Saturday, November 7, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015: Week 1

Scott D. Parker

NaNoWriMo 2015 Week 1 started strong, experienced a daunting roadblock, and ended well.

With 1 November also being the fall-back time, I woke a ‘regular body time’ which was 6:30…except the clock read 5:30am. With that ‘extra’ hour, I was able to bang out 3464 words on Sunday. The next day, the first work day, say a drop off, but that was to be expected since I had less writing time during the day. Tuesday was great because I got 1708 words before I went to work, surpassing the 1,667 needed per day to get to 50,000 words by month’s end.

Wednesday was the Day of Flexibility. My Mac crashed overnight. It would not even power on during my ‘writing hour’ of 5am. I shifted to keyboard+iPad and knocked out 1100 words, but had to make up the word count later that evening. Thursday was back to a normal day and Friday was an off day from the day job, so I upped the word count.


I’ve been keeping lots of stats. The newest one is writing speed. I time myself from beginning to ending of a section, usually a chapter. I calculate the words/minute and extrapolate to words/hour. I type pretty swiftly, especially when I’m on a roll or, when, say I don’t get up at the crack of 5am and am faced with less time to write and I want to reach my daily goal.

My favorite stat of the week is the pace. In order to reach 50,000 words in November, you have to write 1,667 words per day. By Day 6, with the 1,667 pace, you get to 10,002. By Day 6, I had reached 14,320 words, a difference of + 4,318. Made my day yesterday.

I'm listing these stats for one reason: for fellow writers who don’t have the luxury of having Writing as their day job. I have a day job. You probably have a day job. Writing books and stories is something I love. I make the time to do it. You can, too.

Check back here next week for another weekly update. Check my blog every day for my daily word count.

Overall weekly word count total: 14,320
Remaining to reach 50K: 35,680

NaNoWriMo! It can be done.

Friday, November 6, 2015

How to support the young writer in your life

Recently a Quora question went around where a mother asked how she should approach telling her fifteen year old daughter she was an "awful" writer. The person who answered, Nina Mason, and everyone who shared the post all seemed to agree - YOU DO NOT. Nina's answer went into ways a parent can support a young writer but I thought it would be beneficial to get a little more specific.

How can you support the young writer in your life?

First and foremost, remember that most teenagers are not objectively good at most things. A fifteen year old soccer player is not as good as a twenty year old soccer player and a fifteen year old writer is going to suffer the same predicament. That doesn't make any particular fifteen year old a bad writer. It makes them a fifteen year old writer. With support, when that teenager is thirty, they'll have a minimum of fifteen years experience. So DON'T read critically unless you're asked for specific feedback, and even then - be gentle. In addition to limited experience writing, the young writer also lacks experience in taking feedback.

This leads to my next point - don't judge the reading materials of a young writer. Don't sneer at their paranormal romances or John Green novels. A good writer is a voracious reader and a voracious reader might hop from The Hardy Boys to Stephen King, make a right turn at Salinger and dive into Twilight. If you're a parent, you might want to discuss the topics in the books and be sure your child is ready for them, but don't be a snob. Shaming a kid for reading the things they enjoy isn't going to help them develop better tastes, it's just going to make them think you're lame (and if you're book snobbing to teenagers, you are lame).

If you are lucky enough to read the work of a young writer understand the bravery involved in handing work over to an adult. Understand that your response will be a story they tell for the rest of their lives. So many writers have stories about teachers, parents, and other adults making them feel like something was wrong with them. If the young writer in your life writes about drugs, sex, or violence, don't panic. Don't demand to know where they got those ideas (the news, probably).  Be the person who makes them feel good about their creativity.
Most of your support will be silent. Don't take them away from their reading. Keep them stocked in pens and spiral notebooks. Make sure they have a library card. Call them "a writer", encourage them to identify that way. Tell them about writing contests you hear about.

When it comes time to give your young writer gifts, give them Strunk & White; Eats, Shoots, and Leaves; On Writing; The Gift. Encourage a love of language with a nice dictionary set, or books about language like Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue or David Crystal's The Story of English in 100 Words.

Be on their side. Writing is a lonely endeavor and we all worry we suck. Be the person they thank in the acknowledgements.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Talking P.I. Series with Kristi Belcamino, Part I of II

By Alex Segura

“How do you write a successful detective series?” Well, first off - I don’t know the answer to that. But it is a question I’ve pondered for a while. I don’t mean successful in the financial sense - though that’s always cool and welcome - but in the critical one. What makes a good one?

