Richard's Home Online

FYI -- When you arrive here, your browser may say this site is "insecure." Please note that there are no forms or transactions here -- just text for you to read for free. Hence there is no need for encryption.

Richard Seltzer
Here I post thoughts, memories, stories, novels, plays, essays, reading lists, genealogical research, info about ebooks for sale, and matters of interest to friends and family.  This isn't your typical web.  It's meant to be idiosyncratic and fun.  I always welcome feedback and suggestions.


I am finally in a position to write fiction full-time.
My novels Parallel Lives and Beyond the 4th Door were recently published by All Things That Matter Press. That same publisher will soon be publishing three other novels of mine:  Nevermind, Breeze and To Gether Tales. I just finished writing  another novel Shakespeare's Twin Sister. In addition, I continue to look for publishers for a book of essays (Lenses), a collection of 2400 short jokes (Laugh and Let Laugh), and another novel (The Attic, co-written with Ethel Kaiden).. .
 
I'm also the publisher of Seltzer Books, with over 14,000 time-tested books in ebook format, available for sale through Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, Apple, Google Play, and PublishDrive. Earlier, I published entire libraries of books on CD and DVD primarily for the blind, who used "screen readers" to convert the text to voice. (This included a 4-DVD set with over 20,000 books for just $149). I also made a quixotic attempt to build and run my own ebook store, Quench, trying to single-handedly compete with the likes of Amazon. My publishing company was originally known as B&R Samizdat Express and consisted of just my wife Barbara (B) and me Richard (R). Samizdat means "self-published" in Russian. Barbara died in 2012, and I recently got an offer that I couldn't refuse for the domain name samizdat.com. So I am now rebuilding the web site as seltzerbooks.com 

In the early days of the Web, I worked for Digital Equipment's Internet Business Group as their "Internet evangelist." When the company was swallowed by Compaq (which was later swallowed by Hewlett-Packard) I worked independently as an Internet marketing consultant, writing extensively about business on the Internet. Many of the books, articles, and speeches I wrote back then are available here. My AltaVista Search Revolution was the first consumer-oriented book about search engines. Library Journal, called it "indispensable". My Web Business Boot Camp was a pioneering guidebook for Internet start-ups.

My original samizdat.com web site, which I used as a sandbox to test ideas about the Web, has been preserved by the Internet Archive as part of their Wayback Machine.  They have stored 666 versions of that web site, captured from November 1996 to September 2017.
This link takes you to the part of the archive that is devoted to samizdat.com. Select the date you are interested in; then you can browse the archive the same as you do the live web, clicking on link after link.  Everything from the web site is there, including all the issues of my Internet-on-a-Disk newsletter and the hundreds of articles from my blog. (They now archive seltzerbooks.com )

Richard Seltzer, seltzer@seltzerbooks.com

Follow me on Twitter
twitter.com/SeltzerBooks
My author page at Amazon
My author page at Goodreads
My blog at Goodreads
List of my published books

Beyond the Fourth Door
Published by All Things that Matter Press

Without knowing why or how, two college students wake up 50 years older than they were when they went to sleep and with no memory of what has happened in between.
The first door is birth. The second is death. Finally, Frank and Marge go through the fourth door.
5 out of 5 stars

"Richard Seltzer's vast imagination knows no bounds...
Think Thomas Wolfe. Think The Razor's Edge by Maugham.
...the main character...talented, energetic, charismatic... genre-defying Be prepared for a wild ride."
"Richard Seltzer is a master of educating us to the possibilities of existence once we set our mind free and open the door to the unknown."


paperback    Kindle ebook


Parallel Lives
published 2020 by All Things that Matter Press

The story, which begins in an assisted-living facity in New Hampshire, leads to 18th century Boston and London, where there's unfinished business that residents, through mirror selves, must take care of.

