Thoughts on titles

IASIPTC

Another title I enjoy. By CovertAffairs22 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been lucky with my titles. Only two have been duplicates, that I know of. Played to Death was a title of a mystery written in 2014; it always comes up above my Played to Death in Amazon’s results. Talked to Death was the title of a book about the murder of a radio talk show host, Alan Berg, in Colorado.

I’ve never had too much trouble thinking of titles, once I got past the first one. I went round and round with my friends, trying to decide which of several options would work best for the first title. We finally decided that the “To Death” title would work well for a series. And I think it has.

I’m changing a title now – what was going to be Pictured to Death is going to have another name. I mentioned before that there’s not much mystery and it’s very short, so I’m going to publish it here on the blog. Freebie!! :D But keeping the title “Pictured to Death” didn’t seem right, since it wasn’t going to be a published book. I didn’t want people to be confused.

So I’ve changed the name – to Photographs and Memories. Those of you who are around my own age may recognize that as the title of an old Jim Croce album and song. How can I use that, you might ask? Fortunately, titles cannot be copyrighted. That’s why you can have two or more books with the same title, two or more movies, etc. I wouldn’t be able to use the lyrics to a song, but I can use the title.

So, in June, you’ll be getting serialized installments of Photographs and Memories, formerly known as Pictured to Death.

In case you weren’t clear, it’s about photographs. :D

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Another one bites the dust

No-baggageI’ve been forced to abandon another book.

Well, I wasn’t forced. I did it voluntarily. But I had to do it. Toured to Death is not going to happen.

I wrote the outline for the book as part of NaNoWriMo, and thought it would work. However, when I began actually writing the thing, I realized that I hated it, and you all would too. It was depressing, it was nearly impossible to include any humor, the “tour” would drag us all through Scotland again, and the premise was flawed.

The idea was that Pete’s aunt would give the guys a ten-day tour that she’d won in a raffle. The tour would occur during Jamie’s sabbatical, so he was flatly opposed to it. In order for the book to happen, Pete would have to go against Jamie’s emphatic refusal and say yes to his aunt.

I decided he wouldn’t have done that. So – no tour, no book.

Believe me, we’re all better off. :)

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The print publishing process

Hoe's_one_cylinder_printing_press

“Hoe’s one cylinder printing press” by A.H. Jocelyn – History of the Processes of Manufacture 1864. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hoe%27s_one_cylinder_printing_press.png#/media/File:Hoe%27s_one_cylinder_printing_press.png

So here’s more detail about my foray into print.

Back in December I got into a discussion on the Facebook Gay Mystery page with a reader who said he hated e-books, loved bibliomysteries, and would read the Jamie books in print if they were available. I told him I’d explore the possibilities.

I’d always avoided print for two reasons: first, a friend who had been through the process told me it was horrible, and made formatting for Smashwords seem like child’s play. Second, I knew I’d have to charge more for print books, and I didn’t want to.

But, with at least one guaranteed sale, I figured it was worth it to investigate.

What I found was fascinating.

Createspace is the website where everyone I know has gone to self-publish in print. Like Kindle and Smashwords, it’s free – as long as you stick to the basics. The Word files for the books were easy to upload. The covers were trickier. I didn’t have the expertise to format the existing e-covers for the print books, and getting help with it would be $99 per book.

There goes any profit.

As a result, the covers are different. There are elements of the e-covers in the print covers, in that in some cases I was able to use the same photo, and in others a similar photo.

But even though the covers are different, the books are the same.

Another interesting finding: Createspace is an Amazon company. The books can be bought both through the Createspace site and the Amazon site. When the purchase is made through Createspace, I make $2.00 more than I do with an Amazon purchase.

Same company. But Amazon is poaching $2.00/book from the author, even though it’s the same company.

Sheesh.

One more thing: Createspace sets the minimum charge for the book, based on the length. As a result, I can’t charge the same price for all the print books like I can with the e-books. The first three are $7.99, but the fourth, Researched to Death, is longer. It’s $9.99.

