Book 2: A Devotion of Dads

Mother called tonight and said she enjoyed my book. Whew. Sounded sincere even, not with a you’re-my-daughter-I-have-to-say-that tone of voice. This  makes me very happy.

dog in yard edited

 

Book signings are over and done with, and I am most pleased with how they went. Plus, three fans wrote 5 star reviews, two on Amazon.ca and one on Amazon.com. This makes me very happy as well. Amazon rankings are important to new authors because the more favourable reviews I have, the more Amazon will promote the book. Plan is; readers read the reviews, like the reviews, buy the book. That makes Amazon (and me!) more money, and that makes Amazon (and me!) very happy.

smiling cat

So, if you liked A Bother of Bodies, please leave a review on Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble, and give it a star rating. If you didn’t like A Bother of Bodies, or found it kind of meh, send me an email and let me know what you didn’t like so I can work on the weak parts.

I don’t understand everything about Amazon. Like, why it says my book may take one to three months to ship. What? Why? Ken the Publisher is looking into it.

Meanwhile, onward and upward. I’ve added the pictures from the book signings to my Photo Album and I’ve shifted the first chapter of A Bother of Bodies from Work In Progress over to the Published tab. Under Work in Progress I’ve added the first chapter of A Devotion of Dads (freshly checked over by my faithful beta reader, Marlene) and it is now open to comments and suggestions. Feel free to leave them on this site, or email them to me at ajcapper13@gmail.com.

I’ve also moved stuff from my Pinterest site and stuck it under Makes Me Smile. Some of them make me actually laugh out loud. If you’re another Pinterest fan, let me know, we can follow each other :)

 

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My latest newsletter about a couple boxes of books.

What you see below is me, and a box of books. Two boxes, but you can’t see the other one. You’ll have to take my word that it’s there. And not just any boxes of books, oh no. Two boxes of “A Bother of Bodies”. They’re finally here and I’m stunned. More stunned than usual.
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Sixty books. Thirty for the White Feather book signing on Saturday, October 18 from 3 pm until 5 pm. White Feather Book Store is located in the other half of Tammy Dean’s Psychic Readings and Gifts at 121 Elgin Steet here in the Sault. You can wander around and look at all the books, jewellery, homemade crafts and myriad other interesting stuff while you’re waiting for me to figure out what to write in your book. 
And thirty for the signing at the Sault Library, Main branch, on Wednesday, October 22 from 2 pm until 4 pm. No baking there, nothing but books, but hey…that’s what makes a library a great place to have a book signing. You’ll see me as soon as you walk in the door. And then walk up the stairs. And then open another set of doors, AND THEN you’ll see me.
So, if you have absolutely nothing else to do, come and visit me at either or both signings. No obligation to buy, just come to chat and keep me company. If you do decide to buy, price is $18.00 (includes taxes). Buying the book on-line (print or ebook) isn’t available at the time of this newsletter, but should be very shortly, from Divertir Publishing, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide).Cheers,

Amanda
www.ajcapper.com

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NEWS! I have news!

I have a book cover. For my book. That’s coming out at the end of this month. Starting to feel a tremor of excitement.

Ken the Publisher and Jen the Editor spent many hours pouring over different sites looking for a barn picture we all agreed suited our purpose. I spent a couple of hours with them on Skype, but really, I was useless. I was too busy being impressed with myself for figuring out how to Skype, and then ended up stymied when they could search, at amazing speed I might add, other sites while we Skyped. So I signed off, much to their relief I’m pretty sure, and the next day Ken asked me what I thought of these:

barn and pink sky smoking gun

 

I said I liked them. Sky was ominous without being spooky, there was the mandatory barn where the bodies are found, and the gun looked exactly like a murder weapon should. Deadly.

 

Then we talked about fonts and colours, I liked yellow, so this is what Ken and Jen came up with;

 

 

CoverFront-A Bother of BodiesI’m very happy with it. I’ll be even happier when I have a box load of them to hand out at my book signings.

