Tag Archives: fiction

Life goes on

While I was touring my book around, the world didn’t stop spinning around here. I worked, and we had some unusual visitors at the office. This little guy was photographed from my office window.

He didn’t stay long, but it was fun having him stop by. We also had this visitor, and it’s appropriate for the season.

My iPhone makes it tough to photograph something so tiny, but you can make out his little bat ears at the bottom of the image. He’s only about the size of a walnut, but it was cool seeing him.

In other news, I got the sprinkler system blown out. Old What’s Her Face is on her way home, and we have an appointment to get the camper winterized tomorrow. It seems like winter is determined to show up, so we need to get ready.

I finished reading a book and posted a review. I try to review whatever I read. I look at it like a karma kind of thing. Authors need reviews, so I ought to post them, too. I’ll probably start reading another one before my vacation ends.

New fiction is still taking a back seat. I haven’t written a new word in a month. I’m struggling with the production vs the promotion cycle. I love creating new stories, but hate the promotion part. Honestly, I don’t like getting promotion stuff either, so I assume many people are like me. (Maybe you aren’t, but that’s my mindset right now.)

The questions I’m struggling with are:

  • Should I just bury some of the stories I write? Publish the series work, and keep the stand alone things for myself.
  • What about blog only? I know some who’ve done this, but have no idea what kind of reception it gets. Is it appropriate to release a few chapters over a period of months, then publish, thereby, skipping any blog tour and such? Does this piss people off more?
  • Should I publish them with zero promotion? I know how that works out, but workmanlike promo for every other story could still draw attention.
  • I’ve learned how to write an incredible amount of new fiction. Should I go back to my old ways and produce less?
  • Would it be worthwhile to hold stories, then do a multiple book release with mutual promotion?

I’m interested in what you guys think, so speak up. Do you have any experience with these methods?

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Something Wicked presents: Fatal Attractions

Joan Hall is with us today. I first met Joan when she joined Story Empire, and she’s a powerful addition to the team. I’ve read some of the Driscoll Lake series, and enjoyed every bit of it. I need to finish the rest of it, and it’s on my list.

Make Joan feel welcome today, and feel free to use those sharing buttons on her behalf. I know she’d do it for you if you were on tour.

***

Hello, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here for Story Empire’s Something Wicked Tour. Craig, thanks for hosting me on this final day.


Jealousy is a powerful emotion that is often hard for some people to control. In some cases, it can lead people to do unthinkable things, up to and including murder.

A Belgian woman killed her sky-diving partner because of a love triangle. A Florida man, Brian Bates, murdered his ex-wife when he learned she’d began dating again. A Miami high school student killed his best friend because of jealousy. The list goes on.

In Unclear Purposes, the third and final book of the Driscoll Lake Series a jealous person is set on revenge. They won’t allow anything or anyone to stand in the way of getting what they want. Curious? Here’s an excerpt from the book.

Excerpt:

Some occasions required a person to be an extrovert. To mingle with the crowd. Other times one needed to blend into the background. Being able to disguise oneself had its advantages. The ability to be virtually unrecognizable.

Tonight was a time to remain hidden. To observe.

Three couples sat at a table close to the stage. It was a cozy little scene with lots of interaction among them. The women each had a distinct beauty, the men all tall and handsome. Talk about standing out in a crowd.

Who wouldn’t envy the brunette and her six-foot-four husband? Or the auburn-haired physician and her successful man? But the third couple was the most intriguing.

What exactly was between them? Casual friendship? Something more? The desire to know had been festering for several weeks. It was the reason for tonight’s visit to Pinnacle. To confirm what was already feared.

It didn’t take long to determine the answer. The way Christine and Vince danced together wasn’t something casual friends would do.

When the song ended, Rachel Nichols whispered something to them before leaving the floor with her husband. Whatever it was, caused a change in Vince. It wasn’t hard to see he had gone into alert mode as if looking for something or someone.

Careful. He’s been in law enforcement. Trained to be observant. Wouldn’t take much for him to notice something out of the ordinary.

The inner battle began.

Calm down. Breathe. There’s no way anyone would recognize you. Still, it’s probably best you leave. Your mission is accomplished. You’ve got the information you came for.

The relationship between Christine Lawrence and Vince Green would have to end. There were lots of ways to ensure that would happen. But when it came down to it, there was only one way to guarantee success.

Blurb:

Some people take secrets to the grave…

Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.

Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.

When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.

As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.

