Did you know that the Ouija Board that we know today was first made in 1890? Did you also know that Ouija boards didn’t have an evil reputation until 1973, the year The Exorcist came out? I have to tell you, that explains a lot. You see, my older brother had a board and when I was very young, I played with that thing all the time. Therefore it was already too late in 1973, when the board’s evil nature became apparent, to prevent me from being inhabited by a demon. In my case, it’s a demon that makes me eat entire boxes of Thin Mints. Really, if you knew me, you’d know I’m telling the truth. And I was a Girl Scout back then so I was my own supplier. Evil demon.
A movie just came out about Ouija boards that apparently takes the portal-to-hell point of view. I’m going to give it a pass, at least until I can watch it during broad daylight on my tiny iPad screen thanks to Netflix. (You know that scary movies are less scary in daytime on iPads, right?) My little sleepover friends and I certainly thought that the Ouija board was creepy but we were addicted to that kind of thrill. We held seances, tried to levitate each other using just two fingers on each hand, etc. Later, we just read Stephen King novels and talked about creepy boys.
I always thought that I would eventually write horror novels but I don’t, at least not so far. I find human nature to be creepy enough to satisfy my interests. So I write mysteries and crime. I don’t own a Ouija board and have never introduced my daughter to it’s mysteries. But I may have to get one and ask it when I will land an agent for my novel. That, at the moment, is the biggest mystery of all. Stay tuned.
Admit it, just like me, you are a sucker for social media featuring cute cats and dogs. And sloths. Yep, they’re on Facebook too and since they’re my favorite wild animal (I like their work ethic), I’ve watched videos with squeaking baby sloths. Check out your own posts. Update about your novel’s publication? 5 likes. Pictures of your wedding on the occasion of your 15th anniversary? 25 likes. Picture of your dog licking his butt? 4,025 likes, counting all the friends of friends who came over to virtually admire your pup.
So now I’m wondering how I can capture that magic to get people excited about my new novel when the time comes. As a murder mystery, I suppose I could put a picture of a suspiciously dead yet still adorable kitten on the cover. Or maybe a kitten with a mask and an Uzi. If I were as cute as Amy Tan, I wouldn’t have to use kittens. Seriously, go look at her on her website. The novel is nearing completion and from what I can tell, it’s not too soon to be thinking about promotion. I need a platform and all that. How do I get anyone to look at my novel amidst all the great works out there competing for the same sets of eyes?
Seriously, how do I? I’m going to go tour some blogs and sites that feature good advice about book promotion and author platforms. I’ll be sure to share the links to the ones that most closely match my preconceived notions about what might work. Kidding. I’ll link to the ones with the most “likes.” Or those with kittens. Or how about this – you tell me who I should check out. In the meantime, I’m going with the image below.
Bang! The handgun was so much lighter than I anticipated, I expected one of those cartoon flags to pop out instead of real bullets. Instead, I nearly cried because the explosion was so acute it started me out of my britches. And the first empty casing that popped out, landed on my head. My instructor laughed and said I only needed to worry if it got down in my shirt because they are very hot. And why wasn’t I warned of this before I wore a loose-fitting v-neck (and sleeveless!) blouse for my lesson on handguns?
Obviously, I wasn’t so concerned about burning my hooters that I missed the target. That is actually my target in the photo above. I am a freaking natural! So how weird is it to feel proud of my shooting prowess while simultaneously despising guns? I believe I will write that into my character’s experience. You see it was all a training exercise so that I wouldn’t be basing my novel’s gunplay on movie depictions and other crime novels. Some things you can experience yourself and write about more realistically. I’m pretty sure I already knew what gunpowder smelled like but almost everything else I learned about the Glock 38 was different to what I expected. For example, Glocks don’t have external safeties. Nope. Less safe than I even imagined.
The instructor and all the other guys at the shooting range were very professional and super informed. They couldn’t have been nicer even when it became clear that I was not in the market for a gun. Of course they told me that every home should have one. “Seconds count and the police might be minutes away.” But if I was against owning a gun before, I feel even more strongly about it now. Holding death in your hands is frightening, even when your an ace shooter like me.
So don’t wear a v-neck, don’t close your eyes when you pull the trigger, and clean up the brass when you’re done as a courtesy to the next guy using the lane. Those little casings get everywhere!
I am currently finishing up a mystery novel manuscript and I want to share the process with myself, and anyone else who might be interested. By keeping these notes on a blog – I can document my process.
Obviously I have to polish off the novel first. Okay, I still have about half of it to write. But don’t tell that to the editors and agents I’ve signed up to meet at the Atlanta Writers Conference in late October. I’ve been working on the character development and story for months and it’s all mapped out. By committing to making pitches in October, I’ve forced myself to be more disciplined about getting the text down on paper (well, in my computer program anyway). Progress is moving along quickly at no less than 3,000 words a day.
My most interesting next step will take place on Thursday. I’m visiting a gun range for a one hour lesson on handguns. I’m going to pick the kind I think my main character would favor and then fire away. I have only shot a handgun once in my life and that was a lifetime ago. Chalk it up to research. I have NO interest in owning a gun myself. I’d just shoot myself or my dogs or my husband by accident. Messy.
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