Wednesday, June 29, 2016

FBI Most Wanted

Since this blog is primarily about writing and crime, here's a little more on the crime side of things.  This is the FBI's Most Wanted list as of this morning:

Yaser Abdel Said - wanted for murdering his own two teenage daughters in 2008.
Shanika S. Minor - wanted for murdering a pregnant woman and her full-term baby in 2016.
Victor Manuel Gerena - wanted for armed robbery of $7mil in 1983.
Alexis Flores - wanted for the abduction and murder of a 5-yr old girl in 2000.
Luis Macedo - wanted for a murder in which his gang attacked someone for not giving the gang sign in 2009.
Jason Derek Brown - wanted for armed robbery and the murder of an armored car guard in 2004.
Fidel Urbina - wanted for the rape and assault of one woman, and the rape, assault, and murder of another woman while he was out on bond for the first crime in 1998.
Eduardo Ravelo - wanted for racketeering, money laundering, drugs, etc. in 2008.
William Bradford Bishop, Jr. - wanted for murdering his wife, his mother, and his three sons in 1976.
Robert William Fisher - wanted for murdering his his wife and his two sons in 2001.

If you have any information about any of these people, contact the FBI.  I don't really need to tell y'all to stay the hell away from these psychos if you see them.  Let the feds deal with them.

Now, for an opinion moment.  I'm not sure what the criteria is for putting someone on the top ten, but I've seen worse shit than some of these people have done on First 48.  I know there has to be a 'worst' list, but why one asshole makes it on there and another doesn't is beyond my pay grade. 

Another opinion moment.  You'll notice, I'm sure, that asshole #6 committed additional crimes while he was out on bond.  Out.  On bond.  :lengthy list of expletives deleted:  That's a post for a whole other day.

I have other opinions about this, but I'll keep them to myself.  What do you think?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Why I Use an Editor

1) Let's be frank.  I'm lazy.  Scouring through 60-80K words looking for mistakes I might've made is a long and boring process.  Frankly, I'd rather be writing.

2) Even when I am not lazy and do take the time to scour through all those words, I miss stuff.  Take Dying Embers, for example.  I read it through at least a dozen times.  Hubs read through it.  I paid an editor who read through it twice.  I had a few friends who read through it before it went live.  And a reader still emailed me with eight mistakes.  (All fixed, btw.)  The more eyes you have on a project, the better off you'll be.

3) I am too close to the work.  Which is why I miss stuff.  It's also why sometimes I can't see the trees for the forest.  It's like when a cook asks someone else to taste their sauce.  It's not because they want kudos on how awesome it tastes.  It's because they know there's something missing and they can't put their finger on what exactly that something is.  Often, I know my book needs something else, but I can't figure out what until someone else reads it and makes suggestions.  Then it's like a lightbulb over my head.  Huzzah!

4) I want each of these books to be the best it can possibly be.  And I can't do that all by my lonesome.  So, I pay my AWE (awesome wonderful editor) to help me with it.

I could easily forego the editing step.  I could just do the best I can on my own and push books out into the world faster.  Not sure that would benefit anyone in the long run. 

So, there you have it.  This is why my books sometimes take a little longer than any of us would like to reach the marketplace.  I beg your patience and understanding - not just with me but with any of your favorite writers.  We're doing the best we can. 

And thank you so very much for being a reader.  I appreciate it more than I can express.  :hugs:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

They're Just Stories

I read something yesterday that had me kinda sitting here with my jaw dropped.  Apparently some anonymous romance writer had sent Dear Abby a letter asking for advice about her husband.  You see, he reads her books and then thinks she's writing about her own experiences... I guess ones not with him. 

Too bad for her.  Lucky for me, my husband doesn't harbor the same lunacies, or he'd be sleeping with one eye open for the rest of his life.  LOL

We write fiction.  Sure, there are real things that happened to me woven into the threads of all my stories.  But that's just it - they're woven in until no one but me knows what was real and what was imaginary, and sometimes I can't remember where one ends and the other begins.  I take a bit from here and a bit from there and I make a whole new thing.

It's like painting.  Artists use a variety of colors to make something new.  A green they brush on next to a blue with a little black and maybe some yellow, and you've got a tree.  All the individual paints are still there, but they don't look like themselves anymore. 

