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New Mystery/Suspense Book Out


My suspense/thriller just released July 29, 2011 is now available on Amazon and at the publisher's bookstore (MuseItUp). It'll reach other on-line stores and will come out in print eventually, but for now it's brand-spanking new.

MuseItUp Bookstore

Kindle on Amazon

Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.

When Kameron McBride receives notice she's the only living relative of a missing man she's never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. Her suspicions rise when the probate Judge isn't really a judge and tries too hard to buy the dead man's worthless property. Kam probes deeper into the town's secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.


New Trimsize Large Print Out

Not knowing when to leave well enough alone, I reformatted Tales of a Texas Boy into a 6"x9" trade paperback size. 180 pages. Why not? CreateSpace is doing the heavy lifting; all I did is reformat.

Check it out at: Tales in LP Trade paperback
180 pages. $9.95

Just a note in re: self-publishing.  I self-pubbed this book, and it's done fairly well.  I'm actually in the black on it.

The REASON that this book works as a self-pub is that it has a niche market: people who like to read about the early 20th Century life in the Southwest.  Most "westerns" go back into the 19th C.  I also made the book available in several large print formats (this specific one being the latest). It definitely appeals to older folks, so the large print was brilliant thinking on my part. Quit laughing.

The REASON I self-pubbed it are many and none have to do with being rejected by commercial publishers. I KNEW it would be rejected because it's a book of short stories and too short. I self-pubbed because the stories are tales told by my father about his boyhood in West Texas during the Depression.  I fictionalized a lot to fill in details, so I consider it fiction.  My father was 86 when I put it out because I wanted him to be able to hold "his" book in his hands.  Unfortunately, he couldn't read the stories because he's blind.

Now, trash me if you want, but you might consider checking out the Search Inside feature on Amazon to read a few pages to see that's it's not such a horrible book after all.

While I'm shopping my other books to agents and publishers, I never mention this book as a publishing credit. I know better than that.  However, I'm fine if they discover the book (it's featured on my website) and read a bit before condemning it. What I dislike are people who automatically assume a book is bad because it is self- or vanity published.  That's just ignorance.  I know lots of self-pubbers who make their books available in ebook format for less than a buck and sometimes for free. I'm happy to provide a coupon code if you want to read my ebook free.  However, you'd miss out on the old-time photos that illustrate every story.

The cover is pretty much the same, but 214 pages of 16pt type goodness.

Quest for the Simurgh Now on Amazon.

The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.

Quest Now Available in Large Print

Since my Tales of a Texas Boy sells best in Large Print, I thought why not do the same with Quest. Heck, nobody's buying the regular print, so give them TWO books to not buy and I'll have twice the not sales.

The new big print edition is available at CreateSpace right now and will be up on Amazon within a couple of weeks.

The cover is almost the same, but with Large Print Edition under the title. It's set in 16pt Garamond. Not
HUGE, but pretty BIG.

Since it has bigger type (which I'm now demonstrating), it has more pages, thus costs a bit more. $9.95 for 214 pages.

Check it out at CreateSpace now. I'll let you all know when Amazon has it up and running.

Query Booboos

When you're writing your fantasy query, do NOT say anything that will lead an agent's mind to the tired, old, same stuff written by every other newbie fantasy writer.

I won't go into detail, but just say I had an agent comment on my first page. She had EXPECTATIONS about the story because of some of the names I selected. Point is, her expectations were stupid. If she wanted trite and typical, than her expectations were spot on.

Unfortunately, my story is neither trite nor typical. However, I did get the lesson. If you say ANYTHING that has ever been used in the entire history of the world (e.g., dragons, elves, etc.) make sure your query doesn't lead the reader to believe you have the same old trite typical crap. They'll not get past that first dragon or elf mention without expecting you'll have a trite typical dragon or elf. Don't even use the words!

Just leave it at a mystical race of creatures if you're talking dragons or elves. Say 'dragon' or 'elf' and you've typecasted your book into oblivion.

