Friday, December 28, 2012

Review: Great read with twists - the story felt real

"A Formula for Murder, by David Vizard, is a great read. Set in the Thumb area of Michigan, the murder mystery whodunit includes twists and tangles beginning with a fairly dysfuntional, yet vividly realistic newsroom which any media person will recognize as accurate and super sad. As a former media professional, I enjoyed meeting the characters, hearing their conversations, noting the tone in the words chosen and watching these characters grow and develop. The story combines murder, abuse of teens by a former educator, the cover up and the ultimate impact on the involved characters. The characters grew, the plot thickened and the story felt real. Hard to blame the murderer...but who did it and how it was done was a surprise well crafted and well written."
- M. Teresa Calkins, former Gannett and Newhouse newspaper marketing executive

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sandy Hook, threats, put book signings on hold

Sometimes you can do more by doing less. 

In my case, I've decided to cancel the remainder of my scheduled book signings for 2012 and the beginning of 2013. 

The reason? Sandy Hook and the sudden closures this week of schools across the Thumb and Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan because of threats of violence.

As many of you know, the central story line in my new novel, A Formula for Murder, involves a plot by a parent who decides to get revenge against three prominent school officials by targeting them for execution with altered medical prescriptions.

Though my book is fiction, the central theme of the novel hits too close to home these days.
I don't want to hustle my book at public presentations and run the risk that it would encourage anyone - students, parents, teachers, administrators or members of a school district - to think that I believe violence is a solution to any kind of school problem.

It is not.

We've all watched the images and reports from Sandy Hook over the past week. What's happening in Connecticut is absolutely heart-wrenching. Families burying children. Schoolmates mourning the loss of loved ones. Teachers who paid the ultimate price while defending their students. A community broken and overwhelmed by grief.

Since the Sandy Hook tragedy began, we've seen a troubling trend in Michigan. School districts across our part of the state - and many others - have shut down this week because threats of violence. It is not clear how serious any of these threats are, but school officials, I think wisely, have decided to error on the side of caution.

It's time for us all to take a deep breath and reflect on what's happening in our schools and communities. We need to carefully think about guns and ammo - especially military assault weapons - in our society. We need to carefully evaluate how we live with the mentally disturbed, particularly those who have displayed a tendency toward violence. And I believe we should carefully evaluate how violence is portrayed in our society. Is it really a good idea to allow everyone full access to virtual video games that require participants to hunt down and kill others in murderous rampages?

These are all very difficult questions. People want their children to be safe, but few Americans want to limit our basic freedoms.

While we begin to look at these questions, I've decided to put my book on the shelf and hold off on promotions and signings. It's clearly time to do less.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa reading "Formula," for real?

No fooling, I caught Santa reading a copy of "A Formula for Murder" while I was setting up my display and table during my last book signing at the Country Sampler in Saginaw. Naturally, I quickly grabbed my camera and started getting in position to take a photo. That's when Mrs. Claus showed up and I asked her to join her hubby. They happily agreed.

It turned out to be a nice photo, which I shared on Facebook and blasted off to all my e-mail recipients. The photo prompted lots of comments, including one person who saw it during the book signing and said: "Only in Saginaw would you see Santa reading "A Formula for Murder."

Send me your caption and I will post it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the road again - to Saginaw and Bay City!

Looking forward to my first visit to Saginaw Township from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15. The good folks at the Country Sampler Store in the Green Acres Plaza have invited me to meet, visit with their customers and sign books if they decide they want to buy.

From my many years as a journalist working at the Bay City Times and the Flint Journal, I had the good fortune to make lots of friends in the Saginaw area. In fact, my wife, Barb, and I built a log home in the Birch Run area while she worked at the FJ and I was at the BCT.

I'm hoping to see lots of old friends in Saginaw. My signings in Bay City have really been quite heart-warming. About half the people who ask me to sign books for them say they remember my columns from the BCT and when I edited True North Magazine. I'm flattered, and humbled, that they want to continue reading my work.

That's why I continue to return to Little House Antiques and Gifts on Water Street in downtown Bay City whenever they let me in the door to do a signing. Kathie and her wonderful staff of sales associates have been terrific. I really feel at home in Little House. That's why I will be there again on Sunday for the Bay City's last Sunday in the City sale.

Looking forward to another big weekend.

The photo above is of me and Dave from Bay County. He stopped by one of my earlier signings at Populace Coffee and picked up a copy of the book.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Next book signing: Sunday, Dec. 2, Bay City

The good folks at Little House Antiques and Gifts have asked me to return to their fabulous store for another book signing from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2. 

They are a pleasure to work with and I've really been connecting with their customers. I look forward to every visit.

Little House is located on Water Street in the heart of Bay City's East Side downtown business district. It's the corner store that chock full of treasures!

Below is a photo from a signing I did in Frankenmuth. I love happy customers!

Review: Hope you plan an entire series

Mr. Vizard,
Normally I don't write fan letters, but am making an exception. I just finished your book A Formula For Murder. Loved it! Hope you plan on writing an entire series of Nick and the gang.
Nancy Schenk,

Here's the skinny on "A Formula for Murder"

Facts about “Formula”

“A Formula for Murder” took five years to write. After developing the initial storyline for the book, I did a 10,000 word first draft. Initial reviews were very positive.

Once I was confident that “Formula” was a pretty darned good story, I pushed ahead with a first re-write. I shuffled events around in the book, fleshed out characters, and started developing underlying themes that meshed with the overall storyline.

At every turn, I tried to add detail, color, and humor. My 10,000 word first draft grew to about 50,000 words.  Literary agents and publishers I had talked to encouraged me to make 80,000 words a goal.

With that in mind, I started a second re-write of the book, again shuffling the storyline, adding plot twists and infusing more background info about the main characters.

This also is when I decided to substantially change the ending of the book and open the door for a sequel to “Formula.” If the book generated enough interest, I could pick up the story where it left off and develop a whole new adventure.

The final result is 83,540 words presented in 254 pages and 36 chapters.