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


" ...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.

Friday, December 9, 2016

December Promo

For the past several months, author Renée Pawlish has been sponsoring a regular promo featuring bargain or free eBooks in the mystery and thriller genres. This December is no different. The promo this month is scheduled to run December 10th through the 11th and will feature free eBooks.

You can find the promo and all of the free titles by visiting this webpage.

I have decided to include Extreme Unction in this promo, although that title is technically perma-free. Many of you may already have it in your personal library. But to make this a deal, I'm also reducing the price of my box set, Twice Told, from $9.99 American to $3.49. The price is similarly reduced on the AU, CA, and UK Amazon sites.

Extreme Unction is the first novel in the Lupa Schwartz mystery series, and the box set, Twice Told, consists of books two through five, so it's a good and easy way to get the entire set for one low price. Meanwhile, Renée's promo* is also a great way to pick up several other free eBooks and discover a number of great new writers.

Happy browsing.

*Renée's promos are Amazon only. If you don't use Amazon, I'm sorry. There will be other non-Amazon promos in the future.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Close Shave November

National Novel Writing Month has come to a close, and I am proud to announce that I successfully completed the first draft of my thriller novel, On the Side of the Angel, in the allotted time. This novel is planned as part of a cooperative series, and tells the story of the first adventure of The Bartering Angel after she fakes her death and goes off grid at the conclusion of our prequel.

The prequel is a story several of us authors worked on together, with some offering suggestions for the character and backstory, while others outlined, fleshed out, or edited the final story. My entry into the series is set in the Pittsburgh region and the greater Midwest. That's why there is a bridge from "dahn tahn" Pittsburgh featured on the cover. It sets both the place and the theme, since my story acts as a bridge between the prequel and the series as a whole.

My next step is to send the story off to my beta readers, so if you responded to my earlier request to be included in that group, expect a copy in your inbox shortly. I'll then take the advice of those early readers, and clean up the story and grammar errors they catch, before going back in for final edits.

Look for more information on The Bartering Angel series and the prequel in the coming months.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Author Interview: Christopher Johnson: Author of Seven Days Dead

Christopher Johnson is a former United States Marine Sergeant who lives in New Jersey with his three sons.  A fully disabled veteran, he enjoys writing in fiction, specifically scifi, and nonfiction religious anthropology.  He has held a variety of jobs from night auditor at a hotel to Financial Advisor, has dabbled in amateur blacksmithing, and has a real thing for zombies.  You can see his work, as well as get updates on forthcoming books, at his website:

Seven Days Dead 
   Tal Barzani, Mizrahi Jew, former IDF operator, and confirmed drunk wakes up to find his city in flames. As Jerusalem burns, he accidentally saves a ragtag group of people already on the jagged edge of survival. Will they escape the City of David alive? Can Tal keep his group together long enough to find safe harbor? Or will it become a three way race between the undead, their own prejudices, and the desert to see which kills them first?  
   Follow the survivors through the rich landscapes and beautiful history of the Levant as they work to survive in this new and frightening world. All cities, names, historical sites, military units and more are represented with as much accuracy as possible to ensure an experience that will pull you in...and never let go

Who are your influences?
I've had quite a few over the years. When I was younger David Eddings was a favorite author of mine for the way he could weave a grand and complex universe. More recently I've been drawn to George RR Martin, Joe Abercrombie (one of my absolute favorites), and Patrick Rothfuss.

When did you begin writing?
I first started writing when I was in 10th grade, I believe. I had an assignment from my history teacher to come up with a myth for some natural occurrence or another - I think it was the changing of the seasons. So I wrote up my myth and got an A+++ (my first…and only). He spoke to me afterwards and told me that I should look into being a writer because of the quality of that one assignment. After that, I tried starting several times and wrote some smaller and more niche works, but time was always a commodity that I had little of.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
Honestly, I just kind of do my regular routine and every now and again something pops in my head. I'll say, "what if I made this…" or "I'm so tired of this particular kind of coincidence always saving the characters in these books. This is how I would have written it…" After a while, the details start filling themselves in and I can't stop thinking about it until I get it on paper.

Do you work from an outline?
I haven't ever used an outline. I kind of write where the story takes me and allow the characters to grow organically. I honestly have little patience with outlines, and I feel that if you script the details too much, you run the risk of diverting the story line to fit the outline and that can derail the experience for some readers. I want the reader to feel like he or she is in the story, like an unspoken character and the smallest things can pull them out of the experience.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
I really liked the scene from the monastery where Levi's issues come to a head. I wanted there to be conflict there, but one that made sense from the back story and the known cultural differences of the characters involved. I thought that it closed up that part of the story nicely and provided the impetus for the group to move from a safe area without feeling like the confrontation was forced.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
I don't really have a philosophy, per se. I want my readers to believe the story is possible and plausible. I want them to see themselves making the same decisions if they were in that position. I also want them to have an adventure. When I was younger, I devoured books because the stories in them played out in my head like movies and I want that same experience for anyone who reads anything I've written.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I also enjoy writing about religion and religious anthropology. For me the separation of Faith and Fact has always intrigued me - especially because anyone can see how much effect belief has on our cultural outlook and the history of our world.

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
No real anecdote, but I will say for writers looking to put their work on Kindle to be very careful how you format your work. I wrote a book that had a plethora of footnotes and, on Kindle, they appear in red type. Well I guess one of my footnotes must have been too close to the text and the next three paragraphs of the book were all in red type.

 Available in paperback or for the Kindle.