Category Archives: writing life

Absolution is Here!

ABSOLUTION, the latest Leine Basso thriller, is finally here! It’s been a long process to publication, and yes, I’m stoked. Early reviews have been off-the-charts–a ginormous thank you to everyone who read and reviewed an early copy! (See below for special pricing on the Leine Basso thriller series.)

cover for Absolution

This novel has been such fun to write. I’m hugely attached to Leine and the characters in her life, and can’t think of a better crew to work with. I get emails from readers almost daily telling me how much they’d love to meet/have a drink/hang out with her. Me, too 🙂 This installment pits Leine against her alter-ego, Salome, from The Last Deception and Dark Return. I wanted both the protagonist and the main antagonist to be women, which was unsurprisingly easy to do 😉 

Absolution is the eighth novel in the Leine Basso world, and my intention is to continue the series as long as readers like it. I’m not a fast writer, but promise to give everything I’ve got to each book. Some of the stories came together quickly, like A Killing Truth. Some practically wrote themselves (I’m looking at you, Serial Date). I agonized over Cargo, hoping like hell to get daily life in Africa right, and bring to light the horrors of ivory poaching and canned hunts.

We all know I love to travel. With Kate Jones, I had a blast writing Yucatán Dead after visiting that region. Ditto for A One Way Ticket to DeadCruising for Death, Death Rites, and Dead of Winter. (Absolution, Dark Return, and The Last Deception too.)

cover for Yucatan Deadcover for A One Way Ticket to Dead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest influence on my writing, though, is a burning desire for justice–the devastation wrought by greed,. crime, and ignorance knows no bounds, and I aim to do my admittedly small part in bringing awareness. Bad Traffick and The Body Market were my first forays into the hell that is human trafficking, and set the tone for the series.

cover for Bad Traffickcover for The Body Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first started writing, my initial aim was to show people how strong they could be. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard women talk about how powerless they felt in different situations (men, too, but the majority have been women–and this was long before #metoo). I was brought up to believe in myself and to defend who and what I hold dear. It was eye opening to realize how many people felt as though they couldn’t or shouldn’t fight back. As a writer, I did the only thing I could think of and wrote about it, trying to understand the dynamics of fear, of feeling “less than,” and then turn the tables and rewrite the narrative.  The Leine Basso series is my way of righting wrongs and exacting justice–she’s good at what she does and isn’t afraid to kick ass when the situation demands it. 

That being said, I do my best to avoid preachy, soap-box-y diatribes–just try to provide well-researched information so readers can make up their own minds. Nothing turns me off faster than someone shoving their views down my throat when I’m reading for entertainment. 

And ultimately that’s what we thriller writers produce: entertainment. The day writing becomes less than entertaining for either the reader or myself is the day I find something else to do with my time.

Links to ABSOLUTION (on sale for $3.99 for a limited time):

Amazon

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

KOBO

Smashwords

 

SPECIAL PRICING:  

*Serial Date is on sale through February for 99c. Bad Traffick, The Body Market, and The Last Deception are on sale for $3.99 during February. Absolution is $3.99 for a limited time.

 


Win a Paperback Copy of The Last Deception

Hey there! HAPPY OCTOBER. Holy cow! How did THAT happen? It’s like I woke up and BAM–summer was over and it was fall. To make me feel better  celebrate, I’m running a paperback AND ebook giveaway of  The Last Deception.
If you live in the US, click on over to Goodreads for a chance to win 1 of 2 signed copies. If you live outside the US, leave your email address in the comments below, or send an email to dvb (at) dvberkom (dot) com to be entered to win an eBook copy.

Contests end October 7th. Winners will be contacted via email and announced October 10th here on the blog.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Deception by D.V. Berkom

The Last Deception

by D.V. Berkom

Giveaway ends October 07, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/256393

 

In other news, the Leine Basso Thriller Prequel, A Killing Truth, will be free on all platforms through October. AND Serial Date and Bad Traffick are both on sale for 30% off list price.
Happy fall!

 


More about The Last Deception

cover for the last deceptionLies. Deception. A nation on the brink of war…

That’s the first line of the description for my latest Leine Basso thriller, THE LAST DECEPTION. This one’s a bit of a departure for Leine, since it primarily deals with espionage and terrorism. I’ve been a huge fan of spy thrillers for as long as I can remember and thought it would be fun to write what I loved to read.

Turns out, it was much more difficult than I thought.

My first draft was all right according to early readers, but it felt like there was something missing. I sent it off to my weapons and operations guy, but he was out of pocket and wouldn’t be able to take a look for a couple of weeks. So I took a chance and sent it to a writer friend who has experience with security operations and arms dealers and such, and asked him to take a look to see if he could identify what was off.

Well, I asked for it 🙂

One month and several pages of detailed, no-holds-barred notes later, and The Last Deception finally felt like the novel I’d been longing to write. One more round of revisions (2 pages of notes this time, and my ops guy got back to me with some great ideas), and I sent it off to my amazing editor, Laurie. The result is a book that I’m very excited to share with you all. Yes, it took 3 months longer than my usual 6-month turnaround, but I’m indie–I have no hard deadlines. The book gets published when the book is ready.

It’s currently available for pre-order at all retailers and you’ll save 50% if you get it before launch day (20 September). Click here for more information.

Here’s a short video I created to go with the novel. Let me know what you think in the comments:

I’d love it if you’d let all your thriller-loving friends know about the book, and especially about the pre-order sale. Advance reader reviews have been fantastic, to say the least, so you can rest assured it’s readable 🙂

That’s it for now. I’ll post sometime next week with an excerpt, so come on back.

Have a thrilling weekend!


Winning

Home Office, Workstation, Office

Here’s an interesting post from Nathan Bransford that asks the question are you really doing what you love, or just trying to win?  For someone who is quasi-competitive (when I feel like it, basically, which isn’t all that often), it brings up some good points. The last few years have been a whirlwind of writing & promotion & connecting with readers & traveling and it felt like I hadn’t taken a deep breath in a long time. I write 2 books a year, which is a great pace for me. But I’ve been reading about authors getting caught up in the whole, “you need to publish 6 books a year” (or 3, or 12–take your pick) or readers will forget all about you and you’ll fade into obscurity.

And I thought, “In the great scheme of things, does that really matter?”

Don’t get me wrong. I love having people read my work. LOVE it. But I don’t want this gig to become just another day job. Because boredom. Because unfulfilled. And if I gave myself over to “winning” this game, that’s what would happen. (YMMV) It would become just another thing I did, rather than a vocation.

When I asked myself the questions at the end of Bransford’s post I realized I seriously love to write and will do it as long as I can string words together in a coherent fashion. I have goals that I’ve achieved and some that I haven’t. I’ll keep working toward them as I’ve always done–that’s just how I roll. But it’s good to occasionally remind myself why I do this–yes, most definitely for the wonderful relationships that have come from being a writer (readers, other writers, etc.)–and yes, for the money I earn from creating something out of a seriously twisted imagination–and a big, huge hell yes for the love of the craft.

Not the love of the game.


1st Annual Indie Author Day

logo for Indie Author DayIf you’re an indie author, know one, and/or you’re into reading indie books, then you’ve probably heard about the 1st Annual Indie Author Day shenanigans happening next Saturday. Libraries across the US will be participating with author signings, panels, a live webcast, and all sorts of other fun stuff.

If you’re anywhere near  Tacoma, Washington, come on over to the University Place Library from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, where several local authors (myself included) will be participating in the hoopla (parking is free). The great folks at this gorgeous new library will host a local writer exhibition in the UP Civic Center atrium. I’m sure it’ll be loads of fun, and with a bunch of us authors getting together you never know what could happen 😛

If you don’t live nearby and would like to find out if there’s a library near you that’s hosting a get together, you can find that out here.

Here are the deets:

When: Saturday, October 8, 2016 / 11:00 am- 2:00 pm

Where: University Place Library Civic Center atrium/ 3609 Market Place W #100, University Place, WA 98466

Live webcast: 2:00 pm EST (11 am Pacific) You can also watch the webcast online. 

I don’t know about you, but when I was young, a trip to the library was quite the occasion. I ALWAYS checked out my limit of books, and sometimes had to go back early because I’d read them all. I’m stoked that these libraries are supporting their indie community, and hope that this is the first of many, many Indie Author Days.

What better way to show your support for both indie authors and the great libraries that are participating than to head on out to your local library and be a part of Indie Author Day? 

Hope to see you there!


A Chance to Win

Hi everybody! I hope you all are having a fantastic August…I’ve been working hard on the next Kate Jones Thriller, Vigilante Dead, and will have some exciting news to share in the near future. Stay tuned 🙂

Until then, how about  the chance to win 17 suspense/thrillers? Click on the link below for the opportunity to win exciting reads by Colleen Helme, Jinx Schwartz, R.P. Dahlke, Dianne Harman, and yours truly. Are psychological thrillers, action/adventure, or nuclear terrorism thrillers your style? We’ve got you covered! Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a cozy mystery, nautical thriller, or paranormal suspense? Look no further–this giveaway is for you! Click on the link below for your chance to win, and discover some fabulous, new-to-you authors!

What are you waiting for?

 

Win Up To 17 Suspense/Thriller Novels!

(2) Grand Prize Kindle “Gift Baskets” of ALL 17 eBooks!

(15) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

 


The Theme of Your Life

Alphonse Mucha - Fate

Alphonse Mucha – Fate

Here’s a particularly interesting piece by Steven Pressfield about theme–specifically, what is the theme of your life? He posits that by looking at the books you’ve written, or the art you’ve created, that you should be able to make out a theme for your life, and/or understand your destiny. “…we discover who we are, not just by our actions … but, if we’re artists, by the works we produce.”

Pressfield’s blog post was sparked by watching a documentary on Tony Robbins of “Walking on Fire” fame. Years ago when I lived in northern California, I participated in a fire walk (on two different occasions. I never said I was sane…) although not as part of Robbins’s massive event. The workshop (for lack of a better word) was more personalized, and extremely powerful. Every participant walked away (pun alert) from the experience with the belief that they could accomplish anything.

And no, none of us had to go to the hospital 🙂 I was working at a winery in the Dry Creek Valley at the time and mentioned it to some customers the day after. One of them, a big, burly dude who was obviously a skeptic asked if he could see my feet. I showed him. I’m not sure he believed me, but he was surprised there weren’t any blisters.

Anyway, back to theme. I’ve always been passionate about human rights, protecting the innocent, and choosing courage over fear, even when fear is the predominant emotion. I’m also interested in exploring forgiveness and unconditional acceptance, and why so many seem to have a problem with putting those concepts into play (myself included). And, when and why do people “do the right thing” over the most expedient thing. These themes have all emerged in my writing, and I’m even more committed to exploring my relationship to each. Part of this is certainly based on the way I was raised, and part is from what I’ve experienced so far in life.

Eleven years ago (give or take) I began work on my first novel. Since then, I’ve discovered more about myself through writing than I probably would have from a daily psychotherapy session. Let me tell you–it’s been an interesting trip.

Not all of it has been pleasant. But all of it has been valuable. I realized that I do my best work when something pisses me off, igniting a fire inside of me. Talk about having access to a LOT of raw material these days…

So my question to you is, what is the theme of your life? What’s important to you, and do  you bring that out in your work (whether you consider yourself an artist or not)? Do you believe you’re here for a reason? Or are we all just a bunch of random cells smashed together in this space and time and will all disintegrate when we die?

Remember: there are no wrong answers 🙂


Konrath Fisks Child

Marlene Dietrich Stage Fright Trailer 2

“Is this THE END?”

Here’s an interesting post by indie author JA Konrath, in which he fisks an article by author Lee Child regarding Amazon’s push for 299 brick-and-mortar bookstores, apparently resulting in the end of the world as we know it.

I’ve never understood authors who rail against Amazon and yet still sell their books there. But then again, I don’t much understand hypocrites.


Celebrate with a Book

So today I’m being featured along with CARGO on this cool site called Celebrate With A Book. The blog owner asks the same question of all her author guests: “What makes you write what you write?” Click here for my answer and to find out  which genre I chose for my first-ever book (hint: it’s sort of like fantasy…)

Cover for Cargo


A Conversation with Father Time

1328101886 HourGlassSo there I was, sitting at my computer, toiling away on my seemingly endless work in progress, chewing my fingernails and glancing furtively at the clock, when *poof* this old, ratty-looking dude appears in the chair across from me. Now, when I say ratty, I mean some truly matted, snarly hair that was way past dreds, a year’s worth of beard on a gnarly, wind and sunburned face, and the clothes—uh, well let’s just say his clothes would have made a nice little mid-winter bonfire. A more odoriferous fellow I’ve not yet had the fortune to meet.

He smiled a languorous smile, the spaces between his Jack O’ Lantern teeth big enough to drive a flatbed through, and pulled out what was once euphemistically referred to as a Marley. He drew it beneath his nose, snuffling the scent with a satisfied smile, and wasted no time in lighting the fatty with a wooden match pulled from the well-worn folds of his attire. And he did indeed inhale.

“Who the fuck are you?” I asked, my annoyance obvious at this most unwelcome intrusion. You see, I was on a roll. Writing like my life depended on it, savoring the cadence and ebb and flow of a day in the zone.

Well, actually, that’s a lie. I was struggling mightily putting words to page, on the verge of throwing my keyboard across the room.

But still.

“Whoa. Am I detecting a little attitude?” he asked, as  a dense, aromatic cloud  of what I assumed to be cannabis sativa bellowed forth.

“You didn’t answer me, pops. Now who the hell are you?” My cheeks flushed hot, reminding me I hadn’t slept well the night before, which always leaves me cranky.

He picked what appeared to be vegetation from between his teeth and grinned, leaning back in his chair. “I’m Father Time.”

“You’re what?”

“Father Time. You know, out with the old, in with the new?”

“Yeah, I know who Father Time is. But isn’t he a tired old man with a scythe who’s ready to kick?” I looked him up and down. “I mean, you’re no picnic, but looks to me like you’ve got some mileage left.”

He grinned again and offered me a hit. I declined, preferring to be fully in control of my faculties when experiencing a psychotic break—which this most unfortunately appeared to be.

“If I may be so bold,” he continued. “You strike me as a writerly sort, am I right?”

I rolled my eyes and answered, “What, did the computer, thesaurus, and Chicago Manual of Style give me away? Or perhaps it was the quotes on the wall by Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Parker?”

A throaty chuckle escaped him and he shifted, crossing one leg over the other, his huarache-clad feet expelling little dust clouds as he moved.

“Yeah. That would be it. Along with the sarcasm. Tell me,” he said as he took another hit off the joint and stubbed it out on the sole of his shoe, “Are you happy?”

The words stopped me cold.“Wha—what do you mean? Of course I’m happy. Happy as a goddamned lark, buddy, so back the fuck off, okay?” I rose from my chair and started to pace. “Where do you get off, asking me if I’m happy?”

Time just shrugged, cocked his head, and looked at me sideways. “Look, no offense, but all you ever seem to do is sit at your computer, day in and day out, writing about murder and mayhem and shoving your characters into all sorts of crappy situations. You spend your time researching the lower aspects of humanity and then you write a story around them. Yeah, for the most part, there’s a happy ending and the bad guys get theirs, but when do you take a break? When do you live your life?”

“My life? I—uh—I don’t…” I sat back in my chair as the realization hit. He had a point. Was I living well? I ran through the past year, remembering the elation when I’d published books, sharing time with new friends and old, the book signings, the travel, the sales. Yeah, that all seemed fun, great, even. But then I reminded myself of all the bad things that happened throughout the year, not necessarily for me or my family and friends, but the world in general. The acidic political posturing, Paris and San Bernardino, Syria and the refugees, mass shootings, murders, global warming, canned hunting, human and animal trafficking, etc., etc., etc. But mainly I realized how my attitude started slowly shifting toward fear. And protection.

And FEAR.

Time gave me a wistful smile. “Sneaks up on you, doesn’t it?”

Tears sprang to my eyes. “Like little cat feet,” I murmured.

“The trick is, you’ve got to put your attention somewhere positive.”

“But,” I protested, “I can’t just ignore the news. I write crime novels.”

“Sure. But you don’t have to spend all of your time there.”

“There’s so much to process. I can’t absorb it all.”

“So don’t. Spend time doing things you like to do—things with a positive return. And let go of outcomes. You can’t control what’s going to happen. Yeah, you can mitigate some of the stuff just by being aware of your surroundings, but what if you let go and let life happen? Use your imagination for your books, not your fears.”

“Oh.” Yet another salient point. “Is it really that easy?” I asked, hope pinned to my chest.

The wise old dude nodded. “Yep,” he replied. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not gonna be all unicorns and kittens, believe me. Your readers wouldn’t like that, anyway.  All I’m saying is, accentuate the positive—like when you’re done writing for the day. It’s all about balance. Capiche?”

“So this really isn’t a psychotic break? You’re actually Father Time?”

Time pulled out the fatty and slipped it between his lips. “Girl, what you been smokin’?”

 

2010-07-20 Black windup alarm clock face


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