Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very blessed Christmas !!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Perfect Pawn (Print) - Free (Goodreads)

In addition to giving away the free Kindle e-Book version of Perfect Pawn on Christmas Day I have decided to host another giveaway for a free print copy of Perfect Pawn over at Goodreads. The contest runs until January 22nd and the winner is selected by the fine folks at Goodreads.

To enter, click on the link below. This contest is open to Goodreads members, but it is free to join and is an excellent community for those who love to read.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
        Perfect Pawn by Andrew G. Nelson

          Perfect Pawn

          by Andrew G. Nelson
            Giveaway ends January 22, 2014.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
      Enter to win

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Perfect Pawn (Kindle) - Free (Christmas Day)

To all those folks who wake up Christmas morning and find that Santa left you a Kindle, I have a gift for you. 

I am offering my debut novel, Perfect Pawn, free for the Kindle platform on Christmas Day, December 25th. 

If you like Mystery / Crime / Suspense or Romance, this is the perfect book for you.

The only thing I ask is that, after you read it, you would be so kind to leave a review for me.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Club Meeting

This past Thursday night, my wife and I had the privilege to get together with the Taylorville Christian Church, Women’s Book Club. It was a wonderful time and I really enjoyed the opportunity to get together with those who had read Perfect Pawn and get their thoughts and feedback.

It also got me thinking as to what other questions readers might have about the book. If there is anything you would like to ask you can get in touch with me via the Contact Me page.

I’ll gather up the questions and post the answers to them.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Author Interview on Head First into the Deep End

Well I had the opportunity to appear as a guest on the blog, Head First into the Deep End, and I wanted to share it with you.

The host, Tom Bradley, is a fellow author who has also written a book called The Kona Shuffle. I'll be interviewing him shortly and will post the Q & A session here on my site as well.

Looking to read Perfect Pawn? Now you have choices.

I actually had a discussion with someone who mentioned that they didn't use Amazon. I didn't think of it before but if you are one of those people you now have an alternative. The print version of Perfect Pawn is also available direct through Createspace.

The link is on the Books page but you can also click on the link below to go directly to the CS page for the book.

Happy Reading !!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

As Bad As I Wanna Be.......

No, this post has nothing to do with Dennis Rodman, other than he might make a great character in a book.......... "Kim Jong Un is lying on the floor dead, his head beaten to a bloody pulp, when agents of the Ministry of State Security, the North Korean Secret Police, find him. Look sir, the stippling impressions in the Dear Leader's skull appear to be from a basketball..........."

Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, in my current WIP, which is the sequel to my current book, I decided to embrace the darker side a bit more. I have to admit it has been fun to explore the depths of depravity a bit. I wanted to move beyond the stereotypical "bad guy" character. You know, the one we are introduced to and it is just taken for granted that he is the baddie. For me, I wanted to explore the developmental issues. Sort of the nuts and bolts of why. 

I'm not talking about the wishy-washy evil tantrum, as in: "Yoda didn't make me a full Jedi knight so I am going to I am going to commit child murder" but the person who has that light bulb moment and says "no more Mr. Nice Guy." 

They don't lose their moral compass, they conscientiously choose to shelve it.

What are your experiences? Have you ever read or created a character that had a "flipped switch" moment where they make the decision to cross over to the dark side and embrace it?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sequel Update

Thought I would take a moment and let everyone know whats been going on with the sequel to Perfect Pawn.

November was a great month in terms of writing. As of today that means I am about 90% finished with the manuscript. I am hoping to have it in the initial editing / revision phase before the end of the month.

If everything continues to run smoothly it should be released at the early part (perhaps February) of 2014.

As for Perfect Pawn, the reviews coming in have all been positive. I appreciate all that have taken the time to contact me about the book. I also encourage anyone who might have questions to please feel free to contact me and share your thoughts.

Best wishes and thank you once again for your support.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Perfect Pawn (Kindle) - Free (Black Friday)

To all those folks who don't have any desire to run around on Black Friday, I have a gift for you. 

I am offering my debut novel, Perfect Pawn, free for the Kindle platform on Friday, November 29th. 

If you like Mystery / Crime / Suspense or Romance, this is the perfect book for you.

The only thing I ask is that after you read it, be so kind to leave a review for me.


Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to take this opportunity to extend my sincere best wishes to everyone for a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

I would also ask that as we mark this day that you keep our military, law enforcement and fire personnel in your thoughts and prayers. It is through their sacrifice, each and every day, that we are able to enjoy days like these.

May God bless each and every one of you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Autographed Copies - Now Available

Looking for a unique holiday gift this year? Why not consider an autographed copy of Perfect Pawn.

I have a limited amount of books that I am offering direct to readers in time for the holidays. I will be happy to personalize them for you and all books ship via USPS priority mail (US orders only) to ensure that they arrive safely to your door. If you need them mailed to an alternate location just let us know. Simply click on the image below to be redirected to the "Books" page.

If you reside outside the US contact us and we can advise you of the cost to ship to your country.

Once again, thank you for your continued support.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Win an Autographed Copy of Perfect Pawn

Deadline - Monday 11/25/13 @ 5pm CST

In order to celebrate the 1 month anniversary of the launch of my book, Perfect Pawn, I am offering up an autographed copy just for liking my FB page and sharing the site with your friends and family.

Follow the link below for rules:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Open Letter to the Dear Kind Folks at the NSA

To whom it may concern:

Dear NSA employee, I would be eternally grateful if you could manage to permanently document all my Google searches, Bing queries, E-mails, and all other research I have done regarding the following, but not limited to: Murder, Drugs, Theft, Jihad, Terrorism, Car Bomb, Espionage, Pipe Bombs, Suicide Vests, Faking Death, Secluded Mountain Areas, Vets, Farm Animals, Power Grid, Elections, the NSA (Sorry, had to check), the State Department, the Middle East, Prepping, Al Qaeda, Murder (it's a reoccurring theme), Arms Deals, the Qur'an, etc., etc., etc.

I've come to accept that my mind is a truly scary place at times.

I was sitting in the living room writing on the laptop and had to locate a recent search I did. As I went through the "history" I was struck that if anything sinister happened within a hundred and fifty mile radius I was most likely going to get a knock on my door.

It's times like this you want a national security agency keeping tabs on you so that you can say "look, I'm an author, it was only research."

Then I realized it was my wife's laptop and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I hear the female facilities for the Bureau of Prisons are so much nicer.

