Archive for the ‘novel’ Category

So, years and years ago, before the internet and Mario Kart, when I was first toying with the idea of writing, I sent Stephen King a short note asking if he could give me some sage advice about the craft. Of course, I had no delusions I would actually receive anything back from the man himself, but I did receive several photocopied articles from his envelope stuffer in which he spoke of writing in general. I was a little disappointed in the photocopies. I mean, I could have found the same thing at the library, made my own copies, and mailed them to myself, right?

Right.

Anyway, I tossed the whole of it in a desk drawer and it’s made the rounds with me from continent to continent for the last 25 years, a bit dog-eared but still legible. The other day I pulled it out and had the bright idea to go all Star Wars on it and Google the return address: King, 49 Florida Ave., Bangor, ME, 04401.

This is what I found.

stephen-king-joke

WELL PLAYED, MR. KING. WELL PLAYED.

In all of the hullabaloo of the past few weeks, I neglected to post a very important announcement on this blog. I’m currently featured on The Authors Show in an interview I did a few weeks ago to discuss my latest book, Cold Currents. Click here to hop on over to my website and have a listen. It’s your chance to shop a new mystery/thriller and explore the twisted mind that gave life to it…

Until we meet again, live long and prosper!

PS…If you’re intrigued, you can get your copy over at Amazon by clicking that blue link back there <–.

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Well, it’s done. The paperback of COLD CURRENTS is available for order on Amazon! If you like the feel of a book in your hand, you’ll love this one. All I ask? Please tell 10 people about it. Sharing your experience with friends and family goes a long way in making CURRENTS a success.  

 

Get a copy here.

 

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I’m excited about this one, folks. Here’s a taste of what to expect in my upcoming release, COLD CURRENTS, the first book in the new Bobby Taylor mystery/thriller series.

“Thirty years after the shocking murder of Jenny Franklin, followed by the arrest and conviction of his brother Terry, Knoxville Detective Bobby Taylor returns to his North Carolina hometown of Clayton at his aging mother’s request. Reluctant to face his estranged father and make amends after blaming him for not doing more to save his brother, Bobby arrives to discover the head of another young girl has washed up on the banks of the wild Neuse River. Disgusted at the brutality and familiarity of the crime, he realizes the murderous, sadistic monster from his past has returned with a vengeance. His brother’s blood is now on the hands of those who failed to catch the real killer the first time around. Fueled by retribution, and eager to heal his past, Bobby’s determined to bring the true murderer to justice.

Armed with equal parts instinct and desperation, Bobby confronts his broken relationships while chasing a mysterious trail of death that spans thirty years and two continents. Obstacles, lies, and deception face him at every turn as he partners with a tough-as-nails female reporter and a reluctant Chief of Detectives to catch a resurrected killer and vindicate his family’s name. In the end, Bobby finds redemption in a way he could never imagine as the whispers of the river reveal the horrible secrets beneath her swift, cold currents.”

Meanwhile, you can find a quick trailer over on my website , and I’ll have a new cover reveal coming soon!

The Cows Came Home

Posted: November 18, 2015 in fiction, novel, Publishing, Writing

That’s right. After three years of meandering through the literary field of dreams, the cows came home. I did not want them to come home. I was hoping they would find a nice, big literary house and settle down. But they came home today, their heads appearing over the hill as I received word from my second, and beloved, literary agent that our well of acquisition options had run dry. She still loves the book, but what else could she do?

Nothing, that’s what.

That’s the nature of the business. Having an agent and a good manuscript will not guarantee a book deal. Just as having a book deal will not guarantee a runaway bestseller. Bottom line is, even if you’re lucky enough to find an agent, your book is still, and always will be, at the mercy of editorial and personal taste (let’s be honest here, okay?), with a touch of business-driven-literary-trend-thingy thrown in to send the scales one way or another.

That’s where “the buck stops.”

I’ve been riding this emotional rollercoaster, even through a good deal of personal tragedy and setbacks, for three years now. Tonight, my literary future takes yet another turn into the unknown. The book on the chopping block today was Cold Currents, a southern mystery/thriller. It’s a good book, at least according to a lot of people along the way that have read it in advance. And I think the second book I’m writing in the series, The Layers Beneath, will be equally as good, if not better.

All that said, I’ll be publishing Cold Currents on Amazon soon. Hopefully, Layers will not be far behind. It will have good company in my debut novel, Rockapocalypse, and my short story, Anything But, both of which have garnered mostly four and five star reviews. I’d like to think the diverse (and comfortable, if you like series) nature of my books will do well over the coming months and years…

…but only the cows and time will tell.

The cows will head back out soon, in a much different direction, but with a slightly familiar goal. Again, I’ll be praying I never see them again, wishing a few people buy my books, hoping I can eventually make a good go of this literary business. Until then, I have a “gifted” police detective and an aging six-foot-seven Indian bounty hunter to ride shotgun with on a terrifying, white-knuckled chase across the Carolina landscape.

I hope you’ll join us.

There’s always room for one more reader on this crazy ride.

I am not dead.

Not physically, or creatively. But I’m older. And time waits for no one. That said, here’s where the rubber meets the road on this beautiful Spring day: I’m still on a 3-book-deal-seeking submission with my current agent, Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group, for COLD CURRENTS, I’ve parted ways with my second (and latest… and last) publisher for ROCKAPOCALYPSE, and I’ve planted my first garden in many, many years.

Time marches on, unrelenting, making me older and wiser.

