|Posted on May 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM||comments (0)|
I plan to chronicle the steps I take as the Writer's Digest thriller/crime fiction weapons guide moves forward. The latest is submitting an expanded TOC (table of contents) to the editor this week.
On the outside, drafting a TOC seems like an almost trivial step. How hard could it be to scratch one out? It's just some chapter names and page numbers, right?
To readers, that's true. A TOC is just a leaping off point. It's a leaping off point for me, too. The difference is I have to make sure my jump looks more like Evel Knievel and not Wile E. Coyote.
Pictured: Why nine lives isn't always a good thing.
That's not to say there wasn't a TOC in the first place. WD's seen the entire thing, from the TOC to my B-I-O. But with the project now on the docket for a print release, the guide's approach needs to change. That's part of the conversation I had with the editor last week.
A revamped TOC is the natural place to start. Once we finalize exactly what's going to be in this puppy, I'll rent that cabin on Mars and leave the planet intermittenly. When I get my nose stuck in researching, double-checking, re-wording, run-it-past-ing, photo gathering, I sometimes have to remember to eat. The last time I went full-bore on this project back in January, things got a little Howard Hughes-y.
Fortunately, I can spend plenty of time back on planet Earth during this new leg. The completed 'script isn't due back until early next year. That doesn't mean I'm going to slack off. But it does mean I won't be repeating the January Crunch of 2013, either.
Nah, the weather's just a little too nice for that. The month of January was ideal for holing up in my office, so I, well, holed up in my office. I was also gunning to push this guide over the edge of even what I expected it to become. Now that the core of the project is in place, it's time to flesh everything out. I have the time to do this right, so that's what I'll do.
So long as I keep my inner Evel Knievel fed with copious amounts of easily digestible, fiberous, legume-based vittles and 6 a.m. coffee pots, it'll all work out.
|Posted on May 2, 2013 at 8:50 AM||comments (3)|
Big. Gal-damn. News.
It was premature when I announced earlier this year that Writer's Digest wanted to publish an e-book of mine about writing firearms and knives accurately in crime fiction. I'd noted 2013 as a possible release timeframe. It turns out that's not going to happen.
No, something much better developed since then.
In a meeting with Writer's Digest this week, the editor and I discussed turning the work - tentatively titled, The Thriller & Crime Writer's Guide to Firearms & Knives - into a formal print book for the second half of 2014. After reviewing my manuscript, the Writer's Digest team determined the guide needed the full works.
That means more photos, additional illustrations, moving around certain parts, expanding sections and generally transforming the project so it's suitable for print.
Yeah, it's more work. But it's the best kind of work. This is the first book deal at a major publisher I've secured, complete with all the bells and whistles that go with one.
Writer's Digest is putting a lot of faith in me to produce world-class quality. I intend to deliver. This won't be your garden variety, "Guns go boom, knives go stab-stab," writing manual. It'll be a practical reference that helps writers unfamiliar with firearms and knives pen weapons like pros. It's my labor of love. A gift back to the crime fiction community that's been so supportive to me over the years.
To keep things from getting too technical, it's loaded with just the right amount of gallows humor. I enlisted Maynard Soloman, my crusty and generally clueless RV-dwelling detective, to be my guinea pig. He gets shot, stabbed and bankrupted by even more medical bills. Because what could be more hilarious than medical debt? It was a pleasant surprise when the Writer's Digest editor mentioned how much Maynard's comic relief was appreciated.
Backing me up on this project is the staff at Gun Digest and BLADE. They've offered me full access to their publishing vaults. Gun Digest started publishing annual firearms books in 1944, with a magazine that started a few decades later. BLADE began publishing its knife magazine in 1973, then added annual books shortly thereafter. Between these two massive resources, the challenge will be to keep a lid on all the information I could mix into this project.
My comrads at Deer & Deer Hunting, Turkey & Turkey Hunting, Trapper & Predator Caller, Tactical Gear and Living Ready (the new national print magazine I helped launch) are also behind me on this project. All their books, magazines, TV shows and digital content are at my disposal.
If I can't turn out the best weapons guide for crime writers that's ever graced the bookshelves, it's time to hang it up.
My thanks to everyone who offered a kind word of support as this project developed. It's an exciting time for me. I want to share my journey as much as possible. Stay tuned!
|Posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
I'm within striking distance of completing the first draft of my second novel. It's allllllmost there.
This actually doesn't mean anything. The real work is with editing. That can take as long as the original draft.
So that's my update on the novel. Once I get burned out on crime thriller writing, I'll switch back to crime humor and crank out a new Maynard story.
|Posted on April 11, 2013 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
A couple years back, I made a pretty terrific offer. It still stands today. If you donate any amount to the National Kidney Foundation, I'll send you e-book versions of my entire catalog for free. All you have to do is e-mail the receipt to me at bsobieck [at] journalist [dot] com.
This is one way I'm paying it forward. Three years ago this month, I received a kidney transplant from a living donor. That person is still alive and well. I would never reduce organ transplants and say they're like changing tires. But with the amount of research and experience out there, it's pretty close to that in the medical world.
Despite these advances, people still die every day waiting for organs. The problem isn't with treatments or medicine. It's with supply. More than 100,000 people are waiting for a donor.
