Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Xmas!

Announcing a sale for the holiday! 

Twice Told, a Lupa Schwartz Box Set, gathers all of the Lupa Schwartz novels and novellas which have been released since the first. The series tells the story of Cattleya Hoskin, journalist for Gamut Magazine who moves from Ohio to Pittsburgh to chronicle the investigative cases of Lupa Schwartz, the outspoken PI with a love for women, classic cars, comedy movies, and good meat; and a strong disdain for religion, bad parking, and wasted time.
This box set contains all of the Lupa Schwartz novels and novellas which have been released since the first. The entire series; Extreme Unction, Common Sense, Fair Play, Shared Disbelief, and Five Secrets; tells the story of Cattleya Hoskin, journalist for Gamut Magazine who moves from Cleveland to Pittsburgh to chronicle the investigative caseload of Lupa Schwartz, the outspoken PI with a love for women, classic cars, comedy movies, and good meat; and a strong disdain for religion, bad parking, and wasted time. Book one, Extreme Unction, is available to read for free, so this set, which brings books two through five together in one place, makes owning the entire series easier than ever before.
This sale is only available through Smashwords, but all eBook formats are available. Get you copy by visiting this link! You'll have to download the first book, Extreme Unction, separately, but it's FREE.

Use the code  SEY75  at checkout for 75% off during the Smashwords site-wide promotion!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Black Friday eBook Sale

Author Alexa Kang is hosting a fantastic Black Friday Sale featuring romance titles, holiday themed stories, and yes, mysteries and thrillers. You'll find all of the details on her site at

FYI, my latest book, On the Side of the Angel, is also included in this sale. The sale continues through November 28th.

Friday, November 10, 2017

99 Cent eBooks!

I don't have a book in this one, but Renée Pawlish's monthly promo featuring 99¢ mystery and thriller eBooks is this weekend. Visit this link for nearly 40 titles each available for less than $1.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Guest Post - Beyond Words by A.B. Plum

AB Plum grew up in Southern Missouri. She has lived in Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina. After grad school, she taught adolescent boys, created public library programs, and honed her fiction-writing skills developing high-tech marketing materials.

A six-month leave of absence to write fiction that entertains turned into a full-time career. PRINCE OF FROGS and QUEEN of the UNIVERSE, romantic comedies, were her first published novels. Two romantic suspense novels followed: PRESUMED GUILTY and UNRAVELED.
She now writes her passion—psychological suspense. Three novellas and three novels comprise her first series, THE MISfIT. Ever wonder about the twisted childhood of Hannibal Lector? Read the novellas and meet Michael Romanov—different, destructively different from birth.
Ever wonder about the pernicious influence of a grown-up misfit? Read the novels and follow the consequences of Michael Romanov’s conviction of his uniqueness.

AB lives just off the fast-lane in Silicon Valley with her husband. Reading, hiking, aerobic dancing, and participating in debates about hot-button topics propel her imagination toward murder.
She loves hearing from readers and getting their input. Contact her at
From time to time, she makes special offers to fans (FREE books or a reader-author interview or an unpublished story or a behind-the-scenes clip). Learn more here.

The Misfit: The Reckless Year (book 4) 
A psychopath goes after what he wants and deserves…
Against all reason, ruthless Silicon Valley tycoon Michael Romanov, becomes infatuated with a totally unsuitable, but bewitching woman. Will he stop at murder to sweep her off her feet?

