Wednesday, December 12, 2018

And So It (meaning the promotion) Begins; Ten-Seven Drops January 21

The relentless self-promotion for my next novel (Ten-Seven) begins now. Hide the children.

The promotion in general began last month with the able assistance of Debbi Mack, who kindly invited me to chat with her at her Crime CafĂ© podcast. Debbi’s good people and a fine writer her own self. We chatted for about 25 minutes and I had a ball. Many thanks to Debbi and I look forward to running into her again at the usual places.

Just a couple of weeks ago Nick Kolakowski had me for my first solo gig as part of the Authors on the Air network. I only met Nick in the run-up to the interview and found we have quite a bit in common. Exactly how much, and how entertaining we were in the discussion thereof, you can judge for yourself. As for me, the time flew by. Thanks to Nick for having me on and for being such a gracious host.

This is obviously not the sum total of Ten-Seven’s pre-launch. There will be guest blog posts, at least one other podcast interview, and (hopefully) a live event after the holidays. Stop by the website for updates.

Ten-Seven drops January 21 but if those holiday checks and gift cards start to burn holes in
Kudos, as always, to Eric Beetner for another kick-ass cover design.
your pockets, despair not: it’s available for pre-order RTFN. (That’s “right now” for the more sensitive among you.) For the lowdown on how to score a free digital copy with the purchase of a trade paperback, scoot on over to the
Ten-Seven page on the Down & Out Books web site.
It’s also available from the following retailers …
• Amazon — Trade Paperback | eBook
• Amazon UK — 
Trade Paperback | eBook
• Barnes & Noble — 
Trade Paperback | eBook
• IndieBound — 
Trade Paperback
• iTunes — 
• Kobo — 
• Play — 

Ten-Seven breaks things up a little in Penns River. Doc and Stush and Mike Mannarino and Wilver Faison are still there, but change is in the wind. A consent decree brings in three new cops no one is quite sure what to think of. Their entry is counterbalanced by the departure of two series regulars and a new tidbit of knowledge about a third. There’s a bridge jumper and some changes in the Dougherty family.
Here’s a sample:

