The Wisdom of James Herriot

I don’t know how much of what I’ve written this week I’ll end up keeping vs. cutting. I finished a chapter tonight which may well be completely replaced. But I’m not sorry I wrote it, because 1. I enjoyed writing it, and 2. it gave one of my characters room to open up on the page–not that I didn’t already know certain things about him, but just like with real people, it’s one thing to know a character, and another thing to really empathize with them, to feel what it’s like inside their head. Whether the scene is integral enough to the plot of the novel or not to keep it remains to be seen, along with whether or not it’s anything a reader would care to sit through when there are much more adventurous moments to be had in the book. In a first draft, you can’t worry about that kind of stuff, or you’ll never finish. Be generous with your first draft and ruthless with your second, I always say. Or, in other words, write the first draft as a writer and the second as an editor.

Image result for james herriot

Arthur Wight, a.k.a. James Herriot with doggie. Image cribbed from James Herriot Twitter account.

And speaking of writing, I just finished re-watching the excellent BBC series All Creatures Great and Small, based on the autobiographical books of a Yorkshire veterinarian. The books were written under the pseudonym of James Herriot, real name Arthur Wight. I grew up on his books, which both my mother and my grandmother read to me as a child, and on the BBC television series which aired on PBS when I was little. The time period is the 1930s-50s, the setting rural Yorkshire, the style funny and touching by turns, and the characters (both human and animal) portrayed with a beautiful balance between honesty and compassion in the narrative. Herriot’s (or rather, Wight’s) stories are as ingrained in me as if they were the mythos of my personal culture. So when I finished the series and sat down to check out the special features, I was thrilled to come across a 1970s interview with the author.

There were several things in the interview that particularly struck me. First, Wight spent twenty years saying he was going to write a book before, at age 50, he ever attempted the task. He described his struggles with learning to write from the heart, rather than trying to write “well,” with finding his own voice in the shadow of the literary classics he loved. And then his struggles with rejection letters and the inevitable depression that accompanies their repetition, disasters like having an editor who liked his work but asked him for rewrites leave for another company by the time he did the rewrites, and a host of other obstacles. And yet, he ended up with one bestseller after another, translations into languages for readers all over the world, and a TV series on the BBC.

Second, I was struck by the accuracy of his portrayal of himself and his wife, and their relationship, based on the books in comparison to things he said in the interview. It can’t possibly be easy to portray anything that close to home without skewing it. And I’m sure there’s some of that, but it made me smile to see him act so much like the James Herriot I knew from his books.

Third, the interviewer asked several times, in different wording each time, why a multi-national bestselling author was, at that time, still working full time as a country vet. Wight’s answer: He loved being a vet, his love of being a vet is what he writes about, and he felt it was important to balance his writing life with the activity his career provided him with. All of which just makes me love his books more, because of the depth of his feeling for his work with animals–and the people who care for them. But that third component, balancing creativity with daily life, struck me in particular. It’s something all but the most successful writer struggles with: balancing a day job with writing. And yet, here’s an author who could easily have lived on his sales, who felt that without his day job (if you can call a job where you’re on call 24/7 a “day job”), he wouldn’t have been as productive as a writer. Granted, he wrote about what he did for a living. But still, it’s a point to ponder. We tell ourselves we need time to write, but is it time we need, or is it motivation, self-discipline, and drive?

For my own part, if I’m honest, it’s the latter. Thank you for the reminder, “Mr. Herriot”!

Advertisements

Write Like a Social Animal

One of the most delightful parts of writing–and reading, and watching a well-done movie or TV series–is character dynamics. Playing characters off of one another, testing them against each other, seeing how their differences clash or compliment (or how their similarities clash or compliment) is just fun. It’s probably the same thing that makes a good party entertaining for people who enjoy parties (Personal Fact: I enjoy parties until I get home and think about all the ways I might have looked stupid). An ensemble of characters is great in its own right, but for now, I’m going to talk about dynamic duos.

Let’s face it, the original Star Trek would not have been nearly as good without Spock and Bones perpetually digging at each other, or without their obvious friendship in spite of that. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing wouldn’t have been the least bit fun without Beatrice and Benedick aggravating the hell out of each other and falling in love (either outcome of their interaction, by itself,  would have been pretty vanilla, but both made it both spicy and hysterically funny). Even better is Wuthering Heights, where Heathcliff and Cathy’s relationship simultaneously makes each character redeemable and monstrous.