Universal Purchase Link

Connect with Joan:

Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub

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Some Teaser Fun

It’s about time to run out another teaser on my way toward publication. Turn on the music, ponder the poster, and contemplate what might be headed your way for the Halloween season.

As always, Lisa makes for great Pinterest pins. Tell your friends, etc.

 

Lisa Burton

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Naming characters

I kind of left you guys hanging. Work was busy this week, so when I got home in the evenings I was too tired to work on much.

This weekend is a self-imposed slow burn. I’m dabbling with reading Serang to make sure I can understand it before I share it with the world. I’ve also started reading a novel. I’m way behind on my reading and will try to remedy some of this over the next month.

I intend to do the edits on Serang, then work through The Viral Blues the same way without hitting it too hard.

Honestly, I’ve been working on fiction at an accelerated pace and feel the need for a slow stretch.

In order to keep this interesting, I want to talk about naming characters again. Older posts indicate I still have my daughter’s graduation program to pick from, and I frequently glance at the Major League Baseball rosters for the same reason.

One source I’ve wanted to use has kind of dried up. Phonebooks are a great roster of names. They’ve gotten hard to come by lately, so I decided to keep our local one this year.

All of the online directories do some amazing things. They do almost everything, except for what I need. You can’t just flip through names and check them out.

As an author, naming characters is important. We all know some common last names, like Smith or Jones, but not every character can have the common names.

This is the new Boise telephone directory, and it’s kind of amazing. This book used to be three inches thick, and came with a second volume that was about two inches. Things have changed.

Nobody has a land line anymore. Yellow Pages are no longer the advertising necessity they used to be. Abe demonstrates this pretty well. Keep in mind the white and yellow pages are included in this one book.

Sometimes you need a great name for a fictional business. Browsing the phone book can help here too. Maybe we come up with our own fictitious name, but it’s nice to get some inspiration from somewhere.

I’ve made two different trips to New Orleans and intended to get a telephone book each times. Both times I failed. I want this one because of the diversity. I’d like to get a swath of Cajun, Creole, American Indian, and French names to browse. It’s a big enough city to offer the diversity of many other cultures, but the regional names are a bonus.

Recently, I found a source that might be able to send me one. Fingers crossed. I’m counting on other people here so I might have to keep chipping away at it.

Until then, I still have my traditional sources, plus this Boise directory.

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Unclear Purposes Blog Tour

Joan is a good friend, and has the final book of her trilogy available right now. She’s also one of my compatriots over at Story Empire. Make her feel welcome and share her excerpt across your social media. Joan, the floor is yours.

Craig, thank you for hosting me today and helping to spread the word about my new release with your readers. Unclear Purposes is the third and final book of the Driscoll Lake Series.

The male lead in this book is a former FBI agent turned PI. He has a few secrets. Let’s learn a little more about Vince Green.

 

Excerpt:

“Good morning, Agent Green.”

Vince’s eyes narrowed. “Tami Sutton. What brings you here today?”

“Came to see you, of course.”

“It’s been a while since anyone referred to me as Agent Green.”

She cast a glance around the office. “Nice place you have here. Small but efficient. Good location.”

“Suits my purpose. But I gather you’re not here to discuss my place of business.” Vince sat on the corner of his desk.

He was straightforward and to the point. Tami liked that. “You’re right. I want you to do a job for me. Money’s good…”

“…Why not hire someone who lives in New Mexico? Or even San Antonio?”

“Because I believe you’re the best suited for the job. I’ve checked your background, so I know about a certain incident in Alpine. It turns out, we have something in common.”

Vince’s jaw tightened. “That isn’t a subject up for discussion.”

“No? Then I won’t mention it again. But I think you’ll agree we have the same goal.”

“How’s that?”

“Like me, you want answers and are willing to take risks to get them. So much it cost you a promising career.”

“Leaving the FBI was my choice.”

“That’s not what I heard.”

 

Blurb:

Some people take secrets to the grave…

Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.

Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.

When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.

As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.

Universal Purchase Link

Website and Social Media Links:

Website   |  Goodreads  | Twitter   |  Facebook   |   Pinterest    | Instagram   |   BookBub

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Springtime in Idaho, plus a bit of luck

Yesterday was a travel day for me. This means my only job was to get to Lewiston and check into my room. I have a presentation to make for work today. I’ll go over my presentation materials in a few minutes.

While I’m waiting for the hotel to place out continental breakfast it seems like a decent time to update my blog.

Springtime in Idaho is a beautiful time. I saw animals all the way here. There were pheasants, turkeys, both mule deer and white tails. I even saw a bald eagle over the Salmon River.

