Saturday, February 25, 2017, I will be signing books from 11 to 4 at Karen’s Book Barn, 27 E Main St, La Grange, Kentucky 40031. Come by and say hi.
Sally slips into James’s isolated cabin in the middle of the night, claiming to be fifteen, but he suspects that she is the twenty-one-year-old who killed a grocery clerk during a robbery. After she learns he is accused of murdering a couple over a lover’s triangle and of World War 2 war crimes, she is afraid he will kill her, but she has no place to go. They plot to attack each other in self-defense. After someone kidnaps Sally, James has to choose whether to rescue her and confront his own past or assume she’s also a murderer. Whistle Pig Down is a completed and edited 82,000-word literary mystery, which takes place in 1955 along the Kentucky-Tennessee border. (Subtitle: Ferry to Hell) My grandmothers’ families come from this part of Appalachia, and it is under-served literary wise.
Roman fertility festival February 13-15 devoted to Lupercus, the god of shepherds, who might have been a wolf-god. Valentine was sacrificed on February 14. Coincidence? Happy Valentine’s Day, anyway.
I am working with an Acquisition Editor from 4RV Publishing concerning my picture book, Booger Dancer. A Cherokee boy wants to be a booger dancer like the grownups, so he puts a booger mask on and sneaks into the dance. But Dad catches him. Booger is an old word meaning ghost/evil spirit. (many people drop the R and call them boogie men).
I try to be modest, and I don’t believe in bragging. But I make an exception for writers:
Have the arrogance to start your novel. Few people start one. You must believe in yourself and your storyline. Without your story, the world will lose a valuable story.
Have the arrogance to finish your novel. Even fewer see it to completion. You must believe it is worth finishing and presenting to the world.
Have the arrogance to edit it and hone it. Far fewer people have the courage to do this. You must believe it is worth the effort.
Have the arrogance to show it to critique groups and beta readers. . You must believe that is worthy of attention and development.
Have the arrogance to think that other people will want to read your novel. Why else have you gotten this far?
Have the arrogance to believe that editors and agents will want to read your manuscript. Otherwise, why bother to show it to them?
Have the arrogance to believe that a publisher will want to publish your manuscript. Otherwise, why did you send it to editors and agents?
Have the arrogance to believe that people will want to buy and read your novel. Otherwise, why bother going to book signings, book fairs, and promoting your book in other ways?
Have the arrogance to believe that reviewers and critics will like your novel. Otherwise, you will show it to no one.
Have the arrogance that your novel will make the world a better place. Why did you write to begin with?
A writer (Dashiell Hammett, I believe) once said that when his story needed fresh air, he liked to introduce a gun into the situation. (I cannot find his specific words) He wrote crime/detective novels, so guns were a natural for him, but he meant to shake the story up. Guns are not the point. In other words, to keep the story from getting boring, let the plot make a hard-left turn. Here are just a few suggestions:
>Bring someone new into the scene. E.g. His ex-wife enters the room while he is with his girlfriend.
>Change the geography. E.g. The car goes off the road into an abandoned barn.
>Text message. E.g. Someone gets a text: I know who your real father is.
>Change the time: E.g. Rip Van Winkle wakes up 20 years later.
>Change the characters. E.g. Another old device: Surprise! I’m your wife’s twin sister.
>Change your main character’s behavior. E.g. Jekyll and Hyde, where he drinks poison.
>Change the weather. E.g. A sudden snowstorm.
>Okay, bring a weapon in. E.g. someone pulls a hand grenade.
These are just a few suggestions. Warning, make sure your gun fits the story and is fresh. This leads back to my favorite writing rule: Take the reader where the reader is not expecting to go.