Now it’s Personal

His name was…well, his name’s not important. I never knew him.  He was the son of a cousin whom I also didn’t know, but I’m close to his aunt thanks to social media.  Early Monday morning he was murdered, shot multiple times, in the still, cold ache of night, and left to die in his driveway.  With a suspect in custody, the story will quickly slip out of the public’s domain to oppress those who loved him for eternity.  A shot ringing out forever in the dark.  A scream of death never ending.

I hate guns.  I have never been fond of them, but now I’m done with them.  It’s too easy to kill with them.  And I’m not talking about how easily they kill; I’m talking about how impersonal, how coldly distant the killing becomes when all it takes is standing 10, 20, 30 feet from the victim, holding up a piece of metal and squeezing one small moving part.

BANG!

See?  Didn’t cost a thing.

You confront someone you’re pissed at, for whatever reason, and if neither of you has a weapon, likely someone’s nose will end up broken, maybe a few ribs as well if the other guy is strong enough.  But it’s personal.  It’s intimate.

You stab someone with a knife, you can’t help but take a little of their blood with you, still warm from the cooling body.  You might even sense the last breath as the soul departs if you can’t get away fast enough.

But pull a gun, and the story’s over.  No contact with another human being to remind you that you’re both the same somewhere inside.  Just that little squeeze-bang-run.

Yep, I’m done with guns.

For Naught or Not for Naught

Many of my previous blogs have detailed the somewhat tedious task of prepping my book for publication, and at one point I briefly touched on why I decided to independently publish my trilogy.  But now it’s time to own up to the truth in full.  I really want to get read.

I have spent years attempting to convince agents and publishers to look at my book.  I wrote multiple versions of my query letter and synopsis, kept rewriting the book itself as I struggled to get it right, but the “Divinity that shapes our ends” refused to cooperate.  Through the decades the only “positive” rejection letter I ever received was the very first one.  Seems like a sign from the Divinity to me.

So last summer, after several new rejections in response to my latest endeavor at making a sale, I rejected the traditional publishing route in favor of self-publication.  In making this decision, I also committed myself to a singular objective.  I’d become aware of a contest that the online IndieReader was sponsoring, and completing the first book in the trilogy with an eye to the best presentation possible both in print and electronically grew into a necessity.  Lisen of Solsta: Fractured would finally receive a reading by someone with no reason to like it.

Let me be clear here.  I am not looking to win over a publisher or an agent.  I actually like, perhaps even prefer, the independent route to publication.  It has allowed me more control than any traditional publisher would have given me.  And I believe I’ve done a damn fine job of it.  What few readers I’ve reached thus far have blessed me with eight 5-star reviews on Amazon, and much as I believe each and every one of those stars was bestowed upon Fractured in absolute sincerity, they did come from people who know me and do have a reason to like it.

I have just completed a re-do of the Kindle edition of my book.  Although the print version looks fairly professional, the electronic version possessed some serious flaws.  Since (a) the best exposure for an author these days lies in downloadable data and (b) the contest requests a minimum of two manuscript submissions, one print and one Kindle, I had to get that Kindle version up to snuff.  With help from Smashwords.com, I created hyperlinks for chapters and made the text look as good as the best e-books I’ve read, and I’m feeling pretty good about that.

Now I only await the finessed hard copy from the publisher, and then I’ll complete the process by filling out the entry form and transmitting all materials prior to the deadline.  Then comes the wait.  I don’t expect to win.  In the fiction category, some contemporary tale of consequence will come in first, and that’s okay.

But if I can get that 4- or 5-star review from someone who has no reason to care, not only will it provide me with a new platform and, hence, more exposure, but it will also prove to me that all of this—the writing, rewriting, reconfiguring, proofing, reproofing, typesetting, in short, all that stuff I wrote about in earlier blogs—was not for naught.