Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Release, Re-release, New Covers, and an Author's Book Fair

The third novel in
the Jonas Watcher series
The Case of the Jade Dragon

The best unkept secret, I am releasing the third book in the Jonas Watcher series, "The Case of The Jade Dragon". The cover I had initially created caused a bit of a controversy because it partly resembled a poster from the movie Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson. I admit the poster was my influence for the cover, but I had thought I had created something different enough to be okay. Many of my peers disagreed with me, so I adjusted the cover. The final cover and the one the book will be released with is to the right.

Synopsis - Jonas is on a train to San Francisco and it is stopped the Los Angeles rail yard. Jonas just happens to see a Chinese couple being kidnapped. He comes to their rescue. This action begins a series of adventures where Jonas travels to St. Louis to bring back a bride for an arranged marriage. Jonas finds himself dealing with Chinese mysticism, mythology, and some very real people who will stop at nothing to see that he fails, including murder. A train, a plane, and automobiles used in a round trip between Hop Alley in St Louis and Chinatown in San Francisco. Jonas uses all his resources to stay alive in this adventure and gets in a little romance too. What does all this have to do with a Jade Dragon? You'll have to read the book. it will be available at Amazon in paperback and eBook format.

The Jonas Watcher Book Series

Someone told me you were not truly a novelist until you released your third novel. I guess the idea was that everyone has one good book in them. If you write a second book, then you have proved that lightning does strike twice in the same place. When you write your third novel, then you are elevated to the position of a novelist. Not necessarily successful, but an author with tenacity. I decided as a way to celebrate this milestone in my career by re-releasing my first two books in second editions where I and others have gone through the books and fixed typos, spelling errors, and grammar. Additionally, I have changed the covers in an attempt to create a cohesive look and feel. If you have read the books there have been no changes to story or characters. The books and the Series have taken on some alterations because a couple of years ago in my youth I had not set the series up properly, whatever that means.

This collection is identified as the Jonas Watcher Series. I am taking the name Jonas Watcher out of the title. What I was using as a subtitle for each book, is now the title of each book. I am using the subtitle as a tag line. The first book is volume 1 of the Jonas Watcher series and it is titled "The Case of the Running Bag". The tagline or subtitle is "A Jonas Watcher Detective Adventure".

The Case of the Running Bag

Jonas Watcher :Volume 1
This was my first novel in this series and my first published novel. It didn't start out as part of a series. I had been reading a short story collection by Dashiell Hammett, "The Continental Op". In one of the stories, there was a husband who was missing or something, anyway, it started me thinking what if? The Case of the Running Bag was born. I chose the period of the 1930s because I hadn't read much from the period, and I was always a fan of The Thin Man series, Philip Marlow, and early Poirot. Forensics is limited, recorded history is fairly plentiful, and it is post the great war. The United States is still fairly innocent in world politics, Hollywood is in a golden age and the rich and powerful play with the infamous from the underworld.

Synopsis - Jonas Watcher is a derelict sleeping off the granddaddy of hangovers. He is on a floating dock under one of the wharfs in San Francisco bay. He comes to. He is awake, hung over and wet from the mist off the bay. He starts to climb up a ladder onto the wharf above. He is about to reach the top of the ladder when someone swings a large object connecting with Jonas and knocking him off the ladder and into the bay. Jonas clutches at the dingas as it carries him into the bay. Jonas survives and while he is trying to regain his wits he becomes aware that someone just tried to kill him. The dingas turns out to be a running bag with good news in the form of money, bad news in the form of a single action Colt 44, and an uncertain future in the form of keys and a business card with an address. From Jonas' perspective, the Sisters Fate have been messing with his life and now they have brought the cauldron to full boil.

Jonas follows up on the address and the keys and falls into the middle of PI's office with an open case involving the rich and powerful and a kidnapping plot by some unsavory characters. Add a dash of a dead PI, a suspicious police officer, and someone is still trying to kill him.The more Jonas tries to extricate himself the deeper he get into it. A hell of a time to quit drinking.

