Writer, Know Thyself by Betty Webb

betty2015.4This may come as a surprise to some readers, but authors don’t always understand their own interior conflicts until they’ve already written about them. Such was my experience when writing “Desert Vengeance,” the new Lena Jones mystery.

Upon beginning the first draft of the book, I was under the impression that I believed in strict enforcement of the law in any and every case. That was before Lena Jones took over the book, over-ruling everything I thought I believed. Lena had a different take on the law and wasn’t afraid to act on it.

Maybe I’d better back up here. Lena Jones is a Scottsdale-based P.I. who always seems to find herself working on controversial cases. In “Desert Wives” and “Desert Lost,” she explored the sins of polygamy; in “Desert Cut” exposed the horrors of female genital mutilation; in “Desert Wind” she found herself immersed in a decades-old series of crimes committed by the U.S. government.

In each book, Lena may have explored the idea that “law” isn’t always the same as “justice,” but her conclusions never varied from my own.

Then came “Desert Vengeance.”

A little background on Lena. She was found at the age of four lying in a Phoenix, AZ street, with a bullet in her head. After spending months in a coma, she regained consciousness but no longer knew her name, who her parents were, or who had shot her. Unclaimed and considered unadoptable, she made her way through foster homes until she aged out of the CPS system and eventually became a Scottsdale PD detective. Rough childhood, right? But I’ve left out the roughest part: in one of her foster homes, a nine-year-old Lena was repeatedly raped by foster father “Papa” Brian Wycoff until she retaliated by stabbing him with a kitchen knife. The ensuing police investigation uncovered “Papa” Brian’s crimes against other children, and after a brief trial, he was sentenced to 25-years-to-life.

When I began “Desert Vengeance,” it was to explore the issue of Lena Jone’s own planned vengeance against the now-freed vengeancecover-finishedchild rapist. Here’s the entire first chapter.

I was waiting for him when he stepped out of the prison van. The man who had raped me when I was nine years old squinted against the savage August sun and took a hesitant step towards the beat-up Honda Civic. The driver’s side door opened.

“Get in here quick!” the rapist’s wife yelled. “She’s here, too!”

And so I was. Instead of parking my tricked-out 1945 Jeep at the far side of the prison lot to escape notice, I had parked right behind the Civic. I wanted them both to see me, to take note, to realize that after almost thirty years I still remembered.

As the rapist shuffled towards his wife I stepped out of my Jeep. Smiled. Waved. Flashed my Vindicator. Made certain the rapist noticed the gleam of the sun along the knife’s ten-inch-long, tempered steel blade. Made certain the rapist knew it was nothing like the cheap kitchen knife I had defended myself with the last day I’d spent under his roof.

My Vindicator wouldn’t break.

Neither had I.

See what I mean? Lena, who had devoted her entire life to enforcing the law, was now planning to break it. To commit murder. To capitalize the word “law” by turning it “Law,” as in “The Law of the Jungle.”

It was only when I typed the last page of “Desert Vengeance” I realized, that all along, I had always been conflicted about the difference between the two.

And why.

 

Learn more about the Lena Jones mysteries by visiting http://www.bettywebb-mystery.com

BIO: Before writing full time, Betty Webb worked as a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, Nobel Prize-winners, and polygamy runaways. She is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Authors Guild, and Mystery Writers of America.

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Scratch and Druids by Nicholas Checker

