Dale Wiley

The Margaret Baker Manifesto by Dale Wiley

There was a movie my mom took me to see when I was a kid. It was called the North Avenue Irregulars and it starred Cloris Leachman and Ruth Buzzi and the Skipper from Gilligan's Island and I don't remember if it was good or bad, but everyone enjoyed it, and I still remember the station wagons and the setting, even to the day.

My mom took me to see it, because that's what she liked. The RescuersEscape from Witch Mountain, the occasional showing of the Dean Jones and Kurt Russell 60s Disney flicks. They were fun and fluffy and didn't offend anyone.

When I started writing, my mom very much tried to bring her sensibilities to my writing, offering lots of hand-wringing when anything went into four-letter words and (other even more scandalous material that needs to be whispered.) When I wrote my second novel Sabotage, which still has to be whispered about around her, there was a part of me that felt really bad handing mom a copy, knowing how she has always been.

Well, mom, to maybe help you feel better, there is a part of me that cringes when those words are used, even in my stories, even for good reason. I genuinely hate it when movies add crude humor to get a PG instead of a G rating, and I genuinely believe that we are not better for the drool that gets dumped on kids today. At least the North Avenue Irregulars was clean drool.

So after writing Sabotage, I quietly started working on a character based on my mom, Margaret Baker. Margaret gets into all kinds of situations and winds up sometimes needing help to get out of them, but the stories are told in a way where they are clean and funny and I can show every one of them to my mom without fear of pursed lips or the high voice, which comes out when she's annoyed.

There will be a Margaret Baker story or novel installment once a month, and they are suitable for people agest 9-90. I think they're quite funny and fun, but they're quite family friendly.

The first collection, The Margaret Baker Stories, comes out on April 14 if you want to buy them via e-reader ($2.99) and are available now if you want a booklet mailed to you with actual printed words. Because of the cost of printing and mailing, those are $5.

This is your chance to encourage a project that can be shared with people of all ages, but is still worth reading. I want to take these to nursing homes and places where the written word is still treasured and enjoyed, but the normal topics might be a little to "extreme".

Margaret, as we enter her life, is learning how to deal with all of the technological advances of this new millienium while holding on to the life she loves. She's dealing with changes in church, changes in culture, and trying not to lose herself. I have a very funny story that I've started writing for the first Margaret Baker novel, Margaret Baker Goes to New York, which will work a few elements of social commentary (but it won't be extreme, as Margaret would say with emphatic hand gestures), but first we've got to set the stage for who she is as a character, and how out of step that can seem to be in a Kardashian world. 

Please pass this along to anyone who might enjoy reading, either by the print book (order here), or as an e-book, available at:



Barnes and Noble


Here is Margaret Baker herself talking about the books:

Sign up on the contact page of this website if you want more updates.

I'm Sorry In Advance by Dale Wiley

Had a great day yesterday, with a booksigning on the extreme north side of Kansas City, surrounded by relatives, friends and a very nice staff. After a nice dinner, I drove on to St. Louis, listening to the St. Louis Blues break out of their slump, finishing up a Ross McDonald novel and listening to a couple of podcasts. I made it into town in time to fall into a slumber.

Woke up this morning and was interviewed by Diane Jones, a nice St. Louis radio host, and now I am waiting to do a couple of errands before heading to my next event.

I am going to apologize right now for the nature of a book release, for putting my face on so many posts, and for constantly reminding you of what you may or may not want to be reminded of. And I'm sorry for ending a sentence with a preposition.

But as I go forth trying to create some momentum (and from the early Amazon numbers, it looks like it's kind of working), but promoting something new is a daunting task, even when you've got a great team around you. My constant mantra when I'm doing this is, Remember Slewfoot, which means I knew how happy a band could make me when they were willing to be pirates and go make any and all appearances and gigs to promote their music. Most of my bands were less pirates and more petunias, planted and willing only for their nourishment to come to them.

Well, for the next few weeks, I am apologizing for being a pirate. I am a Crane Pirate after all. So despite my discomfort, I will keep posting and pointing out. It's not ideal, but it seems to be working, and just buy the book and have all your friends and enemies buy the book and I promise I'll stop. As soon as the book comes out in Swahili.

More tomorrow. 

Release Day and Tour Start! by Dale Wiley

I woke up today with my book on sale and an event to do this afternoon.

This past week has been wonderful, with events kind of leading up to release day, but now, it's on.

I had an interesting conversation with my old friend and teacher Rita DeWitt, and after hearing some heart-warming things about the articles I used to write for the Crane Chronicle newspaper years ago, I've decided that I'm going to do a "modern day" version of that. I used to "chronicle" my trips, whether to Georgia or Europe, and I wrote long articles that were irreverent and different and that word that gets lost in modern life, detailed.

I wrote about everything. I put it all down. For the next week, when I have taken off from law work and am concentrating on driving to Georgia and building some buzz behind this book, I'm going to try to revisit that age, before all of our time was all dominated by arguing on Facebook.

Today, I have three main objectives: TV interview at 10, book signing at 4, and then drive to St. Louis. Not a bad day. I'll check in with law clients and make sure everything is cleared for take-off, which is nice, but then I'll start this journey and see where it takes me. I'm very happy to know that my cousin Terrie, one of the inspirations for Southern Gothic, will be joining me for several days, and hopefully other friends along the way.

This post is partly an exercise to begin to reconnect with something that I feel I am losing and we are losing: Over the past several months especially, I have begun to realize how technology and fear and the pace of modern-day life is really messing with us, causing us to lose perspective on who we are and maybe just as importantly who we were. We have created a society in which everyone just yells. They yell at people they know won't listen, and, increasingly, they yell in an increasingly loud manner, caring neither about the effects on their voice or the listener's ears. I see it on both sides, "left" and "right", and it has bummed me out greatly. It's like we need "human" lessons. Isn't that sad?

So I'm working on my part: Things you shouldn't have to tell a feller, keep your phone in your pocket when you're talking to someone, keep your tone and your content civil, and just try to remember why you love this odd assortment of people you've collected. 

This journal, in addition to promoting this book and this trip, is an attempt to do that.

So, in sum, let's be human and let's buy my book, not necessarily in that order.

In case you want to come to my event today, it's at the Zona Rosa Barnes and Noble in Kansas City, January 24 from 4-6.

If that would potentially cause a rift in the space-time continuum, you can do any of the following:

1) Buy it at southerngothicbooks.com

2) Buy a hardcover from Amazon

3) Buy it from an indie bookstore like Avid Bookshop and E. Shaver, both of whom are nice enough to welcome me into their stores.

4) Buy an ebook. All links are contained here

Have fun, and as I always used to close these articles,

Peace, Love and Granola,