Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gearing Up

After more than a year of not being able to do much of anything creative, Sarah and I are gearing up for an exciting year in 2013. We are hard at work on our first novel together. Murder on the Mullet Express is set in the Roaring 20's in Homosassa Springs, Florida, and will feature the intrepid trio of geezers Theodora Lawless, Cornelia Pettijohn, and Professor Percival Pettijohn. The three of them will make their debut in a short story, "The Odds are Always Uneven"  this October, in the Speed City Sisters in Crime anthology Hoosier Hijinks.

Sarah is going to be pitching our joint novel at the Historical Novel Society meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida, this June on the same morning I am scheduled to pitch the new Nessa Donnelly novel, Concealed in Ash. It should be an exciting and busy weekend for both of us. We're looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones while we are at the event. We will also be distributing business cards for our new press, Mystery and Horror, LLC.

Along with our personal writing projects, our little cross-eyed bat logo is going to make several appearances on new books before the end of the year. We have decided on three anthologies this year and will be opening for mystery novels later this summer. Covers for Strangely Funny, All Hallows' Evil, and Undead of Winter are on the Mystery and Horror, LLC website. Strangely Funny, our paranormal humor anthology, and All Hallows' Evil, our Halloween Mystery anthology, are open for submissions. Undead of Winter isn't open yet. There are only so many hours in the day.

Our first non-anthology will be a series of collections of monster art and humor by Monstermatt Patterson - Ha Ha Horror! Volumes 1 and 2. Volume 1 is due out later this year. In the meantime, catch his podcast at 6 Foot Plus. He is truly a man of many talents.

Our plan for the press is to do a limited number of anthologies each year. We want to devote the rest of our time to working with our authors to develop and promote their books. In the world of small press publishing it isn't enough to create a great book, authors and publishers have to work together to get that book in front of an audience. Everything we do is geared toward the goal of getting our books noticed. It is an exciting, scary, and daunting course we've set for 2013. Together we've gone from planning to building, but every day I wake up asking myself what I can accomplish and what I can do better.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


In the wake of yesterday's bombing in Boston, news stories are popping up all over the net lambasting domestic terrorism. Before readers go ballistic, let me say that I do not approve of terrorism of any sort, domestic or otherwise. However, homegrown terrorists are not a new phenomenon. In fact, if it were not for domestic terrorists it is unlikely that the United States as we know it would exist. Boston Tea Party anyone?

Terrorism, by definition, is the use of violence or threat of violence to intimidate a population into making religious, political, or ideological change. That's right, folks. The events leading up to the American Revolution were acts of terrorism against the British government.  Once we rabble-rousers in the American Colonies got what we wanted, we patched up our differences with the British and got on with building a country.

Never mind that building the United States involved taking most of the land away from the people already living on it. I say this because the acts of terrorism against the Native American population are too numerous and go back too far for me to even list them in a blog post.  A hard look at ourselves through Native American history is enough to sicken the strongest stomach.

Slavery also brought out the terrorist in the American heart. Officially, the first act of terrorism visited on the white population was November 7, 1837.  A pro-slavery mob attacked a warehouse used to print an abolitionist newspaper owned by Presbyterian minister  Elijah Parish Lovejoy. Lovejoy died in the attack. I wish I could say that the Civil War ended the racial terrorism, but the Civil Rights Movement is ongoing and black people still die for being black.

Issues of race are far from the only issues bringing out the terrorist in us. Labor unions resorted to violence to fight their corporate oppressors. Women were not above using violent action to gain equal rights. Anti-war movements used violence to gain PEACE! How many of us can still remember the terrorism connected to student unrest in the 1960's? Gays took to the streets in the Stonewall riot of the 1970's. A lot of these movements brought significant change, change that made us better as a nation. The question is "at what price?"

Two things need to change to stop the violence. First, show some respect for public protests. We need to listen to the grievances of others before those suffering feel that violence is their only recourse against injustice. Our media tends to accept police and official undercounts of protest participation without question. We play down the importance of social movements. We ignore issues that cause distress to others. We as a people need to change. Protest, peaceful demonstration, should be respected and encouraged as ways to address issues. The media should cover this kind of event and work toward making the issue part of public discourse. Instead of covering the sensational footage of a bomb going off, we need to give causes attention before they become horrific scenes of violence.

The acts of terrorists are large scale temper tantrums. Tantrums should never be rewarded with attention. What would happen to these violent terrorists if we didn't give them or their actions the attention they want? How would things change if terrorists were met with a wall of silence from the media? I think it is time to find out.

One final note: we Americans are quick to point fingers at the Middle East or worse, at Muslim-Americans when a bomb explodes. We like to pretend that we are better than our Islamic neighbors. The World Trade Center is quickly pointed out every time a bomb explodes on American soil. Islam is not our enemy, terrorists are. If the Saudi suspect is behind the bomb yesterday, then he is following a long tradition of drawing attention to a cause through violence. Perhaps, it is time that we address the violence as the problem, not the particular group of people involved.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Speaking at FHNS Meeting April 6

The photograph above is one I took of the Coastal Region Library, in Crystal River, Florida.  Our Florida Chapter of the Historical Novel Society will be held there on Saturday, April 6. The group has invited me to speak about, "Bringing the Past into Your Fiction."

Friends who have ever got me started talking about the history of Kentucky are probably groaning about now. I can spend hours talking about the history behind my Nessa Donnelly stories. Just so you know, I will only use one example from my own work. This talk is about the wide range of historical fiction and how different authors approach bringing the history they love into the their work. I'm going to get to talk about books by some of my favorite historical authors: Beverle Graves Myers, Catriona McPherson, Suzanne Adair, and many others.

If you like historical fiction, which I am sure this audience does, this should be a great opportunity to discover new favorite authors and revisit with some old friends. Members of the group who write their own historical novels should also enjoy seeing how a number of other writers make the past come alive on the printed page.

I'm looking forward to Saturday. If you are in the area, drop in and say hi. Meetings are free and open to the public.