Topping Top Gun — Maverick

When it comes to pure entertainment, it’s hard to top Top Gun — Maverick. The 2022 sequel to the 1986 blockbuster, Top Gun, is one wild ride from start to finish, and it achieves what great storytelling sets to achieve. That’s keeping the audience glued throughout and coming back for more.

Top Gun — Maverick released on May 27, 2022. My wife, Rita, and I saw it three times. First was out of curiosity. Second was with our adult kids. Third was for self-indulgent escapism. It’s that friggin’ good.

It’s friggin’ good for a lot of reasons. Action… tension… thrills… flashbacks… old-fling romance… interpersonal drama… humor… sorrow… redemption… compassion… fulfillment… oh, and the music. Plus 6 crashed planes, 5 ejections, 2 stolen jets, dogfights galore, Ray Bans, bar scenes with bottled beer piano sings, and the obligatory high speed tower buzz in a Tomcat.

It’s got an excellent plot (and subplots), fascinating characters, believable dialogue, and twists you’ll never see coming. It’s got fast jets, cocky pilots, hard bodies, and a leading lady to die for. It’s got good guys and bad guys, friends and foes. And, it’s got box office numbers in the stratosphere.

Top Gun 1 cost $15 million to produce and grossed $357 million. Maverick cost $170 million to make (including $11,374 per hour paid to the US Navy for F-18 Super Hornet flight time) and—so far in under a month—raked in $748 million. Forbes predicts Top Gun — Maverick will be the first billion-dollar film.

Outside of huge numbers and equally large thrills, the show is outstanding storytelling. I’m not going to give spoilers, but I’ll tell you the screenplay follows the classic 3-Act structure.

In Act 1, we see Captain Pete Mitchell, call-sign Maverick played by Tom Cruise, going about his normal world of test-flying a Mach 10 Dark Star hypersonic airplane. His day disrupts when he’s unexpectedly called back to the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) at Miramar air base in San Diego. Act 2 has Maverick teaching an elite group of the best-of-the-best Top Gun fighter pilot graduates to execute a secret mission of destroying a fiercely guarded enemy uranium enrichment facility. Act 3 is the tactical, all-is-lost attack, and I can tell you this part has stuff you can’t imagine.

Not giving the ending away, but I’ll leave you with the closing song by Lady Gaga. Hold My Hand.

How about you Kill Zoners? Who’s seen Top Gun — Maverick, and how do you rate this movie as storytelling?

Bonus: Listen to 4 real Top Gun instructors review the show.

Forensic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis is the forensic interpretation of human blood evidence in crime scene investigations. It’s used to recreate actions that caused the bloodshed. Because blood has chemical properties that behave according to specific laws, trained analysts can examine the size, shape, and distribution of bloodstains to draw conclusions of what did—or did not—happen.

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) applies the sciences of anatomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics to answer questions like:

  • Where’d the blood come from?
  • Who’d it belong to?
  • How’d it get there?
  • What caused the wound(s)?
  • From what direction was the victim assailed?
  • How were the victim and perpetrator positioned?
  • How many victims and perpetrators were there?
  • What movements were made after the bloodshed?

You’ve seen the CSI shows where investigators, dressed in their ‘bunny suits’, photograph drops, streaks, smears, and pools of blood, then swab for DNA and String the room back to Area of Convergence points. Well, that’s pretty much how it happens, except today most Stringing is done by 3D computerization.

Bloodstain pattern interpretation is nothing new. It’s been around two hundred years and became increasing sophisticated as technology advanced. I’ve been involved in a number of BPA examinations during my time as a cop and coroner. One that really stands out was when Billy Ray Shaughnessey axe-murdered his ex-girlfriend and her new lover. The room looked like a bomb went off in a red paint factory. I’ll tell you more about it at the end of this article. First, let’s look at how blood behaves.

Blood has three components that are suspended in plasma.

Erythrocytes are your red cells that transfer oxygen through hemoglobin. It’s what gives blood the red color. Leukocytes, your white cells, are your body’s defenders and support your immune system in fighting infection and disease. Platelets are formed in your bone marrow and play a major role in hemostasis or plugging up breaches in vessels.

Blood composition is about 55% plasma and 45% formed elements, or cells, which remain suspended due to agitation caused by your circulatory system. That’s called viscosity—it’s density or internal friction. Once blood leaves your body’s pressurized containment, it’s subject to the forces of gravity and surface tension which dictates its resting shape. That can be in drops, streaks, or pools.

Crime scene bloodstains take different forms due to factors like velocity and distance of travel, amount of blood flow, angle of impact, and type of surface or target it lands on. There are eight categories of bloodstain patterns:

Single Drop — These stains are typically from a vertical fall and under low velocity, like when your cut your finger and blood drips to the floor. Blood molecules are very cohesive. They attract and bind in a surface tension that makes a sphere. The drop stays in a ball until it strikes an object or a force acts on it. This is called bleed-out.

Impact Spatter – These result from forceful impacts between an object and wet blood, causing the blood to break into little droplets. Greater force produces smaller droplets. The study of impact staining provides huge insight into the relative positions of individuals and objects involved in the crime. There are three sub-categories of impacts:

1. Low Velocity Impact Spatter (LVIS) — Also called Passive Impact Spatters, these are the largest bloodstain drops with a diameter of 4mm or greater. They travel at a slow speed, no greater than 1.5 m/s. They’re associated with being struck by a large, blunt instrument such as a chair or leaking from an open wound. They’re also formed when a large amount of blood has been transferred to another surface and the excess drips down.

2. Medium Velocity Impact Spatter (MVIS) — These spatters are associated with an intense beating like from a club, a hammer, a gun butt, or a bag of frozen pork chops. (Yes, I once had a homicide case where a guy’s head was caved-in with a bag of frozen pork chops.) MVIS drops are less than 4mm and get propelled at speeds between 1.5 and 7.5 m/s. The further from the target surface that blood is expelled, the larger the drops will be.

