Friday, November 30, 2018

Writing: Finished!

I've heard it a number of times since I came (kicking and screaming and dragging my heels sometimes) to this writing business: "Writers don't so much like to write as they like to have written." It's true. Nothing compares with the feeling of writing "the end," of doing the edits and correcting the errors, of setting up the interviews, and finally seeing the finished product. At that point, the writer can truly feel that they have written. Before that there was a lot of effort, all aimed at this final state.

Earlier this week was the launch date for my fifth novella, Emergency Case. This, together with my dozen novels, makes seventeen books of fiction published with my name on the cover. I had no idea when I set out to write a book about my experiences after the death of my first wife, The Tender Scar, that this would be the result. But at the writer's conference where I began to understand writing and publication, I was challenged to "try my hand at fiction." Since you don't challenge a person to try something, whether it's bowling or writing, my reaction was to get to it. And four years spent writing four manuscripts that garnered forty rejections led me to the "overnight success" that has marked my writing journey. Go figure.

Do you have thoughts about writing (including "have written") you'd like to share?

Note: There are several interview sites where I bare my soul (well, almost) and you have a chance to win a copy of Emergency Case. They are here and here and here and here. And if you win one of the copies but have already bought the book, I'll send you an Amazon gift card. How's that?

Tweet with a single click. "Writers don't so much like to write as to have written."

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Launch Day

Well, today's the day. Until now, my novella, Emergency Case, has been available on Amazon for a pre-order price on the Kindle version. Now both the Kindle and print versions are on sale. (Note that the print version may take a day or two to be available--this has always been the case with Amazon, but have patience.)

Why did I write this one? I'd seen previous "Christmas" books, even wrote one myself (Silent Night, Deadly Night), but I really didn't have one in mind for this year, so I began wondering. What about a doctor whose progress backing down a snowy drive was stopped by the body of a man who turns out to be a client of her attorney husband? From there, I let me imagination take over. The story takes place in the time before Christmas. It has snow. What more would you want?

If you want to know more about me and Emergency Case (as well as getting a chance for a copy), click here and here. (And don't forget what I've already posted last week about other opportunities to win a copy of the novella). I hope you enjoy the book.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Just Dropping By... share the first two chances for you to leave a comment and get one of the first copies of my novella (which releases next Tuesday), Emergency Case.

On Patricia Bradley's blog, you can win an actual ARC (ever wonder what one of those looks like?) while on the Suspense Sisters blog you can be in the running to win either a Kindle or print copy of the book.

Stay tuned--there'll be more. And if you happen to have purchased the book already and win one on this or another site, I'll send you an Amazon gift card. What could be fairer?

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Today is Thanksgiving. The day means different things to different people. To some people, it means turkey, dressing, and Mom's sweet potato casserole. For others it's a day spent in front of the TV set watching football. To many, it's a day to be with family.

Unfortunately, for some it's another day of wondering where they'll sleep, what they'll eat, how they'll stay warm and dry. We are blessed people. Give thanks, but also plan to do something for someone less fortunate. Pay it forward. You'll be glad you did.

May I wish you and yours a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving. I'll be back on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pre-Publication Special

Just a reminder that the Kindle version of my novella, Emergency Case, is on sale at the special pre-publication price of 99 cents until the release date of November 27 (less than a week, now). Then both the Kindle and print versions will be available for order at their normal prices.

Newsletter recipients will already have been reminded of this special, but I wanted to let the rest of you know.

Reviews so far have been good. Hope you enjoy the book...and your Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Time Flies

I follow a number of blogs--some for fun, others because they involve writing--and recently I got a message from one of the RSS aggregators I hadn't used in quite a while. I looked through what was, at one time, my list of blogs followed and did a double take. About 10% of them were no longer active. Some of these had gone away because of changes in the authors' lives, others because there was no longer an audience. Mine, on the other hand, had gone on unhampered.

