Monthly Archives: September 2012

Reading the Obituaries

This is a bit of a rambling post and it is going to be a little morbid. Consider yourselves warned.

Research for murder mysteries means a certain amount of time spent in the obituaries. They’re a great resource, even if it’s a bit on the creepy side. I’ve found popular names at different ages, a person’s history, various ways to say “died.”

When I worked in a hospital, the nomenclature was “expired.” It’s a pretty clinical word on one hand, but on the other it sounds like someone went past their “best by” date. Makes one want to look for a bar code, maybe on the bottom of the foot. There was also the expression “celestial discharge.” Medical professionals can have a pretty bleak sense of humor.

So far in my research I have seen:

  • entered into eternal rest
  • in her own time and on her own terms, she spread her wings and took her flight home (I think this is code for suicide during a terminal illness)
  • passed away (gotta love the classics)
  • went to meet her Heavenly Father
  • departed this (earthly) life
  • passed into eternity to join her other family members

No matter how you dress it up, it still means the same thing.

I can only read them for so long without getting a little twitchy. I believe I’m glad I won’t be around to read my own. One life, summed up in just a few words. How do you do that? Pick what matters about a person, especially when they’ve lived for generations? How many people’s lives have they touched?

Some of these describe family connections, whether by birth or marriage. Some go on to describe a person’s hobbies or organizations, but you really can’t get the essence of a human being in just a few paragraphs.

This gives me a new appreciation for short stories. I spread out my character descriptions and development through a couple hundred pages. A short story writer has to condense that, give you a character you can identify with/sympathize with/be fascinated by.

One of my favorite short stories is by Somerset Maugham. It’s called The Verger. It’s about a church caretaker  who is let go because it is discovered he can’t read. Never mind that literacy was not exactly commonplace at that time, never mind that his job didn’t require him to read, out he went because of someone’s misguided ideas of “improvement.” If you can find it, read it. It’s a wonderful story.

I may put a short story together about Zofia and Dodson. It’s a challenge and I’m not sure I’m up to it. I’ll keep you posted.



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We now join your next novel already in progress

Because I can’t toot my own horn enough:

If you haven’t joined the madness that is Bloody Murder, the first book in the series is marked down to $1.99 for the month of September. That means you can get two great reads for under $5. Take that, Penguin! (I’m still smarting over the price of Jasper Fforde ebooks).

This has, in just one short week,  given me a boost in sales and hopefully more readers hooked into the series.  The feedback I have so far has been positive and that’s enough to get me going on the next one. A review or two wouldn’t hurt, but I’m addressing that in the background (though if you’re a reviewer and would like an ARC, email me your details (

#3 has been in progress for a while, and I’m really enjoying it. We’re going to see a little bit more of Allison, Jerry’s wife and Zo is in for some trouble as she starts to question her own senses. That’s all the teasing I’m going to give you for right now. I’m targeting next summer for its release.  It’s not ready for the editor yet. Should things come together sooner, you’ll hear it here.

This is my last free weekend for a while.  I’m about to start my last Project Management class, which is exciting. It’s also a little daunting because the certification exam, like a deadline, looms like a vulture. Or a beagle pretending to be a vulture.

with thanks to Charles M. Schultz

I love living in today’s world where studying can be done with  a smartphone app. If I’m waiting in line at the checkout, I can run through some questions. I’ve never been good at studying on my own, but I think the discipline I’ve developed in writing will help me a little bit.

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Laser, then shotgun

A friend pinged me last night and asked why Post Parcel wasn’t available in an epub format yet and the answer is the title of today’s post.

For those not familiar with the indie publishing world (and I’ve only scratched the surface), Amazon makes it really easy. They also have a program called Kindle Select. Post Parcel is exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. By taking part in this program, the book is available for Prime members to borrow, and I get a little marketing out of it. I thought it was worth a try since I’ve sold more books and received more reviews at Amazon than any other retailer. So, there’s the laser approach.

I do plan to have it in B&N and GooglePlay and in the Kobo store in time for the glut of holidays that come in December if you want to give someone a virtual stocking stuffer.

I will likely attempt the Smashwords meat grinder in order to get the books out to as many markets as I possibly can, ergo shotgun. I’m looking forward to the experiment. Their formatting instructions seem to be a bit involved, but I’m confident I have the right tools.

Thank you for reading!

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