Heritable traits are passed from one generation to the next and then combine with acquired traits. The wrong combination of those traits can be deadly. PASSAGE OF CRIME, the next generation of murder in the Ernie Bisquets Mystery Series.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Passage Of Crime
I'm excited because the release is not too far off now.
About the book:
The most unpredictable character trait can be buried deep in the dark soul of the next generation. But be advised—Evil will eventually seek its own level, and then evolve. PASSAGE OF CRIME, a new twist on murder in the Ernie Bisquets Mystery Series.
London’s East End, once known for poor boroughs and a derelict rail yard, is enjoying an optimistic resurgence. It’s becoming an affordable option for middleclass residents looking to have their pounds go further. Despite this sweeping out of old rubbish, a cautious step is still advised when passing by a few remaining dark alleys. If only Mary Walsh had listened.
Prophet Brown, a disfigured, pathetic little man, called Detective Inspector Flannel after stumbling upon the body of a young woman in one such alley. Flannel quickly realizes she is not the random victim she appears. Add to that, the crime scene is hauntingly reminiscent of an old unsolved case; a case that almost ended an otherwise brilliant career eight years ago.
For the moment, Prophet Brown is the only solid link between the two cases. He has been in the employ of Lord Alfred Raventhorn, a charismatic and well-connected Member of Parliament for 17 years. Raventhorn is also the very man Flannel unsuccessfully accused of the murders in the previous case. It should be noted here, in the private conversations of those of impeccable character and devoid of a tendency toward exaggeration, remarks have been made regarding the MP's rumored ill treatment of Prophet.
Flannel finds himself navigating a very treacherous course. His superiors have warned him for the last time to tread cautiously around the MP, as the rising tide of the past threatens to pull him under. Reluctantly, Inspector Flannel turns to a most unlikely ally, a reformed pickpocket named Ernie Bisquets. Together they disentangle a mesh of old lies and current clues attempting to bring a ruthless murderer to justice–ignoring the dangerous notion of murder being a carefully disguised trait passed from one generation to the next.
PASSAGE OF CRIME is a traditional English mystery, complete at 75,500 words. Sure to appeal to Nancy Atherton and Bill Crider fans, Passage Of Crime brings together the unlikely combination of a dowdy old Scotland Yard Inspector and a plucky reformed pickpocket in this whodunit set in contemporary London.
Email me if you would like to be contacted when the book is released.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Anytime I get stuck on a plot line or character introduction I like to turn back to my brushes and a blank canvas. There is a great deal to be said about diverting creative energy in order to get the flow going in the right direction again.
Fortunately I started out life as an artist. It’s something I still enjoy, and has afforded me a fine living. Having that to turn to in times of writing stagnation is a comfort. It jumpstarts the creative juices and helps me work through whatever has stymied me.
About a month ago, while writing a short story about a reluctant murderer, I found myself in a quandary about just how to commit the crime. I wanted it to be different, but relatable in about 12,000 words. Getting the story started wasn't a problem. Then, about three chapters in, I found myself pacing the studio without a clue on how to bring about the demise of a very evil antagonist. The deed had to be worthy of the crimes committed, yet done in a manner acceptable to the reluctant protagonist. Hence, my dilemma.
It wasn’t long before I was sketching out a painting. I decided on a copy of a 15th Century Flemish painting; Portrait Of A Young Woman, by Rogier van der Weyden. It has always been one of my favorites, and I had just acquired a frame worthy of such a work. Normally I would paint something original, but painting a copy of an Old Master allows me to think through the writing issue rather than concentrate on what I’m painting. It sounds odd, but it actually works for me. And if I’m going to paint a copy, it might as well be one I like.
Together, we worked through my issues with the story. I made notes for the next chapters as the Young Woman kept a watchful eye on what I was doing on the canvas. As a result, I can safely say my creative juices are flowing once more over the treacherous rapids of murder. The painting is finished and hanging in my living room—the final result you see pictured above—and I’m back at my keyboard getting ready to deliver evil his just reward.
In another post I’ll let you know how the story turned out.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Flash Fiction is more or less a derivative of the short story. Through the years many great authors have said so much with so few words. O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi comes to mind, as does the work of Poe and Maupassant. Aesop’s Fables are another fine example. Flash Fiction takes this one step further.
Consider Flash Fiction is to an author what the 100 Yard Dash is to a Marathoner; or, for the fitness crowd, Pilates for the brain. To sharpen the point even more, it’s the telling of a complete story in the least amount of words–usually 500 or less. The important thing here is you tell the whole story. Taking an excerpt from a longer story does not constitute flash fiction. Despite what others might think, that would still be considered an excerpt.
Hemingway is credited with penning the most celebrated with this 6 word story: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Tucked into those few words are all the elements of a good story. There’s a protagonist, conflict and a resolution. The remarkable thing about this type of fiction is the brevity of the work allows the reader to extract all that is implied, leaving them to interpret and draw their own conclusion of the author’s intent.