Gotta run, I need to go check the effective blast radius for C-4.

"Hey honey, are you using your laptop?"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reviews / Feedback - What's on your mind?

I just wanted to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has purchased Perfect Pawn. Based on the feedback  I have been receiving, and the requests for the immediate release of the sequel, it sounds as if everyone has enjoyed it.

I would like to take this moment to ask for your help. Like everything, we live in a feedback driven world. Success of any product is measured by what others take the time to say. If you are looking at purchasing an item and you have two to choose from you will normally go with the one that received better reviews, even though they might perform exactly the same. That being said, if you have read the book and have not already reviewed it, would you please consider taking a moment to do so at either (or both) of the following links.



If you haven't read it yet, I'd ask that you keep this request in mind should you read it at a later date.

Once again I thank you for your continued support.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Banality of Evil – Really Good, Bad Characters

“You’re a sick fuck.”

“True, but we all have decisions in life to make. Sadly, there really is only one choice for you. The real struggle is whether or not you can live with yourself afterwards.”

From the novel: Perfect Pawn

I’m twisted, I admit it. However, in my defense I will say that I am the product of a number of things ranging from my chosen profession of twenty-two years to my interests and hobbies.

Some would argue that I have had the displeasure of seeing people at their absolute worst, man’s inhumanity to man, to paraphrase Samuel von Pufendorf (1673). I admit that there were times when I have had to deal with someone who had lost all regard for human life. It is a very interesting experience. 

Probably the reason why psychiatrists get paid so much money.

What is the most interesting part of writing bad characters? Freedom. 

While you have to be very careful with your "good" guy or gal, you don't have the same restrictions with the bad ones. Like the title of Dennis Rodman's book, they can be "Bad as I wanna be".

For me as a writer, what makes a bad character truly interesting is not the one that does a dastardly deed because they want to, it's the ones that does it because they simply don't care. There is no empathy, no compassion, just an analytical approach to an issue facing them. 

It's the epitome of the Alpha baddie. 

You know there is no reasoning with them and the only question remains is: How far are you willing to go to stop them?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Perfect Pawn - State Journal Register

More good coverage. In the Thursday, Nov. 14th, issue of the State Journal Register (Springfield, Il.) they did an article on Perfect Pawn. Nice piece and it opens a door up in the state's Capitol.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Now Available in Print !!

Well, it is now official - Perfect Pawn is available in print !!

It went live this morning and is available now through Createspace, which is an Amazon company.

For those of you with an Amazon account, we have been advised that it normally takes about 5-7 days (estimate) for it to actually appear on their shelves. When it does I will post a link there as well.

Once again, thank you for all your support and encouragement.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Perfect Pawn - The Book !!

Well, it is official. The print version is alive, well almost.

Today the wonderful UPS truck came and deposited the proofs of Perfect Pawn onto my door step. I often wonder if they ever consider whether the item they are delivering is a significant, life altering, experience for the recipient?

I have to admit there is a world of difference between publishing an eBook and being able to hold the physical book in your hand. I know a lot of people prefer the ease of eBooks but I am one of those old fashioned kind of readers.

I love books, always have, and to be able to hold my book in my hands is something I am struggling to put into words. I grew up reading Frank Herbert, Joseph Wambaugh, Alan Dean Foster, and so many others. I enjoyed being transported for a brief time to new worlds. I especially loved the rich character development of certain authors.

Now I sit here with my own printed book and wonder if they felt the same way when they held the first proof of their own book? Will someone read it one day and say I did the same thing for them? As a writer, it is the greatest complement I think you can receive.

Thank you so much for accompanying me on this journey.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The weather and writing

Whats the old saying about Illinois?

"If you don't like the weather wait 15 minutes and it will change!"

Well I can attest to the fact that it is undeniably true. Yesterday I was in a tee shirt, hauling in firewood and today it is 27 degrees outside. But fear not, the reports are that by next Monday it will be 67 out !!

In a way I like the cold as the sequel to Perfect Pawn takes place in January. It is getting me in the mindset. It's one thing to write that it is cold, but it is another thing to walk outside and feel the harsh sting of the wind against your face and go "Ah, that sounds much better."

As a writer you look for inspiration anywhere you can. Including how the sun or moon takes on a different feel when it is reflecting off the new fallen snow.

Check back with me in February when all that prose will be replaced with "Well, got hit with another three inches of this Godforsaken white S&*% again.........."

Writers, you can never keep them happy !!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Social Media Reminder - Facebook / Twitter

As a writer, one of the most important things for me is to stay connected with my readers. After all, it is with you in mind that I write my stories in the first place.

So this is just a reminder that if you have found your way to this website and would like to connect with me, and stay up to date on the latest information, just click on the links below.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Perfect Pawn is now listed on Goodreads

Perfect Pawn is now listed on Goodreads. If you are an avid reader it is a great source of information and reviews of books from all genres.

Take a look and if you have finished reading Perfect Pawn please go ahead and leave a review.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What the reviews are telling me.

I commented yesterday about the feedback I have been getting and thought I would explain exactly why I’m happy about it.

Books to me have always been about rich story telling and characters I could relate to. In fact, it was the character connection in that original draft I did for Nancy over a decade ago that hooked her and led to me writing Perfect Pawn.

I guess I could have gone with your traditional action novel. But I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to exclude any of my readers. So as I began writing I knew I wanted to incorporate a variety of elements. So I included action, romance, humor, and suspense. As you read the story I want you to feel, not like a reader, but like someone who is eavesdropping on an intimate conversation between people. I also tried to open up a bit of the world of the NYPD for my readers.

The feedback I have been getting indicates that I hit my mark.

But the most interesting feedback for me has been from fellow law enforcement officers. Connecting with them was important for me because they know the job and they would be the ones who would look at the book from a professional point of view. I’m happy to say that they are giving it a thumb’s up.

At the end of the day all any author really is, is a storyteller. Whether that story is good or not is up to the individual reader. I am proud that the reviews indicate that I have achieved that with Perfect Pawn.

Now, I hold no illusions that, going forward, every review will be positive. No author can please everyone. But I hope that the majority of my readers will be able to get something out of it.

If you enjoyed the roller coaster ride in the first book, wait till you see what life has in store for James Maguire in the sequel!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Countdown to the Print Version

Well, I thought I would update everyone on the status of the print version of Perfect Pawn. As most of you know, the e-Book version of Perfect Pawn launched a few weeks back. I have to admit, I have been truly humbled by the volume of positive feedback. 

