Bullet Books are speed reads for the busy traveler, commuter, and beach-goer. All are new original crime fiction stories that can be read in two to three hours. Gripping cinematic mysteries and thrillers by your favorite authors!
Manning Wolfe, attorney and author of the Merit Bridges legal thrillers, this week introduced the first set of Bullet Books. She’s co-written them with other twelve crime fiction authors, and they’re ready for readers.
I am officially chuffed because I’m one of the twelve. The book is
And on the back cover:
English professor Blair Cassidy arrives home late one rainy night to find the body of her boss-from-hell, Justin Capaldi, lying stabbed to death on her front porch. Her bloody clothes and plausible motive make her the number one suspect. When attorney and ex-husband Hart Montgomery vows he’ll keep her out of prison, she wants to believe him…
But, Blair suspects hers is one murder case Hart would love to lose.
And the book trailer!
I’ll add that Blair has something Hart reeeally wants. And then there’s the argument over a concrete slab.
Bullet Books are short and snappy. Open one on take-off, finish on touch-down, and in between, escape into a world of fiction designed to keep you turning pages.
I could say more about Bullet Books—such as, profiling the other eleven authors and mentioning the titles of their books—but I’ll save it for another time.
On second thought, it’s a little tacky of me to showcase STABBED and ignore everyone else. And this post sounds suspiciously like an advertisement. That’s a little tacky, too.
But I think I can live with it.
I will say, most sincerely, that I’m honored to have had the opportunity to write with Manning Wolfe and to be in the company of some fine authors. I hope you’ll read and enjoy STABBED and all the other Bullet Books.
By the way, air travel is not required. While Bullet Books are suitable for all modes of transportation, they’re just as entertaining in recliners, rocking chairs, and porch swings. The choice is yours.
I said to my critique partner this morning, The whole project is stinky it stinks it’s just nothing no hope.
She read chapter 13 and said, But it’s so good so funny Molly is so funny it’s not stinky.
I said, Yes, the first part of chapter 13 and the last part of chapter 13 are funny and very very good but there’s still no middle of chapter 13 and what there is stinks and anyway the other 47,000 words stink except for a few hundred here and there.
And she said, But the middle could be revised edited it has promise.
I said, But it won’t work because I have written myself into a hole and can’t get out so I have to trash that part and anyway the whole concept stinks.
And she said, NO you can fix it just keep going because I like Molly she’s so funny.
And that is why I go to critique group every blessed week.
Writing is a solitary activity, but most of writing isn’t writing. It’s rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting. And then it’s revising and revising. And editing editing editing. And rewriting again. And . . .
Sometimes it’s whingeing and complaining and eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon and buying larger clothes and telling Molly she’s a heartless ***** who doesn’t deserve one paragraph of her own, much less a whole book.
And it’s feeling like a fraud and deciding you’d be happier if you gave up and dedicated yourself to French cookery or tatting or riding a unicycle.
But if you’re lucky, it’s also going to critique group and then going home and writing and writing and writing and . . .
I posted “Why I Go to Critique Group” here on July 9, 2010, when I was a member of the two-member Just for the Hell of It Writers, which was soon swallowed up by Austin Mystery Writers (a consummation devoutly to be wished).
I periodically pull it out and repost. It’s important.
