Friday, November 17, 2017

Taking the Plunge

Okay, it's done.  I have sent a manuscript to my editor. 

I'd been playing with the idea of releasing something different next.  One of my dystopian novels.  And I had two books that, in my estimation, were as ready to go as I could make them by myself.  But I couldn't choose.  So, I sent an email to my Awesome Wonderful Editor (AWE), hoping she would make this easy on me. 

She didn't.  She made me choose.  =o\

This is the email that ensued...

GAH!  I've been back and forth, back and forth about this.  Blink or Unequal, Blink or Unequal...  Argh.  If I were to pick one to read, like if someone had a gun to the back of my head and said 'choose one or I'll blow your brains out', I'd probably be splattered all over.  They say if you do eeny-meeny-miney-mo, and then when you land on one, your reaction will determine what your real choice is.  If I eeny and land on Blink, I'm like 'dang, I wanted Unequal'.  BUT if I eeny and end up on Unequal, I'm like 'dang' again.  So, sitting here thinking about which one is probably cleaner, I'd have to go with Unequal - because it was written more recently when I had a better grasp of what I was doing.  But if I think about which one is more important to me, I'd have to go with Blink.  ...
Sooo, the answer is.... I'll email you something later and surprise you.  ;o)
In the end, I chose Blink... err, Blink of an I... which I always refer to as Blink in my head.  It was originally written in 2006, rewritten, revised, edited, etc. and then queried in '08 & '09, then revised some more, critted, etc. until I finally set it aside.  I still love this book and I still believe in this book, so I took the plunge and I'm moving forward with it.

Unless, of course, my editor comes back and tells me it's beyond help. 

Here's the blurb* that once landed me a request for pages from an agent...

A foundling raised in a state home, Mary Jones should be a meek servant under the Union’s dictatorship.  Instead, she has a tendency to wander where she shouldn’t, and this time it’s straight into a forbidden store run by a member of a secret society—The Order, and they need help.  Before she can blink, they decide she’s perfect for a mission they’ve planned for decades.  Now, she can either stay home where the Union Guard already has orders to kill her, or she can escape the city to search for traces of mankind outside. 
If she survives long enough to return, that is. 
Beyond the ravages of a long-forgotten war, she learns freeing her city means eradicating the Union—by herself, if necessary.  When she promised to free her people, though, she never dreamed they wouldn’t want her help.

Here's hoping, with the help of AWE, this will be alive and out in the world next year.

Like I said, it's not my usual stuff - although it does have loads of suspense.  Naturally. 

Anyway, there it is.  I'm taking the plunge.  And just so you know, if all goes according to plan, I'll for sure have a suspense and a paranormal released next year - Early Grave and Sleeping Ugly. And, if I ever get off my ass, a mystery, too - Dennis Haggarty #3.

How about you?  Have you ever taken a plunge where you weren't exactly sure what the outcome would be?  How'd that work out for you?  How worried should I be?  ;o)

*Wow, that blurb blows.  I'll totally redo it before this goes live, but I'll leave it here so you get the gist.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty

I watch a lot of true crime shows - First 48, Live PD, COPS, etc. - and they all remind us that the people involved are innocent until proven guilty.  Sometimes ad nauseum.  Sometimes when you can see with you own eyes that the person under arrest did exactly what they're being charged with.  Regardless, it is an important thing to remember.

Here in the USA, people are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty.

Well, they were innocent until proven otherwise and were guilty when they were proven guilty.  I'm not sure what's going on now. 

Today, we have people who are being ruined by allegations of crime without proof.  It's all very fucked up.

As for the recent witch hunt, you believe the allegations or you don't depending on what side of the fence you land on.  Bill Cosby and Judge Moore vs Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey?  Who's the criminal?  Where the proof?  Hmm.  Seems like there was proof in there for one of those...

But I digress.

Sure, I'm laughing my ass off over some of this stuff.  I have to or I'll go nuts.  And I can be pretty certain here in my own home that I am correct in my assumptions of who is guilty and who isn't.  But I don't make public opinion.  Nobody cares what I have to say on the subject - and they shouldn't, because it is just opinion.  Opinion and conjecture is not proof.  And I don't have anything to do with the criminal justice system.  I just write about it.  Which is something actual criminals should thank their lucky stars for, lemme tell ya.

