Friday, February 17, 2017

Renée's February Promo is FREE Books

The monthly promo run by Renée Pawlish is this weekend. I don't have a book in this one, but some friends of mine do. All of the books are available through Amazon for your Kindle or the Kindle app.

The promo is available on her website here. It features over twenty mysteries and thrillers which you can download to your devices for free. I interviewed Renée on my podcast a few months ago. Click here, if you'd like to have a listen. Another author from the podcast, HN Wake, also has a book included in this month's promo. I featured HN's story, Ghosts in Macau, as episode 6 and episode 7 of the second season.

So if you're looking for a few new authors to check out at no risk, why not download a free story and give them a try? As a reminder, if you haven't got it yet, my book, Extreme Unction, the first book in the Lupa Schwartz mystery series is also available for free download.



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Author Interview: Robert Skuce: Author of Kiss of Death

Robert Skuce thought that he was too pretty and small for prison so he decided to write about it instead. After dabbling in different genres, he found himself at home as a thriller/crime writer. A man, who was born and raised in Eastern Ontario, Canada, in a small town, he decided to try his hand at creative novel writing. Turned out, he loved it and kept writing to improve his craft and is now the writer he is today. He enjoys a good mystery and once in a while he likes to go back to horror when it was simpler and less complicated then you find in this day and age.

Currently living in Southern Ontario with his wife and four kids, he enjoys long walks, time with his family and lazy afternoons getting caught up on television. He loves playing with computers and is the household personal IT technician. When he goes out, you can find him exploring the different restaurants his city has to offer and driving in the country side.  He is always looking for new places to be the basis of his books. He photographs abandoned buildings and unique parts of town in order to create a sense of realism in his books.

Filled with ideas and personalities that are unique, he is always coming up with a new and twist-filled story that will make its way to the pages everyone can enjoy. Captivating his readers with the difficulty in his books and leaving them trying to figure out who did it, will make you want to keep reading to see what Robert Skuce will come up with next!
Kiss of Death

Bruno Norcross is a detective who never got over letting a serial killer get away. Now that Kiss of Death has re-surfaced; he is determined to close the case. The death of another young college girl has sparked outrage in Charlie Lassitor, the police Sargent, whose daughter was killed by this very killer. Bruno feels compelled to close this case, but the details get blurred when a new name enters the list of suspects. Can Bruno catch the killer before his killing spree ends and he vanishes again? Or will Kiss of Death once again elude him?
Who are your influences?
Stephen King is obviously a great influence and I always enjoy his books, but also have a couple lesser known authors that influence me and my writing. Rayne Hall has a Writers Craft series that I find myself always referring to over and over again. Charles Barnett has a book called The Deepest Sea. It’s still one of my all time favorite books and I admire his writing style.

When did you begin writing?
I wrote my first novel about four years ago, I would like to say it was a master piece and an amazing novel, but it wasn’t. What it did though, was show me that I could write a complete book and that each book I write gets better.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc.?
My stories ideas usually evolve from a few scenes that stand out and a theme develops. From there the characters develop. I try and create characters that I can relate to and truly twist their lives. My books usually jump from one to three points of view. Not just the hero, but the villain as well. I think it makes my books more fun to read and write.

Do you work from an outline?
I try and write from an outline of ideas but usually the characters come alive and the story takes on a life of its own.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
In Kiss of Death, Lee has been beaten down and a stranger comes up. The way he talks, you have hope that somebody is finally going to help the poor guy, then boom, the unthinkable happens.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
My philosophy is to try and write the kind of story that I want to read. To put the images, I have in my head and make them flow into the pages of my books.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
Yes, I have tried writing paranormal romance. My first book was a love story. The story itself wasn’t the accomplishment. It was completing the book. A few months later I reread the book and thought I can do better so I sat down and gave the character’s personality and made a better story.

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
My books refer to Bloodvien prison which is based on the Kingston pen. I actually have a funny story about that. I told my parents that I was going to prison, but something happened that I had to go before the conversation finished. I checked my phone a few hours later and I had missed four calls. I guess I should have added that the prison is closing and it was for book research.

Learn more about Robert and his books at his website:

www.robertskuce.com/ or you can find him on Goodreads, and on Twitter.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's FREE Book Promo Time!

Here's one that I have nothing to do with. Anne R Tan has included one of my titles in her monthly Instafreebie promo in the past, so I just wanted to let you know it's going on right now so you can take advantage of it and maybe find some new mystery or thriller writers to enjoy.

Simply visit this page, peruse the titles, and download the ones you want to check out for free. You'll have to give the writer of each book you download your email address, and the writer will then put you on his or her mailing list, but that' not so bad. You already know you enjoy the writer and this way they can let you know about future sales or giveaways or new releases.

Enjoy!


