Category Archives: new release

Vigilante Dead is Live! (And other news)

cover for Vigilante Dead

 

I’m thrilled to announce that VIGILANTE DEAD is now live! You can get it for the super special launch price of 99c (ends 12/11). Here are the links:

KOBO

iBooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

And here’s the description:

Death. Lies. Revenge.

After years of running, Kate Jones is finally putting her past behind her. Between restoring ties with her younger sister, moving in with Sam, a cop-turned PI, and working as a PI herself, she’s learning to live life without looking over her shoulder.

Then Kate lands a case that changes everything: a young college student with no history of drug abuse dies of an overdose, and the parents come to Kate demanding answers. Soon, Seattle is reeling from dozens more deaths, all with the same chemical markers. At first, police assume that the victims are closet junkies who got hold of a bad combination, but after someone close to her becomes a victim, Kate believes something far more sinister is going on.

The deeper Kate digs, the more she uncovers about the deadly drug’s origins, forcing her to choose between doing what’s right…

…and getting revenge.

What are you waiting for? You could be reading this book right now  🙂

In other news…

cover for Thriller13‘Tis the season…I’ve joined forces with 12 bestselling thriller authors to bring you THRILLER 13, a set of 13 thriller novellas and short stories, just in time for the holidays. I consider it an honor to be a part of Thriller 13not only because of the fabulous writers who are involved but because we’re donating 100% of profits to fight the exploitation and human trafficking of children.

As most of you know, human trafficking (especially children) has figured heavily in the Leine Basso series, and is one of the main reasons I wrote Bad Traffick, The Body Market, and Cargo. All of the authors in this set are committed to fighting human trafficking, and I’m stoked to have been asked to participate. For a limited time, you can pick up the set on most retail sites for 99c (once this set is gone, it’s gone). Here are the links:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

KOBO

And, last but not least…

15 free thrillers banner

(*Edited link–it should work now!) How about some FREE ebooks? In another awesome collaboration, I’ve joined 14 other fantastic authors and Instafreebie to bring you 15 free thrillers. NYT & USA Today bestsellers, Amazon bestsellers, you name it, they’re in here. Download 1 or all 15–they’re all free (just click on the image above). You’ll be asked to enter your email address so Instafreebie can send you the free books. The address is then given to the author, which will allow them to send you infrequent notices about new releases and such. A fair exchange for hours of free reading, I think, and a risk-free way to try new authors 🙂

Well, that’s all I have for now. I’ll be back on Friday with another post and a chance to win something. Until then, have a fabulous week!

DV

 


Guest Post by Mystery Author Paty Jager

Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post by mystery author Paty Jager. I met Paty online years ago through Sisters in Crime, and actually got to physically meet her a couple of years back in Portland at Left Coast Crime. She’s gracious, and interesting, and writes the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series featuring a Native American female sleuth. Without further ado, here’s Paty:

Thank you for having me on your blog! It was almost two years ago this time of year that I was cover for Double Duplicityexcited about my first, soon-to-be published mystery. The Shandra Higheagle Mystery series I’d imagined was coming to life.

Mysteries have always been my favorite books to read and while I’d tried writing a couple mysteries years ago when I first started writing novels, I’d swayed away to write western romance.  The lure of writing a mystery wouldn’t go away. I plotted out the main character, Shandra Higheagle. She’s a potter with a Native American father who is deceased and a Caucasian mother who remarried. Shandra’s Native American heritage was kept from her by her mother and stepfather.

As the series begins, Shandra attends her Nez Perce grandmother’s funeral and realizes what she has missed all these years, by first being kept away, and later staying away, due to being uncertain how she would be received. But the funeral is a turning point in her journey back to her father’s people. It also begins dreams where her grandmother visits her, dropping clues to who murdered a gallery owner Shandra is suspected of killing.

The weapon in this murder was something that had been stirring in my mind for many years. My brother is an artist who not only sculpts his own bronze statues he patinas for other artists. He told me about a large statue that was in pieces and how it would make a great weapon because no one would be able to figure it out. That inspired Double Duplicity, the first book in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series. You can download this book for free at all ebook venues, or click here to go to the book’s page on my website where you can find the main ebook vendor links.

