Thursday, April 24, 2014

Meet & Greet with Richard Parry (Night's Favour) @TactualRain #AmReading #Thriller

Where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s possible our house was built on an old industrial spill, with some toxic chemicals that leached up through the loam and into our very bones.  If that’s the case, I’ve been super unlucky with living in houses built on old spill sites, because I’ve had weird ideas since as long as I can remember.
It could have easily have been something baked into the old Crayola crayon set I had when I was a kid.  It’s hard to be sure — was there ever a recall?  How do they make those colours?
I read a lot.  I watch a lot of movies.  I talk to people who read a lot and watch a lot of movies. I like taking something that’s a little familiar to people — say, a nice werewolf legend — and then sprucing it up with a bit of industrial magic, a virus or two, see where it goes.
Ideas are not something I’m short on.  How many of them are good ideas is probably a bit subjective, but I feel like I could sit down and write books until the end of my days, until the tips of my fingers were worn away, and not hit the bottom of the barrel.
I just want to do those ideas justice.  I want the stories to be fun and insightful — I don’t want to start writing without a good idea about the story that wants to be told.  I try and ask myself, what makes this story different?

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Getting published, by a long shot.
Marketing, there’s some dudes out there who can help you, if you’re unable to do it yourself.  Lots of companies and people exist with a special flare for this — heck, this interview here is a great example.  Generous people, with a real talent for helping you get visibility?  They’re out there.
Writing is probably the easiest part, for a writer.  If it’s not, you might be in the wrong profession.  I don’t want to come across as conceited, but this is the thing we’re doing here.
The publishing part is still shrouded in mystery.  I figure I’d have a better chance of getting a deal with Tor if I did some Pagan rituals in my back garden: it’s not like the path is clear.  Every so often a major publisher will throw open their doors: Angry Robot, or Harper Collins, or whatever.  This is rare, though, and you’re up against a fair level of noise in that funnel to get noticed.  I can just imagine some poor bastard at Angry Robot, trying to sift through the manuscripts, and in a fit of rage dumping their entire desk into the trash.  If you’re that guy, I’m sorry.
To get a real shot, it feels like you need to get a good agent, and finding a good agent is just as hard a tower to climb.  There’s no easy path, no three-step process, no recipe for how to bake that cake.
I suspect this is in part why I lot of people go indie.  It’s not that indie makes you more successful, but with indie you get your product out there, and people can actually read it.  And they can read it before one of our Earth years have passed.  Fuck sake, but have you seen some of the publisher submission timelines?  6 months before they let you know if they like it, and another 18 months before it’ll be on a shelf.  And a lot of contracts are really unbecoming, very biased in favour of the publisher.  There’s no partnership there, no win-win, and there’s a real problem in a contractual relationship where both parties aren’t out for the equal success of the other.  Publishers?  If your contracts look like you’re treating your writers like cattle to be farmed, they’re going to stampede away.
Compare that to click-to-print with an indie system, and you can see the attraction.  Maybe your book isn’t at your corner store, but unless your surname is King it’s probably not going to be anyway.
I digress, but yeah: publishing.  I think that’s still an area needing a bit of work.  And there’s tremendous opportunity here: you see companies like Penguin and Random House merging in response to market pressure.  People are going to crash and burn in this new future we’re already inside.  And yet: publishers are uniquely suited to be able to still serve as a robust quality gate for content, if only they shift the model significantly in the favour of win/win for authors and themselves, think about the outcome for the customer, and adopt a more rapid distribution system.  Sure, I’m simplifying for the sake of a pithy paragraph, but the success stories of the next five years will be told by publishers who’ve made the shift from their traditional model.