5.0 out of 5 stars
"Ingeniously woven trip through space and time"


paperback

Kindle ebook

blog interview

Please read, enjoy and review


What would have been a epigraph for this novel if I had read it sooner:

"What then is Time? Is its course but one way? Or is it like a swift stream that rolls some things along faster and some slower, leaves, sticks and stones, which may change places, and pass each other by, collide, and combine, even as all are borne along? I sometimes think that we lead many lives between birth and dying, and one one, or perhaps two, are ever known to us consciously, the others pass in parallel, invisible, or they run backward while the one we busy ourselves with runs forward."
from Lord Byron's Novel by John Crowley


Works by and about historical figures who are characters in this novel:

Mercy Otis Warren, historian and playwright

The Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution


The original 3-volume work is 1317 pages long. Mercy wrote early drafts of this work near the time of the events described, and completed the work about four years before it appeared in 1805. Mercy wrote in the third person even when dealing with events involving her immediate family. James Otis (early advocate of the rights of the colonies) was her brother, James Warren (speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives) was her husband, and Winslow Warren (would-be diplomat) was her son.
Other works by Mercy Otis Warren

Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne, general and playwright

____________________________

Under contract to the same publisher (All Things That Matter Press). To be published in the next few months.


Nevermind, novel, written 2012-2020


The lives of Ruth and Mark are transformed by nevermind magic that Ruth learned from her mother—magic that can undo what has been done and alter the shape of reality. They fall in love and marry in their early 20s during WWII. They split up, then meet 40 years later and fall in love again.

When they first meet, their on-again off-again romance and the challenges of wartime America force them to grow up quickly. Their marriage falls apart when they lose their four-month-old son, Davey, on a transcontinental train. They blame one another and divorce. Then, separately, each of them invokes nevermind, finds Davey, and raises him.

When they meet and fall in love for the second time they ralize they've been living in parallel worlds and need to bring those worlds together into a new reality.

Breeze

Breeze, a young woman in present-day Connecticut, goes into a medically inexplicable coma. Her boyfriend, Yannie, a senior at Yale, has to get her the help she needs to survive, while trying to solve the mystery of this goddess-like free spirit who appeared out of nowhere two months before and turned his life upsidedown. His ex, Lauren, a childhood friend, gives him the support and advice he needs, helping him rebuild his life, while trying to win him back.

In part two, Breeze wakes up in a different body in a different place and time. She is at Troy in the body of Briseis, love-slave of Achilles, and she needs to improvise quickly so she won't be taken for a demon. She knows the story she is now trapped in, and she learns that she can make changes in what the story doesn't say, so long as they don't alter the direction of the narrative. With the help of vengeful friends, she murders Achilles, who she loves, but stages it so the world believes he died in combat at the walls of Troy. And despite that, she and Achilles survive and ride off together to the east, where she will become an Amazon warrior and he her stay-at-home husband.

In part three, Breeze finds herself in still another body in another time and place, with a different Achilles. It's the fourth century AD, at the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries, near Athens. A young woman lies down on the altar next to the corpse of another young woman. It is expected that in the ritual the soul of the living woman will move to the body of the dead woman. But instead, the dead woman comes to life with soul of Breeze. That glitch leads to humorous complications and rivalries as well insights into the ironies of ordinary life and love.

To Gether Tales

Bittersweet comedy and romance, with touches of tragedy and magic.

 

The narrator is writing now, during the pandemic, feeling nostalgia for what has been lost, as he recounts stories that were told around the dinner table on a Caribbean cruise two years before. The stories, many of which could stand alone, are woven together as a novel.

 

As Abe, the narrator explains at the beginning:

 

            On a cruise, strangers could be thrown together around the same dinner table for the duration, seven days or two weeks or all the way up to the ultimate − a world cruise of a hundred eleven days. This was a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Regal Princess, a floating town, with thirty-five hundred passengers and thirteen hundred crew. This time, by chance, my dinner companions were articulate, creative, and fun. One among us, Uncle Adolph, served as ringmaster, coaxing us to tell our personal stories and then to create new stories which kept us entertained and bonded us together with our knowledge of and concern for one another.

            Of course, at the time, none of us had the least suspicion that the world we took for granted would soon change, that the tales that we shared over dinner might soon seem like fairy tales, impossible in the harsh conditions of a new normal ...

Sharing our tales over dinner, we believed that romantic love was a possibility for people of all ages. But perhaps we sensed the fragility of that belief. Perhaps we were moved to share these stories in part because of the possibility that emotional magic might someday go away. Not that people would never love again, but that they wouldn't be able to fall in love simply and spontaneously.

            We celebrated love in all its forms, from the sweet innocence of youth to the uninhibited lust of age, with a sprinkling of bawdy wit. And I want to capture and preserve the flavor of that time as well as the stories themselves.

