Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I can scarcely excite my containment!

The magic days are almost here: four free books for two full days:

Friday 11/30 through Saturday 12/1

The four titles and links appear on the right side of this blog.  I've devoted my life to my writing and I celebrate this chance to share what I've learned with you.

Four tales of mystery, romance and suspense...delivered with style and passion and wit.

Welcome to MacRathWorld.  You won't regret your visit.  Cheers!

Reb

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MACRATHWORLD GOES TOTALLY FREE

Yes, for two days my four ebooks  will be reduced to a Yule-perfect price:

Dates:  11/30-12/1.  All book links appear on the right, under "MacRathWorld Rides on Kindle".

Download...Sample...Then enjoy, knowing that you're in good hands.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Do that sexy thang, First Draft!

An older dog learns a new trick:

I've always favored the cyclical approach: composing a novel in sections and stopping to do a few drafts of each part.  And don't let anyone tell you there aren't advantages to this.  There are.  The  biggest two are that the writer's confidence is boosted, as is his/her memory of particulars/placement of clues, etc.  Plus, of course, it's far easier to do the end-drafts than it is to start revising a novel of 300 pages or more.

But to survive the new ebook jungle, I needed to learn some new footwork if I were to put on some speed.  Two to five years between books wouldn't do.

One month into the new novel, I'm able to say this:  There's a greater sense of momentum and thrust in just getting the tale on the page, not stopping to polish every other month.  I enjoy the fearless pleasure of this mudpie-making phase--playing, taking chances, discovering as I go.  And I've learned to steel my mind against thoughts of the rewriting chores I will face.

Four months to get it all down on paper.  Four to five months to revise.  Then three months to plot and outline the following year's work.  I'm stoked!

Memo to myself, though:  Be sure to type up the handwritten pages at least every other week to avoid a month of typing at the end of the first draft.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

THE BIG BRAWL: CLAUDE BOUCHARD & HENCHMEN


I had a dream. I got to spar with four favorite ebook writers whom I've never met:

CLAUDE BOUCHARD (CB). You all know Claude: the charming and amiable author of The Vigilante series. Claude, in fact, uses his charm to conceal his deadly skill at entrapment.
RUSSELL BLAKE (RB). You know Russell too, or think you do. Prolific isn't the word for this man. His output is staggering. So is his hype. I see Napoleon reborn—with the heart of a komodo dragon. Beware!
JOHN A. A. LOGAN (JL). You love the brilliant mind behind THE SURVIVAL OF THOMAS FORD and STORM DAMAGE. But did you know that Logan boxed and also served as a trainer? He'll pound all hell out of my penchant for fun unless my wits are reinforced.
KIRKUS MACGOWAN (KM). You know the gentle giant behind THE FALL OF BILLY HITCHINGS and WRATH. But did you know he's almost mastered the Karate technique 'The Black Hug'?


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
The stadium has filled.  And refreshments have been served.  Please refrain from throwing beer or carrot juice at the contestants.  The Big Brawl begins in 4...3...2..Go!


ROUND ONE

CB: You've got so many names, Reb, I hardly know where to begin. El Reberoo, The Rebster...You've also gone by Kelley Wilde?
RM: Don't stop there, babe. Carry on: My other pen names include Dodge Cunningham, Johnnie Allegro, Nick Mercurio, Cherokee Blacke...
CB: But your birth name--
RM: Bubba, stop right there. Or I'll tell the world you're Italian.
CB: You watch your mouth, I was born in Quebec!
RM: But your accent's Italian.
CB: As if you would know! I've never even talked with you!
RM: Hey, whose dream is this anyway?
CB: Let's back up a second. You're not even Scottish, dude. You were born in Buffalo.
RM: Oh, for crissake. Next you'll be telling the world that I'm not pint-sized either.
CB: You're over six-feet talL, Reb!
RM: Okay, now I'm taking the gloves off. I 'd like to remind you my Aunt Esther said: 'From my earliest girlhood I worshiped men's feet. But now that I'm older I've had to cut down. One foot, give or take an inch, is all my doc allows me. Even so, I'm proud to say, there's no rest for the wicket in my door.'
CB: WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH ANYTHING!
RM: As much to do as my having been born in Buffalo or anywhere. We find our real roots through long searching. The answer's in our blood, our bones. I'm from Edinburgh, not Buffalo.
CB: Reb, have some Ben and Jerry's ice cream...gargle with salt water...and you'll be fine. Maybe then I'll be able to tell if I'm talking with Groucho Marx, Oscar Wilde or Andy Warhol.
RM: Lunch, you say? You're paying? Swell! In that case, you can bring a companion. Hell, bring one for yourself as well. I promise not to tell a soul who won't swear to repeat it.
CB: AUGHHHHHHHH!

