Posts Tagged ghost walk

July mystery giveaway.

 MYSTERY E-BOOKS FREE!

walk softly, but bring your long shadow

from the Ellen and Geoffrey Fletcher Mystery series

July 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th of 2017, Thursday through Monday

free from Amazon.com (links below the cover pictures)
available only in Kindle format
All Amazon stores, worldwide:
US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy,
Netherlands, India, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil.
People everywhere like free stuff.
Give either or both of these titles a try; let me know what you think.
Comment here, or email me at mystery@budcrawford.com.

A few clips from readers,
carefully culled from
favorable reviews on Amazon.

    Fit to Curve is a skillfully written mystery with complex characters and such a fascinating plot that I’m way behind on my chores.

    This series is a favorite with interesting plots and wonderfully drawn characters. Wish the author would write more of them. The type of book you don’t want to end.

    A bed-and-breakfast mystery. Super characters, well developed. You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. A mouth-watering, good read. Love the old lady with the sharp wit. I’d like the recipes, too.  The plot builds very slowly. But once I got into it, I was hooked. I liked the characters, and you get a lot of insight into them.

    This is too fine a novel to be mired in the mystery/suspense ghetto. It’s a good mystery, with a complex plot, all the mystery trappings, but the characters are rounded and attractive. The theme seems to me to be a consideration of morality – not just sexual morality (or immorality), though there’s some of that too, for those who like to read such descriptions, but all kinds of morality: for how high a price might you sell your soul?

    I think the characters, subtleties, and philosophy make it much more than “just a mystery” or “just a novel”, though the mystery is fine for people who only want that, and the characters and their individual voices or patterns of thought are most thoroughly entwined with with the mysteries, necessary to the story.

    Heart Attack is a great read!

    This couple are a great addition to the mystery genre. Sharp and interesting with a bit of humor and spice.

    Snappy dialog. Geoff and Ellen are a great team. He has a definite intuitive method of assessing info and arriving at conclusions that baffle and irk his cohorts. Ellen is more conventional and together are a great team. Unusual mystery not easily solved.

COMING SOON:


Charleston Story: seeking agent.

Atlanta story: final edit.

 

 

 

 

Drosselmeyer Chronicles (finished, first draft). Roanoke story.
Just Rewards (current work in progress). Ocean story.

Good night, Gracie.

.

 

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Agent secrets, possibly.

GhostWalk

According to a few query rejections from literary agents (helpful ones, with comments, the rarest kind), and according to my copy editor, and what I’ve since learned is common wisdom, you never start a novel you hope to sell with a character waking up in bed. A silly shibboleth, because there must be instances where waking is the best possible start to a story, but the game of literary agency has rules that players ignore at their peril. 
Here’s my try at a fix, a new top for Chapter One of Ghost Walk, the 3rd story in the Ellen and Geoffrey Fletcher Mystery Series, the one set in Charleston. You can follow the home-page link to the rest of the chapter.
The question is, does this insertion undo the auto-rejection curse, or just postpone it for a couple of pages?

 

Chapter One

     Ellen watches Geoff bump down the gravel drive, ‘the roughest part of the trip,’ he’d said, last night. Thirty yards out, he disappears entirely into the trees. If she waits a minute longer she’ll see a last quick flash of his diminishing figure where the drive crosses the power-line cut. Okay. There he goes, going, gone. Bon voyage, husband.

     His gear is state-of-the-art, self-built, idiosyncratic, but top-grade. From his helmet, his slick reflective lycra top, padded patent spandex shorts, to his custom fitted biker shoes—all well worn in—he should be okay. His franken-bike, heavy-duty components, way too hefty for a racer, is solid and comfortable for touring. Stuffed into his saddle-bags, panniers, are expertly rolled civilian clothes, repair tools, travel food, weapons. He’ll be fine.

     She turns back into the house. It’s 7:15, time for a second cup of coffee. The day will be soft and lovely. But the damp chill of the morning hasn’t yet burned off. When she ran her loop, an hour ago, it had been a struggle to breathe through the blanketing mist. It’s better now; it will be all gone by the time Geoff gets to the city limits. That will be the real ‘roughest part,’ crossing Roanoke through early traffic until he gets to the trail. US Bike Route One, from Roanoke to the coast at Charleston is almost 400 miles; it’s supposed to take 35 hours. Geoff plans to make it in 25, in two days of riding. He probably can, if he avoids accidents and injuries. Which he probably will. He rides to work every day, 14 miles down the mountain, 14 miles back up, often 5-10 miles across town. Just like commuting, he said, except you keep going. Charleston is not his longest nor his first solo ride. He’ll be fine. She wishes she could summon a force field to repel chasing dogs and aggressive angry drivers.

     She will join him at Riverrun next week, as soon as she wraps up her current TravelAmerica assignment; not in time for the bridal shower, but a couple of days before the wedding. She’ll drive the car, to spare him having to bicycle back. It’s nearly eight hours of highway driving. He’s flat out crazy, Geoff is, every once in a while.

     Riverrun is Savion Gage’s plantation, half reconstruction, half new-built. It’s perched on uncommonly solid ground, at a confluence of rivers, in the coastal swamp. She spent two days there, several years ago. Geoff gets down every year, pretty much, except he’s missed two in a row. Outsize people engaged in a strange and outsize enterprise. Geoff will enjoy a long stay, probably she will, too. Nah, for sure she will. Savion’s a bit of a blowhard, but his three-quarter brother, Gordon is gold. Lottie’s awesome capability keeps it all together. The boys, the older one gorgeous and bad, the younger one sweet and shy. And the lovely Alicia. Two girl children now, besides Carrie, the one who’s getting married. All the kids were kidnapped into adoption, according to Geoff. The names will come back to her. Lots of blanks to fill in, and fantastical tales to deconstruct.

     She’ll be happy to see the family. She’s not so sure about dealing with dozens of hangers-on and hundreds of strangers. Carrie’s wedding will be the social event of the year in Charleston—Gage is Low Country royalty—a media circus will jumble up the family sacrament. The groom, not a local guy, a rap star, is no doubt hauling down an entourage of his own.

     The coffee helps. Her head is clearing, like the vanishing tendrils of mist down the valley. Geoff will be fine. Probably make his time. Probably walk funny for a week. She does like what the stretchy shorts do for his butt. Worry be gone!

 

Gratuitous flower shot;
sometimes the first amarylis of the season goes all out.

Currently showing off at the Earth Guild store.

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And, it’s a wrap. But wait, there’s more…

Ho. No.

Smile!

Santa’s folded in half, tucked in a box,
and gets the next eleven months off.

 The nonseasonal human staff,
we’ll be working every day,
till he pops out again.
But since it is a new quarter,
the quadannual offer engages
at the start of this fresh year.

¡EBOOKS FREE — RED HOT & READY!

from the Ellen and Geoffrey Fletcher Mystery series
five January days in 2017, the 5th to the 9th, Thursday through Monday
free from Amazon.com (the cover pictures below are direct links)
available only in Kindle format
If you haven’t got Kindle capability, you are on the list.
Amazon will drop a drone from their nearest warehouse blimp,
find your home, and upgrade your toaster with a Kindle-reader app;
also your computers, tablets, mobile phones (free of charge).
An actual Kindle device will cost you:
have your credit card ready,
the drones do not make change.
Thenceforward, you shall have access to hundreds of thousands of titles,
classic and modern, as well as to my two. for five days free.
Kindle encourages authors to trade income for exposure.
It’s a simultaneous worldwide deal in all Amazon stores  —
US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy,
Netherlands, India, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil.
People everywhere like free stuff.
Give either or both of these titles a try; and let me know what you think.
Comment here, or email me at mystery@budcrawford.com.

FitToCurve

The Asheville Story

Heart Attack

The Williamsburg Story

A few clips from readers,
carefully culled from
favorable reviews on Amazon.
.

    Fit to Curve is a skillfully written mystery with complex characters and such a fascinating plot that I’m way behind on my chores.

    This series is a favorite with interesting plots and wonderfully drawn characters. Wish the author would write more of them. The type of book you don’t want to end.

    A bed and breakfast mystery. Super characters, well developed. You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. A mouth-watering, good read. Love the old lady with the sharp wit. I’d like the recipes, too.