You know how even when you know what you’ve written isn’t as good as it ought to be, you think you’ve gone as far as you can go with it, but you also know you haven’t, and your deadline is tomorrow, about 18 months after your original deadline, so you give it one more going-over, and you spend a whole day marking and then a whole day making changes to the manuscript in LibreOffice, because there were so many things you found that needed to be changed, and when it’s finally done, both your brain and your body are just fried, and you send it off, and then even though you know you shouldn’t, you show 15 pages to your writer friends, and they say it’s better than it was the last time you showed it to us, BUT, and they scribble all over your pages, and they’re so right, and so you go back and change the manuscript again, here and here and here, everywhere they said to, and you send the 15 pages off with the message, Disregard that last part of what I sent yesterday and substitute these, and then your brain and body are re-fried, and you sleep for nearly twelve hours, and then even though you know you should let it alone, you send another 15 pages to your writer friends, and you know they’re going to say, Change this and Change this and Change this, and they’re going to be right, and tomorrow afternoon you’re going to be back at that manuscript, putting in changes there and there and there, and you’ve looked at the d****** thing for so long that the words are turning into squiggles on the page, but you’ll change it anyway because your artistic and OCD temperament won’t let you just leave it alone, and then you’ll send another email saying, Disregard another fifteen pages of what I sent you before and substitute these, and the person on the other end is already at the end of her rope, waiting and waiting and waiting for you to finally finish the thing, but you can’t help it, and when you say it’s a never-ending story, you’re not talking about the book . . .
Buyer’s remorse. And not even five hours have elapsed since the purchase. It happens every time. Why do I do this to myself? (W-Word: Why)
News of the Writers‘ League of Texas’ annual summer retreatarrived via email this afternoon, and I pounced–checked the calendar to confirm it doesn’t fall on an infusion week, asked my husband to confirm what I’d already confirmed, filled out the online form, and clicked Register. [W-Word: Writers’]
Some people think it over before clicking Register, especially when clicking Register requires an outpouring of funds.
If I made a list, it would look like this:
Don’t Go to the WLT Summer Retreat in Kerrville – Reasons
Time away from home – six days
The retreat is in July and I already miss David
I shouldn’t have to drive 100 miles to write what I could write staying at home
Can write at home without paying registration fees plus gasoline and wear-and-tear on the car
I miss David
Go to the WLT Summer Retreat in Kerrville – Reasons
I want to [W-Word: Want]
And then there’s the year I came home with a two-hundred-word timed writing that three years later turned into a 4,000-word short story, and a year after that appeared in a crime fiction anthology–the Murder on Wheels pictured in the sidebar to the right.
Writing is a lonely pursuit, and reading it aloud transformed it into an interactive experience It also brought the text to life. When Anne read her material to Meg she picked up the difficulties and polished them out so that the writing flowed more smoothly. Occasionally, there were a few ruffled feathers and a spot of wounded pride, but almost always the process was revealing and sometimes downright entertaining.
Joanne Drayton, The Search for Anne Perry
In seventh-grade literature, two questions were asked about every short story in our textbook:
Q: Why did the author write the story?
Q: Why did the author make the character do such-and-such?
I had a ready answer for each:
Because that’s the way it happened.
But I knew my teacher wouldn’t be happy with that, so every day, I made up an acceptable answer to each question. Looking back, I realize I was doing creative writing. My first foray into fiction, I guess.
At that time, I thought writers started at the beginning of the story and stopped at the end. I thought everything that occurred was inevitable. I knew about revision–I’d done plenty of that getting my master’s thesis in order–but my idea of revision was really editing and polishing. I didn’t know it meant restructuring, creating new characters, taking out some of the best parts if they didn’t fit with the rest, sometimes tossing the whole manuscript and starting over.
Writing is a lonely occupation. Revision, however, isn’t. Writers are people who need people.
I spent months writing the first three [what I called] chapters over and over. Somewhere in that over and over I figured out that those chapters weren’t going to turn into a book. I was lucky–the Writers’ League of Texas held a meeting designed to help writers form critique groups. I took two pages of my manuscript–in small pieces, the chapters weren’t too bad–and by the end of the evening was part of a three-person group.
In the course of ten years, membership has changed. I’m the only one of the originals still involved. We’ve worked, done some struggling, learned how to detach and see our work with new eyes. We’ve occasionally ruffled one another’s feathers, but we’ve learned how to ruffle, and be ruffled, appropriately. We’ve gone together to workshops and retreats. We’ve encouraged one another. We’ve become better writers. Because of repeated critiques, we’re all now published.
Without the aid of other writers, I might have given up a long time ago. With their aid, I don’t just rewrite–I look again. I re-vise.
I’ve also come up with better answers to those seventh-grade questions.