(CB retires to his chair, signaling he's won the round.)

ROUND TWO

RB: Hey, everybody, check out these amazing 5-star reviews for Jet 3, 4, 5 and 6, the four latest installments of my new action series--
RM: Russ, please. Remember the rule? No touts or links allowed here.
RB: Rules are meant to be broken.
RM: Not in The Big Brawl.
RB: But I can't engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. What else can I do but promote my own work? You're not exactly setting the charts on fire, kiddo.
RM: True.
RB: I mean, just to set the record straight: You've published four novels a lifetime ago with two major publishers. One award but crappy sales. Now you've published four online. I publish eight in a year, at the least. So Big Brawl is a little misleading.  More like Mosquito Smackdown?
RM: Yes and No.
RB: I get the Yes. But how's the No?
RM: Aunt Esther once said of her old friend Estelle: 'That woman adored getting married. The gowns, the gifts, the bands—the gifts! But terribly, invariably, the honeymoon always...began. Back to the salt mines on white satin sheets.'
RB: It would take me a lot more tequila than I'm able to afford to start to fathom what that means.
RM: In its own way, it celebrates nonsense. Just as you or I celebrate nonsense if we believe for a moment that we can control our compulsions in art. I don't believe you deliberately chose to work 20-hour days in order to turn out a novel a month. And length of composition is no guarantee of quality.  If it were, no one would read a great quickie called ON THE ROAD. You do this because you must—you were born to write your way. And I never chose to spend 20 years on THE ALCATRAZ CORRECTION.
RB: You just touted your own work!
RM: Why not, it's my dream. If I can't cheat here, where can I?

(RB storms back to his chair, flashing links to those reviews.)

ROUND THREE

JL: All right, lad, you've had your fun. What are you really up to? You've got two series going now that couldn't be more different, not only from each other but from everything else online. On the one hand, we have two short Christmas thrillers filled with poetry and romance. On the other, we have the thrillers starring Boss MacTavin, hardboiled and bloody and loaded with shocks.
RM: True, they do seem to be miles apart. But the Xmas thrillers have their shocks and the other books have their romance. 'Hard-won' happy endings are common to them all. There's more violence, for sure, in the MacTavin novels. But I'm as meticulous as I can be about the way I edit it—I've always preferred the Hitchcock way of cutting at the moment of impact.
JL: Do you think it's wise to proceed with your plan to re-issue your first book, THE SUITING, written all those years ago? That's much darker than your writing now.
RM: It's still a fun book. Why disown it? Besides, I'll reissue it as “The Perfector's Cut”, using the skills I've acquired since then to finetune and clarify, expand. I'll also add a new original piece. Re-owning this piece of my past is a vital step for me in owning my new work.
JL: One thing about you troubles me. May I...come out with both lips blazing?
RM: Do. But I'm demoralized that only one thing troubles you. Me, I love having high-maintenance friends, worth every emotional penny they cost. After all, as old Aunt Esther said--
JL: Reb, please. I swear to Jesus, I'll be ill.
RM: I hope not. You can't have your cake and toss your cookies, you know.
JL: Aren't you concerned in the slightest about this madcap persona of yours? You're a serious writer who acts like a clown. Show more respect for your work, for Christ's sake!
RM: I show due respect for my work, lad, any time I drop a jaw or turn an ear my way, perhaps catching sufficient attention to inspire a beleaguered, busy soul to download some opening pages. In a landscape that's cluttered with more and more signs, I do whatever it takes to stand out, proclaiming simply: Eat at Reb's.
JL: Will you just try that someday without dressing like Ronald McDonald?
RM: I can only quote Aunt Esther: 'Strictly stylistically speaking, sometimes I feel like a 44D stuck in a roomful of Twiggies.'