Yes, I’m scheduled for two book signings. Just like a real author. First one is Saturday, October 18, 2014, from 3 to 6pm at White Feather Bookstore on Elgin Street here in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. White Feather is an independent book store recently taken over by my good friend and neighbour, Karen. She plans on having her grand opening coincide with my book launch. Heck of a good idea. I’ll have more info on this event later, once we’ve decided on advertising and incentives.

Then, four days later, on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, I’ll be at the main branch of our local library. From 2 to 4 pm I’ll be sitting there behind a little desk with a silly smile on my face and a pen poised for signing. I sure hope somebody shows up.

I’m also hoping the books show up.

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My First Newsletter

My first newsletter went out yesterday, June 1. I plan on e-mailing one on the first of each month. If you didn’t receive it, and you would like to, drop me a line at ajcapper13@gmail.com and I’ll make sure I add you to my list.

It tells you about the writing retreat I went to in Virginia (and what I learned about Brad Park’s thighs); progress on my book cover (down to two choices); my next writing project (a local non-fiction murder); and what to look forward to in my next newsletter (involves crazy Americans).

A hint about my next project…

Helen's headstone

 

 

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I’ve been tagged.

Danielle Lenee Davis, author of The Protector, has tagged me in her blog, http://danielleleneedavis.com/ and we all know what that means.

No? Allow me to explain. Better yet, I’ll let Mary tell you all about it, she explains things so much better than I. http://www.newwritersinterface.com/blog-tag-im-it

Done reading? Good. Bottom line is I must;

A)  Answer four questions (because, supposedly, people want to know about the authors of the books they read);

B)  Refer back to the person who tagged me (because this introduces readers to new upcoming authors and their websites);

C) Tag someone else (chain letter kind of idea, used for promotion. Anything that might promote me, I’m in).

What am I working on?

Book two of my Maybe mysteries, A Devotion of Dads, and trying to keep my mind off what’s happening with book one. Since I sold A Bother of Bodies I haven’t had much to do with it. Jayde from Divertir Publishing did a bang-up job of editing and now I’m waiting to see what Ken the Publisher comes up with in the way of a cover. In order not to drown in stomach acid I simply keep writing.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I hate this question. Hate might be too strong. I dislike this question. It’s a thinker. Not my strong point, but I’ll give it a shot.

The basics of a mystery are usually the same. The author comes up with a crime, throws in a bunch of clues, a few red herrings, the when and where so a reader can picture the course of events, and then ties it all up with a conclusion that satisfies all. Downright simple. Ha.

Entwined with the basics are the different styles of each author and this is what makes a book different no matter what the genre. The voice of the storyteller. How the writer motivates their characters, describes them, makes them come alive in the reader’s imagination.

No two authors will write the same words to the same prompt. They will not create the same characters. Mabel is my character, fabricated from my imagination and uniquely mine. She is the bastard daughter of either an Irish kingpin presently ruling Montreal’s underworld, or the child of a hit man. Whichever, she was definitely raised on the wrong side of the law.

Sydney Valentine, Danielle’s main character in The Protector, is a tough female police detective. Right side of the law. Same genre, different characters, different books. I could segue into sub-genres but I won’t. They confuse me.

Why do I write what I do?

This question makes it sound like I have a choice. I don’t. I write, this is what comes out. Not always murder/mysteries. Sometimes paranormal westerns, sometimes critters in realms all of their own. Once in a rare moment the words come out in poetry formation.

It’s only the mystery genre, though, that seems to come out half-decently written. Due, I think, because this is the genre with which I grew up. It was my parents choice of reading, and my older sister’s, so books of this nature were always scattered around the house. Nero Wolfe, The Saint, Miss Marple, Poirot, Holmes, these are all characters I knew as if they were real.

How does the writing process work?

Oh hell, I have no idea.

What I do is simply sit down and write. I’m trying very hard to outline, but I usually end up revising my outlines to suit what gets written. I do not recommend this writing process. I end up writing 120,000 words and then have to go back and start slashing until I have something worth reading at around 80 to 90 thousand. Wastes a lot of time.

