Monday, November 11, 2019

Go Wide or Go Home

I've put my thriller novel, On the Side of the Angel, into a promo on Story Origins website called The Go Wide or Go Home Sale. The sale runs November 11 thru the 19th, and all of the titles in the promo are available at a variety of retail venues. Stories in the promo fall into a number of genre categories including supernatural, sci-fi, alternate history, and action-adventure.

You can find the promo, and links to all the retailers at this link all week long. Enjoy!


Monday, October 21, 2019

Cover Reveal


As you know, I'm currently re-podcasting the stories that appear in my short story collection, 8 Tales of Noir. I slapped together a cover image for the podcast of the remastered stories that had previously appeared episodically over several seasons of the podcast. But we're getting closer to the day when I will release the audiobook version, so I sat down and designed a more slick cover.

The original, which I'm using on the podcast,  featured my daughter using a photo I had shot of her for her senior high school portrait. This one features a professional model photographed by Nayara Dinato from Pexels, a royalty-free stock photo site. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have a release date to announce, but for now, here's the final cover for the audiobook.

I was going for a sort of postmodern pulp cover feel. I hope you like it.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Monsters and Madmen

We all know Stephen King is the master of modern horror, but isn't "Under the Dome" a science fiction novel? Isn't "11/22/63" about time travel? If "War of the Worlds" isn't a horror story, then neither is "A Quiet Place." Science and scientific exploration are all about the unknown, and what's scarier than not knowing what's going to happen next?
It's October, and what better mix for the haunting season than Sci-fi and Horror? The sale this month runs Friday October 18 through Sunday, October 20. So click on over to promo.doublecrosslit.com and check out the great 99 cent deals.




Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Podcast Returneth

After a hiatus for much of the summer, The Thrills and Mystery Podcast is back for season 7. Although this season has a different purpose. 

In the past, I've used the podcast to promote myself and other authors by producing audiobook quality podcasts of short stories. Then last season I changed things up and produced PG Wodehouse's classic, The Inimitable Jeeves, in episodic form. After the season concluded, I released the entire collection of episodes as an audiobook through Findaway Voices. This season, I'm doing a little of each. 

I'm re-releasing remastered versions of the original stories I previously produced for the podcast which I authored, and later published in my collection 8 Tales of Noir. Each of those stories originally aired with royalty free music courtesy of Incompetech.com. However, I have decided that I am going to produce an audio-book version, and I wish to change out that music for original music by my late friend, Mark J. Miller.


Mark was a writer, a musician, a singer, and a teacher. He died last year after a brief illness which was never properly diagnosed, but which quickly spread to his blood causing sepsis. His loss is still jarring. So in Mark's honor, I got permission from his family to use music he recorded for his one-man project which he called Dreamcrush. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity he was involved with called Team Mojo.

Team Mojo is an NPO which provides music lessons free-of-charge to underprivileged youth. You can lean more about them by visiting their website at teammojofoundation.org. 

This podcast version of the cover features a photo-manipulation I made of a photo I shot of my then teenage daughter. The ebook cover also featured a photo I shot of my daughter, or at least her left arm. 

​Anyway, for the next several weeks, I will be podcasting the stories again, each re-leveled, cleaned up, and featuring the music of Dreamcrush. The first episode is available to listen to now.



Friday, September 20, 2019

Fantasy and Thrillers 99c/99p ebook Sale

Cloaks and Daggers
George R.R. Martin writes fantastic thrillers. What did Alice have in Wonderland if not an adventure? Every epic fantasy is also an epic adventure, and every thrilling tale leads us to a world of imagination. Whether you fantasize about wizards and dragons or about spies and murder plots, you'll find your heart's desire in this promo.
This Saturday through Monday, Sept 21 thru 23, Double-Cross Lit will be hosting a 99 cent ebook sale. Stories might be straight up thrillers or exclusively Fantasy or anywhere in the middle. Either way, we'll take you on an adventure. And bonus! this sale featuring fantasy straddles World Hobbit Day.

Check out the sale at promo.doublecrosslit.com!



Thursday, August 29, 2019

Kill You in September

Mystery novels priced 99¢ to $1.99
All Labor Day Weekend

Authors were told this sale was open to whodunnits, howdunnits, whydunnits, cozy, hard boiled, procedurals, noir, PI, cop, Feebie, heist, kidnapping, murder ... anything mystery related. So if any of that sounds like your style of story, be sure to check out this sale before the kids go back to school on Tuesday and the summer season unofficially comes to an end here in the northern hemisphere.