    The plot builds very slowly. But once I got into it, I was hooked. I liked the characters, and you get a lot of insight into them.

    This is too fine a novel to be mired in the mystery/suspense ghetto. It’s a good mystery, with a complex plot, all the mystery trappings, but the characters are rounded and attractive. The theme seems to me to be a consideration of morality – not just sexual morality (or immorality), though there’s some of that too, for those who like to read such descriptions, but all kinds of morality: for how high a price might you sell your soul?

    Heart Attack is a great read!

    This couple are a great addition to the mystery genre. Sharp and interesting with a bit of humor and spice.

    Snappy dialog. Geoff and Ellen are a great team. He has a definite intuitive method of assessing info and arriving at conclusions that baffle and irk his cohorts. Ellen is more conventional and together are a great team. Unusual mystery not easily solved.

 

COMING SOON:

 
The Charleston Story: seeking agent.
The Atlanta Story, final edit.

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New Year’s special.

Exercise your natural curiosity,
and feed for free.

¡EBOOKS FREE!

from the Ellen and Geoffrey Fletcher Mystery series

For five days in January 2016, the 7th to the 11th, Thursday through Monday

IMG_20150718_235737836_TOP

Free from Amazon.com (the cover pictures below are links), available only in Kindle format. If you haven’t got a Kindle Device, Amazon will send a drone to your home (when they know that you are sleeping) and upgrade your microwave, or install a Kindle-reader ap on your computer or your tablet or on any reasonably intelligent mobile telephone (totally free). You will be everafter able to access many hundred thousands of ebooks, not just mine.

Every three months Kindle Direct Publishing invites all authors who sell books on their platform to trade income for exposure and offer their books for free. It’s a worldwide deal on all the Amazon stores (US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, India, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil). People who wouldn’t pay for a book from an author they’ve never heard of will take a chance on free stuff. So as the returns roll in, you get to see whether this will be the time there’s finally a bite from the Netherlands or Italy, or whether that firestorm in Japan (well, four books) will reignite. You take what fun you can find in the marketing process, and hope you pick up some new readers.

Let me know what you think: favorable comments warm the heart, unfavorable ones teach the necessary lessons. Comment here, or email mystery@budcrawford.com.

 

FitToCurve

The Asheville Story.

Heart Attack

The Williamsburg Story.

Here are a few comments from old readers.

review snippets (good ones only)

    Fit to Curve is a skillfully written mystery with complex characters and such a fascinating plot that I’m way behind on my chores.

    This series is a favorite with interesting plots and wonderfully drawn characters. Wish the author would write more of them. The type of book you don’t want to end.

    A bed and breakfast mystery. Super characters, well developed. You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. A mouth-watering, good read. Love the old lady with the sharp wit. I’d like the recipes, too.

    The plot builds very slowly. But once I got into it, I was hooked. I liked the characters, and you get a lot of insight into them.

    This is too fine a novel to be mired in the mystery/suspense ghetto. It’s a good mystery, with a complex plot, all the mystery trappings, but the characters are rounded and attractive. The theme seems to me to be a consideration of morality – not just sexual morality (or immorality), though there’s some of that too, for those who like to read such descriptions, but all kinds of morality: for how high a price might you sell your soul?

    Heart Attack is a great read!

    This couple are a great addition to the mystery genre. Sharp and interesting with a bit of humor and spice.

    Snappy dialog. Geoff and Ellen are a great team. He has a definite intuitive method of assessing info and arriving at conclusions that baffle and irk his cohorts. Ellen is more conventional and together are a great team. Unusual mystery not easily solved.

COMING SOON:

Ghost Walk sample                                                                                                             Little Fishes sample

GhostWalk

The Charleston Story: seeking agent

Little Fishes

The Atlanta Story, editor ready

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Reviews. Mine — of theirs — of me.

Every book published, or symphony premiered, every play that opens, lives or dies on its reviews. Sometimes a work survives a spate of initial bad reviews, or the reviews spur revisions that improve it. Sometimes a rerelease catches a better moment in the zeitgeist. And sometimes a piece thrives despite universally bad reviews. More commonly enough good notices bring life, enough bad ones bring death.