Mostly though, Idaho Spring means construction. I passed through three construction zones yesterday with lengthy stops by flaggers. I even got to see one car who must have blown past the flagger at the far end, because he nearly had a head on collision with the pilot car I was following. Good times. There were two more construction zones, but they were monitored by those construction stop lights that are showing up more frequently. Only one rock hit my windshield and it didn’t chip.

Just past Grangeville, I got to watch a crop duster working. These guys always amaze me. Their acrobatic stunts are better than an air show. He was working close to the highway, and I almost ducked when he flew over my truck. I’m pretty sure I’m free of fleas and ticks now.

Since my only task was to get here, I decided to leave early. I was on the road by six am. My intent was to score some writing time if possible.

You can laugh if you want, but bald eagles have always brought me luck. Whatever my goal was, the sighting of an eagle insured success. This is what happened yesterday.

Serang and her master were still on that river. At this point in the story, they’ve been traveling a lot. There were lessons to learn along the way, and some cool creatures and scenery, but this is a novel not a travelogue.

I decided to tell a bit, jumping the story ahead by weeks and months. They sold their boat, marched back into the mountains, and met up with the only other living monk as far as they know. We made a fun stop at a blacksmith’s shop along the way. The elder monk also taught Serang an important lesson about the tigers she seems so enamored with.

Considering I haven’t been able to write any new fiction for a month now, I’m pretty happy. It came to 4010 new words I didn’t have before. Thank you Mr. Eagle.

When I called Old What’s Her Face last night, I learned that we’re going to have company again this weekend. That kills any writing time for Saturday or Sunday. I have a flex day in there, so maybe I’ll score some time then.

Or maybe, I’ll see another eagle on my way home today.

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The author lifestyle

I’ve always updated with warts and all. Seems like lately there have been more warts than cool stuff. It wasn’t in my master plan, but much of it is out of my control.

This is the third weekend in a row that I haven’t been able to write. I’ve done some blog things, and they count. They simply aren’t new fiction.

We watched the Derby yesterday, and I spotted the interference before the race was even over. I may be in the minority, but I agree with the disqualification.

This is the biggest stage in the world for horse racing, and they struggle to survive in this world of extended animal rights. I’ve been at a race where a horse had to be shot, and watched the tractor drag him away. News crews would love that for their headlines, but the sport itself doesn’t need it.

The jockey yesterday put a lot of equine lives at risk, and a few human ones too. This is made more risky by the large field the Derby always has.

We raced out for date night and had a nice dinner at Kahoots. This is one of our regular stopping places. I never learned of the DQ until I googled it later in the evening. It was the right call.

Plans to publish Serang before school lets out are all but gone. I haven’t finished writing it, and there isn’t any time to set up tours and such. Things are about to be incredibly busy at my office, and it’s field trip season for my position too. This poses a new issue.

Summer releases have always sucked for me. Yak Guy is a pretty fair story, but it goes relatively unnoticed for that reason. I can toss Serang to the summer wolves, or hold it back for later. I want to release The Viral Blues in conjunction with the Halloween season. This story seems to still have a realistic publishing goal.

If I hold Serang back, I don’t want to try two releases at the same time. This would make Serang more of a December release, but it has nothing to do with the holidays.

Some of this is my fault, because I’m shooting for three releases this year. It’s a tough goal to meet while holding down a full time job.

I’ve always understood the commercial reasons to write series instead of stand alone novels. I largely ignored it and wrote what I wanted. Right or wrong.

My inner circle talked me into it, so I’m committed now. A series is the one thing I haven’t taken on, and maybe it’s time. Of course, I never do anything half-way…

There are two kinds of series. One kind has an overarching plot, and the other involves more stories in the same universe using the same characters. I’m writing one of each. Lanternfish is intended to become a trilogy. The Hat will have more stories in the same universe.

Many of the overarching series have supporting stories to keep interest going. This is what Serang is. She is a supporting character to Lanternfish who earned her own story.

I mentioned this, because not everyone reads every blog post I throw out there. I’ve probably already talked about all of this in the past. Serang’s job is to preserve interest in the Lanternfish series until I can publish the next volume in 2020. The Hat will return in October.

In a perfect world, Serang would be ready to step on the stage and do her job. This would give me all summer to finish The Viral Blues.

It isn’t a perfect world. I may have to start leaving the house on Saturdays for a few mornings just so I can meet my goals.

They say all blog posts perform better with a picture of some kind. It has nothing to do with writing, but enjoy a picture of Otto falling asleep on his feet.

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