Sometimes the elements of that are small, but cumulative. Other times, big. But always constant.
But today, it's....well, scattered. No monumental events, but it seems, or at least feels like, a lot is happening.
* I just returned from the Killer Nashville writer's conference. The thing about conferences is that they really offer several benefits.
The most obvious is the panels you attend, where you might learn some new or improved techniques or get some food for thought.
But another huge benefit of a conference is all the people you meet. Some of them are interesting folks that you get acquainted with. Some may result in some business getting done. And some, thankfully, become new friends.
Being around all of those writers is usually inspiring and motivating, all at the same time. You also end up a much larger TBR list (To Be Read)....usually with some titles that will cut in line to get to the top.
I experienced all of that at KN14, as well as getting a taste of Music City. Pretty cool stuff. Plus my wife came along, so we were able to have fun together instead of being apart.
* As the month nears its end, my Birthday Month Reader Appreciation Sale also comes to a close. Today, I am the featured author at Book Basset. In addition to stand alones At Their Own Game and Some Degree of Murder, the first book in my River City series, Stefan Kopriva mysteries and Ania trilogy are featured. All of these titles (and more) are 99 cents until the calendar turns to September.
* Eric Beetner and I sold our novel The Backlist to Down & Out Books. In this novel, we asked ourselves what would happen if the mob finds itself on hard times and has to lay people off? And what if to decide which hitter to keep on the payroll, the boss decides to give two hitters separate lists of “overdue accounts” — a backlist — to see who distinguishes themselves? This is the situation the sharp-tongued Bricks and the hapless, eager to please Cam find themselves faced with in The Backlist.
The Backlist takes the same approach that I’ve found successful in my other collaborations. That is, we wrote the book with two main characters (in this case, Paula “Bricks” Brickey and Cameron Lowe — I wrote Bricks, and Eric wrote Cam), and we alternated chapters back and forth. Both characters are written in the first person, which gives the reader that tremendous level of intimacy during the storytelling but also allows the reader a greater scope of perspective that usually comes with a third person narration.
It's been a fun book, and D&O is tentatively scheduling the book for Q2 or Q3 of 2015.
* On September 9th, my collaboration with Bonnie Paulson, The Trade Off, will be released in ebook and paperback. What's it about?
How deep into the sex slave industry will you go to save someone you love? How far will your duty take you?
On the surface, Heather Williams buys and sells young women in a burgeoning underground sex trade. But not everything is as it seems. She is really “Gus” MacIntyre, and undercover detective, targeting human traffickers and rescuing the desperate women they enslave. But how far will she go to stop them? And where does her job end, and duty begin?
“Bull” Porter seems like a prototypical macho hunter who owns a sporting goods store. But when his niece Taylor suddenly disappears, he plunges into the search for her with the same ferocity he stalks prey in the wilderness. The only difference is that this hunt takes place on the dirty streets of the city’s underbelly, and the hunted can turn the tables in an instant. How far will Bull go to save his niece?
As Gus and Bull battle with human traffickers to recover Taylor, both must face their own struggles and secrets…and eventually each other. Faced with political pressure and a ticking clock, they soon realize that nothing is free in this world. Nothing comes easy. For everything, there is a trade-off.
The Trade Off is also written in a dual first person narrative format. The male character of Bull was written by Bonnie R. Paulson, while I wrote the female character of Gus.
* The novel anthology that I'm part of, Thrilling Thirteen, is coming to its end. This is a set of thirteen novels (okay, ten novels, two novellas and on two-story collection about as long as a novella) for 99 cents. Beginning September 1st, it will jump to $2.99 for a short period of time before becoming unavailable. If you're looking for a bargain, and want to try some new authors on the cheap, this is it. My novel, The Last Horseman, and two-story novella, In the Shadow of El Paso, are both in this collection.
* I was interviewed as a subject matter expert recently on Huffington Post Live. The subject was "Should All Cops Wear Body Cameras?" How did I end up there, you might ask? Well, they found me.
In 2012, two things were happening. One was I was heading a project for the Spokane Police Department regarding the prospect of bringing body cameras to the agency. I worked with seven or eight other members (technology experts, tactics experts, line officers who tested the product in a live environment) to help
bring these cameras to SPD. At the same time, I was completing my Masters degree with University of Louisville. When it came time to do the professional paper for my degree, I chose body cameras. After all, I already had a lot of information from working on the project, and anything I learned in my academic pursuits would benefit me while working on the SPD project. It was a good fit.
In December 2012, I finished my paper for University of Louisville and earned my degree. I also submitted my "white paper" to SPD, documenting the year long study we had conducted. In both papers, I explored everything from cost to reliability, to legal and tactical concerns, to social and labor barriers, just to name a few.
One of the things I discovered in my research was that this was an emerging field. I decided to share what information I'd been able to gather so that people in my same position (a leadership role tasked with this project) wouldn't have to start from scratch. The SPD white paper was proprietary, but the professional paper I wrote for my degree was not. So I published the professional paper on Amazon. I priced the paper copy at cost and put the ebook at the lowest allowed price (99 cents). Because it is strictly an Amazon title, I am able to make it free once every 90 days, which I do whenever I remember to do so.
Flash forward to last week. A producer doing research for the segment on Huffington Post came across that book on Amazon and contacted me. And just like that, bish, boom, bang, I was part of the discussion.
They did the interviews via webcam, and due to technical difficulties, I ended up in our kitchen, so pay no attention to the microwave in the background....but here's the interview, if you want to watch.
* I am planning on teaching a writing workshop again in October. Last year's three workshops went well, beginning with WRITE YOUR NOVEL! in October, REVISE YOUR NOVEL! in January, and PUBLISH YOUR NOVEL! in April. This October, we'll start the cycle again. The WRITE YOUR NOVEL! sessions will be at Auntie's Bookstore again, Wednesdays from 6 PM to 8:30 PM, for six sessions. Look for a flyer with more details within a week!
* And lastly, if you've read this far, here's a piece of news...with Trade Off finished and some other responsibilities completed, I've started work on my next solo novel. I know some people have been clamoring for River City #5, but I'm just not ready for that yet. I tried to go back to it but the fruit just wasn't quite ripe yet. But we are going back to River City in way...the new novel is the third in the mystery series featuring Stefan Kopriva.
For those of you that have read the River City series, this name will ring a bell, as he was a central character in the first two novels. This will be the third in a spin off series that started in Waist Deep and continued in Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Right now, the project doesn't have the word "Deep" in the title, though. It's called FRIEND OF THE DEPARTED, and I just finished chapter four of the first draft.
So there you are...scattered thoughts, news, and events...all part of my writer's journey.