Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

Hey, everyone! It’s that time of the year again where everyone asks you, “what’s your Amazon wishlist again?” But what do you get for the friend or relative who has everything except my books? You get them my books, of course.

There’s the Hazzard Pay Series, which is currently six books (I’m still working on #7, honest). They are all available in Kindle or Paperback and include:

The Invisible Crown

The Hidden Throne

Death Comes Calling

Crooked Halos

An Ill Wind Blows

The Long Fall Into Darkness

Who are they ideal for? Someone who enjoys snarky protagonists, a good mystery, and lots of head injuries.

I’ve also written a short chapter book, Doctor Jayne and the Missing Unicorn Horn. It’s short and sweet and still full of humor and a hornless unicorn named Herman.

Who is it ideal for? Do you have a kid who can read short (like 100 pages) chapter books? Do they like magical creatures and whimsy and a will-o-the-wisp named William? Then they’ll probably love this book. There’s adventure and excitement and just a touch of scariness, but not too scary, and it has a happy ending.

Want other stuff? Well, in addition to writing books, I’m also a cartoonist and a songwriter and musician! You can commission me to create art and music for you! Just, y’know, give me some heads up time, ’cause that stuff takes a while.

Who is it ideal for? Do you find the comics I’ve posted here funny? Or like the music I’ve posted over here? Then you might like for me to create something original for you!

Remember, everyone’s talking about how terrible the supply chain is this year, so maybe get out ahead of the holiday shopping and snap these up early!

What do we get you? Oh, gee golly, that’s sweet of ya. Your love is really enough. However, you can buy my books or even just leave reviews on the ones you’ve read already. If you’re really insistent on a gift, there’s always that Amazon wishlist.

New Books Coming Soon!

Yes, you read that title right: books, plural!

First up is Book 6 in the Hazzard Pay series, The Long Fall Into Darkness. I just put it up for pre-order over on the Amazon this morning. It comes out March 27th (coincidentally, my birthday. And a Friday in 2020!). Assuming I can get KDP’s website to accept it, the print version will likewise be available that day.

Here’s the blurb for Book 6:

Life’s not easy for former Organization Boss and sometimes private detective Eddie Hazzard, especially when someone’s said the quiet parts of his identity out loud for him. Eddie’s been revealed as the (at least temporary) leader of the only criminal syndicate in Arcadia, and everyone wants a piece of him for it: the cops, the criminals, and this strange guy who keeps dying and being reborn over and over again. But if Eddie wants to clear his name, he’s got to get out there and confront the woman who’s behind all his misery: Carmen, the sister of his sometimes ally Vera Stewart, who has…well, there’s something mysterious and shifty about her, that’s all he knows. If Eddie doesn’t solve this case soon, he may not get a chance to solve any other case. Ever.

‘Cause he’ll be dead.

Exciting, no?

But hey, you say, I said “books plural” up there, didn’t I? Why yes, I did. And the second book is actually a children’s book that’ll come out this week!

The second book I’m here to talk about is called Dr. Jayne and the Missing Unicorn Horn. If follows the exploits of magical creature doctor Jayne Marie Forrester, whom everyone calls Dr. Jayne. She’s the best there is at what she does, and what she does is help out magical creatures. So, when Herman the Unicorn arrives at her office one morning missing his horn, she sets off an adventure to help him find it!

Hope you enjoy the sneak peak at the cover (minus trade dress, which is fancy author talk for “title and author’s name”). It was drawn by yours truly:

New Short Story Available Now!

Starting today, you can pick up an electronic copy of my short story “Bad Press” for only $0.99! That is literally less than a dollar. It’s currently available (as of September 10th at noon) on iBooks and Barnes & Noble, among others, and should pop up on Amazon within the next day or two.

Here’s the brief description of the story:

Eddie Hazzard’s name is being smeared in the press, and he’s going to get to the bottom of it. To restore his honor, he’ll have to contend not just with the reporter who impugned him, but with a whole host of violent enemies who want him dead. It’s just another day in the life of Eddie Hazzard, Hard-Boiled Detective, in this speculative fiction version of a cassingle. Remember cassingles? Man, those were awesome.

Go give it a read while you wait for Book Five!

Book 4 Cover Reveal and Release Date

Hey, folks! I’m all finished getting the fourth book of the Hazzard Pay series, Crooked Halos, set up! That means it’s time to get it out there. Here’s the synopsis/back cover blurb for the book:

In Arcadia, no one is innocent. This is true even for Dresden Crowder, Eddie Hazzard’s old partner from his days on the Arcadia police force. While the city considers Crowder to be a hero who sacrificed his health and well-being for the sake of the city, Hazzard knows better: Crowder was a crooked cop who framed Eddie and got him kicked off the force.

