Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29 - August 4, 2012 Discussions

Last week, I found it interesting to learn that James Holmes - the Colorado theater killer - was seeing a psychiatrist.  Before the shootings, Holmes sent a notebook to his psychiatrist allegedly telling her what he was planning to do.  It reminded me of Bruce Ivins, who would go see a psychiatrist whenever he started thinking of killing people. And, it appears that Holmes was being treated for schizophrenia, just like Ivins.

But, the big discovery last week was learning that the wildly inaccurate PBS Frontline documentary "The Anthrax Files" is a finalist for an Emmy Award for outstanding journalism.  (Click HERE to view a list of the distortions and errors in the PBS program.)  And I also was reminded of a book written in 2009 that suggested that weapons manufacturers were behind the anthrax attacks of 2001.  That means that four books have been published about the case since it was announced that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer: One book said it was really weapons manufacturers, another said it was really al Qaeda, another was neutral, and the fourth agreed with the FBI.

So, it's really clear that there is a need for my book which debunks all the alternative theories and explains how the FACTS show beyond any reasonable doubt that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer.

I rewrote the query letter I've been using, and starting on Monday, I will be presenting my book that way: It's a book that explains all the evidence that proves Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer, it debunks all the alternative theories, and it leaves no room for doubt about who did it.  Bruce Ivins did it.

Lastly, my Sunday comment also explained how Mohamed Atta's handwriting is NOTHING like the handwriting on the anthrax letters, even if a person can find a few individual characters in examples of Atta's handwriting that seem similar to characters in the anthrax writing examples.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22 - July 28, 2012 Discussions

I'm finding myself to be very curious about what motivated James Holmes to go on that shooting rampage in Aurora, Colorado.  He'd been planning it for months.  He was out of work, which may have been part of his motivation, but he didn't kill himself, which seems to be the pattern for people who go on killing rampages as a result of being out of work.

Holmes appears to have been an active church goer, which generally indicates Right Wing leanings.  But, he didn't start buying his guns until a few months ago, so he apparently wasn't a life-long gun nut.  He was gifted, intelligent, and somewhat of a recluse.  But, he also once reportedly worked as a camp counselor for underprivileged children.  These aren't inconsistencies, they're parts of a complex puzzle.  Like Bruce Ivins, Holmes is a scientist who was socially inept, who appeared "nice," but who had an evil "dark side" that no one seemed to know about.  Ivins talked about going out "in a blaze of glory."  James Holmes wore body armor when he shot up that theater, and he surrendered peacefully.  That seems to say that he has a story he wants to tell -- when the time is right.

The bulk of my Sunday comment was about the task of finding a literary agent.  If the query letter I sent out on Thursday fails, I'm going to try a change in tactics.  But the new "tactic" only applies to a few agents.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15 - July 21, 2012 Discussions

My Sunday comment for this week was mostly about being ready to send out another query letter to a literary agent.  I've cut 142 pages (28,000 words) from the previous version of the manuscript.

I also commented on when former Wisconsin Governor and former U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson was talking with a group of Tea Party members recently, he mentioned the things he had to do after the 9/18 attack, and people assumed he meant 9/11.  They ridiculed him for not remembering the right date.

Thompson meant the anthrax attack of 9/18. (September 18, 2001 was the date the first anthrax letters were postmarked.)  Thompson evidently remembered that date very vividly, but, there probably wasn't a single person in his audience who remembered it.

That's the kind of mistake I made with the first version of my manuscript.  I thought everyone - particularly literary agents - would vividly remember the anthrax attacks.  But, it appears very few people do.  So, when I made the changes, I cut out all the unnecessary detail and made it more readable for the average person.

The query letter I'll send out tomorrow uses a referral from a well-known author.  If it fails, I have one more referral I can use before I either try to obtain more referrals or I self-publish the book.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8 - July 14, 2012 Discussions

My comment for this week begins with describing the progress I'm making on the overhaul of my book in an attempt to cut at least 150 pages.  The statistics show that I'm on course.  But, more importantly, the book also seems about 1,000% improved and much more of a page-turner thriller.

The comment then leads into a realization that Ivins told Mara Linscott about his KKG burglaries just after the FBI and postal inspectors discovered which mailbox had been used to mail the anthrax letters -- a mailbox just 175 feet from the KKG office in Princeton.  The finding of the mailbox would really have shaken Ivins up, but what was he thinking when he started to tell Mara about his connections to KKG?  And Mara quickly told Pat Fellows.

The mention of the mailbox used for the mailings also reminded me that I've never been able to accept and believe that the anthrax mailer used the same mailbox for BOTH mailings.  I think that Ivins used a mailbox in Franklin Park for the first mailing, but the crude powder couldn't seep through the envelopes so easily, so no trace was left in the mailbox.  The second mailing left spores in the mailbox in Princeton, so the only available evidence says it was the mailbox used for both mailings.  It's a case where the "only available evidence" says one thing, but I really feel that reality is something a bit different.  But, it's just a "feeling" that cannot be proved nor disproved, so I don't mention it in my book.  If I had, it would have been another long explanation that I'd have to cut to get the book down to a "readable" length.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1 - July 7, 2012 Discussions

The main topic of my Sunday comment was the progress of the overhaul of my book to shorten it by at least 15%.  But, of course, it's not just a matter of cutting unnecessary material, I also have to make sure that the narrative runs smoothly and keeps the reader reading.  So, there's a lot of polishing that needs to be done after the big chunks of unnecessary material are cut away.

One agent wanted me to cut 150 pages from the 706 page manuscript, another wanted me to cut 200 pages.  I think I can cut 150 pages, but I'm not sure if I can cut 200.  I'm also moving most of the pictures out of the text and into a separate picture section.  I didn't realize why most books did things that way.  Now I do.  Putting pictures into the text can disrupt the flow of the narrative.  I need to target the book to the people who read books for pleasure, not to students of criminology.  People who read crime books for pleasure are a MUCH bigger audience, and unnecessary pictures can be a distraction to their reading.

For what it's worth, here's a chart showing the number of visitors to my web site for the month of June versus the number of visitors to the main Anthrax Truther web site:

My site got about 3-times as many visitors as Lew Weinstein's site.  The surge on June 12 was from the article.  It's also clear that the patterns are somewhat similar, with mid-week peaks and weekend lows.  I'm not sure what it means, but it seems to mean that more people are interested in the facts of the case than in the theories of the Anthrax Truthers.