Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The cold lingers on

       The cold still lingers. Not much fun. Sigh. I did get a lot of writing done on Murder by the Acre at the doctor's office today. It was a new scene that I think will help the story along immensely. I just have to find a place to put it. It also gave me a hint about why the story isn't jelling quite right: I'm not putting my heroes in enough danger. The stakes need to be higher. And I think I can see several ways to do that.
      I was going to post a photo of Mikey, but Blogger won't let me right now. I keep getting an error. I'll try tomorrow. And now I'm going to call it a night. Hope things are going well for you. Night!

Monday, November 26, 2007

MBTA update

      How is Murder by the Acre going? Well, the book is mostly done except -- and that really should be EXCEPT -- for a few problems areas. Particularly Chapter 3, 7 & 9 with small clean-up problems all over the book. I know what should happen in each of those chapters, but so far what I have isn't very good. Well, they're not bad, but they're not as good as they should be. I know all along that those chapters were rough, but I wrote past them, intending to fix them later. It's later now.
      The real problem is Chapter 3. 7 & 9 are basically connected to 3. If I could fix 3, they would or should follow in kind. The clean-up errors are also related to 3. And the trouble with 3 is that I haven't got the story and the murders firmly in hand. It's important that the murders make sense from the inside (the murderer[s]) point of view however baffling they might be from the outside. And currently they don't. I mean, there are motives everywhere, but what drove our killer(s) to finally cross that line? And why did the killer(s) think that the murders would be better than the alternative?
      In real life, murderers often make random and bad decisions -- as we all do -- but in a "cozy" mystery, the murderer is supposed to be clever or very lucky. And since I'm writing the murderer(s), I have to be clever, too. It's like a game with the reader. I want to make sure the readers have enough clues to solve it if they're clever and pay attention. It's like composing a crossword puzzle: you want the clues to take effort, but not be so hard that the puzzle solver gives up in frustration.
      I'm also trying to raise the bar with this book. I want it to be better than MBDD. I want it to be funnier, smarter, more mysterious. I've grown as a writer since MBDD and MBTA were written all those years ago. While I was content to polish MBDD, I want MBTA to reflect my writing and the world now.
      Of course, Ryton is a rural town so it will be behind the curve, but they have cell phones, the Net, and all the other things that mark them as living in this century.
      And I am making progress. Every day the book grows. I learn more about the characters and their lives. There are answers for the problems presented in Chapter 3, and I will write my way to their solutions. I have faith in the process. I have faith in my writing. I have faith.
      This Friday I will be in Alva, Oklahoma, for a Murder by Dewey Decimal book signing at the grand opening of The Great Indoors. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also nervous. I hope I sell a few books and get MBDD into more hands. The more people who read it, the more word of mouth is generated. And that's the best advertising.
      I still have a handful of book plates left. If you want one for your copy of MBDD, please let me know. Oh, and you can order an autographed softcover copy of MBDD directly from me for $21 (book $16.95 and postage and box $4.05).
       E.T.C., Crystal, and Gloria all posted reviews of MBDD on Amazon.com and/or Barnes & Noble.com so they will be receiving the first chapter of Murder by the Acre soon by snail mail.
      We had an absolutely good time with Mikey. And I was told quite seriously that I was his "best uncle." I'm no relation actually, but I'll take that designation. I just hope his real uncle never hears about it! (Sorry, Todd.)
      The cold is really kicking my butt. So I think I'm going to take my beaten behind and go to bed. Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


      Well, OSU was beaten by OU. Pounded. Slaughtered. Murderized. Pick the sports slang of your choice as long as it conveys that my beloved, kind, intelligent, good Oklahoma State University was defeated by the evil, rude, ugly, mean, stinky University of Oklahoma. Sigh. Sometimes the Dark Side wins. Next year, Darth Stoops, next year.
      It's wet, chilly and dreary here. And I have caught a head cold. Only bright spot is that Mikey will be returning later this evening. He is a wonderful boy. Wild with energy and as funny as he can be.
      Don't have anything else to tell you. Take care. Have a good night. Talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The news such as it is

      I had a good Thanksgiving. I hope you did, too. And if not, I hope the day after was better.
      I'd like to say that I've spent the past two days being productive, but I can't. I should be doing all sorts of things -- the list is long -- but for some reason, I've been shut down the past week or so. Don't know why. Maybe the lack of sunlight. I hate the shorter days of winter. Not a fan of winter, period. Or maybe exclamation point. I like long warm sunlight filled days. Love spring, worship summer.
      Mikey did come to visit for a while. He and his Papa are gone now to visit his great grandparents out in Western Oklahoma. They'll be back Saturday evening. He sure was fun while he was here. So lively. So smart. So utterly wonderful.
      Otherwise, don't have much to tell you. I'll be back tomorrow with -- I hope -- good news concerning the Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma football game. I'm rooting for OSU, of course.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The first Thanksgiving ... sort of

(I actually wrote the following for Thanksgiving a few years ago and intended to fill in the tiny historical gaps by doing credible research. But what with the knitting and handgun lessons, I haven't had the chance. Still, no notable historian has challenged it so here it is.)

