Monthly Archives: June 2014

Hilarious

LOLCATYou gotta read this… http://insatiablebooksluts.com/2014/06/27/publishing-vs-amazon-play/

 

HAPPY FRIDAY

 


Hope for Slowing Climate Change

photo of earth from spaceClimate change is a HUGE concern to me, and recent events in the world had me feeling, shall we say, less than hopeful. This article for Rolling Stone by Al Gore has given me a fresh dose of optimism. Yes, there’s spin–there’s always spin these days–but all in all I think it’s a fairly balanced piece.

Any thoughts?

 


LibraryThing Giveaway

Okay, so I’ve been going back and forth on wanting to set up an e-book giveaway (I don’t have any of my stuff in KDP Select at the moment and have had sketchy luck with other promos I’ve tried) cuz we all know how much I LOVE to give away books. This weekend, a writer friend alerted me to the member giveaway service on LibraryThing (where the heck have I been, right?). It’s similar to a Goodreads Giveaway in that there’s a limited time to sign up to receive the books, but different because in addition to paperbacks you can give away e-books (and audiobooks). Yay!

Anyway, all that is to say that I’m giving away 100 E-COPIES each of SERIAL DATE and YUCATAN DEAD right now on LibraryThing. Here’s the link to the Giveaway Page, if you’re interested. Just scroll down until you see whichever books you’d like to receive and then click the “Request it!” link on the right. That’s it. (If you make a mistake and don’t want the book you just requested, you can ‘unrequest’ it 🙂 ) There are several books available, some e-books, some paperbacks, some pre-releases.  YUCATAN DEAD is available until June 28th and SERIAL DATE is available until June 29th. (The giveaway is open to all countries.) If you do request either or both of the books, I’d be deliriously happy if you’d leave a short recommendation on your favorite bookish website.

What are you waiting for? Slide on over to LibraryThing and request yourself some free books!

Cover for Serial DateSERIAL DATE description:

**Warning** This book has violence, strong language, black humor, sleazy politicians, and sex. Close enough to the five essential food groups as far as I’m concerned…Definitely R-rated.

A retired assassin. A serial killer with a social agenda.

Determined to leave her old life behind, retired assassin Leine Basso accepts a job working security at one of television’s most popular reality shows, Serial Date. When a contestant is found dead in the prop closet, it appears the killer is one of the ‘bachelors’ on the show- an ex-con billed as a serial killer- but the detective in charge of the case isn’t so sure.

When Leine’s estranged daughter is abducted by a man claiming to be the real killer, she’s forced to rely on old skills to find her, and must come to terms with who she really is. She soon realizes the murderer may be a grisly remnant from her past and she’ll need to use all of her cunning to stop him…and rescue her daughter.

“If you like fast-paced action, great lead characters, and don’t mind a few F-bombs and the occasional gore, DV Berkom is the author for you.” – Jen Blood, bestselling author of the Erin Solomon Mysteries

“Serial Date was a surprisingly entertaining read with witty writing and dark humor…The prose is sharp and gritty. I love satires and this one was no exception…I highly recommend Serial Date to those who enjoy murder mysteries with a touch of satire.” -Seattle Post Intelligencer

“This book is without a doubt one of the most engaging, complex and enthralling mysteries that had me totally in its grip…” -Confessions of a Reader

“…Serial Date is one of those rare books full of rich sub-plots and interesting, well-developed characters…” -Night Owl Book Reviews

cover for Yucatan DeadYUCATAN DEAD description:

***Although Yucatan Dead is the 6th book in the Kate Jones Thriller Series, it can easily be read as a stand alone.

She was a dangerous man’s lover…now she’s his dangerous enemy.

For Kate Jones, being on the run from her former lover—the vicious leader of a Mexican drug cartel—was never going to be easy. But with a new identity, a new lover, and a new life in Arizona, she was beginning to believe she’d made it through the worst.

Then, in an act of twisted revenge, Kate’s kidnapped and imprisoned by her deadly enemy, his intention to force her to pay back the money she stole before he kills her.

Fate intervenes and she finds herself working against the cartels deep in the Yucatan with a group of off-the-grid commandos. From peaceful northern Arizona to the steamy jungles of Mexico, Kate Jones must decide for herself if she’ll continue to run…

…or turn and fight the evil that pursues her.

“…an unrelenting thriller of a tension-filled novel…Yucatan Dead is the stuff of which blockbuster movies are made…very highly recommended…” ~ Midwest Book Review

“Yucatan Dead is a gripping thriller with a gutsy heroine and a tightly woven plot; it will no doubt please Berkom’s current fans and gather more.” ~ Pacific Book Review

“…Yucatan Dead ratchets up the tension from the start as Kate deals with hit women, warring Mexican drug cartels, and unofficial paramilitary organizations. Survival is never a given…” ~ Big Al’s Books ‘n Pals

 


Writer’s Digest Dumps Author Solutions 

Here’s some great news…

David Gaughran

I have some huge news: Writer’s Digest has terminated its partnership with Author Solutions.

Abbott Press – the imprint launched by Writer’s Digest, parent company F+W Media, and white-label vanity press provider Author Solutions – is still operational, but all ties to Writer’s Digest have been cut.

It appears that Abbott Press will now be run directly as yet another Author Solutions brand but Writer’s Digest and F+W Media will have no further connection with it. (If you are unfamiliar with Author Solutions and its awful history, this will bring you up to speed.)

Cached version of Abbott Press showing Writer's Digest links.Cached version showing Writer’s Digest links.

Writer’s Digest and F+W Media refuse to comment, despite being given several opportunities, but I’ve had this news confirmed by multiple sources. As Author Solutions only tends to allow early termination of partnership agreements if the partner signs a series of non-disclosure agreements, a formal announcement or comment is…

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Awesome Authors–Peg Brantley

Peg Brantley photoToday’s Awesome Author is thriller/mystery writer Peg Brantley. I met Peg while swimming around in the Guppies (Great Unpublished) pond of the writers group Sisters in Crime and have heard great things about her work. She currently has 3 novels out: Red Tide, The Missings, and The Sacrifice. Glowing comments on her work include, “engaging characters,” “grabs you from the first page,” and “a definite page turner.” Hmmm. Sounds like an author to put on my TBR list… 😀

Bio (from the author): A Colorado native, Peg Brantley is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors’ League, and Sisters In Crime. She lives with her husband southeast of Denver. Peg’s third book, The Sacrifice, is a finalist for two 2014 Colorado literary awards.

DV: Welcome, Peg! Please tell us about yourself and your latest release.

PB: This is where I wish I could tell you about my fabulous past—reveal something notorious or incredibly brave. The truth is I’m only mildly interesting and that could be a stretch.

cover of The SacrificeTHE SACRIFICE was released at the end of 2013. I’ve had more than one reviewer say they were surprised they liked the book based on the back cover copy. Obviously that’s not where my strength lies. TS is about a man who lost his family and is working through associated depression, and a missing young girl and the religious cult she thinks of as her new family.

THE SACRIFICE was a finalist in one Colorado literary award presented last month, and a second literary award to be presented a few days before this blog post airs. I wrote a guest post at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers blog about what it felt like to lose.

DV: The novels you currently have available are stand-alone thrillers, correct? Have you considered writing a series?

PB: Well, bless your heart for asking. (No, I’m not from the south, but this really works here.)

cover and link for Red TideDue to reader’s requests (and because it’s really easy to do) RED TIDE and THE MISSINGS will be turned into the first two stories of a series set in Aspen Falls, Colorado. There was some carry-over of the characters between the books and I’m excited to spend more time with them.

And as luck would have it, readers (and a particular endorser) for THE SACRIFICE have encouraged me to continue the series with the characters I developed in those pages.

My goal will be to continue to write each novel as a stand-alone, with the added strength of a series and longer character development opportunities.

My challenge will be to write faster. Two series? Are you kidding me?

DV: LOL. Yeah, I know the feeling 🙂 When did you realize you were a writer?

PB: I think at some level I’ve always been a writer. But life and responsibilities made me more of a reader for a very long time. About ten years ago, family circumstances played a huge role in affording me both the time and opportunity to begin to learn the craft of writing when my bonus son suffered a stroke at a very young age. After we moved him back home for his recovery, I finally had the time to explore my writing options.

“After about eight years, I had blown my way through some horrible manuscripts and was finally beginning to produce something worth reading.”

DV: What was your road to indie publication like?

PB: My road was probably not too different from many others. Several years ago, indie or self-publication was not on the table for me. Vanity publishing, as much of it was at that time, had a horrible reputation for producing inferior products. I was determined to find an agent I could work well with and a publisher happy to take a chance on an unknown.

I took workshops, read books about writing, went to writer conferences, joined a critique group—all of those things we do to learn how to string together effective words.

After about eight years, I had blown my way through some horrible manuscripts and was finally beginning to produce something worth reading. That’s when a friend of mine, L.J. Sellers, encouraged me to jump in the game rather than to continue to sit on the sidelines like a good girl and wait. With her help, I learned the right way to put together a novel people enjoy.

DV: What is your process like? Do you write every day? Have a specific word count? Plotter or pantser?

PB: As much as I’d love to write every day, my life often has other things in store. However, yesterday while I was in the chair at my dentist’s office I was considering a character and particular plot-point in the manuscript I’m writing. I guess in a way, I do write every day.

Generally, I aim for 2000 words a day, and feel pretty good when I’m consistently hitting that target.cover and link for The missings

While I’m neither a plotter or a pantser, I do have to have a plan in mind. Crime fiction doesn’t leave a lot of room for going off the rails. For me, it’s a lot like taking a road trip. I know where my story is beginning and I have a good idea where it will end, with some planned stops along the way. What I do allow, just as on a road trip, are those little spur of the moment side trips. If they’re interesting and fit the flavor of the trip, I’ll explore them a little more. If they’re to some place boring and potentially confusing, I’m outta there.

If you’re interested in a little more detail, I wrote a post about it on my blog.

DV: Do you find you work better with or without deadlines?

PB: Deadlines, definitely. But deadlines I set. I work backward from a targeted publication date, including time for self-editing, beta readers, professional editing, endorsements, and cover and interior design. From there, I know when I need to have the first draft completed and how many words a day I need to write to meet the deadline.

“Next up on my list is to attend an autopsy.”

DV: How much research do you do when writing your books?

A lot! I’ve often thought being a fantasy or science fiction writer would be heaven. Not only are you making the story completely up, but you’re making everything about the world up as well. Everything.

I use Google, reference books, contacts and friendships. I’ve attended the Writers Police Academy and the Citizen Police Academy for my city. Next up on my list is to attend an autopsy.

DV: Which writers have influenced you and why?

PB: Oh, my. One of the things I admire about L.J. Sellers’s books is that she often takes a topical social issue and works it into the story. I’ve tried to do the same. Her writing is tight and spare while still providing just the right amount of description and emotion.

Dean Koontz can extend tension with fabulous skill, as well as say volumes in as few as eight words. The right eight words.

Michael Connelly builds layers and layers of character and drops them into some of the best plots ever.

DV: In light of the huge changes in the industry, where do you think publishing is headed?

PB: I think that for the first time in the history of publishing, it’s headed exactly where readers want it to go. Readers are in the driver’s seat, not publishing company CFOs.

Readers, with their new power, recognized rather quickly that they could find some wonderful new authors for very little financial investment, and scoffed at the old publishing models. Having said that, I believe they are rapidly tiring of some of the mindless slush pile garbage “authors” are throwing out simply to see what sticks, and can appreciate that the old publishing models took care of that gigantic pile that’s now available to everyone. Still, the cream will rise to the top as it always has, but this time, readers are in charge.

“I think that for the first time in the history of publishing, [publishing is] headed exactly where readers want it to go.”

DV: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

PB: I hope I’m still doing what I love—writing stories. But I’ll be thinner I’m sure. And better dressed.

DV: 😀 What advice would you give to new writers?

PB: If you can, find a good writers group and learn from them. Attend writer conferences, read books on craft. Treat this time as your college education.

It’s okay to write a story that needs work. We all do. It’s not okay to publish a story that needs work, at least if you want to make writing a career.

Read the books you love to read like crazy and then write and write and write some more.

Don’t quit. It’s only if you quit that you fail.

DV: What’s next for Peg Brantley?

PB: FLAME GAME will be out in late October (with a little luck) and then I’ll begin getting my characters in THE SACRIFICE in deep trouble once again.

Thanks, D.V., for allowing me to spend a little time with you and your readers. I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

DV: Thank you for stopping by, Peg! I’ll definitely be checking out your books. They sound like they’re right up my alley 🙂 (For more information about Peg and her work, I’ve included links at the end of the post.)

Below is an excerpt from THE SACRIFICE:

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Dia woke with a start and listened hard. She’d heard a noise. Where had it come from? What was it? There. A thump and voices. Outside. She pushed the light blanket off, pushed aside the mosquito netting and stepped to look out the window.
Pilar, Luis, and Hector were swaying and chanting. Sparks from the fire they stood around flew off into the night. What were they doing? If this was a Santeria ritual Dia wanted to be there.

Where did she leave her shoes? Come on, Dia, she thought. You would think in this small room she wouldn’t lose anything. She dug around in her clothes bag. Nothing. Maybe if she stood on the deck it would be okay. She wouldn’t need shoes if she didn’t go down by the fire.

Dia padded barefoot to the door that led from the main area to the back deck and eased the screen open. She tried to be quiet, not because she was trying to be sneaky, but because she didn’t want to interrupt a religious ritual. Softly closing the door behind her, she moved to the edge of the deck where she could more clearly see and hear what was going on.
It was a ritual all right. But the words were different from any she’d ever heard before. She’d have to ask Pilar what they meant.

Luis held something in his hand and raised it over his head. Dia gasped out loud when she realized it was a dead rooster. The man spun in her direction, the firelight carving angry lines in his face as he looked at her.

“You! Leave at once!” The venom of the words stung Dia and pushed her back from the deck rail. She knew Luis had mostly just put up with her, but now he sounded like he hated her. She sought Pilar. Their eyes met and Dia could not understand the expression on her nanny-turned-friend’s face. Then Dia dropped her gaze down to what Pilar held in her hands.

My shoes.

END EXCERPT

You can learn more about Peg at her website or meet up with her on Facebook  or follow her blog. Her Amazon Author page is here.

 


Spotlight Series–James Radcliffe

photo of the artistToday I’m right stoked to  introduce you to indie artist/musician, James Radcliffe. I became aware of James after he connected with me here. I visited his award-winning blog and read a few posts, listened to a couple of his tracks and bought his album. His music struck me as ethereal and unlike anything I’d heard before, and I was interested in finding out more about him. Turns out he’s living the dream of creatives everywhere by making a living through his art. Here’s his bio:

James Radcliffe is a 100% listener-supported, independent artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He writes an award-winning blog that boasts over 4000 followers, and released a solo digital album in early 2014 priced at £5 that listeners now regularly choose to pay over £30 to download. Spotlight Series logo

He pretty much lives in his home studio, and will be releasing new music very shortly in a new and experimental way.

[Note from DV: James has just released a limited edition CD of his album. It can be found here.]

Some listener quotes:

Unapologetically, disarmingly, impossibly beautiful.

Haunting

…not just heard, but felt.”

STUNNING. BRILLIANT. It’s like an indie film for your soul.”

Genius.”

And now for the Spotlight questions (a sample and links to James’s work are below the short interview):

D: When did you first realize you were a musician?

J: Doing music has felt natural to me for as long as I can remember. I was in the school brass band and orchestra when I was a kid, and did my first solo performance when I was around 7. So there wasn’t really a: ‘bolt of lightning from the heavens now-I-am-a-musician’ kind of moment. It was much more prosaic than that. Music was just something that I did, like drawing with crayons, eating, or going to the toilet. It’s always been there.

D: What do you hope to convey through your music?

J: There is a feeling I get when I make music that I can’t express in any other way. Time stops and I totally lose any awareness of myself. It’s very ecstatic for me. It’s the closest I’ve ever been able to get to pure freedom.
The people who really connect with my stuff say that they have the same kind of experience when they listen, but this communication is not something that I consciously strive for. It’s more like a happy by-product of me doing what I love to do.

D: What’s your favorite part of working in a creative field? Least favorite?

J: I really love what I do. And I’m fortunate enough to make a living at it, so I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want to. I love the process of making art, I love sharing it, and I love connecting with the people who resonate with it. For me, there isn’t a downside.

D: Where do you see yourself in five years?

J: I don’t really think in those terms. I just focus on: each days practice; each little project. I am not working to some Masterplan here. My life is the Grand Experiment. 😉

I do whatever work has energy for the moment until it’s done. This approach seems to be working pretty well, and I like being surprised, so I’ll stick with it for now.

D: What would you like readers of this blog to know about you?

J: That I exist. That I am real. That my music is out there should they want it.
And that I am readily available thru my website should they want to connect with me.

The Blog: http://jamesradcliffe.com/
The Music: http://jamesradcliffemusic.com/album/i

James Radcliffe

 


Come on Down to UM&M!

Friday, June 6, 2014 ~ 5:00p-8:00p (and every first Friday of the month)

Uptown Mercantile & Marketplace / 816 Pacific Avenue, Bremerton, WA (no cover)

Join myself and other local authors at the First Friday partay that is UM&M.  Stop by and support your local artisans, not to mention an awesome and eclectic locally owned business! Meet artists & writers and score one of a kind art, signed paperbacks, food, wine, and listen to live music, all under UM&M’s fabulous warehouse roof! It’s summertime in the Pacific Northwest–come on down! 😀


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