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Saturday, December 31, 2016

I love the Details in Lisa Black's Unpunished




https://www.amazon.com/Unpunished-Gardiner-Renner-Novel-Black-ebook/dp/B01FBZXPEG/


Unpunished by Lisa Black (Kensington, January 31, 2017) is a Maggie Gardiner and Jack Renner mystery. Maggie is a police forensics tech, and Jack is a homicide detective. When key staff at the last remaining Cleveland daily newspaper are brutally murdered in the busy and noisy press room, Maggie and Jack are forced to work together to find the killer. Lisa Black provides enough back story so readers needn’t have read That Darkness, her previous novel in the Gardiner and Renner series, to feel the palpable tension between her two protagonists. The secret they share is enough to send both of them to prison for life if either of them talks: Jack is the hunted “Vigilante Killer” and Maggie, not Jack, actually pulled the trigger on the Vigilante’s last victim.


One major complication: Maggie’s ex-husband is also a homicide cop and he’s been assigned to track down the “Vigilante Killer” and bring him to justice.



Besides lots of forensic details designed to please mystery lovers and readers of police procedurals, this novel is chock-full of fascinating and accurate newspaper lure. In fact, the press-room murders are themselves symbolic of the death of print journalism in America in the digital age. Will the Cleveland Herald survive the deaths of its senior copy editor, the circulation manager, and others who daily expose and inform the public of the greed and corruption in our midst? Will Maggie and Jack survive to expose the killer? Will Maggie and Jack be exposed themselves?



I, of course, loved this novel. As a crime novelist and ex-newspaperman, I appreciated the details Black wove into the storyline as much as I appreciated the dialog and characterizations. I bought That Darkness after reading Unpunished, and I look forward to reading it and all future Gardiner and Renner novels.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Birth of a Book



After weeks of final revisions and consideration of comments and suggestions from beta readers and editors, I receive the page proofs of the typeset novel for one final review. I’m promised  ARCs shortly after the beginning of the new year, and then I can—at last–hold a printed copy of the book in my hands and feel, as well as see, the child of my imagination made flesh. I will sniff the paper and the ink, run my fingertips lovingly over the cover and interior pages, and cry real tears.

Birthing a book is a joyous occasion. The conception, as always, may be a labor of love; but the delivery is nothing but pure time-consuming painful labor. Next comes the really hard part: introducing the child to the world and analyzing each ohh and ahhh or worrying when others don’t see the same beauty and potential in my offspring that I see each time I look.

Here are the vitals:

6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
340 pages

$14.95 for Trade Paperback; $3.95 for Kindle version
2AM PublicationsISBN-13: 978-0937491195ISBN-10: 0937491195BISAC: Fiction / Psychological
Megan Williams returns to Twin Rivers after five years in a mental hospital to take final revenge on the men who raped and mutilated her. But the tiny Illinois town has grown into a bustling Chicago suburb near the end of the Metra line, and Megan isn’t the only serial killer now leaving dead bodies littering the streets. Can Megan keep her sister safe and still exact her revenge? Or will Megan’s actions make Susan, Tim, and Elsie targets? The Girl Who Lived, the sequel to Spilled Milk, is a fast-paced psychological thriller unlike anything you’ve read before. Not for the faint-hearted or squeamish, this is the story of what happens when a girl who was brutalized and left for dead gets a second chance at life.

Her picture is at the top of this page. Isn’t she lovely?

I’ve named her “Megan’s Story.” Megan is The Girl Who Lived.

You’ll get a chance to meet her on March 2, 2017.

If I sound like a proud parent, it’s because I am. Although two major NY publishers asked to adopt her, I wouldn’t let them. I chose 2AM Publications to be Megan’s god-parent. Until Megan is old enough and strong enough to survive in the world by herself, I prefer to keep her close to home. I know how cold and cruel the world can be.

If you read Megan’s story, you’ll meet unscrupulous people who’ll do anything for a thrill or to make a quick buck. You’ll see people cut into pieces and discarded like trash. You’ll witness seductions and murders and know what it’s like to be incarcerated in jail cells or mental institutions. You’ll feel a silenced automatic pressed against the back of your head and realize how horrible it is to feel hopeless and helpless.

But you’ll also discover love and, perhaps, even find redemption.

I know I shed a tear or two while reading Megan’s Story.  All of my beta readers claim they did, too.
When I wrote Spilled Milk, the prequel to The Girl Who Lived: Megan’s Story, I wrote it as an obituary. I wrote The Girl who Lived as a birth announcement.

Please welcome Megan to the world of the living.