I am strict with myself. A thousand words a day, minimum. If I miss a day, two thousand the next day. And I have to stop editing myself as I write. Get the damn book done, beginning – middle – end. Then go back and rewrite as many times as it takes. It can be frustrating, hard work, and you should only do it if you can’t help yourself. But if you decide you can’t help yourself, and you must write, let me give you one piece of advice, even though it has nothing to do with this question;

Hire a content editor. If Mary hadn’t edited my manuscript, it would still be taking up space in the bottom drawer of my desk.

Done. All four questions answered, and I’m ready to tag someone else. Maybe another new author at Divertir? How about Darren Simon? Check this out;

http://www.ivpressonline.info/sites/darrensimon/

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Brad Parks talks about me; links, lots of links; and an update

brad parksIf you are a faithful reader of my blog, you will know I’ve mentioned Mr. Parks a number of times. Like the time I confessed my love, http://wp.me/p2DycD-bz, and the time he agreed to give me a blurb for the cover of my book, http://wp.me/p2DycD-ks.

So you won’t be surprised I’m featuring him again, only this time it’s because he mentions me in one of his interviews! Not by name, but hey, we all know who he means. Mystery Playground talks to Brad about his second Lefty award and asks him if he has any stalkers. Well, yes he does. Me.

Check out the links below. The first one is when he mentions his Canadian stalker (I’m so proud), and the second is when he sings to Sue Grafton (you know, the author of A is for Alibi, etc.). He can actually sing. Multi-talented.

http://www.mysteryplayground.net/2014/04/brad-parks-interview.html?showComment=1397147897681#c4235275472782615144

http://cts.vresp.com/c/?BradParks/1fe7735316/43f30c67bd/280daa5429/v=1l-SNcR50jo&feature=youtu.be

Also, thanks to the authors at The Kill Zone, I’ve discovered this;

http://blog.amtrak.com/amtrakresidency/

Not everyone would be excited about this but I am. A train ride full of people who share the same interest. Writing. I’ve heard of trains full of musicians and other artists, why not writers? Unfortunately, it’s only available in the States. What is wrong with our Canadian rail conglomerates? They seem incapable of using their imagination. They can’t come up with any way to make money selling train rides through our beautiful country? At reasonable prices, so more people can take advantage? Maybe I should Google this before I sound off. Perhaps they do offer the same packages as Amtrak. Doubtful.

My name is finally up on the Divertir site, look half way down the page on the right hand side under the title, Coming Soon, http://www.divertirpublishing.com/

Work on my cover is underway and I will be posting the potential covers (hopefully soon), in my blog so readers can vote on their favourite. Covers are very important, they must catch a reader’s attention from the other millions of books out there, and give enough information about what to expect from the book in a very limited space. Extremely limited in the case of e-books. Only a thumbnail to display.

When the book cover is decided, everything will start to change and speed up. My new website will be introduced and it will turn from blog-oriented to sales-oriented. A monthly newsletter will let everyone know (if they are interested enough to sign up for it, that is) when my book will be launched, when I’ll be doing book signings at the library, any interviews (my first one is scheduled for May 15 with Barb Taub), and any reviews on A Bother of Bodies, as well as updates on book two, A Devotion of Dads. Also, anything personal, that I don’t necessarily want published for the whole world to see on my blog or FaceBook or Pinterest, will be on the newsletter.

If you are interested in receiving this monthly newsletter, please send your email address to ajcapper13@gmail.com , or if you have any other comments and suggestions to help me promote my book, please feel free to contact me. At this stage, I need all the help I can get. And if you haven’t checked out my boards on Pinterest, please do; http://www.pinterest.com/ajcapper13/ , I have lots to say about reading, and writing. And men. And dogs.

If you do decide to visit my Pinterest site, be sure to check out the comments on the pin about Adam Levine. So embarrassing. Damn my mental block about names.

 

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I’m so darned excited.