(JL, with enormous dignity, throws up his hands, says 'My round' to the judges and goes back to his chair.)

ROUND FOUR

KM: Reb, as you've said, I'm a plain speaker. I want to come straight to the point--
RM: You know, I lived in San Francisco—where a strayed loin was the quickest way to get from Pant A to Pant B.
KM: That may be. But I'm talking about points and not about pants. My position on your work's grown stronger. Your word play really is unique—but it gets in the way of the story.
RM: In what way?
KM: In what way what?
RM: In what way does it get in the way?
KM: Sometimes a sentence feels....loaded, you know? Like, the sentence has more than one meaning. And every now and then I stop to wonder WTF or to enjoy the word play. Reb, the style should be in the background of a proper thriller. We shouldn't be aware of it. We shouldn't even be aware that we're reading something that's been written. I mean, we should feel smack dab in the middle of a movie on the page.
RM: Aye, that's one way of reading a thriller. And one way of writing one. But—let me mention two dear dead old names—if you read a thriller by Richard (The Manchurian Candidate) Condon or Lawrence (The First Deadly Sin) Sanders, you'd be amazed at how wonderfully and wittily they write.
KM: Okay. But times have changed. And, remember, we're writing for Kindle.
RM: Too true. But let's give readers whole worldfuls of choices, from enjoyable quickies they read in a night to books they may play with a couple of days.
KM: Dude, your sales are gonna blow.
RM: That depends on whether my instincts are right.
KM: And what do your instincts tell you?
RM: That there are others like myself in search of books they can, and must, and will put down repeatedly. To gather a tan in the sun of the style. Or savor a tryst with a foxy young phrase.
KM: Still, sometimes I like your Tweets better.

(KM goes back to his chair, certain his last quip has won him the round.)

The panel deliberates. And it's anybody's guess who's won. The Rebster may still have a chance—till Claude Bouchard springs from his chair, pointing a finger at Reb.

CB: As my Aunt Francine said, 'There's no Battle of the Sexes—just a Battle of the Sixes, waged by men who are jealous of those blessed with nine.”

Reb falls to the floor, mortally wounded, it seems. The hardly-needed countdown starts. 10...9..8..

But at 6, Reb's fingers twitch.

And at 4, he sits bolt upright.

And at 2, he's on his feet.

And before he's counted out, he roars:

Abstinence makes the fond grow harder!”

The judges cheer. MacRath wins by a point.

NOTE: The above verbal exchanges took place only in my dream. But I thank my assailants for coming and I also thank all four for the fabulous novels they've written.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ken McKea's Narrative Mischief and Magic

If you haven't discovered Ken McKea (aka Brad Strickland)'s high-powered Jim Dallas thrillers, you're in for a real treat.  now's the right time to catch up.  Eden Feint is the third installment of the proposed thirteen-part series, at once a tribute to the great John D. MacDonald and a fresh departure.  Taken together, the first three books are like the opening movement of a rich classical score.  McKea's about to shake things up, I believe, in the second movement.  So start now and be prepared.  Here's my Amazon review of Eden Feint:


The third in the series of Jim Dallas thrillers should signal the end of Phase One, if author Ken McKea's on point...as I suspect he is.  I say this because the first three books are variations not on a theme but on a narrative tack:  we don't meet the villain till very late in each book.  In Atlanta Bones, we're ungraware of the villain's existence for quite some time.  Cuban Dagger pulls off a magical twist on this technique by naming the villain early on...having Dallas spot him in passing--and then seeing the results of the assassin's cruel work with the knife, building up our sense of fear before the big brawl at the end...and Eden Feint?  I'll avoid plot spoilers except to say that there are more than one and once again we're made to wait.

