Amazon

Amazon

Amazon | Guy L. PaceI’ve been working with some marketing people and trying different promotions on Amazon for Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers. As I move to the finish line on the third book, I want to have a stronger showing in the first two. While they have done well at times on Amazon, sales on the other e-book vendors have been abysmal. So, I had to come to a decision.

As of today, both books are only available, exclusively, on Amazon. Much as I wanted to have an open market for the books, it just wasn’t going to work.

There is a benefit for the reader, though. Via the KDP Select program, folks with Kindles and the Kindle app–along with an Amazon Prime or subscription account–can get and read both books for no added cost. That is in the Kindle Unlimited program that is part of KDP Select. You can still order your own e-book copy for $2.99, or the paperback (through a local bookstore or Amazon and shipped from Ingram Spark). But, if you want to just check it out and read it, that works, too. You can even lend a copy to a friend through the lending library feature.

I do have an option to opt out of the KDP Select in about 30 days. I do not expect that to happen.

I hope I’m not disappointing anyone. Amazon is what works and that’s where I have to take it. Thanks for your support.

Keep writing.

 

Hi, 2017!

2017

Our gift from 2017 is snow.

Deep SnowLots and lots of snow. And cold. Yeah, we got some cold here. Both the weather cold and the virus cold. Not fun together. But, we’re getting past the virus cold.

I’ve cleared the drive and sidewalk on an almost daily basis. The back yard is about knee-deep in the white stuff. There are days I sit in the sun room and look out over the snow and see the beauty. Especially when there is a sun break and it glistens. As I’m writing this (Monday, Jan. 9, 2017), it is snowing again–okay, it was. it stopped again. But, I’ve already cleared the drive and walk twice. We got about four to five inches overnight, and a couple more during the day. The forecast calls for a bit more snow this afternoon and into tomorrow.

The picture on the right shows that our Santa and Baby Jesus decoration is about buried. I shot this photo a few days ago. This morning, the snow completely buried Baby Jesus and you can just see Santa’s hands.

If you followed this blog through the fall, you know I completed a first draft of the third novel in the Spirit Missions series during November. Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers are doing well. I’ll dive into this first draft now and do some rewriting. I know I left some things out in the mad rush of NaNoWriMo to hit the 50,000 word mark, and I know I need to work more on the main character’s internal dialog. So, I have my work cut out for me for the next month or so.

Then there is the ending. That’s the part I need to clean up between where I left off at the end of November, and the Epilogue I wrote to kind of wrap up the series. If you read Amy’s Lesson or The Gift, the related short stories I posted here, you’ll get some hints about some of the things that happen in this third installment.

So, here’s hoping for a productive 2017. Let’s all stay healthy, happy, and warm.

Keep writing.

(PS: Yeah, it snowed last night. Two more inches. I gotta have faith that it will stop sometime soon. 😉

Holidays

Holidays

NaNoWriMo 2016 is over, the end of the year holidays are here. I’m working through the last of the chapters of my “work in progress” and revising the story. This has been an interesting project and North Carolina will never be the same.

This work, with the working title of Alien Alliance, will be the last in the Spirit Missions series, so I have to make certain that I wrap up all the little nuanced loose ends I left in Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers.

All the action in this new book takes place in North Carolina and a little in Virginia. Zombies in Asheville, aliens in Raleigh, and the end of humanity as we know it just hours away. Jealousy, anger, love, joy, pain, and desperation, all play out in the story. So, I’ll soon have to write the cover blurb and include all that in just a few sentences.

Merry Christmas

I will probably not post again until after Christmas. I’m working on the book, getting some other projects done, and spending time with the family.

I also selected a new site theme. As I tweak this and get it working, let me know what you think of it. Getting a theme, with colors, font, layout, and widgets, all organized takes a little time. The basic theme is in place and most of my standard widgets are there. I just need to make sure it is all working and set up correctly.

So, if something isn’t behaving correctly, post a note and I’ll get right on it.

Thanks for your support this year and following along on this blog. It has been an interesting year.

I hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Keep writing.

 

The Lead

If It Bleeds …

blood_splatter_texture_by_ienigmagraphics

If it bleeds, it leads.