I think what is significant to me is that the reviews are coming from a diverse field of readers. It seems that just about everyone is able to find something in this book to hook them.

Since the launch of the e-Book I have been directing all my efforts into the formatting of the print book interior and exterior. This is not a always an easy task. What you see in the program you are using is not always the way it appears in your upload. So you have to make sure everything fits, is formatted correctly, and that nothing has been added or lost. On top of that you have to ensure that your graphics fit properly. Let me try and explain the process a bit.

The print version of the book will be what is commonly referred to as a "C" Format (6"x9"), Trade Paperback. In essence it is a softcover version of a hardcover book. 

The chasm between the e-Book and the print is pretty wide. On the e-Book you don't really care about the length because it is in digital media. In print, paper is money and those costs can add up quickly. Most authors write simply because they enjoy it, not because they are rolling in the dough. I wrote a little about this previously in: Writing, Research & Reading – What’s a book worth

So after launching the e-Book I began the process of formatting the print version. The original print version was just over four hundred pages in length. To give you an idea of just how tough it is to make a living off of writing, if I had kept the original 400+ page format I would have been paying you to read my book…… Seriously.

Now, as much as I love all of you, that wasn’t going to work out for me. So I had to delve back into the world of Font’s, Widows & Orphans, and Layouts. Trust me, it’s not for the feint of heart. In the end, I was able to format the book to a passable 317 pages.

Mind you, I’m not planning on making enough to serve filet mignon dinners anytime soon, but I should have an adequate supply of Ramen soup going into the winter. However, should Hollywood call looking for the movie rights I’m going to throw one helluva party!!

So now everything is in and being reviewed. I am hoping that the print book will be available through Amazon in time for Thanksgiving.

Once again, thanks to all of you for your continued support and encouragement.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

1st Newspaper Article - Breeze Courier

For those of you in Christian County area, the local newspaper, the Breeze Courier, did an article on the release of Perfect Pawn. It is in the November 3rd, 2013, Sunday edition.

Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1st Radio Interview - 97.3 WTIM

Had the wonderful opportunity today of conducting my first radio interview courtesy of 97.3 WTIM (Taylorville) Morning Show host Matt McLemore. Was a very interesting discussion and I am hoping to do some other locals spots here in the coming weeks.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Published !!

This is a milestone day for me. My first novel, Perfect Pawn, has been published and is currently available through Amazon as an e-Book and is also part of the Kindle Lending Library. For those of you, like my wife Nancy, who have a kindle you can get your copy here:

If you are like me and you need to feel an actual printed book in your hand, we are in the process of doing the final formatting and cover design for the paperback and hope to have it available within the next week or so.

This has been quite a journey for me. What started out as an “idea” a dozen years ago has manifested itself into an actual book. It is simultaneously amazing and humbling.

There are so many people I need to thank, but the first and foremost are God and my wife Nancy, because without both of them this would have never happened.

Some people are born to write, others learn to write, and still others are given the tools and then opportunity presents itself. A dear friend once said, in response to my writing abilities, “He could sell ice to an Eskimo.” The truth is I would not be sitting here writing this without the amazing opportunities first provided to me by three people: Richie M., Tony L., and Dennis M. They are the epitome of New York’s Finest and I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve with them and to have their influence in my life.

I hope you enjoy my contribution to the literary world and I am going to sign off and focus on getting book two out as quickly as possible.

For those of you on FACEBOOK, please stay in touch by liking us at:

Creating characters

Let’s be honest, the reality is that there hasn’t been a book written over the last hundred years or so that has had an original plot at its core.

Take for example the mystery / suspense / crime genre. The crime of murder is as old as time, or at the very least close to the beginning. So in reality we are just copying Moses when he wrote that Cain slew Abel in Genesis. So for us writers we are doing nothing more than reinventing the wheel.

So what makes my book different from the slew of others circulating out there?

That’s a good a question, I’m glad I asked it.

Writers are nothing more than story tellers and at the heart of any story are the characters, the antagonists and the protagonists. Who they are, and what they have experienced, is what drives the story. At one time or another we have all read a book that we kind of drifted off with after few chapters because the characters simply sucked. For whatever reason, we just could not relate to them. I know as a reader I hate that. It might have the greatest potential as far as the plot goes and then misses the mark because the conversation if too rigid or the character is too “all that” so to speak. What is so special about walking through a hail of gunfire if you are bullet proof?

At the end, heroes are everyday folks who simply rise to the occasion.

One of my favorite quotes is from General George S. Patton who said “courage is fear holding on a minute longer.”

As I was developing my characters I realized that I needed to connect to them first. If I couldn’t, how could my audience. They needed to be real, to have flaws, to have had experienced pain, to have put aside their shortcomings and found the will to forge ahead. They simply held on for that one minute longer.

I don’t know about you, but when I read a book and I don’t find myself laughing, crying or gasping, there is a strong possibility that it is going to end up in the “donation” box before I get to the last chapter.

In writing Perfect Pawn that’s what I needed to achieve, not only for my potential readers but for myself. I wanted characters with whom I could connect with. Not only in what they may have gone through in life, but in how they dealt with it and interacted with one another.

In the end it is a delicate balance, but one I believe I achieved.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cover Art, Formatting, and ISBN's, Oh My...........

And all Dorothy had to worry about was Lion's, Tiger's and Bear's.............. Sheesh !

Well, fortunately I'm making progress on my end in the push to get Perfect Pawn released.

There has been a revision to the cover artwork that I think will allow the book to standout better on the eBook thumbnails.

I also just completed the file formatting for the eBook which is in its final proof as I type.

Based upon the above, and hoping that the stars align, it looks like we should have the eBook out in the coming days.

Once that is finished we will begin work on the print version with an anticipated release prior to Thanksgiving.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Update

Haven't posted here in a while but that doesn't mean that things have fallen by the wayside. In fact quite the opposite is true.

Since the Kickstarter Campaign ended unsuccessfully I have been busy doing the editing / formatting to get it ready for publication. It's a bit of a challenge because I "know" the book so I am having to go at a much slower pace. Still it is going along rather well.

Additionally, work on the, as yet untitled, sequel to Perfect Pawn is  moving ahead as is a third book. This particular novel started out as a character outline for the 2nd book that ultimately took on a life of its own. This book will be a standalone novel but the character will tie into the series.