Is it about the evolution of the protagonist? I’m not sure, because you see successful examples on both sides of the spectrum - from the never-changing cypher of Lew Archer to the constantly-evolving Moe Prager. Is it about a finite series vs. a long-running one? Again, pick a side, because both have winners - Nick Stefanos lasted three books and Matt Scudder went well past 10.

In an effort to explore the concept, I reached out to friend and fellow crime novelist (and DSD contributor!) Kristi Belcamino. She just published her fourth Gabriella Giovanni mystery, Blessed Are Those Who Mourn - the latest in what I think is a great, engrossing series. Heck, I blurbed one of the books. I feel like Gabriella and Pete have a lot in common, so it’d be interesting to talk a bit of shop when it comes to writing series characters and the craft in general. Thanks to Kristi for chatting.

Kristi, thanks for agreeing to this interview! I feel like we’re both in similar spots in our writing careers - and we both handle series characters. So, it’d make for a fun chat. How did Gabriella come to be? Do you remember it as a specific moment?

Initially, I sat down to write Blessed are the Dead as nonfiction. But I quickly realized the book wouldn’t hold together unless they had convicted the guy who kidnapped and killed the girls. At the time, he was only a suspect. So I decided to write the book as fiction. Of course I have always been a huge fan of Edna Buchanan, Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter for The Miami Herald and had loved both her nonfiction and fiction, so writing about a crime reporter protagonist had been a dream of mine for years. What ended up happening was as Gabriella Giovanni came to life she became my alter ego - the person I might have been in another life.
So, no specific moment, but I loved reading about crime fiction reporters and so it made sense to want to write my own.

I didn’t have a specific moment, either. So I feel relieved. It’s funny you mention Edna Buchanan, because she was an influence of mine. I wanted to really capture the seedy, dark side of Miami and I knew her work, of course, from my time at The Miami Herald. I also wanted to show the realities of working in a newsroom and how unglamourous it can be. But Pete didn’t appear fully formed for me. He came about because I wanted to write about a character that felt real to me, and maybe didn’t have everything lined up yet. A lot of the detective fiction I first started reading had protagonists who were, I guess for lack of a better term, fully formed? They were good at what they did. I was interested in telling an origin story about a flawed hero who may not even want to be a detective. I also thought that a newspaper setting would be helpful in terms of moving the story along and, more selfishly, because I knew that space and it made it easier to let that pour out than to research a whole new profession. I also wanted to follow someone who I could see - Pete is very much the kind of person I hung out with in college or worked with at the paper, so I had a very clear sense of him early on, even if I didn’t know I’d be writing about him for numerous books.

I think that’s what makes Pete so lovable. He isn’t perfect and we can all relate to him and like him and totally want to hang out with him and be friends. I would’ve totally wanted to hang out with him if we worked together at the paper.

For me, I chose to write about a reporter and her career as my love letter to the heyday of newspaper reporting. Those were the days when I’d come into work and they’d tell me I’d have to be on a plane in an hour and where I spent numerous nights at the fancy restaurant buying cops rounds of drinks -- it was a very exciting time to be a journalist. The newsroom was the most exciting world I could imagine. When I became a stay-at-home mom during the frigid Minnesota winters, it was a way for me to live vicariously in San Francisco, living this exciting life again. I wanted to capture that special newsroom energy on paper. Until I had a kid, I never dreamed for a moment I would ever stop being a reporter. Now, a decade later, I’m back  - in fact, as soon as we are done here, I’m off to the night cop shift at the Pioneer Press. And let me tell you, those exciting days are over. I get a small glimpse of them every once in a while, but the newsroom is a graveyard of abandoned desks and, with the internet, there is no such thing as a scoop anymore. The reporters from the competing newspaper and I are pals. Horror!

I can relate to that a lot. I was a reporter for a short time - an internship for the Sun Sentinel that got extended for a handful of months. I did a lot of copyediting and website “producing” while at The Herald, too, so I spent a lot of time in newsrooms. But I imagine that the scene is completely different now. I feel like the romanticized version of being a reporter that’s in my head is gone now. I remember rushing out to cover a relatively boring community event in west Broward only to have the mayor collapse. So, there I was, a 19 or 20 year old intern, having to scramble to cover it. It was intense - but really fulfilling. The mayor ended up being fine and my story made the local front. I miss that rush, because there’s nothing like it. I’m not even sure it exists at newspapers anymore. So, yeah, part of the writing of Silent City was trying to recapture that feeling, but also showing the mundane side of it, too. Pete isn’t a reporter when we meet him in Silent City, but he has been, which I could relate to, having shifted from writing to editing. When I first started writing Silent City, I had just moved to NY for a PR job, so I was dealing with that transition and I think a lot of my longing for newspapers (and Miami homesickness) came out in the writing.

