Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's Up!

Hello all, I"ve been away for a while, but as some of you may know, I've been dealing with some rather serious health issues that have taken up a lot of my time and energy. But that doesn't mean I haven't been semi-active in the writing game!

First of all, my ever-lovin' series The Dark InSpectre has been submitted and accepted for publication by my publisher, Pro Se Productions, the home of my debut novel, Badge of Lies. I've taken all the episodes of Dark InSpectre, woven them together, and made a single novel out of it. It will be coming out in 2014 after the usual editing process with my publisher. So Yay for Jack Garrett and friends!

I also submitted a new short story to a magazine for the first time in a while. I should be hearing back in another month or two. It's a dark historical fantasy with the best title I"ve ever come up with: The Vivisectionist's Daughter. Is that cool or what? I really hope it gets picked up.

And I now officially have a couple of Amazon reviews for Badge of Lies, and they're good! I'm so thrilled I can't even tell you. I can tell by the names of the reviewers that they were readers of my Dark InSpectre series who I managed to turn onto Badge of Lies. So the lesson is: e-marketing works! And if someone likes your stuff, they generally like your stuff!

Here's the link to the reviews.

Oh and speaking of Badge of Lies, the guy who runs the audio-narrated episodes of Dark InSpectre on his radio show has put together an ad for Badge of Lies that will go at the end of his pod cast. It's so cool, an ad for my book on the radio! I've heard it and it's awesome, he'll let me know when it airs.

So what's next? The long awaited sequel. As I"ve discussed before, I have to get my ass in gear and start writing again. It's been tough given my health, but I've got an opening scene that needs to get on paper. From there, the sky's the limit. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mad Scribblings Interviews Author Aaron Smith

Today I’m talking with Aaron Smith, a fellow Pro Se Press author whose book, Nobody dies For Free, just came out in June. Aaron was kind enough to answer a few questions about his influences and what makes him tick as a writer. Read below and be enlightened!

Q: When and how did you start writing fiction?

I think I was born with a writer’s brain in the sense that I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember, but it took me thirty years to realize I could actually be a writer! In 2008, I answered an ad that Ron Fortier had posted, looking for pulp writers for Airship 27 Productions. I wrote a short

sample piece—flash fiction is what it would be considered—although I don’t think I knew the term at the time. It was about a vampire having an argument with Adolph Hitler! Ron liked the sample and asked me if I wanted to contribute a story to his upcoming Sherlock Holmes anthology. I was blown away. My first writing job and it gets published and involves my all-time favorite fictional character!

So that started it and the ball kept rolling and I’ve been writing ever since and never want to stop.

Q: Who or what are some of your influences?

Well, I truly believe that all creative people are influenced on some level by almost everything they’re exposed to, whether it’s something they like or hate, but to narrow it down to books and other forms of entertainment, I’d certainly have to list the following writers: Ian Fleming, H.P. Lovecraft, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert E. Howard, Roger Zelazny, JRR Tolkein, Bram Stoker, Isaac Asimov, Stan Lee and all his collaborators, Agatha Christie, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I should also mention the original Star Trek series, the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger, the Universal and Hammer horror movies, and a lot of the music I’ve listened to over the years which ranges from jazz of the ‘30s and ‘40s to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles.        

Q; Your latest release, Nobody Dies For Free, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Tell us a little about it and where the inspiration came from.

I think it was inevitable that I would eventually write a spy novel. After all, I’ve loved the genre since I saw my first James Bond movie at the age of seven. So Nobody Dies For Free was inspired by a lifetime of enjoying that type of story and is influenced by the Bond novels and movies, the writing of Tom Clancy and John LeCarre, the Jason Bourne movies, Mission: Impossible, the British spy series Spooks, and Taken, which is easily my favorite action movie of the past decade or so. Those are the influences I’m aware of, but I’m sure other stories I’ve encountered, whether in books or in films or comics or wherever, played a part in the book coming together, too.

Nobody Dies For Free is the story of Richard Monroe. He’s been a CIA operative for years, loyal to his country and skilled in the ways of espionage. He’s been stationed in Paris for some years and fallen in love with a French woman. He takes early retirement and marries her, intending to stay in France and enjoy a danger-free life. But when we first see Monroe, he’s on the steps of the Paris Opera, cradling his dying wife in his arms. Somebody’s shot her. Monroe goes a little off the deep end after this and uses his skills to track down the assassin. He kills the hitman who shot his wife, but ends up being caught and thrown into a Turkish prison. He’s soon sprung and brought back to the United States where he’s recruited back into the clandestine services, but there’s a difference this time. He won’t be working for a publicly known agency like the CIA or FBI, but will instead be a lone agent reporting to a mysterious supervisor who will assign him to missions too secret or sensitive to ever be made public. Monroe’s mode of operation is staying as far under the radar as possible, using no gadgets or over-the-top technology, but relying instead on just a car, a gun, and his wits.

