Tag Archives: author

Book 2 of The Jessica Anderson K-9 Mysteries is in the Works

After a small hiatus due to a very close friend developing some serious medical issues, I’m back doing what I’m supposed to be doing–finishing book 2 of The Jessica Anderson K-9 Mysteries. The title has (almost) been locked in. It’s to be called Stray Trouble, and here’s the tentative cover for it.

Right now, I’m working through the final manuscript …about a month behind my original schedule, but, as they say, yes, life gets in the way, sometimes, especially when it’s one of your best friends who is in trouble. Once the manuscript is what I call ‘author final’, I’ll be sending it on to my editors. Once back from them, I’ll hit publish on Amazon for you, I promise.

In other news, you’ll be pleased to know that, in the down time, I did get book 3 almost completely drafted. I’ve got some holes to fill, and everything is always subject to change, but it’s already a pretty solid book.

One of the challenges I had writing Book 2, aside from my friend’s dive into medical malaise, was the fact that search and rescue situations, especially those involving crimes, tend toward ‘situation-and-resolve’, so suspending the mystery for an entire book while maintaining tension can prove tricky. I think I’ve again managed to pull it off in book 2, but we’ll let you all decide that.

And so, here’s a sneak peek at the cover.

Book 2 of The Jessica Anderson K-9 Mysteries by D. L. Keur

And so what happened to the audio of Book 1? Well, that went south with aforementioned friend’s illness. It’s on drive, but I still have a good solid ten chapters of sound files to listen to and edit before it goes to mastering it for distribution. Who knows, I may never get that done, because writing the books comes first.

A New Series in the Making

Yes.  That’s right.  I’m writing a new fiction series.

No.  I’m not going to tell you much about it, yet.  It will be a surprise.

But I will share this: It features a female protagonist.  It’s set in today’s rural West (as in U.S. West), but, unlike Through Better & Worse and To Have & To Hold, it’s NOT a Western Family Saga, and it’s certainly not Modern Western Romance.  It’s got absolutely no profanity and no sex.  It’s got no ‘gruel’ — no gratuitous cruelty, gore, and/or barbarism.

Will you like it?  I think a lot of people will, yes.

Why am I writing it?  Because I need something in my catalog that will appeal to a broader audience than my more literary efforts.

I write good books.  But, unfortunately, what I’ve published doesn’t fit neatly into a genre.  This series will, though.  This series will fit right into one major fiction genre that people love.

More later.

Mystery Cover

 

Site Updates and Upgrades in Progress

Yeah. I know. It’s about time, huh! So, I’m working on EJRuek.com and CountryJames.com, then it will be DLKeur.com right after. Then, I’ll see about revitalizing Aeros’ site. Meanwhile, I did release another E. J. Ruek book. I just never got around to posting it up here on this, my main website. It’s titled Slightly Disturbing Stories and those folks who’ve read it seem to really, really like it.



Pondering Why I Write

I had an interesting discussion last night that made me think about the books I’ve written, the published and those sitting in files, real and virtual. An author friend, Laura Belgrave, whose website I manage, admitted that, yes, her books matter to her. I admired that when she said it.

I’m not sure why, but, for me, while the books I’ve written and published delight me when I happen to reread them, I don’t place them as ‘important’ in things I actively care about most: my husband, the animals I care for, the land and trees, friends, my husband’s musical compositions and his instruments, my brain, body, knowledge and skills, maintaining my father’s house, my own musical instruments….

The books I’ve written? They’re just things I’ve done and released into the world. So, too, when it comes to my artwork, and my musical performances.

Laura’s caring about her creative works in contrast to my own curious attitude about my creative outputs gives me pause to wonder at myself. It especially makes me wonder why I write.

I do feel quite happy, even proud, of the books I’ve self-published (not, though, the ones previously published by others). In my opinion, my books — the ones I’ve authored without interference from money men — are very good, despite errors missed in editing, some due to Microsoft Word’s auto word-replace penchant, errors that I should, but don’t, make the time and effort to go back and fix. They’re great stories, written with passion and skill. So why, I wonder, don’t I place them high on my ‘most valued’ list?

I’m not sure of the answer to that question, but I think it might be something of the zentaoist in me. Those books, though brought into existence by my hand, exist completely independently of me, their author. They are, in essence, each their own entity once created. I own copyright, but they are not me, nor I, them. I certainly delight when someone enjoys them, but not because I wrote them. Rather, it is a delight in someone appreciating them, the books themselves, and the animals, aliens, and people, that live within their pages.