      I hope if you have to travel tomorrow that you drive carefully. Or if you take public transportation, ride the bus or train carefully. Remember only you can prevent forest fires. So stay out of the forest! The chipmunks don't want you there. They and their henchman squirrels plot against you.
      I should really write something about Thanksgiving, but most people know the story of the Pilgrims and their long perilous journey across the ocean. To tell something new about them, one would have to do months of hard research and consult learned scholars. Instead, I'm going to use an easier way that nonetheless is prominent in today's society, particularly among Democrats: I'm going to make it up.
      The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, in 1620, crossed the ocean in the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth, America, two months later. How lucky is that? They left Plymouth and ended up at Plymouth.
      The Pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution from the governments and churches in Europe. The European establishment was a bit looser about sin, considering the Ten Commandments to be the Ten Suggestions and the Sermon on the Mount to be a Chat with Tea. The establishment, however, was steadfast in its beliefs, burning heretics at the stake. What a happy time was had by all, not including the burnee, of course, who sometimes complained loudly.
      The Pilgrims were led by John Alden or maybe Miles Standish. I'm a little unclear on this. It could have been Flappy Slapdashy. Look it up. On the trip over, several sailors died. This could have been seen as a bad omen, but the Pilgrims didn't believe in omens or baths, either. No, this part is true. They thought baths were sinful and should be taken only once a year -- say for instance when your undergarments were capable of walking to the water by themselves -- and you were never to enjoy them.
      Some modern-day scholars have taken this to mean that the Pilgrims were dour, sour people, like Republicans these days, but this simply isn't true. In 1637, Warwick William "Willie" Wipingnose smiled in public at a Pilgrim gathering. Twice. He was immediately flogged and pilloried, but he did smile.
      Soon after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, they discovered, due to bad planning, all the supermarkets were in the Old World. Food got scarce. Several Pilgrims disappeared but were found in various cooking pots in the Donner home.
      The winter was cold, the wolves were gathering and the pantry was bare. Disease struck the colony. The colony tried to strike back, but Disease was too quick and dodged and ran around town, skipping and singing, "Climb Every Mountain."
      But help was just beyond the horizon, or actually just inside the woods. Chief Acornugger of the Whatchamacallit Tribe had met the Pilgrims some time ago. He hadn't liked them, finding them "stinky and dour." His medicine man Pokeineye had warned him of the white man, saying, "They come in long ships to take our forests and our lands and will drive us before them. Do not let them. Invest in casinos. Sell them plenty of smoking weed."
      For a while, Acornugger led his brave braves against the white man in daring raids, taking tools, clothing and an entire case of moist towelettes.
      Once he or some other chief captured several white men and were putting them to death by cutting off their heads. (Although he wasn't a member of the European establishment, the chief was sympathetic to their methods.) The last victim was a man named John Smith (possibly not his real name). They pushed Smith down on a tree stump and started to chop off his head when the chief's daughter Pocahontas threw herself on top of the captive. The chief was overcome by this display of emotion and ordered Smith released, although Pocahontas kept insisting that she had just tripped.
      Anyway, Chief Acornugger saw that the white people were starving and felt his heart swell with pity, but it turned out to be just gas. A completely different tribe led by some other chief actually brought food, including corn and Twinkies, to the famished Pilgrims.
      The Pilgrims and Indians gathered for a goodwill feast and slam dance, giving thanks for the food and friendship shared by all. The Pilgrims were so grateful that they didn't steal the land of that tribe until 45 years later.
      And that's almost exactly not the story of the First Thanksgiving.

© 2007 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Floozy & Other Mishaps.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How NOT to cook a turkey

       “Smothered turkey cutlet” the recipe read in the cookbook Recipes for the Culinary Klutz. I shuddered. I didn’t want to know how the turkey had been killed. I just wanted to know how to cook one. Friends were visiting for Thanksgiving, and I had decided to cook a turkey. I'd never cooked one before, but how hard could it be?
       I went to Wal-Mart, purchased Thanksgiving goodies -- cans of yams, dressing mix, pumpkin pie, etc. -- and an ostrich-sized bird. I had it carried to my car by a burly salesclerk (I made sure to tip her), and off I went. I placed all the groceries on my kitchen table. I was going to be organized.
       First problem: Defrosting. The directions said the turkey should defrost in the fridge for 48 hours. But my guests would arrive in six hours. Solution: I’d defrost it in the microwave. But first I turned on the regular oven to preheat.
       Second problem: It wouldn’t fit in the microwave. Solution: I’d cut the turkey in half, and then it would fit.
       Third problem: Frozen turkey is the hardest substance known to man. It should be used to make bank safes. I couldn’t cut it with a knife, a cleaver, a hacksaw or an axe. I was starting my chainsaw when I realized I could defrost the bird in the sink. It fit tightly, but I got it in there. I turned on the hot water.
       Fourth problem: Something was burning in the oven. Yikes! I had forgot to remove the pots I store in the oven, and some of them had handles that were melting. I grabbed oven mitts and rushed the pots outside. My mitts stuck to the handles so it took a while to free them.
       Fifth problem: I came back into the kitchen and stepped in water. The sink was overflowing. The turkey blocked the drain. I turned off the water, got several bath towels, and threw them on the floor. Then I tried to lift the turkey. Hot, hot, hot! The water was too hot. So I found a stick. I stuck it in the sink and tried to lever the bird up to free the drain.
       Sixth problem: The turkey wouldn’t budge. Solution: I’d pour cooking oil in the water and grease up the turkey so it could slip free.
       Seventh problem: The oil floated on top of the water. Fine. If I couldn’t get the turkey out with chemistry, I’d use a bigger lever. I got a broom handle and forced it beneath the turkey. I heaved. The turkey resisted, then shot free, hovered in the air like a poultry UFO, and turned around twice before it crashed back into the sink, drenching me and my kitchen with a wave of hot oily water. I took a step, slipped on the towels, and fell backward. Grabbing wildly, I reached for the kitchen table. I caught the tablecloth and pulled it and the groceries on it on top of me. As I lay there, looking at my ceiling, I took a deep breath and then did in last place what I should have done in the first place.
       And that’s why my guests enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving hamburgers at McDonald’s.

Copyright 2007 Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. No copying or downloading without express written permission. Excerpted from his forthcoming book Floozy & Other Mishaps

Monday, November 19, 2007

XII Good Things

      It's been a bad few days. Some upsetting things. Several of my friends have been experiencing the knocks of life, and apparently life didn't want to leave me out so it dealt me a few blows. Fortunately, I'm the Original Bump-n-Go Boy so I'm still on my feet and moving. Let's share a few good things, shall we?
      I. I received my first royalty check from sales of Murder by Dewey Decimal. Small as it might be, it is nonetheless money I didn’t have before and helps me to continue to make steps forward. Very cool!
      II. Second, the first bookstore that I know is stocking MBDD is:
            Hooked On Books
            104 East Main
            Weatherford, OK 73096

      It's very exciting to think I'm on the shelves. Awesome! Thanks H.O.B. If you're in the Weatherford area, drop by H.O.B. It's one of the nicest bookstores around. Tell them that Stephen sent you.
      III. I finished the November family newsletter this weekend and mailed it today. Time to get working on the December issue.
      IV. I watched the Oklahoma State University Cowboys blast past the Baylor Bears to win 45-14. Now, that's good football. And it puts us in the running for a bowl game.
      V. I'll be off work Thursday and Friday. Let's hear it for holidays!
      VI. I'm on track to pay off a credit card next month. Wahoo! This is the last of the high interest cards and the second of two cards I have left. So come January, I will be down to one credit card (that I hope I will be able to pay off in 2008) and my first and second mortgage. And I should pay off my second mortgage in 2009, if things go well and I stay healthy and the economy doesn't crash, etc. Anyway, I'm making progress, folks. Slow, but sure. I might possible be out of debt completely in 2010 or 2011. How cool would that be! Dave Ramsey works. Don't let anyone tell you that his program doesn't. I'm living proof.
      VII. I'm going to see Mikey this week. Wahoo! He will be here Thanksgiving night and will leave Friday morning with his Papa to travel to Western Oklahoma. Then he will be back Saturday evening and leave Sunday evening. So I get some Mikey time. He's growing up so fast.
      VIII. I've bowed out of NaNo this year. Why is that good news? Because it takes pressure off me AND I will get to devote more time to Murder by the Acre, which desperately needs it. I'll continue to scribble on Grave Tidings because I like Justina a lot, but no pressure other than what I place on me to finish any story.
      IX. I've actually got some people done on my Christmas list. Well, two couples, but it's a good start. Just got to get organized and get the rest of my shopping done. I'm not going to wait to the last minute this year. Too stressful. And I need some calm lately.
      X. I received copies of Murder by Dewey Decimal from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The covers are a bit different from the Lulu version -- both Amazon and Barnes & Noble use their own presses -- but they look good. And apparently -- unless those sales ranking things are totally messed up, which I'm willing to believe -- people are buying the book.
      XI. After weeks of being all over the place, my blood sugar seems to be settling down. For whatever reason, Slim-Fast made my blood sugar high. It might be the type of Slim-Fast I was using -- Original -- but it wasn't a successful experiment. I did lose a few pounds, but not enough to justify the high sugars. Live and learn.
      XII. Christmas is coming. And however unsophisticated and lame it makes me to feel this way, I still enjoy and revere Christmas.
      And that's the news with me. What's happening with you?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Justina visits an old lover

      A bit of explanation: In this excerpt, Justina has gone to her old lover, another one of the Silver Folk, to ask for help against the Aspect Renarr. The Silver Folk have a treaty -- the Line Compact -- with the Void. The Compact states that the Folk will not take sides with either Substance or Void. There is no Compact with Substance, but Substance never attempts to compel the Folk.

Grave Tidings, excerpt 4

      "Will you help me?" Justina whispered. "Please."
      Marcus looked at the floor. "We were finished a long time ago."
      Justina closed her eyes and couldn't trust her voice to reply. Blindly she turned and took a step away.
      "Justina, you have to understand," Marcus said quietly. "I have a family now. I have a wife who loves me. While I may not love her the way you and I loved each other, I do love her. And I love my children more than life itself. They all depend on me. To provide for them. To protect them."
      Justina swallowed, took a breath, and said in a steady voice. "Then you have a lot to lose if Renarr succeeds."
      "He won't. Not if you return to Bane and take sanctuary," Marcus said.
      Justina turned angrily. "And do you know what will happen if I do? War! Humans will die by the thousands. The millions."
      "That's not our concern," Marcus said. "Humans have a choice. They don't have to follow him."
      "They don't stand a chance," Justina said. "And you know it. He's an Older god. They can serve him or die. That's their only choice."
      Marcus shrugged. "It's still their choice."
      "Have you changed this much?" Justina asked. "Or were you always like this and I was too blind to see?"
      "I grew up," Marcus said. "You should try it."
      "No, that would be you," Marcus said. "Your mother saw to that."
      Justina took a quick steps and slapped him.
      He took the blow impassively. "Is that your answer to everything now, Justina? Violence? I'm not one of those Lessers that you hunt every night. What do you think you're doing out there? Making the world safer for humans? Humans who spend their lives thinking up more inventive ways to kill each other? You kill a handful of vampires, werewolves, whatever, and congratulate yourself. How many people would they kill compared to nerve gas, germ warfare, nuclear weapons, guns, tanks, all those weapons of mass destruction thought up by your precious humans? Humans are the real monsters."
      "They're not all like that," Justina said.
      "Then save the ones that aren't," Marcus said. "Take your pets to some island or Otherworld. Let the others get the deaths they deserve."
      "Marcus ... if you don't help ... I don't know what I'll do," Justina said.
      "Go back to Bane or give yourself to Renarr," Marcus said. "Those are your only options."
      There's a third choice, Justina thought, but didn't voice it. She had been afraid to acknowledge it, but now she could clearly see it.
      Marcus sighed. "You can't kill him, Justina. He's beyond you." His voice softened. "Stop making this so hard. Give it up. Go back to Bane." He placed his hand on her shoulder. "Joicia and the chidren are going Otherworld in a week to visit her parents. I'll come and see you." He paused. "We can still be ... more than friends. If you want. We were always good together." She could feel the warmth of his body as he drew nearer.
      She reached up and took his wrist. She met his gaze. "You're right, Marcus." She twisted her body and threw him across the room. "We were finished a long time ago." She walked out, and she didn't look back.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

      Bad day. But I did get a few things done that I needed to before things went bad.
      1. Mailed Trixie the books she won in the Giveaway.
      2. Mailed the press kit for the Alva book signing. I hope the Alva newspaper will publish a story on the singing.
      3. Ordered the banner for the Alva book signing.
      4. Did a very little bit of Christmas shopping.
      5. Worked a bit on the November family newsletter. I'd like to finish it this weekend. We'll see.
      6. Got my car washed. It needed it.
      7. Got my hair cut. It needed it. I was quite shaggy.
      8. Went grocery shopping and got a turkey breast for my Thanksgiving dinner.
      And that was the day before things went bad. And now it's late, I'm tired, I'm going to bed, and tomorrow will be better. Or heads will roll!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Visitor cities, a cartoon & an offer for you

      Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; San Diego, California; Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain; Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada; Northbrook, Illinois; Indian Hills, Colorado; Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts; Silver Spring, Maryland; Portland, Oregon; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Hong Kong Central District; Seal Beach, California; Durham, North Carolina; Duluth, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; Edmond, Oklahoma; Lizella, Georgia; Joplin, Missouri; Huntington Beach, California; McLean, Virginia; ...
      Those are some of the cities logged on my site meter over the past two days. Several of these visit my blog often -- Hi everyone -- but most never leave a comment. Someone in Hong Kong visits me at least twice a day. Which is cool if a little baffling since I can't figure out what about my blog would interest someone living in that exciting city. Maybe for the relaxation.
      I get a lot of hits from Georgia. And California. I know who at least one of those California folks are, but the rest and those from Georgia are unknown. Kinda mysterious, don't you think?
      Y'all just keep coming by. I'm glad to see you even if you don't comment. But do comment sometime. I'd like to hear from you. I bet you have something interesting to say.
      I love the following comic. Opus rules!

      Opus, my man ... uh, penguin, I'm right there with you.
      Hey, before I forget, I'd like to ask a favor of my readers. If you have an account with Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble, and you've read my book -- and liked it! -- would you mind posting a review? If you do -- and if you want it and will supply your snail mail address -- I'll send you the first chapter of Murder by the Acre. This offer is only good through the end of November.
      In site news, I updated the Favorite Quote and the scrollies, added the links to order Murder by Dewey Decimal on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Lulu, and posted the numbers on Murder by the Acre.
      Have a great day tomorrow! And I'll be posting another excerpt from Grave Tidings then. Night!

Monday, November 12, 2007

GT excerpt 3

      This excerpt from Grave Tidings takes place before the scene in the hotel room. At the moment, I don't expect to win NaNoWriMo this year. The words are coming too slowly and too hard. But I'm going to keep slogging. Maybe the dam will burst some time soon, and a flood of words will sweep the book to the 50,000 word mark. It's possible.

