January = resolutions

It’s January and the start of a brand spanking new year. I’ve searched Roku for free fitness channels and loaded them up. I’ve packed my refrigerator with tons of leafy greens with the focused goal of not letting any of them go to waste. I have a couple of large garbage bags full of clothes and shoes I didn’t wear in the last 365 days, and I’ve tossed out all the old shampoos, conditioners, lotions, makeup and beautifying products I acquired over the last year thinking they would somehow improve my life.

I spent money on all that crap and now I’m getting rid of it. As regretful as I may be for having purchased things I shouldn’t have, it feels good to start a new year with a lighter load.

Just as we all make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, writer’s set goals for the words they will produce and this year, mine are a bit ambitious.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been working on the second book in my Desert Goddess Series. The Bonding Spell, released in 2015, was one of the most enjoyable books I’d ever written. Staff Sergeant Hester Trueblood picks up a shiny, gold coin while on duty in Iraq and her life is forever changed. As the new embodiment of the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna, Hester returns to her home in Minneapolis, and tries to come to terms with her changed circumstances and the bitchy goddess voice in her head.

It’s a wild, Jim Butcher-style, urban fantasy romp that is funny, sexy and filled with mystery. I couldn’t wait to dig into the sequel, but had no idea when I started it, just how much more story there was to tell. “The Bonding Blade” has opened my eyes to more of Hester and Inanna’s world, the warriors dedicated to fighting and sacrificing for them, and the demi-god, Gilgamesh who is devoted, by destiny, to love them, no matter what they do.


It’s a wild, Jim Butcher-style, urban fantasy romp that is funny, sexy and filled with mystery.

As the New Year begins, my greatest goal is to publish “The Bonding Blade” with as much perfection as I can bring to it. I’m aiming for a late June or early July publication date.

While “The Bonding Blade” is going through final edits, reviews and promotions, I’ll be rewriting a couple of stories that were originally published in Amazon Kindle Worlds. Kindle Worlds have gone away, so the rights to these novellas have returned to me and I’m going to make full use of them.

In the first novella, Archimedes Ford is an FBI agent who has slogged through life carrying a heavy secret. His latest case brings him face to face with someone who will make it impossible for him to keep hiding any longer. Major Corey Turner spent his entire career with secrets too, until the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy finally ended. Archie Ford has difficulty concentrating on solving his complicated case, but he soon learns he’s not just saving the life of a young girl, but also saving his own.

“Archimedes and The Soldier,” is the first of two Archimedes Ford novellas which will both become spinoffs of The Master Sergeant Harper three-book mystery series already in existence.

And if that’s not enough, I plan to at least outline a forth book in the Master Sergeant Harper series. All I know is that Harper will be going to the Sergeant Major’s academy in El Paso, Texas. It’s a huge leap in her career and one she’s been aiming for, ever since she put on an Army uniform. But the academy is a tough school. Not everyone passes and British Sergeant Major Harry Fogg isn’t making it any easier for her.

They say, if you make New Year’s resolutions you should write them down or tell others so you have some tangible proof of your goals and a need to hold yourself accountable. Well, I’ve done it now. I’ll check back this time next year to see how close I am to meeting them.

Win a copy of The Bonding Spell, either by commenting here or on social media. One winner will be selected by random draw.

Trifecta of creativity

How do you measure creativity? Is it liquid so you can measure it in a cup or a bucket and carry it? Maybe it’s wind since I often say someone’s creativity blew me away. Or is creativity something solid that smacks you upside the head?

Three things that carried, blew, smacked me this week.

First, is the novel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North. I’d never heard of it, but evidently it was a big hit and all the talk when it first came out in 2014. Not her first book, Claire North made a name for herself after this one came on the scene and I understand why. Continue reading

My best reads in 2017

best of 2017I was asked by Andria Williams to participate in her annual Women Writers Recommend Books blog post she puts together for her Military Spouse Book Review, site. I never turn down a chance to spread the word about good books. And 2017 was an especially busy reading year since I had to take any and every opportunity to escape from the reality of 2017 … if you know what I mean.

Some of the best I read this year were, Dinner at the Center of the Earth, by Nathan Englander, In Farleigh Field, by Rhys Bowen, A Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon and Janet Oakley’s expertly researched historical thriller, The Jossing Affair.

Andria told us to giver her our top three books of this year. An impossible task! So, I’m going to cheat and give you my top three picks, in no particular order, which all happen to be part of a larger series. Continue reading

Interview – Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Too often, authors create one dimensional super-killers in uniform who cold-heartedly carry out his or her duty like a robot. The character perpetuates the myth that the military is filled with people who mindlessly do what they’re told regardless of right or wrong. Orders are orders, in these worlds and service members shouldn’t think for themselves.

