Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chuck is Right!

The irrepressible Chuck Wendig has a killer list- 25 Lies Writers Tell and Start to Believe.

It's way too painful for self-aware writers to read. Ouch. The bastard nails us.

Read it, if you've got the guts. Don't say I didn't warn you, though...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Library Talk

Had a great talk today at the Dunstable (MA) public library.
Had no idea what kind of crowd to expect, but set up my display anyway.
But Susan was in charge, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see an audience- the members of the adult reading group from the library.
So we chatted about publishing, the writing process, and my books.
I talked for over an hour, and fielded some terrific questions.
I explained how tough it was to get your book noticed- that library alone has over 15,000 novels!
Wonderful time meeting readers and talking about the current state of books and publishing.
And in a bit of Jungian synchronicity, NY Times best-seller mystery writer Debbi Mack was talking about Promoting Literacy with Little Libraries!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tough Week

Whew-- been another tough week. TGIF!

Sure the weather was nice, but I started off by greeting Spring with a nasty cold. Apart from my day job, I put in time writing and working to get more readers, so when I'm down sick, that's too much not getting done.

Had to take our vehicle in for an awful grinding noise, but it didn't cost us hundreds of dollars this time. Okay, that bullet was only a flesh wound.

And my daughter's turning 18, while waiting to hear from colleges on acceptance, so it's been pretty nerve-wracking.

So good news-- I'm appearing at the Dunstable, Mass Public Library tomorrow, where I hope there will be some folk to hear me talk about writing!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Digging Their Own Graves

Big traditional publishers are digging their own graves with a fleet of backhoes.

One of of my favorite blogs is that of Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who came out with one of the best postings ever:
The Business Rusch: Scarcity and Abundance

It looks at the old publishing model as opposed to the revolutionary new world of publishing that has erupted in the last two years.

And yes, it's required reading.

A big part of the reason the big traditional publishers are experiencing difficulties is that the revolution has taken them completely by surprise, and they have not reacted well. They have a mindset, that if continued, will send them the way of the dinosaurs into extinction. They'll continue to lose money with stupid moves like giving Amanda Knox $4 million dollars to do a book of her story.

Four million dollars. That would support 800 midlist writers with an average $5000 advance-- but I guess an outdated story about a court case is way more important than reading 800 other writers. Well, we see where their priorities are. And they will most likely lose quite a bit of money on this. Are we supposed to weep for them? This isn't literature, which they keep insisting they're in charge of. See Konrath and Eisler's comments on the Hachette pub memo.

And neither is another big-selling author book I just read, put out by a supposed professional publishing company. It was crap-- read the reviews here. Wow- this is a cherished best-selling author, and the 1, 2, and 3-star reviews outnumber the good ones. So where's the editing from the pros? Where's the quality? Oh, I see-- his name means they can push any piece of crap out to make money.

Believe me, I know how badly it sucks to be in a dying paradigm. I grew up in a country where we at least gave lip service to concepts like law, human rights, and being the Good Guys.

Hard to justify keeping them around, if this is their way of doing things.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Two Phillips in One!

I got mentioned in another blog, this one by NY Times best-selling author Debbi Mack. This while she's busy with the launch for her latest mystery Riptide, a corker of a mystery-- my review here.

If you like mysteries, you have to grab this one-- now! It's got a limited-time price of under a buck for the e-book version. You can't beat that, even in the discount paperback rack.

And in this post, she also gives props to another Phillips, this one Louise, an Irish writer.

Nice name-- I'll have to check out her work.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review of New Mystery- Riptide

Today we've got a review of the great new mystery Riptide, by the talented Debbi Mack (NY Times best-selling author, by the way).
Riptide launches on Monday-- great launch page here.

So here's a rundown--

Want a good, fast-paced mystery? Once again, Debbi Mack has scored a hit, this time with Riptide, the latest outing in the Sam McRae series. Here, attorney Stephanie Ann McRae (Sam) accompanies her friend Jamila, who is scheduled to speak at a Bar Association convention. Sam, who doesn't care about the boring convention, is looking forward to a nice vacation by the sea. It doesn't turn out that way, though, as Sam is roused in the middle of the night to see her friend taken for questioning in a murder.