My first wife passed away suddenly in 1999, and the book that stemmed from that event--The Tender Scar--was published in 2006. It's in its second edition, for which I thank all who've been helped by it. That book was a ministry.  I actually began considering writing a book in 2001, so I've been at this writing game for a number of years. Since 2006, I've had a bunch of novels and novellas published, both as contracted works by traditional publishers and via the "indie" route.

The point I want to make is that I've been incredibly fortunate over these past several years. I want to thank each one of you who has read and reviewed my work, as well as those involved in editing, proof-reading, design, and the hundred-and-one other things involved in this publication. I don't know how much longer I'll keep writing, but as my late uncle used to say, "It keeps me off street corners and out of pool halls." And that's not all bad.

Have a great Thanksgiving this year. Remember the reason we celebrate.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Writing: Is A Writer Different?

I recently had occasion to address a shipping label to a fellow writer. She's multi-published and rapidly making a name for herself in suspense fiction, yet she lives in a relatively small town in one of the southern US states and is very unassuming. This made me think about the mental picture of authors most people have--and the truth of the matter. It's been well established that some writers prefer solitude, yet our perception of them somehow is different than that.

Admittedly, the authors with whom I've become acquainted are those writing in the Christian genre, so this may not be true of all authors. But I suspect there's an element of truth across the board.

I've had twelve novels published, and Emergency Case will be my fifth novella, so I'm pretty well established as an author. Do I get recognized in public? Not a chance. Is there at least some recognition at church or among my friends of my position? Not really. Does my status get me a preferred tee time? Get real! The only thing I see different is that, when I take my car in for service, the manager asks if I have any new books out--because I always give him one.

Do I live in a nice house, or perhaps an apartment with a fancy address? Nope. So far as living on Park Avenue in New York or even University Park in Dallas, put those fantasies to bed. We moved from one small north Texas suburb to another about ten years ago, downsizing as we went. No mansion, no fancy apartment. Just a simple, one-level house.

Do I spend my time traveling to wonderful places for research or to write? Lawrence Block usually thanks owners of estates and such places who make them available to him while he writes. I labor (usually in my robe and slippers) in a small room on a laptop computer. And as for travel, I do my research online, believing Nolan Ryan was right: Anyone who thinks travel is glamorous hasn't done enough of it.

Most of us are just plain folks. But we hope you enjoy the way we put the words together for you, regardless of the glamour (or lack thereof) in our lives.

Tweet with a single click. "Do you picture authors as special people?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Holiday Season

Wow! One of my fellow authors had a post yesterday morning that began, "Since Thanksgiving is just a few days away..." I couldn't believe that. Then I looked at the calendar, and discovered that, indeed, Thanksgiving was only nine days away. Time flies--but when does the fun start?

Our Thanksgiving used to be quite simple. The kids had lunch with us, then I watched the football games--because that's the way it was supposed to be. Then the "children" moved away. Then they got married, and the question became, "Will they have Thanksgiving dinner with us or the in-laws?" As things changed further--the death of my first wife, God gifting me with the love of another wonderful woman (who had her own family)--getting our family together became more and more complex. And that's just for Thanksgiving. Christmas is even more complicated.

But we'll work it out. We always have. And through it all, we'll try to remember the reason we celebrate these holidays. And, after all, isn't that the most important thing?

What are your plans for a holiday get-together?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Veterans' Day, 2018

Tomorrow is Veterans' Day. It had its beginning as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, commemorating the armistice that was signed to end the first world war--at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year.

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, and should not be confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who died while in military service. I'm proud to have served, and always feel a special thrill when someone recognizes that I'm a veteran and thanks me for my service--even though it was long ago.

This year, since November 11 comes on a Sunday, the Federal Holiday will be observed on Monday. We'll fly our flag on both days--and every day. Because brave men and women fought for our right to do so.

