New Mystery Novel by Yours Truly

The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! Perhaps it can serve as an antidote to the tumultuous events of the past weeks by providing an escape from reality. After all, what is more relaxing than sitting back in your favorite chair – or couch, or bathtub, or wherever – with a new book? So, I hereby announce the release of my latest novel, Lateral Hazard.

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If you’re so excited to start reading that you can’t be bothered with the rest of this post, just click on one of these links and get to it:

Amazon Kindle Edition ($2.99)

Lulu paperback ($13.50 + shipping)

Otherwise, keep reading for a bit of backstory on how this book came to be.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but kept putting it off for the future. I realized I’d have a better chance of making a decent living doing something more practical, so I studied Aerospace Engineering in college and became, as my wife Pat likes to say, a Rocket Scientist. Though my engineering career was very interesting and rewarding, I hung on to the dream of writing novels. I took a couple of evening classes in creative writing, and one of the instructors encouraged me to send a book proposal to a number of agents and publishers. In the early 1990’s, I did just that and was rejected by all of them, as are the vast majority of aspiring writers who do the same. (The Huffington Post reports that 96% of submissions to literary agents are rejected. And then, even fewer of those 4% who land agents actually get a book published.)

So, I didn’t quit my day job, as they say. But gradually, the publishing industry began to change with the emergence of eBooks and self-published works. Encouraged by this trend, I attempted to take early retirement in 2006 to give my writing dream another shot. That resulted in the release of Snowman to the digital world. But I soon realized that an astronomical number of other people were doing exactly the same thing I was. Snowman was merely a spec in the new universe, and virtually no one discovered it.

I started work on my second novel, Slice, while making a few attempts at marketing Snowman. (Of course, I wasn’t willing to spend a nickel on those efforts due to my inherently cheap nature.) One of my no-cost forays was to sign up for a “First Chapter” novel contest on Gather.com, an early social media platform that has since gone defunct. Two books were chosen by the Gather community and awarded publishing contracts. Snowman wasn’t one of them. Though I didn’t win the contest, I did link up with a number of other Gather subscribers who formed a group called the “Writing Wombats” to share experiences, encouragement, and writing advice. One of the Wombats, a rabble rouser named Ken Coffman, sponsored a “First Paragraph” writing contest. That sounded fun, so I submitted an entry. Here it is:

Alexandra Williamson didn’t like what she saw in the mirror. The luminous, sable-colored hair cascading to her soft shoulders was not the issue; that was perfect. Makeup was not the problem either – artfully applied blush accentuated her regal cheekbones, while shadow, liner, and mascara made her eyes the envy of a cover girl. Nor was it the smooth, toned skin, nor the exquisitely firm breasts reflected above the neckline of her monogrammed silk gown. No, what bothered Alexandra was the knife at her throat, about to spoil this pretty picture with ordinary, commonplace blood.

Amazingly, I won the contest. Just to keep things in perspective, I have to admit there were only a dozen or so entries, but a win is a win, am I right? It was the first time I’d actually won a writing competition of any kind. I decided that the winning paragraph, exactly as written, would be the start of my next book. Filled with enthusiasm, I had decided on a title and a premise for extending the paragraph into a novel by the end of 2007.

Then real life intervened. In 2008 I was back to being a Rocket Scientist, to support the family after Pat became a victim of reorganization. Again, I found the work interesting and rewarding, and writing returned to the back burner – something to do in the future.

Finally, in July of 2016, worn out from my forty years as an engineer, bent but not broken, I retired for real. By October, rejuvenated by a trip to England and Scotland and by taking up residence on the North Shore of Lake Superior, I had finished and released Slice. It was finally time to get going on the third book. And now, Lateral Hazard has also been released. Here’s a synopsis.

Samantha Williamson is taking a respite from her quest to become a star on the LPGA Tour, with a stint as an Assistant Professional at the Snake River Golf Club. She has the talent and the will to make it on tour, but an unexpected distraction – the handsome Snake River Pro – throws a monkey wrench into the works. Little did she know that her estranged father is the club chairman, or that his beautiful trophy wife would end up dead. When the Sheriff can’t solve her stepmother’s murder, Sam decides to investigate on her own, leading to disastrous consequences. This is a tale of lust, infidelity, blackmail, murder, revenge – and the redemptive power of love.

For the moment, it’s only available as an Amazon eBook (for $2.99) or a Lulu paperback (for $13.50 plus shipping). Additional paperback channels will be available in the near future. Watch for updated links on the Books page, or just use the author links in the sidebar for Amazon and Barnes and Noble – the Lateral Hazard paperback versions will show up there in due time.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy reading the new book. If you do, I won’t be upset if you add a review to the Amazon and/or Lulu sites, or if you pass along a recommendation to someone else who may be interested. Thanks in advance!

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