Nostalgia City Mysteries

By Mark S. Bacon

Tag Archives: Flash fiction

Potentially intrusive—and/or boring—questions from Anastasia Pollack in her blog Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers (Abridged)

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One of the mandatories when you publish a book is getting mentioned on book-related websites. 

You can hire Internet publicists who schedule you on “blog tours.”  A tour is simply a collection of “posts” on different websites.  The options for these posts usually include an interview, a summary of your book, an excerpt of your book or, in some cases, a column or article you write about your genre, your book or both.  My preference is the latter, but in many cases you don’t have a choice and must succumb to an interview.

When this new book came out recently I was eager to gain exposure for it. One of the ways you do that is take a ‘blog tour.”

Usually these blog tour interviews consist of a series of stock questions you are to answer.  You receive a list of questions and you type up your answers.  There are no follow-up questions based on your answers because the whole process is prepackaged. And depending on the website and how you got booked there, the questions even may not be focused on your book type.  The questions often sound as if they are directed at someone who has just published his or her first book. 

Such interviews can be a challenge for the writer.  You want to sound spontaneous and conversational even though you’re really not interacting with an interviewer.  You’re just answering a list of stock questions. Like taking an exam in school. 

With this in mind, here is an abridged sample “interview” from a website published by Anastasia Pollack. 

Anastasia: When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
Mark S. Bacon: Relatively recently. I’ve been a writer all my life: newspaper reporter, copywriter, business writer. I wrote several business books some years ago but had always been a mystery fan.  So about six years ago I started writing and publishing mystery flash fiction stories then moved on to mystery novels.

Anastasia: How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Mark S. Bacon: You’re probably talking about “my new, first book.”  That was years ago, but let’s go farther back. I sold my first magazine article, to a national men’s adventure magazine, when I was 16.  Some years later I sold my first book, on business writing, by writing query letters to three big New York publishers. Selling a novel is a different animal. That took years.

Anastasia: Where do you write?
MSB: In my home office with my golden retriever at my feet and a concrete crow statue looking over my shoulder. (It could be a raven.)

Anastasia: Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
MSB: Although I learned to write in a noisy newsroom, I’ve become spoiled at my home office. Quiet is best. However, I sometimes listen to mood music, depending on what I’m writing. For one chapter of the book I just finished, I listened to Ravi Shankar. Does that give you a clue to the story?

Anastasia: Describe your process for naming one of your lead characters.
MSB: How many people do you know named Lyle? It’s a retro name to go with my retro setting. Also, his initials are LSD. I was going to use that in the plot of my first Nostalgia City mystery but never worked it in.

Anastasia: If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
MSB: You could pick any Lew Archer novel by Ross Macdonald. He was the master of language and characters, not to mention atmosphere.  Raymond Chandler was a pretty good PI writer, too.

Anastasia: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
MSB: We’re talking books, not politics here, right?  I’d say people who ask for free copies of my books.  People think authors get unlimited free copies of their books.  Not true.  We have to buy them from the publisher.  Yes, some publishers give authors free copies when the title comes out.  Back when I was writing for John Wiley & Sons, I received 20 hardback copies of each new book.  My new (mystery) publisher sends me one trade paperback.  Sign of the times?

Anastasia: What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
MSB: One of my first jobs out of college was at a small, neighborhood newspaper in Los Angeles.   My primary duty was to rewrite stories out of the LA Times. I quit after a week. 

Anastasia: You’re stranded on a deserted South Seas island. What are your three must-haves?
MSB: An Adirondack chair, plenty of books, and a lifetime supply of Krispy Kremes.

Two freebies today in Nostalgia City

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This week’s installment features two giveaways—of sorts. First, I’m giving away a signed copy of Death in Nostalgia City. All you have to do is register on Goodreads.com. Here’s a link to the contest: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/112192-death-in-nostalgia-city

The deadline is midnight, Saturday, Oct. 18.

The second gift today is a 100-word flash fiction story from my ebook (available on Amazon, etc.), Cops, Crooks & Other Stories in 100 Words.

 Lionel’s New Game

 Gazing across the resort pool, nattily dressed Lionel spotted a familiar face. “Say Jake, didn’t I hear bad news about you last year?”

“No big deal. So, what con are you running in this ritzy place? You doing your old investment scheme or romancing some rich widow?”

“Alas, nothing with finesse. I’m working with a bellman. We go through rooms when guests are gone.  “Sad, huh? What do you think?”

“I think you’re going to do jail time.”

“What? Wait! I remember. You were caught!

“Yup. Red-handed. This very hotel. So I agreed–reluctantly mind you–to work for them.”

Today’s crime flash fiction in 100 words

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Alicia

Frail Alicia trudged toward the bus stop. Nearly 14, she looked years younger.

She held her hinged leather case tightly in her arms. Years of practice under her father’s tutelage had made her a virtuoso.

When a dark van pulled up alongside, Alicia recoiled. The door flew open and a large man appeared holding a knife.

“Get in little girl, or I’ll cut you, bad.”

Alicia’s body shook, but she caught her breath and reached inside her case. With practiced precision she fired the small-caliber target pistol.

The bullet pattern in the man’s chest covered less than one square inch.

From: Cops, Crooks & Other Stories in 100 Words, available at Amazon
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