Lance Underphal was devastated by his wife’s death, and now, the down-and-out crime-scene photographer can’t let her go. He wakes up plagued by premonitions. The double shooting of an Arizona real estate developer and his mistress/bookkeeper immerse Underphal in a world of incomprehensible phenomena.
Frank Salmon, the hard-boiled homicide detective on the case, does his best to blow off Underphal’s “visions.” But the murders keep piling up and the visions are all-too real.
Salmon reluctantly pursues Underphal’s twists and turns, leading him from a popular strip club to a failing community bank, adding a blackmailing stripper’s murder to the body count.
Underphal struggles mightily with his psychic curse, teetering on the brink of insanity. His only hope for redemption is the voice in his head, the voice of his dead wife. Stumbling through dark vortexes of murderous intrigue, he comes to realize his visions will either kill him or lead to the capture of a killer-maybe more than one.
When the Name of the Game is Writing Mystery Novels
by Michael Allan Scott
Writing mystery stories as a profession . . . What-the-hell was I thinking? On Amazon.com there are more than 319,000 mystery titles as of this writing. There are nearly 11,000 new mystery novels released in the last 90 days, alone. And while arguably the largest single purveyor of books, Amazon isn’t the only game in town. Holy shit!
It is widely accepted as fact that most authors don’t make a living selling their mystery stories. Hmm . . . And yet, here I am, contributing to a sea of mystery stories that leave fans awash in a plethora of choices.
However, even with what I know now, I don’t look at it that way. It’s more about what I love to do. And I do love being a mystery writer.
In truth I’ve been writing in one form another most of my life. And now at 62 years of age, that’s a fair chunk. I didn’t think about a writing career until I was 12 years old. Headed for the 1964 Boy Scout Jamboree, I was recruited by our Scout Master to write for the local newspaper as Troop 28’s official “news reporter.” I wasn’t sure what was involved, but it didn’t sound all that tough. And in the summer of 1963, my real motivation for taking the gig was the opportunity to meet the President, John F. Kennedy. Only the troop reporters would have access to the President for interview purposes. John F. Kennedy—I was thrilled at the prospect.
As history would have it, President Kennedy was assassinated later that fall. Like most of the country, I was crushed. And on a summer afternoon in 1964, sweating like a schoolgirl on prom night in Valley Forge’s heat and humidity, I met President Lyndon B. Johnson instead—a big disappointment.
After my short stint as a Scout reporter, the writing career was shoved to the back of the bus. Over the years I’ve written sporadically, largely for my own entertainment, always with the dream of getting published. I’ve submitted works of fiction to countless publishing houses and have the rejection letters to prove it.
The publishing industry is changing faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth. And while this creates tremendous opportunity, it is also fraught with challenges. Assuming for a moment that I can write entertaining mystery stories, how am I to propel my work out of obscurity and into the shining light of acceptance given the vastness of an ever increasing marketplace? Yes, well . . . that would be the “fraught with challenges” part.
The Other Side
Whether a murder mystery writer or a children’s book illustrator, if you’re new to the publishing industry you quickly discover it takes more than artistic talent. It requires you to take care of business—all of it, since you are in business for yourself. And “all of it” means every aspect of business. Not only the production of saleable mystery books, but the organization, marketing and accounting duties, as well.
Used to be us budding mystery writers could sit around and mope about how “it isn’t fair” that the big guys get all the breaks. That we’re simply misunderstood—our brilliant works of art, over the heads of blood-sucking literary agents and money-grubbing publishers. But no more. We are out of excuses. It’s up to us, whether we like it or not.
I’m often disappointed at how many talented writers shy away from the business aspects of our industry. These days, it’s difficult to make it on content, alone. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and get into it—the dirty work-a-day world of commerce.
Yet, for many writing entrepreneurs, this is a welcome opportunity—taking the bull by the horns, staring him down, forcing him to his knees—running a successful business operation.
