Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What More Can They Do to Him?

We were watching an episode of Evil Lives Here on ID the other night.  (If you haven't seen that one, it shows the events surrounding a murder or murders from the perspective of a family member of the suspect or some other person peripherally associated with the case.)  In this particular instance, they were speaking with the wife of a man convicted of murdering and raping a 17 year old girl. 

They got him and he's doing life without parole.  Which is always good. 

Anyway, after he was in prison, his wife and her friend finally opened up his locked shed and found all manner of disturbing stuff inside, including what one could assume were trophies from his other crimes.  Throughout the show, they'd hinted that maybe the one girl wasn't his only kill.  So, it made sense there would be other trophies. 

What didn't make sense was near the end of the program when the wife said something to the effect of 'well, he's already doing life without parole, what else can they do to him?' 

Derp.  It's not about what they 'can do to him'.  It should be about justice.

They could provide closure for the families of all the other women he might've killed.  They could close out some cold cases.  They could bring justice for those other victims. 

I mean, the first thing we couldn't figure out was why the police never opened up that damn shed during the investigation of that man and the wife ended up opening it after the conviction.  Umm, police work a little maybe?  Holy shit.

They talked about all the 'gifts' this guy had given to his wife and their daughters that could've been taken from his kills.  Nothing was done about that either.  (I know.  I used the google-fu and checked around to see if he'd ever been tried for anything else.  Nope.  And sure enough, they said that at the end of the program.  He's NEVER been tried for other crimes.) 

Argh.

And it wasn't like he only committed crimes in the state where he was originally convicted.  He was a long-haul trucker.  He could've committed crimes in multiple states - which, unless I miss my guess would make this federal - but no one has done anything.  Yeah, they can't add more years to life, but that isn't the point.  They could find a crime he committed in a death-penalty state and use the treat of that to get him to pony up the details of his other crimes, but no.  Not doing that either.  He's just sitting there, getting older, wrapped in the knowledge that he got away with murder(s).

This happened back in 1994.  23 years. 23 more years of people never knowing what happened to their sisters, their daughters, their loved ones.  Imagine their pain. 

Then imagine how, with the technological advancements of 2017 vs 1994, all of those trophies could help investigators figure out how many other women this dude raped and killed. 

But nope. 

I know the end of that thoroughly pissed Hubs and I off.  It was a whole WTF, jaw-dropping thing. 

Oh, wait a second... That's right... His victims were supposedly hookers and runaways.  (The girl he was convicted of killing was a runaway.)  I guess someone assumes they don't deserve justice.  Umm, yah. 

That's messed up.

What do you think?  


Monday, March 20, 2017

Officially Official Natural Causes Cover and Blurb

Okay, so yesterday I finalized both the cover and the blurb for Natural Causes.




Murder is never natural...

As the new police chief in the mountain town of Last Ditch, Colorado, the worst case Dennis Haggarty has investigated dealt with vandalized decorations. Life is slow and laid back, exactly what he and his new bride, Jillian, need after the debacle in Serenity. But when a hiker stumbles onto a gruesome scene in a secluded ravine, the calm world he’s trying to build for them fractures. Now he’s faced with determining whether a cougar attack is actually man-made mayhem in disguise, who’s lying to him, and how to take down another killer with no regard for human life. 

Tough luck for him, he’s not certain he could pull the trigger again—not even to save his new life.

---------
And I created a listing for it on Goodreads this morning.  So y'all can go forth and 'Want to Read' it now.

If you go there, you'll see I set am O-fficial release date for it, too - April 15th.  Tax Day.  Yay.  I might have it out sooner, but definitely no later.  If I have to stay up all night for days, it will be done.

Special thanks to Silver James for helping me tweak my blurb.

