Friday, June 12, 2015

Pumped by new cover

I getting a new cover. The anticipation is always sharp -- will it be good? Will it bring attention and bring people to it? Will it                                                                                                                                                                              

Without further ado, here's the cover for my upcoming historicial novel Indifferent City, set in Los Angeles in 1929                                                        

She was a dame to die for


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Book on Sale

Ashes & Ice by GK Parker is on Sale at the Publisher's web site!


A shrewd look came over the man's seamed face. It turned into a grin. With a nod he pointed to the end of the stable. "Last stall on the left. She's showin' a hint of lameness. Bring her up and if yer such a know it all, let's see if you can figure out what's troubling her." 

He strode toward the stall. What was he going to find? From the liveryman's smirk this wasn't anything ordinary. A halter and lead hung from a nail beside the half door. On the other side was a gas-lamp, which he lit. He raised it so he could see inside the box stall. 

The horse was huge. Bigger than huge. Must be eighteen, nineteen hands, at least. He was a big man, but not beside this behemoth. A massive black-and-white animal, she stood, her rump toward him, ears pinned when he stepped up to the stall. He tried to guess her lineage. The Shire was obvious in her sheer size, but there had to be some Irish cob in her to get that color and such long feathers and mane. The foot-long mane was matted; how long would it be when it was no longer tangled? As a young boy, he'd always been excited when the tinkers came through town, even though all the adults warned him not to trust them. But their horses were the most beautiful he'd ever seen. 

He took another step and gripped the door. Her ears shot back and she stamped her massive hind legs and the door shook. 

It was going to be like that. He threw a glance back to find the livery man leaning on a stall door, watching. What kind of show was he expecting?
Use this Code at Checkout… 61NF17DV2LEX

Law and Order in old Los Angeles

El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles

Los Angeles. The wild, wild west indeed. Before the city, there was the 'hell hole of the west', the most violent place at the end of the Pacific Special. The place where everyone went when they had no place else to go. When you were driven out of everyplace else, you went west, just like Horace Greeley told you to. And once you hit Los Angeles that was the end of the road. 
Calle de los Negros

Los Angeles has always attracted the outcast, the misfit, people on the run and people seeking change. There's never been anything normal or ordinary about the city of Angels or the people who inhabit it. I ought to know, I lived there for 8 years. 

The first 'law' in L.A. was a volunteer group of men who formed the Los Angeles Rangers in the early part of the nineteenth century. Unpaid, they lived off the magnanimity of others for their equipment. The unit lasted roughly four years, then disbanded, leaving the already violent Los Angeles without a police presence. The county was overrun with bandits, gamblers, murderers and rustlers driven south by northern vigilantes. The proto-city had the highest murder rate in America, far higher than New York City or Chicago. Vice of all kinds was not only legal, it was taxed. 

The Vigilance Committee was formed in 1836 to fill this void. On October 13, 1854, Pinckney Clifford, a respected businessman, was robbed and murdered by David Brown, a well-known bandit. The city Marshall jailed Brown, but the Vigilance Committee intended to take care of the killer. Mayor Stephen Foster intervened and convinced them to wait for the trial. Convicted and sentenced to hang in January 12, 1855, his attorney convinced the California Supreme Court to grant a stay of execution. This caused an uproar, and claiming to have been provoked beyond reason, the Vigilance Group, led by Mayor Stephen C Foster (who had resigned his position to lead the lynch mob) forcibly removed Brown from his cell and hanged him. 
Spring Street 1876

When Foster ran for re-election he was voted back in as Mayor on a landslide. Only in Los Angeles, you say? L.A. was also the first major metropolitan city to recall a Mayor from office, but that, as they say, is another story. 

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GK Parker


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lost horse 1853

Horse Lost~$10 Reward

HE broke the rope with which he was tied, leaving a piece around his neck. A white horse shod all around, a small sore on his back, lean in flesh, and branded on the left thigh. The subscriber will pay $10, to the man that brings the horse to him at the Iron house Los Angeles – ADAM BLAND

I wonder if he ever got his horse back? Either that was a very valuable horse or this was a misprint. Back in 1853 $10 was a lot of money.

Pearls of wisdom from the past

A man who has traveled some, says that there is no country in the world where wives are more worshiped than they are in France. He regrets to say, however, that all the adoration comes from somebody else's husband.

Los Angeles Star April 2, 1853

Saturday, July 20, 2013


by Jodie Renner, Editor & Author,
I’ve published two books myself on Amazon in the past year, as e-books, and also published them both in trade paperback on CreateSpace. Here are some of the many points I discussed in my talk on the subject to the London Writers Society on July 18, 2013. Look for my article, “Promoting and Marketing Your E-Book,” to appear here soon.

