Thursday, October 30, 2008



Here's the link to buy Murder by the Acre in softcover. The hardcover link will go up sometime tonight. (I hope.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MBTA stuff

I had hoped Murder by the Acre would be on sale today. The “official” release date is October 30, but Lulu had a price change that went into effect today and I was trying to beat the change. Well, I did my part, but Lulu had a problems, and so it didn’t happen despite a lot of emails and three or four live chat sessions.

However, the news is still partly good. The price increase barely touched the softcover of my book. The major increase was in the hardcover. This means the hardcover will never be available on Amazon -- with the online retailer markup, the price would soar to $30 -- but it will be available on Lulu.

Anyway, as I’ve waited for Lulu to fix their problems, I gave MBTA another reading. And found errors. Yes, that’s right. After all this proofing, I found a handful of formatting errors, places where I left out a word, other places where I duplicated the same word in a row, spelled a name in two different ways, etc. About thirty errors in all. Sigh.

I have another proof to read through today and tonight. This is my last read-through. Although I’m sure errors remain to be found, I think I’ve reached a point of diminishing returns. What I can’t find after this read-through, I’m not going to find.

The cover is finished and ready for the contents.

Oh, Frenzied Feline designed the front of a bookmark for Murder by the Acre. She did a great job. It’s already off at the printers, and I should receive 500 shiny bookmarks next week. That’s probably more than I need, but I do have three libraries to supply. I intend to give 50 or so to each and resupply them when they run out.

Speaking of libraries, my first three book signings are scheduled:
Friday, November 14, 4-6 p.m. at the Ada Public Library.
Friday, November 21, 3:30-5 p.m. at the Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library in Sallisaw.
Saturday, November 22, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Muldrow Public Library.

I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze any more signings in until after Christmas, but I’ll see. People’s schedules are so packed during the holidays. I hope to make it to Alva sometime in December, but I’ll have to see if that can be worked out.

Speaking of errors and corrections:

My proofers did a marvelous job. That they missed a few is only a reflection on how difficult proofing is -- and also how sloppy a writer I must be! Something for me to work on. The problem is that the story comes fast and I type as fast I can. And when reread the story, I see what I intended to write instead of what’s there. I appreciate my proofers taking the time and effort to proof MBTA.

Speaking of particular errors:

Kirsten pointed out that ellipses (…) get a period when they end a sentence, so there would be four dots (….) instead of three. Several of the other proofers disagreed, and my “regular” reader -- who read the book for content, not errors -- noticed the difference in number of dots and wanted to know why. Kristen, however, is correct. But I finally decided to use only three dots throughout because: 1) Random House does, 2) it fixed two formatting errors, 3) it seemed consistent, and 4) it was less distracting to my regular reader.

Kirsten won a clear victory, however, in her refusal of the interrobang (?!). I like the poor interrobang, but its main use seems to be in comic books -- although Neal Stephenson’s new book Anathem has at least two instances of its use. Anyway, all the stylebooks support Kirsten, so MBTA has no interrobangs now. Sigh.

Jean pointed out my overwhelming use of the phrase “for a moment.” I did a check and discovered to my horror that I used the phrase 42 times in the book! I changed most of those, and we are only left with three instances now.

Crystal noted my overwhelming use of the word “that.” Lord only knows how many times I used it. I removed most of those instances before my other proofers read MBTA. Several of the other proofers marked several places where they thought I should put “that” back. I read every contested instance out loud and went with what sounded best to my ear.

I use the phrase “ever so often” in the book once in the book. Almost every proofer wanted it changed to “every so often.” I stood firm on this one. “Ever so often” means “a great many times.” “Every so often” means “once in a while.” Since I intended the former and not the latter, I kept “ever so often.” See here and here and here for more info. I think it’s a useful distinction between the two phrases.

Crystal thought I had spelled “Gill” as “Gil” somewhere in the book. I was never able to find that error. Probably will after the book is published. Nancy thought I should change the name to “Gil” so that it could be short for “Gilbert.” I kept it “Gill,” mostly because I like it that way and don’t like the sound of Gilbert.

On names: any character who has a speaking line -- or is mentioned more than once -- has an “unreal” name. In other words, it’s a name I made up. Some people who are just mentioned in passing, however, are my friends and family. It’s my small tribute to them, and I make sure they’re mentioned in a neutral or complimentary fashion. Notable in this book are: my good friends Chuck and Joan Perry; my niece Jana May (I use her mother’s maiden name as Jana’s last name in this book) who really does have a wonderful singing voice; and my brother-in-law Phillip Owens. Phillip, by the way, is the only “real” character who was in the first book, too. There are a couple of other “reals” in the book, but I’ll let their real world counterparts find them.

Enough about MBTA. You'll be hearing more about it over the next weeks, but you knew that, didn't you? Don't try to hide now. It's too late.

I've been ghastly sick the past few days. The doctor changed my diabetes med again, and my body reacted in its usual unpleasant fashion, but my sugar levels are going down. We're making progress.

