‘Legends of Windemere: The Mercenary Prince’ has Arrived! #fantasy

The latest book in the Legends of Windemere series is ready!

Legends of Windemere

Now on Amazon for $2.99!
LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE:
THE MERCENARY PRINCE

Delvin Cunningham has left the champions.

Lost to his tribe in the Yagervan Plains, fear and shame have kept the former Mercenary Prince away from his homeland. With his confidence crumbling, he has decided to return and bring closure to his past. Reuniting with his old friends, Delvin’s timing could not be worse as a deadly campaign is brewing within Yagervan’s borders. Dawn Fangs are on the march and these powerful vampires are determined to turn the entire region into a graveyard.

To protect his family, friends, and two homelands, Delvin will have to push his doubt away and become the cunning Mercenary Prince once again.

Please feel free to put this on your ‘To Read’ list on Goodreads by clicking below:

The Mercenary Prince on Goodreads!

Excerpt from The Mercenary Prince

With the hint of a smirk, Selenia quickens…

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The Release of Full Circle!

A new book by a great author. A crime writer with a karma story.

blindoggbooks

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am pleased to announce the arrival of my eighth novel – Full Circle.

Full Circle front cover

Yes, the book which began some 27 years ago (read about that here) has finally become a reality.

You know what they say…

What goes around – Comes around.

goes around

This book is the proof – by virtue of its arrival and also in its theme.

Full Circle is about Karma – plain and simple.

In the first chapter we meet Joe Moretti Jr. and learn of his selfish, greedy and narcissistic ways…traits learned from his dead father. Joe treats Flagler Beach, Florida (home of all my stories) like his personal Monopoly board, and has no compunction eliminating anybody who gets in his way.

go to jail

After he receives a piece of news that threatens to unravel his empire, Joe goes into survival mode and hatches a plan to…

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Vote for Winning Book Cover: Narrowed Down to Two

“Naked Alliances” is softcore crime NOT hardcore crime. I recently went through the process of narrowing down covers.

When I first sent out the brief requesting cover designers, I gave the Title of the contest:

Florida Regional Crime Fiction With Humorous Undertones

I was immediately slammed with hardcore, gritty covers. Dozens of them. And designers had a hard time wrapping their heads around “crime with subtle humor”. It was the hint of humor they all missed the point on.

After the first elimination round, I finally got designers focused on humor, but most went overboard into what appeared more like cartoonish children’s books. It is strictly an adult themed book, with violence and nudity. The subtle humor, even some of the silliness, is aimed at adults.

Background:

Before you choose a cover between the first poll winner and the runner up, I will tell a little about the story so you have some context. One of the protagonists is an exotic dancer who used to be an E.O.D. Specialist in the Army (explosive ordinance disposal). The story involves the other protagonist, the private investigator becoming foster dad to a young girl on the run, recruiting the exotic dancer as babysitter and hiding them in a nudist resort.

Now that you have a little background, pick a cover that you feel best offers hints at subtle humor and will catch your eye in a thumbnail on Amazon or draw you to read the blurb.

I need your vote! Make sure to star both covers, so your vote counts as like and disliked.

These are the winner and the runner up of the fist poll.

Thank you all for your participation!

Please vote again, even if you already voted in the larger poll.

Here’s the LInk!  https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/vote-bmffnd

Something Really Cool!

Wild giveaway for crime lovers.

Entertaining Stories

My dear friend Sue Coletta put together a Rafflecopter event that you can take part in. She organized 30 of her favorite authors in one huge giveaway.

These are mostly crime authors, and if you know Sue that makes sense. She saw fit to include a couple of paranormal tales, one of which is my own Will O’ the Wisp.

Logic dictates: 30 of her favorite authors, I am one of those authors = I have a fan. (No takebacks)

There are some pretty heavy hitters on this promotion, and I’m honored to stand among them.

Some of you will be inclined to go right to the entry, and so here is the link: Rafflecopter

Others will want to see what’s up for grabs. I’m going to let Sue tell you about it herself. Take it away, Sue.

