Author Archives: EARL STAGGS
A month after his thirty-eighth birthday, Lieutenant Tall Chambers sat in his gray cubicle in a crowded gray room in the Pentagon filled with eighteen identical gray cubicles. He leaned back, folded his arms across his chest, and yawned.
He watched his computer scroll through a long list of codes, compiling data he’d pulled together from thirty-six sources detailing yesterday’s shipments of supplies to Army bases in the Middle East.
When this report finished running, he’d do the same thing for bases in Asia.
Every day, the same sources, the same supplies, the same reports.
A year ago, he was a Captain stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, training new recruits and leading special ops in country. After an ugly incident with a drunken Colonel, he was demoted to Lieutenant and sentenced to desk duty here in the Pentagon.
He sighed. So much for being a boy scout.
He would have enjoyed hard labor more than this. He grimaced and rubbed his face with both hands, hoping to wipe away the boredom.
He’d recently put in his papers. When he reached his twenty-year anniversary in the Army, he’d retire. He hadn’t decided what he’d do then, but anything would be better than sitting on his butt eight hours a day.
Three more months to go. He wasn’t sure he could stick it out that long. He glanced at the clock on his desk. Only ten-thirty. Hell, he wasn’t sure he could stick it out until lunch.
He’d spend his lunch hour in the gym, as usual. Being stuck at a desk made it hard to stay in shape. He’d joined the Army at eighteen, a gangly stick figure at six feet three inches tall. The Army taught him how to build a solid muscular body, and he liked keeping it that way. He was determined not to turn into a pear-shaped eunuch like the men in the cubicles all around his.
When his cell phone rang, he snatched it off his desk and looked at the caller ID. An unlisted number. He answered it anyway. Hearing any human voice would be a treat.
“Tall, it’s Stephen Winslow. How the hell are you?”
Stephen’s voice triggered a lot of memories. They’d worked together in Special Forces and did a number of ops together.
“Stephen! You son of a gun. I’m bored to tears. How about you?”
“I’m not bored, but I heard they busted you down to a desk job. Is it that bad?”
“Worse. All the fun and thrills of watching paint dry.”
Stephen laughed. “That’s what you get for punching out a superior officer.”
“He didn’t give me much choice. I have to hang in another three months. I’ll have my twenty and I’m gone. What’re you doing these days?”
“That’s why I called you. Meet me in an hour. Take a ride with me.”
“I think I can tear myself away from the excitement here for a little while. Where are we going?”
“Meet me at Dulles. On the west service road, look for the Regional Air Service hangar.”
“Why are we going to Texas?”
“To blow up two carloads of people. Don’t worry about packing. We’ll be back tonight.”
“Uh, did you say blow up–”
“Get a move on, Tall. Wheels up in one hour.” Stephen hung up.
Tall thought about it for only a few seconds. Stephen was a good friend he hadn’t seen for two years. It would be fun to spend some time with him. He didn’t know why Stephen wanted him to fly to Texas. Surely not to blow anyone up. Stephen liked to kid around. Whatever the reason, It would be a nice break from punching computer keys.
Tall followed protocol for signing out of the office for the rest of the day, parked in front of the Regional Air Service hangar fifty minutes later, and saw Stephen waiting for him.
Stephen smiled, waved and walked toward him. “You made good time.”
“I was anxious to see if you’d grown any,” Tall said.
Stephen countered with, “I may not be as tall as you, but I’m still better looking.”
The two men were night and day in appearance. Tall had dark hair and eyes. At five-ten, Stephen was five inches shorter and slender with sandy brown hair and blue eyes. They shook hands and bumped shoulders.
“You look great, Tall. That desk job agrees with you.”
Tall grimaced. “No, it doesn’t. I don’t know how people can stand sitting at a desk and staring at a computer all day.”
“I hear that. So what else you been doing with yourself? Find a woman who can put up with you yet?”
Tall grinned. “I’m, uh, between relationships at the moment.”
Stephen grinned back. “Same here. Remember that sheik who offered us his daughters? Maybe we should have taken him up on it. I hear they make good wives.”
“Yeah, right. One of them weighed four hundred pounds, the other one had no teeth.”
Stephen laughed. “I remember. Ready to go to Texas?”
Tall followed Stephen alongside the hangar to an auxiliary landing strip behind it where a Lear Gulfstream jet sat warming up.
