Monday, April 29, 2013

That Golden Horseshoe & a Thank You

The other day my best friend and fellow author and sometime writing partner Melissa Goodman told me she was going to start walking behind me so that she would catch that golden horseshoe when it falls out. I laughed. But professionally and now personally it seems it's raining good fortune. And there's nothing better than sharing your good fortune with those around you. Especially those who've made the journey with and those who made it possible. And then the others who exist in both of those categories.

I have never been busier than I have been now in my writing career. On the hook for 23 contracts spread across three separate houses, I'm currently writing a trilogy, a stand alone, and 2 screenplays. I just finished a screenplay and am close to finishing another one. Book 2 in the trilogy is more than halfway done and the stand alone has less than a hundred pages to be written on it. And when I clear the deck I'm going to write and self-publish #24.

I have traveled a rough road to get here. Childhood was a lonely and terrifying time for me. The adults in my life couldn't be trusted. Men were the enemy by virtue of their actions, and though a few of them showed me they could be kind and loving, it was the majority who were cruel and violent that left their mark on me. I knew my mom and step-dad loved me, but the household was mecurial. They ran hot and cold, fine one minute, furious the next. It was a matter of walking on eggshells and it seemed no matter how good or smart or accomplished I was it was never good enough. They've mellowed in the older age and I never doubted their love for me, but growing up in a household like that leaves it's mark on you. Makes it hard to trust people. Makes you vulnerable to other things. As an adult I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I've been blessed in that regard. Even though I've had breakdowns I haven't had psychotic breaks with reality.

I've known what it's like to go to bed hungry and wake up hungry as an adult. I have a healthy dislike for hot dogs, spaghetti, and all things Ramen because of it. I did it in the name of pursuing the dream of making a film and in the midst of it that's when I had my breakdowns. People disappear and disappoint in the hard times. Very few stick around. Missy stuck it out as my friend. Those were some hard times. I wasn't always the nicest of people. I was sick, I was poor, and I was hungry and she was kind and along with the doctors she helped put me back together. I'm stronger than ever now.

I'm happy too. I'm going out on tour with my books. I even have a date! I'm entering Fright Night and Austin with my screenplays (co-written by that same Missy Goodman) and if there are awards to be won it will be all the sweeter because of the road I've traveled with my friend.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Self Transformation

To continue along the theme I started yesterday I'd like to get more into self-transformation. More specifically, reconnecting with a sport that I love even more than UK Wildcat college basketball. LDR-long distance running. And now, more than ever, I think I should be preparing myself to take part in it. Allow me to explain.

When the movie theater shooting happened in Colorado with the Batman midnight showing I was utterly freaked  out and getting myself back to a place where I loved and made my profession and vocation was next to impossible. And with the attack at the Boston Marathon I knew immediately I would have to get back up on the horse or I might never run in a race again.

As it stands I weigh 289lbs. and quite frankly I am at risk for everything from high blood pressure to heart disease and diabetes. So I have decided to start running races even if they're just five and ten K's. But first I have to build my endurance back up. Which means getting my butt up out of bed every morning and and going whenever I can. I have no car so that means working around other people's schedule. Eating less, moving more.

I have started the vision board and writing more on various projects. I'll take pictures of me at the park walking (because trust me, I can barely do that) as I progress and FB and social media will become my sort of online vision board. I want success, someone to share it with and someone who embraces my love for running/walking as well as my love for writing. And I plan on making it happen. Here's a picture of me at 289lbs. I'm not thrilled with the idea of putting it on display, but it will help me own it and face it. So as I continue along I'll pick 5K's  and 10K's with the ultimate goal of the KDF Mini next year (the Kentucky Derby Festival Half Marathon. And perhaps even the Triple Crown of Running).

So that's me. Amy McCorkle, author extraordinaire. I plan on there being a lot less of me by this time next year and being way healthier.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Everyone has dreams and goals. Once upon a time I wanted to be a published author. Now I am, with oodles of contracts running out my eyeballs and have enough work to drive a wood man crazy. 2 in progress novels and 3 in progress screenplays, plus a book to be written! That doesn't count my books at my other houses lol. All of this coming at a time when I thought I would never know what it was like to be published.

