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Newsletter Dated: 7/3/2002 9:49:56 AM
Subject: Andrea Campbell's Newsletter--Soup's On
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, family member, professional friend of Andrea’s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine. I am excited about this venue because it gives me the opportunity to reach larger numbers of people in a much shorter time. It will also contain more personal content and address things I don’t discuss on my web site.
In addition, I promise not to divulge your name or give your email address to any other business or mailing list. If you are receiving this letter for the first time, I hope it meets with your approval and you will continue to read and enjoy it.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input and never turn down helpful hints. This newsletter is a continued work-in-progress and I hope you will stay around to see new features in every bi-monthly issue.
*** Author Research Alert ***
To my thinking, one of the best things about starting a new book is research. I belong to several news organizations and tap into them for ideas on a fairly regular basis, and you should, too. One piece of advice is particularly poignant right now, in this time of instant Internet access: Do not believe everything you read. This may seem like an obvious maxim, but one that so-called journalists often forget, as is the case with a high-profile columnist who wrote a story based on information gleaned from the Web. In this particular instance, he penned a column about how Patsy Cline’s music was dangerous to depressed women. In case you aren’t familiar with her body of work, Patsy Cline was a country music star who died in an airplane crash in Tennessee in 1963. She had a dreamy, smooth voice and the only singer I can equate her style with is k.d. Lang. In any event, the journalist read this story and wrote a column on it. The rest is not good news. The column he usurped his information from was a satirical take on women, moodiness, and music.
So the moral of this story is to read with a skeptical head, and then research until you’re knee-deep in it if that’s what you want (usually if you look long enough, you will find diametrically-opposed information on just about everything). For more information about this story and the Poynter Institute, a journalist’s professional forum, check out the site(s) below:
*** So Happy ***
My book, MAKING CRIME PAY: The Writer’s Guide to Criminal Law, Evidence, and Procedure, published by Allworth Press, was selected as a Writer’s Digest Book Club Featured Alternate! Obviously, I am very happy about that and I would like to thank my friends and colleagues who have endorsed the book, written reviews, and just generally have given it good word-of-mouth. If you don’t have a copy, you may purchase an autographed book from me (click on >Buy Books< on my web site, andreacampbell.com), buy from Allworth directly at allworth.com or from the online bookseller of your choice.
*** Recipe For Murder ***
Michael and I took a very green and sunny scenic drive north through the Ozark Mountains to Springfield, MO, last month, in order to attend Poison Tea Party 2002. Attendees got a well-rounded sampling of forensics, publishing advice, genre distinction notes, guidance from me on criminal law research, and promotion tips from one of the four Deadly Divas. This information, coupled with a terrific lunch, made for one interesting party. See some of the best tips gathered from a terrific weekend listed below:
*** In Real Life As Well As In Your Head ***
From Deputy Medical Examiner Ron Yoder came these great directives:
• A medical examiner or criminalist must protect themselves at all costs and guard against booby traps, needles, and infected or diseased bodies (HIV, hepatitis, meningitis, etc.)
• Photographs and diagrams are a must—you may only have one chance to document your scene.
• Do not complete GSR (gunshot residue) or fingerprint tests at the scene, valuable evidence may be lost or contaminated—bag hands instead, secure with tape, initial, and date for chain of custody requirements.
And a few of his wacky definitions:
Artery is the study of paintings
Dilate is to live long
A fibula is a small lie
Morbid means a higher offer than my last bid
Seizure was a Roman Emperor, and,
Terminal illness means getting sick at the airport!
*** Mystery or Suspense? ***
Velda Brotherton, writing as Elizabeth Gregg and author of Angel’s Gold had these suggestions about some of the differences between mystery and suspense:
A puzzle A nightmare
Power fantasy Victim fantasy
Hero has skills Hero learns skills
Who done it? What will happen?
More notes about suspense:
• The character is a normal person, in a situation where they are forced to act, by circumstance
• In addition to giving your character a reason to go on, there must be no place to hide
• Someone bad is after him all the time
• Use descriptive verbs for danger and death
• Remove all lazy verbs such as "was," "were," and "had"
• Never think of your book as a movie because the camera in a movie has no point of view
Visit Velda’s web site at: www.elizabethgregg.com
*** Deadly Diva Secrets ***
Susan McBride, author of And Then She Was Gone and recently released Overkill, has the lowdown on book promotion. As one of the four Deadly Divas, Susan will appear in costume complete with boas, tiaras and assorted deadly props.
Some of her book promotion ideas are to:
• Learn as much as you can about the business of books
• Be both professional and polite in trying to make contacts
• Keep yourself informed and in touch, especially with bookstores
• Angle your "sales pitch" to reflect something unique about you and your book
• Be prepared with promotional giveaways
• Have fun!
