Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Today, I am excited to feature guest blogger J. L. Greger, who tells us how she came to write COMING FLU, an extraordinary medical thriller recently published by Oak Tree Press.


By Guest Blogger J. L. Greger

My novel Coming Flu is fiction, but it could happen. That’s what makes it scary, especially with flu season just around the corner. In this medical thriller the rights of individuals are pitted against the common good when an unstoppable flu hits a small community on the Rio Grande. Residents, who are fortunate enough to avoid the killer flu, become virtual prisoners in the homes after the quarantine is imposed.

Several readers have asked how I turned what they considered dry scientific facts into a fast paced novel. After thanking them for the compliments, I tried to answer their specific questions, which are summarized below.

Why did you write about the flu and not some exotic disease? As a biologist, who still regularly reads scientific journals, I am amazed how easily a few mutations can change a flu virus from fairly harmless to virulent. A few years ago scientists isolated the virus causing the flu epidemic in 1918-19 from bodies buried in the permafrost of Alaska. They found the virus was a strain of the common H1N1 flu virus. Between 1918-1920, this virus killed three percent of the world’s population. The Philippine Flu in Coming Flu is another example of how a few mutations could make a common flu virus deadly.
Why the Philippine flu? I did a short consultation for USAID (US Agency for International Development) to Visayas State University in Baybay on the island of Leyte in the Philippines in 1980. I saw poor families, living in close proximity to their livestock in rural areas – the perfect environment for mutations to occur that allowed the transfer of viruses from livestock to humans. Ergo the name – Philippine flu.

Isn’t rationing of medications a little extreme? Preparation of effective flu vaccines is tedious and expensive. Often vaccine manufacturers cannot keep up with the mutations in viruses. That’s what occurs in Coming Flu and rationing is necessary. Although scientists have developed antivirals for treatment of HIV and herpes infections, they have not tested antivirals successfully with flu patients, as tried in Coming Flu. Again these drugs are in limited supply.

Quarantine is no big deal. Is it? I think most Americans don’t understand how quarantine (the enforcement of the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act and associated legislation) could affect their lives. At least not in personal terms – like standing in line for food, not being able to go to work or to shop, and being afraid to come in contact with anyone lest they have the flu.

One of my friends Judy Leavitt wrote the biography of Mary Mallon, better know as Typhoid Mary (Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public’s Health). Mary Mallon was a cook, who harbored the bacteria that caused typhoid fever in her gall bladder without getting sick herself. She refused to stop working as a cook because she knew no other trade. Accordingly, the New York City Health Department quarantined her on an island in New York harbor from 1915-1938. This is, of course, the extreme case, but quarantines can be nasty.

So that’s how science became Coming Flu.

Find out more about J.L. Greger and her work at

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Guest Blogger Marilyn Meredith

Why I Love Mystery Conventions and Writers Conferences

The reason I chose this topic is because I met Holli at a Public Safety Writers Association Conference. I truly value Holli’s friendship and I would have never met her any other way. I love hearing about her and her family. Her life is quite different from mine, and partially because she’s young and still doing all the things that come with raising your children.

Holli lives in New Orleans. I live clear across the country in a foothill community of the Southern Sierra in California. We might have come across one another online because we are on some of the same lists, but there’s nothing like meeting someone in person. I admire Holli, her expertise and intelligence—and her sparkling personality.

Over the years I’ve attended lots of mystery conventions: Bouchercons and Left Coast Crimes. I’ve made many friends at both. There are other smaller cons I’ve gone to, Malice Domestic, Killer Nashville, Love is Murder and Mayhem in the Midlands which is no longer in existence.

Though through the years I’ve attended and presented at many writers conferences, but my favorite of all is PSWA. The majority of attendees are people who are or were in various types of public safety fields like FBI, Police, FBI, Military Law Enforcement, CSI, Scientific Fields, Fire who are interested in writing, and mystery writers who are interested in what the experts are willing to share. It’s a smaller conference and there is opportunity to network and find out answers to questions right while you’re there.

Spouse's Panel at previous Mayhem in the Midlands
For the last few years I’ve had the privilege of being the program chairperson and I’ve had a great time balancing the presentations between writing topics and what the experts have to say about crime, criminals and how to catch them. Holli has been a presenter a couple of times.