And join me for her Christening on March 2, 2017.



Friday, November 25, 2016

An Intriguing Behind the Scenes Look at Television News




Television news is a cut-throat business. Author Christina Kovac has been a TV reporter and producer in real life, and her first novel (The Cutaway, Atria Books, March 2017) is about the TV news business in the nation’s capital. DC is different than the rest of the world. It’s a world unto itself.
Although Virginia Knightly’s work world is complicated enough, her personal life is about to become complicated, too. It begins with a missing persons news release. Her former boyfriend, head of Metro PD’s Criminal Investigation Division, is the man in charge of the investigation. Virginia needs to cultivate Michael as a source, but she has good reason not to trust him. Before the novel ends, Virginia learns she can’t trust anyone, not even her long-time co-workers. Also complicating Virginia’s personal life is the pending death of her estranged father who walked out of her life and left Virginia with an ailing mother who died and foster parents who cared little for her. Virginia learned the hard way to do everything herself, becoming the producer of the nightly news for Washington’s leading independent television station.

Pending personnel changes at the station complicate matters as Virginia doggedly pursues the story of a woman not unlike herself who was brutally murdered and dumped into the Potomac.

This is a great story that has romance, intrigue, and great dialog. It is also a walking tour of the nation’s capital and a peek behind the scenes of politics, justice, and the news business.



Highly recommended.


Monday, November 21, 2016

A Perfect Model for Crime Writers





Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia (Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books, January 2017) should be subtitled “The Curse of MacBeth.”
Wabash County Sheriff Del Goodman investigates the tragic murder of Hattie Hoffman in rural southern Minnesota. Hattie, the daughter of Del’s closest friend, wanted to be an actress and had starred in a high school production of MacBeth the night she was murdered. When Hattie’s mutilated body is discovered the day after the play opens at the high school, the town of Pine Valley—a small farming community where everyone knows everyone else—is mortified. Everyone is suspect and anyone could be the murderer. Who killed Hattie Hoffman and why? The whole town wants to know and so does the reader.
Told in flashbacks from multiple points of view, the answer unfolds over the course of Hattie’s senior year at Pine Valley High. Literature geeks will love the literary references to Jane Austen novels and Thomas Pynchon and Tim O’Brien from Hattie’s Advanced AP Senior English class, taught by Peter Lund. As we watch the forbidden relationship between Lund and Hattie develop, we begin to piece together possible scenarios for murder.
Mejia fleshes out her characters well, making each come alive. We become silent voyeurs peeking into the windows of tortured souls not so different from our own. Hattie and Del and Peter become us, and we become them.
This story is a cautionary tale of what might happen when, after acting parts to please others for most of one’s life, one decides to be true to one’s own self. Telling the truth can be liberating, yes; but it can also prove deadly. The truth isn’t always the best policy, nor does it always set you free.
This story is also an expertly-crafted whodunit, a mystery that grips the reader and won’t let go. Every crime writer should study this novel to see how a whodunit should be done.
Brilliantly plotted, perfectly executed, this novel rates 5 1/2 stars.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Dragon Devours




In Barry Eisler’s eye-opening novel Livia Lone (Thomas & Mercer, October 26, 2016), there are 3 kinds of people in the world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Livia Lone is a sheepdog. She protects the sheep from being devoured by hungry wolves.
But this sheepdog has a dragon hidden inside of her. When the sleeping dragon wakes, the dog displays its fangs.
Livia has been a victim, and now she has become a predator herself, preying on those who prey on helpless women and children. Labee, Livia’s real name, was sold into sexual slavery by her parents in Thailand, and then Labee and her sister Nason were shipped to the US by unscrupulous human traffickers. Labee and Nason are separated aboard ship, and Labee (Livia) swears to someday find Nason and rescue her.
Livia studies hard and grows up to be a black-belt martial artist and a Seattle police officer investigating sexual crimes. Most of the time, she helps people. But, sometimes, she helps victims, and herself, by killing men who take advantage of the weaker sex.
All the while, Livia Lone continues to search for her abducted sister.
This is a well-crafted psychological thriller filled with violence, sexual content, and lots of really bad people with only a few good ones to make a difference. Ripped from the reality of today’s headlines, Livia Lone is a masterful expose of the underground world decent people deny exists.
Eisler alternates chapters between then and now, relating Livia’s backstory while holding the reader in suspense over what will happen next. Set in the hill country of Thailand, Bangkok, Seattle, and Llewellyn, Idaho, this gritty tale is an emotional roller coaster as well as an exciting thrill ride.
Highly recommended for adults who can handle terror, betrayal, and exploitation of children graphically portrayed.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder: The Psychological Insights of Paige Dearth's Born Mobster

https://www.amazon.com/Born-Mobster-Paige-Dearth/dp/1505831229/

Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder: The Psychological Insights of a Born Mobster
It took me almost a hundred pages to get used to Paige Dearth’s unique spellings of the South Philly dialect. I’m from Chicago where we speak a different variation on the South Philly cross between Irish and Italian. Dearth is obviously an auditory writer. I’m a visual reader. When words aren’t spelled the way I expect, I’m distracted from getting into the story. But Dearth’s great characterizations of Tony and Vincent kept me reading anyway.

