Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who Do You Write For?

“I like what I like and not what I'm supposed to like because of mass rating.” - Earle Stanley Gardner "The Case of the Careless Cupid"

The above quote appeared on my screen just seconds after I had taken a stand to write my entertainment mysteries how I think they should be written and not adjust them to how 'a board' would prefer them to look. It feels great. Past experience has proven that once one starts adjusting and rewriting, based on others preferences, the whole thing falls apart. So I might loose a contract or two and I might end up losing face by taking a risk - but on the whole I'd rather that than create with a clenched gut because the project doesn't feel right when written with adjustments that are not mine.

Hurray for taking a stand for artistic control. Win or lose, it feels like the best option.

Here's another Gardner quote I like:

“It's a damn good story. If you have any comments, write them on the back of a check.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

Time and Timing: Where Did September Go?

The last week of the month, and I'm definitely not ready for October. As a writer,I try to take stock monthly of what has been accomplished so I can assess my success and plan what still needs to be done.
I went to Bouchercon. That was a lot of fun, but a lot of work, too: arranging to be away from home, traveling the distance from Michigan to Missouri, and smiling, smiling, smiling, no matter that my feet hurt or I felt like the smallest fish in the pond at times.
I did a lot of promotion for the upcoming release, POISON, YOUR GRACE, and got some response: great reviews from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and LIBRARY JOURNAL. I also heard yesterday that THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY is a finalist for best mystery novel in the EPIC (electronically published) judging. All good stuff.
So what didn't I do?
I meant to get the second Dead Detective Mystery off to my publisher on Sept. 1st. It might go out today.
I meant to finish the third Simon & Elizabeth Mystery. It isn't even close.
I wanted to edit a stand-alone I've been working on for a couple of years. I'm maybe a third through that one.
As a writer, I'm often swamped with ideas: so many stories I want to tell. There just isn't enough time for everything I want to do. There's no one standing over me with a club. It's my own desire--maybe need--to write that drives me onward (and maybe a little crazy).
With all that I wanted to accomplish, September has slipped from my (constantly typing) fingers, and I barely noticed.
Oddly enough, for me this is happiness.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keynote for Poets and Writers Event...

New York Supreme Court Judge, and author of "Carlito's Way," will be the Keynote Speaker at my Poets and Writers Event next week in NYC! Boo-Yah!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Classic Cars & Crime

Last weekend was the 42 annual Show & Shine in Radium Hot Springs, BC. Thanks to our move during the summer we can now walk down to the golf course in town where over 800 classic cars carpeted the fairway. If I had been in a murderous frame of mind I would have quizzed some of the owners on the underbelly side of the business; but mostly I was just basking in chrome glory.

There are millions of dollars worth of metal and pedal with 'Please Don't Touch' signs discretely displayed on the dashboards. Some very funky options and some handsome hood ornaments all competing for your attention. It's not hard to imagine a motive for murder. Key one of these baby's and you could end up dead in the trunk - I'm just guessing.

Took a few pictures. So even though I don't have a crime I do have a place to plant a clue. Something to reflect on.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Today on The Russell Show: Children of the Fog by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

What would you do if a kidnapper told you you had 10 seconds to make a decision: let him take your child, or watch your son die?

A special thank you to my friend Russell Brooks for always being so enthusiastic about my books. Check out his narration from my bestselling supernatural thriller, CHILDREN OF THE FOG.

CHILDREN OF THE FOG is available at Amazon, SmashwordsBarnes and Noble and more.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

I'll be giving a talk about this on Sunday at the Central Coast Book and Author Festival in San Luis Obispo. I decided instead of generalizing I'd talk about my books and where the ideas for each came from.

My latest book, Bears With Us, had it's origins from Facebook postings from my grandson who is a police officer in Aspen Colorado. He and his fellow officers had been spending a lot of their time chasing bears out of people's houses. I exchanged emails with him to find out some details and some other research and knew that bears would play a big part--and they do.

In that same series, I was inspired by a trip to our nearby Indian reservation with a college anthropology class to see the pictographs of the Hairy Man and his family in a place called The Painted Rocks. Yes, the Hairy Man is in Dispel the Mist. The murder of a female politician in Las Vegas sparked the idea for the plot that evolved.

We had trucks and jeeps traveling up the mountain road where I lived--and though they looked like Army, they weren't. I have no idea who they actually were, but they gave me the idea for what happens in Invisible Path.

Kindred Spirits evolved from my meeting with a Tolowa woman with a dynamic personality. Her stories about the Tolowa people inspired me to write about them--and she became two characters in the book.

Newspaper articles about intriguing crimes, speakers at Sisters in Crime meetings, conversations overhead in restaurants and airports, stories told to me by friends and acquaintances including other people in law enforcement have all be inspirations for my mysteries.

There are more ideas out there than I'll ever be able to use--but I'll keep on collecting them.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Reveiw

Rock Hole

by Reavis Z. Wortham

ISBN: 978-1-59058-884-0

2011 release from Poisoned

Pen Press. HC, 284 pages

A sensitive, suspenseful debut crime novel. Full of twists, wry and earthy humor, it epitomizes the grit, the patience and the perseverance, of middle America.
Folks who grew up in Texas, where the novel is set, or anywhere in the belt that runs from the northwest angle of Minnesota to the Padre Islands and from the middle of Pennsylvania
to Cody, Wyoming, will recognize themselves in this novel. Their humor, their practicality, their keen natural observations, are all here to savor.

Welcome to 1964. In Center Springs, Texas, farmer and part-time constable Ned Parker is faced with a puzzling series of animal deaths. That they are brutal, atrocious unnecessary
killings, only adds to the tension and suspense. Across the river, the black deputy, John Washington, is trying to find reasons for the same killings, while also dealing with
the added difficulties of racism in the county. All these factors entwine to create a real and growing calamity for the small communities in the county surrounding Center Springs.
As the killings continue, strange footprints are found near bedroom windows and citizens begin to carry weapons and look suspiciously at their neighbors.

Laced with forthright humor, the novel proceeds at a racing pace through event after event as suspicion grows and plot twist after twist keeps readers off-balance
until the stunning climax is reached. Ned Parker is a real character who carries the story in an authentic and realistic manner.

The novel is not without its problems. Abrupt and annoying changes of points of view are occasionally confusing, but the writing,
like the stories within the narrative is solid. This is an eminently satisfying novel. I look forward to the next.

Carl Brookins www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day

As folks in the U.S. celebrate Labor Day, most people think about the people who labor in factories, service jobs and construction workers, because it started as a "workingmen's holiday".

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate  on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

I grew up near Detroit, so Labor Day was celebrated by the auto workers in a big way, so it wasn't until recently that I started thinking about other jobs that maybe aren't recognized in the same way: policemen, firefighters, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, chaplains, farmers, ranchers, retail sales people.... and the list could go on and on.

So thank you to all of them for the work they do to serve and protect and make our lives better.