The pitfall for a writer, particularly with duos and particularly particularly with opposite-sex or romantic duos, comes when one character is too strong for the other. One way to go wrong with this is to tone down a great character to prop up another. The first example that comes to mind, for me, is the Golden Compass series. We had a strong female lead in the first book, and in the second book she is completely different in her behavior and responses to things. She goes from being courageous and active in the first book to being passive, submissive, and unsure of herself once a male character becomes the lead in the second. To me, this does not come across as, “Oh, this guy must be really something, if a strong girl like her looks to him for answers.” It comes across as, “Well, someone doesn’t know how to balance two strong characters.” This irritated me to no end. And it can certainly go both ways, when it comes to gender. Some writers of strong female characters think that toning down men boosts their women.

As someone who is in the process of writing a novel with a strong female character with a husband, I have to say that my approach is not to tone either wife (Erica) or husband (Dom) down to up the other’s game. Like ANY good dynamic duo, the key for me is to show the ways, both quirky and vital, that each plays off the other. It’s par for the course in writing to match the antagonist’s strength to the protagonist’s. Why should it be any different for a pair of protagonists? If it takes a strong person to fight a strong person, why wouldn’t it follow that it takes a strong person to love a strong person–whether that love is romantic, platonic, or love-hate? The fun part is digging around in the realms of whose strengths compliment whose–who’s too focused on this to pick up on that, who picks up the pieces when the other goes too far–and how each of them sees their own strengths and weaknesses compared to the other? This is far from applying only to romantic couples, or even to duos. Any system of human interaction depends on members contributing something or other, and good storytelling brings together individual contributions to the whole of a satisfying story. Even the bad guys, because they did their part to make the story good, too. We’re social animals, when it comes down to it. Write like a social animal.

Happy Sunday! Now I’ll have another glass of amontillado in honor of you, dear readers. Next week, I think I’ll write about what I’ve been reading lately!

Getting Back in the Groove

I’ve been a good little writer this week, getting at least a little bit done every day and (gasp!) actually doing some outlining. Well, for a given definition of “outline”. I’m not a plotter by nature, but with a complex story sometimes ya gotta take a step back and organize. Sometimes, it’s even inspiring, and leads to connections between parts of the story you didn’t see when you were face-down weeping into the keyboard over the details.

I have to say, as someone who spends a lot of both work time and spare time researching and writing, fiction is by far the hardest type of writing I do. Harder than academic writing, harder than technical writing for archaeology reports, and way harder than journalism-style articles. There are times, of course, when fiction rolls off one’s fingertips like you’ve been possessed by your muse and she’s the one doing all the work. But then there are the times when you’re like, “Hello? Muse? Where the %$#@ did you go now that I’m a third of the way through this book?” Crickets chirp. “MUSE? My brain is dying. Help!” Silence. “MUSE!!! I HATE EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY YOUR DUMB FACE!” Definitely silence, except for the sound of author’s tears splashing into a glass of room-temperature stout*. (*The ONLY proper temperature for dark beer, thanks.)

This is not the same with non-fiction writing of any kind, for me. The problems with non-fiction are usually deadlines, word count limits, and the like. Although trying to find correlations in masses of data that can be compared for about 10,000,000,000 factors can break your brains in half, I count that as a research difficulty. Once I know my material and I have my correlations, non-fiction is easy because it’s just a matter of expressing something I know in whatever language is appropriate for the situation. And it’s quirky enough as it is. You would think this would mean that, if I know what I’m going to write about in a fictional story or novel (i.e., if I outlined everything to begin with), it would be easy for me. You would also think I would prefer writing non-fiction to writing fiction.

Neither of these things is true, however. If I outline a story too well, I don’t feel any urge to write it anymore because I already know what’s going to happen! I already told myself the story, see? Selfish, I know. I’m supposed to write for my readers. Bad author! No biscuit. And as much as I do like non-fiction writing (as long as it’s about things I’m interested in, anyway), I would always rather be working on my book(s), which I love to do as long as I’m not stuck. Although lately, I’m feeling more and more like stealing weird things from history (that’s not plagiarism, it’s research!) and putting them into stories.

Anyway, two things I’ve posted lately on the Clio history website that I particularly enjoyed writing are these:

Whistler House Museum – I had no idea how versatile or prolific the artist Whistler was until I researched this article! Or that he matched wits with Oscar Wilde at parties and held his own, which takes some serious doing.