This is a wonderful, beautifully written novel with a crackerjack mystery at its core.  And Dallas and his huge part-Seminole semi-pacifist friend Sam have grown into one of the great mystery teams.  McKea has shown painstaking care in developing the theme of Jim Dallas's transcendence of his burn scars.  The other theme, Dallas's drive for revenge--and his ticking off the days on the calendar until his wife's killers leave prison is really picking up steam here.


But:  my New Year's prayer is that a second phase begins with the fourth Jim Dallas novel.  In the next outing I want some serious action on the page, not off.  And I need for Dallas to square off against a terrifying foe--one who's in sight from the get-go.  In other words, I need the big guy to get in more serious trouble.


That said, five stars--because McKea writes wonderfully, his settings are terrific, the characters are compelling and deep...and because somewhere John D. MacDonald is smiling.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

But Reb Baby, What is an Anytime Yule?

Strategy must never lag in an attempt to become a brand name.  So I reviewed my branding progress...

At this point, I have four books that fall evenly into two camps: Reb's Rebel Yell Crime Tales for Bad Boys and Girls comprises SOUTHERN SCOTCH and THE ALCATRAZ CORRECTION, both starring Boss MacTavin, the very soul of Southern Scotch. The second camp I labeled Reb's Rebel Yell Yuletide Chillers, containing NOBILITY and THE VANISHING MAGIC OF SNOW.

The first camp seems effectively covered, the camp tag suggesting that these are both thrillers and wild rides.  Definitely not for those who prefer cozies...but tailor-made for those who like bloody good, good bloody fun.  And I regularly reinforce the Southern Scotch connection on this blog, Twitter, Facebook and my website.

The second camp tag, though, I've started to think may be selling these Yules short.  When I set out, years ago, to revolutionize the Xmas book industry, I envisioned a series of short, suspenseful tales that could be read any time of the year.  Not tales that just happened to be set (Die Hard, for example, or Reindeer Games), at Christmas.  Not sentimental schlock that could only be read in December.  No, I saw something new and different and exciting:  little thrillers fusing Christmas with other holidays...while remaining top-notch reads any old day of the year.

NOBILITY commemorates Christmas and July 4th in the story of a Man Without a Country who takes on a gang of pickpockets on board the Amtrak Crescent.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008VAGH7Q

THE VANISHING MAGIC OF SNOW celebrates both Christmas and Thanksgiving in the tale of a man who uses magic to transcend the recession that's ruined him.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007VCCI0K


The third book in the series will fuse Christmas and April Fool's...

The camp tag, I decided, had to reinforce my binary approach.  And so I've decided to change it on Amazon to "Reb's Rebel Yell Anytime Yuletide Chillers".

Fingers crossed.  We grow as we go or we perish.

Hi-ho!





Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coming Attractions

11/12:  A provocative piece about my "Anytime" Yule chillers"....and why they can and should be read any ole day of the year.  Including April Fool's Day, when the third one will go Live.

11/15:  A review of Ken McKea's third Jim Dallas thriller, Eden Feint.

11/18:  A wild and woolly Q&A with Reb MacRath himself!  Not even CLAUDE BOUCHARD UNCHAINED has prepared you for this free-for-all.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Getting Back to Five

Brad Strickland repeats some terrific advice on his blog http://kenmckea.blogspot.com Do three things daily to advance your writing or your work.  If you think about it, that's about a thousand steps a year.  Quite a bit can be accomplished if those steps are well-directed.

I plan to up the ante, though, returning to a little game I played years back, called Five.  I'd had a five-year plan, in fact, and worked with daily lists of five.  The trouble was, I'd stumbled on so many different fronts that my lists were too dispersed: I needed a new job in a new city, a decent apartment, good furniture and clothes, etc.  I needed to get back in shape.  I needed a new circle of friends.  As you can imagine, five years turned into six...then seven...and then eight...and on till I stopped with the practice of five.  I never stopped struggling, I never stopped writing, I never stopped sending out queries--but I abandoned the practice of Five.

Brad's inspired me to return to it...and this time to narrow my focus.  Right down to the head of a pin.  Five things daily, without fail, related to my writing, publishing online and starting to build more momentum. The main step, taken daily--ah, these multiples of five!--will be getting  500 words down on paper.  I must also work daily at strengthening my presence on Twitter, Facebook, and various book forums, etc.

