Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ExcerpTuesday:Jeff Marks

Jeff has the privilege of being my last guest poster for 2011. The blog will go on hiatus until January. Happy Holidays everyone.

In this excerpt from my nearly completed biography of Erle Stanley Gardner, I write about the author’s impact on the mystery genre, an impact that Gardner did not realize that he had.

Even if Gardner had not gone on to write 80 Perry Mason novels during his career -themselves an accomplishment in the genre- he would still occupy a place in crime genre history. Between the three multiple book protagonists that Gardner would utilize (Perry Mason, Doug Selby, Donald Lam), he set out the basic rules for the legal thriller today.

While Gardner was not the “inventor” of the legal mystery, he was to it what Edison was to the telephone, the person who refined the instrument and made it accessible to the masses. Genre historians have disputed the identity of the true inventor of the legal mystery; many settle on Anna Katherine Green, whose The Leavenworth Case is aptly subtitled A Lawyer's Story. Melville Davisson Post wrote short stories about Randolph Mason, an unprincipled shyster (a form discussed below in connection with Donald Lam). In the decade preceding the appearance of Perry Mason, Frances Noyes Hart wrote the first of the fictional courtroom dramas, The Bellamy Trial, a story set almost entirely within the confines of the criminal courtroom. Before he created Mason, Selby and Lam, Gardner himself had contributed to the field with his Ken Corning stories.

While all these contributions were important in the development of the legal thriller, it was Gardner who most powerfully influenced this subgenre with his hugely-popular, fast-paced, plot-driven tales of the doings of Perry Mason, Doug Selby and Donald Lam. In most of the books, the plots hinged on points of California law (often drawn from cases in which Gardner had acted as defense attorney). Though heavy on dialogue and spare of descriptive literary passages and characterization, the tales won immense popularity for their legal verisimilitude and clever twists.

With Perry Mason Gardner created the mystery genre's definitive defense attorney protagonist. In the Mason books invariably the legal situation confronting Mason's client looks hopeless, with conviction and a death sentence seeming certain. But after investigating the case himself (sometimes with the aid of a private detective), Mason saves the day for his client by discovering the true murderer. Mason typically reveals all at trial (though in contrast with the television series this also happens at preliminary hearings), wringing a confession from the true culprit or else exposing him/her through the testimony of another witness. 

In his own way, Mason is every bit the archetypal genre character that Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot is. Over the decades, he has come to epitomize the scrappy defense lawyer in fiction and in other media. The entire legal thriller subgenre owes his a debt from Scott Turow and John Grisham to television shows like Law & Order and L.A. Law. None of these would have been possible with Gardner’s tireless promotion of his most famous character.

The Doug Selby tales turned the Perry Mason formula on its head, making the hero not the defense attorney but the district attorney. In the books in which he appears, Selby brings truth to light in the face of determined opposition from the duel malign forces of corrupt government officials/agencies and unscrupulous defense attorneys. 

With the last of Gardner's archetypal characters, Donald Lam, Gardner developed the idea of the shady shyster protagonist. When introduced in The Bigger They Come, Lam has been disbarred for finding a loophole in the law that would allow him or a client to commit murder. After his disbarment, Lam goes to work with Bertha Cool, with whom he takes advantage of this loophole, among others, to save innocent clients. With the help of Cool, Lam perverts justice--as strictly defined by the legal system--in order to achieve a more equitable form of fundamental fairness.
Jeffrey Marks
Check out my website for news about my books and marketing tips of the month
Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s
Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of the Screwball Mystery
Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography -- 2009 Anthony winner

Website: www.jeffreymarks.com 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeffrey-Marks/271929135155

Friday, December 16, 2011

New-Fashioned: How to (Maybe) Sell Books in the Digital Age

By Jenny Milchman


Maybe it’s the time of year, but a lot of writers seem to feel weighed down lately with the effort of trying to sell books. I’m getting emails about how impossible it is to fit everything in, we need thirty hours in a day, that kind of thing.

And I understand. Look at the range of things there are to do—places there are to be—if an author wants to try and cover all the bases.

Blog, guest blog, blog tour. Tweet, update statuses, figure out what the heck Google + is all about. Maintain a website, solicit reviews, host giveaways, try and arrange for book signings, travel to conferences or book fairs. And the list could on. Way on.