3. High Velocity Impact Spatter (HVIS) — This stain pattern is caused by gunshots, explosions, or contact with high-speed objects like having your throat cut with an electric carving knife. (Had one of those, too.) They’re evident by masses of tiny droplets less than 2mm in diameter and occur at velocities far in excess of 7.5 m/s. There’s no mistaking this type of bloodstain. The angle of impact is evident by an elongated shape – the longer the stain, the longer the angle from vertical.

Cast-Off Stains — COS are common in scenes such as Billy Ray Shaughnessy’s axe-murders where straight and curved lines of blood are made on the walls and ceiling by the centrifugal force of back-and-forth swings. They produce tear-shaped or oblong stains with ‘tails’ that point in the direction of travel. By reversing the line of travel, the path can be traced or stringed to its area of convergence.

Transfer Bloodstains — These are generally patches and smears of blood deposited secondary to the main, violent event. They say a lot about sequence. It can be when a victim tried to crawl away, the body was dragged, the perpetrator placed a bloody hand on a wall, or when he hid the axe in a closet like Billy Ray did. Tell you more about him soon.

Projected Pattern — This is from arterial damage, such as severed carotids, femorals, radials, and brachials where pressurized blood ejaculates via the still-beating heart. You’ll see groups of big to small splotches, usually in an arc pattern. Very common in stabbings.

Pooling — Usually occurs once the victim is unconscious and passively exsanguinates. That’s the fancy term for bleeding to death. Something telling to a Bloodstain Pattern Analyst is where large pools of blood occur in different locations—no doubt the body’s been moved.

Insect Stains — Not long after death, the bugs show up. They land in the bloodstains and make little tracks all over the place. These are easily confused with HVIS to the untrained eye and known in the industry as Flyspeck.

Expiration Stains — These are incidental bloodstains associated with injuries to the respiratory and abdominal tracts where a gasping victim expels through the mouth or nose. They appear diluted, more brownish in color due to mixture with saliva or mucous, and look like a fine mist.

Examination of a bloody crime scene is a slow and methodical procedure.

The area is still photographed from wide, medium, and close-up angles as well as videoed. Each stain pattern is marked, catalogued, and a swab taken for serology or DNA typing. The patterns are then Strung to their Point Of Origin, or area of convergence, and a complex application of trigonometry begins to tell a compelling tale of just what went down.

The visual absence of blood can be misleading.

Criminals occasionally clean up a scene or there may be only a small bit of blood emitted. Chemical reactive agents like luminol and phenolphthalein can be applied which visualize latent stains. Light spectrum tools, such as LumiLights, are also used to amplify spots not visible to the naked eye.

Getting back to Billy Ray Shaughnessey — This guy hid in his ex’s attic with an axe for two and a half days, waiting to catch her with a new beau. Sure enough, she brought one home from the bar. At 3:00 am, Billy Ray crept down from the hatch, snuck into the bedroom, and chopped them to pieces. Like I said, the crime scene looked like a bomb exploded in a red paint factory.

It took us three days to catch Billy Ray. He did the right thing and fessed-up, then re-enacted the murders on video. It was the coldest thing I’ve seen. Billy Ray described what he did as if he were watching Jason or The Shining, going through repeated motions of chopping, and back-swinging, and chopping some more. He demonstrated with a 2×2 stick as a prop. (We were nervous about giving him a real axe.) He showed how he modified body positions after death, where he hid his axe in the closet, and where he cleaned himself up.

Billy Ray did the right thing again. He pleaded guilty, receiving two life sentences.

During the three days we hunted for Billy Ray, the Forensic Identification team sealed the crime scene and independently conducted their Bloodstain Pattern Analysis. Once Billy Ray was done, we (the detective team) compared notes with the forensic team and — unbeknownst to what Billy Ray reenacted — the forensic folks got it bang-on. They’d reconstructed how many blows each victim received, various positions everyone was in, and… who fought back. I was sold on the science ever since.

Here are links to more information on Forensic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis:

A Simplified Guide To Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

The Forensics Library – Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Principles Of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis – Theory and Practice

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis – Crime Scene Reconstruction

Kill Zoners – Have you used bloodstain pattern analysis in your works? Have you researched this science arm? Wide, wide open to comments.

Forensic Hypnosis for Memory Enhancement

Forensic hypnosis is the scientific application of memory enhancement—an investigational aid to law enforcement leads and admissible courtroom evidence. Hypnotic recall assists witnesses to reliably relay hidden details of events and descriptions that aren’t extracted through conventional interview techniques.

In my police career, I’ve had cases using hypnotic memory enhancement. Several had successes. One was amazing.

I’m fascinated with the human mind. I think modern medicine and psychiatry are just beginning to understand the complexity of how our consciousness works. Hypnosis is a tool to assist in entering our subconscious and unlock the vault where memory is stored. Its magic is the ability to alter the subject’s state of consciousness which is what shamanism is all about. But, then, shamanism is for another discussion.

The best forensic hypnotherapist I’ve had the pleasure to work with is Dr. Lee Pulos of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Here’s how Dr. Pulos explains it.

Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that we drift in and out of quite regularly. For example, while driving along a highway and then suddenly discovering that you ‘lost’ several miles without being aware of it. This can also happen during reading when you may notice that you have ‘read’ a chapter or two without being mindful of the content. Hypnosis is basically a technique for focusing consciousness by entering a deep state of absorption. It allows you to shift from your outer to inner awareness and tap deeper levels of consciousness so we can re-educate and reprogram the subconscious with empowering suggestions or beliefs.”

The word hypnosis comes from the name of a Greek god Hypnos, who presided over sleep. In the late1700s, Anton Mesmer brought the technique into popular consciousness in Europe, and in 1843 Scottish physician James Braid coined the term hypnotism for the experience that was passing in many circles as animal magnetism.

Hypnosis places a person in a trance state that can resemble sleep. Instead, it’s an altered state of consciousness more akin to lucid dreams. Often, people in a trance are quite alert but focused in a way that differs from their normal conscious state. Contrary to popular notions, subjects aren’t out cold. They’re in a light trance and aware of everything going on.

I’ve seen a rough and tough biker-witness under hypnosis who was instructed to play “patty-cake” by clapping his hands on his knees. He couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that he couldn’t control his hands, though he seemed perfectly conscious in a way that ought to have enabled him to resist the instruction. His hands changed to patting his head and stomach at the hypnotist’s instruction. They looked at each other the whole time and even had a conversation with his hands patting about.

The trance-state, which has its own ebb and flow, is the result of a trusting and cooperative process between the subject and the hypnotist. It’s not one person controlling another, and there’s no way the hypnotist can make the subject do something they would not do while they’re in a normal state, such as an illegal or immoral act.

Hypnosis,” says Kevin McConkey, President of the Australian Psychological Society and co-author of Hypnosis, Memory, and Behavior in Criminal Investigation, “is essentially a phenomenon that reflects genuinely experienced alterations of reality in response to suggestions administered by a hypnotist. The subject’s testimony is what confirms the trance, although susceptibility varies among individuals. Those who are highly suggestive will behave as if going through truly significant cognitive alterations.”

Forensic hypnosis involves concentration that is heightened to the point where one can recall details that seemed to elude that same person in a conscious state. It’s a powerful tool for criminal investigation, although some researchers challenge the notion that hypnosis leads to significant increases in memory.

There are two primary purposes for using forensic hypnosis.

Most common is inducing relaxation when anxiety and stress obstructs a witness’s ability to recall maximum information. The second is when information retrieval from witnesses can’t be acquired through conventional means.

The first court case involving forensic hypnosis was Cornell v. Superior Court of San Diego in 1959. Although forensic hypnosis is mostly used by prosecutors, in this particular court case, it was the defense that used hypnosis as an aid in preparing its strategy. Since then, many famous cases have used hypnosis as an aid, including the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, and Sam Sheppard.

Currently, no overriding judgment has been handed down regarding the admissibility of evidence achieved through forensic hypnosis, and the use of hypnotic evidence varies between jurisdictions. Adding to the reliability problem is that solid evidence can be devalued as a result of unprofessional circumstances in obtaining evidence through hypnosis.

I remember one judge rejecting evidence from a witness who had been subject to hypnotic recall stating, “There’s nothing more unreliable than an eyewitness, never mind one who is tainted by hocus-pocus.” One the other hand, I recall another judge being fascinated by the process and readily accepting witness evidence, particularly because the information obtained under hypnosis was corroborated by independent facts.

As in all types of evidence, the key is reliability.

To ensure solid forensic hypnosis used in criminal investigations is not devalued, it’s become standard and vital operating procedure that all hypnosis sessions are video/audio recorded and the session is witnessed by independent observers. To strengthen the case, the hypnosis must be performed by a trained forensic hypnotist.

Before a forensic hypnotist is allowed to begin a session, one very important condition must be met. The subject must be assured that during the hypnotic session no attempt shall be made to elicit any information that is not directly relevant to the investigation. In addition, the forensic hypnotist must also assure the subject that no information retrieved will lead to self-incrimination.

Critics of forensic hypnotism center their attacks on the accuracy and reliability of the evidence that’s obtained. The concern is that suggestion(s) implanted during hypnotism may create false memories using leading questions.

One thing that a forensic hypnotist cannot do, and is never called to do, is to help a suspect confess to a crime. Not only is this impossible, but any confession arrived at through hypnosis would never be admissible in court.

Here’s a true case I investigated where forensic hypnosis for memory enhancement led to a breakthrough in solving the crime. It was conducted by Dr. Lee Pulos.

In wintery April, an elderly lady in her 70s was alone in her cabin on a remote gold claim in northern British Columbia. A masked man with a handgun appeared at her door, demanding she hand over her gold stash. She refused. He proceeded to blindfold and hog-tie her, then began torturing by burning her hands and ribs with a red-hot knife heated on her wood stove.

Now this lady was one tough old bird, as you’d expect a gold miner to be. She later stated she’d worked so hard to build her gold stash that she’d “rather die than turn it over to this asshole.” Realizing his interrogation technique was going nowhere, the bad guy quit in frustration. He set the cabin on fire with her still tied, blindfolded, and left her to die. She was able to wiggle over and boot the door, then crawl outside where she laid in excruciating pain on the snow in sub-zero temperature until her husband returned.

Because this was such a horrific crime, we “pulled the stops”.

We flew her to Vancouver to undergo hypnosis with Lee Pulos. He was able to extract two things that led to solving the case. One, she recalled the bad guy was using a two-way radio or ‘communicator’, as she called it. Second, he used the term for her gold stash as being ‘squirreled away’.

Now knowing an accomplice was involved, we focused the investigation on a neighbor who’d been involved with a gold claim boundary dispute. We identified the suspect as a Hells Angels striker who’d been hired by the neighbor, so we ran a wiretap which caught him using the term ‘squirreled away’. This led to an elaborate, clandestine sting operation resulting in his confession to an undercover agent. He was convicted and got twenty years.

Like I said, I’ve always been fascinated with how the human mind works. One thing I’m positive about—there’s more to consciousness than modern medicine and psychiatry know—except for the shamans.

But, then, shamanism is for another discussion.

What about you Kill Zoners? Have you used hypnosis scenes in your works? Have you ever been hypnotized? Do you believe hypnosis is valid science? Tell us in the comments.

How To Get Away With Murder

Are you planning on murdering someone, but your only stop is the fear of getting caught? Or are you plotting a thriller where your serial-slayer stays steps ahead of that dogged detective who’s also top-tier in her trade? Maybe both? Well, I’ll give you a cake and let you eat it, too…if you’ll follow me on how homicide cops investigate murders.

Think about it. There are only four ways you can get caught. Or get away with it. All seasoned sleuths intrinsically know this, and they build their case on these four simple pillars.

Let’s look at them.

What Not To Do

#1 — Don’t leave evidence behind that can identify you to the scene.