As they climbed the boarding steps, Tall said, “Nice wheels. Yours?”
Stephen snorted. “I wish, but it’s available to us when we need it.”
“Okay, I’m impressed.”
Tall was more impressed when he stepped inside the cabin. At the front were three white leather armchairs on each side and two matching sofas facing each other behind them. The plush carpet was also white except for a circle three feet in diameter between the two sofas. Inside the circle was the blue and gold seal of the President of the United States.
“You think he’ll mind us using his plane?” Tall asked.
“Naahh, he has a bigger one if he needs to go somewhere.” Stephen dropped into the first seat on the left and pointed to the one opposite it. “Buckle up.”
As soon as Tall settled in, Stephen pushed a button on the arm of his seat and said, “We’re ready to go.”
A voice from speakers on the ceiling said, “Yes, sir.”
A few minutes later, they were in the air and leveled off. Seeing Stephen again reminded Tall how much he missed being in regular service. They’d spent a lot of time together in Kuwait and Afghanistan, many times having to depend on each other for survival. He’d heard Stephen left the Army and moved into Homeland Security two years ago.
“There’s coffee in the back if you want some,” Stephen said. “Help yourself.”
“What, no flight attendant?”
Stephen grinned. “’Fraid not. We’ll have to rough it.”
“I’m good for now. You said Texas. FortHood?”
“Dallas. We’ll land at D/FW Airport. There’ll be a car waiting for us. From there, we’ll drive about half an hour to a location at the southeast corner of the city.” He checked his watch. “We should get there at just about the right time.”
“Then what? You were joking about blowing up people, right?”
“No, I wasn’t joking. We wait till two black vans come along, and when they do, we blow them up.”
Tall raised both eyebrows. “You’re serious?”
“Very.” Stephen returned Tall’s look for a moment, then turned to stare into the wall in front of him. “There’ll be six men in each van, Muslims with ties to Al-Qaeda. They left Phoenix early this morning, headed for a shopping mall in Dallas. Each man is packed with C4 and Semtex. When they get there, they’ll wander into the mall like regular customers and make their way individually to twelve designated locations. At exactly six o’clock Central Time, each one will push a button and go boom.”
Tall let it sink in. “So your plan is to blow them up before they get to the mall.”
“That’s it. They want to meet Allah and collect their virgins, we’ll put them in the express lane.”
“Maybe I will have that coffee,” Tall said.
He went back to the kitchen area and found a pot already made. Stephen had a healthy sense of humor, but he was dead serious about this. Tall had seen the results of bombings in Iraq, and the memory of the sudden and merciless act of taking lives with explosives sent a chill down his back. Stephen was asking him to be part of the same kind of thing. They had gone on raids against insurgent groups together in Afghanistan, but their goal was always to take them alive and bring them in for interrogation.
He returned to his seat with two cups and handed one to Stephen. “Suicide bombers,” he said as he sat down. “You hear about one acting solo once in a while, but not in a large group like this.”
Stephen tasted his coffee and placed it in the cupholder in the arm of his seat. “No. Doesn’t happen often.”
“Why not just intercept them before they get to the mall and arrest them?”
Stephen shook his head. “Not possible. They were packed and wired when they left Phoenix. If anyone confronts them in any way, they’ll push the button then and there and take anyone in the area with them. The only way to take them out safely is to blow the vans in an isolated area where no one else will be hurt.”
Tall turned and looked out his window. When he agreed to take a ride to Texas with Stephen, he hadn’t expected anything like this. He’d thought Stephen might be going to a meeting to talk about security procedures or meet with local brass to discuss some routine problem and simply wanted company.
After a moment, Stephen said, “I could use your help, Tall, but I’ll understand if you’re not up for it. You can opt out if you want, and there’ll be no hard feelings.”
Tall continued staring out the window. For the past nine months, he’d been relegated to desk duty in the Pentagon, far removed from the atrocities of war. Everything he’d seen and done in the Middle East seemed like a distant memory, as if it had happened to someone else. The only action he’d seen lately was when his printer ran out of paper or his computer malfunctioned and he had to call in an IT specialist. Now, Stephen was asking him to do something that would put him back where he was in what seemed a lifetime ago. He wasn’t sure if he could return to it, or if he wanted to.
Tall turned back from the window, but didn’t look at Stephen. He stared into his coffee cup as if he’d find an answer there.