And now I'll close. I hope to announce MBTA going on sale tonight. If not, tomorrow. Talk to you then.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Time Wounds All" by Holly Lisle

Go read this post by Holly Lisle. It's worth your time. Inspiring, truthful, and wise.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I came through fine. I'm sore and somewhat sick. Spend the whole day sleeping and resting. We didn't find anything or at least not what we were looking for. So it means another more extensive surgery/scope, this one down my throat. I probably won't have this done until after Christmas, depending on what my doctors say next week when I meet with them again. So ... I think this is a win. Or at least not a loss. And we eliminated another possible cause.

Hope things are going well for you. Talk to you tomorrow. Despite having spend the whole day in bed, I'm ready to go to bed again! Night!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Enough basking

I sure appreciate all the support y'all have shown to me and Murder by the Acre. It's helped keep me going even when I wasn't sure I could. It's hard for me to believe that MBTA will be out sometime next week. I can't wait to hold a copy in my hands.

Tonight I finally uploaded the hardcover version of EndlesS. It will only be available on and at my book signings. I'm going to give the hardcover version to the libraries that I know have Murder by Dewey Decimal in their stacks. Tomorrow night, I'm going to upload the hardcover version of Murder by the Acre. It also will be exclusive to Lulu. The reason behind this is that online retailers add their markup, which in Amazon's case is nearly half again the manufacturing cost. This adds about $10 to the cost. Ouch. The hardcovers will stay on Lulu for now. Maybe I'll find another publishing solution someday that will make the hardcovers affordable. That would be cool.

Tomorrow afternoon I go back to the doctor for minor exploratory surgery. We're trying to find out what's going with my sinuses. I'll be sore afterwards, but otherwise fine, according to the doctor. Be thinking of me around 2 p.m. or so.

I'm trying to decide the fate of The Great Slimdown. We're not getting very much participation in terms of comments and visitors so I'm wondering if we still need that blog. Let me know what you think.

Anyway, that's what's happening in my world. What's going on in yours?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Murder by the Acre has been submitted to the publisher!

Pardon me while I bask in the glow for a bit.

Well, last night was not the success I had hoped for. I didn’t get all the corrections entered into Murder by the Acre -- I lack one set -- but I entered most of them and decided to upload the book so I’d get my proof and then do the remaining corrections on the next proof. I need to see how the cover prints so that I can makes changes if needed, and the only way to do that is to order a proof copy.

Except, every time I attempted to upload last night, the upload timed out. I tried six or seven times. This morning I called Lulu and was told to try again today. They had server problems yesterday. So today’s plan is to put in the last set of corrections, upload tonight, publish, and order the first proof copy. Then I’ll wait until it arrives, read and give it a good polish edit, make changes on cover if needed, make corrections if needed, upload, download PDF of book, print PDF, scan PDF for formatting errors, order second proof, AND approve book for publication. Then people can start ordering!

And then will start the dreaded publicity. The never-ending emails, letters, postcards, newspaper stories, book signings, posters, banners -- I confess to looking forward to it all. During all that, I will be working frantically on my outline for Murder by the Mile. Anyway, that’s what I’m going to be doing for the next couple of months. What about you?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lost in the Land of Corrections

Whew! I greatly over-estimated my ability to get all these corrections -- delivered by my wonderful and dedicated proofreaders -- entered into Murder by the Acre. I have made it through four different sets. The sets did repeat many of the same errors, but in each were new errors. It's fascinating to me how the proofreaders found different mistakes. (And a bit dismaying when I consider that I wrote those errors in there!)

I'm glad I had so many people look at the manuscript and thank all my proofers for their fine work. However, I sure am tired of entering these corrections in. That's pretty much all I've done since Friday evening. I won't get the book submitted to Lulu tonight, but hope to submit it tomorrow night. That's the plan. We'll see how it goes. So far I've only entered the "regular" errors: words left out, mispellings, wrong words, etc. I have four errors that will require a few sentences to correct them, but nothing terrible.

I also appreciate all the nice comments that many of the proofers gave MBTA. I like the story, but it's nice to know other people like it, too. That is the point. Mostly. I hope it generates a bit of money, too.

I did get to watch part of the OU-Texas game. Sigh. Sometimes evil triumphs for a time. But I also got to watch the OSU-Missouri game. WAHOO! GO POKES! The good guys win a game that everyone said they wouldn't. Gives me hope.

Anyway, back to the corrections. I hope life is treating you well. Night!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

State of corrections

One set of corrections had been turned into me. Thank you, Shirley, for making the time to proofread Murder by the Acre. I so appreciate it. You're completely awesome.

My roomie is almost finished with his proofing. He made it through Chapter 8 last night so he only lacks Chapter 9. Both he and Shirley found several mistakes, although not as many as I feared they would find. Fortunately all the mistakes are easily corrected, except one pointed out by my roomie that will take a bit of thought and a bit of rewriting, but nothing drastic.

Frenzied Feline has read MBTA once and is now going through it a second time before she turns in her corrections. Now, that's dedication. I look forward to seeing her corrections.

I'm not sure where Jean is at on her corrections, but she and her hubby are taking a well-deserved vacation so I suspect her time is limited. Her corrections would be a nice bonus, but I also understand if she's unable to return them to me by Saturday. Just the fact she was willing to try is an amazing thing, and I'm honored by the attempt.