Such as fingerprints, footwear or tire impressions, DNA profiles like spit, semen, and blood, ballistic imprints, gunshot residue, toolmarks, bitemarks, handwritten or printed documents, hair, fiber, chemical signatures, organic compounds, cigarette butts, spat chewing gum, toothpicks, a bloody glove that doesn’t fit, or your wallet with ID (seriously, that’s happened).

#2 — Don’t take anything with you that can be linked.

Including all of the above, as well as the victim’s DNA, her car, jewelry, money, bank cards, any cell phone and computer records, that repeated modus operandi of your serial kills, no cut-hair trophies, no underwear souvenirs, and especially don’t keep that dripping blade, the coiled rope, or some smoking gun.

#3 — Don’t let anyone see you.

No accomplices, no witnesses, and no video surveillance. Camera-catching is a huge police tool these days. Your face is captured many times daily—on the street, at service stations, banks, supermarkets, pizza joints, government buildings, libraries, transit rides, private driveways, and in the liquor store.

#4 — Never confess.

Never, ever, tell anyone. That includes your best drinking buddy, your future ex-lover, the police interrogator, or the undercover agent. Loose lips sink ships, and there’ve been more crimes solved through slips of the tongue than any fancy forensic technique.

So, if you don’t do any of these four things, you can’t possibly get caught.

Now…

What To Do

Humans are generally messy and hard creatures to kill—even harder to get rid of—so murder victims tend to leave a pool of evidence. Therefore, it’s best not to let it look like a murder.

Writers have come up with some fascinating and creative ways to hide the cause of death. Problem is—most don’t work. Here’s two sure-fire ways to do the deed and leave little left.

#1 — Cause a Cerebral Arterial Gas Embolism (CAGE)

This one’s pretty easy, terribly deadly, and really difficult to call foul. A CAGE is a bubble in the bloodstream, much like a vapor lock in an engine’s fuel system. People die when their central nervous system gets unplugged and a quick, hard lapse in the carotid arteries located on both sides of the neck can send an CAGE into cerebral circulation. The brain stops, the heart quits, and they drop dead.

Strangulation is an inefficient way to create a CAGE, and it leaves huge tell-tale marks. You’re far better off giving a fast blast of compressed air to the carotid…maybe from something like that thing you clean your keyboard with…just sayin’.

#2 — Good Ole Poison

Ah, the weapon of women. Man, have there been a lot of poisonings over the centuries and there’ve been some pretty, bloody, diabolical stories on how they’re done. Problem again—today there’s all that cool science. The usual suspects of potassium cyanide, arsenic, strychnine, and atropine still work well but they’ll jump out like a snake-in-the-box during a routine toxicology screen.

You need something that’s lethal, yet a witch to detect.

I know of two brews—one is a neurotoxin made from fermented plant alkaloid and the other is a simple mix of fungi & citrus. This stuff will kill you dead and leave no discernable toxicological trace—however, I think it’s quite irresponsible to post these formulas on the net.

What about you Kill Zoners? If you wanted to kill someone, preferably a fictional character, how would you get away with it?

Oh, and watch out for what’s in that cake you’re eating.

———

Garry Rodgers is a retired homicide detective with a second career as a coroner. Now, Garry reincarnated as a crime writer with a popular blog at DyingWords.net. He’s also on Twitter @GarryRodgers1, gave up on Facebook, and has an Amazon profile.

 

The Rule of Three

“There are three rules to writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

This quote is usually attributed to W. Somerset Maugham, and it’s been kicked around a lot over the years. There may, or may not, be some truth to it depending on your view, your experience, and your sense of humor. But there is something to the rule of three.

The rule of three is a staple in the writing world. It’s known by many names—the triple, the triad, the trebling, and the trilogy. The three-act structure of beginning, middle, and end is a prime example of the rule of three.

The rule of three suggests that a trio of events, characters, or phrases is more effective, satisfying, or humorous than other numbers. Think of the “walks into a bar” jokes. An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman or a brunette, a redhead, and a blonde.

The rule of three can apply to words, sentences, and paragraphs. It can be used to frame chapters, whole books, and a series of books. The three-rule also applies to poetry, oral storytelling, and films.

What got me going on the rule of three this morning was stumbling on a writing resource titled The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. It’s written by Christopher Booker and first published in 2004. Apparently, Booker worked on this book for thirty-four years.

I’m going to quote from Mr. Booker’s book where he deals with the rule of three:

“The third event in a series of events becomes ‘the final trigger for something important to happen.’ This pattern often appears in childhood series like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. It also appears in adult works like Fiddler on the Roof, A Christmas Carol, and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

In stories, the Rule of Three conveys the gradual resolution of a process that leads to transformation. This transformation can be downwards as well as upwards. The Rule of Three is expressed in four ways:

1. The simple or cumulative three. For example, Cinderella’s three visits to the ball.

2. The ascending three where each event is more significant than the preceding. For example, the hero must first win bronze, then silver, then gold.

3. The contrasting three where only the third has positive value. For example, The Three Little Pigs—two of whose houses were blown down by the Big Bad Wolf.

4. The final or dialectical form of three. For example, Goldilocks and her bowls of porridge. The first is wrong in one way, the second is wrong in an opposite way, and the third is just right.”

I also stumbled upon a formula for the rule of three. This is often used in joke telling and comedy writing. It’s called the SAP test.

S = Setup (preparation)
A = Anticipation (triple)
P = Punchline (story payoff)

Let’s look at a joke by comedian Jon Stewart:

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”

The rule of three appears so many times in so many ways that it’s barely noticed as a delivery technique. In the rule’s simplest form, outlined in Aristotle’s Poetics, it’s the classic beginning, middle, and end which is a time-proven structure. But think of all the times you’ve encountered the rule of three:

The truth, the whole, truth, and nothing but the truth.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.
Ready, aim, fire.
On your mark. Get set. Go.
Veni. Vidi. Vici.
Solid, liquid, and gas.
Three wishes.
Stop, look, and listen.
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
Blood, sweat, and tears.
Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.
Faster. Higher. Stronger.
See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.

What about you Kill Zoners? How often have you used the rule of three in your works? And can you add to the examples?

