COVER REVEAL … #GRUDGEGIRL

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BOOM! Coming at you in January 2017!

Jia Song’s life is a train wreck.

At twenty one, she should be finishing university and entering a profession. That was her parent’s plan for her life. That’s how everything was supposed to be. Unfortunately nobody asked Jia what she wanted to do. And even if they had bothered, she’d be in a mental institution by now if they ever found out about of the things she sees every time she closes her eyes at bedtime.

And what she’s been forced to do about it.

Her “little problem” began when she was seventeen. One ghost at a time, the spirits of murdered women come to her. They fill her dreams with nightmare imagery of their killings.  Each horrifying vision continues night after night until Jia hunts the killers and brings justice to the dead.

She’s been on the road now for four years, living under everyone’s radar. Jia knows there are police in three major cities looking for the person Twitter users have named the #GRUDGEGIRL. But what she doesn’t know is that someone is on her tail. Someone who is also haunted by the dead. Someone who bears witness in their own dreams to gruesome killings at the hands of young Asian woman with an eight inch blade.

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Cover Reveal! THE GIRL ON VICTORIA ROAD (TIM REAPER II)

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After saving the humanity from a psychopathic angel bent on hastening the end of days, Tim Reaper can be forgiven for hitting the bottle hard. It’s not every day that a former grim reaper gets to fall in love for the very first time only to have to kill the girl he’s fallen for or let the world burn. It’s five months since Reaper had to make an impossible choice.

Meanwhile in North End Dartmouth a mother has been stabbed to death in her bed and the only witness is an eight-year-old girl with a peculiar gift. She knows the truth of all things and has taken to writing the base code of the universe on her bedroom wall. She possesses knowledge no human being was ever meant to have and that means she’s got a target on her back. Angels, demons and everything in-between have the girl in their sights and her only hope of survival rests with Tim Reaper who must keep her alive long enough to meet with someone Reaper calls, The Man with the Big White Beard.

So what do you think? I love it, and I love the story too because Reaper, a bad guy gone good who isn’t entirely human in the first place is going to sacrifice everything he’s ever had and ever going to have just to protect a little girl.

Pre-order will be in January. Look for it in July 2017. It’ll be available in paperback, Kindle and Kobo!

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I Have Writer’s Block. 2016 Has Been A Hard Year.

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(Multi-published author with writer’s block buying epic hat at Universal Studios Florida)

I thrive on writing. Or at least I used to, and then 2016 marched on in and kicked me in the nads. It’s been kicking me in the nads all year long and I’m very nearly at a point where I’m ready to throw up my arms and say, to hell with it.

Yes, I know that most of us experience writer’s block from time to time in our lives. This is the first time for me and it’s so utterly soul destroying to want to write something but you find there is nothing in the creativity cookie jar. Not even a few crumbs from which I might get at least a first chapter to kick around and see if it’s got enough to make me want to write a second chapter.

I tried to force myself out of my writer’s block by participating in the 3 Day Novel Contest. I’ve always written better when there was a deadline. The need to get it done on time always stimulated my creative energy, but not this year. I’m doing NaNoWriMo to try and finish what I started in the 3 Day Novel Contest again, believing that a deadline might work. Nothing. Nada. I’ve pumped off a few thousand words here and there but I have no idea where the story is going even though the premise is stone cold brilliant. Christ, I should be jumping for joy at the character I have created and the challenge he faces but it’s just not working.

I feel bad for my literary agent. I’ve promised to send something new twice this year and I haven’t been able to deliver.

2016 started out terribly for me. I injured my back at the end of December 2015 – I have a pair of herniated discs from my years as a soldier. I’ve been living with chronic back pain for two decades and still managed to write. But I screwed it up badly and the pain was so intense that I had to be medicated with a drug called Lyrica, which, I think, screwed me up even more. I could barely even walk most days. My back responded to physiotherapy but it took nearly four months to recover and by then I was already fairly unmotivated.  (I have since re-injured my back and there are shooting pains up the center of my spine right now as I write this. Not as bad as it could be but bad enough to distract from the task at hand.)