In your series, do you try to show a lot of growth or change from book to book? That’s something I think about a lot, and mostly because I think it’s important to show evolution. Though, some of the most beloved series are pretty static, in terms of what happens to the lead.

I agree. It is important and I did think about it a lot for all four books. I tried to show change and growth within each book but also through the four books. I think it worked. A reviewer wrote that I’m not afraid to take risks to do this. And one thing that needed to happen to show that growth was I did not keep the characters the same age in the same year, etc. There is time that passes between each book. When this fourth book begins, more than five years have passed. At this point, if I continue with the series, I’m obviously going to have to be more careful about that and think about how I want time to pass. And I am planning more books, but not sure how many. Right now I’m in love with a standalone I’m writing and then will go write book five. What about you, Alex? What are your plans? Riding the series out for as long as you feel it, or do you have other projects you are itching to write?

I just finished a first pass at 3 and I’m well into 4, which is kind of nutty because when I first started out on this trip, I figured I’d write three Pete books and move on to something else. But somehow he got stuck in my brain and I kept getting more ideas. I try really hard to show growth and the passage of time from book to book. I don’t know if that helps the books, because it does mean you should read them in order. But I also try to make each book as self-sufficient as possible, so it hopefully evens out. In Down the Darkest Street, the second Pete book, you find his status quo has completely changed from where we left off - some time has passed. But it’s also not totally out of left field, either. He’s evolved, his life has moved on. I also really feel like it’s important to show the wear and tear we put these people through. There’s a character from the first book who I kind of put through the wringer and then bring back for the second book, and it’s clear they’ve been through hell. I try to show that as realistically as possible. I think that also means that at a certain point, the series has to end - I don’t think anyone would handle these kind of things going on forever. I have to tip my hat to Reed Farrel Coleman’s Moe Prager books for being a great example of the evolving protagonist - from book to book, you see time jump months or even years forward, and part of the fun is figuring out where Moe stands and what’s going on with him. That was a big influence on me, as were the Scudder books. I find those kind of books interesting, which is why I try to reflect that in my novels. Book 3, not to spoil anything, is also a big departure because by the end of Book 2, you’re not really sure how things can proceed. Which I think is great, because it opens up a ton of story potential. I like torturing my characters and seeing how they react. But yeah, to get back to the original question - I’m much more interested in having the characters evolve and learn than just showing them taking on the “next case.” It’s more cable TV than Law & Order for me.

That is great. I love that you see it that way and think that is the best way to go. And what a great way to end a series book when you know there is another to write -- just not sure where it is going. The reader has to pick up the next book to find out. Also, I need to read some Moe. Gary at Once Upon a Crime said Coleman’s Moe is his favorite fictional protagonist. What an endorsement! His favorite! Also I love that you torture your characters and put them through hell without an ounce of guilt! Kidding. We need to do that to them!

Totally. It makes it interesting. Do you map out the entire series? I can’t say that I do. I’m working on the fourth and your fourth is already out in the world - but I never would have guessed this is what I was going to be writing about. I see each book as a season of a show, and while I kind of know where each season is going, they organically come together to create the over-arching story. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and thought “Well, by book 10 Pete is going to be a grandpa detective living in Boca Raton!” Though, that sounds vaguely interesting now.


I had loosely mapped out three books from the beginning. When my agent was shopping Blessed are the Dead, she wanted synopsis for three books to shop it as a series. When I realized I was writing four books, I had to stick another book in the middle, if that makes sense?
I feel like the series could be totally wrapped up now but I am very very lucky that most reviews left are asking for the next book so I think that will need to happen.