What marketing works for you?
Generally, it’s been word of mouth, and reviews.  The more reviews, the better the success, but those only start with a few people who know you, willing to give you a shot.
You’d be surprised how many people who know you are really uncomfortable with reading your stuff.  What if they don’t like it?
I try and let people know there’s no obligation, that not every book is for everyone.  I get that it’s creepy and weird to write a review for someone that you know.  You give a four-star review to them, and suddenly the de-friend you on Facebook, kill your cat, and burn down your house.
It should have been five stars, asshole.
I get that.  But it’s still great marketing, to have people in your corner, telling people about this great new read they found.
It makes sense: of the last ten books I’ve read, eight of them were recommendations by people I know.  I learn their tastes, where those tastes align with mine, and pick a book based on what they say.  Sometimes I’ll get a book by randomly surfing through Amazon’s recommendations, but that seems fraught with peril, noisy, and subject to some weird analytics that I don’t quite grok.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
Those first drafts, sure.  I’ve got some beta readers who are awesome, there is no amount of money or sexual favours that can make up for the first drafts some of them read.
Once the draft starts to gain a bit more coherency, I find it easier to share — I’m proud of the thing I made, and I’m happy to put it out there.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
Beyond all reason and sanity, yes.
Some of the people I know kind of tilt their head sideways when I tell them I’m a writer, that I write novels, and they kind of say, “Really?”  Like it’s a thing you catch from doing unwholesome things in Thailand.
But those people aren’t really friends, more acquaintances.  Friends and family have my back, fully, and do things that are unexpected.  They send me articles on writing, or publishing.  They share their thoughts and ideas with me, and listen with endless patience about my ideas.  They’ll read excerpts that I throw at them and provide feedback.  I can bounce off half-formed ideas and they’ll be there with a catcher’s mitt, ready to help even though it’s not quite fair, that they don’t have all the pieces.
Speaking of patience, they are all enthusiastic about my next work, and claim impatience for it to be delivered.
It helps.  It helps a lot.  It’s fair to say that I write for me, because it’s a thing I enjoy and that I want to do.
But I can’t help but think that my stories want to be read by other people.  And if my friends and family like those stories, even if the rest of the world doesn’t?  It’s okay.  That’s enough.

Do you plan to publish more books?
You couldn’t stop me if you tried.
Okay, before someone steps up with a big CHALLENGE ACCEPTED shirt and cuts off my fingers, there are probablyways you could stop me.  Let’s not go down that road.
I have a current plan to release a new title about once a year.  A lot depends on the title, and how much work’s needed.  For example, Night’s Favour is about 108,000 words, give or take, and I know how long that took to write. Upgrade is looking to be more like 150,000 words.
The complexity ramps up. I look at books like REAMDE by Stephenson, and I’m not quite sure how he does it, to keep coherence throughout.  I’m sure Stephenson has a brain the size of Mars, but still, the editing process must belegendary.
That aside, I have four more books to be released about one-a-year to make a five-for-five plan.  I’ve got a few people asking for a sequel to Night’s Favour, and one of those books is that sequel — you’ll get your story, to find out where Val and Danny go, what John does with his life, where Carlisle ends up.  One of them will be a sequel toUpgrade.  I don’t want to say too much about that, as it’ll spoil the surprise, except to say that I plan to deliverUpgrade in a full complete story when it’s done.  It’ll stand alone without a sequel: the tale will be complete, and you’ll be able to choose — as with Night’s Favour — whether you want to dip a toe into the sequel.
The fifth book is a new thing for me — it’ll be my first book with a female lead.  This one is going to be the hardest one of them all to write, because (being a male human) I don’t easily understand what life’s like to be a woman.  I hope the book doesn’t suck.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I used to say that I played piano in a whorehouse, because it was more honourable than my actual job, until someone asked me to play a tune.
I can’t play the piano.
“Something in computers,” is my usual answer.  I work for the government, with the usual bunch of Top Men*, trying to help make realistic investment planning advice in information systems, along with planning for disruptive innovation.
* ObIndy
It’s a little less awesome than it sounds.
Totally, it pays the bills, and pays quite well.  But the skills aren’t easily transferrable: it’s not like all that business writing maps to a page of character-driven storytelling.  And the biggest challenge is keeping my head straight, my creativity on tap, to generate good stories.
Mostly what I want to do when I get home is drink.  That’s not great for creativity.
I’d love a job where I could work part-time, a couple days a week.  I only need so much money to survive, and I’d much rather write — even if it pays poorly — most of the time.  It’s nice to dream.