Now on to conquer the world. I recently saw Kevin Smith's Burn In Hell Tour on YouTube. Each time I see him speak I'm more convinced than ever he's one of the most under rated storytellers of our time. But he gave the rallying cry of Why Not? The book, the movie, the record, whatever your dream was there was the overwhelming feeling was that life was short and that you shouldn't waste it.

I've always dreamed of winning the Austin Film Festival Bronze Typewriter and with 2 screenplays eligible for a couple of different categories, Why Not? I want to win an Oscar. Why Not? I want to produce and create an Indie Soap series, Why Not? I want to hit the bestseller's list again, Why Not?

At ConCave this year I had the great pleasure of sharing a table with Bertena Varney. (Pam we'll be doing Killer Nashville!).  She was a great reader and said this was my year. And so far everything she's said has been true! She suggested I make a vision board. I said I wanted someone to share this success with she said that was very much a possibility. I know some don't give much credence to this sort of thing but she is fantastic and is a great guide. 

I embrace my dreams and am making a plan to achieve my dreams and goals. And the vision board I created with what I dream of on it. This is my year. I really believe it. I've been blessed this year no doubt and I hope those reading this might know the success I have over the past few years.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I once saw a movie that inspired me to write the kind of heroes that most women dream of. I signed a contract where I got paid an advance. What I learned was that I'm one of those annoying writers who was more interested in rubric other than that of the financial gain to define what would be mean success for me.

I got a lesson in publishing as a business vs. writing as an art form. And while I had learned that lesson early on my time at MuseItUp Publishing had taught me that my voice was as important as the almighty dollar and while I could change a great many things my voice was not one of them. Which led to me making the hardest decision of my life in giving the money back and doing what I wanted with my manuscript.

I knew the manuscript was great. So I took it to Blackwyrm and while I must admit I'm terrified of what the edits are going to look like I love it there. The publisher, Dave has been nothing but warm and friendly and those whom I reached out to in the Con committee such as Ken Daniels have been fantastic as well.

My best friend and sometime writing partner Missy Goodman has said she's going to start walking around behind so that when the golden horseshoe falls out of my ass she'll be there to catch it. And I have been blessed. 23 contracts. 7 books out. Awards. I get a royalty check in most cases.

But I think the reason I have these things is because of my voice. It's definitive and I know how to hook a reader. I'm not bragging I can only assume that's what it is. I never imagined success would look like this. And to my friends who still struggle, your time will come, you work too hard for it not to.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

B is for Bond

So how do you take your James Bond? Smooth like Connery? Forgettable like Lazenby? Difficult like Dalton? Light and fun like Bronsan? Or gritty and dark and played with relish by Craig?

Let's be honest, there is no right or wrong answer. But for my money there are two Bonds worth mentioning. Quintessential Bond, as in Connery, who originated the role and the Best Bond, Daniel Craig.

Before Casino Royale the brand was a bit long in the tooth. Although I like Bronsan as an actor (I adore him in the Matador) he is not my favorite Bond. But upon seeing Royale, however, I am an uber Craig fan.

The violent, not caring whether he lives or dies character with layers only hinted at in those beautiful intense blue eyes of his. Who falls in love despite his better judgment and even as he fights to save Vesper he believes in his love of Country. LOVE IT. Casino Royale is a great film with a fantastic love story and is great reboot to the series.

Then there's SKYFALL. Probably the one that will be talked about for a long time to come. Adele sings the perfect title song. Bond struggles the most. M.'s past comes to roost. And Javier Bardem is the perfect villain. You even get to see Daniel dig shrapnel out of his body (featured in the picture above).