 ***

In keeping with the holiday spirit I have the best surprise…

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Christmas…Ike Style

Great, short Christmas story from Tim Baker with his iconic character Ike. Not the typical feel good story you might expect. What do you want from a crime writer?

blindoggbooks

 

‘Tis the season…right?

I guess that depends on who you ask.

As you know – Ike is not the sappy, emotional type, so how do you think he handles the onslaught of forced sentimentality every December?

It probably won’t surprise you…but let’s find out.

Don’t Call Me Carol

“So, tell me, why don’t you like Christmas?” Tiki asked as he handed Ike a bottle of Budweiser.

“No offense, Tiki,” Ike said, “but you’re a bartender at The Golden Lion…not a shrink.”

Tiki held his hands up, palms out. “Sorry. Just making conversation.”

“I don’t come here to chat.”

Tiki decided to try his conversational skills on the bikini-clad blonde at the end of the bar. Ike turned his attention to his beer.

He closed his eyes and saw Dodger. The ten-year-old memory hadn’t faded at all.

Dodger sat against the cave wall and dug into his MRE. Ike stood…

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Cover Design Poll Thoughts

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I can’t recall if I mentioned on this blog that I am working with a company called 99 Designs to create the book cover for this Florida crime fiction comedy caper series, The Naked Eye Series. The first book in the series, Naked Alliances, isn’t as much a caper as it is an adventure, but it does have situational comedy, sparring, and some really funny scenes like you see in true capers. It’s a finite niche genre for certain.

For 99 Designs, you start a contest, designers submit cover images and you ask for changes or eliminate those that don’t work. Working with designers until you have a final concept.

Crime and humor is a challenging blend, but a lot of fun to write.

Good comedy caper series develop over time as the ancillary characters become more central to the stories. I’ve seen it happen with characters like Serge and Coleman, Skink, Ike, and Bert the Shirt. Memorable characters in the series that weren’t in the foreground of initial books, but became iconic characters for the author. Sometimes accidentally.

The best authors never put their characters images on their covers, but leave it to readers to develop a mental image of them.

Tough and serious crimes are portrayed by humorous images, often from something pulled out of the story. It could be something as simple as a sign, a bleeding orange, or a car tag…but it has to scream Florida.

With 99 Designs, I asked for a cover for Florida Crime fiction with humorous undertones. I was swamped with hard core crime covers…and many just couldn’t let go of the gritty, hard core photographic images…no matter how much I pleaded for more comedic and less photographic images. I gave tons of suggestions. And finally, picked the six most hopeful designers to go into the final round with a submission, again, asking them to punch up the humor, giving them links to author pages in the genre niche, and told them the books would be competing for clicks with these authors. It had to be colorful, and eye-catching. I’m sure blending crime and humor was as challenging for them as designers as for me as a writer.

My husband–and this is his favorite genre–helped me pick the designs that might work, and we eliminated those that definitely would not work.

I have two weeks to choose a designer. My husband has picked his favorite. I love his pick, and I like the unique ideas the designer is contemplating for the series.

Do we go with his design, or poll to see what potential buyers might like?

I don’t want to poll just those who have read the story. I want to see what people may click on who are browsing for Florida crime caper. Or see what catches the eye of people scrolling on a page for reads. Or might draw the eyes of someone when it pops up in the “customers also bought” row.

Would you go with your gut (or you husband’s gut) and just select the one that most works for you, or would you poll?

I think if one cover took a landslide win from the cover we like, we might have to consider it.

I’d also like to award a runner up.

To poll, or not to poll, that is the question.

I’ve also had so much participation from you guys, I would hate to cut you out of the cover selection process. That’s half the fun of writing a book…picking out a cover. I want you included on the fun.

A writer’s rant

WordPress, please stop fixing things.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Dear WordPress,

Yes, it’s me again. Well, what did you expect? Reindeer?

First, let me thank you for providing what is, in my humble opinion, the best blogging platform out there with what has to be the best blogging community you could wish for.

