Well. Here we go.
This is an experiment, as I say on the Books page. It’s quite possible I could get this published the usual way, but the usual way A) stinks, and B) pays squat. It’s all good gravy if you write a Blockbuster - you know, a techno-thriller with a break-neck pace. A roller-coaster ride! Meaning sometimes it plummets down and you try not to throw up. Or there’s the Series with a Gimmick designed to hit a particular audience - the heroine is solves crimes at cat conventions! Or it’s a well-written sturdy series with a certain grimness under it all, hard-boiled and two-fisted, with an unusual setting to make it different.
Then there’s this.
“Graveyard Special” is the first in a three book series - five, if all goes well. It’s a stand-alone novel, but it sets up a few characters who appear in the third one, and there’s a scene in a bar that goes right to the heart of “Autumn Solitaire,” which I’m revising now. (Painfully.) Is it a page-turning thriller that rockets from one shock to the other with a pace that’ll leave the reader breathless? T’aint. It’s almost a memoir, which is what made it so easy to write, and so much fun.
For years I’d wanted to write about Dinkytown in the 80s, and I never had a hook. Couldn’t find the way into the story. Blind alleys and locked doors. But when I was on a ship last year, coming back from Colombia, I was taking my nightly turn around the deck, and the idea just clattered into my head. (As it happens, I had started a different book the day before, and I’ll get around to that one in a year or two, I hope.) The more I walked the more I knew what happened. I’ll never forget the big ah-hah: walked into the shadows at the prow, realized how it ended and who did what, and everything just went off like fireworks in a phone booth. Ran back to the room and started.
With some books you hit the difficult middle, the Slough of Despond, the place where you’ve set it all up, introduced the characters, and felt the enthusiasm of the endeavor power you through 25,000 words. Then: the wall. Then: hugger-mugger to keep it going until you get to the last third, where everything happens. That didn’t happen. I just wrote and wrote every night, and it was finished three months after I started, in the studio of my mother-in-law’s house.
Couldn’t wait to get to the end. I had three punches planned for the end, and they all landed right on the jaw. Well, says me.
I set it aside and wrote “Autumn Solitaire,” an entirely different novel - present-tense, slangy, set in a newspaper in 1947 - and then went back to a book I’d failed to finish a few years before. Now I knew the whole big story; now I had the ending. That’s “Morocco Alley,” the third book, which should be easier to revise than “Autumn Solitaire,” because I knew who was doing what, and why. When I realized I could import the characters and backstory of the two novels I’d finished into “Alley,” I knew I had a Big Thing, a Trilogy, a story of Minneapolis as told through a bar, a newspaper, a comic strip, and a few men who tied them all together.
It all started with this picture:
What does the Casablanca have to do with 1980, with Dinkytown? You’ll have to find out.
So. It’s a mystery, yes, and I think a rather nifty one. It’s humorous; at least that’s the intention. And it’s cheap: $3.99. As I said, this is an experiment.
Yes, there will be a paperback version in a few weeks. More expensive, alas.
Now let’s sell this sucker!
Friday Cliffhanger: I'm watching a rather inert movie I'll discuss on Monday. It contains this fellow, the one on the left.
I didn't recognize him. Until I did.
The whole story on Monday. Believe me, if you're a patron of this site, you've probably seen this guy.
Oh, did I mention there's a book?
You may ask: what if I don't have a Kindle? As I said, there will be a print version via Amazon's CreateSpace, but it'll be a while. My main focus these days is simple:
WRITING LOTS OF BOOKS.
The goal is two a year. At least.
Have a grand weekend! Oh - a few more Wards 61 pages up there. For free. Because the internet is a grand place where we share stuff for the pleasure of saying "hey, look what I found in the world," and the thought of commerce doesn't enter into it.
Most of the time, anyway. Most of the time. ;)