Look at this freaking gorgeous room Whistler designed!! I want one in my house, and it will be my library. And there will be a wet bar in there somewhere. Yes. And a hidden mini-fridge.

 

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site – I had NO idea that you could still see a standing building from the first Iron Works on the continent of North America until I researched this article. I also really enjoyed reading about all the different groups of people involved in working the business…in fact, I ended up having a dream that I was an indentured Scotsman while I was working on it, which is not something I would normally come up with.

Why I Don’t Update Like I Should

Why do I never update my blog, you ask–or do you? Since I don’t update like I should, you likely don’t expect it of me, especially if you’ve subscribed in the last year or two. Because I NEVER update. I don’t update like I should because I don’t write as much as I should, which, if you’re a writer, means you’re not living like you should. But I’m working on that.

Here’s the thing. Life will get you out of the habit of writing quicker than a jackrabbit on a date. Whether it’s focusing on school or a career or a family crisis or your health or moving or politics or even nice things (those do happen, I’m told) like a new puppy or winning the lottery, life will endeavor to take priority over writing. Screw that. As I find myself getting crankier, I realize that maintaining my sanity via spending the time it takes to write 250 words a day requires far less effort and/or actual hours of the day than it would take to improve my habits, veg out after work, go to therapy, find healthier recipes to cook, shop online, or anything else I’m supposed to do to make myself feel better.

A few months ago, maybe four or five now, my partner and I had finally clicked into this groove. We’re both creative, and we’ve both been lured away from our efforts over the (now) 8 years we’ve been together by efforts toward our respective careers and, you know, adulting. And after all this time, we both got into the habit of being creative at the same time, in the same space, and were excited to come together in the evenings and talk about it. It’s one thing when you’re single and this kind of inspiration hits–but for two people to have it at the same time? Well, that’s GOLD. Then life happened, and we both felt the good new groove slip away. And ever since, we’ve both been striving to bring that little mini-era of mutual creativity back. I’ll only speak for my end, because his end is his own business, and he’ll have to write his own blog about it if he wants to.

But for my own part, I choose to re-prioritize my writing at this point. I love my day job, and my side job, and they both afford me opportunities to research and write in their own vein…and I don’t have a ton of income, that I can just casually decide to push extra income opportunities aside. Trust me on this, I have a BA in Anthropology…I’m lucky to have a job at all. But as I’ve always told aspiring writers, I’ll tell myself now: You can write 250 words a day. Every day. Yes, even on a really busy day. And a lot more, once your’e in the habit. Once you decide to write daily and stick to it, it’s so ridiculously easy to write a page a day that you feel silly doing so little.

So I advise you, as I’m advising myself: Consider creativity part of self-care. When you think over your day or how stressed you are or everything that’s wrong with the world, yeah, sure, you could do the housework or take a bath or play a video game or drink a beer. You could also write or paint or compose music–or whatever your creative outlet is–with part of that time. And drink beer. At the same time. Which is what I’m doing as I write this. As you can probably tell.

New Publication: Solitaire

I’ve just released a literary fiction short story, “Solitaire“, on Kindle for 99 cents! Written about twelve years ago, it will be the first of three short stories for Kindle I’ll self-publish through Toxic Pigeon Press this month for the same price. Each story is a different genre, and the other two are re-prints which have been published in anthologies before.

In “Solitaire,” Corey, a young man struggling with self-hate and alcoholism, retreats to the Rocky Mountains to face his fears head-on, leaving behind his closest friends, a not-quite-couple fraught with their own set of issues. A snowstorm takes Corey’s isolation beyond what he bargained for, and self-reliance is no longer optional.

The next two stories, each of which are part of a larger series, will be “Mernan’s Betrayal,” a pseudo-Bronze Age fantasy set in a world called Pasmira (previously published in the Southern Indiana Writers Group anthology Off the Rack); and “She Who Dines on Heavenly Food,” a post-apocalyptic steampunk/cyberpunk crossover set in Chicago (previously published in the Three Fates Press anthology Circuits and Steam). My plan for the coming year is to (a) finish The Death and Times of Seth McCoy and publish it with Per Bastet Publications, and (b) follow up with more short stories from the Tales from Pasmira series and the After the Fall series introduced in Mernan and She Who Dines. Oh, and (c) update the blog more.