And I’m not lonely any more.
Why did the author write the story?
Definitely not for money.
Joanne Drayton. The Search for Anne Perry. New York: HarperCollins, 2012.
About a zillion words into a post about ifferisms, I discovered I was so bored I couldn’t go on, and if I couldn’t go on, neither could anyone else. So I abandoned it. That left a void in the topic area, but the only I word I could think of was I.
Well, they say write what you know: I like these books. I like these movies. I like chocolate.
Then David gave me permission to write about Alien Resort, a cartoon peopled–or, more accurately, aliened–by visitors from outer space.
Creator, writer, and illustrator, Earthling David Davis, is aided by the four ETs pictured below: Coy, Plucky, Deadpan, and Lmao. Coy founded Alien Resort after crash landing on Earth. The others arrived later. Read their bios here.
The cartoon appears in newspapers from California (Alameda Sun) to Brooklyn (Canarsie Courier) to Cumbria, UK (Egremont 2day ) to Australia (Dunoonand District Gazette), plus a number of other publications along the way. They’re listed at the Hall of Fame.
I assume the error arises from its similarity to words like gauge, gaunt, and gauze. In other words, the writer was thinking in English, not in Spanish: Guadalajara, Guadalupe Hidalgo, guacamole.
The excuse may be wishful thinking on my part, but since I retired, I’ve been kinder and gentler with misspellers in the hope they’ll be kinder and gentler with me. It’s a sad day when an English major has to admit this, but nearly every time I write gauge, I have to look it up to be sure.
Anyway, you know how it is with dictionaries: open one to find a word and ten minutes later you’re browsing, engrossed in a book that doesn’t have characters, much less a plot. That’s how I came across gnomist, defined as a writer of aphorisms.
Unable to imagine little red-capped garden dwellers channeling Benjamin Franklin, I checked Dictionary.com for gnome, and about half-way down the page found it: a gnome is a short, pithy saying of a general truth.
Which led me to my G topic: gnomes. (Franklin would say some of them aren’t gnomes, but they’re close.)
If you have a skeleton in the closet, take it out and dance with it. ~ Carolyn MacKenzie
A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something. – Frank Capra
Imagination is a good horse to carry you over the ground–not a flying carpet to set you free from probability. ~ Robertson Davies
The opposite of a shallow truth is false. But the opposite of a deep truth is also true. ~ Niels Bohr
A writer should value his blockages. That means he’s starting to scale down, to get close. ~ Robert Pirsig
Each book is, in a sense, an argument with myself, and I would write it, whether it is ever published or not. ~ Patricia Highsmith.
Even if my marriage is falling apart and my children is unhappy, there is still a part of me that says, “God, this is fascinating!” ~ Jane Smiley
A computer allows you to make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila. ~ Mitch Ratcliffe
The form chooses you, not the other way around. An idea comes and is already embodied in a form. ~ Michael Frayne
You’ve got to be smart enough to write, and stupid enough not to think about all the things that might go wrong.~ Sarah Gilbert
People become writers because they can’t do things that bosses tell them to do. ~ Les Whitten
Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you, too, can become great. ~ Mark Twain
People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument. ~ Will Rogers
Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right. ~ Henry Rod
If you would lift me, you must be on higher ground. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is certain that no culture can flourish without narratives of transcendent origins and power. ~ Neil Postman
My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next. ~ Nora Ephron
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft. ~ H. G. Wells
In the sense that there was nothing before it, all writing is writing against the void. ~ Mark Strand
How do I work? I grope. ~ Albert Einstein
Sometimes it is more important to discover what one cannot do, than what one can do. ~ Lin Yutang
Walt Whitman didn’t sing as a white man or a gay man. He didn’t even sing as a living man, as opposed to a dead man. He made the human race look like a better idea. ~ Sharon Olds
One of the most wicked destructive forces, psychologically speaking, is unused creative power. . . . If someone has a creative gift and out of laziness, or for some other reason, doesn’t use it, the psychic energy turns to sheer poison. That’s why we often diagnose neuroses and psychotic diseases as not-lived higher possibilities. ~ Marie Louise Von Frantz
As much as I like the actual process of writing, there’s always a point, after a half hour, that I really love it. There’s a real lightness of imagination that you let happen when you’re writing. ~ Ethan Canin
I know life. I have had a full measure of experience. Shouldn’t I take advantage of it? These days my acts are the essence of what I have accomplished. The fruit is on the tree. Should I let it rot? ~ Victor Borge
The only way to write is to write today. ~ Susan Shaughnessy
Regarding the Gaudalupe County sign, it’s been there for years. At first it irritated me (twice a day), but as time went on, it became a source of amusement, something I needed both going to and coming from work. Still, as an official publication of the State of Texas, not to mention a source of information, it should be accurate. A friend called the agency a good while back and reported it, but it’s still there. Since my husband’s email brought about a positive result, I might ask him to take up the cause.
