Day: July 3, 2014

Review of ‘The Courage to Kill’

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Janice Parrish is a 27-year-old with a horrible secret. As a child, she was sexually molested by her father, according to her therapist. When her father is murdered, she remembers being at his house around the time of the incident, but her memory is otherwise blank. She is indicted, but crime reporter Ray Myers thinks a mistake has been made and he seeks the truth. His search, however, puts both him and Janice in danger from a mysterious psychopath who has just started a killing spree.

The reader is kept on tenterhooks for a good part of the book, trying to figure out who did what to whom. Is Parrish really suffering from recalled memories, or is she a manipulative killer? Or, is she being manipulated? In the end, all of these questions are answered, but not before you’re taken on a serpentine ride through the dark recesses of twisted minds.

The Courage to Kill by Ron Argo is a twisted tale of suspense and psychological manipulation that will give you chills. I received a free copy in exchange for my review. This is a story that once you start reading is hard to put down.

Argo uses prose like some of the old noire writers. In any other story it would be overblown, but in this case it fits perfectly.

The Demise of the Content Mills

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002 One by one they’re biting the dust – fading into obscurity – riding into the sunset. I’m talking about the content mills – those internet sites that took short posts from all kinds of writers and put them up for all to read. For this they paid peanuts; a mere fraction I’m sure of what they took in from advertisers. But, despite that, their business model is no longer seen as viable.

That at least is what the note said that I got from one of the sites that I’ve contributed to for the past several years. I never made a ton of money from feeding the mills; chump change actually; but it did help me to reach a lot of readers, and was great for working out the old writing muscles. Most importantly, having to write to the length limits – 200 to 600 words on average – helped me learn to trim the fat from my writing.

A lot of writers I know view content mills with disdain. They think of them as second rate places for writers that don’t pay enough. I’m not sure about the second rate part, but I do agree they never paid enough. But then, I used to work for print publications, the most generous of which paid me fifty cents per word, or sometimes $400 to $500 per article (the latter were very rare. My average per article was around $50). Compare that to the content mills that were paying based on readership. I’ve had content articles that made me a hundred bucks, and had the site not close for economic viability reasons, would still be paying. When the print publications I wrote for went out of business they still owned my articles. When the content mills shut down I can download my articles and sell them elsewhere.

So, I’ll miss them. But, like the changes from paper only to paper and e-books and the rise of indie publishing, the writing industry is forever changing, and writers who want to endure must change with it. I have no doubt that most of the current content mills will soon disappear – but, in due time they’ll be replaced by something else. I have no idea what that something else will be, but I’m sleeping with one eye open so I can be near the front of the line when it arrives.