   STOP: Memoirists, playwrights, scriptwriters, poets, biographers, lyricists, journalists, academics, and all other non-novelists need read no further. The audience for these ramblings is fiction writers—real writers.
   Why? Why real writers?
   Because all those other writers (legitimate every one) can use photos, sets, actors, charts, music, figures and other devices rarely used in adult fiction. Novelists rely on one tool—words.
   Words, some biologists and most people, believe separate us from all other animals. Yes, animals may emit whistles (whales) or yodels (coyotes) or meows (cats) or quacks (ducks) or buzzing (bees) or growls (bears, big cats, and badgers) or screeches (bats and some birds) or “songs” (birds). They may vocalize with their kind quite effectively. But … words. Words are reserved for us humans.
   Most homo sapiens begin making recognizable words from early childhood. Babies’ first utterances
usually generate verbal expressions from parents of surprise, gratitude, and pride. It’s as if no one in the universe has ever accomplished such a deed. At the other end of life’s spectrum, words often escape the dying. Maybe by then we’ve used up all our words. Maybe we’re tired. Maybe we’re in pain. Maybe we just damned well don’t want to yammer about facing the Great Unknown.
   Many a novel has been writ on this subject.
   We writers capture feelings and paint people, places, and things with the only concrete tool in our toolbox. We grab the reader’s imagination, opening up contradictory and complementary views of life.
   We invent new worlds or resurrect old realms with a few well-placed syllables. We embroider fact and produce fiction.
   We fabricate characters with originality and verve. We entertain, hoping no reader ever skims the precious words we’ve set down on the page. We elicit laughs and mine for tears. A few simple words in a well-developed story with unforgettable characters in a tough situation can transport and transform readers.
   Storytelling lets us explore, extoll, and expand big questions with gusto or quiet restraint:
   Why does a character commit murder? (Crime/Mystery/Suspense/Thriller)
   How likely is “happiness ever after” between two humans? (Romance/Inspirational/Comedy)
   How do we survive the death of a loved one? (Tragedy/Melodrama)
   How can humans communicate with vampires/werewolves/zombies after the Apocalypse?
(Paranormal/Urban Fiction)
   How will humans react meeting an ET in outer space? (SciFi)
   How can guys who ride horses ever transition into modern society? (Westerns)
   How can women look at their lives and families and find fulfillment? (Women’s Fiction)
   Words are the common denominator. Sometimes they come with ease and fluency. Sometimes they elude us like fairy dust. Sometimes the words are fine, but we have to change the syntax. Too many sentences run together in dialogue (or narrative) reduce the power of the utterance and the eloquence of the written word. We can mangle grammar, but the result may confuse and lose the reader.
   Confession: I am an unabashed logophile. Reading gets the credit. My parents weren’t educated—though my mother read and encouraged my reading—neither ever encouraged vocabulary building. Since I always read beyond my age level, I learned early to use the dictionary. Discovering a word I’d run across originated in Greek or Roman set my imagination on fire. Lavatory, for example, stemmed from lavare—which sounded so much more exotic than to wash. To this day, I love taking vocabulary quizzes and feeling smug when I tally my score. I often chase after the meaning of [un]common sayings like going to hell in a handbasket for fun. (Spectator sports rarely claim my attention).
   Now having made my argument for words, I’m going to play devil’s advocate.
   If allowed ten books during exile on a desert island, I would choose nine children’s picture books.
   Not because of the words (usually few).
   Because of the illustrations. They usually go beyond words on the page. The best ones are as powerful as words. The best ones speak volumes (an apt cliché, IMO) in a few pages. The best ones can make reading the story redundant. Notice the caveat “best.” Best makes the difference and often costs enough to reflect the quality that has gone into the illustrations. The picture books I’m talking about are works of art. They need no words. The drawings or paintings or mixed media speak.
   I’ve recently discovered two children’s illustrated books to add to my collection of over a hundred titles.
   Duck, Death and The Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch, an award-winning illustrator. In this case, he is also the author. He is well-known for collaborating on humorous picture books like The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business. The pictures tell you the story.
   Cry Heart, But Never Break written by Glenn Ringtved and illustrated by Charlotte Pardi received the ALA 2017 Mildred L. Batchelder Award after its original Danish publication in 2002. The illustrations will etch Death into your imagination forever.
   These two picture books have become go-to sources for reflection and inspiration in my own writing.
   The MisFit Series follows the dark journey of a child psychopath. The words portray a bleak life, and sometimes I need a break. A variety of illustrations give me that break and the will to keep writing.
   So, from one logophile to another, I highly recommend investing in a couple of quality picture books to go beyond the words you write. As Nicole Krauss says in The History of Love, "I’ve learned “… there isn’t a word for everything.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Time for FREE Thrills

October is always a good time for a good thrill, and Renée Pawlish has your back. This month, her site is featuring twenty mystery and thriller eBook titles which you can snag for free. Whether you prefer cozies, shoot-em-ups, psychological thrillers, procedurals, or something in between, you're sure to find something you'll like to chill your bones this season. Check out the promo this weekend only at

PS, on a personal note, I am the featured interview this week on author JD Byrne's website. Check it out here, and enjoy!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Special Offer for Paper Book Lovers

I've run several special deals for eBook readers on my Lupa Schwartz mystery novel series. However, I have never run a price break special on the paperbacks of this series ... until now.

Follow this link to a special page where you will find all of the titles and links as well as a promotional code to get each title at 20% off the cover price when you buy direct from the CreateSpace Print on Demand store. Order any one copy and get it for 80% of what it normally costs or get the entire series and save on shipping.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Free Thrills for September

I am going to be involved in a brand new Instafreebie giveaway running September 21st to the 30th. This one is organized by Eugene Lloyd MacRae. The promo features over 20 titles, all of which you can download for free in exchange for signing up to the author's email list. Once the program goes live, you can find it by clicking here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Team Mystery Thriller September Promo

This month's mystery and thriller promo hosted by the amazing Renée Pawlish is 99¢ eBooks. All of the titles can be found at, and every title can be had for less than $1 each. The promo is Amazon only, but the title I am featuring is my latest release, On the Side of the Angel, which just came out of the Zon's exclusive Kindle Select program and is therefore available in wide release for the same low price of 99¢.

So if you use Amazon and haven't picked up a copy yet, click on over to Renée's website and pick up a copy, then grab a few other titles while you're there. If you do not use Amazon, find a copy at your favorite Online retailer here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I need a favor

If you've listened to and enjoyed any of the episodes of my podcast, you've probably heard at least a few of the episodes featuring some of my stories. A little over a year ago, I released a print and eBook collection of several of those stories called 8 Tales of Noir. The book features six short stories and two novellas. Well, I am currently assembling those episodes into an audio book version of that publication, but the eBook is still languishing with zero reviews. So I have a request.

Could you please take a moment to visit the eBook's page on your choice of retailers' websites and post a review any of the stories you may have heard or post one for the whole book? In fact, to make it easy for you, I have compiled playlists of the specific episodes featuring the stories from the book.

This link will take you to the playlist for the first six short stories. This link will take you to the playlist for the first novella in the book, Confessions of the Cuckold. Finally, this playlist features all of the episodes for the last novella in the book, Wingman. At the bottom of each playlist you will find this direct link to a page where you can find the book on any retailer of your choice.

Getting reviews is difficult, but you've heard the stories so you know if you liked them. Let others know. It'll help them, and it will absolutely help me.

