Don’t you dare write that! by J.H. Bográn

We’ve all heard the above command. It may come from friends, family, or writing peers. The other bit of urban wisdom we’ve all heard is “controversy sales.” But here’s the catch, if you write controversy with aims just to make sales, your story will most likely fall flat. However, if you love the story, then write it even if touches on such topics.

I’m no stranger to drawing inspiration from controversy. In fact, I’ve had some close-calls and bad experiences because of my choices.

I wrote my debut novel, TREASURE HUNT, in 1998 and the opening chapter was about an air-jacked flight and the perpetrator’s demand for ransom. After the events of 9/11 in 2001, I thought that book would never see the light of day. I tried, honestly, to rewrite and delete all the strands from that storyline. I even considered changing the location from a jetliner to a train or a cruise ship. However, the events that occur during the air-jack are integral to the plot in many ways. Time passed by, as it always does, and a few years later the book found a publisher.

For my third novel I created an unusual antagonist. It could be labeled as a serial killer, but if I explain why that’s not the case, I’d be giving away the plot. Suffice to say that when fabulous author Jon Land sent me this blurb “POISONED TEARS is a splendid piece of crime noir.  J. H. Brogan’s darkly original tale breathes fresh life into the moribund serial killer genre.” I decided to shut up and let it be. So my book will navigate the literary world under a somewhat false flag, being promoted as a serial killer who uses poisonous animals to disguise the deaths as accidents, when in fact, the antagonist sees the deaths as means to an end. Enough said!

The choices I made in both instances to discuss topics that would raise complaints rather than just eyebrows were out of the necessity to tell the tale as I conceived it. They were not a gimmick, nor was my goal to go riding a trend.

When people ask me why I’m not on the best-seller list yet, I ache to rotate my responses between, “because you haven’t bought it and told ALL your friends to do the same,” or “because I’m waiting for the Vatican to ban my book, or have somebody sue me.” Of course, in the times of political correctness that we live, the only place I can say either of the above is standing alone in front of the bathroom mirror.

In conclusion, I contradict my own title in this post and beg writers to dare go beyond, take it a step forward, push the envelope, and since I’m running out of metaphors, I’ll just finish by saying to follow your gut and use the circumstances, as controversial as they may be, to enhance the plot. See you at the bookstore!

 

 

About the author:

  1. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He has also worked on scripts for motion pictures and domestic television in his home country.

He’s a member of The Crime Writers Association, the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor for their official e-zine The Big Thrill.

POISONED TEARS is his third novel in English and has already garnered positive reviews and recommendations. Jon Land calls it “a splendid piece of crime noir,” while Douglas Preston says it’s a first class roller-coaster ride.

Book description: Alan Knox’s football career ended in the Superdome twenty years ago. He hates the Big Easy but his son’s fiancée is missing and Knox is compelled to help. Throwing himself into the investigation, he becomes convinced a serial killer is using poisonous animals to disguise women’s deaths as accidents but the NOLA Police Department won’t listen. The investigation follows a twisted and dangerous path when Knox teams up with journalist Scott Trent. Especially when Trent’s wife is brutally murdered and Trent becomes the prime suspect. How many more women must die before Knox can prove his partner’s innocence?

 

 

Website: http://www.jhbogran.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/JHBogran0

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JHBogran

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jhbogran

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/j.-h.-bogran

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4307673.J_H_Bogran

Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/NwCHb

PR that works for me by Maris Soule

maris2015Writers strive for name recognition (our brand). To achieve this goal, we give away items (swag) that range from small to humongous and from relatively cheap to very expensive.

 

When I started writing, I was published by Harlequin, who promoted their brand name not the author’s. Harlequin would send us bookmarks to give out, but those bookmarks featured Harlequin’s logo, how to contact Harlequin, and what lines Harlequin published. They also put inserts in our books, removable pages that showed the cover(s) of upcoming releases, but neither the bookmarks nor the inserts, nor the ads they ran in magazines promoted individual authors. Harlequin’s swag promoted the publisher and how to sign up for their book club. We writers were simply a part of a “stable” of writers. They even tried to (or did) control the writer’s name.

 

Finally writers realized they needed to promote themselves; now we are the brand, not the publisher. Readers follow writers, not publishing houses. This is great, but it also means achieving name recognition has become extremely important. The “How to” is the hard part.

 

I’m the first to admit I suck at promotion. I have enough trouble finding time to write. I don’t want to waste time running contests, giving weekly perks to keep a fan club (street gang) active, sending out 4 to 10 tweets a day, adding to my Pinterest boards, or explaining “What’s on my mind?” on Facebook. I do blog (my focus is on writing) on Wednesdays (http://marissoule.com/blog/). I try to remember to send out an occasional Tweet, do try to say something on Facebook and respond to others, and have posted some things on Pinterest. About 4 times a year I try to get a newsletter out and anytime I give a talk, I try to pick up more email addresses for my mailing list.

 

Mostly I do face-to-face promotion. I meet someone, we start talking, and along the way the topic of “What do you do?” comes up and I tell the person that I’m a writer…and I hand that person a bookmark or business card.

 

On my bookmarks, I include a book cover and a short blurb. I have both sides printed, on high quality paper, and I include as much info as I can: Name (fairly large), email, and web address. Where to find/buy my books. A list of books (at least ones available). And, for new releases, an ISBN number to help a bookseller order the book.

 

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Bookmarks, I’ve discovered, fit nicely into a side pocket of my purse and can be pulled out with ease. If I’m in a doctor’s waiting room, I can leave a few on the table with the magazines. I can slip a bookmark into a business size envelope when paying a bill. The bookmark may never be used in a book, but it’s a concise, and relatively inexpensive advertising tool.

