Tag Archives: kindle

Free Short Story for Kindle on Amazon

We are testing the Amazon Prime program for my books and to start out we have put a short story on there that will be free for a Kindle users on August 30th and 31st. After that it will remain free to borrow for Amazon Prime members while non-Prime members will be charged .99 cents.  Any proceeds we receive from the sale of this piece will be used for one of a variety of charities or non-profits including Surfrider, Kiva.org, or something similar.

The story, Terror in the Wire, is a horror story set in a prison facility in Texas where prisoners with mental health issues live.

One day, a bus arrives at the camp with not only a load of new prisoners and also…something else.

I may be a little prejudiced on the issue but I enjoyed writing the story and still enjoy reading it from time to time. I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Print Editions Are Now Available! Also, Kindle and Nook Versions Have Been Updated.

Hello dear readers and potential readers.

Joy, joy, joy!  The long and incredibly arduous process of getting the print editions of Junebug and The BodyThe Bottle Tree, and No' Chance, is finally over the files have been approved and the printed books should be available on Amazon as we you read this. If you want a signed copy (it still feels weird and slightly arrogant to ask that) you can drop us an email.

Many of my readers have asked questions about the actual process of indie publishing so I thought I'd share a little about it. 

I can't believe the amount of edits we had to do just to make the format come out okay. Since digital publishing is still in its infancy there are a lot of problems to work through and the ability to get formats correct is one of them. We would find a problem, correct the error, upload the file only to find out that a new problem had now developed. On three occasions we uploaded a file, ordered the printed copy to proof only to find out that entire sections had disappeared! 

I suspect that part of the problem had to do with the fact that I originally wrote those books, at least in part, in WordPerfect (my preferred program now) and then converted them to a MS Word file, then later edited them in a later version of MS Word. The problem with all of these is that they just aren't the best programs for writers. They are great for office work, but a little cumbersome for authors.

As always, if you notice a problem in the books please let me know.

Heroes and Villains

My wife convinced me to read the YA trilogy, The Hunger Games and I must say I'm pretty impressed. Being YA books they are a very fast read but the author does a great job of creating a complete world even though the books are unraveling at a breakneck speed.

The villain in the story is both the system and a character named President Snow (who I invariably picture as Newt Gingrich), but it raised interesting questions in my mind as to how books develop.

It is generally accepted that novels have to have a protagonist (hero) and an antagonist (villain) although sometimes the real villain is a system or way of life although that can also be embodied in a specific person. 

This was done wonderfully in the Hunger Games books just as J.K. Rowling managed to do in the Harry Potter series. Both President Snow and Voldemort are absolutely evil with no redeeming features, as opposed to a more sophisticated embodiment of evil such as Hannibal Lecter.

In my own books, I have one character in No' Chance, Silas, who is evil and I made no attempts to develop a reason for his evil or gave the reader any sympathy toward him. In Junebug and the Body, there is a villain (I won't give away who it is) that, while they're not evil, they are definitely the bad guy.

In The Bottle Tree, my personal favorite to write, I used a character to embody the racial atmosphere that existed in the Deep South as a way of life at that time. 

One of the new books I am working on, in addition to the second book in the Junebug and the second book in the Noah Chance series, is about methamphetamine use and the villain in that book is really the drug and poor choices in life.

What are your thoughts? Is one kind of villain preferable over the others?

I know many of my readers are also writers. If that is you, which type of villain do you prefer reading about and which do you prefer to write about?

To Kill a Character

One of my pet peeves is when an author/writer spends a lot of time building up a character just to kill them off. Sometimes it is necessary to the story and I understand that but some authors, Stephen King for instance, does it in every book. I'm not sure if it is a belief he has, a predilection to mayhem, or if he just gets sick of characters after spending so much time writing and kills them due to some perverse need (as his main character did in Misery) . It could also be that he relieves homicidal instincts that way but since I don't know Mr. King I won't hazard a guess as to that.

However, I think with many writers it isn't a conscious action. In my case, for instance, as much as I hate it happening I have started books knowing that a character won't make it to the end. In fact, in one of my projects, it was the death of a character in my head that started me to writing the book in the first place. I won't mention which book it was, because that might act as a spoiler.

In another book, I intended from the beginning that one of my characters would die because it was going to set up the next book in the series. However, when I got to that part I was surprised to learn that it didn't happen. I tried to kill them off but darn it, they refused to die and instead another much more minor character died instead. 

To anyone that is not a writer that may seem strange or contrived, but I think most writers who do not work from a carefully plotted outline will understand.

When I am writing, I usually have a general direction that the book will go in, usually because it take a little "push" to get started. I can't sit down and have the words just start spilling out, it takes a while for me to warm up. However, once I get going the story and characters take on a life of their own and often go in directions that i hadn't imagined. Occasionally that results in a problem.

For instance, when I was writing Junebug and the Body the book twisted on me toward the end and I couldn't figure out how to make it work or a way to tie two different story lines together. For weeks/months the book just sat there, 90% completed and STUCK!!!

One day my family and I were travelling back from visiting my mother in Louisiana, my wife driving while I napped in the passenger seat. Suddenly and without any warning BOOM! the problem was resolved. An idea on how to wrap up burst into my mind and the first draft of the book was finished a day or so later. I'm not sure what prompted the revelation since I was dozing and not even consciously thinking about the book but sometimes that's the way it happens. The story wrote itself. I had to go back and make a few small changes to tie the new idea in but once I did it was over. Except for the editing of course.

I said all that to say this, try not to be too hard on us writers when a favorite of yours gets knocked off.

Sometimes we didn't do it.

They killed themselves.