What about selling books at a convention or conference? Unless you are a well-known author, you probably won’t sell many books at a convention. This is where you meet people who read books and visiting with them. Of course you’ll meet other authors too.

Your chances of selling your book at a conference really depends upon what you are doing at the conference. If you are a speaker or on a panel you may intrigue some attendees enough that they’ll buy your book.

The best part of either one is the joy of meeting like-minded people—those who love to read.

If you are one of those who love to read, I hope you’ll try the latest book in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Raging Water.

Raging Water Blurb: Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s  investigation of the murder of two close friends is complicated when relentless rain turns Bear Creek into a raging river. Homes are inundated and a mud slide blocks the only road out of Bear Creek stranding many—including the murderer.

Contest: The person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a character in my next book—can choose if you want it in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.

Bio: Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Raging Water from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel us No Bells, the fourth from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at
Marilyn borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area.

I know there are some people who like to read a series in order, but let me reassure you that every book is complete. Though the characters grow through each book, the crime is always solved. Here is the order of the books for anyone who wants to know: Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wing Beat, Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path, Bears With Us, Raging Water.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Murder Close to Home

My  husband's friend was murdered during Hurricane Isaac.

Noah worked and lived at a funeral home. He was a personable guy, interesting, and an unlikely compadre for my husband. Julio is a big guy, brutish looking. Six foot, 300 lbs, bald, with a goatee, he is a somewhat striking Spanish macho man.

Noah was among a group of locals who frequented a nearby bar and took to our bar as soon as it opened. Julio became friends with many of the new customers, but Noah was one of a few who he spoke to outside of the bar as well.

Noah was gay, but a blender. He fit in with the crowd, easily forgettable until you actually spoke to him.  Noah was also depressed a lot, although I don't know the reason why. I guess working and living at a funeral home does not inspire one to be giddily happy, but I think he may have had other issues. I know he had no significant other, but he did occasionally bring men home with him, which ultimately be his downfall.

When our bar closed, Noah was even more down. He missed having a place to hang out that felt like home, although he did hang out at other bars. Julio would occasionally meet Noah at the bar after it closed to hang out, because he was worried about his friend.

Right before Isaac, Noah left one of his regular bars with a man he had just met.  Sometime that night, the stranger tied Noah to the bed, stabbed him to death, stole his cell phone, and took off in his car.

We had evacuated for the hurricane and Julio called Noah several times to see how he was making out. He received no answer.

About a week later, Noah's body was discovered.  The killer had driven Noah's car to Algiers, on the Westbank of New Orleans and near the funeral home, and set it on fire. He was still using Noah's cell phone, texting people back, acting like he was Noah.  The police were able to find his location, in an attic in a nearby neighborhood, by tracking the cell phone.

The guy confessed.  He will be charged with 2nd degree murder, an automatic life sentence in Louisiana.

Noah was buried this past Monday. It is so odd, because I wasn't really close with him, but had met him and liked him well enough. He was a good guy. He had bought several copies of my books and had me sign them, one set for his sister.  He was at my book launch party, and spoke at length with my sister, who had gone to funeral school before deciding to become a teacher.

Noah didn't have much family. He was 51 years old, his parents were dead, and he had only a sister and a brother.  But the chapel was packed, with friends, people who worked at other funeral homes around town, and people whom he had helped through their own personal tragedies as an employee of Schoen's Funeral Home.

I have known death. All of my grandparents and my father have died in my life time.  As many homicide cases as I have handled as a prosecutor and then as an appellate public defender, some of them horrific and violent, I have only known one other person who was brutally murdered, and that was a girl who was a senior in high school when I was a freshman, and she was murdered by some kind of serial killer in another state years after we graduated. I was barely on a saying hi to her basis  because she was so much ahead of me in school, although I had greatly admired her back then.

When someone dies, I always think about how they now know what lies beyond this earth, and if there is nothing, they are just gone, and nowhere. So while I can't help but think of how much Noah suffered, and what must have been going through his mind when this animal decided to take his life, I also wonder about where he is now, and that he knows what happens when we leave this world.

I often take from real life when I'm writing. True crime especially makes for a good story. This one, though, I think I'm going to leave right where it is, in my mind. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Waiting for Isaac while remembering Katrina

Waiting for Isaac While Remembering Katrina

Once again those of us in New Orleans are watching a hurricane, waiting to see if Isaac is going to show up at our doorstep or pass us by.  We've been here before, watching and waiting.

