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Michael Thompkins
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A New Beginning : Odysseus Publishing

by Michael 7/19/2015 7:26:00 PM

     My first novel Gun Play, published by Sterling House in 2007, was a huge success.  In 2009, I eagerly awaited having vol 2 in The Shooting Shrink Series published.  This was not to be.  My publisher Sterling House, a large Indie East Coast Publisher, closed  their doors in 2010, the very same year I ended my thirty-year Psychology practice.  I spent the ensuing four years taking some early retirement (playing with my grandchildren),and trying to fathom the sea changes that were occurring in the writing and publishing industry.  At first I saw these changes simply from the perspective of a writer with one successful novel under his belt.  I turned down contracts that offerred me half of what my first contract had.  I wondered how writers were going to survive.  True enough, this was a second and retirement career for me, but I still wanted my creativity to be rewarded financially--who doesn't?  The first couple of years I stayed confused and wondered if I would ever see my words in print again.  The last of these years I buckled down and researched the new world created by the global impact of the depreciation of the commodity called "the written word."  I won't name names here but you all know who and what happened and is still happening as I write.  What to do to move forward was what hung me up the most.  Like everything else in life, be careful what you ask for. 

     I am creating a new publishing house Odysseus Publishing as my next logical response to my experiences as a novelist.  Taking the name from one of the oldest extant stories of adventure and journey, I hope that I am able to remind myself,  just as Odysseus navigated to his goal, that the goal of Odysseus Publishing is to create a small but effective alternative to the current state of publishing.  Stay tuned to this website as it evolves from my home as a writer to the home of a family of writers.  All the history of this website will remain in the archives of this site. 

     Without furthers, let me introduce our first publication Wrought by Fire by Paul James Keyes, Odysseus Publishing, July 20, 2015.  For a few months, Paul's first novel will be in Epub format only available at Amazon, Nook , iBooks and all Epub publishers.  Paul's novel is a fabulous first dystopian fantasy novel complete with good guys and gals, and really bad guys and gals.  I really enjoyed reading, and publishing it--its a great read!

      Stay tuned!   I can be reached at publisher@odysseuspublishing.com.  For those of you I have met personally, I am still the same guy with a few more grey hairs!

     

 

Shameless Self Promotion and Fun: Michael Thompkins, Author, Speaker and Talk Show Guest

by Michael 6/18/2012 8:51:00 AM

Give me some points for honesty: shameless self promotion says it all. 

I ran into an old friend last week, who is also a shrink, who knew me for many years as a practicing shrink. 

She accused me, "You are having way too much fun as a writer!" 

"Guilty as charged," I replied.  Truth be told, I loved being a shrink but in the 75 per cent zone.  I love being a writer 100 per cent of the time. 

I especially love speaking to groups about Psychology and Cops, Psychology and Writing , and Psychology and people in general.  I call these: Shooting Shrink, Psychology and Pen and Shrinking People.  Soon, you will see changes in the website reflecting these catgeories. The interview I had the most fun doing is in the preceding blog entry, my guest spot on the Elli Tourje show.  The most fun speaking engagements I have done are at the Southern California Writers Conferences SCWC and are available in the Blog Archives.

We will chat again soon.

Guest Article: Getting It Write with Rick Anderson

by Michael 5/23/2012 1:44:00 PM

Once again, my friend and fellow writer steps into our guest spot -Michael

Getting it Write 

The great thing about Michael's site is the resource it provides for writers that want to write about cops—and for cops that want to write. To be more precise, writers can find opportunities to inject authenticity into the cop characters that they're creating. I'm retired after a almost four decades in public service, capping my career as a federal agent. I met Dr. Michael Thompkins two years ago at the Southern California Writers Conference in Sunny Sandy Eggo. We were teaching separate workshops but our topics had connections to police characters. Comparing notes later, we were encouraged by the large turn-outs that revealed a deep desire among writers to keep their characters honest. There were Q&As following the lecture portions and the questions came fast & furious. One example: "Can my hero use a silencer on his revolver?" The short answer is, no. Or consider this question: "My protagonist is a police officer. She has to take on four punks in a dark alley. What're her options?" I replied, "Multiple," and explained a few. 

