New Book 1 Cover!

Ever since I got that awesome cover for Book 5 a few months back, I’ve been wanting to go back and redo all the old covers for my existing books. I revealed the reworked cover to Book 4 a few weeks ago, and today I’m excited to bring you the new cover for Book 1, The Invisible Crown.

Feast your eyes!

Awesome, right? It’s up for the eBook already, and should be live on the printed version by the end of the day. Like it? Love it? Hate it (please don’t tell me you hate it, because I love it)? Let me know! There’s still the covers for books 2 and 3 to redo, so it may be a couple more months before they’re all uniform in style. But I’m really excited about the new covers.

Status Update

So, it’s the end of summer, and the beginning of a new school year. This time of year is always a bit strange for me. While most folks think of autumn as a time when things slow down as the weather grows colder and the trees shift colors, I tend to feel more energized. It probably has something to do with getting back to school and in front of the classroom.

Summer tends to be a bit of a doldrums for me, writing-wise. I think I maybe wrote 1,000 words the entire summer. I did do quite a bit of planning on a couple of works in progress, but I didn’t get a whole lot of actual words on the page, so to speak.

That being said, it’s the first week of the new school year for me, and already I’ve managed to get quite a bit done. I finally reformatted The Invisible Crown for the paperback version with the new cover and a few minor tweaks to the text here and there. I also formatted the paperback version of The Hidden Throne, though I’m still waiting on the cover for that one. I’ve also released a free ebook version of my short story, “Solitaire,” through the website Instafreebie. The idea is that the short story will serve as a way to pull people into the world of Eddie Hazzard and maybe convince them to buy the book. It’s only been downloaded a few times since I put it up, but it’s already translated to at least a couple of sales, so I’m happy about it.

So, what’s coming up? Well, The Hidden Throne is ready to roll as soon as it gets a cover. In the meantime, I’ve started work on a new Hazzard short story about his first case as a solo private detective. I’m also working on a young adult novel (it’s mostly planned out, though I’ve only written a few thousand words on it so far). Of course, there’s also editing and proofing of Hazzard Pay Books 3 and 4 to be done, and I’m still working on Book 5. Books 6 and 7 are in the rough plotting stage, too. So there’s lots of writing ahead, and my motivation seems to finally be kicking in again after the word drought of summer.

New Cover!

I posted this in the first newsletter (which you should totally sign up for) and on the Facebook page yesterday, but thought I’d share it here, too. The original cover for The Invisible Crown, while serviceable, just wasn’t doing it for me, so I commissioned a new on on fiverr.com and got what you see above. Isn’t it pretty? Isn’t it evocative? The Kindle version has already made the transition, and i should have the couple of changes to the paperback version made before the weekend is out (I hope).

So, what do you think? Do you like the new cover? I certainly do!

Charlie_Cottrell_3d_3.jpg

I Need Reviews!

So, as you may or may not be aware (and I’m not sure what the scenario is for that second option; maybe you were in a coma until this morning?  Or living under a literal rock without wifi?), my book is now available.  And, though I don’t know any actual numbers, a non-zero number of copies of the thing have been purchased!  This is wonderful!  It means my publisher is likely to continue giving me contracts for future books.

Of course, it’s a brand-spanking-new book, and as such it currently has zero reviews on Amazon and just one rating over at Goodreads.  This is a thing I’d like to see change!  Book reviews for small and indie authors are a necessary, vital part of the process.  No one (aside from my parents and grandparents, who love me but don’t write too many reviews) really knows about me or my book, and word of mouth is the best way to spread…well, the word.

That’s where all of you come in!  If you’ve read the book, give it a quick review!  It doesn’t have to be a massive, multi-paragraph ode to my authorial genius.  It can be as simple as, “I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.”  It also doesn’t have to be a five-star rave.  If you only kinda liked the book, that’s okay!  Even a three-star, “Eh, it was a’ight,” review is still better than no reviews.  Honest reviews are always appreciated.  Feedback and criticism are okay.  I welcome it, in fact.  Pointing out shortcomings in my writing can help me become a better writer, if it’s done properly (if it’s done improperly, or you’re just crapping on me to be a jerk, I will probably completely disregard what you said and make disparaging comments about you, the unnamed, unknown reviewer, to my wife, who tolerates my fragile ego shenanigans with grace and the occasional eye roll).

