Monday, June 22, 2015

Featured author: Janet Evanovich

#1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich's quirky, unique writing style is the kind of writing that lures readers in and then keeps them there book after delicious book. Her upcoming release, Tricky Twenty-Two comes out in November and is currently on preorder right now on Amazon

Back in 2011 I asked her to guest on my blog, and she graciously agreed to answer a few questions.

1. In the beginning of your career when you were rejected, what motivated you to keep going instead of giving up?

I actually did give up. I wrote three books and just couldn't seem to get published. I burned all my rejection letters and went out and got a temp job. But four months into my new secretarial career I got a call from an editor wanting to buy my last manuscript.

2. Was there one piece of advice you received from an agent or someone in the business in the early days that improved your writing or helped you to eventually get published, and if so what?

There wasn't one piece of advice that helped me get published, but after I was published an editor told me to never hold anything back for the next book. Always put all your good stuff in the book you're writing. I think that's good advice. 

CB: This is one of the best pieces of author advice I've read. Not holding back creates some of the most compelling chapters sometimes. 

3. When your first books were rejected, did you do anything to different with the next book (the first one to be published) that made all the difference, and if so what?

Those first books were mostly about me teaching myself. Typically, a rejection letter doesn't come with a lot of criticism, constructive or otherwise. It's usually pretty much just a "no."


Friday, June 19, 2015

Four Great Thrillers, .99 EACH!

What's better than one $0.99 book?

FOUR $0.99 books! Fill your e-reader for less than $4!

We've banded together to bring you four of our thrilling novels (because with the heat wave we've got going on, we all could use some chilling goosebumps to cool us down, right?). Read about each book below, and pick each up at your favorite ebook retailer for $0.99. Happy reading!
All Good Deeds (Lucy Kendall #1) by Stacy Green
Lucy Kendall doesn't believe she's a serial killer. She simply eradicates the worst of society and brings justice to the innocent–the children she failed to protect during her decade in Child Protective Services.

A missing child sets off a chain of events linked to a suspect in a life-changing case in Lucy's past. Her chosen path is terrifying–but the search for the kidnapped child pulls her into web of evil and malice beyond her darkest imagination. 
Get your copy: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Blood Stained (Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers Book 2) by CJ Lyons
Just your average Pittsburgh soccer mom, baking brownies and carrying a loaded forty-caliber Glock...

Until recently Supervisory Special Agent Lucy Guardino was a shining star in the FBI's roster. But after killing a man and disobeying orders, Lucy's been sidelined, chained to her desk. When a mysterious letter arrives hinting that, thanks to Lucy, the wrong man was blamed for a string of serial rapes, kidnappings, and killings four years ago, Lucy jumps at the chance to re-open the case—despite orders to leave well enough alone. What Lucy doesn't know is that what happened four years ago was all a lie, fueled by sacrifice and betrayal, designed to shield the real killer.

With the lives of her family, a group of innocent children, and the future of one desperate boy at risk, Lucy races to stop an innocent from killing and a killer from butchering more innocents. 
Get your copy: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo 

Secret Justice: A Judge Willa Carson Mystery Novel
(The Hunt For Justice Series Book 3) by Diane Capri
Tampa’s free-spirited Judge Wilhelmina Carson returns in the third installment of this well-loved series. During Tampa’s annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival, murder chases Judge Willa’s beloved secretary into a world of corruption, bank fraud, and art theft while Willa’s dad, Jim Harper, suffers hell of his own making.

Just as Willa is recovering from the shock of meeting her father’s new trophy wife, her secretary Margaret Wheaton becomes mysteriously involved with a nefarious jeweler. When both Margaret’s husband and the jeweler end up dead, Margaret is the number one suspect. Judge Willa sets out to prove Margaret innocent and takes the reader on a ride through Tampa’s month-long pirate party, with twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end: whodunnit?
Get your copy: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

I Have a Secret (Sloane Monroe Book 3) by Cheryl Bradshaw
No one knows the value of keeping a secret more than Doug Ward. But after washing the past twenty years down with a smooth glass of whisky, his steely resolve has started to crack. And he doesn't want to keep quiet. Not anymore.

When dried blood is found on the deck of the cruise ship where Doug was last seen, private investigator Sloane Monroe finesses her way into the surveillance room, sees Doug's bloody body heaved over the railing.

How many more will die before Sloane uncovers the biggest secret of all?
Get your copy: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
Grab 'em before they're gone! Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Grayson Manor Haunting .99 THIS WEEK ONLY!

This week only get Grayson Manor Haunting, 
book one in my Addison Lockhart Ghost Story Series for .99. 