Stephen gave him another moment, then said quietly, “Tall, there’ll be between two and three thousand civilians in that mall, and these people have enough explosives to reduce the whole structure to rubble. Those not killed in the explosions will be crushed when the building comes down on them.”
Tall raised his cup and drained it. The hot liquid was bitter all the way down. Then his eyes met Stephen’s. “When you put it that way,” he said, “we have no choice, do we?”
* * * * *
TALL CHAMBERS uses his wits and weapons to stop terrorists before innocent people are killed. When someone close to him is murdered, he puts all that aside and devotes his skills and experience to finding the killer. His pursuit becomes complicated when he learns he is also marked for death.
Tall has to fight to stay alive and find the killer. Nothing will stop him, even if it means making a deal with the worst terrorist of them all.
Earl Staggs crafts a high-octane thriller that will keep you reading through the night. Move over Jason Bourne. Tall Chambers is a hero for the ages. Readers will not be disappointed with the relentless pace of this story. Mark Troy
Fast action with twists and turns makes this novel a thrilling read from award winning author Earl Staggs. Jan Christensen
Two time award winning author Earl Staggs once again has created a compelling read with his latest book, Justified Action. Combining a search for terrorists at home and abroad with a realistic and very human action hero in Tall Chambers, justice and freedom have rewards, but come with a price. Complex characters, a search for justice, and complicated storylines have drawn readers to the work of Earl Staggs again and again. While Justified Action takes readers in a very different direction from Mr. Staggs’ previously well received novel, Memory Of A Murder, the new book showcases once again this award winning author’s talents. Kevin Tipple
Tall Chambers takes readers on a terrifying, unauthorized assignment to eliminate those who would destroy the United State and discovers new meaning for the word “betrayed.” Dee Stuart
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When it was time to start on a cover for my new book, I happened to be sitting at a table in the driver’s lounge with Carole (pronounced “Carol” but spelled with an “e” on the end) Ryan. She made a huge mistake she would soon regret. She offered to help.
Carole and I, you see, are part-time school bus drivers, and we share the same wacky, over-the-edge sense of humor. We have a lot of fun harassing and tormenting each other on a daily basis. For example, I carry my laptop to work and, between routes, I write. She likes to tie my computer cord in knots. Another favorite trick of hers is to hide my mouse. I get even. I bought a bag of realistic-looking plastic insects and placed them in strategic locations on her bus. I also found a street barrier sign, lightweight but about eight feet long, and carried it onto her bus. I know she had some difficulty wrestling it back off the bus. She reciprocated by covering my entire steering wheel in Saran wrap. Yes, we do have fun.
She also gets along very well with my wife, also named Carol, but without an “e” on the end. They are of a similar mind about many things. Me, for instance. When Carole told Carol that her favorite nickname for me at work was jacka**, my lovely bride said, “Don’t call him that. Call him a**hole like I do.”
Anyway, back to my cover. I mentioned to Carole that I wanted a picture of a man holding a gun on the cover of my book. She said she knew how to browse the Internet for pictures and would do that for me. She did, and came up with a number of pictures. Then, she also had some experience doing graphic layouts and went a step farther. She put together some ideas for the layout of the cover, and some of them were quite good. None of them, however, was quite right. I had a “feel” for what I wanted, even though I couldn’t describe it.
So she tried it again. And again. And again. In all, she must have done at least twenty-five different designs. Each time, I would say something like, “That’s close, but not quite the exact one I want.” Or, “Can you move this over there?” Or, “Can you make this a little bigger?” She would stare daggers into my heart and say, “Forget it. I quit!”
Fortunately, she didn’t. It’s not in her nature to quit. She stuck with it and kept trying, in spite of my being impossible to please.
I’m sure there were at least twenty-five times when she wanted to kill me and end her frustration.
Fortunately, she didn’t. It was close, but that’s not in her nature either.
Finally, she came up with a design that clicked. Boy, did it click! This one made my head spin and sent me flying over the moon. This one was exactly what I wanted. I wanted a cover that was strong and dramatic. I wanted the cover to scream with mystery, tension, and suspense. I wanted the man’s stance on the cover to say he was on the prowl. I wanted the way he held the gun in both hands to say that when he found his prey, there would be action.