For my money this is as good as it gets. And that's why for me, today B is for Bond!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Adversity

Sometimes people look at what I've accomplished in the last two and half years and they think, wow you've really had it easy. Wow all you have to do is breathe and you get what you want. Wow, everyone really loves you. But let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all I'm fast approaching my 38th birthday and NOTHING has been handed to me. I've worked my tuckus off to get it. Now I will allow that when I was fast approaching my 36th year on this planet I had something of revelation. I went to digicon put on by Savvy Authors. And suddenly every lesson every taught to me become crystal clear as if someone had given me the decoder ring. I received my first contract and in then my second. In the July of that year I went to my first scifi con and met my second publisher and who would eventually become my third. I have won some awards in the process too. And attend more cons and had my first print book published.

But as a writer my adversity has come from the world outside of publishing. I have faced the typical variety, oh so you're a writer so what, variety from people I desperately want validation from. But I've also faced the more cutting variety. Poverty, which, until recently, has kept travel to a minimum. Abuse as a child, which I won't go too much into, but suffice it to say, things that have been said and done to me which should make me a much angrier and bitter person than I am. And in some cases I'm pretty sure I shouldn't even be alive. And then there's the mental illness which I cope with on a day to day basis. There's the bipolar disorder, the anxiety, and myriad of many other problems to mention.

The blatant disrespect I get on a daily basis is another form of adversity. If I can weather all of that I feel like I can enjoy the fruits of my long struggle at finally breaking through in the publishing world.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Small Press

Contrary to popular belief I can’t make it rain when it comes to contracts. However, when it comes to the pitch and a synopsis I am one of heck of a pitch woman, and when it comes to finding a quality small press the pitch, and knowing what you want, is key.

I belong to three houses. MuseItUp Publishing, Hydra Publications, and Blackwyrm Publishing. One of them is a Canadian e-publisher, one is located in Madison, IN, and the other is in my hometown of Louisville, KY. They each offer me something different.

Muse taught me how to self-market and put me through a kind of marketing bootcamp. Between them and digicon of Savvy Authors I came out ready made to promote myself. 

Hydra gave me my first print book. That’s what I wanted. Hydra is in its infancy as a company and Frank has big ambitions for the company. I signed on for the print book though.

And finally Blackwyrm, they offer a unique set up. They cover marketing, cover, editing. The book breaks even you get 50% of the profit. You can ‘jump the stack’ by actively marketing yourself and your work. It’s more of a partnership and some may not like it, but I’ve seen some things that I really like about it and I knew what I was walking into.

Knowing what a small press can and can not do for you in key. Their budgets are not that of a traditional press and even theirs aren’t great for the unknowns. Keep that in mind. Authors have a daydream about what the Big 6 can do for them and while it does sometimes happen, it’s rare.

Now all of that being said I am enjoying the fruits of my labor. The small press rewards fast writers, fast learners, and those who can pitch extremely well, at least, that’s been my experience.

And in this in flux publishing world it would do people well to research their press they choose to go to very well. You don’t want to be ripped off. I’m not paying a single out of pocket cost to have my books published. And if you are, you’re in the wrong place.