Internet reviews are the same. And different. Reviewers aren’t qualified or institutional. Just people who loved the book or hated the salmon-on-a-cedar-plank, who thought the treble was set too high or didn’t like the way the salesperson talked to her toddler. Good or bad, they’re up forever. A ten-year-old comment might still be on top of the list. Sometimes they generate a spiral, usually downwards, of challenges and replies.

People who use reviews learn to assess the credibility of reviewers and pick up on which ones their own tastes align with. And some sites help by letting you access all the reviews somebody has written or by tracking whether other people scored their comments “helpful.” A long string of 5-star reviews may mark an especially good piece of work. But it may also mean the author has lots of relatives trying to help her out. 1-stars may mean something’s lousy, or show enemies or rivals lurking. A 3-star average may indicate mediocrity or an excellence that not everybody gets.

But it’s all you have, if you’re looking for something new to read, or a new restaurant to try. Your time and money are limited, so you’ll probably check out the higher-rated choices first. Reviews are the blood flow of Amazon: either they bring you some oxygen or your work turns blue. The people behind the work take all the comments personally and feel them sharply. Reviews can validate your efforts or knock you flat. If you’ve spent a year of your life making the best story you know how, hearing “well, that sucked” is going to sting. Obviously an idiot with no taste, but …

I was lucky, right off the bat, getting strong reviews that pleased me not just because they were favorable, but because they seemed to understood what I was trying to do and thought I had succeeded. But then came some harsh ones, some mean ones. Some stung because they touched what I thought the weak spots were—ah, got me! Some annoyed because they claimed I had failed at something I hadn’t tired to do, or violated a standard I wasn’t trying to meet. Should you give a bad review to a book because it isn’t the kind of story you like to read? Most people let it go, but others are on a mission to purify the world by marking everything that displeases them.

What’s fascinating is when the same quality gets an opposite response. Fit to Curve, my first book, starts slowly as I introduce my main characters to the world, for the series, not just for this story. Part of the craft of the novelist is learning what you can leave out (and for the most part: if you can, you should). But this was my first venture. It was the most common criticism, except for the reviewers who didn’t notice, didn’t care, or thought it was a good thing. My second title, Heart Attack, moves more briskly; it generated a different set of complaints. Here’s a selection of typical comments (some fragments, some whole, mostly from Amazon, a couple from Goodreads). Question: have they read the same book(s)?

      Fit to Curve is a skillfully written mystery with complex characters and such a fascinating plot that I’m way behind on my chores.

      This series is a favorite with interesting plots and wonderfully drawn characters. Wish the author would write more of them. The type of book you don’t want to end.

      A bed and breakfast mystery. Super characters, well developed. You are waiting for the other shoe to drop. A mouth-watering, good read. I love the old lady with the sharp wit and mind. I’d like the recipes, too

      I wasn’t sure I’d like this book at first, because the plot builds very slowly. But once I got into it, I was hooked. I liked the characters, and you get a lot of insight into them.

      Good mystery, likeable characters, but overly long-winded. I put it down for days on end because it just seemed to go nowhere at times.

        This is too fine a novel, as a novel, to be mired in the mystery/suspense ghetto. It’s a good mystery, with a complex plot, all the mystery trappings, but the characters are rounded and attractive. The theme seems to me to be a consideration of morality – not just sexual morality (or immorality), though there’s some of that too, for those who like to read such descriptions, but all kinds of morality: for how high a price might you sell your soul?

      It pains me to say I just couldn’t get into this book. I found the characters were well written, and their personalities drew me in. However, with that being said, the plot just moved too slow for me.

      Heart Attack is a great read! Just wish Ellen & Geoffrey weren’t quite so perfect; never do anything wrong, look great all the time, have wonderful jobs, and the only drawback to their marriage … she can’t have kids. 

     This couple are a great addition to the mystery genre. Sharp and interesting with a bit of humor and spice.

      Snappy dialog. Geoff and Ellen are a great team. He has a definite intuitive method of assessing info and arriving at conclusions that baffle and irk his cohorts. Ellen is more conventional and together are a great team. Unusual mystery not easily solved.

      I just read the first few pages and then deleted it from my Kindle. I am not a fan of books with nothing but sex and innuendo for a story line. It might have gotten better as it went along, but I couldn’t get far enough to find out.

