Mercury & Murder is On Sale!

As I said in my last post, I uploaded it this past weekend and all versions are now available. You can get both the ebook and paper book at Amazon or the paper book at CreateSpace.

And as an added bonus, I even helped my mother purchase the very first copy of the book and helped her to learn how to buy a book with the kindle I bought her!

My work here is done!

Mercury & Murder is Uploaded!!

I have finally finished. It took quite the effort over the last week, but my new baby is out of the nest. I am excited and frankly tired of staring at a computer screen.

¡Salud!

¡Salud!

Time to celebrate! If you’re wondering about the beer selection, you’ll just have to read the book. It will be on sale through Amazon later tonight.

6 Days to Go!

At this point, I’ve ended the fantasy of finishing early. Now I’m aiming for on-time. The crazy thing is, I think I’ll make it.

I’ve been up and down with the productivity. I’ve been working every day, but some days the work goes faster than others. Overall, I’ve been pleased with how tight the book is as I’ve been rereading it. For the most part, I’m just doing little tweaks with regard to word choice and punctuation. But I have found a few snafus. I must admit to the occasional gasp as I’ve stumbled on them, I mean the book is nearly done, should I really still be finding these?? But that is one of the reasons why I am doing this final read.

One of the snafus was actually a result of my last round of major edits in which I added a nice little twist. As I was rereading, I discovered an action that a character took was no longer congruent with the new twist. It was a relatively simple, but very important fix. I’m glad that I caught it. I would tell you what it was, but that would be a spoiler.

So as I pack it in for the night, I stand at 72% for the final read through. I’ll stay up late a few nights this week in order to continue to move the needle, but I fully expect to need Fri night/Sat morning to finish the read, add the dedication etc., finish packaging it up, and release it. I’ve got a busy week in store, but all in all, I’m in good shape.

Goodreads Giveaway!!

My Giveaway for Mercury & Murder is live on Goodreads!

For the next 30 days you can hit the “Enter to Win” button and  you’re in. How easy is that? You can enter until 11:59 pm ET, April 3rd. Then Goodreads randomly selects 30 people to receive a signed copy of Mercury & Murder, the second novel in my Beowulf Chronicles series. You can enter here.

Here’s the most exciting part for me — the giveaway went live at midnight last night and I already have 116 people entered!! So join them and maybe in 30 days, you can look like this:

Murder & Mochas, Goodreads, Leicester City

That’s Tim holding a copy of Murder & Mochas, which he won in my last giveaway. In a month I’ll be signing 30 copies of my new novel, you might be one of the winners, and I hope you’ll be smiling just as big!

Synopsis is Finalized!

Mercury & Murder

Former Marine Kurt West is a bounty hunter who, when not chasing bail jumpers, tracks down aliens who stray outside the lines of the normally quiet–and supposedly alien-free–Chapel Hill.

As the college town’s annual crowded street party approaches, the man accused of a chilling execution-style murder has skipped out on bail and fear grips the community. Kurt gets the call to bring him in, but soon discovers ties between his fugitive and the illicit alien drug trade. When a floater turns up in a lake, apparently killed with an alien weapon, Kurt suddenly has two high-priority cases. But do the cases connect? And do they lead where Kurt thinks or to some place even more deadly?

First of all, a big Thank You to my readers for giving me excellent and quick feedback. It is not easy to boil a 300 page novel down into a matter of sentences and make it sound somewhat interesting. This synopsis went through five drafts and was bounced off of about eight people.

I feel pretty good about it. And, not surprisingly, I still want to tweak it. But if I keep tinkering , I’ll never get the book out. There is certainly something to be said for having a good synopsis that will hook a potential reader’s interest, but if I don’t call it “good enough” at some point, there’s no book to worry about!

Now one of the great things about being an Indie is that it’s easy to tweak it and change it later, if I’m so inclined. I don’t see myself doing that (yet), but I do think that I’m going to update the synopsis for Book 1 Murder & Mochas. More on that later.

Major Edits Are Done!

I can finally, quite happily, say that the major edits for Mercury & Murder are now done! It took a string of late nights this past week and some big chunks of time this weekend. I am feeling a little tired and a lot stoked because I needed to hit this milestone by this weekend to stay on track for a March 21st publication.

The big challenge that I was having is that wanted to work in a plot twist. But, I wanted to do it in a way that wouldn’t require another significant rewrite (the time to publish is nigh). I had been beating my head against it for weeks and after staring at it for two nights this week, I set it aside to work on the minor edits. As I was going through the minor edits, I saw a spot where I could work in a little more background on some of the characters and then inspiration hit. I saw how I could work in a little more background and a small, yet manageable plot twist. I bounced the idea off a trusted reader and got two thumbs up. So in it went and on I went. The nice thing is that it also gave me a little more material to improve the reveal at the end of the novel. I felt pretty good about the changes.