            I treasure those stories all the more now as I remember and record them, trying with my words to preserve the romantic flavor of that bygone age, the hopes and desires that once shaped lives and that now seem unreal. I didn't know at the time that human nature could change so much, that we could adapt so quickly to survive not just contagion but economic disruption as well, and that that might mean the end of hopes and dreams, and the end of what we once thought of as romantic love.

            I don't want to imply that cruises by nature were romantic, à la Love Boat. These stories, for the most part, are not about shipboard romance. The ship is the setting for the telling of the tales, not necessarily the setting of the tales themselves. I'm not just lamenting the end of cruising. The loss is far greater than that. Romantic love itself may have ended − God forbid.

 

He explains the intriguing title at the end:

            I'm writing from the midst of this crisis, not with the wisdom of hindsight. Even if it gets no worse than it is right now, much has been lost.

            I'm hoping that we can gether. That's a word that isn't in the dictionary.

            To gether is to find new ways to be together, new ways to meet, to bond, to love.

            Even when physically isolated, I believe we can adapt and create myriad ties to others. We can come together in spirit, to share experiences and emotions to the point that we are intimately connected.

            Perhaps the virus will mutate to become less virulent or we will have an effective vaccine. In that case, you will be able to read these stories from an ironic perspective, knowing that the world returned to the old normal and my speculation about what was lost was overreaction.

            May that be so.

            In any case, may we always treasure our normal life, knowing, as we now know, that it is fragile and should never be taken for granted.



RICHARD'S OTHER WORKS

The Barracks
(from Saint Smith and Other Stories), novella, 11K words also published at Untold Tales Publishing,
The Barracks
 takes place during basic training at Fort Polk, LA, in the summer of 1970, during the Viet Nam War. The overwhelming majority of the trainees are reservists. All white, in a matter of weeks, they'll return home and go about their usual lives, unless something unexpected goes wrong. Four black trainees in the same platoon face immediate assignment to Viet Nam, so they have been deliberately failing the course, being "recycled," over and over again. Tensions of the war (which none of them support) and race relations (which the reservists never faced before) come to a head over an incident that in and of itself seems to have little significance but symbolically looms large.

    based on that novella  The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989) and Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)

  The Gentle Inquisitor and Other Stories, published at Untold Tales Publishing,
These eight ironic stories deal with serious questions in unique and playful ways. They'll make you smile and wonder and prompt you to think about human nature and the meaning of life from new perspectives.

  The AltaVista Search Revolution:How to Find Anything on the Internet, Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1997 and 1998, with Eric J. Ray and Deborah S. Ray
     The first consumer book about search engines. (AltaVista was the forerunner of Google.)
     
Winner of the "Distinguished Technical Communication Award," the highest award given by the Society for Technical Communication Publications.    
     2 editions, Hebrew and Japanese translations. Braille version published by National Braille Press    
     "This complete guide to using the AltaVista web searching/indexing system will be indispensable to both librarians and patrons.... Get one copy to circulate, nail one down in the computer lab, and pass one around the reference desk."
-- Library Journal
 

  Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes by Alexander Bulatovich, translation by Richard Seltzer (Red Sea/Africa World Press, 2000)      at Kobo     at Nook    at Apple
     including 78 photos taken in Ethiopia in 1896-1898
     "...the most important book on the history of eastern Africa to have been published for a century...."
   Old Africa (complete review)

My Third Journey to Ethiopia, 1899-1900 by Alexander Bulatovich, translation by Richard Seltzer
Assembled from previously unpublished items in the Russian archives, this is a lively and detailed account of Bulatovich's travels, at the behest of Ethiopian Emperor Meneik II, in the northwestern border regions of the country, at a time when war with England seemed imminent. Bulatovich provides an insightful assessment of England's likely moves and what Menelik could do to block them, even including an invasion of the Sudan. Once again he provides previously unknown details about a critical time in Ethiopia's history. There's also a brief account of Bulatovich's fourth journey to Ethiopia in 1911, at which time he was a Russian Orthodox monk and sought to found a monastery at a lake to the south of Addis Ababa. This is a companion to Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes.