The last was my favorite 1-star, from Amazon Canada. It’s a little bewildering, I’m really not sure what alarmed her. But it brought a huge brief spike in Canadian sales. Probably also some disappointed readers.

 

FitToCurveSONY DSCGhostWalk LittleFishes

 

So, hey, if you’ve got something nice to say, say it. If you’re going to be mean, pause a second: do you need to? Have you spotted a rotten thing the world should be warned against, or just something not to your taste?

That’s my review: 5-stars.

 

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Around the house, while the query letters fly, out and away.

Pacing while the internets whirl.

It probably isn’t a good thing that the turkeys let me get this close.
They should flee what I might be.

Willed turkeys.

Two hens and a half-pint.

One hot bush, from the little chilies on the bottom to the thirty jalapenos above.
Wait, that’s two bushes in one cage.

Where it all begins.

Peppertunity.

Be happy that you’re happy.

Just doing what the bulb said.

Everybody must get glad.

A sucking bee
just like a spelling bee, except stickier.

Not a slut.

Just being available.

The dense wood in the middle was the base of a butterfly bush that stood eight feet tall.
Last year.
This year, the final frost killed it all, except two tiny sprigs.

Remember that last hard frost?

Just a flutter by bush, this year.

After awhile, you don’t see this,
because it would be too weird, if you had to explain.

Got to happen, right here.

It is something, really.

 We’ll die, we will, but it won’t be this pretty.

Looks so natural.

Death be proud.

They come, to astound, and then to die.

Iamb a moth.

Hear me roar.

 Yes, the super moon, two weeks ago.
The camera didn’t know how big it was.

Supposed to be.

Supper moon?

Any bigger and it would be falling,
a spiral exploding death by gravity.

148,000 words, no, you’ve got to be kidding?

Please, ma’am, Ghost Walk is a story that long,
really, it is.
I have already eschewed surplussage.

They all promise to reply,
unless they don’t.

That’s a “no.”

So say “no” to death,
to go back into the human mind again.

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The last segment of edits — so many births, a book has.

 ecce

Ghost Walk

third book in the series

of the Ellen and Geoffrey Fletcher Mysteries

Well. The last improper comma is gone, the last proper but absent comma is inserted.
Of a thousand proposed edits, all but a few score taken.

2014-08-17_15-18-39_218

The big question now: do I trigger some dozens of rejections
from a flurry of query letters to my list of literary agents
in hopes of a single positive reply?

Or just upload to Amazon, like the first two,
for a few minutes of being the newest mystery in the world?

Well, not tonight.
The edit heave is hove.
Bed beckons.

Book Three.

Cover

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Simple Sunday.

 

We tried to discourage this nest. Three times we knocked it down, four times the phoebes built it back.

Little unfledged chick twitching on the cement Saturday evening; not good, but not dead, so we pushed her back into the nest. Sunday, evolution reiterated the case. Weakest of the four, end of the road for one phoebe; phoebe-hood for the other three still on track. Species go!

Saved for a day.

Rescue butt.

90% sleep, 10% eat. Soon they will fledge and trade sleep for twitch: the phoebe cry and the jerky tail. And they will in turn make nests, in inappropriate places.

Just asleep.

Between meals.

Two inches of headroom, apparently, is enough.

Head room.

Good choice.

We used to run a halogen par-38 in this fixture. Way too hot to touch: hard-boiled bird. Compact fluorescent, barely warm, like a substitute mother. Good, because mom has to fly off for a while every time we go in or out the door.

Site specifics

CFL bulb. Imagine the hard boil of a halogen.

Someday one of the series: knitted shawls taken from moth wings. We’re building a portfolio.

Mothra.

Shawl template.

When good outhouses develop attitude. Past using now, but you can’t knock it over. Suffering from a structurally enfeebled right edge on the ground, that’s the problem digging with a back hoe. Shovel and bucket, you can get hospital corners. Probably a tea party thing, didn’t want to be seen supporting something that got half its stability from the left. A shame: sealed joints, screened crescent, heat lamp, reading light, vent, front porch, full roof overhang. Fine work.

Lit, heated, vented.

