About the Author

Welcome.  I appreciate any and all who read my books.  My name is Duane Lance Filer – and I like to write far out stuff!  I grew up in Compton, California and had one of the greatest, richest childhoods one could have growing up in an “inner” city.  My mom Blondell Filer lived in Compton until her recent passing in 2016 – living till the end in Compton in the same house me and my six brothers and sisters were raised.  I definitely received my artistic genes from Blondell Filer.  Love you mom!

My dad Maxcy Filer was involved in the west coast civil rights movement, and during the 60’s and 70’s I got to witness and was involved in some wild and crazy events during this important time in American history.   My family helped integrate the City of Compton, and my dad later served on the Compton City Council for 15 years.  Since birth, I’ve possessed an extraordinary memory; an insatiable imagination; and a fascination with writing.  I started writing in high school, through college, and during my work years.

My first short story was written for Mrs. Pierce’s 7th grade English class at Walton Jr. High in Compton.  At Compton High School, Mr. Alvin Taylor’s Black History class inspired me to write “what you know.”  My next stop was at Cal Lutheran College (now University) where creative writing professors Ted LaBrenz and Dr. Jack Ledbetter encouraged me to continue to write my off- the- wall short stories.  After college, I continued to learn the craft of writing at the Watts Writers Workshop in 1973-1974 (God bless Harry Dolan); the Open-Door Writers Program for Minority Writers at 20th Century Fox (1980-82): and the Institute of Children’s Literature.

I worked for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for 29 years and retired in 2013.  I am and have been married to my beautiful wife Janice for 43 years.  My son Lance (an attorney in Long Beach) and daughter Arinn (an Assistant Principal at a High School in Long Beach) are both bright, ambitious young adults who have made their parents very proud.  I have 6 brothers and sisters (Maxine, Kelvin, Anthony, Stephanie, Dennis and Tracy); a goo gaggle of cousins, in-laws and friends.

To date I have self-published 9 books.  “Word Food for Doods” was my 8th book.  My 9th book – “LongTALES for shortTAILS – Lancie’s Lessons by Letter” – was recently completed in August 2020 and is on the market.  And, oh yeah – my 10th book will be completed soon with more books to follow.  I just love to write and have tons of ideas!

Following is a brief summary of each book:

1. “Square Squire and the Journey to DREAMSTATE” – 2012

Square Squire and the Journey to DREAMSTATE

Squire Brooks is a precocious nerd whose only awareness of the transitions in his neighborhood of Compton, California, in the 1960’s is the opportunity to chuck stones at the increasing number of For Sale Signs in the yards of his white neighbors.  His father’s deepening involvement in civil rights creates increasing chaos in his home where Squire writes his short stories and daydreams.  Adolescence brings peer-driven lessons about girls, puberty, girls, bullies, and girls as he navigates the temptations during his elementary, junior high, and high school years.

Squire’s daydreaming has developed into an imaginative mechanism that frees his mind from all the chaos and allows him to escape to a dream state whenever he writes.  After graduating from high school and on a road trip with his dog, Julius, Squire meets Octavia Steves, who teaches him that his “dream state” is actually a form of meditation/astral projection that could help him become the writer of his dreams.

2. “The Baby Boomers First-Hand/First-Year Guide to Retirement…..365 Days of Bliss (???!!! ) or Diss (Not???!!! ).” – 2014.

Ever wonder what really happens that first year after you retire?  I’m talking about the day-to-day emotions, feelings, projects, questions, anxieties….the ups and downs of this very important next step in one’s life after some 25/30/35/40 years of formal work?

Well, my “The First-Hand/First- Year Guide to Retirement…..365 Days of Bliss (???!!!J J) or Diss

( Not???!!! LL)” could provide some insight for those recently retired or contemplating retirement.  This 365 day (from January 16, 2013 to January 16, 2014) 424-page daily journal allows the reader to follow along as I experience the chores, the life; the new budgeting, the wife – the questions, the emotions; some answers and hopefully some solutions.

“First-Hand” is a humorous collection of thoughts and stuff……..it does not hit you over the head with heavy retirement statistics such as inflation projections, investment facts, tax shelters, financial formulas, etc…; “musts” the experts tell you that need to be addressed before either retiring or planning your retirement. While this information is indeed necessary, this is not that kind of book – OK?   My book is simply a personal essay of my first 365 days of retirement, featuring real names and real people.  Included are personal pictures and anecdotes of my 2013 journey that sheds light on the everyday minutia of life.