Right now, I’m about one-third of the way through a standalone and what I’ve found is that IT IS HARD. I can crank out series books quickly and it seems to work because most people have been saying my latest book is my best (does that sound like bragging, I don’t mean it to, I just mean that writing fast doesn’t mean writing a shitty book), but with this new stand alone, it is the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

The first book I wrote, Blessed are the Dead, took about four months to write and an ENTIRE YEAR to revise as a I taught myself how to write. The next three books took about four months each and I attribute that to already being intimate with that world and those characters.
This standalone is a whole new ball game. Someone told me recently that in a way I can look at all four books in my series as BOOK ONE and that this stand alone is actually my sophomore book. Which is scary, but it really feels like that.

That’s a really interesting way to look at it. I don’t think it’s bragging at all to say your latest is your best - that’s the hope, right? If everything is clicking, I can write pretty fast, but I do a lot of heavy lifting in revision. I don’t think I’m unique in that regard, but it means a longer runway for each book. I had two books in mind when I started writing Silent City - the debut and another, darker book that explored some of the themes that aren’t fully resolved in book 1. I figured I’d add another book to wrap it all up. When my agent started shopping the books, like your situation, she asked for a synopsis for a potential book 3, and that was the first time I got to thinking about it beyond a title - Dangerous Ends. It all sounds very ominous, right? But once I finished book 3 I felt like there was more to say, and I wanted to explore the new status quo I’d created, so I think the trick is to keep it interesting for yourself and hopefully that translates to the readership. I can’t imagine writing a standalone just yet, but we’ll see where I’m at after a few more Pete books. I’m having too much fun with him and keeping him on his toes.

AKA torturing him!

Haha, yes! 

Come back on Sunday for Part II of the discussion!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Simple Outline

by Holly West

If you've been paying attention (and if not, why not?) then you know I recently finished a new manuscript. Said manuscript is now with an editor, so I have a couple of weeks of down time until I have to dig back into it.

<twiddles thumbs>

Me being me, I'm having trouble deciding how to use this down time. And since more than a week has gone by since I turned the book in, there's less and less of it to use. I thought about tackling NaNoWriMo but for various reasons, it's not a good idea for me this year. I'd only be setting myself up to fail, so why bother?

I'm fully aware that this sort of all-or-nothing attitude often gets me in trouble. I'm not the sort of person who does well writing in my spare time--I need oceans of seemingly free time in front of me, endless weeks where I have nothing of substance on my schedule. Vacation coming up? Obviously, I can't start a project two weeks prior. Mother-in-law visiting from England? Might as well call the entire month of November a wash.

This is all very silly, of course, and I'm not giving in to what is essentially large-scale work avoidance. And just to prove it, I'm here to post a simple, starting outline template that I'll be using to plot my next novel as soon as I finish writing this post.

Before I begin, note that this particular outline works well for who-dun-its. Other types of stories will fit, but the labels will differ slightly. Also, if you're writing literary fiction--wait. Why are you writing literary fiction?

My most important sources for plotting my novels are Screenwriting Tips for Writers by Alexandra Sokoloff and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder--I know, me and every other genre writer who uses the screenwriting structure to plot their books. But some of this also comes from my own experience with actually writing my own novels. Still, if you want detailed information about any of my outline points, visit either of these sites and Alex's in particular. Great stuff.

Finally, I know I've talked about this before, as have many other bloggers, including those on Do Some Damage. I find it valuable to occasionally re-visit these topics as I find inspiration and motivation in studying structure.


Here ya go, and don't say I never gave you anything:

Before you begin, think about your theme, central question and premise. The premise, especially, doesn't need to be written in stone at this point, but it'll help you define where you'd like to go with the book and will help you outline Act II.

Need some help formulating your premise? Here are some examples from movies (all of which I got from IMDB):

Saturday Night Fever
A Brooklyn teenager feels his only chance to succeed is as the king of the disco floor.

Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

Play Misty for Me
A brief fling between a male disc jockey and an obsessed female fan takes a frightening, and perhaps even deadly, turn when another woman enters the picture.

A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.

Theme/Central Question

Figure out your theme early on because because you'll be "stating" it Act I, near the beginning of your book. My favorite example of stating one's theme in a movie is "Chinatown," when Jake Gittes tells his client, Ida Sessions, to "let sleeping dogs lie." Of course Jake doesn't follow his own advice--if he did, we wouldn't have a movie.

My theme in NOSE DIVE is "fearing change is pointless because it's inevitable." The theme crops up throughout the manuscript in both subtle and overt ways. I didn't plan many of those references in advance, but that's the weird thing about theme--once it's defined, it finds many ways to weave itself into the writing.