And that’s exactly what she gave me. I’m more excited about this cover than any I’ve ever seen on anyone’s book.
I thought she would be pleased when I told her how thrilled I was. I thought she would be excited when I told her she could design all my future book covers.
Instead, her response was, “Forget it. I never want to see another book as long as I live.”
But she’ll change her mind. She has to. No one else would put up with me.
Within the next few days, I’ll be announcing that JUSTIFIED ACTION will be available as both a print book and ebook, with the cover created by my friend, Carole Ryan. Sign up to follow this blog or stop back soon for the details.
And now, here’s the cover. Tell me what you think.
by Earl Staggs
KARI LEE TOWNSEND. . .
. . .lives in central New York with her understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter She is the National Bestselling Author, Agatha & RT Reviewer’s Choice Award nominee for her Fortune Teller Mystery series. Kari also writes romance under the name Kari Lee Harmon. Small towns, mystical elements, quirky characters and a few chuckles along the way are what her books are all about. To find out more about Kari and all of her books, check out her websites at: www.karileetownsend.com & www.karileeharmon.com
THE FORTUNE TELLER MYSTERIES
I love writing the Fortune Teller Mystery series. I spent 14 years trying to get published, 3 while having an agent. Finally, in 2009 my agent Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency landed me a 3 book deal for a middle grade series. I was over the moon. Then just 5 short months later, she calls me up to tell me an editor friend of hers, Faith Black, was moving to Berkley Prime Crime from Avalon. She wanted to know if any of my agent’s clients had a cozy mystery to submit to her.
I had a mystery, but I didn’t think it was really a “cozy” mystery. We submitted it anyway just to see if it would work. The editor loved my voice and loved the story. However, she agreed. It wasn’t really a cozy. So she asked me a question I had heard over and over and over … “What else does she have?” The problem was, I didn’t have anything else. But since it had taken me so long to get published, I realized that answer wasn’t good enough anymore. I decided that from now on if I didn’t have something else, to simply come up with something else.
I scoured the Berkley site and wrote down all the cozy mystery themes they already had, and then I came up with 3 blurbs for ideas they didn’t have. My agent submitted the 3 blurbs to the editor and the editor picked the one she liked best. Then I wrote a 10 page synopsis and she bought the first 3 books in the series.
Then the fun began!
Be careful what you wish for, my people. Don’t get me wrong. I was over the moon, but now I had some major deadlines to meet. Let’s just say it’s been one wild ride ever since.
The biggest thing I learned from this is to always have “something else” in case an editor loves your voice. That’s huge all by itself, and you don’t want to blow your chance. So have backups or at least ideas in case they ask. Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know what you might be good at if you don’t try. I started out writing romance, then women’s fiction, then young adult and middle grade, and finally cozy mysteries. As long as you stay true to what makes you “you,” then you’ll be fine. No matter what genre I’m writing in, you will always find some form of romance and a few laughs along the way. That is your brand … the rest is just the package you put it in.
I’m giving away a print copy of my latest book, TROUBLE IN THE TAROT, to one commenter, so don’t forget to chime in for a chance to win. To find out more about me and all of my books, check out my website at www.karileetownsend.com
TROUBLE IN THE TAROT
(book 3 of the Fortune Teller Mysteries – March 5, 2013)
For psychic Sunshine Meadows, sometimes fortunes can be deceiving…
Lately Sunny has been experiencing a period of big opportunity: her business in Divinity, New York, is thriving, and Detective Mitch Stone has finally agreed to take Sunny on a date. But thanks to her clairvoyant abilities, Sunny knows better than anyone that life deals out bad cards along with the good.
When Sunny agrees to read tarot cards at the annual summer Solstice Carnival, she meets her Granny Gert’s “arch nemesis,” Fiona Atwater, and is overcome by a vision of Fiona in a violent argument. Sunny knows trouble is brewing when Granny and Fiona start having squabbles all over town. But the fighting comes to a head when a local baker gets run over by a big white Cadillac—and Granny and Fiona are found at the crime scene.
Sunny knows she should step aside and let Mitch handle the investigating, but she’s not about to ignore her visions and leave her granny’s life in fate’s hands…
by Earl Staggs
My guest today is Terry Ambrose, an interesting guy, a good writer, and he’s telling us about how his latest book came about. He also has a question at the end, so please feel free to jump in with your thoughts.
And now, here’s Terry.