In 2005, we did the same for Katrina. Only then we really didn't think it was going to hit. While we evacuated, we brought only enough clothes (and diapers, because I had two little ones) for a long weekend. We left on a Saturday, before a mandatory evacuation had been called.  We planned on returning home Monday or Tuesday, believing deep in our hearts that a hurricane would never hit us.

My mother, my two daughters, and I stayed at the Embassy Suites in Houston. Houston was THE place for New Orleans people to evacuate. Most of us vacationed there frequently, a sort of home away from home.  Our hotel had swans in the lobby, which tickled my children, a clown who made balloon animals, which terrified me, and was something like 40 steps away from the Galleria shopping mall, which thrilled all of us.

By the end of it, we were there for two weeks. Two weeks in a nice hotels sounds like fun, but it really isn't. Especially when you've made your husband join you at the 11th hour and he's brought along his younger brother, which infuriated your mother (who is a little odd to begin with), and you have no idea if your house is still standing or not.

The hurricane made landfall on Monday. Everything seemed fine until the levees broke. We watched CNN and the Weather Channel in horror as the city filled with water.  My husband went home on Tuesday. As a deputy constable allowed to go back into the city before the general public.  He soon texted us-- there was no other viable form of communication at the time--that our house was fine, some roof damage, a few books and toys wet, but otherwise okay.  Same with the rest of the neighborhood.

We went back two weeks later, when the electricity was back up and a few stores had reopened. Two weeks after that my daughter's school reopened.  A few months later our neighbors started coming back with their families. For months it was mainly only men working on their houses and law enforcement.

Law enforcement was everywhere. Local police, police from other parishes, police from other states, even the National Guard.  It was hard to feel unsafe with so many police personnel everywhere.  You literally could not drive a block without seeing some type of police officer.

While the police weren't able to protect us from the giant flies that took over for several months, and couldn't prevent the maggots in our refrigerators when we got home, at least we didn't have to worry about copper being stolen from our homes when we were inside them, nor of someone breaking into our homes and doing God knows what to us, as had happened to many unfortunate women during the actual hurricane.

So now, seven years later, we are in the position once again to decide should we stay or should we go. Today is Sunday. The storm will hit Tuesday in the middle of the night or early Wednesday morning.  Wednesday will be the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Scary.

So my thinking, with a now 10-year-old and 13-year-old, and now having an evacuation house, I will probably leave.  The big difference this time is that I'm not dreading leaving, because I've faced the most uncertainty a person can face having dealt with Katrina and its aftermath.

I'm looking forward to visiting my vacation house in the hills, and while I will worry about what is happening back home, I will also use the time, and more importantly, the emotion, to write more of my third novel.

Chocolate City Justice takes place during Hurricane Katrina, bringing my protagonist, Ryan Murphy, into the present days. So everything I learn about that happens, especially if the hurricane hits, will be more fodder for my novel and jog my novel about what happened back then.  As I am planning what I will pack, Katrina is not seven years ago for me, but right now, while I am loading my car with the things I want to save should a worst case scenario occur.  And I will use it as much as I can, extracting as much good as I can from a potentially bad situation.  

NOTE:  I scheduled this to post a week after I wrote it, hoping by the time it is posted I will know how this has turned out, one way or another.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell...

A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  The famous phrase from Romeo and Juliet, where the two star-crossed lovers discuss whether it makes a difference that Juliet is a Capulet and Romeo is a Montague.  They seem to think it doesn't.  We all know that it did, or they wouldn't both be dead by the end of the play. That Shakespeare may have been on to something.

Turn to the big debates over the distinctions between traditional houses, small presses, indie publishers, self-publishing, vanity presses, e-publishing, and print on demand, or POD.  Ultimately, does the public care which category a book falls into before they decide to make a purchase? And do readers even know the distinction?

For a brief explanation- traditional houses are generally those big New York publishers who rarely take on new clients, but publish and promote writers such as James Patterson and Stephen King. 

Small presses, formerly known as independent presses, are smaller publishers who perform much in the same way as the larger houses in that they do not charge authors any types of fees to be published, and take on all the expense of the book publication, such as printing costs and cover art.

