If you love one of my books, please leave a review!

Leaving a review is the best way to say – thank you. ❤


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The Long Journey in a Short Life

Several years ago, someone asked me, how do you know when you’re truly old?

At the time, I think my response was, you’re only as old as you feel. Honestly, I didn’t really know how to answer that question because I didn’t know then what I know now. I was still living my life with that spirit of immortality we all have in our youth. There was no time to think about aging, physical and mental decline, let alone… the inevitability of death.

The truth is, you don’t realize you’re getting old until the people around you that you’ve known and loved your entire life begin to leave this world at a rate that is impossible to ignore.

In the last few years, the loss of a substantial number of family members, friends and acquaintances has forced me to reevaluate my life and the choices I’ve made along the way.

I think we’ve all made some bad choices in our lives, but hopefully the good ones have outweighed the bad. This has been true in my life and for that I feel blessed. I hope that in the years (hopefully many years 😊) that remain I continue to enjoy life and make good choices.

One thing you learn as you get older is never to take anything for granted. Life is shorter than you think, so make sure that you cherish each day and all the special moments along the way. Love your family, remember those who’ve gone before you, cherish your friendships, have faith, be a positive force to others and whenever you feel true joy in your life be sure to laugh out loud. Make sure that the laughter outweighs the tears.

And when that final day comes (as it inevitably will) you can close your eyes and say “Thank you Lord for a life well lived. Take me home.”

John D. Ottini

“Learning that we are only immortal for a limited time.” Dreamline – Neil Peart (Rush)

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Happy Easter to all the readers out there who celebrate Easter.

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Open Letter to Amazon about Customer Ratings without Reviews

Dear Customer Service

RE: Amazon Customer Reviews/Ratings

Ever since Amazon implimented their ‘customer rating without review’ policy I’ve noticed a big drop in written reviews. I understand why you implimented this new system (to encourage more people to rate a product) but why is the rating completely anonymous and why don’t you even show the date the rating was posted?

As an author, when a rating is posted, and who posted it would is very helpful for me to know. Knowing who posted the rating gives me an idea about whether I have repeat readers, whether my readers are male or female and when the rating was posted tells me if it’s recent or from several years ago (I don’t always look at my ratings, so I have no idea if something is newly posted or old). It’s always good to know if people are still reading the book(s).

The truth is, what I’m asking for would still allow the customer to rate my book without having to leave a review.

Interestly, this is the way it’s done at your sister website Goodreads, why not at Amazon.com?

Is this something you would consider implimenting on your Amazon website in the future?

Best Regards

John D. Ottiini

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The Story Behind the Stories

Do you know the number one question I get asked by my readers?

“Where in the world do you get the ideas for the stories you write!”

The truth is, that the idea for a story comes from various sources. Sometimes it’s from a personal or shared life experience, sometimes it’s from a news story on television or something I read in a news publication. Often, it’s a combination of all of the above.

I’ve even had story ideas come to me in my sleep and I’ve had to jump out of bed in the middle of the night to write them down so I wouldn’t forget them. Believe me, there’s nothing more frustrating than waking up in the morning and knowing that, that awesome story your mind conjured up at 2 morning is long forgotten.

In any event, I thought you might find it interesting to know ‘the story behind the stories’ of some of the many tales I’ve published over the last 7 or 8 years.

So here we go, below are the thoughts, ideas and interesting tidbits that inspired the stories found in my latest book – Elevated Madness and Other Stories.

Elevated Madness
The character known as Ringo was based on a chance encounter I had with a guy in a hotel elevator. The guy looked just like the Beatles drummer and was jamming out on a tune I could hear coming from his ear buds. The rest of the story was pure imagination born from an entry I submitted for publication based on the theme – Writers at Work.

Thing We Can’t Control
I’d been thinking and reading about the sadness, confusion and tragedy that the families and individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s endure during those final few years of life. I wanted the lead character Joseph to portray that confusion, but I didn’t want the story to be a total downer, so I added Jonesy for a touch of humor and positivity.

A Brotherly Game of Chess
In my lifetime I’ve settled many a harmless bet over a game of chess, but what if that bet was as serious as a heart attack? What if the stakes were life or death? That would certainly change the importance of the game and the story… wouldn’t it!

Smoke & Mirror
This story began as a tale about driving down an isolated road on a dark and rainy night. The couple in the vehicle get into a heated argument that leads to a night of betrayal and murder. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of a suitable ending, so the story just sat on my computer for 2 long years waiting for salvation. The salvation came in the form of a delicious twist in story line that the reader will never see coming.

No Return Address
I don’t know how many times I‘ve read stories about people who’ve lived next door to a murderer and had no clue. When asked about the killer, the response is usually, he seemed like such a sweet and quiet man, I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.

I wanted to write a story about the invisible forces of good and evil that lurk in the shadows of everyday life and how evil people usually get what’s coming to them even though we may never see it happen publicly.

Late Night Monster
The late-night monster is based on the exploits of my cat who enjoys walking all over me while I lay in bed attempting to get my beauty sleep. The rest of the story is something that came to me in a crazy dream. I must have been suffering from indigestion that night. 😁

Life Among the Fireflies
Think classic 1960’s Twilight Zone and you’ll know where the feel for this story comes from. When I wrote it, I could picture Rod Serling reading the introduction as follows.

“This weeks episode is titled, Life Among the Fireflies. Find out how the simple and seemingly idyllic farm life of Abe and Del masks a deep, dark secret found only within the realm of The Twilight Zone.”

Isn’t the world-wide web wonderful! You can pretty much purchase anything on the internet, including the services of a murderous assassin. This is a story about buyer’s remorse and how some of the decisions we set in motion can never be undone. Lord know I’ve made my share of bad decisions (none as bad as Mr. Deputer) but I’ve learned to be careful what I wish for because I may just get what I ask for.

Professor Homeless
The story is based on the premise, that even evil people sometimes find it in their heart to do the right thing. Proving the point, that sometimes, love does indeed beat hate. 😉

Passion and the Sparrow
No deep meaning behind this tale. Edgar Allen Poe was one of my favorite writers when growing up and I wanted to try my hand at poetry, so I thought it would be cool if I wrote something in the same vein as ‘The Raven’.

Not sure I succeeded, but it was fun trying.

Beware of Mad Bull
I was watching reruns of that old 80’s sitcom Cheers when the idea for the Beau Somerville character came to me. He’s a combination of Sam Malone and Woody wrapped into one. The story is classic Cheers material where a simple misunderstanding leads to a humorous and embarrassing conclusion.

If you enjoyed this article, please let me know in the comments section and perhaps I’ll revisit this subject again sometime in the future.

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The sad day when fiction becomes reality. 💀

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Just a fact! 😁

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Literary Humor – That is not the question! 😁

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Ego Crushing Experience #7

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to enter my latest book and a few of my individual short stories in the annual Florida Writers Association – Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition.

I’ve been doing this for the past 7 years and have come close to actually winning on a few occasions, at least that’s what I like to believe. Several of my stories have been finalists in the ‘Short Story’ category and my little holiday book, A Very Furry Christmas: Holiday Cat Tales made the ‘Catch -All’ book category finals in 2015.

Every year I enter this competition thinking, ‘This is my year, this time I have a good chance of winning something’ and yet, every year turns out to be just another ego crushing experience. Sigh!

I think this might be my last hurray, the final year I enter this competition. I’m not sure my ego can take another beating and live to write another day!

Of course, I have the exact same thoughts every year, and I always seem to come back for more. Am I crazy, or what?😁

Anyway, wish my ego luck. 😉

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Literary Humor – Mr. King’s secret sauce! 😁

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