scratchcover_2SCRATCH, written by Nicholas Checker and published by Oak Tree Press, is a chilling tale of loyalty, friendship, and courage set in the mysterious world of feral cats. It concerns the saga of a legendary tomcat striving to save two warring clans (his own and a band of fierce wharf rats) from a far greater peril. In order to survive, they must seek out a creature of their own legend and lore whose very name invokes terror and lifelong taboos. This story speaks out on the value of animals in our world — that they are not disposable items — and also reflects how human cultures, as well, too often misread and mistrust each other.
DRUIDS, written by Nicholas Checker and published by Oak Tree Press, is set in a druidscover2medieval world of fantasy adventure where those possessing the mystical Cryptic Sense are regarded suspiciously. In a war culture dominated by swaggering males, a young female knight seeks credibility and acceptance while trying to rescue her peaceable kingdom from a deranged sorcery; a teenage druid apprentice is charged with using his limited grasp of the Cryptic Sense to assist her;and a seemingly pompous male knight — who smirks at the notion of mystics and women in combat — must accompany them. DRUIDS explores unfortunate biases that are commonplace, and shows how unlikely comrades ultimately must overcome their own shortcomings in order to prevail.
Both books are available via Amazon.com and thrugh Oak Tree Press: http://oaktreebooks.com/

That Blood Thing by Lala Corriere

lala-casualLet’s cut to the chase. I’m the antagonist in your suspense and thriller books. That’s the bad guy or she-devil in the novel you’re reading. I’m the sum of them all. I’m the evil mist that seeps through your doubts and fears with a relentless intensity. You won’t easily shake off my wickedness.

While Shakespeare’s Jacobean tragedies seem to validate the theory of the seven deadly sins, sometimes there seems to be an eighth. Killing for the thrill. No rhyme or reason.

My tool chest is as vast as the author’s imagination can take you. The guns and knives are a given. The snapping the neck is quick and often not a premeditated murder resulting from the buildup of a sudden rage. The poisons are as the delicious as the classic movie, Arsenic and Old Lace. The devices of strangulation, suffocation, and chemical asphyxia include the rope, plastic bags, carbon dioxide drowning. That crazy thing called petechiae when the lack of oxygen causes your skin to muddle with your blood is something a savvy detective would look for, unfortunately. I’ve also learned the perfect way to dissolve a human body. Not one thing left. Not even a gold tooth.

My author can write gore, which is surprising because she passes out at the sight of blood. I was particularly fond of my starring role when the blood spurted out of my throat, due to an ice pick jammed into my jugular and with good reason. I watched as the red liquid swirled and commingled like a watercolor with the glass of scotch I had poured for me.

Is it possible good writing, with excellent research, can take an author out of their field of knowledge and even out of their comfort zone? Absolutely. And that’s part of the fun because an author might take you out of you out of your safe haven, if only for a while. Corriere wrote about transgenderism long before the world said goodbye to Bruce Jenner and we met Caitlyn. She has written about false prophets. And then, there’s that blood thing.

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Since early childhood, Lala has been passionate about all the arts. She is a painter and a former stage performer. Early work careers blended high-end real estate sales while becoming president of an interior design firm.

Her fifth grade teacher, Miss Macy, was the first mentor to suggest she consider a career in writing. That extension of the arts, the written word, turned into a full-time passion in 2001.

Career Highlights:

  • Endorsement and long-term mentoring from the late Sidney Sheldon
  • Published in regional magazines, newspapers, writer’s guides and journals.
  • Award winning poetry.
  • Endorsements from USA Today, The Arizona Daily Star, Andrew Neiderman [author of the Devil’s Advocate], Betty Webb, J Carson Black, CJ West, The Virtual Scribe, Paris Afton Bonds, and many other remarkable authors.

Books:

  • Widow’s Rowbbbebookcover
  • CoverBoys & Curses
  • Evil Cries
  • Kiss and Kill. Endorsed by USA Today as MUST READ SUSPENSE
  • Bye Bye Bones, endorsed by Betty Webb and JCarson Black.

Readers and reviewers applaud her hallmark original plots, her in-depth character portrayals, rich scene settings, and authentic dialogue, all delivered with a fresh new voice. Oh, and her TWISTS!

Lala is a desert rat. She nestles there with her husband of over 28 years along with Finnegan & Phoebe— Teacup Yorkies weighing in at nine pounds….. total.