Everyone has been bullied at one time or another in his or her life. We can all identify with Tony. Even Vincent and Carmen, Tony’s “fadder”, have been bullied. Tony Bruno, like so many of Paige Dearth’s characters in this novel and her previous novels, is trapped by his heredity and his environment. He feels helpless in a hopeless situation not of his own making. It is only when he says “enough” and begins to fight back, to take control of his life, that Tony has any chance of surviving.

Educational psychologists will tell you that humans tend to imitate behavior that is modeled: we—-both as impressionable children and as adults—-learn from the way we see others behave. Role models have great influence on us. We are products of our environments.

Characters constantly ask each other, “Are you okay? Is everything okay?” Ain’t nothin’ okay in Tony Bruno’s world. It’s a shithole. Shit happens. Period. End of sentence.

Bad things happen to good people all the time in this novel, and bad people get their share of shit dumped on them, too. Born Mobster is a gritty tale filled with graphic violence and four-letter profanity and explicit sexual situations. If it were made into a movie, it would rate a definite “R”. It’s not a story you want kids to read, though older teens might easily identify with Tony, Vincent, and Salvatore.

I give Born Mobster five stars for characterization and storyline. The quality of writing, especially dialog, is consistently four stars. Paige Death is still learning her craft. But she is a writer to watch, and this novel proves it.


Monday, October 31, 2016

RUN: A Collection of Dark Tales






Today is the official release of RUN: A Collection of Dark Tales, edited by Elle J. Rossi and published by Seaside Publications. Here is the list of contributors and the names of their stories:


                                            RUN – A Collection of Dark Tales

 

 

Nightmares come to life in this thrilling collection of dark tales.

 

Resurrection Morning by Caleb Pirtle III: Ambrose Lincoln is a man without a memory. The government has erased his mind with drugs and electric shots. He is a more effective operative, the powers say, if he has no fear. A man without fear can accomplish assignments that others would be afraid to try. Besides, a man cannot reveal any secrets if the secrets have been taken from him. Lincoln is sent to Paris with a British Intelligence officer to help a famous jazz singer escape. She has been smuggling German information out of the country, and someone has betrayed her. If the Gestapo finds the jazz singer first, she will be executed as a spy. Who can Lincoln trust, who wants him dead, and who can help them in their frantic, desperate flight from Paris to the English Channel? If the don’t make it out of France by morning, they won’t make it at all.

 

Black Out by Sue Coletta: When the power goes out on Bear Cat Mountain evil stalks the terrain. With a fallen tree blocking their only escape—live electrical wires dancing across the road and cell tower down—the body count quickly rises. Blu and Jake Carpaccio must track down the killer before they fall victim to his trap. But who can they trust? And how do you fight someone, or something, you cannot see?

 

Sweeton’s Shangri-La by Rachel Aukes: When a young couple discover a mythical paradise, they learn that a fantasy can all too quickly become a nightmare.

 

The Sideshow by Kimberly McGath: Katie Cartwright is struggling with her memory and is haunted by flashbacks. Regressing to an evening at the circus, things are not as they first appear. Strange events, suspicious deaths, and eerie music set the stage for an unforgettable trip to the big top.

 

Three Days by Jennifer Chase: Samantha Carr receives a special email invitation for three days to stay at a new luxury beach hotel. Nothing is as it appears including where the hotel is located. The view from her room changes, leading her into the middle of a gangland war. Will she be driven to madness or give in to the sinister force that relentlessly stalks her?

 

Smile For Me by Kristine Mason: Make me young, make me pretty, make me happy, make me smile… Lisa Duplain refuses to grow old gracefully. Fearing the aging process and desiring youth, she books a weekend at Melody’s Grace—a quaint bed and breakfast also known as the fountain of youth. But something wicked dwells within the walls of the B&B and not everyone who stays at Melody’s Grace leaves happy…even if they have a smile on their face.