Thanks so much. You're great!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Guest Post: Politics, Philosophy, and the Art of the Novel By John Corry

(EDITOR'S NOTE: I asked John Corry to send me an author bio, and I think maybe he accidentally forwarded his dating profile instead. Anyway, this is what he sent.)
6'1"; 27 years old; Cannibal Corpse, Taylor Swift, Eminem enthusiast; Philly; Single
John is the author of The Zombie Ritual: A Second Coming (A Narrative Intro to Plato's Forms)
When a zombie outbreak puts a teenage dance party to a violent end, lovestruck metalhead Chuck Zelmer finds himself in a bloody, graphic and academically philosophic chase through the halls of the Bed and Breakfast where the party took place.

In 380 BC, the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (no, not the children’s plaything (in a manner of speaking)) wrote his classic Republic.
You’d have to have been living under a rock in the western world to at least not have heard of Plato, and, likely, his ‘masterwork’, Republic (rock? Or a shadow of one?...). In it, Plato lays out the foundations for much of what has become ‘Western Civilization’ in the centuries since it was written; the ideas of democracy, oligarchy, and tyranny were all laid out in writing for the first time in Republic, and its idea of ‘the philosopher ruler’ (or: ‘king’, depending on your translation) is likely the cornerstone from which much political thought has grown into action (the idea of ‘the philosopher ruler’: that progressing mankind is not rested on ‘philosopher rulers’ or ‘kings’ ruling over the rest of mankind as some sort of birth-righted divine being sent only from God, but that ‘philosophers’ are the ones who should be ‘ruling’, if ruling is necessary, because being a ‘philosopher’ is knowing that ‘being a philosopher’ is not exactly all pats on the back and yacht parties).
Among many achievements, many credit Plato with creating what is now the modern novel, and it is not ironic that the claim comes as an ode to a ‘philosopher’ such as that guy (Plato). Plato wrote primarily in dialogues, with settings and characters, albeit not developed in any narrative way (nor too often applicable to the ideas discussed in the dialogues), talking about the meaning of life, death, and why so many people seem to love hurting so much. What is a novel if not a discussion of those things, or a representation of them? And what does ‘the meaning of life, death, and why so many people seem to love hurting so much’ have to do with seeing the world objectively? How does one do that?
Being a writer in any time of political intrigue is to play quite a role, and consciously. No writer goes about writing thinking: ‘this has nothing to do with the world around me.’ It’s a given. You are a product of your environment, just as your decisions, as everyone else’s, affect what that environment is. Writing anything, but especially novels given their ability to cross over emotional and political lines if written well enough, is particularly guilty of this, as, further, recording anything puts a bit more of a lasting immediacy to it. Being a writer in times such as these (‘times such as these’? 2017: the age of confusion, fake news #AllHandsMatter , immaturity, HATE) also brings with it something else of quite the dissociational article: writers are affected by these things, by current events, facts and other people. You wanna call it emotionally, intellectually, scientifically, I-don’t-care, if you’re a halfway decent writer, part of your job is to see and understand the world in a deeper and more relatable way, through one aspect to most effectively convey both emotions and understandings to other people, and through another because you, yourself, simply can’t stop doing it (seeing and understanding the world in a deeper and more relatable way), for whatever (natural?) reason (no, no; ‘egotistical’ is way more likely).
I don’t mean to say that writers are any more prone to emotion than anyone else, or that they have any more of a ‘right’ to be, or a ‘job’ to be, but that they are likely expected to attempt to understand them little better, at least subjectively, and, more so, that we all have the capacity to be ‘writers’, in that we all are trying to make sense of the world around us and do so through the veil of facts, knowledge and emotion. At a time when political upheaval, and public interest in it, is more abundant than bad pop music, this ability is more important, and observable, than ever (this, of course, assuming that most people do want to grow as humans, and not just indulge in one of those three ‘veils’ just mentioned (facts, knowledge, and emotion)).
For one trying to make sense of all this, it can be a little disheartening. I mean, damn, dude, have you looked around lately? Canada now has laws enabling the government to forcibly take your child away if they deem your parenting skills not ‘progressive’ enough, The U.S. is almost literally tearing itself apart (again), Bangledesh is practically under water, and, meanwhile, nobody is really talking about these things–they’re screaming about them. ‘My experience doesn’t care about your facts!’, ‘facts don’t care about your feelings!’, ‘your feelings, facts, or knowledge is WRONG and, therefore, you are not a human being!’ Maybe there is something the anti Bill C-16 people (a controversial Canadian bill that ‘adds gender identify or expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian human rights act’) are missing? Maybe the situation in North Korea is as complicated as it seems? Maybe ‘people’ never change? Maybe democracy is fundamentally flawed? These are questions that need to be debated dialectically and that simply does not happen by yelling and screaming and ignoring the existence of other people, no matter how ‘evil’.
Grappling with these questions in any sort of personally constructive manner (‘writing’ (see: psychologist Carl Jung’s ‘experiments’ regarding patients and art)) can of course become difficult when the world seems to beat you mercilessly at your own game at every turn, which I, personally, like to think that I can attest to rather well: Pussygate?! Colin Kaepernick? Trudaeu’s abs?! PIZZAGATE?!?!?! How could anybody ever come up with this stuff, fiction writer, journalist, plumber or whoever?! It’s like ‘Survivor’ got stacked with the characters from ‘Jersey Shore’ who then all got thrown into a Dostoevsky novel whose main theme was: ‘what do you think of InfoWars’ Alex Jones’! The word count alone would be insane!!! You add in the character that is Vladimir Putin, the ridiculousness of the situation in Asia, and the potency of the one in the Middle East, and you got a novel more gripping, emotionally vast, and as psychologically on-point than any Plato, Stephen King, Jung, or Dostoevsky could ever even dream of!
Not in a million years would anyone believe that the things happening in the political spectrum right now actually happened if it weren’t for the fact that it is all actively being recorded in real time, as it happens. Perhaps this renders the writer’s ability to merely represent it obsolete #PostmodernismIsARealTHing,ButItIsNotAnAbsolute ? Representations are always needed, so long as they are bringing into focus something that is not obvious in the original thing which it is representing. May there be ways to ‘represent’ something that are not found in traditional textbooks or even the all-wise passed-down spoken word?
If politics has any relation to the idea of ‘power’, or, more importantly for my point here, Nietzsche’s ‘will to power’, it is that politics is essentially a focus of power, or are Nietzsche’s will to power in-action. If any ‘political power’ wanted to expand itself, as any primitive entity does (remember: in relation to how long homo-sapiens have been a species (roughly 200,000 years), the time between Plato (380 BC (ish)) and now is but a blip on the map; and the concepts of economics and psychology, both so important, complicated, and implicative of ‘the meaning of life’, and how a species may go about that question, were both just created within the past 250 years), all it would have to do is blur the ability of ‘the writer’ to make sense of the world around her. If a political power, or: a group of Individuals, wanted absolute power, all they would have to do is hinder the capabilities of its potential subordinates to ‘think’ or ‘will’ ‘sense’.
The ‘writer’/‘philosopher’ conveys personal emotions (and ‘thought’) through the cover of a quasi-reality, or at least a reality meant to represent itself as such, in the mind, in that bridge where the conscious meets the unconscious (Jung). This ability can be psychologically taken away by any number of factors–through stopping the writer from making sense of her feelings, or from feeling anything in the first place (L), or through hindering her ability to create realistic worlds, the list could be quite large–but once it is, people no longer have a guide through which Understanding is presented as not only possible, but also preferable. ‘Power’ is the antithesis to ‘Understanding’; one is based in a primal survival instinct, the other in an intellectual one.
I’ve been working on a satirical crime noir examining the questions of police brutality, political correctness, and gang culture through the eyes of a group of college kids too stupid to know that alcohol consumption impairs judgment. I could get depressed at how difficult it can be given what’s been going on politically lately (as I certainly at times have), or I can use that to make it better. Every time I look at the news, and realize that reality has beaten me to the punch on one of my points, it forces me to reexamine my stance and, far more importantly, the way I’m going about showing it through my ‘fictional’ characters, plot turns and overall story. There’s not much difference between doing that and growing as a human being, novels just tend to take fewer hours to get through than lifetimes (hopefully).
The art of the novel, and its importance, has never been more apparent. The ancient version of ‘why?’ is today ‘how?’ (terminologically speaking). Let ‘them’ show us what the difference is; we’ll show ‘them’ that it’s not about ‘the difference’.