Michael's premier novel Gun Play reveals the great effort he put forth to bring to life vivid characters that not only talk the talk, but walk the walk in all things related to the world of cops & robbers. His characters are original, their credibility as working cops faultless. And how did Michael accomplish this? Through research, by riding with working officers, and through social contacts. As a result he's nailed the procedures, the talk, and equally important, the attitudes. This last quality is important because cops do have attitude—and good cops have very healthy ones that enable them in their work.More...

Michael Thompkins Guests on Real Life with Elli Tourje

by Michael 11/18/2010 8:00:00 AM

Listen on Newstalk 920 KPSI-AM, Palm Springs, California. Each week Elli interviews the mover and shakers in Palm Springs.  Listen to the podcast of her interview with Michael Thompkins.  The discussion ranges from Gun Play, v1 Shooting Shrink, the next novel in the Shooting Shrink Series, and the criminal mind to politics and Palm Springs. Elli is a talented interviewers and the questions she asks are stimulating. She is also a substitute newscaster for Newstalk 920 KPSI-AM.

Listen to the podcast

Dog Whisperer Falls

by Michael 5/2/2010 12:26:00 PM

All too suddenly I received the following email:

"With mournful regret, the California Narcotic & Explosive Canine Association gives notice that Dan Lamaster tragically perished in a residential house fire on Saturday, April 17, 2010. The Canine Community has lost a pioneer, a, visionary, an icon, a true friend.  There are times when mere words are insufficient to describe a person's life contribution both personally and professionally.  It would be impossible to ever accurately determine the number of people and dogs that Dan has positively influenced during his career, his life.   Dan was an original founding member of the California Narcotic Canine Association. His twenty years of unselfish contribution both on the field and in the classroom has been an integral factor that directly contributed to the overall quality and success of CNCA. Dan contributed so much, quietly, behind the scenes, without any intent to seek any kind of recognition, but instead did it because he wanted to be part of something that in the end would make us all better handler's, better trainer's, better people.  His kindness and compassion will always be, in all ways, a testament to his true character.  As we slowly and over time come to realize what a substantial loss we have all incurred on so many levels, let's give pause, remember and reflect on the absolute kind Soul that Dan was and continues to be and together we all must celebrate his life. He would have not wanted or accepted anything less. "

   

I knew Danny for just a few years as I researched Explosive Detection K9 teams and training in the Southland.  We established a bit of a friendship based on his love of dogs and literature.  When I first met him, he was engrossed in Steinbeck's East of Eden-"for the 13th time!" Danny was a dog whisperer, a man who could train the most stubborn or inattentive puppy to hunt and find explosives, contraband or people.  He was, as CNECA points out, a precious resource to Law Enforcement; his shoes will never be quite filled. 

He was also the lover of books and a resource to this writer. Without his encouragement, I would not be writing my newest and third novel (on K9 officers and their handlers.)  Without his presence, I am forced to continue with just his last words to live up to.  Danny finished the first act of my new novel as an informal editor and told a mutual friend: "tell michael I want more!"

Sometimes, writers write for themselves--the very least important reason.  Sometimes, they write a story that honors others--the most important reason.

Holocaust Frauds et al. as a New Literary Genre by Colleen Fitzpatrick

by Michael 5/1/2010 10:33:00 AM

Guest Byline from Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick , Forensic Genealogist

Story line:  Child orphaned during Holocaust. Alone, must depend on fate to survive while millions perish.  Unexpected savior appears. There is hope. Child survives war implausibly.  Setting is foreign country decimated by Holocaust. Child relocates to new country.

 

Child grows up.  Child writes autobiography– redefining the word “incredible”. Doubts arise about authenticity of story. Yet book becomes bestseller based on public emotion. Skeptics are squashed.

 

Forensic genealogists move in, discover evidence believed inaccessible, disproving story. Child is busted. Much adverse publicity followed by much face-saving in press.  Movie producer is hung out to dry.  Publisher claims no knowledge of fraud, withdraws publication, moves on to next project that may include a second book glorifying lame excuses for child’s deceiving millions of readers.  The phrase “to make a lot of money” is never mentioned.