Your central question--the one that will hopefully be answered by the end of you book--doesn't have to be overly complicated. My central question in NOSE DIVE is "What do you really want out of life?" It takes a murder and nearly getting killed herself for my heroine to figure it out, but darn it, she gets there.

Inner/Outer Need
One more thing--determining your protagonist's inner and outer needs from the outset and keeping them in mind will help as you plot and write.

Outline Template

ACT I (about 20k words)
Opening image - Sets the mood: voice, location, genre, etc.

Introduction of your "hero(ine)" in their ordinary world

Begin set up - Note: if this is a murder mystery, you need to introduce all of your suspects in Act I.

Central question/Theme stated - This is normally brief, but as I said above, the theme will be woven in throughout the story.

Continue set up

Inciting Incident/Call to Adventure - This isn't as big as the "catalyst," but it gives you a chance to show what your hero is made of.

Continue set up

Catalyst - Stakes are raised and your hero must make a decision to continue on the ordinary path or step into the "new world."

Debate/Gathering of Team/Formulating a Plan - Will she or won't she? Who are her allies? How will she respond to the catalyst? A note about reluctant heroes: While I'm in favor of them in general, it's important that your protagonist moves the plot along rather than the plot moving her. Aside from her initial reluctance to step into the "new world"that might occur in Act I, once she's in, consider her all-in.

Act I Climax - All that debating/team gathering/plan formulating above? Whatever happens at the climax should solidify your hero's decision to act.

ACT II-A (about 20k words)

Break into Act II - Enacting the plan

Fun & Games - Remember that premise we talked about? Act II begins what's called "the promise of the premise." If you get stuck in your plotting, refer back to your premise and think about ways you can fulfill what you've promised.

Introduce B-story

Attack on hero - Stakes are raised - plot reversal

Parade of Suspects - This is where you'll revisit all of your potential suspects while you move the plot forward.

Midpoint - Usually a major plot reversal or development that offers your hero a new direction going into Act II-B.

ACT II-B (about 20k words)

Continue plan/investigation - keep in mind that the steps taken now will likely be more obsessive and maybe even fool hardy. Your antagonist will also be taking bigger steps (whether on or off-screen) to thwart your hero. As these two opposing forces battle, your hero might be compelled to "cross the line" in his/her pursuit of truth. Often, there is a point at which your hero falsely believes they know who the antagonist is, leading to a misstep.

Continue B-story

Bad Guys Close In - This could be a direct attack on your hero or an attack on someone/thing he/she holds dear. Whatever it is raises the stakes to their highest point thus far and gets us wondering whether your hero's goals are achievable.

All is Lost Moment

Dark Night of the Soul - Think of this as your hero's opportunity to lick his or her wounds, both literally and figuratively. It's the soul searching required for your hero to start gathering up the energy needed to fight (and hopefully, win) the final battle. Through everything that's happened up to this point, he/she finally understands what's at stake and what he/she is really up against and yet still moves forward.

Break into Act III - A final revelation before the end of the game, revelation of true opponent that propels the story into the "final battle." May also start a ticking clock. In a way, this is a "new beginning" as it gives your hero a sudden burst of energy to fight the final battle.

ACT III (15k to 20k words)
Break into Act III - Your team is assembled and ready for battle

Final Battle - Make it count. There doesn't need to be explosions or even gunfire, but make sure however you choose to do it sticks in the readers mind with a steady escalation of tension.


Final Image


Wowza. This post ended up way longer  than I expected. And I realize now that I wrote it more for myself than for you. Of course, there are loads of things I missed--plants/payoffs, sequences, set-piece scenes... there are lots of things to keep in mind. But if you just need a little push to get writing, this outline might provide it. I know it works for me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Four Books That Went Into FOUR DAYS

Scott's note: Iain Ryan guest blogs today.  Iain's first novel has just come out - Four Days from Broken River Books.  It's a blistering police story set in the Australian cities of Cairns and Brisbane in the mid 1980's, and I couldn't recommend it enough. Violent, bleak, and as unsentimental as crime tales come, it's a book that vividly captures a group of very troubled people living in a difficult time in a hot, damp, nasty place.  It's a propulsive book, tautly written, the kind of novel you can race through in a single sitting. I could talk a lot about it here, and want to, but wait, the reason I asked Iain to visit was so that he can talk about it.  So, here he is...