What other jobs have you had in your life?
For a few years I worked as a consultant.  That’s kind of interesting, if you don’t mind having your brain fried on a sort of hourly basis.
The way I pitch consulting is a bit like this: imagine you’re walking on a tightrope.  You’ve got to get to the other end, and someone’s shooting at you.  Along the way, someone sets fire to the rope, and it’s about to break.  You, and only you, have the skills to repair that rope.
And you can’t walk a tightrope.
That’s kind of what it’s like.  It’s exciting!  But it’s not something I can handle for more than two or three years at a throw.  I wouldn’t mind doing more of it, but again, in brief spurts.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I’ve thought about this a surprising amount.  It’s one of the things I’d like to do: when I retire, spend the rest of my days at a university learning stuff because it’s cool, not because it’s something to monetise.
My early answer would have been Philosophy, but now I think it’d be Religion.  Most of the things I find interesting are about people and how they work, and much of the way the world is today is about what people believe, and have believed, throughout history.  Understanding how all that fits together — or at least getting a bit of insight into it, if not the whole thing — would be a lot of fun.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
It might be somewhere mediterranean.  I loved Italy, the people, the food, the climate.  There’s not much to not like about the place, except for serious things like the economy and the government.
Failing that, somewhere quiet.  It’d be nice to have a house on the edge of a remote lake, a fridge of beer and a satellite uplink, to spend my days how I choose.  I’d write, and probably fish a little.  I never catch anything, but I don’t think that’s why people go fishing.

Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Rating – R16
More details about the author
 Connect with Richard Parry on Facebook & Twitter

#MustRead #Fantasy #Excerpt from HIGH MAGA by Karin Rita Gastreich @EolynChronicles

During her sixth year, Rishona took to appearing in the east atrium where the men gathered to practice weaponry. She watched them without pause, her hair falling in ebony ringlets against her rounded cheeks, lower lip protruding in a frown of concentration. After they finished, she would followed Mechnes toward the baths, running to keep up with his stride as she tugged on his cloak and begged to learn how to use the sword. Every morning he laughed and sent her away. This game continued for about a month, her pleading and him refusing, until one day his amusement provoked her tears, and without warning she sank against the pale stone wall, weeping as if the world were about to come to an end.
Moved by his niece’s distress, Mechnes knelt beside to her and explained in very clear terms why she had no need for weaponry. She was a girl after all, and a princess besides, and therefore destined to have many armed men at her disposal—not the least of whom would be her husband – who could fight and die for her.
Rishona’s sobs only intensified.
“But you must teach me!” she insisted. “The Ones Who Speak told me so! It must be you, or I will never—”
She stopped wide-eyed and clapped her hands over her mouth. An unfamiliar chill settled in Mechnes’s heart. It was heresy, the worst possible crime, for a child to claim she could hear the Ones Who Speak. The Syrnte were not granted the gift of visions until the age of thirteen, when those chosen by the Gods were cleansed of all shadows by the hot breath of Saefira. Children who insisted on lying about such things were removed from this life, sacrificed to the hungry goddess Mikata, that she might teach them obedience in the world beyond. Rishona knew this, and she watched him now in terror.
“That’s not what I meant,” she whispered. “It wasn’t them at all.”
Mechnes took her small hands in his, noting they were icy cold. “Tell me what they said, Rishona. I promise I will not reveal your secret to anyone.”
She swallowed hard, eyes wary yet expressing a need for his complicity and protection. It was the first time, he remembered now, that the sweet curve of her face had touched his heart. “They said I am going to avenge my mother and my father, and that I will be queen of two kingdoms. But none of it will come to pass if you do not teach me.”
Rishona was an undisciplined child, but she was not prone to lying. Mechnes heard the conviction in her voice, and understood she spoke the truth. That same day he took her back to the atrium and put a wooden sword in her hand.