- Freedom – You’re in control. You control the whole process from start to finish and retain the rights to your book.
- It’s fast. You don’t have to wait around for agents to respond. You upload the book and it’s ready to sell in 12 hours or less. You can start earning money right away while you write the next one!
- More and more people are buying e-books. You can take a Kindle or other e-reader anywhere, with more than a thousand books inside it! And e-books are quick and easy to purchase from wherever you are – with one-click buying, the book appears on your Kindle within seconds.
- Amazon sells more books than all the other publishers combined.
- It’s free to publish on Amazon (and CreateSpace).
- You get 70% of the list price of your book (if it’s priced between $2.99 and $9.99; otherwise 35%), as opposed to 10-15% from publishers – IF you can get a publisher to accept your book!
- You don’t need to write a whole book. You can publish a short story or article and sell it for $0.99 (you get 35% if it’s under $2.99)
- You get to control the pricing, so you can raise or lower the price of your e-book whenever you want, to boost sales.
- It’s easy to upload your book to Amazon and you can revise it as frequently as you want and just keep replacing the one that’s there with a better version.
- You can check your sales stats daily (or hourly) and watch them rise. You can also view stats graphs over time (and geographically) to see what’s working and what isn’t to promote sales.
- You receive your royalty payments every month (one month’s delay), as opposed to annually or quarterly or whatever.
- Amazon helps promote your book, through your book’s Amazon page, emails they send out mentioning it, and their feature, “Customers who bought this item also bought...”

- You’re in charge of quality control! So you need to guard against publishing it prematurely. Make sure it’s polished and ready! The competition is fierce out there, and reviewers can be very critical if you publish a book full of typos or otherwise hasty or amateurish writing.
- Although publishing it is free, you’ll still need to pay for editing, a cover design, and probably formatting. And you may decide to hire someone to promote it. You should have a budget of at least $1,000 to spend on all this.
- You’ll need to do most of your own marketing and promoting (although Amazon does a lot, too), or hire a publicist. But traditional publishers now expect their authors to do a lot of their own promoting, too. Mid-list published authors basically are expected to do all or most of their own promoting, including paying for it.
1. Write with wild abandon.
3. Run it past a critique group or “beta” (volunteer) readers (smart people who read in your genre – don’t need to be writers themselves).
4. Revise again, based on feedback you’ve received from your critique group or beta readers (using your own judgment on what advice to accept and what to ignore, of course).
5. Find a reputable freelance editor who specializes in fiction (if that’s what you write) and reads your genre.
6. Revise, based on the editor’s suggestions.
7. Hire a formatter (or do it yourself if you know a lot about formatting). See my article, “Basic Formatting of Your Manuscript (Formatting 101)”.
8. Hire someone to design an eye-catching, professional looking book cover. Be sure the title and author can be read at the small size posted on Amazon. Google “book cover designers”.
9. Publish on, KDP
- Decide on two categories, add a great book description, think of 7 keyword phrases (search words), and write an interesting author bio, with links and a photo.
10. In the meantime, you’ll have already been building up a social network and platform:
- Facebook, Twitter, maybe Google +, author website, blog, guest blog posts for others
- Writers’ groups and organizations, Goodreads – lists, giveaways
I suggest, as a minimum, a Facebook page and either a website or a blog. If you don’t have time to blog regularly, create an author website instead.
11. Start actively promoting your book – but don’t be annoying.
12. Start writing the next one. Or publish a short story based on characters from your book and price it at $0.99.
Good luck with all this! I look forward to seeing your book on sale!

Jodie Renner, a freelance fiction editor specializing in thrillers and other fast-paced fiction, as well as YA and historical fiction, has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller, available in e-book and trade paperback on Amazon, and Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power, available for e-readers or in trade paperback. And you don’t need a Kindle to read e-books – you can read them on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

For more info and helpful links, email Jodie at j.renner.editing(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Author website: Editor website:

Facebook: Jodie Renner Editor-Author. Twitter: JodieRennerEd.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jodie Renner, Editor

Jodie Renner presented a workshop at the last London Writer’s Society meeting where she talked about the importance of the first page. She’s offered to do first page critiques on her blog for anyone who wishes to send her something. She offers anonymity if you choose.
Below you’ll find a link to a critique she did for my WIP. I read the original at the meeting and she had some excellent suggestions then. I then did some revising and sent it to her. You can see the results of that exchange below.
I have her book Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to power-up their fiction.
Feel free to submit the first page of your novel or short story (maximum 400 words) to j.renner.editing(at)hotmail(dot)com. She’ll be glad to add it to the ones I’ve already received to critique here anonymously.  Jodie Renner, freelance fiction editor