Monday, July 22, 2019

So, Over The Weekend

Many years ago, my Mom was the one that introduced me to reading. As first, she read to me. Then I was schooled and enjoying the time, I began to read to her. Soon I was discovering many things to read and that just led to more.
Sure enough, I got my "Youth" Chicago Library Card as soon as I could. Also, it was across on busy (but traffic controlled) street and 3 residential lanes. I was biking there by the time I was 8. My "every two week trip to the library," became a habit. Summer reading lists were read and exceeded. My reading scores were grades ahead of my actual standing.
I remember complaining that I pretty much had read all I wanted to in the Youth section and wanted my Young Adult card. Back then you had to be 12, 16 to get the coveted Adult Card.  My mother went with me just before my 12th birthday. She successfully argued my case and -- at one-day-short of my 12th birthday - I had an ADULT card!!
Needless to say, while the rest of my academics did not equal my reading scores, it was the ability to read, understand and remember that was what got me through. In school, I actually read my textbooks and was often finished before Winter Break. My retention was great so a study was a quick re-read through the night before a test and I'd do just fine.
Never thought I'd write, but it kind of became inevitable. It took me years to deny before I filled my first Big Chief yellow pad with the beginnings of STARSHOT. That led me to write WolfPointe, which helped get Starshot published as well. Now I bang away on the next (Motherboard?). All because of my Mom.
My Mom never saw my first novel, she passed in 1987. When WolPointe came to print, I decided I needed to drop a copy at her gravesite. That was 2004. Since then, with the release of Starshot, another trip was planned. On Thursday, July 18, 2019, I visited once more.
I miss you both Mon & Dad. Mom, I know where the copy goes, because I know you are reading every word.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

More marketing news!

So we've managed to lower the cost of Starshot by a dollar. To be honest, I am proud to have done it and for a book of this size and depth, I really makes it a bargain. So for your summer read or for a gift buy Starshot!

Work on my Malcolm MacKurghdy Mystery is moving forward. Keep stopping by and you'll hear about it here first!!


Later

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Read Cheaper ... And Why

Made a decision that affects you. A few weeks ago I made Starshot's ebook available via Kindle Unlimited members, meaning they get it free. Hoping for more reviews which helps sell more books. I have come to the realization that what make is less important than who gets to read this novel. I don't need to sell to eat, I'm retired now and can make ends meet, so why not help more people read my book(s)?
I even am looking to cut price on the paperback, but that needs exploration. To those who love paper, I'm with you and the current price is actually cheaper than Wolfpointe was in 2004 (which was shorter too). If I can, I will reduce it. But most likely it will be pennies.
Electronic books allow a larger range and a greater audience due to the ability to reproduce inexpensively.
So, if you have bought Starshot THANK YOU! If you've been thinking of giving it a shot, but budget hasn't allowed it; @99 cents --- please give it a read!
Until next time, and with an update on Motherboard,  I am
Arjohn

Monday, April 29, 2019

Coffee With The Cops

Anytime you can do research and have great conversations -- go for it! Today (Monda April 29, 2019) our Police department had a meeting of Coffee with the Cops. They stop into our local coffee shops (Starbucks today) and are there to answer questions, address concerns and help struggling writer get their police procedures straight. 

I spent time with a patrol officer, team leader and great guy (Stan). He was able to answer 90% of my questions about death along the interstates and which police force gets what cases, where. Follow all that? Well, he made it simple.

I also spoke with a Detective (Electronic Forensics) and he helped me out of some cell phone info and computer soft and hardware questions as well as tieing it all into police work, Thanks, Jim.

Another great day and another layer of research on Motherboard, a Mac MacKurghdy Mystery! I hope to really start pounding out the script soon!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Aren't We All Day To Day?

     Always loved that phrase when used in sports but my mind goes all philosophical... Arent we all day to day? Yeah, kinda think so.

     So what have I been up to? Well, I have been writing and organizing my WIP. I am building what I call "chunks". So I start writing, for example, a character backstory. Now some will be part of the book, a lot will be just to make the character alive in my mind, and help in guiding me for his/her action and reaction as we live together. I often print these chunks out and use them as research and background as I go. Normally I can get through them pretty quickly. This time, I am still battling inertia. I will get through it, but it IS slowing the process!

