Monday, June 27, 2011


My doctor and I discussed my goals that I wanted to achieve from participating in the intensive four-week program for treating personality disorders, and I told him my biggest goal was to finally let go of all this rage that consumes my spirit.

He told me that it was an unreasonable expectation because rage was an integral component of my psyche. It is one of the reasons I was diagnosed with personality disorder. He told me that I would be given the skills to manage it better, but he didn’t realize the extent of my rage until I laid it out for him in detail.

Although I am a completely nonviolent person and have never struck anyone in anger, with the exception of being forced to defend myself on the streets on a couple of occasions, I have extremely violent thoughts several times a day that are filled with so much rage that sometimes I bite down on my lower lip until it bleeds.

When I told my doctor this, he became extremely concerned. He never realized the extent of my rage. At this point I don’t even know what triggers it. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular. It could be an old memory of someone who mistreated me, or someone who recently pissed me off.

I will never act on my thoughts. I would simply never physically hurt another human being in anger, but my anger comes out in so many other destructive ways; namely, the way I treat others. I have a mean streak a mile wide and I do know how to hurt with words.

My question is do I want to spend the rest of my life learning how to deal with so much rage that rips me apart? What will it take to control these extremely powerful emotions that have been a part of my psyche since I was a teenager? Perhaps my best option is to simply say no. Rage is a poison, and with it I will never experience true joy or happiness. The last half of my life will be a battle against a disease I cannot win, and as a result, I will never find peace. The best I can hope for is balance, but true happiness will always be out of reach with all this rage coursing through my psyche. These are serious questions that need to be answered.  My doctor seems to think it's just a condition, like living with diabetes, and that it can be controlled and managed. We'll see. There is a huge difference between a physical ailment and mental disease.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Event at Novelteas in Red Bank, NJ

Join me at Novelteas in Red Bank, NJ on July 7, from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm as we enjoy a relaxing evening of fine chocolate, some of the best tea you will ever find, and a book signing of my debut novel, Swiss Chocolate!

You can get to Novelties by taking NJ Transit out of Penn Station to Red Bank. Novelties is literally right acorss the street from the train station.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Event at Bay Plaza, Bronx Barnes & Noble

Join me at the Barnes & Noble at Bay Plaza, Bronx on August 25 from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm for a book signing. This is the second event I have booked this week, and I may have a third coming. Hopefully I will see all my fans from Flushing and Bayside there as well.

Be sure to check my website for upcoming events at

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blogger is Broken

Just recently I have found that I can't post to my blog using my Google ID. It puts me in an endless loop where I have to keep signing in when I try to post.

I looked up the problem on Blogger Help, and it seems there are a lot of people who are suffering from this problem, but I did not find a solution. I hope they find one soon, because leaving comments with my Google ID is the best way to get my name and profile out there.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When Dreams Come True

I finished writing Swiss Chocolate in September 2004. From there it went through several months of editing. It took a year to find an agent, and I finally found a publisher in 2009, but the book didn’t come out until January 2011. That’s a huge investment in time and energy, but my agent and I never gave up.

I remember when I first finished Swiss Chocolate and it had gone through its first round of editing. I was living in Douglaston, NY at the time, but spent a lot of time at the Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, Long Island. I remember telling the Community Relations Manager that someday I would have a book event at her store. She simply smiled at me and wished me good luck.

Today, the Community Relations Manager at Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, Long Island set up a book event for me on Thursday, September 22 from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm. This is my dream come true. That particular store I really love, and the clientele are usually a little more sophisticated, which is better for me because Swiss Chocolate has a lot of intertwining, overarching themes that weave throughout the entire story, giving it a level of complexity that an average reader may miss.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Swiss Chocolate Gets Another Five-Star Review on Amazon

I have a total of eight 5-star reviews on Amazon, which floors me, because I never expected to be taken so seriously by the few people who have read my debut novel. Thanks to all for your support!
This book kept me up all night to finish. It made me so sad at times but I truly enjoyed it and find myself thinking about some of the characters in the novel. For anyone who grew up with a drunken parent, many of the experiences will ring true and regretfully seem normal. I loved reading about the adventures in Europe and felt like I was there with him. Very compelling. I highly recommend it. -- March 1, 2011