I’m convinced authors regurgitate the TV and movie style combatant because the number of people who know and understand real military life is minuscule compared to those who haven’t served. People simply make it up, call it creative license and do whatever they think makes for the best plot.

Often times, these are the books I want to throw across the room.

TrackersOn the other hand, there are some who go the extra mile, do some research and present accurate portrayals of military members and veterans. They work at getting at the truth of what goes through the mind and soul of people trained to go to battle, why they do it, what their motivation might be, and how what soldiers do impacts them before, during and after their service.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith, while never having served in uniform, masterfully draws three dimensional characters in uniform in all of his books. Many readers are familiar with the soldiers in his bestselling Extinction Cycle series which features Delta Force teams up against a deadly threat and a world in collapse. Through the multiple books in this series, we watch a team of men who had fought side by side for years in hot spots around the world. They weren’t best friends. They didn’t all hang out together, but they knew each other professionally and, like most people who go into danger with weapons in their hands, their connections are visceral and organic. When they lose half their team in one encounter with a kind of threat they’d never seen before, it rips them apart. They drive on, they continue to function and Smith shows us what it takes to continue your mission even though you’re torn up inside.

Continue reading

A chat with the author of Chaos Theory, Rich Restucci

chaos-theoryIf you haven’t found it already, ‘Book Reviews N’ Stuff is a public Facebook group  started by R.R. Haywood as an offshoot of his The Living Army  closed page. It’s a great place to read honest reviews on a variety of books in a wide range of genres. If you’re an author, it’s also a place where you can go to request reviews. Just be prepared for the reviewers to be honest. They are not about sugar coating and since they aren’t being paid for their efforts, their reading time is precious to them. If they didn’t like your book, they will tell you and anyone following the page, what they really think.

One of the intrepid reviewers, Lyndsey McDermott, had this to say about Rich Restucci’s book, Chaos Theory:   The zompoc genre is very easy to do badly and it can be hard for an author to stand out amongst the crowd. The author manages to keep the action going, our interest held and aforementioned gripes aside, [Chaos Theory] was a good read which has the potential to be far better. It ends on a suitable cliffhanger leaving the reader eager for the sequel.

Lyndsey has a lot more to say about the book. You can read the entire review here. After reading Chaos Theory myself, I had a few questions for the author.  In his bio, Rich Restucci describes himself as “a practicing chemist and writer. His stories have been published in Dead Worlds 7 and Feast or Famine. He enjoys drinking beer, stocking up on weapons and supplies, and reading/writing anything zombie related. Rich resides with his family in Pembroke, Massachusetts.”

Me: In the acknowledgements of your book, you thank people for encouraging you to publish. Did you write this story without the intention to publish? Has the experience of publishing this series been what you expected?

 Rich: This book was written with the intent of publishing each chapter, one at a time, to a website in blog format. The website is zombiefiend.com. I did that for a while and the readers seemed to enjoy it. Several of the readers and many of my online friends told me I should self-publish it, which I researched. I compiled the blog posts and ended up going with Severed Press, who had already published my first novel, Run. Severed was excited to get a second story line from me, and their excitement got me excited. Insofar as my expectations, I really didn’t have any. I was hoping the book would be well received, and it seems to have been. I don’t think of myself as a professional writer, more of a hobbyist, so when the book began to sell, I was very happy. Continue reading

Two big things

First, a whole bunch of the Lei Crime Kindle World authors got together for a Valentine’s Day Facebook hop. Some lucky person is going to win a $170.00 Amazon gift card. You don’t want to miss this contest.

The sweet part, aside from thlei-crime-valentinese fat gift card, is that each Facebook post features a unique Hawaiian recipe –Get it? The sweet part? Since most of the Lei Crime stories take place in Hawaii, the recipes get you closer to the world. I want to try them all. Hawaiian king bread, Kalua pork and cabbage, Hawaiian pineapple Cake… So many yummy and fairly easy ideas to bring to the table.

All you have to do is visit some Facebook pages, leave comments and move onto the next one. Lots of us are playing. You can start on my page (www.facebook.com/mldoyleauthor) and go get familiar with other authors who write in the Lei Crime world. It’s a talented bunch who write mystery, romance, fantasy and much more.

The second big thing is the Association of Writer’s and Writing Programs (AWP) is this weekend. I’m so excited to be going back again this  year. I will be on a panel alongside some amazing veteran writers. I went to AWP for the first time last year and the experience had a lasting impact. I wrote about it when I got home and now I can’t wait to see some of the friends I made. Here’s a description of the panel I will be on. It would be great fun to see you there!