Once Perfect Pawn goes to print I will be able to delve back into those other two and I will provide excerpts as I go along.

Until then, thanks for your continued support. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line via the contact page.

Kickstarter Campaign - Update

Well, the Kickstarter campaign didn't close the way we thought but it is only a minor set back. That being said, I would like to take a moment to publicly acknowledge those who did contribute (alphabetical order):

Andrew Beirne
Lori Delk
Liam Foley
Dani Forsey
John Guzzo
Mick Moliske
Seth Silver
Billy Thompson

Your kindness and generosity will not be forgotten.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kickstarter Campaign - Thank You

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who supported me during the Kickstarter Campaign that I recently ran. While it was not a successful venture it did help me to decide the direction to go in with the book.

We are planning on doing one more round of editing and then I will work on the formatting myself. I will also be doing some additional work on the cover artwork and then I am going to self publish it. Once I have it up and running I will post links.

Once again, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to those who contributed to the campaign. Your support and generosity will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Kickstarter (FAQ)

I’ve gotten some emails in response to my Kickstarter campaign to self-publish my novel, Perfect Pawn. I thought it would be best to answer some of them to clarify things and correct any misunderstandings. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
How do I get your book?

You can’t, at least not yet. The book is finished, but it has not been published yet. Which is the reason for the Kickstarter campaign. It is my goal to fund the self-publishing of the book.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a site that helps to connect artists, designers, inventors, etc., with supporters to bring their project to life. It is what is referred to as crowd funding. You go on the site, find something that appeals to you, and make a donation to fund that project. By sharing with friends and family, and asking them to share with their friends and family, you increase the odds exponentially of successfully funding it.

What’s in it for me?

Well, besides the satisfaction of helping a worthwhile cause, there are generally rewards for your donation. For my campaign, you can click on the link (Perfect Pawn Kickstarter Campaign) and as you scroll through the outline you can see all the different rewards listed on the right hand side.

What happens if you don’t meet the goal?

Nothing, literally. This is an all or nothing campaign. If we don’t meet the goal I don’t get anything and anyone who donated doesn’t get charged. It’s as if it never happened. I could get pledges of $8,499.99 and being short that one penny means the whole thing is a bust.

Why not submit it to a publisher?

Because to them it is simply a business of dollars and cents. The  model for this genre of books is 80k – 100k words. Which is fine, but what happens if the story goes beyond that? Well for a brand new author paper is money and the extra 17k is going to be trimmed. But everything in the book is there for a reason. So do I cut something out or self publish? To me the answer is self publish. This allows me to give the reader everything I intended.

Why does it cost so much?

Like the old axiom: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Cutting corners at this point would be a waste of time and money. If you have ever walked into a book store and looked at the rack of books you are immediately drawn to a book with a dynamic cover. When you pick the book up and flip through it you expect a level of quality. Or, if you have ever read an e-Book, then you know how infuriating it is when the formatting is non-existent. You get frustrated and give up. In this business you have only one opportunity to make a good impression with readers and I want to give them the best book possible. I’m a writer. I’m not a copy-editor, graphic design artist, or formatter. When it comes to these folks, you get what you pay for.

Will this be an actual “real” book?

Yes, despite what you may have heard, or think, self publishing a book shouldn’t have any impact on the finished product. However, like I said above. You get what you pay for. Instead of having the book done by the big publishing house, I’m doing the organizational work and choosing the best people to accomplish the job.  This way, when you pick up that hardcover or paperback, it is the same as one you’d get from your local book store.

To read a free excerpt from the book click here: Perfect Pawn – Prologue (Excerpt)

To contribute to our Kickstarter campaign click here: Perfect Pawn Kickstarter Campaign

Please remember, this project is only as successful as the outreach. If you enjoyed the excerpt from the book, please forward this to all your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter and via e-mail. Taking the time to send this out might make the difference between success and failure.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Kickstarter Campaign

Welcome, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for reading this. I hope that when you are done you will consider helping to fund my Kickstarter campaign to self-publish my debut suspense / thriller novel Perfect Pawn.

As many of you know, I completed the manuscript for Perfect Pawn awhile back. However, it was not until after the actual writing was completed that I began to see how much work actually was ahead of me. After much consideration and research, I have decided to self-publish the book. I have taken the time to outline the reasons below.

I have decided to utilize a  Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding campaign. What this does is allow you to pull together a diverse group of individuals who invest in your project. That investment can be as little as $1.00 or as much as you care to give. There are two things to Kickstarter that I thought were unique. One is you can provided rewards to your investors based on their financial support. The other is that Kickstarter is all or nothing, meaning that if I don’t get to the goal I set for the campaign, no one gets charged.

Right now you might be asking why I am choosing to do this campaign. In fact, this was not an easy decision to reach. So I’d like to take a moment to explain the reasons for this choice.

If you had asked me a year ago what I thought was the hardest thing about writing I probably would have told you that it was the writing. As the months rolled along what I found was that the writing part actually came quite easy to me. I could close my eyes and watch the scene play out in my head and it was just a matter of putting what I saw onto the paper, or in this case typing them onto the computer screen.

What I didn’t know was that the hard work would only begin when the manuscript was completed. It was then that I began to do my research into agents, querying, publishing houses, etc. I spoke to a number of my fellow writers, soliciting their advice based on their experiences. While many were happy to sing the praises of going the traditional publishing route, a growing number seemed to be decidedly against. Here is a breakdown of what I learned.

On average the time it takes for a perfect book to go from manuscript to published is 18-24 months. Mind you that is the perfect book and the perfect scenario. Meaning the stars aligned and you immediately found an agent who loved you, dropped most of their other projects to shop yours, and then found the perfect publishing house that green lighted your project and put it on the fast track. So what are the actual odds of this happening? Well, let’s just say that you might want to go grab one of those lotto tickets.

Consider that Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times.

So what does self-publishing entail? Well, a lot more work then the actual writing.

I take on the roll of editor, graphic designer, formatter, agent, advertising, and publisher.

Does that seem like a lot of work to you? It does to me. However, there is a benefit as well. For me, self-publishing gives me something that the traditional road doesn’t:  Autonomy.