As more writers publish independently or with small presses, and as major houses cut back on marketing budgets, it seems that a great deal is resting on the author’s shoulders besides writing the next book.

Even worse than trying to do all of the above, is the fact that nobody really knows what works. Should you kill yourself taking part in a twenty stop blog tour if this doesn’t sell a single copy? It begs the question—what, in the end, are we doing all of this for?

This is a time of year when I think that taking a step back is often required. The holiday bustle sometimes requires a breather. And book marketing is the same. What I’m going to suggest may sound radical. And I’m not going to promise that you’ll wind up selling more books than ever. But you may sell as many as you would by running all across cyberspace, hoping FB friends will spread the word about a great review.

So why don’t we all do this for the next couple of weeks. Let’s stop marketing.

I don’t mean stop tweeting, updating, and posting. I mean stop doing all of that with any intention of selling books. Let’s use social media to be social—to connect. Spend the end of the year trying to catch up on what friends have written. And spreading the word about their books.

Let’s go to sites and talk with readers about which books they loved this year. Read the “Best Of” lists on listservs like DorothyL, and look for books you might have missed. Then weigh in on the discussions about them. Go to GoodReads and join a group that has nothing to do with the genre in which you write. Chat with the people there. If you’re traditionally published, go to a Kindle board and get to know what people who love their e books are saying. If you’re digitally published, go hang out at a bookstore, and talk to the booksellers about what they envision for their stores and e books.

In other words, immerse yourself in this writing/reading life for the pure joy of communing with people who love what you do. Make new friends, and rediscover the pleasure of an unread book.

Then, if you want to, blog or tweet or post about what you did. Start a conversation about what happens when we put down what we’re told to do, or think we have to do, and just partake in what brought us here in the first place.

A shared love of story.

Who knows? You may even sell a book or two in the process.

Happy holidays, and merry reading!

Jenny Milchman is a suspense writer from New Jersey. Her short story ‘The Very Old Man’ has been an Amazon bestseller, and another short piece will appear in the anthology ADIRONDACK MYSTERIES II in fall 2012. Jenny is the Chair of International Thriller Writers' Debut Authors Program. She is also the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, and the Made It Moments forum on her blog. Jenny teaches writing and publishing for New York Writers Workshop and has designed curricula to teach writing to children. Her debut novel, COVER OF SNOW, will be published by Ballantine in early 2013.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Authorsday:Rose Anderson

What drew you to the subject of Hermes Online?

First off thank you for having me here today!

Outwardly, beyond the love story gently guided by divine hands, Hermes Online involves a woman crawling from a pit of self-doubt and despair to realize the words and actions of another do not have power to define her life.

On the inside, I wrote this story after I’d lost a battle. I’d worked for months to save a significant landmark and still the powers that be came like thieves in the night and took the structure down. I'd done everything I could -- sought alternatives, talked to anyone I thought might help. But the deal was already made, and its timeframe prevented me from battling on until reason prevailed or a reasonable solution could be found. The whole thing made me feel small and my work pointless -- what good to landmark anything if in the end someone could destroy it on a whim?

I sat down at my computer and wrote this sentence: What a day, I feel mentally exhausted and strained to my soul.

I stared at it and in that moment I wanted someone to understand the depth of my emotion. More than that, after this long fight, I didn’t want to feel anything. Suddenly my sentence became this: “What a day,” I grumbled, feeling mentally exhausted and strained to my soul.

I had inadvertently created Vivienne, a character working at a job similar to mine and she was having a very bad day like I was. Coincidentally, she faced a landmark coming down too and wanted to tell her story in a way I couldn’t. My personal pain became my character's pain, but she turned it around and got me a love story out of the whole mess. By the time I was done with her life and her world (and her saved landmark), the painful emotion of the loss had diminished.

I wholeheartedly recommend writing as a purge.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?

Of all the things I’ve so recently learned, I wish I’d had an inkling of the amount of time needed to promote one’s own work. There are days when I don’t even get a chance to add a single word to my next novel. I’m too busy promoting the last two!

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?

My varied interests would be number one. I currently dabble or have dabbled in all manner of things. Two would be the fact I’m an information hound and read encyclopedias like other people read magazines. With my interests come years of reading and research to learn all I can about them. I’d say this broad eclectic knowledge base to draw from  helps me a great deal. Three would be I’m also very detail oriented. I can see the smallest detail in the worlds I create, even down to my characters’ variegated shades in the coloring of their hair, to the sound of the fly buzzing on a hot summer day, or the pattern on the wallpaper decorating my character’s homes.