Lessons I’ve learned along the way and a Pet Peeve by Nancy Boyarsky

nancyboyarskyNancy Boyarsky was born in Oakland, California. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, her first job was as an assistant editor in a tiny, long-gone publishing company in San Francisco. She has worked as a writer and editor all of her life.

She is married to the journalist Bill Boyarsky and lives in Los Angeles. She devotes herself to writing, editing, and reading and has added painting to her list of hobbies. She loves the theater, films and travel, especially to the UK, where her first mystery, The Swap, takes place.

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It’s tough to get your novel noticed among the 60,000 some odd fiction titles published each year. Here are some of the tricks I learned along the way. With some, I could see a direct correlation with sales or online reviews. With others, I couldn’t find that connection. But, I figured, the more times my book was mentioned anywhere, the better. So here goes.

 

*Do hire a publicist for your first novel. There are many books out on how to do this yourself, but I tried with my first theswapmystery, The Swap, when I self-published it several years ago. I found the job overwhelming. I wrote to a number of book review blogs with little result. I gave up and hired someone to handle it for me. The publicist got my book reviewed in an influential on-line and print publication. This attracted a publisher who signed me on and agreed to reissue my first two novels with new covers. That, in itself, was worth what I paid the publicist.

 

*If you self-publish on CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing service), be sure to read the fine print that goes with the different type of ISBN (book identifying number) you use. At least one prohibits sales to libraries. Another ISBN option seems to close the door to sales other than through Amazon.

 

*Don’t bother advertising on Facebook or other social media. Just a few years ago, these ads really boosted sales if you were willing to pay for enough ads to reach a lot of people. We’re talking about $100 or more a day. Now, even for those willing to part with that, the ads don’t seem to do much. There are so many ads, so many elements on each webpage, that people tend to ignore book ads.

 

*Do have your book read and corrected for typos and plot glitches by professionals. I’ve noticed complaints in a number of reader reviews about typos. These don’t bother everyone, but they do detract from your story for people who notice such things.

 

*Don’t let bad reviews get you down. I have a friend who’s written a number of books and has a solid fan base. Her books have a solid four-plus rating. But she refuses to read her reviews on Amazon because the negative ones upset her. I can understand that. These don’t bother me (as long as the majority of reviews are positive). Some authors actually consider reader complaints as a learning opportunity.

 

*Do take advantage of Goodreads giveaways. During these giveaways, my book appeared on hundreds of Goodreads members’ “to-read” lists, although I can’t say for sure if these people ever actually bought the book. But the giveaway did attract reader’s attention. This said, I’d advise you to limit your giveaways to three books and restrict it to the U.S. The U.S.P.S. has recently raised its rules and rates. The last book I sent to a blogger in the UK cost me $23. It’s been nearly a month, and it still hasn’t arrived.

 

Pet peeve of publishing and promoting:

*Amazon’s new policy of showing only reviews of “verified purchase” customers unless you can find the link that lets you see all the reviews. This devalues reviews contributed by those who bought their books elsewhere or received a free advance copy for a review on a site like NetGalley.

 

Operation Scorpion by John Beyer

operationscorpionOperation Scorpion

By John Beyer

 

 

 

ISBN-10: 1626945969

ISBN-13: 978-1626945968

Black Opal Books

Paperback,

January 14, 2017, $14.50

Genre: Mystery

 

Also available for Kindle

 

 

PI Frank Sanders is “blown away” by the woman who strolls into his office one morning. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also rich and willing to pay whatever it takes for him to find her missing father, world-famous geologist Dr. Stephen Jaspers who went rock hunting in the desert and hasn’t been heard from since. A retired Riverside California Police Department detective, Frank is used to searching for people. He takes the case, assuming it’s a simple missing person. But what he uncovers is more than he bargained for, leading him to suspect that he’s about to be blown away–literally, this time–along with everyone else in Southern California.