Friday, January 13, 2017

Renee's January Sale

A few weeks ago I put Shared Disbelief on sale for 99¢ on all channels for a promotion through Ann R. Tan's companion sale to her monthly Instafreebie group promo. When that promo ended I changed the price back to normal on almost all channels. However, I never raised it on Amazon. The reason why is that this month, Renee Pawlish is having a 99¢ sale as part of her monthly promo - which is Amazon-only. 

So if you missed your chance at Shared Disbelief last month, and if you own a Kindle or have the Kindle App on your phone or tablet, now is your chance to get the book critics are calling:

"...a great read."  ~ Jeff Kivela

and:

" ...often witty and sometimes snarky, and that is fun to read." ~ Maryann Miller

The book is available for a sale price from Amazon USUKCan and AU. Or you can find all of the books in the promo at Renee's site. The promo runs January 14 and 15, and after that, I will be changing my price for this title back to normal.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Guest Post; The Impact of the Internet on Today’s Authors by Cassie


Cassie is a tech blogger who spends all her free time reading. She’s most interested in the way technology has changed the book world for readers and writers alike. Follow her on Twitter


Reading and writing are some of the oldest pastimes. For generations, stories have lit up our lives and helped us share important ideas and messages. This tradition is no different in the modern world, with one key exception: technology. The Internet has revolutionized the way authors produce books and stories. 

However, whether these changes have been purely negative or positive is debatable. While technology has undoubtedly afforded us new writing opportunities, there are some unavoidable downsides. This post documents the good and the bad of how the world of writing has changed.  

The Way We Read


Perhaps the most obvious transformation in the modern literary landscape is in the way we read. There is now a plethora of formats available where once the only option would have been a physical book. For authors, this means endless new ways to get their work to readers.

Audiobooks became the first significant technological development for the industry and allowed readers to engage with their favorite novels without actually reading. Story tapes were an incredibly popular medium for helping young children sleep. Apps such as Audible have provided the opportunity for prospective readers to get involved no matter where they are.

Similarly, the e-book format has instigated a revolution is its own right. Not only have these virtual downloads slashed the costs of publishing, it has also encouraged readers to buy more than ever before. While many claim an e-reader such as Kindle can never replace the holistic experience of reading a physical book, it still has some undeniable advantages for up-and-coming authors.

The Way We Write


Authors worldwide have benefited significantly from the global literary community the Internet provides. Where once prospective writers would have had to lobby for investment and publishing facilities, it’s now possible to get work to its audience with no intermediary. 

Self-publishing has given the power to many new up-and-coming and independent authors, and it’s easier than ever to get your voice out there! Using any of the available online resources, you can devise, write and publish a story for minimal cost. This is an incredible advantage for writers and readers alike.

Some excellent sources to consider when self-publishing include:

·         Book Aggregators. These online resources, such as Smashwords, support you through the process of publishing your work on numerous platforms.

·        Editing Software. Apps such as Grammarly are a great support for self-editors.

·        Formatting Tools. Services such as Pressbooks allow you to format your manuscript for publishing.

The Way We Sell 


Today, the bookshop/library culture of yesteryear is almost entirely gone. Except for the few literature purists, most of your customers will come from the internet. Thankfully, distributors have made it easy to sell your work. It’s now possible to upload your manuscript to a variety of online bookstores no matter where you are. Your readers can have physical copies sent to their doors or download any e-book in a matter in of minutes, making it more likely for them to invest in your product.  

The access this has allowed authors is infinite. No longer do you have to go through exclusive and expensive publishing houses. Similarly, your readers don’t even have to have a dedicated e-reader to benefit anymore. Many apps provide cheap downloads straight to a phone, tablet or any other device.

The Risks We Face


While the benefits of this digitalization are numerous, some unfortunate new risks have come along. Before the Internet, if you insinuated there were threats associated with writing books, you would have been viewed as crazy. Now, the risk factors involved with e-commerce and making sales when on-the-go are much more prevalent.

Kindle Fire has already been criticized for its lack of protection when purchasing books on public WiFi networks. These insecure hotspots allow hackers to intercept credit card details, and users are advised to install security software. For writers, this threat extends to all computers, phones and tablets used remotely; you don’t want to lose your manuscript to a virus or hacker.

As more and more of our lives become digitalized, cyberthreats like these are essential to consider! It’s one of the most negative repercussions of the online literary culture. 

The Way We Share

Last, but by no means least, the book community itself has seen a dramatic transformation. As the Internet has allowed us to share further, easier and more often, it has meant the literary society has expanded in ways unlike every before. 

A fantastic example of this is Goodreads, the book review site. This platform, alongside many others like it, has allowed readers and writers access to multiple in-depth reviews on different books. Similarly, the many recommended book lists on the site can help authors market their work to the right target audience.

The blogosphere has also had a significant hand in sharing books over the Internet. Online book blogs allow authors to engage in niche communities where they can discuss, share and promote their work.

The Internet has completely revolutionized the life of an author. Every single element of literature has been affected, and things do not look to be reversing anytime soon. While many bemoan the downsides of digitalizing books, it’s undeniable the impact it’s had on those who write them is unmatchable.