What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

I almost do a sort of stream of consciousness writing where I’ll fall into the zone and write down everything that my imagination sees, and believe me, it sees everything. To create realistic scenes and scenarios, I draw from reality, and reality is often cluttered with details of sights, sounds, textures, smells etc. Seeing such detail that I just mentioned as a strength above, is also a weakness at times. My readers might not care if the wallpaper pattern repeats every seven inches! My mind may see it, and I may write it out while composing the story, but it’s not important. I can’t say I use a strategy per se. I do a heck of a lot of revisions! It’s common for me to eliminate several thousand words when all is said and done.

What’s your favorite quote?

I love a good quote — contemporary, ancient, witty, or solemn etc. I especially love philosophical thought. Combine the two, mmm mmm mmm. It’s like chocolate to me…smooth…creamy…delectable…and I want more. I collect quotes as I collect other words. Every so often someone says something that is so precise and germane to the moment in which it was uttered that it makes me stop in my tracks and absorb it like sunshine. I’ve been keeping favorites for years -- a habit begun in 6th grade, of all places, and it all started with this one by Max Ehrmann. I found it lying on the ground as I walked home from school and thinking on it now I’m able to recall the paper was blue. Imagine the power this little declaration held to a twelve year old standing on the cusp of womanhood and whose childhood just wasn’t making sense anymore. Powerful enough for the woman she became to remember it was blue all these decades later.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Max Ehrmann’s ~Desiderata

Max pointed out the fact I was indeed a part of something larger than I realized. When we’re young, children tend to believe they’re the center of the universe but we’re not. We’re something far more wondrous. The words typed on a typewriter with such firm keystrokes they made braille of several letters on the blue paper, spoke to me. They said, you have a right to be here, and made me believe.

What three things would you want with you on a desert island?

This made me smile Chris. No matter how I came at this question, all I’d see is the Disney movie Swiss family Robinson or the Jules Verne story Mysterious Island. Of course I would arrive with nothing, but a sea chest would wash up on the shore and before you know it I’d have built myself I three-story tree house with louvered blinds for star gazing and running water so I could wash my seashell and coconut dishes. Once I was comfortable in my castaway home, my husband (1) would come and he’d bring a solar panel (2) and my laptop (3), so I could finish my series. :) We’d eventually be found but we wouldn’t want to leave. Our grown kids would come visit by sea plane on occasion.

What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?

I’m fascinated by the world’s religions as they apply to sacred ground. Why were churches built over sacred druid sites, what lay beneath? I plan to visit the British Isles first, then take the channel ferry to Brittany and visit Carnac’s standing stones.

What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

I used to be involved in costumed living history spanning 1680 to 1860. Several times a year, we tried to recreate those time periods as best we could. I love reading historicals for the flights of fancy they are, especially the Regency and Georgian eras. I also love tales of knights and colonials. But the truth of those eras is more than a little off-putting with disease, filth, low standing of women in society, child labor, inadequate diet, lack of medicines etc.

Keeping my rights and freedoms of course, I think a stint in the mid to late Victorian era would be fun. Now there was a romantic age of discovery. After all those years of historical reenacting, I could so easily get into Steampunk where you keep the romantic elements of history and live a retro-futuristic life.

What is your favorite writing reference book and why?

Believe it or not, it’s The Complete Book of Baby Names by Leslie Bolton. You get 100,001 names for your characters complete with meanings, all at the flip of a page. I often name characters by personality or trait.

Who is your favorite character in your book?

In my as yet unfinished, four-years-in-the-making, five-book series, it’s my entire family of exceptional men. Hands down, they are my absolute favorites, so much so, I can’t even pick one over the rest. It’s a collective choice. In Hermes Online, my main man S is a real keeper. Vivienne tells her story in first person so we don’t get a ringside seat in his head like we do for her. Instead we come to understand him through his choice of words. Hermes Online, you see, is a love story that begins with an email. For ¾ of the book, we only know him through his written words. But S chooses his words carefully and those choices speak volumes about him. That’s what makes him stand out, at least for me. If you’re a person who enjoys the romantic notion of men, S is a composite of the best manly characteristics and attributes my mind could envision. I believe his lovely prose will stay with you. It’s stayed with me!