As you travel this crazy world of writing and publishing remember, writing is art, publishing is a business. But that’s another lesson for another time.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Last year, I helped out with Louisville?s multimedia science fiction  
and fantasy convention, ConGlomeration. They were so grateful, that  
they forced me to serve them for all time. I mean, they inducted me  
into the convention committee.
ConGlomeration has some great people and events this year. On a normal  
year, you can expect to see authors, artists, gamers, musicians, and  
cosplayers (costume wearers). This year, we also have mad science  
experiments and a troupe of actors.
We're bringing in the independent theater group The Alley. At their  
own place, they've performed such wonders as Evil Dead: The Musical,  
Star Wars in 60 Minutes or Less, The Matrix, and Hitchhikers Guide to  
the Galaxy. At ConGlomeration, you can see them perform two radio  
serial-based shows that are included in your normal ticket price:  
Flash Gordon and Commander Cody. Normally, to see two shows by The  
Alley would cost more than your generally admission to ConGlomeration,  
but these are being thrown in as a bonus.
We?re bringing LVL1 (?Level 1?) hackerspace. They?re a collective  
group of scientists, engineers, inventors, and other geniuses who  
share a four-story building filled with high-tech equipment, all so  
they can play around with it and see what kind of wild stuff they can  
make. They're bringing a device that will let ConGlomeration attendees  
explode a watermelon with just the power of their minds.
But we're not neglecting our usual attractions. There will be dozens  
of vendors, carrying everything from books to jewelry to swords. Our  
hospitality suite will be stocked with all the drinks and snacks you  
want, including a 'high tea' on Saturday as led by the Louisville Tea  
Company.  There will be board games, card games, miniatures games, and  
roleplaying games played throughout the event, including a game  lending library to 
try out new games. Noted gamer Sean Patrick  
Fannon will be up from Atlanta. Indie Press Revolution will be on hand  
to introduce you to weird games you?ve never heard of.
There will be dozens of events, seminars, and panel discussions.  
Listen to filking (parody singing), and concerts by Drunk & Sailor and  
by the Klingon klezmer folk band Il Troubador. Watch our masquerade  
for amazing contests and skits.
We also have special guests of honor that we?re bringing in:
Artist: Beth Trott is primarily a watercolorist but also works in a  
number of other mediums, including digital, oils, graphite, and pen  
and ink. Her clients include Fantasy Flight Games, Paizo Publishing,  
White Wolf Publishing, and Wizards of the Coast, and Harper Collins.
Author: Ian 'Lizard' Harac is an alpha nerd, with works published for  
Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, the Dying Earth books, and the HERO system,  
as well as a regular column for PC World magazine. He leads the  
science fiction and fantasy writers group in Louisville. He'll be  
reading from his novel The Rainbow Connection, in which an FBI agent  
goes to the land of Oz to solve a Munchkin?s murder, and from Medic,  
in which a sentient ambulance in a post-apocalyptic future spew his  
Publisher: Jason Sizemore of Apex Books is by his own admission a hillbilly done good.
His Apex Magazine has featured pieces from some  
of the most famous science fiction and fantasy authors today, and was  
a finalist for the 2012 Hugo Awards. As an editor, Jason has been  
nominated personally for a Hugo and a Stoker Award.
What: ConGlomeration
When: Friday April 5 ? Sunday April 7 2013
Where: Ramada Inn Plaza, 9700 Bluegrass Pkwy, Louisville KY 40299
How Much: Admission is $45, which covers the entire three days, and  
all of the programming.
Who: YOU!
Dave Mattingly

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When Editing...

I wish I could say I was the most mature person in the world when it comes to editing. And while I think I am pretty pragmatic about things, every once in a while I too can be difficult if the issue is something I feel sore spot about.

Two things. Age difference and abuse. Dealing with the latter's subject matter can be difficult. And feeling a personal connection to it sometimes I take the critique's personally. What I have to remember is that this person doesn't know me or my history. They're just looking to make the story better. As for age difference and who has a problem with it. I think it's a generational thing. I noticed the older men and women in my life have more of a problem with it than say the younger ones. What I have to  remember is I want a wide swath of people to read it. Still some things I am willing to fight for.

That being said I think I have the most awesome editor in Austin. He's there to answer my questions and give me guidance on which direction might be best to take. He allows me to find my voice in those suggestions. Yes, he's a guy and my background is in subgenre romance/subgenre erotic romance but he helps shore up my skills and make sure it's not just a wallpaper thriller in the sense there's a few tropes and a fat romance in the middle of it. It makes the writing harder, but in the end it makes me a more skilled writer.

Also, a shoutout to Denise for making the looong trip from Maryland to Kentucky for one of the more..interesting Cons I've been to and calling me gold. Even if yesterday was rough I came out the better for it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Welcome DB Corey

An interview with Detective-Sergeant Jacob “Moby” Truax, lead detective in Chain of Evidence.

