The Cost of Survival


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Today, we’re going to look at a new science fiction thriller by author J.L. Stowers. Behind The Cost of Survival The Cost of Survival is a science fiction thriller exploring the dark side of human nature from a world on … Continue reading

News Flash: Romance is Not the Number One Genre


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  Today’s blog is a guest piece from a real authority in the business.  Dan Case most likely had the first on-line newsletter.  He has been the editor of Writing for Dollars for many years.  He is also the owner … Continue reading

Bury that manuscript in a drawer or rewrite it?

diehl - photo-2Our guest post today comes from Lesley Diehl, a retired professor of psychology. She splits her time between upstate New York where she and her husband are renovating an 1872, ghost-inhabited cottage, and old Florida where spurs still jingle in the post office and gators make golf a contact sport.  Today, she asks the question, Bury that manuscript in a drawer or rewrite it? 

The Self-publishing Jitters

Here’s the dilemma.  Open up the file on that old manuscript you never got published, read it, and send it to the trash bin, or at least, file it under “yuk!” and forget it.  Or you could read it through, realize how bad it really was, heave a sigh of relief that it never was published, saving you the embarrassment of all those one star reviews, and then…  Read it again.  Maybe the characters were interesting, but need more depth.  Their motivation for trying to solve the crime may be weak.  Perhaps the plot is thinly drawn, too simplistic or too convoluted for a reader to follow.  The pacing may be too slow and more tension is required to keep the reader’s interest.  You could rework it.  Naw!  But before you press the delete button, reconsider.  I did.

 Here’s my confession.  I took the very first manuscript I wrote, and began revising it several years ago, using the time between writing others to work on the old one.  I had several readers take a look at it, I revised again, and just this month I published it.  And, yes, I wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I should locate the “unpublish” button and press it.  Of course I’m nervous about this work.  It was my first attempt at a mystery.  I have a blog tour for it coming up in May.  Until then I probably won’t know how readers will receive it.  I’m taking a chance, and I know it, and I’m terrified.

 Write what you know is always sage advice, so I did just that.  This book is taken from my life before writing, when I was a faculty member and administrator at several colleges and universities. I spent over 25 years in academie, so it’s familiar to me.  I loved being in the classroom, and I loved doing collaborative research with my students.  But like any other place trying to survive in a world where resources are becoming scarce, institutions of higher learning are competitive environments where faulty vie for promotions and they don’t trust administrators any more than administrators trust them.  Having been on both sides of the fence, I know how difficult life on campus can be. 

 Given the atmosphere of the college campus, is it any wonder that, in my first attempt at fiction I killed off a college president and then took down one of the faculty?  To my credit, when I reworked the manuscript I reduced it from over 100,000 words to around 70,000.  Most of those words were located in long convoluted sentences that described in too much detail the inner life of faculty and staff.  I left students alone.  They suffer enough trying to pass their courses and pay their tuition.  Not that students are angels, but later, I said to myself, and that’s just what I did.  The sequel to the book has my protagonist take on bad frat boys.

 Here’s a short description of Murder Is Academic:

diehl - Academic_final_533x800 Laura Murphy, psychology professor, thinks there’s nothing she likes better than coffee and donuts on a summer morning until she says yes to dinner with a Canadian biker and finds herself and her date suspects in the murder of her college’s president. Laura’s friend, the detective assigned the case, asks her to help him find out who on the small upstate New York college campus may be a killer. The murder appears to be wrapped up in some unsavory happenings on the lake where Laura lives. A fish kill and raw sewage seeping into the water along with the apparent drowning suicide of a faculty member complicate the hunt for the killer. And then things become personal. The killer makes a threatening phone call to Laura. With a tornado bearing down on the area and the killer intent upon silencing her, Laura’s sleuthing work may come too late to save her and her biker from a watery grave.

So, as I bite my nails and lose sleep over how this work will fare, I’d sure like to hear if others have revamped old work and then published it.  Were you as anxious about doing it as I was?  And how did it turn out for you?

Jim: Thanks, Lesley, for sharing your feelings on this.  I hope you get some good comments on what to do with those old manuscripts.

Lesley has three mystery series in print: her microbrewing series, the rural Florida series, and the Eve Appel series.  I can vouch for her books.  You can buy them at:


The Library of the Future – NOW!

A Glimpse at the Future

 A new library opened up recently in San Antonio, Texas. 

 It has no shelves and no books.

 It is an all digital library.

bibliotech - 1 It has 10,000 free e-books and each can be checked out for 14 days.  The 3M Cloud Library app, which can be linked to a person’s library card, includes a counter which shows the number of days left before the e-book is “returned” to the library, that is, it is no longer available to the person who checked it out two weeks earlier.

 This is not to say that the library has only a large computer.  It occupies about five thousand square feet of space.  This houses, among other things, six hundred e-readers and forty-eight computer stations. So, if you do not have an e-reader; you can go to the library and read books on one of the library’s e-readers. They do have some e-readers that can be checked out along with the book.

 The library also has comic books and graphic novels, magazines, audio books, movies, and music. Through a program called Mango, one can take classes in over sixty foreign languages.

 The library also gives various programs,bibliotech - 2 such as a kid’s story time, hands-on computer classes, and other programs.  You can even reserve a room for a meeting, making it a great place to have writers’ groups.  Just no paper books.

 This is not actually a new concept. Arizona’s Santa Rosa Branch Library tried this as far back as 2002.  But after a few years, residents demanded to have paper books back – and they got them.

 There are some who feel the San Antonio experiment is still premature. There are still many people who prefer the paper books. Others are simply not technologically literate enough to benefit from such a library.

 Then there’s the cost. Training enough people to run the library and instruct patrons might become too expensive. And some feel there is not enough digital material available yet to warrant such a move. Many best sellers do not go to digital for a year or more, thus making them unavailable at this library for an extended period of time.

 One library expert predicts that, on average, perhaps only one percent of libraries per year will go all digital for the next ten years.

 However, academic libraries are moving in this direction at a faster rate. The engineering and technology library at the University of Texas moved to e-books and e-journals in 2010. These have the advantage of being available 24/7.

 But, all arguments aside, San Antonio is making a library for the future. Judge Nelson Wolff, of Bexar County said, “A technological evolution is taking place. And I think we’re stepping in at the right time.”

It’s what our great-grandchildren will believe is the norm. Paper books? Antiques.

I’ll be writing more on digital libraries in the future.  They are coming.  I’m Ready.  All my mysteries novels and suspense novels are in paper and e-book format.  Two of my latest are:

A Ton of Gold on Amazon at:  and

Nook at:

and Cleansed by Fire — on Amazon at:



Where Writers and Readers Can Meet & Visit


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I had an interesting talk with Tom Geddie the other day.  Tom is a former corporate communication guy who has seen the light and become a writer.  A very interesting man and I’m going to do an in-depth interview with him … Continue reading