31 October, 2011


I am officially participating in National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNo, where a slew of crazy writers dedicate one month to writing FAST. The goal is 50,000 words in November, usually in a new project special for NaNo, but I desperately need to make good progress on Stain of Corruption. Soon. I need to have at least the first draft finished this year. I need to get this book out of my head and off to the fans, despite the endless insanity we've been mired in since, well, March when the postal closing mess tipped the first domino of 2011 life chaos. And I need to get back in the habit of daily prose creation.

Anyway, I'm all signed up and I've been working on the book steadily since I promised to get my 50k in November. I will post daily (well, nightly since I write at night, ha ha) word counts on Twitter, or you can follow along and friend me on NaNoWriMo. :)

Life nuttiness continues (gak, don't get me started on the post office!!), but books don't write themselves. C'mon, November! Let's get LOTS done!!

13 October, 2011


I live in Iowa. Small town Iowa, to be precise, and have lived essentially my whole life surrounded by corn and soybeans.

Corn whispers, did you know that? The leaves caress one another in the wind. Deep into a big, green, field it is quite possible to lose sense of direction since the corn gan grow well over most anyone's head (hint: follow the row, it'll end sooner or later, or listen for traffic and go that way) but, mostly it's pretty mindless to walk through a cornfield in high summer. Just wear a long sleeved shirt and pants, not shorts - I don't care how hot it is, wear the full-coverage clothes anyway. You'll thank me later. You'll be surrounded by green, emersed in it, swimming in it, and, other than the whispers and the wind, it's nearly silent there. Peaceful. Cut off from most everything. You can think in a green cornfield, like walking through a sensory deprivation chamber of green (unless you're wearing a tank top and shorts, in which case you'll be too scratched up and itchy to notice the peacefulness).


Anyone who has to call the cops for being lost, TWENTY FIVE FEET into a corn maze is crazy, stupid, or both. Twenty five feet. It's not that far. Four tallish guys put head to foot. TEN STEPS. Tops. And taking a cranky toddler and a newborn into an hour-long maze only highlights the idiocy. What? They couldn't simply turn around? Couldn't yell 'Hey! We need some help here!' Couldn't climb back up onto the platform they'd just crossed and look to see which way was the 15 feet to the entrance?

Nope. They called the cops.

I couldn't put this in a book. No one with any sense would believe it.

10 October, 2011

Reviews. And warning stickers.

While checking out some stats on Amazon (thanks, whoever bought Fire and Sid this past week!) I noticed that there was a newer review in my cue. For Threads of Malice. The reader gave it one star.

I honestly don't have a problem with bad reviews - I know my books aren't for everyone and I'm totally cool with that - but the reader obviously didn't read any of the numerous other reviews bluntly stating the subject matter of the story, or realize that my stuff, especially Threads, is gruesome, violent, and brutally frank about the dark underbelly of humanity. And, I'd like to take a moment to note, despite the violence and horror of Dubric's world, it's nothing in comparison to what happens to real people when captured by sociopaths and murderers.

My characters are fiction. Pretend. Mere imagination. Serial killers do things to real, living people that are horrific beyond comprehension. As twisted as I'm often said to be, I can't even imagine how anyone could actually do what I've read during research, let alone the worse acts that no one outside of law enforcement ever gets to see. What I make up is pale and frothy in comparison to reality and I always, always, try to offset some of the darkness with a bit of light from humor, romance, and family - an important facet of my work that doesn't usually brighten the reality of murder.

I wish I could apologize to this poor woman. I dunno what she was expecting, but obviously Dubric's version of John Wayne Gacy was too much. While I don't expect to thrill every reader, I also don't want to leave mortified, angry readers in my wake either. It's a hard line to walk sometimes, remaining honest yet inoffensive. I just tend to step toward the 'honest' side of that choice.

Some days I wish I could have NC-17 for Violence and Depravity stickers put on the books. Especially Threads.

Or, as my buddy Michele often suggested, 'Do NOT Eat Tacos While Reading This Book!'

(She was eating tacos while first reading the autopsy scene. Maggots. Remember the maggots? Apparently the combination wasn't pleasant. ;) )

Anyway, if, by some miracle, that reviewer is reading this, I am sorry that you hated the book, that it was too gratuitous and you thought the violence served no purpose. I am. I'm sorry that you had to endure the depravity and perversion. I don't want to disgust people, so in that I obviously failed.

