Sunday, September 29, 2013

REALLY, MORE SALINGER BOOKS?

REALLY, MORE SALINGER BOOKS? The Associated Press reports that the authors of a new J. D. Salinger biography are claiming they have cracked one of publishing greatest mysteries; what “The Catcher in the Rye” novelist was working on during the last half century of his life. The Salinger’s books would revisit “Catcher” protagonist Holden Caulfield and draw on Salinger’s World War II years, and his immersion in Eastern Religion. The material also will feature new stories about the Glass family of “Franny and Zooey” and other Salinger works. I just reread Catcher in the Rye and marvel at what I feel is a great piece of work. Even though I’m a fan of Salinger, do we as authors want writers messing with our work, our lives, posthumously? Is the intent to bring new work which they feel is important, or is it to make money off a famous author’s name. Either way I will be tuned to PBS to view the documentary this fall. Will you be?

WALTER W. LUCE was born in Vermont where he still spends his summers. He has been a successful real estate developer in Florida, Georgia, and California. He lives in the Palm Springs, California area with his wife Bonnie, where he wrote his first novel of five, Eva Pennington. He is the oldest of seven. He graduated from Braintree Randolph Union High School in 1962, and attended Miami Dade Junior college after being honorably discharged from the Army in 1967. His hobbies are writing, running and golf.










Friday, September 27, 2013

WEEKLY ROUND-UP FOR SEPTEMBER 27, 2013

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up everyone! Thank you for dropping in. Oak Tree Press has lots of news in our corral today. Be sure to check out our website, www.ShopOTPbooks.com, for a complete list of all the great books we have available. But now, for your reading pleasure, our authors have news, book signings, events, reviews, blogs and more to share with you as we head into the Round-Up…

After posting last weeks Round-Up a few authors commented about the lack of comments on our blog. Comments are important! Not only do they help my ego (ha ha) but they are essential for you all to get a little promotion. If someone is searching OTP authors on the internet, they could link to the blog, see all that OTP has to offer and could branch out into all sorts of goodness! The Weekly Round-Up gets many, many views. Any little ol' comment will do. Get clicking! And please, send in your events, big or small, so I can mention you in the Round-Up.

Have you joined the new OTP Yahoo Group BookBizBuzz? This group is for any and all authors who want to share something book-related....industry news, a new release, a new ebook, a blog, an author event, a good review, a favorite bookseller, anything pertaining to books and/or the book business. OTP is managing this list, but it is open to all authors, regardless of who published their book. Book fans who want to see the latest news are also welcome to subscribe. Go to www.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BookBizBuzz/info.

JOHN M. WILLS, author of “The Year Without Christmas” shares a very nice review of his book by Inez Gilbert:
"Very enjoyable reading, could not put the book down. The novel is full of compassion and personality as it describes the lives of friends in turmoil. I found myself laughing, crying, and at times having chills as I read this most memorable novel."

On October 12th, JOHN is hoping to have a launch party for his novel, "The Year Without Christmas.” It will be held at his local Public Library in conjunction with the monthly meeting of his writers group, The Riverside Writers. The Parade of Prose, an event in which members read excerpts of their work, and author panels are held (JOHN will be serving on one), is also on the agenda.


TERRY AMBROSE, author of “License to Lie," was recently one of the featured speakers at the Paradise Hills Readers & Writers event sponsored by San Diego Public Library. TERRY continues his Scam Tip of the week series with a post of particular interest to anyone with a website. The post is titled How Scammers Prey on Unsuspecting Webmasters.







Only a few days left to catch three OTP kindle titles on sale on amazon.com. J. L GREGER’s “Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight” and "Coming Flu" the first in the series, are both on sale for $2.99 through the end of September.










JOHN BRANTINGHAM, author of “Mann of War” will be discounting his title to 99 cents through September 29th. Be sure to spread the word on these great deals! 










MARY MONTAGUE SIKES, author of “Jungle Jeopardy" shares two articles about her work in newspapers in Petersburg and in West Point: Here are the links: http://progress-index.com/lifestyles/artist-has-life-long-love-affair-with-color-1.1558656
and http://www.tidewaterreview.com/features/va-tr-sikes-joins-anthology-0925-20130924,0,5791248.story








Last Saturday, MARY MONTAGUE SIKES participated in the Williamsburg Book Festival (photo at right.) Next week, she is doing a book signing and art presentations at Cielo Bella Gallery in Sedona AZ. Her novel, "Eagle Rising," is set in Sedona.