     Also in the mix is the fact that I am into my coin collecting right now, so split projects. All of this is what I call -- excuses. That is all it is - but - it happens.

     My plan is to start putting down first draft material as we go. I tend to write until I need more info on a place, person or activity. Then, I stop and learn, digest and fill in the story gaps. I have story parts already (as I have posted here in the past) and will use those as touchstones to guide me here out.

In Other Items of Interest.

     I have been contemplating making video part of my blog. I just wonder what I'd talk about. I think I communicate well speaking, so why not incorporating it? Perhaps if any of you kind readers have a question you like me to answer or offer an opinion? A subject you like me to speak to? I'm open...

Thanks for stopping.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Why do I do this??

On Goodreads and other discussion pages and groups, so often the question, "Why do you write?" The answer, for me, is complicated. I get a story idea in my head and can't get it out until I jot it down ( or on my case, type some of it out. I rarely write anything by hand). Actual writing takes some time. 

WolfPointe was written over a year. I was obsessed with getting it done. Once accepted by TTB, it was months into additional rewriting and editing. Cover art was approved ( I bought the original artwork in acrylic from the artist). It was released on disc, ebooks were in their infancy in 2001. Once my Publisher secured a printer that did a quality job in small batches, she worked with me to get Wolfpointe onto paper. That happened in 04.

My first novel, second to get published, is Starshot. Second to publication but over 40 years in the writing. This book was written because of the love of the music I grew up to and stories of so many of its Stars. I found so much of the history bittersweet, often cruel and sometimes storybook charming. So much drama, talent, greed, as well as fun, love, and downright goodness as well was involved. I knew no one story could tell the tale. I started to borrow, combine and imagine the workings. At the same time, I wanted to really humanize Deejay Gloss, who, beginning as David Joseph Glossack, just wanted people to hear his music. Friends, allies and supporters can, at once, remain but some who become foes, or resistance bearers. Some can even become dangerous.

This time I went with self-publish. I was looking for less hassle and really am not looking for money. I DO wish I was a better promoter. 

So, why do I write? To tell stories. 

I'm working on a sequel to Wolfpointe as my main character was very popular and readers hoped he'd come back. I too like Malcolm MacKurghdy and have not one, but two great story ideas. One is in the works now.
The other is set in a few notes. Each will be a great story to be told. I just hope I can reveal them!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Research

Everyone does it differently. Mitchner took years and miles of travel. Others interview and note take. 
I tend to read, jotting ideas, notes. I tend to flesh out characters, nameless and invisible at the time, but forming on my mind (and on paper). Then, as told to me by my wife. I grow silent, then I start thinking. I go through a period where I try to assemble a story. Long before this, I have an idea for a story, but like a joke, it needs a setup, back story, and a payoff. Often my stories start with the payoff then work back up to it. 
Motherboard (MB) kind of started differently. I began with the antagonist. Of course, in this case, I already had a protagonist,  Mac. So, the idea of doing a sequel to Wolfpointe sounded great. In reality, I had (have) two stories, so lock your doors. Back to work. It has taken months to iron out the bumps. They are still there, but, they aren't mountains anymore. 
One part of (MB) encompasses crimes over multiple states. To do that, I have to learn how Law Enforcement works. I had local LE operations figured out, but crossing, blending jurisdictions was new to me. I have been rescued by a family friend for YEARS and a retired Captain in the CPD. In just a few questions he laid out a whole response to an in-state crime scene. I am so grateful. In a couple of emails, I feel this story will now start to hit the paper (screen), due to his input. 
So, Stay tuned, invite friends -- keep coming back as I plan to regularly update here. 
Until later