I'll add the new book to all my blogs sometime soon.  Maybe this morning.  If I can muster the gumption.  It's hard to muster gumption so early in the morning.  Need more coffee...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Naming Names

Way back when I wrote Wish in One Hand, I inserted a throw-off character.  Jo needed backup, Basil sent her some, and I didn't really think any of those people would ever show up again.  Hell, only one of them even had a speaking part.  I named him Lyle.  I'm not sure why I called him Lyle.  I'm not even sure why I named the dude at all.  He wasn't supposed to ever show up again.

Flash forward to Up Wish Creek.  There he is again.  (He never showed up in In Deep Wish.)  Except I don't use a name and he's just referred to as the big dude who came to save Jo's bacon back in book 1.  He's kind of okay.  He's one of Jo's supporters, which is cool, but he's not impressed with the way Jo has handled things, so he beats feet. 

Until he shows up in Wish Hits the Fan.  Tada!  There he is.  And he's got some major problems.  He's become a plot point. 

When I was writing the first draft, I called him Castor... and then Nestor... and then left it alone until I could finish the first draft because I ain't got time for no researching when I'm drafting.  I figured I could fix the name in edits.  And then, during initial edits, something occurred to me... Did I actually name this tertiary character already?? 

Which is when I discovered one spot in book 1 where Basil refers to the dude as Lyle. 

Lyle*.

I posted about this on FB.  One person suggested that with such a minor character placed in the first book, it wasn't that important if I used the correct name in the fourth book.  Yeah, I could've gone that way.  Except I can't.  His name is freakin' Lyle. 

And his name is Lyle because I got lazy at some point during that first book and just threw down a name without thinking about it.  Yeah, I never dreamed back then that he would be critical down the road.  Derp.

In my defense, when I wrote Wish in One Hand, I had no clue I was writing a series.  I had hopes, but no firm 'yeah, this is BOOK ONE' in my head. 

So, look at this as a cautionary tale.  Names matter.  Even when you think they don't, they do. 



*I have nothing against the name Lyle, or I wouldn't have used it for even a throw-off character.  I just don't happen to think it's the right name for who he ended up being.  Then again, I've met a lot of people who have names their parents gave them that I don't think really suit them.  I guess Lyle has to live with the name his writer-mama gave him.  And you know something?  It's kind of growing on me.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Research Frenzy

So, there I am, reading through Wish Hits the Fan, making edit notes with my red pen in my big spiral notebook, when I come across a :research this: note I left for myself in the manuscript.

Umm, yeah. 

Usually not a big thing.  I go, I research a little, and bada-bing-bada-boom, I have the answer. 

Not this time.

I sat down at the computer and went through about a dozen sites to find what I was looking for - a mythical being endowed with certain specific characteristics that I was absolutely sure I remembered existing*.  Nope.  Then I dragged out my big book of mythical beings and started the slow search going page by page down the alphabetical listings.  Nothing in the As.  I thought I found something in the Bs, but not quite right.  Sticky noted that and moved on.

This is kind of a crucial point here.  Several things I've already written hinge on this particular bit of research. 

So, last night I made a realization.  If I don't find something that fits, I'm going to have to either make something up myself or cobble that other 'almost right' thing in until it does fit.  

And as I was typing this post just now, I had an epiphany.  Huzzah!  I think I know exactly what I need to do.  Bwa ha ha.  :rubs hands together in evil fashion:  Now I just need to give it a name, so Zeke can tell Jo what she's facing and then put the name elsewhere in the book where I've left little :no name thing: notes for myself.

I wrote the epiphany down, so I won't forget.

Anyway, I wasted about an hour or so last night researching this thing when I could've been making some progress on my edit notes.  It was driving me a bit nuts.  And then I went to bed and couldn't sleep because I was still thinking about it.  Which is really irritating considering it just popped into my head this morning without too much urging. 

Ain't that the way?

Ah, the writing life.

*I figured out why I thought I knew this thing existed.  I'd read about something like it, but not it, in someone else's fiction and it was something the other writer had totally made up, so I can't really riff off of it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Natural Causes - Cover Art and Blurb Draft

Good morning, All!