CAROL ALEXANDER and MISS LIBERTY, authors of “The Big Squeal” are calling all cooks! If you have a favorite "Pigs-in-the-blanket" recipe, please submit it to MISS LIBERTY’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/libertypig. (Give her a "like" while you are there.) MISS LIBERTY and friends will hold a taste test. Reviews will be reported and a prize will be awarded. "The Big Squeal" is soon to be published in a Second Edition with a special bonus package on Abraham Lincoln's Eighth Judicial Circuit. This is believed to be the first ever kid-friendly look at the circuit, which launched Lincoln's presidency!




UPCOMING EVENTS

ROBERT WEIBEZAHL, author of “The Dead Don’t Forget” will be signing books at the Sisters in Crime booth at the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday, September 29. Stop by and see him this weekend.

ROBERT will also be doing a book signing for "The Dead Don't Forget"on Saturday, October 5 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm at Mrs. Figs' Bookworm, 93 East Daily Drive, Camarillo, CA 805/482-1384





VELDA BROTHERTON, author of the upcoming “The Purloined Skull” will be at the Springdale Library, Arkansas Authors Fair, October 5 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. VELDA will speak and have her books available at the Ozark Creative Writer's Conference in Eureka Springs October 10-12. A special book launch for her latest book, "The Purloined Skull" will be held at The Trolley Line Book Shop in Rogers on October 19 from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. She will talk about what it was like to switch from historical romances to a dark, gritty and sexy mystery and how she pulled it off.




ILENE SCHNEIDER, author of “Unleavened Dead” will be at the Ohav Shalom Sisterhood Paid-Up Membership Dinner, 944 Second St. Pike, Richboro, NJ on October 10th at 6:30 pm for a book reading and signing. ILENE will be appearing at Magna Cum Murder (October 25-27) in Indianapolis, IN.









BILLIE JOHNSON, OTP Publisher, has taken a booth at the Visalia Taste of the Arts festival. The event takes place October 17th-19th. MARILYN MEREDITH, author of “Dangerous Impulses" also has a booth at the event. Stop by and see these lovely ladies.









AMY BENNETT, author of “End of the Road” has a book talk scheduled for Thursday, October 17 at 4 pm at the Ruidoso Public Library, 107 Kansas City Road, Ruidoso, NM 88312. Copies of “End of the Road” will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Ruidoso Friends of the Library. Then on Monday, October 21 AMY has a book signing at Eastern New Mexico University, Ruidoso campus bookstore, 709 Mechem Drive, Ruidoso, NM 88345. The signing will be from 12 noon to 2:00 pm and AMY will be available to answer questions from university students. This event is open to the public and the bookstore will add “End of the Road” to its collection of books by local authors available for purchase.



BLOG CORRAL

DAC CROSSLEY, author of the upcoming “Revenge of the Texas Ranger” has a new blog entry up: a bit of Texas history, and Georgia, and the way to win an election. He recommends a Texas history book for your shelf - "Seat of Empire," by Jeffrey Stuart Kerr. The embattled birth of Austin, Texas. See DAC’s blog at: www.daccrossley.typepad.com







EILEEN OBSER, author of the upcoming memoir “Only You” invites you to read her new post about blogging and the daily routines of writers and artists. EILEEN hopes you enjoy it and appreciates any comments! Let's go welcome this new OTP author to the family. www.eileenobser.com/blog.








JOHN DANIEL, author of the upcoming “Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery” writes this week about the magic that happens when you experience, or write about, falling in love. http://www.johnmdaniel.blogspot.com/










That wraps up the Round-Up for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Weekly Round-Up as much as I enjoy posting it for you.
As always, if you have something you would like to submit to the Round-Up, send me an email at otpoffice@aol.com. Big or small, old or new. I would like to keep our corral full of news! Comments, questions or suggestions are welcome too.
Have a great weekend, everyone.~ Suzi

Like us on Facebook! www.facebook.com/oaktreebooks

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What is your marathon?