Thanks for hosting me today on your blog, Earl. When we set this up, you asked how I came up with the idea for my new book, “License to Lie.” As it is with many authors, it was a series of events that led to the idea. I was in the middle of trying to market my Hawaiian mystery, “Photo Finish,” to agents and the rejection pile was growing. I’d just finished the second book in that series and thought a break from the cantankerous McKenna might be in order. I love the way McKenna digs himself into trouble until the only way out is to solve the crime, but I also wanted to try something different. Really different.
“Photo Finish” is told from McKenna’s point of view, but the female con artist plays a heavy role in the book. The next logical step in my mind was to give her equal importance in my next work. But, books with a criminal as the protagonist have been done before and that still wasn’t different enough for me. However, by making her a co-protagonist with a really good guy did intrigue me.
I tend to write by the motto of “Go big or go home” and started looking into dual protagonist novels, of which there were very few. That was good. Everyone wants fresh, right? After I was hooked on the idea, I discovered that the writing gurus proclaim, “Thou shalt only have one protagonist.” It’s some sort of basic writing rule that, when violated, destines you to writing purgatory.
My first reaction was “uh oh.” Second reaction: “expletive” them. I liked the female con artist character and wanted to write about her again. I also had a male forensic hypnotist from another series I wrote some time back that, with some changes, would make an interesting co-protagonist. Best of all? The underlying problem these two would always face—trust. The book could be described as “Moonlighting meets White Collar” and is driven by the theme, “Never trust a soul…even your own.”
One of the difficulties I faced early on was writing the voice of the female con artist. I thought I knew what women sounded like, so how hard could it be to write that onto paper? Obviously, the character needed to sound like a woman and not a man writing like a woman—kind of that “Victor-Victoria” thing but without one of the levels. My critique group was composed mostly of women, several of them published multiple times. Next thing I knew, I had these long-time writers telling me “she doesn’t sound like a woman” or “a woman wouldn’t do that.” What I was doing wasn’t working, but I’m determined and try to be a good student of human behavior. So, all of a sudden, I had to learn to write as if I were a woman—but not all the time. The book is written with the characters each telling alternate chapters (male POV in one, female in the next, etc.) Once I got started, it was like having a sex-change operation every time I sat down at the computer. Talk about conflicted. Move over, Mrs. Doubtfire.
You can find out more about me and my two Goodreads giveaways for License to Lie and Photo Finish at terryambrose.com. But hurry, those giveaways end very soon! Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter as @suspense_writer.
I’m interested in how your readers deal with points of view, Earl. Do they like to read/write novels with tight points of view or prefer the omniscient world view? For them, does not knowing what a character is thinking generate more suspense than knowing?
by Earl Staggs
For me, beginning a new year means thinking ahead to what I want to accomplish in the next twelve months. The list each year is long and intimidatious and while I’d like to say I get it all done each year, I can’t. Still, I’d rather have more on my plate than I can handle. That adds pressure to get it all done, and I work harder when the pressure’s on. If there’s no pressure, I tend to get lazy. Maybe you’re like that, too.
Here’s my list for the coming year:
Publish my new book, JUSTIFIED ACTION. This one has been on my plate for a number of years. Now it’s close enough to The End, I’m getting started on the actual publishing process. I’ve decided to self-publish it in ebook and print form. I won’t go into the reasons why. I’m sure many of you have wrestled with that decision lately. Only time will tell if it’s the right decision. I’ve decided, after considering the options, it’s the best thing for me. The final tweaking and polishing are nearly done and a friend with experience in the area is helping me with the cover design. I’m going to pay a specialist to do the formatting. I’ve done it mysefl before and with that experience in mind, I know it will save a lot of my time and a good portion of my remaining sanity.
Finish the sequel to my first novel, MEMORY OF A MURDER. I’m way past due on this. The reviews and feedback from readers on that book were so encouraging I should have done this before now. Five chapters are completed, and I plan to have this done and out there by summer. Getting back together with Adam Kingston, the main character, was so neat, I kicked myself for not concentrating more on his second outing. The exact title still eludes me so I’m calling it MEMORY 2 for now. The right title will make itself known to me when it’s ready to.
Revamp my blog site. The one I have now is okay, I suppose. I did it myself and don’t feel too bad about it, but it needs some upgrading and I need to add some of the features I wasn’t aware of back then.