  The Lizard of Oz, fantasy, 1974, revised and expanded 2018  at Kobo  at Nook query message for second edition     at Apple      at Nook      at Kobo   query message
    
"An intriguing and very entertaining little novel" Library Journal
     "Carroll and Tolkien have a new companion"
Aspect
     "A work so saturated that the mind is both stoned with pleasure and alive with wonder"
Lancaster Independent Press
     "A commentary on our times done delightfully" Philadelphia Bulletin
     "A gallery of figments of contemporary culture that could take its place on the library shelf of memory along with classic figures of children's fiction" Valley  Advocate
"Adventures in Small Press Publishing" the story of how I self-published this book in 1974

  Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome, children's stories, 1976    at Kobo     at Nook     at Apple
     "A highly original collection of short stories, sometimes humorous, sometimes profound." Boston Globe

  The Name of Hero, historical novel, Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1981    at Kobo     at Nook     at Apple
     translation of this novel into Russian 
     sources and related documents


   Saint Smith and Other Stories, 2011    at Kobo    at Nook     at Apple


- Lenses, written 1995-2020 a book-length collection of short essays that look at knotty questions from unusual angles

 Echoles From the Attic, novel, with Ethel Kaiden, written 2008 at Kobo  at Nook (Barnes & Noble)


  MGMT MEMO: Management Lessons from DEC, 2018    at Apple    at Nook    at Google Play


  Snapshots of DEC, 2018     at Apple     at Nook


 Web Business Boot Camp Hands-on Internet lessons for manager, entrepreneurs, and professionals, Wiley, 2002     at Apple     at Nook     at Kobo

- Take Charge of Your Web Site, MightyWords, 2001


  Shop Online the Lazy Way (Macmillan, 1999. Braille edition published by National Braille Press)    at Nook    at Google Play    at Apple  


  The Social Web: How to build successful personal or business Web sites, 1998)     at Apple  


  The Way of the Web Lessons from the Internet. How to adapt to the new business environment, 1995)    at Kobo     at Apple


  Dryden's Exemplary Drama, senior thesis at Yale (1969)    at Apple     at Google Play     at Nook

 Death of the Federalist Party, paper written in high school, in 1963.   at Apple     at Google Play


    Dark Woods and Other Poems     at Apple     at Nook

 
HUMOR

Laugh and Let Laugh, word play, over 2300 short jokes

- Six-Word Stories, prompted by images post on Twitter to AgathaChocolates (daily, starting February 13, 2020)

- Trumpisms (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019)  one of the top 10 most popular articles of the year (#6)

- Trumpisms 2.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire. 2019)

- Trumpisms 3.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Trumpisms 4.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 5.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 6.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 7.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Tumpisms 8.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 9.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 10.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 11.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)

- Trumpisms 12.0 (Trump jokes at Glossy News Satire, 2020)


SHORT STORIES

- The Gentle Inquisitor (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- The Choice (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- Creation Story (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- Chiang ti Tales (from Saint Smith and Other Stories)

- The Mirror (from Saint Smith and Other Stories) (American Bystander #13, 2019

- Now and Then (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)

- Revolution  (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Finnegan Died  (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Size Matters   (at Glossy News Satire, 2019)

- Hundreds and Hundreds of Gerbils

- Julie's Book: The Little Princess (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)


- Mary Jane's Book: The Book of Animals (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)


- The Little Oops Named Ker Plop (from Now and Then and Other Tales from Ome)

- Hands

- Tiger in the Elevator

- Yanni


PLAYS


  Without a Myth and Five Other Plays     at Apple   at Google Play   at Nook


- Without a Myth, three-act play (1971)

- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)

- The Barracks, a three-act stage play (1989)

- Rights Crossing, a two-act historical play, set in the American Revolution (1976)

- Mercy, a two-act historical comedy, set in the American Revolution,  based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and General Johnny Burgoyne. (1975)

- Heel, Hitler, ten-minute play (2015)

- The Lizard of Oz, children's play (1976)

SCRIPTS

- The Lizard of Oz radio script,
episode 1, episode 2, episode 3

- Spit and Polish, a full-length screen play (2001)

- Traffic Jam, a short screen play (1972)

-  Family on Demand, first episode of proposed sitcom, co-written with Ethel Kaiden (2004)