For more on the Deadly Divas or to subscribe to their newsletter mailing list, visit http://hometown.aol.com/deadly/divas
*** Ziggy Update ***
I get the occasional phone call from the director of Helping Hands telling me what Ziggy is into (she lives with Judi Zazula currently). Anyway, Zig had a little hysterectomy—she was all about love, love, love this whole past year—and now she is wearing a dress. The dress will keep her from playing with stitches or disturbing the healing sores. After her recuperation, she will be going into training. (Ziggy will be trained to be a helper/companion to a quadriplegic. She left on a plane bound for Boston February 26th after 13 years!)
When Judi calls, it’s kind of like getting a report from a camp counselor who reports, "Your daughter is doing well…." Just recently though, Judi took Ziggy to a piano recital to review her children’s progress. Apparently, Zig found some man in the seat just down from them whom she took a liking to, and Judi had to change seats because of the unabashed flirting. Then Judi’s husband, Doug, came in with a video camera and Ziggy squealed with delight as if she’d just found a long-lost friend (she had seen Doug a mere two hours before!) So, eventually, Judi moved so many times that they wound up listening to the recital from behind the electrician’s closet door! Of course, later everyone wanted to meet the little darling who had the over-friendly disposition—scene stealer.
*** KOD Workshop Coming ***
In October I will be teaching TALKING BONES for the Romance Writers of America Kiss of Death COFFIN classes (the College of Felony and Intrigue). My Murder One class is conducted by private e-mail and is very inexpensive. I always promise at least a book’s worth of information, and, let’s put it this way, you have my ear for a whole thirty-one days! TALKING BONES is actually Forensic Anthropology—what the corpse reveals (This workshop is different from my FORENSIC ARTIST class.) The coursework details how and what information can be obtained from a mere skeleton (also a decomposing body). Professional forensic anthropologists are usually called in when the body is decomposed, has been buried, exhibits mummification or severe putrification.
Students will learn about:
• The life and tools of forensic anthropologists
• Excavating a site
• The different conditions of a corpse and subsequent problems with that
• What can be determined from bones
• More about the human skeleton and its clues
• How this science is used for crimes
• The jargon of the industry
• Actual cases for reference
• Other sources: Bibliography
• And a bonus: cadaver dogs, their training, use and methodology
Put me on your calendar NOW!
To sign up, visit: http://rwamysterysuspense.org/coffin.html
*** Writer’s Helpmate ***
I am always surprised when I hear about other authors who have dissed their colleagues. I have gotten nothing but respect, encouragement, and great information from my writer friends. And, think about it, who buys more books than authors? When traveling, I carry around my ASJA member book and call other writers when I arrive in a strange town. I have been shuttled around, taken to lunch, taught the transit system, and other really nice things as a consequence. I am the one who emails associates and asks if they want to share a room at a convention. My point is this, we need to band together, as friends, helpmates, and cheerleaders.
Here are some tips to help advance that premise:
• If you see a colleague’s book in a bookstore, turn the label face out
• Join a list serve (private email group); even if you do not initiate banter, lurking can help you meet others like yourself and help you to understand that you are not alone
• At a convention, take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the newbies
• Write reviews on associates’ books
• Volunteer for some type of job within your organization
• Contribute articles to professional newsletters
• Send thank you notes (on actual paper) to others for their help
• Freely exchange ideas and suggestions
• Talk up a book you like
• Tour with your author friends, save on expenses and travel arrangements
• Promote your industry through outreach at such places as book fairs, bookseller events or conventions
• If you have a booth somewhere, set out organization applications, other author’s fliers and freebies
• Lighten up, what you may think of as competition, may just be your saving grace at another day and time
*** Dog Days of Summer ***
Since acquisition of a book proposal is the author’s goal, I asked other writers if they thought there was any merit to sending a proposal in September versus August when editors were thought to be on summer breaks, vacations or sabbaticals?
Sarah Wernick, a writer that I have high regards for, tells me this, "I'm just back from visiting several agents in connection with my latest book proposal, and their consensus was that proposals could go out in July but that August, particularly the last two weeks through Labor Day weekend, would be iffy."
Most writers agreed that August is taboo and surmised that the two weeks before Christmas are lethal (someone even mentioned Book Expo in February). Have there been any articles written about the >buying habits< of editors? If so, please let me know. I once had a ms. rejected because the editor said she was leaving to attend a wedding in San Francisco!
@ : = ((
*** Bouchercon 2002 ***
If any of you are going to Bouchercon in Austin, Texas, October 17-20, I will be there—make a point of saying "Howdy." For those who are curious, this conference is run by mystery fans for fans from all over the world and I am told it is huge. Bouchercons are nonprofit social organizations. This year it is being held at the Renaissance Austin located in the Northwest area of the city and the cornerstone of the Arboretum development, 95-acres of shops, restaurants and theaters. For more details, visit http://Bouchercon2002.org
*** Spread the Word ***
As you may have noticed, I am taking to the road more often, trying to incorporate more teaching, conferences and speaking engagements into my work life. To that end, if you are on a conference committee, in charge of seminars or education for your group, I am interested in presenting and have program material available on criminal justice, forensic science, and, of course, writing and promoting ideas for the author.
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters I hope to answer reader’s questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2002 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.