Doug Stirnweiss hadn’t made much of an impression on the employees of Allegheny Casino. Some recognized him, coming in every couple-three weeks, seemed like a nice guy. Only two knew his name. One said, “So he was the guy got shot the other night.”
Judy Abramowicz tended bar four to one, Tuesday through Saturday, the steadiest shift of any employee. Five-foot-ten, frosted blonde hair and ice blue eyes, high cheekbones. Worked the large bar closest to the gaming tables. Men preferred table games to slots, and Judy Abramowicz behind the most convenient bar had to be good for business all around.
Doc had been at it for three hours, nineteen interviews. Any potential to be entertained by proximity to who was, without doubt, the most attractive person in the casino had left him at least forty-five minutes ago.
“Ms. Abramowicz, do you recognize this man?” Handed her Doug’s cropped DMV photo, showing wear at the edges.
“That’s Doug Stirnweiss.” Doc’s hopes rose. “I saw him on the news.” Doc’s hopes fell.
“You ever see him in here?”
“A time or two. That’s why I noticed him on TV. I knew the face, just never had a name to go with it.”
“Ever talk with him?”
“See him talking with anyone else?”
“Well, yeah, but nothing that sticks out. He’d talk to dealers, customers, whoever was around. Seemed friendly enough.”
“Ever hear anyone talk about him?”
“Not so it sticks in my mind. I know you’re trying to get some idea of who might’ve wanted to shoot him, but he was just a guy. There’s a hundred of them out there right now, just like him. Nice guys, no trouble. They come in once in a while and have a little fun. I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but there’s nothing memorable about them.”
She did sound a little like a bitch, but she had a point. Doc handed her a business card. “Thanks for your time. Can you do me a favor and send…” scanned the list, “George Schaffer in?”
Judy would. Walked to the door—Doc not too tired to notice an ass with the rare combination of tightness and breadth—turned before she reached for the knob. “If I tell you something, can it stay just between us? No one else can ever know.”
“Depends what it is. If you’re about to tell me you saw who shot Doug Stirnweiss, then, no, almost certainly not. You’re going to have to testify, at least in front of a grand jury.”
Judy returned to the table. Doc gestured for her to sit. She rested her hands on the back of the chair, unsure, then swiveled around it and parked herself. “I could get fired for telling you this.”
Doc said, “Then why are you telling me?” in a voice calculated to convey trust.
“There’s a guy, drug dealer. He hangs around sometimes.”
There didn’t appear to be more. “Did you see him with Doug that night?”
Judy shook her head. “I don’t think I ever saw them both together. This guy—he’s nasty, you know what I mean?” Looked up at Doc like she wanted him to, so she wouldn’t have to explain it.
“Nasty how? Like he stinks? Or he’s dangerous?” Judy nodded. “You ever see him hurt anybody?”
“I heard stories. People owe him money, he hurts them. Bad temper. I saw him go off one night. Took three security guys to get him out.”
“Was he here the night Doug Stirnweiss was shot?”
“He’s banned from the casino since that other time. They found out he sold, so Rollison put him on the list.”
“What made you think to bring him up if he hasn’t been in?”
“He still hangs around. Does his business in the parking lot.”
“You’ve seen him?”
She nodded three times, quick. “I heard he was, and…I think it was him I saw one night.”
“You think?”
What little eye contact there had been disappeared. “There are some guys, you know, you don’t want them to notice you.”
“You know what he sells?”
“I ain’t had anything to do with him, you understand?”
Doc stuck out his lower lip, shook his head. “I’m not thinking anything like that. You work at the bar. What do you hear?”
“Coke. Some grass. Crystal, of course. I guess he can get about anything.”
“You have a name for him?” She shook her head. “Who else can I talk to? You can’t be the only person here knows about him.”
“No one else will talk to you. Not about this. They’re either afraid of him, or they’re afraid of the casino—you know, for bringing suspicion around the place—or they’re doing business with him.”
Doc leaned in, lowered his voice. “Why are you telling me?”
Judy looked away, then made eye contact for a second—damn, almost like Doc could see through the blue and there was white behind, they were so pale—swallowed once. “He scares me. I mean, really scares me. I kind of figured he could hurt someone bad. Now that someone’s been shot—right outside, where I know he hangs out—I wonder was it him, and what else he could do. I don’t want to sound like some conceited twat, but I know people notice me. I’m not complaining. I got the best job here, make the most tips, and I can go out with anybody I want to, pretty much. I know a lot of girls would trade with me. But, you know, people noticing you isn’t always a good thing. Not if it’s the wrong people. Or for the wrong reasons.”
She looked at Doc again. He saw it this time, behind the blue. The fear. “Okay. We’ll check him out.”
“You won’t let anyone know it was me that told?”
Doc shook his head. “Send Schaffer back. I won’t say or do anything that might bring any suspicion until after I talk to everybody. There’ll be no way to know where I got it.”
Her smile was gone before it could take root, as if she were embarrassed to have done it. Doc spoke when she reached the door. “Thank you.” She nodded and left.
Doc’s cell phone in hand before the door catch clicked. “Teresa? Do me a favor. Find some subtle way to work drugs into the conversation with Doug’s friends.”


Elgin Bleecker said...

Dana – Good to hear you on the podcasts. Thanks for discussing the craft. Your point on dialog and working to capture the way two guys would actually talk to each other is important. Wouldn’t it be great if the crime writers of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s had the freedom to write the way people actually talked?

Dana King said...

Thank you, Elgin. That's a great point about writers from the pre- and post-war eras. What many of them were able to accomplish under the restrictions they had is remarkable.

Maybe the single biggest disappointment I've found as a writers is how much harder it is to get a conversation going about craft than it was when I was a musician. Maybe I'll start a series on the blog that deals exclusively with craft.

After the launch, of course.

Elgin Bleecker said...

Dana – A discussion of craft would be great.