Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Scorched Earth

That's the title of the chapter I've spent the last 2 days on, working and reworking and shifting and and rearranging and slamming my head against walls and floors and computer screens...but I think it's finally making sense and is not too scattered. I don't want the usual explanation bit, like when Hercule Poirot lays out all the clues and explains what they mean. Instead, I've got Jake junked up and out of control and referencing movie musicals and cult films as he lays it out. The reader will have to work a little, but it should be clear.

For example, in Cabaret there's a song, If You Could See Her Through My Eyes. So when Jake finally reveals he knows who the killer is, he does it by singing to the lead-in melody for that:

"I know what you're thinkiiiiiiiing.
You wonder why I chose youuuuuuu,
Out of all the suspects in Palm Spriiiiiiiiiiings.
It's 'cause I know you did it.
But how'd I know you did it?
'Cause the biggest fuckin' cluuuuuuuue,
Came the day that I met youuuuuu."

I may have made it too goofy; I don't know. I'm enjoying it, as is Jake. And there's a fun little twist on the end of the chapter that should keep things embroiled in suspense.

Looks like The Lyons' Den may be going out of print. The publisher's hinting they want to do it. Sales are way, way down. Not that it was ever a huge seller, but it was the first book I made money on. I suppose that means I could come out with a second edition, self-published...and with a better cover. I'll have to think about it. I've got this beastie to finish, first, and I'm so broke I'll have trouble getting it done. I may see if I can get someone else to publish OT.

For about five minutes it looked like I might be going to Jerusalem to pick up a book and hand-carry it back into the US, but I worked up the cost and seriously doubt the university it'd go to will go for that. They'd on the cheap-assed side and have already cut us out of one packing job because they thought we were too expensive. I used to get hurt by that, but the reality is half the time these twerps have no idea what they're doing, and when something goes wrong they wind up paying a lot more than they'd have paid us.

There have been occasions where book dealers thought we charged too much to transport books into and out of the UK so decided to carry them in their baggage on the plane. Which they can do and is cheaper. But then they stupidly do not declare the books at their actual value. I say stupidly because books going into the US and UK are duty and VAT free. So even if it's a $10,000 book,  no long as you properly declare it. If you don't, and your bag gets searched, and you're dumb enough to leave the actual price of the book in the book, and it doesn't match up to what you declared, they can seize it for mis-declaring it.

That actually happened to one dealer. He called us to see if we could help, but by that time all we could do was refer him to a lawyer who knew customs law. It took three months and thousands of dollars to get his books back, and now he's flagged; anytime  he comes into the US or UK, his luggage gets searched.

I was stupid enough to do that once, at Heritage -- mis-declare a book going into Italy to avoid paying VAT on it. The book was seized and cost us $5000 in fines and legal fees to get back. After that, you couldn't pay me to not do it right.

You see, what we do where I work is make sure crap like that doesn't happen. We insist the dealers give us proper documents and handle customs requirements (which keep shifting oh-so-slightly) and make sure they have all the paperwork needed to show the books was legally transported...especially if they require an Export License from the UK. It's extremely important, these days, when even major museums and universities are having items seized because they don't have the proper provenance for them. 

It ain't easy to keep this up, and it ain't cheap to do it right. It's very time-consuming. But we're too expensive.

Oh, well...

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