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Getting Down To It

     Had a very productive day today. I made a trip to the Tinley Park Library. My goal was to do some research on questions I have about Motherboard story development. It went well. So good in that I actually read NO Books at all, and immediately started to organize the book. 
     A few things needed sorting and listing. Character names and the role(s) they will play. A tentative, strictly chronologic storyline. This way I can recognize the beginnings, the middles, and the ends. Slide them about to make an engaging novel to read. I managed to do this! I now have my notebook started, and things really jumped out at me.
Additionally and most importantly, I needed to identify all the things that need explanation. Additional information required. I needed 5 things but will most likely expand as I go. I have to learn the hierarchy of the Law Enforcement community as far as both procedure and jurisdiction. I need more psychological information to allow the antagonist the leap off the page and scare the hell out of you! I also need to re-introduce Malcolm MacKurghdy and for those who have not read WolfPointe, tell you about who he is where he came from and who is he here, now.
     I also need a lot of information to explain the trigger that starts this story rolling. That is a bottleneck, and I just need to attack it. I must feel comfortable with my premise before I could expect you, the reader, to accept it as well. 
     As it turned out I did not use the library as a library in the reading/research sense. I found a quiet place that seemed to allow my imagination to go exploring. I needed a new place with limited distraction. I think it helped.
     More as I move forward. Stay tuned.



Friday, March 1, 2019

Immobility

I should be reading research, jotting notes, outlining plot action. I'm not. I am writing about not doing that. That is bothersome. I know me. I'm a lazy bum when it comes to writing. I go through periods where mentally I can't focus on one thread. I need to establish a: Logical Plot Line. I am at a crossroads of which way the plot should erupt. I need to research, I need to find a path that seems plausible. Once I am satisfied, then I know you, the reader, will accept (suspend disbelief) the plot premise.
Also, Starshot..... Oh, Starshot. It sells, but bumping along (I am SO grateful too). I want to promote it more and get myself out there. Yet, I hesitate. Time, money, those investments are so valuable to me, but my lack of action is inexcusable.
So I sit. Like a fat frog on a lily pad. I see flies right across the pond.
Do I want flies? Or should I wait for mosquitoes coming later?
Should I jump right in or wait till a bug comes near, on it's own.
Immobility.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Tease of The Work In Progress...

MotherBoard

A Mac MacKurghdy Mystery


     The body lay, partially in the tall grass along the highway. She lay, face up, eyes open. Only her legs were in the grass, most of her torso was laying on the paved shoulder of Illinois Route 57. It was just after dawn, there were mists still undisturbed in the farm fields that flanked the ribbon of concrete that left Chicago and wormed its way south, closer and closer to Memphis. The towns that lined the road were like pearls in a long gray necklace. Before the interstate, Route 45 performed the same duties and as often happens this road shared many on and off ramps for the entire length.

     It was spring. Warm for a late April day and it had rained a bit earlier. The body lay there uncaring, naked. The young ladies eyes, grayed with death, reflected the flashing of at least fifty flashing roof lights of various Law Enforcement vehicles as well as ambulances and a Crime Scene Investigations van from the Illinois State Police. People milled about seemingly in chaos, but if one observed long enough there was a rhyme, a reason, and a macabre dance to it all.

     On man watched. He leaned on his open door using the roof with his right arm and the top of the door with his left to rest. He leaned there, in the clamshell hinge of his car.

     Lt. Detective Rob or Corman was the watcher.  He had been there at the scenes before. He had been to these scenes before, and had six, maybe seven years more to attend. In the State Police, one didn’t often get this kind of killing, but, that’s what he was there for. Bob Gorman watched, wind gently washing across his rugged face, blowing his tie to one side, even with the protection of the car. His thinning, brown hair sported just enough grays to make him look distinguished, but not old. He could stand to lose twenty-five, maybe even thirty pounds, but he carried the extra well. As he watched, a younger, lighter-haired and lighter weighted man broke away from a discussion with the CSI lead investigator and walked to where Gorman leaned.

     “What we got?” Gorman asked. 

     “Well she’s dead, W-F, late twenties.” Detective William “Sandy” Sanderson, used all the jargon, as most did. The initials confirming White Female. The age fit a profile. Every detail allowed investigators to begin to draw a picture. The choreographed ballet over the dead, was nearly the same everyplace. Every murder scene had it similarities. 

+++++




There it is. This may be the begining. It is certainly a scene... 
Next time ....

Friday, February 15, 2019

Literary Treasure Hunt

So, number one, sorry for the long absence,  but I have to say the article in the Tinley Junction blew my mind, swole my head and happened in the midst of a fortunate discovery.

First, back to the article, I was contacted by friends and neighbors even my wife's Physical Therapists (she is recovering from her second knee replacement) were impressed. I know I'm supposed to be a dedicated self-promoter, but that story and the attention it garnered kind took me by surprise.