This is the first time I'm running a sale with Story Origins. I participated in one a few months back, but this one is my baby. You'll find the sale at this link.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Law and Disorder Promo at Double-Cross Lit

Military/Historical and Crime/Noir Books for 99c/p
Was Bogey better in Casablanca or in The Maltese Falcon? Louis L'Amour could tell the same story set in 19th century Laredo, on the SS Lichenfield or in the mean streets of modern LA. War makes criminals of us all, and every criminal syndicate needs its foot soldiers.
This weekend, August 23 to the 25th, we'll have a dozen books available each for 99¢/p. So whether you're a fan of military or historical tales, or if you prefer crime and noir stories, or even if you love them all, we've got you covered at promo.doublecrosslit.com.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

In July, the Double-Cross is Western and Legal Novels

Free and Just
The Ox Bow Incident is clearly both a story about the law and the old west. But while every great western has a question of justice at its core, so too every great American legal thriller, starting with To Kill a Mockingbird thru Runaway Jury could be set in old Dodge City. What could be more American for Independence Day?

The Free & Just promo runs this weekend, Friday July 12 through Sunday July 14. It features a number of titles running the gamut of the legal and western genres. So if you're looking for legal thriller, some old-west-style jurisprudence, or just a fictional tale set during our nations western expansion, you'll find it this weekend at promo.doublecrosslit.com.



Saturday, July 6, 2019

Audiobook of The Inimitable Jeeves to be released tomorrow.

It’s the height of the Jazz Age, and the roaring twenties are in full-roar in and around London and the English countryside. Bingo Little, the twins, Steggles, and Aunt Agatha are among the banes of young Bertie Wooster’s casual existence; but fortunately, Bertie has his gentleman’s gentleman, his valet, the forever-ready Jeeves to come to his rescue. This novel – or more accurately this narrative collection of brief interludes – is the perfect introduction to the writings of P.G. Wodehouse, the comedic voice of a generation and time nearly a century hence, but as familiar and ever-present as Orphan Annie and Charlie Chaplain.

Narrated by J. David Core
Author, P.G. Wodehouse
First published in 1923, The Inimitable Jeeves has finally entered the public domain, and this audio production, originally recorded for The Thrills and Mystery Podcast, is here just in time to usher in the next decade of “roaring” twenties. So dust off your spats, don your finest flapper dress, pour some bathtub gin, and surround yourself in deco architecture as you immerse yourself into Bertie Wooster’s world again for the first time. 

Release Date: July 8, 2019. Available at Amazon, AppleGoogle, Audible, KoboScribd, Beek, Storytelestories, Nook AudiobooksAudiobooks.com.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The June Double-Cross is Romance and Military/Historical

From Here to Eternity, The English Patient, Dr. Zhivago, Memoirs of a Geisha, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gone With the Wind... Obviously love makes war tolerable, but maybe in literature, conflict makes love better?
The Love & Death promo runs this weekend, Friday June 21 through Sunday June 23. The promo features a number of titles running the gamut of these genres. So if you're looking for straight romance, historical romance, romance in time of war, or just a fictional tale set during a period in history or in time of war, you'll find it this weekend at promo.doublecrosslit.com.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

The May Double-Cross is Sci-fi and Mystery

Questions & Answers


In 1953, Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man won the first Hugo award in science fiction, but at it's heart it was a howcatchem mystery novel. Dan Brown's recent Inferno is a detective story about a fictional genetically modified weapon at its heart. This promo explores science and all its mysteries, as well as the science of solving mysteries.

This weekend, May 17 through May 19, Double-Cross lit will be featuring ebooks that fall on the spectrum for the genres of mystery and science fiction. So whether your tastes run toward gumshoes or procedurals or time travel or alien invasions or something in the middle, you'll find something to love in this promo. So just click this link to the landing page sometime this weekend and load your e-reader for the summer to come.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Mirth & Mischief 99¢ / 99p


It's time for another Double-Cross Lit promo. This one features humor and thriller stories.
Mirth and Mischief
Laughter is the release of tension. Just ask Carl Hiassen or Janet Evanovich; and within the thriller genre, it can be subtle like the movie Ocean's Eleven to broad like Rush Hour. Whichever of these genres you come looking for, you'll find it in this promo.
This weekend, April 26 - 28, ebooks from more than a dozen indie authors will be discounted to 99¢/99p and I have two books in the promo you can check out. You can find the sale at promo.doublecrosslit.com this weekend.


