Friday, February 27, 2015

Writing: In A Rush

Last week I talked about the similarities between a company and an author. The slogan I quoted, as you recall, said the company would never release their product before its time. Well, that goes for writers--perhaps even moreso than with companies selling wine.

I can still recall the exhilaration I felt when I finally typed in # # # at the end of the manuscript of my first novel. (By the way, I was taught to use that symbol, rather than "the end.") I was ready to send it off to my agent for submission to a publisher. I simply knew this was the first of many novels that would bring me fame and riches. After all, I'd put everything I had into it. But my agent, God bless her, calmly convinced me to keep working on the material--editing, rewriting, polishing. So I did, and finally she submitted it to several publishers--who rejected it. Obviously, they hadn't gotten the memo.

My agent persisted, and eventually I got my first fiction contract. Now, assuming things go as planned, my eighth novel will release on May 19, followed by my ninth and tenth (which are already written and edited). But for each of these I've written a first draft, revised, rewritten, revised, submitted to my editor, then responded to those editorial comments, following which I made changes after line editing, and finally made tiny revisions in the galley proofs. There was no "rush" to publish...and that's as it should be.

I still recall what my agent told me: You only have one chance to make a good first impression. At the time I thought it was hokey. Now I think it's great advice. I'm glad she kept reinforcing that concept with me.

I'm trying to feature stories and information about self-publishing (i.e., "going indie") on this blog, including my own foray into that activity. Matter of fact, I'll have a progress report on that soon. Meanwhile, I'd like to emphasize a point. I hope that writers won't take advantage of this new technology to rush their work into print, without laboring over it enough to make it really good. You really do only have one chance to make a first impression on those who read your work.

Do you have experiences (either as a writer or reader) in the area of "rushing to publish" you'd be willing to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments section.

Tweet with a single click: "When you type 'the end,' is your novel ready to submit?" Click here to tweet.

(image via

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It's Time To Give Away A Book

I was looking at the author's copies of books on my shelf, and discovered that I have a spare copy of my fourth novel of medical suspense, Lethal Remedy. You folks have been steadfast followers of this blog, encouraging me when I was ready to quit, so I decided to reward one of you.

I'll send a signed copy of Lethal Remedy to the first person who emails me (see below) with the correct answer to this question: What is the name of the pharmaceutical company in this book, and what is the name of the man who heads it?

If you ask a question about the writing life that I use as a subject for one of my Friday posts, I'll throw in a signed copy of another novel of mine--your choice. (Sorry, I don't have copies yet of my next book, Fatal Trauma, but you have seven others from which to choose).

Already have a copy? How about one to give away--to a friend, to a church library, or to your public library?

Send your answer (and suggestions if you have some) to me at:
Dr R L Mabry at yahoo dot com
Use the subject line Lethal Remedy (to avoid the sp*m filter).
I'm afraid that, due to postage cost and shipping regulations, I have to limit this to readers in the US. I'll announce the winner in a comment to this blog post as soon as I get a correct answer.

Hint: One of the online booksellers has a "look inside" feature for books. Check Lethal Remedy, and about halfway down the preview you'll find the answer.

Now a question for you to answer in the comments section--Do you think giveaways help? And if so, what kind? I'd like to know.

Tweet with a single click: "Chance to win a signed copy of Lethal Remedy by @RichardMabry." Click here to tweet.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I hope everyone who reads this blog has already bought, read, and enjoyed this novel, but just in case you haven't (or if you have friends and family who might like it), Heart Failure is on sale for e-books and for Kindle today only, at $2.99.

It's one of my favorites among the novels I've written, and I wanted you all to know about this and spread the word.

See you next week. Have a great weekend.

Help spread the word--Tweet with a single click: "Medical suspense novel Heart Failure only $2.99 as e-book today only." Click here to tweet.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Writing: Improving Our Craft

Before you read this, please know that I'm not a drinker, and certainly no expert on wines. Matter of fact, I had to look up some of the material here. But the analogy works. 

The phrase sticks in my mind: "We will sell no wine before its time." The man making this pronouncement was a very sedate and dignified Orson Wells, assuring the viewing public that Ernest and Julio Gallo would be gatekeepers of a sort, only allowing the best of their product to be sold. That was in the mid-70's.

However, twenty years earlier, the Gallo brothers were making no such claim. They were marketing a different product--Thunderbird--a fortified wine whose clientele didn't particularly care whether the contents of the bottle had been aged long enough...or at all.

What happened in the time that intervened? There was improvement as the brothers accumulated experience. If they'd just kept marketing Thunderbird (or Boone's Farm, which came a bit later), people would have bought the products, but there wouldn't have been expansion into improved ones. Their audience wouldn't have enlarged. And, presumably, what they turned out later would be no better than it had been.

What does this have to do with writing? As many of you know, I'm a fan of the late Robert B. Parker. I just reread (for probably the sixth time) Parker's novel, The Godwulf Manuscript. This book, probably the earliest of Parker's, introduced a private detective, Spenser. In this book, compared with later ones, the writing was rougher. It still conveyed a message, but the characters weren't so well-drawn. The plot didn't flow quite as well. I found a few inconsistencies in the book, things an author and editor should have spotted and corrected. It was the Boone's Farm of writing--accepted by a limited audience, but by no means polished and smooth.

But Parker matured as a writer. Despite the fact that he had a PhD in English, he recognized there was more to learn about the craft of writing. As he learned, his writing improved. In addition,he discovered what people liked about his books, and he incorporated that into subsequent writing.  Every novel he turned out was an improvement on the last. That's the way a writer grows.

Writers, no matter how much you think you know, there's always room for improvement. That's why we continue to study the craft. People depend on us to turn out the best books possible. If we don't, our books will be like Thunderbird or Boone's Farm wine--they may sell, but they're not anything worth telling others about. What do you think?

(image via Graeme Weatherston at

Click with a single tweet: "Writers, is it important to improve with each book?" Click here to tweet.

There's an announcement about a "special" price on one of my books, but I can't reveal it until tomorrow. I'll tweet about it after 8 AM Central tomorrow, right here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Presidents' Day

The following is quoted from "Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called 'Washington’s Birthday' by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers." 

Our flag, which had been in the closet since bad weather and the Christmas holidays dictated the move, once more flies from our front porch. As retirees, not much was different for us yesterday, except that the banks and Post Office were closed. What about you? Were you off? Did you go to your regular job? What do you think about the way the Federal Government has made this another three-day weekend? Please chime in.

And come back on Friday, when I'll post about writing and "We will sell no wine before its time." (And, yes, there is a connection).