Saturday, November 2, 2019

Year of an Indie Writer: Week 44

Scott D. Parker

Two things dominated this week: the new Kevin Smith film and the start of NaNoWriMo.

Oh, and a baseball series...Congrats, Steve.

Kevin Smith Live and In Person

If you read my personal blog, you'll know that in advance of the new Kevin Smith film, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, I watched the previous twelve Smith films. I reviewed each one and this week--on the evening of Game 7 no less--the new movie premiered in Houston. Now, I bought my ticket in July never dreaming it would conflict with anything as monumental as a Game 7. I fully expected to check the score once or twice during the film, but I didn't.

I waited until the credits.

It's a nice film, but not my favorite of Smith's films. I ranked all of Smith's films on Wednesday and ended up with...Jersey Girl. Read my reasons here.

Anyway, Smith and his buddy, Jason Mewes, introduced the movie and conducted a Q&A session afterward. It's a great way to see a movie, and it was the first time I've seen a Smith film with an audience full of Smith fans.

NaNoWriMo: A Tale of Two Writing Sessions

You've done it. I've done it. And I decided to do it again this year.

I haven't written a novel in a little bit. Other things have consumed my time--including me writing a new story for Paul Bishop's new anthology, BANDIT TERRITORY--and it was high time to start. I almost always start a new tale on the first day of the month. This month just turned out to be NaNoWriMo month. Why not?

Well, come 5:15 a.m. yesterday, I was starting to fret. I had the open scene in mind. I knew the main character. Heck, I even had a working title, a rare thing from.

When I opened my Chromebook yesterday morning and started chapter one, it was slow going. Frustratingly so. There have been opening days on novels in which I wrote over three thousand words. Yesterday morning's session, I managed 755.

Come lunch time, it was time for session two of the day. Taking a cue from Dean Wesley Smith, I re-read all that I had written that morning, tweaking and editing and adding bits of color along the way. Then, when I reached were I had stopped, I had a head of steam and kept going.

And kept going. The words flowed.

All the way up to the moment when the last line of chapter one clicked into place a few minutes before I wrote it. The grin that spread across my face was pretty big. I walked back to my day job desk floating, remembering exactly why writing is such an awesome thing. 2,063 words done.

I know every day won't be this way. I know every book won't be this way. But as a creative, those are the times to cherish.

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?

Friday, November 1, 2019

Welcoming Beau Johnson to the site

Today we're thrilled to welcome Beau Johnson to the team. He'll be here on Fridays. Get used to it.

Beau Johnson takes you to dark places and shines a light on the ugly things that happen there. His perfectly created, bigger-than-life Bishop Rider is a modern-day anti-hero and Johnson writes the surrounding stories with savage suspense. The Big Machine Eats is the perfect follow-up to his debut A Better Kind of Hate.” —Marietta Miles, author of Route 12 and May

And here he is, folks. Enjoy.

Find out more about Beau Johnson at his website:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

parting is such sweet sorrow...

It's been a good time here at Do Some Damage. But I think I've run out of things to say. Hard to believe, I know!
Thank you to Holly and Steve for inviting me, and thanks to all my fellow DSDers, and readers.

We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away....


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Next Stop, Dallas

Like many, I'm looking forward to the four-day escape that is Bouchercon and one of the things I expect to do is take a few walks around the city of Dallas while I'm there.  Aside from the gathering itself, one thing I like about each Bouchercon is that it provides a chance to visit cities I might not visit otherwise, to be honest. And nothing against Cleveland or Raleigh or Long Beach or Dallas.  But there are indeed so many places to visit in the world (and limited money to do it with), and one has to prioritize. Everyone I've known who has visited Dallas mentions Dealey Plaza, of course, and I may stop by there, though to be honest, I prefer just wandering around a city, strolling through its downtown and various neighborhoods, just to get a feel for the place, or a tiny feel. I always try to get out of the convention hotel for awhile and do just that, and with the weather warm in Dallas, this should not be a difficult thing to do.  And restaurants? It's always good to check out a couple of good local places for lunch and dinner.

I'll be moderating a panel this year, called "The Mystery of History", which is about historical mysteries.  The panelists will be Frankie Y. Bailey, Kari Bovee, L.A. Chandlar, Liz Freeland, and S.C. Perkins.  Since I received the panel assignment, I've been getting acquainted with the works of each of these writers, seeing how each of them incorporates history into their fiction.  Frankie Y. Bailey writes about a southern crime historian named Lizzie Stuart. Kari Bovee has published two historical mysteries centered around Annie Oakley.  L.A. Chandlar has the Art Deco Mystery series going, set in 1930's New York City.  Liz Freeland writes about Louise Falk, a former amateur investigator who becomes a New York City police officer when there were few of them on the force, around 1913, and S.C. Perkins has as her main character a genealogist named Lucy Lancaster. Perkins is writing the Ancestry Detective series, set inTexas.

