Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone

I want to thank everyone for following or stalking me, reading my blogs, buying my book, Coffin Tales Season Of Death, or taking the time to get to know me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other place I might be. 


I want to thank Quinn Barret from Wise Bear Books for inviting me to do a podcast that was fun and crazy at the same time. It's the greatest moment of my year!


Looking back at 2011, I can only smile. I finished and edited, The Bone Extractor, wrote and edited, Armed and Outrageous, and started a new book, My Redneck Romance. I even managed to publish my ebook, Coffin Tales Season Of Death. I want to thank Barbara Pappan for making that all possible, and the artist formally known as Nick Rose for allowing me use his painting as a cover.


All in all I consider 2011 as a banging year. The year I found myself in a big way. I don't know if we're all gonna burn in December of 2012, but I know one thing for sure, we'll be burning it up creative wise. 


Thank you for making my year so great!

Monday, December 19, 2011

An early Christmas gift

While I trudge along on my writing journey, I will share my successes and my failures. Today, The Bone Extractor, was rejected. While I won't go into specifics, I will say that they said the story has, potential. It will take a revision on my part. They also opened the door for me to resubmit when the revision is done. Do I go ahead and revise it, myself or hire an editor? Money aside, it would be a great learning experience, but I will nowhere near recoup the money. I really need to give serious thought.


I thank everyone for their continued support.


On the positive side, Robert Walker was kind enough to help me with my query for Armed and Outrageous. It turned out better than I had hoped. This is the book that gives me the goosebumps. I know I'm on to something great, and I'll keep you posted on the progress. It's currently submitted to a different publisher. Check out Robert Walkers website here.


That's all there is on my end. I hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas filled with good cheer and plenty of family, but don't forget the ones that will be alone this holiday season. Taking a plate of cookies to someone will brighten their day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hall Pass and life

Today I watched Hall Pass, and thought it was extremely funny, but one of the main reasons that I thought so had more to do with the perception men have about women (in the movie).


Although, men enjoy talking trash about women, I'm not sure if men of the age bracket portrayed in the movie do that type of thing. Women by far talk more trash than any man could ever make up. We women tell it all sometimes. I have had my fair share of stories too, but now my life is much more subdued. Be careful who you piss off is all I'm telling you.


No woman wants a D in her mouth. It may happen at some point, but that's not what women think about. Okay, we might want to know what size it is, but that's a given. Now that we are on the subject, I had no idea there were two penises in the movie, one that no woman would ever go near, ever, lol.


This is so tuning out to be a perverted blog, but I'm just being real.


No middle aged man is getting some hot chick to bang. Unless you're very hot, have a ton of cash to spend on them, and are anatomically gifted. Get real. Also, if you're a single woman of the 30-40 age bracket, the pickings are mighty slim. You'll be lucky if you find a man with working plumbing. I should know because I was one of them. (We can always find sex though).


I'm so content to spend my days writing these days. Too much time because life is about having fun and I'm ready for fun. My version, is going to a gay bar and sing Karaoke and listen to music, something I'm doing tomorrow.


Women may dream about getting married or having children, but that is not the dream goal. 


Women do have dreams outside of their happy home. Maybe it's going back to school being an artist or writer. There is not a greater joy than being a mother, but really is that all a woman can be?


I think women face more challenges than men. We have babies and our bodies are shot, many of us that is. Some women's bodies are like spring boards, and they go right back into shape like pregnancy never happened. I wasn't one of them, and I had a C-Section, which is even worse.


Women get to the point where they quit caring about how they look or what they wear. We quit trying to look nice; we're too busy taking care of the family. The next thing you know you are wearing sweat pants every day, and one day you'll look in the mirror and wonder what the hell happened.


Taking care of yourself is a "for you thing." Personally, I started buying face cream at thirty, but I have been wearing makeup since my twenties. I did that and continue to because it makes me feel better about myself. I don't wear sweatpants anymore and occasionally dress up. I learned to spend money on myself when I can, and not only has that benefited me, but the entire family. I shucked the ex that treated me like crap, found a great man "Nick" and life is good. It might not be as good as it can be, but we're doing all right.
:)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Writing Talk



I did a podcast yesterday at Wise Bear Books. Check it out here.

It was great fun, and I'll be doing another podcast when my book Armed And Outrageous comes out. It's funny to me being asked questions about who my favorite authors are or which ones inspire me. I enjoy a variety of authors, and it's hard to choice just one. I'm a huge Janet Evanovich fan, and her books inspired me to start writing humor. I know that's the direction I started, but it's the one I'm now embracing.