If you want to learn more about Shandra you can find the info here.

banner Jager books

This first book of the series published January 2015. Since then Shandra and Detective Ryan Greer have solved mysteries in 7 books, the seventh having published this month. Yuletide Slaying is a mystery set at Christmas time in the town of Huckleberry, Idaho. This book has been getting great reviews. I’m happy to hear how much everyone is enjoying this story. When I came up with the idea to write a Christmas mystery, I knew I had to make Shandra’s big, scaredy-cat dog the one who found the body. Sheba has been a fun secondary character in the books, and I wanted to give her a bigger role in the Christmas book.

cover for Yuletide Slaying

Here is the blurb for Yuletide Slaying: Book 7 of the Shandra Higheagle mystery series:

Family, Revenge, Murder

When Shandra Higheagle’s dog brings her a dead body in a sleigh full of presents, her world is turned upside down. The man is a John Doe and within twenty-four hours another body is found.

Detective Ryan Greer receives a call that has them both looking over their shoulders. A vengeful brother of a gang member who died in a gang war is out for Ryan’s blood. Shandra’s dreams and Ryan’s fellow officers may not be enough to keep them alive to share Christmas.

Buy Links:  Amazon / Nook / Apple / Kobo  / Windtree Press

author photo

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure.  This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty’s Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest


Thankful

photo of pumpkin pie

Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends, and Happy Thursday! I am so looking forward to eating pie 🙂

As I sit here at my desk on this wet, blustery Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful first and foremost for the cup of coffee in my hand (without which I’d be a blithering idiot at this time of the morning), my family, the friends I’ve made both online and off, and the work that I have the great fortune to do. Yes, there are lots of things to be concerned about–the state of the world, the environment, extremist religious fanatics who want to take away my right to live as I see fit–but today I’m going to buy into the theory behind Thanksgiving and be…thankful.

What a concept.

I am especially thankful for all of the help and support I get from you guys. I know I haven’t been around much lately (just  checked the date of my last post–holy cow–October 8???), but there’s a good reason for it. I’m excited to say that I’ve gotten the edits back for VIGILANTE DEAD from the lovely Miss Laurie, made the corrections, and have sent out the ARCs to my awesome Advance Reader Team (ART). Which can only mean one thing…

VIGILANTE DEAD will go live December 3rd! In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the cover created by the always fabulous Deranged Doctor Designs:

cover for Vigilante Dead

And here’s the description:

“Death. Lies. Revenge.

After years of running, Kate Jones is finally putting her past behind her. Between restoring ties with her younger sister, moving in with Sam, a cop-turned PI, and working as a PI herself, she’s learning to live life without looking over her shoulder.

Then Kate lands a case that changes everything: a young college student with no history of drug abuse dies of an overdose, and the parents come to Kate demanding answers. Soon, Seattle is reeling from dozens more deaths, all with the same chemical markers. At first, police assume that the victims are closet junkies who got a hold of a bad combination, but after someone close to her becomes a victim, Kate believes something far more sinister is going on.

The deeper Kate digs, the more she uncovers about the deadly drug’s origins, forcing her to choose between doing what’s right…

and getting revenge.”

I’m happy to report that I’ve already gotten positive feedback from my ARTeam (don’t you just love fast readers? Cue big sigh of relief). The paperback should be available at the same time, with the audio after that.

Earlier this year, I decided that Kate Jones needed a new look and I asked DDD if they’d create a brand for the series that was different from the Leine Basso books but would still be recognizable. Here’s what they came up with:

bookcovers for Kate Jones series

And here’s the new look for BAD SPIRITS, the lead-in to the series:

bad-spiritsnew

 

I think they did a fantastic job. I especially like the bullets 🙂

So, that’s all I have for now. Since we’re leading up to launch week (Dec. 3-10) you can expect more posts–and have I got some fabulous surprises to share with you!

As always, have a safe and happy weekend/holiday. I’m going to try not to eat too much at dinner today or be too outspoken, but you know how that goes…


Writing a Prequel, or, What the Hell Was I Thinking?

It wouldn't be long now...

 

So A Killing Truth is out (yay!) and early feedback is encouraging, which is a huge relief. Why, you ask? Because the book is a prequel and had two enormous tasks:

1: it had to hew closely to everything I’d written about Leine’s early life in the other books (my thoughts of which tended to be along the lines of Oh, holy crap, what was I thinking???), and

2: it had to strike the right tone and not be just a rehash so that readers of the series would still be intrigued enough to read it. Aka: Reader Expectation.

Okay, so let me dig a little deeper into the first, seemingly insurmountable task. As many of you know, my writing process is a hybrid of sketching out a rough outline combined with a seat-of-your-pants, cross your fingers and hope for the best, kind of style.