Good evening. I am your host, DB Corey, and tonight I’d like to welcome Detective-Sergeant Jacob “Moby” Truax of The Maryland State Police—Special Investigations Unit. This evening we’re discussing his latest—and perhaps his final—assignment: The Cyanide Killer case.
Hello, Detective Truax. It is, Tru-ax, correct?
That’s right. Two syllables.
Great, I just wanted to be sure. So thank you for granting my request for an interview. I know there are aspects of The Cyanide Killer case that you cannot discuss, so we’ll just try to work around them, OK?
My listeners have submitted a number of questions, hoping to quell their curiosity regarding Chain of Evidence, so if you don’t mind, I’ll get right to them.
Corey: This question comes from Hanna Braver. She’d like to know how you came by such an interesting and unusual nickname.
Truax: Ms. Braver. Thank you for your question. I came by the name Moby in the 8th grade. One of our class assignments was to read Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and write a 20-page book report. Our teacher wanted the top three scores to give oral reports to the class. Mine was the 2nd reading.
When she handed back my report to read aloud, I told her I didn’t need it and recited it word for word as she followed along. She didn’t know that I possessed a photographic memory. It was as if I was reading from the page. She was so impressed that she had me address the entire 8th grade class during an assembly. I was mortified, standing there center stage, and my buddies never let me live it down. They started calling me Moby. The name stuck.
Corey: Well, Detective, after hearing that, I feel the need to ask a question of my own. What sort of advantage does your eidetic memory give you in your work? Does it give you an edge in your investigations, or your interrogations of suspects?
Truax: There was a time, when I was young, that my photographic memory was what the kids today might call, a “mad” skill. But it wasn’t a skill at all. It was a gift. I could remember everything I was ever exposed to: dates, names, events, numbers, faces.... There were no limits. It was like a super power when it came to police work.
Corey: You speak of it in the past tense, Detective. Why is that?
Truax: Because I no longer possess it. I am nearing 60, the state’s age of mandatory retirement. Memory fades as one gets older, even a photographic one. Now I’m lucky if I can remember what I did yesterday.
Corey: I’m sorry to hear that, Detective. I expect it’s quite a loss.
Truax: To say the least.
Corey: But you must be looking forward to retirement. Do you have any plans, other than fishing?
Truax: I’d like to say I’m looking forward to retirement, but truth is I can’t afford it. Have you been paying attention to the economy, Mr. Corey? Our illustrious government has spent the state into poverty and has decimated the pensions of retirees to cover the shortfalls. Now they have their eye on those of us nearing retirement. They’re just looking for a reason to send us on our way in order to cut our pensions. They’re hiring college kids for a fraction of what they pay tenured cops, and if I screw up this investigation, my new captain will have my job.
Corey: Ah ... yes. So, we have another question here, from a Ms. Natalie Bowman. She’d like to know why is it you haven’t apprehended The Cyanide Killer yet. She says she’s afraid to leave her house and that the police have had plenty of time to catch him. 
Truax: Not all homicides are cut and dried, Ms. Bowman. I can’t divulge too much, but suffice it to say that this investigation does not follow what we would call normal patterns. For example, the killer’s MO has changed since the earliest victims. Those were older women. The more recent victims are younger, prettier. But the toxin used in each homicide is identical across the board. The evidence points to a single killer, but I’m not so sure.
Corey: Sounds like you have a different theory.
Truax: I believe there is a copycat at work, but my captain has ordered me to focus on a single killer. True, the weapon is identical in all cases, but from what I see, that’s the only similarity.
Corey: An identical weapon? Isn’t that enough to go on?
Truax: Not for me. But as I said earlier, the captain is looking for a reason to unload my kind. He’s gone as far as to cozy up to the FBI—saddled me with a “partner;” I have her card right here. Special Agent Francis Vecchio. I call her Frankie. She hates it, so all the more reason to stay with it. She’s an attractive gal, and if I were 30 years younger I might have a go at her. But to my old-school way of thinking, she doesn’t know much about detective work. Keeps asking stupid questions and flashing her cleavage. I think my captain put her with me as a spy, or at the very least, a distraction. I must be careful around her.
Corey: An attractive partner? Well, Detective, I suppose there are worse ways to go. So I see the phone lines are lighting up, so how about we take a call?”
Truax: Sure.
Corey: Hello caller. You’re on with Detective Truax.
Woman Caller: Detective Truax, from what I’ve heard, you sound old. Ah, ol-der. I don’t mean to be judgmental, but isn’t there someone else that could take this Cyanide case? Maybe someone younger?
Truax: Huh.... Sure there is. And I wish the captain saw fit to assign it to one of his young hotshots. The last thing I need at my age is to chase a serial killer, especially one who leaves nothing behind. 
Woman Caller: But you just said you think there is a copycat out there. That means two killers, right?
Truax: Like I said ... the last thing I need.
Corey: We have another caller. You are on the line.
Male Caller: I work in the department, Detective, and I hear things.
Truax: Yeah? Like what?
Male Caller: Your Captain Atkins isn’t going to wait much longer for you to make some progress in the case. There are rumors he’s looking for a reason to replace you.
Truax: I thought I said that.
Male Caller: And when he does, what will you do then, Detective? You’re running out of time, Truax. So is your career. You’d better hurry. You’re in the way. People are waiting to step in.
Truax: Who is this?
Corey: Oh.... They hung up. You have an enemy, Detective.
Truax: More than one. That sounded like Atkins’s Golden Boy, Nichols; brown-nosing as—
Truax: What the hell was that?
Corey: Our engineer hit the dump button. I’m afraid you can’t use that kind of language on the air.
Truax: Huh....
Corey: It’s just as well, because I’m afraid that’s all the time we have for this evening. I apologize to those listeners and callers who didn’t have their questions answered, and perhaps Detective Truax will consent to come on with me another time to address them?
Truax: Yeah, sure I will. And once I make the connection of the younger victims to the older ones, I’ll solve the Cyanide Killings. Maybe, I’ll even write a book. God knows I could use the money.     
Corey:  Now that’s something I would enjoy reading. I’ll look forward to it. And I know a good publisher when you’re ready. So that’s it for- tonight. Thanks for joining us, and I’ll look forward to hearing from all of you again.  
Good night, one and all, and please don’t text and drive. It’s bad for your health.
G’night now.
(Queue Dragnet theme. Should be public domain by now.) 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Standing On the Shoulders Of Others