Friday, February 10, 2017

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Marquis Salon 6, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

F110. The Middle Americans: How Flyover Country Responds to War. (, , , , ) By various measures, rural Americans are more likely to enlist in the US armed forces. Despite isolation from traditional centers of publishing and military power, voices with Midwestern roots have sprung forth like dragon’s teeth to deliver clear-eyed, plainspoken views of war, service, and sacrifice. The civilians and veterans of this stereotype-busting panel of published writers offer their insights regarding themes, trends, and markets in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

 

An interview with R. R. Haywood – Author of The Undead

undead-day-oneWhen R. R. Haywood agreed to an interview for my blog, I did one of those crazy dances they say you’re supposed to do as if no one is watching.  The cats flew out of the room like cartoon replicas of themselves. I’d scared the crap out of them since dancing is not an everyday thing for me. And there might have been some fist pumping.

The point is, it’s rare to get Haywood to do one of these and I’m gob smacked (an expression I’m using since he is very British which you will see clearly in his responses) that he agreed to comply with my wishes.

So, here’s a guy, who, four years ago, without much writing experience at all, sat down and wrote The Undead Day One. Then he wrote another book and then another one, and on and on. A couple months ago, he released The Undead Day Twenty. Mind you, there are more than twenty books, some days were broken into two parts and there are a couple of not-to-be-missed standalone books in the series, as well as other books that aren’t part of the series, short stories, some mystery … point is, from the time he started four years ago, he’s written a boat load of words. Not only has he written book after book, he’s also built a massive audience in the UK and a growing U.S. audience. That’s because the work is brilliant. It truly is.

Now listen. And this is the important part. The Undead series is in the much maligned, much ignored zombie apocalypse genre, BUT IF YOU DON’T GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE AND TRY A ZOMBIE BOOK ONE OF THESE DAYS, YOU’LL BE MISSING OUT ON SOME AMAZING WRITING!

Yes. That was shouting.

The Undead books are some of the best in the genre, not just because of the charming Britishness of it, but because the characters are amazingly realized and the suspense and tension are sustained throughout. The best part is that these books are hilarious. There are horrible moments. Of course. It’s about brain eating zombies and people die and it can be heartbreakingly sad. But when this group of people get a minute to relax, they will have you laughing out loud.

I made the mistake of starting this series when I was home sick with pneumonia. When you laugh and you have pneumonia, you break into massive, painful coughing fits.

Don’t read The Undead when you have pneumonia.

I’ll stop blathering on now. Here’s the interview… Continue reading

Wolves, by D. J. Molles – A review and interview with the author

Wolves posterWhen the world crashes, when everything you know disappears and you’ve lost what is most important to you, what kind of human will you be? That question is dissected and explored in the post-apocalyptic thriller, Wolves by bestselling author D.J. Molles.

I first started corresponding with Molles after I read book five of his The Remaining series. Of course, this was when he was still self-publishing and before his books finally rocketed to the New York Times bestseller status where they are today.

I’d been captivated by the bold way Molles operates within his stories. My initial intention was to post the conversation to this blog and to do what I could to draw attention to his work since he’d managed to change my opinion of the zombie genre in a massive way. The real reason I wanted to interview him was that I needed to find out what was going on in this guy’s head. Continue reading

Author in the library with a pen

Author in the library (1)In the fiction I write there are usually a few bodies left in the wake of my imagination. I sometimes kill people off to immediately launch into the story. Sometimes a death is used as a brief diversion or a means to neatly wrap up a climax. In using death this way, I’m not alone.

Like a game of Clue, authors design wildly different places and methods for our carnage. Beaten and strangled in a desperate fight on an Army base in Bosnia. Buried in cement in the jungles of Honduras. Drowning at sea off the coast of an Hawaiian island. Riddled with bullets in a wild gun battle. Slashed and beaten and covered in purple ogre blood beneath the streets of a city.

We’re a murderous bunch, we writers. We kill off whole societies with a deadly contagion. We track down a victim who perfectly matches a serial killer’s pattern. We choose just the right moment, during laughter and commotion, to end the most likable guy in the happy band of soldiers we’ve conjured up, making him the unlucky one to step on the trigger to the antipersonnel mine skillfully hidden in their path.

Should I be worried that we’re littering the ground with bodies purely for entertainment? Continue reading

Gifts all year long

Valentines dayWhen I look back on 2015, I have to say, the best books I’ve read in the last twelve months have been the ones I read for free, before anyone else got to see them. Whether for a review or to beta read, I can’t help but see the opportunity to read these manuscripts and to help the authors in some way, as gifts, and feel lucky as hell to have been entrusted with the work of such talented people.

Grateful for authors like, DJ Molles, who gave me his latest book, Wolves to provide an early review. It’s an amazing story that will be delayed for publication because a smart publisher decided to pick it up.  Trust me. It will be well worth the wait. Continue reading

What would you ask DJ Molles?

