Friday, February 2, 2024

To book trailer or not to book trailer?


My gut is telling me a well-written, visually captivating, musically mesmerizing book trailer will capture a wandering reader's attention far more quickly than just about any other form of advertising. And if you use the internet as the main (sometimes only) medium to spread the visual feast out to the masses, well 
Godfrey Goes to Glasgow! --- maybe the masses might discover a new and rising star in the genre you write!

So okay. I've been playing around a little bit with book trailers and using Facebook for the main carrier route for such devices. Facebook cuts a deal with authors and wannabe authors where for a certain price (which, so far, has not become too outrageous) you can pop in your book trailer as the main carrier and they'll spread it out over the Kingdom of Facebook for a week at a time.

That's a lot of curious eyeballs falling out of the internet ether to watch your visual baby. A lot of eyeballs. And it seems to be working.

I've created four book trailers already. The fourth trailer, a trailer for Death of a Young Lieutenant, in a span of three weeks, had over 20,000 clicks of interest. And about ten percent stuck around to view the entirety of the trailer.

While I cannot say sales have gone through the roof for the novel, I can say the book has been gathering a large viewing crowd, Amazon speaking.

So a fifth trailer has been cut. This time featuring the Smitty series. (there are two novels in this series so far. One is called Smitty's Calling Card. The other is Discreet Inquiries) We'll see what the raw numbers this trailer runs up to in a week's time. But I can tell you in a little over 24 hours, its already hit the 2,000 mark.

I thought I might share the trailer with you today.  And you can tell me what you think about it. Here goes;

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The Perfect Series To Get Into

 So okay. I've been a bad boy. I should be blogging more and (out of habit) playing less on the computer. Actually, I should be writing more--but you know how that goes; if I get myself writing, the words come out of me like a river and I find I enjoy the physical action of writing. 

Its just getting started that's hard for me to do.

Anyway . . . to your right you will see the first compilation of a series I'm writing. The Turner Hahn/Frank Morales police-procedural series. This tome added to the pile has the first three full-length novels in it. There are actually four novels available in the series. But this compilation was in the works before I submitted the fourth.

Currently, you can get this one either in a Kindle addition, or in paperback. All told, it's a little over 700 words in length.

Of course, as you undoubtedly guessed by now, I'm going to blow my own horn here and tell you maybe you ought to consider getting this one. If you're a mystery fan looking for interesting characters who are living, breathing entities, that's what you will find in Turner and Frank. And in all the denizens the two come across in their day to day lives.

But more importantly, if you are a fan of this genre, what you are looking for the most in a series is one that gives you something more than just interesting characters. What you want is a real mystery to chew on. To dissect and match wits with the bad guys.You want bad guys who are really bad guys and crimes that are real puzzlers.


This is the series for you. Trust me. I have (cough, cough) never told a lie! Well. . . maybe one or two. No more than 100. Believe me.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Officially Out And Available

 It's official now. The fourth book in the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series is now available at least on Amazon. In paperback and for Kindle readers. But hopefully, a hardback edition and eventually an audio book version will be following.

As predicted, the cover used was changed somewhat from the one I suggested.  That was expected. I have to say I liked the way they enhanced the artwork. But it'd been nice if they would work on the visual aspect of the titles, etc. That too goes along with the overall visual aspect of selling a book. And to be honest, constantly using white lettering is somewhat of a letdown. (here's the cover artwork)

I really like how this one turned out. I like a novel that has mysteries within mysteries buried in the overall plot. This one fits the bill perfectly.

Basically, the main thread of the story revolves around the idea someone is trying to send Turner's girlfriend--a hotshot ace newspaper reporter by the name of Debra Patterson--over the deep end. Apparently Debra, in her college years, had been married. Madly in love with a strange figure who kept secrets to himself. He dies mysteriously in a fiery crash on a lonely highway.

But . . . Debra's going insane because she is receiving phone calls from . . . her dead husband. Desperate, she confesses Turner her past sins and pleads for him to help her find her husband.

From there on, the plot, as they say in the movies, thickens considerably. Someone else, other than Turner and Frank, is hunting for the supposed dead husband. But then . . . an unknown third party is hunting for the ones who originally murdered the husband!

As confusing as that sounds, it actually comes out okay. The deeper you dive into the novel, the deeper the mysteries circulate around you. Hopefully, circulate around to the point you can't possibly put the book down until you finish reading the last page.

I dunno, but I've been told that is the ultimate goal for any writer. Write something to completely engulf a reader's full attention. I'm hoping this one fits the bill.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Projects Coming Down the Pike this Year (I hope)

 I've been absent from this place for some time now. I offer no excuses. No explanations--other than to say I've been gone for a while working on other projects (other writing projects and, frankly, the day-to-day pressure-cooker of a seventy-plus year old trying to survive on a daily basis).

But I'm back and I thought I'd share some thoughts and images on a few of the projects I'm working on. First up, the fourth novel, a new one, in the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales police-procedural series. Here's the proposed cover I'm hoping to see.