Nobody Dies For Free is my first full novel for Pro Se Press, a wonderful New Pulp company for whom I’ve done several short stories in the past. It’s available in print or as an e-book for Kindle or Nook.        

Q: What else do you have coming out that you’d like to talk about?

Just last week, the latest issue of Pro Se Presents magazine was released. In that, you’ll find the newest story to feature my detective character Lieutenant Marcel Picard. The last Picard story, which came out in the same magazine several issues ago, got some of the best reviews I’ve ever received for my work. Something about Picard, who is a former professional hockey player who now catches killers, seems to have really attracted a set of followers among the readers of New Pulp.

A few months ago, Airship 27 Productions released Quatermain: the New Adventures, in which Alan Porter and I each wrote a novella about H. Rider Haggard’s classic character Allan Quatermain.

And over the next few months, I have two more novels coming out. In August will be Across the Midnight Sea, which is the sequel to my first vampire novel, 100,000 Midnights.

Then, right around Halloween, my horror novel, Chicago Fell First will be released. This one’s about zombies and how a small group of strangers are brought together in the face of tragedy and chaos.

This has been my busiest year as a writer. It’s tiring at times, but it’s also great fun. 

Q: What about writing do you find the most challenging, and how do you deal with these issues?

As much as I love writing, I’ll admit that it has its rough points. It can be hard to find time to get the writing done when you have to work a day job (as most writers do, despite what you see in the movies), but the solution, I find, is discipline. Set a goal for yourself, say, a thousand words a day, and stick to it unless it is literally impossible not to. No excuses unless circumstances make it absolutely unavoidable.

Then there’s rejection, which can sometimes be hard to accept, but you have to keep in mind that the editor or publisher who rejects your story is judging a series of words on paper, not judging you personally. If he doesn’t like it, maybe the next editor will.

There are a lot of frustrations that go with writing, such as worrying that your books aren’t selling well enough, or having too many ideas to devote enough time to each of them (yes, sometimes too much inspiration can feel like a bad thing!), or the long periods of waiting between writing a story and having it come back from editing, and then the other waiting between preparation and publication. All these things can be hard to deal with, but I find that, most of the time, the good outweighs the bad. We writers are the brave ones who throw ourselves out there where the world can see all the crazy things that go on inside our heads. We give the most intimate thing imaginable to our audiences: the contents of our minds! And sometimes we get lucky and they give something back, like a nice review, a comment about enjoying the book, or just the simple act of buying a copy.

So yes, being a writer can be challenging, but it’s the peripheral stuff that’s hard, never the pure act of writing. That’s sheer joy, release, maybe even destiny for those of us who can’t imagine ever stopping. That’s why we do it, I think. At least I know that’s why I do it. The story has to come out and live beyond the womb that is the writer’s mind.

So I guess that’s the best way to deal with the difficulties. Just keep writing.

Thanks for your time Aaron and best of luck in all your future endeavors!

Here are a few links to find out more about Aaron's writing:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What Now Brown Cow?

Let's review where things stand.

Point one: My debut novel, Badge of Lies, came out last month. I couldn't be more psyched about it. It's gotten one positive review so far and hopefully more are on the way (it's only gotten 1 review total at this point).

Point two: I've already edited and submitted the entire Dark InSpectre series to my publisher and am waiting to hear back about it. It's TBD as far as what kind of format they want to publish it in: digest? webisodes? doesn't really matter to me. I consider it a totally unique vision and am just excited to see it out there in some form.

So where does that leave me in terms of what I'm working on? Well, the Dark InSpectre is finished, the last episode posted a few weeks ago. that's done. As I said, I'm just waiting to hear back from my publisher. Once I do, I'm sure there'll be edits, etc. Which will be all normal and good.

But that's not new material. I'm a writer. Writer's write. What's next? Has to be a sequal to Badge of Lies. I have a couple ideas chasing around in my head that seem promising, but they haven't quite gelled into a coherent whole. but more importantly, I have an opening scene, and I know that's where I need to start.

The problem? My health has not been good lately, and that could be a problem moving forward, especially if I'm trying to get back to writing regularly. But whatever, writer's write. I've got an opening scene, that's where I'll start. Where it takes me....? Well, that's the whole fun of it, isn't it?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Reviews Are In! (Well, one anyway)

Got my first review of Badge of Lies from Nadine over at her My Addiction Blog.

I'm very grateful to Nadine for taking the time to read my book, and happy to report that it's a good review. It's hopefully the first of many more, but this one will always be special cuz it's my first novel, and my first review. So yay, warm fuzzies all around!