In just a few weeks, DJ Molles will release his latest book, Wolves, (**Note – I’ve just been told the date of release is to be determined based on some exciting news! More to follow). When burning question markyou crack this one open, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the time to devote to reading it because you won’t be able to put it down and it’s a long one, which is great. It’s worth every moment you spend in the pages.

I had a chance to interview DJ about this book and, as usual, he was more than happy to provide some intriguing answers to my questions. I’ll be posting that interview soon, but before I do, I wanted to make sure I made the most of the opportunity. I didn’t want to walk away feeling as if there were questions I wished I’d asked, but didn’t.

So, if you had a chance to ask DJ Molles a question about his work, what would it be?

Before you send me questions about The Remaining series, he says yes, there may be more books that include Captain Harden down the road. No, he doesn’t have one in the works right now but that doesn’t mean that won’t change. And yes, Wolves is a standalone story.

So, aside from those questions, what would you ask if you had the opportunity?

Every book, every emotion

NH Cabin rewritesEvery book I’ve written has had its own set of ups and downs. The initial idea, the first attempt at getting it on paper, the hair-pulling brain obstructions that seem to stretch to infinity, the first reaction from readers, the close editing and rewrites and the horrifying look of cover designs that eventually turn into something that will reflect the pages inside. At some point you smack an ISBN and other book matter on it and after checking off a bazillion more items off the task list (like a marketing plan, mustn’t forget a marketing plan) you hold your breath, cross your fingers and hit publish. At each stage, you can’t help but feel a jumble of emotions that tumble like balls in a bingo drum. Continue reading

An interview with author of The Remaining, DJ Molles

ExtinctionI first posted this interview on September 25, 2013. I’d just finished reading the first four books in The Remaining series and I couldn’t get them out of my head. In my opinion, they are the best zombie books ever written and a perfect example of how exciting it is when you find an indie published author who does amazing work.
At least, he was indie when I talked to him.I wasn’t the first person to read the series and get hooked. Thousands of other readers already knew D. J. Molles was the real thing. After a few emails back and forth, I couldn’t believe how laid back he was and I loved how surprised he seemed that so many people wanted to read every word he wrote. The guy doesn’t even have his own website!
Still, by the time I talked with him, several publishers had already been knocking at his door, and when we did this interview, Molles had finally decided to sign with one. I just happened to be the lucky person to help him announce it.
Since we talked, Molles and his publisher Orbit , re-released the entire series again along with two novellas, The Remaining: Trust, and The Remaining: Faith. He also released the fifth book in the series, The Remaining: Allegiance. 

Continue reading

Christine Nolfi does it again

Seeker w KW logoSince the Lei Crime Kindle World launch in April, Christine Nolfi’s, The Shell Keeper has spent much of that time in the number one spot of the Kindle World Contemporary category. The only book that has moved The Shell Keeper from that top spot, (which is on sale right now for less than a dollar!) is her second Lei Crime Kindle World novella, The Shell Seeker.

There’s a good reason Christine’s work has been hugging the top of the charts. Great settings, rich and lovely characters and an intriguingly magical story that takes Toby Neal’s vibrant character, Lei Texeira, to places Lei has never been. Here’s a description of The Shell Seeker.

In South Carolina, there’s more than magic in the air. Now policewoman Lei Texeira must solve the case of the Pirate Necklace.

 The famed emeralds, spirited in the 1700s from the pirate Blackbeard’s ship, have been snatched once again. This time, the bling was taken from Marie-Therese Belvedere, a woman whose cruelty is only topped by her arrogance.

 Lei doesn’t care for the icy socialite, but she feels an instant connection with the woman’s stepdaughter. An unlucky star has followed Sydney Belvedere her entire life. If the necklace isn’t found, she’ll lose a treasure more dear than the finest gem.

 Only the magic of Lei’s intuition stands between Sydney and unspeakable loss.

Sounds great doesn’t it? I had to quiz Christine about her experience and get some insight into what drove her to keep writing in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. Continue reading

Amazon’s review dilemma

deleteAmazon has decided to start deleting reviews they consider fake. What possible criteria could they use to do this?

Like many independently published authors, when I finish a writing a book, I send it to a group of beta readers to get their feedback. Once the book is published, after several rewrites and line edits and the like, I’ll send it to several more people to request honest feedback and an honest review. I’ve never paid anyone a single penny for a review. At most, like giving a gift to a friend, I’ve given titles away.

I have gifted books to people and received no reviews in exchange. I can only assume those folks either didn’t think the book was worth a review or simply didn’t like it. Rather than give me a bad review, they didn’t review it at all. Continue reading