Monday, August 19, 2013

Having a child

I have a very dear friend of mine-- we've known each other since we trolloped around as college kids---- and while we have kept in touch, we rarely see each, outside of once every few years. He lives just outside Tulsa; me, a little further west.  But lately, his one and only registered for, and began attending, Colorado State University. We talked for a while about how hard it was to let go, but he thought over how he was able to celebrate her accomplishments, as they happened over the first 18 years.

I feel that way right now with 'Legacy'. And today, I'm proud to announce another small milestone and  new achievement for my first born. Thanks to my brother from another mother Pat McNulty (a fine author in his own right (write?) with ) who put his own sordid reputation on the line for me, I can now say we'll be featured in The Tattered Cover as one of 'Colorado's homegrown authors'. Tattered Cover is THE big independent bookstore in Colorado and it's a privilege to be part of their featured section, in no small ways thanks to Pat. Big step for a self-pub like me.

My child is growing a little every day. For that, I have you, the readers to thank. You ask questions, send your feedback, poke me gently with criticism and are overly kind with praise. Thanks for helping spreading the word. If you're in Denver, say starting around September 1 or later, check the Tattered Cover for a copy of the book. If you're not, tell a friend who lives here or who  might be passing through town.

My child is growing, and I'm proud to share each step with you, the ones who help make it possible. Now, if I could only only teach a book how to hit a baseball, we'd really have something..     :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The movie?

I'm about number 112,000 on the Amazon best sellers list so there's a ways to go before People Magazine begins to notice----but never say authors don't have moxie or dream big. I've already started to think about how I would cast 'Hidden Legacy' if it ever became a movie. 

Inspector Murphy-----Rupert Graves, most recently seen as Inspector Lestrade in 'Sherlock'; also in Doctor Who.

Sam Jacobs/ Holmes --- Diane Lane. Would love to see what she could do  with that character. Strong character, strong actress. Robin Weigert----another strong woman who fits the part well. I like the kind of power she projects in her roles. 

Sam Jacobs is a nice challenge because she's not the pretty girl, 20-something who's riddled with angst and trying to define her own sexuality, all while trying to find herself while proving how independent she is. Sam Jacobs knows who she is---- and because of that, brings a strength to a 1940's woman that doesn't always come through in other stories. I'm proud of who she is, and I'm really enjoying working with her again in the new Murphy/ Jacobs story. 

Murph is more of a puzzlement. I like what Graves brings to the screen when he's in a scene and I think he could make this character really come alive. I know a hundred guys like Murph-- not colorful, not flashy, not dynamic--- just driven in a way that simmers under the surface. And sometimes, he's able to really step up and really stand out. Yet he's also capable of falling into the trap of being so by-the-book, he frustrates Jacobs to no end. A nice dynamic you'll see more of as we go on.

Need suggestions though. How about secondary characters like Ears, Cheshy, Bryson (who, in my mind, reminds me a little of Inspector Fenwick from "Dudley Dooright") and Sykes? I'd like your thoughts.

The Heartbeat of a Story

Can a story have a heartbeat? Of course it can.

I was trying to explain this to my 15 year old daughter who, initially after two years of telling me how she had no good ideas, was embarking on her second novel. I read her draft for the first seven chapters and told her what a nice heartbeat and pace I thought her story had. She gave me one of those teenage looks like she wasn't sure if her dad was an idiot, or whether there was really something to what he was saying.  She decided to choose the 'idiot' option. I ask her to reconsider.

Like a person, a story's heartbeat keeps it alive. Now before you all start cracking wise (and I KNOW who reads this blog, OK?) ----no, a story doesn't also have a liver, a kidney and a spleen. But the heartbeat is what an author can never forget. It's the part of the story that gives it life, drives it, that keeps readers checking back in to see what happened--- or creating a situation where they can't put your book down.

In 'Hidden Legacy', to me, the heartbeat was always the murders. I love stories that battle the clock-- maybe that's why I'm such a huge football fan. It's a race against time--- you have to score more points than the other guys before time runs out. In 'Legacy', Murphy is faced with that same dilemma. Time is running out. He's got no more audibles to call. He's looking at losing the game. The heartbeat gets faster and faster and faster until it hits that climatic point----- and from there, the denouement, which sometimes can feel like a letdown. It's hard to make sure it doesn't. 

The goal in 'Legacy' was, of course, to get you to feel the heartbeat, to give your pulse a jump start and feel the pressure Murph felt as he tried to beat the clock and catch a killer.  It doesn't always have to be a frenetic pace--- and my daughter's  is not a frenzy. But she's got the idea, and that makes me proud.  And while I can't promise every book is clear as to what makes it tick, it doesn't mean the author isn't trying. 

Did you feel my heartbeat when you read 'Legacy'?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Friends and Family

Thank you.

When you write a book without the benefit of a large publisher behind you, there's many times you can feel like you're on an island, alone, deserted. That's when friends and family pick you up. 