      Grave Tidings excerpt 3

      Justina could never quite suppress a shiver when she saw the dark warehouse on the edge of Skiatook where her Uncle Bane made his home. Not that the warehouse looked any different from the others scattered around the industrial park, and the inside had been converted into a luxurious mansion with surprisingly homey touches, but her Uncle Bane was definitely not homey. He could be kind, gentle, even funny, but he flared across her Othersenses like a raging furnace. That kind of power deserved respect, particularly since he seemed inclined to view his wayward niece with a bemused affection. Other members of her extended family found her activities to be annoying at best and dangerous at worst.
      So when she spoke to the intercom outside the gate, she kept her tone friendly. "Uncle Bane, it's Justina. May I come in?"
      The gates opened silently in reply.
      She drove her black corvette into the parking lot and parked beside the lipstick red Dodge Viper. She frowned. Her mother was here, too. She was tempted to drive away, but Uncle Bane wanted to see her. It wasn't quite a summons, but it would do her no good to alienate the one of the few members of her family who didn't want her dead.
      Jameson, her uncle's butler, met her at the door. "Good evening, Miss Justina," he said. "Your uncle and your mother are in the library. They would like you to join them there. Would you like your usual?"
      "Yes, thank you, Jameson," she said, smiling at him.
      She walked down the wood paneled hall and paused for a moment before the black doors that led to the study. She took a deep breath and entered.
      Her uncle sat behind his cherry wood desk, sipping a brandy. Her mother sat across from him.
      Bane nodded. "Good evening, Justina. As lovely as always."
      She bowed. "Uncle. It's always a pleasure to see you." And it was. Her uncle, dressed invaribly like he had stepped from a Victorian novel, was a large man, but he carried his size lightly, as if any moment he might leap into the air. If anyone in her family could fly, it would be him. Despite his power -- or perhaps because of it -- he reminded Justina of the infinite possibilities that life presented.
      Her mother frowned. "Must you always wear leather, Justina? It looks cheap."
      "And good evening to you, too, Mother," Justina said evenly. She regarded her mother warily. Immaculately clothed in a white Chinese silk blouse, black Chanel suit, and Salvatore Ferragamo Riflessa black satin pumps, Isisa Grave immediately made Justina feel like a thrift store reject. Of course, her mother always had that effect on her.
      "Don't start picking at her, Isisa," Bane said. "We have much to discuss and not much time. Your bickering will only slow us down."
      "A mother is naturally concerned about her daughter's appearance," Isisa said. "I worry about Justina."
      Justina snorted, which she turned into a cough when Isisa turned her ice blue eyes toward her.
      "Your drink, Miss Justina," Jameson said as he entered the study.
      Justina took the Amaretto Sour from his tray and counted the fruit pieces in it. Jameson had outdone himself this time. The drink had three cherries, an orange slice, two pineapples chunks, and a strawberry on a long pick. "Just the way I like it," she said, smiling at the butler.
      His back to her uncle and mother, Jameson winked at her and turned to her uncle.
      "May I do anything else for you, sir?" Jameson asked.
      "No, thank you," Bane said.
      Jameson bowed and walked to the door.
      "You could have asked me," Isisa said peevishly.
      "Yes, ma'am, I could have," Jameson said with another bow and left the room.
      Justina hid a smile, but Bane laughed.
      "Someday he won't have you to protect him," Isisa snapped. "Then I'll teach him some manners.
      "Perhaps," Bane said. "But you might die before me." He smiled, revealing triple rows of white teeth. "Care to make a wager on it?"

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

November Giveaway Winner!

      And the winner of the November 2007 Giveaway is ... TRIXIE! Yes, that's right! Trixie has won over $100 of science, science fiction, writing, and fantasy books! Trixie, email me your snail mail address, and I'll get your books in the mail to you. I appreciate everyone who entered. We'll have a December Giveaway so be watching for it.
      I'm sorry I've been gone so much. I'm up to my neck in writing Grave Tidings, finishing Murder by the Acre, and other projects. I rush around wildly. This weekend I've been working on entering the addresses of every library in Oklahoma into a database so that I can mail them publicity about Murder by Dewey Decimal. It's pretty grinding to enter all these addresses and then check for accuracy. Anyway, that's what I've been doing.
      What have you been doing? People's blogs sure are sparse these days. Y'all need to be keeping us in the loop, okay? Okay.
      Oh, Murder by Dewey Decimal is now on sale at Barnes and Noble.com. Wahoo! And for a limited time, Amazon.com is offering giftwrapping on MBDD for .99 cents! Is that cool or what! Here are the links: MBDD on Amazon, MBDD on Barnes and Noble, and MBDD on Lulu.com.
      Writing is calling me. I hope you're having a wonderful day! Adios!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Last chance!

