Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to the real Left Coast

So, not much to report from the rest of my time at Left Coast Crime. Sold a few books, not many but that's fine. Met some great new people and once again was welcomed graciously by some old friends who didn't mind me clinging on to them the whole weekend (Thanks Rebecca!)
Sadly none of my friends won any awards but I was glad to see so many nominated.

My panel on Sunday went well. Nice to hang out with Kelli Stanley again and I was dismayed and angered to hear that she arrived home to discover she'd been robbed. They took all her jewelry and some other stuff. There are some cretinous scum in the world. Hope they get what's coming to them.

My pal Rachel Brady wins the outstanding moderator of the weekend award. Her panel was lively, fast-paced and fun. More moderators should take tips from Rachel, who is a sunny personality anyway.

Back home and back to the grind of trying to find a bookstore that will have me and the books for a signing, or even just to carry them in the store! This has proven much harder than I expected. The kind folks at The Mystery Bookstore spoiled me. I still really hate that no one will even write me back. Give me a "No, thanks" or even a simple "No" but reply at least! Those books I sent cost me money. Ah, the struggles of the indie author.

I started the research phase of putting up and ebook novella. I know nothing about formatting and all that jazz so this will take a while. I do love designing covers though so that will be fun. Must finish the revision on the new novel and then go over the novella again and send it out to some fresh eyes for editing. Have to put the best foot forward don't ya know.

Some books this summer that I'm really excited about. I'm making headway on the old TBR pile to get ready.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Left Not-Quite-The-Coast Crime report #1

Three things I'm already sick of after only one day in Santa Fe for Left Coast Crime:
1. Turquoise
2. Navajo Rugs
3. Discussions about eBooks

I'll ignore how dry it is here and how, as someone who lives on the Left Coast, New Mexico is hardly the coast. But aside from my silly griping Santa Fe is playing a marvelous host to a very well run LCC so far.

As always the big bonus for me is getting to hang with writer friends and this time is no exception. Paling around with Rebecca Cantrell and Deb Ledford. Sharing hugs with Kelli Stanley and looking forward to our panel together. Breakfast with Stephen Jay Schwartz. Bumping in to good guys like Kenneth Wishnia and Mike Befeler who I know only from the confines of conferences is great.

I chose some panels about publishing today to see what people were saying and I have no right to be surprised that people were all a-flutter about ebooks and all that entails. Enough already. They're not coming, they're here. Some people will make a bunch of money off them, most people won't. Books will still exists.
As one agent on a panel put it when asked about the chapter 11 of Borders and the downsizing of B&N being the clarion call that bookselling is dead, "Their demise had nothing to do with publishing or selling books, it had to do with their business model. When GM went under no one said it was the end of the car."
There's more to be said on this but everyone has said it already. I'm sure I'll have something out direct to Kindle this year and I can join in the fun all the cool kids are having.

I signed two books today (wheee!) I bought a few more old pulps. The two I started picking through at dinner didn't catch me right away but they still have great covers and they were cheap.

Tomorrow brings more panels and the awards ceremony at night where we will see Rebecca and Kelli duke it out for the Bruce Alexander award (my video camera is ready) And I keep fingers crossed for Deb Ledford in the Hillerman Sky award and Rachel Brady in the Watson award.

Steve Brewer is the toastmaster and I know he'll be great at it. I'm still such a huge fan of Steve's books I'm glad to see him in the spotlight a little bit.
Other than that, not much to report. I can't sleep for some reason so I figured I'd dash out a little update. I must say I miss my girls at home. I've been out of town four times this year which is unusual for me. Daddy will be home soon girls!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Before I go

I haven't posted anything for a while but I've had no real news to report other than frustration and annoyance. But that's no fun. So, the good stuff:

This Thursday I head off to sunny Santa Fe for Left Coast Crime. I had a blast last year so I hope this time around is just as fun. Of course last year was in my home town so this time around is costing quite a bit more . . .
I have a panel on Friday morning at 9am (!) and one on Sunday at 11:00. No booksellers stepped up from the seller's room to order books so I'll be bringing books to consign. Very happy that Southwest doesn't charge for bags! I wish I could just sell them myself but I'm not set up to make change or take credit cards. Plus, I have a feeling they frown on that type of thing, even though no booksellers chose to carry my books. I wonder.

I'm into revisions on my newest novel and the good news is that I really like it. I enjoyed it as I was writing but that glow of discovery can fade quickly. I let it sit for about three weeks so now when I read it through it is all new. Not finding too many mistakes even, which is a bonus.
I have a few short stories that are either due or I just want to write and Jennifer and I are plotting out our next venture. Where does the time go?

All in all I've been feeling very exhausted with the writing thing. With the book still fairly new I'm trying not to take a break from promotion but I've run out of much I can do. Still some guest posts pending and reviews are coming but those take time. Good news spurs me along but hitting a stone wall makes continuing at the same difficult. I know I'm not alone.

Don't you hate it when people don't email you back? As an indie author I have to put myself out there and open myself up to rejection, which I am fine with. But to be ignored is worse in my book. Tell me no but tell me something. That's my complaint corner for this post.

I've been reading some great books lately. A trip to Chicago let me finish off another Steve Hockensmith and it was as good as the rest. Excited that I'm behind in that series and have a few more to go. I read Nobody Move by Denis Johnson and enjoyed it quite a bit. I've been digging in to my old pulps as well (see below). I was liking those so much that I went on the old eBay and bought up a few classics I'd never read. The Asphalt Jungle, The Big Heat and Double Indemnity as well as a few other pulps I'd never heard of but were only .99. I figure if you're going to read an old book, why not read an old book of an old book?
I'm into yet another Victor Gischler, Suicide Squeeze, and loving it as usual. He's one that I purposely have kept a few aside to savor when I know I need a good read. I think this catches me up with his entire catalog though. Maybe after that it's time to finally read the last Duane Swierczynski I've been putting off. But by then maybe Fun & Games will be out!

Fingers crossed I'll have fun stories to report after this weekend. Maybe even a few book sales.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friday's forgotten books: You'll Get Yours

You’ll Get Yours by Thomas Wills
When choosing old pulp novels I will freely admit to judging a book by its cover. Both title and artwork factor heavily into picking a book I know nothing about by an author I’ve never heard of. It doesn’t help that so many of the writers in the 40s and 50s wrote under several different names.
This is true of Thomas Wills, pen name of author William Ard, not that his real name would have meant anything either.
As part of a fistful of old pulps I picked up recently You’ll Get Yours was very promising based on the great title and marvelously tawdry early 50s artwork. The same night I bought it I cracked open the first chapter and I was hooked. What a grabber! The rest of the slim novel did not disappoint my pulp fiction loving brain.
Pulp is like the famous definition of pornography - I can’t describe it but I know it when I see it. You’ll Get Yours is pure pulp, uncut. A first-person detective tale told in flashback with a society dame trying to hide her past, a sleazy lothario, a heroin addicted stripper, a chase down to Mexico, a ridiculously short romance leading to marriage and plenty of bullets.
Is it high art? No way. That’s not what I was in the market for nor was the author trying to do. This is rock ‘em sock ‘em twenty-five cent action in a book you can fit in your pocket. The plot is helped along by wild coincidence, the main character is a tough guy in the most clichéd sense but it all worked for me.
The thrill of finding a book like this is the lack of expectations, other than the cover which nine times out of ten is better than the book inside these old barn burners. This one lived up to the come-on. 
If you spot a copy biding time on a shelf somewhere, pick it up like I did. You’ll get your quarter's worth.