But I wasn’t always that organized 🙂

For example, when I wrote Serial Date, most of that novel came out in a torrent of mad writing sessions with a freaky dream as the catalyst. It’s filled with all sorts of, “Hey! Let’s make Leine loath tattoos. Why? Hell, I don’t know, maybe something happened in her past.” Followed by, “Well, what happened? I know! It should have something to do with an old target named The Frenchman, who of course almost killed her.”

And do you think I left it at that? Nope. Then I had to think of a reason that Leine and her old boss were no longer on speaking terms-the reason she left the Agency and ended her career as an assassin. What could Eric (her boss) have done that was so heinous that she should have killed him off? And why didn’t she? So I created what I thought would be a good explanation and left it at that. But I hadn’t thought through the logistics because I didn’t have to.

You know, because the book was going to be a standalone.

Bonus writing tip: Always think of the book you’re currently writing in terms of an over-arching series, even when it’s not. Because dollars to donuts, if you don’t, it will become one, guaranteed.

Female showing on map vintage photo

Must. Plan. Next. Time.

 

Okay, so readers wanted more Leine and I was happy to oblige, but I wanted to tackle current issues. Although the subject of Serial Date is reality shows, which is a current phenomenon in our culture, the book has an irreverent, satirical tone and I couldn’t figure out a way to satirize human trafficking without coming off as an asshole.

You see my dilemma.

So, I changed the tone of the second book (Bad Traffick) to hard-hitting, traditional-ish thriller and we were off! (Bonus writing tip #2: Always think of the book you’re currently writing in terms of an over-arching series. This includes consistency in tone.) I added a few more details to Leine’s backstory throughout the next three books, this time with the idea that I would someday write a prequel.

And here’s where it gets gnarly. The horrible transgression Eric committed was having Leine do something she would never, ever do if she knew all the details.

Leine’s a smart woman. In A Killing Truth, she’s at the top of her game as an assassin and takes pride in eliminating the worst of the worst. Eric had to make sure she was off-balance and would more likely make a mistake, or at least not be aware of his duplicity, which could royally mess with his plans.

Luckily, after much tooth-gnashing and pulling of hair, I was able to craft a realistic scenario that would incorporate all the little clues my subconscious had deposited throughout the series. I even had a couple of aha! moments that I surely didn’t see coming. Which brings me to Task #2.

Reader Expectation.

The only way I knew to be sure the story matched or exceeded reader expectation was to write a fast-paced, explosive plot, with Leine as the central character. Yes, she’s younger and a bit less damaged (until the end), but the narrative tone is still vintage Leine, ensuring that longtime readers of the series won’t be disappointed.

I refuse to post spoilers here but if you’ve read Serial Date, you’ll have an idea of the heinous thing Eric has Leine do in A Killing Truth. And since I’m not a fan of back story in my novels you’ll also learn a whole lot more about her early life. And, as promised, I reveal why the hell Leine hates tattoos.

Go ahead and read A Killing Truth and tell me what you think. It’s on sale everywhere for the super-special launch price of $0.99. (see links above, on the right).

Do you enjoy reading prequels? If so, which ones really nailed it in terms of story and tone? If not, why not? Inquiring minds want to know.


A Killing Truth

FINALLY. A Killing Truth, the Leine Basso thriller prequel I’ve been working on, is DONE FINISHED, edited, and has a nifty new cover! 

cover for A Killing Truth

I especially like that the designer used an image of Amsterdam for the background, but also that he nailed the characters: Leine (before she was Leine Basso) is in her mid-twenties and working as an assassin for the Agency. The model is definitely younger than the one used in the other four covers, and I think does a good job of representing her at that age. The guy on the cover is The Frenchman, a ruthless arms dealer mentioned in Serial Date and The Body Market, and the reason she now hates tattoos. And yes, I explain why in the book 🙂

Another character who makes an appearance is her lover and fellow assassin, Carlos. If you read Serial Date, you know what happened to that relationship, but I go into quite a bit more detail in A Killing Truth. Her daughter, April, makes an appearance, as does Leine’s scumbag of a boss, Eric. There are a couple of revelations that I didn’t mention in the other books, which explains their long-running animosity toward each other.

