Monday, April 24, 2017

Crime in the News... Or Not So Much

Yesterday I heard about a horrific story being in the news.  Two men lured a 22 yr old autistic woman into their home where they held her against her will, raped her, and beat her for 2-3 days. 

I say I heard about it being in the news rather than saying I heard it from the news or directly in the news because I heard about it third hand.  So I searched the internet for more information and found it on a local news station's site.

Now, before we go much further, I'll admit that I stopped following local news back in December.  Well, except for really local, as in rural SWMO, news.  The big network stations?  Nuh-uh.  Too much spin and not enough facts.  Instead, I watch the headlines in my FB newsfeed every day and if I see something that interests me, I google for more info.  I also sometimes go directly to google and type 'news' into the search and then click on News.  It's a long way around, but I find more reliable sources that way.

So, anyway, back to this horrible story.  It wasn't in the newsfeed.  At all.  I didn't see it at any of the major news networks when I searched for it after hearing about it third hand.  One story on the NBC affiliate out of Springfield.

Why?

Well, it could be because another story about two Hispanic men raping and beating a woman harshes the narrative they're trying to push - because one of the men was an illegal alien.  Sadly, it could be because shit like this happens so often in our country these days that it's not worthy of being on national news.  (Although why anyone with the last name of Jenner/Kardashian or with a speck of celebrity is news and not this is beyond me.)  It could even be that the news - and I use that word loosely these days - feels like they have more important things to spin for the American public than one autistic chick getting brutalized by two assholes over the course of a weekend.

Or maybe I really am living in a cave.  Have any of you heard this news story?

Well, anyway, apparently they picked the wrong autistic girl because this one still had the presence of mind to tell the police exactly what had been done to her - albeit through a child advocate since she reportedly has the mind of a 9 yr old.  The illegal is being held without bond and the other one is looking at $150,000 bond.  Fry 'em both, I say.

But that's me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I'm Not Excited

So, it's been a week since I posted here.  One would think that since I had a new release on the 7th that I would be all SQUEE and in your face and confetti, but it didn't happen.

Natural Causes is my 8th book.  When I published Dying Embers back in February of '15, I was all of the squeeing and celebrating.  Now?  Not so much. 

I was talking about this the other night with Hubs.  When he finished a long project at his work, he didn't squee and celebrate.  It was finished and he moved onto the next project.  It was his job.  Writing is my job.  You do your job, you get it done, you move on to the next bit of work. 

I know some other authors celebrate every book.  That's cool.  It's just not me. 

The problem, I guess, comes when I wonder 'if I don't celebrate it, will readers?'  If I'm not excited about a book release, how will I ever get readers excited about it?  I would hope they'd be excited because it something fresh and new for them.  It's neither fresh nor new for me.  I could try to fake it, but... yeah, that's just not me.  My FB post after I learned Natural Causes was available in the Amazon store?  "Well, it's live." with a link. 

Yeah, that was anti-climactic.  But that's me. 

Push a big rock up a hill.  Get it all the way to the top.  Walk back down the hill and starting pushing the next one up.  Woo.  No hoopla.  No fanfare.  (At least I'm not Sisyphus and the rock doesn't roll back down.  That would suck.)

The satisfaction is in getting the work done.  But, when you think about it, it's never really done.  There's just more work. 

Wow, that sounded depressing.  It wasn't meant that way.  I love the work.  If I didn't, I wouldn't put up with the crap.  I could easily get a job outside the house.  Or I could just fritter away all my time and not worry about sales and marketing and editing and cover art and... you get the gist.  The satisfaction then, in reality, is in completing the book and getting it out there for readers to read.  And in knowing there's another book waiting to go through the process again.  I think that's pretty exciting. 

Hopefully, when you see I put another book out, you get excited and buy it.  Sales excite me.  Woohoo. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

For What It's Worth

I was reading a news story this morning about the suspect in a triple homicide jumping off the 4th floor of the court building to his death.  They're thinking it might be suicide.  I'm thinking it's probably a cause for the victims' families to celebrate.  And a load off the taxpayers who would have to foot the bill for the trial and incarceration of this asshole*.

I was watching Homicide Hunter a while back.  The dude obviously did it, but at the end, he got off.  (One of the rare occasions when one of Joe's cases did end in a guilty verdict.) Don't remember how.  Probably something to do with liberal Colorado.  All I know was I was pissed off.  Until... as a footnote at the end of the show, they told how the suspect had moved to New York City after the trial and months later someone pushed him out a 10th story window to his death.  Woohoo. Splat.  And that made me happy.

I'm not bloodthirtsy, per se.  I just believe in justice. 

And another thing...  What is it with these assholes who are suicidal, so they kill their entire families before they kill themselves??  Seriously.  If you want to die, do so and decrease the asshole population.  Don't take out other people.  I even heard about one heinous asshole who shot his dog before he killed himself.  Dude, what did the dog do to deserve that shit?  Sick freaks.

Then we were watching Murder Calls the other day.  A serial killer in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area was murdering women and then calling in to the police.  He'd call and ask to be caught.  He'd say he wanted to die.  All in this whiny voice.  They called him The Weepy Voiced Killer.  (Lame, right?)  Anyway, he would always hang up without giving any indication where he was or how to find him.  Asshole.  They did eventually get the squirrelly little fucker, but not before he killed several women.  No clue why.  Something about them wearing red.  No clue.  He got 40 years - again, I assume because of liberal Minnesota or some such crap.  He died in prison in 1998, but if cancer hadn't gotten him, he would've been a free man in six years.  Think he would've been reformed?  Umm, right.  He would've been old, but old people aren't incapable of murder.

What do you think?


*Provided he actually did it, of course.  If not, there's a murderer still running around out there.

Monday, April 10, 2017

New Release and a Sale!

The long awaited sequel to Accidental Death has finally arrived.  (Well, I was waiting for it for a long time anyway.)  Natural Causes is now live across the board on Amazon (check your local listings or go here for English speaking Amazon affiliate countries). 

To celebrate, I made Accidental Death a Kindle Countdown Deal.  It's available now thru Saturday for the low low price of 99c (or .99p in the UK).

And, as always, my books are all available for the Kindle Unlimited program which means they're free for subscribers (well, free after you pay you subscription fee, of course).

You don't need to read Accidental Death to understand what's going on in Natural Causes but, naturally, it helps.  See where I started Dennis's story, how he met Jillian, and the reason Dennis has got some baggage this time around. 

Loads of fun for everyone.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Release Day!

Yes, I know.  I wasn't scheduled to release Natural Causes until Thursday, but I got the manuscript finished and uploaded and I suck at waiting, so I published it.  It went live last night some time.

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.
Amazon US
Goodreads




I'll add other buy links - for UK, AU, CAN - as I find them.  Until then, check your local listings. 


Friday, April 7, 2017

Formatting... Sick Bastard Cousin to Editing


Anyway, Sunday I said I'd talk about formatting in my Monday post, but then I forgot.  No post on Monday at all.  I blame pre-publication insanity.

So here's the formatting post.

Yeah, formatting isn't really anything like editing.  Except it can make one crazypants just as much as, if not more so than, editing.  I had hoped to remove some of the insanity-making by creating a checklist.

It looks like this:


Formatting checklist

Ebook:

1)  Type THE END
2)  Find and replace all double spacing between sentences with single spacing
3)  Remove all Bookmarks.
4)  Create Bookmarks: START, TOC, END
5)  Make sure everything is 12 pt font, Cambria
6)  Format all chapter headings as Headings.  Including THE END.
7)  Format all scene breaks for continuity within book and within series
8)  Create title page
9)  Create Copyright and Acknowledgements page
10)  Add in About the Author Page at the end
11)  Add in back matter.
12)  Create Table of Contents.
13)  Scan entire manuscript for continuity.
14)  Email book to Kindle and scan through again for continuity and formatting errors.
15)  Publish to Amazon

Print:

1)  Type THE END
2)  Find and replace all double spacing between sentences with single spacing
3)  Remove all Bookmarks.
4)  Make sure everything is the font you’ve chosen for the book.
5)  Format all chapter headings as Headings.  Including THE END.
6)  Apply print font for Headings to all.
7)  Format all scene breaks for continuity within book and within series
8)  Create title page
9)  Create Copyright and Acknowledgements page
10)  Add in About the Author Page at the end
11)  Add in back matter.
12)  Create Section Breaks after Acknowledgements and after THE END
13)  Add Pages Numbers to manuscript section centered bottom
14) Verify ‘Link to Previous’ is unchecked
15)  Format Page Numbers to chosen look
16)  Set to ‘Different First Page’ in manuscript section
17)  Delete page number from first page of manuscript section
18)  Verify no page numbers in front matter section or back matter section
19)  Set page size to 5.5” x 8.5”
20)  Set margins to Top .88”, Bottom .88”, Inside .75”, Outside .63”
21)  Make sure margins are ‘mirrored’
22)  Verify all chapters start on right hand page.
23)  Print a few pages to verify it will look how you want it to look.
24)  Upload to Createspace

Then I started to format Natural Causes on Wednesday.  Umm, yeah... there are things I forgot and the list wasn't helping and so I formatted the first page of NC and made notes all over it so I would know exactly what needed doing to each subsequent chapter beginning...
That seemed to work.  I had a real groove going on.  Got all of Natural Causes' chapter headings formatted.  Then I made the Table of Contents.  And see up there where I scribbled something out next to the chapter title?  I had made all the chapter titles Headings2.  Which put them all in the TOC.  Couldn't figure out a way to get them out of the TOC, so I went back and made all the chapter titles 'Normal' and formatted each of them again to meet the guidelines I had set.

Then I started to work on the formatting for Accidental Death because I want that book to match this book's formatting.  I decided to start by updating the back matter, because I had all that laid out already from doing NC.  But I couldn't get WORD to let me move a freakin' line, which was making it all farqued up. Which was making me a babbling idiot, so I deleted all the back matter and copied it from one of my other books where it wasn't messed up.  Tada.

As of typing this post, I still have some things to do, but I'm on track.  This book will be in your hands soon.

I'd still rather do it myself than pay someone else, but if anyone tells you this stuff is easy, slap them in the back of the head for me. (Okay, so maybe it isn't that hard, but it is tedious as all get-out.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Editing Never Stops Until You Stop It

So, anyway, as you all know, I'm in the final stages of getting Natural Causes ready to launch into the world.  In fact, I'm doing the final read-through for typos and gaffs.  Or what I thought was the final read-through.  I'm finding too many irritating things that I need to go back and fix.  Once I fix these, I'll have to do another read-through to make sure I didn't insert any typos again. 

Ugh.

This is not my editor, btw.  She's awesome.  These are things I'm finding personally irritating.  A word here, a phrase there.  It all has to be changed before I can let this out into the world. 

It's entirely possible that any given reader wouldn't notice.  But I would. 

And I was thinking about it yesterday.  When is editing actually finished?  Well, never, I guess.  Or rather, it is never finished until the writer says 'enough is enough'.  I made my peace a long time ago with the idea that I will never produce a perfect manuscript.  Every read-through will offer up some little thing I would rather have this way than that.  (Sometimes taking something I already changed and changing it back.) 

I think this is the whirlpool some writers get themselves into.  Everything has to be perfect before they publish (or attempt to get an agent or whatever), and thus, they never do get it into the hands of readers.  Which is sad. 

Don't get me wrong.  A manuscript should be as error free as possible before someone slaps down their hard-earned cash.  That's proofreading.  (And even then, it isn't foolproofreading.)  I'm talking about wording and style and all the little things that make a manuscript a book.  Larry walked across the room versus Larry sauntered across the foyer versus Larry skittered across the brightly-lit entryway like a cockroach. 

At some point, though, a writer has to say 'enough'.  The writer has to stop the editing and make the decision to send their book out into the world. 

For me, that will be either this week or next.  Definitely by the 13th, as promised.  Exactly when depends on how long these last 70 pages take to read-through and then how long it takes for another proofreading.  (One where I actually proofread and don't edit.) 

Meanwhile, I'm busting my hump to make sure that exact release date is as soon as possible. 

While you're waiting, go 'want to read' it on Goodreads.  And if you haven't read Accidental Death yet, now might be a good time to do so.  Or, if you want to wait, I have plans to do something salesy with AD around the time I release Natural Causes, so you might save a couple bucks.