The artwork, again, is by my friend and a talented artist, Javier Carmona. He hand I have worked on every cover for the Turner/Frank stories from the get-go. As to whether my publisher will actually use this design is up in the air.

The fourth installment is an experiment for me. The first three outings were written with the voice and hubris of Turner Hahn explaining the action, the confusion, and the irony off homicide cops more or less go through everyday. But in this one, I decided to go to a third-person limited voice.

I decided to go down this path because it allows me to introduce some new characters into the series and color in their personalities an hiccups without straining the credulity of using a first-person singular voice. 

As to the basic plot itself, it goes like this. It starts out when Turner and Frank discover the body of an honest-to-god cowboy lying face down in an intersection in a quiet residential section of town.  And then it goes on to someone trying to kill Turner's girlfriend in a rather diabolical way. 

Project number two is the reintroduction of my hit-man character, Smitty. It will be a re-issue of the original novel entitled Dark Retribution. If you are not familiar with this character, let's just say Smitty is unusual in his choices of who he will and will not hunt.

In this novel a cop asks, of all things odd, for Smitty's help. A serial killer is making his mark cutting through the city's night, taking out a cadre of rather highly successful Ladies of the Night in a very disturbing way. The next victim appears to be the woman who leads this cadre of independent ladies. And she happens to be the sister-in-law to the cop.

It's a novel of a hunter hunting the one who hunts the defenseless.

Its dark, extremely noir in taste. And the first of a series I want to continue with.

Again, I'm hoping the publisher will use the artwork provided. There's no guarantee the lettering will look like this (I'm guessing).

Which brings me to the last reintroduction I'm hoping my publisher will bring out this year. This one features my art-thief turned reluctant detective, Jake Reynolds.

Jake is an accomplished artist with an uncanny talent of copying another's masterpiece stroke-by-stroke with the paintbrush. So good are his reproductions for the first forty years of the 20th Century it was almost impossible to tell which masterpiece was the fake, and which was the real one.

But Jake has a fault he constantly has to overcome. On many of his heists, he runs into the form of a dead body littering the floor. Usually in the same room where he wants to exchange his fake for the real canvas. His flaw is that he, for some reason yet to be explained, he cannot abide with someone getting away with murder. He has to solve the crime and bring the murderer to justice.

Hard to do when you are, in fact, committing a felony yourself.

Add to his conundrum, Jake is working in the depths of World War One. So I'm blending in a little history along with a murder mystery.

Actually, this is book two of the series I'm hoping will come out sometime this year. Book One will come out eventually. When, is left to the whim of the gods.

All of the above have the next in the series being worked on. And thus, I've been busy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Roland Fantasy Series.


Well, as you can see in the book-list column to the right, the second book of the Roland of The High Crags series is out. After a long wait, it finally has seen the light of day. Now--what's interesting to me--is book one of the series has suddenly found an audience. After being out for a few months, suddenly the book has shot up into the rarefied air of Amazon ratings to where it could almost be considered being a fantasy hit.

What I am waiting to see is if there is a kind of tag-team match where the readers who liked the first book bleeds off into the second book and continues to follow the series along. As of yet, that hasn't happened.

Book One is called Evil Arises

Book Two is Treacherous Brethren.

(both can be found in the book-list to your right)

Quickly sketching a summation of both books goes like this. For over a millennia, two sentient species have been raging war against each other. One human--one dragon. Humanity came first and established suzerainty over the entire world. The humanoid-shaped Great Dragon came next. And with them came their dark dragon gods who promised they would one day rise up and destroy mankind. And this would be accomplished through the guidance and leadership of five mythical creatures called The Five Princesses,or sometimes referred to as The Five Sisters.

Four of the sisters have come and gone. The Fifth Sister is alive. But is now only a small child. Not until she reaches adulthood will she fulfill the gods ultimate role; that being the destruction of humanity itself. And as a child, she is quite vulnerable to the ravages of both man and dragon.

I am not going to say more about the story line--leaving that up to you to find out for yourself. But I do have a couple of comments left.

I am currently into writing the third book of the series, entitled Desperate Pawns.  And so, here is comment number one; 

Does the child live or die? 

As a child she is just a child. An innocent creature, albeit filled with unbelievable magic she really doesn't know how to control. But still only a child. She does not become evil until she reaches adulthood. Or maybe not. Her Fate is yet undecided.Those who are trying to save her believe neither in Fate, nor her twin-sister, Destiny. So do you take the chance and hope you can guide the child to adulthood and change dragon prophecy of her becoming evil? Or do you remove her from the scene now, and in doing so, remove dragon prophecy altogether.

My second comment is more a statement. I had planned to make this a 10-volume series. Ten books. But maybe not. It's taken almost six years (maybe more!) to get just two volumes in print. And although I believe ten story lines are there for the taking, I'm not too sure there is enough time to get them done.

I mean, come on! I'm a writer. I've got hundreds of characters, with their own stories, popping around in my head and demanding to be written. So, being human, the concept of Time is finite when it comes to living a life. So who do I pick and choose to free?