Sometimes this is because the matches are difficult to make. Other times it's because organs can't be used after a donor dies. More often, it's because there just aren't enough donors.
Why is that? Choosing to donate your organs as a living or cadaver donor is a personal decision. I don't fault anyone for opting not to donate. Recipients and doctors don't want coerced donors anyway. If you're not at 100 percent, don't do it.
But sometimes it just comes down to bad information. I've heard it all, and I debunk it when I find it. You have to be related to the recipient (Fact: Anyone with the right match can donate). Your life expectancy plummets if you give a kidney (Fact: You'll live normally with one kidney). You'll go bankrupt if you donate (Fact: Donors don't pay a dime).
The National Kidney Foundation is one of the foremost organizations debunking these myths. Check out this list of five organ donation myths it recently published.
It doesn't take a leap of logic to see how putting out good information will lead to more donations. And that's only one of the things NKF is doing. It raises funds for research, free screenings, lobbying and more.
That's why I'm so passionate about helping NKF. The day I received that kidney was the day I got my life back. It's only right that I use the writing made possible by the donation to keep those second chances coming.
One More Time: Here's How to Donate and Get Free E-Books
2) E-mail me the receipt at bsobieck [at] journalist [dot] com.
3) I'll e-mail you back with my entire e-book catalog.
|Posted on April 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
Do you want my job? Yes. You want my job. Here's why.
As some may know, I work full-time for F&W Media as an online editor. F&W is a publisher of magazines, books, e-books, TV shows and digital content. It also organizes popular events and conferences across the country. Everything focuses on enthusiast verticals. In other words, F&W is about people's passions, hobbies and creative aspirations.
Which means it's a cool place to work, full of people who enjoy the content they bring to market anyway. I know I do. I've worked with Deer & Deer Hunting, Deer & Deer Hunting TV, Turkey & Turkey Hunting, Trapper & Predator Caller, Gun Digest, Tactical Gear and BLADE. Outside of writing crime fiction, these are right in line with how I like to spend a weekend.
Most recently, I helped launch Living Ready, a new print magazine and online education hub focusing on self-sufficiency. It's a hot title. It's so hot, in fact, that I need help in other areas so I can concentrate on this fast-growing brand.
That's why F&W is taking submissions for my replacement right now. It's a good problem to have.
This really is a huge opportunity. F&W publishes a ton of cool brands, including crime fiction outfit Tyrus Books, Digital Book World and Writer's Digest. You could start in one spot and end up in another, just like I did with Living Ready. Heck, we even have a UK office. Who knows.
Click here to check out the job posting. You must be willing to move to central Wisconsin and know a bit about firearms. If you're hired, I know a great pizza place in Stevens Point you have to try out.
P.S. If you're qualified and seriously considering applying, shoot me an e-mail bsobieck [at] journalist [dot] com.
|Posted on March 28, 2013 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
Leroy Vaughn, a frequent contributor to my online mag Fingerprints, has a new short tale of true crime up today. If police officers getting frisky with bar wenches in a sleezy part of town is your cup of tea, you need to check this out.
Vaughn is a retired police officer himself, and he's full of great stories from his experiences. I'm fortunate that he's contributed so much to Fingerprints. A couple stories that were published on Fingerprints were even professionally recorded for the seminal Crime City Podcast. I'll get those up on the site later.
|Posted on March 27, 2013 at 6:15 PM||comments (0)|
My second contribution to the 10 Days of Madness event went live today. My short horror story, Open the Door, is paired with an experimental piece of terror by J.J. Steinfeld. Click here to read both of them now.
|Posted on March 21, 2013 at 8:15 AM||comments (0)|
Back in 2011, Chris Allinotte started 8 Days of Madness as an alternative for word junkies during March Madness. He put out the call for eight authors to submit short horror stories, then posted one story on The Leaky Pencil per day during the event.
The event turned out to be a big success, and it spawned a free e-book you can download here. The following March, Allinotte rebooted the series in March 2012 with 9 Days of Madness, much along the same format. You can also download the results for free here.
This March is 10 Days of Madness. It starts today with a short story from myself and Angel Zapata. Read them here, then be sure to bookmark the page and come back for all 10 days. The e-book will be available shortly after the conclusion.
I'm happy to say I've had stories in all three incarnations of Madness. It's something I look forward to each year. I don't write horror often, but when I do, it's Mad.
What brings me back is the quality of the writing. Allinotte, through some sort of Canadian magic trick, always winds up with superb submissions. It's either through luck, accident or the fact that Minnesota is damn near Canadian anyway that I've been able to participate in all three Days of Madness.
|Posted on March 7, 2013 at 8:35 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 3, 2013 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
I'm calling out Allan Leverone for nabbing a nomination for a 2013 Derringer Award. His excellent piece, Dead Weight, was the lead story in Burning Bridges: A Renegade Fiction Anthology, a collection I'm proud to have contributed to and helped put together (Heath Lowrance and McDoll/Fiona Johnson were the other editors).
In the indie crime fiction world, this is a big deal. Allan is a terrific guy to boot, and just one of the many great nominees listed here. Congratulations, Allan, and good luck!
* All of the proceeds from Burning Bridges benefit charity. Click here to get it for 99 cents through Amazon Kindle. You can also get it for free for other e-reader platforms here.