November 2018 Update & Books Read

The end of the year is in sight, but I am slipping in my goal of reading 100 books. Only read 7 in October (see the list below) bringing me to a total of 81. Can I read 19 in the next two months? Stay tuned!

Before we get to the books I read last month, a quick update on the progress of The Lottery and a hint of things to come with ART.

Advanced Reader Team – ART

As the release date for The Lottery approaches, marketing plans are coming together. One of the realities for a debut novel (or, really, any novel except for the handful of superstar authors) is that you have to get noticed out there in the big, bad book world.  The most effective strategies involve word-of-mouth – fans of a book telling other people.

But how do you attract those fans in the first place? An Advanced Reader Team – people who have the opportunity to read the book before it is available to the general public and are willing to share their honest opinion about it (and, yes, honest means honest. If you don’t like the book, say so).

Intrigued? Details about how to join the ART will be available in the December newsletter. Yes, that’s right, in the newsletter and not on the website, so if you haven’t already done so, make sure you subscribe.

The Lottery Update

As I mentioned last month, my editor finished her Content Edit (aka, Story Edit – the process of reviewing the story itself for issues) with some questions, thoughts, and challenges. I turned the manuscript back around to her with changes. She will have that back to me by the end of this week (maybe by the time you are reading this).

Does that mean I am done?

Of course not. We now move to the Line Edit. Think of this as the technical edit – sentence structure, grammar, spelling, punctuation. Since this edit is conducted by a different editor, they may also identify any remaining story issues that need to be addressed.

By the time you receive the December newsletter, The Lottery will be in the hands of the Line Editor. She will have the book back to me just before Christmas for any final changes.

Simultaneously in December, the cover will be finalized and marketing blurbs will be developed. Can you tell December will be a little busy?

From there proofreading, typesetting, and–finally–a book!

Books Read – October 2018

And now for the main event – the books I read last month. Hope you enjoy the list and find some reading for yourself from them. Please leave a comment after this post with books that you have enjoyed so I can add to my own reading list. Let’s share the good stuff with each other.

Brendan Duffy The Storm King
Brendan Duffy – The Storm King – I love that, once again, my favorite book of the month was another suggestion from a reader. A man leaves his wife and child to go back to his hometown for a funeral. He reconnects with his old friends and discovers a web of secrets and lies that have their roots in his own actions from high school days (actions that also produce his nickname and the title of the book). Add in a dark lake, an abandoned building, and lots of small town intrigue for a compelling story.

Joe Hill The FiremanJoe Hill – The Fireman – A fatal disease spreads rapidly through the world causing a collapse of modern comforts and governance. The symptoms are easily visible to those who are not yet infected resulting in harsh quarantine protocols and vigilante justice. A small band of infected have discovered a way to postpone–or maybe even prevent–death. They have not, however, discovered a cure and must avoid the vigilantes who wish to exterminate them. In their desire to remain undiscovered, their own leaders become increasingly paranoid and dangerous. This apocalyptic tale is told through the eyes of a small group of people.

P.W. Singer - Ghost FleetP.W. Singer and August Cole – Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War – This is a well-researched, sprawling epic – and all that is good and bad about that. The good includes a highly plausible scenario leading up to a third World War, the battles and economic repercussions, and the ultimate resolution. For the detail oriented, the novel even includes extensive footnotes connecting real current events or scientific discoveries that the authors used as a basis for their conjectures. The problem–at least for me–is that a world war encompasses lots of characters spread around the globe, many of who feel thinly developed (much like reading in a newspaper of a political decision by a leader in a distant country). The novel came alive for me in the second half when the focus is on a small group of characters gearing up for the penultimate battle (much the same way that Joe Hill did in The Fireman by focusing on a small group of people to tell a global story).

Rachel Kushner - The Mars RoomRachel Kushner – The Mars Room – Any book that starts with a bus ride to prison is going to be dark. Yes, this is a prison story and all of the horror that entails. The protagonist has been sentenced to two life sentences with no chance of parole. The tales of prison life are interwoven with her harrowing back story and the slow revelation / explanation for the crime that landed her there.

Tommy Orange There ThereTommy Orange – There There – In many ways, this is a typical story of young people growing up in a challenging urban setting. Some are figuring out who they are and charting a path to success and a happy life. Others fall for the lure of the streets and the inherent crime. What makes this novel different is that the characters are all Native Americans. The author set out to tell a story not from the reservations, but of Native Americans who are growing up in our cities. Many have lost all touch with their heritage (some barely even understand what their heritage is). The beginning of the novel feels more like a series of vignettes as the dozen or so characters are introduced but slowly their stories began to interconnect until they cross paths in the final act at a Pow Wow held in Oakland, CA.

Mark Gimenez The AbductionMark Gimenez – The Abduction – The ten-year old daughter of wealthy parents–an IT Founder worth billions and a high-powered attorney–is abducted in broad daylight from a park. As the police and FBI begin searching for her kidnappers, the estranged grandfather–a Green Beret Colonel who was a Vietnam War hero with a classified past and current drinking problem–arrives on the scene. I don’t think I am giving anything away when I say he goes hunting for the kidnappers by himself. Fine, it might be a little cliched, but it’s a fun romp of an adventure, tightly written, and fast paced to the end.

Newsletter NinjaTammi Labrecque – Newsletter Ninja: How to Become an Author Mailing List Expert – Newsletters are a key tool for marketing, but especially for authors trying to get themselves discovered among the piles of books published each year. So, yes, that includes me. I saw this book recommended by a number of authors that I respect and took the plunge. If you are responsible for–or curious about–newsletter marketing, this book is well worth the small investment. And, hopefully, my newsletter subscribers will see improvement.

Weather Geek Time

We finally had a little fall in October. Despite our high for the month of 75ºF (24ºC), we did drop to a low of 22ºF (-5ºC). Both the high and low for the month were just a degree higher than October 2017. We added another 4.8 inches (12 cm) of rain bringing us to 59 inches (150 cm) for the year.

And, yes, we have seen a couple of dustings of snow and most of the leaves are off the trees. Winter is settling in around us. A good time for writing and reading.

Book Suggestions

Always looking to add to my reading list. Do me a favor–Hit reply and tell me about a couple of your favorite books. I need to stock up for the winter!

Thank you for hanging out, enjoying my creations, and making this journey fun.


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