Author Bio:

Have you ever fallen so deeply in love with the characters in a romance novel that thoughts of them linger long after the last page is turned? Have you ever been so completely immersed in a love scene that you'd swear you've just been kissed or more? Meet strong, confident heroines and be seduced by compelling heroes you'll wish were there beside you. Come see how their lives intertwine and through their stories discover love profound. From Hermes Online and Dreamscape, to the passionate stories that follow, I hope to sweep you away on a sensual tide of memorable story-telling.

Hermes Online Book Blurb:

Left bruised and brokenhearted after a cruel breakup, Vivienne Bennet finds herself mired in a world of self-doubt. To her surprise, she receives an email that challenges her to rediscover who she once was. Together Vivienne and the enigmatic S embark upon the world of anonymous internet communication where suggestive emails lead to erotic chat and C2C sends both into the arms of a love they’d believed lost forever.

Rose Anderson’s books can be found in both paperback and ebook on Amazon.com and at online booksellers everywhere. You can also buy them here: http://www.bookstrand.com/rose-anderson

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Joel M. Andre


Chapter 21
Jessica was dead. The words were more of a shocked thought than an actual statement. Disbelief clung to the poor elf’s face.
First it was Kris and now Jessica. The body count was going up and, in his mind, Pepper wondered who would end up the next victim if they didn’t catch the killer soon. But as far as he heard from the gossip around town, there wasn’t even a solid suspect.
The police had all left the area and the body of Kris had been hauled away to the medical examiner’s office. Now he had stumbled upon Jessica’s body, decapitated, with blood blasted all around.
He knew he needed to call the police. They needed to get back here and protect the village. This wasn’t a random incident after all. He wondered what, if any, clues had been pieced together.
Then again, Kringle had told him that the killer they were dealing with wasn’t even human. If that was the case, should he even bother getting the police involved?
There was that female detective; perhaps she had something that could help him. Maybe if he told her what Kringle had told him! Although, perhaps that was a remarkably stupid idea after all. She didn’t even believe that the dead man before her was Santa Claus. How was he going to convince her that a demon was on the loose?
He was standing there, deep in thoughts, when he heard the front door slowly open. The sound of the cold and bitter air as it rushed in and mixed with the warm air. Then softly the door closed again. His ears perked up.
Pepper could hear footsteps hammering onto the hard wood floors approaching him. Not just one pair, but what appeared to be two.
He began to back towards the curtains along the window in the back of the room, and slowly slid behind them. He slowed his breathing, taking low silent puffs of air as needed to avoid being discovered.
The sound of shoes falling on the floor entered the room. The rhythm of the falling footsteps started matching the pace of his beating heart, steady and firm. They stopped short and he heard a woman gasp.
Another voice said something he couldn’t understand, but he could tell it was male. He slowly pulled the curtain back to see if he recognized the individuals.
As his eye slowly crossed the edge of the curtain; he saw a large man he had never seen before and the back of a woman with a badge on her belt. The woman who was investigating the other murder!
“Oh thank God!” he screamed. He tore out from behind the curtains. Arms rose to embrace Lauren in a hug.
Protectively, the ghoul, now in human form lunged at the man. He smacked him hard, knocking him to the ground and pinning him there, protecting his friend Lauren.
“You leave lady alone” the tall man growled.
“Let me go you idiot,” the elf screamed at him.
“Well here is an interesting circumstance.” Lauren spoke up. “Drew, let him go.”
The elf shoved against the large man and jumped quickly to his feet. Brushing his elbows and knees he gave a quick and angry glare at the tall man. He then turned to Lauren.
“I need to tell you what’s going on,” the elf quickly said. “It’s very important I tell you.”
“If you are going to admit to the murders, we need to get a sworn statement, and that’s not something I can do right here.” Lauren responded.
“But I didn’t kill them; I came in only a few moments before you! There isn’t even a drop of blood on me. Jessica was dead when I arrived.” Pepper pleaded.
“Well, then let’s hear your side of the story.” Lauren responded.
Pepper looked at her and began recounting the experience with the spirit in the woods, the anger and the search for answers leading to the discovery of Jessica’s body.
The whole time, Lauren stared at him intently, judging the words he said, and trying to find items that did not mesh up, making notes for questions she still needed answered.
As the investigation continued, Lauren again asked Pepper to repeat the portion about the encounter with the apparition in the woods, studying the details and watching the facial expressions of the elf.
After all was said and done, she realized she believed the elf. Worst of all, it appeared as though there was an unholy evil stalking them in the North Pole.