I promise my thriller, The Bone Extractor, will be published by some means (it's still being considered by a publisher). My short story collection Coffin Tales Season Of Death is starting to have an increase in sales, which I'm grateful for because it will be serialized. Next time it won't be Season Of Death, it will have a different name like Coffin Tales Ghostly Images (just pulling that off the top of my head). I think you get the point. Next time it will be one story, not two.

Novel wise I'm working on a chick lit or romance entitled, My Redneck Boyfriend. It's going to be a fun read also, and of course, the sequel to Armed is in the works, if not on paper yet. I think it's important to continue to write new books. I try to come up with books that reflect my true personality. If they happen to be entertaining, it's a win, win situation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Podcast

I have exciting news:
I will be doing a podcast as a featured author at Wise Bear Books on December 11, 2011, at 10 a.m. Pacific time. The host, Quinn Barrett, graciously invited me, and I'm very excited. I will be promoting my upcoming book "Armed And Outrageous," which will be published in a few months.
Here is the link that goes to my featured book page at Wise Bear Books. 
Even if, you can't tune in at that time, you'll be able to check it out when it's convenient for you. That's the beauty of the internet.
Many people may know me from Facebook or Twitter, but I'm also active on LInkIn, which is a great place for writers to interact with each other. (They have many great discussions going on there.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Armed And Outrageous Trailer

I worked on the trailer for "Armed And Outrageous" and found out the following things:


1. It's hard to be funny when you're actually trying.
2. Make sure you have the right pictures the first time.
3. Keeping it simple is not, simple.
4. When it feels forced, it shows.


In the end, it all worked out.


video

Monday, November 28, 2011

Get out of my head

I have a stretch of days off, and I haven't slept many of them. It might be the normal night schedule or the voices inside my head.


When writing something new, what is it that brings that story to life?


Is it your first thought when you wake-up or did it wake you up?


I fall into the wake me up category. "My Redneck Boyfriend " is such a story. It refuses to sleep or be forgotten about for a minute. It consumes my thoughts and dreams in a way that I haven't felt before. It has a constant movie running in my head that won't rest. Not that I haven't lost sleep before over some book I'm writing. Might just be who I am. I'm passionate about what I write; that's the bottom line.


I made it to the 5,000 word mark and hope to add another 2,000 words today. I'm at the point where I'm wondering if it can develop into a 80,000 word book. I have yet to write a book that is 80,000 words on the first draft. I'm an adder. Stopping in the 60s is something I'm more comfortable doing. This is my first shot at writing romance, there shouldn't be any mystery other than what's going to happen next. Not that I haven't written romance before, all of my books involve a romantic element. Even "The Bone Extractor" where you wouldn't expect one.


This idea came out of the blue too. I told Nick I had an idea about a great book title, thinking there was some book out there somewhere named the same thing. Nope. How can you base a book from a title? That's easy for me; I have based stories from far less. When I begin a book or story, I hate the beginning because they kinda suck, and even after I write a few pages I still think it's lame. I'm not the type of writer that thinks I'm great at it. I guess it's the critic inside of me that has the power to beat me down quicker with a stick than anyone would dare. I think most of us writers have one of those. I have yet to find a way to extract the little bugger, maybe I need an exorcist. I mean what good is something that basically tells you that you're the worse writer ever. Right?


The point is that you shouldn't let the voices win. If the beginning isn't great, so what? Keep writing until you get to the point that you're happy and then go back. You'll probably find out that it wasn't that bad. It's getting past that first chapter or 1,000 words that count. You can always make changes later.


"My Redneck Boyfriend" is all about stereotypes, the ones someone from the south may have and the ones us northern people have. It's funny how that could turn out.

Six Sentence Sunday

Here is my six sentences for six sentences Sunday! It's taken from my recently started book, "My Redneck Boyfriend." 


"Don't try and sweet talk me, City. Get going, we have to find someplace to camp before it gets dark."
I made my way toward the pack and turned nervously. "What if there's another big ole copperhead in there."
He moved his hand forward. "Just yank the pack out, it taint what you city folks call brain surgery."

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Bone Extractor Book Trailer

I finally did it, I made a book trailer without it costing me a red cent (whatever in the hell that means).
                                                                     *****
When Special Agent Matt Hastings arrived at Billy’s Roadhouse in Hail, Iowa, two things were apparent; there is a body in the dumpster devoid of bones that have been extracted with surgical precision and the person that discovered the remains is dead of a shotgun wound to the chest.

