Create, Pitch, Sell

New Release

My last title for 2011, A SIMPLE PLAN, has gone live on Smashwords.

And it's Free!

Prelude to KILLING SUMMER, a gritty tale where one partner in crime concocts a plan to extricate himself from murder. Inspired by a true story.

On a hot night in July a teenaged girl named Summer is murdered. She'll be found one month later by two roofers, her lifeless eyes staring at the moldy interior of a rundown tool shed. The men responsible for her being there are two unlikely partners in crime, each with something to prove. One is the cowardly son of a decorated police officer. The other is a bully with a violent history. High on drugs and alcohol, neither knows who dealt the deathblow. Fearing a confrontation, one of them agrees to pay the other for his vow of silence. But as time goes by, a hard life takes its toll on him. In order to put an end to the blackmail he'd have to take a risk. A risk that could easily backfire. Driven by hate and anger, he writes an anonymous letter to the sheriff recounting that killing summer. Ten years, two trials and numerous secrets ensue after both men are arrested and charged with murder.

KILLING SUMMER is a stand-alone mystery novel.

New Release

I'm temporarily back from hiatus because...

BAD MOJO has gone live on Smashwords.

And it's Free!

Prelude to SERIAL QUILLER, a spooky tale of voodoo magic, murder, and make-believe.

Moved by the success of her debut novel, twenty-six-year-old BJ Donovan of New Orleans, Louisiana, can't handle the thoughts of being a one-hit wonder and never feeling special ever again. Using her position as the executive chef and owner of a popular restaurant in the French Quarter to blend in with the community, she embarks on a killing spree, with the aid of voodoo magic, and uses details of the murders to help sustain her best-seller status with a planned thriller series. While the body count rises – from her brother's girlfriend, found mutilated at an abandoned farmhouse, to an undercover cop murdered in a dark alley on the riverside – BJ tries to remain above suspicion as she continues to write the wrongs in her world.

I'll be back on January 2.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sail Away – On Hiatus

Year End Review

Looking Backward:

January: We tried to prepare the RV for travel, but one snowstorm after another hit the Midwest. I'm anxious to get on the road. Meet new people. Discover new places. Perhaps pitch my stories along the way, while soaking up inspiration for many more.

February: Packed and ready to go. A big storm moved in. Snowplows came through and blocked the end of the driveway with a three-foot high wall. Whiteout conditions.

March: (1) Finally on the road! Traveling all across the US, exploring the country one state at a time. It's going to be a great adventure. I'm especially enjoying not having to shovel the driveway anymore. (2) SMOKE ON THE WATER made the Ten Most Popular Frugal Finds list on The Frugal eReader.

April: (1) Completed and uploaded FIRE FLICKS. (2) I've been on the road for around six weeks. I really love this lifestyle. The ordinary life is not for me. (3) We spent Easter bike riding in the warm sunshine on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Peddled right on in to the next town. Stopped to rest on a bench along the shoreline. I found a rubber fishing lure with a deadly three-pronged hook. While looking for a safe place to put the lure a seagull spotted it. Nose-dived toward my hand. Seconds later, several gulls arrived. They must've thought it was a real fish. We tried to hide the lure in the tall grass but the gulls were watching. We ended up walking all over the area until we found a trashcan ... with a lid! I wish anglers would be more careful.

May: (1) Researched Corpus Christi, Texas for the sequel to SERIAL QUILLER. (2) I decided to use a couple of slices of bread to find out what kinds of fish are lurking beneath a nearby pier. I pitched a piece of bread to the water. A seagull swooped in so fast the bread never hit the water. I ignored him and tried to feed the fish. Within seconds, I heard the incessant yackhammer squawk of many seagulls. I went ahead and threw handfuls of bread up in the air for them to catch. A blue heron flew down to the pier. I was out of bread now. The gulls seemed to realize the party was over. They lined up across the railing on one side of the pier. Suddenly, the heron jumped down off the railing and landed in the middle of the walkway. He honked once at the gulls. No kiddin'. I'm sure it was some sort of a quack, but it came out like a honk. Some of the gulls took off. The heron strutted his stuff along the walkway toward the shoreline, looking back at me every once in a while. Eventually, he grew bored with his little game and flew away. I never did find out what kinds of fish are lurking below the pier. Maybe the heron was trying to warn me that I was better off not knowing.

June: On a particularly lazy, hazy day – the kind where you might find yourself whistling Linda Ronstadt's Blue Bayou while walking barefoot in the sand – we slowly peddled our Schwinns back to the RV after a nice outing. I happened to look at the side of the road in time to see a baby tarantula emerging from under a pile of leaves. It was on the move. I steered around it, rushed home (RV) to shut all of the windows. Tarantulas are carnivores, y'know. I didn't just shut them I locked them, as well. I was sure it was still out there. Close by. Lurking in the shadow of a fallen leaf or limb. Just waiting for me to kick off my sneakers before I go walking in the sand. Will I hear his little toes scratch the canvas when he climbs inside one of my shoes? If I peer over my shoulder will I find him burrowing underground like the Graboid in the movie, Tremors? Do I holler STAMPEDE? Send out a distress signal? Or kick back and enjoy a cocktail called The Blue Bayou, and let the spider go wherever it wants to find a new home?

July: (1) Finished and uploaded ASHES OF VENGEANCE, the last book in the Hellfire Trilogy. (2) A bad storm was headed our way. We decided to stroll across the pier while we still had the chance. Two dark fins broke the surface of the water. Sharks? We hurried across the wooden planks swinging our heads shoulder to shoulder, not sure which direction to focus our attention. Three others went under the pier and came out on the opposite side. We were finally close enough to see them. Dolphins! No more than forty feet from the shore. What a magnificent sight. I'd never seen them in the wild. I couldn't stop smiling for the longest time.

August: (1) Up until now, I've only had my titles for sale on Amazon. This month I also made them available on Smashwords, Apple, Diesel, Sony, Kobo and Nook. It's taking quite a while, though, for most of these eRetailers to upload them to their site. (2) An amazing thing happened one afternoon. I was able to rescue a bird, similar to a seagull, that had a three-pronged fishing lure stuck in its neck. I held the bird with both hands until someone from the Parks and Wildlife Service arrived. I've always been a champion of the underdog, which made it easy for me to fight for the life of the bird like I did. What surprises me, though, is how easily I wrapped my bare hands around it without being scared or squeamish, even after it bit my hand hard enough to make a bruise. Three hours later I sold two books. Thanks, little bird. :)

September: Wrote and uploaded three short stories to all venues: BONNIE PARKER SMILE, NIGHT OF THE DARK, and SHRINKING VIOLETTE.

October: Wrote and uploaded GAR, a short story.

November: Completed and uploaded KILLING SUMMER, a mystery novel that was "inspired by" a true crime. I researched this story a couple of years ago with the intention of writing a nonfiction story. (2) I wanted to have eleven titles for sale by the eleventh day of this eleventh month. I planned to finish four short stories, already works-in-progress, in order to reach my goal. This novel got in the way.

December: (1) I'm still on the road. Have met a lot of interesting people. I love being one of over a million RVer's rolling across America. (2) Wrote and uploaded STAY WITH ME and A BURNING DESIRE. (3) Made a rough draft of my RVing adventures. I'm either going to submit individual nonfiction short stories to travel magazines, or I'm making a collection and putting it online.

My thoughts on self-publishing:

December 2010 – After twelve long and miserable years of querying agents and small press publishers, I shut it all down. Put my first novel on Amazon in October, and the second one in November.
December 2011 – I put up nine titles this year. I am very happy I did what was best for me. I'll never regret choosing to become an indie author. It has changed my life. Instead of spending, er, wasting time sending out queries I've gotten quite a bit of writing done. I've also had a lot of fun making my own book covers. So. If I hadn't taken the initiative and moved forward I'd still be checking mail for a response to my query letters. Many of those responses were never even sent out. Had I ever found representation, though, I'd have to wait at least eighteen months just for ONE title to be released. I'm guessing it would take almost twenty years to put eleven titles out there. Why would I want to go through that? Other writers have found great success in ebooks. Who's to say I can't?

Thank you, to everyone who reads this blog. Thank you, to everyone who bought one or more of my stories. Thank you, to everyone who offered words of encouragement.

Looking Forward:

I have several new and exciting projects lined up for 2012. I'll tell you all about them in January. In the meantime, I am (finally) taking the rest of the month off. Going bike riding and sightseeing, and thoroughly enjoy not having to shovel the driveway. Cheers!

New Book Releases For December

1222 by Anne Holt
EGYPT By Nick Drake
FREEZING by Clea Koff
DARK MEN by Derek Haas
MR. KILL by Martin Limón
D.C. DEAD by Stuart Woods
TRIPLE SHOT by Sandra Balzo
THE LONER by Quintin Jardine
RED MIST by Patricia Cornwell

by Jan Costin Wagner, RAN AWAY by Barbara Hambly
GETTING LUCKY by D.C. Brod, THREADBARE by Monica Ferris, STORM DAMAGE by Ed Kovacs
DEATH BENEFIT by Robin Cook, SOFT TARGET by Stephen Hunter, EL GAVILAN by Craig McDonald
THE SILENCE by J. Sydney Jones, VIGILANTE by Stephen J. Cannell, MURDER SEASON by Robert Ellis
THE INNOCENT by Taylor Stevens, A FATAL THAW by Dana Stabenow, THE IMMORTALISTS by Kyle Mills
FOUL PLAY AT FOUR by Ann Purser, SLASH AND BURN by Colin Cotterill, FATHER UNKNOWN by Fay Sampson
THE COLD ROOM by Robert Knightly, 77 SHADOW STREET by Dean Koontz, DANGER IN THE WIND by Jane Finnis
THE VILLA OF DEATH by Joanna Challis, HURT MACHINE by Reed Farrel Coleman, A PERILOUS CONCEPTION by Larry Karp
THE DEVIL'S ELIXIR by Raymond Khoury, A BESPOKE MURDER by Edward Marston, DOWN THE DARKEST ROAD by Tami Hoag
MURDER IN ABBOT'S FOLLY by Amy Myers, COLLATERAL DAMAGE by H. Terrell Griffin, ASSUME NOTHING by Gar Anthony Haywood
THE TALK SHOW MURDERS by Al Roker with Dick Lochte, DARK REVELATIONS by Anthony E. Zuiker/Duane Swierczynski, THE FORGOTTEN AFFAIRS OF YOUTH by Alexander McCall Smith

New Release

A BURNING DESIRE has gone live on Smashwords.

And it's Free!

Prelude to the Hellfire Trilogy, three interwoven tales of love, murder, and lies.

When the thriving 150-year-old sawmill owned by the ironfisted Rhone clan shuts down after the mysterious demise of the last male heir, the now unemployed residents of Point Jove, Missouri do not want to hear about it; they have problems of their own. Thirty-six years later, they regret that decision as old rumors about the Rhones resurface.

And so it begins.

The Hellfire Trilogy mystery novels:
Book One – SMOKE ON THE WATER – A sheriff tracks a psychopath targeting members of a retired mariner's family.
Book Two – FIRE FLICKS – A reporter furthers his budding career as a crime scene photographer by filming new construction being set ablaze by his older brother, who has a dark secret of his own.
Book Three – ASHES OF VENGEANCE – A deadly game of geocaching leads authorities on a wild goose chase that ends with a murdered kidnapper and a missing victim.

Coming Soon

I have decided not to offer SMOKE ON THE WATER free of charge. Too much time and effort went into writing the story that became the first book in the Hellfire Trilogy. Perceived value is very important to me.

As an alternative, I am writing A BURNING DESIRE: A prelude to the Hellfire Trilogy mystery novels.

I have also decided not to ring in the new year with something new but to end this year on a positive note.

Available by 12/15/11

What's Happening

November was filled with more downs than ups. Happy to say, my life is back on track.

I am offering my new paranormal romance short story, STAY WITH ME, free of charge for a limited time on Smashwords to use it as a billboard of sorts to give readers a sample of my writing and to advertise my other titles. I am thrilled with the number of downloads it's gotten so far. I'm also excited to see there is an uptick of interest in my work (on other venues through Smashwords).

Hopefully, the Amazon and Barnes&Noble bots will discover this and make STAY WITH ME free on Kindle and Nook.

SMOKE ON THE WATER, Book One in the Hellfire Trilogy, is near and dear to my heart. I'm considering offering this novel free of charge for something special to ring in the new year. Smoke is not an unfinished story with a cliffhanger ending or a few loose ends. No one has to buy Books Two and Three to find out what happens next or how the story ends. Smoke is a stand-alone mystery novel.

On the other hand, if they want to know what happens next or how the Hellfire Trilogy ends, then yes, they'll have to buy FIRE FLICKS and ASHES OF VENGEANCE. These stories are not stand-alones; they are wholly dependent on Smoke.

I am taking a short break from writing to get out and enjoy the scenery. It's been a while since I've gone bike riding. It's been even longer since I sang in the sunshine and laughed every day.

The Plot Thickens

New Release

My paranormal romance short story, STAY WITH ME, is now available. And it's free on Smashwords and Apple for a limited time.

In STAY WITH ME, a senseless act of murder unites two lonelyhearts.

Following the untimely death of his parents, Daniel, a teenage outcast, reluctantly moves into his uncle's home in the country where he's left feeling even more friendless and isolated. He discovers a lonely girl is haunting the old mansion when he sees her standing at the outside entrance to the cellar. Her name is Lizze, she tells him, and this is where she stood the night she was murdered in 1897 on her seventeenth birthday. Daniel's great grandfather shot her because he had reason to believe his wife was about to find out he'd been having an affair with her servant. Lizze's body was hidden in the cellar and then forgotten. Daniel and Lizze become fast friends. By year's end they are deeply in love. When he turns eighteen, his uncle orders him to go out and seek his own fortune. Torn between two worlds, a foiled robbery attempt changes Daniel's life forever.

Coming Soon

My new paranormal romance short story will soon be available.

STAY WITH ME: A senseless act of murder unites two lonelyhearts.

This story has a little bit of everything.

Ghost. Mystery. 1897. Arson. Robbery. Sad Boy. Strict Relatives. Four Generations. Smokehouse. Mansion. Murder. Present Day. Romance. Lonely Girl. Death. Cedar Glades. Happy Ending.

Available around 12/20/11