By W. S. Gager
One of my critic partners is training for a marathon. It is on her bucket list and she has been working hard to get in shape and be ready. The race is this weekend and I have no doubts she will accomplish the 27-mile run. Why she wants to do this, is something I will never understand.  She has been following a program that has the training mapped out for and she has been diligent about doing the runs even with two kindergarteners and a preschooler at home. On a Saturday I volunteered to bike with her as she did one of the longest runs of the program. It was something like twelve or fifteen miles. I don’t remember how long just that toward the end, my rear end was a bit sore.

I enjoyed the ride because it was at a slower pace than going with my husband who is all about the speed and cardio aspect of biking. On this ride, I paced myself to her running which was a more leisurely trek. On that ride we went down some gravel country roads to try and stay away from cars that don’t share the road well. You are probably wondering what all this has to do with writing books.

The ride gave me plenty of time to observe nature and watch ducks fly in and settle down on a pond or to listen to the sounds that cows make as they graze their way across a field. One thing that is hard to explain to non-writers is that we are never not absorbing details and descriptions (please excuse my double negative). We may never use them but we are always paying attention to the smallest of details especially in mysteries, which is my specialty. 

As we were going along we went through one remote area that had a swamp on either side of the road that in rainy periods probably spilled over. The swamp reeds rattled in the light wind and swayed a dance of seven veils to anyone who would watch. As we traversed its darker depths any noise was absorbed by the unknown making an uncomfortable silence except for the steps of my runner friend.  We had interrupted the cadence of nature and the creatures were impatient to return to their work.

I hated to talk to much to my friend as we were nearing the halfway point of the run and she was concentrating to keep her breathing in sync. I couldn’t help myself. I probably wouldn’t have mentioned this to anyone but a writing friend, because they would have had serious doubts about my sanity. “Don’t you think this would be a great place to dump a body?”

My critic runner wrote romances and usually bodies were not part of the plot. She laughed and admitted: “I usually don’t run this way when I’m by myself. It just creeps me out.” As we finished the run/ride in mostly silence, my brain was in high gear. I had plot lines and scenes forming at a rapid pace just from one small stretch of swamp. I couldn’t wait to get home and put them down.  I realized I just started my own marathon but my finish line was two little words: The End.  How is the training for your marathon going?


W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman's golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted and write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter single-mindedly hunting for a Pulitzer Prize. A CASE OF INFATUATION, the first in the Mitch Malone Mysteries, won the Dark Oak Contest in 2008 and nominated as a Michigan Notable Book.  A CASE OF ACCIDENTAL INTERSECTION took first place in the 2010 Public Safety Writers Contest in the unpublished category before its release. Her third book, A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES, was a finalist in the 2012 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. A CASE OF VOLITILE DEEDS was released in 2013. She loves to hear from readers at wsgager@yahoo.com or on her blog at http://wsgager.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Try This Spot: Lots of Blab, Few Rules, BSP Welcome

As publisher at OTP, I am always looking for ways and places to get the word out about our titles...and we all know there are bejillions of these groups on the internet, some with member counts rivaling small cities. But they all seem to have these Byzantine rules about what can and must not be said, discussed, pitched, panned or otherwise mentioned. Which of us can keep all that info straight..certainly not me, I usually end up pouting a lot after a few hours' surfing among these sites, disappointed that I was unable to promote any of our great titles.

Then I got the idea, why not have a site without all these rules? A place where authors can announce a new title, a freebie, a special price or promotion, brag about a great review, or announce the particulars of an upcoming event..or better yet, provide a hot link! Readers can see blurbs of books and comments that might encourage their interest or learn that there is an event at a shop in their area...readers can add their two cents, too. What did they like? What do they hope for? Chat with each other or directly to a favorite author!

So we are trying this at Book Biz Buzz  This is for all authors, regardless of  publisher, and any other pub biz folks who wish to join in, plus book fans of all stripes.

Like your basic chat groups, you can limit your email via the daily digest, or just see them all! So join in! We will be delighted to see you there!

