Tag Archives: noir

Slumpbusters: Using Flash Fiction to Break out of a Writing Funk

Originally published at MotiveMeansOpportunity.

Prepare for some shameless self-congratulation: a story I wrote last month was just accepted for publication by Shotgun Honey, an excellent website that features crime/noir/mystery flash fiction.

Why do I care, you might ask, and rightly so.

Answer: you shouldn’t. Unless you’re a writer who is or ever has been in a writing “funk.”

If you are, fear not. I have a solution for what ails you, one that helped me break the cycle of bad writing and even worse moods. (By the way, writers tend to be moody SOBs, or DOBs, if you’re a female scribe. My old man has somewhat charitably labeled me mercurial, which is a college man’s way of saying I’m a moody SOB.)

Oh yeah, back to my point: write a flash fiction piece to help get out of a writer’s funk. Below are some bullet-pointed reasons why.

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Benefits of Writing Flash Fiction

  • They’re short. No s—, Sherlock. But yeah, for those who don’t know, flash fiction stories are 1,000 words or less, and that is advantageous, particularly for a novelist struggling to break out of a funk. Because of its abbreviated length, flash fiction is a manageable goal; it’s easy to see the finish line while working on it, and when you finish one, you feel a much-needed sense of accomplishment.
  • They’re stories. Meaning they still must have a recognizable beginning, middle, and end. They must have interesting and dynamic characters. They must, on some level, “mean something.” Sounds similar to a novel, no? Also, flash fiction forces you to focus on the story, on writing a scene or scenes with no fat, no filler, no frills. That, too, will aid in your novel writing, especially those penning fast-paced mystery novels, which is what we here at MMO pride ourselves on writing, and writing well.
  • They’re fun. This is crucial because whenever I’m in a writing funk, I’m definitely not having any fun. I get bogged down on deadlines and bad reviews; I shrink under the weight of self-doubt, and whenever I wrote my flash fiction piece, all of that crap went away, and I had fun writing again, which is why I started this hobby in the first place.

So give it try. Write a flash fiction piece. Best part is, if it sucks, at least it didn’t take that long to write.

 

Eli Sharpe is #1. . .and FREE!

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Exciting news item #1: “Pink Elephant,” an Eli Sharpe mystery, is FREE on Kindle right now, AND it has reached #1 on one of Amazon’s bestseller lists. Please, go download this fast-paced story involving a stuffed pink elephant, drugs, and a bad guy named Mr. Spoon immediately. (Thank you in advance for leaving reviews on Amazon!)

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Exciting news item #2: Ed, Not Eddie (Eli Sharpe #3) is out today and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Only $4.95 on Kindle or Nook, $14.95 for paperback. This go round, Eli Sharpe is tasked with figuring out who is sending death threats to a hotshot female knuckleball pitcher in rural Cook, South Carolina. It’s good. I promise. So buy it and read it and review it.

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Exciting news item #3: The Kindle version of Split to Splinters (Eli Sharpe #2) is only .99 all throughout the month of April. That’s right: you can get a brilliantly-written, highly-entertaining piece of literature for less than a dollar. AND, if you’ve already purchased the paperback, you can get the Kindle version for FREE! Just get as a gift for someone else who hasn’t read it. Or read it again on a different format. Just get it, pretty please.

Alphabet Land Official Release

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Alphabet Land, my first noir crime thriller featuring the problem-solver The Rook, is out today! Pick up the Kindle version ($4.99) or paperback ($14.95) here on Amazon. For fans of Barnes & Noble, go here, or if you prefer, buy it from Books-a-Million, my former employer while in grad school, here. And, of course, you can purchase my book from IndieBound, too.

I’m pretty proud of this book, and I believe readers will have a tough time putting it down once they start reading. . .and when you do finish reading it,  please write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and/or anywhere else you see fit. Reviews need not be long, but if you want to gush and ramble on and on and on about my brilliance as a novelist, well, I won’t stand in your way.  But seriously, for small press authors, reviews are very important, so thank you in advance for taking the time.

Enjoy!

Max

Read Excerpt of ALPHABET LAND

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Attention fans of noir/hardboiled fiction: click here to read the first chapter of my forthcoming crime thriller Alphabet Land.  If you like it, pre-order the paperback ($14.95) or Kindle ($3.99) here. Or head over to Barnes & Noble and get it here.

Advanced praise for Alphabet Land: 

“Alphabet Land is as coarse and gritty as Carolina noir can get. Max Everhart has a new big fan.”
—JOHN VORHAUS, author of The California Roll 

“Everhart has skillfully put together a fresh, tight tale that juggles the story of multiple damaged goods characters that collide face-first on a chunk of dirt called Alphabet Land. Crime story goodness that’s gritty, pulpy, tragic, even funny at times and rips through pages like lightning.”
—MIKE McCRARY, author of Remo Went Rogue and Getting Ugly

“Alphabet Land, decrepit neighborhood on the wrong side of the bridge in Clyde, South Carolina. A bridge separating “haves” from “have nots,” opulence from squalor, justice from injustice. Meet the Rook, product of Alphabet Land, casket-maker and “problem-solver” by trade. Call him vigilante, or Robin Hood—the Rook lives by his own code and his word is his bond. Max Everhart’s mystifying hero is determined to stop the lustful power mongers from both sides of the bridge before greed destroys all hope for the hood’s people. Hang onto your hat, because you’re in for one hell of a non-stop ride through the dark and violent streets of Alphabet Land!”
—E. MICHAEL HELMS, author of the  Mac McClellan Mystery series

“Alphabet Land is a crooked little concoction of hard luck, urban decay, and vigilante style justice. In this fast-paced urban noir, Everhart introduces the Rook, a chess playing, coffin-building, monosyllabic badass, who’s hellbent on pushing back the rising tide of corruption in his city no matter what it takes. Highly recommended!”