I work hard. Insanely hard. And my success did not come easily. Although good things are coming now, great things even I worked very hard for them and I deserve them. I often say my career can be best summed up by the actress Holland Taylor's acceptance speech for her Emmy she earned on 'The Practice', overnight ;).

I'm no spring chicken and I two years ago about this time I had manuscripts, some half-finished, some done, scripts too. And whenever I would venture to send them out I got big fat rejection letters. Finally a friend and fellow author Pamela Turner told me about Savvy Author's Digicon. I went. I pitched. Three publishers and an agent asked for my work. All of them accepted. I chose MuseItUp Publishing, where the author is nurtured and shown the ropes. It's been crazy ever since.

I went to Fandom Fest on a tip from Pamela, (who is the author of the fabulous Death Sword and several shorts featured in anthologies by Rayne Hall and Family Tradition, an ebook from MuseItUp Publishing). There I met Frank Hall of Hydra Publications. Who picked me up as an author with my books Bounty Hunter, the Breath of Life series, the Gunpowder & Lead series, and my short story Set Fire to the Rain. Which brought me the attention of the people running the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity Conference. In turn I checked them out. They ran a publishing house Intrigue Publishing which specializes in Mysteries & Thrillers. get the point.

So I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Pamela Turner. She works hard. Insanely hard. I think we're both a little insane to be honest with our work schedules.

Lea Schizas of Muse, (Another Way to Die, No Ordinary Love, GLADIATOR, & ORACLE) made me a better writer. Frank Hall of Hydra (I mentioned the titles at his house) gave me my first print and audio deal. And Denise, Austin, and Sandra of Intrigue gave me my first advance for Sin Of My Father.

I've won awards, GLADIATOR was an Amazon bestseller, and I was on the cover of Target Online Magazine. If it can make it anyone can. You just have to be insane enough to keep pushing at the wall when it feels like it will never move.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I don’t generally like being in the spotlight. I guess the Secret Service taught me it’s better to keep a low profile.