Monday, April 1, 2019

An April Book Fair!

The April book fair featuring mystery and thriller titles at Magic Book Deals is currently live, and the collection features several books from a variety of sub-genres including, cozy, paranormal, procedural, historical mysteries, and romantic suspense. It also features a few crime thrillers including my own title, On the Side of the Angel.

All books in the promo will be priced 99¢/99p for the duration of the month, and can be found at this landing page link. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Daydreams & Nightmares sale from Double-Cross Lit

Every monster started as somebody's fantasy. Every fantastic beast is a monster to somebody. Were Dr. Moreau and his chimeras not a fantasy tale? Was Gulliver's journey not horrifying for him at times?



There's another Double-Cross Lit promo coming up this weekend. This one is called Daydreams & Nightmares, and it features ebooks that are either Fantasy genre or horror, or maybe a little of each. My own graphic novel ebook, The Return of the Dragon, is included. All of the titles have been discounted to 99c / 99p or no more than 1.99 in the case of box sets. You can find the sale at promo.doublecrosslit.com this weekend.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Love & Hate Sale from Double-Cross Lit

Romance and Crime/Noir

What's a noir story without a femme fatale? What's a romance novel without a bad boy? Crime and romance go together like Bonnie and Clyde. And what better month to feature tales of twisted love than February? Happy Valentine's Day. 


Do you like your romance novels peppered with the occasional bad boys? Are you a fan of crime stories with and without the femmes fatale? We've got stories from a number of today's best indie authors chock full of it all all for 99c/99p promo.doublecrosslit.com.

The promo runs Friday thru Saturday, April 22 to the 24th. We even have a few complete box sets for $1.99 each. Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2019

WIP

Back in August of 2018, I announced that I had completed work on the first draft of Where Angels Fear, the prequel to my novel On the Side of the Angel. I had planned to get that book in the hands of my beta readers fairly quickly, but then life happened and there were also some structural plot-related issues I was having difficulty resolving. However, after some heavy reflection, I think I may have those issues in hand, and I'm prepared to move forward with the second edit. Hopefully by next month, it will be ready for my betas. If you'd like to join that team, please let me know.

I also redesigned the cover for the book. The story was crafted in a brainstorming session with several authors, and one of those other authors actually took the notes and crafted the outline I worked from. I then turned that outline into story beats, and a third author began turning those beats into a first draft, however she was unable to complete the draft. She returned to me what she had, which was just a piece of the opening chapter, and I completed that first draft. Because there is so much input from other authors, I am not taking writing credit, but rather am crediting the team who helped with story, characters and plot points.

The idea for the series is for some of those other authors to put the character into some of their own stories, making her journey a shared-world experience uniting the universes of several independent authors. Hopefully that can still happen.

In Other News


Beginning in mid February, my podcast will be returning with a serialized reading of The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse. The story was published in 1923 in the US, and due to changes in copyright law from the 70's, it just entered the public domain this year. Once the podcast serial has completed, I will be releasing the entire project as an audio-book, probably using Findaway Voices.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Author Interview - Sharlene Almond - Author of Initiated to Kill

Sharlene Almond has a diploma in Body Language and Criminology, enabling her to explicitly portray the main characters in her novel. Sharlene lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her two dogs and partner. She enjoys watching documentaries about history and conspiracy theories, giving her ideas for her next books.
At 31 years old, Sharlene has a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural therapy, Freelance Journalism, and Editing and proofreading; giving her the ability to better understand the human mind, writing about it in manner her readers can understand and connect with.
Sharlene has also started up two additional websites: Body, Mind and Health services - https://bodymindandhealthservices.wordpress.com
Animal Health and Welfare Services: https://animalhealthandwelfareservices.wordpress.com/home/

Both websites are based around her qualifications in Counseling, Personal training, human and animal nutrition, Animal behavior and Natural therapies.