Lands Ravaged. Dreams destroyed. Demons set loose upon the earth.
War strikes at the heart of women’s magic in MoisehĂ©n. Eolyn’s fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.
Devastated yet undaunted, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. But even a High Maga cannot survive this enemy alone. Aided by the enigmatic Mage Corey, Eolyn battles the darkest forces of the Underworld, only to discover she is a mere path to the magic that most ignites their hunger.
What can stop this tide of terror and vengeance? The answer lies in Eolyn’s forgotten love, and in its power to engender seeds of renewed hope.
HIGH MAGA is the companion novel to EOLYN, also available from Hadley Rille Books.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Kobo
Genre – Epic Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Karin Rita Gastreich on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A.F. Ebbers on His Favourite Chapter to Write #AmReading #Suspense #Mystery

I really enjoyed writing the exciting scenes in the first chapter. As an airline pilot and a graduate of the aircraft accident investigation school at USC, the idea of a cabin explosion and decompression in flight always intrigued me and the options available to an airline crew when one occurred. My annual military training in a simulator required undergoing a rapid decompression inside our pressured simulator. I always remember the foggy atmosphere that erupted inside the simulated trainer when decompression occurred.
I recall reading about the terrible incident that happened on a Boeing 747 flight to Australia  a number of years ago at 23,000 feet when a cargo door blew out in flight and nine passengers were ejected from the fuselage out through the opening.  Depression explosives are rare but sometimes deadly when they occur.
The main problem is, outside of the possibility of severe airframe damage, is that at a high altitude, in a pressurized aircraft cabin the air rushes out the opening until the air inside the cabin equals the outside air pressure. At altitude, say at 30 or 40 thousand feet, the difference between the two can be great, causing the sucking rush of air, momentarily taking everything not tied down out the aircraft hole. The suction is brief and ceases to stop when the inside and outside air equalizes.
This happened a number of years ago to a Hawaii airline when metal fatigue ripped a portion of the upper top roof of the airliner.  That not only endangered the integrity of the airframe but caused a flight attendant to lose her life when she was ejected out through the opening.
The copilot on that flight later flew with a captain friend of mine on another airline and he learned the details of everything that went on inside the cabin after the decompression. He passed these details to me. So in my story, I was able to describe an accurate scene in my fiction story.
And I added a number of additional realistic problems to the story that I knew could happen when airframes suffer damage like that. I almost could feel myself in the captain’s left seat trying to overcome these problems to get the crew and passengers to a safe landing. During a desperate attempt to make it to a safe landing field, parts of the damaged airframe which sent vibrations throughout the aircraft, flew into one of the two jet engines and caused the engine to catch on fire. The landing gear and flaps became inoperative and the captain had to descend to thick fog that dropped to 200 feet above the ground with visibility less than a quarter mile. Plus he had to touch down without a landing gear at a high speed to keep the wings level.
Did he make it? Read the chapter and find out.

Airline Captain Frank Braden is being stalked by unknown assailants who must arrange his death to look like a suicide or an accident before a specific deadline. He receives an unsigned message warning him against attending a Senate hearing in Washington. If he agrees, he will receive a million dollars and his wife’s life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating – G
More details about the author

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jennie Goutet 's #WriteTip on Why Blogging is Important @ALadyInFrance #Memoir #GoodReads

I know people on both sides of the spectrum - those who wrote their book before ever starting a blog, and those whose blog eventually led to their book. Either way, I believe the two go hand-in-hand.

I had tried to write a book years ago. I had made several attempts, in fact, and the furthest I ever got was ten chapters. But truthfully, the story wasn’t compelling. There was no tension in the plot. There was no plot! So I gave it all up and decided I wasn’t a writer.

When I actually did start my book - the one that I saw through to completion - I stored the beginning manuscript in a file labeled “Final Attempt.” If this one didn’t work, I was really going to give it up for good. But the difference between my latest attempt that was successful, and my initial attempt that was not, was three years of blogging.