It’s about ‘this’.

Twitter: @RevolutionizedW 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Author Interview: Ted Galdi: Author of An American Cage

Ted Galdi is the author of the bestselling novel Elixir. The book is a winner of a Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and a Silver Medal in the Readers' Favorite Book Awards. Ted is a graduate of Duke University and lives in Los Angeles. He has been featured by ABC and FOX television, iHeartRadio, Examiner, and many other media outlets. His second novel, An American Cage, is set for release Fall 2017.

An American Cage
 Three inmates break out of a maximum-security prison in Texas, one of them Danny Marsh, a suburban kid in his twenties who landed in jail because of a crime he never intended to commit. An American Cage follows Danny and his two escape partners over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico. On this dangerous journey, Danny has to evade the rabid Texas authorities, and even worse, the schemes of one of his closest allies, who isn't who he seems. 

Who are your influences?
My favorite author is John Updike. Unlike me, he wasn't a thriller writer. But the best elements of his work transcend genre. I think any fiction writer would benefit from reading him. His plots aren't necessarily "exciting" per the mainstream definition of the word. They mainly feature everyday people in everyday settings. This, however, leaves him nothing to hide behind, and makes you realize how good of a writer he was. Often, car chases and explosions can divert a reader's attention from bland writing. When reading Updike, something as simple as a man going for a jog can be captivating. The descriptions, constant psychological probing, and subtle tie-ins of common suburban situations to profound philosophical movements make for a unique reading experience.    

When did you begin writing?
"Professionally," with the publication of my first novel, Elixir, in 2014. However, it all started when I was a kid. I wrote a whole bunch of stuff along the way, from short stories to comedy skits to screenplays. I tried selling a few scripts to Hollywood when I was younger. No sales. However, the experience was great. It taught me a lot about "feature length" storytelling and how to structure a longer story through multiple acts, which of course is an essential part of novel writing.  

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
The stories themselves always start with a message. A simple, one-sentence pronouncement of what I want the story to "say." The characters and plot become an extension of that. Like most other writers I assume, I begin my character work with a protagonist. I'll ask myself, "Who's the best person to deliver my message?" Supporting characters often act as weights and counterweights that pull the protagonist in different directions concerning the message. They should serve to show the various sides of the "argument" underpinning the theme. They naturally evolve in my mind once I have an image of the main character fleshed out.
As for names, the most important thing is for them to be a demographic fit with the character, or else they'll seem forced. Culture, geography, age, and socioeconomic status all contribute to a name. It's sometimes interesting to concoct a name as a reference. For instance, if a character is a symbol of something, you can allude to that via the character's name. However, this only works if the name sounds authentic. 
POV choices are important. I try to make them in the broader context of the story, in addition to the "here and now" of a scene. The POV structure of my first book, Elixir, is very different than that of my second, An American CageElixir is a seven-year saga following the protagonist, Sean Malone, all across the globe. He is the central part of the vast majority of scenes and the only character whose internal thoughts are described. An American Cage, on the other hand, takes place over a twenty-four-hour period. I use a variety of POVs in addition to protagonist Danny Marsh's, which I feel adds depth to the pacing of the one-day story.     