What are your thoughts? Do you love the opportunities the Internet has afforded writers? Or has it taken something away from the purity of writing and reading?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Shared Disbelief for 99¢


Happy Boxing Day! I hope you had a great Christmas. As a final promo for the year, I have reduced the price of Shared Disbelief, book 4 in the Lupa Schwartz mystery series, to 99¢. The story is being promoted as part of the 99¢ sale at Anne R. Tan's hub, and is running in conjunction with her monthly Instafreebie giveaway promo. You can find all of the titles in both promos by visiting Anne's promo pages, or you can get Shared Disbelief from Amazon's US, UK, Can, and AU pages. It's also available for discount from Kobo, Smashwords, B&N, and iBooks.

Here's the book description:

     Pittsburgh PI Lupa Schwartz is out of his element, coerced into helping local police flush out a serial killer re-enacting the history of human sacrifice and martyrdom. Lacking the right skills to handle the case alone, he has been forced to give his chronicler a much larger and more dangerous role than her normal one as his Watson.
    Gamut Magazine reporter Cattleya Hoskin has covered Lupa's work on many occasions, but his dependence on her in this case is unsettling. Asked to help subvert the FBI's interference with the case, and further taunt the killer by using her media contacts, her professional ethics are stretched to the limit.
     With a killer bent on attacking religion by literally attacking the religious, Lupa and Cattleya face their hardest and most draining case yet. Relying on their individual strengths as much as each other, they're determined to put an end to the murders for good – even if it means crossing lines that should never be crossed.

The promo is running from December 26 to the 28. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to find something great to read on your new eReader or the phone somebody special bought you this season. And if you didn't get a new device, use that gift card you were given to fill your old device with new stories. And don't forget to pick up some of the FREEBIES and sign up to some new author email lists.

Happy New Year! Festive Kwanzaa! Enjoy your Hanukkah!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Audiobook Review: The God Bomb by Kit Power

Several disparate and desperate souls have gathered in a community center in a small English village seeking salvation or healing from the traveling preacher who has come offering God’s grace. However, one person in particular, a nervous young man who has taken the floor asking to be heard, has a very specific miracle he’s come to seek. He is hoping to actually meet God on this day, or there will be hell to pay.

The God Bomb by Kit Power is a tense and spell-binding psychological thriller told through the eyes of numerous characters, each who has had the misfortune to have chosen the absolute worst day to try for their individual miracle. Each chapter moved in POV and each POV is assigned the title of a book of the Christian bible. 

There’s the priest, a devoted man of God who fundamentally believes his own claims to be able to bring miracles to those who are genuinely deserving. There’s the born-again former druggie who now leads the band. There’s the militant atheist who has come to shower the fakir of a minister in rainbow glitter for spreading homophobic hate. There’s the crippled teen who sometimes believes in miracles, but no longer believes in them for herself. There’s the married couple expecting their first child, and there’s the man holding them all hostages with a bomb strapped to his chest.

Author Kit Power
As the story moves from POV to POV we learn of the motivations and prejudices each harbors. Some personalities we grow to like, others we grow to perhaps dislike; but in each case the characters are individuals with their own thoughts, opinions, fears, and desires. Some are brave and stoic. Some are reckless but well-meaning. Some are cowardly but trapped. Some are just frightened and want the whole thing to end peacefully. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t end peacefully. Throughout the story several of the hostages are murdered in cold blood by the bomber who wants to believe in God, but can’t fathom one who would allow him to do the terrible things he’s doing in His holy name when all He has to do is make an appearance to bring the carnage to an end.

The story carefully walks a very precarious tightrope. As a non-believer I found the approach of telling the story through the ideas of the characters to be safe but clever. A character who believes in God can tell the reader there is a God without it being the message of the book, while for believers, the atheist character’s struggle with faith can also be read as incidental to the story without coming across as the theme. In that sense, the story can be a Shrodinger’s cat – simultaneously faith-affirming and a testament to the futility of faith.

Narrator Chris Barnes
The audio book version is narrated by Chris Barnes whose Scottish accent keeps the listener anchored in the UK setting, which may otherwise have been taken for the deep south of the US, given that the preacher feels less Anglican and more Baptist in his approach to spreading the word. At times, it’s a bit of a struggle for an American ear to make out specific words, but the context quickly clears it up.

The story moves at a good pace, with the action starting from the very beginning and lasting ‘til the very last chapter. The style is intense but accessible, and the concept is unique but feels like it could have come straight from a real life news story. Among some of the best scenes are the deaths, told from the point-of-view of the victims, each realizing that he or she was passing, and each with a different take on how it felt and what it means.

If I had to find a negative, it would be that we only come to understand part of the motivation for what set this radical plan in motion; but we are given enough of it to know that something like this could happen, and that if it did, no amount of reasoning would ever make it seem justified. But whoever said faith has anything to do with reason?

 The God Bomb is available on Audible.