Monday, October 27, 2014

With A Little Help From My Friends

A Grand Experiment

My novel of suspense, RUNNING FROM THE PAST, is going to be part of a grand publishing experiment. For the next thirty days, you’ll be able to read an excerpt from the book, as part of the Kindle Scout Program.

If you like what you read, you can “nominate” it for publication. The more nominations the book gets, the better the chance it will get picked up for publication, where it can reach a much wider audience.

It’s sort of like American Idol for books.

What’s in it for you, you ask?

Two things:

First, my sincere appreciation. I’m sure you’re bombarded with people asking for favors, in your inbox, on Facebook, on Twitter. So thank you for taking a few minutes to read my work.

Second, if my book does indeed get selected for publication, you will receive a free copy of the entire novel as a thank-you. Plus you can say you read it at an early stage and helped it get published!

To read the excerpt, *CLICK HERE*

Here’s a description:

As Colby Walker gets to know his teenage son’s friend Jess, he spots the signs in short order: downcast eyes, passivity, angry red welts marching across the boy’s bare back. He understands what they mean because he’d been that boy, many years ago.

He’d suffered in silence, too.

Can Walker stand by and let Jess’s torment continue, leaving the boy’s future in the hands of the so-called authorities, the ones who had done nothing to help him during his own tortured childhood?

Hell no.

Instead of alerting Child Protective Services or returning the boy to his father, Walker “kidnaps” Jess, packs up the minivan, and takes his family on the lam, keeping one step ahead of Jess’s cruel father and unhinged ex-con aunt. But as the stakes increase—and his headstrong actions lead to his wife and daughter getting snatched, quid pro quo—Walker must finally conquer his past before he can save the lives of those he loves.

To read the excerpt, *CLICK HERE*


Because every vote counts, please let any (and all) of your suspense-novel-loving friends and family know about it, too!

Here’s a link:



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Feeding the Dark Side

Which type of character is more fun to write: villain or hero (in the classic sense of the word)?

Let me recap this week’s answers, so far (see Criminal Minds).

On Monday, Meredith said that “Characters should be fun to write--no matter what their role is in your story.” In other words, she thinks writing both villains and heroes are fun. Score: Heroes 1, Villains 1.

On Tuesday, R.J. said she enjoys creating the hero more than the villain. Running Score: Heroes 2, Villains 1.

On Wednesday, Tracy proclaimed her love for writing villains (even though she was under the spell of a high dosage of pharmaceuticals, we’ll chalk one up for the dark side). Running Score: Heroes 2, Villains 2.

Now it’s my turn to weigh in.

I’m tempted to say that I don’t like writing either heroes or villains. It’s difficult (emotionally trying) to write a sympathetic hero and then subject him (or her) to a wide range of nasty incidents. It’s cruel! It’s inhumane! It’s inconsiderate! But, it makes for good conflict!

On the other hand, it’s hard to write a villain; it’s hard to worm yourself inside his (or her) twisted mind as he (or she) goes about stealing, maiming, killing, or cutting off people in traffic.

But saying I don’t relish writing either the hero or the villain would be copping out. Besides, I guess I really do have a preference. While writing the hero may be more satisfying/rewarding/enlightening, writing the villain can be more fun.

A few reasons:

High Stakes – Most of my books are about the struggles of the heroes, so the portions written from the villains’ POV are often more concentrated and more intense (and focus on something of utmost importance). In other words, the villains are on stage for only a short time, and I try to make every moment count double (or triple).

Over-the-Topness – Depending on what kind of story I’m writing, I can draw my villains a bit larger than life than the hero. After all, things like laws—and common decency—matter little to evildoers, and the villains have to present a major challenge to the heroes. (I had a great time writing the villain, Dallas Pike, in my horror novel, THE TASTE. He was a very nasty man who pretty much did what he pleased. Fun!)

Feeding my Dark Side – In general, my heroes are nice people. Sure, they’ve got their flaws, but underneath they fall squarely on the side of goodness, justice, and unicorns. Sometimes it just feels great to write about depravity for a change, know what I mean?

Running score: Villains 3, Heroes 2.

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)