What a long, strange trip it's been.
I began this blog over fourteen years ago, in March of 2005. I shared my experience with the traditional publishing world, and in 2009 dipped my toe in the self-publishing world, and then became an evangelist for the self-pub revolution.
It's been head-spinning to watch how the publishing climate has changed since I last blogged regularly. Advertising has become practically essential for self-pubbers to keep their heads above water. Marketing via social media is mandatory.
I have thoughts on ads and marketing, but those thoughts will be for an upcoming post. And I will begin to post regularly again about publishing, marketing, advertising, and promotion.
Today I want to talk about guns.
I've never used my blog for political reasons. I'm not about to start doing that. I don't care who you vote for, but you should vote. And before you vote, you should inform yourself about the candidates you both support and oppose.
It's almost impossible to see both sides of something. And it's extremely easy to assume someone is a bad person because you don't agree with their opinion on a certain topic.
Politicians LOVE this flaw in human nature, and exploit the hell out of it.
Be smarter than that. Seek out different viewpoints, not the echo chamber. Spend more time listening and less time trying to shout about how correct you are and how those who disagree are wrong and stupid.
Today, May 21 of 2019, we have so many important topics that need to be discussed. Racism. Gender discrimination. Abortion laws. Climate change. Us-Vs-Them politics. #MeToo. Net neutrality. Fake news. Public shaming.
All of these topics are important.
But lately, I've been fixated on guns.
For as long as I've been alive, America's love/hate relationship with firearms has been a polarizing political issue.
My views on this are centrist. I own guns in Illinois, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. I keep my guns locked in a safe. The only time I use them is at the gun range. I've taught my family, and countless friends, how to shoot, and the rules of gun safety.
I also believe that we would benefit from stronger gun laws. Being for the Second Amendment doesn't mean I want someone with a history of mental illness to be able to walk into a department store and walk out with an M16 and five thousand rounds of armor piercing bullets.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I just published my twelfth Jack Daniels novel, SHOT GIRL. It was a tough book to write.
In it, a diminished-capacity ex-cop has to defend a retirement community, using only her .38 revolver, against an active shooter with a modded fully-automatic weapon and a duffel bag of fifty-round drum magazines. During a hurricane.
Of course it's during a hurricane. It's a JA Konrath book.
When I wrote WHITE RUSSIAN last year, I knew it was a set-up for the above scenario in SHOT GIRL. But I didn't realize how much all of the gun research I needed to do would mess with my head.
It's terrifying how easy it is to acquire a gun. An unstable person with a little bit of smarts can do a whole lot of damage in a short amount, and no other method of murder comes close.
While SHOT GIRL is a thriller, meant to entertain, I also used it as a vehicle to inform. About gun safety. About gun buying and selling. About gun laws, on state and federal levels. I detail Homeland Security's instructions on what to do if you are in an active shooter situation. And I present both sides of the gun debate--I believe fairly--without taking sides.
I want you more than entertained. I want you woke.
None of the events I detail in SHOT GIRL are real. Though active shootings have become epidemic in the US, and around the world, the ones I refer to in my book are wholly fictional.
But they are based on fact.
I don't offer a solution to our gun problem in SHOT GIRL. I leave that for you, the reader, to ponder. But I am certain we have a problem. And I do believe the situation I describe in SHOT GIRL is likely to happen.
I get paid to make stuff up. And I really wish I the things I wrote about in SHOT GIRL were all make-believe.
Active shootings are happening on almost a daily basis. My parents, children during the Cold War, had Atom Bomb Drills. Today, our children have Active Shooting Drills.
This is a very scary, and very real, part of our everyday life. And we need to be more informed on the topic. We need to know why this problem exists. We need solutions other than "ban all guns" or "arm everyone."
What we have to do, as a people, as a nation, is elevate the level of our discussion about firearms. We need to listen to those we disagree with, and try to come up with compromises that help all of us be safer.
I wrote SHOT GIRL to scare the hell out of you, no matter what you believe about guns. I want it to provoke discussion. I want it to open some eyes and some minds. I want H.R. 820 to pass in the Senate, and I want people who disagree to tell my why they want to shut down H.R. 820.
Were you even familiar with H.R. 820 before I mentioned it? If not, why not? Why isn't every American talking about it right now?
Let's have this elevated discussion. With our families. With our friends. And with those who oppose our views.
Because if we don't, the stuff I wrote about in SHOT GIRL--an active shooting situation that will threaten almost a thousand people--will inevitably happen.
Jack is a retired cop who knows and respects firearms. A recent victim of gun violence, she is confined to a wheelchair, getting physical therapy in a rehab facility, and teaching handgun safety and Second Amendment history to the elderly residents.
A thousand miles away, a very disturbed individual with a modified 9mm pistol, a thousand rounds of ammo, and a singular obsession--to make history as the biggest mass murderer ever--decides to make that fantasy a reality.
It has been said the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Jack is about to find out if that's true.
SHOT GIRL by JA Konrath
America has 300 million guns. This is the story of one of them.
SHOT GIRL is available in Kindle Unlimited, and is also for sale as an ebook and a paperbook.
Please read it, and review it, and share it, and discuss it.
I'll be back to blogging about publishing next week.