Rice Universe Publishing

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A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I have taught English at the U. of Hawaii and the U. of Montana, and worked in Montana state government. After that I became a United Methodist minister, pastoring churches in Colorado and Montana. My short story, “The Cherry Tree,” won first prize in the 2011 Common Review Short Story Prize contest. Stories, poems, and creative nonfiction of mine have appeared in literary and other magazines, including The North American Review, the Hawaii Review, the Chariton Review, and, most recently, A River and Sound Review, Written River, The Whirlwind Review, 5x5, Assisi, In Our Own Voice, Divide: Journal of Literature, Arts and Ideas, Poems Across the Big Sky, Moonrabbit Review, and The Other Side.

Sincerely yours,

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A third generation Japanese American, I grew up a Mormon in Hawaii. A second generation Japanese American, my mother was hanai'd as an infant to a native Hawaiian family. She was taught Hawaiian ways--beliefs about the land and how one relates to the land. She spoke Hawaiian, treated us children with Hawaiian herbal medicines, and believed we could be hurt if the wrong person got a hold of our umbilical cords, which she carefully buried in the back yard. My mother's world was frightening to me as a child and that world has influenced my writing. On the other hand, she believed in the Hawaiian version of hospitality--in order to be truly giving and loving, you had to be able to take or partake of various island customs and the dishes she cooked. She would watch the Mormon missionaries that sat at our table very carefully. If they did not partake, but turned their nose up at what was strange and different, Mom would call the missionaries "a manini," a reef fish with a small mouth. To be called a manini was to be called a miser. The missionaries had shut their mouthes, not to mention their hearts, to the gifts she wanted to share. Mom believed that if the missionaries could not take or partake, they could not love, because they had not prepared a place for her in their hearts. The Hawaiian hospitality she taught me has influenced my writing as well as well as my ministry as a United Methodist.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A while back, I realized I wanted to be a publisher. I understood that a good publisher found a good product he could promote unabashedly. In fact, between 1978 and 1980, a couple of friends and I published in Helena, Montana an annual literary magazine called Scratchgravel Hills. The magazine was not connected with any university or college writing program, and I hoped to build a lay readership in our small town that would sustain our efforts. We were able to publish three issues of the magazine.

In 1990, I went to seminary, became ordained as a United Methodist minister, and was appointed to churches in Colorado. I sustained my writing life by thinking of my sermons as memoirs. My wife, who is also an ordained United Methodist minister, retired in 2002, and I followed soon after in 2003. She began writing a weekly inspirational column for two newspapers, The Great Falls Tribune and The Helena Independent Record. Eventually we launched a publishing company, Rice Universe Publishing, and published two collections of her articles, At the Water's Edge: God's Grace in Everyday Life and At the Water's Edge: God's Grace in Everyday Life Vol II. That's how we got into indie publishing.

As for myself, I got tired of receiving back from editors that my story was very good but they did not love it or were not excited about it. After a while, I thought, I love my story and I'm excited about it. How many editors out there will I find who love my story or get excited about it. I'm lucky if I find one, and how long will it take. I decided then to become an indie author and publisher and began publishing on Smashwords and Amazon at CreateSpace.
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Myths, Stories and Parables for the Religious at Heart
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Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,100. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2014 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Fiction » Christian » Classical & allegory
Myths, Stories, Parables for the Religious at Heart collects four e-books I have at Smashwords for free: Neither Good nor Bad: How Prometheus Stole Fire for Humankind, Parable of the Promise, Parable of the Uncoordinated Pigeon, and The Other Side: A Touch of Midas and Other Writings. I will be charging for the convenience of the collection, but each of the four items remain downloadable for free.
View from the Chancel: Church-related Writings by a Pastor
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Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,660. Language: English. Published: February 2, 2014 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources
View from the Chancel: Church-related Writings of a Pastor collects four e-books I have at Smashwords for free: Sweet Corn from the Pastor, At the Chancel Steps: Talking to the children of the Congregation, Two for the Chancel, and Ol’ Zak, After the Angel: A monologue. I will be charging for the convenience of the collection, but each of the four items can still be downloaded for free.
Ol' Zak, After the Angel: A Monologue
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Price: Free! Words: 2,340. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2013 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Plays » Religious & Liturgical
Zechariah is struck dumb by an angel, in Luke 3: 7 - 18. His loss of voice becomes a metaphor for me, of forgetting that all things are possible with God. As I entered into ministry after graduating from The Iliff School of Theology, I wondered what would happen in my writing life. Would I doubt the birth of something new and lose my voice as Zechariah did?
Sweet Corn from the Pastor
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Price: Free! Words: 9,040. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2013 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
This collection of writings celebrates the five years--from 1998 to 2003--I served as pastor of Olathe United Methodist Church in western Colorado. It includes articles I wrote for "Sweet Corn from the Pastor," my pastor's column, and also excerpts of sermons as memoirs. I have always been interested in memory, especially in our memory of God.
At the Chancel Steps: Talking with the Children of the Congregation
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Price: Free! Words: 5,330. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2013 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Education / Children & Youth
As a pastor, I love to sit with the children of the congregation on the chancel steps and have a conversation with them. I try to recognize each child by name, by looking into their eyes, by listening and learning something about the child. I try to be spontaneous in responding to what the child brings forth and responsive to the child within myself. This book contains strategies I've used.
The Other Side: A Touch of Midas and Other Writings
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Price: Free! Words: 3,290. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2013 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
When I was a child, my parents purchased for the family The Book of Knowledge. The purchase included several volumes of the world's folktales. I loved those stories of kings and princess, wise animals and some mean ones, and spent many hours dwelling upon them. In this collection of writings I explore ways of finding Christ's message in the myths, legends and stories of other cultures.
Two for the Chancel
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Price: Free! Words: 2,610. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2013 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Plays » Religious & Liturgical
Two for the Chancel includes two Reader's Theater light dramas to be performed in the church chancel. The theme of The Easy Button is How freedom to choose came into the world and what it means for us, and of Four Drumsticks, Respecting God’s Creation while Honoring Mind and Community.
Neither Good Nor Bad: How Prometheus Stole Fire for Humankind
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Price: Free! Words: 4,740. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2013 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fairy Tales
In this retelling of a Greek myth, the author explores and comments on the human character and condition through the story of how the Titan Prometheus so loved the creatures he had created that he stole fire from the gods and gave it to them to further their intellectual and technological development and the development of civilization. But was there a price to pay, for Prometheus and us?
What Gifts Does the Christ Child Bring
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Price: Free! Words: 12,430. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2012 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Life / Inspirational
These twenty-three stories combine the joyous, hopeful, inspirational parts of Advent and Christmas with life's inevitable pain, grief and just plain everydayness. Some are funny, and all explore the deep meanings and spiritual loveliness of this most inspirational season. Joan Uda writes to show how our own lives and celebrations are illuminated by the life and death of Jesus Christ.
Parable of the Uncoordinated Pigeon
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Price: Free! Words: 3,340. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2012 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
When launched miles from home, as many of us are, King suffers with his homing instinct. Paradoxically, the harder he tries to wing his way home, the further and further away from home he finds himself. In the end, he learns where home really is.
Parable of the Promise
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Price: Free! Words: 1,820. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2012 by Rice Universe Publishing. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
A childless couple, the Man of the Forest and the Woman of the Forest, spend many happy years caring for God's creation but nurture one sadness in their life together. God makes them a promise: "Some day you will care not only for the trees, waterways and creatures of the forest, but also for your own children." But the years go by and the old couple remain barren.


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