Right leaning.

The white birches in the middle were six-inch seedlings when we planted them thirty-six years ago. The house grew for a few years, too. But the birches kept on.

Loom center/center.

The house stopped, the trees kept on growing.

Appalachia has briar patches, too. But the signature entanglement is the laurel thicket. It’s just 10 yards from the road. But it’s half a mile deep. Deep woods woven shade. Easy to get in.

Mountain laurel.

Innocent edge of a laurel thicket.

The committe assembles on the 600-volt feeder. Good place for watching the blueberries (we’ll be finished soon) and safe from the return line or the ground. But can they feel the pulse between their toes?

Hard-wired.

Taking a meeting.

In a bucket on the porch, all stages, up the curve and down, are beautiful. Power flowers.

Staged beauties.

Consider the lilies. Or the marigolds.

That was a good break: fifteen storey climb and back. But I’ve got the final 148 pages of edits to process. Ghost Walk isn’t going to finish itself. But there is an end in sight. Press self firmly into chair, lift your hands, and wrap it up.

 

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Should be the easiest thing.

Just land the plane, already.

Book Three.

Cover

As revising goes, it’s so simple. Nothing much to carry in your head, not much by way of artistic issue. Just a press-your-butt-into-the-chair kind of job to do.

You set up a synchronized scroll, get the page widths right. Then all you have to do is roll to the next red mark, and accept or reject the edit. But there is something intensely and unavoidably personal at stake. An editor has the key to your sock drawer. She sees all, knows all. Consistency, Chicago style, agreement, continuity: all that is purely technical, semi-mechanical.

 
“Candlestick maker, so much more, Sarah Felicity?”
“No doubts, a clean machine.” Felicity picksed rice from the tight black curls of her hair.
“Can anyone say we should not continue?”
Danni coughsed. “The issues not addressed? Sliding on the easy?”
“We can only say,” Dulce speaokse calmly, with decision, “we have weighed what could be weighed and have elected to flop together into a shared future.”
“Baby come out white, ready for that?” Danni asksed.
“Every baby,” Carrie answersed, “is her own miracle.” It iwas easy to grab Harris under her arms, because her fists awere raised as she chargesd at Danni. Carrie liftsed her off the ground so her feet haved no purchase, though they scrambled against the air for a second. Carrie liftsed her sister high and locksed eyes. She turnsed slowly to the left, all the way around, and lowersed her into place. She bendst to kiss the top of Harris’s head and speaokse very softly. “It’s good, my wild one, really. It is all good.” She brushesd the back of her hand gently down the cheek of her other sister, standing rigid by Harris, hands clenched at her sides. “Dear Syd, it is love working. Trust!”
Savion’s voice boomsed. “Baker!”
Gene saysid, “Good as it can be, way better than most. I bless, with my full authority.” His sisters’ eyes awere wide;, they haved never heard him speak so many words at once.
Savion. “Butcher!”
Danni saysid, “I have proved the rule. I accede, stipulating there will be trials.”
 
 

      But the higher value, and the deeper fright, comes in the comments:

            What does this mean? I get the Star Wars reference, but I don’t know the second meaning.

A process you have chosen, engaged with, paid for. But can you bear it to the end, 350 pages more?

 

 

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She seems nice. Edit, adit, obit: ever a crossword.

I met her on the internet, I replied to her ad. Smooth sailing, surely, thence-from-there-forward.

She’s freelance, doesn’t work for a house. But her eye is good, and relentless. Some degree of compassion, also, I’m almost sure. Trust but verify. If you can.

Rates are within trade norms, fuzzy edges, though between the copy- and line- options.

But Ghost Walk is a big book, many pages, many words, many hours. Is she up to it? And is the edit worth the fee? Measured along what scale, or against what result?

 

Book Three.

Cover

 

I think so. But there is not a more intimate relation than a writer with an editor. Success in collaboration is not guaranteed nor in any way insurable. How will this end? All previous winnings bet on one number, on one spin, with no hedging on the red or even halves. What would Geoffrey do? What would Ellen do? So much easier to write their parts than mine.

Oh, look, that’s it: edge of the cliff. To the metal, Thelma, fly! Where’s my blankey?

 

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