 

Does this scenario describe

 
  1. Misha Defonseca’s Surviving with Wolves
  2. Herman Rosenblat’s “Apple story”
  3. Both of the above?
 

There is no law against publishing a book as nonfiction when there are suspicions that it is a fabrication. It may even be desirable to do so. Marketing a story as autobiographical can be more lucrative than marketing it as fiction. Public controversy over the truth only boosts sales. 

 

Both Misha’s and Herman’s stories would have made good reading as fiction, but the job of big publishing houses is not truth-in-marketing.  Their job is to make money. And once a work of non-fiction is exposed as a fraud, there is usually no requirement to return the money to the unsuspecting public.  Embarrassment is often enough to cease publication of the work and move on to the next project.  In the present cases, the publishers maintained their innocence, claiming they were taken in by the con as much as the public, and did the best job they could with the difficult task of fact-checking a Holocaust story when documentation was so hard to come by.  Yet if forensic genealogists could find evidence conclusively debunking the stories,then why couldn’t  multi-million dollar publishing houses?

 

A fraudulent autobiography can be lucrative for its author too.  After James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces was exposed in 2006 as fake, he was invited by Oprah to appear on her show to explain himself– displacing countless other authors more worthy of airtime.  Late in 2007, James Frey received a seven-figure advance from a publisher for his next three books.

 

As I remarked to my colleague, “We’re in the wrong business.  The real money is in creating the frauds, not debunking them. Since we are experts at how literary frauds are constructed, why don’t we create our own?” 

 

Are there others Holocaust frauds there?  Probably.  For the last year, I have been investigating Mark Kurzem’s The Mascot, an international bestseller about his father Alex, an orphan who survived the Holocaust thanks to circumstances that give yet a new meaning to the word “incredible”. The savior offers hope of a happy ending, only this time the story takes place in Belarus, Latvia, and Australia. The same indications of literary fraud are evident, including continual adjustment of the “true” story apparently for the sake of embellishment and to evade questions by skeptics. Not surprisingly, the subject of the story was experiencing financial difficulties around the time the book was conceived.  Of course the movie rights have been sold, even as true Holocaust survivors voice concern about the lack of authenticity of both the story and the storyteller.

 

Without the support of publishers, the autobiographical fraud industry would wither.  While there is so much money in publishing falsehood, there is little incentive to tell the truth. If you still want to enjoy a good story, please don’t believe everything you read in the paper, nor the paperback. If a story seems too “incredible” to be true, it usually is. For those of you who wish to take a stronger stand against literary fraud, I offer further advice.  Don’t buy the book, and I wouldn’t wait for the movie either.

-Colleen Fitzpatrick,  www.identifinders.com

 

 

Boy, this one is close to my psychologist turned author heart.  I can hardly wait for the comments to roll in.     -Michael  

   

 

Guest Blogger Brian Hilling Offers Some Thoughts on a New Type Of Fraud in Journalism that Dovetails with our Postings on Misha Defonseca

by Michael 4/12/2010 9:40:00 PM

 

Consider this Brian's First Song on this website--there will be more.  --MT

Once upon a time, there were certain kinds of fraud that a perpetrator might have felt safe committing.  In the literary context, we have the fake memoir. Not every fake memoir, to be certain; in a world when pretty much anyone can write a memoir, some frauds will be more easily apparent than others.  Margaret Seltzer, for instance, found herself called out by family and friends all of a week after the publication of Love and ConsequencesMisha Defonseca, however, telling a more obscure story that was difficult to verify, seems to have gotten away with her ruse for a decade before professional researchers—in this case, genealogists—managed to pluck away the vital threads binding together her tapestry of lies.  And this is important, the idea of getting caught.  Because compared to the narcissism we might suggest as a prerequisite for inventing such a fantastic biography, it is hard to figure just what degree of delusion one must suffer to publish fake interviews with famous people.  Jane Thurman reported for The New Yorker last week on the alleged fraud perpetrated by Tommaso Debenedetti.

