Monthly Archives: May 2014

7 Author Signing Today!

Maestri, Michelangelo - Busto di Bacco - 1850Come and join myself and 6 local Washington authors as we party at Paperbacks Plus in Port Orchard from 1:00pm to 5:00pm today! We’ll be signing books, giving away prizes, and who knows what other kinds of trouble we’ll be getting into. Libations and chocolate provided. If you can’t make it, you can join us on Facebook for an online party!

See you there 🙂


The #1 Thing Authors Need To Consider Ref Amazon-Hachette

Another good post on the Zon/Hachette kerfuffle…

Spotlight Series: Kristi Alsip

Spotlight Series logoToday is the launch of a new feature on the blog where I plan to spotlight artists from all different mediums: vocalists, actors, musicians, painters, etc, as well as authors. It’s called the Spotlight Series (original, huh? 🙂 ) and over the course of the next few months I intend to showcase creatives from all sorts of disciplines (and nope, I don’t have a set schedule for when I’ll post them–just like most of the blog’s entries, it’s pretty much gonna be a random event). Yay, random!

And now, on to the inaugural Spotlight…

photo of Kristi AlsipThe first artist in the Spotlight Series is someone I’ve had the good fortune to work with: voiceover artist, actor, and vocalist Kristi Alsip. She recently narrated the Leine Basso thriller, BAD TRAFFICK, and totally nailed the main character’s voice (see sample below). Leine Basso is a former assassin and I wanted her voice to be strong and confident, but not to come off as a hard-ass. Plus, the narrator needed to be able to do several accents (Russian, British, male, female, etc.) and Kristi was definitely up for the job. I was delighted to find out that in addition to doing voiceover work Kristi fronts two bands and acts in and directs a mystery theater company. I love acoustic rock, blues, and soul (her band, Crawford’s Daughter covers several of my favorites) and I would probably be at most if not all of her gigs if I lived near Chicago. Here’s her bio:

Kristi Alsip is a vocalist, actor, and voiceover artist from the Chicagoland area. Kristi earned her B.A. in theatre and human services from Millikin University and spent several years on the Chicago theatre scene. Most of her creative energy the last 15 years has been spent fronting bands, although she still makes time to act and direct in the murder mystery company, The Mystery Shop. She formed her own rock/blues/soul band, Crawford’s Daughter (the name derived from a random line in the film ‘Mommie Dearest,’) and is also a lead vocalist for the group Moonlight Cocktail which covers disco, Motown, and current tunes from artists such as Bruno Mars and Adele.

Kristi spent several years doing commercial voiceover work and was amused to find herself frequently getting sent up for the “Peri Gilpin type” (Roz from ‘Frasier.’) She has been heard in regional and national radio spots for Walgreens, Killian’s Irish Red, The Plane Dealer, Scrubbing Bubbles, and McDonalds. Just last year, Kristi began to branch out into audiobook narration and has lent her voice to several publications. Until now, most of her credits are of the memoir and self-help genres. Kristi recently completed work on her first book of fiction, the mystery thriller Bad Traffick (Leine Basso series) by DV Berkom and had an absolute blast!

Kristi currently resides in the Chicagoland area and is blissfully fortunate to share her time with the love of her life, Frank, and her two ridiculous Wheaten Terriers, Draven and Angel.

D: When did you first realize you wanted to be an actor/singer?
K: I was always a movie buff even as a little kid, although I didn’t get into typical ‘kid’ movies. I loved horror films and anything with Jack Nicholson. At about 7 or 8, I really got into singing and gravitated towards soul, rock, and blues. (I had a Shawn Cassidy record player with attached microphone and wore the hell out of it!) At the time, I especially loved Diana Ross, Olivia Newton-John, and Barbara Streisand. In an attempt to look like them, I begged my mother to let me get a home perm. Unfortunately, I ended up looking like Roseanne Roseannadanna on SNL. Super glamorous.

D: What prompted you to get into voiceover work?
K: About 14 years ago, I was doing a play in Chicago and the director was also working as a voiceover agent. She took me to dinner one night and asked if she could represent me. I recorded a commercial demo, began auditioning, and learned as I went along. Last year, I branched out into narrating audiobooks.

D: What’s your favorite part of working in a creative field? Least favorite?
K: I would have to say my favorite part of working in a creative field is having the opportunity to take all the experiences you gather and emotions you have as a human being and do something productive with them. Growing up, I was a little shy, so getting to get out there now to express myself is both challenging and rewarding. My least favorite part would be the auditioning process.

D: Where do you see yourself in five years?
K: Working/recording from home, continuing with commercial and audiobook work as well as booking more gigs with my band Crawford’s Daughter. My next goal is to get back into acting and branch out into film. I’m in the beginning stages of collaborating on a screenplay, so we’ll see what transpires.

D: What would you like readers of this blog to know about you?
K: I have an INCREDIBLY fantastic support system of family and friends that are always there at shows and gigs and ready to purchase audiobooks the minute they go on sale…which I think is pretty great considering I’m the only one in my entire family tree that sings or acts or is in any kind of creative field. I always joke that I’m the apple that fell off the family tree into another yard. 🙂

D: Thanks for being here today, Kristi! Good luck with everything, especially the screenplay 🙂 Here’s a sample from Kristi’s work on Bad Traffick:

***Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a free download code for Bad Traffick from Audible!


<><><>If you know someone who you think deserves to be highlighted (even if it’s your fine self), I’ll be accepting suggestions for the Spotlight Series through the end of June. Just email me at dvberkom8[at]gmail(dot)com with information about the artist (whether it’s you or someone you know). It’s at no charge to the artist and will give them some exposure they might not get otherwise, and I get to meet interesting people and have cool stuff on the blog. Total win-win!<><><>



Amazon v Hachette: Don’t Believe The Spin

An interesting take on Amazon/Hachette negotiations. As is usual, not going off half-cocked on something with precious few factoids available appears to be the way to go…

David Gaughran

amazonhachetteThe internet is seething over Amazon’s reported hardball tactics in negotiations with Hachette.