See you Tuesday with another post.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Writing: Errors In Previously Published Books

Recently I've received a couple of notifications from readers that they've found an error in previously published books. I always appreciate this, mainly because it shows me they're reading the novels. But perhaps this is a good place to point out the difference in books published by a "traditional" publishing house and those that are indie-published.

I've published ten novels that were put out by Abingdon Press or Harper Collins Christian Fiction. My last two novels, as well as my four--soon to be five--novellas were indie (i.e., independently) published. In either case, the manuscripts completed by the author went through several edits, including a copy edit. But, despite this, errors slip through. What should a reader do if they find one of these slips?

The first thing, of course, is to look and see if the book was indie-published or came from a traditional publishing house. In the latter situation, the only way that error would be corrected would be for republication of the print book by the publisher--something that probably wouldn't take place. They could change the ebook version. That would be up to the publisher. But as a practical matter, that might not take place, either.

In the case of an indie-published book, any errors should be reported to the author. He (or she) will notify the entity responsible for publishing the book, in both print and ebook format. The correction might take a bit, but it's my understanding it will be done.

I've found errors in my books, and I've heard from readers about them as well. They happen. As I said, I like to hear from readers if for no other reason than that they have my books and are reading them. But as for getting corrections made, this brings up another difference between indie-publishing and a book put out by a traditional publisher.

Do you find errors in books? And what do you do about them?

Tweet with a single click. "Do errors in books make a difference?"

PS--If you're looking for a Christmas gift for a friend or relative who likes to listen to audio books, most of mine are available in this format--including the recent release of my novel, Guarded Prognosis. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Election Day

Today is the day to vote in the US (although many of us have taken the opportunity to cast our ballots early). Late tonight we should know the results.

If you've followed my FB posts, tweets, and this blog, you'll find that--although I may have dropped some hints along the way--I've tried to be neutral. That may be a mistake, influenced by the advice I received early in my writing "career." I was supposed to keep from alienating a group of my readers by posting material aimed at influencing them. But if you know me at all, you know I'm conservative. I won't get into a debate with you if your leaning is in the other direction. I'd just suggest that you vote your conscience. And don't forget to pray along with it.

My wife and I have voted. I hope that, if you haven't, you'll do so today--even if you have to wait in line to do it. It's important.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Writing: More Changes In The Publishing Landscape

I read lots of blogs to keep up with the changes in the publishing landscape, and recently I was made aware of a shake-up on sorts in the Christian Booksellers Association. I have asked for (and received) permission to reprint a blog post by agent Steve Laube that tells about this. Here it is:

"Last week, in “response to changes in the industry,” one of which I addressed in the post “Rumbles in CBA,” a new retail association has been formed.

"The Munce Group has long been a strong collection of Christian retailers who used their combined buying power to market and sell more products in their local stores. With the uncertainty of the ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) and the uncertainty of the Christian Booksellers Association, Bob Munce has announced the formation of the CRA (Christian Retail Association).

"In addition, they are restructuring and expanding their existing summer convention to include international opportunities. The CPE (Christian Product Expo) has been held for 17 years. This expansion will provide an alternative for publishers and stores and international publishers to come together. Especially if ICRS is no longer a viable option. The first newly named CPE International will be held Sunday to Tuesday, Aug. 25-27, 2019, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

"I attended the CPE in Murfreesboro in 2015. I was invited to talk to the stores about Enclave Publishing. The show was very well run; and the stores were enthusiastic and supportive, with nearly 100 attending the presentation.

"This is great news for the industry. There needs to be a place where retailers and publishers can interact on a larger scale. If editors and agents and authors also attend, it could become theplace to go each summer. As of now, this is so new we don’t know who will be attending from publishing houses other than sales people.

"There is more information found in this article by Christine Johnson (link here)."

I've attended the CPE in the past, and was disappointed. Maybe this is a transfusion the industry needs. Do you have other suggestions for the Christian publishing industry? The floor is yours.

Tweet with a single click. "Changes in the Christian publishing industry. What do you think?"