I’m going to a retreat. You know, like rich people do. It’s in Virginia. I’ll be immersed in books and horses and hounds and…

Hunt's CornerI’m just so darned excited.

This is the picture on the Hunt Country Writers website (link below). That picture alone was enough to sell me. It oozes friendliness, a certain uniqueness, and warmth.

 

http://huntcountrywriters.com/writers–retreat.html

There are many writing conferences available for new writers wanting to improve on their craft, but very few are in Northern Ontario. Since making the big decision to take my writing seriously, I’ve tried to treat myself to a different conference every year. Which makes the Hunt Country Retreat a treat re-treat. :)

Man, I’m good at this writing stuff.

First one I attended, in 2011, was The Scene of the Crime on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ontario, where my sister lives. GrantAllenThat’s not her over there <–. My sister is much prettier. And a little less hairy. That’s Allen Grant. He was a resident of Wolfe Island and a mystery writer.

2012 was the last year for this wonderful meeting of like-minded writers. I was fortunate to attend this conference before it folded, after eight successful years, and I remember it fondly. What I learned at Scene of the Crime was the benefit of smaller venues. More conversations. More laughter and less nerves. It was fun. And, best of all, my sister gave me free room and board (because she loves me), so it was cheap.

My second conference was Bloody Words in Toronto, 2012. BW-logo

Seemed huge to me. So many people, so many panels, all of them interesting and every one of them informative. But less one-on-one. More nerves (due to a pitch session, so the nerves were of my making. And then, after the pitch went well and the agent asked for my first three chapters, I worried even more. Were those first three chapters good enough? I never win in the war of worry), so the weekend was a blur of stress. My favourite time was being alone in my room (the Hilton, very impressive), writing about the experience. And I consider myself a social person, but Good Gravy, there were a lot of people there.lots of people

Okay, not that many people, but it felt like it sometimes.

 

Due to the unpleasant surprise of finding myself unemployed in 2013, I had to forego a conference that year. Lots of time, no money. Which worked out in the end because it gave me the opportunity to visit Mother in England. And, because she also loves me, she funded the holiday, bless her. A writer with a supportive family is a lucky writer, indeed.

So here I am now, 2014, with a part-time job I love, and the time and the money to further my writing goals. Where to go? Well, let’s see where Brad Parks will be making an appearance. Following an author you enjoy is as good a reason as any to determine which conference to attend.

And that’s how I ended up booking a flight to Virginia. I’ll be staying at the Red Fox Inn and Tavern.red fox inn

Love the tavern part.

Hope it’s haunted.

http://www.redfox.com/

Many thanks to Genie and Jan, the coordinators of Hunt Country Writers Retreat, for extending a long and friendly hand across the many miles and borders to help me overcome any barriers to this trip. I’m so looking forward to meeting them both.

But I’m busy. There’s a lot to do before I go. I’ve started a new on-line writing course with Mary Rosenblum. I’m thirty chapters into editing A Bother of Bodies with Jayde from Divertir Publishing (only four more to go!), and I’ve started pestering Ken the Publisher to get my book cover done.

It’s good being busy. It’s good to find something you love so much you want to work harder to improve. It takes time, it takes effort, and it takes — don’t kid yourself — money. Sid Crosby (what kind of Canadian would I be if I didn’t work hockey into my blog. Especially during the Olympics) is a talented athlete but you can bet his parents put some money into equipment, training, and travelling.

And speaking of the Olympics (I knew I’d squeeze this in somehow), congratulations to our Sault Ste. Marie Jacob’s curling team, taking home the gold. We are all so proud. team jacobs

 

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Word nuggets. And an update.

parnell hallParnell Hall (that’s him over there –>) has written some good books. On the back cover of Favor there is this blurb about Hall’s main character, Stanley Hastings;

Stanley Hastings, New York P.I., has no gun, no cases, and no talent for snooping. He had a client once; the guy ended up a corpse.