      This is your last chance to register for the November Giveaway! You could win over $100 in hardcover and softcover science, science fiction, writing, and fantasy books. Here's a list of the books I'm giving away:
      Ringworld's Children, Larry Niven
      The Abhorsen Trilogy, Garth Nix
      Crystal Rain, Tobia S. Buckell
      This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley
      The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
      Star Trek: I'm Working On That, William Shatner with Chip Walter
      On Her Majesty's Occult Service, Charles Stross (two books and a short story)
      What's Science Ever Done For us?, Paul Halpern
      The Loch, Steve Alten
      That's over $100 in books! To be eligible to win them, leave a comment with your name and the title of the sequel to Murder by Dewey Decimal. One lucky person will win all the books. The drawing will end tomorrow, Sunday, November 11, 2007, at noon. One entry per person, please.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Amazon and other stuff

      Murder by Dewey Decimal has been picked up by Amazon.com. WAHOO! It's $16.95 and is eligible for Super Saving Shipping (free) with a $25 dollar purchase -- so buy two!
      Anyway, I've been telling people that it's on Amazon, and I was surprised to hear how many of them wanted to buy it from Amazon and not Lulu. Obviously the power of a well-known name. So buy it from Amazon! Buy it from Lulu! Buy it from me at my book signings! Just buy it already!
      I ran errands, did all sorts of housework, and worked on Grave Tidings. The story isn't advancing so I thought I'd go back and add some to what I had already written. Hey, it's words toward that 50,000 -- which I am almost positive I'm not going to reach in November, but I'm going to keep working on it. Justina might suddenly get talkative. It happens with characters. Sometimes.
      Sometimes, of course, your characters leave you. I'm not sure where they go. Starbucks maybe. Or Quiznos. Or they go to Paris to paint. Or a beach in the Caribbean where they lie on white sand and sip fruity drinks with umbrellas in them and mail back snotty "Wish you were here!" postcards. Characters can have a cruel streak in them.
      Did you enter the Giveaway? I draw one name Sunday to see who wins over $100 in hardcover and softcover science, science fiction, and fantasy books! Just leave a comment that gives the name of the sequel to Murder by Dewey Decimal, and you're entered. Don't wait!
      And now I think I'll close. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

MBDD on Amazon.com

      Murder by Dewey Decimal showed up on Amazon.com today. Click here to see it on Amazon. I am pleased that it's there, but also disappointed in a few things.

      1. Amazon.com didn't choose to carry the book itself. Instead it's being carried by Amazon merchants. Hurray, merchants!
      2. Because Amazon.com didn't choose to carry it, it's not eligible for (free) Super Saver Shipping.
      3. The merchant with the lowest price on MBDD priced it at $18.51 with $3.99 shipping and handling. So MBDD is higher on Amazon than on Lulu.com. (Amazon takes the larger portion of the price with Lulu next, the merchant third, and me the least amount.)

      1. It's accessible to millions more people than on Lulu.com.
      2. Amazon gift cards can be used to purchase it.
      3. People are more comfortable shopping with Amazon.com than with Lulu.com.

      1. When you search for the book, you have to use all lowercase letters, i.e. "murder by dewey decimal" or like this "Murder By Dewey Decimal". If you type "Murder by Dewey Decimal" or any other combination of upper- and lowercase, the search can't find it. Otherwise it says it's not found. It's quicker to just search for my name. (I'm hoping this will be fixed as the listing ages.)
      2. When you look at the author line, it reads: "Stephen, B. Bagley". Why is that comma in there?
      3. The book image isn't there yet, but supposedly it will be added over the next few weeks. I added a couple of my images. I think I'm going to add more.

Cool things
      1. Hey, it's on Amazon.com. It feels more like a "real" book now. Or at least I think other people will think that.
      2. Because Amazon.com now allows video reviews, I'm going to post one with me talking about the book and hopefully featuring several reviewers talking about the book.
      3. People can post reviews. I already posted the reviews that were already on Lulu. Well, I submitted the reviews, but I don't know if Amazon is going to post them since I was the one doing so. I clearly identify people who submitted the reviews, but we'll see what they do with it.

      Over all, I'm more pleased than disappointed. And really, it comes down to what I've thought for a while and have certainly experienced: MBDD sells because I sell it. Lulu, Amazon, and whoever will never sell the book as well I can.
      And because people keep asking, yes, I'm making money with MBDD. Obviously not enough to write full time -- I won't be quitting my day job any time soon -- and I would certainly make more money at a McDonald's at minimum wage, but ... it's a beginning. And what beginning isn't humble?

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal in paperback HERE! (My first love!)

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal in hardcover HERE! (My first love in its party clothes!)

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal merchandise HERE! (T-shirts, caps, clocks, buttons and lots more!)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaNoWriMo excerpt