Newspapers and blogs are filled with heated opinion pieces, decrying Amazon’s domination of the book business.

Actual facts are thinner on the ground, however, and if history is any guide, we haven’t heard the full story. Here’s how it started.

In a historical quirk of the trade, publishers and booksellers negotiate co-op deals at the same time as the general agreement to carry titles. (For those who don’t know, co-op is the industry term for preferred in-store placement, such as face-out instead of spine-out, position on end-caps, front tables, window displays, and so on.)

At publishers’ insistence, the same practice has continued in the online and e-book world, namely that negotiations regarding virtual co-op (e.g. high visibility spots on retailer sites) take place at the same time as discussions over general terms and publisher-retailer discounts.

There is a lot…

View original post 1,805 more words

Railing against Self Publishing

Angry tigerHmmm. Me thinks history repeats itself…

Guest Post: That Song Inside Me

by Lise McClendon

Songwriters and literary writers have much in common, the creative use of words, imagery and emotion conveyed in a stylized manner, and often the subject matter itself. The love song and the love story have provided endless twists on the human need for affection and belonging. Whether a poet or a novelist, a folk singer or a classically trained violinist, a writer of haiku or 150,000-word novels, the muse flows through her, in word or song.

cover for One O'clock JumpIt’s probably not surprising that writers can get inspired by a song or a style of music. A writer may hear a theme or be turned onto a cause by a popular song. Music can define an era like the sixties and be an outlet for and expression of societal change. Writing a historical novel means familiarizing yourself with everything current in that time, including fashions, slang, and popular music. When I wrote the mystery, One O’clock Jump, set in 1939 Kansas City, the music of Count Basie informed the whole book. Basie’s band shined in Kansas City and he makes an appearance himself in the story. The title is his most famous song. When I started the novel with a young woman who – seemingly – jumps from a bridge over the Missouri River, it just made sense to make title and event mesh. The follow-up book in my Kansas City series is Sweet and Lowdown, the title of a Gershwin tune that perfectly fit the bad girl in the story.

There have always been novels about music, like High Fidelity and Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. But being inspired by a song or type of music is a bit different than writing about music, bands, and record shops. What I mean instead is finding a way to wrap the feeling evoked by the music into a plot that doesn’t focus on it. What’s the theme of the novel? How does it spring from or reflect the emotion in the music? Mystery and thriller writers often name-drop favorite bands or tunes for effect, mostly because quoting lyrics is a tricky practice legally. We just hope you know the tune.cover for Blackbird Fly

But titles can’t be copyrighted so song titles as book titles are popular in all genres. I did it again when I wrote Blackbird Fly, my novel set in France. The characters in the suspense novel listened to the Beatles as children and have a fondness for their music as adults. Blackbird Fly is a Beatles song (of course) about finding yourself and taking flight into a new life. That describes the arc of Merle Bennett, the main character, whose husband dies and leaves her a house in France and a mess of personal and financial problems. (There is another, more personal connection between the song and Merle which I won’t spoil as she spends the entire book finding it out.) I grew up with the Beatles, too. But I can’t remember exactly when in the process of writing the book I made the connection between my protagonist and the song. It seems embedded in the story like it was always there.

Themes in your fiction are shadowy creatures, darting out of view when you look too close. Music can help you identify a theme, like Blackbird Fly did for me. Of course, there were those five major rewrites. 😀

cover for Girl in the Empty DressAnd what about songs about writing? Songwriters are more prone to write songs about writing songs. But now and then there is some serious crossover. Here’s my list of favorite songs about writing. What can you add?

Every day I Write the Book – Elvis Costello. The classic leads the list
Writing You a Love Letter – Bonnie Raitt. A love letter is definitely creative writing
Oxford Comma – Vampire Weekend. Points for punctuation and the music video
Paperback Writer – The Beatles. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?
Jonathan’s Book – Teddy Thompson. Is this song about Jonathan Franzen? Pretty sure.
Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen. The boss had me at love reaction: I’m sick of sitting ’round here Trying to write this book.

How does music inform your writing? Do you use it to inspire you?

author Lise McClendonLise McClendon has been publishing fiction for twenty years. Her latest novel is a sequel to Blackbird Fly called The Girl in the Empty Dress. Read more about her fiction at her website and follow her scintillating twitter feed at @LiseMcClendon.

Goodreads Giveaway

Hey everybody! It’s that time again–I’m giving away 2 signed print copies of the latest Kate Jones Thriller, A ONE WAY TICKET TO DEAD (Kate Jones #7) on Goodreads.

Although it’s “#7” it can easily be read all by its lonesome. Of course, I’m hoping that you’ll think it’s so danged good you’ll want to read the others in the series if you haven’t already 🙂 Click on the link below to enter (Giveaway ends 5/28/14)


Goodreads Book Giveaway

A One Way Ticket to Dead by D.V. Berkom

A One Way Ticket to Dead

by D.V. Berkom

Giveaway ends May 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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