So, before you jump on the bandwagon - at least publicly* - remember that this is still America and we still presume someone is innocent until proof shows otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.  Which basically means I can't point at you and say you stole my Ferrari** and have the police come and lock you up on my say-so.  This 'innocent until proven guilty' thing protects us all.

Remember it and hold it tight, folks, because the next round of pointing fingers could be directed at you.

* What you say and think in your own private places is nobody's business.  Have at it.  
** I do not now nor have I ever nor will I ever own a Ferrari.  I'd someday like to have enough money to eschew the purchase of a Ferrari, though.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NaNoWriMo: Still No, But...

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year you should be at 13350 or so by the end of tonight.  I am still not participating.  But...

Last night as I was trying to go to sleep, my brain started playing with the next Dennis Haggarty book.  I already had the general premise laid out, but not enough that it was blowing my skirt up enough to write it.  Last night?  My silly brain figured it out.  I dragged my butt out of bed and wandered over here to write it down. 

You see, I had this idea that Dennis goes off to a conference of rural police chiefs, and I was trying to think of exactly which little town in CO I would drop the conference into.  Then it occurred to me - drop the conference into Last Ditch. 

Okay, that was a good idea.  Not worth dragging my butt out of bed for, though.  I'd remember that one.  What got me out of bed was the acronym for the conference... CARPAC.  The Colorado Association of Rural Police Administrators & Chiefs*.

I never would've remembered that if I hadn't written it down.  And just like that, I'm excited about writing this.  Silly what lights the fire sometimes, eh?

So, I'm still not doing NaNo, but I may be writing this month after all.  In fact, if I start this now, I could have the first draft done by the end of the year.  Maybe.  We'll see.

What silly things have lit your fire?

*Yeah, it's lame, but sometimes the hoops people jump through to make an acronym are lame, so it works in its own weird way. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Content Warnings and Age Guidelines

Let me just start out by saying I don't have either content warnings or age guidelines on any of my books. In this day and age, there are probably reasons why I should, but it's one of those things I won't do. 

The covers and the blurbs should pretty much tell you whether you're old enough to read the book, and that your children probably aren't.  Well, maybe except for the Once Upon a Djinn series, where the most R-rated thing is the swearing.  And it's not rife with curse words.  I gently sprinkle them in where they're necessary.  If you've reached an age where my books look interesting to you and you haven't encountered swearing before, you probably should put my books down and go back to your bubble. 

As for content warnings, I'm against them.  Meaty books should shock or surprise or perhaps offend you a little, and if you're reading along and come across something that you just can't handle, close the book and move on.  I did that the other day.  It was over the top - for me. 

Maybe I should put a special snowflake warning on mine.  'If you are a special snowflake, you're probably not going to like this book.'  Wouldn't want anyone to melt, doncha know.  Perhaps such a warning would've prevented a one-star review/rating here or there.  :shrug:  They are what they are.

Of all my books, Fertile Ground is the one I worry about the most.  The villain is a serial rapist and murderer.  But I think I treat the subject well - I don't actually describe the acts in depth, just the before and the after - and the heinous asshole does get a most satisfying sort of justice in the end. 

Of course, there is a lot of murder in my books.  If you're sensitive to that sort of thing, you probably shouldn't be shopping in the mystery/suspense/thriller/urban fantasy sections.

Sometimes I wonder if authors put content warnings on their books as less of a 'warning' measure and more to titillate.  Like saying 'don't read this' will encourage people to read it, just to see what the fuss is about.  :shrug:  I can't do that.  It's not me.

What do you think?  Do you put content warnings and age guidelines on your books?  Do you care whether a book you want to read has content warnings? 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


I am not writing a book this month.  Nope.  Not a gonna do it.  No way.  No how. 

Except when I was telling Hubs about how I wasn't going to do NaNoWriMo this year, I started telling him about how Dennis Haggarty #3 is pestering me in the brainpan.  And the more I talked, the more I wanted to start writing it. 

But no.  I am up to my ass right now with other stuff.  And it's Fall fishing time.  And I wanted to do ancestry stuff this month.  And I have stuff I need to be editing.  And...

We'll see.

How about you?  Are you writing a book this month?  Have you ever tried to NaNo (i.e. write a book in a month)?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Books in the Trunk

I keep a box in the trunk of my car filled with paperback copies of my books.  It's there in case I run across anyone who actually wants to buy a hardcopy of one.  To be honest, it's been a long, long time since I hand sold a book, though. 