Grave Tidings, excerpt 2

      The man in the hotel room had been dissected, laid across the bed like an illustration in an anatomy textbook. No, vivisectioned, Justina realized as her Nethersenses caught echoes of the man's pain and ... joy? She frowned.
      The door opened behind her. Justina turned, a throwing knife in her hand.
      "So you're my daughter." A tall man walked into the room. The air temperature dropped fifty degrees. The lights flickered.
      "Only by blood," Justina said.
      "That will be sufficient for my purposes, my cherished daughter," he said, smiling. He seemed to glow, and she could feel the need the fall on her knees and worship him. He was a god, every woman's dream; he would care for her and keep her safe and be the father she had always needed.
      "Turn it off, Warbucks," Justina said. "My quota for crap is filled today."
      He looked surprised, then pleased. "My blood truly runs through your veins."
      "I’ll get a transfusion," Justina said.
      "You should not be dismayed," the man said. "You have been chosen for a great purpose."
      "Like he was chosen?" Justina indicated the dead man on the bed with a toss of her head.
      "It was the most joyous moment in his miserable life," her father said.
      "Why did you kill him?"
      ”I was hungry. He had served his purpose.”
      ”Who was he?”
      He shrugged. “A scientist, I think. I never asked his name. Why would I?” Energies gathered around him like heat from a furnace. "I am Renarr, Aspect of Mamon, Warrior of the Endless Void--"
      "Blah, blah, blah," Justina said. "I'm not impressed by your resume."
      "I see, daughter, you need a lesson in courtesy," he said advancing on her.
      Justina leapt, twisted, and kicked him in the face. As soon as her blow landed, she knew she had made a mistake. He was iron under that Italian suit. He didn't move an inch. She used the force of her kick to back flip across the room. She threw the knife at him.
      Renarr slapped the knife away and smiled at her. "You'll have to do bet--"
      Justina pulled her .357 and emptied the clip into his body.
      He staggered back, then laughed. "Is that--"
      She dropped her gun and called her soulsword. She blazed power down its length and hurled eldritch fire to engulf him.
      He stepped forth, unharmed.
      "Finished?" he asked. "Or will you test your sword against me? I assure you that it will not ..."
      Justina turned and threw herself against the window. It shattered. She was out and falling, her arms wide, the ground ten stories below.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 05, 2007

For those in the struggle

"Fall In The Light"
Artist: Lori Carson and Graeme Revell
Album: Strange Days soundtrack

It's in this moment, Hold on
When everything has come apart
It's in this moment
Right now
When it can come together

Raise your sights
What's there to lose?

Fall in the light

In all this trouble, Hold on
To the innocence with which you were born
There's so much struggle
Be strong
Find the faith you need to carry on

It's a long night
You're not alone

Fall in the light

Sweet air
It falls into place
Sun through the haze
Doesn't it feel a
Little like grace

It's in this moment, Hold on
When everything has come apart
It's in this moment
Right now
When everything - come together

Raise your soul
What's there to lose

Fall in the light

(Hold on)
(I know you'll catch me)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday, Sunday

      I thought I'd have the back cover of Murder by the Acre finished today, and I'd post it. But it didn't happen. I couldn't write cover copy that pleased me. It sounded too much like the back cover for Murder by Dewey Decimal. Admittedly there will be similarities -- after all, it's mostly the same people once again investigating a murder -- but I wanted it to be fresh. I'll keep working on it.
      Grave Tidings has stalled. I started the book with a handful of scenes, which is how I normally start a book, expecting my subconscious to provide more. But it hasn't. I set it aside today and worked on other things. I'll sleep on it tonight and see what happens. Maybe this NaNoWriMo wasn't meant to be this year for me. I think, though, that Justina has more to tell me about her life and her battles. I hope so. I like her. One thing I can say about her for certain, she's not Buffy. Or Faith. Or even Xena. But she carries some of them -- the best of them, I think -- in her. I hope I get to tell her story.
      Don't have much else to tell you. Did some Christmas shopping this weekend -- a very little bit -- but I'm starting to plan and get moving on it and that's the important thing. Otherwise I filed, did laundry, cleaned house, wrote, worked on the family newsletter, etc. The usual.
      I started walking on my treadmill again. Sigh. I had forgotten how much I disliked it. But I'm going to do it and learn to like it. I definitely need to make up a CD of music I like. And maybe get a TV out there.
      I'm going to close now. Y'all have a good week. Night!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

MBTA cover

       Yes, I'm still working on Murder by the Acre. Here's its cover. Or at least what I think the cover is going to look like, but the colors may change slightly.

      But before you read MBTA, you need to read Murder by Dewey Decimal, the first book in the Measurements of Murder Mystery™ series. And here's how you order it.

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal in paperback HERE! (My first love!)

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal in hardcover HERE! (My first love in its party clothes!)

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal merchandise HERE! (T-shirts, caps, clocks, buttons and lots more!)

Friday, November 02, 2007


      So why am I participating in National Novel Writing Month when I have so much to do on Murder by the Acre, not to mention all my other projects? Well, a couple of reasons.
      First, it's the one month of the year where a lot of people immerse themselves in words and writing. It's very cool to be part of it, and it's rare that I can make that time commitment.
      Second, Justina came to me with her story, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to write. She's tough, funny, and honorable. She's got a family that could give Dracula nightmares (literally) and a host of enemies. She operates in the same world as Darkness, Oklahoma, and Grave Tidings might even feature a couple of characters from Darkness.
      But third and more importantly, it's fun.
       Did you register for the Giveaway yet? Go to Sunday's post and register for a chance to win over $100 in science fiction, science fact, and fantasy books? The drawing is Sunday, November 11, so you still have time.
      Speaking of Grave Tidings, I made a few minor changes in the first entry. You're not supposed to edit your work during NaNoWriMo, but I find it impossible to not edit a bit.
      And speaking of Murder by Dewey Decimal -- we weren't actually, but now we are -- it will be possible to order an autographed copy directly for me soon, I hope. I still have to work out shipping costs, but I think I will be able to offer both the softcover and hardcover versions this way, just in time for Christmas.
      The corrected bookplates are supposed to be on their way to me. I hope so. I wanted to have them all delivered by now.
      The Alva book signing at the end of the month is a go. I made my hotel reservation tonight. I hope I can sell a few books there. That will be my fifth book signing for MBDD. My goal was to have 10 signings for it. I'll be halfway there.
      And now I'll close. Have a great day tomorrow. Night!