An offhand remark to Pathologist Dr. Helen Saint comes back to haunt Matt when she is assigned to work alongside him. He could barely tolerate Helen at the lab, and now her lack of field experience has Matt questioning the motives of his supervisor, Nathaniel Klein. He can’t worry about that now. He won't let anything interfere with his quest, to capture Bonesaw, the killer known as “The Bone Extractor.”

When Dr. Saint becomes Bonesaw’s number one target, the bad blood between the agents and the doctor becomes irrelevant as Matt desperately tries to save this woman who is both a thorn in his side and someone he cannot live without.






video

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Everyone is creative

I believe we all are creative in our own way.

Being creative may mean you can do one of the following:

1. Getting you kids into the car to take them to school without being late.

I for one still haven't figured out how to do this effectively. I have tried starting earlier, but I have one of those kids that seem to have a preordained way of messing with me. Everything from he can't find his clothes, sock, or shoes. Stalls about making his lunch and always needs a last minute trip to the bathroom. Why he can't pee first thing in the morning is still a mystery to me.

2. Making up excuses not to go somewhere you don't want to go.

I don't have in-laws, but that's the most common place people want to get out of going. I'm more the avoiding being home so that someone can visit type. I think they know this because they have dropped in without calling before. (I can't say I blame them.) I am so not telling you who. In my defense, I work 12-hour nightshifts, 36 hours a week. When I'm not sleeping, I'm working. I'm far too tired to deal with annoying people I barely see. (Plus, how else I'm I going to have to blog, lol.)

3. Changing your mind.

This can be quite challenging if you think about it. I have promised to do hundreds of things I never did. I don't do this intentionally and work on this all the time. I have to be constantly reminded that I just worked the night before, and Nick knows me all too well. I'm pretty much toast the next day.

4. Planning meals or family functions.

There are plenty of people that are great at this (not me). I invented the "you're on your own night." That means if you can't find your own food in the freezer or fridge you're not eating. I always keep the freezer and fridge stocked with food (it's not like anyone starves in this house).

5. Coming up with creative excuses to avoid work.

How many of you work with someone that has the most creative and outlandish stories for calling in to work? Personally, I think you should draw the line with using a family member being sick if they're not. Just saying, I think you are messing with fate here.
It's not about what you do, but what creative excuse you can come up with not to do it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Formatting for Dummies (Like me)

I went through the horrific process of self publishing Coffin Tales, so much that I thought I'd offer you a few tips and advice. (Turned out not to be so bad once I learned how to do it.) It's also the reason I'm submitting to agents and publishers. It's hard work.
If you want to go the Smashwords route, simply follow their style guide, not that hard to do. It may depend on how fancy your manuscript may be. Convert it to normal, single space and don't forget to indent the first line under format and then style, (paragraph). Take off your ruler, click on the invisibles (looks like a backwards P) use find and remove and take out all the extra spaces. 

Use page breaks even though it looks funny in HTML on Smashwords. Use the center paragraph thing to center your title and chapters. Insert all the copyright information. If you're unsure what to use copy it from another ebook you bought, they pretty much all say the same stuff. Don't forget a dedication page and give credit where it's due, always mention the editor and cover artist. 

Surprising how many people don't, that really pisses off an artist. It's bad enough they have to put up with writers, lol. Speaking of artists, remember to be clear what you want and communicate it properly the first time. Because if you don't, you may be expected to pay more. It's only fair as artists work hard and with the recent changes in publishing they are making less and less money all the time. Most covers are nothing more than a picture, yes, it's a sad day for artists.
If you are going the Amazon route, let me give you the biggest piece of advice I learned from my formatter. The preview you get on KDP is not right. I converted it to HTML on word, and it turned out great, even though it looked wrong on the KDP preview. It's one of those dirty secrets formatters don't want you to know. I also converted my document to normal for this process.
I think that about sums it up. Always, always edit your book before putting it up anywhere. I can't believe how many mistakes I made, but I had no formatting errors on Smashwords on my first try. (I did find plenty of editing errors though.) I also wasn't happy to hear many people had trouble trying to get the Kindle version from Smashwords. One of the reasons Coffin Tales Season Of Death is now free on Smashwords.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Changes

I came to a conclusion about where I am and where I want to be. While self publishing is a good option for many, I have decided to try and traditionally publish "Armed And Outrageous." I think this book could be mainstream. It's a senior sleuth and could be considered a cozy mystery. I believe in this book and the potential of it's sequels. If I self publish, I will lose any chance for it to go mainstream. While I would hope that my followers would buy the book, I know my name is not well know enough to be successful with self publishing.