Yes, it is indeed an interesting conundrum. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Don't Forget To Add Some Humor

As you may or may not know, I like to write mystery novels. Most of the time, these novels drift toward the dark side of genuine whodunits--the classical novels of the past which offered up deep puzzles to solve filled lots of red-herrings, false clues, multiple suspects, and dead bodies splayed out across the landscape like some madman's midnight garden of murder.

Okay. Dark and grim. But what about inserting a little humor into these nightmares? Not the aching belly-laughs of slapstick comedy. But maybe the kind of humor that might only make you smile suddenly and without warning. Or the kind of humor that offers up a chuckle or two as you tag along with a couple of characters who interact with each other in unpredictable ways. Humor designed to make either the protagonist or the antagonist more human. More interesting to the reader.

Below is the opening few paragraphs of another Turner Hahn/Frank Morales police-procedural novel (yes, I know; I talk about these two characters far to often. I actually DO write about other characters.) The novel will be called Two To Worry About. It'll be the fifth book in the series. And you'll instantly note I've broken one of the cardinal rules about writing. Never open a book fiction novel about the weather (this will lead into another discussion about The Rules of Writing Fiction at a later date).

Here's the opening. Two characters interacting with each other. See if it elicits a smile and stretches your
lips back just a little bit. And consider the thought about how the opening suggests how the entire novel is going to be like.





It was raining. And no, pilgrim—not just the polite, early summer rain most prefer to see. This was a hot summer’s rain. A late August thunderstorm with jagged flashes of billion-kilowatt lightning strokes and teeth-rattling claps of thunder. It was like watching the one-eyed Odin opening the flood gates in Valhalla and stepping back and laughing hysterically at what was about to come. It was a biblical deluge straight off the fingertips of a pissed-off Old Testament god.

It was raining. And it wasn’t going to let up until it was damn good and ready.

Standing on the top step of the apartment building, eyeing the rain and the growing Venice-like canals beginning to build in the streets, I was beginning to think maybe I should add a WWII Army amphibious duck to my collection of Muscle Cars from the 60’s through the 90’s. But the cautious opinion changed to a firm commitment when my partner-in-crime stepped up on the top step with me and shook off the rain like a wet husky shaking the water out of his furry coat.

“Just got the word, buddy. There’s a report out a house boat sank on the Patterson bypass near 123rd street. Sixteen people and two monkeys had to be rescued by fire department rescue helicopters. The city’s Emergency Preparedness Office said no one should drive their cars unless they have diving gear in the car with them. You do have life-preservers and a couple of pairs of aqua-lungs in the Shelby GT's trunk, don’t you?”

I half turned and eyed Frank and grunted noncommittally.  

Frank thinks he’s a comedian. And most of the time he can be with his odd, twisted sense of humor. But hard to imagine a six-foot-four, three hundred pound red-headed genetic freak to be humorous. Scary as hell, oh yeah. But funny? His brand of humor—and even the man himself—are acquired tastes. You either like the guy. Or you don’t. I happen to like the guy. Most of the time.

But maybe not today.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Demise of James Bond

 The latest James Bond movie, No Time To Die, has certainly jolted the Bond world to the core and sent avid fans spiraling off into dark chasms  of furious displeasure. Most critics, its seems, did not see the Bond they grew with and loved in this final flick featuring Daniel Craig. Instead, they saw a pastiche of something vaguely mimicking the the true Bond; the true Bond being the misogynist killer who uses women like a chef using a set of dirty crockery pots in his kitchen. An over-achiever who defied all hardships and always came out the victor. A killer who, in all honesty, trusted no one and had no true friends to call his own.

Ultimately, I think this is a sad state of affairs for a movie-buff to posses. In the fictional world a movie fan lives in, one has to ask the question; Do fictional creations live and breathe like we do? Or are they nothing more than ersatz replicas of what most of us wish we were.

Every movie goer faces the decision in one fashion or another. Maybe they don't realize they do--but they do. So let me be the contrarian here. I would like to disagree with the more popular opinion.

I actually liked No Time To Die. And I thought it was a proper and fitting end to a marvelous Daniel Craig run as James Bond.

In this last movie, we see a vulnerable James Bond. A more humane--and human--James Bond. We see a man filled with regrets. With the weight of past mistakes weighing him down mentally. With loves lost--in many respects to his bad decisions--adding to that emotional weight. We see a man who has seen friends, many of his friends, die in front of his eyes. We see, in the end, a man weighted down by his conscience and has become extremely weary carrying that load.

And, in the end, we see a man who realizes he will never acquire the one thing which gives him the fullest measure of satisfaction. The one thing which might hold back the emotional weight bearing down on him that might, just might, allow him to become alive again. 

He discovers he has a child of his own. A child born to a woman he once loved--and actually still loves--but rejected because of  what he truly is. 

Frankly, to me, this story was like a modernized version of a Greek tragedy. The hero of the story is not actually a true hero. In reality, he's a flawed soul condemned by the Fates because of that flaw he has always denied to himself. Until too late.

I can identify with this version of James Bond. A flawed man who knew it was time to accept his Fate. Accept his Fate and allow those he deeply loves to move on with their lives. Without him.