Thursday, April 30, 2015

Writers Conferences

I attended the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs last weekend. It was well-run with a wide variety of workshops to help writers improve their craft, learn how to query agents and editors and improve their promotional skills.

I taught three workshops: Mixing Humor, Mystery and Older Characters; Balancing Writing and a Full Time Job; and Rejection Is Not a Four Letter Word. In addition I was on an amateur sleuth panel with Robert Spiller and J. A. Kazimer.

The keynote speakers included Mary Kay Andrews, Andrew Gross, R. L. Stine and Seanan McGuire.

All-in-all a valuable weekend.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Editing with Word and Audio

Yesterday, I completed editing for my upcoming biography, For Liberty: A World War II Soldier’s Inspiring Life Story of Courage, Sacrifice, Survival and Resilience. I had an opportunity to do it a new way. The publisher sent me the final Word document and an audio file. The audio was not human recorded but automated. This led to a number of strange words such as when it recorded World War I instead of saying World War “one,” it said World War “eye”.

I played the audio and read the Word document as the recording flowed. This was very helpful in that sometimes I would catch an error from audio and sometimes from visual. This took about seven hours, the recorded time of the audio.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Audio Books

I love audio books. Whenever I’m driving by myself, I listen to books on CD. Currently I’m listening to Suspect by Robert Crais. This is a for a book club I’m in, and I enjoy reading with my ears as much as with my eyes.

I recently received the Books in Motion audio book edition of the fourth book in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but actor,  Jerry Sciarrio, did an excellent job of recording the first three books in the series.

The next two books in the series are under contract with Books in Motion, so I’ll have a chance to continue to listen to Paul Jacobson and all his antics in the future as well.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

For Liberty: A World War II Soldier's Inspiring Life Story of Courage, Sacrifice, Survival and Resilience

I have a confession to make. I’ve traded in my fiction writing stripes for a foray into the world of non-fiction. This project is a labor of love. Two years ago, I met Ed, at that time 94 years old. He captivated me with his stories of fighting in Europe in World War II, being captured by the Germans and being liberated by the Russians.

For Liberty is the biography of a frontline soldier, fighting the Germans in World War II. Extraordinary are his experiences leading up to joining the army, his “kill or be killed” decisions in combat, the struggle to survive in a prisoner of war camp and the opportunity to meet Russians behind their lines at the time the Cold War was starting. On the night of New Years Eve 1944, Ed undertook the assignment of being a forward observer, only to be bombarded by the last German initiative on the Western Front, Operation North Wind. Throughout his life he continued to be a forward observer, connecting his experiences in the past with the unfolding future. His was not an easy life, struggling through the Depression years, losing 40% of his body weight while a prisoner, suffering what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder, losing custody of his first son, but bouncing back from his traumas to have a successful second marriage and to run a profitable small business. His life was full of dichotomies: His early education at an anarchist school set the stage for his inquiring mind; even without completing college, he developed a wealth of knowledge about history though his avid reading; although he hated Germans, he became the greatest chicken thief in all of Europe to support four German refugees; and throughout his life, in spite of the stress and trauma, he retained an impish sense of humor.

This book is under contract and will be published in the next two months.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book Cover

It’s always exciting when I receive artwork for a new book cover. Yesterday, I got a look at the cover for Murder on the Switzerland Trail, my first historical mystery, which will be published in September of this year.

Here’s a blurb about the book: A Sunday excursion in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado, in 1919 leads to murder as intertwined lives play out a mystery on the Switzerland Trail railroad. Policeman Harry McBride must figure out who the murderer is before the train reaches the Boulder station on the return trip.

The cover captures the combination of mountains and railroad, key elements of the story. Here’s what it looks like: