Category Archives: writing

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!


We’ve got winners!

Drum roll, please….

The winners of last Friday’s Vigilante Dead contest have been notified. They are Sherry F., Jeanette H., and Donna. Thanks for playing 🙂 And BIG thanks to all of you who helped make the book launch such a resounding success by sharing, liking, Tweeting, downloading, telling your friends and family, and everything else!

You guys rock.

I’m now going to hunker down in my writing lair and work on the next Leine Basso thriller. I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Solstice, Festivus, New Years, and/or whatever you believe.

There’s room for all of us, you know.

I’m going to leave you with a scene of one of my favorite places: The Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.
(photo by Martin Falbisoner via Wikimedia Commons)

Fireworks over Ponte Vecchio 2


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 / website /  Facebook / 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…


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


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