Last month, Paola Zanuttini, a journalist from La Repubblica, the progressive Roman newspaper, interviewed Philip Roth about his latest novel, “The Humbling,” which has recently been published in Italian. “We had a lively and intelligent conversation about my fiction,” Roth said. The Q. & A. ran on February 26th, as the cover story of Il Venerdì—La Repubblica’s Friday magazine—with a fierce-looking closeup portrait of Roth, and the title “Sex and Me.” Zanuttini focussed on the relationships of Roth’s aging protagonists with their much younger inamoratas, the feminist response to them, and his own marriages and romances. “Your descriptions of sex are ruthless,” she asserted. “Ruthless?” he countered. She backed down a little: “They describe things as they are, raw and naked.” “I am pleased by the notion that I can still be scandalous,” he said. “I thought I had lost that magic.”

The real scandal revealed by the interview, however, came at the end, when Zanuttini asked Roth why he was so “disappointed” with Barack Obama. She translated, aloud, remarks attributed to him in an article by a freelance journalist, Tommaso Debenedetti, that was published last November in Libero, a tabloid notably sympathetic to Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy (who is embroiled in his own sex scandals with much younger women). “It appears that you find him nasty, vacillating, and mired in the mechanics of power,” Zanuttini said. “But I have never said anything of the kind!” Roth objected. “It is completely contrary to what I think. Obama, in my opinion, is fantastic.” He had never heard of Debenedetti, or of Libero. The interview, with its bitter judgment of Obama’s banality, failure, and empty rhetoric about hope and change, was a complete fabrication More...

Reader View Loves Gun Play

by Michael 3/11/2010 8:29:00 AM
Reader Views, has published a review of Gun Play. The reviewer, Richard R. Blake, gives a general summary of the books plot ending with gleaming praise for both the title and its author.

"Gun Play is well written, with subtle humor, excellent reporting on crime scene procedures, and is filled with fast-moving narrative, believable characters, and entertaining, informative dialog. This is a must read for every mystery fan."

"Gun Play and The Shooting Shrink Series will soon be a household word, discussed at every Starbucks, on the Oprah show, and on the bestseller lists."


Reader Views reviews appear on Amazon.com, Fox News, USA Today, Reuters and NBC. They also appear on iVillage, in newspapers and on many online websites and blogs.

Check out the full review here!

 

Shrinking Fiction in Palm Springs: Story Consulting and Writer Coaching with Michael Thompkins Leads to a Debut Novelist

by Michael 2/1/2010 8:30:00 AM

As a spin-off from the Shrinking Fiction Workshops at Southern California Writers Confereence , a number of students approach me to help them with their writing projects. My work with them has been highly enjoyable for me and, hopefully, for them. My work with these first students is falling into a pattern where we divide the projects into three parts: Act One, Act Two and Act Three of their novel. The work is taking place in Seattle, where I live and Palm Springs where I have a condo. 

If you are interested in this work, please listen to the following podcast which is a discussion between Claudia Whitsitt and me in Palm Springs in July. Need I say in advance, the weather was hot, 106 degrees. You can hear the fountain in the background helping cool the patio. In the podcast, we discuss progress on Claudia's novel, The Wrong Guy.

February 2010: This just in from SCWC: "SCWC21, 22, 23 and 24 conferee Claudia Whitsitt has inked the deal for her debut novel, The Wrong Guy, with Echelon Press. This makes for the sixth or seventh author discovered by Echelon publisher Karen Syed at the Southern California Writers Conference. Congratulations, Claudia!."

 

Listen to the Video Podcast Here!

Exclusive: Ron Oden Interviewed by Author Michael Thompkins

by Michael 1/2/2010 12:02:00 PM

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Ron Oden is an American, openly gay politician. In November 2003, he was elected the mayor of Palm Springs, California after serving eight years on its city council. He was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Los Angeles, California. He was an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister and holds two Masters degrees, but stepped away from the church shortly before entering politics [1].He is the father of two daughters, Brooke and Brittany. He is also the grandfather of two granddaughters and one grandson. [2] In June 2006, he lost in the Democratic primary for a seat in the California State Assembly by less than 100 votes."

Ron is a friend of mine. We both enjoy a good talk, so the first week in September, as summer grew to a close in Palm Springs, we finally sat down at my condo in Palm Springs and did the interview we had been talking about for several years. In the final moments of the hour, I realized how much I admired and respected Ron for his honesty,courage,and service to Palm Springs. 

-Michael 

 

Download the Interview


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.