You probably heard a number of old print newspaper tropes like, “if it bleeds, it leads,” and “you buried the lead.” The word as I’m using it here (sometimes spelled “lede” lately to differentiate it from its homonyms) refers to the first paragraph of a news story.

The version of the term, lede, came into use circa 1965. That spelling just grates on me, so I’ll stick to the old way. The first paragraph of a news story should lead you into the rest by providing you with the most important elements. If I said it should lede you, you’d get all confused and think I committed a typo.

This is the first of a series of posts on journalism and how it relates to writing, specifically writing fiction. I was no famous journalist in my day, but I did work on a number of small weekly and twice-weekly papers. I had some good mentors both in the Navy and in civilian life.

It was through these experiences and practice of writing news stories that I developed my style, I think. An economy of words, precise description, active voice, all play a role in my writing. I’m not perfect, but I try.

So, what exactly is a lead?

In a news story, the first paragraph–usually no more than two sentences–is the lead. It normally contains four or five of the six critical elements of a news story: who, what, where, when, why, and how. It is the lead that draws the reader into the rest of the story which expands on the elements to offer a complete narrative of what happened.

Here is an example of a well-written lead from The Chicago Tribune, Tribune News Service, Oct. 3, 2016:

The Illinois state treasurer plans to announce that the state will suspend billions of dollars of investment activity with Wells Fargo.

This simple single sentence covers the critical elements of the story. Who (Illinois state treasurer), what (suspend investment activity with Wells Fargo), when (soon), where (Illinois). The bridge or body of the story will address these and the “why” and “how” elements in more detail.

Notice the economy of words. Real news writing still lives in Chicago, it seems. You get the primary information in a well-written sentence in active voice. It compels you to read further for more information.

Here’s a lead from the Associated Press in a story dated Oct. 3, 2016:

The Supreme Court has declined an Obama administration request to break its recent tie over plans to protect millions of immigrants, when a ninth justice is on the bench.

This lead is a mess and definitely not what I’m used to seeing from the AP. The sentence uses a passive verb and has a clause that is nonsense. Here’s how it should look:

The Supreme Court rejected an Obama administration request to break the court’s recent tie over plans to protect millions of immigrants.

I suspect the clause dangling at the end of the AP version was a cut-and-paste edit error that stomped on a part of the story’s bridge. The revision punches up the verb and helps drive the reader into the rest of the story without the confusion of the strange clause. Both stories are online and you may not see the versions I’ve clipped here if you go looking.

“So,” you ask, “just what does all this have to do with writing fiction?”

Using an economy of words and addressing the critical elements of the story (who, what, when, where, why, and how) are important in getting a reader to read initially, and continue to read. Fiction writing really isn’t that far from news writing.

The first element we address in a fiction story, usually, is the who. Tie the main character or protagonist quickly and actively to a what so you entice the reader to read more. If we spend too much time in all the detail of a who, or a what, in the first few paragraphs or pages, the book or story gets put down.

That first page of your book–or the first paragraph of a short story–is the lead into your story. You don’t need to go into excessive detail on the character’s description or personality disorders, or heavy description of the what the character gets involved in.

Just give the reader enough information to hook him or her into reading further. Salt your protagonist’s physical and character traits through your narrative, or use “show, don’t tell” techniques. Tease the reader with elements of the what as you go along. This keeps the narrative moving and the reader interested.

Keep writing.

 

Festival

Montana Book Festival

I’m off to the Montana Book Festival. This year, I’m not just attending but participating. I’ll be talking to two classes of high school students at Missoula area Christian high schools as part of the Youth Festival.

This is pretty exciting. I enjoyed the festival last year, sold a few books, and met a few other authors. One thing that impressed me was how much the Missoula community embraced and participated in the festival.

I may still be added to a panel or two as the schedule finalizes. I plan to attend a number of them, as well. So, if you are in the Missoula area this week, please stop by the festival. Look me up! I will have the new BugBear Books editions of Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers with me. A Missoula vendor should have a few copies of each, as well.

After this, I’m going to try to settle down for the season and get busy working on the third book in the Spirit Missions series, as well as some other writing projects.

Keep writing!