Five authors, all of whom approach history, different periods and locales in history, from different angles.  I'm eager to discuss with all of them the writing of fiction to explore the past and whether they use that exploration as a means to reflect on the present.

Anyway, time to go. I have to start packing.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

You should be reading Nikki Dolson.

Happy Monday, friends. Today, I would like you to learn more about Nikki Dolson. 

I'm a big fan of Ms. Dolson's short stories. Unrelenting and unapologetic, they are brutal and, at times, darkly funny. Her fast as a bullet shorts can be found in the archives of Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Red Rock Review, Spinetingler, and many more.

Here’s the good news, she has a short story collection, LOVE AND OTHER CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, arriving from Bronzeville Books next month. In this collection, Dolson delivers thirteen stories exploring love and the many ways it can manifest. These are tales of love and family, hard choices, betrayal, and heartbreak. 
Sex, violence, and blood. What more could you ask for?

Her debut novel came out in 2017. In ALL THINGS VIOLENT we follow Laura Park, but this is not our only meeting with this relatable and complex young woman. 

Nikki Dolson gave us a tiny glimpse in BETTY FEDORA TWO: KICK ASS WOMEN IN CRIME. Please note, Ms. Dolson shines as a short story and flash fiction wielder. It is in her compact tales where we first meet Laura.

Laura Park is a hit woman. Almost. She has weeks, if not months, of brutal training under the equally complex, but still terrifying assassin, Frank to complete. Together, they work for Simon, the callous and single-minded owner of a highly-specialized investigative organization. This trio forms a fragile and difficult team. 

Throughout ALL THINGS VIOLENT, Laura faces hurdles like so many young women do in the everyday world. Condescending and disrespectful co-workers. Manipulative and greedy bosses. Ugly, complicated family matters. Making rent. Hiding the body. Laura has stepped too many paces off the beaten path. Her road is much darker than other young women and the consequences are far graver. 

Sounds like noir to me. Excellent noir.

Dolson serves backstory throughout the book, never forcing. Parceling. The way in which we get closer to Laura feels natural. A new friend learning how to confide. Her past and how she got to this place in life is just as important and enthralling as her wild, violent present.

Laura is a powerful young woman, full of shiny spots and flaws. You want to root for her and shake her. Make her a cup of cocoa and kick her ass. She does not sit comfortably in any pigeon-hole. She’s perfect.

This book was a great read and a great ride. Quick and brutal. Ms. Dolson snaps her dialogue with perfect realism. I am looking forward to many more stories revolving around Laura.

“Dolson's book has been on my TBR list for a while now, and Marietta's description below bumped it up to the top.” – E.A. Aymar. THE UNREPENTANT, I’LL SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE DEAD.

Visit her website, for more excellent stories and up to date information.

Moderating Influences

Moderating a panel at this past spring’s Left Coast Crime in Vancouver, BC. That’s me at the end staying out of the way, then Steven Buehler, Renee Asher Pickup, Amy Peele, and Sam Wiebe.

I’m getting ready to leave for Bouchercon in a few days. It’s the biggest crime fiction convention in the world, and this year’s fiftieth anniversary in Dallas is expected to be larger than ever. I’m one of the panelists on Southern Charm: Books Set in the South on Friday, but the real prep work is for my Saturday assignment. I’ll be moderating The Postman Always Rings Twice: Desire as Motive. We’ll be talking about love, romance, and sex as motives in crime fiction, and how using those in novels has changed over the years. It’ll be juicy!

I love moderating. It’s basically interviewing, and I love interviewing. The whole reason I went into journalism (aside from getting to write all the time) was to be able to ask people questions. Moderating a convention panel is obviously not the same as grilling a politician (which is its own spectacular kind of fun). With a panel, you’re asking questions in order to start a conversation among other people—not with you. You need to make sure all the participants get equal time. You need to keep the discussion rolling, and you need to stay out of the way.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some great moderators when I’ve been one of the panel guests. One of the best is DSD favorite Josh Stallings. His prep work and thoroughness is legendary and being on a panel that he’s running is a ton of fun and completely unstressful, because you know you’re in good hands.

I’m aiming to provide the same experience Saturday. Some of my discussion starters include:
- How do you personally write desire as a motive? Do you decide on that beforehand, or does it develop as you go along in your writing process?
- How does desire compare with other criminal motives, like greed or power?
- What novels have influenced you in this respect?

If you’re attending Bouchercon, come find me and say hello. I’ll be around all week and I'm hoping to meet as many new people as I can, including fellow DSDers Scott Adlerberg and SA Cosby.