Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Mantra

I just finished reading The Albuquerque Turkey by John Vorhaus. It’s an enjoyable romp through the world of con artists. One of the characters, Vic Mirplo, has a saying that can be applied to all writers: “procrastinate later.” I’m going to adopt that as my mantra. I do my writing in the morning and will stick to it. When I want to procrastinate, I’ll do that after I’ve done my writing for the day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing Discipline

I maintain a regular writing schedule, writing every morning I’m at home and don’t have a breakfast event scheduled. Over the ten years I’ve been writing, I’ve completed twenty novel-length manuscripts plus numerous short stories. But when I’m traveling, I rarely write. On our recent trip to Iowa to visit kids and grandkids, I didn’t write at all, preferring to spend time with our grandsons every possible moment. I view it as a vacation from writing, but once I’m back home, I’m back on my morning writing schedule.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Publishing Options

This new world of publishing presents both challenges and opportunities for authors. This last Thursday we had a panel of booksellers discuss the state of the publishing industry at the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America meeting in Denver. E-books clearly present an interesting change in the industry. Booksellers as well as authors are struggling to sort out the proper role of e-books in the publishing spectrum. Myself, I now have my two published novels out in hardcover, large print, book club paperback, audio book, Kindle, Nook and now Smashwords. Readers are selecting different ways of interacting with an author's work, and my strategy is to offer as many options as possible to meet the varying needs. My wife and I recently went on a Panama Canal cruise and shipboard I saw many e-book readers as well as the various types of paper-based products. Paper and electronic editions will continue to coexist for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

More About Left Coast Crime

While in Santa Fe at the Left Coast Crime Conference, I tried to attend as many panels as possible. Here are a few of the tidbits I picked up. Nancy Atherton speaking about her Aunty Dimity series said she doesn’t do specific research into the location but instead goes to a place to experience it. This hit home as I always like to get a feel for a location in my writing. I go a little farther in that I often take photographs so when I get home, I can bring up visuals images of where I’ve been.

John Vorhaus spoke about scams and cons. He described the pigeon drop where someone leaves a wallet on the ground and when someone picks it up that person gets conned. As someone aware of this con, he almost fell victim to a variation of this when he was in Russia. He says the problem is with what he’s learned, he’s suspicious of everyone. Fear, greed or the desire to be a good Samaritan are the typical emotions that a con artist plays upon.

There was a lot of discussion about the expanding e-book market. I came back with a number of ideas I plan to pursue to expand my market beyond my current presence on Kindle and Nook.

One of my favorite quotes heard, “A mule will work with you for ten years for the opportunity to kick you once.”

This year’s award winners were:
-Louise Penny, Bury Your Dead - The Dilys
-J. Michael Orenduff, the Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein - The Lefty Award
-Jacqueline Winspear, The Mapping of Love and Death - The Bruce Alexander Memorial Award
-Margaret Coel, The Spider’s Web - The Hillerman Sky Award
-Craig Johnson, Junkyard Dogs - The Watson Award