Now, Crowder is suddenly back in town with murder on his mind and a patsy to frame. Three guesses as to who the patsy will be. Hazzard has to save Crowder’s would-be victim—who actually wants to be murdered—salvage his own tarnished reputation, and survive against a whole host of villains, all while trying to shut down organized crime once and for all in the city. Poor odds? Little chance of success? Yup, this is definitely a case for Eddie Hazzard.

And here’s the cover:

Cmcottrell_3D.jpg

The book will be available this Friday, August 10th! You can get it from Amazon or from a number of other fine distributors, as is your wont. The dead trees edition will be available this weekend as well, for those who still prefer to read that way.

I keep getting asked about audiobooks and when I’ll have those available. The sort answer: not unless the ebooks or physical books really take off. Audiobooks are expensive, unless you’re doing it yourself (and no one wants to hear me drone on for hours and hours, reading my stuff and being impressed with my own cleverness. Or do they? I don’t know).

But anyway: book! Buy it! I worked really hard on this one for a really long time. I think it is pretty darn good. That is all.

Book 4 Update

I’ve been quiet, but busy the past couple of weeks. Book 4 has been to the editor and returned, and I’ve made changes and corrections based on her suggestions. I’ve formatted the paperback and the ebook version, and I just ordered the cover this afternoon. What does all this mean? It means Book 4, Crooked Halos, will probably come out sometime next month!

In other news, I’ve set up all three of the other books to go wide, which means you can read them in iBooks, Nook, and a half dozen other ways now. I’ve also sent the first half of Book 5 off to my beta reader to find out if it’s horrible drivel or not.

Long story short, there’s lots going on, and I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated.

TFW You Scrap 33% of Your #WIP

Writers are full of advice for one another. “Write every day,” some of them say. “The first draft is you telling the story to yourself.” “Kill your darlings.”

Kill your darlings.

It’s a simple idea: you can’t be afraid to cut stuff you really like if it doesn’t fit. Even if it’s the best scene you’ve ever written, with dialogue crafted into perfect prose, if it doesn’t fit in the book, you have to cut it.

Now, most authors will keep scraps and bits they’ve cut like this in case they find somewhere to put it later on down the road. Just because this particular scene doesn’t work in this book doesn’t mean it won’t work in another book. Your darling may still see the light of day.

And then there’s what I’m experiencing. I’ve been going through book 4, giving it a once-over before sending it off to my editor at the end of the month. And…

…and dear lord, the first third of the book is just dead boring. It’s flat, lifeless, and doesn’t really do much besides move the proverbial pieces around the board, getting them in place for when things do start to pick up. It bored me when I was reading through it. I hated it. It plodded in the worst possible way.

So I cut it. All 20,000 words of it. A full third of the book, just gone.

Am I insane? Couldn’t I have just worked on it, made what was there more interesting? I mean, I’d already invested all this time and effort and energy into the thing.

But no, you gotta kill your darlings, even if they’re not quite as darling as you’d like. You can’t be afraid to put massive swathes of your book on the chopping block if they just don’t work. And this 20,000 words just did. Not. Work.

I’m going to try to rewrite that chunk of book over the next couple of weeks. I’d still like to hit my (self-imposed) deadline to get the book off to the editor by the beginning of June. I spent a bit of time yesterday plotting out what I’ll do in the rewrite. It has me far more excited than what I had originally.

This book has been the most challenging for me to write. It was the second Hazzard novel I ever wrote, way back in, like, 2013, and it’s now on its third major draft (where I’ve rewritten massive chunks, not just little tweaks here and there). This damn book is my problem child, but it’s gonna get written.

Even if I have to kill half of it in the process.

Death Comes Calling

The new book, Death Comes Calling, is out today! Go pick up your copy from Amazon right now! Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell random strangers you encounter on the street! Shout it from rooftops and with bullhorns and while frothing at the mouth and grabbing people by their lapels!

Well, okay, maybe not that last one. But definitely the rest of them!

The Hidden Throne Pre-Order!

Book Two, The Hidden Throne, is now available for pre-order! It goes live on October 20th, a week from tomorrow. I’m very excited that this one is finally getting out there. I’m hoping to have Book Three ready sometime in February or March.

I’m very proud of this book. I’ve spent the past five years working on it, really, tweaking things and making it the best it can possibly be. I hope you’ll pick it up. Like The Invisible Crown, it’s only $2.99 for the ebook. That’s cheaper than a latte at Starbucks.