Writing Style

In the last few weeks there has been several reviewers of my books make comments on my writing style.  Generally nice comments although a couple seemed to imply that I had a youthful writing style–I do not believe it was meant as a compliment.

My first reaction was joy.  I was just pleased someone thought I had a writing style.  No doubt every writer has a writing style but the suggestion that my style was based on my conscience decision to write a certain way indicated a level of thought that probably does not exist.  My style is conversational.  It is me telling you, the reader, a story.  It is a verbal narrative taking the reader into the story and introducing the characters.  Much of my writing is narrative–the characters tell the story in their own words.

As a result I chose words that are more everyday conversational.  No doubt you have read authors who write with words that you would not normally hear in conversation but that add a sense of grandeur to their story.  I was just reading a story where the author described a statement made by one of the characters as lapidary.  Which means an elegant and concise statement.  Can you imagine a conversation with one of your friends who would say “that was a lapidary statement”, probably not.

I hope this does not sound like I am disparaging or responding to reviews.  I enjoy the reviews from my readers even when they are not all five stars.  Each reader brings their own perspective to the book and comes away with their own unique experience.  It is the great joy of reading.  The reader is interpreting the story based on who they are and as a result can have very personal reactions–good and bad.

This leads to several comments by reviewers.  Language.  As in foul language.  My stories feature some rather less than stellar characters (bad guys) and with my conversational style of writing you can imagine some f words being tossed about.  Most displeased reviewers react to the first few pages of the books–because they tend to have the highest concentration of foul language.  This is due to my introduction approach which highlights the low-lifes in a scene that establishes them as the villains or in one case the victim at the hands of evil doers.  So this is usually stressful scenes featuring the bad guys so their language choices are not going to be family friendly.

The use of language that some find objectionable is much less than the impression left by the first few page readers would suggest.  I try to make the characters real and use real language when it fits within the story, the character and the nature of the scene–never do I use language to offend.

My books are written for mature readers and for some the language is objectionable (which is of course their right as a reader)–but for me it is part of the story.  My conversational story would include some of those f words but not too many uses of lapidary.

Special Promotion Dog Gone Lies

Had tremendous success over the weekend with a special promotion for Dog Gone Lies on Amazon. Reached the #1 ranking on Amazon for PI-Mysteries, also ranked as high as #2 for Crime-Mysteries.

The promotion part of book publishing is still a mystery to me but with a well proven trial and error method I am finding out what works and what does not.  A little bit more about what does not than I would like.

Still working on P&C#3 Four Corners War.  My completion date is still not set but sometime in early fall should have a new book for you to read.

Playing with the idea of doing a “The Bootlegger’s Legacy 2”.  The premise will be that Pat Allen’s old Cadillac is purchased by a movie prop master (someone who finds and manages props to be used in movies) and he begins to research the car and decides to write a movie script about Pat and Sally. While doing his research he tracks down various people from TBL1.

I am absolutely sure I should finish one book before starting another–but it seems to help me to wonder off a bit and think about something else for awhile and then go back to the other project.  No doubt not a good confession to make that sometimes I get bored with my own writing–I think I should erase that before anyone sees it.

Sky High Stakes–now available on Amazon as e-book

2nd book in the Pacheco & Chino Mystery series is now available on Amazon as an e-book.  Paperback should be available in a few weeks.  You can buy the book from my web site www.tedclifton.com and yeah I get a bit more money that way–very small money.

Sky High Stakes has a more expanded plot than my other books but is still driven by the characters with the same emphasis on the interplay with Ray Pacheco, Tyee Chino and Big Jack.  Several new characters are introduced into their realm–people I think you will be interested in getting to know.

Dog Gone Lies now available as e-book

The first Pacheco and Chino Mystery book: Dog Gone Lies, is now available as an e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  The paperback will be out in a couple of weeks.

Currently working on the 3rd P&C book and have really enjoyed writing about these characters.  The main character is Ray Pacheco, who is newly retired as the Sheriff of Dona Ana County New Mexico and now living the life of leisure in a remote cabin by Elephant Butte Lake.  He is also bored silly.  Ray stumbles into the middle of a mystery involving a missing woman from a local inn.  While exploring this matter Ray becomes involved with some very unique and (hopefully) entertaining local eccentrics.

This is much more a traditional private detective adventure than The Bootlegger’s Legacy.  Not sure how many of these I will write but so far it has been a lot of fun.  Hope you enjoy.

Third Book in Pacheco & Chino Mystery Series

The first book in the Pacheco & Chino Mystery series “Dog Gone Lies” will be published in about a month, the second book “Ruidoso High Stakes” has been finished and should be published sometime in early 2016.