Billie Johnson

Sunday, September 22, 2013

WHEN WELL-KNOWN AUTHORS FALL SHORT

I seem to revisit this topic a lot. Is it because I’m defensive that I’m not published by one of the New York Biggies? Jealous their Amazon rankings are in the double and sometimes the single digits, while mine are – well, considerably more? Or is it because I think authors, no matter how accomplished in the past, should be held to the same standards as lesser known ones and not be allowed to get away with amateurish writing that would send others’ manuscripts into the recycling bin or the deleted file?
So what has set me off on my latest rampage? Within the past few months, I’ve read the latest books by four bestselling authors whose works I have always enjoyed. I am one of those fans who have put these authors onto the bestseller lists before their books are even in print by preordering them. But I have been dissatisfied by all four. And judging by some of the reviews they’ve received, I’m not alone.
The books are all part of multi-book series (the range is 17-23 books). The first books in the series were published from 20-30 years ago. We’re not talking untalented beginners here.
I’m not going to name the books or the authors (I never know when I may meet one at a conference, find out she – yes, they’re all women – is a fan, and ask her to write a blurb for my work-in-progress). But the books I just read are, well, to be blunt, boring. There’s no tension, no suspense. Even if I haven’t figured out the culprit by the end, I don’t really care anymore. There seems to be no character growth from book to book.

There are other problems with the books. They all contain digressions that don’t just stop the action, but have no connection at all with the main plot lines. The authors have lengthy blocks of explanations that tell instead of show. When reintroducing characters we haven’t read about for 50 or more pages, they repeat the physical descriptions in almost the same words, as though they have forgotten we’ve “met” the characters before and just a couple of words will remind us who they are. They rely heavily on the assumption (probably correct) that the reader has read the earlier books in the series, refers to the events, but doesn’t give enough details for the reader (me) to remember what happened.

In an earlier blog, I asked “Are editors too inexperienced to catch the errors? Or are they too afraid to question or correct these bestselling writers?” I gave some examples of basic errors made by well-known authors:
* In one book, the author describes the character’s navel ring by using the same exact words (something like “her belly button winked”) several times. The first time was cute, the second an error, by the third and fourth annoying.
* A first person narrator approaches a victim who has been shot in the chest and is lying on his back. The narrator then describes what is on the back of the victim’s jacket.
* A woman is hit on the back of the head and falls backwards.
I now have another head scratcher to add, one that had me scrolling backwards to figure out what I had missed: The protagonist calls home, says he’ll be home in an hour and will take the family to breakfast. He drives home, takes them out to breakfast (I think – it’s not mentioned again), drives back to the office, reads the paper, and flips through the phone messages left for him during his three-hour absence from the office. There would be no problem with the time line if the author hadn’t noted the character was feeling better after having eaten and gotten “several hours of sleep.” Huh? When did he have time to get any sleep?

Okay, I admit I’m nitpicking. But don’t the editors owe it to the authors – and to their fans – to find these basic writing flaws? And don’t the authors owe it to their fans to give their best effort and not just slap something together to fulfill their contract?  

I’m not sure any of these four will be on my eagerly-anticipated-must-read-and-preorder list in the future. And I feel cheated by it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

ROUND-UP FOR SEPTEMBER 20, 2013

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up everyone! Thank you for dropping in. Oak Tree Press has lots of news in our corral today. Be sure to check out our website, www.ShopOTPbooks.com.com, for a complete list of all the great books we have available. But now, for your reading pleasure, our authors have news, book signings, events, reviews, blogs and more to share with you as we head into the Round-Up…

Publisher BILLIE JOHNSON is busy putting the final details together for the WORDSTOCK festival in Portland. She's finishing up the catalog to hand out to visitors to our booth...and collecting needed items and supplies into a the staging area, awaiting transfer to the car. OTP authors who wish to ship us bookmarks or giveaways featuring their titles....there is still time...but hurry!

OTP is starting a new yahoo group... BookBizBuzz@yahoogroups.com. This will be for any and all authors who want to share something book-related....industry news, a new release, a new ebook, a blog, an author event, a good review, a favorite bookseller, anything pertaining to books and/or the book business. OTP is managing this list, but it is open to all authors, regardless of who published their book. Book fans who want to see the latest news are welcome to subscribe also.