Do you work from an outline?
Yes, but not a very detailed one. Outlines are important, but jumping into the story and getting a feel for the characters as they talk and think is also important. A character you initially envisioned one way may change as you get to know her better. It's obviously impossible to anticipate these changes in a pre-draft outline, so investing a lot of time into one can be a waste. At least for me.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy? 
I try to write things that are heart-pumping and thought-provoking at the same time. I see a lot of writing that's one or the other, but very rarely something that's both. Who knows if I'm actually pulling it off. But I'm at least trying.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
When I was a teenager I used to love writing comedy. I'd write up sketches that my friends and I would videotape. Humor is important. Though An American Cage is very much so a serious thriller, I put a few things in there that will hopefully make people laugh. A touch of humor helps balance out the intensity of drama. 

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
I sometimes get asked why I don't use my full name as my author name, i.e., why I go by "Ted" versus whatever Ted is short for. Well, it's not short for anything. My real first name is simply Ted. Not Edward. Not Theodore. Not Thaddeus. Three letters, one syllable. I guess my parents were "into the whole brevity thing."

Book Trailer and First Chapter Preview
Author Facebook Page
Author Instagram Page

Friday, August 11, 2017

Renée's August 2017 FREE eBooks Promo

This weekend, August 12 and 13, is Renée Pawlish's monthly promo, and this time 'round it's FREE eBooks in the mystery and thriller genres. There are 20 titles to choose from, but why choose? Go for it! Download all 20.

You can find all 20 titles at

Sunday, August 6, 2017

First Draft, Campnanowrimo, and My Cocktails

For those who aren't familiar with NaNoWriMo, November is designated as National Novel Writing Month. There is a website dedicated to this tradition in which authors post their project goals, and keep track of their progress, and offer one another support. I have used the site to complete three novels in the past.

In July, the site also runs a kind of camp for other kinds of writing such as scripts and books of poetry. I used the site last month to keep me on track to complete a first draft of a prequel to the Bartering Angel series. That first draft came in at just over 30 k words, but I am still polishing it and adding to it a little. I had initially been shooting for 50,000. Then I reduced the goal to 40,000, but 30,000 turned out to be the entire story in first draft form.

During the month, I also posted my word-count tally and my nightly cocktail on Twitter. I was able to actually come up with 31 distinct cocktails, a different one for each evening. Here are a few of my favorites. They can all be seen on my twitter feed @gamutman

Saturday, July 22, 2017

If You Use Bookfunnel, Here's a Giveaway You Might Enjoy.

In the past, I have told you about a group giveaway hosted by author Anne R. Tan through Instafreebie. This month, Anne is hosting a similar giveaway featured on Book Funnel. Book Funnel is a unique site where readers establish an account through which authors can safely send you direct uploads to your eReader device. There are 27 mystery and thriller novels available for download at no cost.

The giveaway runs from July 21 through the 31st and can be found at this link. I don't have a book in this promo, but I am watching it closely to gauge for future value.

Friday, July 14, 2017

My Progress and Deals For You

  Just a quick note this month to bring you up to date on my progress. I am currently about a quarter to a third of the way through the manuscript for Where Angels Fear, the prequel to On the Side of the Angel. Once I finish that, I will send parts of it around to a few of the other authors involved in the Bartering Angel project for revisions. While they have the manuscript, I will begin work compiling the audiobook version of 8 Tales of Noir.
  When I get the notes back from the other authors I will make corrections, additions, and adjustments to the manuscript and it will be ready for beta readers. By the way, drop me a note if you'd like to be on the beta team for that story.
  Once the betas have had their say, it will be time to send out Advanced Reader Copies, so also let me know if you'd like to be on that ARC team. Hopefully those will be ready sometime in September.


  This weekend is Renée Pawlish's monthly promo. You can pick up a lot of great mystery and thriller reads for just 99¢ by visiting right now.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Audiobook Review: Revelation by Carter Wilson

At a small New York college, two roommates set out to create a religious cult as a social experiment. Soon, however, things take a malevolent turn when the burgeoning Church’s chosen messiah turns out to be a socio-pathological lunatic. Waking to find himself trapped in a sort of dungeon cell like that of John of Patmos, with only a typewriter, a spider, and the rotting corpse of his former roommate for companionship, Harden Campbell sets to work writing his book of Revelation.

Set over a quarter century ago, Carter Wilson’s novel, Revelation, was only published last year, but it could easily have been set in contemporary times. The story toggles between third-person point of view and first as some of the examination of the action puts us in the position of observer, while other chapters are from the perspective of a manuscript being written by the captive, Harden.

Carter Wilson
There are three main characters, our part-time narrator, Harden; his roommate turned tormenter, Coyote; and Coyote’s girlfriend, Emma. The story takes us from Harden’s first meeting with Coyote all the way to a contrived conclusion in which the triangle of Harden, Coyote, and Emma come together to realize Coyote’s penultimate coup de grace, unless a miracle or Deus ex Machina intervenes.

My review is based on the audio version, which I received in exchange for my honest review, and to be honest, I’m not sure how I felt about the choice of narrator, Timothy McKean. It’s not that he did a bad job. On the contrary, he helped give life to the characters and added a sense of reality to the tension, and in the end that’s really all one can ask of a voice actor. But there is a slight Keanu Reeves-like immaturity to the quality of his tone. Another coming-of-age/college-experience story that wasn’t also about a murderous messianic sadist would probably be right in his wheelhouse.

