Thursday, June 21, 2018

Author Presentations

Having now been a published novelist for eleven years, I enjoy giving presentations about writing and mystery novels. This wasn’t always the case. As a child, I was shy and even as an adult always placed on the introvert side of the introvert/extrovert scale.

Now I welcome the opportunity to interact with audiences. My presentations include humor as do my books. The question and answer section at the end of the talk is always enjoyable to find what’s on people’s minds and to craft meaningful answers.

I develop a new presentation whenever one of my books is released. My current presentation discusses starting to write late in life and writing about older characters, in conjunction with my latest mystery novel, Death of a Scam Artist.

I’m already collecting ideas for my next presentation, which I will give after my next mystery about a professional organizer, Unstuff Your Stuff, is published in October, 2018.
 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Writing Short Stories

When I began writing in 2001, I started with short stories. Then I bridged into novels, but I still occasionally write short stories. I’ve had a few published in anthologies along the way, but my main focus has been longer manuscripts.

For a mystery writer there are a number of excellent sources for publishing short stories. These include magazines such as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Other good sources are anthologies including those published by Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Voting in California’s Open Primary

I had an opportunity to vote for the first time since returning to California in an open primary. In this process, you vote for a candidate in a particular race, and candidates from all parties are lumped together. The top two then go on to the general election in November. The implication is that it’s possible that in November you could be deciding between two Democrats or two Republicans rather than one from each party as results from more traditional primaries.

The other implication in this particular primary was the large number of candidates to decide between. Twenty-seven candidates ran for Governor and thirty-two for US Senator.

It was an interesting experience, but I haven’t decided if this is better or worse than the more traditional approach. What do you think?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Get Out and Vote (or Stay in and Do It Via Mail)

Where I live, it is primary season. I greatly appreciate that I can vote by mail. This gives me a chance to peruse candidate information, do research with the actual ballot in front of me and have the time to fill it in on my schedule.

There are many candidates and many races. I can’t imagine someone going to a voting place unprepared and having to spend the amount of time in front of a voting machine to make these decisions.

Wherever you are and whatever your political persuasion, get out and vote (or stay in and do it via mail).

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Reading Royalty Statements

One of the constant complaints I hear from fellow authors is how difficult it is to read royalty statements from publishers. I concur.

I have been with one of my publishers for eleven years, and I think I finally can decipher the royalty statement. I think. And this will soon become academic since they are exiting the mystery line so I won’t be publishing any further books with them.

Here are some of the challenges. First, there are up to three different editions for each book (hardcover, large print and e-book), and these are differentiated by a cryptic code. Second, not all of the editions for one book are grouped together on the royalty statement. Third, there is nothing on the statement that allows one to verify royalties earned. You have to know the retail price of the edition and then do the calculation. Fourth, there is a category called unspecified. After much study, I determined this included prior returns.

Over the years, I have caught a number of errors. The publisher did correct these. One time there was an error in my favor, but I never would have found this since it represented an erroneous sales figure, higher than actual. My concern: if this occurred, what’s to say that underreported sales didn’t occur as well? Without invoking an audit provision in the contract, I will never know.

I’m finding that some small publishers are addressing this to make things easier for an author. This is a simple as showing the number of units sold (or returned) by edition, the basis for royalty calculation, percentage paid to author and amount paid to author. The author can then quickly calculate if the royalty is correct.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Single Issue Voters

In today’s polarized political environment, I’ve been thinking about single issue voters. These are people who feel so passionate about one issue, that they ignore all other stands taken by candidates and only focus on voting for people who support that one issue.

Some of the topics that seem to drive the single focus include abortion, guns and immigration. Clearly, voters can chose any reason to vote for who they choose. Unfortunately, the world is not black and white, and there are many issues that need to be addressed.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Author Presentations

I enjoy opportunities to present to groups of readers. Upcoming, I have scheduled two library events, a church group and the Men of Mystery program, in addition to attending The Left Coast Crime Conference next year.

Whenever one of my books comes out, I develop a new presentation so people who have heard me speak before won’t have to listen to a repeat. I currently have a speech I give in conjunction with my most recent mystery novel, Death of a Scam Artist. My next novel, Unstuff Your Stuff, an amateur sleuth mystery, featuring a professional organizer, will be published in October so I will have a new talk then.