Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blog Hop – Carpe Diem

I have been invited by a writer friend, Leisa Watkins (I believe writing as L.T. Bentley), to jump into the newest marketing tool added to the self-publishing quiver, The Blog Hop. The idea is to spread the word of your blog and your writing via links to other blogs. Like an electronic chain letter – without the stamps. All you are required to do is pass it on. Please check out Leisa's blog.

In addition, this is a way for new readers of our blogs to find out more about you the author and the stories your write. To my long time readers this may even provide a bit more about me and my work. To new friends – welcome aboard.

This is my 99th blog here at Writing4Death and has been a weekly part of my creative life, I also write a professional blog where I whine and complain about all things urban and where I also get to talk about one of my favorite subjects – cities. Check it out HERE.

My recent books are listed to the right and left of this blog, all were a joy to write and produce for you readers to enjoy. Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart, there is a lot to get into, more than a sane person should try and do. Now you know the story of my life, always pushing the envelope. If there is one aspect that I like about this new world of publishing is that everything you see is my work – any compromises are mine not a publishing house pushing something down your throat.

Me? I like to tell stories, deeply involved studies of people and how they react to or confront problems. Whether it’s losing a job, like my main character Sharon O’Mara did in Book One, where she had to reinvent her own life as a facilitator like Travis McGee, or in my novels where it’s the weather (i.e. farming) or war that forces people to grow and change. It is this interaction of an exterior applied force and human reaction that makes good stories.

An important part of the Blog Hop is the interview. Ten questions and ten answers – simple? You sit down and try it; if you are a writer, or are thinking about it, fill in the blanks and start a whole new life. Go for it!

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
My newest book, just released this month, is 12th Man For Death. It is the fourth book in the Sharon O’Mara Chronicles.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I am always looking for topical events in my stories and with the America’s Cup sailboat race and competition on San Francisco Bay this past year and through October of 2013, I thought it would be a great backdrop to a murder-thriller. The venues for these races are in magical cities around the world from New Zealand to Venice, and I could never pass up Venice as one of the sets for the book.

What genre does your book fall under?
Mary McCormack
It is a thriller/detective/mystery with a big dose of style and travel thrown in. This is typical to the last three books in the series. I have put China, Paris, Venice, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even brief stops in New York and London in these books. As well as fashion and where do you hide that Beretta under that dress?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have pegged Mary McCormack as my ideal Sharon O’Mara, after her great work in In Plain Sight, she is perfect with her attitude, style and look. As my detective Kevin Bryan, the guy I like (even if he’s six inches shorter than Bryan) is, and I kid you not, Jason O’Mara, just like my hero Sharon last name. His work could be seen on Life on Mars, the ill-fated Terra Nova, and now Vegas with Dennis Quaid.

Jason O'Mara
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Rich boys and their toys . . . and death.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
We have our own self-publishing company that has now produced four thrillers, one novel and one non-fiction history book (all available on-line through Amazon and Smashwords). I like the freedom and the opportunities that self-publishing allows. Knowing that you can offer your stories to a market keeps me writing. Now, making money is a whole different business plan.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I am very disciplined about my writing, it usually take six months to write an O’Mara book, two months to rework the first draft and a six weeks for final editing (and yes, I still have a day job). So it takes about ten months total (that includes cover art, book design, and ebook construction). So I bring out a new title every ten months or so.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My books are lighter and more fun than Nelson DeMille and Michael Connolly, but Connolly uses LA like it was a stage and I use San Francisco and the Bay Area (with international destinations thrown in) the same way. My books are, if you will excuse the comparison, very Bondish but with a female character who has attitude issues, a few bad habits she is trying to quit, good friends that help when they can, and above all a dog that is by far and away a girl’s best friend. I also see her as a Travis McGee character with quirky friends, attitude, and a world view.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I have always dabbled in writing, short stories and such. But the idea for the first book. Land Swap For Death, started maybe twenty years ago; I was in the Embarcadero BART Station (San Francisco rapid-transit), and watched a bum hustle the crowd for money. It struck me as a good place to start a story that led to a book, a new literary character, and now four books and another in production.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The travel side of the stories and how the texture of the city or countryside becomes a part of the book. I have been to all these places (except China and thank goodness for Google Earth) and have distinct memories that I can translate into a book. These are also stories about a woman who was lost until she joined the army. There she developed police skills (she was an MP) and an independence that has allowed her to set up her own business. She is a facilitator, like John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee, who is hired by clients to clear up problems they may have. She helped discover and resolve issues such a fake handbags, kidnapped Chinese girls, a murdered businessman, the return of paintings stolen by the Nazis, and the death of an America’s Cup skipper. 

Please visit these blogs for a little bit more about the world of writing:

If you want to be included in our next Hop, send me an email at and we will get right back to you. Put “Blog Hop” in the subject line please.

All the best, be thankful for your friends and family, have a great holiday, and for once this year don’t think about tomorrow, just enjoy the day.


More later . . . .

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