The discovery was on a thumb drive. I knew there were some files of notes I had assembled for a Mac McKurghdy Mystery sequel to WolfPointe, working title, Motherboard. Well, it turns out, about 50 pages worth exists and after reading this work, gotta say, I like it! So. The great Procastinator, RAB, looks like I may start spinning that tail once more.

Additionally, I may try some video soon... perhaps we will talk, Motherboard.

Later!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Tale Decades Old

The local Newspaper did a write up about me and Starshot. To say I was pleased with the outcome would be an understatement.


My thanks to both Jacquelyn Schlabach (Editor) and Will O'Brien (Freelance Reporter) for a great story and article. I enjoyed working with you all

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Getting Out There

Yeah -- that's me. I guess I mean it in its simplest form. I am actually getting out there, doing things to get my writing back to "normal". Of course, that means I will be reaching out there, researching some strange stuff, and that always amuses me. I wonder if I am on some No-Fly list due to my library habits.

You see I'm still a bit old school when it comes to research. I tend to search out books and information, perhaps online, but then like to do the actual ready and note taking in the library. Here in Tinley, we have an excellent place, and it's like having your own reading room. So I get some alone time (so needed by us introverts) and I feel entirely at home.

So on Friday last, I went to the library - renewed my card (that happens...) and donated a copy of Starshot. We have a Local Author Collection at the library and our books are featured. We have quite a few local people who write and a diverse group as well as a diverse subject matter. After doing that I drove around thinking what to do to get some more publicity. I have an interview coming out in the Jan 17 Junction, a local 22nd Century publication, I'm sure that will get some readership. But, I need to break out into the mainstream more. I guess I'll need to fight my shyness and hit the pavement.

In the meantime, I'll post here keeping you up to date on my progress both with Starshot and the new project.

Till next time:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Winter Slowdown and Procrastination

It's always tough for me. I'm a procrastinator. I have 923539389 ideas and get overwhelmed and do, 0. I really want to get started on my new book. I'd really like to promote Starshot even more. I need to work with my wife post knee surgery and that, right now, is most important. Still, I need to pick a path and pursue it.
The new novel has its roots in WolfPointe and I want to keep Mac MacKurgdy as so many readers and even family said -- "He is a series keeper." So two ideas exist and they may actually develop into one story rather than one. Research is needed. I tend to hit the library rather than all electronic sources. I like the quiet, the time to seek and explore the library offers. Then I can follow up with e-sources to fill in things I feel I missed or need more.
Meanwhile, with Starshot, I really don't know how to promote, much. Also, what ideas I read about -- include time away from home that I don't have right now. I need to work this out in my head.
Feel free to comment or email me. We can talk.
Thanks for listening -- gotta fill my cup. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What Does 2019 Hold For Me?

Happy New Year to everyone reading this. The title pretty much explains what I'm gonna talk about so without much intro, here we go.

First, I have uncovered voluminous notes for (working title) Motherboard. This is a sequel to WolfPointe that really never coalesced. But since Starshot is out (and doing OK) I felt perhaps, I should return to Malcolm MacKurghdy. Many people who read WP -- mentioned that they licked Mac and would love to see him stay around. So glad I did not kill him!!

In reading some of the pages, I have on a thumb drive, I felt there is enough there to revive the dogged, flawed policeman. Further, as I read, an idea for another storyline also popped up. Now I need to look at both, see if one is NOT viable and go with the other - or if both seem promising, perhaps in what order to I write out the adventure.

The other thing happening is promoting Starshot. Looking for venues and trying to talk it onto shelves wherever I can. Have to be honest -- not been doing much of a job. Lot's of excuses but, they are excuses. I hope to work with the Tinley Park Library and looking for bookstores willing to carry a few copies of Starshot to see if we can't make more people know me.

In looking back to my first novel, I see the mistakes I make in that book. I also recognize what people liked. Starshot is an entirely different kind of story. I am sure that is a one-shot to get a story I have wanted to tell for a decade. Love that story, but I don't see a way for a continuation. Mac MacKurghdy, though; him, I like. He needs to come back and get more fans .. so That seems the route I will be going this year....

Stay tuned for more...