Timothy McKean
As for the story, I have to confess, I have a particular fondness for thrillers which twist the conventions of religion into something distorted and horrifying. The best parts of this story for me were, in fact, the aspects showing how a charismatic sociopath could easily convince enough vulnerable and weak-willed neophytes to follow his promises of lasting happiness and self-improvement. From my perspective, Jim Jones, L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, and Paul of Tarsus are all just variations of a theme representing a template from which Wylie “Coyote” Martin was drawn.

Revelation is a successful thriller the same way that the first season of The Following was a success. We believe that a sociopath with access to vulnerable minds and a fortune in expendable cash could create the illusion that he has a message about the purpose of life. But why wouldn’t we believe that? After all, Joel Osteen and Tony Robbins are real people, and we’ve seen what they have done with the starter recipe. All we have to then do is toss in a little Charles Manson and some Kellyanne Conway. Voila!

Available on Amazon and Audible

Friday, June 16, 2017

Two Promos

Renée Pawlish's promo is this weekend, June 17 and 18; and this time around it's FREE eBooks. You'll find the promo at, and for the one and probably only time ever, the book I have included is my newest title, On the Side of the Angel. This is your last chance to get that title for free, and if you grab one it will help push the book up the Amazon rankings, so we both benefit.

Also this weekend I am participating in a brand new (to me) Instafreebie promo with Book Deals Today. Even if you already have a copy of Five Secrets, the book I've included; you should click on over and check it out anyway as there are probably several new authors you haven't read before. You'll find that promo at

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's Publication Day Tomorrow!

I'm very excited to make this announcement. On the Side of the Angel is going to be released tomorrow, June 7! It's available for the introductory price of $2.99 for Kindle, and it's enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, so it's free with your membership to that program. It will be available wide in three months when the KU enrollment expires, so if you normally read using Kobo or Nook or iBooks or any of the other channels, you'll have to wait just a little longer. Or you can download the kindle app and read it now if you just can't wait.

Meanwhile, if you are one of the ARC team members, you can head on over to Goodreads and post a quick review today, and then tomorrow you can visit the book on your local Amazon site and post another.

And remember, due to FTC guidelines, when posting say something like this straight off:

I received a free copy of this book with no expectation of a biased review.
The following is my honest opinion, although in the interest of full disclosure I did receive a gift copy of the book from the author.

Of course, if you'd rather, you can just leave a stars-only review. Thanks again, everyone, and I hope you all enjoyed reading OtSotA as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear.
  Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.

  Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

To find the book online go to

Saturday, June 3, 2017

It's Instafreebie Time!

Anne R. Tan's monthly Instafreebie giveaway is going on right now, and this time around it features 31 totally free mystery novels yours to claim for just the price of your email address. Simply visit, to claim as many free books as you want, and get on the mailing list for some new favorite authors.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Coelho Medallion by Kevin Tumlinson

In an off-the-beaten-trail location in Colorado, near the borders of Texas and New Mexico, a team of archeologists has uncovered an ancient medallion covered in symbols from various native languages as well as what appear to be Viking runes.  Is this evidence that pre-Columbian European explorers interacted with Native Americans this far into the North American continent? Somebody seems to believe so, and when evidence of a previously uncharted underground river possibly connecting the site to locations further north is uncovered, the speculation and the intrigue kicks into high gear.

The book, The Coelho Medallion, is named for this artifact; the artifact is named for its discoverer, an Hispanic archeologist named Coelho (pronounced Quay-o.) The story is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s Langdon series, the Indiana Jones franchise, and a little bit of the National Treasure movies as well. There are bad guys, heists, chases, an unrealized romantic backstory, a rich playboy/adventurer hero, a damsel in distress, an FBI sidekick, and loads of twists and turns – and I’m not just talking about the underground river.
Kevin Tumlinson

All of the tropes are present, but they are handled deftly and in a way that makes the story feel believable. Everything is told in a third-person omniscient POV, so we never leave our role as observer to become part of the action, and I personally like that. It’s more theatrical – which is just the mood a story like this requires. If the book has a weakness, it’s a dearth of strong female characters. There’s the damsel in distress, Dr, Evelyn Horelica, and the owner of a shady bar who is only in one scene and could just as easily have been a male character, but other than that the main cast of 
players is a sausage party rivaling Twelve Angry Men.

Richard Rieman
The audiobook version is ably narrated by Richard Rieman. He has a rich baritone perfectly suited to the gravitas of the story without distracting from the mood. He sounds familiar and pleasant without sounding generic and chipper. He does, however, have a verbal tell in the way he pronounces the word “room” in what feels to me like a West Virginia accent. And the word seems to appear in the story an inordinate number of times. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice it. Well, you will, now, because I brought it to your attention, but otherwise…

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience, and if it was ever made into a film starring – oh I don’t know – Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Ryan Reynolds, I might watch it – eventually, on cable. Also, I understand that the character, Dan Kotler, is a recurring character with other adventures to his fictional name in the works as well as a prequel novella. Would I read or listen to those? Given the opportunity; absolutely. Would I seek them out though, that’s the real question.  They’re already in my Google Alerts cue.

Friday, May 12, 2017

May Promo

It's time, once again, for the monthly promo hosted by Renée Pawlish. This weekend (May 13 & 14) features 99¢ mystery and thriller eBooks. There are nearly 50 books and a few box sets in the promo, so for under half a C-note you can own over 50 titles.

My own book, Common Sense, the second title in the Lupa Schwartz mystery series is included in the mix.
   Common sense tells Cattleya Hoskin that her reporter ex-husband wouldn't have gone out night-fishing by himself in the middle of an investigation. The unaccommodating local authorities see it differently. In an effort to prove them wrong, Cattleya enlists the help of her private investigator friend, Schwartz, to follow through with Dave’s investigation—theft from the power grid in a small Ohio town.
   The inquiry is complicated by crooked contractors, a menacing white van, and some long-abandoned coal mines and antebellum tunnels. Aggressively loud church bells and the amorous advances of a bounty hunter Schwartz brought in to help add to an already convoluted situation. Yet Cattleya feels she owes it to Dave to figure out what happened to him, for better or for worse.
You can find the promo and links to all of the titles at

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Release on June 7!

All of the final beta notes are back or coming soon. The ARC team has been sent their rough draft copies. Final edits will be completed in the next few days. Then on June 7th, 2017, my latest novel, my first full length thriller, On the Side of the Angel, will be available in paperback and through Kindle Unlimited and on Amazon for Kindle. A few weeks after, it will leave KU and it will be available in wide distribution on all channels; Kobo, iBooks, B&N, everywhere.

On the Side of the Angel is the first in a proposed series of novels featuring the Bartering Angel, a fixer with a private vendetta. The story arc for Angel is epic, beginning in Alaska in the 90s and moving through time and multiple locations to the present day, with each story representing a stop in her journey to revenge and vindication. Here's the description:

   Lina Forman has an assumed name, a vendetta, a résumé of varied skills, and the knowledge to make her a force to fear.
   Known in the criminal underground as The Bartering Angel, a mysterious “fixer” whose help keeps the bad guys out of trouble, she assumes the name Lina when she arrives in the Pittsburgh area in 2005. When the son of a local drug runner murders a convenience store clerk during a botched thrill robbery, Lina must keep him out of jail to prove her worth to the local criminal underground. Despite her elaborate scheme to confound the evidence and mislead authorities, two local cops threaten to disrupt her plans and steer the FBI on a path to avoid her red herrings.
   Can Lina preserve her reputation and make good on her promises before she has to abandon her vengeance, change her name, and start again? Or will a careless oversight expose her secrets?

The eBook will be available for the introductory price of $2.99! You can pre-order now, if you are so inclined, at this UBL. As other installments in the Bartering Angel series are released by other authors, I'll keep you informed or you can check out the series' page at

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Easter Weekend

As I've mentioned before, I'm not a particularly (or at all) religious man, but I enjoy the secular aspects of the holiday and I respect the beliefs of those who observe. It's also a time when many people have time off from their jobs or schooling, and with that time on your hands it's an opportunity to binge your favorite show, to catch up on some current music, or to read some of the literature that's been building up on your e-reading device.

If you're on my beta-reader or ARC team, you should have received an email from me by now with the latest and next-to-final edits of my upcoming release, On the Side of the Angel. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to your remarks regarding your reading experience.

Until next month, happy ham shopping! Oh,and if you have any good leftover ham and boiled egg recipes, send them my way. Let's make this a Dyngus Day to remember!

Easter Freebies!

This weekend is also the weekend of Renée Pawlish's April promo, and this time around it's FREE kindle ebooks. Check out the more than 20 free thriller and mystery titles here on April 15 and 16.

Again the stars have aligned, and Anne R. Tan's Instafreebie giveaway is also beginning this weekend. It runs April 16 through 19, and the more than 30 participating mystery titles can be found here.


And for the first time, Anne has handed off the responsibility to handle the Instafreebie giveaway for thriller titles. Whereas her promo used to be mysteries AND thrillers, now Craig Hart has taken over thriller titles. His promo is hosted here, and all of the thriller titles are available on the same dates as Anne's promo. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Guest Post: Why I wrote the Vanishing Café, by Hana Esselink

Hana Esselink is a Public Relations Consultant, who has worked in Communications for 16 years for public and private sector organisations, charities and individuals. She has worked for organizations with high profile reputations such as the National Audit Office, HMRC and the Food Standards Agency.
Hana Esselink
Hana has helped an East London based artist who was a former businessman, to achieve success in producing two solo exhibitions. One featured on BBC London news and the other received good media coverage in East London.
A creative thinker who relates well to people from different backgrounds and ages, Hana grew up in multi-cultural London – a city that influences her work and writing.  She likes to think and develop ideas outside the box. She is also interested in spirituality and is a devotee of yoga and swimming. A keen traveler who likes to experience other cultures, Hana enjoys writing, art, music, film, cooking, reading a good novel and visiting diverse parts of London, such as Brick Lane.
As a writer, Hana likes to explore the human and metaphysical aspects of life. She is currently writing her second novel, set in the era of Jesus Christ.
Hana currently lives in South Kensington, West London.

The Vanishing Café by Hana Esselink
 The cafe had a metaphysical spirituality, a mystical - almost holy - vibe. It's where Nina had felt most alive. Where she was reborn. There she shed her driven persona as a public relations hack who cared only for the surfaces of things and for getting ahead.
The place was hardly trendy. Dim, indifferently furnished, it existed almost outside time. Oddly, it never even had a name, just a distinctive red canopy. But inside, Nina met people who opened her eyes to the world - to worlds behind the world. Small-p philosophers, Tarot-card readers, wise misfits, inspired eccentrics. Miraculous things took place there. Nina found she could hear what others were thinking. For a few minutes one day, before her eyes, the dowdy room transformed itself into a Buddhist temple. Over time, the cafe transformed Nina. She became more mindful, more receptive...more loving. It was a supernatural experience; a metaphysical awakening. And that let her find love. Nina married Pieter. Reliable, stable, wonderful Pieter. Now, after five years away, she has the chance to revisit the cafe. She has the chance to show him the miraculous place that changed her.But the cafe, once so brilliant with life and spirit, is derelict.And there's a second shock. Pieter, ever the cool rationalist, scoffs at the very idea of the cafe's magical realism. He disbelieves Nina's transformation - the very thing that allowed her to love him.Nina is bereft. Her friends, her teachers, her guides are gone. Suddenly, with the cafe defunct and Pieter mocking it - mocking her! - she's no longer sure of anything.Had that red canopy truly shaded a doorway to higher consciousness? Or had it all just been a supernatural hallucination?And...must her marriage break up over this? If Pieter can't accept this most important, magical truth of her life, could it possibly last?If only the café would suddenly reappear, so that she can convince Pieter of its power and win back his trust!Or can she somehow manage that on her own?