Doesn’t sound like much of a detective, does he? It goes on to say:

The best gumshoe in a world-class detective novel couldn’t get out of this mess. But maybe the world’s worst detective has a chance…”

So, you get the idea. Mr. Hall is not writing deep, dark, literary masterpieces with his Stanley Hastings series. He’s writing the kind of book I hope to emulate with A Bother of Bodies. The kind of book aimed more towards entertaining its reader than winning a Pulitzer. The Pink Panther as opposed to The Maltese Falcon. A read geared more towards beaches and bathtubs, than podiums and accolades.

But now and then Mr. Hall surprises me. In his book Client, out in 1990, he wrote about growing up in the sixties and one sentence in Parnell Clientparticular stopped me in my tracks;

“…it’s embarrassing to be part of a generation that screamed, “Make Love, Not War,” only to find out twenty years later with the advent of AIDS, that making love may kill more people than making war ever did.”

And I had to stop and think about that statement because, though it may have occurred to many others, the idea of linking the hippie generation with the AIDs epidemic never crossed my mind. And I LOVE moments like this in a book. I enjoyed the 39th chapter of Client because it made me think. There I was, just ambling along, enjoying the bumbling of Stanley, when Hall throws in a chapter that verges on deep. Yikes.

And not only is it a thinker chapter, it actually does relate to the rest of the book. Mr. Hall hasn’t thrown this chapter in to bulk up his book, or to expound on his theories about life, but because it gives the reader more insight into Stanley, and the case in hand.

Word nuggets. Words strung together in such a way they interrupt your amble, pleasurable though it may be, to make you think. Make you go back and re-read them. They take you out of the story in order to make you consider the story. That’s a good thing.

van and tank

One of the rules of writing, according to the books I’ve read and the advice I’ve been given, is you should never take your reader out of the story. Don’t throw in your own opinions because you like the sound of your own words. If your character is about to shoot the bad guy, don’t suddenly spout off your thoughts on gun control. No one cares.

Mr. Hall does not do this. He simply inserts nuggets. He writes entertaining and often humourous stories about every-day people, having every-day revelations.

Stanley Hastings is not Jack Reacher (Lee Child). I love Jack. He makes me swoon, but I also love Stanley. He’s a funny guy, and there’s a chance I may meet a Stanley Hastings one day. There’s not a hope in hell I’d ever meet a Jack Reacher. Not sure I’d want to. T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Then there are characters like Myron Bolitar (Harlan Coben), and Archie Goodwin (Rex Stout). I’d love to meet them. They make me laugh and swoon, but that’s a discussion for another post. I’m off topic. AGAIN.

I will attempt to make my writing not only entertaining, but I’ll also try to throw in the odd word nuggets. It may require some thinking, so I’m not making any promises. I’ll do my best.

UPDATE:

Jayde and I are up to chapter nine in our rewrites and editing process. All is good so far, though Jayde has caught at least one slip-up for which I will be forever grateful. As for the book cover, haven’t heard back from K the P yet. I will start harassing him soon so I can get some feed-back on which one to pick.

 Oh, and when you do meet Mabel, stay on her good side. She has a hell of a temper.

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Meet Mabel

guru

No, that’s not her. Can’t imagine I’d sell a lot of books trying to pass him off as a her.

No, this is a picture of a guru, and according to the marketing gurus I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m supposed to introduce A Bother of Bodies main character, Mabel, in order to entice readers to spend their money and learn more about her when the book does become available.

I have no idea if this works, it’s all new to me, I’m just doing as I’m told. A first, if you’ve ever had a conversation with my mother, or my sister.

I don’t even know where to start. Can’t tell you her full name because we’re not sure of her father. Well, I am because I wrote the damn thing, but according to The Gurus, I can’t give it all away, right away.

So here’s what I can tell you. Mabel’s mother has problems. Quite a few. The beyond-help kind of problems, so Mabel is raised on an estate for bastard children. And not just any bastard children, but the unwanted rug rats of Irish “business men”. The kind of men you’d find in these books;

american irish montreal irish

Except Mabel’s family originates from Montreal. But all this is simply background. Really has nothing to do with the story. I’ll tell you about the story next Tuesday. Right now I’m talking about Mabel.