But please, share the book, tell people about it, and write reviews!  Reviews help out tremendously, encouraging readers to take a risk with an unknown author.  They also help improve the algorithms used to show folks other books they might like when they’re perusing Amazon or Goodreads, and increased eyeballs will only bring more readers in.

Hopefully, we’ll have the physical version available soon, as well as the iBooks and Nook versions.  Keep reading, and thanks!

Release Day!

It’s finally here!  The Invisible Crown is now available for you to purchase and read!  I’m very excited for all of you to finally get to see the book.  Thanks to the folks at Royal James Publishing for helping get this out in the world.  If you like the book, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or, hey, both).  Word of mouth is my most powerful marketing tool.

This also seems like an appropriate situation for this:

Letting Go

It’s less than two weeks away.  On December 19, you can hold my book in your hot little hands…well, the kindle version.  You can order a print copy that day, but you won’t get it until a few days later.  Maybe in time for Christmas?  I honestly do not know.

Working with a publisher is definitely different than working by myself, though.  One of the biggest differences is the lack of control I have over things.  I want to do things my way, put the book out when I’m ready to do so, things like that.  I’ve never been good at relinquishing control of things.  Trusting someone else with the story I’ve been working on for over a decade?  It’s tough.

But those are just my hang ups.  Working with Royal James Publishing should ultimately be pretty rewarding.  They’ve been a big help so far with helping set up the marketing and all that.  The cover turned out great, even if they didn’t go with my original idea (I figure they’ve got actual experience designing covers and things, whereas I do not, so I’m gonna trust they know what they’re doing.  Besides, I really do like the cover a lot).  I have to trust my partners in this.  They want this book to be successful as much as I do.  I mean, for me, it’s a passion project, but not my only source of income.  Not even my primary source of income.  Hell, maybe not even my secondary source of income (we’re talking tertiary, behind my day job and driving for Uber, largely because I’ve made a grand total of $0 off the book so far).  I mostly just want folks to read and enjoy my book.  The publisher wants it to be financially successful.

So, yeah, hard as it is for me to give up control of things, as hard as it is for me to let someone else take responsibility for aspects of my work, I don’t really have a choice at the moment.  And that’s okay.  Learning to let go can be a liberating experience.

Book FAQs

I’ve been getting some questions about The Invisible Crown, and I thought I’d address a bunch of them all at once just to save us all some time.

Q: When does the book come out?

A: December 19, 2016.  Less than a month from now!

Q: How much is the book?

A: The Kindle version is $4.99.  The print version will be more, I would imagine.  If previous titles released by my publisher are any indication, expect it to be around $15.

Q: Speaking of the print version, why can’t I pre-order that?

A: I asked my publisher.  It’s something to do with our vendors.  There won’t be a pre-order for the print version, but the print version will be available for purchase the same day the Kindle version is available to download.

Q: What about an audiobook?

A: Don’t know yet, but I’m working on trying to arrange that for those of you who want me in your ears.

Q: I read your old self-published stories, including the novella Missing Person that this book is based on.  Why should I buy this new book?

A: Aside from the shiny new cover and professional editing?  This is a completely revamped book, with 60% brand-new, never-before-read material!  Sure, the bones of the story are the same, and even some passages were lifted completely from the old story, but it’s a new book.  There’ll be a bunch of changes in book 2 as well, even though that was originally self-published, too.

Q: You just mentioned a second book.  Does that mean this is a series?  When will the rest of the series be available?

