“Pink Elephant,” a mystery short featuring my quick-witted P.I. Eli Sharpe, was recently released on Kindle for only .99 cents. Also, I published two short stories in the past few months, one called “Cry on Demand,” which appeared in Issue 57 of the Potomac Review, and another entitled “Virginia is a Different Country,” which was published in trade paperback and Kindle in an anthology called Portable Magic: The Authors First Anthology.
280 Steps just published Alphabet Land, a crime thriller I wrote featuring a “problem-solver” known only as the Rook who is bent on cleaning up a neighborhood awash in crime, poverty, and corruption. Ed, Not Eddie, the third installment in the Eli Sharpe series, was released today. This one is about a female knuckleball pitcher who’s getting death threats on the eve of a very big game.
But in the meantime, I’ve been writing a literary novel about a wife and mother who purchases a bookcase that can be turned into a usable coffin, and this odd purchase causes a serious rift in her marriage. The working title is A Competent Fake. Or maybe Hannah’s Version.
Is there any advice you can give other authors?
Two pieces of advice. One, keep writing what you love, no matter what because as Richard Bach once wisely said, “A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn’t quit.” Two, actively promote not only your own work, but the work of others. Blogging and tweeting about authors you like will, eventually, lead new readers to your books.
I sit at my desk at 2pm and write until 4pm. Every day. No exceptions. No excuses. No distractions other than a cup of coffee and, occasionally, classical music playing softly in the background. (No, I’m not a Hannibal Lecter-like serial killer, despite the image I just painted).
How do you get your inspiration?
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” –Jack London
Are there any bestselling authors you hope to emulate?
Well, I wish I could shave my head like Harlan Coben, but my wife won’t let me. All kidding aside, I dig his books, especially the Myron Bolitar series. Eli Sharpe could trade sarcastic barbs and one-liners with Bolitar all day long, so I definitely Coben fans will like my mysteries, too.
Twitter and my author website/blog. For twitter, I’ve found you need to follow the 80/20 rule, meaning 80% of your tweets should be retweets, informative tips about writing, and/or content that provides value to followers. Only 20% should be you promoting your work. And as for your author website/blog goes, you should schedule posts a month ahead of time. Write book reviews, helpful articles, and/or guest posts/author interviews.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started publishing?
That publishing your books requires even more patience than writing them… but it’s worth it.
Do you have any fun stories to share from author events or interactions with fans?
Earlier this year, I did a reading at a library near my house, and one very enthusiastic audience member tracked me down in the parking lot afterward. She suggested I should be a stand-up comedian and go on talk shows and maybe even take a stab at politics. Then she told me her entire life story, ending it by saying she loved me, and I replied, “Well, it helps that you don’t really know me.” She called me in my office a week later. We chatted for about half an hour. Nice lady.