Tuesday, July 26, 2011

About Lucy Cruz

By the way, I forgot to link to this earlier. Carole Goldberg wrote up a piece on Connecticut's mystery authors. My bit's here, just scroll down.

Here's part of what I had to say, the relevant stuff really:

"Lucy Cruz is a young freelance photojournalist who gets herself into trouble because of the assignments she takes. She stakes out a farm where the Chupacabra [legendary monster] is expected to appear; what she witnesses (and photographs) instead is murder. Though threatened, she digs until the case is solved.

In any event, there's a bit more about me and the book, and I'm grateful that Carole included me though the book I wanted to talk about was an ebook. There are also eleven other authors profiled in brief so it's worth your while to look up the whole article.

Lucy Cruz on Sale

In the interest of garnering new readers and, to be honest, since I could make zero sales as easily with a lower price as with a higher price, I've dropped the cost of my latest: LUCY CRUZ AND THE CHUPACABRA KILLINGS all the way to 99 cents.

Will the price stay low forever? Of course not. As I said, I can just as easily make no money with a high price, and a high price does afford me the comfort of thinking there's a monetary reason for the lack of sales... On the other hand, I had thought of making the book 99 cents at the end of June and just got around to it today. So you can expect I won't recall the need to bounce the price up until the summer is over.

Despite the title, the book is an amateur sleuth novel with a female protagonist and not so heavy on the little mythical beastie. It's a good book if I do say so myself, and I'm usually quite willing to bash my own books... Just ask me. Anyway, it'll cost you a buck to find out if it's to your liking.

No Time Travel For You!

Hong Kong scientists say they've got it all figured out. Nothing travels faster than light therefore there is no time travel (leaving aside the normal travel through time of one second per second, I suppose). This is a bit of a bummer. I'm so far behind on some of my writing projects that I was hoping to build a time machine this weekend to see if I could catch-up. You know. Just a basic model, nothing fancy.

But seriously, the comments on the article I linked to are priceless. Some of the people seem to know less about relativity and, hell, even about sun dials and such than a cocker spaniel might. I swear. One guy seemed to really think that flux capacitors and a Delorean were a solution to the problem...

Not that I know how to reach into the future or the past myself, mind.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Things my Daughter May Never Know About...

Beatrice turns three later this year and Wired Magazine has provided me with a list of 100 things she pretty definitely won't know about except through movies and the fact her father's about 40 years older than she is. Frankly, some of these things are already pretty much gone - Beta, televisions that were serious furniture instead of wall hangings, rotary telephones. Oh, and phones with actual bells inside of them.

No mention of whether any actual books will be available in ten years time.

Interesting that the Star Wars prequals serve as spoilers now. Hadn't thought of that, but then I saw Star Wars in the theaters when it first came out...

Got to admit that some of the tech references mean nothing to me. SCSI?

I did have a video game for Commodore 64 that required you to takeoff and fly about on one floppy disk, then, if you went too far, you had to insert another disk to continue flying, then if you wanted to get back to your aircraft carrier, you had to reinsert the first disk. And, of course, you could do your homework while waiting for each upload.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse

I can't really claim to have been a fan though I recognized a good voice and an appealing stylist in her. Of course, the world recognized a tortured soul though it was often easier (given comments and gossip, etc) to deride her failings than feel any better emotions for her.

I don't know anything about her personally - didn't follow the stories except to know there were stories. Don't even know how she died though everyone will suspect overdose - but intentional? Unintentional? Hard to say unless police find a note.

Allow me a moment of pomposity.

The world lost more than a talented young woman. It lost a chance to be kind to someone who desperately needed it. What an opportunity has gone by.

What I'm Doing Wrong, The Kindle Edition...

At this time, I have five titles available via Kindle. More if you count what's offered by St. Martin's Press. Still, this may be the first thing I've done wrong. I have two more short story collections and two more novels I could put out there, and I hear you need a critical mass of products out and about before you can get traction. Five in the first half of 2011 seems like enough, but apparently not. If I can complete one project - a Viktor Petrenko novel - I could have a total of ten products out by the end of the year.

Secondly, I haven't really announced my work to the world. People at a couple of listservs will have heard the news that I'm on Kindle, but most of the people who have bought my traditional books are not on those listservs. In fact, those lists are mainly for writers, not readers. I plan to begin remedying this situation by going to a couple of conferences including Bouchercon in St. Louis and giving out some promotional trinkets and, of course, talking up my Kindle stuff, but I've also gotten some invitations to guest blog, so I'll start following up on that. I would like to put up at least one more novel before I do that, but we'll see. It takes me forever to make long works Kindle ready.

Thirdly, but related to secondly is the fact that I have a low profile web-wise. No Facebook or Twitter for me or any of the Kindle related forums/boards. Not yet. I've visited some Twitter pages, but I can't understand what's going on. Facebook seems like an extra job - it's not creating the Facebook page, but getting people to go there. I can't get people to come to my blog, why/how would I get people to go to a Facebook page? My website was updated a few months ago, and I'll have it revised again next month, I hope. There's one Kindle title that's not mentioned there yet, and I hope to have another up and running in a couple of weeks.

Of course, I haven't even bothered with the other ebook formats just yet. Everyone says Kindle is far and away the leader in the field, but it might be useful to have works on the other formats - people might read something on a Nook and comment on it at Amazon, for instance.

Anyway, much to learn.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Joe Konrath vs. Reviewers

Joe Konrath, whose blog is nothing if not interesting, has a post today that I think starts off well and ends poorly. The premise at the start is that writers should write deliberately. I've preached this to students for almost two decades now. I start the semester off explaining that for 14 years in a row I had at least one student each semester who misspelled their own name. Not much I can do to help that student at the college level... Except tell them to be deliberate about what they write (and if you're misspelling your own name, we can be pretty sure you weren't being deliberate).

So far, so good.

Then he goes on to discuss things that might make you an idiot, and he includes "If you've ever given anything a one-star review..."

Here is my response posted in the comments to his post:

Sorry to say it, but I think that you're contradicting yourself.

By saying (to paraphrase) nothing deserves a one-star rating, you seem to be saying that nothing that has been written and published is crap. The mantra "Don't write crap" doesn't make sense if it is impossible to write crap.

Plenty of stuff has been written without deliberation. From what I can understand here, you're saying if I find one of those books and give it a one-star rating, I'm probably an idiot. And if what you're saying is that one-star reviewers really can't judge the author's level of deliberation, that might be true, but no reviewer can judge that unless the they happen to actually BE the author.

In fact, if one-star reviews are going to be discouraged, we should discourage all reviews - by definition the star rating system is about subjective responses.

I really think Joe has stepped in it with this post. Not that he has to love one-star reviews or the reviewers, but he has preached quite a bit over the years about how the public can judge the quality of books for themselves without a need for gatekeepers like the traditional publishing industry. Good books will rise, bad books will sink especially when it comes to sales. Now it seems like he doesn't want readers (the new gatekeepers) to share their opinions... if the opinion is that the book is bad. Presumably, he's still okay with five star reviews.

True, it is just an opinion and some are not nearly as well informed as others, but if we're going to call readers idiots for saying they didn't like a book, then the whole idea of "New Gatekeepers" goes out the window and all we have in the marketplace is the shrill cry of "Buy MY Stuff, You Jerk!"

Anyway, read the article, read the comments, judge for yourself. And if you feel the need to give me poor marks, feel free. I won't be calling you any names.