Taking a chance on reading an unknown writer is always a little scary. You just have no real clue as to whether the book you have chosen to spend considerable time with is going to be worth it. In this case, this novel really comes through. . The young inexperienced Drew Smith falls head over heels for the beautiful and charming Alexandra.Unfortunately, school and family problems conspire to bring huge obstacles to this relationship.The story moves quickly and is enhanced by scenic travel,colorful characters and some good humor too.Swiss Chocolate is a delicious treat! Try it soon. -- June 21, 2011

Swiss Chocolate was an excellent book. I couldn't put it down. Fictionalized memoir of coming of age and growing up with old money. James has a true art for writing. I truly enjoyed his attention to detail, making me feel like I was with him throughout the story. -- May 24, 2011

Swiss Chocolate is the type of American novel that is difficult to put down. Once you start, you are in for a deeply moving adventure of love and coming of age.

James Weil is a master of character development and human relations. Drew Smith, a troubled though gifted and sincere lad from a semi-functional, suburban NJ upper-middle class home--tennis club, private schools, alcoholic mom and philandering engineer-businessman father. There is "old money" in this family. Alexandra is an Italian aristocratic beauty: graceful, independent and determined to maintain what is rightfully hers. Weil's depiction of their family lives, environments and social class is extraordinarily well done. Weil has a sociological gift. I especially enjoyed Drew's Aunt Tess, an artist and cosmopolitan. We all should have an Aunt Tess in our lives.

The action takes place in the Swiss Alps, suburban New Jersey, London, Oxford, Rome, Greece, Spain and Padua. Weil makes these locations come alive.

I identified with Drew's struggle to become a man and a writer, notwithstanding the betrayal of his callous father and the despair of his helpless mom. Alexandra deals with her loving father's early death and the resulting insanity and self-destructiveness of her mother. Her brother, at her mother's insistence, assumes all the power and wealth in the family. Alexandra is determined to make a new life, defying the social mores of her class and society. She will not be undercut by fate. The powerful interaction between Drew and his first love, Alexandra, makes the book riveting. A must read. -- March 24, 2011

'Swiss Chocolate' is a great book.....among the best I've read in awhile. Honest, straight-forward, exciting and tragic. The Author has a simple, yet elegant style. He is very open about Drew's life in a dysfunctional family and his love of Alexandra, that spans decades. He has a gift for expressing intricate details of the beautiful places he travels. You feel like you're right there with him on his journey. I highly recommend it. -- March 12, 2011

A brutally honest fictional memoir about a young man's coming-of-age and, years later, the same man in middle age coming to terms with his past. Compelling, exhilarating, tragic. Dealing with first loves, childhood, marriage and life's dreams, this is a book for everyone. I couldn't put it down. Highly recommend. -- March 2, 2011

The name of the novel has nothing to do with how to make or even eat chocolate. Was I bummed? No I was shocked. But being lucky enough to know the author, James Weil as a Facebook buddy, I should have expected it. Be forewarned, this is some intense and in your face material. What is between the covers of this novel- to the synopsis:

"Drew Smith, a teenager from a wealthy family in New Jersey, is sent to a Swiss Boarding School and falls in love with Alexandra Cavalletti, a beautiful, aristocratic girl from Rome. The innocence of their love affair turns disastrous when they are expelled after being caught in the middle of their young passion. Drew returns home to his dysfunctional family and Alexandra's life is affected when her mother goes insane and sells off the family fortune for a song. Despite their travails, Drew and Alexandra remain in contact and cross paths over the years. Drew never really let's go of her, even though she moves on."

During the summer I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of James' writing when he shot me over a short story he had written, so I had an inkling as to what was to come. His writing is intense, heartfelt and brutally honest, laying it out there for all to see .For some that is hard to read let alone to write. I am going to say this is a daring move, exposing such deep feelings to so many people. The thing is, if you get to know the guy, you will see that he does that on a daily basis, he wears it all on his sleeve, good or bad, for everyone to consume, kudos. His novel is a mirror reflection of himself: raw, uncensored, and brutally honest. That is the reason for the five stars: total and complete honesty of self. I don't believe I have read it to this degree before. To believe what I've written, go to his Facebook page, become his friend, experience James Weil and then decide if I am not point on here. I am just trying to be honest. -- March 2, 2011

