So my pal, Eric had a book signing at Mystery Bookstore in L.A. about two weeks ago. A minor hitch occured and there were no books for him to sign at the actual signing.

Thus, in an unprecedented (I am sure) maneuver, the dedicated author hoofed it door to door to deliver to the folks who ordered it.

Check it out.
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Hand delivering signed copies of One Too Many Blows To The Head from Eric Beetner on Vimeo.

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So a year ago . . . October 22, 2008 to be exact, Eric and I crossed the last ‘t’ and dotted the last ‘i’ of One Too Many Blows To The Head and began sending it out into the world to make friends and maybe find a home.

Publishers tended to shy away from such an unusual collaboration– a book written in two first person narratives by two people who have never met? Would it work? Would people read it?

I’m thankful and proud to say that Second Wind took a chance on us. And One Too Many Blows To The Head isn’t the only book being sent out into the world right now. We are honored to share the spotlight with JJ Dare and Pat Bertram.

JJ Dare is the author of False World, the second title of the Joe Daniels trilogy. Dare is sponsoring a contest for a book giveaway. Scare her real bad in fifty words or less and you could win a free book.

Pat Bertram’s new release is Daughter Am I, a story about a girl, her inheritance, and the danger she finds herself in when she starts poking around in the past.  Bertram is sponsoring a treasure hunt on her blog. The prize: the one and only proof copy of Daughter Am I.

Eric Beetner, soon to be proud father of not one, but two beautiful daughters, is also hosting a contest. Prizes: newest thrillers from Second Wind.  Answer a question based on the central theme of each book, wow him, and you win.

And since I love a good contest and a great story, I want you to try to wow me as well. Give me a story about a flawed character, any flawed character who is in need of a second chance or a “do over”. Click here for full information.

Rules for my contest are:

  1. 500 words or less (I already said that but I’m saying it again)
  2. Prose should be lighthearted and humorous. It’s the holiday season and I don’t want to get all suicidal.
  3. Material needs to be original (That goes without saying, of course.)
  4. Deadline is December 15.
  5. Send story to jbkohl@jbkohl.com

First Place gets a signed copy of One Too Many Blows To The Head and a signed copy of The Deputy’s Widow. Second Place gets a signed copy of One To Many Blows To The Head.

Both winners will have their material posted on my blog, “Toeing and Typing the Line.”

But wait, there’s more! I love meeting writers. I love hearing about other writer’s methods for work. Winners will be presented with a guest appearance on my blog to give us the lowdown about writing habits, methods of success, opinions on writing, aspirations, etc.

So do you think you’ve got what it takes? Huh? Do ya? Do ya?

That’s all I’ve got. I’m heading back to my bowl of Chex Mix and dreaming of pie. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving folks!

J.B.

I married a Nordic god. He’s tall, blond, rugged, chiseled . . . all those things you read about in a romance novel that make you sigh. He’s also brilliant, which is a good thing in the Oracle database world.

Unfortunately, he suffers from what many brilliant people suffer from . . . it’s a little something I call “the butterfly effect.” (No, not the real butterfly effect . . . something else entirely as you will see.)

In his Belgariad series, David Eddings describes a situation when the protagonist, Garion, is coming to terms with his powers. He has embarked on a quest with a group of warriors. On the journey, they rescue and adopt a young colt.

Garion, unsupervised, decides he will attempt to hurl a boulder with his mind. Aparently in the world of magic, the same laws of physics apply as in the normal world. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The boulder is tossed and Garion finds himself sunk into the ground to his neck and unable to move.

Being the wizard that he is, the boy telepathically summons his horse to go for help. He links his mind with that of the colt and sees . . . flowers, butterflies, bees, birds . . . and senses the young colt scampering off in pursuit of these follies instead of bringing the trapped Garion the help he needs.

This, my friends, is the butterfly effect. And my husband has made it a sport. He, in fact, is its top athlete.

He will exit the front door. His destination: mailbox. Distance: fifty yards. Twenty minutes will go by. Twenty become thirty. Thirty become forty. I’ll peek out to check on him only to find he is standing waist high in prairie grass studying a spider web or a sapling or a flower in our daughter’s butterfly garden, a stack of mail tucked safely under his arm.

He is a considerate man, my husband. “Do you need anything, honey?” he asks. “Love a Diet Coke,” I say. “Sure thing. Right away.”

One hour later, he’ll join me in the living room, knowing only that we spoke sometime earlier . . . although he can’t quite remember what was said.

If we go to Jamestown or Yorktown to see the sites or on a guided tour, he lags behind, savoring every moment, examining every artifact. When he’s done with that, he studies the trees and the dirt and the plants and anything else he can see or touch or smell.

Now, you may think I’m poking fun at him . . . and I guess I am. But what you need to know is that these things set an example for me.

In her book, If You Want To Write, Brenda Ueland stresses the importance of recognizing the need to pay attention to “now.” “What is happening to me now.”  She recognized that writers spend a lot of time inside their own heads, hosting conversations between characters, dreaming of plot, pushing forward. We forget to stop and smell the roses.  And sometimes, the best ideas for scene description or mood in a chapter can come from the things we observe if we’ll only take the time to look.

I try to be like my husband. I try to be more observant. Often I fall short. I cannot be the athlete. I can only be the athletic supporter.

What about you? Is there someone who sets an example for you, forces you to slow down a little bit? Someone who influences you in weird ways?

I’d love to hear about it.

Mystery Bookstore Signing

November 2, 2009

Eric Beetner will be signing copies of the book (One Too Many Blows To The Head) at the Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles.

He’ll also be discussing the book and answering questions about collaboration in novel writing. Check it out here:

http://www.mystery-bookstore.com/blog/archives/author_events_nov2009.html