Anyway! The first four books in the JBM series are now available in print, if you’re interested, at Createspace now and at Amazon in a few days. I will probably continue and get the rest of the existing books out in print by mid-year.

 

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Looking back, looking forward

Janus-Vatican

“Janus-Vatican” by Fubar Obfusco – Foto taken himself, upload to English wikipedia by Fubar Obfusco. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Janus-Vatican.JPG#/media/File:Janus-Vatican.JPG

Happy New Year to all of you! I hope this year brings you health and peace.

I am so grateful for all of you, my loyal readers! Thank you for all of your kind words over the past year.

Speaking of which – this was quite a year! I spent two weeks in Scotland, prepared and submitted my documentation for promotion from associate professor to professor (the actual promotion will be granted next spring, if all goes well), and I presented at two national conferences and began writing a paper for publication. And that’s just in real life!

 

In terms of Jamie Brodie…

  • I published Stoned to Death, Talked to Death, Avenged to Death and Played to Death for Kindle.
  • I published Psyched to Death, Stacked to Death and Stoned to Death at Smashwords, so they’re now available for all other types of e-readers and in PDF.
  • We had Christmas in July, with a serialized short story here on the blog over the first ten days of the month (Best Men).
  • I won another Nano, pounding out the first draft of Landscaped to Death (JBM #15) and the outline for Toured to Death (JBM #17).

What’s ahead for 2016? If all goes as planned, another trip to Scotland. (I do love that country.) Here’s what you can look forward to from Jamie:

  • I’m venturing into print! Cited to Death, Hoarded to Death, Burdened to Death and Researched to Death, JBM #1-4, are available in paperback format from CreateSpace as of about 15 hours ago (www.createspace.com). I’ve done some light editing as well, correcting a couple of continuity problems and taking out some unnecessary words. The Kindle and Smashwords versions have also been updated, so if you own the books in electronic format, the edits should have been pushed through to you. (If you weren’t notified of that, let me know.)
  • On Valentine’s Day, we’ll have a romantic short story called Just Right, to be published here on the blog. You’ll get to know a couple of Jamie’s family members better.
  • We’ll celebrate Christmas in March this year, with a short story on the blog called Staff Sgt. Ammo. Pete and Jamie make a big decision. :)
  • The first new book of the year will be published in MayFilmed to Death, JBM #12. Jamie takes on Hollywood.
  • This summer I’ll publish Talked to Death, JBM #9, to Smashwords.
  • Also in summer – June, to be precise – the second book of the year, Pictured to Death, JBM #13, will be published in serial format here on the blog, free. Jamie, Pete, and the rest of the family go to Washington, DC, for cousin Tyler’s wedding. It’s not long enough for a full novel, and there’s very little mystery, but there is a lot of family stuff that needed to be told. I didn’t want to disappoint readers who are mainly interested in the mysteries by charging for a short book that isn’t very mysterious. :D
  • The third book of the year will come out in the fall – probably late October. Landscaped to Death, JBM #14, gets Pete and Jamie involved in two murders.
  • By the time November rolls around I’ll probably be ready to tackle Nano again.
  • If the print versions of the first four books are well-received (and my standards for “well-received” are pretty low), I’ll continue publishing the older books in print throughout the year.

The tentative schedule for the remaining books (at least the ones planned) looks like this:

  • Filmed to Death, JBM #12: takes place in March and April 2016, will be published in May 2016
  • Pictured to Death, JBM #13: takes place in June 2016, will be published June 2016
  • Landscaped to Death, JBM #14: takes place in September-October 2016, will be published in October 2016
  • Promoted to Death, JBM #15: takes place in spring 2017, will be published in late spring or early summer 2017
  • Toured to Death, JBM #16: takes place in summer 2017, will be published in fall 2017
  • Published to Death, JBM #17: takes place in spring 2018, will be published in late spring or early summer 2018
  • Defined to Death, JBM #18: takes place in fall 2018, will be published in late fall 2018
  • Drugged to Death, JBM #19: takes place in spring 2019, will be published in summer 2019
  • Resigned to Death, JBM #20: takes place in January-May 2020, will be published in summer 2020

I’m sure there will be other short stories scattered through there as well.