I tore through this contemporary mainstream novel which tells of a romance spanning nearly 40 years between a young, aristocratic girl from Rome, and an upper-class American from Rumson, New Jersey. Set against the backdrop of political and economic turmoil that so strongly affected ideals and lives from the early 1970's through the turn of the millennium, this book spans six countries telling an emotionally-poignant tale of the human struggle to find happiness and one's natural place amongst all the change. James Weil tells a story that reminds us of the fragility of beauty in life, and the importance of protecting perfection when we find it, and how so often, perfection is there, but our eyes and minds are too narrow to see. -- March 1, 2011

Pretty damn good for a first novel. Click here to buy Swiss Chocolate from Amazon!

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Radical Change to my Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with bipolar I back in 2004 by the psychiatric clinic at Northshore University Hospital after a serious manic episode that completely destroyed me. Although I didn’t land in the hospital, I came close. Instead, I sat down and wrote Swiss Chocolate and El Aguila back to back. Yesterday my doctor told me my diagnosis had been changed to bipolar II, anxiety and personality disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified).

At first I was floored, and didn’t know how to accept this news, and asked him to please explain what this meant. He told me that although my manic episodes were severe, they were not the kind that landed me in the hospital, like so many of the guys in my group went through. I argued that during some of my manic episodes I was completely off the rails. He agreed, but a large part of what I was expressing was symptomatic of personality disorder. Then he broke it down further.

He explained that there are many classifications of personality disorder, and I did not fit neatly into any particular one, but the ones I came closest to were histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, more on the borderline side. It is a condition that is usually triggered by intense trauma, like the kind I had grown up with. He further explained that trauma was not the only cause, and that it had biochemical aspects to it just like bipolar disorder. He went on to explain that many of my intense emotional responses to situations and people, my lack of impulse control and intense rage were all symptoms of borderline personality disorder, but I was not fully diagnosed with this condition because I don’t have all the symptoms, and the symptoms I do exhibit are not severe enough to classify me with borderline personality disorder. If my diagnosis was borderline personality disorder, he told me that I would probably be institutionalized and would never have achieved the kind of success I now have. Most people with this condition cannot function in society.

Having read Swiss Chocolate and working with me for the last few years, he was actually quite surprised I had become so successful in such a demanding job. He then told me that the clinic had treatment plans for these symptoms. It is an intensive four-week program consisting of two group sessions and two private sessions with a therapist a day, as well as meeting with your psychiatrist twice a week designed to help you with controlling your emotions and how you deal with others. Considering where I was at, he felt very hopeful because:

a) I was not bipolar I, which made my prognosis much more treatable
b) My personality disorder symptoms were treatable with an excellent success rate
c) I would be able to focus on the areas that were causing the most problems

Previously, my doctor had been following a protocol for treating bipolar disorder, but I noticed I was getting worse, not better. I had destroyed a lot of friendships, and I was becoming more discouraged and despondent. In fact, my impulse control was so bad I had to deactivate my facebook account. I don’t go there under any circumstances. Too dangerous, and a lot of people are scared of me or don’t like me anymore because of some of the terrible things I have done to others in fits of rage.

One of my good friends and I had a long talk about all this last night. Like me, at first he was a little skeptical. He has told me dozens of times that my greatest gift was to accurately assess my mental well being and get help when I need it, which explains why I have stayed out of hospitals. He has seen me when I was pretty manic, and yeah, I was off the rails, but that doesn’t explain the lack of impulse control and rage. Part of being manic is increased irritability and getting into fights with others, but what I was going through was full-on rage and no impulse control. On many occasions I whipped out some venomous emails that were so vitriolic they left my victims stunned. And I have made some outrageous facebook posts that have scared people away from me for good. Everybody knows how angry I am.

My doctor is convinced that my rage can be brought under control with the right treatment. It would mean taking four weeks off from work to go through an intensive program five days a week from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm, but I am all for it, and yesterday my doctor verified that my insurance covered it. My boss has told me on several occasions to take the time off I need to get myself right, but I kept saying no because I didn’t know what the right course of action was. Now I do, and I am hoping I finally find the coping skills to deal with my emotions and interactions with others.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Event

For those of you who live in upstate New Jersey and New York, I invite you to come to my book event at Barnes & Noble at the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, NY from 2:00 until 5:00 pm, June 19th.  This event should be fun because the Barnes & Noble is on the fourth floor where all the restaurants are, and after the event we can all get together and enjoy a great meal with old and new friends.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Friday, June 10, 2011

Amazon Takes Over the World!