 

Bleeder by Paul Dale Anderson: Lucy makes the mistake of answering her doorbell early one morning to find a handgun shoved in her face. The armed man, bleeding from gunshot wounds, forces Lucy to patch him up and hide him inside her house. But the bleeder picked the wrong house, and Lucy is far from innocent victim she pretends to be. A taut tale of blood and fury with no bounds.

 

A Love Story by Kathy Love: When a group of teens use social media to create a fictional love interest for a fellow classmate, they have no idea the horrible chain of events they will set in motion. Now they are the ones receiving messages from the boy they created. But the question is, who is sending them the messages?  Someone who knows what they’ve done? One of their very own group? Or could it be something far more sinister? One thing is for certain, this isn’t a story about revenge. It’s a love story.

 

A Promise is a Promise by Joe Broadmeadow: When an innocent summer day turns into a lifetime nightmare, two friends make a promise to visit vengeance on those responsible. The naivete sets in motion a deadly conclusion.

 

The Game by Elle J Rossi: You win, you live. You lose, you die. The game is as simple and as complex as that.

 
$13.99 for trade paperback. $3.99 for Kindle (on sale now for 99 cents at Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/RUN-Collection-Caleb-Pirtle-III-ebook/dp/B01MDK8VII/
 
 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Discovery and Discoverability




This year has been, for me, one of both discovery and discoverability. Columbus had his 1492. I had 2016, and the year isn’t even over yet!


Interesting that I should write this the morning after returning from Columbus, Ohio, where I read, autographed and participated in an R. A. Lafferty panel at World Fantasy Convention 2016. The trip odometer on my ten-year-old Toyota turned over another thousand miles as I arrived back home in Rockford, Illinois. During the past five years since Gretta’s tragic untimely death, I have traveled more than a hundred thousand miles promoting myself, my new writing, meeting new people, and renewing old friendships. Is it any wonder I feel a little like Brian Keene on his current farewell tour or Richard Collier in Richard Matheson’s Bid Time Return?



Life has often been likened to a journey, and I suppose there is a passing resemblance. We, in the fiction business, send our heroes on impossible quests that involve actual or metaphorical journeys of discovery. Writers, like readers and protagonists, must journey from here to there in order to discover who and what they really are.



Here are some the important things I discovered about myself this year: I kill people for a living, I can never remember a pitch or an elevator speech when an agent or editor asks me what I’m excited about now, and I have lots of wonderful friends and acquaintances who actually do remember me despite all of my faults and foibles (or perhaps because of them).





Every writer needs a label (as, according to publishers and librarians, does every published book), and mine is “I kill people for a living.” I forgot to mention that I kill people for a living when Darrell Schweitzer asked me to introduce myself to the large audience at the Ray Lafferty panel during WFC. I mumbled something about being first and foremost a reader (as was Lafferty), a shy guy who doesn’t know how to promote himself at an SFF convention. I should have, instead, captured the audience’s attention by mentioning that I kill people for a living. I didn’t, and I regret it.



We live and learn. Don’t we?



Likewise, when an editor asked me in an elevator what I was working on now, I should not have mumbled “I never talk about works in progress because talking depletes the energy I reserve for my writing.” What a missed opportunity! I should have had a pitch prepared so the editor, before leaving the elevator, would have asked to see the completed manuscript. Does it do any good to kick myself after the fact?



But I was heartened by good friends who remembered my name and my characters from my stories which were published alongside theirs in anthologies or magazines or from panels we had been on together at Worldcons or Windycons or previous World Fantasy Cons. I got to spend some quality time discussing the business of writing with well-known authors I respect. What more can one ask for?



And a few friends even showed up to hear me read from Winds and Light, two of my supernatural fantasies in the Winds-Cycle.



Just as valuable an experience, however, was the road from here to there and back again. I wrote in my mind an entire short story due next January for an anthology, worked out the next two chapters in my current WIP, and saw locations and scenery I want to describe in future novels. I drove the same I-70 Jack Maguire and Amanda Miller drove in my novel Executive Function to get from St. Louis to Washington, DC.



Now I am back at my keyboard and putting those experiences into words.



During the past five years since Gretta died, I have seen much of the country I never had the chance to see before. Oh, sure, I traveled a lot when I was a soldier. Even then I was a writer at heart and noted people and places for future fictionalizing. But looking at everything through the eyes of a working writer is different. You are on the hero’s journey of discovery.



