February is the month of love — AND A GIVEAWAY

Warm up your winter with the Tales of the Dark Side of Love giveaway. It’s your chance to win free books, Amazon gift certificates, and a Kindle Fire HD. The event’s being hosted by romantic suspense author Bianca Sloane. Throughout the month, she and other authors will fill you in on the less than ideal view of romance.

I write mysteries with a touch of romance and a bit of suspense. So I know several things about how love can go wrong. I’d even be more than willing to fill you in. But to get a hopefully more balanced view about twisted love, follow the daily posts at Bianca’s blog.

There are three ways to enter the Dark Side of Love contest:


  • Tweet about the giveaway/promotion using the hashtag #DARKSIDEOFLOVE with a link back to the blog at http://www.biancasloane.blogspot.com.

  • Leave a comment on blog posts with their email address. No email address means no entry.

  • Email Bianca at Bianca@biancasloane.com with the subject line “Dark Side of Love.”


Guest Post: New Thriller, Rough Edges, from V. J. Chambers.

rough edges

Hi, I’m V. J. Chambers, and I’d like to share with you a little about my new release Rough Edges. Inspired by a real murder case in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Rough Edges is a tale in the vein of Basic Instinct but set against small town America. Here’s what it’s all about.

Was a twelve-year-old girl victimized when her parents were murdered? Or was she the co-conspirator and illicit lover of the murderer?

When true crime writer Samson Black gets a call from Lola Ward saying she wants him to write a book about her, he seizes the opportunity. This is his chance to resurrect his career and discover what really happened eleven years ago, when Nicholas Todd kicked off his tri-state rampage by stabbing twelve-year-old Lola’s parents to death.

At the time, Lola claimed Todd was a stranger who’d broken into her house and kidnapped her. Todd, however, insisted that he and Lola had a forbidden love affair, and that Lola begged him to murder her parents so they could be together.

Now, Lola’s all grown up—brash, sure of herself, and unsettlingly alluring. Though she says she wants to open up about her past, she makes Sam work for every piece of information he gets. Nothing makes sense. He doesn’t know if she helped kill her parents. He doesn’t even understand why she wants him to write this book.

But then Nicholas Todd escapes from jail and wants revenge against Lola. Still unsure about her involvement in her parents’ murders, Sam must determine whether he faces a bigger threat from the killer outside or the woman standing next to him.

Buy it, $3.99

Barnes and Noble
Google Play

A Modern Take on a Book Tour: Linsdell Explains

You’ve written your masterpiece. Now, how do you tell the world about it? Well, as writers have known for decades, there’s this little item called a book tour. Only today’s tours are different from those of yore. To that end, we’re visiting with Jo Linsdell to discuss her latest offering designed to help you build your writing career. The book’s called: Virtual Book Tours, Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home.

 Linsdell is a best-selling author and illustrator, award-winning blogger and freelance writer. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event “Promo Day” (www.PromoDay.info). Find out more about her at her website www.JoLinsdell.com.

This book was published August 16 on Kindle and is up and available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ELNAQ92. Once out in print, Linsdell says the book can be purchased online and through all major book stores.

Q. Organizing a virtual book tour sounds complicated. How much time is involved?

A. It depends on the type of tour you decide to do and the number of stops. A successful tour takes time and effort. Between producing content, finding hosts, promoting, etc… you need to set aside plenty of time to do it all.

For a month long tour with daily posts, you’ll need to start organizing it at least a month in advance (minimum). In addition the things that need doing during the tour itself you’ll also need to take actions pre and post-tour if you want to get the best results.

Doing a virtual book tour isn’t as complicated as it might seem. It does however take time to prepare and requires some organizational skills.

Q. Does an author need a wide circle of writing friends to have a successful tour, or can a newbie jump in?

Having a support network already in place is helpful but not necessary. You can know no one and have no connections and still do a successful virtual book tour.

Q. What is the most challenging part of putting together a virtual book tour?

Staying organized. There’s lots of different elements to think about, especially with longer tours that include various types of stops.

Q. What kind of benefits can an author expect to realize from a tour?

The benefits are numerous. The results of your tour will depend on the goals you set for it and the type of tour you do but these are a few of the most common benefits; back-links that help search ranking, strengthens your author branding, spreads the word about your book, can increase book sales and reviews, and often helps your book become a best seller.

Q. What is the most important point you’d like your readers to take away from this book?

That any author can successfully promote their own book without spending lots of money. One of the things I like most about virtual book tours is that they can be done completely free of charge and the impact is long term. Unlike with traditional book tours, with a virtual book tour once you put the content out there it’s there to stay.

