Short Story Writing Class

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Nancy PickardOne of my favorite mystery authors, Nancy Pickard, is hosting a series of courses on Facebook centered on short fiction.  If any fellow writers out there are interested in honing your craft in this particular style, or if you are a curious reader who wants a peek into the complex world of writing, I highly recommend it.
The class is coming fresh off the heels of the publication of Manhattan Mayhem from the Mystery Writers Of America, and is edited by Mary Higgins Clark.  It’s an anthology featuring mystery authors such as Lee Child and Jeffery Deaver.  Nancy Pickard’s short story  “Three Little Words” appears in it.  Nancy is using this anthology as a sort of text book for the course.
classIf you struggle with short fiction, or believe the old writer’s tale that they are too difficult to write, then I urge you to sign up today! join

See you there!

The Coming Rain – Part One

monsoongirl_FotorA lot of you guys have already gobbled up The Runaway Train and The Truth About Alex, and have been asking me about what’s next for Selena Marrenger.  I’ve decided to answer that question in a series of blog posts in order to keep you updated with the progress of book three.
Monsoon Morning is the first novel length mystery for Selena.  It’s fully written, and just recently went through a well trusted reader (I call her the Alpha Reader).  There are some adjustments that need to be made as far as the content of the book goes before it’s sent off to my Beta Readers.  My Betas will most likely have it for a month or two before it goes to my editors chopping block.
One of my goals with Monsoon Morning was to not only follow an investigation, but the families the case impacts.  Too often we see investigators on television stepping over the body at a crime scene, sipping their lattes, and talking about their love lives.  Twenty minutes later, they’ve solved the case.  In actuality, these things take time, and a toll on everyone involved.  How do you deal with losing someone you love?
Another question I asked myself while writing Monsoon Morning is what makes a killer?  To some degree, I’m certain that what they think they are doing is good, or right.  The killers I see on television are all criminal masterminds, highly intelligent and constantly playing mind games with the police.  How often is that the case in reality?
Selena ‘Montana’ Marrenger has her hands full in Monsoon Morning, and I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.  I’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening with the book, when it’s done with Betas, and when you can expect a release date right here, so stay tuned!

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First Draft Blues Part III

 

I do enjoy first drafts.  There’s nothing like hammering out a tale and getting caught up in the whirlwind!  Oh, the places they take me!  Of course, the reality of the first draft hits once the whirlwind stops and drops you out of the sky.  It hurts.  Then, it has to undergo surgery.  Slice and dice and replace and rearrange, like a madman laughing all the while.  Hopefully, something suitable to the masses will emerge from all of the agony.
I am writing The Runaway Train’s first draft in a class that requires me to write at least five pages a week.  It really whips me into gear, and demolishes any tiny bit of laziness.  One thing, though, is that it’s not the only course I’m taking this semester.  With that in mind, sometimes the deadline draws a bit too close for comfort, and I find myself rushing to get the words onto the page.  It’s actually quite liberating, albeit a bit panicked. The material actually has to be good because I submit it to a workshop for crits, like a bloody carcass being tossed into a shark tank no doubt, but in actuality, this story is getting quite a bit of positive feedback.  I look forward to sharing it with all of you.

Amazon’s War On Publishing?

 

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In the modern era of publishing, Amazon is the king.  It has created a monopoly in the industry; a well oiled machine that is confident in itself, even as it opposes one of the biggest publishers by market share, Hatchette.  Hatchette is just one of many publishers out there struggling to hold the line against the massive Amazon front, and their previous offensive against the media giant resulted in a federal antitrust suit.  

   The conflict reached a new height recently, with Amazon barring Hachette titles from being purchased this summer and fall.  Hatchette’s senior vice president released a statement concerning the two opposing polarities the day after the bar.

   “We are determined to protect the value of our authors’ books and our own work in editing, distributing and marketing them.  We hope this difficult situation will not last a long time, but we are sparing no effort and exploring all options.”

   Independent booksellers are pouncing at the opportunity, declaring that they will supply readers with Hachette books, and Books-a-Million will be selling the titles at a significant discount.  

   While Hachette is striving to maintain the traditional methods of publishing, their company dates back to 1837, Amazon has reshaped the entire landscape of the industry by redefining the relationship between readers and their books.  This raises the question about traditional publishing houses lifespan, so the case between the two companies has all eyes watching.  

   In a world when editors sharpened prose, publishers took major cuts of proceeds from authors, and marketing was done by the represented house with titles being presented instead of simply distributed like any other consumer good, will the traditional methods be enough to compete?  

   The President of German Publishers and Books Association, Alaxander Skipis, says: “Of course it is very comfortable for customers to be able to order over the Internet, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  But with such an online structure as pursued by Amazon, a book market is being destroyed that has been nurtured over decades and centuries.”

   In contrast, Clay Shirky says that “Publishing is not evolving.  Publishing is going away.  Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public.  That’s not a job anymore.  That’s a button.  There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done.”

   Self publishing isn’t quite as easy as that, however.  Amazon doesn’t market your book for you, like traditional publishing house would.  The author has to do that themselves.  They depend on the kindness of strangers, and those strangers are becoming antsy, even angry, at Amazons callous efforts to strangle the big publishing houses out of their sales.

   The result of this conflict will either make or break Hachette, and one can only wonder about the future of publishing as writers are diving into unknown seas all by themselves to avoid the dreaded slush pile.  Will major publishers adopt similar methods of distributing their titles like Amazon as a result?  Will they adapt, publish at the press of a button, and market for authors who desperately want their stories to see the light of day?  

   Time will tell.

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