I have worked the last three days on writing a query and synopsis. It helped me that I had written an outline after the book was finished. I don't know if this decision will result in anything positive, but if I don't try, I'll never know.
Thanks for all your support.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Blog


I started a blog on Wordpress. No, this does not mean I'm leaving Blogger. I love Blogger, and I have worked my tail off finding followers, but I also know that not all my followers read my blog on a regular basis.

Here, is the link for my new blog. http://madisonjohns11.wordpress.com/

I love this blog. It's fun to write, and I hope you'll continue to read it. I'll do my best to keep it updated on a regular basis, but I also need to look to the future. It's frustrating to have two books I have to sit on until certain professionals have time to work with me.

In the mean time, I'm trying to edit a collection of short stories. I'd like to test run putting something on Amazon before one of my novels. Hopefully I can figure out the formatting. I sure would like to learn to do it myself because editing is costing me enough. I don’t want to invest more than I can recoup.

I get why publishers take so long to get a book to print now.

There are a million things I should be doing, but I don't have the time. I should be writing, but even that is delayed because I don't want to be in the middle of something and have to stop when the editor get to me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's back to school time






Parents have been rejoicing and teachers too. Why not in this tough economy it's nice just to have a job, and for the most part teachers love their jobs. 

Take Mrs. Patterson, she's the science teacher, she goes out of her way; to teach science in a fun way, so what if she acts like she just fell out of the tree. Maybe she did, but that's another story. 

She tried to tell the faculty a virus has been recently discovered in Blarney (not sure if that's the real name).

"It turns children into monsters," Mrs. Patterson exclaimed.

"That pretty well sums up most of the students here," Mrs. Monroe said. 

Mrs. Patterson frowned. "If you tried making learning interesting like me, you'd see what a difference it could make."

"Fun? School is for leaning, not fun."

Mrs. Patterson face fell for a moment, but an animated grin split her face. "No," she insisted. "It should be fun." 

"The government doesn't call for fun just good MEAP numbers." 

"Putting more pressure on kids isn't going to help the numbers." 

The door slams open and students bob up the hallway toward them. 

"Told you so," Mrs. Patterson said. 

Just when you thought school wouldn't get any crazier. It just did. 

In the old days, you had popular girls, jocks, burnouts, nerds, and cheerleaders, but these days there are Goth kids, mental kids (kids with emotional issues), vampires, werewolves, zombies, and

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life As I Know It

If asked if my glass is half empty or half filled, I'd have to respond by saying it is bottomless. 


I'm 47, but nobody thinks I am. They say I don't act like it either (whatever that is suppose to mean).  What do people think someone my age should act like? I'm crazy (in a good way), and I'm not afraid to be myself. I think people should laugh more and complain less. (I'm working on the complaining less part). 


If your are in the over 40 age bracket, you are expected to be mature, but in my experience, being mature is overrated, plus mature sounds way old. I'm not old, yet. Life begins at 40; you know who you are and what you want. 


I have what you'd call a hyperactive personality. It's one of the reasons I maintain the level of insanity that I do. If I stop for too long, I know I'll sink to the bottom. I have been at the bottom, and it's not a good place to be.


I'm a writer, and that has allowed me to be who I am, and write what I want. I have written a thriller, which allowed me to work out all the negative energy that was embedded into my psyche. Right now, I feel like the not so distrubia kind of person. I embrace life for what it is, and strive every day to maintain a balance between work, writing, and family. 

Open your eyes


Every morning I drive by the same man waiting for the bus. He's not the sort of man most would go near, but I want to buy him a cup of coffee. I worked at a restaurant in 1995, and he came in there and drank coffee for most of the day. Reality check. There are people out there that most would never go near because of how they look, and that's sad if you think about it. 


I wonder if he is homeless or if he lives in a room somewhere. I heard he maybe even had money. He has wandered the streets of Saginaw for fifteen years that I know of and still does. I know this because I see him all the time. 


I bet there is someone where you live that everyone shuns because of the way he/she looks, but is that right? No. These people are perceived as "freaks" or worse just because they look different. If you think about it, we all look different, it's what sets us apart from the pack. 