At the End of the Day
Gotta tell ya, I’m a hands-on kinda guy. And while, like any business, it has its setbacks and frustrations, I love it. Writing mystery stories, it’s the entertainment business—the name of the game. Count me in.
A new era of digital publishing . . . In my estimation, it’ll be a Golden Age for writers and readers, alike.
More about me and my murder mystery novels can be found at http://michaelallanscott.com/
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Michael Allan Scott and a clickable link back to this page.
Site address: http://michaelallanscott.com/
Date: December 24, 2012
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? Future!
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? Depends on whose cooking . . .:-)
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? 1. A large boat 2. Lots of fuel (for the boat) 3. Lots of water (too practical?)
What is one book everyone should read? This is tough! When it comes to fiction, hmm . . . so many great books . . . For it’s pure imagination – The Jesus Incident, Frank Herbert & Bill Ransom.
If you were a superhero what would your name be? Ghost Rider (Writer? You get the idea . . .)
If you could have any superpower what would you choose? Fly!
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate-chip Cookie Dough
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? L. Ron Hubbard
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Steak & eggs
Night owl, or early bird? Both, but prefer night owl.
One food you would never eat? Haggis and/or Menudo
Pet Peeves? Slow people in the fast lane
Skittles or M&Ms? M&Ms
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. A different look at a mystery’s twists.
Any other books in the works? The second in the Lance Underphal Mystery series, Flight of the Tarantula Hawk is in the edit process for a 2013 release. And I’m about a quarter of the way into the third, Grey Daze.
Goals for future projects? Expand into other genres and non-genre writing. I’m drawn to storytelling in all types and sizes.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? Loved to read and I mostly knew I was a writer since before I can remember. Just suppressed the impulse until it forced its way out.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. It’s like watching a garden grow. And the best is yet to come.
If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be? I do this every time I write.
What is your dream cast for your book? John Travolta as Lance Underpahl—he’d have to stretch, but he’d be good.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? I read a ton of SciFi. Among my faves was Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? Vein Melter, Herbie Hancock
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? If it’s what you truly love, don’t give up. No matter what.
If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why? Here and Now! It’s starting to get exciting.
If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? Poseidon. I love the sea.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Commute between Martha’s Vineyard and the Bahamas.
What is your favorite Quote? There are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half credence in the supernatural, by coincidences of so seemingly marvellous a character that, as mere coincidences, the intellect has been unable to receive them.– Edgar Allan Poe.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? A story-teller.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood – the strong silent type, with a wry sense of humor.
How did you know you should become an author? Cause everyone told me not to.
Who are your favorite authors of all time? Too many to list here, but here’s a couple: In the mystery genre, James Lee Burke; and in speculative fiction, K.W. Jeter.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Some of me in ALL of them.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? Write with light, no words.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? Do what you love and to hell with the rest of it.
Hidden talent? So well hidden, not even I know about it
Favorite Food? Just one would get too boring . . .
Favorite Candy? Sees dark chocolates
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? Been too busy to pay attention . . . oops!
What was your favorite children’s book? The Wizard of Oz series.
Nickname? None that I care to repeat.
How do you react to a bad review? What review?
If you were a bird, which one would you be? Great Horned Owl.
If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be? Sugar.
If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why? Probably a short story – Poe’s, The Murders in the Rue Morgue – my first murder mystery.
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy? A scuba diving vacation in Bonaire.
Which authors have influence you most how? Poe & Frank L. Buam – they showed me tragedy, beauty, mystery, horror and wonder
What do you do in your free time? Free time, really?
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? WTF
Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again. Too boring for words. Even my dog sleeps through it.
What’s your favorite season/weather? Spring & Fall, equally magical.
What is your guilty pleasure? Not guilty!
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? And I don’t embarrass easily—maybe one of my grandkids shows, like Sponge Bob Square Pants . . . Nah.
Favorite music? Jazz Fusion
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? This sounds suspiciously like work.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery & Thrillers
Rating – R