Here's an excerpt:
What makes this novel so intriguing – at least for me - is the fact that Jason Kahn went out of his way to throw readers into the explicit truths of not only the main character but also that of the friend – Mitch Connell, who he mourns. The story is weaved majestically between the faltered main character and his obsession to unravel the secrets his friend had tried to carry to his grave.
And a link to the whole review. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Interview with Yours Truly

Friend and fellow author Kelly Harmon was nice enough to post an interview with me over at her blog supporting my new novel, Badge of Lies. Check it here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Final DIS

The final episode of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our story comes to a close, and our hero learns new secrets and finds comfort in old friends.

Here’s an excerpt:

Franken looked at me and though his face gave nothing away, it was like the nervous anxiety coming from his brain could’ve fueled my Intera 6 for a month. “Jack,” he said. “I just want to know, do I need to worry about you?”

That caught me off guard. What the hell was he talking about? And why was he scared to death right now? A sudden memory came to me, a deep voice in my head during the fire, like someone’s mind was reaching out to me. Everything clicked, all the little clues that I had failed to recognize.

I looked him in the eyes, choosing my words carefully, letting him know his secret was safe. “No, sir. Even if I knew what you were talking about, which I don’t, you would never have to worry about me.”

He smiled, patting me gently on the shoulder as he rose. “Thank you,” his voice hitched for a moment, “I knew I could count on you.”

Check the episode here.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Oh Yeah, My Novel's Out!

Did I mention my novel, Badge of Lies is out? I couldn't be more psyched about it. It's out in both e-version and paperback.

Check it out on Amazon here.

It's been a long journey getting this book published, and I'm thrilled I found a great home with my publisher, Pro Se Press and all the editorial staff who have helped usher the manuscript into people's hot little hands.

I hope everyone who wishes to buys a copy and enjoys the ride!

Monday, June 17, 2013

DIS 75 Gets Penultimate

Episode 75 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero and the bad guy finally settle their differences, permanently.

Here’s an excerpt:

Suddenly I was back in my own body, staring up at Heske, who was looking around, fear and uncertainty on his face. Then his features started shifting. It was like each persona forced itself to the surface for an instant, replaced with another, and I realized this was how they were fighting. Alone, none of them was strong enough to keep Heske submerged. But together…

Check the episode here.

Just 1 Episode Left!

Monday, June 3, 2013

DIS 74 Faces the Fire

Episode 74 of the Dark InSpectre faces the fire.

Here's an excerpt. Just two episodes left!!\\

There was a buzz and a fizzle. And then nothing. Heske looked at the gun, then he looked at me, eyes narrowing.

I swallowed. My first thought was that my old buddy Hank would be sorely disappointed in me for screwing up the trick he’d taught me. My second thought was that it was time for plan B. I dropped into a crouch and rushed at Heske, lowering my shoulder as he tossed the gun aside and reached for his knife. My shoulder met his mid-section in the same instant I felt a hot pain lance through my gut.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shit's Gettin Real

Saw a blurb on the Pro Se Facebook page about a novel by one Jason Kahn. Seems like it will be unleashed the first week in June. That's right, my book's bout to drop! In the meantime, Pro Se Publications is going to do some promotion and try and get a few reviews. I'm doing the same. I'm starting by running a few review web sites by my editor at Pro Se, and if she's cool with them, she'll send me a digital copy that I can submit around. Time to drum up some press and spread the buzz. Woohoo!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cover Up!

This looks like the official cover of my novel. It's coming. Get ready.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Episode 73 Online!

Episode 73 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds Mary a bit tied up at the moment.

Here’s an excerpt:
I reached the upper floor and moved down the dark hallway toward the light spilling through the half opened doorway at the end of the corridor. I passed the kids’ rooms, swearing to myself I’d be back for Ian and Collin soon. Then I was at the door, willing myself to keep going, to override the paralyzing fear at what would happen if I screwed this up.

I nudged the door open with my toe and in one motion swung into the room, pivoting to the right as I pointed the gun straight ahead, ready to fire away.

What I saw made me freeze in my tracks, my blood running cold.

Check the episode here.

Just 3 Episodes Left!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gettin' my Head Shot

I finally, finally, after a long time spent wishing I had done this, have arranged to get a professional photo of myself. As I have published a number of short stories, I am asked every once in a while for a head shot, and I don't really have one and instead send some picture I've taken of myself with my own camera or phone. But now that I actually have a novel coming out, it's time. I'm using someone who did the head shots for my wife's office for their web site. The photographer is a real pro and we spoke for like a half an hour yesterday. She told me the different options for what to wear, how long the session will last, etc. The whole price tag is under $1,000, which my wife was fine with. And since she's the arbiter of what we can afford, I'm fine with that too! The shoot is taking place in some Manhattan office space in about two weeks at a location that's extremely convenient to my work.