So, no.  I am not an expert – just a dude who wrote a one-year journal that I think is informative and will make you stop and think when your retirement time comes.  You must have a sense of humor when reading this guide- life is funny and unpredictable.  My hopes are that this book/journal will be a source of reference for those of you thinking about retiring, or recently retired.  Hey……. we are lucky to have made it this far – right?

To change-up and keep the reader interested, the book is broken up into chapters by each month.  At the end of each chapter is a “Retire-Recap” of what I learned that month, as well as a “Music Jams of the Month” of my favorite walking/writing songs; and finally, a “Journal Your Journey” section for the reader to jot down any notes/comments/ideas for that particular month.

3.) Square Squire & the Journey to Dreamstate –Squared Version 2.0 for Teens and Young Adults.” – 2015. 

This is my 3rd book, a teens and young adult version of my first “Square Squire’s book.   Square Squire and the Journey to Dream State – Squared Version 2.0 for Teens and Young Adults, is a semiautobiographical story of growing up geeky in the last innocent time when all the basketball players had hopes and none of the gangs had guns. *Squared Version 2.0 is a modified version of the original 2012 book where any adult-themed language has been modified and structured for teen and young adult reading*

Short Story Collection

 2015 was a very busy year for me!  I self-published my first 3 (three) of a series of 7 (seven) independent children’s books from a collection entitled “LongTALES for shortTAILS.” Here’s a look at these first 3 children stories, all 3 containing eye-popping color illustrations by Jay DeVance III:

4.) “Fastjack Robinson” – 2015 Fastjack was coming to spend the summer with his grandrabbits- Grandpaw and Grandmaw Robinson, in Bunny Junction.  Fastjack Robinson had moved to Hare City, but always loved coming back home to visit his beloved grandrabbits as well as his childhood friends House Mouse and Stooley the Pigeon.

After a big welcome-home supper of carrot stew and rabbit tea, Fastjack was informed by the squeaky voiced House Mouse that the notorious, mischievous Grabbit Rabbit was wreaking havoc in Bunny Junction by stealing pies and other carrot items from the families in Bunny Junction.

Little did the Grabbit Rabbit know that, like a young Jackie Robinson, Fastjack Robinson was the fastest rabbit in the world!  Somebody in Bunny Junction had to stop the notorious Grabbit Rabbit.   So Stooley, House Mouse, Grandpaw, and Grandmaw devised a plan to catch the Grabbit Rabbit.   It’s Fastjack to the rescue!

5.) “Ms. Missy – Bishop’s First Dog” –2015  Who out there doesn’t remember their first pet?  Bishop’s first dog turns out to be the beautiful diva Missy.  Plus, Missy soon has a surprise for the family.

“Ms. Missy – Bishop’s First Dog” is a true story concerning my family’s first pet – Ms. Missy the diva dog!

Follow along as Bishop, oldest child of the Morrow household, learns the ins and outs of owning and taking care of a dog.  Bishop has daily duties of feeding and caring for Ms. Missy; bathing her in the Morrow backyard with younger siblings Maxine and Kelvin; and training

Missy in the ways of the pet and human world.  Time passes, as both Missy and the Morrow family grows with additional kids.  One day, Missy disappears, and young Bishop feels it is his fault because he scolded Missy too hard.  Bishop feels terrible, and fears she has run away for good.  When Missy is finally found – she has a surprise of a lifetime for the Morrow family!

6.) “Duncan & the Chocolate Bar” – 2015 The year is 2050.  The space shuttle to the moon has been a reality since 2030.  There have been scientists, explorers, politicians, entertainers and celebrities; just about every type of scientific type person has been or has plans to go to the moon………but no ordinary people have been included?   Black, white, brown, or yellow….no regular ordinary people have been to the moon.   Finally, in 2050, the USA government has decided it is time to send some regular folks to the moon.  A contest was held to pick three lucky souls to be sent to the moon.  Each person selected could bring a friend.  And the best part is that the government claims once the lucky winners get to the moon, there would be a surprise waiting for them.

Young Duncan (Dunk) Sylers,11-years old and from the city of Compton, California, enters the contest.  You guessed it – Young Duncan wins and decides to take his younger cousin Drew on the exploration of a lifetime.  Follow along as Duncan, Drew, and the other winners (including a wanna-be hippie who brings his parrot as his guest; as well as an aging actress and her equally washed up boyfriend) travel toward the moon.  Do they succeed?  You’ll have to read the book.

7.) “The Legend of Diddley Squatt – A Novella from a Brother Fella” – 2017 – **************I personally think this is my greatest book**************!