Blogging flexes your writing muscles. It keeps you writing. When you don’t have time or inclination to sink into one tiny part of a huge story, you’re still weaving words. You’re still observing what’s around you and deciding how you’re going to present it to your readership. With humor? Light sarcasm? Poetically? You stretch and push your limits when you blog, and you start to see what kind of writing fits your style - what kind of writing makes you proud.

Blogging serves another purpose. Every writer has to be a business person to some extent. You may have an agent and get picked up by a major publishing house, but to a degree the marketing work falls on you. When you blog, you are creating a following of people who care about your work. You are supporting other bloggers and writers, who will understand your passion, and who will in turn support you. You may not blog with that purpose in mind. (In fact, I hope you don’t, because it will show). But you are building friendships that you will need when the time comes to launch your book.

Blogging teaches you about social media in a way that non-bloggers have trouble understanding. You learn about twitter, and how important is the use of hashtags. You learn about Facebook likes, and how to boost posts, and how to join groups that are focused on the same interest areas you are. You even learn the power of Pinterest on the weekend - anything that can keep you connected to what’s happening around you - anything that can eventually help promote your book.

Blogging can be a writing distraction because you focus on supporting others on social media, and you write a little blog post rather than chipping away at your manuscript, but I think it adds more to the life of a writer than it takes away.


At seventeen, Jennie Goutet has a dream that she will one day marry a French man and sets off to Avignon in search of him. Though her dream eludes her, she lives boldly—teaching in Asia, studying in Paris, working and traveling for an advertising firm in New York.

When God calls her, she answers reluctantly, and must first come to grips with depression, crippling loss, and addiction before being restored. Serendipity takes her by the hand as she marries her French husband, works with him in a humanitarian effort in East Africa, before settling down in France and building a family.

Told with honesty and strength, A Lady in France is a brave, heart- stopping story of love, grief, faith, depression, sunshine piercing the gray clouds—and hope that stays in your heart long after it’s finished.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Billi Tiner's Publishing Journey @TinerBooks #AmReading #AmWriting #Romance

I wrote my first book, Welcome Home, approximately 12 years ago. I have always enjoyed writing, but most of my writing had been in the form of poetry or short stories. This was my first attempt at a full-length  book. The story is based on a patient I had during my first year in veterinary practice. It is a children’s book written with a Labrador Retriever as the main character. The story is written from the dog’s point of view. When I completed the novel, I was very proud of it and eager to get it noticed. I sent hundreds of query letters to agents and publishers, but received rejection letter after rejection letter. 

After about a year, I gave up on ever getting it published. Ten years later, I got motivated to try again. However, I had the same disappointing results. Finally, two years ago, my father-in-law, who is an author and has had numerous nonfiction books traditionally published, told me about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. My confidence in the quality of the book had been severely affected by the rejection it had received from agents and publishers. However, my husband convinced me to give it a try. Having no idea what to expect, I took the plunge and self-published the book. I contacted a few bloggers I found on-line who agreed to review it for me. I was very curious to see what they thought of it. When Welcome Home received its first five-star review, I was more relieved than anything else. I finally had a third party telling me that the story was indeed something that people would enjoy reading. After that, the writing bug took a firm hold on me. I quickly set out to write my next book. In addition, I read every marketing tip article I could find on the Internet.

Now, two years later, I have four children’s books, three young adult books, and two contemporary romance novels available for purchase. I recently quit my job to become a full-time writer. I am overjoyed and humbled by the positive responses I have received for all my books. I still hungrily read every review. I have to admit that each negative review I receive is a blow to my confidence. However, I remind myself that not everyone enjoys the same type of story. I look at bestsellers that I have no interest in reading as a good reminder that everyone has their own unique taste. The main thing is that I love what I do, and I plan to keep doing it, for as long as I can.

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.

Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.

Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
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Connect with Billi Tiner on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tracy Weber's Thoughts on Judging a #Book by Its Cover @TracyWeberTypes #AmWriting #WriteTip

It’s time to admit it. I suffer from OCPD—Obsessive Compulsive Planning Disorder. I hadn’t even finished writing Murder Strikes a Pose when I started preparing to query agents. I took classes, read dozens of blog articles, and attended a host of information sessions. In the end, I left with two key takeaways:
  1. Check your spelling. Agents will toss your manuscript in the garbage if you spell their name wrong.
  2. Your manuscript must have a fabulous first line—a single sentence that will hook the reader in twenty words or less. 
Writing my book’s first line became an obsession. I sweated and angsted and wrote and rewrote. I finally created something perfect: a pithy first sentence that would simultaneously hook the reader, draw them into the story, and introduce them to the voice of the novel’s protagonist.
But all of that angst and hard work will be for nothing if readers never crack open the book. That’s where the cover comes in.
The design of my book’s cover started with my author website. My webmaster (aka husband) and I discussed the site’s design for months. I wanted it to illustrate some key elements of my mysteries; he wanted a professional-looking page that wouldn’t take him a hundred years to create. We finally agreed that the site would contain:
  • Bright, happy colors that captured the lighthearted tone of the work
  • An illustration that quickly showed two important components of the series: yoga and dogs
  • Recognizable landmarks of Seattle, the city in which the series takes place
  • A feeling of playful mischief between the two main characters: Kate, a quirky yoga instructor, and Bella, her horse-sized German shepherd. 
That decided, my husband hired artist Nicole Alesi who developed this web banner.
 Guestpost 3_photo1
I was simply delighted. The web banner contained everything that I wanted and more.
My publisher agreed. When Midnight Ink purchased the first three books in the series, they hired Nicole to design the book covers. The cover art she created for Murder Strikes a Pose is below:
 Guestpost 3_photo2
I have to admit, I love it.
So imagine my surprise when I read my first one-star review. The reviewer said that my writing was “lovely; fast paced and vivid,” and that mystery readers would like the book. So why did she give it a single star? In spite of the word “murder” in the title, she thought that the book was a romance, not a mystery. Evidently, she doesn’t like reading about murder.
The second surprise came a few weeks later at my first book signing. Several people paused at my table, glanced at the cartoon cover, shrugged, and walked away saying, “Oh, it’s a kid’s book.”
So much for that all-important first line.
I still adore my cover, as do most of my readers. I know many people have started the book specifically because they were drawn in by its bright, happy design. The cover of my second book, A Killer Retreat, will be substantively similar: Same light, bright cartoon characters; same illustration of the setting in the background; same sense of mischief and play between the two main characters.
But this time there will be one important change: the dog will be holding a piece of crime scene tape. Perhaps that will make all the difference.
What makes you decide to read a book? Cover? Title? First line? Please share your thoughts below.
 Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Tracy loves connecting with fans.  Find her on her author web page or on Facebook.
Guestpost 3_photo2 (1)
When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
"Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Murder Strikes a Pose, by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davidson, a caring but feist yoga teacher . . . Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!" PENNY WARNER,AUTHOR OFHOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE
"[T]his charming debut mystery . . . pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn't put it down!" WAVERLY FITZGERALD, AUTHOR OF DIAL C FOR CHIHUAHUA
"Three woofs for Tracy Weber's first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder STrikes a Pose. Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogswhat more could we want? Ah, yesthe next book!" SHEILA WEBSTER BONEHAM, AUTHOR OF DROP DEAD ON RECALL
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Inspired David Graham's "Incitement" @davidangraham #Thriller #AmWriting #AmReading