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I do not put my address on my business cards, but I do list my name, phone number, email address, and web address. Under my name, in fairly large letters, I have WRITER. That often starts a conversation. I usually have the cover of one of my recent books on the front. So far I haven’t put anything on the backs of my cards, but I know others do, and I plan on doing that. It might be a short rave review, or maybe a list of places to buy my books.

businesscard

 

Whenever I’m asked to spell my name or give my name and phone number, I quickly pull out a card. If necessary, I can tell them my street address (it switches between our winter and summer locations), but nowadays most want phone and email along with your name, so it’s right there and can be attached to a file or put near the phone.

 

I find the bookmark and business card work as a personal introduction to the fact that I’m a writer, they usually start a conversation about books and/or writing, and create a long term impression…and that’s what branding is all about.

 

****

 

ECHOES OF TERROR: In Skagway, Alaska, a billionaire’s teenager daughter is missing and Officer Katherine Ward is assigned the case. When Katherine realizes the girl and another have been taken by the same man who kidnapped and raped her seventeen years before, the terror of those months in captivity resurfaces. She knows he’s a man who won’t hesitate to kill…and that she’s the real reason he’s in Alaska.

Release date: March 22, 2017

 

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Maris Soule started her career writing romances for Harlequin, Silhouette, and Bantam Loveswept before switching to mysteries and thrillers. (The Crows, As the Crow Flies, Eat Crow and Die, were published by Five Star Mysteries/Gale/Cengage and A Killer Past, was published by Robert Hale, Ltd.) Echoes of Terror, her 30th book and one of the last released by Five Star Mystery will be available March 22, 2017.

 

Originally from California, Soule was attending U.C. Santa Barbara when she met and married her husband. He somehow talked her into moving to Michigan, where they raised two children that they’re very proud of. Although Soule taught art and math for 8 years, reading and writing have always been her passion. She does do some painting when she and her husband are in Florida during the winter months.

 

For more information, visit her at:

http://www.marissoule.com

http://marissoule.com/blog/

http://facebook.com/marissoule

https://www.facebook.com/MarisSouleAuthor/

http://twitter.com/marisSouthHaven

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/305476.Maris_Soule

https://www.pinterest.com/marissoule/

The Good and the Bad News About Marketing by Catherine Dilts

When it comes to selling fiction, here is what I’ve learned about current marketing wisdom:

The Bad news – no one knows what works.

The Good news – no one knows what works.

There is no right or wrong way to market your book. It’s all about what works for you. If you’re already making satisfactory income from your fiction writing, this article is not for you. My advice is geared toward the author with low to modest sales. You might be with a small press, or Indy published.

You’ve written your book, gotten it published, and now you’re ready for the next step. Getting your story into the hands of readers. Some experts might say the marketing phase begins before you’ve even finished your book. There is no lack of advice.

I can’t tell you how to make fistfuls of money. I haven’t figured that one out for myself yet. Publishing can be brutal. Good stories are overlooked. Anticipated sales don’t happen. Authors may be frustrated and disappointed. People offer every bit of advice you can imagine. Some of it is free, and some costs big bucks. I can condense most of it down to this:

  • Social media – helps get your name out there to readers, but doesn’t guarantee sales. Choose a venue you enjoy (blogging, Facebook, Twitter) and make judicial use of it. Hammering away endlessly on social media doesn’t equate with more book sales, and takes time away from writing your next story. It sometimes annoys people, too.
  • Conferences – help get your name noticed, mostly by other people there for the same reason – to sell their book. If you go to network, meet editors and agents, socialize, and learn more about your craft, it is time and money well spent. Selling books – not so much.
  • Advertisements – unless you have a book suited to a niche market, and have access to advertise in a specific newsletter or website, paid advertising probably won’t pay off. The chatter I hear on writing loops is that ads online rarely pay back their cost.
  • Blog tours – if free, and if on sites viewed by readers, you might reach potential customers with brief, witty posts. Limit yourself to what you can reasonably generate without robbing yourself of writing time.
  • Book signings – if free, and you can publicize to your readers, friends, and family, book signings are the ultimate reward for writing a book. I’ve heard some bookstores charge authors for signings. Only do this if it’s your heart’s desire to sign books at that store. You most likely won’t make your money back.

Most of all, know yourself. Are you a one book author, or are you in it for the long haul? If you’re planning a career, earning name recognition may be more important than earning money, at the beginning.

What are you comfortable with? It’s tempting to spend a lot of time, and maybe money too, on marketing, but not all of us can afford to take big risks. Experiment, as much as your time and finance budgets allow. Test the waters to discover what works.

There is no one-size-fits-all for marketing. I hope you’re able to kiss the day job goodbye, as you make your first million. It happens. When it comes to marketing, what works is what works for you.

Biography:

Photo by Kari L. Vollaire, Artsy Phartsy Design – http://artsyphartsydesign.com/

Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, set in the Colorado mountains, while her short stories appear in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Catherine’s day job deals with environmental regulatory issues, and for fun she fishes, hikes, and runs. You can learn more about Catherine at http://www.catherinedilts.com/

Stone Cold Blooded – A Rock Shop Mystery, published by Encircle Publications LLC, is available in paperback, and in e-book for Kindle http://amzn.to/2d0uMDB and Nook http://bit.ly/2dHtm4G

Mission Impawsible by Krista Davis

missionimpawsibleFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Murder Most Howl comes the fourth Paws & Claws mystery…

In the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia, there’s no love lost when Holly Miller meets her match in a murderer…
 
Holly and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter’s heart.

Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold—dead cold—and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket. As suspicion is cast over the inn’s guests, Holly—with the help of her furry friends, Trixie the Jack Russell and Twinkletoes the cat—must fetch the real killer, or she may soon have a date in court.

Delicious recipes for owners and pets included!  

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.

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.