So, next time you have the seed of an idea and a little time to kill, put your story down on paper. When finished, start distilling it down to the least amount of words. Remember, implication is your friend, and brevity your motivation.
Call me Ishmael. I find myself alone, bobbing in the blood-stained waves, hoping the masts in the distance are that of the Rachel and not the delusions of a man half crazy with thirst and the visions of the great white whale that has brought about this end. The once turbulent waves are calm, devoid of any trace of the mysterious captain and his obsession with finding and killing the whale responsible for the loss of his leg. Gone, too, is the Pequod, an ominous looking ship festooned with the bones and teeth of the very devils its captain sought with murderous intent.
If I’m to die, so be it. All that’s left of this nightmarish voyage is the unused coffin I cling to–the coffin of Queequeg, a fellow harpooner. His repulsive appearance hastened my opinion of him as a savage, though our brief time together proved me wrong. Now, even in death, his kind spirit and selflessness will most likely save me from the tragic end I’ve witnessed to this brave crew.
It's a shame Melville didn’t have a blog.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
So you got rejected. As a writer you should understand this is all part of the process. It’s not like this is something new. We have experience rejection since we were old enough to draw on a wall with a crayon. We saw it as art, but mom saw it as a reason to hide the crayons. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t art.
We put pen to paper (or actually fingers to keyboards) with the idea of one day standing beside those literary giants that inspired us to do more with our thoughts and imaginations than just daydream. We toil over a keyboard for what seems like an eternity. Editing, then editing again. Reading, editing, moving this, adding that, until we are certain we hold within our hands exactly what the world has been waiting for–the novel all future novels will be compared to.
With the query written, and the first chapter attached, the email shoots off into hyperspace in search of a worthy agent for such a masterful work of fiction. You start the next book, certain your offer of representation is being drafted simultaneously. Maybe just one more cup of coffee as you await the email alert indicating your invitation to success has arrived.
Then it happens. You open the email and, with little more than a polite salutation, your heart is ripped from your breast. It’s a short paragraph, and the only word that stands out is – ...unfortunately.
No need to read on. That same feeling comes over you. The painful vision of mom collecting up the crayons and carrying them off to another room flashes through your mind. You weren’t old enough to understand then, but you should now. Even though mom took the crayons away, you didn’t stop finding ways to express yourself or finding an audience for that expression. You continued on despite the rejections you faced. For those who didn’t give up, the roots of those scribblings blossomed into true artistic expression.
Remember, as with every artistic expression, it’s not suited for everybody. Patience and a belief in what you’ve produced should keep you to task. I read somewhere 90% of writers don’t become published authors because they quit after the first sense of rejection. If you look at this from a glass half-empty/half-full perspective, what really happened is 90% of your competition has been eliminated. You can certainly compete with the other 10%.
With the New Year upon us, it’s time for a new resolution. You felt strongly enough about putting those fingers to the keyboard, now keep at it until your query lands in front of the right person at the right time. Do your research, continue to develop your writing skills, and get the next idea on paper and out the door. There is an agent out there waiting for you’re your submission, don’t disappoint them.
A very bright and Happy New Year to all the soon to be authors out there!
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
As misfortune would have it my original independent publisher, for unavoidable circumstances, has closed their doors. Thus, I find myself adrift once more, navigating the turbulent seas of submission. Fortunately, I've grown much wiser over these past four years, and have continued to refine my skills as a writer. So the idea of securing representation for my next book through a literary agent is not as daunting as it once was. To be perfectly honest, it was something I fully intended to do once I established the series and felt confident in my abilities as a writer. I look at this unfortunate event now as an opportunity to pursue that course.
The first two books in The Ernie Bisquets Mystery Series have met with wonderful reviews and acceptance, so I was not about to let this event strip the wind from my sails. With my rights returned, and so many new tools available to authors, I quickly republished both books through CreateSpace. I was apprehensive at first, but in the long run this was something I felt I needed to do. The books have an established presence in the literary world that I worked hard to create. As I move forward with the series I'll need to leverage this presence. With both of those books back on course, I turned my attention to the new book and the task of querying literary agents.
I find I'm much more thoughtful in those I query. No more scattershot into the wind. I did extensive research into the agencies to see what similar authors/books they represent and how my work might compliment their list of clients. I have a far greater understanding of how valuable an agent's time is, so if I expect to be considered I need to be considerate first. I compiled my list through QueryTracker.net– what an exceptional tool for any writer. After refining my search, and making copious notes on the agents highlighted in the results, I narrowed the list to whom I felt might find my work worth considering.
This is where it gets scary again. My list of agents is finite. There is no adding to it a few weeks later in my journey. I have one shot to capture their attention. Every word from here forward must be carefully considered and arranged in a one page query to arouse within the agent the same excitement I carry within me about the characters and story I've created. To some extent, this single page query is more difficult to write than the entire 300 page manuscript. It's also the cause of many sleepless nights.
More about the query phase in my next post.