Initiated To Kill
Two men from two different generations, both initiated into a powerful organization that throughout history has sought control and uses their power for destruction. They leave behind a wake of murder, manipulation and ancient secrets. The first man wreaks havoc in and around the Whitechapel district of London, England in the 19th century. While the other stalks his victims in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain in the 21st century; knowing that only he could uncover the true motives of one of the world's most infamous serial killers—Jack the Ripper.

Who are your influences?
I like a variety of authors; however, there are some in particular that especially influence my writing.
James Patterson is one of my favorite authors, not only does he write great thrillers, he writes short chapters, which in my opinion makes the story go faster, encouraging the reader to want more.
Jeffery Deaver is another great thriller writer, with both of these authors delving into the psychology of the main characters, and especially the killer or killers.
Jack Kerley, Michael Marshall and Stephen White all write great psychological thrillers, largely based on drawing the reader in through the connection they make between the characters in the book, and the reader.
And, of course, Dan Brown, with his conspiracy thrillers, and the history behind those conspiracies
we still ponder to this day.

When did you begin writing?
Way back in high school, I was homeschooled through the Correspondence School, which encouraged essay writing instead of actual exams. This piqued my interest in writing, as I even enjoyed writing academic papers.
Throughout my teen years I dabbled writing a variety of things, including short stories and novels.
However, life sort of got in the way, and I didn’t fully commit to writing an actual novel until I was about 21 years old.
From there, I finally completed my first novel, and continued to write three more. As well as a New Zealand travel E-book, and a variety of health and animal articles based around my training as a therapist and animal nutritionist.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
I first started to get my ideas from random things popping up in documentaries or on television, or even in other books. They tended to help lead me down several paths of the kind of books that I wanted to write.
From there, my own thought process and ideas kicked in on what I wanted to do with the snippets of information I heard about, saw or read.
History is one of my best inspirations for ideas. As it also lends credibility to the story line, so when the reader reads my book, the plot isn’t that implausible, hopefully making it even more thrilling.
My novels are not designed to create ‘copy-cat’ killers; merely the historical killers are connected in some way to the present day killers.
Locations are also a key part on where I get my ideas. Whether it is a place I want go to, or just a place I literally pointed to on the map. That then leads me to research more about the location, and its myths and history on the location. Of course, every time plenty of information pops up, and usually more than one idea pops into my head of where I want to take the story line.
The conspiracy angle also gives me plenty of ideas, as it tends to be the base for the plot line, then I just expand everything from there. Whether it is several conspiracy theories or myths intertwined, or with some of my novels, the ideas materialized from my research. I begin to make connections between different events and people, building on the theory of what I think could have happened.
Finally, my main character Annabella Cordova, also allows me to create another aspect to the plotline through detailing how to read facial expressions and body language, and how to detect when someone is lying. Because Annabella is deaf, she has to hone her other skills to help solve the case.
For Initiated to Kill, I already had written a sentence for a story idea. I decided to run with that, and as I did more research, more ideas came flooding in. And like I mentioned above, the historical aspect on Jack the Ripper with the connection to the Freemasons – history had already written that. I just expanded on it. Bringing the characters to life, and using the real events to create a fictional, and hopefully, exciting read.