The Case of the Bourbon Street Hustler

A Jonas Watcher Detective Adventure
Although I have never been to New Orleans I have always had a fondness for the city. Romance and intrigue permeate New Orleans and the surrounding countryside. From New Orleans French roots to the mythos that seethes through the surrounding Bayou, New Orleans is steeped in an almost fantasy oriented realism that attracts artists of all muses; musicians, artists, and even writers. When I realized there would be a second Jonas Novel, I also knew it had to take place in New Orleans.

Synopsis There are no ghosts here, and the deadliest creature in the Bayou in on two legs and is the only one that kills for sport.
I open The Case of the Bourbon Street Hustler with an homage to Charles Dickens because in a way it relates to adventures that Jonas was about to undertake.

Martin Stanton was dead. He was as dead as a door... 

I stopped and laughed as I looked out the window.

I remembered the opening to “A Christmas Carol.” 

Why do we say “door-nail” instead of "coffin-nail?" 

Jonas had closed his first case in San Francisco and it made the papers. However, Martin Stanton may not be dead. Jonas traveled to New Orleans to learn the truth and to pay respects to a friend's family. He didn't expect to run into his past from Orleans, France, get caught between local and state police in a political battle only as Lousiana can play it, and find himself in the crosshairs of someone who wants him dead. From the clubs in the French Quarters to the cayman infested swamps of the Bayou, Jonas as usual, is always in trouble. The invisibles of New Orleans, are there to help. The Sisters Fate are there to cause trouble. Just who is the Bourbon Street Hustler and whose side is he or she on? The answers are in "The Case of the Bourbon Street Hustler".

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Case of the Jade Dragon Approaches being Published.

Create Space

I will use CreateSpace to print up Proofs for my readers who will check my story for continuity and I will provide a word document for those who will do proofing for me. I choose createSpace because so far they have provided me the best pricing to get my books printed through POD. I have looked to others, but they are more expensive, even as much as twice what CreateSpace charges me.

The front cover has everything I want. A shadowed image of Jonas Watcher, I blue-eyed Chinese woman and an image that works for me as the Azure Dragon. In the story, the statue is carved in jade. I also like the color of the cover. I am also fond of the shadowed image of the front cover on the rear cover.

The cover went through several iterations which I have documented and this is the finalist. I have finished the rough draft. I have gone through the novel with Grammarly and I have done a first pass at wordsmithing. It is time for my proofreaders to take a crack at the book and for my story people to make sure the continuity of my story is intact and the flow makes sense. I will also sit down and just read it. After I get everyone's input, I will go back to the computer and put the finishing touches on the novel.

One of my proofreaders will get an electronic copy and he will put the in his fixes. If he finds anything that is truly out there, we will talk about it. Otherwise, he will send me a corrected copy. I then take that copy and apply the input from my other sources as I fell they are appropriate. Five sets of eyes will pass over the book before it passes on to be published.

If you have any questions about the process, please let me know.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Publishing, Re-Publishing, Re-Issue, and New Covers

To satisfy a little bit of ego, here I am with the
first book in the Jonas Watcher series.
It might be the first of April when this will appear, but it is not about April fools, it's about learning from others mistakes, so I am sharing my mistakes so that others might learn. As I have said before I am a self-published author. Although I may be considered a pariah in some literary circles, I continue to write and publish what I write. This is not to say there aren't problems with the traditional publishing process but self-publishing has its problems.

This is not about writing process, but how you choose to actually get published. I am a truly a DIY kind of writer/publisher. There are a lot of services out there to help you get your work published, and this is about my choice and my mistakes or rather my ignorance. I chose to use CreateSpace as my means to get published. From the outset, I believe this was my best option, and I still do. However, I have put myself in the position of having to do some extra work because I didn't quite understand how part of the publishing process in CreateSpace works. It may be I still don't, but I have adjusted my path because it works for me. I am about to publish my third book in the Jonas Watcher series. A third book is a bit of a milestone, and I decided that I wanted to re-issue the first two books, second editions, with new covers. I also realized that I hadn't named the books properly.