Soon I'll record a sample log for one week, either here or on Brad's blog.  Brad liked the concept of Five, but suggested 3 daily writing goals and 2 daily personal goals.  I like the idea of the two personal goals...but will hold fast to five for the writing.  At this point in my life, 1825 steps a year appeals to me more than a thousand.  And 730 personal steps may help put a still bigger smile on my mug. So, seven is heaven, though I'll call it Five.

Stay tuned for occasional updates.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Q&A: CLAUDE BOUCHARD UNCHAINED!


Q:  Claude, to repay you properly for the many happy hours in which you've scared me witless, I'd like to take you to a dark place you'd probably rather forget.  Are you game?

A: I certainly am, Reb. The question is, are you?

Q:  Oh, I'm always prepared to be completely unprepared.  Let's see...The year is 1997. You've spent the last two years composing a series of thrillers you'd hoped would make your name and fortune.  Tell us of the volley of queries you sent...the number of rejections, form, full and partial reads...and how it felt when, at last, you surrendered.

A: Though I’d written three novels by mid-97, the only one I’d worked with on the query side was the series opener, Vigilante. I’m going on memory here but it seems to me most of my querying activity was during the first half of 1996. This was back before email when any efforts at seeking agent representation were done via mail with a SASE (that’s Self-Addressed-Stamped-Envelope) included. Most agents were located in NYC and L.A., so my uncle in Burbank had sent me a roll of U.S. stamps which weren’t readily found in Canada. I don’t remember exactly how many queries I sent, maybe 75 or so at the rate of 2 or 3 per week to avoid too much concurrent interest. However… Most of what I got back were rejections: some personalized...others, form letters...and a couple of hand scribbles directly on my query letters. I did receive three requests for partials and one for a full but nothing came out of those in the end. What really annoyed me were the 20-30 who never responded. Bastards were probably in the business just for the free stamps. The experience left me disappointed though not to any major extent. At the time, the writing and dreaming of selling my stories was more of a game than a career plan.

Q:  And so began a silence of twelve years.  At some point, I remember reading you were represented by an agent for a while. What happened?  

A: Just to clarify the timeline, the agent representation happened once I got back into writing in 2009. I had reviewed, re-edited and self-published my three manuscripts in the spring and was working on getting my name out via social media, particularly Twitter. As it turned out, an editor with whom I chatted frequently was learning the ropes to become an agent, her tutor being a childhood friend and seasoned agent himself. When they launched the agency in December, 2009, I was offered representation along with fifteen to twenty other writers. The relationship lasted eighteen months, after which our agent either melted, imploded or spontaneously combusted. The incident was not recorded so we never learned what exactly happened to the bit--uh, lady. :)

Q:  Going back to 1997 after you wrote your third novel, did you believe that you were quitting for keeps...or was your spirit 'taking five'?

A: To be honest, neither. I had written Vigilante because a story had grown in my head and I needed to let it out. While working on it, a sequel formed and the result was The Consultant. Mind Games was waiting for its turn next. Once I finished the third novel, nothing else was screaming for release. As mentioned earlier, it’s not like I harbored a secret desire to become a bestselling author at the time. My studies and career were in human resources management and I considered my writing as a hobby, much like my painting and guitar. These were leisure activities which allowed me to express myself, nothing more.

Q:  So, twelve years of silence.  At what point did you start to feel the itch to write again?  Did you jump right back into it as if you'd never stopped...or did it take you a while to get back in the groove?

A: What got the itch going again is when I decided to bring my first three novels back to the surface in April 2009. Times had changed during those twelve years and POD suppliers suddenly made it possible for me to see my books as books, not stacks of 8.5 X 11 inch paper. Revising and editing those manuscripts anew slipped me back into the sport and by the time I was done with the third, my characters were raring to go and looking for some action. I published The Homeless Killer less than seven weeks later.

Q:  You made a remarkably bold decision in keeping the three completed books set in the decade you wrote them--then picking up in the present.  What can you tell us about that?