I like this book so much I bought it twice. I bought it once, donated it to my library, and missed it so much I bought this used copy. Each meditation is headed by a quotation. Meditations are excellent, worth revisiting often, but the quotations are what I missed.
For information about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here.
For a list of all blogs in the challenge, click here.
“The writer of an article about Dr. Seuss reported that at the end of an interview Theodore Geisel congratulated him for not asking the one question that people invariably ask. When the writer asked him what that one question might be, Dr. Seuss replied, “Where do you get your ideas?” “Well, all right,” said the reporter. “Where do you get your ideas?” “I’m glad you asked that,” Dr. Seuss said, and pulled out a printed card. On the card was spelled out the secret that the world pants for. It seems that on the stroke of midnight at the full moon of the summer solstice, Dr. Seuss makes an annual pilgrimage into the desert, where an ancient Native American hermit and wise man has his abode. That old Indian, Dr. Seuss declared, is the source of all of his ideas. But where the old Indian gets his ideas, he has no notion.
“Where do you get your ideas? I suppose the people who ask this question are expecting a rational, one-sentence reply. What they get from me is a rather stupid stare.”
“This past fall I spent an afternoon talking with a group of persons who work with children at risk. The question I had asked them to help me answer was this: Why do our children turn to violence? It was a question many of us have struggled with this past year.
“These professionals were very concerned about the Internet. Today, they said, when a child behaves aggressively at school, the routine solution is expulsion. At the very time when a child is most vulnerable, most reachable, he is further isolated. Often he goes home to an empty house and spends time with violent video games or on the Internet, desperately seeking out connections, and whom does he make connections with? All too often with other desperate, isolated, self-hating individuals who confirm his belief that all his hatreds are justified and that violence is the only way to relieve his mortal pain.
“Access to the Internet is not the answer for these attic children. They need much more than that. They need much more even than access to good books. Fortunately, what they need is precisely what you can give them–and that is yourself. ‘Every child,’ said the director of the program, ‘needs a connection with a caring adult.'”
“Last month I was asked to speak to a group of teachers who would be taking their classes to see a production of the play version of Bridge to Terabithia. I spent more than an hour telling them about how the book came to be written and rewritten and then how Stephanie Tolan and I adapted it into the play their classes would see. There was the usual time of questions, at the end of which a young male teacher thanked me for my time and what I had told them that morning. ‘But I want to take something special back to my class. Can you give me some word to take back to them?’
“I was momentarily silenced. After all, I had been talking continuously for over an hour; surely he could pick out from that outpouring a word or two to take back to his students. Fortunately, I kept my mouth shut long enough to realize what I ought to say–it is what I want to say to all of you.
“‘I’m very biblically oriented,’ I said, ‘and so for me the most important thing is for the word to become flesh. I can write stories for children, and in that sense I can offer them words, but you are the word become flesh in your classroom. Society has taught our children that they are nobodies unless their faces appear on television. But by your caring, by your showing them how important each one of them is, you become the word that I would like to share with each of them. You are that word become flesh.'”