Likewise, I'm not sure where Kirsten is at on hers. She had commitments on both Monday and Tuesday nights so she was going to start proofing on Wednesday evening. I hope it's going well for her.

Crystal, who did some preliminary proofing for me, has had difficulties in receiving and reading the files I've been sending to her. Her computer is being very uncooperative. I've been tempted to drive up there and beat on it with a baseball bat, but I doubt that would help much, although it would be satisfying. Anyway, I don't know if she will be able to get any corrections to me or not. I hope so.

Nancy is halfway through the book -- she has a paper copy as does my roomie and as did Shirley -- and has scribbled many comments in the margins, she says. She believes she should be able to return the book to me Friday afternoon.

Why the Saturday deadline? Two reasons: First, I need to get the book submitted to Lulu ASAP to have any chance of it being on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for Christmas, and second, I'm attempting to have the book go on sale before October 28, which is when Lulu is going to raise their prices. MBTA will cost about $2 more, and I'm attempting to get it done before then so that anyone who wishes to buy from them will save a bit of money.

All my proofers have my thanks. I hope they're enjoying the story as they scan the pages for errors. I'm not sure if it takes a village to make a book, but a good book does require good proofreaders, and I'm grateful for mine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Writer's guilt

Murder by the Acre is off to the proofers, and I've been receiving preliminary feedback, mostly good so far. I confess to feeling a bit of writer's guilt about MBTA because of what I have the murderer do in the book.

In Murder by Dewey Decimal, all the people who are killed might not have deserved death, but they were characters I didn't much care for. They were unsavory at the least and criminal at worse. While I tried to give their deaths as much dignity and wordage that I could, it didn't bother me when they shuffled off their fictional coil.

However, in MBTA, good people die and/or harmed. In particular, one character certainly didn't deserve what happened. I felt like I needed to send a condolence card/apology missive to the family. I didn't kill anyone needlessly. The murderer had reasons. Reasons only a sociopath would act on, but reasons nonetheless. Their deaths and/or maimings aren't senseless, but they still bothered me.

I also found myself feeling some pity for the murderer. I knew the murderer's life and what disappointments and failures led to the first murder and all those terrible events that follow. What the murderer does is wrong, but I can understand why the murderer chooses that path.

At many times, I felt like I was a reporter, just writing down what happened and what I saw. That's when I feel most like a writer. The events unfold, and the unexpected happens. I had several scenes in this book, including one in the last chapter, that were unplanned, at least in how they turned out. I started writing, and eventually I left my outline behind. In all these scenes, the new, unexpected material was better than the old.

Those moments of discovery are a true reward of writing. And I guess worth the occasional bout of writer's guilt.

Sunday, October 05, 2008




And so it goes. My proofers have this week (Deadline: Saturday, October 11, noon) to turn in the hundreds of errors that I deliberately left in MBTA so that they would feel needed ... and if you believe that, Lord help you.

I hope there aren't hundreds of errors, but I'm positive there are errors. There would be a lot more in this version, except Crystal has been proofing as I wrote along. She found many, many, many mistakes, and for that, I thank her especially. I appreciate my proofers taking the time to help me out. The file is in PDF format, which should mean that everyone's page numbers will be the same this time. Thus when a proofer points on an error on page 122, I should be able to go to page 122 and find that pesky mistake.

The reason for the deadline is I need to upload the corrected file to Lulu on Sunday, October 12, so that it's there waiting on Monday, October 13. That's plan. Now I just have to finish the front and back covers and the end pieces and enter in all the corrections ... piece of cake ... I hope ... Lord help me.

I hope things are going well for you. I've been reading the blogs even if I haven't had the time to comment. I'll try to catch up next week after MBTA is sent off. Take care. Good night!

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Enough said.

Almost there

One scene left to write, a few corrections to type in, and I'll be done with Murder by the Acre. I am ready as I'm sure you're ready to have me stop talking about it!

Tomorrow I will convert the book into the PDF format and send it off to my proofers. They will have a week to return the corrections to me. On Sunday, October 12, it goes to the publisher. And barring unforeseen events, MBTA will go on sale at on October 30! (Or sooner, depending on how fast it's published.)

I still don't know if it will be on or Barnes & Noble. I hope it will be, but that's out of my control. I will be having book signings -- I hope -- in November in Ada, Sallisaw, and Muldrow. I'm hoping to return to Alva in December.

Well, back to that scene. I'll be announcing the finish later tonight. I hope things are going well for you. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I continue ...

... to make progress on Murder by the Acre. I didn't get as much done today as I thought I might -- I had thought I might finish today -- but what with one thing and another, I didn't get as many words as I hoped. That's okay. Everything is still flowing, and we're on schedule.

Not much else to tell you. Hope things are going well for you. Here are a couple of photos, one of Miss M and Mr. Z, my roomie's other grandchildren who visited us last Saturday.

Does Miss M have a great smile or what? She's a charmer.

Mr. Z had just woke up, and he wasn't sure about this play set, but he started enjoying himself after he found the slide. He has the true heart of an explorer.

Have a good night and great tomorrow! Good night.