All this assumes that there are no major changes in my real life!

What comes after Resigned to Death? I have some ideas about that. Stay tuned. :D

 

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It’s Release Day for Played to Death!

Woo hoo! Played to Death is now available for download. If you preordered it, you should have it by now. I hope you enjoy it!

Played cover 1“Having someone get murdered at your wedding has to be the worst.”

Scott Deering, cellist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, doesn’t usually play weddings. But a friend’s family emergency finds him reluctantly anchoring a college string quartet at the wedding of a couple with more money than taste. When his second violinist goes missing after the ceremony, Scott is determined that the show must go on – until the violinist turns up dead and Scott’s day goes to hell.

Jamie Brodie and Pete Ferguson are attending the lavishly over-the-top wedding of an acquaintance of Pete’s when Jamie spots a ghost from his past in the string quartet – Scott Deering, the last guy he dated before Pete. The murder at the wedding is shocking, but it’s not Jamie’s business – until a theft from the music library at UCLA sucks him into the investigation. All Jamie wants to do is finalize the plans for his own wedding to Pete, but first he has to join forces with Scott to track down a killer – and deal with another ghost that throws everyone’s lives into turmoil.

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Played to Death available for pre-order!

Here it is! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018RJHFXA

I hope you enjoy it!!Played cover 1

“Having someone get murdered at your wedding has to be the worst.”
Scott Deering, cellist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, doesn’t usually play weddings. But a friend’s family emergency finds him reluctantly anchoring a college string quartet at the wedding of a couple with more money than taste. When his second violinist goes missing after the ceremony, Scott is determined that the show must go on – until the violinist turns up dead and Scott’s day goes to hell.
Jamie Brodie and Pete Ferguson are attending the lavishly over-the-top wedding of an acquaintance of Pete’s when Jamie spots a ghost from his past in the string quartet – Scott Deering, the last guy he dated before Pete. The murder at the wedding is shocking, but it’s not Jamie’s business – until a theft from the music library at UCLA sucks him into the investigation. All Jamie wants to do is finalize the plans for his own wedding to Pete, but first he has to join forces with Scott to track down a killer – and deal with another ghost that throws everyone’s lives into turmoil.

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What I’m reading: The Medicus series by Ruth Downie

First, though, Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA readers! I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday. I spent the past week in rural North Carolina with my family and limited internet access. It was wonderful.

A couple of years ago, a book caught my eye at the public library: Terra Incognita by Ruth Downie. I read it, and realized it was the fifth of a series. I began reading the first one then lost track of it on my Kindle (you probably know how that happens!) and didn’t finish.

Over the holiday I had lots of time to read, and I finished the first book in the series, Medicus. Gaius Ruso is a medicus – a physician – in the days of Emperor Hadrian of the Roman Empire. He’s a Roman citizen, from southern Gaul, who joined the army to put distance between himself and his family while also trying to earn money to save the family farm. His unit is stationed in northern Britain, first in the town of Deva (present-day Chester), then up on the wall that Hadrian is building. His patients are mostly soldiers suffering from accidents or fight-related injuries.

This is great historical fiction. Every book has a mystery – in the first, someone is killing off barmaids; in the sixth, a young boy sees a body buried in the interior section of Hadrian’s Wall. Ruso rescues a female slave, Tilla, from an abusive owner, and she complicates his life in all sorts of ways. The mysteries are tightly plotted, the characters are fully formed, there’s humor – and since I’ve tramped across most of Hadrian’s Wall, I can clearly identify the locations in the books.

If you like historical mysteries, particularly ancient history, give the Medicus series a try.

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