Imaginarium Convention 2016

Imaginarium Convention in Louisville has been my favorite event of the year since it began three years ago, and every year it gets better! It’s the best-run, most organized, yet most relaxed, friendly, and welcoming writer’s convention I’ve ever attended, and on top of that, it’s fun and accessible to not-just-writers, too, since it offers gaming, a film festival, live entertainment, and a free vendor hall in addition to its excellent array of panels and workshops on everything from poetry to documentary film writing to speculative fiction to music. I literally can’t say enough good things about Imaginarium. It’s not just the folks who run it (who are awesome), but the whole atmosphere that makes it magic. Everyone involved, from the staff to the panelists to the attendees, is generous with their time, knowledge, and attentiveness. Truly a special thing in today’s world.

Marian Allen's award

Marian Allen, with Kerosene Kerry’s award

This year was also special because Per Bastet Publishing, which I am now marketing director for and which is one of the event’s sponsors, came away with two awards! One went to Marian Allen (who happens to be my mother) for doing a fabulous job promoting the event. The second, the Sizemore Award for small press excellence, went to the house.

T. Harris with Sizemore Award

T. Lee Harris with Per Bastet’s Sizemore Award!

Coming away from this year’s Imaginarium, I have so many happy takeaways. There’s the momentum of inspiration and ideas from all the great discussions and conversations. There’s the hilarity of cutting up with other writers (especially when we’re supposed to be acting all professional). There’s the happiness of catching up with people I haven’t seen since last year and the happiness of meeting new people I look forward to catching up with next time. There’s the excitement of the great pitches the press got from authors who want to work with us. And great-sounding projects authors might send my way for editing (shout out to Jack Wallen, the best client evarrrrr! for all the recommendations!) I keep asking if we can have more than one of these things a year, but for some reason the staff who work their butts off to make the weekend run smoothly for the rest of us keep looking at me like I’ve grown wings out of my ears when I say it…… 😉

Per Bastet with Jason Sizemore

Per Bastet with Jason Sizemore, award namesake and super-nice guy! Third day of the convention = complete exhaustion, but we’re happy on the inside, I assure you!

History: Playboys, Tough Gals, and American Firsts

I’ve written almost 90 entries for the Clio website now. Some of my favorites have been:

  • The James Gordon Bennett Memorial in NYC, in which the founder of the New York Herald and his owl-obsessed, public-indecency-causing playboy son are discussed.
  • The Engineer’s Club building in NYC, where Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison both hung out and, ironically, where Tesla received the Edison Medal in 1917.
  • El Polín Spring of San Francisco, where African American/Latina Juana Briones (1802-1889) gave medical aid to sailors and soldiers before leaving her abusive husband and going on to become one of the area’s most successful farmers and business owners.
  • Matthews Hall at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the first American Indian received a degree from an American university in 1665.
  • Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, the first hospital in America (founded by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin) and home to the country’s first surgical amphitheatre, first hospital apothecary, and first medical library, as well as being the first hospital to treat psychological illness as a curable illness instead of as a spiritual affliction.
Photo

Elevation drawing of Pennsylvania Hospital by William Strickland, 1755 (image from Wikimedia Commons)

 

I’ve been working on Philadelphia entries quite a bit lately (did you know it was originally colonized by Swedes??), and having a grand old time with the yellow fever epidemic. Why a person like me, who hates any kind of squishy disease (in either living or dead people) and only likes skeletal remains, should be so interested in outbreaks of yellow fever and cholera, I don’t know. But I am. Yellow fever and cholera have a horrible morbid fascination for me, as do terrible medical ideas of the past (like bleeding patients who are dying of internal bleeding or treating opium addiction with morphine). It’s part of why my undergrad thesis centered on the medical use of mineral springs in Kentucky. Still, I’ll avoid going to the doctor for my own shots as long as is humanly possible. They had to give me Valium to give me my last Tetanus shot. Go figure.

Save

Save

Adulting as a Writer, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Chaos

Most people I know, particularly most writers I know, don’t enjoy adulting. I hated adulting so much I told myself I was happy with part-time service industry jobs for 10 years before I finally went to college. At the time, I thought I was going back to college so that I could get on with conforming to adulthood. By the time I graduated last summer at the age of 32, I’d realized, thanks to friends and most of all professors, that being a responsible adult does not mean a soul-crushing 9-5 job, and that my skills as a person are, actually, valuable in the “real world,” no matter what anyone outside my fields of expertise might tell me to the contrary. It has been an inspiring and revealing year for me as a young-30’s writer.

I got a degree in anthropology because I wanted to do archaeology. I got a job with a local archaeology firm before I graduated. I still work for that firm, and people still tell me there are no jobs in archaeology. When people ask if it’s full time and I say, “Not at the moment,” they often look smug, and I look smug right back, because here’s the thing: I never wanted to devote all my time and energy to one thing. The best way for me to go from loving something to being soul-crushingly bored by it is to do it all the time. Granted, archaeology has enough variety in itself that 40 hour weeks would definitely not be a problem. But I get to work in my chosen field with people I get along with, getting exercise and spending time in nature frequently as part of my job. My favorite pastime as a child was playing in dirt and finding stuff to put in my “museum” (i.e. playhouse).

The rest of my work week consists of researching and writing articles for the history website Clio, and doing freelance editing for other writers. Which makes for a nice triad of activities to keep me (1) paid and (2) interested in everything I’m doing. Physical work and research/writing for reports at Corn Island Archaeology, historic research and article writing for the Clio, and reading fiction and working through edits for my own business…it’s a good mix for me. It keeps me a little busier than I’d ever intended to be, and I work more than 40 hours a week, but I enjoy it all and I make a living! I get paid to do things I grew up doing for fun! What better way to adult??? Funny thing is, I still didn’t think of myself as a successful adult until my mother pointed this perspective out to me. (This is one of many reasons I am lucky my mom is also a writer and is awesome.)

Perhaps because I’ve learned to live in chaos and a perpetual state of having something I should be working on, I’ve rePerBastet_tallcatcently added to my agenda the role of Marketing Director for Per Bastet Publications, the house through which my own novel, The Life and Death (but mostly the death) of Erica Flynn, is now published. Strangely, taking on more in this case has made me feel more driven to work on my own fiction, something I’ve let slide far too much this year. The more I think of what the press offers (so far, a number of excellent speculative fiction novels and collections of short stories!) the more I find myself wanting to write more stuff, wanting to actively work to share more of the ideas that bounce around in my head all the time with readers.

So, you might be wondering, what am I writing these days? I’ve got two projects in the fire at the moment, both of which I’m actively working on (most days), as my schedule allows. 1. A sequel to Erica Flynn, which I have around 20,000 words on and no title for yet. 2. A series of interconnected steampunk/cyberpunk short stories featuring Penelope and Puddingfoot in post-apocalyptic (no zombies) adventures across America (the first of which was published in the Circuits & Steam anthology). I’m working on the second story now, with a four-story plot arc lined up.

Save

Save

Author Interview: Jack Wallen’s Suicide Station Kindle Scout Campaign

Would you like to experience the godlike powers of a publisher, to choose whether to make an author’s heart sing or crush an author’s hopes and dreams? Well, Amazon’s Kindle Scout publishing lets you, the reader, do just that! My client and fellow author of genre-bending fiction, Jack Wallen, has submitted his novel Suicide Station to Kindle Scout, and you have until April 7th (if my math is correct) to read the preview excerpt and nominate the book, if you so choose, to be published. Oh, and nominators get a free e-copy if it goes to publication! “What kind of book is Suicide Station?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ve read it (and edited it) and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I can promise you it’s not quite your average romance! Here’s the blurb:

PROJECT_COVER_IMAGE_1._SX800_A romance with a twist of Grim Reaper.
The world of stand up comedy was too much for Foster Donovan. Leaving a note behind for his wife, he wrapped a noose around his neck, and changed his life by embracing death.Turns out, the after life was nothing like he’d expected. Those who’ve taken their own lives find themselves temporary residents of Suicide Station, where they receive counseling, friendship, and (for Foster) the prospect of love. Suicide Station is a paranormal romance with a twist even the Grim Reaper wouldn’t see coming.”
And now, without further ado, I give you an interview with the author himself, Jack Wallen!

 

SM: Suicide Station is pretty different than your other work. What sparked the idea for this book?

JW: Believe it or not, it was a nightmare that sparked the idea. I dreamed that I’d died and, in the dying, realized the worst part about it was that I’d never get to spend another second with my lovely wife. That led me to wonder what happens to love when we pass on. Not knowing if there is an “afterlife” or not, I decided to answer all the questions the nightmare brought up. There’s no better way for a writer to answer the big questions than to write about it. In the end, I realized that death was not the end of love.

SM: You’re a very versatile writer, with quite a few genres/subgenres under your belt. Was there anything about writing this book, branching out into paranormal romance, that was challenging for you? Or was the story just “there” and the genre was secondary?

JW: To me, genre is always secondary to telling a good story. If you consider reality, you’ll find the horrific in romance and romance in the horrific. I’ve always found books that set aside the multi-dimensionality of reality to be rather 2 dimensional. With regards to romance, it’s not all about steaming passion, abs, long legs, glistening skin, and the soft moans of seduction.

Pant, pant.

If we’re going to escape, let’s really escape from reality and twist the narrative to better match the landscape of our dreams…not our wishes. Dreams can be gritty, dirty, even ugly. That’s life.

To answer the other part of this question…this story really wrote itself. I think the imagery that so quickly developed (as I wrote) helped this story to flow out of me with incredible ease.

SM: Do you think you’ll write a sequel, or other books set in Suicide Station?

JW: Initially this was going to be a one-off. But shortly after I dove into that other-worldly realm of the Suicide Station, I knew this had to continue. This book barely scratches the surface of possibility for what I’ve created and I’ve no intention of letting it die. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this world as well as the characters within. I want to explore and develop the relationship between Foster and Candy and (especially) visit some of the other Stations.

SM: How did you go about setting up the world and the rules and workings of the afterlife?

JW: One of the best parts about being a writer of fiction is that we can toss aside the constructs of reality and forge our own worlds. Before going into this, I knew one thing and one thing only – that Foster Donovan would have to go through counseling in order to move on to his “Forever Station”. That was the original intent. I had no idea this would turn into a love story. The second I started writing this book, in my mind it quickly evolved into a sort of Tim Burton-esque world where anything was possible. So…I allowed anything to be possible.

I’ve always found it unfair that we writers expect readers to suspend their disbelief, when often we’re hesitant to do the same while writing. I pretty much suspended every ounce of disbelief I had for this one.

SM: As a book set in a sort of purgatory for suicide victims, this could have been a very depressing read, yet it’s actually very hopeful, sweet, and funny. How did you maintain the balance between tastefully addressing depression and suicide and keeping the book upbeat and romantic?

JW: Confession time. I’m a helpless romantic at heart. I truly believe in the human heart and the power of connection.

Suicide has such a stigma attached to it. For some, the challenges of existing are simply too much to bear. There’s always help to be had; and I highly recommend anyone flirting with suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. But being that helpless romantic, what I really wanted to address was that the power of love reaches beyond the veil of death. When we pass, people will remember us fondly; they’ll tell stories about us, smile and weep for the loss. To me, that is the afterlife…those memories. There’s a sweetness in that. I can pass from this mortal coil knowing my wife and my friends will smile when they think of me, that I will continue to bring them some form of joy.

So to me, it wasn’t so much about the act of ending one’s life, but of moving beyond that and dealing with whatever might come next. And underneath it all, it’s about knowing your own truth and that things can always work out.

SM: What was the most fun about writing this book?

JW: The interplay between Foster and Candy was so much fun. Considering what I usually write, I don’t often get the chance to make with the flirtations. This is one of the reasons why I also enjoy writing my steampunk series…because underlying all that heady stuff, there’s a sweetness to power it along.

Also, in this book, I found David David to be so much fun to play with. Not being a stoner, it was pleasure to dive into that skin and see how far I could take it.

SM: What’s next for Suicide Station?

JW: I have entered the book into the Kindle Scout program. Kindle Scout is a new program, started by Amazon, that puts the weight of Amazon promotions behind those books they’ve accepted for publication. What this means is that readers can go visit the Suicide Station campaign page, read the sample, and (if they think the book is worthy) nominate the book. Amazon takes into consideration how many nominations a book gets, how much traffic is directed to the book campaign, as well as the quality of the book and the ability of the author to promote the book.

Should Suicide Station win a contract, everyone that nominated the book will get a free ebook copy! Win-win!

SM: How can we find out more?

JW: I’ll be releasing blogs and videos so you can keep up with the progress of my Suicide Station campaign. Find out more on my website.

 

Now, go forth and READ!

Working for History

I’ve added to the mix of archaeology, editing, research, and writing I’m normally up to by getting a part-time job posting at The Clio, an online non-profit educational resource for historic research. (Read between the lines: it’s FREE to use). I’m writing about five entries a week, and having a blast finding out about historic places and cultural centers all over the country (so far I’ve mainly written about the DC, NYC, and Providence, RI areas). Here are links to some of my posts on The Clio:

New York City

Washington, D.C.

Providence, Rhode Island