But I’m not with them anymore, and this reporter Irma Andrews helped me unravel a series of murders that caused a lot of collateral damage among the families of the victims. So when Irma asked for an interview I didn’t see how I could say no. Despite my girl Cindy’s prompting I refused to do a TV piece. Appearing in print is bad enough. At least Irma didn’t misquote me, but I think she left out some stuff that makes the whole thing a little misleading. Anyway, here’s the way the piece ran:

I met with private investigator Hannibal Jones in his office in the Anacostia section of Washington. He offered me an excellent cup of coffee, which he said was made from Costa Rican beans, and sat at his desk with sunlight pouring in through large front windows. The office was small and Spartan, sparely furnished but warm and bright. Significantly, while I took notes during the interview, so did Mr. Jones.

Irma Andrews: Thank you for speaking with me today. You are listed as a private investigator but your card describes you as a troubleshooter. How would you describe what you do, and why is it different from what most P.I.’s do?

Hannibal Jones: Most private investigators do employment vetting, matrimonial and divorce work, insurance claims and that kind of stuff. My work is a lot more focused. My clientele is individuals, not corporations. I work with people who are in trouble and don’t know where to get help.

IA: But you do bodyguard work.

HJ: Sometimes.

IA: And solve mysteries like any detective.

HJ: On occasion.

IA: And if a person has been threatened?

HJ: Look, I do whatever’s necessary to help somebody who’s gotten themselves into a jam. I don’t think much about what that might be, going in.

IA: What qualifies you to do this sort of work? What is your professional background?

HJ: As soon as I was old enough I moved to the States and joined the New York City police force.

IA: You weren’t born in the United States?

HJ: No. I was raised in Germany. My dad was an MP in the army. My mom was a German national. We lost Dad in Vietnam. Anyway, I came to the U.S. to be a cop and I was going to bring Mama over as soon as I was settled but she passed.

IA: While you were away.

HJ: (pause.) Yes. While I was away.

IA: I’m sorry. So, you became a policeman…

HJ: Three years on the force to make detective J.G. Then three more as a detective. Then I passed the Secret Service entry exam. I spent seven years as a special agent for the Treasury Department, in the protective service.

IA: But after seven years, you resigned.

HJ: Yeah, well, stuff happened. I should have been one of the uniforms instead of going to the protective service. You see, in the protective service they expect you to not only protect your principal’s life, but his reputation too. I didn’t think my duty should included covering up a politician’s stupid actions. My boss disagreed.

IA: Any politician in particular?

HJ: Not going to go there.

IA: A national figure? Executive branch or…

HJ: I’m not going to go there.

IA: All right. So you had friction with your supervisor. For that you resigned?

HJ: Yeah. Well, after I knocked him on his ass the service was good enough to let me resign.

IA: Should I print that?

HJ: Why not. It’s what happened. They were actually pretty nice about it. Could have stopped me from getting the P.I license you know.

IA: So why this whole troubleshooter concept? How did you get into this business?

HJ: I guess in a way I did it for Mama. She always wanted me to follow my dad’s example. He was always there for people, always looking out for the little guy. Here in Washington, it seemed like there was an overabundance of little guys that needed looking out for.

IA: How do you get enough clients?

HJ: It was slow at first, but word of mouth is a powerful force in the hood. I did a couple of jobs pro bono - kept a couple of kids from being approached by drug dealers. After that people started to find me when they had problems.

IA: So your neighbors are your clients?

HJ: My clients are people with problems bigger than they are. Naturally that happens more often to people without big money.

IA: I know you’ve also had more affluent clients.

HJ: Well, I do get referrals from old Secret Service contacts. And I get business referred to me by the attorney I introduced you to, Cindy Santiago, my, um, friend.

IA: So you do have entrees into a higher financial stratum, but the well-to-do don’t come to Anacostia. Why have your office here?

