So Why All of the Silence?

As some of you have noticed (and even asked), what’s up with the writing and why has the blog gone silent? It’s simple-ish. Really. I bought a house. Technically a fixer-upper. Now to be clear, not a fixer-upper in the rat infestation in the basement, crumbling foundation, WFT-OMG, vane of things. It’s more in the yard is a jungle, and the color selections were Pepto Bismal pink, salmon, purple, and what-were-they-thinking green, vein of things. Maybe you already see where this is going.

So, I took some time off work to work on it and the first day of the project I’m having lunch with two of my best buds and I ask them how I get rid of the odor in the house. “Gotta tear out the carpets.” I hadn’t planned on that, but it was easy and fun – out they went. While staring at the subfloor for hours doing the interminable job of removing the leftover staples, I found myself staring at what I now determined to be the crappiest bathroom floor I had ever seen. Its only redeeming value was that it covered the 1974 turquoise barf-pattern, original flooring. I took the bathroom apart and all of that came out as well. Then, although I had only planned to take the popcorn ceilings down in the two rooms I had planned to paint, once I got started I discovered it was easy. So, naturally, I did all five rooms upstairs and the hallway. Turns out the post-removal sanding is the hard part. My shoulders still ache.

Somewhere in the midst of trying to sand, fix, caulk, and tile, I moved my son and I in. Into temporary quarters in the den and bonus room, while I attempted to put the upstairs back together. Technically, the upstairs is mostly back together at this point – we’re sleeping upstairs and both bathrooms are half working. But I still need to move some furniture up, do lots of unpacking, and some finishing work. By the way, that’s the short version of the story.

So from the end of June until now, weekends and evenings and some very late nights, have been consumed with the project and the only work I’ve done on Mercury and Murder is to reread it.

At first I was okay with taking a break from the writing. It was supposed to be a short break and I did need to fix up my house and get my son and I settled into it, after all. But the scope expanded, then expanded again. The weeks moved into months and here I am three months and two weeks later and I’m feeling actual angst at not having worked on the book in three+ months. It could have been out by now!!

Now that the angst of needing to write has finally overtaken the angst of needing to finish the house and starting today I’m going to be nibbling on both. I don’t have a firm re-revised date for getting the book out, but December 1st feels semi-realistic, so I’ll aim for that and see how the next ten weeks go.

Back in the USA

Not to be outdone by a picture of Mercury & Murder near some five-hundred year-old French ruins, one of my Beta Readers took the book to an exotic spot in Durham, NC.

Mercury & Murder at the James Joyce Pub

Mercury & Murder at the James Joyce Pub

The James Joyce Pub!

Well, it is Durham. And you read Finnegans Wake, right? :-)

Cheers to my Beta Readers. Thanks for reading Mercury & Murder, thank you for your feedback, and thank you for continuing to answer my ceaseless questions. I truly appreciate your help. I am plugging away on the book and looking forward to releasing it (fingers crossed) July 1st.


Beta Goes to France

So what do you do if you volunteer to be a beta reader for a novelist? Why you take the book on holiday to France, of course!

Mercury & Murder Beta in France

Mercury & Murder Beta in France

Now I’m not saying that if you get a chance to read one of my betas that you’ll get a trip to France, your results may vary. But, if you happen to have a vacation coming up, it does seem like an ideal time to read (Shameless Plug Warning –> particularly one of my books!).

So my good friend Beth, from Jersey (England), read Murder & Mochas and volunteered to be a Beta Reader for Mercury & Murder (Book 2 of the Beowulf Chronicles). As luck would have it, I finished just in time for her holiday in France and she took the book along with her.

Mercury & Murder Beta in France

Mercury & Murder Beta in France

The ruins in the background are of Les Tours de Merle, a castle in the commune of Saint-Geniez-ô-Merle, in the Corrèze département of France. It was a feudal fortress from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, and a historic monument since July 30, 1927. At one time it included seven castles, two chapels, and village. Probably some people as well. And it exchanged hands, at least once, during the Hundred Years War.

I must say that it feels pretty cool to see my, not-yet-published, book globetrotting already! To top that off, not only did Beth take the time to read it and provide me feedback, but she also took it on her vacation. I feel honored!

The good news is that she liked it. She liked it more than Murder & Mochas and she liked it so much that she read it in one evening! In general, the feedback has been that this one is better — better plot, better pacing, more polished, etc. Good to know that I’m getting better (I think that’s how it’s supposed to work). That said, I’ve still got a lot of work to do before I finish up Mercury & Murder, but more on that in my next post.

Flipping on the Light

It’s appropriate that my last post was on the eve of my week off to write, since I have taken this week off to write. Here’s a quick recap:

I didn’t take that week off. I found out that my company was about to let some people go in a restructuring and I cancelled my vacation. I did not get let go, but my department did get hit hard – that shook me up. For a while. At this point, for both me personally and my department I think that there is an opportunity for some very positive change and I am starting to look forward to it. For the past month or so, I must say, this writing hobby has seemed entirely secondary.

On the writing front, the work hit a full stop and then I nibbled at it on and off. During one phase of nibbling, I did manage to finish the beta for Mercury & Murder. I didn’t make all of the changes I had planned, it was more of a merger between making most of the significant ones and feeling the need to put it in the hands of my Beta Readers. So a couple of weeks ago, after missing the deadline, the delay line, and the new deadline, I sent it off to them. I’m aiming for feedback – Wow next weekend already.

As for book 3 (tentatively titled Chocolate & Wetsuits), my real target for the week, I’ve got the first chapter done – yay me! A chunk of that was done in a moment of true inspiration when I realized that volunteering to read something at my writers group meant that I actually had to have something to read. It got better reviews than I was anticipating and one significant flaw was discovered. That said, I need to finish outlining the book and write as much of it as possible this week. Ideally, I would like to finish it around the time that I get feedback on Mercury & Murder, but I don’t see that happening at this point.