Understanding Is Knowing What To Do

“To understand is to know what to do.” ~ Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittenstein.

This sounds too simple to have value. Yet, thinking about it, it’s a genius line—maybe one level above genius—in its simplicity. How many mistakes do you make when you understand something? Probably very few, because mistakes usually come from blind spots, a lack of understanding.

I subscribe to a site called Farnam Street. Every Sunday, I get the Farnam Street newsletter which has a critical thinking, multidisciplinary outlook in its topics. The site is named Farnam Street after the street in Omaha, Nebraska where 97-year-old Charlie Munger has lived all his life. It’s right next door to Warren Buffett’s home. After all, the two are life-long business partners, and it’s Charlie Munger who taught Warren Buffett how to invest.

Last Sunday, Farnam Street had a transcript and audio recording of a talk Peter Kaufman gave to the California Polytechnic State University Pomona Economics Club. He opened with the line, “To understand is to know what to do.”

Peter Kaufman is one of America’s most successful businessmen. He’s also the author/editor of Poor Charlie’s Almanac which contains some of the best essays and speeches written by his friend and mentor, Charlie Munger. The “Big Ideas” as Munger puts it.

Kaufman identifies two parabolic Big Ideas that people often overlook in their quest for success, whether it be financial returns or on a writing journey. One is Mirrored Reciprocation (go positive and go first). The other is Compound Interest (being constant). Combining these two into one basic approach (go positive and go first and be constant in doing it) may be the best formula ever set for a writing journey as well as in general life.

Peter Kaufman expands on his Mirrored Reciprocation/Compound Interest topic in a 45-minute speech. He outlines five ascending levels of cognitive prowess. Kaufman didn’t concoct these levels. Albert Einstein did, and they are:

  1. Smart
  2. Intelligent
  3. Brilliant
  4. Genius
  5. Simplicity

There’s a simple takeaway, if you listen to this.

Priceless for writers.

Indie Publishers — Exclusive or Wide?

“Amazon is not too big to fail… in fact I predict one day Amazon will fail.”

What? Who said such a thing?

“Companies have short lifespans, and Amazon will be disrupted one day.”

Bullshit. Gimme a break.

“Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be thirty-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.”

———

You know who said such things? Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. The guy who killed bookstores. These are direct quotes from Bezos’s 2017 letter to shareholders.

Bezos goes on, “Starving off death is a thing we have to work at, but it’s inevitable for Amazon, just like other companies, to die. The world will always try to make Amazon more typical—to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort to stay alive as long as possible but, eventually, Amazon will fail.”

Reading this makes me think of the logic behind my move two years ago from publishing exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDPS) and additionally partnering with Kobo, Apple, and Nook—commonly called “going wide” in indie publishing terms. Two years later, I have no regrets leaving Amazon’s bubble and casting about with the competitors’ nets.

Exclusive or wide is a big debate among indie publishers. Many indies don’t use the term “self publishing” because indie publishers rarely produce products on their own. I, for example, work with others like a cover designer and a proofreader as well as many nameless humans busy behind the scenes keeping day-to-day operations going at Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and Nook who sell my entertainment products and deposit proceeds into my bank account.

Am I worried about Amazon going broke? Not anytime in the immediate future, I’m not. Same with Kobo and Apple, but I wouldn’t bet a plug nickel on Nook’s future as Barnes and Noble have been shaky for quite some time.

I didn’t go wide for fear of Amazon’s financial failure which would end my publishing days if I remained exclusive with The Zon. No. I went wide because it made good business sense to distribute my entertainment products as widely as possible.

I have eleven indie publishing acquaintances making decent money writing and selling their entertainment products. All are wide—except for one who finds it easier to manage his business by being Amazon-exclusive. He says he’s making sufficient bucks at Amazon and prefers his time spent producing new work than fussing about on all the platforms.

I see two solid reasons to remain exclusive on Amazon and, let’s face it, in the indie publishing world you’d be crazy not to have an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) presence. One is the Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDPS) program. The other is Kindle Unlimited (KU). KDPS gives you some marketing perks for your exclusivity. KU lets you share in a monthly pot for lending your products and being paid in a percentage related to page reads.

Reasons one and two? Insufficient to retain my loyalty to Amazon alone. Last month, I made 52 percent of my indie income at Amazon, 37 percent on Kobo, 10 percent on Apple, and 1 percent on Nook. I haven’t published on Google yet, but that’s on the blackboard task list.

Notice how I keep referring to entertainment products and not books? I developed this mindset two years ago when I was mentored by a high-selling indie publisher who lives in the UK. He forced me to treat my writing as a commercial business, not as a when-I-got-around-to-it hobby. Fortunately, I was in a financial position where I could then devote full time to commercial entertainment writing production which allowed me to build this business into an increasingly well-paying return.

Part of my going wide mindset was viewing my books as products, not babies. I well know what it’s like to have the first-born alive on The Zon. It’s a thrill like few other thrills in life, but the novelty does fade away. It’s like the baby soother story. Your first child spits the soother out on the playground dirt . You take it, boil it, before you hand her soo-soo back. By your fourth kid, you don’t even wipe it off.

Actually, I’m not so callous with my books, er, ah, entertainment products. I love them all but I was taught—as a business— this is a numbers game. The more products you have out there, the more sales opportunities you have.

To appreciate the wide opportunities-in-numbers, it’s important to get the old head around the concept.

One ebook is one product. Published on Amazon exclusively, it’s one product for sale.

Two ebooks published on Amazon are two products for sale and ten ebooks are ten products for sale

Two ebooks published on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and Nook are eight products for sale.

Ten ebooks published on the four platforms are forty products for sale.

Ten ebooks with print editions multiply the sales opportunities again.

Add in audio books, boxed sets, or whatever concoction you can cook and the numbers are exponential.

There’s another catch to this wide angle. That’s the areas of distribution each platform has that increase the product exposure. This is where the numbers really grow.

My Amazon portal allows distribution in thirteen countries: US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico. Kobo has a far, far greater worldwide reach—practically anywhere a free citizen can get internet access.