You’ll just have to read it to find out 😀

If you’re new to the series, A Killing Truth is a great place to start, and if you’ve already been introduced to the characters I mention above, then you’re in for a helluva ride. Even if you think you know what’s going to happen…

A Killing Truth is available for preorder for $0.99* on Amazon and Smashwords, and will be available everywhere on March 24. I’m also going to be running a GoodReads giveaway for signed print copies soon, and will post here as soon as that happens.

If you’d like to be the first to find out about new books and special offers, why not hop over and join my Readers’ List? The response to my last newsletter broke my email yesterday 😛 , but I believe it’s all cleared up now, LOL.

Here’s the description:

A deadly assassin. A perpetual target. A double-cross she never saw coming…

They say the truth will set you free, but what if it kills you first?

Before serial killers and drug cartels, Leine faced the ultimate betrayal…

Leine eliminates terrorists for a living. After a routine assassination almost gets her killed, she chalks it up to a fluke. Her lover and fellow assassin, Carlos, has another idea altogether. He thinks their boss is setting them up for a fall.

When Carlos goes missing and a bombing thwarts another mission, Leine suspects the stakes are far higher than she could ever imagine, and wonders if the man in charge might have it in for her after all.

A Killing Truth is the prequel to the award-winning Leine Basso thriller series of crime novels. If you like no-nonsense heroines, page-turning plots, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love D.V. Berkom’s tension-filled series

 

*Price good through Sunday, April 3, when it will increase to $3.99.

 


Writing and the Unsung Heroes: Enter the Expert

BBC creditsHow many times have you watched a movie in a theater and actually stayed through the credits? You know, when stuff like “Best Boy Grip” or “Assistant to Mega Star” or “Star Stalker Head Buster” is listed on-screen? With all the films adding extra scenes at the end these days, it’s almost mandatory.

The sheer number of people required to make a movie always amazes me. The idea’s hard to wrap your head around, right? What? They need that many assistants for what’s his face because he rocks his inner diva better than a Kardashian?

Well, it got me thinking (be afraid) about what goes into writing a novel. Novelism (okay, not a word, but it should be) does not always involve the solitary wordsmith slaving away in a garret in Paris with only a flagon of wine and five-year-old cheese to sustain her. Oh, contraire, mes amis (and yes, that is the extent of my French, except for maître d’. And champagne.)

May I present the idea that it may take a village to raise a kid, but it takes many, many patient and Cargo 3Dhelpful people to finish a novel. For instance, in the latest Leine Basso, Cargo (Shameless Plug: available right now, today! Links to your upper right 🙂 ) I was unsure how many containers I could stack on a container ship, and how big of a ship I was going to need for some pivotal scenes. I began my search online, of course, but if you’ve ever looked for something on the interwebz, you know it can leave a LOT to be desired. Mainly, is the source valid? Can I believe what I’m reading? Are there extenuating circumstances I need to be aware of?

First level of twistlocks on a containership deckEnter The Expert. For this particular subject I was able to check in with my brother-in-law, Brian, who spent many years as a merchant marine aboard container ships sailing to points hither and yon. He steered me toward the perfect sized ship and corrected several of my assumptions about safety and security on board. Of course, actually knowing the expert is a plus, but I could have also called or emailed a shipping company and asked to speak with someone who would be willing to answer my questions. Most folks are happy to talk about their work, and some even enjoy helping an author out.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, writing Cargo was a huge stretch for me (as was A One Way Ticket to Dead—more about that later) but the perfect expert uncannily appeared at every stage of the book. The story deals with trafficking—human, ivory, endangered species, you name it—and sheds light on the dark, disturbing underbelly of the criminal world. Since I’ve written about the subject before, I have a crap-load (scientific term) of information on human trafficking, but when it came to smuggling, ivory poaching, Thailand, Africa, snipers, etc. I needed to turn to far more knowledgeable people.

Okay, confession time here. I set Cargo in Tanzania instead of Kenya or Democratic Republic of the Congo or New Jersey because I have a good friend who lives there. Mike has been an invaluable resource and has given me a resident’s perspective, ramping up the believability factor. The insider angle combined with hours of research has hopefully made the sections of the book set in Africa much more realistic than I could have ever done on my own. I mean, did you know that when a hyena crunches through bones it sounds similar to someone eating popcorn?Hyene amneville

Yeah. You don’t hear that every day.

Another challenge to writing this novel (and the Leine Basso series in general) is that I have not been trained as an assassin, nor have I ever killed anyone.

I know. Shocking.