I'm a crime writer that has written a thriller, I wonder how many people think I'm a freak. 
Sixx Am's CD "This is gonna Hurt," is a collection of songs that touch my heart deeply. One song is called "Skin," basically about letting someone see who you are, not judge you by your skin. Behind the skin are amazing people you'll never take the time to know. 


I'm a crime and thriller writer that is blessed to have a job at a hospital where I can take time and get to know the person behind the skin. 


Thoughts for the day: be happy you have a roof over your head and food on the table because so many do not. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

The new direction


I don’t know where my vivid imagination came from; I only know that, as a child, I was an avid daydreamer. I kept the daydreams alive inside of me or maybe they kept me alive.  Either way at age 45 I started a journey of a lifetime. I started writing. (Oh god if only I knew).


I’m a crime and thriller writer that is working on putting the finishing touches on two books to self publish as eBook on Amazon, Smashwords, and other outlets. 


The first is a thriller, “The Bone Extractor.” I think the title speaks for itself. It’s about a serial killer who extracts the entire skeleton from his victims with surgical precision. The cover features a likeness of actor Kane Hodder as “Bonesaw,” done by dark artist Nick Rose. 


My second book is a senior sleuth “Armed and Outrageous” with a zany cast of characters. Agnes Barton is 72 and thinks of herself as conservative, but her partner in crime Eleanor Mason, who is 82, is making it impossible. Despite their antics, they somehow manage to look into the disappearance of a tourist. 


I have not thought lightly about self-publishing eBooks. I have researched the subject extensively. It’s no longer the dirty word it once was and ultimately the goal is to write books that people will enjoy reading. 


I know this road is not an easy one. The full brunt of hiring an editor and marketing the book is on my shoulders, but I have decided one thing – it’s time for me to invest in me.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finishing editing is cause for celebration


I submitted a book to a publisher on May 11, 2011, since then I wrote and finished editing another book "Armed and Outrageous." If you're a writer you can't just sit around and wait, you need to keep writing. 

I wrote 1,000 words a day and decided I don't much like writing 80,000 words. Armed is around 61,000 words, which is perfect for what I have in mind. I lost sleep worried and drove myself half insane, but I did it. 

In Armed. I was able to do the one thing every writer needs to do at least once, be yourself. I have extensive experience caring for seniors and writing humor isn't that much of a stretch for me. People have said for years I'm crazy, and I think they’re right. I can find humor in just about every situation. 

I have noticed the following observations; most seniors are snoopy as hell. They aren't afraid to stick their heads out the window and see what the hell you are doing in your backyard. If the police are over at your house, your senior neighbor, will have their ass over their asking the police why they are there. The police will tell them too, why not they live next door, right. 

If a neighbor happens to commit suicide (how horrible right) they will knock, on all the other neighbors’ doors to find out if they know how. Most of us wouldn't dare do that, but seniors can get away with just about anything. They don't care what you think about it either. 

I have noticed a trend where some writers portray someone 62 as being elderly. I think that's a joke. Unless they are an Alzheimer's patient, people 62 are quite able to go about their lives doing whatever they want with little interference from family members. Many are still working too. Medical problems are the only thing that may hinder them. 

Many seniors look damn good for their age, and you better not try and tell them otherwise. I know of some that are very physically fit. Their intelligence can be amazing, and yes, they can still have a sex life. (Viagra remember) They will not act their age, but who does? Not me that's for damn sure.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My story "Graveyard Justice" in now live at Flashes in the Dark


My story "Graveyard Justice" is up at flashes in the dark here inspired by my observation that people that mow the lawns at the cemetery just don't watch or care if they mow over grave markers. I think justice was in order. At just under 1,000 words it won't take you long to take a peek.


Flashes In The Dark is a free site, and I know how most people feel about free markets, they don't count right?? (Kinda like self publishing use to be). I write for the love of writing, and I hope one day to make money doing it, but it's nice to see one of my stories surfacing somewhere besides my blog. 


I plan to write another horror story soon. I have a character that I took from "The Bone Extractor," that is deserving of her own story. She's a little off her rocker, but so lovable in all the wrong ways. 


I'm still editing "Armed and Outrageous" and hope to be finished by Thursday. I hope it finds a home somewhere because I'm having the time of my life editing. It is so funny and over the top that it's downright entertaining. This will be the first in a series of books, written to be a fast read at 61,000 words. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Live your life to the fullest


In life, you need not just focus on the things you need to do, but also those that love you the most. When it's all said and done it matters not how many hours you have worked or how much money you made.


