entirely yours!

Goodbye To A Good Friend

IMG_0123I just want to thank someone who has helped me tremendously over the last year; she actually made me look like a tweeting guru.

As part of my publicity campaign, I was assigned a media publicist. She explained more to me about media coverage than I could possibly remember. But I’ll tell you what, I was even impressed with what I was putting out over the Internet (although, she and I know who actually did the work).

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her. We’d talk every week and she’d have to listen to me complain about this and that, trying desperately to get my attention back on the true intent of the call. What amazes me is the knowledge she has about media contact and marketing, and she is not a young wiz-kid whose whole life has been during the period of laptops, iPads, and smartphones. No, she could talk about things that preceded the computer generation because she grew up in that time period. She is a mother of two children: a son and a daughter. What’s interesting is that they tell their friends. “You should see my mom. She’s so awesome. She knows everything there is about the Internet and blogging and Twitter accounts and Facebook and . . .”

Now when my children tell their friends about my abilities in those areas, they just laugh. I’ve learned to live with it, though, it’s who I am. I tell anyone who asks that I love to write books, not tweet and see how my friends are doing on Facebook because none of my friends are “on” Facebook; they’re just like me — older and completely out of touch with todays technology.

It has been an experience, and I will attempt to do what I can from this point forward. I’m just glad my youngest daughter knows all this stuff and is willing to help me. In fact, my publicist often told me during our weekly meetings, “See if your daughter can show you how to do it.” What, did she think I was completely inept? Maybe I shouldn’t ask that question. I may not like the answer.

So alas, it’s farewell and fond memories to a wonderful friendship.

Thank you so much for putting up with me, Susan. I will certainly miss you and always remember our time together. It  really was fun and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Ever Try Writing A Book While Riding A Bicycle?

imagesWell I have, many times.

I’m a bicycle rider, and when I raced competitively I used to ride about ten thousand miles a year. Then age started slowly chipping away at my strength and ability to recover from sprains, sore muscles, and fatigue. I finally retired from racing, but kept riding for exercise, but my annual miles diminished rapidly.

Now I ride less than three thousand miles a year, but I do it in one of the nicest and most beautiful places to ride a bicycle — Palos Verdes, California. I have the Pacific Ocean to look at, and hills to climb (which I do less and less each year), with wide bike lanes and few stop lights that always allow for a pleasant and safe ride.

And then I started writing books and everything changed.

My imagination started kicking in when I rode, and I’d come up with countless thoughts and ideas for the book I was working on, and even interesting plot ideas for new books. Then one day I realized I’d stopped looking at the ocean and beautiful scenery and was only creating scenes in my mind. It got to the point that I’d quickly return home to jot down my thoughts on the computer. I told everyone that was the reason why my miles started to decline, trying to avoid the truth about the effect of age on my body. Finally, I got a smartphone and was able to record my thoughts while I rode — which is not the smartest thing to do while riding a bicycle, especially in traffic, which is minimal in Palos Verdes but still there. It’s much wiser to concentrate on the road, but I can’t seem to stop myself.

I still love to ride, and also spend hours each day writing books, which I believe are two admirable traits: exercising my body, and my mind.

Now, if I could only get to the point of doing it at separate times!

Are You Kidding … Really?

imagesWhen I entered college way back in 1963, I wanted to be an architect. A year later, though, I changed my major to theatre arts and became an actor. A few more years went by, and by then I was one of the leading actors at Long Beach State. I was twenty-two at the time and pretty much full of myself, at least from an acting point-of-view.

One day one of my drama professors called me to his office and asked if I’d be interested in helping a fellow student with his cinema project since I was one of the better actors in the department. I hesitated, but the professor said it would help the student and I should at least go talk to him. Reluctantly, I said I would. But really, I was the “star” of the campus stage. It was really beneath me to do menial acting gigs for students!

I met the student in a classroom. He was about my age, thinly built and somewhat awkward in describing what he wanted. I listened but was loosing interest by the minute. Then I asked him what size camera he’d be using. He indicated an 8-millimeter. Eight-millimeter, are you kidding me? My parents used an 8-millimeter camera to take pictures, and serious actors don’t perform in front of such small cameras. I told him as politely as I could that I wasn’t interested. On the way back to the theatre, I was laughing inside. This guy was talking about shooting a five-minute short and he wanted me to help him? Did he know who I was? A strong indication of how self-centered I was back then.

Years later, I met up with a fellow student who had also been at Long Beach State with me. She was also an actor and I had helped her with the student-directing project she’d been required to do; much like the requirement the cinema student had to complete. We were having dinner when she asked if I remembered the cinema student. I thought back. “Yeah, I remember him,” I said, holding back my real impressions of the memory. She then asked, “Do you know who that student was?” I told her no, I didn’t remember his name, not knowing if I ever actually knew it. “Well,” she went on, “I got together recently with some of our fellow drama students from back then, and the student came up in our conversations. One of the men in the group told us it was Steven Spielberg.” “Uh, Steven Spielberg?” I gasped.

Now I was long removed from acting by this time, and had my own consulting firm. One of our clients was Universal Studios where Steven had a special bungalow on the lot for his personal use. This was after he’d directed and produced a number of hit movies. What I learned about Mr. Spielberg while at Universal was how kind he was, especially to those who helped him in his career. All I remember thinking after hearing that was how rude I’d been in not helping a fellow student.

A lot of memories and speculations are included in this reencounter, and whether that was whom I actually met with that sorrowful day, can only truly be supported from his recollection. I was at an event that Mr. Spielberg attended, and actually thought about approaching him and asking if he recalled such an incident. But I didn’t because I always wanted to remember the occasion, be it true or not, as punishment for not helping someone when I had the chance.