I’m doing very well on this whole ’focusing’ thing, if I do say so myself.

Mabel has a few problems of her own. Trust issues, as I imagine anyone raised by members of the criminal underworld would. Anger management problems so big she scares herself. But what gets her in the most trouble, is boredom.

take daughter to work   Mabel understands her brother Dean’s desire to lead a normal, law-abiding life, but…she doesn’t know what to do with herself. She has a talent for picking locks. Been at it since a child. And the “family” took advantage of her talents, until she and Dean had to run. So now she’s on a farm in the back woods of some place called Sylvandale, a small town with a population of a hundred farmers and fifteen million cows, and she’s mind-numbingly bored.

Until the bodies start showing up. And they aren’t even her biggest problem.

I give a few more details about what she looks like in the book, but not many. If you’re a reader like myself, you prefer to paint your own pictures.

And if you feel the need to chastise me because I have included a cartoon depicting a child with a gun in her hand, go right ahead. Water off a loon’s tail feathers. But save yourself some money if you are offended, and don’t bother buying my book. Mabel loves her gun.

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Due date.

I know. I’m late. And for those just stumbling upon this site…no, I am definitely not pregnant. If you’re looking for advice on birthing, keep on stumbling because you do not want to waste your time here. I know less about giving birth than most men.

But I am late. Not only late, also late with nothing to show for being late. Two months away from my blog and it’s still the same old blog! What happened to the revisions? The update? The new and improved?

Still a work in progress. I really need a book cover (it will be the first thing you see when you visit the new site) but Ken the Publisher says it might be a month or two before we narrow it down to a few choices, and since I’m missing my blogging I decided to keep the old site going awhile longer. Friends, family, and people I hardy know, continually ask what’s happening with my book. Blogging is the easiest way to answer. And I love easy.

Jayde Gilmore, an editor with Divertir Publishing, emailed to let me know I can expect her first onslaught of this-part-is-lousy-what-were-you-thinking-change-this-immediately suggestions around the 17th of this month. I will immediately rewrite and rework using her suggestions, send them back and await the next batch of this-part-is-etc. Meanwhile, between the editing, I will harass Ken the Publisher about my book cover.

K the P and I have discussed book covers to some extent and we agree it might be fun to get second opinions on the final decision. In the next couple of months I’ll be posting our final picks and then asking you, faithful followers, friends and those whom are just plain nosey, to decide which you like better. And that will be the cover of A Bother of Bodies.

K the P also mentioned I’ll have free books to give away. I have a couple of ideas of how I’m going to do that, after reading copious book on marketing, but more on that later. Right now, I’m supposed to give a due date.

June.

There. That’s done.

I’ve missed blogging, especially when I’ve had something brilliant to share, such as Brad Parks (remember him? From this post http://wp.me/p2DycD-bz?) agreeing to give me a blurb for the back of my book cover. And Mary Rosenblum http://www.newwritersinterface.com/, as well as Barb Taub http://barbtaub.com/. Endorsements from other authors make a big difference in promoting a book (according to aforementioned marketing gurus), so I’m grateful these accomplished writers took the time from their hectic schedules to help me out.

Brad’s fifth book, The Player, The Player

http://www.bradparksbooks.com/books.php is due out in March (I’ve already pre-ordered);

Barb’s second book in her trilogy, Don’t Touch,

http://barbtaub.com/2013/12/06/release-day-is-here-dont-touch-is-now-available/ is available at this link (already downloaded);

and Mary is always busy helping new authors by publishing how-to books easy enough so even I could understand what to do next towards being published (I have all of Mary’s books).                                                      

                     

My acknowledgements are going to take up a lot of my book.

Needless to say, it’s an exciting time for me. I hope I don’t bore any of you as I ramble along. I have no idea where this road is going, but I’m going to do my best to enjoy each step and I sincerely hope you will ramble along with me. Your support and excitement brings it all home to me, eases my stress, and simply makes me smile.

Thanks.

 

 

 

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