Noting how tired and exhausted—yet exhilarated—I looked and we both felt, Stephen Vessels asked me in the smoking room at WFC as I prepared to depart for home: “So, was it worth it?” Stephen and I attended Thrillerfest in NYC, MidAmericon2 in Kansas City, and World Fantasy Convention in Columbus this year on book promotion tours and kept bumping into each other. We took time out of our busy writing schedules to promote ourselves and our books, spent our own hard-earned money, and traveled thousands of miles. Was it worth it? Was it necessary? Did it sell books?



The answer, of course, is still blowing in the wind. Was it worth it to meet fellow authors and readers in person? Yes. With so many titles being published these days, promotion is essential to discoverability. The more people who know your name and can place a face with the name, the more books you are likely to sell. That’s the theory anyway. But the reality is that the more books you write, the better you write, and the more people will want to read what you write. There is a direct relationship between quantity and quality, although it’s almost as easy to write lots of bad books as it is to write just one. What matters most, though, is what you’ve learned about the human condition that readers recognize as true in their own lives. If you are able to share your discoveries with others in a way that resonates with them, they will want to read more of what you write. It is really as simple as that. In the final analysis, it’s the writing that matters.



So next year I will stay home and write more. I was gratified when a Nebula and Hugo nominated writer I admire told people at his reading at Worldcon that Paul Dale Anderson is a fantastic writer and everyone should read my books. I was thrilled when so many people showed up at my own readings at Stokercon and WFC. I was honored when readers asked me to sign copies of my novels for them.



But now it’s time to write. I have deadlines looming. I am happy to be home with my cats and my books and my computers where new works beg to be written.



I discovered a lot during my many travels and in my life’s journey from here to there and back again.



I invite you to discover me through my writings.



Sunday, October 9, 2016

I'm Paul Dale Anderson, and I Kill People for a Living (TM)


SF writers love to astound people. Suspense writers love to leave people hanging, oftentimes from cliffs and sometimes from ropes. Thriller writers love to take people on fast roller coaster rides. Mystery writers love to lead people on a merry chase, often with hounds nosing up the wrong trees while the fox hides in plain sight. We horror writers love to shock people.


I read aloud from my works recently at a public library. I was the last writer to read that afternoon. I shocked people awake by saying, “I’m Paul Dale Anderson, and I kill people for a living.”



The nine mostly-mainstream writers who preceded me identified themselves as fiction writers or biographers or historians or journalists who celebrate the lives of either real or fictional people in books.

.

I write about death and dying.



I identify with serial killers. I identify with trained assassins. I kill people for fun and profit. I love to get into the minds of my villains as much as, or perhaps more so than, the minds of my protagonists. I want to show why, as well as how, people do what they do.



Like I said, we horror writers love to shock people. I write shock suspense stories that cross genres, but all of my stories and novels turn into cautionary tales. I am the executioner who holds an axe over your head, and I love to watch the hairs on the back of your neck bristle.



Make one false move, and feel my Instruments of Death!



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Anima and Animus: Writing from a female POV



As I work on The Girl Who Lived, the sequel to Spilled Milk, I’m acutely aware I’m a male writing from a female’s point of view. I have been both lauded and criticized for attempting to understand the female mind and portray a female POV in my novels. “How can a man possibly understand what it’s like to be a woman?” I’ve been asked. Here is my answer.

I love women. I’ve been married to three different women during this lifetime and I’m in an ongoing intimate relationship with another. I’ve lived with women all of my life. My mother was a woman. My grandmothers were women. My aunts were women. More than half of my cousins were women.

My daughter is a woman.

Most of my teachers have been women. Many of the writers I read regularly are women. Many of the students in classes I teach are women.

I am a trained observer of women. I learned to be an objective observer first in journalism classes and then in graduate-level psychotherapy classes at several universities. More than half of the faculty on my thesis and dissertation committees were women. Most of my therapy clients were woman when I was in active practice. I have had access to women’s innermost thoughts and feelings during hypnosis sessions.

I am a good listener. Women tell me they love to talk with me because I listen to them and show I’m actively listening to them by my responses to their statements.

And, lastly but not least, I am a human being. All human beings inherently have both male and female traits. I was likely a woman in at least one of my past lives. I was a female in the womb before testosterone kicked in and defined my anatomy and restructured my brain. Carl Gustav Jung said I have an anima as well as an animus. I believe Jung was right.

Yes, Virginia, I CAN write from a woman’s POV. And women CAN write from a man’s POV. Whether I write accurately or not is up to readers to decide.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I’m supposed to be on my way to New Orleans, but I had to cancel my scheduled appearances at Bouchercon in New Orleans this week because of pending deadlines. I need to finish another novel before I attend the World Fantasy Convention in October. I also have planned signings at Rockford Public Library and Ida Public library between now and WFC. And I have a 6,000 word story due at another anthology before the end of October.