A: This is a series!  The second book will be out probably next December.  There will also be a short story set in the Hazzard Universe out sometime in the spring.  At present, there are seven books planned for the series.  The first four have been written, and the fifth book is in-progress.  Books six and seven have rough outlines.  Beyond that?  Well, there’s also almost a dozen short stories that will be released every so often (and eventually collected in print).  And maybe I’ll come up with some more novels, who knows?

Q: I don’t wanna wait!  Why do I have to wait so long for each new book?

A: Mostly because I’m not the only author at my publisher.  They want to give each book plenty of time to grow its audience and get attention before they jump right into the next one.  So, short answer is that I’m not their only author, so I can’t just crank out a book whenever I want.  But this is a good thing, too, because it means there’ll be books to look forward to for years to come.

Q: Will you be doing any signings?

A: I’m a little flabbergasted why anyone would want this but hey, it’s your book.  Trouble is, I don’t do this for a living (not yet, anyway!), so I can’t really just go out on a book signing tour or anything.  I’m trying to arrange something in my neck of the woods in Northern Virginia, probably just after the New Year, but aside from that?  It could be tricky.  I might do a signing in Oklahoma in the summer when I go out to visit my folks, but I’d need someone to set that up for me probably.

If you’ve got any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them.  Remember, the book can be pre-ordered right now!

The Invisible Crown Cover Reveal!

coverdesignforcottrell

Pre-sale: November 21, 2016

Blog Tour: December 11-18, 2016

Release date: December 19, 2016

About The Invisible Crown:

”The city of Arcadia is a craphole, but it’s my craphole. I’ve walked its streets my entire life, always searching for something: a purpose, a suspect, or a stiff drink. My name’s Eddie Hazzard, and I’m a hard-boiled detective. Yeah, laugh it up. It’s a ridiculous job description, but this is a ridiculous town. It’s full of every cliché you can imagine: corrupt city officials, police officers on the take, greedy businessmen, and crime so organized it has an accounting department, a health plan, and retirement benefits. Which is more than I can say for myself.”

Meet Eddie Hazzard: he’s tenacious, a certain kind of clever, and usually drunk. When a beautiful woman comes into his office and asks him to find her husband, Eddie takes the case because the alternative is having his creditors show up at his door and do terrible things to his limbs. But the case takes a series of bizarre turns, getting Eddie caught up in a tangled web of reluctant cops, sketchy businessmen, and shadowy crime bosses. The deeper he gets, the worse things look. Will Eddie solve the case? Will he save the day? Most importantly, will he get paid?

The Invisible Crown is the first full-length novel of a series featuring Detective Hazzard and the bizarre, bewildering array of tough mobsters, genetically-modified creeps, and ruthless scumbags who inhabit the city of Arcadia.

About Charlie Cottrell:

2016-04-20 11.57.41

WEBSITE /FACEBOOK/TWITTER/INSTAGRAM/GOODREADS

Charlie Cottrell is a history and special education teacher in Northern Virginia by day and a writer of “speculative noir” (near-future, science-fictiony, hard-boiled detective stories) by night. He likes to blend action, mystery, and a healthy dose of humor and sarcasm in his work.  He also writes music and draws comics and thinks he vaguely remembers what free time was, but he’s not one hundred percent sure on that.  Charlie hates tucking in his shirt, because he is a rebel. To read more about Charlie, you can visit him on his website.


If you would like to review The Invisible Crown by Charlie Cottrell or join the blog tour, click here or send an email to royaljamespublishing@gmail.com

Tunes!

If you’re like me – and you should all be so lucky – then writing is a process that involves music.  Lots of music.  But not just any music!  No, you must listen to specific songs or specific styles to help set the mood for your protagonist’s adventures.  Or misadventures.  Or what have you.

I have a constantly-evolving playlist on my phone of the songs I listen to while writing.  Some are on there because they fit a specific scene, while others are more about describing the characters or the mood.  The following playlist was developed while I was writing The Invisible Crown and another novel that will appear later in the series, tentatively called Death and the Dame (that one’s a love story.  Sort of).