In the past two years, I’ve had Kobo ebook downloads in ninety-six different countries. I have eleven products listed on Kobo, and Kobo provides a great tracking system. It includes a bubble map showing the countries and the proportion of downloads relative to the location. Here’s a screenshot of my Kobo overlap map from March 2020 till today:

Apple gives similar stats. I’ve only been there less than a year, but I like how I see the progression. They serve over fifty countries whereas Nook, I believe, is strictly American. I can’t speak for Google—yet.

This brings me back to the thought of Amazon failing. I don’t believe for one moment that DoomZday is approaching any time soon. But, some disturbing trends are happening with Amazon’s value.

Today (16March2022) Amazon’s market capitalization is $1.51 trillion. The stock price is $2,996 USD which is a drop from its high of $3,719 in July 2021. That’s a 21.5 percent haircut. Is it a long-term concern? Maybe. Maybe not. Right now the entire stock market is up and down like a new bride’s pajamas.

Do all big companies eventually fail, as Jeff Bezos says? The precedent certainly is out there. Sears. Lehman Brothers. Kodak. PanAm. Blockbuster. Poloroid. Pontiac/Oldsmobile.

Amazon, though? I wouldn’t worry. But if you’re an business-minded indie writer—exclusive with Amazon—seriously, you should consider going wide. This is a numbers game, and there’s money in them thar wide numbers.

Kill Zoners—let’s further this exclusive or wide discussion. If you’re an indie, which camp in do you sleep? If you’re traditionally published, do you consider going indie (or at least hybrid) and what way would you go—exclusive or wide?

———

Garry Rodgers is a retired homicide detective and coroner. Now, he’s reincarnated as an indie crime writer who’s left the dark side of Amazon exclusivity for the wide light of other publishing platforms like Kobo, Apple, and Nook.

Garry is a west coast Canadian product who happily writes in his mind lab on Vancouver Island. He contributes bi-weekly to the Kill Zone as well as hosting a deadly blog at DyingWords.net. You can follow him at @GarryRodgers1.

 

The Secret to Being a Successful Writer

Rachel Thompson, today’s guest, is my mover & shaker writing friend who hosts two sites, Bad Redhead Media and RachelInTheOC.com. We’ve cross-blogged over the years and hang around on Facebook and Twitter. Rachel shared her popular post titled The Secret to Being a Successful Writer on my website a while back, and it had great reception—it’s a real motivational kick-in-the-a. I thought it’s well worthwhile for Kill Zoners to read, so Rachel generously gave me permission to repost it here. Let’s welcome writer, book marketer, and social media expert Rachel Thompson to the Kill Zone.

———

Regardless of how you publish your books, articles, or blog posts, the secret to being a successful writer is not anything pie-in-the-sky or full of inspirational goo-gah. Besides, I’m not the kind of person to spray glittery sunshine up your you-know-what, so here’s the real deal. It’s the big secret. Ready? Grab your pen.

Don’t Be Lazy.

That’s it. Let me deconstruct this a bit. Pull up a chair.

Make It Happen

You. Yes, you. Stop looking around.

I’ve worked with writers in all kinds of ways since hmmm, gosh, 2009-ish. Ten years of observing that unique species of human we refer to as, writer. I’m a writer myself (six books released so far , been in a few anthologies, two new books on deck for this year), so I fully comprehend the challenges of balancing writing, marketing, the day job, real life, chronic pain, mental health, and single parenting.

Completely and totally get it.

There isn’t room in any of those roles to be lazy if we’re being #TruthBomb honest here. Yet, in my ten years of working directly with writers, I can count on one hand the writers who are get-out-of-my-way go-getters.

Not the kind who will eat you for lunch with some fava beans and a nice chianti. I mean those who actively set aside time for writing AND marketing AND promoting strategically — not creepy, spammy, ‘must take a shower after seeing this’ ways. Nope, I mean those who treat their publishing career as a business, not a hobby where they lollygag around on social media arguing politics or talking about writing their book, then hope and pray someone eventually buys it.

In fact, I so related to that panicky, ‘Where do I even start?” feeling I experienced with my first book back in 2012, that I created an entire month last year (year two is happening right now! and every May going forward if I decide to continue this exhaustive effort) where I’ve wrangled publishing experts this entire month of May to generously donate books, guides, and consultations, and yet shockingly (she says not shocked), few writers are taking advantage of it.

When I speak with them as to why not, several have told me they know about it but don’t want to participate because then they’ll HAVE to work on their writing and marketing.

This baffles me. And yet, nah, it doesn’t.

Lazy Writer Syndrome 

It’s a thing, right? We all get it. I get it, too. It’s not that I’m not writing. I’m here, aren’t I? I also write for my own author blog, RachelintheOC.com as well as on Medium, which are important parts of my author marketing and business marketing. I have those two manuscripts mentioned above on my desktop: one is in edits, and the other is in draft. I also keep a journal, a planner, and a book just for creative notes and ideas.

So, yea, I’m writing. Yet sometimes it feels like I’m not writing writing.

Am I accomplishing stuff? Am I climbing the mountain? Well, yea. Kinda.

It feels like this: it’s a big mountain, full of mud. It’s raining. Hard. I’m carrying this heavy weight. But I’ve got this! It’s just that some days it’s just…so exhausting. Or I have a migraine. Or I’m running my kids around (single mom). Or I’ve got client deadlines (solopreneur).

So, I set the weight down and make camp. For a little while. To rest and recuperate. And then get back out there when I’ve got my wind back.

That’s okay. I’m getting there. We’re all getting there (wherever the hell there is). (Maybe lazy doesn’t describe me. I am a Capricorn, after all.)

Are You a Lazy Writer?

These are the hard questions you have to ask yourself:

  • What am I doing to move my writing career forward?
  • What am I not doing?
  • What actions am I taking to build relationships with readers?
  • How can I learn more about how to market my work?
  • How am I standing in my own way?