What does that mean to the reader? Well, they get an authors story the way it was intended to be. Right now, Perfect Pawn is almost 117k words. If I had opted to go the traditional publishing route it is entirely possible that at least 17k words would need to be removed. Why you ask, because paper is money and those extra words take up a whole lot of paper in a book. Traditional publishers are less likely to take a risk with a debut author and the cutoff is generally 100K words. In my book, 17k words are equal to about three whole chapters. I can’t imagine removing even one chapter let alone three. I personally think that I would be cheating my readers if I did this. I’m a story teller and I have had a number of people beta read this manuscript. Not one time did someone say “you put too much information in it.” Quite the contrary, most were beating down my inbox to get the next chapters to read.

So now I have the responsibility of making my book the very best it can be, which is why I need your help. Here are the things that your funding will help me accomplish:

  • Editing: The book has already gone through a half dozen edits, but now it needs to be done by a professional copy editor.
  • Graphics: I have done the conceptual graphic artwork for the cover, but now I need to have a professional graphics artist refine it and format it for both the paperback as well as the hardcover jacket.
  • Formatting: One of the most important things, aside from having a great story, is to ensure that the reader has an enjoyable experience. That means that the book is formatted correctly. Ever read a book that had bad indentations, line spacing, etc? It’s horrible. In the age of self-publishing, it is important not to over look this, especially since each format: e-book, paperback, hard cover, etc., uses different formatting.
  • Production: Physical creation of the actual books. Despite what many people think, authors, at least not those just starting out, don’t get heaps of books thrown on them. Remember, paper is money. This is especially true for self-publishing. You have to pay to get them printed.
  • Advertising: This is one of the biggest factors. I don’t care how great your book is, if you don’t advertise your book, you don’t stand a chance. Not only do I want your help financially, but I hope that after reading the excerpt (see the link below), that you will forward it to all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and E-Mail.

Perfect Pawn is the perfect debut novel. It has a bit of everything, for almost every reader. It mingles traditional Police / Crime with some Mystery, Suspense & Thriller elements, with a dash of Romance, and a splash of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

With a readers background I knew what I liked and I wanted my readers to feel the same enjoyment I got when I read what I liked to call “roller coaster” books. Those are the ones that you kick yourself for starting in the evening because at 3 a.m. you’re still turning pages.

So that’s why I am self-publishing, to give you the full story and character development as I intended them to be.

Remember, this is only the first book in a series. I’m already about 1/3 of the way through on the sequel. If I can get this project funded, I can concentrate on writing more.

I have posted a portion of the books Prologue for you to read: Perfect Pawn – Prologue (Partial)

If you like what you read, I would really appreciate your support by visiting by Kickstarter campaign site: Perfect Pawn - Kickstarter Campaign

If you can’t financially support me would you please consider sharing this with your friends and family through E-mail, Facebook or on Twitter.

Thank you for your support and God Bless,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Prologue (Partial)


Keenseville, New York State

Saturday, April 28th, 20121:37 a.m.

Patricia Ann Browning didn’t see the deer standing in the middle of the road until it was too late, not that it would have mattered.

She was on her way home from the annual opening of her art gallery in Keenseville and she was in a great mood. It was a trip she had made a thousand times before, having spent her whole life in this area, and one which she was quite comfortable making, even at this late hour.

She had just hosted the first showing of the new year and it had been a smashing success. It wasn’t on the scale of a Manhattan opening, but everyone on the Adirondack art scene had been there including some well known art aficionados from the Burlington area in Vermont. The months of working long hours, coupled with having to deal with the sensitive feelings of more than one artist, had finally paid off. She allowed herself the opportunity to bask in the glow of her triumph. A glow fueled just a little bit more by the wine she had enjoyed at the end of the evening.

The black sapphire 2012 BMW M6 streaked along the misty thoroughfare like a spectral image highlighted by the moonlight filtering down through the trees. The vehicle was well suited for its role in navigating the meandering mountainous back roads of upstate New York. Maybe it had something to do with its Bavarian roots.

She had just turned forty-two back in September but neither felt nor acted her age. She took great pains in taking care of herself and the endless hours spent running around the gallery and staging new exhibits served as her impromptu gym.

As she deftly maneuvered the car along the roadway one of her favorite songs from an 80’s rock band came on the radio. She reached over and turned the volume up high. The sound system in the vehicle was impressive, even by an audiophile’s standard, and it made the occupants feel as if they were actually in a concert hall. She leaned back comfortably in the leather driver’s seat and began singing out loud as she gripped the steering wheel tightly.

As the car navigated a particularly sharp turn in the winding mountain road, the headlights illuminated the ill fated animal standing in the middle of the roadway. It was literally the epitome of a deer in the headlights moment. She opened her mouth as if to scream, but had no time to make an actual sound. At the same exact moment she instinctively slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid hitting it.

While it was a valiant attempt, it fell just short of the mark. The car struck the animal, which appeared frozen in abject fear, and launched it into the air.

Had the car had a slightly larger profile, the animal most likely would have been driven directly through the windshield and into the passenger compartment causing serious injury if not the instant death of the driver. However, the German engineers had succeeded in producing a crisp aerodynamic design which minimized the deer’s impact. The low profile caused the animal to strike the hood before its lifeless body was propelled into the upper most edge of the windshield and over the top of the vehicle where it crashed down on to the wet pavement directly behind the car.

In that same instant the windshield shattered at the point of impact in that familiar spider web pattern which further terrified the driver. As a result of this assault on her senses, she surrendered all control of the car as she desperately attempted to duck down and away from the perceived danger. It was however futile as her seatbelt ensured that she didn’t get very far.

The car, operating on its own at this point, careened wildly until it ran off the road and struck a tree. At that exact moment, even as her body was pressing against the seat belt, one of the vehicles crash sensors detected the pressure wave caused by the impact and sent a signal to the on-board computer. At about the same time other pressure sensors began to respond to the now crumbling engine compartment and sent their respective signals in as well. The vehicles computer then began to calculate the severity of the impact. About a millisecond later the computer determined that it was a catastrophic event and sent a fire signal to the vehicle’s airbag system causing them to deploy at nearly 200mph. The force of the airbags deployment drove Patricia Browning back into the driver’s seat even while they were already deflating in front of her. While the airbags had done exactly what they were designed to do, the violence of the initial impact had rendered her unconscious.

From the moment of the impact with the tree exactly two-hundred and seventy-six milliseconds had passed, less time than it takes for the blink of an eye.

Steam rose from the shattered radiator where it was eerily lit up by the headlights. Somehow in the collision, the right blinker had also been activated, adding an amber and red flash to the mix. The car’s radio continued to play the classic rock ballad which only served to make the whole scene seem even that much more surreal.