“What I want to say to that isolated, angry, fearful child in he attic is this: You are not alone, you are not despised, you are unique and of infinite value in the human family. I can try to say this through the words of a story, but it is up to each of you to embody that hope–you are those words become flesh.”
~ Katherine Paterson, “The Child in the Attic,”
Ohio State University Children’s Literature Festival, February 2000
I’ll start by saying I have recovered from my major irritation with WordPress. It was malfunctioning to the max the night I wrote the humorous post that took a downhill turn (as WP) slid further down the hill–but everyone is allowed one major malfunction. I’ve had several myself whose results were worse than a paragraph-challenged blog. WP works now, I work now, we all work now. Amen.
Now to the heart of the matter:
Last Saturday, with my Sisters in Crime, I sold and signed books at the Heart of Texas chapter booth at the Boerne Book Fest.
Next Saturday, October 20, I’ll sign and sell at the Fort Worth Bookfest. Organized in 2018, the festival’s goal is “to raise awareness of the transformative power of literacy through the BookFest platform to showcase the wealth of talent among all cultures that call Fort Worth and the southwest region home.”
In addition to selling and signing, I’ll participate in an Author Spotlight, where I’ll have the opportunity, in “TED-talk style,” to introduce myself, share some interesting facts, and read from one of my stories. On the same venue will beTabi Slick, author of Tompkins School Trilogy,set in Oklahoma, and Kimberly Packard-Walton, author of Prospera Pass, set in Texas.
First on the agenda, though, is Friday evening’s Books ‘n Boots Soiree at Lou’s Place on the Texas Wesleyan University Campus. Sounds like fun.
David has been, as the Five Little Pepperswould say, a brick during preparations for BookFest. He had a banner for my table made and then spearheaded the drive for business cards. He found book easels around the corner at Wal-Mart so I don’t have to drive all the way across town to Michaels. He’s charged my phone, my camera, and the hotspot. I predict that before we leave town, he’ll do a dozen or two other tasks I haven’t even thought of.
I’m still making a to-do list.
This procrastinator is so lucky to have attracted her opposite–a man who does things now. And who knows how to hurry things along in the nicest way possible.
My father worked up to three jobs to ensure our family never missed a meal. We weren’t poor but neither were we wealthy or middle-class. Every so often my mother took a job to help make ends meet, including one at Gamma Phi Beta sorority at Northwestern University, where she worked as a cleaning woman during the Christmas holidays. She brought me along to help because she couldn’t afford a babysitter. I remember her telling me that the sorority’s chapter said no blacks or Jews would ever be admitted into its ivied halls. My mother brought home boxes of books thrown out by the sorority girls when classes ended, and in those boxes I found my first copies of Mary Shelley and Shakespeare. I read them, determined that the privileged girls of that sorority would never be able to say they knew something about the Bard that the son of their holiday cleaning woman didn’t. Decades later in 1990 Northwestern’s English department actively and generously pursued me for employment by offering me a chair in the humanities, which I declined.
— Charles Johnson, The Way of the Writer:
Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling
I got out of bed, trekked up to Central Austin for a mammogram, came back home, picked up a book, and read from roughly 11:30 a.m. till midnight. The mammogram was nothing to speak of, but the rest of the day was lovely. I hadn’t spent an entire day reading for a long time.
I like the term she chose very much, but I wondered if there are alternatives. So I went to the glossary of literary terms–several of them, in fact, since they’re all over the Internet–and came up with some possibilities:
a verse of poets
a rime of poets
an iamb of poets
a lyric of poets (although lyric is more suited to songwriters)
a scansion of poets
a prosody of poets
The search sparked a new question: What is the name for a group of mystery writers?
a plot of mystery writers
a conspiracy of mystery writers
a complication of mystery writers
a murder of mystery writers (perhaps to close to a murder of crows)
a grit of mystery writers
a cozy of mystery writers
And another question: What are the members of a critique group called?
This one is easy. Borrowing from an unkindness of ravens, I choose to call members of a critique group a kindness.