I have an uber small family on my side of the tree, one that increased exponentially when I inherited my wife's side through marriage. My friends list is better and I'm proud to say, has aged well. Some of the people on my holiday card list have been a part of my life for over 40 years; some close to 50.

Point is, I want to say thank you. Publicly. Here and now.  I want to thank anyone, friend or family, complete stranger or casual acquaintance, for taking time to  read or buy my book, and to pass it along to others who might be interested in it. One very precious aunt I inherited through marriage is giving it away as a gift when she has special occasions to recognize. I am so grateful for her support, words don't adequately express it.

It's hard to ask people you know to like and support your work. Sometimes, they don't really like what you've created but care too much about you to say anything. Other times, well, they just can't be bothered because life gets complicated.  But to all who have participated, thank you. I am continuing to try to get people to notice the work. It hasn't been easy-- but thanks to you, it's been easier.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Which do you read more

So we're back to the issue of marketing your work as a self-published author. And here, you can help. A lot.

There's a temptation to want to push the actual, physical book--- you know, those things that contain pages that you carry around with you on airplanes or to the beach?

Of course, as an author, there's also the idea that you want to be available to everyone, at any time. So Kindles, Nooks and other eReaders are so amazingly tempting to concentrate on.

So I want to know---which do you read most? 

I know you might say, what's the difference? Just offer you story on all three and let people choose. Well, it's not that simple. When you market a book to an audience, you try to make it simple as  possible to reach as many in your target audience as you can. 

So, just in a sampling of the 100 or so people I met in the meet and greet I did in April, I got wildly varying answers. They were all shapes and sizes, all ages, genders , economic stations and education. Many continue to love hard and soft bound books. But many also like the freedom of an eReader--- in fact, many older readers were choosing eBooks, which I found fascinating. They claimed it was because they could store many books in one place,a n read a variety of things at their leisure. Got it.

So again, tell me  what you like. Tell me if it makes a difference (except for price). As an author with a limited amount of time to market, I want to make sure I connect with you. This blog is one way-- offering what you want, in the easiest manner to get it, is another.

That doesn't mean I won't be trying to get into my local bookstores here in the Denver area. It just means I want my efforts to pay off in happy readers-- readers I can reach out to, simply, and effectively.

Oh, yes. Thank you.

Secondary characters

I recently got an email from someone who'd just finished the book, and it contained the following very enthusiastic but terse message:

'I loved Cheshy and Ears. I want to see more of them...!'

My answer? I want to see more of them too!

Secondary and transitory characters have a lot more leeway in a story than the main characters  do and they can be as much, if not more fun to write about, than the original stars of your novel. They'll never carry a story mind you--but they add so much color to places where you need to paint with a broad and inspired palette. I love bringing these people into the story, and into our little world of fantasy.

In "Hidden Legacy", they pop up often, and I give them as much room as I can, while still keeping in mind the story isn't centered on them.  

The future? Well, yes, I've already discussed the fact that there will be a second story. Not sure if Cheshy has retired or not, but Ears will play a role in the upcoming sequel for sure. And there's always going to be a new crop to discover and get to know better.


I admit, killing off Bentley was one of the harder things to do. After I was done, I felt I could have used his character more in future settings, just because of what I perceived to be a moral compass of sorts in him that would guide the rest of the Yard team. But alas, he served his purpose. Though watch for more our of Sergeant Jefferson I think--- he's based on some colorful characters I've known and I think there's room for some expanded opportunities for him.

Thanks. Looking forward to YOUR feedback as well.

Discover more about "The Case of the Hidden Legacy" at 

Finding a Voice

I asked my friend of almost forty years to explore my book and give me his feedback. Being an old ink stained wretch himself, I felt his opinions would be valuable-----plus it's always a good thing to get another set of eyes on your story to help you locate issues you continually miss, because you're just not looking for them. I kid often with Pat McNulty, author of the book '', about how you can read a story a hundred times and still miss typos and glitches. it frustrates him as much as it does me.

One thing my friend Jeff  discussed  as something he felt would improve the story would be to tell it in third person, as opposed to having Murph describe the action as it was happening.  Third person, for those who aren't quite remembering their literature classes from high school, is telling a story as a narrator, a third person, or, using a $20 title, as the omniscient observer. It's the person outside the glass, looking in. Good idea--- just not for this particular work.

This had to be done as first person-- because as the fictional next generation of story teller (being Doctor Watson's son), Murph shares the adventure, becoming part of what is transpiring. In doing that, he takes us along for the ride. It's a fun way to tell a story and it's, in my opinion, a better way to allow this type of adventure to unfold.

So, for those who are writing, I urge you to find your voice. It may be one,or a combination of voices. But find a strong voice and then let it be the one to tell your story. It makes all the difference in how the story flows, and how it's received by the listener.

Discover more about "The Case of the Hidden Legacy" at