I have to say that I am very glad to be doing this. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, and now with a book coming out, I'll need it for promotional purposes, my Amazon author page, Goodreads author page, etc.

And especially now that....the editor at my publishing house wants to see the Dark InSpectre! Yes! As I said previously, I pitched the series to her now that I've written the last episode. And she wants to take a look! So I'm gong to put all the episodes together in one document. Counting both story arcs, that's 93 episodes. Yeah, quite a lot! Then I'm going to give it a quick read through to add in all the language my original publisher wouldn't allow (read: cursing), and of course sex up the sex scene.

What I don't know is how this will affect any audio version they may want. I'm already narrating the existing series for the Rockland, Maine radio station that's airing them. If Pro Se Press wants an audio version, too, will I have to re-record after it goes through editing? We'll see, but that's a minor concern. I'm so psyched at the possibility of the series coming out in book form. I've been working on the thing for like 5 years, and in my humble opinion it's probably the best, coolest story I've written.

And in other editor tells me that Badge of Lies is on the docket for publication and she expects to see it within the next month! Now, I'm not exactly sure what that means in terms of hitting stores, etc, but I know good news when I hear it. My f#$*ing novel is coming out! So f@#% yeah!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Spoken Word

I've been off this past week, and one of my main tasks has been to catch up on narrating audio episodes of the Dark InSpectre. Paul Cole, who runs the radio show in Rockland, Maine, that broadcasts my episodes, has been nice enough to agree to make them radio-ready after I narrate them. So it's up to me to keep sending them. It's helpful to understand the numbers here. There are a total of 76 episodes of the latest story arc of the Dark InSpectre. This past week, I narrated 19 new episodes, ending with episode 41. So, yeah, I've still got a ways to go. But I did bite off a nice chunk, which felt good.

Doing the audio recording reminded me how tedious the work is, but it's also a very good exercise. Reading each of these older episodes helps keep the story fresh in my mind, and also brings to the surface minor errors in the text that can be corrected. What's also interesting is that there are little nuances that are apparent when reading the text that can be lost when the words are spoken, like who's talking, and when passages are thought vs. spoken aloud. So I occasionally have to throw in an extra word or phrase to make these things clear.

What really has me curious is what's going to happen when my publisher gets back to me regarding the whole Dark InSpectre series. If they pick it up in some form, will they also pick up the audio episodes? What would happen after the series undergoes editing? Which will surely happen. Would I then have to re-record every episode? That would suck. Out of about 90 episodes between the two story arcs, I've narrated about half. Doing them over again would, well, be a lot.

But I'd certainly do it. I'd do whatever it takes cuz an audio book for the Dark InSpectre would just be so cool. Of course, I still have to hear back from my publisher about all this, so until then it's all just idle speculation. In the mean time, I'll just keep on working in my makeshift recording studio, which consists of a 15-dollar baffle I got from Wal Mart, a digital audio recorder I use for work, and my computer. Pretty advanced stuff, I know.

Monday, April 29, 2013

DIS 72 Goes Home

Episode 72 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero rushes home, but not to a warm welcome.

Here’s an excerpt:

I hadn’t realized it but I’d unconsciously stood, every muscle tensed like I was ready to throw down. The mere thought of that psycho near Mary and the kids was enough to make me want to vomit. The back of my head felt like it’d been split open, my skin was flame-licked and my lungs were raspy and fragile like glass. But I set my jaw and started moving. No way I’d let that crazy f$#* hurt the people I loved. Over my dead body. And of course that was the point, I knew.

Check the episode here:

Just 4 Episodes Left!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Author Paging

Seeing as my first novel is going to come out later this year (still waiting on an exact date), my thoughts have been turning to the business of promotion, publicity, and other non-writerly aspects of authorship. So I have made author pages for myself on Goodreads and Amazon. This is all new to me, so hopefully I've set them up correctly, and I hope to start interacting with other readers and authors through them, especially around the time my book, Badge of Lies, comes out. The pages themselves were pretty easy to set up, though for three of the anthologies I'm on Amazon wasn't able to add them to my profile right away. I've had to email Amazon support and hopefully they'll push my requests through.

Next up will be identifying some blogs and review sites in my genre to contact and set up interviews, etc.

But whatever, I'm now an author presence! Feel my literary might! (yawn...)

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Last InSpectre

This morning I put the finishing touches on the final episode of the Dark InSpectre. It's episode 76, which means there are 5 to go for those of you who are following online (I know you're out there!).

It's been an unbelievable ride for a story that started out as a freakishly noir dream I had five years ago. It grew into something I consider to be a wicked cool story, and I hope my readers (however few of them there are) will agree.

