The First Two Pages…

Last night I killed a man, just to watch him die. Granted, the victim was fictitious, and he had to die to get the newest Shinobi Mystery off the ground. (That’s #5, if you’re counting – the fourth one is finished and set to release next summer from Seventh Street Books.) Even so, that’s how I spent my evening. The opening pages of any new book are among the most difficult ones to write (for me, only the last two pages are harder), and that difficulty expands exponentially when the book is set in a foreign time and place, and also in

Read more

Building a (Legal) Author Email List

For the last few weeks, my Wednesday publishing legal posts have been looking at legal guidelines for author email marketing. Today, the focus shifts a little, from “you must” to “you should”: some helpful tips for building a (legal) email marketing list.   Build your email list personally and deliberately. Make sure everyone who receives your emails has “opted in” or given permission for you to include them in a mailing. Ways to obtain that permission include: — Put a visible “subscribe to the newsletter/mailing list” option on your website, preferably on the front page and/or blog. Many web templates have the option to include this,

Read more

The Ninja Detective Name Game

It’s November, and though I didn’t plan it this way exactly, I’ll be writing the first draft of the next Shinobi Mystery (#5, for those of you counting–#4 is already in the can and with the editor) before November ends. (Assuming I stay on track, it will be finished by November 21, if not before. But I digress.) I’ve already got a rough outline–meaning I know the killer-or-killers, victim-or-victims, suspects, and baseline plot. I know the body count is high, and the stakes for Hiro and Father Mateo are higher than they’ve ever been. And, after last night, I also know the names

Read more