PATRICK LINDER, author of the upcoming "Ghost Music" is looking forward to the launch of this title at WORDSTOCK. "Ghost Music" was awarded third place for a non-published fiction book at the Public Safety Writers Association annual writing competition. Congratulations, PATRICK!
PATRICK has recently had three essays published at an online journal. Please feel free to follow this link: http://www.rebellesociety.com/author/patrick-linder/
PATRICK also has a great blog, take a look and welcome him to the OTP family! www.patricklinderbooks.com


J. L GREGER’s book “Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight” kindle edition, along with "Coming Flu" the first in this series, are both on sale for$2.99 through the end of September on Amazon.com. Time is running out to get these books at bargain price!









JOHN BRANTINGHAM, author of “Mann of War” will be discounting the kindle version of this title to 99 cents from September 22 – 29 on amazon.com. Another great deal from our OTP authors!









AMY BENNETT's new release "End of the Road" has been reviewed by Kings River Life Magazine. The review, by Cynthia Chow, says that this book "looks to be the beginning of a very fun and skillfully written mystery series." Here is the link to the review: http://kingsriverlife.com/09/14/end-of-the-road-by-amy-m-bennett/ 







UPCOMING EVENTS

Children's author BERYL REICHENBERG, author of "Butterfly Girls" will be attending the Cuesta College Writer's Conference this coming weekend, Sept 20 and 21. She'll be selling all five of her OTP children's books at the conference as well. In fact, this year she is in charge of the local writer's group, NightWriters, book selling table. The annual conference has been going on for 29 years and usually draws a crowd of authors and renown presenters. This year should be no exception.




SHIRLEY SKUFCA HICKMAN, author of "Fall in Love with an Orange Tree or a Book" is having a book reception and signing this Saturday, September 21, 2013 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm at the Porterville Art Association Gallery at 121 N. Main in Porterville, CA. SHIRLEY shares the reason behind this intriguing title. When one of her former students came to the United States from Mexico, her mother told her, “I brought you to the best country in the world. Make a choice. Fall in love with an orange tree or a book.” In other words, spend your life working in the fields or get an education. Her former student chose to get an education and is now the Director of Migrant Education for her school district.



ILENE SCHNEIDER, author of “Unleavened Dead” will be at the Congregation Ahavat Olam Sisterhood Sukkot Brunch, 106 Windeler Rd., Howell, NJ on September 22 from11:00 am - 2:00 pm. The topic is “What Makes a Jewish Book Jewish?”







BILLIE JOHNSON, OTP Publisher, is getting ready for the Virginia American Library Association conference exhibit in Williamsburg September 26-27. Several OTP titles will be on display including MARY MONTAGUE SIKES Hotels to Remember collection: “Scenic James River,” “Hotel DuPont” and “Williamsburg Inn.” Also MONTI’s “Daddy's Christmas Angel” and “A Rainbow for Christmas.” JOHN M. WILLS new release “The Year Without Christmas” will also be displayed. It's starting to sound a lot like Christmas!





ROBERT WEIBEZAHL, author of “The Dead Don’t Forget” will be signing books at the Sisters in Crime booth at the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday, September 29th. ROBERT will also be doing a book signing on Saturday, October 5 from 1:00pm – 3:00 pm at Mrs. Figs' Bookworm, 93 East Daily Drive, Camarillo, CA 805/482-1384






VELDA BROTHERTON, author of the upcoming “The Purloined Skull” will be at the Springdale Library, Arkansas Authors Fair, October 5th from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. VELDA will speak and have her books available at the Ozark Creative Writer's Conference in Eureka Springs October 10-12. Also a special book launch for her latest book, "The Purloined Skull" will be held at The Trolley Line Book Shop in Rogers on October 19 from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. She will talk about what it was like to switch from historical romances to a dark, gritty and sexy mystery and how she pulled it off.




On October 12th, JOHN WILLS is hoping to have a launch party for his novel, "The Year Without Christmas.” It will be held at his local Public Library in conjunction with the monthly meeting of his writers group, The Riverside Writers. The Parade of Prose, an event in which members read excerpts of their work, and author panels are held (JOHN will be serving on one), is also on the agenda.