When setting up a title in CreateSpace there are a number of fields to fill out. One is  a title, a sub-title, and a series name. When I was looking into various publishing options at the time, the title I was thinking of was "Jonas Watcher: The Case of the Running Bag". When I started I hadn't thought I would be writing a number of books that would fall into a series. When I filled out the fields for CreateSpace I didn't really understand what to put in, and in time, I discovered it was wrong. I filled out the title as "Jonas Watcher", I filled out sub-title as "The Case of the Running Bag" I hadn't started out with a series name, but eventually I filled in Jonas Watcher. Later this bit me in the ass.

Jonas Watcher:
The Case of the Bourbon Street Hustler
Once an ISBN number is assigned to a title, it cannot be issued under a different title. Of course, you can have multiple ISBN numbers assigned to a title. For me, this was an oops. When the "The Case of the Running bag" goes to press it will be a second edition with appropriate corrections in grammar, spelling, and typos. There is a new cover, and here are the two covers. The one on the left is the latest cover for the first edition or first printing, the cover on the left is the cover for the second edition or printing.

The Case of the Running Bag
A Jonas Watcher Detective Adventure

Since the series started out as a single book, I was unfamiliar with how to set things up for the series. I may still be wrong. I don't know how many books there will be in the series, it is six and counting. I finish a book and ideas for more come to me. A blessing or a curse? While I do not consider myself in the league with Conan Doyle, I still like my detective and I like writing about him. At this point, there are two titles for the same book. I thought I might be unique, but I discovered that this isn't that uncommon. However, mine was through ignorance on my part, I am not sure that was the case with other author's titles.

The Case of the Running Bag
A Jonas Watcher Novel
The first book in the series is now "The Case of the Running Bag" and the subtitle or tag line is "A Jonas Watcher Detective Adventure". I created a new cover and this is being identified as a second edition noting fixes to the previous edition. Since I haven't sold thousands of books I doubt there would be much of an outcry from fans. Second editions have been fixes of first editions for hundreds of years, so this is probably much ado about nothing except for my own desire to get it right in my own eyes.

The third book in the series has no issue at this time since it is now going through the publication process for the first time and I now have a better direction in how I want to release my volumes. That is another change, the books will be identified as volumes one, two, three, etc. So far the books have been published in a time sequence that is relevant to the Jonas Watcher cases. We;'ll see how long I can keep that up.

The Case of the Jade Dragon
A Jonas Watcher Detective Adventure
Each novel is stand-alone. Volumes one and two are more closely related to each others than later novels will be, maybe. I do my own cover design. My wife assists in this because she has a better sense of art than I do. Covers are a big deal, but only on a couple of levels. If you have name  recognition than an author's name predominantly on the cover is a must. I suspect Stephen King and James Patterson sell more books than any title they create. I have heard people say they look for authors because they'll buy most anything they write. If a series is popular that will also sell well. The image comes in strong for a lot of people. Fantasy and romance readers will look at a cover and pick up a book if they are attracted to the cover. I have seen some very successful writers with some pretty ugly covers, but an author's name does sell. Still an intriguing cover is just another marketing tool to use to sell a book and shouldn't be discounted, especially by an unknown.

The third book in a series is a milestone. Everyone has, at least, one book in them, it has been said. May be. In the genre, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times, according to Ian Flemming, is enemy action. What does it mean when there are more on the horizon. "The Case of the Looking Glass Mirror" and "The Case of Marie Laveau's Curse" both are A Jonas Watcher Detective Adventure in the works.

If it is a book in a series decide immediately. Don't use the Series name in the title. Have a subtitle or tagline and put them all in the right place. There will be second editions because there will be mistakes. Fifty thousand plus words don't get written without mistakes, typos, and grammar issues. It doesn't matter how many eyes look at the work, an error will sneak by, they are tricky little buggers that way.

Good writing, good luck, and if you want to self-publish, look at CreateSpace, it still works for me.