I left a job I liked after nearly a decade. I found a new job I like far better with far more perks and for a lot more money. That should be offsetting how crappy things have been and I am grateful for the job, but I’m still having trouble writing consistently.

Later in the year I learned that I am diabetic. So hello, complete lifestyle change. My wife has been an incredible support throughout all of this. She’s even changed her diet alongside me to make it easier for me. I’d be lost without her.

I should be really happy, you know? My book THE NORTH was republished by Severed Press and became one of their bestsellers. I self-published IMMORTAL REMAINS and it is selling like crazy! I’m getting emails from fans wanting to know when they can read the next Tim Reaper book. I’m actually making freaking money off that book. Like, every month there is money in my bank account! Who knew?

The motivation should be there and it isn’t. Health issues have been a black shadow hanging over my household all year.  I want to write. I try to write. I fail to write anything that I want to continue writing. I want to be a cheerleader for the folks in my writer’s group and I am having a hell of a time trying to do that because I can’t even help myself.

And I am losing my mind about this because I am a fairly prolific writer. I generally write about two books a year. I’ve been published each year since 2010. I want to be published again in 2017, but right now I’ve got nothing and I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to ever complete another project. (Because one must first have a project they like enough to continue writing and right now everything sucks on an intergalactic scale.)

That’s bleak. I need to get through this.

I want to get that second Tim Reaper book out next summer because the first one is doing so well. I want to get something really great off to my literary agent and I’ve got a couple of projects with potential but the inspiration just isn’t there.

I’m not depressed. I feel good about my life and where I am as I approach fifty years of age. I just can’t seem to break out of this writer’s block and it’s driving me insane.

Rant over. Thanks for reading.

Maybe I need to just let the year slip by and try again on January 1, 2017.

 

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It isn’t that Trump won that has me worried

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I can’t believe I just uploaded this picture. I can’t believe the words “President Elect Donald J. Trump” actually exist.

On Tuesday night, election night in the USA, I was headed back to Canada after a week-long conference in Orlando. It was a long day of travelling as my wife and I left our hotel at 6:30 AM to arrive for our flight three hours early as Delta had suggested. It gave us a lot of time to begin watching the pre-vote analysis. We flew to Atlanta and then to Minneapolis. By the time I hopped on a plane at 7:30 PM for the final flight back to Saskatoon, the returns were coming in. And for the next 2.5 hours, I watched the drama unfold 32,000 feet below me. I just kept reloading the #electionnight hashtag on Twitter, stunned by the fact that Donald Trump was actually winning.

People were losing their minds with each announcement that Trump had carried a state. Gnashing of teeth, social media style. It was, in a word, surreal. It still is, actually.

And look, you know what you get with Trump. He’s going to do what he’s going to do until he changes his mind five minutes from now and does something opposite. He’s unpredictable. He’s a reality TV star who suddenly became the President of the United States after running probably the most disastrous, racist, misogynistic, gaffe-filled campaign I’ve ever seen in my life.

But it isn’t the fact he won that has me worried. No, it’s the fact that people voted for someone who was facing a civil trial after being accused of raping 13 year old girl back in 1994.  (She just dropped her case, BTW.) And everybody knew this when they voted for him. It’s the fact that his boorish, bullying behavior; a nightly feature on the evening news, didn’t stop people from voting for him. Or the fact that he’s totally cool with grabbing women by the genitalia the way that we grab avocados in the grocery produce department. Or the fact that he flippantly suggests that nuclear weapons are always an option. I could go on … everybody knows that Trump is, frankly, a rich white douchebag who doesn’t pay his taxes.

But he won. He defeated Hillary Clinton against all the predictions of pollsters and pundits.

And what worries me is that when people elect someone who they know is dangerous. When they throw their support behind someone who was accused of raping a 13 year old girl and who thinks grabbing women by the pussy is fine and dandy, it tells me that folks are desperate for change.

Desperate people do desperate things. They did it in Germany in 1933. Hitler seized power after he was democratically elected. Trump could, conceivably, do the same. Republicans now control the House and the Senate. As a political junkie, it’s frightening to think that Trump now has the power to push through laws that could increase his hold over America if he chooses to.