I guess there’s no rest for the wicked, is there? Heh heh.



Instead of driving south to meet and greet so many of my good friends who write mystery and suspense, I’m spending the day at home with fictitious friends from Spilled Milk and Darkness. They tell me their continuing stories and I dutifully record their utterances in words on paper. Like the newspaperman I once trained to be, I try to listen and observe without intruding myself into their lives unnecessarily. From time to time, I do ask pertinent questions. But the stories I write are their stories and not mine. I’m merely an interested bystander.



I can’t help but be reminded of the opening lines of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”:



LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
        5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….
        10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.





Telling stories is like that for me. Let us be the silent observers who visit humanity in the best of times and the worst of times. Will you come with? I promise to show you things you have never seen before. Or, if you have, to offer you a new perspective.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Return from the Dead



Coming back from the dead is never easy.


I deliberately killed myself off twenty-five years ago. I stopped writing fiction to help my wife overcome chronic life-threating illness. Instead of writing fiction, I earned several masters degrees and worked on doctorates in educational psychology and cognitive neuroscience. I learned hypnotic techniques to help prolong human lives and improve the quality of life. I made a name for myself as a hypnosis instructor and author of journal articles.



But Paul Dale Anderson the author of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thrillers was buried and forgotten.



When I returned to fiction writing in 2012, it took two long years for my novels and short stories to again appear in print. I’m still in the process of resurrecting my backlist, but new Paul Dale Anderson novels are now available as paperbacks and e-books.



I began making live personal appearances in 2014, and this year I’m doing the full convention circuit. I’m getting my face and name out there to show people I’m still alive.



I have been back in the fiction game for four consecutive years, and I am about to have a breakthrough. Breakthroughs come when an author publishes consistently for at least five years in one genre or related genres. Breakthroughs occur when name recognition and writing quality reach critical mass.



It takes at least five years before people in this industry take you seriously, five years of writing your heart out, five years of pitching and submitting manuscripts to agents and editors, five years of attending conventions and doing readings and book signings, five years of reaching for the golden ring, missing it by millimeters, before you can grab hold and hang on.



It takes five years for word to get around that your work is worth reading. Any writer worth his or her salt who sticks around for more than five years should notice a breakthrough at the five year mark.



It takes ten additional years to produce a bestselling book. Your writing improves with each book you write, so the more books you write, the better your writing becomes. Sales, also, are accumulative, and the more you write the more books you’ll sell. And the more you sell, the more readers will recognize your name. The more people who recognize your name, the more books you’ll sell. It’s a vicious circle. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Writing is a numbers game.



In order to play the writing game and have a chance at winning, you need:



1. Name recognition

2. Facial recognition

3. Genre recognition

4. Quality (Content) recognition

5. Peer recognition



People will want to buy your work only if other people buy your work. You must fist show that other people like and trust you. Humans are socially conditioned to do what they see other people doing. That’s why books have lots of blurbs from other bestselling authors and reviewers on their covers and in their front-matter.





That, my friends, is a hard truth most writers refuse to admit.



I now have a New York agent, one of the best in the business at a literary agency I respect. I have made new friends, many of them bestselling authors, who know my name and like my work. I help fledgling authors with reviews and blurbs. I have found heaven on earth and I am once again alive and well.



Watch for my breakthrough novel to appear from one of the Big Five publishers. I’m hard at work on a sequel and three stand-alones.



I’m scheduled to appear on panels at MidAmeiCon II, the World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City, in August. I’ll be at BoucherCon in New Orleans in September.



Life is good.














Tuesday, June 7, 2016

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda






All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (Simon and Schuster, June 2016) is an intriguing mystery filled with psychological insights and captivatingly complicated characters. Nicolette Farrell thought she escaped Cooley Ridge, North Carolina, when she was eighteen, but her father and brother still live there so she has to return to help brother Daniel sell their father’s house. Patrick Farrell now resides in a nursing home because his memory comes and goes unexpectedly. Sometimes he recognizes Nic as his daughter. Sometimes he doesn’t. He lives in a world where time isn’t real and the people he loves are only pictures of the past.


Time plays a big part in this novel where the past still haunts the present. Author Miranda expertly manipulates past, present, and future until readers question what is real and what isn’t, makes readers wonder who the real monsters are, and keeps one reading until all of the loose ends are neatly tied up and truth is revealed. Tic toc, Nic. It’s truth or dare time.