When Addison Lockhart inherits Grayson Manor after her mother's untimely death, she unlocks a secret that's been kept hidden for over fifty years. For Addison, it seems like she's finally found the house of her dreams...until the spirit of Roxanne "Roxy" Rafferty comes to call. Who is Roxanne, why is she haunting Grayson Manor, and how will Addison's connection reveal a key to her own past that she thought no longer existed? 


Monday, June 8, 2015

Featured Author: Vincent Zandri

My friend Vincent Zandri is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author of more than nineteen novels. This week he announced he's a Shamus Award finalist this year for his novel Moonlight Weeps. His newest novel, Everything Burns, already has over 400 five-star reviews. 

I asked Vince to share his advice for aspiring writers, and this is what he had to say: 

The Sawmill Period
By Vincent Zandri

Inspiration…where does it come from?

The answer is as complicated as it is simple, since there really is no one answer. I don’t really think of my job in terms of inspiration, since it’s what I do Monday through Friday, eight hours a day (half a day on Saturday), whether I’m inspired or not. For certain, when you are just starting out, you’ll need to feel inspired because more than likely, you’ll be holding a full-time job while trying to find the time to write for free. This takes a lot of effort and sacrifice and those two things require one to be inspired by more than just a cup of Maxwell House.

When I was starting out, I had just gotten married (at 23! Yikes!), and soon we had a child to care for. So that meant I had to put food on the table and figure out a way to develop myself into some kind of a writer. I knew that inevitably I wanted to write fiction full-time, but I was also realistic in that I had to justify the many hours I put in by getting paid for it, no matter how humble the paycheck. That meant taking on all varieties of freelance journalism, reporting, and stringing gigs.

On any given week back in 1991 I might be covering some high school football games for the local Times Union Newspaper, writing a fishing feature for Game & Fish Magazine, and going through the agony of writing a short story for any number of journals like Negative Capability, Fugue, or Maryland Review. I was also working a construction job. Of course, these were the days before the Internet so all submissions had to be sent snail mail along with SASEs to which a half dozen or more stamps would be pasted. During that same week, I would collect maybe a dozen or more rejections (I recall how the manila envelopes would return bent and torn, forced into the mailbox, as if the rejecting editors physically beat the story to a pulp). But that never stopped me from setting my alarm for 5AM, sometimes 4:30AM so I would have time to write before work. 

To this day, I don’t know how I survived those times, but I’m sure they took an enormous amount of inspiration, drive, and energy. They were analogous to the young unknown Hemingway writing in utter poverty above a sawmill in Paris. I think it’s important that all writers experience their “sawmill” period. If you can get through that…the rejections, the poverty, the exhaustion…then nothing will stop you.

Today, I write full-time, and enjoy lots of contracts both major and small. I’ve sold close to a million copies of my books and this year I’m nominated for both a Shamus and an ITW Award for Best Original Paperback Novel (Moonlight Weeps). But that doesn’t mean my work doesn’t get rejected from time to time even at this stage of this impossible game (although now a rejection from one house usually means another will pick it up!).

So is it difficult to find inspiration almost 25 years after my personal version of the “sawmill” period?

Not at all. I’m still a fan of writers and the writing life. I’m still a reader and I still have heroes, some of whom are my contemporaries. One day I hope to write dialogue as perfectly as Charlie Huston, for instance. Writing is a craft that is always developing and as a professional writer that entails growth. Steady growth takes more than sitting at your desk for eight hours a day. It also means getting out of the house sometimes for months at a time. Travelling to new and strange locales, upsetting your comfort zone, getting lost. It’s hard on the love life (I’m twice divorced). But then, writing isn’t a job or a hobby, it’s a calling. A priestly calling. Like God, you devote your life to it. For better or for worse.

So the “sawmill” is long gone, but the sound of the blade tearing through the wood is not silenced. I still hear it every time I sit down at my writing desk on a cold, dark, lonely winter morning, and lock eyes with the blank page.

Vincent Zandri is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of nineteen novels, including Everything Burns, The Remains, The Shroud Key, and Moonlight Weeps, the Finalist for ITW’s 2015 Best Original Paperback Award and the Finalist for The Shamus Best Original PI Novel Award. A freelance photojournalist, he is also the author of the blog The Vincent Zandri Vox. He lives in New York and Florence, Italy. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Get I Have a Secret for .99 in June!

This month only, I Have a secret has been reduced from $5.99 to .99 as a special promotional offer I'm running for the month. 

No one knows the value of keeping a secret more than former high school prom king Doug Ward. But after washing the past twenty years down with a smooth glass of whisky, Doug's steely resolve has started to crack. And he doesn't want to keep quiet--not anymore. 

When dried blood is found on the deck where Doug was last seen, Private Sloane finesses her way into the surveillance room and sees an image she'll never forget: Doug being stabbed repeatedly, then heaved over the railing of the cruise ship, his body plunging into the icy depths below. 

How many more will die before Sloane uncovers the biggest secret of all?

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