Sometimes you have to shift your perspective… or it shifts for you. Mine shifted in a big way a few days ago as I perused my new garden for fresh shoots pushing courageously through the soil. Beginning May 1st I’ll be offering downloads, in various formats, of ROCKAPOCALYPSE and ANYTHING BUT for a small price on my author’s website. Over time, I hope the available selections will grow.

This will not be an easy venture. I’ll need the support of family, friends, associates, and anyone who genuinely loves a good tale. You won’t pay much and I won’t make much, after every part of the machine takes its slice, but that’s not what I wanted anyway. All I ever wanted was to entertain you with imaginary places and people whose lives mirror a bit of the happiness, sorrow and lessons of the heart that we all experience… and to make enough doing it to live a simple life doing what I love. Like the newly sprouted shoot that pushes skyward against great odds, I know I’ll have to be just as strong and tenacious to succeed.Bean seeds germinating shot

Please visit my website if you get a chance, even if it’s just to say “hi” in my guestbook. Your support means the world to me, and gives this old writer a tug on his creative heartstrings.

“…and with that, he was gone in a swoosh of wind and leaves and dust, leaving not so much an impression of being, as an impression of never was.”

Download my debut novel at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble for only $0.99 starting tomorrow!

ROCKAPOCALYPSE Sale

ROCKAPOCALYPSE Sale

Finally got the cover for Rockapocalypse from the publisher. I’ve celebrated by updating the book trailer. Check it out!

http://www.byronsuggs.com

or

http://www.byronsuggs.weebly.com

 

 

Writing is a tuff business. On the whole, writers are far from perfect with words. Some of use just arrange them around better than others. (Okay. You’re probably distracted by that word above, right? Fourth word, first sentence?)

Well, I wasn’t. After two outside editorial efforts, three revisions, numerous beta readers, and seven (yes, seven!) copy-edit/proof passes through a 390-page manuscript, the word ” tuff ” remained unscathed. Six months later, while sending out the 134th query to an agent (all pending, mind you), I somehow caught the misspelling when I copied a three chapter sample into the body of an e-mail.

I would say that’s one ” tuff ” cookie of a word. We all missed it! You see, I was describing the sparse ” tufts ” of hair on an old man’s head near the end of the second chapter. Maybe I was thinking of how tough those hairs were, resisting age and wear, hanging on with tiny root feet. Defying odds. But TUFFS? I guess my mind has been corrupted with texting, and plastic play toys, and advertisements for food storage containers, and garbage bags, and…

…maybe I’m just a writer who gets blind spots wearing his manuscript on his eyeballs for 14 months. Excuses aside, I felt like crawling under a rock.

It’s corrected now. But I’ve learned a some valuable lessons from it. Maybe a few you wouldn’t expect. I learned that we all make mistakes, no matter how hard we try. I learned that beating yourself up over a mistake doesn’t correct the mistake. And I’ve learned to laugh at my mistakes.

I mean, really…tuffs??

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been busy. Actually that’s an understatement. I thought I would share my experiences, albeit as on-going as they may be, on writing and the editorial process.

First, unless you’re a writer blessed with talents far beyond mortal means, you probably are not the best editor for your work. Why? Because you love your work. Because you don’t handle self-rejection and self-critique very well. Because…well, isn’t that enough? Sure, you can run spell check, catch a few of those seriously stupid words or sentences that crept into your work while you were busy seducing it to paper. Maybe even realize you blew the plot and are able to fix it. But you won’t see it like a reader will see it. You won’t see it like a publisher or an agent will see it. You won’t approach it from a ‘marketing’ standpoint. You simply won’t… because you’re a writer.

With my first book, Rockapocalypse: A Boy’s Tale (now called Rock of Ages: The Keeper, after umpteen million revisions), I contracted a freelance editor to do a developmental edit. It was rather disastrous from my standpoint. My book had various problems and I spent many months re-writing. So much re-writing in fact, that my book changed drastically. Which put me back to square one, and that was not a happy place for me.

Fortunately, I had enough of ‘something’ in my work to get the attention of a small, traditional boutique publisher. After failing to get a contract through their publication board process, for reasons that went far beyond the merits of the book, I was lucky enough to peak additional interest with the owner/CEO, and was offered a collaboration of sorts to get my book up to their publishing standards. Collaboration, you say? Yes. I now meet with the her once a week at their company offices and do a combined developmental/copy-edit on my manuscript. No contract has been offered, but I’m learning a great deal about the editing process and hope it will lead to one in the near future. The really cool thing? It’s not costing me a dime. And that means they’re willing to invest time (=money) in me.

On another front, my second book, Cold Currents, is now under editorial eyes. After a careful search, I landed the editorial services of a well-respected freelance editor with over 40 years experience in the publishing industry. I won’t go into details for discretionary reasons, but he’s associated with a lengthy list of well-known works spanning  his career. He’s currently providing a full edit on my manuscript as I write this. The cost will be a bit steep for my pockets, but it’s a sacrifice I feel I have to make at this point. I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous about his pending prognosis. It’s like waiting for a call from your doctor on your lab results.

The hardest part about both of the above? Not touching my work until the editing touches it. I really, really want to get back in there and ‘meddle-in-the- middle’, keep my fingers in it. But for now, I’ll just be content knowing I’m learning as I go with the edits on my first book and that I’ve got a professional’s eyes on my second book.

What are your thoughts on the editing process? Do you think the ‘wordsmithing’ stops with you? Do you have an editor you’re comfortable with that you return to over and over again? Is it important to you as a writer that your work shines to readers, and the industry in general?

Let me know your thoughts!

Disclaimer: This blog post has been edited with the narrow/bias perspective of its originator. Professional quality content should not be assumed by the reader.