Saturday, September 27, 2014


Today I finished assembling ancillary materials for Tracking the Beast, the upcoming Steve Martinez mystery, and sent them (together with the developmental-edited manuscript) to my publisher, Five Star Mysteries.

The ancillaries were jacket copy, catalog copy, review quotes for the back cover, an excerpt from the novel designed to whet reader interest, and a detailed synopsis of the action for the jacket designer. All this stuff used to be done in-house at conventional publishers, but Five Star aims its wares at the library and online markets, not bookstores. It expects its authors to be more involved in the publishing process than most others are.

Word quickly came back that Tracking the Beast will go into production on Monday. The manuscript will be copy edited, the interior design of the book done, and a jacket created. Soon I'll have a publication date.

Meanwhile, here's the excerpt I plucked from the manuscript:

The jefe nodded. “Okay, Diego. Do it.”
Diego dragged the bundle to the lip of the hatch and with a firm shove dropped it into the void. A short but sharp clang rose from the steel of the hopper bottom twelve feet below.
That’s not dope, Diego thought. That would have been a thud. That’s something else. And I think I know what it is.
“That did sound funny,” the man said, as if echoing Diego’s dismay. “Better take a look down there and make sure everything’s okay.”
The jefe handed Diego the penlight. “Go on, have a look.”
Reluctantly Diego took the penlight and pointed it into the dusty interior of the car, leaning into the open hatch to see better.
“Don’t see nothing,” he said. “Wait a minute. Paper broke open. Something leak.”
As cold metal suddenly pressed into the back of his neck, Diego realized the truth, and with that epiphany his world exploded in a flash of brilliant white.

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