In yet another spooky cool, writer-geek moment, I reconnected with an earlier contact that had served in Special Forces and now trains Special Ops. The first time I worked with him was on Yucatán Dead (I’ll refer to him as Special Forces Dude, or SFD). I’d decided to create an ex-SF operative who was helping vigilante groups fight the Mexican drug cartels, except I didn’t have a contact in that arena.

Until Zumba.

Suffice it to say, a writer friend introduced us (and yes, Zumba was involved), and SFD agreed to read the scenes I was unsure about and give me feedback. The character of Quinn and his group of soldiers is based on his detailed comments, as are the scenes involving them. Needless to say, I think they are some of the best characters and scenes I’ve written.

Then came A One Way Ticket to Dead. Wow—did I have help with that book.

cover for A One Way Ticket to DeadThe novel began as a Kate Jones/DEA/FBI thriller. I reconnected with Gary, a retired DEA supervisor from Texas who had rescued me from making some truly horrible mistakes in Bad Spirits. In the course of discussing several scenes involving my drug lord character, he suggested I use steganography which became a major plot point in the book. I’d also been introduced by a writer friend to another LE adviser for the FBI scenes, so I had that angle covered. Then I ran a gun scene past SFD, and he suggested I bring Quinn back and have Kate help with recon, exponentially upping the stakes.

Well, yeah.

So I learned about HALO jumps, extractions, how to do reconnaissance the SF way, and all sorts of amazingly cool stuff, ripping open my inner warrior—which, relatively speaking, I never knew existed. Being the amazing teacher that he is, SFD uses PowerPoint presentations to explain tricky concepts, ensuring that I understand. The visuals go a long way toward helping me write scenes.military dog w chute

There’s nothing worse than not knowing what the hell I’m writing about. To be honest it keeps me up at night. I want the best possible experience for the reader and getting details wrong prevents that from happening. There is so much I don’t know. Having access to people who do is an amazing resource and reduces the cost of therapy.

In Cargo there’s a scene where Leine reverts to her old ways. Quelle surprise (and you thought I wouldn’t find another place to insert my limited French 😀 ). As it involved taking someone out with a sniper rifle, I wanted authenticity. And yes, I’ve used a rifle, but have never been a sniper. Turns out, SFD had it covered. He also tweaked the big gunfight scene at the end. Surprisingly, I’d gotten a lot of it right.

sniper rifleWell, when you consider all the help I’ve received, maybe it’s not so surprising.

Along with several kick-ass alpha and beta readers (one of whom is turning out to be a fantastic developmental editor), a truly supportive critique group, and a flat-out sterling editor, I’m so grateful to the generous people who have shared their time and knowledge with me. Because of them I’m able to craft exactly the stories I envision, and I can’t thank them enough. As others have said before, writing a novel is not a solitary endeavor.

How about you? Writers, what types of experts have you worked with? Readers, how much does it matter to you that the writer gets the details right?


Giveaway Mania

Got a couple of giveaways happening with the Leine Basso series and wanted to share. But first, look what came in the mail today 😀

photo of Cargo advance copies

Always a treat when the ARCs come…

back cover for Cargo

Back cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YAY. CARGO is almost live! The book is set to drop August 1st (Saturday). If all goes well, the print version will be available at the same time as the eBook, so if you’re a fan of paperbacks, I’ve got you covered.

I’m oh so happy with the cover art by Deranged Doctor Design~ it didn’t hurt that they were a dream to work with 😀 I think the back cover turned out pretty well, too. This time I broke down and finally ordered matte covers and I LOVE them. Yeah, I know they’ve been available for a while (okay, a long while) but what can I say? I’m stubborn. This shit takes time.

And now, on to the free stuff!

First up is a chance to win a signed ARC (advance review copy) of CARGO from the fine folks over at Goodreads. (Who knows? The copy in the photo above could be yours!) Ends this Friday, July 31, 2015. (If you’d rather read an eBook, you can click on the pre-order links at the top right of this post and order your very own copy today. C’mon. You know you want to 🙂 )

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Cargo by D.V. Berkom

Cargo

by D.V. Berkom

Giveaway ends July 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Next, I wanted to let y’all know that the first book in the series, SERIAL DATE, is FREE to download oncover for Serial Date most platforms:

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

KOBO

Amazon hasn’t reduced the price yet, but if you need a copy for your Kindle you can download the MOBI file from Smashwords here.

And there you have it. I’m still working on some posts for later in the week, so I hope you’ll stop by. I’ll be giving away more stuff, of course 🙂

Have a spectacular Monday!


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