You'll sit in your bed one day and think how much time you could have spent with an ailing spouse that may not even know who you are anymore. 
Illness can greatly affect how you view your life as a whole. Depression sets in and you are powerless do much about it. What do drugs really do? They can't solve your problems - they become another one. 


Have fun while you can and enjoy your family while they are here because life is just too short. All the money in the world won't keep you from getting sick. 
All that will be left then are regrets.   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Development of a story


What makes a character memorable? 

Think of your characters as people that are living and breathing, not puppets waiting for you to position them. Think about the traits you like or hate about someone and use them. Make your characters believable. 

If you always wanted to go somewhere you have never been, base your story there. It will be worth the two weeks research. 

What is behind your characters that motivate them to react, or do the things they do. Every single character in a book is motivated by something. If it's a husband or wife that has been cheated on, the motivation may be to kill the cheating spouse, and the person they were screwing.

What if they found out later, they had it all wrong? You now have the beginnings of a plot. It wouldn't be the plot, but it will work that way. In this scenario, I think the plot would be the cover up. To what extend would the character go to cover up what they did? Who would they involve, if anyone? 

Give them an interesting back-story. Many people are cheated on, but don't choose to kill. Why did your character? I personally like to make it sick and twisted. I think it makes it interesting that way. 

As a plus, I like to add an attractive man or woman in the mix, maybe both. He/she could be the detective or co-conspirator. Make them unattainable; it's better that way. (I think most of us can relate to that too).

Conflict: you can't let them get what they want. If they are trying to conceal their crime, find someone that will challenge them, a witness possibly. 

Build suspense while you write and break the chapters just when something exciting is about to happen.

You know you'll keep thumbing though the pages to find out what's going to happen next. I'll keep writing until I find out too, lol. 

Climax is a volcano that is ready to erupt and flood the village with molten lava . You should already have quickened the pace of the story to get here.  

Resolution: should have everything brought full circle, and the reader should never be left wondering. Even if, you write a sequel, you should write a book, as it's a stand-alone. That way, you can never lose. I have read many books with the same characters, and I have jumped into a tenth book and it felt as if it was the first book they wrote of the series. 

In conclusion if you ever get bored with what you're writing, kill one of you characters off. 




Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lost Graves

I stopped by the graveyard where my Uncle is buried. He was a baby and is buried in the baby section of the cemetery toward the front, in an area I call "the baby section." His grave stone is a lamb, and although I found some of them, I couldn't find his.


Most of the lambs are unmarked and forgotten, and some were so damaged that it's hard to tell what they ever were. I saw grave markers pulled from the ground, and chopped up grave markers with headless lambs. Who's responsibility is it to maintain the condition of such markers? Considering most of them were from the 30s and 40s I shouldn't have expected much.


I know the people mowing the grass and maintaining the property think no more of it than if they were mowing someone's lawn (someone they don't really care for). They routinely chip stones with little regard. It's not like the dead can do anything about it, right? I know for a fact this extremely hurts family members, and yet, nobody really cares. 



Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Cover for my book "The Bone Extractor"






It's great to be able to see the whole process from start to finish. This is the sketch for my book "The Bone Extractor." 



This is another photo in process, and you can see Nick worked on the background. It's being done as an oil painting at this point.




This is the finished cover for my book The Bone Extractor! I'm very happy with the finished product that Nick Rose created for me. It has been a painstaking process because Nick worked on it while he was getting major dental work done. He deserves all the kudos he can get because he faces adversity every day, and yet, he can create something that is every bit what I'd dreamed my cover should be! As you can see, we replaced the scalpel with a saw. 


My character Bonesaw is every bit the dark character that the name suggests. He has blood on his hands, literally, and I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark corner. It's bad enough I met him in my dreams. Worse yet I created him out of my head. I can't blame anyone for that. I'm proud of my book and the only thing that could top this moment is to hear back from the publisher I submitted my manuscript to. 


Kane Hodder was kind enough to let us use his image as Bonesaw, and that alone, is huge for Nick and I. For those that are not familiar with Kane Hodder. He's a stuntman turned actor playing Jason voorhees in four of the Friday the Thirteenth, Hatchet, and Ed Gein to name a few.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Paranormal at Barnes and Nobel

This is a true account, and I have a witness to attest to my honesty. 

While at Barnes and Nobel, I looked for Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich. I don't think it's a secret that I love her books. 