And, now, I think I’ve touched on something pertinent: I write to bring the characters within to life, so you, too, can meet, greet, and appreciate them, whether they’re people, animals, the land and its lore, or aliens from other worlds and cosmoi.

Professional Self-Publisher vs Professional Author, the Bottom Line

I just read an article about professional self-publishing authors versus hobbyists. I thought it was reasonably presented, well-written, succinct, and to the point. There were a couple of things, though, that niggled at me, mostly because my brain is always adding in the qualifiers, quantifiers, and outliers — the means and the extremes. First, though, a short synopsis:

The author, Peter Mulraney, first defines professional versus hobbyist quite nicely. There can be no argument from the tax authority, which is where the distinction is most critical, much as many a self-published author will dodge that comprehension until after they’ve gotten themselves stuck in some auditing mire.

From there, we get a quick summary of product-based business basics:

  1. the business plan
  2. the product and its marketing
  3. diversification
  4. record-keeping
  5. self-discipline

And, of course, this is where my brain releases devils within details, the first and foremost being that, in order to do #1 on the list, you have to have previously mastered #5, no small feat for many. Heck, for the majority, it’s tough to even muster enough self-discipline to get up in the morning in time to shower, dress, and head out for the day job with enough time to spare that some unforeseen delay like a train at a railroad crossing doesn’t send them into a frothing frenzy because they’re going to wind up fifteen minutes late for the job …again. Hence, you see that frenetic driver, their body leaned forward in urgency as they weave in and out of traffic to then cross three lanes in a dive for their exit, tires smoking as they round the last corner to scream into the employee parking lot.

Luckily, Peter lays out a nice road map, though, defining a business plan as “setting measurable goals.” He then gives a tidy example:

  • writing and publishing a book every year – that means scheduling time to write
  • building a body of work within a defined timeframe, for example, ten books in five years – that means committing to the long term view
  • setting sales targets, for example, selling 10,000 or 100,000 copies – that means scheduling time for marketing

Let’s take a look at those, shall we? Write and publish a book a year, and — very important this — scheduling the time to write that book. Okay. Do-able. …For some.

But, wait. Check out bullet point number two: Build a body of work within a defined timeframe — ten books in five years.

[Sputter.] That’s two books a year, something even big-name, trad pubbed authors often sweat to accomplish …and they (supposedly) have editors and agents to help them along in meeting that goal.

But there’s help once you’ve got number one out the door. It’s NaNoWriMo!

Voilà! That should get you book number two for the year.

Okay. Onto the second part of bullet point number two: committing to the long-term view.  Now, I ask: How many folks can you name, including yourself, who can make a monthly plan and stick to it?

How about just a weekly plan?

A day plan?

Okay. Let’s lower the bar: How about just making and fulfilling a monthly shopping list of everything needed in your household for the month, vowing to never venture out to the store again until thirty days hence? …How about just a week’s worth?

I’m sorry, but most everyone I know these days, save myself and Bill next door, can’t even manage a full day! And you think a five-year plan is going to be a functional reality? Do you remember that research paper you had to turn in by the end of the month in high school? How did that work out? That book you were assigned to read and give a book report on? That chapter of reading for History class?

If the honest answer is, “Great! No problem. Always got my goals and assignments done” or, even, “Usually got my goals and assignments done,” then, yes, do give long-term goal-setting the go. If not, practice completing short-term goals, increasing the length of time for each practice goal by twice every time you succeed. Once you have managed to succeed at setting and accomplishing a yearly goal, then, okay, give longer-term planning a try.

And now we come to bullet-point number three: “setting sales targets.”

In a word, don’t. Not even if you’re a best-selling, trad pubbed author with an awesome advance release team and publicist, plus an in on Oprah …unless,of course, you’re the mob boss in some mafia, syndicate, or cabal with enough influence that will guarantee the numbers you set yourself, by hook or by crook.

As to some of the details Peter mentions, I’m only going to address this one, because it’s to-the-point and on-target:

“Being in business means being flexible with what you write and publish. There is no point in persisting with a product line that does not sell.”

Bingo!