I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen next. I know that the guy who's running the audio episodes I've narrated will continue to do so over his radio station, and I've got many, many episodes still to record. And I've pitched the whole series to the publisher who's putting out my hardboiled detective novel, so we'll see what happens there.

There's been a lot of ups and downs with the series, from building up a decent readership to having my web site unceremoniously deleted and my readership destroyed to slowly building it back up on a new web site. But the important thing is I never stopped, I knew all along that the story in my head had to be told, and I kept on writing it. And now it's done, the way I wanted to tell it. So whatever happens next, I did the vision in my head justice and kept the flame burning for Jack Garrett and company the whole way through. I hope I've done them proud.

Monday, April 15, 2013

DIS Episode 71!

Episode 71 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero has to survive a trial by fire, literally.

Here’s an excerpt:

I hacked some more, my lungs spasming as they yearned for air. Everything started fading. Was it my imagination, or was there a deep voice in my head? Jack, where are you? Jack!

I was so sleepy, my body starting to float as my cares and worries drifted away. But the voice was persistent. Maybe if I told it what it wanted to know it would leave me alone. And then I could rest. Reluctantly, I answered. I’m in a closet, near the kitchen I think.

Sound and thought grew distant as I floated on ethereal wings. I was everywhere and nowhere as time slipped away.

Check the episode here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Final Final

I handed it in, the final, final draft of my pulp detective novel. My editor put all the chapter edits together and sent it back to me for one more read through. I spent the last three days doing that, punching up the language (MOAR cursing!) and making the few sex depictions more graphic (MOAR sexiness!). The beginning was also somewhat out of order, so I fixed that by moving some scenes around. As a result, I pretty much read the whole thing again. And you know what? I liked it. I liked my book, I liked what I wrote and how I wrote it. It's my first novel and I'm unbelievably excited to see it in print.

When's that going to happen? Not sure, I asked my editor. Sometime later this year but exactly when I don't know. The cover art also kicks ass and I can't wait to post a jpg of it. And we settled on a title: Badge of Lies.

So that's it, the book is in the can. Soon will come all the promotional stuff that I don't have any idea about but will nonetheless do. Even if I can't stand blowing my own horn.

It's been a long journey to this point, from writing on the weekends two summers ago while my wife kept my younger son busy, to my then publisher going belly up and leaving me high and dry, to finding a new, better home for my story after I just would not stop trying to find one.

I've learned a lot writing and re-writing Badge of Lies. I've learned that sometimes, you have to approach it like a job, writing even when you don't feel like it. I've learned that my wife is one of the harshest, fairest critics I have ever encountered (though I kind of knew that already). I've learned to trust my instincts and tell my story the way it needs to be told. I've learned that I am a writer.

Even now I hesitate before putting that down, always having been of the opinion that even though I've written countless short stories and an online series, I do not qualify according to the classic definition. In short, I didn't have a book published. No longer. This is happening, I'm a writer.

And soon, the Dark InSpectre will be done, as the series hurtles like a freight train on fire to it's exciting conclusion.  Maybe I just have some plans for that, too...

Monday, April 1, 2013

DIS Episode 70!

Episode 70 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which the big drug deal goes bust, thanks to our hero.

Here’s an excerpt:
At that moment, Haskell leaned over and whispered in Haggerty’s ear. My old Captain sighed ruefully before replying. “Don’t worry. We’ll put ol’ Jack out of his misery soon enough.” Then he turned back to Ames and Big Javi. “Now let’s get down to brass tacks, gentlemen.” 

It was the casual way he said it that sent a chill up my spine, washing away any remaining doubt I had about the man I once considered a father figure. 

Check the episode here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cover Me

Things are still slow on the editing front, I haven't heard from my editor in like two weeks, even though there are only 2 chapters to go for revising in my novel. But that doesn't mean stuff isn't happening. I got an email from my publisher the other day with a preliminary sketch of the proposed cover. I practically passed out from the coolness of it!

It was created from one of three different action scenes I described to them, letting the artist choose the one he felt most appropriate. The one they went with was a scene with the female lead holding a gun on the main character, while the door behind him bursts open and he's subdued by some thugs.

So we have chick with gun plus macho violence. Awesome factor of 11. I gave a couple suggestions about making the main character appear a little older and the thugs bigger (they are thugs after all), but that was it. I cannot wait to see the next iteration. It's basically a dream (shared by all early-stage authors I imagine) to collaborate on the cover of my first novel, and I'm totally psyched at how it's shaping up.

Now if we could only keep the actual manuscript moving along...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Back From Trip, and Episode 69

I got back from a business trip to San Francisco last week. It was completely exhausting, but I still found time to address the latest edits on my manuscript from my editor, who has definitely slowed down over the past month. It's now not uncommon for a week or two to go by before I get a new chapter from her. I know she's busy, so I'm just staying patient. But still, there's just two chapters left! C'mon, let's get'er done! (I find that expression hysterical and ridiculous).

