Archive for April, 2012

Stop Whining

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Books

In a lot of the forums I frequent to stay updated on the publishing world, I see writers worrying about customer reviews.  Typically, these are inexperienced folks who take every word written about their book personally.

It sort of makes me laugh.

Not because I’m totally evil and like to laugh at other people’s insecurities, but because honestly – if you are worried because Bob in Des Moines gave your book a one star review and said some mean things, you probably shouldn’t be writing books.

Now, I’m not saying some reviews aren’t unfair.  I took some old goat to task on here several months ago because he blatantly made up crap about my book that irritated me.  He made his review personal.  It wasn’t about the book – it was about me.

But, the fact is, I expect people to not like my books.  That’s their right.  I don’t like every book I read.  No one does.  That would be…odd.   You don’t get to ask people to review your book and then expect the MOST STELLAR REVIEWS EVER.  Be glad that people take a few moments to review your work at all.  Be glad that they read your book.

A sampling of things said on Amazon about THREAD OF HOPE:

“Other implausable relationships “blossom” in a page or two, and the story drags on in this fashion to the point I abandoned it.”

“…he really was quite the jerk…”  (She means Joe Tyler, not me.  I think.)

“So, really only one flaw in the book, unfortunately the flaw is ‘all characters.’”

Well, that was FUN, wasn’t it?

No, not really.  It’s never fun to read something negative about your work.  But that’s part of the deal.  You put your work out there.  People pay you for it.  They get to say whatever they want about it.  You get to spend their money on anything you’d like.

So stop worrying over Bob in Des Moines, okay?  Let it go.  Have a little chuckle and stick a few pins in your voodoo doll if you think it’s necessary.

But are you really gonna whine about some guy you don’t know voicing an opinion that they have every right to voice, even if that person is as dumb as an armadillo?  THAT’s what you’re going to whine about rather than write another book?

Stop whining and write.

Happy Sunday

Posted: April 29, 2012 in Books

Noah’s out there…

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Books

…and he’ll be back…soon

My Split Personality

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Books

Some of you know I also write cozy mysteries under the name Jeffrey Allen.  STAY AT HOME DEAD came out earlier this year.  The second book in the series comes out in September.  It’s called POPPED OFF.  It’s hilarious and silly and has a midget in it.  Seriously.

Wanna see the cover?

Go here.

It’s The End of The School Year

Posted: April 22, 2012 in Books

Well, not technically.  We still have like six more weeks to go.  But it’s crunch time, which means things need to be graded, parent emails need to be responded to, final exams must be created, student anxiety must be quelled and assorted other teacherly tasks must be completed.

And that also means the blog gets ignored.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

But you’re in luck.  Because even though I haven’t written anything new, I did take time out to do a quick interview with the totally awesome Kristi Belcamino.  It’s over at her blog.  Go read it to learn new and fascinating things about me.  And while you’re there – check out her photography and her writings.  Fantastically cool stuff.  It makes this blog look drab and boring.  Maybe I need some new curtains…

Oh, and for those that are curious:  yeah, I’m about 2/3 of the way done with the new Noah book….excerpts coming soon.

I Don’t Mean Fruity Pebbles

Posted: April 9, 2012 in Books

I love cereal.  It’s my comfort food.  Show me a box of cereal and I will show you how fast I can empty it.

But today I’m curious what you think about SERIALS.

When I was in college, I watched Days of Our Lives because…well, because it was on.  (Loved Bo and Hope, hated John and Marlena.)  But I watched it regularly because of the cliff-hangers and the fact that it picked up every day where we left off the previous days.  There was an immediate push forward in the story, no matter how ridiculous the story was.  (Marlena possessed??? SERIOUSLY???)  I was hooked.

And so now, in the immediate digital age, I’m thinking about serial fiction.  I know Stephen King did it with The Green Mile and I know there are a few others trying it, too.  I can’t understand why this hasn’t taken off.

For this reason:  nearly every day for the last two months, I’ve gotten an email or blog comment, begging for the next Noah book and/or Joe book.  The small readership that I’ve created wants more, which is an incredibly gratifying feeling – thank you for letting me know.  It helps more than you know.