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal in paperback HERE! (My first love!)

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal in hardcover HERE! (My first love all dressed up!)

Order Murder by Dewey Decimal merchandise HERE! (T-shirts, caps, clocks, buttons and lots more!)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

Yes, I know. I must be crazy. But we all knew that, didn't we? Here's the beginning of my NaNoWriMo novel for 2007.

Grave Tidings

Tulsa, Oklahoma

      The only thing unique about Justina Grave, besides her somber name, was what she did in her free time, what she called her vocation. Medium height with short brown hair, a bit thick around the waist and hips, a tendency toward red clothes, nice blue eyes and an infectious grin, altogether pleasant, but not drop dead gorgeous or even that remarkable. She worked in an insurance office as a CSR (Customer Service Representative), a job she hated but was adequately good at. She went to a local Catholic church faithfully once a week, not being a particularly devout or loyal Catholic since she disliked the Pope and "all the other men in skirts" as she put it, but she did believe in God and knew that He existed. She knew this with a cold stone certainty, a certainty not powered by faith, but rather bitter and bloody knowledge. She knew that ultimate good existed because she knew with ultimate evil existed. She knew this because -- when she wasn't watching the latest reality show on television -- she killed monsters.
      Vampires, werewolves, werecats, black witches, zombies, goblins, trolls, orcs, nagas, closet beasts, mad scientists, vicious merfolk, demonized eels, the list went on and on. One of her particularly favorite kills was a giant man-eating beetle. Its head was mounted above her bed. She didn't get many visitors in her bed. In fact, none since Leo, a drunken co-worker at the last Christmas party whom she had let follow her home even though she didn't like him and thought his jokes were decidedly unfunny, but it was Christmas Eve, and she thought it would be nice just once to wake up on Christmas with someone warm beside her. Naturally that night she was attacked by a group of bogins who were attempting to avenge the death of their shaman, dispatched to the Netherhinds by Justina a couple of nights before. It was a less than romantic evening, topped off with Leo vomiting party shrimp and cheese crackers into the commode as she killed bogins while attempting to do it as quietly as possible so that Leo would remain unaware that his co-worker was a 17th Circle Mage tasked with protecting the world from the minions of the Old, Older and Oldest Gods. Fortunately Leo passed out on the floor where he remained until morning, and by that time, Justina had disposed of all the assorted body parts.
      On this particular evening in March, Justina, after a harrying day at work where she had to deal with an irate customer who simply couldn't understand why his insurance was cancelled even though he hadn't made his monthly payment in four months, was looking forward to a long, relaxing soak in her claw-footed tub, a light meal -- probably another micro-waved frozen dinner -- and then a lovely evening watching the B-stars participating in Dancing with the Stars. So when she opened her door and saw her beautiful, demonic sister lounging on the couch, it put a particularly nasty topper on her day.
      "No," Justina said.
      Ludvina raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow. "And hello to you, too."
      "Hello and no," Justina said, tossing her keys on the kitchen table.
      "I haven’t asked you to do anything," Ludvina said.
      "You will," Justina said. "No. No. No."
      "Such a bad attitude," Ludvina said. "But I don't blame you. I think it's your job. You come home exhausted after eight hours of dealing with moronic customers and worthless bosses, and naturally you're at wit's end. You can't even manage a civil greeting to your only sister."
      "I have other sisters," Justina said. "You're just the only one who hasn't tried to kill me lately."
      "Are they still up to that?" Ludvina asked.
      "Yes," Justina said, tossing her jacket on the couch. "Well, not really. It's more of form rather than function lately. Tama even sent me a cake on my birthday. Admittedly it blew up, but it did show she was thinking of me."
      "Familial love is a lovely thing," Ludvina said. "And after all, you did kill her husband on her wedding day."
      "He needed killing," Justina said. "To get back to what I was saying --"
      "You can't say no," Ludvina said.
      "Yes, I can," Justina said. "Just listen. No. No. No. No. No. NO."
      "There's no reason to shout," Ludvina said. "I'm simply delivering a message from Uncle Bane." She paused.
      Justina looked at her. Ludvina smiled.
      Picking up the remote, Justina turned on the TV. She flopped onto the couch and started to channel surf.
      Ludvina sighed. "You are the most stubborn being in the world."
      Justina didn't reply.
      "Fine," Ludvina said. "Fine. Be that way. I'll deliver my message and be on my way. I've had nicer receptions from priests than from you."
      "I bet you have," Justina muttered.
      Ludvina smirked. "Can I help it that I'm every man's desire?"
      Justina thought it prudent to not answer. She changed the channel again.
      "Justina." Ludvina's voice became serious. "Uncle Bane wants to see you tonight. Midnight. You know where."
      "And why should I give up sleep to see him?" Justina asked.
      "Because Mamon escaped yesterday," Ludvina said.
      Justina's head jerked around. "Escaped?" Her soulsword leapt into her hand.
      Ludvina looked at her sister soberly. "And he'll be coming to kill you first."

Copyright 2007 Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.