The Good Old Days Weren’t Always That Good

“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

–Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

The pandemic has brought many things surface, but as I work with my roster of usual clients (I’m a graphic designer) I’m caught by surprise at the growing gulf between those who wish to return to “normal” (don’t we all) and those who have pushed forward to embrace technology in an effort to create “normal-ish”.  Some of the solutions that have come up during the pandemic are poor substitutes (distance learning, I’m looking at you), but at least function.  Some of the solutions work better than the original (Zoom with out of state friends!).  But what I see is that the clients who are embracing technology to remain connected are going to have an on-going and continued advantage over organizations that take the “we’ll just wait for normal to come back” approach even after the pandemic subsides.

Honestly, I don’t believe that normal is going to come back. That is not a negative prediction.  It’s an estimate based on what I know about history and technology. Humans are always looking for “faster” and once we’ve found a new faster way to do things, we don’t go back to slower.  So all the shortcuts we’ve developed are going to stick with us. The organizations who think that everything will go back to the way it was are going to be severely disappointed. And I think this rule can be brought down to an individual level as well.

Which has made me ponder what “normal” am I clinging to for the sake of familiarity?  Am I afraid of being a different person tomorrow because it would require change today?  What challenges have I been avoiding because they would require me to dig in, learn, and potentially fail? Learning something new is hard, but results are clear — trying new things keeps us connected, flexible and more likely to survive.  And as I stated slash possibly sang and danced to in my last Zoom dance party, I Will Survive.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Peregrine’s Flight – the next book in my Shark Santoyo series is almost here (print edition is already available!) and will be available 6/16.

Blurb: Peregrine Hays has always been able to see the angles and fix any situation—but even she can’t fix the death of Shark Santoyo. All Peri wants to do is finally move on, but when mysterious new player Hernan Arroyo comes to town looking for Shark and digging up the past, he unwittingly puts Peri in the path of the Reyes brothers, their hunt for a smuggler of stolen Mayan artifacts, and a shadowy figure known only as the Mannequin. Peri is struggling, but maybe with the help of her friends, she can learn to fly.

Learn more about the series: https://amzn.to/3aUhDuA 

Pre-Order Peregrine’s Flight: https://amzn.to/3eGyan6

Love & Treasure – Surprise it’s a novella! If you like sword fights, treasure-filled caves, and laughs, then you need Love & Treasure.

Blurb: Chase Regard is captain of the nearly-historically-accurate pirate ship Cupid’s Revenge, a pirate-themed restaurant and dinner show, and the mountain of debt that came with both. But Chase has an ace up his sleeve: his ancestor left a heap of treasure somewhere on the coast near Ashville, Oregon. All Chase needs to find it is the help of the red-headed, fiery, and occasionally forgetful, academic Dr. Jenna Mackenzie, the director of the Ashville Museum. But when Chase and Jenna team up they must face the town’s history-buff bully, accusations of theft, and an oncoming storm before they find out that X marks the spot for love and treasure.

Releasing: July 

Thriller Giveaway: Fellow Stiletto author A.B. Plum and I are part of a massive Thriller Giveaway!  60 series starting books AND an e-reader are up for grabs. Last day to enter is 6/10 so click that link quick! Enter for a chance to win here: : https://www.booksweeps.com/giveaway/june-2020/fast-paced-thrillers-series-starters/

Cross Genre

Cross-genre.  You’ll hear the term a lot in writing circles.  But what is it?  It’s book that melds the elements of more than one genre together.  Books are coded by something known as a BISAC code that allows libraries to appropriately shelve a book and search engines to find it.  The list is extensive and usually books can have two BISAC codes.  (You can check out the list for fiction here: bisg.org/page/Fiction But be warned—it’s extensive!)

My forthcoming book Shark’s Hunt, book #3 of the Shark Santoyo Crime Series, can appropriately be filed under FIC031010 FICTION / Thrillers / Crime, but it’s possible that it could be filed under FIC027260 FICTION / Romance / Action & Adventure or FIC022000 FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General.    Or I could just go for a broad category and label it: FIC044000 FICTION / Women.  Am I the only one who finds it odd that women are a category of fiction?  There isn’t a category for Men.  Or is all fiction assumed to be men’s fiction and we need to let people know that this book over here is just for women? Seems odd, but we’ll just leave that one alone for now.

But beyond the BISAC codes, which while useful, are not the end all definition of a book, there is marketing and that’s where things get persnickety.  An author and a marketer need to be able to tell and sell someone on a book in 30 seconds or less. 

The Shark Santoyo Crime Series is a witty, romantic saga about a violent suburban underworld. Shark Santoyo and Peregrine Hays are the Romeo and Juliet of the criminal set and they are determined to find justice, revenge, and true love. There’s just an entire mob and a few dirty FBI agents in the way.