If she had been conscious, she would have noticed the headlights come on from the pickup truck that was parked approximately fifty feet away on the opposite side of the road. A male figure, clad in dark clothing and wearing a baseball hat pulled low, exited the truck. He walked purposely around to the passenger side of the pickup and opened the door.

From there he moved quickly in the direction of the hulking wreckage of the automobile. Under the circumstances it was completely unnecessary as it would be at least two more hours before another vehicle would venture down the deserted back road.

The man proceeded to walk past the crumpled remains of the BMW, back to where the lifeless body of the deer lay in the roadway. It was in fact a young three-point buck and weighed in at only one hundred and twenty pounds. The man lifted the remains up off the ground and carried it to the pickup truck where he unceremoniously dumped it into the back.

When he was done, he switched on the LED flashlight device that was attached to his baseball hat and moved to the tree line on each side of the road just behind the BMW. He located the remnants of the cable wires that were looped around the two large sugar maple tree trunks. The same wires which had, a few moments earlier, suspended the deer over the roadway. If anyone had been given the opportunity to examine the remains of the animal they would have discovered that this particular deer had, in fact, died twice tonight.


For more information on how you can help me self publish my novel, please check out my Kickstarter campaign blog entry here: Perfect Pawn Kickstarter Campaign

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Writing, Research & Reading – What’s a book worth

Ever pick up a hard cover book and look at the price?

Yeah, me too…….. Ouch!!

I have a copy of Robert Parker’s book, Fool Me Twice sitting on my desk and it’s $25.95.

Like me, I am sure the thought crossed your mind that the writing field is certainly a good financial place to be.

Sadly, you would be just as mistaken as I was.

As a writer, there are three things you should always be doing. Obviously #1 is writing. If you are not, then you should be doing either research for your book or reading, as in other author’s works. It helps to see what others are doing that connects with their readers.

But lately, in between editing my current book and writing the sequel, I have been doing a lot of research into the whole publishing scene and it’s amazing what you learn.

For those of you unfamiliar with the whole process, the book you may have just read has most likely been a great struggle to find its way into print. Why do I say this, because traditional publishing houses want to make money and are not willing to take risk.

On its face that sounds like a great business model, but does it work? If any of you have read JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels would you be surprised to learn that her first book was rejected by one of the big traditional publishing houses? No, guess again. It was actually rejected nine times!! How about a seminal work like Frank Herbert’s Dune? Twenty-three rejects!

Surely the classics have faired much better. Let’s look at Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Frankly, the big publishers didn’t give a damn and rejected her thirty-eight times!!

Sometimes the comments back are stunning like one who said about George Orwell’s Animal FarmAmerican readers don’t like animal stories!” or another who said about John to Le Carré “You’re welcome to Le Carré; he hasn’t got any future.”

The simple truth is getting published is amazingly hard. In fact, absent luck you’re pretty much doomed. So why is this you ask?

The art of book publishing is like a polygamist marriage. It’s not as simple as marrying up an author with a publisher, first you have to find an agent to shop your work to them. The problem is everyone’s interests are different. So, even if you have a GREAT book that requires no changes, the quickest time it takes to give birth to a printed book is generally eighteen plus months. That of course only applies when the stars align perfectly and everyone is smitten with your baby.

So, that being said, what can you expect to make as an author from your “blockbuster” debut? Sadly, not a lot.

Odds are you will not be the next James Patterson or Stephenie Meyer. You might, but the odds are better of you hitting Powerball with a ticket you found on the street. Truth is most authors are going to end up as what are called midlist authors. Neither at the top nor at the bottom.

But that’s okay right? Because they are still making a ton of money from those exorbitantly priced books, right?

Sorry, it’s a fable. It’s like when the government tells you how bad the oil companies are with their greedy profits and forgets to remind you that they, the government, actually make more off the taxes then the oil companies do from the profits. It’s true, but I digress.

Royalties on hardbacks, like the one on my desk, are based on the published price and usually range from 10% to 12.5%, with 15% for more important authors. For paperback it is usually in the 7.5% to 10% range. Again, for a select few it might go up to 12.5%.  From that, the author then has to pay his agent. Typically, agents receive a 15% commission on the books they sell and everything relating to the book, such as audio tapes and film. In addition, they usually receive 20 % for overseas sales. 

So, let’s recap. Since math has never been my good suit, we are going to say our work sells for $30.00. Like I said, the odds are you are a midlist author. So let’s say you somehow manage to get the 12%. The publisher cuts you a check for the whopping sum of $3.60 per book sold. From that you then have to cut your darling agent a check for about $0.53 a book.

At the end of the day you are walking away with just about $3.00. The only problem is that hardbacks are really tough sells. It’s a tough market financially and people forced to choose between buying a hardback and feeding their families are most likely going to opt for the latter. chances are you are not going to sell a lot of them and so publishers are less inclined to risk a big run of them.

So, what about the good old paperback? The price for the paperback version of Parker’s Fool Me Twice retails for about $9.00. This means that you are going to make about $0.90 from the sale of each book and then you will pay your agent their cut of about $0.13.

Are you getting the picture that it’s not really a lucrative business for authors. It’s one of the reasons why authors write so many books, because you will not financially survive off the royalties from one book alone.

More and more authors are turning to self-publishing, as in e-books, as a result. It’s a way for them to connect directly with their readership and offer them the same quality at a much lower price. In fact, in most instances you are generally going to get a better item.

Why you ask?

Because paper is money and the big publishing houses are only interested in giving you a good product. They hire teams of editors to take a manuscript and streamline it. An author might finish a book and it has a 120,000 words. Unless you are Tom Clancy, prepared to get trimmed. The editors will most likely whittle that down into the 100,000 range.

Why? Because it takes up less paper. 

There is a unique policy in the printing industry that goes something like this books are considered a success if they sell 50%. What does this mean? For every two books a publisher prints they expect to have at least one returned. When they ship a hundred books to Barnes and Noble, the odds are that less then half will sell.

No biggie right?

Big Biggie!!

There is a really odd business model in the publishing industry. There is a return policy in place that requires publishers to accept returns, at their expense, and give a full refund.  That means if your publisher did a run of ten thousand books, they are realistically going to get stuck with at least four to five thousand rest urns. Chances are those books will get destroyed and recycled to be used for the “next big thing.” It also means that they are less inclined to take a chance on you in the future.