Have you heard the phrase: “You don’t know Diddley Squatt?” Most people have heard this phrase.  Well, this book answers that question!

Diddley Squatt, a black child, was born in Rundown City, Mississippi in a rundown year, to a rundown father Doodley and a rundown mother, Jackie.  Given up on and left to be raised by his popular Grandma, affectionately known as Momma Squatt (the owner of the Copp-A-Squatt Inn – the best-known brothel “this side of Mississippi”); Diddley Squatt enters the world.  Diddley is bullied as a youngster because of his obviously weird name and home life circumstances.   Young Diddley could care less; he develops a thick skin as he is raised by his grandmother and the ladies of the Copp-A-Squatt, along with the goo-gaggle of johns including famous musicians, military soldiers on leave, politicians, and others who visit the brothel.  In actuality, it is through the nurturing, lessons, mentoring of the various and strong women at the Copp-A-Squatt – that leads Diddley through his early life. The Copp-A-Squatt is the only hot spot in Rundown City, its parlor hosting the best-known jazz and blues musicians of the day. The place is jumping on every Saturday night!  Some of “the girls” and regular customers take Diddley under their wing and teach him not only about the value of doing his homework, but also valuable life lessons.  Although the musicians mentor him and guide him through his growing talent on the guitar and harmonica, the ladies always answer his questions at the end of the day.  These life lessons bring out surprising gifts unique to Diddley – and he remains grounded and true to life and being kind to all.

Experience “young Didd” (as he is known) from birth through high school.   Witness some of the amazing adventures that help shape his life.  He learns of the mystical powers he’s blessed with by way of a magical harmonica gifted to him; how he can make himself small and fly on the back of his ladybug friend LadyM; how animals trust him enough to talk to him, especially his best friend/” kindred soul” Sly- a flying squirrel; how his famous blues musician friend, Robert Johnson, takes him to the Crossroads one scary dark night and he meets up and defies evil (a.k.a. The Devil) with goodness.

Read on as Diddley grows to a handsome young man and catches many a young girl’s eye.  Finally, after high school graduation, it is time for Diddley to spread his wings and explore life outside of Rundown City.  He makes the move, the first big step in his life journey; slings his ever-present guitar gig-bag over his shoulder; says his goodbyes to Momma Squatt and the other tearful ladies of the night who helped raised him and takes the Back-Up Rundown City train to the big city – and of course, he has his best friend Sly the squirrel, in his guitar pouch, to help guide him!

At 37,452 words (141 pages), THE LEGEND OF DIDDLEY SQUATT could easily be just the first book of many detailing the colorful escapades of Diddley Squatt.  I am presently working on future Diddley adventures as he grows and experiences life through the chitlin’ circuit during the turbulent civil rights era.

8.) “Word Food for Doods” – 2018 – Can’t believe this is my 8th book.  I wrote some of these short stories and plays long ago (1970’s- 1990’s) but I still feel they are relevant to what’s happening today.  I will never stop writing!

If women can have a “girls’ night out” and chic lit reading groups/lunches; what about a “Dood Food” happy hour?   “Word Food for Doods” is a guy’s night-out buffet comprised of 3 short stories; 2 funky one-act plays; and 2 essays that sprout about important men banes. A plus for the ladies – these stories will help you understand your man’s warped mind 😊.  ***A bonus is the 23 eye-popping/old-school/black/white/brown illustrations that help bring flavor to each story; you will be amazed at how these old-fashioned pictures bring life to the characters*** Here’s a brief glimpse of each story:

Short Stories-

“Kemal’s Last Laugh” – Three white men – Americus Barton, Ellery Gent, and Young Pye- are experienced mountain climbers and decide to take on Mt. Kenya (Nelion Peak) in Central Kenya East Africa—the second largest mountain in Africa.  They enlist Kemal, a strange/local guide, to help guide them up the mountain. What they don’t expect is Kemal’s talent at descending the mountain.

“Streople” – or “Street People.”  A day in the life of a bored State worker in bustling/busy downtown Los Angeles, and how he relishes meeting the various characters he encounters on his daily lunch visits to various parks and downtown sites.  With his trusty journal in hand, the working man bumps into regulars like the Street Urchin, Preacher Man Poor, the Fashionable Ladies in Heels with the Gent, and of course the General.  All in a day’s work on the streets of downtown Los Angeles.