This novel is full of insights into relationships. Everyone, including Nic, has secrets they try to keep hidden from outsiders, from friends and family, and even from themselves. Nic eventually comes face to face with all the skeletons in their closets, the monsters that hide in the woods behind her father’s house.



Everything changed ten years ago when Corinne Prescott, Nic’s best friend, disappeared. Now another girl is missing, and Nic and her family and friends are prime suspects. Were both girls murdered? By whom? This is, after all, a whodunit.



Tyler, Nic’s former boyfriend, could have done it. So could Jackson, Corinne’s former boyfriend. So could Daniel, Nic’s brother. So could Nic’s demented father. So could Bailey, friends with Nic and Corinne, whom Corinne had bullied. Nobody is above suspicion.



They say you can’t go home again. They say you can’t return to the past. Author Miranda proves the naysayers wrong.



If you like first-person mysteries with complicated characters, you’ll love All the Missing Girls. Highly recommended.




Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Devil Made Me Do It Again and Again

The Devil Made Me Do It Again and Again




 
 
 
I love short stories. I grew up in the pulp era and read short stories and novellas in monthly magazines printed on pulp paper. I haunted newsstands weekly and bought arm loads of pulp magazines to devour at home. I graduated to buying and reading paperback collections of short stories, then to hardbounds borrowed from the library. I have fond memories of reading Grof Conklin’s sf reprint anthologies filled with stories from the pulps, and original anthologies of stories that contained stories by my favorite pulp authors. Periodically, I reread some of those stories. Each time I reread a story I discover something new I missed the first time around.



The Devil Made Me Do It Again and Again (Crossroad Press, May 2016) is a collection of ten of my own stories that appeared in magazines or original anthologies over the past forty years, plus three new stories never seen before in print. I wrote a brief introduction to each story, and Irwin Chapman wrote a revealing Introduction to my Foreword. I included some of my hard-learned secrets of writing in an Afterword.



Crossroad Press published a nice reprint of my earlier The Devil Made Me Do It (Miskatonic University Press, 1985) as an e-book in 2014, and The Devil Made Me Do It is currently available for Kindle or Nook at https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Made-Me-Do-ebook/dp/B00RFYVSPK/ or http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-devil-made-me-do-it-paul-dale-anderson/1120966454?ean=2940150201781. It’s also available from Kobo. The paperback is out of print.



It seemed natural to offer the latest collection of my short stories to Crossroad Press, and I’m very happy with their editing and cover art. You can order copies for your Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Made-Me-Do-Again-ebook/dp/B01G4RQRUE/ or for your Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-devil-made-me-do-it-again-and-again-paul-dale-anderson/1123845806?ean=2940158189791.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Paul Dale Anderson Writer: Advice to New Writers

Paul Dale Anderson Writer: Advice to New Writers:   Advice to new writers who want to become professional authors or the trials and tribulations of all fiction writers It’s ti...

Advice to New Writers


 
Advice to new writers who want to become professional authors or the trials and tribulations of all fiction writers


It’s time to share some of the things I’ve learned during more than fifty years of professional writing. I thought about calling this “advice to young writers,” but many writers are no longer young when they turn pro. So this is probably good advice for all writers, young and old alike, professional or aspiring, myself included. Take it for what it’s worth. My advice is usually free. I charge for my stories (smile). If you like what you read here, perhaps you’ll buy one of my novels or short story collections at Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Paul-Dale-Anderson/e/B00A9XFLBQ/ or BarnesandNoble.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/paul+dale+anderson?_requestid=514797. I’ll eventually get royalties. Every penny helps.



You’re a writer if you write. You’re a real writer if you write regularly. You become a professional writer after you sell your first story for cash money paid at professional rates, and the story is actually published and available for public sale.



Very few professional writers earn their living entirely from writing fiction. Most pros have to supplement their royalties by writing non-fiction, and/or teaching creative writing classes, or working a full or part-time day job. Short stories and novels may pay the rent and put a little food on the table, but you have to be really prolific (as well as good) to also pay for health insurance, social security (self-employment tax), and income taxes solely from fiction sales. And, if you expect to save money for retirement, you need to start saving now and put something away from each monthly or semi-annual royalty check. Royalty income tends to diminish with time, and you can’t count on receiving big royalty checks forever. You’re only as popular as your next novel. Backlist books don’t usually sell well unless you’re Stephen King or James Patterson.