I’ll keep you posted.

My Week of Writing

Begins . . . Now! I feel like my next sentence should be, “That is all.” But I’m chatty, so it won’t be. :-)

I took off next week to write. Technically, I’m supposed to be getting Mercury & Murder out to my beta readers today or tomorrow, but I’m a little behind — we’ll see how that goes. Then I’m supposed to start on BC3, tentatively titled The Heist. My goal is to get BC3 done while the beta readers are reading Mercury & Murder (BC2).

At any rate, the goal is to get jacked up on caffeine and spend the next 7 days writing. Fortunately, the weather has conspired in my favor. It has been one rainy, chilly, nasty winter day out. A make me some soup and curl up under a blanket with some tea type day. So I don’t really feel like doing anything other than staying in. That’s good. We’ll see if it holds when the spring weather breaks in tomorrow.

I’ll try to make some quick updates along the way, but that’s enough idle chit-chat. Here I go.

Mercury & Murder Cover

I am so stoked to be unveiling the cover for Mercury & Murder, book 2 in the Beowulf Chronicles series.

Mercury & Murder


What do you think??

Once again, I had the fabulous Abel Valdivia create my cover and he did a bang up job. This time, though, instead of going to him with an idea mostly worked out and then dragging him through endless back and forth to create the picture I had in my head, I let him do his magic. I simply told him what the book was about and a few of the ideas and images that were central to it and said, “show me what you think it ought to be.” The final version is a very minorly tweaked version of what he produced.

I couldn’t be happier, both with the result and with the ease with which he created a great cover for the book. There is something so damned exciting about seeing the cover — helps to make it real. Now I just have to finish the book!!

M&M is Accidentally On Sale

Okay, so here’s the funny thing (technically the title was supposed to be the funny thing). A week or so ago, I announced a book sale for Murder & Mochas. Primarily just because and a little bit to get those tire-kickers to stop kicking. As I said, I’ve got great control over price on the ebook, but less flexibility with the paper edition.

Basically, for the print edition, I mark the price down at CreateSpace and 3-5 business days later it propagates to Amazon. Sunday night I thought about all of the stuff I needed to do Monday and decided just to take care of it, after all it was just a few clicks and I might be on the 5-day plan. Randomly I logged into Amazon today and discovered I was on the 3-day plan!

So the paper edition is on sale a few days early. I’ll leave it on sale through the weekend and then see how long it takes me to turn it off. The Kindle countdown sale will still start at 8 am (EST, I think) on Saturday.

Beta Readers Wanted

I’m looking for Beta Readers for Mercury & Murder, the second book in my Beowulf Chronicles series.

The idea is simple. I’ll provide you with a copy of my latest novel, you’ll read it, and provide me with feedback.

My goal is to have the beta version ready to distribute on March 7th and to receive feedback by April 5th. If you would like to help, you need to have a strong commitment to reading the entire novel and providing feedback in that timeframe. It is also a strong preference that you like Sci-Fi and/or Mystery, but you do not have to have read Murder & Mochas.

If interested, please send me an e-mail at

Some Good Reviews

One nice outcome from doing the Goodreads Giveaway is that Murder & Mochas is getting more reviews!

Now the main reason I did the giveaway was to put the book in readers hands:

Murder & Mochas, Goodreads

But it’s a bonus when they read it and leave a good review. For instance, Vicki gave Murder & Mochas 5 out of 5 stars:

From the second that I opened this book, I was hooked. Within the first few sentences you are introduced to our main character Kurt West, bounty hunter extraordinaire, who is sitting in a Starbucks and watching an alien. This part alone brought up so many questions in my head about the world that Mr. Bigler had created, like why were the aliens here and did everyone know about them. So I had to read on in order to find out. . . .

To end things, I loved this book. It was a classic who-dun-it but with a sarcastically fun detective, aliens and a small southern town thrown into the mix. And for all those additions it doesn’t lose any of the classic fun that you can find in other mystery novels. I can’t wait for next one!

 And what more could a writer ask for than a smiling reader

Murder & Mochas, Goodreads, Leicester City

and a 4 out of 5 stars review:

I was attracted by the premise of the book, a sci-fi detective story. . . .

A real page turner: fast paced, full of suspense, imaginative and packed with twists and turns which had me guessing till the end. The protagonist was believable, likeable and therefore added to the story immensely – Kurt was flawed, sometimes trying (and amusingly failing) to be sarcastic and funny. All the secondary characters were detailed. I enjoyed the flow of the writing and it felt easy to read. . . .

Overall, great plot, good characters, fun read. Really enjoyed and can’t wait for the sequel to come out later in the year.

Thanks Vicki & Tm for the nice reviews. Good news is that book 2 is on track!



Book Sale!!

Murder &  Mochas will be on sale March 1st-3rd!

Murder & Mochas

Why you wonder am I putting it on sale?? Well, I know a number of people who have said that they’ve “been meaning to get a copy,” but haven’t quite gotten around to it. Now I’m not going to name any names (Patti), but it seems to me that this would be an excellent time to pick up a copy. So if you’ve been meaning to get a copy (Dan) or it’s been sitting on your TBR shelf on Goodreads (Debbie), Mar 1st-3rd is the time for you to buy.

You don’t have to read it right away, but you can save yourself a few bucks.

The ebook will go on sale at 8 am on the 1st for $1.99. Then it will go to $2.99 on the 2nd and $3.99 on the 3rd. Regular price resumes on the 4th. I’ve got less flexibility with the paper version, so I’ll have it discounted ~25% for the three days of the sale.

If you’ve read it and liked it, help me spread the word.