SPEECHES

- From Russia and Ethiopia to the Internet (Wesleyan College) article
- Surviving as a Small Business in the Age of Google: Generate Search-engine Traffic (NEXPO, Washington, DC)  article
- The Future of Business on the Internet (Lewiston, Maine)  script
- Increase Traffic on the Internet Without Advertising (IQPC Conference, San Francisco, CA)  article
- Corporate-wide Knowledge Management  (ExpoManagement 98, Buenos Aires, Argentina)  article
- Business Opportunities on the Internet (Comdex, Buenos Aires, Argentina)  script
- The Social Web: from Hyper-links to People-links  (Web Week 97, Oak Ridge National Labs, Oak Ridge, TN)  book
- Basics of Effective Web Sites: How to Succeed When the Rules of the Game Change (Boston)  book
- Building Communities on the Internet (Internet Expo/Email World, Boston, New Orleans)  article


COLLECTIONS OF ARTICLES

- Current thoughts on all topics

- Internet Present & Past

- Internet History

- Internet Strategy and Marketing


- EBay and Other Online Auctions


- Internet Search


- Community and Collaboration


- Web Site Design


- Working At Home


- Publishing and Ebooks

- Glimpses (essays toward a personal philosophy)


-
My book reviews

INDIVIDUAL ARTICLES

- 70 Online Dates - Learning to Date at 68


- Asthma in Timisoara: A Glimpse at the Romanian Medical System


- Romantic Romania?


- Training, Not Censorship: The Need for Cyber-Street-Smarts


- Global Competition and the Long Road to General Prosperity (1992)


- Thoughts on Reading and Writing


- The Bugle Boy


- Why Bother to Save Halloween?


- The Nostalgia of Tomorrowland


- Adventures in Small Press Publishing: the Lizard of Oz


- From Russia to Ethiopia to the Internet


- The Serge Solovieff Mystery - A World War I Variant of the Spanish Prisoner and Nigerian Scams


- Making sense of the myths behind Greek tragedy, in particular the mythos of Pelops/Atreus/Agamemnon, grad school paper (1970)


- Filial Respect in Confucius and Socrates and the Divergence of Western and Chinese Philosophic Traditions, paper written while an undergraduate at Yale, May 1967


- Another Look at Moliere's l'Avare (The Miser), paper written while a student at Brentwood School in Brentwood, Essex, England, May, 1965.


JUVENALIA

- The Story of the Trojan War in Unintentionally Humorous Verse doggerel written in the sixth grade (age 11)

- Hi-Q or Peg Solitarie, a solution to the game solved and recorded in the third grade (age 8)

- Stories Written in the Second Grade

BOOKS IN PROGRESS AND FINISHED BOOKS, IN SEARCH OF AGENT/PUBLISHER


- The Shakespeare Twins -- the formative years of Shakespeare, the twin sister no one knew he had, and their turbulent and passionate relationship, working on second half

 - To Gether Tales -- romantic stories shared on a cruise ship soon before the pandemic

- Breeze, novel, written 2000 - March 2018 query message

 -
Sign Me Up, (picture book)

- What Can You Do With a Fifth Foot? (picture book)


OTHER WRITING PROJECTS

- The Name Trilogy, including The Name of Hero, The Name of Man, and The Name of God (opening chapters of Name of Man)

 
PUBLISHING

Seltzer Books (titles organized as Virtual Book Tables)

Catalog (with links to ebook stores)


DETAILED RESUME

READING

Sixty-Twp Years of Reading (complete list of books I've read since 1958)

My Current Reading list (2020)

Recommended contemporary books (published since WW II)

My book reviews

Book reviews by Dean Rink

Author page at Goodreads

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

GENEALOGY

The Cary-Estes Genealogy by May Folk Webb and Patrick Mann Estes

-- as a web page

-- as a Word document

The Cary-Estes-Moore Genealogy by Helen Estes Seltzer

-- as a web page

-- as a Word document

All-inclusive genealogy page (listing over 1600 direct ancestors)

Ray Brehm's Seltzer and Hocker Genealogy

Daly Family Album

Daly Genealogy

Ancestor Surfing (advice on genealogical research)

Family and Friends page


OTHER INTERESTS

English-Greek Dictionary, a Vocabulary of the Attic Language by S. C. Woodhouse (1910), a hyperlinked version


DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), the world's second largest computer company before its demise in 1998, where I worked 1979 to 1998.


Grace Sherwood, Virginia Witch

Mercy Otis Warren


Ethiopia

World War II


Robert Greene


General Johnny Burogoyne

Civil War (to come)


seltzer@seltzerbooks.com  privacy statement


Google
  Webseltzerbooks.com