The distinction between big houses and small presses are: big houses are able to get books into brick-and-mortar book stores easier, and are able to spend big bucks on the promotion of big writers. Small houses tend to use print on demand, which simply means the books are not printed until someone orders them. Small houses may or may not offer advances. Both large and small presses should pay quarterly earnings to its writers, but every contract is different.  Both do have contracts. 

The title "indie publishers" which used to represent the small houses now is used almost exclusively for self-published.  Sometimes, the companies that offer these services call themselves a name that sounds like a traditional or small press. The big distinction here is that the companies that self-publish do not edit the works they publish, but basically provide a means for the writer to get his or her book in print, as it is.  Promotion is left entirely to the writer.  Vanity presses are basically a method of self-publishing for the author, but frequently charge extremely high fees.

E-publishing is electronic publishing. It is done by most if not all publishers.  There is a huge market for e-books with Kindle and Nook, and probably the IPAD by now. Books can also be downloaded onto computers or smart phones. The benefit to the buyers is that e-book are generally cheaper, and more portable. An avid reader can save as many books as his device has memory.

Print on demand again is not a form of actual publishing, but a method to print hard copies of books. It is more ecologically friendly and green than printing vast numbers of books that may not get sold.

So, does it really matter which of the categories a book falls into? Does anyone care if a book has a big New York publisher behind it, a smaller press,  or if the writer published the novel on his own?

As a writer with a "small house", I expect my opinion will be different than someone who self-published, or a writer with a traditional, big New York publisher. The truth is that writers are going to side with the method in which they were published. It's the nature of the beast. Most of us need reinforcement as writers that we are actually "real" writers, so our way has got to be the best way.

But turn to my sister, who is "only" a reader, you know, one of those people who actually buys lots of books just to read them and entertain herself. She doesn't care if it's Doubleday, Bantam, Fly-by-Night, Small Press U.S.A., or Look, Mom, No Hands, who published the book. She cares about whether the book has a compelling story that holds her interest, good characters, a good and satisfying ending, and maybe on occasion, price.

But those things may be affected by how the book was published.  While I have seen errors in books put out by the New York publishers, those companies do have the wherewithal to do a whole lot of editing if a book needs it. Does this mean their book will be better than a self-published book that is professionally edited? Probably not. It does mean that if Stephen King has an off day of writing, nobody will be the wiser because his errors will be caught by an editor and fixed before it gets in print.

Small presses may have in-house editors, or they may expect their writers to have their work edited by an outside source, such as a writing group, a college professor, a paid editor or the like.  Small presses may also have people who perform more than one duty for the company who may assist with editing.  They generally will not publish books full of errors because those books tend to not sell well, and small presses need to make as much as they can off each author and each book. Small presses tend to keep their books available longer, because by using POD they didn't waste a whole bunch of money printing books no one will buy.

As far as self-publishing, the degree of editing depends entirely on the writer.  Some writers may self-edit their manuscripts to the point of near perfection. Others may pay a professional editor. Still some may not do any of the above and end up publishing crap.  Hey, sometimes crap sells. 

In the end, writers own prejudices will decide what books they buy, and whether it makes a difference to  them how the book was birthed.  But for the general reading public, it probably isn't going to matter how the book saw the light of day. If a reader buys any book that turns out to be full of typos, plot holes, or other errors, regardless of how it came to be published, chances are the reader won't buy a second book by that author. And that will ultimately be what causes the downfall of that writer.

So does a rose by any other name smell as sweet?  All other things being equal, probably. But a rose that hasn't been properly cared for while in the ground won't bloom the same way as one that has, and almost certainly won't smell the same.  (In case you missed it, the analogy was that poorly edited manuscripts stink. Did that come across or does this post need more editing?)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rebecca Dahlke

Today, author Rebecca Dahlke (R.P. Dahlke) tells us about her All Mystery Newsletter.

In 2010, I started an e-newsletter for mystery and suspense authors. It ran, free of charge to the authors until December 2011. I decided to let it go because: 1) authors just weren't with me on how effective this kind of advertising could be, and 2) I had my own books to write. 

So I put the website in mothballs, but kept the Facebook site, the yahoo group (which is where authors meet to talk about promotion, and readers come to see what authors are talking about.) and Good Reads group for Indie and small press promotion, and a Twitter account.

Since then,  I have put four mysteries up on Amazon/Kindle, and because I understand that this my book is a product, I also began a six month quest for the best, and most effective, form of advertising my books.  