In the meantime, here's Episode 69 of the Dark InSpectre, in which our hero finds himself a bit tied up at the moment.

Here’s an excerpt:
I stopped for a moment as my focus slipped, the pain in my head causing everything to go hazy. The smell of the cleaning supplies clogged my nose and the ties around my ankles and wrists cut off circulation.

I centered again, sending my thoughts out to the bar area. There were a bunch of guys who vibed thug sitting at the end, their eyes trained on a door around the corner of the bar. One of them was Slats Capezzi. Tied up in my dark, cramped closet, my feet and hands going numb, I smiled.

Check the episode here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

DIS Episode 68 Plays Cat and Mouse

Episode68 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finally has the infamous Multiple Man right where he wants him, or does he?

Here’s an excerpt:

I raced to head him off, making several quick turns until I skidded to a halt at a dead end, a cul de sac with a door that looked like the back entrance to Lo Bianco’s. Except no Multiple Man. There were Flacco and a hood I recognized as Jimmy “Slats” Capezzi. And me, doing my best deer in the headlights impression. Uh oh.

Check the episode here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Lost Chapter

In going through my latest chapter, my editor ran across a character where she was like, whoa, where'd he come from?

The answer is he was first introduced in chapter 1. Except the first chapter was taken out. In one of my former editor/publisher's last acts before she officially and finally fell off the face of the earth, she told me I should take out the first chapter and weave in the "details" throughout the rest of the book, that chapter 1 wasn't worth keeping.

I had a somewhat violent reaction to this since I thought chapter 1 actually had quite a bit of good stuff, combining action with introducing some fairly major characters, like the one in question. But whatev, I can certainly take criticism/instruction from an editor, and I took out the chapter.

Fast forward to the present, and my shiny new editor has the revised manuscript without chapter 1. I explained the situation to her, and guess what? Yup, it's going back in. This marks the last of the major edits instituted by my former editor/publisher that my current editor and I are undoing. Feels good, too, since I disagreed with each one of them.

Unfortunately, things have slowed down a bit on the editing front. It seems my editor has taken up some new responsibilities with the publishing house, and I haven't gotten a chapter back from her in about a week. And counting the re-constituted chapter 1, there's only 3 left! Once that's done, I get to go back and "spice" it up a bit.

So hopefully I'll get another chapter soon. But it's okay. I've been patient this long, a little longer ain't gonna kill me. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

DIS Episode 67!

It might be Presidents Day, but it's no day off for The Dark InSpectre. Episode 67 is now online, in which our hero learns the shocking identity of a certain ever-changing villain.

Here's an excerpt:
Heske wiped the blade on Walter’s shirt as he lay there looking up, eyes wide, the light going out of them. Then Heske chuckled to himself and walked out, muttering to himself, “too bad I don’t have time for a snack.” 

I bowed my head and let the echoes dissolve until I was back in the present. Even with my eyes shut I could feel the presence in the room. I raised my head and there he was, the translucent form of the deceased Walter Boyd just a few feet away, his stomach dark with slash marks. 

Boyd gave a mock bow. I trust you enjoyed the show.

Check the episode here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To Hell With the Rules

As some of you may know, I was forced by my previous editor/publisher to write my forthcoming crime novel under some rather restrictive rules: 1st person POV, no cursing, no sex.

Needless to say, I found all these rather limiting, and some outright ridiculous. Nevertheless, I did it, and after said editor/publisher went poof and disappeared after her publishing house went under, I found another publisher and am now going through edits.

Edits have been going really well, and I just sent back chapter 8 (out of 11). But after a few comments from my editor, I felt I had to explain the conditions under which I wrote the novel. Once I did, she experienced a big aha! and understood why some things are the way they are in the piece.

So what she wants to do is after we're done with the first round of edits, go through the whole thing again and "spice it up." What that means is having the main character swear like the foul mouthed son of a bitch he is, and turn up the heat on the one sex scene I did put in.

I can't tell you how glad I am to be doing this. It's completely ridiculous for my main character not to swear. He's a god damn cop! Let alone all the other low-lifes he encounters. And of course he's going to have sex, he's a man, it's what grown men do! Especiallly when he's involved with a sexy broad like he is in my story.

Making these changes will bring my story much more in line with the world I have created, and that makes me happy. To hell with the rules!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Novel Progress

I was getting worried because I hadn't heard from my editor in a few days. This brought up a host of bad feelings and paranoia, cuz as some of you may know, my previous editor/publisher had a habit of falling off the face of the earth and staying out of contact for months at a time, much to my frustration.