“Closet Miserable” – True story from the author, a dedicated State worker whose job entails taking complaints from the public- as he pursues his dream of one day becoming a writer; all while helping to raise his two young kids and keep his energetic working wife happy.  The writer introduces us to various characters that inhabit his Monday through Friday work week – such as the Man from M.O.O.C.H. and the bothersome Priscilla Pennebody who complains about everything; even the writer’s two kids complain about the burnt grilled-cheese sandwiches he makes for dinner.  The writer finally realizes life is what it is – and he is actually blessed to have a wife, home, kids, and a job – he will just have to push through daily life and continue to pursue his written word dreams.

One-Act Plays-

“The Tattle-Tale Grin of Kid Spade” – The story of Kid Spade the Blade, a black cowboy passing through Yall City, Nevada.  Denied gun ownership because of his color, Kid Spade becomes adapt at protecting himself with knives in his holsters!  It seems because of his good looks, cocked hat, different afro/hair-do, and his reputation for not backing down from the white establishment -he has encounters in every town he visits.  In Yall City, he meets the Sheriff (better known as The Dude); the city’s mortician Charleston Mums; Tight-Titt the Kitt (the very Mae West-like owner of the city’s lone saloon, The Kitt); and the only two black souls in Yall City, bartender Latimore Dooty and his beautiful daughter Blanche Dooty – who dances and sings for the inhabitants and passersby who drop into The Kitt. Enjoy the play padners!

“jazz junkies” – I love music of all genres!  This play recounts an important time in the life of piano player Hemp Leeks, leader of the quartet jazz troupe the Congregation, who is offered possible fame and fortune if he agrees to leave his longtime band and bandmates and sign on with Horatio Minks, the brash band leader of the popular Basin Funk Choir.  Hemp created the band Congregation which also features Doubtin’ Thomas- rotund and funny bass/trumpet player; Drummer- drummer for the band; and Linus – boastful multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, sax, and anything else needed.  Leamas Blair owns the bar/nightclub – called the Congregation – where the band plays nightly and he helps to mentor these jazz musicians who he affectionately refers to as his “jazz junkies.” Horatio Minks is in need of a new piano player….is in town and hears about Hemp Leeks….and offers him the opportunity to join his band and hit the road for the big time.  Does Hemp take the offer and leave the band and bandmates he started?  Or does he stay faithful and remain with his original bandmates and grind together?  What decision does Hemp make?


“t.s. etiquette (a.k.a. the toilet seat chronicles)” – An essay for both men and women on possible remedies on the age-old fight on which is the correct procedure for men after leaving the bathroom – should the toilet seat be left up or down?  Both sides have legitimate arguments.    THIS IS AN ARGUMENT FOR THE AGES!  The writer offers possible alternatives to resolving this issue.

“Dedman Speeks – the Hellcatcher” –  Dedman Speeks is a certified hellcatcher – caught hell from every angle you can think.  He explains, through poetic justice, the different types of hells we men go through; I’m sure men can/will relate and recognize where he is coming from.    WOMEN MAY NOT FIND DEDMAN AND HIS POETRY RELEVANT.  We men own Dedman a debt of gratitude for speaking up for us……and we hope he survives after his personal expose’.

9.) “LongTALES for shortTAILS – Lancie’s Lessons by Letter” & Tales 4 Through 7 – 2020

This collection of illustrated short stories is designed for children and adults alike. Brought to life by Ajaye’ D. Herndon’s colorful illustrations, the book narrates both real and fictional stories from the author’s childhood to adulthood. Each story describes relatable everyday occurrences and leaves an important life lesson at the end. With it, kids will understand and recognize many of the experiences and what their parents told them, while teens and adults will be transported back to their youth when they may have experienced similar instances of life.

Here is what I would like readers to take away from these stories:

“That kids are brought into this world with no preconceived knowledge of hate or that some are more equal than others. That regardless of your birth circumstances — born black, white, or brown; rich or poor, big or small; male or female; in the north, south, east or west — YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER WHO YOU ARE AT BIRTH! It is left to each of us, once born and as we start to grow into ourselves, to ensure that we make the best of our lives — and that begins at childhood.  Nobody can live for you — you take the good with the bad and learn to adjust, and hopefully find happiness along life’s glorious journey.”

I can be contacted at duanelancefiler@gmail.com. Please visit my website and view my books, paintings, and crazy music rants at  (http://duanelancefiler.wix.com/duanelancefiler) where my books can also be purchased, as well as at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and AuthorHouse/Xlibris/ and IUniverse.  I am also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

If you want more information about my books, please review this link I wrote for Black Pearls

Magazine.  Everybody seems to love it!