A: When I reviewed the first three books twelve years later, I felt they still stood up and therefore saw no need to make them more current. I laughed when reading a recent review where the reviewer suggested Vigilante needed updating to get away from the 90s feel. The story took place in 1995 and, apparently, I did a decent job of reflecting that. I could have gone ahead and set book number 4 in 1998 and kept my characters younger. However, it just made sense to write in relatively real time as I had in the past. After all, I’d gotten older during that twelve year period. Why should my characters get a break by enjoying existence without aging?

Q:  Cut to the moment of truth now.  The year is 2009.  You've decided to self-publish your first three books and quickly followed up with a fourth. Were you afflicted with feelings of failure at first?  Did you have any inkling of the pot of gold in store?

A: To be honest, my initial goal in self-publishing the first three was to hold actual finished products in my hands. I ordered a bunch of copies of the first edition of Vigilante which I signed and gave to each member of my immediate family. That was my satisfaction… Until a complete stranger bought the book… That’s when I started seriously thinking about recreating such transactions over and over and got busy working on promoting. Sales were dismal for a couple of years but I never considered it as failure but rather, frustration, learning curves and opportunities for persistence. As for the pot of gold, I’ll let you know as soon as I find it.

Q:  You're justly famous, Claude, for your Twitter following:  about 1/3 of a million, and growing.  And you've told most if not all of your secrets online, sharing the wealth with new talent.  But what sets you apart from your rivals still more is the pleasure that you clearly take in the social side of Twitter.  You're accessible, supportive and really seem to care.  Have you always been this way or did the long silence change you?

A: That really is how I’ve always been and it’s no doubt part of my upbringing. Wherever I worked throughout my corporate career, I always ended up being a “go to guy” when someone needed a hand or information. If I can help someone out, I’m happy to do it. Over the years, I’ve always been grateful for any help I received when I was stuck and I simply believe in passing it along.

Q:  What percentage of your time is spent on social media?  Am I right in thinking you enjoy that as much as the writing itself?

A: It’s difficult to measure as it’s not a scheduled activity but rather an ongoing, as needed, one but I’d guesstimate that percentage to be roughly 30%. Twitter, which is my primary social media platform, is up and running 10 to 12 hours per day while I’m doing a number of other book related activities in addition to tweeting. Like many jobs I’ve held in the past, I enjoy the variety involved in being a self-published author and part of that is the social media aspect. In a sense, it replaces the social interactions I once had with others back in the corporate world.

Q:  Productive though you are, you don't seem to be in a hurry.  What's the dream scenario of your production schedule?

A: I’m not in a hurry and there is no scenario dreaming involved in my production schedule. I start writing a book when I do and finish at the end. I don’t map out my stories so establishing timetables or deadlines doesn’t make sense to me. I write when it’s time, sometimes thousands of words in a day, sometimes hundreds, some days not at all. If I get something done quickly, it gets out sooner; if not, I release it later.

Q:  Please define your ideal reader.

A: This was an interesting question which required much thought and consideration in order to come up with an appropriate answer. Having carefully weighed all applicable factors, I’d have to say my ideal reader is anyone who loves my books.

Q:  What are the narrative values you cherish the most as a writer?

A: Writing is an art form and art, among other definitions, is a method of expression. Where an artist recounts his story with hues and shapes or a musician organizes notes and tempo to share her auditory tale, a writer composes his vision with narrative. Although I’m an artist and musician as well, my preferred mode of expression is writing as I find it offers the most extensive palette, allowing me to create not only an image or a moment but rather, a continuous flow of sights, sounds, movement, thoughts and behaviors which, combined, meld into a story. I was recently asked, “How did you learn to write scenes?” to which I replied, “The best way I can describe how I write scenes is that I visualize them as I'm writing (kind of like a movie playing in my head) and then describe what I'm seeing.” Though I could produce a reasonable portrayal of a scene with paint and brush, it would never have the dimension made possible with narrative.