Jump into the social media marketing arena. I’ve shied away from this for a long time, but the time has come to get involved in all that’s out there. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, to name a few. I have a lot to learn, but with the responsilbiity for promotion and marketing now settled squarely on the author’s shoulders, this is now a necessity.
My plan is to accomplish all the above by the middle of 2013. After that, I’ll be busy with the sequel to JUSTIFIED ACTION, the third entry in the MEMORY series, and more short stories. Along with, of course, doing all I can to get a handle on marketing in the online social media.
I may not accomplish all the goals I’ve set, but I’ll come closer to it if I keep the pressure on.
How much will I actually get done? That’s a mystery, and mystery is what I’m about.
Have a great year!
By Earl Staggs
First, my thanks to Chester Campbell for mentioning me during The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Chester is a class act as a person and as a mystery writer. If you haven’t read any of his books, you should. Check out him and them at: http://www.chesterdcampbell.com
Now, to the subject of the day. When I say the end is near, please note I’m not a Mayan predicting the world is coming to an end. I don’t think it is. At least not in my lifetime. I’m actually talking about a project I’ve been working on for about ten years.
The idea came to me shortly after the tragedy of 9-11 when terrorists left a scar across the world that will never heal. I was equally horrified, heartbroken and angry. The angry part of me wanted to go out and find anyone planning to commit such a horrible, unspeakable act and exterminate them.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought, “What if a group of people did exactly that?” What if a group tracked potential terrorists, and if they planned to take innocent lives, stop them before they committed their murderous act? Yes, there are alphabet agencies with that responsibility. There’s the CIA, FBI, NSA and others, but they have their hands full with the major groups everyone knows about. They also have restrictions. They take action only after innocent people are killed. My group would concentrate on smaller groups operating under the radar.
The agency taking form in my mind would be secretive and also operate under the radar of scrutiny without restrictions. If they were absolutely certain a terrorist group would attack and kill, this agency would stop them first – permanently with great prejudice. Most terrorists are committed to die for their cause. If that is their wish, this agency would accommodate them. If they want to meet Allah and collect their virgins, my agency would put them in the Express Lane.
I felt it was an incredible idea, but could I actually build a novel around it? Only one way to find out. Try it and see what happens. I worked on it along with other projects for ten years.
I created a main character with experience in Special Forces and named him Tall Chambers. When Tall retires from the Army at the age of 38, he joins the special agency. The agency has eyes and ears all over the world, and other operatives with skills and backgrounds similar to Tall’s fill out the unit.
But that’s when a strange thing happened.
Tall grew as I wrote until the primary focus of the story shifted from chasing terrorists and centered more to how the job affected him and those around him. The agency became only a backdrop for Tall’s personal story.
All his life, Tall wanted not just to exist, but to somehow make a difference. He lost his parents at an early age and joined the Army. The Army became his family, and he felt part of something important. He rises to the rank of Captain, leads special operations, and trains new recruits. When an ugly incident with a superior officer leads to a demotion and assignment to a meaningless job, he again feels adrift and alone. After leaving the Army and joining the agency, he finds a place where he can use his training and skills and be part of something that can make a difference. Although he doesn’t like killing under any circumstances. He accepts the agency’s mantra of “Kill one terrorist, save a hundred lives,” He learns to concentrate on lives saved, not those taken.
When Tall loses someone very close to him, however, his focus becomes entirely personal. He uses the agency’s resources and contacts to find the people responsible for his loss and set things right. His quest forces him to make a deal with the worst terrorist of them all. Then, he has to decide between exacting personal revenge or preventing a corrupt power from moving into the most powerful office in the world.
I was pleased with how this story turned out and feel it could be my best work to date. I call it JUSTIFIED ACTION. As I stated above, the end is near. JUSTIFIED ACTION, featuring Tall Chambers, will be in the house within a few short weeks in both ebook and print format.
Watch for an announcement of the actual date right here very soon.
I’m happy to report the two winners of my End of Tour Drawing.
The first name drawn: Jake
Jake will receive a signed print copy of my novel, MEMORY OF A MURDER. Jake, if you’re reading this, please send me your mailing address and I’ll get it in the mail to you right away.
The second name drawn: Anita Page
Anita gets a print copy or ebook of my collection, SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, containing 16 of my stories. Anita, please let me know whether you prefer the print copy of the ebook.