Jo, thank you, This has been an informative session. Do you have any other information you’d like to share with out readers?

Yes. Virtual Book Tours : Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is available to buy at a reduced price for the whole month of September. And again, that link is: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ELNAQ92.


R J Crayton, Author of Life First


Life First is a dystopian thriller. Is it available as an ebook and in print.

R J Crayton grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She describes herself as a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night. Crayton tells me a ninja mom is the same as a regular mom, only by adding the word ninja, it explicitly reveals the stealth and awesomeness required for the job.

Before having children, Crayton was a journalist. She’s worked at the Wichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star, and along with Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Life First is her first published novel. You may visit her blog here.

Q. R J, you call Life First a dystopian thriller. What kind of world does Kelsey Reed face?

A. Her world is one that has survived a massive pandemic where 80 percent of the population was wiped out. Life is valued above all else, and preservation of human life as a whole, is what the government strives to do. Therefore, when a person needs their life saved by something that you can do without–a kidney–you’re expected to give it.

Q. What makes her interesting? Does she have any special talents that will help her in her battle to survive? What makes her tick?

A. Kelsey is a kindergarten teacher, and comes from a somewhat privileged background, having grown up the daughter of a state congressman. She’s smart, kind-hearted, strong-willed and loyal. She’s not the type you’d peg as a lawbreaker, and until the previous few years, she would have been OK with donating an organ to a stranger. However, she’s learned some things she didn’t know and witnessed some things that have led her to be vehemently opposed to mandatory donation. The reader learns what those things are as the book progresses, and I think that’s part of the fun of how the novel unfolds.

Q. One of the things that seems popular with authors today is naming the actor they’d cast in the leading role if their novels were made into movies. Which actor would you pick to play Kelsey and why. Also, if there is a love interest, who would fill that role for you?

A. I have no clue who I’d pick to play Kelsey. I’ve thought about the question before, but in my own mind, there isn’t an actress I know who fits that mold. I think I’d like an actress who is likeable, down-to-earth and thoughtful, someone like Jennifer Garner. My character is 23, so Garner isn’t in the right age range. But, I’d like someone awesome like her.  I’d be open to a newcomer, someone who would wow everyone and really just be this role (I remember seeing Ed Norton in his first film, Primal Fear, and feeling like he was such as awesome actor who just owned that role. I feel like my Kelsey is out there waiting to be discovered, sorta like Norton before Primal Fear.) I also have no clue who would play Luke, Kelsey’s boyfriend.

Q. What about bad guys? Is there anything you’d like to share about them?

A. The bad guys in this book are not the center of attention, and they’re also not “bad guys” in the sense that I think of the typical bad guy. They’re actions wouldn’t be considered universally bad (like murder or kidnapping). They’re more like Lt. Gerard, the law enforcer chasing innocent doctor Richard Kimble in the Fugitive television series/movie; or Javert, the police officer chasing Jean Val Jean in Les Miserable. They’re just guys doing their job. And their job puts them at odds with the main character.

Q. Your blog says your novel has gone readioactive. Can you explain for us, please?

A. Yes. My book has joined the Readioactive Book share program. The program aims to spread books combining old and new technology. Books are tagged with a QR code and then sent out into big cities with readers and instructions. Readers can scan the QR code,  post on Twitter or Facebook about the books, and when they finish, pass on the book to a ne reader to do the same.

Q. With your background in journalism, do you think your work experience helped or hindered you when you turned to writing fiction?

A. I think it helped. In journalism, we make the distinction between news and features. News writing is about giving the most important details upfront, in an inverted pyramid style of writing: who, where, what, when and why. With feature writing, however, the goal is to tell a story. It’s a story that isn’t any different from any other kind of storyteller. Novels give you much more ink than any print publication would allow, so I enjoy that aspect. However, having been edited professionally–and by some good editors–I know that I have to self edit and can’t self indulge. And the best thing about novel writing, as opposed to journalism, is you get to answer all the unknown questions yourself. In journalism, if you sit down to write your story and realize there’s information you don’t have, you must call your source back and try to get answers (the optimal word being try; the source might not be in; they may be in and not forthcoming; or they may not know and pass you on to someone else where you have to try again). But, with novels if you realize there is more you need to know, you just have to imagine up an answer.

Q. I assume you’re a fan of thrillers. Is there any particular author who has inspired you?

A. I read a lot of different writers, and I’m inspired by good stories. I  used to read a lot of James Patterson, who’s turned his thriller formula into a factory. I think Harlan Coben does a great job crafting a story. Not too long ago, I read an awesome novel by S.J. Watson, Before I Go to Sleep.It was so suspenseful and so well done that I was completely shocked and awed when I came to the end.