Sam and Jamila had encountered the murder victim, a racist redneck, in previous confrontations, and when personal items of Jamila are found by the victim, the locals assume she is the killer. She hires a defense attorney, but they're up against a powerful, vengeful local family-- of which the deceased was a member.

Sam, of course, is not about to let her friend get railroaded, and starts investigating. Things just keep getting worse, as the weight of evidence mounts against her friend. Complicating things is the arrival of other people Sam has had encounters with-- some bad, some good, but of a nature Sam doesn't want to admit to.

As Sam tries to unravel the threads of what happened, she runs into a number of hostile folk, and eventually stumbles across a web of secrets and corruption. She is dogged in her pursuit of the truth, and manages to pry little bits of the puzzle out of reluctant witnesses and put the pieces together. She finds herself enmeshed in an alien world. Suffering hounding reporters, shadowy people following her, and malicious vandals, Sam tenaciously ferrets out the truth.

Another murder raises the stakes, and Sam must then race against time to expose the killer, as she herself comes under suspicion.

Sam is a great character, nice to the nice people, but sassy and snappy to the jerks. She has a quick temper for injustice, and is not afraid to speak her mind. She bribes, cajoles, and confronts people in an effort to find information. She even marches right into the lion's den, unstoppable in her quest to exonerate Jamila.

This is the third outing of Sam McRae. You'll want to read the first two, Identity Crisis and Least Wanted. The eBook of Identity Crisis cracked the New York Times e-book bestseller list in March 2011.

Debbi Mack also has a number of great stories. Check out her work.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What a Week

Holy crap, how much can a person take? Here's what's happened this week.

Our washing machine died. $800 later, they deliver a new one. Completely different model, have to learn all new stuff.

Printer died. $150 later, new one. Another completely different model, have to learn all new stuff.

Browser got auto-upgraded, against our wishes. One more ****ing time, completely different model, have to learn all new stuff.

Sick of this crap. So tell me some good news!

Okay, I won the contest Keith Rawson had at his very cool blog, Bloody knuckles, Calloused fingers. It's for mystery/crime writers and readers. I get a couple of signed books. They're supposed to be quite good-- will let you know.

Tomorrow I get interviewed on national Author Radio.

And later, I get to learn how to put together a local TV show. The Nashua library is teaching us the process. Would like to interview writers for a show.

Got the proofs of my latest story collection, Strange Tales. Looks great, ordered some copies. And just got copies of my big collection of stories, Jumble Sale.

Am going to need them, as I have a talk at the Dunstable Library on March 24th, so will need to show them all my books to date.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Listing and Upcoming Riptide Launch

Just found out I've one of the new authors listed at Stop You're Killing Me, "a website to die for-- if you love mysteries."

These folks list the pros in the field, the ones with more than one book in the mystery world. It's where people go to find mystery writers.

It may not seem like much to some, but to a writer working for recognition, it's another rung on the ladder-- and every one counts.


And get ready for the launch of Riptide, the new mystery by Debbi Mack, starting a week from tomorrow. There will be lots of giveaways, so if you like free books, you might want to give a look or two.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New Book Out-- Strange Tales

As part of my Insane Writing Challenge for 2012, I've been publishing my stories as collections, as ebooks and in print.

So the latest is out-- Strange Tales. A 5-story collection of magic realism stories, two of which have been published previously. With characters looking for answers, who find out the world has strange things that cannot be explained.

With another incredible cover by the very talented Melinda Phillips. I've been receiving so much praise (for the covers, at least), so if you'd like a professional cover design for your book, email her.

This brings me to half my book challenge for the year. I set a goal to publish 12 books before the end of the year, and we have 6 out so far:
Fables and Fantasies (Fantasy)
Crooked Paths (Mystery/Crime)
Halls of Horror #1 (Horror)
Halls of Horror #2 (Horror)
Jumble Sale (Mixed Genres)
Strange Tales (Magic Realism)

This plus my two mystery novels published from Briona Glen Publishing,
A Memory of Grief and A Fall From Grace.
And my non-fiction career help book,
How to Improve Your Interviewing Skills.

Still a long way to go, but one terrific start. Do you know anyone else who can get out 6 quality books-- as ebooks and print-- in less than 3 months? (Hint: talk to writers who've been doing this for years, and who finally decided that doing it yourself is quite a viable option!)

So have a look, sample the stories, and see if any of my works are for you-- ebooks are here.