But huzzah, it turns out my new editor just has the flu! Actually I feel really bad cuz the flu sucks. But she has been able to keep up a reasonable pace with the edits. She's sent me 5 chapters, each of which I've promptly sent back to her. It's going really well, no major plot problems, all stuff that's easily fixable in terms of cleaning up language, etc.

Of course, the way my stupid brain works, I start thinking, why isn't she pointing out bigger things to fix? Maybe she's only reading this on a superficial level? Because, you know, I'm so insecure that I can't possibly accept the fact that my book might actually be pretty good, or at least not terrible.

So, like I said, we've been through 5 chapters, which means 6 to go. After we're done, my editor will read through the whole thing again and see if there are any further issues. And once that's done, it goes to the publisher, at which point, if everybody's happy, I'll sign a contract.

After the first round of edits are done, though, I'm going to ask her advice regarding the title. I'm not thrilled with it, and I will certainly listen to any suggestions she has. When I write something, if a title doesn't come immediately to me, then I struggle with it, and that's what happened with the novel. The title is okay, even serviceable, but there's gotta be something that when I hear it, it just fits. And that hasn't happened yet.

But anyway, that's a little bit down the road. For now, I'm workin' on edits as fast as they come at me, and lovin' every minute of it. :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Get Your Kicks with Episode 66!

Episode 66 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds his boss in a rather "indisposed" state.

Here’s an excerpt:
On the sixteenth floor I walked down the silent hallway, two distinct strategies in mind. Plan A: Ask Walter real nicely what I wanted to know. Plan B: Beat the shit out of him until he talked. 

I was debating skipping straight to Plan B when I neared the door. It was closed, but when I put my hand on the knob, the riot of psychic echoes that flooded into me almost knocked me over. Violence, fear, anger. Something real bad had just gone down.
Check the episode here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Edits Have Begun

Got edits on chapter 1 last night and went through them today. The editing process is an exercise in controlled terror. You never how what kind of editor you're going to get, someone harsh, someone easy-going. Above all, you want someone invested in your work who's committed to making it better.

That being said, I've had editors who are quite caustic and downright grouchy. Not that they haven't been super good and right on, but, you know, it never hurts to be nice, right?

So it was with some trepidation that I opened my first round of edits in my in box. When I went through them, I was impressed and gratified. Her (I think it's a her, the name is kind of androgynous) edits were very smart and insightful, pointing out fuzzy language and things to be clarified. And you know what? There were even compliments! Like she actually liked what she was reading! I am amazed how some editors have never learned the basic lesson of pointing out good things in addition to the bad.

It makes me that much more excited to work on this. It's a simple rule, right? The carrot and the stick. But as any author knows, we are starved for the slightest appreciation of our work. Especially from the first person outside of my wife who is taking the time to go through my manuscript line by line.

So I'm feeling very grateful to be working with my new editor, and sent her back my revisions pretty quickly, we'll see what she says about it. There was one thing I'm not sure how to address regarding consistent tone of voice. I need to noodle a bit about that one. But everything else I fixed up pretty easily. It's key that she didn't suggest any major plot changes, which would have been more than a little concerning in chapter 1, right?

But even if she does, I like our rapport and the trust we've already built and will address whatever she suggests. I consider this a very good start on the way to getting my first novel published. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Novel Stuff!

All of a sudden, stuff is happening! The big news is, I've now got an editor!

After I got back from my family trip to Israel, I contacted the publisher of my debut novel and asked what was happening. His reply was somewhat confusing, that their calendar was full for the next 3-4 months, but that I'd be "hearing" things sooner than that. Naturally, I sat back and prepared to wait.

Then yesterday, he emailed me introducing me to my new editor, who will be helping me with revisions to the manuscript. And then I emailed with her, and she said she's going through it and I should expect her first round of edits tomorrow night. I know, pretty wild, right?

So I'm totally psyched to get moving on this, and at the same time have no idea what to expect. Will she shred it to bits? Will there be major plot problems to fix? Do I care? Honestly, not a whole lot if it will all make the book a better story.

In the meantime, don't I need a contract or something? Hmmm, have to ask about that...

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIS Episode 65!

Having a good MLK Day? So's the Dark InSpectre. Episode 65 is now online, in which our hero asks a colleague some polite questions. Then he stops being polite.

Here’s an excerpt:
The yellow bolt of psychic energy shot straight at me but I swatted it aside with my shields, then formed a spike of my own brain power and drove it into Darson’s head, twisting. He screamed, muscles spasming, and I let it dissipate just before he passed out.

He sat there panting, his eyes wild. His shields were in tatters, his psyche stinking of desperation and panic.

I took another slug of bourbon, calming myself before addressing the mess that had previously been one of my best detectives. “So, why were you following me?”

Check the episode here.

For more short story goodness, check out my most recent piece in Bards and Sages Quarterly.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thanks for Visiting...?