I hope Jake and Anita are happy with the results.
My thanks to everyone who participated in the tour. It was a great experience for me and I hope for everyone else.
Best wishes to all for a Happy Holiday Season and I hope the New Year.is the best ever for all of us.
My Guest Today on the Mystery We WriteTour
So much has changed in the world of publishing in the very recent years, it’s mind-boggling. Who would have thought, five years ago, that the major publishing houses would decline and e-books would become such a powerful force?
I’m sure, like me, you’ve wondered what’s coming around the next bend. That’s why I thought it would be fun to ask Anne K. Albert to gaze into the future. But first, let me tell you about her.
Anne’s award winning mystery and romantic suspense stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor. When not at the keyboard she loves to travel, walk on a beach, visit friends and family, and of course, read using ‘Threegio’ her beloved and much cherished Kindle 3G. She can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Amazon and her blog.
So, Anne, put on your fortune teller hat and tell us what you think the future will hold for us five years down the road.
Anne – Before I do, Earl, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to chat and talk writing during the 2012 Mystery We Write Blog Tour.
Now, as I gaze into my crystal ball, the one thing I can tell you is the only constant is change. The publishing world is not immune to this phenomenon, and while some authors may begrudge this reality, I’m excited and energized by it.
Okay. I’ll admit I’m a card carrying “glass-half-full” kind of person, but I believe the e-book revolution is a very good thing. It gives voice to authors who may not have otherwise had an opportunity to be heard. It gives readers the freedom to decide what they like and dislike in a book. There’s something inherently democratic about that!
Earl – Will Amazon continue to gobble up the book selling market?
Anne – I predict it will, if only because I’m a reader and proud Kindle owner. The ease of having access to a virtual bookstore that’s open 24/7 and downloading a book–any book–in seconds is sheer brilliance. Talk about user-friendly! Thanks to Amazon I’m discovering a slew of amazing authors I would have certainly missed in the past. Plus, instead of a pile of books on my night table, now everything is neat and tidy as there’s only ‘Threegio’ (my Kindle 3G) taking up space. If there is a downside to Amazon, from either a reader or writer’s point of view, I honestly don’t see it!
Earl – Will the major publishing houses find a way to turn themselves around and reestablish their dominance?
Anne – If they wish to continue being a profitable entity, they will change. I doubt, however, it will be in the same vein as the past. This is a new world with new rules! As to will they reestablish their dominance, not with this reader. I’m perfectly content to make my own decision about what is and isn’t a great book.
Earl – With the number of e-books published every day will it continue to grow until buyers are inundated with garbage and a truly good book will be the needle in the haystack?
Anne – Finding a ‘truly good book’ is a joy, but let’s be honest—what one person deems garbage is an absolute treasure to the next! It’s subjective. Prior to e-books, publishers basically told readers what to read. They selected a team of authors they deemed worthy, dictated guidelines of what they considered literature, and then flooded the market with the by-product.
That worked in the past because, well, to put it bluntly, it was the only game in town. But since when is a monopoly ever a good thing for consumers? Or writers?
I’d wager every reader has at one time or another picked up a best-selling (print) book, paid ten to thirty dollars for the glossy edition, started reading, and then wondered what all the hype was about. E-books and self-publishing cuts out the middle man and allows readers to decide what will or will not become a bestseller.
I believe the next five years will evolve much as they should. Writers who don’t make the grade will see dwindling sales and be forced to return to their day job! Writers who gain a readership will benefit both financially and emotionally because they rose to the challenge. Their career is in their hands.
What’s not to like about that?
Earl – Tell us about FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL.
Anne – I thought you’d never ask! Frank, Incense and Muriel takes place the week before Christmas when the stress of the holidays is enough to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Tensions increase when a friend begs Muriel to team up with a sexy private investigator to find a missing woman. Forced to deal with an embezzler, kidnapper, and femme fatale is bad enough, but add Muriel’s zany yet loveable family to the mix and their desire to win the coveted D-DAY (Death Defying Act of the Year) Award, and the situation can only get worse. This story, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries, is recipient of the prestigious 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit.
I’d like to encourage readers to enter my giveaway contest. Up for grabs is an e-copy of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. Leave a comment and you’re automatically entered. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on my blog on December 11, 2012. Good luck!
Anne K. Albert