Random Thoughts From Your Friendly Neighborhood Crime Writer

— I did a total remodel job this last month and noticed the similarities between that and writing a novel. From the ashes of demolition I needed to come up with a design and interesting concept, and the closer to completion we got the more detailed and precise the work became.

—Looking forward to the launch of Dick Cass’s new novel, THE LAST ALTRUIST, on 9/21 at Longfellow Books. Hope to see some writer friends there.

—A talented young writer, also a friend of mine, asked me for help writing a query letter. Boy, those are hard. I’m glad I don’t have to write one anymore—or for the foreseeable future. It reminded me how specific, concise and economical a query letter needs to be. I felt bad sending back to him time and time again for corrections, but it’s necessary to get an agent.

—I have a trilogy about a female serial killer. The editing of the first book was epic between me and my editor. Well, it’s now in the books. Only it doesn’t come out until next summer. Both my publisher and agent said there is a big paper shortage. Isn’t that the shits.

—I’m editing an old book for the umpteenth time, still believing it has merit. Wow, what clarity you get when you pick it up a year later. Funny thing is that I still love it. Except it took a year for me to realize that the first chapter was mostly info dumping. Why am I still doing that at this stage in my career? Sometimes I feel I’m moving backward and not forward in my craft.

—The Red Sox are done. The Queen is dead. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols said he actually admired the Queen. Never count the Patriots out with Bill Belichick as head coach, but I think you can stick a fork in the Pats this year. Bring on the Bruins.

—For a very long time we Portland crime writers were living in a low crime city. In fact, we had to invent crime in our fiction. 42 shootings this year, which is double the rate of 2021. Stabbings up 31%. A SWAT team took command of my neighborhood to catch a murderer hiding out in our quiet neighborhood. Guess our fair old town ain’t so safe these days.

—A police officer told me the department is down 30 officers. Obviously, no one wants to be a police officer these days. And who can blame them? The job is becoming more dangerous by the day. And crazy. Last week he told me he saw a topless woman shouting on Cumberland Avenue while holding a dead seagull. What an image.

—A good deal of the plot in my third book, part of a crime trilogy, takes place in LA. I’ve been to LA. Didn’t love it. Thanks goodness for Google Maps.

—The last edit of my first book in the trilogy was a beautiful nightmare. Although hellish and excruciating, it was one of the best edits I’ve ever had.

—Live lobster yesterday was $4.99 a pound. I love lobster. Buy it. Make lobster rolls and help the lobstermen and lobsterwomen in this state. I always say that my father was a stern man, even though he never fished professionally.

—My father’s house near Boston is up for sale. He passed away last November and his estate just came out of probate. Are you kidding me? In ten months the interest rates skyrocketed and now made it a harder sell. Thanks, Massachusetts.

—I love Oktoberfest beers. They might be my favorite. This month I’m going to Schilling Brewery in the foothills of the White Mountains and sample their version, among many other. They specialize in German and Czech beers and use the beloved LUKR tap. In case you’re interested, Sacred Profane just opened a Czech style brewery in Biddeford and is using the LUKR tap. I tried their dark lager at Novare Res (they also use the LUKR tap) and can say it was delicious. Also, Fore River Brewery’s Oktoberfest is now out and it’s delicious. Head over to their tasting room in South Portland and try it before it goes away for the year.

—That’s all I got, folks

About joesouza

I am a writer of crime novels
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7 Responses to Random Thoughts From Your Friendly Neighborhood Crime Writer

  1. dickcass says:

    Thanks for the shoutout, Joe!

  2. matthewcost says:

    Looking forward to the new trilogy! I plan to see you on the 21st so that’ll be fun to catch up.

  3. John Clark says:

    “—I’m editing an old book for the umpteenth time, still believing it has merit. Wow, what clarity you get when you pick it up a year later. ” I’m doing something similar with a book I wrote more than ten years ago…So much better to edit now. If I could live another forty years, I might win a major prize for fiction.
    Ss for the Sox and Pats, I’d toss in the way DIFW screwed up the any deer permit system this year. Between the thought of shelling out another $12.00 to get one, and my extreme dislike of deer ticks, that gives me all of November to write in comfort.
    “Last week he told me he saw a topless woman shouting on Cumberland Avenue while holding a dead seagull. What an image.”-Ah cinema verite, Downeast style.
    Great stringing of thoughts. I think MCW writers could do this more often, but try to add anything that might lead to an arrest.

  4. John Clark says:

    I meant to say ‘but try to avoid anything that might lead to an arrest’. ALSO, the latest bulletin from WABI reports two more people shot multiple times in Portland early this morning…Adding more credibility to your comments on the escalating violence in Portland.

  5. kaitcarson says:

    What a fun post! Enjoy Octoberfest and safe travels.

  6. Kate Flora says:

    Joe…a couple things. I, too, have a book I have worked on for at least 12 years. And love. Don’t give up on it. As for straying into writing habits we think we’ve left behind? I think of writing as a circle…we learn, we go around, we relearn at a different level. It is a process where we never arrive. Keeps things from getting boring, and always surprising.


  7. Karen Whalen says:

    I live in the town of Schillings—Littleton, a wonderful little town. I’d suggest we meet up for a beer but I’ll be across the pond on a trip planned well before the Queen’s passing. I’ll be with two million others who are swarming into the city to pay their respects. Just think of the story possibilities! Maybe none that rise to the level of a topless woman with a dead seagull!!

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