Second… WordPress, we have a problem.

Well, several actually.

Again.

For starters, let me ask… have you been playing at happiness engineering again? I do wish you wouldn’t. In fact, most of us wish you wouldn’t to judge by the comments when you do. Even worse, we ever know what’s coming until the usual batch of oddities start occurring. Like bloggers who disappear from our notifications… notifications that cease arriving. Notifications tabs that ‘forget’ to let us know about comments. Readers who get in touch to check you are okay because they haven’t had any notifications either… regardless of the fact you haven’t missed posting…

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A Naked Alliances Christmas

We’re getting close to Christmas and I thought I would swing by and check on my two leading characters from Naked Alliances, Richard Noggin, P.I. and Brandi, an exotic dancer. When I left them around the end of October, they were dining at Harbor Lights restaurant admiring the yachts moored on Tampa Bay.

Richard’s gay neighbors, Dave and Steve, decorated the palm tree in their front yard. I’d like to point out why palm trees don’t make good Christmas trees down here in Florida.

palm tree-christmas
Are words needed?

~~~

Brandi knocked at the door of the coral pink cottage in Thornton Park, her military-green canvas messenger bag slung over her shoulder. She rested the fir tree against a post. Richard opened the door in his boxers with a beer in his hand. “Oh, it’s you.”

“Who were you expecting? The date who likely stormed out when you undressed?”

“What’s the tree for? I don’t do Christmas.”

“This year you are.” She hugged the tree, pushing her way through the door. “I could use some help with this thing.”

“I’m allergic,” he said.

“And I’m not backing down. You’ve spent a week, since our four week vacation at the Lagoon, shut up in this house feeling sorry for yourself and we’re going to have Christmas.” Propping the tree against the living room window, she pulled back the blinds, went out onto the porch, lifted a cardboard box, and returned to the living room. “This is Christmas stuff I borrowed from the Parliament House.”

“Oh great, bobbles made from boa feathers and glittered, butterfly eyelashes.”

“They’re shiny and sparkly.”

“So are Harley parts.”

“Don’t be such a spoil sport and grab yourself a few.” Standing the tree upright, she forced it into the stand she had brought with her.

Richard slugged back his last swallow of Miller Lite, set his can on the coffee table and reached into the box, pulling out a wrapped gift with his name on it. “Awww, you shouldn’t have done this.”

“You can open it now or put it under the tree.”

“I haven’t gotten a Christmas present in years.”

“It’s nothing, really, just a little something to lighten your mood.”

Richard tore into the paper, opened the box and grinned ear to ear. Snapping open the case, tears welled in his eyes. Trying not to blink, he reached into the case. “A golden Desert Eagle, 50 caliber, hand cannon, and she’s a pretty girl. This is too much.”

“I thought you might need a replacement for Desiree, since you had to feed her to the alligators. Do you really think that was necessary?”

“More than necessary.” Grabbing her around the neck, he pulled her close and kissed her cheek. “I did a bit of Christmas shopping for you, too.” He opened the coat closet door and pulled out a monstrous-sized bag from the Millennial Mall. “Haven’t had time to wrap it though.”

“You didn’t!”

“I did. I have to confess I didn’t know my way around the store, but I asked for the best.”

Brandi snatched the bag, looked inside and screamed. “It’s a leather, large-frame Prada tote. I’ve never owned a real purse before. It’s beautiful. For a guy who doesn’t do Christmas, you did it quite well.” She slung the bag onto her shoulder, pulled the purse close and sniffed it.

“It was the biggest they had and the lady tells me they’re quite fashionable. I know how you like to have all your necessaries with you, and they do come in handy.”

Brandi grabbed him around the neck and squeezed. He winced, but hugged her back as best he could.

“You’re the best boss ever!”

“Partner, the best partner.”

Setting Price on a New Genre and Strategy

During a class discussion on payment for services in RN school, we asked a professor what we could expect to be paid as new graduates. Of course, we didn’t anticipate high dollar earnings right away. Dr, Capronni let us know immediately not to sell ourselves short.

CostumeHatsNurseHat

“If you wanted to work for free, you could have become nuns!” she exclaimed.