So from my “elevator pitch” you should know that there’s going to be violence, romance, crime, and a touch of humor.  But all of those things are hard to encompass in a single book description and a cover.   Which is why you’ll see cross-genre books “pushed” toward one genre.  There’s a girl in the book – make it sexy on the cover!  Don’t mention the humor – humor doesn’t sell!  On the other hand, when a book succeeds you’ll hear people knowingly say, “Well, it’s really cross-genre.”  Of course, it’s cross-genre! No book is ever one thing entirely.  It’s as though an author just can’t win. 

On the other hand, if you think cross-genre witty, romantic saga about a violent suburban underworld sounds fun, then check out Shark’s Instinct and Shark’s Bite and pre-order Shark’s Hunt today.

Selected Readings

This week I’m going to take part in a live reading event called Noir at the Bar.  It’s a fun event that focuses on crime tales and the forties pulp-fiction style.  I’m excited to participate, but as usual it throws me into a tizzy of what to read.  Short stories come in all shapes and sizes but reading for an audience is quite different.  Not every story translates well to an audience that’s slurping their way through cocktails and appetizers. I would, of course, love an audience to hang breathless on my every word, but even when an audience comes specifically to see an author it’s very hard to get that level of studiously quiet audience participation. 

Through the variety of readings that I have experienced I’ve developed the theory of “joke” short stories for readings.  Not that a reading has to be funny, but that it should be constructed like a joke.

There is the set-up. 

A man walks into a bar at the top of a rise building.  It’s a swanky place, but there’s a guy in a suit and glasses slumped at the bar.

The tale. 

I can’t believe this view,” says the man, looking out the window.

“Yeah, but you’ve got to look out for the cross-winds.  They’re killer,” says the drunk guy, brushing a curl of dark hair off his forehead.

“What are you talking about?” asks the man.

The drunk guy stumbles off his bar stool.  “Here I’ll show you.”  He opens the window and steps out, but the winds sweep in and he simply hovers in air and then steps back into the bar.

“Holy cow,” says the man.  “I can’t believe that.”

“Give it a try,” says the guy in glasses.

The pay-off.

The man steps off the building and plummets to the ground.  The bartender looks up from polishing the glasses as the drunk guy sits back down.  “Jeez, Superman, you are mean when you drink.”

The story has to have a pay-off or the audience sort of stares at you like cows in a field.  It doesn’t have to be a funny pay off, but there has to be some sort of solid finish that gives an audience a feeling of conclusion.  Usually, it’s some sort of twist that reveals the truth or that gives the audience the key to understanding the story. I’ll be reading a condensed version of a short story from my Shark Santoyo story.  Hopefully, Noir at the Bar enjoys what I’ve selected for them.  Wish me luck!

New for 2018!

2018 is set to be a very big year for me.  I have been working feverishly through 2016 and 2017 to bring out multiple projects and 2018 is the year that many of those projects are bearing fruit. Take a peek at my upcoming releases!

February 13 – Galactic Dreams (Just in time for Valentine’s Day!)

I will be part of a new series from my publishing company called Galactic Dreams featuring stories that are part science-fiction, part fairy tale, part romance and all adventure. Galactic Dreams Volume 1 will feature 3 novellas of fairy tales “reimagined for a new age—the future,” including Soldier, Princess, Rebel Spy (Mulan) from Karen Harris Tully, Aurora One (Sleeping Beauty) from the Stiletto Gang’s own J.M. Phillippe and When Stars Take Flight (Thumbelina) by me.  Pre-orders will be available next week, but if you want a chance two win 2 of the three stories for free, check out the rafflecopter below!

When Stars Take Flight – Kidnapped by the To’Andans, tortured by the Moliter, and rescued by Sparrow Pandion—a spy who hides a secret pain—Alliance Ambassador Lina Tum-Bel is up against a galaxy full of trouble as she attempts to rebuild the Interstellar Alliance. Her training says that she can’t trust her handsome rescuer, but maybe together, she and Sparrow can learn to fly.

 

April – Shark’s Bite

Book 2 of the Shark Santoyo Crime Series returns to the suburban underworld of teenage drug dealers and gang enforcer Shark Santoyo as he tries to figure out what to do with a bowling alley and an ATF Agent who is out to get him.

June – Against the Undertow

The sequel to An Unseen Current will finally be available in June.  This quirky cozy mystery series features 87 year-old, ex-CIA agent Tobias Yearly and his granddaughter Tish bickering, tackling home improvement projects, and solving mysteries in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. In Against the Undertow, handsome Sheriff’s Deputy Emmett Nash, was just accused of murdering his ex-wife’s boyfriend, and Tish and Tobias must face down hippies, cops, and psychotic event planners to solve the mystery and save their friend.

October – Shark’s Hunt

One Shark just isn’t enough.  This time, Shark is back in the city and facing some serious problems as a gang war erupts.

December – A Christmas Short?  

Maybe.  We’ll see if I make it December.


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