As a minor aside, in the midst of the writer’s high from making some good changes, I also had to fight off the urge to keep looking for additional things I could “improve.” That would have plummeted me into another round of rewrites. Silly writer! Thankfully, I avoided that and moved on.

So now I’ve got the book copied into its final format and I am going to start doing a final read through. I like to read it out loud to see how it sounds. Hearing it helps me to find things that need tweaked. Since I am a slow reader and an even slower tweaker, I imagine this will take me a few weeks (give or take). My goal is three weeks, so that I can (maybe) get the first printed copy before I publish. But if it’s four weeks, I’ll just do it all at once again. Right now, publishing it 3/21 is the most important goal.

My other next big step is to improve my synopsis so that I can send that off to Abel Valdivia to finalize the book jacket. And of course, it is far easier to market a forthcoming book with a finalized synopsis than without one.

Check back for progress on all of this. 26 Days To Go!

4th Check In

This is going to be a quick one, since I didn’t post an update this past weekend, but am trying to maintain my consistency.

I didn’t get as much done over the weekend as I wanted, but when do I ever get as much done as I want? That said, it was a decent effort. I have now completed four of the eight major edits that I have left. I feel good about my progress. My goal at this point is to finish the remaining edits by 2/21. That is one month before my “on-sale” date and I think will just barely, not quite, give me enough time to do the last read through. So by the end of this week, I hope to have completed major edits #5 & #6.

The other piece that I am working on this week is my synopsis. I did a quick draft of it over the weekend, but I am not quite satisfied with it. It is tougher than you think to boil a whole novel down to ~150 attractive words. That said, I am aiming for the same 2/21 goal for the synopsis. If I can get that done a month before Mercury & Murder goes on sale, I can use it to help me market the book more effectively.

3rd Check In

Yeah, a boring title. So sue me! I’ll even add a boring picture!

Boring Picture

Boring Picture

I guess I’m feeling testy. Playful, yet testy. I stayed up too late folding laundry and my son wanted me to get up too early. That’s the #excitingbachelorlifeofawriter

Anyway, I felt sluggish and I heaped a serving of crappy on top of that because I did not make much writing progress this week. Last weekend I was run down (I guess the travel etc. finally caught up with me), so a couple of urgent personal projects got pushed into the week and negated most of my writing time. Upon waking all-too-early this morning, I felt that I needed to have something to report to my readers.

I also must admit that after officially committing to get the novel out, as in ON SALE, March 21st, I had a little bit of a sharp intake of breath when looking at the calendar this morning.

So, I let my son watch some YouTube, while I felt guilty for being a “bad dad” and plugged away on Mercury & Murder. The good news is that I think I can actually cross major edit #3 off the list – making my baddie more bad.

At this point, I feel pretty good about what I accomplished on the novel and I’m about to put up a blog post. I’m going to put away all of the laundry I folded last night, enjoy some of this sunny day with my son, go grocery shopping, then take my boy out for a nice birthday dinner.

2nd Check In

I am on a crawl! <– That seems like a more appropriate representation than I’m on a roll.

So I did manage to get a little work done this week, while attempting to muscle through some extreme jet lag. I began working on trying to make my main baddie look more bad and I feel like I got a solid start. At first I thought I would need to change his characterization, but in rereading some chapters I realized that changing how I emphasized (or in the case of what was there before, didn’t emphasize) the chain of evidence had a significant impact in how bad/guilty the baddie looked. I will enhance the character a little as well, through a couple of specific actions (and that’s next), but I don’t need to do quite as much as I originally thought. My goal is to finish with these changes by the end of the this weekend. If it wasn’t for some neglected household projects, that would probably be super easy. But I have a couple of things that now need urgent attention.

Also, I noticed that even though I previously stated that I have six major changes to make, it’s really eight. I missed one from one of my readers and I forgot that my chapter headings directly relate to my timeline (again) and that the timeline is out of synch. Fixing the timeline is always a doozy of a cerebral exercise.

The other thing that is worth noting, now that I am getting serious about finishing Mercury & Murder, is that I decided to take a little time and update the page for it. It’s not flashy, but it is now accurate — including my new, real, target date for publication, so check it out: Mercury & Murder.

Couldn’t Sleep

That’s unusual for me. Normally, when my head hits the pillow I am out. I sometimes joke that I can sleep on command. But not this week. The past couple of nights I can’t stay awake when watching TV with my son at 7:30-8:00. I go to bed at 10:00 or 11:00 and I’m solidly out for two hours. Then, I have trouble getting back to sleep.The last couple of nights it has taken a couple of hours, but tonight I didn’t get back to sleep at all. I tried everything — reading, warm milk, the other side of the pillow, the other side of the other pillow, watching TV. Nothing. So I’ve finally given up. I was going to get up in half an hour to do some work on Mercury & Murder, so I guess I’ll just get an early start. That feels nice and productive, but man the afternoon today is probably going to be brutal!