The inspiration for Incitement’s plot came from a number of sources. It started with a basic idea which was then supplemented by research and developed organically.
I found the idea of using one evil to destroy another fascinating. How feasible would it would be for a third party to destroy two sides in a conflict by setting them against one another? I’m not sure what the specific trigger was; it could have been as mundane as hearing a radio commentary on a gangland killing in Dublin, saying something like ‘let them all kill one another’. Or it could have been a history program on the enmity between Stalin and Hitler!
Deciding on the arena in which the conflict played out was next. It had to be one where the stakes were high. Initially I thought about a gangland setting in a single city or country. Reflecting on it, though, I realised that a conflict that crossed borders and had greater collateral impact would be more enjoyable to write.
I played around with the idea of a government-backed initiative to sow discord between two elements within an extremist organisation. One obvious topic was how much cost-effective it would be to have the parties attack one another rather than have to pay for the intelligence, manpower and ordinance directly. There was also material for interesting subplots, e.g. if the initiative was too successful, other parties whose existence depended on there being a credible terrorist threat could try to subvert or sabotage the operation.
Reading about state-backed initiatives against terrorist and criminal organisations I came across Plan Colombia. The Plan was a joint Colombian-US initiative launched in 1999 to bring the drug war to the doorstep of the main producers in Colombia. It involved applying military resources, in the form of fumigation runs from the air and troop movements on the ground, to forcibly eject the growers from their territorial strongholds. There was an added foreign policy angle as countries such as Peru and Brazil complained strongly to the US that they were forcing the drugs conflict into their territory. Factoring in the added elements of military contractors and the Plan’s targeting of left-wing militias such as Farc and the ELN, I knew I had found a rich backdrop for Incitement. So the real-world Plan Colombia became the template for my fictitious Plan Coca.
Now that I knew Incitement would centre on the drugs trade, I had to find two suitable adversaries. Ideally I wanted the conflict to spill out beyond Central and South America, so I created an alliance consisting of a number of Latin American countries to form one side of the struggle, called simply The Madrigal Alliance. The other antagonist had to based outside the Americas, and in my research I came across a group of Albanian mafia called The Fifteen Families who had existed for decades then been supercharged by the conflict in Kosovo. The Fifteen Families had the resources, ambition and ruthlessness to take on my fictional Alliance – in reality they had already successfully expanded into Europe by brutally supplanting the incumbent gangs . An added attraction of the Fifteen Families was its links to extremist organisations (although the subplot on this angle didn’t make the final edit).
I was happy with what I had so far but unless I could create a party who would have something to gain by inciting the parties to war it wouldn’t work. The obvious candidate would be a third drugs cartel but I didn’t find that compelling to write about. The next idea was a government backed agency and the first couple of drafts went in this direction. But what became apparent was that the book was becoming too focused on state-agencies (I already had Europol, the State Department, the CIA and the DEA involved). I needed to introduce contrast and eventually decided that a personal motivation would work best.
Given how large the drugs trade is for any individual to believe he could impact it he would have to be either delusional or exceptional. The inspiration for Wallace was the industrialists of the early twentieth century, people like Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller who wielded enough power to influence US and world events. A modern incarnation of someone like this might have the necessary power (and hubris?) to believe they could orchestrate the conflict. An added bonus was someone who was motivated by a personal tragedy might be open to manipulation if others discovered what they were doing.
There are quite a few twists in Incitement. All the way through the reader knows more than Mesi (the DEA agent trying to figure out what’s behind the conflict) and Larsen (the mercenary who is fuelling the conflict) but not everything. Its a question of whether the reader can figure out the final twist before they do.
A brutal conflict unleashed.
Who stands to win?
A bloody massacre at a Mexican heroin refinery; a Miami-bound freight ship hijacked for its cargo of illegal narcotics; the ruthless assassination of a Kosovar drug lord - a war has erupted between two drugs superpowers.
As DEA Agent Diane Mesi investigates she becomes convinced that the conflict is being orchestrated by an unknown third party. But she is marginalised by her colleagues and her judgement is challenged at every turn. Only if she can expose the truth will she be able to stop the violence and save her career.
Michael Larsen is an ex-soldier and hired mercenary who has been contracted to fuel the conflict at every opportunity until it destroys both sides. As he battles his own demons, he hopes that by directing the violence he will attain some measure of redemption.
But neither Mesi nor Larsen know the full extent of the forces at play or of what is truly at stake. As they each pursue their own resolution, the violence escalates and they become increasingly vulnerable to the dangers that stalk them.
Incitement won the John Murray Show / RTE Guide / Kazoo Competition from over 500 entries.
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – R
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