The market could bear a fair wage for nurses and they were in short supply for the demand. We were told to ask to ask the upper rate for our respective fields and expect shortly shy of that rate. Very quickly, we were earning top dollar.

That was nursing and this is writing. Let’s be realistic.

What do you expect to be paid as a writer?

If you want to write for free you could have a blog…oh, wait.

It’s a much different market with many factors. Are you unknown, virtually unknown, known as a traditionally published author, or an independently known author? What is your investment in time and money?

You’re self-employed if you are independent, and more than likely self-represented if you are traditionally published. That’s work on top of work.

Self-published, you have a significant amount of overhead; office supplies, writing tools, energy, editors, cover artists, formatting experts, marketing, promotions. There’s a whole team that has to be paid.writer_baseball_cap

I’ve often said I work for pleasure. I’m semi-retired. I can do that. But I also want readers. They are the reason behind my efforts. The first couple of years after penning Red Clay and Roses, I worked really hard at marketing, read your blogs, changed my book cover, had it edited, focused on interviews, guest posts, Facebook groups, Twitter and anything else I could do to get my name out there and promote my book. I sold a decent number of copies, but marketing overwhelmed me to the point that I had little time for writing.

Then I started looking at how my husband reads. He’ll choose an author he likes, and then read all their works before moving on to someone else.

I had nothing to offer but my one little book.

I wrote Red Clay and Roses because I had something to say that I felt was important, and still do. The book was motivated by passion and driven by personal philosophy. It wasn’t written for pure entertainment. The proceeds of that book go to a children’s home.

Now, I’m writing for entertainment. It’s more commercial, and I’m thinking the best approach to earning and reaching readers is to keep writing. Promote where I can, but not allow marketing to overwhelm me. My plan to have three or four books out before publishing the first has been shelved. If the first works out well to get a fan base started, I’m sure I’ll be motivated to produce. I’ve fallen in love with my characters and delight at the possibility you will, too.

Naked Alliances will have taken me two years from the time it was first drafted to the time it will be published. I’ve had twelve beta readers review and hired a professional editor, I’ll be purchasing a cover and having it formatted. It’s a much simpler read, and nearly half as long by page number.

I’ll likely go Amazon’s Kindle Select and CreateSpace. Until and unless the series gets some momentum behind it..and I have a few more books in the series to offer, I’ll be offering the book at $2.99. Once there are three or four more in the series, I’ll drop the price of the first book to 99 cents, but keep the remainder at $2.99, unless I’m doing a promotion. (That’s under half the price of big names in the genre like Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsy, Nancy Cohen, and others who have numerous books out.)

My beta readers will be receiving a free edited signed paperback copy and ebook.

Unlike the deep, and sometimes difficult subject matter to read, of RC&R, Naked Alliances, while dealing with some serious subject matter, is a lighter read with comedic undertones. However, it is an adult themed novel involving sex crimes.

As a contemporary crime novel, its audience is expected to be different from those who most enjoy historical novels like Red Clay and Roses. If you enjoy both, all the more joy!

Next step: Picking a cover!
And I want YOU involved!

Cyber Monday Sale on His Revenge – Kindle Version US $0.99 UK £0.99 #RRBC

John W. Howell’s “His Revenge” will be on sale for $0.99 in the US and £0.99 in the UK through today. Don’t miss it!

Fiction Favorites

 

His Revenge front final

One of the reasons I decided to self-publish was to be able to control my promotional events. I am therefore pleased to announce beginning at 12:00 am PST (6:00 am GMT) on November 30th (Tomorrow) until 12:00 pm PST (6:00 pm GMT) on December 1stHis Revenge will be on sale for $0.99 in the US and £0.99 in the UK. This is a thirty-six-hour sales event for the US and UK markets and is in support of CYBER Monday.

If you want to read His Revenge, for a limited time it is available for less than what you would pay for a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips at the gas station. (And better for you)

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