Do you work from an outline?
Definitely. The process differs slightly for each book, but I need a place that I can immerse myself in research and writing without disruption and too much noise. A place that I can relax back and let ideas flow.
However, the other elements that help bring my novels together always start with a basic plot outline. Sometimes I might start off with researching different countries in which I want my novel to be based in, then look into the history of that place to see if anything jumps out at me that I can use as my historical backdrop.
Other times I might have a general idea of the historical aspect of the novel, so I build on the idea that way.
From there, the plot outline can be formed, outlining the main events that might occur throughout the novel.
In order to write my first novel, I used the snowflake method; although quite time-consuming, it helped me build on the major events with each step. Including writing a more detailed plot synopsis, and major character synopsis.
Once those were completed, using Word Excel, I could easily create a chapter outline by numbering the chapters along the top line, and writing a sentence or two about what I wanted each chapter to include. I might start off with about thirty chapters, but throughout more research and actually writing the book, I gradually build on this. The end result being about hundred chapters or more.
This last part, I still do for every book. This element enables me to have a clear picture about what I need to research and write about each day.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
Hmmm, there are so many to choose from. However, if I were to pick I would say the later scenes as Annabella develops into a stronger personality. I first designed her character to be shy, and unsure. As the story progresses, and more things come to light, her character becomes stronger, more skilled at reading people, and better equipped at dealing with the things that happened in her past.
What excited me the most about Annabella’s character, was what I was going to do with it in the other books I have written. The scenes with Annabella in my first novel are specifically designed to create a major change in her, which hopefully readers will see and like.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
I stick to what I love. If I love writing and entertaining people, then writing will never be a waste of time. Yes, there will be rejections and criticisms countless times, but as the saying goes ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.
I take note of constructive criticism so I can improve on my writing. Every bad review may also have some valuable advice that I can take on.
I also keep persisting. I have received a lot of rejections unfortunately, but it goes with what I do. Because I love to write, I never know what might happen.
I have found a good query letter is also key. I need to be able to hook the publisher pretty quickly. A query letter shouldn’t be long winded, but get straight to the point.
In the end, it’s easy to fit into the popular genre, it’s harder to actually write what I enjoy writing if it’s not so popular. However, like many books now, in which once a upon a time they weren’t popular, one never knows what might pique the readers’interest, making writing even more exciting, which is my main motivational philosophy.
As I mentioned above, I use a basic plot outline for every novel – The Snowflake Method.
This is my favorite, and in my opinion most useful tips for authors. And not just ones that are starting out, I still have used this for my second, third and fourth novel. In my opinion, a good novel needs a detailed plot outline. You can just sit down and write; however, if you haven’t created an outline, the structure may be all over the place.
And you might waste time trying to think up what you want to write each day for the chapters. Events may not be cohesively linked. Using the Snowflake method c helps to arrange all my thoughts and ideas. And in word excel, it makes it easier to rearrange chapters, and add to them, without having to do that after I have done all the writing.
Also, the chapter outline basically helps to schedule in what I need to focus on each day, by using the section under chapter headings to write a few sentences on what I want the chapters to include.
I will, of course, add to the chapter outline, remove other things etc. However, this just gives a great starting point. And it means I can even add what research I have collected so it fits into the story better.
The other aspect I find important is Research, write, research, and write. This is the stage when I actually intend to flesh out a novel. Researching before, during and even after the first draft is not only useful for getting more ideas, but it makes it easier to remember things when I am writing, so I am as accurate as possible.
I find the best way to prevent writer’s block is to have plenty of research to work from. That way I can pick and choose what I find necessary to include, and helps me come up with a wealth of ideas.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I dabbled a little bit in other genres like sci-fi and Romance. However, I am always drawn back to the thriller genre. That is my favorite genre I like to read, I’m not really drawn into a Romance plot.
Although, I have enjoyed reading and watching things based in the sci-fi genre, it wasn’t something that I particularly liked writing.
I enjoy writing something that is as close to being as realistic as possible, so it seems plausible to the reader that what they are reading could actually happen. And it makes it exciting to write about as well.

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
I’ve always had a notebook that I’ve jotted down ideas that I want to write about. One idea caught my attention, and when I started research on it, things fell into place.
I didn’t really have something in particular that inspired me, but I’ve always enjoyed reading thrillers/mysteries, so that’s what I wanted to write about. The more research I did, the ideas just kept flowing. But it wasn’t until I started to edit Initiated to Kill, that I began to see how interesting it would be to include the historical element to it.
Going from past and present enabled me to explore a whole other dimension, and give more meaning to the present-day plot line. The Jack the Ripper angle was only supposed to be a quick mention, but reading more about the conspiracy angle that surrounded it, I knew I had to write about it.
But I didn’t want it to be like other Jack the Ripper books or movies, something different, someone different. Patricia Cornwall’s book – The Portrait of a Killer, reveals another suspect to the never-ending discussion of who this infamous killer was.
And so, I delved into the mind of a killer. Detailing about this man’s life, going into the psychological workings of this eccentric man and bringing him to life. And in the same way, I did this more my present-day characters as well. As the character’s lives are written almost like mini sub-plots, a lot is revealed about the inner psyche of the characters.

Are there some quotes from your book that you can share, or graphics?




If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast to be the main characters?
For Annabella Cordova, Scarlett Johansson.
Andres Valero would be Jim Caviezel.
And as Jack the Ripper – Gary Oldman.
All these actors show they have a diverse range of characters they can play, bringing the characters to life.

You can follow Sharlene through her blog, her Amazon Author page, on Twitter where she's @SharleneAlmond, her Facebook page, her Pinterest, or on Goodreads.