It came as no surprise to anyone at Book Expo America when Amazon announced that they will be going into the publishing business. After all, they have been recruiting new talent for specific jobs for weeks. It was only a question of time. They have already setup several new imprints for non-fiction titles. Everyone is waiting with bated breath to see what their next move will be.

But what does this mean to the big brick and mortar houses that can’t compete with Amazon’s sheer size, and the fact that readers have been forever changed by the way they buy and read books with Kindles and eBooks? It means many of the old fuddy-duddy, arrogant editors who sit in Ivory Tours and reject one author after another and pay pennies on the dollar for all the authors’ hard work and creativity will be looking for secretarial jobs, or become agents and try to sell new talent to Amazon, who will surely corner the book publishing market in a matter of months.

You will be seeing many publishing houses fold, but the smaller ones will probably take the biggest hit. When Borders closed the majority of their stores, the smaller publishers got nailed the hardest because Borders loved working with small, independent publishers. And the way things are going, I don’t see how Barnes & Noble can compete with Amazon either. They are being swallowed by the leviathan’s enormous distribution network, the fact that they lead the market in eBooks, and that by publishing their own titles, they would pretty much leave everyone strapped and hogtied.

Amazon does discount their books by a wide margin, but said that when they start publishing, they would be paying their authors roughly 30 percent, which is astonishingly generous. So, even though they may charge $9.00 per book, the author would get an enormous percentage of that, making it more attractive to agents and authors.

Be prepared folks. We are facing a literary revolution. There will be blood baths and many casualties. My first novel, Swiss Chocolate, published by Daily Swan Publishing, may be forced out of print before it has a chance to become successful. My publisher is very small and hanging on by a thread. He runs his company on a wing and a prayer, but still manages to get books out. I pray that he makes it, because I don’t want to shop Swiss Chocolate all over again. In fact, I just may not, and let it go being happy that I was good enough to get published.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On Writing Swiss Chocolate Slips off into the Sunset

As much as I hate it, my post "On Writing Swiss Chocolate" is destined to slip off my "Popular Posts" sidebar. I have been watching the stats for weeks, and the daily, weekly and monthly counts all point to the retirement of my very first post, and probably one of my favorites.

This is how it goes, but it may be revived. Old posts that never received that much attention are now getting a lot of hits. Fascinating.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

When Friends Take Advantage

I saw my oldest friend recently. I haven’t seen her in almost a month ever since I anonymously trashed her grandson for making a post on his Facebook wall about hacking into people’s accounts.

The whole thing got so out of hand that the kid’s mother and sister jumped into the fray, and then I took the entire post down. I was pretty frazzled by what happened, and had been suffering from depression for quite some time, so I decided to check myself into the inpatient psychiatric clinic for a few days, just to disconnect my mind from the situation.

When I got home I found my spare keys taped to my door, meaning my relationship with her was over. She didn’t bother to come talk to me; she just slapped my keys on the door and left. She actually put me in danger, because if somebody had come by and seen them, they could have let themselves into my apartment and cleaned me out.

So, I saw her sitting on the park bench in front of my building a few days ago. She said to me I didn’t need to be cold to her. I told her that I preferred a clean break, and for as long as I had known her, I had bought her a pack of cigarettes a day, often bought food, and helped out in any way possible.

All that’s over now. She is not in my life, and I can focus more on taking care of myself. I took better care of her than her miserable husband did. When his appendix burst and he almost died, I paid for his TV and phone for an entire week. I also went to see him almost every day, and shaved him when his beard got too thick. I took care of his wife because she had no money while he was in the hospital. I was the only one of anybody he knew who went to visit him. Not even his best friend, who was staying at his apartment, would go see him, because he is such a miserable, bigoted son-of-a-bitch. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted to visit him in the hospital, and barely anybody called.