The policy itself dates back a century, to the Great Depression, when publishers were looking for a way to encourage booksellers to buy more books and to take a chance on unknown authors. So they offered bookstores the right to return unsold books for credit. It's become an entrenched way of doing business. Now that the times have changed, many publishers have sought to change this practice, the only problem. They can’t. If they get together with the other publishing houses and say we are not going to accept returns, as an industry, they can be slapped with an antitrust lawsuit.

E-Publishing their own works gives authors a greater ability to pass along their book in its entirety, the way they wrote it, since they are not dealing with the restrictions placed on them by big publishers. There is also less risk since you are marketing direct to the consumer. For those who like the feel of paper, there is most often a print on demand (POD) option. Advances in printing technology now allow the reader to have the same publishing house quality physical book that they could get in their local book store.

Many in the industry have sought to malign this method, but the reality is it is a much better economic model. Maybe not for the publishers, but we are talking reality here.

One thing I would like to point out is that the item you are buying isn’t something that can easily be quantified.  The book that I just finished took nearly nine months to write. It will be a year before I believe it is ready for publication. How much money is it worth? How do you add up the number of hours spent writing, researching and trying to over come writers block. No, authors do not write because of the financial windfall, they write because they are storytellers and want to entertain.

Think about that the next time you pick up a book or download one to your tablet. 

Follow me on Twitter @Andrew_G_Nelson

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Remembering D-Day - June 6th, 1944

It has been nearly seventy years since the D-Day invasion. The vast majority of our veterans who served during WWII are gone and their deeds and triumphs left to the history books. It is our duty to honor them by never letting what they accomplished be lost or minimized.

The world would be a very different place, save for the sacrifice and valor of these brave young men. As you gaze at the photo on the right, looking out at the daunting cliffs and the enemy emplacements that await, ask yourself one simple question: Would you have followed them off that transport. God Bless all who went into harms way for us.

For those who served, and for all those lost at Pointe Du Hoc and Sword, Juno, Gold, Utah & Omaha beaches, a reminder that you will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Interview - Maley Books

I had the honor recently of being interviewed by Dennis Maley, owner of the website Maley Books, regarding my novel, Perfect Pawn.

Dennis has done some outstanding work of interviewing up and coming indie authors. He has an irreverent style that I think is much more engaging than the traditional dry, straightforward, interviews we are used to seeing.  It lets you get a peek inside the authors and see their personalities come out.

It was a fun time and I hope you enjoy the read.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering Memorial Day - 2013

In my book, Perfect Pawn, the main character is a former US Navy sailor.  Our military personnel have always held a special place in my heart. While many others elevate athletes and celebrities to lofty pedestals I prefer to recognize those who have actually done something for us.

Sgt. William Eubanks & Major General Martin Foery
Folks like Lt. Michael Murphy, PO2 Michael Monsoor, Sgt. Salvatore Guinta, Sgt.Leroy Petry and Sgt. Dakota Meyer. And for me, personally, my father in law Sgt. William Eubanks and my great uncle, Major General Martin Foery. I miss them both very much.

While I never had the privilege to serve in our military, I spent twenty years in uniform as a member of the NYPD. I understand the hardships and difficulty associated with service to others. When you put your needs aside to serve the greater good, knowing that each time you put yourself in harms way it might mean that you will be called upon to give that last full measure of yourself.

On this memorial day, never forget the sacrifices made by our service personnel. Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice, but all have paid a price for your freedom and mine.

God Bless Them All.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Printed Books vs E-Books

We live in a very interesting time. Advances in technology are rapidly changing the way we communicate with one another and how we entertain ourselves.

Many of us fondly recall playing the pinball machine at the pizza parlor and then stood in awe as we watched the first Space Invaders arcade game get delivered. Now we anxiously await Battlefield 4's release so we can unleash devastation on an enemy half a world away while we verbally mock them on our headsets. Not that I would do anything like that.

I mean I would if I could, but I'm not that good....

As I have undertaken this journey in writing, it has caused me to consider things I am not sure I ever would have before.

Since a very early age I have been a voracious reader. Whether it is science fiction, a good mystery or a historical account of some obscure battle during WWII, I just enjoy it.

Until recently, my reading has been limited to printed books. I never bothered to keep up with the new "fad" of e-books, thinking they were more of a novelty. However, as I began to explore the options for publishing my book I have had to come to terms with the fact that this new medium is here to stay and is a force to be reckoned with.

Recently I purchased a Kindle HD for my wife and uploaded my book onto it so she could do some additional editing. The quality of the text is unbelievable and the ease of reading is superb. As a result it is causing me to rethink the entire e-book genre.

Don't get me wrong, I believe there will always be a place for printed books. There is just something about holding a book in my hands that I don't think I will ever be able to let go of. That being said, the convenience of having thousands of books at your fingertips, available whenever the moment hits you, is hard to argue against.

This brings me to the question. Given the option of either a printed book or an e-book, what would you prefer?

Follow me on twitter @Andrew_G_Nelson

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Editing versus Writing

OK, so what do you do when you hit that wall during editing your book? You write of course.

Having been a lifelong "reader" I have to admit that I never imagined the amount of work that actually goes into writing a book. Let's say that the price you pay for a book will never begin to make up for the amount of work that actually goes into preparing it for you to read.

Ernest Hemingway once said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

It's true, every line you write is yours, you bleed that story. The people are yours. You live your life in that book one conversation and one moment at a time. It becomes an extension of you. But this creates a quandary for the author, when is enough, enough?

I'm three revisions into the first book right now. Continuity is a big thing. I found a number of issues that needed to be resolved the first time around. The 2nd and 3rd amount to a lot of grammar and what I would call polishing. Just making sure you don't use the same words too much in any particular paragraphs. It is as much for me as it is wanting to give my readers the absolute best book possible.

But what happens when your eyes cross and you've downed enough alcohol and advil to stock a small, but heroic, combat unit?

You close that file and you begin anew. So here I am, about 4k words into the sequel. I have tons of ideas for the progression of the new book and it is fun to watch the characters continue to develop.

But I must get back to the original at some point.  Will the book be good? Will it welcomed and appreciated by readers? I don't know, but I know the people I have created in that book deserve the opportunity. 

Everything being said, I guess I am just rambling and recognizing the need to get back to basics and finish the first story.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

So you wrote a book, now what?