Or it's like creating a tapestry.  Different color threads come together under the weaver's hand to make a picture in cloth.

I make pictures in words.  And that's all they are.  Pictures.  Hubs realizes this.  Thank goodness for that.  I'm truly sorry for any writers out there whose family members don't understand.  I'm also sorry for the readers who think they see reality in the stories we create.  They're just stories. 

I hope you enjoy them.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Snippet - Up Wish Creek

Since I'm at a loss for fun and interesting things to post, here's a peek at Up Wish Creek...

“Did you get anything out of that damn book yet?”  I heard the shout echo through my cavernous home and returned a shout of my own. 
It had been about a month since the shitstorm blew through and I turned a portion of North Florida into glass.  My ex-lover who betrayed me was nowhere to be seen.  Which was probably for the best because I was ready to kick his ass. The last time I saw my dog he looked like a Norse god, and he was panting after the only surviving twin goddess of a long-extinct Nubian tribe.  My conniving former best friend was still a bitch—literally.  But the more things change… Well, let’s just say things were working the way they’d always worked.  Life as a genie is long, but hey, unless you really work at it, it’s not boring.
Sometimes I wish I put forth the effort.
“Oy, Jo?” said the only constant in my life.  The right-proper Basil Hadresham was my business partner, decades-long friend, and genie extraordinaire.  Plus, he spent the past thirty some odd years keeping my life on an even keel.  Even if he did have a bad habit of shouting through my abode.
“I heard you.  And the answer is no,” I shouted back.  “Did you get anything out of that damn dog yet?”
“The bitch is being bloody difficult.” Basil entered my library with the dog in question trailing behind him. 
She will tell you nothing, I saw written across the blank page of the book in front of me.  Just as you will learn nothing from me.
“And here I was thinking you’d want to brag a little,” I said back to what was in reality a former genie who’d chosen to become an Efreet, one I’d transformed into a sentient tome to keep him from killing me.  Since genies can’t apply the death penalty the way Efreet can, Amun got sentenced to spending a good long while as a smart-mouth, uptight, pain in my ass book.  I’d taken a bit of shit for going off-script and making him reading material inside of the family pet, but, hey, he deserved it.   
Once upon a time, that dog beside Basil, Mena, had been my best friend, until she went to the dark side.  I guess they really did have better cookies.  Once she made it clear which side of good and evil she played for, she got the old fashioned sentence of being transformed into a pooch.  It wasn’t my idea, but it had worked for djinn-kind for centuries—until I came up with the book idea.
Books are easier to take care of, and they only mouth off to you if you open their covers and read what they have to say.  Plus, they are way less messy.  Proving my point, Mena decided to do her business on my rug.
“Bad dog,” I said, conjuring a rolled-up newspaper and making it whack her on the nose.
“Bitch,” she said back to me.  “I hate when you do that.”
“I hated when you betrayed me and got people killed, so I guess I win.”  I whacked her again for good measure and then let the newspaper unfurl itself on the floor.  “If you have to go again, use that.”
“As if.”

My editor hasn't touched that yet, so go easy on me. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it a little and I hope to have this available by Labor Day.  I know it seems like a long way off, but AWE takes a month to get the first round of edits back to me, I do my thing, and she takes another 3 weeks to get the second round back to me.  Then I do my thing again, format the sucker, and upload it.  This stuff takes time.  I wish I could make it faster, but I do want this to be as good a book as possible before readers slap down good money for it.  You understand that, right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Trying to Market in These Craptastic Times

Like so many other aspects of the business, marketing falls pretty much on the shoulders of the self-published author.  (And these days, on the shoulders of the traditionally published writer, too, from what I've heard, but I have no experience with that, so we'll stick with what I know for sure.) But how does one market anything in these craptastic times we live in? 

I mean, if you tweet about how awesome your book is on a day when something horrible happens, you're perceived as crass.  Because, ya know, the world knows it's you doing it.  Or even if something horrible didn't happen that day, it's kinda hard to get excited about something happy - like your awesome book - after reading just the every day news. 

People murdered, the world spiraling into abject stupidity, children and animals being abused... and that's just like ten minutes of the FB news feed.  But, hey, here's my awesome book!  Umm, yah. Woo!

Perhaps a better way to approach this something like:  Tired of reality?  Read my awesome books! (with appropriate links to buy stuff)

Except I'm not really a fan of escaping reality.  In fact, I made this meme the other day...

(Ignore the ellipsis.  I have an addiction.)

Anyway, it's hard to get all fanfare and streamers when faced with the world.  Or maybe it's just me. 

Of course, I could pay someone to market for me and then I wouldn't have to worry about it so much.  But right now, the reality is that it's not in the budget.  It's on me.  :shrug:

How do you manage to stay above the waves these days?   I've been going fishing. 

Speaking of which, I might just toddle off for a while this morning and do exactly that, so if your comment doesn't show up, it's because I'm unplugged and sitting on a rock somewhere on the river.  It'll go through when I get home. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Instead of Writing

I know I try to keep this blog for strictly writing stuff, but I haven't really been doing my job lately.  Here's what I've been doing instead of writing...

Creating a new garden bed for the 'full sun' part of the yard.  (This was taken first thing in the day, but trust me.  This will be full sun by noon.)

Working on the iris bed and the rock border in front of it...
And here's a picture of the shade bed.  I haven't really done anything with it this year, but I'm pretty proud of it.

What non-work things have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Ups and Downs of Being a Writer

I swear sometimes this writing thing is turning me into a manic-depressive (or bipolar, if you prefer the newer term). 

I get a good review.  YAY!

And then I get refused for advertising based on my cover.  :sob:

But then someone complements the cover that got panned.  YAY!

And someone asks when my next book will be out.  YAY!

But then I don't see any sales for days.  :sob:

And my WIP sucks. :sob:

But then people buy my books again.  YAY!

And then I get a negative review.  :sob:

Ultimately, those yay and sob moments effect my general outlook on my writing, which then effects my ability to do my job. Riding high, I can sit down and whip out the pages.  In the depths of despair, I'm lucky if I can write blog posts, let alone work on the things that will eventually make me money.

I know it's all part of the dance.  It sucks, but it's reality and I deal with it.  I have discovered recently that fishing tends to even it all back out again.  For me, anyway.  What's the old saying?  "The worst day fishing is better than the best day working."  Umm, yep.  Whether I'm catching a ton or not getting a nibble, sunny day or pouring rain, bugs or no bugs... I still come back with a clearer outlook.  It's like flushing the system.  Or rebooting.  Or whatever analogy works best for you. 

I think it happens to all of us.  If you know a writer who doesn't face this to some degree, please introduce me to them so I can learn their secret to living on an even keel.  (Or at least the secret of how they're faking it.)  Until then, I'm a manic-depressive writer. 

Today is a good day.  I'm all even.  No spikes or drops.  For now.  We'll see what the rest of the day brings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Little Marketing Update

Hey all.  Time again for a little marketing thing. 

May was a busy month, what with Fertile Ground releasing and all.  And with the Kid's visit, I spent more time preparing for her than preparing to sell books, so I doubt things went off as well as they could've.  Still, I placed a couple ads, got some other exposure, and May didn't turn out too shabby.  (Not as bonza as last May,  but beggars can't be choosy.)

I placed a paid ad ($5) with Authors Billboard for the 'new release' section for Fertile Ground.  Crickets.

I placed a free book excerpt of Fertile Ground with Omnimystery News and made some sales.

I placed a paid ad ($40) for Dying Embers with Robin Reads and saw a really nice jump on the day of the ad, plus some residual sales afterwards and an increase in pages read for Kindle Unlimited.  That ad also catapulted DE into the top 100 in Serial Killer suspense ebooks, so that helped.  It fell out of the top 100 last night, but it's hovering at 107, so no too shabby.  Now I'm hoping all those people who read DE will snag a copy of Fertile Ground, too.  One can hope.

 In other news, the paperback release of Fertile Ground has been delayed due to issues at the printer.  I hope to have a new proof with all issues corrected late this week.  Then I'll be able to approve it for sale and order a bunch of copies for stock to give away or hand sell.  :fingers crossed:

Any questions?  Any comments?  Any thoughts?