I began writing when I was four. I turned pro when I turned seventeen. I won a state-wide writing contest for high school students. My short work (less than 2000 words) was published in multiple places and I was paid for each publication. I earned $175.00 from that initial sale ($25 for winning the contest, $150.00 for first serial rights and subsequent publications; I considered that big money back in 1962). I put all that big money in the bank and it helped feed me my first year at the University of Illinois. Eventually, I earned a BA in English with a minor in journalism from Loyola University, and I sold a bunch of non-fiction pieces to newspapers and magazines and worked briefly as a magazine and a book editor.



I wrote my first novel while in high school, my second, third, and fourth novels while in college. Those novels were valuable learning experiences for me, but the novels never sold. I still have dog-eared copies tucked away in trunks somewhere. From time to time I think of revising them and trying again to sell them. Someday, perhaps, I will.



I sold only four short stories between 1966 and 1977. I sold three work-for-hire down-and-dirty novels (one western and three erotic/porn novels) between 1977 and 1984. Although I did consider myself a professional writer, I wrote only part-time and worked full-time day jobs while serving my country, managing businesses, raising a family, and learning a lot about living. None of the four science fiction novels I wrote during that time period sold. They are also buried in a trunk somewhere; rightfully so, I suspect.



I became a full-time pro writer in 1984 with the publication of multiple short stories and three novels bearing my Paul Dale Anderson by-line. I also taught writing classes for the University of Illinois and Writers Digest Schools, and I wrote articles on writing for which I was sometimes paid and that were published in national and small press publications. I joined SFWA, HWA, and MWA. I served as a vice president and trustee of HWA. I remained a full-time writer until 1990. In 1990, when my wife first became ill and we needed insurance, I took a day job at the local public library and remained working full-time for libraries until 2011. I earned a masters in Library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin and retired as an honest-to-goodness reference librarian. I worked for both public and academic libraries and taught classes during that twenty-year time period, and I earned both a meager state university retirement and a public employee retirement. I also earned a masters in educational psychology and worked on a doctorate. I did research and wrote journal articles and a University-published thesis and dissertation, but I wrote no new fiction from 1993 until 2013.



When Gretta died in 2012, I decided to return to writing fiction to save my sanity. I retired from academia and closed up my successful hypnosis practice in 2013. I didn’t write full-time until 2014, but I did begin to attend sf conventions and reactivated my memberships in SFWA, HWA, and MWA. I joined ITW and The Authors Guild. I dropped my memberships in National Guild of Hypnotists, American Psychological Association, and Association for Psychological Science. I sent out novel proposals to editors and agents, and I sent new short stories to editors. It was like starting over again. Most of the editors I had worked with had died, as had Barbara Puechner, my literary agent. Few people in the industry recognized my name in 2014. I used multiple pen names when I was a prolific writer working in multiple genres, and that didn’t help. Nor did being best-known as a horror writer, because my new works were more fantasies and thrillers or crossed genres.



It took me two years to get rights back to my previously-published novels and find new publishers to reprint them. I began selling regularly to the small press. Eldritch Press, Damnation Books, and Crossroad Press bought new novels and Weirdbook and The Horror Zine bought short stories. Within a year after publishing my novel, Eldritch Press went out of business. Damnation Books sold out to another publisher before they published my book. I immediately sold both titles to Crossroad Press.



I only recently acquired a new agent.



So here is my advice: write every day. Write what you want to write and like to read. Writing should be fun and you should be so absorbed in the story itself that you can’t wait to find out what happens to your characters next. Before you finish one novel, start on your next novel. Write a short story a month. Keep writing. Take a break from one project to work on another, if you need a break. Have lots of fun because you deserve it.



Although writing should be fun, revision and editing should be, and will be, hard work. So, you will find, is marketing hard and time consuming work. You write for the love of telling a good story. You edit and sell your writing to make a living.



Never hire an editor to edit your manuscript. Editors offer to pay a professional writer (you) in advance for the privilege of editing your manuscripts. Editors pay you. You don’t pay them. Period. End of sentence.



Editors today expect a manuscript to be almost perfect before they first see it, so the real editing work is your responsibility. It’s not the responsibility of an editor you hire. Nor the acquisitions editor. Nor your agent’s. The responsibility for editing your work is yours and yours alone. Your editor may assign a copy editor to check continuity and facts, a line editor to check spelling and punctuation, and a proofreader to catch typos. If you are a true professional, their job will be easy and minimal. They’ll remember you and thank you for it.



Before you can write, you must read. Read everything, including the ingredients listed on a cereal box. Read everything you can get your hands on.



Before you can edit, read Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and The Chicago Manual of Style. I’ve memorized The Little Book (Strunk and White), and you should, too.



Next Up: The business of writing