But it takes time to write a story, even when I’m a pretty fast writer.  I’m about 100 pages into the next Noah book, a little less than that on the Joe book and I’ve got several other things in different stages of completion.  It’s gonna take a little bit of time to get them up.  But there’s this part of me that thinks I should break them up into smaller chunks and publish them as serials – maybe every two weeks or something like that.  Everyone wins.  I get my work out there, reader demand is met and we don’t have to watch Days of Our Lives to get our serial fix.  I know that for me, there are definitely authors I read where this would totally appeal to me.  Because I HATE waiting a year in between books and if I could have their work to read on a regular basis, I’d be thrilled.   If I could get several chapters delivered to my Kindle or Kindle app of a story that I was really into, well, that would be pretty awesome.

So here’s what I’m curious about – do serials have any appeal to you as a reader?  What structure would appeal to you?

50 pages at a time?

100 pages?

And what would you pay for that?

A buck?

Five?

ONE MILLION DOLLARS?

And if they don’t appeal to you, I’d love to know why.  Any thoughts you have on the matter would be much appreciated.  I’m not saying I’m going to do this, but I’m intrigued by the idea.

And now I’m going to go write some more…and eat some cereal…

Gerald So asked me if I’d be interested in participating in his 30 Days of the 5-2 Blog Tour in celebration of National Poetry Month.  It’s not often I’m asked to participate in something that actually, you know, seems worthwhile, so I said yes.  The poem I chose to feature is Keith Rawson’s “$25.”  Which is apparently the most popular poem on the tour.  But I think that’s because it’s a seriously cool piece of writing.  Raw and based on Keith’s own experience, it tells the story of a time when he needed money and what he had to do to get it.  For me, it’s the best kind of poetry:  sparse, vivid imagery, powerful punch.

Which is much like Keith himself.  He was kind enough to let me ask him a few questions about his work.

Your poem is called “$25.”  Was letting that nurse jab you 20 times worth $25?

20 times was a bit of an exaggeration, I think it was closer to 5 or 6 times, but it felt like 20. And, yes, it was totally worth it because I was able to go and buy groceries with the dough.

I faint when my blood is drawn.  Where do you stand on needles?

Twenty-year-old Keith would say No comment and get that camera out of my fucking face before I kick your fucking teeth in. Thirty-eight-year-old Keith hates needles with a blinding passion.

 I can’t write a poem to save my life.  Teach me how.
I’ll tell you what, I’ll teach you how to write a poem if you can teach me how to write a novel without me having to rewrite the fucker six times. Does that sound like a deal? 
What is the best thing about living in Arizona?
It’s all sunshiny when the rest of the country is thirty below zero. I also find the crazy-person-to-sane person ratio very entertaining, as long as the crazy people don’t come busting through my front door trying to tell me why Obama is a modern day Hitler. 
You’re always hanging out at Poisoned Pen.  Best experience at an author signing there?
I can say all of them, right? No? Okay then, If I had to narrow it down, it would probably be the first signing I ever attended, which was Mr. James Ellroy. The guy was an absolute hoot and he ended up hitting on my wife HARD when he was signing our books. (Mrs. Rawson and me still chuckle over that night.) After that I’d say George Pelecanos, who gave me probably one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received after the signing, and then I’d have to say the night the store debuted Phoenix Noir, because it was the first time I interviewed James Sallis.
But they’ve all been a gas to attend.
Why didn’t you rip off e.e. cummings and only use lower case letters?
Bukowski pretty much ripped off all of Cumming tricks, so writing in all lower case letters is all mined out. Personally, I’m all about ripping off Victor Gischler at this point in my career.
Are you a Diamondbacks fan?  If so, I’m canceling this interview.  (PADRES.)
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wow, you actually like baseball? That’s funny.
What did you end up doing with the $25?
Groceries. I remember it had been a few days since I’d last eaten when I hit the plasma center, so I was all about getting some food. I think also bought a pack of cigarettes, which was a real luxury back then. 
On a scale of one needle jab to ten needle jabs, how painful were these questions?
A five, definitely a five. 
Thanks to Keith for writing a fantastic poem and for answering the questions.  And thanks to Gerald for inviting me to participate.

Hey. I’m Old. And Free.

Posted: April 4, 2012 in Books

Okay – I know I’ve been absent for a few weeks, but my mom wrote me a note, so I’m good.  But seriously – this is gonna be brief – but I promise – there are new things coming in the next couple of days.  But for now:

Today is my birthday.  I’m 42 years old.

And because I get a lot of stuff backwards, I’m giving away THREAD OF HOPE for free.  It’s free over at Amazon right now.  It’s dementia setting in early, I think.  But if you’d each tell five friends, well, then you know, a lot of people would download it and I might do something crazy like give away more free stuff…or post excerpts from upcoming books…

Anyway – stay tuned.  More stuff in the next few days…