Book Details:
Genre:Adult Suspense, Mystery, Thriller,Horror
Publisher: Darkcountry Publications
Publication Date: June 13, 2008

Detective Lauren Bruni has dealt with death for her entire life. She has watched it ruin lives, and brought people closer together. Her job taught her to separate fact from fiction.
But on a cold December day, all Lauren had believed in would be shattered and tossed aside. Thrust in a world unlike any she has seen before, she investigates a prominent figure’s grisly murder, and searches for answers along a strange new set of people.

All while a killer watchers her every movement from the background. He waits in the shadows, waiting to strike at her when the time is right.

What is the secret of the death at the North Pole, and what is the larger horror at hand? Life lessons are learned and a realization that sometimes the most real things in this world are the ones we believe in the least. 

About Joel:
Joel M. Andre was born January 13, 1981. At a young age he was fascinated with the written word. It was at fourteen that Poe blew his mind, and Andre began to dabble with darker poetry.

Between the years of 1999 and 2007 Joel was featured in various poetry anthologies and publications. In 2008 he released his first collection,Pray the Rain Never Ends.

Knowing there was something deeper and darker inside of his soul, Joel decided to take a stab at commercialism. Releasing the dark tongue in cheek, A Death at the North Pole, created a dark world among the death of Kris Kringle. Ultimately providing a tale of redemption.

October of 2008 saw Joel release his second book, Kill 4 Me. A tale in which a woman is haunted by a vengeful spirit through text messages and instant messaging.

Taking some time off and doing a lot of soul searching, Joel took things in a new direction and dabbled in the Fantasy Genre with, The Pentacle of Light. The tale dealing with five major races battling for control of Earth, and the acceptance of their God.

Finally, after missing his detective Lauren Bruni, he released the book The Return in October 2009, this time moving the action from the North Pole and placing it in the small Arizona community he was raised in.
Andre’s latest book is The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen about a dead man who seeks revenge on the woman that tormented him in peaceful Northern Arizona.

Currently, he resides in Chandler, AZ.
You can visit his website at www.joelmandre.info

The Next Stop:
December 14th-Guest Post@ I'd Rather Be At The Beach

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

He says, She Says

The Writers’ Life

(He says, She says)

            Collaborating and cohabitating is not the easiest way to write a crime novel, or any novel.

            What you usually need to launch a collaborative writing effort are two people who have close to the same level of writing experience, have similar approaches to telling a story, and can spend long periods in the same room, exchanging ideas without killing each other.

            We had none of that background going for us, except for the no-mayhem part.

            It started one day when J. J. was “between books” and Bette, an RN and artist/sculptor, 

came up with an idea for a book she thought J. J. should write.

             For months the dialogue went something like this:

            “I think you should write this great book.”

            “I don’t want to write that book.”

            To break the impasse, J. J. brought home a ream of paper, pulled an old portable Royal manual typewriter from a closet, and said, “If you think your idea is so wonderful, then you write it.”

            The response, as anyone who knows Bette might expect, was, “Okay! I will!” And she did.

            An underlying goal for Bette was to create a strong nurse protagonist as opposed to the usual doctor-hero approach of most medical thrillers. She also wanted to take a big step away from the nurse-as-handmaiden-to-the-doctor stereotype too often found in books, television, and the movies. Something more like “Nurse Jackie,” but without the nose candy.

            Collaboration was a completely new experience for J. J., who had always worked solo as both a fiction and non-fiction writer. And other writers warned that attempting to collaborate and cohabitate could produce nasty results.

            Big arguments and very tense moments? Oh, yes. About everything -- the meaning and use of various words, how to make dialogue sound like real people, what was or wasn’t a complete sentence, and a few other things here and there that probably should never, ever be mentioned again.

            We quickly learned that to have a successful writing collaboration, it was essential to discuss everything and not let down-and-dirty disputes (we still have them now and then) escalate. Also, it was disastrous to allow individual egos to bar the way to compromise.

            We continue to work at the process, trying different approaches -- each writing every other chapter, adopting specific characters, taking on certain types of situations and settings, and various combinations of these.