I think it’s important to point out that folks who voted for Trump are not imbeciles who fell head first out of the back of a turnip truck. These are men and women who were fed up and wanted change. These are people who, for a multitude of reasons, the political process in the United States has failed. Yep, they are white. Yep, they feel disenfranchised … but they got out the vote.

(And by the way, up here in Canada, our political system ain’t exactly working out for everyone. People here are also fed up. We just chose to elect a hipster who likes to hug people and photobomb weddings as our Prime Minister.)

A couple of things stand out about election day in the USA. First is a conversation between two African-American women I overheard while in Orlando. One of the women said, “Either way we are screwed. With Hillary we’re going to get The Hunger Games and with Trump it’s going to be The Purge.”

The second thing is the American man standing in line at Canada customs in Saskatoon who was literally beaming with the news that Trump had won. His industry had shut down. He was facing job loss. Many of his friends had lost their jobs. He said, “Now that Trump is in, we’re going to get to keep our jobs. It never would have happened with Hillary.” I just politely smiled and nodded my head.

It shouldn’t have come to this, but it did. It’s a lesson for everyone who loves democracy and it is a lesson for people in government all over the world today: the democracy can come back to bite you in the ass.

So where do we go from here?

Nowhere for the time being. He’ll be sworn in as President in January.

What has me worried is that every great civilization throughout history reaches its pinnacle and then crumbles to dust either through internal rot or by being conquered. The internal rot can be anything: a broken political system, vice and debauchery, you name it.

I have had a niggling fear as I watched the phenomenon on Donald Trump unfold in 2016 that America might be facing that moment where it too will begin to crumble into dust. Rome has fallen … again.

I’m going to continue writing my detective novel for my agent. I’m going to shore myself up against the madness that’s about to be unleashed on the world with a healthy dose of daily creativity. Marijuana is going to be legalized in Canada next year.

Bring it. Bring all of it. We’re going to need it for the next four years. Hopefully Trump won’t blow us up between now and the next US election.

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Self-Publishing Confession: I have no idea why this book is selling – 2016 edition

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My dark fantasy thriller IMMORTAL REMAINS – A TIM REAPER NOVEL went on sale back in July and it’s been selling very well. I’m a bit perplexed as to why because, again, I’m not really doing anything spectacular in the way of book promotion. It’s published exclusively for Kindle – I decided against EPUB as the cumulative total of all my other books sold in EPUB numbers under 100 so I didn’t think I’d be losing anything by sticking with Amazon.

It’s now the last day of September, and here are my stats from good ol’ Kindle Direct Publishing for the month.

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The book has been sitting in the top-100 for Dark Fantasy now for about four weeks. It dipped out a couple of times but it always seems to climb right back up in there. I think the highest it has gone is to #19 in that category. At any rate, I’m really quite pleased with these numbers and thanks so much to whoever out there is buying my book! I’m even getting enthusiastic emails from folks wanting the second book which has a teaser at the end of this one.

Book promotion is a mystery to me. The only thing I’ve done differently from when I self-published Marshall Conrad back in 2014 is I did a Fussy Librarian promotion and one Book Sends promo just to see what happened. There was an uptick on both days that Immortal Remains was featured but nothing major – maybe 30 books each time. I’m thinking of throwing caution to the wind and trying to get a Book Bub but I understand it’s pretty hard to get your foot in the door. Oh, and I’ve also added the buying links to my other books in this one as well as a subscribe link for my newsletter. (And people are actually subscribing!)

The reviews for Immortal Remains have been the best I’ve ever received as a published author, mostly four and five stars. I think the cover art is quite good and might be helping – I did it using Canva who, I think might put all the people doing cover art on Fiverr out of business. The templates are easy, fast, stylish. I’ve had a lot of compliments on this cover. I’ve kept it at 99¢ which is likely the primary reason people are taking a chance on it, though the original price is $2.99, a bargain for an ebook IMHO. I’m a little bit afraid of bringing the price back up to $2.99 as I don’t want to lose out on any bargain shoppers who like the cover and the description enough to buy.

So, once again, I have no idea why this book keeps selling but I’m not going to complain. With a little luck these numbers will remain consistent well into October.

Anyway, if you’ve bought the book, thanks again for your support!

 

 

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