When he got out he was on disability for months, and I continued taking care of them, but once he got his health back he became a miserable prick again, and started treating me like shit.

These are people I don’t need in my life. Although she was a wonderful friend, whenever I was down there, I had to put up with her miserable husband. No more. I am not a doormat, although I will always be kind and generous with those I love.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Sales

I am shocked that my blog gets so many hits. I average between 700 and 800 hits per week, and all I do is write what’s in my head and heart. You would think that some of those hits would translate into book sales, but that simply is not the case, despite the fact that my top three blog posts are “Swiss Chocolate Continues to be Painful” and “On Writing Swiss Chocolate,” which happens to be the very first post I ever made.

Recently my agent sent me some references for some reputable book PR firms in New York. One would not take me because she did not work with unknown fiction writers. She specialized in non-fiction, but took on some established fiction writers as well. She looked at my blog and had no idea how to turn all those hits into book sales either, and told me to give her a call if I figured it out. Of course I was discouraged, but I had a few more agencies to contact.

Last week I contacted another well-know PR firm, and she really liked my blog, the fact that there was such a strong emotional connection between my reason for writing the book, and the bipolar angle. She asked me for a copy of my manuscript, which I sent her, and then she went up to Amazon and read all seven of my glowing 5-star reviews. She is very interested in working with me on a six-week intensive PR blitz, getting my name in front of as many people as she possibly can.

Now, even though there is a link to my author page from the top of my blog menu, I average between five and six hits per day on Go figure. My blog gets hundreds of hits per day and my author site gets almost nothing. And I use GoDaddy’s Web Site Visibility package, which I put a lot of work into setting up. I also have Web Site Analytics, which can track visitors all the way down to their zip codes. I think it’s time to update my Web Site Visibility settings because my site has changed recently. This surpises the hell out of me because aside from a book sample from Swiss Chocolate, you will find samples of some of my best writing. There are synopses of two of my best unpublished novels and book samples to go along with them. One of my short stories, Harmony House, recently won first place in a nationwide short story contest sponsored by my publisher. That has to be of interest to some, no?

Also my bounce rate is about 60%, meaning people look at my home page and leave right away. The most popular exit link? My blog, of course! Fascinating. People would rather read my blog than go to Amazon and buy my book. How in God’s name do I change that? Public Relations, book events, patience and persistence. My publisher told me sales are steady, and to not give up.

I will keep plugging away, and hopefully I will build a name for myself. Getting reviewed is difficult, especially since I don’t have any author copies. Long story, and quite sad. I am thankful to those who come and read my musings. I put my heart into everything I write, and I laud any writer who can get traditionally published. It’s an honor few people get, and I am damn lucky to be one of them, considering there are more than a million manuscripts floating around looking for agents and publishers. And all told, last year there were 700,000 books published. That’s a hell of a lot of competition. I urge you to go up Amazon, take a look at my reviews, and buy a copy of Swiss Chocolate. It’s a great story, and has an interesting history. If you have an eReader, you can buy an eBook in any format you want from

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Popular Posts Revisited

My “Popular Posts” sidebar really is a moving target. I never know where my posts are going to end up. My ratings have slipped a bit in recent weeks, but climbed again when I made my post “Do E-Cigarettes Really Work?” In fact, that post jumped to number eight on the list, bumping off my poignant post “On Friendship,” that hung on the tail end of the list for weeks.

I am still disappointed my poem, “The Premise,” got bumped off the list. It was up there for a long time and generated some really nice comments. But you never know—it may be revived. I can break down my stats by the hour, day, week, month and all time. Each time frame tells a different story, but gives me an inkling on which post is going where, unless I post something new that grabs everybody’s interest, and throws everything into disarray.

I just keep posting what’s in my heart and my gut with brutal honesty, hoping I connect with others who can relate to what I feel and suffer through. Other times I post interesting stuff that grabs people’s attention. “Russian Scam Artists” has received 137 page views since I originally posted it on May 23rd, more than any other post I have ever made by a long shot. Go figure.

I have lots of new material, but presently I am mulling it over with my therapist, trying to sift through some of the finer points of some issues he and I are trying to deal with, mostly having to do with anger and how I choose to react to it.

I will be posting about it shortly. Stay tuned, folks!

Love to all!

James M. Weil