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Monday, August 22, 2011

Almost Ready?

I tore the first chapter apart, deleting a scene I'd labored over for months--probably because I knew all the time it wasn't right. gone now, and the story starts a bit later, with Seraphy's first sight of the neighborhood west of Westrern and of the building she rescues.  The rest of the story went fairly quickly with only a few changes, but now I have to go back through very carefully, to clear any errors I've added since the ms was edited. I never appreciated Word's review tricks before!

And I'm thinking about finding another cover. If I had the guts I'd get Photoshop and try to design my own, but as a card carrying Luddite . . .

It seems I'm reading everyday about another well-known writer jumping ship and posting new work directly on Kindle. I'm just reading Tim Hallinan' s (nominated for an Edgar for his traditionally published Queen of Patpong) Smashed, his first Junior Bender novel, and its sequel, Little Elvises. Funny, fast and a great read, both of them. Go, Hallinan! Tim says he published Junior Bender's stories himself when his publisher declined them. Bad decision, publisher. To judge from his blog, Lawrence Block is having great fun dragging all his old work, published under an assortment of aliases, out for an airing on Kindle, and has some new work up as well. And of course, many of us tyros and lesser authors are choosing to go Kindle as well.

I like the totally open attitude Kindle has--if you can post your work, you can post your work. If it's any good, you may find readers. If not, then not, but at least it's not because an agency's overworked and underpaid reader hates redheads and your protagonist is a redhead, or an editor in New York didn't think anyone would read a book about black household help.  

Friday, August 5, 2011


I got the review copy of West of Western May 25, just as I was preparing to go to the hospital for a bilateral knee replacement, and for some reason, couldn't manage to proof it before I went. No problem, I thought, I'd do it during those two weeks of in-hospital rehab.  After all, I'd have nothing else to do.
Wrong.  I wasn't counting on the opiates they flooded me with to block pain generated by having  bones sawed off, pinned and glued and reassembled, not to mention muscles I never knew I had sliced and diced. I felt very little pain. I had very little brain, either.
 It's been almost two and a half months now, and I'm finally able to think in words of more than one syllable, count all ten toes and remember my phone number. First they shifted me from morphine to oxycodone, then to vicodine, and when I had no pain left, to nothing, but it still took me a couple of weeks to clear everything out of my body.
I'm not the same person I was before. It's not only new bionic knees, I seem to have subtly shifted brain cells as well. When I read the proof sheets for West of Western, I hated it. Yikes! The writing felt spiky, the characters undeveloped, the setting thin. So I waited a few days and read it again. ARGHH.
Nothing for it, I pulled the production and am rewriting.  Not the big stuff, the structure and plot, but scene by scene to let the reader know the Seraphy and other characters as I know them to be.
Shouldn't take more than a month . . .