And here’s the translation: If the books you’re passionate about writing don’t sell, are you willing and able to write what does? Because that’s the difference between being a professional self-publisher and being a writer. The bottom line drives the former; passion, the latter. I count as the latter, which, because I do make a profit, because it’s work, not a hobby, makes me, not a professional self-publisher, but a professional author who now just happens to choose to self-publish rather than go back with the trads.

Experiential Distortion

by D. L. Keur writing as herself and/or one of her numerous pen names

02142016ExDistortSqStepping into the shower, she listens to the giggling in the walls, watches light refracting in the streaming spray, smells the fragrance of freshness. Tastes it, too. She closes eyes, lessening visual stimulation. While spatially disorienting, this decreases distraction.

Narrowing focus, she concentrates upon sensation. Sound and odors fade; touch, the lesser skill, can now dominate attention. She revels in sensation: tingling, stinging, punctuated hot; dripping, streaming flow sweeping all around, swirling at her feet. Immersed in movement of the stream, her mind explores vectors and trajectories.

“Raynie, did you take the garbage out?”

The sound explodes around her. The world spins, threatening to topple her.

She extends a hand, but can’t find ‘solid’.

Concentrating, she manages to still herself enough to hold stability, despite the violent buffeting of tidal swirls that threaten to upend her. She trues to that hold, but the effort is immense. Still, she knows it’s necessary. Doing less will bring unending queries and more violent disturbances.

With a will, she splits attending from single- to multi-dedicated focus. She seeks and finds ‘speech’, the least of her capabilities, but the one most critical to maintaining comfort levels within those with whom she shares experience.

The effort makes her breathless. She coheres the necessary communication from conceptual instance into distributed linear stream, making sure the energy within that stream congeals into: meaningful, simple, concise.

Once sure, she finds, then engages mouth and tongue, that finding and engagement also requiring of her immense concentration.

“Raynie?”

“No, Mom. I’ll do it when I’m finished showering.”

“Well, hurry up. The bus will be here.”

Dedicated concentration fractured, she struggles to stabilize herself as every sense goes overload. She struggles and, with a breath, just manages appropriate response—“Okay”—then she hopes that Mom will go away so she can regain control.

Silence answers, and, as the metasphere around her calms, the skirls and buffeting exponentially diminish until they become mere ripples dissolving into echoes as they fade off down the here-now’s timeline.

02142016ExDistortSq

Turning My Head

autumn at the driveway entranceTurning my head from primarily working my graphic arts biz (see zentao.com if curious, though that’s not the half of it, not even) to writing as my focus makes me even more aware of how much work I was doing helping others with their projects while ignoring mine. It’s a real eye-opener. To suddenly focus on me is all but a completely new experience. In fact, it is a completely new experience. There’s a sense of utter joy, deeply felt to almost overwhelming, but there’s also this odd sense of guilt–a sense that I’m neglecting something that’s crucial. So I’m going to compromise just a little. I won’t say no to everyone who asks for assistance, just the most presumptive.

Meanwhile, writing is actually taking second place to preparing for winter’s onslaught. I’m almost done, but the contractor is still way behind reinforcing and reroofing Dad’s giant garage. And we’ve a whole other pallet of concrete to mix, probably tomorrow or Tuesday. I am NOT looking forward to that. At all.

Sheer Joy…And Not Much Drudgery

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.comWhen I quit doing web developments a few years back, there was sheer relief and a rewarding sense of freedom, of being able to breathe, again.

Then I closed all but four of my own websites, allowing only zentao.com, dlkeur.com, ejruek.com, and thedeepening.com to remain active, thedeepening.com changed from promoting other people’s books and novels to its original intent.  More relief, more freedom, more space to breathe and try to follow my own projects.

This year, I began to ease back on doing professional graphic art.  I retained a handful of good clients, but, mostly, I say “no” to the requests I get. First off, it’s a real pain to have to deal with people who, not having a real grasp on what they actually want, have set ideas on what they think they want. Then, when you produce that, after they approve it, they decide months down the road that it’s actually not what they want, and they get all sorts of upset when you tell them they’ll have to pay for another design to be conceived and completed.  It’s pure drudgery with not much reward for the soul, regardless of how well it adds to the bottom line.

Now, I’ve turned my focus to my true love in life–writing novels–and, while there’s still some drudgery involved–reading and editing that manuscript yet one more time; promoting what’s already published–there’s sheer joy and happiness for a story well-told and appreciated.

Truly, I’m almost as happy writing as I am riding.  Only being with Forrest trumps it all.