            What works best is that after agreeing on a story idea, one of us -- usually Bette -- will write a first draft, with continuous input from the other on plot and character development. Then we reverse roles for the second draft. No matter what crazy course the story-telling takes, we end up sitting down side by side at the computer keyboard, going through the manuscript word by word to create what we hope is the final draft (too it often isn’t).

            The magic of the whole process is that the completed ms. reads as a third voice, neither Bette’s nor J.J.’s. People who know us will insist they can tell who wrote which passage or scene. They’re always wrong. In fact, after a book is completed, even we can’t always tell who wrote what.


            To date, we’ve written five novels together -- four medical thrillers and a suspense-adventure -- without killing or seriously maiming each other.

.           Our first collaboration was BONE DRY, a medical thriller described by Publishers Weekly as “not for the squeamish.” This was followed by HEIR TODAY…, a suspense-adventure that was compared favorably with the Nick and Nora Charles books. Both were published by Five Star, and are now available as e-books.

            This past August, we independently published SISTERS IN SILENCE, another fast-paced medical thriller, as both an e-book and trade paper back.

            We’ve discovered that there are incredible advantages to writing and sleeping together: having a wonderful, supportive companion at writer/fan conferences; not being lonely on book-signing tours; and, most important, having someone always there for you when you wake up with an idea in the middle of the night.


# # #


Bette Golden Lamb
J. J. Lamb

          Bette Golden Lamb and J. J. Lamb are the co-authors of three crime novels. Most recently, SISTERS IN SILENCE, a medical thriller about a fertility counselor who has gone off the deep end; HEIR TODAY…, a fast-paced suspense/adventure featuring a husband-wife team “reminiscent of Nick & Nora Charles;” and BONE DRY, a high-tension medical thriller described as “not for the squeamish.”

            They combine collaboration and cohabitation in an air of creative exchange in their Northern California home.

            When not writing, either with J. J. or on her own, Bette, unmistakably from the Bronx, can be found in her studio playing with clay -- she is a professional ceramist, sculptor, and artist. (www.bettegoldenlamb.com) whose creations appear in regional, national, and international exhibitions. She’s also an RN, and a devoted gardener.

            “As an RN, I wanted to write medical thrillers that put nurses smack in the center of a story,” she says. “Most such novels have MDs as the protagonist, when in reality doctors sort of breeze in and out of a hospital a couple of times a day, while nurses run and control the hospital environment.”

             J. J. is a former newspaper reporter, Associated Press staff writer, trade press correspondent, and freelance journalist. His journalism career was interrupted early on by the U.S. Army, which provided him with a Top Secret clearance, locked room with table, chair, and typewriter, and time to write short stories.

            The stories evolved into an original paperback series featuring Las Vegas-based PI Zachariah Tobias Rolfe III. Then came collaboration with Bette on their current series of books. He’s also a proud and skilled jack-of-all-trades, typical of a born-and-raised Hoosier (www.jjlamb.com).

            Between them, the Lambs belong to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the same writers critique group for the past 19 years. In addition to the successful launch of their latest co-authored thriller, they are looking forward to the publication of new individual novels - an Urban Fantasy from Bette, and a new Zach Rolfe caper from J. J. And there is another medical thriller in the works.

Sister in Silence

            Fertility counselor Zondra Vesey is not a serial killer -- she’s on a mission, a noble mission.
            For ten long years she has slaved to help make one man a star specialist in the highly competitive field of infertility treatment.
            Her thanks? Woman after woman sleeps in his bed, fills his personal life -- as she once did.
          Instead of loving her, his surgeon’s hands sliced her open, mutilated her insides, and left her sterile, as barren as the women who flock to him for the miracle of motherhood; the women she counsels.
            Now, Zondra is angry, grief-stricken, and frilled with sorrow -- a deadly mission burns deep within her.
            She will, she must, save her sisters from their suffering.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: John J. Smith

“Veronica–Veronica Williams?” Jared said in a surprised manner.

She turned to him, hesitated for a long moment while fighting a severe case of nervous jitters that she hadn’t expected. She went from being angry to being nervous as she boarded an emotional roller coaster.

She feigned surprise. “Jared?”

He smiled a warm smile. “I thought that was you–how are you?”

She touched her neck as she tried to conceal her nervousness and answered in a choppy and rapid manner, “I’m fine, good, and you?”