Creating an author platform is not a choice in today’s market. It’s not an option. At least, not if you want to sell books and be taken seriously by not only readers but also other writers, book bloggers, and book reviewers (as well as agents and publishers, if you go that route, or plan to). Many writers refuse to treat their writing like a business — they think if they can just sign with a traditional publisher, and then that publisher will swoop in and do all that work for them.

If only.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I deal with many stumbling blocks: anxiety, depression, chronic pain. There are days where all I can do is the bare minimum for my business, kiss my kids, and that’s it. And that’s okay. Big fan of The Four Agreements: always do your best, and if your best is just getting out of bed that day, okay. I Scarlett O’Hara that bitch: tomorrow is another day.

In my business, many of my clients are traditionally published. Big 5 even. They hire me to do their social media and book marketing because no publisher does that for them. It’s on you, writer friends. Start early, share often. Learn author branding (we brand the author, not the book).

You don’t need to hire someone to do this marketing stuff for you. You learned how to write. You can learn how to market.

The other big secret I’ll share with you is this: Book marketing isn’t about spamming your book links with everybody (that’s desperation). It’s about building relationships with readers early on.

I do a free weekly chat on my @BadRedheadMedia business Twitter, #BookMarketingChat, every Wednesday, 6 pm pst, 9 pm est. Every week for the last 4 years, I share my time and/or recruit an expert in publishing and marketing to share their expertise with you, the writing community.

Invariably, someone says, “Yea, I should do that,” or “I’ll give that a try.”

Writing is great. Publishing is a business. Treat it like one.

———

Rachel Thompson released the BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge in December 2016 to rave reviews. She is constantly updating the book, and released a newly updated version in 2020 in both ebook and print.

She is the author of the award-winning, best-selling Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in both the Los Angeles and the San Francisco Book Festivals), and the bestselling, multi-award-winning Broken Pieces (as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed).

Broken People was released in 2020.

Rachel’s work is also featured in Feminine Collective anthologies (see Books for details).

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostFeminine CollectiveIndie Reader MediumOnMogulBlue Ink Reviewand several others.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live weekly Twitter chats, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with Cee Streetlights and Judith Staff (Tuesdays, 6 pm PST/9 pm EST), and #BookMarketingChat, co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger and Dr. Alexandria Szeman (Wednesdays, 6 pm PST/9 pm EST).

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. A single mom, she lives in California with her two kids and two cats, where she daydreams of Thor and vaguely remembers what sleep is.

———

Thanks so much, Rachel, for joining us here at the Kill Zone. What about you KZers? Am I the only writer here who gets lazy from time to time and have someone else do their bi-weekly post for them? Does the L bite you too? Let’s hear the comments!

Ya Gotta Wanna

“Ya gotta wanna,” isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a highly achieved man’s mouth. However, that’s exactly what multi-billionaire Jim Pattison said when asked for his key to success.

Jimmy, as Mr. Pattison is affectionally known around his home city of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the self-made, sole owner of the Jim Pattison Group. It’s a diverse empire employing 48,000 people in businesses like supermarkets, soft drink manufacturing, auto dealing, forestry, fishing, magazines, outdoor advertising, and theme parks. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and The Guinness Book Of Records are two Pattison holdings. Forbes lists the 93-year-old’s personal net worth at $10.2 billion.

Jim Pattison

Jimmy Pattison is a philanthropist. He’s donated millions of dollars to hundreds of causes, yet the most valuable give-away he has is business guidance to others. I believe writers, like us, can learn from folks like Jimmy Pattison. Here’s an expansion of his “you gotta wanna” quote:

At the end of the day, you have to want it. You have to have a deep desire to keep moving forward in the face of opposition. You have to have fire in your belly that keeps you focused on the task at hand and on the goal ahead so you don’t give up. If we don’t have passion to persevere, we will not succeed. Those who don’t ‘wanna’ end up giving up. And remember, failure isn’t falling down. It’s refusing to get back up again.”

I’ve never met Jimmy Pattison, but I’d have to say he’s a mentor. So is Napoleon Hill (long deceased) who authored Think And Grow Rich—one of the most influential self help books of all time. One of Napoleon Hill’s seventeen success principles is having a definite purpose backed by a burning desire to achieve it. It’s a guiding force driving my current WIP.

My definite purpose—my wanna—is creating the series titled City Of Danger. It’s a concept long brewing in my mind but activated by a chance opportunity with the film industry. I committed to City Of Danger on April 7, 2021 and steadily worked on developing it for the last ten months. I expect the pilot episode releasing this summer.

Regardless if this project gets green lit on screen, I’m retaining ebook, print, audio, and foreign translation rights. To give you an idea of the concept, the logline is A modern city in crisis enlists two private detectives from its 1920s past to dispense street justice and restore social order. You can read a bit more about City Of Danger on my website.

When I started the project, I realized I knew little to nothing about the film industry—at least not about content production. I immersed in screenwriting lessons, and the best value I got was from an online course called Immersed In Story with tutor Anne Helmstadter. If you check out Anne’s home page, you’ll see a testimonial I did for her.

This screenwriting course was the best money and time investment I could have made when I started City Of Danger. At the course’s opening, Anne had me write out why I wanted to create this series. Writing out my definite purpose—my burning desire—gave me the clarity and motivation to keep moving forward. Call it my gotta wanna spirit.

I read this affirmation every day. It’s very personal, but I’d like to share it with others here at the Kill Zone so my ongoing experience can possibly benefit others. Here goes:

Motivation for Writing City Of Danger Series

What’s old is new again. I believe there’s a resurgence coming in hardboiled detective crime fiction. I see this as the right timing for a leading-edge product that capitalizes on successful series like The Wire, Dragnet, etc. as well on diverse HB storytellers like Leonard, Spillane, Hammett, Chandler, Paretsky, and Connelly. Yet, this takes an entirely new approach in blending the 1920s and the 2020s. I see this as a niche-base market for episodal ebooks, print, video streaming, and audio with a large audience resonance.