1. Anita Kelsey, “Sway”: There have been times I’ve just written to the Dark City Soundtrack.  This is still one of my favorite songs off that collection.

2. Sting, “Perfect Love…Gone Wrong”: On there because of the smoky, steamy city jazz feel, and also the extended metaphor where Sting is a disgruntled dog amuses me to no end.

3. John Mellencamp, “The Full Catastrophe”: Perfect summation of my protagonist, Eddie Hazzard.  His life is a bit of a rolling catastrophe, and there is a minor chance he was accidentally loving your wife while you were loving his.

4. Soul Coughing, “Fully Retractable”: One that’s on there for tone/mood.  There’s a dark undercurrent, a sinister feel to this song that’s just really fitting.

5. Muddy Waters, “Rolling Stone”: Life in a blues song always sounds like it sucks.  I imagine Eddie’s life is much the same way.

6. Bob Dylan, “What Was It You Wanted”: Either the narrator is stuck in a world that makes no sense, or the guy took a shot to the head.  Either way, a Dylan song is a must-have on pretty much any playlist I put together.

7. Gorillaz, “M1A1”: Fight scene song!  Love the energy, the staccato burst of the snare, the spiky guitars…great soundtrack to a fistfight.

8. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “Red Right Hand”: Another mood setter.  Creepy, dark alley vibe that I dig.

9. EL VY, “Happiness, Missouri”: Like I said, a lot of songs I stick on these for the general mood they set.  This one fits with the general feel of the city of Arcadia: dark, slightly mysterious, vaguely threatening and sinister.

10. Arcade Fire, “My Body is a Cage”: The contemplative, protagonist considers his actions and his destiny before launching into the story’s climactic scene song.  Love the build of it, the sense of determination and all that.

11. The Dead Weather, “Hustle and Cuss”: Basically the Eddie Hazzard theme song.  He has to be out there hustling, working his tail off, because his enemies are always a few steps ahead of him.  And cussing…well, you have to express your frustration somehow.

12. David Gray, “Dead in the Water”: While The Invisible Crown might be the first of Eddie Hazzard’s cases, it certainly won’t be the last.  I’ve got three other novels already written in the series, I’ve started working on the fifth novel, and I have plans for the sixth.  The core idea for the sixth book came from a short story I wrote a couple years back about Eddie and a particularly disturbing case and a mis-remembering of a lyric from this song.  Expect to see that book in…um…2022 or so, maybe?  I dunno.

13. Adele, “Rumor Has It”: A private detective works with whatever information he can get.  Sometimes, that information is merely rumors.  Sometimes, those rumors turn out to be true.

14. Tom Waits, “Way Down in a Hole”: Tom Waits sounds too ludicrous to even be one of my characters, and I have one antagonist who’s a head in a jar named The Fish.  Honestly, when developing characters, I just ask myself, “What would Tom Waits do?” and go from there.  It’s served me pretty well so far.

15. Modest Mouse, “Bukowski”: This always struck me as driving music, the sort of thing you’d hear on the soundtrack if TIC was turned into a movie/TV series and they had a scene of him driving from the office to an informant or chasing down a lead.

That’s my playlist!  What do you listen to when you’re writing?

You Wanna Ramble

So, in anticipation of the official announcement of my publishing deal with Royal James Publishing, I decided it’d be a good idea to have a blog dedicated just to my authorial ramblings.  I’m still doing the webcomic every weekday, and that won’t change, but I want to keep it somewhat separate from the novelist stuff.

I mean, this is turning into a professional deal, so I might as well treat it as such.

Anyway, I’ll talk about writing, the publishing process, maybe throw up a few sneak peeks if the publisher is willing.  That sort of stuff.  I’ll probably have some guest bloggers pop in, too, because that’s the sort of thing we do on these blogs, right?

In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Facebook, or Twitter, or Goodreads, or even Instagram (assuming you like random doodles and pictures of my cats, and if you’re on Instagram, there’s a good chance you do like pictures of cats).