Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Open Tuesdays

image As we announced last week, while our blogmate, Kathryn Lilley, is on medical hiatus, we’re opening up the Kill Zone on Tuesdays for general questions, comments and discussions. If you have a question about writing, publishing or taking the 2010 Census in rural areas, ask away in our comments section. We’ll do our best to get you an answer.

And don’t forget you can download a copy of FRESH KILLS, Tales from the Kill Zone to your Kindle or PC today.

18 comments:

  1. Remember that your Census takers are your neighbors and that they are doing a job that is rewarding but hard work, but it's something that is important to all of us. The Census was set up in the Constitution and has been done twenty-three times by American citizens every ten years since that document was ratified.

    The statistics that are gathered insure federal funds are targeted to those who need them, that people are represented in congress, and that potential employers can get information on the population in specific geographical areas, that EMS, the police, schools, and hospitals get a fair share of Federal, state and local funds available.

    It will be winding down over the next few weeks and that's all I will say about it. Well that and make sure you and your family members are counted. It is the duty of every American to participate and our right to be counted.

    God bless America and stuff.

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  2. Miller, we're supposed to ask a question first, then you can answer. So here's the question: what are your thoughts on the 2010 Census. Please see the comment preceding this one.

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  3. Okay, I have a question to kick things off: What are you reading right now, and why? Is it living up to your expectations? Right now I'm reading Dean Koontz's Dark Rivers of the Heart. It's gripping, a real page turner. I picked it up as part of my challenge to read everything I can in my genre of choice.

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  4. Anon, I'm making my way through The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. Love the cross-genre, Chandleresque style.

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  5. Anon 9:00. I'm serving as a beta reader for Michelle's newest manuscript although being involved in the last stages ThrillerFest planning is holding me back from finishing it. But so far, it's really good. Before that, the last book I read was THE GENESIS SECRET by Tom Knox. A great book but be warned: it contains the most extremely graphic violence I've ever encountered in my life. Ever.

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  6. My question rounds back to last week's discussion of publicity. What do you do after the initial release to keep your books selling? What is stage two of marketing, say a year after publication?

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  7. Victoria, speak and teach. Do libraries, local groups, expand outward, and have your books ready to sell at each event. Teach a writing course at a community college or adult education outlet. After my first couple of books were out, I developed an 8 week course in suspense writing for an adult ed. place nearby. I did it three times, tweaking the material each time, and that has been a foundation for all my teaching since.

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  8. Speaking of reading, what is the best surprise book you've ever read? Something that you picked up on a whim -- maybe you liked the cover or the title -- and it turned out better than you thought it would be.

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  9. There have been several books that hit me with a huge bomb at the end that I didn't see coming. A MAIDEN'S GRAVE by Jeffery Deaver, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and more I can't remember on the fly.

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  10. RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris blew me away. Still at the top of my list.

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  11. I've just started 'Let the Great World Spin' by Colum McCann...Haven't really got into yet but I'm hopeful it's going to be great! Jim - I love the Dresden files - such a fun combination of sci-fi and detective fiction. Victoria - I totally agree with Jim speaking engagements keep the word out there - libraries, book groups etc. are all great to keep the publicity going.

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  12. Clare and Jim, you both mentioned loving the cross-genre Dresden Files. (I'll definitely have to pick them up as I love Chandler.) There have been a number of hits lately that are cross-breeds: Harry Potter is essentially a school story crossed with a fantasy and Twilight is a Romance crossed with a vampire novel. Both were breakout successes.

    Can someone explain this phenomenon? Why are some people's favorite books cross-genre reads? Could it be that they offer something fresh and different from the traditional genres? Why are these types of books becoming bestsellers? Or are there plenty of cross-genre books that are poo and don't make a name for their author?

    (This question should ignore the fact that Twilight was not well written according to most writing professionals. I'm curious about the cross-genre aspect.)

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  13. Are you going to do another round of first page critiques? Even though I didn't make the deadline for submitting my first page, I found the exercise very instructive.

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  14. I'm a big fan of Harry Dresden and the Dresden Files. It was a great TV series, and the books are top notch.

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  15. My take on the cross-genre issue is that it just allows for greater appeal - people who aren't really fantasy fans but who like mysteries might find themselves liking the Dresden files for example. I think the success of such crossovers is due to a merger of two fan-bases as well as the creation of a story or series that transcends each of the genres contained...that and the fact they are usually damn good yarns!

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  16. Thanks for saying so, Joe- many of my fellow bloggers were kind enough to serve as beta readers. It's been invaluable help for pinpointing where the plot started to sag. The book is very different now from the one I initially handed them.
    A book that surprised me...that's a tough one. I actually think SILENCE OF THE LAMBS made a huge impression because despite the fact that I'd already seen the film, it still managed to scare the heck out of me.

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  17. Love Dresden....and the best part of Butcher's series is that the books just get better every time. His latest, Changes, was definitely the best. Just when you thought you couldn't go "wow!" one more time, you just kept doing it.

    After reading the interview here for Boyd Morrison's The Ark, I grabbed it for my new Nook (e-reader). I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to grabbing "Fresh Kills", I won't say that's why I bought the Nook, but it was sure a bummer when I found out it was only an e-book.

    Maybe the day of the genre is kind of fading. Even with my own reading and writing tastes I keep thinking how would I classify that? Paranormal, fantasy, thriller, adventure? I don't think the tag matters so much as "is it a good story?"

    Still I was raised sci-fi and I'd have to say one of my personal favs is Roger Zelazny. Very creative thinker. Oh and Louis L'Amour, I think he is one of the best for any genre - he can tell and entire story and make you really feel a depth of character in as little as 3-5 pages.. amazing!

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  18. Yes, cross-genre seems one way to stake out some original territory. However, concept alone is not enough. The Dresden books are well written and hugely entertaining...that's why they have succeeded, not just because of the cross-genre idea.

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