People who write for a living always look forward to finishing things and getting paid.
If some of those finished things are works of fiction, some writers also anxiously wait to see what readers think.
The insecure (that may be all of us) wonder: Will this be a dismal failure or will there be some good reviews and lots of stars? Will there be royalties?
Only the dreamers and the famous think about screenplays and movie deals.
After releasing my second Detective Red Shaw novel last month, I have to say I’m feeling pretty good. Just today, readers had terrific feedback on both BLOOD SOLUTIONS (Red Shaw #1) and NORTH OF GRAND (Red Shaw #2).
#1 was called a “gripping, compelling thriller” soon after publication and won five more stars this morning.
#2 so far is a “riveting thriller,” “a real page-turner” and, maybe my favorite, “engrossing bicycle noir.”
If you haven’t read them, consider those reviews and others and start turning pages.
Woke up to this on Monday morning…
A man turns up dead in a bicycle storage locker on a muggy August morning and Detective Red Shaw takes the heat.
Shaw has just outsmarted a murderous sociopath who almost killed him. Now he has another homicide to investigate—while he’s hobbled by a sore knee, distracted by a steamy new romance, and dodging accusations of coercing a confession in an old case.
Shaw and his partner probe the sometimes toxic, competitive world of amateur bicycle racing, where they find a web of cryptic social media messaging, stolen property, drug trafficking, and murder.
Get it now on Amazon!
If you somehow missed the first Red Shaw novel, called a “compelling, gut-wrenching thriller” by one reviewer, you can get that on Amazon, too: BLOOD SOLUTIONS.
The tall, slender man rolled fast toward me
on his bicycle, talking to the purple-haired
woman riding next to him, looking at his phone,
unaware of his likely imminent demise.
I had the body mass index advantage, I said
later. I had a helmet. I was going downhill
as he was going up. He was shirtless and the
road rash would be ugly if he even survived.
My bicycle was new, nearly scratch-free. I had
things to do, a looming deadline, bills to pay.
I shouted, too politely, and spared his life,
as I had with the oblivious guy the other day.
The next time he may not hear me and we’ll collide
but I swear in advance that I tried to avoid him
even though I was tempted to teach him a lesson.
I really don’t have time to waste in prison.
The chaotic world of social media is awash in nonsense, much of it perpetrated by those who claim to be or imagine themselves to be writers.
They consume precious bandwidth by tossing around famous quotations of questionable provenance, Instagramming their groan-inducing sentiments about “the writing life” and, with their often careless use of language, perpetuating damaging stereotypes about writers and others.
Take the example that set me off today, a post that said:
ALL WRITERS ARE LUNATICS
The poster asked: Haven’t you noticed that all writers are just a little bit… off? (In the best way possible)
A couple of dozen followers agreed, celebrating their alleged lunacy and the apparent cool and oh-so-specialness of their writerly selves. I responded with a simple “Nope.”
- Both the image used in the post and the related question make light of the serious issue of mental illness.
- The notion that “all writers” are a “little bit off” is a myth.
The term lunatic itself is outdated, pejorative slang, though it does seem to be useful in Twitter snark and other online commentary. It was even removed from the U.S. Code in 2012. Its use may seem harmless and even lighthearted in some contexts, but no serious writer who seeks to destroy the stigma that surrounds mental illness will use it lightly.
Regarding 2, while it is true that some famous writers suffered from mental illness that shaped their creativity (and sometimes led to their deaths), writers in general are no more “off” than the general public.
For the record, I have been treated for depression for nearly 20 years. I’ve been writing for a living a good bit longer than that.
Take that, stigma.
A good editor is like a good detective. Both take note of the obvious, and both notice the things that slip by others.
Here are two examples to think about.
Some guy tweeted this the other day:
The same guy put a bicycle in the header of his new Twitter page.
Go ahead. Take a look. Be curious.
Why a cat and why a bicycle?
A casual reader or distracted digital passerby might not ask why. It’s just a cat and just a bicycle. An experienced editor, like a good detective, wonders about the choices and the writer’s or the suspect’s reasoning.
Are the cat and the bicycle just eye-catching visuals or is there some deeper significance? Were the selections deliberate or careless?
Why those images?
In this case, a reader familiar with the writer’s work might recall the fate and symbolism of a yellow-eyed cat. The reader might also begin to wonder if the bicycle foreshadows something not yet revealed.
A skilled detective might begin to poke around.
What do you think?