I'm kinda brain fried after all that editing, so I thought I'd just share the cover art this morning, along with the initial blurb I've come up with.



As the new police chief in the mountain town of Last Ditch, Colorado, the worse case Dennis Haggarty has investigated dealt with vandalized decorations.  Life is slow and laid back, exactly what he and his new bride, Jillian, need after the debacle in Serenity.  But when a hiker stumbles onto a gruesome sight in a mountain ravine, the calm life he wished for becomes more about uncovering the truth, discovering identities, and tracking a killer. Before they find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun.  Again.  

Okay, it's not the best blurb I've ever written (fine, it sucks), but it'll give you an idea of what the book's about in advance of the release.

The release date?  I'm looking at April 14th.  Earlier if I can manage it, but no later than that.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

For THAT Matter

I'm at the point in editing where I'm scouring the manuscript for crutch words (overused common words authors sometimes throw down when they're too busy or too lazy to find better words). 

The first thing I do when I start looking for crutch words is make a list of words my editor has pointed out* (know/knew, wonder, took, still, just, 'by the time') and words I know for a fact I rely on too heavily during early drafts (said, thought, even, like, that).  Then I have Word count each of those so I know what I'm up against. 

This time, for some reason, the word THAT was in a 239 page manuscript 568 times.  WTF?  (And the count came after I'd already deleted a few.)  Which equals 2 and a third times per page.  AND I only counted instances of 'that' with a space after it, leaving out 'that's' and 'that.' and probably others. 

I discovered this THAT explosion about 6 last night.  I stopped work for the day at 8:30 (to go to bed) and I wasn't finished killing all the THAT.  Two and a half hours of finding and then deleting or rewording. There were like 12 on ONE PAGE.  (In my defense, it was during a conversation wherein one character dropped a lot of THATs in their dialogue.) 

Anyway, I probably have another hour left of THAT.  (You know, after I throw in the variations, I still have like 300 left.  Shoot me now.)

Ugh.

Not sure exactly how all of THAT ended up in the manuscript this time around.  It's usually way less.  :shrug:  I'll fix it.  I'll fix all of it.  But I probably won't have this back to the editor this morning, that's for damn sure. 

Well, I should get back at it.  I have some life things that need doing this morning before my Wednesday Mom call at 8.  I'll most likely be a raving lunatic by the time I send this up to the editor, but it will be done today.  You can bank on that. 

;o)


*She doesn't point out all the words she knows I know are a problem. She just says 'scour for crutch words' and then gives a few examples she noticed in the manuscript.  Not sure why she didn't pick on me mightily for THAT.  Probably being kind.  Or probably keeping herself from poking me in the eye with a pointy stick over something I should know better.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Editing Insanity

Okay, so I said I would juggle Natural Causes and Wish Hits the Fan.  Umm, yeah, that didn't happen.  Not yet anyway.  But I have been busting my hump editing Natural Causes.  187 pages of line editing done in 4 days.  I should have that done today and jump into the big fixes my editor suggested.  That should take another couple of days.  Which means I could have this back to her like Thursday.  Instead of Sunday. 

Yeah, I knew I could do it if I applied myself.  It's the applying myself thing that hangs me up sometimes. 

Of course, it also means that I haven't done any reading.  And virtually no marketing.  :shrug:  Things get set aside when I'm in deadline mode.

Another side-effect of editing full steam is that I sometimes am not quite right in the head.  Lucky for me, Hubs knows this.  He walked into the office last night, and I started making incoherent noises at him.  He said, "Editing insanity?"  Yup.  He knows.  The next time he came in, I started with the noises again and then we did this whole schtick together.  Nice respite from the editing slog.

Anyway, don't expect deep insights from me this week.  Unless I have a flash of brilliance that makes it past the editing insanity. 

Don't count on it.