Q. Do you have any other points you’d like to share with our readers?

A. Just to keep reading. Too many people say they just don’t have time to sit down with a book. And even my husband, who used to read books on his subway ride to and from work, has started reading news sites on that journey (he got a smart phone).  I’m not suggesting we should be ignorant of the world’s events, but putting the world aside for a bit to delve into a good book should be a part of everyone’s day. (I won’t even self-servingly suggest Life First as that good book to make part of your day.

Promoting, Relating, and Writing

I recently read that the end of the aloof Author is here. It is now, they proclaimed, the era of the Writer, the one who relates to and interacts with readers. On some level, I know they’re on the money. So what are we reclusive writers to do?

Take promotion. I have a tough time promoting myself. And it amazes me, because for years as a journalist I promoted a lot of people and a lot of causes. But when it comes to putting my own best foot forward, I’d rather pull my skirt hem down until no one sees the thing. Apparently, there is something about the “I,” which  I’m more comfortable writing about as the “they.”

Not that self promotion can’t be well done. I’ve seen it so done. I admire it most when it comes wrapped with a lot of other thoughts and points and background and not just yelling, “Hey, here I am.” When well done, the link to the book seems to follow as logically “as the day the night.” I admire the writer’s effort and mutter to myself, “Well done.” I need to study their examples more closely and perhaps learn a few tricks to use to help myself.

Then, there is social media in which you are to bond with people you’ve never met. Huh? I come from an age when as a freshman college student I was no longer addressed as Anna but rather as Miss Drake. (Wow, did that make me feel grown up.) Then, later, after returning to college to complete my degree, I discovered even the professors now were addressed by their first names. I’m still struggling to get over that shock.

Still, I’m not opposed to meeting new people. In fact, I’d love to have more followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook and people who feel free to post replies to me here.. And I was thrilled when someone who read my novel tracked down my Facebook Author’s Page and told me how much she had enjoyed my reading my mystery. That was heady stuff.

Then, there’s the question of time. In addition to writing, I keep both a flower and vegetable garden, belong to a card group or two, and enjoy occasionally visiting my children and grandchildren in their far-flung locations. Add to that the need to keep groceries in the house and prescriptions filled, and suddenly time to write becomes precious. And I’m retired. I can’t imagine how people who still work find time to promote themselves.

But I’ve been lucky. I don’t do much self promotion, but on one ebook outlet, at least, my little novel is selling at a rate quite good for me. So I’m lucky because even without spending a lot of time or effort on promotion, my little book is chugging along robustly on its own. And to all of you who have bought the little bugger. THANK YOU!

Birthing Pains

As I’ve noted here, I am at work on a new novel. But it’s not going well. Unfortunately, I’ve probably tossed out as many pages as I’ve written. It’s tough to reach the end of a book that way.

Yesterday, I barely did more than rewrite three paragraphs about twenty or twenty-five times. Can you say unproductive? Worse yet, I believe my blog’s “Books” page says Murder at Troublesome Creek will be coming out soon. Based on my recently unproductive writing days, I’d say, I lie. It’s going to take a while before this new book is finished. Darn.

I hadn’t expected this much frustration with this new book. I thought I’d wrestled all of my demons to the floor with my first book. I assumed when I started this new task the book would pour forth as simply as . . . .

Oh yeah, I guess nothing is birthed easily, is it? They used to say with childbirth that we forgot how painful it had been after it was finished. Had to be that way, they said, or we’d never agree to have another child. And I think there’s some truth in that viewpoint. (I have three children.)

But nothing gets finished by giving up. So, difficult as it may be the only way forward is to plant tush in chair and keep typing, or is that more accurately called keyboarding today?

Anyway, if you happen to be struggling too, this is my bit of advice for the day. Please check out this page, where the Snowflake Guy, talks about how to write the perfect scene. It’s helped me before when I’ve struggled. I hope it helps you, too.

Happy reading and writing everyone.

Ah, to be a mid-list ebook author

The times in the ebook publishing world are changing. So says this article at Publishing Perspectives. In fact, she says mid-list, self-publishing, ebook authors can now make a living from their craft. I say, what welcome news that is for those of us who scribble away electronically.

The author at Publishing Perspectives cites the recent rise in ebook sales to back her position and provides income details to support her case. It’s an interesting look into the world of self-published ebooks and an encouraging message for authors during this holiday season. I’m old enough to remember the publishing world as it used to be. I find this new world and its opportunities astounding.

Happy reading and writing everyone.

Read the full article here.