A strange thing has been happening on the Dark InSpectre site. Every once in a while, I get an email saying a new user has registered, and it gives me their email address. I usually get one of these every few weeks, and lately it's been increasing. I checked the admin area of the site, and I counted like 30 registered users. I was a bit amazed.

Who are these people? To make a comment on the site, you have to register, but none of these people have left any comments. A while back, someone registered and started making actual posts on the site like they were me, except the posts were ads in Polish, so he was basically spamming. I was pretty mortified and then my editor (before she dropped out of contact) changed the permissions so normal people registering couldn't actually do that anymore.

But back to the present, who are these people? Are they wanna-be spammers like the first person who tried it? If so, that's pretty depressing that there are 30 people trying to do that. I certainly prefer to believe that these are people who just want to follow my series. But they're awfully silent, whoever they are. I feel like shaking them. Say something!

Maybe this is a routine thing and sites just normally attract people who register. Anybody with insight into this phenomenon feel free to enlighten me. Otherwise I'll just continue to wonder...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Story Time!

The January 2013 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly is now out, with my short story Carousel. Here's the link to the kindle version, and here's the link to the hard copy version, both available for purchse.

You can probably guess what the story's about from the title. I got the idea after visiting the carousel near us in Brooklyn by the local zoo and reflecting on the amazing detail of the animals. The rest, well, wrote itself. Here's an excerpt from the opening:
Shoni Williams held her father’s hand, barely paying attention to the giant pigs that moved about like slow behemoths in their pens. She used to enjoy the County Fair that ran for a week each summer.

Rini Marcus, her friend from fifth grade, ran up uttering the words she feared most. “Let’s ride the carousel!”
Her stomach plummeted and her throat went dry. She felt uncomfortable enough just being here, let alone going near the dreaded carousel.

Rini’s eyes were full of expectant joy as Shoni’s father looked down, his voice deep and warm. “Go ahead, Shoni. You kids get in line, I’ll buy the tickets.”

Shoni gulped and pasted on a nervous smile. Inwardly she groaned. None of them understood. But how could she explain?

Intrigued? Go ahead and buy the issue and experience the rest!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bards and Sages

I got a jpeg of the cover of the Jan. 2013 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly, which contains my short story, Carousel. The cover looks totally awesome, and I can't wait for the issue to come out, which should be any minute now.

The Dark InSpectre, Episode 64!

After a holiday break, The Dark InSpectre is back at work with Episode 64, in which our hero goes undercover as an insurance agent to get his man.

Here’s an excerpt:

I adjusted my glasses. “You spoke to him in the hospital? The police let you?”

He chuckled and there was a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “Oh, I was pretty tricky in my day. I slipped in when no police were around. I’m sure you know that whenever we can interview people without officials standing there, they feel a bit freer to talk. Besides, he didn’t really know anything about the fire. He was just a confused young man.”

I smiled. “Yes, of course. What was his name?”

He opened the notebook briefly and closed it again. “Barton James.”

A deep click sounded in my brain. That name meant something but I couldn’t place it. I struggled to make the connection while Ellis kept talking.

Check the episode here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Damn You, Junk Mail!

Got back a couple days ago from a trip to Israel with my family, had a fabulous time made better by being able to bask in the knowledge that I'm getting my first novel published. Then I got this from a different publisher in response to a pitch I'd sent him for my manuscript:


For some reason this got sent to my spam filter and I just found it while searching for a Urban Pulp Fantasy proposal from another author.

Anyway, I would definitely be interested in publishing Badge of Lies. If it has a sexual component that is more than just implied, it would work very well for the Spicy line, otherwise we could fit it as an original stand alone novel.

Blerg! Are you kidding me? My book proposal went to your junk mail? I check my junk mail religiously just in case something important slips through. Doesn't everybody do this? This is every aspiring author's worst nightmare. HOWEVER, at least he liked it.

I had sent him my pitch about a month before the one I sent to the publisher that accepted the book. So if publisher number 1 had read and responded in a reasonable amount of time, it is likely I would be signing with them instead of the publisher I ended up with. So is it all for the best? Well, after I explained the situation, that I'd since gone with another publisher, junk mail guy responded thusly:

No problem at all. I would say Pro Se probably has a better handle on solid detective fiction than we do anyhow.

Keep us in mind for any original work you have in mind for the future or if you decide to take it elsewhere.

So I guess everything worked out. I'm with the best publisher for my work, and another publisher is potentially interested if I need them. Still, when I saw that first email, I felt awful. But I guess it's all good.

In other news, I just finished a short story that I'm pretty excited about. It's all dark and macabre. Next I'll let the wife read it and then start subbing around, the usual game.

Other than that, it's back to posting the Dark InSpectre on Monday. The end of the series is within site! I know, I can't believe it either.