–John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm and Shoebox Train Wreck

Early Praise for ED, NOT EDDIE (Eli Sharpe #3)

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Thanks to Jack Magnus at Readers’ Favorite for a five-star review of Ed, Not Eddie. 

Here’s the full-text:

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Ed, Not Eddie: An Eli Sharpe Mystery is a private investigator mystery novel written by Max Everhart. Eli’s been called to investigate a series of threatening letters that had been received by Ed Leviner, a collegiate knuckleball pitcher who is being seriously considered by the major leagues. While she doesn’t seem all that concerned about the letters, her father, Leland, is, and Eli is working at his behest. The small town atmosphere of Cook County, South Carolina is a far cry from Eli’s urban haunts in Asheville, North Carolina, his adopted hometown, and the more Eli hears about the entangled relationships between the possible suspects, the more he is convinced that this small town harbors a dangerous person who seems bent on thwarting Ed’s major league career, even if they have to kill her to do it. Major league baseball is a bittersweet memory for the private eye, whose own chances at bat were destroyed by his alcoholism. Eli’s determined to make sure Ed gets her turn.

Max Everhart’s private investigator mystery novel, Ed, Not Eddie: An Eli Sharpe Mystery, is fast-paced, exciting and filled with twists and turns. This is the first Eli Sharpe Mystery that I’ve read; however, the author included enough background information to allow me to enjoy this book on its own. Everhart’s characters are complex and authentic, especially Sharpe and his mentor and friend, Ernest Carpenter, but the author makes each and every character seen in this compelling and gritty story stand out in full relief. The plot is first-rate, and I particularly enjoyed the ongoing references to the fictional private eye Jim Rockford and the classic noir mystery writers. Then there’s Ed, the main star of the entire tale, whose story reads like a psychological thriller; one that I’ll be puzzling over for some time. I had a marvelous time reading this book and intend to catch up with the previous books in the series. Ed, Not Eddie is most highly recommended.

 

Book Giveaway for ED, NOT EDDIE (Eli Sharpe #3)…bribe offered!

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Ed, Not Eddie (Eli Sharpe #3) is now available for pre-order (click here to do so).  So in an effort to get you to order a book several months before it will be shipped to you, I’d like to offer a bribe.  The first (10) people to email me at maxeverhart30@yahoo.com with a proof of purchase for Ed, Not Eddie can choose (1) prize from below. This bribe is good until October 31st, so act now.

Keep in mind that if you’ve already purchased all of the above titles, I can still give them away to a person of your choosing. All I would need is an email address where the recipient can redeem the eBook.

Brass tax time, people. I need to sell a few dozen more copies of my books in order to receive my very first royalty check (fingers crossed). So if you’ve read my books and enjoyed them, pick up Ed, Not Eddie as well, and then give your prize to another lucky reader.

Best,

Max (struggling novelist/frustrated English instructor/misanthrope/

ED, NOT EDDIE Edits. . .finished!

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The editorial suggestions provided by the editor(s) at Camel Press were light, but very beneficial to the mystery in Ed, Not Eddie (Eli Sharpe #3).  They pointed out several places where I was making the rookie mistake of “cheating” the reader by completely withholding information in order to “surprise” at the end. Perhaps it’s time I re-read Raymond Chandler’s Ten Commandments for Writing a Detective Novel.  Regrettably, I violated commandment number 10, and, to a lesser extent, number 5 as well, but no matter: I fixed it, and now this mystery sings.

But as I was working on these edits, I did think of a question regarding revisions.  Writers, when you write your novels/short stories/books do you revise as you go, or completely finish a draft, and then go back and read/revise/edit? Feel free to leave a comment; I’m always curious about others’ writing process.

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ED, NOT EDDIE (Eli Sharpe #3) edits. . .

Just received the initial edits for Ed, Not Eddie (Eli Sharpe #3) from Camel Press. Delving back into this one, I’m re-discovering how much I enjoyed writing tough and resourceful and complex female characters, of which there are two in this mystery: Ed Leviner, the female knuckleball pitcher in peril, and Vivian Vaughn, Sharpe’s long-lost love who is now a TV reporter. I’m also discovering just how much I like Eli Sharpe. He’s a good guy, sarcastic and an on-again, off-again alcoholic, to be sure, but he has a strong moral compass, he is iconoclastic, and he is an excellent detective. I truly hope readers (a lot of them, please!) like Sharpe as much as I do.

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“Pink Elephant”. . new Eli Sharpe story only .99 cents!

Pink Elephant,” an action-packed short story featuring the always resourceful and quick-witted Eli Sharpe, is available now for only .99 cents on Kindle! Buy it here, and as always, if you like it, write a quick review on Amazon and/or share it on social media.

Description: Former pitcher Darren “Duck” Williams hires ex-ball player/present private detective Eli Sharpe to make a delivery—a stuffed pink elephant to Duck’s daughter. Stuffed with what? Drugs, that’s what, unbeknownst to Eli, and the girl isn’t related to Duck at all. Eli owes Duck bigtime for bailing him out once, or he’d never try to save his ass after being played—taken for a drug mule. The bad guy he’s up against, Mr. Spoon, is one stone cold killer. But Eli always has a card or two up his sleeve. Introducing Eli Sharpe, PI extraordinaire of the Eli Sharpe Mysteries, set in Asheville, NC. Full-length novel adventures include Go Go Gato, Split to Splinters, and the upcoming Ed, Not Eddie. 

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