I’m writing City Of Danger for these reasons:

  1. Financial — I want to make decent money from this project.
  2. Sense of Purpose — I want to be creative and constantly moving.
  3. Sense of Accomplishment — I want to have something to show from this. (A social statement.)
  4. Recognition — I want my family, friends, fellow writers, and audience to know.
  5. Learning — I want to learn from this and take my craft to the next level.
  6. Opportunity — I want this project to lead me to new and influential people.
  7. Legacy — I want to leave something behind that others can enjoy and benefit from.

In summation, City Of Danger is about creating a unique and valuable consumer product that I can enjoy building and be compensated for in these seven ways.

I want to create this.

Garry Rodgers

April 7, 2021

How about you Kill Zoners? How badly do you want what you’re pursuing? Have you written an affirmation? Have you defined “success” for yourself?

I trust your want includes family, friends, faith, your contribution to the community, and your purpose in life—and isn’t just about money. But however you define success, you gotta wanna.

——

Garry Rodgers is a retired homicide detective with a second career as a coroner. In all, Garry has over three decades in the human death investigation business. Now, he’s reinvented himself as a crime writer and indie publisher who’s experimenting in other storytelling mediums.

Vancouver Island is home to Garry Rodgers where he spends a lot of time cruising the Pacific saltwater. While he’s never seen Jimmy Pattison in person, he’s been broadside the Pattison yacht, Nova Spirit, many times.

Jim Pattison’s Nova Spirit

Dieter Rams — 10 Principles of Good Design

“Who is Dieter Rams?” you ask. “And how do his ten principles of good design apply to writing and publishing books?”

I wondered the same when I opened Farnam Street’s weekly newsletter on Sunday morning (if you’re not an FS subscriber, you’re missing out) and saw the headline Less but Better: Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles. I clicked and read a short article. It had such an impact that I printed and dissected it with my red pen and yellow highlighter.

“Man! Does this ever apply to writing and publishing books!” I said out loud. My wife, Rita, ignored me. She stayed glued to one of her Apple devices. “This is good stuff,” I said as I read a Dieter Rams quote. Everything interacts and is dependent on other things. We must think more thoroughly about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why we are doing it.

Dieter Rams is German and, true to being German, is quality-orientated and detail-driven. Rams, now 89, was schooled in architecture but transformed into one of the world’s leading consumer product designers. His ingenuity and vision were instrumental in thousands of items sold by giants like Braun, Gillette, and European furniture maker Vitsoe.

Rams trailblazed the path for product designs to be more than beautification of consumer products focused on marketing purposes. Design, according to Rams, is innately human and serves as one of the foundational underpinnings of society as a whole. Rams observed: You cannot understand good design if you do not understand people. Therefore, design should involve a moral and ethical responsibility and designers should understand and consider the societal implications of their work, using design as a force for positive change and human preservation.

“Wenniger, aber besser,” said Dieter Rams. It translates to, “Less, but better.”

Right now, I imagine every Kill Zone writer and publisher is thinking Yep. Heard that advice many times. Less is More. And it’s some of the best writing advice there is with the economizing of words to make our writing and publishing simple, clear, and effective.

Rams stayed with Braun from 1955 to 1995 which included the transition from Braun to Gillette. He spent another decade freelancing with Vitsoe and, during his career at these companies, remained the prime design influence behind Steve Jobs and Jonathon Ive to shape the future of all Apple products. Yes, Rita’s Apple devices are based on Dieter Rams’ ten design principles.

So what are these ten design principles and how do they apply to book writing and publishing? Let’s do a dive into what Dieter Rams said about good design followed by my comments:

1. Good design is innovative. The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

Me – We’ve seen monstrous changes in our storytelling delivery over the past decade, and there’s a lot more coming at us fast. Print on demand. Ebooks. Audio. Interactive. Editing apps. And artificial intelligence. We, as writers and publishers, need to be innovative.

2. Good design makes a product useful. A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

Me – Our stories must be useful. Meaningful and memorable. We must satisfy our reader psychologically and visually. We must respect our reader’s time and leave them feeling they got good value—something useful.

3. Good design is aesthetic. The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Me – Aesthetics, in our products (yes, books are consumer products), goes beyond the mechanics of cover graphics. Aesthetics goes beyond the interior layout of fonts and spacing. Aesthetics goes to the heart of the story where the reader sees the story in their mind.

4. Good design makes a product understandable. It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.

Me – Less is more. Understandable. Can the reader follow what’s going on? Are they turning the pages ahead and not back?

5. Good design is unobtrusive. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

Me Get the writer out of the reader’s eyes. We’ve all absorbed that advice. Book products are tools for the mind—for the reader’s self-expression. Suspension of disbelief 101.

6. Good design is honest. It does not make a product more innovative, powerful, or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

Me – Keep your promise to the reader. That’s another timeless tip. Deliver on what you say.

7. Good design is long-lasting. It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

Me – A beauty of digital publishing is longevity. Digital products are evergreen which gives two sides to the coin. One is they stay on the shelves as long as the server survives. Two is they reflect trendy styles.

8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail. Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.

Me – This principle hits home about book writing and publishing. We must output the most professional piece we can. That includes more than the story itself. Cover. Editing. Layout. And, yes, marketing.

9. Good design is environmental-friendly. Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Me – Is there anything more environmentally friendly than an ebook or an audiobook? Compared to a print book where trees die and ink pollutes? I’m not against the print book industry by any means. I’m just sayin’.

10. Good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Me Wenniger, aber besser.

What about you Kill Zone writers and publishers? How do you see Dieter Rams’ ten design principles fitting in with your work? Can you add other principles that help us to be better at writing and publishing?

———

Garry Rodgers is a retired homicide detective with a second career investigating deaths as a coroner. Now, he’s a crime writer and indie publisher with some twenty works in the public arena.

Garry also hosts a popular bi-weekly blog on his DyingWords.net website and flirts with the feed on Twitter @GarryRodgers1. Vancouver Island on Canada’s southwest coast is home to Garry Rodgers.

Watch for Garry’s new series City Of Danger coming this summer. 2022.