The results were exciting!  I discovered that with a combination of inexpensive paid and free promotion, I could sell more books. I thought the results of this were interesting enough to share with my writing friends. So the first thing I did was put together a 7 page handout and speak on this subject with my local Sisters in Crime chapter in Tucson. The handout was necessary because I had a lot of powerful, and helpful information to share, but cautioned my grateful listeners with the following: The only thing I could guarantee about this information was that some of it would change.

That was in June, and sure enough, things have changed… again. One of the sites I listed as smart and creative just bit the dust, and another site, Digital Books Today, has taken a giant leap after only 18 months in the business.  Eighteen months? Gee, All Mystery e-newsletter had started before Digital Books Today… so that meant… but wait! There's more!

In a recent e-mail from the founder of Digital Books Today, Anthony Wessel, he says, and I quote: "Traffic on our Sites: March: 8,000, June 16,000" and in their "The Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books List: November 2011: 600+ and June 2012- 10,000+ with 38,000 click outs to books on Amazon."

It is obvious that Indie and small press authors are now using paid book marketing as part of a successful campaign to sell their books. I know, because I was using them too, and the results have been gratifying—except for one thing. As a mystery writer, all of the best e-newsletters had mystery squished in between vampire and memoir.

It didn't take me much more than a nano-second to see that All Mystery e-newsletter was needed.
I ticked off the possibilities for resurrecting this e-newsletter against the fact that it might take some time to gain momentum. Then realized I already had all of my requirements for a good promotion site: Facebook page, Yahoo and Good Reads groups, and Twitter with a small army of Re-Tweet pals.

The website is now up and running. Better yet, September is already SOLD out, but I am accepting submittals for October through December 2012. And, yes, the ad insertions for this e-newsletter are reasonably priced:  $10.00 a book insertion.

Here are links to All Mystery e-newsletter places:

Twitter handle: @allmysterynews

Last but not least, for those of you who would like a copy of my updated copy of that 7 page hand-out for both free and paid promotions for authors, send me an e-mail with "promotion handout" in the subject line and I'll send you a PDF copy. E-mail:

Rebecca Dahlke (R.P. Dahlke) is the author of A DEAD RED OLEANDER, A DEAD RED HEART, A DEAD RED CADILLAC, and A DANGEROUS HARBOR.  She has been writing since 1994.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Managing Time

I'm working on Chocolate City Justice, still revamping the outline but foraging ahead with the novel even though the outline is not completely revised yet.  While I'm trying to get the words down on the page and tell the story, I'm also doing my day jog, which I get to do from home, raising a family, and trying to promote.

Promotion is always a time-consuming chore. Just trying to figure out what to do can be daunting.  Finding time to do it can be even more so.

Lately, I've more or less settled on a schedule, at least for the summer when I can sleep later and don't have to worry about getting kids to school, going to parent meetings, or keeping up with homework.

So far, the schedule is a little off track. I did a spreadsheet, and included everything I needed to get done each day.  I included writing for an hour of day, 30 minutes of revising the outline, and then scheduled amounts of time to do all the work I needed to get done.

I haven't been able to strictly adhere to the schedule, but I'm working on it.  Maybe I don't do everything on the list every day, but I at least manage to get more done than before I had a schedule.  It's a start, anyway.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I finally got my novel into the public library in New Orleans. This was a big deal to me, being that my novels are set in New Orleans, and being that I was born and raised in New Orleans, lived here my whole life, and still live here.  I would have thought the New Orleans Public Library would have been happy to have the novels of a local author, set in New Orleans, in the library.

This was not the case just a year ago. I emailed the acquisitions division of the library, which is what the website says to do if you are a writer or a publisher.  I explained who I was, my credentials, and provided a short summary of both books.  I made sure I mentioned I was published by Oak Tree Press, because I wasn't entirely sure if the library accepts self-published novels, and wanted to make them aware I had a real publisher.

I didn't hear back from them.  Despite the fact that the library system to this day is still recovering from Katrina, the website mentions that they received so many donated books they either sell most of them or donate them to a group that sells them.  So it wasn't a guarantee that even if I donated the books to them, they would put them on the shelves for the public.