My debut novel has a very meagre origin story. After years of messing around with writing — of trying epic novels, experimental flash fiction, literary shorts — I finally wrote what I thought someone else might read and enjoy. The manuscript I put together as an ‘entertainment’ (to borrow from Graham Greene) turned out to be a draft of Four Days and, to be honest, I was a little disturbed by it. I tried to do something accessible and trashy and melodramatic but turned out a densely plotted book about inherited corruption, sexual dysfunction and ultraviolence. Nevertheless, as I edited the manuscript I started to place it in a small, personal canon of books I loved. These were authors I knew full well I’d borrowed from. Sitting alongside these greasy crime novels below, I felt a little better about myself.

1. Blood On The Moon by James Elroy

James Ellroy is a huge influence on my work. Huge. I make no apologises at all for both studying his books and emulating his style. Everyone has their cornerstone (Ellroy had Chandler) and throughout Four Days, Ellroy was a devil on my shoulder, barking softly, telling me to go further. When it came time to outline my book, I went back to where I met Ellroy: the Lloyd Hopkins trilogy, which I read from the public library as a teen. Something about those early books called out to me and as I re-read Blood On The Moon I remembered this piece of trivia: Ellroy tried to write Blood On The Moon as a commercial potboiler for Avon. And yet he couldn’t do it. The Lloyd Hopkins books are some of his most straightforward stories but Hopkins gets impossibly bleak, dysfunctional and violent, and eventually the whole series slides into the abyss. That felt familiar. I couldn’t go straight either. 

2. I Was Dora Suarez by Derek Raymond

They say you have to reach rock bottom to know where it is. Has anyone put down I Was Dora Suarez and felt otherwise? There’s something riveting and openly revolting about this book. The legend has it that it made publisher Dan Franklin vomit over the manuscript during editing. I don’t have to guess which scene. (Neither do you, if you’ve read it.) And yet the book is no sick joke. It’s not trying desperately to offend. It just is — in its essence — a book that travels deep and far into the worst excesses of crime.  What did it do for me? Again, there’s something reassuring about knowing that no matter how far down the rabbit hole you go, Derek Raymond is a few rungs further down having a smoke, muttering, “Anyone who conceives of writing as an agreeable stroll towards a middle-class life-style will never write anything but crap.” 

3. 1977 and 1980 by David Peace

I don't think UK writer David Peace really 'lands the plane' with his Red Riding series until the third one 1983.  But I read the first two novels in the months leading up to Four Days and their stylistic influence is pronounced.  I think a lot of people mistake this for Ellroy's late-career minimalism - and that is an influence, for sure, especially White Jazz - but at the sentence-level it's Peace that I can't shed.  He got into my book and I couldn't really edit him out after a point.  And then I didn't want to because I don't think any other crime writer is quite as good as Peace at marrying the horror of crime to the horror of everyday mundanity and there's something in his style that helps achieve this.  His main characters compartmentalise nothing.  Every scene is a crime scene to them.  His books are lists.  There's nothing super dramatic or direly composed about it.  I feel weird when I read them.  So I'll take as much of that vibe as I can steal.  

4. Fierce Bitches by Jedidiah Ayres

I'm pretty excited about small press and self-publishing, especially this current moment where the physical books coming out of print-on-demand machines are almost indistinguishable from trade books.  I'm no digital utopian but there's a certain messiness creeping in and I like it.  The pulps were messy and is there a more revered epoch in crime fiction?  Three years ago I didn't know any of this existed.  And I have no idea how I stumbled on Crime Factory's "Single Shot' title Fierce Bitches by Jedidiah Ayres or why I bought it but once I started, I couldn't put it down.  It read like a contemporary coda to my favourite Jim Thompson novel, The Getaway.  A short novella comprising three shorts - all with a different mode of narration - and titled with that title, I soon got the distinct impression that Fierce Bitches was too idiosyncratic and weird for commercial publication.  Yet here it was, in my hands. That gave me ideas.  One of them was to write to Jed and ask him for advice about my own unpublished manuscript.  He was kind enough to write me back (would anyone else on this list?) and he in turn recommended his editor (J David Osborne), who much later became my editor and then my publisher.  Not a bad outcome for $3.

Iain Ryan grew up in the outer suburbs of Brisbane, Australia.  He predominantly writes in the hardboiled/noir genre and his work has been previously published by Akashic Books (New York) and Crime Factory (Melbourne).  Four Days is now available from Broken River Books.  You can see what Iain is up to at his website.

And you can order his book here: FOUR DAYS.