 

doing-researchFormer street cop, training officer and member of SWAT John Beyer has been writing most of his life. He’s traveled to at least 23 countries (and was actually shot in the head in Spain in 2000 during a march between Neo Nazis and Communists two days after running with the bulls in Pamplona). He was caught in a hurricane off the coast of east Baja (Bahia de los Angeles) while kayaking and lived to tell about it. Essentially, it’s hard to tell where experience leaves off and fiction takes over. You’ll want to read his books.

 

Website URL: http://johnrobertbeyer.weebly.com/

Blog URL: http://jandlresearchandexploration.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @Drjohnrbeyer

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-john-r-beyer

 

Operation Scorpion buy link:

https://www.amazon.com/Operation-Scorpion-John-R-Beyer/dp/1626945969/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1485558943&sr=8-1

When The Best Laid Plan goes a ‘Stray’ by: Lynn Chandler Willis

a1l6y-9iaol-_ux250_I have a dog. I have a very pretty dog. She’s a border collie so she’s super smart, too. She’s also a ham. The dog loves belly rubs and any attention anyone will pay her. Trust me, she is not lacking in that department.

 

Her name is Finn. Nothing fancy. No registered name for the AKC or other dog organizations where stuff like that matters. She’s a shelter dog, picked up as a stray, wandering the streets with a puppy that looked just like her. A rescue group took the puppy and sent Finn to the shelter. That’s where our stories merge.

 

Just one look was all it took and she was mine. That was almost a year ago. Since then, she’s been my constant companion, my hiking buddy, my dog park goof ball, my writing muse, and now my marketing gimmick.

 

From her early days with me, I’ve posted her antics on social media and she’s developed a bit of a fan base. So when I was recently confirming a book signing and launch at my local Barnes & Noble, the manager asked if I was bringing Finn. I replied with something along the line of “seriously?”

 

When she came back with “Sure!” I jumped at the opportunity. Afterall, Finn is featured in my newest book, Tell Me No Lies. 12931060_10206190394900729_3351691464145447843_nThe family dog in the book is a — wait for it — border collie named Finn. And so a star was born, and a marketing plan re-routed to seize the moment.

 

I have a stack of bookmarks and postcards to hand out, tote bags for give-aways—all with the book cover and catchy blurb. All of that was planned for and budgeted for in my “marketing plan.” And guess what I’m doing the weekend before my book’s release and launch party? I had planned on, oh, maybe a manicure. Instead I’ll be spreading ink on Finn’s front paw then holding it to a piece of paper. I’ll take a picture of the paw print, upload it to my computer, add a cute little signature-looking font then print four to a piece of cardstock. Then I’ll cut them out with some fancy, scalloped little scissors and BAM—Finn now has a “signed” card to give out at her first book signing.

 

My readers, whether returning or new, are who they are because they like mysteries and maybe they like my writing. Dog lovers, on the other hand, may not have bought my book otherwise, but can’t say no to those sweet, amber eyes.

 

When it comes to marketing, sometimes the answer is outside the box. You may not think of it at the beginning of developing your marketing plan, but recognize it when it presents itself. And seize it. Then scratch its furry head and give it a belly rub.

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Lynn Chandler Willis has worked in the corporate world, the television industry, and owned a small-town newspaper. Her novel, Shamus-Award finalist, Wink of an Eye, (Minotaur, 2014) won the SMP/PWA Best 1st P.I. Novel, making her the first woman in a decade to win the national contest. Tell Me No Lies is the first title in the Ava Logan Mystery Series with Henery Press. She lives in North Carolina with a border collie named Finn.

Back Copy:

tellmenoliesfrontAva Logan, single mother and small business owner, lives deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, where poverty and pride reign. As publisher of the town newspaper, she’s busy balancing election season stories and a rash of ginseng thieves. And then the story gets personal. After her friend is murdered, Ava digs for the truth all the while juggling her two teenage children, her friend’s orphaned toddler, and her own muddied past. Faced with threats against those closest to her, Ava must find the killer before she, or someone she loves, ends up dead.

http://lynnchandlerwillis.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Tell-Lies-Logan-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B01N3PXOVZ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=