I am really enjoying writing about these characters so I have decided to put the first Blue Door Mystery book on hold and begin the third book in Pacheco & Chino series “Four Corners War”.  This book is focused on the Farmington, New Mexico and Durango, Colorado areas.  I have made many trips over the years to this Four Corners area–it is a very interesting area where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona meet.  For many years I had business dealings in this part of the country and often flew into the Farmington airport which is located in a very unsettling spot on top of a small mesa.  The approach always looked like we were headed straight for the side wall of this mesa–but fortunately we always cleared the wall and landed.  I never flew into Farmington that I was not thankful to be alive.  It is a place where many cultures come together to present an amazing mosaic of past and current lives— definitely worth visiting (I think they still use that same airport–might want to drive).

Some history of the two towns from the cities web sites:

The history of Farmington can be dated back over 2,000 years when the Anasazi “basket makers” lived in the area in what is now known as “pit houses” and later in pueblo structures built from the native sandstone rock. Their past occupancy can still be seen in the various ruins that fill the surrounding countryside. After the Anasazi exit from the area, the land was then inhabited by the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache, and the Utes, which add to the cultural diversity found in this area to this day. The Spanish passed through this area in the late 1700’s and eventually settled in the eastern part of San Juan County in the early 1800’s. It was not until mid 1870’s that the population of the area began to grow with the actual settlement of what was to become Farmingtown, later shortened to Farmington. Settled by pioneers from Animas City, Colorado at the confluence of the La Plata, Animas, and San Juan Rivers. Farmington began to blossom into a flourishing farm and ranch economy and incorporated on July 15, 1901.

The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company formed Durango along the banks of the Animas River in September 1880 to serve the San Juan mining district. Lots of silver (and later, even more of gold) was being discovered in the mountains ever since gold fever struck in 1872 and resulted in the settlement of mining towns like Silverton, 50 miles north. Durango had a more tolerable climate and a good supply of water and coal for operating the smelters to pull precious metals out of the ore.
The railroad company chose a site south of the town of Animas City for its depot. It bought up the land in the eventual downtown Durango area using various different names to conceal what it was doing. The land was purchased for less money this way. When the train steamed through Animas City on its way north in 1881, it didn’t even stop there!

Native Americans had camped along the banks of the Animas River for thousands of years. Archaeologists have found evidence that this area experienced a population boom in the latter part of the 8th century – about 1,200 years ago. Some think more people lived here then than now! By the time the Ute Indians settled here, centuries later, these ancient Ancestral Puebloans had mysteriously disappeared from their last homeland – including the area now called Mesa Verde National Park. The Ute Indians sheltered in the abandoned dwellings and enjoyed the ample fishing and hunting opportunities the area offered.

Titles, titles, titles

As I mentioned getting very close to finalizing everything for the first Pacheco & Chino Mystery series.  Still looking like publishing will be in late November.  The one thing that keeps changing is the title.  When I was writing The Bootlegger’s Legacy I knew immediately that was going to be the title.  That was the title from the beginning and never changed.  Not true with this book.  First it was “Hot Springs Inn Mystery” than “Truth, Lies and Consequences”, and now the latest “Dog Gone Lies”.

A key element in this story is a dog.  The dog plays an important role throughout the story and it felt like there should be a reference to the dog in the title.  Going to try and stick with this one–I am starting to confuse myself.

The second book in the Pacheco & Chino series has been written.  Target publishing date is March/April 2016–the working title is “Ruidoso High Stakes”.  I am sure it will change.

New titles

A fellow writer told me once he was not interested in titles.  The impression was that he thought the title did not matter.  I suppose they are somewhat superfluous–a great title does not make a bad book a great read nor would a bad title cause a good book to be something else.  But in the world of marketing and first impressions the title plays a role. 

The first book in the Pacheco and Chino Mystery series is entering the final stages before it will be released.  As part of that process there has been a review of the title.  The working title has been “Hot Springs Inn Mystery”.  I sort of liked that title but could not have mystery in the title since the new subtitle was going to be “A Pacheco and Chino Mystery”. 

Like most things in life there is no one answer that is right.  It is only opinion.  I tried out several ideas and ended up with “Truth, Lies and Consequences”.  This book should be published in late November or early December.

Book Giveaway

There is a chance to get a free paperback edition of The Bootlegger’s Legacy.  This giveaway is being offered through Goodreads.com.  You can access the link to the Goodreads giveaway on my web site www.tedclifton.com.  The giveaway starts on October 12th and runs through October 20th.  Be sure and enter.  Note you cannot enter until the start date of the 12th.

Remember it really helps me with my marketing/promotion efforts to have reviews.  If you have read The Bootlegger’s Legacy it would be great if you could post a review.  This can be done on the on-line retailers sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo)–you can also post on several social book readers sites such as Goodreads.com  Thanks very much for your support.