BLOG CORRAL


LORNA COLLINS, author of “Ghost Writer” invites you to check in on her blog. This entry is about video book trailers. She has them for all her books. Check it out at: http://lornacollins-author.blogspot.com/









DAC CROSSLEY, author of the upcoming "Revenge of the Texas Ranger" has a blog entry titled,  "It's all about the webbing." www.daccrossley.typepad.com









JOHN LINDERMUTH, author of “Sooner than Gold” is talking about this title and other topics at Romancing the Heart Interviews at http://romancingtheheartinterviews.blogspot.com/ You can also learn more about JOHN on his website at www.jrlindermuth.net








JOHN DANIEL, author of the upcoming “Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery's” blog this week features Nancy Klann-Moren, a brilliant fiction writer. Drop by and meet this fine storyteller and novelist. http://johnmdaniel.blogspot.com/








EILEEN OBSER, author of the upcoming “Only You” invites you to view her new blog. This entry tells about her recent travels through time. She hopes you will give it a look and leave a comment or send an e-mail. http://eileenobser.com/blog/?page_id=15.







ROBERT WEIBEZAHL, author of “The Dead Don’t Forget” has two guest blogs this week: The first link is for Bookpage: http://www.bookpage.com/the-book-case/2013/09/18/a-voyage-across-the-literary-landscape/#more-41906
and the second blog is on Auntie M Writes http://auntiemwrites.com/2013/09/15/robert-weibezahl-the-dead-dont-forget/






That wraps up the Round-Up for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Weekly Round-Up as much as I enjoy posting it for you. As always, if you have something you would like to submit to the Round-Up, send me an email at otpoffice@aol.com. Big or small, old or new. I would like to keep our corral full of news! Comments, questions or suggestions are welcome too. Have a great weekend, everyone.~ Suzi

Like us on Facebook! www.facebook.com/oaktreebooks
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Can an author go too far when taking something from real life?


When taking a story from real life and applying it to a work of fiction—a crime or detective story, specifically—when can it be said the author is going too far?

If a murder of some sort is essential to your plot (not unheard of in the mystery genre), can it be said that taking a real life crime and dropping it into your story is less an example of writing and more a ripping off a tragedy to make a buck? A form of stenography, if you will, rather than creativity?

I live in Boston and two real life crimes have set me to asking this. You may be familiar with each one.

In April, we had the Boston Marathon Bombings. I’m sure you don’t need the details summed up here.

Perhaps it is because I live in the city where this happened, but I for one could not imagine writing a story where a similar explosion could be used as a “mere” plot device.

Now at some point an explosion may occur in a book of mine, down the writing road. But just dropping a thinly-veiled Marathon Bombing-like device into a novel would seem cruel and exploitive to me. Creatively immoral, if there is such a concept.

There’s also a bit of artistic ego on my part. To date, I’m an author of all of two mysteries but I have enough confidence in myself that I can think of a plot device or two without having to directly copy something out of the day’s news.

Another Boston-area crime: Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the New England Patriots, is being held without bail in a Massachusetts jail on charges of first degree murder, among other charges. And as of this writing, he is also viewed as a suspect in couple of other murders.

Thus I was sorry to read that Ace Atkins, who has been writing the Spenser novels with the permission of the estate of the late Robert B. Parker, will have the next Spenser book out early next year and that according to a release posted on Facebook, his specific plot will center around a player for the New England Patriots being involved in a crime.

From Facebook:
THE NEXT ACE ATKINS SPENSER: CHEAP SHOT will be about Spenser's investigation of illegal activity around a New England Patriots player. Research started last winter with a trip to Gillette Stadium, long before the Aaron Hernandez arrest. The book will be out next spring.”

While research may well have started before the Hernandez arrest, nonetheless this seems a far more cynical “real life” plot line than Parker himself would have ever used.

Like many authors, Parker took stories that used twists from real life, of course—but would filter it in a way so as to make it blend in seamlessly with the Spenser world; more as backdrop to the plot than the main event itself.

Example: the plot of “Painted Ladies” involved an art theft. But Parker wrote it as unique to Spenser’s story and hardly any rip-off of the Gardner Museum masterpiece thefts.

Perhaps Atkins will also do this here. I like how he’s written the Spenser novels so far. And I’ve liked his other novels. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend “Crossroad Blues.”

And maybe by the time the book is released, he’ll have taken a step or two back from what I’m afraid sounds like a blatant exploitation of the Hernandez murder case.

We’ll see. Sorry to make this into a Sunday sermonette. (Do they still have those anywhere?)

But as an author, when it comes to taking from real life crimes, serious crimes, how far is too far?