HJ: That’s a bit of a story. This building used to be a crack house, believe it or not. I was hired to clear the bad element out of here for the owner. In the process I kind of bonded with the neighborhood. I felt at home here, and I knew if I stayed, the bad element wouldn’t be back. I guess the owner knew it too. He made me a very attractive offer to stay.

IA: Why not join a larger detective agency?

HJ: I like deciding who I’ll take as a client, and what kind of job I’ll do.

IA: What kind of job will you do?

HJ: All kinds. Well, no matrimonial stuff, or spying on people waiting for them to do wrong. But I do personal protection, missing persons, sometimes get hired to prove an accused person innocent. I’ll chase a bad element away like I did here, keep drug dealers away from kids or a pimp away from a hooker who wants to quit. Negotiate with loan sharks. Basically, if you have to deal with the bad guys and don’t want the police involved, I’ll usually handle it.

IA: You carry a pistol. What do you think of gun control laws?

HJ: Good gun control means being able to hit the target. Anybody who wants a gun can get one, so restrictive laws only keep people who obey the law unarmed and unable to defend themselves.

IA: But isn’t it too dangerous for everyone to be able to have a gun?

HJ: Based on statistics, it’s too dangerous for everyone to be able to have a car. Maybe guns should be more like cars. You get a license to carry at 18, after passing a mandatory training course.

IA: Interesting. How would you describe your relationship with the police?

HJ: I’d call it mutual grudging respect. I don’t mess with them. They don’t mess with me.

IA: How would you describe your personal relationship with Cindy Santiago?

HJ: I would describe it as personal.

IA: What have you learned doing this?

HJ: I’ve learned that most people are sheep. They’re not looking for trouble and they’ll do the right thing if you let them. A few people are wolves. They prey on the sheep, and they’re going to do wrong no matter what you do. They need to be shut out or put down hard.

IA: And you? Where do you fit in?

HJ: Me? I guess I’m the sheepdog.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Write Yourself Out of This One Joan Wilder

I am in an undesirable situation. Not career wise. Career wise life couldn't be better. Two publishing houses. Three series, fourteen contracts, five books out, two more coming soon. It's my personal life that seems to be in the crapper. Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but personally I am miserable/

A show of hands if there are any other 37 year olds living at home with their parents by choice? A show of hands of those who aren't respected, whose work is seen as oh you get a contract oh big deal? How many hear when are you going to get paid real money for your work?

My best friend and sometime writing partner said, if you're so miserable, write yourself out of this one Joan Wilder. So I've reset and that's what I've decided to do.

No one can guarantee the lightning in a bottle success that seems to come along every once in a great while but I know I'm good enough and this story is EPIC enough to get us a sale when things seem so bleak. Granted, I am waiting to hear back on a novel I submitted to what looks like a wonderful small press in Intrigue Publishing, but I do fear they will reject me even after the revisions I've made. But then isn't that every writer's fear,

So how am I writing myself out of this one? There is a long gestating story that has seen many forms.

Ariel & Adriana Stuart are the long suffering twins who have survived a mob hit on their families, and Beale and Stone are the men charged with protecting them from the enemies who want to finish the job. So any time you're in a nasty situation watch Romancing the Stone and...write yourself out of this one Joan Wilder.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I am not one for resolutions because well I always fall down on them. But I do have some goals. So those I would like to share.

I would like to write three books this year. QUEEN, the final installment to the Gladiator Chronicles series, and the last two books in the Breath of Life series.

2) Finish edit on YOU KNOW MY NAME, which if it is accepted the title will be changed.

3) Lose 50 pounds by Romfest.

4) Train for Kentucky Derby Festival MiniMarathon (a 13.1 mile race).

5) Lose 100 pounds by December.

There are few more things but those are the biggies. Of course there's the New York book but that has to wait until my current obligations are filled with the other stories.

I'm going to chronicle my journey with pictures and regular blogging about my life. This is my platform and that means the good and the bad will come out. There will be good days and there will be bad days.

I know this isn't much of an entry and surely I'll be up to standards later. I've been sick this last month and really it's a bit taxing now.

But  my current weight is 275. Here is a picture of me at that weight. A big girl but ready to take on the world.