Q:  How close do you feel to producing the best of all Claude Bouchard books--and what would set it apart from the rest?
Another interesting question, Reb, which brings to mind a WIP I currently have simmering in the background. I started writing The Last Party, a stand-alone, in February this year and this is one which I am definitely taking my time with. It requires a great deal of research and the storyline is intricate with a number of distinct but related sub-plots. I won’t go into detail for now but I envision a work which, in the end, will highlight how little humankind is, both physically in relation to the planet and nature as well as in mindset in terms of pettiness and selfishness. Once it’s complete, it should rock.

Q:  Do you feel more blessed or rewarded--or both?

A: I’m blessed for all I have which matters, meaning health, family, love and friends. I’m rewarded for my efforts. It’s all good.

Q:  Which famous historical figures might you have liked to have been?

A: A difficult question to answer with so many great folks to choose from but I’ve narrowed it down to two. It would be either Benjamin Franklin, because he was highly talented, intelligent and versatile, as demonstrated by his accomplishments as a statesman, diplomat, inventor, writer and scientist or Karl Marx because growing up with Groucho, Harpo and Chico had to be a riot.

Q:  Of your two protagonists, it would be safer to say that you relate to lawman Dave. But...Chris Barry shares you initials.  Do tell...

A: I actually relate to Dave and Chris equally well as they both remind me of myself to some extent. We all share a very similar sense of humor and way of thinking. When I think about it, it’s actually somewhat strange how alike we are in many aspects. In regards to the initials, Chris went on with that for a while, particularly when I got onto Twitter as ceebee308. He kept teasing with how I liked him better than Dave. Crazy guys, I tell you.

Q:  Looking back, can you see any ways that your life was enriched by that silence?

 A: I have to admit, I don’t tend to look back very much. What’s done is done and we can’t change the past. However, to answer your question, I wouldn’t say the silence is what enriched my life as much as writing my first three novels before my twelve year hiatus. I can’t say for sure but I don’t know if I would have suddenly decided to write novels in 2009 if I hadn’t had that three book foundation already in place. What I do know for sure is I’m damned pleased I did write them at the time.

Q:  What's the baddest and best about the man Bouchard?

A: Baddest: Putting it lightly, I frown when I’m annoyed. Best: I respect anyone who deserves it.


Q:  Can you let a whisker or two of the cat out of the bag about your future books?

A: I’m currently working on Femme Fatale, the seventh in the Vigilante series. It’s based in Paris and though past central characters are present, it features Leslie Robb, who made her first appearance two books earlier in 6 Hours 42 Minutes and was then quite present in Discreet Activities. I’m not sure exactly when it will be finished but it could release before the New Year. As mentioned earlier, The Last Party will eventually see the day but only when it’s good and ready.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reb's Yule Extravaganza & The 7 Magic Questions

I've had a great year, seeing four of my books appear Live on Kindle after those years in The Desert.  Enough  about me, though.  Let's talk about you.  With so many authors to choose from and so little time to read, it's hard to know where to begin.

Start right here, with a short list of questions to help you decide:
1) Does the cover grab you, suggesting something different and colorful and fun?  Good question. Nothing shallow about judging a book by its cover.
2) Does the title catch your eye, suggesting not only the theme or the hook but a hint of the tone or the style?
3) Do the sample pages ring your bells?  Does the author command your attention or beg like a pooch for your dough? Is the prose clean and quick and compelling?
4) Do the author's credentials impress you at all?  Ten years to mastery, they say.  Where did the author go to school?  What does he or she bring to the table in terms of an apprenticeship--experience as an editor or journalist, etc.?  Other publishing credentials?
5) What about the reviews?  Do they all sound like party favors from family and friends...or have some of the reviews come from writers you know and admire?
6) Has the author made any effort to bond with readers as people, not just as possible sales?  What is the ratio of warm Hellos to strident Buy Me's on Twitter?
7)  Finally, how about the price?  Do you feel the author is picking your pocket or giving you a handshake in the form of a price that says Give me a try?

Ladies and gentlemen, vote for MacRath.  If elected, I'll give you two Sundays a week and bring Free Love back to the mainstream.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

CLAUDE BOUCHARD UNCHAINED is coming!

Claude has sent back his answers for the November Q&A.  The final version will appear here on Saturday, November 3.

Trust me when I tell you this:  Claude's in rare form and you don't want to miss out!