There’s a line to be drawn somewhere. Isn’t there? If so, where?
 
 -- By Joe Nowlan, Author of "Media Blitz" & "The Zyratron Affair"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Inspiration


While preparing for an upcoming post this week on short story writing for my blog, I came across some quotes from some of our best writers. 

Since I have nothing inspiring to share today,  I thought I would go to the best for inspiration--here's what they have to say
about writing:


We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
--Ernest Hemingway

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
—Elmore Leonard

For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
--Catherine Drinker Bowen

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”
—Allegra Goodman

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”
—Lawrence Block, WD

“If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”
—Fred East, WD

“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”
—Leigh Brackett, WD

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King, WD

“I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.”
—Andre Dubus III, WD (this quote is from 
an interview with Dubus in our July/August 2012 issue)

“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD

You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
—George Singleton

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
—Mark Twain





Cora Ramos is author of Dance the Dream Awake
http://coraramos.com./




Perseverance

Many moons ago I attended a taekwondo tournament in the Minneapolis area. I was either a Second or a Third Degree Black Belt at the time and my competition consisted of some excellent martial artists. In the sparring competition, I faced a gentleman who, within a minute, executed a spin hook kick to my head. My hands were not up as far as they should have been and I was not fast enough to block in time. As I understand it from witness' reports, my body went both limp and sideways and I hit the floor.

I don't remember much during the next five minutes or so. I think I heard people talking but was unable to respond. In short order I found myself at a local medical center and on the doc's advice was driven to downtown St. Paul to receive a CAT scan to make sure nothing was wrong inside my noggin. Luckily, I recovered with no problems.

For the next two or three years at tournaments, I met this same guy in my ring either during the first or second round of sparring. He didn't knock me out again, but he always beat me. Easily. One year, again in Minneapolis, I was determined that the result was going to be different. I was psyched up and told myself that he might win, but this time he was going to work for it. Unfortunately, he didn't compete that year and soon after, he left the organization.

Perseverance. I kept trying. I never came close to beating him, but I kept trying. In recent years, although I still compete I've not had good scores in my forms competition and usually have been defeated in sparring. I keep trying and last year, when I made the decision to get serious about a fitness regimen to become healthier, carrying less weight, and with better stamina, I also became serious about earning better scores at tournament. And it's worked. I'm still exercising because although I'm stronger, I still need to lose more weight and improve my cardio stamina. Now that warmer weather has arrived, I can get outside for some better exercising.

Writing has been the same way. I started scribbling stories as a child and for a year or so after college while on my own for the first time. In the middle 90s when I created the Mallory Petersen character, I decided that I wanted to get serious about writing and ultimately, to get my stories published. However, I was shot down (tactfully) during my first few rounds in a critique group. I wasn't knocked out, just verbally battered around a bit.

I didn't quit. I wrote and wrote. I cranked out short stories every week. I dove in deep on the second Petersen story and also completed my supernatural novel Night Shadows. With Beta and Shadows being refined I looked around for some agent or publisher to accept them. Years passed and finally those first two books were published. I then resurrected the first Petersen story I had laid aside, reworked some angles, persevered, and about a year and a half later queried Oak Tree Press. In 2012, Alpha became my first book in printed form as well as an eBook.

I am friends with a writer in Des Moines. We've hung together ever since my early days in my first critique group. She's written several stories but can't seem to get over the hump of getting any accepted. But she keeps trying and one day, she'll join the ranks of published authors.

I've seen too many individuals give up after receiving critiques or those who are never able to get past chapter one or even an outline.

Perseverance. It's always easier NOT to do something. I'd rather go home and go to bed each morning after my night shift job. Sleep would be so much more preferable than spending another hour out running or finding a place to exercise. Whiling away the hours reading or watching television is so much easier than picking up a pen and pad and writing the next chapter or the next short story.

But where's the fun in taking it easy? If I hadn't persevered, I wouldn't have reached the rank of Fifth Degree nor would I have three books to my credit.

It is also so easy to say, “Don't give up.” That phrase can be shrugged off. What may get some to thinking is: “Find a reason NOT to give up.” What might happen if you didn't give up? What might be the result if you pushed just a little harder and for one more day?

I don't know, but try it and let me know.

Stephen L. Brayton, author of Alpha. www.stephenbrayton.com