Wow, I have to admit that I hadn't anticipated that question. I guess that's a good thing. if I had actually invested the time in doing the research about what it takes to get a book published I probably would have turned off my computer and mowed the yard.

This might come as a shock to many avid book readers, but publishing a book is harder than actually writing one. At least that is my humble opinion.

To bumper sticker it, once you write it then you need to find an agent to represent your book to the publishing houses. But there are a lot of writers out there and finding an agent, who is getting hundreds of queries a week, isn't easy. Even when an agent takes an interest, and asks to read your full manuscript, it might be months before you hear back. That's if your lucky. Then it could be even longer to market it to a publishing house and then, if they pick it up, months still before it actually moves forward.

Don't even get me started on formatting.........

Is it any wonder that neophyte authors throw their hands up in frustration and decide to self publish, but is this the answer?

An agent will do a lot of the work to get you published, self publishing is all you baby and their are any number of pitfalls with that. Couple that with the fact that many traditional book stores won't carry self published books and you can see why a lot of authors drink heavily and buy Advil in bulk quantities.

So here I am, completed manuscript in hand and wondering how to proceed. I have to admit it is a seriously tough choice.

Next time you pick up that book, stop for a moment and realize that what you are buying is a labor of love. With limited exceptions (i.e.: Stephanie Meyers, Twilight) getting a book to print is tough, and making money from it......haha, that's rich, well not really.

Having written a book, I can tell you this, if you are so inclined to write, do it as a hobby. This way you will have zero stress. As for me, I'm going to yet another website to research the differences between two online publishers.

Well, I'm going to do this after I knock back my three advil with a rum and coke. Cheers !

Follow me on twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Perfect Pawn

When a woman goes missing from a one car accident on a desolate stretch of road in the scenic Adirondack town of Keenseville, New York, it is only the opening move in a much larger game of life and death.

For retired NYPD Detective, James Maguire, the pieces of his life were finally starting to fall into place. He had successfully made the transition to the private security sector and had just met Melody Anderson, a successful Southampton business woman, whom he felt he could have a real relationship with. Everything, it seemed, was looking up for him. That was until the morning newscast reported that the woman who has gone missing from the accident was someone Maguire once loved.

When he arrives back in his hometown he quickly learns that no one else, including the missing woman’s husband, the local sheriff, seems interested in pursuing the investigation into the accident that Maguire is starting to have doubts about. As he struggles to put the pieces together in time, he finds himself being drawn deeper into a game where people are as expendable as chess pieces and the only goal is to take down the king.

A crown Maguire unwittingly wears.

Follow me on twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson

Monday, April 1, 2013

The road to becoming an Author

My life has been interesting.

For me, each new day brings a better perspective on where I have been and the things I have accomplished.

I dropped out of high school, yet I graduated college. I stocked shelves in a supermarket, but retired as a sergeant with the largest police department in the United States

Today marks another milestone in my life. I wrote a book called Perfect Pawn.

It has been a long and circuitous journey and I felt that it was only fitting to document the story as my inaugural post.

Like most things, it had humble roots. At the time I was living on New York’s Long Island and was still working for the New York City Police Department. It was post 9/11 and it was a crazy period in my life.

The concept of the book actually started out as a goof.

I had been talking to my wife about writing and explained how I had gotten good at it. To be quite honest, when I was in school I was actually horrible. English was never my strong suit and I didn’t care whether a sentence needed a colon or a semi-colon. Quite frankly, I didn’t know what the difference was anyway.

During the early years of my career I became a bit more skilled in writing reports. I guess I developed a flair for it. A transfer to an investigative unit changed my life and laid the foundation for my writing.

It was the advent of the personal computer. Prior to that all reports were either done with typewriters and copious amounts of “white-out” or handwritten. We had a secretary that would transcribe the handwritten notes into the cutting edge IBM 386 computer and print them out for the case folders.

The problem was, when you had a dozen or so investigators, one secretary doesn’t make for timely turnaround times on revisions. As a result, case closures took much longer. So my partner and I began doing our own.

Back then we had an Assistant Chief who must have gone to St. Mary’s by the Sea parochial school, because everything came back red lettered for revisions and corrections.

It became a game.

My partner and I began to spend more time engaging in what I referred to as Creative Writing 101. Let’s be honest, saying “The witness was interviewed” several times in a report gets old quickly, so we invested in a thesaurus. Soon, the reports came back with fewer and fewer corrections. I spent the remainder of my career in various investigative units where I honed these skills.

Then one night, as my wife and I were talking I explained that writing a story was easy and proceeded to show her. It was a very short story, only about a half dozen pages or so. The premise revolved around a guy who wakes up one morning with a girl in his bed. He goes out for a run and when he comes back the girl is gone, but she left her number. He jumps in the shower and when he comes out he stares at himself in the mirror. He has scars on his chest from a recent shooting and he is suddenly flooded with memories. After shaking them from his mind he goes out to the kitchen to get coffee and the front page of the paper shows a photo of his former high school girlfriend who has been killed.

Several years later I had retired and we moved to Illinois. One day my wife was talking to someone about this incredible book she had read but couldn’t remember the ending.

It was the short story that I had written.

I still wasn’t convinced it was anything more than her being nice and the idea languished. Finally, in the summer of 2012, a decade after I had first put pen to paper, I caved in to my loving wife's demands for "closure" to the story and began to write.

The original story had been lost to time and two moves. So I took the original premise and began to rework it. I started with the prologue. I figured if I couldn’t get that part right, no one would be interested.

In the beginning it was hard. I mean how do you write a book?

Once upon a time” and “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” had already been done.

I had always been a voracious reader from an early age. By the time I was in my teens I already had my own “library” of about a hundred books. One thing I had always possessed was an ability to “see” the books as if watching a movie. I took the characters and scenes and literally created the world in my mind.

I sat down and asked the basic question: “What happened to her?”

From this premise a story developed, characters took shape and a plot evolved. I decided to let the story take me where it wanted to go. I had thoughts, ideas, opinions, but I didn’t stay anchored to them. The story came to life in my mind and I just wrote what I watched.

One hundred and fifteen thousand words later, I wrote the final line of my book and allowed myself to bask for a moment.

That was yesterday, this is today.

Now comes the really tough part, editing and polishing it and starting to submit it to agents.

So there you have it. I hope you bookmark the page and stay for the journey.

Follow me on twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson