Category Archives: Leine Basso

Happy International Women’s Day

Hey there. Happy Wednesday 🙂  In honor of International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month I’ve decided to spotlight strong, independent women from history on the blog. As I was researching the latest Leine Basso thriller, I ran across the story of the woman I’ve chosen for the inaugural post: Lyudmila Pavlichenko.

pavlichenko_lmLyudmila Pavlichenko was a Ukrainian-born sniper active in the Red Army during WWII with 309 confirmed kills, including 36 enemy snipers (which means she probably killed far more Nazis than 309 since to confirm a kill it had to be witnessed by another person). In an era where women in the US and Soviet Union weren’t allowed to join the military and fight on the front lines, Pavlichenko blasted through the glass ceiling imposed by the Russian military by being an expert at what she did. Eventually, the Soviet Union not only allowed but actively trained 2,000 women to be snipers, 500 of whom survived the war. Pavlichenko wapav-stamps one of those survivors and often worked in the “no man’s land” between the front lines of her unit and the enemy’s.

She was a woman after my own heart. At the age of 14 when a neighbor boy boasted about how good of a shot he was, she took it upon herself to learn how to shoot better than he did. “I practiced, a lot,” she was quoted as saying. In 1937, she went on to attend college at Kiev University, intending to become a teacher.

From an article in the Smithsonian: “[Pavlichenko] was in Odessa when the war broke out and Romanians and Germans invaded. “They wouldn’t take girls in the army, so I had to resort to all kinds of tricks to get in,” Pavlichenko recalled, noting that officials tried to steer her toward becoming a nurse. To prove that she was as skilled with a rifle as she claimed, a Red Army unit held an impromptu audition at a hill they were defending, handing her a rifle and pointing her toward a pair of Romanians who were working with the Germans. “When I picked off the two, I was accepted,” Pavlichenko said, noting that she did not count the Romanians in her tally of kills “because they were test shots.”
Her first day on the battlefield, she was scared to death and couldn’t bring herself to shoot. A fellow soldier set up next to her to give her courage but was quickly killed by a German sniper. Again from the Smithsonian article: “Pavlichenko was shocked into action. “He was such a nice, happy boy,” she recalled. “And he was killed just next to me. After that, nothing could stop me.”
lyudmila-pavlichenko-w-eleanor

Justice Robert Jackson, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Eleanor Roosevelt (Source: Library of Congress)

In 1942 she traveled to the US to drum up support for a second front and while there met and became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt. Reporters gave Pavlichenko a hard time about not wearing makeup and not dressing like a woman should, and to say she was shocked is probably an understatement. She had been awarded the highest honor in Soviet Russia, the Order of Lenin, among other commendations, for what she’d done in the war, and American reporters were concerned about how she looked. (Hasn’t changed much, has it?)

Intrigued by her story, I found a recent film (2015) on Amazon chronicling her life. The Battle for Sevastopol is in Russian and English with English subtitles.  The subtitles whoosh by pretty fast, so have your pause button handy, but the movie itself was cinematic and gut-wrenching and definitely one to watch if you’re into war movies based on a true story.

After being wounded in battle, Pavlichenko went on to train snipers until the war ended, and then returned to university to earn her Master’s degree in history. There were reports that she married a fellow soldier during the war, but that he was killed in the Battle for Sevastopol. There’s a scene in the movie that details this, although I found scant information out there about him.
Read more about Lyudmila Pavlichenko:

Also in honor of International Women’s Day, I’m participating in two promotions featuring strong female characters: from March 6-17th, the 1st Annual Women’s History Month Giveaway (all genres), and running March 8-15th, the Nasty Women Giveaway (the name says it all 🙂 All books are through #Instafreebie, so all you’ll need to do to download your free books is sign up for the newsletter for the author of whichever titles you choose. I guarantee you’ll find yourself some new authors to read 🙂
Enjoy! 

The Writer’s Chatroom


February 19, 2017 4:00p-6:00p Pacific time
The Writers’ Chatroom

Join me online today at The Writer’s Chatroom from 4-6pm (PST) as I answer questions and riff with attendees at this great venue! Click on the link above, then “Enter Chatroom.” Sign in as a guest with whatever name you want people to call you and that’s it! (you don’t have to give out your email address). And, as an added bonus I’m giving away a print copy of one of my books to one lucky attendee (winner’s choice) 🙂

Hope to see you there!


Giveaways!

Hey there!  I mentioned I’d be back with some giveaways today, so here’s 3 🙂  (Contests end Monday, December 12)

Giveaway #1:

Win a signed paperback copy of Vigilante Dead from Goodreads. (For some reason the widget isn’t resolving correctly on the blog, so you’re going to have to click on the link to go to the book’s page on Goodreads. You can enter the contest there. Goodreads will notify the winner.)cover for Vigilante Dead

Giveaway #2:

I’m also giving away the T-shirt pictured (size large) with the book cover on the back (see pics below). Just leave a comment with your email address and I’ll choose a random reader to win! (Must be in US or Canada to receive the book and T-shirt.)

Vigilante Dead tshirt front

Logo on the front (you tend to get double takes wearing this 🙂

Vigilante Dead Tshirt back

Vigilante Dead’s fabulous book cover on the back

Giveaway #3:

So I get to include everybody with an internet connection, regardless of whether you live in the US or elsewhere, I’m also giving away winner’s choice of one of my back list titles in eBook or audio book format. (All of my books are available in audio except Vigilante Dead and A Killing Truth. Cargo  is currently in production and should be available in audio by the end of the month, so you can choose that, if you’d like.) I’ll announce the winners (with the exception of the Goodreads giveaway) on Tuesday, December 13.

Good luck, everybody!


Big Sale and Giveaway

LOW PRICE ALERT. Just wanted to let you all know I’m having a big sale this weekend of the Leine Basso crime thriller box set–I’m pretty much giving it away for $0.99. Yep. Three full-length thrillers for a buck. Am I crazy? Maybe 😀

Here’s the link* to my webpage with the details. (*Sorry, the sale is over. The set’s still a great deal, though 🙂 )

Cover for Leine Basso box set

AND, just to make you guys’s Saturday a little more special, here’s a link* to an Instafreebie giveaway (*updated–promotion no longer available) that fellow author and pal Ed Kovacs and I put together featuring some of the best thriller authors writing today. 9 authors, 11 books. But you gotta act now–this deal ain’t gonna last forever.

Instafreebie banner

Like I mentioned before, I’ll be taking part in the Indie Author Day celebrations at University Place library today–I hope you’ll join me either by dropping by, or if you’re not in the area, by visiting a participating library near you 🙂 It’s a great time to be indie! logo for Indie Author Day

Have a great weekend!

 


New Interview

I’m being interviewed on mystery author Carmen Amato’s stellar blog. Stop by and leave a comment–I’d love to see you there. And here’s a big plus, if you enjoy strong female characters, try her Emilia Cruz police procedural series set in Acapulco, Mexico–I have a feeling you’ll end up with a new favorite author!

http://carmenamato.net/mystery-author-dv-berkom/

Happy weekend!


Update on Kate and Another #Freebie

So I’ve been working away on the next Kate Jones thriller, and wanted to try something new and give y’all a taste of what’s coming. As of yet I don’t have a title or a cover, although I’m working on the first, and Deranged Doctor Designs is doing the latter. Since it’s from the first draft, it’s possible that this scene won’t survive the editing knife, but I thought I’d post anyway to see what you guys thought. Comments and/or suggestions are welcome 🙂

One more thing: CARGO, the 4th Leine Basso thriller, is free through Monday. Here’s a link to the book’s page on my website where you can get the details: http://dvberkom.com/book/cargo-leine-basso-crime-thriller-4/ Enjoy!

Cover for Cargo

EXCERPT from the next KATE JONES thriller:

One

I stood in the dark hallway, going over what Angie had taught me. The knife blade had heft, a last-minute gift from my mentor. I knew all the moves, had practiced them with relentless determination, unwilling to make a mistake when I did the deed.

Committed the act.

Went off the rails.

What are you doing, Kate? Whispers from my good girl-self, long-buried all these years, echoed through my head.

Shut up and let me do what needs to be done. I’ll deal with the fallout later.

But isn’t that how you’ve always done things? Act first, ask questions later?

This is different.

How?

Be quiet. I’m in no mood to argue.

Angie had delivered her last lesson that morning. The memory came galloping back with a force that was difficult to comprehend.

I’d been lucky to survive.

My gaze cut to my right arm, as though I could see through the darkness and under the bandage, at the angry red wound it covered.

Angie didn’t dick around. I asked her to help me, had been shocked when she agreed.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Money dictated her loyalties. With no current contract connected to my death, she couldn’t have cared less if I was standing in front of her at point-blank range, handing her a gun.

In her world, Kate Jones had ceased to exist.

But wave a bundle of crisp, hundred-dollar bills at her? Why, yes ma’am, what can I do for you this fine summer evening? Her southern red-head turned so fast, I was afraid she’d get whiplash.

A relief, really. After all those years of running, of looking over my shoulder, waiting for Angie or one of the others to strike.

Gone.

Poof.

One minute I’m scanning restaurants and street corners for suspicious activity, and the next, nothing. Nada.

Zilch.

From what I understand, it’s a lot like giving up smoking. All of a sudden, you have so much extra time on your hands. You’re at a loss, really.

And so it is with normal life. No more running. No more death threats.

No more fear.

But then again, there’s all that muscle memory. The fight-or-flight response that’s hardwired into our brains.

Kind of like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Maybe exactly like PTSD.

What else would explain my over-the-top reaction to, say, a book falling to the floor? Or a backfiring car? Or my obsessive situational awareness? Put me in a room and I instinctively move away from windows to the best vantage point in the space, eyes on the exits and back to a solid wall, checking out every person present, wondering if they’re a threat.

That’s no way to live when no one’s trying to kill you.

The bedroom door opened, and I moved deeper into the shadows. Soft footsteps padded along the corridor to the bathroom. The silhouette confirmed my suspicions.

It was time.

My good girl had evidently left the building, her recriminating voice finally silenced.

I crept toward the bathroom, my feet whispering silently along the polished wood floor. I was glad I’d used the disposable booties like Angie suggested. Not only did they reduce evidence left behind by my sneakers, but they silenced my footsteps as well as if I’d worn only socks.

What if Sam finds out?

There she was again.

I thought you left. Good girls need their sleep, right?

Not gonna happen, Kate. You know me. I’m tenacious.

Yeah, probably because of that damned “Minnesota Nice” I could never quite lose. There’s something to be said for growing up in the Midwest, although I can’t remember what. Polite is my default—even when I’m up to my neck in it and can’t see daylight.

It does have its uses.

Kind of like Angie’s southern charm. She may be a paid assassin, but she’ll give you a sweet smile as she pulls the trigger.

Or knifes you in the back.

The idea of Sam finding out that this was my doing gave me pause. A cop-turned-private I, Sam Akiaq was a long-distance runner, martial arts master, and the most accurate marksman I’d ever met. He was also an enigma, as he lived by a spiritual code I couldn’t begin to understand. It most likely had something to do with his Native Alaskan heritage. Either that, or it was all a ruse to get me into bed.

If so, it worked.

Being involved with a private investigator was the reason I crouched in the dark hallway of a remodeled Craftsman in a funky Seattle neighborhood, holding a wicked-looking knife and about to commit an act that badly needed to be committed. Although, if you asked Sam, he’d never believe I was capable of going through with it.

Me either. Except…

At the familiar sound of a flushing toilet I snapped back to the present and sprinted along the hallway to the open bedroom door. I’d surveilled the house long enough to know that my target didn’t do sleepovers, and that no one else was inside.

At least not tonight.

My sister Lisa’s face sprang unbidden into my mind. My cheeks flushed warm and my respiration increased, tightening my chest and giving rise to a mini-panic attack. I took a deep breath and slowly released it, just like Angie taught me to do, and the bands around my chest loosened. The assassin’s ability to remain calm under pressure still astonished me, although I don’t know why. She was a stone-cold killer with the personality to match.

You shouldn’t be here. Go home to Sam, now.

Ignoring the good girl and wondering where the hell my bad girl had gone—because I really could have used her at that moment—I crossed the room, skirted the queen size bed, and slipped inside the closet, leaving the door cracked open while I waited. The smell of cedar laced the air as I kicked a pair of shoes out of the way.

The bathroom door creaked open, followed by the sound of feet scuffling into the bedroom. I gripped the hilt of the knife and waited as the occupant kicked off their slippers and sat down heavily on the bed. The sound of covers being thrown back and a faint sigh as they settled in told me it was time.

Knife in my right hand, I stepped into the room.

END EXCERPT


#Read #Free

Wattpad Thriller/Suspense Logo

Thrillers, Suspense & Mysteries, Oh my!

Hugely popular writing site Wattpad and pioneering e-Book distributor Smashwords have joined forces with 127 bestselling thriller, mystery, and suspense authors to offer murder, mystery, and thrills, all #free! For my part, I’m serializing the latest Leine Basso thriller, A Killing Truth. I’ve posted 5 chapters so far and will post a new section each day or so. (To introduce new readers to both Kate and Leine, I’m doing the same with Bad Spirits) Come on over and join Wattpad (it’s free) and discover a multitude of bestselling authors!

https://embed.wattpad.com/story/72446475

A Killing Truth on Wattpad (***follow me on Wattpad for automatic updates. You’ll be able to share on Twitter, Facebook, etc., and, if you like what you’ve read, you can vote at the end of each chapter to help with the book’s visibility***)

https://embed.wattpad.com/story/71268662

Bad Spirits on Wattpad

List of bestselling thrillers on Wattpad

List of bestselling mysteries on Wattpad

***NOTE: I realize posts have been sketchy (non-existent?) lately, but I’ve been immersed in writing the new Kate Jones thriller and am finding it hard to turn it off at the end of the day…that being said, I’m going to try to post a bit more regularly in the future. Thanks for sticking with me 🙂


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