Posts Tagged ‘Outside the Law’

It’s been a busy start to February for me. Outside the Law is finally a reality and doing really well so far. And though I’ve tried to keep up with all the goings on, for a variety of reasons I haven’t really had time to digest the reaction to the book and post daily here, or any social media for that matter.

cropped-cropped-deadmulelogo-1But two items of note today. The first is the very generous review by the irrepressible Val MacEwan at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, as good a journal of authentic Southern fiction as you’re going to find (if I do say so myself). I was fortunate enough to have a story published at the Mule  a few years ago, and it’s really a cool thing to be reviewed there. If you like your Southern fiction real, get over there and check it out. To read the review, click here.

Here’s an excerpt: “Outside the Law needs to be savored and enjoyed. Read it for the action but also read it for the sense of place. Thompson’s writing is sparse and brilliant, no flowery speeches, no unnecessary actions.”

Next, another great review from crime fiction reviewer David Nemeth. You can read the whole thing here, but here’s a preview: “If you like your Southern justice with a side of revenge and lots of good writing, then Outside the Law is just the book for you.”

Next up: the Los Angeles Times Festival of the Book, April 22-23. I’ll be heading to the West Coast to attend this event as one of Brash Books’ authors, and I’m really looking forward to my first trip to L.A. in about 10 years.

Today’s links

Boyce’s new book, ‘Old Bones’ crime fiction at its best“Old Bones” by highly acclaimed author Trudy Nan Boyce (Putnam, $27) is a superior crime novel scheduled for release on Tuesday.

The Dry by Jane Harper: The surprising roots of hot new crime thrillerWhat has Hull got to do with a critically acclaimed new crime thriller novel set in Australia? It is set in hot, dusty and arid rural Australia, so you might well be forgiven for wondering what East Yorkshire has to do with one of the hottest new crime thrillers.The Dry by Jane Harper has received rave reviews since it was published in the UK last week, mirroring similar critical acclaim back in Australia and in the US.


Outside-02-215x330Today is pub day for Outside the Law, and, as I did yesterday, I have to again say thanks to the crew at Brash Books (Lee Goldberg & Joel Goldman) for taking the time to read the manuscript, see something in it, and then have the patience and insight to help shape it into what I think is a damn good Southern crime story. Go ahead, buy a copy, read it and agree with me. You know you want to.

Also, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon. Believe it or not, every little bit helps. Then tell all your friends.

And just to whet your appetite (if it isn’t already), check out the first of three trailers for the book here. And read reviews on the “Books” link at the top of the page. Here’s the Publisher’s Weekly review to get you started:

“Sheriff Colt Harper, as the title of Thompson’s tough, fast-paced sequel to 2013’s Deep Blood suggests, takes a Dirty Harry approach to law enforcement. In his first term as sheriff of Mississippi’s rural Lowndes County, Colt has shot several people, and his office stands accused of using excessive violence. He’s unsure whether he should run for reelection. At the scene of a convenience store robbery, a teenage boy, whom Colt places under arrest, tells him that somebody has been taking down drug dealers. When drug dealers start turning up dead, Colt suspects that a serial killer is at work. Molly McDonough, an ATF special agent, helps him investigate. Colt and Molly, who have each become disillusioned with their jobs, are seeking redemption for past mistakes. Meanwhile, a Memphis crime lord has ordered Hack, a hit man, to stop Colt. Hack, too, expresses a desire for redemption. Fueled by either remorse or revenge (or a combination of both), Thompson’s convincing characters race toward an inevitable and explosive showdown.”


Pulp Fiction Cover of the Day


Today’s links

Ingrid Thoft delivers action-packed plot in ‘Duplicity’The private detective novel continues to explore contemporary hot-button issues, as Ingrid Thoft illustrates in her latest exciting novel about Boston investigator Fina Ludlow.

10 Irish crime fiction novels you didn’t know you needed in your lifeIrish crime fiction has exploded into a literary phenomenon in recent times. Declan Burke selects the best examples of how the genre has developed through the years.

I use a variety of methods to stay mentally  and physically focused while I’m trying to write a novel, and this is important to me because I don’t spend all day writing. I may go days without being able to sit down with the characters, and I need to be able to jump right back in whenever I do. So, one of the big challenges for me during the writing of Outside the Law was staying organized for the long haul.  Both physically and mentally.

Outside-02-215x330Physically, writing a 60,000+ novel can get cumbersome, depending on how you’re going about it. I’m like several writer friends I know — I start a Word document and just start banging words out. Which sounds like a great idea until you’re deep into the story, and you need to refer back to an earlier scene or timeline. Then you have to go back and search through pages and pages until you find it. That eats up a lot of time.

So, my preferred method of the actual writing is to do it by chapter, with each chapter being a separate file on my laptop (this is done after I longhand the chapter/scene/thought in a notebook I keep readily available). I also keep one “master” document that is the entire manuscript, and as I finish a chapter, I copy and paste it into the master. This helps if I want to read the whole thing for some reason, plus it lets me see where I am as far as word count or page numbers go. I don’t write to a word count, but that’s a useful rudder when you’re well into the story.

About two years ago, I decided I wanted to try something different as far as “manuscript management” (as I call it). I downloaded a trial version of Scriveners, a powerful multi-function program that allows a writer to accomplish a multitude of tasks: notes, rewrites, cross-reference, etc.

It took some getting used to — you have to learn how to use the system, after all — and in the end I found myself spending more time “getting organized” than I did actually writing. So I went back to my old-fashioned way: my notebook and laptop, a white board and (my nod to “modern times”) and “mind mapping” software that I love because it is my second white board.

And I do love a white board. That’s where I throw timelines, questions, character sketches, whatever brainstorm comes to mind. I’m a visual person, so seeing an idea is much more helpful to me than a spreadsheet or an index card. The software I use does the same thing. I use Mind Node for two simple reasons: it’s free and it’s easy. And because it’s on my laptop, I have a white board  with me everywhere I go — and that comes in handy.

That’s where the ideas usually start. For Outside the Law, I took a look at where the characters were at the end of Deep Blood, and wrote the names on the board . At the top of board, I wrote “Redemption vs. Justice.” Then, as ideas I came to me I filled in the blank, then fleshed out more ideas on Mind Node (where there no physical limitations like the size of the board). The more I did this, the more the story shaped up and pretty soon I was writing it out in my notebook, a chapter or a scene at a time.

(Not to get ahead of myself, but once I finished Outside the Law, I started thinking about ideas for the next Colt Harper book. I wrote three things on the white board: 1. A briefcase full of money; 2. a cemetery; 3. a severed foot.)