A Glenn Beckert Mystery
by Cliff Protzman
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Dead Air signals trouble at the radio station. Glenn Beckert discovers his high school best friend is shot in the head while on the air. Beck, the owner of Blue Water Security, is employed to provide security for the station.
He becomes willingly embroiled in the investigation by the not-so-innocent widow. The list of potential suspects is long, gleaned from the numerous extramarital affairs of the victim and widow. The pending sale of the radio station has created friction between his now dead friend, Richie Zito and the major stockholders. Motives for murder becomes increasingly murky after the search reveals an encrypted file on Zito’s laptop.
Beck enlists the help of an old flame, Irene Schade, to break the code, revealing a money laundering network leading to the financial and political powers of his beloved city of Pittsburgh. Their collaboration ignites the flames of passion each had considered extinguished.
A former college teammate, police Lieutenant Paglironi delivers a message to back off. Arrogantly, he ignores his friend’s advice. The threats from less friendly sources are more ominous, forcing Beck to move in an unfamiliar world. A startling revelation from his client forces Beck to deal with his inner conviction of right and wrong, challenging the gray areas of his ethical principles. Betraying his client’s confidence could expose the killer. The alternative is to confront the suspect and take matters into his own hands. Either way his life is in jeopardy.
Cliff was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Cliff’s family relocated to Northeast Ohio when he was in high school. Immediately after graduation he returned to his hometown to attend the University of Pittsburgh. Cliff planned to major in journalism and write the great American novel. Instead, he switched to Business Administration and began a 30-year career in accounting and finance.
Cliff rekindled his passion for writing acquired as a reporter for his school newspaper. He published his first novel, DEAD AIR: a Glenn Beckert Mystery in September 2017. Cliff also writes short stories. He was a winner in the Unfinished Chapters anthology in 2015. Cliff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Pennwriters.
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ACCEPTING THE WRITER’S LIFE
The only constant we face in life is change.
We begin life as toddlers moving on to elementary school, middle school, and high school. Then comes secondary education, careers, relationships, possibly marriage and parenthood. At each juncture, we are presented with new opportunities and challenges. Our life is upended and rebuilt. Yet we move forward with trepidation and determination, because that is what expected. As unsettling as these transitions may be, they are our comfort zone. However, what about our passion?
A recent commenter on my blog shared a quote from Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, about creating the passionate life. "If you have an impulse to try something, do it! Don’t think about things. Live your life. Explode! Do what you love and love what you do. That’s the rule. And the other thing I say to people is, go to the edge of the cliff, jump off and build your wings on the way down. Don’t build your wings up on the top of the cliff. Jump off and build them on the way down. That’s the way to live.”
Can change get any scarier than that? Bradbury said wings and not a parachute. He intends us to fly, not land.
I tried to build my wings at the top, the prudent way to write I thought. Building wings would be the easy part, actually jumping would be difficult. Writing a novel could be accomplished within my comfort zone. Perched in front of a keyboard, I began typing away, in the solitude of my home. The resulting manuscript evaluations were disappointing at best.
Bradbury was right. The wings I had built were inadequate. I jumped off and started new wings. I joined a writing group. We shared our work, inviting comments and suggestions. I read a short story that I planned to enter in a contest. The group ripped it apart. Instead of retreating, I adopted their suggestions, submitted it and was accepted for publication.
I recommend a group representing a variety of genres in order to see how techniques may work in your writing. Have thick skin, not all suggestions are useful. At least be aware of them.
Attend writing conferences. Interact with other writers and build a network. The classes will be helpful and what you learn at happy hour equally as valuable.
Publishing Dead Air was my next challenge. Should I pursue traditional or self-publishing? There I was at the top of that cliff again looking down. My writing wings were no longer adequate. I chose self-publishing. I leaped and began to build a new set of wings. The details of formatting text and designing a front and back cover were foreign to me. Rely on the network you have built. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Authors as a group are extremely supportive and willing to help.
Now the book was out. It was nice to look at, but how was I going to sell it. There I was again on that ledge, shedding the wings that had got me this far. On my way down, I learned how to use social media, work with Amazon, and traditional bookstores. There are numerous sources that can explain the process of marketing. Again, rely on your network for guidance. There may be some costs involved. Look at it as tuition for that book marketing degree.
Each step required a new set of wings. I am again on the cliff, working on my second book. Bradbury was right. What he didn’t say was that we have to continually rebuild our wings.
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