He proffered his hand, hoping for a moment when they might touch, but she didn’t offer hers back, she merely stood in silence as he continued, “Good. How have you been?” She didn’t answer. “What’s it been, twenty years now?”

Too nervous to talk, Veronica nodded. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, cleared her throat. “Twenty years last June.”

He flinched. He couldn’t believe that she remembered the date. He always assumed that he was the only one who had remembered every moment that they had spent together, every moment that they had spoken on the phone, and every silly note that they had passed to each other in the hallway when they were between classes. Each date, event, note, and conversations were deeply etched into his mind. Especially the love he had felt for her.   ...

They stared at each other in a long silent awkward moment, neither knowing what to say or do next.

Jared looked to the gate, glancing at the ticket agent as she updated the time of departure on the board. When he turned back to Veronica, he noticed that she had never let her gaze roam, and smiled at the thought.

Jared asked, “Can I buy you a drink, a coffee, coke, beer, or something?”

Veronica hesitated. She was in no mood for this. That was the last thing she wanted. “I better not.  ...

Jared glanced at to a table that was near the entrance. “If we sit there we’ll be able to see the gate, and hear the announcements”

Veronica hesitated. She really didnt want to. Why should she, he dumped her. Why should she give him another chance?  ...

“Please, Jared softly whispered. “Id love to visit with you for a few minutes. He turned to the window. From the looks of it, the snow isnt going to let up anytime soon, and I dont know if youre going to Dallas or just passing through, but I have good word that an ice storm has hit Dallas shutting down the airport.

Unable to control her anger, Veronica furiously snapped, Arent you just a plethora of bad information.

                                                                                                                             Page 1 of 2

Delayed Flight Description:

Publisher: DarkRedPress

Category: Romance, Mystery

Date: January 1, 2011

Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Nook: 300 Pages

After 20 years, two former childhood sweethearts meet and discover that the love they had for each other never died. (Woman) painfully realized that it had been her own father that had come between them forcing her to live a nightmare of separation rather than her schoolgirl dream of "ever after" with her sweetheart. 

About John Smith:

John writes under two names John J. Smith and pen name Jonathan Black. Why does he do this?  He has been told when a reader sees his work they have an expectation, hence the two names. He has won several awards under each name.

He has been called a prolific Fiction writer. he enjoys writing romance and mainstream as John and paranormal and paranormal romance as Jonathan.

Several of his novels have been converted or rewritten into screenplays; for which he has also have won several awards.

John J. Smith resides in Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why I Write

How do I write?

Like many writers, I find it difficult to find time to write. Most of us have day jobs, and in today’s economy, most employees are putting in many hours, and fighting the fatigue that goes along with that. However, it is still possible to find time to write. I have several strategies that I use.

I frequently get up a half hour early and go straight to the computer. Making writing my first daily priority works well for me.

If I need to write at another time during the day, I use music to activate the right side of my brain and put myself in the mood of the story. I have a couple of “right brain” tracks that serve this purpose well. If I need to think of the plot, or find myself stymied with the progression of the story – I’ll put on my soundtrack from Phantom of the Opera. Those first notes from the organ get the thoughts flowing.

I have a couple of close friends who function as my muse. One of them is my husband, and I have a few other acquaintances who also fill this role. Most are male, and I find this interesting because they all approach life very differently than I do. I’ll discuss the story with them, and they frequently have ideas or perspectives that I’ll incorporate into the novel. I am kind of surprised at how well my husband does this, because he is not a writer. But – he is a reader of mysteries.

I write from several points of view in my novels. I literally imagine myself “inside the head” of the particular character I’m writing about. If I’m describing action, I imagine the scene around me, how I would be seeing and feeling it, and I try to get that mental picture to the page.

These are my strategies. They work for me, once a actually sit in the chair, and begin to write.


                C. L. Shore is a health care provider and educator. She grew up reading the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series and remains an avid fan of the mystery genre.

Her first mystery, Seeker of Truth, was published by Eternal Press early in 2011. The novel takes place in Indianapolis following the world’s largest half-marathon. She is currently finishing Maiden Murders, a mystery involving a serial killer and a thousand-year-old assassination.  

C. L. Shore lives in Indianapolis with her family and an ornery tabby cat. She continues to read mysteries whenever she has the chance.  Visit her website at www.clshoreonline.com.