Maybe I should have mentioned then that the public library system in Jefferson Parish, the unofficial sister parish to New Orleans, has 11 copies of my first novel and 3 or 4 copies of my second novel.  Maybe I should have mentioned that although I was agreeing to donate several copies of my novels to the New Orleans library, and send them at my own cost, the Jefferson Parish Library had purchased all of the books on their own, without me contacting them and without my knowledge that they had purchased them.  Maybe I should have mentioned a small town in north Alabama also has copies of my books, because I have an evacuation house there.  But I didn't.

Until last week.  I am nothing if not tenacious, so I emailed the library again, this time mentioning the facts above, as well as the third book, Chocolate City Justice, would be out before year's end.

I don't know if it was just luck, the fact that Jefferson Parish carried my books, or that my next book was called Chocolate City Justice (which seems to catch people's attention), but whatever it was, the acquisitions department emailed me back within a day and asked for two copies of each book.

It may seem silly that I worked so hard to give away four books, but I have a few reasons I think are pretty good for wanting my books in the N.O. library.  First, despite the fact that I have two books published by a reputable, if smaller, publishing house, and a contract to continue with the series, I still feel the need to legitimatize myself as a writer, particularly to people I actually know.  I don't know why, except maybe I believe those that know me will not think of me as a "real" writer.  Having books in the public library makes me more legitimate.

Second, I can refer people who aren't certain about buying my book, or who I know really can't stretch their budget to buy a book, to the library.  If they enjoy it, they may eventually end up buying the others in the series when they are able. 

Third, if enough people check out my book or request my book at the library, the library may buy more copies, and may purchase the series as it is published.

Fourth, I can consider doing a reading or an event, especially with another mystery writer, at the library if my book is already there.

As much as I hate to admit it, my town is not a reading town.  Most people I know don't even get the newspaper, much less read books.  And I'm talking about a lot of educated professionals.  Some people even brag about the fact that they never read, as if that's a good thing, so getting my books into the hands of those that do read is a big deal to me.

While everyone wants to make as money as possible, the way to do that as a writer sometimes involves giving something away for free.  The bigger picture is the more people who are exposed to my books, the more books I will eventually sell.

And if I never become rich off of this gig, at least I made a modest sum doing what I love, and not everyone can say that.

God bless the public library system. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mystery Writers

A book of interviews of mystery writers and their advice on writing called "The Mystery Writers," edited by Jean Henry Mead has just been released, and it is a huge honor to be included among the writers. My interview and a short blog I wrote for the book is in the chapter for traditional mysteries, and I am in great company.

Other writers include Hank Phillippi Ryan, Leighton Gage, Pat Brown, Marilyn Meredith, Timothy Hallinan, Sue Grafton, Gerrie Ferris Finger, Julie Garwood, Mike Orenduff, Wendy Gager, Maggie Bishop, Chris Redding, Pat Browning, Sunny Frazier, and Vincent Zandri, just to name a few.

There is a lot of good advice from a lot of different perspectives, as well as interesting interviews of each writer. The book is informative and entertaining, and while I don't make anything from sales of the book, still recommend getting a copy or buying it on Kindle, for the advice on writing as well as the interesting backgrounds of the writers.

I have a little about my background as an attorney and can-can dancer, as well as the collision with a drunk driver right before Gumbo Justice was scheduled for release that pushed back my publication date and left me with a permanent limp.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chocolate City Justice

With the book launch of Jambalaya Justice barely over, I finally had some time over the break to work on Chocolate City Justice. My publisher recently contacted me about a possible July release day, to time it to coordinate with the PSWA writer's conference, a conference in Las Vegas I try to attend every year.

The deadline was a little short, so I suggested a release date later in the year, but the question did bring working on the novel back into my focus again. I mainly worked on retooling the outline, something I'm still in the process of doing.

When I write, I do an initial outline. I then start writing, and after several chapters I realize it's missing something, whether it's one of the secondary plot lines, a supporting character, a scene, whatever it is, I go back and modify the outline.

Right now, I have the initial outline and about 30,000 words written, but I've had to change the outline and in doing that realized a few issues that have to be resolved. So I've stopped the forward progress of actually writing the novel to tinker with the outline and make the story better.

This is a process I'll do several times before the book is ready to go to my publisher. So while it won't be ready in July, it should be ready before the end of 2012.

In between the writing and the retooling the outline, I'll continue to promote Jambalaya Justice and Gumbo Justice until I can announce the release of the third in the series.