Two weeks ago they had it stock, but after her latest book had come out June 21st, it was nowhere to be found. It was on the markdown shelf for $6.98, but of course, I didn't buy it because I was hoping I'd find it Big Lots for an even $6.00. This has been the case before, but of course did they not only not have it, neither did Barnes and Nobel by the time I went back. 

I had all but given up hope until I stopped to Barnes and Nobel with my daughter today. This time I wanted to buy a Sue Grafton book. 

I scanned the bargain shelf for it, and we walked away when a book fell to the floor. This is one of those moments. I didn't drop the book, why pick it up, right? I walked over and picked it up, what other self-respecting writer wouldn't have done the same thing. 

There on the table the book fell from was Sizzling Sixteen. I told my daughter that god wanted me to have that book. I saw the strange looks from the other customers, but I don't care. I had my book. Side note: sorry Sue I'll buy your book next time because I found a drawing book for my daughter.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First draft is done









I'm happy to say that I finished writing the first draft of my most recent book "Armed Outrageous." 

Finishing a novel is always a great feeling. I had fun writing humor, probably why it went so smooth this time. I had no clear-cut plot so to speak as this book is more character driven, but it came together beautifully. 

I had a kidnapping, but I had no idea who did it or why until the very end. In truth, this book is more of a mystery than what I have written in the past. In the end, it took on a dark tone, as even the most lighthearted of stories have to be dark sometimes. I had a 6,000 word jump because I started this story last July while I was writing "The Bone Extractor." I like to start my next book before I put my WIP to bed. I wrote this story in 1st person, which is a complete turnaround from where my writing has been in the past. 

I like writing 1st person, and when I decided to rip this story around. It took some doing, and I hope while editing I can smooth it out even more. It does have its limitations though, which I found out in one of my last chapters, but it all worked out.

I made writing a priority and had a personal goal of 1,000 words a day, which I kept for the most part. I finished this book on the Fourth of July weekend, which is kind of cool. I procrastinated for days about the ending and it only came about because I started writing. I wish I could say I'm the type of person that can pound out an outline, but that just doesn't work for me. I do hope in the future that will be the case. 

My next WIP will be dark with a some humor thrown in the mix. I like dark crime writing and hope I can blend it the way I think I can. I took a chunk of a story I wrote long ago and combined it with something I started recently. Again, I turned it around into 1st person, which wasn't easy. I lost whole sentences that I loved. I even read both versions to my fiancee, but ultimately I'm the one that made the decision. He liked the 3rd person version. I do too, but as the writer, I'm the one that has to pound out this story, and I can't see myself writing something if I hate what I'm doing. 

I don't have a monkey on my back, all the pressure I put on myself in of my own choosing. I have an editor that is both editor and friend, she my sounding board that is a great thing to have. Someone needs to tell me when I'm off the mark or if something doesn't work. Personally at this point, I think, I have a better feel for what works and what doesn't for me. 

You don't learn by someone telling you how to do it. You learn by trial and error. I can see myself improve as a writer with every story I write. I have a style all my own, which I hope people will like, if and when my book makes it past my laptop, laughs.

All the advice I was told I didn't take, but I see now it really was all good advice, I just wasn't ready to accept it. This is also how you can grow as a writer. Unfortunately, I learn more when I hit myself over the head with at rock, smiles.

If someone told me, I'd be starting my fourth novel, I would have told him or her, they were crazy, because the idea seems surreal to me. I feel caught in a whirlwind, and I'm stuck inside. To be a good writer, you have to work at it, and nothing comes easy. 

Have a great week, and as always - thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Fourth of July





Fourth of July means many things to many people. In the United States, we like to blow stuff up (I'm talking about fireworks). I live in Michigan where many fireworks are illegal (unless they are used by professionals during a fireworks displays). The police is kept busy trying to bust all the stands selling illegal fireworks (the kind that shoot up into the air). There are many smaller ones that are legal, like bottle rockets, ect.

There are many people that go to other states to purchase fireworks, apparently they are not illegal in every state. Some people don't think the trek to Ohio or Indiana is that much of an inconvenience.

It makes me nervous to think that some dumb ass drunk person is going to be blowing shit up. I live in an apartment complex, and fireworks are banned. I know this rule will be so broken.

 I knew so many kids when I was one myself that put a firecracker in a bottle and blew it up taking chunks of their face with it (the stupidity of youth). It's not as if we were told not to, and when you're a kid you don't know what will happen unless you do it and it goes wrong.