Every once in a while, when I'm pushing the box aside for groceries, I tell myself I really should get that out of there.  It's just taking up space and every time I see it, it reminds me that my paperbacks aren't selling.  (Of course, I'm not really doing anything to sell them, so that's on me.  And a story for another time.)

But it's still there.  And Friday I was reminded why I need to always keep it there.

Hubs and I went to town Friday.  He needed a haircut and while he certainly could've gone alone, he asked me to come along for the drive.  It was a beautiful day, so why not?  Anyway, I dropped him off at the barber and went across the street to buy cigarettes. 

I've been patronizing this smoke shop slash liquor store slash bait & tackle place for about 4 years and I like to chat with the employees.  They're great gals (and just recently guys).  And most of them are readers.  The one who was working yesterday is always cheerful and nice.  We've talked about her and her family.  She's a hard working gal who busts her butt. 

So, anyway, I was there talking to her and she asked me how the writing was going.  (Not a question I get too often out there in the world.)  I told her and then gave her a new bookmark and a new postcard.  She was really excited for me, which kind of made my day.  And I told her all of the ebooks are available for $2.99.  Then she confessed that she prefers to read hardcopy. 

Totally cool, but I could tell she wasn't going to go online and order my paperbacks, and that she was disappointed about that.  I mean, I keep my paperbacks as inexpensive as I can, but they're still way more than $2.99. 

Another customer was waiting, so we said our goodbyes and I went out to put the cigarettes in the car.  And there in the trunk was that box, filled with books that haven't been going anywhere.  I grabbed a copy of Wish in One Hand, whipped out a pen and signed it, then took it back inside.  When I handed it to her, she lit up.  And then she opened the front and saw the signature and squeed. 

I made her day.  And she made mine.

So, the box will remain in the trunk and I will add more books to it.  Just in case.  You never know.  And hey, she might buy the others now, or she might opt for the ebooks (she does have a Kindle), and she might tell other people about them.  But if she doesn't that's okay, too.  Because she already made my day.

One more thing.  I had been debating on whether to continue to produce paperback copies of my books.  I was leaning away from future books having hardcopy versions.  Now I'm leaning back.  If I don't have the paperbacks, how can I hand one out?  They're an added expense to my publishing budget, but they really are worth it.

What about you?  Do you prefer ebooks or paperbacks?  If you're a writer, do you keep copies of your books in the trunk of your car?

Monday, October 23, 2017

You Have My Permission

If you've been over to The Writing Spectacle lately, you may have seen that I have had writer's block.  Which is probably part of the reason why you haven't seen me here lately.  But that's beside the point.  I haven't been writing.  Which sucks.

Yesterday, I gave myself a good slapping around (mentally, of course).  Sort of a 'you are going to get up off your ass and write or so help me I will slap the holy crap out of you so you'd better think of something and I mean now' thing.  And I thought of something.  Then I smooshed out my cigarette, looked at Hubs and told him I was going to work. 

I saw down here and looked at where I'd left off on Early Grave.  And I still didn't know how to proceed.  Oh, I knew where I wanted to go.  And I had that idea of something I'd just bullied myself into coming up with.  But how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be?  No clue.  Which meant I was staring down the barrel of another day of not writing.

And I did not want to face myself after another one of those.

So I started writing.  I slapped down a bunch of filler crap to get me from point A to point B.  It's probably horrible.  I'll probably most likely kill it off in edits.  But it's there.  And it did its job.  It got me past the stall point and on to the next point.  I dashed that off, too.  It's sparse, but it's there.  I can fill it in later.

This morning, thinking about what happened the night before, I realized I had given myself permission to write crap.  If you know me, I'm a big proponent of giving yourself permission to write crap, so I'm not sure how I'd rescinded that permission somewhere along the way.  But I had.  For some reason or other, I was stalled because I talked myself into believing that the words going down on the page had to be 'not crappy'.  Derp.

Crap can be fixed.  Always.  Blank pages?  Can't do a damn thing with those.  Ever.

Last night was a total crap fest.  Yay!  And it was 1500 words more than I wrote the entire week before.  I'm embracing the crap, especially if it means I can turn out the pages and have something to edit later.  So what if the scene I wrote would be totally unbelievable from a law enforcement officer standpoint?  I can fix that.  So what if the characters are acting out of character?  I can fix that, too.  

Embrace the crap.

You have my permission.  ;o)