So the question arises: why did I write my novel The Vanishing Café?

It’s a genre that is either classed as magical realism, ‘spirituality’- and whatever that entails or inspirational. I like inspirational because for me, writing that novel felt inspired.

It took me the best part of 10 years on and off to write the book, which was originally called The Butterfly Dance, until I realized that no one would ever understand what that meant and for someone who is a communications professional (I’ve worked in public relations and communications for 16 years) that was a tragedy.

So, I hired an editor to help me reshape the novel and a guy from the States called Mike Alvaer, who is a Kindle expert and we changed the whole thing from the cover design to the title, to parts of the narrative until it flowed better, until it read better, until it just was better.

You see, as a communications professional working most of my career in public sector organizations amongst other places, I was used to being told that we couldn’t talk about certain subjects to the media as some topics were too ‘sensitive’ or the reputation of the organisation had to be protected. There was plenty of red tape, silly politics and bureaucracy along my career path.

That’s when I decided to write a novel about a café in Soho, where the narrator, Nina, would be on a hunt for the ‘truth’. For her, it meant that after the death of her beloved grandmother in India, she realized that her driven persona as a public relations hack was too shallow, that there was more to life. Despite the obvious similarities, I didn’t base the narrator on myself.

Nina wants to know if there is life after death, as her spiritual grandmother told her there was, she is fed up of living a life that only cares for the surface of things and for getting ahead, not for the things that really matter.

At this time, I was also going to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, London regularly. This is every Sunday, listening to people talking about religion, faith, socialism, anything that takes their fancy. People stand on their soapboxes and relay what they feel is most important, their Jesus, their Muhammad, the difference between the Bible and the Quran. Some of the speakers are serious and moody, others joke and want to play down religion. Still others, put each other down for their beliefs. However, for me it was a great way to learn about the search for ‘truth’, it was each to their own. It became a search for our feelings.

At one point during this time, I found a little café in Greek Street in Soho, which is now long gone (replaced by a small corner shop, selling sweets and chocolates and a few other things). During my time there, it was run by an Italian lady and was frequented by a transvestite and a few other regulars. I wasn’t working that summer, so the idea for The Vanishing Café came from this place.

However, I made my story very different. I wanted Nina, my narrator, to have been through something so painful, that she was hungry for a change in her life, a different direction that could pierce her reality after the death of her grandmother. I wanted Nina to create something so vivid in her imagination that no one would ever know if it was true or imagined.

So it was that the café in The Vanishing Café became the place for that transformation, the place where Nina met all the crazy characters who helped change her life. The café is like Dr Who’s tardis, it can transport her to other realities.

The cafe is hardly trendy. In fact it’s dim and indifferently furnished, it exists almost outside time. Oddly, it never even has a name, just a distinctive red canopy. But inside, Nina meets people who open her eyes to the world — to worlds behind the world. These are small-p philosophers, Tarot-card readers, wise misfits, inspired eccentrics. Miraculous things take place in the café. Nina finds she could hear what others are thinking. For a few minutes one day, before her eyes, the dowdy room transforms itself into a Buddhist temple.

Over time, the cafe transforms Nina. She becomes more mindful, more receptive and ultimately, more loving. And that lets her find love. Nina marries Pieter, her Dutch husband. He is reliable and stable, he is wonderful.

The novel begins with Nina and her husband coming back to London, after living five years away in Amsterdam. Nina has the chance to revisit the café again with Pieter, who has never been. She has the chance to show him the miraculous place that changed her. But the cafe, once so brilliant with life and spirit, has closed down and is derelict.

And there’s a second shock. Pieter, ever the cool rationalist, scoffs at the very idea of the cafe’s magic. He disbelieves Nina’s transformation — the very thing that allowed her to love him. Nina is bereft. Her friends, her teachers, her guides are gone.  

Suddenly, with the cafe defunct and Pieter mocking it and mocking her — she’s no longer sure of anything. Had that red canopy outside the cafe truly shade a doorway to higher consciousness? Or had it all just been a hallucination? Nina is starting to think that her marriage can now break up over this. If Pieter can’t accept this most important truth of her life, could it possibly last?

If only the café would suddenly reappear, so that she can convince Pieter of its power and win back his trust! Or can she somehow manage that on her own?

The reader is like Nina’s husband - skeptical and wondering if the café really was as magical as she says. Or was she suffering from too much grief at that time and did that emotion take over her and did she, in fact, imagine it all?

Only the reader can decide if the café really was a place of magic that transformed a woman’s life or whether Nina is indeed crazy in her imagination. Was the café a gateway to a higher energy than ourselves? Nina is defiant that it is, but once again, her emotions may have taken her there.

So it is that the search for the ‘truth’ still continues.


Follow @hanaesselink on Twitter
The Vanishing Café is available on Amazon.