When I was younger I lived in a small town. We had a Fourth of July parade every year that ended up making it's way to a park. I remember it was nice, but they basically ruined the whole thing when years later (I was grown up by then) they ripped the park out to make room for road accommodations for an outlet mall. They promised to relocate the park, but that never happened. In politics if they can make some money it will out weigh what's right.

We went to "Hoyt park" for a fireworks displays every year when I was a kid. I hated the large bang fireworks, and that hasn't changed all these years later. I also hate thunder. It wasn't in the best part of town, but that was the only place back then to go for a large display. We made a day of it going to the park early in the day for a picnic, something we always did.

Times were simpler back then, and when I say back in the day believe me. I'm old enough to say it.

I hope everyone has a safe Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I love to write


Nearing the end of writing another novel, I feel the need to write something much darker. I penned a flash fiction story for submission and started another short story, both of them dark fiction. I do not nor will I ever consider myself a horror writer. I do like writing about gore on occasion.

To be considered horror one usually needs to be writing about something supernatural, although crime stories are lumped in the same category. In writing about crime, I like to write details that may be gruesome or not, depending on the story. I don't like it to dominate my central theme of the story. I also don't think romance or any other element should either.

When I write a thriller, I want it to be about the crime, detectives, and killer. Who is he, why does he do this or that, why can't the detectives find him/her? Everything else is filler. It can be interesting filler, but it is what it is.

I like to focus on what's important in the story I'm trying to tell. In 3rd person, I like to stick to basics and write chapters that are riveting and don't read like a textbook. Something related to the crime happens in every chapter.

When I write in 1st person my story is character driven, the plot is secondary. I want compelling chapters, but all of them may or not be about the main plot. I like to write humor, and this is where I shine.

I have those days that I think everything I write is crap, but I try not to let myself feel discouraged. I had one of those days this week, but I know my WIP is good. I think that's part of being a creative person, we always strive to be better.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Armed and Outrageous


I have a new title for my WIP, a senior sleuth entitled "Armed and Outrageous." I was trying to come up with a title, and I was told it will come to me, and that's what happened.

I have certain word count in mind, and as I'm drawing closer to the end I'm going out on a limb and trying something different for me. I'm going to write the end before I start bringing it any closer. By knowing how long the end will take will give me a clue how much more I need to write.

I'm writing in first person, and it's a stretch for me from the last book I wrote. It may not work for most, but it's working for me, at least this time. I bought a book on writing and one of the things suggested are that you learn to write by writing. You never learn unless you do it wrong first. I fit that category to a tee. Also all the advice you are given you'll take when you're ready. 

My last book was so disturbing to write, and that is why I went so far in the opposite direction. I think they're both good in their own unique way. The problem this time is that you don't know a whole lot about the killer, and in the end, you'll see it's someone you knew all along.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Senior Sleuth


I'm writing a senior sleuth. My main character is Agnes who is seventy-two and likes to think herself as a pretty conservative person, but her partner in crime Eleanor, is making it near impossible. If you spend enough time with someone, they begin to rub off on you.

Agnes prefers to spend time in her garden, but since a recent disappearance of a tourist - her mind is elsewhere. So what does she do? Everything in her power to uncover the truth that leads to more questions than answers.

Warning: extreme moments of bathroom humor.

Someone wrote that if you write about a senior you should be careful not to make them appear cartoonish. I can say with certainty that I know people like the characters I portray. Yes, they are over the top, and yes, they don't give a damn what anyone thinks. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Updated Cover


It's a great thing to see all the hard work you put in to writing a book, brought to life into a cover. I have worked closely with the artist "Nick Rose" and he does what he does best, he puts his own flair into it. I felt hesitant at first, but I know that he knows what he's doing. He found reference pictures that reflect what you'd see in an operating room.

You may notice "Bonesaw" has not been painted yet, and I can't wait until he is. If you are uncertain what you are seeing, yes, that's a body on the table. We talked about how over the top we could make it, but we decided we'd rather see it have some mass market appeal. I don't want it to be so gross that people will be turned off. I want a cover that will blow everyone away.

My manuscript is being considered by an independent publisher, but even if they decide to pass on it, you will find this book being sold somewhere.

It has been a goal of Nick, and I to have him do a cover for a book I wrote. I'm excited and hopeful, but I know this is a hard business and publishers can have their pick. There are many great writers out there ready to be discovered if only we are given a chance. Unpublished writers like me that pour our soul into what we write.