But, in the mid 70's, a man named John Wayne Gacy raped, tortured and killed more than 30 teenage boys and young men in far nastier ways than I put in Threads. Gacy finally got caught, thank God. But there are others out there, roaming free and doing similar and worse things even now to men, women, children, and the elderly. It happens every day. For real. I've tried to write 'nice books' but it's simply not in my makeup. I cannot do it. During my forays into the dark, however, I try to shine the brightest light I have and report honestly on what I see. Abuse. Murder. Madness. I don't choose these topics, they choose me. And I always, ALWAYS, try to tell the unvarnished truth as best I can. I might write fiction, but I don't lie. And I don't flinch.

The books really aren't about the dark, though, they're about the people, the good people, who stand up and say that they will no longer allow this to happen. And they stop it. They're about how no matter how awful, how incredibly, impossibly awful things get, Dubric will endure, regardless of how heavy the burden of his ghosts becomes. How Dien will protect the weak, even if it kills him. How Lars will always get back on his feet and snarl at the dark.

How someone has to say NO! I won't allow it anymore!

And, in the end, that someone succeeds.

I write about the people who refuse to falter in the face of evil. And that, I am never sorry about.

06 October, 2011

Links! I have links!!

I've created a new page here on TamboWrites called Books and Such. It's over to the right and has anything you need to know about the novels, shorts, and where to buy them. :) Thanks for your patience.

05 October, 2011

Two posts. One day. Omg, I've lost my mind.

I've been reading a lot about writing lately, craft, e-vs-traditional publishing, marketing, platforms, royalties, and all the other assorted important-to-writers-but-no-one-else concepts. I love this stuff, just gobble it up (and I spit it back out, as evidenced by my many re-tweets and G+ shares).  ;)

One thing I keep running into, though, is:

Every concept has its lovers and detractors. 

Writers are people too and we all have preferences and opinions. And we like to be heard. So we, as a group, tend to respond to articles we agree with, and ones we absolutely disagree with. All that's fine. However, some writers (a few in particular who shall remain nameless) apparently live to spit on others.

Free Pie Day

For those  of you who don't know, Wednesday is FREE pie day at Village Inn restaurants. Yeah, it's only fruit pie, but still. Free. Pie.

Bill and I imbibe in the freeness now and then - went last week, but not this week - and, if nothing else, it's a nice, cheap date. We each get iced tea to go with our free pie, so for about $4 total, it's a pretty good deal, especially when you're on a budget.

Then again, we don't get out much. ;)

Since almost everyone's been impacted by the current economic climate, what kinds of cheap yet enjoyable things have you found to do?

03 October, 2011

Waving goodbye to Facebook

I joined facebook a couple of years ago when a friend started an author page for me. It was a fun place to hang out, catch up with friends and family, and play a few games. But it soon became a time suck and, as the rules kept changing, a bit too public for me. I didn't like having my personal data up for sale (not that almost every social site online doesn't do that, too) that anything I posted, clicked at, or even potentially visited outside of facebook would become public knowledge.

That really bothered me. Not because anyone would care that I frequent quilting sites, writing blogs, and news (Seriously. Who cares that I like Moda Bake Shop?), but does anyone really need to know if I'm researching decapitation, spousal abuse, or how long a person can live after a disemboweling? Not only would it potentially label me as psychotic, it could give away a story element long before the story went public.

And what writer wants that? ;)

The real kicker for me, though, was the increasing negativity. It's like people's self-sensors have turned off. While there's always been that free wheeling 'F this!' attitude to facebook posts, especially by the younger set, I lost count how many non-teenagers were telling others to do things to themselves best not said in public. Or posted raunchy, nasty pics and videos. Or just plain bullying and harassment. On my wall, at least, the venom exploded over the past couple of weeks.

I have no issue with disagreement, only the lack of politeness. People can disagree without calling each other names or making threats. People can be upset and angry without being vicious. Just apparently not on Facebook. And God help you if you ask someone to tone it down.

I just don't want that crap shoved in my face anymore. I have enough of my own to deal with, thanks anyway. So, between the nastiness and privacy issues, I decided I was done. I didn't want to lose my author page or that path of interacting with fans, so I haven't deleted my account, just closed the social 'wall'. I hope that works for everyone, including me. :)

I'll keep checking the page - promise! - but I'm also maintaining a twitter account (http://twitter.com/#!/tambojones) and Google+ (http://gplus.to/tambo). And I'll make a greater effort to update this blog frequently.