August 18th, 2009

Do the math – the Amazon way

Pretty much every author I know is fascinated by what the Amazon numbers mean. It’s one of the few tools authors can easily check themselves (perhaps the only one since the wonderful Ingram automated stock number has been discontinued) (and if you know of any more, please let me know).

A self-published non-fiction author (the only kind I think should consider self-pubbing) thinks he has figured out the secret formula behind Amazon’s numbers. You can read it here.

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2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners

In honor of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, there's a contest for bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

This is the winner:

Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the “Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.
David McKenzie
Federal Way, WA

And here are the winners from the Detective category:
She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida - the pink ones, not the white ones - except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn't wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren't.
Eric Rice
Sun Prairie, WI

The dame sauntered silently into Rocco's office, but she didn't need to speak; the blood-soaked gown hugging her ample curves said it all: "I am a shipping heiress whose second husband was just murdered by Albanian assassins trying to blackmail me for my rare opal collection," or maybe, "Do you know a good dry cleaner?"
Tony Alfieri
Los Angeles, CA

And some other ones I liked:
In a flurry of flame and fur, fangs and wicker, thus ended the world's first and only hot air baboon ride.
Tony Alfieri
Los Angeles, CA

Towards the dragon's lair the fellowship marched -- a noble human prince, a fair elf, a surly dwarf, and a disheveled copyright attorney who was frantically trying to find a way to differentiate this story from "Lord of the Rings."
Andrew Manoske
Foster City, CA

You can read all the winners here..

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Writing is strange

I'll have a new book out in 2011 about some kids who work at a pizza parlor. There are three viewpoint characters who work there. I've had to create a whole work schedule for who works what days and who is off what days, as well as think about who might be willing to trade and who has a car to make deliveries.

At this rate, I might as well be working at a real pizaa parlor.

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Teaser Tuesday

“You. Boy. Get that flashlight.” He jerks his head at where it sits on the workbench. I do as he says. “Now find the gun and give it to me or I’ll stab her so hard it will come out the other side.” He digs the screwdriver in a little deeper. I see a tiny dark line snake down the white skin of Gabie’s throat.

“Don’t do it,” Gabie whispers. “Don’t listen to him.” I know what she’s thinking. Once he has the gun, what’s to stop him from shooting all three of us?

But I do. I do listen to him. Because his eyes are crazy and his mouth is set and I know he will kill Gabie right now if I don’t do what he wants.

And I can’t just stand here and watch that happen.

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