I'm seriously considering taking a pen name of Kassandra. That way, I will tell the truth, but expect to be ignored. Makes life much easier. Mortals just can't help being stupid.

Since nobody reads my blog anyway, it won't hurt to mention that I've been turned down by a lot of (ahem) less than diligent query-readers who jumped to conclusions so fast, you could hardly see them move. FTL agents. Hey, I like that. We could get our rejects before we even send the queries. Saves a lot of time and stress.

P.S. Richard, you were fast on reading this on my other blogs.  Thanks!!!!
I've added a complete chapter from my WIP, Scotch Broom, on my website.  Click on over and peruse.


Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Okay, so no more videotape.  Well, I still use it, but apparently I'm in the Dark Ages in regard to technology.  I can record onto a DVD, but only if I'm watching (or have the channel on). 

Neither here nor there.  My topic is Sex and Lies.  Forget about the videotape.

I'm sticking my tender toe into the water of romance.  Spicy romance.  E.g., the characters have sex, but I don't describe bodily parts. 

Personally, I think that penises are really ugly.  C'mon guys!  Admit it.  That piece of flesh ain't pretty.  To be fair, I'm pretty certain that female genitalia is pretty nasty, too.

What gets me is that guys automatically pant over the sight of a, ahem, female genitalia, therefore men think that them waving about their bits is also sexy.

Okay, I'm ready for the Women of the World to tell me otherwise, but male genitalia is not only ugly, but creepy.

Sexy pix of men for women (at least as I can discern it) is of chests (they're all over the place in romance) without heads.  Also creepy.

My personal preference for attractive male bodily parts?  Forearms.  I know. I'm a sad case.  But those sinewy forearms are the primary sexual part.  Weird, eh? 

Now that I've revealed my own particular likes, you tell me.  What part of the opposite sex REALLY turns you on?  Guys, only answer if it is NOT breasts or butts.


I Have Been Remiss

I've been writing and editing and critting others so much, I haven't been keeping up reading in my genre: juvenile fantasy.  To make up for that, I ordered up a bunch of the very popular writers to see what I might be missing.

I am enjoying the books.  Really.  However, I see all kinds of stuff that my crit partners would knock me upside the head for doing.  Switching POVs randomly.  Using the horrid adverbs. Repetition.  Well, the list goes on.  What can I say?  The well-known, famous, richly-rewarded writers make all the goofy mistakes that I make.  Apparently, however, they didn't have a crit group and, somehow, their agents didn't notice how they broke every rule in the book.

I won't mention the books, because they are very popular, and somebody is bound to want an argument about the quality of the writing.  I don't want to argue.  I just want to state that the big names make every stupid newbie mistake that unpublished authors make.  BUT, they seem to get by the sentinels.

This is what I glean from this information.  You can make every freaking booboo, but still get published if you write in some indiscernible style that appeals to agents and publishers.  What is that style?  There's no telling since said agents and publishers cannot articulate that certain something that sets these authors apart from the great unwashed crowd.

Until said agents and publishers can explain what the hell they want, then those of us in the slush pile can only beat our heads against the wall and cry out, "Why? Why? Why?"

It's so hard to tell why your own writing falls short, when you see horrendous examples of famous, well-paid writers committing mistakes and bad writing techniques over and over.

It's a mystery.

Good Stuff

I'll admit it.  My writing is not up to the standard of Meyer or whoever is the best thing since sliced bread.  But, I write passably well.  I also have far fewer misspelled words and typos than the average. 

However, my writing is not up to par according to agents.  It's not my grammar, punctuation, or spelling.  I'm pretty good with that stuff.  I'm lacking some "it" factor which, despite reading a lot in my genre, appears to be lacking.  I don't know what it is.

I need an agent to tell me how to add that je nais se quoi, but I have to have it before an agent is interested.

Catch 22.

Short Story Published

My story, Extraordinary Rendition, is up on Fear of Monkeys, a site for political fiction and non-fiction.
This story was previously published at The Deepening.
"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want
them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear -
never to see them again - you send them to Egypt." Bob Baer - Former CIA Agent

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